What Is Your Name?


greg_icon.gif sharrow_icon.gif yi-min_icon.gif

Scene Title What Is Your Name?
Synopsis Yi-Min visits Sharrow in the aftermath of the catastrophe north of Providence.
Date September 3, 2019

A strong, warm wind blows across rocky hills dotted with scrub grass. In the drizzling rain and light fog the remote forests beyond these hills look like daubs of green paint amid a gray palette wash. Overhead, the sky is a pale matte sheet of near white, stretching out into the infinite. The only darkness to be seen is a man, standing on that grassy hillside in a dark suit, umbrella opened to shield him from the rain.

“We’ll be leaving soon,” Charles Sharrow says to two others who walk alongside him. “This country has been good to us, but there is a time rapidly approaching where we will need to continue our work in earnest.” To Sharrow’s right, shielded by his own umbrella, Sharrow’s son Gregory inclines his head into what is nearly a nod, but feels more uncertain. “What troubles you?” He asks his son.

“It’s nothing,” Greg says in return, lips downturned into a frown. But Sharrow doesn’t believe that, and his stare to his son pierces through that silence. “It’s just… shouldn’t we go alone? The two of us and Lowell would be more than enough to— ”

“Father isn’t a porcelain doll.”

At Sharrow’s left stands a dignified woman, his daughter. She too, shadowed by an umbrella. “He isn’t going to break because he’s come off the shelf.” Greg withers a bit at her observation, sucking in a slow breath before exhaling a steady sigh.

“That isn’t what I meant,” Greg lies, and both his father and sister recognize it. “I just think that it’s safer for the long-term survival of our organization if you aren’t put in harm’s way.”

Sharrow shakes his head, coming to a stop to put a hand on his son’s shoulder. “What I do is on faith, Gregory. Your sister understands this. That faith is more powerful than any physical bond. I believe, as you and your sister believe, Kazimir Volken was the way. We will follow his path, from the end of his life to the beginning of the next, regardless of our own well-being. Regardless of mine.”

His daughter steps in beside him, and she too places a hand on Greg’s shoulder atop her father’s. “What is your name?” She asks him.

Greg considers for a moment, then answers, “Freyr.” There is pride in his voice.

“What is Freyr?” She asks.

“Kinship, prosperity.” Greg replies.

“What is father’s name?” She asks.

Njord.” Greg responds again, this time seeing where his sister is going and continuing the pattern. “Wealth, wind, and the sea.”

“What is my name?” She asks Greg. He looks up at her, breathing in deeply.

Freyja,” Greg responds. “You are love and war.”

“If anything happens to father,” Freyja says with a squeeze of Sharrow’s hand atop Greg’s shoulder. “That is the way of things. And we will continue on in his place.”

“In prosperity, love, and war.”

Four Years Later

Sentinel Compound

Providence, NJ Pine Barrens

September 3rd

3:27 pm

It is raining, coming down in heavy sheets that rumble across the old rooftop of a remote farmhouse on the outskirts of Providence. Amid the banks of rolling fog the building looks like something out of a Southern Gothic tale, with its overgrown grounds and twisting, dead trees flanking the dirt driveway leading up to the front door.

Inside that house, armed security stands watch over the entrances. Mercenaries of varied backgrounds and ages, occupying the house for just over a year now. The Sentinel’s presence in Providence has been kept to a minimum, with few forays into the town save for periods of brief proselytization at the church. That stopped after the end of August, when the Sentinel’s preacher was dragged from a negotiation gone wrong.

Charles Sharrow barely survived that day and has been kept in seclusion since, only a select few are even aware of his full condition. As Yi-Min Yeh is escorted into the living room come bedroom on the ground floor, she is made fully aware of how grim his predicament is. Sharrow lays in a bed flanked by a pair of empty chairs. Swaddled in blankets and propped up so that he is somewhat elevated, it is clear the bed has become his sole place of residence. A stack of books lays at the bedside, orange pill bottles line the table beside the books. A salvaged wheelchair rests folded up not far away.

The soldier escorting Yi-Min in looks over at Sharrow, who makes a soft sound in the back of his throat before saying, “Leave us.” The mercenary eyes Yi-Min, then Sharrow, and shows himself out, drawing the sliding doors that partition off Sharrow’s chambers shut.

