Thanks For The Memories, Part I


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title Thanks For The Memories, Part I
Synopsis Nothing goes according to plan when Bella Sheridan attempts to move her Refrain and a large portion of her test subjects ot a secure facility before Raith's raid has a chance to go through.
Date February 14, 2010

Ruins of Midtown

Night has fallen, just one day before the planned raid on the warehouse, and the dark sky is made darker by streaks of clouds. It's cold, easily below freezing, and the guards that congregate outside the loading dock blaze like infrared beacons to the so-assisted eye. Such eyes, set to watch the location in case the situation changes, gaze down from the mute windows of abandoned buildings, discreet but vigilant.

And rightly so, for as more and more of those red-orange silhouettes gather, it becomes clear that this is something rather more than a cigarette break. First four, then eight, the twelve armed men have lined up outside, brazenly carrying their weapons, standing with that precise mix of restless and restive that marks waiting. But for what?

The answer is swiftly forthcoming. From various streets, in various directions, come a small fleet of unmarked white vans, turning, backing up towards the loading dock which begins to rattle open as yet /more/ armed men exit the backs of the vehicles and move into the warehouse. No sooner has this sudden and unexpected arrival been radio'd in, then a new sort of person, neither guard nor worker but instead a dim line of men and women in pale blue slacks and shirts, like institutional pajama, no - like inpatient outfits - are escorted into the backs of the vans, led like cattle. At the same time, though loaded into separate vans, are borne large, unmarked crates, carried with great care, indicating precious cargo. The guards move with an efficiency motivated by tension, even surprise.

Plans have changed. And it's exactly those changed plans that have caused Jensen Raith, surveying down the way from a rooftop, to franticly whip out his mobile phone and start pulling up names from his contact list. Eileen Ruskin, Kaylee Thatcher, Magnes Varlane, anybody: Plans have changed.

It's a thug on John Logan's payroll, Manny Calavera, who comes up first. It's a short call for the emergency support he was promised. Impending chase, fast car with good handling in Midtown, near the Lower East Side, at the warehouse's address and one block to the south, y rapido! He hangs up before the other end has a chance to complain about anything.

Magnes is next to receive the courtesy of a phone call as Raith continues to watch the goings-on through his binoculars. He needs people who can mobilize fast. "Pick up, you son of a bitch, pick up!"

When Magnes picks up, the sound of rushing wind can be heard, the sound of flying… or falling, one in the same for him. "Hello?" is his simple answer, black and gold ornate saif scabbard worn around his waist, two Company issue guns strapped to his ankles and under his pants, hidden behind the rip-open velcro portion of them. Bundled up in his black denim jacket, he's been ready for this for a while.

Down on the street opposite of where Jensen has staked out the warehouse, one of the many ragged forms being shepherded into the vans is a wiry, dark-haired teenage girl that just so happens to have gotten herself into this harrowing predicament. She keeps her head down as the guards issue her into the front van, green eyes up ahead at the man in front of her, then over to another at her side as she steps up and in, slippered foot touching down on the bumper to make her way up. The handcuffs she's in are too tight around her narrow wrists, and the groggyness in her head isn't doing any better to help try and extricate herself out of the situation.

Too many armed guards in her presence, too little ability to focus on her own power, whether it's because of Bella's drug regimen or or something entirely different all together. She has only foggy recollections of what happened after being injected with Refrain, and the feeling of being burned out like a lightbulb exposed to a power surge is still causing an ache behind her eyes.

Once she's settled down onto the bench seat in the back of the truck, Colette's looking out, to the guards, to the other van, to what little of the street and skyline she can see in the dark. For the first time, she's having trouble seeing in the dark.

Meanwhile, half a city away in the financial district, polished black shoes thunder down the front steps of a massive corporate office, and a burly, bald gentleman in a dark pinstripe suit passes by a large granite marqee sign displaying LINDERMAN GROUP across the front in dark engraving. Folding up his cell phone, he runs down towards the silver BMW parked out front of the building, a noisy boo-woop of the car alarm being disabled before he casts a glance back up to the building. "Sorry boss, gotta' borrow this…" he murmurs to himself, opening the driver's side door and tossing the cell phone onto the seat. A hand plays over the GPS navigation on the console and the engine roars to live with a turn of the key. "Nicole an' Logan'll fry my hide if I screw this up…"

The whole scene is going down early. That means that, somewhat awkwardly, the painter's van that certain of the Ferrymen've been using to help work on Mouse's little citywide project is heading down the same road that the vans are starting to park on, though it's still a block or so away yet.

"I'm just saying," Doyle's voice is subdued, almost chastened while at the same time defensive, "I'm just… I'm not the same guy I was back then, you know? Fine, fine, I'll shut up…" A slightly-burnt sleeve shows as he turns the wheel onto the right block, attesting to the fact that he hasn't had the most peaceable of trips thus far in the company of Meredith Gordon.

Theirs is a romance with many obstacles. Such as the fact that one of them doesn't think it exists.

Riding shotgun, wishing she actually had a shotgun is Meredith. The look on her face is pure, unadulterated concentration and annoyance at the pairings arranged for this raid. There's something ironic about taking a painter's van to a smash and grab sort of rescue, but the blonde is too occupied with keeping her emotions in check and not burning down the van and the two of them inside of it to worry about such things.

At the sound of Doyle's voice, a flare of red fire flickers on Meredith's hands and she is forced to quickly close her palms into fists before the upholstery catches on fire. "What did I tell you about opening your mouth for any reason?" she hisses through clenched teeth. Already, she has a headache with attempting to keep the adrenaline in her system in check and not lighting anything else on fire. "I will light more than your sleeve on fire if you keep it up." Each word is annunciated very clearly, her Southern accent all but disappearing for the moment.

Their non-existent love is a very fiery one, quite literally.

Too soon the prisoners are loaded into the backs of their vans, too quickly the backs are closed with the click of five locks through the mid-February air. The loading dock starts rolling back down, closing off the facility, now empty. Or mostly empty. No sign of the pastor whose abduction began this.

Transmissions, held in neutral, reengage, and the fleet of vans begins a pale procession out from the front of the warehouse and into the street. They roll northwards, their headlights very dim, their whiteness reflecting the streetlights that still glow that distinctive, sickly yellow. At this time of night, this section of town is nearly deserted. The vans can move quickly, but they are among the only things moving.

A smooth ride for Colette, at least.

"They're leaving early," Raith hisses into the receiver, "Convoy of white vans leaving the warehouse, northbound. Get on their six and do not lose them. We'll be in pursuit shortly. You can do it, Magnes." Raith must have a lot of faith in young Varlane, because he hangs up before any questions can be asked and yanks a headset over his head, hoping to crap that everyone he gave a radio to had to sense to leave it turned on. «They are leaving with prisoners and equipment, repeat, they are leaving.» He's not alone in the area. He knows this, and it's the only reason he doesn't completely lose his head and he scrambles down the fire escape to the street. «I don't know what's left so move. Stick to the plan, and check your fire. I'll take care of the vans. No arguing.» That's all he needs to say on the matter, and as he continues to scramble down, almost at the bottom, he runs over a checklist in his head of who's still missing. That's the next name to come up in his contact list: Eric Doyle.

