The Pelago Globetrotters' Reunion


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Scene Title The Pelago Globetrotters' Reunion
Synopsis In the aftermath of the convoy attack, the crews of the Second Star and Featherweight find relief in each others' safety and drink to it before considering the future ahead of them.
Date July 5, 2021

The Ruins of Toledo

Broadway Street Downed Overpass

9:10 pm

Ace has just finished wiping down his arm with the remains of one of the dead raider's shirts, ridding it of most of the red hues that have gone up and down it. He misses immediate proximity to the water, even if he knows the Maumee River is near, just not near enough. He mutters to himself with a long sigh following, flexing his fingers. He should have taken care of this sooner, not when the blood had caked itself dry on him. He could have tried using his ability to help shake it off of him, to pull back only what was his into intangibility and leave the rest. It worked… sometimes. It'd have been very convenient had it worked now.

He looks up when members from the rear edge of the convoy enter the area between the stalking area he's set up between Frizzle and Tinderbox. The encroaching darkness of nightfall demands a look at every person who nears. His brows arch high, his attention perks as he sees one of them more clearly.

"Des," Spades breathes out. Not Captain, but something more familiar than that. He comes up to his feet again fully, the bloodied rag of a shirt dropped as he leans into a run toward her. He weaves around Asi who has a shovel in her hand and forlornness in her eyes, whose head turns to see just what he's taking off over, and runs himself straight into Destiny's more slight form, arms encasing her. He's mindful with the hand that still bears pink around his nails and in the ridges of his fingers, avoiding directly touching her with it.

The relieved sigh he lets out is shuddering as he murmurs loudly, thankfully, "You're okay. You're not hurt?"

The aftermath of the ambush left the shortest captain of the council in a daze. At the behest of others, she’d gone to lay down in the back of the Wildcat while her rabbit heart calmed down and her ears stopped ringing. The unexpected — and frankly unintended — burst of her ability use left her feeling weighed down. For a long while, she stared up at the ceiling above her cot.

The sun’s started to recede by the time she crawls out of the sleeping car to take stock of their situation. How could she have slept? Why did anyone let her? The smallest of smirks pulls at the corner of her mouth when she imagines how Edward might have brandished one of those rifles they acquired, warning anyone off from bothering her. The humor of the notion fades quickly as she settles herself back into reality.

Gravel crunches under sneakers as she makes her way past the truck, staring at the place where Speedwagon crashed into the side of one of the buildings, her head having to turn as she’s walking past it. When she has to start looking over her shoulder, she instead returns to center, watching where she’s going again. Destiny sucks in a sharp breath when she spots him.

“Spades!” She takes off in a dead run, meeting him in the middle. Her body collides with his and she holds fiercely to him. “I’m fine,” she confirms, fingers curling into the back of his jacket, eyes closed as she rocks back and forth with him. When she finally draws back, she sees all the blood, or the traces of it anyway. There’s fear in her wide blue eyes as she stares up at him. “Oh my gosh! Are you hurt?”

"Oh, you know me," Ace breathes out on the edge of a wide grin to reassure her. "Hurt happens to pass right through me. We dealt a good bit of it to others, though, for all they wanted to do to us." He sets his clean hand on her shoulder, then cups her face for just a moment before letting go. He needs to not be like this. His smile grows a bit wider anyway. "Tinderbox crew safe and accounted for."

Asi holds her shovel by its middle as she nears, looking between the two. She realizes she's not seen Destiny out here in all this until now and takes a moment to look her over. There's some but not much surprise that she seems to be well. "Most injuries have been healed by now, for those who were on the brink," she confirms quietly. "We still had a casualty, though, on Frizzle. Heard about Walker, too."

Her head turns, and she realizes it's been a while since she's seen Silas. Since he'd gone off with Natalie earlier… She frowns into the dark.

The sound of trudging footsteps crunching on gravel from nearby precedes Silas's arrival. "Natalie," Silas says. "We lost Natalie."

