Work To Be Done


kara_icon.gif ryans_icon.gif

Scene Title Work To Be Done
Synopsis Ryans and Kara find they're very similar people.
Date August 11, 2019

Makeshift Shooting Range near Providence


Bird lift in a panic as the sound of gunfire cuts sharp through the late morning air. The man firing the weapon watches them take flight, though he knows there is probably one still sitting in a nearby tree. If he was a bird telepath, he’d be watching him too.

The clip of the glock is ejected, letting it fall to the ground, before it is shifted into the grip of a modified prosthetic, the appliance holding it, while he slaps the clip in and takes it in his one hand again. He’s had years to accommodate that handicap. He could have had a robotic hand, but reports of the side effects have kept him dragging his feet.

Benjamin Ryans fought a civil war with one hand, he was doing fine without the other.

Since getting to Providence, Ben has been hard at work fixing up not only Nicole’s place, but his own one room shack of a home. Fences repaired in preparation of bringing in some horses for themselves, but all done around their real reason for being there. The hunt for Adam, which wasn’t really coming up with much at the moment.

This was the first time he’s been able to really practice at the range since he found it during an evening walk.

The pistol is lifted in his good hand and shots ring out again.

God, Ben felt rusty.

"You know, I was wondering how you looked after yourself," is accompanied by footsteps through the grass path leading up to the range. Kara Prince carries a rifle slung over her shoulder as a near-permanent accessory, but today it's replaced with a duffel bag.

Which isn't to say she's unarmed. A handgun is worn at her hip.

The duffel is dropped near Ben, containing boxes of ammunition. It seems he’s not the only one meaning to do some target practice.

“Looks like it’s not as hard I figured,” she shares, looking to the arrangement he wears so he can fire with two hands.

“Can’t keep a soldier down when he has people to protect,” Ben grunts out, almost in a dismissive manner after he sets the pistol down in front of him.

The rifle is picked up, so he can go about preparing for it to be used next. As he looks aside to Kara as he settles the clip in, studying her much, like she might be doing to him. “The war forced me to adapt and find ways around it.” There is a distinct clack of the clip being given that last shove into place. “It was that or lie down and be killed.” There he shrugs.

“If you talk to my older kids,” Benjamin lifts the rifle to his shoulder, the modified hook clamped further down the stock of the weapon where a hand may rest. It looks awkward, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. “I don’t know how to lie down and die,” the words growl out deep, with a warning rumble to an unseen force. With that, the old man lets loose a burst of bullets into the target down the way.

Kara is quiet while she listens, while she watches. She crouches to pull a box of ammunition from the bag by her feet, sets it on the rickety wooden table in the middle of the field they’ve designated as the target range. It’s set aside with a heavy thunk while she looks askance at him while he sets up his grip, lines up his shot. His older kids, he says. “Stay out here long enough, your youngest might learn, too.” she informs him stiffly, checking the clip on her own gun while Benjamin fires down the range. Her gaze flits up, studying the results of his aim before she puts any effort into trying to offer correction suggestions.

There’s also another aspect of him that prevents her from immediately offering guidance. “Where’d you serve?” the munitions chaplain asks.

The loud report of the rifle is her answer first, Ben maybe doing that on purpose.

“Infantry in Vietnam, SEALs in Korea,” Benjamin answers as he lowers the rifle, eyes narrowing at the target down range. “Or you want to know the rest too?” He grunts blandly, “That would be the Company, the Ferrymen, and The 2nd Civil War.” It is a hell of a long career, even he recognizes that and yet here he still stood.

There is a sigh out of his nose, looking down at the rifle in his hand, before cutting a look Kara’s way. Resting the butt of his weapon on the table, he leans on it a bit like an old wizard would a cane. “You?” Only fair after all.

