Like A True Nature's Child


b_edgar_icon.gif b_maeve_icon.gif young-melissa_icon.gif b_russo_icon.gif

Scene Title Like A True Nature's Child
Synopsis Russo and Edgar chase down Melissa's history, leading to a violent confrontation on a Utah highway, and no one winds up where they expect.
Date April 14, 2009

Utah State Route 12

The paralytic nature of the poison does not numb the senses. The sun is still bright in the sky, to Melissa's eyes, and the bed of the pick up truck is solid beneath her head when Maeve finally hauls her body up over the steel lip and into the back. The vehicle rests on the side of the desert highway, temporarily parked, and the hour is beginning to wan towards twilight, although this still seems like a decent ways off despite the air beginning to cool even further. Sun glimmers off the azure, metal hide of the truck, and bakes Maeve's skull through her fine blonde hair.

"Sorry about this," she's telling the ragdoll dressed in prison orange, Melissa slack in the back of the truck. She can see, at an awkward angle, Maeve begin to stimulate her own palms, fine powder drifting from her fingertips in preparation for another dose. "But it's stupid risky, you riding shotgun."

The last few hours have been long ones. Maeve proposing plans to Melissa, intentions, possibilities of the future and what she has to do next when Maeve hands her to Homeland Security, eventually. These explanations have tumbled disjointed and confusing in one-sided conversation, but the most she can make is that this woman is a) insane, and b) working for someone. Names and places and specifics have been skipped over as unimportant. Melissa is more familiar with the taste and chemical smell of powder than she is what Maeve wants.

Oh, and Maeve's a mother. That comes up a lot.

Some distance down the curving stretch of road is Edgar and Russo, seeing a lot of nothing, and then finally, a glimmer of something. The shape of a pick up in the distance, parked, and an ambiguous but certainly human-silhouette crouched on metal edge like a gargoyle.

While Melissa was in Moab up until a few hours ago (or a week ago, or more than a year ago, depending on how you look at it), the sensations are still fresh. And while they're not pleasant sensations, being paralyzed and kidnapped by a madwoman is worse. Much worse. At least in Moab there was the chance of release. Here? There's just being given back to the government. Unless the poison kills her first.

As Maeve rambles on Mel tries her best to glare at the woman, even though she's well aware of the fact that none of her muscles want to cooperate. She'd love to shield her face from the sun, but that's as impossible right now as flexing her power to give as good as she's getting.

"Sweeeeet home Alabama~ Where the skies are soooo blue~ Sweet home Alabama~ Lord I'm comin' home for you~" the Bradley Russo sing-along has been going on for what feels like days, mostly because he sings loudly and off-key, in a freakishly small space. Lucky Edgar. The amphetamine-enhanced television host drums on the steering wheel as he stares out at the horizon, driving as he's been instructed. He's hypervigilant — far too awake for how long he's been behind the wheel. Finally, his singing ceases in lieu of whistling. Turns out he can't carry a tune whistling either.

And then something comes into view. His eyes narrow as he stares at the horizon. "Hey. Hey. Hey! Hey," Okay. Yes, he's hypervigilant, but thanks to the drugs? He's also a little hyper. "Duuuuuuuuuuude. DUDE. Do you see that…?" Or did he take LSD instead of speed? It wouldn't be the first time…

Edgar's been polishing a shotgun! Well as much as he can polish the antiquated weapon, the stock and barrel are practically gleaming they're so clean. "..home… bama~" The carnie is rocking out in the seat right next to the host, he's doing sort sort of awkward chair dance simply because he doesn't know the words to the song. But what he does know… he sings to the tune. "One bourbon, one scotch, one beer~"

Then he twists in his seat to pick the empty bottle from behind him. They'd finished that hours ago and now Edgar's Jimmy-less in a truckload of honky-tonk… or maybe just honky. "'Ey, you go' anymore?" Not that he should be drinking, they're out to rescue Melissa, after all. He's certain that she'll understand though, she works at a bar and drink tequila all the time. When Russo leans forward against the wheel, the horn beeps just a little, letting all the cactuses around know that 'Hi there! We're here!' The speedster, whose suppressants are wearing off slowly with an invuluntary twitch here and there, leans forward as well. "Izza'? The… Melissa?" Or the truck they're looking for. Pulling the news clipping off the dashboard, he peers at it and then at the speck.

