Shop At Lowe's!


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Scene Title Shop at Lowe's!
Synopsis A special requisition for a hot tub requires special assistance. Payment is rendered in barbecue.
Date November 7, 2018

Lowe's HQ - Marketplace

One of the converted lower levels of Lowe's is where the majority of the different community businesses make their home. The structure is well-maintained and original office lighting remains in some areas, casting a bright fluorescent glow over booths and wares, where other areas are lit by electric lanterns, floodlamps, and patio-strings of bare bulbs of varying intensities and colors. Scavengers hawk their latest finds, while mechanics and other crafters present refined goods, some repaired versions of of what the scavengers were once selling — it's just the cycle of business around here.

It's not just heavy items on sale here, either. There's tables with clothing, decorations, jewelry, crafts of all kinds. There's at least one booth that offers contracting services, placing skilled laborers where there's posted needs. Teachers, skilled negotiators and businesspeople, as well as couriers are all in demand.

The open floorplan inspires an equally open atmosphere where all (or most) should feel welcome, and allows for the Lowe's 'security team' to easily see and put down any trouble before it gets started.

It's here where Asi has brought Silas Mackenzie, insisting she's seen just the part he was looking for during one of her recent dropoffs. "It looks just like what you said you need." She tells her Forthright fellow, glancing over her shoulder as she strides forward with purpose, her dark gray coveralls worn with a long-sleeved black tee swishing, slightly-too-large boots heavy with each step.

For all her familiarity with the rows she walks down, she doesn't stop to share pleasantries with any of the vendors, a nod at most passed to someone she's done business with before.

She pauses before her destination stall, refurbished ship guts scattered all over several tables that have colored cloth underneath them to better highlight the wares. Not all of them are in perfect shape. Asi gestures a hand in the direction of the component she thinks fits the bill without actually looking. "What do you think?"

She was a machinist of a different sort, before the flood came. Despite necessity, boats are still not her thing. Not quite to the level Silas is proficient.

Silas eyes one particular part with a critical eye, leaning first one direction, then another; after a moment, he moves further down the line, examining another, and then one more. At length, he looks back to Asi.

"Close!" he pronounces. "But no cigar this time, Aces," he says, offering her an affable grin. "We'll need a good filtration system if they're seriously planning to make that hot tub of theirs work." He grimaces as he again considers the idea of bathing in heated bilge water. "Really good," he murmurs.

He shifts his attention back to the parts on offer again, frowning as he mulls them over one more time. "Hmmm. I could probably make it work, mind… but it'd be a little more jiggering than I'd like; " He offers a grin and a nod to the vendor before looking to Asi. "So. See anything else along the right lines?" he asks.

Some people walk, some people snap into existence in the middle of the market. To each their own. …And okay, Miles doesn’t appear in the middle of the market, but in fact in a space near a wall behind one of the stalls where people aren’t walking, possibly because he has mapped out the location and picked out where other people are least likely to be. Materializing in the same space as someone else would probably ruin at least one person’s day.

He steps out onto what passes for the main thoroughfare once he’s fully here, reaching to give a sort of half-shake, half-high five to the owner of the booth. “Got anything good?” he asks, and the other guy grins. “Course I do,” he says. “Don’t I always?”

Miles eyes him skeptically, replying, “So, you’re still going with the story that a flux capacitor is a real thing? I admire your commitment. And I weep for humanity.”

Fingers snap. "You're buying me a cigar when it's done, then." Asi declares in reply, expression deadpan. There's no real indication this is a joke.

Her eyes twinkle only a little as she looks away, the momentary humor fading in the face of the problem still needing solved. Eve's crazy ideas always ended up working out with the right amount of elbow grease, creative thinking, and suspense of disbelief. She just had to tell herself this would be for some worthwhile purpose, like soothing the old woman's bones.

You know, like a health remedy, instead of just 'because why not'. Asi was a little more on creating practical solutions, not luxurious ones. Or otherwise inexplicable ones.

"Just think of it as keeping the bilge working appropriately." Asi mutters to herself as she looks over the other offerings on display. Yes, that logic would have to do, here. She chews on the inside of her cheek for a moment before turning on her heel.

