Black Thread


vf_ellinka_icon.gif vf_logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Black Thread
Synopsis Logan was just in the neighbourhood, and Ellinka is making progress.
Date November 14, 2011

Ruins of New York

It's quiet, as dusk pulls a blanket over the sky — quiet save for the rattle of tire, spokes, and rubble as one man traverses the winding street of ruined New York City on bicycle. Every now and then, it veers out of control by a measure of degrees before the handle bars are righted, making his journey expedient but faintly clumsy as he navigates around cracked concrete, the debris of collapsed structures. Around him, an empty, dilapidated city of grey seems at odds with the innate merriness of a solo bike riding excursion.

Lanky, dressed in worn leathers, camo and black, with a rifle and rucksack both affixed to his back, and a covering that disguises the lower half of his face. Tinted goggles hide his eyes. Hair shorn down to a dark grain, scalp nicked and scarred in places. As he sees his destination loom before him, it's deeply tempting to ring the rusty little bell next to his hand.

But Logan is fairly certain that from wherever Ellinka is perched, she might shoot him for that alone.

He veers out of sight for a moment, ditching mode of transportation somewhere hidden before continuing on foot. Entering the building, and making the long climb up to the Vanguard sniper's roost.

As dusk falls, the only indicator to the outside world that one of the apartments is even still occupied despite the desolation outside is the faint glow of a pair of lit candles. Even though they aren't entirely needed to see yet, just enough light filtering in for the moment, it will make the brief time she is up in the dark easier.

A jeans and heavy jacket protect her from cold air, unable to turn the heat on in her makeshift hideaway. She crosses the room silently, a pistol gripped tight in her hand as she regards a large map set against the back wall. Her rifle rests beneath it on the couch, the map a layout of the city of New York. Push pins scavenged from an old office supply store stick into it, strands of black yarn connecting a few points, with notes and arrows scribbled across it. In big letters, "Where?" sits circled.

A different kind of string map.

When she hears foot steps, her grip on the pistol tightens, eyes cast towards the door.

Logan navigates the rotten interior of the apartment building with very careful foot steps and a very low lit flashlight, slinking like a stray cat among the trash. Finding the right door is a matter of locating the faint glimmer of candlight coming through beneath it. Tugging down his mask and goggles, his eyes make up two points of unnatural green glow in the dim hallway. Nothing happens that Ellinka can detect, save that he confirms she is there, and that no one else is.

He touches the door, and then patters his fingers against it.

Only just loud enough; "Room service."

When she hears John Logan's voice Ellinka's eyes narrow, her tenseness only abating slightly. "Come in," she responds, not too loud - it's too easy for sound to carry in a place like this, and even as late as it was there is no telling who else could be out tonight. She doesn't relinquish her pistol back on to a counter or table, keeping it firmly in grip as she looks towards the door.

She regards him with curiosity for a moment, before turning back to her large map. "We're making progress," she informs him, assuming he's there to check up on her. "Slow progress."

He roams into the room, flashlight stowed away into a pocket, shouldering off rucksack and gun both. The latter, he places down on whatever surface looks to be available. The bag, he zippers open, and starts taking out some items. Water. Rations. More candles. Matches. Kerosene. A slightly squashed roll of toilet paper. The height of luxury. Logan doesn't go so far as to find places for these things, just silently sets them out in a row without preamble.

It's probably not the entire reason he's here, but if it was, it mightn't be a surprise. He's played errand boy in the desolate, virus-infected wasteland once or twice before.

Looking past his shoulder, his eyes finally catch on the centre piece — a string-map, a single question. Picking back up his rifle just to hold, Logan approaches. Curious. He reaches to touch without displacing, taking care not to yank out a pin by accident.

"Are you looking for the centre?"

Ellinka studies the map for another few moments, before nodding in response to Logan's query. She turns back to the coffee table, drawing out two more red pushpins froma small box, along with a green one. She moves up to the map, pushing all three in close to each other. "Like cockroaches," she remarks after a moment, folding her arms. "They're in the woodwork. But they have to come from somewhere."

With that big of knowledge, the map seems to speak for itself. Turning back, a piece of black string is pulled from the box, tied around one of the three new additions, and pinned with a black pin to the top of a building. Her position. From there, an arrow draw to mark the direction one of them took off in.

"Thank you," is offered back to Logan, a glance over to the items that have been placed out. She backs away from the map, studying it as light continues to fade. "What do you think." About the map.

"Very tasteful."

Humour, from Logan, is like this. Instinctual, dry as fresh kindling, and infrequent. More likely around known qualities than unknown ones. His head tips a little as though he really is regarding an art exhibit, and turns to regard the direction from which she tied that black string. A direct line of sight and death from north-facing view. He moves as if to try to pick out where she's marked, leaning a hand against the edge of the window.

The wind coming in is cold, and the air smells like an open grave, organic decay. It makes his stomach turn over, but doesn't pull his mask up over his face again. "Thing about cockroaches is they scatter, don't they, at first sign of danger. They'll find somewhere else to come out."

Ellinka is silent, impassive as she considers what Logan says. She reaches up, tracing fingers across one of the strands of string, remembering what she had seen at that particular sight line. She had been studying them - the scavengers, in their hazmat suits - far more than she had been shooting them.

Logan's joke is met with a strained exhalation, looking back over her shoulder in his direction. She scowls, even though she knows he's not wrong. On too long a timetable, the source would move on, most likely, to another point in the city.

And she doesn't have the resources or time to be doing this in multiple places.

"Desperation," is a quiet retort, "will get the better of them." She seems confident in this.

Logan grunts an affirmation.

Pulls back from the window, then, taking a tentative lean against the wall. "And, you know," he says, fishing into his pockets to pull out a sorry looking hand rolled cigarette, which he firms up with a twist between his fingers. Nails short, a dark seam of filth trapped beneath. "We only need one of 'em."

Not to lay it on too thick for his more human allies, but unlike cockroaches, Evos can talk.

"Care for company?"

Ellinka studies Logan for a long moment, almost similar to how she had studied the map - trying to understand it, and him. Assess them. People, however, are not maps. "I don't capture," she remarks flatly. She can, in theory. She has the training too. But that's not where her specialty - or her weapon of choice - really lie.

"But I can make them reckless." The thinnest fraction of a smile as she turns from the map and rests her gaze on Logan. She regards him for a moment, silent, before moving to pick up the water he has brought.


Must be nice, to have something of a niche. The one thing that makes you valuable, or more than that, exceptional. On the increase, Logan feels as though he requires a little flexibility, a little agility, to be considered of more advantage and appeal than a tool. By the time she looks back at him, he's studying her in turn, eyes bright in the dark and his own thin smile just formed.

He takes out a second cigarette, and offers it over, hand out-stretched. Company it is. Good thing she does, because the way back will be much darker than the way in.

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