Warnings and Gifts


doyle_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Warnings and Gifts
Synopsis A discussion of threats and problems, ranging from Mr Varlane to Liberty, and an exchange of gifts and promises for concern and advice.
Date October 30 2010

The Lighthouse

From the outside, the Lighthouse looks as if it has had better days. The massive tower rising out of the house has fallen from its former glory. It is no longer a shining beacon, guiding wayward ships in from the lost harbor — though some may argue its purpose now is even more admirable. In its current state, the lighthouse seems to be in disrepair. Though upon closer inspection it all seems to be in the details. The paint has chipped away, leaving a discolored patterns of grays, whites, off-whites, and more grays. The occasional graffitti tag is here or there along the large building. One would notice that the doors, the windows, and the integrity of the building are all quite sound and newly repaired. The lighthouse has just been left with the look of abandonement.

Inside is a completely different story. Upon entering the main door, one will find a completely furnished and cozy arrangement. A spacious living room lined with two large blue sofa's, facing each other, a coffee table between them and several large bean bag chairs have been planted in the room. Shelves have been hung on the wall to display various different pictures of the occupants. A large bookcase is against the wall, holding a large variety of books from Dr.Seuss to the Bible, and even a copy of the Qur'an. The living room is focused on the fireplace a small black fence encloses it, the wood stocked on the bricks in front of it.

Connected to the living room is a kitchen, complete with a large rectangular table capable of seating around four on each long side and two on each end. A sink, a stove, an oven, a microwave and two refrigerators complete the look. Several low and overhead cabinets line the kitchen. At the edge of the kitchen are a pair of doors, one leading to a bedroom and the other, which has a padlock on it, leads to the basement.

At the back of the living room a glass sliding door leads out into the backyard of the Lighthouse, but just before it a staircase leads to the upper levels of the structure.

It's been a distinctly long trip to get here, but behind Ygraine rests the extra bulk of the cargo compartment for her Triumph Tiger, the weight within somewhat pushing down the suspension of the bike even once she brings the great engine rumbling to a halt. Reaching up to pull off the dark-visored helmet, she peers somewhat dubiously up at the looming, peeling bulk of the Lighthouse, wondering if she has indeed found her way to remotely the right spot…

Bark! Bark! A golden-furred Chow catches sight of the approaching bike, tail lashing back and forth as she happily barks up a storm. Hailey, wearing a threadbare winter jacket, stops beside her watching Ygraine come up to the lighthouse uncertainly, but before she can call for someone else the door of the building opens up to permit the emergence of Eric Doyle into the autumn day.

The big man's dressed in a light baseball jacket, a ball cap perched on his balding pate and a smile beneath his scruffy beard. One hand lifts up, "…hey, Ygraine!"

The faux-redhead offers Doyle a broad grin, raising a gloved hand in greeting. "Hello, there", she says warmly - including the girl in her greeting, inclining her head to her.

Swinging off the bike amidst a creak of leathers, Ygraine arches her back - both hands pressing at her sides. "Oooh. This place is a pain to get to by road, but… I bring presents of a sort." She gestures grandly to the trio of cargo compartments attached to the rear end of the dirt-spattered black-and-chrome motorcycle.

"Presents?" Hailey looks hopeful, a tentative grin curving her lips once it's confirmed that the stranger's not an intruder. Hazel goes scampering up and over to Ygraine, sniffling at the bite and her feet with dog-like curiousity, tail waggling a mile a minute.

"I think that's the point, to keep it off the main track… I know I don't mind," Eric admits, heading over as well, reaching out to ruffle Hailey's blonde head en route, "Need help carrying anything?"

Ygraine sinks into a crouch to bid the little mutt welcome, quirking a somewhat lop-sided smile at Hailey. "I hope that you'll like at least some of it", she says rather apologetically, before looking to Eric. "Some help'd be welcome, certainly, though if there's anything else you ought to be doing, I can cope with transferring it all inside for you."

"Oh, no, not really…" A low chuckle as Doyle stops near the motorcycle, "…what do we got?"

Hailey shyly peeks up at her from around Doyle after creeping up, watching Hazel as the Chow hops up to lick at Ygraine's face. "She likes you," the little blonde points out.

