A Secret Is Not Worth Lives

May 11, 2016:

Meeting Claire at the Hamburg International Airport, the couple are approached by Detectives of the local police … (Emits by Mana)

Hamburg - Germany


NPCs: Detective Kai Tangeman, Detective Amelia Bocker



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

After the incident on the way from the airport, the members of X-Red had gone to meet with GSG-9 and, per Fords request, his name was never mentioned. Yet, there were those that knew he had been present and had heard his plans to restart the pro-mutant rally.

As Ford makes his way through Hamburg, he may notice that he's being followed. Whoever it is, is very, very good though and Ford may well think that he's imagining it. Of course, given who he is and what he's stated he's in Germany to do, being a little paranoid is probably a good thing.

Ford had been on his way to the Hamburg airport to pick up Claire following her flight. He thought it'd be nice to bring her along as something of a date. Not for very long, but a couple days couldn't hurt. It took some doing to convince her to leave the ER for a bit, but he'd pointed out that if they forced her to take single shifts, they must not be hurting for hands at the moment. And she deserved a couple days away.

Besides, he figured this might be good for her to travel a bit. See the world outside of her apartment and the hospital. (And perhaps coax a bit of romance out of her.)

That all said, he did have to book her a flight following his own, so that could do one more shift before coming home and heading to the airport. Not that it was hard to book it. He even treated her to first-class reservations so she'd have plenty of space to sleep on the plane should she choose. Standing at the waiting gate, Ford kept glancing around the place. Mostly looking for Claire, but also because he couldn't shake this feeling that someone, somebody, was following him. Normally, he'd attribute it to stress and adjusting to the time zone, but after what happened a couple nights ago, he thought it wise to keep on the alert. There could be more around any corner… and he wanted to be ready.

If Claire didn't have some distant cousins in South America, she probably wouldn't even have a pass port. But she does! And so, after some convincing, Ford was able to actually get her to take some much needed time off and fly to Germany. She's just got a little rolling suit case packed, nothing she needed to check, and is in prime comfortable travelling gear — yoga pants, oversized sweat shirt, pony tail. Trans-Atlantic flights require such things. So, with no worries on her own mind, oblivious to Ford's concerns, Claire steps out of the gate and down through the airport, dark eyes looking for him.

Flughafen is busy, as you would expect of an International Airport and it's hard to tell if someone is watching or following. Ford may note the that three men always seem to be in the same area as he, from the time he left his hotel to now. Of course, it could be coincidental.

Whatever, he probably doesn't want to confront them in the busy airport.

Ford blinked, taking note of the 3 men and frowning a bit. They looked familiar… had they been at his hotel? Maybe they were also waiting for flights… or were they following him. Were they with the government… or with that extremist group? His eyes suddenly halted as they locked onto Claire. Oh crap! If they saw him interacting with her, they'd be on the lookout for her too! Ford felt his heart race slightly as part of his worst nightmare was coming to fruition.

But now was absolutely the last time he needed to panic. Looking as calm as possible, Ford pulled out his cellphone and dialed Claire's number, before slipping back to the wall and leaning on it, trying to look casual. "Come on, pick up, pick up…"

It's those little moments of fate which split and other universes grow. In another place, Claire picks up her phone quick enough. Her dark eyes aren't quite so sharp, or she's still half asleep from the fight. In another place, she's headed off at the pass. But here? In this fateful moment, even as her phone buzzes in her pocket, she reaches down and kills the ringing. Who knows what roaming rates are like over here! So, a heartbeat later, she sees Ford leaning against the wall.

A smile of excitement and deep affection blooms across her full mouth as she double times it across the carpet of the airport and reaches out for him for a tight hug, "There you are! What, trying to hide? I'd pick you out of any crowd." She teases lightly, leaning up for a kiss.

If Ford, or Claire, look carefully, these men have a certain bearing. They might be dressed casually, but they're all fit and they carry themselves with authority.

