Nobody Expects...


abby_icon.gif alejandro_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif fedor_icon.gif

hiro_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif isabelle_icon.gif jake_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif trask_icon.gif zuleyka_icon.gif

Scene Title Nobody Expects…
Synopsis the Spanish Inquisition. Or Fedor and his people, apparently.
Date March 11, 2009

Rusty Warehouse

Rain is imminent. The sky is the shade of black that you only get when it's night time and choked with clouds. Humidity hangs dense enough in the air that walking through it feels like the hands of ghosts palming against your face in protest, pushing you back, saying No, don't do this.

As if the twenty foot electric fence isn't discouragement enough. There are one or two dead birds lying on the barren stretch of brown grass and asphalt around it, as good of a warning as the weather-blistered WARNING sign screwed in to the bars. Inside the gates, the old warehouse squats like a gargoyle on the shitter, rusted shoulders hunched up in ominous defiance to the criticism of seasons and liberators alike. The sea wrinkles and gurgles black-and-gray on one side and the ground rises up steadily opposite until forest takes over, dense, rambling, soundtracked to the click of wind through branches and mutter of disturbed fowl.

Inside the storage facility, the prisoners are having as quiet a night as any of the interchangeable days that have dragged their ticking heels past before. For all that they can hear through the striated walls and layered grime of their containers, the guards, linens, food, and latrine containers have changed on-schedule. There's nothing to indicate a departure from the droning norm of their circumstances.

No way of telling that two old comrades have been forced to face-off in the ring across town once again or that a storm is coming. No way of telling that it's time to go.

The birds lie dead upon the patches of desiccated grass and asphalt that makes up the perimeter, but the vengeful spectre of one flits across the border, the dark reflection of wings flapping on its path. There isn't anyone to notice that there's no matching bird in the sky. Past the fence and its lethal dose of voltage. Past the guards, one muttering a crude joke to another that he'd heard over a beer the night before, neither of them noting the weave of unreflected light that slips underfoot.

Save Abby. A subliminal command near fruition.

A brief scout through, keeping clear of the cages lest he get too close to whichever one might hold 'Sergei', and then one particular container darkens just a bit more as the ephemeral form of Richard Cardinal slides into it. A familiar container, to him, as well as its occupant. A hollow whisper stirring through the shadows. "Abigail."

Abigail sleeps, long since dropped off into a light slumber after spending time upside down on the ceiling of her shipping container cell with Magnes, fingers touching through the rent in the steel. She's oblivious to the fights, the people who are coming. Cardinal had warned her that soon, it would happen, but soon has such a vast interpitation for different parties. A few days, a few weeks. One blanket is up, strung across it's line to give her the privacy she so cherishes, the other blanket is over her prone frame. Her name though, filters through the light doze, pulling her awake so she can lift her head, look around. "Richard?" Magnes isn't off to the fights this evening and if he's listneing close enough, her whispered call of the shadows name can barely be heard.

Magnes is sleeping, which means he's floating slightly above the bed, but when the whispers start, his eyes open just as he falls hard on to the mattress. "Feels like I fell again, dreams are too realistic lately…" he whispers to himself, then sits up to listen in on what's going on. His clothing was far too damaged for them to be wearable anymore, so now he wears a nice fitting pair of pants, as opposed to his usual choice of loose pants, and a generic white t-shirt that someone may or may not have died in. Same bloody and tattered sneakers though.

Its really pretty gucci in comparison to a dedicated army bird, the EC-155 is quiet and so smooth its easy to forget this isnt a large commercial airliner. With its running lights turned off, and its glass cockpit covered by IR filters it was as dark as the sky it flew in. There were no lights on inside at all, strict light discipline you could call it. It was running in a loose pattern above the staging area, somewhere where few would notice the distant phantom of a helicopter somewhere in the night sky.

Fedor was wearing ever fashionable kevlar, and a helmet more easily found with military aviators or in this case previously with the coast guard. His gaze wasnt entirely invisible in the darkness, noted by the dull green tinge of his NVG goggles. His voice was smooth and calm over the intercom inside, which due to the particularly silent nature of this bird meant everyone could actually hear the pilot. "Getting close to go time."what else could he say, until Cardinal called. Nothing really.

Gerard is lieing in his own cell, he has long lost his coat, and his shirt and his shoes. It seems every time he goes out for a fight more things are missing from his cell. He has his scarf still, and it is almost unneeded with the fine blonde beared that his colonzied his chin and cheeks. His hair is longer, reaching his shoulders now, and a bit mussy and disheveled, over all he is a little dirty, and has many scars across his body, some of the still healing, no auto heal bot for him.

She waits, watching the helicopter's pilot and his controls as best she can. Her standard operational clothing of all black with features and hair covered by a ski mask are in place, as is the body armor which saved her life just the night before. Cat's ribs are still sore, her chest bruised, but she's here and ready. There's an M16 rifle slung over one shoulder, clip of ammo in, two .40 caliber pistols with silencers are on her person, as are a few grenades. She's taciturn and focused, par for the course when she's in or anticipating action.

