What You Bring With You


cardinal_icon.gif devi_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif elle_icon.gif felix4_icon.gif juliette_icon.gif maria_icon.gif michael_icon.gif sanderson2_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title What You Bring With You
Synopsis The Company comes ot investigate a high-profile murder in the Rookery while FRONTLINE provides security. When Law-Enforcement presence is met with violence, all hell breaks out.
Date August 4, 2010

The Rookery

Stark shades of fiery orange burn in sharp contrast against pitch black shadows cast by abandoned tenement buildings and boarded up businesses. Sunset in the neighborhood of Staten Island known as the Rookery is a juxtaposition of beauty and disgust, from the vibrant shades of orange, purple and blue making up a summer sunset, to the trash lining the gutters, crumbling brickwork, broken windows and boarded up doors. The Rookery is a lawless land, where police rarely visit save for the most extreme of circumsrances.

Today is one of those extreme days.

"…An undercover DEA officer found him about two hours ago," the voice of Detective Tony Manzetti is hard to hear over the shouting of citizens kept at bay by wooden sawhorses and NYPD officers in riot gear, plastic shields locked together, "we had to run fingerprint analysis to even ID the body and God fuckin' knows how many of these goddamned rats," he means the Rookery's residents, "contaminated the scene before we even got the fuck down here."

At the crossing of Ely Street and Brighton Avenue, crowds of residents from the Rookery's north end have gathered together to heckle and harass heavily armed New York Police Department officials and members of the Department of Homeland Security's Evolved Crimes department who have been called in to investigate something that happens in the Rookery every day — a murder.

The entire four-way intersection has been blocked off by NYPD SUVs, lights flashing brightly against the orange glow of the setting sun. Saw-horses and police line tape threaten onlookers with a perimeter, but what is truly keeping them back is the tank parked in the middle of the crossroads.

Matte black and armored like something straight of a warzone, FRONTLINE Unit-01s armored response carrier has parked itself right in the middle of trouble. Stading in the crowd in the sweltering summer heat, Unit-01's first commander Michael Spalding paces back and forth in clear view of the crowd, his glossy black visored helmet keeping his face covered, though the stenciled 01-01 on his chestplate is as famous as his face in New York City.

It's a mixed bag of FRONTLINE here today: Commander Michael Spalding, Captain Adelle Sanderson, Tristian Bentley, Juliette Wright and Elisabeth Harrison. It's a mixed bag from Squads 1 and 2 but their relevent skill sets are best put in crowds.

«I'm not liking this spot, I'm hoping being right out in the open in our suits will discourage violence…» Spalding's voice crackles over the shared intercoms between his team-mates, and perhaps he's right. Three billion dollars of advanced military technology riding on each FRONTLINE member here, their odds of looking imposing — tank not withstanding.

Walking past FRONTLINE's gathering, suited government officials head towards where crime scene photographers are snapping pictures and collecting evidence from the blood-soaked asphalt. Detective Manzetti's continued explanation is hard to hear over the noise of the crowd and the riot police shouting for them to stand back from the barricades. "We found this guy, face down on the street here, bled out from his injuries. I don't know what sort've bullshit caused what happened to him, but I'll tell you here an' now it ain't normal."

What the detective and the agents are led to discover is something that the crowds are close enough to be able to see as well. A man in a business suit, laid partially on his side in an enormous pool of still fresh blood that is running down into a gutter on the roadside. The corpse has not yet been covered, and the gruesome manner of death is readily obvious to the people arriving.

His face was torn off.

It isn't a matter of surgery or even a clean cutting implement, the flesh of his face looks to have been physically torn from his body, shredded in scraps that lie all around his corpse in bloody shreds. The man's eyes are gouged into unrecognizable gelatin lumps in his sockets, and both of his hands are soaked in blood.

"Boys in forensics…" Manzetti murmurs, covering his mouth with a handkerchief, "they say he's got bits of his own skin under his nails, probably his blood on his hands. Looks like he did this to himself…" there's a tight swallow from Detective Manzetti as he turns, looking back at the FRONTLINE crew past the agents, then down to the corpse and over to agent Sawyer at the head of the DHS team.

"You probably don't recognize him right now, but we pulled his ID from his jacket pocket," the detective notes in a hushed tone of voice, looking intently at Veronica. "This is New York State Senator Anthony Portman…"

Suddenly, it makes sense why one death in the Rookery earned so much attention.

One of the advantages to having someone like Liz in the midst of this crowd becomes evident to her teammates. Though she is not wearing the helmet — she continues to chafe at that requirement and conveniently 'forgets' to put hers on every chance she gets because it actually limits her ability to sort through the ambient sounds to narrow in on ones she wants to hear (in this case, the voice of the cop giving the briefing to the Company suits — she is wearing headgear.

«Jesus fucking Christ, people. This is Anthony Portman. And they *think* he gouged his own goddamn face off», she informs her squad commander. Her blue eyes are scanning the crowd, watching for more than the 'usual' troublemakers. «Considering no one gives a fuck about this place and we're actually *here*, any thoughts on actually trying to clear the area?»

Lucky FRONTLINE has armor if the crowd gets unruly, but Company agents are not so lucky. Or fragile, perhaps. Or maybe it's because no one cares if they get stampeded and blungeoned to death. Veronica, in her civvies, feels a little under-dressed compared to some of her fellow Apollo teammates as she surveys through dark sunglasses the damage the man seems to have inflicted on himself. Not because she wants to, but because she needs to, she pushes the sunglasses up onto her head to take note of anything unusual (or more unusual) around the body.

Evidence is always received later by forensics, but she still snaps a few photos with a small digital camera that gets slipped back into her blazer pocket. "If he did this himself, I'm guessing someone put that idea into his mind somehow. Is he SLC-positive at all? Anyone have any idea what the hell he was doing on Staten?"

