If the Tide Gets Too Strong


bowie_icon.gif caspian_icon.gif delia_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif eve2_icon.gif jonathan_icon.gif

lance_icon.gif niki_icon.gif pearl_icon.gif silvia_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif tuck_icon.gif

Also Featuring:


Scene Title If the Tide Gets Too Strong
Synopsis Citizens of the Safe Zone get together to do a little bartering, a little socializing, and a little fortune telling.
Date February 26, 2018

Red Hook Market

The Red Hook Market resides within the gutted shell of Textile Factory 17, a turn-of-the-century mill building that once served as the headquarters of New York's FRONTLINE civil defense organization. Miraculously, the building survived the civil war largely unscathed except for the total collateral loss of its electronics to the EMP that ravaged Manhattan. When the building was reclaimed by Gilbert Tucker in late 2015, it was remodeled with the intention of turning it into a central community hub for the entirety of the Safe Zone. Today, the multiple above-ground buildings serve as meeting halls, council chambers, offices, and storage rooms for the Safe Zone Cooperative. The basement levels, a labyrinthine maze of brick corridors, vaulted storage spaces, and small nooks, have become the sprawling home of the Red Hook Market, an open-air bazaar with free admittance to every Safe Zone resident. The market features pop-up vendor stalls, a single bar called the Red Hook Tavern, and food vendor stalls.

Normally, the Red Hook Market is a bustling hub of commerce with many long-term and some temporary vendors plying their trade. Tonight, it's turned into something more community-focused. The area that plays host to the once-a-week vendors has been set up for the purposes of a swap meet. It gives the market a somewhat festive atmosphere that is helped along by buskers tucked into nooks and a small area with games set up for children.

The swap meet is a good opportunity for people who don't run one of the stalls in the Red Hook Market to trade excess goods or bargain for something they need. Table rentals for the night are very reasonable. The only rule? No cash sales. Everything must be bargained for. If people have no goods, they can trade for labor or, in a lucky few with useful Evolved abilities, some kind of service with their power.

One table is piled high with used clothes, a sign indicating that the proprietor will only take food items in exchange for clothing. Another has a table full of scavenged mechanical components with a hand-printed sign indicating that trade can be made for the services of an electrician, non-prescription and prescription drugs or children's toys. That's only a sample of the setup. Just about any combination of goods for goods, or service for service, or service for goods is represented.

Those who don't have tables can circulate through the large open space and bargain with the items they can carry - though there's a rule of two backpacks per person. Anyone trying to tout a table's worth of swag around is asked to leave by security.

Towards the far end, a makeshift cafe has been set up. It's the only place that accepts currency this evening. The food on offer is reasonably priced, but very simple. There's a vegetable soup made mostly of root vegetables and noodles, and beans and rice.

It's at one of these tables that Gilbert Tucker sits. He's got a headset on and periodically talks to someone (or several someones) on the other end. "…so tell Georgie he gets in with that extra basket just this once. Everyone gets to break the rules for one night before they get blacklisted, so see if he really wants tonight to be the night he's allowed to roam free." He crunches on a pistachio and dusts red fingers. "Mhmm hmm. That's what I thought."

There's a slight commotion next to Tuck's table as a chair is rapidly slid back against the ground. A slight blonde woman stands with eyes wide peering down at a woman with raven dark hair seated at a tiny round table with a black velvet cloth thrown over it. Her eyes fade from a milk white color to their natural light gray and she tilts her head back to stare at the woman with a spread of her hands. "He'll be there tonight with Henrietta. Room five one five."

The married woman balks and nods her head slowly, she slides a worn timepiece over to the seer who quickly leans forward to snatch it, pulling it close to examine in the light of the trio of white candles she has placed in the center. There is a brown box sitting there a lid is open, various knick knacks can be seen in there. An assortment of golden bells reflect the flames of the candle.

"I'll take it!" Eve grins and pats the blonde woman's arm as she leaves the table with a confused and worried expression on her face. "Fortunes! Get your fortunes! Come over here, it's not always doom and gloom."

But your husband may be cheating you.

Tasha doesn't have a booth, but does have a canvas bag of items to barter — some old scarves and mittens, a few small 8" by 8" painted canvases. Mostly she's there to support the community and maybe answer a question or two, given that she's known as a member of the Coop. She wanders over to Tuck's table, to give her fellow councilman (Co-operator?) a bright, toothy smile. "Looks like everything's off to a great start. It's nice to see so many people doing business and getting along. You need a coffee refill or anything?"

Bowie's here tonight— off duty— with a duffel bag slung over his shoulder. Goods have gone in, goods have come out, but he's moving into the cafe area. Drawn by the smell of soup. Smells like what his mother would make.

His attention is taken from the soup, though, and off toward the call for fortunes being told. His head tilts, but curiosity and the cat are always weaving around reach other, and so he heads over to Eve's table. And he points to the recently vacated chair. "You accept walk ins?" he asks with a smile. It's a joke. But still, he doesn't sit without the seer's permission. It's bad luck to disrespect such a person.

It's with a worn backpack of stuff slung over one shoulder that Lance is prowling through the stalls and tables in search of treasures for himself! He's mostly poking around book-stalls and people with old media and video games piled up on their tables, sorting through stacks before moving on - he hasn't found anything he's looking for yet. A grey hoodie and some worn jeans adorn the lanky young man, the hood pushed back to leave him identifiable by sight for those who know him.

"Gotta be some text books or something somewhere," he mutters to himself, chewing on a piece of beef jerky he traded a spool of reclaimed copper wire for a bag of.

Delia doesn't have a stall either, she follows behind Tasha, also carrying two canvas bags. She keeps them closed at the top because what she doesn't want is to get mobbed for the vegetables inside. She bypasses the clothing, uninterested in the items themselves but keeping a mental note of the person that's trying to trade for them. The dreamwalker is looking for labor to help with the new season at the very least.

"Hey Eve," she greets the seer, "what can you tell me about me?"

Red painted nails tap on Tuck's shoulders gently. A warning before the hands they belong to settle there. They slide over his collarbones before changing direction from down to sideways, coming to cross loosely over his chest.

Niki Zimmerman settles her chin lightly on top of Tuck's head and grins fondly, squeezing gently. A hug. Her smile is softer as she looks up to Tasha. "Did you paint those yourself?" she asks of the canvas.

