(2015-08-10) Road Trip to Stand Off
Road Trip to Standoff
Summary: What starts as scavenging trip turns into a stand off and a face is given to the enemy
Date: 8.10.2015
Related: Information Shutdown, Attacking the Day

Omaha, NE

Omaha, Nebraska, the largest city in the state. The skyline is still intact, and consists of a few tall office buildings and a number of others of various sizes. The main streets that criss-cross the city are clogged with cars, but the sidestreets are relatively clear and vehicles can pass easily enough. The other parts are foot traffic only. Business districts flow into residential areas, and vice-versa.

They were woken before the sun. They had some warning that this would happen, but it wasn't supposed to happen so soon and plans have a way of changing. The plan is a trip into Omaha. They are in dire need of supplies and are in a bit of a catch-22 with the bandits guarding the local hospital and major food source in town. They have a working truck, so a trip into Omaha is quite doable, though a bit dangerous.

The truck isn't the smoothest of rides, especially when it is pulling an empty horse trailer. Matson, driving, and two guards sit in the cab, leaving the canvas covered bed open for everyone else that was handpicked to go. With a good eight people in the back it's not to tight, but personal space invasion is going to happen. They have been traveling for a good 45 minutes and most in the back are dozing as best they can under the circumstances.

If possible, Quinton positions himself near the back of the truck, so he can watch the sky as they drive on. He's not complaining, he missed cars and trucks, even if it's a rough drive. The poet has been quiet all morning, stopping his gourd to gland around to his fellow travelers as he pulls out his water bottle.

Travelling was never a pleasant situation especially when sitting in the back of a truck which jostled more than his back enjoyed. Lincoln was amongst those who tried to doze but eventually realized that it was a futile intent and instead pulled his cap low over his eyes and surveyed the landscape while riding.

Thankfully Piper isn't prone to motion sickness, even in her present condition, though she isn't too keen on her personal space being invaded. Maybe that's why she is leaning against Quinton as she dozes…or at least pretends too though she doesn't try all that hard at it, she even occassionally opens her eyes to glance out the back or to look at the city map they were each given. Though how she could possibly be reading it in the dark of the truck is a mystery.

The landscape they pass is all countryside. Farms with over grown fields, a small town or two. They are taking backroads and heading east. The sky is beginning to lighten as the sun starts to rise. The window in the back window of the cab slides open "We should be their in about fifteen - twenty." Sonny says to those in the back.

Quinton lets the pregnant girl lean and won't move. Pregnant girls win. He turns his head to look in the direction of Sonny and nods. While they wait the 20 minutes, "…Nice out…at least." Pale green eyes flicker up to make sure he didn't just jinx them into rain.

Whew, 20 minutes. Lincoln looks over at the others who are relaxing and then he reaches into his backpack and pulls out a notebook to begin scribbling some in it. "Anyone come from this area? Cause there's probably gonna be survivors out this way y'know.."

A hand smooths over the map and then Piper begins to fold it up. With only twenty minutes to go, pretending to doze is pointless. It's then shoved deep into her back. She glances outside and nods about how the day is starting. The question from Lincoln though is enough to make her look apprehensive, and she tentatively raises her hand, laying claim to being from the Omaha area.

From the cab Sonny can be heard "Hold on back there, have to go off road." the truck shifts as it turns sharply, and there are a few hefty bounces as the truck goes over a median in the road then starts to go through an over grown field, ruts of years of plowing makes the truck bounce slightly every few feet or so.

Quinton's arm shoot out to hold onto the truck, the other instinctively braces against Piper, but will drop if she seems to have a her bearings. He shakes his head, "…New York." How in the world did Quin end up here then?

Lincoln grabs hold of the edge of the truck near him and he nods a bit towards Piper when she indicates she's from Omaha. "Good, at least someone will know some things I guess." He glances at Quinton, "Well… at least both our hometowns are gone?"

One hand goes to push against the floor, the other grabs Quinton beside her, all in an effort to keep her from getting jostled around to much. The sudden boucning has her making a soft noise of surprise. She glances at both men, though her brow furrows at Lincoln as if she didn't like how his statement was phrased.

The fields quickly recede and become residential areas, house after house. The ride becomes smoother as well as they get deeper into the city.

