Dog Days Of Summer


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Scene Title Dog Days of Summer
Synopsis Erin and Kendall find out what happens when Kendall gets high in Delphi
Date July 1, 2021

Delphi Flotilla

The Delphi Flotilla is one of the largest coastal settlements on the North-American Atlantic residing over what was once Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a skyscraper archipelago only rivaled in size by the Manhattan Pelago in what was once New York. Delphi was hard-hit by the Sentinel in 2019 but has since seen a renaissance since the Sentinel's defeat in the north. Delphi boasts a population of 2,350 spread out over two miles of above-sea level skyscraper rooftops, floatilla, and ramshackle wharves and floating structures.

Tomorrow is the big day. They're finally headed out west in this big adventure (because going south to Delphi really didn't count, it's basically hopping over the neighbors' fence), and that means they need supplies. The inclusion of a dog caught Kendall's attention, and he decided to take up Erin's offer of going out to rustle up some supplies, with the bonus that Kendall might even get stuff he likes.

He's also tempted to try hoodwinking some of the people here using his power. The people in the Pelago know he's able to make something out of nothing, but the people here don't, which means he might get away with bartering fake things for real things.

This is a terrible idea.

Erin is uncertain just how much the people of this place know about the plan of the Travelers, or about the Travelers at all. She made a decision on a whim, thinking certain skills - academic or otherwise - may be helpful. But as many people after making spur-of-the-moment life-altering quick-time-events, she is extremely anxious. Kendall is, in fact, the first person who has approached her thus far, and seems to be a dog lover, so y’know, carpe doggo.

Out of her pocket comes a peanut butter cookie, crafted lovingly with cannabutter from the stash she had shared with Eve once upon a time: the sat-Eve-a. She takes a bite, pauses, and then offers it to the apparent chaos gremlin now counted among her allies.

“I actually don’t know what supplies we even need. It seems like people who know things are doing the getting things for the group? It’s just nice to be included. I’m Erin, by the way, and this goodest boy is Colin. Are you looking for something in particular?”

The cookie is eyed for a moment, and Kendall eventually shakes his head. “Kendall. And uh, not really anything in particular. Anything I want is ten years gone.” probably a commonality among everyone who survived. When Colin is introduced, he drops his gaze and smiles at him, reaching out for a pat. Erin already gave permission previously, so unlikely the pupperpet has been rescinded. For his part, several of the very short list of people he cares about are going, and he is not going to be left behind, even if he did get in a bad argument with one of them.

“This whole thing is… well, I learned a few things about our trip, and I don’t think I like much of anything going on.” he remarks, shaking his head. “Though honestly, every time I hear a building creak I wonder if it’s going to collapse into the sea, so the idea of going somewhere that still has land sounds better and better. But I have reasons to keep going with… them.”

Erin turns her head and looks at Kendall, stopping in her tracks. This is, of course, a poor idea in a crowded bazaar filled with rats, but she doesn’t notice as people shoulder past them. “Do you care to elaborate on that?”

“Strangers.” Kendall elaborates, without giving much away even if rats were listening in. “Wonder if it’s just rats, or moles too.” he mutters after a moment, because that’s where his train of thought went: A bad joke. “Bad things seem to happen when they show up.” he adds on a more serious note.

“Oh. Well, we’re strangers.” She grins sheepishly, one side lopsided with social awkwardness but the other side genuinely glad to have found a companion to talk to. “But I guess we don’t have to be.” A beat. “That…sounds weird. I don’t know what I’m saying. People don’t usually let me talk this long?”

Her tone shifts to something more serious. “It does sound like a lot has gone wrong with all of these people, though. With you guys. You…folks.” Erin chuckles tonelessly and inspects a stall that appears to be selling freshly-brewed coffee, which promises to neither be freshly-brewed nor coffee, and considers one anyway. “I understand if you don’t want to talk about it and just hang out, though. Honestly, I’m glad to have another person around. Colin is too. To be honest, I’ve been feeling a little lonely and out of place on this journey, like some great creator just made a spur of the moment decision to include me without really thinking of the ramifications. But I’m a person, you know? And I have feelings too. Which I guess means I have to honor them. Clearly, I came for a reason, but I won’t say I’m not worried about potential disaster.”

