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Patrick Dunn (NPC)

A man aiming to please.

0 · 101 views · located in Season 3

a character in “The Walking Dead: Online”, as played by Captain Calamity

Description

.: Patrick Dunn :.

Image



Description:

Portrayed By Joseph Gordon Levitt
Video Editor / Intern
29
Male
5’11” / 161 lbs
American/Jewish
From Brooklyn, NY



Traits:

3 Strengths:
Agile: Years spent in track & field, amongst other athletics, has made Patrick incredibly swift and coordinated as well as providing him with his lean and balanced frame. He excels at feats of a physical nature and is quite scrappy.
Honest: Even growing up in a tough neighborhood in Brooklyn, Patrick was still always a bit of a mama’s boy. A good upbringing and plenty of Catholic teaching kept Patrick on the right path and keeps him true.
Avid Learner: Despite the charming numbskull facade that he puts up as his exterior, Patrick actually is quite bright-- able to pick up most skills with ease. He welcomes challenges, another chance for him to prove his worth.

3 Flaws:
Compassionate: Patrick maybe feels a little too strongly about things and the idea of having to live with the guilt of not doing the right thing isn’t something he wants to endure. He is constantly conflicted in his actions and decisions.
Idolizer: Patrick is quite sensitive to hero worship. If somebody does right by him, he is fiercely loyal to them. This makes him sensitive to certain types of personalities -- especially those that would take advantage of such naivete.
Esteem Issues: Patrick has always had problems with his image and identity, often falling prey to more dominant personalities. He never thinks he’s doing good enough, a product of a complicated relationship with his father. He prefers to work in groups rather than individual pursuits.



Personality:

Fears: His Dad, Spiders, Drowning, Flying, Snakes.

Aspirations: Visit every state in the country, buy a house, play in the Olympics, have a family.

Dominant Emotion: Fatherly (In the context of both family & faith…)

Demeanor: Patrick is the kind of guy who always wants to make sure everybody is taken care of. He has a very calming coolness to him that doesn’t seem put on, though it does make up for what he lacks in confidence. Being the youngest of all his brothers helped him to build thick skin, something that’s been put to best use as of late. He has a charming and sarcastic way about him that people rarely tire of and makes for a loyal and sturdy companion.

Quirks/Oddities: Usually has something in his mouth like gum, a toothpick, a lozenge, candy, cigarette.

Skills/Proficiencies: Athletic, Gymnastics, Video Editing, Basic Electronics & Wiring, Adv. Computer Skills, Fishing, Boxing, Hockey, Football, Can Drive Stick, Basic Automotive Repair, Cooking, etc.



Equipment:

Keeps a notepad and a pen in his back pocket.
Carries a pocket knife.
Has a sterling silver necklace with a lined cross on it.



History:
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So begins...

Patrick Dunn (NPC)'s Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Niobe Kajja Character Portrait: Carl Dupree (NPC) Character Portrait: Silas Quinn Character Portrait: Patrick Dunn (NPC) Character Portrait: Eli Sharp (NPC)

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+ Niobe Kajja +


"So you can like break into anything, is that it? Is that like your super power?" Carl asked as he crawled through the broken glass window into the lobby. Niobe helped pull him through as he slid as he regained his footing.

"I don't like breaking into things," Niobe replied, matter-of-factly, "I do it cause I have to."

"Spoken like a true criminal," Carl said, smiling. The two of them crept through the empty dark lobby of the Capitol Records building. They had maneuvered past a makeshift barricade of desks and chairs to get inside -- noting that there were likely some guests on the inside. But it's 50+ floors had to have some useful supplies in them, not to mention the height needed to catch a signal on Carl's phone. He hunched over a panel near the elevators, adjusting the glasses ln his nose. "Hey, I think this place still has power..." he said, turning to Niobe. He punched the button with his thumb and the yellow arrow lit up. "Which floor?"

"Might as well go as high as we can. We'll have a decent view while we're up there," Niobe replied. They waited a few moments until the elevator rang open.

"Apres vous," Carl said -- ushering Niobe in first. She stepped inside and punched the "R" button for roof access. The metal doors closed behind them and the elevator lurched into motion. Carl twiddled his thumbs against the handrail as they zoomed upwards in silence. "What d'you think of the new people?" He asked, making small talk.

"So far they've been a bunch of drama queens," Niobe said, raising her eyebrows. "They seem alright though."

Carl nodded. "That Sarah chick seems like a bit of a loose cannon..."

"Yeah, we'll see." The elevator began to slow to a halt -- and the doors parted to reveal two armed men with rifles leveled at them. Carl put his hands up, but Niobe's flew to her pistol. It was out in a flash before either man had a chance to react.

"Don't you fuckin' move," the shorter one ordered. He looked over to his friend without moving his head. "I told you I heard the elevator, Patrick."

His friend hit him in the arm with the butt of his gun. "Eli! Don't use our real names you dumbass!"

"You just said my name!"

"Fuck you, dude!"

Niobe eased up a little bit, glancing over at Carl who put his hands down. She looked at the two men. "Since I just had more than enough chances to take you guys out, I'm assuming your harmless," she said, lowering her weapon.

The two men looked at each other and did the same. "And I'll assume the same since you didn't shoot us," Eli replied. "Welcome to the Capitol."



* * *



Niobe and Carl followed the young men through a labyrinth of cubicle walls and hallways, leading them by flashlight. Even though there was still electricity, they were smart enough not to light up their whole building like some sort of huge beacon. Judging by their welcome, they had likely had some not-so-friendly encounters since the start of thing.

"We're interns here," Eli began, gesturing to Patrick. "All the others went home to be with their families, but we're both from the east coast... so we stayed."

"How 'bout you guys?" Patrick asked from the back of the group.

In her mind, Niobe laughed at the thought -- the thought that this was the world they lived in now. There were no "hello's" or "what do you do for a living's?" -- it was just a gun to the face and a "what's your story?". "I was at the coffee shop next to this nerd's comic book store," she replied, pointing her thumb at Carl. He waved, sheepishly. "We're holed up with a group not too far away... came here to try and get a signal and see if we couldn't find some answers."

Eli opened a door to a bigger set of offices, holding it open for the others. "You came to the right place then," he replied with a smile. Niobe stepped through to find over a dozen other people all either lounging around or working on some task. Two people poured a map in the corner, lit by candlelight. A father and his boy curled up underneath a few coats in the corner. Eli weaved between a few desks further on towards the back of the room where a glass partition revealed a beautifully furnished office with a bar. A man sat casually on the corner of the desk -- in mid-conversation with a woman about Niobe's age. She stood up and left the room quickly once the two of them arrived, and the man stood to greet them.

"Who do we have here?" He asked, studying the two of them.

Eli had walked straight for the bar, pouring a glass of the brown scotch into some empty glasses -- spilling enough to show how unaware he was of how nice the scotch was. "These two showed up in the elevator with their radio looking for answers," he said, sniffing the bottle before putting it back down.

The man walked around his table and sat down in the large plush chair, drumming his fingers on the wood desk. "Well, I could save you the trip up there and answer anything you'd like to know. I've had my own ears out there since the start of this," he said -- offering the two of them a seat. Carl sat first, placing the satellite phone between his legs. Eli and Patrick left the room, closing the door behind them. "I'm Silas Quinn," he began, grinning widely. "You guys look like you've had quite the day..."

Carl laughed, taking off his glasses to wipe the lenses on his shirt. "I gotta say, sir, you've got quite the set-up here. Do you know what it's like outside man? I slept in a sewer last night..."

Niobe shot Carl a look, shutting him up instantly. They didn't know these people and surely didn't need to be giving away and of their whereabouts to strangers. She turned to Silas. He was a strapping man -- tall with broad shoulders. Even Niobe couldn't help but find him attractive and somewhat... dominant. She crossed her arms. "So what questions should we be asking?"

