Wrong Turn for the Tea House


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Scene Title Wrong Turn for the Tea House
Synopsis Out on a lark, sightseeing at the Ryazan Kremlin, the Russian team happens across a lead that quickly turns into a disaster… even if it could have been a worse one yet.
Date November 29, 2009

Outside the Ryazan Kremlin, Russia

The Ryazan Kremlin is not just one building, or two, but an unwalled complex of several, together showcasing Russian architecture across time - from the 15th century to the 19th, with the castle proper harboring some elements built as long ago as the 12th century. It isn't a castle as Western Europeans would judge - a short, nearly square edifice of red brick accented in white edging, crowned by four gold-speckled, sky-blue onion domes (one to each corner), and a fifth, larger orb of gold. In an ostentatious display of faith's fervor, each dome is surmounted by its own cross - and most of the multitude of buildings surrounding the Kremlin are of religious nature, include the one whose golden spire surpasses the Kremlin's height. The Archangel Cathedral, the Assumption Cathedral, the Belfry, the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ, the Epiphany Church - they are myriad.

The grounds of the Ryazan Kremlin are also home to the Museum of Local Lore and the State Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve; along with the sights of the Kremlin itself, these are certain draws for tourists. However, the Ryazan Kremlin is also the heart of its city, the center of politics, bureaucracy, and everything that keeps civilization running on a day-to-day basis.

Sunday morning dawned gray and gloomy over Ryazan some hours ago, the air not as cold as it has been recently; the constant pall of thick gray clouds helped keep heat in the city, inasmuch as anything could. It rained yesterday; it'll surely rain today; but it isn't raining right now, and that is about as good as weather can be.

It's a day for exploring the city.

Where else would tourists go but to the Ryazan Kremlin? One of the larger — certainly amongst the older — buildings in the city, the brickwork building with its blue and gold onion domes is an excellent example of old Russian architecture. The various cathedrals around it exemplify more recent building styles… where 'recent' includes everything from the 1600s on. Several museums and their attendant shops are also located here — as well as the major offices of the Ryazan government. It makes for a busy plaza in the midst of all this, with all sorts of people coming, going, standing and watching, or just taking pictures of everything.

Press goes a button, there's a click, the chime that indicates a picture has been taken and Abigail's grinning like a mad fool. She called her parents, telling her dad she had some surprises for him, sorry she hadn't called for Thanksgiving but that she was going to make it up to them. So — touristing when you're on a government sponsored not-vacation seems to be a plus. "Liz! Take one of me beside Francois, yes?!" Pink hair is partially hidden under her toque, fur trimming of her parka tickling against her cheek. Souveniers populate the bag at her feet.

Rain at this time of year? Fucking weird, that. Fel's dour as he ever is, these days, clad in his dark gray overcoat, equally drab clothing. Color, that's for Americans. At least he's not smoking one of those horrible, horrible cigarettes. The tourism doesn't seem to sit well with him, he's antsy, but nor is he complaining aloud. Aren't they supposed to be, like, saving the world?

They are supposed to be saving the world, and a break from investigating said mission is a welcome reprieve for at least Francois, at least. The brown wool of his jacket, the grey sweater beneath that, navy jeans and boots are an assortment of plain if not entirely cheerless colours, his hands free of gloves in celebration for the lack of snow. Gaze tilted up towards somewhat familiar architecture, Francois snaps his attention back to the group he's moving with when he hears his name, and puts the request together.

Amused, a hand goes out to steer Abigail into a light embrace, an arm around her waist. "You're good at this," he comments, low enough for her. "The tourism. I wish I remembered more."

She knew exactly how to find the place, this Kremlin in a place other than the location of the most famous Kremlin. It's good to be Cat and have maps in her head. The photography thing is done, although more subtly than by Abby, she uses her iPhone for the purpose then tucks the device away. Afterward eyes rest on the building and its facade, she takes in the features carefully.

"It is a bit odd," Cat agrees with Felix quietly, "to have snow one day, rain the next. Most likely it'll snow again tomorrow." She doesn't seem antsy with the tourism thing. They certainly won't achieve the objective sitting around Ivan's house, and one never knows who she might meet. Valuable intelligence oft finds one, instead of being found.

Wearing the darker, warmer clothing that she bought here in Ryazan, Elisabeth is more than willing to tag along on a tourist-like trip. Though she herself is not touristing quite the way Abby is — she's using the time to really learn to navigate the town without getting herself lost. Learning the lay of the land. Becoming familiar with who the 'usuals' are at various places like the bakery, the tea room, et cetera. She doesn't have Cat's memory for things, but she does have a lot of experience learning faces and places quickly. Moving forward to take the camera from Abby, Liz merely smiles. "Of course," she tells the pink-haired one. "I love taking pictures." And PICTURES are always useful.