“Hello Sága,” Sharrow greets her. “I was expecting you.”

The words Yi-Min had spoken to the tall escort clinging to her side ever since her entrance had been scant, and even those few had been of a flavor of strict necessity. None of these men were the ones whom she had come out to this place to see, but somewhat to her limited satisfaction, little time had been wasted in bringing her to the threshold of Sharrow's door once she had made herself understood.

The atmosphere she finds herself abiding in is not one of true silence, here still within reach of the murmuring buzz of mercenary activity outside, but it seems eminently so to her after the cascading rainfall that she had just arrived inside from. And though efforts have clearly been made to make Sharrow as comfortable as possible, but a single, sweeping scan over both his body and the environment he is resting in sums up most everything of his physical condition that she needs to know.

Residual water sloughs off the hood of Yi-Min's raincoat in half-formed pearls as she finally lowers it from her face, and her eyes, dark and penetrating in their state of inquiry, become plainly visible to the old man. It isn't quite pity informing her demeanor as much as a more neutral sort of appreciation that he had survived that fateful encounter at all— a feat for one of his advanced age. Regardless of this her voice is soft, if also matter-of-fact, when she returns his greeting. "Hello, Sharrow."

The noise the old man makes in return is at once grumpy as it is pleased, like an old dog who was woken up for a meal. “I hadn't expected you to be the one to come see me at this hour, but I suppose I shouldn't be so surprised.” The meaning of that isn't entirely clear, nor does Sharrow linger on it overly long. Instead, Sharrow reaches for a glass of water by his bedside and takes a tentative drink, mindful not to move as much as he can.

The pill bottles bear Sharrow’s water glass are all prescriptions, but for people other than him. Most of them are old, many expired, none of them sufficient for the level of pain he must be experiencing. There's no pharmacies out here, no opiates for the broken and the battered. “I'm sorry,” he says in a soft voice, “for your loss.” It was no secret the affection Kara and Yi-Min shared for one-another to an invested observer. Sharrow was nothing if not someone who watched and understood. His sympathies feel, for once, genuine.

"Well, my schedule can be flexible should I choose to make it so," Yi-Min informs him mildly on the question of the hour of her visit, not that it would make a meaningful difference to him either way. A small noise of censure issues from her nostrils as she draws further into the room closer to where he rests, noting the sad affair of the various prescription bottles around his bed when she gets near enough.

When Sharrow offers his consolations to her, she chooses to rest her gaze rather firmly on the shabby tinctures of the bottles nearest the center of the assortment as though she is debating how she wants to answer this.

It does not take her long. "Nothing is certain," is what she says with a stoic dismissiveness on the matter, rounding the foot of the bed to stand nearer to Sharrow's side with a light, untroubled intake of her breath. "We have not found signs of her, unlike others whom we know died in the area, and so we will keep looking until we have. But thank you." Gently careful not to get in the way of Sharrow cupping his water glass, she stretches out a slim hand towards the nearest of the pain medications, bringing it in to examine the label with a practiced and critical eye.

"I am also sorry for how this must be for you. It would have been remiss if I did not come here to offer what I can."

Sharrow closes his eyes and nods. “I would have sent for you eventually, but I'm glad you came on your own.” There is a tiredness in Sharrow’s eyes, broken and disillusioned. “It is noble that you hold out hope, but with the government moving in to examine the area… were she able to be here, I believe she would be.”

Looking to the pill bottles, Sharrow seems thoughtful in a long moment of silence. “She came to me, not long before that day, not long after you were taken from her by fate and happenstance. I had always admired her tenacity, but I saw it broken. I saw the human beneath the steel of her resolve, and saw it wounded. She asked something of me, of how to find herself at your side in both life and genetics.” Sharrow looks back to Yi-Min.

“I had told Kara it was possible for her to elevate herself, that there were those who promised such miracles…” There is both something somber and something poetic about the way Sharrow seems to be eulogizing Kara in this moment. “She wanted nothing more than to be able to protect you. I offered her a chance to eat Ambrosia, and she knelt in acceptance of the terms — whatever they might have been — for it.”

Sharrow sighs, closing his eyes tiredly. “Too late, too little, it would seem.”

The woman known past-tense as Sága to all but the stubborn Sharrow has been many things during her lifetime, but vindictive is not one of them. Whether this is yet another act she is putting on, or something else, the act of coming here to offer some sense of succor to a man circling death's drain had cost her little. There was also the benefit of possibly being exposed to rather interesting things while here, such as this one.

