How You Doin'?


abby6_icon.gif anna_icon.gif brand_icon.gif cash_icon.gif christine_icon.gif ingrid_icon.gif

jj_icon.gif kendall_icon.gif koshka_icon.gif lene_icon.gif nicole2_icon.gif zach_icon.gif

Scene Title How You Doin'?
Synopsis Displaced families of Queens gather at the edge of what's left of Hunter's Point to receive donations of food, clean water, and other supplies necessary for basic survival.
Date December 4, 2010

Hunter's Point Ruins

Hunters Point was once a low income industrial neighborhood on the waterfront of the East River in Queens. On November 8th, 2010 riots triggered a raging inferno that swelled to demolish six square blocks of the neighborhood, nearly all of the property in its entirety. Everything south of the Highway 25 off of the Queensboro bridge, south to Interstate-495 is an absolute ruin. The fires burned so hot that cars rest as molten heaps of warped slag on roadside, blackened remnants of tires fused to cracked pavement. Buildings are little more than skeletal walls of concrete, brick or shattered glass with few intact roofs.

Some considerably larger buildings bristle up from the smaller-scale fire damaged surroundings, most notably on the east side, also the least damaged by the flames. The Queens Borough Public Library has its entire western facade melted by the fire, windows on that side shattered and police tape covering entrances. Its tall structure is visible from everywhere in the ruins of Hunter's Point.

This entire neighborhood is surrounded by a wall of fifteen foot high chain link fencing, with fence gates covering road entrances, chained closed and padlocked shut. Some intrepid explorers or //vagrants have cut holes in the fencing, however, leaving secluded points of access on the fringes of the ruins. No one is supposed to be here, however, and police patrol the outskirts, keeping an eye out for tresspassers.//

When the photographs of Hunter's Point hit tomorrow's paper, the rest of America will draw comparisons between the black-and-white snapshots of today and the old pictures in history books that document the crumbling of cities like Warsaw and Stalingrad during the Second World War and the dark times that came after.

In colour, it's only a little less bleak. On the legal side of the fifteen-foot tall fence that surrounds the remains of the low income industrial neighborhood claimed by the fires that roared out of control of the eighth stands a line of displaced men, women and children more than two blocks long.

Across New York, school gymnasiums and cafeterias have opened their doors for those who no longer have homes or cannot go back to them, and although hundreds of thousands of dollars have already been raised over the last month and donated to the city by other states and countries, distributing rations and supplies remains a challenge.

But it's a challenge that volunteers working closely with the Department of Evolved Affairs has stepped up to. At the front of the line, trucks filled with bottled water, wool blankets and care packages including first-aid kits, children's vitamins and discretely packaged condoms are manned by a dozen or more volunteers, their efforts watched closely by twice as many soldiers in uniform, rifles out and at the ready.

No one gets anything unless they can display their registration cards, and those who haven't been able to comply have been quietly escorted away from the scene, though no one so far has had the courage to ask where.

"So look, here's the plan…" Zachary Becker is a terrible influence. "You see all that food? All that shit people like us could use?" Seated on a bench that once served as a bus stop before routes ceased coming out to Hunter's Point, Zachary offers a conspiratorial look to the blonde girl seated on the bench beside him, his hands wrist deep in a backpack at his feet. "They're passing that shit out to those undeserving pricks, and that ain't fair. They're the ones who caused all this, there ain't no good God-damned reason why they should get any of this food. It's up to people like us to send a message."

Lifting up one eyebrow, Zach glances to Anna with a lopsided smile. "Just like smashing out the windows at the deli and spraypainting the place. I got these colored gas canisters from my buddy Khalid, all we gotta do is get in line and then let 'em rip. People'll think it's one of those Humanis First gas attacks, and they'll fucking learn. Learn that we don't tolerate this kinda' bullshit. Maybe next time it'll be real gas, maybe they'll reconsider."

The only problem is…

Zachary looks up towards the lines, squinting from his vantage point on the bench. "Trick is doing this without getting arrested." He looks back to Anna, hopeful and smiling mischievously. "You in? Otherwise, I'll take care of this myself if you're afraid."

Oh, the joys of being on patrol in an area where food and other supplies are being handed out. Such is the life of one of New York City's 'finest'. Christine Jackson, officer extraordinaire, is doing her thing, walking about, and making sure all is well. Every now and then, when she's particularly close to the line of people getting their supplies, she eyes the military with their big guns. "Yeah, sure…bring the huge artillery. That ain't gonna worry people none. That ain't gonna put 'em on edge while they're around you." She mutters under her breath, hopefully not loud enough for any military types to hear. She shakes her head and starts walking away once more. It's time to do another quick round of the area.

Said blonde girl nods to Zachary, "Yeah, sounds like a good plan." Anna agrees, looking at the gas canisters, "So we just go over there, pop one of those things, and get the hell out, or what?" She asks, grinning at the idea. "I'm up for it, yeah, if you think we can do it." The teen seems utterly trusting of Zach and his plan, even if that might not be the best of ideas… it probably isn't.

