Until Proven Innocent


barbara2_icon.gifedgar_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif noa_icon.gif quinn5_icon.gif rue_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif

Scene Title Until Proven Innocent
Synopsis Tensions come to a head as Rue Lancaster is brought in for questioning.
Date December 14, 2011

Bannerman's Castle, Courtyard

A red blanket is hung out over a parapet, and minutes later there are screams coming from the graveyard. The stillness of the day is shattered by the sounds of violence, and abject terror. Like a rabbit caught by a fox.

Rue Lancaster is shrieking at the top of her lungs as she's hauled into the courtyard by her red hair by a muscular man with tanned skin and blond hair. One of the patrolmen. Blood is pouring from her face, leaving a trail behind them.

"I've got her," the man calls ahead, as if her cries didn't make it obvious. She did not go down without a fight. Blood has soaked into his shirt at his left shoulder, and his face has been clawed up painfully by the girl's manicured nails. He's all fury and purpose as he continues on.

"No! No! Let go of me!!" Rue beats her fists ineffectually against his arm, digs her nails into his skin, and still he does not let go. "Somebody help!"

Noa isn't really in the know — at least not as far as this search and arrest goes. That there was suspicion, of Rue, yes, but not that the hounds had been set on Rue, as it were. So when the nearby teen hears her friend calling for help, she races from around the curve of the path where she'd been checking the snare lines for game.

"Let go of her! What are you doing?" Noa hisses, rushing up to grab one of his arms and snap it in a direction it shouldn't bend, in an attempt to free Rue from his grasp. At the same time, her Converse-clad foot makes for the back of his knee, to throw him off balance and to pitch him forward. She'll ask the requisite questions after Rue's out of his hands.

Quinn, on the other hand, isn't at all in the know, so when she sees that goon who's seized Rue, she is not at all sure what to make of it. So, she's quick to feet, eyes visibly narrowed behind sunglasses as he had arrived to take her friend away for - God knows what, really.

Quinn isn't having any of it.

"What the fuck,"" she starts as she tries to pull the man's other arm away from the redhead, unsuccessfully, "is your deal?!" Relenting she steps back a lets out a hiss of her own as she adjusts her glasses on her face, looking the man in the eyes. "Let 'er go," she says as a hand begins to ball up into a fist. "I have had it up t' here with all this bullshit!"


The deep bass of Ryans voice is familiar to everyone there, in the courtyard it. The man himself -having heard the screaming - stands at the arching doorway into the castle. Standing at his full height, his expression is unreadable, though the tone of that one word, is anger.

"Richards! What is the meaning of this?" Boots crunch across the yard with purpose as the co-lead of Special Activities approaches the group. Rue's appearance and that of her captor are assessed and he gets closer. "What is wrong with you, man? This is not how you were suppose to bring her in. Innocent until proven guilty." Then Quinn and Noa get a sharp look to stand down… Or else.

Needless to say, Ryans is in a pissy mood, half caused by his failure to keep Kaylee safe.

Rain crashes against the forcefield high above Bannerman's Castle. Somewhere in the distance, a flash of lighting precedes a low roar of thunder that everyone on the island can feel reverberating in their bones. The ground inside the dome is still damp, even if the forcefield shielding the island's inhabitants from the military barricade on the other side of the river prevents fresh rain from forming puddles or turning the muddy ground underfoot into slop.

Eileen Ruskin is waiting in the courtyard when her attack dog returns with its quarry. She wears her coat with wool collar up, flanking both sides of her long, narrow face, and her hair forms a tight bun at the nape of her neck; her angular features and sharp, predatory gaze make her look very much like the raven watching the scene unfold from the parapets above.

In one hand, she clutches a knife, flecked with wet dirt. The other dangles a bloodstained sweatshirt at her side. "Actually," she corrects Ryans, "it is."

To her right side, Edgar is absent-mindedly playing on a small device that is mostly made up of duct tape and pink plastic. When the commotion begins, he flips the switch off and in a blur, discretely places it into his back pocket. His arms come up to cross his chest and he takes a deep breath inward to make himself look bigger and more imposing than even the Ryansbear.

When Eileen's call for help came, Edgar wasn't too happy to hear the why. When the rain came along with him, it made his mood sink a little lower. A single shiver, forces those who are watching to rub their eyes to check for blurry vision. Luckily, most of the people are on the minxy little vixen with the claws.

Rue's captor hadn't been prepared to be attacked by a teenage girl, or a blind rock star. As they come flying up, he thought he would swat them both away like flies. Quinn is knocked back easily, eliciting another cry from the captive woman as her hair is tugged painfully with the motion. But he wasn't prepared for Noa's strength as she grabs his arm and yanks it back. The wound in his shoulder is screaming, and he staggers forward.

