Heavy Mettle


vf_kaylee_icon3.gif wf_luther_icon.gif

Scene Title Heavy Mettle
Synopsis Luther takes a team out on a supply hit-and-run, including one of the new arrivals to test her skills out in the wild.
Date November 21, 2017

Resistance Base Camp

The ugly brown-grey clouded sky overhead is obscured only by the fact that it’s night.

Not long after the arrival of the travelers to camp, arrangements have been made to squeeze in the newcomers for living quarters, rations, munitions and the like. They aren’t very many at all, but enough to make an impact on the small band of resistance fighters. Life in the camp is never idle, as it turns out. Expectations are that everyone pulls their weight some way or another. Those that don’t get the worst of the tedious duties. Or, as it is said, those that mess up, clean up.

The tall, broad form of Luther Bellamy tends to oversee various work duties. Whether or not he was assigned this by the lady-leaders or if he just fell into the habit naturally is anybody’s guess. But the man now strides into the section of camp where the newest arrivals have situated, an automatic rifle slung loosely over one shoulder and laying across his waist, each stride slow and deliberate. Grey eyes cast around, staring like a cat stalking in search. And when he finds Kaylee, his verbal pounce is quick.

“You. Come, we’re heading out for supplies.”

Luther’s voice doesn’t sound like he’s expecting a counter argument, only obedience. He turns on heel, starting a pace away when he pauses and turns a look back over his shoulder. “You know how to shoot?” The question comes out filled with doubt.

Sitting in seemingly quiet contemplation, Kaylee Thatcher is taken by surprise at the gruff voice. Attention coming back to the present, her head snaps up to look that the man intruding on her space. Not wanting to be caught on the ground, the telepath scrambles to her feet. She had heard the rumors… people like to talk.

Stringy locks of golden hair free from a hastily made braid, are tucks behind her ear. “What!?” she asks as she brushes off the back of her jeans. So use to being protected and prevented from joining on any scavenging runs back in her world, she wasn’t expecting it here. This was a whole nother world though and with it there are new opportunities.

“Um.. okay. Sure. Though name’s Kaylee… not you.” That one word, ‘you’, is said in a mock representation of the grumpy mans. The telepath probably understands the hazards of correcting him, still she doesn’t hesitate. Her enthusiasm over the invite is obvious. Not wanting to miss on this chance, she moves to hurry after him, “You’re that—” The question isn’t even completely formed, before he is asking a question that makes her shoulders slump. She stops and grimaces. “Um…. Can I pick up a gun and pull the trigger? Then yes.” A smile tugs to one side, hopeful that is enough.

Kaylee should leave it there, but her head tips down and she seems to study her hands, “However, if you want me to hit something… not so much.” She seems a bit reluctant to admit that.

Though he may not have originally intended to sneak up on the telepath that way, Luther smirks toothily at her jump. But it’s a short-lived expression, taking into account of her agreement with that little imitation of him. Still, he’s not wasting time on that and starts off, only to have that thought of whether or not he’s making a good choice in picking her to join the supply run. There’s a short consideration as she confesses not being a very good shot. Hnngh. The way Luther turns more fully to her, looks her up and down assessingly, concluding that she’s still able-bodied enough. “Just don’t hit anybody that’s on our side,” he says as they walk, “and if you see robots…” Well, she saw the Centurion robots back when they had first arrived. He lets her decide what she’ll do with herself in that scenario, should that occur.

They meet up with a couple of lookouts, a man and woman introduced as Krejci and Esposito, both non-Evolved but capable with their firearms. “We’re going to pick up some things in town,” Luther says more for Kaylee’s sake than the other pair, sounding as if they’re merely going on a shopping run. In the middle of the night. Armed with guns and, for himself and Kaylee, abilities. Krejci passes Luther an empty duffel pack, and Esposito holds a similar sack for Kaylee to take. Once preparations are made, they’re off and… walking.