There's a lot of picture-taking going on in the plaza — pictures of buildings, pictures of the statues scattered about the grounds, pictures of other tourists. Everything and everyone is fair game, including — perhaps especially — the people who are just trying to go about their business.

As Francois and Abby stand to have their picture taken before the Kremlin, they can see at least one pair stop dead in their tracks to eyeball the young woman's bright pink hair — and take their own pictures, exchanging remarks in hushed voices. They move on to stoneworks, ornamentation, other tourists; things not involving this group of snapshot subjects. Behind them is a small group of people talking; a woman and two men, the men dressed in suits under their coats, the woman a thick green overcoat and black pants, blond hair only partially hidden by a half-raised and probably forgotten hood.

"Maybe if we find your journal about your time in Russia it'll help? Not that you're doing bad," she assures the Frenchman back as she mirrors his pose and offers up a cheery smile. "Besides, I'm sending this stuff to my parents and back home, if it's my last few days or weeks alive, I'm not going to surely spend it staring at a wall. I'm going to have fun, die with a smile on my face." A hand rises behind him, Abby's, and she makes a V with her fingers, enough to be construed as alien antennae in the picture.

At her feet in the bags are a couple of the iconic fur hats, nesting dolls of varying designs and even have painted gold on them. A shawl that cost a pretty penny, necklace for her mother that's a jeweled egg and who knows what else. Postcards for sure, likely a few lacquered boxes. It may be the only true touristing they get to do. Maybe if they survive what's to come, she'll ask to stop over in Moscow proper and spend a day or two there. She's gotten used to the staring at her hair, though it's the first time she's seen someone take a picture of her hair. At least they're not touching it. She bounds back over to Liz to get her camera back and start taking more pictures again. Documentation of her trip. Something to sit down with her parents and show them if they make it.

"It'll fucking freeze, is what," Fel says,glumly. "And it'll be like walking on Rain-Xed glass." He's like some little ghost of the Cold War, left over and haunting a city that's moved on. Like a spectre of his spook grandfather. He doesn't hunch, he stands straighter than usual, in fact, and looks like nothing so much as some superannuated grad student dancing attendance on his girlfriend's visiting family. Save, of course, for his own innate cop's watchfulness.

"You are not going to die," Francois rebukes, mildly and with a smile as the picture is taken, before releasing Abby with a slight gesture and a nod to Elisabeth, before inevitably, he tracks his attention towards the couple that had stopped and stared at him. At least he's perfectly ordinary, if still in need of some general grooming. It's when he looks past them, and towards the trio, that he goes still and studious.

A pause, before taking a few brisk steps back towards his group, and it's Abby he addresses when he says, "I think I have remembered something after all," quietly, but enough for them to hear. His demeanor hasn't changed, but his attention has veered sharply away from the tourist sights as he tries to see through the crowd without—

Well, getting spotted himself. "Perhaps," he adds, a touch regretfully.

"Ice isn't pleasant," Cat supplies neutrally after Felix speaks. Her eyes remain drifting around, and move to Francois when he acts as if something's been spotted. Her attention settles on the crowd then, gaze moving across faces and bodies so she'll have seen and can thus remember as a quietly spoken question is voiced in French. "What is it, Monsieur?"

Elisabeth gives the camera back with a grin, but her blue eyes turn curiously toward Francois when he speaks up. "Do tell?" she asks him. And without being obtrusive herself, she turns to look up at Felix with a brilliant smile, letting her eyes play along the crowds and toward the group that made Francois go so still. "Now, Felix, is when I wish I spoke Russian. Practice with me some more?" And she whispers to him, "I can hear everyone in the area, but I can't understand them." Now that she's got an auditory bead on the group that he was looking at, she doesn't need to look anymore to eavesdrop — and potentially be able to report at least some of what's being said to find out if people are staring just because of Abby's hair.

The woman in green lifts her head as though something has caught her attention; looks across the square, past all of the people between her and the other side. She shows no signs of noticing their guarded scrutiny; it's the double-file of uniformed soldiers trickling in at the far end that has her eye, although without any particular concern visible on her features. She turns back to her companions, concludes the conversation in quiet tones; they bob heads politely and retreat into a nearby building, while the woman herself strikes out at a tangent, presumably intending to exit the plaza altogether.

