2007-02-16: Chapter One: Combustion - Confrontations


oldXander_icon.gif Ramon_icon.gif Elena_icon.gifAngie_icon.gif Laurel_icon.gif Jenny_icon.gif Jane_icon.gif

Guest Starring: Kellie_icon.gif Rainer, Patricia, Natalie

Summary: The aftermath of the destruction at the Hartsdale facility has consequences for one Company man and, subsequently, everyone trying to enjoy a calm evening at Central Park.

Date It Happened: February 16th, 2007

Chapter One: Combustion


Central Park, New York City

The weather in New York tonight is mild, with the warm air and clear skies bringing many people out to Central Park to enjoy the evening with family, friends, lovers. Illicit meetings. That kind of thing. Not exactly out of place in the big city is the distant wailing of a fire truck.

A square-shouldered, stern figure begins to cut through the park. It's not only the heavy, black wool trenchcoat that gives this man such a serious veneer; it's his sombre face. This is a man who has not had an easy couple of days… but there are so many like him in New York City, it's easy to pass him by as another tired businessman, angry with the world. Two companions soon join him, jogging to catch up, and they aren't so haggard - two women, one middle-aged and one who looks to be in her twenties, walk beside him. The older of the two is talking a mile a minute.

"Rainer. Rainer? Are you listening to me? Natalie just got promoted, are you listening?"

"What?" grunts his characteristically deep voice. He's distracted, glancing around the park and those enjoying it, shifting his hands about in his deep pockets. "…right. Mhm. Good for you, Natalie. I have a lot to process from work."

"You always have a lot to process from work," says the younger woman, Natalie. "God, it's like you don't even care."

"I have more important things to worry about today."

Already in Central Park is one Alexander Weston Marx, better known to the masses as Xander, the hero of justice… Not really, but the point is, Xander is here, and he happens to be eating a hot dog alongside Ramon Gomez, with whom he's been having a conversation with that can go without repeating for now. "This is a nice hot dog, actually…" He muses between bites.

"He's always done good work," Ramon says with a nod. "Between this and my daughter's cooking I'm starting to feel myself again." He's on his third Coke, too, which might have something to do with it. Caffeine and sugar are wonderful things to put in the blood stream when one's feeling stretched to the limit.

Somewhere near the park's entrance is Jane. She's less bundled up than she might usually be, having chosen to wear only her hooded Yale sweatshirt and jeans. As is customary, her guitar in its case is slung over one shoulder, a backpack over the other as she makes her way in and heads for a bench in silence. Given her recent experiences in the outdoors, though, she's decided to take precautions. Foam plugs are securely placed into each ear.

Angie is already in the park, not too far away from Rainier and what may be his family. She watches them with a glint in her eyes for a few seconds before shifting her attention to the park all around her. Ditching her greatcoat for a form-fitting black jacket, she's leaning up against a light pole, arms crossed and looking like a permanent fixture. A cigarette dangles from her lips, little trails of smoke curling out of her pale nostrils.

He's been gone for too long. Elena peers at her reflection in a shop window, rubbing at her forehead and the line she sees that's grown to crease it. She's only 18. She can't start having lines on her face now. "I need to buy cucumbers," she mutters under her breath, her words coming in quiet puffs of cold. Pushing away, she tugs up the collar of her winter coat, and stuffs her hands in her pockets before moving down the street. She can see Central Park right in front of her.

Jenny jogs in Central Park regularly, completing several circuits of the paths before she is satisfied she has gotten her daily workout done. Today is no different. She's off work, and doesn't have to deal with that crazy-go-nuts director telling her 'show more cleavage!' during the photo shoots anymore. Thank god that was a one-time modelling job. She hopes she never sees another Saturn Aura again.
Jenny Hawking just jogs along, taking little or no notice of the many people in the park.

Of course, some people are lone wolves. One woman in particular, her dark hair left to fall loosely around her shoulders, walks with a languid pace down one of the paths, her hands tucked safely into her pockets. There's a scarf around her face, obscuring everything from her nose down. She could be anyone, really. Beneath her breath, she hums a slow tune, one that's likely only audible to others as they pass. She's some distance behind Rainer, walking the same direction, her blue eyes boring a hole into the man's back from beneath dark bangs.

To say that Laurel wants to be in the park this late would not be accurate at all. The photoshoot she got hired to do at the park ran late, and even as the natural light failed, she just couldn't bring herself to tell them that they needed to stop and come back later— rescheduling on high paying customers never goes over well. Using what was left of the light, and all the special lenses she could manage, she got a few extra shots, finishing the shoot up, and then packed up her equipment and started making her way out of the park— alone. Alone is not a way she prefers to be as it gets later, but at least there's a people around. It helps her not feel quite as vulnerable. With a heavy bag over her shoulder, and a second bag dragging behind her on wheels, she hurries towards an area where the cabs are most likely to be waiting to take people home.

Rainer's eyes pierce the distance through the park, focusing on some faraway point he can't possibly see. Maybe he's not looking. Maybe he's listening. Whatever the case, something has him on edge. His shoulders shift underneath his heavy coat, as if feeling those eyes on his back. Setting his mouth in a firm line, he tries to hurry up his family. "Could have just stayed home. I have work to do." He's probably like a broken record.

"And miss our regular Saturday evening at the Bistro? It's practically celebratory tonight for Natalie, you know. You ALWAYS have—"

"Patricia," Rainer cuts off the older woman curtly, no-nonsense, and simply continues on his way through Central Park. Angie gets a glance on his way - one that is subtly acknowledging. It should say one more thing: /always keep watching/.