In the Ruins of the Wasteland

Heading out of the camp and into the night, the travel isn’t a stroll but neither is it a grueling pace. Focus placed on awareness of their surroundings and stealth, the group travels in relative silence for a long length of the trip, only their footsteps and brushes of clothing against metal buckles and firearms. Like a wolf pack stalking, they soon come to a corner of an intersection, sidling along crumbled, bullet hole ridden walls. With a nod from Luther, Esposito moves ahead to scout their path while the three remaining stay behind. Kaylee can feel the woman’s caution as the scout moves forward, approaching a flickering firelight in the distance just beyond the telepath’s range.

But where there is firelight, there are likely other people. And suddenly it becomes clear to Kaylee that this isn’t a mere scavenging run. It’s an armed robbery.

The pack is taken with a soft thank you and slung over Kaylee’s shoulder. Eventually, a pistol is tucked at her back and her knife tucked into her boot. When offered one of the rifles she had refused, a part of her is pretty sure she could do far too much damage with that. With hope she never has to use it. There is also a harsh realization that she is out of shape compared to them. Feet become tender after sometime, having never had to travel so far on foot in those shoes, but the telepath doesn’t say anything. Each step throbs and aches, but still she continues on. She needed to prove herself with these people.

She didn’t know how long she’d be in that world.

It becomes apparent what these people are desperate enough to do, when she senses the shift in mental tones and sees the flicking of light ahead. Kaylee suddenly becomes unsure about her ability to do this. She knows teams back in her world had to deal with these kind of situations, but she was never allowed. Would she be able to be of use? What if there is a robot?

There is a curious glance sent to Luther, as she steps out enough to see where Esposito goes. Instinct… or paranoia has her ability flaring out around her a little further… making sure they don’t have anyone sneaking up on them. That she can do.

Refusing the rifle is her loss. The extra is left behind at camp, leaving her without long distance firepower. The others aren't aware of Kaylee's predicament with her sore feet, focused as they are on their task. Their mission. Kaylee's positioned between Luther and Krejci while they wait, giving her the view of the leading man's broad back bearing the thick black coat.

While Esposito sweeps forward, Luther pauses his track and turns his head over his shoulder to eye the telepath once more. She's a variable in their group, so there's an extra bit of attention paid. She gets the sense he's indeed testing her. Then his gaze shifts to Krejci and with a nod to them both, they push on. Sneaking around the corner of the crumbling building, getting closer to the firelight, Kaylee's the first to sense the quintet of minds around the fire. Three asleep, two awake and watchful, they don't manage to see Esposito sneaking in from the left an angle that's blocked by their own vehicle.

Luther nods to Krejci and the man breaks off early to approach from the right at a different angle, leaving Kaylee with Luther to head straight up the middle. He swings his rifle to the ready, an indication Kaylee ought to prepare for a possible fight. But it's with confidence that Luther steps forward, boldly and maybe brashly, to approach the encampment of strangers.

If Luther wasn’t aware of what Kaylee was, he will when he feels Kaylee’s hand grip his arm and hear her say «Wait.» Except, her mouth isn’t moving and the words seem to be coming from everywhere.

Kaylee realizes that this was her moment to prove herself as useful in someway. After the years of working with Kain and Ling… The telepath had a few tricks up her sleeve for just this sort of thing. When he looks her way, Kaylee’s eyes are unfocused and for the moment a touch vacant. It doesn’t last long, a mischievous smile curls at her lips and gaze comes back into focus. The people ahead were strung tight and skittish. This normally would mean a fire fight, but this paranoia was something she could work with.

A glance goes to Luther, a finger presses to her lips, and she moves closer to the camp. Crouching behind the cover of a broken wall, Kaylee moves to kneel. «Now watch.» The voice in his head has that same mischievous tone as her smile. Eyes close and her head slowly lowers; Luther feels the presence in his head leave. However, out in the camp one of the watcher’s seems to come alive, jumping to their feet. His hands tightening on his rifle.