Ygraine grins happily at Hailey, then gently ruffles the dog's ears before straightening up again… albeit with a slight wince. "What we have, I am afraid" - another apologetic glance is shot to Hailey - "is primarily school books. Though there are one or two other things in there that might appeal a bit more." As she talks, she delves into a pocket, withdrawing a set of small keys that she uses to open up panniers and back box.

"Ew. School books." Hailey wrinkles her nose, crouching down a bit and clapping her hands on her knees to become Hazel back over. The Chow Chow scampers back over and leaps up with an enthusiasm that nearly knocks the girl over, lapping at her face to the sound of girlish giggles.

Doyle exhales a low chuckle as he steps over to offer his arms for the carrying of books and other items, chiding, "You need to learn too, you know, Hailey. Not everything's fun and games."

Laughing, Ygraine shares a happy smile with Doyle, before levering up the lid of the big box. "I wasn't entirely sure quite what you needed, so I laid in a range of things for a range of grades. And I avoided the Texas State curriculum materials. But I also added a few other things… would you be interested in a music teacher, for example?"

A playful tongue is stuck out at Doyle, that is until the puppy licks it. "Ewww, Hazel!" Haily laughs, pushing the dog away in a not-really-pushing-it-away motion.

"A music teacher? Well, I'm sure some've the kids might be interested," Eric admits easily, reaching into the box to lift up an armload of books, "Why, you interested in teaching?"

It takes a few moments for Ygraine to stop giggling at Hailey, clear her throat, and focus upon Eric once more. "Me? Heh. I could offer some of the basics, I suppose. The same with art - I've had formal classes aplenty, so I could teach the simple, technical stuff. But no - Robyn's interested in helping out, and since she can play more instruments far better than me, and sings to a professional level to boot…."

The Briton carefully gathers up a hefty armload of books as well, seemingly finding it quite easy to balance them atop each other. "For myself, I could offer history, English and French primarily, I'd imagine. I've got a few other qualifications at university entrance level, though I'm probably rather rusty at most of it. And I can provide things like coaching in self defence, cycling, and the obscure irrelevances that are conflict analysis and international relations theory…."

"Oh! Well, if she wants to come out, I don't have any problem with it," Doyle says easily, "We don't get a whole lot of visitors up here, I'd be more'n happy to get some teaching going up here. I don't think that the kids want much international relations teaching, but I bet some of them would love to learn how to ride a bike." He grins, books gathered up in his arms, "Some of the older ones could probably do well knowing some self-defense too."

"Hey, I said it was an obscure irrelevance", Ygraine points out with a laugh. "But I'll provide whatever help I can, if you want it. I do have a couple of things to talk to you about, once we've moved all this inside, however…."

"Sure. C'mon, Hailey, let's get Hazel inside, okay?" Doyle carries the arm-lod of books along back towards the door of the Lighthouse with a cheery humming under his breath, teenager and dog happily trotting along beside him.

A few minutes later, the bike - which is apparently called Alfred - has been locked up, all the books (and a couple of pocket calculators) have been moved inside the Lighthouse, and Ygraine is unzipping her bike jacket and shaking out her long braid of dyed-red hair.

"I'm… impressed", she says appreciatively. "Very much so. I've heard this place mentioned a lot over time, but I've never made it out here before."

"You can't credit me for it," admits Eric as he sits down at the kitchen table while some of the kids explore the new books set up on the shelves for anything, "It's mostly Brian and Gillian that set the place up, I just… help out around here."

Ygraine glances towards the children, quirking a wry smile. "I think that you under-sell yourself", she gently tells the big man. "Rather badly so. I've seen how they respond to your presence, you know. You're far more than just 'a bit of help'."

Doyle shakes his head just a little bit. "That doesn't mean it's all 'cause of me," he says with a faint, almost wistful smile, "Anyway, you wanted to talk to me about something…?"

"But you are responsible for a lot of their happiness, I'd say", Ygraine murmurs, before pursing her lips. "Mmm, yes. A couple of things. Three, I suppose. One's making sure you've got contact details for myself and Robyn - so you can try to grab us, or just get me to deliver something. But the other two are… a bit more serious. D'you have anywhere private we can go for a chat?"

At the mention of their happiness, Eric flushes a little bit — ducking his head for a moment, then looking back up. "Sure, sure… and… uh. Not really." He glances towards the living room, "Kids shouldn't hear anything if we keep quiet, though."