Among the soldiers, JJ Jones stands, helmet off and green eyes alert as he squints out at the long line of people. His face is hard to read, neutral as he stands at a ready position, though there's no tension to the way he holds his rifle to suggest he's worried.

But then a small child waves at him, and his solemn expression cracks. He's simply not cut out to be a guard at Buckingham Palace, that much is sure. His lips curve into a smirk and he winks, lifting one hand to give her a little wave with that gauntleted hand.

Kendall is under the radar for a lot of people, because he died once. Therefore, he feels no qualms about getting into the line. Hey, a lot of these supplies could be useful for the people on Pollepel Island. He's young! And innocent! And about as ordinary looking as you can get. He gets through the line, then hesitates at the stall with the condoms. Huh…. if he grabbed one and Melissa found out there'd be hell to pay. Although…. Kaylee was just insistent on Valerie not getting knocked up, so maybe there's still a chance! He hesitates, then reaches for one. He grabs it and shoves it in his pocket, glancing around to make sure no one he knows is actually here.

Abigail was passing through, on the mountain bike that she'd picked up, worn messenger bag slung across her back and pausing for a break before she keeps on with her travels for the day. By the middle of next week she should have everything that the council on Pollepel needs to know, and maybe Howard and his friends will be gone by then.

Maybe not, who knows. Guilt still eats at the brown haired and brown eyed woman. She's watched the last person who didn't have ID, get hauled off, likely to be registered, fined, who knows what. The FRONTLINEer glanced at, watched for a moment and then Abigail's eyes wander some more, settling here and there, enjoying the view as much as one can. She might have been right in there, helping hand out stuff at some other time. Right now though, she's just an observer.

Of those milling but not actually in line is one of many teens. Average enough in appearance for her age to not stand out as remarkable, Koshka watches the line move slowly to receive their hand outs as much as the soldiers do their soldiering thing. The trick is going to be getting through that line, unlike that guy there. The one being escorted away.

Casual as can be, Koshka edges her way closer to the official handing-out stations. Hands delve into the pockets of her pants, probably to ward off early accusations that she might be trying to take something. But if she can get closer, maybe she can get an idea on getting in without identification.

With a mind mired in moody contemplation, and brooding of the darkest kind, Brand has come to see the destruction and desperation. Cloaked safely in his Ability, he is safe but for his own paranoid imaginings and thus walks unmolested. He lingers along the line, listening to the misery. Then he drifts off toward the bench and the conspiracy.

He frowns, catching the tail end of the conversation. Which is enough for him to choke back enough of himself to be seen, to be heard, to carry on a conversation. He steps from the alley just behind, and coughs once. "Hey Charlene? Uh, C-something? From group?" He talks quiet enough so its a little conversation for Zach and Anna and him and whoever is within a couple of feet. "Its not your real name, but whatever. I just wanted to give you a heads up. Try pulling that, and they'll shoot you. Probably everyone around you too." Boy, he sure is cheerful!

Behind one of the tables situated behind an open truck, a young woman with a rat's nest of flyaway blonde hair twisted back into a bun at the top of her head is scribbling something down at the top of a clipboard she holds angled against her breast, and although her mouth is moving around words intended for the family of three on the other side of the table, her blue eyes are hesitant to lift from the piece of paper attached to it. "Okay, Mister and Missus Desantis — am I pronouncing that right? — all I need from you are your registration cards and your social security numbers so we know you've been by and can be accounted for."

She doesn't notice Koshka or Kendall sneaking a solitary condom, and if she hears Christine's quiet chiding then she's smart enough not to acknowledge it. Mister and Missus Desantis exchange uncomfortable glances. "We don't," Mister Desantis starts, adjusting the little boy he holds sleeping against his chest, the child's arms draped loosely around his father's neck. "I mean, we're registered, but we weren't able to grab anything when we left. It happened that fast— If you could just check the Registry, I'm sure our names are on it."

Nicole Nichols isn't in line to receive goods, but instead one of the volunteers passing them out. One part representing the Linderman Group and its charitable nature, one part racking up good karma. Something Nicole's sure she could use after all the wrong she's done lately. Even if she would contend it's for all the right reasons.

At the beginning of the assembly, she was quick with a smile, and with cheer, dressed down in a black puffa jacket half-zipped over a University-branded sweatshirt and a pair of skinny jeans and sensible boots made for warmth. Hours into it, though, her smile maybe doesn't lack its initial sincerity, but her face is cold and the corners of her mouth are starting to ache.

Nicole thinks she must look tired. She doesn't feel it, thanks her ability. But a little sleep would do her some wonders. It would give her mind a chance to reboot. If only she thought she needed it. Rested or otherwise, she's flicking a glance to where Ingrid stands nearby, talking to the Desantis family. She feels a pang of guilt in her stomach, as she has every time something similar has happened today, and each time it leaves her feeling sicker and sicker.

"That's something I've been curious about, Miss Raines," Nicole begins conversationally. "How does one go about recovering a lost or stolen registration card? Is there a form of some kind?" A deep breath renews her smile, one of polite interest.

