Speculative Fiction


berlin2_icon.gif colette_icon.gif

Scene Title Speculative Fiction
Synopsis Colette and Berlin hunt down eggs, trade stories, and theorize about what Wolfhound leadership gets up to in their free time.
Date April 16, 2018

Mount Hope Cemetery

Mount Hope Cemetery is one of the United States' first municipal rural cemeteries. It sprawls across a rolling 196 acres of land adjacent to the University of Rochester on Mount Hope Avenue. The cemetery is the permanent resting place of over 350,000 people and prior to the civil war the annual growth rate of this cemetery is 500-600 burials per year, though this number has significantly reduced since Rochester's population decline. The cemetery features winding footpaths through pristine - if somewhat overgrown - stretches of maple and pine trees and features abundant old burial markers juxtaposed against more modern ones. The cemetery was spared any damage during the civil war.

The mock intel-hunt has, to this point, been a good distraction for Berlin. From their distinct lack of Donna Dunlap. A series of eggs and coordinates have been found and chased and sometimes collected. In an attempt to add a success to the tally, Berlin and Colette have found they way to a cemetary.

"Well, this is a grim place for an easter egg," Berlin points out, standing in the entrance, looking at the gates. Even if it doesn't look grim. One might mistake it for a lovely park if they didn't look too close.

Amid the carpets of rain-dampened leaves under a slate gray sky, the Mount Hope Cemetery looks the part. Headstones dating back to a different civil war ramble along rolling hills forested by old oak and pine trees. Beneath the boughs, Colette walks beside Berlin, hands tucked into the front pouch of her ratty, dark hoodie, boots kicking up leaves with scuffing footfalls as she walks.

"I was gonna complain about taking a five hour drive up here to go off-season Easter Egg hunting," one corner of Colette's mouth creeps up into a smile. "But, It's kinda' nice here," Colette offers thoughtfully. "I came out here with Hana and Noa a few years back… Personal memorial stuff, but it was really nice. Seeing a different side of them both." Blind eyes flick over to the younger woman she walks beside.

"I let you pick the music," Berlin says as she looks over at Colette with a sudden grin. No one seems too keen on letting Berlin pick the music on any trip. Too much orchestra. She slides fingers through her hair, pulling it out of her face. For a moment, anyway. Once they're closer to actual graves, her expression dims again.

"Yeah? What was that like? Hana doesn't seem to like us seeing other sides of her too often." Berlin ticks a curious look Colette's way. Unlike so many people outside Wolfhound, she knows the Major has them. It's part of why Berlin looks up to her, how she holds herself. Only part, though. "I feel like we should have brought flowers." It's a stray thought, although it's hard to say if she means to pay repects as they pass through or to looks less conspicuous.

Colette smirks, kicking a deadfall stick out of the way with the toe of one booted foot. "I don't much think the dead mind," she admits about the flowers. Because that's the only people they have to appease, or blend in around. In that misting rain, there's no one else around.

"Hana's a private person. The world made her that way, kinda. But she's… I mean," Colette looks back to Berlin. "You've seen her around Logan. She has a hard exterior, but that's just because she's wary about getting hurt." The insight there is lived-in. "She's really kind, compassionate, and… it was nice. Being allowed in like that."

Looking back to the path ahead of them that winds between lichen-covered headstones, Colette furrows her brows in thought. "I try not to mention it around the others. I know Hana prefers that, and I don't want anyone thinking I get preferential treatment just… because we've known each other a long time. I think she's afraid of appearing that way too."

Berlin's hands slide into her jacket pockets, but that's the only acknowledgement the weather gets from her. "Maybe they do. If we have a line of people waiting to smack us in the afterlife, I'm sending them to you first." If such a thing exists is implied in the lighthearted tone.

"I can't blame her for that. Not wanted to get hurt. Being private. Even just the things that came out in the tribunals are enough to harden up anyone." She looks over at Colette, though, quiet for a long moment. "Wolfhound wouldn't be what it is if she wasn't. Kind, I mean. It's a family. She's the one fostering that."

Berlin lets Colette guide them, trusting the woman's steps, since she's still looking at her instead of their path. "I think if Hana is giving anyone preferential treatment, they've earned it."

That remark casts a shadow across Colette's face. She sweeps rain-dampened hair from from her brow, rakes fingers through, and threads what remains behind one ear. "I… really don't feel like I fit that bill," she admits reluctantly. "I put us in a shit load of hot water, I…" Colette exhales a sigh and slows down her pace.

"That— reminds me. You weren't at the gala, were you?" Blind eyes slowly raise to Berlin. "I… don't know if the other already told you, but I totally almost blew a fucking gasket there. Like, full-blown panic attack. It was…" Colette scrubs one hand at the back of her neck. "I looked like an idiot."

