Eight Hours


avi3_icon.gif brian_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif lynette_icon.gif megan_icon.gif nick_icon.gif raith_icon.gif rue_icon.gif

Scene Title Eight Hours
Synopsis Time ticks away under the Ferrymen's feet. Time they may not have.
Date October 6, 2011

Pollepel Island

Red at night. Sailor's delight. Red in the morning. Sailor's warning.

The crimson hues of dance on the horizon as the sun makes its debut this early October morning. Light begins to take the place of day, the cool darkness on Pollepel will gradually begin to heat up now. In this dawn Pollepel still seems to be mostly asleep. Though it twitches some and rolls on its side, for the most part the island remains asleep

Steam puffs up in the middle of the courtyard as Brian moves to set a thermos atop a pop up table. The cups are set out to the side as he lets his hands linger on the thermos for a moment, enjoying the radiating heat.

"Birds." He mutters again. It's something he has said to the gathered women a couple times. Each time with a certain amount of wariness and a touch of disgust. With the coffee set up, he turns half to face them.

The island is asleep still at this early hour. Mostly.

Brian looks at his sister and then the councilwoman that he has woken up this early and badgered them into joining him for a early coffee. 'Before the damn birds wake up'. And though they may not have been very happy with him, he has been quite grumpy on their walk as well.

"Anyway." The young man goes to pour a first cup of coffee, offering it to his sister then repeating the gesture to Lynette. "Like I said. I've been with the Guardians for a little bit now. They don't fully trust me yet, but they're starting to. Worst comes to worst. Maybe they could help us carve out a place out west for the kids?" Pouring his own cup of coffee he finally brings it up.

"I'm sorry. That was the worst part though. The birds and then she threw it away like that… I mean." His jaw tightens. "I know we're not supposed to read that deep into visions but.." A wordless frustrated sigh eeks out of his mouth sending steam careening into the cold morning air.

With the light starting to fight back the morning Pollepel is slowly coming to life.

"Are we not?" Lynette says, cupping the coffee in her hands to warm them, rather than to drink right away. She'll get there. "I seem to remember much ado about some paintings of the future and some flashes of the riots last year and some dreams that apparently we all were supposed to be paying attention to," she says, dryly. Bitter, perhaps. She shifts to pull her oversized sweater back up onto her shoulder, looking out to the edges of the courtyard. "I think getting the children away from here needs to be a priority. Even if it's only us. They said we don't have the resources to distract Heller for a run over the border, so. West might be our best bet. How good are these Guardians?" Only with the question posed does she sip at her coffee. She doesn't even make a face at it. Because she's been here too long.

Despite getting out of bed when requested, Gillian passed on the coffee. She drank it sometimes, but much less often than she used to when she worked at the library. In many ways she had started to prepare herself for the eventual lack of coffee. Or more likely she had quit while captive by the Institute. Commodities hadn't really been on their list of things to give someone they kept around for experiements. She sipped on her water bottle instead.

"I've had some experience with prophecies. They're not always literal. Or easy to read. And you can end up causing them by trying to stop them." Again, experience. She sounds more resigned than afraid, as if she already knew she would lose no matter the decision.

Glancing at the two Brian remains silent for a moment. As Lynette speaks his chest puffs out a bit seeming somewhat emboldened on her line of thinking, though when Gillian speaks he shrinks back minutely. His cup comes up and a sip is taken. At Lynette's question he holds up a finger, trying to finish his sip before answeirng.

"Hard to tell. I only have the one contact so far. We're friends, not family. She keeps remnding me. But.. they seem like good people. If I explain how dire the situation." He gives a light shrug. Before looking to Gillian though his words are to both of them. "Samara is going to have our kid any day now. It is the worst time to have to move. But…" Another shrug is given. "I only know so many ways to interpret bones all over the ground."

Setting his cup down he watches his sister, "So you think we shouldn't do anything? You seemd pretty set on leaving."

