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Aberrant: Dead Rising - Chapter 5a: Zealotry


Dawn OOC

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Thunder cracked through the morning sky, rousing the members of the Refuge with a startling and unwelcome suddenness. The rain followed seconds later, smashing into the ground with a vengeance. The guards hunched miserably, trying to stay warm, while early-risers dashed for shelters. Faulty roofs soon became apparent, and tents began to leak. The residents of the Refuge huddled miserably where they could, while a lucky few remained warm and dry, and there were even a couple that couldn't hear the storm, deep underground.

By the time the crew was up and gathering for their outing, the storm was a light rain, but the damage had been done. Thick mud sucked at shoes and there were few sidewalks or places to escape. The spring rain had stirred emotions, and the air snapped with angry retorts and smoldered with sullen glances.

Fox's men had prepared the supplies for the trip as ordered. While they didn't seem as jovial as before, they were professionals and they did their job. "When can we expect you back?" Ger asked Morgan, huddling under his coat. He glanced at the gathering supers. "Are you taking all of them?"

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Jasmine was one of the early arrivals.. she'd slept after last night's unpleasantness, but lightly, like she had the few times before arriving here. When she first laid down, she had thought she could finally relax, but now she knew that wasn't the case.. not yet. Maybe not ever. So she had risen early, and gotten dressed in a pair of jeans and a loose, floaty, black and white tunic-style top. It had a drawstring neck, and Jasmine had the sneaking suspicion that it was silk, or some other expensive material. At first she wasn't sure why Violet had given it up, but as she sorted through the items she had given her, she'd realized that most of them were either too small to be adjustable to Violet's.. assets. Or, like this one, they didn't do much to show them off. It was horribly impractical, but they almost all were, and if it came down to fighting, she wanted to be able to move.

The shoes Violet had left her had all been heels and sandals, mostly, so she was wearing her black lace-up boots. They were well-worn, but the leather was thick and they were well-made. Jasmine had made a point to find a good pair of boots after the third pair of shoes she had worn through. Luckily she'd found a shoe outlet store in the middle of Missouri somewhere, in some little off-shoot town called Odessa. Nothing around for miles except a half a dozen outlet stores strung together that people probably drove from miles around to get to., and a few fast food restaurants. She'd put one pair of them on right then, rolled up another pair to store in her backpack, and had been switching between them ever since. They laced up to her knees, and Violet's old jeans were so skinny she'd had to tuck them into the boots because they wouldn't pull down over them.

To finish the look she'd twisted her unruly hair into a braid that hung loosely over her shoulder - she hadn't been able to get it in a straight braid, and had finally just given up.

She hurried up to where she saw the Captain and some of his men. She didn't look bothered by the chill in the air, but she did look a bit annoyed at the rain, which was making the delicate material cling uncomfortably to her skin.

"Captain Fox - can I help with anything?"

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Dan smiled as his own quatrters were still dry. He grabbed his weaponry and munitions and picked up the kit he'd asked for drawn from the explosives.

He stood there, waiting to hear if Fox would leave some behind here at the base now that the weather turned on them.

He was dressed in one of his sets of combat fatigues, with mud already clinging to his boots. "Couldn't have asked for better weather...."

It wasn't clear whether or not he was being being sarcastic, but he watched the sky carefully.

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Priest came up with Willie at his side and carrying Sarah. He kissed her and wished her good-bye. This was going to be the most amount of time they had spent apart since the Day. She began sobbing silently as Priest pryed her loose and handed her to his big friend. Willie hugged her to him, despite her struggles, but looked really unhappy himself.

Priest walked over to Fox and said,

"Let's get this over with. The sooner we get this done, the sooner we all get back."

He really didn't want to go and getting back and soon was a top priority.

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Myfwany came trotting up to the group with the slightly frazzled air of someone who slept a bit longer than she intended to. She's in a dark green turtleneck that's rather nice with her hair, a pair of jeans and her light tan jacket. Clutched in her left hand is the strap to a sort of large handbag or satchel that swings freely from it.

"Sorry I'm late," she says on reaching the others. "What did I miss?"

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Gabrielle appeared, her ducklings following after as usuall. She looked thoughtful and none of them seemed to have had a change of clothes for the new day. She looked them all over again, then asked quietly, "Are we ready to go?"

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Meanwhile, just outside Hays, KS...

"Guilty as charged

But damn it, it ain't right

There's someone else controlling me

Death in the air

Strapped in the electric chair

This can't be happening to me..."

