So That Happened


byron_icon.gif charity_icon.gif chris_icon.gif eileen2_icon.gif finn_icon.gif kara_icon.gif ollie_icon.gif yi-min_icon.gif

Scene Title So That Happened
Synopsis It's a hell of a post mortem.
Date April 1, 2019

Staten Island

The directive to disrupt Yamagato’s inaugural Cherry Blossom gala could be interpreted any number of ways. If the Remnant judged their mission’s success by the collective worth of the items stolen this evening, they wouldn’t be sharing multiple bottles of champagne between them.

But they don’t, so they are.

The amount of money promised by Praxis Heavy Industries is somewhere in the six figure range, dependant on the amount of negative press coverage its competitor receives during the coming weeks. They won’t know what the headlines read until tomorrow. What’s left of tonight is for celebrating. And drinking.

A heavy layer of smoke hangs in the air and feels like it sticks to everything it touches, including the tabletops, dilapidated floor, and opaque windows. There are no rules about what people can and cannot do indoors on Staten Island — one of many reasons why this particular hole-in-the-wall was chosen as the rendezvous point. Even dressed in their black tie finery, the Providence crew fits in with the nameless bar’s mismatched clientele; more importantly, there is so much else going on around them that no one except the bartender is listening.

A heated game of mahjong crowds one corner. Another has too many pool tables packed together under warm fluorescents that flicker more often than is probably safe. It’s impossible to separate the sound of loud, raucous voices from the snap and crack of billiard balls glancing off each other, never mind the dull roar of late night foot traffic on the main thoroughfare outside.

Somewhere a stray dog is barking, even if Eileen is only vaguely aware of it. She dangles one of the opened champagne bottles from one hand. The other holds a napkin caked in dry blood to her nose, elbow braced against the table and supporting the weight of her torso. A black silk dress with a swooping neckline drapes her slim frame. Although she never set foot on the gala’s floor, this sleek nighttime look provided her with the camouflage needed to flow out and disappear into the thinning crowds during the chaos that followed.

Hours later, these same trappings are at odds with the sunken expression on her face and her body’s spent posture. Her hair looks like a disheveled bird’s nest raided by rats. There’s more mascara in the grooves under her eyes than in their lashes. If she was ever wearing lipstick, it’s since been worn away or smudged off on the bottle’s rim.

She doesn’t feel anything except for a profound sense of exhaustion that runs as deep as the marrow in her bones.

Charity, meanwhile, is counting the diamonds lifted off unsuspecting guests in the dark. Out loud and in French, not that anyone needs to be a native speaker to understand it’s beaucoup. A lot.

Finn’s already counted his loot, nowhere near as prolific or gleaming as Charity’s — but it’s still good loot, or so he tells himself as he plays with the token items beside his stack of bills. He didn’t enter the gala himself, but did for a time play valet — cleaning out the glove boxes and center console bins of useful items.

His score: $527 and 34 cents, 32 credit cards, 14 wallets (one of them Armani!), 8 driver’s licenses, a pink 9mm pistol (fully loaded), 27 Taco Bell hot sauce packets, two fully-loaded tool kits, five sets of jumper cables, a ziplock baggie of cocaine, eight joints, ten prescription pill bottles of various kinds and various amounts, four knives, and a partridge in a pear tree — among other miscellany. Surprisingly, not a single pair of gloves.

None of the cars he so helpfully offered to park ended up where they were supposed to — most of them ended up a few blocks away from the venue and more than one was left with lights, air conditioning and radio on to run down its battery.

Currently he’s spinning one of the coins across the table he’s slouched at, before he casts a glance up at Eileen. “I saw that Warren dude. He’s crazy but he’s not stupid. You think he’ll be cool? It’s not going to take long to figure out it was Ollie, after all.”

