bing_icon.gif carlisle_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif felix2_icon.gif feng_icon.gif francois_icon.gif raith_icon.gif sasha2_icon.gif teo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Unfortunate
Synopsis Team Charlie launches an ambush against Dreyfus' mercenaries with a little help from one of the Remnant. It ends disastrously for both sides.
Date April 16, 2010

Sea View Hospital

Dusk is monochromatic. White light seeps through darker cloudcover and splashes the ruins of Sea View Hospital in shades of gray that compliment the colours of the sky, creating a palette reminiscent of soot and ash, which is incidentally what much of the property is covered in beneath all the snow. Two years ago, a fire gutted a large portion of the ruins and burned it to the ground, and although nature has reclaimed most of what was left standing, the vines creeping up its crumbling walls have been reduced to ratty tangles of dead vegetation that crackle and flutter in the frostbitten breeze.

The meeting place that Carlisle Dreyfus chose is uncomfortably close to the Dispensary, and to someone as paranoid as Raith, confirms his suspicions: the enemy has narrowed the search for his den to Staten Island. Bad news for Remnant. Good news for Charlie. If the ex-Vanguard operative had a choice when it came to helping them before, then he doesn't now.

Down on the ground, obscured from Charlie's view by a half-demolished wall that has fallen under the weight of the snow, are five figures, all of them dressed appropriately for the weather. It's the first time since they've seen Dreyfus in person since they left Russia, but the changes he's undergone during that short period of time are plainly visible even from more than fifty yards away. A hat on his head casts shadows across his face and covers his thinning silver hair — it isn't the dark circles under his eyes or the twist of his mouth that are noticeable. It's the predatory manner in which he holds himself.

Nearby, leaning against an old cement column that supports nothing, is Sasha Kozlow, looking sweaty and haggard, his right arm held at an awkward position at his side. Feng Daiyu is also a figure that Charlie will recognize as well, but his fellow Chinese national — Bing — is unfamiliar to those hanging back in the trees. Unfortunately, the combination of the wall, twilight, and the gnarled foliage that surrounds the hospital's exterior makes it impossible to get a clear shot of anyone standing inside from afar, which may be another reason why their leader selected it.

"Dispose of the body in the dumpster outside the bar," he's instructing Raith. "I want to send them a clear message."

Everything about exposure smacks wrong to Feng Daiyu, years of service to the Vanguard and the majority of that going unseen makes the tactical advantage of this crumbling institution unattractive. The black of his arctic survival gear makes him look bigger than he is, bulkier and thicker, but it also provides a measure of concealment for the armaments he's carrying, to the body armor that will hopefully prevent a second gaping shoulder wound.

With his arm out of the sling, there's still a lack of mobility on the side he'd been shot in during the sniper battle at Eagle Electric, and Feng has forsaken the Dragunov that he had there for less visible artillery. Stepping out of sight of the spies beyond the structure, Feng moves behind one of the concrete pillars, brows furrowed and cold stinging at his cheeks. An accusatory look is offered up to Sasha's shadowed silhouette leaning against the pillar, glowering at his profile.

Feng doesn't trust Jensen Raith, Feng doesn't trust this entire scenario, but then again most of his "comrades" in this mercenary excursion have reason not to trust him too. After all, he's only in this as long as it takes to pull a wolf out of hiding. However long that takes.

Elisabeth Harrison, dressed for the weather, finds herself once more outside Sea View Hospital. With a far more intimate knowledge of the terrain this time around, what with the fact that she was here last year. She has adjusted her position so as to get the best view she can of the area, but she doesn't need to actually see over there. Instead, it is simply a matter of expedience — line of sight or something close to it makes listening in on the conversation and relaying it in soft murmurs to the others encased in her silence bubble child's play. The fact that Dreyfus and Raith are talking about Abby still makes her jaw clench in anger, but mostly she's over the shock of finding out about that situation. Tonight, she simply hopes that this group is on the ball enough to terminate the threat.

They say time's circular. This is proof. It's the dragging end of this horrible, sempiternal winter, and here they are at Seaview again. Again. Again. Fel's got that wired, nervous look - the proverbial long-tailed cat in the room of rocking chairs. The Russian's a far cry from the sleek, self-assured and arrogant Fed who came to rescue Kaydence fall before last; far more lines, far less expression in the blue eyes. He's still and silent, listening to Liz play telephone, reflexively checking over for the umpteenth time the AK he's got slung at his hip. Nevermind that the damn thing is yet another knockoff of about the most durable and forgiving assault weapon ever; simple enough for ten year old Sudanese child soldiers, let alone a middle-aged Fed.

Teo is across the street. In sniper position, rather than remiss in his duties as comrade to the forces of justice. The roof is caved in on this building, too, and snow is pushed back on either side of him, forming an uneven and shallow trench for the laid-down log-like form of his body. He likes that it's empty and cold out here, up to a point: if he has to abandon his rifle and jump out of the building (baby terrorists do this sometimes) and pound over there, it's unlikely anybody is going to happen by and steal his shit.

And closing in looks likelier by the moment, as he squints through the scope. A shot from here isn't likely to do more damage than hurt the enemy's collective ears a little, sprinkle them with bits of brick dust, and send them into hiding. Still, he holds for now, rifle pressed to one 'flu-gauntened cheek, waiting for someone he'd like to shoot to angle just a little closer into view.

Bing is a lummox beside Feng, even considering the winter and combat gear makes the smaller man larger and heavier than normal. The misshapen protrusion of his hunchback is mounded uncomfortably under clothes stretched out of their normal fit, and it's doubtless that only the rarest of commissioned armors could possibly have been made to account for the deformation. Whether or not he could have afforded it is anyone's guess. There's a tiny smile on his broad-boned face, a twinkle of star-bright in his dark eyes.

He doesn't look much different to the night of the gala on the rooftop, in terms of mood, health, spirits. He nods at Raith by way of hello.

Raith doesn't mind having his back against a wall, but he does mind being cornered, and having a meeting on Staten Island is way, way too close to 'cornered.' The company isn't much better, although he's given Feng Daiyu perhaps less concern than the Chinaman likes to have: His beef is with Ethan Holden, and Raith hasn't seen Ethan since Apollo. Bing, by contrast, is a much greater concern: At least he can expect favorable results if he punches Feng right in his dumb face. Sasha's just there to look pretty, most likely. Dreyfus is of as much concern to Raith as Raith would be to him, if the situation were different. The former may be cornered, but the latter is hungry- starving. A bad mix by any standards.

To his instructions, the Remnant leader offers a shrug, briefly casting his gaze downward and cocking his head to the side before return each of them forward and upright, respectively. "I think I can handle a sloppy disposal," he says, "Would you like me to pin a strongly-worded letter to her corpse as well? Maybe a threatening note? Anything?"

