Silent Night, Part I


abby6_icon.gif aoi_icon.gif benji_icon.gif brian_icon.gif calvin_icon.gif griffin_icon.gif kaitlyn2_icon.gif liu3_icon.gif marie_icon.gif nadira_icon.gif nora_icon.gif samantha2_icon.gif zavia_icon.gif

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Scene Title Silent Night, Part I
Synopsis When the FBI comes looking for a known terrorist on the grounds of a high-class restaurant on Christmas Eve, the risks taken by one fugitive put others in danger.
Date December 24, 2010


For much of New York City, Christmas Eve is a time of good will unto men, a time of cherishing the manifold wonders of life and spreading holiday cheer.

While the city has seen better days, while the world has seen better days, it is undeniable that Christmas has been a time that has managed to arouse an emotion of hope among the disparate people of the Big Apple in its most trying hours. The pall of Martial Law has not sunken deep enough into the hearts of New Yorkers to prohibit the upper crust of the city's social elite from making a showing at the high-class Holiday gala here at d'Sarthe's.

A decade and what may as well have been another world ago, d'Sarthe's was known as the Tavern on the Green. Now a days, the restaurant — which teeters on the edge of the undamaged portions of Central Park — is owned and maintained by its namesake, a Chicago transplant and entrepreneur, Gideon d'Sarthe. His classical flair and the decorative touches of his daughter Marie have afforded the Tavern wing of the restaurant with both a warm and a lively charm.

Waitresses in black vests and white dress shirts and slacks zip about the tavern, carrying trays of drinks while three bartenders work the crowded bar area. Up on stage, dark dressed gentlemen in suits are setting up drums, a stand up bass and cello. A saxaphone rests in an open case nearby to the other instruments and the man who will be playing that particular instrument is taking his time sadjusting a mic stand for someone shorter than he is.

Standing near the stage, a blonde-haired man with a cre cut looks to be diligently watching the Tavern's crowded floor, hands folded behind his back and shoulders squared. Jason Mines is nothing if not Gideon d'Sarthe's dilligent right-hand man and his presence here is solely for the protection and well-being of one of Gideon's most valuable properties here tonight — his daughter Marie.

Keeping an eye out for disturbances, Mines is both dour and uncomfortable looking in his suit, brows furrowed and jaw set. Were it not for Marie's presence, he'd likely be spending the night in the kitchen, shooting the shit with the cooks rather than standing around so many stuffed shirts and stiff spines.

Outside of the Tavern, visible through its large windows with the dusk hour coming so early just after the Solstice, freshly falling snow blankets the grounds of d'Sarthe's, carpeting the walkways and reflecting the colored glow of Christmas lights wrapped around the stickbare trees outside. It is a picturesque scene…

A post-card Christmas Eve in a post-riot New York.

Admittedly, she hadn't had the forethought when packing to run, to pack a few of the expensive dresses that dating and marrying Linderman's right hand had been a necessity to purchase. But Liz had spare clothes and in a red dress, black heels, brown hair short and contacts in, 'Martha Ranier' is another woman in the tavern, seated at a table by the windows and waiting. It's a hope that she might see Caliban if he dares to come, if he thinks it worth the risk. That was the message to him she smuggled again. I'll be at the place where I first abandoned you, not the other way around.

She's not holding out too much hope. For showing up or for remembering what she's referencing. But if Santa is real, you can be sure that Abigail has ushered a request straight to his door, regardless of whether she technically should be placed on the naughty list. A glass of white wine in hand, she turns her gaze away from the snow and towards the rest of the people in the room. It's a change from Pollepel and while she should be there, she doesn't want this Christmas to be on an island in a run down castle with 80 other people. She'll celebrate it in a room, in a fancy restaurant with 80 other people.

Playing with his cufflinks, Brian gives a grin to his favorite bartender. They've been talking while the final preparations were made, and the first few guests meander on in. Placing down his glass of water, a few dollar bills are set on the bar as he flashes the other man a smile. "Back to the grind, right?" And with that Winters turns around to return to doing what he does best: Looking great in a suit.

Brian Winters clasps his hands behind his back. Idly wondering how the hell he's gotten here. It's been a whirl the last four years. New jobs, new names, new personas. The ID tonight is Redbird security. And so Brian is on security ddetail. But security is a much different job when you know something's going to happen, and more than likely, you're going to fail. But for now, Winters will watch the Tavern diligently. When his eyes brush over Abby, he makes his way casually to watch the other side of the tavern.

Relaxing at one of the many tables, hopefully with a back against the wall, a figure in a fairly simple red dress sits casually, knees crossed at least. This isn't Kaitlyn Dooley's kind of party. Actually, no party is her kind, more content to sit at home — alone — in sweats with a pint of Ben and Jerry's watching Cops. She had to wonder what possessed her to put on a slink red dress and gold colored heels, even letting her hair down. Even more a miracle is the fact she put some care into makeup.

Who knows what she was thinking.

Maybe when the others said they were going a part of her girly brain wanted to do what the rest were for once. Of course, she regretted it as soon as she got in the door and around so many people and many with something hurting them. So when Kaitlyn spotted a Tavern, she said fair well to anyone she knew and went straight there.

Now Kaitlyn was starting to feel a bit more relaxed even if being around people still makes her skin want to crawl, her head moving a little with the music and a drink in her hand, something with vodka in it.

Zavia has joined Kaitlyn at her table, taking the opportunity to draw some wines herself. She drinks them white and dry, and doesn't touch the champagne. "So, what are you thinking of the party so far, Kait?" She asks, trying to make conversation. She has a small handgun - not her usual glock - inside her purse. Courtesy of being with FRONTLINE.

Jason Mines' view of the tavern itself is blurred at the bottom by an updo of delicate brown locks. Marie's hands are on his tie, slender fingers plucking and adjusting it without so much as a question of needing consent. One palm pats him on the chest when she finishes, looking up with only a secret smile and something in her green eyes that tells him- never fear, you don't look like a slacker anymore. He knows. A few strands of brown have escaped her hairpin of red and gold to tickle at her neck and collarbone, the ankle-length cream chiffon dress twined with accents of gold.

"Don't look so tense. I know you'd rather not be in here." The young woman can read his mind as if she were his own daughter- sometimes the years can be fruitful. "But you don't need to make a face like a bulldog, non?"

Among the bar sits another woman of FRONTLINE, though much more ellusive and unknown to the others. Aoi Housen doesn't go out of her way to socialize with those outside of FRONTLINE-OS. A small spark flies between her fingers as she sits at the bar, flickering until it lands in her drink. One may not think an electrified glass of alcohol would be of likings to drink, but she smiles as she brings it to her lips, swallowing down a full shot worth in one gulp, before she turns to examine the room.

Her dress is long and form fitting, a slash at the left allowing for easier movement than it looks like it should when she stands still. Short crop hair hangs to one side, covering part of her cheek, as distinctly Asian eyes scan the room. As she shifts her legs, to the observant eye, a firearm can just be spotted strapped to one of her legs. All in all her drink seems to be supplying her with the most amusement. At least for the moment.

But the presence of other women in FRONTLINE catch her attention, even if they're not ones she usually socializes with. She does recognize them, so speaks up, "The party seems to be rather quiet at the moment. Anyone want to make bets on how long it will stay that way? Assuming either of you are the betting kind."

Finely attired from cuffs to collar in precisely cut slants of jet and ivory, all vest and coat and bow tie and shiny black shoes, Calvin's shorn the soft brush of his anchor beard into immaculate order and swept his dreads back clean from his face. Which does not actually alter the fact that his tuxedo is offset a coarse crest of gingery mane, but does at least serve to make him appear marginally more mainstream while he leans to pluck a pair of champagne glasses from a passing tray.

If the girl on his arm is ten years his junior it's hard to tell from the way she's dressed. Also from the fact that he rolls his wrist such that one of his glasses is transferred into her grasp whether she expects it there or not. Nnnobody here is checking IDs.

Lubrication aside, he's people watching the same way tiger sharks go people watching, clear eyes cut right to left across faces familiar and less so while he sips. Back and shoulders straight, bristly chin tipped aside. "Y'look amazing," he says at length, quieter than he would be if he wasn't up to something. "Hot pink really brings out your eyes."

Nadira's far too used to being the one passing out the alcohol to pull herself too far from the bar. Sipping at her drink, she made sure to leave a hefty tip for the bartender as she scanned the room, looking for… well, that's hard to tell. Her date for the evening has drifted off, for the moment, leaving her alone at the bar, though she murmurs quietly to herself in thought as she searches. Well, at the very least she's got a good drink, if not good company!

"I like my face," Jason grumbles, brows furrowed and shoulders slacking some, as if slouching and tense are his only possible postures. "It's not that much like a bulldog… is it?" He belatedly asks, offering an askance look to Marie with a twitch of his brows, shoulders rolling self-consciously.

On second thought, he doesn't want her to answer that.