Some people don't have husbands to cheat on them, which is good because Silvia is sixteen. But the allure of Eve's booth is there and she can't help herself. Besides, that was the woman she saw briefly at the arcade who Joe mentioned was pretty cool. She approaches, but seeing as Delia's struck up a conversation, she waits, fishing around in her bag to see what she has to barter with.

Typically someone that has a consistent booth at the Market, Delilah has opted to split the space with another person, allowing herself more freedom than usual for the swap meet. Her dress is a trim, robin-egg blue that echoes what may be a wish for spring, long-sleeved and threaded with some dark blue. Her bag is slung across her chest, and one hand is casually taken up by a tinier hand

Walter isn't very tall, nor very small; he's a healthy, rosy-faced little dude, with that torch of messy hair and his foxy grin. He has two small backpacks, one in his arms and one on his back, chattering away to his mother about something. The people they stop to see or pass by get an on-off lesson about the relation of birds and dinosaurs.

"Whoa, mom, hey, it's Eve!" Delilah already heard the woman's voice in the near distance, somewhere near the cafe. She was probably hoping Walter didn't hear her. "Can I?"

"Absolutely not." Delilah's answer is prepped, and she gives her son a Look. They've had this conversation before.

As one customer leaves, Eve gains three new ones. Her eyes are wide as the man makes his way to the chair and asks her permission. The darker haired woman grins and spreads her hand out to the chair. "Please polite people are fun," she's serious.

"Dreamy!" As Delia approaches and she reaches out to grab her wrist and to have Delia sit next to her on a overturned crate. "Dreamy, meet The Most Polite Man, Polite Man? Dreamy." She likes friends and there's that girl.. the one that her Joe was hanging with, "Ah Ah Ah you, get here," Eve crooks her finger at the girl and points to another box.

"Yeah…well, just…if you need backup, take backup. I guarantee taking Big Tom over there will do more good than me. I'm just a guy in a bad tie." Or no tie at all, like tonight. Tuck doesn't tend to wear them unless it really seems appropriate. Usually it's only when meeting with outside people in power. Tonight it's dark washed jeans with the cuffs rolled up (not for fashion - he couldn't find them in his size) and a faded t-shirt (for fashion) with a gray blazer with professorly elbow patches.

He looks over his shoulder as Niki appears. He neither shrugs off her touch, nor does anything to discourage it. "Yeah, yeah…" he says, still into the headset. "She should be all paid up. Just a sec." He opens a folder and paws through a stack of papers. He blinks rapidly, then tugs his blue glasses off his face. He wrinkles his nose at how smudged they are. These he hands to Niki, "Would you mind giving those a wipe, darlin'?"

He looks up at Tasha's arrival, squinting as his no-glasses eyes take a moment to confirm her identity. "Oh, hey. No, no, it's all good. And something seems pretty wrong about someone whose hours are billable getting me a coffee." And then, to the comment about everyone getting along, he murmurs, "The night, she is young."

Niki's interest in the little painted canvases makes Tasha blush slightly, and she nods. "I'm a bit rusty. I used to be an art student before everything, then traded it in for law, but…" She lifts a shoulder. The canvases include city scapes, the silhouettes of familiar buildings, often against beautiful sunrises or sunsets, as well as more abstract work, and some illustration work that seems more aimed at children.

The petite brunette shakes her head at Tuck. "My hours are only billable if I have any clients, and that's a big 'if,' and we're all equal in this community, yeah? So if I wanna get you coffee, I'll get you coffee." This is said in a faux stern voice, but she adds with a smile, "I mean, only if you want some."

With a chuckle for the introduction, Bowie extends a hand toward Delia. "Bowie is what most people call me. I save Polite Man for stuffier occasions. Nice to meet you." With a greeting out of the way, he shifts to sit, his bag going to his lap. "My mother used to roll bones," he says to Eve, "every time I asked her where she got the bones, she told me not to ask. And not to ask after the neighbor's cat." His smile turns crooked. He's pretty sure his mother was kidding, but there's always the chance she wasn't.

A tip is tucked into the jar sitting out on the counter at the food stall, before a Styrofoam cup is procured. The best attempt at a mocha, even if it isn't no Starbucks. Still Jonathan Smith is happy to have it. Hitching the backpack on his shoulder a little more, he turns away from the vendor when a very polite thank you and a bright smile.

Of course, Jonathan spots familiar faces of his fellow council; so he makes his way in that direction. He calls ahead of his arrival. "Hey, guys. How are you?" He motions out at the gathered crowd, "Great crowd this week. You making out alright, there?" That last focused on Tuck himself.

The man literally bleeds positive energy, standing there in his light coat and blue plaid scarf. He waves and greets people as they pass.

Not too far from the noodles, because Pearl is never too far from any available noodles, sits this dark-haired, heavily tattooed woman. She sits perched on broad-seated stool, legs crossed, a huge, handbound sketchbook balanced on her knees. Some kind of clip-on bamboo ink well is attached to the book with a jumbo binder clip. She draws inky, quick lines with an oblique dip pen. Scattered between life drawings are more graphic, patterned pieces that are obviously templates for tattoos. Today's theme seems to be snakes and flora. The soft scritch, scritch, scriiiiitch of her pen dragging over thick paper is constant. Every now and then, her kohl-lined eyes flick toward the noodles. Because noodles.

Who me? is the look that Silvia gives Eve as it appears she's being beckoned in closer. She still feels bad, not wanting to interrupt what's going on with the other two, but she sits as instructed on the box. Still, she feels the need to introduce herself. "Ah, I'm Silvia." She leaves it at that.

"Oh sorry!" Delia says as she places one of her bags on the floor to take Bowie's hand. "I'm Delia Ryans, just ignore the whole 'dreamy' thing, I try not to anymore." She sends Eve a sharp glance along with a grimace before stepping back to retake her bag. To Bowie, she smiles though and seems genuinely interested in this topic of bone rolling. "My mom was pretty .. uh.. Catholic. So there were no fortunes in my house, bones or otherwise."

"Aw, fine." Walter knows better than to argue, and for now he doesn't— give it a couple more years before that changes. He does let go of the loose grip of Dee's hand to go up to a table of someone bartering away boxes of salvaged toys, and she keeps one eye on the fire of his hair while giving a survey of the cafe nearby. She's not being shy, so when she is spotted she lifts a hand to wave hello to those gathered at the cafe.

