Welcome To Endgame North


graeme_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif remi_icon.gif ygraine2_icon.gif

with cameos by

luis_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif
Scene Title Welcome to Endgame North
Synopsis A few battered warriors against the apocalypse reunite… in markedly peaceful surroundings. They bring with them additional fugitives.
Date Novemver 16 2011

Kabetogama Resort, Minnesota

For the Cambridge portion of the Endgame expeditionary force - a.k.a the Totally Coincidental Deveaux Society Strike Team (plus extras) - the last leg of the trip to Minnesota has been quite carefully planned. Ygraine slept in the moving car for a couple of hours, before taking over the driving herself and letting Graeme catch half an hour of shut-eye in turn. Thereafter, she and Graeme could both be awake and alert as they covered the very last stretch of road.

That Remi had at last recovered from her migraine was not something they had dared to count on… but the addition of a compos mentis telepath made for a welcome addition to their security.

Not that it seemed to be needed at any point in the last few days. Arriving at motels after dark and leaving before dawn made for a somewhat grim experience, but also one in which few questions were asked of their little group. The smuggling cross-country of a wounded old scientist and a comatose young woman had proved to be a remarkably simple affair.

Now, Ygraine is behind the wheel, with her surplus military goggles hung around her neck in case killing the lights and evading an ambush is required. Graeme gets to ride shotgun, and Remi can focus upon the invisible side of things. Tamara sleeps on - an activity in which she is presently joined by the Great Dane, Odin. And Doctor Luis suffers, slumbering fitfully under his latest dose of medication; his last self-assessment suggesting that he was starting to succumb to further problems caused by too many days
of travel on a fresh injury.

Still, as the SUV borrowed from Graeme’s contacts near Boston completes its long journey into the middle of nowhere, all seems remarkably peaceful. Restful, even.

At least there’s an end goal that’s not an abandoned car, a burned out building, an abandoned tract house or, worst of all, a Motel 6 on the interstate. The eventual goal is Jaiden’s Kabetogama Resort on the shores of beautiful Lake Kabetogama in Minnesota. During the summer, this is a bustling tourist town, but in the beginning of winter means that there is almost no-one around, which is great when you’re trying to escape from the insanity of the city, government death squads, pro and anti-evo riots, and potential incarceration. It’s also cold. Real cold, in fact, the temperature hovering close to 20f and dropping. The roads have recently been cleared by the park service, but with the snow starting to fall, getting to where you need to be is quite important.

The directions were simple - get on US Highway 53 and head north, through Glendale, and past Ash Lake. This will take a few hours. Watch for moose and deer and when you see a sign for Lake Kabetogama, turn right on that road. Follow it until the first major intersection. Turn right. Continue on that road until you see a curve and follow the driveway up. There will be a sign. Park and get out. And that’s it. You’re there.

The first sight of the driveway, liberally salted and covered with metallic mesh to allow easy entry, is more than likely a relief to the passengers crowded into the SUV. When they drive through, the automatic gate closes behind them with a metallic screech. And, as they drive closer, the sight of a familiar large shape standing on the porch, backlit by the porchlight, watching the SUV make its way into the parking space by the house, probably causes a gigantic surge of relief too. It’s Jaiden.

Jaiden makes his way down the stairs - gingerly - using a cane to help himself hobble along, to meet his guests. Bundled tightly in jacket, hat, gloves, and thick pants to keep the heat in, he reaches over to open the driver’s side door. “Welcome to ENDGAME north, Ladies and Gentlemen.” he says, peering into the SUV. “Let’s get you inside where it’s warm and do a little catching up. I’ve got stew on.”

When they get to the driveway, when Jaiden comes into sight, Graeme lets out a breath that he probably didn't even consciously know he was holding. But he does at least wait until Ygraine has pulled the SUV to a halt before letting himself out and going around the car to greet Jaiden. Never mind the fact that Graeme's wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, the cold doesn't seem to bother him, or even register, and they're not going to be outside in it for that long anyway. Instead, his teeth catch worriedly on his lower lip, and Jaiden's cane gets a long glance and a furrow of brow, a half stifled 'what happened are you okay' that never quite gets verbalised.

