odessa_icon.gif sahara_icon.gif

Scene Title PIE-SEC
Synopsis Pie is brought to a PISEC prisoner— an offering to sweeten a surprise reunion.
Date July 5, 2019

The sound of her chair scuffling on the floor brings Sahara to clear her throat after she crosses her legs, hands clapping together on her lap. She's been waiting some minutes and had some time to observe her surroundings. The meeting room is more a lounge, she notes, with its vending machines and number of circular tables with chairs. It makes her feel less self-conscious about the cloth-covered platter brought with her, slightly less out of place. Normalized. Except for the fact she knows very well this isn't anything like… like an employee break room at an office like the one she works at, or something like that.

She lets out a patient sigh as she adjusts the fold of her hands, glancing up to the clock hanging near one of the windows. Her hair is set in a professional-friendly set, waves framing her face. She's wearing a similarly friendly and professional blouse with slacks; all the best presentation on display. To the guard in the room, when she catches his gaze, she offers him a honeyed smile, unaffected entirely by how she's ignored. At least externally.

Internally, Sahara is rather put off that the pie she's brought with her has chilled to the point it's no longer putting off a pleasant scent.

Plum Island SLC-Expressive Center

July 5, 2019

The door across the room opens to admit one small blonde who looks to be wearing a tracksuit rather than a prison uniform. At first, Odessa doesn’t seem to recognize her visitor, confusion in her features as she begins to cross the space to meet up with her. Three quarters of the way there, the realization clearly hits, given the way she stops and stares like a doe caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck.


What else is apparent is that Odessa isn’t sure how to take this visit. All the same, she knows she’s (most likely) safe in this place. She moves forward at the pace she’d set earlier and drops down into the seat next to the other blonde. “What are you…” Doing here? Visiting seems to be the obvious answer. “You’re not the last person I expected to see here, but you made the list.”

When Odessa appears, the light doesn't immediately click on for her visitor, either. It's been a long time, and she looks different than she'd expected. The smile Sahara beams Odessa's way is conflicted, warm for seeing her, but also a touch worried.

She'd always been the type to fuss, and resisting making a comment about the quality of the food or the quality of the place and what it was doing to Odessa — well, that takes effort. But her first words to her in years shouldn't be something so disparaging, and she's also not sure it's her place.

"You'd been on my thoughts lately, what with all that news coverage about you," months ago, "and I figure what's a good holiday without someone to share it with?" Sahara's voice is honeyed and warm, her posture easy. "Independence Day and all… I guess I was feeling a touch patriotic." She chuckles brightly. "So I looked you up and … well, here I am!"

"I even baked a pie, and they even let me bring it in, which, you know — that surprised me, too. I'm sure they did something obtuse to it like run it through an x-ray, but a little electromagnetic radiation never hurt anybody!" It's a moment she might normally wink, but she keeps it to herself, if only just. "It's all in one piece, still. And it's cherry! Seemed like a good one, for the holiday, for the time of year and all…"

The babbling tapers off with another bright smile, her head tilting slightly to the side. "I didn't drive all the way up from down South, if you were worried about that." Sahara assures fondly. "I moved to New York a little while back. Been a world of change, not all of it to write home about, but it's been good, you know?"

Odessa’s eyes glaze over juuuust a little as Sahara goes on as Sahara does, but it lasts only the moment it takes to remember that she’s actually grateful for that quirk of personality. Sahara always made her feel at home, even when she knew all she wanted to do was throw her out of her house to sleep in a hay bale.

Blue eyes drift to the pie and a smile creeps its way across her face. “Cherry’s my favorite,” Odessa confides, not bothering to hide just how touched she is by this gesture of kindness. “You’re in New York now?” Small world. “You like it then? I can’t say I’m from here, but it’s always felt as close to home as I’ve ever had.”

Reaching across the space between them, Odessa takes one of Sahara’s hands in her own. “It’s really good to see you.”

For how Sahara carries on so effortlessly, like the two are old friends catching up, the flinch she has when Odessa reaches for her seems wildly out of place. Her persistent smile falters briefly, no attempt to force it being made. Ultimately, though, she doesn't withdraw her hand, and squeezes Odessa's in return.

"It is good to see you, too," Sahara says a little more quietly, sincerity threaded in the undertone of it. "I always wondered what had happened to you after the war …" Her voice lilts toward a sigh as she adds a bit drily, "I guess now it's a matter of public record, isn't it."