Zuleyka is back in the cargo bay of the helicopter, half draped over the gun mounted at the door. She's armored, helmeted, goggled. She hums to herself as she scribbles in a journal - black pages, being written on with silver gel pen ink. The tune is, of course, The Ride of the Valkyries.

Jake's on board in the cargo section of the bird with a hand gripping one overhead hold, not doing much just yet. He's also noticeably not strapped in. Before they took off he made sure to help Zuleyka get safely secured at the gunmount so she doesn't have to worry about getting tossed out at all during flight, but for himself he just doesn't care. When it comes down to it if he fell out it'd just be inconvenient. "Element Leader to Element, we're in position. Awaiting go order." he reports, voice sounding bored on the radio. Which makes the action Cardinal's call at this point.

Sitting in that same section and across from Cat is Hiro Nakamura, calmly watching the woman he knows was beaten up pretty badly the other night. He's characteristically quiet as well, dressed and equipped no differently than he is normally. Which is to say: Sword in sheath, black blackness all over.

Sitting next to Cat, armed in similar fashion to the other woman and looking probably far more comfortable in body armor than some others here, Elisabeth hasn't bothered to cover her face yet though the hat covers the mass of blond hair that she possesses. Tension radiates from her, and she murmurs to Cat in a rueful tone, "Good practice for the whole ball of wax later, right? Still think we should level the whole fuckin' place, though."

God forbid Huruma ever receive an ability to further blend into her surroundings; despite her stature, the woman now clad in bulletproof black from head to toe has apparently become part of the helicopter wall. Even the sheen of her eyes is missing, the white irises covered up with brown. Both of them still feel as though they lock on to what they observe, but at least it is far less disturbing. Her face is otherwise covered with a mask- not a ski mask, those are itchy as hell. Instead, her entire face and neck is hidden under a featureless black 'skin'. Huruma's only neighbor is Isabelle, but even then the other woman gets nothing in terms of speech; Huruma carries a suppressed assault rifle, and more than a lion's share of sharp, pointy objects lined across her form.

The young pyro says nothing as she sits next to her comrade. Dressed in all black, pants and a tank top. For unknown reasons she isn't covering all of her skin. Her hair is down as usual and she looks down to the ground as they prepare for the rescue. She clenches and unclenches her fists. She breathes in deeply and closes her eyes. Abby is like a sister to her, she can't screw this up. Izzy's gaze is focused.

The shadow sweeps up and over the blanket draped to give the healer privacy, a man-shaped shade cast across the fabrics… and then a foot steps out of those shadows, landing onto the metal flooring of the container, followed by an arm, the shadows clinging to him as if he were pulling himself through a black garbage bag. The negative image swiftly flickers into dull colours; a balaclava drawn over his face, a kevlar vest over a black sweatshirt, black pants. Dark shades over the eyes. Faceless, unidentifiable. A tactical shotgun's swept up to one shoulder, a can of Monster in his other hand tossed lightly to the healer. "Time to go home, Abby," he says softly, very softly.

He turns, then, radio drawn from his belt and flipped over. Won't be long before he's noticed there, his shadow seen against the blanket, his voice heard. His thumb depresses the radio, "Psalm Fifty-Eight Ten. Operator has the first package…" A quiet, curt recitation of the number of guards he'd seen, he'd counted. "…perimeter is unsuspecting. Ready for Element's insertion. Go."

Holy… shit. She's only ever seen him as a shadow. A bird, feathers dreaking down, shapeless, but as he's pulling himself out of his shadow, Abigails hand clamps over her mouth to stifle any sound. It lifts away when she has to catch the can of energy drink lest it clatter to the floor, but she does. She's going home. They're going home. A tiny sliver of hope rises to the blonde's face, blacka nd green can clutched to her chest as she bobs her head up and down, blue eyes wide. She glances over to the adjacent cell though, drink put on her bed so she can get up, throw the blanket covering her back and step up onto the bucket to get her face up to the rent in the steel. "Magnes" It's whispered. "Magnes. You need to get ready. Stay quiet, and be ready okay. we're going home" A look back to Cardinal and his human form in awe.

It's go time, apparently. Magnes stands, grabbing his sheet and tying it into a chain of knots, a suitable weapon for a gravity manipulator. "Alright, Abby." is the only response he gives, hiding the knotted sheet behind him as he simply waits on the bed.

The big EC-155 lifts its nose high, as it slams on the brakes. Theres a change in engine pitch, as Cardinal's voice crackles over the speakers. Before Cardinal is even done speaking, the EC's tail has whipped around and the nose slams down to fill the front windows with the city lights before. Then it begins dropping down, as engines are pulled back to full throttle. Hurtling from four hundred foot, to an altitude that couldnt be more than a couple feet above any number of rooftops. Then a swift right bank, and the chopper races out over the water. The windows growing dark again as fat beads of moisture begin to bead and run.

