Situation Normal


eileen4_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Situation Normal
Synopsis Raith takes Eileen out on a hunt to the Thomas Jefferson Trailer Farm to find Jackson Manfield, a serial rapist with the ability to bench press a small car. He bench presses Raith instead.
Date August 18, 2009

Thomas Jefferson Trailer Farm

Before the bomb, this was Thomas Jefferson Park. Some of it still is, stretches of grass and trees that far fewer people visit than once did.

Some of it is not.

Faced with the sheer number of people displaced from their homes after the bomb, but too stubborn - or without the means - to move from Manhattan, this is one of the many places the city and various federal agencies have given over to shelter the refugees. As such, what was once meticulously maintained greensward has been turned into dirt road and trailer lots. The grass has been worn thin by the repetitive passing of hundreds of feet. Trailers sit all but side-by-side, with room only for a car and perhaps a few chairs to be parked in between. Younger children run around underfoot, seemingly undeterred from their games; older ones might slink behind the trailers with hungry eyes, resentful of those who have more, while the adults seem more heart-weary and worn-down than not. These are the people who have nowhere else to go; some have jobs, but many do not, surviving on as little as possible. Alcohol and drugs are common; so is suicide, for those who have passed from desperation into surrender.

New York may never sleep, but among the remains of Thomas Jefferson park, littered now with trailer homes and refuse, sleep comes easily to those who can do nothing else, trapped in a dead-end alley by a shattered economy and dogged determination not to be driven out by something as minor as the end of the world. It's the perfect breeding ground for criminals of every sort, and of the worst sort, and it's this fact that is drawing Jensen Raith and Eileen Ruskin down the dirt road after midnight, like hungry wolves after a wounded animal.

"It's a big park," Raith says in a whisper, glancing around to look for lights in windows, movement in the shadows, anything that might signal that they aren't as alone as they'd like to be. "How many rapes do you think it'll take before someone does something about it? Three? Four? Ten? We'll have to ask when we see him. You remember the can?" Not soda pop, or creamed corn, or anything like that, of course. What Raith wants to make certain of is if Eileen remembered the silencer for her pistol. They may be walking into a dead-end alley, but that doesn't mean they get to be careless.

"Yes." Eileen's booted feet and the bottoms of her jeans are coated in a filmy layer of dirt and dust kicked up during the weaving journey through the trailer park. Like all things, it looks different here at night than it does during the day — a fact that would make navigation difficult if it wasn't for the extra set of eyes the pair has in the sky. Soaring on silent wings, the chameleonic shape of a screech owl skims through moonlight and blends in with the cloudcover's mottled belly, equal parts light and shadow.

She's dressed in dark colours, including the worn leather material of her jacket which conceals the shoulder holster and pistol she wears beneath it. Not that the weapon needs concealing. Apart from the glinting silver rings on her fingers and pale glow of her luminous eyes and skin, somewhat slick with sweat on this sopping August night, it's impossible for any witnesses to pick out these details from a distance. She and Raith could be anyone; the only thing that sets them apart from the people who make their home in the park is the purposeful resolve and stealth with which they move.

"Good," Raith replies, waiting a moment to check over their shoulders before he adds any more information. "Don't get close to him. Snap a man right in half, just like a saltine cracker. Don't get fancy. Double-tap to the chest, one in the head to finish him off, and we're out of here. He lives alone, so as long as no one gets trigger happy, we won't get anyone we shouldn't. Up there." Gesturing forward with a nod of his head, Raith indicates one of the trailers not far ahead. Probably not far ahead, at least. It's difficult to tell in the darkness, but the fact that Raith draws his own pistol, an old Smith & Wesson "hush puppy," and starts screwing the suppressor onto the end of the barrel is a sure sign that they're close. No lighted windows is an even better sign. No one will be waiting for them.

The screech owl swoops low, narrowly avoiding a thick black tangle of power lines that divides one row of mobile homes from the next, and seizes the lip of a satellite antenna in its talons as it comes in to land on the roof of the appropriate trailer. Eileen, following Raith's lead, releases her pistol from its holster and uses the pad of her thumb to click off the weapon's safety. In doing so, she makes more noise than the rumpled bird perched atop the antenna as it shifts its weight from clawed foot to clawed foot and watches the pair approach with an imperious expression anchored in place by a pair of large yellow eyes and a wickedly curving beak.

