Sinking Ship


butch_icon.gif cat_icon.gif colette3_icon.gif danko_icon.gif darla_icon.gif deckard3_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif douglas_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif khalid_icon.gif leonard_icon.gif megan_icon.gif rickham_icon.gif trask_icon.gif

Also featuring:
hana_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

and various NPCs.

Scene Title Sinking Ship
Synopsis The Ferrymen have one hour's notice: a cell of militant Humanis First! operatives is mounting an attack and capture on a significant safehouse on Staten Island. It's a race against the clock for the Ferry's ragtag band of last-minute hands and allies to get everyone and everything out, and maybe collect a little blood for everything that they've done before, and stop them from taking what they might later.
Date August 25, 2009

Staten Island and Manhattan, Ferry-wide


Dragonflies copulate under the porchlights, much to the disconcertment of one of few remaining refugees when her son asks her if they're eating each other. Incipient rain tousles the vines outside and whines in the flyscreens. The Garden's sluggishly reduced flow of human traffic and work has crashed foamily into a boulder-like snag, in the form of: little old Mage's caffeinated nocturnal compulsion to spontaneously make some scones. Mage is having them with tea. They're all having them with tea. The radio is on, an old cackly device shaped like a cross-section of a bread loaf. Shard is playing. Despite that no one here in is a big fan of rap, no one changes it.

At 46 Beach Street, somebody is pointlessly sweeping leaves out of the courtyard, despite that the great gingko has had a shedding problem as of late that's going to clutter the whole damn thing up soon enough.

The courtyard is boxed in by the four two-story buildings that constitute the living areas: it is designed like the traditional Chinese siheyuen but updated, the curly slant rooftops and red doors offset by flat plaster instead of crooked stones that smell like incense. There's a gull on the concrete gargling a piece of pink candy, and cigarette tray propped up on the flat of the wheelchair ramp bannister, antique ash bored through with silky holes and the crooked, cooling carcass-stumps of its successors. A woman wheels a cart of papers toward the westmost bay of the Eastern building. Inside the cart, there are false IDs fabricated by one Minea Dahl, most recently deemed safe for use despite the woman's betrayal.

There are thirty three refugees at this safehouse, and not a single one of them or their caretakers have noticed the glister of telescopic binoculars watching over them at two hundred and twenty yards away. When you've taken care of as many Evolved as these Humanis First! operatives have, you know that the cut-off range for the vast majority of abilities was twenty yards ago.

Hana Gitelman is in her basement. Her brow's been caught up in the jagged knit of effort for a few hours, now, digging through an island's worth of camera feed. Two days ago, she'd set up a fourth receiver to triangulate Harrison's shoulder radio signal, and dug the discarded vest out of a landfill. It reeked rancid. She didn't bother sending the article in for fingerprinting or dander trails.


Hana. The whisper in the woman's head has little to do with her ability, which by far exceeds the average span. The whisper is weak, nigh staticky, and so close that she wields up a knife in a muscular twitch of automated conditioning, despite that already she knows who this is, recognizing the voice despite never having heard it before. Humanis First! is coming. They got Elisabeth and she broke. She might be dead; I heard something about the harbor. You have to warn them— I'm so fucking sorry—


Earl Gray stains cold in its cups. The radio is online, dial unmoved but the frequency has changed and what wheels and clicks presiding in the unbreathed air of the safehouse is a repeat warning, looped. Humanis First! on 46 Beach Street. Evacuate immediately. Extreme chance of casualties. Come armed and organized. Communications are secure. The monotone of her encoded warning permeates throughout the entirety of the Ferry's network.

From the get-go, things had started going wrong at 46. Even if you ignore the probable monetary losses of the day's medical supply shipment, and jeopardized identities and travel papers.

Evacuation has stalled. The section of drywall, basement-level that was supposed to open out into the sewer exit is douched up somehow: they aren't getting through fast enough, probably because of a partial tunnel collapse. The children— and there are seven of them— are beginning to panic, tears keening. The bottlenecked clench of bodies in the downward staircase grows claustraphobic. Perhaps ironically, it's the couple first in line that crack under the pressure first: there's shouting, elbowing, curses spat, fingers raked bloodily at the lifted plaster stinging into their eyes. Get out of my fucking way, I'm not going to die down here with all of you.

The Ferrymen try to stop the two, but they're ultimately free to go. They come out of the East side, spill into the graffiti-scarred side-street in a herky-jerky puppet-dance of painfully mundane, human terror, scrabbling toward the nearest supply truck, bags banging into hipbones.

Miles across the island and called off further still, Hana too is no longer home.

Staten Island — 46 Beach Street

"Knock it off," comes the authoritative voice of one redheaded woman who makes the rounds of the Ferry safehouses. Megan has cared for any number of refugees to this place, especially since she was working on Staten until just recently, and she's working her way through the throng of frightened people to get them out of there. "It's just like a fire drill, guys, everyone moves cautiously and quickly, and we all get out the door. No squashing, and don't panic. We're going to be okay." Yeah… okay. She sure as hell hopes. But just in case it's not, she's dressed for the night in black cargo pants, a black T-shirt, well-worn, broken-in combat boots, and several weapons. A knife strapped to her calf, a pistol in the waistband of her pants. She doesn't have any kind of bigger weapon because HER job is getting people out. It's someone else's job to cover us with machine guns. "Let me through to make sure it's clear, kids," she tells the whole throng — kids and adults alike — as she moves to hold the drywall section open and usher them through.

"Stop — dicking with it. It was fine." Voice dropped to a mutter that's decidedly mundane in its quiet irritation rough under crying children and scrabbling hands, Deckard stands outside the door outside the flight of stairs that leads down to the basement with a pump action shotgun in his left hand and the side of Joseph's head in his right. More accurately, he's making minute adjustments to the settings of the radio head set situated around the younger man's ear, brow hooded and jaw set in narrow, bristle-brush mockery of his Homo erectus ancestors.

It takes a few seconds for him to get it right again. The crying makes it hard to concentrate; he blinks hard two or three times before he finally claps his hand flat across the scuffed black of the second-hand bullet proof vest he made him drag on at some point on the way over here. Done. Done in the nick of time for two refugees from downstairs to come blowing up through the space between them in a white-eyed panic for the nearest clear exit.

Deckard's own vest is navy blue. It says FBI and offsets the leather holster at his hip nicely, complete with revolver. Maybe he still has a sense of humor rattling around in there somewhere after all. "Hope you didn't know those guys."

Sergei has shown up in full Sergei combat garb, mask, and winter coat, flak vest as normal under the clothes and his pistol at the ready. As others work on the evacuation he begins preparing the defense, setting up fall back points that will end at the basement, in case there needs to be a running battle through the house. A china cabinent behind this door, broken glass across this hall way, a few electrical cords from vaccumes and lamps become tripwires.

She's angry, she's armed, and is clad in black with her face covered by a ski mask. Body armor is on her torso under the shirt she wears, communications gear is in place. The hands free kind. Cat's carrying an M16 rifle with extra magazines, two silenced pistols, and some grenades. Those items were carried to the boat in a guitar case, it makes for easy concealment, and donned as she made her way to the site of potential confrontation.

It's kind of like when your mom is forcing you to put on a coat before going out, except to compare Deckard to his or anyone else's mother is enough of a mindfuck on its own, so Joseph is keeping his mouth shut and trying to tell himself he is amused, not nervous. Plaid shirt, faded red, sleeves rolled up. Jeans, boots. Radio and a bulletproof vest, of course, and a shotgun that weighs heavy in his hands. Hand, seeing as one is drifting up to play uncomfortably with the headset— and jerking back down before he can be told twice. Thrice.

And he's also managing not to ask if this is really necessary, but then again he hasn't seen someone carrying around grenades yet. The pastor glances from he is at the top of the stairs, towards where he can hear Megan barking her assurances and instructions in equal measure and Joseph's back colliding with the wall when the two refugees go zooming out. "They'll be okay," Joseph stammers out. Everyone will be!

Delilah was already on Staten Island when her phone vibrated angrily out of her pocket- the short, dire message she was met with was more than disconcerting, and has since thrown her into a hurry. Thankfully, she also happened to be close. Possibly doing something for a smaller safehouse, perhaps simply checking something out. It's not hard to notice the girl as she reaches the clump of buildings and the courtyard- a white dress, stark against the nighttime and speckled with color in the forms of tiny flowers. Pair it with a loaded pistol in her hand, and it makes for quite the sight as she makes short detours to first double check for stragglers in the compound, already hearing the clamor of escape on the edges of her hearing.

Stupid. Panicked runaways from a massed, milling herd are lean and easy pickings for anybody with half an eye; a schwip, schwip — thick whistles of bullets through air, fired from just near enough for one to vaguely, audibly make out their originating 'bangs' — clip off the two rogue refugees. One is caught mid-trot, keeling over in a mess of leather, sprawling trench coat onto the heel of the nearby curb. The other, an elderly woman with tousled metallic-grey hair, has just enough time to numbly whip her neck around with white, wild eyes before she, too gurgles a shrill shriek through her windpipe and -crashes-.

Still back behind the designated range alongside several other dark, massed forms, Khalid is silent and featurelessly indistinguishable from his fellows in black fatigues and a balaclava, sniper rifle cradled in both hands Nothing much to do for the minute except watch — watch, for another right moment to come.

