[NU] The Library [Th1.2, Cl1.2]

edited June 2014 in nupocalypse
Clarity, This is later in the day after the incident at the Greyhound station with Hugo. You come home with the sun setting to find Thirds sitting on your doorstep looking stoic as usual. How did you end up transporting that enormous map?

Thirds, It's late in the evening a few days after your return to Monroe. Why did you need to see Clarity bad enough to wait on his doorstep?


  • I walk up to the door, map balanced on my head, arms spread wide to hold it. Almost like carrying a mattress by myself, but lighter at least. I give Thirds a sort of shrug (nodding would be difficult right now). "Would you mind getting the door, Thirds?"
  • [Thirds]

    Not kitted up at the moment for scavvin'. Good denim and boots, a light tshirt. Working on the weaving for a hat to pass the time. Maybe some monkey ups and jumps down. The roof is low here.

    I found a thing. Looks like this.


    I know Clarity's got a different thing for to make it go. I know it'll break easy. So I'm sitting right here. Hopefully gonna trade up for it.

    Door? Sure. Set it open with my pack. Hop around behind to help him wrangle the map inside. Not heavy. Bulky. Wind's a bitch, it's like a sail. Hm. Be nice to have a boat.
  • [Clarity]

    We wrangle the map up against the wall. I will assess what sort of conservation it needs once I recover from hauling it back here.

    "Thanks, Thirds. Been a long walk with this thing, even the slightest breeze was trying to blow me over."

    I look Thirds over, he's got that look he gets when certain he's found a plum. "So, what do you have, Thirds?" Genuinely interested, and grateful he's giving me a shot at it, even if it turns out to be nothing.
  • [Thirds]

    I look at the map closer. "Where from?" Sommat like this might have more stuff. And the map itself has info worth knowing. My eyes are all over it, back to Clarity, back to the map. Edges, corners, lines, dots. What's by us?

    "Last run, found some more of these. Brought one back." I show him the thinger. It's still pretty shiny, was wrapped in paper. The paper and cardboards got wet, got ruined. The plastic vinyl still perfect. Some of 'em, the center rots out. They fall out easy. "Um. Still got the other ones?" I like the music. The words are weird.
  • edited June 2014
    So this is the moment where I keep my word to Hugo. "Found it a ways out, maybe a half-day's walk. Hugo and his boys were already hard to work scavenging, but I managed to talk them out of this. I'd guess they'll have taken all that's worth taking before too long - seemed pretty determined to strip it and be on their way."

    I'll take the record and lead the way back through the big room to a table next to the door to my "safe" room, where I keep the more fragile things, and the things that would hurt too much to lose. There are items around this room, too, though, and I point out a few to Thirds. Even if he's been here before, he might not have seen everything.

    A set of shelves with some mostly intact books, covers facing out. Nothing practical or useful, of course. The Poky Little Puppy, with a picture of a cute little dog staring at a lizard. Great Expectations, with almost all the pages. About a dozen in all. I point out one in particular. "Thirds, this is one of the most perplexing things I have ever seen," and show him a large format book with crude drawings of strange creatures on the cover, one of which appears to be a cross between an owl and a bear. Advanced D&D Monster Manual. An Illustrated Compendium of Monsters: Aerial Servant to Zombie. By Gary Gygax.

    We pass a few other things on the way to the worktable. A rusted out sign from the road called 87, announcing "New York 47 mi." A little plastic statue of a bearded man wearing a pointy cap that comes up to about my knee, faded and worn, but still smile-provoking in the right mood. That sort of thing. Nothing special, but all reminders.

    There's a locker next to the worktable where I keep supplies. I open it with a key and take out a soft cloth and a bottle of high-test hooch. Pour a little hooch on the cloth and then gently begin rubbing the mildew off the vinyl. Is the label readable? Thirds, is there anything else you notice on the way to the back of the room?
  • Thirds, If you've got a record in mind, why don't you tell Clarity what it says.