"You'd better have a car…."

It doesn't take Magnes long to reach the convoy of vans, staying just high enough in the dark sky to not be seen, but keeping on their tail. He watches for any odd movements, anything particularly out of place happening with the vans and anyone in pursuit. Essentially, he's biding his time and trying to wait for orders while formulating a plan in his head, just in case. "Can't knock the vans out, might hurt the prisoners. Can't swoop to a door, might get shot…"

When the trucks start moving, Colette looks back and forth between the other two prisoners in the van with her, then to the guards contained inside. She breathes in deeply through her nose, keeps her head down after that, and listens to the rattling exterior of the transport. A side-long glance is afforded to the metal cage that divides the back of the van to the driver and passenger in the front, and another look is dashed from one prisoner to the next, then down to the floor again.

The teen is shivvering, not so much from the cold air but from agitation and fear, a dry swallow occupying her throat as she offers a quick look up thorugh her bangs at the armaments of both guards. Fingers flex behind her back, feeling the metal of her cuffs, curling one pale digit around the chain at a time to muffle the noise of her subtle movements.

It makes sense, the way the guards are staggered. Two seated on one side with a prisoner in the middle, and one on the opposite side between two prisoners, gives them good coverage of the van, keeps the prisoners seperated. Green eyes then divert to the van's back doors, the locks, and then finally she just shuts her eyes and tries to breathe in and out through her nose.

In a way, all of the things her psychologist had told her to help get control after her anxiety problems after leaving her parents behind serve a double purpose here. All those years of dealing with what happened to her has a chance to pay off, one of those situations where the ends might well justify the means, or at least make it less pointlessly horrible. She'll have to be calm, in control, because despite being trapped here she knows this is her best chance for escape, the time when her captors can't control every facet of the environment. She just needs to wait for the right opportunity.

On the other side of town, swerving through an intersection onto Canal Street, a silver BMW nearly sideswipes an SUV waiting at a red light, tires screeching across the pavement. On his cell phone again, Manny Calavera drives with one hand, foot hard on the gas. "Yea', callin' it in now! I need you to put a road-block on Park, Second and First ave where it meets Central Park South! Just hold off the cops for a few minutes, and your little problem mister Linderman has with you'll go away, Chief." Manny veers the car to the right, switching lanes and speeding past a boxy red car, "Yeah, good. Just do it now!"

Just after that threat from the blonde, Eric's about to say something else — so it's a good thing his cell phone just rang. The big man's hand fumbles into his jacket, pulling it out and snapping it open before bringing it up to his ear with a heavy sigh, "Hello? We're almost there, just about a block or so away, what is it?"

The call is a very good thing. A warning glare is thrown in Doyle's direction as Meredith balls her fists up even tighter. She could just feel he desire to speak to her more. And, fittingly, she could just feel her desire to set him afire growing as well. Luckily for both them and the van, the cellphone rings. It distracts Meredith enough that the red hot glow of her hands starts to cool back to a fleshy normal color and he unclenches her teeth just enough to eavesdrop. It gives her something to do other than hate Doyle, which is a welcome diversion for the moment.

The vans continue on their straight and narrow course. Due north, they head, streaking through abandoned streets, building speed. The appearance of pursuers, if noticed or not, has no effect on the drivers.

The roadblocks up ahead, the sawhorses informing whatever ghostly commuters that still haunt these avenues, make short work of this steady direction, however. Colette feels the sudden lurch of the van as it screeches to a halt, the vans following given just enough warning to avoid a collision. One of the guards gives his fellow a suspicious look, and both reach for their pistols. The third taps on the divider between them and the driver. The driver points up ahead, cuts his fingers across his neck, then points rightwards. He yanks the wheel, hard to the right, and the van starts moving again. The guards relax, at least for the moment.

The convoy's adjusted course finds them on East 59th Street. Signal lights, started by the leader and copied by all but the last truck, indicate the convoy is taking the left up onto where 60th turns in the 25, better known, at this crossing, as the Queensboro Bridge.

"They're speeding up and heading for the Queensboro Bridge. I don't think they've spotted me yet, I'm pretty high up, but I'm basically got a birds eye view. And in case you needed to know, I have two handguns, and a saif." Magnes quickly lists his equipment, trying to keep up the pace of the trucks. Damn those sharp turns! "Orders?"

"They left," Raith informs Doyle, "Took prisoners and equipment, northbound. Everyone else is handling the warehouse. Pick me up on the street so we can follow them. Chop chop." Again, Raith hangs up before any more questions can be asked- an annoying habit for certain- just as he hits the street, towards towards the warehouse, and legs it. He's not as young as he was back in Delta Force, but he's not carrying as much gear, either. He'll manage this just fine. What he does in the meantime is dial Magnes back. "Talk to me, Varlane."

Inside of the lead van, Colette gives an unnecessary slouch against the guard when the vehicle screeches sideways and swerves to avoid the police roadblock up ahead. The brush of fingers over his belt holster is just enough to pop the little metal snap that keeps the leather guard over his revolver closed. She doesn't bother trying for more, just jerks to the other side of the bench seat and awkward comes clunking up against one of the interior walls afterward.

Swallowing anxiously, Colette looks up to the drivers, trying to steal a quick glance through the windshield, but the metal grating dividing the back and front areas and the night-time environment make every street-lamp flooded area seem just like the other. There's the sounds of a lot of traffic outside, quite a bit of commotion, but not radio chatter that she can hear. Steeling herself, she glances to the guard at her side again throgh her bangs, and bides her time— one more distraction.

Blowing thorugh a red light on Canal street, the rev of the BMW's V8 roars through the intersection as cars screech and swerve to a halt to get out of the way of the oncoming silver-bullet of a vehicle. Tearing a left onto 51st street, Manny's popping back onto the phone and dialing up Jensen, causing that frustrating call waiting beep on the mercenary's end. "Pick up, pick up, pick up…" Manny's growling into his phone as he drives right past Jensen without even recognizing the man, turning sharply onto 1st street, fishtailing thorugh the empty intersection and roaring up northbound. He'd better figure out where that van went before he hits the intersection.

Up in the skies over the Queensboro bridge, with the glow of Roosevelt Island's lights below the middle span, Magnes finds himself not quite alone in the air. The mottled brown-white feathers of a short-eared owl comes turning thorugh the night sky, following as if in formation with the young gravitokinetic. There's only one girl in the city he knows who's responsible for this aerial surveillance, and thankfully Eileen's on Magnes' side.

The response from Eric Doyle isn't something suitable for family publication. The phone's snapped shut, and he tosses it onto the top of the dashboard before taking hold of the wheel and turning it sharply to change his intended path — a motion that leaves rubber staining pavement with a turn that's a little too acute in its angle. "Oh, no you don't. You bastards aren't getting away with her," he growls under his breath, ignoring Meredith now.

