Not a Fiddler


aviators_icon.gif dajan_icon.gif danko3_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif tau_icon.gif

Scene Title Not a Fiddler
Synopsis It's not Santa and his reindeer, either. It's Emile Danko, several hours too late to do anything for the three captured members of Team Bravo.
Date December 9, 2009

Mandritsara, Madagascar

Fires produce heat, but they also produce light and smoke — even with the rain sputtering in the trees and drenching the Malagasy jungle, starting one with sodden kindling and kerosene isn't a risk that the survivors of the bunker massacre can afford to take. Instead, they have to rely on the clothes on their backs for warmth, though the eviscerated building where they've taken shelter still provides the group with some insulation and protection from the worsening weather. Until the torrent outside subsides, there's still the threat of flash floods to worry about on top of everything else, including the inevitable return of Rasoul's militia.

Team Bravo's medical officer — if she can even be called that — has spent the hours since nightfall tending to the wounded and assisting Tau, and although the surviving resistance fighters receive most of her attention, she's given some of it to Aviators as well and is in the process of finishing the stitches that now seal shut his emptied eye socket when the first peal of thunder rolls across the starless sky. Their shelter, once a schoolhouse before Mandritsara's fall, is at least dry in comparison to many of the other buildings the group considered before hunkering down, and it gives everyone inside ample space to lay out their bedrolls and attempt fitful sleep.

Outside, water runs through the streets and turns the city's dirt roads into roiling rivers of mud that wash away loose pieces of debris but have not yet grown large enough to consume anyone unfortunate to be caught in the storm.

It's been some long hours since Gabriel had gone through what he could scavenge from the bunker. Medical supplies that have already depleted. Food. Water that isn't dripping down off jungle tree limbs or infected with parasite. Weaponry. Clothing. For now, he lies on his bedroll, and sleeps off the fatigue that going in and out of shadow morph had given him, begging off being the first watch and lying now on his stomach, towards one of the corners of the space they've claimed for themselves.

Or at least he seems to be sleeping, in that his eyes are shut, he's still, and he's exhausted. Ignoring Eileen tending to Aviators as blithely as denial, as much as snagging guilt isn't quite his concern, his back is turned to them and he breathes deep the scents of blood still clinging to his clothing, and the wider jungle around them.

Even if Huruma had wanted some kind of rest, it likely would not come too easily; like Gabriel, she is in silence, sitting with her back against one of the remaining walls with her gaze toward what serves as the doorway. The water drips noisily at most points, though there are times when the rain slows to a crawl and offers them some more warmth in the air. She's not sure what to think about Aviators, thusfar- his whole situation is one of the more bizarre now, but saying nothing about it is becoming as easy as questioning it.

The weapons and other supplies have been sorted through and partially divided amongst everyone left, and Huruma's share lies at her side inside a pack and along a belt- her rifle lies against the wall to the other side. Watching the sliver of outside as she is, Huruma comes off as gazing off into space. It is not too inaccurate, but if her attention is called away she answers, and if someone needs help with something she will likely assist if she thinks they actually need it. Nobody usually does, so that also makes her seem a little bitchy at the moment. Reasonable, really. You would be too. Too much to think about- thinking about very little is easier for now.

Outside, the streets are dangerous. Mud moves with force enough to displace abandoned trucks from where they settled after the last storm and drags at collapsed architecture, sagging entire floors out to swallow cleared roads.

Meanwhile it's dark and it's wet. And there's no tell-tale fire.

Whump. The sound is muffled against the patter and pummel of jungle rain, but undeniably there for those paranoid to be paying attention.

Up on the rooftop, reindeer pause. Problem being that it's still a couple've weeks 'til Christmas and no one in this camp's on the Nice List besides. Grime-streaked skull cast in shades of ashen grey against the jungle swaying black at his back, Danko breathes deep and slow, acrid breath fogged warm past the runoff dripping cold off the end of his nose.