"Frankie had to run out to his van, said he forgot some sorta'… bit… thing for his uh," Jason turns to look over his shoulder, one brow raised and considering the saxaphone in the case, "for his sax? Yeah, it…" Mines snorts noisily, "I dunno, he said he'd be right back. I think he's just copping a smoke. You… want me to go grab him by the collar or somethin'? Drag him back in here?"

Slouch, tense and roughneck are the only postures Jason Mines has.

"I will hurt you," Nora replies. Today there are no sunglasses to shield her eyes, but long lashes and a downcast glance keep her blindness from being too obvious. "And even if I can't see you, you know I can." This is punctuated by a sweet smile.

She is wearing makeup which is a novelty in and of itself and certainly not something she's done since living on Pollepel for the past several weeks. The gown she is in is not hot pink but rather a muted amethyst satin, draping her lean body and dipping low in the back. Her normally (as of recently) tangled chestnut locks in loose curls, it's clear that someone else — and someone other than Calvin — helped her get ready for the event.

She brings the flute of champagne up to her lips to sip. "But thank you," she breathes. "I'd say the same for you, but… you know." She shrugs. "I bet your makeup looks primal, though."

There's a Brian clone here. Abigail calls them clones. And some stranger, lots of strangers and only Brian working security is familiar. A glance to the man in question, she gives him a faint smile, corners of Abigail's mouth pulling up ever so slightly, but her eyes not quite matching the enthusiasm in the least. With a lift of her glass and a heady tilt, half of the white alcoholic liquid inside disappears in a few graceful swallows - in as much as one can do such - leaving a few dregs to be finished. She'll give it another hour then make her way out. Thank god for Redbird vehicles to borrow or it'd be a cold walk in heels and a long dress.

Conservative in his presence as well as clothing, Benji is playing third wheel as well as third set of eyes, acting like he knows he is out of place but doing so politely and quietly. All nervous glances and attempts not to bump into anyone, or even touch them, his hands laced together. Jet black hair is combed and neat, the shoulders of his black jacket fitting him okay; polished shoes, satin black tie, sterling silver cufflinks. 'Someone other than Calvin' glances towards the pair he's arrived with earlier that evening, a small twitch of a smile at the banter he can hear.

"I don't know about your eyes but it would suit your complexion. What's the time?" Twisting at the waist as if maybe something over there would tell him, but really, Benji is uneasily scouting out the exit, like he'd like to go through it and into the chillingly cool night.

She doesn't answer that, but he obviously does not look like a bulldog. Maybe a collie, with that Roman profile. Marie seems to want to choke the goon out of him for a moment, her hands hovering undecided before joining in front of her waist. "Let him have it. It's Christmas. Be good and behave, I can wait for him to get back." She takes one look over her shoulder to survey the patrons of the tavern, then glancing up towards the small band on the stage. A couple of them have at least begun to play a background melody, as mellow as one can get.

Marie takes a repose at Jason's left, hands folded and eyes on the gathering, though she addresses him. "Is there anything you would like me to sing?" She knows he must have a few favorites. Somewhere in that meaty head of his.

"When do ya think it might be polite enough to leave?" Kaitlyn counter questions in response to Zavia's question, brows lift as if her teammate can offer the answer. A good portion of her drink disapears with a lifting of the glass. "Cause I think, I'll slip out as soon as it don't look too bad."

She drains what is left in her glass and flags down someone looking like they work there. "You… yes you there." Kaitlyn sets the glass down on the table and pushes it across. "Nother drink… somethin' with vodka and fruity." After a moment she adds. "No coconut."

Aoi's question has Kaitlyn looking that way, though it takes a moment to realize someone is talking their way. "Bet?" An amused smirk pulls at the corner of her mouth. "Girl, I am almost tempted to take that bet." She holds up a finger and adds, "if I was plannin' on stickin' around long enough to see it through." The healer glances at her glass again and frowns a little, seemingly unhappy that it's empty. "Got me some Cherry Garcia waitin' in the freezer."

After scoping the place out a bit with a glass of scotch in his hand, Nadira's date makes his way back over to the woman seated at the bar, placing a hand gently on her shoulder. He's dressed nicely, wearing a black pinstripe suit, a black dress shirt, and a black tie, complete with a matching fedora perched on his head. He made sure to look good today, even if he's not feeling his best with current events.

It also seems he's taken a page from Richard Cardinal's book, a pair of tingted sunglasses resting over his nose. It's bright enough here that he can wear his sunglasses, at least. Though his reasoning is more cosmetic: if he's going to be using his ability here, he'd like to be able to conceal it as much as he can.

"I don't know. After whatever surprise there was planned is unveiled." Zavia responds to Kaitlyn, taking another sip of her wine before looking over to Aoi. "Not more than thirty minutes, and let's call that a hundred bucks, okay?" She offers, then back to Kait, "You heard the rumors about something special going to happen, didn't you?"

Walking with his hands clasped behind his back, Brian bites down on his own lip as his gaze runs over Nora. Frowning deeply, Brian makes his way through the crowd. "Excuse me." The man with the earbud occasionally murmurs on his way to a particular trio. As Winters arrives at Nora, Benji, and Calvin he looks at the first two for a long moment. Benji he's seen around, Nora he knows. "Excuse me, gentleman. Lady. Do you happen to have your tickets? Security." He identifies himself, while taking a step closer to Benji and Nora. He's not even sure this thing had tickets. He didn't really pay attention to that part.

"What are you two doing here?" Brian asks under his breath of Nora and Benji. "Do they know you're here? Honestly. This isn't the best party to hang out at. You should probably try.. There's this nice little Christmas gathering at a gas station a few blocks down. You guys should check that one out." The tone is slightly urgent, even though he's telling them to go to a gas station. His eyes flit over Calvin for a moment, his brows floating down in slight bemusement before they float back to Nora. "Understand?"

Brows scrunched together, it's taken Mines a good long while to come up with an answer to Marie's question. That he started to smile before even coming up with the answer is a sure sign that he's full of something other than Holiday cheer. Stepping in close enough to be confidential but far enough away so as to not have her father crash through the wall like the Kool-Aid man and rip his arms off, Mines murmurs. "Would That's Why the Lady is a Tramp not be, uh, holiday appropriate?"

Sure, he can joke around, he just has to be crass about it.

Down the Tavern from where Mines is joking around with the owner's daughter, a door to the snowy patio outside opens, followed by a tall, lanky man in a suit whipping a cigarette out the door behind himself. Sweeping his hair back from his forehead, Frankie the saxaphone player steps back into the Tavern past security, adjusting the lapels of his suit jacket and straightening his tie. He raises a hand in greeting to the other band members, then starts to make a beeline over to the stage.

"Very well, I'll make it twenty minutes, and meet that bet," Aoi says with a grin, eyes flickering to the nearest clock to mark the time, so that she can see who gets closer and wins the hundred dollars. After all, she's the one who offered the wager. "You can stay at least that long, can't you, Dooley?" There's a playful twist to her smile, though she doesn't resume looking for trouble at the moment.

Likely won't for a while. She has money riding on it.

"I don't see why you'd be eager to get home to ice cream. It's freezing outside."

Nadira offers a kind smile in Griffin's direction, eyes scanning the various guests as she sips her drink. "Lovely party. Everyone looks nice, at least." She offers, leaning against the bar. "I do feel a little out of place. I think I'm a bit of a fish out of water in something like this… I suppose getting dressed up isn't quite my thing."

"It does," says Calvin, who sounds genuine pleased that she has noticed the carefully sensible(?) application of his eyeline despite the physiological impossibility, even going so far as to finish with a loftily (exaggeratedly) polite, "thanks for noticing."

His champagne glass is empty in the next beat, brittle flute flicked sideways out of his fingers like a spent cigarette to splinter around Brian's feet on the approach however many paces away, the shrill sound muffled under the all encompassing hum of music and conversation around them.

"Half past the initiation of my buzz, ten seconds 'til trouble," intoned to Benji under his breath, he's just in time to bare his teeth into a bleach-ed grin for the confrontation of Winters or Fulk or Blessed or whichever one this happens to be. The fact that it's coupled with a hood at his brows and a glassy flash at his eyes makes it a failure as a friendly effort, but he tenses visibly before he nips and so there is just — a twitch — of available time for someone else. SOMEONE ELSE. To step in.

A wrinkle of Kaitlyn's nose shows her thoughts on how long she's gonna have to stick around. With a resigned sigh, she settles back in her chair watching the people — or more then likely looking for the server to get that new drink to her. "I don't know what the special thing is… Didn't even know there was."

Manicured nails scratch lightly at a forearm as if there is an itch there she can't scratch. "Heatin' blankets are a wonderful thing." Flashing the woman a smile, hand rubbing on arm still. "Okay… fine, y'all win," she adds after a moment, with a bit of a huff. "I'll meet your bet and call it twenty five minutes." Been awhile since she's had the money to blow like that, it hurts a little to say those words.

"Brian?" Nora says, tipping her head at the familiar voice. "Are you really security or are you just being a party crasher? They know we're in the city. We have permission. Is there any reason we shouldn't be here that you know of?" she asks innocently, even as the hand holding the champagne lowers slightly to her side, perhaps hoping he won't notice it.

