2009-07-28: Another Day, Another Dollar


DFJack_icon.gif DFCass_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif DFLachlan_icon.gif

Guest Starring: Abby

Summary: G-R-A-N-D-A-D-E

Dark Future Date: July 28th, 2009

Log Title Another Day, Another Dollar

Location We can't stop here, this is Bat Country!

It's hard to tell times of day any more in New York City. It seems like it's always overcast and grey. Most of the time, it dampens the light, but it also makes any available colors all that much more vibrant. Like the downtrodden carpets of Bat Country, or the color of Cass' lipstick. Donning her lab coat, still white after everything, Cass is checking on those still in beds in the back and trying to make sure that they're taken care of. She spends some time with each patient, to talk to them and make sure they feel like they're taken care of, before she moves onto the next one. By the end of the line, she seems a little drained, but everyone does these days.


Julia IV's engine roars and growls, then quietly coughs to a halt as Jack pulls in. The former bartender climbs out of the driver's seat and narrows his tired grey eyes warily. He tugs his gloves on a little tighter as he scans the cityscape for signs of pursuit. No tails, looks like. All the same, he moves quickly despite his slight limp. He pops the highly modified GTO's trunk and shifts several wooden crates with labels that read things like 'HAZARDOUS' and 'FLAMMABLE' until he comes across an unmarked one, which he digs out and hefts up onto his shoulder. After slamming the trunk with one elbow, he scurries up to the clinic's door and akwardly jogs the knob to let himself in. As always, he's functionally dressed in a loose, long sleeved black shirt, heavy black denims, and his thoroughly scuffed and loved boots.

It's a good thing that Jack isn't bringing down anything flammable or hazardous today. Cass enough to worry about. The basement rooms of Bat Country still have no windows, so she's unable to tell that Jack is about to pay the clinic a visit bearing gifts. And, in fact, she might not even have noticed right away since before she can get too far toward the lab where she wants to check on some patient charts, there's a distinctive cry of a young baby coming from one of the rooms. With practiced attentiveness, the woman changes course and heads toward the office. Inside, a young child - three months old at the most - lays in a carrying basket with bedding. Carefully scooping up the pinkly clad baby, who is just starting to grow in wisps of dark brown hair, she hoists her up into her arms and starts to rock her slowly back and forth. "Shhh, shhh."

It doesn't take long for Jack to find Cass. "Hey." As usual, his voice is rough and rattling, like a sack of nails shaken thoroughly. For the sake of the crying baby, he does his best to keep it low and soothing. Sadly, his best isn't all that good. For a long moment he stares at the child. A look that's not quite confused and not quite compassionate creeps across his face. After a moment he swallows and blinks it away. "Where do you want this?" he whispers. "It's not much. Mostly plasma, bandages, and suture kits. Decent medical supplies are hard to come by." He shrugs his unburdened shoulder. "Got antibiotics this time, though."

The moment that Cass hears someone behind her, she's automatically defensive. Tensing, she snaps her head around and cradles the child closer to herself. The rattling voice doesn't do all that much to sooth the crying child, but the rocking and humming has done something. It's more of a sleepy hiccuping now. The moment she hears his voice, though, Cass' tenseness melts slightly. She smiles at her scarred friend. "Abby, where are your manners? No crying at Uncle Jack." Then, back to business. Still holding onto her child, she hoists her up, though, so that the baby rests more on her shoulder than in her arms. This gives her some more mobility. "Oh, thank God. We were starting to run out. I was counting down our last dosages. Let's take it toward the lab. Thanks so much, Jack."

The words 'Uncle Jack' pull an unconscious flinch from the Irishman. He inhales sharply, then nods and turns to follow Cass toward the lab, shifting the heavy crate from one shoulder to the other and shielding it protectively from collisions with walls or door frames. Of all the deliveries he makes, this is one that he takes very seriously. "Anything for the cause," he grates out, his usual reply to Cass's thanks. A hint of his old smile tugs at one side of his mouth, but it doesn't stick around for long. He glances at the child again. "Does Abby need anything? Diapers or formula or whatever?"