As the pair meet, two people come out of the crowd and approach Ford, "Herr Benett? Detective Kai Tangeman and my partner Detective Amelia Bocker. We have concerns for your and companions safety. Please accompany us."

The badge the two officers flashes looks official, not a ripoff or fake and given Fords' recent run in, it seems about right.

"Don't worry, Ma'am" Amelia addresses Claire "We'll help you get your baggage, as we see to your safety. If you'll follow us."

The Detectives lead the way through the airport, helping Claire get her baggage and then bundling them into a waiting police car. And without much ado, they're off.

As to the three who were lurking in the crowd? They've seemed to disappear, swallowed by the masses that mill through the airport.

Ford felt his heart sink a little as Claire came closer, about to try and deter her from showing any affection… but thankfully, he was interrupted by 2 detectives… but even these folks were not above Ford's suspicion. "Thank you, Detective. If you'd get my assistant's baggage, I would appreciate it." Ford ushered Claire along as casually as possible while leaning slightly to whisper to her. ("You're my personal assistant flown in to help organize the march. Look professional until we get in the car. I think we're being followed.") he uttered quietly to her, though he smirked that trademark smile of his to try and let her know things were in hand. "So, what brings you two along this way? Here to help with the rally?"

Look *professional?* Claire is in yoga pants and a sweat shirt! How the hell can she look professional. However, her eager smile and casual stands immediately drops as the detectives come and that whisper echoes in her head. Claire doesn't continue leaning for the kiss, but she does slightly nod. "A-alright…detectives… Mr. Benett." Even saying his last name trembles strangely on her lips, but she lets someone else take her bag and she follows after towards the police car.

As they slip into the car and settle back, she looks behind them, trying to figure out if it's obvious that anyone followed, but she's not trained in this. "Officers…what… What's the issue? What's wrong?" She addresses that last question to all of them, not just the detectives,

"We believe Mr Benett has become the target of interest for an anti-mutant group." Kai explains as the car moves its way through Hamburgs streets. "He was involved in an incident the other day and we got word this morning that they might try an attempt on him today. Of course, this is something we would rather avoid."

The pair will note that the car is heading out of Hamburg, into more secluded streets and into the country. Before long, they pull up to a farm house, open the doors and gesture the pair inside. "We've arranged a safe house for you."

In the distance, there's sound of at least one more car, but the road isn't deserted by any measure, so maybe that's ok.

Ford nodded, though he kept his sights peeled for anything. Knowing that these anti-mutant groups had contacts in the German government made everyone a suspect to him… heck, it could be the German goverment itself that was after his head! The fact Claire was now involved in this could not be any worse, in his mind. It was what scared him into not using his powers at all - the fear that those he cared about would get hurt in the effort to get at him.

But suddenly, a thought occured to Ford as he furrowed his brow. Didn't he… say that he wanted to be left out of X-Red's report about the incident? His eyes glance sideways to Claire before he resumed the conversation. "…I don't suppose you'd have a more suitable change of clothes for my assistant, would you? I know I had her kind of jet out here on a whim - which, by the way, I appreciate you doing. S'why you're still on~" He placed his hand on Claire's shoulder, giving it a slight squeeze to reassure her he had things under control. "But, ah, question: how'd the government know I was involved in the incident yesterday? I specifically asked X-Red and their folks to leave me out of the report. Like I said, the less my name is being tossed around with a mole in your midst, the better…"

The dark haired woman is more tense, more uncertain than ever before. She CAN read body language, she does know that much, and she's reading just how much tension is now in Ford's frame. She doesn't ask anything more, listening to the way he's discussing with the cops. Instead, her hand sneaks over the shadowed seat between them and brushes the edge of his leg. Just touching his pants. Tenderly. Looking for comfort without being obvious about it.

"Oh. We weren't aware of your involvement, Herr Benett." Amelia responds as Kai walks to the end of the vehicle, putting himself between Ford and Claire and the driveway. "We heard chatter on the channels we monitor about you." Sounds plausible, right? "And your name is well known to us, in general."