It's a few more moments before the painter's van comes to a jarring halt next to where Raith's jogging to let him in. The second he's in? They're off northbound in pursuit.

"What?" Meredith, for once, initiates the conversation with Eric. Because she wasn't on the phonecall, she's just assuming that something went south. "What happened?" When the car makes an abrupt and sudden turn, she quickly braces herself against the door and the glove compartment. Luckily, her fiery hands had cooled enough not to leave handprints. This is important to know, which is the only reason why she'd even think of inviting a conversation with Doyle that she can think of.

As soon as Raith is in the car, the blonde tosses a skeptical glance over her shoulder at the unknown man. Obviously he's a part of this, or it's an elaborate attempt by Doyle in order to kidnap her and use this man as guard. While she wouldn't exactly put it past the puppeteer, it's a pretty elaborate plot. "And who are you?" It's not like they really have time to be all polite.

The bridge, an elegant thing of steel from a bygone age of reckless industry, vaults up on either side of the convoy as they pull into the straight shot this now gives them. A roadblock here… and they'd be in serious trouble, against an effective dead end. But, not expecting anything further, the vans pick up speed again, crossing out of Manhattan proper, and over onto Roosevelt Island, though the speed and positioning suggests the convoy is shooting for the borough beyond.

It looks like the driver is conversing with someone via a headset, but the divider appears to be soundproof, giving Colette and the other prisoners, at beast, a view of a pantomime from behind. Even lip reading would only be possible by getting at a very certain angle in relation to one of the van's mirrors. The guards have relaxed, for the most part, and Colette's step by step weapon liberation goes unnoticed.

"Follow them," Raith nearly shouts at Magnes. That must be Doyle, just over there. "Get ahead of them, see if you can block an intersection with a parked car or something. Stall them. No shooting yet." Yet.

Call waiting. Raith switches over as he tears opened the door and climbs in. "They're heading over the Queensboro Bridge," he says into his phone, ignoring Meredith for the moment. Surely, however, she can see that he's on the phone. "I have someone trying to slow them down, but I hope to crap you have some good news." Even as he speaks, he's suddenly reaching into the front of the cabin, something having caught his eye: The cell phone sitting on the dash. Careful to stay out of Doyle's way, he punches Magnes' number in and switches on the speaker phone, which he does to his call with Manny as well. This is as close to a radio as he's going to get with this lot.

"Stop them, alright. Sun Tzu, do your stuff." Magnes says as he switches the phone to his left hand. "Hey Mister Owl, you might not wanna watch this." He hasn't quote caught on that it's a person, he has no idea Eileen even has an ability!

Drawing the saif with his left hand, he raises it to his upper arm, quickly running the blade over it with a yelp, cutting through fabric and just enough flesh to make it look bad. Saif sheathed again, he pulls off the jacket and throws it aside, wearing a plain white t-shirt with a regular Superman symbol on it.

Blood seeps into white, and suddenly Magnes swoops down as if he'd been thrown, about twenty feet in front of the first truck to give them a chance to stop. Hunched on one knee and holding his bleeding arm in front of those bright headlights, wincing and looking weak, he yells, "Stop!"

"Perfect" Manny spits out into the other end with a bit of sarcasm, "I'm on my way, taking the turn onto 51st to his the Queensboro now, I picked up my boss' car!" Tires screeching as Manny swerves out from 1st street onto 51st, there's a wild display of honking and shouting from the busy traffic, and Kain's car sideswipes a Buick coming through the intersection, tearing off a large piece of the right rear fender and sending the fiberglass bouncing behind the speeding car.

"Traffic's not too bad, curfew's good f'somethin' yeah!? Where the hell're you!? I got a trunk full'a guns and no hands to shoot 'em with!" Weaving into oncoming traffic, Manny jerks the wheel around the station wagon going five miles under the speed limit in front of him, then jerks back into the proper lane just moments beofre an oncoming car would've collided with him, horns blaring in long, drawn out wails. "Jesus you'd think nobody in New York's ever driven b'fore!"

When Magnes dives down towards the bridge, the owl tips its wings and begins angling downward to follow Magnes halfway, then weavesin and out between the suspension cables, finding the white vans and moving to follow their progression along the bridge's mighty span.

"This is Raith. Raith, this lovely lady would be Meredith…" The van's already on the move, Eric's hands on the wheel and gaze on the road; he's sweating a little, clearly already nervous, shifting a bit to sit up, "…Queensboro? Okay, I know where that is. Okay. On my way."

"…pleasure," Meredith snorts as she keeps a firm grip on the door in order to make sure she doesn't get jostled too heavily. The other man is obviously too intent on planning this whole thing - which she can't really blame him for - and she definitely doesn't want to hold an extending conversation with Eric. So, she just focuses on the road ahead of them. "Just let me know what to set on fire."

This time the shriek of tires means business, as the driver slams the breaks and swerves off to one side, skidding around Magnes's 'wounded' form. The other vans scatter with varying degrees of control, all five eventually coming to a halt in a staggered line spanning the width of the bridge's right lane. A window rolls down and the lead driver looks out to get a look at the scene of the accident.

"Fuck /me/," the driver can be heard to say, even from the distance of the skid, a good twenty feet from where Magnes lies. The driver disappears back into the van, where he is bothered by another taptaptap of the guard against the divider. What the hell is going on out there? - is the relevant question, but the driver just points to one of the guards, lifts a single finger, then thumbs it the direction of the driver side door. The backmost guard gives a sigh of long suffering, then unlocks the back of the van and steps out. The slam of the van's back doors closing is followed swiftly by a series of other sounds. First, the sound of the driver's side of the lead van closing, the driver getting out to join the guard. Second, the four other vans adjusting their alignment… and starting to drive off without their leader. Good news, Colette's in the first van. Bad news, the Refrain is getting away, along with nine other helpless test subjects. The driver and the guard advance on Magnes.

"Shit, you okay kid?" the driver asks, sounding genuinely concerned, if maybe a bit hassled. He has a delivery to make, after all. Subject C-2 is of special interest, or so he was told. Whatever that means.

"We'll cross that bridge after we cross Queensboro." Raith can only hope that Magnes managed to stop the vans, or at least slow them down. "Listen, these guys have a PMC doing security, and they're packing plenty of heat, so I hope you have rifles and maybe some CS gas." For a moment, he takes the tiniest break from focusing on Manny to place a hand on Doyle's shoulder and give it a good squeeze. Doing great, buddy. "Drive faster."

"Someone cut me, then threw me out a window, I can barely move…" Magnes starts to wobble up, walking a bit closer as if he were about to fall at any moment. Then, once they're at least withint six feet of him, he swings that wounded arm as if he were backhanding someone, trying to slam one man into the other with enough force to certainly break a few bones… the bones he's going for being arms, or better, unconsciousness.

Those other vans are getting away, but he tries to take a moment to see if his attack took the two men out, before actually following after the other vans.

