Three Hour Tour


brynn_icon.gif caspian_icon.gif joe_icon.gif lance_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Three Hour Tour
Synopsis Lance, Brynn, and Squeaks return with a tale of their fateful trip. And Joe comes home, too!
Date May 28, 2018

The Lair (or that place where the Lighthouse Kids are residing)

It's in Elmhurst, next door to Caspian's place.

It isn’t a long walk from the Doyle Library in Williamsburg to the property owned by Caspian in Elmhurst. But after all the walking that has already been done, it seems like it takes forever to get there. Probably because none of the three who’d taken off the morning before had really wanted to move again, after getting comfortable and warm in the library. But since they couldn’t stay there forever, the group of teenagers left for home.

Finally, the three are covering the last hundred or so steps that take them to the Lair side of the house. They’re a collection of exhausted and patched-up teenagers. There’s a smell about them that matches the look of being washed in dirty water and left to dry on an equally dirty floor.

“I hope there’s lasagna.” Squeaks’ voice comes a couple of steps behind the other two. She’s fallen a little behind again. “And cookies.”

“I just want a shower,” Lance comments dryly, “Maybe for the rest of my life. Or at least eight hours.” There’s a bandage across his forehead where that ugly gash was cleaned up, but he’s still dirty, smelling, and sore from a few dozen bruises.

At least no bones were broken!

There’s not lasagna.

There’s something better.

The first thing that hits a person as they approach the Lair is the smell of smoke, and not ‘burned down house’ smoke, but good clean-burned smoke. A little closer and the smell of meat. Of pepper and salt and time wafting from a thrown-together smoker, now cold, sitting in the front yard of Caspian’s house. Sunday dinner had been made, apparently, and Caspian, as usual, went all out. Except there weren’t LHK’s there to enjoy it.

The garage in the bottom of the lair is open, Caspian’s van parked in there, the front door cracked. Music can be heard from inside the house. The man is home, apparently, from a day of work. Getting the setup for solar in a police precinct is taking a lot of time, but it’s all working out. Things are starting to move.

Brynn's silence is the norm, so it's not really noticeable as they trudge back to their hidey-hole. Caspian's building might not as yet be their home — Lance's apartment is still in use regularly — but they're here pretty often. Especially because hot water is pretty abundant and well… Brynn's partial to the luxury of hot showers. The wafting smell of cooked meat makes her mouth water as they approach and she perks up a bit.

Snapping her fingers softly to gain Lance's eyes on her, Brynn comments, He feeds us a lot — and a lot better than we would usually eat here in the city. Because its not like they can hunt the way they did back home. We should probably start bringing him a portion of what we make when we're making money. They're starting to owe a significant debt here.

“It smells like smoke,” Squeaks observes when she finally catches onto the scents of meat and cooked goodness. Which is a nice change from the smells that have followed them since their misadventures. “Not the bad kind.” She’s familiar enough with cooking over fires, in passing and with the few times she’d joined one homeless camp or another. It wasn’t often, but enough to know the difference. She musters enough excitement to fall in a step behind the two older teens, but only just.

The snapping brings Lance’s attention over, and he nods a little to her words. You’re right, he signs back, And food’s expensive now. We’ll have to get some money together, I don’t want charity. Pride, as ever, rears its head. The pride of making it on their own, which perhaps he clings to a bit too tightly sometimes.

“Hey, Caspian,” he calls out as he steps over to the front door, pulling it open to lean in, “You home?”

Well, hopefully he’s home. Otherwise some musical bandits are here.

Judging from the pile of tools by the door, followed by the boots about midway through the hall and the sound of the shower going, yes, Caspian is home. There’s a squeak of the shower as it’s turned off and a head poking its way out of the bathroom at the sound. “Hey there, Lance. Squeaks. Brynn.” Brynn gets a wave. “You guys missed dinner yesterday.” He ducks back into the bathroom and, after a bit, emerges in a t-shirt and pajama pants, hair still wet from the shower before the smell reaches him, his nose wrinkling. “You guys do some exploring? Just now getting back?” He doesn’t say home, but still.

