Bad Pennies


devon_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Bad Pennies
Synopsis In spite of frayed (and fraying) nerves, information is exchanged and help offered between a group of people who just seem to keep finding themselves in 'interesting' situations….
Date February 12 2011


Queens is the largest in area and the second most populous of the five boroughs of New York City. Located on the western portion of Long Island, Queens managed to avoid much of the physical ruin attributed to the Bomb. However, Queens on whole suffered from something far more significant in the wake of the explosion that tore apart New York — Economic crisis. With much of Queens relying on industrial productivity for its commerce, it was the mass exodus of many businesses from the New York area following the bomb that crippled the borough.

With refugees pouring in from the western portions of New York following the destruction of Midtown, Queens was inundated with homeless of all walks of life. Food shortages, coupled with the collapse of Queens business centers and the strain put on local police only furthered what would become one of the most embarassing mishandling of a crisis situation the city had ever seen. Weeks after the bomb hit, riots swept through New York by the panicked populace, this was felt most hard in Queens, where food riots ravaged the businesses that dared remain open. Shea Statium was used as temporary shelter for bomb refugees, and the riots that swept through Queens enveloped the stadium as well, resulting in a remarkable loss of life in the chaos.

Ever since, Queens has settled down from the turbulent weeks following the nuclear explosion. But while its scars may not be as physical as Midtowns are, Queens suffers just as the rest of New York does, under the shadow of that broken skyline to the west and the collapse of its social and economic centers. Queens is now a ghost of its former self, slowly struggling to recover from the damage done.

The morning has dragged on. Somewhere on the Roosevelt side of the dome, smoke is continuing to blacken the originally clear barrier that has cut off residents from the rest of the world. On the Queens side things are a little more clear and a lot more busy. Refugees from Roosevelt are being seen to, the injured or dying being treated to and set up in temporary shelters. Some of the younger folk have been asked to work, sent off on any number of tasks including gathering water and burnables.

One of those youngsters busy at work is Devon, though he's broken off from the main group. He, like so many others, has acquired bruises and scrapes, face and hands dirty with more than just soot. His left arm is held protectively close to his body, a dislocated shoulder he's yet to find time to deal with. The muzzle of a rifle peeks over his shoulder, the weapon hanging from a shoulder strap and resting along his back. Somewhere the teenager has come up with paper and a pen and works, though slightly awkwardly, with is right hand at drawing some design.

Having completed her second crossing of the underside of the Queensboro Bridge in as many hours, a figure clad in filthy but still sturdy biker's leathers warily eyes the near edge of the throng of refugees. Perched atop a wall, hunkered down in a crouch, she carefully slips one earbud into place, then activates the hands-free mode. A few moments later, she sighs.

"Bollocks. Lis, it's your favourite bearer of sunshine and joy." The British tones, however smoke-deepened they might be at the moment, she figures should be familiar enough. "I fulfilled my promise. JJ has been located, eyed, and spoken to. He tried to send a message to you. Hope it got through okay. He's… in a fairly bad way. Wound to his back, blood visible through bandages. Tripping on pain killers. But he was coherent, and announced that he was fine and was going to get up and get back to work… a few minutes before falling asleep again. Hopefully a day unconscious will do him a power of good."

"In other news… I'm trying to locate the other half of the brute squad, but I'm presently looking at a big gathering of refugees. They look like they might be the ones I saw emerging from the Subway earlier, but there's a lot of them. Some armed. No visible fighting at the moment. I'll see if I can find out more about what happened."

Shaking her head, she bites her lip. "Not sure what else to say at the moment. Things are… quiet, but they usually are at this time of day after a night of violence, from all the accounts I've seen. The Center's operational, but damaged. I've not had a chance to scout out and see how bad thigns are, but it looks as if there wasn't much violence in Queens - so most of the Stillwater guys should still be active and armed. I hope. Ummm. Otherwise? Lemme know if you find anything out, and I'll do you the same favour. Take care."

Disconnecting, she shakes her head again… then lifts her brows as she spots what looks to be a familiar figure… but she's not seen him injured or armed before now.

Unaware of Ygraine's presence, Devon taps the pen against the hood of the car he's been using as a writing surface. His eyes are focused downward on that little slip of paper, considering the lines and scrawling. Thought is interrupted when a young woman approaches, the teenager greeting her with a poker face, little expression and even less emotion. "Try and use cleaner cans for heating," he informs her quietly, "and as many buckets as you can." She turns away with a nod, and the boy returns to his work once she's several meters away.

