Silent Night, Part II


brian2_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif gideon_icon.gif lene_icon.gif melissa3_icon.gif nick_icon.gif perry_icon.gif skyler_icon.gif toru_icon.gif warren_icon.gif yana_icon.gif

Scene Title Silent Night, Part II
Synopsis While the FBI are searching for a terrorist, an unexpected guest winds up playing substitute to a young girl who was destined to die on Christmas Eve.
Date December 24, 2010


The East Coast sun is waning when guests arrive at d'Sarthe's; the outside of the restaurant is bedecked in glowing lights, as are the trees that sprial like many fingers into the winter air. The snow has been light, only covering the gardens and evergreens with a thin layer of spotty white. Some guests, as per favors of the house, even arrive in horse-drawn carriages if the fancy had stricken them enough to procure one. The picturesque factor is not lost, despite the world beyond the rear walls being one of ash and dust. For tonight, the world is somehow a little bit brighter on this Christmas Eve.

The front entrance is marked slightly by the presence of a pair of men with detecting wands; the dabbled increase of security after that point is only notable if one has been to other events hosted here over the past few months. The wiry men and women of d'Sarthe's personal security differ only by their dress- utilitarian formal- and golden stag pins on lapels. There is another batch of them, identified as Redbird Security Solutions by their own means of identification. Many of them are armed. Safety first.

Inside of the dining hall, tables have been moved aside, some of them lined along the walls where cooks have delivered a delectable spread of holiday foods; the waiters and waitresses in their black and white patrol diligently the floor with trays of drinks. A bandstand has been set up to one corner of the dining hall, and a space left open and free for those romantic souls who wish to have that much more tonight.

Gideon d'Sarthe, the good proprietor and even better host, can be found making his usual rounds of greetings, of small talk, of avoiding those that he needs to. Even he has his favorites, there is nothing to be ashamed of. His suit is dark, the vest and ascot he wears below emblazoned gold on red, fine details of golden chains at his neck and hanging from what can presume to be a pocketwatch. Contrary to when many had last seen him, his many-toned hair has been turned to a powdery blonde, pulled back at the base of his neck. On one hand gawdy, on the other, simply easy to pick out in a crowd.

It can't ever be simple. Not in Sky's life. Not anymore. It started out simple. Having money at Christmas for the first time in her life, and simultaneously having a boyfriend with whom to go, Sky got tickets for the gala, and an outfit to wear, and shoes, and the whole enchilada. Then, of course, Warren called her into his office and asked her to go to do signal intelligence. And of course, Alia's revelations of the other night just add the icing to that cake. So she's here, in the dress and the heels and the jewelry, but she's working, so she's wearing shades to cover up the eye flicker. And to top it all off? Evan has yet to show up. If she wasn't working, Sky would definitely be in the bar now.

Red is a color that represents danger, tonight is fraught with it if you believe a rumor or two. Maybe that's why one young woman has chosen to wear nothing but the color of passion, the color of love, the color of danger. There was supposed to be an author here tonight, a writer of a famous series of books about the Evolved, one who was foretold to die tonight at the hands of a suicide bomber. The lady in red did her damnedest to make sure that didn't come true.

The lady in red succeeded.

She's a vermillion and cardinal silhouette at a table by herself bordering the space between dining tables and bandstand reserved for the romantic and the dancing. The lady in red looks longing at the open floor, dark lashes set with subtle glitter low over green eyes, curly hair worn loose and wild over pale shoulders obscured by a crimson shawl. She stares into a mirror, a makeup compact flipped open so as to watch the tables behind her, not everyone can have eyes in the back of their head.

The lady in red calls herself Jolene Marley, calls herself Jolene Marlowe, calls herself many things. Jolene at least is a constant, as constant as her cherry red lipstick and dark eyeshadow, constant as the candy-apple red frames of her glasses and the Wizard of Oz red of her heels. Jolene may have saved the life of Savannah Barton, from the looks of things, but that doesn't mean a few hundred other people aren't in danger.

Maybe its naievte, maybe its trying to be the hero she's always wanted to be, but shes' banking on being able to make a difference tonight. Die trying is the fifty-fifty split on this.

While a black suit may be nothing particularly new about Warren's attire, today he's gone for something a little more expensive and formal. Buttoned up, black tie tucked into the jacket over a white shirt. He has to pull off one of his white leather gloves to show and explain his smooth robotic hand, showing identification and such. Then he's in, unarmed, having to rely on pure brain power and allies if he's going to stop what's to happen tonight.

He's yet to mingle, instead choosing to walk around a bit, getting a feel for the kind of people who show up for this sort of thing. He owns a business now, but this could possibly be the first formal function he's gone to in recent history.

Melissa isn't one of those who's gone out of her way to arrive by carriage. Too pretentious for her, perhaps. So instead she arrives the normal way, dressed in a slinky black dress that falls to her black heel-covered feet. A slinky black dress that has a slit almost clear up to her hip. For mobility purposes. Honest. She also has a tiny little bluetooth headpiece hidden beneath her hair, already connected to another phone, and a smile on her lips. She's not feeling the smile, but appearances are everything.

She doesnt' arrive alone either, but comes with an escort. Perry. She has a hand resting lightly on his forearm, doing her best to subtlely lead the less social man. And she's quiet, right up until she spots the lady in red. Still smiling, she murmurs to Perry. "There's the girl Lynette mentioned. Calvin's friend." It's not ventriloquism, but there's little enough movement to her mouth that it's close.

She could be any of the women in this crowd, but Elisabeth Harrison isn't. She's one of the few that will be allowed through the front doors with a weapon strapped unobtrusively to her thigh with the discreet flash of her FRONTLINE credentials to the men at the door. After all, she could be called out at any moment. The sleek black A-line evening gown has a slit all the way up her thigh that allows for easy access if she needs it. A halter top enhanced with jet beads and a bare back, she comes across as both graceful and comfortable even in three-inch heels. Semi-formal means a lot of things. Sleek silky clothing definitely is one of them. She meanders through the dining room, helping herself to a glass of champagne as a waiter goes through.

They say that it's not fashionable to wear a hat indoors; or sunglasses, for that reason. Richard Cardinal is violating both of those rules tonight, but he's making it work. A dark fedora sits atop his head, a stylish set of Oakley's covers his eyes, lips crooked up in a faint, amused smile as he walks the hall on casual patrol. He's wearing a black pinstriped suit, shoes polished to a mirror shine, and there's a subtle ear-bud and mic combo perched on his ear as the only sign that he's actually handling some of the security this evening. Well, that and Brian, who's walking with him.

A fluted glass of spring water in hand, he walks along through the main dining area checking out the new arrivals and generally taking note of who's there. And who's not supposed to be there. Nobody falls into the latter category yet, but the evening's still young.

The lady in red catches his attention, just a hint of amusement stirring in his voice as he pauses near the table. "You know," he observes casually, gesturing with the glass, "I'm pretty sure that dress costs more than we pay you, Jolene."

In stark contrast with his usual appearance, especially in recent times, Toru almost doesn't entirely stick out like a sore thumb at this little gala. Dressed up in what could be considered business casual at worst, he's wearing black slacks, nice shoes, and a fancy dark blue dress shirt with subtle pinstripes. There's probably a jacket to go with the suit, but if there is, he's either checked it at the door or abandoned it entirely. Hair is still Asian Orange, but it's kept under control tonight.

And he's sort of just casually mingling! Strolling around with a drink in white-gloved hands, which do stand out a bit, he makes his way from here to there. Mingling. And thus far not catching sight of anyone who he has any beef with, which is probably a good thing given that there is a small collection of such people here.

It's a lead much needed, and one that could have come earlier, really, considering Perry's state of attire. He's got on the only suit he owns, a grey wool affair with a crimson tie that he wore to his college interviews, and while it fits him, its cut is years and years behind current fashion. He must hope that Melissa's style and verve will distract away from his own shabby awkwardness, rather than drawing attention to it via contrast. Still, he's got contacts on, and his hair is combed, and he looks halfway handsome now that he's shed (with effort) his stoop and stammer. Though stammer may yet return, if he's permitted to speak. Something else maybe Melissa should handle. Perry looks serious and unsmiling, though again, hopefully for the best. His fake smile is not a pretty sight.

The indication of Lene receives a discreet nod of recognition. "She knows, but she's here?" he inquires of his companion, also as unobtrusively as possible, "brave. Should we- uh- should we approach her?"

Maybe Brian and Cardinal called each other to make sure they were wearing the same clothes before the ball, maybe they didn't. Regardless the two are similarly dressed. Walking along with Cardinal, he leans in to murmur quietly to the other man. "Everything looks normal outside.. Tavern's quiet. Abby's here. Awkward." His own pair of silver lined aviators sit on the brim of his nose. He may not require them as much as Cardinal, but when he saw how cool the other man looked… Come on..

In his own pinstripe suit, the man reaches up to adjust the blue tie that pokes out of it. He also wears a earbud, however he doesn't really need it. He has more communication than he needs with himself all over the party, some outside watching, some inside. When Cardinal approaches the lady in red, Brian reaches up to lower his sunglasses somewhat. "Who dat?" He asks of Cardinal bluntly, before leaning in some. "Brian." He says, offering his hand to Jolene. "You work for hi—us?" Because he's part of Redbird Security Solutions or something.

Towards the entrance, it seems like even Santa Claus has turned up for the gala. For entertainment for any spoiled brats who might be showing up, Santa is seated in a throne towards the entrance. Dressed in all red, with a fashionable pillow to make himself seem larger. Upon closer inspection most would realize this Santa is young. Very young. Santa Brian sits on his throne, entertaining the occasional child that pops up on his lap. A thick burlap sack gripped in one white gloved hand. While he listens to the children and makes merry Ho ho's, his eyes survey the room diligently.

Skyler gets a glass of spring water herself, and begins systematically poking the cell phones of everyone in the room, one at a time. Start with the guy in the fedora. He looks like trouble, right? She takes a sip and mentally caresses his phone. It's sinfully easy, really.

"Possible," Melissa murmurs to Perry. "Though now I'm skeptical. You're right. If she knows, why would she be here? Is it some sort of trap? If we do approach her, I think it should just be one of us." Then she spots Skyler and her brows lift. "Well now, what's she doing here?" she asks, sounding curious.

"Di— Richard!" Surprise and exasperation come hand in hand with Jolene when Richard surprises her. No one expects the Cardinal inquisition, and Jolene Marley is no exception to the rule. "A lady can own a nice dress or two, y'know. It's ah, a woman's perogative, right? Besides, I like to clean up and look nice… even if my date cancelled on me." Admittedly Jolene was the only person of that pair considering it a date. Also perhaps the gunpowder plot serving as an undercurrent for the night may have turned Ingrid Raines off to the idea of attending the function.

