2010-08-03: There's No Place Like Home

Starring:

Ace_V5icon.pngClaire_V5icon.png

Guest Starring:

FatherPatrick_V5icon.pngSisterMary_V5icon.png

Also Featuring:

Nun One, Nun Two, Nun Three, and a whole village

Date: August 3, 2010

Summary:

Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. — Jeremiah 31:12


"There's No Place Like Home"

Malawi Mission

A relatively short stay for the two accidental travelers has come to a close as goodbyes are said, messages to the outside world delivered, and enough water to last the long trip have been given. It's only 20 miles, but in a desert 20 miles could mean life or death. At least for one of the two.

Upon her departure, Ace is mobbed by a little group of children that have already bonded with the woman. After shouting farewells in their native dialect they move to Claire and give her the same treatment. Each young woman is given a talisman made by the women, for luck and good fortune. Once fitted around their necks, the women also drift off and give room to the Americans that were their fellow guests and keepers.

The nuns, all three of them rather than just the two, each bless the girls. Then in a sort of procession line, all of the former homeless and forgotten of New York City that remain in the little village each shake the hands of the pair travelers. All of them except for one, 'T-Cube'.

With that, the girls start the motorbike, Ace driving and Claire on the back. Hopefully, in her time without a vehicle, Ace hasn't forgotten how to ride a motorcycle, even one as ancient as the one they're on. A small trail of dust disappears into the horizon and all those gathered disperse, back to their work.

New York City

With a bible in hand, Father Patrick makes his way toward the vestibule where Sister Mary awaits. They have a trip planned, an important venture that promises to bring two stray sheep home. Hopefully not any worse for the wear. Their presence in Malawi wasn't as planned as the others, and thus, they are facing grave consequences. After giving her a nod, Father Patrick kisses his bible and braces himself for transport. A touch to the shoulder from Mary is all it takes to send them spinning off into a dizzying journey across the globe.

Malawi

When they reappear in the real world, they are in time to see the last of the crowd leaving. The trail of dust has disappeared.

Turning to the nuns, Father Patrick straightens himself and gives them a charming smile. "Sisters, we're here to fetch the two young women back home."

He is received by the wide eyed stares of all three of the sisters and the oldest, a woman that declined the position of Mother Superior twice, steps forward to speak for them. "Father, I'm afraid you're too late. They fixed the motorcycle and are on their way toward the air strip."

"Oh dear," is the reply. Father Patrick looks off in the distance in the direction of the airstrip in time to see a glint of light shining off some of the old mirrors of the motorcycle. He points to it and nods to Sister Mary, "Go, our method will be quicker for them, ey?"

A ride on an old, broken-down motorcycle through the desert is not, Claire finds out, her favorite mode of transportation. She knows she can't be killed if they crash (into what, an elephant?) but still her hold on Ace's waist is perhaps just a touch tighter than is necessary. She would even prefer Peter's or the nun's teleportation than this. She glances back over her shoulder at the trail of dust their ride leaves behind, and then immediately regrets turning around and faces front again, green eyes squinting. It's going to be a long 20 miles… "How fast are we going? How long will it take?" she shouts to Ace, blond hair whipping her face as she wishes for a ponytail holder.

It has to be reasoned that in order for one to forget something one has to know something first. Which means no, Ace doesn't forget technically. It makes for a 'fun' ride and a few close calls but they manage to stay upright and the trek to the airfield should be rather uneventful as a result. The driver is rather silent during their trip. "Fast enough. Long enough," she abruptly responds to Claire's questions, the answers as clipped as her tone of voice is. Maybe it's the dust in the air that has her not wanting to speak and not a sign that her less-than-personable demeanor is returning.

From the distance a small figure winks in and out of existence, getting closer and closer. Soon the figure of Sister Mary Freeman is strobing beside the motorcycle. She doesn't look like she's walking at all, in fact, she looks as though she's standing completely still with her hands demurely folded in front of her. The strobe effect can be assumed to be the fact that she's rapidly teleporting beside them. Unlike both Claire and Ace, her habit and isn't flying back with the wind like their hair. She turns and gives the two girls a smile, then, again in a strobe effect her arm reaches out toward Claire.

"What the hell!" Claire yells, almost falling off the bike as she finally notices the flickering nun beside her, like some sort of staticky ghost. "Ace, stop the motorcycle!" the regenerator gasps, but then she worries the nun is trying to stop them from leaving, despite the kind words and sweet goodbyes of those at the mission. "Wait, no, keep going!" Indecision racks her mind as she turns to stare at the nun and then the road, leaning away from that grabbing arm in fear, and probably throwing the bike off balance as she does so.