It doesn't take much for a little chaos to pull Devi from her tasks of sweeping up and hauling out junk metal from her shop down the road. The tattooed femme meanders through the rowdy crowd, stepping up to the barrier with a lofted brow and an eye for the source of this mess. Law Enforcement on the turf is not good for business - it's worth a glance. She eyes the military equipment with a greedy eye, but lifts a cigarette to quench her thoughts with a dose of nicotine, prying her gaze away and turning it over the crowd with a smirk.

While Veronica asks her question and takes photos of the body, one of the persons with her is pulling a test kit out of the messenger bag she's got across her back along with the sniper rifle she customarily ports on missions out in the open. With rubber gloves covering her hands, she inverts herself and touches just one corner of the test pad to the pool of blood. Let no one accuse her of tainting the crime scene on this one; Maria Delgado isn't even touching the ground.

Some wag put an identifying detail on the armor of the latest addition to FRONTLINE. He's distinctive enough anyway, if one looks closely - the plates and articulation are subtly different than those of his team-mates. Less weight, less friction, he's practically coated in Teflon. But there's enough adhesion there that the gray and black (less obvious visual contrast) image of Felix the Cat laughing so hard he has to clutch his guts has stuck to that left pauldron, despite the actual Felix's efforts to remove it. "If I'm a debutante, I get a corsage, not a sticker," he deadpanned, as he suited up for his first mission. He's sticking close to Preston, I mean, Spalding, as ordered. Newbies stay close to Daddy.

Elle certainly isn't looking as imposing as the FRONTLINE members. Today, she's wearing her civilian clothing, a pair of black capri pants, and a blue tank top, she's got a Slurpo in hand, sunglasses keeping her hair away from her eyes as she quietly observes the scene before her, accompanying Veronica. The people gathering, the dude who apparently ripped his own face off. A Senator, no less, and the senator of New York state. What on earth was he doing here of all places? Elle isn't a scaredy-cat by any means, but she certainly wouldn't be here if it weren't for the fact that the Senator is laying dead in the middle of a horrible neighborhood after clawing his own face off.

A glance is cast to Veronica, as Elle sips at that slushie drink. She looks like she should be on the beach, not in the middle of the crime scene. The only thing that distinguishes the petite little blonde is that shiny HomeSec badge hanging from her belt loop. She's going to leave the crime scene investigation to the ones who actually went through with the schooling; she's better for crowd control and actually hunting folks down.

"…well, something interesting went on today, it seems," murmurs the voice of Richard Cardinal into Devi's ear. Surely nobody will notice that the lights of the Rookery don't quite fall on her back as brightly as the rest of the place. People don't tend to notice the shades of light and unlight, just as they don't notice where a whisper or a comment comes from in a crowd.

"I'd get a closer look, but FRONTLINE might have a telepath…."

«You wanna agitate the natives?» Sanderson quips from her seat atop the black armored vehicle over her comm, quirking a helmeted look over to Elisabeth, «We start trying to move people back and all its going to take is one thrown bottle to turn this into a sideshow.» It's amusingly coincidental that so many members of Operation Apollo are now FRONTLINE officers, from Elisabeth to Felix to Sanderson. Sarisa Kershner is — if nothing else — a shrewd leader when it comes to picking her best and brightest.

"Here's where shit gets a little unfortunate," Detective Manzetti notes with a furrow of his brows as he looks over to the agents, offering an askance look to Maria's airborne approach to things, then back down to the corpse. "The DEA officer who found the Senator's body is a part of a federal investigation on Senator Portman, apparently there's been rumors about his particular… appetites, for a while now, and he was being looked into for drug possession and prostitution charges. From what I know of the investigation, Portman spends time down here in the Rookery," and even the law-enforcement call it that now, despite that this neighborhood and so many others once had their own names, melded together into one unfortunate neighborhood after the bomb. "Picks up drugs, apparently the Justice Department has some depositions from former prostitutes at a place called the Happy Dagger that said he was a client there. No news outlets in the Rookery, no cops, means it's pretty safe for someone like him to show up and… do what needs be done."

Stepping around the corpse, Detective Manzetti reaches inside of his jacket pocket and pulls out a wrapped package of nicotine gum, unfolding the wrapper and tossing a piece into his mouth before a series of chanting shouts break out from the crowd. "Go home! Go home! Go Home!" it starts as one person and builds to a crescendo.

"Detective," one of the forensics officials calls from a crouch beside the corpse, holding up a rectangle of card stock and fabric with five red colored pads. It's easily recognizable as a quick SLC blood test. Exhaling a sharp sigh through his nose, Manzetti looks up to Veronica then around to the other agents.

"Looks like our Senator had some bigger secrets than just his coke and hooker problem…" there's a slow rub of Manzetti's hand across his forehead, sweat clinging to his brow from the swletering summer heat. "Ah, yeah that… DEA contact called in what he found here and made tracks, apparently he's still operating undercover to try and nail the dealers who were selling to Senator Portman. It'd be nice to pull him in to ask what happened, but you're going to have to pull him out of cover to do that I think."

Over by the intersection, Commander Spalding looks back to Felix, then angles his chin up with a gleam of sunlight on his black visor when he focuses on Elisabeth. «Do you think you can move the crowd without causing a riot? I know you have some pretty impressive crowd-control tactics. I'm trusting your judgement on this one, if you think you can do it than it might be a good idea.»

«Don't know, sir,» Elisabeth responds over the comm channel. The fact that they're shouting and unruly already is not boding well for the situation remaining calm anyway, though. She watches warily, noting the weak spots in the placement of the teams with shields. Her 'convincing' them to go away or back down relies on them wanting to listen to her, which clearly they don't. The other alternative is to make 'em all puke their guts out …. and option she's pretty damn sure Spalding will frown on. And which would merely antagonize the situation at hand anyway.

Staten Island used to be a real nice place. Elisabeth can remember those days and compare it to what she sees out here now. Putting a hand to her headset, making it look as if the thing is perhaps the microphone that is enhancing her voice, the blonde at least makes an attempt.