"I will some day, and now, so will you. Flint will live forever," Abby quips back to the doctor, lifting her camera to take a picture of the uniformed people and then swiveling to the other marching in of military uniformed individuals. She lowers the camera, looking over to Francois with puzzled brows even as Cat's speaking French and Liz and Felix are tete a tete. "What do you remember? Is it someone familiar?" Worry colors the young womans voice.

Because Felix is good at being a smarmy bastard, he gives Liz his best rogue's grin, and leans in to murmur in her ear. "Focus what they're saying on us, and I can translate," he mutters. It looks as if he's whispering sweet nothings to her. He doesn't, really, but he does nip her earlobe thoughtfully, as if to bear out that masquerade. Or just because he can.

Francois, by now, has shown his target his back. It may have been only a few years for him, but it's been longer for her. All the same. "The blonde woman, in the green and the hood, speaking to the two gentlemen," he tells them, and his tone is no conspiring whisper, words delivered simply and expression communicating nothing that wouldn't be communicated if he was talking about the weather. Those more astute than bystanders would be able to note the bridled, paranoid tension in his shoulders.

"The years have changed her," and there is a little bit of wonder in his voice, not unlike the shock Cat had been witness to when he'd discovered how his would be assassin had similarly aged, "but if I am correct, her name is Anya. Anya Orlova. She was Vanguard. One of his more dedicated believers, despite that she is one of us. You," he corrects, with a glance to the panmnesiac. "What is she doing?" With his back turned, he doesn't risk a glance.

"She's walking away," Cat replies, "after noticing a group of military men. Orlova is leaving the square. The people with her went into a building," and she remembers which one, along with any visible details about them, "what's her particular talent? And is Orlov her father's name, or a husband's?"

Although Elisabeth keys in on the woman Francois points out, she shakes her head slightly with what looks to be a faint chuckle and a nudge of Felix as he nips her. It looks for all the world like they're flirting there and having a bit of a PDA, but she murmurs softly, "I didn't zero in quickly enough to catch anything that I can repeat." The fact that they're leaving with soldiers in the area, though, piques her interest. "So… they were originally an entirely anti-Evo group, Francois? No one's really been able to tell me what they were originally envisioned as. And why would an Evo work with them?" She keeps her voice low. "Is tailing her likely to be useful?" Because it'll take the woman another minute or two to get out of sight.

While they watch the woman walk away, her strides brisk and purposeful but somewhat shy of hurried, the soldiers at the other end of the plaza continue their entry and begin talking to the nearest plaza occupants — or at least some of them do, perhaps the ones of higher rank. Difficult to tell yet if they're tasked with traffic management — directing people to places other than where they are, perhaps even clearing out the plaza — or quizzing everyone who happens to linger too long nearby.

"Ohh that doesn't look good…" Abigail's quick to pick up her souvenirs lest they need to head away and quick. "We can… go the building they went to, or we can follow her or… we can stay put and see what they are looking for…" Abigail glances around to their small gathering, not holding the answers really but just some suggestions.

……this is getting a little dodgy, isn't it? Fel's eyeing the soldiers as subtly as he can. "We should move on," he suggests, quietly. "I don't like the looks of those uniforms," he says, shifting the little bag he's carrying, over one shoulder. Abby and her toys.

Turning sea-green eyes to Elisabeth and her queries, and at a couple of them, his brows raise in a little surprise and mild alarm, and then finally smooths out into apology. "Kazimir was an 'Evo' himself," Francois points out, gently. "It is not what you are, but what you believe. But oui, they were always this way. I— this is not the time, but I can tell you what you ask," he says, with sincerity, before looking towards Cat and risks a glance towards the quickly departing Anya.

"I know nothing of her ability, only that others feared it. I do not think she was married. I— " A look back to the group, and he rocks a step back. Still, he lingers long enough so that he doesn't simply solo-wolf off into the crowd. "I would prefer to track her. We know not of what she does here, in Ryazan, will we get another chance?" Though, hearing Felix's words, he does then glance towards the soldiers, quizzical and alert, but doesn't add to his opinion.

"Kazimir wasn't the only one with an SLC ability," Cat supplies. "Eileen, Lucrezia, Amato Salucci, the teleporter, Wu-Long." Her eyes remain on the woman as she walks away, peripheral vision used to sight the military men and their activities. "My belief is the soldiers are looking for Orlova. And I agree tracking her would be a good idea, if we can without getting made." If the woman's face is still visible Cat might try to get a photo of her, otherwise she'll hope it's in one of Abby's or her own.

