ff_silas_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Doldrums
Synopsis This is the quarantine that never ends…
Date January 28, 2019

Secure Facility, Kansas City, MO

The quarantine is now entering its third week, and Silas is not particularly happy about it.

It's not SESA's fault; the agents keeping the travellers company seem like they're doing their best to look after them, and Silas feels pretty confident that he'd be able to pick up on it if they were, say, planning to shuffle them off into some godforsaken pit to die. But two weeks and some change is a long enough time cooling his heels for Silas to get a bit out of sorts, even if it is just bureaucracy (he'd almost forgotten how slowly the government does anything, ugh). He doesn't even feel like cooking at the moment… which is why he's sprawled on the couch in the common room, staring disinterestedly at the TV as Law & Order reruns play.

Shoes lightly tap against the floor, the sound coming and going behind the couch and probably a little bit hidden or heard depending on if the show is making noise or if there’s a break in the soundtrack. If he looks, he might be able to catch a head of curly red hair disappearing around the corner and into the room where all the foods are kept. But after that interruption, the stranger on the couch is left to watching Law & Order pretty much alone for a minute or two.

Then those steps happen again. Another look could reveal that redhead again, picking at a muffin.

After almost three weeks, Squeaks should be a familiar face by now, and mostly friendly too even if she’s been a little bit skittish around the strangers. How long it’s taking to be allowed to go home doesn’t seem to bother her very much. It helps that her mom has been in the facility with her for most of the time already. It might have been forever since she’s been home, but at least she isn’t completely alone.

Silas hears the footsteps the first time around in about the same way he's hearing the TV — as mostly disconnected background noise. The second time, though, the show's gone to a commercial break — probably one of the few things less interesting than Law & Order — so he actually hears as the redhead draws near. "Oh. Hey," he says, offering a half-hearted wave. He's seen her around before — first at the observatory, then around the facility a time over the past couple of weeks — but hasn't really spoken to her. It always seems like one of them's entering a room just as the other's leaving, that sort of thing.

He glances to the TV for a moment then at the redhead, nibbling on a muffin. "You, uh, want the remote? Maybe you can find somethin' more interesting on," he says, raising the remote towards the girl. He frowns slightly, though; something about this girl seems faintly familiar.

“Hi,” is Squeaks’ automatic response, along with a quick, shy grin. She lets her food retrieving mission lag, steps slowly at the offer of the television, and she looks up at it with cautious curiosity. Usually the shows playing aren’t very interesting, at least she’s never given a lot of interest over to it, but invited to watch…

The teenager creeps toward the couch, hand and muffin dropping to her side. The other is left hanging, half reaching for the remote. Her eyes flick from the screen to the man on the couch, trying to guess how safe it is while timidly taking the remote out of his hand.

“What’s your name?” The question is asked as soon as she has control over the television. Even though that’s a power Squeaks doesn’t use right away, because she’s also busy looking at the buttons.

"Silas," he says briefly… then, after a moment's hesitation, he chuckles. "Silas Kristof Mackenzie. Not a name I'm gonna get to use much longer; might as well use it while I can," he says, a brief flicker of a faintly sardonic grin on his face. "You?" he asks.

“Squeaks.” The girl turns a side-eyed look to the television as she presses a button. The image on the screen shuts off then returns a few seconds later. “That’s what everyone calls me.” She presses another button, this time the program changes to fantastical crafts moving through space. “What’s your name changing to?”

Silas raises an eyebrow at the TV program, but hey, probably better than Law & Order. "Nice to meet ya, Squeaks," Silas says with a nod. "As to names… I'm thinking John Silas Dantes. Somethin' like that. That way I can still go by Silas, at least," he says with a grin, "but only to people who know me. Also I get to borrow names from a couple books I like," he adds with a shrug.

Then he frowns, head tilting as he considers Squeaks; she still seems oddly familiar from somewhere, but he can't… quite place it. "Hmm… you're from this side," he muses. "Kind of a mess, back at the observatory. I mean… I get that no one was expecting… that… but I'm kinda curious. What brought you out there, anyway? If you don't mind me askin', that is."

The channel is switched again, then a third time when the second station shows nothing but black and white pixels. “I didn’t know what was supposed to happen,” Squeaks admits as she watches a comic-like brown dog thing on two legs chasing after a purple-ish …ostrich? That’s strange, but definitely more interesting with its animated music and sounds. “I work for Raytech. Richard said he needed my help.”