"People! The quicker you let the techs handle their crime scene, the sooner we'll be out of your hair and you'll be back to whatever you were doing before we got here — activities that we're making a point of *not seeing* right now. If trouble starts, however, that policy could change pretty quickly, and possibly with disasterous results. If anyone actually saw what happened to this man," Ha. Ha. Ha. Let's see how many true New Yorkers are in the group. "we'd like to stop it from possibly happening to anyone else in your neighborhood. So anything you might offer in the way of information can be taken anonymously." Hey … being polite can't hurt, right? Does she think it'll do a damn bit of good? Heh… Not bloody likely.

Crouching with her hands on her knees, Veronica peers closer yet at the body, looking for anything that might tell a story other than the obvious. Somehow she manages not to need to retch.

"We'll need to talk to the DEA agent, yeah, cover or not," she nods to Manzetti. "Any fingerprints or blood not belonging to him. I expect the full forensics work up, any evidence you can find. You know what dealers and what brothels Portman's been dealing with, so we can talk to some witnesses, or is that still on these DEA agent's classified files?"

She holds up a finger for him to wait before answering, glancing at Maria and Elle, then nodding to the crowd. "See if you can find anyone willing to tell you what they know about him, if they've seen him — pull up his image on your phone so you can show them the guy when he still had a face," she directs, before adding, "Be careful." After all the natives aren't too happy looking, but work is work. None of them are agents for their health. She then turns back for Manzetti's answer, rising from her crouch.

Devi gives a slight shiver at the sensation of Cardinal's voice at her ear. She shakes her head, black locks licking at her tattooed shoulders. "Hold of, toots… Can't have them bagging you up just when I get home." Her gaze wanders back to the tank, distracting the devilish vixen for a short moment before her eyes draw back to the bloody scene. "If they stick around though," she murmurs through a notable tension in her jaw… "Ya know, if we make this easy on 'em, they'll just come back - Not for one of their own either, for us." She shows her empty palms, as if to say it is a matter out of her hands, continues to watch the intimidating display of military and lawmen.

The first pad she used to test blood in that pool shows blue where it was placed in contact with the spilt life juice, at odds with the forensician's finding, so she employs another. Red now. The inverted airborne agent drifts a short distance away and makes a third test. Blue. The process is repeated two more times, one result each. "Sawyer," Maria calls out, "you and the detective should see this." Her movements are retraced, each card laid on the ground near the spot of that particular test. From her starting point, the results are blue, red, blue, red, and blue.

"We've got blood from at least two people here," she asserts, while rising further up into the air and righting herself then pulling out binoculars. "Has anyone looked for a blood trail leading away from here?"

I have armor. In contrast to all those poor bastards. If there is a telepath present, they will no doubt be annoyed by that smug internal voice currently burbling away in the back of Felix Ivanov's mind. He looks at Manzetti with sympathy, though it's not readily apparent, not behind the gleaming polaroid visor. We look like the goons in 'Equilibrium'. Which thought makes him stifle a snort. He's still flanking Spalding, for the moment, until orders are to the contrary. A glance to Liz, in turn, mute attention first on her, then the crowd beyond. The mention of a trail makes him lift his head, that gesture visible even in the armor.

A frown on her face, Elle quietly watches the scene. The dead man on the ground, the blood, the cops, the unruly crowd…she frowns quietly, shaking her head. Maria's discovery is met with interest, though she certainly doesn't get too close to the crime scene. No more messing up crime scenes for her. With a nod to Veronica, the petite blonde pulls out her iPhone, tapping away at the screen with a thumb as she slurps at her Slusho. Once content with the picture she's pulled up, Elle slowly makes her way over to the crowd, hands in her pockets.

A young man at the front of the group, shouting along with everyone else, is her first target. That pleasant smile upon her face, she moves close, hoping to use that aesthetically pleasing appearance of hers to her advantage. She holds up the phone with a coy smile, wiggling it a bit. "Hey…maybe you could help me out. Could you tell me if you've seen or heard anything about this guy?" A bright flash of a smile and she's leaning a little closer, trying to charm an answer out of the agitated man. Not like she can't take care of herself, anyhow…

A rough little chuckle stirs against the side of Devi's neck, without any breath to brush the skin. "As fun as it might be," Cardinal drawls out, "I'd appreciate it if you didn't. A, that's FRONTLINE, and they'd tear through the crowd like you were all so much tissue paper filled with blood… B, several've those people in there work for me."

There's a pause, then a hiss despite the fact that the intended recipient couldn't possibly hear him, "God-damn it, Liz, put your fucking helmet on. That's going to get you killed."

"Nothing," the forensics specialist answers Maria with a shake of his head, squinting at the results of her test, "the only blood here goes straight from the Senator and drains out into that gutter over there," he motions with a point of one gloved finger about ten feet away where a downward's slope of pavement leads to a bloodstained sewer grate on the curb, partluy cluttered with old scraps of newspaper, a beer can and leaves from too many autumns without cleaning. "It's been hard to properly canvas the area given the attitude of the locals," he apologetically admits.

"Why should I help you!?" is practically spit at Elle from the young man standing in defiance of the shield-locked riot cops she's crossed in front of. "When was the last time you pieces of shit did anything for us? You know who killed that fucker? Staten Island killed that fucker. This place is a goddamned warzone and nobody wants to do shit! You got like ten blocks on the wrong side of the island all cleaned up. Woo-fucking-hoo," he growls with sarcasm, "go fuck yourself, blondie!"

Meanwhile, Elisabeth's call to the crowd has a cacophony of irritated shouting coming back at her, most of it hard to differentiate over the chaff of unintelligible shouts while she's more focused on hearing the investigation, but a few choice clips reach her ears and the ears of the other FRONTLINE members, and notable Elle who is now between the riot cops and an increasingly angry minoroty of the crowd.

"You pig fucks don't give a shit about us! Get out of here!"

