Ribbon Patrol


benji_icon.gif bennet3_icon.gif huruma3_icon.gif liza_icon.gif rue_icon.gif

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Scene Title Ribbon Patrol
Synopsis Liza decides Bannerman Castle could use a heavy dose of Christmas cheer. And then some new refugees show up.
Date December 9, 2010

Pollepel Island: Bannerman's Castle

The name Bannerman's Castle is as deceiving as its appearance; built stone by stone more than a century ago, the now crumbling fortress, seemingly derelict, was in its glory days used as a military surplus warehouse and still carries the faded words Bannerman's Island Aresenal on one of its walls. Time and neglect have since taken a hefty toll on the property, which belongs to the Maxwell Development Corporation in name, but is in reality much more than a prized relic.

On the outside, ivy creeps up its walls, some stripped down to skeletal supports and others as strong and stalwart as the day they were erected. In the decades that Pollepel Island has been abandoned, nature has reclaimed a large portion of the castle where its roof has caved in, creating courtyards of stone and saplings, thorny bushes and wire fences put up to section the most tangled hollows off. A few have been cleaned up, exposing worn stone floors that serve as gathering places for the people who live inside the ruins, and where the walls are tallest, shielding one open cavern from the mainland's view, there is a metal drum to burn fires in and large chunks of stone arranged around them in a circle.

Inside, Bannerman's Castle has been repurposed by the Ferrymen network as northern stronghold with its own electrical grid powered by basement generators, though most of the castle is lit by gas lanterns and candles to conserve fuel. Tall ceilings reinforced with wooden rafters are a feature in almost every room, including the castle's dining hall and the basement kitchen where food is prepared on outdated stoves and ovens taken from restaurants on Staten Island that were abandoned in the wake of the bomb and later repaired and refinished for installation in the kitchen.

Also in the basement are the fortress' supply rooms, which are kept under lock and key and contain everything from cured meats to additional linens, firearms, ammunition and fuel for the generators that power Bannerman. The living quarters and infirmary are located on the ground floor in the corner of the castle that's most intact, and while the narrow corridors are drafty, a lot of time and effort has gone into insulating the rooms themselves as best they can be insulated with what supplies were available and fit the budged allocated to the network's reconstruction efforts.

Being holed up in a castle might be a dismal thing for most people, but not for Liza Messer, who has taken it upon herself to fully bring about Christmas cheer on the island. It seemed like, no matter who it was, everyone had been a little down. Understandably so, but it wore on her after a while. Even Liza, who had just as much reason to be upset and down as anyone else, just couldn't take it.

So what do you do when you've got a great big beautiful stone castle and you'll be around in it during the holidays? You decorate it for Christmas, of course! Somehow, Liza has gathered an amazing collection of things to decorate with. There's all kinds of evergreen branches, yards of red ribbons to tie them with, sprigs of mistletoe just waiting for a little ribbon and a spot to hide… she's found mostly natural stuff, but that's well-suited to a stone castle. Somehow, she's even found some candy canes for snacking or perhaps for decorating with. Either way, she's well supplied.

A candy-cane sticks out of her mouth as Liza's brow is furrowed. She's sitting on the floor, a bunch of branches in hand as she wrangles the things together with red ribbon to make a fantastic Christmas wreath. And it's a huuuuuge one, at that.

Patrols are boring, if necessary, things to do. Huruma is just off of one of hers, bringing in her rifle and slinging the strap over a nail on the wall inside the foyer; set high enough to be out of kids' reaches, and with all the safety precautions on, nobody is going to grab it unless they need it. It's an easy place to stash things for patrols, apparently- there are a few more nails too. She can feel the nearer people to her, motes of light in an otherwise stoic place. Unzipping her coat and making sure everything is off of her boots, Huruma stuffs her gloves and cap into her pockets and moves onward into the castle.

It is not too long before she pinpoints a couple of those nearer minds on her radar; the room they are in has been used for a few things, but not what Huruma sees when she peeks in. She knows holiday shenanigans when she sees them- up close, though, she isn't sure what to think, and Huruma finds herself staring into the room to watch Liza fussing with the wreath mostly unaware that she takes a couple of steps in.

The look on Huruma's face and in her ivory eyes could be mildly terrified- mostly bewildered, wondering if she should start slinking back out of the doorway before they notice anything odd.

Liza had been hoping to find more people to help with the decorating, but it seems that most people were hiding. Perhaps they had heard her coming? Humming Christmas carols was a good way to scare people off. Wrapping a large red ribbon around the giant wreath, the blonde looks up from her work to offer a genuinely warm smile. "Come help! I'm trying to make this place a little more cheery. And who doesn't love Christmas? I think it'll brighten everyone's spirits up."

