It's time for a university outing! The highly popular 'Studies in Anthropological Weaponry' class is on an excursion to 'Bear Claw Flats' to look at a site where some ancient weapons have been discovered. Emily is here because she loves her weapons. Aurore is here because she loves her people. The other two classmates, Jeff and Crystal, are here because it's better than 'Advanced Maths' and where else can they grope each other? The trouble is, the bus has broken down on the way and the driver, Bill Cupkins, is attempting to look like he knows what he is doing and hammers at the engine with a wrench. They are parked slightly off the highway on the road to the site, easily seen by any biker guy that drives past - like Armin.
"It's not looking good" Bill muses before peering up at the overcast early morning sky. The sun has barely risen and it seems like it will be a chilly day. "Anyone got a phone?" The remaining member on this three hour tour is Ms Genevieve Birdsong - she had her name changed to match her native roots though she looks Swedish. She is about thirty years old and very prim and proper. "No phones!" she states with authority. "This class is trying to live the life of our forefathers and foremothers. Best way to learn history."
"I'm fairly sure" Emily murmurs to Aurore with a sly chuckle "That if we were living that life, we'd be here on horseback, I'd be beaten into skirts and told to obey the preacher, and you'd be on trial for soliciting" The little blonde, with her coke-bottle curves and her hair in a pair of high twin pigtails, joined at the base of the neck - the falling hair describes a heart shape, very cute - is in jeans, a purple sweater that just about hides some of her worst excesses and comes to past her hips. It'd just about double as a clubbing dress. Maybe. But she stretches her legs, and then her arms, watching Bill work with interest.
Inwardly wondering if the university authorities even see any difference between herself and Miss Birdsong, and debating if the professor recommended this class as a joke or in all sincerity, it takes Aurore a moment or two to drag her thoughts back to Emily's conversation. She chuckles softly, arching one elegant brow at her blonde companion. "I think that she means rather farther back," she says softly. "But I'm wondering if I should poke my nose in and see if I can help with the engine...." Her voice trails off in response to the sound of an approaching - working - engine.
You hear it before you see it really, that dull low growl of an American engine made exactly the right way. Which is to say excessive in size, power, noise and then dropped into an engine bay a smart car would fit in. That magnificently polished and waxed 69' Fastback Mustang slips into view, just coming around the corner. Doing something close to the speed limit, at least. With the sight of the bus pulled over and the hood up, that motor slacks off and it begins to slow. Swinging wide around the bus, before easing off the side of the road just as it finally slows to a full halt. After a Glance in the mirror, Armin kills the motor and pops open the door.
There’s a pause there as Armin adjusts his cuffs, then his tie before finally buttoning his jacket up and walking casually back towards the bus with the sort've rolling gate you develop at a boys academy. "Excuse me, but whatever seems the matter. Drop a belt or something? "Crossing his arms behind his back before leaning forward enough to peer around the raised hood towards the engine beyond.
Bill scratches his head as Armin approaches. "Not sure. It just made a big crunching noise and then rattled to a stop." He thumps the cylinder head with his wrench. "I think it's the fan belt" he deduces...pointing at the cylinder head.
Jeff and Crystal have sneaked off into the thick forest that lines both sides of the road. The sound of leaves crunching suggesting they are heading deeper and deeper for some privacy. A mist curling up from the damp earth littered with leaves.
Miss Birdsong sighs at Bill's verdict. "The site is probably a few miles down this road. We can walk there while you get the buss fixed and then you can come pick us up." She points at Armin. "You there. We require a lift please. Just a few miles. Won't inconvenience you at all." A clap of her hands. "Girls! Come along!" She means Emily and Aurore.