"I'll try not to annoy you too much", Ygraine immediately responds, though her smile is slightly forced.

"Once through in the living room, she finishes removing her jacket, draping it over the arm of a chair before folding herself into another, settling down with a contented sigh. "Oooh, that's nice. So - do you want bad news about me, or about someone else to start with?"

"Oh," Doyle chuckles faintly, "Whatever you prefer. I'm used to bad news, trust me there…" A wry twist of a smile, one hand lifting to tug off his baseball cap.

Ygraine offers a sympathetic chuckle, inclining her head. "Well… simple one first, then: I finally managed to find a US citizen to front a civil rights campaign I've been looking to start for… a good while now. I'm just starting to advertise it, but… basically, it's based on something that worked very well in the UK. A campaign against compulsory registration for ID cards - without DNA sampling, or the… problems attached to identifying people as Evolved - raised the equivalent of a million dollars. With five times the population, legal structures set up for citizens to appeal against laws that affect them right up to the Supreme Court, and a far more invasive registration system…. Well. If it works, I might annoy the Powers That Be more than a little. And… since a number of Feds know I was involved in events in January oh-nine, I might be on my final chance as it is. So… associating with me might carry some new risks."

"So long as you don't do anything… illegal…" Eric sounds a little uncertain about that himself, "You should be okay— I mean— maybe? I don't put anything past them these days, though." He spreads his hands to either side, then, "Honestly, though, there's not much more danger that I can be in. I was in Moab."

"You're not publicly poking them. And… part of the point of this is that the US Constitution gives citizens a right to take the government to court any time that it reduces their rights or adversely affects them through the creation of a law or regulation - and Registration removes the rights people previously had protecting their DNA. Getting samples used to require law enforcement arguing their case before a judge, and a formal court order. Suddenly…."

Ygraine shrugs ruefully, and rather tiredly. "I didn't find a lawyer I spoke to who told me that I was wrong in my arguments. But I did get told by more than one that 'in the present climate', the legalities 'probably wouldn't matter'. And if I am identified as a foreign Evolved activist stirring up trouble for the US… I might well come under some active investigation."

"Anyway." She leans forward, resting her forearms on her knees. "The other warning might require some explanation. Have you heard anything about time travel?"

"They don't really care about the legalities at all anymore, Ygraine." It's quietly, soberly stated as Eric regards her steadily, "They weren't just locking people up in Moab… the security system? It was a woman with time control, kept chained to a floor twenty-four seven, with another evolved who could control her left as her keeper. And they didn't care what he did with her. And this was all… government approved."

"They'll just disappear you," he says quietly, "If you're going to be hitting them that hard."

Ygraine winces sharply. "That's part of the reason why I'm keeping the 'face' for the campaign in the dark about the Ferry. She's rich, a musician who's released albums, who's done media appearances as a Registered Evolved, and so on. If she's completely above-board then I'm hoping that the… difficulties of disappearing her, and the simple fact that any telepath could tell she knew nothing, will protect her. Me… well. If they wanted rid of me, they could have gone for me early last year, or blocked my visa any time I returned. They can still simply cancel it and throw me onto a plane any time they want. I've no right to be here at all. But yes, I have worried about being grabbed and disappeared. But… fighting them directly's the path of fools, and fighting them legally even if it doesn't win might at least get some more of the general populace thinking about what they're losing."

"A 'rich' musician?" Doyle's brow furrows a little at that, "Who is it? And… just be careful once you go public with this, Ygraine."

"Adelaide Naimarc", Ygraine responds with a slight smile. "She founded a group called 'Evolved Anonymous', some time back, to provide support for people… struggling with what they now found out they were. She's no politician, as yet, but… I'm hoping that she can fill the role. But yes - I'm bloody terrified of what the results might be. I'm about as scared now as I was when I first risked coming back here after what I got up to in January last year. I was really frightened that I'd be grabbed off the street, then. But…"

Sighing, the Briton sits back in her seat. "Running supplies to safehouses, doing odds and ends of maintenance work, and providing self-defence classes for the handful of people who accepted my offer of it - I can do more than that. And no one else is mounting a legal challenge, so this seems to be the most impact I can have. I've got the mechanisms and structures set up - mostly outside the US, thanks to the non-existent data protection set-up here - so 'disappearing' me won't actually do much at all to the possibilities the campaign presents. Which I hope will provide me - and those near me - with protection."

