There'd better be coffee!


koshka_icon.gif sable_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title There'd better be coffee!
Synopsis Supplies, training, safety…. and an attempt at coffee.
Date December 17 2010

The Garden

Situated in a copse several miles away from the nearest stretch of asphalt, the Garden is accessible via an old dirt road that winds snakelike through the woods and dead-ends at the property's perimeter, which is surrounded by stone wall plastered with wicked coils of rusty barbed wire to keep would-be intruders from attempting to scale it. Those with a key can gain entry via the front gate.

The safehouse itself is a three-story brickwork cottage over a century old and covered in moss and ivy. It slants to one side, suggesting that the foundation has been steadily sinking into the wet earth; incidentally, this may be one of the reasons why its prior occupants never returned to the island to reclaim their property when government officials lifted evacuation orders and re-opened the Verrazano-Narrows shortly before its eventual destruction.

Inside, the cottage is decorated in mismatched antique furniture including a couch in the living room and an armchair nestled in the corner closest to the fireplace that go well with the safehouse's hardwood floors and the wood-burning stoves in some of the spare bedrooms. A heavy wooden table designed to seat eight separates the dining area from the rest of the kitchen, which is defined by its aged oak cabinetry and the dried wildflowers hanging above them.

The Garden. A quiet refuge away from the noise and chaos of the city withstanding its own sort of trials as winter holds the land in a firm and frigid grip. The sun, though high in the sky, doesn't offer much in the way of warmth, any that it may have offered is quickly eaten by the biting wind. But it's a quiet place all the same, and the cottage a barrier against the cold with smoke lifting with a lazy promise of heat inside.

But fuel is required to keep that warmth going. And with little else to do to but the occasional chore and stay quiet, Koshka's found work of collecting that fuel. The teen is outside in a dark colored hoodie and blue jeans, working to stay ahead of the need for firewood. Hopefully it'll give Sable a break and a chance to do something more productive. Besides it's more entertaining than staring at the same four walls and occasionally cleaning up inside.

With hands red from the cold, ears and nose and cheeks nipped as well, Koshka collects several logs to move closer to the door. There's already a stack lining the wall, she's just moving the stuff further away to be closer. Less time outside when you're warming up, the better.

Fuel of a different sort is being consumed in significant quantities, as a powerful engine rumbles its way into earshot. Were the Garden somewhat less remote, Ygraine would be worried about drawing attention to it with her visit. As it is, her chief concern is that even Alfred's 1050cc engine won't prove sufficient to get her through snow and mud to the haven fo the Ferry's refuge.

As a result, it's with a distinct sense of relief that she finds herself emerging into view of the old building, guiding her filth-spattered bike to a rumbling halt in front of it. After a long time misting up her similarly dirt-spattered visor, it's a relief to remove her helmet - in spite of the shock of the cold air hitting her face, the Briton breaks into a grin as she peers up at the sky.

The rumbling engine sounds wormed its way into Koshka's attention, drawing up a sudden spike of surprise and wariness. She carefully replaces the split logs from where she'd gotten them as she looks toward the source. Oh look, another visitor and not one she readily recognizes. Still nervous around strangeres, tending toward a standoffish demeanor, the teen makes a wild attempt to hide in plain sight.

There's no chance of getting to the door unnoticed, being on the side of the cottage and the bike toward the front. So Koshka presses herself as close to the building as she can, laying across the split wood with an eye peeking toward the new arrival. Hopefully her movements won't have been noticed. And maybe, if she holds really still, she won't be—Oh, it's Ygraine. Not that the girl comes out right away, recignizing the woman once the helmet's been removed.

For a few moments, the biker is content to breathe clean air and enjoy the sensation of being able to arch her back…. Then she swings stiff-leggedly off the vehicle, giving it a fond pat before moving to the panniers. Unlocking one, she drops her helmet inside - then looks up and offers the young blonde a wry smile. "I admit", she says dryly, "that I had hoped you might be pleased to see me whenever next we met."