Kara's resume feels so short in comparison. And his? Suspiciously long. Benjamin looked older, certainly, but not that old. She can't help but let out a scoff. "What, you go to Vietnam in your diapers?" She takes the following moment to line up shots of her own, her marksmanship exceptional, her posture held just so while she fires six shots one after the other. The cluster in the paper pinned to the haybale target down the range is neither displeasing nor pleasing to her, by any visual indications. She simply slides the clip free with a flick of her thumb, setting the gun aside to begin reloading by hand. It's only then that she responds to his question, her head turning his direction while her eyes do not, absently focused on the meditative act of slotting bullets into place.

"Afghanistan. Marines," she replies. "Spent a few years out there after 9/11, because it seemed like the right thing to do. Discharged with honors. Did a stint with a PMC; security work, mostly. Then?" Her brow ticks up for a moment, a thoughtful shake of her head. It's gotten easier for her to gloss over her missing period of time and hop between worlds as if nothing amiss happened. "Then I fell in with the Ferry, because it seemed like the right thing to do." Now she looks at him, like expecting a question to be fired back at her. "I was out west," Kara explains. "Washington, mostly. I happened to be across the border on a coyote run when the bomb went off. The one stroke of luck I'd had in years, I think."

Her skepticism about his record aside, she states as she reloads her handgun, "After the war died down, I stayed in Sedro-Woolley, helped the settlement into something like a town again. When the Remnant uprooted to come east, I followed," albeit belatedly, "and here we are."

The idea that she is former Ferry surprises Ben, though he doesn’t show it. He doesn’t question her on it, there were networks all over. Instead, he addresses her skepticism.

“I was sixteen, actually.” So pretty close to it in his mind. Benjamin has seen more than most teens should at that age. “My mother thought that the military would tame me. I just wanted to fight for my country, like all young men did.” There is no emotion when he talks about it, watching her own performance.

“But don’t let the looks fool you, I’m a few years from seventy,” Ben explains, taking up the rifle once she takes a break. Though he doesn’t shoot yet. “I tried to save a man, but he got shot and before he died he took a few years off.” This is the most talking he does, but… he needed to offer some honesty towards Eileen’s new soldiers. “The Company doctors believed he took something like twenty years off me.” He allows a rare amused smile. “I wasn’t going to complain.”

Ryans takes careful aim this time, lining up a certain shot. A click announces a change in the settings, then the kick and ear deafening sound of a single round being fired. The target beyond earns a new hole in the head, just above where the eye would have been. There is a grunt of satisfaction, before he adds. “There’s too much work to be done before this world is safe for my family.”

The looks did fool her. Kara can't help but give a small laugh when he says years of his age were wiped away. "Ah," she intones, not arguing against it. Were he lying, he'd likely have flinched in some way by now.

Besides, the things that sounded too crazy to be true were sometimes just that. Especially these days. Especially when you brought powers into the equation.

"Now that's something." the munitions chaplain remarks, eyes on the target down the range. Benjamin's comment about the state of the world receives another flat grunt of acknowledgement. "It's not all going to happen in one lifetime," Kara remarks, not lining up another shot just yet. "So if you ask me, coming out here where you're less likely to be troubled by the actions of an incompetent, inefficient, or insidious government… you've made the best choice you can."

Turning to Benjamin, she appraises him more openly. "But people don't get by out here on being a one-man army…" Her brow creases in amusement as she adds, "A one-handed one-man army." just to make her point. Kara lets her weight shift from one foot to the other gradually while she mulls something over. When she makes her decision, she inclines her head. "Remnant protection comes for those who are dedicated to the community here. That dedication can take various shapes."

"You heard about the of octopods roaming the hills by now, I'm sure."

There is a sound that could be a huff of amusement escapes the man, “It might not be this lifetime, but it could be the butterfly that enacts change in the future. Their future.” The butterfly effect, was what Ben was clearly referring too.

He listens, but doesn’t comment on the fact that he already has his plans for their part. The spring time will bring a lot of work for the old man, if they were able to stick around.

“I have,” Benjamin answers, while ejecting a clip from the rifle. “Not that I can say I have ever come across any of those during the war.” By the sound of them, they would be hard to miss. Those who uttered mentions of them, he had heard in passing. He thought it was just local superstition, but then Kara mentions them. “What do you know about them?”

