2011-02-11: Prestidigitonium



Date: February 14th, 2011


It's a beautiful day for a market, as New Yorkers gather for a bit of unique shopping. Until suddenly, it's not.


New York City

It's blessedly sunny, that bright circle lending an optimistic cheer to the outdoor gathering that dared weather to set-up tent after tent, stalls nestled cozily next to each other, and blockading off several streets in doing so. There's an enthusiastic bustle through, New Yorkers softening their characteristically frenzied pace to — what else — shop. Most are brisk, picking up scarves nearly identical to the name-brand ones around their necks, and then setting them down when it's the names that don't match. Others enjoy the folksy pairs of earrings, or the discounted base-ball cards, and home-made kitchen accessories mitts, and placeholders crafted by those not in the business suits pounding pavement every day. Jewelry is crammed next to paintings crammed next to clothes crammed next to hood ornaments is crammed next to wind chimes.

It's a flea-market.

Most of this stuff isn't exactly of interest to Ophelia. Really, as she glances through stalls, nothing really catches her eye. Mostly, she's looking to see if she can find anything of interest, mostly that because—well, she's bored. And a flea market is as good a place as any to wander.

Flea markets are fun. Not often the kind of place Lillian Byrne likes to frequent, but it's a sort of guilty pleasure that grabs her from time to time. After all, you can find all sorts of neat things at flea markets - old books, interesting jewellery, and other curious items. And knock offs, which occasionally Lillian picks up - being the poor college student she is, she has to make due with what she can find, after all. She already has a new scarf wrapped around her neck, and an old looking copy of Alice in Wonderland tucked under her arm - that alone is a good enough haul for her. But it's still early. No need to go running home yet!

Most of it isn't of interest to Carl, either, and there are some items he's actively avoiding. That burnt orange carpet over there in the corner should have been burnt back in the 1970s when it first showed up, and those wristwatches over there are probably no more genuine than the scarves. Sometimes there's a lucky find amongst the electronics, though. Oh, and those koa wood end tables over there are a real steal; he's hoping that the vendor doesn't figure that out.

Just because one's centuries old and has everything he could ever need doesn't exclude them from perusing a flea market. It's big and gaudy, and there's absolutely nothing subtle about it. The people slow down, but they're still loud and obnoxious, hocking their overpriced junk, and it's as entertaining a stroll as anyone could ever want to take through New York City. Hell, maybe something legit old - something old and Japanese, even - might make its way onto one of these tables for 18 cents. That's why business-suited Kensei - no tie for today, that's too formal - is strolling through and scouring the selection.

The young Ophelia may not scope out anything of interest for herself, but she's definitely of interest to those behind the temporary counters. While a good number of them bask in their active customers, several more call out various enticements. "Want a hat?" offers a lady, bending onto her elbows to made herself known beyond the other bustle around them, "They're cheap, but keep well!" She yanks a beanie off the rack, flexing its cozy material for Ophelia to see.

Meanwhile, the vendor near Carl appears to remain absolutely clueless, openly naming far lowered prices far too eagerly to, perhaps, seem entirely legit in his own right. The same sort of falsity shared in a couple of college-aged girls, decked nearly identically in skirts and leggings, as they paw at some earrings near a stand Lillian passes, eyeballing the same pair while pretending not to.

And while Adam may not lay eyes on anything Japanese, he's certainly right about the loud and crowded part; he gets plenty of that. Streaking by in front of him, too enticed by colorful things to pay attention to the paths of others, a small child of around six or seven bumps by his legs and grabs for some nearby painting of a couple of koi fish in a sparkling pond. "Come back here, right now, and stop touching things!" demands the raised voice of — presumably — his mother.

"Sorry, not a big fan of hats," Ophelia replies, staring at the beanie. She pushes onward, slightly annoyed by the way vendors tend to get a little aggressive. Really, for her, that makes her less likely to buy. Maybe if she was looking at something up close, she wouldn't mind the vendor commentary, but… she moves on, glancing around for something that she might actually want to purchase.

"Good grief lady, put a leash on that little monster!" Adam's revulsion towards the little kid - that kid and his grubby little paws! - isn't hidden in the least. Kids have tiny hands, and they disturb the gentleman…tiny hands with tiny fingernails. Out of habit, he brushes the legs of his suit off where the kid bumped into him. You know, in case there was lice or something gross like that. The sight of the koi pond painting makes him turn up his nose, shaking his head toward it. "So tacky and overdone," he comments wryly, and to nobody in particular.