It was a slim hope to escape notice. Koshka rights herself, brushing the clinging bark from her front and making a mental note to work on hiding better, steps toward the bike. There's still a small wariness about her, though she grins up at Ygraine. "Can't say I'm not happy for a familiar face," she admits. "Just got told to be extra cautious and keep quiet."

Chuckling, Ygraine ducks her head to Koshka. "If you're trying to keep watch, then noticing the changes in things can be key", she advises. "Catch engine-noise, and it's probably been nothing to think about for most of your life. Out here… it's a bit more unusual. And if you want to be careful about it, then hiding in the trees is probably better than by the house, unless you're really stuck for time…"

As she talked, her hands were busy opening up and delving into the other pannier. From it, she lifts out a well-filled bag. "I thought you guys might like some more supplies, now that there're more of you based out here."

"I heard your bike," Koshka points out. She takes another step forward, hands raising to take the bag. "Just didn't have time to hide." Her chosen place might have worked. Admittedly, if she'd reacted faster. Got to work on that. Another grin is directed up at Ygraine, a wordless promise to do better next time.

"We could always use more stuff here," the teen continues. Supplies are definitely welcome, lending not only to more to do but a means for survival. That much Koshka's learned in her few days in no-man's land.

Ygraine nods gently. "I don't pretend to be an expert at any of this", she says softly. "But I'm learning. We all are. Now…." Slinging the bag onto one shoulder, she shuts the pannier with her free hand, then gestures grandly towards the entrance. "Can I distract you from your chores for a bit? Or should I go in and make a hot drink while you wrap up?"

Drawing her shoulders into a shrug, Koshka turns for the door. "I was only making work for myself," she explains. Honestly, there's not much to do around the Garden, and one could go crazy if busywork isn't created. She pushes the door open and steps aside for Ygraine to enter. And after, she follows, pulling the door firmly shut behind her.

It's warm inside, the fire well cared for in the hearth keeping the chill well at bay. Inside, Koshka leans against the door and blows on her fingers to work some warmth back into them. Blue eyes lift and look at Ygraine, silent and watchful.

Ygraine glances around, running a hasty mental comparison of the present state of the place against her last visit. "Have you had any particular troubles?", she asks, moving to set her bag on a chair. Arching her back once more, she winces ruefully, then opens up her stash of goodies.

"I've brought you another solar- and hand-powered capacitor. Figured that since this place has no electricity by default, giving it a second would be wise. And I've got a couple of other things in the same line, to help around the place and reduce the amount of wood you need to burn. If only by a little. But I'm happy to take orders. For food or other things. If I can fit them on the bike."

"Trouble here?" The youth shakes her head. She and trouble seem to go hand in hand, but since getting here it's been quiet. "Just got told to not draw attention to the place here." Her head tilts slightly, eyes going to the bag as it's opened. She's not afraid to show her curiosity, though she'll stay away from being outright rude about it.

Not really certain herself what supplies are specifically needed, Koshka merely nods. Maybe she can make herself more useful by knowing in the future, but for now Sable will know what to do with the stuff. "I'm not really sure what all we could use, either. Food usually, but otherwise."

Ygraine cracks a swift grin. "I brought some food supplies, yes. Though I can't fit a huge amount into the bike. And I was coming out here partly to find out how you were doing. But… you've got a range of delightful powdered products in cans and packets, since you've got your own water out here and it saves me on weight. And some spices and flavourings to chuck into things to make them a bit more exciting. Sadly, I think I'll need to tap someone up for money - I'm burning through a lot of my own cash at the moment, buying this stuff. But that's not your worry…."

Turning around, a number of items now sorted out of her bag, Ygraine props her rump against the chair. "How're you? How, exactly, did you wind up here?"

Her worry or not, Koshka still feels partially responsible. An extra mouth to feed on an already stretched budget can't be easily swallowed. Well, money isn't her forte for helping; being a pickpocket certainly wasn't turning out to be a winning career. She's determined to find some other way to contribute for the food she's eaten and space she's taken.