"Ahhh," Manny looks back into the driver's seat, "These aren't exactly the standard fare uh, street— guns?" He blows thorugh the Queensboro toll's Easy Pass lane, noticing a distinct lack of an easy pass card on Kain's windshield, shrugging his shoulders at the notion. "I got's me eight HK33's in the trunk that're supposed to go to a buyer next week and enough ammunition to hold off a fuckin' SWAT team, but I'd really appreciate it if you guys could not chew through profits too much on this job!"

Inside the stopped van, Colette knows this is the only chance she's going to get. The other prisoners— whoever they are— aren't going to do anything, she can't rely on someone else to come to her rescue, she's got to do for herself. With the guard on her right side outside now, Colette shifts her hands behind her back to the side,turning as if giving her full attention to the back doors and why they've sotpped. Her hands come up, fingertips delicately lifting the leather flap on the waist holster, and once she spiders her fingers around the grip of the handgun, she's trembling, her stomach's turning in knots and she feels like she's going to vomit.

Her thumb moves to steady on the safety but not turn it, not until she jerks the gun out of the holster and presses the barrel point blank to the guard's waist between the straps of his vest. The safety flicks off and then it's just a rapid squeezing of the trigger. The bullets tear through the unprotected flank of the guard, and three shots fire off far faster than she'd expected, and the forth one comes because she's jittery and her fingers are clenching reflexively.

Colette's wrists ache, the noise of a gun discharged inside the van has nearly deafened her, and with that noise ringing in her ears she's propelling herself across the van while she still has the element of surprise, slamming her bony little shoulder into the chest of the guard on the bench opposite of her, feet bracing on the bech she left, head turning, teeth gnashing, and she just bites into the side of his cheek as hard as she can, droplets of red welling up around her teeth as she squeezes her jaws shut and lets out a strangled scream, unable to get her hands in front of herself and praying that the other captives take the initiative to help. That guard she shot probably isn't dead.

The foot that's on the accelerator slowly lowers it closer to the car's floor, the van weaving through the evening's traffic dangerously as he races through the city and towards the delayed vans with everything they're trying to keep from falling into the wrong hands. Including a friend of his.

One hand lifts from the wheel, releasing it, and in marionette-imitation, his ability's unseen threads coil about Raith's hand to have him to the same with the hand resting upon the puppeteer's thick shoulder.

To quote Jeff Goldblum, Must go faster.

Braced for either impact or light speed, Meredith keeps a hold on the door in front of her, keeping an eye out for the vans that they're chasing. "It's not going to help them if we crash and die," she reminds Doyle with a hiss.

Don't blame the other prisoners. They've been locked up for much longer, had their wills battered away at over a greater duration, have had their CNS's lit up like Christmas trees for months now. Colette's fellow travelers, a scrawny middle aged woman with unkept grey hair, and a jowly looking guy that would have looked at home in a bank or in a corner before this experienced dwindled him. Colette's sudden assault leaves both of the other prisoners staring, unbelieving, but just as the guard that Colette has pinned regains himself enough to grab the girl and drive her to the ground, pinning her, a low sound of anger, one that rapidly crescendos into a scream of fury, suddenly emanates from the mangy woman. She reaches down and yanks the first weapon she can reach, the taser in the belt of the guard pinning Colette. She starts to pull the trigger, again and again, but to no effect - the safety is on. However, this woman is unrelenting and resourceful; she starts hammering at the back of the guard's head with the but of the gun, swinging down, over and over, shrieking all the while, audible even after the temporary deafness and ringing of the close-quarters gunshot. This sight, the primal viciousness of it, stirs something in the jowled man, who lunges for the guard's /other/ handweapon, the pistol.

This guy knows how to disable a safety.

He flicks it off and fires into the back of the guard, an attack that might have risked Colette's own life were it not for the very kevlar vest the guard wears to protect his own life. Colette feels the thump and jitter of the man that lies atop her as the slugs spin into internal organs, the force of each shot transferring down to drive Colette's breath from her. In the din of gunshots and screaming, neither of the mobile prisoners notice the 'probably not dead' guard ease his own pistol from his holster, take aim, and blow a hole into the jowly prisoner's shoulder. The man is flung back, grunting in surprise and as of yet delayed pain, as a red flower blossoms across his chest.

Meanwhile, Magnes's victims have hit the asphalt with a nasty crunch, the driver slammed between the road and the armored guard. Their heads crack against each other and make a noise best forgotten as soon as possible. No signs of consciousness - a very nice shot. But before chase can be given, Magnes hears the sound of gunfire, followed by screaming, more screaming, and yet more gunfire. Apparently the van Magnes stopped was the party van.

The remaining vans are picking up speed, quite possibly clued in by someone somehow that things are not precisely kosher.

"Right, no touchy." Raith's attention is divided, although still undivided enough to tell Manny to stay on the line: "I'll get right back to you. He finally gets around to picking up Doyle's phone again, calling Magnes for real. "Varlane, sitrep. Did you stop the vans?"

"I stopped one van, took out the driver and a guard. There's gunfire in the back. You have got to get over here to that van, I can't let the other ones get away. Drastic measures."

He raises a hand and the velcro of his pant leg rips open as his Company gun flies into his palm, then he raises it forward and fires a shot into both front tires. That's all he'll do here, despite the screaming, he tears himself away and goes flying after the other vans. "Hurry!"

"Hey!" Manny screams into his cell phone, "I got's me one'a the vans stopped up here! The other four went ahead! The fuck d'you want me to do!?" The shout comes as Manny lays on his horn and swerves into the passing lane, circling around a semi truck and heading towards the sight of bright red tail-lights in a wall ahead of him. "They're blockin' half the road, four vans are headed into Queens, the other one's parked and it looks like some kid is trashin' the PMC. Do I blow past or stop!?"

Pinned beneath the guard, Colette is panicking, screaming, hands pinned beneath her own body as she's trying to squirm out from the dead weight laying on top of her. The sound of gunshots has her ears ringing, she's struggling to move, legs kicking, sliding on her back, cuffs cutting into her wrist, metal floor of the van scraping the heels of her palms as she extricates herself from the pinned position. She keeps kicking her bare feet, pushing her back up against the locked doors of the van, watching the old man who came to her aid slouch down from the wound to his shoulder.

Fingers unwind from the gun, COlette arches her back up and swings her hands beneath herself, tucks the cuffs under her legsthen gets them around the heels of her feet. She squirms, praying to God that the guard doesn't immediately turn focus on her, because that wiry gray-haired woman is coming at him with the taser like a bludgeon.

With her hands in front she grabs the handgun, picks it up and aims it down the back of the van. She couldn't pull the trigger when she stared Danko down in that rainy alley last fall, she couldn't //prevent this from happening to herself. Eyes welled with tears, a line of snot running down her face and blood covering her mouth, lower lip and chin Colette just does exactly what Brian had told her to do in the basement of the Lighthouse.

"Point the hole-y end at the head. And pull the pull-y thing."

