Just Might Bite Back


katherine3_icon.gif ruth_icon.gif

Scene Title Just Might Bite Back
Synopsis After a morning of orientations, there are a few things that probably won't get addressed, so Ruth comes to visit Kat to show her first hand.
Date June 14, 2010

The Tower

Early in the day, the sky is overcast, the temperature reasonably cool although the very high humidity more than makes up for that. The interior of the converted textile factory is therefore much more pleasant than the great outdoors. There's a knock on Katherine's door anyway, interrupting their most recent recruit's very first morning in her new room. It's not exactly a grand and glorious living space: not much to interrupt. The woman in the hall doing the knocking, dressed in black tanktop and camouflaged trousers, her hair tied back in a tail, is a familiar face from yesterday's introductions: Ruth Crow Dog, squad one's intelligence officer.

Time for Katherine's real orientation.

Katherine has spent the first day orienting herself to the facility. This is unlike anything she's ever seen before. Of course, that isn't saying all that much considering the vacant gaps still left in her memory. After being shown around by several individuals she's sent back to her room. The day started early around here, so what may seem like noon, is really much earlier than that.

The knock on the door, grabs Katherine's attention. She will have to used to that. Being at Summer Meadows, she had few knocks on her door. She's in the process of putting a few things away, actually trying to move in as opposed to just living here. She slides the drawer closed and then walks over to the door and opens it, finding Ruth standing on the other side. "Yes?"

The native woman smiles politely as Katherine appears in the doorway. "There is one other formality that should be addressed," she says. Taking a half-step back, Ruth makes a slight gesture inviting the younger woman to come out into the hall. Though her subsequent words add another layer of nuance to it, the suggestion that Kat could refuse. Even if actually doing so would probably not be wise. "Do you have time now? The sooner we take care of this, the better."

Well then. Who is Katherine to refuse formalities?

She can sense there's something odd here. Her hackles seem to have risen just a little at the way she's being addressed here, she isn't one to step back. Besides, we're all on the same team here, so perhaps her hesitation is unwarranted.

She nods her head. "Sure. I can do that." She steps out into the hallway as requested. "Where are we going then?" she asks after the door closes behind her.

"Outside," Ruth replies, nodding towards the stairs to ground level. She promptly sets foot on them, leading the way down. "There are a number of security measures on the property," the woman begins. It's a statement that seems self-evident: her compatriot was acquainted with several of them yesterday. "Not all are typical," she continues, opening the main door for Kat to go through. When she does, a large mongrel dog sprawled in the nearby dust lifts his head to regard the young woman intently.

Katherine relaxes just a little as it seems like just another of many orientations that she'll probably have to go through. The movement of the canine draws her attention for a brief moment before she keeps in stride with Ruth. "Not a problem." She figures one orientation down is one less she has to attend later on. The uniform seems to be quite the same around here, which seems to suit Katherine's desirability for uniformity just fine. "And where are we going?" She is certain the though that she covered all of this stuff already. She continues to cast her curious glance around.

As the door closes behind them, the dog climbs to his feet, whuffing a greeting to Ruth. She drops to one knee, running her hands over the crown of his head and pushing back his ears. "This is Tunka," the animal telepath introduces. "He is usually more directly attached to me, but he has several cohorts on the property. Tunka," she addresses the dog, lowering her hands; her eyes narrow slightly. "This is Katherine Marks."

Whatever the cue was, the dog acts on it; he returns his attention to Kat, and takes a step towards her. Then another, ears pricked with interest. "Let him get your scent," Ruth prompts. "The dogs," she explains, "primarily watch the grounds at night, though you will also see them in the day. They will react to anyone who does not enter by the main gate, or who tries to leave by another route — unless they know the person."

Listening to Ruth speak, Katherine acknowledges her words with a simple nod and watches as Tunka comes over and is introduced. Without hesitation, Kat bends slightly at the knees and waist and offers her hand to the pooch in order to get acquainted. Her palm faces up as she waits for the animal to catch her scent. "I imagine the training was fairly intense for them to be able to do as you say." Her eyes move from Ruth then back to Tunka. "Hello there, Tunka. I'll make you a deal. Don't bite me and I won't bite you." The way she says it, surely would be a joke except for the fact that she has a very straight expression on her face.