Brushing past the group of young woman, Lillian can't help but backpedal a bit so she can see the pair of earrings that they're so fixated on. Something with gree on it, though, so they aren't going to be for her." She shrugs a bit, looking up in time to hear Adam chastise the woman for her kid's behaviour, quirking an eyebrow in his direction. It's things like that that make her glad she has no real intention of teaching below eighth grade level.

"Whoa, hey," says Carl, lifting his arm out of the way as the kid narrowly clips him as well. It's inevitable, he supposes; this much stuff in one place, there's bound to be something that sets off his imagination. "I think I'll go ahead and pick these up after all," motioning to the end tables. "Fifty apiece, right?" They may be hot, but he doesn't think he'll be on the hook for it if they are. Worst case, he loses them but probably gets his money back.

"Adam," comes the motherly shout to — Adam? According to the continued parenting of the year, she means the tyke: "Put that down! Stefanie— will you go get your brother?" Harried and helpless. The mini-sized Adam just gapes at the taller legs around him and unabashedly sticks his finger in his nose. On the other side of the spectrum, one of the teenagers proves faster than the other. Getting eager mitts on the earrings, she dangles them against her lobe — already flashing red and green from the ones in — to test her appearance. Her expectant stare is followed by some experimental squinting by her friend. "Seems… dull. Maybe it's just to me? Cause I don't know if that's quite your color…" Her eyes flicker to Lillian and back, narrowly tuned to any further competition.

The vendor gives eager, appeasing nods to his prospective end-table purchaser, though his eyes wander when there's a flash of respectability nearby — but passing on. "I want…" Strolling nearly backwards in his efforts to check his expensive wrist-watch, the business-suited man glances up in time to swerve around Carl, "to get out of here before the lunch rush, so, whenever you're good…"

People people people. Hordes of people, shifting around multitudes of objects, all clinking together and rattling, or chiming, and being crumpled into crinkling plastic bags, as cash is passed, and miniature registers ding money from one individual to another, easy as that.

There's a stall filled to brimming with hand-painted pottery. Seems to have been planned ahead, placed next to the one overflowing with the sweet smells and attractive colors of every flower that could be coaxed out during this season. Beyond, a man breaks the theme with a bunch of wrinkled classic magazines, and a few overpriced comic books. The most eye-popping covers have been artfully placed near the front, where spandexed superheroes keep advertising company next to Betty & Veronica in their swimsuits. Scrunched somewhere between them, a uniquely painted cover of the splitting of a globe in blue and green and where someone's seemed to have wrongfully placed back a National Geographic from the 50s.

Flowers. Now that's something Ophelia doesn't mind. She leans over, smelling one of the flowers as she glances through. Finally, something of some interest to her. She looks through, trying to make up her mind as to what she wants.

"Oh, wonderful. Way to make something of your life," Adam - big Adam - says to the little booger-eater. "If I give you a dollar will you stop and go somewhere else?" he asks of the little kid. He still seems thoroughly unimpressed by the selection, but then, he wasn't expecting this to be anything of an interesting distraction in the middle of the day.

A couple walks along through the crowd — a couple of businesspeople, at least. They wear suits beneath subdued, dark winterwear — peacoats, a trench coat, not amiss in the varied crowd. As the well-dressed man and woman slip past Ophelia and Lillian, both young women are given a slightly longer than casual eyeing. The pair never stop at any of the flea market's eager displays; the man is perpetually on the phone. The people seem to be their interest, but most people aren't interested in them. They're just faces in the crowd they soon split apart and drift into.

Lillian is too distracted by the man and woman who eye her, eyes kept largely straight ahead as she looks at the stalls in front of her. Enough so that she can barely keep herself from bumping right into Ophelia. Barely. "Aa-ack," she intones as she looks up just in time frowning. "S-Sorry." Well. That's embarassing.

Carl nods to the furniture hawk, taking out his wallet and scrawling out a check— he brought some cash with him, but not quite that much. That's more likely to go toward stuff to put on the tables. He's not big on comic books either, but some of that other stuff looks worth checking out.

Ophelia notes the gaze of the suited pair, narrowing her eyes a little, but her catch of their look means she doesn't even see Lillian. As the other woman smacks into her, she gasps in surprise, but looks back to Lillian. "Oh, oh, no, sorry… I didn't even see you."