With his fingers slack, Rue's hair begins to uncoil from his fist, and with Quinn's help, she's finally able to pull herself free and only lose a few strands in the process. Her momentum topples her to the flagstones, where she lands flat on her back and starts to gag on the blood in her mouth.

"She stabbed me!" Richards shouts in his own defense. He neglects to mention that it was only after he struck her in the face with a shovel. He stops struggling against Noa to keep from aggravating his wound further, coldly furious about being bested.

With his free arm, he points to Eileen. "She gives the orders," he says, voice not quite as strong as wants to project. His little sister is sick, and they can't get supplies. He's scared and he's angry. He was the perfect hound to set after the accused traitor.

Rue rolls over on her stomach and retches until the blood clears her throat and pools on the ground in front of her. One whole side of her face is already turning purple. Her nose has been crushed. Trembling and sobbing on all fours, Rue lets out a wail, too afraid now to try and run anymore. "Why?" she begs, then lifts her head and sees her favorite sweatshirt, uncomprehending.

When Rue's captor releases her, Noa angrily pushes him away from her, her dark eyes narrowed fiercely under scowling brows as she turns to look at first Ryans and then Eileen. She moves to stand in front of Rue, her arms crossing, as she looks from one face to the next. She shakes her head slightly as Eileen holds out the sweatshirt.

"Yeah? It's Rue's, or one that looks like Rue's. What's that prove?" she says, her chin jutting forward angrily as she speaks. "If you needed to question to her, maybe beating the shit out of her isn't the best plan." She turns from Eileen to Ryans, since he seems to favor a more judicial system of justice. "Guilty of what?"

When Noa moves in front of Rue, Quinn kneels down next to her, hands moving to help steady her friend. She looks up at Ryans, and then to Eileen and Edgar. She may be almost blind, but she can see them well enough. "Eileen," is practically growled out. Noa has already asked her question, though, so she doesn't bother repeating it. "What the fuck," is repeated again, "could someone have done t' warrent this?" is her question. She certainly doesn't think Rue is guilty of anything, but even if she was, this is a bit much in her eyes.

"Calm down, Ms. Quinn. You as well, Noa." Barbara Zimmerman seems to be the last on the scene, a disappointed look on her face as she steps into the courtyard. An askance is offered towards Eileen, before moving to Ryans and Edgar. "I think it may be in your best interest to step aside so this doesn't get worse, ladies." She's always the one to try and be diplomatic - and she really would rather not see more blood.

The old man whips around at the voice of the woman who summoned him. Lips press into a line of disapproval. "By breaking little girls' noses?" Ryans doesn't sound convinced, but he doesn't say anymore; turning instead to watch Rue, there is mild concern when she vomits blood. He will have to ask Megan to look at it.

A hand comes up, finger points at Richards, when he speaks. Ryans' eyes livid with anger, as he growls low, "And I told you, unharmed, so we could question her." He might not be council, but he is one of the men in charge of protecting the islands inhabitants. Which, meant the man was under him. "We are not animals, man, and we are certainly better then them." He has been in this situation before, stuck in a dome. Even if they were caged, he'd rather not fall into that same rabbit hole.

His gaze falls on the technopath, "Noa," there is a warning in that single utterance of her name. "Move," is much gentler, because he does not want to have to physically move her. She'll be disappointed when he doesn't answer the question, leaving that for the councilwomen.

Other members of the Ferry are beginning to emerge from darkened doorways and inside windows above the courtyard. Shutters tentatively clatter open. Others are less timid about eavesdropping on the public display in the courtyard; their voices can be heard rallying others to watch. Ever since Cambridge, the mood on the island has been dark, rumors passed along the castle's corridor by whispers.

They've known for weeks there was a traitor among them. Rue's battered shape bleeding on the flagstones at the island's heart is a welcome sight for many. The obvious terror shining in her eyes is their little gleam of hope.

"Thatcher did question her," says Eileen. "She resisted, and now Thatcher's clinging to life in the infirmary. Someone stabbed her, with this."

She holds up the knife, not just for Noa's benefit, but for everyone assembled. Murmurs pass through the swelling audience like wind in the trees.

"Barbara Zimmerman used her ability to track down the weapon, which the assassin buried in the woods." She flicks the sweatshirt down in front of Rue. It lands with a sodden flop on the stones. "That's yours."

It isn't a question.

Someone stabbed Thatcher.