Despite the fact that she's being told not to stop Ace does just that, in part from shock and in part because Claire's thrashing makes it necessary, the back tire made to kick up a whole lot of sand when the vehicle is brought to a sudden halt. "Bitch…" she snarls while looking at the Sister, her face bright red from more than just the heat and tight with anger. "Take us home now," she half snarls, her eyes going narrow. Whatever peace and tranquility she was able to gather about herself while at the commune has been utterly shot to hell. Looking behind herself, she angles her chin up sharply at her passenger, her tension mirrored in that upward gesture. "Tell her to take us home, kiddo."

The nun stops strobing a few feet away from the two and lifts her right index finger to wag it at the homeless woman. "Ah ah ah! Watch your language~" she sings before quipping with a still-bright smile, "Didn't your mama ever tell you if you didn't have nothin' nice to say not to say anythin' at all?" She tsks once before disappearing again, popping up right beside Claire and reaching out to touch her shoulder. "An' sayin' it to a nun too, for shame." In a wink, the two of them are gone, leaving Ace by herself with the motorcycle.

Back at the mission, Father Patrick is surprised to see the nun come back with only one of the travelers. "Claire, y'look no worse for the wear. Good t'see yeh, I 'ope yer ready teh go 'ome." Though the heat is sweltering, the priest is dressed (as always) in his black robes. He doesn't look uncomfortable in the least, perhaps it's just a habit of his to look just so all of the time. "I'm truly sorry you were left here for so long, it's an oversight I intend to correct." One of the children runs up to Claire, surprised to see her back so soon, but happy that she's there. Looking toward Mary, Father Patrick raises both of his eyebrows expectantly, "And the other?"

Sister Mary's smile never falters, it's a talent and a rare gift to be as cheerful and chipper as this. Nothing ever seems to phase her, even when stern and scolding she adds a spoon full of sugar to it. "Well Padre, turns out she had a mouth on her— a character flaw, and sufferin' builds character so I thought I'd let her suffer a little longer for the sake of her character…" Logical.

Hugging the little child who runs up to her, Claire peers at the mission and then Father Patrick, her face contorted with anger and confusion. "You can't leave her out there — and I don't want to be here, I want to go home!" Okay, that sounded a little whiny. She takes a deep breath, then turns narrowed eyes on first the sister and then the priest.

"Look. Clearly you have an ability — I know about these things. You need to know that if you don't bring me and Ace, and any of these people who want to go back to New York home, there will be people looking for me, and they won't be as kind to you about it as I will be. So you," she glances back at the nun, "Go back and get Ace, come back here, and get us back to New York before I make you a guinea pig of the US Government, because I know some people who'd be happy to poke you and prod you and find out why you're so very special."

"…bitch!" Gritting her teeth, Ace looks around before realizing that Sister Mary has left her out here, in the heat, to fend for herself. "That's jus' fine. She can take her f'ing Christian charity and shove it up her…" Thankfully the colorful images are never completed and she shrugs herself out of her irritation. The bike is turned back on and gunned forward, Ace fully intent on going about her plane plans without Claire.

The hard stop and the gunning of the engine is just too much for the poor old motorcycle to handle. This isn't Kawasaki Ninja 9000, this is an ancient vehicle that likely predates WWII. There's a pop, then another and the cycle slow and finally putters to a stop, dead. All the while the hot midday sun beats down on the poor woman stuck in the desert.

Back at the mission, the priest regards Claire with a rather undecipherable aire. "Young lady," he begins slowly, his manner calm yet voice quite firm. "I've apologized for the oversight, I've come as soon as my duties to the parish allowed to make your return. Yours and Ace's return, please show a little more regard. I'd hoped you'd at least seen what we do here aside from the seemingly random kidnapping of people left to die in the streets."

A few of the former homeless murmur their agreement and rivet their eyes between Father Patrick and Claire. No one says a word until Sister Mary Freeman pipes in, "I'll be back in a jiff!" And with that, she's gone.

Claire's eyes narrow further as she looks up at the priest and gives a slow shake of her head. "I can see you're doing some good work, yes. But it's still not right. I'm going to come back in a few weeks to make sure that people aren't being kept here against their will. So far, they all seem to want to be here, except T-Bone, and I can see he's better here than he was, so I'll allow it," she says, her voice cool. Sometimes, her genetics and her upbringing come through and she can be mature — and manipulative. "If you want to keep doing these people good and keep helping them, then you will make sure this sort of 'oversight' doesn't happen again." She takes a deep breath. At heart, she just really wants to see her Mom.