"Is Elisabeth here?" Lene asks, sitting up straight and closing her compact with a click, looking past Cardinal and then back to him over the frames of her glasses. "You know for a guy who hardly is at the office you seem to show up at all the best parties…" is said a bit knowingly, lashes lowered as Lene's lips crack into a crooked smile.

Spotting Elisabeth, Lene settles back down and arches one burgundy eyebrow to her boss. "I take it the Center Stage was— "

Lene's eyes go wide when she realizes Brian has come on over and introduced himself. Lene's cheeks flush red, an awkward bubble of laughter burbles out of painted lips and she ducks her head down and rolls her shoulders forward. "Oh— H— hey yeah, I— you— you work for Mister Cardinal?" Lene hesitates, offering out a hand to Brian with a sheepish smile. "Jolene… uh— Marley. It's— it's really nice t'meet you Brian. What— what department do you work in, I don't think I've ever seen you at the office."

From her angle, Elisabeth spots Warren Ray of all people. And she alters her course to sidle up next to the man in the dining room. "Fancy seeing you here," she murmurs. "I wouldn't have thought this was your kind of thing. Hobnobbing with the hoi polloi seems… beneath your intellect, Warren," she observes softly in a voice made just a touch whispery by laryngitis.

It is a lovely evening for a Gala. The season is just right, the weather doesn't seem to be particularly pesky this night, and spirits are high in the House of Blite. Work has gone rather steady, and there is talk of a spot on television soon possibly to discuss latest works of science. She deserves a fabulous evening out. Dr. Elvira Blite arrives in one of those horse drawn carriages, resting quietly in her seat next to her gentleman for the evening. He is paid for, and money well spent by the looks of him. Tall, handsome with dark hair and dark eyes, strong jawline, looking sharp in his tuxedo, as if he were carved out of cream cheese. He rather favors her ex-husband, god rest his soul, as most of the intimate men in her life usually do.

Dear Gregori, you were a sacrifice well spent, but she is perhaps a little bit regretful in terms of him being gone. The nights are often cold and lonely for the mad doctor, as the comfort of his fortune is very little comfort at all. But.. it was necessary. There is no sense in dwelling on it now.

Her escort is the first to steps off of the carriage and take his place like a well trained animal to the side, offering his hand to the decorated woman still sitting. She moves not one inch until his hand is within range, and only then does she settle her fingers gracefully into his palm, with hers pointed down, rising to her feet and stepping down with a bit of assistance. Kindly she smiles and properly she thanks him, her dainty feet crushing into the snow covered ground beneath her.

Once settled, her gown for the evening makes just as much entrance as she does. Yana is decorated in a lovely black evening gown, slim around her midsection, strapless to leave her shoulders bare. Just at her waist, three similar layers of small skirted fabric leads down further to the bell of the dress that carries down all the way to the ground, almost forming a train. Over this, a sheer, lacy skirt drapes over the final portion, requiring her to slip her fingers into it and lift it when walking. The design having a Spanish flair, her neckline suitably decorated with dazzling jewelry, and her long hair done in beautiful curls, swept all to one side and resting in front of one shoulder.

She is lead away from the carriage and into the establishment, after passing the security check, and letting her eyes drink in the gorgeous sights of the decorations. Her face lighting up with appreciation, anxious to have a fantastic evening.

"Brian's in charge of ubiquitousness," Cardinal offers rather smoothly to the question about what department he's in, a confusing enough statement that - he hopes - will probably quiet her curiousity for the moment. "And I'm not here for the party as you well know, Jolene."

At the question about Elisabeth, he turns a bit to look across the room - pausing at the same moment Lene notices his… partner, the faintest of smiles curving a little to his lips. "Well. She's looking good tonight."

Perry's muddy brown eyes swerve over to Skyler, trying to put name to face. No dice. The young man tips one shoulder in a very slight shrug. "You may- uh- may need to fill me in on the who's who." He's only been in the terrorism game for a comparatively short while. He hasn't been properly socialized. He spots Warren, however, and makes instant note. "Warren Ray," he comments, softly, "in- uh- in a pinch he may be helpful, but- uh- best to steer clear. For now. Don't want- uh- don't want to draw notice."

"We're wary of her, but we might try speaking to her," Melissa murmurs for the bluetooth on her ear. Apparently she's not here for the party either. "She's Skyler though. Came to the center. Richard you know. Fight chick I've mentioned…And…I think that's all of the people I know right now. At least that I see."

"I'm not here for pleasure, Elisabeth." Warren is quick to add as his eyes do a brief scan of the room, a slight grin at the compliment on his intellect. But he's instantly all business again, voice lowering to a whisper. "A future vision said that a member of Humanis First is going to suicide bomb this gala. Savannah Burton was supposed to die, but she skipped town. Me and a few people from my team are here to stop it, I currently have someone scanning cellphone signals to see if anyone's communicating about a bomb."

Oh mother eff…. Elisabeth's smile never falters, but she does grip his arm tightly as she speaks in Warren's ear. "You have a team?" she demands under her breath. "And besides your pet technopath who has already pissed me off more than once, how many more are on this team? Because if they get in the way of mine, Warren, you and I are going to tango — and it won't be on the dance floor," she murmurs in a deceptively pleasant tone, her blue eyes intent on the man she's still not sure isn't a psychopath.

Skyler ponders the man with the fedora a moment, copies the contents of his phone to a folder marked "cat in the hat" on her iphone, and moves on to the next one. And the next one. And the next. She's poking the woman in the red dress's phone when she overhears Warren announce her mission, and tries hard not to facepalm. Give the boss some credit. He's certainly not one to operate behind anyone's back.

"Black ops." Brian responds curtly to Jolene as to what department he works in. Redbird Security Solutions just grew themselves a black ops department. And Brian works in it. His brows peep up over his glasses at his reaction from Jolene. Either they've met before, or he is looking even better than he thought tonight. He naturally presumes the second. He glances back to Cardinal frowning at ubiquitousness. Black ops was much better. As Cardinal starts talking about Elisabeth, Brian frowns lightly. "Your old." He remarks quietly with a frown.

Looking back down to Jolene, he tilts his head a bit. "We haven't met have we, Jolene?" Withdrawing his hand, he goes to clasp his hands in front of him. Glancing around, he gives her a light smile. Well she did say she's never seen him in the office. He's probably just looking super. "Welcome to the Company, Jolene. You look beautiful, I hope you have a wonderful evening." Taking a step back, Brian cranes his neck to speak to Cardinal. "Guy across the street, staring at the Gala. He's walked by a few times just staring. Probably too blatant to be…" He leaves that part implied. "But I'm trying not to discount anything tonight. We've also got a few people not on the home team talking to themselves. Lookin' like weeirdos."

Santa Brian practically pushes a child off his lap, while shouting merriment. That kid was a little fat. His hand remains tight on the gift burlap sack, pulling it a little closer to himself. His brows narrow a bit at Melissa.

"Oh— that." Lene's brows furrow and her smiles wanes when Cardinal's commentary brings her mind from play to work. Red lips purse and the young woman tucks her compact away into a matte black handbag on the table. "Well, I guess I feel a little safer knowing you're here, Mister Cardinal." Though why that is she doesn't bother to elaborate on. "Does Brian know about… about what I told you?" She seems to figure as much, but the uneasiness Lene is now displaying being reminded of why she's actually here has her shifting awkwardly in her seat.

Green eyes flick to Brian, and there's a twitch of a smile at the corners of her mouth. "Christ there's… there's a lot of people here." Distractedly, Jolene's green eyes track the silhouette of Warren Ray once she spots him moving through the room, her eyes widening a touch before flicking to the unfamiliar young woman he'd come in with, seeming more scrutinizing of her than anything else. But it's fleeting, those green eyes flicked back to Brian, a smile creeping up on her lips again.

"Your friend from where you like to get punched is here," Lene comments with a touch of sarcasm to Cardinal, offering him an askance look and motioning with her nose across the floor towareds Melissa, though she doesn't seem to recognize the man she's come with, and that paints a brief look of worry across Jolene's face.

"Don't flirt too hard, people might get ideas." Warren says with a dismissive bit of sarcasm, then shifts in front of her to slide an arm around her waist. "If we're going to whisper, we may as well dance and seem a bit less suspicious." he suggests, and moves on to explain. "Don't worry, there are only two others here. I only needed Skyler and an extra pair of eyes. If the bomb is digital, she can handle it, if it's purely mechanical, I will. All else fails, we'll combine our efforts. Unfortunately I couldn't bring a remote in, that'd have solved a lot of problems."

Well now. There's people Melissa doesn't know narrowing their eyes at her. That almost never happens. So she smiles brightly at Brian, and misses Lene's gesture towards her. "Well isn't this fun? Getting glared at, and I don't know who the hell that guy is," she says, voice deceptively bright to Perry. "I think we should go say hi to that whole little group. We know Richard, so it's not too much of a stretch." She looks back to her 'date'. "Shall we?"

Oh, what is his name this evening? Darryl or something like that. His name isn't important, just that he is the epitome of arm candy. Rats have various uses, and a pretty girl deserves pretty things. The slightest flaw or falter in his behavior could easily transform him from an accessory, to the true purpose that Yana tends to see for everyone, an incubator and a factory to produce wonderful virus particles for mommy. Let's not ruin this evening, Derrik. Or perhaps, let's do. You're better off as far as a pretty house for her 'children' as far as Yana is concerned. Her thoughts drifting in that direction, the woman just smiles to herself, and reaches over as her arm is taken by her date, her hand giving him a comforting pat on his arm. Good boy.

Once they are settled on the establishment, Derwood is sent off to retrieve champagne to wet Yana's whistle, leaving the woman to mingle on her own for a few moments. She is somewhere near Elisabeth at the time, and the sound of the woman's voice catches Yana's interest faster than the scent of food to a starving person. Is that sickness she hears? This requires an inquiry. It takes her two steps to bring herself closer to Elisabeth, busying herself at pretending to admire the decorations. "They've really done a great job, don't you think?" she speaks up to the woman.

Perry's ignorance and relative anonymity might actually come out in his favor here. The only plus to being a shut in - that and decreased chances of being the first to go in a zombie apocalypse. But that's for another genre, another time. He adjusts his tie, lacking glasses to fidget with. He nods his agreement. Whatever Melissa says! "Let's," he says, nodding, "I've meant to meet Richard. This can be my- uh- opportunity."