He jerks a thumb to the shower. “Water’s hot if you guys need a little clean up time. And there’s food.”

He’s like a grandparent. ‘Did you eat?’

Nodding immediately to the offer of food and shower, Brynn heads for the pack that she keeps here with some spare clothes she also pulls out some for Squeaks from her pack and leaves them on the couch. She's clearly calling dibs on first shower and leaving Lance to explain the rest! She shoots her brother a wicked grin as if to say ha! mine!

The clothes are noted with a very relieved look. Squeaks might just be getting used to being more clean than dirty these days. Especially when there’s gross smells involved. She signs a quick thanks to Brynn and picks up the clothes. Thoughts of showers are aborted for the moment because that couch looks very inviting. Clothes are dropped and she sinks onto the welcoming cushions with a sigh, laying down for the first time in forever.

“We were unconscious mostly,” is Lance’s tired excuse for missing dinner as he drags himself in with the others, stepping over to the couch as well and collapsing on it, leaning back and closing his eyes, “After escaping the lightning rats. And the sewer flush.”

He seems okay with allowing Brynn to take the shower first. He’s just going to lay here and not move for a bit.

The door is closed once everyone comes in. Brynn may notice that the hamper has Caspian’s muddy clothes in it - apparently pulling cable through a mud-filled conduit isn’t the most clean thing in the word, but neither is the sewers, apparently. He walks to the kitchen on bare feet and starts pulling out leftovers from yesterday. The pot of beans goes on the stove to heat through and the brisket is put into a dish and thrown into the oven to start warming through too. The rolls’ll keep until everything’s nice and warm, and only take a few minutes to heat through anyway. The couch, now containing a pair of filthy LHK’s, gets a little bit of a look before caspian returns from outside the room, placing a few bottles of water on the table within easy grabbing distance before sitting down in his chair with another bottle.

“Lightning rats.” He repeats, just to be sure he heard correctly. “That’s….that’s messed up. And a sewer flush too? You guys are lucky Squeaks was with you to get you out of that mess.” He’s trying to give Squeaks props for helping. Hopefully it’s seen as such.

Joe has been gone awhile. Since just a few days after they took the movie to Kaylee and Gillian. Joe was angry after that, and then one morning he had packed his backpack and left a note saying he'd be gone for awhile. And he has been. Over a month now. Hunting for Zhao, doing some fighting on Staten. Doing some questionably legal supply runs into the midwest where food and goods are more plentiful and bringing them back for someone of rather questionable morality. But she paid, and those supplies wouldn't have been in New York otherwise so it's not really… taking advantage of people.

But Joe returns home, entering through the open garage. He's traded backpacks, or well acquired another one. It's not new, but it's sturdier. An army surplus backpack. Rugged canvas, durable and high quality. He opens the door into the house, he hears voices from in there, and sets his backpack on the floor once inside. Joe is dressed in well a lot of army surplus. Used army surplus, but there's a lot of that floating around after the war. It's all desert khaki surplus from the canvas jacket down to the sturdy leather boots. The jacket is taken off and draped over his backpack as he walks from the door towards the kitchen where he hears chatter from. His steps are slow, hesitant. Worried about his family being mad at him.

Feet are pulled out of the way to make space fo Lance so that Squeaks has more or less curled into a circle and maintains possession of just one of the couch cushions. “Lightning rats,” she confirms around a yawn. “All these rats showed up and then just turned into electricity and disappeared. Right before the sewers got flushed.”

At the sound of the door opening, her gaze angles in that direction. But Squeaks doesn’t get up to see who’s here. She just watches, exhausted as she is.

“They killed a lot of people. We need to— “ Lance brings a hand up as he stifles a yawn of his own, “— we need to warn the homeless folks living in the sewers, it’s not safe down there. Also, what the fuck, since when are there Slice Rats?”

