Cloudy Judgment


abby6_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif liza2_icon.gif lynette2_icon.gif rue_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif

Scene Title Cloudy Judgment
Synopsis The Ferry makes a kill.
Date August 11, 2011

Somewhere South of Pollepel Island

There would have been more debate about what to do with the survivors if there were any.

Smoke billows from the gaping holes where the military truck's windows used to be and blood-stained glass glitters in dark, ugly fragments on the gravel road. Accidents can happen anywhere, whether it's on the freeway or out in the dense forest where Colonel Heller's men have set up camp not too far from the Ferrymen's northern stronghold, but the steaming wreckage half-sunken in the bog on the side of the road is the product of intent.

Once upon a time, the military ambushed a group of Ferrymen on patrol and left them for dead. Today, the network returns the favour. The bodies of the driver and passenger collect flies on the bog's bank, their clothes and hair soaked in stagnant water rife with mosquito larvae. Whether the soldiers were killed from the force of the explosion that knocked their vehicle off the road or from the impact of it flipping side-over-side is a mystery that Heller's people might try to solve when they discover their missing men a few hours from now, but it doesn't concern the individuals salvaging supplies from the back of the battered truck.

The actual acts of terrorism Tasha has taken part in, she can probably count on one hand. One left her unconscious with a bullet hole in her throat, most of the memory wiped away from the emotional trauma. Today, she half wishes she could forget what she is seeing.

She also wishes she can forget the lunch she's just seen for the second time today — she thinks no one saw her stagger behind the tree to throw up a few moments ago.

Now, mouth wiped clean, she is carrying a load of ammunition from the vehicle to stow in her horse's saddlebags.

Once upon a time, the military killed the husband of her de facto daughter. An act that for some reason, was part and parcel for the woman coming back through the fingers of time to try and change things with others. Said daughter is safe, tucked away in the halls of Bannerman for now and Abby is hanging back from the truck, keeping an eye on things with the rifle in her hand. Not having done actual shooting, but prepared to do more if needed. Multi-hued hair tucked under a cap and watching from beneath the brim, ear out for the sound of any other vehicles. "How much longer?"

While her horse stands near by, Lynette is at the back of the truck, pulling out things that look useful and not… smashed in the explosion and resulting crash. She hasn't said anything to anyone post-fireworks (as it were), focusing more on getting things done as fast as she can manage. She doesn't look happy, but then… she didn't look happy before all this, either. In fact, she doesn't seem to have an issue with the dead soldiers about the place, saving her delicate sensibilities for the horrors of fashion and bad liquor instead.

However, that doesn't make her insensitive. Pulling a box out to carry over back over to her horse, she does pat Tasha on the back. It's just a simple gesture, not calling attention to anything, if the others didn't notice, but making sure the girl is okay, all the same. There is a glance to Abby at her question before she replies dryly, "I'd assume not long."

Rue's sure to catch hell for this from Nora later. She shouldn't be out on a run like this. But sitting around and recuperating doesn't suit the leggy redhead picking through supplies in the back of the overturned vehicle.

That coupled with a healthy dose of desired retaliation against men who killed her in an alternate timeline (don't overthink it), and have killed people she came to call family, spurred her to be here today. To help take lives. Leaving broken bodies on the side of the road almost doesn't feel a strong enough answer to the message Heller sent first.

In short, Rue Lancaster feels precisely zero remorse for this act of vengeance. Though her having no trouble sleeping tonight will likely stem from the fact that she has more difficulty staying awake. It shows in the way she trudges back to deposit her haul in the saddle bags of her own horse. She's light enough following her illness that she isn't concerned about overloading the animal with ammo or guns. The one slung across her back is a hunting rifle like her father taught her to shoot ducks with.

It seems weird and out of place how easily Liza falls into this role. She takes it in stride, as with everyone, and regardless of deaths, she still seems her usually pleasant self. She's not so fond of the bog, but she's no stranger to hard work and the petite blonde is right in the midst of things, handing things from the truck off to anyone moving between the truck and the horses. Conveyor-belt-style is always most effective, according to Liza.