" 'Girls'?" Emily asks with a raised eyebrow, and glances back at the two who've vanished "Leaving Crystal and Jeff behind with the bus? I suppose they might appreciate the comfort - Crystal I know needs to sit down some" She calls out, raising her voice a little at the retreating couple in the undergrowth, before looking with a faintly embarrassed glance to Armin "If it's no trouble, that is. University field trip" She gives a faintly, encouraging smile, and nudges Aurore once more "C'mon, you"
Aurore returns Emily's nudge, shooting her an amusedly chiding look. She's dressed for the weather, too - a long (and rather stylish) woollen overcoat worn over a high-necked sweater, with fairly sensible calf-high boots visible at the other end. Her hair, however, is bound back into its customary pony tail, exposing the shaven sides of her head.
Raising a gloved hand in greeting, Aurore flashes Armin an apologetic smile of her own... then winces at the sound of Bill's latest percussive attempt to fix things. "In future, bring a tool box, I think," she murmurs - to herself as much as to Emily.
There’s a raised brow as he's volunteered, but well damsels in distress. Being a knight sucks. "Certainly, allow me a moment to move some things around. I'll warn you it might be a tight fit in the back seats, where are we going to?" Armin pauses to fiddle with his keys, before popping the deck lid and reaching in to drag things from the back seat into the little "trunk" area behind the rear bench seat. The same sort of heavy duffle bag with wheels and a billion pockets that virtually every SWAT officer seems to keep in the back of their car, a garment bag, what looks like a rifle case, a brief case, camelbak in some sort've exotic urban camo pattern. Typical office things, clearly. He slips around the passenger side to pop the door open, and roll the seat forward before glancing back. "Also you'll have to forgive me if I ask for directions; relatively new to the area."
"There you are, girls. The Lord will provide" Ms Birdsong proclaims to her students before hurrying them along to Armin's car. "Thank you, young man" she nods to Armin before realising she has lost two students...and remembering Emily's snide call. "Crystal and Jeff!" she yells into the fogbound woods. "Return here this instant!" There is no response. She sighs and turns to Bill. "When those immoral students return from their trip, ensure they are locked in the bus until our return. Utter filth!" She strides over to Armin before pointing down the side road. "Three miles that way. Shan't take you any time at all." Once the 'girls' are packed in the back seat then she will settle in the passenger seat.
There's a certain ... set to Emily's face as she's packed away, bustled about and generally treated as cargo that suggests that referring to her as a damsel, distressed or not, would be met with violence. Cheerfully. She settles into the back and buckles up, sighing and shaking her head slowly "It was three miles" She protests, her accent local "It would've been just fine to walk. An hour or so at most" And then a faintly smug glance down at her sensible flats, and a grin up "Thanks anyway" She nods to Armin "Just look for a sign called Bear Claw Flats. Native weaponry. Pretty interesting, if you like that stuff"
It's a fair while since Aurore was squeezed into the back of a car like a half-remembered child brought along on a trip, but she duly gets into place beside Emily... slouched down in the seat to fit her head inside, knees spread as wide as space permits to give her a little more room for her spine. "I'll be glad if we're closer than thought," she murmurs, before lifting her voice a little to carry to the front seats. "Welcome to our field trip," she directs to their driver, her rich voice warm with amusement.
Inside that Mustang, well it's all chrome, honest to god hand stitched thick black leather, expensive looking hardwoods and in the back incidentally there is a roll bar just forward of the actual backseat. Thankfully this is a 69 and a fastback, so compared to most modern backseats it's quite roomy. There’s an eight-track in the dash and well, everything looks fairly vintage really. It's the details that differ, for one the rear view mirror spans the A-pillars giving an excellent view out the slatted back window. The Shift knob is a clear resin with some sort of expanded bullet suspended in the center, and then there’s the drawing on the glove box. A skeletal eagle clutching a gold bar in one talon and a pair of rifles in the other, with "Aurem et Mortem" painted above in sort've a riff on the US seal. Also, it smells like a mixture of leather and gunpowder which may or may not be pleasant depending. Armin doesn't seem to mind, presuming he's even aware of it honestly. "Three miles straight ahead, understood." He cranks over that big V8, nudges the shift knob up into first and away they go at a remarkably reasonable speed. "I'm Armin, Armin Hirsch by the way ladies. A pleasure to join you."
