alys_icon.gif chess_icon.gif frank_icon.gif sibyl4_icon.gif

Scene Title Picnic
Synopsis The Staten Island Trade Commission reclaims Miller Airfield.
Date May 10, 2018

Ruins of Staten Island, Miller Airfield

There is a corner of Staten Island once known as the Reclaimed Zone. In a way, the name still applies, only it's nature that's taken back the land and not the human beings who once held it. Miller Airfield used to be little more than a grassy field, mowed flat and then freshly chalked with broad lanes course their way down the field in perfect symmetry.

Not anymore.

Over the years a tangle of wild blackberry bushes and weeds overtook the property, which Sibyl Black decided would be the perfect spot for her garden. She's allowed the bushes, since pruned back, to occupy a small corner of the lot, which has since been churned up and fertilized for the crops Alister implored her to invest in.

Sunshine beats down on the field as the self-proclaimed water baron's men work to plant rows of lavender, fragrant lettuce heads, beets, tomatoes, and other leafy greens. Bees, drawn to the smell of the flowers, float lazily between the aisles, pollinating and filling the air with insect song as they go.

It's almost idyllic. Until you remember you're on Staten Island.

Frank just sort of stands off to the side of it all. his hands are in his pockets, wearing a coat that's far too large for the current weather.

He stares at Alister's men, many interesting specimens, and then stares at the plants, considering their similarities to the interior of humans at times.

This is a nice day, Staten is interesting, it's a place he sometimes has business, surgical business. But now he's simply exploring, with a bit of an empty expression.

Is that girl in charge? Strange. He hopes he doesn't have to do surgery on her, though, the failure to save a young life has made him feel sadness in the past.

He doesn't particularly enjoy sadness.

The strip of reclaimed nature is one of the reasons Chess has chosen, in the past, to walk along this corner of land while doing her various errands on the nefarious Staten Island. So it's with a bit of surprise she finds it being turned into something productive. If she were thinking straight, Chess might figure out just whose men those are. Sunglasses and a baseball cap give an incognito look to her as she walks along the rows of crops; one hand rolls a baseball around in her palm and the other holds the courier bag lightly, but in the manner of someone all too well-versed with cutthroats and pickpockets.

She sees Sibyl's solitary little picnic, and tips her head curiously, changing her course slightly to head in the teen's direction. "Sibyl, yeah?" she calls ahead a bit, pausing when she's a few yards away.

Sibyl is taking a break from minding the strawberries in the shade of a weeping willow. Picnic seems like it's the appropriate word; there's a blanket spread out amongst the tree's roots and a smattering of food gathered from the nearby Rookery, ranging from bread and butter to salted fish and fresh fruit for the workers. She's in the process of setting up a folding card table for pitchers of fresh water and what looks like it might be lemonade, and turns when she hears Chess' voice ring out across the field.

"Hello," she says in a voice that's guarded but not unkind. The weather is warm enough that she doesn't need a coat, allowing her bare shoulders and pale arms to soak up some of the early afternoon sun. "Was it— Francesca?"

Alys West is, by all means, still a newcomer to Staten Island, at least in comparison to some of it's other denizens. This means she's never quite sure what she's going to run into when she ventures out from the burned out hovel she's claimed as her home. A fucking garden certainly wasn't something that would've topped any lists of hers.

As such, her first words when she wandered into view of it were echos of that thought. "What the fuck is this?" she'd questioned outloud, eyes scanning the area. Eyes wander to the others present - a man, a woman, a young girl. She skirts along the edge of the garden, watching them for a moment. It's only when she hears voices that she finally makes an approach.

"Not every day ya see someone platin' shit out here. This yours, lady?" Offered to Chess rather than Sibyl.

Frank slowly walks over to where the others are gathered, talking. He watches as Sibyl sets things up, hands still in his pockets. He doesn't say anything, though perhaps he'll buy lemonade.

Lemonade is nice.

It's hard to read the expression on Chess' face, the sunglasses covering most of her eyes, but her forehead furrows a little, and she shakes her head. "Just Chess," she says. She glances at the workers and then the food the younger girl is laying out, and tips her head, curiously. "You like living here? If you don't, I can bring you back to the Safe Zone." Her tone is schooled into a pleasantly neutral tone.

Alys' approach, followed by Frank's, makes Chess stiffen just a little, rolling that baseball again in her palm, free hand sliding up to hang on the strap at her shoulder. "Not mine, no," she says, lightly. Her head turns slightly in Frank's direction, dark lenses covering her eyes, but they're probably turned on him, as well.

Sibyl might be more on edge at the sudden appearance of strangers like Frank and Alys if Alister's men weren't already within earshot. She glances toward some scraggily tufts of lavender, making eye contact with one of the workers trimming back its wildest shoots. His pair of shears that's more wicked-looking than this particular task demands.

He starts to rise from his crouch, but soon finds himself stooping back down as Sibyl shakes her head at him. "It's all right," she confides in Chess as she hefts the pitcher of lemonade with one hand and uses the other to steady it, pouring Frank a glass. "Mr. Black is kind to me, and I don't need any sort of papers."

