They Deserve So Much More


jake_icon.gif megan_icon.gif

Scene Title They Deserve So Much More
Synopsis Jake goes along on a food van run, gets to see what's starting to develop out there.
Date June 4, 2009

Staten Island

A beat-up Ford Ranger that's seen better days with a bed full of crates labelled in Spanish pulls up alongside the convoy staging area. Jake's in the driver's seat. He hangs a wing out of the rolled-down window, lit cigar hanging out of his mouth while he tugs down the sunglasses and asks the nearest anybody, "Hey. Where's Megan Young?"

The truck driver whose attention he gets blinks and points in a direction.

"Thanks." Jake says, putting the truck back in gear and rolling a ways, looking for that nurse with the hot ass.

The aforementioned nurse is standing in the doorway of the hangar talking to one of the drivers of her convoy, and it doesn't look like a pleasant conversation. When he turns and walks away with a scowl, Megan throws her hands in the air and offers a glare at the guy's retreating back, and then glances absently toward the pickup that's heading her way. Tilting her head, she recognizes Jake and merely raises a hand in a wave, moving out of the truck's way so he can park or drive into the hangar or whatever it is he's up to.

Tapping his horn, Jake waves Megan over closer, jerking a thumb over his shoulder at the crates in the bed of the Ford. "The supplies I told you I'd get." he explains around his cigar, grinning. Then he rolls it into the hangar and kills the engine and wrenches the parking brake on.

When he beeps, Meg's face looks curious and heads toward the driver's side to talk to him. And then he gives her the news and a grin lightens her expression. She walks behind the truck as it rolls into the hangar and wastes no time climbing up the rear bumper to get a look. "Holy shit," Megan says, turning to look over her shoulder at him, flicking her long braid out of the way as she does it. "I didn't think you'd be able to get even as much as I asked for… this is, … what, TWICE what I asked for?"

Jake gets out of the truck and walks toward Megan, taking the cigar out of his mouth. He looks a little confused. "Is it?" he asks. Then he takes a moment to dig a scrap of paper out of his pocket. Consults it. Shrugs. "Fuck if I know I just got what you asked for and then grabbed a bunch of shit."

"Oh Lord," Megan says with a smirk. "So you got what I needed and grabbed…. what exactly? Do you have a manifest, Mr. Hunter?" She leans over the bed of the truck bracing herself on her hands — not putting weight on any of the boxes, just on the tailgate and side of the truck — and studies them. One of the things she does at St. Luke's is translation for the Hispanic population; her Spanish is damn good. "Mr. Kobrin said we could set up a clinic in part of the hangar," she tells him. "This is a damn good start."

"Uuuuuuhhh…" Jake duhs, looking back at the truck. He works the cherry out of his cigar and steps it out, then pinches the end of it to save it for later. "Naw. I manifested a truck full of pharmaceuticals. They came out of a Merck factory down in the Altiplano. So they're about as high quality as anybody's gonna get." He trails after Megan, letting her inspect to her heart's content. "Oh yah. And you can keep the truck too."

The quiet chuckle is his answer as she skims over the boxes. Then Megan climbs down off his truck and looks up at the man. "Nice job. Though I don't really need the truck," she tells him with a grin. "And I'm sure I don't even want to why I can keep the truck." She looks at the supplies and nods to herself a bit. "This is excellent. Thank you, Mr. Hunter," she tells him sincerely.

"Yer welcome." says Jake with a roguish grin, standing akimbo without realizing it. "Anything else I can get you? A drink?"

Megan mmms mildly. "If you're offering to fetch and carry for me, I could use another driver for the run this morning," she tells him with a cheeky grin. "Jerry just walked," she jerks her head back toward the front of the hangar.

Jake smirks, looking like he's being put-open all of a sudden. "Aww sure. What the hell. I'm kinda curious to see what you guys are running into anyway out there."

