A Familiar Face


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Scene Title A Familiar Face
Synopsis While awaiting a delivery at an out of the way outpost, Graeme encounters a familiar face.
Date April 17, 2013

An Outpost

The line, such as it is, is less than two miles away from the makeshift camp that has been set up here. A perimeter exists of barbed wire and other defenses strung between vehicles both operational and non-operational that are parked in a somewhat oblong shape, and inside that perimeter there is a small four bedroom house whose occupants save for the older woman running this camp fled as the fighting kicked up in the area. The bedrooms inside have been turned into a makeshift ward, the kitchen has been going nonstop for over a month now between the provisions that have been added to the stores by the military and what she had somehow had to start with. These days, the fare is simple, rice, beans, sometimes bread if they're lucky.

The rest of the fighters, those not injured, in and out of the area have to make do with the tents and RVs that are the rest of the encampment. The military proper has its own camp a few miles further into the woods, this one serves those who have found themselves fighting alongside them. There's one 'gate' in and out of it, and although there are several people on watch tonight around the perimeter, both military and otherwise, one of the men by the entry's small fire pit has come to be familiar across the war.

Graeme Aiden Cormac takes watch shifts wherever he ends up finding himself because for the most part, he doesn't sleep anymore. Not that anyone has seen. Or at least he doesn't sleep much — one to two hours in any given day, stolen in ten or fifteen minute naps here and there. Right now, he's fidgeting with some piece of firewood, flipping it around in his hands as he watches the fire. Briefly, he pauses in fidgeting to talk to various people who come through the camp, all the while some of his attention is on the gate itself and anyone approaching from the outside.

The sound of an approaching vehicle is the first indication of a new arrival approaching the camp, an old 1981 Jeep CJ-7 Laredo, white and absolutely covered in dirt. They had been told to expect a new arrival - another supply shipment - but that doesn't make anyone less wary. She driver wears a hat, pulled low, and sunglasses to go with jeans and a white t-shirt bare of any identifying logos.

The driver slows as she reaches the gate, waiting for someone to emerge to clear her to pass through. She's busy, but this stop offers an opportunity to unload and rest before she heads back to get more materials to transport - or people to help get over the boarder. She never knows what to expect anyone. This job started out simple enough. Now? Well, it's as complicated as anything else.

When she reaches the gate, the driver doesn't honk or otherwise draw attention to herself. she just waits, mumbling to herself.

The gate itself is made out of more barbed wire, and some poles, just about as haphazard as the rest of the camp, and Graeme waves and nods to the person he was talking to as they wander back off, holds up a hand to his military counterpart at the gate as he pushes to his feet, climbs up and over (more like vaults over) the hood of the car that serves as one side and onto the outside to walk over to the vehicle. Graeme's got a light camo surplus jacket pulled around his shoulders, an uncharacteristic amount of stubble lining his jaw, and his hand as he walks rests at his hip. Just because they're expecting someone doesn't mean they just open the doors, after all.

Graeme might also be recognizable as someone who has been pointed to as who to contact if you ever need to get the hell out of a particular dodge. As someone who is a frequent meeting point for the last leg of smuggling people north when he's not here, at the fighting. Because if you can drive and not stop you've got a lot better of a chance, and he can do that. Does that, more than he'd like to think about.

"Orders," though, is the only thing that he asks aloud even as his mind wanders. He takes a breath in, looks at the woman driving for a moment, blinks a few times. "Need th' word of the day." He's got a slow, southwestern drawl to his voice, that's only gotten more accentuated as time has gone by. A moment later, and the face — a face he hasn't seen in years, one he'd never really talked to much to begin with although they ran in overlapping circles before the war, before things fell apart — sinks in, recognition. "Quinn?" Pause. "Still need those orders," he adds. She's got an envelope to go with the shipment, the orders from another part of the resistance verifying that it isn't a trap. The word of the day picked up at a different stop, part of an ever-rotating security scheme to make sure that even if something were intercepted, the gate isn't compromised. It's stopped a few of Mitchell's men from getting in in the past. Along with the barely eighteen year old girl whose ability is lie detection deeper within the camp and a net of people with other abilities, it's part of what keeps them safe.

When Graeme walks up, the drive quirks an eyebrow - recognition, even if not fully so. It's been sometime since they last saw each other. As he asks for the code word, she gives a Cheshire smile. "Your word of the day is helios," she remarks, pointing to Graeme, and then the points back to herself. "And mine is Wonderland." She had offered it when this meeting had been set up, as an extra layer of security.