"じゃ," Fingers waggle as she visualizes a map of the various stalls, looking down the current aisle without seeing much except the goal line. "Maybe…" she voices the half-thought out loud, leaning into a brisk walk. She's determined to not leave empty-handed.

She arrives at the next stall right in the middle of Miles' exchange with its owner. Asi's still wearing the look of someone talking themselves through a complicated matter as she asks the owner skeptically, "Advanced filtration systems. You come across any lately? Preferably ones that don't take 1.21 gigawatts to run?" Except her pronunciation is on-point, unlike Doc Brown's.

She shifts a glance to Miles momentarily, an acknowledgement of his presence more than a greeting, before looking back to the stall owner. "Come on, Sal, you've always got the crazy stuff."

Silas looks surprised, then he breaks into a roguish grin. "Ha! You find some cigars in a decent price range, I'll pass ya one, sure," he says, looking amused… but Asi's already off. He sighs, glancing to the vendor. "Ah, youth," he says theatrically. The vendor doesn't look particularly impressed - tough crowd - so Silas just shrugs and launches himself into a brisk walk of his own, following in Asi's wake as best he can. Lessee… she went this way… hm, he thinks, trying to pick his way through a sudden knot of shoppers to catch up. "'Scuse me. Pardon me. Coming through," he murmurs.

Miles looks over as Asi comes up, and the fact that she hasn’t greeted him doesn’t seem to deter him from inserting himself into the conversation that she’s beginning with the stall owner. “But if it doesn’t take 1.21 gigawatts to run, you’re not getting the best one,” he says with a knowing air, though there’s a grin forming on his face as he says it. “For when 1.2 gigawatts just won’t cut it.”

The stall owner, however, reaches over to cuff Miles — though it’s slow enough that the younger man can easily dodge. “Little shit,” he remarks, before he turns back to Asi. “Not right now, but I got a line on one. Just need someone to go get it. Maybe you should ask this one to go get it.” He jerks a thumb at Miles. “If you can get him to shut up long enough to ask.”

Since Miles has already had a few swings taken at him, Asi's spared the need to swipe at him as well for his comments. At least physically. "What, this guy?" she scoffs, keeping him in the corner of her eye as she considers 'Sal.' "I don't know about him," is said with a slight cant of her head. "He doesn't look like the reputable sort."

Her lips press into a line almost like a smile, one that never fully forms. Turning to face Miles more fully, Asi lifts her chin as she looks him over. "Where did you come from today, anyway?" she asks more directly. "Somewhere warmer than here?" She's bumped into Miles a few times previously in her travels, enough that she's shameless in the verbal elbow-nudging.

Once he's managed to bob and weave past a few shoppers, Silas catches a glimpse of Asi again. He makes a beeline for her, walking briskly enough to make his coat flutter a bit; getting separated in a place like this would be a bit of a pain. "There you are," he says, walking briskly enough to make his coat flutter a bit.

"Thought I lost you for a second there. Having any luck?" he asks.

“That’s not saying much,” Miles replies to the comment about ‘warmer than here.’ Isn’t everywhere? Well, with the notable exceptions of…well okay it’s all equally cold. “I’m definitely not reputable, but that can only be a good thing nowadays. Reputable people don’t get the job done half as well.”

He clearly thinks a lot of himself, but at least he can back it up — more or less.

“The Sill,” he says a moment later, a straighter answer, at least, as his gaze turns toward Silas. “Hey, man,” he adds, with a wave that’s friendly enough, accompanied by a curious look. “What’s up?”

Silas can't entirely hide a grin; he'd caught the bit about reputable people and, being an inveterate scoundrel himself, is inclined to agree. "Just catching up with my shipmate. Trying to scrounge up some filtration stuff for the ship, and we got separated for a second there," he says, grinning affably.

He hesitates for a moment, glancing to Asi and then back to the other guy; his grin remains, but it takes on a bit of a puzzled cast. "Don't think I caught your name, though?" he says, adding a tiny bit of sheepishness to his tone as though he's not quite sure whether he should know this or not.