Metallica screamed into the early morning air as the old Hum-Vee bounced along. The two occupants were comfortably quiet since leaving the spot where they'd camped, their partnership having given them the ability to not have to talk to one another. Normally, they might discuss the scenery, but since leaving Colorado yesterday and entering the Great Plains the American Midwest, they'd found little to discuss. After "Lots of grass here" and "Yes, lots" they were done.

They had been paralleling I-70 for a while. They'd heard that there was an enclave somewhere in Missouri near the US Interstate, and it seemed like a likely place to visit and hopefully find word of another place. There was supposed to be the enclave to end all enclaves somewhere in the Midwest, but no one seemed sure where it was. But the rumors of 'special' people gathering there had been flying around through the scavengers, and there were people taking notice.

With a gutteral roar that Primal mentally deemed as 'wussy,' the vehicle topped a hill and found itself face to face with a small party of people. The six men scooping dried corn out of a silage bin turned to stare at them. They were dressed in simple clothes, all dark colors and uniformity. They stared up at the car for a moment before one man waved to them, friendly but cautious.

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Violet was reluctant to go to the meeting but things looked like they needed her right there to deprogramm Elijah's flock. Last night had been rough but it didn't show. No bruises from Jasmine's kick to her face - nothing. It didn't even hurt.

Her face was perfect as ever and she had to admit she was relieved that it seemed to come with her 'superpowers' package that she would recover as quick as she got hurt.

Getting dressed was a challenge as usual. After some time she managed to patch herself an outfit that was at least an attempt to appear decently dressed. The only pair of pants that fit her were black skin hugging leather pants that were laced at the sides from her hips down to the ankles. She had to switch from her high-heeled boots to combat boots which James had stored for emergency cases and "heavy" weather.

She had to rip one of James' older shirts to practically wrap it around her breasts and tie it in the middle down at the end of her cleavage. Underneath she wore a black triangle bikini top. Nothing else would fit her without running the risk of breaking or tearing it if she stretched or bent too far.

Violet took a large cloak with hood out of her closet that should both protect her from the rain and most importantly cover her when she moved outside the club. I hope I won't have to do this for the rest of my life.

Giving the sisters her good-bye kisses Violet left with James to join the meeting.

Originally Posted By: Courier
James showed up with a utility belt and clipped to it was a huge pair of ear mufflers. This time in his backpack he brought a spare pair of pants.

Next to James stood Violet wearing a Jedi-like Cloak with hood to protect her from the rain. It did a fairly good job to conceal what she wore underneath. Violet smiled at Jasmine and with a slight nod of her head she 'asked' her to come to her side.

"And there is no other way then going there myself, right?", Violet asked still reluctant to leave the safe base.

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"If you don't go along, then it is unlikely that we can deprogram them for lack of a better term. The alternative to that Violet is one none of us would prefer to engage in. I think we all wish you nothing but success on this trip."

Ever the stone-faced soldier, Even he didn't like to think about what Violet being unsuccessful would necessitate. It was deplorable, but zealotry of any kind was dangerous, and could prove a serious disaster.

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Violet nodded quietly having expected that there was no other choice.

"I'm not a psychatrist - I think I will need some help with that deprogramming. I never tried cutting an emotional link to someone or something before.", Violet's eyes wandered briefly to Gabrielle and her followers.

"What else do you expect me to do? I'm not a soldier, I cannot fight, never needed to. I know which is the right end of a gun and that is all I know about weapons."

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The dark green military vehicle sat there, engine rumbling ominously for a few seconds before cutting out and restoring peace to the landscape... well, other than the strains of Metallica, that is. But even James Hetfield's gravelly roar was muted before the polyglass window rolled down and a handsome man leaned out, blue eyes twinkling in the morning sunlight under short dirty-blond hair. A camo-clad arm leaned on the doorsill as the stranger regarded the field workers, a pleasant smile on his face. There was another shape in the vehicle's passenger seat, a looming bulky form that denoted a very large man indeed, despite the lack of details due to the sun's glare off the glass.

"Hello there." The stranger's voice was cheerfully cautious, smooth, deep, and very, very English. The six men blinked at the accent, something most of them had doubtless only heard on T.V. or in movies before the world went to Hell. "We heard there was an enclave around here. Would you gentlemen be from there?" The six looked at each other, then the one that had waved nodded.

"Excellent." the stranger beamed at him. "Could you please provide us with directions? My partner and I are looking to barter goods." Pale blue eyes narrowed slightly in confusion as the six men clustered together, turning away from the hummvee and confering before bowing their heads... as if in prayer.

