Secret Answer E


gillian3_icon.gif raith2_icon.gif

Scene Title Secret Answer E
Synopsis Answering nature's nightly call, Gillian is surprised to find that she's not as alone as she thought.
Date December 2, 2009

Argentina: Subtropical Jungle

The dark, vine-laden greenery that defines the swath of jungle growth in Cerro de Hierro Negro's shadow is not really lush so much as it is resilient. Ancient trunks wind crooked under thick mats of cool moss and the same damp litter of decay that makes the ground soft underfoot, with brambled undergrowth and brackish stream beds just sparse enough to be navigable if one is careful about where they step. Rumbling passages of thunder stir often through the rustle and sway of branches thatched far overhead, but the rain that should accompany it has been scattered in recent days. Crawling insects are common despite the chill wind off the mountain ahead, and every so often the shrill keen of a persistent predator splits the night or the springy passage of ungulate hooves whispers invisible along an unseen game trail. To the northeast, the flutter and burble of running water is occasional audible with gentle turns in the wind.

The longer people hike, the more rest they're going to need. There's more than a few bodies crowded around in what manages for blankets and sleeping bags. Most of the those present have nothing of the sort. Those with Brands on their cheeks seem far more accustomed to the wildlife and sleeping without comforts. All except one, at least. Getting up out of the blankets she was allowed to use, she moves off to the edge of the camp, either unnoticed by whoever was up for watch, or noticed just enough to realize why she's wandering off to the edge.

Call of nature. And not the kind of involves cute fluffy sled dogs and snow. Right now, Gillian would give anything for some snow. Warm and humid. She feels sticky all over. She sets her pack down and searches through it in what little light is allowed to seep through the trees. Eyes have adjusted, and been adjusted for some time, but that doesn't make the search quicker. She's certainly not dropping her pants until she finds something to wipe with, and she knows she made sure she had toiletries in the bag before she left the last camp.

Life in the jungle is a rough life. Definitely not one Gillian is cut out for. Aside from those who came out of the trees to guide them earlier, there's really nobody in the merry band who's cut out for life in the jungle; the only one that had even a clue about it is off somewhere else, maybe lost, maybe dead, who knows?

This kind of occurrence may well be fate's way of playing cruel pranks on people in Gillian's situation. The dim light may be impairing her search, but fortunately for her, that little problem is solved when a light, metallic 'click' causes more light to suddenly appear, produced by the tiny flame dancing atop an old-looking, rusted cigarette lighter, illuminating the contents of the bag, some of the surrounding jungle, and the face of someone who obviously feels much more at home in the jungle than she does, because she ended up right next to him without realizing it.

"Peekaboo," says Jensen Raith, grinning like a Jack-o-Lantern in the night. He's either trying to scare her, or being alone in the jungle finally shook the last few marbles out of his head.

"Son of a— " Gillian says with a sudden jump, likely thankful that she's not so prissy that she waited til the last possible minute on having to sneak off to find a convienant bush, cause she just falls back and sits on the ground at the sudden appearance of someone… who'd been there the whole time. The small light is more than enough to make the brand on her right cheek stand out against her skin. It looks older than it is, as if it's had months, possibly even years to heal, rather than a few days.

It takes a few moments before her breath settles. "You're not one of the ones I saw earlier," she says, hoping mildly that she doesn't have to scream to bring the others over— it would be embarassing.

"Who are you? What are you doing here?" As if she were in some kind of position to do more than scream to call the others over. She'd not wandered far enough from camp that it wouldn't be possible…

But he happens to be the only person in their ragtag team that she doesn't know.

"Maybe what am I is the better question?" Raith proposes, moving the lighter away from the pack and closer to him, to more fully illuminate his face. "Am I friend? Or maybe foe? Or maybe even just a figment of your imagination? Or is it secret answer 'E,' can of almonds?" Flick. Click. The lighter snaps shut, the the light goes away, and then the sound of movement, of the man changing positions from sitting with his back against a tree to a crouch.

"It's 'A,' I'm with you. The nut with the round glasses, remember? Ross had me scouting ahead when we left town, for all the good it did. Seems like bad luck just follows us around everywhere, doesn't it?"

"If you were a figment of my imagination, you'd be in my age bubble," Gillian says after he finishes, pushing herself back up into a crouch so she's not just sprawled on the jungle floor. There's snakes and stuff in that floor. "You're attractive— much as I can tell in the dark, but you definitely look too old to be in my bubble." If he even understands what that means. She may like older guys, but not older guys old enough to be her father.

