aviators_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif khalid_icon.gif irishman_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Wetwork
Synopsis A relatively straightforward operation encounters unexpected complications, as relatively straightforward operations are wont to do. As it turns out, the Vanguard remnant has a fan.
Date October 16, 2009

Flushing, Queens

The neighborhood of Flushing in Queens is about what it sounds like. A dirty, shit-poor and crime-ridden neighborhood littered with fast food chains and cars propped up on cinderblocks. It's perhaps because Flushing is such a run-down neighborhood that the cost of living in the area has dramatically decreased in the last three years, allowing small start-up businesses to swallow up portions of once high-cost real-estate for remarkably cheap.

It's one of these leases, a ten-story office building located on Cherry Ave in Flushing that sees some of the most activity in the neighborhood. Just three blocks from the train station, this glass-walled skyscraper is a modest and unassuming structure, its black windows reflecting the drizzling rain falling from heavy overcast clouds that sink low in the afternoon sky. Despite the neighborhood's condition, street traffic in Flushing is still just as congested as anywhere else in the city, and the presence of yellow-cab taxis and commuters getting off of work crowd the leaf-strewn street.

Out back of this office building, at the loading docks, an unmarked white moving truck is parked up to one of the bay doors. Six men in tan jumpsuits stand under the awning by the doors, two of them smoking, the remainder transporting black plastic cases out of a storage bay and into the back of the awaiting truck.

It's this seeming inoccuous setting that Raith Jensen has been waiting for, proof positive that the men he intends to capture are located in the building. Weeks of surveillance has finally paid off, and he's been able to predict the arrival of a truck prepared to receive a shipment of illegally transported firearms from out of state, likely headed to Staten Island eventually.

But it's not (so much) the guns that Jensen and his compatriots are here for. It's the arms dealer and his associates.

Standing in the lobby by the placard that advertises the businesses which lease space on the premises is a small woman dressed in a knee-length skirt, black nylons and a dark gray cardigan worn over a blouse with pearl-like buttons. Eileen Ruskin wears her short hair in curls that tease her temples and brow, held in place by a series of glittering black bobby pins, giving her the appearance of either a young professional or a single mother struggling toward an associate's degree in business administration at one of the local community colleges. The rainwater has done a fine job of smudging her make-up and plastering a few errant strands of stringy hair to her cheeks so she doesn't come off as too sophisticated for the neighborhood where "Family Mutual Insurance" is located.

Shedding beads of moisture from the folded umbrella she carries, she confirms her destination with green eyes outlined in smoke and squeaks a conservative pair of red flats across the linoleum floor as she walks briskly toward the elevator leading up to the third floor. Apart from the fine dusting of rouge on her cheeks, her lipsticked mouth and the carmine polish she wears on her fingernails, it's the only part of her wardrobe to lend her figure a much-needed splash of colour.

«Visibility is shit.»

The complaint is of course from Ethan Holden. Holed up on a roof across the street, the man pauses from looking in his scope to peer into the binoculars he has along as well. The man is pressed tight against the low wall on the roof, wearing all black as usual. Streaks of red marking crusted over wound are scattered about on his head. He hasn't even bothered trying to cover them up this time. It's like he doesn't even care.

«Speaking of shit, whot are we 'avin for dinner tonight? You cookin', princess? You look wonderful by the way.»

It's growled into his head piece as he peers through the binoculars barely even being able to make out the woman through the dark windows. «You're gonna 'ave to tell me where you all are. I can't see worth fuck.»

It may be well and dry inside the lobby where Eileen is, but out of the ground, in the light rain (fortunately, looking to be soon stopping) is another story. Jensen Raith isn't terribly pleased with begin stuck in the rain, especially since there's not a lot he can do about it, aside from hide in the shadows in a dark rain poncho and water-repellant hat. Leftover from his army days. What isn't leftover, of course, is the suppressed MP5 that he tries his best to keep out of the weather; despite what the television says, water and guns don't get along. For a moment, he sends a glance across to Gabriel, as if making sure he hasn't simply vanished into thin air (as Gabriel is wont to do). This part of the plan is simple; disable all six tan-suited workers before they leave, then take the elevator up. What happens from there depends on some inbound intel from Eileen.

«On the ground,» he says into his microphone for Ethan's benefit. The Brit will get twitchy if he doesn't hear a reply, and a twitchy Ethan is an unfriendly Ethan.

Radio means that Gabriel is making a valiant effort not to vanish in and out of thin air until he absolutely has to, negating the frequency of dead silence on his end of things, or missing information, such as dinner plans. He's solid and wearing his own face and shape when Raith sends a glance his way, but his gaze is fixed forward and expectant, waiting. Eyes, however, are not as sharp as they could be, out of focus as he watches through someone else's eyes the far dryer interior of the building.

«Eileen is heading up,» is reported for the young woman as he watches one painted fingernail glimmer in the light as she presses a finger to the elevator button. He slices their connection easily, the rain outdoors coming back into being for him, signified by the shiver Gabriel gives beneath his own weather-proof jacket at the continual patter of raindrops against his hood, down his back.