Elisabeth's champagne glass is set on the table nearby as Warren neatly attempts to make it look as if they'll be heading for the dance floor. She's distinctly less than pleased with this, but she smiles slightly. Game face on. Yana's interruption is perfectly timed for her to not have to actually go out on the dance floor with Warren — at least yet — and she smiles graciously at the other woman. "It's stunning," she agrees, her voice husky and slipping in and out a bit. In spite of cold meds, she definitely has the sound of a woman struggling with a head cold. "I'm glad that the new owners kept with the Tavern's customary light show. I had been hoping to see it again as the city recovers."

Skyler cocks her head and looks at Santa, flickering her gift over him. I mean, ladies in slinky dresses, where are they gonna hide a bomb on that? Well, they wouldn't. They'd hide it in the building or their coat or whatever. But Santa? Plenty of room in that outfit to hide a pony nuke. Sky shudders inwardly at the thought as she scans him.

"Of course he does," Cardinal murmurs under his breath at Jolene's question, turning his head slightly towards Brian as he speaks. His eyes roll behind his shades where nobody can see them at the 'black ops' comment, but he sobers swiftly at the other man's quieter words. He nods once, suggesting quietly, "Have someone from the van go play drunk and puke on him, see if he pulls a gun or something." If he's going to be a smart-ass, his duplicates get to vomit and risk being shot. This is the nature of their relationship.

Then his attention is directed over to Melissa - and Perry - and he looks over that way, lifting his glass of sparkling water as he notices they're heading his way.

Warren allows Elisabeth to handle that bit of mingling, removing his arm from her waist so he can slip away. Hey, there's a Richard Cardinal. And that guy… Moby something? That's intriguing, intriguing enough for him to begin heading in Toru's direction, though still staying very alert. Hard to search for a bomb without his ability, but big silvery eyes aren't something he cares to show off in the higher classes of society.

Melissa nods to Perry and starts leading the way over to Cardinal and co, offering all three bright smiles. "Hello Richard," she says, before nodding to Brian and Lene, careful not to look at the latter overly long. She doesn't know the woman. Nope, not at all. So instead she's looking at Brian, head tilting. "Do you not like my dress or something?" she asks, smoothing a hand down over it before moving onto introductions. "Perry, this is Richard, of course. Rich, this is a friend of mine, Perry. And I'm afraid I don't know either of your companions, though I've seen your lovely companion, briefly."

"Pericles Jones," that man says, by way of introduction. It feels a little odd, putting it right there in the open, but it appears this party is well populated by the covert set. A hand is offered to shake. "I've- uh- meant to make your acquaintance. Now- uh- now it's maybe not the time but- um- but I hope at a later date. I think we will- we will have things worth discussing." Well, that was vague and inarticulate. Way to make a first impression.

Skyler looks at Santa a moment, wondering why he's wearing a bogus ear wire. She shrugs. No tech? No bomb. She goes onto the next phone. That other lady in the other slinky black dress. The one with the slit up to… goodness. "Not that she hasn't got the legs for it." Sky mutters to herself.

Toru has been— mingling!! And just sort of nursing successive glasses of champagne, which he seems to be having difficulty actually enjoying. But he's drinking it anyway. He's also noticed Cardinal and Brian's little group, and while from this far off he doesn't recognize the latter, the former is.. hard to miss when you've been so intimate in the past. So Toru is avoiding that corner in favor of paying more attention to the drink and snack areas. Where he catches MortimerWarren out of the corner of his eye.

Jesus Christ.

So he turns away from that guy and sort of stands in place. Awkwardly staring in one direction, kind of looking at a corner and trying not to draw attention to himself. At least he isn't making a scene.

Dr. Blite eyes have that shifting quality, the kind where the color changes from one to the other occasionally, often from a type of brown to a green. Currently her eyes are hazel, though the left one swirls to another color. It becomes the type of green that one might see when looking at a light flashed in a cat's eye, reflecting it's color, an indication that she is using her ability to see. Weakness detection they call it, but in secret it is more specific. She is looking Liz over, discovering… Hmm.. shame. It's viral, yes, but it is something she doesn't need. Ah well, no luck this time.

As for Liz..

"Oh! I couldn't agree more!" Yana chuckles charmingly, the woman's elation bringing her to reach out and place a hand upon the woman's forearm. She needed some way to touch her, in order to give yet another Christmas gift to a stranger. To give Elisabeth's immune system a fighting chance to recover, Yana exerts her control over the particles that are ravaging Liz's system, and orders them to self-destruct. Replication ceases, and within the hour, she'll be completely free of it. This won't heal her, but it will just remove the cause. How quickly and actually if she recovers will be up to her own immune system.

"Oh! I'm sorry!" she sees Warren slip away from Liz, reaching to touch her hand to her own neckline, "Did I interrupt?" she looks genuinely apologetic.

"I cannot vomit on command. Asshole." Brian spits back at Cardinal. "But yeah. I'll check on him." He smiles gently at Melissa. "You look lovely Melissa. Just a little out of place when not in Tartarus. I was just squinting. Sorry to offend." Maybe he's a fan of the club? Looking back over to Cardinal, he gives a light nod. Glancing down at Lene and her constant looking and smiling at him, he gives a little smile. Lowering himself somewhat to speak conspiringly to her. "Who punched who?"

Allowing Cardinal to speak with Melissa and her cohort. Brian leans over somewhat with his arms folded over his chest. "What… Department are you working in? I haven't seen you in the office either. And I'm living in there right now. Well in the apartment.. Thingie."

"Don't I know you from somewhere? Your name is Moby, right?" Warren asks, sounding genuinely curious and not at all crazy for once. He raises his left hand, the mechanical one, to touch the man's shoulder. Some tinge in the back of his mind tells him he shouldn't touch with the other. "Warren Ray, by the way."

Melissa? That has Mel's brows lifting slightly. She doesn't remember meeting this person. "I'm sorry, have we met? You obviously know I work at Tartarus, but I'm afraid I don't remember ever seeing you there, and I remember all the regulars or auction volunteers." She gives Perry a glance, then shrugs slightly and looks back to the trio.

"You have fingers and a uvula," Cardinal replies without missing a beat, "And if you don't have a gag reflex, I really don't want to hear about it…"

Ah, and then Melissa and Perry are there, and he takes a sip of the water before greeting affably, "…Melissa, good to see you. Perry…" The awkward introduction is observed with a brow's slight lift, and then he chuckles, reaching out with a black-gloved hand to clasp and shake firmly, "Good to meet you. I'd offer to talk now, but I'm working…" A pause, and he says more quietly to the two new arrivals, "Humanis might be hitting the gala, so, keep an eye out, would you? If you see anything, tell one've my people."

"No," Elisabeth replies, glancing over her shoulder as Warren slips away. Bastard. Dammit. "No, not at all," the blonde reiterates mildly. "Frankly, I should thank you. I really wasn't in the mood to dance anyway." She smiles at Yana, though she'd rather grab Brian or Cardinal's attention and put it square on Warren. "You should help yourself to the hors d'oevres, though. They're wonderful."

Skyler doesn't get out her phone. She doesn't have to. It lights up on its own in her purse and sends a text message. To Warren in this case.

Gloves? Interesting. Just like Warren, Perry notes, as she shakes Cardinal's hand. Is this some sort of conspiracy fashion? Is it a faux pas that Perry isn't sporting a pair of kid gloves or the like? Oh well, too late now.

And it turns out he's not here for fun times and champagne. Perry frowns very slightly. "…I see," he says, "yes, well, if- uh- if I see anything suspicious, I'll- uh- I'll be sure to let you know. A- uh- an attack?" he glances to Melissa, "F- uh- fancy that, hmmm?"

Toru grips the champagne flute just a little bit tightly when Warren addresses him, gritting his teeth for a moment before turning to the other man. "Funny, I remembered it differently." He hrmphs, 'gently' shrugging the other man's hand off his shoulder, and turns to face him properly. "Satoru. I have hair. We've met. Apparently I didn't leave an impression."

There's a reassuring squeeze to Perry's arm before Melissa nods to Cardinal. "So I heard. Figured I'd show up, see what I could do to help and keep people from getting hurt. It's Christmas for fuck's sake," she murmurs darkly. She didn't even out Perry in case he wants to continue being secretive!

"Hi!" Jolene suddenly chirps, bolting up out of her chair and sweeping around in front of Cardinal, insinuating herself between the shadowmorph and Perry and Melissa, offering a red-lipped smile. "Jolene Mmmarley," she introduces with one hand sweeping wavy red hair over one bare shoulder. "Looks like Richard isn't the only person who dips into high society every now and then, but still knows how to get dirty when it maters." Jolene's hand is offered out to Melissa first, out of sheer familiarity more so than anything else.

"I ah— wanted to apologize for my friend's behavior that night, the ah— name calling? Calv's kind of a jerk sometimes, but— really he didn't mean it." Really, he did, but that's a whole lot less polite.

"I don't think I actually caught your name that night, and," Green eyes flick to Perry, "Pretty sure I don't know you at all. So— no better time than the present o make aquaintances right?" Burgundy colored brows rise at the notion.

"Oh, don't let it bother you, I lead a pretty active life." Warren opens his phone, checking his message, then quickly types something back before he's headed for Perry. "Mister Jones! It's good to see you again. Could we have a word?" he asks with a smile that suggests they're old friends or something, offering a gloved hand.

"We've got something Dick." Brian mutters over to the other man swiftly, giving Lene an apologetic look he straightens up quickly. "Two suits in the tavern. I don't recognize them. They're not security. Look like cops. Mines is talking with them. Talking quietly, like they're saying mean things about the guests. I'm trying to get one of our guys in there." And when he says one of 'their guys' he means, himself. "Our man outside is leaving. I'm following him just to make sure. Doesn't look like he's armed, or any phones on him or anything."

Returning his attention to Melissa, Brian purses his lips. His eyes swim to the left. "I've seen you at the club, heard your name." He dismisses. "Never had the pleasure of meeting you personally. I apologize, but I'm working. I can't mingle too much." Though his hand is offered to Melissa.

Have a viral purge, on her, Liz. You rats should be eating up this bit of Christmas cheer that Yana is spreading.. or rather not spreading. She's playing secret Santa to the sick, because she is filled with the Christmas spirit. Once the holidays are over, she might do the same thing, while replacing it with something worse. How about a little Meningitis? Or maybe a bit of Influenza? Perhaps a touch of West Nile? That's what she has stocked currently. She knows what she would like under her Christmas tree. Rabies, some Ebola, or something no one has even heard of! The possibilities are almost endless.

"Ohhh.." Yana's eyes raise at Elizabeth's explanation of Warren. The dark haired woman has watched people enough to pick up on subtle hints, and she can tell that Elisabeth isn't too fond of the man with the mechanical hand. Hmm.. wonder why? Curiouser and curiouser. "Well.. you're very welcome in that case." she leans in to whisper to the woman, "I know how you feel. Those unwanted ones that hang on? Sometimes you just wish there was a button your could push, and boom. Up in smoke they go." she jokes and smiles.