The dog whimpers and puts his muzzle into Kendall’s hand, for it has been a whole five minutes since anyone has played with him and this is a crime against dogkind. Meanwhile, Erin goes to turn over money in exchange for the accursed poison, hopefully not laced with rat poison, but then realizes she has no idea on Earth what this market actually uses for currency. Is it barter? Is it favors? Is it sex? Is it nuts and bolts?


Kendall blinks at the sudden torrent of words and just kind of… listens silently. When Colin demands scritches he delivers, then shakes his head. "I meant there's people that aren't from here." He elaborates. No, that doesn't clear up anything. He looks around nervously, as if expecting to see a row of rats staring at them with beady little eyes. He can't think of any other way to talk about it without talking about it but the rats are a real conversation killer.

"Oh, but uh yeah let's talk about other things. So." He flashes an over the top, cheesy grin at her. "Come here often? And I got this." He reaches into a pocket and pulls out a small brick. Not a literal one, but a wrapped up squarish package of pressed and dried seaweed. "Harvested it myself, with Nadira." Food's a good barter right? "If this is good, we'll have two." He adds, meeting the salesperson's gaze.

Erin laughs and puts on her best fake bedroom eyes. “Oh, my stars, do I come here often? Well, why don’t you stick around and find out?” She laughs even harder. “I’m sorry. I can’t. I haven’t heard that line in so long. Not since before, I’d reckon.

“But yes. Yes. Absolutely. You know, I’ve been meaning to talk to Nadira, she seems like she has some cool …” A pause to consider the shopkeeper. “Ideas. Thank you for the coffee.”

She turns away from the stand with a murmured thanks to Kendall, opens the lid of a very weathered glass jar, takes one sip, and winces. “God, that’s awful. Don’t tell him, though.” She tilts her head back and to the left to indicate the Sikh man running the stall. “I’m sure he’s doing his best. Anyway, what do…what are you looking for here? I’m along for the ride, really. I haven’t had any fun in a while and this seems like the closest to ‘fun’ we’ll be getting for the foreseeable future.”

Kendall smirks as she plays along. “Seems like a wasted opportunity to me.” he jokes. When Erin mentions Nadira, he shrugs. “Well yeah, but….” another nervous glance around. “She does know how to make the best drinks. Pretty strong stuff.” when all the water is removed. Judging by her reaction, the coffee isn’t great, but he tries it anyway. His expression is all that is needed to show what he thinks of it, but he shrugs and takes another sip. Coffee always tastes terrible anyway, it’s just different kinds of terrible.

“Why I’m going, huh. Mainly to follow my ex girlfriend. Er, not in a stalker kind of way, it wasn’t meant to be between us. We’re definitely not each other’s type.” he’s quick to bring that up, even if it isn’t asked. “Mutual breakup.” he’s still talking.

“Er. Well. I mean. She’s mixed up with something with these guys, and I get the feeling that they’re setting things up to go badly for her. They manipulated her into wanting to go, all I can do is try and protect her from whatever it is they’re planning.”

“Oh, I meant - like, here. Today. Like, what in this accursed bazaar did you want to get for our Cryptic-Ass Journey.” Erin laughs. “I think we’re going to get along great. But please do tell me more, I adore when people’s drama is not my own. I think we all have a tragic backstory, don’t we. I haven’t dated anyone in years, I think my last girlfriend was all the way back in grad school.” She side-eyes him, and then sighs.

“Oh.” yeah Kendall definitely misinterpreted that. “Uh, well. Just… kind of the same reason as you? I mean, this is going to be the last thing that passes for civilization for a long time, so might as well poke around. The rats are a real downer though, don’t think I could have fun knowing I’m being watched.” like an itch between the shoulderblades! “Girlfriend, huh… yeah, dating Zee is how I found out I’m not into girls.” Kendall shrugs. “Like I said, not my type.” possibly trying to reassure Erin that he’s not planning on judging her on it? Or hit on her.