She smiles brightly, perhaps hoping that will charm him into forgiveness and amnesty: "Merry Christmas Eve. I didn't know you left the island."

Twitching his attention to Brian before he can even really try to parse Calvin, Benji opens his mouth to speak. Shuts it again. A guilty flush is quick to warm his face, ears first just for variation, even as he shakes his head and tries a smile when the drinking teenager Nora fills in the halting silence, a hand drifting out to Brian's elbow. "I already discussed our little excursion with Miss Ruskin and her friends," he adds gently, without really clarifying whether they discussed this part of their excursion with Miss Ruskin or not. "I assure you that everything is under control, sir." Sir. "No outstanding warrants for our arrest, not even a parking ticket."

As far as he knows, anyway. His hand flutters back from Brian once more as if realising he'd extended it at all, folding lanky arms over his midsection. A glance to Calvin, a single-shouldered shrug of something like apology. Or maybe asking if they have tickets?

Marie tilts her head and purses her lips into a disappointed little frown to the man beside her. Maybe she is picturing the wall crashing in too, because it does get a small laugh after a moment. Despite his manner, anyway. Perhaps she is used to it. "No, it isn't holiday appropriate. I think I should be more specific. Ah-" She leans slightly to look at the back entrance and Frankie the Sax-player wandering from it and towards the stage. "He's back. Anything seasonal?" The little d'Sarthe gives Mines just a few more seconds, as a step has already been taken to follow Frankie, her torso turned to finish the conversation. Tick-tock.

The lanky, besuited fellow wraps an arm around Nadira's shoulders, planting a small kiss on her temple. A faint, halfhearted smile forms on his face as he glances around, brows raised. "It is indeed a nice party, and everyone does look quite nice." He glances back to Nadira. Perhaps now is not the best time, when they're supposed to be 'on the job'. But, now is as good a time as ever.

From behind her, Nadira can hear a box popping open…and suddenly, a rather dazzling necklace is being placed around her neck. Griff went all out on Nadira's gift, and it shows in the diamonds that glitter in the necklace. Then, he's dipping down, mumbling into her ear. "Not as lovely as you, though. You're beautiful."

And crowds part and Benji, Nora, Brian and someone new enter into Abigail's view. The third person is unknown, his ginger hair in it's state and… oh lord on high it's a man wearing makeup and he isn't wearing a dress or high heels. They're a rare occurrence in Abby's life. One more glance outside and she's picking herself up from her chair, the last of her wine tippled back and she's moving away from the table adn seat, black flats making no discernible noise as she starts to make her way through the crowd.

"I really am security." Brian says quickly to Nora. "I didn't leave the island." He lets out without explanation. Technically, he's still on the island. Looking to Benji, he smiles lightly. "No. I'm not here to bust your balls. Guys. I understand it's Christmas. I just really think you should go to a different party."Glancing down at Benji, he gives an apologetic look offering his own hand. "Brian. Don't think we ever officially met back at the old people's place." His gaze then flits over to Brian where he extends the hand after he greets Benji. "Brian." He repeats. And this one happens to be Blessed okay.

"Nora. I like you. You're good with the kids. So.. just do me a favor and go to a different party, okay?" He asks pleadingly, giving her a sort of soft look, even though it will go completely wasted on her. "You guys look great. There's this awesome bar four blocks down. You'll really fit in with the make-up, too."

"Silent Night?" Mines chimes with one brow raised, "I'm sure a gal's sung it before, right? I mean— if that's cool. Pocket full a'Miracles might be a good encore, everybody likes Sinatra right? I mean…" Mines dips his head down and scrubs at the back of his neck with one hand, "that's what you dad says anyway." Cracking a smile, he takes a step back and watches Marie worming her way to the stage, then turns to look at something that seemed out of sorts in his peripheral vision where one of the Redbird Security men is either interrogating or mingling.

Lifting one hand, Mines offers a fleeting farewell to Marie and starts to head off in the direction of that cluster, right around the same time two tall and stiff looking gentlemen in suits emerge into the Tavern from the hallway out to the lobby. The pair of them look alert, one sweeping a look across the bar, another shooting a glance over to one of the tables.

While he's conversing with Nadira, Griffin has just enough of the men in his peripheral vision to notice one of them step out into the lobby, lifting his arm up and speaking into the back of his sleeve. Mines seems to catch this too, and comes to a slow stop halfway to Brian, making eye contact with one of the men in the suits, who then flags Jason down.

It's not difficult to spot Mines' tall and lanky frame maneuvering between tables to meet up with the suit, leaning in to talk in hushed confidence. Whoever they are, Brian knows they're not with the security team and they carry themselves like cops.

Nadira's cheeks color in a blush as she turns a little to look back over at Griffin after admiring the necklace. "Griffin, when I said you could get me jewelry or something, I didn't mean you had to, really… I would have been happy with anything." She reaches a hand up to touch the necklace. "It's beautiful, though. I am afraid your present is a bit larger and not quite as portable to a public event."

"Okay, bets accepted." Zavia answers with a grin as she finishes her wine. Looking over at the situation with Brian and his friends, she shrugs, "Let's hope they are not the ones going to be causing trouble. That girl still looks so young…" A glance is given to her purse before Zavia orders another glass of wine. "Just keeping to two wines, in case something does come up."

Calvin is shorter than Brian by about two inches, but he is at least five times more annoyed, having been talked around on both sides. Even to Nora. Especially to Nora.

"I'm Kevin," he introduces himself, finally, voice just the right amount of nasal to insinuate as much abject irritation and mockery as three syllables are safe to carry. "Everything's fine. Why don't you run along and play with yourself. You're blocking my view."

Nora's dark brows twitch as she stares unseeingly up at Brian's face; she still moves her eyes as if she could see, from one voice to the other, focus just the slightest bit off but not obviously so, especially to anyone not close to her. She can't see anyone else heading their way — Abby, for one.

"Kevin," she says gently, hand squeezing his elbow. "If he's just looking out for our best interest…" she begins, but she tilts her head back toward Brian. "I don't know why it would be any more dangerous for us than anyone else here," she begins, dropping the words in a way to invite more of an explanation from Brian.

"She does look young— but so do a lot of people," Aoi comments quietly, looking around the room a little. She's got the earliesr bet, so it seems like a good idea to start looking for something that would win her two hundred dollars rather than sitting around at waiting for it. As she moves, there's small pops of static, as if she's walked on carpet and dragged her feet a lot. That's not the case at all, electrokinetics have issues with that at times.

"The security may be able to handle it, but…" One never knows who they might find at these events— "I hope an ice cream truck doesn't come driving in, no matter what you might want, Dooley. I read about that one FRONTLINE fundraiser. That would have been quite fun to attend, I admit, but this place is much to classy for something like that." Her small talk seems to be quiet rambling, though she doesn't appear to be drunk.

The lanky telekinetic brushes a thumb over the necklace, smiling faintly. "I didn't feel like I had to. I wanted to." He nods quietly, brushing a lock of hair away from her face. "Nothing but the best for my girl." Even when he's miserable, he can do everything he can to cheer up his girlfriend, who has stuck by him through everything.

Even as he does this, green eyes raise toward the gentlemen entering, his brows raising faintly. His hand moves, oh-so-gently nudging Nadira's shoulder and nodding his head toward the door. "Shall we take a walk, my lovely lady?" He offers a hand to Nadira, though his face says that he's seen something. "Perhaps we could try to dance."

"Speak for yourself," Kaitlyn murmurs perking up a little as a new glass is delivered to the table and snatched up eagerly.

"Honestly, I'll happily lose if nothin' happens, as it…" She nods in the direction of the gaggle of people. "I'm feelin' uncomfortable." Kaitlyn shifts in her seat a little, as if moving would lessen the desire to move closer to Nora and her little group, plue various other unknown folks. In stead, she concentrates on curling fingers around her glass and work on slowly relieving it of it's contents.

Kaitlyn is starting to wonder if she wants to stick around, bet or no.

"Benji," is meek introduction, hand clasping Brian's in more of a squeeze than a shake, letting go swiftly. As Nora asks the question of the evening, Benji steps back a little, casting his bright blue stare around the arena once more, attention snagging on the movement of people that doesn't completely blend in with meandering socialisation. It would be more awesome if he was taller, for this task, chin lifting instead and hands settling into the pockets of his formal jacket.

Listening, at least, even as chilly stare sweeps over the shape Abby makes in the crowd as she moves on closer. Benji doesn't wave or smile her way beyond eye contact, but he does make a small sound at the back of his throat, designed to draw the attention of his companions.

His eyes catch the men, and then Mines slowly moving to join them. "No fuckin' way." He whispers to himself as scenarios race through his mind. His brows narrow. Glancing to the three he has stopped, Brian frowns at Calvin's voice. Narrowing slightly at Calvin, he tilts his head at the man for a moment before dismissing it. "I've got to go. Excuse me. But Nora, please." He narrows his brow a moment at Nora's comment. That… This place is weird. Looking over his shoulder he happens to catch Griffin in his peripheral. Good. Then his attention swings back to Nora as he steps through the group towards Mines and his new friends. "Be careful." He gives Benji a little pat on the shoulder as he departs, "Nice to meet you and your tranny."