The meat sweats are a real thing and Ollie has consumed enough meat for a week. His borrowed suit was in rags by the time he reached Staten Island. Already ill fitting, his ability simply shredded the fine fabric, so he picked up a set of old dungarees and a thermal shirt hanging from a line along the way. He seems much better when the door to the lavatory swings shut behind him and a few of the guests turn away, trying not to gag. All he can do is smile and say, "That was some chicken."

Because it was. The shrimp wasn't bad either.

He doesn't understand Mahjong, so that corner is avoided. He does know cards, a little bit, and flops down in one of the empty chairs where they're playing poker. He managed to collect a total of one wallet, his own, and the scant amount of cash that's in it is placed on the table for ante. At Finn's aside to Eileen, he looks up and shrugs, "I didn't steal nothin', just ran in the panic. That ain't no thing."

"You were stupid." This is direct from Yi-Min to Ollie, who is sitting at Eileen's side lending support by allowing (if not encouraging) the spent woman to lean into her whenever desired— after having draped her own unused, furred shawl across the other's shoulders first. It has been clear that this is where the majority of her concern has lain in the aftermath of their escape, though she has more than enough words leftover for the disgustingly sweaty farmer making his way back to the group from the lavatory.

"Stupid, blind fool; bai mu." Her displeasure is such that she stops to consider the English words she wishes to use next, but it does not take long. The sheen of frostiness imposed atop her demeanor, which is still otherwise about as serene as it usually is, lends it a dangerous visual edge.

"Our enemy tonight was not random people. We may have made a problematic enemy tonight in the form of that pyrokinetic, among perhaps others."

Byron sits both apart and with the group of finely dressed Horsemen, backed off from a table so he can best lean his weight on his elbows on his knees, the heavy crystal bottle of 40-years-old Japanese liquor rolled in between his hands. He holds a half-finished twist of a cigarette between sealed lips, the steady rise of smoke trickling up the side of his face, disappearing into the cloud of everyone else's smoke that fills the ceiling.

He's been flicking glances at Eileen, mostly, and hasn't had much to say.

As Yi-Min expresses herself, he sits back a little, grips the stopper to the decanter, and pulls it off with an audible pop of the seal pried loose. Leans, extending an arm so as to fill his own empty glass with a generous helping of fine whiskey. If he stole anything else during the night, he hasn't presented it.

Kara hasn't sat down at all since they arrived and claimed dominion over their corner (it's theirs now) of the establishment, but she did claim a bottle of champagne for herself from the lifted crate, and it remains in her hand, unopened. If she was trying to look like she was enjoying herself and their victory, she missed the vital step of popping the cork, and seems only to realize it when Byron unseals the bottle in his hand. Her measured expression, with its occasional tight smiles for anyone directing cheer her way, fades at that.

Sure, the disappearance of the item alone could net them more than its worth fenced, but it's the principle of it.

The champagne bottle lands heavily on the table she stands nearest by, eyeing Ollie while he's being berated. In case their newcomer's voice did not have enough weight on its own, Kara adds, "She's got a point."

"I'd like to hear what kind of point you were trying to make, doing what you did." she says without anger. He put them all in danger, potentially— she can only hope he had a reason. He can only hope he had a reason. Kara takes one of the champagne flutes by the bell of the glass and walks close enough to Byron to request a pour via offering the flute out. If they were drinking the whiskey, she'd be having the fancy fucking whiskey, please.

"Because I remember saying 'we're leaving', not 'stab everyone in sight'."

It’s fortunate for Eileen that a large part of being a leader is empowering other people, because she presently lacks the energy to reprimand Ollie for his behaviour this evening. She must not disagree with anything either Kara or Yi-Min has said; her voice has yet to join the conversation, even though her attention is focused on it through the directness of her gaze. Also: She wants to see how the chaplain handles this.

“I don’t know,” she answers Finn instead in a soft, hoarse voice straining to be heard. Her words have a brittle quality to them like dried flowers caught between the pages of an old book. “You didn’t happen to lift any Vicodin, did you?”