"My husband was killed last week and I can't get police to— "

"Freak Lovers!"

"Go back to Manhattan!"

"Get out of our home! We don't want you here!"

"Please! Please my son is missing!"

"Go home!"

"Why don't you take off that suit sweetheart!?"

Looking over his shoulder to the crowd, Detective Manzetti tugs at the collar of his suit jacket. "Jesus Fuck I hate this goddamned place," he murmurs distastefully, looking back to Veronica and the other agents. "I can get you some of the information from the DEA but you're going to have to go over the heads of the Justice Department yourselves for lists of people being investigated. We've pulled a shitload of prints from the scene but, like I said, we don't know how many of these people were here fucking up the scene before we got here."

The NYPD forensics specialist watches Maria working while he bags the blood test he'd found, starting to pack up his tools on hearing the crowd getting noisier. While it's obvious some of the people are filtering away from the blockade, the upset minority will always make things worse for the majority. It's like a microcosm of what was seen on the visions of November 8th. In fact, for Richard Cardinal, this is all a bit too haunting.

Police in riot gear.

Liz in her armor.

A shouting crowd.

That he sees someone in the crowd behind Devi discreetly sliding a handgun out of an underarm holster of a Knicks' jacket is perhaps hard to differentiate between daydream and reality for just a split second. Baseball cap down, collar upturned, the tanned gentleman with his chromed Glock looks intent on working his way to the front of the crowd.

With a faint sigh, Elisabeth glances over her shoulder toward Spalding. «Sorry, sir…. I can only honestly see two choices here. Sit tight and hope to God it doesn't get ugly — which is looking increasingly unlikely, frankly — or start shit on our own terms. If you want them all incapacitated, I *might* be able to pull it off for you, but I honestly don't know. The only time I've ever pulled such wide-ranging effects have been in high-adrenaline or otherwise augmented situations.» She pauses, glancing around. «Nothing we do is going to actually calm them, and the longer they congregate, the more brave they will potentially decide to be.»

"Can you at least get me the agent's name, either legit or alias? We'll handle the Justice Department," Veronica says, glancing over her shoulder and frowning at the comments from the angry crowd, and then to the FRONTLINE operatives who are supposed to keep them in line, knowing that their options are being discussed even if she can't hear what's being said through their radios.

Not noticing the man with the Glock, her attention moves to Maria and she gives a nod. "Two people's blood, then, one non-Evolved and the other Evolved. The Senator, it seems, is, so that makes our perp not…" she's not really telling them this for their own sake, but to talk it out to herself, it would seem, as she's not looking at them but the pool of blood. A frown mars her features and she gives a slight shake of her head.

"Unless." The repetition is rather final — it seems she's not about to repeat the possibility aloud. Her eyes turn to the forensics. "Can you test the two distinct samples and see what you come up with — type both? DNA later." Typing blood is a quick test — DNA will take further analysis, of course. She glances up at Maria. "Keep your samples. We'll have Lash check, too," she murmurs — checks and balances? She'll make sure that she stands in the lab room with the lab rat this time, after her experience with Ahlgren.

"Low friends in high places?" Devi inquires, her tone smoothed out with a flirtatious lilt. Cardinal's words have done a good deal in easing her concerns. It's been a rough few days. With a sigh her shoulders ease, hands falling away to hook into the crescent hem of her jean pockets. "But, Red?" She grunts and gives a few shoves as a number of bodies being to jostle in their angst around her. "I don't think little ol' me is going to make a difference. FRONTLINE or not, maybe your friends aught'a jam." She fumbles a few steps back away from the barricade and into the crowd with a few more shoves to protect her personal bubble.

For the moment, Maria is still close enough to the ground for hearing both the detective and Sawyer. She's got the binoculars in hand, seemingly about to scan the area from high above for signs of blood trails heading away from the location. Not so hard for her, airborne tendencies making local hostility largely other than relevant.

She stops rising just the same when directed to keep her samples, reverses course until she's inverted and able to collect the cards laid out. "Didn't collect blood, Sawyer," she clarifies, "just tested for the Complex. Got all five of those. Shall I scan from above for trails?"

The ticka-ticka-ticka that is the telemetry of Felix Ivanov's heartbeat is speeding up. Not to the hummingbird levels that indicate that he's about to take off, but the stress is there. Adrenaline and the SLC-analogue that is part of what makes him what he is. He moves from his baby duck position by Spalding to flank Liz. A reflexive wolf-pack tactic. He did his time as a beat cop, has faced demonstrations and angry crowds before. But the armor gives it all that necessary fraction of distance. Makes it more us vs them. No comment in Liz's suggestions. Children are better seen and not heard.

For a moment, it looks like Elle is going to be very mad and do very, very bad things to the man who tells her to go fuck herself. Indeed, she really wants to just send him flying with a well-placed blast. She's trying to help, and they're not being very cooperative. A scowl suddenly mars those pleasant features, and the little girl takes several steps back, until the police in their riot gear are closer to her than the crowd is. She sets her Slusho and her phone down on the ground, oh-so-calmly and carefully.

Then, the little blonde suddenly doesn't seem so harmless and sweet. Electricity crackles over her hands, making its loud crackles known to the crowd, along with the blue light it casts over their faces. Her voice rings loud over the crowd as she shouts at the top of her lungs. "Everyone shut the fuck up!" She looks almost murderous as she glares over the crowd, fairly large balls of electricity crackling in her palms. "If you want us to leave, then help us out and act like civilized humans. If you want things to get REALLY ugly, REALLY quickly…then by all means, keep acting like you're acting."

That said, Elle scowls over the crowd. Dammit, she's had a horrible time of herself since she arrived back in New York. Her gaze almost dares someone to defy her…she would certainly love to zap someone who deserves it.

