Of Stars, Strays, and Quadruplets


brian_icon.gif josh_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Of Stars, Strays and Quadruplets
Synopsis A chance encounter in Central Park results in the delivery of stars and prophecies, and the discussion of Star Wars. And Brian puts on a one-man show with a difference.
Date October 24 2008

Central Park

Central Park has been, and remains, a key attraction in New York City, both for tourists and local residents. Though slightly smaller, approximately 100 acres at its southern end scarred by and still recovering from the explosion, the vast northern regions of the park remain intact.

An array of paths and tracks wind their way through stands of trees and swathes of grass, frequented by joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and horsemen alike. Flowerbeds, tended gardens, and sheltered conservatories provide a wide array of colorful plants; the sheer size of the park, along with a designated wildlife sanctuary add a wide variety of fauna to the park's visitor list. Several ponds and lakes, as well as the massive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, break up the expanses of green and growing things. There are roads, for those who prefer to drive through; numerous playgrounds for children dot the landscape.

Many are the people who come to the Park - painters, birdwatchers, musicians, and rock climbers. Others come for the shows; the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater, the annual outdoor concert of the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, the summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and many other smaller performing groups besides. They come to ice-skate on the rink, to ride on the Central Park Carousel, to view the many, many statues scattered about the park.

Some of the southern end of the park remains buried beneath rubble. Some of it still looks worn and torn, struggling to come back from the edge of destruction despite everything the crews of landscapers can do. The Wollman Rink has not been rebuilt; the Central Park Wildlife Center remains very much a work in progress, but is not wholly a loss. Someday, this portion of Central Park just might be restored fully to its prior state.

Late afternoon, people are strolling about the park, some jogging, some having romantic walks. Some just lazing about. The evening is coming and it's beginning to cool down from the relative heat of the day. People talking, music playing there is a generally pleasant feel about the park this day.

On a certain grassy knoll there happens to be a group of young men. "Layla.. You've got me on my knees." Comes the softly sung tune, accompanied by fingers on a very old looking guitar. Brian is seated against a tree, the antique looking thing in his lap. He plays it decently, he's not entirely proficient, but good enough to make it sound alright most of the time. A baseball cap is in front of him with a few coins and bills in it. "Layla, beggin darlin please, Layla.." Sitting next to him is a man of similar stature, though the bottom of his face is covered by a scarf, and he also wears sunglasses.

When you can be several places at once, it allows you to bring the definition of multi-tasking to a whole new level. As such Brian has been able to practice several different skills all at once. A few feet away a young man stands on the grassy knoll, attempting to juggle a few balls, though he's failing. The man is a carbon copy of the man sitting against the tree, apparently twins. And then next to him a fourth man is laying face down in the grass, a hat pulled low over his head, apparently he's sleeping.

Josh would probably rather be strolling, but instead he's jogging along. Or trying to, anyway. So far it's sucking, but his metabolism just ain't what it used to be when he was twenty-two or even twenty-five and he could stand to keep in shape. At least jogging only requires sneakers, making it cheap. He trots into view, immediately slowing to a walk and wheezing. Poor geek.

Hands thrust into the pockets of her flag-painted leather jacket, Ygraine stalks along the footpaths of the Park with a frown creasing her brow and a distinctly pensive air around her. It takes some little while for the music to register with her - but as she draws abreast of the guitar-player she blinks and looks up… then does a minor double-take as she spots at least one of his duplicates.

Straying steps bring Tamara to the knoll in question, the teen wandering over the grass as if she has nowhere specific to be and no impending curfew. The latter is certainly true. She wears a dark blue shirt today, offsetting loose blond hair and sun-touched skin; her hands rest easily at her sides as she slows to a halt, looking between Josh, Brian, and Ygraine. The courier's double-take earns her a small smile from the teenager, who resumes her forward motion, eventually flopping down in the grass near the sleeper. Not very close — but nearby. Tamara props her chin on interlaced fingers and seems to study the sleeper's hat quite intently.

Brian is perhaps the only person in the world who has the ability of watching someone else watch him sleep. Perhaps that is something to be proud of. The juggler pauses in his failing to look over at the girl who is staring at him.. Well, sleeping him. Taking a step forward, the young man who was juggling looks down to Tamara, "Can I help you?" He asks softly. 'What the hell are you doing?' Is what that really means, by the way.