On the back of her pale mare, Eileen appears less interested in the spoils of war than the bodies stiffening in the sweltering summer sun. The same breeze rippling across the bog tugs at the loosest strands of her hair and floats them around her face as she twists the leather reins between her fingers and steers her mount toward the water's edge where half a dozen red-winged blackbirds perch atop swaying reeds with their gold and crimson feathers layered neatly atop their obsidian ones.

She must agree with Lynette's assessment of how much time they have left to finish because she does not offer a differing opinion. Either that, or she isn't paying enough attention to what's happening at her back to have heard. The forest is alive with the sounds of the late afternoon. Frogs moan in the tall grass and insects make fiddles of their wings.

The small dark horse Tasha rides whinnies, shaking its head away from a damselfly; Tasha pats it before turning to gaze, face stoic now, upon the bodies of the two men killed. Taking a deep breath she walks in that direction, sneakers making wet noises in the muck of the bog.

They need the guns. She can do this.

She crouches beside the first man, fingers poised delicately so as not to touch anything that was once living and breathing human. Plucking gingerly at mucky, bloody fabric she manages to find his sidearm. One down. Another to go. Shoving the gun into the back of her jeans, she makes squelching steps to the next to do the same.

"See anything Eileen?" Abby flickers blue eyes over to Tasha as she's combing through bodies, lips pressed thin. Part of her grateful that it's Tasha who is going it and not her. Fingers tighten on the stock of her rifle and she tears her gaze away, first to the avian telepathis and then back to surrounding woods, close to her own horse, ready to mount if needs be.

That Tasha goes voluntarily to loot the bodies themselves gets a smirk from Lynette, but she doesn't speak up or call her back. It'll… build character. "It's a world where the dog eats the dog," is more of a darkly amused murmur to herself as she gets her saddlebags filled and closed up tight. "How's everyone? We might think about moving along soon, if you've all grabbed what you can."

She mounts up onto her horse with an ease that speaks of years of practice. Being comfortable on a horse is not a new sensation for her, as much as she doesn't speak much of her ranching background. She has a rifle with her, too, but it's sitting in reserve in a halter on her saddle. She'd rather zap things, if the need arises.

"He's rolled over on it," Rue tells Tasha as she approaches the dark-haired girl and the second body. "I'll get it." The pixie-faced freedom fighter (only her auntie's allowed to call her a terrorist) grabs hold of uniform fabric to haul the soldier's body over onto his back. Not without a grunt of effort and a moment that looks like hesitation, meant to disguise the need to catch a breath.

Indecision seems a safer tell than physical weakness. Rue reaches into the man's jacket to empty his holster. She finds broken ribs before firearm. "Got it," she tells Tasha, offering a quick smile as she passes off the gun to her before lifting her head to answer Lynette.

"I'd entertain the notion of waiting in the bushes to ambush whoever comes looking for these bastards."

Grabbing a last bit of ammo from the back, Liza sloshes her way back to her horse, working on packing everything safely into saddle bags. "I think that's a good idea, moving along. It'll be safest this way," she agrees before patting her horse gently, stroking his nose before climbing up with a fond smile. She's probably named it.

Metal tinkles against metal on Eileen's saddle and the Englishwoman dismounts onto the damp earth. Mud bubbles up under the weight of her boots. "No," she tells Abigail, a hand splaying fingers across the velvet barrel of her mare's neck to reassure the animal before it drops and hooks around the grip of the wolf's head cane at her hip. Her thumb releases the catch in the same motion — a moment later, the sword sheathed inside becomes a long column of silver in the sunlight.

Across the bog, warmer-hued specks wink in and out of existence between the trunks of crooked trees and their thin, rattling leaves. One firefly alights in Liza's hair and clings there, a miniature lantern. "That's cloudy judgment, Lancaster."

"Thanks," says Tasha, her cheeks a little rosy against the pallor of the rest of her face — she probably wouldn't have been willing to roll the man over. The gun is tucked with the other and she stands again, looking to Eileen as the other small brunette dismounts.