In the basement, Megan can smell wet plaster and struggling dust, sweat. Somebody claps a hand over the mouth of one whinging child, wincing under the brunt of her chastisement; it's maybe a little harsh, but it does something to steel the wilting spines of the refugees under her charge. The men stop their chagrined growling; somebody offers to help. Up ahead, the big, dark Ferryman with the pick-axe has finally managed to jab a hole through; he wedges his fist into the ragged puncture of darkness a moment, and the stern lines of his damp and dirt-streaked face lighten with relief.

"All right," he says, glancing at Megan. "I think we're through. There's some rubble closer to the ground, but if we can climb over it, carry the kid, we should all be able enough to get through and onto the level floor past that. Hold this?" The burnished metal shaft of some terrifying, industrial-proportioned flashlight-cum-club is handed to the woman with one hand, even as he seizes up a pick-axe with his other. Swings, once, the metal hitting plaster and gnawing into flimsy balsawood, biting deep, tearing outward, clipping only briefly on discarded rubble, clouding the column of light with floating particulate.

At Megan's side, the Foxhole's head operative blinks two dark eyes. Darla's dark, slender shoulder is jammed up uncomfortably against the corner, her fingers twisted like reeds around the handle of her own .45. The air around her remains faintly but tangibly in motion, compelled by some toneless flux and redistribution of pressure that has nothing to do with the welcome fissure that they've finally opened into the sewer tunnel's air. "The air's breathable enough," she answers, after a moment. "Some dust. The collapse was recent: I think the first few hammer-strikes shook the structure up too much, but I don't feel anything else coming down in there.

"Although—" there's a beat's pause, tension knotting her spine. A whistle eases through the drywall, as if the widening hole was a mouth pursed for one-note music. Although

The screaming velocity of a sniper round tears a hole through the elder lady's neck the size of a cantaloupe, a metaphor that her head carries through the next instant, when the tassel of skin connecting it to the bloody ruin of her neck snaps like a thread. Blood rakes the pavement in front of Cat, dotting the rusted metal and bricked framework of the unlocked gateway she was moving toward. There's a man crouching behind it— Ferryman, who recognizes by the chirp of the networked radio unit set on her shoulder.

His features are blanched with terror under the olive of his complexion. "Come on," he hisses, motioning weakly with his pistol. Squaring himself with courage, he begins to inch forward in his crouch, angling the nozzle up against the night sky to cover the woman's entrance. "Come on, you can make it. I have your back."

RADIO: Mage's voice crackles out across the comms, wizened and distinctly female: "I've destroyed the data towers. Hope Wireless has backups of the vital stuff. I'm going to come over to you all at the East building."

It's dark in the tunnel off the basement. Dark and humid. Dank air cloys at the senses, the stench of rot and decay oppressive in its claggy warmth. Eyes the color and texture of grime-soaked cement have grown accustomed to the darkness and are quick to twitch into focus after a single lance of clear light into the tunnel with them. Briefly obstructed by an overlarge fist, it smothers out, then reoccurs a few inches wider than before at the bite of an axe. And so on and so forth, until there's an ominous clack clack click and a short drawn breath. Danko pulls the trigger.

A veritable hail of lead fire tears through the half-demolished wall from the far side, pelting blood spattery holes through the hatchet wielder like birdshot through a jello mold. One second, two seconds, three and the firing stops as abruptly as it began. There's a distant tinkle of spent casings rattling helter skelter across the tunnel floor, then stillness on the inside.

Sergei is still upstairs preparing defenses, as he hears over the radio, he calls down, "Do you need backup, what is plan b for exit strategy?"

Oh bloody FUCKING HELL. "PULL BACK," Megan shouts into her radio, literally shoving her charges behind her back the way we all came. "Shooters in the fucking tunnel!" And she's not wearing a vest, having been more concerned about mobility down there than a vest. FUCK!! How did we get compromised on that route? Not important now. A pistol's going to be no good against the autofire she just heard, and so Megan does what she can to start getting her refugees backbackback into the basement… it'll be like shooting fish in a goddamn barrel if they come through the wall, but by God, she'll hold them if she has to. "I need more firepower, like YESTERDAY!" She leaves the massive man who took the spate of hot lead for all of them on the floor… as awful as it may be, he'll be a stumbling block to them, with the wall still barely half open as it is and him in the way.

Sniper fire. People down, a man ahead of her calling out and offering cover, calls of shooters in the tunnel over the comm gear. Cat's rifle comes off her shoulder, fingers switching the safety off as she makes a dash toward the man who spoke and dives behind a barrier to protect against additional shots. While these aren't of the same sort she witnessed at Jersey City some months before, the kind that went through a Brian and still took out a large chunk of wall, they're just as deadly if they hit.

"Did you see muzzle flashes? Where did they fire from?" And the radio is used, a thought occurs to her. "Where does the tunnel let out?" Because if someone's down there, it might be useful to have someone come up behind that shooter.

RADIO: Cat says, "Where does the tunnel let out?"

Joseph's gaze whips around towards where that first round of sniper fire followed by dying sounds outside, shock readily writing itself on his face and hands clenching around the Remington in a steely trapping grip. Should have stopped them, is potentially something he should be thinking about later, but is currently going over now even as Deckard looks at him. "Everyone— " Not everyone. "Everyone else's downstairs— "

…is half of his question around the time gunfire is spitting its sounds up from the basement followed by the stampeding sound of refugees headed for the stairwell. Joseph backpedals away from the entrance as a few of the ones slightly quicker on their feet go barreling up to shove as necessary and get— outside… where…

Joseph raises a hand as if perhaps he could summon the tricklings of the coming stampede to not rush out the same door the other two went. "You can't go out that way— " Oh hey he has a radio, which he remembers when Sergei's voice comes crackling down it, asking a very good question. Feeling massively underqualified, he doesn't add to the noise and just listens for a response to perhaps direct the herd in— the direction of Plan B.

Of which he's not sure about but he knows it's not out the East Side door the other two hapless refugees went. The sharp, farmyard whistle that follows is the one he uses to call his dog— but it works on refugees too. "C'mon, this way," he says, which— accidentally buzzes down the radio, forgive him, but Joseph tries to indicate what he means with a lazy shotgun swing, attempting to get them to follow-follow to a different route.

RADIO: Joseph says, "C'mon, this way."

RADIO: Stilted by delay, Mage answers, "Roadside in the woods. We should have three or four armored trucks—" she's probably referring to the bang-up job somebody's done with segmented sheet metal and power drills, rather than the chrome and spit-polish that mob bosses favor, "waiting out there to take the people out. Sounds like we need to reroute. Do we have casualties?"

Delilah is suddenly catching up to Cat and the Ferryman ushering her inside, covering backs. What good is that if it's a sniper? Though distraced by the fallen for a moment or two, she is also trying to drag along a rather winded looking young woman behind her, having found just one straggler on her arrival and quick search. "Hold up!" And then gunfire, from the building that she's heading for. Though Delilah keeps going to find cover with Cat, the girl she is dragging along lets out a cursing wail, wrenching her wrist from Dee's grasp and deciding to simply run for it. Possibly a mistake, possibly the best of ideas.

"Ffffffuuuck-" Delilah can be heard above muffled noise as she makes sure that she immediately gets cover with Cat and the Ferryman who had been watching the entrance, her gun still in the hand that had not been trying to hold onto that girl. A sharply contrasted target for about five seconds of space. She has no idea where to go from there- fire in the air, and from the sound of things, down in the safehouse's basement too.

The shepherd beckons with his firearm and the herd follows. That is to say, lacking any other direction and terrorized by gunfire coming not only from below and behind but also above and ahead, they fall in line like idiot blond ducklings, wakking and running after Joseph. Somebody bangs a shoulder into Deckard; somebody else shrieks I'm bleeding. Children flap their matchstick legs at the odd angles of crushed crustaceans and the arms of parents knotted, other adults with fists. There's a flicker of light from somebody; an Evolved ability threatening to go off, a brief stench of sulfur, a sudden seizure in the ambient temperature. These are the people that Humanis First! came to kill, and by God, they know it.

There's a pick-axe on the floor behind Megan, a man reduced to Swiss sloppily slick-skinned and splintered, slack on the concrete. One Ferryman down. If nothing else, Danko will have to step over him to get to—

—a howling wind. It springs up from Darla's hands, shoved out on a psychic command with the potency of a hurricane. It's fortunate for the bigot army that space is tight, that the amount of available air in the room is limited: as it is, it's a rib-clacking, ear-popping concussive battering ram of blunt trauma at the masked men, back into the tunnel, even as the aerokinetic brings up the rear behind Megan, screaming. «Go, go, go!» Not even a gale can stop bullets, of course, all the Foxhole's mistress is going to do is buy them time. In a race against the clock, that's better than none.

Above ground, Cat scrapes in through the doorway instants before the spark and flare of bullet ricochet kisses the sidewalk behind her boot-heels. The Ferryman covering her fires back as best he can, and the return-fire seems dissuading, if nothing else, until the first big, black-armored figure of an operative comes pounding into the street and the semi-automatic's bullet merely lodges facetiously into the fabric and kevlar of his vest. There's a curse spat. "Other rooftops, street—" Keys jingle like Christmas, and he struggles to haul the gate shut but it's terrifying how fast a mere mortal can move. Seconds from ramming key into lock, a bullet snakes in through his left eye, dropping the Ferryman flat on his face, leaving the ingress agape, his keys spilled out like change winking on the street. In another instant, it's joined by the click-clack of a smoke bomb.