“You hear that?” He asks his companion with attention focused away from Kaylee and her group.

The woman’s head comes up from where she is cleaning her rifle. Her head tilts a bit and she starts to shake her head…but then stops. “Yeah,” she says softly coming to her feet, rifle in hand. Looking down at the sleeping forms she she quietly moves closer. “Psst. Hey,” she kicks at the foot of one of them. “We got company,” she hisses when the sleeper looks up, slowly followed by the others. The woman still motions in the opposite direction of the scavenger team.

What Luther and his companions don’t see is the telepath slipping from mind to mind, whispering and manipulating what these people think. Strengthening memories, blurring others, changing details about their world. As far as they ar aware… There were people out there past the fallen and demolished buildings. And these people were after their supplies. Her touch is unnoticed to those five campers, each one suddenly awake and aware there is is a danger lurking out there beyond the firelight.

The crack of a rifle report is loud in the night, coming from the male camp guard; having thought he saw movement in the darkness. “What the hell, Martin?” The woman snaps, her own rifle coming up ready.

“You didn’t see that?” The first guy asks, as he starts forward on the other side of their camp. Looking back he motions the others to follow. “Come on, maybe they have supplies.” You can never have too many. There is a rather knowing grin, before he turns and heads out. Shortly, one by one the others follow, moving away from the scavengers and the camp. Normally, people would pick up their gear and take it with them, but instead they leave everything but the rifles in their hands.

Soon, silence descends on the area and Kaylee’s head comes up and eyes open. There is a grimace and a hand touches her head tenderly. “Okay…” She says, her voice a little strained. “I doubt there is a lot of time, but they will follow what I told them for at least a few minutes… then they might realize they left their stuff behind.” The hand drops and she looks up hopefully at Luther. Silent, the telepath awaits judgement from the rather intimidating man.

The touch to Luther's arm makes him abruptly pause and turn, the physical contact coming as a surprise. "What?" he growls in a low volume, teeth tips flashing in annoyance. But, he also isn't ready for that mental voice. Kaylee sees his eyes flick here and there with the sound of it seeming to come in surround.

No, she soon knows, he hasn't had much experience with telepaths. Or perhaps any.

But watch he does. He's watching her at first, once he comes to realize that it's Kaylee's voice he's hearing in his head. He's still wrestling with that for a short bit of someone else being in his head, up until he hears the scavenger encampment come awake. His rifle raises, he aims down the barrel of his gun, focused on the movement of the guard when she alerts her sleeping companions.

The rifle that goes off makes everybody tense. What the hell, Martin. Indeed.

Still, he watches warily as the campers get up and head off to some mysterious thought off in another section of the ruins. Then, Luther turns back to Kaylee and with narrowed eyes, considers her and what she's just done. It feels like a long time under the stare, but it's only seconds that pass. Her reminder that the campers could come back in a few minutes serves as enough motivation to get moving again. Luther jerks his head to the camp, indicating Kaylee should move along too.

Once they've both secured the camp area, Luther whistles softly into the night. It's answered by other whistles on their right and left before Krejci and Esposito reappear. "What happened?" Esposito asks as she comes up, looking baffled by the unfolding of events. Krejci's response is a shrug and shake of his head, along with a quick rifling through some packs before the man simply grabs up two of them and hoists the straps over his shoulders.

Luther, though, is still quietly watching Kaylee out of the corner of his eye as he picks through supplies as well. "Must've seen some spooks," he rumbles after a moment as he runs his hand briefly over the open flames of the campfire. Most people might get burned doing so, but the man doesn't appear to mind the heat. The flames die down, eventually extinguishing into red embers as Luther steals the fire's energy for his own. Once it's done, he turns to the others with his hand lifted in the night, giving off an ambient glow for a few moments before it too fades.

