Aim for the Target


bf_kara_icon.gif nicole_icon.gif sophie_icon.gif

Scene Title Aim for the Target
Synopsis Target practice proves a good conversation starter.
Date June 26, 2019


Providence is a small settlement nestled inside the Pine Barren's long shadows that first came into being during the Second American Civil War. Amish families, who had already been living off the grid, banded together within the forest's protective shelter, hoping to wait out the fighting and resume their way of life at the war's end, regardless of the victor. They were joined by others: refugees fleeing from bombed out cities, deserters, and former supporters of both sides ready to set aside their ideologies in exchange for a return to normalcy.

Today, the community covers an area of roughly ten square miles, although its population density is centered around its church and surrounding homesteads, which include family-run sheep and goat farms, a blacksmith, doctor, mill, and a communally farmed cranberry bog. It isn't uncommon to find horses appearing to roam free; closer inspection, through tangles of low, thorny bushes, reveals repurposed barbed wire fencing that keeps the livestock contained.

Residents of Providence who are SLC-Expressive contribute to the community by using their abilities to circumvent many of the obstacles posed by the area's acidic, nutrient-poor soil, allowing them to grow and cultivate crops, redirect waterways, and lay down rudimentary piping for hydraulic wells. Buildings here are a collection of both old and new, repurposed or rebuilt without the aid of an electric grid of any kind. Candles and gas lanterns are more common than lamps, even if diesel-fueled generators are not unheard of among those considered more affluent than most.

The settlement is connected by a winding, interlocked series of pathways and old cement roads in need of repair. Simple signage marks the safe thruways, cleared of land mines and other forgotten wartime hazards, while yellow paint serves as a warning for areas that still harbor some danger — and there are many.


Pop pop.



Kara Prince lets out a long exhale as she watches the line of shooters adjust their aim, try again. She's patient. Hovering over their shoulder, correcting their aim for them, won't help them in the long run. They have to figure it out for themselves.

And once they stop wasting so much ammunition figuring that out, they can move on from pellet guns to something with a bit more kick.

She adjusts the fold of her arm, massaging her mouth while she watches on. The sound of cicadas drone lazily from the trees, completely undeterred by the pops and pings of shots both successful and not.

"Line up your sights, exhale before taking your shot," Kara calls out calmly as a reminder. "Get a good look at where your shots are ending up if you keep missing, adjust your aim that way. Just keep at it. Let me know if you've got any questions."

Nicole stands with her shoulders squared, staring down her target before she lifts her pellet gun, taking aim and squeezing the trigger after a short exhale of breath. The tin can she was firing at goes down off the fence post it was perched on.

She smirks to herself. Still got it. She knows, however, that a tin can is nothing compared to what's rumored to be prowling around the perimeter of their settlement. It's with this in mind that she shakes her arms out, rolls her shoulders, then takes aim again at her next target.

One of those hollow pops belongs to the pellet gun held a bit too tight in Sophie's little hands. Her neck stretches forward, thick lashes drawn tight around dark eyes. The can, however, proves as impervious to Sophie's glower as it is her aim. She lowers the little firearm and shakes a fist at the can across the way, "You scullion! You rampallian! You-… Wait, let me try again." The tiny, dark-clad woman bobs her shoulders and levels the pellet gun again.

Breath in. Breath ou-PING. "Yeah, baby!" She's a fifty-fifty kinda shot with the small targets, and it's seems to be she's pleased enough with that. She grins back Kara, the expression undeterred as she considers Nicole's expert shot. "Nice one."

Not every person who came to Providence was here during the war, Kara knows, but the variation in expertise is easy to note. She's focused on those who stand out from the rest, for one reason or another. Those with the most frustration, those who are the calmest, those who have more luck than others with their shots.

She tries to not stay amused too long at Sophie's luck, feel too responsible for the young woman's choice in swears, or feel too proud when she finally makes her shot. Right now, she's not the only focus Kara needs to have.

When she calls out Nicole's shot, though, the munitions chaplain nods. "It was," she calls out in acknowledgement. "You done this before?"

Nicole looks up from where she's taking aim, lowering her firearm as she does, now that she's taken her eye off what's in front of her. It doesn't do to have a gun aimed at something she isn't looking at. "I fought in the war," she explains. The declaration comes without pride, but also sans regret.

An encouraging smile is offered to Sophie. "You're doing great," the veteran assures. Everyone has to start somewhere, and this is where Sophie's starting from. It's not a bad start at all.

Blue eyes drift back in Kara's direction, as if looking to see if she's having judgement cast on her for her record. Whether or not that's the case, Nicole has no apprehensiveness about it.