    Clarity, as you do that, you spot Rue coming in the front door.

    Rue, you find Clarity with Thirds in his safe room at the back of the library among a slew of ancient artifacts from the fallen age.
  • edited June 2014

    I stroll on in, wearin my vest an Shelly slung o'er my shoulder, I'm ready to roll in the most comfy clothes I got. I look 'round at Clare's place, same as it e'er was. Damn if this place don't still stank to high heaven. Don't matter how many times I tell Clare that old, rotten books stank, he just smiles, like it's a frakkin aroma or somesuch. I guess he'll ne'er change. An that's alright.

    "Hey Clare," I look o'er at Thirdie, an my voice drops a lil, "Hey Thirdie." O' course, I stay back a couple steps, since I prolly stank o' Jose an Roark's weed. Aint embarrassed, just don't want 'em thinkin' I'm trouble.

    Well, now, that aint true. I AM trouble, with a capital T, but not fer them.

    I think 'bout tellin' 'em Doughboy's dead, but they seem to be jawin' 'bout their own thing. But Thirdie might be distracted er somethin, so I fix gaze on Clare.
  • I look up from the record as Rue walks in. I try to keep an eye on her when I can. I remember, before I was Clarity, when I had that sort of walk, that sort of look. Violence my only tool. Rue is dangerous, and I can only hope her connections here start to settle her.

    "Rue. What an unexpected pleasure!" The words are a formula, but sincere enough.
  • [Rue]

    I take a look 'round, note the big ole map. "Got ya 'nother map? Any sights to see out there?" I can't help it, buzzin' and stankin', I'm too curious on it to stay back, so's I walk on up to Clare an take a gander.

    As I'm lookin', I say casual, "Summin kilt Doughboy last night."
  • edited June 2014

    Damn, Hugo's boys again? I frown, look at my shoes. Half-day from Monroe is a big area, but. Hope they not getting closer. "You see a girl with Hugo's crew? Pretty, with a bow?" Sun, of course.

    On his little tour, I see a pile of license plates. Spell words. FASTGURL and TOEDOC and DRESSY. Funny ones, too: B1GD1CK and BDMFR. My favorite says H82BSLW. He's also got a weird red and green gold lamp thing, fluid, moving. Like blood or water. I watch it for a while, not blinking. Very cool.

    His book is weird as hell. I can read, yeah. There's a lot here don't make sense. I've seen a crocodile, sure, but the fuck is a morkoth?

    I don't know what's on the record. No label left. I hope it's music. I like those electric guitars, and drums. Elvis or Mozart. Beetles?

    Rue comes in. Damn, girl, always commando. Not complaining, one bit. I pull my eyes back right quick. She smells like she's high. I wonder if she gets... I shake my head. I don't like the smell. Weed don't agree with me. Don't touch the stuff. Slows me down, I get stupid and handsy. I nod a hello to her, a little quick smile.

    "Who's Doughboy?" I'm thinking of Dogbeef, or Doghead, or Dog's Asshole. Monroe is weird sometimes.

    [OOC: q.v. AD&D MM, p15 & 71]
  • [Rue]

    Shit. Did Thirdie just look me up an down? No, Rue, calm the hell down, yer just high an a lil drunk. Stay frosty, don't let 'em catch ya lookin' dumb er somethin'.

    "Dough's a hermit, lives near enough to Monroe fer folks like Roark to check on from time to time." I reply, casual. "Dunno if it has to do with those new fellers at the camp ya went to er not. Who're they, Clare?"
  • Damn. Doughboy was a geezer, but he could stretch a possum into stew about a dozen ways, and none of them was completely terrible.