"Thats it, we're a go. Make all final checks, keep the doors closed until just before we reach the objective."Fedor's voice is just as calm and crisp as if he was reciting the daily news, no hint at all that he's piloting a large chopper about ten foot off the deck at full flank speed. "We'll be there in aproximately sixty seconds, everyone get your shit together and hold on we're going to come in as fast as we can."

Just as Fedor promised, the big chopper isnt long in coming. You cant even hear -any- chopper until its maybe a few hundred yards away. Smoothly he pulls the nose up and jerks the collective, a huge white contrailed double helix winding itself in the sky as the massive composite rotors flex near their breaking point. The downblast from those rotors is of course, entirely incredible alone. Then the chopper pivots just as it crosses the fence. Hovering directly over Fedor's projected fastrope target!"GO,Go,Go!" comes the intercom.

Gerard notices nothing as yet, still blissfully relzing on his cot, listening to the sound sof the warehouse and the nearby aircraft.

There's the Go signal. Jake thumbs-ups to Zu and says to her, "Be ready." and then he keys his mic and announces, "Element Lead to Element, we have a go order. I say again, we are go." That's pretty much all he has to do. He'll be staying on board the bird while everybody else does their assigned tasks. The only situation that Jake will be getting into a fight tonight will be if some bad guys make it up to the chopper. And if they do, they Will Regret It.

Zu is bouncing in her seat. Like this is the mother of all rollercoaster rides. In a sense, it is, right? "Break a leg," she says, cheerfully. Not really apropos, but this is sort of a show. No one unfriendly is likely to make it anywhere near the chopper, not with little Miss Annie Oakley and her itchy trigger finger.

From his seat inside the helicopter Hiro closes his eyes and then quite suddenly vanishes. Ceases to be there. Where and when he's gone…well. Stand by.

"I'm cool with that," the hidden-face woman replies to Elisabeth's comment about leveling the place. She rises to her feet and grabs the rope line, going out the door by it, gloves protecting her hands versus being burnt on the descent. Once on the ground, Cat lets go and waits for the others to arrive around her, weapon coming off her shoulder and selector set to semi.

Elisabeth holds tight as the helo goes screaming in (well, very quietly screaming in) at full speed at very low altitudes and yanks her mask down over her face. Then she's with the rest of those heading off the vehicle, hoping like mad that everyone who came in goes out alive with their targets in tow.

Her eyes having been on Hiro Nakamura on and off again for the length of this mission, Huruma blinks sharply from where she sits when he disappears, only to follow it with a seething manner of squint at the air he had occupied. There might be a feeling of realization coming off of her for just a second or two, followed by a rigid air. No time for that, however, as the signal has been given, and the pack of dark creatures is vaulting out of the helicopter. Huruma is quick to rise and follow, long fingers testing the line down with a tug before she follows it down.

"Well let's bring the heat baby." Isabelle says with a chuckle and she follows after. Her hands tight around the line. Her gaze alight with excitement, adrenaline beginning to pump through her system.

A gloved hand curls to the edge of the blanket, drawing it back so that Cardinal can peek around it from where he's crouched down there; jaw tensing slightly, keeping silent, one hand held up to Abigail as if to entreat her to silence. "Any minute now," he murmurs, tensed, ready.

The first gunshot ricochets through the gate, spitting an orange spark off the metal with a syncopated sizzle and flare of electrical discharge. The big, brutally ugly black shape of a rifle is perched up on the guard's shoulder, angled just around the corner of the warehouse's front facade. The loud gruff sound of man-fear flies high only to fall under the buffet of the chopper's noisy blades. He's shouting— something, incomprehensible to those standing outside the warehouse.

Inside, however, his voice comes through loud and clear. "There's a chopper full of assholes coming at us, I see rifles—"

And then the scream of gunfire, whistling through empty air to strike at the hull of the chopper Fedor is piloting. The next instant, the guard snatches back, taking cover around the very building he seeks to guard.

Gerard is up in a flash, he is moving to the side, he drops into Spanish, "Alex, get up, time to go!"

Once upon a time, a very similar weapon was called 'Puff the Magic Dragon'. Because, to all appearances, the side of the chopper suddenly spews a little gout of flame, as Zu wrenches the gun around and fires it up. It takes a moment, but suddenly the wall by that unfortunate guard is being chewed by a stream of bullets.

Tag-teaming with Cat — hell, she's about the only one Elisabeth actually knows outside the teleporter — Elisabeth heads toward the warehouse basically ready to kill anyone in the group's path. When the guy starts shooting, that's pretty much the sign of things to come. She yells to Cat, "What I wouldn't give for a power just to make his head explode!" She fires a couple of shots in return, covering the forward movements of the group until the chopper's gunner gets going. Then she merely maintains a watch position while those best suited to breaking locks do their jobs.

Helicopter?" Abby's eyes go Cardinal in more shock. A helicopter, with people in it and guns. Abigail mvoes away from the wall, snatch up the Monster drink, pop the tab while there's sounds to distract and start to guzzle it down. I'll do very little, if anything for the blonde, but in a minute or tow, it'll give her enough that if she has to, she can run like hell. This is really happening, they're getting her out. SHe looks towards the electrified front of their makeshift cells though, waiting, hoping for the sound of the whine of electrcity playing across it's surface to stop.