He looks up as the door opens, a hand coming up to adjust the bandage on his head; an uncertain smile tugging up at his lips as he calls in unsure tones, “Hey, Joe.”

This is exactly the thing Squeaks was talking about at the council meeting, about why it was important to map the sewers. So people would know instead of just being found, devoured, as a pile of bones. Caspian frowns, watching as the kids make themselves at home on the couch, as they often do. “Hey Joe.” He turns to regard the younger man as he comes in. “Your family has been on an excursion in the sewers, in case you didn’t hear. Good to have you back.”

He’s not being chiding or annoying or harping. Caspian is just saying.

“Oh, there’s brisket, too. You missed Sunday dinner.”

"So the rats themselves are Evolved? How is that even…" Joe's brow furrows as he considers that. "Maybe it's a multi powered evolved? I know they're rare. Like super rare. But there's been at least a few so there definitely could be more. But that is super weird." Joe, gone for a month, gets back, hears weirdness, gets chalk. He puffs out his cheeks in silent uncertainty, eyes moving from Squeaks, to Lance, to Caspian and then back to Lance. "Guessing the sound of the shower is Brynn?" He asks, tipping his head to the side a little bit. "Is everyone okay?" He asks as he takes note of Lance's wounded forehead. "I missed a bunch of Sunday dinners." Joe remarks with a hesitant smile on his lips. He tucks his hands into the pockets of his canvas cargo pants and his shoulders slump a little bit. He just kind of stands there looking awkward.

“Joe!” Squeaks’ head lifts when the wayward member of their family appears. And for that instant she looks a little bit more alert. “You came back.” She’s grinning, even if she doesn’t jump up and greet him like she might have another time. Nope, she’s probably taking root right there on the couch. Aside from moving her head, she’s probably never getting up again. Ever.

“Brynn’s showering first. We got banged up and scraped. But we’re okay.” Squeaks’ head lowers again and she shoulders the cushion to make herself more comfortable. “Mostly okay.”

“We nearly got eaten by evolved rats, and then we got flushed into the East River. Or the Hudson River. I think we maybe got flushed into both of them actually,” Lance reports in an exhausted voice, his head falling back against the couch again as his dirty self settles deeper into the couch’s comfort, “I have a splitting headache, and there are lightning rats that are eating people.”

There’s a long pause.

“But we’re alive and not in the hospital this time. How are you doing? We’ve missed you.”

“Hopefully they’re going to share the story over dinner.” Caspian says, retrieving a bottle of tylenol from the kitchen cabinet, putting it within grabbing distance for anyone who might need it. “As far as evolved rats…maybe there’s a vat of chemicals they went swimming in and it mutated them or something. I’m sure that someone would have at least mentioned the fact that they could make animals exhibit evolved powers. Electric rats..They weren’t all pikachu, were they?“ Yeah, probably not, but hey, he’s trying to bring a little levity to the situation.

“And we have missed you.”

The water in the bathroom turns off and a few minutes later, Brynn comes out dressed in a pair of cargo pants and a black T-shirt, using a towel to wring the water out of her dark hair. She comes down the hall and around the corner into the living room to let them know it's whoever's turn. Spotting Joe, her face lights up. Dropping her wet towel on the back of the chair, she bounds over to hug her other brother tightly!

You're back! It's about time! Holy crap, have they told you what we saw?? Electrical rats, Joe!

Joe moves further into the living room as Squeaks and Lance engage him in conversation a bit. "Heya Squeakers." His smile isn't his normal big grin, but it's a smile none the less, with genuine warmth. "You guys look like you got the rough end of a sewer pipe. Repeatedly." Lance fills him in a little further and he huhs softly. "Yah know… I would think if animals were gonna start getting powers they'd have already done it. I'm still leaning towards the multi powered evolved or something weird. Maybe a science project some evil crew or another did?" Joe's shoulders pop upwards in a small shrug. "I missed you all too." He remarks, his tone mellow, but happy.