He stands there for a moment in his looted jacket without moving, too still amidst flagging debris and sweeping rain. Listening. Waiting. The rifle in his hands feels lighter than it should, and after another minute's uneasy calculation, he slings it carefully back over his shoulder and eases the knife off his belt instead.

Aviators hasn't spoken the entire time he's been tended to, and were it not for Eileen he might have allowed himself to bleed out from that empty socket where his eye once was. Tau's healing has been refused save for when the enormous man pinned him down and tried to force healing onto him. The wrestling match that ensued scrapped much of that attempt at involuntary triage. Still wearing his rain poncho he was wearing outside, Aviators has left the hood up, trying to hide his disfigured face as he stares down at the broken sunglasses in his hands, lenses shattered from proximity to one of those mines exploding.

Somehow the socket being sewn up seems more agreeable than being healed by Tau. It's likely stubbornness speaking.

"Get the fuck away, Ruskin…" He growls out to Eileen in an unwelcoming manner, even though she's not quite finished. "Just— Get the fuck away." He doesn't jerk his head away, doesn't try to make her leave, he just frustratedly growls at her like a wounded dog too tired to bark or bite. "Soon as they get back… you gotta go, and leave me here." They being Dajan and Tau, both of whom have taken to scouting the surrounding jungle with a handful of the MLF survivors. Five remain at the eviscerated school, patroling the entrances (of which there are more than they have scouts). Dajan and Tau left a half an hour ago, planning to circle the entire town and get a sense of their surroundings and hopefully Militia movements before returning to the school.

Even if he is being pissy, Aviators is right on one account; they do need to leave sooner rather than later.

The hand at the back of Aviator's head winds fingers through his damp hair not in a gesture of affection but to ensure that he doesn't flinch away from Eileen when she scissors off the excess thread in her teeth, smoothes the thumb of her opposite hand over his eyelid, stretched taut, and scrutinizes her handiwork with her fingertips as well as her eyes. In spite of his feeble growling, her lips are moving around murmured reassurances that he's going to be all right, that they aren't going to leave him behind, that with Gabriel's intuitive aptitude they'll find some way to fix what's been done—

—as soon as they figure out what the hell that was. Whatever Eileen was about to say next is cut abruptly short by the sound of booted feet on the roof of the schoolhouse. Her grip on Aviators' neck tightens on instinct for a fraction of a second before her fingers loosen, fall away and she's rising from her kneel beside the CIA operative with her good hand braced against the inside of her thigh and her gaze angled toward the ceiling. In this weather, her sentinels are useless. The only birds left in Mandritsara have hidden themselves snugly away in deep crevasses and clefts in the decrepit stonework covered by fluttering veils of threadbare ivy.

She does not raise her voice to ask the question that manifests in the paleness of her face, blanched white by a combination of exhaustion and shock but too tired to be real fear. Vanguard?

Gabriel's head lifts at the sound, eyes half-shut and bleary still and wondering if maybe he imagined it. A push for psychic radar only gets dazzling awareness of the men and women around him— and above— h— im. His eyes narrow even further, allowing himself several comfortable seconds of wondering if the MLF have decided to stake out their roof, a sleeping man's negotiation as to whether he really, really needs to wake up. It doesn't take awful long to arrive to a conclusion. He does. Getting to his knees, Gabriel sends a glance around the room — mostly dressed, though his feet are bare and he's unarmed in every conventional sense of the word.

He takes a breath, stealing himself, before calmly sinking into his shadow form as easily as a drowning man might slip back under the surface. He pools and roils in place for a moment, before tendrils reach out to grip to floor, to wall, a demon thing ghosting its way up towards the window, into pattering rain and slipping out in silent desire to at least quietly investigate.

Huruma's field as been poking around idly, and it swirls in on Danko as he drops down into it. Like a second bubble being forced into the bigger one, it comes with a faint mental *pip* as he comes into range. From the sky? No. While Eileen goes into rabbit-mode, Huruma's expression goes from seriously bored to slightly perturbed; her eyebrows form a relatively straight line, eyes peering at the ceiling past the lowered edge of them. Her lips meet in a similar line. It makes a shadow on her face, but the face itself is actually rather humorous. She snorts loudly, the noise abrupt enough to possibly make somebody look over.

