God Bless


joseph_icon.gif rue2_icon.gif ygraine2_icon.gif

Scene Title God Bless
Synopsis Two women who share an ex-girlfriend in common, and an over-stressed pastor? Maker preserve us.
Date April 9, 2011

Grand Central Terminal

With the topside of the iconic Grand Central Terminal in ruins, it's its basement level that sees most activity, as covert as such activity may be. Entrances are sealed (at least, to those who don't know any better) to the upper levels leading above ground, whether with rubble, or with manmade additions of gates and blockades, and so most will find their way to this place via the countless tunnels that run like arteries in what could appropriately be termed the heart of Manhattan's train system.

Electric lights shine pallid white in the arching ceilings of the basement concourses and foyers, running off their own generators and so power is only used conservatively. Here, the wide open spaces are used for storage that is destined to be moved either towards the arching doorways opening to platforms and subways for shipping out, or waiting to be dragged down to the subbasements for longer term storage. The floors, the walls, the ceilings are differing kinds of tile and vary in cleanliness.

Tables have also been set up so that supplies can be sorted, shifted, packed properly. Folded cardboard boxes awaiting use can be discovered in most corners. Signs on the walls in the form of crude spray paint indicate where things might go, from food, to clothing, to medical supplies, and some things even more exotic. This is a place of motion and organization.

Last but not least, a makeshift recreation room has been set up for the workers of the Grand Central Station, and this can be found within what used to be known as the Whispering Walls. Famously, this interstitial space was known for its strange acoustics, wherein one could whisper to a companion from one far side of the corner to the other by talking directing into the curving corner, where sound would travel along the curve of the arcing ceiling. This, of course, still works, but now the space is no longer simply a foyer - there's a semi-portable kitchen area offering simple food and beverages, a television (which gets no reception, but is hooked into a VCR and a DVD player, with a modest library for both), a card table, a few comforts such as couches and armchairs.

Upon one of the walls, is a rough but well-meaning mural, a mock up of an aquarium - an addition that came after the Ferrymen claimed this space as theirs. It seems to grow in size every several days, with new aquatic characters added each time.

The Ferry network welcomes Ygraine back in familiarity, in orange lights that make up for the daylight blocked away by many tonnes of concrete and earth, and the strange sounds that come from activity in massive pipes and tunnels, and the way it echoes around curved walls under the ground. Her presence is a familiar one, a puzzle piece slotted into place, as are the other faces that know to come down here. And know to move through the space in the correct hours. And so, though no one can tell in all the shadows and electric lighting, it is during the daylight that Joseph Sumter moves into the bowels of the Grand Central Terminal.

It's been a while since he's been off Pollepel Island himself, and there is familiarity in the faded mural on the wall, the blue tiles of the concourse beneath his feet. It is very quiet, these days — construction has stilled since the threat of the robots, but supplies still come and go. It's also tribute to the fewer people the network has to offer, that it is not as bustling as it once was.

But it still runs, just as any terminal must.

To combat the cold, Joseph is in a winter jacket lined in flannel, but the shirt beneath that is simple cotton, legs clad in blue denim, shoes in boots that don't creak anymore as he moves through the near empty concourse, a hand clasped around the crucifixes on his chain, and mind elsewhere even if he should be looking for the lady he came here to meet.

There are stories of monsters in the depths beneath the city. Unsettling creatures that lurk in the darkness - things of damp and cold, of roughened hide and gleaming eyes….

Right now, Ygraine feels rather as if she might be fulfilling a large portion of those stories. Clad in sleek, reinforced leathers, she has also twined a scarf around her head, the night vision goggles poking out from the folds - though they're now pushed up onto her forehead, as conventional light flows around her. She is, however, coated in trickles of part-dried slimy water, runnels of brown and grey slicing through the layer of dust and dirt that has settled over the black, damp footprints trailing behind her.

At least she doesn't squelch as she walks.