Her eyes quint shut, the trigger pulls, and gunfire punches wild through the back of the van. She doesn't stop pulling the trigger, just screams and keeps tugging on it as shot after shot after shot rings out inside the van. The first two punch into the security glass and metal caging at the front of the vehicle. The third one clips the guard in the shoulder and spins him around, the fourth hits the back wall and ricochets hitting the old woman in the calf and the remainder of the shots flaten against body armor until somewhere around shot nine Colette lands a round in through the right side of the guard's neck and out the other, spraying blood thorugh the back of the van, even though she keeps firing two more shots into his body afterward with a click click click click of the trigger following.

Up ahead on the bridge, thorugh the haze of red tail-lights, Jensen, Doyle and Meredith can see one van angled across lanes of traffic and people getting out of their cars, several of them on cell phones. There's no way the cops are going to be able to be kept from this for long.

"Are we stopping here or going after the other ones…?" A frantic glance back from Doyle, a sharp look to the other man, then back to the mess up ahead as the van draws nearer and nearer to the scene, "…that's a lot of other vans, d-do you think that guy can handle this one?"

Swearing at the traffic, Meredith leans forward in order to see how far ahead the racing vans are. With all the cars in between them and a narrow bridge to contend with, she watches as one of the vans gets away. "We can't get to that one, we're better off gettin' what we can get." Obviously, her vote is for trailing the other vans. Help who they can get to.

The guard lies, burbling in the growing pool of his own blood, crown of his head less than a foot away from his fellow. The jowly man mutters expletives like a devout Catholic might the Hail Mary in a time of tribulation, a rapid, barely audible string of curses and oaths as presses himself back against the side of the van, eyes closed tight, brow a furrowed mass of expressive pain. The grey haired woman, hit by the ricochet, falls forward and to the side, onto the other side of the van, her inhales coming in hitching little chirps. Colette stands as the only one with hands out before her, the only one /not/ shot, and therefor the de facto leader of this trio. For whatever that's worth.

The remaining vans are near the end of the bridge when Magnes catches up with them, their headlights on full, trying to become scarce, or as scarce as four white vans can be. Two take a hard right and begin to descend towards 21st, below, while the other two keep on keeping on, tearing towards the fork between Queens Blvd and Northern Blvd. The gang has decided to split up, trusting, likely, to radio communication to enable them to meet up later, wherever they're heading.

"No, stop at that one," Raith instructs Doyle, pointing to indicate the one that's in traffic, "Grab who or whatever's in it and then get back home. The last thing we want to do is get into a chase with an easily recognizable, easily catchable vehicle." That's all the instruction that Raith has for Doyle at this point, switching back to his phone to instruct Manny, "Stop at the stopped one. I'll hook up with you and we'll chase the rest." And then, of course, back to Magnes on Doyle's phone. "Keep following them, Varlane. Do not lose them. I'll get back to you." Click. For a time, Magnes is on his own.

Although he has a rifle, Raith unslings it from his shoulder and elects to leave it with Doyle, along with his ballistic grenades. A rifle will immediately draw attention. His other weapons, at least, aren't quite as obvious. At least they know they're getting something out of tonight.

When the vans split up, Magnes does the only on-the-fly thing he can think of. He knows he's not much of a shot, flying with one eye, but the leading van of the two turning ones gets the rest of his gun clip unloaded in the direction of its back tire. All he can do is hope that one of those bullets hit when he continues flying after the vans directly in front of him.

"Two turned down 21st street, I took a few shots at a tire, but I'm gonna keep following the two that didn't turn." That's when Drastic Measures take place. Leaving the turning vans to their own devices now, he suddenly slams on the van's roof directly in front of him. He doesn't increase his gravity enough to completely crush the roof, but tries to do it just enough to fracture the windows and hinder the driver's sight. Then, a leap from that van to the one directly in front of it, and he lands on that roof too. But when this glass fractures, he doesn't leap forward, he instead flies up to survey the two vans, trying to see what exactly the drivers will do in response, so he can come up with proper tactics. "I Matrix'd two of the vans."

Weaving between traffic on the bridge and pulling up alongside the van, Manny has the foresight to lean back into the half-seat in the back of the car and pull down the seating. He stretches, one long arm grabbing the barrel of something clattering around in the trunk, pulling one of the HK33 SMGs out and situates it at the center console just in case Raith's showing up unarmed. Staring at the truck, Manny's lips tense, eyes avert down to the guys on the ground, then out to the people on their cell phones standing in traffic.

"Christ, hurry up man, the cops are going to be all over this place any minute now." Ducking his head down to peer up through the windshield of his car, Manny's anxiously trying to anticipate the appearance of police helicopters, a few favores pulled in between he and Logan is keeping the heat off for a little while, but this is rapidly spiraling way out of control.

Inside the back of the van, Colette struggles up to her feet, breathing in shallow, panting breaths, her hands shaking, jaw trembling and eyes blurred with tears. She hiccups back a sob and shoulders against the door of the van, letting the handgun come to her side as her fingers shakily work over the door latch. She fumbles with it, leting out a strangled scream as she tries to get the door open, but is in no where near a clean enough frame of mind to handle it.

Instead, she just sinks down against the floor, letting out another ragged scream as she slams her palm against the interior door of the van. "Come on!" She screams, slamming her hand against the door again, "Come on— Come on God damn you!" Each word is a yowl of a scream as she breaks down sobbing, forehead resting up against the interior of the doors, blood smearmarks where her hands hit the door left behind.

The man says stop. Doyle stops. The tires squeal a bit as the painter's van drags to a halt beside the chaotic morass of ill-angled cars around the van that's been stopped so efficiently in the middle of traffic, and then the puppeteer shoves open the driver's side door.

The puppeteer looks paler than usual under his little woolen black cap and Yankees jacket, but he's sweating even in the midst of winter as he squeezes between a car, stepping over an unconscious security guard to approach the vehicle. The sound of banging and screaming from the inside catches his attention, and he stops in his tracks, eyes widening a little. He's still — then he steps forward quickly, grabbing for the van's back door and pulling on it with a sharp tug. No go, of course.

"Mere— " No names, Eric, don't be an idiot, "— we need to get this door open! Now!"

Magnes' shots kick up sparks from the side of the van, drawing a trail of dents and holes across the back bumper and the bottom of the back door, but the turn save its tires from mutilation. Hitting a moving target /while/ flying… it's remarkable that so many bullets found the van at all. But they're gone now… someone else's problem.

The windshields of the two vans spiderweb at the impact of Magnes' power, and each slows at once, pull to the side, and halt. Maybe they're going to surrender?

The back doors of the first van crack open… and out come a pair of men, with suppressed SMGs in hand, sweeping the area, checking the roof of the van. For a moment, they don't have the presence of mind to look /up/. Yet. And that is enough to give Magnes the upper hand, for now.

When their van comes to a halt, Raith climbs out along with Doyle and Meredith, although he leaves dealing with it to them, bolting straight for the sleek BMW that manny is driving. "Twenty first street, right," he says, although he is internally mashing his face into his palm. That Magnes "Matrix'd" anything is sadly not in any way surprising. "Just, do what you have to do."

All the same, Raith clambers into the passenger seat. "Two are heading down twenty first," he says, "We can still catch them." He takes note of the HK33 on the dash in front of him even as he pulls the door shut, but he pays it no mind. Instead, he busies himself making sure that another of his weapons is loaded and ready for action. Manny Calavera?