Whatever else Graeme was going to say, though, his stomach wins out, and he looks in the direction of the cabin. "I hope you made a lot…" he murmurs.

Another moment of chewing at his lower lip, and Graeme pauses from going to get their bags, to hug Jaiden for a long moment, tightly. "I'm sorry," he says, quiet enough that it's only for the two of them, the drawl creeping back into his voice like it does when there's anything particularly important being said. But for all that the former teacher is usually eloquent, words are still escaping him. "It… Ygraine told me, before we got on our way up here…"

There's not much else that he can say, and he doesn't try, pulling away to gently set a hand on Jaiden's shoulder for a moment longer. "We'll get through this," he adds, and then glances towards the rest of his companions.

Blue eyes watch the road as they drive along, the telepath snuggled into a heavy down coat that they picked up along the way. The headache cleared up yesterday, thankfully, and she’s been much more alert than she was prior to this development — though she is still incredibly pensive, locked into her thoughts about all that she has witnessed.

As they pull up the long driveway to the cabins, she perks up — especially as she reaches out and finds that one familiar mind she was looking forward to seeing the most. She can hardly wait until they come to a stop before she’s slipping out of the car, moving through the snow to the hydrokinetic and flinging her arms around him.

“«I was so worried about you!»” This is all but shouted in French, before the telepath quiets her voice a little. “I’m so glad you’re okay,” she murmurs in a softer tone, seemingly content to just…cling to Jaiden. Tears come along with this proclamation, steaming in the cold air before soaking into the man’s coat.

Ygraine raises a hand in greeting to Jaiden, taking a few moments to just enjoy being stationary at their destination after so much time in motion (or in motels)… then she finds herself laughing and shaking her head as her door-opening valet gets enthusiastically greeted by her mobile companions.

“Be careful lest Odin join in,” she warns no one in particular. Unfolding out of the car, she groans a little in response to her spine’s protest at the change in position, before reaching out and joining Graeme in resting a hand on Jaiden’s shoulder.

“Migraine, recovered,” she informs him, nodding to Remi. “Graeme discovered that he can recover from acute radiation poisoning. I broke the space-time continuum a bit. We all got Evolved-nuked - the second time it’s happened, for me. We’ve got Tamara in a coma, and one fugitive scientist with a back wound and developing sepsis… but we have his own medical knowledge and a good supply of antibiotics for that. And the dog’s absolutely fine.” She nods to Odin inside the car.

“All told, we’re in pretty good shape. Our guests,” another nod to the car, “I should move inside shortly. But first….” She steps in, carefully joining Remi in latching onto Jaiden, wary of applying either pressure or friction lest she find his electrical burns.

Stepping back from the vehicle as the engine shuts off, Jaiden carefully plugs in an extension cord to the block heater to keep the engine block pushing out the freeze plugs or, worse, cracking due to the low temperatures. This does take a little longer than it usually would but he's straightening just in time for Graeme to come by and clap him on the shoulder - his good one, thankfully. "Don't worry. I've got a couple of gallons of the stuff, plus a pan of cornbread. We'll get another batch going once we're inside." He finds himself grinning a little. "Gonna eat me out of house and home, you and your metabolism, Graeme."

"Thanks." The grin vanishes at the thought of Elisabeth, Jaiden's right arm coming up to give the other man a proper hug, his voice quieter. "We'll talk about it more inside."

Remi's enthusiastic greeting nearly knocks him off his feet but, thankfully, positioning, his cane, and Graeme keep him from tumbling. "I'm glad to see you too, Remi. A little worse for wear, but nothing that won't fix itself with time and rest." He loops his cane in the hammer strap on his pants and gives Remi a hug with his left arm - notably not as strong as the right.

