Build That Wall


chris_icon.gif dumortier_icon.gif bf_kara_icon.gif reena_icon.gif ryans_icon.gif tara_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Build That Wall
Synopsis I dig my hole, you build a wall
I dig my hole, you build a wall
One day that wall is gonna fall
Date August 18, 2019

A field of late-blooming wildflowers

Northern Providence

With the weather as it is, all fat clouds and sticky air, warm winds and drizzle, this is, perhaps, not the best time to be doing important construction work. But the people of Providence have little recourse when it comes to man-eating robotics, much less protecting themselves.

Already there's been a small snafu here and there, though nothing deterring. Mainly excess mud, and getting the equipment out through the wilderness. The horses help quite a bit, in the end; once they're in the field they plan to erect the tower on, it becomes a necessity to take a breather and clean smears and gobs of wet dirt off of everyone and the feet of the horses. The pieces to be put together are unscathed, thanks to coverage.

No rain, yet. Just bulbous, unhappy looking clouds coasting overhead. Dumortier has been doing his damndest to pick mud from Arrius' hooves before letting him loose with the other horses; some of them are better behaved than others, but at least a few are left to graze. Being a draft horse is hard work.

Rene has little to no experience with mechanical matters— maybe enough to fix a thing or two— so the tower parts are way out of his expertise. He will happily stay away from putting that together. Coincidentally, he's here to be the tall one. After a cursory look to the various hands trickling to the field, Rene heads for the treeline.

This mud is a problem all its own, but there's an urgency to complete the work ahead regardless of it. Kara Prince tows two of the designed disks behind her on a rolling trailer hitched to a quad rather than a horse, though her stubborn Semej is among the number of animals that are here to help. He stamps and bucks his head, unnerving his rider.

"I don't think he likes me," the armed rider calls out to Kara. To that, she snorts as she keys off the off-road vehicle. "If I were him, I'd not like you either," the munition chaplain replies, her voice lifted but still quiet. "Bet you didn't give him a single carrot before setting out."

When her boots hit the ground still saturated from the last rain, Kara lifts her chin in greeting to Rene as he makes his movement around the impromptu camp for putting together the completed pieces. Her gaze roams the field boasting a sea of sunshine-drinking faces of flowers, taking a moment to appreciate it. There's a satisfaction to be taken from knowing soon that soon it'll be a certainty the roaming octopods won't trample the earth here.

Rene gives Kara a return nod of greeting as he passes through, perhaps even the barest hint of a smile. He's up to something, given that. Grass flutters in the wake of his steps, and soon he disappears into the treeline, pushing low-hanging branches of saplings out of his way.

The team will have enough time to work on connecting the more vital pieces while he's AWOL, and the other team digging out a trench for the base of the construct makes some nice headway in the last few stages. They change shifts often, and it is on one of those switches that the treeline is disturbed with the crackle of brittle branches and the sucking of mud. At first it's a startling sound, as if the one thing they came to deter has come after them—

— but it's all wrong. It's not balanced, not staccato, more like a drunken troll than a killing machine.

"Merde, vous connard," swearing, then, muffled but defiant. "Écoute moi, mon dieu."

There are a number of militia patrolling the perimeter of the future fence, appearing and disappearing as they do rounds. One of them, though, seems to have decided to take a break. Tara sits nearby in an old piece of lawn furniture, legs up, a wide-brimmed hat on her head, and a cocktail in hand.

And a shotgun propped against her chair. Just in case.

"You're doing great, Sweetie," she calls out, waving her hand with her encouragement. At who? She doesn't seem to have anyone in particular in mind. Whoever wants it. "You might be more comfortable topless," she adds with a crooked smile just before sipping on her drink. Rene or Kara, she doesn't seem to mind which of them take this, either. Maybe she'd prefer both.

Kara only shakes her head at overhearing the bravos Tara passes around, pausing after jamming a post digger down into the dirt. She considers the woman 'standing guard' with a long look, drawing her bicep across her forehead to wipe down her face in preface to some return commentary, but she overhears the sound of Dumortier's swearing.

That takes precedent. He might actually have something going on.

So she just sighs at Tara tangentially and looks in the direction she hears the French coming from. "Rene," the munitions chaplain calls with thinned patience. "You all right over there?" She's not on edge yet, but with Kara, it's always just a moment away. She squints while she waits for a reply.