Stepping through the crowd, Winter hastily makes his way toward Mines and the two suits. He knows they're not part of the security team, however. "Boys." Tapping his ear bud, he jerks a thumb over his shoulder. "We actually need two more guys out front for a couple minutes. I'll send a few guys to relieve you in five at most." His eyes wander over to Mines as if issuing a challenge, a light smile playing on his lips. "Not a problem is it?"

"Okay." Marie's answer is simple, as she parts ways with her father's right-hand man and makes her way onto the small stage to exchange a few words with the band. The adjusting of the microphone was clearly for her, as she only needs to tilt it towards her to complete the look. A brush of her thumb tests the reception while the melody behind her slows, and pauses, the men shuffling for another piece. When the young woman finally says something, it is only a courtesy note.

"Thank you everyone for coming, I know my father is going to be very pleased." To the alert, there is a mote of disappointment in her words. Nothing more. The music picks up again, into the tinkling and deep timbres of beginning chords, of 'Silent Night'.

"He seems really — hold on," Nora suddenly drops off, brows knitting worriedly. She misses the subtle noise Benji makes to warn them of Abby's arrival. Her mind and ears are on other matters for the moment. She reaches for Benji's sleeve, tugging him closer so she can whisper to both him and Calvin, especially as the music begins.

"Police scanners talk about feds coming in to investigate for a terrorist at d'Sarthe's, FRONTLINE on the sides waiting," the blind teenager whispers. "Name's Griffin — wasn't there a Griffin on that convoy? Is he here? Should we warn him?"

"Thank you, Griffin, it means a lot," Nadira murmurs, offering him a warm and genuine smile. Her gaze, however, shifts about the room and she looks in the direction Griffin's nodding in. "A walk would be nice. Perhaps a dance." She says, before her voice lowers to a soft murmur.

Calvin's expression takes on such a flatness after Brian's retreating back.

Such. A flatness.

A stewing kind of inebriate flatness that is converted into a narrowing of his eyes sideways after Benji and his small sound.

There is an exaggerated calm to the way he adjusts the crook of his arm and the seat of Norah's hand there, deliberately placid while he reorients himself and relents all at once in a long and slow expulsion of breath.

Abigail is coming.

He's still an unsettling beat before he raises his voice a notch or two around the surrounding murmer of polite conversation and the conclusion of Nora's information drop to (too loudly) address: "…Beauchamp, isn't it?"

"Hey," Mines murmurs with a look from the man who had pulled him aside to Brian, "this guy here's— " but jason is interrupted by the individual in the suit, who steps in close and opens up his wallet to Brian, flashing an identification card that reads FBI in blue on white, with a poor picture of his black haired, blue eyed countenance.

"Agent Henderson," is whispered to Brian, "you're with the private security? We're here looking for reports of a known member of the Messiah terrorist organization who may be present on the premises." A man that the crowds are helping to hide. "His name is Griffin Mihangle," the agent reaches inside of his jacket, removing a folded piece of paper showing a black and white photograph of Griffin taken from an old driver's license. "He's wanted for the murder of several federal agents and a FRONTLINE officer. We'd like to handle this peacefully if possible, if he's here. We have FRONTLINE waiting in the park outside…"

Agent Henderson looks to the other agent by the door, then back to Brian. "If you could cooperate with us we'd appreciate it." He's not asking because it's polite, he's telling Brian to cooperate in a polite way.

"Ranier actually" That Calvin, the red-dread knows her maiden name, leaves her a little disconcerted. OR maybe that's Nora and her whispering with the two others that leaves her unable to know what was exchanged verbally. "But I didn't have the pleasure of your name even though you know…" Hers. "Benji. Nora" A dip of her head given to both. "Haven't seen a man named Robert Caliban have you?"

Flatness in a stare has Benji biting his bottom lip against comment or apology, one he wouldn't have made anyway with Nora gripping onto his sleeve. He ducks his head to listen, a brief glance to Calvin as he draws Abby's attention, before murmuring in return, "I don't completely remember what he looks like, do you?" Beat. "Sorry. I'm— sorry. Hhh." That would be an anxious sort of sigh as he straightens his back to look around, a hand covering Nora's.

"Griffin, Griffin— I don't know. He's not our priority," is regretful, whispered, before he guiltily swivels attention to Abby. A smile in return of greeting, and then a distracted shake of his head. "Nn-nn. We were just looking for someone ourselves, but there are so many people."

"I am." Brian murmurs, tapping his earbud again. "Sorry, I only just received word. That you were here." He says in a softer tone, nodding to Jason. Nodding down at the badge, he brings up his hand to his ear. "Of course Agent Henderson. My team is on it." He studies the picture for a moment as if never having seen it before." Brian forces himself not to look where he just saw Griffin. "If you start a sweep on this side." A gesture is given with one hand to the opposite side of the room where Griffin is not.

"I'll have my boys, sweep this side. We'll meet back up in the middle." He gives a sweet smile, before stepping away. Reaching to his ear, he frowns slightly. Griffin is going to owe him double soon. Walking back over to his little group he just abandoned, Brian dispenses with pleasantries and immediately goes to grab Abby's wrist. Leaning in he goes to whisper hushedly into her ear.

With the whispering done, Brian straightens and smiles sweetly at Calvin.Hii.
Past the murmuring and the clandestine FBI movement, most people are still there to enjoy a party. The music is slow to start up, but steady in its faintly jazz arrangement, giving Marie a minute or so to compose herself. Once she does, the girl in the gilded dress begins her contralto rendition; all the while trying her best to ignore men in suits, to ignore the security, and to just sing for them. No matter what happens.

= Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright, Round yon Virgin Mother and Child… Holy Infant so tender and mild… Sleep in heavenly peace… Sleep in heavenly peace…

"I think I know the guy. About yea high. Black," says Calvin, illustrating an approximate height with a lift of his free hand, a speculative squint and a wrinkle at his nose. Like he's trying hard to remember details. "Bit crunchy."

There's a trail off there, pause prybarred in by Brian's interception and the turn of his friends' focus to the subject of Griffin. He, "I agree,"s Benji's assessment with less thought than he spared Abby's plight, brows lifted an arrogant hair while he watches Brian whisper whisper whisper and smile. "That's aiding and abbeting, y'know."

Unaware of the goings ons, Zavia watches her watch, mostly to see how much time has passed since they made bets. "This is some good wine." Zavia comments as she takes another sip, "I should ask for details some time." And she smiles, "So, what've you all been up to of late?"
Abigail's startled by the grasping of Brian's wrist, turning just enough that hair brushes his face, eyes widening in alarm. Feds are here, looking for Griffin. Why… who did he tell he would be here? It's Abigail's turn to make that hggnh sound, letting a smile plaster itself to her face, looking to Benji and nodding. That the heat coming off her kicked up just a fraction might go unnotticed.

Calvin gets a confused look, at odds with the smile. "I'm wanted for worse" Whispered to the group before she tries to force herself to relax. "I have to go to the ladies room" She's not inviting Nora into the herd it seems, like the girl code traditionally demands. Behind her, to the right. There he is. Now she's heading there, that way, towards Griffin and wishing she wasn't in a red dress.

"Abby," Nora says softly, her voice rough as her face contorts more and more with worry — before Abby's words remind her that a masquerade is in order and she smiles and waves to the woman's retreating back as if absolutely nothing was wrong.

"Thanks, Brian," she adds, in case he was trying to warn them for the same reason. Her attention turns, seemingly to the musical performance, but the way she chews her lower lip in concentration will tell Benji and Calvin she's listening to something else altogether.

Deeper into the crowd is where Griffin leads Nadira by the hand, a faint smile on his face. He knows that something is up with those fellows up front, talking to people and mingling as they are…but he's not about to get too close. Away from the security, and into the crowd, where he quietly watches the men. Once deeper into the crowd, he lifts Nadira's hand, planting a small kiss on it.

"There's men up there. Spoke into their wrists. I don't know what they're up to." Green eyes turn toward the men. "I need a favor. Your face isn't known, except as a bartender at Tartarus. Nadira, my love, would you scope those men out?" He makes certain that she sees who he means.

Then, his green eys turn toward that woman in the highly contrasting green dress, brows raising. Abby? Well, then, isn't that just a coincidence. His brows raise slightly as he waits for her to approach.

He really does hope that he's right, and nobody knows about him and Nadira. Griffin turns to peer at the woman at his side, concern showing behind those sunglasses.

"Perhaps I should have bet ten," the Asian woman says as she spots a certain man named Henderson. Aoi hops down from her seat, but doesn't reach for her badge or gun, and just begins to move against one of the walls. "I'll be over here for a bit. Enjoy the music, ladies," she adds as she moves away with a casual smile, one with a kind of quiet joy. She wants something to happen, does she? Why yes she does, but for the moment she seems content to wait and see what that something is.

Or as content as someone practically bouncing in their too long heels can be.

