(2530-06-20) Ballroom Blitz
Summary: The Midsummer Ball ends … with a few bangs.
RL Date: 21 Jun 2020
Related: 2530-06-20-do-i-hear-a-waltz
2530-06-20-the-social-whirl
2530-06-20-the-persephone-polka
celeste jude ambrose gideon samuel chandra nikki 

Scene run by Celeste. NPCs run by Celeste and Valentin.

Ballroom, Eavesdown

The Langdon-Davenport ballroom is a lavish affair. It is a huge room, with plenty of space for everyone who attends their yearly Mid-Summer Ball. The entranceway is manned by several servants ready to take any jackets or bags, as well as more discreet security guards who keep an eye on arrivals. Everyone is scanned with advanced weapon detectors, and any weapons taken from their owners. On first arriving, guests are announced to the room.

At the opposite end to the entrance, a small band provides live music. The middle of the room is dominated by the dancefloor, where couples and groups perform the appropriate steps. Huge ceiling-to-floor windows provide a view of the gardens outside, with doors that open to let the summer breeze in, or provide egress to the attendees. The final wall holds a buffet table with cold food from all over the 'Verse, and tables and chairs to seat the weary dancer. There is, of course, a floating chandelier.


The ball is winding down. The hosts finish their sedate waltz, and there's a soft, polite but genuine applause from the assembled nobles (and… not so nobles.) A few servants circulate with glasses of brandy and whisky, as well as champagne. The announcer says, "Honoured ladies and gentlemen, Lord and Lady Langdon-Davenport thank you for attending the annual Mid-Summer ball. They will soon be retiring but you are all welcome to stay until dawn, if you wish. If you do not, then they have cars waiting outside."

For those who passed an Alertness roll: That's odd. There aren't as many servants as there were. Perhaps it's just because things are winding to a close. There are also less of the house's security about, too. What's somewhat significant is that there is now a definitely-armed guard standing in front of the small room that they used to hold all of the confiscated weapons.

Ambrose has stepped out into the gardens with some food. That's pretty much where the dark haired psychologist has been this night. Testing all that wonderful, delicious food and watching the going ons with a soft smile as he hangs back. He slowly steps back inside with an empty plate in his hand, fully intending on making his way to the buffet and stalling briefly as he looks around the area.

<OOC> Celeste is going to go roughly on 3-pose rule, but will try and wait for everyone to pose when it's something super-important. I'm just aware of time and not wanting to take too long to get the excitement done.
<OOC> Celeste says, "If you're worried I'll miss you or you'll not pose in time, just shoot me a page."

As he wanders back in from the gardens, Gideon's demeanor seems a little bit flat. He might be tired, at this point, having grown weary of making conversation with strangers without the benefit of excess alcohol. Still, he sticks around, glancing about the ballroom for his friends when he returns. If he notices anything 'different', he likely writes it off to being about his lack of understanding of noble culture.

Doing his routine amongst the edges of the crowd, Samuel takes advantage of a moment when the crowd may be distracted during the playing of music, the applause, or whatever to disappear from the room and is making haste towards a different part of the house. It's possible some folks might notice him going through doors that have been very rarely used, but he's doing his best to be Sneaky Pete McNinja.

Gabe doesn't back down from the stance he just took. Em actually smiles as she too hears Jude's firm statement. Gabe meets Jude's eyes, answering with a nod. "Yes. Good," is his response. And then the moment is broken by clapping (which Em joins, refocusing on the hosts) and the announcement. "Speaking of which, where did she get to?" Gabe wonders, scanning the crowd. [These NPCs are played by Valentin.]

Ambrose doesn't see any familiar faces with an offhand glance of the area. He quietly makes his way over to the buffet to pile some more food on his plate, his brows furrowed in thought as he seems completely absorbed in his own world at the moment.

Jude exhales with relief when Gabe's attention shifts as he really doesn't want an argument with Celeste's brother. He looks relieved to see Gideon and, mumbling "Excuse me" to Gabe and Emeline, heads that way to rejoin his friend.

After dancing and desserting and mingling - along with a little bit of side drama - Chandra had taken herself to the gardens for some fresh air and lighter crowd. As she comes back in, taking a look around the room to find familiar faces, there's an odd air of something not quite right. Though, she chalks it up to it being late in the night and scans the crowd for familiar faces.

