Someplace Sunny


elisabeth_icon3.gif vf_kain2_icon.gif

Scene Title Someplace Sunny
Synopsis After settling in to their surroundings, Elisabeth goes to Kain to discuss survival.
Date November 9, 2017

The Resistance Depot

She's had just a minimum of time to get the lay of the land — enough time to rip Magnes a new ass and speak with Eve about what they may need to do, but not enough to approach Ruiz and Lynette yet. Instead, she seeks out Kain Zarek. Although she's not sure what he was doing in the intervening years in Arthur's world, the man has a tendency toward straight-talk and having a solid kind of street smarts that she feels like she needs right now. So she heads toward the place where he's holed up recovering from yet another injury, this man who has saved her, saved her child, saved his friends.

"Kain, you awake?" Elisabeth asks quietly, peering around the makeshift curtain that's giving him just a little privacy.

“Ya’ll lookin’ t’disrupt mah beauty sleep?” Kain’s voice emits from the open hatchback of a derelict Honda parked under a collapsed billboard shielded from view by that hanging tarp curtain, nearby to the ruined building the travelers have stopped at. Apparently this is a Resistance depot, but it looks like a burned out ruin. Maybe that's half the idea.

Kain is sitting inside the car, legs hanging out the back, fiddling with the open wiring of a CB radio sitting in his lap. He’s looked better, and the few days here in the Wasteland have done nothing for him. He's grown in a scraggly beard, dark circles hang under his eyes, and the corner of bandages at his shoulder are visible at the loose collar of his shirt.

“What’s up, buttercup?” Kain asks without looking up from the radio, working with a screwdriver to try and move around the nest of wires and see what's wrong.

It makes her smile to hear the word 'buttercup' from his mouth. For Liz it brings to mind the lyrics of an old song. Why do you build me up… just to let me down? Which, now that she thinks about it, is probably entirely too appropriate for words just now, and she has to wonder if that's why he uses it. Or if it's just a thing. Overthinking.

"Yeah," Elisabeth replies easily. "Can't let you sleep too long. You get any prettier, there'll be riots," she quips lightly. Moving to rest a hip against the side of the car and cross her arms, she studies what he's doing thoughtfully. "Figured you might be the person to ask about whether Ling's gonna kill Magnes in his sleep for this clusterfuck. But… I also figured I owe you a personal apology. I warned all of you that the portal might not land us home, but… this was not exactly on my radar."

Kain looks up from the radio, setting it aside slowly. “Well, Ah think half the state of New York heard you giving him the business. But Ah’m not about t’stick him for followin’ ol Bug Eye’s batshit crazy plans. He's got a way of gettin’ in your head an’ makin’ you feel like he's the only sane one in the room.”

Setting it tools down next, Kain lets his head tip to the side. “As fer Ling, she’s all talk. She's mostly calmed down now, but we both know what living under Eddie was like. We know how he can… just take charge.” Kain’s blue eyes dip down, then level back on Liz. “Honest t’god if Ah was in his situation Ah'd probably’d a’done the same thing. Guess we’re just lucky Eddie didn't ask him to pop a cap in any of us, huh?” He laughs, as if it's an absurd notion.

Elisabeth, perhaps, finds it more plausible.

Apparently her silence field hadn't gone up quickly enough to stop people from hearing her damn Magnes TALK. Good to know. Maybe it just wavered because she was so pissed off at the time. Elisabeth is actually embarrassed — she doesn't believe in calling someone to task that hard in a public venue. Blowing out a slow breath, she nods slightly. "Yeah. I know. I can't say I would have been able to think clearly about it either, Kain. And Edward has that effect on a lot of people, even when there's not the panic of your child being kidnapped," she agrees quietly. A faint, bitter smile quirks her lips on one side as she recalls Edward's willingness to do exactly that. Are we? she wonders.

"So… now that we're here, we've got a couple of things happening. First and foremost, obviously, is survival. We don't have a lot of options here and Eve's Resistance movement is losing ground. Survival on our own is dicey… survival with her group has only very slightly better odds." She shrugs a little. "I've promised her my help and the help of the people I can speak for — but I won't presume to speak for you," she tells him quietly.

What Elisabeth can't know is Kain’s subtle manipulations, a lie about overhearing the argument tumbling up against her defenses. That reflexive means by which he plays people’s insecurities against them so as to try and remain on top in a conversation. Even ones he does t need to. Kain flashes a quick smile to Liz, one of those small and knowing kind. “Well, the last time Ah decided to play off-script and go mah own way, Ah wound up with mah ass in Rikers until Ling and Kaylee busted me out.”


“So,” Kain breathes in deeply and exhales a slow sigh. “Way Ah’m figurin’ it is that Ah’m gonna find me a lady who looks most like Linda Hamilton an’ hope this goes down something' a little better’n it did in Terminator.” As he talks, Kain idly picks the radio back up again and starts fiddling with the electronics.

