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Gary Lane

Some things never change.

0 · 189 views · located in The Mojave

a character in “The Desert Pilgrims”, as played by El_Gringo

Description

Name: Gary Lane

Age: 48

Gender: Male

Image


Description: Gary stands at 6'3, and sure of himself with every inch. He downplays his arrogance in respect to the state of the world. That height doesn't have too much muscle though, as he is a bit on the lanky side, but he stays in decent shape. If he doesn't have a mustache he is usually clean-shaven, and he enjoys dressing a bit fancier than most. What's life without a little luxury?

Biography: Mr. Lane was born in London, England and grew up in a orphanage. He learned quickly to care for himself, and how to manipulate other kids to get things for him. How could he get in trouble for stealing food and money if someone else was conned into doing it for him for 20%? He just had to make them believe he was in control. He was adopted once in his adolescence by foster parents, but quickly released after he tried sleeping with their daughter.

He liked games of luck and chance, especially when it could be manipulated in his favor. He would hustle people in pool, Texas Hold'em, and a variety of other games. Gary was quite talented at poker and began sneaking out to secret card games through his less savory friends. Once he was 18 he joined the British Army, scoring high on their aptitude test. He rose to an officer rank quickly, and worked alongside an older officer, Chance McGinley, in a black market scheme for desperate men stationed in barracks and military posts. He also joined British Army Boxing, showing little skill but he could take a heavy beating. After basic training Gary never fired a weapon again, acting in the communications department.

After years of profit, McGinley was busted by internal investigations and Gary deserted his nation instead of facing charges. He moved in to the United States, starting in New York. He started scamming but had no connections, and got run out by the criminals in the city. Facing near death, he fled West throughout the country. He stole and conned his way to Vegas. Part of him thought about making an honest living, but it was too damn hard compared to what he knew.

The years were a blur once he got into his groove. Later in the 90s he got into the poker circuit right before it hit big, and started riding the wave of success. He never won anything notable as far as a title, but he brought in plenty of dough in public and private events. Gary decided to start 'training' people in poker, gaining a nice group of C list actors under his wing that he smooth talked, acting as a 'yes' man to soothe their ego. When the invasion hit, one of them invited Gary to his underground bunker to hold out. He spent the better part of the next decade in the bunker. Luckily they had a power generator, fueling their desire for consuming DVDs and hopping on the treadmill until they ran out of fuel.

One day they were running low on supplies and had to trek out. Gary stayed back with the actor while the other two men went to search. They came back with plenty of goods, but one of them had been stung by an alien, claiming they weren't followed back. From his basic medical knowledge from his military training, Gary determined the man hadn't been poisoned. Then the group slowly watched him change.

Over time the man became less and less human, almost robotic in nature, and he snapped. Gary woke up to find him finishing off the actor, suffocating him in his sleep with a pillow. He yelled, waking the other man. They both fought what would later be known as a 'sleeper,' but while they had fear and fought to save their lives, the sleeper had no regard for his life. Gary cracked him in the face as hard as he could with a pan, destroying the man's cheekbone and eye socket. He kept moving forward. The sleeper crushed the other man's windpipe in a struggle and Gary fled the bunker while it happened, stealing the actor's "go-bag" that had been prepped in case of an evacuation.

Gary stumbled on a pharmacy, and counted it as a miracle. He raided the supplies, knowing that if settlements still existed it would be excellent trade. He fled the outskirts of Vegas, staying in Nevada. He hid most of the time, even from other humans. The experience of the man turning on him and killing the others made him paranoid of others that could be under the aliens' thrall. Gary experienced plenty of luck in his life, and that did not change when he ran into a group of nearly 20 survivors. A few of them had traveled all the way from Alabama. He was amazed at their tenacity and spirit. Gary might have trekked that far in his life, but to do it with aliens and raiders was quite a feat. The group welcomed him. He led them to believe he had been a bar tender and casino dealer, proceeding to tell the truth about his time in the bunker. Mixing lies with the truth was always the most believable way to deceive.