Just before going through the door, Samuel notices and changes his course to approach a door with a solitary uniformed security guard. He is visible, and his movements are deliberate, cautious. He has a look of intense concentration as he approaches the guard.

The hosts make their way towards one of the doors, held up by the congratulations and gratitude from the various guests around. The party is quite a big success, without a lot of drama! But - well. There's a bit of a tension in the air, just for a moment. And then… all of the lights suddenly go out. The ballroom is thrown into near-complete darkness. There are gasps and shouts from some of the guests, but no panic for now. After all, it might just be some effect for a surprise.

There are various high-ranking Alliance officers here, chests full of medals, nodding indulgently and making plans for consultancies for Blue Sun and the like after they retire. They have bought with them a smattering of aides, Lieutenants and Captains who are hovering near their superiors ready to step forwards to murmur discretely the identity of an approaching Noble or bigwig. Lt Nicola Kennedy is one such, looking actually reasonably presentable in her dress uniform, hair braided within an inch of its life. The scowl on her face shows that she's unimpressed with the whole ball thingy. She's holding a plate with an uneaten sausage roll and a couple of cocktail sticks signifying the demise of something. When the lights go off, she…keeps standing there. Because, collisions.

Gideon's chin lifts at Jude, mouth opening to ask some question of the other man as he approaches. It's a question that will forever remain unanswered, however, because the sudden darkness distracts him. Uneasy, maybe in light of his earlier observations that he'd otherwise written off, he starts looking around, hoping his eyes will adjust and he can find his friends.

Ambrose is in the middle of putting a bun onto his plate when the lights suddenly go out. He blinks, freezing with one hand holding his plate and the other olding the bun. He's not too concerned though, looking around for some sort of special or flashy light.

Gabe blinks a bit as Jude simply turns and walks off, but shrugs that off. He's turning back to confer with Em about things - when the lights go out. They lean in to whisper whatever they were going to say. Or something about the turn of events. Only they know.

When the room goes dark, Samuel presses against the wall. He quickly removes his coat and top, underneath he's wearing his standard armored clothes. He draws a knife that was tucked into his waist and quickly cuts his trousers off, in a matter of seconds he is now clad in his customary all black. Too bad, and they were such nice clothes. He flips the knife in his hand so the blade is pointing back towards his forearm, a position suited for fighting and for using as a blocking device.

Chandra goes completely still as the lights suddenly go out, having had no real time to discern where her friends were and now in the middle of what could very well be a row of tables and even people she won't risk moving. The only thing keeping her a little more on the calm side is there's no real panic from people just yet, only murmurs in the dark. Which…can also be unsettling.

Luckily Jude wasn't far from Gideon anymore when the lights went out and so he keeps his course until he bumps into someone who smells reassuringly like Gideon. "What's going?!", he asks quietly.

The lights come back on, potentially leaving some people dazzled. What they reveal isn't a nice surprise, like a cake or some actors. Now around the room are armed men and women, some of them recognisable as the security guards that had vanished. There are guns pointing at the well-dressed crowd. One of them is the security guard that was on the door, and he's pointing it where he last saw Samuel. A nicely-dressed man with a beard and a waistcoat (but not one of the nobles) stands in front of the band. "Now then, ladies and gents," he says. "There right here is an old-fashioned stick up. Get your money out and your jewels ready, and nobody's gonna get hurt."

<OOC> Celeste says, "If anyone wants to do anything tricky, drop me a page and I'll probably get you to roll, then letcha know what to pose."

Ambrose is merely waiting for some sort of performance when the lights turn back on. He frowns, his face paling significantly at all the guns as his plate is set down upon the buffet table. He swallows, his mouth parting and his eyes widening as he looks around in panic. He has nowhere to go — he's so far from a place to duck out and hide. Tensing up, his shoulders trembling, his hands lift up above his shoulders in a very non-threatening manner. Ambrose looks utterly terrified, not willing to attempt to run, but his hazel eyes focus on the speaker with intent and a frown.