Slowly pulling the slide back and then easing it forward, Raith's weapon is ready without much sound. Not enough to raise an alarm, at the very least. Moving off to the side of the dirt road, he lowers his shoulders and picks up the pace just slightly, coming up to the appropriate trailer and moving in between it and its neighbor. Not much space, but enough to move about. Waiting for a moment to listen for sounds of movement after Eileen comes to a halt as well, he is satisfied by what he hears and turns his attention to Eileen. "Did you see anything from up there?" he whispers. More specifically, he means did she see anyone. Trying to get their target's attention is guaranteed to fail if he's out wandering the grounds in search of a new plaything.

"No," is Eileen's monosyllabic answer, but unlike the last it's followed by some elaboration, softly spoken. "Some kids getting high behind the portables," she adds as she shrugs off her jacket and tosses it square at the center of Raith's chest. "Early teens. I'll follow the fence and take him around the back instead." A series of practiced movements finishing with the buckle at the base of her abdomen loosens the holster's straps and allows her to discard that as well, though she does not throw it as she did the jacket. This done, she tucks her pistol down the back of her jeans, gunmetal cool against her flushed skin. "I won't fuck this up if you don't. Deal?"

"Deal." What else is Raith, now holding Eileen's jacket and holster, supposed to say? The spotlight is on Little Eily Ruskin, now, Raith moving off to hide and wait. She follows the fence, their friend Jackson Manfield follows her, Raith follows him long enough to line up, and the rest is gravy. There is absolutely no way for either of them to fuck this up.

Show time, kid.

Eileen steps up, curling her fingers around the home's metallic railing for support as she mounts the trailer's stairs, careful not to make any more noise than necessary. There's her breath, the blood pounding in her ears and the squeak of her boots coming into contact with the grimy welcome mat laid out for visitors. The pistol is just a precaution — in spite of his instructions, which are a reminder, this kill belongs to the elder of the two. Her reason for being here is to learn, and to make things just a little bit easier for the man in charge of their operation.

She draws in a slow, steady breath to steel herself and bolster her nerves, then raps her knuckles against the front door, hoping that the knock is loud enough to be heard above the television she can glimpse through the curtains.

Luckily for Eileen, her knocking is loud enough to wake the apparent insomniac, the sound of a recliner closing up answering her after a moment. Another moment later, the lock turns and the door opens, and there is Jackson Manfield in flannel pants and a slightly frayed undershirt, hair thinning, chin starting to double, eyes slightly bugged. Not exactly easy on Eileen's eyes, but it could be worse. Probably.

After sizing Eileen up for a moment, Manfield finally voices the question that has doubtlessly been on his mind for almost two seconds. "Can I help you, miss?"

Eileen forces a smile that does not quite reach her eyes, all lips, no teeth and heavily favouring one side of her mouth. She reaches up with one hand and thumbs at her nose in a nervous gesture that doesn't require any acting ability whatsoever. When Raith used the word bait to describe her role in tonight's excursion, she'd given him a look that could turn water to ice and the beholder into stone, and although she's had plenty of time to acclimate to the idea, it's clear that she still isn't entirely comfortable with it. And maybe that's just as well. Most young women in her position wouldn't be, knocking on doors and imploring strangers past midnight. "You Jack Manfield?"

Eileen question is met with a moment of silence and slightly narrowed, inquisitive eyes. "Yeah, that's me," is Manfield's verbal reply. Raith had better know what he's gotten Eileen into, or he's really going to get it. Assuming, of course, that Eileen gets out of this mess without being broken in half like a saltine cracker. The good news is that her target doesn't appear to pick up on anything that may be wrong.

Eileen tips her dark-haired head and lifts one shoulder into a shrug, gesturing down the line of trailers. "Betty Tillman's boy says you used to be a mechanic 'fore Midtown," she says, though her eyes never leave Manfield's face, searching for some indication of guilt in the shape of his mouth or the folds of skin around his eyes that crinkle and crease like wet paper when he squints. Barely an inch above of five feet with the build that's better suited to a ballerina than a terrorist, the most intimidating thing about Eileen is the outline of the pistol peeking out from her jeans, but this isn't something Manfield can see unless she shows him her back. "My car won't start and the boyfriend's out of town 'til next weekend. You think you could take a look at her for me?"