The next emotional beacon to register on Huruma's radar is largely unremarkable, a focal point of mild boredom, curiosity, thrumming anxiety that could be worse than it is, considering how the past month has thus far panned out. When a female voice echoes out, the 'curiosity' setting goes up and veers towards the noise, and soon, the sound of quiet foot steps heralds presence of someone with absolutely nothing better to do, having exhausted the Ferry book collection— or at least, his patience for reading.

Hey look who didn't get shot by terrorists. It's Benji Foster.

Huddled in an unzippered sweater jacket to stave off the chill in the room, hands clutching the hems, he steps into view, clear blue eyes swiveling his attention towards the Christmas decoration, then to Liza, then to Huruma with enough recognition that he affords her a shy, finger-waggled wave.

Huruma isn't sure if she wants to dart back out of the door or not- Benji's appearance there makes up her mind, though. She doesn't want to be that terrible and bowl him over. He gets a piqued little look from her, just a moment long, before she is looking incredulously back at Liza on the floor. She examines the wreath from afar, then the hodgepodge of other items. Settle down! It isn't like Liza is holding a shotgun. Huruma's near kneejerking thinks otherwise.

"I-" Hm. "I've never done Christmas." It is an honest response, if faintly exaggerated. She's been to say, a party at Lucy's when it was around, but never has taken part in an actual Christmastime. Huruma apparently thinks this excuse will exempt her.

There will be no fleeing from the Liza. The petite blonde looks over towards Huruma, offering her a genuinely warm smile. "Well, there's a first for everything. And there are plenty of people who could use cheering up, and the greenery will at the very least, make this place more like a home. And I think there are a lot of people who need that right now, don't you?" She suddenly grins. "I wonder if I can convince someone to go chop down a tree so we can have a real Christmas tree, too!" Why didn't she think of this before?!

"You should ask Hannah. She's handy with an axe." This, quietly— as ever— offered from Benji, who leans a shoulder against the frame of the doorway. After being cornered into conversations between long hours of seclusion, actually seeking company seems to have become a new found hobby of his, bracing a hand against the wooden framework and absently picking his nails through the natural lines through it before stepping into the wider room proper.

He wasn't directly invited in, but there is that ever-present demeanor like he can easily excuse himself at a second's notice, just in case. "And Christian," he adds, on afterthought.

"Christmas trees are Pagan." Huruma notes, passively, and not really meaning to undermine Benji completely. She peers at Liza a little longer. People do need it, yes. She was the one playing music the other day, she knows this too. "I've seen some nice pines out hunting, but- those are no'for inside buildings." Not unless they find a small one! They could just- ride somewhere and take one, and nobody would be the wiser.

"Though I can help bring one back." There is a bit of a pause in her smooth voice, wherein Huruma debates the stuff strewn over the room. "…how can I help you?" Fine, fine.

Liza's gaze shifts to Benji. "You don't have to be Christian or Pagan to celebrate Christmas. It's about family and sharing and having hope and love and stuff. Appreciating what you have and thinking the best of the future." She looks back to Huruma, and then smiles even more broadly! A helper recruited means that she can cover more ground. She ties the wreath securely with a big red bow, then looks to Huruma. "Help me find somewhere to hang this?"

"I don't know where they came from," echoes down one of the corridors followed by the pings on Huruma's empathic radar of confusion, amusement and mild frustration ebbing back and forth from two individuals. One of which is immediately recognizable by his tone of voice as Noah Bennet, emerging through the arched doorway with a hooked wooden cane in one hand and a noticeable limp in his step. Gone are his ubiquitous horn-rimmed glasses, destroyed in the raid on the Council. Now, only wire-rimmed spectacles adorn his face, making him lose that predatory countenance the darker framed glasses once bestowed.

With him is a gruff, taciturn and frustrated Howard Phillips. The two only look to be traveling together out of merit of going in the same direction. Howard and Noah are remarkably unlike one another when juxtaposed together. The older of the pair dressed in a tan winter coat, jeans and a flannel shirt. The other hardly dressed at all in his camouflage cargo pants and unbuttoned olive-drab jacket, bare chested beneath seemingly in spite of the bitterly cold winter weather outside.

"Well, long as they don't fuck with me, I guess I'm alright…" On emerging together, Howard offers a fleeting look around the room, offering a tip of his head up in greeting to Benji as he passes through, heading towards the hallway to the living quarters, likely on his way to visit Nora.