Meet Wilby.

Taking a few deep breathes, Magnes gives it some honest to god serious thought on how he'll do this while at least trying to not kill anyone. "Alright…" His empty gun is quickly put away, then his sword is drawn in his right hand.

His descent is very quick, he only has a few seconds to make this risky move, trying to slam on one man's shoulders and dislocate his arms so he can't fire the gun, and at the same time try to slash the other man's eyes right before a thrusting force moves to push him into the passenger seat of the van next to him, where he presumes another guard sits.

"Evenin'," Manny offers as Raith settles in to the passenger's seat. "Twenty-first street, you got it miss Daisy." One hand one the shifter, one foot on the clutch, Manny shifts the BMW Z3 into drive and slams on the gas, low-profile tires squealing loudly as he peels out from his parked position. "I got a Mossberg behind the driver's seat if you need it!" Manny shouts to Raith, glancing at the obscene weapon in his other hand, "you know, if you's ever run out of tank ammunition," he jokes with a crooked smile, and the white van disappears into the rear view mirror of the convertible.

Climbing out of the painter's van on the bridge, Meredith rushes over to Doyle's side. Normally she wouldn't be one to take orders from the puppet master— not at all, Goddamnit— but this isn't the time for stubbornness and grudges, other people's lives are at stake. "I've got it, just you stand back," she drawls out, approaching the back of the van and pressing her hand to the door lock. "Get back!" She shouts as close to the van's doors as she can, and there's a white hot glow that rises around Meredith's palm.

On the inside of the van, Colette scrambles back and away from the door at the shout, swallowing back the urge to vomit as her hand slips and slides in blood on the floor. "Help! Help!" She screaming is reflexive, "Please God, help!" Her screaming stops only when she sees the interior lock of the door glow orange, then white, and then begin drooling down the front of the door. With a firm kick and a yank of the handles, Meredith swings the doors open after melting through the locks.

The first thing Doyle sees is Colette, practically siting atop a bloody corpse in the back of the van, her face and neck slicked and red with blood, dark circles around her eyes, mascara running down the front of her face where it comingles with blood that isn't hers, a spattering across one side of her cheek.

She crawls forward, mindfol of the molten metal cooling on the bed of the truck and drops out shakily, green eyes wide and running barefoot for Doyle, her skinny — and bloodied — arms wrapping not quite all the way around him as she buries her face against his shoulder, breaking down into sobbing cries as she smears blood against his shirt.

Meredith's staring in horror at the interior of the van, climbing up inside and looking at the people inside. "Er— " she turns, eyes wide, "we got people who're shot in here. I need yer help!" She turns back around, and Meredith's shows slip in the blood as she steps around one of the bodies. "Oh m'God, oh m'God, just hold on we're here t'help…" Meredith reaches down for the woman who was shot in the leg, tentatively taking her arm and slinging it over her shoulder, trying to lift her up and keep weight off one leg as she walks her out of the back.

People trapped on the freeway are honking their horns, shouting and some people are snapping pictures with their cell phone cameras. A couple of others are hesitantly approaching, looking uncertain whether to help or just stay out of the business. Most everyone is still in their cars.

Meredith hobbles with the injured woman to the painter's van, bringing her in thorugh the side door she'd left open, helping her up and looking at the drizzled trail of blood left behind. "Oh m'God this— this is— Get that guy in there damnit we gotta go!"

Roaring down off of the Queensboro bridge, the silver BMW catches air after going over a low hill, then bounces down with a shower of sparks and a rattle of the muffles. Manny downshifts, yanking up the emergency brake before jack-knifing the car around and then dropping the brake and pushing down on the gas again, roaring up twenty-first street towards the distant glow of tail lights. "I think I see your buddies up ahead…"

The charnel scene in the van isn't enough to shock Doyle, not after all he's seen - and caused - in his time. It's the sight of that seemingly unthinkingly innocent girl, that believed in him even when he told her not to, that's what shocks him. "Oh, god," he sighs out, straightening at the sight of it all. Then she's half-crawling half-falling out of the van, and charging him, impacting the puppet master's girth solidly. As her arms wrap about him, his curl around her in return, a hand sliding up to turn her face away from the horror, murmuring quietly, "S'ok, s'ok… you got them, Colette. They can't hurt you anymore. We're gonna get you out of here…"

Magnes' chief weapon is the element of surprise. And super powers.

Surprise and super powers.

Which, in tandem, do a serious number on the guards. One is driven right to the ground, toppling over and landing, face first, on the road with the unpleasant sound of a nose breaking… maybe some teeth as well. The blade slashes out and catches the eyes of the other guard, who instinctively opening fire with his SMG, the staccato sound of the suppressed weapon punctuating his cries of pain, both of which are silenced as he smashes against the van nearby. More glass spiderwebs at the impact of the man's head, and he goes down, bleeding from the face and crown, giving a slight twitch as he lies there, one arm draped across his unfortunate comrade.

The driver's side door of the second van swings open, and the driver scrambles out, into the street, weaving through the growing traffic jam, desperately trying to escape. The back of his van swings open, and two more armed guards emerge. This time, Magnes can't get the drop on them. They level their weapons at him, twin SMG muzzles. Think fast!

The remaining two vans are booking it, saying 'fuck you' to the speed limit as they peel along the carpool lane (one of them does, after all, qualify!). Still, these are vans. Vans made in a Toyota factory in the US.

No match for German engineering.

"What'd be great would be an HK in five-fifty-six," Raith replies, although he does think to check the one that's sitting in front of him. Nine millimeter, not much better than his Glock. He might need that shotgun after all. In the meantime, he rolls his window down. "Come up alongside them," Raith adds, raising Wilby up in preparation to stick it out into the night, "If he'll punch through an elephant, he'll punch through an engine block. And he will punch through an elephant."

What in the hell would Kazimir do?

Flashback to Argentina, Magnes standing on water in the middle of a small pond with a small wobbly torrent of liquid raising in front of him. "I still can't get it to stay straight, or even lift it out of the water…"

Kazimir, in Peter Petrelli's body on one of those brief training sessions, watches with mild exasperation as he holds a hand up. "You're still trying to manipulate the water. You are not a hydrokinetic. You have to manipulate the gravity around the water, like using the air to shape it."

He's suddenly jerked back to reality, and the SMGs fire faster than he can get out of the way from. "Shit!" he exclaims, holding his hands out, extending his gravity in every direction, which causes the man under him to fling out of the way by proxy. The bullets enter his ten foot radius, some of them wizzing by his face and grinding shallowly into his skin as he tries to repell them, while others manage to turn upward completely.

"Shit, shit." His face is bleeding, arm, leg, from the bullets he only managed to slow, then his survival instinct kicks in and he immediately charges for one of the men, slashing his sword in an arc across his neck, trying not to give him a chance to fire again.

There's still another man, but now he's working on pure instinct, he has to play it by ear and hope he'll get help soon.