"Walker's dead. One of our vehicles is wrecked. Close calls on Cat, Ryans, and Saffron; all of 'em are healed back up. Natalie… was able to take care of them before she died," Silas's gaze doesn't quite seem to focus on anybody, his eyes looking near or through them as he speaks… though once he's done with the casualty report he musters a faint, tired smile. "Glad y'all are okay."

“So all that is from stuff you—” Destiny cuts herself off, but the look in her eye as she stares at Ace, lips parted in surprise, says it all. She’s horrified. Horrified, but distracted by Silas’ arrival. It all leaves her expression, making room for sorrow in its wake.

And all at once, she’s in a daze again. She tips her head forward and hides her face in her hands. “No…” she whispers softly. She didn’t know Natalie well at all, beyond to chat pleasantly now and again, but any loss is terrible, and it impacts Destiny a great deal. She’ll never get used to all the death that seems to hang around her and her companions like a miasma.

That blonde head lifts again so she can look at Asi. “Is Else okay?” Destiny looks off briefly in the direction of the school bus, then comes back to the other woman.

"Point-blank shotgun blast did more than I thought it would," Ace mutters, turning his head toward Destiny's to press his mouth momentarily to her crown in a bid for reassurance to her horror. As far as he's concerned, she doesn't need to know what really happened. Doesn't need to worry about it. He circles his arm around her shoulder in comfort when the news of the old woman's death hits her much harder than it does him. As far as he's concerned, she can bear the emotional weight of it for them both. And apparently, as far as he's concerned, the situation merits after all re-establishing that closeness with her.

Asi watches Silas through his report with a slant to her brow. She knows better than to ask about it, or at least to ask now. They can catch up in silence properly later. Destiny's question comes quickly enough, bringing her to look back her way with a short tone of affirmation. "Yeah, she… saved me from dying from a pointless act of heroism. She's been …" Her hand gestures off in a loose, dismissive wave. "Wandering around since then."

A beat passes before she admits, "I'd have lost use of my arms, maybe more, if not for the old woman. Felt only right that I use them to give her a final resting place, out of the sun, away from the birds." Tiredly, she quirks her head as she realizes after saying as much, "Though the thought of keeping her birds going– she might've liked that."

It's the kind of dark humor that makes Spades let out a snort of amusement, even if Asi's taste is drier than he normally cares for.

Silas gives Asi a look — or gives the space a few inches to Asi's left a look, anyway — then sighs. "She might have," he admits, closing his eyes. "Anyway. There is a little good news in the bad. One of our bottles of okolehao cracked; it leaked a little, but…"

He unslings a bag from his shoulder and lays it down, his hands feeling a bit for the flap before he manages to find and open it; inside are three mismatched flasks. "Still got the other one as a present for the Anchor, but… no sense letting the rest evaporate, right?"

Destiny’s sense of humor isn’t nearly so dark. At least, not right this moment. She glances between the others gathered uncomfortably. Once again, Silas is able to diffuse her anxiety. She eases out a sigh and lets herself lean into Spades, accepting his comfort. She manages a weak smile. “I could really use some of that right now,” she admits quietly.

Now she does manage to find some of her humor again. “I think,” her mouth tugs upward in a wry grin, “I’d like to try this whole drink to forget thing that I’ve heard so much about.” With she and her first mate having silently but mutually seemed to have agreed upon abandoning their pretenses, Des winds one arm around his waist.

"I remember that being pretty strong… we'll see if the bottle between all of us is enough to forget." Spades doesn't sound entirely convinced it will, but he reaches out his free hand for it, nodding his thanks. "After all, we'll have to drink all of it."

Asi regards the news about alcohol needing drank with great pause, one she'd not normally afford for any opportunity to drop everything and drink. Her mouth firms into a line and she looks down at the shovel again before looking back up to the sky and deciding she's done enough for the night. Or at least, enough until she can ask for someone to light her work again by. With a crouch, she sets the shovel down on the ground and then shoves her hands into her coverall pockets, glancing back to Silas once more. "Kanpai, then," she signals her desire to drink with that and a shuffled step sideways closer to him.