"/Ms/ Genevieve Birdsong" the teacher introduced in turn to Armin. "And this is Aurore and Emily." Apparently they don't need to introduce themselves. As the V8 rumbles beneath her, Genevieve's eyes widen a touch. "Oh my. You can really feel it tremble" she remarks with a blush before crossing her legs. "A few miles" she confirms.
The car moves down the rapidly decaying road. The asphalt forgotten after about a mile and compacted dirt replaces it under the tyres. The fog continues to grow. Now it is over the road, rising in the early morning heat but refusing to dissipate. "I suggest you turn your lights on" Ms Birdsong points out to Armin. "And slow down. We don't want to hit a deer." She glances back at the students. "And you two behave yourselves." Pre-emptive admonition always helps.
The fog is now so thick that the road can't be seen. Even the trees that line it are merely dark shapes in white. Shapes that seem to move and distort. Outside the world is dead quiet. The car bounces as even the trail disappears and they are driving on grass...at least it feels like it.
"Thank you for reminding me not to pull a Crystal-and-latest in the back here" Emily mutters, sarcasm in her voice, before she shifts slightly to peer out of the window, thoughtfully watching as they go "Mm. Better engine than my car" And then, sotto voice to Aurore, in response to their tutor's reaction to the engine "Or my laundry machine" And she lets out a low, soft laugh, a touch of slyness there.
Aurore coughs, giggles, and shoots Emily a *look*. "Well, I'd be worried about clashing teeth, if we tried to make out on this kind of road surface," she murmurs to the blonde. "But I don't think I'm comfortable enough for the washing machine effect..." She's keeping a somewhat worried eye on their surroundings, but slouched in the back her view is more than a little restricted.
"Thank you for the advice, greatly appreciated." Is that Sarcasm from Armin, hard to tell honestly. He does first turn on the lights, and then begins to slow. Gradually, bringing the car to a halt. "Everyone loves a big block V8, only people who don't are communists. In fact I have it on good authority Senator McCarthy would force suspected communists to put their hand on a V8, the Communists obviously burst into flame once they touch the personification of red blooded American engineering." Gently tugging the car out of gear and throwing the handbrake before popping the door open. "Alright, who can drive a stick here?" Out Armin goes, testing the earth beneath his feet with a scuff before looking about.
"Why are we stopping?" asks a bemused Genevieve before she’s shaking her head. "I have never touched a stick" she announces before stepping out of the car and finding the ground wet and soggy underfoot. "Oh dear...what happened to the road? Either of you girls know how to handle a stick?" Genevieve stands, peering into the fog. "Hello!! Professor Arnulf!! We can't be that far away." She gingerly takes a couple of steps forward, wincing at the muddy earth.
Emily slips out of the car "Mine is automatic, sorry" The young blonde responds with a certain amused smugness, giving Aurore another shared and amused look at their teacher's insistence, before she frowns a moment and moves to glance around slowly and warily "Ah, I wouldn't ... be entirely sure. Are you sure you gave the right direction?" She asks, taking a few steps away and flexing a hand slowly.
Aurore unfolds herself from the back, arching her back a little to stretch once she's able to do so. "I can. Learned in Canada," she says somewhat absent-mindedly. "Not very well, but I can cope." A slight frown creases her brow as she peers around, paying particular attention to her less conventional senses - and for once actively *listening* for any voices reaching her across the Gauntlet from the Shadow world.
"I believe the technical terminology for this situation would be, Shit is popping off." Armin reaches back inside to turn off the car, before circling around back to pop the trunk. "Ms. Birdsong, please stay close to the car. We'll proceed on foot I think, but in my professional opinion it would be an intensely bad idea to wander off into the fog." There’s some fiddling with zippers, before Armin slips out of his jacket and lays it gently into that trunk. There’s an actual cutaway on his vest on both sides, making it easier for the Damascus and titanium finished 1911 on his hip to clear that hand tooled and beautifully stamped gunleather. Four mags at his left side, and out of the trunk comes a chest rig. Not quite body armor, it's the sort've thousand denier nylon construction designed to hold equipment. In this case large magazines, pistol magazines, a sheathed knife and lord only knows what else. The dark brown nylon has been decorated with patches, one similar to the drawing on that glove box, another ancient battle flag and across the back "HIRSCH SECURITY" in nice bold letters. Calmly he produces a cut down VEPR-12 finished in burnt bronze (of course), jacks a mag into the thing and lets the charging handle fly. "Well then, who's up for a hike?"