To Benjamin's optimism, Kara only replies with a gruff note of acknowledgement. She sighs. A similar view she does not hold, but she won't fault him for his.

The robots, though, she's much more ready to discuss. "They're about 4 meters high, a number of legs. Bodies built for war. They home in on Evolved, most likely to appear in places where a number of them congregate." She pauses for a beat. "When it finds them, it kills them." Laying the gun down on the table, her recollection is calm, even. "If it's hungry, it becomes less choosy with its prey."

There's a flash of light in her expression as she looks inward, remembering. "It converts biomass to energy. It's how it keeps running, keeps roaming. When it gets ahold of someone, it leaves nothing left but a spray of blood." Kara drums her fingers on the edge of the makeshift table. "It can swim— it swam from Staten to Jersey." She slants a look back to Ben, finally.

"And there's more than one," she states openly. "That part is less known. But we were ambushed one night in March on the way back from the Safe Zone. And there were two on the road behind us when we made our escape."

Those were definitely not ones he was familiar with, it shows in the actual surprise that slips through the mask. Kara can see Ryans thinking over the information she handed him on those things. His own weapon finally settled on the makeshift table in front of him.

“Never heard of anything like those.” But what Ben was hearing wasn’t settling well with him. This was clearly something built later, with considerations for old methods of dispatching them. One of the better strategies the rebels ever had was bombs placed near the power sources or a grenade tossed in when steam vents opened. Not to mention them being more aware. So much for the sneaky non-evo approach.

Benjamin was also surprised news of them hadn’t reached him.

There is a soft sigh and Ryans’ focus turns down range, “What are your plans for dealing with them?” Or were they?

Ryans can’t help but wonder how much the government knew about it… though he suspects they did. That thought doesn’t sit well with him. The government at times reminded him of the Company.

He gets right to it, Kara notes. She can't surmise what's going on in his head at the sudden introspection, but she supposes it has to do with planning of his own.

"Two birds, one stone," she shares, finding no harm in it. Somehow, she feels confident that the former Ferryman leader won't take this information to the Evolved-antagonist militia they've been squaring off against. "We're working on creating a beacon to lure it into a trap." The munitions chaplain looks up at Ryans to weigh his reaction. "The trap will involve wandering through the territory of the militia that's been picking off our border residents. The one that used two families as…"

There's little that breaks Kara's nerve, but having to even say this makes her lips curl over her teeth, jaw tense. "Bait." Her weight shifts against the table, voice cooling as she surmises, "Testing our lure on them seems like just desserts."

The tension in her eases only a little once the topic has passed, the stiffness in her demeanor ever-present today. "What's more important is the shield against them. We have measures we need to put in place around Providence to guard the people here." Kara pauses, the action delicate before she lifts her chin. There's a grudging note of respect in her tone. "You have a reputation that precedes you, for looking out for those who need looked out for. It'd do a lot to cement my opinion of you if I could trust you to help with that."

The old man listens rather diligently to what the Remnant are planning to deal with the robots. Just leaving them wasn't really an option. For a time it could work… but in the end the right thing was to dispatch them for good.

Except for an expressionless glance at the mention of the militia, Benjamin gives a firm nod. “A good solid plan.” No judgement on their idea of bait, just the vague impression that he was impressed.

There is a small tick of a smile that finally breaks that stoic expression at the mention of his reputation. It isn't pride that breaks his mask, but amusement. “A reputation is only as good as the people who speak of it,” Ben rumbles out, moving to detach the prosthetic and rub at the sore stump. He may have been at it for sometime before she showed. “But, yes. I should be able to help you.”

Kara lets out a much less guarded laugh in reply to Ben's quip about his reputation. "Well," she says in reply to that. "Not sure what that says about you, or the people I heard it from, then." His reply somewhere between humble and enigmatic provides only so many tones for use in counter-commentary.

For all her stiff mannerisms, Kara appears to he going for teasing. The tug of her mouth to one side seems to confirm it.