Miniature Adam blinks bleary, childish eyes up at his tall counterpart, his finger frozen inside his nostril. With the bland acceptance of someone who doesn't quite know what he's agreeing to, the child reaches out a hand; Kensei might as well have been offering him candy — and a ride in a van. But swooping in, a young woman with her brown hair tied practically up, and big doe eyes to match. Her Blackberry is just disappearing as she rounds, a hand on mini-Adam's shoulder. "Hey, sorry if my little brother's bothering you— Adam, jeez… I swear to God you're going to get abducted one of these days and I'm not even going to…" blah blah, sibling affection.

Some paces beyond the comic book store, in what could be generally considered the center-ish section of the entire sprawling market, just another young woman, leaning enthusiastically past the fellows at the counter to give a meaningful gesture paired with large, insistent eyes. "No, the other one— I want to see the other one…" She's shoved a piece of fabric into her arms, that she brushes aside. "I want what you have there in back."

Greasy underneath his drawn hooded sweatshirt, familiar with the streets his booth is set up on, the comic-book and magazine vendor glares blearily at his first customer as he picks up the nearest colorful cover and turns it over for inspiration of the scrawl on the back.

As if jolted by their collision, the copy of Alice In Wonderland that Lillian's been touting escapes her, falling at a strange angle towards the comic book stall. It skids even after landing, a strange little needy flop that sends it one more step before it stops, threatened to be crushed by many footfalls.

"That certainly was… interesting." The girl's apologies fall upon deaf ears, or at least, highly-uninterested ears. She might still be jabbering on for all Adam knows or cares, since he's already spinning around to observe more of the flea market.

Idly watching little-Adam as he's carted off, Carl leafs through a few of the comic books. Okay, there's a Groo #1 in there, but— he'll pass. "What's this one?" he asks, pointing to the picture of the earth while he checks out the National Geographic on his own.

"I- still, I'm-" Lillian stops, blinking as she notices the lack of a book held tight under her arm. Ophilia is ignored for a moment as she spins back around, looking for where her book fell. "Shit, I spent half my budget for this week on that…" she half laments, half whines as she scans the floor, spotting it where it's stopped by the comic stall. She looks back up at Ophelia, offering an apologetic smile. "I'm sorry," she replies again with a meak little laugh before she starts towards her book.

"Hey, are you okay?" Ophelia notices the book falling, and the woman moves to follow Lillian in the direction of her book. At the very least, she can help keep her from getting trampled while she fetches the thing.

Comic book in hand, the customer's critical eyes shift from it to the inquiring Carl; the answer isn't immediately drawn out, "Ehh…" forcing the man to then turn the item over to the front for deliberation. A smooth, blue and green cracked asunder by violent yellow.

Just beyond, "I know you have some— "

Crisp edges crinkle under the bored hands of the comic examiner, further distorting the image, and calling the squinty-eyed vendor to notice before the name can be read.

"You wanna be more careful with that— ?" The owner criticizes.

A hand runs through close-cropped brown hair, as the woman fights agitation that tenses the air around her, "Give— "

"It's not worth as much if you rip it— What the— !" The wind has become undetectable. Without so much as a whisper of a breath, the comic book in the customer's hands fights its way to freedom with a whiplash effect — tearing through the air and off into the inner stalls of the flea-market. Its haphazard but purposeful plunge tears a line of red across the reaching hand that held it, the speed turning paper into knife for that instant. "Jesus!"

It isn't alone; half of Lillian's budget waves farewell to her as several pages of Alice's adventures flutter markedly by before the entire novel follows with an unnatural lurch. The theory that it as kicked by a passing foot goes out the window — or up into the air — when it suddenly launches right off the ground and makes a beeline for the stalls where the comic book disappeared. It gets only so far as to smack into some unfortunate passer-by.

Then it's the embossed key-chains on a rack next to Adam. Rattling, shaking. Shuddering with desperate intention that gives them an eerie music effect in competition with the abruptly quivering wind-chimes. Preciously won earrings are ripped far too easily from the teenaged hands that fought for them. Bits and pieces without enough weight to hold them down launch into the crowd everywhere, inspiring small starts and heys of surprise and — in the case of several rather flashy looking giant hair-pins — owws everywhere.

But still, no wind.