Bennet seems in no hurry to go anywhere, resting his weight on his cane as he watches Howard departing with a shake of his head, then turning to look around as if in search of something. Bennet's brows furrow, eyeing Huruma and Liza, then turns an inspecting stare on Benji before stepping towards a doorway and peering around the corner inspectingly.

A silent oh is mouthed from Benji at Huruma's correction— well there you go, then— before he swivels his attention back to Liza. Mild surprise reflects back at her at her assertion, hands splaying a little as if to communicate that he didn't mean anything by making facetious note of his friend's religious orientation, unstoppable amusement breaking a smile. He's on the verge of finding another passage way out which to slink away when the echoes of footsteps have him pausing.

There's a twitch of dark brows of surprise to see someone he recognises, tipping an awkward nod back to Howard, arms coming to fold as he debates whether or not to follow. Instead, Benji meets that inspecting stare with an open one of his own, and a quizzical headtilt. "He wasn't giving you trouble, was he, Mister Bennet?" is demured.

"That thing is-" Absurd? Huge? Absurdly huge? "-lovely." Huruma supposes it is. "I'ave never had much of that." She remarks on family, sharing, hope and love, reserving a second remark for after she says it. "But… I'ave been learning." It is a new world for her. She turns her head as the voices filter down the hall, and the tics appear in her field. The dark woman waits for them to pass through, and when Noah sticks around a moment, she tentatively moves on with talking to Liza. A new world that she isn't totally okay with sharing around people, quite yet. That much is obvious.

"Th'foyer?" The French word, oddly enough, rolls off her tongue very naturally. "Save th'tree for the dining hall?" See? She's getting the idea!

There's a startled cry from the direction Howard headed off in. Not Howard's cry, however. This one is distinctly feminine. It's followed up quickly with an, "Oh Jesus! Sorry! I totally was not paying attention. That's my fault. …You're awful warm, aren't you? Why aren't you in my room?" And a jingle of cheeky laughter. "I'm just kidding! Don't scowl like that!"

Rue Lancaster emerges - backward - from the doorway Howard departed through, a bright smile on her face that turns to one of wide-eyed surprise when she turns around and takes in the sight of the room and the decorations Liza has had the opportunity to festoon the place with. "Ahmigawsh! Christmas!" So much delight and excitement radiates from the tall ginger-haired woman. "What a great idea! Are we getting a tree?"

"Yes, the foyer! We'll turn you into a regular Martha Stewart yet!" Liza insists, looking towards Huruma. "The foyer, and then we can bring a tree into the dining hall. I bet we could get the kids to make popcorn chains for the tree, too…" Her gaze shifts, after a moment, towards the doorway, giving an enthusiastic smile to Noah before she looks to Rue. Now there's someone with spirit. "Of course we're getting a tree, as soon as I can find someone to chop one down! Come to help?"

"Hm?" Bennet turns to offer a look back at Benji when he's — so formally — addressed. "Oh, no, he was just wondering where our newest refugees had come from, and quite frankly I'm a bit uncertain myself. I was… actually," Bennet turns around, stepping out into a corridor and opening a door, letting those words hang before emerging back in to where Liza and the others are decorating. "I was checking to see if any of them had gotten in yet."

There's something unusual about Bennet's tone of voice as he shifts his weight to one foot, taking his balance off of the leg that was injured during the raid on the council. He winces, visibly, and furrows his brows in consideration of Benji. "You haven't happen to have seen any, ah, pe— " when Bennet is about to ask Benji something, there is a noticeable halt as he stares past the young man towards Huruma.

No, past Huruma too.

There, in the hallway, standing just in the visible light is the intruder that Bennet had been so concerned about. Beady black eyes, dressed so formally in black and white, bill pointed up imperiously as it scans the back of Liza's legs thoughtfully, advancing with a slow stepping pace before nudging with the end of his beak tentatively.

"Penguins," is the word that rolls droll off of Bennet's lips, rubbing one hand over his forehead as he says it in exasperation.

"Over there," is— helpful, from Benji, squinting towards the waddly shapes of avian life as a couple of more file in behind it. More relieved that his friends aren't making any more trouble — projecting much, Foster? — than he is even befuddled by their latest arrivals. Rue gets a glance, a small quirk of a smile at the spark of good cheer in the room and some envy that he can't be, you know, a little louder, or lacking— what has Lazzaro called it— an underlying unconscious air of condescension—

More importantly, one penguin is moving with a determined pace through the room, its flipper-like wings out to balance as it struts, casting a beady-eyed stare around beneath his offshoot of yellow eyebrow-like crest. After a moment of assessment, it starts for the group of humans as if maybe it will join them in celebration.