"…It's …Danko." Huruma's gaze turns slowly over as the trail of shadow leaks out the window to investigate. "How did he even get up there." She voices her thoughts for little else than adding atmosphere.

Danko's head turns after a sound. A voice? The wet flop of an ancient newspaper falling limply over itself in the rain? Something.

He's still again save for a careful adjust of bare-knuckled fingers around the knife's wooden hilt, the robust pack dragging at his shoulders heavy with water, among other things. More than a few beats pass before he finally moves again, one boot crossed before the other with a lazily automatic kind of crocodilian precision, comfortable in the rain as a caiman despite the cold sink of it into bones that aren't as young as they were…yesterday.

His progress pads near silent over the battered roof. Eventually there's a creak where a weak spot drips off-color water in through yellow ceiling tiles to mark his progress towards the entrance.

The name catches Aviator's ears when Huruma spits it out. His half-blind stare goes to Eileen, then up to the roof, and maybe he tried to watch Gabriel's smoky form move around, but the lack of depth perception made all those shadows disorienting to see, no real sense of close or far making him lean back and away from the ephemeral display. Aviators doesn't trust himself to go for a gun, not with one eye, somewhere he'd be able to make a smart-assed remark about a one-eyed marksman. Rico Velasquez wouldn't find it funny.

Outside, Danko's stillness rewards him with the vantage point to see others approaching thorugh the ruins. Two muscled men in camouflage rain ponchos with more behind them following in a single file line. Dajan and Tau's return to camp comes at an awkward time, at least for Emile, and while they're still a few blocks away from the building, they'll be on top of it shortly, and he can't be certain exactly who they work for from their attire.

War was so much easier when soldiers wore brightly colored uniforms.

Eileen's knuckles drift over her sidearm in its leather holster. The look she swivels in Huruma's direction is dubious at best, silently accusing at worst — as lips drained of blood press flat, both her brows lift into a skeptic arch that effectively conveys her emotions by the virtue of being slick and wet rather than particularly fine or well-groomed after several weeks of hoofing it through Madagascar's overgrown interior. "Your ability tell you that?" she asks, reaching up to tangle fingers in her hair when she could be popping her pistol from its holster.

Her eyes move between Huruma, Aviators and Gabriel's diminishing shape, though it's ultimately one of the fat droplets of rainwater dislodged by Danko's creep across the rooftop that interrupts her visual sweep of the room. It spatters against her forehead and carves a path halfway down her face along the curve of her jaw before she uses the hand that had been gnarled in her hair to smudge it away under the heel. Much further and it might have gotten into her mouth. "Or is it just a guess?"

Through the pattering jungle rain, the shadow wraith grips nimbly onto the barest of footholds of the outside walls, monkeying its way up without particular effort and onto the roof. It scours along tile and wood, trailing towards what it 'sees' of the man making his cautious and confident way along the angle of rooftop. Recognition of who's come to put coal in their stockings gains no physical manifestation of reaction from Gabriel as he sluggishly follows along, even if anyone were able to see it.

Knife is noted, the jagged end to an arm that is unmistakable to killers and victims everywhere. Curiousity satiated, Gabriel only follows, rather than rush to alert the others, deeming it wiser to track the new arrival's progress.

"Technically-" Huruma lifts herself, picking up her rifle as she goes. "-a guess. But I come t'recognize people tha'I spend time with. Familiarity is not certainty, but it is always alluding." Huruma resigns that her senses are not always correct, but with people she knows, those presences tend to be unique. "Woul'you rat'er I say 'I think', or woul'you prefer t'stay scared?" She purses her lips before shifting towards the entrance, the figure of one MLF soldier still hovering here and there in the relative shadow. She pauses again, concentrating- as she gets closer, only to pick up her pace towards the entrance/exit ahead once it breaks.