"What if I say that everyone is going to get together for karaoke for the cause?" Cass says that deadpan, but with a bit of a smirk playing at her lips. She can't help but tease here and there. Even now. Abby gives another hiccuping cry and Cass starts bouncing her a little. "She's a little collicy, but otherwise okay. We're pretty well stocked for the next couple of months. Lachlan keeps buying her doberman stuffed animals. I don't know where he finds them all." There's an exasperated tone to her voice, but she doesn't otherwise seem to mind. "How is it out there?"

The shortwave crackles. "Rimbaud." says a male voice. "Theodore de Banville, vingt-quatre Mai, dix-huit soixante-dix." An Alliance transmission, definitely from Lee. (Nima's codes are all old comic book issue numbers, and never delivered in her own voice.) According to the papers, that means 'incoming, Bat Country Labs, reply if unsafe.' At least until now - now it will be crossed off and not used again. And god knows Lee's so mobile that even if the authorities did, for some reason, decide to trace the strange transmission, he would be long gone.

The karaoke crack earn a brief, reproachful glare from Jack, but his heart really isn't in it. There are fond, shared memories of better days and mic parties, after all, even if it feels like it happened years ago. "It is what it is," he replies succintly, bringing them back to business. "But today's been pretty quiet." When the radio sparks to life he jumps, then jerks his head toward it. "You can tell 'im it's all clear. Had a good look around before I came in. Or…" Another glance at little Abby. Rather than make Cass put her down, Jack finds a spot for his crate and picks the handset up himself to reply with another codephrase. It doesn't come out nearly so smoothly in his mangled, rattle brogue, but it's accurate.

Most people have become more dour and serious what with everything going on around them. Cass would be one of them if it weren't for Abigail and Lachlan and her desire to give Abby a better world than she was born into. Instantly recognizing Lee's voice from the broadcast, she doesn't move to pick up the headset to reply. "It's okay, Jack." However, he's already responding in code, and she makes no overt move to stop him. Instead, Lee just may here a fussy baby in the background of his transmission and Cass saying, "Shh. Shh. It's fine." She starts humming again, rubbing the three month old's back with a comforting hand, she starts singing a soft lullaby to try and lull the girl back into sleep.

There is no further reply, per protocol, except for Lee coming out the stairwell door, flushed from exertion, pulling off his headset and cap with one hand and wiping his forehead with the back of his short sleeve, his skinny arm protruding, his hands pulling at his fingerless gloves. "They got Fierce." he says by way of introduction. "Up in Vermont, they got him trying to cross. UAV. The fugees he had with him too."

Jack drops the radio's receiver and tugs his snug leather gloves up higher around his wrists, then slides the cuffs of his shift down over them. It's an instinctive gesture, and one he repeats many times in the course of a day. When Lee presents himself and leads with bad news, Jack's face pinches into a heavier-than-usual frown. "Shit," he replies eloquently. Still, they're all used to losing people by now. Too used to it. He continues after a respectful moment of silence. "You come in a vehicle? I've got a crate of thermite grenades and some RPGs I was planning to bring by. You can take 'em off my hands."

The crying baby doesn't exactly help matters. "They did what?" Instead of swearing, Cass looks distraught. "But. I just talked to him. It wasn't more than a day or so ago." And upset. Holding onto Abigail tighter, she rubs her back some more. Trying to be comforting. "They got them all? Jack, don't swear in front of Abby." It's a useless struggle in these times and with Lachlan being her father, but she's going to try any way. She wants her child to grow up normal and happy. Even under these circumstances. "And don't day things like thermite grenades. I don't want her first words to be RPG or something having to do with explosions."

Lee says, "They got them all, according to the oversight guy. Some may have survived, but they're at /least/ on their way to a detention facility rather than back to a camp by now. We're closing the branch and re-routing." In a certain sense, Lee seems almost lively, energy pouring through him, light on his feet, though he brings somber news, and all around is tragedy, he's found something that pushes him on…well, that 'light on his feet' part probably is a bit literally true since he can redirect a bit of gravity, but still. "Sure, we can take the…" He eyes Cass sidelong. "…toys off your hands. I ran here, so probably not a good idea for me. What is it you're after in exchange?" He figures he'd ask.