The paper is turned over and Devon begins writing again. It wouldn't appear to be a list, not from any distance or angle. If watched long enough, the beginnings of a sketch would emerge, some kind of contraption with tubing coming from it. "Question is," He muses aloud, "will there be enough volunteers giving up hoses or water pumps."

About to hop down off the wall and go to investigate what on Earth it might be that Devon is up to, Ygraine sighs, shaking her head at herself. "Moron", she grumbles, before activating the phone once more, waiting for it to go through to voice mail again.

"Hi. Your favourite bearer of bad tidings. One more thing to mention: JJ seemed to be aware of that kidnapping I mentioned. Was very relieved to hear it was already being investigated, and seemed to know the guy who was chasing it up. So we'd seem to be slightly less short-handed in here than we'd thought. Still… I think that's all for now. I'll call you when I have anything definite."

Signing off, she now does hop down from her perch, boots clomping softly as she makes her way quite openly towards Devon and his impromptu writing desk.

At the sound of footfalls coming from behind, Devon turns again, patiently and expecting one of any number of the refugees that came over from Roosevelt Island. Again his face is composed, though a flicker of surprise manages to make its way through when the one approaching turns out to be Ygraine. "Hey," the teenager says in greeting, leaning back slightly to rest his rump against the hood of the car.

"Glad to see you made it out of that explosion," Devon continues. The pen is tucked behind an ear before his right arm is crossed to cradle his left.

As she approaches, it's clear that all is not entirely well with Ygraine. Her already pale skin could be described as pallid, her features are tensely drawn, and there are dark shadows beneath her eyes. Still, she moves smoothly enough and she raises a hand in greeting, before coming to a halt at conversational range.

"Hi", she says huskily, gaze flicerking to the rifle he bears before settling on his face once more. "Did you come through the tunnel, or did you find a safer route across?"

"Came through the tunnel," Devon answers. He notices her gaze on the rifle, but makes no mention of it himself. "They had the gate barred, think they might've been part of the shit that happened across the river." Details for that assumption are left unsaid, but it's clear that the exchange wasn't particularly pleasant. Instead, he offers a small shrug with his uninjured shoulder. "Melissa's putting together a meeting tonight to reclaim a little civility, so hopefully we'll keep the violence to a minimum."

Ygraine lifts a brow. "There were guards, then? Did they open up on the refugees?", she asks - sounding weary more than shocked, part-turning her head to run her gaze over the nearest of the fugitivites before refocusing upon the youngster she first met when all this insanity began.

With a shake of his head, Devon also glances toward the refugees close enough to be seen individually. Briefly he lifts his hand, scrubbing fingers through his hair. "Not sure what was going on, they didn't want any of the evolved coming up. They were convinced to do otherwise." The teenager returns his hand to cradling the injured arm, only partially suppressing a wince. "They weren't uniformed guards, don't know who they were."

"And they were specific about not wanting Evolved?", Ygraine presses the point. Seeming to find it important, she's frowning worriedly. "I'm starting to wonder where the heck Stillwater were during this, I admit. The guys over here, I mean. The poor bastards they left behind on duty over there seem to've got slaughtered without backup."

"Pretty sure," Devon replies coldly, showing just that briefest glimmer of emotion. Either he's not liking his word being questioned, or he's not happy about the events surrounding getting out of the subway. His lips press together briefly, then he reaches behind and pulls forward the paper he'd been working on. "Like I said, though, Melissa's putting together a meeting so we can get our shit together. I'm working on getting a cleaning station set up so we have that much at least."

Ygraine pensively eyes Devon for a few moments longer, then offers a slow nod. "I'm trying to map where Humanis was active", she says quietly. "And I'm increasingly thinking that I should map where other groups were active. I don't want to get my bands of armed men mixed up with each other, or we could end up with wholly wrong conclusions."

Devon offers a small shrug, not entirely certain how to respond. Once again, he gives no notice to the rifle strapped to his back, attention turning to folding his paper. He stands out of his lean, the action drawing another wince as his shoulder is jostled slightly. The paper with its notes and sketches are tucked away into a pocket, then following he returns his attention to Ygraine.

