(2530-09-20) Unification Day
Summary: Speeches, medals, and a gas attack by drone.
RL Date: 20 Sep 2020
Related: None
abigail skyler michael nikki bjorn 

GM and NPCs: Londinium. Abel played by Osiris.

Liberty Square - Eavesdown

Liberty Square sits at the heart of Eavesdown, serving as link between the rather scruffy part of the town and the finer residential area to the east. The square itself is rectangular with a pretty fountain in the middle of it. Walkways lined by benches run towards the fountain, the grass between them is shaded by large trees. On the sidewalks surrounding the square vendors hawk food, drinks and little merchandise. The square is flanked by some rather impressive buildings including the Town Hall, a four-storey building crowned by a clock tower. One side of the facade is covered by a large billboard alternately showing news from around the Verse, traffic and weather alerts and commercials.
It is a summer morning. The weather is hot and drizzling.

Unification Day. A day of celebration for some, a day of getting drunk and seeking fights for others. It looks like Persephone is part of the former camp. Bunting has been strung along the Main Street and all over Liberty Square, where a stage with rows and rows of seats has been set up. There are food stalls and performers, carousels and entertainers and much more. The day started with the traditional Victory Parade leading from the Spaceport to Liberty Square with thousands of spectactors cheering the colourful floats, marching bands and others on as they make their slow way forward. There's confetti and streamers and other bits and pieces that will be plucked from gutters and greenery for weeks to come.

As the parade winds down in the square, the rows of seats in front of the stage start filling. Soon enough there's a band on stage, striking up the official anthem of the unified verse, sung more loudly than beautifully by a local child star, a goldilocks girl in a pink dress, whose mother seems to be bursting with pride. There are lots of Alliance dress uniforms of various ranks in evidence.

When the little girl has finished her song, a middle-aged frumpy woman in Alliance Dress Uniform steps to the Mic on stage to launch a long-winded speech about the glory of the Alliance and the never ending happiness that life in the unified verse has been in recent years. When she is finally done, the band plays another Alliance hymn that everyone in the audience is expected to sing along to. This dealt with and several ear drums shattered, she smiles benignly. "Thank you all. Now please welcome our gracious local leader, Commander Corinna Abel!" She claps for the other woman who will ascend the stage for more speechifying before accolades will be handed out.

The last time Abigail went to an actual U-Day celebration, it was on Ariel. She was in full dress uniform, medals polished, hair short, and standing with the others in her Fed squad. That was a good nine years ago. Since then, she's managed to avoid this sort of thing. She's not even sure why she's here this time, apart from a nagging concern after the whole bridge debacle. She lurks at the back of the crowd, staying seated, a cigarette all but permanently in her hand as her scowl dares anyone to make a comment about how she's not joining in with the singing.

Skyler, in the general thong of people, flips off the middle-aged, frumpy woman in Alliance Dress Uniform and mutters, "My ass." She refuses to sing. "You mean Commander Un-able." She looks around for people she might recognize who can help her heckle. Oh, there's her little buddy, Silo, freshly escaped from the confines of his new foster family - they brought him here because it's WHOLESOME, but it's so easy to get lost in a crowd… a crowd full of POCKETS.

Michael had been to some number of U-Day celebrations through the years, always in the uniform he wears most. That of black dress type shirt, black slacks, black shoes, and white clerical collar. He's also toward the back of the crowd. WIth the sound systems, he can hear just fine, and being up front won't do him much good for seeing anyway. He's standing not far behind where Abigail sits, his white blind cane out in front of him, angled until it rests on the ground. He tilts his head a bit at the different things he hears, but doesn't pay most of them any mind. His attention turns toward the loud speakers as the talking and speeches commense.

Every so often, Lt. Nikki Kennedy has to remind herself to stop looking bored. At those times a rictus of a smile can be seen on her face, but the rest of the time her expression verges on a glassy scowl. She's seated towards the very junior end of some rows of chairs filled with boring people she has to be polite to. Or, she's been told she has been polite to, which is not entirely the same thing. She is studiously avoiding eye contact with the mayor and his wife - there was that incident involving a very low pass over the mayor's house, and how was she to know the mayor's wife was petting a very nervous cat in her lap at the time? The mayor's wife is wearing long sleeves today.
At least Nikki is sitting bolt upright, legs together, hands lightly overlapping in her lap. Isn't there anyone worth ogling?