Abigail seems to almost walk past him, turning her head to smile at Nadira. "Run" loud enough for Griffin to hear. "Not to the park" Abby slides her arm into Nadira's, peeling her away from Griffin. "Feds. Run" And then she's resuming pleasant tones. "I have to use the ladies room. I don't want to go alone, come on. I have this new shade of lipstick to show you" Because when there's some federal agents in here, one must always go re-apply their lipstick. Get her away from Griffin before they can associate the woman with him. "Are you having a merry Christmas? Ohhh look at that necklace!"

Kaitlyn seems rather content to sit right where she is, drink in hand even if it is half gone already. It's raised in farewell to Aoi as she moves on. She sits up a little straighter as she asks to the retreating woman, "This mean I get to keep my money?" Cause clearly they were all very wrong.

A glance goes to the exits, the healer ready to find a way out if need be. It is her day off after all, even if she's here.

"Shouldn't be a problem. I'll see if I can get close, let you know what's up," Nadira comments, eyes drifting over as the pair is approached. Abby's studied momentarily as she approaches, but the warning is taken in carefully. Her gaze flicks to Griffin quickly, a little wide-eyed before she easily falls into step next to Abby, arm linked. "Thank you. Christmas is a great holiday for jewelry, don't you think?" She says, before her voice lowers softly, murmuring. "Shit. Feds are after Griffin…"

Giving Calvin a confused look, Brian shrugs his shoulders. "I have no idea what you're talking about. I'm more of an assault and battery kind of guy." Though his lips are curled up into a bright smile, his eyes look very miffed. And ready to have a battery all over Calvin. "Excuse me." With that Winters is stepping away from the crowd, getting closer to windows to peeeer out.

At first it seems like everything is going according to plan. "Than you very much," agent Henderson is stating as he turns away from Brian, starting to walk back towards his partner. But something natters at the back of his mind, something reviewed and revised in his assessment of earlier conversation. As Henderson turns around, he looks to Brian, then past him towards the ginger and his company standing by the large windows overlooking the snowy terrace outside.

A double-take is offered to Brian, and the agent veers away from his course, just missing Abigail by a hair's breath as she walks behind him with Nadira at her side. "Excuse me," Agent Henderson interjects quietly, ducking his head down and lifting his brows. "Did you say Abigail Beauchamp?" His eyes narrow, one brow arching higher than the other, as if reaching for his receeding hairline longingly.

"She and I have a mutual friend in Robert Caliban," Henderson explains with a faint smile, "blonde, about…" he waves his hand in the air at brow level, "that tall, used to work as an EMT?" Henderson's partner looks put off by the interruption, his attention focused on the shorter agent and then— it doesn't pay to be tall with a distinctive, hawkish profile.

"I've got eyes-on Mihangle." The other agent murmurs into his collar, spotting the tall, dark-haired man making his way thorugh the crowd of mostly seated people towards the back entrance. But for just that moment, he isn't making any moves.

Agent Coates has no desire to wind up like Diego Smith.

Benji's shoulders slacken at the sound of approach, but this time he manages to not look guilty or distracted or uncertain at the mere approach of a stranger edging into the threesome group they make. Pale eyes do go round, but he keeps his mouth shut and allows his expression to form something bemused and aloof, and watches Calvin field it in his periphery.

Fingers fidget with cufflinks, and he unfocuses his stare on Henderson to track for the little girls' room and inevitably, the path Abigail took just now, or so she said.

Marie's voice carries over the sound system of the tavern and out into the dining hall through the speakers, her personal enjoyment of the moment far surpassing the need to inspect the floor just yet. If and when something more happens- she will be more than ready for it.

= Silent night, holy night, Shepherds quake at the sight, Glories stream from heaven afar, Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia… Christ, the Saviour is born… Christ, the Saviour is born…

"Funny," says Calvin on the subject of assault and battery, diction impeccable, "So'm I."

But Nora is here. And Benji.

Which is probably also why, in addition to not jumping on Brian's back like a wing-ed monkey, Calvin straightens himself up proper-like to size up Agent Henderson, entirely, respectably erudite in posture and address if little else. "I think she's a brunette, actually, Champ," corrected more helpfully than either've his friends probably cares for, he reaches subtle-like to reacquire the champagne flute he gifted Nora with earlier as he considers, very seriously, the content of his answer. Outwardly he gives the impression of a fair amount of concentrated dithering, like her passage was so fleeting and insignificant he can't — quite remember.

Either that or he's constipated.

One of his gingery brows twitches down and his nostrils pull thin. Distracted.

"Said something about needing a little air. Think she was headed back for the other room." Room. Glass held forgotten at his side, Cal glances in a significant sort of way towards the lady's room.

Then Henderson's gun goes off. Presumably in his pants.

Glancing to Calvin, Brian smirks a little bit. Then the annoying agents are coming over and, Brian is looking after Coates with a little concern in his eyes. His teeth bare for a moment. He really hopes Griffin is able to get out of here without causing a…



"Gun!" Brian shouts loudly, as soon as Henderson's gun goes off. Flinging his head forward, his forehead is aimed at the other man's head instantly. And in the same moment his own gun is being drawn and levelled on Henderson. "On the ground, now! Hands on your head!" He's going to catch some major shit for this. Griffin is going to owe him a comical amount of favors in different sizes and varieties after this.

Instinctively, Zavia's eyes turn to the sound of gunfire. Less instinctively, they turn white, and start dripping a white liquid. Soon, the liquid evaporates, and sleep gas starts to spread. The motto of the day is clearly 'make them fall asleep first, ask questions later' Meanwhile, Zavia draws the gun from her purse, and removes the safety. All of this is with a professional calm.

The fact that Calvin corrects the agent on what Abigail Beauchamp currently looks like would get a reprimand from Nora, if she knew the woman's current appearance or her disguise. She turns toward Benji, unseeing, worry on her face — perhaps they shouldn't have come — when that gunshot goes off.

She instinctively goes into a crouch, pulling Calvin and Benji with her, and suddenly anyone with a radio in their ear is treated to a squawk and static of a mixed and scrambled radio signal at full volume.

Green eyes widen behind sunglasses as Abby promptly carts off with his girlfriend. They're in the park now. Well. Shit. Griffin glances back briefly toward the men, before the man is suddenly on the move, slipping through the crowd toward the back door. His safest bet, he feels, to get away from the feds that are here for him.

He should have just went back to Pollepel. Or better yet, stayed there. But no, he had to go asking questions, had to come back for so many reasons— and now, he may be leaving his son alone there on Pollepel, where he knows nobody, on Christmas of all days. But all of that is pushed into the back of his mind as he weaves through the crowds, his head ducked down slightly, skirting away from any security he nears.

Even as he moves, his eyes are flaring into an eerie bluish-white glow behind his sunglasses, those telekinetic arms of his raising high into the air as he hurries toward the back door with a frown. A glance back confirms that eyes are on him, and he picks up the pace, the back door opening of its own accord in front of him as he nears it. "Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit." This is mumbled under his breath, the man clenching his fists at his sides.

Behind Griffin, two pairs of steak knives float out from under the noses of those seated there, as well as…a fork. Make do with what you can. These quickly dart through the air to Griffin's side, held close to his sides by unseen hands as he does his best to get the fuck out while all hell breaks loose up there.

The gunshot prompts Griffin to duck, pausing and turning back to stare at the chaos that is breaking loose behind him. But he doesn't let that keep him for long. He's so close to the door.

Pressing her hand against a switch on the wall, Aoi's eyes suddenly start to glisten and the lights in the room begin to flicker. It's as if the city is suddenly suffering another of it's famous brown outs, but that's not quite accurate. Electricity pops into her finger tips as she pulls her hand away from the wall, and wraps around her arm. It doesn't fly anywhere, and the lights return to normal as she makes her way toward the sounds of danger, rather than away from it.

Does she feel a little groggy? Well, THAT wasn't part of her plan.

The guilty run. When the gunshot goes off, Abigail's dragging down Nadira, yanking her to the floor, glad for flats and not heels, keeping the other woman close and head down. Doesn't even get the chance to answer her about jewelry and presents, just an immediate dive for the floor right where they are. The guilty run and people will be looking for the runners. She's oblivious that Calvin just gave the men a rundown of what she looks like now.

The sound of gunfire and the shout has Kaitlyn not exactly jumping out of her seat right away — rather she's tensing up and waiting for her ability to get rocked what some sort of gunshot wound. Only once she's personally fortified against the backlash, the FRONTLINE medic reluctantly sets the glass down. Not delicately either, so that fingers can reach for the hem of her dress even as she sits there. It's brought up as discreetly as possible on one side, while she clearly looking put out — and a small gun is removed from a… safe place.

Finally standing, dress allowed to fall into place again, fingers pull Frontline ID from her bra. Once she's standing though, she wavers a bit as she feels a little light headed. Unaware that Zavia is gassing her and the rest, Kaitlyn puts a hand out to steady herself when she sways a bit, fingertips to the tabletop. "Whoa… Okay… Maybe one drink too many," she murmurs, eyes going to the drink. Being closest to Zavia she is getting a pretty good dose.