Erin does feel some relief at this. “Zee. Is that the…” She struggles for words. “Traveler clone person? I don’t know. This is hard, man. I just want to have some fun.”

There are stalls full of necessities - of coffee, of seaweed, of vinyl records and cassettes - but not so much as a pack of playing cards, and too many shifty eyes.

“No, Zee is the real one.” Kendall corrects immediately, no matter what the circumstances are. “She’s not a…” he shifts his gaze about. “Foreigner.” he settles on, shaking his head. Then he looks at the ‘coffees’ they’re holding, and narrows his eyes. “Hey, I got something we can use for this, if you don’t mind. It’ll make it taste better.” he digs into his pocket and pulls out what looks like two packets of sweetener. Setting his cup on a nearby flat surface, Kendall rips open a packet and dumps it in his, then rips open the other. “Mind if I add?” he asks, holding it up. “Promise it’s not poison.”

“Even if it is poison,” Erin complies, “I’m game. The edible I just ate will kick in and just make everything really, really weird. Might as well!”

She looks into her cup, watches him add the substance, and lifts it to him. “L’chaim!”

What Kendall actually sprinkles in her cup is… nothing whatsoever. There isn't even a ripple when the powder goes in, but the next sip Erin tastes will be the best damn cup of coffee she's ever had. It's his favorite trick, just a utilitarian use of his ability that makes life a little less unbearable after the apocalypse. And best of all, no one can tell he's using it no matter how much the rats stare at them with their beady little eyes.

"Wait, that was a… oh." Kendall belatedly realizes she was offering him drugs earlier and he had declined it. Regerts.

With a smirk at Kendall’s realization, Erin pulls the cookie back out of her pocket and lays it on the table. She takes a sip and her eyes pop.

“What - what did you do and what can we do with this?” She takes another sip, warily. “Kendall, this is a tool of great good or great evil. We can fix this man’s coffee. No but really, what the hell did you do? Am I about to start hallucinating?”

Kendall beams brightly at Erin. “Oh, nothing much, you probably haven’t tasted sugar in a long time.” he nudges her with a pointed look. “And unfortunately, I have it in limited supply.” hopefully the heavy emphasis will clue Erin in that what he’s doing is against the rules. What a delinquent.

Speaking of which… Kendall eyes the cookie a second time, then yoinks it. He’s never tried it, and now is probably his only opportunity! “Hallucinating… maybe.” a sly smirk. “Probably should go elsewhere though.”

“OH YES.” Erin says, stilted. “SUGAR. OF COURSE. YES.”

Colin rolls his doggy eyes.

“I’m game to. Uh. Move. Where did you have in mind? I’m very- you know, it takes about an hour or two for this stuff to hit you right but I’m starting to get a little wiggly in the mind, you know what I mean? And I can’t tell if it’s THE SUGAR or the cookie but I am absolutely game to escape the rats.”

Elsewhere now?

Just to make sure they're fooling whoever is watching through the rat's eyes, Kendall moves to loop his elbow through Erin's and lean close to wink at her. "They're probably thinking we're going to go off to do dirty, unspeakable things together, might as well let them think that, hmm?" he murmurs to her. "Oh, baby." snicker.

Erin laughs, rolls her eyes, and punches his arm lightly.

Kendall isn't sure if there is anywhere safe from prying eyes in Delphi, so he leads on to the only place he could think of… one of the Convoy vehicles, safely in the salvage yard. Wildcat was what the sleeper car was called, right? The two aren’t stopped entry, at any rate, since they’re recognized from the little meeting earlier.

"Never tried it before, it usually takes a bit to kick in?" he goes ahead and starts munching it curiously. How's the taste?

“Oh, my guy, it takes like an hour or two.” It tastes like…well, peanut butter mixed with burnt grass, which is exactly what it is. As they enter the Wildcatmobile, Erin is at first surprised to not see anyone but then remembers that probably literally everyone is in the market doing important things. Meanwhile, Erin has no needs or ideas, and so a time to relax is just as needed.