Xander hmms as he bites onto his hotdog a bit, and munches a little more, before replying to Ramon, "I might have to try your daughter's cooking then, if you'd let me…" In the mean time, he glances around the area at the other people. Nobody he recognises, though he might spot Elena some ways away if she got his attention.

"I'll let you," Ramon begins, but his head snaps up and he goes looking around the park, trying to find the source of the thought he just caught. He looks right past Rainer and Company at first. Then he spots Angie. He hisses and steps to the side of the hotdog stand, to block her view. "That's her, the kidnapper," he hisses to Xander. "That's Angie. And the whole group she's with — it must have been the man I heard. They're here looking for someone. He mentioned Hartsdale. And…he said nobody's safe." His growling tone turns a mite bewildered "What could that mean?"

Her eyes scan over the people in the park ahead of her, but don't seem to take any particular notice of them as she heads for an open bench and sits. Jane opens the guitar case and places it on the ground, then sets down her backpack and plugs into the small amp. The instrument goes over her left shoulder in the fashion of someone right-handed, and she starts to tune up. Not so easy going, with her ears plugged and the sound thus reduced in her perception.

Eye contact is made with her boss, that silent message passed along so that Angie starts to casually swing her gaze around the nearby park. The cigarette is taken from her mouth and held with surprising delicacy in between two fingers as she blows out the remnants of her last drag. It may all look casual, but she's scanning the vicinity pretty thoroughly. "Just another night in Central Park… with all the freaks," she mutters under her breath.

After she rounds a corner, Central Park opens up in front of her. Checking the clock on her phone's LCD display, Elena can't help but frown. It's getting late. Waiting for the stoplight signs to change, she crosses the street then, quickly striding across the pavement. Rainer and his family have -just- passed the other side of the sidewalk when she manages to reach the other end. She keeps walking, pulling out her ski cap and putting it on her head. God, but it was cold. Her dark eyes start sweeping around to try and catch sight of her father and Alexander Marx, if the attorney had managed to find him. And then….she could smell something -delicious- somewhere around the vicinity too. She hasn't had anything to eat, and a New York hotdog sounded good right about now.

Jenny comes around a corner and notices Rainer. She immediately comes to a stop, her shoes actually skidding on the pathway, she was going so fast. She doesn't crash into anyone, thankfully. Pausing, and flicking her eyes over the other two women, before looking back to Rainer, she fills the awkward silence with a polite smile and a, "Good evening, sir." She isn't sure whether she should have said anything, or just nodded and continued along her way. She feels like she's pressing her luck just by existing, at this point, but her friendly, outgoing nature wins out. "Is the shipment of paper from /India/ still available? I heard that the publishers of Activating Evolution wanted a /poly-fibrous paper/ for the next edition. Tougher than normal paper, but much rarer."
She hopes the message is passed along adequately. She's wondering if Mohinder is still working with the Company, and thinks the scientist may be looking for someone with multiple powers. Of course, if that came across as clearly as mud, then she'll look like an idiot. Either way, she is prepared to step off and leave Rainer alone, if given the signal to.

Ramon's question is about to be answered. The woman turns sharply down a path that curves away from the one Rainer is currently on, then jogs across the grass to get to the hot dog stand before Elena can. Not that she's interested in one, herself, because she isn't. That much is made obvious as she walks right past the stand, moving to intercept Elena head-on. Though moments before her attention was devoted to Rainer, she spares him no further glance now that her back is turned. "Excuse me, miss," she says to Elena, smiling, though it's hard to tell behind the scarf. "Do you have the time? My watch battery died, and I'm supposed to be meeting someone…"

The problem with working alone as a photographer— the bag is really heavy. She needs an assistant one of these days. Though Laurel wants to get to where she can hail a cab as quickly as possible, she stops to set down the bag over her shoulder for a few moments, keeping a firm grip on it anyway. Just in case someone happens to run by and try to steal it. Not that it's ever happened before, but she can't help but think it might. Widened eyes dart around cautiously, looking for any sign of suspicious activity or people, even if she has no reason to know that something might happen. Other than paranoia, though not the preferred term she would use. She just doesn't want to lose her things, that's all. Nothing wrong with that, is there? One would think after the conversation with Daphne the other day she'd have less outright worry, but just because she might be able to do something if something does happen, doesn't mean she wants to… Seeing a woman running towards the hotdog stand draws her eyes for a moment, and she glances to make sure she's not running /from/ anyone.

Rainer glances at Jenny as she nears - not for the sake of watching a model jog by, no, this is just casual recognition, as the woman makes obvious. He reluctantly comes to a halt, glancing from side to side before eyeing Jenny. "'Evening. Give the office a call in the morning," he answers distractedly. That should be signal enough. Of course, he's never been one to fluff things up. While the two women with him look at Jenny skeptically, Rainer looks impatient, even though it's only been a few seconds of delay. "Well. We have a reservation to meet. Patricia, Natalie." He gestures off to the right and starts to veer off that way with his family. "Shortcut. We're running late."

Xander blinks as he's tugged alongside Ramon behind the hot dog cart, and peers towards the other side with quick glances over towards Angie, taking note of her, and then Rainer and his companions, before asking in an undertone, "You're certain that's the kidnapper? We might have to keep watch of her then. The other people seem to be on their own. We can't say for certain that 'Angie' is associated with them." His gaze wanders off briefly, before he spots Elena off over there, and allows himself a bit of a grin, "Ah, your daughter's coming over this way…" Not really paying much mind to the woman talking to Elena, more interested in the probably relief that will be had when father and daughter reunite and get talking.