Abruptly, the screen of stinging, obfuscating vapor seizes up, leaving Cat and Delilah blind to the street in the mouth of the gateway. They can hear, though: footfalls coming, silhouettes breaking through the piss-yellow light of street lamps. Behind the two women, across the courtyard, Joseph's string of refugees is hurtling toward the gate opposite, shielded only by the broad boughs of the safehouse's solitary, presiding tree. On the radio, Mage is shouting: Bring the trucks in. Bring the trucks to the North gate, Humanis First! is coming in from the South.

Sight conveniently returns to the Phoenix operatives at the gate when the first big glove comes out with a knife, like a rake of talons at Delilah's throat.

Abandoning the interim shelter of distance at a hard run, Khalid is immediately behind the forefront of those first Humanis First! operatives who pour pounding footsteps into the scene of the south gate, his own brows lowered within what can be seen of the rounded, slitted holes in his balaclava. Through the caustic, billowing screen of vapor that arises before beginning to clear away, the tip of a sleek black gun melts into visibility first, and then the rest of his darkly-clad figure follows.

The flicker of unnatural light from somewhere in the crowd of refugees doesn't go unnoticed; the man swivels his upper torso enough to meet the odor of sulfur from where its source seems to be coming from. There is another second taken to aim, and then a -BANG BANG- at the erratic figures of some of the screeching children.

Wow. Joseph is taking this cattle rustling thing really seriously. One eye squinted against the extra radio traffic, Deckard tosses the box with its remaining shells up over the heads of the herd stumbling through the gateway of the basement door between them. He'll catch it or it will bounce off of his head and spill everywhere. He needs his attention either way, even as he heaves some douchenozzle crashing into him aside and vanishes from easy sight into a crouch after the knobbly-kneed sprawl of a concussed toddler (in a truly awful shade of pink) who has tumbled by the wayside and is in imminent danger of being trampled.

The way he hoists her up over his shoulder is probably better suited to, say, transportation of a diminutive orangutan or…howler monkey, but she's not having her twee bones snapped by stomping feet and the bleeding at her snub nose has already slowed to a sluggish glop, so. Disregard the way she's kicking and screaming, please. He is! "Don't let them get outside until someone says it's clear," shouted over the screeching and the scuffling of feet and the rat-a-tat-tat of a fresh burst of machine gun fire from the basement, Flint doesn't bother with the radio in the midst of a backwards retreat, furious little abductee and all. "I'll cover your rear."

Cheap wood and soggy plaster spray out in rapid fire bursts across the tunnel entrance in the basement, opposite wall riddled with holes even after the main lot that was down there has cleared out and Darla's all that's left. The reason behind the wasted ammunition soon becomes clear: a combat boot stuffs itself black through the weakened wall, cleaving away at some of the thicker stuff that remains. It withdraws; there's the thump of Danko's bony shoulder plowing solid through the far side, resilient as a bull, stubborn as a mule, and abruptly sliding backwards on boot treads gripping like a set of tires locked in a skid when the passage opens up enough for Darla's wind to catch at his fatigues. Butch is slower to make the necessary adjustment — there's a glimpse of him and his balaclava going ass over elbows in a backwards kind of way that looks more painful than fun, rifle clattering warm to the tunnel floor in his wake while he barrel rolls and bounces across spent casings that mark his progress with all manner of merry twinkling and tinkling. "Fuufuufuuckkk"

Nose rankled beneath the buffer of his balaclava, Danko's already squeezing the trigger again, only now he actually has people to aim at.

With Darla covering her butt in the basement, Megan remains at the back of the throng as they race for the stairs, scooting around them as we reach the top of them. "Stop there! Don't go out yet." And she trusts Joseph to KEEP them at the door until she gets there. As she herds her little kittens toward the back door, Megan passes by where Trask has the weapons all stacked up and yanks a higher-powered automatic weapon from his stash. "And yes — I believe I did SAY we needed backup. Thank God for Darla," she mutters in a dark tone, not even waiting for a reply as she peels off to help Joseph and Deckard herd their charges. Into her radio, she comms the same instructions she's giving her throng as she makes ready to take them out into the courtyard toward the North Gate. "Keep low, move fast, and use the ground cover as much as possible! DO NOT STOP for any reason once you're in the open, no matter WHAT you drop. You stop, you die, folks." She's not sugarcoating it for anyone — even the kids have to understand the severity of this situation. Her normal bedside manner is calm, quiet, easygoing. This? This is all soldier talking now. "Trust us. We're gonna make it to that truck." She meets the eyes of everyone she can, and then looks up at Deckard and Joseph. "I'll take point." And then she turns and starts leading the throng on a merry race through the darkness on a zigzag course, crouched low, using available cover where we can. Anything that gets in her way is toast, cuz she's going to have zero hesitation in shooting that weapon in her hands.

While Megan leads her people out the back door, Trask begins moving to set up defenses to keep those coming from the basement from following the refugees, making sure their previous exit doesn't become thier enemies new entry point, he counts off the refugees as they make it past, trying to get a good idea of how many are still down there.

With the onset of smoke and the clouding of vision from it, Cat moves to be ready for what's coming. Feet are approaching, she and Delilah are the last remaining at this location with the man who covered their arrival down and keys scattered. One of her grenades is taken out and lobbed out the entryway; she uses the wall next to it as cover to shield her from the explosion that follows. "Get behind me," she instructs Delilah in the hope of having her similarly shielded.

And when the knife-wielding hand comes reaching for Delilah, Cat brings her M16 to bear. She fires off one round, aimed for the center of the attacker's forehead.

Joseph manages, barely, to catch the box of shells at the detriment of his shotgun, which hangs and puppet-jerks from where it's hooked on the strap. He's sealing off the North door with every inch of his 6' frame and however long a shotgun is and smiling pleasantly in the face of fearful, anxious Evolveds as he waits for Megan and her's to catch up. "O-okay," is shot back at Deckard, the flutter of anxiety obvious in the pastor's voice but stifled, at least. Taking his time at the door to get his shotgun and shells situated, he nods to Megan and then, he's moving, stepping outside into the clammy summery air with a thud of the doorway slamming on its hinges as Megan heads out to lead the way. Staying near the door as some sort of checkpoint for the stream of refugees filing out.

"Go, just run, trucks'll be here," is his advice to the motley crew of refugees as they move, stepping to the side to allow for the small stampede, again pointing with the shotgun, comfortable with it now in every way except for, you know. Shooting. They trust him because of it. The gate across the courtyard is a predictable sight, the sound of the trucks around towards it indicating they aren't quite yet in the clear. The sound of foot falls pattering against the ground as people run for the gate makes Joseph wince, as if perhaps he wishes they could be quieter. Nervously, he paces a little slower along the stream of people, eyeline swooping back and forth a little too quickly—

Bang bang, indeed. There's a shriek from the crowd, Joseph ducking— because that helps— at the sound of gunfire being opened on the zigzagging crowd. Some manage to keep bolting for the gate, others scatter, one ducks behind the tree the rises up between it and their attackers. Long flowing brunette curls, a dress inappropriate for running and hiding— Delphine Kuhr wonders if staying with Ethan Holden, assassin on his ass and all, would have been a better idea, her fingernails digging into bark.

No, Joseph's not going to shoot, darnit, even as he compulsively swings the barrel of the gun in that general direction. Smoke— is there a fire???— and general panic means he wouldn't even try it. Instead, he focuses on herding and trusts that Deckard'll take care of the manly things, Joseph moving towards where a couple of refugees have chosen to duck behind structure instead of running to safety, as you do.

Delilah lifts the crook of her arm to her face as the tink-a-link of the canister explodes into a cloud. She instinctively uses the other arm to start finding a path away from the direction from whence it came, trying to get behind Cat, only to be suddenly met with a looming shadow of a man once it seems that the smoke begins to part. More gunfire in the weak light, now amid a startled shriek from Delilah, who reaches out quite dumbly to stop the knife from getting any closer- all but ignorant of Cat firing at the same time. Dee is not made for this yet, obviously; a gun in her own hand, and she barely lifts it up, opting for a more bloody route with her palm.

Speaking of blood, it is pumping furiously, and at this point, the girl does not consciously stop the sudden seeping of poison into her veins and through her skin. She will need all the help that she can get.

It's a boon on one or six levels, that Sergei throws himself in among the ragged drove of refugees trying to follow Joseph. He snuffs out one or two incipient Evolved accidents about to happen: electricity shorts out its flare around one terrified woman's hands, and the reek of sulfur snuffs out as he passes by a skinny man whose glasses keep slipping down his nose. They're going into the courtyard. No— they aren't going into the courtyard. Oh God— Khalid just shot somebody halfway out of a door. The wrong door. There's a new corpse rolling over, an apology for the misinterpretation of Joseph and Megan's instructions wheezing to a premature death on his lips.

Below and behind, Danko bags himself another: a man who'd done nothing more than twisted his ankle heading up the stairs. Darla's biting her lip as she abandons him, but there's nothing to be done for it. She races up behind Deckard, shouting. Nothing particularly surprising, perhaps even a little redundant. We have to get out that gate, cover them if you can.

Some of them, the Ferry just can't. Going the wrong way. Another two dead before you can blink, butchered as flippantly as piglets.

Another man crashes into Delphine's shoulder, screeching something about what's coming. He points South, where the churning of artificial smoke is abruptly shredded, ripped apart under the convulsive explosion of the grenade Cat had thrown through. Abruptly, she and Delilah can see again. There's a car in pieces outside, one masked operative ragdolled down on the sidewalk with blood massing underneath his knee, but all of this is so very much less interesting than the four men who were spontaneously blown in through the gateway by the thrown explosive. The weapon that Cat points at Delilah's attacker is shoved brusquely off-course, by the brawny arm of another man— who's abruptly swinging his forehead down at hers, fluidly stooping to stun her with a headbutt even as he wrenches at the rifle in her hand.