Internally, Edgar whistles innocently, he can completely understand what would cause a person to stab the telepath. Then again, you would think a telepath could see it coming. "Joseph and Samuel," he swears at Ryans, "that's not how y'move tiny bits of women." Politeness, he'll leave that to people who have time. They are on a witch man hunt. With that, he streaks forward, lifts Noa into a princess carry, and sets her down gently about ten feet from the action.

"Stay," he instructs in a serious tone, as though to a dog or a child.

Richards' mouth forms into a tight line, and he exhales sharply. If there's anything else he wanted to say to justify his actions, he lets it die on his tongue. Letting Ryans win this stare off, he moves away from his quarry and back to the fringes where the crowd is gathering. When this spectacle is over, he'll head to the infirmary to get that stab wound looked at.

Rue's protector is suddenly whisked away in a blur, causing the girl with damp and mud-caked ginger hair to cry out in alarm, reaching for where Noa once stood. The sweatshirt lands there instead, and she pulls it toward her slowly, knowing what she'll see. There's initials written on the tag of the garment in black permanent marker that's faded from many washes, but still visible. Rue's hammering heart drops out of her throat and into the her stomach.


February Marlene Lancaster.

"I didn't—" the accused woman gasps, withdrawing from her discarded shirt like it burned her. Then reaches out one hand to Quinn, grabbing her arm like a drowning victim clings to a life preserver, leaving a bloody hand print on her sleeve. "I wouldn't!" She knows what this looks like now, and she doesn't have any idea how it's come to this. "I swear," she pleads in a terrified whisper.

If she hadn't have panicked when Kaylee started to see the memory of Eve's premonition… If she hadn't shut her out… If people hadn't seen her playing her little sneaking spy game in the castle…

"Quinnie," Rue begs. Tell them, tacit. But Quinn's caught Rue skulking around too.

Noa's not going to move, that much is clear. Not without being forced —

She's swinging to punch Edgar after he sets her down several feet away, but the speedster is already out of her range. She glares his way, before turning back to the others.

The teen's gaze goes to the sweatshirt, to Eileen, to Barbara, to Rue. Her eyes stay on the last. Watching. Gauging.

"Rue," she says quietly, moving slowly, a little closer to the others, defiant of Edgar's commands, but stopping before anyone thinks she's a threat to be taken down. "Why'd you resist? Just explain," she murmurs, almost pleadingly. There has to be a reason.

Robyn Quinn is nothing if not loyal to a fault. When the hoodie lands on the ground in front of them, of course she recognises it. Of course she know that Rue has been skulking about the castle, and generally she'd taken it as a sign to leave the younger woman alone.

Even then, she looks up from the sweatshirt, straight ahead at Eileen. "You're not fuckin' serious, right?" Obviously they are given exactly what's going on here, but her brain hasn't caught up to her mouth yet. "Are you out a' your god damn minds? Doin' something like this out here? For everone t' see?!"

Barbara expression thins, looking from Quinn to Rue. "Ms. Lancaster," she remarks quietly. "I- saw these buried myself, in a manner of speaking." She states flatly. "I found them, last night, with the aid of several other witnesses." She lets out a small sigh, shaking her head. "If you have a better explaination, now is the time." Because right now, there's only one.

A heavy sigh escapes Ryans through his nose; possibly out of relief that he did not have to do that himself, or at Edgar's blatant display. "Thank you, Edgar," though there is no way to know if he means it through the blandness of the old man's tone.

Ignoring the rain and mud, he takes a knee next to Rue, giving Quinn a warning look. "Miss. Lancaster," Ryans says her name with the firmness of a father. Which he is. "Rue," is offered in a soft rumble. "You are…" Is it really arrest? "…to be confined, under the watch of Special Activities, until such time as the whole council on the island," he gives a pointed look at Barbara, "can hear your case." His hand comes up to forestall her protests. "And a decision can be made."

A glance is given to Edgar and Eileen, "I'd rather you come along peacefully. With me." At least with the old Company Director, she'll get where she needs to go safely without more damage; in his mind.

Eileen takes a knee in front of Rue and traces the shape of the other woman's jaw with its edge. Kaylee's blood has dried, but the redhead will be able to feel its rougher texture juxtaposed against the blade's smooth chill. She stops at her chin.

"I'd like to hear what she has to say first," she says, and no mistake: she's enjoying this like a cat enjoys a mouse before snapping its back in its teeth. She uses the knife to tilt Rue's face upward and rests the edge against her jugular. "Your friends seem to be under the impression that there's some sort of explanation. So."

A steely gaze is given to Ryans when he invites Rue to join him. Then Eileen takes to the knee and Edgar is right beside her, one hand behind his back. There's a quiet sound, that's felt by him rather than heard as he thumbs the strapped leather hilt. All the while, he flits a suspicious look from Rue, to Quinn, to Noa, and finally Ryans.