The smile on the man's face faded, and his gaze drifted past Niobe's head out into the rest of the office where several others bustled about. "I think the question everybody has on their minds now that they've realized they aren't waking up from some nightmare is 'now what?'..." He frowned, looking back at them. "The reality is, that three of the five refugee camps that have been broadcasting over the last 24 hours are now transmitting distess signals. One of the five stopped broadcasting anything at all."

Niobe bit her lip. "And the military? We saw a bunch of aircraft earlier, circling the city."

"Their lack of presence is a bit troubling, to be honest. I know they have their hands tied with these camps, but there seems to be no ground effort here where it matters. There seems to be no rescue effort."

Carl cleared his throat before he spoke. "You don't think they'd bomb us, do you?"

Silas laughed -- realizing quickly that Carl was serious.

"What exactly have you heard about New York?" Carl asked, glancing at Niobe nervously.

The setting changes from season-1 to Season 2

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Hopkins Character Portrait: Stephanie "Stevie" Darden Character Portrait: James Marshall (NPC) Character Portrait: Jack Cavanagh (NPC) Character Portrait: Steve Hilpin (NPC) Character Portrait: Niobe Kajja Character Portrait: Carl Dupree (NPC) Character Portrait: Christopher Jones Character Portrait: Silas Quinn Character Portrait: Patrick Dunn (NPC) Character Portrait: Eli Sharp (NPC)

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+ Niobe Kajja +


The nearest Capitol pulled the folding door shut as the bus rumbled to life, tearing forward across the littered street ahead. Harper, James, Stevie, Jack, and Christopher were all ushered towards the back of the bus by a few others as various weapons were thrust into their hands. They stepped into the open spots near the makeshift shuttered windows to help clear the sides of clinging walkers. A heavier-set woman rose from her seat near the back upon seeing the sudden strangers around her.

"Uhh-- excuse me?" she said loudly, waving at the driver through the front mirror.

Eli jerked the wheel to the left, his teeth clamped down on his lip as he fought with every muscle to not flip the bus. "They're friends," he shot back without taking his eyes off the road. Patrick held on tightly to the back of the driver's seat as he exchanged quick handshakes with Niobe and Carl. They held onto whatever they could to keep from falling over as the bus violently swerved through the streets. A small gaggle of walkers splattered across the front of the bus as Eli braced the wheel for impact.

"Wish we were meeting again under better conditions," Patrick said, disparagingly.

Niobe squeezed his shoulder, her face damp with sweat as she breathed quick and shallow breaths. "We're very-- thankful," she managed.

"Yeah, man--" Carl butted in, "We were in a pretty shitty spot back there."

Niobe turned to look towards the back of the bus where her friends were -- each of them involved in some activity amongst all the moving bodies. "Where's Silas?" she asked, noticing his absence.

"He's back at HQ," Patrick replied.

Eli shook his head, somehow having managed to listened to their little conversation despite the clusterfuck of a road he was navigating through. "Alright, Cobra Commander--" he teased. He glanced at Niobe in the large rearview mirror. "He means Amoeba. Y'know, the record store? We relocated there after the Capitol was hit."

Carl frowned. "We wondered what happened to you guys."

Patrick shrugged, glancing between the two of them -- until something took his focus past their shoulders. He shoved past them, walking towards the back of the bus. His gaze shot out the back window into the growing darkness of the night. "Eli!" he shouted back, pushing past some of the other passengers as he fought towards the front. "Eli-- the b-bus... it's gone." Everyone onboard lurched forward as Eli applied the brakes slowly, turning onto a side street.

"What the fuck, Speed Racer?" Jack shouted out from his spot near the window, drawing his head back in. Others around him did the same, wondering what was happening as well.

Eli stood from his seat to face the hushed crowd. "Where's the other bus?"

Muted voices and whispers bubbled up from the group as they pressed their faces against the windows, anxiously searching outside for any sign of their tandem vehicle.

"Oh, God..." somebody cried from deeper back in the bus. "C-Claire... Boone... Gus? They all made it right?"

"We can't stay sitting here!" another voice shouted out. Several others seemed to agree as the hype built inside the bus. Eli looked pleadingly at Patrick, but they both knew it before they said a word. There was no going back. Black ash had caked against the edges of the buses windows, a reminder of the ticking clock to get indoors -- lest they risk further... biological problems. Eli slid back into the driver seat and flipped the bus back into gear, lurching it forward. His white knuckles gripped the wheel as they dipped around the next corner, gunning for home.


* * *


"Once the gate's shut, you high-tail it indoors," Eli warned Patrick. "I'll back it up against the rear exit and come in that way, but you'll have to unlock the door for me from the inside." Patrick nodded his understanding and clasped the man's hand tightly as the last few passengers exited the bus and filed into Amoeba through the side exit as one of the Capitols held the door open. A makeshift, wire gate had been erected over one side of the alley -- wide enough for vehicles to move through, and fully retractable. A clever feat of engineering given the circumstances. Several of the Capitols helped the more injured members of their party inside as Harper, Jack and the others followed.

But it was Stevie who ended up coming in near to last. Her eyes adjusted to the light and met his, and their breath caught for just a moment. It wasn't love at first sight or anything like that -- but rather like the remembrance of a distant memory... as recent as it may have actually been. He walked towards the door with several other armed Capitols in tow to receive their injured allies, rolling up his sleeves as they approached and slowing to a stop and he recognized who he was was looking at.

"Stevie...?" the man's coarse voice asked -- disbelief in his eyes.

Silas knew this woman. And she knew him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Hopkins Character Portrait: Stephanie "Stevie" Darden Character Portrait: James Marshall (NPC) Character Portrait: Jack Cavanagh (NPC) Character Portrait: Niobe Kajja Character Portrait: Carl Dupree (NPC) Character Portrait: Christopher Jones Character Portrait: Silas Quinn Character Portrait: Patrick Dunn (NPC) Character Portrait: Eli Sharp (NPC)

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"Silas!" Stevie exclaimed as her tired brown eyes lit up with an almost joyous air of surprise. Without hesitation, she wove ahead through the others and half-sprinted to him and threw her arms around him in a tight hug. She looked up at him after letting go and blinked, her mouth creaking into a jubilant, open smile. This was quite possibly the best thing that could have happened. "Silas, it's... it's really good to see you."

# # #

Stevie examined the wood panel on the glass door of the entrance to the restaurant that Dean had raved so much about, insisting that they come out to Venice Beach for this occasion. He opened the door and paused to allow her to enter first, stepping ahead on gray wedge-heeled shoes toward the smiling hostess perched at a podium. Stevie reached a hand up to smooth back her long hair and returned the smile.

"Hi!" the woman greeted cheerfully, sizing the two up as they approached. "We don't have a table free until around 10."

Dean nodded and gestured slightly toward the sleek, wood-dressed dining room crowded with people. "Actually, we're here to join someone who might have showed up already," he warmly answered. He confidently strode ahead after gently tapping Stevie's shoulder to usher her along. "Oh, I just know he's already here," Dean assured her as his eyes scanned about, searching and searching. He brightened just seconds later, offering a hand to the far-shorter woman and leading her ahead. "I see him now."

"Dean!" As if on cue, a tall black man, impeccably dressed in a light gray vest with dark slacks and a scarlet-red tie. He smiled broadly at the blond man and expanded his long arms out to his sides. Stevie paced ahead slowly, allowing Dean to simply strike out ahead to embrace the man in a friendly, brief hug. Dean extended a hand toward the pretty woman—Silas' date, no doubt—seated on one of the benches at the table, and soon all three looked back toward Stevie. Dean patted a hand on her shoulders as she got closer, almost proudly beaming at the other man. "Dean, you didn't tell me she was so pretty!"

