|EVENT: The Wardens - Pt. 4|
|What: Senator Juan Castroneves (D, CA) visits a home for abandoned children. Supporters and protesters alike turn out--but even as heroes mingle with the supporters, ugly forces lurk among the protesters. Finale of The Wardens Plot.|
In spite of media control, Senator Juan Castroneves' visit to the Furtherance Mission Home is off to a bad start. The press were expected - vans, helicopters, and all. The Wardens were expected, making a guest appearance in their red, white, and gold uniforms. The press-friendly super heroes have made quite a splash already. And, of course, a certain number of fans were expected.
Not expected are the busses - yes, actual Greyhounds - lining the quiet roads that link this quiet smattering of old homes with the rest of Gotham. The folks getting off them look mundane, like a crowd headed for a Little League Game. Some are wearing T-shirts with anti-mutant or pro-"real"-human slogans, others hold signs, some carry picnic baskets, others carry lawn chairs. They've been waiting since dawn, set up on public property around the Furtherance Mission Home - a park that backs on the property, the roadways leading in, even the beach itself. A plane flies by overhead with an EARTH IS FOR HUMANS sign trailing from it.
The place is surrounded. Legally, of course. There are only a handful of police and security staff on hand, looking anxious.
Castroneves and his family, on the other hand, seem perfectly calm. The senator is talking to the headmistress while his wife and children are touring the little orchard in the company of a gardener, several children, two cats, and a goat who jumped the wall and came to join the fun at the last minute. The press - no matter which way their lenses point - are eating it all up.
Rumors of the Senator's presence were enough for Shinobi Shaw to drive out for the occasion, having donated to his campaign during his time out in California. The younger Shaw is in amongst the crowd, dressed casually in light of the location, though he's managed to worm his way up towards the front of the (friendly) crowd. He seems comfortable and happy enough, and should the Senator or any of his family look his way, they get a warm smile and a wave.
Shinobi /does/ cast the occasional look towards the /less/-friendly seeming crowd. He may look 'normal,' but he's been perfectly blunt about his status as a mutant in the press. He isn't nervous for himself, exactly. Just cynical. And the Wardens' presence does little to make him feel better.
Alan doesn't normally involve himself in the hands on operation of his news agency. He's hired the best people he could to do that and lets them do their job with, albeit with his guidance and input when he feels it's necessary. But this time... Castroneves has been making the news a lot lately and he's gotten curious to see the man in person. After all, he's been thinking of making a significant donation to the man's campaign. Getting his hand on a press pass was, naturally, easy enough and he stands with the rest of the GBC contingent.
There are some people who tend to put a lot of time, money, and energy into charity work. People who don't just do things on occasion, for good press, but have instead made it part of their life's work to do everything they can to make the world a better place.
One such person is here, but for the time being, they're off to the side speaking to a few of the other people who regularly donate decent sized chunks of money to this fine institution.
Who is it? Why it's New York City socialite Kate Bishop. Wile not a regular here, or even in Gotham, things just happened to end up happening that brought her here. Maybe, just maybe it has to do with her being more than a bit curious about this candidate and wanting to see him face to face. After all, seeing him doing things like this might just buy him her support, and if he were to get that, he might just be able to get the support of her father as well. And if that were to happen, well.... Kate's father would probably be happy to make some nice 'campaign contributions'.
It's always something. The Phantom grits his teeth as he crouches on a roof of a building across the street from the parking lot. He looks down at the crowd, more concerned with the protesters than anyone else. "Figures there aren't enough police..." he mutters to no one in particular and rubs his jaw. That's just /begging/ for something bad to happen. A low grunt, then he slips over the edge of the roof to hang by his fingertips, then start spider-monkeying his way down the side of the building to the ground. For the moment, he doesn't pay much but the barest attention to those immediately nearby, instead keeping his gaze across the street at the proceedings, hands on his hips near his holsters.
A couple more of the attendees, neither of them particularly outstanding or noticeable, are hanging out of the way under a tree at the edge of the gathering mass of people. One of them, Pete, is a black-haired man in a black suit and tie, black trench over that, and he's got a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and both hands digging in his coat pockets. "I swear to Christ I brought sandwiches, I can't've eaten them both /already/," he says to Rain around the cigarette, glancing briefly toward her. Then he straightens with a grimace and ashes in the grass, looking over the people arriving again. "/That/ would be a fucking brilliant power, wouldn't it. Create sandwiches out of nothing. I can see why all the hate, yeah? Jealousy. I'm jealous of whoever can *PWIF* sandwiches from thin air, I'll tell you that."
He cups his hands around his mouth, smoke trailing up over his head, and calls out to the nearest clot of protestors, "OI! YOU LOT! It's not FAIR is it?! Superpowers! Right? People who can create a nice dripping chip butty or a sardine paste sandwich out of AIR MOLECULES! Bring the power to the people!"