It's clear that the next three seconds are used by Manfield to consider this prospect. "Yeah, sure," he says, "You got a flashlight I can use? Awful dark out." Success. Eileen's done her part, as it were. Now, she just has to hope that Raith does his.

Despite asking about a flashlight, Manfield is already stepping out into the night, apparently ready to go. No doubt he doesn't expect to need, or really to want light with what he's planning to do.

Eileen steps backwards off the stoop rather than turn around for reasons that are probably obvious to her partner, wherever he is. Her top's cotton weave, pulled down over the belt of her jeans, should conceal the weapon unless Manfield is looking for its shape. Giving him that opportunity, however, isn't a risk she's willing to take — they've entered too many into this equation already. "In the trunk," she says, falling into step alongside him. "I've got a kit too, if'n you need it."

"Good, sounds like we're all set, then." Luckily for Eileen, Manfield seems content to walk alongside if slightly behind her, keeping him out of a position to accidentally notice her firearm. He also seems content to not say too much as they walk, which is definitely a plus for the woman. She can hope certainly that Raith is nearby, ready to strike and bring the evening to a close.

The closing of the evening begins when an unexpected misstep results in the sound of cracking and shattering plastic from directly them. The trailer farm's drug problem proves to be the biggest threat to this training exercise as Raith, sneaking up close to ensure a killing shot, steps on and breaks a discarded syringe, the sound of it breaking his concentration just long enough for Manfield to turn around and see a gun pointed at him. It's a race of reflexes, and with Raith needing an extra split second to turn his attention up from looking at what he stepped on, loses.

Manfield swats Raith's pistol aside just in time to avoid a bullet in his chest, the only sound coming from the discharging weapon the 'ch-chik!" of its action cycling. A punch to Manfield's solar plexes doesn't yield the desired results, whether due to a misplaced hit or Manfield's ability making him resistant to such an assault. For the second time, Raith doesn't recover from his shock fast enough to avoid the front of his coat being seized and used for leverage. With a might heave-ho, Manfield sends the ex-spy flying through the air and rolling on the ground twenty feet away. At the very least, Eileen isn't responsible for the evening's SNAFU.

Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.

Worse things have happened. Or at least that's what Eileen tells herself when Raith goes sailing through the air and hits the dirt, probably with enough force to dislocate his shoulder and bruise a few ribs. Under different circumstances, the concept of schadenfreude might apply — God knows the merc has beaten up on Eileen enough for her to appreciate the sound his body makes when it collides with the earth — but right now all she can think about is the feel of her pistol's grip in her hand as she pulls it out, swings her arm around and levels the weapon with Manfield's back.

She squeezes off two shots in quick succession. The first goes wide, ricochets off a steel post belonging to the chain-link fence that she'd been leading Manfield alongside per their plan. The second connects with the man's shoulder, tearing through muscle, splintering bone and causing an audible crack to ring out — rather than punch through the other side, the bullet imbeds itself in Manfield's scapula and sends pain lancing through his back.

On the bright side, this confirms that he isn't impervious to gunfire. On the other…

On the other, Manfield makes a whole lot of noise when he's shot, not from screaming, but because he lashes out with the arm that doesn't cause fresh agony to set his shoulder on fire, causing very visible, and audible damage to a near by trailer. With the tight quarters they're in, it was inevitable. It was probably also inevitable that, given what's happened, that Manfield singles Eileen out as the source of all his misery and charges at her. He may not be that physically imposing, but his ability must be taken into account. This is not so much a wounded man with a double chin coming at her as much as it is an angry bulldozer fixing to turn her inside into her outsides.

With hardly any distance to cover, it's a small matter for Manfield to grab Eileen and heft her into the air before sending her through the air much like he did to Raith. Unlike Raith, however, Eileen does not get thrown down the path, but at a trailer, glancing off of the side and back down to the ground. Hitting the trailer may not have hurt too badly, but hitting the dirt from five feet up definitely does.