"Separated?" Asi scoffs, a jovial lilt to her voice as she turns to Silas. "I had every bit of faith you'd catch up." Her eyes twinkle for a moment.

As Silas's expression starts to fall, she catches on that the two haven't met. One hand lifts to gesture between them — a habit picked up from all her time spent in the Pelago. "Silas, this is Miles, the man who can walk a mile in a minute or less." Turning slightly to Miles, she explains in return. "Silas is the poor fool tasked with keeping Mad Eve's Forthright afloat despite every crazy idea she has that could sink it."

Odd that she'd be with a member of her 'former' crew, one she'd swore off, loudly and to many, at a Sill bar not even months ago.

Unless, of course, she's been hooked back in again. Asi and Eve did have an odd love-hate relationship. And Asi was never one to leave it at 'just one more job', the slightest curiosity always dragging her back.

Miles looks like he might introduce himself, but Asi does it very adroitly, and he just gestures to her then with a nod. “Miles,” he confirms. “But I never do anything so mundane as walk.” He grins, leaning against the booth with one hand.

The grin slips a little at the mention of the mad captain. It rights itself almost immediately, so it might not be noticed, but it could be. It was there, anyway. However, all he says is, “Oh, yeah? Good luck with that, brother. Seems like a task for more than one person, but you look like you could do a good job.” Does he sound skeptical? Surely not.

Silas nods at the introduction, and puts on a look of polite interest at Miles's boasting of his talents. "A mile in under a minute, huh? Pretty good clip," he comments. He doesn't miss that little slip in the other man's grin when Eve's name comes up, though. Interesting. History there? he wonders.

But he doesn't let himself dwell on it for too long; there's an old saying about glass houses, and just because most of the skeletons in Silas's own closet probably drowned with the rest of the world doesn't mean he's eager to go poking around in a stranger's. Not at the moment, anyway.

Silas lets out a laugh at Miles's comments on the Forthright. "A good job? Well… she's still floating, so I count that as a win," he says with a grin of his own… then he shrugs. "What can I say? It's a living."

Scavenging is one thing, but bartering is a whole other beast. Squeaks hasn’t quite figured out the method or measure since she started wandering among the stands and booths set up with their wares. She has figured out who’s willing to let eyes linger for a while and who’s more likely to say rude things if all she’s going to do is look. There’s been more than a few places she’s scurried away from before even getting the chance to ask questions.

The young teenager is skittering from one such table, three or so away from the trio of seafarers have gathered to talk about filters or flux capacitors or some such things. A backward glance at the table is followed by a huff once she’s gone a half dozen steps. Tucking her hands into the pocket of the hoodie she claimed not long after being hauled out of the water and onto the Oar Place, she turns away and on a path that takes her toward those three talking about machine things.

"It's indeed a living." Asi wearily agrees with something like a sigh, looking down at the wares offered on Sal's table. A hand swipes over another prize he's found — most of a small engine, likely something that was once fixed to a simple motorboat. A hm is given as she hoists it, a blink as an unexpected noise comes from inside it while she turns it over between both hands. "The…" she starts, then turns it over again, hearing the note. "… hell's in this thing?" she mutters to no one in particular, flipping it back over to listen more closely. She can't tell if it's a rattling part, or a rock.

Hands occupied enough to keep her anchored down for at least another minute, she looks back to Miles. "What're you hurting for these days?" Knowing him, the answer was not much, as most everything he could want was within a fingersnap. Still, if he was going to courier them this part Sal seemed to believe was out there, some kind of exchange would have to occur.

“For now,” Miles intones ominously, leaning just a little bit toward Silas with a more intense expression on his face. He stares at the other man for a few seconds — however long he can keep a straight face, really. It’s not very long, though, before the grin returns and he shifts back onto his heels again.

His gaze shifts to Asi, and he reaches up to tap his chin thoughtfully, though the gesture is just a bit exaggerated. “I’m a fan of the really good drugs,” he tells her conspiratorially with a look from side to side, as though he’s making sure no one’s listening in, though again, he can’t hold it for too long and he laughs.

