Strong People Don't Cry


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Scene Title Strong People Don't Cry
Synopsis Over a week after the tragic November 8th riots, Catherine Chesterfield comes to seek answers from the Ferrymen residing at Grand Central Terminal…
Date November 18, 2010

Grand Central Terminal

It's been a long couple of weeks.

Grand Central Station is still in a lockdown state, no supplies traveling in or out and minimal foot traffic is minimizing the amount of people coming and going in the wake of the riots. Both of the Milburn brothers have been working around the clock to try and assess the security of the network and take stock of which operatives are missing and which are accounted for. While the traffic going in and out of Grand Central has been cut down to a minimum and security — in the form of armed guards on the entrances — has been heightened, activity inside Grand Centeral is higher than it ever has been.

Members of the Ferrymen network unable to evacuate to Pollepel Island have taken shelter among the subterranean storehouse, most of them too frightened to know where to go or what to do. Rumors coming from the few Ferrymen operatives who have left indicated that many here are waiting for the all-clear to leave New York, and ultimately leave the United States and the Ferrymen entirely. The network is hemmorhaging willing operatives, the heat has gotten too high, and they are getting out of the proverbial kitchen.

Among the survivors of the decimation of the network is Colette Nichols. While her position as courier is currently a non-entity due to the supply route lockdown, she has still seemed to manage to find work to throw herself into. Within the bustle of Grand Central Terminal, the teen sits at a sturdy wooden workbench with another member of the network, reloading spent ammo casings and ammunition into workable bullets.

Fingers dirtied with powder and primer, Colette is doing the more mundane task of loading refinished rounds into empty magazines while a more skilled hand goes about the process of filling out fresh ammunition. There isn't much of it to go around, but with the hit on the Armory earlier this year and now the crushing loss of so many safehouses, the Ferrymen are desperately short of munitions.

Colette herself doesn't look good. Dark circles ring her mismatched eyes, a dour expression hangs on her face as her grimy thumbs push 9mm rounds into a 15-shot clip with a snap and a click. The leather jacket she wears looks to have been scorched by fire on the collar and down the right sleeve, partly along the back as well.

That she's physically well is evident, emotionally looks to be an entirely different tack all together. She had sent word to the rest of the network shortly after her arrival here, but that she hasn't seen the surface in over a week is perhaps contributing to her deteriorating mental condition.

Speech is eschewed as she makes her way into this place, past the intensified security, and continues to be so as she explores the interior sighting faces and activities underway. Cat's booted feet approach Colette's bench when eyes sight the teen, on reaching that spot she takes some moments to survey her labors and the work which remains to be done of that same nature.

For her own part she looks clean, clad in jeans and boots with a dark jacket. Mirrored shades cover her eyes, and a Yankees baseball cap is pulled low to further obscure features. When silence is broken, it's with a single word.


No response, just the pop and click of another round into the magazine. Colette looks askance at the operative working the reloading bench, reaching out to take a handfull of rounds on the corner of the bench, then starts popping them down into the clip to fill it the rest of the way. "Figured you were on the island," is Colette's belated response, finally looking up to Cat with furrowed brows.

"You need something?" It's dismissively offered, Colette's voice quieter than it normally is in contrast of Cat's eidetic memory, her expression all wrong. "'Cause if this is just a courtesy visit I really don't have time t'chit-chat."

Something is definitely wrong. But then, after what's happened to the network, that might be understandable.

"I've been lots of places," the standing woman replies in dry voice, "Maybe I need something, maybe I don't." Colette is studied further as she continues to work. "Either way, I think you're capable of loading magazines while speaking at the same time. Though you don't seem even remotely yourself, not even after past events." Pinehearst, in Cat's recollection, among other things, didn't strike her this badly.

An empty clip is taken up, fingers commence to filling it.

"I… have to go get another box of primer," he murmurs awkwardly, sliding off of his stool, "I'll be right back." Or, alternately, he won't be back until this awkward conversation is over and he doesn't feel like so much the third wheel. Nervously offering a smile to the two women, he turns away and starts walking down the rail platform towards the direction of the storage rooms, his boots clomping softly on the tiled floor.

"If you need something, spit it out, otherwise I really don't feel like talking." Lifting up one hand to get face, Colette brushes the heel of her palm over one eye, fingertips unintentionally leaving smudges of black across her brow, partly hidden by equally dark hair.

"Counting heads," Cat provides while moving to sit and take up the departing colleague's task, "finding where people are, best I can." Fingers continue on the move, loading rounds into clips, eyes on that activity rather than the younger female. "Tasha's here with you?" Her features seem stoic as ever, though with a trace of fierceness about her demeanor which suggests a defiant spirit, a refusal to be broken by situations.

That question makes Colette pause, look up to Cat and then look around. "Yeah she's… around." Mismatched eyes look back to Cat, and for all that she should be able to multi-task, Colette has stopped loading the clip she's holding, a handful of bullets waiting to be slipped in place folded up in one hand. "Me, the Milburns, non-essential staff from the Hangar, and that's it. Andy and Else abandoned the Brick House the morning before the riots, said they were headed up to Yonkers. Haven't heard from them since…"

Colette looks back down to the clip in her hand, squeezing it. "Andy said that Meredith was gone when he got there that morning, nobody's seen her. Alistair, Megan and Grace are all all at Pollepel island, I think Scott hung back at the Hangar, bought them time to go. He's probably been arrested…" Colette's fingers tighten around the clip. "Dunno where McRae or anyone from his safehouse is, but I think it got hit."

