A Different Lighthouse


wf_lance_icon.gif wf_lily_icon.gif wf_lucy_icon.gif wf_mala_icon.gif wf_owain_icon.gif wf_paul_icon.gif wf_squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title A Different Lighthouse
Synopsis Some things change, some things don't. Either way, things are different now.
Date October 10, 2017

An Abandoned Lighthouse on Staten Island

It had been a quick run. A location that they had scouted out, a group of scavs that picked away at those weaker, stealing food and supplies, stealing medicine. The razor thin slit in the air closes behind them after they all step through, the new acquisitions in hand. The blonde haired teenager, Lucy drops to her knees as soon as the glowing line in the air vanishes behind them, her nose bleeding a little from the exertion, but it’s not an unusual thing. Her ability had only manifested a year or so ago, and after losing Justin, they’d needed a quick way to get back to their base— and to flee their base when needed too.

Mala, who had stayed behind, immediately jumps to her feet, catching herself on the wall, but smelling at least whooping joy from one of them. Paul always enjoyed these missions more than was probably good for him. “Did anyone get hurt?” she asks, moving to kneel next to Lucy.

But Paul doesn’t answer that question, instead saying, “I got a new pair of sunglasses,” he points at the dark sunglasses with thin rims he now wore on his face. The rest of the supplies he carried were in a bag, which he dropped down against the wall of the crumbling old lighthouse.

They had a thing— whenever they could, they settled down in an old lighthouse. If they couldn’t find one, though, any old building would do.

Sometimes they found a library. The books, what hadn’t been burned in fires in the winter by scavs to keep warm, reminded them of someone they’d all lost.

Along with Mala, Lily had remained behind. She stares off into the distance out of the broken ruined wall toward the water. There’s something mournful about her, that never really goes away. It’s as if she’s always lost in thought, or drowning in the past that only she can see. Sometimes, they catch her talking to something that’s not there, or watching something moving about in the distance.

A hand drops down to Lucy’s shoulder as she falls to her knees, Lance dropping down to a crouch beside her to look at her with that hint of concern he always does when she presses herself too far. They’re all pressing themselves too far, though, these days. They don’t have a lot of choice in the matter.

You OK? his free hand signs, a simple gesture to make sure it’s just the usual stress. His head lifts to look over at Mala on the other side of Lucy, silence bleeding away from around him as he tells her quietly, “We’re all okay. Got some decent supplies, some food and other necessities.”

A glance around the room, then back, “Everything been good over here?”

“I still got all my fingers and toes,” Squeaks tosses in for how she’s doing. She looks like she’d just run a marathon — or at least a really long way. But her eyes are bright and she’d probably go again if asked. Tagging along on these supply runs is a bizarre sort of field trip for her, but better than always having to stay behind. Plus, it builds on skills that she, like the others, unfortunately needs.

Seeing Lance is checking on Lucy, the youngest girl gives Mala a cheesy kind of grin and a thumbs up. Then she sobers and ducks by everyone to check on Lily. She follows the older girl’s gaze, but probably will never find what she’s looking at, and lays a light hand against her arm.

Ever since Gillian died, Owain has been pretty quiet, even without Lance’s silence abilities. All the same, he’s at least been able to hold conversations and the like. But lately, he’s been even more quiet than normal, only really speaking up to answer questions directed at him.

He slings the bag he was carrying off of his shoulder and lets it fall to the ground with the muffled sound of metal clinking within. As always, Owain’s focus in these runs was metal, and he got a decent amount of it — treasures that other might think of as trash.

“Stubbed my toe on a cinderblock,” is Owain’s stoic response to the question of whether or not anyone was harmed, before he crouches down to examine the contents of his bag.

That they are all in one piece and not full of bullet holes makes Mala relax, grateful that she’s not going to need to set bones or bandage up bullet holes today. With her limitations, it had been difficult for her to go on combat missions with them. Positive emotions were hard to find on a battlefield. So instead of learning how to handle weapons and how to fight, she learned first aid from the Ferry. It had come in handy. It hadn’t been enough to save Bray when he’d mowed down a robot with a truck so that they could escape, though.