Francois' boots sink into the snow up to his ankles, and he feels weighed down and uncomfortable in kevlar and the jacket drawn over it to block out the breathtaking chill of the snow-covered place. Cold seems to radiate up from the ice, tries to weigh in deep enough to get to bone, and it's probably only going to get worse as the sun sinks down and down. He's huddled behind dense vegetation, handgun gripped in leather-clad hands, a brace around the wrist of his left hand to make up for the sting and pinch of aching deformity in the bones of his knuckles.

He's stopped trying to get a glimpse of the enemy, not from his position, and instead listens to the absence of information coming down the comms device curled into his right ear. He can see the dubious shapes of other Team Charlies out his peripherally, but none he can make meaningful eye contact with just now.

Steam clouds out from his mouth as he huffs a sigh— or maybe just breathing, it's cold enough that any and all warmth seems eager to evaporate.

From her position, peering at the gathered persons while listening in courtesy of Harrison microphone, Cat has her M16 with the safety off and aimed as close as can be to Feng's knees. But then he's out of view. Damn. Despite the presence of Dreyfus and personal issues with him, her first target would be Feng. The stories of his martial prowess tell her he needs to drop first, and when the signal comes at first chance she intends to shoot out his legs.

Raith's humour is lost on Sasha. His grasp on the English language is firm, but sometimes subtleties like sarcasm slip through his gloved fingers. Blue eyes fixate on a solitary grackle with iridescent feathers that would gleam darkest violent, blue and bronze in the right light. This isn't it. It shouldn't be difficult for Raith to figure out what he's thinking, but he also knows that whatever assumption the Russian healer might be making, it isn't the correct one. Sometimes a bird is just a bird; Eileen doesn't even know he's out here tonight.

"Anything," Dreyfus repeats, his voice flat and as lifeless as the corpse Raith and Gabriel dressed as Abigail Beauchamp in order to secure this meeting. "You can tell me where Holden is," he suggests. "I'm running out of time and have promises I'd like to keep."

That much of a comment elicits a look from Feng as he circles the stone pillar Sasha is leaning against with ophidian smoothness to his gait. Lifting up one hand, his eyes divert from Raith and check down to a wristwatch. It's stopped telling the correct time some six months ago but it still shows the proper temperature, and that much has Feng scowling down at the device. More notably is the oversized winding knob of the watch, one that Feng gives a tiny tug to for a moment to check and see how loose it is, then just lowers his hands down to his side again, continuing to walk to perimeter of the crumbling hospital.

Coming to a stop right before the broken window, Daiyu's brows furrow and lips purse together, dark eyes angled up to the skies, noting the speed of the wind picking up by the pitch of the howling it makes when blowing through the fire-eviscerated upper floor. The inferno that thermite caused here just over a year ago left many wondering how the hospital is even still standing, let alone with the weight of this much snow seated atop it. They just don't build things like they used to.

A snort of disgust and Elisabeth comments to Cat, "He wants to know where Holden is. Hell… I often wonder if we ought to wait to deal with this shit til Holden's in the bag. One less thing to deal with, yeah?" But she's not entirely serious…. not entirely kidding either. She keeps one blue eye peeled toward the sentry on duty, hoping a clear shot might eventually present itself, but Dreyfus is the priority target. It is he calling the shots. And so she continues to merely monitor and relay, waiting for any sign that it's go time.

"It would be tempting," Fel says, in that slow drawl. He's keeping watch, as best he can from where he's stowed, behind a ruined bit that's almost like a castle's crenellations. "But first things first."

Cold creeps into Teo's hands, and he feels it. Which means either his body's getting used to this, he thinks, or he's going to peel off his gloves in a few hours and have a few blackened, cracked-off digits emptied into them like fruit juice popsicles in a mould. Which is gross to think about, ergo, the Sicilian tries not to. He can hear the girls whispering from where he is, more because of Ellisabeth's audiokinesis than even the crushing silence that reigns over this armpit of Staten Island or his own acuity of hearing.

— and then a glimmer of motion. His fingers tighten around the sniper rifle, and he squints hard into the shape of the lither of two China-men, abruptly framed in the window. Fuckety fuck fuck, come on. The glance he throws off at Raith, then, outside the edge of his scope is probably— nearly impatient enough to be felt.

Bing is seguing into the space beside Feng once more, his heavy boots crushing powder and wind spiriting odd eddies into the heavy black coat bunched around his torso. "Holden shini hende baigui, bushi ma?" Low tone, a cheerily conversational register, like they are discussing the weather, except more polite because the weather's ass lately. Despite that he's shifted over to stand by his countryman again, the mainstay of his attention is on Raith, Dreyfus, and the cute little corpse in its box. "Ni buxiang tingyiting?"

That Francois doesn't respond to the banter is probably a testament to never really getting used to or comfortable with Elisabeth's ability — like maybe he'd jinx himself if he trusted it, having spent so many years being as quiet as possible in these circumstances. That, and he doesn't necessarily want Ethan dead. As for the former, he takes a breath and tries to ignore this particular piece of neuroris. His voice is clear across radio enough for Teo:

"«We should move and be ready. If we wait any longer for a clear sniper shot, we risk Raith.»"

He's already doing as he says, the rustle of vegetation visible out Cat's periphery as Francois goes to find himself a better, closer position. "«What all can everyone see? I have nothing.»" His foot steps sink deep as he sinks his silhouette into the cover of shadow, but in all the white, he feels reasonably visible in all of his grey and black despite the lengthening of darkness as night falls.

"Wrong guy to ask about Holden," Raith reports, shifting his weight onto his right leg. "You see, tracking his whereabouts takes a certain… dedication. One might call it an 'obsession,' and an 'unhealthy' one at that. A dedication that I don't have, he's just… bleh." Raith raises his hands up to his chest, fingers pointed outward, and shakes them while sticking his tongue out in disgust, as if to say, 'Ethan Holden is icky.' "You'd be better off asking that guy-" A finger pointed in Feng's direction- "Whose 'dedication' carried him all the way up to become president of the Night Wolf fan club. You could probably puzzle out Holden's location using the secret messages from the radio show and the club decoder ring. Or, be surprised with an advertisement. 'Be sure to drink your Ovaltine!'"

"«I see Raith, Dreyfus, and Skoll partly blocked by the half-wall,»" Cat reports, "«Feng is a quarter target visible through window, I'm not sure I can shoot out his knees unless he moves more into the clear. Bing is with Daiyu, also behind cover. I remember Bing from the icepack, he's a bulky one. I think he makes himself thicker to resist injury, but he certainly did run away from Huruma.»" She keeps watch with the rifle, waiting for the moment of assault.