The man immediately stepped forward to greet her. Stevie placed a polite peck on his cheek as he bent down, and smiled at him after he drew himself back up to his full height. "Hi, Silas," she greeted sweetly, "I'm so thrilled to meet you. I've heard so many wonderful things."

Silas batted his hand and laughed teasingly. "All lies, I assure you," he answered with a grin, "I guarantee that that Pike's palace you live in is paid for by the money I fork over so that Dean can keep saying those nice things about me."

She laughed and shrugged. "Actually, we rehearsed it on the way over," she joked with a small smile, then turned her attention to Silas' date and greeted her. The very beautiful woman was clearly three drinks deep. At least. "Hi," she tested gingerly, smiling respectfully to gauge her comfort level, "I'm Stephanie."

"Oh, hiiiiiii!" the woman slurred. There was a grating, Kardashian-esque quality to her voice that instantly made Stevie want to burst into peals of laughter. "Oh, what a pretty name!" She craned her neck to look up at Silas from her spot on the bench. "Siiiiiiilas, you should have told me Stevie wasn't going to show up!"

Silas' brow furrowed in confusion. "Pardon?"

The woman took in a high-pitched sigh and gestured her head toward Stevie. "She just said her name's Stephanie!" she insisted. "Where's Stevie? Is she coming, too?"

Stevie didn't know how she managed to keep a straight face. She could feel Dean's amused expression directed at the side of her head, just waiting for her to turn and meet his eyes. She willed herself to just keep looking ahead—otherwise, the evening would have been cut short abruptly by an uncanny inability to control her laughter.

Silas blinked. "Deirdre, 'Stevie' is short for 'Stephanie,'" he gently corrected, managing a battle-tested smile.

The woman wrinkled her nose. "Oh, seriously?" she remarked. "I've never heard that before. Is he for real?" she asked Stevie after turning her eyes back to her.

Stevie managed a kind smile. "It's true," she said simply, shrugging her shoulders mildly, working hard to be as neutral as possible. "My mom's been calling me that since I was a baby. It kind of stuck."

Deirdre took a sip of her glass of wine. "Wow, I can't believe your mom calls you that!" her voice gritted out girlishly. "I would never name a kid 'Stevie.' No offense."

Stevie held her smile in order to mask her surprise. Silas blinked again and signaled toward the table with his hands, desperate to change the subject. "Let's eat!" he interjected cheerfully as he cleared his throat.

Dean stepped aside to allow Stevie to slide onto the bench across from Silas. The two quickly exchanged knowing glances. Stevie looked away and out a nearby window to compose herself after Dean crooked his eyebrow at her, and then back at the two across from her, allowing her laughter to manifest in another large smile. Dean picked up two menus from the table before him and handed one to Stevie. "Pretty much everything here is great," he commented as she read through it. "I'm sure even the tripe is good."

"Tripe?" Deirdre blurted out. "What's tripe?" She glanced down at her wine glass and blinked at the maroon lipstick smudged on the rim, then reached down into her large purse—a Palladino, by Stevie's estimation—and retrieved her lipstick and a compact mirror and proceeded to smear more pigment on her mouth, not without the assistance of her previous drinks.

"Tripe?" Dean parroted back, putting his menu down and glancing across the table at her. He propped his elbow up on the table and rested his chin in the palm of his hand. "Deirdre, you mean to tell me you've never had tripe?"

Deirdre blinked her long, caked eyelashes at the blond man. "Well, no, but what is it?" she asked, holding her lipstick up against her lips in mid-application, visibly intrigued.

Stevie could see Dean's eyes flash wildly. Uh oh. "Deirdre, it's amazing," he assured her. "My mom used to make it all the time growing up. I'm serious. My favorite meal growing up was tripe with a side of macaroni and cheese. I still ask her to make it for me when I visit my parents."

Silas took in a breath. "Dean—"

"But, what's it made of?" Deirdre persisted, putting her lipstick on the table, half-applied. Stevie turned her head to Dean to continue to suppress her laughter.

"It's only the best cut of chicken you could ever ask for," he said, doing well at feigning playful indignance. "Deirdre, you just haven't lived until you've had a plateful of tripe."

"Oh, my God, I had no idea that chicken was so good," Deirdre spoke wonderously, almost as though having some kind of an epiphany. She paused, then looked at Dean suspiciously. "But, you made it sound like you haven't eaten the tripe here before. Why not?"

"Because I just love the way my mom makes it," Dean answered earnestly without skipping a beat. "This traditional Danish recipe has been in my family for generations." Stevie saw Silas' stoic face waver just a little, not daring to look at Deirdre.

"Awwww, that's so sweet!" Deirdre chirped as she plucked her compact up from the table. She clicked it open and took one look at her messy lipstick and immediately snapped it shut. She pursed her lips and picked up her bag. "Excuse me," she offered quickly as she stood from the bench, "I'm headed to the little girls' room. Si, could you order me some tripe, please?" She started to prance away, almost giraffe-like on skyscraper heels, her perfectly-coordinated ensemble suddenly cursed under a cloud of ungainliness.

Stevie watched the woman walk away. As soon as Deirdre disappeared behind the hallway in the far corner of the restaurant leading to the ladies' room, she immediately looked over to Dean and thrust the heel of her hand out to punch him playfully on the shoulder. "Dean, you are such an asshole sometimes!" she offered hushedly but loud enough for Silas to hear, finally allowing herself a long-anticipated laugh. Dean bordered on giggling as he doubled over.

"So, why are you laughing?" he asked

"I'm not laughing!" she insisted, while, in fact, laughing.

"Si, I'm really glad that you brought Deirdre as entertainment to dinner," he managed between breaths. "You... you must have known I was going to completely die over this."

Silas laughed and rolled his eyes. "Oh, Deanie, I see you haven't changed a bit."

"'Deanie'?" Stevie repeated, "did you just call him... 'Deanie'?" Silas nodded with a grin. Stevie laughed through her nose and turned to Dean. "That's funny."

"Your man has always had a flair for the funny," Silas offered, "so he deserved a funny nickname when he came to work for me." He grinned and glanced at Dean. "A nickname perfect for a 22-year old twerp who walked into my office wearing boat shoes. Ten years ago."

Dean pointed to his feet. "And I'm still wearing them," he said smugly. A series of tonal chirps cheerfully extruded from his pocket. He to retrieve his phone, glanced at the screen, then back up at the two. "I better take this. Stevie, could you order me the bigoli with the chestnuts? I hate tripe with a burning passion," he added with a grin. He stood, planted a quick peck on the top of Stevie's head, and headed toward the door to take his call outside in the cool evening air.

Silas glanced across the table at Stevie and laughed. "And then there were two," he said, picking up his glass and taking a long sip. "It's nice to finally meet you."

Stevie nodded and smiled. "You too," she answered sweetly. She reached for her glass and took a sip of water. "Dean talks about you all the time."

His eyes seemed very kind. "Well, he's one of a kind. Good kid." Silas nodded as he glanced back down at his menu. "Should I really order her the tripe?" he asked sing-songedly, "I'm afraid she's going to be mad at me."

The brunette smoothed the skirt of her light blue dress and adjusted her yellow cardigan as she studied the menu again. "Well... there's polenta on the side, so..." she trailed off, wanting to stop in her tracks.

Silas peered across the table at her and laughed. "Go on. Just say it. We're practically old friends and I'm not going to judge."

Stevie pursed her lip, then smiled. "She might not know the difference," she finished. She relished the rare opportunity that she had a chance to be truly irreverent while talking to others. Normally she kept these sorts of observations close to the vest to avoid offending others. But there was something about Silas that told her that she didn't have to worry about what she said.