Dr. Yeh looks up in the midst of perusing the faded lettering on the bottle she is holding. "You have always had the gift of rhetoric," she remarks coolly, which doesn't sound quite as much like a compliment anymore when the next, highly frank thing out of her mouth is, "You can give it a rest." Ambrosia and kneeling indeed. She had no doubt that what Sharrow was telling her the truth, but it was less easy to mentally tease out the heavy embellishments.

"I… suppose that does not surprise me so much. Kara is a practical person, and she has, after all, ever been a soldier. I can see her wanting a tool that would allow her to even out the battlefield." Sharrow isn't the only one who can be adamant about cleaving to certain word usages. In this case, it’s the present-tense for Kara. There is still a sense of sufferance wreathed about Yi-Min, but this time more out of the consideration of irony that Kara would have been trying to protect her.

“I don’t know how much it will matter now, with Adam dead.” Sharrow presumes. Word of what happened at the meeting were not widely available, but Sharrow was nothing if not resourceful with currencies. Knowledge among them. The sound of the sliding doors opening draws Sharrow and Yi-Min’s attention back behind them, where someone unfamiliar to Yi-Min stands in surprise at her presence by Sharrow’s bedside.

Tall, silver-haired, square jawed and bespectacled. Gregory Farkas does not dress like he belongs here, and it is likely that he does not. “I’m sorry to interrupt,” he says smoothly, carrying a small white paper bag in one hand with a pharmacy symbol on it. He glances up at Yi-Min, moving past her to Sharrow’s bedside, unrolling the bag and retrieving a single bottle of pills from within.

“This is Gregory,” Sharrow introduces. “Freyr,” comes second, a firmer intonation. “My son.” Greg looks up from the bottle, setting it down on the table beside the others. This one is, at least, full. It looks like a newly filled prescription.

“Gregory,” Sharrow says, reaching out to rest a shaky hand on his son’s forearm. “This is Doctor Yi-Min Yeh.” He looks back at her, pointedly. “Former Vanguard.”

To which Greg replies, looking at Yi-Min. “What’s your name?”

"Whether Adam is really gone or not, future conflicts of some kind are inevitable," Yi-Min says tranquilly, to Sharrow's presumption. "Such tools will never stop being useful. That is— if one can bear the cost." It is not a judgment from her so much as just an indifferent commentary on the nature of things.

With meticulous exactness, she places the little bottle she had been looking at back down in its former place with a tiny 'click' when the new arrival comes in. Slowly, equal parts coolness and curiosity in her eyes, she looks the form of Gregory up and down as he does the same to her.

If she has an opinion on these two still playing by the rules of their shared old game, it can only be read in the short, earnest curl of silence before she replies. "You would have known me by the codename Sága, in years past. Nowadays, I daresay Dr. Yeh just a touch more common."

“Codename implies that it's meant to conceal an identity,” Greg says with some self-assurance. “Kazimir Volken didn't give these names out. You may not have realized their significance when it was bestowed on you, but this is a title you earned. A name that transcends the one you were born with, an identity that— ”

Gregory,” Sharrow says as patiently as possible. It stops Greg’s preaching, eliciting a look back at Sharrow. “Easy,” Sharrow suggests, “she isn't here for the good word.” Awkwardly arrested by his father’s mild rebuke, Greg clears his throat and nods once.

“My apologies, Doctor Yeh.” is Greg’s calm and smooth way of disengaging from that aggressive footing. “Father speaks highly of you. It's… good to see you here. Together.”

Breathing in deeply, Sharrow makes a gesture for Greg to give them some space, and he does just that. Moving to a window, Greg looks outside while Sharrow beckons Yi-Min closer. “If I may be so bold,” he says quietly, “I would ask you a favor.”

Yi-Min absorbs the castigation Gregory gives her with an illusive shift in expression that is difficult to define, save that it is, in some way, disconcertingly ophidian. She says nothing afterwards, an even cooler, flatly narrow gleam having entered into her dark-brown eyes, which follows him even after Sharrow delivers his rebuke and the younger of the pair has excused himself away.