Niki takes the glasses readily, straightening up and fishing a cleaning cloth out of the pocket of her trousers. "Sure thing." She's prepared when he needs her. A quick once over, the glasses are held skyward to get a better look to make sure she didn't smudge them worse. Satisfied, she leans over Tuck's shoulder again to pass them back.

Tasha's art is complimented. "They're beautiful. Is that the Deveaux Building?" Niki squints a little, even though she's not the one who needs glasses. She smirks, "And if he won't take a coffee, I will." Not that she's incapable of getting one herself.

At the mention of throwing bones Eve gets excited and leans forward, "Bones! Where did she get them?" Very curious of that particular fact, "I know where to get bones," well doesn't everyone? "Ahh the poor cat. I don't need to make them go away to see," She taps her temple with a sidelong glance at the candles there on the table. "Dreams or if I focus." A simple explanation for her not so simple ability. "Eve Mas and this little lady, Silvia! Yes are you going steady with my Joe? He's a nutball," the seer chuckles.

"My mother was a stripper, maybe men saw their future in the pole," Eve looks pensive as she draws a finger down the length of her pale face.

Tuck has to move the piece of paper in and out until he finds the right distance away that allows him to see what's on the page. "Yip," he says into the headset. "Paid up. Just this morning, which is probably why she wasn't…—yeah, it's all good m'friend. Listen, I'm going off-channel. Make the radio do the little blippy thing if you need me. I don't really need to hear all the cross-chatter. Mmmkay, thanks." He pulls the headset off his head and rests it around his neck. He pushes his hair around this way and that. "Still," he says to Tasha, "Coffee fetchin' shouldn't be your thing. I have two good legs. Mostly." He grins a little, then upnods at Jonathan. "Yep, all's good. Just the usual thing of making sure people're registered and not carting around too much stuff. That, and keeping an eye out for known troublemakers." He murmurs a thanks to Niki and pushes the glasses back up on his face.

On his way towards another booth that looked interesting, Lance pauses near to where Pearl's settled on her stool with that sketchbook and entirely ignores any sort of polite etiquette as he peers over the pages that she's writing on, his brows lifting a little. "Oh, hey," he says as he draws upon his great experience as an observer of the obvious, "Is that, like, tattoos designs? My, uh— my friend Brynn does some tattooing, although she's pretty new at it!"

"Ms. Ryans. Miss Silvia," Bowie says to the others, his smile warm as he looks between them. "Catholic, huh? You had prayer instead," he says, and he seems to find that a fine alternative. "We reach out beyond us to find some sort of answers, it isn't too different," he says with a wink that shows he knows exactly how different they are.

But to Eve, Bowie taps his fingers on the table. "She never confirmed it, but I'm pretty sure she didn't need the bones, either." He is picking up what you all are putting down. "Stripper poles— I could think of worse places to look for your future."

"Thank you," Tasha says to Niki with a smile. "Yeah, that one is. If you like it, you can have it," she says, pulling the square from the tote to offer the taller woman. "Hush, I couldn't do what you do with all this," she says to Tuck, but doesn't argue further, turning instead to grin at Jonathan, and reaching to give him a quick little hug. "Hey, teach, good to see you. You want a coffee? My treat." She pulls the strap of her canvas bag up onto her shoulder, taking a step in direction of the food booth.

Pearl's pen skims over the page, depositing a delicate, quick gesture of a tall young man and a huge backpack sprouting bits and wire coils and dropping darkly inked books which trail across the page, all scattered between a smattering of black dahlias and one particularly detailed baby rattlesnake. Just as Lance leans over to have a look. "It's a combo platter. Some are tattoo ideas. Is your friend Brynn any good?" Pearl's gaze flicks up, and she looks at Lance for a moment. "If your friend Brynn old enough to drink?"

Silvia laughs a little at the mention of Joe. "Joe is my friend, I'm not 'going steady' with anyone. I'm pretty sure my parents think I'm dating one of boys I hang out with though. But don't tell them I'm not… it's more interesting to keep them wondering."

Niki's face lights up when Tasha offers her the painting. She steps around from behind Tuck to take it, holding up the canvas to admire it. "Thank you," she says, genuinely pleased. "I love it." It's lowered again so she can look at the artist once more. "But I'm bartering with you for it. That's how this works. If you ever see something you want from my scrap haul, you tell me and it's yours."

To Jonathan, Niki poses a question: "How are you always so darn cheerful? Is that your superpower?" Just a little good-natured teasing. She's grateful for his positive energy, and she's told him that in the past.

"She's pretty good," Lance affirms, his brows raising a little at the second question, "And, I mean, almost, she— "

The defense of Brynn's ability to drink is entirely given pause when his name's shouted out, and he turns around just in time to notice Walter charging his way. A broad grin curves to his lips, and he crouches a bit before reaching out to catch him up and lift him up into the air, "Gotcha, kiddo!" A craning of his head looks past him to Delilah, "I think I found something that belongs to you, Dee."

The hug is returned with an awkward one-armed hug, his bag almost sliding down his arm. "Too slow, Tasha," Jonathan comments lightly, holding up his recently procured cup. "I just got a fresh cup, but I appreciate the thought."

Niki's question gets a chuckle, "If I had a nickel for every time I got asked that… I might be a rich man." He can only shrug his shoulders, "I wish I knew… I'd share my secret if I could. Maybe a few less grumpy faces." He narrows a look at Tuck with that, but then grins giving Niki a wink. "We still on for Karaoke next Friday?" He points at Tasha, "You too with those delightful young ladies your with."

"Anyway, I'm going to scoot… I came to find something in particularand I don't think I'm going to find it tonight." Still, she'll meander around the tables to see what there is to see. "If either of you see anyone wanting to trade labor for the things I have, can you send them my way?" Then she opens the bag partway to allow them to peek inside. Carrots, onions, potatoes, and beets are what she has to offer.

Tuck glances to the canvases in Tasha's bag, but he doesn't comment. He's someone with a closet full of canvases - among other things. The fact that he has an artistic side isn't known to many people, and he doesn't tend to make it known. "Y'know, back in the day, the only thing anyone'd be fetching for me was a swift kick in the pants," he drawls to Tasha. He's not the type to take credit for anything. It makes him uncomfortable. Kind of like now, when he shifts awkwardly in his seat. He turns his attention to the papers in front of him for a moment. He makes a few notations. Without looking up, he says to Jonathan, "I'm not grumpy. I just have resting grumpy bastard face."