That's the one rebuke that carries any weight with Jack. He winces, then shrugs apologetically. "Okay. If you wanna get the G-R-A-N-D-A-D-E…" Okay. So spelling was never Jack's strong suit. "Man. They're in my trunk. If you're on foot I can still drive 'em over. It's two large for the T-H-E-R… That stuff. One apeice for the shoulder-fired thingummies. I'd like to cut you a better price, but I've got expenses to meet." He shrugs again, but he's no longer apologetic. There was a time he would've done it for no reason other than it needed doing, but that time is over.

Despite Lee's barely restrained energy, Cass is trying to keep herself calm. Death and weapons are something she has come to hear about all the time, however they still affect her. Holding onto the still crying Abby, she rocks her back and forth, letting the two men spell things out incorrectly. "G-R-E-N-A-D-E," she corrects Jack softly, in a sing song-y voice to fool Abby into thinking it's part of her lullaby. Just so that he knows what to spell when he tries to speak of such things in front of her daughter. Let the boys handle the weapon talk. Finally, Abby starts to calm and burble herself toward sleep.

There's been work and things to be done, but Lachlan's finished up with them and now heads to the one place he figures Cass will be (since it's probably too early for her to be home yet). Just follow the sounds of a crying baby! The now-gimpy Scotsman limps into the labs, Dobermans following on either side. In one hand is a small stuffed toy dog that looks like it could be a Rottweiler. Which is almost like a Doberman. In the other hand is a plastic bag with takeout boxes in it. Someone splurged a bit today. Spotting the other men in the room, he raises an eyebrow. "Wha's up?" he grunts in greeting as he moves towards Cass, eyes trained on Lee and Jack.

Lee says, "We can get you the money by the next disbursement day, but I'm rolling with what you see. You should sit in on the classes I'm teaching at the group home, Jack." Oh my god, he's serious. "Be a shame to die without being able to spell the thing that killed you." He replies to Lachlan: "They got a Vermont branch. Fierce's. And all his cargo. I'm back in the city re-routing."

Jack stares at Cass blankly for a moment. "Grandad? Are you calling me old?" Then it sinks in. He misspelled his favorite word. Twice. "OH! Sh-cr-fu…" Cough. Can't swear. "Oops." Happy for a distraction from his own folly, he pauses to glare at Lee. "You expect me to extend a tab and deliver? You're lucky I like you, kiddo." Part of his irritation is genuine and part of it is for show. As much as he'd like it to be the case, not everybody can afford to pay when he can afford to deliver. He lift two gloved fingers to touch his brow in a brief, lazy salute when Lachlan enters. "Hey. Just droppin' off."

Lee blurts out, "Oh no. We don't want you to deliver. No way." /That/ was a little bit overprotective. "Can you hang onto it for… four days? We'll have to do some asset redirection." And that's as close as Lee will come to saying 'we're going to knock over a bank' to people not actually in the Resistance…fine, Alliance.

Soothing Abby, the little girl finally starts to fall asleep in Cass' arms. Little face slacks in sleep and she leans against her mother's arms. "There we go." She smiles lovingly at her child and cradles the tiny body against her own body protectively. When she hears Lachlan's footsteps unevenly come down the steps, she looks up and smiles at him, not exactly the picture of motherly warmth in a run down clinic with people talking about guns and robberies, but as close as she can get to it in such circumstances. "Shhhh," she tells Lachlan happily. "I just got her to doze off. "They're talking negotiations for our much needed gathering." Money may not grow off of trees, but that doesn't mean they can't try to harvest it.

Lee's explanation garners a frown from Lachlan. "Bloody hell." Pause. Glance at Abby. "— heck." Ahem. Jack's not the only one who tries to watch his language (and equally fails miserably at it). A nod is given to Jack in greeting, and then the Scot pauses to stare down at his child. Awww, she's asleep! That's always when she's at her best. (Except smiling, he likes it when she does that.) "Got 'er this," he intones quietly, moving to tuck the stuffed toy in with Abby against. "An' I got some food." Then his attention returns to the negotiating going on.