Sadly the resident dashing rockstar nurse is not present. But there are a few lantern-jawed Alliance officers standing to attention on stage, while waiting for the Commande.

Commander Abel does step onto the stage - a suitably stern-looking black woman, somewhere in her 30s (https://i.pinimg.com/originals/b7/21/3a/b7213a50c1d45ed02d907f74fb9075ed.jpg). Fully pressed and polished, as are the local law men and women seen in attendance. "Thank you. I'll keep this brief," the Commander begins, "I have only recently arrived here, and in my time so far I have seen Eavesdown as a vibrant community, with hard-working individuals able to build the lives they want, thanks to the stability and prosperity offered by the Unified Alliance of Planets." She goes on like this for a few minutes, managing to sound a touch prideful in the things she's saying, and not letting on to other emotions. What she actually thinks of the speech is therefore hard to guess. There are promises to uphold her new office and to protect the community. She ignores any signs of grumbling from the crowd, if she can even hear them.

Skyler tells Silo, whose real name turns out to be Silas Oliver, "I'll give you five creds, outright, if you try to lift something off the blind priest. He un-cursed me, but I bet he'll be sorry for that!" It's a challenge because, of course, the potential for enhanced hearing to overcompensate for the lack of sight.
Silo is not one to back down from a difficult task, even though it'd be really bad for him with his foster family if he got caught thieverying. "Oh my god," he says. "The new Alliance tail is hot!" Skyler slaps him on the back of the head for talking about women like chattle.

Abigail sits back in her seat when the speech begins. She's heard a lot like it, but it's good to get a look at the local authority, since it now seems as if she'll be on-planet for a while longer. She flicks some ash from her latest cigarette, and idly glances over the crowd.

Even though he's experienced so many of these days as a soldier, Bjorn tends to find them a bit boring. Standing somewhere and watching, he mutters a bit to himself, as he hears the Commander speaking about keeping it brief, he's unable to hold back a bit of a cough. Anyone ever heard of some people in positions of power keeping speeches brief? Me neither.

Michael might have good hearing, but in this crowd with speeches going on, he's not really hearing anythin from anyone unless they happen to be close to him. Too many other sounds. Besides, he's listening to the new Commander.

Skyler tells Silo, "Okay. You go. I'd divert for you, cause I could do that, but I got a different game. See that one over there…" she points out Abigail. "I'm onna see if I can pinch the cigarette right out of her hand. She'll probably kill me, but it'll be funny as hell to go out that way." So she and Silo go in their separate directions, each with a mark made and a goal to achieve.

Nikki's expression actually unglassifies slightly as Abel heads to the podium. Her words are worth listening to. And the words she isn't saying are also worth listening to, as it were. Not that Nikki is any good at playing the politics game, but she knows Abel probably is when it suits her. Nikki may be the best damn pilot in the 'verse (or so she thinks), but she's all for learning off others as a way to avoid actually learning from dull Cortex book-transcripts. Slipstreaming, that's the word.

As the Commander nears the end of her speech, the brawniest and tallest of the officers begins to rummage around behind him, until a helpful assistant presses a red pillow into his hands and places a few shiny polished medals on it.

Abi lifts the cigarette to her lips and takes a long pull, then lets it dangle again. That arm is draped over the back of her seat, hanging free when she isn't actively smoking. It's quite a new one too, so there's plenty to get hold of. She's generally quite an aware sort, but she also isn't expecting tobacco-based theft, so it could go either way. She's listening to the speech, but watching the people.

"'Scuse me. Sorry. Pardon me," Skyler says as she makes her way along the row behind Abi. She plans to purloin the fag, take a drag, and offer it back. The best laid plans of mice and men will often get you shot. Silo is better at what he does that Skyler is, being smaller and more wiry. He aims for the priest's walking stick because …well, trophy!

Michael isn't paying that close of attention to anybody immediately around him. He's more focused on the things going on on the stage. Or, well, listening to anybody around him. For a change, he doesn't have the loop at the hand end of the cane around his wrist, so it's not all that hard to be taken. He wasn't even leaning on it, because it's not really designed for that. He stands, unaware of the impending thievery about to take place.

