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Scene Title Priorities
Synopsis Kat and Liz are called to the scene of a near-riot in Harlem.
Date February 17, 2009


Harlem stretches from the East River all the way to the Hudson, miles of packed residential districts filled with refugees and vagrants, a neighborhood stricken with crime and poverty. Harlem was, and has been for generations, one of the urban hearts of New York City. Before the bomb, this borough of Manhattan was the center of the Afircan American community in New York City. Now after the destruction of Midtown and the wake of social devastation brought in by the bomb, the borough has seen better days. Much of Harlem suffers from the same plight as much of New York — Overpopulation and crime in the wake of the collapse of infrastructure in 2006. With major traffic arteries cut off, power and water only recently restored, the area was in chaos for those first few terrifying weeks after the blast.

Before the bomb, Harlem had been shaping up, cleaning up its crime rate and working towards becoming a safe place for its residents. All of that hard work was laid to waste in a single night. Many of the buildings on the southern side of the neighrhood bordering on Central Park were gutted by arson in the chaotic weeks following the bomb, and the vast majority of them haven't been torn down yet, leaving the southern edge of the neighborhood a burned out and dangerous ruin. Even if it wasn't for the fires, the looting, vandalism and crime that spiked shortly after the bomb only made things worse for the Harlem residents, followed by the electricity and water stoppage from the damage done to the city's infrastructure.

With the major highways mostly repaired, Harlem is in a process of reconstruction and revitalization. Most of the neighborhood's historic landmarks still remain, and the region surrounding 125th street continues to be the urban pulse of Harlem as a whole, and from that street it's hard to tell anything has changes. It is the center of the reconstruction movement, constantly packed with repair crews, construction workers and maintence teams.

The call came in just as the 'afternoon shift' was starting — if there is such a thing these days. Everyone's been working crazy hours, and although life is slowly starting to get back to something resembling normal, there are still any number of outbreaks a day that have to be responded to because of the rolling blackouts and the stress levels in the city. One such call came from Harlem, and the only two people not already on a case were the unlikely duo of Agent Marks and Officer Harrison.

On the drive to the scene, Liz managed to make cell contact with the army major on the scene, and his report was somewhat grim. Elisabeth reported in, "The group is holed up in an old storefront with generators they took from the truck before the soldiers could stop them. Now they won't turn the generators back over, and they're cornered… which is making things ugly. They've got at least one Evolved member in the group — he grabbed the generators and ran with them like they weighed nothing. So best guess there is amped strength. The major says they're all young males - mid-20s at most - and they're claiming the generators that have been brought in aren't getting to the people who really need them. There's a crowd accumulating, and it's starting to look riot-like."

Katherine Marks was already headed into the office when she was called from the top and told to get over to Harlem stat. She was told that Liz Harrison from NYPD was already on her way and she was to meet up with her and gather as much intel as possible on the situation and assist in containing the matter. That last meeting between Marks and Harrison didn't go as smoothly as the higher ups had hoped, but that competitiveness that they both hold is likely to cause some friction.

The scene when she arrives is near chaos with military vehicles and troops surrounding the storefront. Marks pulls in and gets out of her vehicle and flashes her badge before being led over to where Harrison. "Harrison." she says shortly before turning her attention to the building. She's already been briefed as much as anyone else, the information send securely over to her PDA. "What's the current situation and what is your plan of action?" She could be addressing just about anyone standing around as she just tosses out the question, as she pulls out her weapon and checks it over before popping in a magazine and holstering it.

Oh good. Agent Marks. Elisabeth's expression doesn't alter from the professional one that she had when the agent arrived. Pointing to the crowd being held back by soldiers with guns, Liz tells Kat, "We've got onlookers who're likely to get rambunctious if it goes too long. I'm planning on having a palaver with whoever happens to be in charge inside," she tells the agent as she straps on her kevlar over a teal button-down shirt that tops her black slacks and boots. She adjusts her holster to her hip for easier carrying with the vest and eyes the agent. "You sticking with me, or staying back here?"

Kat doesn't bother with Kevlar. She figures that at some point, she's going to be killed in the line of duty. But she knows she's not going to be able to do her job with all that extra weight on her. She keeps her weapon on her right hip, however on her left is a tranq gun, just in case she feels she needs to use it. She does remove her suit jacket and lays it down on the hook of a nearby vehicle. "Anyone takes that, I'll shoot them myself." she warns those around before she turns towards Liz and nods. "I'm with you." With that, she's already moving towards the building.