"I know that," Elisabeth says, "But that's also current, not what they were originally chartered for. I just… no seriously, no one I've asked seems to know what their original goal actually was. So I'm always a little confused about what they're up to and how they got from there to world destruction." She shrugs a little. Since Francois recommends following the woman and getting out of range of the soldiers seems to be desired, though, she nudges Felix gently and then says, "Let's see if we can find a tea house, then!" And she starts walking — coincidentally enough — in the same direction that the woman believed to be Anya Orlova went. In the meantime, she listens to what the soldiers are saying to people so she can repeat it — in an APPALLING, stumbling accent — to Felix for translation.

By the time the troupe reaches the edge of the plaza, Anya Orlova has put a fair amount of distance between them. There are others on the road she's taken, people getting out ahead of the military — their actual attention is generally less than desired, and retreat is the wiser choice. The green-garbed woman steps into the streets of the city proper, ducking right around a building at the second intersection.

Behind them, the line of military uniforms makes its way ever closer, voices of frustrated sightseers beginning to be raised. It seems they are clearing space and querying everyone they have to move along.

Abigail's not of a mind to stick around lest they get questioned. They're supposed to avoid meeting up with anything that resembles authority and military as they're not really a sanctioned group here, or what have you. Abigail's carting her one bag of goodies and while not walking fast enough to garner suspicion, the pink haired woman is making her way out as quick as her touristy feet can take her.

Felix has put an arm over Liz's shoulder, affectionately, and kept his head by hers. Trying not to be too obvious about pursuing Orlova, or listening to what Liz's telling him. "We do need to work on your pronunciation," he kvetches, softly. "Zhe. Not zzz. It's slurred. Pull your tongue back towards your palate. And just funnel the sound so I can hear, rather than trying to play telephone, if you can?"

It is strange, to be doing this in a group, like a pack of wolves on a trail. Francois feels more conspicuous than he would alone, even as he falls into brisk step with Abby and looking for all the world to be either a native or a visitor — more the latter, with the woman's coloured hair and swinging shopping bags. Nervous, when Anya disappears around a corner, and it's all he can do to not simply break from the group as he glances back towards the soldiers, a hand drifting to place at the small of Abby's back as they move, the other resting in a jacket pocket.

Hhh— It's a choppy, staccato whisper in Elisabeth's mind's ear, the auditory equivalent of light spots behind one's closed eyes, more vivid than a daydream with none of the resonance of a nightmare and familiar in its low pitch and shrunken volume. Ghost used to talk in the blast, rumble, and two-tone whistle one might imagine from a steel-haired bow violinned melodic across the vocal cords of a dragon, and little-Teo's answers used to SOUND AS COARSE AND TACTLESS AS THIS.

The hybrid's voice is a watery and weak thing in comparison. If Elisabeth were hearing it with her ears instead of her mind, it would be utterly lost to the physical noise of Felix's answers and the plaza's traffic. There's a tap-tap-tap asking for ingress, familiar, if only vaguely. It weakens in that brief moment that Elisabeth's fingers loosen on Felix's arm, regains strength when they spasm shut again, as frail as a single strand of spidersilk fighting to hold against a wind.

She's silent now as she moves with the group and keeps sight of Orlova, only occasionally glancing back to see what the soldiers are doing. "Clearing the area," Cat muses, "not just looking for a person or persons. It's like something happened back there, or is about to happen, that they don't want people to see. I'll have to do some research and learn what the various markings on the uniforms mean, if they indicate special branches of their services and suchlike. I also, sadly, couldn't get a photo of Orlova to go with the background check request when I made it. Hopefully she's in shots already taken."

Elisabeth laughs softly at Felix's griping, working on making the correct sounds as he's instructing. In some ways, it's almost as much fun for her as the tourist thing. She murmurs to the group, "Once we're clear of the square, it would be better if there weren't five of us tailing her anyway. Several things are going on; perhaps we should spli…." Her voice trails off and she sucks in a breath, her hand automatically tightening on her companion's arm and her blue eyes going unfocused and wide. "Teo?" she whispers softly, the query itself opening her mind up to his touch. It is a… strange… sensation. Something that brings a hitch of remembered terror to jump her heart rate just a notch or two, a vague memory of silvery wings flashing through her head. She stumbles as she walks but manages to remain upright and moving with Felix, her knuckles white.

The street Anya turns into was perhaps once a neighborhood of offices and shops, perhaps also with residences; now it seems to be mostly residential, and poorer at that. With the tourists departing the plaza remaining largely on main arterial roads, there's no one here — this makes sense in a residential neighborhood, on a chilly day (warmer than others, but still cold), with no yard work pending to speak of. People have better things to do.