"No need to swear" Genevieve frowns to Armin's 's' word before deciding to stay quiet when he reveals his armory. "Girls. To me!" she states urgently, wanting them away from such an obviously unsociable man. "Umm...I suppose we wish to 'hike'" Genevieve admits with a frown before peering into the fog in front of them. "Well...onwards and upwards. Keep close to me, girls. If you would lead the way, Armin."
"You know, I'm pretty sure we'll be fine" Emily says, thoughtfully glancing over Armin's webbing and tilting her head, musing a moment before she begins to stroll; that neat dancer's grace somewhat setting against the tomboyish attitude "Or at least he's pretending he's with the church" Emily grins for a second, then sighs, looking around uncomfortably "I hate to say it, but are we just going to be blundering around in this fog?"
<Thank you, my friends>, Aurore says quietly - in something (Passamaquoddy) which is clearly not an Indo-European language. She shoves her hands in her coat pockets, peering around apprehensively as she reverts to English. "Something malevolent is approaching. We are being advised to withdraw before it is too late." Her tone suggests that she's quite serious... and doesn't expect to be believed.
Armin snaps his Vepr into it's sling, unfolds the stock and bumps the trunk shut before heading on. Casually undoing those cufflinks and rolling up his sleeves to reveal with black ink below, shoulders rolling forward in that classic "Shoulder's slump". As Aurore pipes up, he pauses to peer her way before offering a nod. "I like that idea best, but I'm not about to leave you lovely ladies to meander about in this soup on your own. All the same, I'm a Mercenary and this is Charity." Emily gets a glance and smile. "I have a cousin in the Papal guard, but we're not all Catholics you know. Most of us would die of boredom, and the real world pays better anyway."
"Don't talk nonsense" Genevieve frowns to Aurore. "We won't have any of your silly mumbo-jumbo ways. We're all God's creatures, it just took some of us to realise it longer than others. Now come along." She leads the pair forward after Armin. The thick fog making vision almost impossible beyond ten feet.
Their feet squelch in the wet ground, Genevieve complaining with every step. "What's that?" she asks, gesturing at a dark shape ahead that's no more than three feet tall and shaped like a matchstick. She lets Armin approach first but she is close behind. It slowly comes into view. A wooden pole with a severed head atop. A look of fear on the dead face. "Professor Arnulf!" she exclaims before taking a deep breath and turning to look at her students. "Alright, girls. I think we will have to postpone the excursion until a..." Then she suddenly stops talking. Her eyes open wide and blood trickles slowly from her mouth before she falls forward into the mud. The back of her head split open by the bone tomahawk lodged there.
In the fog around them shapes move. Humanoid figures bounding and running like will o' the wisps. One moment there...the next gone.
"-Fuck-" Emily exclaims, gasping and bending over the stricken woman. Immediately, her first thought to look at the wound, check her tutor's vitals; even as she tugs a small rod from the inside of her jeans' pocket "What the hell ... Ms Birdsong?" Kind've pointless. But ... doing what she can. Even if it's nothing.
As a Keeper of the Vigil, Aurore felt obliged to, well, try to keep watch over those whom she had no reason to believe were other than cluelessly mundane. Still, finding a professor's severed head... then seeing Genevieve's skull split does provide her with two shocks in swift succession. Perhaps as a result of being forewarned, she copes much better than she had feared she would when first confronted with actively-dangerous supernatural powers, and manages to bite back the urge to turn and bolt blindly into the fog and trees.