Bond relaxed back into his seat as he kept an eye on this strange communion, the open pleasant smile relaxing into a faint quirk of his lips. Not taking his eyes from the odd happening, he spoke. "What do you think?"

The huge man next to him made a noise somewhere between a snort and a growl. "Holy rollers. Or a trick. Fuck, fer all I know they're Amish." Bond nodded agreement, slowly, that faint near-smile not leaving his features.

"Uniformity and religion. Not a good mixture, potentially. Let's be extra-specially nice... and paranoid." He loosened the assault shotgun in it's cradle on the inside of the driver's side door. "Ahh, the prayer meeting's over." He leaned back out of the window, smiling with pleasant expectation.

"It's just down the road a few miles, then turn toward the town you'll see to the north there. If you've got goods t'trade and a good heart, you'll be welcome there." The spokesperson said earnestly. Bond smiled at the man.

"Well then, I'm sure I'll find your enclave charming." He answered with a nod. "Thank you for the directions. Perhaps if you're back before we leave, I can repay your kindness." He smiled as the engine and Hetfield roared to noisy life once more, the window rolling up and sealing the raucous music in as the vehicle moved out.

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The hospital was exactly where they said it would be, but they didn't mention the chain-link fence topped with razor wire, or the massive cross built out of lumber. They were clearly recent additions, even the cross, despite the sign that claimed this used to the Mary Queen of the Universe hospital. In addition to the fence, the men could see the boarded-over windows above had peep-holes in them.

All in all, it was about as welcoming as chastity belt, especially when no one came to greet them.

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The loudspeakers mounted on the sides of the roof crackled into life, and a voice rang loudly and clearly forth, echoing against the large building.

"Hello the hospital. My partner and I are seeking barter and news, and bring goods and news of our own. I assure you, our intentions are peaceful." The speakers crackled once more, then were silent as the hummvee's engine idled over, the large vehicle just waiting there. It was plain that, no matter how long the wait was, no incautious head or foot would be set outside the armored infantry transport. By all appearances, there were certainly a lot of sealed carbon-plastic shipping crates securely lashed to the roof racking, and an absence of a mounted machinegun such as raiders might mount atop such a beast. The license plate could be clearly seen from the front, neatly painted red lettering on a yellow background.

It read "1KFALCON".

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"Well ain't dis some bullshit." The large blonde man said to Bond. "You want me to take a look? Worst they could do shoot the hell out of me, and we both know how well that shit worked back in Carson City."

There was a long ponderous silence. "Damn that was a hell of a night."

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The front door opened and three men came out. They wore the same dark, simplistic clothes that the six in the field had worn. The center one walked with hands folded meekly in front of him; the other two were less meek with the assault rifles cradled in their arms. At the fence, the center man called, "Please step out, that we might see you, and see that you don't possess the disease." The men kept their rifles pointed up at the sky.

The man speaking had a certain force of personality. Like most of the men, he wore a long beard, but he also had long hair drawn back into a pony tail. There was something soothing about his features, as if he were completely trustworthy. The effect was somewhat ruined by the guns framing him. But then, trust was hard to earn anymore, and guns easy to find.

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China-blue eyes met glinting amber inside the hummvee in a long moment of wordless communication. Without a word, both men opened their doors and set a foot outside the car, Bond flicking the safeties off his pistols as he did so, but leaving them in their cross-draw holsters. The partners then stepped out onto the gravel-strewn roadway, stepping away so they could be clearly seen. The three men took a breath, the hands of the two bearing weapons tightening on the grips.

Bond was handsome, tall at six foot one and well-formed, his wry smile only slightly chilled by the pale sparkle of his eyes as they studied the three men. The body armor he wore was well-worn and well-cared for, stained a dull grey/green-and-black camoflage pattern. It bulked him out somewhat, yet even a casual observer could tell the lines of his powerful shoulders under the kevlar weave. Webbing harness laden with pouches and the lethal shapes of grenades criss-crossed the armor, and most prominent were the golden glint from twinned pistol hilts, their holsters mounted low under each arm. He radiated confidence and, with that smile, a laid-back insousciance, as though he had never run across anything - or anyone - he couldn't handle. Under ordinary circumstances he would be a daunting enough picture not to take lightly.