Frank pulls a hand from his pocket, holding out three dollars. That seems like a fair price. "Thank you." he says, his intonation very mono, taking the glass with the other hand that's pulled from his pocket.

He stares down at the glass in his hand, sniffing it once, then he starts to watch the little pieces of lemon float around in the liquid. "Fruit biology is beautiful." he observes, with the tone of someone who's making a simple observation rather than an expression of actual beauty.

"What?" The look that Alys gives Chess is disbelieving, followed by a curt scoff. "Then what, hers?" She motions to Sibyl, looking to her just as she pours Frank a glass of lemonade. She stares for a moment, before rasping out a laugh. "Well, ain't that a thing," she murmers, crossing her arms. "Y'all know where ya are, right? Ain't really gardenin' country out here." She pauses, looking up at the men, and then down at Frank.

"Less you're lookin' to sell it, I guess." Alys crosses her arms. "Well then. This your, uh… what, garden, then, Little Miss? Because I can't imagine what other fuckin' reason someone your age might be doing out here."

"If you change your mind," Chess says, reaching to pull out a card with a number on it — a new number, given her other phones have blown up. Literally.

In a low tone, just for Sibyl, she murmurs, as she puts the card down near the pitcher, "Don't ask for me — by any name, okay? But leave a message for Jane. I'll get the voice mail, yeah? I know he's not unkind but… I don't know. If you want to leave. You know." Her cheeks are a little flushed by this display and she steps back again, to glance at Alys and then Frank.

"I wouldn't underestimate her," Chess says a bit wryly in Alys' direction.

"That's why all the still life paintings full of fruit, I guess," she says to Frank, with a shrug.

Sibyl, unsure what she's going to do with three dollars, places the money down on the folding table next to the pitcher of lemonade and uses an empty glass to keep it from blowing away in the breeze. "It isn't mine," she says of the garden, "not really. It belongs to the Staten Island Trade Commission."

A few feet away, laid open on the blanket, is a worn-looking leather journal and black fountain pen. It's a safe bet that this belongs to the teen as well. "Alister Black wants to bring clean drinking water back to the island. Plumbing, too. He thought it might be nice to beautify the old air field while he's at it."

That's a lie.

Beyond the field, the base's derelict hangar yawns open as another crew of men clear out forgotten storage containers and six year's worth of swallows' nests from the building's dusty rafters.

Chess' offer receives a small, tentative smile from the teen. She tucks the card into her dress pocket.

Frank finally sips, then starts to stare at Alys. Chess got some staring, he hasn't stared at Sibyl much at all, but his eyes start to fixate a little on Alys from behind the glance.

"Your bone structure is nice, and you have nice skin." he compliments, though his intonation makes it a little… weird, if not the words themselves, which are also weird. "Sorry, I'm being rude." He offers Alys his free hand. "Doctor Witchenstein. You can call me Frank."

Alys lets out a bit of a scoff at the idea what someone wants to bring living amenities back to Staten Island. "Well good luck to him, then. Seems like most people forget 'bout this hole." A glance is offered over to chess, before her gaze slides back over to Sibyl. being told not to underestimate someone is, in her experiance, advice that typically comes with reason - though rarely is it actually backed up in a manner that justifies such warnings.

The man addressing her get a flat look. "Rude ain't a thing out here, Moreau, but weird sure as hell is." His works have her on edge, a bit, watching him now more closely than the others. "Get a girl dinner before ya start talkin' bout her skin though."

"I was probably going to stop by and see him," Chess tells Sibyl, with a shrug. "You know if he's in?"

Alys' words to Frank make her smirk a little. "Don't think the SIs know how to give a compliment without it seeming a bit creepy," she says, before she looks to Frank, lips tipping to one side. "Frank… Witchenstein. Really? If someone saddled you with that for a fake ID, I can find someone who can get you a better one, friend."

"My name isn't fake." Frank says, entirely humorless, looking Chess up and down really quick, assessing something. His gaze quickly returns to Alys. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to suggest I wanted carnal relations with you. I was taking note of the health of your skin. High elasticity, low degeneration, it's impressive."

Alys has no real response to that, she just sort of stares at Frank for a moment. And then, running against the mood that she seems to project, she laughs. "Nah, 'course not," she remarks with a snort. "Ya sound like a nut, Moreau, but I can roll with that. Ya have to be to live out here in the shit, after all, right." She points a finger at him, smirking as she looks over at Chees. "I think I like 'im. He's weird as hell, an' he doesn't give a shit."

She reaches up to Frank and flicks him on the cheek. "Name's Alyssa, Alys if ya don't want t' get shot." A look back to Chess. "Don't think I got to hear your name at all."

'Carnal relations.' Chess mouths the words, a little disbelievingly, but she does have the courtesy to at least mutter, "Sorry," when Frank says it's not a fake name. "Mine is," she says with a smile, and glances at Alys. There's a small hesitation, before she speaks. "Chess," she says simply, no longer name to go with it — though Sibyl's already said it, of course.