"We *need* to get out of here," she says urgently, even as she darts forward to join Emily in checking that Ms Birdsong is well and truly dead. "At least for the time being, this area has slipped between worlds. Something's working its influence here. And it's *not* friendly. Whatever the colour of our skins."
"Girls, Back to the car please" is all Armin has to say, and well all things considered he outwardly seems quite chill. Fingers already sweeping off the safety as he shoves the buttstock back into his shoulder. Stance spreading just a touch, head swiveling to and fro. Pausing to nudge Emily with his knee "Get to the car, she's fucking dead theres nothing you can do but die beside her if you stay here. Now let’s move, quick like a bunny if you please. I'd prefer not to get into a gunfight with ghosts when I ain't even been paid." So no, no this probably is not Armin's first Rodeo.
Ms Birdsong will sing no more forever. She is deceased. Brains and blood bubbling out of the wound. The foggy air is filled with the sounds of victorious whooping. It comes closer then fades away into the wind. The dark shapes sharp and obvious and then blurs of grey that merge into the white. A scream and a Native American is charging Armin, trying to block their escape to the car. Daubed in war paint he lifts his hatchet above his head.
"Shit" Emily curses, and then her eyes widen as she flicks the small rod in her hand; extending the baton to its full length, and piling forwards. As she does, her skin ... smooths. Pales, even, in the half light. A certain flawless nature to the curvy young blonde, as she spits out a word. It's a -bad- word. And certainly a challenge to the figure.
Emily moves in, that ... speed and intent, coldly bringing the metal stick down hard on the figure's arm, a ringing bruising hit as she barges into him, trying to keep him off balance. Who'd expect the busty blonde to attack?
Aurore is rather more distracted by the shift in Emily's appearance and the producing of a weapon than she is by the fact that the girl then launches a counter-attack. For her own part, she scrambles backwards a little, before remembering to hastily check for anyone - or anything - that has moved around to encircle them. Tempting though it is to make a break for it, she opts not to run for the car on her own, instead intending to try to fall back with the other two.
"Aww shit." Armin's already tightening the muscles in his shoulder, rolling forward onto his toes as those sights snap into stark relief on his foe. The Trigger relieves the sear of it's burden and the hammer surges forward, ever been up close to a cut down shotgun? You can feel the thump of that pressure wave in the pit of your chest, as the muzzle explodes into brilliance. That’s when shit gets nasty, and that gnarly pint sized scatter stick barks out thirty eight caliber sitdown pills at several thousand feet per second. The barrel easing upwards just as that hefty bolt carrier slams into the back of the receiver, and that emptied hull goes spinning off to Armin's right. Still spewing sooty smoke and the occasional spark of unburnt powder. "What’s a matter son, I hurt your fuckin feelings?"
The native American is hammered firstly by a metal rod wielded by a buxom blonde...they didn't have those in his day...and then his 'flesh' is shredded by shotgun pellets. The body spins from the impact...and dissolves into thin air. Aurore sees more shapes circling the trio, keeping a distance for now but who knows when another tomahawk will fly through the air seeking out a target.
"But ... where'd he ..." Emily asks, clueless, glancing around; the sudden burst of combat does not seem to have bothered her. And while she's pale, and flawless, it might be the fog. And fear. Maybe. She's pale anyway. She adjusts the grip on her little concealable club, and gestures Aurore along "C'mon, hon" And she glances to Armin warily "Bit close, but definitely, thanks. You think you can get the car going?"
"There're more still out there," Aurore cautions. "But let's get moving. These things aren't flesh and blood. Or even ghosts, exactly. More... manifestations of hate and fear. What people *think* Indians should do, and be, when they're on the war-path in the dark woods." Her voice is pitched low, sounding somewhat distracted.
