A Reunion Of Ghosts


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Scene Title A Reunion of Ghosts
Synopsis Years after the war, Megan is visited by a ghost of Ferrys past.
Date March 15, 2018

Elmhurst Hospital

Elmhurst Hospital in the Safe Zone is a far cry from triage and surgery in a tent in the woods, despite supply shortages that still sometimes make her think we’re in a third-world country’s war zone. The years she was a one-woman real-life fucking M*A*S*H unit seem finally to be years of the past, though. Still, the emergency room is where she’s most at home, and that’s where Megan puts in work hours when she’s not running street clinics in the Zone. The redhead is well-known for her work ethic, for her absolute control of her ER when she’s on duty, and for her exceptionally high standards for everyone working there. She’s good at her job.

As she rounds the corner of the hall in a pair of blue scrubs heading toward the exit after a 12-hour shift, Megan Young is running through her head a list of things she needs for the street-level clinic and which patients there might need referral to the actual hospital despite their reluctance. She’s walking briskly, her blue eyes on the phone in her hand (which only works here) when she slams into the hard chest of the man heading in through the same doorway.

Bouncing off him would be bad enough for her balance, but in the split second of impact when the phone flies right out of her hand and her blue eyes come up to meet the dark ones of the man she just rammed, Megan experiences something she’s only ever heard about before — tunnel vision. That’s not possible! Shock renders her completely speechless and unable to suck in a breath and she’s going to land on her ass as her knees give out beneath her!

“Woah, hey, sorry I— ” Familiar eyes meet. A long, weathered face. Almost as long as his scraggly hair is now. But he’s still in flannel, sleeves rolled up and looking like he most certainly doesn’t belong here. But he isn’t a ghost. Scott Harkness stands surprised, but perhaps not as stupefied as the woman in front of him.

Meg?” The old goat’s voice is just a touch scrappier than it used to be, he likely hasn’t quit smoking. But Harkness looks no worse for wear, a little fuller in the middle but only a few threads of gray in his otherwise dark hair, most of which is tied back behind his head. Gone is the crew cut of old, he looks more like someone’s lumberjack uncle now. “Ho-lee-shit.”

Staring up at a man she thought killed by the government long ago, the redhead sitting in the middle of hall is paper white. The years have been kind enough, though there’s a distinctive silver-white swath through her copper hair above her left eye and pure white strands gilt the rest of the mass of red curls that are held back by an elastic band. “Scott!” she gasps.

After a long moment, she holds out her hand in a silently imperious demand that he help her get her ass off the floor. Her fingers are icy as she regains her feet and then there’s an awkward moment where she’s still staring at him wordlessly without a single clue how to react. Then as if kicked out of that frozen moment, Megan’s arms fly around the man’s neck in a hard hug. “Holy shit, Scott! What the fuck?”

She pulls away only far enough to grip his shoulders and peer at him, just flabbergasted, her blue eyes taking in his whole appearance. “I thought you were dead. Jesus… where the hell have you been holed up? You’re okay??”

There's disbelief in Harkness’ eyes at seeing Megan alive, he's in shock longer than it took for her to reconcile the situation. With a deep breath and an unsteady exhalation that's as much depressurization as it is a sigh, Scott seems to struggle with an account of the time.

Stepping aside so as to not block the hall, he encourages Megan to join him. “I— I mean they had me, yeah. Picked me up after the riots in 2010. I spent almost two years getting shipped around like the peanut in a shell game.” One hand comes up to scratch at the back of his head.

“One day I'm on a prison bus, they stop and…” Scott goes silent for a moment. “Some of us get off and only a few get back on. They packed me in there with a girl who used to stay at my safehouse, and Wireless.” In usual Harkness fashion, however, his story is short and to the point. “We busted out, stole the bus, and I've been running with them ever since. Me and my boy, actually.”

Megan had never met Scott’s son, but she knew they had a strained relationship. It sounds like time can heal those wounds too. “But I mean, enough about me. Jesus Christ, meg, you ever gonna retire?” An enormous smile crosses her face. He's mellowed out a lot over the years.

Her hands on his shoulders slide down to his upper arms and even his chest, she pats him, almost as if reassuring herself he’s standing there, all in one piece. Allowing herself to be drawn out of the path of traffic, both hands then come up to cradle her jaw and around the back of her neck to hold there. She still looks beyond startled. As she listens, one of her hands comes back around to cover her mouth — maybe so she’s not interrupting the tale, maybe just because she sucked in a quick breath that might have been a laugh that hitched just a little.

“What the hell for? So I can sit around with my thumb up my ass til I die?” she scoffs at his question. “If you’ve been with Wireless all this time…” She huffs out a short laugh and shakes her head a bit. “Some of us would have liked that tidbit of news, but we all know how information goes in a war.” Looking back up at him, she sniffs disdainfully. “And if you’re gonna be running with the wolves at your age, Harkness, it’s not nice to give other people shit about retirement. If I’m too old for this shit, you sure as hell are.”