Staying under the radar and acting like a normal citizen was the game he played. As Sanctuary developed, he worked his magic. What was a civilization with a bar of all places, for a little fun and relaxation? With the help of others and with Callum's permission one was built, with his quarters in the second floor. Gary stashed his pharmacy supplies around the building, also burying some in the outskirts of the town. Callum was no idiot, and while not in doubt of Lane's devotion to Sanctuary, had the appointed Sheriff oversee the bar's stocks so the supplies weren't skimmed. He developed a relationship with a few of the scouts, who brought him certain items from the field. When he got a chance, he ventured out too. While Sanctuary needed supplies like food and ammunition, or general medicine, Gary sought out liquor, drugs, cigarettes, and the rest. He couldn't stay unknown forever, but if he never stored everything in a centralized location, he could never be busted for hoarding or provide any proof of the enormity of his actions.

Since he wasn't strictly part of the town's defense, he officially had no weapon. Unofficially, he had some stashed away. On his person was always a stiletto switchblade and brass knuckles. The only weapon he had hidden inside the bar's confines was a sawn-off shotgun. With less firearm skill, having a weapon that could splatter your target was ideal. With the world how it is, Gary has no intentions of screwing the town. He still doesn't mind being as wealthy and powerful as possible. If that meant employing a lot of smoke and mirrors he was more than ready.

Skills: Lane is great at observing and predicting people. He isn't particularly skilled with weapons or combat, but has grace and guile in interpersonal situations. He named Santuary's bar, "Freedom Incarnate," to provide a certain atmosphere to those who needed to let off some steam. Inside there was organized gambling, pool tables, darts, and whatever kind of bar entertainment could be mustered up. For a bar there was never a full stock of alcohol, so it was rationed out to citizen's who chose to partake. Those who risked their lives on the front lines typically had a higher allowance. There are also private rooms in the back for those who wanted to 'connect' without being the talk of the town. Freedom Incarnate is like Sanctuary's Little Vegas; no gabbing about the occurrences inside. Gary Lane uses his skills to get information and relationships out of the town. For actual contributions, Gary works with the agricultural people to help with farming, using small amounts of the supplies to homebrew beer and liquor. He also partakes in watch shifts when required.

So begins...

Gary Lane's Story

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Character Portrait: Gary Lane
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Gary rolled out of bed, where Susana lay, or Suzie as he liked to call her. She had lit up a cigarette from his personal stash. While he was careful about showing his resourcefulness to many, cigarettes were the last thing he cared about the town knowing he had. The fact that he was a bit of a black market man could never be contained, so he had to hand out snacks to keep people thinking he was small-time.

He pulled his pants on and straightened his mustache out in the mirror, walking back to Suzie and extending his hand for the cig. She puffed and handed it over. Their coitus had started with her wanting a smoke. Gary looked down at her bare breasts, the sheets pulled right up under them. He noted that her brown nipples were much larger than anyone he had ever been with. It was a fun fact to dwell upon in the light of the new world.

Gary took a drag. "Anything good last night?" He had become a bit of a procurer, a nicer word for pimp, with Suzie. The relationship was a two-way street though, he wasn't taking complete advantage of her. If she supplied information on people in the town and their affairs, he shared knowledge and product with her. Sex was a benefit all of its own.

Suzie playfully pulled the sheets up over her chest, leaving a small bit of top breast exposed. "Well, how about you hand that cigarette back and find out." Gary laughed, taking another drag of the smoke. He supposed this was where most peoples' version of a pimp would back-hand the woman and demand results. Still smiling, he gave her the cigarette.

"Not too much last night. That Jack guy, the one whose wife offed herself a while back? He lives by Marina too. I took him to the back, danced a little, stripped, and started to take his clothes off. The man locked up, wouldn't do anything."

Gary interrupted, "Locked up? The man's got some problems if he gets locked up with you strutting your stuff." Suzie rolled her eyes at the flattery.

"Jack just wanted me to lay with him. He talked and talked about his troubles since his daughter died, followed by his wife's suicide. He's been going at it with a couple of other men in town." After a few more puffs, she put the cigarette out and climbed out of bed, reaching for her clothes.

"That's it?"