Somewhere over to the side, a trio starts to play. They're Django Reinhardt-style upbeat, nimble jazz - and they're quite good!

Better late than never, is a motto that several people have bandied about, but that's not one for Caspian. He was supposed to be at the community meeting like ten minutes ago, and thanks to a job that went long, he arrives to the gathering late. His bag of tools is slung over his shoulder along with a few bits that can be traded for other bits or just given away to people who need it more. Arriving, the tall man stops and gazes over the gathered throng of people and, with a deep breath, wades in.

The first stall that catches his attention is the one manned by Tuck since it's the closest one to where he walked in. A few familiar faces poke out…okay, one familiar face. Silvia's, so he makes his way over to where she is, waiting for a break in the conversation to get her attention.

Pearl smirks, the expression easily hidden as her attention drops to the page once more. She adds a couple of flourishes to the rattlesnake. Her smirk morphs into a little grin at the leaping kid inbound to Lance's position, and she blocks in a tiny portrait of Walter into the upper corner of the page. "Hello, small person," she says, looking up again to greet Walter.

"Well, just knowing that you like it is enough payment for me — another reason I was a terrible art student," Tasha confides to Niki with a grin. She turns at the yell from Walter for 'Lance,' and smiles when she sees the little boy she once used to help take care of, now so much taller than herself, and of course Walter, with Delilah not far behind. She stands watching a moment, her dark eyes shining with a bit of fondness for these people who make up her past and now her present.

To Jonathan, she snaps her fingers. "I'll buy you a coffee some other day, then, Teach." To Niki and Tuck, she says, "I'll be right back." Tuck's getting a cup whether he likes it or not, of course.

She begins to move toward the food stall, pausing by Delia's to offer the woman a quick squeeze from behind. "Hey, lady," Tasha says. "Grabbing coffee, but come find me later, yeah?"

"Nooo!" Walter lets out a playful little yell as Lance hefts him into the air, and it turns into pitchy giggling rather quickly. "Look at this! Isn't it cool?" He holds up his new robot to show Lance, and then Pearl with a grin. "He turns into a racecar."

"Hey there, Lance. I see you did." Delilah comes sauntering up with her hands hooked around Walter's second backpack, having picked it up in his wake. Her face is beaming, and she seems perfectly at ease letting Walter horse around, as long as the older boy isn't looking put upon. "How have you been?"

"Oh, wow! Is that a transformer?" Lance grins broadly as he humors Walter's excitement over the toy, and then he carefully sets the seven-year-old back down onto the ground, "That's pretty primal, buddy." He reaches out to ruffle the child's hair, then, before looking up to Delilah with bright eyes, clearly happy to be around familiar faces, "I've been alright. Joe and Brynn are crashing at my place lately; been trying to get into college, but, uh. Well, still trying! What about you?"

"Bye Dreamy!" Listen once you have an Eve nickname it sticks. The seer looks to Silvia and Bowie as Delia departs and she grins widely. "What do my new friends have to trade? I shall give a vision each." There's a twinkle in the woman's eyes, the dark robe she wears over her dress sits comfortably, her feet are free of the sandals that sit just under where she sits.

A trade to Eve could mean anything.

Bowie unzips his duffel and pulls out a head of cabbage to set on the table. "Homegrown," he says, as if that isn't obvious. "I have some onions if the young lady wants her vision, too." Silvia he means, of course. And he doesn't seem to need anything in trade back for it, either. "If that will do?"

Pearl is content to sketch quietly, clustering more and more mini portraits into the white spaces between other drawings. A little portrait of Delilah appears beside that of Walter, nestled over the shoulder of the backpack-toting Lance.

Niki finally pulls up a seat next to Tuck and drops into it, propping her new prize up against the side of her chair. One arm loops around the man's shoulders and she gives the back of his neck a small squeeze. "You work too hard. You're supposed to be enjoying yourself tonight." A hapless glance is cast to Jonathan, she waves her free hand toward Tuck as if to say you see what I have to work with here?

"I hope this is enough," Silvia says, pulling out a book, Great Expectations. "It's too hard for me to read right now, the English words are a little confusing, so I hope it's a good trade." She offers Eve a smile. "Maybe when I'm better at English I'll come back and trade and give you a fortune." She gives Bowie a polite smile for his offer to help her with hers. Out of the corner of her eye she spots a familiar face, and she waves at Caspian.

"A what? Uhmmm… yeah!" It definitely is. Walter doesn't know it, even if Lance does, so he takes his cues from the older boy without fail, teetering on his toes as he's set down. Delilah is quick to come in to give Lance a short hug, briefly making Walter squawk between them, offended at being the jam. It's only for a moment!

"Good, good. I'm glad you all are sticking together." As she pulls away, her hand pats ginger hair at her side. You're fine, kiddo. "The tailoring thing has really taken off. So if you guys ever need someone, hit me up." Delilah's dark eyes sparkle, a phone-me gesture with it. Tellingly, the knees of Walter's jeans have been patched over and over.

"Sold to the Polite Man in front of me," there's a clap of her hands and she snatches the cabbage off the table to drop it into a bag sitting at her feet with a few other produce items she's gained in trade or barter today. The cabbage will be good for the dinner that she cooks Eimi later. She's been trying to learn how to cook well.

"Ooh a friend who offers knowledge is a true friend indeed," Eve gives the teen a warm smile as she plucks the book from her hands and runs her pale finger along the book's spine. That she places near the box neatly. "Your hand?" She says to the young girl with a wink to Bowie.

Observing the crowd, Caspian feels a little bit lost. The four containers of fresh bread pudding, laden with raisins, sugar, and the like, rest in a bag he carries in his right hand, his left holding the strap of his backpack tight over his shoulder. Lance's interaction with the kid gets a grin - he really does have a way with the smaller sort.

With the multiple booths around, finding one to try to start with is difficult so Caspian does the simple thing - he guesses and asks. "Excuse me, ma'am?" Caspian calls to Delilah whenever he's close and she's not in the middle of conversation. "Wondering if you had a minute to talk?"