Silas raises an eyebrow, but smiles. "Kanpai."

He passes out the flasks, holding one out in the general direction of each of the gathered members of the Pelago Globetrotters' Association — he's already filled his own.

With that done, he stands, fishing out his own flask and raising it. "To absent friends; gone, but not forgotten. Never forgotten."

“May time and tide ease that pain,” Des adds and raises her flask. A small smile forms on her face; sad, but one worn in the honor of lives lived. There will be plenty of time for tears for the cutting short of those lives later. Her hand settles on Spades’ far hip and holds him fast to her side, willing in this unconscious act for them to never be parted from each other in this way.

Asi, once she's counted the flasks and realized how much they're drinking of the remaining stock, looks genuinely surprised. She considers her own drink in a moment of contemplation, and after a test sip, pours another sip's worth out onto the ground before her.

The drink is priceless, but so was the life lost. She intends to savor both of these things, and make what she has left to enjoy of them last.

For his part, Spades also looks pleasantly surprised, blinking when he realizes he, too gets his own flask. He, unlike Asi, will not bide his time. He raises his drink and declares, "To those we want to remember," before drinking deeply of the exotic alcohol, letting the intense proof of it burn his throat, nose, and lungs before he breaks off the drink.

His eyes sting as he smacks his lips in satisfaction. "And to all of you, for that matter," Ace is sure to note. "We survived another day in a world hellbent on killing us."

Asi pauses in her next sip, glancing from Spades to Silas as she suddenly realizes she doesn't know who and who does not know just how hellbent the world (metaphorical) truly is on killing them all.

Silas blinks at Des's toast, then chuckles despite himself. "Time and tide…" he echoes, amused; he'd said those words, once, not so long ago. He takes a sip from his own flask — only a sip. He is planning to drive tomorrow, after all, and he wants to make this last. Even knowing that tomorrow's not guaranteed, you wanna bet on it anyway. Does that make you an optimist or a fool? he wonders.

"To the Globetrotters' Association of the Archipelago of Manhattan," Silas says, taking one more sip. "That being us, naturally. Still kickin'."

“Still kickin’.” Des brings her flask to her lips. She can’t drink as deeply as Ace can, but she does take a more generous swig than she would normally. Drinking to forget and all of that. She coughs quietly into her elbow when she’s done, demonstrating just how inexperienced she still is at this whole alcohol consumption thing. The offerings in the Pelago were watered down more than this liquid ambrosia is.

Chuckling quietly, the captain clears her throat and gently taps her flask to the one held by the man next to her. “To the new life we’ll build together in Anchor,” Destiny says to Ace with a warm smile, focusing on a brighter future than their current present.

Asi takes a decent drink off of her flask to cover up her grimace as though it were for the alcohol and not for what Destiny's saying. She clears her throat loudly afterward and looks off into the dark, taking stock of who else is around currently. She notes that the Travelers come from afar are not in the nearby number, and in this moment, is very fucking grateful for that.

Let these two live in blissful ignorance for as long as possible.

Ace, for his part, pats Des on her back when she coughs and suppresses most of a chuckle not at her expense, but also at her reaction. He accepts the tap of cheers to his flask with a gracious nod. "And the freedom that'll grant us," he agrees, not nearly nearing her warmth, but trying to match her cheer, at the very least.

Asi shifts her weight again, unsure she can keep a poker face through this after all.

"They have honey there," Silas says, his gaze seeming distant. "Nova told me about it. Honey. Bees. You don't really think of flowers and bees when you think Alaska — or at least, I don't — but apparently they have them." He gives a faint and distant smile at that.

“Antje gave me a big jar when I came to say goodbye,” Destiny confides with a small smile. “Tea’s not the same without it. I wonder how different the honey in Alaska will taste, with different flowers.” A sigh leaves her as the weight of what they’re mourning threatens to settle on her shoulders again. “If we hate it there,” because there’s still just so much uncertainty about where they’re headed and what they’ll find there, “I’ll get us a new boat and we’ll sail our way back to Hawai’i.”