Even the image of the British mercenary, coolly efficient and laid-back professional that he was, paled in comparison to his companion for sheer impressiveness. Primal stepped out of the hummer, standing up then standing further up, unfolding to his full seven foot, two inches in height. Tawny blond hair sprouted in a mane that fell to his shoulders, from under which amber eyes glowed in the sunlight, the vertical slits of his pupils fixing on the three suddenly very nervous men. He wasn't trying to be scarey. He was just naturally that way, a walking threat that didn't even need to be made in order to be heard loud and clear. His broad arms, the biceps as thick as a strong man's thighs, hung loosely at his side for a moment, gleaming black talons flexing slightly as the bipedal predator endured the fear-fuelled scrutiny of the trio ahead of him. A low growl rose in his chest as his eyes narrowed at the armed men, his fangs gleamed as his lips curled up. Slowly, he folded his arms over his bare chest in the universal sign that he was on his guard but not about to make a move. Dressed only in brown leather pants and shiny snakeskin cowboy boots he stood motionless, letting the humans look.

"So." Bond said with a slight smile creeping further onto his face, his tone urbane and slightly amused, a contrast to the glowering savagery of his partner. "Do we look diseased to you, gentlemen?"

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James remarked to Violet, "You know Love, if you keep coming on these missions we're going to need to find a set of body armor for you. Not that you don't look better than I ever did in that shirt."

Originally Posted By: Violet
"And there is no other way then going there myself, right?", Violet asked still reluctant to leave the safe base.
James nodded in agreement to what Dan said, and what he hadn't.
Originally Posted By: Violet
Violet nodded quietly having expected that there was no other choice.

"I'm not a psychatrist - I think I will need some help with that deprogramming. I never tried cutting an emotional link to someone or something before.", Violet's eyes wandered briefly to Gabrielle and her followers.

James said, "It might be real easy. Their leader is probably... well... like you." James smiled to indicate he didn't mean that as it sounded. "He's just misusing his powers. Without him around..."
Quote:
"What else do you expect me to do? I'm not a soldier, I cannot fight, never needed to. I know which is the right end of a gun and that is all I know about weapons."
James said, "Love, I don't want you up there shooting it out with people. Feel free to surrender if the situation warrants, other than that stay well to the rear and keep your head down."

James motioned to Gabrielle and asked, "Who is this?"

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There was actually a thought in one man's head to point out that the big blond man was certainly affected by something, but the fence was only eight feet high - ten with the wire - and the big guy didn't have that much farther to go before he was over the fence. So he didn't say anything.

The man in the middle, after his moment of shock, stepped forward and reached for the gate. "Elijah!" one of the guards gasped.

"They are God's children, too," Elijah said, turning enough so that all could see the calm, pious expression on his face. "All good men are welcome here. And if they are not good men, God will cradle you to His bosom."

Swallowing hard, the guard who had spoken bowed his head in acceptance. Turning back, Elijah unlocked the gate from a key around his neck. The gate was rolled sideways until the Hum-vee could pass. Once it was through, Elijah closed and relocked the gate.

"Greetings," he said to the visitors. "Welcome to my home. I am Elijah, shephard of this flock of lambs."

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"Nice to meet you." Bond said through the window as he killed the jeep's engine, unobtrusively turning and pocketing the ignition cut-out. He and his partner stepped out again onto the gravel, shutting the door's of their vehicle. "The large man there is Primal, my travelling companion and partner in crime. My name is Bond." A charmingly roguish smile accompanied those words as he locked the Hummvee and turned to Elijah, his hand extended in greeting.

"James Bond."

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"Christ Jim, do you actually here the music in your head or something?" Primal said as low as he could which came as a cross between a guttural growl and churning gravel.

He obviously wasn't much of a talker. The man in the center held Primal's attention for the moment. He was calm, to calm, which was indicative of him either being to crazy to know what fear was, or he knew something everyone else didn't and was holding more cards that they knew with the entire deck stacked in his favor.

The sandy-blonde behemoth was betting on the latter. His gaze caught them all at least once before he nodded. "How ya doin'?"

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Jules stood by, watching everyone gather. She couldn't help but feel like a child left out of the outing. Part of her wanted to register her displeasure by stalking away, but she had agreed to do this kind of thing, when she agreed to help Fox. Sighing, she pulled her hood up a little higher, until her face was completely shadowed.

"Jules?"

The familiar voice was like a punch to the gut, and the bronzed-skinned woman turned to see the young man standing drenched, looking at her hopefully. "Cal," she said softly, feeling her gut clench. The last time she'd seen him, she'd been willing to trade his life for her son's. It made him hard to look him in the eyes.

"I, uh, I have Zeke," Cal said softly, looking uncomfortable.

"Good," Jules said softly.