"Sounds like a plan," the school teach comments brightly at the offer of coffee later. Jonathan's lips press together as Tasha ducks the Karaoke subject, though, watching her moves to the stall. "One day, I will get her to go." He's determined. He gives a little dejected sigh, probably fake, since he is smiling again. "Ah well." Of course, Niki skirts it too, but he expects that. He gives Niki a knowing nod… I getcha… I getcha his expression sympathizes. "Maybe you need a little Karaoke in your life, too, Tuck." The bright smile, deepening the crows feet at the corners of his eyes, says he is messing with the other man.

Bowie nods to Silvia, since she can pay her own way, and he zips his bag back up again before turning back to Eve. "I'm not certain," he says with a chuckle, "if this nickname is meant as an insult or not." He looks over to Silvia, for her thoughts, "What do you think?" He gestures her toward Eve, since he is happy to wait.

"Enjoy myself? Where'd you get that idear, hmm? I'm the market coordinator and this is a market thing that needs coordinatin'. I get to relax during council meetings. That's when I can completely zone right out and take a lil catnap." Tuck mimes a yawn. His neck is a bundle of tight muscles, but that's pretty much his life these days. He looks at Niki and then looks to Jonathan at his comment about karaoke. "Mhmm, sir, you could not handle my sweet, sweet musical stylings. I can crank out a version of Don't Stop Believin' that'll have you in tears from the absolute stunning musical perfection of it. No, I couldn't possibly, because I would ruin karaoke for you forever."

There's a laugh from Lance as he leans in to return Delilah's hug - over Walter's poor head - and then he settles back on his heels. "Hey, might take you up on that. Especially for Hailey," he rolls his eyes, "She doesn't, I mean, she won't even come into the Zone so she could really use some new clothes'n shit. She— " He bites his lower lip to shut himself up, "Well, anyway, yeah! I will do."

He glances back to Pearl, "Oh, this is— uh— tattoo… lady." Shit, he never got her name.

Silvia offers her hand forward, her gaze shifting over towards Bowie. "I have it on very high authority that Eve is an awesome person. I think she means it kindly. It is not a bad nickname." She then turns her attention to Eve, unsure of exactly how this works. Is there supposed to be chanting, explosions, sparkles? From what little she knew of Eve all of the above could be possible.

There's another laugh-smirk from the tattoo lady. "Pearl." Her pen scratches across the page, but she does glance up and focus on Delilah for a moment. "Is another thing I answer to." She bends to reach into an old rucksack beside her stool, and digs out a dented package of six markers in bright colors. She doesn't open them or use them, but says, "Know anyone with an interest in coloring?" She tips the markers slightly, waggling them side-to-side.

It's not too long before Tasha comes back with two coffees and a little dixie cup full of creamers and sugars, plus a couple stir sticks. "As promised," she says to Niki, and to Tuck, "and as disregarded," she says with a grin. "I've gotta get going, I have a client meeting in," she glances at her watch, "an hour, so I better get moving. See you all soon, I hope."

She pulls a scarf from her tote bag, one with yellow and black stripes, to wrap around Jonathan's neck on a little whim. "I won't sing, but I'll come watch the rest of you make fools of yourselves," she says over her shoulder as she begins to move toward the exit. Apparently she heard after all.

"It's true," Niki deadpans in response to Tuck's assertion of his ability to perform a certain popular Journey tune. "I've heard it, and I've never been the same." Truth be told, she avoids karaoke because it tends to be the sort of activity that pairs well with beer. Or vodka. Coffee is accepted with grateful nod, and Tasha is waved goodbye to.

One red nail goes flick! against Tuck's shoulder and Niki gives him a sidelong glance. "You're not supposed to nap during those meetings. And I said you're supposed to be enjoying yourself." Her hand comes back to his neck, her palm warm against his skin as she pushes against stuff muscles with her thumb and fingers. "Relax, handsome."

There's no need to answer Bowie's question but with a grin as Silvia has said all there is to say, she's not poking fun. Bowie is polite and she likes that about him already. The oracle takes in the teen before she grasps onto her hand with a light touch.

She goes to the place in her mind, her breathing slow as she tunes out the world around her. Her gaze goes unfocused and her eyes cloud over to that milk white color, she tilts her head. There's a flash she Eve comes to the "Hub", her eternal forest with the mirror like river. She dunks her head in the water…

On a beach surrounded by darkness, a trio of figures run the length of the space back and forth. The first a fair color under the light fur coat, a buzz of electricity bounces from paw to paw as another otter sits on the beach in a open button up shirt sipping on a coconut drink. It's the third otter that piques Eve's interest the most. This otter, a female, is playing with the fair one as Otter Eyes watches from the rim of his drink. This otter though, just seems to dissolve into sand. A moment later reappearing behind her playmate, her mom.

There's a light gasp as Eve comes back to reality with a snap and she's blinking away the white before staring at Silvia with wide eyes. "You're an otter too?!"

Delilah gives Lance a sympathetic look as he mentions Hailey, as she's not totally in the dark there— she has heard some things from the kids over time, and it is enough. "I wouldn't take any other answer." She feels a bit like the older sister there. Gotta help with the lookin' out. Tattoo lady? Delilah laughs, nose wrinkling. "I'm Delilah, this is Walter." It's a quick introduction, as Walter brightens up at Pearl's markers and pops right in.

"I like coloring! Do you wanna trade?"

As Pearl is accosted, it allows Caspian and his manners to slip in without obstacle; Delilah turns at the ma'am, looking the unfamiliar face once over before giving a smile. Maybe she knows the look of the lost. "Sure love, you need help?"

"Oh ho… I believe the man, doth jest." Jonathan points at Tuck, he's got your number buddy. "Be careful, I might just have to throw down the gauntlet one of these times. And I'll do it at a meeting, too."

With Tasha's return and the scarf wrapped around his neck, can the man manage to brighten anymore, "I can live with that. It's a step." Jonathan looks down at the scarf. "Oh!" He picks up the ends of it and chuckles. Looking at the other two, "How did she know?" He looks at it again amused. "Hufflepuff!" This fact delights him to know end.

"She right." Jonathan comments. "You should see about that snore." He gives both Niki and Tuck a wave. "See ya, next meeting. I'm still hoping to find a new cast iron skillet. Few items for my classroom, too. Chow!"

