What To Do With The Things You Fear


bf_kara_icon.gif byron_icon.gif

Scene Title What To Do With The Things You Fear
Synopsis Make them someone else's nightmare.
Date March 11, 2019

Sunken Factory

A man walks into a wall, and passes through it cleanly, and appears on the other side of it.

This unabashed show of superhuman ability probably doesn't make as many people nervous as it once did, but its nature is, regardless, unsettling. Walls are made for a purpose, and that purpose is ruthlessly perverted with an easy stride, Byron Wolf tracking in earth and rain water as he transitions from the outdoors to the indoors, and blinks in the dimmer light as he looks around. The armory, he was told, where he is meant to seek out their

"munitions chaplain", he thinks they said.

The supplies he'd dragged in but a few days ago would have been funneled directly to Kara herself, eventually, but they'd been lifted too quickly out of Byron's possession for them to have met. Pistols and a rifle and some munition, along with cartons of cigarettes and sundry supplies to cater to base human need. Now, he presents himself, but without knocking — the ability to phase his whole body through a wall brings with it no sound, but footsteps, now, and the rustle of his jacket.

The overall quiet of the factory ensures the these misplaced footsteps are noticed instantly. Hands leave the dissected rifle on the sheet-clothed table in the center of the room to immediately address the out-of-place body. Kara Prince moves before looking properly, and when she glances up to take in the near-stranger's form, faint recognition immediately in her eyes, a muted breath falls away from her.

"Great. Now there's more than one of you that doesn't know how to use the door." Even for appearance's sake.

The handgun she'd palmed off the table is lowered, the safety clicked back on before she sets it aside again. Her gaze falls off Byron a moment after, and she gestures with a tip of her chin toward the weapon she'd been working on. "I hear you're who I have to thank for growing our little armory here," is how she attempts to restart the conversation. "So thank you."

"It'll take some time to get used to all these new faces." sounds more like a reality than a complaint, but Kara harbors a dislike for having to be on-guard in her own home. The factory had become that, insomuch as the core of people around had all been known to her. The odd, spirited disagreement besides, she more or less knew what to expect from the place as well as its personnel, which had been a nice reprieve while it lasted.

After losing people like they had at Sunspot, though, the appearance of fresh faces like Byron's was an inevitability.

"Wolf, isn't it? Something like that?" Kara asks as amiably as she's able. It's still rather stiff. "Can you shoot with these or just scavenge them?"

At least she didn't say steal.

"Something like that."

Byron permits himself a little irony, having otherwise stood silent as she chastised him, acknowledged him, thanked him, addressed him. He takes it all with the patience of a well-behaved child undergoing a measles shot, a tension that seems to ease as he moves to approach and enter the room properly, a flick of a glance absorbing his surroundings.

He's tall, at 6'3", dirty blonde and blue eyed but skin tone leeched of any excess of vitality. Roughly shaved, overslept, not an uncommon look around here.

That being said, he gives no vibe of someone who might fit right in. "I can shoot," he says. "If I gotta."

"Good." Kara acknowledges, brow lifting. He was in the wrong place if he couldn't. "I thought we could make good use of the rifle you brought in and go hunting soon."

The armory he steps properly into was once an employee locker room, which attracted her to stake the space as her own. Pre-installed enablers of organization were a definite selling point. An argued downside was the lack of natural lighting in case of an emergency where the power had gone out, but saner heads had prevailed, thankfully. The security of the space, and it being sealed against the elements solved for the more pressing day to day needs.

The strings of light hanging from the ceiling are all bared bulbs, save for rubbery cages that do little to diffract the bright glow of them. Racks line the otherwise unoccupied wallspace, neatly arranged weapons and ammunition adjacent with columns of other sundries as much for travel as fighting. The closed lockers themselves most likely contain the higher-caliber weaponry, though exactly what would have to be divined by peering through the diamond-shapes slats in the lockers' face.

Somewhere between a locker and an adjacent rack is where Kara nods without looking. "Even if you're a bad shot, as long as we come back with something, it'll be worth it. God only knows there's enough deer out there right now.." she chuckles. "Shouldn't be too hard."

Stealing glances down at the rifle whose parts she goes back to cleaning, she keeps her visual attention mostly on Byron. "You do anything other than shoot and walk through walls?" Kara asks with the same forward air as before.