"I'm sorry about Ben," he blurted, his voice thickening. "I thought he'd be safe, thought I could get the car started in time-"

"Cal, stop," Jules said. She meant to just get him to stop, but she heard herself say, "Not now, please. Just... later. I can't now." She felt tears sting her eyes, and she looked away.

"I... ok," he said, sounding miserable. "Do you want me to keep Zeke?"

Jules hesitated. "I don't know. Can you watch him, just for now?"

"Yeah, I will, but he misses you," Cal said, a rueful grin on his face. "He never did like me that much. Damned racist dog."

Jules started laughing, and then she was crying. Turning away from the other supers, she tried to stem it in, but just hearing Cal's voice brought the loss back. But she didn't argue when Cal put an arm around her and supported her.

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Originally Posted By: Courier
James remarked to Violet, "You know Love, if you keep coming on these missions we're going to need to find a set of body armor for you. Not that you don't look better than I ever did in that shirt."


Violet pushed her elbow into James' smiling.

"I'm not planning on getting used to this. I prefer staying here in the club while you guys do the world saving stuff."

Originally Posted By: Courier

James said, "It might be real easy. Their leader is probably... well... like you." James smiled to indicate he didn't mean that as it sounded. "He's just misusing his powers. Without him around..."


Violet furrowed her brows at that thought. Like me?

"You're going to... kill him?"

Violet wasn't sure what the actual mission objectives were aside from using her powers when they'd ask her to. She couldn't finish with that thought when she felt a wave of sadness and grief sweep over her. She looked at Jules and gasped feeling the unexplicable pain of loss like it was hers.

"Jules...", she whispered to herself unsure what to do.
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Originally Posted By: Violet
Violet furrowed her brows at that thought. Like me?
James realized how that sounded and expanded on it, "Like an evil you. You could sell snow to Eskimos. He's selling worse things."

Quote:
"You're going to... kill him?"
James responded quietly, "I'm going to make him stop trying to end the world. No more infecting children and sending them into other sanctuaries. He's a threat to my our future children."

Quote:
Violet... felt a wave of sadness and grief sweep over her. She looked at Jules and gasped feeling the inexplicable pain of loss like it was hers. "Jules...", she whispered to herself unsure what to do.
Concerned, James said, "Violet? You ok?"
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Fox waited patiently for everyone to gather, the weather didn't bother him much. The lightning earlier had concerned him but there wasn't any now that the front had passes so despite the rain it should be a good flight. He was dressed in his black BDUs with two waterproof gun cases slung over his shoulder. He looked dressed for combat and every inch the special ops soldier that he was trained to be.

Quote:
Jas - "Captain Fox - can I help with anything?"

Responding to Jasmine, "I appreciate the offer. If you want to you can make sure everyone is gathered and has everything they will be taking. Also, make sure you guys have a tarp to cover up with, flying in the rain will not be very comfortable." He gave her a few minutes to make sure of things and get a tarp secured to the the front of the platform he and Dan would be carrying.

When Violet asked, "And there is no other way then going there myself, right?", he just chuckled.

"Sorry Violet but no other way on this mission. I don't know if we want to even invite those nutjobs to join us here even if they can be deprogrammed. Last thing we need is a religious fanatic group in our midst stirring up trouble. Now, if you are able to convince them to keep their religion to themselves and get along with others who don't hold to their beliefs I'll be glad to have them here. But either way we can't have crazies who will brainwash children into being suicide plague bombs left running around free. So you and Gabrielle have to succeed up there, we are counting on you two."

Once everyone had gathered he announced loudly enough for everyone to hear over the rain. "Ok folks, Dan and I will fly us up there and it will be as quick a trip as we can make it. With this rain it won't be real pleasant though. Jasmine has gotten a nice tarp for you to cover up with but I hope you dressed well for the weather because even with the tarp it won't be comfortable. When you are ready pile on that platform and we'll get going." As people began to move onto the platform Morgan moved over to Jasmine, "There is one other thing you can do for me. Would you mind holding onto my weapons during the flight?" He smiled at her in gratitude.

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Preist shues Willie and his daughter away. He walks over to Jules and clears his throat.

"Ummm ... if you wouldn't ... if it isn't too much trouble, could you look out for my family ... you know, if it takes too much time."

... or if I don't make it back.

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Originally Posted By: Violet

Next to James stood Violet wearing a Jedi-like Cloak with hood to protect her from the rain. It did a fairly good job to conceal what she wore underneath. Violet smiled at Jasmine and with a slight nod of her head she 'asked' her to come to her side.