"Colette, you messed up. You're taking your punishment for it. The rest, we handle together. And we're pretty good in hot water." Berlin nudges Colette with her shoulder, "People mess up. Maybe even Hana." Her eyes widen, playfully shocked at the very notion.

At the mention of the gala, Berlin shakes her head. "They said I couldn't wear jeans and I was out," she says, her smile crooked. Because it's a joke. "No one told me a thing." Concern crosses her face as she listens, brow furrowing. "I'm sure you didn't look like an idiot. What happened?"

Making a noise in the back of her throat, Colette casts a few furtive glances to the headstones, then back to Berlin. "I don't think I ever told you much about the stuff that happened to me when I was in the Ferry…" Her hands go back into the warm pouch of her hoodie, one knuckle visible through a ratty hole. "I was… the Institute kidnapped me. Back in 2010. There was a doctor— one I wrote a written testimony against for the Albany Trials: Isabella Sheridan." Briefly, she closes her eyes while walking, though it doesn't slow her cadence.

"They… they kept me locked up, tied to a bed for a while. Tasered me when I didn't comply. She— they pumped me full of Refrain and other drugs, so much that it burned out my ability and blinded me in one eye." Though the Institute took the other one after long enough. "The— the experiments fucked me up. Mentally. Physically. The drugs gave me nightmares, and I… I'm afraid they fucked me up permanently. Like— psychologically."

Quieter, now, Colette opens her eyes and looks at Berlin as she stops walking. "Doctor Sheridan was at the gala. She… she must've made a plea bargain or something. Soon's I saw her I flipped. My power went all haywire, I couldn't breathe, I… Robyn and Tamara calmed me down and got me out of there. I was a fucking wreck. Spent a chunk of the night in the bathroom."

Berlin's expression turns stony as Colette talks. The story isn't hard to believe, no, it's all too easy to believe it. She pulls a hand out of her own pocket to wrap around Colette's shoulders. "She shouldn't have been able to get a plea deal," she states firmly. "And I don't think any of that makes you look like an idiot. Anyone would understand her sending you into a panic."

She squeezes Colette, like she might be able to turn her emotional support into something more tangible. "Nothing is permanent. What she did— that would mess up anyone. But there's help, you know, to climb out of it. And we're all here for you."

Colette draws in a slow and unsteady breath, then exhales it in equal measure. Gone is the shadow on her expression, replaced by something far softer than her usual professional facade she borrows attempts at emulating Hana. "Thanks," is softly stated, and Colette reaches up a hand to rest on the one Berlin has clapped on her shoulder. "Really, I… I mean it. I have a hard time with this stuff. I always have, and… it's just— I've got a lot'f folks who support me. It's just— my brain… every time I want to turn t'them it's like but why."

Snorting a half-laugh at her own dark humor, Colette looks down to the leaves underfoot. "S'weird, I never really get t'spend to much time alone with you, but… we grew up in a lot of the same circumstances. No parents, unless you count the Ferry as parents. I guess— I kinda' do. Brian." Her smile grows a bit. "I dunno what it is, Lin, but I feel like I've known you a long damn time. I guess— " teeth draw across her lip. "I guess you're just that good'a friend."

"Well, tell your brain it's a jerk and come to us anyway," Berlin says, "Because the answer to 'but why' is because we care about you." She tilts her head a little, her smile warmer. Their list of similarities makes Berlin chuckle a little. "I don't know if I've call Brian a parent. Older brother, maybe. But he did take care of us. I'll always be grateful to the Ferry. They didn't even know I was Expressive when they took me in." Which obviously means a lot to her, as she wasn't in the same sort of boat as their other charges.

"I try to be," she says quietly as to how good a friend she is, "I want to be. It is weird, though. I mean, Brian's other kids, they never really— bonded. I guess. But here, with you all… I dunno, it's the first family I ever really had. I try to be that, too."

Laughing, Colette shakes her head and smiles fondly at Berlin. "Brian's like a weird uncle who lets you play with guns," she admits with a lopsided smile, finally starting to move again. "An' you are a good friend. You'n Adel, an' Lucy are like my rocks here. I never really connected with Noa, there's… it's weird. We're both close, but not… not the same way. I honestly don't know what I'd do without you three."

As she keeps walking, Colette starts to purposefully lead Berlin up along some old granite steps covered with dead leaves. "You never talk much about how you manifested," Colette changes the topic, moving away from her own issues and to somewhere closer — in her mind — to a neutral middle-ground. "Honest t'god I don't really get how your ability works either. Biological classified stuff's such a mystery t'me. You an' Lucy, just big adrenaline-spiking enigmas."

