Far And Away


brynn_icon.gif eimi_icon.gif joe_icon.gif lance_icon.gif

Scene Title Far and Away
Synopsis A group of friends go somewhere they shouldn't and find something they wish they hadn't.
Date March 30, 2018

Manhattan Exclusion Zone

A trip to the Bronx is a day-long event in this day and age. The walk out there is long. The walk through it, longer. And today, the unfinished wall around the Manhattan Exclusion Zone dominates the horizon in the distance while the sun casts long shadows from crumbling buildings. Dust kicks up under their feet from what's left of the Bronx streets. All around them, gutted buildings tower overhead. Each surrounded by shedded bricks and twists of metal from former fire escapes.

Familiar, if uncomfortable.

Ahead of them, a place that they are definitely not allowed to be. A place built with the cruelest of intentions. A place that suffered the brunt of two bombs. For some, it stands as a memorial of loss and tragedy. For others, it is evidence of what the evolved menace has done and will always do. But for these kids, it's the lure of the Unknown. Or the Forbidden.

They really shouldn't go there.

No stranger to walking long distances — they lived in BFE Canada, after all — Brynn doesn’t have any trouble with the exercise. Though she’s a little uneasy about the urban nature of the place they’re now invading. Lines of sight are significantly impeded, and she doesn’t have the advantage of hearing something coming. Much as she’s always done when sent into any kind of exercise in the field, she takes up a position to the left and back from Lance, knowing that he will cue her to any problem and, if he can’t, Joe will have her back. She looks around uncertainly. What exactly are we expecting to find out here again? Because so far, it hasn’t been much. … Which is probably the safest thing to find out here.

Standard formation for them is Lance as the point scout, and Joe as the rear guard, as any ambushes that come from behind will find a pretty hard target in Joe. And Lance as forward scout just makes… complete sense. Sometimes Joe is in the middle where he can keep an eye on the whole group, when it's a bigger group. But right now he trails Brynn by a few feet as they walk along. Salvage. Is Joe's simple response to Brynn's question as they walk along, no doubt bubbled by a Lance so no one can hear them coming, they'd have to spot them by line of sight only, and line of sight in the messy remains of New York is pretty spotty at best.

Joe shrugs his shoulders, stepping up beside Brynn so she can see his hands, which move in small furtive movements. Food. Salvage. Anything really. And we're gonna swing out to Hailey's place for a visit since we're out here. Well more we were going to Hailey's for a visit and I convinced Lance to swing out here to look for salvage. I bet most people don't come out here. Too much taboo even for criminal types. At least that's my guess, and my hope. Hoping some stuff has survived.

Eimi's response to going out into the ruins was, I'll catch up with you, not long after they were outside the fence. And then the teleporter went to do her own thing for a little. The ruins are big, but her ability makes them smaller. Her familiarity with at least the ruins of the Bronx makes crossing them and finding her friends quicker as well.

But she's careful to teleport into plain sight a little bit ahead of and to one side of them, half hopping off of a rooftop fire escape even as she teleports to land on the ground. It might be showing off, a little bit. Just a little. "Anything interesting so far?" she asks.

Lance is keeping about a hundred to two hundred feet ahead of the group, urban camo-hoodie drawn up to shadow his features as he prowls through the ruined streets, keeping to the shadows and in complete silence; a piece of chalk palmed in his hand, that now and again he’ll pause to make an obscure symbol on the pavement or a sign. ‘Unstable structure’, ‘animal tracks’, ‘open hole ahead’ - that sort of thing. Silent warnings left for his friends and lighthouse-siblings.

There might be some valuable stuff out here, and with the food shortage - they’ll need to recover some valuable stuff just to keep all these mouths properly fed! Sure, they could ask the adults if they’re really in need, but he’s really trying to keep them going without needing that sort of charity.

Unstable structure is a pretty well used symbol in this area. Especially nearer to the Exclusion zone. Supposedly, no one comes here. No one lives here. Not like in the other ruins around New York. Even the ground seems untrampled, where other places they can see the evidence of others' passing. Up ahead is green, almost like an odd park hiding behind grey walls. Vines have reclaimed much of the structures, or are well on their way to doing so. And plant life means water. It might even mean food, if they're very lucky.

It means animals, too. The kids might not be in such dire straights as to consider hunting as a viable means of keeping food on the table, but there are howls ahead. Bird calls. Chittering sounds from within bushes and up trees. Something to keep in mind, perhaps, as the shortage lingers.