Hey people don't think of them as such, but the local pawnshop owner hears a lot of rumors. Plus it helps when you're the one willing to buy stuff from almost everyone of course, they always become chatty. So hearing the senator was going to pay a visit to Gotham, Rory Regan decided to come out and take a look at what was going on. Once he gets to the place he just blinks at all the protestors that are hanging around the place. "Oh this isn't going to end up good." He sighs to himself at that and just walks around some more, taking in the things around him.
Domino's been taking the work where it turns up, what little happens to be available for the 'new kid.' Hah, yeah sure. Sometimes having a reputation can be difficult when working with a dozen different aliases. This one's unusual as far as her typical fares go, though after successfully preventing the theft of a certain emerald in a New York museum the other day she's managed to line up a little something more. Whatever pays the bills, right? Between the pasty white skin, black 'cosmetics,' the spot around her eye and the miles of black leather, she's definitely going to stand out around here. No one ever said that subtlety was a requirement, and thank goodness for that.
There is an unexpected perk however, Dom hearing the voice of someone nearby yelling out about making sandwiches out of air. Small world, but she recognizes the man that made that call. "No shit, what brings you to this side of Gotham?" she asks to no one beyond herself, too far away to be heard. Y'know what, things are tense but so far stable here. Maybe she'll just wander on closer and say hello. Possibly even with a slugging of his shoulder, she's still debating that one.
Kitties! And a goat! If the situation weren't so tense and unhappy... Rain would totally be over there petting and befriending various animals. She's always wanted to pet a chicken. She contemplates the logistics and possibilities of keeping chickens when Pete speaks. She tilts her head. "Well... maybe I could ... a portal but ... I'd need sandwiches," She rubs her chin. Rain looks thoughtful. She smiles, faintly. She's clearly more easily amused. Or she's so nervous, her nerves just shorted and fizzled out, then joined her social skills in Tahiti for Mai thais. Hard to say. Rain adjusts her hat, though to peer at Pete. Wait. Is that the Phantom over...? She thinks about waving, but pauses and settles for a greeting nod.
She looks back to Pete. "That would be a handy power." Smile. "Up there with conjured booze, create tea..." Hmm. She frets a little hearing the comments to the protesters. "I'm not sure it'll be wise to rile them up." A sandwich crazed horde... Sigh. "I mean, I can understand being afraid of some people. People are pretty awful sometimes /without/ the powers," Sigh. "But ..." She really seems to be decidedly on the side /of/ people with powers. She peers over as Domino wanders over, should she. There's a polite smile from the violet-eyed witch. "Hello." She offers politely, quietly. For her part, Rain is just a patient observer for now.
At least half of the students are crowded around the Wardens at the moment. They seem thrilled to be in the presence of the heroes, asking for autographs and maybe - PUHLEEZ - a display of some super powers like their own. The Wardens seem to be taking it all in stride, at least. The children are far from threatening, themselves. Several have brightly-coloured skin, many have animalistic features, a few have wings, one little girl looks to be made of smoke. They are all, however, just children.
A FOX spokeswoman is too close to the Senator, though he's taking it well. "Would YOU send your children to a school like this, Senator? Are you comfortable with your children associating with other children who are potentially dangerous?"
"I don't believe those who are different are inherently dangerous," Castroneves says. "My children attend a public school but if there were children like these..." He indicates a yellow-eyed, sharp-toothed, green-skinned infant in the headmistress' arms. "...at any school, it wouldn't change my mind about it."
There is always the first pebble to fall in any landslide. In this case, it's a pair of rough looking men on an ATV who come roaring across the grounds. The moment their vehicle broke through the old rail fence, protesters began filtering in at every opening, more ATVs interspersed with them.
"Traitor," the driver bellows as the ATV churns across the lawn, swerving to avoid security agents already moving to intercept them. "Get rid of them before they get rid of us!" The rider pulls out something and lobs it at the senator. Agents intervene but the camera man is hit - the missile breaks open, drenching the man and his gear in thick goop that smells like fuel. From the crowd, there's the pop of a light launcher firing. A canister arcs through the air, then another. A chant begins: "Send the freaks to Hell!" Someone smacks Pete on the shoulder, expecting him to join in the rush.
Terrified, the children scatter, the little fliers launching in all direction, the smoke-child dissipating, the others simply fleeing with no idea who to trust. Castroneves is on the ground under an agent, his wife has their son in her arms, an agent has their daughter and is dragging them toward the school. Teachers scramble ineffectively to collect the children as the noose of protesters tightens.
Shinobi's expression is not one of surprise. He'd expected this to happen sooner. He doesn't move from his spot, though. Not yet. He stays right where he is, watching, with a thin frown on his face.
When he saw the horde of protesters, Alan just knew things would end in tears. He hoped otherwise but he just knew it. This is Gotham and hope almost never wins over tragedy and despair. "Get everything." he tells his people. "But don't risk yourselves. If you can identify any real leaders directing the assault, get them on film so we can turn it over to the police." After a quick glance over toward Castroneves and security, he looks back to those making the assault and tries to avoid anything flying in his direction.
