Cheerful Prognostication


elisabeth_icon.gif emerson_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Cheerful Prognostication
Synopsis Two FRONTLINErs and a Ferrywoman walk up to a Dome…. The conversation that follows is rather short on punchlines.
Date February 11 2011

Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island, formerly known as Welfare Island and before that Blackwell's Island, is a narrow island in the East River of New York City. It lies between the island of Manhattan to its west and the borough of Queens to its east. Running from Manhattan's East 46th to East 85th streets, it is about two miles long, with a maximum width of 800 feet, and a total area of 147 acres.

The island is part of the Borough of Manhattan and New York County. Together with Mill Rock Island, Roosevelt Island once had a population of about 12,000 prior to the bomb. The land is owned by the city, but was leased to the State of New York's Urban Development Corporation for 99 years in 1969. Most of the residential buildings on Roosevelt Island are rental buildings.

Following the bomb, Roosevelt Island suffered a great deal of damage from the throw debris from the explosion of Midtown Manhattan. The tram service connecting Roosevelt Island to Midtown was destroyed on the midtown end, leaving one small bridge connecting to Long Island City in Queens as the only means out of the city.

Subsequent fires, looting and food riots on the island left what was once a prosperous neighborhood in ruins in the aftermath of the bomb. Business began to close one by one, residence left for the outskirts of New York City, and now Roosevelt Island is like a shell of its former self, a proverbial ghost-town with a population of only 700 on the island. Streets are untended, cracked and dusty, weeds growing up between the broken pavement. It is not an uncommon sight to see old newspapers blowing across the street and the boarded up windows of shops and apartments.

She doesn't ask her squad to do things Elisabeth herself isn't willing to do. It's one of the most important tenets, to her mind, of running a team — they have to know when push comes to shove you're one of them. She's been taking pretty regular patrol runs around the dome with team members, and she's more than grateful for the Horizon armor. It has some warming properties because the specialized armor has to remain warm enough to morph. She's even wearing the helmet!! Dooley will be so proud. Her HUD is not engaged, though, and the face shield is pulled up in spite of the cold.

Elisabeth's breath is frosting the frigid air as she tromps the perimeter of the dome. "I'm hoping JJ's catching some sleep," the blonde tells her companion. "I'm not sure how long the calm inside is going to actually last. I'm told that one of the guys in there has rigged several car batteries to charge up the cell phones inside without having to run the engines, so at least that's something."

Dooley, on the other hand, would probably be pissed Hannah Emerson, who has eschewed her had for the time being. She had it on earlier, but se claims constantly that the thing is just too stuffy to be comfortable for long periods of time. Heck, for some one on patrol, she would almost look like someone out for a stroll if it wasn't for the high tech suit of armour and the automatic rifle. That's a pretty big if, though.

"I'm sure JJ's doing fine. He's pretty good at taking care of himself." She's been out to the dome before, briefly, but this is her first prolonged patrol alongside her squad leader, and the longer she's around the the more uneasy it makes her. "They're getting smart like that, but I worry where that's going to lead if this lasts much longer. I hope JJ has his wits about him more than anything else."

Another method of charging phones is in the possession of one of the other occupants of the Dome, and it and its owner are presently lounging on a chair (liberated from a nearby garden) in the pollution-filtered sunlight bathing one of the gardens cut in two by the Dome. With the gate open, Ygraine can keep an eye on the road outside - and the movement on the far side of the field a few yards away - but it takes her a few moments to do so, because she's engrossed in surfing the Web, her cell plugged into a small black box from which a crank-handle protrudes.

Upon registering the presence of others, however, Ygraine hastily lowers her feet from the chair upon which they're resting and scrambles upright. Fortunately, she does remember to pick up both phone and charger rather than leaving one half of the connection behind, and duly trots out of the gate with the two things in her hands.

In spite of the smile on her face, it's clear that the Briton has been in the prison of the Dome for some time now. Bike leathers aren't really meant to be worn day after day, let alone by someone who has gone delving in a range of tunnels during her captivity, and they're now distinctly showing the lack of anything better than water and wet-wipes as cleaning materials. Still, the Briton's dyed red hair is neatly braided, and she seems to have woken up enough to look quite cheerful. Perhaps not a standard response to FRONTLINE troopers, admittedly.

"He seems to be pretty squared away at the moment," Elisabeth replies to Hannah. JJ's occasionally far more like Bax than she might like — a cut-up and such — but he seems to be good people. Ygraine's movement on the far side to approach brings Elisabeth's head around. Not because she heard the woman, but because she saw her. Jerking her chin, she says, "That's one of the people who's given me updates when I come through. She's got a wierd name… gimme a minute and I'll think of it." Yanking her helmet off, Elisabeth approaches the barrier. "Ygraine, yeah? How're things going in there?"