Brynn nods to Joe’s signing, her eyes keeping Eimi in view as they move carefully. She gives the other girl a negative headshake in answer to her question and then shrugs. A lot that’s near the Zone is likely picked clean anyway. We’re actually going to have more luck further out, I’d guess. Her gaze roams the buildings. Might not be the worst idea to try inside some of the apartment buildings, where it’s possible. You never know… might still be usable things. Only if it’s stable enough, though.

Regardless of where Eimi teleports the sudden motion and appearance of a person has Joe's instincts kicking in and his hands lift, revealing the pistol that was previously held down and close to his right leg. But it only gets halfway up before he recognizes who it is and puts it back at his side and flips the safety back on. Joe tips his head to Eimi, then holds up a hand with a finger over his lips, waiting until he and Brynn draw closer before speaking in low tones. He doesn't hush the tones, as whispers tend to travel farther, he just speaks low, and signs for Brynn's benefit.

"Nothing yet. Lance is scouting ahead for anything of note. Danger or salvage or otherwise." He pats his back where he's strapped up a piece of industrial shelving. Not the shelf, but one of the corner supports. It's wrapped up in tarp and some rope. Something they could use to carry heavier things back, such as computers or animals. And the Lighthouse Kids are so not beyond hunting. THey did their fare share of it up in BFE Canada while the war was raging. Joe and Lance especially would go out with Brian hunting. Helping to hone their tracking and marksman skills. And Paul too. They'd rotate so there were always combat capable kids at the house, but they all got their turns to go hunting for food.

He translates for Brynn, then signs back, speaking aloud as well to keep Eimi looped into the conversation. Might be. I'd be the one to go into the apartment buildings. I mean… my skin isn't going to save me from suffocating in a building collapse, but it'll save me from falling through the floor onto a piece of rebar or something.

Eimi makes a tiny, quiet 'pshaw' noise at the idea of stable buildings vs unstable ones. When she speaks, though, she matches "I can go in them too," she notes, looking around. Some of these, she's already been in. Even the unstable ones. "I'm good at buildings, and a lot of time people haven't gotten the upper floors because you can't get there."

Pause, she furrows her brows and thinks, and notes, "Or we could both," she adds. "That way, you could get out faster." By now, all of her newfound friends have been teleported, are familiar with the other teenager's preferred method of transportation. Her footing as they go is careful, but steady and certain, and her age remains on the wall of the exclusion zone ahead.

That's one place she hasn't dared go, alone, in the past.

After a bit, they catch up to Lance, who’s perched on the roof of an old car that someone’s abandoned — and that’s been stripped of tires, upholstery, engine, and most usable parts. He straightens as they draw nearer, dropping his silence to call out, “Hey. We know where we want to head from here…? So far I haven’t seen anything promising, it’s all been picked pretty clean.”

They surely aren’t going to risk that wall looming in the distance, though. Right?

Beyond the wall, a bird flutters up in a show of feathers, perching on a remnant of a construction walkway. Behind them, dust and silence. There are some buildings around that are not beyond the wall but, they're either picked over— as Lance sees in his forward scouting— or missing floors that would otherwise hold worthy salvage. As Eimi might notice with a few ports around the area.

At least it seems like they're the only people around. No ambushes set up in the nearby buildings or criminal hideouts that they have strayed too close to. This side of the wall is certainly safe.

Seems to me that if Eimi doesn’t find anything useful, maybe we should just angle for the zoo and check up on Hailey, Brynn signs with a wary eye on their surroundings. Jesus, this place is creepy as hell. And I don’t even have to be able to hear to tell that it’s gotta be eerily quiet here. This is like one of those bad horror flicks where everyone’s yelling at the screen, Don’t go DOWN there, dumb asses!

“Yeah I know but…” Joe looks over at Lance and Brynn, then back to Eimi, gaze lingering on each of them a few moments. “None of you wonder what’s beyond the wall? Even salvage aside none of you wonder?” Joe looks skeptical at that, and his hands betray his skepticism to Brynn as well. “I dunno. I’ve wondered what’s in there. And maybe with Eimi as a teleporter we could make a quick escape if something went wrong? I don’t know how wide the wall is but we could set up at the top since Eimi could flash us up there, and then use that as a base camp while we explore? Or… or something. I don’t know. I’d like to see what's over there though. And yeah we can always swing over to Hailey’s afterwards. Or instead. Up to you guys.” Joe though, Joe starts walking towards the wall, his steps sure and not at all hesitant, even if his features are scrunched up with trepidation over what they might find on the other side.