She could return fire with her M16 rifle, held at the ready, but there may be more than one target in the area, and the one who was shooting has ducked under cover. Cat takes one of her grenades and holds the pin at the ready to be pulled, letting all see what she's about to do since saying it is likely ineffective with the helicopter close by. Should no one object by gesturing her to abstain from that action, she will pull the pin and toss it through the wall Zuleyka's gun just damaged then duck aside to avoid getting sprayed.

Rounds slice through the delicate, unarmored chopper but luckily they only find self sealing fuel tanks. Whilst not ideal, it does effectively keep the floor very well armored. When a round skips through the passenger window and into the back of his seat however, Fedor decides its time to get a little distance. "LZ is hot, taking fire. Lift is dusting off, will orbit until package is collected."The big chopper banks HARD to the right and then yaws back so hard, that it looks for all the world about to smash into the ground. Just as before however, the collective is slammed open and the big chopper gains just barely enough alitude to skip safely out of the perimeter. Its not flying straight of course, no until its a few hundred yards away this is an artful sidestep. its calculated to provide Zu, with a totally uninterrupted field of fire. Until it finally gains altitude and begins to orbit a hundred or so yards from the facility and up another hundred foot or so. Entirely black and invisible oncemore against the night sky, save for the firing of Zuzu's M60.

Inhaling a deep breath of the dampened night air, Huruma's usually small and specific antennae for emotions lift up and out to most of the area surrounding her and the others. She can feel the different types now- surprise from whoever she feels inside, mostly, and an inherent excitement in the others. After this swift check, she pulls out ahead for a moment, slipping close to the wall off beside where Cat throws the grenade, waiting for an entrance and readying the assault rifle at her side.

Gerard is not surprised, he knew this day was coming, he had about 15 separate escape plans going in his head, but so far all of them had a high chance of failure. He /knew/ he was getting out though. He never gave up, and now the day is here. He watches the guards as they take up positions, and watches for any of the other fighters that are being let out to help defend the location.

And suddenly, the wall by the door — as well as the door itself — is replaced by a gaping, twisted wreck of a hole, shorn metal gleaming and smoking like the maw of a dragon. The machinegun fire and grenade combined did an excellent job of taking out an entire corner of the warehouse: it looks like somebody just bit through a corner of Swiss cheese. The guards who had been hiding around the bend of the building just opposite that are flung back and thrown into disarray.

When the chopper's lights sweep through the fresh entrance, it becomes obvious, however, that the attack suffered a little for aim. The warehouse floor is filled with the freight containers like the colored blocks of children, and some of those blocks are now riddled with holes. Screams filter through the reverberating air — someone in enough pain to cry out despite the instinct to otherwise cower in terrified silence and hide.

Any other guards are momentarily out of view in the wreckage. There ought to be at least two.

"That was fun," Zuzu says to herself, more than to Fedor or Jake, in abrief pause. Now it's up to those on the ground. She looks worriedly to Fed over her shoulder. "I don't dare keep firing, or I'll kill the ones we were sent to save."

Fedor grunts, peering down with a frown "Zuzu, transformer. Now."His voice doesnt even hint at any emotion, because simply there was none. He slows the orbit a little, to help Zuzu line up a shot.

Oh, oops. Zuzu blushes. And there's the sound of the gun spooling up again. Bullets everywhere - a very hard rain indeed. Followed by a fountain of sparks like the fireworks at Disneyworld…..and the buzz of all the power in the compound shorting out.

When the door blasts inward, Elisabeth ducks out of the way with the others, and keeps to one side of the opening, checking inside for anything coming out at us — cuz you know, people shooting at us, not good to make major target of self even when wearing kevlar. With the guards momentarily thrown away and into confusion, though, she keeps with the group and starts moving forward. We only came in here with specific targets in mind to pick up, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't open the cages. Which means the first order of business is cutting the power. When that's taken care of, she flanks Cat and Huruma, calling into the darkness in that wonderfully enhanced voice that comes from everywhere and nowhere at once, "People, this is the day of your liberation! If you want out of here, you're going to have to participate. Let's go, let's go, let's go! Everyone out of cargo containers!!" For certain people, the feminine echoing tones will be familiar.

The sound of the heavy weapons tearing their way through the front of the building brings a grim smile to Cardinal's lips beneath the dark fabric of the balaclava he's wearing; cracking his neck to one side, then the other, and then sweeping one arm through the blanket to pull it out of the way. He's pretty confident the guards'll be looking in the direction of the front of the building at the moment. Then the electricity fritzes, and dies, and the lights die. It's as bright as day for the shadowman.

Ka-chunk. The Remington 870's pumped once, and leveled towards the lock on the mesh door that secures the door. The echoing crack of a shotgun blast goes off as he tries to blow the door, and he lifts one boot to kick the door open. Time to go. "Abby, stick close to me." Say. That's a familiar voice echoing off the walls. Well, he'll figure that out later.