She smiled a bit at Violet, but shook her head a bit, and Violet could see that she went about the business that Fox had requested of her, gathering a tarp. The rain didn't seem to phase Jasmine much, as far as comfort was concerned. She gathered the tarp, and listened to Fox as he spoke.

Quote:
As people began to move onto the platform Morgan moved over to Jasmine, "There is one other thing you can do for me. Would you mind holding onto my weapons during the flight?" He smiled at her in gratitude.


"Not at all, Captain.. I'd be happy to help."

She nodded at him, carefully taking the weapons he held out to her, and securing them without any difficulty or awkwardness over her petite but sturdy-looking shoulder. She didn't appear to consider them heavy at all. She made her way over to Violet, and took her hand, squeezing it slightly.

"If you need any help.. just let me know, okay? I'll do what I can to keep an eye out. Maybe it won't even come down to a lot of fighting."

She looked a bit grim, though, and not all that convincing. Jasmine had never used her abilities against real people, and she was a bit concerned about how to handle it. Although, with a bit of a start, she realized that no one really KNEW what her abilities were.. other than James, and Violet.
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Jules wiped her eyes subtly, and looked at Priest. Cal stepped away, giving her room. "Of course, I will," she said softly, despite the terror in her gut at coming to love another tiny, delicate child. And she knew she'd love Sarah; she was cute and precocious. Sami had been like that, and Jules knew that Sarah would worm her way into that empty gulf that her children had left behind. "But don't worry, you'll be back." You have to come back so that I don't lose my heart again.

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Originally Posted By: Courier

Quote:
Violet... felt a wave of sadness and grief sweep over her. She looked at Jules and gasped feeling the inexplicable pain of loss like it was hers. "Jules...", she whispered to herself unsure what to do.

Concerned, James said, "Violet? You ok?"


Violet nodded quietly, "I am, but she isn't."

Her eyes were resting on Jules but she didn't say or do anything. That woman resented her, she wouldn't appreciate any offer for help from here - not after she confessed what she was capable of.

"I feel sorry for her - I really do.", she whispered back to James. "I'll explain later to you, my love."

Then the Captain spoke up clarifying things and making sure everyone was prepared and all questions got answered. Violet nodded at him when he told her what they expected her to do but it didn't help much to wash away her worries. What if she failed or if that crazy man Elijah was stronger than her? She had never done anything like this and suddenly she wasn't sure if she could.

Originally Posted By: Jasmine Gentian
She made her way over to Violet, and took her hand, squeezing it slightly.

"If you need any help.. just let me know, okay? I'll do what I can to keep an eye out. Maybe it won't even come down to a lot of fighting."

She looked a bit grim, though, and not all that convincing. Jasmine had never used her abilities against real people, and she was a bit concerned about how to handle it. Although, with a bit of a start, she realized that no one really KNEW what her abilities were.. other than James, and Violet.


Violet nodded relieved at Jasmine. She smiled and appeared confident but her eyes told a different story - she was scared. "Will you stay close to me, please? I mean if anything goes wrong."

Violet knew that James would always protect her and be there for her but she felt better if someone watched their backs while James was fighting at the front.
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The reference to James Bond seemed to slip by them. They were a dull lot of people, save Elijah, who seemed to burn with a strange fire. "Welcome, James, if you come with a good heart and good intent."

Primal's question made the two men with guns jump, but Elijah smiled and said, "I am well, thank you. Would you care to join us for a meal before we trade? Breaking bread together is a good way to make friends and relax one's body. Will you join us?"

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"Certainly." Bond replied. He gestured amiably for Elijah to lead the way. "A warm welcome always lightens the heart, Elijah, especially when one finds it in unexpected places." Bond said as he fell into step with the man, looking over his shoulder at Primal. "You remember when we arrived in Carson City, Primal? I think that was the last time we had a welcome anything close to this." He turned to Elijah with a smile. "A lovely place, but my partner and I are roamers, intent on seeing as much of God's work as possible. So tell me, Elijah: does your enclave of tranquility have needs of any kind? That is what we do, you see. Trading goods, bartering services to the needy."

His tone was light and conversational, but the 'Carson City' reference was clear enough to his massive partner. The situation here was volatile, though not yet dangerous as such. Be on your guard and take nothing at face value was the message.

Not dangerous yet, but Elijah is a very fervent man. Too calm, too, Like he feels God is on his side. Men like that have a slippery grasp on reality. And he's got these people firmly in his hand. Oh, this ought to be interesting.

He stepped in through the doors on Elijah's heels. Best to stay close to the leader in case things went sour, after all. The head was always a vital spot in any organism.