“I mean it can’t be that bad. It’s not like horrible mutations have come pouring out and what not. And it’s not like we hear stories about people going in but never coming out. People just don’t go in there. Don’t you think that’s odd? Maybe there’s something stopping us from going in there? Like a psychic field or something? A barrier that says ‘Go Away!’ yah know? Or maybe everyone is just worried and doesn’t want to think about what might be in there. Doesn’t that make any of you curious?” He asks, looking around his hands signing for Brynn for a few moments longer than his talking took.

As they go, Eimi does popup and into a few buildings, returning outside within the minute and shaking her head.

"I can't teleport three people at once, though," Eimi points out, but her gaze remains on the wall and what they can glimpse beyond it. "Only two." She furrows her brow a little before just popping ahead to where Joe is to keep up.

"I overheard people talking about lions, once? But they were probably… just bullshitting," Eimi says. "And at least it's not underground."

“If there were really lions, Hailey’d know by now,” Lance says confidently as he hops off the top of the car and lands on the sidewalk deftly, glancing up to the wall in the distance. Then he exhales through his nostrils, slanting over a look, “Okay, okay— Jesus, Joe, if we go take a peek will you shut up for like five minutes?”

He looks back off in that direction, lips pursing, “I mean it can’t hurt to peek in. Maybe see if there’s any salvage near the edges…”

The good news is there are no lions. Joe is the first to peek beyond the wall and he doesn't get eaten. Or immediately turned to radioactive goo. Instead, he sees— and the others if they follow— husks of buildings marking what were once streets. Office buildings, it seems, at least closest to them. Vines have grown up from the ground, covering walls and creeping into broken windows. Through the windows on the ground floor, Joe can just make out signs that promised coffee and sandwiches, kiosks knocked over with old phone accessories in plastic wrapping scattered across the floor. Overturned tables. Any chairs that might have been are long gone.

And along side the building, a railing wrapped around the edge of a drop. And stairs leading to a basement. With the way the plants are still covering them, it doesn't seem like anyone's gone down there. Probably since before the bomb. The second one.

Beyond this building is another, similar architecture in that it was made up of so much glass that it barely seems to have an outer wall anymore. If they look, they might see a wild animal skittering along the vines in and out of the open windows.

Brynn’s clearly with Lance on this one — if it’ll make Joe’s hyper self shut it about the wall, then fine, let’s go look. Peering around Joe when he peeks first, It … doesn’t look like it’s a big deal. What was the wall for? she wonders curiously. As her gray eyes search the wreckage, she also comments, That’s a lot more vines than in other places, isn’t it? She glances back over the other parts where they’ve been walking, and it seems to her that although Mother Nature is reclaiming things, it’s moving maybe a little faster there? English ivy grows pretty fast and is really invasive, she offers skeptically, maybe some birds dropped a bunch of it.

Joe is more than happy to take the opportunity to go explore since his friends are okay with it. He does smirk when Lance makes mention of it shutting him up. "Not likely, but maybe. We'll see." He winks at his best buddy, then looks over at Eimi and Brynn, sticking his tongue out at the latter before he's off, climbing through a gap in the unfinished wall and dropping to the ground on the other side. He lets his eyes wander around slowly, blinking slowly at the overgrowth of the buildings. "Wow… nature has reclaimed this quick… That basement looks untouched." His voice isn't hushed. He's speaking at normal volume, though a place like this almost begs for a hushed and whispered voice.

"And some of these other buildings… I think… I think we might be the first ones here…" He looks at the scattered goods on the ground, walking over and crouching down to pick up a plastic wrapped phone case. He looks it over for a few moments, then sets it back down where he picked it up from. "Wonder if any of the coffee equipment survived. If it's not rusted through it might be worth salvaging. Maybe for parts if nothing else?" He asks, glancing to the rest of the group before he continues on into the building, eyeing the entrance to the basement. He's not looking at Brynn so doesn't see her signed comments about there being a lot of vines. "This is more overgrowth than there should be isn't it? I mean it should take decades for nature to retake the city like this shouldn't it?" He lifts a hand up, scratching at the side of his head a couple of times. “Basement?” He asks as he grabs a flashlight out of his backpack and flicks it on, aiming at the vine choked entrance to the basement.

Eimi teleports through the gap in the wall, hand held out for Brynn as well rather than bothering with clambering through. And then there's a bit of excitement at being in the forbidden area, gaze looking this way and that. The teleporter runs her fingers along some of the vines as they pass by them.

But she swallows when they get towards the basement, clearly looking up at upper floors of buildings more than necessarily down. "It's a lot more than in the Bronx."