Going through the door with her weapon at the ready before her, Cat's eyes are alert as they can be in the darkness. She searches for signs of people with weapons and people without weapons coming out of whatever variety of cells they've been kept in. The woman's unseen expression isn't fearful. No, she's grimly focused. Perhaps feeling a smoldering rage. Slavery.

"This is lift, lights are out up here."comes Fedor's voice over the radio. He's got his head swiveled back to peer back down the road now, granting Zuzu full authority to kill anything she so chooses that wanders into her field of view. Now he was worried about reinforcements "Somone down there needs to make opening the gate around that facility their new mission in life, I cant get you out if its still standing when I land guys."A gentle reminder, but at this point Fedor feels fully justified. New team-mates and all. Its not like he and Zu can shoot a chainlink fence down.

Pulling ahead of Cat and Elisabeth, Huruma's senses don't take long to adjust to the darkness and the movements nearby. Her ears are filled with Elisabeth's voice, and though the words are strengthening, Huruma knows that some of those in here- simply won't try to get out. Resignation is the enemy of a savior, isn't it? Slaves resigned to their fates are hard to convince otherwise.

The first foreign figure that Huruma is able to lock her eyes on gets a soul-shaking, brainful of fear, right before she expertly lifts the assault rifle and gets off a few shots. Boo.

The blonde healer barely has time to clap her hands over her ears, protect them from the shotgun blast. But she succeeds, Elisabeth's voice heard before doing so. Her cell gate flies open, the healer fast on Cardinal's heels. Abigail he glances over to Sergei's cage then Magnes's in turn with a warring look on her face. Part of her wants to tell Cardinal to wait, to go let the other two free, but there's more than just Cardinal and they're not here just for her. So her palm is pressed to Cardinal's back, trying to keep up with her heart pounding in her ears and chest through the darkness of the warehouse. Fear, worry, relief flood the blonde, all these familiar to Huruma.

Among the rest of the people is Isabelle, and her hair whips in the wind. Her hands flame up almost instantly and the flames burn bright and powerfully. Her black clothes make her hard to see. She stays near to Huruma and gathers up a fireball in her hands.

Lights short-circuited, the warehouse is a mess of shrapnel, rubble, perforated containers and dead electrics. The audiokinetic's authoritative voice elicits the beginning of obedience: quelling their fear the way a career fighter would know how, somebody rattles their way to the front of their prison, starts to beat on the fence until it opens.

A scattered burst of Spanish curses seesaws into Trask's hearing through the air, another layer of hubbub to the noise of approaching boots. "I'm—" Alejandro grunts and there's a clang as he slams past his chair, making toward his exit. "I'm hurt. But I can move. Will you help me?"

Something gives underneath Cardinal's boots as he keeps by the healer's side. Liquid. Warm, though he can't tell through the boot, and though the owner has too much adrenaline screaming through her veins to realize what happened. It isn't his blood.

The flame licking across Isabelle's fingers illuminates the interior of the warehouse and the shadowy figure of one of the approaching guards, AK-47 aimed squarely at Huruma's chest — but before he can squeeze off a shot, his face is perforated by a bullet from the giantess' weapon. He goes down in a spray of blood, body bouncing lifelessly against one of the empty cages before it hits the floor, oozing dark liquid and brain matter all over the cement.

Gerard smiles and with the electrical field dropped kicks open his own door, he moves to Alessandro and immediatly moves to help him up, his remains in spanish, "Of course my friend, we will get you out of here…. It won't be long now. You said they have your sister? I think I know where they might be holding her."

Guards are starting to get their act together, and Elisabeth finds herself and Cat face to face with a small pod of them! Startled by their sudden appearance in the dark, she hesitates just for a moment before her trigger finger reflexively pulls and she starts sending bullets their way. She doesn't care if they're dead, so long as they're not shooting at her and Cat. "~Move, people, we don't got all day! We got one way out, and anyone who wants to use it better run like hell! Go, go, go! And the people *I* came for - you know who you are! - northeast corner triple-time it!~"

There's a cold focus and determination that's come over Cardinal as he steps out of the container; the other two left to be rescued by others, presumably, the healer his number one priority at the moment. The shotgun swept to one side in one hand as he twists 'round towards her to reach for her hand, the sole of his boot squeaking against the crimson beneath his heel. The darkness doesn't bother him in the slightest, dark-sight recognizing the stain spreading across the healer's midriff for what it is. A chill of fear, eyes widening behind his shades.

"Oh…" SHIT. A full turn, and the shadow-walker reaches down to sweep Abby up into his arms with a grunt of effort, the firearm held awkwardly against her back. His head drops down low, and he heads for the entrance at a brisk jog, slowed only by the slight weight of the skinnier-than-is-healthy woman he's cradling to his chest.

Elisabeth's weapon isn't the only one firing at the guards they're suddenly faced with, individual rounds fired at targets until the threats are no more. Cat is economical with the hot lead, lest any of the captives dart into the line of fire or be struck accidentally. The fire Isabelle started is muchly helpful in terms of illumination.