"He's a broken man Gary. By the way he gave me this," Suzie pulled out what looked to be a 10k yellow gold necklace. He whistled, that would have easily gone for $500 plus in the old days," You want to keep a hold of it?" Gary shook his head, it was hers to keep. The last thing he needed was Jack to walk in the bar and see him wearing the dead wife's necklace.

Gary sighed, "Everyone already knows that Jack is broken. If you're trying to say he's a ticking time bomb, that could be something altogether different. Jack can go off himself for all I care, but if he tries taking anyone else with him . . . that's more cowardly than suicide itself." He watched as she starting pulling herself into a pair of tight jeans with some difficulty. "If two guys are driving him to that point, they might have to be paid a visit. We can't have the town at each others' throats . . . " Unless there was an angle to be had out of it. Gary could pay a visit to his neighbors and see what was going on, if he cared to. Suzie had to stretch out on the bed to tug her zipper up and get the button of the jeans in. As she rose, Gary smacked her on the butt, eliciting a yelp.

"I'm going to have to stop feeding you so good, gaining weight in this town isn't good for finding clothes or for town gossip." Suzie shot him a death glare at the hint of her ass being called fat.

"What? You see a fat person in town and I'll show you a person everyone wants dead. This place can't afford gluttony."

He helped her gather up her things and get out. As good of help as she was, he couldn't let her stay there at Freedom Incarnate all the time. Gary did let her tend bar, because he couldn't do it 24/7. Until her mother got a little less possessive he had to use kid gloves. The mom couldn't be blamed though; you had to keep your loved ones close with killer aliens on the loose. Suzie walked out the door, blowing him a kiss as she shut the door. He imagined she was off to visit her mom, before the town alarm bells were raised and the Sheriff came trotting to the doors of Freedom Incarnate in shining white to save the princess from the dragon.

Gary searched his closet for a shirt to wear, deciding to go with the purple one. The bar was opening up in a few hours at noon. Freedom Incarnate was open until 4 am, with some flexibility allowed by Callum. If the town started to get an epidemic of alcoholics John would make changes, but for the moment, all was well.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yolanda Gunn Character Portrait: Oliver Tatum AKA Oddball Ollie Character Portrait: Theodore Daclaveon Character Portrait: John Callum Character Portrait: Gary Lane
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"Oh, you're an old flatterer, John Callum," Yolanda trilled, leaning further across the desk and slapping the old man on the shoulder. He was little more than bone underneath the faded, but still respectable, suit jacket he wore almost as a uniform of office. Briefly the thought crossed her mind that he might be sick, what with the willingness to undertake an arduous an dangerous journey, not to mention the rare allusion to the heartache of his bereavements. Yolanda and John were friends, she felt - at any rate, they worked well together - but this was one subject that had remained off-limits. In one sense, Yolanda was glad. She'd never had children, and her relationships never lasted more than a few years, so John's hidden pain was alien territory to her. She knew better, too, than to try and dissuade him from going on this diplomatic mission. For whatever reason, he'd made up his mind. He'd only see further argument as a waste of time, an annoyance.

Her train of thought was briefly interrupted by the sight of Ollie Tatum passing outside, his head bumping up and down in his distinctive walk, almost as if he was on puppet strings held by a child. The engineer was a law unto himself, his slightly unhinged mind pinwheeling from one idea to the next, but the novel creations and solutions that sprang out of that chaos had served Sanctuary well and often. Yolanda gave him as much time as possible; when not baffling her with scientific terminology that seemed almost a language of his own making, he could be charming company.

John used the distraction to move the conversation on from his hints at Yolanda's temporary elevation. "But, I won't be going alone. I'll have to take along some protection, for the trip over to Garland, if nothing else. You know the people of Sanctuary best. Do you have any recommendations?"

"Well now," Yolanda murmured, drumming her fingernails on the desk as she ran through a mental checklist of the town's inhabitants. This really was the kind of work she was best at, partly because she loved it. She had a miniature biography of every person in Sanctuary memorised, with their history, family - living and dead - their personalities, strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams. She updated as she went about the town, listening to problems big and small, doling out advice, giving assistance and succour. Immediately her mind lit on one name.

"Well now, if you won't take Paul, and I know you'll want Moses to stay here, you couldn't do much better than taking Teddy Daclaveon."