Lt Kennedy's eyes drop to the plate in her hand. She could potentially throw the sausage roll into one of the bad guys' mouths to choke them, use the plate as a frisbee to take out two or three more, and stab the last in the heart with a cocktail stick, to thunderous applause and an immediate promotion. Or, she could not. This is a ball. She doesn't have a sidearm. She probably has a ceremonial sabre, which might do well for cake-cutting in the zero chance she ever gets married, but she has less skill in swordfighting than she does in sober restraint. Instead, she lowers the plate to her waist to try to cover the attempt to reach her comm/phone/thingy. She scowls, too.

Where the guard at the door looked to find Samuel's last position, all he sees is a pile of discarded clothes. The upper body clothing having been removed, and the pants having been cut off. What the guard doesn't see is Samuel standing behind him. With a quick motion, Samuel's knife is pressed against the man's throat and his other hand relieves him of his weapon. Samuel keeps the man in front of him as a shield as he looks at the man addressing the crowd. "I wouldn't be so sure about that." A thin line of blood is trickling down the man Samuel is holding, the knife pressing into his skin just enough to draw blood.

Gabe takes a step closer to Em, placing an arm protectively around her waist and whispering something more to her. They both scan the room intently. She places a hand protectively over her very nice necklace - then thinks better of the move, and drops it to her side again.

"Gorram - " Gideon lets out a long string of cuss words after that, a whole night's worth, undoubtedly, that he was saving up to let out once he got out of this fine place and his fine attire. "Keep an eye out - hopefully this'll work - " he mutters to Jude, drops to the ground and start crawling. It's a move he's used to his advantage, many times at a bar, to avoid a foe or jilted lover, ducking and getting the heck out of sight and using his slight height to his advantage.

Jude doesn't go crawling after Gideon. Not in his fine tux. Instead he uses the temporary distraction to sneak towards a door in the hope to find Celeste somewhere and make sure she's safe.

"Always drama at a party…" Chandra quips, shifting to kneel down and unstrap her heels to take them off. It's not really moving right? Then she looks herself over and actually gives a laugh. "I mean, where the hell do women keep their money…stuffed in their chest?"

One of the doors to the garden opens, and a dozen or so nobles (some of them still dressing themselves and looking somewhat dishevelled…) are herded in by another of the bandit-types. One of them is Celeste. She's currently being held by the arm by one of the men, and her expression is somewhere between terrified and thrilled. An /actual/ robbery! How exciting. A few of the bandits are now circulating, taking necklaces and earrings and bracelets. The leader, however, has noticed that Samuel is up to no good. "Get him!" he barks, and two of them head that way.

Ambrose grimaces and turns his head away from the sight of violence. He draws in a deep breath, his throat tightening and his fingers twitching as his hands remain up in the air. He gives his head small shakes as he looks around at the faces, swallowing again as he lets out a shaky breath. The thing is, his hazel eyes dart off towards one of the tables, the guitar case that he is never far from propped up against the seat he had been sitting at. He silently prays, let out in a whispered buzz as he stands still and frozen.

Jude's eyes widen when he sees Celeste being shepherded in. But she doesn't look in a terrible state and he knows that the nobles can actually spare some of their fancy stuff. Heck, until a few weeks ago, he would have said he'd rather be part of a robber gang than dancing among nobles. He tries to get Celeste's attention though, just to offer her a reassuring smile. Tux or no tux, he isn't about to do any Bond-like heroics. If the robbers approach him, well, tough shit, he possesses no valuables at all.

Crawling along the floor in his nice clothes, Gideon finally finds his mark - one of the robbers standing close enough to a chair. Gideon hops on said chair, using the sudden height to his advantage. He wraps his left forearm around the man's neck, holding it for a few beats until his opponent slumps forward. As the man crumples to the ground, Gideon relieves him of his gun.

Dropping the knife, Samuel drops and flips the man he's holding onto his back. He lifts the hapless man and hurls him at the two men approaching him. Like a scene from a Kung Fu comedy, the three go down in a heap. Samuel quickly retrieves the knife and starts sprinting towards the leader, zigging and zagging as he does to make himself a more difficult target. He flips the knife in his hand, holding the blade by the spine, readying to throw it as soon as he can do so safely without putting anyone else at risk.