The distance between the group and Anya hasn't shortened at all; in fact it might be slightly longer if anything at all, as she moves past the row of trees thoughtfully planted once upon a time to shade and decorate the block, around a corner statue that those familiar with Russian folklore will recognize as a representation of the Firebird; something else that is a forgotten relic from earlier times, by its condition.

Liz falters, and Fel also stiffens in alarm. His arm goes from her shoulders to her ribs, as he half-supports her. "Yeah, Liz and I will fol— Liz, what the hell?" he asks, under his breath, looking for somewhere to settle her for a moment. A bench, a low wall.

Turning to look over his shoulder at the sound of disruption, Francois is immediately impatient, with, "Well, will you or will you not?" He's quick, however, to note Elisabeth's white knuckled grip and Felix's more telling glances around for a place to sit, and Francois takes a quick inhale between teeth, looking off towards where Anya is disappearing. "Cat— "

He holds out a hand towards her, though more in gesture. "Come with me. Abigail, stay with Elisabeth and Felix? Either trail us in turn or double back around, whichever seems wise." There's apology in his tone for the simple fact he's already briskly moving by the time he deals these suggestions, half backwards and turning.

Cat's eyes are on Elisabeth as she falters, watching her and Felix in tending to her, with attention then split by Francois asking her to accompany him. She pauses, taking a moment to think. "Teo? Teo's here?" The situation calls for quick decisions and actions. This area seems the kind where if they all continue they'll get easily made, it's not so likely to explain away their presence and there's no crowd to blend with. And she has to move lest both Francois and Orlova be farther away.

"Teo, if you're here, spot the woman some distance ahead. Green jacket. She's Vanguard. Francois and I will try to stay close enough for you to jump back out."

And there Cat goes, to accompany the Frenchman.

Francois's hand is gone from the small of Abby's back, and she nods to the other former healer as she diverts her attention to Felix. Leave Francois and Cat to trail Anya; the better pair to do it really. Everyone's talking to Teo, it seems, but Abigail just shifts over towards the other two who aren't running off. "Should we find the car?"

There's a lapse to Teo's presence in Elisabeth's head, even after Felix's arm tightens around her torso. No, the signal strength is still good — indeed, better now that the audiokinetic has marked him and allowed him to be here, the spectral entity settling onto its perch with a silent flare of wings, but considering before he speaks. Francois is talking, placing Cat in his words. Felix is slowing down, and Abigail a pink blur of peripheral movement and logical suggestion. Teo shoves these fragmented notes together, however blurry and jumbled from the flawed interface between minds.

Comes up with a depiction of the reality of this situation, harsh in its clarity. He banishes the urge to leave her in favor of touching into Francois' mind; but the faintest disturbance of movement through pinions. Come on.

You need to keep moving, Liz. I'm sorry you're hurting, and if I could give you my health I would. But there isn't even a question of your pain versus the billions of lives these nukes can take, or what Cat and Francois might lose if you fall behind. Come on.

"I'm okay," Elisabeth murmurs to Felix, keeping hold of him tightly. "Just… startled." Well, perhaps a little more than startled, but she's regaining her equilibrium. She waves Cat and Francois off and although she's just a bit pale, she's quickly getting her color back. "C'mon, we gotta keep going. Soldiers are coming." It's okay… I'm fine. Just…. Shit, we're going to have to catch up. She, even now, doesn't really know exactly what his capabilities are, though she has a vague memory that whoever he jumps into has to be close. Far closer than they are to Anya at this time. But Teo's urging sends her surging forward and she murmurs to Felix and Abby, "Teo needs to get closer to her if he's going to jump from me to her. We gotta move faster and catch up." And though the sensation of having him lurking in her head is kind of weird, now that he's settled, she's fine. It's not bad — you gave me a headache, but I'm more surprised that you'd pull this than anything else. It looks like the group is not splitting. Unless Felix and Abby opt to stay behind on their own — Liz herself has no choice but to go along for the ride.

Anya is gone around the corner; Francois and Cat splitting out up the street, Liz, Felix, and Abby bunched up on the sidewalk behind. More behind with every passing heartbeat, as they hover on this street and Anya Orlova moves ahead.

It isn't very many heartbeats before the whole question of who goes where becomes purely academic.

Shots fired.