She pulls her hand back only so she can fold her arms and lean against the table, posture relaxed. Considering how she wants to answer the question of how she finds New York takes a moment. "I needed something different after … everything that happened." she admits, again with that quietness to it that most interactions with her lack. It's still warm, but not as audaciously bubbly. "Whole country tore itself apart, but you know that." Sahara murmurs. "Tryin' to find something new, a future to work toward … New York seemed like as good a place as any to help rebuild. The Safe Zone Initiative made New York the best choice, even with that Japanese company looming over the city and dragging its feet in getting things back to normal."

She lifts her shoulders in a light, almost unaffected shrug. What can you do. "Seemed like a solid middle ground between new-age frontier living and places you wouldn't even know the war happened. Plenty of construction workers needing chiropractic care, physical therapy, what with all the rebuilding … hoping I don't run out of work here with those technobots running around now, though." Sahara sighs at that. It'd really be a shame, after all.

Odessa catches the flinch and presses her lips together in a moment of realization. She’s being over-familiar with someone who sees her as an aberration. Still, she doesn’t withdraw immediately, like she’s touched a hot stove, as her instinct tells her she should. She accepts the squeeze and returns it, lips forming a faint smile in gratitude for the display of kindness. They aren’t friends, after all, so in a way, that makes the kindness even more astonishing.

“It seems to be,” Odessa agrees of her history being public record. “I had a good run in hiding,” she admits with a smile that edges just a shade into rueful. “I thought about you from time to time. I hoped you were well.” Sahara has always been a kind person, after all. Even when it was clear she didn’t want to be. Odessa didn’t know too many people like that during the war.

Sahara’s lament about the possibility of losing work because people won’t have to break themselves down when robots can do it instead brings a warmer smile to Odessa’s lips. “There’ll be no shortage of people who need your kind of care,” she assures, folding her hands together in her lap. The smile fades, her expression becoming something more serious, but not severe. “I got my wish after all those years.” Of all the people who’d appreciate that knowledge, Odessa expects Sahara will be near the top of the list. “There’s nothing left to negate.”

Sahara doesn't have the wherewithal about her to wonder now if their conversation is recorded, how scrutinized her record might be after the kinds of things that are being said back and forth between them … at least now. She'll worry about it later plenty, though.

"Oh, there wasn't nothing that could have happened to me," she reassures Odessa. "You know how far away I stayed from all that." Though there's a thoughtful look in her eyes for a moment. Being in a position to meet Odessa in the first place might be considered 'close' to the war, if she thought about it a certain way … but pah, the war was everywhere. You couldn't hide from it. It either came to you unwillingly or you welcomed its aspects right in. "We stayed good and safe, those of us that stayed home. One of my brothers, though, Nigel — I doubt you ever met him — he never did come back. That's a thing some of my family still can't get over."

She forces another bright smile, glazing right over a death that rocked her tight-knit family, and how those behaviors drove her to move away from them.

And how could she not? Odessa's just told her the best news, after all.

Her smile had faded, a touch of worry first for seeing how solemn the other woman had grown. Sahara had been prepared to offer condolences for something, so she's very happy she gets to do the opposite instead. "'Dessa," she breathes out in shock. "That's — that's such a blessing. God must be looking out for you. Oh my gosh, that's so wonderful for you."

And it causes a change, one Sahara isn't even aware of, to come over her. She leans into the conversation a little more intently, looking like she's ready to grab right back ahold of Odessa's hand again to emphasise how strong of a congratulations she wants to give her. "When did that all happen? Was that something they did here?" Her brow arches. Normally Sahara doesn't like to pry, but the mechanics behind Odessa's blessing is a worthy topic indeed.

While Odessa had anticipated a reaction like that - she wouldn’t have divulged otherwise - it still causes her heart to sink a little in a way she hadn’t expected. She stalls a moment with condolences of her own. “I’m sorry about your brother.” One thing the war taught her is that the loss of life on both sides was senseless. It was a lesson that took her longer to learn than it should have, but better late than never, as the saying goes.

Her smile displays her conflict. On the one hand, she wants to see the loss of her ability as a blessing, just the way Sahara sees it. On the other hand, it’s an intrinsic part of herself that, while she struggled with it, was so ingrained in her identity as to leave her feeling incomplete. For a moment, all she can think about is the quiet in her mind. The conspicuous absence of the singing in her bones that she knew so intimately. It’s deafening in its silence when she lets her thoughts stray toward it.

“I don’t… know, exactly. I think I encountered someone who can… strip abilities.” That’s the simplest way to put it. And the one that doesn’t break the rules of her not being thrown in a deep, dark hole somewhere. “I saw it leave me. Like a thousand little fireflies taking to the air.” Odessa looks down at the table between them and shakes her head. Sahara could never understand what it’s like. How could she?