The cartoon, at least in the girl’s mind, is way better than the show that was on before. She lets the hand with the remote settle at her side, eyes still fixed to the screen. “What books are you taking your name from?”

Silas grins; it's been a long time since he's seen Wile E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner. "Treasure Island's one of 'em. Long John Silver was as sneaky and two-faced as they come, but he was the kinda guy you couldn't help but like. They called him Barbecue, and the Sea Cook — both of which fit me, as well, as I've been known to barbecue from time to time," he says with a grin… and that's what finally jars his memory. The barbecue! Right! She's a dead ringer. A double? I Still can't believe how many squirrels on a stick she ate! He sets that aside for later, though. "Barbecue was supposedly the only man old Captain Flint ever feared… and I never actually finished Peter Pan, but supposedly Hook was the only man Barbecue ever feared," Silas finishes with a chuckle.

"The other one… The Count of Monte Cristo. Edmund Dantes was a man wrongfully accused, locked away in a terrible prison for a lot of years… but even when it seemed he'd never get out, he didn't give up. 'Wait and hope': that's what he did for years, until he could get out and… well. Not set things right, exactly, but even the score, at least."

He frowns, shifting on the couch a bit as his brain catches up to something she said earlier. "So… you work at Raytech? What do you do there?" he asks.

“I do things. Like take papers to people and help set up. Make sure there’s water to drink” Intern stuff it sounds like, and completely normal work for a kid like her to be doing. Squeaks leans on the back of the couch, her head tilted a little bit to one side. She watches, curious, as the coyote plummets from a cliff because even in cartoons you can’t walk on nothing. “Treasure Island is one of my favorites. I think the adventure stories are the best kinds.”

Silas chuckles. "Agreed," he says, grinning. His expression goes a bit distant, though, as he watches Wile E. start putting together his next scheme. "I always liked that book. Even after we started practically living in it," he says quietly. "I mean… the sea pretty much took everything. From a lot of people. Landside was essentially an ongoing dumpster fire, and the Vanguard's leftovers running around causing misery… I lived in the Pelago of Manhattan when I wasn't at sea; a city built atop and between the ruins of skyscrapers. Only way to be above the waterline, that far out." There's a certain fondness to his tone as he talks, perhaps something like nostalgia; as he's talking, he pulls something out of his pocket, rolling it in his hand absently.

Pulling her attention from the screen for just a minute, Squeaks looks at Silas and tries to imagine a world that’s all flooded. The sewers might come close, because there’s places where it’s only water, but not like the tallest of the tall buildings being all that’s up above. “When I ran away during the fighting, I lived in the Underneath because it was safest there.” Her tone makes the information simple fact, and after it’s given she’s looking up in time to see the start of a new cartoon. Another coyote and roadrunner it looks like.

“I don’t live there now,” the teen goes on. “I live in the Safe Zone instead. There’s dangerous things in the Underneath, monsters and slavers… Was it really bad living on the water all the time?”

Silas is silent for a moment; he's still looking at the TV, but he's not watching old Wile E. chase the Roadrunner anymore, not really. "Inland was awful, but living at sea… it wasn't all bad," Silas says quietly. "I mean… a lot of things had been lost, or were in the process of being lost. Things I used to take for granted. No coffee. No corn or wheat. Beef? Good luck. Plastics. I guess… it always felt to me like what was left of the world was running down, year by year. But… like I said, it wasn't all bad. I found a place of my own. Had a few good friends." He looks down for a moment, one hand still fiddling with whatever it is; a glimpse of silver or white is visible every so often. "Aces. Mad Eve. The whole crew of the Forthright, come to that. They're the only things I regret leaving, really. I don't even know if they're alive… and I never will."

Then, conscious that he's getting maudlin, he shrugs, shaking of his reverie. "And, you know… I think I even met a version of you over there," he says, grinning.

“Aurora and Liz said they knew me there too.” That’s interesting enough to bring Squeaks’ attention fully off the cartoon again. “But not the exact same me.” That there could even be different versions is something amazing. Her eyes slide back to the screen, but only for a couple of seconds. “What did I do where you came from,” she asks, pulling her attention back to Silas. This place is probably the only place she might actually get to ask those kinds of questions.