One gloved hand is raised in greeting, then she sets about unwinding the scarf around her head enough to free her face - exposing black hair and pale skin - though she works wholly one-handed. "Hi. I think I've ruled out another route here as viable for anyone else", she says dryly. "And it's not one I want to repeat."

Further down the line, crinkling paper echoes off the walls as does a small grunt of effort. Rue Lancaster adjusts her grip on a brown grocery sack (should have brought her canvas bags) that's heavy with canned goods and fresh produce that will likely be consumed in short order by the members of the network holed up in the Terminal. When she spots the two, she doesn't raise her voice to call out, instead tipping her chin in acknowledgement.

She isn't perhaps readily recognisable without her curly red hair beneath her dark olive beret. Instead, the waves have been ironed out of her locks, the colour dark and as sombre as her hat. (Though not green, just black.) To be fair, Rue doesn't recognise Ygraine right away either. At least not until she speaks. Only a few people fitting those dimensions have that accent.

Joseph's hair is still normal brown.

But his eyes as ever unusually dark, like buttons, now fixing on Ygraine when she emerges and quirking a half-smile her way, a hand out in still wave. "Well," he says, as his assessment roams over her, up and down, and coming to a halt after pacing a few steps her way, "I won't be hugging you in greeting, but the sen'iment's there." Rue goes unnoticed for now while the hello exchange, an ancient ritual of human interaction, takes place upon the subtle tilt of the concourse corridor.

"I heard— well. I'm not sure what I heard," he says, hands tucking into the pockets of his jacket. "You can fill me in on that maybe, but glad to see you can still get in and out've here okay."

Ygraine is even paler than normal - deprived of her customary time outdoors, for so much of this year - but she has regained almost all the weight lost in the Dome, and no longer has the pinched look of deep-set malady that she carried out of the ruins of Roosevelt.

There is still, however, a certain feverish, fragile brightness to her expression - and especially her eyes. But the smile is warm, perhaps because she has not yet recognised Rue either, and it's tinged after a moment with a hint of teasing playfulness. "I could strip down a bit and give you a hug", she offers, sounding quite sincere. "But that might be a bit sweaty, quite apart from not wanting to upset Kaylee."

As she talks, she unfastens the high collar of her jacket, unzipping it part-way down her chest - revealing a glimpse of a richly burgundy-coloured skin-tight covering. "I've been wanting to check in on Kaylee for quite some time. Never managed to catch her while I was doing supply runs up North. Then I got… detained by other matters. Last time I saw her was the Eighth." When Ygraine carried the bleeding woman onto the refugee ship, before doubling back to disable the tank that had just sunk its companion.

Approaching the pair, Rue balances the groceries on her hip and reaches inside to procure a pair of nectarines, settling them into the palm of her hand and offering them out. "First dibs," she entices with a bit of a sing-song, politely refraining from comment on whatever conversation it is that she's just come upon.

Though that doesn't keep her from noting Ygraine's attire. "You look like you're playing real life Splinter Cell, Yggy Pop."

He can only shrug, at the part of not wanting to upset Kaylee. Far be it from Joseph to predict such outcomes or desire to change them, a twist to his conversational smile as he otherwise listens and notes Rue's approach. A step back, to physically welcome her to the conversation, and a hand going out for a nectarine — never one, these days, to turn down a food that isn't fresh and therefore somewhat exotic. Canned vegetables, gamey meats, and porridge lacking syrup and honey and sugar, do something to make him a little leaner than he had been during his prime in New York City, when he was still a pastor, and still had a church, and could get a pastrami sandwich whenever he wanted.

"I can tell her you said 'hi'," he offers, after a nod of thanks and greeting to Rue is delivered. "But I ain't surprised — the eighth had a scattering effect, if you didn't find y'self on a boat and headed north that same evening."

For a second, Ygraine looks blankly confused as her gaze shifts to Rue - the woman's appearance and the circumstances of this meeting rather different to their one prior encounter. Then she blinks in surprise, flushing and awkwardly clearing her throat, before waving a filthy-gloved hand in refusal. "I, ahhh, not with… ahhh. Wash. Is, ummm, is that a… first-person shooter? Name's vaguely…. Ummm. I. Yeah. Been ahhh, well. Been wanting to. Crumbs."