The question to her presence here draws a rather bemused smile. Koshka shakes her head, laughing. "I… jumped on a Humanis First guy, got stuck to some crazy woman and ended up in the hospital." Remember, she and trouble are close friends. "This doctor who was visiting friends heard about it, said he had friends who could get me out. So they did, Quinn and Brian, and brought me here."

Koshka receives a few moments of rather intent study… before Ygraine lets out a low laugh, shaking her head at the youngster. "Good grief. So much for my efforts…. Well - congratulations on finding on your own some of the people whom I'd been hoping might take an interest in you. Especially Quinn. She's an absolute sweetheart."

Where is the universe's most unlikely safehouse operator? When in doubt, listen for the baying of hounds. The absence in the Garden is threefold if only one third (maybe one sixth) properly human. Out in the woods, Sable has been amusing herself by riling up Jupiter and Misty, letting them run her ragged through the accumulating snow, hopping over logs and tripping over roots that have hidden themselves, Badger-in-the-woods-like, beneath the heavy white blanket of winter, soporific of forests.

This can only last so long, though it's due more to Sable's exhaustion than that of her pack. After a brief tackle and wrestle with Jupiter in the snow, a display much barked at by the excited younger dog, Sable reasserts her leadership and is able to lead them back around towards the Garden and the clearing in which it sits. She arrives at the door, redcheeked and panting, sweat and ice crystals, some one becoming the other, decking out the spines of her dark hair. In through the door, scampering canines dodging around her legs, Sable gives a holler. "Holy Jesus get this woman a fuckin' drink," is boomed with good natured excess, followed by a swagger into the living space wherein… there is a visitor.

"Fuck me sideways, we got company," Sable declares, seeming in pretty high spirits, well endorphin'd from the run. She sidles up to Ygraine and parts her arms, offering a puffy-coated snow-powdered hug. "How y'all doin', hon?" eyes cut over to Koshka, "this one been a proper-type host in my absence? Y'all offered this woman somethin' t' nibble 'r gulp, Kosh?"

"More like the interest found me," Koshka counters with a shrug. Still, she looks amused by the situation that found her here. "Quinn's nice. Actually both were pretty cool, risking stuff in getting me out of there." Truthfully, she's liked the company of nearly everyone so far, though the jury's still out on a couple of visits.

Further attempt at clarifying, or even justifying anything is given way as the door opens to admit Sable, dogs, and a blast of cold air. Good thing Koshka doesn't startle easily or things may have been momentarily dicey. Surprise is washed away by a cocky grin, not unusual in response, an expression lost as her hosting is questioned. Whoops.

The youth, after passing a brow-raised look to Ygraine, 'You want something?', heads for the kitchen. "Coffee then," she calls back. "Or.. what is there?" Cocoa maybe? Water for sure.

"There'd better be coffee!", Ygraine informs Koshka, laughing as she bodily scoops Sable off her feet - holding her in mid-air without much apparent effort at all, seemingly wholly intent on keeping the samller woman's toes away from the floor. "I brought a supply of coffee on my last visit. There's some more in here, too, if you've used it all up already…. And yeah - I think it's early enough in the day that I can get away with a cup or two."

Sable doesn't even protest as the size and height differential is rather pointedly exploited. She just wraps her arms about Ygraine and gives, if not as good as she gets, then as good as she can give. Feet waggle slightly, separated from terra firma. "Y'all got that, Kosh?" Sable calls out to the younger woman, "make a real batch. Worst comes, we stick some 'f it outside, make us some iced coffee, eh?" She wiggles, slipping free of Ygraine's grip and sliding down the other woman's front until she's safely on the ground once more, before giving the Briton a wide grin. "Sight for sore eyes, hon. But when ain't that th' case?" She cricks her neck. "Figure we c'n start gettin' some fresh stuff out here, next trips? Cold 'nuff, we could make ourselves a proper icebox, have eggs 'n' milk on hand, live like honest to God civilized folk."