"Let's grab this stuff and get out of here. You too. Guns and bullets first. Food and supplies next," he notes at Kaylee. He still hasn't used her name.

Under that storm-colored stare, Kaylee finds herself slowly feeling more and more uncomfortable under the weight of it. After several long moments her eyes finally drop to the ground at his feet. Any pride at what she has done, leaves her in a rush of uncertainty and self-doubt. Was it too much? Did she go too far? Kaylee sighs quietly after a moment and gives Luther a nod of acknowledgement to the head jerk.

Thankful for the darkness that hides the grimace of pain, Kaylee climbs to her feet again. It takes considerable effort not to limp her way into camp, though she might start a tad slower than the others. Crouching down next to another pack, the telepath keeps her field up, listening for a return. Beyond that, she’s quiet and subdued. Shoulders sinking when Luther’s seemingly dismisses what she’s done as spooks.

Kaylee could speak up and take credit, but surprisingly she remains quiet on the subject.

When the campfire starts to rapidly die, it pulls her from the inspection of a food can; eyes widen with surprise and ease into curiosity. Kaylee wants to ask, but the question dies on her tongue. It’s not the time or place for such questions.

There is also the desire to snap at him about the fact that she has a name, but she only drops the can back into the pack at the order and starts to dig for weapons and ammo. What she finds is transferred into to her own pack; along with a first aid kit. Leaving the food and other supplies for now, the telepath straightens to her feet and moves to pick up what guns she finds, searching other packs for ammo. The weight is going to be heavy as the journey back goes along, but she’ll grit her teeth and endure.

There's a crunch of an apple right in Kaylee’s ear, and when Tyler Case leans in, chewing loudly, he seems mostly impressed. “Whuw,” he says with a mouthful, “hus prutty tuff huh?” The chewing continues, and Tyler bites into the apple again, brows raised and attention focused on Kaylee expectantly.



Whatever Kaylee assumes of Luther's opinion of her, the man remains at equilibrium while he's setting about pilfering the scavenger camp's supplies for their own. Once, she's caught looking in his direction and eyes meet for a flash of a moment. Then he's back to attaching spare packs and supplies together. Once they're all as laden as deemed enough to carry, he casts one last inspection of the camp before clicking his tongue lightly against his teeth. The sound alerts Krejci and Esposito in their respective parts, and they form up, leaving the rest of the pickings alone.

"Don't make any sense why they'd leave their shit," Krejci comments once they're together again, "but hell, I'll take it." The man shifts his heavy pack around a bit so it centers on his shoulders, giving him more access to his rifle. And not a moment too soon, because a shout in the distance alerts the group to their detection. Tyler's presence having been a brief interrupt to her mental scanning, she's missed one of the scavengers returning who has seen the firelight gone out, but their bulky shadows moving about in the distance visible under the stars and moonlight.

In the next moment, a gunshot goes off, and the bullet whisps past Kaylee to bury itself in a building side. Luther swears under his breath, turning with a growl and gritted teeth. "Shield your eyes!" he barks a command, and in another instance a silent burst of bright light flashes in the distance between their group and the returning scout scavenger. A yelp of surprise from the man stalls any further gunfire.

And without further ado, Luther grabs for Kaylee's arm to haul asses out of there. Nobody else seems to even notice the apple-cruncher in the fray.

Kaylee might be watching Luther, highly curious about the man, when the crunch of apple next to her ear, makes her jump a little. It shakes her out of the her thoughts and she turns a glare Tyler’s way, she wants too but can’t grab the apple; a fact that doesn’t pass her by. That he is talking with this mouth full makes it even worse.

The telepath makes an attempt to ignore her spiritual cling-on, but then there is another bit of apple. “Will you not chew that next to my ear? I’m trying to concentrate.” Kaylee hisses under her breath at the man. Course, a gun goes off and the impact of the bullet near her head has her dropping briefly to a crouch.

When she straightens, Tyler gets a ’see what you did?’glare, just before she is told to cover her eyes and does so.