"It's taken some getting used to, moving to this coast," she remarks, like the Dead Zone to the West is a whole other world. "But I'm picking up names. Picking up the bits of civilized history I missed out on while we were off making our own."

She stops just short of letting the conversation lapse, hand hovering over the gun she'd laid aside. "Sophie," Kara intones, "Blew into Sedro during that." With a glance back to Ben, her gaze is more telling than it has been previously when she's been sizing him up. She's looking to see if she can glimpse what impressed the little djinn so. "She in particular spoke highly of you."

“She’s a good kid,” Ryans comments with gruff words, solid in his conviction.

Though to be honest, Ben had more experience with the child, than the woman. “Got caught up in her father’s problems. Company problems.” He worked hard to keep his own girls out of his, not that it worked either.

After a moment of consideration, brows furrowed in memory. One Ben hadn’t thought of in sometime and the impact it had on the course of his life. “There are times when you have to make decisions, Sophie was the start of mine.” He had always had issues with his employer’s ethics and bucked them now and then, but… he never really shifted sides until Winslow… until Sophie.

“Saving her… that was when I finally woke up and started breaking the chains the Company bound me with,” It is an admission that probably surprises Ryans as much as anyone.

Ryans returns the scrutiny that she’s given him, while he sets the prosthetic back into place. “You know, she also speaks highly of you.” There is no joke in that comment. It is a matter of fact and the reason he’s allowed himself to be this open.

"I'm sure she has," Kara replies dismissively, looking away from the conversation to pick up her sidearm. She picks it up swiftly, but not urgently. After all, she's not running away from the conversation, she just has nothing further to say about the matter.

Well. Almost nothing.

"I kept her alive until I'd taught her how to keep herself alive. People tend to remember that sort of thing fondly, regardless of the type of person their teacher actually is." The first shot kicks the gun back in her palm, a shocking start of sound after the relative calm of the conversation. She nudges the nose of the gun ever so slightly to change the course of the next bullet, rotating vulnerable points on the pinned target. "She is a good kid," Kara says before taking her next shot.

"I worry about that in her, sometimes." Pop.

"Then I remember I taught her to be better than that." Crack. "So all I can do is hope she remembers to be safe, be smart rather than be kind when it counts."

She fires three more times, completing the self-imposed ring of targets she'd set out to tag.

It might be surprising, but in the ensuing silence that follows those last three shots, there is a quiet rumbling chuckle. It from the direction of Ryans and a glance would tell Kara that the man is actually grinning. That chuckle continues a bit longer as he hooks the rifle and slings the strap over his shoulder.

“You sound like me,” Benjamin says with amusement, as he tucks his ammo rounds into the small duffle he brought with him.

This too is hoisted over his shoulder, after his pistol is holstered against his side. “All you can do is your best for them and hope that they can survive without you, cause… you won’t be around forever. I know I won’t.” Brows twitch and shoulder shrugs with acceptance of his fate.

“What I do know, is that no matter where you go or what you do… You’ll always worry and if they are gone too soon, you will always carry that with you.” Hitching the bag a big higher on his shoulder Ryans actually lets out a heavy sigh, “And always wondering if you could have done more to protect them.” It is a mystery, who he is talking about. Could be his daughters or…

The old man’s gaze shifts up to look at starling hopping from tree to tree, watching the ground below it for a meal..

The clip emptying out is the most sure way to know that the gun is as close to safe as it will get. Even so, Kara keeps it pointed well away as she turns back at the sound of Benjamin’s laughter, an emotive eyebrow arched in his direction. The look she gives him borders curiosity at his reaction, at their similarities. With a hmph of acknowledgement, of agreement at his statement they all won’t be around forever, she decides to just let it be.

So they’re similar. That could end up being for the better, assuming their priorities stayed aligned as far as the people of Providence were concerned, and as far as the Remnant was concerned.

When his gaze tracks to the trees and the birds, her look turns opaque, giving his words a harder consideration. She turns them over in her head from that new angle.

“Like you said,” or near enough to it. “There’s work yet to be done.”

Kara looks back down the target range. “I’ll be in touch.”

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