There's something decidedly two-dimensional about Danko's progress across the roof while there's no one around to watch him creep. His colorless eyes rove left to right without intensity or fear or feeling, marking hard edges and soft sinks in worked over construction at a mechanical distance. He's here without actually being here, focused without having to pay attention, and the occasional inevitable misstep aside, he's done well out here on his own.

The pass of his aura into Huruma's range of perception is predictably ophidian, all cold blood and needle fangs as ready as they are at rest.

He doesn't draw up short until he catches sight of Dajan and the damp procession at his heels, sandpapery jaw hollow and wiry arms drawn in taut at his sides. More heads than he has bullets. :/a Doesn't take a rocket scientist to meter out the odds there.

Doesn't stop him from glancing specutively back at the muzzle of the gun crossed up over his shoulder either.

Nervously watching the ceiling with one eye, Aviators look to Eileen and then over to Huruma. "Might be that fucking ninja…" He offers in an awkward, grumbled tone of voice. "These this Chinese guy, he's— a fucking ninja." Dark brows furrow, and Aviators rises up fully to his feet, boots scuffing on the debris underfoot as he tenatively reaches out in a silent gesture towards Eileen, but then hesitates as he considers his own predicament. "Dunno who the fuck they are… It— " he probably could have said something about Chinese Ninjas in their initial meeting.

Motion visible from the windows is greeted by the three-burst flash of a flashlight, signal from the departed group of soldiers that they are returning, and to please not fill them full of bullets. Rounding their way across a demolished wall, Dajan and his men pick up the pace on the way to the hospital, then hesitate when there is no immediate flicker of the flashlight back. Dajan's hand goes out, halting Tau who motions back with a closed fist to the other men to come to a halt. They crouch, both burly men and then the more average built MLF operatives behind them. Anxious looks are exchanged, and Tau is slow to unwind his rifle from his back, breath drawn in slowly as rain trickles down his brow and rolls off the tip of his nose.

Fear is not among the emotions shimmering at Eileen's surface as if illuminated by the excess rainwater that still clings damp to her skin and hair. A general sense of uneasiness ripples there instead and shifts direction with every twitch of movement and creaking sound caused by Danko's footsteps. Beneath that, a steely kind of calm that steadies her hands and prevents her breath from hitching in her throat when nothing happens in the long moments that follow.

Whatever doubts she has about the statuesque woman's ability are tempered by her faith in its accuracy insofar as numbers are concerned. Ninja or not — there's only one person up there. "Lieutenant," she calls up at him through the cracks in the ceiling in a voice that, although muffled by the tiles and soggy insulation between them, he should have no difficulty identifying. At the same time, she finally removes her sidearm from its holster and swings the weapon up to point at the general area in which she thinks she heard him moving last. "This is Eileen Ruskin of Bravo Unit-02. Can you hear me?"

Out of Danko's periphery overtaken mainly but his gun and rainfall, the shadows expand. By the time solidity has set in, arms gone from liquid darkness to exposed Caucasian flesh, the matte tone of his wife beater spattered with dust and made greyer than the shadow he'd been, Gabriel is standing. Wood and tile creaks under this new weight, and water glances off his shoulders and skull.

His head tips to the side at the sound of Eileen's voice winding up from between the broken tile, a brief glimmer that tells him enough, feeling the cool of her own in her palms as if they were his own, just for a split second. "They get mad," Gabriel says, quietly, voice hidden beneath the sound of rain, muffled by the barrier of rooftop, "if you try to kill them. Lock you away, keep the key, say mean things. You coming inside?"

Precisely, that feeling within Huruma's senses is knowingly slick- almost like handling a serpent that wishes to simply keep meandering along. The woman turns her head at Eileen, puzzled- before she notices the flicker of light in the distance. With a glance to the MLF guard, she wastes little time in swiping the flashlight(still off) from his hand as he lifts it up to use it. You know, instead of saying wait. Huruma steps outside and into visibility, drizzling rain slicking down her arms and head as soon as she does.