Dark brows crease together angrily. "The Garden's safe, nobody's seen Jonas, Shannon or Gillian though. Nobody I've talked to, anyway." Colette seems to have not been in the loop of Shannon's placement at Cat's building prior to the riots. "Gun Hill got nailed, hard. I don't know a damned thing about what happened there…"

Looking back up to Cat, Colette grows silent for a moment, then exhales a tired sigh. "S'all I know."

Speculation occurs as Cat listens, putting events together with names and places. "Shannon was moved to my place before the eighth, and was in the clear that day. She's not there now, though for whatever reason my building wasn't raided. Haven't gone home yet, it looks in the clear but that might just be a smokescreen, a trap. The others I also haven't heard from or about. I'll have to find Delilah, if I can safely in the near future, and see if Else left any notebooks for me. It's… suspicious that Andy bailed a day ahead of all hell breaking loose." Her jaw is set now, something smolderingly malevolent in her demeanor though eyes remain unseen, with Susan's name not being uttered.

But it eases off to a trace of concern and speculation as the face turns toward Colette. "You don't know where Tamara is?" That the sybil isn't with Colette and hasn't been mentioned is odd.

Whatever Colette was about to say burns out when Cat mentions Tamara. Her throat tightens, jaw trembles, eyes wrench shut and she slaps the 9mm magazine on the reloading bench, sliding off of her stool to clap booted feet down on the ground. "She's gone," is all the answer Colette gives, flashing a look up to Cat that challenges her to press the question further.

"Else left me some books," Colette quickly dismisses the prior topic for Cat, "they're— I dropped my backpack somewhere in Queens when we were running from the army. I— I'm not sure where they went. There was the fire, it— I don't know if they were burned or…" Colette's eyes shut, head shaking slowly.

Silence, one maybe so thick crickets can be heard if there are any such creatures about, comes in the wake of Colette's answer. Hearing what's said, 'she's gone', and the look to her face which accompanies it says volumes. It makes her flash back to nearly two years before, when she was released and someone else wasn't. The inability to save her. And the hamburger wrapper which came later.

She's so still now, face turned to the wall before her, hands on the table frozen in mid-loading of a clip. One might, or might not, conclude in this stretch of seconds Cat's been here before, has some understanding of what Colette feels and meant, but it's obvious some chord was struck by her reaction.

Words that break the quietude are barely above a whisper in volume. "Thank you, Colette. And I'm sorry." She gets up to leave, without further comment, leaving behind a potential question in multiple parts.

Was she apologizing to Colette, to someone else, or both?

The silence is returned, tense and heavy, but Colette unexpectedly breaks it. First with a noise, something hoarse and emotional in the back of her throat, then the sound of footsteps moving to clear a few paces between herself and Cat. Then; "They took her." The words cut like a gunshot thorugh the Terminal, even as Colette's voice wavers like a warbling music note.

"The Institute," is for clarity and also out of anger, "she was— she was hurt. Bad." Colette's voice tightens, cracks at the end as her lips downturn into a frown, hands curl into fists at her side partly concealed by the sleeves of her jacket and the hooded sweatshirt worn beneath. "She— she was bleeding so bad. So— " Colette's brows furrow, jaw trembles, "I left her behind."

She doesn't clarify why.

The pace of rising stops, Cat slowly resettling into the seat and placing hands flat on the table. Hidden eyes face forward, the jaw opens and closes a few times without emergence of words before she manages them. "So did I." One hand lifts then and slides off the mirrored shades, revealing eyes which show the fully remembered weight of a similar decision, coupled with the remembrance of screams and blood when fingers were cut off. First the thumb, later the other four.

No clarifying from Cat either, just the facial evidence of having made such a decision herself and of listening sans judgment to whatever more Colette will say. Or not say.

It's hard to be in the Ferrymen and not hear about Danielle, the story's been passed around on more than one somber occasion. Usually by Susan Ball when she brings up the appointment of members of the Vanguard to the council. It's also how she managed to gain so much sympathy without even the use of her ability. People, not just Cat, have long memories for pain, and few people can forget the terrible things they did.

Things not enough people think they paid for.

Now, though, the entire network paid for them.

"I'm going to get her back," is Colette's affirmation, her voice coarse and tense, "no matter what it takes." That much comes with a quaver of emotional tension behind her words, a weakness in her facade of stony indifference.

"I don't think they can hold her," Cat quietly opines, "they'll want to take advantage of her talents and won't keep her negated, this will let her find the way out." In considering Colette's determination versus her own, there's one other certainty she has. That Colette will have an advantage she didn't.


Colette's stare takes a lot of that, time, fixated on Cat wordlessly for what seems like longer than it really is. Blinking her eyes shut, Colette lifts a hand to pinch fingers at the bridge of her nose, turning around slowly as she slides her tongue across her lips. Maybe that will happen, maybe there'll be some hope in Tamara's ability to help herself. That doesn't make it any easier to know she's gone, certainly doesn't make Colette blame herself any less.

"I gotta' get back t'work," Colette murmurs, turning her back on Cat, wrapping her arms around herself with a hunch of her shoulders forward as she makes her way back to the reloading bench, just standing in front of her stool with her back to the older brunette in relative silence. It's easier, silently, to try and pretend like she isn't crying.

Strong people don't cry.

"See you," Cat quietly responds, taking her leave of Colette without further speech or delay. She makes her way out to be elsewhere and busy herself in one fashion or another, because strong people don't cry.

At least not where anyone else can see.

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