Quite A Pickle


ff_ashleigh_icon.gif ff_gerard_icon.gif ff_hailey_icon.gif wf_lance_icon.gif wf_lucy_icon.gif

Scene Title Quite A Pickle
Synopsis The Gerkens from two worlds finally get the chance to talk. A little.
Date December 23, 2018

Living Quarters : The Arcology

The various groups of Security lead them to the same place, so Lance can look down the hall and see where each of them would be placed. The Gerken’s stop not too far from where the others did, but the room they stop at is in quitely nicer repair than the ones further down the hall. As if it had been lived in more recently. Without waiting, Gerard opens the door. Once they look as if they had panels and codes and were electrically opened. Now they all had handles to pull or push, refitted to be opened without using electricity.

But locks only on one side, thankfully.

While Ashleigh looked stunned for a moment, she just nodded as they went inside, the single light in the center of the room coming on. This one looked lived in, which me might not have expected. And a familiar young woman sits on the couch, a pair of glasses on resting on her nose, while she squints through them down at some kind of electric device she’s fiddling on with a tiny screwdriver. “I’m not finished yet,” she says without looking up right away, twisting the screw one more time before she looks up.

And drops the screwdriver entirely as startled hazel eyes meet Lance’s. Hailey’s still alive in this world.

Behind him, Lucy gasps and baby Darlene starts to make soft sounds, the sounds of a child who was wanting to sleep now. At least she was screamed out by the time they got into the A-Wing quarters.

“Haile— “ Lance cuts himself off in mid-word as he realizes, of course this isn’t his sister, his Hailey. His lips pull tight, a flicker of pain as the raw wound of her loss so soon after finding her again is salted by the moment. He tears his gaze away from her, looking to the other Gerkens in the room with a grimace, one hand sliding back to rub against the nape of his neck - forgetting that there’s blood on it, only smearing it more there.

He probably looks rather gruesome, honestly, from having been on the floor as all those people were cut down. His people. Almost friends, some of them.

“Did— did you tell her who I am? How this— I don’t even know what that psycho told you about us, about where we’re from,” he admits in a rush of words, the most he’s spoken in their presence since arriving on the Ark.

Gerard looks past them into the hall, then answers in tones that aren’t trying to whisper at all, “He promised that he would give you back, and he kept that promise. We don’t know anything about where you came from, exactly, just that you are Lance.” As he spoke, though, he was tapping his fingers against his arm and still, oddly, watching the hallway behind him. One long tap, pause, four short taps, pause, one short tap, pause, one long tap, one short tap, two long taps, pause.

Morse code.

They are always listening.

The blond woman moves forward to try to push them all further inside so she can close the door. She seemed to have noticed her husband’s tapping. “We won’t question our fortune, just be glad to have it. The Director gave us back your brother, Hailey.”

“I can see that, but who’s the girl with him. Oh my God, other Lance, did you knock up this poor girl!” That outrage that only an older sister can display, complete with her hands on her hips. By all appearances she’s too busy trying to yell at her brother’s double that she had not noticed the tapping yet.

Lucy, perhaps predictably, looks almost horrified at first, shooting a shocked glance toward Lance as she holds tight onto the little girl and hurries out of the hallway before they decide to move her to another room or something. Perhaps the horror might be insulting, but they were all practically siblings!

Lance’s arms fold across his chest as he steps to one side in the room, instinct making him want a back to the wall in this strange situation he’s found himself in. The movement of fingers in a pattern bring his attention, and his eyes narrow for a moment before he nods, once.

He’s a bit rusty, but morse was an important part of distance codes in the wasteland.

Fingertips tap over his bicep for a moment, two simple letters: O K

Before he can try to signal anything else, he’s sputtering, “Wh— no! No, this isn’t, Darlene isn’t mine, she’s— “ He draws in a slow breath, then exhales, “I’m not— your Lance. I’m from another world. This is Lucy, we grew up together, that’s… uh, whose baby that is is complicated. I’m taking care of her.”

If Hailey were aware of the private conversation, she gives no visual indication, even as her eyes shift to Lucy in an accusing look. Lucy shrinks back a little, before looking toward the older woman, “Do you mind if I— is there somewhere I can change her?” The bag on her back had been searched through, but they had decided washable diapers and other such things were not on the agenda. And unlike Lance she had not had concealed knives everywhere. Just one at her belt, which they’d taken.

“Of course, the restroom is this way,” Ashleigh responds, leading Lucy and the baby away, while Hailey looks slightly appalled, but at least she doesn’t stalk off after them or tell them to go do that somewhere else.