Ramon hisses and looks around when Xander says his daughter's here. Paranoia spikes for the father. He looks around the hot dog cart one more time, then his jaw sets. He starts walking towards Elena, as quickly as he can, shoving his hands into the pocket of his jacket. Getting her out of here is now the only thing on his mind.

Her attention is focused on the guitar as she works to tune the strings, finding it not practical to keep trying while her ears are plugged, so Jane's fingers stop. She looks around slowly and carefully, scanning the park for the presence of dogs and their owners, or anything else that might be a source of sudden ultrasonic emissions. It's important to her that the area at least seem clear before she'll remove the protective foam long enough to finish tuning. It's then she briefly notices Elena and the woman who approached her, but pays them little heed.

The girl running after Elena is spotted and tracked. It has Angie narrowing her eyes a bit. In the end, though, she shrugs and puts the cigarette back in her mouth for another drag. She's about to turn away in preparation for heading after Rainer and Family, when she spots Elena and… who could it possibly be but Ramon? Recognizing him, she smiles wickedly. She doesn't, however, leave the park to do Evil Bad things to him again. No, she keeps on searching the nearby Park, veering to the right (though not as sharply to the right as Rainer and his entourage are). She's not bodyguard detail, not at all.

"Hm?" Elena stops from her walking when the scarfed woman intercepts her. "Oh, sure! Yeah, just one second, okay?" she says, always willing to help someone out….especially since she was just asking for the time. She pulls out the cellphone from her back pocket and peers at the display right in front. "It's eight o'clock, miss," she says, returning her phone in the back pocket of her jeans. "Just in time to catch a sort of late dinner, I think. Best time to go too since the Broadway shows start around this hour, so restaurants would be vacating right about now." It sounded like the woman was here in the Park for a date, or a rendezvous with a friend, so she adds that extra tidbit in.

The model nods and gives a smile to all three members of Rainer's family (counting Rainer himself, obviously), before moving around them, and letting them pass. Jenny notices she's sweating, and not just because of the jogging, as she resumes running along the path. For some reason, she's always been nervous around the 'normal' members of the Company. She has at least a general idea of how most of the normals see Jenny's 'kind', and has always been careful not to say or do anything that might make her look like a security risk, so she /should/ be in good standing. But you never know when it will be deemed 'necessary' to eliminate someone…
Jenny slows down gradually, to sit on a bench, and glances back the way she came, searching for Rainer with her eyes, if he's still in the vicinity, and following him until he's out of sight. If he's already gone, she just takes a moment to order her thoughts, and watch the rest of the people in the park.
Taking a quarter out of her pocket, she looks at it for a few seconds, and decides to try to hone her abilities a bit. She tosses it into the air, and holds her palms about half a foot apart. When the quarter falls down again, into the space between her hands, it stops in mid-air. Jenny glances around, and then focuses on the quarter, making it start to slowly turn, end over end, faster and faster, until it's spinning so fast it looks like a sphere of metal. Then she looks up at a tree about a hundred feet away, aims… And lets go of all the kinetic energy she was pumping into the coin. It shoots forward, and hits the trunk of the tree, making bark spray outwards from the impact point, and a noise as loud as the crack of a gun echo out over the park. Jenny winces and puts her hands down, trying to look innocent.

A flick of a glance over her shoulder tells the woman with the scarf that Rainer and his family are veering away. There's a twitch of her features that almost isn't there; it would be difficult to catch. There's a strange sound in her throat, like a quiet growl of frustration. Still, she turns back to Elena with what could easily be construed as a kind expression, nodding appreciatively. "Thanks," she replies, seeming to brush past the woman… until, at the last second, she lashes out with a hand to grab hold of Elena's throat. Her hand is warm to the touch. With a flick of the other wrist, she sends a small, golf-ball sized ball of flame sailing towards Rainer. It isn't going to hit him. It might singe the ends of his companions' hair, though, as it flies straight past their heads, slams into a tree. "Raiiiiiiiiner." It's almost sing-song, the way she calls out to him before he gets too far away. Her free hand glows with the light of a small flame dancing in her palm: a warning.

Jogging, running… in different situations it looks the same from someone certain people's eyes, and Laurel happens to be highly concerned. With the recent mugging, and other incidents, she can't see why everyone isn't concerned, even if there's little to be concerned about at all. Another reason she wouldn't mind an assistant she can trust. She appears momentarily relieved when it appears to be nothing more than catching up with someone, possibly a friend, and nothing else. It gives her some peace of mind. Peace of mind that gets almost completely shattered at the gun-like sound in the park. Car backfiring? Nope, her immediate thought is to duck slightly, eyes wide and looking around as she clutches to both of her bags— her eyes are closed for an instant, so she doesn't actually see the fireball, though she may hear something. Only someone really paying attention, or who happens to see things that aren't visible, would notice that the wind around this young woman has died down, blocked off by a barrier that she instinctively put up around her and her belongings, a hole remains in the top of it.

Indeed, the small ball of flame flies past Patricia's head, singing her reddish hair on its way to the tree, eliciting a shriek. It's not the first time Rainer has seen something coming and had no power to stop it. In fact, he's tallying up these events this week. Perhaps out of everyone in the park, the look that crosses this man's face - a face which is neutral at the best of times - shows the most concern (not to be confused with fear) as he spins around, hearing his name called. Because he knows exactly what he's facing. Instinctively, he draws a pistol out of his pocket, which he's been fingering this whole time, and trains it on the dark-haired woman who has Elena in her grasp. "Kellie. Back off, she doesn't concern you. What is it you want?"