By this time, Yana's date returns with a flute, and hands one off to her. Being the gentleman that he is, he also offers the one he retrieved for himself to Liz. It's the thing to do.

Nothing like a party crasher. Technically, however, one cannot crash one's own event. Gideon d'Sarthe has been weaving along at a snail's pace to reach Cardinal, and when he does, he at least has the courtesy to say something before looming out from between a couple of bodies.

"Richard." He'll know the voice, the tone, incidentally, is quite curt.

"I do hate to interrupt." The older man, blazing platinum hair and all, comes around into sight soon after he speaks in that gravelly accent, one hand perched at his hip and the other holding onto an empty drink flute. His eyes, carefully, are taking in the cluster of people with Cardinal, only allowing enough time to make notes and to not be caught staring at any one. "Your Irish man is running out of time." Gideon directs to his momentary partner in crime, his volume low and posture leant in purely for the sake of Richard, though to anyone that knows a lick of any of this, the fact that Gideon d'Sarthe knows is quite interesting.

Lene makes Melissa look amused. "Yeah, I've run into Calvin since then. And I'm sure he did mean it. He was a bit of a jerk the other night too. Just a drunken jerk," she says, taking the offered hand. "But a friend of mine seems friendly enough with him, which gives him some leeway."

A glance to Brian, and she mms softly. "I see. And of course. Work away," she says, claiming her hand from Lene to take Brian's now. She's doing a lot of handshaking tonight. "Though a name might be nice," she says lightly, with a smile, before drawing her hand back.

The interruption by Gideon has her looking to him now, and one brow arches ever so slightly before she looks to Perry again. Iiiiinteresting.
Skyler blinks as though she's read a text and mutters to herself, "absolutely I vill not interfere." Random movie quote. She reaches out to the folks in the room, one phone at a time, trying to collect the whole set. Trying desperately to find this bomb before she gets blown into pate'. Along with everyone else. That failing, she starts poking at the building itself. She was thinking suicide bomber, but it could be a pre-planted device. She sips at her empty glass, trying to cover the fact that she's just not all here. Thankfully the waiter brings her a fresh one.

There's a bit of a pained smile, and Elisabeth's blue eyes turn sharply onto the woman standing with her. Bomb jokes are not her idea of the_funny right now, and she narrows her gaze. "Really." She brings her tiny purse up to bring her cell phone out and glance at it. "I'm sorry… I really need to take this."

Immediately excusing herself, she wends through the crowd toward the door where she spotted one of the Brians on guard duty. Standing in the doorway, she touches the one on watch on the elbow and whispers something into his ear.

Perry would introduce himself to Lene, but suddenly Warren is calling out to him. More gloved shakes forthcoming, more open admissions as to his name, more leaders of the Evolved resistance or whatever one could group this confluence under. Perry had no idea that being a violent insurgent was so social or swanky. He's not cut out for this sort of thing. Give him some books and things with which to make a bomb. Black ties and black ops mixing… not what he expected.

"P- Pericles Jones," Perry reiterates for Lene's benefit, even as he's smiling unevenly at Warren, his social anxiety plain as day on his face, "Mr. Ray, I- uh- yes I suppose so." He turns an apologetic look towards Lene. "This- uh- this shouldn't take long, should it?" the question is directed towards Warren. "I'll be- be right back." Famous last words.

A moment is spared to tip over to Melissa, murmuring very briefly in her ear. "Something happens, laugh very loudly." He now gives her arm a squeeze, an attempt to seem more composed than he is, before nodding to Warren. "Yes?"

Toru stares at Warren as he goes, finishing off his champagne and setting the glass somewhere vaguely appropriate. "Hey!" He — doesn't quite shout, though his voice is raised just a little. Sort of weakly. He doesn't go chasing after the (crazy) guy, though, and instead just.. gets another glass of champagne and sips at it. Then mumbles, "You threw a harpoon at me."

Richard is digesting the information just given him by Brian when that oh-so-distinctive voice speaks his name. His eyes slip closed for a moment, and then he holds up his glass to the small group, offering, "If you'll excuse me…"

He steps back and turns to approach Gideon in return, his head shaking ever so slightly. "I know. I have people all over the party, but nobody's seen anything yet. Some guy across the street we're checking out, and there's some cops or feds or something in the tavern, but they seem more interested in Mines than in blowing anything up. It's possible the Irishman was warned off."

Warren is quickly rushing Perry away from prying ears, draping an arm around his shoulder so he can lean in to whisper. "There's agents sweeping outside, and an entire FRONTLINE team here. Interfering would be bad. Keep your eyes open, and if you see anything, make sure she knows." He casually shifts his eyes in Elisabeth's direction, then pulls away and pats Perry's back a few times. "Like a horse she said? You sly dog! Good luck." he loudly says for everyone to hear, then he's off to Elisabeth.

Skyler gets a napkin from the waiter and dabs at her hairline a moment, finally relaxing a little. Then sends another text to Warren.

"Of course." Yana tastefully smiles to Elizabeth at her departure, a practiced nod of her head. Dominic or whatever be his name, is left holding the glass that remains untaken by the blond woman, which means it is his again, which he sips. The pair of them are left with each other once more, and Yana savors the flavor of her drink, while Donald stands around, looking like a wall flower. He isn't into her enough for her taste, and with a twitch of displeasure from one corner of her lips, she holds out her hand, expecting him to take her to the dance floor. He simply reaches to kiss it, not picking up on the hint, and causing Yana to internally sigh. Nevermind. The moment has passed.

Lifting the layer of her dress to walk, she moves to find herself a seat, suddenly halted by Warren's outburst. Over her shoulder at him she peers. She looks as if there is a bad taste in her mouth, or as if Warren had just assaulted her with a raw fish to the face, watching him scutter off towards Elisabeth, with a shake of her head.

Stepping around and away from Warren, Lene offers him a wide-eyed and anxious expression. When Gideon is busy approaching Cardinal, Lene's brows are furrowing and her lips pressing tightly together. Suddenly looking both uncomfortable and anxious around Warren, her attention flicks back to Melissa with a faint smile. "I— um, sorry I— ah… Yeah it— Calvin's a drinker," sounds distracted. Her green eyes drift between Melissa and Perry, "Wait, did… Pericles Jones?"

When Lene's attention flicks to Perry following his introduction, she's caught off guard by something in either his mannerisms or his words, gravitating her back towards Melissa and her consort in Perry. At Lene's back, however, a pair of men in sleek suits are quietly insinuating themselves into the ballroom. One of the men looks up and down the tables, the other is moving over to the area where the strings band is playing, stepping between people dancing.

When he stops, Perry catches — astutely — the subtle dangle of a curled wire behind one ear from an earpiece, lips moving in murmuring speech to no one but himself. They carry themselves like federal agents.

At the bit of news, Gideon nods once, the gesture short. "He can handle them if he must, I have faith in him. Your people have been very good with mine, aussi. Should do this more often." The tautness of a frown glimmers over with a mercurial smile. "Though I hope it does not become a habit to target myself and mine." Daniel had his dose of that, and it is something that Gideon is not banking on for the long term, personally. The Frenchman's eyes trail across the room, discerning of bodies and movement that he is doubtless to recognize and never say.

"Let us hope that he was."

Melissa nods to Perry as he wanders off, then she pauses, head tilting slightly, and she sighs softly. She perks when she spots champagne, snagging a glass for herself before she looks at Lene and nods. "Yeah, I gathered. Can't really fault him for that. And Perry Jones, yeah. Why?" she asks, more wary now, even as she sips at her drink and watches Lene turn away. A small shrug and she glances at Perry, then around the room.

FRONTLINE too? It's aces over knaves in d'Sarthe's tonight. Perry frowns as Warren conveys this information, nodding his understanding before wincing at Warren's 'cover' chatter. Like a horse? Oh, dear God. He slinks back to Melissa, trying to keep the color from his cheeks.

On his way he catches sight of posted Feddishness. This is… so not good. Perry looks sallow and somber, moreso even than usual, and retakes his partner in vigilantism's arm as soon as he has the chance. He gives Lene a smile, fake and as such totally excruciating, before murmuring with forced slowness and distinctness.

"Let Griffin know," he says, "the place is rife with badges. We need to re-proiritize. We need a prisoner. Inform the others." Stammer gone now that he has a clear course of action. Though he makes up for it by the profound awkwardness of mumbling in someone's ear while presumable socializing with others.

The Brian Lisabeth went to get gives her a little nod, going back to his duties outside. The Brian inside however glances up to Gideon then back to Cardinal. Folding his arms he shakes his head. "Just received information. Don't worry about Mines. I've got it." He glances over through the crowd to Yana, tilting his head slightly. He then looks over his shoulders to the Feds walking past Lene. Stepping up to Lene, he leans in slightly. "If you know what you know." He pauses, glancing at the Feds behind her. "Why did you show up?" He glances down. "In a dress."

Santa Brian however is watching Yana closely. Eyes knit, his sack is pulled closer to his lap, watching Yana like a hound he makes no show of trying to look elsewhere. He does HO HO HO and talk to more children. His eyes follow Yana closely.

"I'm not sure that you could afford our rates, Gideon," Cardinal replies without missing a beat, the faintest of smiles curving to his lips at the mention of doing things more often, "We just happen to have mutual interests at the moment…" As they're approached by Brian, he nods to the man's words, "Good."

Everything seems to be going smoothly. Too smoothly. He doesn't like it.

A last nod to d'Sarthe, and then he steps away from him, drifting in a general meander through the room in the direction of Elisabeth Harrison.

"Fuck," is Melissa's oh so eloquent reply to Perry. She half turns, murmuring into the bluetooth. "Lots of badges. Perry wants a prisoner. Be careful." Then she sighs and looks at Perry. "This evening just gets better and better. Wonder who's gonna show up next." And that thought makes her look around, half expecting to see someone from the Institute here.

When the Brian that she stopped turns away, Elisabeth goes back to more sharply watching the people in the room. Damn there are a lot of civilians in here, and she really hates it. As she moves back into the crowd, her steps carry her into Cardinal's general vicinity even as she picks up another glass of champagne. It's not as if her first one got to be tasted at all. As she sips, those blue eyes fall on the man himself, and she lowers her glass to smile slightly in his direction, then glances down at her phone briefly. Perhaps wishing it would give her a better update.

Warren pulls a napkin from his pocket, quickly scribbling something down as he approaches Elisabeth and offers it. "I do believe you forgot my number, pretty eyes." he says with a bit of slickness, and ten popped collars worth of douche.