She glances over at Sibyl, then the man who seems to be playing the part of her body guard, and then back to Frank. "You might do better in conversation if you didn't talk about things like 'high elasticity' and 'carnal relations.' Just a tip. Compliments are nice, but women don't like to be talked about like they're, I donno, a specimen in the lab or a piece of high-end silk."

She glances to Alys, lips curving into another smirk. "Kinda a 'it puts the lotion on its skin' vibe, yeah?"

"I wouldn't put lotion on anyone's skin." Frank answers, after a moment of trying to determine the appropriate response to all of that. His eyes shift to Alys' hand when she flicks him on the cheek, and he continues to take in advice.

"I wasn't thinking very much about my social success." he admits, then sips at his glass. "There's no reason to be afraid of me." he monotones, then tries to smile, but it doesn't reach his eyes. "I'm small, I can't fight, and I'm mostly interested in biology as an academic topic."

Alys hands move to her hips, looking over at Chess. "Not quite the Hannibal vibe, but gettin' there," she offers, before looking back at him. "Moreau," she reasserts. "Jeesus, you-" She takes in a deep breath, shaking her head. "How're not gettin' eaten alive out here, Doc?" A disdainful click of her tongue follows. "You ain't small, hon. I'm small. Ya keep talkin' like that, an' you're gonna need somethin' real good to fight back with, and fancy words ain't gonna cut it." She closes her eyes lifting her head a bti as she shakes her head. "God help me for this," she murmers, before looking back at Frank. "You know, someone can probably help ya be able t' fight, for the right price and all."

This conversation has taken an odd turn.

Sibyl's brow creases but the teen is silent, assessing Frank from beneath her fair lashes.

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks," Chess says flatly to Frank, before adding, "And small doesn't mean weak. You're right, though, I probably could kick your ass."

And will, her tone implies, if she needs to.

She huffs a short breathy laugh when Alys offers to teach him to fight, before glancing at Sibyl. She tips a head in the direction of one of the gardeners. "If I took the job Alister offered me, would I have to be out here picking fruit?" she says wryly.

"I don't live here, on Staten. I come here to work sometimes. People need surgeries done, most surgeons are afraid to come out here." Frank looks around, his eyes seemingly at peace with his surroundings. "I might die one day, I might not. If I do, it'll be an interesting experience, if I don't, then I succeeded at life."

He looks out over the field, his dry way of talking making him sound clinical about himself as well. "My life doesn't mean a whole lot, there's nothing to be afraid of. If someone mugs me I'll give them my wallet."

Alys looks distinctly taken aback. "How very zen of you," she deadpans, rolling her eyes. "Well, can't give ya too much grief, I guess, sounds like your doin' folks out her a good service. Ya change your mind, though…" She taps at her temple and winks, following it up with a fingergun motion at Frank.

Her attention turns back to Chess and Sibyl, looking down at the the young girl for a moment. "Ya sellin' any a' that fruit?" She'd rather just steal it like usual, but with this many people around and the fact that this isn't just some random plot of land tended to by Snow Black and her Seven Tall Ass Men tells her that's probably not the best idea.

"If you take the job," Sibyl confesses, "he'll probably try to sleep with you, so I suppose that depends on your definition of fruit." There's some wryness there, but no mistake: it's also a warning.

To Alys: "First basket is free. The strawberries aren't ready yet, and the blackberries won't come in until August, but you can take some lavender with you if you'd like. I don't mind."

"Cheery," says Chess, despite the fact she also doesn't seem to value her own life very much — if she did, she wouldn't be out at all, and especially not on Staten, but well, here she is.

Sibyl's words draw her eyes back to the teen, and her cheeks flush a telltale pink. "Jesus, kid," she says with a shake of her head. "I wasn't going to take it. I don't think you need looking after. I sort of think you're the one looking after him, sometimes." She glances at the sun's position in the sky. "I should get moving — I don't want to stay the night here tonight. You yell if you wanna take that boat with me, yeah? Not via the number, though. I won't get the voice mail til I'm back." That's to Sibyl, before giving a nod to each of the other strangers — acquaintances now. "Nice meeting you," is oddly polite, given their locale, and a little dubious in tone.

"I'd rather not die, but death is just the absence of brain functions, it's nothing to be afraid of." Frank stares at Sibyl for a long moment, as she's finally caught his attention. "Well, I'm leaving." he says with no particularly warning, finishing his lemonade, sitting it down, then turns away to start walking.

"And just like that, Doctor Moreau wanders off to his next horrowshow," Alys remarks quietly, watching Frank leave. She glances over at Chess, a look of what even the actual fuck worn plainly on her face. With a long, feigned sigh, she turns her attention to Sibyl though, looking at the young girl with a smirk. "Pusher's tactics, eh? Smarter than ya look, with how food is around here. Hard pass, though. Smell bothers me after a bit." A lie, but if the first hit is free she's rather wait for the actual fruit. "Thanks though. Try to make sure no one lifts it out from under ya though."

Because she can't be the only one thinking it.

She turns, beginning to saunter away from the others. This place is marked in her brain now, a landmark to be visited later. Surely, it would bear fruit then. A casual wave, but no so mucha s a good bye when she starts walking off.

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