Patricia and Natalie scatter like a flock of birds; the scene takes them totally by surprise. A moment later, they huddle together, backing away, the way they came. The husband/stepfather/Company man stays where he is, despite their urgent calls to make him move.

Xander blinks as Ramon begins to walk over towards Elena in a rush, and finishes off his hot dog with one last bite, before tossing his napkin quickly into the trash, and following after the older gentleman, and then making it to his side, "Mr. Gomez, it might have been better if you had waited for Angie to just leave, she might notice-"
He doesn't get a chance to finish his sentence, as his train of thought is interrupted by the apparent gunshot, which alerts him enough to tell Ramon, "It's getting late. Let's get Elena and get out of-" His new train of thought now interrupted when he turns his attention back in front of him to look to Elena, and sees the woman, now identified as Kellie, that the girl had been talking to had grabbed Elena by the throat, and then his eyes trail the fireball that was lobbed in Rainer's direction.
This was not good. Xander, extends his arm to block the path of Ramon, whom he assumes might try to make a dash for Elena, and calls out towards Kellie, as he approaches cautiously, "Madam, whatever grievance you have with the gentleman you have, leave the girl out of it." In the mean time, his immediate thought is directed at Ramon, ~Call the police!~

Ramon skids to a halt. "Elena!" He swears, snarls and yanks out his cell phone in response to Xander's mental command. He punches in 9-1-1 with no confidence that it will help. "Shooting in Central Park near Christopher Columbus," he barks out. He doesn't care /who/ sees him so long as his daughter is out of the line of fire so to speak.

During her scan of the area, actions are spotted. First the woman with the quarter, as it flies away and so loudly impacts that tree. "Not a high pitch," Jane mutters under her breath, "but loud enough I'm really glad I decided to test earplugs this time. Her observation remains on Jenny, studying her as nonchalantly as possible, and in doing so she's unaware of anyone manipulating wind or throwing fire around.

The coin-turned-weapon hitting the tree has Angie glancing about. The fireball hurled past the group she's supposed to be watching over? That instantly shanghai's her attention. To Patricia and Natalie, she urges, "Stay back and out of sight. Do what I say and do it now," she says, pulling a heavy looking pistol out of her jacket. She swings out to the right from Rainer, heading for the sidewalk. Intending to flank fire-toting-bitch-o-doom aka Kellie, she keeps the gun held low for now.

When the woman moves away, Elena turns, and blinks when she sees Ramon and Xander on the other side of the hot dog stand. She smiles, and lifts a hand to wave, though the gesture does not complete itself when she sees the look on her father's face. Before she could say anything else, however, she's grabbed by the throat, the palm warm, too warm in this cold weather, to the touch. In Kellie's grip, she freezes, just in time to see a jet of fire streaking through the air towards a smart-dressed man and his family. Her eyes are wide, and getting wider by the second. Rooted to the spot, shock courses through her. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. What was going on? Did the woman just take her hostage?

She can't speak. Her hands instinctively go around the wrist of the woman who has just grabbed onto her, her fingers curling over the slim bones and the heated skin.

The woman. The woman shot -fire-. Pure fire. She can do the same to her. She's going to be flambe'd right in the middle of Central Park!

"P….pa…" she gurgles, her voice trapped in her throat thanks to the pyro's hand.

Jenny, for a moment, thinks her quarter somehow went through the tree and hit a gas tank or something, when she sees the flare of fire. She glances around, taking in the situation quickly. A woman crouched down, with bags. Rainer pointing a gun. One woman with a glowing hand holding a girl by the throat. A guy approaching them from behind. She's not sure what's going on, but doesn't need to know the details. One of 'them', like herself, is causing trouble. She reaches into her pocket and sorts through change, trying to find another quarter. She comes up with a few nickels and some pennies instead. Great day to be short on money. She is a good distance away from where the action is taking place, and doesn't trust her aim with some hyper-accelerated coins to avoid hitting the girl.
Oh, good. Someone else to back up Rainer. Guns are a lot more accurate than super-speed quarters. Just point and shoot. Jenny has long ago lost her delusions of invincibility. She's not a teenager anymore. If she gets in the middle of this, there is a good chance she could wind up dead. And burning to death is not one of the better ways to go.
And yet… She doesn't want to leave this how it is. She's not a hero… But she's not cold and uncaring either. So what does she do?
Jenny turns and begins running away. Yup. Running in the opposite direction, down a path. She can run at Olympic speeds on her own, normally, and begins doing so. But then she adds to that, by building kinetic energy in her body, accelerating. So she's running away FAST. How is that going to help? People will find out soon enough.

"You." Kellie isn't new to this game, it would seem, as she positions herself in such a way that Elena serves as armor. She did indeed just take Elena hostage. The hand around Elena's neck is getting warmer by the second, particularly once the girl starts to claw at the hand. "I wouldn't do that, honey," she purrs in Elena's ear, her eyes still focussed on Rainer. Dragging the girl with her as she moves away from Xander, Kellie rolls her eyes dramatically. "I want you, daddy dearest." The ball of flame in her other hand grows, turning in on itself. "Is this really what a girl has to do to get a little bit of attention from you?" She flicks her hand again, palm out, as the considerably larger ball arcs towards the younger of Rainer's companions. And it's on a direct course, this time.

As Laurel's light brown eyes finally fall on the fire-toting woman— she does probably the first thing that comes to mind. She lets go of her camera bags and makes a move to run away… only to bounce off her own protective shield. That would be rather a funny sight to see, but it quickly annoys her, especially since she's not sure how to take it down. Only way she knows how is to convince herself that she's safe, and that's not going to happen with a hostage crisis going on— with a woman holding fire.