With no way to gauge how far they got before stopping and no real way of being able to make sure she's going in the right direction to go back, Ace is kind of stuck. Bad juju. Guess it's just a matter of waiting to see if someone comes back for her. Or happens upon her. Whatever.

There's no sound around Ace, one nice thing about the desert is that it gives you a quiet place to reflect and think about the direction your life is taking you. From behind her there's a small rustle and then Sister Mary sits down a few feet away from her in the sand and folds her hands on her lap. "You know, you might get far if you're a bit nicer to people as a whole." She pauses for a fraction of a second to give Ace some room for thought. "You don't need to be so hostile. A bit of honey catches more flies with vinegar my momma always says. There's a reason why I brought you here, aside from just panic that you'd find out anyway… There's somethin' special in you, you'd go places if you applied yourself." A little life lesson in the middle of the desert. "Y'know, the other sisters told me you're actually gettin' along with the others."

Father Patrick gives a smile to Claire and nods to all of her conditions. "Of course, you're welcome back anytime yeh wish." He raises a hand toward the mission and then tilts his head a little to the side in question, "Would yeh be needin' transport or would'je like teh make yer own arrangements?" Then his hand is lowered to his side with the soft clap of flesh against cloth.

"If I come back, I'll be handling my own transportation," Claire says, a lift of her chin to show she's set in this resolve, to check back on them and to make sure they aren't overstepping the system she's already not entirely approving of. "But I'd really appreciate it if that nun could get me home today, if that's at all possible, Father," she says, a little sweeter now, almost as if she'd heard Sister Mary's words to Ace so many miles away.

"You don't know what it's like on the streets," Ace intones once the Sister announces her presence by speaking, her voice dry due to how she's growing parched, the water she has with her forgotten most likely. "Got to be tough, lady." Mary's watched carefully then before she sighs and leans over, bending her knees so that they're close to her body, they then used to brace her chin. "I don't know what you think is so special about me…and yeah. I got along with them because they weren't the reason I was here. But, for what it's worth, I'm sorry for being so…bitchy." Two apologies from Ace in less than a day. What the hell is this world coming to?

With a smile, Sister Mary gets up off out of the sand and steps up to offer Ace a hand. "C'mon then Missy, let's get'chu home." Her down home Southern drawl just seems out of place in the middle of Malawi, go figure. Once Ace is up, she marches back to the bike and hefts it up to a stand and straddles the seat. "Get on, can't leave the mission without reliable transportation now, can we?" She waits there, smile still plastered across her face, for Ace to climb on the back.

"Oh, don't worry none. We're gonna get'yeh home in the next few minutes." The father flips open the bible and pulls out a letter, handing it to Claire. It's sealed with wax and addressed to Sandra. "I've got work to do here, but Sister Mary will take you back as soon as she finds your friend. Don't open it, it's for your mother's eyes only. It's my hope it'll smooth a few things over."

The envelope is glanced at and Claire nods. "Okay," she says with a shrug. She's not the type to open her mother's mail — oh, well, okay, maybe she is, if there was a good reason, but not in front of the priest asking her not to. She tucks it into the back pocket of her shorts. Her eyes turn to the desert beyond the mission, scanning for any sign of the nun and street girl.

"Uh…" Ace remembers the nun's little bamf! act and how it made her feel when she was brought to the mission, the mere thought of feeling so nauseous again turning her green. But with the teleporation being the only option, she has to agree to the lift. "Wouldn't call this piece of garbage reliable but…" Okay. Time to be nice so Ace smiles as much as she can while getting onto the back, holding on tight once she's got butt put to seat.

"Oh, it's fine," the nun says, tutting a little at Ace's comment. "Okay! Hang on to your arms 'n legs, we're gone~" In a blink, they disappear, leaving nothing but the sand and a few stray weeds in their wake.

While Claire's eyes are turned to the desert, Sister Mary and Ace reappear in the same shed the bike was originally found. "There we are! Right as rain, as my momma always says." She hops off the bike and brushes her habit smooth before stepping out into the open.

Father Patrick sees her first and gives her a smile and a nod before turning to walk toward the mission hut far from the village. "She's over there, Miss Bennet, ready to take you home." The kindly words are echoed by the cries of the young children rushing over to greet Ace once more. The priest disappears a few hundred yards away into the little hut and doesn't come out again.

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