It may not be her first 'start', but it's a fresh one at least. Sophie doesn't seem unsettled by either her target record or her station here amongst the others. She's here, and that's enough for her… for now. She clicks the safety on the pellet gun as it's lowered, leaning back just enough with smiling visage turns just so as to casually invite herself into the exchange between Nicole and her friend.

"Thanks. Firearms aren't my go-to, but I'm not going to snub the chance to be well rounded. Every day you learn something new is a successful day, if you ask me." She glances briefly down the firing lanes to consider the number of cans left unmarred. "War's a hell of a teacher."

Wine-dark eyes meet Nicole's in return, Kara's gaze weighing without judgment. There's a notable pause before she lifts her chin in acknowledgement of her person. "I fought with the Ferry, myself. Out West." The admission is clipped, as if unimportant, irrelevant.

"Served, before that." comes as an afterthought, made as she takes a few steps closer to the two. Arms still in comfortable fold before her, Kara tilts her head toward the range as if it's indicative of the past. "You'd figure there'd been enough of all this, but there's no rest for the weary." There's no sigh at the shame of it that follows — it is how it is, however unfortunate that might be.

"Where'd you fight?"

"Mostly east," Nicole admits easily. "Traveled around where I was needed, though. I eventually became a strategist." What she leaves out is that it came from the loss of her entire unit. How the guilt took her off the battlefield and into the war room instead.

Lips push into a thin line. Sophie's right. War's a hell of a teacher. Nicole's gaze falls on the younger woman again. She regrets the necessity of this skill set, but not the practice. If there's one thing every woman in this world should know how to do, it's defend herself. "I joined up with the Ferry just before the war."

"Fought with, helped lead, saved, exemplified, embodied…" Sophie interjects quietly, even as she's looking down to check the seat of the magazine in the well-worn pellet gun. If Kara's not going to sell herself properly, Sophie will. There's an easy way about her half smile even as she seems to linger on the fringe of the conversation, her attention primarily still set on the ultimately goal of this whole shebang - target practice. The pellet gun is drawn back up, safety disabled.

Pop. Pause. Adjust. PING.

"I always loved that idea about the Ferry - separate but never divided." This isn't the Ferry, but that same ideology - the fight that unites - has allowed her to travel from one coast to the other, nearly three thousand miles, and still wriggle right into place like a home away from home. Kara's being here helps, obviously.

Kara doesn't bother masking the interest that comes from hearing Nicole served as a strategist. The at-first subtle lift of her brow continues on up, her arms unfolding from her side. "Well, that's something." she says.

Sophie's rattling off of praises draws Kara's eyes off Nicole finally, minding her a bit strongly. She seems more liable than before to pass comment on the young woman's stance, but she self-corrects, and ultimately there's no need.

"It took many strong people to keep things going, Sophie," she says quietly instead. A reminder. "I was just one." And just as quickly moves on from that, if she's allowed, back to focus on Nicole instead. "Sounds like Nicole was another."

Nicole doesn't seem particularly embarrassed by the praise, such as it is. Her chin dips toward her chest momentarily, accepting the comment with humility. "I did what needed to be done." It's demure, and something she's told herself many times in the years following the war.

"The Ferry did a lot of good." Since they're offering praise for the organization. "I'm glad I found it." Nicole turns back to her target, not particularly dismissive. In fact, she keeps conversing even as she raises her weapon. "I don't know what I would have resorted to without them."

A knowing smile is Sophie's only response at the responsible correction given her. She plinks off one more can, a little quicker this time, and lowers the firearm back to a safe setting. A few quick gestures unloads the gun, proving she's not unfamiliar with them so much as simply not the best shot. Secured, she sets the weapon down among a few others and hooks her thumbs in her belts.

"How did you find it?" Sophie asks Nicole's back. "Is that how you and Ben met?"

"The Ferry's gone, but the bastards they fought against aren't," Kara notes, an undertone of opinion in that. She turns as well to observe the range, her attention on some of the other shooters. There's advice she has fomenting, once she's done with the conversation here. "We're seeing the results of that out here."

After a pause, Kara ventures, "I'm still not sure what it is that brought you out here," though she's heard murmurings through the vine, and taken what a certain clairvoyant has seen into account … with a grain of salt. "But if you're willing to do more than shoot at targets, Providence needs steady hands."

Her gaze tracks back to the Safe Zone transplant, interested in hearing a reply to her indirect question as much as the answer to Sophie's more direct one.


Nicole lowers her weapon again and walks over to set it down with Sophie's. At this point, she's just wasting pellets someone else could be using to practice with.

To Sophie's question, she nods her head. "Yes. My sister was involved with the Ferry, and I got involved through her. That's where I met Ben." There's a distant sort of quality to Nicole's gaze for a moment, like she's gotten lost in the memory. "We were good together. Still are." They're just partners of a different sort these days.