It seems that even the children are getting into the spirit of the swap meet! Lance can't help but grin down at Walter as he asks that, and he shifts to observe the 'deal' between him and Pearl - noticing Caspian, he raises his chin up in a nod briefly, offering easily, "Dee, this is Cas, Cas, this is Dee. He's a pretty cool guy, has helped us out when we needed it."

"Ugh, fine. Clearly I look like someone who needs caffeination." Tuck mock-yawns big when Tasha comes back with the coffee. He does murmur a sort of sheepish thank-you, then lifts a hand towards her. He eyes Niki over the top of his glasses. "Clearly I missed my calling, right?" He actually is pretty good. Especially when the crowd is in their cups. But yes, it can be difficult to be around when you're trying very hard not to imbibe. He makes a whiny sound at Niki. "I know I'm not supposed to, but I am a hardened criminal. Can't get a leopard to change its…" he stops to think, then settles on, "…spots." That's the one with spots, right?

"Skillet? I saw one earlier. Someone with mostly books and stuff near the west entrance. Had a few kitchen things on the back of the table." This to Jonathan. "Probably not new, but usable. Maybe even pre-seasoned if you're real lucky."

Standing patiently, rocking from the balls of his feet to his toes and back again, Caspian's attention snaps to Delilah when she talks with him. "I hope so. Or, at least hope you can point me in the right direction. My name is Caspian Dussault, and I've been here in the safe zone for a few weeks. I was hoping you could point me to someone on the commission? I'd like to see about joining up and helping out. Raquelle is already wanting to give me lists of things to do to help out the community…" He chuckles, shifting his backpack to the front with a clunk, the bag set down also.

If you don't know anyone, you got any work shirts in men's large back there?"

"Oh yeah," Niki chuckles softly. "You're real hard."

Look, that didn't come out right, but she's not about to take it back now. This is a great opportunity to bring her coffee to her lips for a sip and just pretend that didn't happen. Niki looks at Jonathan over the rim and sets the styrofoam down quickly so she can lift her hand to wave at him. "We'll see you at the next meeting. I'll make sure Rip van Winkle here's had plenty of No Doz."

"I like otters," Silvia says, a little confused. But she hadn't expected to understand what Eve was going to say. Still she tries to make sense of it. "So I'm an otter? There are worse animals to be." She briefly glances to Bowie to see if he understands the situation any better than her.

"Yes, dear Walter," Pearl replies very seriously. "I would adore a trade. I have here six very well-loved markers. "The green's a bit dodgy, but the other ones work beautifully. What have you got for trading?" Her gaze leaves Walter only briefly to skim Caspian's form top to toe, then Lance, and finally young Walter. "Writer on paper, skin, walls. Wipes off with soap." Mostly. Mostly washes off with soap. Sometimes.

Bowie seems to take his nickname in good faith, maybe because Eve's been vouched for now. But he's quiet as Eve looks for her vision. Curious, clearly.

But otters. That's not what he was expecting.

He looks to Silvia, but turns out to be just as lost as she is. "One of many otters, seems like. They are pretty smart animals." There are definitely worse to be compared to. "Do we get to have an explanation fo the visions or is that extra?" he asks with a grin.

"Your father is an otter too. Your mother.." she looks over her shoulder before leaning to say to Silvia and Bowie quietly, "Hello Silvia Ruiz." The woman laughs at the odds, "You were playing on a beach with your parents," she doesn't mention that the beach is surrounded by darkness that could have just been Mateo's ability as a metaphor or something and scaring the young girl isn't her goal.

"Lady Zeus and Otter Eyes are old friends. I fought with your mother in the war. I met your father on a small beach in Mexico. You must have been very small then." The older woman peers at Silvia, "You have the most amazing gift.. cherish it my dear."

The SESA Agent gets a wide smile, "No extra charges here, I'd do it for free but.. I was told we must trade."

Is Tuck…blushing? Maybe. If he is, he gets it under control fairly quickly and morphs it into a look for Niki. "Hey, my past is no secret." He reaches over to take his cup of coffee. He doesn't add any of the provided cream or sugar. He's sweet enough. "And yet, I still have a job. What a topsy-turvy world we live in."

Delilah can appreciate a new face, if the second look over is anything to go by. Lance's introduction is nice too. "Nice to meet you. Helped you out, hm?" Dee looks over her shoulder to Lance, playful. What have you been up to? "I'm on the council part of things, not on the Watch board, though— I can help you get involved with some things, actually. I've got names too." Delilah fishes in her bag for a ringbound notepad, scribbling some details down with the pen she's slotted to the side. Prepared!

"And I can definitely help with the shirts! My booth is here all the time, too." Delilah holds out the paper with some names and numbers, including her own. "It won't be hard to get you started, I'm sure. Need all the help we can get."

With Pearl, Walter is considering his options, tugging off his backpack to open it and show Pearl the contents. He has a lot of treasures in there, who knows where he's collected it from. He holds up a wooden maneki neko to her, questioning. "I have useful things too!" He also pulls forth a metal flashlight, bright purple.

Niki can't help but laugh when Tuck gets flustered. She didn't mean it this time, honest. "I'm sorry," might sound more sincere if she could say it without grinning. "You and me both. Here we are, doing good." Easing guilty consciences.

Lance's hands spread a little to either side at the glance from Delilah, as he assumes an entirely innocent expression. He hasn't done anything! And if he has it wasn't his fault! And he wasn't even there. It was the flying squid! He's grinning, all the same, as he looks down to Walter.

"Oh wow, you've got quite the horde in there, buddy! I'm sure you can find something to trade for them…" A look back to Pearl, hopeful.

The momentary look of confusion turns to one of joy as Silvia gets an explanation of the otters. "My parents, you know of my parents! You know them? I'm glad to know that. When I see them later I'll tell them you said hi." She turns a little red at the mention of her gift. "Ah, I will cherish it, thank you." Silvia's attention slides over to Bowie. "I believe that makes it your turn."

Or at least attempting to do so. There's still plenty of time for Tuck to mess up this job. It's sort of a miracle it hasn't happened yet. He sips the coffee and then slips papers back into the folder. "I should probably go and do the rounds, make sure nothing's exploding quietly. It's the quiet explosions you have to watch out for."

Coffee is sipped, while Jonathan moves through the crowd. He spots a familiar pair of redheads in the crowd and angles that way. So many people tonight! "Delilah! And is that Walter? I haven't seen him since he was in my class last year. Getting so big." He gives Delilah a knowing look.