To the floor! Nadira's brought to the floor with no reluctance, unsure of where the gunfire's coming from/who shot first. She didn't remember seeing Han. Silently, she hopes it wasn't anyone firing on Griffin as he escapes, though she does take the opportunity to try and get a better view of who hadn't hit the deck. "Someone fired a gun," she murmurs, to herself perhaps.

Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love's pure light, Radiant beams from Thy holy face, With the dawn of redeeming grace… Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth… Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth…

Marie's voice is broken by the gunshot, and she visibly flinches, and cringes, not exactly looking like the mobster's daughter that she supposedly is. A Face is worth a thousand more. What the public sees is important. What the public hears is another. Against all manners of reason, she stands straight again, heart thumping and mouth opening to the microphone again. But when she sings again, it is so much more different than before. The faint jazz beat is replaced by a full and whole set of notes, crystal clear and resounding over the speakers.

Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright, Round yon Virgin Mother and Child, Holy Infant so tender and mild… Sleep in heavenly peace… Sleep in heavenly peace…

The drowsiness, the now obviously sleepy and intense stupor falling over people- it is not just Zavia anymore.

The gunshot was enough to send most of the crowd scattering, Marie's band simply stops what they were doing and dives for cover, the cellist pleadingly reaching out a hand for Marie to come with him, only to see her singing and looks wide-eyed at her before plugging his ears and crouching down. Mines looks distraught, shoving past Brian as the blonde is headbutting federal agents, rushing to close the distance between Marie and himself, sending tables sliding out of the way, patrons toppling over in their chairs, clearing a path in front of himself as if there were some invisible bulldozer flipping things over with as much grace as a bull in a china shop.

You can put a thug in a suit, but you can't make him behave.

As he's moving, Mines is lifting his hands, sliding yellow earplugs into his ears as he feels the onset of drowsiness, but when it doesn't abate after the earplugs are put in, he looks confused. The heavy lidded sense of tiredness causes his pace to slow just a little as he reaches the stage, turning around and putting his back to where Marie is, eyes wide.

When Agent Henderson is taken down by Brian, he's laid out by the stroke to his brow, causing him to fall backwards and land on his side. His under-arm holstered Glock discharged somewhere into his hip, blood pulsing from the injured area that likely involved bullet-to-bone contact from the way he was standing. Agent Coates, witness to this entire spectacle just starts to slowly back up out of the room when flyng cutlery catches light and the Redbird Security team is causing a mess. He winces, though, reaching up to pluck his earbud out when radio transmission is interfered with. Suddenly leaving seems like something he's more than eager to do.

Shooting a look over his shoulder to the lobby, Coates furrows his brows and then looks back into the dining hall through the lobby, trying to figure out why people in there are fleeing from the dining hall. Confusion begins to sink in, right around the same time that Griffin sees movement outside of the back windows.

Dark shapes are starkly defined against the snow, sleek, dark, familiar. The digital communication of FRONTLINE-OS's networked systems is safe against the radio technopath's interference, two dark figures approaching at a running pace through the snow. Worse yet, there's a sinking sense of sluggishness coming over Griffin as he approaches the door, a tiredness that causes his eyes to droop briefly as if suddenly sleep deprived and exhausted.

He has reached his own personal rock and a hard place: Backtrack to avoid FRONTLINE and risk whatever odd sedation is happening, or plow ahead and risk being murdered by two members of a task force designed to combat the Evolved.

Blam goes a gun, which interrupts Benji from simply turning to stare at Calvin, although he isn't daring to breathe a word against him. Not in front of the agent, who by now is laid out and bleeding. But worry and indignation are also shattered with the pistol going off and Nora's yanking them downwards, one skinny arm windmilling wide in off-balance before he awkwardly takes a knee. What he didn't really count on upon descent was having difficulty getting back up as that wave of drowsiness crests not once, but twice, in varying degrees.

Confusion wars with panic beneath blanketing drowsiness that seems to make Marie's singing slow down and stretch, and the impulse to run is a strong one. "Need to leave," is his brilliant plan, shaking his head as if to clear it, rat-like impulse to find the narrowest passage of escape. A hand circles Nora's wrist as Benji pushes himself to his feet, and promptly weaves leftwards, shoulder hitting glass. A hand goes out, balances himself.

Calvin can feel that slow stare scorching across the side of his pale neck like the sun funneled through a magnifying glass. And he turns to meet it. Just so, blue eyes and tufty ginger beard in the split second before weapons fire sends everyone a-tumble.

Jostled off balance by the unexpected fervence of Nora's efforts to rescue them, he nearly goes over sideways on his way to hitting both of his knees, champagne glass shattered in the hand he plants down to brace himself to slit blackish red across his palm.

Bug. Ger.

Breath caught cold behind his teeth, it's all he can do to cough out a choked, "It's alright!" before attempting to haul himself and Nora back to their feet — only to find that Benji's a step ahead. Has it covered. And all of that. Fine. "Get moving!"

Meanwhile something else he's feeling past a tickle of unease is the sinking sloth of unnaturally tranquil interference in time with the appearance of fluffy white wog, eyes in their kohl shadows bleary when he wheels himself around off balance to the elegant archways of tall windows open to the snow and the dark. And the dark snow.

Which is about the same time one half of FRONTLINE-OS's response is accelerated at a cartwheeling launch in through a (closed) window, vomiting slivered glass and ice and freezing air in across a staggering pivot of Calvin's shiny shoes out've the way.

Odds are he hasn't figured out the bit about the singing.

After the Agent goes down, his attention goes to take in Coates. He stumbles slightly over the body of Henderson. "What… No." Brian immediately goes to one knee to confiscate Agent Henderson's gun. And his badge. Ops. His eyes go after Coates, glaring after the other man. "Listen.." Brian calls out weakly. His eyes go to Nora. "Nora. Bomb in the other room. You need to.." Fffuck. "Stop the singing." Reclaiming the gun and the badge and putting them on his own person, Brian is looking up at the stage.

"Stop.. Stop.. Bomb in the other room!" Brian lets out a little more forcibly this time. His eyes go up to the woman with white dripping from her eyes. Raising his gun weakly at the woman, "Stop.. Stop." Tired Brian is tired.

But with Coates rapid plan of departure, it is suddenly interrupted. A man in urban camoflauge moves in his face completely covered. Some more sophisticated weaponry on this one, including a flak jacket. Combat Suit Brian steps into the room behind Coates. And picking up a Classic Wine Bottle, takes a wild swing at the back of the man's head. "Stop the sleeping!" Good orders Brian.

As a gun is pointed at her, combined with the realization she's feeling drowsy herself, Zavia whispers a single word. "Fuck." She tries to shut down her ability, but those white tears keep streaming down her face, still spreading that sleeping gas. Meanwhile, Zavia slowly lowers to the ground, not asleep quite yet, being only affected by one of the sleep-inducing powers, but it might not take much longer…

Neither of her companions are very large nor very heavy — all of them a bit on the wiry and lean side of the spectrum — but at 5'5" and 105 pounds, Nora is the smallest of the three by a few inches and more than a few pounds; the drowsiness seems to affect her more quickly as she's pulled by Benji toward the window; her lids droop and close even as the FRONTLINE soldier go crashing through the window at the same time. Before she feels the cold pinpricks of glass rain down on them, her arm goes slack in Benji's as she slips into oblivion.

Exhaustion suddenly hits Griffin, slowing his gait and causing the steak knives to sag slightly. Glowing white eyes assess: in front of him is FRONTLINE. Behind him is sedation, and possibly capture by the government, if he is unable to escape. Before him is a rather large fight, and potentially death. It's a difficult decision, to be certain.

Panic and adrenaline set in, only barely keeping him on his feet. If this had happened at this time last month, Griffin would have barged out like a madman to face the FRONTLINE operatives. But now…now, staying alive is his top priority. He takes a split second to examine the rest of the surroundings outdoors, the door outside still held open by an invisible hand.

It's in that split second that Griffin finds that one of those figures he's being faced with is suddenly launched through a window. White eyes flicker back toward the restaurant, but there is no time to waste. The odds are in his favors, now, and it is time to take out the trash, as well as to get the fuck out of dodge.

All four steak knives are suddenly being aimed at the visor of that other FRONTLINE person that's approaching, aimed like four simultaneous full-force punches at what he believes to be the weakest spot on the armor. Even as he does that, Griffin is pushing his way out of the building to get away from the source of exhaustion. The vector that was holding the door open is now aimed at the soldier's ankles, attempting to catch one and give it a nice, solid yank from behind, and at a critical moment in the figure's step. Have some steak knives to the face while you trip, little FRONTLINE person…thing.

The electricity around Aoi Housen's hand starts to flicker and die out as she falls to her knees. The groggy thoughts are trying to play in her mind, and she recalls what Zavia's ability is, and idly wishes pain upon her for a moment— Not that it does anything, since she's really not able to walk much more in her shoes, much less hurt anyone. Cracklecrackle. Fizzlefizzle. :(

But where Abby and Nadira are knelt down, they suddenly hear a loud thump of something heavy on the floor, like someone just dropped a large object, and then another, and something very solid reaches out to touch them. It's shaped like a hand, but cold, and firm. "I am here to help. You need to get out of here." A deep rumbly voice says down at them. Kneeling beside them is someone dressed in a slacks and a dress shirt and jacket, with hair slicked back. Only it's not a person.