Abel wraps up the carefully-balanced expression of praise and hope for the local community, the whole thing taking less than ten minutes. She segues on to say, "we will now present several commendations for heroic actions that went above and beyond the call of duty over the past year. While I did not work with these lawmen and women at the time, I am honored to have them in my command now. Captain De Salle, please step forward." She gives a brief account of his diligent crime-fighting efforts, and presents him with a medal and a plaque to hang up at home to go with it. "Sergeant Fontaine, step forward," she calls next, and describes his single-handed effort to stop a smuggler ship, recovering a large cache of stolen goods before it could leave the docks the previous December. He too gets a medal and a plaque."

At the start of the presentations, Nikki nods a few times. It might be taken as agreement with the sentiments expressed by her new commanding officer, but it's actually in response to the production of the medals. It's U-day. Medals are almost mandatory, because the Alliance is the best military fighting machine in the 'verse, hoo-rah. You can almost smell the jingoism.

Abigail pays slightly more attention to the people going up and getting medals, just in case she knows any of them. It's not likely, but she's run into one or two that she knew in the old days. She spots Skyler's approach but doesn't do anything, since she knows the girl. Neither does she try and stop her from taking the cigarette once she realises what she's doing, but she /does/ hold out her hand for it back so it's obvious she's been rumbled. There's no shooting. Not even any anger. Just a quiet, "They're bad for ya."

From somewhere the smell of grilled sausages waft over the assembly. Maybe it's purely accidental, or a cruel ploy to torture the hungry.

Bjorn lets out a breath as he listens, expression rather distant as he does. There's a brief pause as he notices that smell of grilled sausages, and he lets out a bit of a sigh.

While the commander is offering praise and hope for the local community, the future of the local community is filching stuff off the rest of the local community. Well, until Skyler hears what the plaque and medal are for, and then she calls out, "Sure. That's right. Gotta protect the people from all that unwanted whiskey and rhubarb!" She doesn't even know what rhubarb is. Sky takes a long draw of poisoned air into her lungs, then sets the cigarette back in Abigail's hand.
Silo got away clean from the vicar, but someone else noticed what he did. It's a large motherly type who also happens to be a devout believer. She has five of her own and would NOT put up with that sort of behavior from them, so as the boy walks pasts her, she grabs the cane from his hand and starts to thrash him with it, giving him a proper hiding. "What is this 'Verse coming to when rotten little shites like you will steal from the blind. And a man of GOD! What would your mother say?" Poor Silo. He totally deserves it, though, and he knows it, so rather than draw extra unwanted attention by kicking up a fuss, he bites his lower lip and accepts his punishment. This woman reminds him of is own beloved, dead mother.

Suddenly a red laser beam hits first the religious woman and then Silo. It emanates from a young uniformed man who stand at the side of the seating area, making sure that there are no disturbances to the ceremony. It's just a harmless laser pointer conveying that THEY HAVE DRAWN ATTENTION ANYWAY, but he probably has worse weapons on him.

Michael catches that scent of grilled sausages. Oh that's lovely. His expression is appreciative for a moment, but then his attention goes back to the ceremony and awards being handed out. Silo did get clean away from the vicar, yes. He hasn't even noticed the missing cane. He likely will when he goes to use it again though. He does hear the fuss kicked up by the woman, though, that catches the theivery. He has to blink, a lot confused. Stealing from the blind? And a man of God? What? Color him confused!

"Lieutenant Kennedy, step forward," Abel calls next, and proceeds with the speechifying as Nikki presumably heads for the stage. "This young pilot has proven her mettle through diligence to duty and keen observation. Just one month ago, patrolling the Cheng Nan Valley, she spotted suspicious activity on the new Sunset Bridge. Responding immediately, she conducted a closer investigation, causing the terrorists that day to abandon their activities and flee. The explosion which rocked the bridge was damaging, but took no lives. That would not have been true if there hadn't been a vigilant soldier ready to step forward when danger threatened." She pauses at the slight scuffle and sound of a beating in the crowd before turning to take the 'biggest' of the three medals from its red pillow.

Abigail shakes her head at Skyler and her shenanigans. She perks up a little as the bridge is mentioned. She remembers a ship there, and the way it flew. She's not met the pilot personally, so she sits up to get a better look. The fact that there's a scuffle in the crowd isn't her job to deal with, not any more, and she's not heard the parts that would alert her to Michael's involvement.