As she reaches to dust off her pants, she adds on, "That, or a big cat with glowy red eyes. I've seen it twice and no one else seems to— Peter seems to think I'm imagining things. Jumping at shadows." Bastard.

"A big cat with glowy red eyes," Raith repeats, "About six feet long, maybe six, seven hundred pounds, there for a second and then gone when you call attention to it. Not approaching or even very threatening. Just, there. Watching. Something a little bit like that, right?" Either that cat's real, or both of them are going nuts. "Petrelli thinks he knows better than he actually does. See, he gets a little, confused now and then. Forgets things."

"Well at least now I know he's wrong and I'm not just imagining things," Gillian says, touching her cheek for a moment, as if she had good reason to think she might have imagined it the first time she'd seen it. "But yeah, that was it exactly— guess I'm not the only one who has seen it now." The young woman seems relieved, before she glances back over. "Peter does seem to think he knows what's best a lot of the time. I sometimes want to smack him for it, but it'd just make my hand hurt and wouldn't change his mind at all. He's a stubborn assface." Somehow, despite the cruel nickname being ressurected, there's something soft about the way she says it. Almost affectionate.

"If you know Peter, I'm guessing you're not with Ross. You got a name?"

"Jensen." Why not? Raith doesn't mind being on a first name basis with the people he is now very clearly risking his life with. "And no, you're still the only one who's seen it. I've only seen its tracks. And its leftovers. I wouldn't recommend getting too close to it." To illustrate this, Raith drags a finger down his chest from his throat to his stomach, making a sound normally associated with slicing things opened just in case she can't see what he's doing in the low light. "Like a Thanksgiving turkey."

"I'll recap this to Ross in the morning, but try not to get everyone else fired up about it. I'll keep an eye out for it, see if I can find out what it is, and that's going to be a lot easier if it thinks nobody sees it, you dig?"

"Shit— so it really is some kind of…" Gillian looks wary at the description of leftovers, as well as the motion that the man makes. She doesn't exactly look ill, but she feels it even then. "Yeah— I getcha. No reason to scare anyone else, or get called a crazy person. I only told Peter cause he was sitting right the hell next to me when I saw it and I got a little jumpy when I realized it was there and then gone." A monster in Argentina.

"The cats out here don't normally have glowing eyes, right? Is that some kind of— I mean my eyes glow when I do my thing. Purple, not red, but…"

She trails off before she says the silliest thing she's ever heard. "I'm Gillian, by the way. Nice to meet you."

"Mucho gusto," Raith replies, "And no, no they don't have glowing eyes. They don't weigh seven hundred pounds either. Tigers get that big, sure, but jaguars rarely get half that heavy, and they also don't slice people opened and not eat the remains." Curiouser and curiouser.

"I don't see it around right now. Brush is heavy enough that it needs to get at least a little close if it wants to see us. We're safer here for right now. If no one's taking watch, you should really think about changing that. I'll keep an eye out for a little while, but even supermen have to sleep some time. Hopefully, we can lose it before we get to the camp. If it's hidden, I'd like to keep it that way."

"That's disgusting, thanks. Any appetite I had would have been gone," Gillian says after a moment, wary and glancing toward the jungle. Maybe she can put hope on the fact that super big glowy eyed monster of the jungle kills the other guys, and not cute girls like her.

"Someone's on watch, I just prefer to pee in privacy," she adds rather gracelessly. Then again this may be something that she's going to have to get used to out here— bodily functions still need to happen. She digs up her bag and uses what light remains to finally find what she was looking for. A few folded over pieces of white thin not quite paper. Not fluffy, but not sandpaper either. It'll do.

"I'll bring Vee with me next time. Start up the old joke about women going to the bathroom in packs." And since she doesn't know the native women very well, Vee is the only one she's going to drag to the bathroom with her. And who better than a Company Agent who was allowed to carry a firearm?

There's no reply to Gillian's comment from this 'Jensen' character, and it becomes readily obvious to her that this is because he's not there anymore. Just gone, as if into thin air. The light's bad, and if he's good enough that he's been following that cat thing for a couple days, and maybe even following them without being noticed, well…

Maybe it's not so surprising that he was able to pull a Batman on her like that.

"Well now I'm never going to know if I'm peeing in private. Thanks a lot, old guy," Gillian comments at nothing in her raspy voice.

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