She lets the hand holding the crumpled napkin settle against the inside of her thigh. Her nosebleed stopped some forty minutes ago, but the pain persisting behind her eyes makes her worry it could start up again at any time. The look Charity shoots her across the table is similarly concerned, if for very different reasons. She sees things that others don’t, like the specter of Kazimir Volken seated on the Englishwoman’s other side, his face impassive, waiting.

Eileen’s natural ability has always acted as a sort of psychic buffer, lending her additional resistance against the conduit’s influence. Without it, she’s vulnerable — the telepathic equivalent of an open wound.

This doesn’t seem like the appropriate time to bring it up. Charity opts for an uncomfortable bubble of shrill, girlish laughter at Kara’s line of questioning instead.

“He made a lot of points. In a lot of people,” Finn says cheerfully enough, but Eileen’s question to him is met with a more somber and sympathetic look her way, and he reaches for the prescription bottles to peer through them. “Tegretol, Adderall, Ambien, Allegra — Bingo! Well, by bingo, I mean, Norco,” he says, peering carefully at the bottle, which is a decent score, mostly full.

He eyes the dosage, eyes Eileen, looking like he might be about to toss it her way but then chooses to hand it to her gently instead. People with migraines may not be in the best place to catch lobbed objects, after all. “Start with one, please. That’s a pretty hefty dose,” is added, an uncommonly-serious statement out of the rarely-serious man.

“You sharing?” he asks Byron, and then Kara, before patting his Taco Bell packets. “I could be persuaded to trade.”

“Fucking embarrassing.”

Chris’ voice cuts over the voices and noise of gaming that otherwise masked his entrance into the establishment. He’s late to arrive, but that’s the point. He’d hung back to watch the fallout of their upending the gala. And that’s his opening opinion of whatever it is he saw. A casually purposeful walk carries him over to where his people are gathered.

“Guys and gals running all over the front lawn like gooses that got fleas because they can’t find their cars and the valets’re fucking skids anyway. Couldn’t tell a baseball from a hockey puck if it hit ‘em between the eyes.” That might be praise for whichever among them orchestrated that stunt, but it’s hard to say.

With one hand, Chris drags a chair out to sit with the group. “Are you fucking serious with that hair?” He fixes Ollie with a look that’s as unimpressed as his tone. “Pull your finger out of your ass. I haven’t seen so many screaming, terrified faces since your mom’s porn video released.”

"I'm sorry," Ollie says calmly while looking first to Yi-Min and then to Kara, "but all I was told was disruption. Maybe to you that means the lights go out. Maybe to her it means a couple baubles go missing. Maybe to him it means steal a bottle of liquor." He stops there to gather up the contents of his wallet and stuff them into the pockets of his pants. "When shit storms start in the form of fire ladies heavin' flamin' balls into the air… I thought them going wild was a disruption."

Chris… and the comment about Ollie's mother is pointedly ignored.

Pushing his chair back, he reaches across the table to grab one of the packs of cigarettes in Finn's pile, taking it without asking. Then he grabs a booklet of matches from another table and stuffs them both into the upper pocket of his button up. "Some of us didn't have no instruction manual and the every man for himself escape route, while yellin' my name, just leads me to believe that I might've been the patsy."

One of the cigarettes is held between his lips and he speaks around it while it's lit. "I'm headin' back." And with that, he stalks out of the bar, slamming the door behind him on the way out.

Through Ollie’s tirade, Yi-Min sits in simple, perceptibly disbelieving judgment, allowing the man to crucify himself on the missing logic of his own words. Can he not see any of it? Her choice of lipcurling wordlessness continues well through the slam and rattle of the door following his departure. There is so much she could say, and so much that she does not need to. The look in her eyes fairly clearly spells out each one, plus a few extra.

After he is gone: "…Next time we go out, I will make sure to spell out to the letter in particular what we aren’t expected to do. Since apparently, this is needed." This she says with an almost unbearable scathing quality to her tone, and she grandly and smoothly lids her eyes as she does so, sending a glance of approval/welcome towards Chris in the same motion. An champagne flute of her own sits invitingly empty in front of her, which she had not bothered to put to use yet tonight: unusual for her, but then, she has been preoccupied.