Behind Khalid, the stragglers who'd caught the edge of the grenade's concussive blast peel themselves off their faces, cursing into radio earpieces that no longer work. One bloody-lipped operative slips on use-worn stone, staggers upright with a disoriented groan of regouping bearings, AR-15 swinging up in hand to point at—

Mage. At five-foot-seven and with a penchant for long, twirly skirts and moccasins, the old Garden-keeper isn't a particularly intimidating sight, but it's only another second, and a wink of her eye before her presence explains itself. In his hands, the weapon buckles, grows shaggy with the green slick and fuzz of microbes. In the second between his sighting along the barrel and hauling the trigger, the weapon's left useless, clicking idiotically in the rent air. Seconds later, this metal sickness blooms ugly clownish green on the weapon in Khalid's hands, too, catching like an organic rash. Something shifts, twisting, brittling in the snug fit of the vest around his torso, too.

It's then that Joseph hears it, from the street: a honking blast of the transports' arrivals.

Leo has a New York State License. Fake. Though he does qualify. He even qualifies for tanks and heavy vehicles, courtesy of the US army, though blessedly it is neither a Bradley nor a tank he is careering through the streets. He's driven a cab in NYC for more than a year, which definitely qualifies as a high level defensive driving course. But even as he's pulling up the truck with a deafening screech of laid rubber, he notes to his co-driver, "You take the wheel. I hear gunfire, shit's apparently gone all to hell," With that, barely before the truck's stopped moving, he's out the driver's side door, pistol in hand.

It's just a drop, really. The blood razoring sleekly out of the wound on Delilah's arm scatters with the torque and wrench of her struggle, slashing thin stains into the operative's vest and the bright fabric of her dress. There's only one, candy-sized splotch of errant fluid that slithers past the rim of the assassin's cuff, lands on the hairy incline of the skin of his forearm, underneath. Cat's weapon discharges and, an instant later, he's sloughing to the ground like a felled tree. A slithering pile of useless limbs, eyes rolling back in his perfectly undamaged skull; scarcely a twitch to betray that this death had been by seizure.

Unwieldy now that the targets are something far more up-close and personal, Khalid's lean sniper rifle had long been stashed aside in favor of the stubby, bulkier hull of a submachine gun thrown halfway across the floor when its owner had been blown into shreds by Cat's grenade. Won't be needing that anymore, hurhur. With a few hurried, deft adjustments at the new firearm sitting heavily in his arms, and without trying to peer through the confusion to see if his last couple shots had successfully ended up in their marks, he brings it up to aim— he gets off a second or two of buddabuddabudda at the group Megan is heading, casings skittering like popcorn, then—

There's something -growing- on him and all inside his vest, oh god, and he's forced to drop it with a twisted clang and a "What the fuck." There's a jerk of his head upwards, eyes glowering darkly inside their sockets. Booted steps slam against the floor in an impromptu hurtled run, and there's an attempt to leap right into Mage or at the very least ram down through the old woman's ribcage when he gets appropriately near. You're goin' down, lady.

"Give me your tired, your poor."

The wind has died down to a whisper. Then that's gone too, and it takes Danko all of a few seconds to muscle his way in through the hole he already made, drywall and splintered wood dusting back over his head and shoulders in a heap. "Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." The final railing trigger pull off his AK-47 drills a line of holes up the back of Mr. Twisted Ankle trying to drag himself up the stairs, with the last pair blasting messy at the back of his skull. Nevermind what's left of the face on the other side.

Assault rifle slung stiff across his back, he glances back to see that Butch is finally hobbling his way in after him while he drags his sidearm out of its holster and another, wider-snouted and robust pistol off the side of his leg. "You, stay with me. Marx — you take the upstairs and move out towards the perimeter. Kill any stragglers."

Marx is apparently the brutish looking Balaclava Guy in goggles that has to heave his way through making Danko's raggedy hole bigger before he can bring up the rear. He nods once and Danko twitches paired fingers up the stairs, inviting the pawns to truck their little hineys up their to stick their necks out first. Up they go, and up he goes, boots tracking and tacking damp through sticky blood and spongy grey slop along the way.

Sergei makes it to the top of the stairs, he sets up a hard point as best he can with a couple pieces of furniture, settling into a position to cover the last of the people to come up the steps and make sure none of the bad guys follow them.

One man down, Delilah with her throat not cut. The other man trying to wrench her rifle away and headbutt her. The weapon starts turning to something other than a firearm, but she sees the other attacker's dropped knife on the floor. It's still metallic. Cat lets go of the ruined rifle and ducks to avoid the cranial contact and snags the knife. When she comes back up with it, her goal is to drive the blade directly into his heart. It's a stabbing motion aimed between ribs instead of at them so it won't get stuck, coupled with the raising of her knee aimed at his testicles. Whether or not he goes down, the next order of business is to start shepherding Delilah and retreat toward the north gate where evacuation awaits.

Joseph's boots scrape against concrete as he veers around towards where refugees aren't going the right way, huddled behind a corner with a stretch of wide open space between them and the north gate, where the trucks have pulled up. An older man with the whites showing all around his eyes and veiny hand gripping onto the forearm of, perhaps, his son, a boy of thirteen who currently has scab-like scales forming over his face, down his arms, beneath his father's palm. Reptilian, almost, and unsettling in a way Joseph is ashamed about. "You got twenty— thirty feet at most to run," the pastor reassures them, and they don't seem convinced, staring at him mutely. "Go on, go." Nothing. Joseph thinks for a moment, breathing hard beneath the security of his vest, then—

Chnk-CHNK. It's the universal sign of authority, the cycle sound of the shotgun's pump action meaning business and, in this case, competent protection. Ahaha. Either way, it gets them moving, backs bent as the scaly boy is protected by his father's wing, both of them running for the North gate just as Leo is headed away from the trucks they're aiming for. The gun-totin' Phoenix operative gets a wide eyed stare from the boy, but the father urges them past.

"Hey— " It's a breathed exclamation of relief when Joseph sees the unfamiliar younger man moving out from the truck, though he offers no instruction. The sound of gunfire from the facility itself through to the south gate is indication enough of how much hell this has gone to. Joseph isn't headed for safety either, turning to squint as if that might help hone in on who is headed where.

It sounds like he got shot, though the droplets of blood splaying down her arm do not bode well either; the moment that the presence looming on her gives way, Delilah is writhing away from what is left of that confrontation, not daring to look back and see if Cat missed, or if he's on her heels, or even if the other one is after her. The redheaded girl cuts through the front of the house, charging through the next door half-blindly, with the unshot gun at her side. Snippets of white flash past the rims of a doorway and into the room adjacent, disappearing behind the walls again- eye-catching for just a moment, for those now searching for movement.

A hand traces along the wall gently, caressing it as one would a lover. The black gloved hand skims along until finally it returns to the weapon in front of him. The axe is gripped tightly, both hands bearing the weapon before him. His breath is accelerated, excited, his footsteps silent and steady. One boot moves in front of the other, placing himself behind the target. A wicked grin forms, the axe pulled up back over his head.

Piercing out of the shadows, Douglas aggressively charges forward, slamming the axe down. It swings widly into the couch Sergei uses as cover. The blade rips apart the fabric and into the cushion, before it is pulled back again. An intentional miss. A warning.

Douglas grins excitedly at Sergei, as he brings the axe up again.

Leo has no longarm. Leo only wishes he did. Telekinesis, small calibres, debris, and righteous fury will just have to serve in its place. The telekine's face is curiously lacking in expression, though. No anger, no distress, no grim resolve. Just a strangely absented, curious look, like he's despeately trying to remember an appointment he's certain he should make. As he heads in at a run, all the air behind him whorls, sucks dust up from the ground - he's leaving a roostertail behind him like a whole battalion's worth of terrorists. "Contact, where?" he barks at Joseph, though his eyes are roaming. Where's the enemy?

Thus begins: the exodus, out of the courtyard and toward the two mammothian highway trucks that squat up almost right up against the curb, above faded, tar-pocked yellow traffic lines. One of the drivers is a sandy blond man with a lifetime of smoking scarred into his cheeks; he hangs his head out the window and starts to holler aloud at the teeny, tiny figures of the refugees who're being rather painfully shy about making it out into the street, despite the encouragement from the Southern telekine and the priest.

"Don't worry! We have you covered!" he's hollering, gesturing wildly with one wide, gloved hand, as if the force of paddled air and strength of intent, alone, might move them toward the trucks. Maybe it is kind of working. Father and son, creepily armored, incoming. "Come on!"

Father and son, creepily armored, are finally picking up their pace, scattering after the way that Leonard's standing sentinel over. The old man hefts child up onto his chest, sets boots down on the corrugated iron ramp, ringing a quick series of steps up and up into the relative safety of the truck's interior. Others emerge after him, guided by the authoratative shotgun action, the exchange between Ferrymen who look like they know what they're doing, and precedent of: two refugees who haven't become dead from putting their heads out into the street. Courage is cultivated further by the fact that there's been a stark and sudden cessation of gunfire, best explained if you actually have a good view of the courtyard: all of the metal in the area proper has been chewn apart from a plague of microorganic infestations, a dull aquamarine sheen that's furred bullets and choked mechanical parts, trapped zippers and made brittle jokes out of kevlar armoring. Processes that normally take sea and air exposure decades to perform.