He let out a ring of laughter and shook his head. "Yeah, I know," he sighed.

"She's going to hurt her throat if she keeps talking like a little girl," Stevie offered with slight apprehension. But she was just dying to talk about it, all the same, now that she knew Silas had a sense of humor about it. "That's some serious vocal fry she's got going on, there."

"Vocal 'what'?"

"Vocal fry. You know when grown women talk like little girls?" She cleared her throat and offered her best imitation. "Like, seriously, listen to how much it must hurt to do this alllllll the tiiiiiime!" she abrasively half-growled, half-whined. Her throat stung like hot water was poured down it. She coughed mercilessly. "See, I can't... ugh, God, I just felt my IQ dip down to extraordinarily low levels."

Silas laughed again. "And you haven't even started drinking yet."

Stevie returned the laugh. "Oh, don't worry. After the week I've had, I'm ready to lose a few brain cells, myself. But the difference is that I have to work at it." She paused. Maybe she'd gone a little overboard. That didn't feel very good to say. "Well, if that's not a good first impression for me to make. I'm ridiculing your date to your face. Please forgive me. It's been a long week..."

Silas shrugged his shoulders. "And I'm not stopping you." He rose his glass to her in a mock toast, downing half the glass with a few deep gulps. Stevie joined him, easing the sudden silence between the two of them as a server placed four drinks on the table. There was an odd feeling of familiarity between the two, though they had heard more about each other than from each other at this point. Silas cleared his throat, resting his arms on the table nonchalantly. "So--how long are you in LA for?" he asked, grasping for a topic.

Stevie set her glass down, dabbing her lips dry with the back of her hand. "Just this week," she replied, "then we're heading for Seattle."

"Ahhh, Seattle!" Silas exclaimed, clasping his hands together. "Great city. I mean, I'm a Bears fan... but--"

"You're really gonna bring football up?" Stevie said with a wry smirk.

Silas raised his hands in the air, guiltily. "Mea culpa, mea culpa..."

She laughed. "No worries. I like football, but I get wrapped up. You don't want to see me go on about my team."

"Mmmm hmmm," he said in a friendly taunting manner, "I heard you're a Dallas fan. You poor thing. How the hell did that happen?" he asked, making it apparent that it was only friendly jabbing.

She shrugged. "That's not the first time I've heard someone say that," she said somewhat resignedly. She paused and sat up a little straighter, and softened her tone. "So... Dean's relieved that you're back. He was really worried about you."

Silas shifted slightly in his seat, adjusting his tie routinely. "I'm just--glad it was taken care of quickly," he began. "I have some court-mandated counseling and therapy for my part in things, but there was enough evidence to clear me from anything bad. I was very, uhh--fortunate, I guess." He scratched at his beard in contemplation. He certainly dodged a bullet, getting cleared of his charges. Every part of him hated the situation that he was put in... especially the fact that it was his own brother that put him in the sights. He took another sip of water. "Time to just bury my head in good music for a while I think," he said with a wide smile.

Stevie grinned at that, looking past his shoulder over at Dean, who had apparently decided to walk back into the restaurant to have his conversation -- leaning against a wall by the bathrooms talking animatedly with his hands. Deirdre came trotting past him, slightly stumbly in her unfortunate heels. Stevie had to quickly look away before she laughed too loudly. Silas noticed the expression on her face and picked up the cue instantly. He gripped the tablecloth playfully. "Doth she approacheth?" he growled frightfully. Stevie covered her mouth, nearly losing it as they both held back laughter. Deirdre wobbled over to them using Silas' shoulder to brace herself as she lowered back into her seat.

She fanned her face with one hand, dramatically. "The lines of women in this place, my God--it's like, like I need to use the restroom!" she complained, rolling her eyes. She reached across the table for a glass of water and took a huge sip. "Did you order yet?"

Silas shook his head. "We were waiting for you guys."

Deirdre set her bag down on the floor next to her adorned feet and lifted her hands up to drum her fingers on the table. "Shots!" she belted out as she leaned forward, "because it's NECESSARY!" Her own bag let out a little series of glittery-sounding noises. She bent over to grab her cell phone from her bag. The device was suddenly obscured by a flurry of fingers and shiny red fingernails, the enthusiasm suddenly transferred as she stared into the screen, her face frozen in concentration as it glowed in the light of the screen. Stevie nodded and shifted her eyes to Silas, who waved his hands.

"She'll be absorbed for a few minutes," he commented.

"What?" she responded distractedly, not lifting her eyes from her phone.

"See what I mean?" He shrugged at Stevie and then sighed deeply. He looked at his watch and scanned his eyes over the heads of other patrons in the restaurant. "Speaking of waiting... I'd better see that someone comes over to help us with that. You know what Dean wants?" Stevie nodded. He smiled and raised a hand, easily and charmingly obtaining the attention of a server who was all too willing to help.


# # #

One of the armed members of Silas' entourage nervously tensed, watching awkwardly while obviously preparing to raise weapons. "It's all right," Silas assured them as he raised a huge hand to calmly demonstrate his comfort level. "She's an old friend." He turned back to Stevie, then flicked his eyes up to quickly scan the small crowd of new faces. The one that would have been the most recognizable obviously wasn't there. He looked again at her, and she shrugged and averted her gaze to the floor. He felt his chest tug, and worked to try to cover his sudden sadness. Instead he patted her shoulder in a somewhat dry, consoling fashion. "We'll talk," he muttered to her under his breath. She nodded wordlessly and stepped back into the new group, not wanting to continue to risk being a distraction. She wondered what was going through his mind as she noticed a very cursory glint of sadness in his eyes.

Harper stepped ahead cautiously and nodded at the two. The armed companions this time raised their weapons at her. She jumped backwards, raising her hands and splaying her fingers. "Easy, easy!" she belted out grouchily. Stevie could see a strain in her expression that she hadn't seen the last time. Then again, maybe everyone's face now had something that was never there before... Harper looked to Carl and Niobe, then back at Silas. "There's no need for you to raise weapons if you're a friend."

"She's right," Silas continued, turning towards her. "Please. Put the guns down..."

Several of the Capitols slowly lowered their weapons, taking in the faces of the newcomers -- as equally worn down and frightened as they were, too. Silas pushed out from the crowd to shake Harper's hand. She reluctantly accepted, unsure of who this man was. His eyes broke off from hers to scan the rest of the group -- mostly unfamiliar, except for a couple more familiar faces.

"You might remember these two as well," Patrick mentioned, shrugging himself out of his vest.

Silas' eyes lit up again as he noticed Niobe and Carl. They stepped forwards from the group to greet him, nodding their thanks. "You made it," he said with relief. "I wondered about you guys after the bombs fell."

Niobe shook his hand. "Your people saved us," she began, "I've never seen so many walkers in one place."

Carl jumped in to shake his hand too. "We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Eli and Patrick and the others," he admitted.

Silas brow furrowed as he suddenly noticed. "Speaking of the others..." he began, trailing off as he turned to Patrick. The young man's gaze fell to the floor, answering Silas' unmentioned question. "How far back?" he asked, running his hand over his face.

Patrick scratched his head. "They were with us until the last few blocks..."

"So they made it out of the Capitol? You're positive?"

A different girl spoke up from deeper in the crowd. "We have to go back for them. They won't survive the night out there like this..." Others around her nodded in agreement, heavy murmurs rippling amongst the crowd as Silas held up his hands to quiet them.

Harper looked at James and Jack, their eyes all betraying the same thoughts to one another. Their own friends were still trapped underground back in the tunnels, likely starved for food and supplies. Either that or part of the horde of walking dead roaming the nuclear streets of Los Angeles. Neither circumstance held much hope, but they certainly couldn't just leave their friends behind. That's what had happened with Calvin... and each day that passed proved to be one day less likely to find him. They couldn't surrender the rest of their friends so easily -- not when they needed each other the most.