Maybe it’s the radiation, Lance signs back over to Brynn, craning his neck to peer through the broken window - hey, maybe there’s a set of ear-buds he can get for his music! - and then Joe’s calling attention to the basement with word and light, and the lanky teenager steps along over to peer down the steps. “Looks undisturbed,” he calls, looking back to the others, “Maybe there’s a storage room down there? We might’ve hit the jackpot!”

A grin, and then he starts picking his way down, brushing vines aside with gloved hands. Always wear gloves when you’re doing something you shouldn’t. Fingerprints are a thing!

Brynn accepts the teleporting hand, and she too is very interested in what they can see. Although in all honesty, it still just looks like ruins to her — albeit really really overgrown ones compared to other places. Could be, she agrees with Lance’s comment on the radiation. Although she can’t hear Joe’s exuberant call, she does see Lance’s head come up and pivot that direction. She too heads for where he’s looking, and she shares one of those glances that a great many girls share when boys are doing BOY THINGS like pretending to be Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom. She peers warily down into the darkness and just shakes her head with a sigh. OF COURSE they’re going down there, because… Reasons. It just is. She keeps on Lance’s heels, letting those two take the lead on going into the spooky, dark basement.

What’s that Scooby? No, I didn’t just touch the back of your shoulder with a popsicle… why???

Given the fact that Lance and Joe have already discovered BODIES in the ruins and what have you, Brynn’s not exactly looking forward to what they’ll find next. Probably not the rich stuff — they aren’t that lucky, now, are they?

Lance moves aside vines, sending insects scurrying away, over his gloves and off to find something quieter. But beyond them and the plants he finds the edge of a door. Pulling away more of the curtain, as it were, reveals a solid, metal door dotted with rust. No window to peek through to check on what might be behind it. But Joe's flashlight beam lands on a handle. So at least there's that.

Eimi might notice, for look upward instead of down, that beyond this little area, the plants are more sparse, less overgrown, less green. But right here is it's own little oasis. She can even see buds just starting to open along some of the vines, glimpses of white and purples showing through.

But up is not where they're headed.

Joe steps over next to Lance and starts helping him clear the vines away from the entrance to the basement, hands gripping and ripping, not having to worry about thorns or anything can be pretty cool. So he just starts pulling vines away from the entrance, setting them aside as they clear it all away. "Dude, this so feels like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." Joe comments aside to Lance, grinning wide, then turns and signs it at Brynn. She knows her brothers well, yes she does. Then he's back to clearing the way with Lance.

“There's a door." He states entirely unnecessarily. He looks at it a moment, glancing to Lance with honest excitement on his face. "I don't know why I'm excited, there's probably going to be something horrible behind it but… but we'll be the first ones to find it and see it. Whatever it may be." Joe reaches down, gripping the handle and starts pulling against it, trying to lever the door open. He's a little too busy with the door and it's handle to notice the plants and how they're growing. He noticed earlier, that's good enough right? Joe is focused on that door and getting the no doubt rusted thing to open up and reveal its secrets.

Eimi looks at the door and almost glares at it, and then turns away. "I'm going to find something to hold it open," she says, clearly and making sure to face Brynn for a moment while she does so. And then she's popped off a few feet away, not quite across the street, popping back with a sizable chunk of concrete in her hands, small enough to carry and big enough to use as a door stop.

"Indiana Jones and the Forbidden Ruins would fit," Eimi suggests, though she stays back and lets Lance and Joe deal with the door. While they do, Eimi focuses on keeping her breath steady, gaze returning up yet again. "We should comb over these buildings when we finish with the basement. Grab anything intact and sort it through back at Lance's apartment." She toys with her lower lip with her teeth for a moment, as she falls silent.

“If nothing else, we’d have more cell phone cases than anyone ever,” quips Lance, even as he drops back a bit - and to one side - pulling the revolver from his belt and cocking the hammer, covering his buddy as Joe reaches to open the door. The other boy’s bulletproof, which as ever makes him the perfect point man for situations like this.

A field of silence stretches out to encompass the door as well as the group of teenagers, ensuring that no matter how much the door groans and creaks when it’s forced open - nobody but them will hear it. Well. Nobody but them and the plants around them.

Brynn remains near the back with Eimi. There is no way she’s taking a lead position on this Scooby trip! Not because she’s scared — though she is a little uneasy and uncertain — but because if something jumps out at them down there, the boys are the ones with abilities far more likely to let them handle that while she and Eimi get the heck out of the way. She doesn’t wanna be a Girl Hostage, like in those old comics Joe showed her when she was a kid!