“My interests are many and varied. I’m open to negotiations of things with comparable value.” His gaze catches briefly on the young teenager who’s moving through, and his eyes follow her for a couple of moments before he looks back to Asi.

Silas's smile remains in the face of Miles's intense expression, but the good cheer in his eyes dims for a few moments, leaving behind something a bit less pleasant, a bit more… calculating. Considering.

"For now," he agrees quietly, with something that's a decent approximation of his usual amity.

He chuckles despite himself, though, as the other man launches into his routine on Asi. God. It's like looking into a mirror that shows you twenty or so years ago…

He doesn't let himself dwell on that though; reflection tends to make him maudlin, and that's something that works best when he's all alone with a nice bottle of moonshine and not in the middle of a shopping trip. Asi seems to think this guy can find them something, judging by the fact that she's negotiating with him.

"Comparable value, huh," Silas muses, scratching at his temple; his own particular services tend to command a decent premium these days, so that might be worth a shot. "Well. If you need something fixed, I can take a look at it, see if I can get it working." He pauses for a moment, mulling things over, then shrugs. "Other than that… I dunno. I'm a pretty good cook, 'specially if you like barbecue." He pauses for a moment. "You do like barbecue, right?" he asks, surprisingly seriously.

Getting closer to the trio of negotiators brings pieces and bits of their conversation to her. It also reminds her how tightly packed the space is. Somehow, she’s going to have to slink by without upsetting vendors or seafarers, but for now she slows a little to wonder. Barbecue sounds like a strange foreign word to someone who’s experience in cooking was usual shared tin cans or big pots of soup. And that rattle sound seems more broken than rock-ish, but she doesn’t work on machines.

She also doesn’t say as much about any of it. Her thoughts are kept to herself even if her eyes stay on the three a lot longer than is polite. Squeaks catches Miles looking at her, and vague suspicion makes her eyes go a little squinty after he’s looked away.

Of course Asi's look follows after Miles' — he's supposed to be in the process of telling her, with more seriousness than his first pass, what he would be looking for out of a trade. As such, her attention lingers on Squeaks long enough to determine she was the one staring first, then wanders as she lets Silas pose his deadly serious question.

While she has no idea what exactly is intended for this barbecue, she's currently being wracked with nostalgia for the scent of sizzling beef, and is prepared to pass serious character judgement on whoever naysays the concept as a whole.

When she's circling back to the conversation, though, she notices and acknowledges Squeaks' proximity and continued staring. Asi meets the girl's gaze right back to show yes, she is clearly being seen. "Are you looking for work or something?" sounds much more polite than some of her other suspicions about why the teen is lingering.

Asi may not say it, but Miles has no problem doing so. “That depends on what you’re barbecuing,” he says, fixing his gaze on Silas with a slightly suspicious air, though the smile can’t quite be banished fully. “I don’t think I’d trust just anyone’s grilling nowadays.” You never know, after all.

“I guess I could give it a shot, though,” he finally decides with a nod. “But if anyone I know disappears suddenly, I know where I’m putting the blame.” He might have said more, but Asi’s question to Squeaks stops him, and he looks that way again, suspicious or not. He doesn’t add anything, though, just waits for the answer. If one is forthcoming, that is.

Silas cackles and claps his hands at Miles's crack about people disappearing suddenly, looking more amused than is perhaps strictly warranted. "No, no. Barbecue's the game, but the name's Silas, not Long John. No long pork. Scout's honor," he says, grinning good-humoredly.

Asi's question draws his attention to the girl who's lurking nearby; he regards her thoughtfully. Hm. If she is… maybe she could clean the bilge? That probably needs to be done anyway…

Blue eyes dart over to the nearest stand when now all eyes are turned to her, a table covered with a hodge-podge of metal and glass and cloth things, none of seeming related to anything else. But looking interested in other things probably isn’t going to work, since she’s been caught watching and the expected questions followed. Squeaks gets a little more squinty when she eyeballs the three again, equally suspicious of the grown-ups.

Maybe still curious, too.

But she answers with a direct, “No,” and she stops outside of anyone’s easy reach. Her attention flicks past them, sizing up the space she’d have to walk through to get by, then settles on the group again. “I have work, just trying to find supplies.” She motions with a finger toward the machine piece Asi had been looking at. “It’s probably broken.”