A bright smile is offered to Caspian and Lance as well, "Hey, guys. How ya doing?" He lets go of his bag strap to offer a hand out to shake, "Names Jonathan." There is an enthusiasm to his introduction.

The SESA agent is listening with eyes wide as Eve explains the otters. Fascinated. Bowie laughs when Silvia confirms it, her excitement seeming infectious. "If you know my parents," he says with a grin, "I will be very surprised." But when Silvia passes the baton to him, he holds his hand out toward Eve.

For Niki, too. "Believe me," the blonde says, "I know." She rakes her nails through the hair at the back of Tuck's neck before giving him a pat and removing her arm from his shoulders. "We still on for tonight? Or are you going to be too beat after all this responsibility?" Doesn't sound like it bothers her either way.

Oh! Good! "It looks like I wandered into the right stall, then." Caspian gives Delilah a smile, taking the page and looking from it to her. "You're Delilah, right?" He had introduced himself earlier, but with all that's going on, if she gave her name he missed it entirely, and once she gives her name, a little note of 'clothes stall in market' is placed by her name. A place to find her.

Caspian tucks away the page of notes into his backpack and then discovers Lance is, like, RIGHT THERE. And he's also being offered a hand to shake. "Johnathan? A pleasure. My name is Caspian Dussault. I'm the local electrician."

Pearl's smile widens. "Hmmm." She nods to the purple flashlight. "While that is one of my very favorite colors, every young person should have such a flashlight. You keep that." She glances up at Lance. "Sure, sure." She hmms again, leaning forward to survey the contents of the backpack. "You're a very lucky person, Walter. Very intriguing stuff." She taps an ink-stained finger against her chin, then nods. "I'll trade you for your kitty." She points to the luck charm. "That will make a fantastic addition to my workspace. Sir." She holds out the box of markers for the boy to take. "Your items." As Jonathan approaches the little cluster near her seat, she gives him a top-to-toe look over as well. She does that with people, like she's memorizing their most notable features. Because she is.

"What are we on for again?" asks Tuck in an absentminded way - but in a way that suggests he's not just being cute about it. Any event where he's got real responsibility sort of turns him absentminded for anything not the job. He slides the headset back onto his head after Niki withdraws her hand.

"We were going to go over some figures?" Blonde brows lift, the last word emphasized like he's supposed to know what she means by that. Then Niki's shaking her head. "Don't worry about it. Come over if you want, or stay home. I've got V8 in the fridge either way."

Nodding confirmation to Caspian is easy enough, Delilah greets Jonathan with a crooked little grin, laughing gently at his assessment of the seven year old. "Aw, yea, he's getting to that spot, huh? Soon he'll be too big for Lance here." She glances after Walter's careful bartering with Pearl, an ever-watchful eye.

"I like looking for stuff!" And he's small, so anything on the ground is right there. Somewhere in Walter's little head, he'll remember she likes purple— one of those things that kids absorb even in passing. "Mom said it's a manekkie-neeko. It's supposed to be lucky too!" He puts away the markers with a crinkle of his nose, and a grin edging on mischievious. "Thank you, miss Pearl! Hi mister Smith!" Because it only takes a moment for a little boy to get distracted.

"Mhmm? Oh," Tuck smiles a little. Then he leans down and presses a kiss on Niki's forehead. "We'll see how I go. You know how these market nights go. If everyone's on the ball and nothing unexpected happens, then we all get out of here at a reasonable hour. But things can sort've snowball kinda quickly. Hence why I'm gonna go inspect the troops." He lifts a hand in a lazy salute.

"Hey," Lance offers with a tip of his chin up to Jonathan, "Lance." It's friendly enough, but there's a wary edge to it. As affable as Jonathan might be, there's something about how that says Cop — or something similar — and it has the teenager being careful already. The man's consdiered, then he looks down to Walter with a grin, "There you go, buddy. You're doing more trades than I am today! Good job."

Niki smiles at the kiss, fixing Tuck with a look. "Okay, but don't work too hard. Ask for my help if you need it, okay? I'll be around for a while yet." She mirrors the salute back and watches him meander.

There's a crack of laughter and Eve nods her head at Silvia. "Your parents are bright just like you. I am happy to know their little one." She reaches out a hand to ruffle the back of Silvia's hand. "Curious things the Fates," She rubs her arm absently then throws Bowie a wide grin. "You just never know." In regards to knowing his parents. There's another wink, what? he's handsome.

As she takes Bowie's hand there is another few moments of concentration from the woman as she goes back to that place, this would be the third of the day for the woman, she doesn't let the strain show though. Her brow furrows as her eyes milk over again, her grip tightens on the man's hand.

There is the echo of sirens rebounding off the alleyway walls. There are two figures in the shadows. A unnamed figure is propped up against the wall. Bowie, the agent crouched at the shadowy figure's side. Pressing a hand into a gunshot wound. "Hold on friend." His tone tense with worry and anguish at the damage dealt. There's the pop of gunfire in the distance and a crash before.. Eve snaps back with a start and she recoils from Bowie briefly a horrified look on her face. "Oh Agent.." she slips but without meaning too or caring, "Your position is surrounded by shadows. I see an alleyway, there is an friend who is hurt. Not now, not tomorrow. But be vigilant, you are polite so I assume vigilant as well. Being loyal will help you more than you know," and being handsome. No there isn't always doom but…

Jonathan's brows lift a little, "An electrician? Oh! Wonderful… I have schools that are still needing some electrical work. The high school is almost ready, which will be nice, spread out all those kids a little. Separate the classes more." But he waves that away, "Sorry. Council business really, not for a place like this." But he does shake a considering finger at the guy, "You have a card or something? I'd love to discuss your rates sometime."

If Lance's suspicions are noted, Jonathan doesn't show it. Walter is greeted with a bright smile. "I saw you over there trading like a pro… Before you know it, you'll be even out barter, Mr. Tucker over there. And let me tell you, that man drives a hard bargain."

Pearl gives Walter a solemn nod. "It's my honor to do business with you." She nods to Lance. "Thanks for bringing the kid by. Good trade." Though she just has her pack on the ground and the sketchbook in her lap, she doesn't really look like she's here to trade. Seems she is. Some people just play it extra close to the vest, as it were.