The lady, now in a red laser beam, stops beating the boy and hands him the stick back, "You will return it and apologize, then you will come right back here and we will go find your family and you will tell them what you've done." Silo yes m'ams and thank you m'ams she, dragged by the cloth of his shirt collar, he's brought over to Michael, where he blinks innocently and says, in a tremulous voice, "I'm sorry father, for I have sinned." It's been my whole life since my last confession and I really don't feel bad at all. "I seem to have taken your cane and I do feel proper remorseful, but Skyler put me up to it, cause she's a total reprobate and a scoundrel, raised by wolves in a den of thieves. Also, she's hot."
Skyler, for her part, leans against the back of Abigail's chair and pats the top of the woman's head. It's a gesture of affection, damnit, and not meant at all to set the other woman at unease or belittle her position at this great and honorable event.

To say that Nikki is brimming with pride is an understatement. It's practically shining out of her ass. She bounces up at her name and heads to the stage. On the way she almost trips over some power cables gaffer-taped down across the walkway, missing the trip by half an inch as though she meant to do it. Not unlike the way she flies. 'Closer investigation' - she'll remember that the next time she has to file a report involving her flying dangerously fast and close to something she shouldn't be flying dangerously fast and close to. She arrives at the medal-presenting spot, marked with a small cross of tape on the temporary stage, stiffens to full attention for the first time in weeks that doesn't involve a slouching hint of arrogance, and salutes so crisply she almost puts her eye out.

The vicar is not expecting to be approached nor talked to, but he is, and he nods properly gravely. At least, until the last part. He breathes out a quiet chuckle. "Well, people will go ta a lot o' lengths ta impress the people they like," he says in a quiet tone so as not to disrupt the ceremony. "Thank ye for bringin' it back. I do need it." He accepts the cane back and that seems to be all there is to it. He turns his attention back to the proceedings in time to catch the bits about a bridge and a pilot, and he remembers that day, though the after effects of such as he hadn't been there.

Abigail ignores Skyler at first while she watches Nikki, but at the head-patting she gives a growled, "Stop that, or I'm gonna …" Threats of physical violence probably aren't going to work with this kid. "…Tell Nurse McKellen you were stealin' my cigarette ter smoke." It's an empty threat, but she doesn't want Sky to think she's gone soft.

Abel snaps a crisp salute back, then pins the medal to the pocket flap of Nikki's uniform. "For your diligence in protecting the public, you are granted this Medal of Valor," she says, full-voice, picked up by the mikes. "May it be the first of many," she adds, in a slightly softer tone, which still gets picked up but is clearly intended more for Nikki. "Congratulations." She offers a hand to shake, and the plaque with words similarly grand to those used by Abel during the presentation. When that's done, she'll indicate dismissal with a crisp nod. She turns back to the mike to say, "let's hear it for our brave men and women in uniform."

Silo, trying to play the odds in his favor, says, "You're welcome. Can I sit with a spell? Maybe your holiness will rub off a little and do something to erase the delinquency that got born in me when my mama died and my father had to farm out all his children cause he had the mining sickness too and couldn't care for none of us?" The woman releases his collar and huffs. She's not buying any of it, but she's created enough of a disturbance and she has her own fine children to mind.
Skyler smiles down at Abigail, pleased at having annoyed. "Sometimes, Gideon braids my hair. It's a horrible bitch, cause gettin' all the curls apart hurts, but it's nice, too, cause it means he cares enough to groom me up like a show dog. Yours ain't long enough to braid."

Bjorn keeps quiet as he watches the happenings, expression perhaps a bit stony, if only to ignore the fact that the smell of those sausages made him very hungry.

Michael considers the words from the youngster and nods, suitably gravely. "Aye, ye're welcome ta sit by me." He doesn't comment on the delinquency or the sad tale of his history, but he does look properly sympathetic. Then he goes quiet and turns his full attention back to the proceedings. Of note, however, is the fact that the little loop on the handle end of the cane is now around his wrist. That's not going anywhere a second time. He needs it!

"Thank you, m'am," Nikki manages to say coherently. Medal of Valor! It's totally worth the entire night's worth of drinks she'll have to buy for the entire squadron, and the hangover tomorrow morning. The hand is shook, the plaque is taken, the photograph is posed for, and at the dismissal she returns to her seat. Is she fondling the medal? Actually fondling it?

"No. It ain't," Abigail agrees, sharply. She doesn't want anyone trying to braid her hair. She joins in with the applause by lightly slapping her free hand against her thigh. She might not be so patriotic these days, but she can still appreciate those who are. It's a strange attitude, and will probably be considered later, when she's in a bar.