The napkin however, is a different story. No bombs built into the building itself, at least nothing digital. Informed my team not to interfere and to contact you with any information.

How could anyone accuse Dr. Blite of doing anything near a terrorist act of bombing? Her joke was a mere coincidence, she is probably one of the only people here who isn't aware of a bomb scare. The woman is a charitable saint. What a heinous thing to do, have someone watch her so closely.. Why.. if she were aware, she would be terribly offended. Unfortunately she is not, so Brian's watchful eye goes unnoticed, and Yana attends to her business of being escorted to a proper table.

A bomb would be crass.. So messy and unsubtle at all. Now an outbreak, that would be perfect. Something quick, so quick that she watches people drop like flies around her, one by one, clutching their throats from asphyxiation in their own bile, bleeding congealed blood from their eyes. Mmm.. that sounds like a very interesting disease.

Skyler looks over at what Warren's doing. She resists the urge to pester him. He'll tell her if he wants her to do anything else. Assuming this op isn't as messed up as say, the last one she got sent out on. Sky gets another glass of water, and simultaneously wishing Evan was here and thankful that he's not.

"Warren." The man's name all but dangles icicles as Richard Cardinal approaches the pair, one brow tic'ing up over the edge of his shades. Maybe he'd heard that pretty eyes comment. Or maybe he's just annoyed at the man for quite possibly unleashing Skynet upon the world in the form of something that looks a bit like a Goblin Glider.

He really hopes that DNA test doesn't say they're related.

"Liz." That name's more quiet and softer as he pauses beside her, "You're, uh, looking good tonight."

From elsewhere in d'Sarthe's, a soothing female voice is echoing and the local dining hall band has stopped, allowing music piped in from the Tavern to play over the sound system. The crooning voice of Marie d'Sarthe and the beginning melody of Silent Night begins filtering through the speakers while most of the restaurant is wholly unaware of the situation presented to them.

Silent night, holy night

Turning to look askance to Brian, Jolene partway lids her eyes but seems to be staring past him to Pericles', then Melissa, then back to Brian. "Because knowing," she says, as if it were about to be a very important lesson, "is half the battle." Cheekily smiling, Lene arches one burgundy brow and leans back towards Brian, bumping her shoulder against his. "More importantly, it wasn't ever about just saving one life."

All is calm, all is bright.

On the fringes of Skyler Martin's senses, several new electronic devices are starting to move into her awareness. Cell phones, radios, onboard sensors to a vehicle. An automobile of some kind, presumably with multiple passengers, is making a slow approach in the direction of the kitchen. Briefly visible to other patrons out the large windows of the dining hall, a Good Humor delivery truck rounds the drive up to the kitchen entrance, able to stay mostly out of view for aesthetic reasons. Sifting through the morass of new information, Skyler's vigilance begins to pick up unfamiliar objects.

Round yon Virgin Mother and Child…

"Tonight's about making a difference," Lene admits with a crease of her brows, "you know— that whole speech about great power and great responsibility? It's totally true, people like us," she taps two fingers at the center of her chest, "we've gotta' try and… you know," green eyes move to view Cardinal's profile at a distance, "we've gotta make a difference however we can…"

Holy Infant so tender and mild…

Everything is moving again, phones are jumbling around, there's a sea of electronics here, from Blackberries to bluetooth headsets to the digital order receivers in the kitchen, and much like a casual observer trying to track a person through a busy crowd, Skyler keeps noticing something out of the ordinary popping up in her peripheral senses, an electronic device, broadcasting, multiple remote triggers — heartrate monitor?

Sleep in heavenly peace…

Lene's green eyes square on Melissa, and this much is said aloud, not in as much confidence as she was offering the last bit to just Brian. "We're all good people, right? We're defined by our actions, and stuff. If I knew something bad was gonna' happen tonight…" She looks back to Brian, "and I didn't try and stop it? I wouldn't be a good person anymore."

Sleep in heavenly peace…

Something is moving through the kitchen, judging from the frustrated sounds of the cooks to the mundane observer. Judging from the presence of multiple electronic devices to Skyler.

"Party's out that way, pal," says the voice of one of the chefs, the swinging kitchen door swinging out and a dark-haired man in a tuxedo stumbling out. "And lay off the champagne for a bit!"

The young man staggers, bumping into the wall immediately and then stumbling into a table nearby. The black tuxedo he wears is not the most expensive of makes, and it's clearly not been tailored to him — too baggy in the legs, too short in the wrists, blocky and square around the torso in a way that doesn't match the lean, bruised, and scruffy face of one Nick York.

Once he's righted himself again, Nick stares down at himself, scowling at the monkey suit he finds himself in, the too-tight shoes, the fucking bow tie that he suddenly pulls at like he can't breathe. "Bloody fuckin' 'ell," he mutters, lifting bleary and bloodshot blue eyes to survey the many faces no doubt peering in his direction.

Gideon, left alone by the devices of Cardinal, finds himself approaching one of the various men in black- literally- that now seem to be infiltrating his party. He can see them when they crawl in under the doors; he hasn't spent his life in this world for nothing, if not recognizing the government. His lovely daughter's voice over the sound systems brings a genuine smile to his face, naturally. When he reaches the nearest suit, "Excusez-moi-"

"-I think that I need some identification from you. And your friends, d'accord?" Not as much a question.

Mel put it well, Perry will concede. 'Fuck' is about right. This place has an infestation. What are all these squares doing at a swinging party? Shouldn't they be out persecuting someone? Someone else? Someone poorer?

Of course, Perry is himself not very wealthy at all, and also a terrorist so… perhaps there is some call for the Fed be to be here. But it certainly puts a damper on the mood. Lene's words, united with the eerily lovely recitation of Silent Night, catch Perry's attention all the same. This was, after all, the girl with the answers, right?

"Well- uh- yes. Yes, I think- I mean, you're right. Assuming that you do what you do because- um- because you have to and it would be a- u- a betrayal otherwise," Perry replies, falteringly, but with some feeling, "as long as it's not some- uh- other intention dressing itself up as ethics. If you- uh- if you follow."

"G.I Jooe." Brian chants after Jolene, smiling softly. Looking over his shoulder at Melissa and Pericles he frowns slightly before returning his attention to her. "That's what it's about?" He asks quietly, peering at Jolene with somewhat wide eyes. Smirking a little at her, he dips his chin somewhat. "You remind me of someone. Well I hope you get to keep being a good person after tonight, Jolene. But if you'll excuse me."

Ducking away from Jolene, Brian goes to grab Cardinal by the arm. "We have a truck outside. Should I send our van team at it?" He frowns deeply, glancing around the room. Leaning in more he whispers some. "There are feds looking for Griffin in the other room." Closing his eyes a moment for the song, he smiles lightly. "If this shit goes down. It's going to go down to Silent Night. Makes perfect sense."

Lene's words have Melissa shaking her head. "I'm not a good person. Not anymore." And she sounds dead certain of this fact. "But this can't be allowed to happen." The stumbling draws her attention and for the first time she looks truly surprised. "What the hell is he doing here?" she blurts out, staring at Nick. Then, under her breath, she indulges in a curse or two. In Mandarin, to try to save the sensibilities of anyone nearby who isn't as fond of cursing as she is.

She moves closer to Perry, whispering, "Feds are after Griff. They're separating. Shit." She's just full of single word descriptions of the situation that work. "And I don't see shit for what we came here for."

Warren, really? Your phone number? Elisabeth takes the napkin and glances at it, nodding slightly to the man. But it's the shadowmorph who gains the smile from her. "Thanks," she murmurs quietly, blue eyes searching his face for a moment. It's Christmas Eve. They're not exactly here to socialize, but…. it's Christmas Eve and a lovely voice is singing Silent Night. What'd he tell her? Inside the tough-girl exterior she was all bubble gum and roses or something like that? Yeah, well…. she's a girl. "Wanna dance?" she asks softly. "It's a good way to get a look around without looking like you're staring at people."

Brian arrives at Cardinal's elbow with the news about the truck, and Elisabeth's eyes go wide. She hisses, "Humanis First brought in an ice cream truck to the Suresh Center gala." She looks worried and murmurs, "There's a FRONTLINE team on back-up out there. Do you want them, or you want to send the van?" she murmurs, blue eyes flickering up to the man in charge of security.

"Cardinal." Warren states his name in mutual acknowledgment, then leaves the two alone so he can walk over to Skyler, offering a gloved hand. "Would you like to dance?" he asks, moving in closer so he can whisper. "I'm going to shift my eyes and mostly look at you, but I'll be glancing around the room. Maybe I'll pick up some sort of ticking."
Everyone seems to be pairing off to do a bit of dancing, which would be nice, but Yana's date just didn't really get the hint. The good doctor is currently sitting at their table while Damon or whatever his name is, sits quietly, looking around at everyone going about their thing. Perhaps she expects too much from him, but she expects it none the less. He is certainly not living up to her standard of partners, leaving her to sit and sip her champagne at a table while everyone else is dancing. Yeah.. you just earned yourself a healthy dose of the Flu virus with the goodnight kiss, Steven…

Steven? But that doesn't even start with a D.


Nick's appearance is given a curious lift of Yana's brow. Out of habit, she looks him over with a reflective eye, checking him for anything interesting that she is capable of seeing.
Skyler's eyes widen behind her shades. She looks from Nick toward the truck outside and back. She shakes her head to Warren steps back. "Check your phone." she whispers. "I have to powder my nose." Her phone flickers to life again, and a text message with a graphic image gets sent to Warren's phone. Sky quietly makes her way to the ladies room. And from there, or at least from the line therein, she does her best to save the day.

Does Richard Cardinal want to dance? He might. He might not. He never gets the chance to answer, though, because suddenly he has a Queen and a Knight both whispering urgent information in his direction and his adrenaline levels skyrocket in an instant, his gaze cutting over in the direction of the kitchens. "They blew up an ice cream stand during the suicide bombing… well, fuck, they're a themed gang of racist lunatics. Where's Batman when you need him?" Just in case anyone was wondering, that was a rhetorical question. He knows exactly where Batman is.

Jensen Raith is on Pollepel Island.

"Have FRONTLINE cover the front, Brian, head yourselves around to the back," he says tightly, bringing one hand up to his earbud, "This is Cardinal. Stay on alert. We might have an incipient breach of security. Send a few people to check the kitchens and anywhere that connects to the back of the building."

No doubt peering in Nick's direction, Toru's face bears a startled expression! Followed quickly by a raised eyebrow and a 'stepping away from the uncouth dude' expression, followed by a visual sweep around the room and returning to look at that guy again. … Well, at least he's kind of interesting. And Toru's never been one to find violent entrances to be off-putting.