A dusky arm hangs heavily around Trask's neck as Alejandro struggles to center his balance between the other man's support and his own leg. There's a wet splatter of darkness on his thigh; probably not a direct round or he'd probably have no leg at all. "Thanks, amigo," he grits out, wearily.

Zuleyka is perforating any unfriendlies she sees. Problematic for the unfriendlies, who'd rather she not. The man with the rifle is shouting, scrambling up onto his feet again even as he scrabbles for cover, half-deaf and off-balance but ready to do the best thing to keep him in business.

Or, at least, such is his plan until a scintillating sweep of honed metal comes down and separates him from his rifle arm. He punctuates Hiro's katana with a scream, sprays red; the swordsman squints, begins to teleport, but there's only a flicker through his shape before he realizes that he can't.

Until he pivots to hack off the poor goon's head, anyway. The severed head topples into the grass, and then the Japanese man is gone without another word or salute of steel.

He doesn't see the shape of the other outdoor guard as he slips into the warehouse with far more grace than a man his ponderous size ought to have. His boots crunch across gravel, flinging a silhouette-shaped shadow over Cat's face and offering Elisabeth an instant's notice before massive hands are closing on her gun arm and a familiar face, rough-hewn features, swim into view through firelight—

Huruma makes for the first cell still locked that she sees near, tilting the barrel of her gun downward and unloading a couple of rounds to shatter the lock. It gives a weak squeal as the bullet tears through, and Huruma wraps her hand around the door to fling it open on its hinges. A familiar face will greet her there behind it- and hopefully Magnes has it together enough to realize the same. He knows Huruma's shape and dark voice- even if her face is obscured. "Get out, boy."

"Hey there Mags." She says with a grin and nods her head at the boy. "Miss me?" her eyes travel around the area and fall onto Huruma. "Nice work, let's go." Izzy jerks her head in the direction away from the place Magnes was kept.

Looking up, Elisabeth starts to yank away from whoever's trying to grab her to give Cat a clear shot, and she stares upward. "Thespuda?? Christ, you survived!" In that split second, she has no idea if he's going to attack her or was just trying to get her attention…..

Magnes stands when people appear to be moving; though he is alarmed by the gunshots, he tries to put it to the back of his head. He wraps the knotted blanket around his hand, a suitable and possibly dangerous whip in his hands, then walks to the electrified entrance to his cell. "You're…" he says, but doesn't finish, he just quickly runs to the women.

"Did I die? Are you like… angels?" he asks, his mood suddenly improving. But after all of that, his face hardens again, hand tightening around the knotted blanket-whip, ready to kick ass!

Abigail's still oblivious to why Cardinal's picked her up, but she's not objecting to the action, arms thrown around the man's shoulder. She couldn't feel the wetness seeping through her shirt or the extra hole in her body that god surely did not put there when she was born. She's still ignorant of it for now, or at least that it's her. "Richard, your shot" Yelled over the gunfire and activity in the warehouse.

And in that second, his face contorted by terror, words tearing out of his mouth in an entreaty gone incomprehensible from the trainwreck of sentiments he's trying to explain, Oleander Thespuda begins to turn Elisabeth's arm into stone.

Her eyes are on Elisabeth and the man she addressed, recognizing him, but she doesn't speak much. Cat simply suggests "Plenty of time for reunions later, folks. Exiting now is…" Her voice trails off, and she seeks to put an end to this situation. Her weapon is turned around and aimed toward his head, butt-first, with the intent of rendering him unconscious and thereby ending the power use. There. will. be. no. turning. Elisabeth. into. stone!

"This is lift, time is three minutes. Element, you need to pick it up a notch. The fence is still intact, someone down there needs to fix that immediately." Fedor is still calm as ever, even if he was starting to wish he'd brought along a god damned RPG for this eventuality.

"No," Cardinal replies in a low growl of breath to Abigail's shouted statement, "You were."

The healer's carried out into the dim light near the entrance of the warehouse, but he doesn't just rush out into the open — not quite yet, not with the LZ still not clear. A half-turn of his head, and he barks out, "Firestarter! Slag the fence out there so the bird can land, if you can — we need to evac before they figure out what's going down. Abigail's hurt, we need to get her out've here ASAP!"

A handful of captives is beginning to emerge, though their progress into the open is staggered by hesitation. Despite that the small army of liberators is a reassuring spectacle, the absence of their guards makes a man pause. If only briefly.

There are three men joining Alejandro and Trask in their tributary trickle into the throng of rescuers: a blond Viking of a man with a ragged red rip in his shoulder, a wiery woman with tawny skin and burly Haitian. When one of them notices Elisabeth's arm, there's a shout of horror, a haphazard glance flung to and fro as he tries to ascertain where the other attackers must be. Could be.