Ygraine's succinct summarization is greeted with a nod, the man leaning into the group hug with all of them - Graeme being irradiated getting a bit of a sidelong look - before businesslike Jaiden gets into gear again. "Okay, everyone…" He detaches himself from the tangle of arms. "As wonderful as this reunion is, it's below freezing and we're not all as hardy as Graeme. Let's get those what need medical care into the infirmary at the main house, the people who need keys to their cabins, some warm clothes if you need them, the dog fed - he's housebroken, right?" Graeme gets a quick questioning look before he continues. "and…." he trails off, shaking his head. "Let's figure out what we do next."

Graeme nods, and glances to Ygraine. The quiet response to Jaiden follows. "I know," he murmurs, but then more in general says. "I'll get the bags, you get our friends there," he looks over to where Tamara sleeps and Doctor Luis rests.

Odin's tail wags, though for the moment the dog doesn't seem interested in being separated from where he (now awake) keeps watch over Tamara. "Yeah, no, he's fine," the former teacher says. "I'll have to spend a day teaching him what rooms he's not allowed in, and if anyone he doesn't know shows up… worst that happens is he sits on them while he waits for one of us to intervene."

There's a movement to steady Jaiden, automatic, and another glance down to the other man's cane with a sharp furrow of brow. "A little worse for the wear," he repeats, and shakes his head. "I'll help out around here while I'm up here, while I can."

After spending a moment simply reveling in Jaiden’s presence, Remi releases the hydrokinetic, stepping back and gathering her winter coat a little tighter. “Yes, let’s go inside,” she murmurs softly, placing one hand on Jaiden’s arm briefly.

Then, she slips toward the main house, apparently quite eager to get out of the cold and into the warmth of a house. Also, not being in a car driving over terrifyingly icy roads is an added bonus.

Ygraine also detaches herself from Jaiden, mustering a wan smile for her companions before she moves to open one of the car’s rear doors. “The Doctor is likely to be most comfortable - or least uncomfortable, anyway - if someone helps him to walk. Carrying him with the back injury’s something I want to avoid. As for Tamara….”

She leans into the car - exposing the neat bullet-hole in the back of her leathers - and sets about unfastening safety measures. A reorientation of Tamara’s gravity smoothly slides the unconsconscious blonde into her arms, her limbs and head settling against the Briton as one element of nature’s power is nudged into a new path.

Straightening up, Ygraine seems to have no problem coping with the slender young woman’s weight. “I’ve got some deliveries to make, for anyone who’s made it here,” she informs Jaiden. “But first, I’d like to get Tamara and the Doctor put to bed in the warm. And a dose of antibiotics into him, too. I’ll stake out a patch of floor with them, if there’s not another bed going spare close by: compared to you guys my running-away preparations were woefully inadequate, but they did include a bedroll and a really good sleeping bag. I’ll be fine so long as I can stretch out.”

“This time of year, there’s not much to do around here, Graeme. Managed to get most of the place set up by calling in some favors with a friend or two up here, just in case I ended up a half-cripple while saving the world.” A little bit of gallows humor from Jaiden there, once he steadies himself with his cane. “Give me a few weeks of rest and I’ll be back to causing all sorts of problems, don’t you worry.” Odin gets offered a hand, fingers curled in, to sniff and a scratch behind the ears if he seems accommodating. “Keeping this horse fed might be a chore. We’ll run to the border for some dog food tomorrow morning. I think I have some stew meat bouncing around still that’ll fill his belly.”

Jaiden watches as Remi makes her way to the house, letting out a soft sigh, before turning to watch Ygraine effortlessly lift Tamara from the car, thanks to her thing with gravity. The bullet hole in her leathers, though, gets Jaiden into motion. “Let’s take care of the sick and wounded first before handing out things, Ygraine. There’re beds in the house, so unless you want a plot of floor, I’d suggest you take a bed.” He does chuckle a little at her comment about his preparations. “Don’t go comparing to me. I’m on the far right of the bell curve, as far as things like that go. A major outlier.” Back to business.