"Fuck, who's doing that?" Ophelia mutters, glancing towards Lillian and her runaway book. "Uh, do you want some help with that?" She's not liking the 'wind'. She knows wind, and this isn't exactly what she'd expect with it.

Carl's attention is halfway from one item to the other when the whatever it is zooms through, leaving the picture blurred in his vision for a second before he recovers. Ooooookay, he's not going to reach for any of the other books or magazines until after he's sure this has sorted itself out. Instead, he folds his arms across his chest, taking a couple steps back and looking around to gauge how others are reacting.

The wind is the sort of thing that grows and grows into the crazy frenzy of stuff blowing everywhere. People duck out of the way to dodge stuff…and who can blame them? Adam doesn't try to avoid anything…and so maybe that's why he winds up taking an earring to the cheek. Yes, that's right, pointy end into the cheek. "Ow! Son of a…" he snaps out, pulling the thing free with barely a drop of blood.

"Aaah, what!" Lillian explains as the book blows further away, further out of her grasp. "Hey! Come baaaaack!" she shouts angrily at the supposedly inanimate object as it goes flying up into the air - and smacks into the side of someone. "F-fucking…" She looks back at Ophelia, offering a weak smile. "Please? This is- stupid." She turns back, eyes narrowed at the person the book hit. "Sooorry!"



"Oww! What was that?"

"Who threw this?"

It's the chorus of the day, as the small space over-saturated with people becomes an easy death-trap for the tiny projectiles. Tiny and then… As Adam's plucking the earring (mostly) harmlessly from his cheek, one of Carl's intended end-tables gives a little shake. A little shimmy. It skids forward a pace with one leg. The ends of tents are battered outward, flapping madly to join in the fray, along with those objects unfortunate enough to be nailed down. Pottery leaps from its counters, striking into poles and scattering pieces everywhere. The ones that make it fly freely past the flowers, past the comic book stand, and crash into the side of the tent just near the center, startling a woman with tightly cropped brown hair.

She opens her mouth; a silent gasp. Her hand reaches up, startled.


Faster than you can sing 'Higitus Figitus' — every single object in every single stall leaps up and careens towards the center post. The end-table, once inching forward, now skids once more time before it launches straight at the back of the immortal's head, as if determined to go right through him. It's partner clips a woman in the arm, tossing her to the ground. A subtle blessing, as her friend is not so lucky when a gold-edged mirror clocks her, shattering glass into the crowd. Screaming erupts elsewhere.

"Shit," Ophelia mutters, grabbing for Lillian's arm. "We can get your book when all of this chaos isn't happening. Someone's gonna get seriously injured with stuff like this flying." She peers around, searching for the source.

"Aaah!" Lillian doesn't scream, but she certianly does shout with surprise when everything starts to go crazy around her, and then someone her arm, and she's looking back at Ophelia with a blink. "What in the world's goin' on?! " she inquires excitedly, watching for her book again.

"… attempting to close in — axis of the activity seems to be centered— " A man's voice on a cell phone, calm amidst the explosion of the market. The man split from his female partner reappears to rush back the way he came, jogging past the comic stall. As items absolutely everywhere are being forcefully asunder from their placements, a metal birdcage from afar strikes the man in the back and he careens onto the ground, at risk to be trampled. Breathlessly, he wills a tight grip on his phone to drag it back to his ear. "Move in, move in, find her!"

Note to self, get those tables back. Failing that, get the check back. Failing that, put a stop-payment on it. But all that's for later— right now, Carl's first concern is that the poltergeist shows no signs of letting up. "Back here!" he calls out, motioning anyone close enough to follow him as he ducks behind a ratty old sofa. If anything else gets thrown around, then at least they'll have some cushioning there. If the sofa gets thrown around… well, at that point, they're probably screwed no matter what they do. He's too close to the center to just make a run for it.

Adam may be invincible, but he certainly cannot see through the back of his head. The hair, that styled hair that totally captures the ordered chaos, the styled disheveled look, would make it hard to see anyways. When the table lifts off and flies through the tent, he performs a public service by taking one for the team, literally. It smashes against the back of his head and sends him down in a heap. Shattered though, the table could cause less damage.