There's merely a nod and Elisabeth walks forward. When the two women reach a spot about ten feet out of the building, in plain sight, Liz says quietly, "Stop here." She holds her arms out from her sides, angling herself so they can see her from inside, and speaks without a megaphone and without shouting, using her ability to carry her words easily through the windows of the old storefront. "You've got some things that don't belong to you, but you're claiming there's a good reason. My name is Liz Harrison, I'm here to try to work out the problem. You can talk to me without shouting, I'll hear you," she tells them. "Who's in charge in there? Let's have a conversation." Her tone is calm, businesslike, and reasonably respectful.

There's a long pause, and Liz spends that time listening to five young men argue amongst themselves. She doesn't look away from the window as she tells Marks in a murmur, "There are fo… no, five of them. Three generators. They're arguing about who's in charge. This wasn't a well-planned situation. One of the men is telling the others to let him handle it… he has hopes he can make us give them one of the generators."

Not that she's opposed to heroics, but it doesn't seem warranted. At least not at the moment. She listens as Liz gives the rundown of what's going on inside. "See if you can continue to talk them down. If we can get this resolved without incident, that best for us all." She pulls out her phone and taps in a few things. "Any idea who was supposed to get those generators?" She is able to pull up schematics of the building on her PDA and looks down the length of the exterior of the building. "Okay. We can cut power if we need to down there." The main power circuit is connected to the wall of this storefront. "Hopefully it won't come to that." She can't hear what Liz hears, so she's not privy to the details, waiting for her to continue to feed her information.

Elisabeth shakes her head slightly. "That I don't know," she says in answer to the query about who was supposed to get them. "Major Hanson would be the one to ask about that. If it comes to cutting the power, I'm not sure that barricade's going to be enough to stop the crowd, either." She slants a glance at Kat, and then at the schematics, just in case.

A young black man, perhaps 23 or so, comes to the front window, looks out, and then moves to the front door and opens it warily. "We ain't got nothin' in here that don't b'long to us! Those soldiers are givin' all the generators out, we just took our share!" he shouts out the door. "I got an apartment buildin' full o' people who can't even boil water to make supper! That's what these are for, right? So how come the only people gettin' 'em are people who have stores or money?!" he demands.

Liz slants a glance at Kat again as the crowd behind the soldiers' barricade support the young man's words, shouting out their own demands that echo them. "Yep…. this is gonna be fun. Think you can make Hanson tell you what the hell the distribution schedule is?"

And off she goes. She can be seen talking to the military officer as she tries to get the information they are needing, but the Major seems to be reluctant to give that out. More words are exchange, and Kat steps away and gives someone a call. Moments later, the Major gets a call and he looks a little pissed off. Too bad. Finally he speaks to Kat and she punches the information into her PDA. She nods and runs back towards Liz.

"Okay. One is bound for a clinic, one fairly close to here. The other is set to be delivered to a radio station, one of those news ones. The third generator.." She would curse now, but she finds it unprofessional, and Kat is always the professional. ".. is needed at the blood bank downtown. The generator there is about to die and heaven knows we need that blood bank up and running at all times. We can't give one up. Not one of these. We're going to have the get them back." She scrolls down on her screen. "There are no more generators scheduled to be delivered for another 72 hours. We could try to offer one of those, but.. I don't think they're willing to wait."

While Kat is gone, Liz remains listening to the whispering going on inside the building. She speaks back to him, "I don't have the answer to the distribution, but my colleague is going to check. Look, I know things are tight. I'm losing power pretty regularly too, and it's my job to protect everyone, even you. If what you say is true, I'm *going* to get to the bottom of that. But I gotta tell you, I don't think this is the right course of action."

The crowd at the barricade is getting angry over not being able to hear what's being said now; they're restless.

When Kat comes back with her information, Elisabeth bites off a curse. Several of them. "Well, based on what I'm hearing, they took two of them to power apartment buildings and one for a nursing home that someone's grandmother is in. Apparently the nursing home's generator is about to fail or something, and they're being told they can't get bumped to the top of the list until next shipment." She looks at Kat. "My instinct here is to tell the radio station they're just going to have to wait. The other two need to get where they're supposed to be, but I think we have room to compromise here."

There's a nod as Kat agrees to the compromise being offered. "They can wait. The clinic and the blood bank cannot. See if they will agree to keeping one and letting the other two go. It's going to have to be that or we're going to take them all. By whatever means necessary." She eyes the military before she shrugs. "I'll go talk to the Major, and if I have to, I'll go over his head." She slips over and a heated discussion begins between the agent and the officer. The discussion turns animated as the officer begins to get angry at his mission being compromised and Kat remains cool, though whatever she's saying to him is not having any sort of calming effect on her whatsoever.

She steps away from him and dials her phone. Before she even hangs up the Major's phone rings again and there is much cursing from that point on before the officer realizes that arguing is futile and that and nods to Kat, who isn't one to gloat on her 'win' though the Major is a very obvious sore loser as he starts to order some of his enlisted around. Kat scurries back and pushes herself against the building. "It's approved. Work your magic." she says.