And not, y'know, someone who hates him. That's a plus! He was already standing not too far away from where Nick crash-landed anyway, and so, ever so casually, he asks, "Did it hurt?" Eyebrows lifted. "When you fell fro —" and here he stops himself mid-sentence, shaking his head hurriedly. "Fuck it, that sounds even worse than it did in my head. Here for the party?" Nobody else seems to be.

Puzzling a look at Nick and Toru, Lene opens her mouth as if to say something, only then noticing that Brian is headed away, having missed his farewell entirely in distraction. She huffs out a breath, turning a look to Melissa when she recognizes Nick, and concern begins to tick-tock through Lene's features as she hustles to move and keep pace with Melissa, "Who— who is that? You know him? Wait— Melissa?" She's still not entirely sure on the name, or has appearances to that effect. "How— how much do you know of what's going to happen tonight?"

Lene looks back over her shoulder to Cardinal, trying to keep line-of-sight with him, then flicks a look back to Melissa again. "Are— are you working with Richard too? How— you sounded like— " Only now is Lene beginning to realize just how far her warning about tonight seems to have spiraled, and how much of a butterfly effect there can be on her actions here.

Away from the distraction of Nick's emergence from the kitchen, the federal agents cornered by Gideon d'Sarthe look uncomfortable and awkward. One of the men, discretely, steps aside and opens up a wallet and leans in, revealing a badge that displays FBI in blue on white. "My name is Agent Lane, we're here on reports that a known terrorist by the name of Griffin Mihangle may be resident within your establishment mister d'Sartne…" The agent's brows raise as he looks to his partner and gives a nod, as if giving him permission to continue on and move into the room, giving a look to Nick, but dismissing the young man's seemingly drunken demeanor.

"No one is in any immediate danger, mister d'Sarthe," Agent Lane insists, "but if mister Mihangle is here we'd like to take him in peacefully if possible. But there is a FRONTLINE team waiting outside in case this turns violent. We don't want to cause a scene though, but we've asked your security team for their cooperation…"

Nick swipes a hand over his brow, a little greasy with sweat, his face pale. "Fuckin'… wot are you talkin' about, wanker?" he slurs a bit at Toru, eyes narrowing as he leans against the wall, shifting to look at the agents for a moment. As if their presence reminds him who he is, and who he is supposed to be pretending to be, he clears his throat.

"Is it fuckin' hot in here?" he asks, the cockney-ish accent fading into a more generic American accent. He tugs off the bow tie — Walsh sprang for a real one, not a clip on, apparently — and tosses it at Toru, who might hope he's being treated to a personal striptease on account of his pick-up abilities.

Next, Nick unbuttons his coat, pale eyes scanning for the exit. "Where's the way out, it's fucking hot in here…" Could be just the drugs he's clearly on talking.

Or, as he pulls his coat off — the fact that he's got, beneath a layer of Saran-Wrap, eight small bricks of C-4 duct-taped to a tactical vest, their curly red wires attaching to a waferboard of circuitry; one wire snakes out of the bomb toward Nick's right sleeve, connecting to an adhesive heart-rate pad.

Nick York's life gets better and better.

He glances down at the gasp that follows the loss of his coat, and, if possible, grows more pale. "Fuck," he hisses, then louder, "Get the hell out, go, go, GO!" to the room at large.

It is all very cut and dry, Gideon's encounter with the agents; they know who he is, he presumed to know why they were here. The news of a second presence here unsettles him, though it does not register on his expression as he examines the badge and nods once. A great many things seem to happen all at once, now. Nick, the drunkard, is apparently not so much a drunkard, but the very person that he had been expecting. As such, it may be a small surprise when he reacts quite calmly, turning himself to watch the man bound with explosives.

As opposed to the party crowd, which frankly takes one look at Nick when he yells- and begin to caterwaul themselves, suddenly pushing in various directions away from him. Gideon is effectively on the front line with the duo of agents soon enough, even if his staying there can also come as unexpected. Maybe he thinks himself as intimidating as men in black suits. He may be right.

Nodding to Cardinal. "I've got the van team heading around to check the truck." Brian's eyes pop up. "We have a minor problem." He bites down on his lower lip for a moment. "Feds they found…"

But before he can finish his sentence the unmistakable report of a gunshot sounds out. It appears like it's coming from the lobby, though the tavern is in the same direction.

Walking swiftly up to Gideon, Brian raises his hands. "Mister d'Sarthe. One of these 'federal agents' just fired an unprovoked shot in the tavern. No one was injured, I didn't see what he was aiming at. My men are taking down the 'agent' immediately. I suggest the validity of these FBI agents is confirmed before we allow them to continue to have a presence." The younger man says firmly to Gideon, aiming his gaze sternly at Agent Lane.But then.. Bomb boy walks in. Glancing over to Nick, Brian's jaw drops. He glances over his shoulder at Cardinal. "I don't think we should evacuate."

"Ho Ho…" Standing up immediately Santa Brian is carrying his gift sack in the direction of Nick.

Drawing her attention away from Nick and Perry, Melissa looks at Lene. "Yeah, I know him. He's not Humanis First though." He damn well better not be, anyway. "And all I know is that those bastards are supposed to hit this place tonight, with a bomb. I'm not working with Richard, but I'm not working against him yet. Consider our goals parallel tonight." And then her expression hardens a bit. "Though I'd very much like to know how you found out about the attack."

But then Nick strips down to the explosives and she goes stark white. "Oh fuck me." She forgets about Lene for the moment, though as sure as god made little green apples, she'll be hunting the girl down soon. If she survives her stupidity for the night. For now though, she's worried about a friend, and one who helped her when she needed it most.

There's a brief hesitation, half a second, maybe three quarters, before she abandons Perry and the others, moving towards Nick. She doesn't know jack about explosives, but she looks at what's revealed anyway. "You heard him, get the fuck out of here! Clear this place!" she yells, hoping to help Nick in clearing the room. "A bomb expert would be just dandy right about now," she adds before looking at Nick's face. "Who did this? Give me their name," she demands, quietly, but that doesn't lessen it's force.

If Mel survives trying to help Nick the Bomb, Lene won't be the only person she's hunting down.

Elisabeth brings her phone back up, reading the text she just got. "Richard!" Alarm drains her face of color. And she's too late, really, to warn them because it's already going down. It's already going down in huge, ugly ways — the gunshot ringing out from the other room is certain to spark a panic along with the sight of a man strapped with C4. People are already starting to lose it. She speedtexts to the officers in the Factory, Send OS in, full sweep outside Tavern. Bomber inside Tavern already, DO NOT ENTER. Hostage situation in progress! FRONTLINE 01 already inside, will back situation as necessary. And having FRONTLINE armor on the scene for this will not likely end well.

Only then does she look up, and despite what she knows this will do to her personally, Elisabeth mentally shoves at the power that she's only just beginning to regain the use of to be heard calmly above everything else in the dining room, her contralto strained and husky with the head cold she's sporting but carrying beautifully for just those few moments. "Everyone CALM DOWN! Move quickly to the sides of the room, get behind the tables. DO NOT EXIT the building, agents are sweeping the area for snipers!" She struggles to lace it with the same kind of calm she's always utilized in potential riot situations, but the blast of pain through her skull sends both hands flying to her head. There's a gush of blood from her nose as she does it and she drops her cell phone on the floor.

Salvaging that gown is probably not going to happen. Uncertain if she's been able to keep them calm, Liz is blinded with the agony that accompanied that usage. She's only barely begun to be able to hold her ability steady for 30 to 60 seconds at a time as it is; something behind her eyes feels like it just exploded when she did it.

Warren's already rushing to the man with the C-4, eyes shifting to a mirror-like silver as he removes his jacket and tosses it to some random guy, then slips off his gloves before rolling up his sleeves and revealing the lower left arm that's almost the same color as his eyes. A mirror latex-like material covering whatever is under it, sleeves not high enough to see how exactly it's attached, if indeed it's not just some weird ass glove.

He holds up his registration card when he steps in front of Nick, speaking very calmly. "My name is Warren Ray, registered Mechanical Intuitive. I need you to stay calm, can you do that for me? I know how this thing works, if you can stay calm, I can disarm it." He looks back in Elisabeth's direction, calling over, "Can you keep the feds back while I do this? I need to concentrate."
By the time Yana makes recognition of what is going on, the woman looks up and over at her date.. who is now an empty chair, falling flat on it's back. Whatever his name was high tailed it with the quickness, leaving poor Dr. Blite to fend for herself. What a terrible escort service! For him to ditch at the first sign of trouble? Filthy, rat.. how dare he! He moves to the front of the line for the more volatile experiments in the future, once she tracks him down. For now though, there is the person screaming for them to get out. This isn't normally something that happens at one of these events, and Yana isn't going to be the one to get caught with her dress down.

Dr. Blite quickly rises to her feet, while her eyes stare widely at the screaming Nick, the woman quickly reaching down to lift the correct portions of her dress and gather it up into her hands so that she can bit a hasty retreat towards the door. Don't have to tell her twice. Oooh.. whoever is responsible will pay for this dearly. The unmitigated gall that someone would have! Pulling a stunt like this! The megalomania in her mind is dictating that she bring about harsh retribution for making her run in this dress.

"Alright, we…" Those're the only two words that Cardinal gets out before everything goes absolutely insane at once. The gunshot, the sudden appearance of an entire vest of explosives in the room and the near-collapse of Elisabeth as she pushes her power beyond what her current state can safely handle. The latter problem is closest at hand, and he reaches out to catch her before she falls, a matter that results in him getting smeared in blood as he moves to help her down into a chair, keeping his voice tight and level, "Just relax, Liz, we can handle it from here on…"

Into the headset, he hisses, "Keep people clear of the bomb, give Warren room to do his thing. This is a distraction from the main event, find whatever the hell is really going on and find it yesterday."

It's just Nick's luck that Toru tends to have a thing for abusive British guys… except that he stops being British in pretty short order, which elicits another weird look from the Asian lad. He blinks and catches the bowtie thrown at him, shoving it into his pocket because why not, but just … stares at Nick for a minute. He doesn't really expect a striptease so much as a dude who is hopped up on something feeling overheated as a result, and finally his expression fades into forced amusement. There's a chuckle, even, and he sips some more champagne.

"Door's over that way, bro, same way you came i..n…" The fact that he's suddenly looking at a very bomby sort of thing might explain why he suddenly trails off, there. Caught in the headlights for a minute, all he can do is stare with his mouth sort of dumbly open, before he finally snaps back into it and whispers, "Motherfucker, this is not happening again." His champagne flute is dropped to the floor, shattering with optimum production values, and he turns to start running the hell away in an orderly fashion. And yelling. "Dickbird, what the hell is going on in here!" When Cardinal's around, Toru does so like to find a way to blame him for everything.