New York wasn't his home town, but he'd lived there long enough that it was his home. Quinton frowns, turning his head to look back outside with a soft, "…yeah…" If Piper is using him to not fly out of the truck, he'keep his arm where she can easily hold onto him. As everything seems to be smoothing out, he shifts in his seat, anxious to get started. He has a mental list, along with the list of what everyone is looking for.

The woman's attention goes out of the back of the truck and she breifly leans over Quinton to get a better look and probably determine where exactly they are in the city. The results have her looking a bit disturbed for a moment, though with the large number of boarded up houses that they pass it's probably easy to see why she would be. The area was hard hit by either the plague, looters or both.

Soon enough they are pulling to a stop on a side street. A few blocks away a large building can be seen, the sign on it clearly stating its purpose. It's a hospital. The sound of doors opening and closing echo "Bail out." Sonny calls to those in the back.

Quinton stills as much as he can with a big baby belly suddenly being pressed into him as Piper leans over him. If there's any flash of panic, it's off his face by the time she leans back. He's first out and will help Piper, and then anyone else out as the pile out of the truck. Sonny's in charge, so Quin turns and waits for instruction. he's pretty sure they're splitting up, but he doesn't know how many teams.

She needed help onto the truck and Piper needs an equal amount of help getting off. The fact that involves touching means that there is a limited number of people that she is willing to let help her and since Sonny is off conferring that leaves the poet. Lucky him. The fact that they have parked so close to the hospital doesn't help her apprehension level at all, though she does her best to hide it beneath her viel of stoicism…the one that only comes out when she is bothered by something. Shouldering her pack and rifle she waits for Sonny to break them up into groups. Or whatever it is he is going to do.

Sonny waves everyone over to where he has the city map spread on the hood of the truck "We are going to be splitting up. Half of us will take the hospital. The rest will split up however you want and hit restaurants, grocery stores and any place else that will have non-persihable foods. There are wagons in the back of the trailer. We are meeting back here every three hours to check in." he casts a look at everyone "Understood?"

Quinton moves to stand next to piper, a small show of support. he knows the look she has, and he stressing out more than she needs to isn't going to help. Sonny gets all his attention and he nods, thumbing in the direction not the hospital, " Me?" He knows little of medicine, and is one of the better scavengers. Kinda makes sense if Sonny has him head out and not into the hospital.

Piper focuses a little to hard on Sonny and what he is saying. And is probably already planning to be in one of those other groups. Quin stading beside her doesn't go unnoticed though and it is a fair bet that she will be going where ever it is he goes, unless its the hospital, she does have a line, and that's it.

Sonny picks out five of the group to go with him "You are with me in the hospital." then he nods to Quinton "Yes. Take Piper, she'll keep you from getting lost, and Jade to keep you two out of trouble." because it seems that every time there is an altercation they are somehow in the midst of it.

Quinton's eyes narrow, but he then smirks. Quin's pretty sure he actually does better on his own, he only seems o get in trouble with these women. He nods, motioning to the two to follow him as he goes and gets a wagon from the cart. His own gun can be seen tucked into the back of his pants currently. "Food…cans….flour….sugar…" Again, he's saying things they all know, but better to say it now….Piper gets a small smile and he motions for her to lead. She knows the area better, he can pull the wagon and Jade can take the rear. He's moving tons better, his shoulder seems to be doing well.

Armed with the shotgun provided by Sonny, Jade has checked the weapon for ammo and has it resting on a strap from one shoulder. She's watchful, keeping an eye more on the surroundings than the people she is escorting as she follows.

Tightening the straps of her backpack, Piper slips her rifle between her pack and her back, she takes a moment to reroll the cuff of her pants, so they aren't tripping her up. As usual, no shoes. Setting off she heads down the residential street they have parked on to the south. They go about four blocks and turn west down a fourlane packed with dead cars. Even from here it is easy to tell where she is leading them. Just down the road is a large shopping plaza to the south. A large sign in front of it listing all the restaurants, stores and other businesses the plaza has to offer.

Quinton scans the area, not keeping track of where they are so much as trying to make sure there's not begin watched. The wagon is pulled along one handed.

"What's the chance this place hasn't been looted already?" Jade enquires very softly, bringing up the rear and keeping an eye on behind the group as well as to the sides, perhaps feeling that they're uncomfortably exposed.