Silas grins broadly, with real amusement. "Honestly? I only met you a couple of times, but you helped me out a little bit. I was setting up a barbecue as repayment to… well. It's a mess of a story. Things over there are on kind of a barter economy; no one printin' money anymore, so if you want somethin' from someone, you gotta provide somethin' for it that the other person's willing to accept. So, anyway, Mad Eve and La Zorra decided one day they wanted a bilge-fed jacuzzi…"

He runs through the whole story, for the same reason he'd given his full name — because it's not like he's going to get to tell it again anytime soon, so might as well talk while he can. "So Aces talked Miles into agreeing to accept barbecue as payment for gettin' this filtration system. But I figured if I'm gonna go to the trouble to get good meat and spices for barbecue, I might as well go big; it'd be a great opportunity to build some capital. Problem is, I needed some help if I was gonna get all that meat cooked up in time. Aces agreed to help me; we probably could've pulled things off between the two of us, but… er, the other you — she went by Jac — said she didn't know what barbecue was, and that was something I couldn't allow to stand. I recruited her to help in exchange for her getting her pick of the food; I figured that she probably couldn't eat that much, 'cause neither o' you really look like big eaters."

Silas laughs ruefully, shaking his head. "Whoops. She ate seven squirrels on a stick. Cut into my profit margin a bit… but…" here he shrugs, looking a bit embarrassed. "Small price to pay, I guess. People not knowin' what good barbecue is… didn't seem like somethin' I could let stand, you know?" he laughs. "It's another of those things that seemed like it was bein' slowly lost. It's the spices; preparin' good barbecue, the kind I like, takes the right kinda spices, and they were essentially luxury crops. There… wasn't really a lot of time for that."

As he winds down, though, Silas backs up a bit. "Huh. You said that Elisabeth and Aurora mentioned knowing another you over there? I wonder. Did she come with them from… whichever place they'd been in before?" he asks, bemused. On the other hand, a lot of the places the travellers had been before his world had been pretty rough… maybe even rough enough to make the Pelago of Manhattan seem like a happy place. Not that it matters now, anyway; traveller or no, she missed the portal. He shrugs. Good luck to you, Jac. Maybe you and Aces can look after each other.

The story is an interesting one, and Squeaks is a good listener too. She tries to picture what squirrels on a stick might be like, and bilge filtration gets a sour face made for it. “I can eat lots,” she says honestly. And it’s not a boast. She might slip in and out of the dining hall at all hours with only a small snack, but she’s always nibbling on something and mealtimes still start with full plates and end with emptied ones.

“I don’t know, I didn’t see me come out of the portal.” She might have missed the first couple of people to come through, but she saw pretty much everyone else. “That would be weird anyway. Two me’s here? Even changing names and not being the same person my friends might get confused. I bet she likes it where she’s at. It’s a whole adventure story with boats and things.”

"Yeah… she wasn't with us when we went to the Ark…" Silas muses aloud; her comments about the Flooded world being an adventure draw a wry grin to his lips. "Heh… yeah, it is that. Staying alive was an adventure, sometimes…" he chuckles. The rest of what she has to say, though, draws a thoughtful frown to his face. "Yeah. Lis was talking about that," he sighs. "That's why I'm probably gonna head to New York. That wasn't really my haunt before the Flood, and I didn't really have any family around there, so hopefully it'll be safe for me. I mean, I can't really go home; the versions of my parents, my sister, that live here — if they're alive here, anyway — they're not mine. They've already got a Silas, and I'm not him," he says, and surprisingly there's only a little bitterness in his voice. He shrugs. "That's how it is."

For all that this conversation's gotten off on a bit of a grim sidetrack, though, Silas feels at least a little more energetic now. He stretches a bit, coming to his feet. "Well, anyway. Nice to meet you, Squeaks; been good talkin' to ya, but I've gotta go meet up with some of the suits, talk about my new life." He doesn't quite roll his eyes as he says it, but there's definitely a suggestion of some humor in his voice. "Say. If you're headin' that way… Remi and I are thinkin' about doing a dinner theatre type thing. Maybe drop by sometime and check it out," he grins, tossing a wave and starting for the exit.

“Okay.” Dinner theatre sounds interesting even if she isn’t sure what it is, but Squeaks nods at the invitation. She’ll ask another time. Even with that question put aside, it looks like she might be interested in asking more anyway. But those stay tucked away. At least for now.

When the couch is abandoned, the young teen slinks around to take it over. She watches Silas for a second or three longer, then turns her attention to the cartoons again. Taking a bite of muffin, she gives curious eyes to the screen where a rabbit seems to be getting the better of a bald man in a hunter’s costume.

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