An invitation to hunt is invitation, Byron feels, to roam. His exploration is hands off and cursory but has him pace at a slow and casual tempo, eyes skimming the open racks, then stopping at the lockers. By the time she tosses the conversation his way, he's leaned in enough to peer inside, and when he speaks, his voice reverberates quietly within.

"I paint."

He looks back at her, offers a shrug. She asked. "My uncle hunted," is maybe more helpful, stuffing his hands into his pockets and headed back towards her. His New York accent a little stronger, now with more words to work with. "Lived off the land like a. You know. Uh, we went out there every couple of summers, and he figured me and my brother needed to know how someday, to kill to eat. Not a lot of deer in Queens, but it was, uh. Fun." Sure, fun.

He looks towards the disassembled rifle. "You got a lot of people here who're good shots?"

"You paint." Kara parrots back in disbelief. She'd clearly been hoping for a more useful response. His honesty can't be faulted, even if it's disappointing. She can fault him for sticking his head nearly in the gun cage, though — and he actually could with just a flex of his ability.

That unnerves her, actually.

"Hey," she snaps, attempting to regain his attention with her voice rather than an actual snap of her fingers. Her voice softens its edge only slightly after. "You don't need anything from in there. And should you, you'll ask for it."

In there appears to contain the glint of a fully-automatic gun and grenades on shelves. The next in there holds a high-powered rifle. Beside that, two lockers made one hold something that looks more like a cannon than a gun, something that still barely fits in the space.

The bruises on her shoulder from it had only completely healed a handful of weeks ago. It's a shame she's got even more to show now in its place. Kara rolls her jaw, feeling the still-tender muscles on the left side near her ear strain from it. She knows the accompanying yellowing bruise will become much more apparent the closer Byron gets, but neither does she shy from it in waving him closer to her worktable.

"Maybe he knew something we all didn't," is Kara's attempt at a joke, delivered with an airy lightness and a tight, brief grin. It disappears before she gets to answering his marksmanship question.

"No," she says evenly. "It's hit and miss, no pun intended. Plenty with the will but not the practice, when they first come to us. That's where I come in, offering my 'guidance'." The word is said loftily, with amusement that's again gone in a blink. "The chaplain title isn't just for show." is much more serious.

Hands up, a brief gesture: sure, whatever. Byron keeps his nose out of the rest of the lockers as he nears.

Leans against the work table, taking in the shades of bruising on her face without displaying the same curiosity as he had the weapons in their hidey holes. It's more implicit, not taking, drawing his own vague conclusions and paying more attention to her words besides. He sports no such markings, as physical health goes, only that common sense suggests he ought to maybe eat more vegetables or something.

See some sun. He tips his head to the rifle as he says, "I can bring in more ammo for a good price if this place has money. I understand if you don't want to attach a few hundred to my collar and let me off the leash, but it's better for you if I go alone, eventually. Keep things separate.

"You military?"

At least one thing about what Byron's said causes Kara to look up at him skeptically while she replaces the cleaned and cleared barrel back in the body of the rifle. It's not immediately apparent, as she takes her time working through the reassembly of the weapon. After sliding a few more components back into their proper place, she echoes back lightly, "'To your collar and let you off your leash?'"

Kara settles the half-reassembled rifle down, asking, "What kind of operation do you think we're running out here, exactly?"

"Go fetch," Byron suggests, eyebrows raising. What? It's a joke, lady.

But there's a question, there, one worth of some consideration. What kind of operation does he think they're running. Impertinent eyebrows relax and he looks back down at the rifle, rather than meeting her gaze. Thinking. "I don't know," is the honest answer. "I'm still figuring that out. It's nice that your first idea for this," the rifle he means, "is to put some bullets in Bambi and feed some innocent people.

"I know about the Ferrymen, and what happened to them. They say this is a different time, though, so makes me wonder what kind of people you're harbouring." All mild, more thinking out loud and offering observation, instead of interrogatory or judgmental.

"We're more of a … hunt-as-a-pack sort of group," Kara explains, euphemism for euphemism, an easiness to her response despite the lack of humor in it. "We look out for each other. Our people are free to come and go, tend to their own affairs as they need. Petition the whole to make their business everyone's business, when it calls for it."

Her head cants to the side briefly as she leans against the table. "Looking to live, unlike some other opportunists out there." Kara's eyes lid with the remark. "And live well."

She looks back to him at the mention of the Ferry, brow knitting for a moment. She knows what happened to her Ferry, and bits of news filtered through previously about what happened to New York operations, but…

"Enlighten me." she suggests carefully, getting the impression his closer view could be better than her distant one.