"Laaayla." Comes the long note, the man sitting next to him begins to sing as well, getting the melody part. They both have good voices.. that sound rather similar. Though singing at different ranges makes it a little difficult to hear, it wouldn't be too hard to discern that their voices are very similar. The two men continue to play the song. The Brian in the sunglasses looks up to the woman watching him, then his eyes wander over.. Josh! The Brian over by Tamara shoots him a look, a smile, and a wave.

Josh catches the wave; he straightens up with a grin, waves, and opts to sort of limp over. His foot hurts. He probably pulled something. "Hey, Brian. Neat guitar. 'Sup?"

Ygraine shoots a mildly curious glance at the immpromptu gather by the sleeping Brian, but - after a moment's further study of the juggler - she turns her attention back to the guitarist and starts rummaging through the various inner and outer pockets of her biker's jacket. After a little bit of searching, she locates a wallet, and is soon enough stepping forward to deposit a couple of rumpled bills in the donations hat.

"Nope," Tamara replies cheerfully. She leans her head back to look up at the juggler, grin matching her tone of voice. "Not today! The hat's good." The teen returns her attention to the sleeper, studying him thoughtfully. "Not finished, though," she proclaims, sounding rather younger than the teenager she is. Tamara shifts to sit on her knees and dig in one pocket, pulling out a red star sticker — which is promptly stuck to the hat. "There."

"What?" Juggler Brian says, getting a rather confused look at the young woman. Once Josh walks up to Guitar Brian and greets him, he is answered by a different one. Juggler turns and speaks to Josh for a moment, while keeping an eye on the strange sticker girl. "It's not mi-not ours. A friend let us borrow it. Work some money up for lunch and gas." He explains before looking back to Tamara. He squints at her, "Why did you do that? You could've woke him."

The young man playing the guitar continues to play and sing, though the other singer pauses in his song to, "Thank you very much." To Ygraine. A warm smile is formed around the words the proceed from Guitar Brian's mouth and his eyes light up a bit. But soon after that the song ends, and a final strum is given to finish it off. "Thank you again." Comes Guitar Brian's words, now it is sure their voices sound identical.

"Huh. I hear some people make some good cash busking," Josh tells Brian, digging into the pocket of his jacket and opening his sadly thin wallet. "I can't sing a note. Once I tried to learn how to play guitar and it was bad."
Ygraine looks slowly from one speaker to the next a couple of times, before mustering a slightly bewildered - and somewhat impressed - smile for both the Brians. "You're welcome", she says softly in her unusually-accented voice, inclining her head in acknowledgement of both Brians' thanks.

The girl shakes her head. "Couldn't and didn't," she replies with certainty. "Now it's better." She seems rather proud of that. Tilting her head to one side, Tamara studies the other Brian for a few moments. A second sticker, this one green, is retrieved from the pocket and offered to the juggler. "Do you want one?"

"Where are you from?" Scarf Brian asks to Ygraine, perking up at her accent. Her facial features are mostly ignored. Most people would just assume they're family. But.. not everyone is that naive. "I hope you don't mind me asking, I can't place it though." Guitar Brian takes a hand off the instrument and raises it as if to stop Josh. "No man, I owe you." He says, reaching down to the hat he raises it towards the other man. "Here, take what I owe you for lunch that one time." Awfully generous for a homeless guy.

Looking to Tamara, all Brian can do is grin a little bit. Maybe this girl is crazy, but crazy in a funny way. He lets out a little bit of a laugh as she offers him a sticker. His voice noticably softens now. "You already gave me one." He says with a slight smile, pointing his finger to the red star on sleeping Brian's hat. "It wouldn't be fair for me to have two. When so many people don't have any."

Josh considers Brian for a long moment; he nods and leans down to take the money. "Thanks," he says. Ygraine and Tamara are looked over, since they're interacting with the other Brians and Josh is curious as to how Brian works that. Tamara's stickers in particular are eyed. Free stickers? Awesome.

Ygraine blinks in surprise at the question - and spares a lingering glance for the nearby oddness and other conversations - but returns her attention to the Brians close by her. "Me? Various bits of Britain. Born and went to university in England, grew up in Scotland, to provide a brief summary."