As Francois takes the lead to close in, covered by Elisabeth's ability, his visibility doesn't improve but his chances of landing a clean shot do. Sasha draws himself up, his back rigid against the column, and shifts his attention from the perching grackle out toward where the rest of Charlie is situated. There are some people on the registry with gifts assigned names like Superhuman Perception and Danger Sense, but he isn't among them. It's the wartime experience he picked up while in Chechnya that causes the anxious prickle to dart up the back of his neck, tension winding through his upper half.

If he sees anything out there, he chooses not to alert his comrades to it.

"That's unfortunate," Dreyfus says, circling around the wooden box on the hospital's cement floor, his booted feet crunching through pieces of broken glass that were scattered across it years before Midtown blew. "I had hoped you might have a location for me." Gloved fingers hook under the box's lid but do not yet lift it. "Daiyu. You have my permission to kill Ruskin. There are apparently no other alternatives."

Dark eyes peer from the shadow of the crumbling brick wall Feng stands beside, his focus settled on Bing at the comment, brows furrowed and the creases at the sides of his mouth becoming more pronounced as he scowls. "Tamen buzhidao Holden zai nar, huozhe dangrang zai zheir!" There's an air of frustration in the assassin's tone of voice, along with an awkward shifting of his weight in his heavy jacket. When he looks away from Bing, it's to sidel up towards one of the blown out windows and scan the landscape surrounding the hospital.

A hissing sound comes out from Feng's as he squints against the freezing wind, then looks back to Bing with a slow shake of his head, finally starting to step out into the open at the expanse of wall that completely toppled from the fire a year ago. Booted feet carefully navigate around crumbling bricks frozen in place under a thick layer of ice-crusted snow.

Turning to look at Dreyfus, Feng arches one brow slowly, then offers a look to Raith. Interesting. Then with a look down at his feet, he nods and starts walking again wordlessly. This three ring circus is slowly beginning to wear on his patience, where was the purpose that Sasha had promised?

Yeah, that's not good. Elisabeth listens and tenses visibly as she relays through the small group that Feng's just been given orders to kill Eileen. Which means Feng doesn't leave here tonight — no matter what. Not that it was in doubt anyway, but Liz shares a glance with Cat, a look that says 'cover me' as she goes to move. Ducking low, waiting until Feng turns his head back into the meeting, she runs at a low crouch with her rifle in her hands to get (hopefully) under cover beneath the section of wall that obscures the enemy from our shooters. Putting her back to that wall, she holds position there waiting either for Teo to get a clear shot or Raith to give the word.

Feng isn't the only one losing his patience with the situation: Raith appears to have even less left, quite suddenly, than even he does. The expression on his face is plainly unamused, but the only heed he pays to Eileen's appointed assassin in a brief glance using only his eyes, before his attention is once again focused fully on Dreyfus. "It is unfortunate," he says, turning his body and taking one, two, three slow steps towards the box that houses 'Abby's' body. As he walks, he adds to his statement to offer a grim clarification: "That you have to make this hard for yourself."

"Goodbye, Carlilse.

With a mighty kick, Raith knocks the cover off of the box he'd brought, held on with a weak adhesive, only strong enough to keep it in place while he was carting it around. There is a body inside, explaining the weight, but it is not Abigail Beauchamp's. Neither is it alone. The action of removing the cover so violently triggers some mechanism inside, activating a collection of no fewer than fifteen small, pyrotechnics tubes, each of them throwing a crackling, burning magnesium flare skyward and over the heads of Raith's antagonists in rapid sequence, like a burst from a machine gun, covering the area beneath, if only for a few moments, in white light. The combined effect is as bright as day. Spectacular, if not particularly dangerous. Distracting as well. Selecting a column not all that different from the one Sasha was leaning against, Raith dives behind it and unholsters his Glock, this capable of fully automatic fire. For the instant, he is not in any immediate danger. He doesn't expect that to remain true for much more than a second before everyone's gotten their wits back. There's the signal.

Bing puts on his best sympathetic face for his countryman, which is actually— pretty damn sympathetic, considering they are dedicated sociopaths. On the other hand, one would imagine that if such human monsters were going to commiserate over anything, it might as well be the damn gwailo who got away. His boxy hands fit neatly into his pockets, and the news of Ruskin's impending death have about as much effect on him as would drinking a tall glass of cool water.

«I have a good view of Feng and part of Bing,» Teo says. He doesn't have to announce that he is closing his finger on the trigger, tightening the first knuckle, and engaging a propulsive explosion to loose off a military centerfire cartridge with enough velocity to displace a canteloupe-sized hunk of torso out of a man's body. He doesn't have to, because there's the signal.

Relatively speaking, the shot is quiet. Pyrotechnics bury the worst of the noise with crackling, bursting, keening, but the roiling light also all but blots at the figures at the other end of Teo's scope. He fires, and the shot goes ripping past Feng's armored torso, shocking bone-rattling kinesis through the man's lithe frame, but instead of burying squarely into his figure, it's a powerful graze. Knocks Feng spinning, before plows solidly into Bing's body behind him.

Sends him flying, too, hurled backward neatly off his feet. Abruptly, where there were two Chinese men in the window, there's nothing but a wavering, retina-scorching light. Time to go.

The signal for insane mayhem, apparently. Send in the clowns. Fel's throwing up a wake of dirty, spent snow like a roostertail, just like in Russia - speedsters, damn near impossible to stealth in these conditions. Not that it matters, because there's abruptly the rattle-rattle-rattle of AK fire, and his path is illuminated in darting flashes of muzzle flare like he's trying to compose a sonnet in Morse code on the fly. It is a tribute to the tender relationship he's established with Daiyu that it is Feng he goes for first. The image that earned him his medal back the winter before is…..really kind of true now. It'd be flagrantly suicide, if he weren't fast enough to make it all look like a skipping kinetoscope. That Teo takes him first is only slightly discommoding - bodies seem to waft down like feathers, when you move at that speed.

Less the speedy blur of a speedster closing in would be Francois' darkly clad silhouette moving now at a pounding-stepped pace, deep trenches made by boots as he moves clear of the dense, snowing forestry the ruined hospital is surrounded by. It's not hard to know when to move, when the signal consists of bleaching the entire dusk setting back into noon. Francois' own vision is still clearing by the time shapes come into being, a tipped over box, Sasha's long silhouette and the broader shoulders and silver hair of a much more familiar man.

In the same way his speed is slower than Felix's, a handgun is less efficient than an automatic rifle in some respects, but better for someone with the use of 1.5 hands. Two shots fire off in Dreyfus' direction before Francois is quick to save himself, snow kicking up as he finds enough wall intact to duck behind.

