In Good Hands


atlas_icon.gif evran_icon.gif roman_icon.gif sahara_icon.gif

Scene Title In Good Hands
Synopsis When Evran Foster and Roman Santos come to her for help, Sahara Jackson does what she knows best— how to connect the right people together.
Date February 11, 2020

It's with purpose Sahara Jackson begins her day, a purpose she hasn't had in some time. For the first time in ages, she's cooking for more than one— more than two, even! She hums to herself while she shuffles fluffy eggs around seasoned potatoes in her skillet, reaching satisfaction with the level they're cooked.

"Boys!" she calls out cheerfully. "Breakfast is ready!"

One of the lumps sprawled on her couch groggily lifts his head up, one eye squinted against the light of day as he peers into the kitchen. "Ms. Jackson," Roman mumbles in protest. The sun creeps low like it's only just come up. Hell, that might even "It's a bit early…"

Shuffling eggs onto a plate, a sunny reply is immediately forthcoming. "It's Sahara, kiddo, my mother is Ms. Jackson," she corrects the teen. "And we've got a big day ahead of us. We gotta look into getting you two permanent accommodations…"

Peeking around the corner from the kitchen, Sahara grins warmly. "And I know just the man to ask!"

Office of the Red Horse Brigade

Ferrymen's Bay

Sahara's bright-eyed, bushy-tailed nature is still on full display the moment she enters the New York Safe Zone branch of the Red Horse Brigade. She's never been here directly, only participated in support meetings held at the Church of the Ascension across town. Lyndon Atlas Dillons' face is familiar to her immediately, though, as familiar as the religious overtones of the office decor. She smiles broadly as soon as she sees him. "Good morning there, Atlas! I was hoping to introduce you to these two…"

The two with her are teens, faces sunken slightly from hunger the both of them. The taller of the two has a razor-sharp set of eyes, wearing a clean, dark gray dress shirt under a scuffed leather jacket— the shirt likely loaned based on the worn, stained state of his jeans and gym shoes. The second boy has darker hair, swept bangs hanging over dark, wary eyes. He brushes his hair from his face, trying to snare bangs behind gauged ears before he shoves his hands into the pockets of a threadbare coat worn layered over a hoodie. Despite being freshly clean, it's more obvious at a glance that he has been sleeping rough recently, probably in the same clothes he wears.

"This is Evran," Sahara says, placing a hand on the shoulder of the sharp-eyed boy. "And this is Roman." She rests a hand on Roman's back, even as he stiffens under the touch. Her head dips as she looks at Atlas out of the corner of her eyes meaningfully. "These two have been through a lot. Orphans of the war who've lost their place to live, recently… young men in need of guidance and honest work." Lifting her head just a touch, she goes on lightly, "My hope is that a community man such as yourself might be able to help them out."

Both of the two keep their silence, though Evran offers a stiff approximation of a nod in greeting.

“Sahara.” The singular name is drawn out along a gravelly warmth and welcome as the man behind the desk rises with open arms. Behind him, a simple wooden crucifix hangs on the wall just overhead. “I’m so glad you could visit,” he adds as a steepled hand shuffles a few papers of the side and he moves out from behind the desk.

The figure towering over the trio is crisp in a charcoal suit that might only serve to make the man as intellectually intimidating as his physique does physically… were it not for the charm of his smile. “Evran. Roman.” He nods to each young man and extends a broad hand in turn. “You two are lucky to have caught the eye of such a pure, goodhearted woman as our Miss Sahara here.”

Atlas makes a small gesture towards a small couch flanked by low-back armchairs. “The war has taken so much from so many, but together we can provide and protect what remains.” He sinks into a chair with a tug of his slacks to allow one ankle to rest atop the opposite knee. “You’ve come to the right place,” he assures Sahara. “So, what kind of skills do you young men possess?”

Evran takes the handshake with a firm one in turn, Roman side-eyeing Atlas mistrustfully before he too follows suit. Sahara leads the way over to the seats, settling on the armchair and leaving the couch to the boys. Sharing a glance, the two take a seat, Evran making himself at home by laying an arm across the back of the couch while Roman folds his arms over his chest.