"Are they the ones who hurt you?", Ygraine asks quietly, after watching Devon's painful actions. "I could have a look at it, if you wanted. It's your shoulder, right?"

"The apartment that exploded," Devon answers as he settles back against the hood of the car again. "Like I told Melissa, it's fine, just bruised it or something when I landed."

"You're moving awkwardly", Ygraine says, tone concerned. "But… that was bad. I… I hope I got everyone out who was still alive." Indeed, up close, she's slowly filling the air with the aroma of smoke.

A single shoulder shrug is offered. "Far as I know everyone got out, some a little easier than others." It's a half hearted attempt at humoring the situation. He and another boy had both been blown from the building when the elevator shaft exploded. "Just landed wrong is all, probably bruised it pretty good."

"I'd recommend letting someone have a look at it when you have the chance", Ygraine cautions, tone gentle. "Now… you mentioned someone called Melissa. Could you tell me what she looks like, and where to find her, if she's handing out instructions to people?"

"She's blond, 'bout five and a half feet tall." Devon pushes himself off the hood again, jaw clenching until he's upright. "She's probably back with the rest of the people from the tunnels." He thrusts his chin toward the main gathering of people before starting toward them. "Up there, I'll take you to her."

Ygraine nods slowly. The number of blonde Melissas, even in New York, is surely limited enough to make the next queries worth asking. "She's not… somewhat Gothically inclined, is she? Tends to wear black? Mid twenties? Likes nightclubs?"

Indeed there is a gothically inclined blonde, wearing black, in her mid-twenties near the largest group of people. Except she's sitting down, back against a wall, legs stretched out…and asleep. That's right, in the face of crisis, Melissa is taking herself a nap, though it can't be a good one based on the number of times she shifts and grumbles in her sleep.

Devon gives Ygraine a vague nod. That's the one he's thinking of. A number of people are passed by without a second look, and the only regard the teenager gives his rifle is to hold it when pressing passed a larger cluster of refugees. But when he comes to the napping Melissa, he pauses before approaching a little more carefully.

"Hey," Devon says quietly, nudging the sole of her shoe with the toe of his own. "Got someone who wants to talk to you."

The nudge has Melissa jerking awake, hand automatically moving towards her back, where Devon knows that she's stashed her pistol. Spotting Devon she relaxes, letting out a yawn. "Oh yeah? Who's that?" she asks, running a hand through her hair.

The teenager doesn't even flinch when Melissa goes for her own pistol, however he has the grace to appear apologetic for waking her. He steps aside and jerks his head toward Ygraine. "She is, told her about the meeting you're setting up."

Ygraine followed along a couple of paces behind Devon, thoughtfully considering the throng of people and their surroundings. However, Melissa's grab for what she can only assume is a weapon has the Briton tensing up, before offering a tired wave to the blonde. "I believe I told you once that we deliver anywhere", she essays by way of an attempt at humour.

Pale, not quite awake eyes move towards Ygraine, and Melissa's brows arch. "Ygraine? I didn't know you were stuck in here." Then she's grinning and nodding. "Yeah, I guess you did. Devon said you wanted to talk to me about something though?" she asks, remaining seated. She does, however, motion to nearby empty ground. "Pull up a chair," she says wryly.

Devon takes to leaning against a wall, rifle shifted closer to his good shoulder. He remains nearby, close enough to overhear the two women, however his attention drifts away to a group of exiles from across the river. They aren't particularly interesting, mostly gathered and talking, possibly discussing the events of the night before. As the boy settles against the wall, his injured arm is again cradled then pointedly ignored.

Ygraine chuckles, then glances around, before moving to lean against a wall. Close to, she smells more than a little of smoke, and there's definitely a huskiness to her voice that isn't normally present. "He told me that you were organising a meeting of some sort? I'm trying to… get a handle on what's happening now, and has been happening. There were some covert things going on behind the… flashier and more obvious stuff, and I'm keen to make sure that I can track as much of it as possible - and rule out things that aren't connected."

"I am, yes," Melissa says, nodding. "I figure it's probably the best thing right now. People are getting worked up, and if we don't do something we're going to have at least one mob on our hands. This way we can all sit down and talk, hopefully calmly, and compare notes, make plans. More than we've got anyway."