As they talk, another car pulls up in the driveway and four more people, dressed in plain clothes, get out. Ford might recognise three of them.

"Shall we go inside?" Kai gestures politely, as the other four start to converge.

Ford eyed the other car of individuals that pulled up. Three of them, he recognized. The men who were following him. Were they detectives as well? Ford remained quiet for a moment, before shrugging. "Certainly. A little country air should do us some good. You guys have plumbing in here, right? Because I need to take a quick bathroom break." Ford asked, tilting his head a bit as he looked up at the house. "Glad to see my name is so well known. Course, how could it not be, right? By the by, we get our own rooms out here, or do we have to share? Not that I'd complain about the latter~"

Something's just making Claire's hair stand on edge, just at the back of her neck. While she has no gifts, she is a nurse, she has intuition. A slower, deeper breath is drawn in as she attempts to calm the gallop of her heart that's suddenly kicked into overdrive. She slips out of the car and gives them all a slightly nervous smile, "…We… we could get a hotel, really. Just… let Mr. Benett use the bathroom and we'll find somewhere secret and out of the way. We don't need to take up so many of your resources…Mr. Benett, tell them a hotel is fine…"

The other four men converge on the pair, one reaching to grab at Claires arm and secure her, another grabbing at Ford.

"Trust us…" a third one rumbles "… you're not going to care about plumbing or rooms…" Seems, trouble has found Ford after all. If he can subdue these, maybe he'll get some answers.

Ford blinked as he felt an arm grasp at him, trying to hold him steady. Looking down at the hand holding him, he looked up at the owner and smirked. "Alright, buster, look, I have a hard and fast rule when it comes to dealing with me: looking is free… but touching? That's gonna cost ya." He looked back at Claire, smiling that confident grin. He had things well in hand, if this was all he had to worry about.

"Ms. Temple? Be a dear and do me a favor, would you?" His leg quickly swung up and aimed to knock the wind out of the guy grabbing onto him… before he carried on through with it and sent him flying towards Claire in an effort to use him as a projectile and floor the people grabbing his date. "DUCK!"

Claire doesn't have near the smooth ability to handle threats that Ford does, but she also doesn't like being touched. Her arm instinctively jerks away, a glare tossed at the man trying to grab her, "What the HELL do you think you're doing?!" She half hisses to him, her teeth gritting. But it's probably not going to be much use, though she does smack him away from her again, her temper flaring as much as her fear.

Then Ford is getting into his own mess, and her dark eyes jerk back to him, widening, trying to listen and look for a hint. "Of course!" She banters back, trying not to sound terriie, and then she's abruptly ducking down as quickly as her body will allow. She stays low, just trying to get out of the way. But she's not a fighter. Hopefully, they focus on him and not her.

Fords first kick connects, knocking his assailant back, to land against a tree with a hard thud. He's out. The one that grabs for Claire sneers at her as she bats at his hand, leaving him open for Ford. Another 'thug' knocked over and out.

The two Detectives shake their heads and produce their weapons, Amelia tutting at the pair "It seems we're going to have to do this the hard." as she takes aim at Claire and starting to pull the trigger. Kai focusses Ford, echoing Amelia's actions.

The remaining two in plain clothes, follow suit.

Ford let out a triumphant chuckle as his tactic worked, before his eyes widened at the sight of the weapons being produced. He knew what he had to do… and he knew what was going to follow suit. They'd see him using his powers. It didn't matter… he wasn't about to lose Claire like this. "Yes, we are."

Ford suddenly blitzed forward, arms outstretched to clothesline the woman aiming for Claire, before immediately racing to take out the others. At his top speed, disarming them all should be a quick deal. But he knew what he'd have to do after this. Making his rounds and knocking folks to the ground, Ford skidded to a halt before popping his neck. "How did you put it? 'Seems we're going to have to do this the hard way.' Indeed we are… how unfortunate."