When she gets far enough, Huruma stops to turn around, peering up towards the edge of the roof.

"Emile, where haaave you been?" This drawling and obviously teasing nag might be funnier if it were not such a serious situation.

Eileen's voice calls Danko's attention firmly downward, but it's Gabriel's inky rebirth at his back that has him foregoing the gun in favor of a defensive slash of combat knife from side to shoulder. Blade poised at ready, eyes sunk deep in his skull and teeth bared at a pale sliver, he finds himself pinned down in three dimensions. Huruma's voice is the last to lift from down below, coaxing the quicksilver hatred in his eyes off the Midtown Man long enough to confirm that it's really her.

"Already had a go?" inquired quietly, conspiratorially and not quite politely of more immediate company, he lifts a brow even as he measures the distance between the lot of them and the position Dajan's group has taken up a little ways out. Close enough that they matter on top of everything else.

"Yeah, Ruskin. I can hear you," is confirmed for all to hear. Also easy to hear is the lack of respect he feels like paying her in turn; there's no formality in his demeanor and he doesn't do her the favor of defining himself as anything more than a creature with ears. A scuffing step takes him back away from Gray while a glance seeks to determine how the fuck he got up here. "Were you worried?" The last is to Huruma. Probably. Nobody else here seems like the type to be all that concerned for his well-being. …For some reason.

Aviators goes stiff at the mention of Danko, eye wide. He looks to Eileen, then begins to slide towards the back of the building, boots crunching over debris with every footfall. He looks out one shattered window to the rainy streets, then back to the interior of the building with an awkward expression on his wounded face. Pulling up the hood of his rain poncho, he looks to one side, then the other, back eventually meeting with the wall with a soft thump. Huruma can feel his anxiety through the wall. "He could be infected." Aviators hisses out sharply, jaw giving a faint tremble as he does. "He— could be— " Swallowing back his words, Aviators seems to have lost some of his edge since losing his eye, or perhaps it's his sunglasses; like hair to the mythical Samson.

Outside in the rain, Dajan watches Huruma's movement, all the voices and visual cues allowing them to spot the man on the roof. Initially, Dajan rises to his feet with hands clenched into fists, mistaking the pale and bald man for the Butcher of Mandritsara, but the height, the build, the voice is all wrong. Hackles lower, and Tau is slow to rise in following, motioning for the other men to hold their ground. "Wha'should we do?" He asks of Dajan, Dark eyes never moving from Danko's barely visible frame on the rooftop.

"Wait here." It's not what they're going to do, just everyone except Dajan, who begins moving ahead towards the building, heedless of what signals were delivered. "What's going on?" He calls out, accent keenly South African to Danko's ears. "Who's this man?" The same could be said of Danko about the scarred black man approaching without a gun.

The lack of respect paid to Eileen by Danko does not go unnoticed by the woman clutching the pistol. It doesn't perturb her, either. The muscles in her body grow slack, relax, and slowly she lowers her weapon as the breath leaves her body through her nostrils in the form of a long, thin hiss. With Gabriel on the roof, Huruma on the ground outside and Dajan and Tau encroaching on their position, she has no reason to keep it out, and so she slips the pistol back into its holster with a soft jangle of metal tinkling against metal.

Aviators' behaviour leaves her feeling more apprehensive than Danko's presence does, and as she pursues him she turns out her palms to show him that they're empty before arriving at the wall and placing a hand on his arm. "Gray will know," she says in a softer voice, tone similar to one she might take around a skittish animal prone to biting. "Relax. Sit down. You're getting excited."

And indeed, brown eyes sweep on over Danko, although from this vantage point, and out here, it's but a very brief scan to find anything physically wrong with Emile. Gabriel raises an eyebrow back at the other man on that quiet query, and doesn't answer, just tilts his head in the direction of other voices. More gesture than anything practical or truly wary, Gabriel takes a deliberate step back from the other man.

Chin juts up in a gesturing nod. "After you."