She looks surprised when he agrees and then nods. "All right, then!" she tells him. "I'm only taking three of the vans this morning — not enough people to man more until later." She pivots on her heel, heading back toward the three vans sitting out front of the hangar, and calls out to the other two drivers and their backups, "We're rolling!" She heads for the lead van, gesturing Jake to go ahead and take the wheel. When they're inside, she points to the map on the dash, "Here's the route we're running, first stop here. Should wind up with a good twenty people today… assuming the assholes in the Rookery aren't scaring them off."

Jake doesn't say this, but he can drive or pilot almost anything. Except maybe space shuttles and certain jets. Noticeably he does not buckle up. Window rolls down though. "What're they doin to scare people off?" he asks, putting the van in gear and rolling slowly until he's sure the others are moving in his rear view.

Megan lets him handle keeping the group together, looking out the windows as they pull out. She does use the seatbelt, though. "Not really sure. So far, we've mostly just had observers at the sites themselves — and that's getting more regular. When we first started, there were only one or two a run, now we have them at almost every run. And not all of them are intimidating, some just seem curious or maybe reluctant to take part yet. But a few of the working girls have mentioned being intimidated or told that they need to report back on what we're doing. I assume some other people have been told the same." She glances at him. "Since we're only handing out soup and sandwiches and foodstuffs, so far it's been all right. But I think the interview is definitely going to be seen as a challenge to someone's authority."

"What interview?" asks Jake as they roll. He mutters to himself, "Should've brought a shotgun or an AK-47 or something. Long guns are always great because you just wave em around and it scares people away without a shot fired. Great to have. Have a pistol and you'll end up shooting it to prove people ain't bulletproof."

"The more firepower we flash around, the faster we'll have problems," Megan retorts. "Besides… if they move on us, Mr. Kobrin doesn't want us armed for bear — if we're overrun, it's more big guns they have to turn on us, right?" She slants him a grin. "But there's one mounted near the ceiling in the back, out of sight." We're not completely defenseless out here, that'd be stupid. "Mr. Kobrin gave an inerview to a reporter and made some comment like 'we're taking back Staten Island'." She rolls her eyes a bit. "I'd have preferred he waited til we were a bit more established, but… there you have it."

"Well……" Jake says, trailing off at that big about having stuff turned on them. "Yeah that whole interview mess? That was pretty….okay I'll just say it sometimes the man says some stupid shit." He grins, glancing at Megan. "He's my best friend in the world, but honestly. Serious problems with his mouth-filter. But so long as I'm with you it's gonna take a whole lot more than guns to scare us off."

Megan snickers at him. "Why? You gonna stand out there and look intimidating?" She shrugs though. "Kobrin seems like a good man. Aug likes working for him a lot. It's actually why I agreed to help out when he approached me."

Casually Jake reaches over, takes a handful of the dashboard, and squeezes it. It crunches, warps, and bends beneath his grip. Then he goes back to driving casually, like that was nothing. "Kobrin IS a good man. Heart of gold. I'll walk through Hell for him even when he's being a dumbass." he says with a grin.

There's a blink and a pause as Megan takes that in, and then nods. "Well, then, I guess you're a damn good man to have on a run indeed," she comments mildly. Clearly his status as Evolved doesn't concern her much.

"Good thing I'm not an asshole." posits Jake with a teasing grin. "Well. Not a bad asshole, anyway. But I like to be on the front lines of things. Sometimes that means doing real good for real people. Sometimes it's seeing the world. Sometimes I blow something up. Or sometimes I steal a shipment of illegal pharma bound for some cartel's pockets."

Megan slants him a look. And then she sighs. "I probably didn't want to know that," she grins faintly. "And you probably weren't supposed to tell me that either." Not that she seems all that concerned about it, but …. Megan points. "That corner," she tells him. There's a group of around 30 people hanging at the corner, apparently waiting for the vans because as the vehicles pull up, there's a bit of milling about and some restless movements, quiclky aborted, to get closer to the road. "There could be some shoving," she warns him unnecessarily.

