Holiday Camp


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Scene Title Holiday Camp
Synopsis A briefing, covering recent entertainments laid on within the Dome resort, results in a request for more information and an offer of what help can be given through the barrier.
Date February 12 2011

Long Island City

Long Island City, a run-down neighborhood on the western edge of Queens, just across the water from Manhattan. From here, the skyline that was changed forever by the bomb is a constant reminder of what once was. A window into the past as well as a scathing reminder of the present. The waterfront is a largely industrial area, riddled with freight train stops, warehouses and shipping companies; the vast majority of which have ceased operations or gone entirely out of business in the wake of the the bomb. While this neighboorhood was spared from the disastrous nuclear fallout, it was crippled by the equally disastrous economic fallout. Businesses closed left and right, leaving blocks of abandoned facilities all across the neighborhood. As the property values took a steep nose dive, so too did crime in the area rise. Now, rife with gangs and refugees, the once bustling region looks more like a ghost town.

There's a rather unearthly beauty to the Dome, now. The cap of snow atop it glows golden-white in the light of the dawn, while the tinge of pollution over much of the rest of the field shimmers red and orange in the slanted light.

Today, however, the Northernmost portion of the Dome is blotted with filthy black, smoke still rising from the array of devastated buildings, the Island wholly lacking in running water with which to fight the fires. Though they're now burning themselves out, the columns of darkness rising in the still air are clearly visible to anyone looking through one of the clearer portions of the effect.

Crouched atop a low wall at one of those clearer portions, Ygraine is presently helmetless, deathly pale features raised to greet the new day's sun. Eyes closed, and forearms draped atop thighs, she balances without seeming effort on her narrow perch, her filth-streaked leathers dappled in myriad tones and shades by the slightly-refracted light.

She didn't get much sleep either — considering her position, Elisabeth is kept as up to date on Dome happenings as anyone. Her entire team's been patrolling the exterior of the Dome along with all the soldiers they can get. She did manage a couple of hours at her place before her phone rang and woke her up. Ygraine's voice is a welcome one, and the blonde is dressed and back out the door as fast as possible. Hell, she went to sleep fully dressed just for this contingency.

By the time she hits the rendezous point, Elisabeth is …. well, mostly awake anyway. She looks rough, but perhaps not nearly as rough as Ygraine herself. Dressed in black-on-black with her heavy black jacket over the top, FRONTLINE's director of operations for Manhattan doesn't have to answer to anyone for her presence here. She reaches the place Ygraine said to meet and looks into the dome.

It takes a few moments for the black-clad figure to stir, but Ygraine does have in the back of her mind the fact that she requested a meeting… and when she forces her eyelids to lift, she starts slightly upon seeing someone standing there. There's an immediate tensing as the dark silhouette is all that is initially registered… then the Briton forces herself to relax and jump down, rolling her shoulders as she moves closer. Tired though she looks, there's as an adrenaline-assisted edge to her movements, and a distinctly predatory stalk in her gait.

That she's no longer relaxed and bored is even more evident from her expression as she approaches Elisabeth. Her features are drawn, here eyes near-feverishly bright, and lips thin. Still, she raises a hand in greeting, and manages to muster a grimacing smile.

"Thanks for coming", she says, voice somewhat husky. "The holiday camp entertainment's started up, as you can see."

"Yeah, I can see. There's jack and shit we can do from here, but I'm damn glad to hear from someone. No one's been answering calls," Elisabeth says quietly. "Not terribly surprising, considering the situation, but … wanna tell me what's what?"

Ygraine pauses at that, then sighs, closing her eyes. "Did… did you get a text message last night? From your officer in here?", she asks quietly. "I did. Very brief, and just the one. But… I was hoping that was just him being busy. Or the signal strength dropping too low again."

"No… " Elisabeth checks her phone. "No, I didn't. What'd it say?" she asks urgently. "Last I heard, JJ was over at the Suresh Centre." Which really worries her.

"Fuck", Ygraine says - sufficiently harassed and stressed that she's actually swearing in English. Closing her eyes again, she exhales slowly through her nose, remaining silent for a moment before inhaling and reciting from memory. "Valentin (Boat runner) HF. Do Not trust."

Opening her eyes again, she offers Elisabeth a sad smile. "Humanis First staged a coordinated 'hit' on Roosevelt. They bombed and shot up the Suresh Centre, while bombing major gathering-points for Evolved in the North and running sweep-and-clear teams to root out targets. That's the brief summary. I…." She gulps, eyes closing again. "I can give you a lot more."