"You— are fucking crazy." Manny offers up just in case Raith wasn't quite aware of what was happening. Throttling up he comes up behind both of the vans, swerving left, right, trying to figure out which side to get on. Glancing over to Raith's positioning, Manny shouts, "You're gonna have to shoot over the hood of the car!" Because Manny can't get on their left side since they're driving paralell to one another, but he can mount the curb.

With a clunk and a crash and a grinding under the car, Manny pulls the Z3 up onto the sidewalk and slams down on the accelerator, roaring down the sidewalk, clipping a trash can and sending it flying along with a scuff across the front bumper. He moves paralell to the truck, leaning back in his seat so as to get out of the horizontal just in case Raith needs a shot thorugh the driver's side window. "All your show now!"

Meredith comes running out of the back of the van, over towards Doyle and comes to a stop, resting a hand on Colette's shoulder while her eyes angle to Eric. "There's a guy with a shoulder wound in that truck still, get him out." She implores with a firm tone of voice, tyring to pry Colette away from Doyle.

"Don't touch me!" The brunette screams, swatting Meredith's hand away, green eyes wide and cuffed hands clattering together. She swallows angrily, breathing short and shallow breaths and Meredith just doesn't know what to do. "I— I'll get him." The blonde states, rushing to the back of the truck and climbing up inside, finding the man whimpering on the bench, slouched over. Taking his good arm, Meredith helps him up and leads him to the door, carefully orgung him down and trying to cross over to the painter's truck. "Get her inside and drive we have to go!"

The men Magnes is fighting are used to receiving Company contracts, and they've seen their share of combat with Evolved. But the sheer variety of Evolved still give them the ability to shock. These men just tend to recover faster. Magnes' charge hurls him in the face of one guard, who instinctively lifts his gun up to block the sword. The blade bites into the stock, and knocks the guard to one knee, like a perverse sort of proposal pose. The other guard lets his SMG swing free of his hands by its strap, and reaches down to pull out his taser. He can only imagine he'll get a bonus if he brings in a new subject, one with such a novel power.

Of the two moving vans, one seems to have noticed the BWM's jump to the curb, and perhaps the dark muzzle of the Wilby, a lethal proboscis. That would seem to be the best reason for its beginning a swerving 'evasive maneuvers' type dance - not bad, considering its a big ol' van. The other just drops the hammer and accelerates wildly, doing sharp dashes to weave through traffic. In short, it's an automotive shit show.

Prostrate on the ground, the guard Magnes used as an ablative weapon stirs back into painful consciousness. He fared better than his comrade, the driver, whose head met road. He blinks, his eyes focusing… honing in on the scene before him, with the painter's truck and its passengers, and the escaped prisoners.

"C'mon, Colette, c'mon…" Doyle's hand is awkward as it pats her shoulder, and he flashes her an unsure little smile, "…you did good, kid, let's go now…"

Aw, hell, there's pictures being taken of them and everything. And now he's covered in blood. He just /got/ this shirt! Step by step he guides her over towards the van, faster and faster as she gains confidence until finally he loads her in, clambering to scramble into the driver's seat.

"I like your style!" In some small way, this takes Raith back to the old days. But the memory is short-lived, shoved aside to be pondered again later while the ex-spy climbs literally out his window, sitting on the door frame and lining up the red dot of Wilby's laser sight slightly right of the center of the van's engine block. He does this because, as dangerous as sitting on the door like this is, it's still safer than firing inside the car. One van begins jinking, the other one just tries to run, and that one is the target, Raith sweeping the muzzle of his cannon across the street, lining up a shot using the iron sights rather than the laser dot.

Squeezing the trigger must be what it feels like to punch a god in the face. Even with the suppressor on the barrel, the blast echos through the street, and the flash from the barrel is more than enough to light up the street. The muzzle recoils upwards almost two feet, part of the consequence of firing one-handed. The round itself lands at an angle just behind the passenger door, punching through the body, the body occupying the passenger seat, the console, and the engine, ending its journey embedded in the radiator, all the power of a 35 mile per hour car crash concentrated into an area only half an inch in diameter. Like punching a god in the face.

Immediately, Raith pulls himself back inside and pulls his seat belt on. "Bootleg!"

"No!" Magnes exclaims, quickly raising a foot to slam into the man's nose when he goes for the tazer. Can't die here, can't get captured, can't let these people down and this Refrain get away.

He finally remembers the other man and is turning around to face him from his side of the van, his second gun flying from the left ankle and into his right hand, raised to fire at the man's head multiple times, almost frantic in wanting to take these guards out and make sure they're not getting up to shoot him in the back.

Corralled into the van by Doyle, Colette is shaking from head to toe, and only once she's up into the back of the painter's van, does she hunch over and dry heave at the floor, just gagging and choking, a thin line of saliva dangling from her lips as her arms wrap around her midsection. She slouches to the side, while Meredith is climbing into the driver's seat. "Eric that one guy's bleedin bad on his shoulder, grab something and try to put pressure on his wound, m'takin' us back across the bridge so's we can get to the Terminal."

When the van kicks in and gasses up, hooking a U-Turn between the spacing of the concrete meridians typically reserved for police officers, they merge back into traffic while on the westbound edge of the bridge, they can see flashing police lights headed in the direction of the white van. "God above Eric, if we make it through tonight…" her jaw clenches, fingers white-knuckled grip on the wheel.

On the other side of the bridge in Queens, the first van shot thorugh the engine block, it immediately grinds to a noisy halt, swerving to one side and skidding before pitching entierly and crashing down onto its side and sliding with a shower of sparks across the street. Manny hits the cluck, downshifts, pumps the gas and swerves off the curb narrowly clipping Raith with a street sign. When he comes back down onto the street, it's just that one last van left behind. "Hey…" Manny offers with a side-long look over the Raith, "I apologize for this in advance."

Upshifting and slamming on the gas, Manny punches the car's rapid acceleration and roars in front of the one remaining van, passing a delivery truck, before he pulls his foot off of the gas and yank up the emergency brake and comes spinning sideways across the street in front of the remaining van coming careening down the street towards them with Raith in the passenger seat given a front row view of the approaching vehicle. "Go!"

Magnes can chalk up two confirmed broken noses tonight, as his foot slams into the taser-carrier's face, tossing him back against the back corner of the van. The back of the kneeling guard's head blows out with the impact of a near-point blank shot from his own pistol. The gun that held back Magnes' sword slumps as the arms holding it go limp.

The final van's driver sees the flash of silver and then headlights. Reacting as a well trained professional would, even as he stares in horror, his arms automatically turn the wheel to try and, at the last moment, skid out of the way, or at least have a flank to front collision. The Wilby… well, what the hell can he do about that? Pray, maybe.