"Okay." The girl nods solemnly to Juggler-Brian; apparently she can agree with that. Bouncing up to her feet, she pads around the various Brians to visit the other people on the knoll. "Then you get one," Tamara informs Josh, tucking the green star-sticker in his hand with the money. "And so do you," she says as she continues, holding out a blue one to Ygraine with a cheery smile.

"Oh. Sorry for being nosy, I just usually can kinda pinpoint a person's accent. I've done a lot of traveling." The man with the scarf explains. "Scotland." He repeats, giving her an appraising glance from behind his glasses. "Beautiful, isn't it? Never been there myself. I'd love to go." The young man says to the woman.

Guitar Brian picks up the strap and puts it around his neck. Standing up he stuffs what money is left from his hat in his pockets before flipping the hat on and standing up. Circling Josh he starts to strum lightly. Partly to give an atmosphere, and partly so that only Josh can hear Brian's soft words. "Neat isn't it? It's like I have a hive mind. Something like that, you know? Like aliens in books? Or.. ants?" A soft shrug. "Never need a mirror to comb the back of my hair, that's for sure." He pauses as Tamara comes by to deliver a sticker, a small smirk coming on his lips. The same smirk is shared by the Juggler as he watches the girl jump up and deliver joy in the shape of small multi-colored stars.

"You don't worry people will notice?" Josh quietly asks Brian; Tamara's approach is met with a grin. "Thanks," he tells her, taking the sticker and regarding his person thoughtfully. "Where should I put it?"

Ygraine flashes a warmly appreciative smile at Tamara, formally inclining her head as she accepts the sticker. After a moment's thought, it gets put under the collar of her jacket. "For safe keeping", she explains to the donor.

To "her" Brian, she laughs and shrugs. "Depends on where you go. Some portions are as dead, grey, and ugly as the Rust Belt here. But I had the fortune to grow up in Edinburgh, which +is+ beautiful…."

Ygraine's placement of the sticker is met with a broad grin, and the teen bobs her head. "It was very safe," Tamara agrees. She spins around to peer at Josh. Where, where, where… The teen walks back over to the geek, expression contemplative, then points down at one of his sneakers. "Right there."

"Well. Yeah. But there's a few things that keep me safe. I can 'un-copy' real quick. And.. come on. Haven't you ever heard of quadruplets?" Brian asks with a grin as he continues to strum. Ygraine's Brian tugs the scarf down. It's getting a little warm.. once tugged down it reveals a face much like the other men accompanied with him. "So what are you doing here then?" Brian asks as if she's crazy for coming to New York from such a beautiful place. The guitar Brian looks to Tamara as she comes to Josh. "What's your name?" He asks with a smile

Whatever Josh was going to say to Brian's left unsaid, since there's the girl with the sticker. He looks down at his sneaker, nods, and stoops to unpeel the sticker and stick it on the side. "Good call. I'm Josh, by the way." Since they're giving out names and all.

Ygraine glances away to Tamara and her lateset sticker-decision, cracking another grin before returning her attention to the Brian with the guitar. "Mmmm? Oh. I was… I worked here, before the Bomb. Came back to face down a few demons…. See if I could do anything useful."

A rather more wan smile is given to guitar-Brian, crooked and rueful. Tamara looks down at her own sneakers, tapping her toes idly in the grass as a frown of concentration forms on her face. After a little bit, she shakes her head, blond hair flying. "Ghosts are slippery," she says, as though that makes perfect sense. The teen scowls and rubs at her face, hand pausing over her forehead.

"Demons, hmm?" Brian asks quietly, eyeing the woman for a second. "Well I wish you luck with that." The young man says softly, standing slowly he offers his hand to the woman. "I'm Brian."

Smiling at Tamara and taking his hand from the guitar strings for a moment, offering them to Tamara. "Well I'm Brian." He pauses for a moment. He tries, not to give an odd look at the strange words she says, instead trying to make nice with the introductions.

Josh straightens up, trying to conceal an odd look of his own. "Uh. You go to school?"

"Ygraine", provides the Briton by way of introduction, accompanying the word with a smile, before accepting his hand for a brief shake. "And thank you." Tamara receives a sidelong, worried glance.

Tamara peers between her fingers at Brian for a moment, then shakes the offered hand. "Hi." She smiles at the guitarist — and blinks to Josh. Blue eyes look down to her feet, and back up at the geek. "Not a fish," the girl points out. "I don't think." Tamara takes a few possibly experimental steps, which also happen to bring her near Ygraine. She pauses to regard the Brit critically. "Eventually," she assures the woman, tone suddenly less light than it has been throughout, more serious. "Everything had uses. Even demons." And then she resumes walking; apparently sticker-girl's job here is done.