Of course she doesn't.

But Sahara's not so blind as to be oblivious to that Odessa feels conflicted about it. She sees the sense of loss, even if she can't fully understand it. "What an experience that must have been," she says sympathetically, her brow twingeing. Really, it must have been awful, in a way. Like what it feels like getting a knife you've been stabbed with removed.

But it's the only way a person can start to heal, too.

"I'm sure it's not how you wanted it to happen," or when, "but I'm so glad for you, still. You should focus on the positive in it. You got your wish. No more fear, no more self-loathing." Sahara smiles. "You can be normal now."

A smile twitches on Odessa’s lips, with a melancholy edge. “You’re right,” she tells her. How many times did she long to be normal after she got her ability back? But how many times did her ability save her skin? Or the life of someone she cared for?

How many times was it not enough?

For a split second, Odessa sees snow kissed with blood and her heart aches. She closes her eyes to banish the image and is all smiles again by the time they open again. Even if that smile isn’t reflected in that cobalt blue.

“You could have easily forgotten about me,” Odessa says softly. “I’m surprised you didn’t just put me out of your mind all those years ago. I… It means a lot to me that you didn’t.” To be thought about and wondered after with regards to her well-being is still something of a foreign concept to her, but one that inspires gratitude.

To Sahara, Odessa looks as about as happy as she imagines a person in prison could be. So, she beams right back at her. "Well, yours was a hard face, a hard story to forget," she intones. "You were the first and last person like you to cross our threshold, eat at our table. Something… memorable about that."

It doesn't sound wholly positive when she puts it that way, and she simply shakes her head to try and dispel the subtext that's there without actually apologizing for its presence. She reaches out to take Odessa's hand again, squeeze it. "I know it ain't much, but if you want a good home-cooked meal or some company now and again, you just call. Or email, or write, or whatever it is they let you do in a place like this. I'll make the time."

Brows come together in an expression akin to concern and confusion. “You’re really sweet, Sahara. Thank you.” Odessa squeezes that hand in return, perhaps a little tighter than might be expected, but only for a brief moment. “They let me do all those things. Fortunately.” Director Waite is generous and seemingly committed to his goal of helping Odessa’s life seem as normal as it can be, given her circumstances.

That smile creeps back up slowly as her gaze drifts to the pie on the table. “I really look forward to sharing that with a couple people around here.” Because, honestly, Odessa can’t eat an entire pie by herself. Well, she could, but she’d regret it. “There’s another girl in here who… Well, I think she could use something sweet.” She at least hopes Kyla Renautas would appreciate a slice or two of cherry pie.

"Well, good," Sahara says, maybe even a little relieved that her presence here might have some kind of positive impact. This had all been a shot in the dark, after all. "I'm glad to help make things a little more comfortable, even for a little while." At hearing about the other girl, her brow starts to lift. Mmmmaybe someone else she should think about reaching to?

No, she tells herself quietly. This … this was enough. She was already way outside of her comfort zone here, for all her external charm and glamour about it.

"I'm glad you remembered me," she confides as she slowly rises to her feet. Her voice is lower, like this part she may not want to be overheard by whatever powers that be. "I never knew if we were just another stop or… you know… our presence made a difference for anyone." Sahara reaches out to place a hand on Odessa's shoulder, saying in a normal tone of voice, "It's been good to see you."

It shouldn’t surprise Odessa that the visit is a short one, but all the same, there’s a pang of sadness about it. But, she reminds herself, there will be other visitors. And maybe even other visits from Sahara. “It meant a lot to me,” she assures the other blonde. “You made a difference.”

Wrong side of the war or not, everyone needs to know they have value.

“It’s been good to see you, Sahara.” Odessa rises to her feet with a smile that’s more cheerful than she actually feels. “Take care of yourself, okay? And good luck out there in New York. But I know you’re going to be fine, with all that southern charm of yours.”

With more confidence than she feels herself, Sahara gives Odessa a wink and a reassuring squeeze of her shoulder. Only after she's turned away fully does she let her smile falter ever so, strain at its corners.

Coming wasn't just the right thing to do, it was a good thing to do. Maybe it was meant to be, this. Des needed a friend, and some divine hand had intervened to rid her of the blight haunting her person. It wasn't wrong to dote on her now, right? She wasn't one of them anymore.

Right, Sahara thinks to herself with relief and cheer both. Her smile and nod at the guard who turns to escort her out is pleasant once more. She turns back to lift her hand in farewell before stepping through the door.

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