"Yes I do." Comes Armin's immediate response, walking directly for that Mustang. Thankfully, the doors are open. Head on a swivel, taking these neat short steps that give him a bit of a glide. The little things you do to ensure you keep your footing and the gun nice and level. "Man every time I fuckin swear, I never get paid for this shit. It's always when I'm being charitable, without fucking fail. There is some sort of divine irony there somewhere I'm pretty sure." Pausing to glance back with a wry grin. "Get in first and lock the door, then I'll circle around alright?"
"I'd rather not sit there in the covered wagon, if these things are just the fucking racial memories I think they are" The little Crusader snaps, taking a breath. She peels off her sweater; the t-shirt below is black, clinging to her trim waist, smooth shoulders and, an, expansive bust, holding the sweater in her left hand, half-balled around her fist and the fabric trailing behind. Something of an impromptu shield. "Get it started and I'll pile in as we go. Just a -thing- about sitting there trapped, you understand?"
An arrow slams into the bonnet of the car. It's stone head slicing through the metal, the shaft quivering from the impact. Then something else is tossed at them. A head...Genevieve's. The scalp missing. The dead eyes glaring up at Armin.
Aurore can't help but let out a squeak as poor, foolish Ms Birdsong's head is tossed at them. "Let's. Get. *Going*," she says with urgent enthusiasm, as she bundles herself into the rear seat, then slams the front one back into its upright position - leaving the chance to ride 'shotgun' to Emily. "Splitting up'd just be imitating a horror movie!"
Armin takes a moment, the arrow seems to have more of an effect than the head judging by the wince. "Fuckers are lucky this is a god damned charity case or I'd come back here with quilts." Which, yeah ok more than a little off color. Either way he isn't arguing, circling around the car and easing into the driver's seat. He snags the QD on that sling and drops the Saiga into a little space between the seat and the transmission tunnel, like it was made for it. Huh. Anyway he cranks the motor over with a vicious ripsnort, that shaker hood snapping to the right before he drops the handbrake and slams the car into reverse. Clutch slammed to the floor as he hits the gas, the butterflies in the exhaust snap open to vent the exhaust straight out of the headers and the whole car just erupts with the righteous scream of that 428 Cobrajet. America. Fuck. yeah.
And Emily dives on in in turn, exhaling loudly as she does, letting out a 'grunt' as her padded ass hits the padded seats. She scrambles around, an arm lifted defensively, still scanning about as the car begins to move "Where the fuck'd they come from?" She asks, as much to herself as to Aurore and Armin.
The tyres spin, churning up grass and mud before the car kicks in and starts heading through the fog the way it came...probably. Finding a direction is quite hard in the white blankness. The shapes seem to disappear behind them, merging with the mist. The car hits a bump in the ground, lifting up and then crashing back down...in sunlight. The dirt trail under the wheels again as the car spins for a moment. Ahead of them is asphalt and in the distance is the school bus, still parked by the side of the road.
"Arnulf - or one of his students - must've dug up something they shouldn't," Aurore answers, trying to position herself so that she doesn't slide around the back seat too much. "And cut the fucking quilt comments. There's a reason those things out there exist: belief. There aren't enough natives *left* in Maine to generate that amount of power: so it's white folks' fears and biases and paranoia and justifications for slaughter that've created those bastards. Especially so, if they're bound up with things that were long-term buried. I'd bet that Arnulf found an old massacre-site."
The moment that they're out of that foggy bullshit, Armin snatches first and dumps the clutch. The Mustang past the doors vanishes into a ripcurl of thick acrid tire smoke as it launches out of the hole, front suspension topping out with a chirp of the front tires as the frame twists just a touch to the right under the load, rear end swinging to and fro as it surges forward only for Armin to finally ease off the throttle and let the car glide for a moment. Then on come the brakes as he swings over to the right side of the road, before coming to a gentle stop. "Mother fucking son of a bitch, if it isn't fucking juju zombie bullshit, witchdoctors and giant centipedes it's gods honest ghost Indians. Would it be too much to ask to get paid for any of this shit ever, Jesus Christ." He lets out a sigh, before parking and killing the engine. Down come the sleeves, on go the cufflinks and the Rolex is returned to its place before he steps outside. "Well that was lovely, however are we going to explain any of that to the interested parties?" Shoulders drawing back as his posture begins to straighten up, the tone of his voice smoothing out just a touch. That more refined speech reasserting itself as he begins to relax, like someone flipping a switch really.