“But really. What did you give me? We’re both beholden to each other in this.”

Kendall lets Erin precede him into Wildcat and laughs, finishing his cookie. Peanut butter was ok, burned grass not so much, but he'll live.

"Believe it or not, I gave you…. absolutely nothing. But there's a reason I wanted to go elsewhere, and it wasn't because of drugs. I doubt they're illegal now anyway, who's going to enforce it?" Waving a hand dismissively, he instead smirks at Erin. "Nah. I came here to break the rules."

He lifts his foot up and makes a show of stepping up into the vehicle, and as soon as his foot is planted on the step, a burst of blue flows out from around it, resolving into a luxurious pile of shag carpeting. Sure, the 70s peaked nearly a decade and a half before he was even born, but the generations afterwards were still aware of the pop culture from that era.

As the blue carpeting spreads out like a soft wildfire, it reaches the bunks and sweeps up them, transforming into a riot of colors with swirls and flowers. Red velvet drapes sprout out of the walls, and the driver's seat gets similar treatment. As a crowning touch, a giant metallic peace sign pendant dangles from the rearview mirror.

The exterior, however, remains drab and boring. With a faint smile, he gestures grandly around himself. Tah-dah! "You high yet?" he asks her brightly.

“Holy shit,” Erin breathes, watching the display. “I no longer have any idea. That was…trippy as hell. Is this stuff…real?” She bends down to touch the shag carpeting without hesitation. Definitely shaggy, she can feel the pile rubbing between her fingers. “Normally, I’d tell Colin to stay outside with this sort of interior decor, but–”

She whistles and points the pup in, who is happy to oblige.

“Is it permanent? I assume no, because otherwise everyone else would be really alarmed and probably be very upset and angry if they came back to, like, Grace Slick’s hippiemobile. They’d probably think the enemy is trying to confuse us with time travel or something.”

Kendall is pleased by her reaction, preening a little. Finally, someone thinks he's cool! "So long as I'm touching it, it's real. And since I'm touching the whole vehicle, well." a vague hand gestures again and he smirks. "Now we just gotta see. Or feel. Or.. shit, I have no fucking clue what'll happen."

Kendall flops onto one of the now luxuriously soft bunks, and reaches out to scratch Colin behind the ears. It's difficult to tell at first, and might not even be noticed by the two, but all the hard edges in the room start blurring, giving the whole interior a fuzzy look.

“So, like, by extension…” Erin wonders, half to herself and half to Kendall, flopping onto the carpet and pressing her face into it wholesale with the assumption that this newly created carpet cannot possibly have any shoe pathogens smooshed into it, “if you had a thought big enough, you could change a whole town? You’ve already changed a bus, which is kind of a little town. A little colony. It’s got beds and doors and stuff. If it’s all about stuff touching other stuff-” She mimics an explosion with her hands, a puff of air and a fwoom out of her cheeks. “-it’s like antimatter. You could change everything. Even air! Right?”

She rolls over onto her back and stares up at the ceiling, with its lava lamp orblets crawling about like ethereal slugs.

“Does…” a glance over at her mind-altering companion. “Your power doesn’t happen to be affected by your state of mind, does it?”

"Ten foot radius, unfortunately. Which means ten feet thataway" he waves a hand to one end, "and ten feet thataway." Kendall lifts his other hand to wave in the other direction. "Air?" he thinks about it. "Hell if I know. I'll let you know if I can do that anime shit of running in the sky though." Sounds like a good way to break an ankle.

As he follows her gaze upwards though, he smirks, staring in fascination. "Guess…. so. Mind over matter."

“Listen,” Erin says very seriously. “Your mind is matter. All we are is matter. See?”

She closes her eyes, and falls right through the bottom of the bus. Colin, unperturbed, finds a platformed Disco shoe and begins chewing on it.

There's a sort of strangled squawk when Erin disappears, and Kendall stares at where she was just a minute ago. Did… he illusion that? He must have. Well. Ok then. Rationalizing it away, Kendall leans back down and stares up at the ceiling again as he waits for her to pop back in existence, even as Colin destroys fantasy footwear.