This is something Yi-Min chooses to rectify now, gently sliding the base of it across the table over in Kara (Byron's) direction. "If that is something we’re now having, pour me a little, please." Heaven knows she needs it after what she had just witnessed.

Byron is deeply immune to glares, side eyes, disapproving mouth shapes, a sort of slow loris energy to his tipping a polite helping of Asian liquor into his own empty glass. It's with the same casual affect that he goes and serves a helping into Kara's champagne flute, obliging in a way that implies some degree of familiarity. When he flicks a look to Finn, a shade of doubt passes behind his eyes before he shakes his head.

Which is a no to the trade, not to the sharing, as he just pushes his own charged glass towards Finn, just hard enough that it slides a few inches once it leaves his hand.

Next, the mouth of the bottle clinks against Yi-Min's offered glass, rich amber liquid a strange sight in the flute, but who's being picky? "Just keep the farm boys in the barnyard," is an uncharitable thing to say, but offered helpfully all the same. Now he reaches, grabbing up an empty champagne flute, clutched in a fist as he leans back in his chair and finally pours a helping for himself.

The alcohol in Kara's glass is a welcome thing, something that mutes the response she might otherwise have to Charity's giggling, Finn's punning, or Chris's rude observations. She's saved from having to address any of that immediately, given Ollie's seeing himself out after explaining his thought process.

She doesn't bother first sampling the taste of the aged, high-quality whiskey. Kara dives right in with a long drink while waiting for the door to slam, half of what's in her champagne flute drained in a single go.

So that happened.

"I get the feeling he's the type of man who'd describe himself as a blunt instrument, and has no problem keeping that way." Kara's not responding to Byron's quip so much as she's summarizing how she's viewed Ollie's performance overall, mostly for Eileen and Finn's sake. It's not an observation shared in private, because she's not that kind of person. At least, not currently. "If he's brought along on anything else, he'll need clear directions and actively pointed out how his role helps the overall goal."

"We've eliminated situations like tonight as something he'll excel at," the subtleties of espionage and sabotage and the on-the-fly changes that might entail, "and we'll deal with the fallout of that. The pyrokinetic might be an issue," Kara shoots a pointed look at Yi-Min. "but so might the rest of that company, and we knew that when we agreed to this work."

The Taiwanese women best knew the risks, but Kara felt she may not be appreciating how one Yamagato pyrokinetic being pissed at them paled in comparison to the entire company turning their sights on them, which Kara suspected would result from their endeavors. Yamagato's New York operation was large, and well-trained — Even without Ollie leaving calling cards, they were already at high risk of being quickly identified and singled out, if not retaliated against in the coming weeks.

But as for Ollie: "Now, we know better for next time. He showed us what he's capable of, unsuited to tonight's plan as it was. We got lucky, though, and security focused more on the detaining the pyro than paying attention to us, after the stunt he pulled." Her brow pops as she looks to Finn, confessing, "I didn't even know he could do that. Did you?" She takes another, much smaller sip of her drink before letting her champagne flute fall.

"And like Chris helpfully—" shade fully meant, "pointed out, the panic only increased. And is that not what we're getting paid for tonight?"

Kara finally smiles, and terse as it might be, it's a sincere one. They accomplished what they meant to and they accomplished it well, regardless of how planned certain aspects of it might have been. "Like hell they'll try to host this event on Yamagato ground again next year, if they do at all." She lifts her own glass as she emphasizes, "As a group, we wildly succeeded. I'd rather drink to what went well than spend time worrying about what didn't. We've got tomorrow to worry about that."

She nudges that last bit of advice in Yi-Min's direction in particular before looking toward Chris. Rather than frown at his current lack of a drink, she moves to rectify it by offering him her own glass, fingertips loose around the body of it.