At Dajan's call out, Gabriel chooses not to respond. People on the ground who already know who is on the roof can do that for him. For now, he's busy watching how Danko gets down, one reason being that Gabriel would like to know how to, with hands and feet if it can be helped.

"Almost." Though she keeps tabs on all of the presences near her, her voice- and the laugh that vibrates in it- is only in response to Danko. Eileen's lack of- well- much of anything- is new, but can be addressed at a later time. "But only partly about your health…" He doesn't seem like he went off to gather gas intel, but there is no telling until they actually reach the Other Side of the fence. "Those men are wit'us. I'm signaling them back so they don'shoot you."

Oh- ah- Huruma nearly winces as she turns, flashing the light with a huff of irritation. Okay, okay, okay. They can stay over there if they wish, but give her a break on the signal thing! There's a man on the roof, and it looks all very odd. There is also something wrong on the inside of the building, but Aviators is not the most reasonable source of emotions as of late.

"Emile Danko. Was with us, split to went scouting b'fore we got off th'Ankofia."

"Lieutenant Emile Danko, formerly in command of the ill-fated Bravo Unit-01." After taking nary a second to read inbound accent, posture and carriage, Danko rails his rank off into the rain while it still seems like he's doing so of his own volition. His voice falls across the tail of Huruma's delivery of the same information, no volume or strength conceded to distance. Even if he is sizing Gabriel up as he listens.

And there is a lot of him to size up, isn't there?

In turn, Emile would be hard-pressed to scrape 200 even loaded down and soaking wet, and there isn't a pair of combat boots in this world that's lifting him past 5'8". He's as compact and cadaverous as ever, narrow shoulders slouched against the spit and flick of rain without any kind of regal bearing. He is what he is. And by the time most of the introductions are out of the way, 'wary' is one of the things he no longer is. In much the same manner that he just finished snubbing Eileen, the littlest Marine gives Gabe a sideways look on his way to turning his back on him to navigate his way to the section of roof with Huruma and Company assembling at its end.

"This is Emile Danko? I was told he was dead." Dajan offers a look towards the building and a wave to Tau and the others that it's safe to approach, even if Huruma had already signaled them. "Your CIA agent, he said Danko was killed with the rest of his team at the airport outside of Analalava." Dajan looks suspiciously through the blown-out window, then over to Gabriel one with scarred brow raised, silently asking the question of his integrity. If the man Usutu called the "Brain Man" could detect something wrong in Aviators, surely he could do it again.

On his way over, Tau shoulders his assault rifle. "We need t'get movin'. We spotted a convoy 'eaded south towards th' capitol, probably a slave truck moving people from the north shore prison camps." Dark eyes drift over to Gabriel, and Tau's expression stiffens just a touch as he considers the serial-killer, then regards Huruma and Danko in equal measure. "Wha're we goin' to do about the man w'the worms? If he is a spy, he can'no know where we be going."

"We can't just leave him here." Dajan snaps at Tau, brows furrowed as he looks back to the man, then over to Gabriel. He's scrutinizing the tall killer, trying to discern a look of worry or wariness, but doesn't quite feel that in the air, and his mother isn't worried. Still, the idea of parasitic spies has him on edge. "A slave truck means there will be a shift change, many trucks on the road. It might be a good time to grab one for ourselves, or just stay off the roads for a while. Either way, we need to decide on a course of action and move."

Inside of the ruined school, Aviators creeps over to Eileen and grabs her by the bicep too tightly to be anything other than a frightful grip. "Find out." It's a terrified imploring of Eileen's ability to somehow reason with Gabriel. "Find out, because I'll sooner put a bullet in my head than let that gook fucker put another one of those things in me." He's understandably upset.

Eileen is either oblivious to the conversation happening outside or she's decided that placating Aviators is more important than making sure her opinion is heard by Dajan and the others. She's already told them her feelings on the subject and with nothing left to say, she focuses her energy on attempting to mollify the man with his hand around her arm. Although she does not jerk away from him or pull back, the muscles in her bicep tighten, straining against the fingers digging into her skin through the material of the cargo jacket she wears over her other clothes.

