Not Harder, But Smarter


raith_icon.gif rue2_icon.gif

Scene Title Not Harder, But Smarter
Synopsis Rue returns to Pollepel Island and touches base with Raith, who begins to get her up to speed on their current situation.
Date April 5, 2011

Bannerman's Castle: Living Quarters

Two separate corridors, both on the ground floor, compromise Bannerman Castle's living quarters and are dark, skinny stretches of hallway with stone walls and floors interrupted by heavy wooden doors without numbers. Those who live here know which room is theirs by the grain of the wood, the shape of the smooth rock in the walls and other identifying features that are visible if the person looking knows what he or she is looking for.

The rooms themselves vary in size, most so small that the space is appropriate for only one or two people, but there are larger rooms for small families that can fit up to five or six if people are willing to share beds, and if they're desperate enough to have come to Pollepel Island, they almost certainly are. Wooden cots, some with tall posts and cheap sheets strung between them for additional privacy, are standard, and like most of the castle there's no electricity for luxury items like televisions, but some of the island's residents have furnished their rooms with battery-powered radios on footstools or wooden nightstands. Some of the rooms are even lucky enough to have battered old dressers and the occasional writing desk. Most have windows, and those that do also have window coverings made from white canvas heavy enough to keep the light both out and in, depending on what is required.

Bathrooms are shared and unlike the bedrooms themselves, are wired to allow for flushing toilets and showers that run hot water even if hot water is only made available for a few hours a day.

In the wake of the events of April 2nd and 3rd, the situation on Pollepel has been delicate. Not 'delicate' in the sense that everything threatens to break down to anarchy if someone makes their coffee too weak, but 'delicate' in the sense that everyone is more on edge than usual. The question of 'what went wrong?' has been addressed and answered; That isn't why Raith has kept to himself lately. Rather, the question of 'why did everything go wrong?' is what plagues him, even though he knows he is unlikely to find an answer for it. Never mind that he needs to catch up with certain other individuals regarding information they have. His head hurts.

However, there is one good thing to have come out of answering the question of, 'what went wrong?' Finally, Raith has been able to make the time to rest in his office-slash-quarters not pouring over maps or running logistical calculations, but catching a well-deserved cat nap. That happened to rage out of control and last an hour longer than he intended. But if nothing else comes out of that, everyone who needs him knows exactly where to find him.

Dismal as Bannerman Castle can be sometimes, it feels like home to Rue as she makes her way through the halls. Briefly she stopped off stow her bags in one of the rooms with space for her, then to deliver supplies to the kitchen, and to the room occupied by Benji Foster. Though those are left in the hallway with only a knock on the door to announce their delivery, and a note to say who it's from and what it's for. Not that there are terribly many uses for a giant bag of cat food and a small box of toys.

Her next order of business is to take this bottle of Two Buck Chuck and find Jensen Raith. Rue Lancaster's grey ballet flats make little sound on the floors as she makes her way through the living quarters. Her knuckles tapping on the door sound too loud in her ears. Like it violates the sanctity of the space. It causes her to bring her hand up to the back of her neck and rub with a grimace.

The hair that catches between her fingers is not the usual mess of bushy ginger curls, however. Her hair is worn long and sleek now, and dark. A shade of black that seems to hint at purple, but could just be the red it lays over attempting to shine through. The aubergine colour of her nails complements it well. Hours ago, her lips were painted much the same colour. It makes her look much paler, Rue's freckles standing out starkly against the porcelain of her cheekbones and the bridge of her nose.

The sound is loud enough to rouse Raith from his light slumber, even if it's not the right sort of noise to throw him immediately into action. "It's open," is what he decides is the best thing to say, and the best way to handle the situation. Let whoever is on the otherwise of the door worry about opening it. The ex-spy is going to sit on the edge of his bed and rub sleep out of his eyes for a few moments while he finishes waking up.

Rue cautiously pokes her head in before she steps in out of the hallway, shutting the door behind her. "Hey. Uhm, I'm not interrupting, am I? I come bearing gifts." And she holds up the bottle of red wine to prove that it's true! "But if this is a bad time… I mean, I guess I just wanted to let you know that I'm home. We can always connect later." A nervous glance is thrown over her shoulder to the door. She didn't mean to wake him up. Honest.