It's all quite the mouthful he has for whatever's going on, and when Rene hears Kara's voice he echoes back. "I'm fine! We're fine. Je m'excuse."

Drunken stumbling sounds from the woods eases up, and at least Kara is passingly familiar with the end result of such headaches. Dumortier is perched in the crook of a tree, small hands along the upward reach of branches; it is a ponderous start as the entire tree slogs its way out of the hedgerow. A young black spruce, bristly and dark, roots roiling forward in a two-step, with Rene lost in his focus. The tree leaves a soggy trail of bogwater and dead grasses, a bleak smear amidst the wildflowers.

See? Fine.

Rene brings it to a teetering halt beside the tower base, spilling needles and cones as it roots again. He eases back in his crook with a sigh, brow knotted and eyes on his canopy of prickly bark.

If she thought yelling would at all deter the petite agro… arborkinetic, Kara would do it. Instead, she lets the post-digger go entirely with a bit of a shove. It does not fall. She’s jammed it too hard into the ground for that. Her stupefied look falls short, cut with a dose of irritation. Internal agitation grows as the tree ambles closer and closer to the site, wondering just what his goal is here. Is he not looking? He’s about to—

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Kara is finally throwing up her arms, stepping closer to the line of fire, but not directly in it. She’s not in the mood to get trampled. “Rene,” she protests louder as the spruce takes root where it does, baffled as to its placement. She’s craning her head to one side to make sure the thing isn’t sitting on any equipment, and also that no equipment lies under it in general.

She’s concerned about the possibility the adventurer might fall from his chosen bough.

“What in the world are you doing?” she demands of him regardless.

"Bloody thing." Rene is up there mumbling to himself as Kara is trying to figure out what the hell he's up to, patting the trunk like a horse and poking his head out to look down to his judgment. "Helping?" That's what he's here for!

No trampling. No destruction of supplies, no sitting on them. It shades the space near the pole diggers, who are especially as bewildered as Kara. At least most of them, up until Dumortier stretches out to balance himself on a growing branch, one hand on a second. This is safe. Yep.

Though his fearlessness up there is reassuring just as much it is worrisome. "Send the top half up my way, just get the base down. I can help plug it together and tie it from here." Then it's just him being a little spider monkey, and not a team struggling with lame things like ladders.

“If you get struck by lightning,” Kara hollers up at him in a false warning. “It’s your own fault.”

She shifts a glance at the blackened horizon in the distance. Even though the storms look like they’ll steer north of here, you never knew with thunderheads like those. They could always maneuver themselves at an odd angle, end up anywhere. Even back where they came from.

Kara hadn't thought there was a chance for that severe of weather to be passing through, but.

Her hands clap down against her pantleg regardless, gloved palms singing against denim, and she shakes her head. She rolls one shoulder as she pulls the post digger free, the unbuttoned plaid shirt she wears flapping in the wind and exposing her undershirt plainly. “All hail the plantmancer,” she supposes cheerlessly. “He’s brought us some shade.”

A chuckle comes from at least one person nearby, but Kara keeps her gaze down on her work, a little more motivated than before to be quick about the work they’re getting done today. Posts are shifted, shoved into the dug holes and hammered down as deep into the ground as they can manage. Any concrete reinforcement will have to wait, for the time being, but they can get this partially underway at least.

One of the residents of Providence proper assists with packing the dirt back around the post using some kind of ability, leaning on thin air to flatten the ground out like someone might lean into dough on a table to flatten it. Kara furrows her brow for a moment as she sees the ground shift around his efforts, then looks on to the other posts that need secured, using the back of the shovel in her hand to do much the same on the one she’s worked on. She lifts her chin in a gesture to Morales, one of the guards, who comes down from horseback to do his part in helping heft the metal structure into place over the concrete base they’d laid out here days ago. It’s fastened securely to the ground, and then a second piece is hoisted above it, ready to be latched and locked into place.

“It’s coming up your way, Rene,” Kara calls out, the sound of it lazier than before. She’s working just as hard as before, but she’s tired.

He's keeping an eye on the horizon as much as her; though he knows that it's a danger, they need this thing up, too. There's a pip of tongue and a tilt of head in Kara's direction when she humors him, a moment of play amidst everything else.