John raised a spiky white eyebrow.

"Teddy. Hunter, survivor-type, makes his own bows and arrows," Yolanda explained. "Used to be Special Forces. Not a lot will get past Teddy on the road."

Moreover, Yolanda had the feeling Teddy had things on his mind he didn't want on his mind. Teaching Sanctuary's children to fire bows and arrows was a worthwhile pursuit, and Teddy appeared good at it - patient, fair, approachable - but some men needed to be busy, to keep moving. Otherwise, they moved to the bar and stopped there, another good man, another able body, gone to waste. Yolanda often thought the aftermath of the Invasion was harder on men than women, their failure in the role of protectors writ large on the changed landscape across the world. Even guarding somewhere like Sanctuary or Garland from bandits, they were still just fighting for second place. She drummed her fingers on the desk again and unfurrowed her brow, pushing the though out of her mind.

"You could take Luke off sentry duty too. The trip out might do him some good." The younger men, the ones who had come to adulthood after the Invasion, sometimes needed to blow off steam; sentry duty and irrigation projects weren't exactly the bright lights of the big city. "But you'll have Garland's men too. Take many more of your own, and they'll think you don't trust them. That's a bad start to a trade mission."

John steepled his fingers and nodded. Yolanda knew he didn't know Luke from the rest of Deacon's sentries, but it was no harm for him to see that she did. If nothing else, it would set his mind at ease about Sanctuary being in good hands while he was gone.

"But," she continued, this time rapping her knuckles on the desk, emphasising that this was her final opinion on the matter, "you could always take another negotiator.

"Not that you're not capable," she said hurriedly, cutting off the objection that seemed to be coming. "But two heads are always better than one. Makes it harder for their talking heads to gang up on you."

He pursed his lips. In the quiet as he thought, they could both hear voices - Zoey, the secretary, and... yes, those were Ollie's unusual inflections - and then a closing door and silence again.

"And you would suggest?"

"My first thought was Bobo." Again, the eyebrow peaked in query. "I mean Barbara Bowery. She used to be a businesswoman - Wall Street, not washtub," she explained, laughing self-deprecatingly. "Mergers, acquisitions, all that high-falutin' stuff. She's bound to have something interesting to say."

"And your second thought?" asked John, playing his part in their little dance to perfection.

"Mr Lane. And his morals. He's crooked enough to think through a corkscrew, and I'm pretty sure he only has his own interests at heart - not that I'd ever let on to him - but why not make that work for us, John?"

"Mr Lane and his morals," he repeated. "How interesting."

"As for Mister Lane and his morals, well, that's why I came to see you," Yolanda said, pushing herself up from her informal perch on John's desk. He'd baited the hook earlier, but she'd known better than to go jumping feet first into the delicate subject. Now that John had dispensed with his own business, Yolanda knew she had his full attention.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Joshua Moore Character Portrait: Gary Lane
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A few of the early birds had come in, scattered among a few of the tables. Most weren't even drinking anything, they just enjoyed spending their time at Freedom Incarnate. Gary waved and smiled; the ever loving host. A slim, bearded figure carrying a green rucksack walked into the bar. Gary recognized him as a newbie to the settlement. The man had come to Sanctuary in the current calendar year of 2023. He prided himself on remembering most people's names, but he couldn't recall this man one-hundred percent. Maybe he was staying off the radar of most of the townspeople. A smart man was one to be watched.

He looked across the room, holding his hand up in greeting. "James is it? Sorry if that's wrong, newer faces can be a bit hard to knock out until I become more familiar with them. Want a drink on the house?" Gary had a little flexibility with the rations as always, and it was a good move to be welcoming to the newer folk. From what he had gathered the man was a scholar of some sort. That was a skill that could come in handy. Without functioning libraries and dignitaries, who else was there to chronicle the events that went down? If the human race won this war in the end, having an accurate record of events could be vital.