"Things being what they are, I'll take one friendly contact. See if they're willing. We should have had the children away from here already, frankly." Lynette looks over at Gillian, head tilting. But she seems to share Brian's opinion about the symbolism, because she nods to his point. "I would rather do something and fuck up than do nothing and fuck up. Especially after the creepy voice." The memory of the ooze is enough to get a shudder from Lynette, but she does her best to supress it. "And maybe we should keep the details of where the children go to ourselves."

She's only recently stepped up into Special Activities from being strictly medical personnel, and although Megan's a familiar sight around the island she generally keeps her opinions on matters non-medical to herself. As the redhead walks into hearing range of this conversation, however, she makes herself known with quiet words. "Because keeping secrets is somehow making them safer?"

She moves on soft feet and adds quietly as she joins them, "Getting the rest of the children out is a priority. But fracturing our people by keeping secrets amongst ourselves is a sure way to create friction and distrust… we'll destroy OURSELVES that way long before they bomb us."

Perhaps as unwelcome as a bird when it comes to this particular conversation, there's the sound of footfalls approaching — giving enough warning and time to quiet any speech, at least — a Ruskin enters the courtyard. A large and heavy-looking Army Surplus duffel bag, full of supplies, is slung over one shoulder and both hands carry a box full of food — staples like flour, milk, eggs, etc. He doesn't seem to expect the courtyard meeting, and the dark brows of Nick York (aka Nick Ruskin) lift in his face to inch toward the hem of the black toque he has pulled down low on his forehead to stave off the chill of the morning and the dark hours on the river.

"Morning," he says. "Am I interrupting?"

"Even when we leave with our kids, there's still so many people here— " They won't be able to save everyone. Not even all the children without causing panic by seperating them from their families. Gillian looks down at the water. The fact they can't save everyone is probably one of the reasons she sounds like they will lose either way. Evacuating the island isn't plausable. Hate the walking pair of Aviators as she might, she couldn't disagree with his stupid drunk ranting.

"I'm not going to leave, at least not for longer than a trip to the city." She sighs at the next appearance, knowing Megan quite well from when she'd suffered from the Evo flu, but takes a drink from her water rather than respond. She doesn't know how much was passed on to other people, but apparently Megan knows enough. And the people just keep appearing. She's not even sure how much they can say outloud, so she looks toward Lynette.

"When I say kids I mean mostly our kids." The Lighthouse kids. And any that have been added to that number since arriving on Pollepel. "I'm not intending to start separating families or anything. But I would like to get mine out." As he says that his eyes flick to Gillian. "Gilli. I'm in Utah right now. And things are so…" He looks to Lynette and then back to his sister looking exasperated on how to articulate himself. "It's almost like how it used to be before, all this." His cup is set down so his hands are mor available to deliver cutting gesticulations with his passionate plea.

"It hasn't gotten as bad out there as it is here. If anything. It would give us more time. At least." As Megan walks up, Brian stiffens some as she approaches. "I know this is a stupid question.." Quickly changing the subject as she approaches. "But moving a pregnant woman like Samara this late in the pregnancy. On a stupid scale from locking your keys in the car while running to waiting for a nuclear strike on an island, whereabouts does that fall?"

When Nick approaches Brian locks his gaze for a moment as if to say, 'yes.' But instead verbally he answers with, "No. There's some coffee here if you want some."

"Yes, as did I. The other people, the families… Well, Eileen already said no one else goes until we can have a vote. So. The other work to be done is to see what kind of defense we can mount. In case." Lynette reaches over to put a hand on Gillian's arm. Comfortingly, perhaps. "I know it's far from ideal, but everyone who came here came because there was no where else to go. I don't think anyone has any notions about this situation turning out pleasantly." Sort of comforting.

When Megan speaks up, Lynette takes her hand back and turns to look at the other woman. Her eyebrow lifts. Silence lingers. "Your opinion is noted. And then there's Nick. Funnily enough, she seems to mind him a little less. "Perhaps. You could be forgiven if you brought something good," she says with a nod toward the duffel. She turns away when Brian jumps to a new topic, but only to give the replica a smirk.