The only other thing she can think to do is bend down and watch in horror, reaching into her smaller bag for her cellphone, intending to dial the police even if most of the park probably beat her there. While reaching, though, her hand feels something else in the bag. Her camera, with the night-lenses already on and ready for use in low-light conditions— Wrapping her fingers around it instead, she pulls it out and turns it on. If she can't run away, she might as well take some proof home so she knows she's not insane. Again.

Of course she almost forgets all about it when a larger fireball goes sailing towards people, letting out a somewhat distorted shriek — due to her own shield — she stares in horror, feeling unable to do anything from where she is— and knowing she doesn't /want/ to see what's about to happen— and for the first time she reaches out to protect someone else. Someone not her— not her camera or her things— but a person she doesn't even know at all, trying to put another, smaller, unseen wall between that fireball and the intended target.

Rainer takes stock of Angie's position, but his eyes remain fixed most firmly on the fiery escapee. "This is outright… madness, base human madness," he tells the woman with his voice getting ever louder, but no less deep, no less brusque. "I know it's me you want. Fine, let it be about—"

Fire. Incoming. And not at him. No, the man watches in the mere split second it takes for the rampaging flames to travel past him.

Patricia and Natalie, for their parts, followed Angie's orders without hesitation — she looks to be a crazy woman with a gun instead of a crazy woman who shoots fire. It's all the same, really. They stumble back against together toward the tree that was struck earlier. Natalie makes it a bit faster than Patricia, ducking close to the trunk of a tree. She screams in fear as the ball of fire comes hurtling toward her - only to crash hard into … mid air and dissipate, leaving only heat in its wake. How's that for a twist, Kellie?

Even Rainer didn't see that one coming, and if he wasn't acutely distracted, he'd have his eye on Laurel. Now, he simply glances over his shoulder and promptly prioritizes. "Vengeance isn't going to get you anywhere, Kellie. Would you rather not exist at ALL?"

Xander grits his teeth as he watches Kellie making her demands towards her… Her -father-?! Whatever the hell was going on, Xander doesn't want to have to deal with things on a powered level, even though around him the park lights start to flicker. "Miss, listen to me. I am an attorney. If that man has committed some injustice against you, I assure you that justice will be had. Just let the girl -go-. We can talk about this." It should be noted that Xander is not fearless. In fact, that Kellie was toting quite a large fireball in her hand was scaring him. There was a chance that people were going to get hurt. However, Xander had an ace up his sleeve for situations that could turn out bad, and becomes apparent when electrical arcs start flickering idly between the fingers of his left hand, which are down at his side.

Ramon is getting frantic. He's frozen with indecision, but he's getting frantic. "Just show up!" he shouts into the phone, and closes it. He wasn't able to parse all of 9-1-1's stupid questions. He shoves the phone back into his pocket. He focuses on the girl with his daughter. What is she thinking? Will it help to know? He doesn't know, but short of tackling the woman and risking her burning Elena's neck off he doesn't know what else to do, and he's got to do /something/.

"What the…?" Jane's eyes watch Jenny suddenly scan her surroundings and reach for more coins, then suddenly decide to bolt. Not just bolt, but do so at incredible speed. Caused then to wonder what spooked her to flee like that, the guitarist begins to check the area out more fully. Man with gun, huddled family, two other guys, woman with her arm around another's throat and throwing fire at the huddled family. "Holy crap," she breathes out. "It just gets deeper and deeper." It takes only a second or two to conclude she's probably not close enough to get to the children in time, but she doesn't seem to have anyone's attention on her. One hand clutches her guitar, and she begins to move slowly, carefully, not wanting to draw any notice. Hoping to eventually flank the firetosser and get behind her. While doing so, another thought occurs to her. She pulls her phone off her hip and dials a number.

Angie is making like a panicked civilian, off to Crazy Fire Woman's side. The gun is kept equally low and right against her profile, making it harder to spot. As her footfalls carry her where she needs to be, she looks back to Rainer for a split-second. She can hear him. She's waiting for his signal to make the shot, hostage-be-damned. Then her eyes are back on Kellie.

She maintains her grip on Kellie's wrist, because if she let go, her watery knees would buckle underneath her and the last thing she wanted to do was aggravate the crazy fire spitting woman…..a woman who's starting to get warmer as she barks out her terms to Rainer. Elena's seen this before, in a movie called Firetripper. She did like her movies, but she didn't think a darker, real life version of it would be playing any time soon. She doesn't reply to the woman's purr, because she can't even as she's converted into an oh-so-helpful meatshield against Company goons. She closes her eyes, and takes a deep breath, even if the urge to cry with fright is overwhelming. She had to stay calm. If she started bawling she could get killed.

Jenny keeps on running. She runs fast and hard. She hasn't flat-out ran at her top speed in quite awhile, and she has been trying /not/ to use her powers to move faster. She spent a year on crutches because of doing that. But now she's doing it again, and she's pounding along the path that goes around the entire park. She's circling all of Central Park, and coming up around the other side, a blur of motion. She keeps running, heading into the parking lot, and coming up from the direction that Kellie probably isn't looking… The direction of the hotdog vendor at her back.
Pain is searing through Jenny's legs, and her hips feels dislocated, but she charges and leaps, so that the staccato of feet on pavement doesn't betray her approach. She leaps from thirty feet away, and covers the entire distance through the air, like some kind of Bionic Woman. The only thing missing is the Bionic Sound-Effect. You know the one. Ch-cha-ch-cha-ch-cha! Then, unless Kellie looks up suddenly and notices the six-million dollar woman above her, Jenny throws a dime from above, aimed at the elbow of Kellie's arm holding Elena. It is not large enough to tear the arm off, or shatter the bone, even with how fast it's moving, but it might put a nasty hole in that arm and disrupt the concentration needed to channel power or whatever. Jenny doesn't know how Kellie's powers work.
If the coin hits or not, Jenny has nothing else she can do, as she is currently falling from about twenty feet up, and is descending towards little miss Pyromancer. She might land on her and knock both her and Elena to the ground, or, if Kellie releases Elena, as Jenny hopes, then it will just be her pinning the person who can create flames from her body to the ground.
Or maybe the coin misses and Kellie evades, and the situation becomes worse. Only one way to find out.