Jake grins to himself, more mischief now than before. He takes the instructed corner and pulls up a little past the people to give the vehicles behind room to get close too. "Let em shove." he says casually, leaning out of the window. "I'll stay in here unless you need me."

Megan nods easily and climbs out on her side. She heads around to the back of the van, pops the doors open, and raises her voice to get above the crowd's murmurs and rumbling. "You know the drill! Anyone shoving or otherwise being obnoxious goes to the back of the line, people!" She's firm and calm in her words and actions, and something approaching a set of three lines — somewhat orderly — actually starts forming. In part, it's due to the fact that the vans come out loaded for bear and have yet to run out while leaving people hungry, so they're calmer about this than they might otherwise be. At least at this stop. Megan spends time handing out foods, asking questions of people's health, letting them know that we're going to be opening up a free clinic in the next few days, so let anyone who needs immediate care of any kind know to come to the compound, things like that.

At the back of the crowd, there are two men watching the proceedings who might draw Jake's eyes. They both look like enforcers of some kind, though they make no move to interfere. A small group of homeless people come racing up the street toward the crowd, though, and their initial response is the same kind of tension and expectation of trouble that you'd expect to see in enforcers or bodyguards. The drivers of the three vans are expected to help if necessary but also are more there to do as Jake is — keep an eye out and watch out for the ones handing out food.

Jake doesn't do anything just yet, but he's got his eyes on the tough guys. When he feels like he's watched them long enough he leans his head out of the window and fweets a whistle to try to get Megan's attention, waving her over.

As she hands out food and water and talks a little bit to anyone who wants to talk to her, Megan also has her eyes on the crowd. The mood's a little more tense than it has been the last couple of times the vans have come through, and she's reasonably sure of the source. She waves one of the other volunteers over to her van's back door when Jake whistles and excuses herself for a just a minute to step up to the window. "Yah," she asks, setting one hand on the window's edge.

No secret is made of Jake looking at the toughs. He points right at them and looks their way. "Not very hungry, are they?" he asks rhetorically. "Seen em before?"

The two Jake's pointing at are eyeing the crowd and seem to mutter to each other while they plan whatever they're planning or say whatever they're saying. One of them has a hand in his jacket.

Megan's gaze skims immediately to where he's pointing and makes no bones about noticing them either. "Yeah," she comments, turning back to look at Jake. "Those are the ones I was mentioning. The first few days, we didn't have any real trouble, but word has it these guys are 'monitoring us'," she says with air quotes. "I don't know if they haven't moved on us because we really are just handing out food and water and sometimes blankets if the night runs are cold, or if they haven't because someone higher up the food chain hasn't given the okay yet." She smirks faintly. "Kobrin said from the start he didn't expect this to be trouble-free for too long. Not with factions all over the damn place out here."

"Only reason I can figure they'd give a shit is because they've been using food and supplies as some kind of control over these people. And we're fucking up their monopoly." muses Jake. "Seen that kind of thing in Africa. When I was in the Legion we used to deal with little hitlers all the time who'd do that. Take over a critical road just so they can control the flow of food and supplies into a village. That's the reason all those bullshit charities, feed the starving African children, they never do any fuckin' good."

With a faint smirk, Megan says quietly, "And now you know why the drivers and anyone who comes out on the vans is unobtrusively armed." She nods toward those two. "If I understood right, those two work for a guy running girls in the Rookery, but no one's said names. Some of the girls have been showing up at the vans in pretty rough shape. I've been keeping a mental tally on who the regulars are looking to be when we come through and who's just looking to get by, and the girls from that cathouse are falling on the regulars list according to the drivers." She tilts her head. "You're not planning on starting anything, right?"

Jake makes a face like he's got a bad taste in his mouth, "Nah. Not here and now, not like this." He takes his eyes off of those two though and is scanning around in case they have others who look like their buddies. "I'd just scare off your customers anyway if I handled those two chuckleheads here. Though you know what we could do?" Looks at Megan again, "Start bringing a digital camera out here and taking photos of anybody like these turds hovering around and the girls you think are getting their faces rearranged. You can do stuff with photos. Find things out."