A long look is given at Sal over her shoulder. "Probably broken," Asi informs him with mock seriousness. The stall owner just shakes his head with a helpless shrug, hands held up defensively. "It's salvage, you get what you get. Sometimes they're a bit of fixer-uppers."

It wasn't like she intended on buying the engine, but she lays it back down anyway.

Coincidentally, it also takes her about that long to catch up with the cannibalism joke that's been made, brow furrowing at Miles. She clicks her tongue at him. "He may be trouble," her elbow comes out to catch Silas in the ribs good-naturedly, "but not of that caliber. No vampires here."

Asi glances back to Squeaks with a simple shrug. "Just make sure your supplies don't come from our pockets. Miles is vicious when wronged." Which says little of her own temper, should she find hands in her pockets.

There’s a snort of laughter from Miles at Silas’ retort, even though he eyes the other man as though he’s still not quite sure about the origin of any barbecue that he might have. It’s a post-apocalyptic world, after all. Things aren’t exactly abundant nowadays.

“Oh, I’m sure he isn’t a vampire,” he says with a grin as he looks back to Asi. “Everyone knows you drain the blood before grilling. That’s barbecue 101.” Is it? He doesn’t actually know, but it sounds good. Her last words, though, elicit another snort. “She’s projecting,” he asides to Squeaks sotto voce, though with an amused glance to Asi.

"Oof," Silas grunts, also good-naturedly, at the elbow in the ribs.

Miles's comment on vampirism draws a nod from Silas. "Yeah, that's right!" he agrees. He lets a beat pass, then double-takes back at the other man. "Hey, wait a minute…" he starts, scowling fiercely… though he can't hold it for more than a couple of seconds before he starts snickering.

He does spare an amused side-eye for Asi, though, at her comment about Miles being vicious when wronged - not that Silas doubts it one bit, but he's seen Asi when she's in a mood, too. He snickers again at Miles's sotto voce comment, though he's quick to cover his mouth and fake coughing, lest he draw another elbow in the side for his troubles.

Following the warning, Squeaks’ hands come free of the single pocket in her too-large hoodie, both empty. And the way the fabric hangs off her, even that pocket and the rest of the garment is empty also. No thieving, in spite of the accusations. The joking and jostling is given a blank look, beginning with the aside to Sal and continuing when Miles speaks to her directly. She’s not following any of it.

It's Asi's turn to swat at Miles now as he attempts his quiet aside while she's standing right next to him, easily capable of hearing the stage-whisper. She tuts at him. "Don't give the girl the wrong impression about me." she chastises with a quirked brow, her usual deadpan humor coming into play. Though, the poor kid, she seemed a bit overwhelmed.

"Right," she states in a more matter-of-fact voice, looking back to Sal. "So it's done, then. Where's this part?"

Miles shrugs at that double-take, spreading his hands out wide with a grin at Silas. Hey, not his fault that being a cannibal is probably not any better than being a vampire. You gotta do what you gotta do in this reality.

He turns away just as Sal names the place where the thing is, and there’s a little snort. “Oh,” he says, “no wonder.” It’s not exactly easy to get to — but he must know how, because he doesn’t seem too put out about it. “All right,” he continues as he turns back to Asi. “Meet you tomorrow, same bat time, same bat station.” Hopefully she’s going to say yes, because he doesn’t wait for an answer before he’s shimmering out of existence. The last thing heard before he’s gone is, “Bye, kid.” Presumably to Squeaks.

Silas blinks, his expression thoughtful as he stares at the spot where the teleporter had just been. "Well. That was a thing," he muses aloud.

He stares at the spot where the teleporter had just been standing, filing away what he's just seen… then nods, rubbing his hands together. "Alright, then. Sounds like we've got an agreement. Good! I've been looking for an excuse to grill anyway," he says jovially.