Uncertain why precisely she's deferring to Agent Marks, except that the other woman does seem to have a really good knack for getting things done, Elisabeth turns her attention back to the building. "You got a name?" she asks the guy in the doorway.

There's hesitation there, and he finally says, "You can call me DJ." Whether it's his real name is up in the air.

"All right, DJ. Listen to me closely. ~I have no desire to keep people in the dark and cold any more than you do. But my partner has checked with the soldiers on this particular run of generators.~" Elisabeth's voice is a wonderfully subtle tool as she laces it with compassion and worry, with truth and with as much calm as she can generate. She also pitches it to carry to the crowd in the hopes of calming them down too. "~Right now, she's arguing with the soldiers for a compromise for you. The generators you have aren't intended for stores, or for businesspeople. One of them is going to the 114th Street clinic, the one over by St. John. And one of them is going to the blood bank downtown. We have to keep the bloodbank open. The other one, though, we can let you have for the nursing home.~" And just about then, Kat comes back and tells her to work her magic, and Liz grins at her. She took the initiative, assuming that Kat would make it work. Turning her attention back to DJ, she lowers her tone so the crowd can't hear the rest, "~We'll even help you get it there and get it set up. And we'll make sure that your neighborhood goes on the list for the one of the generators in the next batch. It's 72 hours away, but it's the best I can do.~"

In spite of her abilities, the crowd at the barricade starts throwing things at the soldiers, several people shouting that they should be getting generators too, they're tired of being left out and left behind. The soldiers, as they've been trained, are trying their best just to keep things calm.

There's a very long delay from the moment that Liz makes the offer. It seems the boys inside are discussing their situation. One voice gets loud and says. "Not good enough, man. We have them. They don't!" This voice is not DJs. Voices lower again as they talk it out. DJ comes back to the window. "Look. We want two of the generators."

Kat speaks up now. "Listen, DJ. I'm going to tell you that just cannot happen. The military is willing to make their way and stop this the hard way if you don't take our offer. I put my reputation and career on the line to make this deal for you. It was the very best I could do, and I assure you it will not get any better. Now. I'm coming inside. I have a weapon, but I'm going to holster it." DJ pipes in. "The door's locked and I'm not going to open it." Kat responds. "It's quite alright. I can get in." She walks up the stairs and places her hand on the knob. She shakes it. Indeed. Locked. She holds it for a moment then it turns with ease as she pushes open the door and looks down at Liz, motioning her to follow if she wants, then steps inside.

Oh *shit*. Yeah, this is gonna go south REAL fast. The crowd does NOT like what Kat shouted — hence why Liz was keeping the conversation far more quiet than it would have otherwise been. The soldiers are having to scramble now to keep people in check, and Elisabeth leaves them to that while she follows Kat in — to the complete ire of Major Hanson too! "~DJ, c'mon, man, don't make this harder. EVERYONE's having a rough go of it!~" she entreats as they walk. When Kat opens the door, Liz glances behind to check on the status of the crowd but doesn't linger.

With Kat's jacket off, both of her weapons are in plain view. She holds up her hands. Her steps are slow and calculated as she lets one foot touch down before she lifts the other very deliberately. "Gentlemen. Seems we can work this out. Our offer still stands. We'll put one generator at the nursing home. But we need the other two back. That's the very best I can offer you. But, I need to know if you have any weapons. I don't want anyone hurt here." She glances back to see if Liz is following her.

There are voices inside the building, they can be vaguely heard, talking things over. One of them is guy who called himself DJ. Others are less familiar, the discussion at hand is on whether or not to take the deal. One of them, a man who sounds young, gets louder. "DJ, bro, take it. Or those five oh out there will just come in and take all the generators!" "Shut! up! and let me think!" DJ seems to be getting agitated, the sounds of feet are heard, and then the sounds of a fight as the people are starting to clash over the situation.

Elisabeth keeps up a running patter now, using the sound of her voice to try and keep at least the people inside here calm. "~DJ, you know everybody in the city's having a hard time of it. Hell, nobody's got power all the time. You don't want to let anyone get hurt, so the medical places *have* to have the generators first — and that's why we're letting you have the one. The nursing home needs it. St. John's has one, too, so anyone in the apartments who needs a place to go, there's heat and warm food at St. John's. They got one of the very first generators out there.~" As she walks with Kat, Liz keeps her hands away from her weapon as well. She does glance at the woman who is her partner for the moment, and she pitches her whisper to carry only to Marks, "If things get much more hairy outside, they're going to start shooting. And we're going to lose control of the situation."

The crowd outside is starting to sound a good bit fractious. There is much shouting, mostly a dull roar from inside here. Accusations are being hurled left and right, along with bottles and rocks now. The people of Harlem feel very put-upon. The soldiers are trying to avoid any large-scale action, but it's not going to be long at all.