Huruma lifts a corner of her lip at Magnes, unseen. "Well, we are certainly no'Charlie's…" Wait, did she make a joke? There's not enough time to find out, because soon Huruma is moving again, blasting off locks and flinging open remaining container doors- it almost looks like something she has done before, judging by that sheer efficiency and robotic movements with which she does it. Somewhat eerie, and doubly so by the fact she is literally living up to her name for some reason. Though then again, just maybe one of these people actually belong in a cell…

There is horror in Elisabeth's eyes when she realizes what's happened. Oh God! The man killed his family, insofar as forensics has been able to tell, and now she's turned Elisabeth's upper arm from elbow to nearly her shoulder to stone. She screams — lucky for everyone concerned, she doesn't lose control of her own ability!! — even as Cat bashes the man in the face. And she gasps, "We … he needs to come too! We haven't been able to reverse what he did, he's the only possibility!" she gasps in an adrenaline-roughened voice. "We gotta go!"

Gerard hears the scream from Elisabeth and he moves faster, helping Alesjandro along he moves to the scream as quickly as possible, carrying his mexican friend if need be. The scruffy beard and bare chest criss crossed with scars might be enough to disguise the man that noone on the team present except Liz has ever seen.

"Alright kiddies." Izzy cracks her neck from side to side and pushes her arms forward. The flames grow even hotter and she steps away from everyone. As the fireball grows bigger and bigger, the flames grow brighter and brighter. "Stand back." She growls and the flames are reflected in her grey eyes.

Everyone will notice the air around them getting significantly hotter until Isabelle releases the fireball with a grunt and the great ball of flame crashes into the fence and passes through the fence. The intensity of the heat melted a hole big enough to where people could fit through. "Escape route, right herre!"

The light teeters out of Oleander's eyes. The strike from the Phoenix operative's gun opens up his eyebrow and he crumples to the ground, disoriented, his fingers leaving the officer's arm. She feels it the instant the crawl of transformation ceases, her nerves no longer replaced by the numb, inert mineral stuff. Liz has been on painkillers before: the feeling is comparable. Locked at the angle she'd been holding her rifle at, her petrified elbow now bangs lifelessly into her side and hangs heavier in her arm than the weapon once had.

There's Isabelle's voice, with Elisabeth's, she swears she heard but she's distracted by the burn in her middriff when Cardinal points out that it's her, radiating through her middle and gaining in intensity. As if speaking it made it true. The heat from Isabelle's fireballs force her to turn her face away, bury it into Cardinal's vest with white nuckles on his shoulder and back. Protect herself form the woman power. Hurt, but alive, and getting out of here.

She watches the man go down from her rifle butt strike, already realizing he needs to come along, that being why she used the butt to knock him unconscious instead of shooting him. Cat's eyes look around, settle on Gerard, and her head nods in his direction. "Let that man carry him." She won't elaborate, Liz will know why she said that, and possibly undersrand full well why Cat then turns to move out of the building and toward that fence opening, keeping more than ten feet between herself and Gerard.

Magnes isn't sure what to do, but he remembers what Abby told him; if there's a way out, take it. He starts running for the opening Isabelle makes, continuing to drag the knotted blanket-whip. "Guards, are there any guards?" he asks himself, though someone can easily overhear as he looks from side to side, escaping through the entrance to see if there's any chaos outside as well.

Gerard helps Alex over to where Cat and Liz and Oleander are. "I need someone to take Alejandro if you want me to take him!" He looks at Liz, "Oh God…are you ok?"

Elisabeth looks up at the order, and in the midst of it all she grins. She can't help it. She believed them that Abby was here. She wasn't sure until this moment she believed that Trask was actually alive - that Teo was right. She'll apologize to both of them later. Noting Trask's companions, she nods to the burly Haitian, "It may take two of you, please?" It's incongruous that she'd take the time, and she figures Norton can hand off his own burden to the Viking guy. "We all gotta get while the getting's good. Let's move!" And she turns to run for the helicopter — well, as well as she can with her arm petrified. Evacuation.

Gerard yells, "There are more prisoners, being held nearby….it's very important we get them…or they may be killed tonight."

Slaves they may be, but the Pancratium's enslaved fighters hadn't survived the pits this long because they don't know how to seize a window of opportunity when it opens up in havoc.

The ragtag pack of fighters follow, more or less herded by Huruma's ability and verbal commands. They lance the darkness with paranoid stares and hitch their shoulders into the beginnings of defensive crouching as they emerge from the broken jaws of the warehouse's facade.

The back-light from Isabelle's flames pick them out. Their bare faces show in faint relief against the masks of Fedor's comrades. Scabbed and callused hands are held out in either surrender or supplication. The blond man glances briefly over his shoulder. Spots Abby and his mouth moves around some words of comfort, though the sound of them is drowned out by the whoop of circling blades.

The night's lit by fire and molten steel, the light of it glittering off Cardinal's near-opaque shades in reflected heat—he can't see a thing over there for a few moments, light-blinded, but he can still shift around a bit to pull the radio off his belt without dropping Abigail. Awkwardly bringing it up behind her, he bends forward, thumb depressing the button as he barks into it, "LZ is clear, repeat, LZ is clear. Some damage to package, we need evac now… shit there's another site? Well, we have the people we came for."