But she keeps looking him over, like she can’t quite believe this is real, more somber as she speaks again. “We went after you and Demsky… in …. God, I don’t know. Late ‘11? We got a tip about you both possibly being moved, so we went for it. Fuckers were waiting for us, of course. But you know…” It was a big fat lie. “After that… there wasn’t any intel at all, really. We pretty much had to assume you were lost… ” She’s rather ashamed of that, actually, and looks away from him. “A lot went on. … It’s good to hear that you and your son are at least on speaking terms. Just took the world going to hell in a handbasket, but hey… he’s a Harkness,” she teases, looking back up at him. “What can you expect?”

Scott’s expression sinks some, guilt flirting over his face. “It's… been hard to reconnect with the old team. Honestly? A big part of me is afraid to find out who lived and who died. I dunno if I could've taken standing by your grave.” It's flatly delivered but remarkably honest for a man who was once so much more closed off.

“I don't really fight with the Hounds these days. I'm just facilities manager, take care of the jet, the trucks. You know, quartermaster and grease monkey. It's nice. Safe.” Scott’s tone is soft and reassuring, even if his voice is still sandpapery in quality.

“Demsky and I were never held together. I didn't even know they had him. I think they were feeding the Ferry false info, using us as bait.” But then, Scott’s expression darkens again. “Judah… got killed in 2011. His girl Colette tried to bust him out of a DHS holding facility. He was killed and she got captured. She's ok these days, goes by Demsky too. She's with Hana in the Hounds. Allegre’s there too.”

She clearly understands his words on not being able to take standing by another grave. Megan reaches out again and touches his forearm, squeezing tightly. “I don’t know if I could have stood by yours either.” The admission has a rough quality to it.

The news about Judah Demsky, who she barely knew really, brings only a resigned acceptance of his loss. She offers that quirky smile at him. “Ah-ha. So you’re finally back to your roots. Good for you!” She looks genuinely pleased and more than a little amused. “I had heard that Francois was up there with Hana… not really keeping up with the old guard myself too much,” she admits. “I don’t think I know what to say to most of them. I mean… I did my fair share of fighting in the war — you did tell me I better get on the same page,” she remembers with a soft laugh. “But….” Fighting was never where her heart was, and he knows it. She was always far more healer than soldier. She seems to finally realize that she’s still got her hand on his arm and rescues it, moving to cross her arms in front of her.

“Since you’re not catching up with people… you might be glad to hear that Grace and Alistair are doing well. Retired in the hinterlands somewhere in the middle of the country. I talk to them once in a while.”

Relief spreads over Scott at the news that Grace and Alistair are well, it was clearly a lingering tension in his chest to their unknown status. He exhales, almost in disbelief, and moves to lay a hand on top of Megan’s at his arm. “Fucking miracle,” he admits breathlessly. “I heard… what happened on the island. Folks— you know how they get, telling stories. Bonding over shared pain.” He looks to the floor, then, suddenly tense again lifts his hand from Megan’s.

“We did it, though.” Scott’s dark eyes find Megan’s after a moment of searching the floor for the courage to. “After all those years in the dirt, look at us.” He motions around the hospital with one hand. “We’re not hiding anymore. We’re not running. We’re not shutting the blinds when it gets dark and leaving one lamp on to light the way.”

His expression becomes distant, then, eventually, Scott withdraws a little. “I was gonna’ take a trip down to the memorial wall while I’m here. I… try and do it every year, at least. Pay respects to the people who gave their lives for the world we’re living in.” It’s not a request for her company, but also in a very Scott Harkness way, it also is.

The gesture at the hospital makes her chuff out a soft laugh accompanied by a ‘well, you know…’ kind of raised eyebrows expression. “It’s not the most well-equipped hospital I’ve ever worked in,” she comments with a rolling of her blue eyes, “but it’s a damn sight better than bullet extraction and surgery in a tent. That I really would like to never do again.”

She smiles, relaxing finally in his presence. Megan was clearly feeling just as awkward about the sudden shift in the belief that people were dead and gone as he was. “We did,” she agrees, her tone quiet. “Getting off Pollepel was complete goatscrew… I’m not even entirely sure how the hell we got out of there as lightly as we did.” It might or might not surprise him that she was there — before he was picked up, she rarely ever went there. “But it was what we said needed to happen, Scott.” Her eyes search his intently and for a long moment there’s the shared memory, perhaps, of the things they talked about so long ago when the Ferry was begun. “We did do it,” she repeats almost in a whisper.

Tilting her head, she takes the invitation for what it is. “I’ll walk with you, if you’d like,” she offers with that gentle smile. “Do you still have things you need to take care of here at the hospital?” Remembering that she dropped her phone, she looks around on the floor and swoops it up and tucks it into the small shoulder tote that skittered to the other side of the hall when she went down. “I’ll buy you a cup of the crappiest coffee you ever had,” she coaxes. “Black and tarry, just the way you like it. Spoon even stands up in it!”

A smile creases the corners of Scott’s mouth. “I think I'd like that. On both accounts.” There's a tiredness in the old soldier’s eyes, but also a gentleness that wasn't there years ago. Time, loss, and perhaps victory have mellowed him out and taken the edge off the knife of a man.

“If this place won’t burn down without you in it, I'm free. I just needed to sign some forms, everything’s being shipped to the airfield. I fly back out tomorrow morning.” Which means, as the offer of his elbow out to Megan implies, he has all day.

And they have plenty of catching up to do.

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