“So far it’s just your group that’s made it here. God willing more will be arriving soon.” Jaiden looks over the plot of land - the entirety of ENDGAME, as far as he knows, before starting to head for the house. “Injuries go through the front door, down the hall straight ahead to the infirmary. That means you too, Ygraine, if you still have that bullet in your back.” This is an order, almost, rather than a request. He mounts the stairs one at a time, barges through the front door and clomps down the hall as indicated, lights going on as he moves through the rooms towards the infirmary.

Inside this small room are two beds and a small surgical table against a wall, with a big light on the ceiling just in case some kind of life-saving surgery is required or a bullet needs to be pulled. The kitchen is next door with a ready supply of water for washing up and an autoclave for keeping things mostly sterile. Jaiden is in the pantry, already through a locked gate, rummaging around in a cabinet. “I don’t suppose you know if the doctor’s allergic to Amoxicillin or Azitrhomycin?” Jaiden calls out, considering his options for a moment, putting the first back, the foil package of the second opened and a clean syringe pulled out. “And has his wound been cleaned? Has yours?” This is directed pointedly at Ygraine.

"Well, let's get things settled until then," the former teacher agrees. Graeme glances at Ygraine, but for the moment simply helps out as directed with getting Luis into the infirmary and settled, getting various bags and things brought into the main house at least to stage for the moment, and ends up leaning on the door between the infirmary and the hallway, unwilling to enter it a second time now that he has Odin with him.

"She was wearing a vest," Graeme says, matter-of-factly. "Luckily enough."

Ygraine shoots Jaiden a look of fondly grateful amusement. “I’m flattered that you think I’m tough enough to be moving around like this if I had a bullet in my back. Or perhaps I should be mortified at how badly I’m moving that you think a gunshot’s a credible explanation, I suppose….”

The humour fades, as she takes care over navigating the doorways with the blonde in her arms - darting a glance ahead to where Remi has already disappeared in pursuit of the welcome warmth of food and drink.

“I was promised one of the power armour suits, for when Endgame went to war. That plan changed when it became clear that we were teaming up with rather a lot of people, who’d got ever so slightly more field experience than me. Two or three decades more, I believe, for the ones who got “our” suits. And it was hoped that my three-dimensional movement might make evacuating the Ark’s detainees easier - sadly, it turned out they’d designed the place so that it’d be an absolute bitch to get anyone except myself through the vents and ducts. But I was given one of Warren’s bullet-proof vests as a consolation. And this time, the bullet hit me on it. I wasn’t even bruised, really. So, I promise: absolutely no need for hydrokinetic power-cleaning of my insides on this occasion. Sorry to disappoint.”

She fires a wink and grin at Jaiden, evidently not thinking that he really did want to share anything like that experience again.

“Doctor Luis has medical expertise, and has been providing directions on his own treatment. The problem’s really just that we’ve been making him get bounced around in a car for eight hours a day while having to rest at least some weight on a fresh injury. I can cheat with gravity, but not momentum and friction. We’ve been doing what we can each time we stop, and we’ve got the necessary antibiotics… but what we’ve really been needing was to stop aggravating the wound. Maybe if we’d stuck to nothing but the smoothest of roads at twenty five miles an hour we could have kept vibration and jolts to an absolute minimum… but we’d still be a couple of States away if we’d tried that. It should have a chance to heal properly now we’re here.”

“Anyway… how about I put Tamara to bed, and you guys help the Doctor with the latest dose of antibiotics and anything he needs done with the wound right now, then we convene for some of that food? I can make my delivery then.”