What she does grumble is a somewhat harsh,“You better clean up after yourselves!” Before she looks back at Lance. “We know you’re not our Lance. That’s why you’re other Lance. Ours died.” Somehow she makes that sentence sound like she blames him for it, even as she plops back down on her seat and presses her lips together.

The older man’s eyes focus on Lance’s again, before he starts doing the silent tapping once more. Killed. By Kenner. Kenner, not Director. He can be polite in front of him, but he apparently chooses not to be the same this time. Short words. “Why don’t you tell us about the place you came from,” he suggests, gesturing toward the couch where Hailey’s sitting cross armed. “All we really understand is that it’s another… place. Another world. You and Lucy were raised together?” he looks back toward where the girl had vanished, frowning.

“It’s… yeah,” Lance says, uneasy letting Lucy and Darlene out of eyeshot but deciding he can trust them… enough, anyway. He slowly steps over to the couch, letting his gaze linger on Hailey for a moment. “It’s good to see you again, sis,” he says softly, and then he drops down to sit, keeping his back straight, hands on his knees.

“Yeah. Me, Hailey, Lucy, Joe, Squeaks, Paul— everyone, we all grew up at an orphanage for people like us,” he offers, “People with— abilities. Then there was a war. They came for us, there were nukes and robots and— “ He grimaces, “There— wasn’t anything left for me there, so I came with Harrison and them.”

His fingers tap on his knee idly— or not idly for those who can read it. Why is he alive, comes the question. Maybe an accusation, or it could be seen that way.

The older man’s face looks stern as he listens, perhaps because of the hint of an accusation. It’s hard to read tone when one’s just tapping a finger. Gerard looks about to respond, when Hailey suddenly speaks up, throwing her arms dramatically in the air. “Really? Orphans. With abilities. That’s ridiculous. Sure you could do things, but I can’t. I’m not even good at fixing things,” she grumbles, nudging the tools with her hand as if she were an angry cat wanting to nudge it right off the table. “Sounds like you grew up in a crap world.”


“What, we’re just supposed to forgive it cause oh look my little brother from another world just happened to show up on the sub one day. Bunch of crap if you ask me.” Her foot comes out and slams against the table, a classic sign of a tantrum if anyone had ever seen one, but it doesn’t last too long before Gerard raises a hand, thumb and ring finger tight together as if he might snap his fingers any moment, and a gesture to the walls with his pointer finger. “He doesn’t even want to be here!” Folding her arms over her chest, she flops back onto the not very comfortable couch.

After a moment, Gerard nods, as if, perhaps, the tantrum were playing into things. “Once the ladies are done we’ll take him to another room. But this is a gift. He isn’t our Lance, but…” He trails off. It was almost as if he were trying to convince himself. Or convince himself and everyone else at the same time. Only then does he start taping again. Too many.

Simple answer.

No way out.

It’s a long pause between talking with the motions, which Hailey is definitely watching this time, with lips pressed together in a tight line. “Well at least you brought the sub back.” She interjects after a moment. As if to add to the unspoken part of the conversation. “Maybe we can get actual supplies now.”

At the attitude from his alternate-sister, Lance’s lips twitch a bit up at one corner. That’s Hailey, alright. He points a finger at her, observing almost off-handedly, “It was a crap world. Also, you’re an animal empath, so there. You just probably don’t have any dogs or cows or anything down here. Maybe if they get supplies on the sub they can find you a rat or something to talk to.”

A glance to Gerard, then back to Hailey, fingertip tapping against his arm again. And now?

“Besides. I had to bring you something, since my sister’s…” There’s difficulty for a moment as he struggles with the word, “…gone.”

I’m a what?” Hailey exclaims in surprise, no longer nudging the tools as she looks at the phantom of her brother like he just said that the floor was lava and she wasn’t in the mood to play make believe. But the longer she looks at him and the more he says about rats and cows and dogs the more her surprise and disbelief becomes curious. And then surprised again, as she realizes what gone must mean.

Their father, who Lance could not remember at all, understood immediately, from the look in his eyes. In this world he lost a son. In another his daughter. But it seems the circumstances have prepared him to keep “I believe they had animals down here once, for the labs, but no longer. We are pretty much vegans down here, and not cause we choose to be. If what you say is true, I could talk the supply runners into bringing back some chickens. Maybe we could add eggs to our diet.” During a pause, he continues to tap.

Now we have the sub.

This time Hailey doesn’t interject. Perhaps she didn’t even translate the taps cause she was thinking too much about what she might have been able to do, and what happened to her in that crap world. Leaning back against the seat, she folds her arms and frowns.

“Perhaps we can see this as a gift someday like the director said. A chance to get back what we lost,” Gerard adds quietly, even if his voice is sad. But his finger starts moving again.

Now we can stop him.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License