"No no, come in, really. I sleep too much." It's got to be one of those messed up 'soldier things'. Models eat too much, and soldiers sleep too much. It's a good thing that Raith and Rue are such well-adjusted and stable outlaw terrorists. "I don't have any glasses," the ex-spy adds after a yawn, but that's clearly not important. "When did you get back?"

"I don't have mono." If you don't mind sharing is left implied as she sets the bottle down on the desk and procures a corkscrew from the pocket of her Punisher hoodie. "And just now. Well, a bit ago. I'm fresh off the boat."

Turn, turn, turn, and tug! The cork is popped out of the bottle and set aside. Rue holds the bottle out to Raith. He gets first dibs. "I saw the news." That is to say, she saw the lies running on the local stations. "What really happened? Or should I have brought whiskey for that story?"

Maybe Rue will get her story. Raith takes the bottle and, although he plainly observes that it is not a 'respected' vintage, he takes a long, measured drink from it all the same. When he finishes and passes the bottle back to Rue, then, she gets her story. "Someone got wise," he says, "Figured out we had someone high up giving us intel and set up a couple traps they knew we'd go after. Only questions now are, 'how?' and, 'what are we going to do about it?' As you can see, this has been costing me no small amount of rest."

Rue's brows, drawn darker to match her hair, come together with concern. "Are we sure we weren't betrayed by our source?" It seems a logical question to ask to her. But she isn't privy to the sort of information that would allow her to know who their sources are. And even then, she doesn't have enough information or experience to make much of an informed decision.

Which causes a little wince and a desire to retract her question entirely. "The whys are fairly simple, right? I mean, knowing why we'd be set up." Rue brings the bottle to her own lips, taking a generous drink and then gesturing to the bed. "May I?"

Raith gestures to indicate that Rue should feel free to drink. "Our source is now wanted by the authorities," is what he has to say on the matter, "So we're pretty sure she didn't betray us. After all the shit she's done, there's no way she'd get a plea bargain. And the whys, yes, those are simple. It's the how that we're not sure about yet. How did they find out where we were getting our intel? That's what we don't know about."

Rue takes a seat on the bed next to Raith and holds the bottle in her hand between them. She nods her head solemnly to the information given. "Okay, so the question is how. But my question is what do we do about it?" She sucks her lower lip in between her teeth, worrying at it for a moment. "We're already hiding, right? We can't really hide harder."

Without so much as turning his attention towards Rue, Raith simply shrugs his shoulders. "Ignore it and pretend nothing happened?" he suggests, before following up with a real answer of, "I don't know. Some of us are getting together at the end of the week to try and answer that question. The only way we can hide better is by leaving the country, and that's not happening. Not after all the work everyone's put into building all this. Maybe we fight back, ignore anything that naturally attracts us. Maybe we become hippies."

"Hippies? Well, that'd be one way of handling it." Not the way Rue would handle it, if her tone is any indication. "If we fight back, who would you strike against? I mean, hypothetically." Her brows hike upward. "I can dust off the hunting rifle if you… If you want." Lips purse faintly, tugging to one side. "I know, I know. Being a soldier isn't cool. But what was done to us is even less cool. And someone should pay for that."

"And someone will." It's a simple enough answer. It's the kind of answer that Raith most frequently offers up. "But the trick, the real trick to getting at someone isn't to fight them hard, but to fight them smart. You can drop bombs all over Afghanistan trying to take down al Qaeda, not make any progress with it. Or, you can take over the roads they use to get food into their caves. Suddenly, they have a lot more incentive to come outside where it's easier to bomb them."

"Yeah, but it's not like these people are reliant on supply lines," Rue reasons. "So where do we hit them where it'll hurt? Ammunition depot?" She shakes her head, a little out of her element when it comes to out-thinking their enemy.

"That's what we're going to figure out on Friday." And then, it seems, a thought creeps into Raith's head as he wakes up a bit more. "You should come. Get a feel for how these kinds of things get played out. Getting it takes more than bullets and explosives, you know."

Rue nods her head quickly. "I'll be there." She passes the bottle of wine back and offers a quick smile. "Here. You keep this. I'll let you get some more rest. I'll be around if you need me later." The bed hardly creaks as she lifts her weight off of it again. "Come find me if you need an extra for patrols."

The parting remark, at least in this one particular case, is easy for Raith to figure out: "Be there or be a soldier."

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