Instead, it took seconds, and a Hell of a toll on Mage. She goes down under Khalid's pounce like a foal in the jaws of a wolf, only she's old not young, and doesn't spare him a cry as her slim bones and brown blouse scrape and tumble on the concrete. She glares up at the young operative, the papery skin in her hands standing out over tendons taut with effort that's already snaked visible crimson across her eyes. She claws her nails at his.

Fortunately— you know, just in case Khalid Sadaka's about to have some difficulty with a little old mutant lady, he has support. Which has finally finished picking itself off the ground and picking off genetically cursed civilians and their babysitters. A sawtoothed boot comes down neatly on the curve of her forehead, bouncing the bowl of her gray-haired skull off the concrete as if it were an inexplicably hoary soccer ball. Her hands jolt at Khalid's cheeks and she wheezes, once, in protest.

"C'mon, raghead," Khalid's comrade says, twinkling a brief grin down. "Show us whatcha got." With that, he turns on a heel, hollers out to his comrades, motioning with a forefinger and thumb across eyes and throat in a brusque series of command gestures. Pull back, weapons check: if you find something usable, use it, otherwise the mutants are going to die a lot slower and by hand. It's terrible practical and, within the space of two seconds, someone out of the tail end of the party finds a grenade that looks pretty functional. There is a throw, overarm, strong with muscle and the edifying spirit of experimentation. Abruptly, there's only half a tree standing in the middle of the courtyard, splinters belching into the sky, and Delphine Kuhr knocked flat under the brunt of gutted half of a refugee who's gurgling to a stop, as dead as the man whose heart Cat just forced a knife through decaying kevlar to.

Acting as usher at the gateway, Darla flinches. That was a grenade she could have redirected.

Amidst the distant popping of gunfire, the screams of both confusion and pain, the surreality of conflict is something that has its own unique sets of laws. The battlefield will change, and those inside must adapt to it. It is a notion that applies to all conflicts; adapt to change. Some changes in conflicts are small, the kidn that cause lost ground and minor casualties. Then there are the monumental changes, paradigm shifts that change the focus of an entire conflict in a different direction. Often times, these events are referred to as 'tides' in a battle, shifting for and against any military force.

While this very Sun Tzu notion of the tides of war may be lost on a seventeen year old girl, the far-reaching effects of her very presence on what amounts to a guerrilla battlefield amounts to just as much. The courtyard is the focul point of the change, a place where amidst the flickering and irregular lighting, disrupted by the shuddering rumble of grenades and structural damage to the complex.

Behind a large tree in the middle of the courtyard, where Delphine Kuhr and her erstwhile panicking companion try to avoid the gunfire of this running conflict, they can see the changing tide of the battlefield coming — or rather — it is the loss of sight that implies this change of tides.

One by one, cowering Ferrymen operatives who have been looking for an openiing to escape out onto the street begin to vanish. At first it could be dismissed as a trick of the eye brought on by surges of adrenaline; fail to pay attention to one area for too long and maybe something was missed. But then when a person disappears into a rippling heat-haze before Delphine's eyes, it's harder to dismiss it as a trick of the eye. But Joseph — Joseph sees it all happening clearly, hears the sound of feet rushing past him, hushed and confused voices, scuffing shoes and hissed orders to follow behind the pop and crack of gunfire.

"Joseph!" He knows the voice, small, soft and unassuming, but there's no one there for it to have come from. "Where do I need to be? I— I don't know where anyone— " She finally notices Delphine, and the unseen presence of Colette Nichols sidles closer to Joseph. "I'm— I'm gonna' go try an' get her outta' here."

Leonard Shelby did not just bring a truck, he brought an escape route, fresh from the Lighthouse. "Don'chu worry Joe," the ever so casual invisible woman says, despite the tremor of fear in her voice. "I'm gonna' get everyone out've here — we brought help."

The help that Colette is speaking of, comes in the form of an entire wall of the west building into the courtyard blowing open from a thunderous rupture of brick and mortar, shards of glass and the most glorious distraction ever to run for the Presidency. Striding out of the hole in the wall, covered with stone dust and debris, is six foot four inches of living iron. Heavy footfalls crunch down on the courtyard as the inveterate houseguest of Catherine Chesterfield curls dark iron fingers into fists. His shoulders roll, head quirking to one side as hematite black eyes scan the courtyard in monochromatic view, looking over towards Joseph, then towards the tree at the middle of the courtyard where Delphine and another rest, and then towards the sound of gunfire.

It is perhaps no small surprise, when the literal man of steel in a pinstripe suit begins walking with thunderous footfalls towards the sound of small arms fire. If there's one thing that R.Ajas and T.Monk had told him to prepare for, it was all-out-war in the streets, the war between us and them.

The only chink in the plan, is the faint greenish discoloration on his right hand; like corroded copper, but bristling with tiny mold-like fibers. He doesn't notice the spore-like fungus clinging to his ferrous form.

Raghead— what a terribly unfortunate illustration for what's about to follow. Mage's clawing nails had hooked into the rim of an eyehole and left a neat quadruple-stripe down Khalid's cheek; the skin's unbroken and it's hardly anything close to a serious wound, but more than anything else, it sends a surging spike of irritation through him. Once his fellow HF! operative has turned away to start issuing commands, the Syrian glares down at the old lady for a swift, unbroken moment, then transfixes his hands about both sides of her jaw to give her neck a thick twist of snapping, brittle bones.

Once that is done— the woman's head looks like that of an unjointed puppet's at this point, chin practically poking upwards— he finally removes his knees from atop her torso in order to trail dutifully after the other man. Thus begins the cursory search of any functional weapon which might happen to still be lying around, even as he grudgingly retreats after the rest. A rifle is prodded at with one passing foot, one which looks like it might still be of use— no, there's mossy stuff sprouted all over its underside. Dammit.

Butch is the first over the couch, taking advantage of the distraction that is Douglas trying to chop people into packageable pieces with an axe to gimp himself over legs first. He trips halfway over, rolls onto the cushion, and then the floor beneath three pairs of feet and a swinging axe. Not a great position to be in.

Danko vaults over next as the smallest of the three, followed by Marx, who winds up trying to shove furniture out've the way before he caves and clambers over it after the others. BLGHHH he didn't have to climb over couches in Angola.

"Butch," barked out coarse is enough to get the dumbass in question up off the floor and skirting sideways after Danko's trot towards the trampled path taken by everyone else in this god-forsaken place. In the span of a breath, there's cool air on his face and chaos tied into the courtyard all around. Dead, dying. People on fire.

Wait. Nobody's on fire! In the middle distance, a squat man with a limp is hobbling fast, fast as he can after the nearest truck. Danko raises his left hand, takes careful aim, and shoomph. A sizzling wad of sparks whistles in a white hot arc through the spaces between escapees and burrow into the space between the fleeing man's shoulders, throwing his clothes up in a chemical blaze that's near instantaneous. Best of all, rather than stop drop and roll, he panics and changes directions, screaming his way for Leonard and those nearest him instead. Hard to tell what he's actually saying. 'Help me,' is probably a safe bet.

Back inside, Marx is over the couch and throwing all of his weight forward after Trask in a football-style tackle. Not hard to guess what he was into before he signed up for classes in terrorism and world domination.

Sergei turns as the last of the rear guard gets past him and apparently the first of the bad guys comes from behind him and wielding an axe, he pulls the pin on his three grenades, smoke/flashbang/and concussion and throws them down the hole of darkness that is the stairwell, meanwhile his 9mm comes up and begins shooting at the face of the axe murderer who is charging his couch. He bobs and weaves and attempts to use the couch as a ram to push the man off balance and force him back down the stairs he came up. That done he backs off moving to a door frame with a dresser up against it that was preset as his first fall back position, he levels his gun on the opening, and if there is movement fires a few more shots into it. As Butch and Danko make it over his earlier defense his leg catches one of the chords and pulls on it, causing a china cabinet to fall from the wall, crashing with a large crescendo and creating an obstacle course between him and the stairwell. He speaks into his Radio, "We seem to be clear on this side, anyone who is coming out of the basement is out."

Trask pushes another button on the walkman at his side, it begins playing beautiful instrumental piano music, as he shoots the gun dry and slams another clip into it. By the time Marx makes it to the couch Trask isn't there any more, this isn't his first Rodeo and he isn't dumb enough to stay put against overwhelming odds. As his son who will never be born plays is heart out for the father he will never meet, the ex police officer and ex soldier whirls back behind the corner and backs down the hall toward the next defense point, trying to by time for Megan and Darla to get the others out.

No weapons anymore; the grenades, rifle, and pistol have become vegetized. Cat's moving for the trucks and not looking back to see if she took down the man she'd tangled with. Delilah is thought of, but before she can move to urge her along in this direction the teen is gone her own way. Damn. Up ahead is Allen Rickham in metal body headed toward where she's come from. This is Not Good. She hadn't planned to speak at now that close quarters with HF folks is happening lest someone recognize her voice later, but plans change. She slows on approaching him to warn "Turn back. Metal is disintegrating over there."

"Um." Is not a good answer, Joseph looking back at fellow Southerner Leo with vague incomprehension before he shakes his head briskly, stammers out; "S-south gate, they said, and they came up— came up from the basement inside." The pastor is distracted, especially as he watches Ferrymen operatives and straggler refugees alike start to disappear in invisibility, the sounds of them still in place. Still as a statue and gun pointed downwards, tension writing up his spine as if waiting for more open fire that never comes—

…never mind. The sound of the grenade going off has the pastor reeling back, shotgun pointed a little wildly towards the source. There's a creak of wood as the last of the tree goes crashing to the ground, Delphine lying sprawled out on the ground with glistening black at her forehead— actually blood but it looks like tar in this light.