She glances back ahead, and then back to Graeme. "Roux," she corrects with a wink - a motion that's hidden behind her sunglasses. "Alice Roux. Someday I'll get everyone off that old name of mine. At least until the war's over." She motions to the back of the jeep, where a tarp is pulled over where back seats and hatch should be.

She hands over the orders, tapping fingers on the steering wheel as music plays from worn speakers, a requisitioned MP3 player run into the tape deck with an old adapter. "Tout va bien?" The French rolls off her tongue naturally, explaining the almost French accent she possesses.

"Roux," Graeme agrees, although the drawl just about murders the pronounciation. "I'll stick with Alice, then." He takes the envelope, looks through the papers and retains one, hands the rest of the copies back, and his hand doesn't return to the gate. No one's getting shot at the gate today!

Instead, there's a nod back, and the military counterpart opens the actual gate, swinging it aside so that she can drive through. "I haven't a clue what you said," he adds. "I'm afraid that despite Remi and Yg's best efforts, I've never managed to pick up anything of other languages." He shakes his head and grins a little, points over at a clearing within the camp. "Park there, we'll get a few people to unload. Go by the kitchen, give them this and get some food," he hands over a small wooden token from his pocket, "then," he gestures to the small circle by the gate, "Come back and catch up? I'm not going anywhere and it's good t' see a familiar face."

"Is everything okay?" Roux offers back, watching as the gate opens. "As a translation. Which is seem to be!" She pats a hand on the door, before reaching out and taking the token. She offers a nod of acknowledgement, before pulling the Jeep in to it's appointed destination. As help arrives to unload, she grabs a create or two before moving to make sure that the contents are moved carefully.

There's two sets - all the crates are marked with letters, either black or white. It's not much, but the majority of them have white letters on them - nonperishable food and medical supplies, a sole two crates dedicated to armaments. With white letters on them. On of the helpers asks why black and white.

"No other colours matter," is Roux's quiet response.

It's a bit longer before she catches up to where Graeme waits, a sandwich in hand. "It seems like everywhere I go these days, I run into someone I know." She looks at him, adjusting how her sunglasses sit befoer taking a bite of her sandwich. "It's comforting. It's been a while, Graeme." She might not remember him as well if it hadn't been for the mentions of Remi and Ygraine, two faces she hasn't since the war began. "Tout va bien?" she asks, this time with a different tone than before - maybe he remembers it this time.

There is a nod to the offer of translation, and when Alice Roux has pulled through the gate, Graeme is the one to move the gate shut, talking to the other man on watch for a moment, and sitting back down. The stick he'd been fidgeting with is fed to the small fire, and when she returns he's sitting on a log, staring out into space.

Being talked to, though, brings him back, and there's a nod of approval when he sees that she's gotten food, a gesture towards either one of the other logs, or one of the dairy crates. All of the seating available is makeshift. "It's been a long while," he agrees. "I think it was… the date auction at Tartarus?" One of the last times they'd been in the same room. He shakes his head. "They're good. For you know," he gestures, "all this shit going on. We manage, we hold it together as best as we can." He pauses, and then adds entirely out of the blue, "Remi's pregnant." And from the expression on his face, well.
ORDER: It is now your pose.

Roux's lips thin at the mention of a date auction. It drudges up memories of people forgotten or left behind - Ygraine, Melissa, Elaine, Kendall. Others. It should be a happy memory, but instead the thought of it freezes her in place as she pulls back her crate. The mention of someone being pregnant brings a small, sad smile to her face as she looks back up at Graeme. Remi hadn't been one of her favourite people back in New York, but it's impossible to do anything but smile at that news.

"Elle est bénie," she remarks, before clearing her throat. "Blessed." Only a partial clarification. "I- pass her my well wishes. It takes a lot of strength to have a kid in these times." And she means that - she can't even remember what bothered her so now. "What brings you out this ways, Graeme? I mean, I move illegal shit for a living, but…" With the sunsetting now, she turns away from the fire and draws her sunglasses off her face.

"Never took you for the fighting type." Not until she heard about Ygraine's side of Cambridge, and that was still a year and a half back now.

"We weren't meaning to," Graeme says, confirming that he is in fact the father of said child, "but now…" he shrugs. "Now it gives me more reasons."