Showtime. Cat's rifle takes aim when Raith makes his move for the box, and she fires a burst of three rounds toward Feng Daiyu, aiming to strike him low and thus decrease his martial arts ability. She can't see whether or not they strike true, with the illumination from inside the box interfering with visibility.

When her vision clears, she easily sees both asian men aren't standing, or at least aren't where they were, so she adopts a different target. Francois, she sees, appears to be going at Dreyfus. He may be a priority target for emotional reasons, but this is business too. Skoll is dangerous, if he manages to move he could try to use that scarring ability and/or fire on people inside.

So he gets the joy of being Cat's target, a burst of three rounds aimed low where body armor can do him no good.

Sasha spooks easier than Dreyfus does, and maybe that has something to do with his wartime experience, too. Live long enough in an environment where you're expecting to either be shot or blown to pieces at any given moment, and little things like slamming doors and backfiring engines cause you to startle, and Raith's fireworks display is considerably louder and flashier than both, but to his credit he recovers quickly enough to pop his own pistol from its holster at his hip, seeking shelter behind a pillar opposite the other man's. He takes aim ahead of the blur that is Felix Ivanov and squeezes off a series quick shots to cover Daiyu while he recovers from the one that grazed him, but by the time the bullets catch up with their target, they impact harmlessly against the cement wall, missing the federal agent's skull by mere centimeters.

It's so cold that he doesn't even feel the blood carving a sticky path down his neck where the second shot grazed his ear and left a nick the width of a penny.

Dreyfus chooses to take cover behind the overturned box, hefting the corpse off the floor just in time to haul it around in front of him and use it as a shield. Two wet pops and a spatter of coagulated blood later, and he's angling his head around its shoulder in an attempt to discern the Frenchman's position without abandoning what little protection the box provides.

Behind his pillar, Sasha lets out a low, wet-sounding snarl of pain, though it isn't clear whether diving for cover has aggravated an old injury or if Catherine has given him a new one. "«We warned you not to trust him,»" he barks at Dreyfus in his native Russian. "«And now he's brought them all down on our heads!»"

Feng doesn't even know how he got on his back, but the heavy body armor he's wearing turned the round from Teo's shot into a sharp ache where it should've been a bloody mess. Bullets explode alla round him on the fire-baked tiles, and rolling is all Feng can do to get out of the line of fire, keeping one arm clutched to his chest. This was the last straw, Dreyfus let them get caught in an ambush. This would never have happened under Kazimir's command, or even Holden's as much as he hates to admit it.

Having already been floored by Teo's shot, the majority of Catherine and Felix's rounds shatter on the mound of crumbled brick he's crumpled behind, but three of the AK-47 rounds from the speedster slam into his armored body. Screw anything resembling camraderie, it's every goddamned man for himself now.

Feng rolls up against one of the walls, trying to scramble from the gunfire before one of Cat's shots rips across the front of his unarmored thigh with a spray of hot blood on icy tile. Reaching up to his jacket, Feng pulls off one of his grenades and without so much as a warning to his allies plucks the pin and throws it to the side, resulting in a bright flare of light and a concussive blast that shakes the walls of the hospital.

With the flashbang having gone off, Feng's limping away towards what was once the smallpox ward, ducking under a sagging portion of ceiling as he leaves a drizzled trail of blood behind him. When he slams up against the door, Feng's pulling another flashbang off of his vest and rolling the armed grenade along the floor towards where Dreyfus has taken cover, since so many eyes are on him. Long before the flashbang goes off, Feng's limping through the doorway and tugging on the side of his watch, a growling zipper-like sound coming as he draws an extension of wound piano wire out from inside the watch and disappears into the dark through the doorway before another bright flash and a deafening bang shakes the ruins.

Go time! Elisabeth holds only for the extra moments it takes for Teo to say he has the shot and to almost feel the bullet rip past her in the air at high speed. All hell breaks loose pretty much simultaneously and she is popping up out of her own hiding space, using the incandescent brightness as a guide to start spraying bullets on at Dreyfus's last known position near the box — he's the leader of this little band, and if Francois is to be believed, the others will only be a threat to their own particular personal targets if Dreyfus isn't footing the bill anymore. So she takes several shots through the opening, hoping against hope that common sense prevailed with Bing and Feng being hit by bullets and that they'll be scrabbling BACKWARD from the window she just popped up in. Though to be fair, she's only a head and a rifle muzzle in the window's empty frame anyway, and there are bullets and grenades and fireworks everywhere now.

Popping out to let off a burst from his Glock was not well-timed on Raith's part, looking just in time to catch and eye- and earful of stun grenade. Immediately, he falls back around the pillar and waits until the scene he sees in front of him is his own two hands and pistol, rather than a freeze-frame of Carlisle Dreyfus. He'd almost forgotten what this felt like.

There's no silence to interrupt, but all the same: when Bing emerges out of the rubble and the burning stink and the flailing whirpool of brick dust, it is not unlike to the Loch Ness's rise. The air's already fraught with pollutants and noise, but he careens out, big and black-clad, his face streaky and decidedly, visibly annoyed. He lurches headlong toward the window, bullets or not, and there's an instant where Elisabeth gets a high-definition close-up view of his irritated face.

"Bing thinks not." That's either a joke, or Chenglish grammar. Either way, there's a meaty hand whipping outward, fast and absurdly open-handed, the arc of a slap aimed to send her flying a dozen yards across and into Catherine's position of attack. He'dve been as unceremonious and nearly as effortless with actual domino chips. Fortunately, however, there's a last-minute flinch against Feng's flashbang that throws off his aim enough that the Charlie women are unlikely to incur damage, even as deafness and blindness abound.

Dozens of yards away, Teo's cursing, of course. Venting his frustration upon things as undeserving as grammar and winter-locked air. He's dropped his rifle and hurling himself out of his own window in a moment, his glove burning an atonal rasp against the rope in his grip. It twists, flares serpentine, and deposits him with a stolid crunch on the snow-choked sidewalk.

Feng Daiyu has been promoted to Chief Plastic Rabbit in Felix Ivanov's little world. Because even staggering and dazzled by the flashbang, he's dashing after the assassin with only slightly less haste than before. Adrenaline addict is on his high, and rational thought….well, that's behind him. He's stopped firing, though, and is a dark blur, as a result, leaving kicked up snow settling behind him as he barrels into the ruins. There's only the glint of a keen steel edge, as he pulls his knife, letting his rifle fall to bump at his hip. This is going to be close up and personal. Perhaps the little orgy of blood down at the pole has left him….bent.

The flare of the flashbang cracks over Francois' head, the worst of it shadowed by the wall he's ducked behind for these reasons and more bullety ones too, squeezing his eyes shut at the sound of it. The world, however, is reduced to a high pitched ringing in his ears, shaking his head in an attempting to clear it, before risking peering over the partially downed wall. There's a slice of Raith behind the pillar just visible, although Francois couldn't say where Sasha's gone. Or Feng. He remembers where Dreyfus was.