It takes a few minutes for Lucy to respond, but she wipes the blood out from under her nose and looks up with a nod and a smile. “I’m okay. I think it was a little farther than I should be doing that, though.” Her hands brush lightly over the chalk circle that outlines the area that she would open the portal back to. Using it to go to unknown places never seemed to work, but once they got there, if she stayed long enough, she could get them back home.

Other abandoned buildings had chalk circles too, though there was no way of knowing if people who had no idea what they meant would stay out of them.

“We did good,” Paul says, raising the sunglasses up to rest on his hair. They hadn’t gotten hurt and hadn’t had to kill anyone this time. A good day by his account. Not to mention the nice sunglasses he got, even if they are dusty and scratched. At least they have frames. And lenses. Which is more than most the sunglasses they found. “We’ll have to sort through the supplies. Are Joe and Juniper still out?”

“Yeah, they haven’t come back yet. But I’m sure they’re okay. Joe can handle most things,” Lily responds quietly, shrugging her shoulders from where she sits.

An encouraging smile’s offered, Lance’s fingers squeezing against Lucy’s shoulder once before he pushes himself fully to his feet. “We might need to move soon,” he considers out loud, “We’re having to range further and further out for supplies, at this rate…”

The duffle bag slung over his shoulder is dropped down to sit with the rest of the gathered supplies, and he stretches both arms up and back, fingers raking back through his hair and head tilting to look up at the ceiling in the same movement. “Yeah, so long as he remembers Juni can’t. Maybe they’ll come back with some news,” he suggests.

Squeaks, deciding Lily is as good as she is, picks her way around the older girl to the supplies they’d found. She more helped in finding than carrying, leaving the carrying of things to the bigger teens, and acting as a sort of look out. She nudges the bags a tiny bit then sits down, finally, beside them.

“Maybe they found a better place.” Not that she’s found anything wrong with their current base. But there’s always the hope for something better. Something permanent. The youngest of the group is tired of moving all the time, not that she’d ever complain. Just sometimes she wishes they didn’t have to run.

Absent-mindedly going through the bag of junk metal, Owain quietly allows the conversation to wash over him, not speaking. He’s quieter than normal. It could just be his general moodiness, the teen having trouble since Gillian died. It could be something else entirely, though.

The metallokinetic pulls out his biggest treasure, a spool of copper wire, frowning quietly at it as he ponders its existence. Someone isn’t much for conversation tonight — or at all, of late.

“He does forget that sometimes, doesn’t he,” Lily murmurs softly as she watches something moving that the rest of them can’t see. “They didn’t do a very good job, either, did they,” they can hear her whisper, but who she’s whispering it to isn’t actually there. Or what she’s talking about.

Sometimes it was better not to know. The building had been bombed, at some point. They’d found signs of combat. It had been picked clean, though. But no one could pick clean the echoes, as Lily called them.

Reaching into his pack, Paul pulls out one of his acquisitions, a packet of trail mix. With a careless toss, he sends it sailing toward Lucy, who yelps and juggles it more than catches it. “Those scavs had some good supplies. I think this one has raisins in it.” And raisins happen to be Lucy’s favorite.

While all of them had been sad after they lost Gillian— just as they had after losing the others before— there was one person who could notice levels of despair a little more easily than the others. After all, being able to sense positive emotions came with the downside of knowing when they were completely lacking. Mala could feel the lack. And it really lacked around one of them, more than normal. “What’s wrong, Owain?”

In the distance, they can hear movement. Lily spoke up again, this time not to the echoes, “They’re back.”

“Perfect timing,” Lance said with a hint of relief, moving to step up to one of the gaping windows and bringing a pair of binoculars up to try and get the pair in sight, “Just about time for dinner.” Such as it is. “Maybe they found something good hunting out there too.”

“We need to find some walkie-talkies or something,” he mutters under his breath as he scans the territory through the magnifying lenses.