Eric's hand presses against Colette's back in support as she crumples half-over and heaves out the empty contents of her gut all over the floor, the choking, painful rasp of the dry heaves garnering his sympathy and a grimace. "It's all right, just…. just…"

Right, right, medical care. He casts around the van desperately, finally finding a rag that's still stained with paint here and there and tossing it over to the injured man. His own fingers lift with a silent shriek of unseen strings, guiding his own hand to press the rag against his wound and hold it tighter than he could have under his own power. Not bothering to see the results of his ability, he goes back to trying to get Colette to sit down, "C'mon, get down, kiddo…"

The problem Raith now faces with this van is a simple one: He doesn't know whether it's carrying drugs or people, and if it's the latter, than a stray bullet is guaranteed to ruin their day. And probably the day of someone further down the block as well. One on hand, that would be bad. On the other, not firing might let them get away. his solution is a simple one: fire anyway! For the second time that night, Raith fills the street with a roar, leaning out the window more casually this time. This round isn't quite as accurate as the last, passing through the engine block and van body entirely and blasting opened a parking meter and pay phone down the way, covering the sidewalk in twin showers of quarters, dimes and nickels. The bullet stops in a wall, although which wall, and whether or not it killed someone is anybody's guess.

Tearing his seat belt off, Raith steps out onto the street, unholstering his Glock and doing something he most normally would never do. He approaches the nearer van with guns akimbo. Wilby in the right, Glock in the left, and hot, leaded death in both. Pray all you want, driver. Jensen Raith is in the fight; God's going to sit this one out.

Magnes, upon seeing both guards down, and that help is finally coming, heads for the back of the front van. He keeps a gun raised, ready to take a headshot if he even sees a hint that someone's gonna shoot him, then flings his hand back to force the doors open.

Refrain or people?

"Je-sus…" Manny breathes out, reaching down at his side and grabbing the HK33 from the center console, swinging the driver's side door open as he hoists the rifle up over his shoulder and begins marching down the middle of the street towards the vans, "We got's to be quick about this— whoever you— are?" It's only here that Manny realizes he never did get the name of the man he's working with. "I got the upside down one!" Manny shouts across the darkened street, looking towards the headlights of cars having stopped at the sight of the accident.

He breaks off from Raith, moving over to the van toppled onto its side. As he walks, broken glass crunches unde rhis foot and he levels that SMG down to brace against his hip, looking at the motion in the driver's side window. A quick burst of gunfire from the street sends the Linderman Group hitman and leg breaker spraying six rounds of gunfire through the blown out window to the guard inside the driver's seat.

Marching around the undercarraige of the van, Manny moves to the back doors, looking them up and over, letting the SMG hang down to his side as he pulls out the Desert Eagle from under his arm. Assessing a look at the skewed vehicle, Manny looks over to Raith and then aims the Desert Eagle down at the latch on the back doors, firing until the whole goddamned handle comes off. A kick of his dress shoe to the side sends metal tinkling across the pavement, and he swings one of the upended doors open, SMG aimed at the interior.

Who gets the shiny blue treats?

For Magnes: people. Three thin, haggard looking people in institutional garb. What can be seen of their arms features a number of injection scabs and scars, some new, some very old, maybe from their pre-subject days. They stare at Magnes with the blank wonder of people who think they are in a dream. These people have spent enough time in dreams the last who knows how long that this is not an unfair suspicion, on their part. The remaining driver emerges, his hands raised, and immediately adopts a position of surrender, his hands over his head, on his knees. This man wants to survive today.

A sentiment shared by his co-worker who is being approached by the fearsome cannonade that is Jensen Raith. His arms already lifting, a spray of gunfire abruptly ends even a potential threat. Over in the other lane, however, three guards pile out, weapons out and ready. One lifts his rifle and prepares to fire, but the other presses the barrel down, then motions at Jensen and Manny. An offer of ceasefire. He doesn't put down their weapons, but he lifts his hands from them. His companions follow suit.

The back of the nearest van swings open, and Manny finds a number of crates, strapped down with safety webbing. Jackpot.

A ceasefire suits Raith just fine. "Get lost," he calls out. Not a suggestion to three men, but an order to three soldiers. "You too," he continues, speaking this time to the driver. That done, he circles around to the back to see what Manny has found. "Jackpot," is for certain. "Watch my back for a second." Perhaps somewhat inexplicably, Raith holsters both his pistols and replaces them with a different weapon. A palm-sized red cylinder bearing three rows of black, block letters printed on its side: 'AN-M14,' 'INCEN,' and 'TH.'


"I'd step back if I were you," Raith says to Manny, the only warning given as he yanks the pin out from the grenade, tosses it in the back of the van and then quickly steps to the side before it explodes and ignites, creating an inferno fueled by powdered aluminum and iron oxide. That leaves one van left, presumably carrying people, and that is Raith's next destination, ensuring that manny is covering him, just in case. Unlike his compatriot, Raith doesn't go straight for the back doors. Rather, he checks the steering column first to see if the driver of this one left his keys in the ignition, and to see if one of them will open the doors without having to waste more ammo.

Flinching at the explosion, head ducking a little, Manny's brows furrow, blue eyes drift towards Jensen for a moment, then angles a look towards the men that were fleeing the truck. He offers a subtle nod of his head, as if to echo Jensen's sentiments — Manny's been on that end of a paying gig before, when the money doesn't quite become worth the hassle. "Fuck off," he notes with a little smile, keeping the SMG trained on the armored and armed men. He doesn't leave where he's positioned, not when there's still potential hostiles in the area. With a burning van at his back, he breathes in slow and sharply.

"You got any more magic phone numbers in your— " Headlights come past one of the cars that had stopped because of the gunfire, the rumbling engine of a pickup truck rolling down the street, flashing its high beams. Situated in the driver's seat, Jensen recognizes Andy Rourke from Eileen's house and the bleeding Eric Doyle. There's a look from the shaved-headed man in the driver's seat to Jensen. "Li'l bird tol' me you gents could use a pickup, yeah?"

Across the other side of Queens, Magnes spies that same owl from before, circling overhead before coming to swoop and land on the back of the van. The owl's head quirks to the side in the way owls do that looks unnatural and painful. It's yellow eyes stare down unblinkingly at Magnes, "Help… is on… the way." The voice comes inside Magnes' head, halting and somewhat more rasping than he would normally recognize, but the clear British inflection and feminine quality is undoubtedly… Eileen?

Not more than a few moments later, there's a three-flash flicker of headlights as a brown station wagon comes rolling up next to where Magnes is standing. Nine men pile out, each one of them dressed in dark clothing, ski masks, and an arsenal of Ak-47s. One of them, emerging from the car, adjusts a black tie from his immaculate suit, blonde hair shortly cropped to his head and polished shoes looking like he shouldn't be driving a station wagon with wood paneling on the sides.

"My friends heard you needed to hide some people," he glances towards the truck, snaps his fingers, and the squad of identical-height masked men with assault rifles quietly converge on the truck. The blonde-haired man offers a lopsided smile, lifting up his sunglasses as he approaches Magnes, eyes up at the bird on top of the truck, flashes it a wave, then switches the toothpick he's been chewing on to the other side of his mouth. "Names Brian, by the way…" His brows go up, flashes a charming smile, then looks back to the station wagon. "We pick up your friends here to take some place safe," he instructs with a cool-as-a-cucumber attitude as his army of replicants move on the van.

"And then we drive away…"

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