"Does this look like something that can be solved in court to you, hotshot?" Clearly unimpressed by Xander's suggestion, Kellie once more rolls her eyes. This time, it's almost careless, the way she creates a spiral of flame and tosses it in his direction. He's a distraction, one with which she need only concern herself for a second. "You call this existence?" she barks back at Rainer, jerking Elena with her as she pulls away from Xander and Ramon. Now that Xander has spoken to her, however, her attention is understandably divided. This has all gone a little differently than she had planned, starting from the moment where Rainer veered away. "I found you this easily once," she calls to Rainer, tightening her grip on Elena's neck.

"I can find you and, better still, your wife and daughter again. You—" WHAM. The dime hits her upper arm. But the end result likely isn't what Jenny had in mind. Seems Kellie's accustomed to pain, because even as the dime slices a gash across her arm, she doesn't let go of Elena. Her instinct is to backpedal, /fast/, and get out of the way of any other projectiles from above. She growls again, louder. This situation is, in fact, about to get worse. She plants her hand against Elena's back, a small flame catching on the girl's coat, and shoves the girl away from her - into the path of anything else falling from the sky.

As soon as the fireball dissipated, Laurel's hand went towards her head. The shield she put up already disappeared as soon as the threat to those people vanished, but somehow— she almost felt the impact. Never before had she put up a shield against anything more than someone pushing on it, and she never thought it would cause a strain. But she's still in danger. Things— crazy things— are happening all around her. And she grips the camera again, raising it up enough to take a few images, specifically in the direction of the fire-totting woman, though the corner of her eyes catches electrical sparks near some man's hand— taser maybe?

No flash, she doesn't dare try that and draw /that/ much attention to herself, more than her shriek already might have, but she'll hope the night-lenses and various park lighting make for a passable image. Not for the newspapers, because they'd probably insist it was a digital manipulation, even if witnesses did come forward, but for /her/. And Daphne, too. They'd thought they might be alone— and now she's seeing evidence that may not be true. But this photographer sometimes needs photographic proof before she'll believe she's not nuts. She's only became really convinced her walls were real yesterday, when she managed to scare herself into making one appear, used spray paint on it and took a picture.

And of course as she's clicking away at the camera, someone leaps— and leaps far— a shocking enough sight that she may only get a frame of the attack on the hostage taker. "What the hell is going on?" she asks in a panicked voice, heart rate face, breathing unstead. She's speaking outloud even if she expects no answer at all as she backs into one of the sides of her walls again, sliding down into a sitting position, the camera ending up in her lap.

Rainer sets his jaw hard; grind it any more and he may fracture something. He glances to Angie sidelong, a quick flicker of his dark eyes, but it's not a signal. Not yet. Too many things happening at once. When Jenny's actions unexpectedly come into play, he doesn't have time to be thankful. He has the distinct feeling he doesn't have much time period. He advances on Kellie as if sneaking in for a clear shot — unfortunately, a clear shot for he and Angie also means a clear shot for Kellie. He takes the risk, and yet the contrary words leave his mouth: "Hold fire." On both sides, please. The pun is lost on him. He makes a gesture at his side, directed at Angie, before both hands settle around his gun firmly. "We /raised/ you. I raised you. From nothing, and you want to burn it all away?" Safety: unlatched. "I will /put you down/ if I have to—" *BANG!* a shot is fired from the pistol toward Kellie's periphery, meant to be a painful, threatening, nothing else. She can suck it up. It's a warning. "But you're a valuable asset to the Company, Kellie."

Spirals of fire. Bad. This was bad. Xander goes wide eyed when the flames come at him, and takes this time to spin around while grabbing for Ramon, who was pretty much right next to him, and makes a fast dive to the ground to avoid getting his face burned off, and trying to drag Ramon to the ground with him. Xander growls, with more park lights flickering and being a lighting distraction, and climbs back to his feet, as he says, "Mr. Gomez, I think it would be best if you took cover…"
Regardless, Xander stands back up, and glances quickly to Elena with intent to reassure her, but seeing as Kellie had just shoved Elena away and set the girl's coat on fire, he moves to grab a hold of her and tug her away from the Firestarter's mayhem, and to try to pull the flaming coat off of her before she can get burned badly. That's the idea anyway.

Xander manages to shove Ramon down. Hopefully Xander gets that coat, but for Ramon there's only one course of action. The moment his daughter is shoved off he surges up again, and forward. He grabs his daughter, pushes her down, and curls his body protectively over hers, knowing things are flying everywhere, knowing he heard a shot, knowing people are waving guns and fire around. Whatever else is going to happen, its going to be him getting hit before his daughter. And he's not convinced simply taking her and booking it out of the park would keep her from getting hit. He looks up from time to time, staying alert, listening.