“Adrenaline is a hell of a thing.” Jaiden counters, replacing the syringe of Azitrhomycin in its container, sealing it up and putting it back in the cooler for use later. “Graeme aside, I’ve actually run with a broken knee for two days to get out of a sticky situation. It’s probably why the electricity went down that leg instead of the other one - all that silver wire wrapped around the joint.” He reaches down to rub his left knee with his left hand, the right supporting him on the countertop next to him, straightening after a moment and emerging from the storeroom to listen to the rest of Ygraine’s explanations. A frown comes with the passing off of armour to someone with more experience, but the whole ‘hey, you at least get something’ gets a soft sigh and a nod. “Thank goodness for small miracles, then. You running into soldiers who fired for center mass instead of getting cute and trying to aim for extremities for wounding. Shows they didn’t really put their best troops in the Ark. I guess they never saw an attack as a possibility.” He leans against the counter. “And, truth be told, Ygraine, as lovely as it would be seeing you in your starkers while I worked on your back, having you uninjured is worth the sacrifice. Besides…if you got shot a second time, that’d mean you were ahead, and I’d need to get shot to tie the score. Not something I want to do.”

“Get Tamara into bed over there, and when you’re done, go ahead and eat. I’ll get the doctor buttoned up.” Jaiden says, looking to the gathered group. “If you’d like to stay, that’s fine. I could use an assistant for a few things.” Dr. Luis gets the full work up before being laid in one of the beds, his dirty clothes are stripped off, a lovely shot of lidocane making things work a little less painful before his wound is cleaned, dressed, disinfected, the stitches pulled and re-done with actual stitching and antibiotic packing - not battlefield stuff - before he’s put down to sleep. Jaiden does all of this almost wordlessly, only asking for a suture kit (third shelf in the storeroom, blue column, second from the top) and a clean t-shirt for the doctor. And then - only then, once all is said and done, does Jaiden relax a little, removing his latex gloves and tossing them into the bin by the door. “Come on, let’s go eat.” he says to anyone who might have stayed.

The small kitchen/dining room is just through the door on the west wall, the stew tantalizing those with empty bellies who are searching for calories. It seems Remi has already made herself some, judging from the missing bowl and large chunk of cornbread hacked out of the corner of one of the two pans. Jaiden’ll hunt her down later and put her into one of the solo cabins - knowing the telepath, being crammed into a car for however many days would be like listening to five radios all tuned to a different station, plus having a dog barking at the same time. He makes himself a bowl of the stew and gets a chunk of cornbread along with a glass of cold water before making his way to the living room slash conversation pit where a fire is brightly burning, a stack of wood next to the fireplace to keep it going, and a pair of comfortable full-sized couches and a pair of armchairs facing the fire - one of which Jaiden takes, kicking his bad leg up on the ottoman.

By the time that they get done and Jaiden comes out, Graeme is on his second bowl of stew, settled sitting on the floor with his back to the wall near the fireplace, and Odin sprawled out next to him about as close to the fire as is comfortable (this is presumably the reason that the former teacher is sitting on the floor, aside from his usual preference to do so). The others are acknowledged with nods, and several mouthfuls of stew later, Graeme actually speaks.

"I didn't know," he says, "that number of times having been shot was a competition." There's a brief, strained grin that follows, and a sigh. And silence. It's hard to find words to say, at the moment, at least for Graeme. "Food's good," he adds.

“The shot was aimed at Tamara, so I’m not even sure it’d really have ‘counted’,” Ygraine protests, managing to conjure up a smile. “Particularly since it still clipped her arm as I was tackling her, before hitting me.” Who fired it, she opts to leave unsaid for the time being.

She coped with the medical work pretty well, not only having been dealing with that specific injury for some days, but having her years of racing experience - and a consequently large array of high-speed crashes - to call upon. Still, she very visibly relaxes a lot more once able to sit down and grab a bowl of food in freshly-washed hands. Her own chosen spot is an armchair, though she resists the temptation to try to curl up in it while still clad in her leathers.

“It’s… good to be here. And I’d very much like to just relax. But….” A slight sigh, and she focuses upon Jaiden. Graeme (and Remi, should she be listening by one means or another) can probably guess what is coming. “I… prepared gifts for people. Artwork. In case I didn’t make it back. I left the pages tucked into my sketchbook, figuring that someone would find them sooner or later, and be able to hand them out.”