It is familiar. Too familiar, enough to stir unpleasantly in his belly, which is why Cardinal hissed out that unheard warning about the helmet despite knowing she wouldn't hear it. A thousand eyes in darkness watch the chaotic ebb and flow of the crowd about them as he listens to Devi's words. "I think you're right," he murmurs, "I think that you should… get out…"

Oh, no.

"…get out of here, Devi." A flash of shadow spills away from her shoulder and down her side, spilling like ink over the pavement and slithering beneath and over feet and broken road-stone to catch up with the gunman in an attempt to become his shadow, aiming for a foot hitting the ground to crawl upwards towards the weapon.

Then Elle whips out her crackling lightning display, and he moves faster.

There's a saying, that all it takes is a spark to ignite a fire.

Hi, Elle.

That crackling pop of electricity comes mere moments before screams work through the crowd, someone shouts the word gun but it doesn't come soon enough to matter. Elle doesn't even see the gunman when he opens fire on her, the rapid fire pop-pop-pop of small arms discharge sending 9mm rounds whipping towards the electrokinetic. The first shot misses Elle entirely, whizzing past her head and punching against one of the riot shields, nearly knocking one of the shield-bearing officers onto his back from the surprise impact.

The second shot hits Elle square between the shoulder and the chest, a soft and tender spot where flesh tears, blood sprays and her tiny body goes spinning from the impact, sending her cheek-first to the dirty ground where all she can see are boots moving forward and back and it hurts to move.

«Wright!» Michael calls over the headset to the one FRONTLINE operative not out of the tank, «Get ready to move this has gone pear-shaped! Sanderson, give us a little pep.»

«On it,» comes in the measured and steady tone of Juliette Wright's voice over the comms.

«Yes, sir!» Sounds more enthusiastic from Sanderson as she takes a knee atop the tank and closes her eyes, feeling out for the consciousness' of her allies around her, then expands a blanket of mental energy towards the FRONTLINE officers surrounding the tank. A sudden sense of awareness and familiarity with this terrain tingles muscles and twitches nerves as several brains adapt to new — albeit temporary — knowledge and skill. Sanderson's projected skills download street-to-street urban warfare training and sharpshooting from her own mind into those of her allies. «Rock and roll, I've got you covered,» she chirps through the comms, looking around at the crowds from her higher vantage point before leveling up her M-16 and squeezing off a shot into the crowd.

The plastic bullet whips through the crowd and strikes the gunman in the chest, knocking him off of his feet and sending people scattering. «We gotta make sure the feds don't get in the way or get hurt either!» Sanderson squawks over the comms, sweeping her sight around and firing off a burst of warning shots up into the air away from any bystanders. Some people are fleeing as fast as they can, others are charging the barricades and clashing with the riot police who move in with night-sticks, tasers and batons.

«Harrison, Ivanov! With me! We'll keep here by the back of the truck,» an understated term for their tank, «I want you two to keep the crowd back while Sanderson and Wright get the feds out of here, the three of us should be able to reconnect once Wright's put distance between us and the problem if it goes that way. Remember, we're here to protect these people too!» Michael notes with a nod of his head to Liz, «incapacitate as many of them as you can.»

From her vantage point just a few feet above the ground, Maria Delgado doesn't yet see signs of blood trailing away from the crime scene, but what she does see is the growing population of curious onlookers coming out of their homes, out of their apartments, out of bars, moving out onto the street to see what all the noise is about. They may not be the vocal minority causing trouble, but with trouble started, the will of the crowd can be infectious.

"Oh sweet Jesus fuck!" Detective Manzetti screams as gunfire starts to fly and the crowd snaps into action. "Fuck! Everyone out!" And by Everyone, Manzetti means his people, the Feds can roll over and die if they really want to in the gutters of Staten Island.

The NYPD forensics team and homicide detectives are scrambling for not their vehicles, but the pen back doors of FRONTLINE's armored personnel carrier, ducking thrown rocks and shattering beer bottles.

Standing watch by the back door of the black APC, Michael Spalding unhooks a canister from his waist, pulling a pin before lobbing it into the ground as gray smoke begins to hiss and erupt forth. Tear gas is a somewhat effective crowd dispersant, at least before the sonic weapon that is Elisabeth Harrison can get brought to bear.

On the ground, bleeding from the shoulder and alone, Elle can see boots, sneakers and heavy shoes stomping all around her.

Being trampled to death isn't how she imagined her end.

As soon as the order is given, Elisabeth is moving. Hauling herself up and onto the FRONTLINE vehicle, her blonde hair the only bright spot on her in the all-black armor, she sticks near Adelle Sanderson for two reasons — one: it's a good vantage point from which to start firing those rubber bullets with pinpoint accuracy to take out some of the leaders of the crowd; and two: being higher up means that she can essentially bombard everyone in the crowd with sonic waves that make them vaguely nauseous and highly unbalanced on their own two feet. Just call her Vertigo. She's trying not to go full-out — that will result in LOTS OF PEOPLE PUKING. A LOT. Fine-tuning the amplified sound waves, though, is harder than it may sound. Not as instinctive as just basically ramming the power outward. She's trying to drop them where they stand without causing the explosive projectile vomiting.

The down side is that any cop, fed, or ally in her cone of influence — about a 120-degree arc from her body straight out in front of her — is also going to be effected by the loss of balance and illness. In addition, she laces her order with as much of an imperative as it's possible for her to give — it's not much. Only those already inclined to get the hell out of Dodge will heed it, but hey… maybe it'll thin the herd some. "~This area is now under FRONTLINE control. All residents are ordered to DISPERSE immediately. Anyone not clearing the area will be subject to immediate detention in the custody of Homeland Security.~

As usual — inter-agency shit always goes FUBAR and this is no difference. Veronica's turning to shout at Elle to turn off the power, but no words come as the shot fells the other agent. She's grabbing her gun, grabbing the cards from Maria and nodding toward the crowd. "Get the gunman, Delgado! Get above the gas, and try to keep sight of him! I'll get Bishop," she yells to the other woman. She's not going to leave Elle to get trampled, nor is she going to leave her to FRONTLINE to grab.