“Ah’ don't see Ling an' Kaylee goin’ too far off on this one. World’s a shit-show on fire an’ Ah think Ah can safely talk fer the whole crew when Ah’ say, we're lookin’ for the first bus outta this town.” There's an electrical snap sounds, followed by a dull hiss of static from the radio. Kain's smile begins to grow.

“Lucky me, Ah’ve been in worse places.” Kain notes with a positive outlook on things. “Terminator is still a whole heck of a lot better of a twist than Dawn of the Dead.”

It makes Elisabeth laugh quietly. "I guess it is, at that. My life's kinda been a fuckin' Terminator movie for a long time now, so… if you find a Sarah to be happy with, I'll be more than happy for you." Just don't look at her! Or… well— no. Really! He shouldn't look at her. That could get all kinds of complicated! Changing the subject!

"Which brings us to the second thing — and Kaylee'll know pretty quick too. Magnes had Edward augmented. In my world… that did not go well. He made Magnes promise to make sure Kaylee stayed here when we leave." She looks at Kain intently. "That's Kaylee's choice to make, no one else's. Especially not Magnes's. Help me make sure she gets to make her own decision on it?"

She's not hiding any of her cards, she's not playing with the man. Elisabeth is trusting him with the information she has at her disposal, and she's …. Is she relying on him? Maybe it's not the right way to look at it. She may be relying on his well-developed sense of self-preservation in this case, since their goals are aligned.

Kain’s attention clicks up to Elisabeth with the same look of alarm as if she'd racked a shotgun. “Here!?” Kain spits out. “Look, Eddie’s two rooks short of a full board at the best of times, but there ain't no way on God’s green earth that big eyes little shit would go through all the trouble of gettin’ Kaylee outta’ our bullshit world just to drop her in this hellhole.”

Shaking his head, Kain sets the radio aside and stands up briskly. “Either Magpie’s got his wires crossed, or you need t’clean out them ears. Because Ah’m unable t’believe Edward’d just abandon her in this cesspool.” Kain briefly looks back at the radio, then looks back to Elisabeth. “An’ if she did want t’stay?”

Kain pantomimes knocking Kaylee over the head with a club and hoisting her over his shoulder. “Ah’m not keen on it.”

Elisabeth shrugs very slightly, though she chuckles at his pantomime. "There are only a couple of reasons that make sense to me why Edward might make Magnes promise that she doesn't go on to the next one. One, that something in our next jump is even worse than what we found here — which I understand is hard to believe, but honestly, Kain, given the world you came from? It's certainly possible." She grimaces. "Or two, that something good will happen for her here, and it offsets the fact that we're in a fucking war zone. I dunno." Shaking her head, she tells him, "But I'll tell you the same thing I told Magnes. She's a grown fucking woman — she makes her own choices on this. Even if you and I or anyone else aren't keen on it."

With a soft sigh, she rubs her face. "I'll be glad to have you on the next jump. Eve… She's flaky as hell sometimes, but she's always done right by me. As I understand it, it still won't be home. But… I don't think we should stay in this world. In the meantime… we're all going to be splitting into smaller groups to keep off the scanners. I'd be much obliged if you would keep your ear to the ground while we're all split up. If all of these timelines we're jumping have been affected by that damn machine, then someone here is working on getting it running again. If you hear any whispers, let me know? And if you fucking find this world's bug-eyed bastard, hit him in the face."

Because damn it, she's tired of this shit.

Kain’s posture and expression implies that he doesn’t outright agree with Elisabeth about Kaylee, but that he also doesn’t have a better solution than the one that she’s been presented with. “A’right,” Kain says with a look away from their conversation, toward a rattling noise that clattered some distance away down the street as the wind picked up. “Ah’m in this until Ah’ find what it is Ah’m lookin’ for, an’ from the looks of it, ain’t seemin’ like it’s gonna be here…” Blue eyes track back to Liz. “So… Ah’ll keep mah’ eyes peeled an’ let you know if anything smells funny.” He says nothing of Edward. Likely, the same pantomime as for Kaylee would be in effect, just with a different end destination in mind.

Shifting his weight from one foot to the other, Kain slides his tongue over the inside of his cheek. “Question for you,” he tosses back in return, as though this were some sort of exchange. “Wherever it is you come from, you know somebody by the name of Kaydence Damaris? Might’ve had a last name change t’Delecroix, dunno. She was NYPD, had a daughter named Coleen?”

There’s both a standoffish posture and a vulnerable expression juxtaposing Kain’s query to Liz, a mannerism she hasn’t seen much from him. Not since the stairs out of the last world.

She likes the idea that the same pantomime with a more vicious ending might be in effect for Edward fucking Ray. The man doesn't have two names anymore — he's like John Wayne Gacy and John Wilkes Booth. Edward Fucking Ray is his whole name, at least in her head. Liz merely nods when he says he'll keep his ears open — it's what Kain does best, after all.