Most everyone creaks to their feet for a standing ovation, while the band plays yet another Alliance hymn for everyone to sing along to. As it comes to an end, people begin to leave the stage and the first rows that are reserved for the local big wigs such as the mayor and his entourage. A Fed in shiny dress unifom approaches Nikki to shake her hand and introduce himself as Major Stewart, in charge of infrastructure."Finally I have a chance to thank you in person for saving my bridge. And several lives.", he'll tell her happily.

With the official part over, the noise of the fairground attractions seems to increase along with the intensity of fried foods. Clearly somewhere something got burnt. Amid all mayhem it's nearly impossible to hear the buzz of what appears to be a drone. And if people notice, they don't seem to care. May be surveillance or the local press shooting photos from the air… right?

Abel steps down off the stage, lingering near the assembly of Alliance soldiers - many of whom are now under her command. She looks quietly pleased about things, shaking a few hands as some of the government types step over to greet her and say a few words.

"Look at that," Skyler tells Abigail. "I think she wants to bang her own medal. That's funny. Looks sorta pokey to me, but I'd read that emergency room write up on the Cortex. Ha. I think I know her. I think she's the one with Mari saved my life that night I got jacked up and took me to the clinic, where Donna inserted her tentacles into my brain and sucked out all my common sense into agreeing to reform and stuff." She reaches for the cigarette again, "Donna wouldn't do nothin' to me, except give me a look of very very disapproval." Twice the very, because it's that strong and Sky couldn't think of another adjective. "I'm invincible, and I'd have to do something REALLY bad before she told me what I really ought to be doing. She never yells or nothin'."
Silo sits by the vicar and tells him the rest of his life story, including how the ship he got apprenticed to got grounded on Perse when the crew got arrested for smuggling, but he wasn't on board, and then he had to live on the streets because that was the best he could do, but how his sisters got sent to family and the boys got apprenticed. Some day, he will have money enough to go back and find his little sisters and bring them to live with him and they'll be a family again, but he has to play it pretty straight because he has The Diabetes, and his foster family said if he screws up they'll hand him back and let him go to juvie. And does Father Michael need a kid around to help him out?

More experienced heads than Nikki's would know precisely the right way to answer Major Stewart in order to convey the impression that she is respectfully grateful for the thanks, that modestly it's what she does, and extremely subtly that it required a skillset that she possesses. More experienced heads, yes. Nikki burbles happily that she is on the only one in the 'verse who could have done it and that Major Stewart can let his bridges get bombed any time he likes, just let her know a few minutes in advance. Preferably in foul weather at night. Uphill.

"You'll get addicted, spend all your money on it, then die," Abi tells Skyler before letting her have the cigarette. Her duty is done. Somebody else can deal with it now. "Also, it makes you smell." The girl's babble blends in with the general background noise. She stays seated for now. She's not in the mood for fun. Or food that's bad for her. Once the crowd has thinned a bit more, she'll head off and find a suitable bar for getting a drink in. Maybe a barfight, now that her head has healed up.

Stewart gives Nikki a rather surprised look and a pained smile. "Er, let's hope that won't be neceessary, even though some troublesome objects are still at large. But again, thank you for doing a great job, Lieutenant!" He salutes crisply, then drops the hand to lean in a bit closer: "If you fancy a drink some time, give me a call." Why waste a good opportunity?

Meanwhile the drone approaches closer, circling the seating area and the empty space beside it, where most people are now standing to mingle, greet acquaintances and decide what to do next. Children are clamouring for candy and carousels. Men for the nearest pub. Teens are eyeing up members of the opposite sex. Shyly. Awkwardly.

Abel is now chatting with the Mayor's wife… maybe hearing the tale about how that valorous pilot sometimes veers from valor into recklessness. The Mayor stands nearby, looking distracted and ready to leave, but dutiful of the face time he needs to put in for this event.

Silo, being so very sensitive to the fact that the man he's talking to is BLIND, says, "Oh look. A drone. I wonder what make that one is. I like the F3s. They can fly by at 1000 meters and still spot a mouse. Skyler says they're watchin' us all so the Feds can know where we're at all the time and come for us in the night with stealth poison darts." Does he care that the vicar seems preoccupied and isn't talking back? Not really. He just doesn't want to be beaten by Mama Clampett again.