All at once, Francois is in the lion's den, charging for where he last saw Dreyfus and gun still in hand. It could be emotionally driven, or his belief that if the old man is dead, then all of this ends. From dead teenagers to women in Louisiana all the way back to cars run off the road and dying in a high summer. Logic is not mutually exclusive.

His boot hits wood, planting down against it as he launches over the box that does not contain Abigail.

There are options, or so it seems. Trying to aim at Skoll again. Seeking out Dreyfus to fire upon. Going into the building to try tracking after Feng and back Felix up as he does so. Firing full auto at Bing's head to see if that puts him down. Hell, it occurs to Cat she could recommend they all withdraw from the building while Teo the sniper covers things so no one hostile escapes, being picked off one by one as they emerge, if they emerge, then toss grenades into the structure just before Elisabeth shakes it into a tomb like the one occupied by Bill Dean and his entire cell.

But she doesn't get the chance to do any of those things, she becomes preoccupied with a sudden Flying Audiokinetic. It requires Cat to move quickly so she can 1) dodge the projectile woman, and 2) snag a good enough grip as she goes by to stop the flight.

The end result is both women wind up face down in the snow and disoriented, momentarily taken out of the battle as they recover bearings and weapons which have become dislodged from their persons. "If you want to fly," she murmurs dryly in trying to cover the situation with some variety of humor, "I suggest growing wings first."

There's a split second where Liz has Great Big Anime Eyes when she and Bing come nose to nose. OMG!!! And then she finds herself a few yards away, not sure how she got there, sprawled spread-eagled on the ground with her rifle several feet from her hands. … ow… Christ, she's getting too old for this shit. She's seeing stars. Though there's little enough time to waste in the frigid night air, she's forced to simply stay put until her body remembers how to suck in a breath.

Large clumps of snow dislodged from the roof burst like overripe melons when they hit the ground, spraying legs and feet with fine chunks of ice that would sting if they came into contact with exposed skin. Throwing grenades is probably one of the worst tactics anyone could use in a building that's in such poor condition and been through as much abuse as Sea View has, but that's exactly what Feng is doing much to Dreyfus' chagrin. And yet—

"Nyet, Carlisle!" Sasha shouts when he meets Dreyfus' eyes, and it's a plea rather than a command. Whatever he sees there, he doesn't like.

Wrapping one arm around the corpse to keep it in place, Dreyfus turns his head away from searing gunfire and shoves his hand into the interior of his coat. It doesn't come out with a grenade. Instead: a high caliber pistol, which he points up at the ceiling above their heads, emptying in the clip in the time it takes for Feng to disappear through the doorway and the last of his grenades to detonate. So numbing is the ringing sensation in everyone's ears that even Elisabeth wouldn't be able to hear what Sasha is shouting at him or count the number of bullets he puts into the roof before Francois is sailing like a gazelle over the box and slams into Dreyfus with enough force to send both men to the floor, arms and legs tangled in a wiry knot that includes the corpse positioned between them.

The Russian is probably regretting having used the phrase brought them all down on our heads.

Feng had expected Chesterfield, all things considered, but when Felix comes whipping through the doorway Feng disappeared into, it doesn't matter who it is that gets the smack of his ceramic padded elbow in their stomach when he intercetps their trajectory from his hiding spot beside the doorway. Legwork having failed him because of the gunshot wound, Feng makes a circular motion with his arms around Felix's knife arm and the silvery glint of that wire between his hands snags the Russian's forearm through his jacket. A tug saws through his coat and bites cold metal into flesh.

With a jerk of his shoulders back and hips forward, Feng is able to use Felix's momentum and weight to flip him over and onto his stomach on the floor in a hip throw that would have been magnificent to see if anyone else was around to witness it. Releasing the wire after its lacerated flesh, the garrote makes a zippering snap as its drawn back up into the watch. One booted foot stomps down on the knife and Feng would deliver a kick, but he doesn't have the number of functional limbs for that. Instead he's taking a knee, directly between Felix's shoulders and draws out that shiny length of cord again, making a looping motion with his wire once more.

This time around Ivanov's throat.

Only barely lit by muzzle flash and gunfire, Feng's scowling countenance bears the look of all of his frustration and rage as his muscles on his right arm scream from the injuries that should be keeping it in a sling. He's hurting himself almost as much as he's hurting Felix by performing the garrote, blood running hot out of the bent leg that is pressed knee-down into Felix's back.

Raith recovers in time to see exactly how everything is doomed to go horrifically wrong. Dreyfus is wildly firing upwards, instead of at any one person, and while Francois has him under control for the time being, the ex-spy has nothing in his arsenal to get what is happening above them under control. The structure was weakened already from fire damage, weather, and years of neglect. Having hundreds, thousands of pounds of snow dumped on top of it hasn't helped it in the least. And now, it's full of large-caliber bullet holes. Rather than the battle, Raith's attention is focused briefly, but fully on the spiderweb of cracks spreading throughout what remains of the roof above them, and the angry sounds as concrete and steel groan and strain under the weight that he suddenly exceeded its support capability.

"Francois!" he shouts, not caring if anybody can hear him and he comes tearing around the column that has shielded him, charging straight for the melee on the ground in front of him. But it's not Carlilse he grabs ahold of and tears away from the fight. It's the Frenchman. "Le toit!" The roof.

Bullets plink and pop off the side of Bing's head, cranking it diagonally toward the left and backward a few more degrees with every round that ricochets off again. Oddly enough, his temper seems to improve with each impact, the knot in his brow loosening, small eyes blinking with not quite intellectual concentration as each round rebounds. By the time the effects of the flashbang have waned, he's staring down and across at an attractive combination of women while the ceiling screams bloody murder.

It's either understandable or confusing, that the Chinese man opts to move away from the section of building that seems bound to implode. He trots, instead, toward the half-column that Sasha had been using to loiter stylishly against only a few minutes ago, puts his back to the nearest unoccupied corner, and wraps his arms around its lumpy, cold-blistered surface. There's a porcine grunt of effort, hairline cracks racing across the foundation, cement splitting, a groan of metal rebar within, audible even despite the whinging complaints of the ceiling.

The wall past Feng's shoulder abruptly retextures into crumbly plaster-colored Swiss cheese. Four shots fired on a single pull of a trigger. Most auto-fire combinations for AR-15's are quite illegal for civilians and for good reasons, but it's all Teo can do to deliver a warning through a half-demolished hallway wall, for now. He misses entirely because aiming is hard, when you're running over fucking snow and you hate snow and you were sick for like a month and hallucinating before you had a fever for a week. And, you know. This pig is not for sacrifice.