Pulling the sunglasses down so that there's at least some protection to her eyes, she darts forward to where Elle has fallen to try to grab the woman and pull her to safety — likely behind the armored vehicles the other agents and officers are ducking behind as well.

"You don't have to tell me tw-…" Devi's dark brows tilt in, leaving a fine wrinkle of concern at the edge in her second shadow's voice. She wheels around in time to catch a glimpse of darkness slithering away from her. "Red!?" She growls, scanning the ground. "G'damnit, Hero." She lifts her attention from the pavement in time to catch the sheen of metal passing beside her through the crowd. The flash of the intuitive blueprint glues her attention to the object. Gun! The shots confirm her belated revelation.

"Fuck!" The biker bitch tucks her head down and surfs the momentum of the crowd towards the gunman. This hero-disease is infectious - Cardinal is so going to catch hell. She steps over the fallen gunman's chest and picks up his weapon. Without a second thought, her fingertips work instinctively to separate the slide, pop free the ammo clip, and leave the weapon in three pieces that she tucks into her belt. "Bastard," she gives him a good kick in the side before the will of that voice falls over her in a sickening wave. Her head spins a moment while her physical frame, too, is swung around under the momentum of the crowd.

Head over tailend she goes, slamming down onto her left side - the side already split from lastnight's equally thrilling adventure, which prompts a fresh blob of blood onto her white, black-polka-dotted, shirt. Again, why didn't she stay in sunny Mexico? She glares at the gunman, holding her ribcage in one hand she reaches out and punches him in the side of the head with the other for her own bad luck.

It happens in quick succession, all of this. Crackling sounds coming from Elle's location, the shout of gun!, shots which ring out, Frontline's counterfire and the emergence of tear gas. A start is made in the gunman's direction and halted when she sees someone dealing with the weapon, so other things become priority. "Shooter down," Maria reports for Veronica's benefit. "Take cover, I'll extract Bishop and come back for you!"

Speed increases, the already airborne woman makes herself horizontal and flies toward Elle with the intent of snatching her up then flying away. But in the execution of this plan, there's a hiccup. Well, more like the feeling of vertigo and a sense she might emit her dinner instead of that hiccup.

It's a struggle, making herself fight against the sonic effect, but maybe she can pull it off. Hopefully.

Well, technically now, they can't -arrest- anyone. But they can sure as hell bird-dog for the NYPD present. Or just take care of the threat. Fel gets muttered permission from Spalding to deal with the downed gunman. One moment he's at Liz's side, the next he's a black blur heading through the crowd. He could be brutal, do damage with a bull-rush. Instead, through, he threads his way through the mass of humanity with that dancer's grace.

The surging crowd is rendered a frozen tableau of violence to his perception, the HUD in his helmet suddenly reduced to the speed and clarity of an old-fashioned nickelodeon show: the update and refresh is visible and slow, creeping across the screen. All through the obstacle course to his target, the gunman. Only to find himself caught in Liz's wave, for just a moment. But speed works to his advantage - he shakes it off after a breath or two. But Maria's had her fun - the gunman ends up ziptied in those skip-and-blur motions…..and Fel reaches over to delicately pluck the bits of weapon from her belt.

"Thanks, citizen," he says, drily, the helmet speakers clicking on and making him sound hilariously like he should be guarding prisoners on the Death Star. "But please, no further abuse." For good measure, he looks as if he's considering zip-tieing her, too. But that might well be a death sentence, in this stampede. Instead, he raises a hand, and signals back to the APC….all the while surrounded by a ring of astonished rioters. Where'd this asshole come from? There's a bark of incredulous laughter as one of them recognizes the mocking insignia on his armor.

Well, shit.

If there's one thing Elle hates, it's guns. And bullets. She really really hates those things, more than anything else in the whole wide world. The first bullet to zing past her head prompts her eyes to widen, but she certainly can't react in time to avoid what comes next. At first, she doesn't even feel the pain, the bullet slamming through her body so quickly that her nerves can't even register it immediately. The electricity in her hands dissapears as she is sent to the ground, spinning.

She stares in disbelief for a few seconds while her nerves slowly realize that, hey, there is a HOLE in her shoulder. And then, the pain hits the scared, alone Elle, coupled with that queasy nauseous feeling. She screams as the nerves in her shoulder are set aflame by the new hole, and suddenly, the petite little blonde overloads, in the most literal sense of the word. At first, it's small, her entire body starting to spark with that ominous blue electricity, which slowly grows in intensity and becomes brighter and brighter.

Then, that electricity quite literally explodes outwards, launching indiscriminately towards anyone who is unfortunate enough to be standing in its way. And all the while, Elle is screaming and sobbing, her good hand clenching at the pavement. Rescue attempts are unseen in this moment. She's hurt, she's scared, and she doesn't want to die.

Poor Maria and Veronica really should have left Elle to her own devices.

Not fast enough. The shadow is just curling past the shooter's hand and over the weapon when it kicks, Cardinal's shadowy form cast across the man as that riot bullet catches him in the chest and knocks him right over. Taken for a ride, the world spinning for a moment before the shooter's down, and then there's Devi on top of them too.

"I told you to get out of here— " Then the crowd surges over her, slamming into her and sending her down to her side. He doesn't have an inner ear, but he can feel the sudden vibrations in the air, and can guess what his lover in the armor's up to. "— fuck— Devi, cover your ears!"

It might help. A little.

Everything goes wrong all at once, that's definitely what anyone with military training would call FUBAR.

This whole thing is FUBAR.

Veronica comes skidding towards Elle, her shoes scraping across concrete as she slides to a stop like a major league baseball player, trying to wrap her arms around the blonde and pull her to safety, at the same time Liz is emitting distorting sound waves of nausea-inducing vertigo and Maria is flying into the line of fire.

And Elle is panicking.