Mel's head is nodded towards Devon. "He's organizing people into gathering and boiling water, so we can set up makeshift showers. Something simple like that, a basic luxury, might help settle people. I've been trying to make a list of everyone in the dome, especially white men, because we got a tip that the one responsible was that. I want to keep that bit quiet though, or we'll have people beating up every white guy they come across, thinking that he's the guy we're looking for."

She pats her various pockets until coming up with a pack of cigarettes. "And we need to band together since Humanis First is operating inside the bubble. They have to be the ones responsible for the explosions, since they were trying to blow up only evolved people."

"Told her about the thing we found under the bridge," Devon puts in, glancing toward Melissa. "And details about the guy we're looking for." With a wince, the teenager settles himself on the ground. His rifle is further shifted, more comfortable against his back, as he turns his head fully toward Ygraine and Melissa. "It's also possible that the guys up here were working with the guys over the river."

Ygraine sighs quietly, clearly both weary and rather less than happy. "I… know a certain amount about what's been going on, but I'm keen to find out as much as I can before I draw any firm conclusions", she says cautiously, before focusing on Melissa. "Did you get a good look at what happened at this end? Who was involved, kit, competence, and so on, as well as the course of events would be helpful."

With the chaos of the past few days firmly in the past, Jaiden has spent his time laying low, not poking his nose out of his little hovel except to scavenge, grabbing as much as he could carry from abandoned apartments and convenience stores, shuttling it to separate hiding places all inside the dome to prevent the discovery of one cache spelling out the loss of everything he's scavenged. A message left at Brick House for him by Ygraine has him walking through the dome, alert, to where she said they would be…..

The wince has Melissa using her ability. Not full on, not like before, but just a little, enough to take the edge off the teen's discomfort. And hopefully little enough that he doesn't really notice. "I don't think they were. They gave up their guns and the vest too easily, and they genuinely didn't seem to care about killing evolved. Humanis First wouldn't have hesitated, believe me."

Her gaze shifts back to Ygraine and her brow arches. "I'd like to know what you know, even if you're not wanting to draw firm conclusions." She falls silent for a long moment. "I think I might know who gave the drugs to the one responsible. I know someone who bought some Amp, and they got it from Daniel Walsh. The cop who was revealed to be a member of Humanis First," she murmurs.

Mel gives herself a shake. "Anyway…There were half a dozen guys, seemed more scared than competent. Had guns, some had vests. I've got one of them now," she says, opening her coat to show said vest. "I think they were just like us, but scared enough to get stupid. They didn't want to have any explosions on this side, and I can't really blame them there."

Devon notices some change, though not enough to lay claim to what had happened. He frowns slightly, passing a suspicious look over Melissa, but keeps his thoughts to himself. Maybe he'll bite the bullet and find her later. Pulling his arms in closer, he slumps slightly against the wall, head resting against the concrete and eyes closing. "Couple of the guns were destroyed. Somehow. Red-head got one, Perry and I got the others."

The teenager cracks a yawn, eyes pulling open then sliding closed again. Long day, about to get longer still. "Watch my back," he asks with small nod toward Melissa. "Gonna nap."

Ygraine looks genuinely relieved, nodding pensively once more - though this time to Melissa. "There's… oh!" Thoroughly distracted by spotting Jaiden, she waves an arm at him in greeting, then changes the gesture to beckon him over. Amidst the smoke-stained, battered, bloodied, and Subway-filthy, the big Aussie stands out a certain amount.

"Have you met Jaiden?", she asks Melissa. "I should probably save my update for the pair of you. My voice isn't quite what it was, before last night."

What probably stands out most about Jaiden, other than being big and Australian (yes, you can tell just by looking, it's not just the hat, shut up) is the fact that, all things considered, he's fairly clean. Sure, his clothes are dusty and smudged in places, but his face and hands are nice and clean save for a bit of sweat. He doesn't even have the tell-tale smell of body odor that's starting to permeate this place, which means he's bathed fairly recently. "Oi there, Ygraine. Evening, blokes." Jaiden gives the gathered group a smile, pushing his hat back with the tip of his thumb. "Sorry I'm late. Not too many cabs running and I had to circumvent a bit of a ruckus a few blocks back. Anyone want a bottle of water?"