It kind of figures. Doesn't it? Someone is publicly trying to do good, and all hell breaks loose?
Well, as those ATVs come roaring in.... As those 'devices' are launched... As the shout of 'Traitor' can be heard... One of the donors present doesn't panic. Not as she looks around for the security. After all, aren't presidential candidates under the protection of The Secret Service from the moment they're officially nominated?
But whether Kate Bishop finds them or not, she does glance at the other donors nearby, and all but shouts, "We have to get the kids to safety!" before trying to rush over and grab a couple of the children, so she can hopefully drag them to safety!
"...oh, crumbs," mutters the Phantom when the ATV appears, breaking into a fast sprint. He races across the street, sliding over the roof of a car that skids to a stop. No attention paid to the driver as she honks her horn at him, as he races up the drive.
"Eh I'm not riling them," says Pete to Rain cheerfully, leaning over to bump her shoulder lightly with his own. He flicks the cigarette to the asphalt and then grinds it out with his heel; the fact that he's crowd-scanning means it'd be *really* hard for him to miss Domino approaching, and he starts grinning. "It's just trolling. They'll never figure it out. Now -this- one," he starts telling Rain, gesturing to the white-skinned mercenary approaching, "she's--"
And, right, yes, shit hitting fan. The Englishman whirls around, zeroing in on the approach path of the ATVs, holding one hand out behind him in front of Rain and Domino; he gets punched in the shoulder and barely registers it. "We have to break the line," he says flatly. "Rain. Domino. We go up with the idiots and cause a shit-ton of confusion, break up the organism. Or I do. Help if you like." And there Wisdom goes, diving into the crowd and rushing with it.
Yup, he called it things weren't going to go well with all the protestors. Once the ATV appears Rory looks around once more and ducks behind some trees. Once there he just focuses and his costume which teleports to him replacing his clothes. See magic costumes are just awesome like that! Once the costume has arrived The Tattered Tatterdemalion is ready for action.
There isn't much time to pass around introductions, Domino giving Rain a peculiar look and an almost hesitant wave (who the heck is this gunslinger, now?) before focusing primarily on the man that she recognizes. "Still speaking words of Wisdom, I see," she offers with a slight grin. "Didn't expect to bump into your ornery ass again."
Then the fighting breaks out. Lucky her! "Raincheck on the sarcasm, kiddos. Erm, pun not intended," she adds after learning Rain's name (whoops.) Fortunately she's outside the range of the initial attack, but that's not likely to last for long. There's kids here, there's news cameras... Normally she'd leave the guns hidden, but these guys? She recognizes their type. They're here to kill and do damage. Between that and the range, hell. All's fair in love and war. "Right, see you two on the other side."
Rather than run into the middle of uncontrolled chaos Domino dashes around them with a sidearm already held in both hands, drawing a bead on one of nearly a dozen ATV riders. Center of the body, leave nothing to chance. Hitting one of the kids here would -not- be good. "Make 'em count, girl."
Rain smiles a little at the shoulder bump. She seems amused. "Fair enough," She offers quietly. She looks over as Pete gestures to Domino, adjusting her hat and bobbing her head politely. She starts to greet Domino, but nods at Pete. "I was going to grab a bucket of water to get the gas off that guy..." Or at least concentrate while going to get said bucket, so even if she conjures it, no one's any wiser about her powers. She beams at Domino. "It's okay. My name lends itself to lots of puns..." Thankfully, no one's heard Rain's REAL name just yet. There's small favors. She takes a deep breath.
There's no small amount of concern over the canister or the fuel. Not to mention that chant and Pete apparently being enlisted to join the protest. There's some relief as children start to scramble. For now, she goes to get that bucket of water. It's not the best cover ever as to where she's getting water, but it's some. She'll be joining the others just in a moment... water!
The Wardens spring into action. One of them - Wiz Whirl, by the lettering on his legs - becomes a tornado that tears after the ATVs. A popular chap known as Bullhead grabs one of the school's minivans and *throws* it down the drive to where a cargo van is careening past The Phantom. The minivan hits and shatters, the cargo van veers, spilling men with weapons across the lawn. Though there's no obvious source, weird ghosts rise out of the ground in front of the gathering protesters, howling in rage, flapping immense wings. Protesters link arms and someone here and there begins to pray. Two very large retirees grab at Pete's arms. "Pray with us, brother!"
"The forces of Hell shall not deter us," a huge voice booms through a megaphone. One of the protesters - a big man with a big beard - has pulled on a choir robe and is spurring the others on. "We must take back our Earth. We must make our last stand!"
Domino's shots are good. She takes out one driver, then another, before the others wise up and steer clear of her sphere of influence.
The wake of a press helicopter swooping low throws two little winged children - a tiny bird-like boy and an impish girl - toward the ground in opposite directions.