As she continues to move carefully toward the firetosser and place her phone call to summon the best sort of help she can think of, a way to quickly defuse the entire thing, Jane curses quietly under her breath when the phone held to her ear fails to make a connection with the called party. "This is New York City, there's got to be a signal." Her fingers lower the device, she checks the display, and mentally kicks herself. "Idiot. Forgot to charge the phone." Pocketing it again, the guitarist continues on, only to pause when Elena is shoved away and her coat has fire on it. By this point, she's at most half the way there. Still too far, she believes. Probably not in range to try something experimental like seeing if she can sing ultrasonic notes and disrupt the firetosser's balance, but, maybe… She looks around for something, anything, she might be able to affect and cause a distraction. Like a streetlamp. Her mouth opens wide, prepared to let loose a seemingly silent scream a few octaves above high C.

Angie was about to swing her gun up when there's a suddenly flurry of happenings. The gun is still held low then when Rainer gives his order not to fire. The gritting of her teeth might be audible at this point. Then, joy of joys, she's given a gesture. A command, in fact. She steels herself and then taking several quick steps, she closes the distance between herself and Kellie… easy enough considering the distractions going on around them, before she slips a hand between the woman's scarf and her neck. Cool hands meet hot flesh, long enough for the woman to be sure of herself saying the following: "Say good night, Gracie." Her arms go about the woman in anticipation of what should follow.

Pain sears her lower back, her coat catching on fire from the bottom before Elena is shoved away. Before she sprawls on the ground, she's grabbed by Xander, yanked away from the line of fire and put out by the attorney. And then? She's grabbed by her father, shoved onto the ground so the man covers her and serves as HER meatshield…..a complete 180 from the situation she was in a few minutes ago. Her cap, due to the jerking gestures from different directions, fly from her head, spilling her dark, chocolate-brown hair around as she drops, gritting her teeth. Her throat was sore. There was a painful second-degree burn on her back. She wasn't having a good day, and she chokes back a sob of pain.

Jenny lands hard on the ground, and she feels and hears a cracking noise coming from her knees as they bend to absorb the impact. She then stumbles forward and runs into Elena, before Xander grabs at her, to pull her away. Her legs hurt. Her hips hurt. Her feet hurt. And she's breathing so hard she thinks her lungs are going to rupture. But at least Elena is free! …And the pyromaniac is behind her, with a clear shot at Jenny's back, as she falls to one knee. Glee.
BUT THEN! A gunshot! A deft maneuver by Angie! The hot dog stand that was behind Kellie getting run into by that same woman, sending it spinning and launching condiments in a spray all over the place! Action! Suspense! Relish in Jenny's hair! WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT!?

It is not Rainer's greatest strategy ever, firing on Kellie just after he started talk of negotiations. But it's enough of a distraction, as Kellie stumbles back a hard step, flattening a palm against the new hole in her leg. What is it with people shooting her extremities?! "You should have died in that fire," she yells at Rainer, with searing hatred in her voice. But in the next instant, Angie's hand is on her neck, and the pyrokinetic escapee finds herself lapsing into unconsciousness at an alarming speed. Good thing Angie's there to catch her.

That's definitely enough pictures… Laurel packs up her camera fast, closing the case and pushing back against the wall. She's safe— she's safe— no one's looking at her. And there's so much going on that there's no way at all she /couldn't/ get away safely. Except for the wall that she's leaning against. Closing her eyes, she tries her best to wish it away. A few internal mantra's later and she almost falls back as what she's leaning against vanishes. Grabbing her bags, she starts to back away, unwilling to run and draw attention to herself, but also paranoid that the second she does a bullet or a fireball will head her way.

The only thing she uses to check her path of retreat is a quick glance behind her, to check for things she might run into, but otherwise she's keeping her eyes on the strange happenings, even if they might be dying down. Nothing to see here. Just a paranoid girl with a luggage bag. No incriminating photographs in her camera. Really. She's just wanting to go home. And curl up in her darkroom.

This would be the point where most people heave an audible sigh of relief. Not Rainer. He stands stark still, his gun still trained stiffly on Kellie long after it stops smoking, and even Angie does that thing she does so well. He's a statue amidst the action going on all around him. The woman he just shot is his only focus. "Authorities are on their way," he says, more or less to himself, as he hears sirens in the distance - louder than the ones he heard earlier. These ones are most definitely coming this way. He takes on step toward the slumping woman and Angie, his next words spoken lowly. "We'll have to extricate her. Take her to the plaza. Won't be safe for long, but with the facility gone…"

Her mouth closes, the ultrasonic scream having been proved unneeded, when Jane sees the situation reach a resolution as the firetosser is subdued. She quietly makes note of the principals as best she can, storing them somewhat into memory, and turns away. Back the way she came her footsteps go. The backpack is retrieved, the guitar put back into its case, and the woman seeks to slip away from the park by an exit apart from the troubles she witnessed.

Well, thank god that's over. Xander allows himself a sigh of relief, mainly because Elena was now out of harms way, but also because there were no longer any fireballs being thrown at him, which is always a good thing. But now that that is over, Xander brushes the dirt and dust off of his suit, and takes a moment to glance to Ramon and Elena, before turning and calling to Rainer, "Sir, I do believe you have a little bit of explaining to do."

Ramon picks his daughter up and draws her close, sort of edging between her and any potential gunshots still. She's hurt, and he wants to get her to the hospital. And…not the Angie sort of hospital. Only, now Xander's walking up to confront Rainer. His eye twitches unpleasantly. He holds Elena, stroking her hair for a moment while he waits and watches.