"I think Miss Ruskin has spoken," in regards to the invitation by the old Company man. Not family, not friend. No matter how many times he's proven himself to the rest. To Edgar, he might as well be the face of every person that put him in Moab. "You'd better spill the story, Lancaster." The he turns and narrows his eyes at Noa as he growls, "And I thought I told you t' stay."

Eileen approaches and Rue's hand around Quinn's arm clutches tighter, her broken nails digging against the other woman's skin through the fabric of her coat. Rue's eyes shut tightly when the knife is traced along the bruised curve of her jaw. She lets out a terrified sob.

"I didn't hurt her," she whispers, so careful not to move much when she speaks. "I don't know how my sweatshirt got there. M— Miss Mas told me someone was going to try to kill me." She swallows hard, the taste of blood causes her to make a face of disgust. "When Kaylee started to see that, I panicked. I didn't know if I could trust her." It occurs to her now that Eileen trusted Kaylee, and that should have been enough for her.

It's her whose accusation hurts most of all. Rue always trusted Eileen to make the hard decisions that would keep them all safe. She remembers a raid together, where they tried to decide how to handle their prisoners, remembers suggesting they kill the civilians to keep themselves safe. Maybe it was easy for her esteemed Miss Ruskin to believe she would attack Kaylee. That she would have smothered that poor woman.

Maybe this wasn't a hard decision for Eileen to make at all.

While she doesn't dare open her eyes, for fear of seeing something horrible in Eileen's, she can feel her best friend still nearby. "Noa. Please. Tell them how hard I've been training. Tell them how much I just want to help." Tell them she could never have done this.

Rue hangs her head, coughs wetly and spits more blood away from her lips and onto the ground. They're not going to believe her.

Edgar's growled warning earns him the full Gitelman glare from Noa, who doesn't bother to dignify it with a verbal response. Her intent gaze falls back on Eileen and Rue. She doesn't believe Rue could do such a thing.

But then, she used to trust Calvin, too.

"If Eve told her someone was going to kill her, it makes sense she was a little paranoid, maybe." Maybe. Noa's trying to be careful with her words, so she isn't cast as a traitor and thrown in with her friend. She glances at Ryans, appealing again to his more pacifist manner. "Rue's not the traitor," she says, despite that tiny shadow of a doubt that crept into her voice a moment before. "I don't know what happened but I know she didn't do it. She can't be the one." Her voice cracks on the word can't and she bites down on her lower lip, her eyes seeking Rue's.

The difference Quinn and Noa, in this moment, is distance. Noa is removed from the immediate danger, a speedster between her and Rue. Quinn, on the hand, is right there, where a knife is being held with explicit threat towards her friend. And frankly, she's had enough of this. So she does something stupid.

She tries to lunge forward. At least to wrest the knife away from Eileen - even if this madness continues, to get her friend out of such immediate danger. She pushes through her lethargy and her asthenia, pushing herself forward with a growl. She's not thinking clearly, but she's obviously not the only one here.

It's a shame, then, that she moves as slow as she does. Mostly blind as she is, her aim, her sense of depth, her speed - everything is worse than usual.

Barbara lets out a long sigh, looking down at the ground. "This shouldn't be so hard," she says a bit quietly. She's not without sympathy, of course, but the fact that this scene is even still going on is rather disdainful. When Quinn lunges, though, her eyes widen.

The speedster on the other side of the young woman, gets a flat stare from Ryans, distrust is clear between them. The old man will not be intimidated by this new… lackey?

Even though he doesn't agree with how this whole thing is being handled, Ryans still is charged with the safety of Eileen and the other council. He might have lost a hand, but Ryans is still capable. His good hand shoots out to snag Quinn's own when she lunges. With a deft twist, Ryans uses it to maneuver the arm painfully behind her back, his injured arm comes to lock around her neck, pulling her back against him. He doesn't choke her, just holds her there.

Instinct, carries them around, taking her off her feet, but also putting his back between Quinn and Eileen. "Quinn," His voice is a soft bass in her ear, "Stop, you are not helping your friend, by being stupid." He can't see what is happening behind him, but he adds in a cold tone, "Can I trust that you will not try that again?"

What happens next has nothing at all to do with the limits of Eileen's patience, and everything to do with instinct. Quinn comes at her and the Englishwoman's Vanguard training propels her to action before her brain can catch up with her body and avert tragedy.

The knife flashes in response to the threat with the speed of a striking snake and catches Quinn across the face. Metal splits skin like an overripe piece of fruit and neatly cleaves open the other woman's mouth from lower lip all the way up through her left cheek.