Castroneves, instead of running for safety, is chasing down a little girl with long-legs and rabbity ears who is dashing frantically along the leading edge of the protesters, sobbing in panic. His agents are hot on his heels.
Two of the Wardens, the women, have hurried Castroneves' wife and children into the old house. The remaining man has leap up on the roof of a news van and appears to be fashioning a weapon out of what he has on his bandoliers and the satellite equipment there.
ATV riders continue to lob their missiles, not at anyone but toward the school and house themselves. The air is becoming heady with the smell of the thick, jellied fuel. Then, the flying canisters hit: one near Alan's press van, one in front of house. They spark and flare like magnesium set alight - flash bangs of some sort that white out camera feeds and burn the eyes. More are fired from somewhere in the trees on the perimeter, the canisters whistling as they fly. Some of the protesters are making a dash for the house. One of them grabs up a pink-skinned child and hurls her at the nearest person looking to stop them.
All right. That's enough of that. Shinobi moves forward, towards the fence that /should/ be separating the crowd from the house -- and he passes right through it, no fuss, no muss. He takes off after the senator at a sprint, hurriedly raising his hands when one of the agents sees him coming to prove that he's unarmed.
"Here to help," Shinobi says quickly, and apparently, he means to help by rushing past the group to chase the little bunny-eared girl down. He swoops her up off of her feet and is quick to smile to try and calm her down. "It's okay. We'll keep you safe," he promises, before turning around to give Castroneves a very serious, concerned look. "Are you okay? Where's Rosa?"
Alan quickly looks away as the flare lights up near him, trying to blink the spots out of his eyes. And while he really had no intention of getting involved, that intention changes instantly when one of the attackers picks up the child. "Oh like hell you will!" he growls and runs forward, a run that turns into a leap in order to catch the pink skinned girl. Hands full of young mutant, he pivots and back kicks the man fully in the chest.
And as the chaos continues, Kate Bishop tries to get what kids she can to safety. Yes, she dodges an ATV. Yes she watches things get lobbed at the house. In fact, as she tries to get the kids to the house, one of the 'fuel bumps' hits her in the back, knocking her down, to the ground, as she ends up covered in that fuel. The fact that she's down though means that she doesn't have to worry about those flash bombs though. right?
And all while that happens, the Manhattan socialite is trying to focus on what she can do here and now, while trying not to think about what she could do if she only had a bow, arrows, and her costume.
There's not even time for an exclamation--the Phantom has to dive out of the way of the roaring cargo can, and even so he can feel the wind on that one, even through the costume. Not that he has even a moment to think about it. "Eyebrows lift over the diamond mask as the eyes behind them widen, and he has to dive again from the hurled van--enough to not take it full force, but not enough to get completely out of the way. The thing clips him in his leg, and he can feel the shin bone shatter as it lands. Just great. And he can't even deal with that right then, either, as the men spill out of the wrecked van. He grits his teeth and unfastens the covers on his holsters, limping toward the men.
"Oh, pray, yes, right--" Wisdom says as he's stopped short by the retirees. He takes a moment there, held in earnest place, to put his sunglasses on. And then he's wriggling out of their grip. "I--" He COUGHS. COUGHS. "--FUCK you gave me CONTACT TUBERCULOSIS!" The British voice is outraged and indignant and horrified all at once, and he bolts away from them, shoving through people; every ten feet or so he changes the panic button. 'Magneto's here!' or 'leprosy!' or 'that's my daughter in her HALLOWEEN COSTUME!!' or 'the Westboro Baptist Church is on our side WE SHOULD LEAVE' or 'the parking lot is wired to explode!' or 'the ATVs are being driven by Taliban!' -- that one he sticks with after a while.
Finally, dodging under and around and slamming through and screaming bloody murder until he's going hoarse, Wisdom finally makes it to the front edge of the crowd, closing in and tightening like a noose. Just as he's about to start the other half of the crowd-explode plan (as opposed to crowd control, really), the helicopter sends those two tinies flying-- he dives for the closest one, the little bird-boy, and gets his body between the kid's and the exploding angry things. "Shh-- safe now if you can hush," he pants, pulling them both upright and then staggering in the direction of the little girl. "Here! Come here, dove, got to get you out of here--"
So the multicolored ragged hero decides to spring into action. Now that the rags that make up his costume have assembled on him, and he had to get them in line for a moment. Once he has the evil souls in line, some of whom probably still agree with some of the idiot protestors, he spots the falling children. Someone else is trying to save one, so Ragman decides to go after and save the other. Urging the souls to help, he leaps up at the falling girl. His cape shoots out mid-leap and goes to wrap around the girl, to help pull her towards the helping hero.
Jeezus, this is getting ugly, -fast.- Above the yelling and the shots taken from various weapons Domino catches sight of the man on the megaphone, which is conveniently timed as the quad drivers get the idea to avoid her. Smartest move they've made all day, that. Pale blue eyes narrow as she drops to a lightly armored knee, leveling the pistol's sights on the megaphone itself. Priority one: Stop the propaganda. Yeah, she can handle that.