Piper may be short, but she is moving fast. She doesn't like being exposed anymore then the other two. She glances over her shoulder looking at both but then settling on Jade and holds her fingers about two inches apart. Another gesture to indicate the city is made and then she slices her hand horizontally through the air.

Piper doesn't bother taking the driveway into the plaza, but leads the way between the buildings. This plaza seems to have been targetted for the more affluent in the area. It is full of high end boutiques and five star dining, but also artisianal bakeries, bookshops and quite a few take out places of various ethnicities.

Quinton just nods, he's not sure a restaurant is going to be there best bet. Small is better, less chance people will ahem already have gone though..in his limited looting experience. His hand reaches up to rub his face once, trying to focus on Piper's hand motions before glancing to Jade. He has to stop himself from bearing off towards the book store, although he does give it a long glacne. Then he motions towards the bakery, "….there?"

The livestock vet has little to offer regarding the choice of where to try, her gaze on the surrounding buildings, looking through windows and open doorways, glancing back, ears metaphorically tuned to the sounds her companions /arn't/ making.

She assumes they got what she was trying to tell them and continues on, heading to the bakery indicated with a nod of her head. It's easy to tune Piper out, as she is naturally quiet in the first place. She stops outside the bakery, cupping her hands against the glass window to see inside.

The front of the bakery is all glass window, with a glass door so the inside can easily be seen. Besides dust on all the surfaces in looks untouched.

There are a few tables on the customer side of the counter and display cases. As well as a small childrens area, and a book shelve or two with books for customers to read while they enjoy their coffee and pastry. There are a few counter top displays as well, one decidated to local artists even.

Quinton licks his lips, the memory of donuts makes him hungry. A final sweep of the mall area before he steps up next to Piper. His voice is low, "Anything?" Jade gets a look, he wants to make sure she's still with them, she's being about as quiet as they are(Which for once is a good thing). His hand flexes once and then he moves to check the door. Score, Now hopefully here won't be any dead bodies or the rook won't cave in….ugh. He better go first.

Still there, and still quiet, Jade takes up a position to the side of the door, so she can see into the room once it is open, but also keep her peripheral vision on he courtyard. "Once you open it, drop down to your knees," she murmurs ever-so softly to Quinton, just in case there's some elaborate ambush or somesuch.

The woman shakes her head in response to the question from the man, and gives him a thumbs up, signalling it looks okay to her. Nothing suspicious or ooky gross that Piper can see from the window. She gives a gesture of her head for him to go in, and then gestures to the chinese restaurant next door. Probably indicating that she will check it while he does the bakery.

Quinton doesn't think there would be an ambush…or if there was, not at the bakery…they would have been picked off before, as they were walking. But he nods, it's what Jade's here for. he's not going to trivialize that. His own gun is taken out too…just in case. But then Piper is going to the other restaurant and he motions for Jade to go with Piper. Pregnant girl gets back up before he does. that's just the way it is. Once he's sure jade's going with Piper, he'll cautiously enter the bakery.

It's a sign of the times when somebody assumes Quinton is less able to take care of himself than the pregnant Piper. Jade gives the poet a flat look, then moves to position herself at a midpoint between the two buildings, her back against the walls, so she can keep an ear out for both and an eye out on anyone trying to approach from the courtyard.

The front of the bakery is nothing much, displays and eating area mostly. It's the back where all the action takes place. Is dust covered too, with the usual equipment of a baking kitchen. Large floor mixers, ovens, work surfaes and a walk in fridge. The whole back wall is one big metal shelving unit. It holds airtight plastic containers of various types of flours, sugar (brown and white, oatmeal, jars of yeast, baking powder and baking soda. Even smaller containers of chocolate chips and crasins. The usual things you would expect to find in a bakery.

Piper either doesn't notice or just decides that it doesn't matter where Jade is when Quinton waves the vet in her direction. Unlike the bakery the door to the restaurant is locked but the window is smashed in, she manages to avoid the glass in the floor, by reaching in and using a nearby chair to navigate over it. She then begins her own through search of the restaurant.

The thing everyone keep forgetting is Quinton gets hurt protecting others, not when he's off by himself. His hand runs though his hair, in slight frustration as he walks through the front of the bakery. he knows this is a food run, but the books may end up getting stuffed into his backpack on his way out. People can deal. He slows though, when he sees the cabinets filled. This is exactly what they needed. He makes a few trips, the containers are heavier than they look. He also grabs the knives for Gab, he said he needed more. The poet pauses, in the office is a diaper bag, nothing useful init but some baby powered. That also gets slipped into is backpack. It's always a toss if Piper will be excited for the supply, or upset because of what it represents.