Kaylee is barely recovered from that flash, when her arm is grabbed and she is pulled along. Unlike the other, she doesn’t hold a weapon at ready. As they run, telepath’s ability is at play. Which is a good thing, because as they run she senses the movement of an pair of minds ahead of them. Feet are planted, bringing at least her and Luther to a stop, as she realizes they might be falling into an ambush. “Wait!” She hisses urgently. “Ahead.”

Her eyes are for Luther alone in this moment since he is clearly the leader in this group. «Two ahead waiting.» Fingers touch his hand, skin to skin, and suddenly he knows where they are. Only a snapshot, but he’ll know where the ambushers lay in wait for them to cross into the killing field, but he also would know where his own people are without looking. They can only hope the trend of organic foes continues. People, Kaylee knows… robots, not so much.

Still noisily chewing on his apple, Tyler ducks down beside Kaylee. “So it looks like this might be a bad time,” he notes with a glance toward the sound of gunfire, “but I'm starting to think you might be right.” A bigger bite next, loud and crunchy. “Um I uh ghust? ‘Cuf thut’s kunda wurd, rught?”

Still crunching on the apple, Tyler brandishes it in Luther’s direction. “Uh mun, whuh c’nt h’see muh? D’ uh nud tuh puhzuss hum?” He swallows. “Make some pottery?”

The flash blindness buys them a little time and distance. Stealth isn't the play anymore as much as it is retreat before they're outnumbered. It helps that Esposito and Krejci return fire, getting the other side to duck for cover. Luther lurches as he's halted, shooting Kaylee another look like she's the one being stubborn. But when she plants the notion with her mental voice that there's a trap waiting, Luther blinks again. It's a weird sensation, that flash of location and knowing. But he doesn't question it further.

His eyes turn. A second passes, and a loud CRACK-BOOM of electricity manifests behind the crumbled ruins where their ambushers were waiting. The scent of burnt cloth and singed flesh accompanies the ringing of the ears. They approach the spot where the trap was laid, coming upon the downed duo for a brief inspection. The pause ends with a quick flash of a rather satisfied, toothy grin out of Luther as he looks back at Kaylee. Alright then.

There's still not much time to waste, because they're still on the run from the remaining angered scavengers. Luther leads the way, Esposito and Krejci bringing up the flank. Adrenaline keeps them going, but the sense that they're taking care to give Kaylee some protection. Overall, it's even more obvious that none of the others notice Tyler either. That's perhaps for the better.

It takes a lot for Kaylee not to laugh at the comment made by her ghostly companion. There might be a sound and a hand covers her mouth to stifle anything worse. The image that Tyler’s comment invokes is almost sets off another laugh. So, while Luther turns in the direction of the ambushers, she allows herself a moment to send a look Tyler’s way, but this time with more amusement than annoyance.

“Will you stop,” Kaylee whispers, “They’re going to think I’m cra— .” Luther’s attack startles her, making her flinch away from the sound and cover her ears out of reflex.

When Luther looks back at her with that grin, there is a little something in the back of her mind that makes her suddenly self conscious; hands are dropped quickly and she offers him a smug - though maybe a little shy - smile in return. That had worked far better than she expected.

Hitching the pack and guns into a much more comfortable position on her shoulders she moves to follow… at least at the moment she’s not thinking about her feet, just making it back with all of them alive. Focusing on what might pop into her mental field.

He’s nice, by the way.” Tyler says off-handedly, amid the chaos. He's finished his apple and is now finishing around in his pockets for more found fruit, but somehow doesn't find any. The rules on that are unclear. “Anyway,” he glances around, “I guess you've got some stuff going on. It's been nice chatting, and once I figure out this whole situation you'll have to introduce me to your friend.”

With that, Tyler simply isn't there the next time Kaylee looks.