If her aim is true it's going to royally suck for the guy's hand, but he'll live through it. He'll probably even live through getting shot in the thigh by her follow-up, if she can land that one. If that guy's organizing this mess then he needs to stay alive, though that doesn't require that he still be in the fight! Dom's sure that Gotham's finest would just -love- to have some words with the idiot.
Sucks when the good guys shoot back, doesn't it?
Rain would worry about Phantom, and try to help him - if she weren't rushing for a bucket of dirt and water and to try to help deal with the flares. She really wishes she had some better way to deal with the fuel. Conjure a breeze? Water? Distract them with a flying broom driveby? Ugh. So many options. The ghosts are a bit surprising, but Rain has no time to think about it. Actually, she's trying to run here and there to manage sparks and what have you. A fire breaking out would be so bad. But it seems to be way too much for one witch without her magic. She would cheer for Ragman and the others, if she weren't scrambling into action - or deciding to stop something with her forehead. DONK!
Stars cloud her vision, as do flashes of light and - flail! Spark on the sleeve! It would be funny, if not for how life threatening things just got. Anyway. She decides to keep her bucket of water-dirt on hand and head towards the trouble. She'll tamp out anything along the way, secretly wishing she COULD newt people. But then, hearing Pete's yelling by the others, she pauses, contemplates. Yes. An idea. At the choir and old people, she peers over and summons her flying broom. It's witchin' time. She's not sure what would spook them more, showing up as a rap artist or the witch thing. But if she can't help grab a kid, then she can at least shoo the old people off. Or at least snag anyone in trouble. Bucket in hand, she hops onto her broom. "Er..." Hmm. Well, it's hard to follow shooting and British heckling, but she has to do something, darnit. Perhaps seek out someone injured.
"It's not safe for you out here, my friend," Castroneves says to Shinobi. "Take the child. Rosa is--" He points toward the house where his children are pressed up against a front window.
Rosa has just dashed out onto the porch. She gestures frantically. "Juan, hurry. Get inside!"
"Go, go!" Castroneves shoves Shinobi in that direction. "My helicopter is coming, I do not know how many it will carry." Sure enough, a big black chopper has come up over the trees and is weaving between press helicopters.
Wiz Whirl has taken out all of the ATVs in no time, Stockpile has effectively flattened a full third of the protesters behind the house with his sound weapon he's constructed, and Bulkhead has torn apart a garden shed to use as a giant scoop with which he's cleared a path behind the house for those fleeing toward the school
Alan's timely intervention allows two off-duty police officers to subdue two of the protesters attempting to swarm the house. It also draws the ire of other protesters who attack him in spite of the child in his arms.
Tarragon, one of the Wardens, steps onto the roof of the house and raises both hands to summon up a glowing, green dragon. The effect draws attention not only from the press but from the men who have spilled out of the van. One of them carries a heavy old Army rocket launcher. He balances it with help from a friend, then fires at the dragon. There's no hesitation, they reload as soon as the first shot is off.
Kate manages to herd several children and a confused goat not quite into the house but into the arms of two teens - one with horns, another with four arms - who have come sprinting around from the school behind the house.
"Come on, lady!" The kid with all the arms offers Kate his last free hand. "You gotta get outta here! Whole school's evacuating." They, at least, seem to know what they're doing.
Pete manages to catch the little boy. Ragman's heroic leap catches the falling imp-child from midair and he breaks her fall. The two men are nearly back to back in a circle of angry protesters.
"Freak!" "Mutie!" "Devil!" Pete, Ragman, and the children are suddenly targets of rage. Rain, likewise, becomes the target of thrown objects and curses.
Domino cleanly 'disarms' the most obvious driving force behind the rally and he goes down in a heap. A ripple of shock spreads outward through the crowd - non-humans use powers, humans carry guns - does not compute, humans are their side!
Tarragon's dragon is the centerpiece of the chaos. The missile flies toward it and Tarragon gestures imperiously. The dragon roars and swings its head, knocking the missile out to sea but in the same moment, Castroneves' helicopter tilts to avoid a press 'copter coming in for a better shot.
The dragon's head catches the tail of the senator's helicopter and everything holds its breath in a terrible pause. Black shards and fiery sparks rain from the tail of the helicopter, it groans as it rolls slowly like a dying whale. The world springs back into motion and the helicopter plunges into the front of the house.
Debris and fire blow back out of the house, smoke engulfs the press vans, sparks ignite scattered pools of fuel.
Shinobi Shaw makes what is perhaps his biggest mistake of the night. "Thank you, Senator," he tells Castroneves and, with the shove, he's off and running to join the others inside the house, with the little rabbity girl held protectively to his chest. Once he's onto the porch, he extends an arm to Rosa, to try and guide her back inside with him. "He'll be fine," he assures her. "Come on. We'll be safer indoors."
You'd think so, wouldn't you. Shinobi and his charge disappear into the house just in time for the helicopter to drop out of the sky.