That thought brings a momentary appearance of one of the blonde’s cheeky grins. “The Second Feather?” Destiny takes another long drink, only having the barest cough that causes her shoulders to shake. The smile’s gone again quick as it came. “We do them proud by making the journey, right?”

Ace looks thoughtful regarding the proposal to sail back to far warmer waters, mulling the prospect over for a much shorter time than he actually needs to before conceding mildly, "You know, I like that plan." He ruffles her side as she makes her silly suggestion regarding a potential name for a joint vessel, or a second version of the Featherweight. In either case, it elicits a chuckle from him.

His mood doesn't fall when hers does. He's not sure what she means. It's left for Asi to inquire quietly, "Who?" just at the moment Ace simultaneously assures her, "Sure we do," with calm confidence.

"Yeah," Silas says, smiling, his gaze still off in the distance. "We do the best we can. We carry on for as long as we can." He shifts a bit, closing his eyes. "Try to make things better where we can, but also try to live as fully as we can. For those who can't… and for ourselves, too." He lets out a chuckle, and his smile, for a moment, becomes brighter. "That's something I learned on the other side of the Looking Glass," he says, taking a sip.

Des curls her arm in toward her, the flask sort of tucked against her shoulder and where her jaw settles against its unpolished surface. A small sneeze jostles her, and chin dips in toward her chest, grimacing faintly. She rubs the back of her opposite hand under her nose briefly. Spades can’t remember when her touch left his back.

A sheepish smile shows when she lifts her head again. “When did it stop being me who gives the pep talks?” Destiny asks with a fluttering breath of laughter. “Thanks for picking up the slack, Smiles.”

It's there that Asi finally breaks in her grim look. It softens, even if she gets nowhere near a smile. She signals Silas near her side with a slight jut up of her chin. "He's been good at that for years. All the extradimensional travel got to his head, though, as we can tell." Rather than admit there's a smirk that wants to come to her over that, she hides her mouth against the flask again to take another satisfying sip, looking at none of them. "Notched it up to eleven."

Ace looks down at Des' small sneeze, his arm still around her back even if she's no longer returning the favor. He watches what he can see of her expression in the dim light that remains, trying to see if there's signs of tears where before there weren't. Maybe he won't see any at all, lack of light or no. But he wonders at her.

"We should get a proper fire going before it gets any later," he proposes as much as realizes, suddenly turning away and narrowing his eyes down the cross-streets. Nevermind that it's already incredibly late. "Likely something around here we can set on fire…"

Silas nods to Des, though he's not quite sure how to respond to her compliment… which Asi takes full advantage of. Silas's gaze swings to her and he snickers, and it's her ribbing that finally gets something like a full smile out of him. "Yeah, well," he faux grumbles, but can't actually figure out what to finish that with, so he covers it by taking another sip from the flask.

Ace's observation sees him nod. "Probably a good idea. Feels like rain comin'." Which is an easy prediction for any of them to make, given how long they've all been at sea and how many miles they've sailed together, but it makes a good closer. "I'll sweep around a bit more, see what else I can find," he says, picking up the now empty bag and tucking his flask away again; it's still a long way to Alaska, and there's no telling what waits ahead. There may come another time when a sip or two of warmer climes might be a boon.

The glint of tears is absent, but it’s difficult to hide the redness around her eyes, however faint. Without Ace calling her on it, however, Des is given the illusion that she’s successfully concealed her breakdown. Blonde head tips back so her eyes can scan the sky. The clouds rolling in alone are a sign, but they’ve not yet grown so heavy as to be obvious to those without such a familiarity with them.

“So much for stargazing,” she laments in a soft voice. Destiny caps her flask and slips it into her back pocket. “I’ll see if I can find anything in one of the shops.” She’s not seeking permission from Spades or anybody, she simply starts to head in the direction of the storefronts along the road.

Ace lets Des slip away without argument, lingering a moment longer. He turns back toward Asi, seeming aware of her discomfort even if he doesn't know the source. There's the briefest moment where he hesitates, almost saying something, but he doesn't. They're not close.