Piper returns to the door, several boxes in hand, which she sets down long enough to unlock and open the door, so she doesn't have to deal with glass in her feet. The two boxes seem to be of soy sauce packs and fortune cookies. It seems she has been into the latter as she hands a wrapped cookie to both Quinton and Jade, before she goes back in and brings out some canned veggies. As well as wait looks like scrubs fresh from the drycleaners, strange for a chinese restaurant, but some employee could have been moonlighting. She is most pleased about the box of legos though. Guess they had a kids play area too.

Nothing much to see while Jade waits. Just store upon store that hasn't seen a customer in eight months or so. She does hear something though. Shuffling maybe, from deeper in the plaza.

Rifle in hand, Jade keeps her vigil, both with eyes scanning the courtyard, windows, doors and rooftops, but also ears perked for sounds not made by her two reasonably quiet companions. She doesn't speak, letting the two do their scavenging without interruption, trusting she'll learn what comprises their haul when it's time to lug it back to the truck. Still, something catches her ear after a moment, the redhead frowning slightly. She doesn't focus on that to the exclusion of everything else, but an ear is kept tuned to that direction for a little longer.

Quinton's last trip out he sets a large container of flour down before taking the cookie from Piper with a soft smile. Jade though, gets his attention before he can say anything. His hands are quickly freed so he can grab his gun if needed. He doesn't say anything but gives the woman a questioning look, his own head tilted as he tries to pick up on whatever has caught Jade's attention.

Sensing the sudden increase of tension and the notable frown on Jade's face, Piper pockets her own cookie and pulls her own rifle. She looks at Jade, tapping her ear and giving the woman a questioning look. Probably asking if the woman heard something.

Holding one hand up, Jade pinches her forefinger and thumb together so they're only slightly parted, then taps her ear and points in the direction the sound came from. Holding one hand up flat, signalling the two should stay here, she begins to head off in that direction, following the walls rather than crossing open space, being as quiet as she's able - though she's hardly known for being light of foot.

Well, that's not good. Quin frowns, unsure if staying or following is the best option. So he goes part way, gun drawn. if he needs to he can sprint either way and help…in theory.

About that, Piper has never been good at following directions and this time is no exception. She lets the pair get a a bit ahead of her and then follows behind, her barefeet making no noise on the concrete brick walk that dominates the plaza. She doen't stop where Quin does though, she keeps going right past him. Surely she is going to be the death of him one day. Hopefully it won't be today.

As Jade and Piper move forward, she shuffling noise has turned into footsteps, multiple ones. It is more of a surprise for the three coming around the corner to see, Jade, Piper and Quinton than it is for those three to see them. The three in question are all dressed in military BDU's, one older gentleman with grey at the temples and two older teens flanking them. It probably goes without saying that guns are pointed from both sides, turning the encounter into a bit of a standoff for now.

Quinton's eyes bug and then he'll follow Piper, mouth pressed in a line of annoyance. She surely will be his death, there's no question on that. His gun is leveled and he'll move forward, tensing when he sees who many and how they're dressed. Shit. They're not all teens, which makes his target easier. The older man doesn't fit into the equation, well…into what parts of the equation the poet has so far, anyway.

Given Piper is habitually mute, and Quinton sometimes struggles with words, that leaves… Jade as the party diplomat. Who thought this would be a good idea? "Evenin' folks," she greets politely enough. "No need for trouble, right?" Her posture is alert, focused, but there's no aggression in her words, no suggestion of intimidation or anger. "We're just lookin' for some fuckin' dinner, same as you, I'm sure."

The scrutiny of the older man has Piper shifting, her rifle stays targeted on one of the teens, but she eases back a few paces. Maybe because her rifle isn't good at this close range, or more likely she is just hella uncomfortable about this encounter.