    I raise an eyebrow. "Camp? I was at a possible scavenge, about a half day out. Hugo and his boys already had it sewn up. And no, Thirds, I didn't see a girl with them, bow or not. Don't think it could've been Hugo that killed Doughboy, though. Not if it was last night, not when he'd been working the scav since morning."
  • [Rue]

    My permagrin comes back alla sudden, when Clare mentions the bow girl. That's Sun! I know Sun, she's a cutie. Thirdie prolly likes 'er. Don't blame 'im, really. She's a far sight purtier'n me.

    I nod to Clare. "Good. Roark wasn't sure. I just figgered new folks, dead feller. Mebbe there's a coupla the punks round who rolled 'im. Roark mentioned scarin' some ijits off. I can handle that."

    My left hand's up, scratchin' at the back o' my neck, I'm lookin' 'round, "What's Hugo like, Clare?" Well, there I go. Here comes the big story.
  • "I only met him for a few minutes, Rue, and it was a pretty tense few minutes. He's hard, and determined. Keeps his weapons as well as you do. His boys seem pretty disciplined." I shrug. "Can't say that I liked him, for sure, but he dealt me pretty fair, although I did apply some leverage."
  • [Rue]

    That was the shortest answer I e'er got from Clare. Might be the drink talkin', but I'm feelin' a mite put out. Zat all he got fer me?

    "Hard, takes care o' 'is gear, runs a tight ship? Sounds like trouble." I say plain. "Folks that got a big ole plan don't have time fer common folk like here in Monroe. We better look sharp. Even if he does deal fair."

    I narrow my eyes, curious, not accusin', "What'd ya deal? Fer the map? Er somethin' else?"
  • "This map... I dealt for this map. Do you see that dog, there in the corner? That... is a greyhound. They were bred for their speed and grace. This order of Drivers, the Greyhounds, they modeled themselves after those amazing creatures." I walk across to the map. "These lines, here? The circles? The Greyhounds traveled these routes, taking passengers who could not drive themselves across the whole of the country, sometimes. Tireless, swift, graceful. Thousands heeded their call, 'Leave the Driving to Us.' Thousands arrived safely." I point at various circles on the map. "Fresno. Ontario. Buffalo. Pensacola. Kansas City. Monroe."

    "Yes, I dealt for this map. Gave my word not to interfere with Hugo's business at that scav, while he's there."
  • [Rue]

    I walk closer, drawn in by Clare's story. He's got a way 'bout 'im, that's no lie. I sidle up next to 'im, watch as he waggles that finger o'er the dots and gives 'em names. I realize a lil too late that my mouth is hangin' open, an I'm lookin at the map like some damn fool. I give Clare a nod, "Sounds pretty 'mazin', Clare. I figger I'd rather ride with Cinch. Second place ta Robbie."

    Glance o'er to Thirdie, "You?"
  • [Thirds]

    I put the weird book down, stop starin' at the glowing gloop. I pull out of my crouch, to their level. Hm. Sun wasn't with Hugo. Hugo didn't kill Doughy. Doesn't sound like Sun. Frowning like regret. "I know Doughy. Real good mulligan stew. Who'd kill him?" I nod slow at the memory.

    I try to continue. "I know Hugo's boys too. They serious types." I look back and forth at them a few times. Not jittery, just not still. "Not so good for Monroe." Sounds like a big scav gig. You know I'm thinking about jumping the claim. Not so smart. I look in the direction of the Ruins. Close my eyes. Lay of the land. I've seen that dog before.

    I meet Rue's gaze. She got close. "Cinch is a right ready driver. Robbie got AC, though." I wave a hand at the map. "I couldn't go that far just... sitting." Like I bit on a bad apple.