Megan's tone when she spoke held no judgement of the speakers or their topic of concern. Nor does it when she speaks this time. "Traveling any kind of distance at this point without a midwife on hand would be exceedingly inadvisable," Megan tells Brian evenly, her hands shoved into the back pockets of her cargo pants while she rocks on her combat boots. "She's full term, which gives the baby an advantage on survival. But if you're on the road and traveling in harsh weather or anything…. I wouldn't bank on the baby's chances. And being as nursing is one of those things that requires a few days to establish well and make sure it even works for Samara… " She shrugs a little. "I wouldn't do it if it were me. But you and she will have to do what you see fit. If you choose to try it, I'll prep you both as best I can to give birth on your own."

"Coffee would be amazing. And there's some chocolate in this box, somewhere. Just be sure to share it with the kids." That's said with a little bit of a questioning tone, given the conversation Nick has just walked into. "You have a kid coming? Jesus. The things you miss when you're almost dead." He flashes a smile that seems a bit easier going than it has in the past, as does the East-End accent instead of his American tones. "What's going on? How can I help? You can use my boat if you need." That's offered to Brian, before moving to set the duffel bag and box down in search of coffee.

"One of you can have my coffee," Gillian responded to the offer of coffee to Nick. After all she had skipped out on the coffee and stuck with the water. They would stick to moving just their kids. His. Whichever. She knew they'd been her brother's first and longest, and she hadn't been able to spend much time with them after the Institute took her, but she couldn't help but grimace a little at the idea of them being as far away as Utah. It might be safe, as her brother said, but it was so far away. She might know it's the right thing to do, but she can still feel loss over it. Unlike her brother she can't be in many places at once.

Where Nick treads (at least after he's been away), others are likely to follow, so it is perhaps no surprise that the sound of angry footfalls approach, giving well more than enough time to quiet any speech before a Raith enters the courtyard. If he had a duffel bag of his own, he dropped it somewhere and replaced it with a bottle of cheap whiskey that is not as full as it probably should be. He stomps with a kind of urgency normally reserved for intimidation or trying to catch an elevator. Given that Rue Lancaster comes in just behind him at the same speed, and that this is Jensen Raith, he may well have convinced himself there is, in fact, an elevator in the courtyard. At least until his attention locks onto Nick and expediently removes that possibility.

"You!" he not-quite shouts with a pointed finger and a little extra force in his stomp. "Stay right there, I've got a bone to pick with you, and don't even try to bring up the fact that you didn't do anything -" He stomps to a stop at arm's length - "I know that, but I need to shout at someone named Ruskin and you're the closest one. Just as soon as I catch my breath." With that, he takes a deep breath…

And raises up the whiskey bottle to take a good, long pull from it. He really is Avi's brother-in-law.

"Mi- Mister Raith! Wait!" The soles of red converse sneakers slap on flag stones as Rue has to jog to keep up with the taller man ahead of her, ginger hair streaming behind her. She's breathing hard as she carefully tucks a folded piece of paper away inside her hooded jacket, but not quite as hard as he is, and her face should be red from the exertion, but it isn't. Instead, she's quite pale, her blue eyes wide with… maybe astonishment? It isn't quite fear.

Rue squeezes herself between Raith and his intended target, hands held out placatingly. "He wasn't even here!" Oh, gosh.

Listening to Megan intently, Brian frowns some and gives a level nod to the explanation. "Well, thank you for that offer. I'll have to talk to her about it and get back to you. How long would you say until you would reccommend travel? I know it's not ideal to travel with a newborn at all.. but.. Is there a certain time when our chances would look a little more favorable?" His brow is arched and then he's looking back over his shoulder at his sister.