Elisabeth pales on the other side of the Dome, struggling to quell the adrenaline rush that slams through her body. Ygraine can't feel the thrum of subaudible sound that rolls off her; the power stops at the Dome. "Mother fuckers," the blonde swears. "Ygraine, I need you to …." She pauses. "I need someone to get the hell over there and see what's happening. Jaiden may be able to help with that or something, I don't know, but I need word from in there."

"I walked past it last night. I… couldn't face going in", Ygraine says weakly. "They'd… they'd blown a Stillwater truck through the front of the building. Bullet holes everywhere. But there were survivors doing triage, and lights were on. I… I came over here, to warn people."

Somewhat dazedly, she points up and back, towards the truncated remnants of the Queensboro Bridge. "I can cross on that. Most people have to use the boat. Had to. Since the Stillwater one blew up, Valentin's was the only large one operating. And he gave lifts to people. So if he's HF…."

She shakes her head. "JJ sent me the text after the explosions. He was alive then. But if he's not contacted you again… I admit I'm worried."

Relief is brutally clear in the blonde's face. Thank God. Not that Elisabeth has less concern for everyone else, but like anyone else the people she knows personally bring a larger sense of gratitude. "Okay," she says quietly. "So tell me what you know about what happened. Since you've seen most of it, it sounds like. JJ will make contact when he can." Liz will park herself as close to the Dome on that end as she can until she can make contact. But the information Ygraine supplies will at least enlighten people out here to the problem.

"It's bad", Ygraine says, allowing her fatigue to be heard in her voice. "As best I can make out, there was a core group of Humanis operatives in here. Presumably with Valentin as a major figure - his boat would let them smuggle the explosives they appear to have. Blasting a truck sideways like that probably isn't a matter of brewing something in a bathtub or abusing fertiliser. And the incendiaries they had… those were effective. Given the lack of pressure in the gas pipes, they couldn't have been doing anything like flooding the place with the mains supply, so all the flame… that had to be directly induced."

Sighing, Ygraine closes her eyes once more, gloves creaking as her hands ball into fists, but continues talking. "To try to get back on track: I have the impression that there's a hardened core of Humanis guys, who were in here when the effect came into being. From the people I saw directly in action… no one was utterly clueless, and no one was trying to act 'gangsta' - no idiotic side-on gun waving or pressing barrels to foreheads - but there were only a couple of guys who seemed fully comfortable with using weapons to control people, and one guy - the leader - who was so confident he didn't even seem to have a hint of doubt about being in charge of himself, his weapons, and the situation. So I'd say that they've been using the time since the field came up to recruit local thugs. Probably arm them, too - everyone on their side seemed to have at least one gun, and they'd got at least a few rifles and automatic weapons in various places. Certainly lots of automatic fire at the the Suresh Centre, from the look of it…."

"But it looked like they might have been bouncing people into action, too. The… it looked like they were doing a sweep for the person responsible for the Dome. A limited target, that even people who aren't really Humanis could back. Find the one crazy freak, get him to stop it, and all this ends. 'Real' humans are carefully separated out as free from suspicion, and protected from harm, while only the suspects are questioned. Easy to persuade yourself to go along with that, huh, especially if you're stupid or scared? But under cover of that… the real Humanis guys were planting bombs and starting a massacre. In which all their clueless recruits would then be complicit. And to aid in that, they were deliberately targetting Stillwater…."

"The timing of it fits with it being a major plan. They triggered this once only a skeleton force was left on Roosevelt, and they hit it hard. Wiped out the truck, and there was at least one Stillwater guy lying in the road outside the bombing site I was at. They'd blown out his throat. I think they were aiming to make themselves the 'law' on the island, at least for long enough to conduct their purge."

A pause, then the Briton cocks her head, and finally reopens her eyes. "Just as a paranoid thought - this could all suit Humanis, couldn't it? Dreadful Evo act of terror, heroically stopped by Humanis First when the authorities fail and lose control. Only by purging the mutants can normal humanity be protected - and if they had control of the lowering of the Dome to put the icing on the cake, they could guarantee a 'successful' outcome for their actions…."

Elisabeth listens closely, saving up questions and comments until Ygraine's through with her recitation. "I would be reluctant to attribute the actual raising of the Dome to anyone in Humanis First only because them using an Evo for anything besides information or target practice is out of character," she comments quietly, blue eyes dark with memories that are still far too close to the surface even a year and a half later. In point of fact, she even glances over her shoulder with a wary look, hunching into her coat a bit. When her gaze comes back to Ygraine, she considers. "The targeting of the Stillwater guys tells me that you're most likely right about the making themselves the law. They'd be figuring if they killed all the Evos trapped inside, they might get away with that if they also got the dome down. It's kind of like shooting fish in a barrel right now, after all. And the Suresh Centre makes an obvious target because of who they are."