Look at your photo, then back at the truck. Look again, now back to the truck.

It seems to be the truck they might well be looking for, described as light blue, a Ford Sierra, although there's no identifier that cues them in on the rangy-limbed woman crouched in the bed of the vehicle. As they get closer, it's also true that the growl of their engine pierces through the silence of the long road. Maeve looks up, sweeping her pale hair out from her eyes to assess the oncoming vehicle with stillness— and then sudden energy. Completely neglecting to cap her hand over Melissa's mouth and nose and distribute her summoned dose of poison, she takes long strides over Melissa's body, sets a foot against the lip of the bed and leaps down onto the road.

She leaves her victim to roll and jostle freeform in the back, and Melissa will feel the reverbations of the drivers door slamming shut through the metal. "Sheee'll be," Maeve mumurs as turns on the ignition, sets the vehicle in motion at a casual roll that begins to pick up pace, "comin' round the mountain when she comes. Oh she will be comin' round the mountain…"

Another dose, a lengthening of paralysis. Whee! While Melissa can't voice any of the myrid of insults and curses that fill her mind, she certainly thinks them loud enough that telepaths a mile away probably hear them. Okay, not really, but she's thinking them pretty hard.

"Dude. That. Is. Very." Brad's eyes flit over to the dash where the picture of the Ford is sitting. "HEY! HEY HEY! That is Missy! We found it! We are like the — " his mouth clamps shut as the blue Ford is put into gear, and his breath comes out as a single expletive in nothing more than a whisper, "Shit." He sideglances Edgar before murmuring, "Hope you're a fella that can hold his liquor…" In more ways than one.

There's no time to think and with the drugs still coursing their way through his veins, the pedal goes to the metal. The truck shakes underneath the force, while the engine complains loudly against it. Nothing about this machine is efficient. Specifically he's on a collision course with the truck, determined to catch it. His jaw tightens, and his fingers grip the wheel — it's time to see if Mario Kart helps anyone learn to drive fancy.

It's rather unfortunate that the 2/50 AC in the truck is so… well… two windows at fifty miles an hour. The wind from Russo's acceleration pulls the little bit of newspaper from Edgar's hand and it flies flat against his face, blocking his view. "Whoah! Whoah there guy!" His bellow is nothing compared to the roar of wind that's coming through the open window. Slowly.. the shotgun barrel skitters to point toward Russo as both of Edgar's hands make themselves useful by trying to pull the clipping off his face.

When it's finally torn away, it's sucked out the window and swirls in the bed of the truck for a few turns before waving it's last goodbye and landing on the road. "Crap! I los' the newspaper! 'Ow're we goin'teh recognize Melissa when we find'er?! We won' know wha' she looks like!!" He's actually panicking at the thought.

Maeve is peering into the rearview mirror at the swiftly approaching car coming up to her tail, uncertainty reflecting in her green eyes but for now, she simply drives. There's been a few passersby on the road. An irritated exhale tampers with the powder drifting free form in the air from where the excess of it from her hands makes things a little cloudier, but she barely notices it. She hums to herself as she sets her eyes back on the road, considering shifting to the side to let the vehicle pass—

Until it bumps its nose into the corner of back end of her truck, the entire vehicle juddering forward and wavering on the road in an unsteady shake of the steering wheel beneath Maeve's hands. Melissa is jostled harshly, although now, she notices her fingers reflexively curling into her palms. It isn't much, but it's something.

The engine to the Ford gives a whining, mechanical growl as Maeve stamps the accelerator, swerving out from the direct path of Russo's trajectory for all that the road does not provide that much room.

Unsteady rides when you can't brace yourself? Not fun, and it gets firmly marked off of Melissa's list of fun things to do. But the movement, however small it is, has her heart beating a little faster, and she starts trying to force herself to move. If she can even lift a hand, to signal for help from the car behind her. Surely going back to Moab can't be worse than whatever Maeve has in mind for her.