Nicole lifts her head, pulled from her reverie entirely at the comment. Again, she nods, a bit more resolutely. "I'd like to help however I can." She may not clarify what brought her here, but she's at least affirming her sincerity about protecting the community here.

The subtlest lift pulls up at the fine, outer point of Sophie's brow as she listens to the way in which Kara addresses Nicole. Her little fingers disappear in her wildly buoyant curls for a little scratch before returning habitual to her belt. Dark, chocolate-hued eyes follow the contours of Nicole's face as they adjust to the easy embrace of what was. When Nicole returns to them, the here, and the now Sophie smiles fondly. "You guys have a bond, the little one aside. The Ferrymen was good for that, too." Sophie's elbow juts out slightly to give Kara the lightest nudge.

Kara looks over at Sophie again, a hmph escaping her. She elbows the younger woman right back. "Are you trying to talk yourself out of your spot?" she teases. "We've already established she's a better shot than you are and everything." A laugh follows, short and quiet, but she loses none of the readiness she had before.

"It's important to hold onto what's good for you," Kara suggests, a bit more serious. "Those people can get annoying when they pull you back from making the wrong decision, but…" It's worth it in the end her tone implies.

Nicole smiles at the women's comments and their camaraderie. "You're right," is in reply to both of them. She and Ryans do have a bond, and it's good for her. Even Especially when he talks her down from something rash. For the sake of their daughter and the sake of herself.

"I thought I'd miss the city more," the transplant comments, a thoughtful frown on her face. "But I like it out here. It reminds me of my time in Canada with the Ferry."

Sophie gives a dramatic sway, like a bowing tree in the wind, at Kara's nudge. She holds up her hands in surrender, but little fingers are quick to dance in an excited wiggle that pairs well with a glint in her eye. "Aw, come on now - there's enough bad blood out there to go around. Besides," Sophie fidgety fingers on one hand come around to display a teeny space between forefinger and thumb right before her up in front of her eyes. "I only take up a little spot. Half a spot, even." She gives a playful tilt of her head. "Less if I go ghostly." She widens her eyes for affect and grins.

Chuckling as she lowers her hands back to her hips she rocks forward on her toes while playfulness subsides to something more appropriate to their setting and conversation on hand. "You know what I bring to the table. I'm less the sharpshooter and more the… bullet." Or blade, but the analogy works just as well. She considers Nicole anew. "I can't imagine living there…" She's paid a visit recently enough and well… she shudders.

"After seeing what this country did to itself, I've got no interest in rejoining society," Kara admits all too easily, unburdening herself of the knowledge. "The city is good as a tourist attraction, the news as relevant as any fiction you can dig up out in the wastes." Her tone's not flat, but it's unpleasant. "This… whole country, it's…"

For a moment, she simply doesn't have an answer. Her forehead wrinkles, nose twitching as she looks off down the row of shooters again.

Rather than addressing the topic, she answers absently, "I know what you bring, Sophie. You bring that mouth of yours and the optimism of youth, which is just as important these days."

Both had their uses, after all. One for unearthing untruths and clearing the air, and the other encouraged that room be made for people who would otherwise be shut out.

"I miss my daughter's school the most," the mother admits. There's no refuting Kara's well-earned disdain. This country did some terrible things to itself and Nicole can't blame anyone who doesn't want a part of that anymore. "Most of the rest…" She shrugs. Not so much.

“No," Kara admits, like it's not a source of pride. "We've got books that make the rounds between us, but…" And now she's thoughtful. "Well, nothing proper communal. I wonder if there's enough books in town that we could get something together."

She tips her head in a short nod. "Sounds like if there's a pile that turn up, we should put them somewhere." Her gaze slants back to Sophie in return, brow popping in a silent inquiry — or perhaps assignment of duty. "Maybe out at the church, if nowhere suitable presents itself?" Because they're certainly not going to host a library out of the bar, and they were a little short on well-maintained public gathering places otherwise, right now.

The food for thought left with the one who suggested it, Kara gives a small nod to Nicole. They'll talk more, surely, especially now that there's assurances she'll raise arms on behalf of Providence. She wastes no time with a proper farewell, moving past the two to offer guidance to a man about Sophie's age who has the stock of his weapon all twisted up oddly against his shoulder, his body turned at an angle that's going to set him up to fail.

Nicole offers a half wave to Kara as she moves along, and a smile for Sophie. "You old enough to drink, sweetheart?" She's already starting to mosey. Does drinking age even matter out here, detached from society? "I could use a beer. Join me." Her head tilts, an invitation for Sophie to join Nicole's stroll.

"It'd be rude to let you drink alone…" Sophie gives Kara something of a cross between a salute and a wave and picks up an easy pace, carrying on with Nicole as they go.

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