Electricity explodes around the blonde, ending crackling bolts arcing and snapping thorugh the crowd like a gigantic bug-zapper or taser. Her lack of control also means lack of concentration, which deprives the bolts of any lethality they would normally have. But Veronica is ground-zero for the assault and is jolted backwards away from Elle by a zapping crackle of electricity, elemental powers like hers are among the list of things she simply can't reflect back on the originator. Fortunately for Veronica, the six foot throwback knocks her out of Elisabeth's nausea-inducing sonic attack, one that passes like a tidal wave over the crowd, dropping those that could not escape to the ground in writhing, agonized mess of disorientation and nausea and sending those on its fringes scattering.

The Electrical explosion however is enough to catch Felix in, and those bolts of lightning do something unfortunate to his suit.

Lock it up.

He may not have the hydraulics that the other suits do, but the metallic fibers inside the soft plates of his armor are responsive to electrical currents, its one of the first things he learned in Horizon Armor training — avoid slashing edges, and avoid electricity. It's the two weaknesses of this armor design.

The moment Elle's electricity courses thorugh Felix's armor, he isn't electrocuted, grounding out the lightning by merit of the conductive materials encased in layers of kevlar fiber and nylon, but the plates all turn rigid at the electrical pulse, turning Felix's suit into an inflexible body brace. He can move, but stiffly and uncomfortably, and more disappointing slowly.

When the electricity keeps leaping from person to person it strikes Michael, causing his joints to lock up and his helmet to short out, effectively blinding him, forcing the dark-haired soldier to yank of fhis helmet and toss it into the back of the APC as he urges the NYPD officers and detectives into the back while the riot cops batter back the violent crowd. Elisabeth and Sanderson catch a few static crackles from Elle's explosion, turning their suits to all-too-rigid plates of plastic as well, and it will likely take a factory resetting to get the reactive metal to unlock. This will admittedly be valuable field research, but at inappropriate times.

«Sanderson, Harrison!» Michael shouts as he throws back his M-16 into the APC and starts to run towards the fleeing crowd, «get inside, watch the feds!» Ever the idiotic hero, the unhelmeted Spalding flips the quick-release latches on his armor, shedding sixty pounds and several million dollars in equipment as he disengages the hydraulic assists of his suit and the heaviest of the armor. Still stiff and slow, he jogs over to where Elle is freaking out, electricity wracking him and sending him to a knee, gritting his teeth as he's struck by another electrical charge, then crawls forward, gaining strength and speed as his body builds a resistance and power to overcome the lightning by way of his Evolved power. Soon the lightning washes off of him like the breeze, and Michael— puts— Elle into a choke-hold.

That's one way to get her to stop.

In the midst of the chaos, Maria's caught in the heaving and hurling waves of Elisabeth's sonic attack, but the agent manages to stay aloft, if not a little bobbing in bumble-bee like patterning, before she is able to safely scuff to a landing just outside of a disco-ball of electricity that Elle is emitting from her body. A few snapping arcs of electricity rocket past Cardinal, striking the ground with bright, explosive glow.

Lightning may not be lasers, but to Richard Cardinal there may not be too much difference. Best not to stand too close to the bug zapper while it's on.

«What are those DHS people doing!?» Juliette hisses over the comms, looking back from the driver's seat of the APC and out the back hatch. While the crowds may be dispersing and fleeing for their lives, Elle Bishops' electric nightmare is a whole new problem.

She cannot follow that order — not and still keep the assault on the crowd going. Elisabeth waves Adelle behind her to go ahead and handle the feds in their vehicle, her attention desperately pinpointed on keeping her own ability both active *and* in check. «Spalding!» she shouts into the headset just before the damn thing shorts out in her ear. Ripping it off her head entirely — yay, another down side to not wearing the fucking helmet — and throwing it to the ground, Liz starts also stripping out of the extra hydraulics and plates. Once free of the equipment, she grabs her rifle and climbs the turret to cover Sanderson and the vehicle itself. There is enough ambient sound that she does not feel the need to continue shouting into the crowd anymore — she can lace what's already out there with the subsonic assault waves and will continue to do so until the entire squad is back to the vehicle. And someone better get the new kid! His suit's frozen solid, dammit.

And goddammit all, the debrief on this is going to be a clusterfuck. So much for getting out early enough to spend the night at home before flying back to DC in the morning. Liz mumbles imprecations under her breath as she shoots a couple of belligerent rioters. They're harshing her mellow!

Landing on concrete will leave Veronica with an all-over bruise to go with the entire-body ache caused from the jolt that sent her flying. Veronica lies inert for a few moments, not breathing as all the air is knocked out of her body. It takes a moment, and anyone looking to see if she is alive after that electric blast might think the worst (or the best, depending on one's perspective — the Staten residents are surely hoping for her demise). But after a moment her eyes flutter open and the agent takes a deep breath — only to cough as the smoke fumes from Spalding's cannister make it into her lungs.

"Negate—" she tries to call out, but her voice is hoarse and weak, even as she starts to roll to her side in very slow motion — she needs to stand, but it will take her a moment.

"Do you really think now is a good time for 'I told you so'?" Devi growls throws only her left hand up over her left ear - continuing in using the other in cradling her side. She turns her dark eyes up to the sky as Felix addresses her, lofting a dark brow. "Why don't you-" she begins her verbal abuse on the suited figure when the spark flairs up across him. She throws her arm up over her head and continues a string of muffled swears as she envisions margaritas on the beach.

Once on the ground, upright, Maria still feels the effects. Flying isn't attempted again just yet. Eyes glance in the direction of Blonde Sparky over there as Spalding tries to deal with her in his asphyxiating manner, then to the mostly frozen Felix, before finally locating Sawyer. She doesn't speak, no, her move now is to watch until sighted in return. Should that happen, one finger points at the agent then up into the air as her features adopt a questioning look.