Not a single look is given by the clerk at the front desk to Eileen as she slips into the elevator and pushes the button for the third floor. The doors slide shut, irregularly flickering yellow light drowning the elevator's chamber a creamy color that is reflected mutedly off of the faux-wood paneling of the interior.

As the elevator goes into motion, the workers at the rear loading dock have finished wheeling the plastic crates on to the moving truck. The two men smoking toss the butts down onto the ground, one hops down from the loading dock and heads for the front of the truck, while the others move into the back of the truck. The last man left is reaching high over his head to pull down the loading bay doors, unaware of what is about to transpire here in moments.

The elevator arrives at the third floor with a ding and a rush of the doors, opening up to a small lobby consisting of a folding poker table, a telephone, and a wheeled office chair. The bare sheet rock walls are hastily assembled, not even painted, and the open ceiling above shows the wiring conduits and exposed rafters of an unfinished floor. Through a door beyond the table and phone, the expansive and empty third floor is nothing but staggered iron columns that support the ceiling, a matte black floor, and plastic cases opened with lids facing the door.

It's only with the rush of the elevator and the ding of the doors opening, that the sound of footsteps can be heard thanks to the lack of ceiling in the foyer. Coming into the narrow focus of view in that glass door, a tall man with a head of curly red hair adjusts the lapels of his blue pinstripe suit as he makes a brisk pace quickly for that doorway, pushing the glass door open with his shoulder and blurting out, "Wrong floor lass" before he even has a chance to look at the rainsoaked young thing in the elevator.

The picture that Eileen paints is dependable, prim and a just little bit fatigued, but none of these things probably matter to the man striding toward her — and she knows it. As she steps off the elevator and onto the third floor, her shape reflected in the glass doors, she tucks the umbrella under her arm and offers him a tentative smile that twists shy at the corners of her mouth. "No," she says in a soft voice, making no attempt to mask her accent, which is audible not only to the man with the shock of ginger hair but to her companions on the other end of the radio as well, "I don't think that it is."

She reaches up to delicately tuck a piece of sodden hair behind her ear, a bluetooth headset the size of a USB stick nestled against its lily petal curve, and surveys the building's interior with an arched brow. "This is Family Mutual Insurance, isn't it?"

«Right. Think I got 'er.»

Think. Not a very safe word when talking about covering someone from an adjacent rooftop. But oh well! It's not like Ethan is the easily angered itchy finger type anyway.

«'e sounds like a cunt.» Ethan seems satisfied for now to supply a commentary to the rest of the team actually over in the building while he watches eating his proverbial popcorn. «Tase 'is fuckin bollocks off, princess.»

"Get the door," Raith whispers to Gabriel. It's up to Gabriel exactly how he gets the door. Raith, meanwhile, raises his weapon up to his shoulder and aims at the man approaching the front of the truck, aiming squarely at his head. He waits, of course, until he's out of the line of sight of all his friends in the back of the van - no need to spook them when they're sitting next to a bunch of boxes full of weaponry - before he squeezes the trigger. Years of Ranger, Delta Force and CIA training are made for moments like this: one shot, one kill. The suppressor ensures that whatever sound comes out after the bullet doesn't sound like a gunshot, even if it's not totally quiet. The hollow-point bullets in the magazine ensure that whatever damage results from the dockworker being shot is maximized. These guys may just be doing their jobs, but even if they're just grabbing two mugs for interrogation, they're the Vanguard Remnant. The only kind of work they do is wetwork.

Raith points his weapon; Gabriel points his hand. Almost following the older man's cue, this is a similarly quiet attack, carefully aimed and drawing out a long four seconds, while he still has time on his side, before— the man at the door abruptly jerks forward, a flash of blood spattering over half-drawn bay doors from where the skin at his head has split as if it had been hit. The worker crumples forward, unconscious to the world, and it's questionable as to whether he'll open his eyes again.

There's no real reaction as to a shot well aimed from Gabriel. None that is visible, anyway, considering he is quick to turn into viscous shadow that leaves Raith's side without a word, soundlessly whipping away and towards the workers who, by now, inevitably know something is up.

One of them gives a cry as the shadow ripples speedily directly to where his feet backtrack across the concrete, shadow catching barely the tip of his boot, which is all it takes for the man to suddenly dissolve into the same inky substance.

Rain is already washing the red stain off of the side of the truck, and the dead deliveryman laying on the ground has limbs bent at all the awkward angles indicative that he had no control over his body as he fell. Somehow, his brown baseball cap was knocked clear off by the gunshot, yet remains perfectly devoid of holes. It's one of those small miracles that probably rattles around inside of Raith's head before he goes to bed at night.

The bay doors rattle only slightly from that merciless death, and as the shadow of Gabriel Gray stalks the shipping crew, their abortive cries come out of Raith's line of sight, each strangled swallow of fear and pain signaling the end of a threat. By as one body after another is quickly silenced in Gabriel's ephemeral warpath thorugh the back of the truck, the screams have already stopped by the time Jensen has reached the loading bay doors.