"Some of our people are trapped out there too," Carl offered. "There was a, uhh-- accident."

He exchanged a glance with Niobe as they both thought about George. Wondering if he even made it back to the tunnels in the state he was in. And the rest of them?

"If you're going back for them, we want in--" Jack demanded, straightening his jacket.

Silas shook his head. "Not right now. Not with things the way are out there. With all this fallout, we'd risk a slower and far more painful death than the walkers would have afforded us."

Stevie turned to the rest of her group. "He's right, you guys. We're pretty much stuck here until things clear up outside."

"It'll give us a chance to regroup and patch up," Silas continued. Chatter immediately broke out amongst the group of survivors as Silas rose his booming voice over them to settle them down. "PLEASE! Please, everyone... we'll talk more at tonight's meeting. For now, let's get to our stations. Tend to the wounded. Somebody help Eli gas up the bus. Let's get our newcomers situated in the bunks on the west end by the classical music... and Stevie," he said, turning to the woman in glasses next to him, "maybe we can talk in my office?"

She nodded as Patrick helped the crowd disperse to their different duties. Jack pushed past him with some of the other tunnel survivors towards their bunks as others crossed paths, clearing the room. Harper and Stevie exchanged glances as she passed, following the others. Carl had his satellite phone in his hand, talking to a small group of Capitols over near one of the record towers by the checkout kiosk. Niobe walked with Patrick towards the back of the shop where the bus was parked.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Calvin Hawke Character Portrait: Niobe Kajja Character Portrait: Oliver O'Brien (NPC) Character Portrait: Dax Faraday (NPC) Character Portrait: Patrick Dunn (NPC) Character Portrait: Eli Sharp (NPC)

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.: Calvin Hawke :.

"Mind telling me what the plan is," Dax barked nervously through chattering teeth as he steered the Jeep around strewn street debris and loitering corpses.

Oliver craned his neck over his seat looking back through the cloud of dust kicked up in their wake. The vacant headlights of several other trailing vehicles followed closely, swerving in stride as they too pitched their courses through the wreckage in the streets. He whirled back around in his seat, adjusting the seatbelt back around himself. "We've got eyes behind us," he began, "it's not like he wouldn't notice we're missing."

"So we follow the mad warden after breaking his prized trophy out of its case?" Dax shouted from behind the wheel, jerking his thumb over his shoulder at Calvin -- who glared back at him through the rear-view mirror.

"We have to find Sarah," Calvin chimed in groggily from the backseat.

Oliver scoffed. "Yeah, sure. If you can tell me where that broad is right this very second, and I promise you we'll go and get her..."

Calvin stewed silently in his seat, diverting his scowl towards the back of Oliver's head now. It was his sister they were talking about, after all.

The Irishman rolled his toothpick over to the other side of his mouth with his tongue, victoriously. "That's what I thought. I ain't in the mood for a wild goose chase right now. Not with the sky how it is..."

Calvin's attention drifted out his window at the vacant, ashy buildings lining the boulevard. Many seemed to be crumbling by the second -- others too blackened by fire and ash to assess. Dax looked up in the rearview mirror, catching Calvin's vacant gaze. He chewed his lip, looking over at Oliver. "I forgot-- you've been away for awhile," Dax started, returning his eyes to the road. "It's... pretty bad out here."

"That's an understatement," Oliver chastised, butting in from the passenger's seat. "We're fucked is what we are. But we're making the best of things. That's all we can do."

The words all just washed over Calvin as he morosely watched the buildings march by, one-by-one, hurrah hurrah. Remnants of a civilization lost.

Dax jerked the Jeep to the right abruptly, speeding by an overturned bus as the other convicts followed suit behind them. "Where do you think the Warden's taking us?" he asked -- his eyes darting between ash-crested obstacles on the road ahead.

"Where do you think?" Oliver replied, annoyed with the obviousness of the question.

Dax's eyes widened -- his grip tightening on the wheel as he fidgeted in his seat. He lowered his voice slightly. "What if they're still there though?"

Oliver picked up his pistol from between his feet and began to check the insides of its chambers. "Then the Warden's gonna make 'em wish they weren't." He turned back towards Calvin. "I'd buckle up."


* * *


+ Niobe Kajja +


Niobe stooped over the wheel of the bus, arms draped over the back of the driver's seat as her eyes lazily lingered over the gas meter behind the glass of the dashboard. The ticker rose one last hashmark to the 'F' at the top, and Niobe jogged over to the door of the bus and swung outside.

"Cut it!" she hollered, cupping one hand to her mouth. Eli jumped to a start, breaking off from his conversation with Patrick to run over to the hose and clamp the lever shut. He flashed Niobe a thumbs up and she cut the engine, pulling the keys out and tossing them to Patrick.

He shoved them into his pocket as Eli began coiling up the hose behind them. "Well that's the last of 'em. Gassed and oiled, like the doctor ordered."

Niobe wiped her hands on her jacket. "This warehouse is pretty convenient," she mentioned, craning her neck to look around at the towering rows of shelves and racks lining the walls around them.

Patrick grinned. "Yeah... it's nights like tonight that we're thankful we have this place. I keep forgetting that a lot of other people aren't so fortunate."

Niobe nodded, stuffing her hands into her pockets. "So, what happened to the Capitol? Carl and I tried to make contact with you guys this morning but the whole place looked abandoned..."

Patrick's gaze dropped to the ground as he came to a stop in front of the bumper of the bus. "You saw that, huh?" he began, his voice lowering slightly. "We had been having some-- trouble," he started, looking over his shoulder at Patrick who was still pre-occupied with the hose. "A few days ago, we were attacked..."

Niobe's brow furrowed as she folded her arms. "Attacked? By what?

"By who. I don't know what they call themselves, Patrick muttered aloud, "but they're no good. They've been hassling us from day one. First they wanted supplies, then vehicles-- Silas brokered all these deals just to keep them off our back, but they got more and more hostile..."

"So that wasn't the military who bombed your building?" Niobe asked, unable to believe what she was hearing.

"No-- it wasn't. This was way worse... and I'm scared that--"

He suddenly flinched as Eli clapped him on the shoulder from behind. "You guys ready?" he chirped, enthusiastically. "I can smell the food all the way out here." He took in a deep breath, grinning with hunger.

Patrick looked at Niobe and nodded. "Guess we're all done then. Let's grub." The three of them walked towards the hallway, each falling in step behind the other. Niobe's mind was already racing, wanting to know more about what Patrick was talking about, but it had seemed secretive -- like maybe it was a taboo topic with these people. From what she'd heard, it sounded more like a small war going on. Except the Capitols weren't fighting back.

They turned down the next hallway and found themselves facing a man with long hair walking the other direction with a plate of food. Patrick waved as they neared and slowed to a stop. "Hey, Marshall. Damn, that looks good." His eyes had fallen upon the plate. Macaroni, sausage, broccoli, bread... each more delicious looking then the other. A sin for the senses.

"I thought everyone was eating in the mess hall?" Niobe asked, stepping out from behind Eli.

Marshall's eyes darted over to Patrick. Then Eli. He swallowed. "Y-Yeah-- no, we are. I'm just bringing some food to someone." Niobe watched the man nod nervously as he looked around at the others. "I'll, uh-- let you guys get goin'. Don't want that food to get cold." He began to hurry off, but stopped just a few paces further. "I'm Marshall, by the way." He shuffled the plate into his other hand, licking the food off his finger and wiping it on his pants before holding it out to Niobe.

"Niobe," she offered. She shook his hand firmly and watched as he walked off down the way they came.