It's a good thing, really, that Shinobi's instincts have him shift the way he does -- he goes diamond-hard and twists to put himself between the crash and the little girl, making sure to cover her head with his hand. They, at least, are spared from the initial impact. But with the smoke, he can't see anyone else. He hunkers down low to try and keep himself and the girl out of the smoke as much as possible and struggles to reorient himself. They need to get outside. /Now/.
It's always a mistake - a huge mistake, in fact - to turn your back on attackers. But that's what Alan does in order to set the girl down on the ground. "Quick, go to the..." House. Helicopter. Boom. In addition to the punches he's getting from behind, now he's peppered with splinters and other bits of debris. Fortunately, so are his attackers so he gets a break on that at least. "Holy shit." Unfortunately, so is the pink girl who starts crying and huddles on the ground.
And that extra hand... Errr... Arm... Hand(?) is accepted by Kate Bishop as she gets up, and tries to rush to the house with the kids. As she heads along after him, she tries to grab, herd, and otherwise move the children that she can to try and make sure they're headed that way.
Or at least she was. Because as the dragon hits the copter... As said copter falls... As it hits the house and flames erupt.... As debris and bits of flame go flying, igniting some of those pools of fuel... The socialite throws her arm up to guard her face, nearly loosing her balance again as things just get worse. She doesn't notice how close she comes to being lit on fire as one of those flaming bits of debris shoots past her.
Instead, as she starts to recover, she tries to point away from the house as she shouts, "Go that way!"
Hopefully the kids nearby not only hear her, but they also understand.
Well. That just won't do. The Phantom rests on his right leg, taking his guns from his holsters. Screw waiting any longer than necessary. He takes careful aim--then starts shooting knees. One in the leg of one of the men launching missiles, one in the knee of the other. He's had just about enough of these jerks. He'd like to be up in the thick of things, but he'll take dealing with the idiots on the periphery.
"Oh ta-- hang on you can fly--" Pete's panting as Ragman gets the little girl to him, and then the protestors start to circle them both, radiating hate. "--get them out of here. Please, /please/, get them out of here. This whole thing is going to blow--" And then hey kaboom EXPLODING HELICOPTER CRASH. No. No. Not cool at all. Pete stops trying to talk or plan for a second, because all he's got time to do before flaming debris starts raining down on all of them is try and shield the kids with his own self. And dammit, this is what, the /third/ explosion he's been in in two weeks?
Debris *hurts*. Fire he can ignore, shit slamming into him or shooting through him with ballistic force, not so much. Another trenchcoat down the toilet. And all he can actually think to say, to shout, his shades broken off his bloodied face and his eyes hazel in rage, is "GO HOME. GO /HOME/. ALL OF YOU JUST GO HOME AND BE HAPPY YOU HAVE ONE."
Ragman doesn't even get the chance to tell the strange British guy that he doesn't actually fly, well not like that anyway. But he gets the other kid shoved at him and just stares at them with his mask covered blank face, "Uhm, hi." Is he all gets our before he starts to run away. Hey the British guy gave him the kid so he's following the British battle strategy according to Monty Python. But he realizes he's not going to get far enough away from running. So he does the next best thing, he stops and covers the kids with his costume, and just well tells the souls to make him as tough as they can. All the while hoping that the suit doesn't catch on fire, which of course does happen of course. Now that is when it's time for Rory to panic, fire is one of the few things that can destroy his suit.
"A rocket launcher?!" Domino made her mark in this scene, though not in the same way these other guys are about to. What are these fools trying to do, start a war? She's about to target the launcher as her next priority when there's a dragon (where the heck did that thing come from, again?) colliding with a chopper. Clearly the pilot did not share her luck factor. "Aw, -hell.-"
Familiar situation, this. Running, gunning, avoiding bits of sharp, flaming debris, the drinking's gonna be -killer- tonight! There's few safe places to go from the rain of destruction peppering down around her. The female merc dives and rolls across the ground to dodge one chunk of it only to have another pierce through her coat and armored covering beneath, jabbing into the back of her shoulder where it remains. There's an abrupt yelp before she can reach back and rip the hot, jagged shard of aluminum out of herself. Frack! A few superficial cuts across the face she can deal with, but that one's going to be a problem.
Okay, think. Someone else could take that rocket launcher if she puts down the current shooter. Maybe the best thing to do would be to try and steal it from them. Dom grits her teeth, draws her second pistol, and charges into this mess. Anything that isn't friendly is getting put down, hard. Like the guy with the launcher getting capped in the knee. Nice shot, whomever got it!
Rain's fine with verbal abuse. Having been/being homeless, she's sort of gotten a little of it herself. But then, her mind springs into that strange and surreal slowed time as the helicopter catches dragon head. There's concern for both parties. She doesn't have time to think on it though, as another attempt to give her brain damage comes flying through the air. Donk! She ows! But the crash and smoke are her concern now. She gasps, and - oh gods, flaming debris! She hisses in pain, catching a few bits herself. She clings to her broomstick and bucket. The world is in chaos and flames, smoke and the metallic tang of hatred lingering in the air. She quietly despises herself for being torn this way and that on what to do.