Oh, christ, caught. There's abruptly blood on the wire….to continue the rabbit conceit, Fel's now Bigwig, and Feng is the master of the shining wire. One hand comes up, and promptly lacerates himself…..he's flinging himself up and back to relieve the pressure on his windpipe and veins, and then trying to roll sideways, even as the other hand stabs frantically behind him. That'll teach him. Only, nothing ever does, does it? He can't even cry out for help - it's a mute, thrashing struggle with him gagging and choking. There's just the drumming of boots on the rotting woods.

There is a moment where Francois puts a bullet through skull and grey matter, but it's not unfortunately anything belonging to Carlisle Dreyfus. His aim glanced off in the scuffle has dead blood and flesh spraying cement and snow both, splintering the corner of the wooden box and basically going as nowhere as Dreyfus intended. The creak and shift of pounds of ice and snow above their heads is probably drowned out first by his hearing still in recovery as well as his own heart apparently in his head, from the way it sounds. Gun gripped with knuckles gone white beneath matte leather, Francois surges forward—

And is pulled right back and on his feet, boots scrabbling for purchase. A snarl of protest as Francois twists in Sasha's grip on his arm and coat to bring the butt of his gun around to break the healer's nose before he can possibly lay another fucking scar— except it's not Sasha, or Bing or Feng, but Raith who is dragging him back, something that registers fast enough that the Remnant leader does not get cracked in the face. Only just. Francois' eyes are wide and startled, and then confused.

Le toit? Oh. Francois' shoulder jostles into Raith as he moves with the man this time.

As Raith wrenches Francois off Dreyfus and the corpse, the old man slams both his booted feet into the Frenchman's gut and sends both allies staggering back. It's all he can do. At sixty-five, he's not in the same shape he used to be; Francois' tackle and the subsequent scuffle has inflicted enough damage to his body that he's having a difficult time rolling the corpse off his chest so he can get clear of the roof. Instead of getting to his feet like he would have twenty years ago, he has to twist around and slither on his belly, showing Francois his back and providing him with a clear target that there is no time to take advantage of.

Pieces of plaster tinkle down next and bounce off Raith's broad shoulders and back. The network of cracks spreading through the roof expands its reach and, one web at a time, widens. Slivers turn into gaping fissures in the cement, exposing rusted lengths of metal piping that hemorrhage copper-coloured fluid saturated with minerals and wet flakes of clumping rust with a slushy texture that stains the ground red wherever it hits.

When it all comes crashing down, it's with a sonorous sound like thunder heard more than a mile away. Leaves appear to flee from their trees, but they're really just birds, and the sheer number of them that explode into the air at the boom would be much more impressive if the sky wasn't too dark for the flocks to be seen throwing themselves at the clouds. Several thousand pounds of concrete, twisted metal and frozen snow engulf Raith, Francois and Sasha with the ease of a wave washing away a child's sandcastle as it rolls smoothly onto the shore and then recedes, leaving absolutely nothing in its wake. A cloud of finer snow and ice spreads outward from the epicenter of the collapse like smoke, swallowing whole everyone in its way, including Bing and Dreyfus, before it's sucked out into the hall and spills over Felix, Teodoro and Feng as well.

Only Cat and Elisabeth, thrown clear of the collapse, breathe air clean of debris.

As Raith wrenches Francois off Dreyfus and the corpse, the old man slams both his booted feet into the Frenchman's gut and sends both allies staggering back. It's all he can do. At sixty-five, he's not in the same shape he used to be; Francois' tackle and the subsequent scuffle has inflicted enough damage to his body that he's having a difficult time rolling the corpse off his chest so he can get clear of the roof. Instead of getting to his feet like he would have twenty years ago, he has to twist around and slither on his belly, showing Francois his back and providing him with a clear target that there is no time to take advantage of.

Pieces of plaster tinkle down next and bounce off Raith's broad shoulders and back. The network of cracks spreading through the roof expands its reach and, one web at a time, widens. Slivers turn into gaping fissures in the cement, exposing rusted lengths of metal piping that hemorrhage copper-coloured fluid saturated with minerals and wet flakes of clumping rust with a slushy texture that stains the ground red wherever it hits.

When it all comes crashing down, it's with a sonorous sound like thunder heard more than a mile away. Leaves appear to flee from their trees, but they're really just birds, and the sheer number of them that explode into the air at the boom would be much more impressive if the sky wasn't too dark for the flocks to be seen throwing themselves at the clouds. Several thousand pounds of concrete, twisted metal and frozen snow engulf Raith, Francois and Sasha with the ease of a wave washing away a child's sandcastle as it rolls smoothly onto the shore and then recedes, leaving absolutely nothing in its wake. A cloud of finer snow and ice spreads outward from the epicenter of the collapse like smoke, swallowing whole everyone in its way, including Bing and Dreyfus, before it's sucked out into the hall and spills over Felix, Teodoro and Feng as well.

Only Cat and Elisabeth, thrown clear of the collapse, breathe air clean of debris.

Gunfire says everything about why not to be stationary and trying to choke out a speedster. Feng ducks not just reflexively from the explosion of gunfire but from the ricochet that punches through the side of his cheek and exits out the front of his mouth along with broken shards of two molars and several teeth. The shooting pain has Feng flinging himself bodily against the opposite wall, a bloody spot on Felix's back where he'd beek kneeling.

The bullet shard that punched through his cheek has left him bleeding all over the place, spitting it out onto the floor before the whole goddamned building comes crashing down around them. A cloud of dust that rises a hundred feet into the air has swallowed Feng, stirred only by the arctic chill of the wind. Unable to see that Felix is half buried by floorboards and crumbled sheet rock, Feng is staggering away from the collapse, limping out of the building with fresh blood glistening wetly against his dust-grayed form.

Chokes and coughs come from the Chinese assassin follow his progress thorugh the building as he makes his staggering retreat. To hell with Carlisle Dreyfus, to hell with Sasha, to hell with all of this. He has two people he needs to put bullets in and a child to steal, this job is over.

Teo is hit by a piece of concrete. It isn't very big, fortunately for him, but it catches him broadside his arm and knocks his AR-15 askew even before he manages to get his posture into any kind of defense against flying debris and the concussive whoom of air. He falls without noticing he's fallen, skids to a stop on a knee, feels frozen-solid street biting through even the thickness of his knee pad. Looks up. When he coughs, the air pushes ragged bangs out of his face.

Sees Feng struggling out of the hallway, uncollapsed but blanketed thinly by the remains of the adjacent room. His eyes go big in his head, and he turns it abruptly, like a needle clicking home on a parking meter, to see the main building fucking imploded, but for the two women outside. "Franc—!"