"Don't ask me, I don't know, but it's better not to mess with something like this," Ophelia keeps a careful hand on Lillian, guiding her out of the way as her eyes flicker to the suited man. Uh oh. She peers around to see where his partner is. "Probably someone being an idiot and getting caught up in something they shouldn't…"

Neither bird-cage nor the scattered remains of the table are down for the count like the people they hit; no, their urge to move is just too strong. And whatever's summoning them is not letting up. The closest tents are beginning to wiggle out of the ground, and those less secure have already crumpled, burying their owners beneath folds of determined fabric still inching towards that center point — the origin. An origin growing more difficult to see as cages and pots and paintings line up to create a mass cloud around it.

Carl's safety sofa quivers, as though it had a mind and that mind was indecisive about what it quite wanted to do. But so far, it remains steady — unlike the two lamps beside it that take off. A dish and a spoon. It's almost comical.

Except now people everywhere are panicking. Those that aren't being bludgeoned run for refuge as best they can, leaping over traveling pants, and, just as often, each other. Anyone low on the ground is as risk of having their hand stepped on — or worse. It's a tornado cloud of inanimate objects careening one way, and a stampede of mindless people storming the other.

In the midst of it, swirling, battling objects part, making little gaps in their mass, to give a glimpse inside: that dark-haired woman is higher than she used to be, writhing on the air itself, her weightless legs curling up as she extends her arms and shrieks.

It starts with the little things. A tug here; people's clothes are already beginning to rebel against them and stretch toward the gravitational pull of the woman. But when the itching, pulling begins to get under the skin, Lillian's nails start to want to move. Ophelia's hair — maybe she should have gotten that hat — whips her in the face. Carl can feel his toes begin to slide. But with a scream, a mixture of confused delight and anguish, miniature-Adam is the first to be completely lifted off the ground and sail inward, coming right towards Carl's hideaway couch.

All around them, the entire flea-market seems to be leaning, folding into its center.

Yelping, Lillian ducks her head as she's pulled by Ophelia, looking back behind her the entire time with a fornw on her face, one that only grows as she begins to feel that tug on her person, that increasinly uncomfortable feeling. She doesn't see the woman in the middle of the mass before she looks back at Phi, looking a fair bit more frightened than she did before. "What is that supposed t' mean?!"

A couple of others brace up against the couch, trying to keep it steady, but soon abandon the effort. Too great a risk that it'll be the next thing to go airborne, and knock their heads off their shoulders in the process for good measure. Carl drops down close to the ground, crawling over and grabbing hold of a metal plate that's momentarily gotten caught against a pair of table legs. It's a long shot, but if he can manage to spot a target, probably near the center of the storm…

"Not good, not good." Ophelia mutters, looking back towards the center of the mass, one hand reaching to pull the hair out of her face. "Come on, we've got to get away. Call it a government conspiracy or something, believe whatever you like, but I'd rather not get stuck in the middle of that." She points at the center where everything's being moved to, before she begins to trudge away, or rather, attempts to.

Knocked to the ground and still reeling from the hit to the back of the head, Adam does his best to shake it off and assess the situation. There's a few trickles of blood through the hair on the back of his head, but it doesn't keep him from seeing double, as he claws the ground, the street, whatever other nastiness the flea market is set up on just to keep from being pulled and tugged like a piece of debris.

No one's seen her, but the woman inside has seen them. Through the mine-field of captured objects, and the constant others joining, her wide brown eyes lock on Carl. Lips part, moving with difficulty — mouthing a single word to her would-be stopper. Her face, a mask of alarm and concentration, creases with every second that the flood of incomings don't stop. Tensed elbows, previously snapped into place, are beginning to give into the pressure, folding towards her and, for each inch that her hands retreat, the tornado cloud pulls in closer to her. And the tugging grows into a stronger haul.

The miniature-sized Adam smacks into the couch, hard, wiping the thrill quickly off his face into pure pain as he cries out, tiny fingers curling for some purchase as he begins to slide around the soft edges of the furniture and ever towards the epicenter. Nearby the larger Adam, another woman is picking herself up from the ground, clutching the arm twisted wrong thanks to an earlier beating by that mirror. "Oh God," she can't find her friend, so she grabs for the immortal, "Oh God what's happening!.

For Ophelia and Lillian, escape will not come easier. Even as their insides feel like they're flipping over, biased towards another woman's body, the ground beneath their feet warps and rolls inward. Pebbles kick up and then stay up. The world wants in.