"Ygraine?" It's repeated, but Emerson's pronunciation isn't quite right. "Is she French?" Probably just lound enough to be heard by the woman in question, oops. "Well… it's good to know that we have a few people on the inside keeping up posted. That'll make things that much easier if this thing ever comes down, or God help us the rest of the city ends up in the fucking thing." She follows closely behind Liz, offering a bit of a smile to Ygraine as the pair approaches, but otherwise trying look like a properly patroling soldier should.

Finding herself entering a conversation with both hands full, Ygraine offers Elisabeth and her unknown companion a somewhat sheepish nod of greeting, busying herself with the task of safely stuffing the objects at either end of the power cable into each of the main side pockets of her jacket.

"Good morning, and yes, I'm Ygraine", she responds as she settles things in place, those few words eminently suitable for displaying her educated and British accent. "The origin's unknown. It first crops up as the name of Arthur's mother in the very oldest Welsh legends about him. But no one knows where it came from or what it might mean."

Precious items securely stowed away - albeit with the cable still linking the pair across the front of her jacket - she looks up and offers a smile to the two officers of the law. "Things are… much as you'd expect. We still seem to be avoiding the major disasters I was worried might kick off - no one's ignited any of the gas lines since the first day, for example - but the longer we're kept in here the worse some problems are going to get. The sewers have been stationary and stagnant for the whole time, for example… save for where they're draining through breaks into places they shouldn't be. And there're… some other problems. The Subway, for example."

Elisabeth shoots a grin at Hannah and murmurs, "British," even as Ygraine speaks and displays the accent. She tucks her helmet under her arm and turns her attention back to the Brit. "There's not much we can do about the Subway or the sewers. On the up side, there's water — you just need to make sure to boil it for ten minutes before even thinking about drinking it." It is, after all, the Hudson. Ugh. Or there's snow in there still, of course. "Right now, we know that it's been caused by an Amp'd Evo. The trick is locating his ass — and that's kind of all on you guys. Don't pass it around, though, I don't want a bunch of people being lynched as mobs try to find him." She grimaces.

Hannah's fingers flex, trying to stave off a bit of the cold she feels despite her armour. She gives a bit fo a nod towards Elisabeth, smirking. "Probably hiding out somewhere underground, if he's smart. Out of sight. I find it hard to believe that one amp'd evo could cause something like this, but…" She shakes her head, letting out a bit of sigh. "What's wrong with the Subways? They stopped teh lines days ago I thought, are they very trecherous at the moment, or is it something worse?"

Ygraine nods ruefully. "White, adult male, probably over eighteen and no older than his forties, with chewed fingernails", she says quietly. "Shot up - or was shot up by someone else - amidst some weeds beneath the bridge on the Queens side of the river…."

Sighing softly, she shoots Hannah a somewhat anguished look. "My initial nightmares were about the… the car that got cut in two. They're designed to take impacts to some extent, but not when sheared in half. The rear portion… concertinaed. With people inside. I could see some of them. I… I was the one who went right up and… confirmed my suspicion that the 'Dome' is actually a sphere. Down that deep, the curvature's in the other direction. It's looping back around."

She shakes her head. "Now… now I'm rather more remembering the water. The tunnel got cut in two - and so did everything between it and the Hudson, which is now struggling to flow as normal. Apply pressure to force a liquid against a minimally-porous surface, and the liquid will try to spread over the surface. So water will be getting forced down along the surface of the field, as well as through it. It's a long way for it to go, but… I'm worried about what might happen to the integrity of the tunnel. Either side of the cut might collapse."

Shrugging ruefully, Ygraine musters a smile. "It's quite possible that the leaks through the roof that we saw were the result of severed pipes. But it's also possible that they weren't. And if the Hudson starts flowing into the Subway system…."

Elisabeth nods to the intel and she says, "The city engineers are already looking at the problems." They're not blind to them. "We know that at least you're getting fresh air. The debris can't get out, and that will become an issue over time, but right now…. it's about trying to find the source. I've never seen an Amp'd power go on for this long. So he's either got a supply of the stuff or there's some other explanation."

Glancing at Emerson, Liz also adds quietly, "The decomp process will put odors and toxins into the immediate surroundings, too. So if the dome suddenly drops and the river's pressing on it, we could be looking not only at the Hudson flooding the entire subway system, it could also contaminate the water table for the entire city as well."

"Fucking… Jesus," is muttered out as Emerson as she takes in the rather unsavoury detail that Ygraine shares. A part of ehr almost voices a thankfulness taht it's JJ stuck there, and not her. But it's neither the time now place for that, so isntead she just sighs. "In that case, we should get in contact with City PLanning and the transit system. See if there's a way to block off those tunnels feasibly until something can be done to drain them when this all goes down." Which could be any minute now. Meaning, someone should get on this soon, be it them or someone else.