"Over there," Joseph says, a finger tangling amongst the trigger and other hand cradling the pump handle but not firing. Especially not when he hears that voice, black-brown eyes trying to decipher the source of the voice and realising that's it's coming from thin air. "Colette— no no no, get back— " But the sound of her foot steps indicate that while he might have authority over scared refugees, Colette is another force of nature.

Frick. The pastor side steps from the blast of the west building all, unsure, exactly, what to make of the man of iron but certainly not about to stop him from headed towards danger across the courtyard. Joseph's jaw ticks in a clench, before he finally lets loose a shot across the courtyard in the direction of the grenade in an echoing BLAM, the shotgun kicking in his hands. Hopefully it will miss. Hopefully it will drive them back. At least for as long as it takes Colette to collect and conceal the fallen 'fugees.

Delphine isn't unconscious from the grenade blast that tore apart the tree, thankfully, getting to her elbows and horribly exposed to the warfare headed in their direction. She brings an arm up to shield her head, though the shotgun firing isn't near her, likely out of caution so Joseph doesn't accidentally hit Colette, who Delphine doesn't see as she crabwalks back, breathing hard through her nostrils.

Two hands fling up, clawing desperately at the massive arm wrapped around his neck. Digging his claws in, the man kicks wildly at the tree trunks of legs that belong to his assailant. But he just can't seem to escape the lock. His face turns a variety of different colors as he is no longer able to take in breath. His wild motions become less frequent as his last attempts at survival are made, weak slaps at the arm. And finally, his neck is snapped. The ferrymen slumps to the ground, head crashing against the floor. For good measure the assailant puts two bullets in the man's back. Mainly so he could use his gun. Karl's glare raises from the dead body to lock onto the struggle going on near him. Douglas and Sergei. The large man, strolls forward, holding his sidearm up. Dressed in all black, a flack jacket, with a few grenades attached to the front the newly arrived marine is a stark contrast to his compatriot. Karl takes a few steps forward, greeting his newly arrived friends. "Sir." He growls, once Danko hippity hoppies over the couch.

The compatriot in question wears a black wifebeater, revealing the plethora of tattoos scattered around his arms. As Trask whirls around, the haft of the axe is thrusted upward, diverting Sergei's aim upward rather than straight into his face. And then the man is on the move, knocking over things and playing piano music. Douglas smiles sweetly after the retreating Sergei, and when the man turns to empty his clip, the ex-marine simply goes into a slow crouch. Allowing the bullets to whiz by him, he then goes to stand. Rushing forward, Douglas cleanly leaps over the china cabinet, landing in a roll he tucks himself against the wall. Then, he stands reaching to his belt his sidearm is drawn out. Wheeling into the hall that Sergei is backing down, three shots are let out with one hand, the axe hanging at his side in the other.

"Don't run sweetie." He pleads.

About Angola. This is fucked up. This is some third world shit. There should be women in black drapery screaming in Arabic. There should be the hollow echo of the muezzin calling everyone to prayer, interspersed with the arrhythymic pop-pop-pop and rattlerattlerattle of small arms and AKs. I'll have that flashback with a side of coke and fries, pretty please. Leo's PTSD unfolds with the abrupt completeness of one of those cheap tents being flung down, blossoming like some terrible flower. No sparks from his ears, but it is close. And all of a sudden he's back in the desert again - though which one isn't clear. Utah or the Middle East, either will do.

Were he wise, he'd be lifting the refugees into trucks. But the mundanes can do that. Instead, he more or less abandons tactics in front of interposing himself between the refugees fleeing and the terrorists coming behind, and sending walls of force washing back down the courtyard. His teeth are gritted, his brow gleams with sweat, and he doesn't realize he's gesturing like a symphonic conductor having a seizure in the middle of Wagner. But he is. ANy terrorist foolish enough to show his face will find himself summarily grabbed, his throat crushed. The poor burning man will find himself swept aside like a cinder out of a fireplace.

The battlefield's draining out like filthy water out the bottom of a bathtub. Invisible refugees flee toward the exit, and the operatives who'd started to run after them on command, decades of hand-to-hand experience in their arsenal, hang back, draw back, fall back, realizing now that the tide has turned. This particular revelation is punctuated by the sudden appearance of the former President elect, give or take a little corrosive mould, paragraphed by the sudden jolt of Joseph's
shotgun going off, all the more startling for the uselessness of the other firearms that litter the field and then an enraged telekinetic. A shout goes up, a different command, verbal for lack of functioning radios.

Harlow's unit, retreat.

Boots scratch concrete and, abruptly, building windows implode under the weight of ducking, rolling operatives, breaking line of sight with both the metal man and the telekinetic. They were outside but an instant ago; many are inside now, retreating like evil spirits, sucked back into the woodwork with alacrity that seems unbound by mere flesh. Trask and Delilah are privvy to instants' winks and peripheral glimpses of masked men and heavy boots careening away. A tripwire goes off, somewhere, furniture crashes; there's a snarl, a grunt, before a man with a broken arm drags himself free of the wreckage and begins to haul toward the doorway and then the gate beyond.

Leonard no longer forms the third point of triangle between the priest and Darla. The aerokinetic's left to deal with the burning man alone, and unhappiness shows in the torsion of slim, fisted hands, resolve hardening in the cut of her shoulders. She's moving back as she does so, picking up the rear of fleeing refugees, taking aim. Abruptly, the wind shifts, grows stagnant around Joseph. There's a gurgle and a hacking, there's the most horrible, choking sound from the man on fire; he stops dead in his tracks and begins to turn blue, the flames extinguishing rapidly from his clothes as the oxygen is summarily drained from the column of space around him. Red wrathful burns show on his skin in scorch-rimmed holes in his clothes.

The Ferrymen's network comes alive, echoes Humanis First!'s directives with equal fervor. Retreat. Retreat NOW, Mage is down. Mage is down.

Ears ringing still from the explosion that sundered the tree in the middle of the courtyard, Colette is shaken out of her invisibility by a moment of lapsed concentration, revealing the diminutive pixie-haired young girl in that tattered white leather long-coat that she had worn to the battle at Pinehearst, the shoulder of the jacket sewn closed but the trail freyed and shredded. Her dark hair blows in the hot breeze wafting with smoke and stone dust, chalk-white eyes wide as she stares at Delphine struggling away from the area of the blast. "I've got her!" She shouts, heedless of Joseph's warning to stay back as the young girl breaks into a sprint.

As her boots clap-clomp across the courtyard, she begins to peel away like a watercolor painting exposed to rain. First her colors, desaturating her to a black and white image, and then strips of her body start to blur and distort, rippling away like an erased drawing. Weaving between the smoldering remains of the tree, Colette skids to a visible stop as a trail of dust is kicked up by her movements. "Hey, hey!" She shouts, fingers winding around Delphine's arm, invisible digits depressed into her flesh.

"This way! It's gonan get dark, just hold my hand!" Soon Delphine too begins to dither and blur away, flesh fading from the visible spectrum of light like so many brush strokes of a lost painting. Colette's hand jerks her back, tugging her away from where she had moved, "The armored trucks are this way, come on!" Looking back over her shoulder, Colette's blindness is of no disadvantage in a realm without light. Feeling, touching, sensing colors allows her to maneuver where no others can see, and the young girl rushes back towards Joseph with footfalls dragged behind her. "Joe! Lay down uh— suppressing fire!" She shouts as she runs past. Suppressing fire? Colette doesn't even know what that means; she never should have been left unsupervised in a car with Jensen Raith.

Across the courtyard, the metallic form of Allen Rickham's focus darts around the courtyard, trying to find focus in the chaos of the field of battle. So much is this like the day of his tour of Midtown — so much do the guerilla tactics of Humanis First echo the tactics of the Vanguard that he's almost waiting for Sylar to appear and eviscerate him with lasers. This time — he has small comfort in — the lasers are on his side.

"Running away?" Comes the booming metallic voice as he watches masked cockroaches in body armor scuttle back into buildings, one Humanis First operative rolling up thorugh a window is snatched by a metallic arm, yanked and dragged back kicking and screaming as he turns, opening fire with the hollow plink plink plink of bullets ricocheting off of metal, tearing away portions of Rickham's suit but doing little more than dimpling the metal.

An iron fist winds back, swings forward, andmeets with the soldier's brow like so much dead weight, knocking him out of the grasp and sending him crumpling against the brick wall of the west building. As he staggers back up, unholstering his sidearm and firing, Allen steps into the shot and grabs the arm with the gun, twisting it, and then snapping it in an angle it should not bend. His hand swings out again, this time shattering the man's skull and dislocating his jaw, sending a wet sack of blood and gore that was a ski-mask down to the ground. BLood drips off of Rickham's knuckles, but it's only here that he notices something — notices the metal-devouring fungus spread across one of his arms, made brittle where one of the terrorist's bullets tore right through him as if he were made of paper.

Deepset eyes increasingly hollow in his head as more and more bodies begin to register as balaclava'd men and women after his own mind, Danko is a distinct figure. Even in the dark, even in fatigues. Something about the disaffected way he holds himself, maybe, while his glare drifts vacant after the swath of destruction Leonard is sweeping across the lawn and the way a good soldier's gore glosses out slick between metal hands.