"Woah." When Brand comes out of nowhere Zach bolts into an upright position, first just sitting up straight, then standing. The young man's posture is decidedly aggressive as he steps around in front of Anna without another word, circling over to where Brand is offering his own stripe of advice. "You didn't hear shit," Zach says in a coarse whisper, pointing one finger accusingly towards the only slightly younger man. "You mind your own goddamned business, a'right? Ain't no concern of yours," as far as Zach knows, anyway.

On the opposite side of that confrontation, in fact across the street sitting on the curb, a young woman by her lonesome in a neighborhood like this speaks of either desperation or involvement. Colorful woolen knit hat pulled down over her head, tasseled straps hanging down the sides of her face, Jolene Marley's choice of winter headwear allows for a few wavy locks of unnaturally red hair to spill down over her shoulders and the raised collar of her borrowed pea coat. Fingerless hunter-orange gloves cover her hands, wrapped around a warm cup of coffee. She looks cold, if the color of her cheeks and nose are any indication.

Concern, though, is painted on her features as she sits by herself on that curb, green eyes angled over the candy-apple red frames of her glasses to the young woman seated with Nicole Nichols, helping distribute the food. The concern isn't for Ingrid Raines, though, but rather that she is in such close proximity to the glossy, black-armored figure of a FRONTLINE operative.

That there is a judgmental look fired to JJ speaks volumes for her attitude towards those armored fascist enforcers.

Christine eyes the person nearby, jumping up from the bench and pointing at another man somewhat…angrily. Suspicious. She should check it out. You know, do that 'checking up' thing that police are suppose to do. As she makes her approach, she look at both people. "Is everything alright here?" She asks of both Brand and Zach.

Kendall didn't have a problem getting in the line, since he had an id…. proclaiming him non-Evolved. At least, he did when he showed it in line, but whether or not it was actually real is the question. Once he'd gotten as many things as he can, discreetly tucked away in a bag, he looks around… and then notices Brand. Hey… co-worker. Meandering over thataway, he pauses when the small group seems to be in the middle of…. something that sounds illegal. "uh." maybe he should just turn back around and leave.

The FRONTLINE rookie notices the escalation of tension — subtle as it is — at the table, turning his head that way, green eyes taking in the distressed faces of the couple and Nicole, then the suspicious and dirty look thrown his way from the redheaded woman several feet away.

The good-natured grin that was worn moments ago waving at the little girl is replaced by a more serious one, JJ's brows dipping into a thoughtful scowl as he tries to catch the words of the discussion, readying himself to step a little closer just in case he's needed.

Abigail observes, much like Lene does, a granola bar pulled out of the messenger bag, hoodies and layers for warmth, she should be moving on but this would be a good thing to observe. See how things are being handled to report it back to Pollepel when she returns. She's unaware of the Humanis First ballyhoo that's being started over in the one corner, unaware of what that will entail.

Not likely that'll work, but Koshka decides to stop and listen anyway as she hears the family's tale. She feigns an interest in tying her shoe, kneeling down to fiddle with the laces. Hands moving slowly, the girl tilts her head and stares down the line, assessing those gathered and the location of law enforcement. The same is repeated with a further turn of her head, eyes following Christine long enough to make note of activities at the bench. Not her concern, and one less cop out of the way.

Turning her face back to her shoes, Koshka stands again. Blue eyes slide toward the table and the two officials talking. Carefully, yet totally like she should be there, the girl takes another step or two closer. Eyes slide passed the table to the FRONTLINE presence, just checking again where he stands, then dart away again.

Brand is unintimidated by Zach's posturing. He takes an assertive, if unimposing stance. Even under a hooded sweatshirt and bridge coat he's bull-broad and seemingly solid. "You'll watch your mouth and get out of here, or I'll put you in a full nelson and march you over to the cops myself. Leave the girl." He speaks kind of flatly, since he's being somewhat quiet. His weight shifts, just a little bit. Balancing out his stance and leaning forward just a hair.

"Th-There's a form," the blonde with the mussed hair tells Nicole, maybe a little sheepish that she's being addressed as Miss Raines when the name tag she wears pinned to the front of her pea coat reads Ingrid. "Somewhere around here. Um." She peels back the page on the clipboard and thumbs through the paperwork beneath. It takes her a few moments of awkward silence filled with the gentle (if frantic) sound of rustling, but she finds what she's looking for before the soldiers assigned to their station become suspicious of what she's doing and come over to ask what's taking the Desantis family so long.

"Just fill this out," she tells Missus Desantis. "If you are registered, we can confirm it by running your social security numbers through the database. Usually, we ask people to show us a driver's license, or a passport or some other proof of identity, but—" When she finally looks up after sliding the appropriate form across the table to Missus Desantis, along with a pen, it's to glance at her sleeping son, fair brows knit and the corners of her mouth turned down into a trouble frown. "Anyway," she says with a shake of her head, reaching for her radio, only to discover that the man she'd be intending to call on it is within earshot.

She raises a hand, the tips of her fingers curled slightly inward. "Officer Jones? I hate to bother you again, but— do you maybe have the time to run another check for me?"