His question brings Elisabeth up short for a moment and then she grins, a genuine smile lighting her features. "I did." She tilts her head and at the wary look he shoots her, she says, "I was NYPD for long time. Kay and I were… I don't know if friends is right. We'd catch a beer now and again. She had my back like nobody's business." There is a sincere admiration and fondness for the other woman that is easy to see in the way Liz's expression softens as she remembers Kay's reaction when Liz was jumped in a stairwell just after coming back to the force. Shaking her head, she shrugs a little, refocusing her blue eyes on Kain. She doesn't ask why, taking in his posture and the tone in which he asked. Instead, she offers softly, "Last I knew, she was still kicking ass and taking names in the homicide division. For all I know, she might be heading up the joint by now."

She's not sure whether to expand on anything else she remembers there, taking her cue from his expression when she stops talking.

The answer looks like it hits Kain in the gut, but he smiles past it and feigns like he's fine. Elisabeth can feel the sudden pattering rhythm of his heart. “Swell,” Kain says with a dry mouth and a slow swallow afterward, as if the words weren't agreeing with him.

“That's fer the heads up,” Kain says with no smarmy nickname appended to it. “That'll go a good long way t’keep me headed in the right direction.” As Kain’s blue eyes track from side to side, Liz recalls Kain’s hopefulness that anyone else had arrived with she and Magnes to his world. Now, it seems he's looking back in that direction.

Tilting her head slightly, Elisabeth pauses as if considering whether to say something. Kain's a prickly type. But after a long moment, she simply nods. "I hope you find what you're looking for." She doesn't make him dwell or talk about his feelings, God forbid. Instead, she looks out over the ruins of this world.

"I dreamed about this world once," she observes quietly. "Before I understood all the bullshit about time not really being a line." Which she still only understands at the base levels. "It's even worse now that we're standing in it." With a grimace, she looks at him. "If we ever make it home, I sure as hell hope it doesn't look anything like this place."

Shaking her head a bit, she quirks a half grin at him. "Aurora asked if she could come visit you later. I think she fell in love with your voice," she tells him in an amused tone. "If you're up for a little company, I'm sure she'd love to learn what you're doing." The request isn't perhaps as casual as it appears. She's watching him work and thinking of the skills Aura will need to know if they do get stuck here. And he has a lot of them. And Aura's too young for weapons.

Kain, too, looks distantly out to the city. “Yeah,” sounds lost at first, but he quickly finds himself. “Tell the rugrat she can come hang around, but if she misbehaves Ah’ll feed her t’the robots.” Bluster, entirely. Convincingly said bluster, but Elisabeth saw how much Kain protected Aurora on the way out, how careful he was. He may give off the aura of a hardened man, but deep down inside, Kain Zarek is a kind person in an unkind world.

“As fer what Ah’m doin’…” Kain ambles over and picks up the radio, turning the dial until the sound of chatter squawks over it.

«everclear, everclear. Sign six six nine. Boxcars. Six six nine alpha.» Kain’s brows raise slowly. «Code confirmed, channel clear.»

“Ah’ like our friends, but Ah’ like t’stay informed.” Kain admits with a grin.

«Spotted a strider out by the salt flats. It was chasing some fucking dogs.»

“See, when we were runnin’ under the Vanguard radar? We got this bright idea t’tweak our radios and modify them t’broadcast on the frequency usually reserved for wireless internet routers or some shit like that. Hana showed me what's what before she went and became Road Warrior on her own.” Kain’s smile flattens some at that. “Figured these yahoos might’ve had the same idea.”

«I think… it ate them? Do they need to eat?»

“What a wonderful world.” Kain adds with a roll of his eyes.

Elisabeth's grin is easy when he talks about feeding Aura to the robots — by this point, she knows damn good and well that she doesn't have to worry about her baby in his hands. Her brows pop upward when he shows her what he's doing.

"You are a man after my own heart, Kain Zarek," she murmurs, growing more somber listening to the chatter. Blue eyes flicker up to his face and she nods slightly. "If you grab Alia… she could be a help with this. She's a technopath. May be able to also isolate some other bands or help boost or something — not sure of the extent of what she can do here." Her response to the robots eating something is an expression of disgust. But she teases him lightly, "This is what happens when you complain I never take you anywhere. It makes me up my game." The light tone perhaps rings hollow — being here is an honest-to-God nightmare come true for her.

"Lemme know if you hear anything … sketchy." Elisabeth meets his gaze and simply nods slightly — she likes their friends well enough too, but there's a hardness in her that wasn't nearly so apparent in Arthur's world. Her demeanor certainly mellowed over those years, but she's regaining the harder edge pretty fast. And with it comes that watchful wariness of all who are Not Us. "Trust but verify."

Kain regards Liz with a half-lidded stare, looking her up and down as he clips the radio to his belt and turns the volume down. “Mnhmm,” He vocalizes, but it isn't clear to what yet. “Ya’ll owe me a vacation after this bullshit,” he admits with a rise of his shoulders. “Nice sandy beach, plenty of surf…” He flashes a smile and starts walking backwards, finding his demands a clear break to leave on. “Someplace sunny with an ocean view.”

The irony is, Kain will get what he wants.

And he’ll regret ever asking for it.

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