He picks up a canteen that's been sitting at his feet most of this time, unscrews the top to take a sip of water, puts it back, all before nodding. "I'm not," he admits. "At least, not when it gets to like this, when it… when it matters. I mean, I'll fight for sport any day of the week and I was a bouncer as well, but." He pauses. "I hate… the conflict, and the killing, and the death, and the fear." He's quiet as he speaks. "But I couldn't ignore it and stay… safe at home? That doesn't even have meaning these days. I'd do it anyway, but my ability helps. It's endurance. I may hate this, but most of the time that doesn't even have to factor. I bounce between the actual fighting, pulling watch where places are short, like this here," he gestures to the camp, "running up to a few people I know with border crossings."

Another stick is fed to the fire. "And well. It…" He pauses, "Cambridge. I saw the explosion, when it collapsed. I figured I'd gotten far enough in the deep end. This way at least I'm doing something."

We brings a bit of a look to Roux’s face, quirking an eyebrow as she looks back up at Graeme for just a moment, grey eyes focused on him until the bright light of the fire forces her to close her eyes. She keeps them closed, relaxing on her crate. "Huh. You and Remi. Congrats." She gives a small chuckle, and there's definitely no shortness of surprise in the tone of her voice. She reaches down into a bat at her shoulder, and pulls out a small flask, raising it up in the motion of a toast - she doesn't drink, though. Even if she wanted to, it's empty.

She takes a deep breathe at the actual mention of Cambridge. She considers it for a moment, and then decides to give that topic a hard pass.

"Know how you feel," she offers instead. "I never meant to fall into.. all of this. But I guess it was unavoidable, considering the people we ran with, huh?" She chuckles. "Either way, it's always nice to see the friendly faces when I'm making deliveries. Helps keep things in perspective. Make the reasons clear, and…" She turns fingers in a circle. "You know. All that bullshit."

"For certain definitions of and, but thank you." Graeme says, choosing to respond to that rather than the other topics raised, and he nods. "I… I made a promise to Elisabeth, once." This is what he says instead, and there's a raw overtone of grief that's then swallowed back. "That if it happened, if I became a father in… in this… timeline," yeah, he just said timeline, "I wouldn't be that guy. To be there for whatever family looked like. So I guess I've got to keep fighting. Make sure my child has a future." He shakes his head a moment.

"Kind of unavoidable, yeah," he agrees. "Plus, those fuckers," he gestures in the direction of where the most active fighting is, "want anyone like us dead."

Roux furrows her brow at Graeme's first comment, but lets it pass without another thought. What follows catches her attention more anyway. "Elisabeth Harrison?" She chuckles, shaking her head. "I only met her a hanf full of times at best, but she was always.." Her lips quirk side to side. "She was a good one. And I know she was friends with Ygraine." So that also makes her good in Roux's book.

"Look, though." She turns back to him, holding up her flask. "If we're gonna talk about timelines, I'm going to need this refilled." Because somewhere out there she has two sort-of daughters, probably kicking all sorts of ass right now. "Good reason to fight," she offers in a low voice. Better than anyone she's ever been able to drum up.

She turns back to him, drawing her sunglasses back on to her face so that she can look directly at him despite the grey, crackling fire. "Fuck 'em," she offers succinctly. "This may not be where anyone wants to be but there's no way we're going without a fight at least. Right?"

There is a grin and Graeme says, "I think I can arrange that," although he doesn't get up immediately to do so, instead nodding confirmation to which Elisabeth he is referring to. "She was one of the… reasons I stayed in New York, when I'd come back to wrap up my adoptive parents' affairs finally. After things went sideways, and Liz went into hiding, I helped them out a lot," he explains. "I managed to stay… legitimate, and above-ground, until a few weeks before Cambridge, pretty much."

He shakes his head, gets up, takes the flask and walks off for a minute. First to the other man on the gate, and then off into the camp, ducking into an RV before finally coming back. The flask, when he hands it over, is refilled. "Twelve year old scotch," he says, "best we can do around these parts." There's a flash of teeth that might be a smile if they were in nicer company, nicer environs, instead. It's just that, a flash of teeth. "There's no way they're going anywhere but straight t' hell." He lets out a breath. "Even if I have to send them there myself."

"Merde, you have to be kidding me!" Roux blinks at the sight of the scotch. "Only thing better would've been some whiskey," she remarks as she leans forward to examine the bottle. She sets aside her flask, to fill up in a moment. "I managed to stay above ground until, well… Cambridge." She shakes her head. She falls silent, before taking the bottle, and carefully filling her flask. "I heard about what happened to Liz." She glances up at Graeme, and then back down at her flask.