Nicole can only hope that the Desantis family really is registered. Or that they can concoct be believable enough story to slip away before they're carted off in violation of the Linderman Act. She offers a smile to Ingrid that's full of more reassurance than she feels. She may directly work for one of the most notorious men in New York City, have more than her fair share of blood on her hands, an oversized load of dirty laundry, and a skeleton or two in her closet, but Miss Nichols still wonders how the people working for the Department of Evolved Affairs sleep at night.

The irony that the act is named for the man she works for is not lost on Nicole. "Would you like me to take the next family… Ingrid?" Sheepish look noted, address corrected. "You look like you could use a coffee break," she murmurs softly enough that it's their little secret.

"Yeah…" Zach offers to Brand, eyes narrowing, "whatever y'little prick." His brows furrow, an askance glance afforded to the police officer making her way over. "Nothin's the matter," he sharply attests, "just somebody who ain't knowing any better talking shit." Zach lifts both hands slowly, palms, out, backing away from Brand with a smug expression. "I ain't got no problem, me an' my friend," he shoots a look to Anna, jerking his head to indicate that she should probably get up and go, "were just leavin'."

Anna, keen enough to catch the look Zach flicks to her, tucks down and grabs the backpack, swinging it over her shoulder and wordlessly ducks her head down, moving to step around beside where Zach has backed up a few feet from the bench. "Don't want no trouble, line's too long for food anyway," Zach adds, glancing to the officer. It's evident that he's frustrated, but the lion's share of that seems to be leveled on Brand more so than anything else.

Across the street, Jolene isn't watching the potential flashpoint brewing, but rather seems intent on Ingrid and her company at the donation table. Sipping at her coffee, wringing gloved hands around the cup, her brows furrow in scrutiny, maybe trying her hand at lip reading or maybe some other less visible form of scrutiny. Regardless of the attention spared, Lene seems like she's trying to connect some sort of mental dots to Nicole, as if she recognizes her from somewhere and can't quite place it.

Christine glances between Zach and Brand. "Okay then…we don't want any trouble here, do we?" She says softly. She gives a nod to Zach. "Alright. If ya'll get hungry, you know where the line is located." With that, she looks straight at Brand. "You'd best be on your way too, sir. Either to the line, for something to eat, or…to whatever else you were doing. Best not to linger. Not these days, okay?"

Kendall decides that now is not the time to go talk with Brand and Anna and… those other people, because he might get arrested and that would be Very Bad. Therefore, he turns away… and catches sight of a familiar figure. Hey, it's Abigail. He needs to go talk to her. Toting the bag, the teenager strolls her way casually, not at all like he's on a mission or anything. "Hi, uh…" names are bad, right? "Fancy meeting you here." Lame.

"Sure, Miss Raines," JJ says, stepping forward and pulling his radio out, waiting for the form to be finished and handed up to him. He gives a nod to Nicole, one corner of his mouth quirking up while his eyes scrunch in what he's probably sure is an irresistible sort of expression. There are women who would probably agree. "How you doin'?" he asks the blue-eyed brunette.

But then the form is completed and he takes it. "Be just a jiff," he tells Ingrid, turning away, footfalls heavy in his armor and boots as he strides several feet away to call the names in on the radio.

Of all the things for someone to be carrying into this area, a wreath woven out of evergreen branches and dotted with white flowers probably isn't what someone would expect. Especially not one nearly six feet tall, and carried by a woman who isn't even taller than it. Held carefully, the wreath is brought into the area, the woman's dyed blonde hair visible under earmuffs to keep the cold out, and the scarf wrapped around her neck.

Cash isn't really normal by any means, and her clothing alone shows she's not here for the food handout. She moves through the area, carrying the large thing rather carefully, as she steps through the crowd and toward the fenced off area. Not to enter, not with something so large, but to lay it down against the fence. Some people leave flowers and notes and other such things, but apparently she's decided to deposit something that had once been alive… Like all the people that had been lost within those walls.

There is someone approaching her and it's… just Kendall. Her heart and the panicked look in her face can stop. Erase it away before someone else can see it. "I'm just passing through, taking a break. Before I head home." Not to the island. Abigail shoots him a grateful look for not saying her name, offering him a spare granola bar. "Where are you headed? Pretty sure you're not in a position to be getting in line here." Her eyes on the line, on JJ as he starts a name check. Enter the evergreen wreath woman and now it's her that gets stared at by Abby. "Well, that's interesting."

Getting as close as she dares, without actually inserting herself into the line, Koshka sticks her neck out. Literally. She looks behind, to find the cop. Talking to some other guy now, still nothing she needs to worry over just yet. Next she cranes her neck around, getting a better look at the set up beyond the table, much to the disgruntled mutterings of those actually in line.

Brand does not like being confronted by authority. He doesn't like that at all - the uniforms, the promise of oppression, all that jazz is threatening. His already wavering control over himself snaps when Christine shows up to wave the metaphorical billy club. He looks her right in the eye, and watches them unfocus as she looks right through him. His stress has given his Memetic Crypsis free reign, and in the bystanders that can perceive him a cascade runs roughshod in the subconscious. Perception, short term memory, Broca's region, the amygdala, everyone joins in the cerebral game of peekaboo. Brand slips out of mind, and out of sight, drifting off into the city, back into the shadows and whatnot.