Somewhere in the range of (dashing young major with more maturity than a mere captain but still young enough to be really hot) to (red-faced lderly major long since passed over for promotion and destined for retirement writing angry letters to local newspapers) is Nikki's decisionpoint between accepting and rejecting the offer of a drink. Today she's drunk on pride, and there is no hesitation in nodding to Stewart. Whatever happens after the drink depends on how much drink is involved.

Jude pages Bjorn, Donna, Nikki, and Skyler: y'all notice that there's a fine mist coming out of the drone

An elderly lady in a well-tailored suit clutches first her pearls and then her husband's arm. "I'm feeling a little unwell, dear, I think I should somewhere." Elsewhere a lanky teen runs to vomit into the bushes. Probably had too much to drink this early, tsk.

"Nah, I won't," Skyler informs Abigail, at her OBVIOUS concern. "I don't even like it. Tastes like la shi. But you are /so/ sweet to care about my health like that." And she attempts to give Abigail a death squeeze of love from behind, dropping her arms around the woman's neck in an unsolicited hug. Yes, this whole thing is a game to cover the fact that Abi caught the steal, but Sky is having fun with it. Manipulation is really the best game there is, making people feel what she herself doesn't, won't, or can't.

Nikki is one of those people (mostly comprised of small boys) who look up at absolutely anything flying past, be it a fighter starting its attack run or a passenger ship catching the last sunlight high in the stratosphere. Huh. Either the drone is a cropsprayer or mosquito-killer that is horribly confused, or Something Sinister Is Afoot. In capitals. Not only is she not flying patrol, she doesn't even have a sidearm because some dumbass decided formal dress was called for. Are there security folk around? You'd think so, just to make sure everyone is reminded the U-war is over. "Shoot it down!" she yells in the direction of the nearest, with the authority of the Medal of Valor dangling on her chest. If she's wrong, some crop won't get carcinogenic genetically mutating fertilizer-that-makes-you-infertile sprayed on it today.

The combination of a young woman death-hugging her from behind, and a sudden yell coming from across the crowd is enough to make Abigail tense the hell up. She /would/ play it cool with the teenager, since she knows all about teens poking at her to try and get a response, but suddenly the situation has changed. She puts her hand onto Skyler's arm, fingers curling. "Get down. Now." And she attempts to prise the girl off her and encourage her to the ground.

He's been staying where he was standing, Bjorn has. Lost in his mind as he looks out there, gaze stopping on that drone. Wait, what's that? Frowning as he sees the drone and what's coming from it, he raises his voice. "GET AWAY FROM THAT DRONE!" He has a bad feeling about this…

Stewart jumps a little. Here he was thinking he had secured a date with the hero of the hour and now she wants to shoot him down? Oh, it? He hasn't twigged yet what's happening. He just notices that he's suddenly feeling a little nauseous. Ugh. "I realy need something to drink, I'm dying of thirst.", a well-dressed man tells his wife and heads for the nearest drink booth. The number of people looking slightly ill or even finding a quiet spot to barf seems to be increasing.

The drone? It seems to perform a cheerful lap of victory above the square before taking a north-westerly course towards a residential area.

Silo, who is watching the drone spray out something, is looking upward and so breathes it in pretty well. "Ugh…." he says. There's a potential to vomit, and a potential to feel unwell. Instead, his head just rocks back onto the headrest of the seat as everything goes blurry.
Skyler has seen a lot of reactions to hugging, but being pulled to the ground isn't one she expects. Still, she's felt like that, before. "Watch the SHOULDER," she says, as she takes shelter on the ground from all things LOVE and AFFECTION.

Abel starts to notice the others noticing the drone. "Everybody, clear the Square!" she bellows, grabbing a nearby Private's radio. "Code five one seven at Liberty Square, repeat, five one seven. Backup needed immediately. Target is a drone, now heading northwest on Thorpe." She drops the radio to start instructing the nearby Feds. "You lot, clear people from that side of the square, take them up Main Street. You lot, direct that side onto the college campus. Let's move."
Two of those on security patrol today, and therefore fully armed, raise their weapons. One looks doubtfully to the other. The other starts to gag. The area directly under the drone has emptied, and Abel says, "take the shot, Andrews." Andrews refocuses and pulls the trigger. [He misses.]

Well that went nowhere. The drone makes its escape. It would show Abel a middle finger, if it had one.