Then he gets Brynn pounced. There's a soft meep as he turns to accept the hug, hugging her back good and tight, only pulling back so his hands can sign back to her. Electric rats and getting washed out of the sewer. Sounds like an adventure. I was saying that I think it's more likely that it's a multi powered evolved. Or possibly a science experiment. And yes I'm back. Missed yah. Then he goes back to hugging her, squeezing tight. The two that are still filthy do not get hugs as of yet.

“The stories are real,” Squeaks adds in a half sleepy mumble. “The monster rats that eat you up and leave your bones.” She didn’t bring that up earlier, when they were making their way home. It was brought up enough before getting washed into the river. “We saw them. They were people, now they’re just bones. No one will find them again.”

A hand drops and she fishes around until her fingers find the clothes Brynn left out for her. Then Squeaks drags herself up off the couch to take her turn at the shower. Hopefully she doesn’t fall asleep in there.

“If it was a mosaic they would’ve stored the food, or sold it, or something,” is Lance’s insistence there, holding up one hand finger thrust towards the air, “I’m telling you, the rats were slice.”

Then he’s turning his head with a frown, reaching out briefly to brush his hand over Squeaks’ shoulder as she gets up— clearly worried about the younger girl’s reaction to all that death. As she heads to the shower, he shifts and struggles to sit up, “Whatever it is, we told Agent Lin about it. We need to warn the rest of the homeless people too.”

If there's one thing Caspian splurged on in this place, it was the shower. That Seinfeld episode with the high-flow shower head? His Shower is kind of like that except not painful. A good massage that'll blast the dirt off and enough heat to leave your skin pink and rosy.

Squeaks is watched until the bathroom door is closed. “Squeaks is a tough girl. She's seen a lot in her years, but I do worry about her, getting numb to things now that she's opening up a little.” She's just so rote - they were dead, the monsters were real - like she was talking about a boring subject at school and not life and death.

“Does SESA have some way to contact them?” Caspian asks, looking to the gathered group. “I mean, you guys found one camp thanks to Squeaks. How many more are down there?” The stove gets a glance, Caspian heading to add a bottle of beer to the beans, stirring them with a big spotted spoon, letting the alcohol evaporate. “I really wish you guys wouldn't go down there again. At least, not in a group less than four, and not without exit routes and rubber boots to ground you out.” He actually sounds worried about them. “I know I'm kind of an adopted uncle, but I do worry about you guys. Hell, if you go, and I know you will, try to bring me next time. I've got some capacitors we could bring with. Maybe capture one of them. You know, for proof.”

Because electric rats sound crazy.

Brynn finally releases Joe from the hug and grins at him. See, that's what I said — a mosaic power or something. Slice rats just … I'm not even sure I want to think about that! Rolling her gray eyes, Brynn merely shrugs. She looks to Caspian, and as she watches him talk, something in her demeanor shifts subtly. She walks to the couch to drop down next to Lance, disregarding his smell. It's gross, but it doesn't bother her. She leans back in the cushions, making herself comfortable. But she says nothing else on the matter and merely keeps an eye on the conversation around her.

"Unless they are storing biomass to retake their human form? Rats aren't very heavy. Would take a lot of rats. Or if the evolved lost their mind to the swarm, like got subsumed? Or went crazy. So maybe they're like… increasing the swarm to retake human form? What if it's like Peter or Gabriel and they lived through their last battle? And are trying to get enough mass to become human again? If they have been rats so long maybe they… you know… have lost themselves. I know I said that but like…" Joe's shoulders lift in a quick shrug. He went crazy chalk for a moment, but he settles down and reaches over a hand to boop Squeaks on the nose lightly as she ambles past. He hopes that spot is clean, if it isn't well… he has pants to wipe it off on. He huffs a sigh and releases Brynn so she can go over to the couch, though his head turns to regard Caspian.