After a moment, though, he frowns. "Mmm. Gonna be a busy day tomorrow. Gotta spend the morning grilling so it'll be fresh for Sparkles, which means we'll have to get supplies tonight and get set up. Hmmm… depending on how much meat we can get ahold of, maybe I can grill for the crew, too; grand opening party for the tub on the boat," he says, looking pleased at the idea.

"Well. In for a penny, in for a pound? Help me with the setup and you'll get first pick of the barbecue," Silas offers; it's intended for Asi, but after a moment he realizes that the girl is still lingering about.

He hesitates for a moment… but on the other hand there really is going to be a lot of work in the next day. "Open offer, if you find yourself with free time on your hands," he adds, for her benefit. Could probably use someone to lug the meat from the market to the grill, and she looks like she could use a decent meal anyway. How much could she eat, anyway? he thinks, despite the fact that he should probably know better.

As Miles disappears, the teen’s suspicion becomes more dubious curiosity. There’s still deadpanning and …still no sure understanding on what a barbecue is, which keeps her more willing to watch than engage any further than she has. Squeaks’ eyes flick toward the wider space, she could probably slip by now without an issue since one of those guys literally vanished. But when Silas tacks her onto his invitation, she looks up at him. “Sounds primal,” she says with a shrug.

"I hate it when he does that." Asi says to the spot Miles had been standing. She's not enthused about being the go-between for this for yet another day, apparently. It cuts into her designated time to wallow in memory. When Silas asks if she's in, though, she starts to push up her sleeves as an indication of yes. It also showcases bruises, scratches, and even a bite mark on her forearms.

"You're doing me a favor by keeping me occupied, probably." she has to admit. More self-destructive tendencies have reigned recently otherwise. The word that Squeaks uses to describe what she thinks of the situation sweeps away the resigned air she'd started to take on, brow lifting as she pauses in adjusting the roll of her sleeves so they stay up. "Primal indeed," she agrees.

She's heard that one before. The girl Aurora said it frequently enough. "Are you with Elisabeth and Cassandra?" Asi asks, attempting to cut into her more usual deadpan with an upward lilt to her tone.

Silas grins at Asi's comment about keeping her occupied; it's perhaps a bit more sincere than his usual grin. "Yeah, well… idle hands, devil's workshop, et cetera, et cetera. Not always good to have too much time to think, you know?" he murmurs… though his grin grows more amused, more roguish again as he spies the various cuts and bruises - and is that a bite? - on her arms.

It's a bit of a surprise when the girl actually accepts the invitation, though not an unwelcome one. "Primal, huh?" Silas muses, raising an eyebrow. "Haven't heard that one before." Perils of getting old, he muses… but there's work to be done, and no time for getting maudlin.

Asi's apparently heard it, though… but she apparently also finds it unusual, which is… interesting. He frowns curiously for a moment, but the vast majority of his attention at the moment is focused on plotting out barbecue logistics.

He's midway through working out a plausible supply chain to allow him to recover at least some of the meat costs when it occurs to him that he doesn't even know the name of one of his partners in crime. He blinks, shaking his head, and turns his gaze on Squeaks. "Oh, hey. If you're gonna be helping out with the barbecue, we should probably do introductions. I'm Silas."

“Everyone uses it.” Probably not everyone, but it was normal enough that Squeaks figured it was used around these parts also. Maybe it just hasn’t caught on everywhere yet. “Primal just… it means something’s really good. Like… ‘That party is primal.’” Or maybe the grown-ups just don’t understand. Which definitely is something normal no matter what world you’re in.

She eyeballs Asi at first, instead of answering the question about Liz and Cassie. “I’m Jac,” she answers to Silas, as her eyes flick his way then back to the woman. She chews on the corner of her lip for a long second before coming to a decision and nodding. “Yes. They’re friends.”

"Omoroi," Asi decides about something Squeaks says. She acknowledges the teen with a nod, giving her presence more respect than she normally does anyone that young and small-looking. "Call me Asi."

She starts to step-pedal backward, turning to look knowingly at Silas. "And with that, we part ways for now. I've got other business to take care of." There's a half-grin on her face as she shoves her hands into the pockets of her coveralls. "What was it shunkanidousha-san said… See you tomorrow? Same bat-time, same bat-channel?"

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