It's a statue, a walking, talking statue.

A gray, finely grained, granite statue. The clothes are part of the granite, same as the hair, the same dull gray color. Slender and statuesque, each movement seems to be heavy and deliberate, as the statue reaches to grab a table cloths to cover them somewhat (likely an attempt to mask their identities), and then proceeds to pick them up. It's arms are solid and strong, yet oddly gentle hands, as they are pulled up into the air and against a shoulder. With them up, the statue straightens and then makes with solid thuds toward one of the glass windows, with the intent to go right through it.

Thump, thump, thump.

There had to have been something in the wine, possibly, maybe. Abigail was heading for under the table, intending to curl up beneath it in relative - false - safety. Just a nap, just close her eyes. Only there's…thing talking to her and Abigail head dips forward as if she's about to give in but vertigo or gravity or her brain makes her jerk her head back up, flutter eyes at the stone form as if that might give them real flesh and not one of stone.

"Just want to sleep" Edges slurred, reaching out for the mysterious person, a muffled shock of surprise when she's picked up and put over shoulders. She drops her head, letting the sway of her body against this persons lull her to a light snooze. Her chariot has picked her up, she can sleep, it'll be okay.

There isn't much time between when Zavia's sleep gas sinks in and Marie's own singing starts to tug at her senses. It's too much for an already tipsy woman. There isn't much for Kaitlyn to do then sink to the floor. Or more like — her knees buckle under her and she crumples to the floor in a less then graceful heap. She's not down yet, but she's going, "Okay. I think it's time to lay off the drinks." Oh hey… floor. She just lowers to her side and now she is down for the count.

Poor healer will have a crick in her neck when she wakes. Probably, be cranky too.

It's hard to tell all of what's going on. But there's chaos with the fact that there's glass shattering and Christmas music and… wooziness. Nadira's not liking the strange heavy feeling on her eyelids, and she murmurs to herself — no, the Bluetooth in her ear — about the situation. "Something's… making us all tired. Not sure if he made it out… tired…" And then there's a thump. A statue. Well, at least it's not metal. She's not entirely sure who or what the statue is, but she's going off the fact that he said he was there to help and there's the fact that she's getting tired. "W-Wha…?" She murmurs, slightly confused. A question is quietly murmured in Arabic from her sleepy head before she slumps against Granite Man, savior of women.

Marie, from the stage, is able to watch Jason toss his way across the tavern like an angry tornado, her voice at repeat of the one song that she knows she can continue without a hiccup. She keeps singing, one slender hand plucking the microphone from its perch. Drowsiness went to tired stupor, and now, some people even begin to slump down to the floor, or against the walls, or over chairs and tables. She is not going to stop, elongating the verses even as she feels a haze on herself. It is a new feeling, and one that she was not expecting. She shakes her head as if to clear it, slipping out of her high heels and then down off of the small stage to bring herself next to Mines.

Gotta hand it to her, the microphone is still in Marie's hand as she leans in against Mines, and her lips are still moving in song. A haunting sound of a woman's voice, contrasted in the chaos.

Thrown through the window in an explosion of glass, a male form in black armor crashes to the ground, leaking silvery magnetorheological fluid from areas where the sharp angles of glass sliced across the hex patterned, soft and flexible portions of the armor. With a whirr of his hydraulics at his arms and legs he starts to get up, hearing the siren's song of Marie d'Sarthe he shakes his head, shards of glass sliding off of his helmet as he tries to shake out the cobwebs.

In the interim, that beleagured armored figure — identified only by the OS-01 on his armor — is watching his partner engaging the man they'd come here to subdue. Two sharp steak knives (and a fork) are thrust towards the woman, and Griffin discovers that the penetrating force of a knife seems blunted against the armor's hardened ceramic plating in one strike, scraping away black lacuqering to reveal brushed metal beneath, then another stab to a softer part of the armor which hardens on impact with the knife. Unfortunately unlike a bullet, the knife carves down the armor, spilling silvery fluid out of the opening in the front down the woman's chest, but the weave of fabrics and metals slows the knife's penetration, preventing tissue damage.

Suddenly, there's a clack and the visor of her helmet splits open in a narrow line right before Griffin yanks at her ankle and flips her up and off of her fet. There is a sudden roar of energy as wavering red and blue waves of microwave enrgy emit out of the opened visor, burning across the side of the building and up one corner of the roof, melting snow that had collected there, popping lightbulbs and blackening wood.

When she lands on her back, OS-03 struggles to try and get up, her gloved hands wrestling with the unseen attacker of Griffin's telekinetic appendages. But unfortunately for Griffin, Liu Ye has figured out how to turn off his external speakers on his helmet. It renders him deaf, but deaf is better than unconscious in the presence of a psychopathic killer — One that isn't on his team at any rate.

Lifting one hand with a whirr of hydraulics, Liu curls his fingers and sends a ripple through the surface of the wine and water, rattles all of the bottles behind the bar. Behind his dark visor, Liu Ye exhales a heavy breath and curls his fingers shut into a fist. Water slithers out from drink glasses, forces its way out of beer bottles, popping caps off and uncorking wine bottles. The mixture of fluids hover through the air as if suspended in zero gravity, then begin snaking their way towards Griffin from behind, a silent killer come to drown his sorrows in a murky mix of alcohol and water.

Up on the stage, Mines is resting a hand on Marie's shoulder, trying to move her from the mic, "Hey, c'mon, let's bail… This is turning into a lot of bullshit," Mines awkwardly murmurs as he watches a sphere of slithering water slowly turning into a reaching arm headed for Griffin. Looking through the water, warping as it is, Mines notices Agent Coates with his hands up, conversing with one of the armed Brians, trying to explain that this was all a huge misunderstanding without getting shot. Agent Henderson is busy taking a nap on the carpet, covered in shards of broken glass from the exploded window.

One moment there's a window that Benji is tilted against. The next moment there— isn't, and the whole world is shattering around him. And then suddenly snow and concrete rushing up to smack him in the face with cat scratch grazes, apparently, or that's as far as Benji can tell re: what the fuck is going on, a belated second coming with the realisation that the window stopped working and he fell outside. Which is roughly the correct direction, go team, but with Marie's voice echoing out through the open space and the sleep toxin wafting through the air, he's having trouble getting much farther than that.

His hand is latched more out of instinct, now, onto snoozing Nora's wrist, the other brought up to observe the bright red smear on his palm, though no observable cuts. Knife-like little twinges here and there, and crimson makes a pattern in his crisp white shirt. The world is swimming, darkening at the edges, and it has less to do with blood loss and more to do with encroaching unconsciousness, stomach-down even as he twists a lazy, bleary glance around.

"Calv…" …in? Or new affectionate nickname. Your pick!!

Stepping away from Coates and having relieved him of his gun and badge. (It will be nice to have FBI badges again). Combat Brian makes his way across the floor steadily. Having just entered the room he has not yet succumbed to sleep powers. And not sure what the hell is going on, he is only able to concentrate. Ignore statues. Ignore steak knives. Concentrate on the suspects. Suspect number one…

Walking towards the FRONTLINE agent with white tears coming out of her face. Job number one is, the masked Brian lifts up his boot and aids the woman on her journy sleep land-wards. Delivering a powerful kick aimed at Zavia's temple, the Brian glances at his other body not too far away. Already crawling on his hands and knees and struggling with staying awake. The more awake of the Brian's turns to Marie. One finger comes up to his balaclava where his lips would be. 'Shhh'.

Normally fleet enough that daring leaps through the gaping maws of glass-riddled windows should present no problem, Calvin is hardly half-conscious and fumblingly trying to gather up whatever parts of Nora aren't already — all the way outside with Benji.

Shoulders and spine hunched against the occasional icicle break and fall of hanging fragments, he wraps around her Kong to Fay Wray-like and — sort've just. Stumbles and rolls sideways out midway through the process of trying to step over the raised bottom edge, taking her with him.

There's a shrill moment of uncsonciousness when he lands partway on top of Foster, but it's fleeting. Hardly a blink's worth before he jerks himself awake and hauls his Nora ragdoll sluggishly over the top of himself to see about…gradually going slack again, vibrant dreads tipped back to pavement and adam's apple bobbed slowly skywards.

Not awake enough to dodge that blow, Zavia slumps down to the ground. She's definitely going to feel that in the morning. As her eyes close, the last bit of white liquid on her cheeks soon dissipates, ending the release of sleep gas into the area.

As OS-03 falls to her back, two telekinetic hands come down hard on her chest in a punch of sorts, mostly intended to keep her down. That was excruciatingly close. Good timing is good, certainly, that could have hurt him pretty badly.

His knees wobble beneath him, a pair of vectors planting on the ground to keep him upright. If it weren't for those, he'd probably be slumping just as much as everyone else. His hand moves up to his head, resting against his temple, and he shakes his head a few times, even going so far as slapping himself once, and rather hard.