She does peer rather curiously over Lance and Joe’s shoulders, though, trying to see through the gloom to see if anything interesting is down there. And she sniffs too, because…. If there’s Dead Things, Mikey, she is so not going one step further!

The door definitely needs some forcing. It's been closed at least since 2011. After a bit of wrestling, the handle moves and he's able to push the door open. And it's a good thing Lance thought ahead, because it squeaks and groans, needing plenty of leverage to open, just like the handle. It hangs in place once he lets go of it and the group is met with the mouth of a hallway. Long and dark. They can see that there were lights, but like everything else, they stopped working with the EMP. It's hard to see too deep in, but a sweep of flashlights reveals tiled floors, a fire alarm that probably doesn't work, an extinguisher that probably doesn't, either, and the frame of a door on each side. And the plants. They climb the walls here, too, despite the dark.

Aside from them, all is quiet inside. At least, in this part of the basement. Beyond the reach of their lights, it's hard to say. But there may be some comfort in the fact that nothing jumps out at them. Nothing lies dead on the floor. It does smell, a musty, stale smell like the inside of an old closet.

Well, Joe isn't weak, but he's no body builder, so he probably has to get Lance in on the helping with the door thing, pulling and wrenching at the handle until the door comes up with that horrid squeal of noise. Joe makes a face at the sound, glancing back to the girls with an apologetic wince. Well, a wince for Eimi. At Brynn he sticks his tongue out since she can't hear it. "So… as far as I know plants don't grow in the dark… so I think the stories about a plantomancer hanging around might just be true. Unless they got mutated by radiation and are now grow in the dark plants. Which is kinda scary, but on the bright side if we ever have to nuke the sky to stave off the machine assault we will have some form of food aside from just mushrooms."

There's no real hesitation from Joe as he goes down the steps and into the hallway, his flashlight panning slowly, looking at his surroundings as he walks on, pausing at the two doors. He slips his hand into his hoody to pull his gun free again, readying it as he stands to the side of the door, nodding to Lance. "Pull it for me ninjabro." He's ready to move inside and sweep the room or hallway beyond. He's starting with the lefthand door.

Eimi isn't scared, precisely. The more correct term would probably be terrified as they get to the point where the entry to the hallway is long behind them and out of her sight. But she's trying very hard not to show it, and there's a hard gulp as she walks.

"This is creepy," is what she says, voice flat, words super-quiet, and she sticks close to Brynn, looks back over her shoulder occasionally. There's a pause and the next matter-of-fact thing that she points out is, "And it's underground." Pause, and she looks at her friends, edges a step closer to Brynn and watches Joe determine which door to try first. "Someone owes me peanut butter for coming down here."

The quiet sound of the Mission Impossible music - dun, dun, DUN DUN - is audible within the field, just to the four within it, because Lance is humming it as they sneak along into the creepy basement. He, apparently, is not very scared by the place - it isn’t the first ruin he’s explored, and he’s always had a sense of adventure. His revolver up as he steps over to the door, looking to Joe with a tight nod.

“Joe ate all the peanut butter,” he comments, before pulling the door open and stepping back quickly.

“Again,” he adds.

Brynn slants a glance toward her brothers. She knows they’re … doing something. She can’t hear what they’re doing, but she knows. They know she knows that they’re messing around. And she knows they know that she knows too! Damn it, Joe. But her body language eases just slightly because Lance turns around and messes around — she seems to take it that if Lance is messing around, there’s nothing to worry about. Joe, on the other hand… well, he’ll mess with the Devil on the way to Hell, so that’s not a good way to judge if you’re all about to die. She signs under Lance’s flashlight, Hey Fred — if Shaggy starts screaming, you know that Scooby here is going to teleport us both out before I even have time to know there’s screaming, right? So don’t let Shaggy scare her. She rolls her eyes rather expressively. Then gestures Lance to go on!

The door opens. This time without any protesting hinges. Inside is dark, just as the hallway is, and flashlight sweep over open moving boxes tucked against a wall behind a couch and chairs positioned over a floor rug— like walking into someone's living room, except that everything is coated with dust.

Those in the front see it first when a beam of light falls on what is definitely a human hand reaching out from behind a chair. But a thorough look at the floor and over the front side of the couch gives them more than just a single hand.

Bodies decorate the room, laying here and there, in a state of decay that might indicate that they've been here for several years this way. The smell would be much worse, but for the plants circling the room, radiating out from the body behind one of the chairs. Almost as if they burst out from him in some sort of panic-fueled explosion.