Three floors up and what may as well be a world away, Eileen Ruskin has her own problems that she is only beginning to realize. "S'fuckin' closed." Comes the boorish response as the tall man comes lumbering past the desk and the phone. "Closed for renovations, forgot t'put the fuckin' sign up so just— " he stops his approach, forcing a smile as one hand rubs across his forehead. His face was already red before he got here, something else is bothering the arms dealer right now. "Look a'don't have time t'be fuckin' about with you darlin', so if y'could kindly just show yerself out, that'd be a fantastic swing on things." He nods towards the elevator, then moves to rest one pale hand on Eileen's shoulder.

No one suspects the butterfly.

But there's something that catches Eileen's attention, right as the Irishman is putting his hand on her shoulder, another pair of figures in frame on the other side of that now open door. One of them, a shorter and dusky-skinned man with dark eyes and a slouched posture, is looking nervously back and forth between the doorway and the man standing next to him. Taller than both the Irishman and his Arabic friend, the man in the navy blue suit with mirrored aviator sunglasses lowers the frames down the bridge of his nose, as if to get a better look at the young lady standing at the elevator.

"What's the matter Shaun?" Comes the query from the tall man, "I don't think you have time for personal visits right now, you know?" A side-long look is afforded to the anxious looking Arabic man, who takes one hesitant step away from the man in aviator sunglasses.

There are probably hundreds of men in New York City who sport sunglasses like the pair that the newcomer is angling his focus over, but details are details, and there's a sort of nervous tension that winds its way through Eileen's neck and shoulders when he steps into view. Beneath the Irishman's hand, her muscles tense, and the fingers that had moved the hair behind her ear now drop to brush against his knuckles, wordlessly imploring him to let go. "I didn't mean to interrupt," she says as her umbrella continues to drip the occasional drop of rainwater onto the floor. "If you're closed for renovations, I don't suppose you could give me a number where I might be able to reach one of your representatives in the meantime?"

And interrupt she did if the colour filling Shaun's face is any indication. The man with the darker skin is duly noted, too, and in the moments that follow there's almost nothing she wouldn't give to trade her ability for the directional telepathy that Gabriel once had. It would make communicating with the others so much easier — she wouldn't even have to move her lips. There's one more person up here than there should be. "I am sorry."

First things first is to drag the bodies out of plain sight before they attract unwanted attention. Nothing fancy; even just moving them into a pile behind the van is better than nothing, but it's obvious the best place for them is inside the loading dock, where no one will find them until the next day, if everything goes well. And of course, Raith isn't about to risk attracting attention by dragging bodies around. "Put them inside the doors, if you please sir," he says to Gabriel somewhat casually. Almost immediately, however, Raith's focus returns to other things.

"And then check on the little bird. She hasn't gotten herself shot, has she? And we're not about to walk into a wall of bullets?"

Moving the bodies is a mostly soundless, sneaky process, with the gentle shuffling sounds of them being near stacked within the doors, and then finally the sound of a boot connecting with soft flesh as one is nudged further back into its friends. By the time Gabriel is emerging, he's a little pale at the edges, but it helps to remain shadow throughout before he has to shift his body back into solidity.

Everything has a cost. Brown eyes glaze, unseeing, as he peers through Eileen's eyes. "Three men. No shooting." And then Gabriel's head twitches to the side in an analytical tilt, his focus shared with Eileen's. It takes him perhaps a second of thought before he's taking out a cellphone from his pocket, flipping it open.

"Let me check something." It's not really a request, a token comment on what Gabriel is doing as he scrolls through his very brief address book, and hits the number listed under Director.

The loading dock floor is empty for the time being, just cardboard boxes and a pair of folding chairs, along with a wood-slatted freight elevator on the far end of the concrete-floored room. Bodies heaped into the back of the truck, it leaves the back entrance to the third floor perfecly open. None of the delivery men were even armed, it looks like this routine had become so routine that they had forsaken the notion that heavily armed and dangerous sociopaths would come knocking.

"No, we're outta' business— sudden catastropic loss of fuckin' sense now get the fuck out." This isn't how a front is maintained, this isn't even how a cover is maintained, something has the Irishman completely off of his game. He doesn't relent off of Eileen's shoulder, at least not entirely. One sweaty hand just gives her a ginger push towards the elevator. "Now fuck off before I fuck you off!" Whatever that's intended to mean, it's mostly just blind cursing at this point as his blue eyes track back to the two men standing across the vacant floor.

About the same time it takes for the Irishman — for Shaun — to turn and start moving back towards the door, there's a shrill beeping of a cell phone coming from the navy suited man's pocket. Dark brows crease together, and he reaches inside of his jacket and withdraws the phone. His head cocks to the side as he looks down at the number dialing him, and flips the phone open. "Where the hell have you been? I've been trying to reach your for days!" Whoever it is on the other end of that phone, it isn't going to be Feng Daiyu.

The push is all it takes. Eileen shuffles a step back, her narrow shoulders even with the elevator's double doors, and with one last glance at the assembly of anxious men, she turns around to press the pad of her thumb against the button that will summon it back to the third floor. Her voice camouflaged the stranger making terse demands of the person he thinks is Feng Daiyu, she asks very distinctly over the radio: «What do you want me to do?»