Shaking her head, Ygraine closes her eyes for a moment. "Gah. I hate thinking and talking like this, but… better to fight than cower, eh? Cowering, I could do in more comfort back in the UK. I'm here to try to make a difference."

Eric's lips twist into a grimace as he leans back in the chair, his forehead furrowing into a concerned series of lines. "Just… yeah, be careful, Ygraine," he says seriously, "Tossing you in jail isn't the worst thing that they can do to you. I've heard rumors about the raid on the hospital, and… I mean, it sounds like the Company was the lesser of two evils."

Ygraine winces, then sighs heavily. "I… feel guilty for how little I do already", she says quietly. "And for having a safe haven I could run to. I'm hugely fortunate compared to many. And since I can do more than the Ferry wants me to…."

Another shrug, then she offers a rueful smile. "Let me pass on my next warning, then you can get back to telling me to be careful, okay? Your concern is appreciated, I promise. Very much so."

"Alright!" Eric raises up his hands palm forward in surrender, a sigh whispering past his lips, "Alright. But don't say I didn't tell you so." He drops his hands back down, then, his head shaking slowly, "So what's the other warning?"

"I'm terrified, honestly", Ygraine murmurs. "Absolutely bloody terrified. I'm thinking it might make sense to leave the country for a visit back home right after we do the full release, so the administration have a window in which they can just rescind my visa and not let me back in, without making a fuss of it. But… yeah. Second warning."

She takes a deep breath. "I'll try to summarise this. There's… yet another war for control of the future state of the world going on. It's the second I've fought in, and I have the impression I've missed at least a couple… but this one's apparently being run by someone who can send people back in time. He's got the cunning plan of tweaking events, so that key people's lives change - or end - before they do things he doesn't want to come to pass. Making decisions, meeting other people, joining causes… you get the idea."

Leaning forward once more, Ygraine again rests her arms on her knees. "A number of people have been getting recruited to try to stop those changes from happening. Being sent back to counter-act the efforts of the… would-be editor of history. I was one of them. We managed to save someone's life. But your… least favourite tenant at Gun Hill was another."

Doyle's brow furrows, wrinkling between his eyes as he leans forward a little as if trying to understand her words - as if, perhaps, she's talking in some foreign language. "Oh… kay." He smiles a bit hesitantly, "This— are you joking? I mean, some kind of… time travel war?"

"I hope that I don't look as if I am", Ygraine says tiredly. "Heck, it's one of the theoretical applications of sufficiently potent warping of gravity, for example - and we both know that there are people who can tweak that. But… no. I promise I'm not joking. Not at all."

"The… key part of the warning is that… that tenant fulfilled all the warnings I gave people months back, when I told them he was already meeting every single requirement the UK, at least, has for locking people up in a 'mental health facility' for the public good. He got sent on a mission to the recent past. Blew the cover of Federal agents he somehow recognised. Kicked off an Evolved power fight in public. Made a point of waving around future-tech - that he then lost while there. Got himself and the person he was sent back with beaten into unconsciousness, then handed over to the Egyptian security forces. Y'know, one of the nice groups of people the CIA was sending people to for torture, back in the days of 'extraordinary rendition'. They wound up being rescued by the guy whose life they were meant to be there to keep on track."

"I…" Eric looks rather pained, "…wait, someone actually sent Magnes into the… past? And he didn't somehow destroy the universe or something?"

"He had a damn good shot at it", Ygraine replies - though Eric's response does prompt a weary smile. "There's more - he seemed to know and like someone whom I know led an effort to exterminate humanity, back in January oh-nine. But… the key warning is that even when he knows the fate of the world is at stake, he doesn't merely fail to get things right, he goes out of his way to create new ways of fucking up. He brought along a very recent model of phone specifcally so that he could wave it at people and claim to work for a fictional agency from one of his comics, apparently."

Doyle rests his elbows on the table, face falling into his hands. "I swear to God," he mutters against his fingers, "I should've killed him when I had the chance. It would've saved everybody a hell of a lot of trouble."