"Not intense," Ruth disagrees, straightening back up. She begins to walk forward; Tunka remains still long enough to wave the tip of his tail at Katherine in a remarkably polite manner, then falls into what is clearly an accustomed position to the left of Ruth's heels. "It took some weeks, in no small part because the dogs are all rehabilitated strays. But they are all intelligent; I know what they understand, when they understand it; and all it comes down to is that they understand what is accepted and not accepted."

Ruth sets a brisk pace around the base of the Tower towards the nearest of the perimeter's fencelines. "I have had," she observes, a hint of dry humor creeping into her voice as she glances sidelong towards Kat, "a great deal of time, as well."

Katherine rises back up when the dog seems to be done checking her out and nods in understanding to Ruth's statement. She seems to be rather intrigued by it all. This has been an entirely new experience for her, then again, she's finding that most things are a new experience for her.

She stays in line with Ruth, as they close in on the edge of the perimeter and catches Ruth's gaze for a moment when she speaks. "A great deal of time?" Of course, unfortunately, the dry humor is lost on one Katherine Marks, as she glances at the woman curiously.

They come under the branches of an old, scarred oak tree, in which several wintry-hued birds eye both of the women suspiciously. (The dog is beneath their notice; and as he sits on the ground with an unimpressed yawn, they're obviously beneath his.) The blue jays make querying sounds as Ruth steps under the tree, one of them progressing into outright scold at Kat. At least until the telepath lifts her hand, shushing softly. Then they settle into disgruntled quietude.

"Yes," Ruth affirms, without elaborating further. Instead, she continues with the orientation. "The jays act as sentries during the day," she continues. "The dogs will also investigate anything that sets them off." The teeth behind the alarm. Case in point: half a dozen dogs other than Tunka have come from various places to form a half-circle between the women and the buildings of the base. But they just stand there, observing without overt menace — even if a warning remains implied by their alert postures.

There's a shift in the stance of Kat as she suddenly feels the looks from the animals in the area. They are noticing her and keeping a wary eye on her. It's just a slight tingling sensation of awareness, of being observed. She automatically puts her back towards Ruth. She's not even aware that she's done it. "I think I get what you mean by that." There's no fear in her voice, eyes lit up and the corner of her mouth curled up into a grin.

The animal telepath inclines her head, a faint smile echoing Marks' grin. "Most people do," she remarks, something that may or may not be amusement in her voice. Ruth levels her gaze at the half-circle of canids, and they break up in a mix of perked ears and lazy yawns, shortly padding back to their respective lounging sites. Only Tunka then remains, still at Ruth's heels — well, him and the birds, who have moved on to chattering amongst themselves and pointedly disregarding the two women as only corvids can. "If you do run into difficulty with the dogs," she points out, because only computers are perfectly dependable (within the limits of their programming), "they will do nothing so long as you stand still."

Once the animals move off, Katherine visibly relaxes. She was certain that nothing would happen, just perhaps not quite one hundred percent. Most of what she does is instinctual anyway, perhaps residual Company related training that comes to her when she least expects it. "I'll definitely keep that in mind." She's grateful that Ruth has taken the time to share this with her and that she hadn't gone wandering out on her own before now.

"Anything else I should know about?

"Should? Likely so," Ruth replies. All the same, she gestures for Kat to lead the way back to the tower. "But this is all you need to have, so far as I know. You should receive your suit soon, I believe, and you will of course need to spend time training with your squad and with ours. I imagine the rest will follow."

Katherine takes the cue and starts back towards the tower. "Well, I'd already expected that much." She grins over to Ruth and shoves her hands into her pant pockets. "I'll say that so far, from what I've seen, I'm rather impressed by this organization. I'm feeling far more comfortable about joining with each passing moment." She turns her head back forward as they reach the tower. "Just tell them not to try to eat me and I think we'll all get along." The dogs, of course.

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