He slides his backpack around and opens it, offering refilled bottles of water to anyone who wants one. Being able to purify water is a godsend here.

"Yeah, get some sleep while you can," Melissa murmurs, smiling at Devon as he gets settled in for his nap. She's looking back to Ygraine, then over to Jaiden, and she nods. "Sort of, yeah. And I'm good for now, but thanks," she says, shaking her head. "I stocked up on bottled water before all this happened, because of the 510. I doubt many others had the same luck, though."

Ygraine is, unfortunately, some distance from clean. Her face and hands have clearly had some attention paid to them recently, and her hair might even have had a wash… but her leathers have seen a lot of hard wear in the dozen days since the Dome came up, and last night added the addition of a great deal of dust and a reek of smoke that is distinctly powerful when experienced close-up.

Jaiden, the lucky man, is getting just such a close-up experience, as Ygraine moves to give him a fierce and deeply relieved hug. "I was worried about you", she says quietly. "I'm glad you're safe. We need you."

Perhaps remembering her audience, she rather hastily pulls back - but she does manage something resembling a genuine smile, in spite of her pallid skin and the tension clearly visible across her tightly-drawn features. "The… summary of what I know is that the Chapel went up in a single blast, it looked like", she says, smoke-roughened voice husky. "I've not… been up there to examine the remains. Eastview apartment was hit with a firebomb, then a blast device that I think was in the lift shaft. I got most people still inside out onto the walls, to head down to the ground. But it was meant to be a massacre. The Suresh Center was bombed - or, to be more precise, the Stillwater truck posted outside it was bombed. It got blown through the front and into the foyer. All of those bombs were well-planted and highly effective. Making incendiaries that good is hard - especially since, with the gas mains cut, simple options like cutting the lines and letting places fill with flammable gas were out. The purely explosive blasts seemed to be reliable and were presumably remote-detonated rather than timed. And they seem to have done their jobs, again impressively well. So Humanis either had the bombs pre-made outside the Dome before all this started, and had people taught how to plant and set them off, or we've got at least one highly capable 'engineer' in here with us."

"That last is all too possible, because the one remaining boat on the river seems to be under Humanis control. It could have been used to smuggle supplies into the city before all this started. Which in turn explains how Humanis had enough guns to arm all their new recruits. Because from what I saw, indications are that there's probably a core team - people who probably worked to recruit the stupid and the scared to find the guy responsible. Presented it as a matter of public safety. And under cover of that operation, the 'real' guys - the true believers - planted the bombs and set up the massacres, in which their recruits would then be complicit. Bounce people into sticking with Humanis by making them guilty of mass murder, and your real operatives can hide amidst the herd and be protected by the silence all the intended survivors would want to keep about what happened."

Sometimes it's nice to have closeness, and when Ygraine crushes him in a hug, Jaiden reciprocates, squeezing the leather-clad messenger tight - even turning to give her a quick peck on the cheek. "You know me. Like a bad penny - I just keep popping up."

When Ygraine tells her story, Jaiden's smile falls, his face hardening, until finally he speaks. It's not too thought-provoking but it does get his views on such things across rather pointedly. "Bloody fuckin' hell….as if things weren't bad enough, those bastards have to use this as a microcosm of things to advance their little plot?" He kicks at a stone, sending it clattering away into the darkness. "All-out war ain't something we need to have in here. But I don't think they'll agree on that case."

"Shit. That reminds me. You know that FRONTLINE guy who was helping us? In the subway with the train wreck? I got a text from him. Valentine…" Melissa looks to Jaiden, "the guy who ferried us across from Roosevelt, when we found the syringe? Yeah, he's Humanis First. I'm just wondering if somehow Humanis First talked the guy who put up the bubble into doing it. Threatened him maybe. A lot of people would commit some pretty horrible crimes to protect their family. And since we know that Valentin is Humanis First, and since we know of at least one Humanis First member who's selling Amp…"

Ygraine lifts a brow, then nods. "JJ's alive, but… out of it. He got hurt pretty badly at the Center", she says quietly. "He announced he was fine and was going to get up to work, but he was asleep again within minutes. I… walked across to check up on him earlier today."