With his eyes on the road, Brad failed to notice when the shotgun became redirected towards him, yet as the vehicle crashes into the truck, the subsequent jostle redirects his attention, "Holy fuck! Watch where you aim that — " but the other truck is already compensating. More determined than before, he tugs on the steering wheel to bring them back around, thereby following the other vehicle's trajectory. "Take the shot! Take out the tires — unless I get the Ford to crash…"

What's that thing the country guys say? I'd rather push a Ford than drive a Chev? Something like that is what Russo and Edgar are doing right now. The first jolt of their bump has the carnie jostled in his seat and kicking the butt of the shotgun until the barrel slides right into the television hosts' lap and aimed directly at his giblets.

Without even noticing, Edgar grabs the gun, accidentally jamming it in a place too close for comfort, maybe nicking something vital before swinging the barrel out the window. "Tires… righ'… Y'don' jus' wan' me teh shoot the driver?" Preposterous. Readjusting his aim, the knife thrower balances the barrel on the arm hanging out of the window as he lines the peep sight right at Maeve's head.

Tremors wrack Melissa's arm in the strain to lift it, weak like damaged muscles and torn ligaments make limbs weak, as if there were simply nothing of use in the meat that cylinders her arm. Her fingers stretch on their own will, now, a sort of tingling that zips up her arm, down her back. Her toes curl compulsively in her shoes, shifts the desert grit within. Slowly, the regaining of movement is dawning as slow and deliberate and inevitable as the coming day.

Her mission succeeds, for all that it's short lived. A flash of a hand, the bright and obvious orange sleeve. Weakness drags it down again, but only for now. In slow, sluggish clumsiness, Melissa's larger motor skills are returning.

There's a thunderous blam that manages to cut its noise through the growl and rattle of the truck. And then pain.

The back window of the cab of Maeve's truck cracks into spiderwebs, but isn't inclined to shatter save for fine chips of glass glinting like pixie dust in the air. Errant buckshot rebounds, and not pleasantly — sharp pains litter across Melissa's thighs, a shoulder going numb from impact, and blood blossoms and stains her orange jumpsuit. Not deadly, but not pleasant either.

The triumph that Melissa feels as she manages to move her arm is overshadowed by the pain. She slowly starts to curl herself into a ball, trying to squeeze into the rear corner of the truck bed, hoping that it'll be as safe as anything else right now. No, this definitely wasn't on her list of vacations to take, and she'd like to speak to the hostess please.

There's a quick yelp of pain from the television personality as it knicks the all too important family jewels, causing the truck to swerve unnecessarily on the road, tediously close to the ditch, but he pulls it back with a quick twitch of the steering wheel. "Shit," he murmurs as he increases pressure on the gas pedal, screeching the wheels loudly.

His lips press together tightly as his jaw tightens with determination. Through his clenched teeth, his words come out laboured and semi-breathy. "Shoot the tires—we can take out the driver if we take out the van." Maybe.

If Russo were thinking, he might realize that taking out the tires will put the unlikely(?) heroes on a collision course with said van, particularly if it stops. Either he's really hoping the amphetamines work their magic with his senses or this was just not his most thought out plan.

It's probably that swerve that made Edgar's shot at the window a complete failure and if anyone asks, that's definitely the story he's going to stick to.

There's a rather comical expression from the carnie in the passenger side as he pumps the shotgun to discharge the spent cartridge and load the last one. "You sure? I go' the window on the las' one! I' cracked! I think if I 'it i' again I'll definitely get i' this time!" Along with making the former inmate more twitchy, the speed they'd taking is also making him a lot more excited.

There's a blur of his head as another involuntary twitch overtakes him. The effects of the suppressants are wearing off, not quickly enough to be useful, just enough to get annoying in a time of need. "You think it'll go through the tires?" The juggler asks, a slight worried edge hits his voice as he realizes, if he misses the tires… it might hit the girl in the back of th truck. Shooting Melissa isn't on the menu today, not for Edgar. Thank goodness he can't see her backside.

Momentum has Melissa tumbling the rest of the way into the corner of the bed when the truck abruptly swerves back and forth along the width of the road, perhaps to put off ideas of shooting anything with accuracy, but there's only so much Maeve can do that won't slow her down dramatically. As she keeps her foot on the accelerator, she's leaning across ways to finger open the glovebox, where she'd stashed a couple of things from the prying eyes of passing bystanders.