There is a rustling, some muffled sounds, and Erin reappears in the door and flops back onto the floor. She picks some goop off of the front of her shirt. “Like I said, mind is matter. You can make imaginary things real, and I can make real things…imaginary. By the way, it appears that underneath this is a hot tub full of lava lamp, so don’t know if you did that on purpose or not.”

Contented, she allows Colin to continue eating the fake shoe to his heart’s content. It’s not a real shoe, so it’s not a real bad behavior to break him of, right? Besides, platform shoes are destined for destruction anyway.

Kendall blinks a few times when Erin reappears. "Sometimes, other people can make my illusions do things. That might be you. And you." he lifts a hand up towards the ceiling at the lava lamp slugs still gyrating. "You really like those things huh…"

Erin barks out a laugh. “No! Not at all, actually! Maybe it just seemed apt. I don’t know. This might be the start of a beautiful partnership, or one that can absolutely destroy the world. No, but I can fall through the floor and stuff, that wasn’t you. I can phase. Don’t tell, I haven’t really told anyone yet because it may or may not compromise the integrity of my academic work. Not that it matters here at the end of days.”

She picks up a lava lamp - which seem to be multiplying by the minute - and stares at it really, really hard. “What I actually want is for this to become a slice of greasy, juicy, real pizza.”

"I could make it look like pizza, smell like pizza, feel like pizza, and taste like pizza, but unfortunately I can't make it real pizza." Kendall shakes his head. And the lava lamp in her hand is intangible because Kendall isn't touching it; it has that weird sensation where she can 'feel' it, but it's not there.

Then again, with her phasing, maybe she knows exactly how that feels?

Which she does, and she puts the illusion down, not completely sure of where the lamp ends and the floor begins. It tilts over and rolls away. Now that she thinks about it, did she really feel the shag carpet on her face? What is Colin chewing on if not a shoe? Is it air? Does he believe it’s a shoe? Does belief make a thing real? Now her head hurts.

“No… no, I suppose you couldn’t.” Erin concedes sadly. “We don’t have the water to make it so good, or the Italian restaurateurs to verbally abuse us while we wait for the slice to heat up in the pizza oven. The coffee was much more acceptable, though, I’ll give you that.”

Startled, she looks around. Where had she left that coffee, anyway? Well, I hope whoever has it now is enjoying it as much as I did.

“This is very cool. It is making me think a lot about the nature of perception, which is fuzzy in my head. I can’t shake the thought that maybe important things are happening in Rat Land while we’re not there, and maybe we’re missing some details, but this is a much more fun day than I had expected. Thanks for hanging out with me.”

"Eh. Nothing to do with us." It's not like the world is going to end or something!

Kendall shrugs again. "I'm having fun." And that's all he has to say on that matter.

Erin raises an eyebrow at this. “This doesn’t have anything to do with your ex, does it. The one who you have unresolved complex feelings for, apparently.”

"My… what? Nah. And there's not really anything complex about it. Like I said, we mutually agreed it wasn't going to work. But she's… well. She kinda does need to be looked after." Kendall waves a hand vaguely. "Things, you know." Ah, yes. 'Things'.

There is the crunch of multiple pairs of boots and they might see a flash of movement outside the sleeper windows. A pair, both tall and loaded with supplies, pass by the carrier’s open door while talking in low tones.

The heavier of the two stops in his tracks looking at the scene set out by Kendall, while the other continues past. A thin brow tips up.

“What are you two doing?” Captain Ryans asked.

The lankier and younger Ryans leans over into view and takes in the psychedelic colors with curiosity. “Uh… drugs. I’m gonna say they’re doing drugs.”

Ryans the elder grunts and with a shake of his head continues on his path. “Kids….” JR grins wickedly at the pair and shifts his load to give them a supportive thumbs up, before moving to catch up.

And just like that, the illusion pops like a bubble, leaving two people (at least one very embarrassed) and a dog alone in the suddenly mundane looking sleeper van, the dog suddenly without the shoe he was happily chewing just moments ago.

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