Unseen under the poles are roots, clinging on through dirt. Only a few end up poking free, only to slip back out of sight. Some of the tethers get fed up the spruce, Dumortier moving with only minor inconvenience. A path made upwards, a crude stairwell. The heavier line to pull the top into place gets swept up in needly arms, the skeleton of the tower itself sliding into the lazy cradle of branches. From there, Rene can slide down and affix the final latches. It took them days to dig that base before now, and the tiredness is setting in. He's got the energy and a lot of the laborers do not.

Once he's finished climbing around, the plantmancer catwalks his way back across the pine branches. The tree remains where it is, quietly settling branches now poking through the spaces in the tower. Wind will hopefully be a non issue now, as well.

While Rene sets about helping give the tower height, Kara lets herself be nudged back by fresher hands, taking a moment to have a drink. It's in standing still that she starts to realize the sweat that's soaked her shirt. A sidelong glance is given Tara's way, remembering the earlier comment, but she continues to keep the damp outer layer of clothing on as well.

With a sigh, she lifts her eyes toward the horizon. Under different circumstances, she'd welcome rain right about now. It's with a thoughtful frown she studies the distance of the thunderheads, then observes the considerable progress made thanks to the help of the drunken spruce and its spider monkey.

Kara clicks her tongue quietly to punctuate a thought, then lifts her voice. "I'm thinking we should finish setting up the box after the storm's passed. Would be horrible luck if it got struck by lightning right after we placed it." The universe decides then it's a great time for the rumble of thunder to roll through the wildflowers, complete with a brush of wind that sends them swaying.

There would be future storms, sure, but it at least damage to the signal emitter wouldn't happen during this one.

"You think you can part ways from your treehouse, Dumortier?" Kara calls his direction.

"I've got better ones." It seems that Dumortier takes quick note of the wind, even before the sound of anything more stirring up in the sky; he swings his way back to the inside cover of the tree and makes his way down at a clipped pace, sliding partway down the trunk and leaving splintery bark behind.

"I wouldn't be against some rain about now, but lightning and I aren't besties." Rene sheds his outer layer, cheeks flushed and puffing once as he collects himself from all the climbing. Both hands and pants are covered in sticky sap and bits of needle and bark, and attempting to wipe his palms mostly just… moves the dirt around. "Says the guy who was just at the top of a tree." Kara gets a small, gaming sort of wink. Nyeh-heh.

Well, Kara thinks with a scoff to herself and a shake of her head. At least he's self-aware. She jerks her head back in the direction of what passes for civilization around here.

The abandoned rock quarry

Southern Providence

He feels it in his bones, in his ruined arm… When Benjamin was younger he used to laugh when he heard old people talk about the ache in their bones when a change in the weather was coming. Oh, how naive he was. With the change in pressure, the old man is reminded of old injuries, some he doesn’t even remember.

Pausing from the digging he’s doing, Benjamin looks up at the building pillars of white clouds in the distance, tipping back the old beat up cowboy hat Delia gave him long ago. With his arm lifted to shade his eyes, he watches the movement for sometime. The clouds look innocent from that distance, but by the time it reaches them, it might be a different story.

Best not dawdle then, Ben tells himself turning back to the shovel.

Despite his handicap, Ryans hasn’t let that keep him from doing any of the hard work needed to get the towers up. It was hard work, but honest work to keep a community safe. He might be a SESA agent undercover, but at the moment, Ben felt like he was back on the island, before the fall. A time when things were simpler and was simply about leaning on each other for survival.

Ben never realized that he had missed it.

When Zachery was offered a shipment of wood paneling in exchange for a favor a few days ago, he knew he'd come to regret it almost instantly.

Never once did he think it would result in him sitting in the shade of a large rock, elbow lazily over a propped up knee, watching the beginnings of a tower being very slowly erected. The favor was to help, but they never specified HOW. A well-stocked, shiny, orange duffel bag that looks like it might survive possible upcoming rain better than he would sits just beside him, a white cross on its side. The bag stands out in its garishness about as much as its owner does, both in how the air of the Safe Zone still clings to his every fiber, and in how he's keeping his distance from any work.

Back pressed against stone, he looks out over those actually making themselves useful, one-eyed gaze lingering on each individual as his attention drifts between them. And when it lands on Ryans' back, it sticks there for the moment, his face lifting.

“More hands make less work.”

It's definitely not a complaint. Not from Chris. From him it's an opinion. A pointedly stated opinion with as much animosity as a cantankerous old man with kids on his yard.