And while the world wants in so desperately, here comes the cavalry. Here, it's not a marching horde, but a shadow creeping in between the chaos, a figure in a tan sports coat who stamps determinedly toward the center of everything: the powerful dark-haired woman. He fights with every resolute step to resist her fierce pull. The tall man of Haitian descent brings with him an air of completely focused intensity. Every ounce of it bears down on her, and affects her not at all — but the unusual storm, around him, pacifies ever-so-slightly, a halfway effective cloud of null-and-void.


Trailing behind is the female agent, struggling more to fight the uncomfortable force; her face is already a maze of scratches, her coat dusty, and she looks sickened. Keeping her head down, she focuses her energy on trying to help up those who have fallen in order to usher them away. As one woman clutches onto the immortal on the ground, she clutches at his other side. "Mr. Monroe." Hers is an unfamiliar face to him; Adam's isn't to her. "Don't suppose you're feeling like lending a charitable hand," she forces out over the tumult. Unlike the rest of the flea market shoppers, he can't truly get hurt by the tornado of viciously rending objects. The agent moves around to the frightened woman to take care of her, but sends a pointed through the crowd to Lillian and Ophelia.

Planting himself in front of the random minefield now, Rene's brows arc forcefully down above his intent stare at the woman in the middle. His arms are stiff at his sides; if it weren't for the ripples of tension shaking his neck and head, he'd be a solid statue. It's a showdown.

"Charity starts at home, I do believe the saying goes," Adam says to the agent. Her face is unfamiliar, but he certainly knows the Haitian's face. Struggling up to his feet amidst gravity adn battering objects, he grits his teeth and bares it, swatting against some ojects. It takes effort to haul the women clinging to his leg up to her feet but he manages, and starts to stagger toward the… exist, such as they are.

As he locks eyes with the woman, Carl wavers. He had a simple, if seemingly unlikely, plan - figure out who was causing this and knock them out - and he did figure it out, but she's clearly not in control of what she's doing. If he goes through with the original idea, will it fix things or make them worse? Those two over there look like they have some idea what they're doing— but it's too loud, he doesn't have time to ask.

It comes down to cold statistics. During his time with the Protocol, he heard about some targets losing control— but none for whom knocking them unconscious wasn't effect. I hope to hell you're not the first, he thinks, as he lifts up and hurls the metal plate toward her. It is officially the worst Frisbee in New York.

"Conspiracy?!" isn't shouted, but Lillian is looking at Ophelia with disbelief, even as she tries to resists the bizarre pulling sensation she feels all around her. She grinds her teeth together a bit. "I- you're crazy." It doesn't sound mean or accusing, more like someone who's cofused choosing not to believe what could be a palatable solution, given the whirlwind of crap and the suited agents she's now looing over at.

Ophelia's a little confused as to what's going on. Well, she knows the general concept, but nothing specific. Really, she's just trying to keep calm. "Well, fuck, what do you think is going on? I'm just trying to diffuse the tension in the situation, at least."


Fierce, crisp lines of agony drill the woman's forehead, but still she challenges the attempts to placate the storm of market, this hurricane of home-made crafts and soon to be people. Or perhaps so little of it is under her control anymore. The harsh clash of whipping wind versus cold stillness that seeks to smother it rattles the air around, pushing at both woman and dark man in equal, pressurized proportions. And what they take onto themselves, they ease off of their surroundings. Tugging dims, uncrinkling toes and uncurling nails. Lillian and Ophelia's insides stop spinning, leaving just a faint suggestion of nausea.

The Worst Frisbee In New York is possibly also the best. Without much guidance at all, it still would've sailed without fail immediately for the target — just like everything else attempting to do the same. But, as it glides heavily through the space around the solidly planted Haitian, the focus wavers. What mind of its own the metal frisbee once had slips off, leaving only a dangerous projectile. Coasting towards the woman, her barrier of power begins to sink teeth in again, but not enough to warrant it being ignored. A hand juts to the side, focusing solely on preserving herself from bring beaned into next year — but even that, she fights. Her own fingers furling in increasingly painful amounts. Furling and… weakening and — the concentration that amounts to stopping Carl's attack, or fighting that stop, is too much, and too many contradictions.

The Haitian pushes; she folds.

The frisbee breaks through, snapping her head back with the force of its too-much-influenced hit.