"I… wouldn't go that far", Ygraine says uncomfortably. "Though I admit that I've entertained a few… soothing fantasies of doing so. But… Christ. He literally seems to be incapable of recognising cause and effect for his actions. The guy who rescued them - the one whose life they were meant to keep on track - seems to've been not merely a government black operations specialist… but a renegade black ops man. Magnes stirred up so much shit that he felt he had to find out what was going on - and he told them that he'd killed people to get them out."

Ygraine closes her eyes. "Robyn told me that at that point, while standing in the desert, at night, as fugitives from the law, with someone who said he'd killed police to get them out… Magnes claimed to be his son. And shortly thereafter offered to fly them back to Cairo. Pre-Bomb. Fly to one of the largest and busiest cities on Earth, which he'd just… gyah."

"Why are you even telling me this?" Eric's forehead wrinkles into fine lines as he gives her a pained look, one hand sweeping to the side, "I mean, it's— it's not like he's my problem anymore. I don't even think anyone in the Ferry network tells him anything anymore, he's a delusional idiot."

Ygraine shrugs slowly. "Because safehouse operators seem to be as high in the Ferry as I can get anyone to listen to me - and because the people higher up, if they do know this, haven't been passing on the warning so that people lower down know not to touch him with a barge-pole. I've not seen any announcement about keeping him in the dark or avoiding him, and I deliver many of the messages. He fancies himself a do-gooder and a genius, and there is meant to be an on-going effort to provide the kids with education. If nothing else, I was worried that might lead him to want to start spending time here."

"Oh, there's no chance of that," Doyle replies with a roll of his eyes, lifting one hand palm up, "I already forbade him from any contact with the kids. They like him, but… he's way too dangerous. I'm not letting him within a mile of my kids."

"Good", Ygraine says warmly, clearly relieved. "I… Christ. I know it sounds insane - but if you know there someone out there who, if given the chance, will endanger the future of the whole world… don't you have to warn the people who'll listen? I've been trying to get hold of a councillor for weeks now. A couple of days ago, I even put out a general appeal through the network for any of them to contact me so that we could arrange a meeting. I decided to give up and warn the safehouse operators directly, and… well. I'm sorry for… dumping this on you. But I trust you."

"I don't even know why they trust me at all," admits Doyle in rue-painted tones, his head shaking slowly from side to side, "There really isn't anything I can do, I mean— I guess I can try to talk to someone? I'm not sure who I can get in touch with, maybe Gillian or Brian'll know. I'm sure as hell not letting the crazy kid anywhere near the Lighthouse anymore, though."

"If the people who actually handle the basic operations of the Ferry know, then… it'll be a great deal harder for him to screw anything else up for our members. At least directly. And that seems to be the best I can hope for", Ygraine responds, equally ruefully. "I'm going to see if I can get some others to listen to me. Get the word spread. And… see if I can find out if there's any response planned to the 'flash' events. Again, I've not seen any evidence of that. Which scares me even more. But… I hope that you don't have to be part of that, at all."

"I… don't think we're in danger here?" Doyle grimaces a little, admitting, "I don't know much about it— I mean, all of that. I don't get a lot of news sometimes, and it's probably best, I just worry about the kids and take care of them. I really should talk to Gillian, though, I think there were plans at some point to move the orphanage…"

"I'm… not wholly sure how far it extends, but the 'net seemed to suggest you'd be safe out here", Ygraine agrees. "I was part of a little effort to round up visions, and pass them on to the high-ups. I've no idea what came of that. I thought I was doing it so they'd have more data to assess - judge how and where to commit resources, who to move elsewhere… that sort of thing. But if they have done that… again, totally in the dark."

She shakes her head, then musters a smile. "You stay safe, and keep the kids safe. If you want to move - or go for a trip out of the city for a few days - I'll help. Just call on me. And I'll try to find out from other operators what they're aware of and what they're doing. 'Cause some are in the danger areas…."

"Let me know about the whole… teaching thing too," Doyle asks easily, "I'll talk to Gillian, we should really get some better schooling and such set up around here anyway."

"If you don't think I'm too much of a risk to have around, I can start whenever you want. Slot it in around couriering", Ygraine says warmly. "And I can haul Robyn out here from time to time, too. She's nervous about teaching, but she's sure she wants to give it a go. But for now - how about I make us some tea while you have a look through the textbooks and see what you'd most like help with?"

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