He really hasn't made it far from the east building when he drops the flare gun and bolsters his left hand up under his right to take steady aim at Rickham from afar. Plink, clink, clank, tfft. Sparks tick off of the former President Elect's metal chest in spits of deflected force before a bullet finally sinks home in the dark space blotched over his arm, and Danko knits his brows one…little twitch. Realization is a subtle thing in the lift of his head and the steady of his shoulders as he starts to line himself up to take more careful and deliberate aim.

At his shoulder, Butch is not careful or deliberate. To be honest, he might not be aiming at all — the assault rifle he has braced against his shoulder hardly requires it to bring the raaain, man. And he is bringing it. On Leo. All rat-tat-tat-tat-tat, which is perhaps imminently unfortunate for him — enough so that Danko hesitates a little once he realizes what he's up to over there, soulless eyes ticking over into a flicker of what might qualify as earnest concern. If anyone happened to be paying really close attention.

But nobody is. And on the inside of the east building, Marx has completed his round of the kitchenette. Having found only cans of soup tumbled every which way and no one to shoot, he's prowling his way towards the exit, muscled shoulders rolled thick around the anvil wedge of his neck, semiautomatic edging out a few inches ahead of every creeping foot of progress he makes towards a shadow that looks like it might. Just. Be a little boy huddled forgotten in a corner. Shhhh.

Part of Delilah told her to hide- hide and it'll be over- but the other part of her is screaming at the first part's decision making. Some days, her bravery is astounding, and some days, like this one, clutching at a bleeding wound while running around through a safehouse- she can be just another girl.

And sometimes, even being a girl offers Miss Trafford opportunities she may not have found otherwise.

Marx and his brick shithouse build may be tough face to face- but when there's a big teenage girl jumping down on his back, that offers a whole new field. Delilah entered the room seconds after the big man turned out the exit, eyes drawing along his path to the same shadow that may or may not look exactly the same to her; flat shoes a blessing, there is a blur of white as she jumps up and literally vaults herself off of the rickety wooden table. Pouncing, in essence.

Delilah's arms wrap immediately around the soldier's meaty neck, one handful of fingers scrabbling for a purchase on his mask, and the other staying locked as tight around his neck as it can possibly be.

Sergei keeps backing up along the hall way he is working his way down toward the exit is a long shelf just above head level, it appears every single glass in the house has been lined up on the shelf, filled with ball bearing, marbles, and screws and nutes and bolts, and just any type of caltrop Trask could scrounge. His elbow hits the shelf joggling the glasses and as the music keeps playing crashing and shatterings join the sounds of the piano providing punctuation as Trask backs toward the exit. Seeing Marx trying to work his way around him Sergei fires a few shots at the man, to try to keep his head down. As he does, the gun shots ringing over the music the child makes a yelping noise running. Trask reaches down to collect the kid in his arms and makes for the back door. The only thing in his world this hallway, he has no idea what awaits him outside, whether it is every refugee dead, or an army of home land security reinforcements, or even just a silent night that could be the last sight he sees. "Let's go" he screams at Delilah. Pausing just inside the door to see if she is gonna catch up.

Suppressing fire?! Where did she learn such language, honestly. No more shotgun rounds are fired, despite this, as Joseph stares helplessly at the thin air from which Colette's voice came from, wherein Delphine is contained too, limping after the girl with hoarse breaths escaping her throat, her fingers digging into the photokinetic's arm as they go. But they go, and that's the main thing.

Letting the shotgun dangling from its strap over Joseph's shoulder, he only just notices the way the humid evening air has stopped, essentially, and the pastor moves towards the felled, gasping man who had taken the flare into the back, arms gripping onto his arm and trying not to look too closely at the smoldering mark of where the fire had burned. "Git up," is Joseph's curt instruction, sounding just like that, as he shoots a wary glance towards Leo, as if uncertain how much he should be trusting a man who scattered a refugee off to the side. Not much choice, either way.

The ratatatat of gunfire has Joseph's throwing an arm, instead, over the burned man rather than gittin' up, as it were, alarm widening his eyes as he shoots a look towards the source. In all the chaos and smoke, it's hard for the pastor to tell who got hit and where, looking towards the fatigue wearing men that have emerged on the scene. There's one with eyes the colour of cement that doesn't exactly rise head and shoulders above his comrades that has Joseph's attention locking, for a moment, heart tripping over its own rhythm—

Joseph readjusts the shotgun on its strap as he goes to lever the burned man up on his feet with hissed words of frantic encouragement, draping one of the man's arms over his shoulders and hobbling for the trucks. Fear is a powerful thing, and so is anger, and both have managed to come together to create common sense. **/

Yeah, fire at me. Give me a point to focus on. The bullets aren't plinking off Leo with that bell-like chiming like they were Rickham. Who knew the iron man was tuned like Swiss bells? Instincts that've lain dormant since places with mellifluous names like Fallujah and Samarra have reappeared, not much dulled for their apparent absence. The bullets all stop, slow, hovering in the air for a moment, little gleaming cylinders that've apparently acquire a fit of absence of mind and forgotten their way. There they remain for the moment, hovering.

Leo seeks cover, to use physical means to shield himself from that rain of bullets. And then sends a rain of debris at the apparent source of the fire, every shard of metal and glass winging in with the speed of a fastball pitch, in company with the bullets who have suddenly remember what they were up to. He's not really there to rescue, anymore. Not there to save. Just to destroy.

Smoke swirls, turning the air acrid. Leonard's ability snatches at tongues of flame, moves air and clothes, drives ashes and tumbles corpses across the courtyard. Bullets stop at his hand and malicious intent seems rife in the livid clench of his posture, but you know, they have other concerns. Like the knowledge that Humanis First! is better-armed and outnumbers them, easy, any day of the week, and the truckloads of refugees are easy pickings for a scissor maneuver. Darla's voice goes off like a whipcrack behind Leonard's head— "Telekine. You're the driver and we need to book it! Now!" even as she eases out of the way of the passing nudge and rub of she — thinks — is an invisible huddle of refugees escaping in staggered tandem.

Darla sends one parting glance after Catherine and Rickham and, finally, a sharp gust of air rushing fast on the heels of Leonard's psychic force. With it, she throws her voice through the broken windows of the Eastern building, the soundwaves carried in fuzzed static and weakening pitch, but audible to those who need to hear it: "We're pulling out. Is the East wing clear?" The query is copied once to the radio, even as she twists on a boot heel and bolts through the gateway. She throws herself into the cab of Leonard's truck, setting down in the driver's seat— for now, but her eyes are on the wheel, checking that the key's in ignition. Just in case…

RADIO: A Ferrymen calls out: "Can we shut the trucks up? Is everyone out?"

Scattering back past Joseph and thorugh the gate towards the truck Leonard had brought, Colette fades back into reality like someone running thorugh a downpour of color. It splotches all over her and runs down her arms in rivulets like liduid, eventually spreading to Delphine as the dark-haired and far taller woman is brought into clarity once outside of the gates. "The back, the back, get in the back!" Colette shouts, skidding to a stop on the street as the trail of her white jacket rustles around her ankles. She slings her arm towards the truck Leo had been driving, now manner by another, and turns her focus back towards the smoke rising up from the complex of buildings.

Swallowing tensely, Colette does her best to blinka way tears that come, trying to forget the ache of fear sunk into the pit of her stomach and the lump rising up in the back of her throat. She's on the move again, but this time not invisible. She can't focus on too many things at once, and too many things is exactly what she has in mind. Sliding down onto one knee near the north gate, Colette furrows her brows tightly and focuses on the courtyard's smoky periphery, creating ephemeral dancing figures in the distance, some shapes ducking around corners, others hidden behind smoke. She's terrible at details, and up close they look like living smudges of black paint, but at a distance they look like reinforcements.

No sounds accompany them, but the already present noise of gunfire and screams and revving engines is enough background noise to mask them. "Allen!" Colette shouts over the noise, "Allen come on!" What words had to have been shared in the back of that truck, what associations made. Hey I'm your former assistant's little sister or hey your creepy future self tried to kill me — conversations only she, Rickham, Leo and the man in the driver's seat of the truck were privy to.

Turning towards the cry of Colette's voice, Rickham is about to move towards Colette, but the sudden rattle-pang of a bullet ripping thorugh him in a shower of rusted metal and sparks causes Allen to stagger forward, holding his chest. Flakes of green fungus and corroded metal rain down to the ground as a hole an inch wide is bored thorugh his back and out his chest. Rickham stumbles, looking down at the shiny hole, then up and over his shoulder towards the man steadying his rifle and aiming precicely for him.

Suddenly, Allen can't hear Colette any more. All he can hear is the echo of shapes that makes up Emile Danko's form, and imagines perhaps this is what a bull sees in a bullfight — nothing but shapes and anger.

"Allen!" Colette's voice cries across the courtyard as her puppets of dark light dance around the periphery of vision, flitting shadows that could be Homeland Security, could be police, could be Phoenix, coule be Remnant; that's exactly what Colette wants Danko's men to think. Not that she can't quite do faces and details yet — the devil's in the details, and she isn't yet intimate with him.

But Humanis First! isn't done having their way yet. Despite the batches of ruined metal glinting everywhere, despite the abrupt decommissioning of -most- of the stockpile of firearms lying around at hand — no, they aren't done. As the last of the straggling refugees clamber their bottlenecked way into trucks and drivers struggle to orient themselves, there is a stray, aberrant bullet that pings off one side of the nearest armored vehicle. Then: another ping! and another, riding on the tails of distant BANGs aimed high, low; all streaming into the same roughly targeted area, but from rather volatile angles.