Clutching her delicate china plate at her waist, Nikki's shifting awkwardly. It looks awkward. And vaguely rude. Perhaps she has something down her pants. She is looking increasingly dissatisfied with whatever is going on down in the region of her midriff. Then things start kicking off. She abandons her attempts to call for help, and decides to join in.

Suddenly, there's a lot more resistance than the bandits expected. They were anticipating a room full of terrified nobles that would give up their valuables easily. Not some crazy short guy leaping on a chair, and a kung fu -actual- security guard. A couple of them start shouting. Guns are being pointed! Many of the nobles are screaming and with the frozen terror broken, starting to make a run for the doors.

Celeste, for her part, runs for Jude.

Emeline also spots Celeste, pointing her out to Gabe, who looks relieved for all of two seconds. As a robber approaches them with a bag, Gabe bristles, but doesn't actually try anything. He gives the miscreant a good, hard look - muttering "you won't get away with this," as he removes his cuff links and watch. Em also dutifully removes and offers over her jewelry. The necklace is the hardest to let go… but she does. They have insurance for situations like this, after all. Then the screaming starts…

Jude opens his arms to welcome Cel into a warm tight hug. "God, I'm glad you're safe.", he whispers and kisses her, "Stay here…", he tells her. The door is near, she could escape if she wants to. Then he decides to make himself useful. One of the goons stands near, weapon pointed at a noble, so he crosses quickly, closing the distance within seconds, before punching the guy out with his fist. Yup. Nobody is as surprised as Jude himself that that worked.

Gun in hand, Gideon seems far not at all concerned with valuables being stolen, just that his friends don't get hurt while it's happening. "Git!" he shouts, gun in hand, pointing it at a gathering of robbers as he stands over their fallen colleague. "Or I'll plug you so full of lead, your babies are still gonna be born with fillings in their teeth!"

As Samuel is charging towards the leader, a hapless goon gets in his way. That goon is met with a savage jab in the throat, those near by can hear a crunch of bones as Samuel's fist collapses the not-so-poor sap's throat. The man gurgles as he falls to the falls to the floor, pink frothy foam seeping from his mouth as his eyes go wide. Probably not what the plan was. As Samuel gets closer to the leader, the knife is raised in the ready to throw position, he's still making erratic movements to make it difficult as possible to get a good bead on him.

Gabe takes advantage of the robbers' distraction to wind up and swing a right hook at the one who just collected his and Em's valuables. Em adds her shriek to the chorus in the room, surprised too, as Gabe lands a solid crack on the man's jaw, then goes to wrestle the gun out of his hand. He at least has the sense to go for that before the bag of valuables.

Ambrose just prays that no one notices the guitar that's slightly under the table and beside the chair. He certainly doesn't point it out aside from his gaze sliding over to it. He's pale and he looks almost like he's going to be sick as his stomach muscles painfully tense and contract with anxiety. He's too afraid to do much — be it step forward or to flee — though his mouth works with a silent stutter, but words fail him. As his stomach heaves, suddenly he can't hold it back any longer and he suddenly stoops over — one hand flat against the buffet table — as he expels the contents of his stomach.

With the center of the scrum being probably somewhere in the vicinity of Samuel, Nikki picks the nearest goon, walks smoothly but increasingly quickly towards him, and as he turns she brings her body low, tucks in her shoulder, and tackles him. A near-perfect rugby tackle that drives him back, crashing into and through a table as she goes for the ball. Gun. She played rugby at the Naval Academy. Forward, front row. Hooker, for anyone who is keeping score. Of course she was.

Chaos! Panic! People fighting back! Guests with guns! One person throwing up! Definitely /not/ the plan. Most of the bandits are punched and knifed and generally given a Very Bad Day by the folks in the crowd that were /not/ supposed to be there. The leader is screaming at them to shoot people, but most aren't in a position to do so. A few guns /do/ go off, but none of the guests seem to be hurt. That is, however, until Gideon feels some wetness at his knee. Well, what do you know? That's blood. That's blood from being shot, right there. Seems he was a little /too/ intimidating. Celeste notices it, and promptly falls over backwards in a dead faint.