  • I think about my invitation to Hugo. Sometimes my attempts to connect, they lead me to overlook the obvious. "Thirds, what do you know about Hugo?" I'm back at the safe room, unlocking the door, but listening. There's a little cart, with wobbly wheels, with a record player on it. I unroll the extension cord that plugs in to a socket Robinson wired to the generator, plug in the record player. The vinyl is dry now, and clean enough. I put it on the turntable, flip the switch, drop the needle.
  • [Thirds]

    Listing what I know. "Raiding group, scav group. Based in the Ruins. Got a military hold. Little crazy. Good with traps. Not so good for women. Or folk ain't white." Last two at Rue then Clarity. Sun must be crazy... or desperate. I cross my arms, shift my weight uneasily.
  • [Rue]

    I chuckle when Thirdie gets twitchy just talkin' 'bout sittin' still. Listen in when they talk 'bout Hugo. Sounds like a real threat. This gonna be interestin'. "Clare, ya think this Hugo feller'll deal square? Mebbe Monroe can profit on it?" Better'n a big ole fight o'er shit they can't give up. Like food.
  • "Don't know, Rue. Better ask Thirds, he seems to know more than me."
  • [Rue]

    I feel like I'm the shuttlewhate'er in a game of badmitten. But sure, I'm still buzzed, I lookit Thirdie, battin my lashes and waitin'.
  • edited June 2014

    Scowl. "Not sure Monroe wants Hugo's attention. She's not exactly defensible. Hugo like as not to take 'steada deal." Shit, did I just talk more than Clarity?

    Why's Rue looking at me like that?
  • edited June 2014

    "Truer words, Thirdie," an I smirk at 'im, then give 'im a lil wink.

    I lookit Clare again an back to Thirdie. "Well, Ima find me the idjits that kilt Dough an beat the frak outta 'em. Y'all wanna get drunk... er later?" I'm fixin to head out.
  • edited June 2014

    Holding still for a sentence. Looks weird on me."When someone last get kilt in Monroe?"

    I could be down for a beer or two. I don't really do drunk. But maybe she don't mean drunk. Just company. I nod agreeably. "Um. Sure." Say it so she knows. "I could drink a good beer."
  • [Rue]

    "Heh. If flat n' warm's good, then I got yer back, Thirdie," I say, answerin to the good beer afore I talk about who been kilt. "Been a coupla weeks since raiders came, an they only kilt Bar None who was a fool an a half."

    This place, alla these books, I wonder if theyze any floppy books 'round here? I find myself lookin' round while I wait to see who's comin an who aint. Don't matter much to me either way. After the shit with Doghead, Ima fixin' to take out some hate on whoe'er kilt Dough.

  • [Thirds]

    I chuckle at her beer line. Just hope it's fresh beer not stale.

    "Raiders didn't get Doughy, right?" I look at the wall where Clarity has a sign don't make sense. "Doghead won't shut up about his crap. Not raiders either."

    I look sharp, sudden and honest, to both. "I didn't do it. Neither one. I was outta town when Doughy bought it!" I take a half step back. Turn my feet and shift my weight. Tiny bit, just in case.
  • [Rue]

    Thirdie gettin' twitchy? Well hell, that won't do. I take a coupla steps to 'im, put a hand on 'is arm, my face peerin' up at 'im, "Easy now, darlin. Didn't accuse ya." I squeeze 'is muscle. Hot damn, this boy's got guns o' 'is own.

    "Been in too many scraps to think yer the kind that does this." I say it, softer than I meant. He makes my mouth feel a lil cotton. "Ima fix it, Thirdie. Best I can." S'okay, Thirdie. This is violence. I got this.
  • "I'd like to find whoever did for Doughboy, too. A team, then?"
  • [Thirds]

    Something in her eyes keeps me from bolting. And damn if she don't look appreciative. I look away, at my feet, at the crap, at some more crap, at Clarity. "Kay, Rue."