Megan purses her lips and says, "I like that idea. I'll bring one next run." She pats his arm lightly and turns around to head back toward the back of the van about the time a slew of shoving and shouting starts at the back end of the second van. Which of course means the two chuckleheads that were getting attention react, two other goons near the back end of the third van step into view, and a minor brawl starts at the center of the hungry crowd. Though most of the shouts are not clear, someone near Megan calls, "Aw, shit, miss, it's that Lee guy again!" toward the nurse.

And Megan groans. "Hunter, need a pair of hands here — you're a vet, get in there and talk to this guy, will you?" Cuz hell… maybe Jake will get through when no one else besides Meg herself has been able to. The redhead is already wading into the fray.

With a sigh Jake kills the engine and takes the keys, then gets out of the van. He's pocketting the keys as he starts pushing his way through the people that inevitably get in the way like sleepwalking livestock. "Get out of the. Move. Move. Move your ass. Get lost. …the fuck outta my way…" this muttered mantra continues until he gets close to the fight. Not asking for any instructions or even information, just making his way toward the altercation.

Most of the people near the front van and the back van are just backing out of the way, which only leaves a dozen or so in the altercation — and really, fewer. More like five, four of them trying to hold back one in the center. The looky-lous back away, parting like the Red Sea for the muttering man. Megan points and tells Jake, "Lee's a paranoid schizophrenic, off his meds. I've convinced him that his brigade commander sent us to help the villagers, but…. " She glances at him and grins a bit. "He's pretty convinced we're being invaded. By aliens or something, I haven't figured out what's invading. He tries to stockpile food."

"I got it." Jake says with a succinct nod at Megan, paying close attention to what she says. He doesn't even turn on his ability for this. Just walks right up to Lee and shouts, "Hey! Stand fast there, shitbag!" then takes a handful of chest-muscle in a painful clawgrip while he uses the other hand to do the same thing to shoulder muscle on the same side. "Anybody hits me I will rip your goddamned arm off." he says for the benefit of the others who are fighting.

Lee proceeds to flip the fuck out, but it's mostly in pain. And he's cussing up a storm.

Jake doesn't argue with Lee or even try to talk him down. He just leads the man by two handfuls of torso-meat out of the crowd and sits him down hard on the ground by smartly kicking his knees bent and shoving him down before letting go. "All right, Lee. Get the fuck outta here. Come back when you're hungry."

Okay…. now that is not what Megan meant when she wanted help, but she doesn't jump in there. She just sighs and tells the others, "Get your food. Go on! All of you. I got other stops to make today." She makes it her business to shoo people back to the food, making a mental note of the two OTHER goons down by the third van. She escorts a couple of people personally up to the van to get their food, leaving Jake to deal with Lee's bad behavior. The man's perhaps late 50s, early 60s. He's spitting at Jake about being part of the invasion forces, and mark his words, he'll protect the villagers and the brigade's people against invaders! Even as he stumbles off to 'gather reinforcements'.

When everyone is finally fed and Megan climbs back into the van, she comments to him, "Effective but not really what I had in mind. Not that I had a better suggestion." And she leaves it at that with him.

Climbing in to leave, Jake gives Megan a look with some degree of sadness in it. "Honest truth, I feel sorry for him. But I just don't think there are words to fix that shit." With a sigh he puts the key in the ignition and starts the van. "I know that was ugly, but he's gonna hurt other people. Maybe I'll be his bad guy now and at least I won't kill the poor bastard."

Megan looks sympathetic and says quietly, "There aren't words. I'm told that when he's on his meds, he's an amazing man to talk to. But you can't help the ones that can't or refuse to stay on the meds." She hates it; she's a healer and there are just things that can't be healed without the cooperation of the patient. She looks out the window. "Just try to be kind to him when you can."

Jake scowls at that. Be kind to some old man stranger. He's silent for a moment before grumbling, "I'll try."

Megan slants him a glance and grins faintly without a word. Crotchety bastard.

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