The setup behind the table consists of unmarked cardboard boxes stacked behind an open truck filled with more of the same. If it weren't for the soldiers guarding the open doors and making regular sweeps of the area, Koshka might be able to get away with lifting one of the smaller packages without being seen, but there's also no way for her to know what's inside them without consulting Ingrid's clipboard, which the blonde now has tucked under her arm.

While JJ is running the check on the Desantis family's registration, Ingrid offers them her most reassuring smile, but even this comes off a little timid. A hand dips into her coat pocket and comes out with a phone in purple plastic casing, which she flips open and tilts sideways. She must send a lot of texts, either as part of her job with the Department or because she's still two years shy of her twenties, because she gives Nicole the majority of her attention even as her thumbs tap across the keys.

"That's okay," she says, "I don't really like the Department's coffee, anyway. Or least not the stuff they have out here." A beat. "Do you want something, N-Nicole? I could bring you back a cup?"

rumpleteazer18 (5:18:21 PM): please stop being a big spooky owl over there
rumpleteaser18 (5:18:23 PM): you're scaring me :(

The flush in Nicole's cheeks may be from the chill in the air, or maybe JJ Jones is as irresistible as he thinks he is. "How you doin'?" she shoots back with a huff of laughter. Been a while since she's been flirted with by anyone outside of a bar. And not by Sable. When he's turning away to do his work, the woman shakes her head with a silent chuckle.

"Think he does that to everyone?" she asks Ingrid. She slants a grin as she watches the younger woman tap out her message like a seasoned pro. (Nicole is one herself.) "And no, I'm fine. What is that, anyway? A Sidekick? I love the colour. I'm going to see if I can con my little sister into buying a fun case for my CrackBerry for Christmas. The black is so boring."

Despite her distaste for the Department, Nicole finds it hard to hold ire for Ingrid. "You remind me a bit of my sister," she tells the blonde. "That's a compliment. I promise. She's about your age. I wish I could get her to check her phone as vigilantly as you do, though."

A chime on Ingrid's phone indicates an incoming message, popping up on the screen.

violet_papillon (5:19:11): owl? idgi
violet_papillon (5:19:12): oh haha v funny
violet_papillon (5:19:13): this is lame its cold im bored gonna call jo

Across the street, Jolene Marley turns her green eyes up from her fire-engine red cell phone, watching a pair of young kids skirting away from a police officer, unaware of what Anna and Zach nearly pulled off here. In her blissful ignorance, Lene begins dialing on her phone, thumb skidding across buttons without looking. As she brings the phone up to her ear, she slowly rises up to stand, keeping that coffee aloft in one free hand.

"Jooosh," she whines into the receiver, wind blowing down the street sending a lock of red hair across her face. "Pick up your phone once in a while jerk. Are we going out tonight? Inny's being super-boring at work, are you home? Call me back." Her thumb slips over the end call button and tilts her head to the side, looking up and over to JJ with a wrinkle of her nose.

Christine blinks. What was she doing again? She was…doing something. Patrolling? Yes. Patrolling. She walks around for a very short time, not staying too far from the line or supply tables. After a short time, she makes her way back to said supply around and looks about. "Well…" But she doesn't finish her thought. What's there to say? Not a whole bunch, really, people are still lined up, waiting for food and other supplies.

Kendall hefts his bag, looking guilty. "Well, I did go through the line. It's not that difficult, actually, and I got through." it was a test to see if his illusions worked with such a thing. Then he notices her looking elsewhere, and he turns to regard the wreath dubiously. "Where the heck would you even put that thing?"

A few feet away, JJ speaks in a hushed voice to another somewhere else in the city. He nods as he scowls down at the form in his hands, before green eyes slide over at the family in question, watching them as he listens to the squawk in his ears.

He begins to walk back within hearing distance of those at the table, his voice audible once more as he speaks into the radio: "Thanks very much for your time."

His face once more shifts from that thoughtful scowl into a broadly beamed smile. "Everything looks good here," he says, handing the form back to Ingrid, before nodding to the family who stare up at him. "Just be sure to find that registration, y'hear? Or stop by a registration office to get some new documentation filled out soon, folks," Officer Jameson Jones offers them in advice.

The woman who dropped off the wreath only now takes the time to scan the crowd with her blue eyes, so pale they almost seem to have a metallic sheen to them in certain lights. Cash catches a pair of eyes staring at her, and she looks back, and she offers an small nod, perhaps of a quiet kind of respect. Maybe she just thinks staring is polite, as she begins to move away, leaving the large wreath memorial behind, as she strides purposely toward the woman who'd been staring, and the young man near her.

As she goes a young voice on the phone catches her ears and she glances over at the red head, eyebrows raising in amusement more than her mouth shows. "It is a gift," she explains out of nowhere, as if she heard the words said by the young man. "This place needed a small piece of beauty, especially with the holidays coming up. So that people look at it and see more than destruction."

"Be nice if it remains there and isn't vandalized." Abigail hasn't had time to start practicing getting rid of the southern accent that does far more to mark her than her blonde hair and blue eyes would. She juts an elbow into Kendall's side at the pride he has regarding managing to twink some supplies. "You should probably get going, before they wonder where you went to." Whomever is taking care of him that is.