"Cas. I know you worry about us. And I know you've done a lot for us. And we appreciate it. We really do. But we've lived through a lot. We've lived through monsters, ghosts, monsters of the human variety, Humanis First, Assassination attempts, the deaths of our friends, the deaths of our caretakers. Plague, bombings. Encounters with armed military guys. Survival in the wilderness of Canada, coming back here and everything we've been through since we got here. We appreciate that you care, and we do appreciate that you worry. But trust me when I say that trying to control us? Is going to push us away. We've lived through too much, survived too much to let other people dictate to us what we can and can't do. That's a big part of why I had to leave for a bit. It was that or come into conflict with people we love. So I went looking for a man that knows too much to see if he could answer questions rather than come into conflict with our aunts. I love them, but they still think of us as children. Us going to them for help probably doesn't change that image, but we're not children. We haven't been children for a very long time. That was taken from us. Just like our families."

Joe's hands move the entire time he's talking, so that Brynn can see his hand movements and know what he's saying to Cas since by lips it'd be a lot to follow. "Part of why I was gone was because I got the chance to make a good chunk of money. And I know you did what you've done out of kindness, but we are also not moochers. Part of why I was gone so long that is. I've got some money, and I've got some food coming to me as well once it's divided up. Most of it is canned stuff since that's what will keep the best. I figured the canned food would help restock and stock for the future. The money though is to pay you back for some of what you've done." He offers Caspian a small smile. "We are a strange bunch, no denying. We are very close knit, but we're also very independent." Joe is the mouth of the group. Has been for a long time. Lance is the brain. Brynn is the heart. Joe is the mouth. "All that to say… please don't try to control us. It will push us away. And we like you. A lot. You're good peoples." He glances over towards Brynn and Lance to see if they confirm his statements. He's pretty positive they will, but surprises happen.
(I felt this pose was a bit harsher than I wanted, but I wasn’t sure how to soften that while still getting the message across. So Joe isn’t being like snarky or anything during the pose. Just felt like it needed a bit of explaining.)

There’s a long silence from Lance on the couch as Caspian gets protective, as Joe gets defensive, and as Brynn gets comfortable. He drops a hand to give her knee a reassuring squeeze, and then he blurts out:

“I’m going to get a job working for SESA.”

To his credit, Caspian doesn’t try to interrupt, cut off, or do anything of that sort. Joe often has important things to say - at great length. Where he keeps the air inside his body for things like that is a debate to be had later, but when he finishes, Caspian turns to face the group, leaning against the wall behind him. “I’m not wanting to control you. If it seems like I’m doing that, I’m sorry. I’d like to think I know better than that. And you said it best. You’re not kids, but the thing I’ve found myself leaning into is thinking you were. It’s not intentional at all, honestly. I mean…I remember when I was eighteen.” He points to Joe. “And it wasn’t a million years ago, just to cut off that witty comment.” Caspian allows himself a small grin before lowering himself to his seat again. “I mean, I remember those days. All the stuff that you went through at your age, I didn’t. That’s not to say I didn’t have hardships. Once the war started, I got to escape death squads, watched people die in drone strikes, evacuated across a war zone to walk halfway across the nation to get somewhere safe. Hell, I didn’t even know I was evolved until 2006, and the whole Humanis First thing never made it to my part of California or, at least, was kept out of sight.”

Out of sight, out of mind. That could have been the motto for the United States before the war.

He sits up a little, resting his elbows on his knees, his fingers linked together, thumbs twirling idly. “New York, the whole Evolved thing. That was a country away. I had started college when I heard about it on the news and stuff, but it wasn’t really real to anyone young until the coup and the war started.” he pauses for a second. “I’m not trying to trivialize - I’m trying to explain. Back then, we were insulated. We didn’t care unless it was affecting us in the moment, and were more concerned about the latest tech release, music trend, fashionable toy or whatever. I didn’t have connections. To anyone. I mean sure, my mom was in Kansas, but my dad died when I was like eight and my aunts and uncles were spread around to where we never saw anyone. It was just me, and I remember how lonely it got, growing up like that. It’s….selfish, I think. Wanting you around. You guys are the only family I’ve got.”