From behind them, the entrance door screeches.

And slams shut.


"Hey! I did not eat all the peanut butter okay? There were pirates involved. THey came in through the window and stole all the peanut butter. Then escaped back through the window onto their airship. I tried to fight them off but you should have seen them with their cutlasses, like swordmasters. And clothes are expensive okay? Didn't want to get them all cut up." Joe of course talking as he walks forwards into the dark basement hallway tunnel thingy. "You should really see about securing that window bro. It lets in all sorts of miscreants. Lance are you translating this to Brynn for me? I'm on point I can't do sign and be on point. Be a good brother."

Joe… Joe probably would antagonize the devil on the way to hell. He is DEFINITELY not a good judge of whether stuff is about to go sideways. He does have his gun out and ready though, held down at his side with the safety on. It's a quick flick to turn it off so no point in taking unnecessary risks. "Oh." He comments, stopping short when he spots the hand and then… the bodies everywhere. He walks forwards a few more steps so the others can see what’s in the room as well. "Well… I think there is indeed a plantomancer somewhere…" Joe comments, stepping forwards, a frown pulling at his features. "Well that looks like a horrific death." He comments off handedly, moving in to explore. He doesn't run or anything, he moves in to explore.

"Hey guys I think… I'm not sure when they died but they only look a few years old? So I don't think they died during the war… or if they did it was at the end of the war. This is more recent and…" He stops as the door slams shut like that. "Oh." He murmurs. "Well… crap." Joe ponders that, his features scrunching up a bit in confusion. "Either there was someone a lot closer than we realised which I doubt it given our training or… someone was watching us mess with the door. Cuz they couldn't have heard us… that's weird." He doesn't seem panicked by being shut in the basement.

Panicking is Eimi's job here. As the door squeals shut in the distance she is the one that screams, wordlessly, and just stops in place.

It takes a moment for the bodies to register, and those oddly don't get nearly the level of reaction as being shut inside does. She looks at them a moment in dim confusion and then shakes her head and screams again. This time it has words, mostly consisting of no repeated over and over again, and the nervous teleporter teleports just about in place sporadically, blinking out of existence only to reappear a fraction to one side or the other.

Luckily the screaming panic only lasts about thirty seconds, and then Eimi just moves a bit closer to Brynn. And then looks down and focuses on breathing, trying very hard to ignore their surroundings.

“Bullshit, you know you…” The appearance of corpses ends Lance’s good-natured banter in a heartbeat as he sobers immediately - that flicker of initial panic smothered by the knowledge that almost everyone around here is dead already. This isn’t a murder scene, just an old battlefield, now. “Oh, wow,” he murmurs as he steps carefully inside, “That must’ve been an agrokinetic, and when he was dying… power ran out of control? Explains the vines. Poor gu— “

Screech says the door, and he whirls to look back with wide eyes.

No out-loud musings like Joe, but he’s out in the hall in a flash - hesitating when Eimi flickers about, not wanting to risk being where she teleports - and then she calms a bit and he’s jogging past her to the door out to throw himself against it and try and get it open.

OHMYGODEIMIJUSTMADEMEDEAF!…. oh wait. Nope. Luckily for all concerned, Brynn is already deaf so she's not left mangled by the series of screams with which the frenetic teleporter cuts loose. Neither is she terrorized by the squealing door. What she is horrified by is the body with plant stuff growing out of it. So gross.

She'd scream. Maybe. But considering their lives to this point? Nope. Instead, she sucks in a breath, goes very very still, and tries not to shake in abject terror. Cuz well… knowing what to do in a crisis doesn't mean you aren't still freaking terrified.

When nothing else seems to happen and the boys don't jump immediately into commando mode — after all the bodies have clearly been here a while; they don't stink! — Brynn calms. Some. She couldn't hear Joe's report and it's too dark to see much except what's in the flashlight. So she pops her penlight into her teeth and signs, That explains the vines… She sighs heavily. You know you guys are gonna get a reputation, right? I mean, this can't look good. Do we hafta tell the cops? Cuz.. we're outside their walls, so they shouldn't give a crap, right?

She removes the light from her mouth and moves slowly around the room, giving the boys clear lines of fire toward the door while she looks around, patting Eimi on the shoulder firmly in a silent message of you're ok.

As Joe examines the bodies more closely, he sees what's left of them seems to be caught in fear. Curled up, hiding, clutching onto one another. However, otherwise there is no sign of what killed them. No bullet holes through clothes, no blood stains on the floor.