"Coffee," comes Koshka's voice from the kitchen, underenthused. "Yay coffee." Ah, but the teen does as asked, with much rattling that would serve as proof that she's working. Yeah, she'll make the coffee. Somehow. Water is put into a pot, which is then put on the stove to boil. And grounds are set aside until she's decided how to go about added those to the water. Most people use filters, maybe she'll just stick it in straight. That'll make it a real batch of coffee.

Quite oblivious to the possible disaster developing in the kitchen, Ygraine keeps an arm lightly around Sable for a moment or two even after she's slithered back to the ground, before nodding to her. "I should be able to manage that. I'll need to pack the eggs carefully, or they'll be smashed on the way here, but bacon and milk I can definitely manage. I'm trying not to come out here too often, lest I draw attention to it - but I don't want to leave you guys cut off, while I'm the only one still working the route at all. I could also take orders for a few longer-lasting luxuries - maybe a few CDs to stick into a player to plug into the power units."

"We're under orders t' not be too fuckin' loud," Sable remarks, the reference to 'orders' coupled with a certain 'yeah, yeah' skepticism, "Colette dropped in real quick-like. 'course, seems a bit fuckin' deranged seein' as she had me poppin' off rounds when we first showed, but mebbe she didn't think we were gonna be runnin' this place, then. Plus, turns out mebbe, like…"

A pause, this next matter isn't to be joked about, and so Sable has to shift gears quickly, "turns out th' long arm 'f th' law may or may not know 'bout this place after all. Not such a strong mebbe as would have us packin', 'pparently, but I guess I gotta maintain somethin' like security. Or somethin'." But all this is really only to say, "so I figure what I really need is my acoustic, 'cause that won't get too noisy. Th' purple 'n' that Quinn got me, should be stowed somewhere at her place. Plus my mouth organ if y' c'n find it."

A glance is cast towards the kitchen. "Kosh! Y'all are so fuckin' meek 'n' mild, yer, like, under orders," these ones unskeptical, apparently, "t' ask f'r somethin' nice f'r yerself, somethin' y' feel'll keep th' cabin fever away."

Mugs come down and set out on the counter while the conversation continues in the living area. Only two, Koshka unabashedly not a fan of coffee. Heaping spoonfuls of black, rich grounds are added to the first and begin to go into the second. Until her name's called, the teen had been only half listening as she put together drinks.

"Under orders now," Koshka muses, depositing some scoops of coffee grounds into the second mug. "Just a proper coat and gloves would be nice," she continues, stepping up to the kitchen doorway. Her shoulders lift, though, dismissing the idea of anything extra that she could want or need. "Doesn't matter, though. I can make due with what I got."

"Gimme your size, and I'll pick you up a couple of things. D'you have a scarf and hat?", the Briton asks, tone mingling worry and business. "We definitely don't want you getting too cold. Out here, it'd be a nightmare to warm you up properly…."

Stepping away from Sable, she moves towards the coffee - stripping off her gloves before cautiously picking up one mug… and peering at its murky contents with a mixture of curiosity and wariness. "Thank you, Koshka. I can lay in some things like rice and oatmeal - the 'just add water' staples of survival. With some flavourings, they should at least stop you starving."

"Jesus," Sable says, toddling after Ygraine, unzipping her coat and tossing it to one side as she enters the kitchen, "nothin' I c'n do t' make this gal show some sorta taste 'r fuckin' preference. You play it too close t' th' vest, Kosh. Y' gotta love somethin', dontcha? Y'all don't favor any kinda music, nor d' y' have frivolous-type wants. I don' mind easy-goin', but this is fuckin' pushin' it!"

It's an amiable grin and a hopeful nod that replies to Ygraine. Hopeful, in that the coffee is palatable. Could taste like axelgrease for all she knows, certainly thick enough to pass as such. But the grin slips and a slight knitting of her brows takes its place with a look toward Sable. Yeah, she's got preferences, everyone does.

Pulling the sleeves of her hoodie down again, she shrugs to mask the slip of demeanor. Doesn't matter, just grin about it. "Yeah, sure. But Ygraine's got limited space and I could use a coat. It's cold outside." There, see. Logic.