There's a hesitation in his face with that invitation, Byron stupidly silent for a few seconds as his eyes duck to travel his attention over the rifle instead. "Well, for starters," he says, once he's apparently found his voice. "She fuckin' died.

"Lots of people did. Someone sold them out, someone on the inside — maybe for money, probably for their life — and they brought the military to their doors. Left their safehouses in ruins. It wasn't for nothing — they didn't have a choice, back then. Seems like more people have a choice now, and like it's the kinda mistake you wouldn't wanna repeat."

Never an easy thing, grief. Kara shakes her head at the described betrayal, shakes her head at the idea someone would do that again. "The kind of mistake you'd want to look out for, safeguard specifically against." When she looks back at Byron, she sets her jaw and considers him almost pityingly.

She's heard a rumor before, about who was suspected to have inflicted that unforgivable betrayal of the Ferrymen.

And she wonders now what kind of revenge Byron seeks for it.

She'll walk away from this impromptu conversation with a lot more to think about than she figured she would. There is something she still wonders, though she questions what kind of honesty she'll get in the answer she's provided. "What're you looking for out here, Wolf? Why'd you come to us?"

With a tip of her head toward the half-assembled rifle before her, she remarks, "Don't get me wrong, I appreciate what you're bringing to the table, I just can't help but wonder why you decided to walk out of the woods and say 'here's good'." Tongue presses to her cheek for just a moment before she clarifies, "And I mean what keeps you here, because we could drop you off just about anywhere so you could go get yourself a new truck. That doesn't count."

The side of one hand flips up as she shrugs that shoulder. "You looking for community? To feel powerful in a wilderness that makes you feel powerless? You want revenge for your girl? Something else entirely?" Kara asks, each hypothetical as lightly spoken as the last.

"I want," Byron starts, and stops.

As if there is some hint of frustration, there, whether for the questions being asked of him or the inadequacy of his answers. While she spoke, he'd come to rest with his elbows against the countertop and back curled, reducing his tall frame down almost to her level. Someone who is more inclined to defer than to posture as alpha. His hands tangle, thumb pressing into the meat of his palm, more adolescent than someone who has climbed over the mark of 30.

He shakes his head. "I can't have revenge," he says. "Made peace with that a long time ago. Blamed myself, instead — I think she'd think that was egotistical. What I want is just to be close to something. I've been surviving a while."

"Fair enough," Kara concedes, understanding the notion well. Still, her eyes don't leave him.

"I worked with the Ferry out on the west coast. I was almost always on the go, doing more moving than fighting … at first." She shakes her head once, leaning hard down onto her hand before she pushes herself upright. "It was fucked up, having come home from overseas, the war being fought there, to see the government turn on its own people how it did. Evo or non, black or white, we're all Americans."

Arms folded tightly over her chest, she looks to Byron. "Any time we get a lead on a Pure Earth militia that might threaten us in the future, I'm one of the first to volunteer to put it down. I can make sure you get looped as well."

First impressions are probably that Byron is one of those people who just don't emote very much, operating from somewhere deeply internal rather than simply being secretive or disinterested. It takes a hot minute for the subtleties to come through, but they do — as Kara subscribes him to her newsletter, his eyebrows twinge, and then his eyes lower, and that seems to communicate gratitude and acceptance, respectively.


But he adds, "They ready for that?" You know, everyone else who aren't necessarily in these cahoots.

Maybe Byron will open up over time— the longer he's exposed to others, to the Remnant in particular. As far as Kara can tell, he's got a lot of ground to recover in his people skills, having been on his own for what seems to be a while. When the subject of everyone else comes up, she lifts her shoulders in a nonchalant shrug.

"You've got to prove you're worth keeping around somehow," she points out. "And as far as I'm concerned, that ability of yours puts you at a disadvantage, there." Her head cants to the side as she concedes, "It might take a while for them to come around to you, but in the meanwhile, we'll get you opportunities to make yourself useful." It'll still take a while for her to trust him, truth be told. How do you come to trust someone who could, at any point, simply walk into your most secure places and strip you of every last valued item?

For Kara's part, it involves taking that fear of hers regarding him and making it someone else's nightmare instead. A stiff grunt of amusement comes from her as she starts to consider him, trying to size him up in a different light than she had previously. A twinge of a grin plays over her expression, despite attempts to keep her features deadpan.

"I've got just the proving ground in mind. You know what size suit you wear?"

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