Neither seem to know how to answer the question posed immediately, uncertain what kind of trust can be afforded to the man they've just met. Sure, the woman who brought them here had plenty of faith, but…

Before they have the chance to speak for themselves, Sahara offers up with a gentle lean forward, "What I really think they need is, is a break. They've got some good, um, mechanical skills under them, for example." With a warm smile and a touch of strain, she glances from benefactor to the young boys in need.

Roman lifts his head a touch as he flatly interjects, "Our last project was gathering materials for bombs, to cut around the bullshit. We had plans, we were really close to carrying them out, but…"

"Well, then things got a little complicated," Evran supplies next. "A mutant ran into the end of our knife a few times, and we had to move… left everything behind."

Looking at Atlas, Sahara only widens her smile. "They need some guidance," she stresses. "Someone to show them that radical gestures aren't the only ones they can take. They need to know how to move and survive in this new climate and not draw the wrong attention to themselves." She seems like she's at the limits of what she's able to do, there. Their approach and hers are so very different.

"The stabbing incident, for example, means the police might be on the lookout for them."

Atlas’ brows furrow as Sahara begins to speak. But, his gaze follows where the boys begin to interject in turn and the curious nature of his expression smooths over with understanding. He leans back heavily in his seat, large hands curled over the end of each armrest. He opens his mouth, only to scratch thoughtfully at the corner of his salt-and-pepper goatee while his gaze skims back to Sahara. “I see,” he offers in his rumbling baritone.

“You have a goal,” he begins, cutting a look first to Evran and then to Roman. “A commendable, albeit short-sighted goal.” The statement might read as haughty, were it not for accompanying smile and the way Atlas leans in now, feet to the floor and forearms resting on either thigh. He gestures simultaneously at each of the boys before drawing his hands in, winding his fingers tightly between his knees. “I’m going to need you to see the bigger picture here, boys.”

“And that means that bullshit? You’re going to want to learn it - breathe it in. It’s your freedom, and therefore your success in the long game…” His smile broadens. “If you think you want to be in it for the haul, that is.” He tips his head and lets his gaze angle back to Sahara as he smiles still.

Roman begins to lift an eyebrow, the smallest of shifts occurring in his posture. He's skeptical— but interested. Evran seems less taken, frowning at Atlas' suggestion they take to dealing in snake oil, talking in code. His arm slides off the back of the couch and he leans forward, forearms on his knees.

"They," and there's no question who they are in this context, "Get to roll around flaunting their bullshit every second of every day. It's sickening, and it needs countered."

It's Roman who counters Evran next, though, soft-spoken. "Yeah, but going about it in a way where we've constantly got police breathing down our neck means we're not going to last long. We can't just go around stabbing every fucking mutie that gets near us." Arms folded, he meets Evran's cold look back out of the corner of his eye, unphased though the look carries plenty of meaning.

"We live in a new reality, boys," Sahara cuts in gently to diffuse the tension between them. Or she thinks, anyway. "The war's over, and Mister Atlas here— he's right. If you want to make other people see your way, it's about hearts and minds. People won't ever realize that they're the danger if the only one they see is you." She's more serious than normal, shifting a look to Atlas to find his support in wrangling the boys.

"Freedom's a nice word." Roman says, his eyes toward Atlas and still filled with distrust. But he's listening. "So's success. I thought we were doing great on our own, until suddenly we weren't. The shit on TV last fall— Pure Earth's banner unfolding on that spaceship launch site?" Sahara listens to him with her head suddenly bowed, eyes on her hands clasped together in her lap. "That's the level of scared the Evos should be all the time. They need sent packing, they need sent running. Out of office, out of everywhere."

Tiredly, he admits, "But that took a lot of effort, a lot of coordination, and being on our own isn't getting us anywhere. I'm— I'm tired of sleeping in the cold, man. I want to figure out a way to make this work." Roman's eyes narrow as he looks off and then back. How had Atlas put it? "To… to play the long game." Posture opening a touch more, one of his shoulders lifts just slightly. "So I'm listening."

Evran runs his tongue over his teeth, considering if he has anything to add. For the moment, he keeps it to himself, glancing up to the adults to hear their suggestions.

He won't say it aloud himself, but he feels the same way or he wouldn't be here.

And for that, Sahara finds relief, turning back to Atlas herself, mouth firming into a small smile.

She knew they were in the right place now. She knew these two would be in good hands.

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