"Ford!" The comment makes her voice crack, true fear now behind Claire's tone. She was trying to be saucy, but the moment an actual gun comes out most of her cockiness is gone. She's just scared. She knows what gunshots do to a person's body and she doesn't want to experience that sort of pain. So she's low to the ground, trying to keep out of the way, as Ford all too speedily sweeps clean the other attackers. Claire's just cowering against the side of a car now, trying to make herself the smallest target possible, eyes glassy with unspent tears.

Claire ducking has bullets thudding into the vehicle behind her. Good thing the woman thinks quickly.

As Ford clotheshangers Amelia, she drops to the ground, knocked out. The other three try to train weapons on the rushing man, but to little avail - he's too quick… and down they go.

The only answer to his last quip are groans of pain. Ford and Claire are left at an empty farm house, a car that's riddled with bullets and six disabled men and women … maybe he can get some answers now.

Ford frowned at the bodies lying around him, shaking his head. He knew what he was going to have to do now… they saw him using his powers, AND they were members of an anti-meta/mutant group. They could not live and spill his secret. Kneeling down next to the person who drove them to the farm house, Ford dug around in his pockets, before tossing the keys towards Claire. His voice was authoritative and firm as he gave her instructions. "Claire. I need you to get in the car, turn on the engine… and cover your ears. Alright? I need some answers…"

Allowing Claire to do her thing, Ford grabbed the guns that had been dropped and began to drag bodies towards the farm house, inside if they didn't put up a struggle. Either way, he plants each of them against a wall, slapping them lightly to bring them to their senses. "Wake up! I've got questions, and you have answers. Now talk. Who are you with? What do you want with me? How many contacts in the German government do you have? In any government! Spill it all! Because that girl in the car is a nurse… and I'm willing to bet she can show me some bones to break that you didn't even know you had."

Once all the shooting is done, a few bullets having come terribly close to her, but not landed, Claire shakily begins to unfold herself from the tiny ball she'd collapsed into next to the car. She's still shaking, breath too quick, watching Ford with those glassy eyes. While there is a part of her that says something quite awful is about to happen, the rest of her is in too much shock. She nods weakly, taking the keys and following his directions. Into the car. Engine on. Radio turned up. High. It helps hide the sudden sobs that crack from her lips. Easier to cry when no one is listening.

There's a little struggling, but not much. The first guy that Ford hits, doesn't rouse, he's out cold. Kai, Amelia and the other three though, stare up at the playboy with near hatred in their eyes. Strangely even with his display of powers, they're not cowed.

"We don't know how many." Kai grates out. Ford might be able to discern that's not a German accent. Danish maybe?

Amelia sets her lips in a thin line, refusing to speak.

And the other three each something to Ford. Not in English and not German. Interesting. One sounds like they're speaking Italian, another French and the third … is that Russian?

Claire might have noticed as she crawled into the car, that the 'thug' that hit tree has blood trickling from his skull and ears. That was a rather severe beating he took.

Ford glared at each one of the folks before him, taking note of the variety of accents displayed. French, he knew fluently. Italian, he could make out decently. But Russian? That was far beyond his ken. He pulled the gun out, twirling it in his finger before pointing it at Amelia's leg and firing one round into it. "Talk! While you still have jaws to use! You've gone and f!@ked up absolutely big time, and I am NOT in the playing mood! Because guess what? I know who you all are. I can I.D. each and every one of you. And that means I can find out who you are, where you're from, any family, any friends, anyone you may care about… and hurt them. Badly. Do NOT test my patience and my humanity, because you are all wearing it paper thin right now!!! TELL! ME! EVERYTHING!"

The woman is doing her very best to stay hidden, in the car, safe and oblivious to the things that are going on. But she's taken oaths too. She can't help but take sight of the man against that tree, though there is little she could do if he had internal head injuries. If there were other injuries she could stablize, could she really just sit there in the car? She stares at the bleeding man through the window. Finally, her morality kicks in. She pushes the opposite door open, stepping out of the car and moving over to the man. The least she could do was put pressure on his wounds and make certain he doesn't drown in his own blood. "…I can't just let him die, Ford…" SHe calls back to him, before he can even ask what the hell she's doing.