Instantly, everything that was flying, careening, and building thunders to the crowd in a mass heap of disorganization and ruined fares. The aftermath looks like an overturned garbage truck struck the once cheerful market. And it's not been without its casualties. Including that center of attention, now a crumpled and unconscious body with a no-man's-land of emptiness in an orbit around her bearing nothing but a rattling metal plate.

Rene's focus snaps as soon as the subject of it goes down; that push against the other's pull is allowed to fall apart. Beads of sweat glisten on his skin, a testament to the effort.

The female agent has made her way over to Lillian and Ophelia, reaching toward them, ushering them with a gesture away from the center. "It's all right. Are either of you hurt? Come this way!"

After a rain of things collapses around the other male agent, he comes out of the woodwork, trampled but not to death, on one knee behind the crumpled mass of a tent. He has a gun out, but who cares in the rest of the madness? It's been aimed at the powerful woman, but his shot was less than clear, and not his intent. It lowers now and, after a long look off in the direction of Carl, eyeing the source of the metal Frisbee directly — perceptive, but not exactly the thanks Carl deserves — he moves to the Haitian, who is picking his way through the debris. The young woman is so small, she looks so fragile now; he simply picks her up in his capable arms, gently as can be.

The other agent gets back on that phone of his to report: "The incident is over. We have Alyssa Christianson contained."

Ophelia almost flinches when the agent heads over. Well, really, she was expecting things to get worse. Hard to believe those were the good guys in the midst of this. She does move, however, away from the center, a wary eye on the female agent. Silly trust issues.

"I don't know!" is shouted back at Ophelia, but- is ill timed the the sudden and crashing end to the chaos around them, her voice ringing out louder than most anything else at that moment. Which, natually, makes her face redden a fair amount out of embarassment, scrambling up to solid footing again when the agent speaks to her. A look is angled back towards the pile of stuff around the woman, a look on her face. Looking between Ophelia and the woman, Lillian heaves out a sigh. "Jesus, I just wanted a book. I am never leaving my apartment again." Breathing a bit heavily from all teh excitement, she sovers her hands into her pockets, looking down at the ground in front of her as she slowly closes the distance between her and the other woman.

Meanwhile, pushing heavily to his feet - even with the physical hardship abruptly lifted - Carl walks in precisely the opposite direction, picking his way carefully around the strewn merchandise as he approaches Rene and… Alyssa, then. "Is she all right?" he asks out loud, looking over her features for the point of impact, before proceeding to what's likely to be a more telling question. Not 'what the hell was that', but "do you know what made her lose control?"

"If you have a contact of some kind, we can see about reimbursement…" The woman suggests, keeping a close eye on Lillian, but a closer one on Ophelia. "I know you're both probably shaken; let's find somewhere quieter to sit down." Her gaze seeks to corral the two women, though a hasty glance is spared the dozens of other crowd members who scrambled for the exits and are picking themselves up from the debris, or from the nearby streets. Other suited men and women — half of them clutching phones like this woman's partner — can be seen doing their best to pacify the panic in other parts. The general movement seems to get everyone in the same neutral area, similar to medical triage.

That ghostly epicenter isn't exactly attracting a lot of tourists; Rene and Carl. The former's look, like his arms around the tiny burden, is firm past the signs of strain in his face. Alyssa's is pale and instantly drained, easily calling out the swiftly swelling line of red Carl dished out. But to the question, Rene shakes his head; no. Or not now.

The male agent noisily approaches, stepping over broken glass, bottles, and jewelry to put up a warning hand that seeks to dissuade Carl from continuing close to them. "If you'd gather with the others, we can get to your questions, sir…" Much more quietly, Rene walks himself and Alyssa's body away deceptively easily from the spread of chaos she created.

It's going to take a lot more to get everyone else out.

* * *

In the end, the corralling has middling success, the harried and panicked New Yorkers half trusting the authoritative stance of these ushers, and half just wanting someone to yell at. But the wary Ophelia, confused Lillian, and cooperative Carl are among those as a couple of strictly dressed agents take the center to addressing the troubled crowd.

"If everyone would just look up here a moment, everything will be explained…"

* * *

"It was an unlucky day for shoppers yesterday, when a community-funded flea-market was attacked by what people are calling a freak gas line incident thanks to wear and tear done to the pipes through the colder winter months. Vast damages were done to the street, and some surrounding areas, and amongst several serious injuries when various stalls collapsed, there was insurmountable damage done to what was thousands of unique, hand-made wares. It's really a shame, don't you think, Heather…"

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