"A regular who?" Huruma squints at Liza and picks up the wreath carefully, her gaze moving to Noah when he starts talking about- strange things. She pauses again, listening and feeling around, and- what? Her eyes follow Noah's, turning to look behind her. "Ohhh… yangu mungu." The tallest of them mutters, watching the bird. "Where in th'world did-" And it hits her that this is what Howard was talking about. Nevermind. Apparently nobody knows.

"I said it th'other day, w'should not have allowed Eileen t'take th'wine."

"Of course I'll help!" It's as if Liza asked if the sky is blue. — Which it is, last time Rue checked. Unless it's a bit grey. But that's still kind of like grey-blue and the point is that she will totally help put up decorations. "Too bad we can't have lights. It won't be the same. I'd suggest candles like they used to do before the strings of electric lights, but I get the feeling that's just a fire hazard waiting to happen."


The sudden intruder— intruders draws a wide-eyed and blinking look of Rue's blue eyes. "Okay, I may have joked that it was cold enough for penguins to live comfortably, but I swear that is not my fault," she's quick to allege.

"You're looking for…" Liza starts, but then she feels the nudge at the back of her legs. She turns, slowly, looking towards the ground. What in the..? She peers skeptically at the penguin, more than a little surprised. She's not quite sure what to do. "Uh. There's a penguin in here." She looks towards it. "Hi!" Sure, she's talking to it.

A groan slips past Noah's guarded countenance as his hand slides down from forehead over glasses and down past his mouth. "I… need to— " Pausing, Noah eyes the penguin with a moment of marked scrutiny as it begins to waddle-waggle across the corridor on flippered feet, little wing-arms out to either side. One brow on Bennet's forehead rises slowly.

"Does anyone know where Eileen is?" He had heard the rumors about the flock of penguins on Marion Island that Eileen had brought into her sway, heard about how they were used to detect the possible presence of a Vanguard submarine alongside the USS George Washington. Maybe they'll have a use in the frigid waters of the Hudson as well.

"I think this is going to be her specialty," Noah admits warily.

I think so too.

The telepathic voice can be heard by all — though it rings clearest in the heads of Huruma and Noah, if only because the statement is directed towards them, but it leaks to Rue, Liza and Benji as well. The last one of that list slooowly raising his hands as if to say I didn't do it, albeit only one other person in the room, maybe two, might try to peg him as the culprit. His eyes are, actually, on the rockhopper penguin that comes to a halt, shakes itself out a bit, and directs its orange beak to point Liza-wards. Hi.


I'm looking for Eileen, actually, says the voice. It starts to become a little familiar to Huruma, the same sort of graveled baritone of a certain be-eyebrowed serial killer she knows. It's not entirely unclear to Noah either. If she's busy— or upstairs— I can just hang out.

"Sh'used them in th'antarctic. Knows them enough." Huruma confirms all of it for Noah- Eileen would surely be able. She is still holding the wreath in one hand, the sizeable thing not so much heavy as it is ungainly. She peers again at the penguin, something about it striking her as more odd than its presence. Something about it-

It 'speaks', and Huruma jerks in surprise, letting out a wet little growl in the process. Aghhaagh. It takes her a few moments, but yes, she does recognize it soon enough. "You- what- f'pity's sake- I am going t'kill this thing, an'then I am going t'eat it-" Huruma lifts her arms in an only mildly threatening gesture, mouth in a small grimace. With the wreath in her hand, she actually looks quite harmless. No actual malicious intent.

"Hang out. Pah. Where do I put this?"

"…" Rue's jaw works soundlessly open and closed, the image not quite unlike a goldfish, in the struggle to find words. "Did it just-" She tips her head to the side slowly and stares at the penguin completely mystified. "Aren't penguins endangered or something?" she asks of no one in particular, a roundabout response to Huruma. "I'm pretty sure it's illegal to kill them or something. Maybe? They're, uh, too cute at any rate." She turns and looks to the others gathered in turn. "It did just talk, right? Like sort of?"

What? It's speaking! Liza's eyes go wide. She's just… surprised. Huruma's words, however, cause her to go defensive. "Hey, he didn't hurt anyone. Leave the little guy alone." She peers towards the wreath. "Foyer. Just hang it up somewhere that looks good." She looks back to the penguin, peering at it as if to determine his sentience.

Noah Bennet is a man of composure, grace, dignity. None of those things hold up in the face of a talking penguin that projects the voice of Gabriel Gray into his mind with tinny hollowness. His expression twists in such a fashion as to clearly display both his surprise and the incredulous nature of the request. His mouth open, as if to respond before attempting to call a bluff instead.