Out in the hallway, as Lance runs for the exit, he discovers that the door is no longer where they left it. He reaches the end of a hallway at a smooth wall instead. If he got turned around, it's hard to say since the hallway is too long and too dark to see if there's a door at the other end.

A dark figure moves through the room— At least, to Brynn it does. Just out of the corner of her eye, it seems to slink behind her. Should she turn to look, it's gone before she can get her gaze properly on it. If it was there at all.

Joe doesn't freak out like the others with the shutting of the door, in fact he remains fairly calm. Or at least, on the surface he looks like he's fairly calm. But that doesn't mean he's not freaking out inside. Lance goes off to shoulder check the door and he calls after his LHK brother. "They're going to have it secured from the other side bro!" He doesn't try to stop him though, he just stands, calm, hoping that calm radiates to the other two. He lifts his hands to respond to Brynn's question when he spots something out of the corner of his eye.

He twists and whirls towards it, watching as a pack of wild dogs comes tearing down the hallway. He shouts his surprise, his calm facade shattering as he rushes forwards down the hall, rushing headlong into danger as usual, but this time it's because he thinks there's something dangerous rushing towards them. And while he's not afraid of the dogs directly, the thought of another of his friends being eaten by them is horrifying and terrifying both. Once he gets in range he'll fling himself at the pack, hoping to take them all down in a tumble. If they're real. If not he's going to be eating floor.

It's enclosed, it's dark… but Brynn's hand on Eimi's shoulder helps for a moment. There's a deep breath and then another and then another. And then the next time she looks up the walls are moving in around her. The basement is oppressive against the teleporter's already fragile grip on what's going on, and she once again screams — it's the only coping mechanism she really has for this sort of thing — halfway between wordless and repetition of no that dissolves into a different mantra. Oh god oh god oh god, but this fear is expressed at a whisper.

To add insult to injury, when her ability flickers into play and she teleports to the side, her clothing falls into a pile where she was standing. The terrified whisper continues even as Eimi frantically scrambles to put her clothing back on.

"Wh— " Lance's hands slap against the wall palm first a few times, and he drops back a step to stare dumbfounded at the wall. "There was a door right here, it was right…" He turns, as if to ask the others if he was down the wrong hall, and then he stops dead staring at the doorway opposite the one where they'd found the bodies. Steam rises off the ice that's starting to coat the floor, spreading outwards, a humanoid shadow of utter blackness looming in the doorway. Memory makes his heart race, and he pulls back a step. The shadow seems to move closer, and then he's bursting into a dead sprint towards the other end of the hall where, surely, there's got to be the door.

Oh, there's an Eimi in the way. Save Eimi! He tries to literally pick her up and fireman's carry her to 'safety' as he flees the horror that once killed several Brians and Gillians in their own home, wreathed in perfect science.

Everything is happening at once — she feels the air blow past her as the door slams, Eimi is blipping in and out in the periphery of her vision, and there's someone here. Brynn is sure that there is someone here in the darkness. He keeps flirting from shadow to shadow and her adrenaline skyrockets. Flashing her light around the room, she keeps missing — whoever it is, he's fast. And the more she searches, the more she starts shaking. Backing up, she feels behind her for a wall, she's sure he touched her shoulder.

And there's still nothing. If she could just catch a glimpse, she'd be okay. But he flashes in the periphery of her vision, and she recognizes the outline of the rifle. Brian taught them to identify such things. And then he vanishes again. The girl lowers herself into the corner of the wall, nearly scuttling sideways, and once she finds a corner, Brynn buries her face in her knees and wraps her arms tight around her legs. She makes the smallest ball she can in the corner and though she can't hear it for herself, she is making a terrified high-pitched keening sound as she essentially tries to hide. If I can't see and hear you, you can't hurt me! It's a regression to the reactions of the little girl who had nightmares.

It isn't floor that Joe meets. It's snapping jaws and heavy bodies knocking into him, pulling him to the ground, driving teeth through skin. That shouldn't happen, but he feels them tearing at him, sees the blood pooling and dripping from bite marks and muscles torn apart.

Eimi finds it difficult to get herself back together, as the walls inch closer and closer to her. And she feels arms around her, tight and restricting. And rushing her toward the walls.

Brynn feels the impact of bullets through plaster and drywall. Should she look, she can see them ripping through the wall in a line leading right to her.




Lance runs. He scoops up Eimi and he can feel her temperature dropping. The hallway walls blossom with ice, behind him at first but it quickly overtakes him. Racing him to the door. Meanwhile Eimi gets colder. And colder.