Caspian puts a hand on Lance's shoulder, giving him a grin before turning his attention back to the guy that Lance seems to treat more warily than most. "Electrician, yes. Live in the eastern part of the Zone and pretty much specialize in solar, but I've been doing this enough to be able to repair and rewire an entire building to code if you give me enough time." Assuming there are things like codes in the Safe Zone, that is. He rummages around in his pack and pulls out a small business card with his local number and address - a building in the western part of the zone. "My rates are fairly reasonable. You'd be surprised at what I can write off as a charitable donation."

"I will, I will," says Tuck to Niki. "If I can't enjoy myself, you'd better. And you know what to do if you see anyone selling a water purifier!" He's never on the lookout for anything not incredibly pragmatic these days. That, and the old fence in him can't entirely be ignored. He's always had an eye for things of value, in a crisis particularly. With a pause to toss a tip in the musicians' case, he heads off down one of the hallways, "Yeah, yeah, comin' to you," he says into the headset.

When she recoils, Bowie doesn't pursue, but he seems apologetic as he looks at her. "Oh. Oh no, I'm so sorry," he says over the table, "I should have said something, my work— " Of course, she's explaining, so he pauses to actually listen. And he takes the advice with a firm nod. "I will be. Thank you, for the warning." Her note about him being loyal brings a look to his face that's almost embarrassed. "I'll keep it in mind," he says, sliding his hand through his hair as if to smooth it back, but he really only makes it messier.

"I'm glad that you like all of us," Silvia beams. Her gaze slides down to Bowie's hand as he and Eve connect. She listens eagerly for another happy vision, but when none comes she looks to Bowie in concern. "You've got this. You'll help your friend." She seems convinced of this.

Lance glances up to Caspian at the touch to his shoulder, and he tilts his head to the older man as if to say it's fine. His hands actually start to sign something, then he remembers, and he stops, tucking hands into his pockets. He looks back to Pearl, then, asking, "You got, like, a shop or anything? Brynn might wanna come check it out sometime…"

Walter can only give out grins as he tugs his backpack on again, tongue sticking out as he hoists it up, and takes back the other one from Delilah's hand before tucking himself in against her side. She hardly needs to give a thought to hooking him into a hen-like hug. Mine.

"Oh, don't go giving him ideas." Dee laughs, looking on appreciatively as Cas exchanges information. "I'm sure you will find a lot of work around here, Cas. With solar, especially with spring coming in."

"If you have a spot that I could set up as a demo, that might be best." Caspian says to Dee and, by default, Jonathan and anyone else in the immediate area." A house or small building that I could wire up so people could see it working. THe first I'd be able to do a little less than cost - the panels aren't cheap and the batteries weigh a fu…." He stops himself at the sight of the kid nearby. "They weigh a lot."

Plucking one of the small containers of bread pudding out of his basket, he offers it to the red-haired clothier Delilah. "So, shirts? Will fresh bread pudding be enough for one or two?"

Pearl's attention is on Lance's hands when he turns to her. She is silent for a beat, then nods. "Something a lot like a shop." She digs for a small card in her pocket. It's business card sized, on thick paper stock, lettered neatly with a winged-skull on the back, vintage flash style. The card is deeply embossed, likely letterpress, undoubtedly on a vintage piece of equipment in someone's basement somewhere. It reads: MARKED and lists short hours, extended hours by appointment, and an address in the SZ. "Is that jerky you were gnawing on earlier?"

Lance reaches out to accept that card offered his way, turning it over once as he checks it out. "Primal," he murmurs, thumb brushing over that winged skull embossed upon it. he looks up from it afterwards, brows raising, "Hm? Yeah, it was, why?" He's pretty sure it's beef. Probably.

"Thank you, Miss Ruiz," Bowie says to the girl's vote of confidence. But he stands up, taking his duffel with him. "And thank you," he says to Eve. "Have a good time. I hope you find something good," he adds to them both before he turns to disappear back into the stalls. And maybe out all together.

"I will keep that in mind, Mr…" Jonathan glances at the card to remind himself, "Mr. Dussault." The card disappears into a pocket for later thought. "I'll bring it up at the next council meeting. I am pretty sure we could use someone like you. However, I have a lead on an iron skillet and I don't want to miss out."

"Speaking of council…" He turns on his heels a little and points at Delilah. "See you at the council meeting?" It's asked as he takes a step back. He really wants that cast iron skillet.

"I can pull up two for that. Especially if we see more of you." Delilah lifts a hand to nudge at Caspian's arm. "Of course, Jon." She tosses the teacher a smile, lifting her brows to Cas and beckoning him along with a gesture. "Come with me and we'll find you a couple shirts! Come on, squirt." Her other hand tugs Walter along, who is obsessing over the new robot toy rather than occupy himself with adult stuff.

Oh! Two shirts. This bartering thing works out well, and he didn't even tell her that he put the rum sauce in this time. Caspian follows along into the depths of Delilah's stall.

"Lance!" Caspian calls from inside the shop. "Take some of this bread pudding to Joe and Brynn and the gang. Lots of sugar, lots of carbs. Perfect for just gorging on." A bag is dangled outside the entrance of the shop.

"I'm a curious person," Pearl offers, by way of explanation, to Lance. She falls silent for a moment, considering the young man. She dips her pen and resumes drawing, darkening in parts of her drawing with delicate hatches. "You want some ink your friend can't handle, come see me. Trade accepted." That might sound a little ominous the way she says it, but that's what happens when you talk to strange tattooed ladies in the street.

"Primal." Lance echoes again with a grin for Pearl, holding the card for a moment - and then with a twist of his hand it's gone. A bit of stage magic to the teenager. Or else he can teleport small objects. It's hard to tell these days. "See you around - Dee, I should get back and make sure that Joe hasn't eaten everything in the apartment again. Good seeing you, and see you 'round, buddy— " The latter to Walter, and he waves, "Thanks for showing me your robot!"

"No no, Agent Bowie. It's not your fault, you walk the line of justice. Commendable," Silvia's comment gets a grin, "And she is right, you got this." As she looks over at the two. The strain of these induced visions shows on her face. "I'm sorry.." she grabs her head and shakes it briefly. "Here, for you both." She pulls two small delicate bells from her box, extending them to the two seated at her table.

"If the tide gets too strong. Ring it."

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