Watching the girl, he gives her a genuine smile when she greets him. Then he squints as she declares that Josh is not, in fact, a fish. Then the girl says other things and makes her way off. Taking a moment, Brian looks to Josh and Ygraine. "Wow." Is said slowly by guitarist Brian as he watches Tamara grows. His lips slowly slide into a grin and his eyes widen, obvviously he is shocked and amused by the woman's behavior. "Drugs you think?" He asks, to Ygraine and Josh. One of the other Brian's is watching Tamara. They don't need to look in the same place.

Josh waffles a hand. "Didn't really get a good look at her eyes," he says. "It was a funny joke, though." He smiles some, sticking his hands into the pockets of his hoodie. The smile is turned to Ygraine, along with a nod of greeting.
You have been applauded.

Ygraine turns her head to watch Tamara depart, attention firmly focused upon the girl's retreating back even as she offers Josh a sidelong response. "No… no, I don't think so. Not anything fashionable, anyway", she says gently, almost tiredly. "I think she's faced down a few demons of her own, and has the scars to show for it. But there was intelligence in there…."

"Ghosts are slippery.. And you're not a fish bro!" Brian declares to Josh, with a bit of a big smile. "Congratulations!" As if it's a great piece of news. His eyes return to Ygraine who obviously doesn't think Tamara was as funny as he did. "Yeah.." He says a little somberly.

Josh grins, shaking his head. "No, she's not a fish. Because she's not in a school. I think, anyway." He bounces on his heels briefly. "Uh, hey," he tells Ygraine.

Ygraine gives Josh a longer look, mustering a slight smile, clearly having to try to tear herself away from other lines of thought. "Oh. Hi. I'm Ygraine. You guys know each other already, it seems…"

"Oooh." Recognition flashes in eight different eyes. "A fish!" A little laugh is given. "It's funnier now that I get it." Brian explains, looking to Ygraine. "Yeah, Josh and I are old buddies." Guitarist Brian says, maybe with a hint of sarcasm.

"Uh huh. Maybe a whole week, even," Josh replies. "Real tight."

Ygraine laughs softly, shaking her head once more in the direction Tamara went, before visibly gathering her wits and refocusing upon her remaining companions. "If she comes to hear you play again, be nice to her", she suggests. "I'd be astonished if she meant any harm. She's just… broken."

"I was nice, wasn't I?" Brian asks a little defensively. "I don't blame her for whatever it is that's.. weird with her." Brian says, giving a little strum on his guitar just for funsies. "So. Ygraine. I know you don't know me and my friend Josh here. But.. I'm thinking the three of us are here. I just made money. I'm thinkin' the three of us should go get some dinner. Besides." He leans a little closer to Ygraine further away from Josh. "Just sweet talk him a little and he'll pay." He gives a big smile.

Josh looks down at himself in his jogging gear. "Uh. Not really dressed for it. And I'm not a soft touch, don't believe him."

Ygraine laughs, shaking her head at the pair of them. "Oh, you're dressed just fine for most of the places selling food in the Park. Hot dogs don't exactly require formal wear…."

"Grow up." Brian says to Josh as if that phrase makes sense in this situation. "You don't need to be dressed nice. We'll just go have a little picnic as new friends. And my.. friends will be making money while we go." Stepping past his two companions, he hands the guitar to the Brian still seated on the grass. His hat is flipped off and dropped to the grass. Turning around he gives a nod. "Ready to go?"

Josh eyes Brian, shrugs, and says, "Hot dogs are go, then. Ruining the whole healthy jogging thing, but whatever. Sounds good. Ygraine's not a name I hear too often. You get people asking how to spell it often?"

Ygraine chuckles and nods to Josh, though she eyes the "spare" Brians for a few moments. "Yeah…. Pretty much only known from Arthurian legend, really. Arthur's mother was Ygraine, in most of the earliest surviving versions of the tales."

Motioning for them to come, Brian leads the way. "Oh really? Arthur had a mom? Woah cool. You see that movie? King Arthur. Good flick." Turning around so he's not walking backwards Brian raises his voice an octive higher as he exlclaims. "Owns it!" An emphatic gesture of dominance is given as the young man walks.