You’re not meant to mix painkillers and alcohol, but that doesn’t stop Eileen. She takes Finn’s advice and limits herself to just one pill, knocked back with a deep drink from the open bottle of champagne.

There are probably worse things she could be doing to her body.

She has no words of encouragement to offer; this is Kara’s time to shine, and she musters a small Mona Lisa smile that she hopes will communicate her appreciation in lieu of a toast. She’s proud of her.

“I will drink to that,” Charity agrees, raising her own glass. “To us: the flies in Yamagato’s patented ointment. Santé!

“Much obliged,” Finn murmurs to Byron when the glass is slid his way, picking it up and holding it in a quick mock toast to the man before taking a sip. When Kara begins to speak, he leans back from his haul, picking up one of the coins to spin against the surface of the table. His green eyes watch the flash of silver as it pirouettes on the hard surface, before it begins to slow, and he sets it spinning again.

The fact he’s silent means he’s listening, not ignoring the summation of their night’s work.

To the question Kara poses him, he lifts a shoulder. “No, but Warren’s smarter than I am, even if his cuckoo clock is stuck at twelve. He might’ve figured it out. You know, when he looks at you with his eyes.” He brings up two coins to hold to his own eyes, imitating the metallic hue Warren’s eyes take on when he’s using his ability.

But Finn gets the point. “You’re right though. We did the job and we did it well.” He lifts his own glass again. “Can I put a request in for a new tail rotor system for the bird? She needs some lovin’.”

Chris raises a hand to wave off the proffered glass of drink. He looks as though there’s other thoughts on his mind, possibly the argumentative sort. It may also be he’s considering what the plans are moving forward. Again it’s one of those things that’s hard to say. There’s nothing in the flat look he directs at the table. He opts to recline in his chair rather than voice his musings, though. One foot braces against the edge of the table, while the chair is rocked back on two legs.

It is because Yi-Min is perhaps uniquely situated, among this group, to understanding the type of threat Yamagato poses that she is worried about each additional threat dropped into a volatile mix. Things add up. She is a practical person.

That, and she has not had to deal with operatives as crudely ill-advised as Ollie for a while.

But there is a practical wisdom in Kara's words too, if of a different type. This Yi-Min can easily appreciate: she smiles secretly, enjoying the assertiveness behind the speech as much as anything else about it, lifting the recovered flute to herself for her own version of a toast. Ta, Byron. "Keep a hand on those," she asides approvingly to Finn during a quieter lull, not having anything— or not wanting— to add to a sentiment already generally well-said. "I can file them with what I have later." All the pills, clearly. Not the Taco Bell packets, or anything else he is playing with.

That Byron knocks back his helping of whiskey upon Charity's toast, Kara's affirmations, is probably a matter of incidental timing more than full and heartfelt participation. He shows his teeth with a slight grimace at the harshness of the alcohol, and makes to recap the bottle. Having, at least, the sense not to spend all of it in one sitting.

"Maybe next time we can play ding dong ditch at Yamagato's HQ," he says, aimlessly sardonic. Getting up from the table, and rebuttoning his jacket in a slightly uncharacteristic, gentlemanly affect. "I hear that's where the real money is."

And he's out, but at the amble of someone just getting some fresh air as his hand reaches for the cigarettes in his pocket, whiskey held loose in his other hand, rather than the sharp departure of protest.

Kara's eyebrows crinkle together with a snort of amusement at Finn's antics. When he gets around to more serious things, she seconds his motion with a nonchalant, "I'd say that's worthwhile." When Chris turns down a drink from her glass, she seals his decision by taking another sip from the champagne flute, holding it properly with it delicately pinched between her fingers.

Maybe her cheer might remain forced for now, but with a little more alcohol in her and everyone else, she's sure the rest will come around, too. Seeing as Yi-Min and Chris both look the most likely to continue to brood, she looks between them both and asks, "Want to find something shitty and nostalgic on the jukebox and dance to it?"

If she's lucky, she'll even find a song that was published differently than she remembers it.

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