Abigail regards Cash again, looks like she might say more, but Robert and Hana's caution of having spoken more than five words makes her just close that pretty little mouth and go back to watching, sipping her water.

Koshka straightens and turns to look at bench again, expecting to see the officer still questioning that small group. But, no. Christine is… right there. The girl's eyes widen in surprise as she finds the cop now just feet from where she's standing. Surprise that she hopefully recovers quickly from.

With a cocky grin for the cop, Koshka backs away from the head of the line to wander down the ranks instead. She looks away from those waiting, legitimately or not, for their rations, to the others still milling about. Some kid about her age and two women a little bit older.

"Yeah, I suppose you're right…" Kendall shrugs his shoulders at Abigail, and then Cash approaches them. Kendall fidgets in place, since he doesn't know this person at all. "Well anyway, I got what I came for, so I'll see you around." He'll have to corner her later, he needs to talk to her! With a nervous glance at Cash, and then the armed men, he turns and starts off, presumably homewards although in a completely opposite direction. Maybe he's being sneaky.

rumpleteazer18 (5:19:27): you left him at home alone?
rumpleteazer18 (5:19:29): unsupervised??
rumpleteazer18 (5:19:32): does he know where the fire extinguisher is???

Ingrid snaps her phone shut around the time JJ is returning from his check to take the form, which she slips back under the clasp at the top of her clipboard. "My hero," she says, and the smile she offers him comes a little easier than the one she'd forced earlier. A glance across the street confirms that, yes, Jolene is still where she left her.

She tucks her phone back into her coat pocket, signs off on the Desantis family and offers them a little wave of farewell as they depart from the table, one care package richer. "I read your article in March's Pause," she tells Nicole, then. "I wish I had a relationship like that with mine."

Somebody read that? Nicole fixes Ingrid with a surprised look, blinking two or three times in quick succession. "It's… not as good a relationship as I wish we had," she admits, her smile touched with sadness. Especially after the shouting match they engaged in almost a month ago where she told her sister things she never meant to tell her. And definitely not like that with all the screaming and cursing. "What about you? Older or younger sister? Any brothers?"

Starting to walk down the street, Lene is given pause when her phone chirps and tweets with the noise of birds at the arrival of a few messages. Fishing it out of her coat pocket, she plucks the phone out and slides it open with a snap, thumbs working feverishly in quick short-hand typing.

violet_papillon (5:19:35): lol
violet_papillon (5:19:37): more like does he know where to get bail money from
violet_papillon (5:19:38): responsible one my ass rite
violet_papillon (5:19:42): did u hear about that place here? center stage? thought about checking it out tonite

Lene pauses in mid-stride, offering an askance look over to the blonde in her periphery she'd only just noticed. Seeing Cash causes a broad smile to spread across Lene's lips, though as her brows raise she makes an effort not to approach the older woman, skirting around both she and the unfamiliar brunette on her way down the sidewalk.

violet_papillon (5:20:02): need 2 check in on u know who first though
violet_papillon (5:20:04): then maybe we can meet?

Christine eyes Koshka, catching sight of her little grin. Huh. Unusual, perhaps. Especially in this neighbourhood. But not something to be suspicious of…hopefully. But she does keep a slightly eye on the girl. After all, sometimes unusual is just unusual, other times unusual is…worthy of a second thought. So, an eye is kept, but not much more.

"Ain't you sweet," JJ says to Ingrid when she calls him a hero, and his eyes sparkle as he looks at the others nearby. A squawk on his radio directs his attention to it, and he gives a nod to Ingrid and a smirk to Nicole. "Ladies. Duty calls," he says, tapping the radio at his ear. "Just holler if … or when… you need me."

He strides back out of earshot to speak into the radio, melting back into the line of other soldiers once more.

Rather than seeming insulted by the decent into silence, Cash nods in response to what the woman did say, and even has a hint of a smile touching her lips as she looks away, standing tall and sturdy where she is as she looks around the crowd. Her eyes settle on the table, and the group there, showing a hint of recognition when her eyes fall upon Nicole and she continues watching her.

Silence indeed, for a minute or two, likely a very long record for Abby before she speaks up again. "You just came here to do the wreath? You're not from here?" But then, anyone who's not in line to get that care package, isn't likely from here. "They've taken a handful of people so far. I'd go wait in line but… " But, she doesn't want to risk it. Risk getting her name called out for a check, though maybe if she got in the line. Yes? No? Maybe so? "But I don't think I have the time." Lie.

Koshka doesn't seem all that out of place, even as her attention returns to the line of people waiting for governmental help. Maybe she's just returning back to whatever parents or "adult figures" she has in her life. Or maybe she isn't; that cop could have good reason to keep an eye on the teen.

The girl ducks into the crowd, greeted with quiet mutters in protest to her presence. She jostles her way passed a couple of families, and while in there her hands go for pockets that aren't her own. She wasn't likely to get in to get a care package, maybe she can find something to supplement that lack.