They're not sniper shots, placed with precision and care; whomever is doing the shooting is not a crack team — or it may be they don't care whether they kill their targets. She of the pink hair should be an easy mark, but perhaps the hair is also a good-luck charm; Abby takes a bullet across her left arm, the slice superficial for all that it bleeds quite freely. Elisabeth and Felix, for all that they aren't far away from Abby, seem to receive a disproportionate amount of gunfire; Liz is hit no less than three times — right shoulder, left torso, and right thigh — but also by some chance spared grievous injury. It's Felix who is less lucky, one round sinking deep into his right thigh, a second skating off the left side of his rib cage.

In the middle, Cat is struck twice, one jarring scalp wound and a long, shallow line of bullet-drawn fire down her right arm.

At the end of the line their human points describe, the end where Francois stands, the air seems to shimmer for a moment. To twist, in a distinctly unsettling and wrong fashion; it clears to reveal a woman whose features are made familiar by recent exposure… although Anya now wears not a green hooded coat but dark gray clothing better-suited for physical activity. Of which there isn't much: a sidestep to place Francois between herself and the others; a sudden spastic reach for physical contact.

The transformation of pale Frenchman skin, dark hair, and winter-weight clothes into so much solid, monotonous gray stone.

Oh, fuck. Not AGAIN. He just got that leg fixed! Fel's down without a sound, curling up to try and staunch a wound that's pumping blood out onto the dirty snow with a dismaying rate, white becoming scarlet. His breath clouds on the frozen air, even as he tries to claw his way to some sort of cover — that bench he was making for earlier, leaving a scarlet trail behind him.

The explosions of gunfire have Francois reeling back, Cat going down in her periphery before he can even contemplate covering her. Turning on his heel, he cries out, "Abigail!" as scarlet draws from her arm, before seeing the brutality inflicted upon the ones he'd left behind. French cussing is managed to be still as he starts moving first for Cat, if only because she's right there, and he can draw her out of the line of fire.

He gets no further than one loping step before the shimmering of air has him reeling back, blue-green eyes going wide as the familiar woman, aged as she is, darts out a hand too quick.

The grey colour of stone crawls like a fast death across his skin, clothing, hair, eyes that go from their vivid colours to steel grey. A soldier would not appreciate the look of fear on his own face when made into unmoving stone, but there it is as much as his eyes are sightless now. His feet are solid against the ground as much as he seems in the procession of motion, to spring back or away. He doesn't, instead, remaining as frozen as the statue he's been turned into.

There are loud noises, which memory immediately tells her is the sound of weapons fire, then twin points of pain from the impacts across her scalp and down her arm. There is blood also. Take cover is the impulse, which has her scanning for a place to do so, even as in her vision the quarry appears in air that's just wrong. The effect, however, doesn't get much time spent in trying to figure out, because she has to act. She sees the hand grab Francois and convert him to statueness before she can even attempt to dislodge the grip or knock her unconscious.

It's like Jersey City all over again. Much as Brian and Al at that place were beyond assistance, with only the certainty of herself also falling if she even tried, so is Francois. Scowling with anger and frustration, wincing from pain of being shot, she falls back toward the others while trying to stay clear of follow-up shots and being touched by Orlova.

Third time that she's been shot. The fabric of her jacket parting with the bullet and the pain that lances up her arm. The sounds of other bullets fired cause Abigail to look left, right, all around. Francois's yell draws her blue eye'd gaze to him as Anya appears, and everyone present finally learns what it was that Francois could only warn them about.

"Francois!" Abigail's lips part to scream out his name in horror, bag dropped to the floor with the furrow that scored it's way across her flesh. Instinctively, an urge to protect, spurs the pink haired woman forward, head ducked in case there's more bullets coming — as if air would protect them — making for the Doctor linked with their party. "Francois!" Oh god, he's stone. Oh god, how do you fix stone!

First of all, in Anya's eyes the street is rather different. There are no trees, and no statue, and the buildings look a little less residential than the team sees — and she can plainly see several people in second-story windows with guns in hand aimed towards the team. All of them seem to be dressed a lot like she actually is (i.e. in grayish clothes).

Pozvonitye v militsiyu!, says the voice in Liz's head, staticky and thin with what might even be fright. He feels the blood on her shirt, on her arm, measures the distance back to where he left his body and sees red streaking asphalt gray. Megaphone it. Pozvonitye v militsiyu!, and the Company will get here faster. Go!

It's like he's taking a little too much of his advice, with that final shout. With it, as unexpectedly as he'd come, he's gone again. Whatever struggle there might have been in making the decision to leave his comrades behind, yet again, is lost to the flush of adrenaline static inside Elisabeth's ear, falling grocery bags and shrieking ladies, the clopping of feet on the plaza's courtyard tiles.