While the others are talking about supplies and looking for Joe and Juniper or having their own conversations about things, Squeaks toes the bags of supplies again. She knows what was found and collected, and some of those supplies are food. There isn’t a whole lot, maybe enough for a few meals if they’re careful. And it is probably getting close to supper time.

At least her tummy says it is getting close to supper time.

Scooting closer to the bags, the youngest of the group pulls one open to dig around inside. There’s some pretty neat things, like the jacket that’s still in good repair and several candles. They even scored some matches. None of that’s what she’s digging for, so they’re shoved aside until she finds the goods. There’s several types of canned pastas and some veggies. Someone even found mixed fruit!

And then there were questions. He was trying to just stay out of the way, but Mala is too smart and observant for that — add to that her ability, and Owain can’t really hide for too long, unfortunately. Brown eyes raise from the copper wire and swing over toward Mala, a frown creasing lines into Owain’s face.

He could fib. But then, that would be dangerous. “I — I’m okay. Just…” He frowns. “I should probably tell you guys something.” He lets those brown eyes sink down to the ground, landing on his pack and the scrap metal contained within.

“Know how I disappeared a few weeks back?” He frowns. They’re going to leave. He should probably just leave now and save them the trouble of presumed betrayal. “Something…happened.”

It will likely take some time for Juniper and Joe to make it back into the current base. It’s likely they’ll be combing the perimeter before they approach, checking the horizon for drones, checking the traps that have been set. Many for people. Some for a hopeful animal or two. While they might occasionally make jokes about eating Fiver or Bigwig, a rabbit was a better meal than they got most the time.

So that leaves those inside the ruined lighthouse without needing to address their return quite yet. And many eyes fall on Owain as he talks. Mala continues to shift uncomfortably, and ends up leaning back against the wall. The years she’d spent on the streets before human services found her and placed her in the Lighthouse had left her body frail, prolonged malnutrition she never fully recovered from. But her ability had made it difficult to notice most the time. When it worked.

Instead of answering outloud, most of them just continue to look, but the mouth that happens to be Paul speaks up, “I hope you kicked a lot of robot ass.” Cause that’s one of the things Owain had always been good for. The few times they ran afoul of a drone and Lucy needed time to open their escape route, it had been Owain and Joe mostly who defended them. They had more brute force than most, and Joe’s skin could withstand the injected kinds of negation. Once the gas came, though, none of them stood a chance.

And sadly the gas came more often than not. Which is why running had always been the primary response.

The primary issue for most of their abilities was a lack of range, unlike some others, so the running has never been an issue for Lance — he recognizes that weakness. At Owain’s words, he looks over to the other teenager with a frown, his brow furrowed as the binoculars are lowered.

“What do you mean something happened?”

Squeaks’ silent stare is one of those numbers. Her digging out what would possibly be supper for the night slows and then stops. The only movement that follows from her is the darting of her eyes, which goes first to Paul then to Lance as they each speak up.

Ugh. Here goes. He’ll probably get kicked out or sent off on his own, or something. With a small sigh and a large frown, Owain pushes the bag of scrap metal out of the way. “I was kicking some robot ass,” he starts, glaring at the ground. “Then…the gas came.” Normally, Owain is pretty on top of avoiding it.

“I couldn’t get away in time. They…” He reaches down, clenching his fists around handfuls of his jeans. “I got taken.” That alone will probably make them leave. “They took me to Heller, and he gave me a deal.”

He turns his gaze up to his comrades, this time, brow creasing as the cocktail of negative emotions finally makes its way to his face. “Told me if I gave them information on the Resistance, they’d make sure you all got out safe.” A frown. “And if I didn’t, they’d kill you all.”