"Four days," Jack agrees. "Then I find another buyer." It's not a threat, just a simple statement of fact. He a businessman first, and he's got his own crew's needs to think of. "On the upside, I'll have more rifles and SMGs in by then. Food and medical supplies, too. Contact me by radio when you're organized. I can leave the crates at one of the safehouses." His grating, croaking voice drops to whisper out the words 'rifles' and 'SMGs'. There's a baby to think about, after all.

Lee says, "Please do find another buyer if there's nothing in four days. The last thing we need is a lot of weapons laying around waiting on someone to shoot them." He eyes the three of them. "You all know this is still going to be going on when Abby is old enough to understand, right? Even if we won, the cleanup…" He's almost gentle in saying this.

A small, happy smile plays at Cass' face when Lachlan tucks the stuffed animal into Abby's sleeping arms. It's just too adorable. Let the negotiations continue while she just rocks her child. However, there's a fiercer look when she turns her gaze to Lee. "She's going to have a childhood. Just like I did, just like we all did. Just because we happen to live in some sort of hell doesn't mean I can't give what I can to make sure she has that." It will be a limited childhood, but one nonetheless. "I'm not having my baby grow up afraid of her parents and her parent's friends because all we talk about is how to kill people." This. This is something she will fight to protect. "I'm going to put her down to sleep." Still rocking and humming, she heads back toward the office where Abby's basinet is.

As soon as Lee starts in on that train of thought, Lachlan winces, knowing exactly what's coming. And there it is: Cass' retort. The Scotsman remains in tight-lipped silence until Cass has disappeared into the office before he glances at Lee. "We're tryin' ta keep 'er out of it," he explains almost apologetically. And then to Jack he adds, "Ye gonna need help movin' anythin'?"

Lee says, with understanding on his face, "I can agree with that. I'm not much for killing myself." That's why virtually everything he does is intel, logistics and organization and the bad guys end up with mere busted kneecaps and people clinging to ceiling fixtures trying not to fall. Of course it's easy for /him/ to say that, bullet-deflector that he is.

Jack stares at Lee blandly for several seconds, then gives his head a slow shake in response to Lachlan's question. "Nah. I was only able to bring in a small load this time." He nudges the large, heavy wooden crate full of medical odds and ends that he carried in a few minutes ago. His idea of a small load is about two hundred pounds of stuff, apparently. "Goin' out for a bit o' sport, if you'd care to join me. Saw a foot patrol off of Kingston Ave. about an hour ago, gonna see if I can pick up their trail. They looked pretty green, I figure it'll be easy beans."

A bit of hunting is obviously a very tempting prospect, but Lachlan is very torn. A couple of years ago — hell, just one year ago — he would've gone with Jack with only a second's hesitation. Now he's got that ugly R-word. And it lies with the people in that office over there. The Scotsman opens his mouth once, closes it, then sighs regretfully. "Nah, dunna think I could. 'Ve got— " he thrusts a thumb over his shoulder at the office "— y'know." He can't just go running off to shoot people on such short notice. "Mebbe some other time, though."

Lee grins. "Old Mrs. Rabbit will get very upset if I go into Mr. McPetrelli's garden without permission." The leader(s?) of the Resis…Alliance are quite mysterious, neither Lee nor Cass ever reveals anything substantive about them - and he seems to implicitly support Lachlan's decision. No random stuff: stick to the Plan. "I'm on an assignment - like I say, I have to re-route everyone who was going to use Fierce's branch, and dispatch someone up there to try to map out another way across the border. Just got to catch my breath and then get back up to speed. Don't have too much fun."

"I get you. If you guys need anything, you know how to get 'hold of me." Jack grins widely. Instead of mischevious and boyish the expression is cynical and sinister. "Now if you'll excuse me, my therapist tells me I have issues to work out. I'm gon' go do that." He cuffs a leather-gloved hand against Lachlan's shoulder on the way out the door.

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