Quite unable to move from the combination of the gunshow wound and the overload of her power, Elle is easily caught up in the headlock. Her eyes widen as she finds her air cut off, her good hand slapping against his arm as tears continue to stream down her face. It takes a few moments, but the electricity fades as her body forces itself to focus more on fighting against that choke hold, wildly struggling against the man as she struggles for air.

Loss of blood and excruciating pain, however, have taken the fight out of Elle considerably, and her conciousness quickly begins to fade, her struggles becoming weaker and weaker, until Elle is out cold. Still bleeding, and quite unlikely to be the slightest bit happy when she wakes up.

This really isn't Elle's month. Or year, for that matter. The abbreviation 'FML' is quite relevant in this situation.

"Jesus Christ!" As that spark erupts across the pavement near the shadow, he recoils sharply. That's bright. That could hurt him… that could hurt him a lot. Then an arc plays over Felix's armour and he drops like a rock, hitting the ground in the midst of all of this chaos.

He should've just stayed home, Cardinal reflects, and made Liz call in sick.

The shadow erupts upwards from the ground as Cardinal corporealizes, reaching out and over towards the stiffly locked-up form of the FRONTLINE agent and hauling his armoured ass over to provide some impromptu cover for where Devi, he, and the tied-up gunman are on the ground, apparently with the theory that people would be more likely to avoid trampling them that way.

"Sorry, Ivanov. You're a wall now."

When Elle finally stops sparking, Michael releases his grip on her throat, only then noticing the blood smeared on his bicep from her gunshot wound. Commander Spalding's eyes grow wide as he looks up and around, lifting Elle up off of the ground and sweeping her body up to his chest. Even without the suit on, Elle's sleight weight is a small burden for michael to carry. "She's been shot!" Michael calls back to the APC, and now he knows why she was losing control, "Wright, call in for medical!" Locked armor stiffening joints, Michael still manages a slow, plodding jog back over to the APC.

Sanderson immediately steps back from watching the doorway when Michael comes charging in, narrowing her profile and her eyes behind the visor of her helmet before popping back out to watch the door again. «Crowd's clearing off,» Sanderson calls over the comms, «I'll go get our stray kitty,» she cheekily comments, «and round up the feds.»

As the only FRONTLINE agent left who is both mobile and not already occupied with a task at hand, Sanderson moves out of the back of the APC, her assault rifle never lowered, sweeping from one side of the street to the other as she creeps forward towards the position Felix and—

— is that —

«C— Cardinal?»

Sanderson stops dead in her tracks when she sees the shadow-morph crouched behind Felix with Devi in avoidance of the stampeding crowd. She's supposed to be helping Veronica, Maria, and Felix get out of the area.

But you know the dead coming back to life is a pretty big thing too.

Wiping a bit of blood from her lips, Veronica finally manages to stand, staggering a little. It feels like she got hit by a bus. Twice, in fact. Blinking she tries to make sense of Maria's gesture — there are a few too many fingers for one person to have. She shakes her head — not to deny Maria the chance to swoop down like an eagle and rescue her, but because she is trying to clear the ringing from her ears.

At Spalding's yell, reality comes back into focus and she blinks hard, finally moving toward the man and Elle. "God, don't you have a better way to take out an out of control Evolved person?" she manages to snap, despite the split lip caused by her own teeth upon impact. Of course, she has no idea what a Taser would do to Bishop. "Or did they cut you off from having tranq guns, too?" she adds, still annoyed on that particular issue — a tranq dart to Elle would have been effective. She glances up at Maria, and gestures to her to return. "The shot made her lose control — she wouldn't have done that on her own," she adds, lest Spalding think that's the Company's typical M.O. "She's a pain in the ass, but she's not that stupid."

With Veronica having declined evacuation, and Elle now apparently other than conscious as a cause to her cessated sparking, Maria approaches the man who strangled her into this non-dangerous state. "I'll take her," she asserts, "and have her getting medical care inside of five minutes." To underscore that point, she's boots off the ground again and hovering while waiting for Elle to be handed off.

Of course, things are a little loud right now, and the helmet doesn't exactly help with audibility anyway - unless you have access to their comms, of course. Cardinal's head lifts up a bit to look to Sanderson, seeing only a faceless armoured figure there, and he raps on the arm of the Horizon-armored figure they've been using as an impromptu barricade against the crowd.

"I think Ivanov's armor locked up," he shouts over the ambient noise at her, "You want to haul his ass back to the APC? Gunman's right behind me, too, cuffed and everything."

Lowering her rifle, Sanderson exhales a sigh and takes a slow crunching series of steps forward thorugh broken glass on the ground. She crouches down, checking Felix with one hand on his shoulder, eyes hidden behind the glossy black visor of her helmet in staring at Cardinal. «Good to see you alive, Richard,» she audibly croaks thorugh the voice modulator, «I owe you a beer for eating that nuke. Liz knows how to get in touch with me.» Why does everyone try to repay him for saving the world with beer?

Inside of the APC, Michael was just about to set Elle down before Maria comes floating inside. He offers her a worried look, then a look back to agent Sawyer outside who— doesn't— approve of his measures with a bit of a sheepish half-smile. "If you can get her to safety, she's your baby chick," Michael insists, carefully hefting Elle off to Maria, «sorry about what I did to her, but I had to try and protect the public. You handled yourself well out there.»

Inside of the APC, Detective Manzetti offers a wide-eyed look to Maria, shaking his head slowly, his hands still shaking where he sits on one of the side by side green seats. Nothing to say, nothing to do, he just wants to get back to the Reclaimed Zone as fast as humanly possible and get off of Staten Island.

Back outside, with Devi creeping away with one hand holding her side from the conversation between Cardinal and the FRONTLINE officer, Sanderson looks over to the gunman and shakes her helmeted head, then offers a look back over to the shadowmorph.

«Does trouble follow you everywhere?» She asks chidingly, looking out over the now desolate four-way junction and the heavily disturbed crime scene.

«Or do you just bring trouble with you wherever you go?»

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