A sigh, and the Briton nods ruefully. "It all looks like it was carefully planned. They've had the time to lay careful plans since this went up, but I mentioned my suspicion that it was a Humanis plot to someone earlier today. As it is… they seem to have waited until the Stillwater guys left Roosevelt to deal with troubles over here, then specifically targeted the skeleton force left there - there was a guy in a Stillwater vest with his throat blown out, whom I found… after I had to leave the Eastview building the last time. And the truck at the Center was bombed with the Stillwater force from there inside it. It looks to me like they wanted to set themselves up as the 'law', at least long enough to conduct their massacre."

Glancing around, Ygraine sighs again, then hoarsely clears her throat. "I'll have some of that water, if you don't mind", she directs to Jaiden, before continuing her explanation. "But there's more. While all that was happening", she jerks her head towards Roosevelt, "there was confirmed activity on this side of the water, too. At least one kidnapping, as part of an attempted Humanis 'initiation' for someone they considered worthwhile fully inducting - the intended recruit was ex-military, apparently. So they seem to have people quietly active over here, and to be cherry-picking the most 'promising' types to induct. Which all fits with them having deliberately drawn Stillwater over here in force… and would also fit with them being behind the bombing of the Stillwater boat. With it gone, Valentin and his Humanis buddies control the only sizable vessel left on the river."

A bottle of water is passed over to Ygraine, a second taken by Jaiden before he sits on a handy bit of rubble, opening it and taking a quick drink or two, screwing the cap on tightly. "Any plans, then? I mean…with me, getting across the river, either on or under, won't be too big of a problem."

"Who was the initiate?" Melissa asks, frowning, before she looks to Jaiden. "Stick around. We're arranging a meeting, to compare notes and make plans. And you should work with Devon. He's trying to get up some makeshift showers, in the hopes that being clean will help civilize people a little. It's a good plan."

"I don't know his name", Ygraine admits, after gratefully gulping down water. "And I didn't do any questioning myself. But…." She sighs and shakes her head, closing her eyes. "We've got a few options. None hugely appeal. But we've got to stop the violence escalating. We've already got clear signs of things getting way beyond 'self defence'. I found a hand lying in the road outside Eastview. And there're a lot of guns floating around. I'm worried we'll wind up with at least two sets of vigilantes seeing anyone who's not 'with them' as an enemy, while everyone else who owns a gun won't go anywhere without it. It's a recipe for a total bloodbath, even if Humanis don't have any more stunts up their sleeves…."

"And another problem is the guy who did this. I'd be astonished if he simply chose to do it on his own, not least because of how well it suits Humanis - and anyone else who wants to paint Evolved as dangerous threats who need to be controlled. And with what you say", she nods to Melissa, "about Amp having been provided in here…. Yeah. It looks awfully like the poor schmuck whose power created this is unlikely to have been a voluntary participant. But a lot of people in here'll just kill anyone who fits the bill."

"All the makings of a humanitarian nightmare. A microcosm of terror that the entire world can watch from their living room without having to think too greatly about it, and then, when the time is right, it's revealed that the poor schmuck who did this was an evo, who did it specifically to harm people even if it's not true, and anyone who's unlucky enough to be registered and evo….vanish into some hole in the world." Jaiden sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose, as if a headache is kicking into third gear. "It's turning into an us or them type situation, and frankly, if it's that choice, I'm going to go for us."

Melissa sighs softly. "Ygraine, haven't you been listening? What do you think the meeting is for? We've got Humanis First, we've the people like the ones who tried to keep us locked down here. Trust me, we'll well aware of the issues, and we're meeting to try to ensure that it doesn't get worse. As for killing anyone who fits the bill…why do you think I said I was keeping those details quiet?"

She looks to Jaiden. "And that is precisely the thinking that is going to turn this into more of a nightmare, Jaiden. It's that thinking that had scared but otherwise innocent people drawing guns and threatening to shoot injured people. It's not an us or them situation. At least not if people will just calm down and keep their wits about them. We need to stick together. To remember that we are not the enemy. To remember that, no matter what Humanis First may have up their sleeve, we outnumber them, and we're strong."

She shakes her head. "We don't have to resort to violence. We don't have to turn vigilante. We just need to think. To figure out how to survive, how to find the one responsible, how to get the bubble down. And how to do it with the fewest number of deaths and injuries possible. Because I know that there are going to be some. Humanis First will see to that. Because they see it as an us or them situation, and we're the them. And they are vigilantes, ones who don't care who they hurt. And I'll be damned if I just sit back and watch everyone here turn into people like those in Humanis First."