But soon, her answer is clear. Rain takes a deep breath. While she looks a little worse for wear, she has to take a good, long moment to concentrate. Though, she pauses, noticing poor Ragman on fire. Mercifully, she's close enough to fling the bucket's water towards the fiery bits on him. Though, she looks totally zoned and it's almost surreal - despite what action movies tell you. What is it she's trying to do? Well, her ponderous spell is apparently conjuring water, to try to put out fires near the crash and by the crash itself, should it be safe (No water on electrical fires!). Granted, while her casting is subtle - she's still got to worry about protestors and the nagging bits of pain from the cuts and bruises. She looks like she lost a fight to a lawnmower.
Out in the field by the wrecked vans, The Phantom takes out the men with the missile launcher cleanly before the second shot is off but he draws small calibre fire from the others who are providing support. He's able to keep them from getting at the weapon again, though, and they begin to withdraw from the field, dragging their wounded with them.
Domino quickly picks out who among the crowd is looking far too organized and - strangely - moving in the direction of the explosion. There's a certain intentness that mercs on a mission possess and these guys look like a mop-up crew moving in. She puts down four in a row, picking them off through the milling mob. Two others ditch and run as the muzzle of her gun swings toward them.
Kate and the children stumble past a terrified photographer who - instinctively - snaps a picture of the socialite leading the children to safety around the house.
The explosion and the resulting chaos give Alan some respite from the pummelling as the mob shrinks back in fear. Pete's outburst and Ragman's odd appearance clear out even more room. Even in this hell, another media person has her wits about her and grabs footage of Pete in all his ranting.
Rain douses Ragman effectively - now, sodden, he's more of an asset in the rain of fire than most. A secondary flood of water follows the stuff dumped out of the bucket, extinguishing burning bushes and drenching fire flaring up along the side of the house.
Shinobi isn't hurt, the little girl in his arms is coughing and sobbing but that means she's breathing. That doesn't explain why his arm and side are wet and sticky. There will be time later to wonder. Rosa - he was sure he felt her a moment ago - is gone. Orientation is nearly impossible, if Shinobi is looking for halls or a door. Daylight, however, comes as part of the house collapses inward, opening an escape route through which a flood of water pours, clearing a path through the flame.
The school did have an escape route. From her vantage point, Rain can see a large van with tinted windows and a delivery truck pulling away from the school behind the house. Several teachers are now running back toward the house, likely to try and collect stragglers, but the bulk of the students have been evacuated, from the babes and little ones who lived in the house to the older kids and teens who lived in the school dorms.
Tarragon is nowhere to be seen, the dragon is gone. Lady Daze appears out of the smoke and, as she raises her hands, a wave of weakness and disorientation sweeps the mob. That's all the impetus they need to break and run, staggering like drunks, trying to clear what is no longer a righteous protest - this is a war zone.
Castroneves was attempting to commandeer a press van with a loudspeaker mounted on top, even as his agents were trying to convince him to run to the house. His agents shielded him with their bodies as he, and the van are blown clear of the explosion and the fire. He's nowhere to be seen, the van lies on its side, wheels slowly turning.
Light through the smoke. Shinobi will take it. Shinobi wants to offer the little girl some assurances, but he's too busy coughing from the smoke -- instead, he starts clumsily rushing for the makeshift exit in the side of the building, trying not to trip over debris in the process until, finally, he comes lurching out into the daylight.
Shinobi's right side is splattered with blood. Too much blood. He's too busy coughing and gasping for clean air to even realize it. He staggers away from the building, the little girl still hugged to his chest, the back of his shirt all but shredded from the initial impact -- /he/ can become sturdier in the face of danger, but his clothes? Not so much. With the breather, Alan takes the time to pick the little pink girl back up and go running with her toward safety. Though it less running and more hobbling.
With everything that is going on, what else can be said? Even as her picture is taken, Kate Bishop continues to try to do what she can do, even if right now, it's more like just staggering as she tries to help as many children as she can get away from the house.
The bullets hit the Phantom in the chest, each impact making him grunt, and thanks to being wounded he goes down onto his back. At least it's small-caliber, so his suit will keep the bullets from penetrating. The internal damage, on the other hand... Well, heck with that. He can't think about that right then. He's continuously firing, keeping these mooks' attention on him, and trying to buy the others just that much more time to deal with the children.
They're... going. They're leaving. And Ragman has the kids now-- so Pete does the only other thing he can think to do. He runs lopsidedly for the crash site, where though the water's put most of the flames out, everything is hot. So hot. Steam in the air from where metal and stone are too hot to be cooled by water, the heat of the metal and stone themselves; oily smoke--
Okay, so, check, an abandoned half-cup of coffee gets scooped up on the way and dumped down the front of Pete's shirt, and he pulls his shirt up over his nose and mouth, and /then/ continues-- and goes right into the danger zone. Finally, he begins the task he figures is probably hopeless, but /possibly not entirely/: digging through the sodden and incredibly inhospitable mess for survivors. Or bodies. If you can take the heat, might as well go into the kitchen.