While talking he grabbed a fresh rag and wiped the bar down. He hoped the heavier town gossips would pop in soon so he could learn Callum, Yolanda, and the rest of the settlement's business without having to put any effort into it. Luckily Gary had found a variety of people willing to tend bar, or learn to tend par, so that he could get out of Incarnate when needed. A man named Felix would be taking over in a few hours, giving Gary time to get out and about.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lilly Cartwright Character Portrait: Yolanda Gunn Character Portrait: John Callum Character Portrait: Gary Lane
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"What have you come to talk about?"

And with that, John abruptly pulled the curtain down on the conversation. Yolanda could almost hear the clang as the town's leader shut away her suggestions in another part of his mind, to be ruminated at his leisure - and in solitude. Growing frail he may be, but John Callum still had a mind like a steel trap.

"Well now, don't you know how to put a girl at her ease, John Callum," she frowned in mock annoyance, folding her arms and pursing her red lips. "In fact, Mister Lane and his morals, well, that's why I came to see you."

An almost imperceptible nod of the head told Yolanda she had John's attention, even while his agile brain was leaping ahead to consider whether her motives for suggesting Gary go to Garland were tied up in her own interests. She ploughed on regardless; John would conclude, in his own time, that nominating Gary hadn't been done out of malice or self-interest.

"I got an angry mother on my hands, John. Ana-Maria Fernández. If I'm not mistaken, I might have a few angry wives on my hands soon too. The back rooms in Freedom Incarnate... well, they're perhaps not as free as all that."

Under John's calm gaze, she elaborated. "Ana-Maria's daughter, Susanna, it sounds like she's turning tricks. Now, I know you allowed the back rooms for a reason" - she paused briefly as memories of her brief, passionate relationship in the back rooms flashed across her mind - "but this sounds like straight-up prostitution, John."

She stepped up to the edge of the mayor's desk, the wooden lip pressing a line into the meat of her thigh.

"The back rooms are like a safety valve for the human needs of Sanctuary, that's why we have them. But this... this is not good. Ana-Maria is fit to stab Mr Lane, and the gossip about who else sees Susanna is only going to grow. You know what people are like. That's what concerns me. That, and it's hard to know how safe she's being."

John lent back in his chair, and Yolanda realised she'd been looming over him. She stepped away, took in a brief circuit of the office while John steepled his fingers again. She instinctively knew what he was going to ask next.

"No, I haven't spoken to Mr Lane yet." She could feel the blood rising in her cheeks, anger on behalf of Ana-Maria, who only wanted to protect her daughter just as Yolanda wanted to protect Sanctuary; anger at the supercilious Mr Lane, who would only duck and dodge and avoid any direct line of conversation, and suggestion of responsibility. "He'll say he's not responsible for Susanna. He's not so foolish as to say he doesn't know what happens, but he'll say he's not responsible for what goes on in the back rooms."

There was silence for a moment as Yolanda struggled to control herself. John would feel such outbursts were unnecessary between friends, that she didn't have to personalise what was clearly a political issue, that losing one's temper was an undignified attempt at extra leverage. Nonetheless, Yolanda couldn't help feeling towards Gary Lane a degree of the same anger that Ana-Maria felt. He had his own short-term benefit in mind, and nothing else, certainly not the long-term peace and prosperity of Sanctuary.

John nodded four times, each nod more definitely than the last. Yolanda imagined the steel shutters coming down on the matter again.

"I'll take my leave, John Callum," she said, slipping into formality in an attempt to mask her irritation. "Take care now."

'Take care, Ms Gunn,' John replied in kind. Just as the door closed, she glanced back and suspected she saw a teasing twinkle in the old man's eyes. As she crossed the dusty street to Doctor Gutierrez's practise, meaning to investigate what precautions Susanna was taking, if any, she conceded a wry smile at John's deft leadership skills, his ability to disarm her potentially disruptive temper.

"Luke Hall? Shouldn't you be on watch?" she asked as the tall young man emerged from the hospital. Not a year ago, she would have described him as gangly, but he'd undergone that growth spurt all young men had at that age, outwards rather than upwards, where his muscles had thickened and his build broadened. He was rangy now, not gangly.

"M- Ms Gunn?" he stuttered, as if guilty for having been caught away from his post. His gaze flicked around her curves, then up to her face, then settled on the dry ground as the safest location. "Ms Gunn, I was bringin' a hurt girl to the Doc. Deacon telled me so."