Elisabeth shoves a hand through her hair. "Okay…. here's the thing. Depending on how this comes down with the people you already have in place, you guys are either goign to have to contain or kill the Humanis First cell. Do you think you have enough people in there that can be organized into an actual protection force, or is it too crazy?"

Ygraine laughs weakly. "Sorry. Getting ahead of myself. Meant to be delivering information, not speculation. Ahhhh. That's… that's part of why it's so bad. It… it looks like it turned into a fucking massacre. I think we might have two sets of vigilantes active in here."

Shaking her head, she grimaces, eyes again closing. "There might've been survivors who managed to slip away into the dark, but… there was a fairly long gun battle while I was… going in and out of the building after the bombs went off. I got people out, thankfully. But… afterwards, in the street. It… it looked like at least some of the attackers had been executed. And someone was cutting off hands. At least… I found one. Lying in the street. And someone else had been driven over."

"With… with there quite possibly being survivors from the guys who hit the Center, and maybe from the ones who blew up the Chapel, and definitely some with Valentin, that'd be bad enough. But I know there was also some sort of Humanis 'initiation' taking place on this side of the water last night. At least one kidnapping. So we might… we might have lots of armed groups. Scattered. And anyone else who owns a gun in here is probably going to be clutching it tight from now on."

"What?" Elisabeth demands. Okay, that information probably should have come first. "Cutting off hands?" Oh fuck. Elisabeth rubs her eyes, her own fatigue making it hard to consider this, but… "Why the fuck would they be cutting off hands?" she asks, almost to herself.

"All right. I'm going to get word to Redbird Security's CEO — he's got teams in there. I'm going to have them sent over to Suresh." Oh the irony of this call. "And I want you to go to Suresh yourself. I'm sorry to expose you to this, but I know that's where JJ is. In case I don't get through to him, you tell him that I sent you and gave the order for any and all civilians you can possibly convince to head for Suresh. I'm going to ask Redbird — whatever people they have in the region — to pull their people back to there because it's more easily defensible if we need a central location, and it has power and medical supplies."

She bites her lip. "God, Richard's going to shit bricks," Elisabeth murmurs. "Anything else I need to know before I start making calls?" she asks.

"Last I saw, a lot of people were heading for the Subway", Ygraine says quietly, tension increasing around her eyes. "And you know my fears about that. Whether they were aiming to shelter there, or come through to Queens where the Stillwater troops are, I don't know. But… I'll try to find out. I guess you'll probably have survivors reaching your people around the Dome soon, if they… if they made it through."

Sighing heavily, Ygraine then offers a slow and reluctant nod. "I'm… I'm scared that we'll end up with two sets of vigilantes, going around disarming - or killing - anyone who's got the 'wrong' ID and whom they can claim is a 'threat'. As for the Center…."

A gulp, and another slow nod. "I'm… I'm sorry I didn't go in last night. I… I just couldn't face it." She sounds deeply guilty. "I'd… reached the end of my tether, I think. I… after… after I had to stop going back into Eastview to search for people, I… I looked at what had happened outside. When I saw the Center afterwards, I just… wanted to get away. But I can cross back, under the Bridge, and visit it today. And I've got the number for a doctor there. I should be able to find someone to tell me how bad it is."

Elisabeth grimaces. "If you had another place that could be as easily covered, I would suggest it, Ygraine, but… if you've got roaming bands of people out there cutting off hands…. There aren't too many reasons I can think of for that. One is that JJ saw the hands of the Evo who caused this." She shakes her head. "The soldiers and PMCs in there should have already been doing this job. That they're not is something that will be addressed when people are safe, okay? What's the name of the doctor over there and his number? I'll keep trying to make contact as well."

"I'm… hoping that it was just part of the fight", Ygraine says weakly. "But… I just found it." Biting her lip, she closes her eyes for a moment, inhaling slowly through her nose. "Sorry. Ahhh. 'I. Sheridan', apparently. Met her when I went in to check up on the PMC I treated when he lost part of his foot when this all started."

The blonde jerks backward visibly. "Bella Sheridan?" she practically squeaks out in a hoarse tone. Oh, god this is worse and worse. Her personal issues in this case could very well be a huge detriment. "Fuck. Just fuck." The back of her hand comes up to stroke her jawline. "Before you pull people over there," she says quietly, "let's see if I can get hold of JJ and assure you it's safe. At the rate things are going…. I…. " She nods slightly. "Where'd you send the survivors when you found them?"