Click to reveal..

Trying to determine the mood and whether there is danger here from Elijah's behaviour.

(06:14:50) ChatBot: (Bond) rolls 9d10 and gets [6],2,10,10,5,8,2,8,6

4 succs total.

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"Ah, so you won't be staying," the old man said, nodding and smiling. "Very well, let us go." Elijah lead them into the hospital. Zombie corpses were thick in here; a couple of men struggled to clean out the area. "Last night's squirmish," Elijah said casually, stepping over a hand. "We give them access to the lowest level, and take them out as they wander into the lobby."

The lobby was open to the second floor, and even now, a couple of men lounged against the railing, next to heavy, mounted rifles. When they saw Elijah, they waved and moved to a gang plank, which was raised. As they lowered it, it resembled one you would find on a ship; a long wooden base with half-rods of wood nailed to provide footing. It had a rope railing, just enough to keep you from falling, so long as the rope was kept taut.

"We've sealed the stairs against the infected," Elijah explained as he began to walk up the plank, holding to the rope and placing his feet carefully. "This is the only way up or down." At the top, he was offered helping hands, which he took and in turn, he offered a hand to Primal and Bond. "Safe, but hard on an old man's bones."

At the end of a hall, a pretty young woman in a long dress saw them and sharply turned, disappearing into a room. "That is the ladies' wing," Elijah said, following their eyes. "I ask that you don't go there. No one may go there, save myself, to minister, and the women themselves. It is their kingdom on earth; of course, their reward in Heaven will be much greater. Come, lunch is this way."

He showed them to a large room that was once the cafeteria. It was now an under-utilized mess hall where several men were there eating. They nodded politely to the guests. Elijah showed them to a round table and asked, "What would you like? Our food is limited, but for our guests, I can have some meat brought from the ice room. Would some beef make a pleasant meal?"

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Already starting to soak through her jacket, Myfwany shields her eyes as she looks up. Her skin crawls with a furious inner battle between what she wants, and what she believes.

Do it. Let them see. Let them know. Announce yourself!

She could do it...she knew she could. But the thought of just parting the clouds and letting the sun in...it was so...so...BIBLICAL. It would probably get Gabrielle going again, and make her feel all freakish and weird. Besides, right now they knew she was 'one of them,' but didn't really know what she could do...and Myfwany found she liked that. It made her feel more normal.

Besides, what about ecology? What about plants that needed rain and the cycle of life and...

You -are- ecology. You give voice to the cycle, your will is its will...or would be, if you'd just let yourself be what you are.

"I don't know what I am," Myfwany muttered to herself. The horrifying part was that it was true. She was wet and cold and tired, and her resistance was bottoming out. She didn't care if it was irrational anymore, as long as it would get results. After all, she'd tried to heal Gabrielle, and then Jules. She'd consciously called on whatever this absurdity within her was then. Why not now?

"All right." she whispered. "All right, fine. Take it away."

Nothing happened, and Myf realized she'd been talking to herself as if that voice of temptation was really something other than her. But in her heart she knew it wasn't. The voice was her own, it always had been. She couldn't ask some nameless IT to do this for her. She had to be willing to throw away everything she'd ever believed, and invite madness in.

Myfwany closed her eyes. Immediately she could feel it around her. The press of unseen forces. It made a woven carpet at her feet between the blades of grass and the bugs in the soil. It made great sails where trees stood. And it rose up from the ground; from the trees and grass...even from the people standing there...and it trailed off into the sky, following invisible lines like magnetic filings. In the clouds it roiled and tossed, filling them with vitality and linking them to the earth and every living thing.

She had only to tug on those green-gold lines of force, and lightning would spit and snarl. She knew that. But more subtle manipulations, where the awesome power that writhed in the clouds might be directed over a wider area, diffusing it. Yes...she sensed that it would work. It was what would normally happen, the storm's energy gradually dispersing over space and time until a new equilibrium was met. But she could nudge that along, speeding the natural process up.

Eyes closed, Myfwany flung her arms out to either side...a crude unconscious imitation of what her subtler self was doing. Reaching out to the branching flows of energy from earth to sky, and carefully moving them to places farther away... Almost immediately the results are clear. The clouds start to lighten, though they don't vanish. The rain abruptly begins to slow. From downpour to simple shower, and from shower to a sort of falling fine mist.

Abruptly she gasps and opens her eyes, yanking her hands back into her sides as if burned.

In her mind she hears self-mocking laughter, and an echo of her own voice taunt, not bad for your second miracle. We'll work on it.