"From all I've seen, Humanis aren't our only problem", Ygraine says quietly. "We already have people identifying any perceived opposition to them as proof of Humanis support. That's… part of the reason I pushed Devon about what specifically happened when you reached this side. As it is, we already know that there were at least four Humanis groups active last night. Two of those got… taken down. At least in part. If we're adding any more, then we have whole new problems. But if we're to figure out what they're up to and where, we need to be able to tell the difference. And to stand a hope of having most people survive in here at all, we need to refuse to accept the paradigm people are trying to force on us. Humanis First want this to turn into a constant bloodbath. They want this place to be a world-renowned horror. They do not want it to be a tale of heroic survival and community cooperation."

"I don't normally say this, but I'm kind of at a loss on what to do now, other than keep alive and keep as many people alive as I can. Iv'e been taking pictures, and i've got a cell that I can charge with a solar panel I scavenged from a traffic light. We need to take a Harry Truman way of looking at things - the buck stops here." Jaiden looks from one face to another. "If democracy can reign, we're the ones that can do it. But we have to have a big stick in reserve because of opposition to our gathering and making due."

Melissa's eyes close and her hands lift, rubbing at her temples as she takes a few slow, deep breaths. "Come to the meeting, both of you. Because I've already addressed all of what you both just said, and said that it would be figured out at the meeting. We'll have more people, more minds, which means more ideas. Two brains are better than one, and a dozen or two dozen are a hell of a lot better than one, or even three. So…please. Just show up. We have plenty of big sticks, but we need that democracy, Jaiden. Hence, again, the meeting. We'll vote on what to do."

"We have a few basic options for organisation, and at least one offer of help - though I'm not sure how much that amounts to, in truth", Ygraine says quietly. "But right now, the key things are that we try to avoid anyone using the Subway - it's a deathtrap waiting to collapse - and that we also try to ration trips. And, come to think of it, if there's anyone else who can get to and from Roosevelt, it'd be good to know about, to say the least. Because right now, our total options seem to be the two of us. And with Valentin's boat out there, I'm not happy about sending you out on the water, Jaiden."

Jaiden's never tried to sink a boat, but he probably could - quite easily, in fact, with judicious use of his powers. But he doesn't want to do that just yet. "We'll cover that in the meeting, I guess. We should come up with a plan - what to do in case of type stuff. Give people something to do other than worry about their own survival. Keep people from fighting over limited resources."

"I will be going back to Roosevelt, at least once. When all this happened I'd left Junie and Rosie with one of the neighbors. They're safe for now, but I don't feel comfortable leaving them with someone who isn't me or Perry in this situation," Melissa says, in a tone that says she won't be changing her mind. For anything. "And yeah, start thinking up ideas, questions. Anything and everything. Bring it up at the meeting. We'll need all the ideas we can get."

"I can go back to Roosevelt with you," Devon adds, muttering. An eye cracks open, squinting up at Melissa then Ygraine and lastly Jaiden. He'd been asleep for a little while at least, rousing in time to catch part of that conversation. With a grimace, the boy pushes himself upright though still leaning against the wall. "Navigating the tunnels won't be a problem and I've got a store of things over there too."

"If there's anything urgent, then myself and Jaiden could head across on our own, or take small groups", Ygraine offers, after another luxurious drink of water, before giving Devon a distinctly worried look. "But I really don't want to hear of anyone using the Subway unless it is truly essential. It's in danger of collapse, not to mention what I know is rotting in the water. It's an absolute death-trap. Myself and Jaiden can bypass it entirely."

"I've been doing a little gathering myself, as far as things go. A few caches here and there of food and medical supplies - just in case things go sour, I can help a few folk." Jaiden nods t ygraine. "Hear hear. Without heavy machinery and lights, going down there would be akin to jumping into a shark tank with a meat swimsuit. You'll get ripped up right quick, and if you do survive it, you might wish you hadn't once the infection sets in."

"Good for you. But I consider two children, one who's not even walking yet, urgent," Melissa says, voice hardening slightly. She nods to Devon. "If you want. And we do have lights, Jaiden. We're not exactly incompetent, you know. So consider your warnings listened to, but I'm still going. But right now? I need to get back to my nap so I'm awake enough at the meeting."