He frowns lightly at her facial reactions to the proposal of Utah. "Gilli." Is all he can seem to get out, sounding as though he's trying to appeal to her reason though he has no more words to offer. Looking back at Lynette, "Do you feel like you need to be here? In this time of defense? It may be handy to have you help me with the Guardians." He gives a light shrug. "Just think about it. I guess. It's a big decision"

Perking up some at Nick, he eyes the man for a moment. "How big is the boat?" When Raith comes a-stomping towards Nick and the boat conversation is likely dropped for needs of self preservation, Brian turns somewhat to Raith. Frowning lightly he glances at Nick offering a conciliatory shrug to the other man. A sort of 'I got your back maybe' gesture. A sip of his coffee is taken.

"Maybe we should all just take a quick moment and remember some people are still sleeping…"

Lynette takes the extra coffee mug and passes it over to Nick, a smile coming to her face at the mention of chocolate. "I suppose that will do. Vodka next time?" Brian's question gets her to frown, though, and she seems to take a moment to consider. "I'll let you know. I feel responsible to keep the people here safe, especially since there seems to be nowhere else to go." But whatever more she might say, Raith and Rue get her attention and she turns toward the yelling. To sip her coffee.

"If you might put off the shouting for a moment," Lynette says as the man takes his drink, "I have a bit of officialness to bring to your attention."

On that rather loud and potentially drunk note, Gillian stands up. "Think that's my cue." She honestly had no idea the guy she offfed her coffee to had been a Ruskin, but— he had the look, a little. "I wanted to spend some time with the kids before they go." She nodded toward her brother, "Set up whatever you need to." To keep them safe. And apparently far away from her. Which might be the safest place there is. After all, four of the kids died under her watch. It was probably time to say goodbye. Whether she wanted to or not.

Raith's arrival brings Megan's eyes around, and she steps sideways to figure out what the hell he's bellowing about. Absently, she does inform Brian, however, "Minimum 2 weeks, if you want be very safe. In our current circumstances? Honestly, as soon as we know nursing is established, it would probably be wise to move when it's possible. Just limit who is in contact with the baby." A single brow rises up her forehead at the 'yelling at a Ruskin.'

"You are beautiful angels bearing caffeine. I finished mine on the boat about an hour back," Nick says with a grin to Gillian and Lynette, adding to Lynette, "Oh, do I have some vodka for you." He takes the coffee but he doesn't even get to take a goddamn sip before Raith is bearing down on him unexpectedly. At least Nick has hot liquid in his hand if he needs it for a weapon of sorts.

The younger man backs up swiftly, spilling a bit of the precious coffee — at least he has gloves on to protect his hand. The other hand goes up, ready to swing or protect his own face, should Raith come swinging. It's not the first time the two men have fought.

"Fuckin' 'ell, Jensen, how do you get so bloody pissed off in the time it takes a man to take a fuckin' leak?" he growls irritably, eventually running out of space when he bumps into Lynette. That it's not him that's the target doesn't seem to matter that much. "What'd Lee do now? You know I go by York mostly so the name thing is a poor excuse to beat the shit out of me, Raith."

"Who's yelling at a Russian?" Avi Epstein has been day drinking — night drinking — he's been drinking. He also hasn't really been a part of the planning stages of anything in the past few weeks. But he has been taking up space among the refugees, settled somewhere in what others might call rock bottom. He lingers at the periphery, sunglasses on to hide the dark circles under his eyes, several days past well-groomed.

Despite everything, even Raith is not up to the Herculean task of drinking an entire bottle of whiskey in one go, and had stopped halfway through Nick's attempt to defend himself. "No one -" Two words shouted, before his presence of mind miraculously processes exactly what everyone else has said regarding the time of day and his volume lowers a great deal - "No one's yelling at a Russian, Avi, I - forget it. You." His attention is right back Nick. "I'll tell you what she's done, or even better, you'll get to see it, and then I get the joyous task of telling you that she said that it's nothing, don't worry about it. Lancaster. Spread it.

"The drawing. Spread the drawing."

Well now Rue's face is red. Redder than her hair and almost redder than her sneakers. She's left sputtering for the space of time it takes Raith to realize just what he's said and what it sounds like. Her mouth works soundlessly, not entirely unlike a fish.