"That's— accurate. How do we end up with so many of those?" Because Avi certainly falls into that category, too. "I'm gonna blame our uncertain upbringings." Berlin grins over at her, but the expression softens. "Well, let's never find out. Because you guys are my rocks, too. And friends. I don't know where I'd be without you guys. Without Wolfhound. Without Hana letting me join up."

Her eyebrows lift when the conversation turns back around to her, though. Her head tilts. "I was pretty young. There was a raid on the safehouse I was living in at the time. I popped," she says, making a explosion gesture. And sound effect. "And luckily I was with the network. Lots of people to help figure it out. A lot of alcohol problems, let me tell you."

Hesitating up one step, something Berlin says makes Colette pause and her brows furrow. But she's back to her ascent afterward, clearly walking like she knows where she's going at this point. After a moment of silence she admits, "M'worried about that myself. The alcohol problems…" dark brows furrow, and Colette has to sweep wet hair from her brow again. "I might've tipped up a bit too soon at the gala, I was about four gin and tonics in when I broke… I might need to lean back from that." Colette is hesitant to admit.

But then she comes to a stop, looking at Berlin and then over to her side in a motion toward a headstone flanked by two skinny pine trees. "There," she says, motioning to where wet leaves are piled up at the base and a small plastic egg — purple — is tucked away.

"First part of surveillance," Colette wryly notes, "is understand your quarry." Blind eyes flick back to Berlin.

"It's not a bad idea," Berlin says, "to lean back. But it's also not terrible to have fun now and then. You couldn't have known that a monster from your past was gonna waltz through in a Vera Wang or whatever." She looks over having to hook her wet hair back behind an ear now, too. "I bet none of the Hounds were making sure you had water between your drinks. I feel like I need to do a lecture series."

When Colette points the egg out, Berlin looks and lets out a playfully exasperated sigh. "Someone think they're funny." And by the look she gives Colette at her note, it might be her. But there's a chuckle that follows and she jogs over to scoop it up. "What do you think they're gonna do with all these eggs when the game is over?" she asks, amused.

Cracking a smile, Colette walks over with her hands tucked into her hoodie pouch and looks down at the egg in Berlin's hand. "That's a really good question…" she asks with one brow raised. Quietly, the takes the egg from Berlin and splits it open, then takes out the scrip of paper inside. A string of numbers, coordinates. "Ok…"

Fishing around in her pocket, Colette pulls out the insert from a fortune cookie, old and partly faded. On one side it reads: Tomorrow is another day and on the reverse faded numbers too old to read. Colette replaces the intel with the old cookie fortune and hands the egg back to Berlin with a smile.

"The world may never know."

Berlin watches as the egg is taken and tampered with, her eyes widening. "Colette, that's mean," she says with a laugh, "and I love it." She tosses the egg up and catches it before she puts it right back where they found it.

"The world is probably better off not knowing. But I'm going to assume there's a ball pit somewhere in the Bunker that we don't know about." Which the world would also be better off not knowing about. Or thinking about, probably.

One dark brown raises as Colette considers a secret ball pit. "You know, we do have that entirely unrenovated wing. Maybe there's a secret ball pit down there," her head tilts a bit, "maybe we built it." Spluttering with laughter a moment later, Colette briefly rests a hand on Berlin's back and smiles fondly.

"This is where she took us, by the way. We came through here — Hana, Noa, and I — on the memorial." It was more than that, but that's not as much for sharing. "I knew she'd leave something here. As much as she seems against the type, Hana's a sentimental person." Colette looks back to the egg now containing an old fortune from Chinese good ten years ago. "I suppose I am too."

"How much you want to bet we've found it before and they just keep erasing our memories," Berlin says, Colette's laughing bringing out a grin in reply. "No one needs to remember finding Avi aviators deep in a pool-sized ball pit." Harrowing indeed.

She looks back to the headstone, though, when Colette explains how she knew where to look. "I guess I never thought of her that way. Sentimental." However, Berlin doesn't find it detracts any from the woman's character. Adds to it, no doubt. She turns back to Colette, her smile dipping crooked, "I never thought of myself that way, either. But I think we all might end up finding out we are. Maybe even Curtis."

If the "aviators deep" comment didn't get Colette to break out into laughter, the comment about Curtis most certainly does. Colette exhales a wheezing laugh and smiles broadly, face just a little red from the entire ordeal. Regarding Berlin with slivers of blind eyes visible between dark lashes she struggles to stifle giggles as she walks.

"Okay, okay," Colette finally manages to say, one hand pressed to her cheek and nearly tearing up from the laughter.

"Let's not be unrealistic."

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