"I'm going across however I can," Devon states flatly. His eyes flick from Ygraine to Jaiden, level and unconcerned with the risk. There's more at stake that outweighs the dangers of the trip through the tunnels. "It'll be fine, and we'll return with the children, supplies, and anyone else left behind that wants to move."

Ygraine shoots Melissa and Devon a disbelieving look in turn, then closes her eyes and inhales slowly through her nose. "We're offering help. Not just to you, but generally. They're not our kids, so if you truly want them moved through a near-collapse and leaking tunnel in which corpses have been rotting for twelve days, then I suppose we might not have a right to stop you. But like I said - if there's anything urgent that needs done, give us what we need to know and we can take small groups across to do it - without exposing them to the tunnel. But if you don't want the help, we can easily enough find people here who do, I fear. For the moment, the offer stands, however, 'cause we've not had a chance to have it taken up by anyone else."

"No, you don't have the right to stop me," Melissa agrees. "And we made it through those tunnels getting over here, if you'll remember. Devon, Perry, me, and a lot of other people. I think we're aware of what we'll be getting ourselves into by going. But I'm not going now. Now I'm going to nap then deal with the meeting then see what the next move." And with that she leans her head back, closes her eyes and apparently dismisses the conversation in favor of a nap.'

"We appreciate whatever help you have to offer," Devon continues quietly, still watching both Jaiden and Ygraine. "But we can't just sit by and hide. We came through those tunnels not twelve hours ago, they seemed sound enough to hold up a while longer. Not that I'd suggest playing in there, but passage is possible for a little while longer and we should take advantage of that."

"In preference to accepting offers of safer and faster transit?" Ygraine sounds incredulous, then shakes her head as if to try to clear it. "I sincerely hope it's not your funeral. But be aware that every time you expose yourself to the diseases breeding down there, you risk carrying them up to people you meet on the surface. For whatever reason, you've decided you don't want my aid - not even to look at that shoulder you keep favouring - but please, don't go down there again unless there's no other option."

Raising a hand, she takes a step back, then looks to Jaiden, expression deeply worried. "Can you assess the quality of water?", she asks him, apprehensive tone emphasised by the roughening of her vocal chords.

"Whether it's good or not, yeah, pretty much. I can purify it too, pull it out of the air or the puddles or whatever. Pure H2O. What you've been drinking. Me too." Jaiden gives a grin before turning back to Melissa and Devon. "Look, after the meeting, we'll go. At night, across the river. Should be easy and won't expose anyone to anything nasty."

"Faster as opposed to what," Devon asks. He has no idea what either of the two are capable of, what kinds of abilities they may possess. He glances toward Melissa, then back to Jaiden and Ygraine. "And my shoulder… is just bruised or something. It's fine." He hasn't even let Mel look at it, though she's offered as well. Jaiden's words bring about a pause while the teenager pulls his arm in closer. "At night then. No tricks."

Ygraine briefly closes her eyes again. "We can take small groups to and from Roosevelt without using the tunnel. And we can do it above-ground, without the disease, without the flooding, and without the danger of deadly collapse." A heart-beat's pause. "Admittedly, his way will mess with people's heads a lot less than mine, unless they're scared of water."

Considering Jaiden, Devon stands, using his undamaged shoulder to help with balance and leverage. "I'm curious about your way of getting back and forth," he admits with a glance toward Melissa. "Those kids have to come back safely though. And we're both going." His tone leaves little room for argument. He'll go with their help or without. Leveling his gaze on Melissa again, the teenager shifts his shoulder, the good one, settling his rifle back into place.

"If it's solid", Ygraine says after a pause, "I can walk on it. And I can let other people do so, too, for a time. That's how I got people out of Eastview. I'd gone up the back wall to get in quietly, and to slip people out. That became a lot more urgent once the bombs went off."

Nodding away from the conversation, she rather roughly directs Devon's attention. "That's how I've been to and fro to Roosevelt already today. I used the Bridge. For his part, Jaiden here's a hydrokinetic - and I think that we should go and check up on the water down below, if we can. See just how bad it is so we know what we might be dealing with. Then we can see about helping out with more clean water, and… anything else."

Nodding once more to the youngster, the pale-faced and markedly tense biker then sets about ushering the big Aussie off into the crowd.

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