Esposito and Krejci make short work of the stunned and singed scavengers. If they weren't dead before, well. None of the resistance fighters linger, and their further retreat path splits from what they had used before. A shortcut down a debris strewn alleyway turns and twists so that they lose any tails, and the group doesn't stop until finally they've come to a midway point from where they'd first begun at camp.

Luther unshoulders the heavy pack once they've cleared the cache area. Remnants of a restaurant kitchen remain, covered in dusty, dented metal appliances, but it's relatively sparse compared to what likely was back in the days before. "Sort out essentials here, repack and we'll set out in a few, come back for the rest in the morning." Though it seems impractical that they'd be sorting out loot in an almost pitch dark restaurant kitchen, the darkness is pushed back when Luther produces a slight glow out of his glance to the space where a long fluorescent bulb used to function.

While the other pair are sorting, Luther does too, but he's split attentions between the task on hand and the way Kaylee goes through what she's taking and what she might leave behind. Evaluating, in a way, what she'll choose. It even feels a little bit like a game without readily apparent rules.

“And how — “ Looking over, Kaylee suddenly realizes Tyler is gone again and her words trail off. Her head shakes a little with a small sigh of relief. Whether Luther could be considered nice or not, was still up to debate in the telepath’s mind. There was something about him that she couldn’t shake, it made her curious about him…

Inside the restaurant there is relief to be found. The weapons clatter a little too loud on the ground when she shrugs everything off her shoulders. Grimacing, Kaylee rolls her shoulders slowly and presses fingers into a particularly painful point at the base of her neck; watching the others out of the corner of her eyes. Maybe she knows what he is doing, or she’s curious as to what others see as useful. Back home it was essentials… Ammo and weapons and medical supplies topped the list.

Would it be much different here?

The rifle and shotgun she managed to snag are propped against the side of the counter out of the way so that she can upend her bags. One that once belonged to one of the campers, the other her own. Moving quickly, she catches things before they roll off the edge. While hers has useful stuff the bag she grabbed was mostly clothing. Though at the bottom was a folded up BDU jacket. Curious. Shaking it out, she checks the size. Definitely on the big side, but she pulls it on anyhow, hand brushing over the stiff fabric printed with digital camo and the name tag of Martin. “Think they were military deserters?” It’s asks softly as she rolls up the overly long sleeves before setting to sorting the rest of it. Sorry Martin. It’s her’s now.

Kaylee hasn’t forgotten the words he said the day he rescued them, so the confiscated ammo is tucked at the bottom of her pack. Followed shortly by the first aid kit she managed to snag and a few pill bottles from Martin’s pack. Perishable items are tucked into the pack, needing to be used by the group sooner than the cans. The pack is definitely heavier when she gives it a test heft. Only then, does she pack away the rest, mainly clothing, though a book catches her attention briefly Mean Heat. After a quick scan of the description, it’s quickly tucked away with a soft, “Nope.”

The group makes short work of their pilfered supplies. Ammo and weapons come with them, followed by meds and food, exactly as Kaylee had assumed. Clothing is down on the list of priorities, although Luther gives Kaylee a short shrug as his answer to her question of the other scavs. “Could be. Or that guy took it off another guy.” And now Martin’s BDU is hers. None of the others assume to tell Kaylee what she should be taking with her back to camp, nor do they attempt to fight over her supplies.

Luther catches sight of the book title. A brow lifts. Interested, curious, but… No comment.

Once they’re done repacking, they tuck the remaining supplies away into a busted oven and an inoperable freezer which they stack a bunch of debris upon just to make things a little more difficult and camoflaged for other potential scavengers. The soft glowing light Luther produces extinguishes as they retreat from the building, fading back into the night. It’s the first time, Kaylee is bound to notice, that the man appears tired too. The use of his ability has taxed his energy reserves.