He looks away now. “I told him I would. I didn’t mean it,” he adds, shaking his head. “Maybe I should just go turn myself in…”

Of all the news that they had expected to learn, this had not been one of them. Paul grunts, then glances toward the outside, because he knows at least one of them will definitely take issue with this situation. More so than most the others. Joe has always been one of the more paranoid of them, especially since they lost Brian, which had been years before they lost Gillian. It wasn’t that he was killed, they had been used to that, many Brians had been killed over the years. It’s what they did to him that had been the worst part. Not just killed, but changed. Somehow. And the one they had captured had changed all the others in some way. They could find them. Hunt them. In the end the only thing Brian could do was to disappear completely.

Mala folds up, her knees buckled as she plops down on the floor, like strings that had been holding her up were cut. She waves away Lucy’s worried look, “Are— are you safe? Did they do anything to you?”

It’s probably a question that a lot of them what to ask. Lily’s expression darkens, even more gloomy than it had been before. She murmurs something under her breath, that sounds a little like a curse, before she looks away from Owain to scan the outside again.

The young hispanic teen casts a look toward Lance, as if he expects him to know what to do.

”The fuck?” Lance steps down from where he was watching the approach of the others, the binoculars falling to his side as he sweeps his other hand to one side, “And you didn’t— you didn’t tell us before this? What the hell, man?”

His brow knits, looking at the other teenager with a hint of betrayal in his gaze, “What did you tell them? I mean— they could’ve implanted you with a tracker, or— or anything, they wouldn’t just let you go like that.”

“Give us details here, Owain,” he says— demands, really, although there’s a struggle in his expression. He wants to be sympathetic to what the other teenager’d been through, but he’s afraid, now.

There’s a measure of shock to Squeaks’ expression, but there’s also a lot of anger. She doesn’t look to see how the others react to the news. Anything less and she’d be looking to the older teens for how to respond. This time she simply acts.

When Lance takes charge and starts asking the hard questions, the youngest of the group is standing suddenly. There’s a lot of anger that shows itself in two ways. First in a wordless yell, which is immediately followed by her full on throwing herself at Owain. Small as she is, it’s probably ineffectual. But there’s fists just the same trying to bust the older boy’s face.

“They didn’t do anything to me,” Owain replies, shaking his head. “They believed me when I told them that if they let me out without negating me, I’d just remove any implants.” He would, too — circuitry has plenty of copper, which happens to be the one thing he can mess with the easiest.

Their reactions prompt the teen to hang his head lower, shoulders hunching slightly. “I went to Eve, I told her what happened and that I wanted — I wanted to somehow help them, maybe work with the Resistance to get the upper hand…even if it meant getting myself killed.” He sighs, closing his eyes.

He’s about to offer more, but the scuffle of Squeaks’ feet against the ground prompts him to raise his head, blinking a few times. Normally, he would raise his hands to block, but…well, this time he doesn’t. He turns his head along with each punch, the first splitting his lip against his teeth, the next catching him on the cheek, and yet another bloodying his nose a bit.

At the very least, he gives Squeaks the satisfaction of drawing blood. He makes no moves to stop her; he just takes it. He deserves it.

Of Mala, Lucy and Lily, none of the girls move to stop Squeaks. Mala just sits there, looking as if she wants to cry, and Lucy is looking off toward the place that she’d just closed that gateway, as if she wants to open a new one.

Lily continues to give him a darkened look, with a disappointed grunt. “They might not use metal in everything. That Dome they use to defend themselves isn’t made by any machine.” That was something that most of them figured out on their own. No machine could disrupt abilities as much as that one. It had to be something else. It felt like an ability. And Lily remembers a girl not too much older than them, who had stayed with them for a time. Molly could find anyone. And no one had seemed to know where she had ended up.

While the girls seem to be staying calm, even if Lily dark in how she does it, Paul shakes his head and looks toward the way out again. “I can’t believe they would just let you go, even if they believed you were going to betray everyone.” And he knows at least one of them will agree with that assumption. The little mouse earns a approving nod, even if he’s still anxious about this topic, too anxious to punch anyone himself.

“What should we do?” he ends up asking.