She has no gun, only the taser in the purse she carries on her shoulder and the balisong in the left front pocket of her cardigan in case of a more dire emergency. The only person in any position to do something about the scene unfolding mere feet behind her is Ethan, and he's on the other side of the street with a hazy drizzle of rain between them. «Something's wrong. There's only supposed to be two of them.»

While Gabriel has been checking numbers on his cell phone, Raith has, perhaps comically, been counting on his fingers. Something here is definitely out-of-sorts, if there are three men up there. There should only be two. Raith's response over the radio is an easy one. «Get out of there,» he says, although not too loudly in the event he might still give her away, «We've got it from here. There may be three of them, but we count as five.»

Gabriel rocks back on his heels a little impatiently, as if truly waiting for a call as he casts Raith a languid smile as if to communicate one moment. As Eileen turns away, facetiousness is removed as Gabriel concentrates and listens, now, beyond the crackle of radio in his ear and the sound of Raith's voice just next to him. There's no echo, only the voice of a man who goes by the glasses he wears filling his head twice over.

The cellphone clicks closed, leaving a dial tone in the man's ear as Gabriel pockets his. In his other hand is a blade still slick with the blood of a few men, and it's wiped off on the leg of his pants as he speaks. «Feng's superior is up there with the target,» is murmured through the radio lines as he snaps his consciousness out of Eileen's. «We need to move. Should we make this a twofer?»

Up on the third floor, Eileen sees the awkwardly moving frame of the Irishman headed back towards the others, even as Aviators lowers the phone from his ear. "You boys lucked out today," she hears him say as the doors are closing, "because — " and the swoosh of the doors shutting and the ding of a chime silences whatever else she was going to hear. The elevator begins its downward path, leaving her held fast inside as it counts down the floors from three to lobby.

When the elevator reaches the ground floor again, the chime sounds and the doors rush open, and remarkably there is no contingent of armed men waiting for her arrival. Just a tired looking secretary sitting behind that same horseshoe shaped desk flanked by plastic ferns, and the rainy street just outside the front doors.

«Negative,» says Eileen as the doors open on the first floor and she steps out of the elevator for the second time this afternoon with long, purposeful strides that carry her across the lobby. «We didn't plan for three, and we don't know if he has an ability, or if he brought others with him that I couldn't see. It looked like they were in a meeting of some kind — I don't know what about.»

She can hear the blood rushing through her ears and her heart thundering away like a jackhammer on steroids in her chest. Her tone, however, remains perfectly steady even as she powers toward the front door. «If you still want to do this, we should wait outside until they come out and take them when we have the tactical advantage. You heard Ethan. Visibility is shit

«We do have the tactical advantage,» Raith replies over the radio, «We also have a time limit. They could be up there for hours yet, we don't know. We can't afford to wait.» This is not an ideal situation, but as much as he might want Eileen to be right, she isn't. Waiting isn't an option; now or never.

Moving towards the freight elevator, Raith very sternly gestures with his hand that Gabriel should follow him. "We may not have Ethan to cover us," he says, "But you're here, and I've got flashbangs. We get up there, find where they are, I toss the grenade, you move in to take care of them, I'll make sure none of them get away. Non-lethal attacks only. That's absolutely clear, right?"

Gabriel is following, foot falls brisk and heavy. "Crystal." The response is not bored, just flat - he knows. From serial killer to Vanguard operative, it's a learning curve he's taken and admittedly slips back from time to time. He's not ex-CIA, ex-military, ex-anything except maybe a watchmaker. The knife is smoothly sheathed as they go. For the benefit of Eileen, his voice crackles mockingly along the radio channel.

«Perhaps Eileen just wants in on the fun.»

The hairs on the back of Eileen's neck are so pale, so fine that Gabriel wouldn't be able to see them bristling even if he was standing right next to her, but bristle they do. «You don't know what you're walking into,» her voice hisses over the radio, taking on a hoarse edge that hints at the fury pinching her features into an exasperated expression neither of the men are privy to but can probably imagine. She runs fingers through her damp hair and jostles loose one of the obsidian black bobby pins holding it up. It falls to the lobby's linoleum floor with an inaudible plink.

«This is a mistake,» she insists as she comes up on the front doors. «The gain isn't worth the risk. Haven't either of you ever heard of cutting your losses

If they make five does that mean Raith is two point five and Gabriel is two point five, or does Gabriel count as three and Raith as two? Or does Raith count as four—

«Fucking fuck, fuck me. If you want to 'old I can get over there. Listen Raith, 'old up. You don't 'ave proper support, the situation 'as changed.» Says the man who threw himself through a wall to get his hands on Feng Daiyu. If Feng's superior is there…

His grip on the rifle is tightened as he peers desperately through the scope. Glancing up he wipes some of the rainwater from his brow as if that might help him see better. It doesn't. Endangering his own life is fine to get to Feng, endangering Eileen is another matter altogether. Even with Raith and Gabriel who may or may not count as four, he is still very uneasy about the quick change of plan. Especially with him across the street. «You've got more than a minute, they aint goin' anywhere in that amount of time. So fuckin' cool out and talk to me. We can set something up different, we can set up a fuckin' car bomb, I don't fucking know. But 'old up, Raith.» His tone draws on a serious tone he rarely uses, abandoning the chiding voice he usually relies on in situations such as these.