Last stand, as it were. Those with anything left; pistols, whatever. Most of the larger and more malicious weapons may be useless, but Khal, at least, is riding out his last opportunity to do as much parting damage to the Ferrymen and their departing, precious cargoes as possible.

There's a lot going on in the wake of retreat on both sides. For all that he only had a few along with him, most of Danko's men are still here and still alive.

Key word being most. Meatneck Marx on the inside is treated to the one-two slug slug slug of a psychadelic mutant toad on his back and bullets whap-whap-whapping off the reinforcement of his body armor in rapid succession. One plunges through the softer stuff in his left arm; another strips through the muscle in the same neck Delilah has koala'd herself around. He staggers — makes a noise like an angry moose so deep in his chest that Dee can feel the rumble through his back, but he's ssslllooowing down. Everything is slowing down, actually, and there's a languid sort of colorful wooziness to the step he swings sideways on his way to escape. Directly into a wall, while slick fingers find their way up through the sweaty mat of his balaclava over cracked lips and a nose that's been broken more times than wikidot's servers. Somehow this feels more like Angola. :(

Outside: "Ooh shit shit shit shit shit SHIT — " Butch drops the gun and flings himself aside towards casing-strewn grass only to be caught midair by Leonard's big wad of pain. Glass slashes, metal slaps and cracks audibly against the rigid plate of his vest. He rolls over once in midair with the force of it, spare shrapnel splintered glittery and sharp in the air around him as he tumbles, lands, and…coughs. Sniffs. Blood in his nose and in his throat. He's…just gonna stay down here for a while and hang out with the ants.

Some distance away, boots are coming up fast on Joseph and the burnt man's heels. Long legs and long strides are set out of alignment somewhat by a vestigal limp before Deckard can wrest his way up under the loop of the crispy arm opposite Sumter. From there they're moving just a little faster, Deckard bloody and sore and wheezing — the way he tends to be after most events of this nature. No telling where his shotgun's gotten off to.

If Danko realizes that he's gotten Rickham's attention in a way where one really does not want to have Rickham's attention, he doesn't seem to notice the change. Past an idle glance after Joseph that (oddly enough?) doesn't even look like it might turn over into pursuit he's preoccupied with his own personal game of battleship, now, footing solid and stance lax with ill-conceived confidence while he takes his time and picks his shots. Find the weak points.

His next trigger pull dinks neatly between the metal man's seamless eyes.

The pull of fabric over Marx's face comes with the soft touch of fresh air on his skin, a soft hand on his cheek…

And while Delilah has no such shocking power, her hands wind onto his features as if she did- blood, mixed with a dripping slough of translucent muck, fingers leaving the poison behind like at least half a dozen giant slugs crawling down over the man's face. Meanwhile, having not had purchase with her knees, Delilah dangles from her elbow-grip on his neck, her weight dragging backwards and feet snuffing around as she tries to find something that she can use as leverage in order to pull him down.

Practically oblivious to outside, to Trask. Her face is peeled into something born only of pure anger- pure hate- which in itself is never something that Delilah usually wears.

The dark figure yells at Delilah, "We got to go, move it, your not behind me I am not coming back for you." Trask then throws the kid over his shoulder, he breaks out the door and begins running across the field, zigging between cover points, not providing a hard target, he speaks into his Radio "East Wing Clear we are on our way." He hopes Delilah is behind him as he goes. As he breaks the cover of the porch the music radiating from him might draw an eye or two as the darkness of the night covers them he drops the walkman, letting it draw fire while he keep running. He hits the back of the truck and throws the kid up in front of him, before hitting the side, "That's it, we are clear" he screams over the sound of gun fire tinkling off the side of the truck. He sends a few 9mm rounds back at whoever is shooting at them as he waits for Cat to pull out. He scans for a sign that Delilah followed him, but not much he can do about it if she doesn't.

Aboard the truck Darla picked, Cat's on the passenger side and speaking to her. "Got a manual for this thing? Have you driven one of these before?" She opens the storage compartment and looks for such a publication. If need be she can read it and operate the vehicle easily enough, she believes. Hopefully Delilah, Leonard, and Allen will soon be on one or the other transport. But if they won't come, they won't come.

With the extra oomph of a Deckard suddenly materialising on the other side, Joseph, he and Burned Man are propelled just that little bit faster for the trucks with team spirit, the last of the stragglers as one engine roars to life. Hands are hurriedly reaching out the back to drag the burned man inside, just as a bullet *pings!* off the armored shell of the truck.

Which was the one prelude to ow.

Joseph half crumples into the open door of the truck as something connects against his back. Maybe a sledgehammer. Or another bullet from Khalid's handgun, even, proving that mom was always right about wearing a coat when you're going out, or a bullet proof vest when you're evacuating a safehouse. And it's probably good for him that people inside the vehicle are just proactive that way and would really like to shut the door, the pastor hauled/helped inside before he can even contemplate attempting to drag air back into his lungs.

Okay, okay. Now he can go. Leo's playing rearguard, but even the would-be Sithling tires. So he's begun to back towards the exit, still flailing with his power to keep fire off him. Not, perhaps, his finest hour. He's back in the cab of the truck in two shakes of a lamb's tail, as his mother used to say, craning his neck in the side mirror to make sure everyone's in who needsto be.

With unspoken but heartfelt apologies to all of those left behind, the Ferry is leaving dock, leaving only the most stubborn of their honorable combatants, and the dead, and those reinforcements. Having shifted over to the driver's side, Darla gives Cat a nod that would have seemed curt even to the lawyeress under different circumstances. Under these, it merely speaks volumes of haste.

The aerokinetic grips the wheel, and radios back to order the doors secured and everybody inside strapped in and holding on as well as they can to the benches bolted to the floors. Engines gun, exhaust hiccoughing out into the stagnant Staten summer evening air, clouds riven only by point beams of semi-automatic fire as Khalid's rounds snik and ricochet off the metal, one or two rounds burying themselves in the surface of painted chrome before they're stopped by the reinforcement of sheet alloy underneath. "«Twenty minutes to shake tails, then en route to the Clipper. Pulling—»" there's a pause jolted violently into her announcement as a handgun round shatters the glass at Cat's shoulders. It's laminated, however, and the pattern merely hangs frozen inside the frame without dropping broken fragments onto either Evolved woman. "«â€” out.»"

With that, the first truck swerves away from the curb, one rubber tire kissing the sidewalk in a brief shriek of friction. The other isn't long following, though the Ferryman manning the doors has rather daringly left one panel open, a breadth only just wide enough for a spry or athletic human body to make the final, running leap, just in case— someone bolts out of the gate. Wide, frightened eyes stare out from the recess of gloom, sardined bodies jingling and bumping inside safety belts. Both vehicles pick up speed, rattling and groaning as the bang-up refurnishings protest loudly to the stress of locomotion and the scattered carping of bullets. It'll hold, though. Many things about the Ferry tend to lead one to wonder, but so far, they've done all right. They'll be all right.

As the first truck starts pulling away, Colette's expression turns somewhat frantic, looking back just in time to see Rickham's head jerk back from a metallic flash of a bullet bouncing off of his forehead. He scowls, preparing to move further towards Danko, but he finally, finally hears Colette's screaming. "Allen!"

Practically hoarse, the blind young teen rushes over a pile of debris, hopping to Allen's side as she grabs his hand and — well — just sort've leans back to little effect, boots scraping on the ground. "We have to go, the trucks are leaving, we have to go!" Allen looks down, metallic brows furrowed as he turns to look back in the direction of Danko through a plume of black smoke rising up from burning wood. His eyes settle on Colette again — so similar to Stephanie Caiati; to Nicole. He always did have a weakness that isn't just metal-devouring mold.

Wordlessly, Rickham moves to stand between Colette and the gunfire, pushing her back as her focus shifts from the figments to invisibility. While unaware of Rickham's use of what amounts to echo location to see in his metallic form, she finds no need to guide his hand as both of them paint away like an error on a canvas drawn over by so much oil or pastel.

Their hurried race back to one of the last trucks comes with Rickham's thundering footfalls, and Colette's eyes wrenched shut in some futile attempt not to look at bodies as she moves past them. Allen keeps his pace well, but slows sooner than she does — his momentum is a dangerous thing. Colette scrambles up into the back of the truck as her colors and visibility peels out from the unseen bend of light and color; her slight weight yanked up into the truck, one foot boosted by Allen.

Looking down to the hole in his chest and arm, Rickham frowns, turning his focus back up to Colette. "I'm too heavy." His black hematite eyes stare out at her milky white ones. "Go. I'll catch up."

"What? Woah hey— no you— I've seen this in movies the catch-up guy always gets killed! You— you can't!" Reaching out from the back of the truck, she only finds a metal hand planted on her forehead pushing her back with tiny flakes of rust left in her hair.

"Go!" Allen roars, pushing her back as the Ferryman operative behind her pulls Colette further into the truck, as Allen taps on the side, signaling for the vehicle to pull away. Colette kicks, screaming for Rickham not to stay behind, and all the metal man can do is turn back towards the devastated buildings and square his shoulders.

Aaaand that's pretty much all the kicks he's likely to yank out of this night. After firing off several last, obnoxiously loud rounds at the bumping, jolting back of the last convoy out, Khalid lets his weapon drop bodily and disgustedly from his hands, dragging one hand down the back of his neck just where his balaclava ends. There might be something like a muttered "…Another day, freaks," a comment only really audible to the Humanis First! colleage lurking next to him.


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