"Well done, Luke," she smiled warmly at him, which did nothing to stop the red blush from rising from his neck to his cheeks. "Is this hurt girl still inside?"

"Yup," he nodded enthusiastically, proud of his role in the girl's survival. "And her Ma and her, her, her sister."

"Go on, Romeo," Yolanda grinned as she passed and patting Luke on the shoulder. "Back to your post. Keep on keeping us safe." The rangy young man snapped an improvised salute as he jogged back to the wall.

"Hello? Dr G?" she called as she stepped into the sparsely-lit waiting room. "Hi, it's me?"

After a moment, the doctor stuck her head through the door to her office. "Back here, Yolanda," she nodded, and disappeared again. As another senior member of the town, the doctor was on familiar terms with Yolanda.

In the doctor's office, a young woman was laid out unconscious on the couch under a blanket. A woman in her 20s and an elder, obviously family to the girl on the couch, looked on anxiously. The doctor busied herself a final check on a bandage on the girl's leg and pulled the blanket over it. "These here are the Cartwright girls," said Doctor Gutierrez. "Amber and Lilly - " the onlookers stood apprehensively - "and this here napping is Holly."

The older woman, undeniably mother to the others, offered her hand. "Amber Cartwright, ma'am. I just gotta say how mighty grateful we all are you takin' us in like this. Holly - " The words seemed to catch in her throat and she fell silent, tears brimming in her eyes.

"Ms Cartwright, I'm Yolanda Gunn, not 'ma'am', and you don't have to thank me," smiled Yolanda, taking her the proffered hand. "That's just how we are here in Sanctuary. If we can help folks that need helping, we'll help. And Lilly, it's good to have you. Your sister is in safe hands with Doctor G."

Pretty although dust-grimed and drawn by exhaustion, Lilly managed a broad smile. Yolanda could easily understand Luke Hall's stuttering.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Moses Finley Character Portrait: John Callum Character Portrait: Joshua Moore Character Portrait: Gary Lane
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Josh walked up to the bar, laying his rucksack on the counter-top. "Sure, I'll take a freebie."

Gary poured him a screwdriver, a bit on the light side. No one needed to be liquored up too early in the day. The writer sipped at it, then consumed half of it. He grimaced a bit at the taste.

Lane laughed, "Not exactly Skyy Vodka like back in the day, but it does its work. I can throw in a bit of grenadine or sweet juice to help it go down easier, but those goods are in short supply. I try to save them for special occasions." Gary stared at his pack, noting that the clasps were open. He started to reach for it, "Mind if I take a look at what you put down in there?" Josh snapped out of his friendly demeanor, grabbing the bag to his chest. Gary threw his hands up apologetically, though really it was an act. He wanted to test his new friend's limits.

"I'm sorry Mr. Lane, it isn't that I won't share what is in here, but when it is in the rough form I'd rather not. I could orate it for you, but I don't want someone reading inside it."

"What is it you are putting in there? Are you truly chronicling all this," He waved his arms about in a ballerina spin, ". . . wonderland?" He smiled wide like the Cheshire cat. Lane was actually interested, in fact, other than sliding into bed with Suzie this man could be the most interesting thing in town.

"Yes. Sanctuary is perhaps the most significant human stronghold left, other than the Partisans that is. They aren't exactly welcoming people in with open arms, but someday maybe." Gary rubbed his chin thoughtfully at the notion.

"Actually I would bet that if you have actual skill, they would take you in. The military is all about official reports. They may cramp your style a bit though, force you to only use the third person or some shit." Josh watched him astutely.

"I take it you were in the military?" Damn, this guy paid good attention.

"Yeah, a lifetime ago. If you aren't already chronicling peoples' journeys to Sanctuary here, I would recommend it. My story is quite the adventure." And that was just the part he was willing to tell. "Plus, if you come in and pry some lips when the liquor has loosened them, it could help people be more open. If you and I keep an open line of communication, I might even be able to tip you off when certain people are here. Lets say the Sheriff comes in, which is a rare occasion I admit. Getting that stoic man to melt down and tell some stories would make for one hell of a journal entry." Gary looked up as another patron entered the bar. He was waiting for the day that Callum or Suzie's mom came in to try and shake him down. The problem they had was absolutely no proof. Sanctuary could think want they want, but no one could put Gary in a corner. Not right now while he was at the top of his game.