The French man, keeps repeating 'Oceane Alliance', he's clearly scared of what Ford has done. The Italian says one word 'Zaira'. Even though Ford can't understand most of what the Russian is saying, the word 'Prokhor' is repeated several times.

"We were recruited to come and work here." That's Amelia "I was paired with Kai and put into the police. All we know is we're to wait for a signal and attack civilians and residents of the Jotunheim district."

"They want us to pose as Government Authorities when we do." Kai adds in a slightly shaky voice.

"We can tell you where we meet." the French man adds faintly, trying to put more distance between him and Ford.

Claires patient isn't in a great way, but the pressure and the actions she takes are helping. The blood is slowing and she checks his vitals, they're faint, but they do seem to be stabilising.

Ford took the information in, memorizing it. He'd have to. "Certainly. I'm listening. Where are you meeting? And hurry up…" Ford perked up as he heard the car door opening and Claire rushing out to help the man he'd injured earlier. "…they aren't gonna live long enough for it to matter anyways, Claire. Just get back in the car… I'll wrap things up and then we get out of here."

"…And who's going to kill them? Certainly not us. Ford… we're not killers! This is what the police… or… Or your German friends, whomever you came here to meet… that's what they're here for!" Claire looks abjectly sick at the thought he might even entertain of killing them. Especially as she kneels next to the man, keeping a heavy amount of pressure against the worst wound in his side. She'll reach down and then tear off a long, long strip from his shirt, so she can actually tie a pressured cloth around his ribs and in place over that wound.

"Not us. Me. Claire, they know my secret. I leave them alive and they'll spill it. One way or another." Ford turned back, leveling the gun towards Amelia's head. "Claire, just get in the car and cover your ears. Believe me, I'm doing this to protect you! I don't want to… but I have to!"

The Frenchman babbles out an address somewhere in Hamburg. Ford will need to work out exactly where that is.

As Ford levels his gun at Amelia, she glares up him "Kill us and you just put our cause back. We're doing this so that people will respect mutants." That's …. an interesting sentiment…. Aren't these mutant haters?

The woman remains kneeling at that man's side, putting pressure against his ribs, though her eyes turn slightly glassy again, staring at Ford, in complete shock that he's still considering this. "…Ford…I… A secret isn't worth four people's lives…" Claire's voice cracks, an actual tear catching down her cheek. While she's carefully pulling away from her patient, moving for the car as ordered, he can see it in her gaze. The respect she has for him quickly leaving. She'll probably be sick if he kills them all.

"I'd kill 400 if it meant keeping you safe Claire… I'm sorry…" Ford watched her get back to the car, before looking back at Amelia. "…should've left well enough alone…" Ford steeled himself for what he was about to do. He HAD to do it. He absolutely knew he had to.

…so why was he having such a hard time pulling the trigger? Try as he might, push himself as he might, give everything he had to squeeze the trigger… he simply couldn't. He had the gun on Amelia, but he couldn't make himself kill her. Why? He HAD to! After a brief moment, Ford clenched his eyes shut and let his arm hang. He felt like such a failure. But, much as he hated to admit it, Claire was right. Try as he may to hide it, he couldn't really keep it buried deep enough.

Somewhere inside him was a good guy. Maybe even something akin to a hero.

"…sunuva… Claire, just… do what you can for him, alright? We'll get him in the back seat and the— wait, what?" Ford blinked, finally hearing what Amelia had told him and looking at her. "…wait, wait, aren't you guys… anti-mutant? Like… like with the Purifiers or something?" Ford stared back for a moment, before turning to point at Claire. "Claire, keep him alive, if you can! We've got to get these folks back to Hamburg… somehow… hell, just… get up, all of you. You have some serious explaining to do."

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