He's whiter now than he was before, which is no mean feat for Finnish ancestry or the thinning effects of malady, an anemic blanche that defies the dimmer palettes of black dust or white plaster. He doesn't notice there's residue caked between the molars exposed by his scar, or that he's bleeding a little bit, from something inconsequential and stupid. His heart sounds like it's in his head, from where he's standing. Rolling, queasy pounding. "Raith?"

Stupid as a baby cuckoo's querying tone. "Felix! Get up!" And he's crashing through the wall suddenly, like a bongo in the jungle or a panicked horse, foot over foot, the AR-15 safetied thanks purely to muscle-memory and swung strap over shoulder. "Get the fuck up— breathe and get up. We have to dig," but the Russian first. Towed out by whatever sickle-skinny wrist or bony shoulder-hinge protrudes from the dust Feng had shrugged off. "Ivanov!"

When solid snow, ice, metal and concrete all fill the area that three men had been occupying, there is nothing but the settling shift of that slide. Certainly no movement, save for concrete debris skittering to settle, dusty ice swirling in the chill air gone colder. There is, however, muted noise that maybe Raith could detect better through packed snow, but then, maybe not. A voice, though, muffled beyond syllables or clarity. In the Victorian era, there'd been safety coffins with bells and devices to sound out should someone be unintentionally buried alive. This is a little like that. It also doesn't last very long.

It's like watching the beginning of some zombie movie - Felix Ivanov, floured gray with dust save for the blood at throat and hands, trying to scramble out from under the wreckage. His motions are feeble, like a half-squashed bug. And yet again, he's bad off. The rifle's lost, the knife is gleaming beyond his reach….and his abraded throat isn't capable of more than a hissing whisper.

There's a clatter of boards, a groan of pain and a crumble of stone, but in that noise Elisabeth Harrison is dragging Catherine Chesterfield away from the collapsed hospital. They're both covered in patches of wet red and powdered gray. Liz' boots scrape across the ice and snow, her arms hooked beneath Cat's as she tries to lift the brunette up and move her away from what little of the precarious structure is still groaning overhead. "Come— Come on Cat, come on!"

Cat's not moving, not talking, and the bloodied gash on her forehead that cuts from hairline down through her eyebrow leaves crimson streaks down her cheek that dribble wetly from her jaw. She's limp in the blonde's arms, "Francois! Teo!" Panicked blue eyes are flicking around the snowy expanse of ground outside of the hospital, knowing that this is the prime moment for someone to strike.

Right now, nothing is striking, except how unfortunate this whole scenario is.

If proximity might make a difference for Raith, allow him to hear those muted sounds better, there's no immediate evidence that it is. Wherever he is buried, he is quiet, and as best anyone on the surface can tell, making no attempts to unbury himself.

The sucking wound in the side of Teo's face makes the rictus of his fear look like some macabre laugh at a morbid joke, but the only person who is here and awake isn't lucid enough to appreciate it. Teo paws a handful of dust off Felix's back, claps him between the scapulas twice, before yanking him upright by the shoulders as unceremoniously as he would a bucket from a well. Takes one look at his face, and then there's a Glock being shoved into the Russian's hand. "Breathe," he says. "Cover me."

With no real expectation that the speedster's going to succeed in doing more than the former, Teo's pushing off, through the funny little parody of a doorway that stands virtually alone in a snaggletooth fence of 'wall,' now, and starts to wade through. His rifle bobs and claps against his ribs, swings halfway into his hand and when he slips on ice and lands on a knee. Spitting curses. "Raith!" They were over there, right?

Somewhere over there. His eyes meet Elisabeth's in the dark, and then he's off scrambling again. "Francois! Come on, assholes. Staten Island doesn't have a fucking fire department. Die somewhere el—" A grinding shift in his peripheral vision, sedimentary rubble shifting layer over layer, and the rifle clicks up in his hands. Too far off into the opposite recess of the building to be his boys, so he keeps walking sideways. Carefully.

It's silence for a little longer, maybe for as long as it takes to struggle in a breath, before another signal. No words, no words needed, a formless cry of pain from beneath snow and rock that looks like every other patch of snow and rock, jutting rebar. Until some of it starts to shift. Nothing dramatic, just a minor slide of fragmented cement and snow that indicates that something beneath it figured out what way was up and is attempting to do something about it.

Fel's reeling drunkenly after Teo, following orders he's not sure he really comprehends. He's clutching the Glock like a talisman between the heels of his palms, rather than a weapon, lurching along in the Sicilian's wake. He's rasping for breath, and there's blood streaming down him.

The hospital resembled a warzone before. This section doesn't resemble much of anything now unless Charlie wants to draw comparisons to an abandoned gravel pit. There's no sign of Dreyfus in the dust; either he's trapped somewhere under the debris with the others, or he took advantage of the distraction and slipped out into the night to lick his wounds elsewhere.

What there is, however, is a chalk-covered hand with long white fingers bent at an awkward angle, mixed with fresh blood that dribbles dark down the length of a masculine wrist. It's not quite large enough to be Raith's, and the sleeve covering the arm it's attached to could be either Sasha's or Francois'. There's no way for Teodoro or Felix to know unless they dig its owner out.

Within the pile of rubble, Francois — whose hand hasn't breached its exterior — has very little room in which to move and even less air to breathe. He can feel Raith's weight pressing against him from behind once he collects his bearings, and although there's no light to see by, spatial awareness allows him to intrinsically sense that he was protected from the worst of it by a combination of the other man's mass and a large concrete slab that fell across them and created a pocket large enough contain them both.

It doesn't budge when Francois indicates their position and gives the others a clearer idea of where to start digging, and that's a good thing. The slab is the only thing between them and a swift death.

How long has it been? Minutes? Hours? Weeks? Raith would be hard pressed to determine any of that right now. That is his name, isn't it? Yes, that's right. Being buried under all this darkness and weight and cold and pain? That's not right, but that's exactly where he finds himself. A lesser man might panic, but Raith holds it together. He becomes aware that he is not alone in the darkness not because of any 'common' tactile sensation- his entire body feels numb- but pressure, someone else trying to move and jostling him when they do. And with each jostle, a new wave of pain. "Stop," he orders meekly, barely managing the whisper that he does, "Hurts." When was he hurt this badly before? Has he ever been hurt this badly? Is he dead, waiting for his brain and body to catch up to reality?

The rock fell and half of them are buried. Leaves Teo hollering orders, abruptly. It isn't a few seconds before the audiokinetic has righted Cat out enough to come hurdling over debris, circumnavigating the bigger hunks of concrete and matted snowdrifts. The Sicilian directs her with a jabbing sort of wave in the darkness. She's off to unbury the corpus attached to the blood-lapped hand, leaving the men to follow up on—

Teo's like a terrier at the mounded rubble, all of a sudden. The slight disturbance at the far corner of the ruin is over and gone, dissipated far quicker than the carbon dust and belch of stale pipe gasses. "We're coming," he says. "Liz— can't you tell them we're—?"