The drawing. "Right!" Reaching into her jacket again, the piece of paper is procured and carefully unfolded. Rue holds Eve's sketch up by its top and bottom edges, but doesn't hold it out too far from herself, turning so each gathered person can view it in turn. It's nothing different from what the others saw before - the bones and the norse symbols - but it's not ash currently, so that's an improvement from the last one.

"Two weeks." Brian repeats after Megan is done speaking. "Thank you Megan. We're both so grateful for all your help with this." The young man lowers his head in thought. Lynette gets a light nod. "I'll need help moving all of them, if Gillian isn't going to come." The prospect of which seems to make him somewhat glum.

As Gillian starts to go, Brian watches her back helplessly. His arms falling to his side, his demeanor deflating some.

Despite all his bluster, when Raith gets to his point, it seems to embolden Brian somewhat. As Rue holds up the symbol, Brian holds his hand up. "A valknut." He announces, "From my research there are a few different meanings to what it was in correspondence to. Odin would use them to bind hearts. In the vision," His voice raising now as if making an announcement to the gathering crowd. "It was drawn in the ash, among the bones collected here in this castle." He looks to Raith then to Avi. "Eileen wanted to correctly make sure we didn't cause a panic. Though throwing the drawing in the fire…" He falls silent then his gaze to Avi. "The other quite loud proponent of doing nothing." He gestures to Avi before looking back to Raith. "I'm getting the lighthouse kids out as soon as I can coordinate."

"Do you really?" Lynette says to Nick. And to the promise of vodka nearby. "Well, interrupt anytime, in that case." Her words come with a grin, although it is a brief one. And when he ends up bumping into her, she puts a hand on his arm. "Steady on," she says, in a teasing copy of his accent. It's just a gentle tease, though.

She looks over at Brian, nodding to his point. "We'll get help. If not me, then someone." Rue and Raith get her attention, of course, and she lifts an eyebrow at the pair of them until they manage to get out what they're attempting to get across. She doesn't spend too much time looking it over — she's familiar. "She's trying to manage a lot of scared people, and we get that. But we also aren't doing nothing." She nods to Brian's point about the children, "While he's working on that, Raith, I was hoping you would take stock of what sort of defense options we have. Weapons, powers, whatever we have. And," she says to the group at large, "if anyone has any trusted contacts in their back pocket, I'd appreciate if you'd tap them. See if we can arrange a fallback location from our fallback location."

Crossing her arms, Megan simply nods to Brian's thanks on the situation. Any contacts in her back pocket at this point are probably out of the question — with the NAMES of everyone on that raid now out there as fugitives. "Anything you need, just ask," she tells Lynette and Brian. "The new sketch… doesn't look ALL that different from the old information." She grimaces. "Even if we have to make a stand here on the island, it needs to be NOT the kids."

Above the courtyard, shutters click open, allowing the early morning light to flood into the living quarters on the second and third floors of the castle. Now that the sun is fully floating above the horizon, Pollepel Island begins stirring to life.

A woman in a hijab hangs damp laundry on lines strung across the courtyard but pays no mind to the conversation happening several stories below. Instead, she makes soft, cheerful conversation with the feral cat grooming itself on the ledge a few feet away.

The smell of grease and fat cooking on an open flame wafts into the courtyard from elsewhere on the castle's grounds, and if the group listens for it they'll hear the telltale tinkle of silverware as the island's cooks prep breakfast in the kitchen off the dining hall.

A robin - the quintessential early bird - zips between battlements with a shrill good morning whistle that cuts through the air like a knife. That it doesn't appear interested in them is a good indication, at least to Avi and Raith, that Eileen's responsibilities have taken her elsewhere and they don't need to worry about this conversation making its way back to her.

Avi's appearance — and state — gets a wide-eyed look from Nick. "The fuck, Epstein, you look like shit," he says, glancing down at Lynette and making an apologetic face. He moves to the box to find the chocolate and the vodka, handing the first to Megan and the second to Lynette. "Look, I'm not the one to tell Lee how to do anything and you know that," he says, but he does turn to look at the drawing, his brow furrowing with thought. "Well, that's…dire."