"At least it's not as cold in here as out there", Ygraine says, mustering a little cheer that's not quite entirely false. "But… yeah. We don't know exactly how many people we have in here, what they've been doing, nor what problems there might be that we've simply not found yet. There'll be waste - maybe even bodies - in places there really shouldn't be, and with nutrition not what it might be and a sealed system, we're probably not too far off starting to see disease outbreaks as people succumb to things they'd normally resist. Or not even be exposed to at all."

Leather creaks as she shrugs ruefully. "On the good side, we've got a lot more space than would be normal for this size of population, which'll do a lot to mitigate such things. But… I admit that I'm worried. And that's without getting onto things like what some people might do if they do find someone they think fits the bill for the 'responsible' individual, or what'll happen as soon as we have our first discovery of someone who was hoarding supplies while others went hungry."

Ygraine's comment drives Elisabeth's brows up. And then she looks beyond alarmed. Something occured to her just in that moment that she struggles to hide from the women. "Just…. keep things as calm as you can. You've got help. I know the Suresh Centre isn't people's favorite place, but you've got doctors in there, medications. There are guards who can help mediate disputes of that nature. In the meantime…. we're working as fast as we can to try to get through. I promise." She sighs heavily. "I wish I could do more."

While the too woman talk, Emerson's gaze has diverted to look around at the dome, a bit of a scowl on her face as she appraise the strange structure of force. This thing, it boggles her. She's the kind of person who's more at home walking up to a problem and punching it if it's too in the way. No such luck with something like this, not unless she wants to break expensive technology, and she's pretty certain both Liz and Sarisa would have her ass for that.

"Me too, She grumbles in response to Liz. "Your best bet might be to keep as many people as possible near the Suresh Center. Which I'm sure is already happening because I hope I'm stating the obvious, but… I'm sure some people are holed up in buildings. Happened all the time when we'd move into the mroe remote vilalges back in the Middle East. It couldn't hurt to go around,t rying to coax some of stragglers out. Might put a bit of strain on food, but it's going to help in the long run."

"Everything I've seen about disaster situations will guarantee that many people will be guarding what they see as 'theirs', whether by conventional property rights or because they found it first or because they see themselves as having a special need", Ygraine says ruefully - though even as she talks, she's rather intently studying Liz, having definitely caught that new look. "There'll be real hoarding going on, and false suspicions of it as well. That's… part of the reason I suggested finding someone who could be named as a 'legitimate civil authority' in here. It won't solve all problems, but doctors, police, and 'local government' will all get different kinds of cooperation from different people."

"As for gathering around the Centre… I'm worried that if everyone piles up in one spot, we'll primarily promote disease and increase our sanitation problems. But anything else might lead to an increase in territoriality - people defending 'their' patch against anyone foraging for necessary supplies."

Shaking her head, Ygraine offers a wan smile. "This all reminds me of some theoretical social experiments I've read about. Isolate a population and subject it to comparatively mild but constant pressure. See how it responds over time. But…." She looks to Liz. "I have the impression that we might still be some time from figuring out exactly what's going on, unfortunately."

Knowledge that an major outbreak of the H5N10 Evo flu is imminent is not something Elisabeth can share right now. It won't do any good to panic the people inside the dome…. for all she knows, they may be the ones immune. "Unfortuantely, naming an authority is outside my jurisdiction. I'm just the muscle, lady," Liz says gently. "I've passed those recommendations up the pipe already, and aside from my daily reports on the status as I get information, I'm pretty much just the hall monitor." She pauses. "Good luck, Ygraine. You have my number if I can do anything to help." She glances at Emerson. They should get on the move again.

Emerson purses her lips. She hadn't thought of the health risks, simply that having people together could make for easier distribution, and if it came to it, innoculations for those who need it against anything that pops up. She bobs a finger a few times at Ygraine, smiling. "You've got a good head on your shoulders. Hopefully, that'll help keep things going closer to sane in there, for now. If you see JJ, give him our support. And tell him I owe him a Red Bull when he gets out." Stepping back and a bit past Liz, the solider olls her shoulders, letting out a bit of a sigh. "Be careful in there, and thanks for what you brought to our attention."

Ygraine chuckles, albeit somewhat sadly, and ducks her head to the two policewomen. "You're welcome. And I hope to catch him again some time soon. And…" She shrugs, managing to muster another smile. "Thank you for your own efforts. Hopefully I'll have some actively good news to report soon."

Raising a hand in farewell, she nods goodbye, then turns and heads back towards her borrowed garden furniture to resume her virtual contacts with the world outside the grimy sphere of her prison.

As they walk away, Elisabeth still carrying her helmet under her arm in spite of the cold, she murmurs to Emerson, "I hope the assholes at the top of the food chain are thinking about what happens if there's an outbreak of something in there and the dome comes crashing down."

"When are the assholes at the top of the food chain ever thinking?" Emerson replies wryly, aiming a smirk in Elisabeth's direction. "I don't know. I hope so. Because the more I hear, the more I think this dome going up isn't going to be the worst of this… it's going to be when it comes down."

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