Jude looks around for any other potential goon to knock down, but it seems the situation is under control. And then he sees Celeste fall over. While there are other people closer to her, this is totally his call and ignoring the unfolding drama around him (and poor Giddy's knee) he runs back to where he left Celeste, so he can pick her up and carry her elsewhere to safety. He'd be back soon, though, using his nursing skills to treat whoever might need treating.

"I SAID GIT!" Gideon roars, like he's about to come off that chair and point the gun a little bit more closely to the offending bandits. Out of the corner of his eye, he spots Celeste, fainting. Blinking, he casts a quick glance about the room - is Jude okay? Is Jude bleeding? Is that why Celeste fainted? But - oh good - Jude. He focuses back on the robbers for a few more seconds, then winces. Something feels funny. But, right now, he's got adrenaline to keep him afoot, so rather than being worried that he might, well, forever lose the use of his knee or, even worse, die, he's just even more spitting mad. "Are you fucking kidding me?" he shouts, when he realizes that he's been shot. "You ripped my pants! I'm gonna come over there and shove your asshole so full of rotten fish you're gonna fart out of your eyes," he cusses more, but wisely holds his ground, rather than try to walk on his knee.

Gabe has wrested the gun from 'his' robber's hand, and now points it back at that fellow. "I'll take that now," he tells him, relieving him of the goodie bag, too. The gun quivers in his hand, but he's got his finger around the trigger, ready to use it if necessary. Em backs away from the whole thing now, looking over to where Celeste was - and sees Jude carrying her off. Whatever else is going on in the room now, Gabe is fully focused on the chap in front of him and making sure he doesn't try a damn thing.

Someone once made fun of him for having a sword. Too bad that person isn't here now. Because Samuel casually flicks his wrist while flinging his arm forward. Light glints off the steel of the blade as it travels in a slight ballistic arc, tumbling as it flies through the air. It almost seems to travel in slow motion as the blade straightens a fraction of a second to find the soft, exposed throat of the buffoon on the stage barking out the orders to shoot everyone. Samuel shows no emotion as he closes the last few meters of distance and vaults onto the stage, his voice calm as he says into the microphone, "I suggest you all stand down."

One hand leaning upon the table, his head is bowed as Ambrose heaves all over the floor beside the buffet table. He lets out a grunt, fumbling for the napkins at the table, all of him shaking and trembling and his eyes glazed with a layer of tears.

Nikki's still on the ground with her guy, not standing down per Samuel's order. In rugby, things happen in the scrum that aren't in the Laws of Rugby Union. Boots rake. Hands grab and squeeze other people's bits. On a good (or bad) day, you might even get an ear bitten. Nikki would never, ever, ever stoop to such shenanigans, right? Wrong. She's a big girl and she can give it out. If reinforcements arrive soon, the bad guy may come out without permanent scars.

Nope. This was /definitely/ not according to plan. There are bandits bleeding, plenty on the floor and groaning, perhaps a couple of them as still as still. Some of the guests besides Gideon are injured, too - having fallen over in the panic, or been pushed out of the way, and there's more women (and a few men) than just Celeste who've fainted. Samuel's knife hits home with a surprisingly quiet thump and an undramatic crumple of the leader, who falls - dead before he hits the floor. The few remaining bandits still on their feet drop their weapons and put their hands up. They're a motley crew of badly-dressed, desperate-looking men and women. The guy that Nikki is fighting lets out a very pained squeal that cuts through the sudden quiet. One of the bandits, the one nearest to Gideon, lets out a scared little whimper.

<OOC> Celeste says, "And that's the end of my little GMed bit! Sorry it got chaotic, I was /not/ expecting this many people. I figured I'd try the page/roll method to cut down on you all needing to wait for me to do GM poses, and it seemed to work pretty well!"

"You guys are idiots," Gideon mutters at the bandits, taking a deep breath when he realizes that it's mostly over. "You wanna steal shit," he keeps his voice down as he tries to impart advice on being a better criminal. "Don't make a whole big show out of it." Then, his eyes cross and he sways on his feet. He's lost some blood and is still losing it. He's had plenty to drink and not a lot of food. His waistcoat and cravat feel a little bit too constricting. The adrenaline is quickly leaving him, replacing it with the searing sort of pain one should feel when shot near the knee. Sitting, he seems to be meaning to stay out of the way, like he's just going to put his head down for a minute…and he slumps forward.