“Whoa, whoa! Squeaks— “ The girls may not move to stop one of the younger of them, but Lance does. Even if a part of him wants to do the same thing she just did, he steps forward after the first flurry to grab her and try and lift her up and away from Owain— setting her down a half-turn away, although he doesn’t quite let go yet. “Stop. Okay? Stop, easy.”

He looks at her for a long moment, and then he glowers back in Owain’s direction, his jaw setting. “Neither do I, Paul, and… Christ, Owain, that was weeks ago! Do you know— I mean, do you have any idea how much danger you’ve put us all in?”

It's not very difficult to pick Squeaks up and bodily remove her from from Owain. She still flails, arms and legs, as she's hoisted and turned until she's set down again. She tries to get passed Lance once her feet are on the ground, but only succeeds in tugging against the teen’s grip.

“Why'd you even come back,” the youngest of the group demands almost yelling. “You wait this long to say anything. Why'd you come back? He's going to be looking now! He's going to find us because of you!”

“Just…get out of here.” Owain picks up the bag of metal scraps, standing — his nose and lip are bleeding, but he doesn’t seem to care at all. “They didn’t put anything in me, and I haven’t been followed. I just…” The teen shakes his head. “I thought I could do something good. Find a way to turn it around on them, but…”

Then, he slings the bag over his shoulder, looking over his group of friends. “I’m sorry…for everything.” Then, without another word, he turns to leave. “Get somewhere I haven’t been. Don’t tell me where you’re going, just…get out of here. Safer that way. They won’t find you, it’s not you they want anyhow.”

And then, he’s leaving. Better to just go now.

“We can go somewhere new,” Lucy whispers, looking at the others with concern, but she knows that it’s impossible. At least by her method. Somewhere they’ve never been. She actually can’t open a portal to anywhere they haven’t been, but she thinks they could find a place. “We’ll find someplace we’ve never even been.” Even if it means some of them need to leave Staten Island all together.

They’d only stayed close because of the Resistance, because of the possibility, the chance that they might be able to get Brian back, or one of the others who’d been taken and changed.

And because it had been their home. The first one they’d had after the bomb.

Standing up from her perch, Lily gives him a shake of his head, but does add a soft, “You know a lot that could kill all of us. The fact that we’re still alive tells me that you didn’t actually reveal enough yet. That they wanted to use you for something else.” That the information he could have given right now, wasn’t going to be enough. “Keep your eyes on the horizon. One day that Dome will go down.”

She doesn’t say more than that, she sadly sees the past, not the future, so there’s no way she could know for sure, but she’ll leave it at that. As he goes, she adds, “I’ll go get Juniper and Joe,” and begins to wander out.

It’s Paul who kneels down to help Mala get to her feet, cause they definitely need to move now. Even if he doesn’t think an attack would happen immediately, if it hasn’t happened yet.

Squeaks’ anger is just barely kept in check by Lance’s grasp as he watches Owain turn, as he hears his words, his brow clouding with doubt and worry… and then he breathes out a sigh, releasing the younger girl as he turns, the fire fading from him, “Yeah. We gotta— we gotta go, Lucy’s right. We’ll get on the move as soon as Juniper and Joe are back and we can pack up our shit.”

A faint smile is forced to his lips, “It’ll be a adventure, right?” No, Lance, it won’t. Of course, he knows that. Sometimes he still tries to break the tension with jokes.


The unwillingness to fight back or even argue takes some of the heat from Squeaks’ anger. She stares at Owain as he begins to walk away, pressing her lips together so she doesn’t say anything more. There’s plenty she could say, probably, or things she maybe should. But she chooses to say silent instead.

As the others start moving she looks around. Lucy and Lily are regarded first, with the latter of the two watched until her eyes find Mala and Paul and the others. Finally, the younger girl looks up at Lance, anger shifting to apology and prompting a small, sad shrug.

It is without another word that Owain makes his departure — he’ll take a long way around to get to that dome, to buy his family time to move to a new place, and their whereabouts is something he will never tell — that much, at least, is certain. He won’t even know where they are, hopefully.

Hopefully, they’ll do well without him.

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