A capped syringe and a vial of something, unmarked and medical in its childproof cap and tiny script on the label. A few photographs of the woman herself. A roadmap that could well have belonged there before, along with the unravelled casette stashed in there too.

And of course, a handgun. This is taken out after some scrabbling groping around, then pinned between palm and steering wheel as she casts a quick glance into the rearview mirror, then over her shoulder, teeth flashing in a grimace.

With movement coming back to Melissa, she can't help but wonder if other things are coming back too. Like her ability. And when she sees something gun-shaped in Maeve's hand, she decides to give it a try. She's not sure if the people behind them are friendly, to her, but they can't be worse than Maeve, so she focuses her ability wholly on Maeve, hoping that it works. Hoping that it's effective enough now to stop her.

"Nah, just focus on the tires and you'll be fine," there's a brief pause before Russo's eyes are furrowing, "Unless… unless you have terrible aim… then maybe you should take the wheel — " Brad's frown extends through creases along his eyebrows and eyes, he can't drive and shoot at the same time.

Absently, he gnaws on his bottom lip, grounding him in the moment. Russo grits his teeth as he closes the distance between the trucks. The one he's piloting complains even louder as the engine works even harder to catch the first truck. There's little time to think as he pulls the wheel sharply left to ram against the other vehicle. The black truck Brad is manning spins along the interstate, taking a ninety degree angle with the road, while the momentum keeps the vehicle pushing sideways.

The tires screech loudly as Russo attempts to control the truck again, frantically turning the steering wheel this way and that to regain some control. As the truck swerves along the highway, continuing loudly as drives towards the ditch.

The first tire goes over the ditch, literally flipping the high speed vehicle within it, bringing it to a halt… upside down.

Edgar was aiming for the tires, he really was but then Brad decided to get an idea. When he rams the other vehicle, the shot goes wild and even Edgar doesn't know where it hits. If anything at all. "I think I sho' Meli—" His screech of panic as he sees the huddled form in the back of the other truck is cut off by a scream that's best suited for a five year old girl watching her bunny getting eaten by the neighbour's dog. God knows that the carnie's not going to claim it when this is all over.

Thank god for seatbelts, that's all the speedster will say for the rest of his life. That and don't ever get into a truck with a television host. When the truck finishes its flipping, Edgar is hanging upside down by the belt, completely stunned. Random body parts are moving at a velocity he's more used to, unfortunately it's not controlled. When he reaches to unfasted the belt holding him up, his hand turns invisible from high speed movement and he falls to the roof with a grunt.

"You're insane!" He cries out to Russo, "Wha' the 'ell're you thinkin'?! You're … jus'… " If Edgar told the truth, he likely couldn't deny that it was pretty much the coolest wreck he's ever been a part of in his entire life. But there's no time, not with the possibility of the other vehicle getting away. With a solid kick at 700mph, the passenger door flies off its hinges and the carnie is gone.

The scream that erupts from the cab of the truck follows the crack of Russo's truck ramming into Maeve's, but it may be also due to the inexpicable frission of pain that has her muscles seizing and gaze blurring. The pickup goes wild, Melissa almost hurled completely out of the back of the bed, a leg even flipping over the edge and creating all kinds of interesting bruises. For all that spin that kicks up desert road dust, there is no flippage, the truck coming to a halt with all four tires on the road.

The engine whimpers a sputter, dies silent.

A creak reverberates down the body of the truck as Maeve shoulders open the door, staggers out with a filmy fine cloud of white powder that lifts off her skin, heightened stress generating more of the stuff like a squid shooting ink. Her gun is gripped firmly, for all that her limbs are loose and her gait is wavering.

Keeping the pain going for as long as she can, Melissa uses that leg hanging over the edge of the truck to start trying to work her heavy limbs out even if it means lots more bruises when she tumbles to the road. Bruises are a small price to pay to escape a madwoman. She wants out of the truck, with it between her and Maeve. She doesn't call out to her rescuers though, not wanting to attract attention she'd rather not want.