"Cunningham," is growled out with all of the sternness of a man who may have been fooled once before by the playful and capricious illusions of one, young Kendall Cunningham. However, no such guilty squeak comes, no young blonde boy slinking out from behind a curtain.

No, there is just a penguin looking rather expectant.

"I don't— " he hesitates, as if not certain he should be addressing this mass hysteria. "I think she may be on patrol," Noah grates with brows furrowed and jaw set squarely. "I would have thought you'd have kept a better eye on her yourself, Gabriel." Because the only clear explanation, is this is one of Gabriel Gray's many Swiss army knife abilities.

One specifically tailored to drive Noah Bennet over the edge.

One eye regards Huruma with some offense, flipper-wings flapping in a silent communication of disapproval, before compulsively leaning down to peck and snatch up a Christmas ribbon that's come loose from some decoration. It's only a quick twitch before he's standing alert again, like the penguin is aware of Liza's scrutinising and desires to prove this whole sentience thing correct. It's complicated, he blithely tells Noah, before Gabriel— or rather, Tavisha— is turning his penguiny back on the Ferry leader.

And it's been a while, it states, orange beak gaping without particular connection to the words themselves. Maybe I could leave a message…? Oh, wow. It's Christmas already. He sounds somewhat dejected at this notion.

Which is a common thing. Holiday blues. Not usually done by birds, granted.

Benji, meanwhile, is more or less reversing the way he came while attention is on the black and white creature. Because maybe staying locked in his princess tower wasn't such a bad idea after all, come to think of it?

Liza, being prepared, likely has a hammer and nails around here somewhere, which Huruma starts looking for. Not hard to find. After a second she glances down at the ribbon in the bird's mouth, and watches him drop it again. Hm. Something is just a bit off, here. "Absolutely. Every time penguins come around, we get out th'notepads." At first it sounds like she is taking him seriously. Guess not. Huruma wags the hammer down at the bird. "We need t'tell her now, don'we?"

"Cannot ignore a visit by a talking penguin. Unless we are all actually stoned an'don'know it. If y'want t'be helpful, bird, you can bring me a ribbon spool." With that, Huruma is stalking out of the room proper to find a place to put the wreath. She's not too far, at least within earshot.

"I… Should I go try and find Eileen? She's on patrol, right? Can't be that hard to find." …Maybe. Hypothetically. Rue crouches down and stares at the penguin. "Do you… want to come with me?" Because a six foot tall woman walking around with a penguin isn't conspicuous at all. A+ idea, Rue.

Of course Liza was prepared. Except for the penguin. No one expects a penguin inquisition. The blonde looks between the penguin and the Huruma, a little surprised. Would the penguin help decorate? That'd be some sort of weird, strange Christmas magic, wouldn't it? There's no way that Liza can hide the cheesy grin that spreads on her features as she watches Huruma move to put the wreath in its decorative destination. Of course, the Queen of Christmas Cheer has eyes like a hawk, and she's spotted Benji sneaking off. Uh oh.

"No," Bennet insists to Rue, "no I'll— " his attention dips down to the penguin again with visible anxiety. "I'm— I'll go look for her." Because then he doesn't have to deal with the wandering water-fowl or, worse yet, try and rationalize how it might have even gotten here. Glancing to the hallway that leads to the entrance of the castle, Bennet considers Howard's earlier conversation, about how he saw several penguins on the shore by the docks.


"I'm going to go find Eileen," Bennet offers as a more confident excuse, before looking down to the rock hopper penguin situated in the corridor. "Make sure he— doesn't… go anywhere." A furtive glance is offered askance to Huruma, a rock of stability and/or sanity, perhaps, then back to the penguin as he eases away on his cane, headed out with haste.

Tavisha twists around to watch Bennet head out, before offering, Tell her, Tavisha says 'hi'. But that's about it. He glances around the room to note there are at least two less people than when he first figured there to be — Benji has disappeared up some corridor like some sort of wizard, and Noah's getting out of the asylum while he still can. Looks like the penguin will just have to be man enough for everyone until further notice.

Slap slap slap go its wide feet against the ground as it approaches where satiny red ribbon hands like a tongue over the edge of a table. It only takes a small hop— a rockhop, if you will— for the penguin to snag it in bumpy beak, before it starts after Huruma at a waddling run, wings out and pure determination in quivering crests and working feet.

The ribbon trails out after him, spool itself quick to bump off the edge and bounce after him.

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