“Sorry. We’ll work on figuring out rent and stuff for the lair next door, how much food you guys have eaten, and we’ll go from there..”

And then Lance drops his bomb. Caspian’s eyes widen a little, the man sitting up and back, blowing a breath out of his nose. “Huh. They could use the help, I bet.”

Tilting her head as Joe's hands (and mouth) start flying hard, Brynn reaches over to squeeze Lance's hand where it rests on her leg. Joe puts a lot of words out there, but it's when Lance speaks up that she finally sighs. She doesn't follow some of what Caspian's saying — enough to get the gist that he's … apologizing? Explaining? She's not sure, but it does ease her vague tension that came about when he seemed to be presuming authority over them.

Keeping her signs to the more standard language Cas is working on learning, Brynn releases Lance's hand and speaks up. She's been thinking about the revelation the entire way back here from the library. It would be a good fit for you, Lance, if it's something you want to do. Her reactions might come as something of a surprise, but perhaps not — of all the teens in the group, Brynn is philosophically the least like Brian in her complete mistrust of government. She tends more toward the idea that Gillian and some others espoused — that just because some jack-offs took over and corrupted the whole system doesn't make the system itself a bad one. Though she's not exactly sure Joe will agree and she's worried about a rift between her brothers.

Agent Bowie and Agent Cesar have both seemed like really good people to me — people we would have liked to have in the Ferry. A lot of the Ferrymen were soldiers. Mr. Ben, Nurse Megan, Ms. Wireless… lots of others. As long as you keep your eyes and ears open and hold them to the standards that the Ferry taught us to expect… I think you'll do great. Brynn leans her head sideways to rest it on Lance's shoulder — she won't hug him til he showers. Ew! But she recaptures his hand and squeezes tightly, then looks up at him, giving him an emphatic nod to show her support.

Joe respects Caspian, a lot. He's a good man and he's done a lot for the LHK's. And so he stands, silent and he listens as Caspian speaks. He'll get to Lance's SESA outburst in a second. When Caspian finishes Joe nods his head, and walks over and gives Caspian a big hug. Like arms go around the other man and he even lifts him up off the ground. Big tight hug. And once he puts him down he nods his head again. "Good. I think that sounded harsher than I meant it to. But good. We know where we stand. We like you Cas. And I respect you a lot. Not just anyone does what you've done. I wish more people would. This world would be a lot better place if they did. So we're cool. I mean if you're not upset at me for going all Dad mode. Well, more Brian mode. But yeah. One day you'll meet Brian, and you'll understand where I get it from."

He reaches up a hand to pat Cas on the shoulder a few times. "Also if you ever need help on like a work run? Can totally help. I can pass tools and lug equipment and materials no problem. Heck I can get into some of the higher places if you need me too. Also I'm resistant to electric shocks so… there's that. Resistant, not immune. Just takes a little more juice to hit me." He flashes Caspian a quick grin, then turns slowly to face a Lance. "So… I mean being on the inside is a pretty good idea. I mean we even talked about it that one night after the cute agent girl came over to question us. I dunno that I'd be a good fit for SESA, but you totally are. And having you on the inside sounds like a good idea. Can help keep them honest, spot the fishy crap when it crops up, and you can give us the heads up when fishy stuff is going on. Good plan."

He throws up two thumbs up in Lance's direction after he finishes signing all of his words for Brynn, switching to ASL instead of Lighthouse Cant since she makes the switch too. Joe is definitely on the Brian side of the gubmint is bad. But he understands the value of having someone on the inside. He tips his head to what Brynn says and agrees with her, vocally and in sign. "Agreed. Agent Lin is cool peoples. And so was the girl. Agent uhhhh Bowman? Maybe. Something close to that. And Aunt Quinn is SESA too." So Joe agrees with Brynn. For entirely different reasons, but he does agree with her. Lance in SESA is a good idea. "So… tension and awkwardness past… how has everyone been?" He asks, his eyes panning around the whole group, from Caspian to Lance then over to Brynn.