Closing her eyes, she swallows, then musters a weak, apologetic smile. "Sorry." A glance to Joseph to include him in the expression of regret, before she focuses upon Rue once more. "There. I… I have an astonishing talent for fouling things up. I… still don't know quite how I managed to do it so badly with you, but I am truly sorry for how things went when we met. I screwed things up horribly. And I've been wanting to apologise, but… didn't think you'd… well. I thought I'd be the last person you wanted to see. But it really has been eating at me. I never wanted to hurt you. Quite the reverse. Though you probably can't believe that." She finishes with an audible gulp.

A slow smile spreads across Rue's lips as Ygraine stumbles through her apology. "Seriously, don't worry about it." She tucks the untaken nectarine back into the bag, assuring, "I'll save this one for you."

And as decidedly not awkward as Rue feels in the face of Ygraine, the reverse is true when she turns her attention back to Joseph. "Ah, Pastor Sumter, uhm… I was at the meeting, and… If you haven't talked to anyone about it yet, I'd be happy to fill you in." Awkward, because she's fairly certain things did not turned out in a way that will make the man pleased. And so her smile is perhaps a bit tighter than it was a few moments ago.

"Barb mentioned some things about it," Joseph is quick to assure, easy as the toss of nectarine from one hand to the other. "But I'd be grateful to hear your take on it, I'm certain." Patchwork diplomacy, and probably a little clumsy, but Joseph is a good speaker, and his voice carries the impression that what he knows and does not know about the meeting is completely under his control. That the opposite is more honest can only be detected in the twitch of force to his smile, and the way he immediately looks a little more tired— if possible— at the topic itself.

He takes a bite of nectarine. There've been a lot more threats more pressing than pesticides and he's still standing, so, he'll suffer it. The look that glints to Ygraine is curious but lacks question — the social dynamics of the Ferrymen network are as tangled as they come. "Y'all alright?" he asks, with the tone of a man who isn't sure he wants to be involved, but is morally obligated to check.

Tugging off a glove while Joseph talks, Ygraine has been attempting to regain control of herself. "Not exactly", she says dryly. "Was in PTSD before I got shot. Part of my bicep is still somewhere in Queens. I came out of the Dome and got betrayed by a friend and protégé. Then I wound up setting up the Ferry for a violent trap. Contributed to Elisabeth feeling she had to burn her life and make a break. And now I'm on the run, with everything I had been working on beyond my reach. Which is kind of why I'm out here. Been… scouting. Something genuinely worthwhile to do. Investigating options, 'cause it's safer for me than anyone else, and…."

A quick shake of her head, and a swift, tight smile. "But if you're asking about being all right with Rue?" She darts a glance to the taller woman. "Rather to my surprise, it seems that I am. I thought that I had utterly screwed up there. But… somehow… not. Though I am curious about what this meeting is that's worrying the pair of you."

Rue doesn't quite realise that the low whistle that accompanied Ygraine's laundry list of woes came from her until after the sound stops and she feels her lips relax from their pucker. Colour immediately creeps into her cheeks and she presses her lips together, quickly finding a need to shift some of the goods in her grocery bag so she can focus on something else. When it registers that she's being talked about - or rather her situation (or non-situation, as she sees it) with Ygraine - she lifts her head again. "We're fine. Honest. We just got off to a weird start. Nothing wrong, though."

And then Rue winces, exchanging a look with Joseph to defer to him on the topic of the meeting she attended, that Ms Simms attended in his stead.

He listens — naturally and without judgment, it being one of Joseph's talents in life. A glance to Rue at the whistle breaks his attention, mouth flattening in tolerant disapproval before he turns a sympathetic look the older of women's way. "I dunno how the Brits do it," he says, "but if you ever want to talk about anythin', it's kind of in my job description."