She leans forward, carefully setting her bowl down. “Liz… was more organised and more competent. No surprise there.” A quick, fond smile flickers across her lips. “She left each of us a gift. When I got back to the safehouse, I collected them all, and I’ve been handing them out as I can.” She delves into her jacket, hand emerging a moment later with a padded parcel envelope; quite small and rumpled, but labelled in her own writing with ‘Jaiden’.

Rising to her feet, she advances to offer it to him. “For you to read, and listen to, whenever you’re ready,” she says gently. “Whether that’s right now, or later, we’ll understand either way. But this is specifically for you, from her.”

Jaiden surveys his domain - and his friends - for a moment or two. Odin being by the fire was exactly where Jaiden spent the first couple of days after arriving; the blankets mounded up next to the hearth were evidence of that. "Unofficial competition. I got shot going back in time to save Elisabeth from being murdered before she could do any of the good she did, and then under the dome, Ygraine got shot…what was it, going after those guys hoarding supplies? So we were tied at that point and content to not go any further. And then here goes Ms. Fitzroy, getting shot, trying to one-up me in the injury game…" Jaiden chuckles softly, taking a mouthful of stew as Ygraine speaks.

Setting his bowl aside, Jaiden leans forward, fingers steepled, as Ygraine tells about her artwork. Each one of them made some kind of preparations in case they didn't make it back - a way to say that, even in the end, their friends were on their minds. It's a sobering thing to write a letter, not knowing if it's the right words and knowing, somewhere deep in your gut, that it's the last thing anyone will hear from you. "Thank you." Jaiden says softly, taking the padded envelope, turning it over in his hands, sitting back in the chair morosely, leaving it sitting there on the arm to be read and listened to later.

Graeme's free hand tucks into his pocket, and after a long silence he says, "Well, let's all of us try to continue not getting shot, yeah?"

There's a silence, during which Graeme pets Odin. He looks at Ygraine, and says, "I was thinking about it, a bit on the drive." A moment of thoughtful pause, and the former teacher continues. "I think that the sketches could just as well be a reaffirmation that well." Another pause, staring into the fire rather than at either of the others. "We made it." He chews on his lower lip, takes a deep breath. "We need to remember that as well. Hold onto each other, because we have each other. And that has to matter."

"That has to be enough." He says this, and even with the pausing, there's a firmness to the tone used, before Graeme falls silent and turns his attention back down to his bowl of stew.

Ygraine lingers a moment, perhaps reluctant to be seen to distance herself from Jaiden… but she returns to her chair, shrugging out of her jacket before sitting down and reclaiming her bowl of food. “I… I admit that I was thinking of handing out the drawings, when… people had been able to recover a little. It’s a form of art that lets people read a great deal of what they want into something. But that also means that if I hand them out when everyone’s at the end of their tether and thinking of Liz….”

She smiles wryly, shrugging a little. “So, ahh, yeah. I was thinking that maybe once we’re doing a bit better, we could have a big group meal or something. And I can mortify you with the need to find something nice to say about bits of paper I thrust at you. But… I agree absolutely. I did already, I mean. That we need to keep the family going, through thick and thin. We’re better when we look out for each other.”

“Thanksgiving is coming up.” Jaiden says, looking to Ygraine. “American Holiday to commemorate the arrival of the first settlers to North America. I just think it’s an excuse to eat lots of food and get together with family. Which…to be fair, is something I think we could all use.” Jaiden’s brow wrinkles as he thinks. “I should have a turkey frozen, but we can get into town in the next couple of days and pick up a few things. Thankfully cash is king up here and they’ve got a Wal Mart that’s fairly well stocked. Gives me an excuse to get some things we may need…warm clothes and the like. Get a list together and I’ll head out in the next day or so. It’s a short trip, too, so if anyone wants to see what passes as civilization up here, you’re more than welcome.” Jaiden’s chair and Ygraine’s Chair are close together, so Jaiden is able to reach over and give the woman a pat on the shoulder, nodding to Graeme. “It’s going to be enough. We’re going to get through this.” There’s the tone everyone is used to hearing from Jaiden. “We have to.”

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