«We need them alive,» Raith says into his microphone, his voice reduced to a low, angry growl, «If it is reasonably practical.» He hasn't lost his mind completely, at least. «If we move, we have a chance to get our targets, plus a secondary. If we don't move, then they get away, and wise up, change locations, change tactics, and there will never be an opportunity like this again. But okay, fine. We'll stall for a few minutes, give you time to get over here and to the front door. Catch 'em in a pincer. But that's all. We stall too long, and the window of opportunity closes forever. Capice?»

"This is stupid." The mutter is quiet and doesn't echo down the radio, contained for Raith alone as Gabriel levels a look at the older man. He pauses, before contributing to the conversation through the radio, his voice brimming with impatience. «We have three probably unarmed men and the element of surprise. Even if they have weaponry, we both outclass them in that area. If Feng's superior has an ability, I can take him out first before he even knows we're there - we know the Humanis First targets are non-Evolved.»

He rolls his shoulders beneath his jacket, the hood swept back against his shoulderblades before Gabriel observes, almost neutrally, for Raith's ears only; "Hesitation is weak. The plan is fine."

At the lobby doors, Eileen stops and places the tips of two fingers on her earpiece as though this might better help her to hear the rapid fire exchange occurring between Ethan and Raith, then Gabriel. This time, she doesn't have any input; the man on the opposite rooftop has said everything else she might think to, and there's nothing else for her to do except wait for him to make his way down the fire escape and across the street, avoiding the traffic that separates one side of Cherry Avenue from the other.

In the meantime, she turns her attention over her shoulder toward the secretary seated behind the desk, her view obscured by the leafy frond of a potted fern, and keeps one eye open for security cameras. Although New York City isn't as notorious as London when it comes to recording footage of its citizens without their consent, the possibility that the authorities might end up with some of this on tape is lurking in the forefront of her mind.

One unmoving camera rests focused at the front doors, a tiny red light on the underside of the recorder lit to at least suggest that it's on. Whether the machine is actually recording, or merely a deterrent, isn't obvious by its design. The secretary leans forward, looking across the desk with one brow raised at the talking finally, but after confirming that Eileen has a bluetooth headset in one ear, all she does is sigh disinterestedly and return to texting on her phone.

Then, a soft ding from across the lobby comes as one of the three elevators opens with a rush of the doors, revealing a tall and broad shouldered gentleman in a navy blue suit, powder blue undershirt and crisp black tie. He reaches into his breast pocket, retrieving his sunglasses and begins to unfold them, only until eye contact is made with Eileen. There, in the lobby, all Aviators can do is smile.

"Good afternoon miss Ruskin." Dark brows go up as the mirrored sunglasses come on, and hard-soled dress shoes begin to click across the marble floor. "You know, I don't think we had the opportunity to be properly introduced, did we?"

«Copy. On my way.»

Booted feet slap rapidly against the metal stairs as Ethan tromps down the fire escape, leaving his assault rifle behind Ethan will have to rely only on the copious amount of weaponry he can keep concealed. Hugging his knee length coat around his body, he lifts one black gloved hand to a scabby ear. «What did I just 'ear?» Though he probably misheard, his pace picks up exponentially anyway.

«Is everything alright?» Ethan asks as he reaches the bottom of the firescape, going to hurriedly clamber down the ladder.

Raith hears it too. Or at least thinks he heard something. Or maybe he just didn't notice while Ethan did. «Ethan, hold your position.» Regardless of what's happening on Eileen's end, Raith turns to Gabriel and asks him very plainly, "What's happening?" And regardless of what Gabriel will soon report, Raith checks his weapon. Damp, but usable. They very well may be making their move sooner than planned. All he knows for certain is that the game may have just changed more than any of them have anticipated.

Why didn't he bring the helicopter?

Gabriel's eyes have already becoming twin points of dull brown, staring at nothing near Raith as he peers up towards the man in aviator glasses through Eileen's own grey-green eyes. «Director is approaching her.» Gabriel doesn't quite hear the radio beyond what Eileen receives of it, his expression blank if carefully tense. «He's identified her, but nothing beyond that.» Rock, hard place. He draws back into himself long enough to look at Raith, raising an eyebrow. «We could split up, but I don't know if she needs the back up. Eileen?» No, she can't necessarily answer, but any signal—

A yellow cab blurs by in Eileen's peripheral vision and sprays the curb with runoff from the street's polluted gutter. There's no one standing on the sidewalk to get splashed; instead, the water crashes over a nearby newspaper stand like a wave roaring up over a rock, and in this instant she wishes she could trade places with it. Better to be soaked and sputtering out there than trapped behind glass in the the lobby. She's unable to answer Gabriel's query with Aviators bearing down on her, but she doesn't need to. When she addresses him, her voice is clear enough to be heard over the radio.