Ygraine chuckles softly. "You've got power-sources. I can slip in an old portable CD player very easily. And headphones, too, if you want some quiet around it. Chucking in a few CDs as well won't harm the space much. But if there's something other than music you'd really like, I can see about it. Laptops, I'm afraid I can't afford any more of. But there might be other options…."

"Hon, do that, you'll light up my life," Sable says, flashing a smile at Ygraine and reaching out to take her murky coffee. Strong? Good. "I'm gonna go bring in a little more wood, 'n' poke 'round the perimeter all armed and fierce. Y'all tell th' Ferryfolk that I've got this place tight as a drum, arright, so it's fine t' send more folks over. Lord knows we could use th' company. Kosh is a gem," she lofts her mug in the young woman's direction, "but poker ain't meant t' be played jus' head's up. Thass somethin' I could use. Poker chips. Not too picky as t' th' quality. Those show, Kosh… ready yerself f'r an education. We'll make a shark 'f you yet, eh?" She tips a wink in the dust manipulator's direction.

"Peace and love, y'all. Stick 'round if y' can, Ygraine. When I get back in from th' cold," Sable shows a toothy grin, "y'all c'n help me warm up." And she's sidling out, back to 'work' or something like it.

Brows lift at Sable's parting words, but in the end all Koshka can do is shake her head. "I like her," she opines, her grin coming more easily. "Little pushy, but she's funny." Likely, this observation is already known by Ygraine. "Hope the coffee's okay. Never made it before that way. Any chance we could get pizza out here? Or… tacos." The youth rubs her hands together, bottomless pit as she is, probably dreaming about tacos and pizza together.

Ygraine blinks, then chuckles, waving Koshka towards a seat. "Please, make yourself comfortable." For herself, she moves to settle into one of her own. "Pizzas… yeah, frozen ones I think could be taken out here. And anything flat that I can stuff in should be possible. So a range of things might be possible to haul out."

Taking a cautious sip of her coffee, she blinks down at it. "Woah. This is potent. But thank you."

Koshka seems please that the coffee, at least, is passable, nodding to the thanks as she drops into a chair. "I… Thanks for trying to help with getting here," she says after a short lapse of silence. "I was really going to put those fliers out. But then these Humanis First guys showed up and started busting windows out of a shop. It was just crazy."

Ygraine sighs and nods. "It's all right. I'm not going to complain about you trying to help people. Though it sounds like it might be an idea for me to add you to my list of pupils. I'm not a sensei or a ninja… but I do know a fair amount about looking after myself, and I've been giving people some lessons. Including Sable, as it happens. So I could perhaps get the two of you sparring with each other, if you wanted…."

The youth seems drawn to shrug first, not entirely dismissive but as though she'd had another thought. But she changes her mind and nods instead. "I do pretty good not getting hit, usually. But I would be okay to learn more." After all, what better thing to learn to supplement the shooting Sable's going to teach her.

Ygraine cocks her head, then nods thoughtfully. "The more options you have, the better. Especially if you've got at all used to using your ability for defence. The less you have to call on that, the better you'll be. And the more effecitve it's likely to be when you really need it. But I might well be preaching to the converted, there."

Koshka smirks faintly, though not at Ygraine's words. "Using my ability helped me stay alive once I ran away," she points out. "But before that I just had to be quick." Then, grin returning, the teen looks back to Ygraine. "Cool, though. Anything that helps, right?"

Ygraine nods quickly. "That's the idea. The more options you have, the better. However good you are at it, or them, if you've only got one or two things to do whenever you get in trouble…." She shrugs expansively, then risks another sip of the thick black goop in her mug.

"Is there anything you'd like to learn? Or do to keep yourself busy?"

Koshka waves a hand, indicating the Garden in its entirety. "I keep busy helping here. Bringing wood in and cleaning." Sounds thrilling. "But I like learning things. All things. My dad was really big on keeping my mind working and it just sort of …like it's what I do." In some form or another, it's pure fact. The kid's always picking up on something even just from observing.

To be continued

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