She doesn't find much. The people in line are as desperate and wanting as Koshka is. What valuables they keep on them are limited to glimmers of gold and silver at throats and wrists, the flash of a watch face lit up by the sunlight when hands fidget nervously at jacket cuffs or stroke through their loved one's hair in feeble but affection attempts to reassure them.

There are, undoubtedly, wallets.

"I come from kind of a big family," Ingrid says, and there's something in both her guarded posture and the sudden tightness in her tone to suggest evasive action, steering away from a subject that apparently causes her some mild physical discomfort. "When I was little, I tried drawing it out once and it just ended up squiggily lines all over the place. My dad thought it was an octopus. He says, 'Octopuses have eight arms, sweetie.' And then he pats me on my bottom and shoos me off, just like that."

There's probably more to this story, but it's interrupted by the incessant buzz of her phone in her coat pocket, set to vibrate. "I'm really sorry," she mumbles, eyes downcast as she fishes it out again. "It's just a friend of mine. My best friend, actually. Ever since I accidentally locked myself in the bathroom the day we moved into our apartment, she thinks I don't really know how to take care of myself."

rumpleteazer18 (5:21:00): it was just that one time
rumpleteazer18 (5:21:02): i really wish you'd let it go
rumpleteazer18 (5:21:04): you're gonna hurt his feelings

Ingrid lets out a slow, patient breath. Looks between Nicole and the screen. "Would you mind covering for me for a few minutes? My shift ends at half past, but I think she's getting impatient and I really don't want her to leave without me."

rumpleteazer18 (5:21:10): call first and make sure you know who is home
rumpleteazer18 (5:21:11): it's polite

"How many arms did your octopus family have?" Nicole asks with a soft half giggle. "It's always just been me and 'Lettie. I always wished I'd had a big brother when I was a kid. But learning to stand up for myself…"

The conversation is shaken off, Nicole eyeing Ingrid's phone as it buzzes again. To her credit, she doesn't laugh when the blonde admits to having locked herself in her bathroom. "Sure," she teases, "but you owe me a coffee. A good one." She nudges her gently with her elbow. "Go on. Tell your impatient friend to keep her shirt on, huh?"

Frustratedly stopping in the middle of the street, Lene looks down to her phone that she has pointedly kept in her hand this time.

violet_papillon (5:21:45): if he is sexing in our apartment

That isn't what Ingrid meant.

violet_papillon (5:22:39): i will put him through a wall i swear to god

Angry thumbs click-click-click across the keyboard of the cell phone, brows furrow and Lene's green eyes narrow as she offers a look up to Ingrid, then raises one brow slowly. A look is offered back to Cash, and when that fleeting glance ends, Lene is locking attention down on her phone again as she finishes crossing the street.

violet_papillon (5:23:05): did you see that brick is here?
violet_papillon (5:23:08): do you know who she is talking to i don't recognize him

Him. How awkward.

At that moment, Christine's radio goes 'bzzt' and then a voice props up on it from…well, some other location. It merely asks for an officer to come help with the transportation of a person from one location to another. Christine is quick to respond. "Ten-Four. This is Officer Jackson. I'll be there momentarily. Hold tight and I'll be over momentarily. Jackson out." Zoom zoom! She's off.

"I am from the area," Cash responds simply, glancing back over toward the woman, who may pass for a man from behind. "But yes, I only came here specifically to drop that off. I saw that they were doing a food drive in this area. If you need one of the care packages, I can stand in line for you, though if you don't have the time to wait, it is doubtful you have time to wait for me to wait." Though there's a quiet hint as she shifts her arms, touching a bulge under her coat.

Wearing a coat over your purse fights against purse snatchers. "I can offer you assistance, without the wait. Though I'm afraid it won't be quite the care package they have to offer."

"And here I thought I was the only saint in New York." Abby's cracked a smile. "You don't need to wait, but… thank you, for offering. Not many would these days. Seems like everyone's afraid that everyone is gonna turn right around and just done kill 'em where they stand with a look or a thought." Her thumb plays against the underside of her ring finger absently for a few moments before she starts to put her water bottle away. "Don't worry, I have some money too myself." Abigail offers her hand out to Cash. "Martha."

Wallets it is. Koshka isn't all that picky and sometimes those prove to have something of use inside. A couple yards down from where she'd entered the line, she reappears. The cocky grin is back and hands are tucked into her coat pockets. Blue eyes dart around to see if she'd been noticed at all. Same two women talking but the boy is gone now, and they seem rather engaged. And as for everyone else…

Nicole's dismissal allows Ingrid to escape without having to tell her how many arms her octopus had, but if her father's reaction is any indication, then the answer is probably: a lot. "Thank you so much," she breathes, words come out in a rush of air that leaves a fine vapor hanging in their wake. Takatakataka.

rumpleteazer18 (5:23:09): sorry
rumpleteazer18 (5:23:11): i thought we were talking about the other you know who

She follows Lene's gaze to where Cash and Abigail are standing. Blue eyes squint, and she must have an exceptional eye for detail because they're widening again a moment later. Her mouth opens around a hollow, quiet, "oh."

rumpleteazer18 (5:23:21): leave her alone lene
rumpleteazer18 (5:23:22): it's something she needs to do

Snap goes her phone, shut, hopefully for the final time. "It was nice meeting you," are her words of farewell for Nicole. "I'll— um. I'll bring you that coffee sometime." She backs up, bumps her hip on the edge of the table as she's making her exit with enough force to flinch, then wheels around, knocking over an empty box that bounces harmlessly onto the pavement. Heels clickity-click as she rushes to meet Lene, even if her idea of rushing means briskly walking in the heels she has on her feet.