Water from the other room shuts off with a squeaky squeaky turn and the hush of the shower goes away. It’s still a minute or two longer, before Squeaks reappears, all cleaned up again. No more sewer smell or anything like that clinging to her. Even though she’s more awake now that she’s been scrubbed, the aches and pains and exhaustion of the misadventures from yesterday are more evident.

Her return is slowed just a little, a half squint cast from Caspian to the siblings as they’re in a somewhat different order than when she’d left. But she makes no comment, instead Squeaks reaches up to poke Joe in the shoulder as she passes him. Then she settles down on a patch of carpet in front of the couch, with arms draped around knees and pillowing her head.

At that announcement, Lance is clearly bracing to be yelled at - or otherwise disapproved of - but when the opposite happens, he looks both relieved and a bit bemused. His fingers squeeze back against Brynn’s fingers, his head tilting to briefly press his cheek to her hair when she leans on his shoulder.

“You’re not invulnerable, Joe, be careful,” he comments, more or less automatically whenever his friend starts talking like that. At least he admitted he wasn’t immune this time. That’s progress.

“Thanks, guys,” he says with a faint smile, “I mean, I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, and Agent Lin and Robyn said I should, and even Gillian thought it was a good idea, so…”

He’s not expecting to be lifted off his feet in a hug, but there it is. Caspian is lifted bodily by Joe, arms to his side, looking down at the kid who has plucked him from terra firma. “Yeah, we’re cool.” he says once he’s back on the ground, rocking from the ‘pat’ on his shoulder, rubbing it with a grin. “I may take you up on that offer, Joe. I can always use an extra couple of hands, and as long as you respect electricity, it’ll treat you okay. I’m setting up an old police precinct with solar now, and I’m going to be taking care of Red Hook market soon, so i’m going to need another pair of skilled hands. Pay’s steady, and I know enough accounting tricks that’ll make it pretty good for both of us.”

“It is a good idea to join up with SESA.” Caspian says to Lance, turning to look at the man. “They’re always looking for more evolved people to work as agents. You’d need to ask them about training and stuff. Having someone sneaky like you around would be good, and you’ve got the right mindset for the job. That can’t hurt, either.”

Lance underestimated his siblings, clearly — Family is everything. And now that everyone's calm, Brynn's happy. She signs in answer, Oh, you know… doing good, aside from nasty-ass RATS. Joe knows exactly how creepy and scary Brynn finds rats. It's gonna stick with her a little while… along with the horror that came with them. But she'll manage. She grins. once Lance has a shower, I'll be much better … he's a little stinky still, she teases the kid who gets the last shower.

"Seriously though bro." Joe comments, looking over to Lance. "I think it's a good idea. And even aside from the whole having someone on the inside bit… you gotta do what's right for you. I want to help people, and though that's not my path I don't think… I understand why you'd want to go that route." Joe flashes one of his big grins at Lance before nodding his head along to what Caspian says in regards to work.

"Well, Lance probably already has more training than most of their recruits to be honest. Probably has more training than most of their active agents. And I don't just mean combat. We did espionage type training. Information gathering and investigation. Brian gave us a LOT of training in a lot of different fields. Wanted us to be ready when the war comes again. And I hope we don't end up needing that training. I mean we've used a fair bit of it already in our side adventures but… I hope that his fears, and mine… don't come to pass. But we're ready if they do."

Joe's shoulders lift in a gradual shrug, his attention swinging over to Brynn, a soft chuckle from Joe at her statement. "I really think I want to try to find these electric rats. Bet I could capture one. Tooth proof." Joe taps the skin on the back of his hand after signing his words for Brynn.