"Crazy bitch," Angie says, mayhap a tad too loud as the woman in her arms collapses. She hefts her in her arms, thankful for her workouts and that Kellie isn't a fatass. Blinking up at Rainer's face as he approaches, she blinks and nods, acknowledging his order with a, "Yes sir." Turning to go, she pauses and adds, "Sir, your family? They need you." And then she starts off, but not before looking Ramon dead in the eyes as she passes him. "I'll be seeing you real soon precious." Then she flees down the sidewalk and into the nearest alley.

She isn't crying, at least. But Elena is clutching at her father tightly, half her hair obscuring most of her face when she's drawn up. The only visible indicator that she was shaken are her trembling fingers that clutch in front of her father's shirt when he keeps her tight. And the pain. The burn hurt so much, and she wished it would go away. …….which it does after a few moments. But she isn't conscious of it leaving her, still in shock as to what happened. She doesn't talk, her tongue feeling thick and she was afraid that if she tried to talk, she'd just burst into tears. And being taken hostage was….well. EMBARASSING. How many times did she daydream about being able to ninja a mugger or a few gangsters? Only to be able to do nothing. And when Angie says what she does to her father? Her shoulders tense up.

With no one apparently in her path to stop her, Jane slips out of the park and catches a taxi a few blocks away once she reaches the street. Back to the hotel for her.
Rainer's head turns by some delayed mechanism so that he may eye Xander darkly. "Escaped from an institution. Danger to society." Not a word of a lie, either. Nodding once to Angie, he turns away, pocketing his pistol and replacing it with a cell phone. He's already speaking into it in low murmurs as he makes his way to where Patricia and Natalie huddle under that tree. He takes them under an arm, escorting them to relative safety. Eventually. …For now.

With no gunshots going off, and no signs of more fireballs, Laurel finally turns around and really starts booking it towards the street and down a few blocks, not in the same direction as Jane, but with the same intention. Movement slowed by the wheeled bag she drags behind her, the photographer doesn't go into a full run, but she's definitely making her way /away/ from this place and whatever just happened. The nearest place she can flag a cab she will, and will be on her way home. Anywhere is safer than here. She's never working a night job again.

"For which I'm thankful for the removal of said danger to society…" Xander responds to Rainer, though he's clearly not done with this, as he grabs for the man's shoulder, so to get his attention again, "However, you still have to more to explain. Your associate has been witnessed as part of the kidnapping of one Benjamin Winters, and it appears that your organization has been terrorizing said witness. Mr. Gomez is hardly a danger to society, nor was Benjamin Winters, so you had best explain yourself." He's going to at least keep Rainer's attention for a while until Elena and Ramon have left.

Ramon's eyes widen with sheer WHAT ARE YOU DOING? As Alexander just…brings Ramon taking all this to the /DA/ right to the attention of 'said organization.' He leans forward and murmurs in Elena's ear, "This is where we run, chiquita." Holy crap. Maybe from /all/ of them. Xander, at least, he remembers, can take care of himself. Angie's threat and Xander's declaration decide him. He takes Elena's wrist and starts booking it across the park, hopefully dragging her along with him.

Rainer turns around on a dime to face Xander again, and he's none to happy to do so. Behind him, the two women look on with teary, confused eyes, just wanting to go home to safety and understand what happened. "I have no idea what you're talking about. Mister…?" he trails sceptically for a name. "I do not know who 'Benjamin Winters' is. I do not know who 'Mr. Gomez' is. I do not know /you/ are, boy. What you saw here tonight does not concern you, and it certainly wasn't involved in whatever the goddamn hell you're on about." Dark eyes flick to Ramon and Elena making a run for it. "If you'd excuse me, I'd like to get back to my family now."

Her eyes, as well, are -wide- when Xander confronts Rainer and points out her father. Oh crap. Oh crap! And when her father turns tail to -run-, she is dragged along with, but she picks up her feet and dashes with him. The burn has miraculously stopped hurting, for now, but now that she's running, her heart rate is up, and she's actually quite the athletic kid, so she is able to keep up with her father's mad and desperate dash.

Angie is out of sight, carrying her psychotic, but thankfully comatose prisoner through the streets of New York on an epic journey to Kirby Plaza. Said epic journey begins with her cleaning her prints off her weapon and disgarding it down the nearest storm drain. She is her own weapon after all. The girl is hefted once again and she comes out of the alley onto the next street. Flagging down a cabby who resembles a talking bear he's so fuzzy and fat, she props the girl up in the seat next to her and tells the man, "Kirby Plaza. And step on it." The man fires back, "Your friend, she don't look so good… she okay?" To which Angie replies, casting a look at Kellie that could kill a man, "Oh her?… She's just a drunken whore."

Xander grits his teeth as he listens to Rainer spout off his cover, the lawyers fingers arcing with electricity once more, before he takes a backwards step, and tells the man, "You're right… My mistake. I'm sorry to have bothered you, I'll let you get back to your family." His tone still angered, but with little to go on for now, he just backs off. Plus with the Gomez family running off in panic because he had said one name too many, a mistake on his part, there was no reason to stick around. With that, Xander turns about, and walks away to follow after Elena and Ramon.

Adrenaline is pouring through Ramon's veins as he drags Elena along with him. He pulls her towards the street. He's got one thought on his mind: hailing a taxi and putting even more distance between everyone so they can stop and regroup and think in safety. And to catch his breath, which isn't going to hold out long. He's a computer geek in his early fourties, not a sprinter.

Rainer disappears between the fire trucks and ambulances that arrive, getting lost in the crowd of authorities, whom he speaks to, explaining the situation as he saw it; his family, however, is directed into a black car that drives off away from Central Park.

The Company is not having a good week.

And neither is anyone else.

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