Resistance Base Camp

The trek back to camp is slower as a result, but doggedly onward they press, all with a certain awareness to check over their shoulders every now and again for a counterattack, another ambush, or other scavengers lurking in the night. They also chance a few glances upwards when out in the open, seeming like they’re studying the stars. But no, it’s to listen for drones. Fortunately, their journey back to camp goes unharrassed.

When they reach the outer camp and pass the night watch’s line, Krejci and Esposito break off to head for their respective tents. Luther only gives them both a quick nod and “see you in the morning”, which carries enough sense of “good job” feeling to it without actually stating. They all know that they survived the supply run intact. The overall mood when they split off for the night isn’t exactly elation, but it’s obviously the best they’ve felt in a fair amount of time. For once.

Once the other pair of non-Evolved have left, Luther lingers. His gaze turns to Kaylee, also to linger a moment over her. “You ever done that before?” he asks after a heavy pause. “Doesn’t seem like the first time you’ve had to scrap for scraps.” Yes, he’s aware she’s still laden with her scrounged supplies. He doesn’t try to take them from her, but neither does he tell her what to do with the packs. It seems to be hers to deal with, not unlike how scavengers had operated back in the Hub, only this time there’s no immediate dangers of the virus or needing negation. So, Luther assumes, she’s familiar with the situation. And her power… that is a point of curiosity.

“Your world isn’t much different than my own,” Kaylee comments with a small upward hitch of her shoulders. “Less, robots, but this… “ She motions to the compound with a wave of her hand and a tip of her head. “This is familiar. This…” She shrugs the pack off her shoulder, holds it up a bit with arms trembling with exhaustion, before setting it down on the ground so that she can roll her shoulders with a grimace. “Is familiar. I didn’t do the scavenging myself, but I spent a lot of time with Kain and the other scavengers, so I know what keeps us alive and what is just fluff.”

Fingers press into her shoulder, more willing to acknowledge that over then the aching burn of her feet. There is a moment that she eyes the man, even starts to say something but stops herself. Feeling a little self conscious of herself around him. Instead, the guns she had scavenged are offered over. “I can’t use these… You’re more than welcome to them.” There is a reluctance to admit that, but even she recognizes that if it had been robots rather than people, she would have been royally screwed.

“Oh..” She pulls the pistol, when she remembers it, from where it had been tucked as well. “I should return this, too. Thank you for letting me borrow that.” Not that it got any use.

“And thank you for giving me a chance,” Kaylee offers genuinely meaning it, with a touch of shyness and sounding like someone who isn’t used to it. Of course, without her father around, there wasn’t anyone, to stop it either. Fingers tuck loose locks of hair behind her ear and turning her head away a bit, in an attempt to turn her scar away from his view; pretending like she’s looking out at the temporary compound. “It felt good to actually, be able to contribute for once.”

A low grunt from Luther serves as his response to the comparison of worlds. Again, the evaluating eye travels between her, her packs, and their surroundings in a sweep about. They’re still alone and unbothered, anybody within earshot is unlikely to hear the conversation. So when he turns back to find her eyeing him and her posture self conscious, her scavenged guns held out in offering, Luther looks slightly perturbed at her. Why… “Keep ‘em in your tent,” he refuses of the firearms. The pistol, too, gets a push back towards her.

The thanks gets received almost dismissively, if because Luther doesn’t appear to be used to getting them. Or, rather, he’s not all that concerned to demand gratitude in such forms. “You want to contribute more, learn to shoot,” he remarks gruffly as he steps back from her space and half turns to face some direction away. In profile, rather than full face, he might be a little less threatening looking.

A beat later, he’s still not looking at her when he asks, “How did you do what you did?” The vague question encircles his inward, mental review of the run. “You mess with people’s minds? Make ‘em think they’re seeing or doing something else?”

There is a bit of a deer in the headlights look when the guns are pushed back at her, Kaylee looks at them with a touch of wariness. It was so much easier to mess with people mentally, then shoot at them. “Oh… okay,” she murmurs softy resting the gun against the crumbling wall next to them.