But she can't get through, that isn't how her ability works. Which is frustrating. Hastens him throwing crap back over his shoulder beside Felix, shoving stone and rattling glass with his shoes, variations of chunked concrete, brick, mortar, cheap replastering, biting back the urge to tell Felix he doesn't have to help if he isn't feeling well. This reminds him of a dream he had, once. It wasn't his own, but the feeling is the same, the claustraphobic ghost-press of time passing.

His knee grates against the iceberg jaggedness of the slab's edge. And then there's a hole scraped open by Raith's head, haloing the older man's ragged hair and bloodied face in the cloud-choked light of night.

Francois responds by— stopping, the sound of his breathing loud in these close quarters, as if using up all the oxygen available were a good idea. He's already spent it on calling for help, once, and then crying out a second time slightly less sensically. Antartica is suddenly crushing in all around them and the solid, weighty tension of the concrete slab above them has him going still as effectively as Raith's order. A hand presses against it, uselessly, the twist of his fingers splaying.

When light suddenly comes, near Raith, behind Francois, and he's moving again, wriggling onto his stomach when shifting onto his back seems impossible. A small landslide, tiny, slides down into the little cavern they've found themselves in, Francois turning his face aside from it, though insidious ice slides down his collar, getting in eyes, nose, mouth.

A crooked hand grips onto Raith's coat, as if he might help push and shove.

It's a little like giving birth. Francois and Raith are wet when the former pushes the latter out of the canal and into Teo's view. Some of the moisture is ice that melted on contact with their skin. Most of it is blood, caked in nostrils, forming matted clumps in hair.

Elisabeth is having similar luck on her end and has extracted the body of Sasha Kozlow from the rubble, her slender arms looped around his midsection as she hauls him loose and lays him unceremoniously flat on a slab similar to the one that saved Raith and Francois from being crushed. "How do they look?" she asks, abandoning the motionless Russian for Teodoro's side.

All is well. Raith doesn't have to worry about being lost in the inky blackness and never found. Rather, he has other problems that are more immediate concerns, and he is careful to tell all the friends he has around of about his problems with a pained shout when, as he's being dragged out, his arm gets moved in just the right way. And unfortunately, moving it just about any way is 'the right way.' At least everyone can be sure he is yet alive.

"Alive," is Teo's assessment, duosyllabic grunt. He lands Raith on his back as gently as is physically possible. Not gently enough, because that isn't possible, lets go of his arm and is scuttling back toward the gap under the slab like a denuded and embarrassed hermit crab beating a hasty retreat while Elisabeth comes forward to check his breathing. The Glock's back in Felix's hands.

One gloved hand is scrabbling in over Francois' head, an elbow wedging tightly up against the tangled snarl of cables heaped up at the burrow's edge. It takes him a few seconds, digging long digits into the fabric of the Frenchman's coat, fitting a promise into his mumble and a hooked elbow under Francois' arm and craning his neck with enough winching force to spike his vertebrates with a warm sort of pain. He hauls Francois out in a single hitch of movement.

There's a minor collapse, another one. The sky vaults back into view seconds before Teo's scarred face does. Someone's shoulder bumps into Francois' knee: by default, Raith's. Some ungainly pile of limbs.

There's a minor spray of snow — Francois shaking his head as compulsive as a dog, clinging melted ice flung free of damp hair, and his pale skin has gone a kind of grey from the cold that at this stage is making him shiver, and merci is muttered on repeat. Tangible and shaken relief mingled with a frantic kind of gratitude thrumming beneath an understated manifestation of it, with his left hand latched like a limpet to Sicily's arm. There's a whining groan that finally cuts the muttered litany off off, Francois resting his head back as Teo's face more or less swims in a dizzied haze.

Likely has to do with the head wound at his temple, blood and meltwater mingled and making a dark crescent shape near his brow. "My shoulder," he hisses, both explanation and complaint. It's true: his right arm is at a strange angle, the smooth arc of a shoulder beneath wool, the shoulder of his vest and cloth beneath that gone uncertain.

Another gasp of air is taken, blown out in steam, and he twists his head to see what there is to see. Like— like Carlisle Dreyfus' severed head or something equally heart warming.

Sasha might count. Or he might not. For one thing, his head is still attached to his shoulders. For another, the worst of his injuries appears to be a gash across his left eye and a bullet wound in his leg seeping blood, courtesy of Cat, which probably means the heart in his chest is still beating steadily enough to force it from his veins. He isn't conscious.

Around them, what remains of this particular hospital wing is still in the process of settling, and continues to make ominous noises: low squeaks and quiet rumbling, the belly of a leviathan not yet full. Another cave-in may or may not be imminent. There are no architects among them, but someone will need to make a decision about what to do next, and soon.

Teo lets air out through his teeth, and it sheets translucent, off-white into the night as he twists his head around to check where the fuck everything is again. Sasha's new. Somehow, Liz's report hadn't quite filtered into his brain, the first time she explained the findings of her excavation. Raith's where he was left, which is generally bad sign. Seems like something he'd only do if he was dead, or too close to it. Oh, the other piece of roof is about to go in.

"Hey— Ivanov. Bring the car around?" He's hauling Francois up with one fist on flak jacket and a knee braced unsteadily on something shapeless and snow-slicked, the too-white wedge of his own face twisted aside to stave off the likelihood of accidental, concussive intersection with the back of Francois' skull. He waits just long enough to verify there's no shriek of agony forthcoming from damaged legs, before levering the Frenchman onto Elisabeth's shoulder.

Billy-goating a few unsteady steps closer, he stoops to scrape Raith off the pavement, second, the heavier of the two. It isn't chauvinism: Teodoro is stronger. Here, there's no nervous anticipation of blorping agony, a keen of protest. He expects it. Ignores it. "I know— a place. Not the Garden; Feng already knows where that is."

Francois collides a little into Elisabeth's able grip when Teo propels him in that direction, his left hand now gripping onto his own arm as wrenching pain jolts and sparks in and around his dislocated shoulder. "Can walk," he protests between the chatter of teeth, even if his gait is the stumble of a drunk man, even if Elisabeth likely won't believe him as they pick their way out from the dubious cover of the slowly collapsing hospital. Sharply, he suddenly remembers he lost his gun somewhere, though the second one is still snug in its holster beneath his jacket.

Having trouble remembering if he did shoot Dreyfus, or just the corpse. Someone's head exploded. His own head is exploding. "Get Kozlow," he instructs Elisabeth or whoever is listening, gripping onto a low tree branch once they're clear. "I'm fine. Get Kozlow."

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