He finally takes a swallow of the coffee. "Boat can carry only a few at a time, but someone could run that and I can get a van or something up north, meet whoever's driving the boat, and get the kids out that way. My credentials should be good enough to keep out of most security checks but in these days, I don't know. It's not a given. It's a risk. Anyone got a teleporter handy?"

Avi grumbles, non-comittally, moving in to stand behind Raith and listen to the conversation. There's some anxious noises, a tip of his sunglasses down the bridge of his nose to regard the group with his one good eye before they're pushed back up. Stinking of sweat and liquor, Avi leans over closer to Raith and asks in a rough whisper. "What the fuck is everyone talking about?" In a mixture of guilty and uncertain tones. "Because I only started paying attention about now."

In the same instant, the impossible happens and for a brief moment in time, anyone who was watching was able to actually see Raith's Central Processing Unit softlock. In the next instant and with overwhelmingly gentle violence, he places his hand on Avi's face and slowly but assertively pushes him away. "I'm sober!" he notes.

He takes two steps away from Avi for safety, and although he hasn't forgotten exactly why he wanted to yell at Nick, his need to do so has lessened a great deal, allowing more brain power for things which are actually important. "Nothing big. Can't do anything big," he says, raising the bottle once again only to look at it, and then hold it out to Avi without really paying attention to what happens at that point. "Knew a teleporter. Probably dead," he adds before trailing off, eyes closed and brows furrowed either in thought or pain. "Need coffee or a nap," he adds again, this time massaging his forehead with his free hand until he remembers where it had just been. He stops massaging his forehead.

Rue is still close enough to Raith (to block him from punching Nick) that she can hear Avi's admission. Her jaw goes slack, brows furrow, and nose crinkles before her lip finally curls. What the fuck? Didn't she used to admire this guy once upon a time? This is more than just disappointing. And then Raith goes to pass him the bottle? Her bottle? No.

The whiskey is snatched out of Raith's hand before it can pass to Epstein's. "Get your shit together," the normally timid girl snaps. "Gather it up and put it in a knapsack and then bury it in the woods for all I care, but get it together! Get your shit together." The forcefulness of her words and her tone are enough to get her ire across without actually raising her voice and drawing more attention to their little soiree. She holds the drawing up in one hand, the index finger of the opposite hand uncurls so she can point at the paper. "This is what we're talking about. Not letting this happen." A helpless look is cast around the group. Is she going mad here?

Winters looks to Lynette and then back to Avi and Raith, his mood dropping him some at their exchange. Watching them in silence, he steps back to Lynette. "You sure they need you here when we have…" His hand raises up to Raith and Avi. "This?" His hand drops in a defeated fashion, going to set his mug of coffee down on the pop up table he had set up.

His attention goes to Avi as he admits to paying attention now. "All kids that are without families, the Lighthouse kids. Are getting off the island as soon as possible.If we can't stay at the Bay House, I'll be moving them west. I have some contacts out there." Who have not said they could help in any way. "I'll be trying to get my pregnant fiancee off the island as well. But will have to talk to her to determine when we can leave. Whatever you all decide on the defence of the island.. I will be here to help you." He takes a moment. "But I will also be gone. With as much family as I can move." He glances over to Nick. "I will take you up on your offer, if possible."

When the shutters open, Lynette looks up. With suspicion. It seems to be given out in equal measure to the woman, the robin, the cat, and the laundry, so it may just be how her face looks. The vodka is a decent distraction, though, and she takes it from Nick with a quiet thank you.

"We're working on it," Lynette says to Rue at her outburst. "Some of us," is added dryly. "If you two gentlemen would care to join us? I'm suggesting that Special Activities be able to speak intelligently on what sort of chances we have when we have to make a stand here. And since it seems those chances are quite low, I would like to attempt to find a way for people to get off this island. The people who can't fight or shouldn't." She speaks slowly, deliberately, and her fingers press to her temple as she attempts to get through their alcoholic haze. "What if we get them out via the ocean? Surely Heller can't have every inch of the Atlantic covered."