    It's past sundown. "Whatcha gonna do in the dark?" I mean about Doughy, or Dogasshead. But she might take it another way... I'm sure I look goofy right then.
  • [Rue]

    I let go o' Thirdie's arm, which is a lil sad, but them's the breaks. Turn to face Clare an say, "So we're crystal, Clare. I aim to put a hurtin' on 'em, mebbe they end up kilt if they just up an murdered 'im. T'won't be pleasant."
  • [Clarity]

    It's taken a few minutes to get the player going - I have to tighten up the belt a little, the way Robinson showed me, but finally the vinyl is spinning and I slip the needle into the groove. Scritch-scratch, and then:
    I hear the train a comin'
    It's rollin' round the bend
    And I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when...
    "Crystal, Rue. We find out for certain who killed Doughboy, and we issue the proper justice. Monroe cannot be a place where a killing or even a theft goes unanswered, we both know that. And, Rue?" I turn to face Rue full on, listening to the singer, but focusing on her. "Never assume that I'm soft because I don't often choose to throw the first punch."
  • [Rue]

    Dunno if Clare wants to talk down er level at me, but I take it like level, and give 'im a nod. "Fair 'nough, Clare." I'll head on after this here song. Just lookin 'round fer floppy books an waitin.

    Tryin' to get my mind set on violence. Best to be ready goin' in. Not that I can't spin it up in a heartbeat, but bein ready is a good idea.
  • edited June 2014
    I've got a bin of goods I keep for trade. Useful, but not interesting, if you understand me. I lead Thirds over and indicate the bin. "Take what you think is fair, Thirds. I appreciate the record, and the thought."

    After the song ends, before the second one starts, I lift the needle, turn off the turntable. I take the record to a shelf in the safe room, put it with the others, sandwiched between two pieces of cloth. I'll finish listening later, write things down. I pull the wobbly cart back into the room and lock up.

    "Ready when you are, Rue."
  • [Rue]

    Aint heard music in a long while, and music from a player even longer. It's nice. I tap my foot a lil, soft, subtle. An then it's o'er. Songs never last as long as ya want 'em to. Like friends.

    Onna way out, I walk aside Clare. When we're outta earshot o' Thirdie, I say to 'im, "Yer here 'cause ya wanna be. I aint payin' ya fer justice. Clear?" Can't afford to pay 'im now anyhow.
  • "I'm here because Monroe is my home. I don't expect payment." We walk a few steps further, and I turn my head with a slight grin. "Now, should we salvage anything of value from the evildoers, well, we'll talk about that when the time comes."
  • [Rue]

    I nod to the salvage, "We split salvage, fair." An then I shake my head at 'im, "There aint no such thing's evildoers here, Clare. If doin a murder means theyze evil, then you know I'm evil." I look up at his purty eyes, not breakin'. I aint askin' fer forgiveness, I'm tellin' 'im how the world is.

    "If anythin', theyze just stupid an' weak." I say after a coupla steps. "An I'm paid to take carea shitheels like 'em."
  • [Thirds]

    "Salvage?" Interested.

    Work is good before a beer.
  • [Rue]

    I stop an look o'er my shoulder at Thirdie. "Hell yeah salvage. People, even dumb ones, got shit to take."

    Aint we a lil party o' fools?

    Not that I mind the comp'ny. 'Specially don't mind Thirdie. He just better not lit out on me at the first sign o' trouble an then come sneakin' back fer salvage later. I don't except he will, don't seemt the type. But ya never know.
  • [Thirds]

    Lessee. Some ammo. Got some at the mo. Oooh, a big ol' battery. A bottle of something amber. Doesn't look like honey. Says "DEWARS," smells like liquor. And hello, a cardboard box o' cans... of peaches. I glance at Rue on automatic.

    I look at the battery. I can get it next time. "How 'bout these peaches now, and dibs on the battery?" If he says sure, I'll pack 'em in a couple plastic sacks. Might eat one now. Not like I'm going to spoil my dinner.
  • edited June 2014

    "That would be fine, Thirds. Enjoy them." I'd forgotten those peaches were there, unlikely as that seems.
  • [Rue]

    Peaches? I like peaches. Gave mine away fer pig n' beer, an now Thirdie's got some. We're gonna hafta talk 'about that.
Sign In or Register to comment.