"I think you have me mistaken for someone else," she says with a small smile that shows only a flash of teeth as she speaks, each word articulated with the surgical precision of a razor. "It wouldn't be the first time. I must have one of those faces."

If it's a signal for back up, it isn't a very good one, but she doesn't sound as though she's in any distress either.

"One of those faces that's up on the board in my office," Aviators responds with a smirk, "yeah, you do." There's a tread of shoes over towards Eileen, a look towards the secretary, then back to the young woman. "I'm actually a big fan of your work, you could say I've made the last eight months of my career all about it, in fact." A hand comes out, offered towards Eileen with a raise of one dark brow over his sunglasses. Then, with his voice articulated to speak clearly enough to be heard over the headpiece, Aviators introduces himself. "You can call me the King of Pentacles."

The moment that name comes out, it's like a gunshot to Jensen Raith. CIA Special Activities Division, Delta Force, false-flag incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq, counter-terrorism efforts in Iran — they used to work together.

«Raith, fuck yourself.»

A small splash slips up from below his boots as Ethan drops from the ladder. A hand flings up to brace himself against the brick wall after the short fall. His free hand coming up to touch against his scraped forehead gently. Shoving himself against the wall, the Wolf forces himself out of the alley and towards the curb on his side of the street. It is then when he can see Eileen has definitely been approached, a face to match the voice.

«Princess, 'nice to meet you' if you want guns blazing, 'odd name' to 'old and observe. Your call.» Just make it quick. Ethan steps up to the curb before pausing, options. He never would have given options to anyone else back in the day. But as it has been proven time and time again, Eileen is special. Turning his back to the lobby, Ethan reaches up to pull the collar of his coat up. Slowly lowering his chin he goes to rest both hands on his belt buckle, ready to reach inside his coat for the two guns there should that be Eileen's choice.

Raith doesn't say so much as a word, but simply rolls his eyes upward in thought. So nice of his old friend to pay his new friends a visit. Without further hesitation, Jensen Raith, the King of Swords….

Does not push the elevator's call button or make immediate plans to go in and storm the third floor. Instead, he simply turns up the volume on his headset and keeps listening. This has taken a turn for the unexpected.

Gabriel's head tilts a little at that name, watching Raith's reaction with all the attention of a hawk observing movement in the grass. In the meanwhile, there's half a second of concentration, another twinge of power use, and then nothing more from Jensen— before Gabriel is swiftly moving to hit the button the elevator to summon it down with a sneer in the older man's direction. Gabriel, at least, knows which direction he's headed in.

There comes a point where deniability ceases to be an option. In the time it takes for Aviators to finish closing the distance between them, Eileen has not only changed tactics but facial expressions as well. The smile fades from her lips as her mouth adopts a more neutral curve, eyes growing cold, though as far as frostiness goes, nothing is as icy as her tone. "Odd name," she says, reaching out to take the proffered hand and close smooth fingers around it, "but so is Munin, I suppose."

Her skin is cool to the touch, and not in the same way that her breathy voice is; either Eileen's genetics have cursed her with poor circulation in her hands and feet, or the weather outside is influencing her body's internal temperature the same way that autumn is influencing the brittle leaves that still cling to the branches up in Central Park's elms. "If you're such a big fan, then maybe you'll consider putting Feng Daiyu on a different assignment as a personal favour to me and mine? He's making it very difficult for us to do the work you apparently think so highly of."

"If he'd return my calls I'd love to." There's a bit of sarcasm there as Aviators' brows go up, one hand squeezing Eileen's firmly. He doesn't really relent from the handshake either as he takes a step closer to the young woman. "Daiyu went missing just over a month ago and he hasn't checked in with anyone. Given the nature of his assignment, we can't just put up a missing Chinaman poster and hope someone returns him in one piece. Not… that we really want him back after the stunts he's been pulling."

Tilting his head forward, Aviators squeezes Eileen's hand just a little harder. "Your friend across the street," he says with a hushed tone of voice, "made a very good decision keeping his trigger finger still. Right now," he looks to the door, then back to Eileen. "We're going to part ways, and you're going to go about whatever it is you came here for. I'm going to walk out that door, and nobody has to get shot today."

Only then, does his hand release from hers. "If you find Daiyu," he notes with a sour expression, "you can tell him he's fired."

The wooden-slat door of the freight elevator is lifted up, cage door beyond opened, and Gabriel makes his way inside. With the elevator on ground level, that bright red button marked UP seems tauntingly easy to push, but Raith's hesitance in the shipping room at the back of the building means there's only one man ready to ascend to the third floor.



«If at any point, you want me to come in. 'Weather's a pity' or 'holy fuck come fucking help me'.» The words are growled lowly and Ethan can't help but smirk as a man walks by, giving Ethan an odd look. Keeping his hands inside his coat, Ethan simply waits according to Eileen's choice. His lip twitches slightly, as he glances up into the pouring rain. «Raith. Gabriel. 'ow are things on your side of th'party?»

