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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:38 am 
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He rocked her gently as she talked, murmuring assents as needed to show that he was indeed paying attention.

He made a note to put Jaycee on the menu for the patrol sweeps, posthaste.

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"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:46 am 
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It was a moment eerily analogous to when they'd first met.

Only things were so, so much more complex now... almost woefully so.

Leaning into his chest, listening to the vibrations of his heart and his breathing, she found comfort. The only order, the only pattern in this day and age. A symbol of both survival and even life itself, if she got right down to it.

"If you die, I'll go crazy," she murmured nonsensically.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:48 am 
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He wasn't sure exactly which of them she was talking to at this point. "Shhh..." he whispered. "Just hold on to me."

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When the Frog God smiles, arm yourself.
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"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:56 am 
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"Like I could do anything else," she said in what appeared to be a rare lucid moment. Behind her, she could hear Colin's whimpering as the two cleaned out the ragged four-pointed star of a gunshot wound. The type of wound that only came from close contact with the muzzle.

Goddamn him.

The sound Colin was making was almost congruous to the whimpering of Jaycee's former bodyguard, the one she'd dove mercilessly into, waving the lawnmower blade like some sort of battle-axe.

And she realized that she'd cruelly left him there.

"There's a wounded man... back at the post office. Send two or three of the blackcaps to go ask if he wants to stay loyal to that prick or not. And tell them that if he says yes, they're to offer a quick and spiteful mercy killing."

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:58 am 
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He nodded, giving her back a reasonably enthusiastic slap. "I'll be back in a bit, then. Hang in there, kiddo."

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When the Frog God smiles, arm yourself.
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"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:03 am 
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She nodded mutely and sat, legs dangling off the edge of the table, wanting to ask Ace and Mike for a prognosis but knowing how grim it would be.

And so she sat there, listening to the commotion in the background with a limited understanding as to what was actually going on. And she was suddenly aware that her jaw was beginning to hurt like a motherfucker...

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:06 am 
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Half an hour later, Petro returned. He stopped to talk to Ace and Mike for a few moments, then came over and sat down next to her. He didn't say anything.

He didn't have to.

Given his druther's, he'd put a round in the kid's head right now, because it was going to be one hell of a long couple of days. But few people were as expedient about these sort of things as he was.

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When the Frog God smiles, arm yourself.
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"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:14 am 
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She took one look in his eyes and knew. And Sherry was silent for a long moment, considering the decisions she'd made regarding Colin and hoping she wasn't just prolonging his suffering.

"You don't have to tell me," she said quietly, "I already know."

But that didn't make the bitterness of humiliation any easier to bear.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:18 am 
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He nodded.

The cold, analytical part of his mind was already figuring out who would replace her if she couldn't get it back after this. They had a new unit now, and they'd need solid leadership.

The human part of his mind compelled him to pull her close again to let her know that he was with her.

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When the Frog God smiles, arm yourself.
Image
"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:22 am 
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"After they're all taken care of, have them assemble in the commons. I have... some words..." she yawned, curling against him once again. "They're good boys. Fiercely loyal now that the snake's out of the grass. I promise."

Despite her current mental state, the fact that a series of events seemed to be transpiring to wear her down despite her best efforts, there was no way in Hell she'd lose sight of their goal. Their instinct to survive.

Now that she'd freed the band from Jaycee's leadership, she owed it to them to build the Blackcaps--and their new recruits--up to what they'd once been: proud, and only as unstable as necessary.

That last thought caused her lips to tweak up in just the faintest of smiles, but that smile was enough.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:28 am 
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"Will do," he said.

And that was that. Life went on, and so did they...

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When the Frog God smiles, arm yourself.
Image
"'Flammable' and 'inflammable' have the same meaning! This language is insane!"
GIVE ME COFFEE AND I WILL ALLOW YOU TO LIVE!- Frigid
"Ork 'as no automatic code o' survival. 'is partic'lar distinction from all udda livin' gits is tha necessity ta act inna face o' alternatives by means o' dakka."
I created the sound of madness, wrote the book on pain


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:44 pm 
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Several hours later, after managing to compose herself at least enough to make a public appearance that wouldn't worry people, she stood in the commons area along with the fourteen Blackcaps who'd both survived and chosen to come along. She'd given them that chance because the organization couldn't work otherwise. And she'd let them know that clearly.