"C'mon, we should get going. I bet the sausage is gone already," Patrick bemoaned, dragging his feet towards the converted mess hall. Eli fell in beside him, equally eager for food as did Niobe, glancing over her shoulder as she followed suit.


* * *


Marshall unclasped the metal lock from the door and unlooped the chains from the handles, letting them fall to the floor so he could kick them aside. He pulled them open with a jolt, letting the fresh air and light from the light fixtures above pour into the corridor of stairs leading underground. The yellow bus, fully fueled now, sat quietly behind him in the soft light -- a bright beacon in the darkened warehouse it called its home. He snapped his flashlight to life and picked up the plate of food from the crate beside him, continuing down the stairs quietly. What light still remained from below shone like a pale light on the brick sidings of the narrow staircase, almost like candlelight -- reflected off their ashy exteriors.

The last few steps dropped into a square room, decked out in band posters and memorabilia, vintage records and apparel. Marshall shut the door behind him -- locking it carefully -- and placed the plate of food down on an office chair behind him. He reached up, hooking the flashlight onto a stray cord hanging from the ceiling in the center of the room. He used his other hand to unscrew the flashlight, turning it into a lantern -- its radial light brightening the room in a brilliant orange glow reaching out to its corners. "Feeding time, partner."

A figure's legs stirred to life in one such corner, his dirty feet slipping across the cold stone marble as he righted himself. His shackles shuffled across the ground, adjusting to his change of posture. Marshall placed the plate of food on the ground and pushed it towards the bound man with his foot. It slid to a stop against the man's knees -- some of the vegetables spilling over the floor around him.

He leaned forward, the shackles taught against the floor, and dug his fingers into the mess of food -- shoveling it into his mouth. He gulped it down hard and looked up at Marshall, quizzically. "No fork?" he asked mockingly, his voice ripe with a british accent.

Marshall smirked. "Yeah, I'll grab you a knife while I'm up there." He turned around, moving towards the door -- the keys already back in his hand.

"Who's the new blood?" the prisoner questioned. Marshall knew he was being toyed with, but this game was old. He'd played it enough times already. "The black chick. Early 30's? No-- late 20's. They sure were talking a lot up there..."

Marshall's eyes narrowed a touch, his hand resting on the handle of the door. He opened his mouth to speak. "I--"

"They'll find out about me," the prisoner continued, his voice growing low and gravelly, "and you won't be able to explain yourselves."

"As if your side's any better."

They glared at each other in silence.

"You have no idea who I am," the shackled man hissed.

"I don't," Marshall responded, cracking the door open. "But I'm sure it's a really good story..." The door slammed behind him as he trotted back up the stairs, his steps quickening as the fresh air beckoned to him from above -- the walls closing in around him.

The setting changes from season-2 to Season 3

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sarah Hawke (NPC) Character Portrait: Jack Cavanagh (NPC) Character Portrait: Niobe Kajja Character Portrait: Carl Dupree (NPC) Character Portrait: Everett T. Bronson (NPC) Character Portrait: Freddy Kaufmann (NPC) Character Portrait: Silas Quinn Character Portrait: Ezrael de Lorian Character Portrait: Brooke Callaway (NPC) Character Portrait: Harold St. James (NPC) Character Portrait: Ari Dinkowitz (NPC) Character Portrait: Patrick Dunn (NPC)

0.00 INK

The Warden



A pair of brown snakeskin boots rested lazily propped up atop a pile of old books-- thrown to the floor days prior no doubt to free the bookcase up to use as a barricade elsewhere. A thick wisp of smoke curled above Bronson’s head towards the ceiling-- his eyes fixated on a dormant ceiling fan. The room might has well have been spinning though. Nothing ever seemed to go as planned these days. A plan set in motion would derail, deroute, or detour. But that was his job. To keep things on track. In motion.

The door was thrown open shortly after as Kaufman barged in, slamming the door shut behind him. Bronson closed his eyes, averted to the sudden but inevitable disturbance. The gunshots had fired minutes ago, and then ceased as quickly as they began. He knew the situation had been handled, one way or another. Things like that didn’t become important until they became important. This was why he kept people like Freddy around.

The shifty man stopped a few steps short of Bronson and folded his arms, bowing his head in thought. ”It’s nothing we weren’t expecting,” he prefaced, rubbing at the stubble on his face.

Bronson grinned. He was expecting some kind of attempt like this. Not nearly so soon though. ”Which one was it?” he asked, mumbling out of the corner of his mouth as he held the cigar tightly with the other half. Bits of ashed dusted down across his jacket as it rolled around his lips.

”It was Dax. Took Wallace down with him too-- poor bastard,” Freddy began. ”Idiot went down to take a piss alone and caught the bastard sneaking a peek at the transfer. He was, uhh-- shot… so he came back after awhile-- before our guys got there. Santos.... Chance… they went down too.”

Bronson sighed, brushing his long grayed hair back with a stroke of his hand. More men lost. Between accidental deaths and turncoats, his numbers were dwindling-- and fast. He straightened himself in his chair as more books toppled onto the floor beneath his shifting feet. ”And we’re certain he saw the girl?” he asked, warily. The question itself was rhetorical. He knew there was no way to prove it, and besides-- what Dax saw didn’t matter. Parading the girl across the blacktop so blatantly like that wasn’t for him.

”It’s too much of a coincidence. He had to have seen her…” Freddy replied, assuredly. His fingers twitched at his sides, erratically. Bronson always sensed a controlled nervousness coursing through the man whenever they were in situations alone like this. He always found it funny. Another reason he kept him as close as he did.

”And you idiots killed him before he could report what he saw back to Mr. Hawke.” It wasn’t a question. It was the situation as it stood now. A wasted effort. And soon… a forgotten memory. ”There’s no time to fix this, we need to get him ready… now. Find out what he saw, and get him prepped.”

Freddy nodded and shuffled away towards the door without another word. Bronson stood and turned to face the window, stretching the morning aches and pains out of his joints as he reached towards the ceiling-- the trail of smoke following close behind him. ”And have someone clean Wally up for Christ’s sake…” he added as an afterthought.


# # #



# Sarah Hawke #



Sarah twiddled the fingers on her left hand idly, noticing a lack of sensation in them after having her limp wrist dangling above her at the angle it had for so long. She grabbed the railing with her other hand, pulling herself up to her feet to invert her circulation and get some blood flowing. The dizzyness set upon her almost immediately, causing her to waver a bit and clutch the railing even tighter. She felt her heartbeat in her white knuckles, one after the other-- somehow still stable… constant. That was all considering that she felt like the rest of her was falling apart.

The door swung open across the room, silhouetting Brooke’s frame as light poured in from outside and she entered. A bundle of drinks and snacks lined the nook of her arm as she closed the door behind her and crossed over to Sarah, setting the food before her. She stooped slowly, placing the items down gently. Sarah reacted, reaching out with both hands to help Brooke back up-- but her wrist was snapped back violently as the cuffs reached their limit and grew taut. Sarah rubbed at it sorely, wishing this part of the day could be over with already. She and Calvin were more alike than she had previously thought… both marred by their mutual incarcerations.

”I’m sorry I took so long…” Brooke began, brushing her fallen locks back behind her face. Her rosy cheeks heaved in and out with each calculated breath as Brooke kept everything calm and controlled. How she managed to keep it all together, considering, was a real mystery. But she was much more prone to exhaustion these days with her extra passenger. She stood back up, rubbing her stomach gently with her palm. ”We’ve had some… arrivals-- from outside,” she confessed with a bit of hesitation. There was the possibility that maybe Sarah knew these two kids… they were all about the same age, after all. Maybe they were the missing links as to what happened. But why come back if they had anything to do with what happened to the girl? Or the preacher, for that matter…

Brooke thought better than to ask any of these questions aloud while the poor girl was still recovering from her shock. She unscrewed the cap to one of the bottles of water and offered it to her. Sarah took it from her, thanking her with her eyes before guzzling down the first few sips, thirstily. She stooped her head as she gasped heavily, wiping the spare drips from her mouth with the back of her hand. Brooke stood a few paces back from her, playing with her hands-- unsure of how to proceed.