«Ask Gabriel again in a few minutes,» Raith says, nonplussed but not upset either, «By then, he's bound to have figured out how the trap's gone down. Careful when the doors open, Gabe. Oh, and Eileen? Do me a favor, and tell your buddy there something for me. Just say, 'Chuchill's.' He'll know what that means.»

Raith then turns down the volume on his radio, expecting a burst of obscenities from Ethan. Eileen's on her own, for the moment. Ethan's on his own for the moment. And Gabriel's just like he always was. Raith, however, is more concerned about that van full of buddies. Namely, about everything stored in those black cases they were loading. If Gabriel comes running back down without the targets, at least they won't come away completely empty-handed. Unless it's all junk, in which case Raith still gets to use his 'I told you so' face.

And that alone might be worth it.

Gabriel comes to stand within the elevator, and just spreads his hand in a wave of departure to Raith, expression blank if unimpressed as the doors come to close, cutting him off from the rest of the Remnant in every way but radio. «I'll be in touch,» is the agreeable response to Ethan, before more clarification is offered as the freight elevator begins its ascent. «I'm heading up to level three. The other floors have plenty of people but there's only two men remaining on the third.»

As he waits, he unsheathes his knife, running it once more against dark fabric to clean it, angling it this way and that as he adds, «I'll just go get them.» Something else, too, strapped to the inside of his sleeve, as he sends out one last psychic check to one of the two minds he can sense within the third floor.

"If we find Daiyu," says Eileen, "it won't matter what I tell him. He won't live long enough for anything I say to make a difference." Her hand falls back to her side, the tips of her fingers curling in on themselves as she resists the urge to flex or shake them out. Apparently satisfied with the arrangement, however transient it may be, she steps to the side in her ruby red flats, away from the lobby's door so Aviators can go about his business. The concerns she'd expressed earlier over the radio are now obsolete, alleviated by the apparent permission the Vanguard remnant has been given to conclude their operation.

«I'm fine, Ethan.» No point in pretending she's alone anymore. «We're continuing as planned.» Then: "The King of Swords says hello, by the way. Churchill's."

There's a pause of Aviators' movement by the door. His hand just barely presses against the frame as he turns back to regard Eileen curiously. "Churchill's?" His head quirks to the side, eyes look to the secretary, around the lobby, and then back to Eileen again. "You Brits and your slang, I swear t'god…" he leans his weight against the door, slipping out onto the rainy street under the building's canvas awning. Once outside, his cell phone is taken out, held up to the side of his head and he paces back and forth for a moment before a car parked down the street pulls out of its parking space and pulls up in front of the building, side windows tinted, making it difficult to make out who's driving.

Three floors up, the elevator rumbles to a noisy stop. There's no need to take the time and effort of sliding open the cage doors and the wood slat barrier for the freight elevator, because Gabriel isn't limited to strictly corporeal movements. A few feet of billowing black smoke slithers thorugh the spacing of the metal bars and wooden slats, emptying out into a spacious and evacuated third floor, where ammunition cases, shipping packages and opened cardboard boxes filled with styrofoam peanuts litter the concrete floor. Diffuse gray light comes in through the floor to ceiling windows, and right where they've been since he started sensing for their figures, lay the two operatives of Humanis First who were brought into the trap.

However, both the Irishman and his Arabic partner look to have already sprung an entirely different trap. The red-headed gun runner lays on his side, clutching his arm that hangs limp, curled up in the fetal position, blood running out of his nose. Khalid looks to be in equally bad condition, slouched up against one of the exposed steel beams that hold up the ceiling. His head is slumped back, a bruise covering the side of his face, handgun held shakily in one hand. He raises it up, blearily trying to aim at Gabriel.

Someone already took the fun out of this.

Ethan slowly turns to stare at the man across the street. His hands still in his coat, most obviously to the other man that they are both resting on weapons. His eyes flick over to the oncoming car then back to the man in the suit. «Something tells me I should just shoot him in the face right now.» The growl is uttered through his teeth as he stands still, letting the rain splatter against his kinda-bald head.

«Princess, you wanna 'ead up there with your bo—Gabriel. Make sure 'e doesn't get de'ydrated or anything.» A step forward, almost stepping onto the street his gaze remains firmly on Aviators. To whom he gives a polite nod.

The bodies might be a small issue, but one easily dealt with. It wouldn't be the first time that someone turned up in the East River. And with a little repainting, even the van can see continued use. But Raith knows the real prize is what is contained within all those wonderful, plastic containers. Guns, bullets, rockets, grenades, and even light body armor. "Merry fucking Christmas," he says to no one but himself. As long as they don't have to go nuts like they did with Feng the other night, enough to last them until the end of winter, if they're careful with them. Maybe even longer.

«Let him be, Ethan,» Raith says into his microphone, «We may well be better off with him dead, but shooting him in the day with witnesses is a terrible idea. We want to avoid attention. We're not morons like Humanis.» There may be some question as to the wisdom of driving around with dead men in the back seat, but it's not as if that's ever been a problem for them in the past.