The impact slams the breath from Eileen's lungs. Any hope she might've had of a quick recovery is summarily swept away when she bounces off the trailer's dented shell and hits the ground knees-first, followed by the rest of her body as she slumps forward onto her stomach. The first thing she becomes aware of is the dirt packed in her mouth and nose, mixed with the familiar, coppery taste of fresh blood. Saliva oozes past pursed lips and stains her teeth pink, dribbles hot, wet, down her chin and arching neck. Fingers curl meanwhile, groping in the dust for a pistol no longer within reach.

That pistol would probably come in real handy for self-defense. Manfield hasn't finished yet, stalking over towards Eileen to finish what he started. Worse, all the racket is starting to attract attention, more and more lights shining in windows and people are beginning to wake up in the hope they can see what the problem is. For Eileen, the problem is immediately apparent in the form of Manfield flipping her onto her back, pinning her down and beginning to strangle her. This is usually where the knight in shining armor arrives to save the day.

It's too bad that Eileen's knight, his armor not so shining, was last seen rolling around on the ground not forty feet away.

If Eileen wore regalia made of silk, bathed in rose water and took seriously the epithet Ethan Holden has assigned to her, she might classify as a damsel in need of saving. The truth of the matter is that she hates standing on a pedestal almost as much as she hates the feeling of meaty hands closing around her throat and constricting her windpipe. This isn't the slow, gradually tightening caress of a lover seized by a moment of passion, and even if it was, Manfield isn't anyone she wants touching her neck, never mind the other parts of her body as he presses against her chest and stomach and pins her to the dusty earth beneath her back.

The only thing she needs that shines is the blade of her Batangas knife, drawn from her belt and flipped open in the moment that Manfield rolled her over. Unable to use the heel of her hand to drive it upward, she comes in around the side instead and shoves the weapon into the side of his neck, aiming for the carotid artery.

It works, in the sense that it forces Manfield to stop strangling her. His attention is suddenly and fully focused on the three inches of steel that Eileen has just shoved into his neck, severing one carotid and puncturing the other. The Roman gladius sword was made with a straight, pointed blade for one simple reason; a well-placed stab is almost always fatal. The same fact holds true with Eileen's butterfly knife, and while Manfield doesn't instantly die, he only makes matters worse for himself when he follows his gut reaction, grabbing the weapon and yanking it out.

The sudden release of pressure causes what may as well be a crimson geyser to erupt from his neck, staining the ground and Eileen's face a new color. Unable to scream, Manfield emits only wet, choking gurgles as he tries to breathe in and sucks whole mouthfuls of blood down into his lungs, causing violent coughing to try and expel the fluid that only draws a greater volume in. He topples to the side, off of Eileen, convulsing on the ground as the life that once flowed in his veins, ironically, slowly drowns him. If Eileen were a Roman gladiator, the crowd would be going wild. Instead, she'll have to settle for screams as someone trains a flashlight on the scene, and promptly drops it, the beam dimly illuminating a figure approaching her, armed with a pistol and holding its arm. At least Raith got back up. That will make escaping that much easier. And escaping is exactly what they need to do right now. "Get your gun," Raith orders, "Get up, and move it before someone opens fire." After everything else, getting shot would really be the icing on the cake.

Raith doesn't have to tell Eileen twice. By the time he reaches her, she's already folding her knife shut, seemingly oblivious to the blood that coats its blade and matches the colour of her face and hands. Droplets like rubies, obsidian black in the darkness, cling to her hair and gather on the tips of her trembling fingers and at the point of her chin. On autopilot, she doesn't even bother attempting to shake or wipe them off before climbing to her feet, stepping over Manfield's seizuring body and retrieving her sidearm.

She doesn't ask Raith if he's all right, either. He wouldn't be on his feet if he wasn't, and she isn't sure she'd recognize the sound of her own voice if she were to attempt speech. Her hands are like entities unto themselves and remember to turn the pistol's safety back on when her brain, still reeling, does not. Her feet, too, move without being told to, carrying Eileen swiftly away from the scene at Raith's side.

Mission complete; class dismissed.

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