"You're hurting me," she breathes, which means he can't be hurting her very much or else she would have raised her voice for the others to hear rather than lowering it further. His name is next — first, not last, spoken at a volume too quiet for anyone else to detect. These words are meant for Aviators and Aviators alone. "No one is going to put anything in you, I promise, but you have to knock this the fuck off, okay?"

Gabriel's presence is reduced mostly to cautious creaks as he follows on after Danko, deigning not to simply phase through the tile and wooden structure in favour of conserving the last of his energy, especially when he catches the words pertaining to them moving on. His nose wrinkles be he makes no disagreement or the opposite as he silently navigates over slick roof materials, pride and true caution dictating that he mustn't slip.

"He caught up wit'us when w'found th'plane, obviously survived th'attack- more useful than he looks, Dajan." Huruma motions towards Danko, perhaps with as good a compliment as he may get. "I am thinking tha'we avoid th'roads, for now. Find a vehicle later on, if we can. Or, if possible, take a truck tha'won't b'missed when it goes." She does not give much reasoning towards this, but she has voiced an opinion on the matter. "We cannot take him in faith nor leave him? What else could w'possibly do wit'him?" She looks towards Tau, for once in agreement with him. They cannot take Aviators without either taking out every parasite, or blocking out all his senses. It seems like so much more trouble than it is worth. Huruma adjusts the rifle strap on her shoulder, nails clicking along the metal of the gun itself.

"W'could put Patch-" Ow, eyepatch joke already? "-in a rice sack, I suppose." See? It's getting silly.

"We could put a bullet in his head," suggested without much feeling one way or another, and also — we'll note — no idea of what that situation is, Danko gives Huruma a Look once he's leaned out to measure the distance down from the edge he's come to. It's a tolerant Look at least, with colorings of what might pass for comraderie if not for the fact that she's a freakish genetic aberration and he isn't.

Nose wiped twitchily on his sleeve, which is as sodden as the rest of him, he finally puts his knife away and sets about the process of lowering himself down. He does it quickly and he does it with an economical kind of grace — straight to the point, which is easier anyway when the only direction you have to go in is 'down.' Both boots swing out over the edge and twist around to face the wall face he's hanging down, right grip held longer than the left for the time it takes him to measure the rest of the fall. In the end, his knees only have to absorb the shock of a few humid feet and he's dusting his hands off to track his way to Huruma's shoulder, leaving Gabriel to suss out his own way down. "Where's Sanderson?"

At Danko's question, Dajan bristles and looks awkwardly to Tau, and the silence there comes with a shake of the large man's head as he steps into the ruined school through open doors to get out of the rain. Left with the responsibility of delivering the bad news, Dajan looks down to Danko once he lands — surprised by his small stature for his strong force of presence — and offers out a paw-sized hand to him. "My name is Dajan Dunsimi…" There's a visible coil of tension in him as he adds, "your contact in the MLF. But I am sorry to report, your Lieutenant Sanderson was kidnapped by members of Rasoul's army earlier today during the firefight along with…" he strains to recall their names. "Miss Bennet and the…" He almost says the asian one, "Candace."

Inside the building, Aviators releases his grip either because Eileen snapped at him or because Tau is lumbering like a bull rhino through the doorway, wping his hands over the top of his head to sweep off rain. The one-eyed CIA operative hisses a breath out. "Fine," is is sharp retort to Eileen, "fine I'll be calm, and when they put some fucking worm in you while you're unconscious— " one finger wags in the air, as if to say that'll learn ya, but nothing comes. Huruma can feel that anxiety, nervousness and jittery energy coming from Aviators.

Losing an eye did no good for his attitude.