Well Rain doused him with the water, Ragman owes that lady a drink or something for that, the evil souls will even chip in for that one. But he doesn't have to worry about the fire anymore. He runs with the kids that he was given now, and tries to get those two to safety.
Dishing out some havoc, her body count on the rise, man does this take Domino back! Too bad it took such a low blow to a bunch of kids for her nostalgia to kick in, those jerks. The air's getting a bit thick with fumes and smoke but this isn't over yet. With any luck there's enough people out there to handle the evacuations (she's seen a few, already...) These baddies lost their voice, their strong arm, and now their morale. Only the foolish would continue to protest with violence, especially once she gets that launcher onto her good arm.
It's only from that vantage point that Dom spots the Phantom out there, looking to be in pretty awful shape. He's helping put down the right people though, which makes him an ally for the time being. If there's anyone left shooting at him she can try to help clear them out. By pointing a loaded rocket at them. "Hey, boys! -Bad- idea." If the Phantom and her can clear the rest of them out she'll hurry on over to give him a hand, because broken legs -suck!-
Sure hope this launcher will fit in the back of her car...
Fire BAD. There's some relief seeing the van and delivery truck. Yes, definitely relief. Some worry about Tarragon and - and - so much to worry about that her mind clouds over. Either way, there's relief at Ragman not being on fire, most of the kids nabbed and being taken to safety near as she can tell. She would be glad to hang out with the dude, souls and all. But for now, she's trying to mind the fires. Especially so since now there are new ones, or at least - are those near the van? Rain's stomach sinks a bit. A lot. To her shoes. To the ground. It feels as if she's swallowed stones. Unaware of someone's suffering just meters away, watching things degenerate into a war zone... you'd think she'd be used to it by now, in this town. Where even the damned pigeons throw knives or something.
For now, then, she's tending to any small fires and trying to find people near the van and ruins. She won't get under foot of anyone's way though.
For once, the Wardens aren't staying around for an interview. A dark red mega-SUV that must be theirs pulls out, stops for Lady Daze, and then roars off across the grounds, knocking protesters aside as it clears the fallen fence, the ditch beyond, and makes it out to the road. Three ambulances have to take to the shoulder of the road to avoid being wiped out as the Wardens clear the area.
Shinobi staggers out of the house and into the outstretched arms of the press. A reporter leaps forward to pull him free, an independent cameraman offers a hand as he crawls out a broken window. The bunny-child has a death grip around his neck which, while strangling, makes for some great photographs.
Kate is intercepted by a teacher and a stray security agent. The teacher babbles gratefully, collecting and herding his charges while the security agent - who knows his stuff (he's an Agent Coulson fan, and kind of handsome to boot) - offers Kate his arm. "Ms. Bishop, this way. We need to get that flammable substance off of you."
Another teacher - undaunted by Ragman's appearance, thanks to her day job being full of oddities - calls to him. "Sir, the children! Please, this way." The children, who have been awfully brave until just now, start crying as soon as they see a face they recognize.
As the crowd clears, Alan's people catch sight of him as they're getting a record of everything that they can. One of them, an equipment manager, takes off after the most important piece of equipment on the ground - the guy who signs their checks. "Boss, this way!" Fortunately, Alan's people and property are all intact - and they get some great shots of him saving an adorable little girl.
Rain keeps making passes over the area, putting out fires even as the first echoes of the fire truck sirens sound down the road. They're on the way.
The Phantom manages to drive off the mooks, Domino's appearance just gives them rabbit-like speed. She's left with a rocket launcher, he's left with a broken leg and a world of pain
The mercenary team falls right into the lap of police pulling up at the edge of the property. The officers barely have time to get coffees into cup holders before they have to leap out and start arresting armed men. Other police cars are racing up the drive - everyone's focused on finding Castroneves.
Pete has an ugly, ugly job. In the smoke and heat, he finds a girl's Mary Jane shoe and a toy helicopter, both recognizable as belonging to Castroneves' children. Their little bodies are nowhere to be found but the room where they'd been standing is completely obliterated. He does find Rosa's body in the foyer - she's been torn in half by a helicopter blade.
The body of the school's headmistress is partway down a hall where the air is clearer. When he turns her over, she's obviously dead from a head wound but a pair of resentful little yellow eyes shine through the shadows under her. The tiny green infant snaps dagger teeth at Pete, then burbles.
Castroneves comes scrambling out of the overturned van, bloodied but alive. One of his men is down, the other is left to tackle him unceremoniously as he attempts to fling himself back into the burning house, screaming for his wife and children. The cameras are relentless, swinging to capture his grief and panic for the world.