That… really shouldn’t happen. Really really shouldn’t happen. Joe’s skin has been tested thoroughly. He knows that it can take the teeth and claws of a wild dog. So he doesn’t freak out immediately when he sees the blood and everything as he sees his flesh torn. Because that… can’t happen. Unless he’s been negated. But then he wouldn’t be able to see Eimi flickering in and out of existence further down the hall. He rolls and fights, stabbing fingers for eyeballs, shoving and kicking and punching. There’s no frantic breakdown from him. Brian trained him far too well for that. But he is fighting for his life and he knows it. “Run!” He shouts to the others as he tries in vain to fight off the wild dogs that have been something that’s haunted his nightmares for years. Not for himself though, but for the others. He’s just as much confused as he is afraid right now.

Eimi is flailing trying to put her shoes back on when Lance picks her up. They get left behind and she can't see them anymore, can't see anything but the walls approaching and Lance's shoulder.

"Nonononono," but it isn't so much a scream anymore as simply repeated, over and over again. Eimi gets her feet back under her and keeps hold of Lance. "Stop stop stop stop…" That trails off as well and Eimi takes a deep breath, pulling out her flashlight to click it on again and running (without letting go of Lance) towards Brynn. Or at least in the general direction.

"No!" she yells back at Joe. "We can't just separate like that or we'll all just!" She's not sure what's going on but running in separate directions is a bad idea. "Come on," she says. Another shaky breath in as Eimi tries to get a hold of her friends even as she can't breathe from the claustrophobia that has long since set in.

There’s a stumble as the teleporter gets back on her own feet, but she’s still keeping hold of Lance so he keeps moving, pulling her along - staggering and grabbing the wall with a free hand now and again as if slipping on something, letting her lead them towards Brynn. “We’ve got to keep moving,” he hisses, glancing back over his shoulder at Joe’s shout, “It’s right behind us — fuck — Joe! Joe, don’t be a fucking hero, c’mon! I thought that thing was dead, this is bot-swarf— ”

Not that Joe can hear him since his power’s snapped on again, although it’s spread outward enough that Eimi, close as she is, is within the acoustic field and can hear him.

Despite the fact that all of this has Brynn crouched in the corner for long moments, there is also the driving fear that her family is going to be lost to her. They are the only family she's ever had. Fighting her way past enough of the panic to pull her head up from her knees and find them, she is practically hyperventilating. Sure, she was trained by Brian too! But … these were not her strong points! There's a reason she was not sent into any kind of field operations — she's a liability under fire.

She knows someone is out there, though. Someone moving fast, moving through the shadows. And she pulls out the flashlight again and starts once more searching for him. She can't take him out — but if she can put a light on him, one of the boys will do it. She has every faith in both of them. Her light isn't steady due to her hand shaking far too hard, but she is grimly determined to help find whoever is terrorizing them.

One by one, Eimi grabs her friends, running from one to the next until she has them all with her. Brynn barely has time to realize who is grabbing her before they're gone.

With no line of sight and a few too many bodies, the teleport is wild. And violent. Each of her travelers feels stretched, like part of them is still stuck in the basement. And just when it feels like they might pull apart entirely, the group bursts like a firework.

Joe smashes into the ruins of a building, disoriented and in pain. His shoulder is out of joint. His gut aches. He feels lightheaded and weak— but he can recognize where he is, in the familiar ruins of the Bronx.

Brynn is in a similar state. Pain, weakness, dizziness. It's hard to find her feet and her thumb has popped out of place. But she can see the walls of the Safe Zone in the distance.

Unfortunately, Lance is no better off. A dislocated elbow, a pounding headache, pain in his muscles. And he's tired. Which is all very bad because he has landed in the river. The shortline is in sight, but it's going to be a difficult swim.
When Eimi completes her port, the most noticeable factor for her is that it's hot. Too hot. The air is heavy and wet, the temperature well over one hundred. She's not injured like her friends, but one glance around proves that she is nowhere near home.

Cueva de los Cristales

Near the Naica Mine


In front of her is a giant, milky white crystal towering from cavern floor to roof. It's far wider than she is tall and at least twenty feet tall. When she turns she can see the squat cavern stretching out in front of her. And behind her. Crisscrossed with crystals just like the one next to her. Already, it's starting to get hard the breathe. Sweat pours down her skin. Two things become clear in that moment: she is going to die if she doesn't find a way out and… she has no idea where she is.

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