Luther’s gruffness and the way he steps away is mentally noted, finding herself feeling rather uncertain of her own actions. Maybe what she did was wrong? Why did she care what he thought? That slips past her mind when he turns away. Brows furrow a little at her inability to answer that. Turning, she leans back against the wall, hands tucks behind her like a cushions, while looking out rather than staring at him.

“I- “ Kaylee suddenly is uncertain how to explain it. “I slip into their heads and start altering their perception… whisper things. I took what they saw of us and changed what they remembered and added to it.” In other words, the campers had spotted the team. Her jaw tightens as if waiting for something. A judgement on what she is? “Some people think I can do both… telepath and persuasion, but it’s all in how you handle people’s views of the world and what they remember of it. Telepath is more than just reading minds, people just assume that is all it is.”

What she doesn’t tell him, is that tonight was nothing compared to what she can really do. The things she’s done in the past.

He's facing to the side, but a glimmer of amusement, dry, dark and brief, crosses Luther's expression formed in the way his jaw twitches at the base. The reason? Her explanation of her ability. "So," rumbles the tall man thoughtfully, "you're saying I didn't see the others and we were walking into a trap." His tone isn't casual about it; a deadly, serious calm following the flash of humor which sloughs off his expression. Replaced by disappointment, guilt, and irritation for it. Her strength bolstered the group's weakness, saved them from a messy firefight, possibly their lives.

It isn't judgment that comes upon her, but as he turns a look over his shoulder at her, his grey gaze pins a long look upon the blonde. "You've got a dangerous power," he states evenly, as if it were unequivocal fact. "People'll come at you if they know what you can do. Sounds like they already did, before. But, you're still here, and they're not." Luther furrows his brow, suddenly, inwardly finding it odd how he's loitering. He utters a short grunt and looks away to the camp grounds proper. "Get some rest," he notes concludingly. "Mess opens at 4." A few short hours away, which she finds herself implicitly invited to. That is, if she'll wake up that early.

The rumors about Luther being what they are, and him looking the way he does, it might not come as a surprise where he spends much of his time and energy.

There is a soft sound of confirmation at his assessment. “I thought I caught them all, but I missed two.” The two that ambushed them. There is an apology hidden behind those words and an admission to failure, somewhat.

“And no… no one has come at me?” Kaylee shakes her head slowly, finally allowing herself to look back at him. There is something a little colder… a little harder behind those eyes. “I and others went after them to protect our people.” Those she considers her people are important to her. A small remnant of what was left of a dying world. A small dysfunctional family.

Looking down again at her things, the telepath turns thoughtful, moving to shoulder her haul again. “Do- do you think after breakfast, cause lord knows I feel like I could eat a whole horse - do you…” Kaylee trails off a bit realizing what she’s doing. Asking him for something, someone with some rather vicious rumors behind him. But maybe that reputation is why she pushes forward.. “Would you be willing to help me?” She asks, picking up the rifle and holding up, with a questioning upward tip of a brow.

“I mean.., if you ain’t too busy,” Kaylee adds a bit nervously.

The admission earns her a short glance, but it’s not as barbed as it is stern. Luther doesn’t say anything to it, though neither is there a sense of forgiveness as much as a write-off of the incident. They’ve come out of it alive, nobody’s hurt, and having both learned a little bit more about each other’s talents. The note that she protects the others gets an interested sort of sniff. He’ll remember that.

The request ticks up a brow, coupled with a wrinkle of his upper lip that looks borderline a sneer but doesn’t carry a maliciousness. It’s merely the expression he makes, like a big cat licking at his chops to get at an aftertaste of a hunt. To consider his next meal, and how much effort he’s willing to spare. Finally, after a longer than comfortable pause, he utters a short answer, “Sure.” Luther turns, putting feet back into movement as he heads off into the dark. Last words come called back, succinct and purely informative.

“After breakfast.”

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