(2016-02-24) From the Same Cloth
From the Same Cloth
Summary: Monica meets Caitlin. Happens after To Build a Bathhouse Pt 1.
Date: 2016.02.24
Related: None.

Tall and athletically graceful, this pale-skinned redhead moves with the controlled elegance of a dancer. Her long hair falls in dense waves down the back of an outfit that looks to owe more to Hollywood and history than to any conventional clothing outfitter: supple leather, cloth and wool combine to provide a sombre mix of dark greens and browns, with each element evidently tailored to fit. In spite of the archaically unusual clothing, however, the crossbow she carries is unmistakably modern and very serious-looking.

MonicaMost people notice the face first. Blond hair and tawny eyebrows over light blue eyes look out from the devastation of the skin below, a mass of varicose veins that make her look more like a walking circulatory system map than a human being. Other than that, she's pretty ordinary. About 170cm tall, (5'7 for the metric impaired) she's wiry and emaciated, and doesn't have much of a figure.

That's a cavalry slouch hat she's wearing, pulled down low over her eyes in lieu of sunglasses, and yes, that's a battered duster she's wearing underneath it. It's unbuttoned today, revealing what looks suspiciously like a surgical scrub shirt and worn, but clean, bluejeans. Slung at her right hip for a standing draw is a stainless steel, old west style (It's a copy of an 1858 Remington Army with a 5.5 inch barrel if you wondered) revolver, balanced by a cartridge pouch on the other side of her belt. The cavalry boots have been polished, at last. Also, perhaps less fortunately for others, her bandana is tied around her neck where it belongs instead of over her face.
Location:S. Texas Street (STS)

This part of Stratford is a mix of commercial and residential. The farther south traveled the more residential the neighborhood gets. On a few of the houses there is evidence that there may have been something mounted on the roof (something like solar panels), but whatever it was is long gone now.-

Monica comes back to the infirmary after she gets the roll of sprinkler tube to the duplex it's destined to be attached to. She waits until Caitlin doesn't seem busy (haha) and then goes over to her. "I'm supposed to get some kind of intake checkup or something? Probably to make sure I don't have plague. Is that something you can do?"

Caitlin can be found while grabbing a break out on the porch, long legs stretched out as she sprawls comfortably - albeit with her crossbow resting across her lap. Looking up at Monica, she chuckles then shrugs. "I could give it a go. I'm not a real doctor, by any means. But I've seen my share of the Red Tide, so… I can at least check your vitals over. I'm rather an outsider, myself. Not permanently based here."

Monica nods. "Yeah… I've seen my share too. I did a little vet medicine back home. You had to. If you brought in a real vet every time an animal got sick you'd go bankrupt in a hurry." She shakes her head. "For all the good it did with the…" she looks at Caitlin. "Red tide." She shrugs out of her duster. Her arms are in pretty much the same condition as her face, as is her chest where the neckline of the scrub shirt exposes it. "What do you need me to do?"

"Oh, not a lot. Just run a marathon while I have a nap. If you survive, you're fit." Caitlin winks. "Take a seat." She gestures grandly to the step beside her. "I'll take your pulse, listen to your breathing, and peer in your eyes. I'm not expert enough to do much more than that. But… have you had it at all? A *tiny* number of us can recover from it, it seems."

Monica takes a seat on the stairs. "Okay. And yeah. I had it. My skin wasn't like this before the Red Tide got me." She sits down and looks at Caitlin, expecting the other woman to, in fact, look into her eyes.

Caitlin winces, looking both sympathetic and somewhat guilty. "I was trying not to be *wholly* tactless… sorry. But, ahh, yeah." A trifle warily, she leans over to have a close peer, searching for any sign of the Tide starting to turn those fragile little blood vessels to mush, or leakage of gore into the eyeball. "How did you get through it?", she asks softly. "Blind luck? Or did you get treatment before everything shut down completely?"

Monica keeps her eyes open, when all she'd like to do is close them. "Blind luck. I dunno. I wasn't immune. Maybe some other virus I had mutated the red tide, or maybe some of the vet medicines and supplements I was trying actually worked. It took a while for my eyes to clear up… and the inside of my mouth and whatnot… I keep hoping my skin will too, but it just… hasn't.

Monica 's eyes are clear now. There's a little faint scarring on the sclera that does not seem to invade the cornea, since it's mostly air breathing tissue. All her blood seems to be staying on the inside where it belongs.

"Even burns can improve over time. A lot of time. In theory, this shouldn't be any harder for the body to heal," Caitlin muses, before settling back - blinking a few times as her own eyes adjust to a more normal focal length. "And… yeah. From the rumors I've heard, about the best treatment found was 'cocktail of whatever anti-virals are available, and lots of bed rest and fluids'. So you were probably doing near as much as a hospital could have done."

Monica closes her eyes again. "Didn't help the rest of my family," she says quietly. "Father, mother, little brother… my older brother and his wife and kids left the farm before they caught it. They took… all the guns except dad's and my black powder stuff. They left us to die. I don't know whether to be mad at him or whether I just hope they're alive now." She shakes her head. She holds out her wrist for pulse checking. "I couldn't even tell you what all I took. It's all pretty foggy by the end.