"I'm not as good in a fight as I used to be, but I'll tell you right now if I see any of Mitchell's men, I'll put a bullet in them myself." She leans forward a bit. She takes a sip from her flask, placing the bottle back down in front in Graeme. She holds out her flask, and now the toast is for real.

"Did you leave anyone behind?" she asks quietly. "I mean, Remi obviously not, but…"

"Thank the gunney over there when you get a chance," Graeme says, and draws one knee to his chest. "When they came out with that whole relocation shit I went underground a bit ahead of time," he says. "Didn't know if they were going to come for me, didn't want to risk the people around me if they did."

He swallows. "Yeah, actually," he says softly. "Before the war even happened, actually." He looks at the fire for a few long minutes, and then over to Roux. "I had Aric… leave New York, before everything went down. Go somewhere safe. I still don't know where. I haven't heard from him. I haven't…" The former teacher's hand ventures, unconsciously, to a black leather cord around his neck, to fingering the pendant that hangs from the cord. "Remi's up in Minnesota, with Jaiden. She understands, most of the time. I get back there when I can." But there's a harshness to the words, that understanding doesn't sound as forgiving.

Roux falls silent as she examines her flask. She pushes up from her seat, making her way over to where Graeme sits - next to him, instead of across from him. She pulls one of the milk crates over, and lowers herself down beside him "I'm sorry," she offers, and she is, terribly sentimental person that is. "I know what that's like. Sort of." Hers was her own fault though, and she wouldn't change it. Not now, not ever.

"I didn't mean to stir anything up," she offers apologetically. She falls silent for a moment, before she looks at him, head canted to the side. "You, Jaiden, Remi… you hear much from Ygraine?" She doesn't. She might, but she lives her life entirely off grid these days. Safer that way.

There's a slight smile managed and he shakes his head for a moment, shakes it off, "It's better to talk about it," he says, "harder for anyone to ever use it against me, if I can own it." He nudges the log on the fire and then continues. "It's alright." The last bit, though, gets a nod. "On and off, yes. She's doing alright too," he says. "It's nice to have a friend who can help me walk on walls, you know. I can pass a message on… if you'd like."

Roux chews on her lower lip for a moment, before giving a shallow nod. "Good. I'm glad. That she's okay." A rueful chuckle follows, as she looks off into the twilight sky. "I'd say I dunno why she didn't leave. Didn't go back home, but." She rolls her shoulders. "I stayed, so I guess I can't… really question it." She crosses he legs, silent for a moment. "Just… let her know that I'm alive. I'm too hard to pin down these days, but I'm sure she'd appreciate that." WIth a nod, she looks back over at Graeme. "You should be like me!" She sits back up a bit, scooting over closer to Graeme. "When you regret everything? It's hard for them to find anything to use against you."

A moment's beat, and then she leans over, stage whispering to him. "Don't be like me." A more honest laugh, with hints of mirth and regret, follows before tapering back off into silence.

There's a soft exhale, and Graeme lifts his shoulders in a shrug. "I don't know about regrets. I've got plenty of those…" he trails off. "But usually, the other parties involved are dead." There's a pause, his brow furrows, and he says, "Sorry. Didn't mean to be all morose."

"She didn't go back home because she cares," is what he says next. "Remi could have left, too. Didn't. Same reason." He shakes his head, and trails off for a long moment before he says. "I don't stay put much, but I manage to keep in touch with people. I'm sure I'll see you around again one way or the other." It's meant to be reassuring.

A deep breathe, and Roux nods. "Good. It's nice to see the same friendly faces out here from time to time." She tilts slightly to one side, and then to the other, leaning her head against Graeme's shoulder. "Every new place is another old face. Another verse in a song that doesn't finish, yeah?" She sighs. "Some consistency would be the best thing that could happen right now. " Figuratively, of course. "At least I'll have a decent place to sleep tonight." A moment of silence, and she looks over to the bottle. "How late are your going to be up, Graeme?"

There's a nod, and a small bit of Graeme's attention is on the perimeter, but night has fallen and no one is entering or leaving the camp. At the gate, the other man on watch is relieved by a civilian, rifle handed over and a nod of acknowledgement to Graeme as the former teacher watches that. "Most of it," he admits. "They've got an RV set up as a bunkhouse for people passing through, and enough blankets." He watches Roux, and says, "Probably going to be up until tomorrow." In that, she's welcome to stay and he'll welcome the company, for as long as she needs.

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