"You too, Ingrid," is all Nicole manages before the young girl is scurrying away. Why do the young ones always think high heels are the way to go? Somebody has got to teach her the value of sensible pumps.

Gathering up the documentation that Ingrid was working from, Nicole gives it a quick once-over to make sure she's on the same proverbial page and then glances up to the next family in line. A deep breath, renewed vigour and a bright smile. "All right! Let's get you started. I need your social security numbers, and proof of registration. The plucky volunteer extends her hand in anticipation of ID cards.

"Show me?"

Meeting Ingrid halfway, Lene glances down to her phone, then back up again and offers a fond smile while cradling what little remains of her coffee under one chicken-winged arm to her chest. Exchanging a phone into her pocket and carefully removing the paper cup from where its tucked, Lene offers a look to Ingrid, then askance to the long line.

"Food lines," Lene admits breathily, "that's something, isn't it?" Her brows furrow worriedly together before closing the distance between herself and Ingrid, lifting out her free arm and wrapping it around the blonde's shoulders to draw her into a brief hug, holding up the coffee between them as she leans back. "Raspberry chocolate mocha," she offers with her brows lifted and a fond smile. "You know how good this is? Let me spoiler all over you— it is amazing."

The half finished mocha is offered out to Ingrid in replace of the hug. "You know I could get used to this."

"Deanna Cash," the woman responds as she takes the hand in a rather cold yet firm grip. The cold is likely attributed to the chill in the air, and the fact she's not wearing gloves. "It is good to meet you. I find that saints are hard to come by, but they tend to create them in others as they walk the earth— like a good gardener grows flowers. Sometimes all that's needed is seed, water and one person to make sure they they enough of the right kind of light. And you have that light… Martha." She keeps the woman's hand as she says all that, and only lets go at the end. "Be safe."

"Wise words Deanna." She can't take her hand back fast enough, but forces herself to stay the full run of shaking someone's hand. Change your mannerisms. "And a beautiful compliment to a complete and utter stranger. I could be a very dark woman." Abigail's digging into her bag, getting her gloves even though she doesn't really need them. Warmth enough to be noticed when shaking a hand, fever warm, maybe warmer to Cash's cold hands. Flaps to cover fingers if needed, She's digging out the helmet that's been hanging by the handlebar.

"God bl-" Abigail cuts herself off with a grimace. "Take care yourself." One foot digs into a pedal, getting a grip while she forces her other foot to move the bike forward, get out of range of people before she'll actually get the momentum to ride off.

Deciding she's gotten off without unwanted attention, except for maybe a few dirty looks when she passed through the line, Koshka silently congratulates herself. She stays out of the crowd as she begins to move down the ranks again, making use of the opportunity to take herself away from the humanitarian efforts.

"Mm," says Ingrid into Lene's neck, grateful for the physical contact, grateful for the warmth, fleeting though it is. Her fingers curl around the offered cup of coffee and she raises it to her nose, presumably to test whether or not she can smell the chocolate and raspberries in it. The same eye for detail that had picked up on the nature of Cash and Abigail's exchange notices Koshka slipping away, and there's a moment where her gaze flicks to the nearest cluster of soldiers, who are fortunately much too busy passing around a cigarette to realize that anything might be a miss.

She experiments with a sip. "Come on," she says, lightly squeezing Lene's hand for emphasis, "we don't have to go to that place. I got paid today, so I can take us all out for dinner instead. My treat?"

Lene's brows furrow, chin tilting up and eyes narrowed. "I kinda' already… called Joshua." Which is to say that one thuggish friend may very well prefer bloodsport over dinner. Though there's compromise in Lene's expression as she slips an arm around Ingrid with a guilty smile, looking back towards the soldiers warily, then away to anything otherwise. "You know— dinner… dinner actually sounds pretty good. But you know, maybe we can check out that place after? I just have t'try and check on Astor before we do, though."

Worry laces through Lene's tone as she looks up to the skies overhead, brows furrowed together. "May as well enjoy the city while we can, right?"

While the woman rides off, those steel blue eyes follow after her, even if Cash seems in no hurry at all to move from her spot. It's only after the figure disappears from sight that she shifts, looking toward the table, and the woman she recognizes, and then past the two young people wandering off, arm in arm. Without another word to anyone, she moves out of the area with a long determined stride, that somehow still manages to dodge people without jostling.

The name Astor has Ingrid's grip on the coffee cup tightening, but only a fraction, tension that will go unnoticed with Lene's eyes raised to the sky. Ingrid's follow, and when the first drop of rain glances off her cheek, she reaches up and wipes it away with the heel of her hand.

"Right," she echoes, and the distant roar of thunder causes the true meaning behind her friend's words to be lost entirely.

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

Ho ho Boom!

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