Caitlin sighs softly, nodding. "I have no idea if any of my family, or anyone I knew back home, is still alive," the Briton says quietly. "I was over here on an exchange year, at university. When the pulse hit and we lost communications… that was it. Welcome to Texas as your future home. In some ways it's good… some, definitely bad. Not having a clue what happened, I mean."

Monica nods. She nods again, slowly. "Yeah. When you don't know, there's still hope." She reaches out to touch Caitlin's garb. "What's the story with this? You can't have made that since the arrival. It's too… pretty, too time consuming…"

Caitlin cracks a grin. "There's a Renaissance Faire site a few days' ride West of here. Wound up as a survivors' base, when all… *this* went down. Semi-isolated. Good water. Woods next to it. Working forge. Farmland around it. And a bunch of people with interests in things like making clothes, archery, how to manufacture soap, horse-riding… I've been traveling around as a trader, for some time. Trying to find and keep open what links I can. But myself, I'm a leather-worker and seamstress."

Monica whistles and smiles. "That's something I'm really bad at. I can darn socks and sew on patches. That's about it. But soap… that's good… archery, good… working forge, fabulous. I have books on how to build a machine shop, and other books that cover building furnaces for metal casting, but not… a forge. I learned to use one shoeing horses. So how does trade work? I assume cash is pretty much worthless.

"I've brought in quite a lot of candles, to this place. That *wasn't* something any of us really knew how to make, beforehand. But… well. Experiments. And quite a lot of failed attempts." Caitlin cracks another grin. "Trade… can partly just be skills. I do a lot of clothes-repair here. There's a *lot* of clothing available, of course, but… finding something that fits and is hard-wearing and… well. Repair's often a better option. Or modifying something to fit. And given time, I can make stuff like this. Not that anyone over the age of twelve or so has yet asked for a full outfit like mine. But being distinctive can have its uses. People might think I'm mad, but there're precious few who'll think that a get-up like this and a crossbow means I'm working for the aliens."

Monica chuckles at that. "Yeah." She draws her duster to one side to bare her pistol. "I get that, believe me. Plus sometimes it throws people. Gives you a little time you … might not have otherwise had." She closes her eyes. "Do you ever lie to yourself about… all this? Do you ever say 'This, why this is all just a game, and sooner or later, when it's over, we'll all go home, and everything will be how it was?'"

Caitlin lets slip a guilty, jerky little laugh. "Ahh… yeah. I do." She ducks her head. "And I also absolutely *dread* getting home, in case it's worse than here. Or fantasize about it being all right. Island nation, and all that. But… yeah. I can't claim I've figured out what the best technique is for coping with any of this."

Monica nods. She reaches out a hand to rub Caitlin's shoulder. "I tell myself that lie a lot. I tell myself I'm this… my character in Civil War reenactment or cowboy shooting." She shakes her head. "The bad part is … even though a lot of my skills are pure Hollywood… they work. You beat someone to a draw, you can shoot him dead in his tracks. I practiced the draw, the aim, the shot…" She shakes her head. "And I've used it. I go on in the lie or I try to keep too busy with projects to really think about it. One or the other."

Caitlin leans into the contact, after a moment's hesitation… then winces and nods sympathetically as she listens. "I'm… no quick-draw artist. Use stealth when I can. I'm not a bad huntress, nowadays. Still a bloody awful rider. *Slowly* improving there, but… much more comfortable skulking around on foot, I admit. But I try to avoid trouble, when I can. Being able to cut cross-country helps with that, a lot."

Monica nods and slips her arm around Caitlin. She sighs a little. "Yeah… I think we're more or less on the same page." She takes a slow breath. "I can teach you to ride better. I mean, I know western saddle, but it's not /that/ different. It's mostly about the interaction between you and the horse once you've got balance and posting to the trot worked out. Chester could use some riding.

Caitlin chuckles. "Mostly, I've been learning dreadful habits as a rider, but ones that keep me and my pain-in-the-butt steed plodding along for days at a time. But some assistance would be welcome. Is there anything you would like to learn in return?"

Monica thinks about it. "I know jack about leather work, and most of my kit's made of leather. My brother was the leather worker. I stuck with steel and brass. It just worked out that way. I'd love to learn some. Ooor… if you know anything about dentistry… even medieval dentistry… I could really use a dentist.

Caitlin winces again. "Dentistry? A little. A very little. I could have a look. Medieval dentistry… rather a lot to do with pliers and the like. But I could help with leather, definitely. Maybe a few other things, if you liked?"

Monica nods. "Maybe. I have some chemistry too. And I'll take a look at your crossbow bolts and see how hard they'd be to make. Given access to that forge, especially.

"Sure. So long as you don't break any. It's a modern bow, and I prefer modern bolts - carbon fibre, and all that. But we're working on old-fashioned ones, too." Caitlin grins. "I suspect we can help each other out."

(feel free to tag the log with character names of those involved!)

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