Squeaks hasn’t really formed an opinion on SESA, or Lance joining it, so she offers none. It’s a thing for people to do, who can do those things that SESA does. So if everyone else things it’s a fit for Lance, then she’s okay with that — so maybe she does have a little bit of an opinion on it. She definitely has thoughts about it, questions are forming, but they’re not spoken just yet.

With a slight lean to one side, Squeaks tips shoulders and head to rest against Brynn’s leg. Lance’s feet are nudged with her own. And Joe and Caspian are watched, while questions are built and disassembled and rebuilt. Until…

“Does See-sah make it easier or harder to be legal?” It’s asked, completely casual, like asking why ducks float in water. And Squeaks tips her head just enough to look at Lance after asking, since he’s the one who brought up becoming legal.

“You’re not zap proof,” Lance points out, literally pointing a finger at Joe, “But if Caspian made some kind’ve capacitor or something… that could do it.” Then he’s shifting, moving up to push to his feet as he grumbles, “Yeah, yeah. Shower, I got it.”

A grin’s flashed over to Squeaks, “Easier. I’d have more— influence, and stuff, so.”

“I don’t want to throw cold water on your idea, Lance, but I think you’re looking at it a little optimistically. You might have more influence as a SESA member, sure. As it sits, though, joining SESA would put you at the bottom of the totem pole, with rules, restrictions, and oaths that you’d be expected to uphold. You’d be given a minder, a boss to report to, and enough drudge work to make you want to tear your hair out.” Caspian sighs. “Hell, you don’t even know if you’d be stationed here in New York.”

He pushes himself to his feet and heads to the kitchen, the oven door rattling as he pulls the brisket from it, the good smoke smell intensifying as it comes into open air. It’s left on the stove, tented with foil, to rest, the man returning, leaning against the wall by the kitchen. “If you’d want, Squeaks, we can work on getting you legal. Got a place of residence already.” He means next door with the rest of the LHK’s. “Guardians in the case of pretty much everyone here. You might have to go to school…”

If Brynn could hear Caspian's comments, she would be giving him and exasperated expression for stepping on Lance's optimism — the Kids have little enough to hold onto as positives in this stupid world! But she was leaning her head back to close her eyes for a minute when he spoke — they're all pretty wiped out and banged up — so she missed it. She's comfortable there on the couch with Squeaks curled against her leg.

Joe is translating what Caspian says for Brynn so she can… see his comments at least. Well, she could if she were looking and not being a lazy bones and laying her head back after an exhausting day. What kind of LHK is she? "Okay. I'm tired. I needs bed. Lance you needs shower. Yes I'm not zap proof. Just zap resistant. And fall resistant. But you need shower, and I think we all need bed. And having a SESA agent would probably make it easier for you to get legal if that's what you want to do." No pressure from Joe for Squeaks to do so. Heck he doesn't even really want to be registered. But had to to stay in the Safe Zone. “Okay. I’mma grab my bag, and I’m heading to bed.” He steps over, leaning over and gives Brynn a hug, then scoots down the couch and gives Squeaks a hug. Lance gets… well a sort of hug. Then Joe is moving for his heavy backpack he dropped inside the door from the garage.

A baffled look is cast in Caspian’s direction, then angled up at Lance, as Squeaks absorbs both answers. It’s never been something she was worried about before, being legal. But it’s become a thing to think about. But those scary thoughts of being taken from the siblings are something that’s sometimes on her mind.

All that wondering is interrupted when Joe grabs her in a hug. And Squeaks wraps an arm around him to hug back. Then, since she’s been moved from one comfortable spot, and since Lance is getting up anyway, she slinks up into the vacant spot on the couch to get all comfy again.

Sleep does seem like a fine idea, after all, it cracks the younger girl’s jaws as she yawns. “Lance is taking care of it,” she explains of legal-ness. “I just wondered is all.”

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