That seems to jar him enough to turn his eyes upwards toward the roofs. Then, turning back to look at OS-03 with a frown, the third pair of vectors reach up, gripping the roof of the restaurant. He's not about to stay and fight; no, this is an escape. And it is right as that watery arm is getting close that Griffin suddenly flies upwards, his trajectory aiming for the roof above. Once up there, he's going south, his eyes set on the ruins and the hiding places that they provide.

Sorry, Nadira. Once again, Griffin has left you to fend for yourself. This is yet another thing that Griffin will be able to beat himself up over, once he's not fleeing for his life.

Hell no. He won't go down that easily, Colonel Heller. You're going to have to try a hell of a lot harder than that to take down Griffin Mihangle.

Nadira has a rescuer in the form of a tall stone statue. The statue, seemingly unaffected by what has most everyone else swooning, pauses while stepping over and around people, avoiding walking right on top of them. It makes for some rather fancy footwork, but is managed— even if the further the feet go, the more damage is done to the floor. Once clear of the immediate area of people, the statue breaks into a slow run, to the south, through the garden, and up to the tall wall.

There's a moment when the two burdens get shifted, sat down on the solid earth, and then a few moments later there's a loud THUD, and then a good person sized hole.

The two are retrieved, and the statue takes off at a slow run out of the into the darkness, the two bundles getting colder and colder as it goes. Statues are not warm, they do not create heat, or hold it well. But— it must be better than being left behind?

The man in the mask hardly needs to tell her. Safe as can be with Jason, Marie stops singing, the microphone dropping limp from her hand and squealing as it plummets into the thin carpeting and rolls elsewhere. She wraps one arm around his back, the other hand clutching at the now messy suit he monkeyed himself into. Her voice in his ear is both sharp and soft at the same time, and Marie allows him to lead her out to safety.

"Someone is going to pay for this."

Nodding slowly to Marie as she drops the mic, he turns towards where he saw Nora being flung around. Or something. He then glances down at Zavia. Looking over to his glove, he frowns from behind his mask.

The glove comes off. Brian steps over to his body wearing the suit and the earbud. Slapping his hand down on his copy, the other Brian immediately vanishes leaving a small pile of clothes on the floor. The essentials are gathered up. The badge the gun. Shoved into his flak jacket and belt as he stumbles towards the exit. Out of his peripherals he caught his former socializing group falling over themselves on their way out. Not yet fully affected by the sleeping gas and song as much as the others, Combat Suit Brian is making his way towards Benji, Nora, and Calvin.

The balaclava is pulled down quickly, throwing one hand under Calvin's arm he jerks up. "Wake up little tranny." Brian urges, motioning to Nora. Stepping around he goes to throw his arm around Benji's waist, trying to heave him up. "Come on. I have a car, I can get you out of here. Can you walk?"

Soaring through the air over the restaurant, Griffin Mihangle feels the bitter sting of freezing cold air against his cheeks, of wind-driven snow in his eyes and as he clears the high wall partitioning the ruined portion of the park from the grounds of the restaurant he feels those eyelids beginning to droop shut again. Adrenaline can only save so many things, can only explain so much, can only push him so far.

Crashing through the branches of stickbare trees, Griffin smashes thorugh narrow boughs and comes crashing down atop an abandoned tent on the other side of the wall at a ramshackle homeless dwelling in what serves as the northernmost border of the ruins of Midtown.

When he strikes the ground, his Vectors barely break his fall as he bounces, skids and flips across the ground through a couple inches of snow and cold ground, sliding down a snowy hill as the fatigue and exhaustion from Marie's ability finally catches up to him fulluy.

By the time he's come to a stop at the base of the hill, he's ploughed a ridge of snow up in front of himself, lays exhausted, bruised and battered amidst the tangled wreckage of the tent that he has wrapped himself up in on accident. His head says run but his body says five more minutes as his eyes flutter shut, racing heart slowing to sedation.

Five more minutes.

Back at d'Sarthe's, there is a loud series of splashes as Lui relaxes his fist and releases water from his control, sending it crashing down onto the floor all at once. The mixed fluids of alcohols and water soak into the carpet and the snow outside, and the weary hydrokinetis pushes himself up to his feet with a whirr of his external hydraulics. A look is offered, askance, to Aoi's prone form slumbering on the floor, followed by a shake of his helmeted head. There's a pop and crackle as he turns his helmet's intercoms back on, then crouches down to sweep the small young woman up into his arms, carrying her out through the broken window with a crunch of his boots on broken glass.

Through the driving snow, Liu scans the grounds, looking down to the woman laying on her back that is slowly pulling herself to her feet, looking at the silvery mess of MR fluid leaking from her armor. «He went up,» she crackles over an external speaker, motioning up to the roof, «vaulted again, then I lost sight of him. This is the last time we let the fucking Feds handle this. Heller's going to have our asses.»

Liu is silent in the face of her exasperated frustrations, turning his attention up towards the roof, forsaking the obvious situations of Brian's abuse of authority — and abuse of a FRONTLINE officer in Zavia — and instead settles his focus back on his female partner. «The Colonel is going to be too busy raging at the FBI.» Is the quiet response from Liu, looking down to the twisted right elbow of his hydraulic-powered exoskeleton. «Mihangle's got longer reach than we thought. But next time, I guess we will too in a manner of speaking.»

Liu nods towards the distant blues of flashing lights and the wail of sirens along with crowds of people gathered beyond the restaurant in the parking lot. «Let's get back to the GPV, we can tell Heller the good news. This is the fed's fault,» he opines with a jerk of a nod towards the restaurant, «not ours.»

"Why, Miss Lennox." This, mumbled from Benji in a slur, even as all four limbs loosely work together to comply with this whole standing up thing. This whole walking thing. Forgetting all about trying to cling to and protect Nora, especially when he can see out his periphery that Calvin has her encoiled. His head falls back on slack neck, lax as if very drunk, although he hadn't touched any of the champagne that evening. "You're so bossy. Car? Oh…" He blinks blearily, tries to focus on Brian.

Then tips a stare down towards Calvin. Then to Brian. He gives him an only slightly dopily sedated smile. "If I said no, wwwould you carry me?" He is, at least, getting his shiny shoes to set against the pavement and ice, hand gripping white knuckled to Brian's sleeve.

Calvin, by contrast, startles awake as if by electric shock, tendon bleached white 'cross the back of the hand clawed past the grope of Brian's grip on his arm. There's snow in his hair and most everwhere else, coagulating blood dripped in a jelly lump from palm to wrist to concrete. Brows screwed towards each other, disconcerted and disoriented, he sits up quick and breathes quicker, right arm hooking more firmly about Nora to keep her from sliding — out've his lap.

With approximately nnno protest for his new nickname, he uses Brian as an anchor to lever himself woozily to his feet, dragging Nora up with him along the way. He can carry her. Probably. Good thing she's not squeamish about blood.

The strapless and satiny gown may have been appropriate for the event, but it's certainly not the best choice of apparel for protection against shattering glass, nor very warm when lying in snow — or, well, on Calvin in the snow. Slightly warmer, and a little bonier.

Nora can't see the blood on either of her friends, nor on herself — glass shines here and there in her dark hair like crystals; her cheek bares a small cut as does one shoulder. Her lids flutter with the effort to wake and finally blink open, unseeing, slow to comprehend. "We're all okay?" she whispers, bare arm reaching around Calvin's neck, another reaching for Benji blindly. One shoe is missing, rather cinderella like, fallen several feet away in the snow where she, of course can't find it.

As Benji, Nora, Calvin, and Brian cling to each other and stumble and bumble through the snow they are soon joined. Four more bodies, all suited up like the first Brian come to aid the departing crew. The first one giving a warning to his cohorts, "It's okay. They're me." Not they're with me. They're me. Benji really is picked up, by one. While Nora and Calvin have a Brian on either side of them supporting and pulling them towards the Batmobile. Which is a van.

Hundreds of people stand out in the cold, snow whipping wildly on strong winds, lit by the flashing blue lights of police cars and the yellow of ambulances. It will be months before the federal comission on this catastrophic blunder is filed, months more before the agents involved are written up for their poor handling of the incident and the endangering of so many lives. What actually happened may not be the fault of the federal agents at all, but that is how the media will paint this incident, that is how public heroes are born.

But in the short term, Christmas Eve has been ruined for those who came here for a celebration. They will spend their night having identification checked, questioned about what happened by law enforcement, scrutinized and tended to by paramedics. Whatever did happen here wasn't just as simple as the government going after one terrorist. There's another — parallel — story that set off the chaos and made things as chaotic as they were.

Over the remainder of the night, people who attended the gala at d'Sarthe's will find out about a bomb scare and a suicide bomber who was taken into custody by police, find out about the two men who delivered him that took their lives in a standoff with security.

One thing can be certain though, for the few who managed to get away against all odds, there will come a time when luck runs out. Fugitives, deserved or not, have to learn to live like ones.

Society has only one place for the hunted, and they have discovered that there is no respite.

Not even on Christmas Eve.

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