Sarah looked up with her baggy, bloodshot eyes and blinked at her-- aimlessly. ”Do you wanna talk…?” she asked, dryily.

Brooke’s gaze dropped to the ground, uncomfortably. ”Uhh, no-- I mean. Not unless-- do you?

Sarah brought the bottle back to her lips. ”I’m just fucking with you.”

Brooke stood, dumbfounded. This girl was hard to place. Without having known her before her accident, there was no way of telling whether her behavior was a result of the injury or if she was typically this odd. Whatever the case, she didn’t deserve to be held against her will any longer. How long could they possibly keep this up for?

”When’s your boss coming back?” Sarah posited, taking another swig from the bottle. She tipped her head back, gulping it down as she closed her eyes. It was the closest thing to bliss she was able to get, considering her circumstances. Every drop mattered.

”Val isn’t anyone’s boss,” Brooke shot back with perhaps a bit too much edge. Sarah rose her eyebrows. There seemed to be a story there somewhere. The dynamic was unfolding. Whoever this shotcaller was, she’d apparently lost a litte love amongst the others somehow. She then realized that the truth in that didn’t bode well for her situation. It was possible that Brooke could be the only hope in helping champion her escape. Maybe instead of antagonizing her, she should appeal to her senses instead.

Sarah set the bottle down beside her and licked at her lips. ”Sorry,” she began, ”I didn’t mean anything--”

”Right,” Brooke replied, brushing her hands off on her pants. She adjusted her ponytail, cinching her red locks back from her face into a tighter bunch. ”Look, I’m sorry we did this to you. A few of us-- out there-- we tried to stop it… but considering your situation--” she continued, gesturing at Sarah’s bite, ”we didn’t want to take any chances.”

Sarah nodded. ”I don’t hold it against you…” she admitted, settling back into herself.

Brooke regarded the girl with quiet pity. There was only one way she could help her, but not without knowing something first. She braced her hands on her hips, looking at her feet as she cleared her throat-- then she looked Sarah straight in the eyes, a bit disconcertingly. ”What’s happening to you?”

”I wish I knew…” Sarah droned, sourly. ”I haven’t had a chance to really look at it. I have medical training, you know? I’m a nurse… and if I had my stuff--” she emphasized, raising her voice. Brooke glanced back in the corner of the room at Sarah’s duffle bag, draped half-way in a colorful palette made by the light beaming through the stained glass window high above.

”We already took the weapons out, just in case…” Brooke admitted, walking towards it slowly. ”I suppose there isn’t anything in there you shouldn’t have. I can’t uncuff you though,” she finished, her voice remaining firm. ”The key isn’t here...” She must have felt Sarah’s eyes rolling in the dark. ”Not my choice,” she added. Brooke crouched down, carefully grabbing the straps of the bag and beginning to drag it over to where Sarah was shackled. Her movements were graceful, even in her current state. There was some kind of unexplainable easiness to her movements, almost like she knew what she was going to do before she did it. A very calculated grace. It was the first thing Sarah had noticed about her.

”All I need’s my supplies and I can do it myself. I can do it properly… please--” Sarah peeled her tattered shirt away from her clavicle-- still sticky with bloody residue. It was looking worse every hour now. She grimaced as she leaned back, shaking her head. ”Who can I thank for the hackjob on my shoulder?”

”That was me,” Brooke replied, firmly-- her voice lilting just barely. She let the bag slump to the ground and blew her red locks away from her eyes, wondering if there was any use in saying anything else. Decided, she turned to leave. ”And you’re welcome… I guess.”

Sarah slouched deeper against the brick wall, heaving a deep sigh.

So much for appealing to her senses...


# # #



Brooke closed the door from the other side and leaned her arm and forehead against the wood. Her energy was fading by the second. It didn’t help that she was one of the very few competent ones left behind with the balls to do something about their situation. Somehow it always ended up falling on her to square things up. The pregnancy sure did come with some perks… certainly greater leverage, if anything. She looked over her shoulder at the sound of overlapping hushed whispers and saw Ari and Ezrael engaged in a very intense conversation over by the stairs to the cellar. Charlie licked at his chops on one of the benches near Sarah’s door, his ears perked up from the moment Brooke set foot outside the door. They thought it best to keep the two separated until they knew what Sarah’s true condition was.

Brooke used the backsides of the pews to steady herself as she walked towards the lot of them. Harry had joined the group from the other side of the door, closing it behind him as he rose his hands in front of him trying to settle the two neurotic bickering men.

”Gentleman, please--” he begged, trying to quiet them.

”What the hell are you two on about now?” Brooke bellowed, exasperated by just about…. well, everything.

Ari ruffled his jacket, trying to straighten it out-- his chest puffed out like some aggro’d rooster. ”This Saint over here thought it wise to let in a couple of strays.” he spat out, verbally accosting Harry.

”They’re just kids…” Harry reasoned, looking to Brooke. Surely she could understand that. ”And besides, they were here before us… with the Preacher. Before us. Before the girl…” He gestured behind all of them at the door, and Sarah.

Ezrael ran his hands through his hair. ”When they find out it was her that did it--” He shook his head at the possibility. ”How are we going to explain this?”

”Easy,” Brooke replied. ”We don’t. We don’t know what happened. We weren’t there. She’s the only one left who knows the whole story. Her and the dog…”


# # #



.: Fort Fallback :.

"Amoeba Music & Records"



’Mobile in ten minutes, everyone. Ten minutes. Scout teams meet in the garage in five to be delegated into your teams and briefed on your tasks. Everybody else… you know what your jobs are. Quinn out.’

His booming voice squawked out of all of the surrounding intercoms simultaneously, resounding throughout the massive floor of the record store.. Various Capitols bustled about on their tasks, many of them hauling crates of equipment towards the garage to help setup the vehicles. Others simply loitered around, but the tension in the air was palpable. They had all spent so much time trying to push the outside world away and keep things as normal as possible… but that was surely a lie. The truth was-- everyone and everything was in danger. No matter where you were. The ones lost out in the city had it worse, but they all had it bad. Niobe rubbed at her temples as she leaned against the hood of the bus-- it had been a long three days, considering everything they had been through. There had been countless hours of planning and coordination-- spearheaded by various camps in conjunction with Silas, Harper, Stevie, and others who had stepped up to help. She was beginning to get a sense of who really had a voice in a place like this. There were way more Capitols than she had originally alotted upon her first visit to the tower. For a moment, she wondered how many they had lost.

And how many they would find…

Niobe had managed to go wherever she was needed. Most of it involved working with Patrick and Eli and some of the others to rig up the buses and retrofit them to suit the purposes of their trip. The main bus had basically been converted into a mobile command center-- someplace Silas could direct the rescue from as well as a mutual fallback point for all parties. They reinforced the metal siding with aluminum plates, barred the windows-- setup with escape hatches on the top and floor of the bus. Built a table centerpiece with a map of the surrounding areas for his team to coordinate from. It actually felt nice to hold some familiar tools in her hands, she had thought. She couldn’t even remember the last time she got to use a welder. A second bus had also been procured in the days prior, to accomodate the amount of people should the best case scenario play out and everyone be rescued. At least then they’d be able to shuttle people back as needed. It was a pretty airtight plan-- the best they could hope for given the circumstances. Who knew what they'd find out there?