Ygraine looks blankly confused and bewildered by Elisabeth's response. "She's… not HF or something, is she?", she asks quietly. "Ummm. I… well. Down. The… what I was doing was taking people out of a burning and bombed building, sticking them to the exterior wall, and telling them to head for the ground and jump off there. And I kept doing that until I couldn't breathe inside any more, and I think I get everyone who wasn't… on the top two stories. They… it… it was a big firebomb. They… Valentin and company seem to have someone very good with bombs."

"No," Elisabeth says quietly. "Bella Sheridan was a shrink with the Company, and so far as I know she now works for the Institute, torturing people." She clenches her jaw. "Before I knew who she was, she was my shrink. After Humanis First spent three days torturing me. But she can't be trusted. If you need to speak to a doctor over there? I think his name's Brennan. He's the only one I might trust enough." And him only because Richard seemed to think he was worth that and because he'd attempted to shield the girl from the Institute, though she doesn't say that aloud. She pauses and then says, "Just…. Ygraine, please? Please go over there and see what you can find out about Jay, okay? If he's okay, have him make a point of getting to me. If he's not, please get in touch as soon as possible. By then I'll have some kind of something to tell you. Whether it's to go ahead and pull back to there or what, I don't know. Two groups of vigilantes, one of the Humanis… that's got me in a bit of a tailspin. I need some time to assess the tactics of the situation."

"At the least", Ygraine says, nodding somewhat dumbly, "the weapons of the HF guys weren't lying around when I… had a look at the… the aftermath. And there'd been shooting to kill them. As well as the kit of the poor bastard from Stillwater they murdered. So… whoever did it had guns before, and has at least a dozen or so more now, I think."

About to rub at her face with one hand, she instead eyes her filthy glove with evident distaste. "I still smell of smoke, you know. It… ummm. Yeah. I'll… I'll grab some more to eat. And see if I can get any more updates. If I can confirm where Valentin's boat is, for example, that'd be nice to know. Then I'll head over by my route, and see what's up at the Center myself. And I can ask for Brennan there. The name's… familiar."

Elisabeth nods a little. "I'm sorry you're stuck with so much of this, Ygraine. Really," she says quietly. "Be careful. I can't send you backup, but you have Jaiden and you have JJ. They're a brute squad if you put 'em together." She smiles a little.

"I hate guns", Ygraine says quietly, before lifting her gaze from her glove to catch Elisabeth's eyes. "The only night in my life that I held one, I killed someone with it. All in a good cause, of course."

Mouth twisting for a moment, Ygraine then fiercely shakes her head. "I apologise. I'm… not doing my best at staying focused, I know. But against most threats, I'm… none too bad myself. Jaiden… I've not seen for a while. I'm hoping he wasn't caught up in things last night, but I'll try to get word of him. I know somewhere he's at least been visiting, so I should be able to track him down. JJ… I promise I'll try to get in my sight, so I can tell you directly how he is. But… hrrrm. Fuck."

Shooting a rather filthy look towards the Queensboro Bridge, the Briton sighs once more. "Jaiden and I are our only remotely sane ways back and forth now, aren't we? Wading through a part-flooded tunnel that's had corpses rotting in it for a fortnight and that might give way at any moment isn't a good option, and unless we can take Valentin's boat from him we're left with precious little else. Bollocks. I really need to get hold of our Aussie friend and figure out arrangements for covering each other for necessary transport."

Elisabeth nods slowly. "Yeah. It's going to be dicey at best," she admits softly. "If you can't get over there, don't use the tunnel. It's likely far too unstable at this point, and for all we know it's already collapsed or flooded. Just…. Valentin can't have the only boat. The dome encompasses a decent bit of coast. If you can't get across, just text me, okay? I'll go make my calls too and get word to you."

"I can walk across under the Bridge", Ygraine says quietly. "Take small groups with me. In theory, I could take large ones, but… over-taxing myself'd be… yeah. Getting to and fro's not likely to be a problem, unless people start guarding things more than they have been doing. But myself and Jaiden should be able to transport people who need to move. So long as we don't have any more… major movements. And if we can set Jaiden to searching the shorelines, he might find boats that aren't easily visible from land. The more we have to use with his ability, the better…."

Another apologetic look, and she inclines her head to Elisabeth. "Sorry. Thinking aloud. I should let you go. And go to grab some more food. Coffee if I can find it. See if I can get any more news, then head off to find JJ. I'll call you whenever I have anything definite."

Elisabeth nods. "Talk to you soon, Ygraine."

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