Eileen realizes what she's doing an instant too late. She snaps her hand sideways, veering off the attack just before the knife punctures Quinn's eye socket and Ryans hauls her to her feet. He won't realize what's occurred until he feels the wet heat of Quinn's blood leaking out onto his arm. It happens so fast that the only person able to track the knife's trajectory is Edgar, and even then it's already over.

"Don't even think abou' moving," is growled in a low tone in Rue's ear.

As Eileen darts toward Quinn with the knife, Edgar makes haste to secure the 'prisoner'. He's quick to grip both of her hands in one of his own behind her, and then place a knee on her back to keep her where she is. He's bearing enough weight on the teen that it would make it difficult for her to stand even if she wanted to.

Then he's back to watching the scene unfold. As Ryans hauls Quinn off, he spies large blots of blood dripping to the stone in a trail. "Smooth," he comments idly, obviously and unashamedly impressed with the councilwoman's work. In fact, if there was a televised event on pay-per-view featuring blind on blind knife fighting, he'd probably spare a second glance at it now.

"Don't-" begins Noa when she sees Quinn darting forward, and all too quickly, Quinn finds out why that was a bad idea. "Oh, my God," she says, covering her own mouth in horror. "We've lost enough without trying to kill one another, haven't we?" she says, a hand raking through her dark hair as she turns away — it's probably not because of the garish sight of Quinn's sliced face, but more to give herself space and time to cool off. She walks in a quick circle, not toward Eileen or Edgar, before she turns around again. "Be fucking gentle with both of them, yeah? Rue's not fighting and Quinn's just protecting what she loves," she tells the men handling the two women, as if she were in any position to give orders. Her dark eyes dart to Eileen, as if waiting for repercussions for her own loud opinions.

Quinn, for her part, doesn't scream. She's in a bit too much of shock from the proceeding moment to do much besides shake and feel warm running down her cheek - the second time in a little more than month. She'd argue she's felt worse pain, even if she barely remembers it. She grasps at Ryan, eyes wide and sunglasses askew on her face. The light filtering in now is as paralyising as the pain across her face. "Let her go," she chokes out meekly, fingers digging deeper into Ryans' arm.

Barbara looks shocked as well, but doesn't let it sit on her face for too long. "I think this is quite enough," she says, stepping forward. "We'll save anything further for when judgement is given." She looks up to Ryans, and then back down at Eileen. If they make it that far echoes in her mind.

At the feeling of something warm on his arm, his grip loosen from around the young woman, turning her forcefully to face him once her feet are on the ground; fingers tight around one of her arms. Eyes narrow at the knife wound on Quinn's face, the glance he next angles at Eileen is one of disappointment. "Noa. Take Quinn to see the medic. Let her know that we will need her after at the cells for a broken nose." What Ryans is trying to do is two fold. Protecting the girls and also protecting Eileen from herself. Which in his mind she needs. "Now," he puts as much of a command in that word. He won't let Quinn go until Noa has her.

Looking towards Barbara when she speaks, he gives her a sharp nod. "I will take the accused to the cells." His gaze falls onto Edgar and the young woman he is holding down. "I'd like to see her make there alive…" He doesn't have a very high opinion of the speedster.

Rue's plea receives just a bit of leniency from Edgar, though he only goes so far as to remove his knee from her back. Her hands are still held in place and she is still kept on the ground. As for Ryans, he gets a narrow eyed glare from the speedster, who doesn't move from his spot. "I don' take orders from you, Company, I take orders from Eileen," he throws back with a growl. "Besides, don' yeh have some little kids to bag an' toe tag some'ere? Either tha' or a Doctor Richard Kimble to avoid?" His eyes flit around the other man's body, looking for weaknesses that aren't the stumped arm. Because he'll likely try to protect that if they come to blows.

Eileen rises and wipes the fresh blood off the knife, onto her pant leg. She offers Quinn no apology, but must not be feeling completely vindicated because she makes a vague gesture in the infirmary's direction with that same hand. Noa's plea seems to have softened her. "Make sure she gets a round of antibiotics," she adds.

She looks like she might steer a booted foot back in Rue's direction and kick the redhead in the face while she's down. Pivots, then, moving away before her temper makes her something else she's going to regret later.

The Ferrymen and their wards on the fringes of the altercation appear divided over whether or not Quinn deserved it. Tonight, in cloying darkness of the castle's dining hall, Rue's arrest and Quinn's gaping wound will be a contentious topic of debate; for now, shutters close and shapes recede back into doorways, thinning the crowd in the courtyard. Now is a good time for people to be making themselves scarce.

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