Yep. Something is Happening. Abigail looks around and notices the people who are unwell and vomiting. There can't be that many who have eaten bad sausages. She shrugs off her leather jacket and tosses it down to Skyler. "Get out of the square," she tells her. "Keep that over your mouth and nose, breathe through it." The jacket smells of old leather, very faintly of sweat, of gunpowder and gun oil, and more strongly of cigarettes.

The mist hits Nikki while she's staring up at the drone. Now, Nikki is no stranger to vomiting. Any really good night out probably involves vomiting at some point and she knows the drill - remain standing for safety, hold onto something for support, miss your own shoes, and make sure there's a drink ready to wash away the taste. No chance of a drink right now so she swallows hard and keeps her breakfast history private. Then, still clutching her plaque like a drowning man clutches a lifejacket, she aligns herself with the second 'you lot' and starts to yell at people to move towards the college campus. Lt Kennedy is a perfect role-model for the Alliance caring for its citizens. "Barf on me and I'll kill you," she snarls caringly towards some poor ciizen. "Move!" The college campus has alcohol. They all do. Especially the more religious and puritanical ones.

Skyler actually slips INTO Abigail's jacket, assuming that she's safeguarding it rather than using it as a gas mask. She does pull the collar up over her face and, rather than going under chairs or through people, she gets on the chairs and runs across them, looking for her little friend. The effects of this particular poison on someone with diabetes are elusive, at best, but there is definitely a relationship between it and blood sugar levels. When she finds him, he's holding his stomach like it's all cramped up, and not doing much to help himself. Now, Skyler really doesn't weigh much, and only has one usable arm, so her attempts to get him over her shoulder fail. It's actually the Mother of Five who comes to the rescue, grabbing the boy and flinging him over her own shoulder, having made sure kids were fleeing to the safety of the market with their father. "We gotta get him to the clinic," Sky tells her. "He's got blood problems."

Abel stays put by the chairs, barking instructions to the various Feds and sending everyone off to clear the square. A riot squat should arrive soon, with gas masks and the ability to exert more control on things. Abel covers her mouth and nose with a hand, looking around to plan her next move when she suddenly says something guttural, turning toward the nearby bushes, and vomiting before she can even get there. Fortunately she also knows the trick about missing your own shoes - and crisply pressed dress pants for that matter, and only splatters the pavement with her last meal.

Abi, meanwhile, just takes off her tank top and quickly twists and tucks it up, hooking the shoulder straps onto her ears into an oddly effective face cover. This is something she's done before. She's wearing a decent sports bra underneath, so she's still more decently dressed than many of the teenage girls around. Whether it's the makeshift mask or her own hardy constitution that saves her will forever be a mystery, but she isn't vomiting at least. She looks around for anyone who needs help, and will assist whoever is nearest in getting out of the area.

Whatever the drone distributed, the fine spray wasn't enough to ingest potentially lethal doses. But how nice is it to get the whole assembly of Alliance brass and local bigwigs puking their guts out? An officer appears beside Commander Abel, offering her a crisp white handkerchief wordlessly. "The local emergency services have been alerted. Those badly affected will be taken to the clinic. May I suggest a thorough decontamination?" Communal shower for everyone!

"Always something happening…" Bjorn mutters to himself, lifting his shirt a bit to cover his nose and mouth, before he begins trying to get people out of the square, as quickly as he can. Stopping to help one of those that was stuck vomiting. "You okay?" he offers to the person.

"Yes, I think…", the middle-aged lady tells Bjorn and then expresses her thanks to the helpful cavalier by heaving again and barfing onto his shoes.

Nikki yells a lot. Helping old ladies is not her thing and she has a distinct antipathy towards children, but she's not completely heartless and she may help the occasional small child that has become detached from its parents by picking it up, pointing it away from her and into the general direction of the college campus, and giving it a firm shove.

Skyler could run away. Someone gave her to orders to run away and the means, and she has Silo to worry about, but there are other people there, too. It's a survival-of-the-fittest world, right? But, Father Michael, who can't see. And a little old lady in a wheel chair who can't navigate the crowds even though it's motorized. You can't just let grannies breathe in poison, right?" So she tells MomOfFive, "Get him to the clinic. I'll go for the preacher."

Abel manages a "thanks" as she accepts the handkerchief, flaps it open, folds it in half, and presses it over her mouth and nose. "Full gas attack response protocol, yes. They're on their way." Isn't that what he just told her? She urges him to come with her away from the square, finding the nearest side street. A squad of gas-masked Feds rolls in to do the final cleanup, helping those who have fully collapsed, and setting up decontamination points somewhere.