Megan takes the chocolate from Nick with a surprised look. Because… chocolate! And then she slants a glance at Avi, quirking one copper brow. She's quiet, but she's in complete agreement with Lynette. "With the mandatory movement of Evos…. they may actually be stretched thin enough to get people through. A watch on the harbor for the next several days should be enough to tell us that, truthfully." She wishes Chicago Air were still in place — they'd have flown these kids out in a heartbeat.

"I can try and get a bigger boat," says Nick. "Smaller gets less scrutiny though." He glances to Raith and Avi as the two seem to be competing for town drunk status, and smirks to Rue as she tells them to get their shit together. "I can work on getting the vehicles together. I'm still officially undercover as a smuggler, so that shouldn't raise too many eyebrows workwise." He glances at Epstein for that, shaking his head again. "Just let me know when you need it by," he says, turning to Brian.

Swallowing anxiously, Avi scrubs one hand at the grimy back of his neck. "Look, I know I'm persona non grata around here most of the time, but…" he exhales a boozy sigh. "I don't want these kids t'get hurt. We got a lot of people who can't move from here, and… if we gotta evacuate a small number, kids — they make the most sense. It doesn't matter if we move 'em to the moon. If we're moving people by conventional means, s'gonna raise flags. People fuck things up, and the more people you've got doing any one thing the higher chance that things get fucked… uh… is?"

Clearing his throat into a closed fist, Avi looks over at Raith, then Brian, then Nick, then to the bottle of whiskey with a frown. "It isn't a lack of options, it's a lack of time. We got folks leaving for Alaska and Mass in a couple weeks. That's more than half our best operatives. If we bring heat on this place before then, we could fuck that up for them. I try not to stick my dick in two things: crazy, and end-of-the-world bullshit." Avi grimaces, then swallows dryly again. "I say we wait through winter. Heller's not dumb enough to try and seige this place in the cold. We've got enough abilities on our side that we could make do."

Then, with somewhat more reluctance he adds. "But the way I see it, the only way I'm good to you all anymore is behind a gun. This is a finesse thing, and that ain't my style. I don't think I have the fucking nerves for finesse anymore." Avi slouches his shoulders, tucks his hands into the pockets of his unseasonable second-hand khaki shorts. "So if it comes to fighting, point me at the fucks that need to drop. I'm all-in for that. And to be honest, I'd be more comfortable going down fighting anyway."

Avi shifts his attention briefly to Raith, then down to the floor. "So, load a gun and put it in my hand if you need me. Otherwise, I'll be waiting for the bullets to come here."

Without any question, Raith is sober enough. Now, at any rate. He sends looks around as voices demand them, including a half-glower for Rue, but his gaze lingers on Avi for several seconds before he gives everyone a second round. Rubs a thumb along his temple for a moment. "I hear the beginnings of some kind of plan, but I need you all to catch me again when I've had some sleep. I can't think right now," he says. That thumb moves from his temple and along his forehead. "Maybe the kids get out of here alright. Maybe we all get out of here alright. But fuck this up, and the Ferrymen die here even if we don't." Another glance around, as firm and commanding as he can manage at the moment. "So, you give me eight hours to straighten my head, and you find me again. As for you -"

Without any real warning, his arm rises up and then falls squarely around Avi's shoulders. Not enough force to unbalance him, but the grip is not at all like an anaconda's. "This is no way for a Navy man in New York to live. C'mon, Lancaster." He tugs forcefully towards the courtyard exit, unbalancing Avi if that's what it takes to get him moving. "Let's see if we can get a couple eggs and some vinegar in this sumbitch."

Damn it. When Avi dips his head like that, Rue just feels guilty for scolding him. But, Raith is neatly giving her a chance to redeem herself in the form of preparing eggs for the man. (She's under no illusions that Raith is going to do the cooking.) "Yes, sir, Mister Raith, sir," she mutters complacently, quickly falling into step to give Epstein another shoulder to lean on.

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