Outside of the restaurant, a team of six men in urban camouflage have surrounded the Good Humor truck that was trying to pull away from the restaurant. Small arms fire outside is visible and audible out the windows of the dining hall, followed by the wail of police sirens and flashing lights. From inside the truck, the driver and passenger engage in a brief firefight with the masked members of Redbird Security Solutions, before — in cowardice — turn the guns on themselves when their tires are shot out.

Police sirens are a good distance away, having been kept out of sight by the federal agents wanting to feel out the restaurant for the suspected terrorist's presence. But gunshots, screams, panic are the things that set everything into a semblance of chaotic motion tonight.

When one Brian comes to inform Gideon about the gunshot, the agents with Mister d'Sarthe turn as if to say something, and then are waylaid by a screeching noise from their earbuds. Staggering and yanking out their headsets, the agents seem dazed by some sort of technopathic attack on their communications. Furthermore, radio signals across the restaurant are being scrambled. It won't disrupt cell phones, but anything broadcasting on an analog radio signal will find itself unable to perform necessary functions.

Like Nick's vest.

A green light on the waferboard circuitry suddenly turns red.

This should be where Nick Ruskin turns into kibbles and bits.

This is where Skyler Martin's technopathy is interrupting one critical signal from the circuitboard to the C-4 strapped to his body, preventing ignition from happening. If she so much as forgets to block that signal for a bare moment, Nick and everyone around him will be so much chunky soup.

"Warren— WARREN!" Lene is shouting at the top of her lungs, while most people are trying to give the bomb expert clearance, Lene is taking Melissa by the hand and making sure she isn't seperated from her, all the while the woman in red is hopping up and down wildly, waving her free arm over her head to try and get the attention of a man that she would never— ever— want to speak with.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

"Warren— Warren you gotta disarm this!" Imploring the obvious comes with the curl of fingers at Warren's sleeve and an anxious tug there, Jolene's green eyes wide. "Hey— Hey buddy— " Lene calls out to Nick, "Hey c— c'mon and calm down," not even realizing that she's under the influence of Elisabeth's calming suggestive voice, Lene is reaching out for Nick, looking down to the C-4 strapped to his chest beneath the layer of plastic wrap. Lene sidles up to Warren's side, her wavy red hair disheveled from her hopping, heels discarded somewhere along the way.

"M— Melissa," she turns to look askance at the pain manipulator, "can you keep this guy calm?" Lene apparently has no idea who Nick is, "Just— just talk to him." Behind the lenses of Jolene's glasses, her eyes have gone mercurial chrome like spheres of polished steel. "If his heart rate accelerates too high, the vest will detonate." Unaware of Skyler's assistance, Jolene turns her mercurial eyes up to Warren, mirroring his own stare in hers.

"I can help," Jolene affirms, her jaw tight and voice tense.

She's just like him.

The surprise guest growls at Liz's direction to the crowd. "You stay, then and I'll go," Nick says with resolve, shaking his head at first Melissa and Brian as they start moving in his direction, hands up to ward them off.

"I need to get out… stay away," he hisses at both, backing away and looking for the exit, trying to move that way when Warren blocks his way.

"Not with these people in 'ere," he growls, reaching up to mop at his sweat-beaded brow as he tries to move around Warren toward the exit. "Look, you wanna poke around at it, do whatever you want, but come with me outside. You do it wrong and everyone in here dies, mate, me, you, every'un. I'd rather it just be me but we're movin' it outside, and the snipers might get you. I'm meat already."

When that light turns red, he closes his eyes, apparently expecting it to be too late. When Lene comes rushing over, he shakes his head. "I'm going outside. Stay here."

Blue eyes, weary, wary, scan his audience. "Tell 'er I'm sorry," Nick murmurs, locking eyes with Melissa for a moment. "Tell 'er I didn't mean for this to 'appen."

That said, Nick rushes for the nearest door.

Knowing what he does now, and seeing what happens as it is laid out in front of him, Gideon only has one thing that he sees fit to do. And that, for some reason, is to fish into his slacks for something small. He pulls out a pair of rubbery earplugs, jamming them into his ears and backpedaling swiftly away from the scene of the crime, and Nick Ruskin's attempted rescue/exit. If he knows his blood at all, he's going to need whatever wits he currently possesses.

This is why he has trained security; less meat, more wiles. They are already opening emergency exits like floodgates, alternating roles and sending some with firearms out into the street to clear those exits from the outside.

What the hell do you do when you have no powers, and blessed little actual demolitions defusing experience. Perry makes bombs, he doesn't disassemble them. Unless it's a rudimentary design, he hasn't a hope in the world. The gawky young man watches, jaw unhinged, as Melissa offers to help… and is turned down. Or so Nick's running seems to make very clear. Someone doesn't want to be helped.

Perry imagines, for a moment, that it's Nick's prerogative. That maybe it would be wrong to try and stop him.

Perry bolts towards Melissa. If she tries to go after Nick… he may just have to try and top her. He can't afford to lose more members. The roster is small enough.

Brian looks to Lene then to Warren. Well they seem to know stuff. So he'll pitch in. Everyone else in a headset is showing extreme amounts of pain and throwing their headsets out. However Brian seems to be completely oblivious of this radiopain. Mainly because his earbuds are glorified ear plugs. He looks in between Lene and Warren. "My men found a transmitter thingie out in their truck. It has a red light on it. What do I do? Do you want me to stop him?" Immediately his hand is going for his gun. "Should I shoot his legs?" Brian asks the people who know about bombs with FRUSTRATED tones!

"I'm not finding anything else, Dickie! My boys don't see anything going out the front. I think we can get them out that way. I think it's safe!" He motions with his head towards the door.

The hand holding hers is given a quick look, but there's too much at stake for Melissa to waste precious time trying to free herself of the other woman. Instead she just moves with Lene towards Nick and Warren. There's a pause when so many people end up in pain, either temporary or a bit longer lasting in Elisabeth's case, teeth gritting as she lets out a growl of frustration. "Not now," she hisses to herself, forcing the borrowed pain to the back of her mind. She's had practice. "How can you help?" she asks Lene, quickly. "I'll do my best. He's a friend."

When Nick bolts, Melissa's going after him, with or without Lene. She never did listen very well. "I'm not leaving you. You can tell her yourself!" And there's no doubt she's assuming he means Eileen. What other her would he be talking about? "And no body is shooting him! He's the bomb, not the bomber you idiot," she snaps without looking to Brian.

With her following Nick, and so desperate to get the bomb off of him, she makes a grab for him. And it's no accident that, after Brian's question, she does her best to ensure that she's between Nick and Brian. At least that Brian. "Nick stop! Let us disarm it so no one, including you, gets hurt!"

Elisabeth wilts right into that chair, but she pries her blue eyes open to see what's happening. Blood be damned, her phone is on the floor. "FRONTLINE OS unit sweeping the building outdoors," she gasps to Cardinal through eyes teared up with pain, both to let him know and as a warning that they could wind up killing innocents if things aren't handled well. The man leading the OS team is… harsh. Bending down from her seat to scrabble for her phone, she does manage to accidentally flash that she's carrying too, though she hides that quickly from everyone but the man next to her. She's seeing halos all over everything. "Fuck," she murmurs in disgust. "Where the fuck are the real HF guys?" she demands.

Looking up at Richard, she slides her hand under her skirt and pulls the small .38-caliber pistol from its thigh holster. Classy girl. "Go," she tells him. She's not some delicate flower who needs him to hover. He's got shit to do…. and so does she. But her knees feel like water, so she'll…… yeah. Well, she'll shove herself to her feet to help with the evacuation until she can't anymore. And then she'll sit down. Later. She'll rest when she's got time. "I'll take the first group out the front," she tells Brian. If only because she doesn't want them shot by cops or FRONTLINE on accident, or Humanis First on purpose!

"I don't have time for this shit! I don't care how you do it, stop him so I can keep us all from getting blown up." Warren rushes for Nick, reaching out to grab the man's arm tightly with his good hand. "I will say this once, once. I don't have time for this emotional bullshit, lives are in danger. If you keep running, he will shoot you in the knees, and I will disarm the bomb anyway. It's not going to explode yet, I have someone taking care of that, and if he gets out of her range, he might explode anyway."

He shoots Lene a look. "I don't care what your ability is, even if it's the same as mine, you are not touching him, I don't know or trust you." Then, looking to Melissa. "If you can do something, do it now. I'm not in the mood for anyone's opinion, I have work to do. Is everyone clear?"

"They're outside," Richard reports in quiet, terse tones as he gets Elisabeth seated, "Brian's on it."

Of course, the guy with the bomb vest can't just stand still that would be too simple, wouldn't it. Once he's shoo'd away from the chair where he's settled Liz, he takes a step away to put himself in Nick's path as he heads for the door. Shadows slither from his jacket's cuff and become a gun in his hand, swept up to level at the walking bomb as he states calmly and flatly, "Please sit down and calm yourself, sir. We have this under control."

Toru is kind of left to his own devices and really not sure where he should be going right now. Once he's gotten out of the middle of the room and towards one of the tables shoved to the side, he looks around with some confusion as to whether he should be staying indoors or leaving or what, eventually settles on sliding underneath a table for shelter. Once he's down there he yells, "If somebody wants to calm that guy down, maybe you should have brought some fucking orphan kittens!!" He's sure if someone went outside they'd find a box on the sidewalk somewhere.

But with his tiny fury at the situation expressed, he settles in to.. start tweeting because what else is he going to do while this all goes down, seriously.

"Still an asshole," Lene mutters back to Warren as her eyes shift from mercurial back to green, looking around the dining hall swiftly, trying to pick out faces she recognizes, grimacing as her nose wrinkles. It's only when she sees Perry in her periphery by Melissa that an idea dawns on Lene. Snapping her fingers she turns back to the door.

"Nick!" She calls out, stocking clad feet padding across the floor while most everyone else tries to evacuate through the other doors, the federal agents trying to clear a path, getting caught in the sea of people trying ot evacuate away from the man in the bomb vest, shouts of 'Federal Agent' falling not on deaf ears, but close enough.

"Nick if you get too far away, that vest will go up and take you with it!" Suddenly, Lene's request seems all the more compelling, reasonable in a chaotic and unreasonable situation. Drugged as he is, Nick is even more susceptible to suggestions of the sort. "You have to listen to me," she implores with hands slowly rising, "slow down, take a seat, let Warren deactivate the bomb before someone gets hurt… We're here to help, okay? We're… we're going to fix this, nobody's gonna blow up but you gotta listen to us okay?"