"Let's check the damn bus before we count it done" Emily warns, her skin ... normal once more, now they're out of the fog. Must have been odd lighting. "I mean, we DID leave two people behind ... and, uh ..." She swallows, peering ahead at the car's hood and the arrow mark and the head thrown towards it "I ... where IS she? Someone's going to find her? Or ... what?" Flailing verbally.
Bill peers out from behind the bus as the car squeals to a stop nearby. "Enjoy your day?" he calls out with a grin. "Wasn't sure if you were ever coming back. This here is Ralph, he's been working on the bus for the last few hours. Almost got it working again." The grease monkey that is Ralph pops his head up and waves. Inside the bus are Jeff and Crystal...or at least their feet up against the windows. They don't look hurt. The sun is setting, shadows growing long as night is almost upon them. "Where's Ms Birdsong?"
"The honest-we're-not-the-Inquisition had their former head in power as the previous Pope. A Rome-affiliated university in an area like *this* is going to have people monitoring it for fucked-up shit happening," Aurore says, rather sharply, before clambering out of the car. She musters a shaky smile and hand-wave for Bill, glancing around at the changed time of day, before looking back to the driver and trying to put as much reassurance into her warm voice as she can. "She's, ahh, staying with Professor Arnulf for now. Something's come up at the site. I'll pass it on to the department."
"Good call" Emily murmurs under her breath at Aurore's explanation, slipping from the car and resting her sweater over her shoulder. She gives Armin a rather ... shaken smile "Thanks for the ride. We'll have to meet up some time, you know?"
"Where is which part of her?" Armin replies to Emily off the cuff, before circling around to the trunk. He empties his shotgun, slips out of that chest rig and tugs his jacket on with practiced ease. Taking a moment to carefully adjust his cuffs and tie, before clearing his throat. "I don't mind helping friends, but as of this moment we haven't exactly become friends yet now have we?" He produces a pair of business cards, which he offers towards Aurore. "Otherwise I am a professional, professionals get paid. No money, no Swiss. Fair enough?"
"Oh...okay..." Bill shrugs to Aurore's explanation about the location of Ms Birdsong. Just then the bus starts up as Ralph grins proudly. "Time I got you kids back to university. Send the bill to St John's, Ralph" the driver grins. "All aboard that's getting aboard." He steps onto the bus. "Hey...Jeff! Crystal! Put it away! No, not there!!"
Emily takes the card, glancing at it and looking at Armin with a mild amusement "You'll forgive me if I find some irony in a gun-toting PMC member using the Pikeblock's iconography" She exhales slowly "And you're not nearly colorful enough" She gives him a shaken smile and then nods to Aurore "You okay there?" She asks in a nervous undertone.
Aurore shoots Emily a sidelong look of gratitude in response to her support... before narrowing her eyes and somewhat cautiously accepting the card offered to her. "Point d'argent, huh?", she asks dryly - her French smoothly fluent. Bill's call briefly draws her attention, prompting a wave of acknowledgement to him (and a brilliant smile for Ralph), before she returns her attention to Armin and Emily. "I'll see if I can figure out what happened there. But I doubt that the university'll be keen to pay you. *Maybe* to try to sweep it out of sight, but we'll have to see."
Emily receives a slightly shaky nod, before Aurore attempts to take her arm. "C'mon. Let's go and get blind drunk somewhere. After I report to the university."
"A mercenary is a mercenary, pay me well enough and I'll go to war dressed however you like." Armin snags that arrow with a frown, before slumping back in the Mustang. "I don't want payment for this, I said I'd do it for free and my word is good. Now then, do keep safe ladies." And well off he goes, He's going to have a very interesting and expensive discussion with his mechanic about arrow holes in expensive car hoods.