"It… got… the … " the sentence isn't even finished before the speedster vanishes. There's a tug at Brad's seatbelt, even as Edgar quickly disappears from sight. Russo presses on the button of the belt, releasing the seatbelt and causing him to fall from his chair. He can't actually feel the pain of the bruise that's forming from the belt or the bleeding of the wound where his head hit steering wheel upon impact; the adrenaline and speed are doing their magic.

With a loud squeak as the door opens and he stumbles out of it. Like Maeve, Brad is weak on his feet. His steps are staggered and hesitant as he treads towards Melissa spilled out over the road. "Heeee" he so eloquently gets out before essentially dropping to his knees near the blonde. With a shake of his head he offers, "Ditch?" Again, the shock and combined adrenaline prevent him from truly articulating what he's trying to say, but the offer stands. He'll drag her to the ditch if she agrees. And if she doesn't? He'll probably drag her anyways.

The powder coming off Maeve is blown into the wind created by the blur that's skirting around her. It would have been fantastic if he'd actually been wearing a skirt but he gave that up for a shirt with a picture of a marijuana leaf on it. It whips around her, not touching her until most of the powder is blown away. Though the carnie doesn't exactly know what it does, he's not stupid enough to actually take a sample. Maybe if the speed had been cocaine… but it wasn't.

"'EY!" Is the first call when Edgar pauses long enough to grin at the platinum blonde. "'Ow many carnies does i' take teh put'a light ou'?" The blur stars up again and Maeve bends almost in half to a beautifully choreographed kick to the stomach.

When her head falls forward, the speedster pauses again and gets only a half a foot away from her to look her in the eye before saying, "You're abou' teh find out." Pulling his hand back, he lets it fly forward, almost as fast as he can manage, directly at her face.

Maeve isn't a muscular woman, but she does have a steely solidity to her, muscles like steel chords wrapping her long bones, a certain harshness to angular features and bitten nails, a confidence in the grip of her gun. But there isn't much she can do, against a speedster, lifting an arm against the whirl of wind he creates as he disperses her gathered powder, the kind that cakes Melissa's face like too much make up and makes streaks on her orange jumpsuit.

The palely blonde woman keeps her vice-like grip on her gun even as she's kicked, a guttural cry flagging along the expelled hair from her lungs, a retching, harsh quality to it.

The blow that follows is too quick to be seen, and she's slammed to the hard ground, bright red suddenly shocking on her pale face, gone paler from the drain of fluid. A low grown emits from her as she simply lies there for a second, turns her head. The stagger of bright orange legs and Russo's less highlit limps make shadows and movement where she can see beneath the truck, and it's sheer maliciousness that has Maeve angling the handgun to aim beneath the truck, and begin emptying her clip.

Russo's a stranger, and Melissa has learned to be very, very cautious of such things. Especially strangers offering help. But when it's a choice between possible evils, go with the one that might not be evil. "Yes," is croaked out at his offer as she tries to stagger away from the truck, her legs simply not wanting to cooperate like she's used to. At least until the gunshots shot and she lets out what could be a cry if her throat wasn't dry. It makes her jump, which is very not good for her precarious balance, so she starts to tumble forward…

"Shit!" the curse word is murmured as Brad's arms wrap around Melissa, sweeping her into his arms in a single motion. Bullets fly as he turns his back towards the assailant, using himself as a kind of human shield in the process. A bullet grazes his calf, cutting through the fabric and a layer of skin, drawing a stream of blood from the wound. Again, the drugs do what they're meant to, and the fatigued man barely feels it beyond the burn of metal hot against his skin. He stumbles once, even with Melissa in his grasp, but he literally dives into the ditch with her in tow, determined to at least keep her alive.

The look on the woman's bloody face and the unloading of the clip doesn't register at first, she gets quite a few of them off before the mottled work boot raises in the air and comes down at such a speed the impact of her knuckles hitting the pavement causes them to snap and crunch against it. "I said…" he starts slowly, "Lights out!" He actually pronounces the last word properly, assuming that she didn't quite understand him the first time. There is that language barrier, of course.

Maeve is treated to another kick once the boot is raised from her hand, another one to the gut. If she ever had the chance to conceive again, this punishment might be taking it away. If Edgar knew about all of it, he might actually feel badly. "'Ey! Mister Crane!!" The carnie's bellow echoes through the Utah desert, "Come get us! We go' Melissa!!"