"So just remember, you're here of your own accord and you can leave whenever you'd like," she was saying, "because one think I will not tolerate is sickness on the level of the man who just left you there to die. If you ebb rather than flow, I won't hesitate to label you a deserter and lend you on your way."

She shifted a bit.

"Because we can't afford that sort of thing anymore. I think you all understand that fairly well."

As a series of muted acknowledgements and nods affirmed that, she shrugged and added: "We'll just let you get settled in during the next few days. After all, I know how he must have been treating you, and there's no way I'd send you off to work in that kind of shape, all right? You're family here. We all are. We just have to learn to act like it."

A wave of her hand. Carry on.

"I'll see you in a few, okay? If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask."

As the group of ruffians dissolved, she sank onto a bench in the mall's commons area, leaning back against the wall of what once had been an escalator, closing her eyes.

So damn tired.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 3:48 pm 
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Mike coughed warningly and took a seat next to her. He was maddeningly clean, disposable gloves removed and his labcoat seemingly impervious to stains.

"Hey." A pause. "He's stable. I can't promise anything, and you wouldn't want me to." August sat at her feet, cropped tail wagging furiously, big, brown eyes looking at her with concern.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 4:18 pm 
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She opened one eye, then the other, coming face to face with the dog as opposed to Mike. Realizing she'd slumped over, she sat and rolled her shoulders.

Feebly, a hand reached down and stroked the Jack Russell terrier behind his ears, which brought a smile to her face.

When she turned to him, it was apparrent on her face just how much the ordeal had taken from her. Jaycee and Colin's blood was still splashed over her face, hair, and clothing as though she'd purposefully bathed in it, and she didn't seem to care.

"Thank you," she said, "I know you did everything you could."

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 4:41 pm 
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Mike rested his chin in his hands and tickled August under the chin with his foot. "What I'd give for a honest-to-God power source and some proper medical equipment. The stuff we've got is supposed to be a stopgap, not for good." He paused. "I don't suppose getting him to an actual hospital would do any good."

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 4:44 pm 
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She sighed, staring at the tile floor as though the texture of the grout was suddenly the most interesting thing she'd ever seen.

"Hospitals are deathtraps," she said quietly. But... would it help? If it would, she'd damn well try. At this point, desperation was becoming the determining factor in most of her actions. And this protective instinct was a close second; fighting for Colin's well-being gave her a distraction, a cause above simply living her own life.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 5:11 pm 
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He sighed. "You're right. I just can't stand the idea of losing a patient. It's why I went into theoretical stuff, I can't detatch."

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 5:13 pm 
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She nodded, understanding, and sat back with a sigh.

"When Colin joined the gang, he was only thirteen. For some reason I just told myself I was going to watch out for him. Probably 'cause no one else would. Jaycee, the bastard, used to grind on him... got a kick in the throat, too. Guess that didn't make my point."

Suddenly, her mind shifted:

"God, I'm starving," she said quietly. "But I don't want to eat... might just upset my stomach."

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 5:22 pm 
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Mike made a show of patting his pockets. "The doctor might have something for that, as long as you don't mind a bit of a hangover tomorrow."

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 5:29 pm 
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"Don't know if I can afford that," she said, "gotta have our wits about us, you know?"

She laughed a bit.

"There's only one of us that can just stumble from one misadventure to the next without any sort of grounding in things like rationality and common sense. However, that one isn't me."

After a moment of consideration:

"Perhaps a bit of fresh air would do us well?"

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 5:32 pm 
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"Is it sea air?" He asked jokingly.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2005 5:35 pm 
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She laughed.

"Who even knows what the oceans are like now. After all, the last time I was up at the ports, I was a kid and the city wasn't quarantined."

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 9:06 am 
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"Speaking of the state of things, go clean yourself up. There's nothing you can do right now, and you'd feel better if you weren't covered in blood."

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 11:58 am 
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"We shouldn't waste the water," she said, knowing the blood would dry and cake off of her skin soon enough. Her hair was the last thing she cared about at this moment, especially when she was concentrating on recovering her own strength just as much as she was concentrating on Colin's.

She then laughed a bit.

"Does it really look that bad?"

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:44 pm 
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"You look like you've been dunked in a vat of red paint and left in the sun to dry. Or maybe ketchup. Damnit, ketchup." Chuckled Mike as August jumped onto his lap.

"What I'd give for some ketchup to put on my nightly fried rat. But you don't mind, do you boy? You like them neat." He gripped the dog's tiny shoulders.

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