There's more sounds of fighting inside the area where people are holed up. Suddenly DJ is speaking again, addressing the two cops inside the building. "Yo. We got a deal. Make it happen." He still sounds very much on edge, but the sounds of conflict have stopped. Should the pair advance, it turns out DJ is the one with the muscle, and he's holding two others down.

Almost at once, the cell phone is out. She walks over to the wall and places her palm flat on the surface. She concentrates and an opening begins to form as the material seems to just melt away to make room for it. A closer look would see that the metallic wall is actually moving outward in order to make the whole. "DJ. You're going to have to help us with that crowd. Those generators need to be returned to the military. The rest of you can get out through this way." The opening is large enough for the crew to escape through, and disappear without being seen. If the military decides to be pricks about it, Kat will have to pull some strings to help DJ.

The two guys DJ has pinned down are struggling and angry at the deal being made; the remaining two seem to see the point being made. Whether that's because they're smart or whether they're just scared of DJ is anyone's guess. When the wall starts to open, though, the two standing near the generators seem stunned. One of them breathes "Whoa! Fuckin A!" But they look to DJ, who releases his two captives and says, "Go. I'll catch up. Take the one generator with ya to the nursing home." The two young men on the floor get up, swearing unhappily, and follow DJ's instructions, heading out of the whole Kat so kindly provided. When they've made their way through, DJ turns to look at the two cops. "I'll help ya," he tells them with resignation. Clearly he expects to take the heat for it, and he's okay with it because the generator is going to the most important place.

Elisabeth steps back, holding the door open, calling ahead on the radio to the major, "We're coming out with the two generators. Everybody stand down. We're clear." She eyes Kat for a long moment, and then says, "DJ, I'll go out first, just to cover for you." She suits actions to words, stepping out the door first to hold up her hands and show the soldiers there's no duress. Then she waves DJ, who hefts the two generators like they weigh nothing, out.

He pauses a moment to look at Kat. "Thanks. For lettin' my friends go."

There's a curt nod from the agent as Kat she closes the gap after the others leave. She's not going to let DJ take the heat. In fact, she almost prefers he wasn't in the hands of the military, so she's going to make sure that doesn't happen. In fact, she steps out before he does, allowing him to following in behind with both generators in tow. They walk over to the one of the trucks and they are loaded on. As one of the enlisted try to subdue DJ, Kat stops him and shakes her head. "He's walking. Orders from higher than anyone at this location." She might be fibbing, but the enlisted believes her and DJ begins to run off before someone changes their mind.

That garners raised eyebrows from everyone — DJ and Elisabeth, especially. Liz heads to intercept Major Hanson — who is *very* red in the face and ready to lose his mind. On the up side, the fact that DJ is allowed to jog off seems to energize the crowd into cheers and clapping, as opposed to rioting. That's not a bad thing. Whatever the major says to Elisabeth — which looks a whole lot like shouting at the top of his lungs — is completely inaudible to anyone. It makes for an entertaining show, what with the slender blonde cop and the 6'2" black-haired enraged Army major faced off in what appears to be a completely silent tableau. She merely waits and lets him blow off the steam, never saying anything until he finally seems to calm. When she does speak, it appears to be calmly, reassuringly. And finally, the Major just throws up his hands and growls at Elisabeth, then stomps off to take his men in hand.

Liz heads back toward Kat's location, stopping in front of the agent to study her. "Why?" is all she says.

Ah. The universal question. Why indeed. Kat is still watching the thug run off when she's approached by Liz. She turns and looks at the officer for a moment before turning and heading towards her car. "Officer Harrison.." she starts as she picks her jacket up from off the hood and dusts it off, making sure it looks wearable. She slips it on and pushes the button on her keychain to unlock the door of her car. ".. What do you mean by "Why?"

Liz starts to just shake her head and walk away, but instead she studies the other woman. "I mean…. it's your job to make a nuisance of yourself and run in every unregistered Evolved person we run across out here, and you didn't bother. Pretty much all of the HomeSec agents *I* get to work with are so pro-Registration it's not funny. So… why? Why'd you let him go?"

Katherine gets into her car and starts it up. She closes the door and rolls down the window. "First, my job is to protect the citizens of the United States. Surely, a full scale riot would have been dereliction of my duty as an officer working for this country. It was the right call." She puts the car into reverse. "Besides, who says I have let him go?"

Yeah…. that's far more the kind of response she'd expect from a HomeSec agent. Elisabeth tries not to show her disgust. "Glad you at least have your priorities straight out here on the streets, Agent Marks," she replies with only a hint of acid in her tone. She turns her back on Kat's car, heading back toward her own while pulling off her kevlar.

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