Chris, however, is neither cantankerous nor old.

He also doesn't have a yard for kids to run across.

It's at least the eleventh time he's made the statement. And this time it's as he's up to his elbows in wet earth and rock, checking the depth of one of the latest holes dug. Nearby is the post hole shovel he'd been using just moments before he tossed it onto the ground.

“How long are you planning to sit on your ass?” That's to Zachery. “If you ask me,” follows as Chris sits back on his heels. He looks at Ryans, directing his wisdom toward the older man. “That kid of yours would've been more useful than Cyclops over there. A blind quadrapledric would be more help than Jolly Roger over there.”

A heavy sigh escapes the old man as Chris goes off again, breaking the serenity of the moment. It was the sigh of a man tolerating two kids bickering. Even though it was like nails down a chalkboard… to be honest, he’s had lots of practice over the years.

Tossing the shovel aside, Ryans turns his attention to Zachery. Yeah, he sees you looking! “Hey,” the deep boom of Ben’s voice carries far. His good hand motions to bags of quick dry cement. “Bring us a couple of those.The sooner we do this, the sooner we can get home.” He has work to do after all.

"Working without supervision is how you get to be a blind quadriplegic." Zachery counters dryly, facetiously. Ryans turning to him does little to stop the newcomer's stare, and it persists from below knitted brow. His jaw rolls, and… slowly, gradually, he leans sideways to firmly plant a hand on dusty rock, and to help push him upward. "See, getting out of here. That I can work with, for motivation."

Doing his best not to show the stiffness that follows sitting on bare rock for a while, he finally breaks eye contact and starts an amble toward the dry cement, pushing a shoulder back in idle stretch. There is a look, over his shoulder - as if briefly he expects someone unexpected to be there watching him. Then, flatly but through a tired grin, he adds, "To think I was only going to live here half the week. All this fun manual labour I would have missed out on."

Reena comes into view before long, trailing a cooler behind her. There's no ice in it, but there are several bottles of water. The bottles are varied, some plastic, some metal, all reusable. She sets the cooler down near the group, gesturing to it. "Some drinks," she notes before she steps up toward the work.

"How can I help?"

She may be somewhat reclusive busy, but she has been known to show up for these sorts of events. Building. Rebuilding.

“Sitting there being mouthy is also how you become a blind quadrapledric.”

It doesn't matter that the target of his griping is already — finally — up off his ass and moving, Chris is still going to tell him a thing or three. “You need supervision, I can find you supervision. What kind of grown ass man can't do an honest day’s work without someone holding his hand.” It's a rhetorical question, made as he doubles down on clearing the last of the loose dirt from the hole.

Ryans watches Zachery for a moment to see if he is actually going to do it before he goes back to work. The shovel is tossed aside so he can climb out of the hole to retrieve the support they would be trapped in cement. Where as Chris is one of many words, the old man is content to work in silence.

Ben looks towards Zachery over where the bags were dumped and then back to Reena, “Thank you. We need the cement,” His chin jerks towards the bags. “Please.” The support is lifted and dropped - carefully - into the hole to check the depth. “How’s that look?” He asks Chris since he is still there. “We get it there?” Finally?

"I don't need supervision, I was implying—" Zachery starts in response to Chris when arriving at the bags, before throwing up his hands. "You know what, nevermind." Said with the forced, thin smile of someone who hasn't been necessarily fitting in, and who is blaming everyone but himself.

He turns his head to look to Reena. So many faces to commit to memory. When he sinks down to pick up one of the bags. He struggles a little with exactly how to, at first - like he needed another thing to make him stand out as a city-slicker - before hoisting it up with a, "FffFh." He's not out of shape, but awkward enough to be a dead giveaway for not being used to manual labor.


The sound of Kara Prince's voice carries only just over the sound of the ATV she's driving as she approaches vaguely from the direction of one of the other sites. The pronounced, mud-tracked treads of the four-wheeler send water flying when it splashes through one of the puddles left from the last rain, skirting their way through the gravel so she can get near enough to be better heard.

Even over the wind that's beginning to rouse in the trees again.

"We saw lightning out by our site! Going to have to pack this up until tomorrow!"

Despite the delays, the work would be done as soon as the current storm passed and the skies cleared again. The invisible fenceline would be drawn around the settlement, and it would stand strong against the senses of the roaming machines.

After all, the continued safety of Providence depended on it.

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