Gabriel's feet come into solidity as he morphs from inky cloud to human shape, a flat look traded over the unconscious operatives, fixing towards where the gun is being swung around to him. He's quicker, on account of not being completely fucked up— a hand lifts, and Khalid unwillingly flings his weapon away, where it hits the wall and floor with a loud, metallic clatter.

«Looks like the King of Pentacles did our work for us. The targets are down.» The telekinetic grip on Khalid's arm travels up the rest of his body, locking him still as Gabriel steps forward. Injured and barely conscious though he might be, a syringe is slipped out from Gabriel's sleeve, uncapped, and plunged into the man's neck even as Gabriel continues to speak through the radio. «We should have acted faster. We'd have all three. I vote for shooting him in the face.» He could be joking.

The needle is recapped as the tranquiliser floods Khalid's system, and Gabriel moves towards the Irishman to repeat the process, boots heavy against the ground and motions matter-of-fact as another syringe glistens between his fingers. «Just get transport ready. I can bring these two down myself.»

Whatever Ethan was about to say before he corrected himself is acknowledged in the form of a chilly silence on Eileen's end of the radio, but if he listens closely he may detect the faint sound of a snort blown through her nose, followed by the squeak of the lobby doors opening on their hinges. She comes into view a moment later as she steps outside into the rain and pops open her umbrella while still under what shelter the building provides. Somewhere up above her, pigeons are cooing discontent in their roosts, feathers ruffled and little pink feet fidgeting with irritation.

You know what they say: Misery loves company.

«Gabriel's a big boy,» she says finally. «It sounds like he has the situation under control. I'll be out front.»

Mirrored sunglasses settle on Ethan's position across the street, and there's a look of mild disdain offered to the Brit before Aviators pulls open the passenger side door of the car and slides inside. The car is quick to pull away from the curb, government liscence plates, tinted windows, something about this whole situation smells worse than the bodies in the back of the truck that lost control of their bowels.

Up on the third floor, the signs of a struggle are evident. Aside from the battered forms of the Irishman and Khalid, there's a toppled over case of guns and a retractable flex-baton spattered with blood on the ground. Whatever he was doing up here with Humanis First, that man with the aviator sunglasses ended with a severe beating of the two men.

They're loaded on to the elevator, so much dead weight now for all that they've been sedated. Something about this entire setup feels wrong as Gabriel drags the bodies into the freight elevator, laying them down to the floor before closing the double pair of doors. There's cargo up here, guns, ammunition, Raith's going to have a field day with all of this. But even as the elevator begins to descend to the ground floor with a grind of metal and a creak, Gabriel has to wonder if this was just lucky timing…

…or if this was a warning.

«Right. Because I'm not already wanted for anything.» Murder on several accounts, firing rockets into a high-school, assisting an attempt to kill the whole world, and even a couple counts of vandalism. «I'm pretty sure America already understands Ethan 'olden is a bad bad man, Jensen but your stupid reasons for doing stupid things are duly noted.» As Aviators slides into the passenger door, Ethan's arm starts to pull out of his coat.

But as Gabriel had said before. Hesitation is weak.

And Ethan simply watches as the vehicle pulls away. «Fired my fucking pimply ass. I bet you half a supreme pizza with fucking anchovies Feng was driving that god damn car.» With that, the Wolf crosses the street to join Eileen. "That was nice of 'im, wasn't it. Takin' care of things for us. I 'ope we can return the favor soon."

«Get them down here. If there's more ammo up there, we'll make room for it.» Stinks is right. Raith has already vacated the truck but has yet to start pulling bodies out of the back, When Gabriel gets down, he'll have plenty of lifting to do to make room for their passengers and as much extra ammunition they can fit into the back. Maybe if they can make the time, they'll come back later and help themselves to the rest of it.

«Meet up at the truck. Time for us to start getting out of here. Good show, everyone.» What Raith busies himself with is giving the truck a good look-over, especially inside the engine compartment. The absolute last thing they need is to drive off into the sunset, only to have Lo-Jack find them a few hours later.

The freight elevator begins its shuddered descent, Gabriel standing casually between the sprawled, unconscious Humanis First operatives. «There's ammo and weaponry up there, and no one watching it. Help yourself.» As the doors ease open, the erstwhile (possibly) serial killer is making long strides for out, both men caught by the collars of their shirts in two fists, dragged along behind Gabriel whose mouth pulls a little at the strain of it. Sending a look Raith's way, he adds, "But you're helping me first."

Because if he had telekinesis, he'd make light work of it. At present, he does not. Any uneasiness of the situation goes unvoiced, for now, as he starts to grab Khalid by the ankles with the expectation Raith or one of the approaching operatives will take him by the shoulders.

The living, breathing bodies of Khalid and the Irishman are loaded into the back of the van, now Remnant property. Rain continues to patter against the roof of the vehicle and wind down its windows and aluminum sides in the form of glistening streams illuminated by the light of a sinking sun.

Time will tell whether or not this was a warning, and if Eileen was indeed right and the risks weren't worth the gain.

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