"Most people have a mother," Josh says with a bit of a grin. "At some point, anyway. I never got too into Arthurian legend, except when it showed up in comic books. Where a lot of it was wrong."

Ygraine can't help but laugh, shaking her head and grinning again. "Oh, there've been many, many different versions of the stories for at least as long as they've been getting written down. They start off in old Welsh, then begin migrating. Breton, French, English…. No two versions are identical, and many are directly contradictory. A lot of the earliest Welsh ones portray him as an unscrupulous tyrant, for example - apparently the clergy didn't like him "borrowing" their wealth to use to fight wars, or something of the sort."

"I like the Clive Owen version." Brian states proudly. Pfft. Old written stuff. It's not like he hates reading books, he loves reading. It's just.. he loves DVDs more! "Unscrupulous. Wow. You -are- British." Brian says with a bit of a smirk. Seems like Tamara's funnies have put him in a good mood. Brian looks to Josh. "Superman didn't have a mom dude." He points out, very seriously. "He just had a dad." Case closed.

"What do you call Lara Lor-Van, then?" Josh asks Brian, dark eyebrows going up as they walk along. "There's a statue of her and Jor-El in the Fortress of Solitude, man."

Ygraine looks somewhat surprised… but laughs and grins, apparently rather pleased to find people at least as geeky as herself. She'd opened her mouth to respond to Brian, but she closes it again.

"Shit. Dude. I didn't think you would know anything about Superman." Brian feigns defeat. "You're not supposed to know that kind of crap. God." Brian's features twist for a moment as he tries to think of something else, more obscure. "AH! Wolverine. Eat that." Brian says triumphantly in response to Josh playfully.

"I love comics," Josh tells Brian and Ygraine with a broad grin. "I still follow Spider-man and the Fantastic Four. And Elizabeth Howlett. Mentally ill. Suicide. Wolverine's real name is James Howlett."

Ygraine sniggers, shaking her head. "At least try something like Yoda - the little green guy doesn't even seem to belong to a species, from what you see on-screen. But perhaps more like him appear in the novels, or something…"

"Fuck yeah! Yoda! Give a mom to that little guy!" Brian says with a huge smile. He looks to Ygraine and gives her a thumbs-up of approval. But then he looks to Josh where his eyes widen at all the names he rambles off. "I have no idea what you just said, bro."

"Elizabeth Howlett is Wolverine's mother," Josh explains. He grins at Ygraine and shakes his head. "I can't even give Yoda's race. Nobody knows, it's mysterious. Supposedly that Jedi from Phantom Menace, Yaddle, the little green one? Related species. Maybe. That's the most I've ever heard. I bet Lucas will come up with something like the Pootleplaps from planet Stupidname at some point and disappoint everyone."

Ygraine blinks and lifts a brow. "Wasn't even aware that anything remotely like him had appeared. Clearly, my geekdom is insufficiently strong…. And I'm sure you're doing Lucas down. That wouldn't make Yoda an emobdiment of the midichlorians, or a distant ancestor of the Skywalkers, or something…."

"Wow. You guys are being really annoying right now." Brian states without any venom. Just a playful jab. He stops short in his stroll. "Fuck me, I have no idea where I'm going." Says the Evangelical Christian. "Where's a hot dog thing?" Brian asks of Ygraine, looking over his shoulder to her.

"Oh, that's just gross," Josh tells Ygraine, but he's grinning wide. Fellow geek! He shrugs amiably at Brian. "You brought it up! And I think there's one that-a-way." He points. He's incorrect.

Ygraine starts off in the direction Josh points… slows to a halt, frowns, then turns and sets off in another one. "This way. Unless they've moved around, this way…."

Brian falls in, now following Ygraine. "So I was in London." Brian says, as if that should make Ygraine like him more. "But not really London. Like I was in Heathrow airport for like a full twenty four hours. Sucked!" He says, tucking his hands into his pockets as he walks with his 'friends.'

"Yeah? I heard Heathrow is a hell airport, but London sounds interesting," Josh chatters.