There is a pleased little smirk on Huruma's face as Danko assesses and passes judgment without one explanation or context; that's how you solve problems, isn't it? Ah. She watches him as he makes his way down the wall and over to her side, the Look having been returned with something similar; save for that she harbors no partiality about genetic code in this case. Noble, though that only means she actually just likes him because he is Danko, which itself is somewhat disturbing. As Dajan explains the absence of several of the other Bravo-teers, and offers his hand, Huruma is surprisingly careful while watching the exchange between them. Mayhaps on the off chance Danko can now figure out status with a glare. Though something else occurs to her, standing there in slight repose- other than the squirrely energy coming off of Aviators inside.

Huruma won't say it, but she does wonder loud enough- she has thought it before- if Danko has any ancestral Lilliputian blood.

That wagging finger is snagged out of the air, and although Eileen is sorely tempted to twist it back on the knuckle she holds it firm instead. Tempers are short — that includes hers. "I'm going to speak with Gray," she tells him, careful to enunciate every word with razor sharp precision so there's no misunderstanding. "I have an idea about how we might get them out without hurting you, but if it doesn't work, you and I are going to take that truck ride we talked about, minus whatever ideas you have in your head, and we'll find you a safe place to lay low until we're finished in Antananarivo."

Surprise is something Danko's probably used to seeing in those taking him in for the first time. Staring is something Dajan's probably used to seeing in those taking him in for the first time. Emile looks him and his scars over without readily evident shame or apology, but there's no speculation in his grey eyes when they lift back in search of cool contact over their clasped hands. Can't be bothered to wonder inwardly and it's probably best for everyone here that he doesn't venture to do it out loud either.

Potentially dishearteningly, the monitor dispassion he absorbs the scarring with doesn't waver at news of Sanderson's capture. There is a lift at one of his brows at the news that 'Candace,' is still alive to be taken in at all, but past another look at Huruma to convey relevant skepticism, he keeps his thoughts on the matter to himself. It's only then that he realizes she's watching him in turn, but oblivious reins supreme in the glance he fleets knit-browed between her and Dajan on his way to turning towards the shelter to follow Tau. He's been rained on enough for one week, and seems to expect that the others will naturally keep pace.

"Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Dunsimi."

Relaxing a bit when Danko presents himself as he would've expected an American military officer, Dajan lets his hand fall down to his side and shakes his head slowly. His stare goes in to the building beyond, scratching at the side of his face with his other hand, nails biting at the texture of scar tissue and a permanent grimace cut into his face. "We should be off soon then, we'll head south, it's still three days by truck before we have to decide where we're going. Whether we split up or stay together or just strike at the airport, we have t'keep moving."

Moving his fingers down the side of his wet neck, Dajan massages his scar anxiously, then looks up to the rainy sky. "We can decide what t'do on the way. But staying put— we may as well put our guns in our mouths." His dark eyes level down on Huruma, then in to the building again, brows lowered. "Tell me, mother…" Dajan finally admits to the title, as she had called him son, as if to test her reactions once everyone else is out of earshot, his voice lowered.

"…Do they know why I have these scars?"

It's rhetorical, and Dajan's headed inside too. He doesn't want to hear the answer, not yet. He wants her to think on it.

Relevant skepticism is met with a tilted purse of Huruma's mouth, one eyebrow lifting quietly. Yeah, she's still around. Somewhere, anyway. She watches Danko head inside for even a minute of dryness, turning her head back when Dajan moves in the corner of her eyes. She studies him back for that moment that their eyes meet- two white, two brown- one of those cloudy with a scar. Huruma seems to feel something small before he calls her Mother- and her eyebrows knit together high on her forehead as he does. It is not an expression common to her- but it has increased the last few days into something that comes over her whenever Dajan looks into her eyes.

If he truly wanted to test her reaction, he got part of what he was aiming for. There is also a dip of the corners of her lips, eyelids low but her gaze- for once- shameful, guilty- but only insofar that Dajan is the only one to see it there.

Rhetorical or not, Huruma is the first to break the staring contest, a breath of air flaring her nostrils as her mouth remains tightly closed. It was inevitable that he would begin to ask questions, though the piteous kindness in a warning is welcome all the same.

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