She suddenly realized then and there that she hadn't spent much time thinking about the departed-- aside from George on occasion. Sure, it was possible they managed to escape the walker herd-- perhaps back in the tunnels somewhere? Jessica knew the layout pretty well, and she had Rafiq with her to help look after the others. There were just so many of those things... it was a miracle anyone got out alive at all. Everything had just escalated so quickly.

Niobe noticed a black scuff mark on the hood of the bus and rubbed at it with the butt of her hand in a wide circular motion. The smear dissipated after a few passes and she quick wiped the residue off on her pant leg.

”I wouldn’t bother,” a strained voice called out from around the side of the bus. Patrick came struggling into view, lugging a large plastic crate towards the back. ”It’s just going to get dirty again…”

Niobe blinked slowly. ”Need a hand with that?” she offered, dryly. She had more muscle on the kid by a mile. He did look surprisingly spry though, considering.

Patrick scoffed. ”I can carry a crate,” he chided, using his knee to help prop the box up as he adjusted his grip on it.

”What’s in there?”

”Uhh--” his eyes shot down to the crate, nervously. ”It’s-- it’s just gear. Equipment and stuff for the lead bus. We’re trying to prepare for every situation, you know?”

Niobe shrugged. ”Whatever you say…” A pair of Capitols wandered between them with a larger crate of their own towards the rear of the bus, nodding as they passed. Niobe saw them heave it into the a pair of waiting hands inside the back of the spare bus. Niobe turned back to Patrick, drumming her fingers on the yellow exterior of the vehicle. ”What’s this I hear about you not coming with us?”

Patrick’s eyes bulged a bit. Clearly that news wasn’t supposed to be in the public domain yet, but Niobe was persistent and Carl had a very, very weak constitution. He set the crate down at his feet, carefully-- and stood straight, shoving his hands into his pockets as he wandered closer. ”Yeah, about that--” he swallowed, looking over his shoulder to make sure they were alone. ”Silas asked me and a few others to look into something for him. We’re going to uhh-- go with you guys and take off from the same point.”

Niobe furrowed her brow. What was with the sudden audible? The plan had changed enough over the last few days. What they needed was a firm plan. Unwavering. ”So there’s three teams now?”

Patrick nodded. ”Seems so…”

”Is it really smart for us to all split up again? That’s what started this in the first place...”

”Believe me, if you knew what I knew--”

She crossed her arms suddenly. ”And when will I know what you know?”

Patrick looked around, hurriedly moving in closer in an effort to try to keep her from talking any louder. ”Look-- things are tense around here, OK. I wish I could tell you everything, but there’s a lot at stake. That’s as much as I can tell you… I’m sorry…”

Niobe squared up, pointing a finger in his chest. ”Whatever it was you were trying to tell me earlier, it sounds like you guys are gearing up to go to war. And I’m not convinced that’s something we want to throw ourselves in front of.”

”We just want to go home…” Patrick sighed, wearily. ”None of this has anything to do with us… it’s all bigger than that. We’re just the pawns. All we can do is just keep moving forward until we can’t anymore.”

Niobe toyed with one of her molars with the tip of her tongue. ”Or until you get your ass captured.”

Patrick hung his head, scratching it lackadaisically. He turned back around, crouching to hoist the crate back up and moving to pass around Niobe. Maybe she had been a bit too hard on him. She already had a difficult enough time warming up to any of the other Capitols without purposefully alienating anyone. Patrick and Eli had been two of the only ones who had made an effort to reach out and include her in things. Maybe she owed them more than that.

”So in this analogy,” she called out over her shoulder, turning to face him. ”Shouldn’t we be going for the King?”

Patrick halted in his tracks and knowingly met her gaze. She understood more than he believed.


# # #



"What the hell are you doing?" James coughed out, a half-spent cigar dangling out of the corner of his mouth.

Carl looked up from his seat on the bus, his hands clasped around his satellite phone. Other Capitols hustled about around the bus, loading the side holds with cargo, weapons and gear. A handful of people worked under the hood in the front while the driver responded to commands, testing the shift stick and other components of the vehicle. These people were covering their bases, checking everything, taking all of the precautionary measures they could...

So why did he feel like he was going to throw up?

"I'm, uhh--" he swallowed a heavy gulp-- to maybe help the room stop spinning. Nope. Next idea?

"What's wrong with you? Why are ya just sittin' on yer ass in here?"

Carl closed his eyes, rubbing at his temples. "Can you just please? Can you not... He sighed, burying his face in his palms. "I just-- we were out there... we saw what it was like. How could any of them have survived that...?"

"We did," James grumbled. He dabbed the cigar on the leather of one of the seats, ashing onto the floor. "We've all survived worse things. What else is there to be scared of?"

"That's just who I am!" Carl rasped, throwing his hands up in the air. "I'm that guy! The fucking guy in all those platoon war movies who's hiding behind all the real soldier son his radio while they're actually putting their lives in danger and fighting on the front! I'm not a rescue guy... I don't go do rescues. I mean look at what we're up against!"

James grimaced. "We've got buses. They don't. You wanna be on the side with the buses... trust me." He clapped Carl a little too hard on the shoulder, spilling a little bit of ash from his cigar onto his sweatshirt. He walked past him, climbing out the back door of the bus. Carl brushed his shirt clean and turned towards the old man. "Hey, man-- why the church?"

"Cause I heard bells a ringin'..." James crooned.

"Are you fucking stoned?" Carl berated. "Why are you so calm about all of this?"

James flashed a smile of pearly whites. "Cause this is the world now, kid. Buck up." He took one long soothing drag of his cigar and gritted his teeth as he exhaled a thick curling cloud of white smoke. "Now get out here and make yourself useful." He turned, wandering off in a wispy hazy trail.

Carl could only shake his head, exhausted by it all. He scooped up his phone as he stood up from his seat and shuffled out the front down the few steps towards the pavement. He plopped down hard onto his feet causing his glasses to slide down his nose which he quickly remedied with his index finger.

"Easy there, Cowboy..." Jack's catty voice drawled from next to the folded door. Carl felt his heavy hand pat him hard against the back. What was with all the hitting anyways? "You alright?"

Carl shrugged, rolling his eyes. "I'm great..." he droned, sourly.

Jack squinted his eyes. "Well, listen-- I just wanted to say, before we left-- I know you and James are going on your little secret mission thing or whatever, but I wanted to ask if you'd keep an eye out for our friend, Calvin. He's out there too... we don't really know where..."

"Calvin...?"

"Yeah, that movie star guy... Calvin Hawke. We were with him before all this and... well, things got dicey. But he took a bullet for me... and I owe it to him to find him."

Carl's eyes nearly burst out his head as he suddenly had an epiphany. C-Calvin! Hawke?! You mean Sarah's brother?"

Jack scrunched his forehead. "How do you know his sister?" Then his tone changed as his brow furrowed even further. "How do you know his sister...?"

Carl waved his hands in front of him. "No, no-- it's nothing like that. I mean, I suppose I would... she's pretty hot-- but, ew! No, I'd never-- Jeez... oh man, when she finds out he's alive, she's gonna freak!"

"We have to find them. Both of them. Pass it on to James when you see him," Jack insisted, clasping his hand on Carl's shoulder. He looked him straight in the eyes. "We're gonna find them..."

"FIVE MINUTES!! OUT IN FIVE!! Grab the last of your things, say your goodbyes-- this is it, ladies and gentleman! Meet on the floor in FIVE!!!" Silas' bombastic voice echoed out across the garage-- no longer with the same gravelly tin as from the loudspeakers, but rather in person-- as his large frame came bumbling past in haste. The last flurry of activity commenced as everyone made their last rites and prepared for sendoff. Carl, in all the chaos of the moment looked across the sea of faces for anyone he knew and saw no one-- suddenly feeling very alone...