Pericles Jones may be bereft of confidence in his ability, may be unaware of what he's capable of, but someone who is aware of what he's armed with can wield it for him until such a time as he becomes educated in just what kind of power he has. "Richard?" Lene turns green eyes to Cardinal, "Um, gun down— o-okay?"

Warren grabbing his hand gets a Nick fist to the face, Melissa a kinder shaking off, and Cardinal and Brian each distraught rollings of the eyes when they threaten to shoot a man trying to get outside so he can die.


He turns to look at Lene, dark brows furrowing as he staggers slightly; teary blue eyes look to the door — it's so close. So very close. A few more steps, and he'd be in the clear, able to get far enough away from the building that there'd be no lives lost, no deaths caused by his stupidity.

It's tempting — his emotions lead him in that way, but her logic gives him pause, makes him reconsider.

He swallows, jaw tensing, shaking hand moving up to rake through the short locks of his hair.

"Get the rest of 'em away, in the other room — or maybe we can go in the kitchen, get further away from them," Nick finally manages.

The first directed use of Perry's ability, and he isn't even using it. If only he knew how helpful he was. Right now Pericles Jones feels particularly useless. If Warren weren't here, he'd have to attempt the defuse, and while it might get everyone killed, at least he'd be of some known value. Personal tragedy.

As it is, he just hovers by Melissa, staying bravely and pointlessly close by the bomb, or as close as Melissa gets. Sticking to his partner.

Putting his gun away, Brian frowns lightly. Everyone's making fun of him :(. Turning around, Brian and Santa start guiding the crowd to the entrance. "Everyone out!" Winters shouts, waving his hands wildly for them all to move.

When Nick gives in, a quick, sharp look is given to Lene by Melissa. But all things considered, she can't really blame the woman. She nods and looks at Cardinal. "We'll take care of it. Just get people away from the kitchen." It's not a request, even if he's the security guy here and she's just someone who came to 'party'.

Putting a hand lightly on Nick's shoulder, she starts trying to steer him towards the kitchen. "Jolene, Perry, with me. And you," she looks to Warren, "soon as we get away from people, you get this thing off him safely. Now c'mon. Calm and quick."

"Fine, whatever makes everyone feel better, time isn't of the essence or anything." Warren starts heading for the kitchen, though along the way, he's glancing at Lene. "I don't know you, I've never seen you before, and all the memory wipes in the world wouldn't make me forget sleeping with you, so get to know me before you start insulting the guy who's about to keep you from being blown up."

Yana really doesn't have any loyalties to anyone here, because she really doesn't know anyone here. Her date skipped out on her, there is very little more she can do than get blown up, which she would rather not. She wants, and she isn't too much of a pushy person, so she is having difficulty getting past a few people to the egress.

As the walking bomb finally gives in to the request to stay the hell still and let people work on the explosive - and possibly because Jolene asked nicely - Cardinal brings the gun up away from the man and vertical with a bend of his elbow. "Fine," he says tightly, "Just sit down, please, sir."

He glances over to Brian, nodding slightly as his actions confirm that the outside is safe, and then he sweeps an arm towards the door, voice lifting, "I want a calm and orderly departure from the building, everyone. You're not in any danger now, so just make your way out the doors, please… Brian, make sure those - other helpful people get out the kitchen safely, alright?" The last part is more quiet, mostly said over the earpiece he's wearing.

"Warren, stop bickering with Jolene and both of you get your asses over and help disarm this bomb on…" A pause, "What's your name?" Hi, Nick!

The face Lene makes in response to Warren is a lip-curl of disgust followed by a quick flattening of that expression, a wrenching of her eyes shut and a deep breath in through her nose before slowly exhaling it patiently. Jolene's hands curl closed and flex open again as she forces a polite smile, then flicks a green-eyed stare over to Nick.

When it looks like he's calmed down and is acquiescing to Warren's orders, Lene starts to withdraw, backing up and away from where the mechanical intuitive, using Skyler's mentally constructed schematics, will hopefully prevent tonight's tragedy from happening.

Swallowing awkwardly, there's a sudden sound of shattering glass and a few more yelps of fright from the other side of the restaurant, followed by a loud crash, a clunk and then relative silence. Stepping back towards the remainder of the diners who have yet to file out of the exit, Jolene offers a wordless look to Cardinal and a subtle nod, then begins weaving and slipping her way between people until she disappears from sight, leaving her employer and the explosive device behind. She's done her best — too much — and that will have to be enough.

The noise of police sirens are getting louder, the cops that the federal agents had kept clear are finally approaching the building and grounds and the agents themselves who had been trying to work their way through the crowd finally arrive.

When they see the bomb, strapped to Nicholas Ruskin, both of the agents come to a halt, checking their radios again and finding them — suspiciously — functional again. One of the agents looks askance at the other, nodding him ahead to take lead, before calling back. "This is agent Lane, I— we have a situation in here, I need you to clear everyone back from the restaurant. We've got— I don't know— some sort of improvised explosive device. We've got some Redbird Security people down here and a Registered machine empath checking it out."

The other agent, waved forward, looks back towards the sounds of shattering glass and then relative silence from the other wind of the restaurant, then turns back to advance on Melissa and the others. "Sir," he addresses Cardinal first, "Ma'am," to Melissa next before warily looking at Nick's bomb-laden form. "You need to come outside with me, let this man work. I can't let you stay in here with that."

Lifting his hand up with his wallet folio, the agent unfolds an identification card that reads FBI in blue letters on white, and notes him as Agent Hale.

Warren's words to Jolene get another glare from Nick who looks like he might punch again, but he goes where he's led and sits where he's pointed to. "Rus-" he begins, before biting off the word; his eyes are still dilated and the drugs are still in his system, making him a touch slow to react.

"Nick York," he says, though his eyes track the FBI agent's approach. He swallows. "This wasn't my idea. I can explain," he says quickly. "I got names, locations. Later." He glances at the audience, then stares down at the C-4, a drop of sweat dripping from his brow and onto the plastic wrap.

Federal agents are telling them to leave. And while Perry gets the sense that it may take more than just a badge to drive Melissa from Nick's side, there is no, absolutely no reason for them to stick around and draw attention from the powers that be. If Perry really is anonymous, he'd like to remain that way. He doesn't want to leave her, would like to think that he won't. So he takes her arm gently but firmly and says in a low, but notably compelling voice, "we should go. He will be all right. I p- promise." And he tries, note tries, to draw Melissa away, out of the auspices of the suits.

The agent gets a cold look from Melissa. Nick gets a look that clearly says she wants those names too. The argument that had to have been about to tumble off her lips is silenced by Perry. She considers for a moment before she nods slowly and looks to Nick. "You call me later, okay? I don't wanna have to hunt you down again." It's said softly, and her concern for the Brit is clear enough. She looks to Warren and her expression hardens again. "Don't fuck up." Then she turns, to let Perry draw her away.

"Alright, everyone quiet, I'll take care of this…" Warren crouches down, looking over the bomb so he can finally take it all in. "Don't need this…" he rips some wire out and tosses it to the ground. "Don't know what this is, but we don't need it." this part is muttered and something else goes flying. The entire process goes a lot like that, things getting pulled apart, switched around, put back on. It's not a sight that inspires confidence, but he seems incredibly focused on it all, unlike a movie where someone's trying to decide on a red or a blue wire. "If you don't name your first kid after me, I'm gonna put this thing back." he states, jokingly of course, maybe.

As she finally manages to get herself on the outside, Yana is all but fuming at how the events turned out this evening. Not only was she embarrassed by her date leaving, but she could very well possibly have ruined her beautiful dress. Now how is she going to get home? They came by carriage, and more than likely, they won't be getting back the same way. She is going to have to call her attendant to come get her. However, on the outside, who should she run into? Mr. Charming who left her high and dry at the table. Just look at him, all concerned and ready to step up now that he got himself to safety. And look at the look on Yana's face as he speaks to her. Hey.. look at her hand, it's raising back in the air and

*SLAP* Right across the cheek, with an indignant and furious look on her face. "Don't touch me, you coward." she snaps. Hope you enjoy herpes simplex you jerk, cause you just got a face full of it from that blow of her hand. Known to cause meningitis.. and cold sores. But.. when you're an escort, it's one of the hazards of the job. He should have been more careful. Such a shame.

Once she has done her deed and said her peace, Yana seeks a phone, to call home.

"Given that you got shoved out've the kitchen with an explosive vest you didn't know about on, I kind've didn't think that it was," is the dry response from the man beside Nick, "I'm Richard Cardinal. You're going to be just fine…" After a quick attempt at a reassuring smile, he glances over to the feds as they flash their badges. He nods once, "Agents. I believe we can handle the bomb, with Warren's help here. My team's securing the exits, and once things are calm I'll be more happy to hand this whole mess over to you."

They came for a terrorist. They get an attempted bombing.

He glances over to Melissa and Perry, chin jerking a little in a get out of here motion.

Warren Ray may be insane, still, by most legal definitions. However, he is an insane genius and when it comes to the dismantling of electronic devices he is peerless in this city. While a skilled hand soldered and constructed the waferboard circuitry and rudimentary bomb, the heart-rate monitor, radio broadcast dead man's switch and other facets of this explosive device were more sophisticated. Like how an artist can begin to tell signature traits of other artist's styles, Warren is beginning to see a larger picture in this device and its explosive ordinance. Multiple hands were at work here, multiple craftsmen each with their own specialty.

By the time he is assured that the device is inert, by the time the C-4 has been disconnected and Nick is slipped out of the vest, paramedics have come with police and further federal agents. Registration cards are scanned, questions are asked, and the night will go long with investigations into just what happened here — what was mishandled — and the identities of the two men who comitted suicide in the delivery truck will be plastered across the news.

But what may not be front page is the backstory to this night. How an explosion was foretold to tear through this building, was foretold to kill dozens and wound dozens more. Savannah Burton was supposed to die tonight, and now thanks to the efforts of not only one young woman — but the manifold people who came here tonight — that future has been averted.

Analogies about mountains, rivers, streams and strings all pale in comparison to the work actually being done, to seeing a success where there has been so much failure in the past. Lives were saved, and a critical piece of information about Humanis First will be discovered in the analysis of the explosive device.

Bomb makers always assume their devices will explode, assume that fingerprint or fiber evidence will be destroyed in the blast. But when a bomb doesn't detonate, when every greasy hair or fingerprint smudge is a map tracing back its origins, where eight bricks of military grade C-4 could only have come from so many places, there is a tightening noose around the neck of Humanis First.

It may be a small victory, on this cold Christmas Eve, but from the rock bottom there is only one direction left to go.


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