The sound of gunshots is far from unfamiliar for the blonde cop, and Elisabeth's instinct is to immediately get down, get low — and grab Abby to make her do the same! It's a futile effort, too little, too late as she takes several rounds pretty much even as she registers the sounds of the gunfire. Blood. The heat of it doesn't hit yet. Adrenaline spikes high and keeps Elisabeth from feeling the pain that will rip through her mere milliseconds later from the places she's been hit, and certainly she has no time to assess her own state. "ABBY!" she barks as the younger woman pulls away toward their nemesis. And then her head, for just that moment, is full of the correct words. Elisabeth whirls toward the people shooting and shouts "~Pozvonitye v militsiyu!!~" in a voice enhanced in every way that she can with her ability — a voice that resounds through the area much as she would back home, except this time it's to incite a riot instead of quell it. Whether it's a wise move or not? Eh…. at this point, they're being SHOT AT.

The Frenchman is stone; Anya spares his final state only a moment's glance before withdrawing her hand. She looks past the statue at the rest of his team, his friends; watches them steadily for a moment both short and stretching long, crumpling to concrete and asphalt, surging unthinkingly forward in the case of Abigail. Her expression is stiff, inscrutable; the woman raises one hand, the hand that transformed Francois, her fingers curling into a fist. Then she takes a single step backwards, air twisting about her once more.

Anya Orlova disappears from sight, and in the wake of Elisabeth's shout, the street rings only with deafening silence.

And Felix is limp on the ground, hands still over that wound, trying to stem the loss of blood. He's gone gray and pale, breath hissing out between his teeth in shuddering breaths, before he goes limp entirely, sprawled on his unwounded side.

It isn't safe, and she doesn't know the woman is gone. Though she doesn't hear more shots being fired, Cat remains cautious about the situation, until she sees Abby coming toward Francois. She darts out a hand when the pink-haired woman is close enough, aimed to grab on and pull her out of that trajectory lest Miss Beauchamp get touched by Orlova too. Her intent is to tackle and drag her to safety if needed.

Anya's gone, disappearing as quickly as she came and Abigail grinds to a halt before Cat can touch her between the statue that is Francois and the group behind her, riddled with holes and furrowed bullet paths. Tears pool against her lower lids then slips over the bottom as the hope to fix Francois disappears. Red gloves hands curl into a fist, torn between going to the Frenchman or going back to the ground. Stone doesn't bleed and Abigail backs up slowly at first before turning around running back to the downed FBI officer and the others. She can ignore her own wound, digging into her messenger bag at her side for hankies so she can start to deal with Felix and his leg. This was why she was brought here. Medic, stitch people up after others put holes in them. She does it, tears spilling down her cheek.

Elisabeth can't do much at this point but try to stand guard on her friends. As if that's going to do much good with people shooting from all directions. But she will die before she lets anyone get any closer to her friends, staring down or even launching a sonic boom at anyone who even looks like they might come too close. One hand holding her shoulder where she took a round through-and-through, Liz ignores the other two bullet wounds that she's only peripherally aware of. She's also not aware of the tears streaking down her pale face as she stands there. There are more important problems to deal with right now, like getting us the hell out of here as quickly and safely as can be managed.

The Company are quicker than the police. It's kind of their thing. The van that steers into the street knows where it's heading, soaring past the statue frozen in the street to come to a jerking halt. It won't cart many people lying prone — perhaps they should have expected the carnage lying open on the Ryazan street. The driver that darts out is strawberry-blonde, mannish at the jaw as much as she's a rather small force to be reckoned with, and doesn't blink when, with a flicker-flick of motion, a slender man comes to appear next to her as they move towards where Team Charlie is gathered.

Introductions are brisk. The man comes to crouch next to Felix, hands firm towards the deep bullet wound on the fed's thigh, showing teeth as he turns his eyes up to those nearby. In slogging English, he says, "I am taking this one to the central hospital. I can bring one other." No asking for reports, debriefs— Felix is bleeding too thick and too fast for that. A sedation needle is extracted after a quick exchange between the teleporter and the woman, before it's stuck into Felix's other thigh - negation immediately flows through his dwindling bloodstream.

"You go, seek attention," the woman suggests, with a chin up to Elisabeth. To the other two women, she states, "I can take you there also, or Ivan's. But we must leave."