Maeve only gives a sick sounding groan as her hand is broken and the kick is delivered, going limp on the baking Utah road, and most importantly, very still. Light out. Ten four. There is a certain, stagnant silence that follows after, in ringing contrast to roaring vehicles, gunshots, the air still around Russo and Melissa where they huddle in the ditch, and silence pressing in on all sides of Edgar when he shouts his query, and gets nothing in response.

And then, almost so simple that it seems next to unfair, the air around Maeve ripples, enveloping around her, until she's simply drawn out of this reality and into some other place and time, leaving only black-red blood on the road, her handgun, and streaks of powder already eroding off the asphalt.

Doesn't every girl dream of being swept off her feet by a knight in shining armor? Probably. But most don't picture it being in this sort of circumstance. Melissa doesn't have time to consider that, just has time to be relieved that she wasn't shot, and that she's away from Maeve. Still, there's a soft grunt as they land in the ditch, and she lays there for a moment, before asking Russo, softly, "What's going on?"

Russo is releasing Melissa shortly after Maeve disappears. He stares blankly at the road, still unsure what happened. Brad's eyebrows arch upwards at the question, his body now registering the tinge of pain and the pooling blood collecting along his pant leg. His mouth opens to answer the question only to clamp shut again. He just purposely crashed a car, flipping it over; his brain hasn't processed anything yet. Finally his mouth opens again. This time he manages a few croaked words, ragged and laboured with his breath, "Attempted kidnapping." Not that he knows, but sometimes improvising works better than even attempting to tell the truth.

The space Edgar once occupied is gone too. For all intents and purposes it would seem that the speedster abandoned Melissa and Russo to bake in the desert heat while he got the hell out of dodge. It would have been the smart thing to do.

Minutes pass by, maybe what seems like an hour, before there's a dark blur down the road and the wake of displaced air, a dusty puff like the Road Runner leaves behind him. Before Melissa can say 'boo' Russo is gone and in his place, there's a fresh change of clothing, and a pink bicycle with a white flowered basket on the front. The price tag hasn't been removed and it's quite likely that all of the items have been stolen. The carnie guessed at her size, the shirt is too tight and the skirt is too loose. The colors are all wrong for a goth, unless it's a goth into pastel floral prints and lots of lace.

As if her day couldn't get any weirder. Her hero is suddenly gone and she has clothing that so doesn't suit her dumped beside her. Melissa stares at it and the bicycle, wondering if she's even fit to ride, much less the distance to wherever the closest town is. She straightens, to look around for anyone else, then, with a soft groan, sits back down to start changing, slowly.

Desert dust roostertails after the sprinting duo, as Melissa makes the slow progress of redressing as the sun slowly begins to dip down and down. History will find an easier time in correcting its own course, even if it didn't involve a stolen bike and pastel clothing before. A little less major, than the violent changes that threatened to zigzag through time as jaggedly as the tire marks on the highway.

In the distance, beyond the limits of Melissa's vision, Edgar comes to a halt, finding himself mysteriously empty handed, as if Russo had disintegrated from sheer velocity somewhere between the crash sight of the tipped black truck, and out here, in the shadow of some ancient rock formation, miraculously alone as abruptly as it had been silent the first time he asked for Mr. Crane. But it isn't the 5'6" samurai that blips into existence and takes the speedster's arm.

It's not even a hand that makes contact. There is only the whistling of something moving through the air, before it all fades to black. The thing about getting a speedster, is attacking from behind. Dust covered boots approach Edgar's crumpled form, and in the span of two heartbeats, both men disappear from the Utah desert, with the propelled rock still rolling.

Vietnam, Soc Trang
November 15, 1968

Momentum is stolen so sharply from Russo that he ends up tumbling, coming to a halt a few inches shy of flipping into a running stream. Birds cry in canopies, and mud soaks his clothing, feels slick beneath his palms as a continual light rain comes down. He's alone, but at the very least, he isn't in Utah anymore. For all that Utah wasn't so bad, really, when you got right down to it.

There is an echoing sound in the distance. It could be thunder, but it is more likely to be gunfire.

It seems the adventure is not yet over.

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