Abigail is occupied with a person or two herself. Since she isn't feeling any effects yet, she's doing her best to lead, assist and bully people out of the area.

Bjorn's shoes has seen far worse than someone's vomit on them, so he's not too worried about them. "If you got much of that stuff into your system, you should go to the medical facilities for help," he offers to the woman, making sure she gets to the relative safety of somewhere not in the middle of the chaos.

One carousel owner forgot to switch the music off before they were all shooed out, so the decontamination unit sets to work accompanied by jaunty disco pop tunes. By now the square is almost empty with only a few disorientated stragglers needing help. Staff from the local clinic and emergency services begin to arrive for triage, trying to figure out who'll need hospital treatment to flush the poison out. And of course there's still the big question of what exactly it was. And where that drone went to…

At some point Nikki becomes actively pissed. Not because her moment of glory has been interrupted - no, she had Abel herself pin the gong on her, and if there's some hero-worship going on who's to say that is a bad thing? Nor because of the drone - no doubt the ready fighters will be pursuing it even now, and for once she is OK with someone else gloryhounding. No, she's actively pissed because her dress pants got into the blast radius of someone else's upchuck and she can't go on a proto-date with Stewart smelling of someone else's vom.

Abel steps from side street into alley, to take a few breaths of fresh air and shake her head loose. Still followed by that helpful officer - who is probably hoping for a promotion or a shiny medal of his own - she circles the square along side streets. They emerge near one of the triage points, and Abel steps over to speak with the medic in charge. This results in the commander getting sat down to be checked over, which she endures. She radios the head of the decontamination squad, to run things from here.

The bad thing about this particular toxin is the effects take hold pretty quickly. The good thing is that it's readily available and the symptoms are pretty obvious, so a few good medical professionals should be able to isolate what it is just based on the reactions of those exposed. The treatments start with decontamination, then go on to the things like nasogastric suction, IVs with electrolytes, and there's a there's a medication that's available - whether or not it's stocked in bulk at the local clinic is another question - called Thoraquin. This is important because symptoms from exposure can manifest over a couple of weeks, and organ failure isn't always immediate. Those who are rushed into the clinic will be triaged and treated, what Thoraquin they they have given to the worst or most susceptible of patients, and requests for more will be sent out immediately to the Alliance medical facility in town and to the city hospitals and clinics. All of them. Enya, Dee, a couple of the rotational doctors, and several orderlies all assist the EMTs in trying to get the sickest of patients to where they can receive immediate care. Skyler, meanwhile, can't find the vicar, so she helps the wheelchair lady bust through the crowd by announcing loudly, "Move aside. Move out of the way. She's in labor!" She's about 90.

If Abigail spots Michael, she'll make sure he's out. Otherwise, after helping a few people, she does her best to make herself scarce. She has no intentions of having to go through decontamination when she hasn't been affected by it. Waste of resources, and unpleasant. She can take herself off to the clinic if she needs it later. She glances around for Skyler, who helpfully makes a spectacle of herself, and she moves to the side of things to wait for her so she can reclaim her jacket.

The decontamination people do their job, spraying the whole of Liberty Square and soon enough vendors, carousel owners and the like are allowed to return, even though the festive atmosphere is gone for the time being. Only few people are in the mood for fried food and sugary drinks now, although some parents are glad that they can distract their kids with entertainment.

"Sergeant Hackett, Ma'am.", Abel's helper introduces himself to her, to make sure she DOES know his name if she isn't paying attention to his name tag. Seeing that she's feeling better, he waits for further orders.

Stewart did what all oh so brave guys do in the face of danger: He's done a runner. Maybe he'll try to reach out for Nikki another time. But clearly a date is off the cards today.

Mineminemine! Skyler LIKES the jacket. She's not keen to give it up so soon. Besides, old ailing lady here. Birthin' old lady. Or something. "Move out of the way, you Bossy Old Cow," Skyler says to one of the people directing the crowd. "I gotta get her through." Said Bossy Old Cow, in a uniform, no less, takes the wheelchair lady off her hands. And just then, she gets sprayed down, in the leather jacket. Sorry Abby!

Abel nods gratefully to Hackett, then starts coughing up a lung. The medics swarm about her, insisting on a full decontamination. That'll keep her busy for a bit.

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