And on the topic of the meeting—

Reluctant hesitation has the pastor pausing, fingers wandering back up to twin crucifixes once more, one of silver and glass, the other of beaten gold. "I dunno, myself," he says, with a shrug. "A circle of Ferry folk with the need to vent and sum up all that the government's done to the network and what we can do about it. They'll figure out the most we can do is keep on keeping on and keep the focus where it counts, I reckon. The normal dialogue that goes on, just hasn't come up since the 8th before now — too busy getting our feet back under us."

"I somehow forgot to include the mysterious organisation using Company intelligence and former agents to manipulate my life", Ygraine adds, tone again markedly dry - though Rue is offered a sidelong glance and the hint of a teasing smile. "Minor detail that slipped my mind. Like trying to save someone from an attack by two Sylars. And using my ability to break the invisiblity one of them was under, come to think of it." A snort, and she shakes her head. "The past six weeks or so have been such marvellous fun. January and the first part of February had their 'fun', too, but…"

Another shake of her head, and she finds a somewhat worried smile for the pair of them. "I… hope that no one's inclined to do anything rash. The last thing we need is to get into a slugging contest with an opponent a few hundred thousand times our size."

"Minor," Rue offers in response, her head bobbing up and down slowly. "No, I don't think anyone's inclined to do anything rash," is meant as much for Ygraine as it is for Joseph. Whom she's turning to regard now. "Is there somewhere private we could go to talk?" Because apparently the former redhead believes the details of the meeting she attended to be important enough to share with him. Now-ish.

"I'm sure Ms Simms, ah… Didn't leave anything out, but…" The corners of Rue's eyes crinkle as she obviously tries to think of how to phrase her reason for being a person to talk to about this sort of thing, young and green as she is by all standards. Not just in Ferry tenure. "I'm kind of the other side of the argument." Gentle, and hopefully just unambiguous enough to convey her meaning.

As Ygraine's conversation converts slowly into flippant laundry list, Joseph remains silent and listening, brown eyes as ever dark as a pair of buttons and occasionally, difficult to read. "Fun," he echoes in kind, a twitch of a sympathetic smile manifesting at the corner of his mouth before he switches his attention from her, to the ground, then the slow drag to Rue, where there's a sharper kind of intrigue for the promise of relaying information— as well as the insinuation of where she stands— for all that he had assured both ladies that Barb was all over it for him.

"If anyone's inclined to do anythin' rash, well— that's why y'all voted people like myself and Beauchamp into Council," he says, a look back to Ygraine and a hint of recollection for those days of slow structure, votes, and faith in a mission. "Then I'll walk with you, shall I? Y'can help me figure out what we can take back with us to the island."

Ygraine dithers momentarily, then waves her good hand vaguely towards the interior of the subterranean base. "I… should probably go and get cleaned up a little", she ventures, expression somewhat questioning. Her demeanour is evidently curious, but she takes a step or two away to make clear her willingness to make herself scarce if desired.

Rue offers a quick smirk to the Briton, "I'm sure I'll see you around, Yggy Pop." Shifting her sack of groceries, she offers a more apologetic curve of a smile to Joseph, "A walk sounds good." Agreement, amicable enough. And hopefully the two will stay amicable once they've had their discussion. Fingers crossed.

"Stay safe, Ygraine," Joseph says, even as he moves to turn his back, and lead Rue down to the subway tunnels where food and supplies are stacked and inventoried. From here, Ygraine cannot see the worried look scanned from the back of her head to ankles, but even if she did, it's over in the time it takes Joseph to refocus his attention on his footsteps, stuffing his hands into his pockets.

Hesitation hooks him around on a heel, and in a voice that echoes its projection off the curved tile walls, he adds, "An' God bless."

That last benediction brings Ygraine's departure to a halt, the Briton turning to flash a warm, broad and grateful smile at the pastor. "Thank you", she responds, tone soft and warm. "I think that we could all do with a little divine attention. I'll… be around for a while, should either of you want to grab me for anything. But… good luck with your discussion."

A slightly worried little wave, then she turns to stride off into the depths of the base.

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