The colonel, as his rank patches signify, recovers from his surprise quickly, though keeps his own handgun trained on the woman in front, while the other two target Quinton and Piper. He stares hard at the three, more surprise at seeing the pregnant woman or is that recognition? Hard to say. Most likely the first, "That's not…." but he is interrupted by the teen on his left "What do we do sir?" the teen male asks, sounding unsure and a bit nervous. When Jade addresses them his attention falls fully on her "I doubt you are sure of anything." he says in a bit of a condescending tone "Especially what we are doing." the third speaks up "They are Teds sir, orders are…" the third is interrupted "Can it Cash." the leader says sharply to the last one who spoke.

Quinton's face scrunches up at that word again…Teds. WTF. His head shakes slightly, "..We're…not…" He can only think that it's some term for enemy…. But that really doesn't make any sense. Everyone can't be their enemy.

"I'm pretty sure we're not your enemy," Jade replies to the officer, inclining her head slightly. "Unless you're particularly looking to fuck with a trio of survivors lookin' for food, one of whom is pregnant in these sorry times and has enough shit to deal with as it is, maybe we all point our guns somewhere less dangerous, huh?" she suggests, her body-language entirely open and easy to read. Caution, lots of caution, but no apparent intention to harm or double-cross.

The pregant woman has come even with Quinton, and while Piper's expression doens't give anything away he will be able to tell she is trembling, her focus solely on the leader which is where her own aim has shifted to and certainly not in a non-lethal shot either.

"And that is where you would be wrong. We are most certainly enemies." the colonel replies as his eyes rove the trio facing him "And I would be careful of the company you choose to keep." his hand relax on his weapon "But we did not come prepared for a fight, just as you didn't." his weapon lowers and he gives a cold smile "Tango, Cash, stand down." his weapon is returned to it's holster. This is surprising to the two teens and they protest. "Orders say…" the one of the right says, "But she's…" the one on the left says at the same time. Whatever else is said is drowned out by the man's shouted order "Stand down now." the pair jump and the weapons go down, albeit reluctantly. "Your people are safe this day. Next time you won't be so lucky." he then turns, seemingly not worried about getting shot in the back and walks away, the teens back away more slowly, and then turn and rush after thier leader.

Quinton blinks, the movie reference not lost on him and he raises an eyebrow. This is almost surreal. He considers just shooting them all on the backs, but he can't, stupid morals. There's a small tremor in his stance as well, matching Piper's, but not for the same reason. Finally he glances at Jade, he's not going to be able to form the questions, but maybe she can! He takes a tint side step closer to Piper, to try to reassure her.

Well hey. Apparently Jade /is/ a diplomat. Or there's something else she's unaware of. Maybe this is a ruse. Huh. She motions for the two with her to back away around the corner, far less willing than the colonel to turn her back on somebody with a gun. Assuming they get that far, she murmurs ever-so softly, "Get the stuff and get into the bakery. We want to be in a defensible position until we hear the truck." Her lips barely move, the words intended to carry no further than her two companions.

Piper is pretty much frozen in place for a few more moments, then her gun lowers and she leans into the poet, she will take the reassurance he is offering, even if it may be a bit soon for it. There is little response to what Jade has suggested, though she will probably head in that direction along with the others without to much prodding.

The colonel and teens just keep going until they disappear around a corner too. If they have a vehicle, it may be parked somewhere that is to far away to be heard.

Quinton quickly shifts so Piper can lean into his left side so his right hand is still free if he needs to shoot. He's backing up as well, but shakes his head about the bakery, "…Truck…" They only have an hour before they're supposed to meet back up with Sonny…if they hold up in the bakery, they'll miss their meeting time…and Sonny needs to know about this. His pale eyes don't leave the corner the military group went behind though. And they'll need to take the long way to the truck…just in case.

"You two secure the bakery. I'll wait out by the road for the truck." Jade's voice remains quiet, but there's a firm note to it. "I'm sure Sonny can bring it in closer if needs be. Does the bakery have a back exit?" she asks the poet, since he checked it out.

There is no argument from Piper about either suggestion, she is still trembling and sticks close to Quinton to wherever it is the three are going. Lately her emotional state has been precarious at best. Blame the pregnancy hormones if you want, that's probably some of it. And this encounter didn't help at all. She'll probably need the rest of the day just to recover. But at least she is pliable in this state.

It seems it doesn't matter which they do, as one of their fellow campers is heard calling out to them and takes a similar route between buildings to find them "There you three are. Matson wants us all at the truck now. Shake a leg." several more follow him all with weapons ready "There was another altercation, one of the others was shot. We are heading back as soon as we find the other groups."

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