Josh stared off in the distance, thinking of the proposition. "That sounds like a great idea. Any catches?"

Again, Gary smiled as if flies never buzzed around his shit. "Well, wouldn't anyone love a favorable outlook on themselves in the history books? I'm sure you've heard some rumors about me, rest assured, those are rumors." Josh finished the drink and Gary poured him another.

"This one will be my last, I'm not much of a drinker."

Gary ignored him, continuing on. "You see, we don't have TV anymore. There is no Facebook, Twitter, or mass media. Hell, we barely have many books these days. People need to entertain themselves by creating myths and legends. How else do you think shit like dragons were thought up?" Josh butted in.

"If we have aliens upon us right now, don't you think dragons and serpents were a possibility?"

"Only in Dungeons and Dragons kid." Josh went ahead and downed this drink whole, Gary took the glass once he sat it down and proceeded to wash it in the sink. "I am this town's dragon. Give them time and all their woes will be my fault. Oh look, Mr. Lane up there in that cave of danger. There must be treasure hoarded up there. The man spews fire from his mouth, and his talons are oh so sharp."

"A matter of time before they take up the pitch forks, huh?" Josh smiled at the notion.

Gary only smiled back. "This town doesn't realize I'm it's Jack O'Kent."

"Jack O'Kent, who is that?"

"O'Kent is a folk hero back where I'm from in Britain. You see, Kent dealt with the Devil, but he always out-tricked him. I'll tell you more about that later though, I better tend to some of the others." Gary came out from behind the bar to survey the small crowds' needs.

The man lightly touched his shoulder, causing Gary to turn. "Yes?"

"Do you know many myths and legends? I'd like to record some of them. Even if they become a bit twisted from the original source, the world can always look to these stories for imagination. Imagination and wonder that is." Gary nodded, and set off to resume his duties.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lilly Cartwright Character Portrait: Yolanda Gunn Character Portrait: Gary Lane
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"A deputy? With these nails?" Yolanda held up her carefully manicured hand, threw back her head and laughed, then flashed a complicit smile at Lilly. "Oh honey, my rough-and-tumble days are long behind me." She didn't want to shame these women for the disparity between her glamorous appearance and their road-worn clothes and borderline malnourishment, but rather hint at the possibilities that Sanctuary held for them.

"No, I'm what I suppose you'd call a busyboy. I keep people busy and keep bodies together. It helps stick Sanctuary together, you know? And I don't doubt your ethic, ma'am - " here she nodded at the elder woman " - I don't think y'all should be worried about work right now. Why don't you two head on off to the kitchens - it's the big metal-sheet building about four down on this side - and see if there's a late breakfast or an early lunch to be had. Tell them I sent you, and Doc G and I will keep an eye on this one for you."

A short while later, Yolanda emerged from the hospital, squinting as the sun upped its punishing glare as it neared midday. She waved as two girls ran past, shrieking and laughing, each holding one end of a length of red ribbon. Amazing what passed for toys in these difficult days. Dust swirled up in their wake. The sooner we get that irrigation project finished, the better, Yolanda thought.

She took a deep breath, trying to suppress her annoyance at Doctor Gutierrez. Sure, she could see patient confidentiality still had a place in the world today, and no, she wouldn't like it if just about anyone could find out her private business by asking. But couldn't the doctor see this was no mere snooping? There wasn't just the issues of a spread of disease and an unwanted, possibly contested pregnancy. Did John Callum really want a town where prostitution was acceptable? Did he not see the damage that could to to morale? And what's more, if a character like Gary Lane could get away with this, what else would he attempt?

In the doorway to Freedom Incarnate, Yolanda primped her hair and smoothed her dress down on her hips. As her eyes adjusted to the gloom, she picked out Gary Lane standing by the bar, seemingly in conversation with a customer. She stepped towards them, her high heels click-clacking in the sudden silence.