Despite this, the motion that Sharrow makes towards her is not easily missed despite its relative smallness. And thus does she turn the insinuation of that impassive conviction onto Sharrow himself, pausing for a smooth, terse, ticking second as if to reflect on the measure of the request before it can even be made. But she acquiesces without any signs of protest, closing what remains of the space between them with a composure that belies the fact of an interruption ever occurring. "Ask what you will, Sharrow xiansheng."

Sharrow closes his eyes, making a soft and pained sound in the back of his throat. Greg starts to come over, but is waved off with Sharrow’s good hand. “Saga,” is how Sharrow choose to address her, still. “My hip is fractured, my back is broken, and it is likely they will have to take my right leg before long.” Swallowing audibly, he looks up at her with a tension at the corner of his eyes. “Most ways to die are not fast, nor are they painless. Death, like this, is arguably cruel.”

Greg’s expression sinks as understanding dawns on him. His father, laying a hand on the bed nearest to Yi-Min, does not break eye contact with her. “I intend to hold on as long as I can, to ensure everything that I can is passed on. But when that time comes, when cruelty outweighs duty…”

Sharrow stares at Yi-Min for a long, silent moment. “I would have you be the reaper that comes to visit me, in the end.”

Not so arguable, says the still, measured evenness in Yi-Min's gaze, though she does not say anything at first. His verbal descriptions were unnecessary. The pain he is in is obvious, as is the inevitability of what it means when coupled with his age.

She does not spare a glance over to Gregory, to see his reaction. She does not have to. That heaviness settling across his bearing is plain to her even out of the corner of her vision, and without words, it speaks enough. "Needless suffering has ever been a waste," she delivers calmly to Sharrow alone, an echo of her thoughts that she had first brought into the room with her. "This can be so. When you are prepared for it, Njord, I will ensure your end is as painless as possible."

Sharrow's insistence on exclusively calling her by her Vanguard callsign might be so predictable that it had by now lost some of its meaning, but this is the first time since the old man's arrival in Providence that Yi-Min had actually uttered his own in return.

Sharrow, for all the cruelty he is capable of, manages a weary smile to Yi-Min, but then exhales a sharp breath and moves his hand down to his right side and grips his thigh over the blankets. Greg sees this visible expression of pain and steps back to the bedside.

“Ms. Yeh,” Greg quietly interjects. “I believe father needs his rest.” There's a quick look down to Sharrow on the bed, then back up to Yi-Min. “Perhaps you can continue whatever else is left unsaid at a later date, or via myself.” He doesn't reach out to touch her, but nonetheless pantomimes such and motions to the door.

Only now does Yi-Min does cast a definitely scathing look at Gregory when he attempts to motion her out, one that breaks her previous neutrality to lean into the direction of a rebuke. "To my original intent, in coming here," she says smoothly at them both, disregarding that she is doing so in the middle of Sharrow's hard wincing, "There is much more that I can do to alleviate your father's pain than just bringing death. Some of it is on the more experimental side, but I have my suspicions this is probably a non-issue by this point. I had hoped to discuss some of these options on this visit, but they may wait until any point in time, really." Hopefully, one before Sharrow actually expires. That would be a pity.

Drawing something from a hidden flap beneath her coat, she situates a minute, crystal-clear bottle with a label written in gracefully swooping letters in the palm of her hand. Ziconotide. "Give this to your father. It will help him with his pain. If you do not wish me here to administer it, so be it, but follow the instructions I have included with the utmost care."

Satisfied (that, or unconcerned) with or without an answer, she draws the sides of her raincoat back together in something more closely resembling acquiescence to Gregory's request to leave.

Bottle in hand, Greg casts a look across the room to Yi-Min on her departure and only nods after he’s taken a moment to consider the possibilities. He sets the bottle down beside Sharrow’s other assembled medications, then notices his father motioning for him to lean in. Brows pinching together, Greg does as asked with an askance look to Yi-Min as she shows herself out.

“It’s time,” Sharrow says in a whisper to Greg, eliciting a rise of his brows. He finds that expression arrested when Sharrow lays a hand on his son’s cheek and locks eyes with him. “It’s time to tear down the masks… to start over. She wasn’t the one,” Sharrow whispers. “We were looking in the wrong place this whole time.”

Greg, unsure of precisely what his father means, nods in feigned understanding. But Sharrow’s next directive is clearer. Simpler.

Retrieve your sister.

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