Chandra works out of whatever lapse of mental reality had her caught for a moment just in time to realize Gideon was still shouting words - well sort of. She glances over to him just in time to see him slump forward and thank goddess she took off her heels because running in those would be horrid! "Gids!" She shouts it and then shifts to do just that, run towards where he sat and then slumped.

Samuel kneels down and yanks the blade out of the leader's throat, a thin string of blood bridging the gap between blade and throat that is starting to congeal. Wiping the blade on the corpse's shirt, Samuel re-sheathes the blade as the rest of the thugs surrender. He walks quickly to the door he was at when this all began. He enters the room and emerges with his katana strapped to his back. Making sure all the bad guys are still behaving, he keeps his eye on the scene, just in case some of the baddies thinks it's time for some thrillin' heroics.

The ball is well and truly over. The musicians have fled. The dancefloor has been painted in various bodily fluids, and NOT the fun kind. The hosts have retired for the evening. Cleanup is in operation.

Gabe reaches the bag of loot under his gun arm, toward where his fiancee was standing a minute ago. "Em?" he asks, when it isn't immediately taken, and she steps up to grab at it. He's still got the gun trained on his yokel. "Find Celly. Make sure she's okay," he tells Em, who quickly complies, then he raises his voice for the others assembled. "Let's get all these back-births together on the stage. Feds are no doubt on their way by now." He gives his own ward a look that says 'start walking'.

In and out of reality, now, Gideon hears Chandra speaking his name, and when she approaches, he murmurs: "Just gimme a minute Chandy, and I'll dance with you, huh?" like he thinks he'll just walk (dance) off the pain once he's had a moment to catch his breath.

Too much. It's all too much. Ambrose is trying to breath out and take some calming breaths, to think, but he's shaking and it takes all he can muster to just breathe out. He looks around from where he's sunk to the floor, but he can't really help other people overcome any mental triggers when he's in near meltdown himself.

"Gorram it, Gideon…" Chandra speaks and then glances back out around the few people still gathered. "We aren't dancing. I gotta get you to the Clinic…" She shifts then to kneel a bit, sitting Gideon up so she can move one of his arms around her shoulders and then lifts him to his feet. "Anyone got a spare shoulder can give me a hand?!"

Gideon is a solid, muscled mass of human, made somehow even more unwieldy by having that all compacted in his shorter frame. There's just less height and limb to leverage against, especially as he can't put weight on his knee "Is everyone okay?" he worries, as Chandra sits him up, then lifts him. "Where's Max?" he fusses, then tries to take another look around the room before his eyes roll back in his head once more.

One bandit didn't get the memo and was trying to skulk out the door, but he wasn't counting on Ninja McNinja Pants Samuel spotting him. With a quick jab to the back of the head, Samuel drops him into a heap and drags him back into the ballroom. He hears Chandra's request, "It would be better to get him in an ambulance. They should be arriving soon, I heard the call go out on the comms."

"Come on — get up. Stand. You need to get up," Ambrose says to himself as he tries to work at getting his legs to work. Using the table, with an effort he slowly pushes himself back to his feet, looking towards Chandra and Gideon as he frowns. A glance is shot over towards the table where his guitar case is, and then stammers out, "I… I have something that could help," is said over toward Gideon and Chandra. He pushes himself away from the table, and stumbles, nearly tripping, as he moves over to the table where his guitar case is. He pulls it up and over his shoulder and turns to make his way back to Gideon where he sets his case down and rummages in the smaller pockets on it. A small first aid kit — obviously to help out until the true medics arrive or he gets taken away.

Or not. As Ambrose just freezes up with the kit in his hand, shaking and looking as though he might be in shock.

He barely even realises when Gideon is moved from his location. Ambrose is just…in a daze. "Where…" One word escapes him. Everything is a blur. He ends up dropping his head into his hands as the medkit falls to the floor in front of him.

There is cleanup! A nice, clean, Alliance officer-type makes it over to poor Ambrose and crouches down next to him. "Sir," she asks, "Are you all right?"

Gabe works with others to corral the crooks as best they can. Feds show up to take over, handling arrests and paramedic treatment and transport. Gabe gives his statement, then goes off to find his sister and his fiancee.

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