The teenager moves to her own horse, putting one of the guns in the saddlebag but keeping the other with her; she's not an able enough horsewoman to ride and carry a rifle or shotgun, but a side arm tucked in her jeans she can manage.

Resting her hand alongside its neck, she looks to Eileen. "Anything else we need to do?" She won't mount if Eileen isn't on her horse, following their leader's lead.

"Be foolish. They'll come looking for them and armed to the teeth. We're lucky enough with this hit. They're on our doorstep, we don't want to outright give them an invitation to come and knock on our door. Which they might be able to track if we stayed to meet the search and rescue patrol" Abigail voices her thoughts on the laying in wait a second time.

"Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. They won't be letting us get away with it a second time"

"Ladies," Lynette says, lifting a hand. "This doesn't need to be a discussion." Meaning, they already know their job. Her attention shifts to Eileen with her sword, and while she doesn't arm herself, she does look a little more ready. And her gaze sweeps over the trees, keeping an eye out.

Rue huffs a little, but doesn't argue. Because she knows Eileen is right, and she'll readily defer to her judgement. "I get it," she hisses tersely, shoulders hunching up a little defensively. While the thought of a second ambush is satisfying in her mind, she can only lament its lack of practicality. She watches their leader. Or more accurately, the blade she wields.

The firefly-clad Liza turns her head slightly at the flash of the sword, fingers still petting her horse gently while the other hand settles lightly on the reins. She lets her eyes go to Rue, offering her an apologetic smile. While she tends to agree that it'd be trouble to ambush them, she doesn't voice her opinion, instead letting her eyes move back towards the road itself, and further down it.

Eileen takes to a knee beside the driver's corpse and grabs a fistful of hair in her free hand. The other adjusts its grip on the sword, which she uses more like a butcher's cleaver than the elegant, flashing weapon it was at the end of Kazimir Volken's arm. As the muscles in her neck and jaw go taut, she sucks in sharp breath through her nostrils and levers the blade to produce a wet crackling sound.

The head twists free, and before she hoists it Eileen uses the back of her hand to smear the excess gore from her face. "You want to send Heller a message," she says, sending the head sailing at Rue in a low arc, "then send him a message, and address it to Miller Airfield. Tell him where his people belong."

The youngest of the party is a little slow in figuring out what Eileen is about to do, and turns her head too late to avoid seeing the decapitation of the man whose gun she had just removed. Tasha's gasp makes the horse whinny, shake its head and roll its huge eyes, no doubt lamenting the fact that it got stuck with the more nervous rider of the human bunch.

One hand reaches up to cover her mouth, and she tips her face upward to breathe in deeply through her nose, focusing on the sky and trying to remember the lyrics to Henry the VIII I Am (I Am).

At the display, Lynette lets out a little sigh. She has an appreciation for dramatics, sure, but at the moment, she's a little antsy to get them all away from the site. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not watching you. "I think we can call that a suitable curtain call," she says wryly as she takes her reins in hand. "Shall we?"

While Rue doesn't reach out to catch the head that's sailing in her direction, she doesn't dance away from it when it lands at her feet either. Her face goes much paler than it was moments before, but eventually she crouches down and also lifts it by a handful of hair. She's standing just a little too straight and limbs just a little too rigid to be entirely unaffected.

Bright blue eyes close heavily, and she works to recall a different memory. First she remembers a soldier dragging her by her bushy hair until his hand was removed by the man she knows as Reynard. Then she remembers Hannah hanging from a tree. When Rue opens her eyes again, it's with a renewed fire of conviction. "Somebody find something for me to wrap this trash in."

Liza is secretly glad it wasn't her the head was thrown at. The fairly unflappable blonde isn't horrified about the head, she's just startled and instinctively reins her horse to step back a few paces. She'd say it's just her reaction to a projectile headed in the nearby vicinity, and for all intents and purposes, she might be right. One never forgets one's training. The petite blonde looks towards Rue and the head, then around for something to put it in but finding none, she simply looks back to Rue.

"How many stamps do you think that'll take?"

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