Myfwany shook her head, suddenly feeling guilty and besmirched. I'm a doctor! she howled at herself. Not what you say I am! Nothing came back though...largely because she could feel the lie. More and more, she was starting to slip...use these powers instead of her skills and understanding. What would she become if she stayed on this road?

Resignedly, Myf went over to Fox, looking tired and wretched.

"Lets get this over with."

(OOC - Roll conducted in chat with Carver. Scored 1 net success on Weather Control roll, reducing rain storm to drizzle.)

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"Beef sounds wonderful for my partner." Bond said smoothly as he took a seat at the table. He knew that Primal's senses would detect any poison or drugs on his food, though he didn't get the sense of any hostility or deceit from Elijah. The man was just very religious, though that was enough to put Bond on guard in itself. The ultimate pragmatist, he had no regard for religion or spirituality other than as levers to move others, and the eerie calm and weird cult vibe he was getting here was something to make him wary.

"Given that your food supplies are limited, and that you are nonetheless willing to share so generously, I shall eat whatever you are having, in the interests of being a good guest." He smiled at Elijah. "I would never impose more than that, especially in such desperate times."

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"Very well," Elijah said, bowing slightly with that same unfazeable smile. "Let me tell the women what to prepare for you, and then I will rejoin you." He headed for the kitchen, leaving them alone for a moment. They exchanged probing glances and didn't speak of anything important by mutual consent.

Elijah came back with a woman following him. She was older, with a severe face and the kind of expression that actually could cause penis inversion in the right situations. She bore the tray with three glasses and a pitcher of water on it. "I'm afraid this is all I can offer," Elijah said, sitting down as she passed out the cups and poured. Her long dress almost brushed the floor, complete with a high collar and full sleeves. She gave both men disapproving glances, though she barely glanced at Primal after getting a good look at his strange eyes and talons. Bond got the kind of stare that librarians practice on naughty school boys. Then she was gone, her feet making no noise as she walked back to the kitchen.

Elijah turned to them. "So, what news do you have of the world outside?"

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"Much the same as always, I'm afraid." Bond sighed as he sipped his water, it having been given the all-clear by his keen-nosed friend. "Mmm. That's better." He relaxed in his chair, hands cupping his glass as he continued. "There are enclaves starting to spring up, though some of them are like something from the Wild West: lawless hives of villainy where decent folk live in fear of the men with guns."

"There are rumors of people with strange powers gathering at an enclave somewhere in the Mid-West. We were looking for that place, if it exists, when we found you in fact." Bond smiled warmly. "If you or any of your people have heard of it, I'd like to know whatever you care to share."

"Other than that, there was a disturbing tale of a practiced and experienced band of scavengers, like my friend and I, being wiped out. We heard tales as we passed through Colorado about an Omaha man named Xavier who had found something 'important' a few days before he and his team were wiped out." Bond shook his head, puzzled. "It wasn't the walking dead, either. They don't loot caravans or burn them to ashes. I'm curious as to what he found that someone - someone powerful - wanted so badly."

He took another sip of his water and shrugged, smiling faintly. "So many mysteries in the world these days."

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Elijah was quiet for a moment. "I know of a large enclave in Arkansas," he said, nodding. "Around Beaver Lake. Perhaps you gentlemen will find what you're looking for there." He smiled graciously, his bony fingers curling around his cup. "Personally, I don't put much stock in stories of supermen. I believe that people are looking for something to save them from the world when really all they need is to allow God into their lives. He will save them, in the Next World if not this one." His eyes glittered darkly, fervently as he added, "You gentlemen could accept Him and remain here with us. You would find it to be a good life, a comforting life, filled with doing God's work."

He looked from one to the other, waiting for their answer.

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"Oh great," Priest said with remarkably little enthusiasm, "I'm going to go flying ... in a sled."

He shouldered his rifle, checked to see that his grenades were tucked away, and that his back pack was securily closed. He stood up then and waited for word to leave.

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Originally Posted By: Priest
"Oh great," Priest said with remarkably little enthusiasm, "I'm going to go flying ... in a sled."
James responds with cheer, "Flying isn't a problem" and made sure to sit next to Violet with the idea of grabbing her... (not that this was an idea ever far away from his mind) and "leaping" both of them to the ground if they fell out.
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Gabrielle walked quietly up behind Myf, giving the red-head a squeeze on her shoulder and smiling at her once she had her attention. She didn't say anything, just smiled and then moved over to the platform, her ducklings following behind in subdued fear of what was to come.

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