"Sticking together is the best plan for now," Cat asserts, speaking and looking much the same as she did that January day after the battles to block that virus when she set out to collect after-action reports and locate those who hadn't checked in. Eyes shift to Abby, she states "We'll get back to Ivan's soon enough, we can hopefully get materials at the hospital and suture each other as needed. Are you wounded?" Having asked that question, she's checking for evidence of it and applying pressure against her own arm.

"Bloody fucking hell, what was that ability? Teo, pay me a visit," she adds. Touching base with Mr. Astral while waiting to see what occurs with wounded teammates is very much in order.

The man is there, woman, obviously people that they had following them that are friendlies? Have to be, they're talking about IVan's place and taking over from her the care of the resident speedster. Abigail looks on the the reddish haired woman as she offers them the options, looking away from her and towards Francois in the street. "Francois. We can't leave him. The woman, Anya, she touched him and turned him into stone" Abigail levers a bloody hand to point towards Francois's frozen form. Abigail looks over at Cat, blond brows pinched, pulled down. "We can't leave him Cat. He's part of the team!" The question of whether she's hurt goes unanwered.

Teo doesn't answer, which implies he isn't in range; which implies he's following someone else, and touches on Elisabeth's memory, if no one else's. It's a quick deductive process before Cat and the others are alerted to the probability that the Sicilian won't be back for a little while. The most probable rendezvous site being the Spektor home, though that's a long, long way, and not exactly fraught with frequent traffic for the ghost to ride.

But Felix and Elisabeth must be taken away, and so the teleporter doesn't give it much thought as his other hand goes to Elisabeth's wrist. All three figures, one crouched, one standing, one lying flat, blur for a moment, before blinking out completely. The Company agent left before crinkles her brow at Abby quizzically, before looking towards Francois and moving on closer. A hand tentatively places on a shoulder that feels rock solid and cold in the Russian winter air, and Cat and Abby will only see strength tense tight up the Company woman's arm.

The statue doesn't budge. It doesn't even rock. The agent blows out a sigh, before briskly shaking her head. "I will send someone out later— or call back Agent Alekseev later to vanish it out— but for now, ladies, we have to be out of a hostile area. Please, come with me. The vehicle could not take it even if we could move it."

She gestures an imploring hand towards the van, jaw set as she moves for it.

Her own jaw sets as she replies to Abby, in her eyes is the gravity of having been in this position a few times before. Dani left in Vanguard clutches, Al and Brian left for DHS when she couldn't help them. There is pain and guilt, frustration, rage, all muted by pragmatism and needing to act prudently. "It was more than turning him to stone. It was like she was invisible too, or 'ported in and out, she also changed clothing fast. We can't help Francois now. We don't have the means to carry or fix him."

She heads for the vehicle, intending to climb in and draw Abby with her if she can. "This is how it goes. Sometimes people can't be immediately helped, when it happens we remember and come back to get them when we can. Time to evacuate."

In the absence of reply from Teo, not feeling a presence settling into her, she has to hope he carried out what she asked and jumped into Anya Orlova.

"We can't LEAVE HIM" Abigail yells at Cat unthinkingly "I'm not coldhearted like you Cat. I didn't save him from dying in the woods to leave him HERE! People might break him! What if he's still there!" Tears stream down the youngest woman's face, pushing at Cat when the woman tries to draw her in, making for the statue. The bags of souvenirs all but forgotten in the melee by now.

Cat's not alone, in the heart of stone department. The tranq gun is sleekly silver, pulled from the inner of the Company agent's jacket and leveled expertly towards Abby's retreating back. There's nothing for it, when the dart sticks into the pink-haired woman's shoulder, and two, three seconds pass before she's passing out stone cold on the pavement a couple of yards from Francois' fixed feet.

"Sorry," the agent tells Cat, roughly. "She will be okay. They warned me you all were difficult. Collect her things while I get her in the van, da?" Small but bulldog like, she certainly seems like she could carry Abigail, moving towards the downed younger woman.

"Coldhearted," she mutters, "maybe. But not stupid. There's nothing to do for him now, and if we stay we get rounded up by cops or soldiers in someone else's country. It's a darker hole than Moab ever was," Cat spits out. "Shots were fired, the police and soldiers will be here any moment now." She turns toward the female agent, seemingly about to ask her to use that displayed strength to bodily place Abby in the vehicle only to discover just how on the same page they are about the situation.

"Nothing to be sorry for. Operations mean casualties, sometimes the only thing is to bolt and escape to continue the mission."

Without another word, she gathers belongings to ensure nothing but Francoistatue is left behind and enters the vehicle.

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