We can just abandon the others, right? Damn. No. No, we can't. He lifts his head, jaw tensing, then shouts back, "We can't carry this many out anyway! Most've these prisoners'll need to scatter into the streets; anyone willing to hit the other prison site, move it!"

Magnes stops when he makes it out, turning to Cardinal and Abby, and quickly getting out of the way of the entrance… just in case. "What's going on? How are we getting out of here? And is Abby alright?" he asks, looking her over.

"Questions later. Follow now." Isabelle says and grabs Magnes by the arm. She looks behind her at Huruma and nods. "Just tell me when."

The EC-155 comes in hot, that rotor wash blowing no small amount of dirt and grass and everything else around. After a moment or two, Fedor manages to feather the rotors and the rotorwash all but vanishes entirely. Inside, a -single- dim cabin light blinks on. Zuzu moves into view, leaning back to wave those standing around aboard.

A voice practically invades the intercom attached to the infiltrators for a few moments, startlingly clear in everyone's ears despite its smoothness. "I'll take the others. Go."

There are some times where one simply needs to step aside, no matter how cemented your pride is. Huruma will do it. There are a great many things that she is skilled at. Evasion, escape, hiding? That is definitely some of them. Even as she finishes her few words, the tall woman is turning herself to silently direct the group that she has taken upon herself to let out of cages. Her arm flutters in the dark when she moves outside, beckoning- a precautionary dabbling of soothing emotions casting over the escapee's shoulders like salve on a raw wound.

"Come with me." Harriet Tubman she ain't- but who would want to dispute.

Elisabeth turns and calls back to Trask, "Tactical strikes only have room for so many evacs… we let 'em out, they're going to have to fend for themselves, though. Now *run*." And then she resumes the escape toward the chopper — because we came in for specific people, and they're the ones we're getting the hell out of here with. Her arm is a liability, but she doesn't have time to worry about that part right this second.

Magnes follows Isabelle, blanket dragging as he runs after her. "Are there more guards? I can help, I know how to fight now." he informs with heavy breaths, though the validity of his claims may vary. "And we gotta be careful, the paid fighters might be guards or something!"

At the sound of that smooth voice over the intercom, Cardinal's guilty tension flows away; trusting to the strange, deadly and terrifying woman to take care of business, he moves after Isabelle and Magnes in the direction of the descending bird. "She's right, answers later," he reports with a shake of his head, "Move, move, move! Abigail, hold on…"

She boards the 'copter when it lands, and seeks to sit in a corner where more than ten feet of distance between herself and Gerard can be kept. Cat knows all too well what happens if he's too close, and she has no desire to lose her wits now.

Gerard gets Oleander to the Chopper, making sure Alejandro is taken care of as well. He frowns and tries to catch Cat or someone else. "Look some of these peoples wives and sisters are being held nearby at a brothel, to keep them from escaping."

Fedor grunts, peering back. He lifts his hand to pull away his oxygen mask, fixing his gaze on cat. "Hey, You."He doesnt point, but its immediately clear who he's looking at. "Get in the copilot seat, my trims all messed up."People laying down, and more people period tend to make things a little strange.

Elisabeth rips her mask off inside the helo and calls, "We don't have manpower or firepower here. We're lifting off…. get in or don't, Sergei." She can't go off and help him liberate a brothel with a stone arm.
Abigail holds on, head still tucked in despite hearing magnes. eyes tightly closed. Time passing makes that wound to her midriff even more evident. "Okay" Loud enough for him to hear before she's talking again, prayers this time. Not for healing, more for the safety of those around them, and to get out of here without anyone biting the dust.

Gerard sighs, he can't just leave the Stone-morph unguarded so he gets on he looks across the cabin at Alejandro, "We will find her" he says in Spanish.

"You still owe me a drink, Harrison," Cardinal mutters to the slightly-petrified woman in passing as he steps up into the helo; recognition noted, though he's got too much to think about right now to worry about being too surprised. He carryies the injured healer over to one of the seats, crouching beside it to settle Abigail down as carefully as possible; head jerking back over his shoulder as he barks, "We're on board. Go! And someone get me a motherfucking first aid kit before Abby bleeds out!"

"Language!" It's automatic, proof that the blonde healer is by no means near death or approaching it anytime soon despite the red liquid that's escaped her. She screws her eyes tightly shut regardless, biting back a scream one she's deposited on the seat.

Fedor tosses a particularly awesome med kit back from its spot under the copilot seat, the sort that contains quick clot in amounts appropriate for a sams club purchase. "Doors shut!"and with that the chopper makes a neat lift into the air, hovering in place as he folds the gear before smoothly pulling away. Rotor noise slowly fading away until the sound of the world at large eventually drowns it out. "Good evening, this is your captain speaking……."

March 11th: The Fast and the Furious

Previously in this storyline…
Singing in the Rain

Next in this storyline…
Close to the Chest

March 11th: Close to the Chest
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