Ygraine chuckles and shrugs. "Heathrow prides itself on being the world's busiest airport. If I remember right, Houston's got the busiest air thanks to a lot of over-flights, but Heathrow has more planes and passengers landing per minute than anywhere else in the world, or something…. Me, I grew up and studied in ancient cities that kept their spirit and their history. London, I've never been a huge fan of. Too flat, too expensive, too polluted, too hostile. But there are places of beauty and interest in it, certainly…"

"Really? Where have you lived before? I'm from Jersey, which is about as unimpressive as it gets," Josh tells Ygraine, still smiling. He's a cheerful kind of guy.

Ygraine chuckles and shrugs. "Never been there, though I've seen enough American TV and film to know that it's meant to be the armpit of the world, as far as the media here's concerned…"

Walking with his two friends, Brian listens to the conversation. Though he may be a homeless guy now, he has led an interesting life for his age and has lived in many different places. Though it's not something he loves to brag about, so his lips are closed for now as he listens to Ygraine and Josh talk.

"Yeah, just rent a Kevin Smith movie and you're there," Josh tells Ygraine. "It'd be nice to travel. Maybe to Austria. Austria just seems neat."

Ygraine lifts her brows. "You like mountains and ski resorts? Or you're a fan of 19th century music? I've been to Vienna, myself, and can happily confirm that the old portion of the city's beautiful." She darts a quick, curious glance to the now-silent Brian.

"Mountains," Josh tells them. "I'm a lousy skiier. Uh. And I don't know anything about classical music. It just looks… different. Not Jersey."

"Uhh.." Brian looks over to Ygraine. Realizing that he's been silent for a little while, he pipes up and interrupts the current conversation. "I know it's not over yet, but we should hang out again sometime. I got Josh's number. But I should get yours." He says, "I uh.. Would give you mine but I had to break it when I was running from the cops." Whether it's a joke or not is uncertain.

Ygraine quirks a grin at Josh, before shooting a rather more curious look at Brian. "I can give you a business card - I'm a courier. And running from the cops, huh? Sounds serious. What'd you do? Mug Josh for lunch money one time too often?"

"Courier? That's gotta be interesting," Josh says cheerfully. He grins at Brian. "Bank robbery."

"Nah. Found a dead body." Brian says casually. Jokes are great for telling the truth and no one believing you. It has worked well for him til now. He doesn't like to lie, so anyway he can find around it is great. "Courier? How much does that pay?" Brian asks, looking back to Ygraine again.

The look that Ygraine shoots Brian suggests that she's at least considering taking his response seriously. "Mmm? Oh. Pretty well, if you're crazy enough to take trips through Midtown. Or, pretty well anyway, to be honest, at least if you're fast and reliable. And doing the runs through the ruins can net quite a lot."

"Sounds kind of dangerous," Josh ventures. "Ooh. I think I see the hot dog stand."

"You don't think I could get a job, do you? Maybe you could recommend me or something?" His power may even help a little, he could do like the pony express strategy or something.

Ygraine cocks her head, then delves into her jacket - producing a couple of business cards (for the "Alley Cat Courier Company") to hand over. "The danger's talked up, in all honesty. There are places in New York where you're a lot more likely to get mugged than Midtown… though many people freak out about the fear of radiation, or are just scared about the difficulty of getting help there if anything _does_ happen. As for a job - if you can prove you can cycle and learn your way around the city, it could be worth giving it a go. It's one of the most respectable courier companies in the city… but the whole culture of cycle-couriering is pretty relaxed. It's not as if you need formal qualifications, or to wear a company uniform."

"No ties," Josh says, wistfully. He looks heavenwards, even. He must really hate ties.

"Thanks. I'll have to get a bike I guess." Brian says as he takes one of the cards. He gives her another look, as if trying to find something then looks back down to the card. "Cool." Slipping the card in his pocket he looks back to Josh. He lowers his voice, "Maybe I can get a couple jobs at once. Make hella bank." Most people would think he meant get a day job and a night job. Naw. He meant several day jobs.

Ygraine flashes a grin at Josh. "No, no ties. Unless you work behind the desk. Even then, they'd probably let you off." To Brian, she shrugs. "I dunno, but… you _might_ manage to talk them into advancing you a bike, or something. Depends on their work-load, I guess, and how badly they need couriers at the moment. But… it's not an easy job. And at least one in ten of the drivers on the road'll seem to want to kill you."

"I hate ties," Josh says, probably unnecessarily. He smiles at Brian. "Maybe. Sounds like a good bet, anyway."

Ygraine chuckles again, then comes to a halt near the stand, to eye the offerings. "So… lunch…"

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