"Thanks for the Globetrotters' reunion, Smiles," Ace says with a small press of a smile of his own. "I'll see you around the fire, maybe." Then he turns on a heel to head off after Des at last, taking one more drink from the nearly-depleted flask before he caps it again.

After he's gone, Asi finally swallows hard and lets out an uncertain breath. "That…" she starts, and then realizes she needs to better clarify. Her voice lowers to stay between her and Silas. "This…"

"This is going to be hard. Pretending to have the hope they do. That… Anchor…" She closes her eyes for a moment and clears her throat. "That there's something on the other end of this trip besides a grim outcome."

"See ya around," Silas says, inclining his head and offering a smile in return as Spades takes his leave.

Asi's words, though, see the smile on his face slowly fade, leaving behind an expression weary and grim. "Yeah," he says, lowering his head. "But… what can we do? What can we say?" he asks. "If there was something we could do about it, maybe. But…" he trails off, his gaze falling to the ground. "I dunno, Aces."

"It'd not be right to take that from them," she agrees. "Not when there's nothing we can do about it." One hand swipes up to rub at her eyes, fingers pinching in across closed lids toward her nose. "Because even if we did, even if we all diverted the entire convoy to try and help the outsiders with their cause…"

"What, we just tell them, yeah, we're gonna help save their universe instead of ours, and then we go home to wait for the sun to do us all in anyway?" A broken laugh leaves her, and the corners of her eyes sting in ways she wish they wouldn't.

"Assuming we make it that far," she whispers, letting her arm swing back down by her side. "Today proved how much of a target we are, traveling like this. It feels like a statistical impossibility we won't somehow run into more trouble." Her head turns off to the side and she thinks aloud, lamenting, "If we'd have asked Kiseki to come with us, he could have strengthened the metal on the bus. Fused scrap to it. Made us all more…" Maybe a little harder to pierce through. Blinking twice, Asi tries to dismiss the tears at the corners of her eyes. She whispers, "Maybe Lowe can help us with something like that, anyway."

She's trying to not linger on what they've left behind, or what she thinks the end of the trip holds under the best of circumstances. That silver lining of opportunity, that way to move forward a little stronger than they were today, becomes a focus point that sets her quiet for a moment, becoming determined on it. Tucking the flask away on her person, Asi lifts both hands to quickly clear the moisture at the corners of her eyes. "Sorry," she apologizes airily, little more than a whisper.

"No," Silas says quietly. His expression is hard to read, but his eyes give it away, gleaming in the fading light. He steps toward her and opens his arms. "You've got nothing to be sorry for, okay? Not one thing. Not… not one."

A bit like a feral cat, the offer for that comfort is approached almost sideways, Asi leaning her side in at first toward Silas and resting her head against his shoulder before she eventually does turn into him properly and wraps him in a fierce embrace, fingers clutching at the fabric on his back.

"Two of us died," she murmurs into his shoulder, implying the unfairness she sees in that balance of casualties among the convoy. "Could have been any of us. Could have been—" Her voice catches.

Gritting her teeth in frustration over that, she only holds onto Silas tighter, almost unwilling to let go and deprive him of the ineffective shield she makes up. She swallows her emotions back before she mutters into his shoulder with forced humor, "So you just hold onto that good luck charm of yours, and I'll hold onto mine, and— we'll see how far that gets us."

Asi doesn't know what else to say with her grief, or how to acknowledge it. She quiets, and doesn't let go of the hug.

"But it wasn't," he says back, arms curling around her, and the tightness of his embrace tells just how glad he is of that. Her muttered joke sees him let out something that might be a wheezed laugh. "Yeah," he says. "Yeah…"

He's fine with not letting go, either. Later on they'll have to, but for now… just for now…

For now, amidst all the tragedy and sorrow and blood this day's brought, he's found a single moment where, if he closes his eyes…

…he can believe that maybe, just maybe, things are going to be okay after all.

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