(2016-03-12) Gunpowder and Alcohol
Gunpowder and Alcohol
Summary: In the wee hours of the morning, on her way home from the bar, Mon runs into Elan, and conversation ensues. Mon reaches the conclusion that she's drunk and Elan is odd. Then Terry shows up and the talk turns to defense and offense.
Date: 2016.03.12
Related: http://5thwave.wikidot.com/log:2016-03-11-the-fruits-of-the-past-or-getting-through-the

Monica walks home. She's singing, not with any particular skill, but with enthusiasm, "We said we'll run 'em to Atlanta, or to Galveston bay. But they ran us back to Washington and old Virgin-i-a. And old Virgin-i-a." This might be the happiest anyone's seen her since she got here.

Under a cold, moonless, starless sky, in the drizzling rain, a figure in a long coat and a broad-brimmed hat sits nested along the defensive perimeter, his head situated near a very small break in the makeshift wall where the barrel of a rifle extends out, scanning the south and southeast, two squinting eyes peering down the iron sights, watching for movement. Especially near the railroad. Then he hears singing. He looks over his shoulder, and decides to sling his rifle there, dropping from his perch towards Monica, his eyebrow raised, "Monica…" he says softly, "Hi…" The last time he saw her, he was worried that something was wrong. At least she seems happy, now.

Monica blinks and squints into the rain. "Shit. Hi Elan. They got you on guard duty these days?" She stretches and pushes her wet hair out of her face, and looks toward the sky. "I know, I know. Bath house. Hot water. I'm working on it!" She snickers.

Elan shakes his head, his whole figure dripping with rain, "No…they have guards posted. I was just…watching," he glances back towards the wall for a minute, "He's probably off licking his wounds, somewhere. If he managed to pull his tongue out of his gut." He looks back to Monica, "Are you alright? I came out after you left the infirmary, but you were gone…you seemed upset. Are you feeling better?" He grins a little then, "Johnny Horton fan, huh?"

Monica looks at Elan. "He… who?" She nods to both his other questions. "Some better, yeah. Some drunker, too. Also, I fixed the jukebox." She sighs as the mildly euphoric feeling she'd been having slips a bit. Ah well. Monica does, she should note, have a toolbox in one hand.

Elan shakes his head, thinking better of bringing up what happened earlier again, if she hasn't already heard. She seemed upset enough about it, the first time, "Nobody, never-mind," he chuckles a bit, pulling a silver flask wrapped in leather from his left pocket, "You fixed a jukebox? Well hell, that's as good a call for a celebration as any. Some drunker is all well and good, but wouldn't you rather be much drunker?" He extends the flask towards her, "Hundred proof Kentucky straight. Warm ya right up."

Monica blows out her cheeks. "Nooo, I'm a lightweight. And I'm standing out in the rain with a strange man I barely know who's armed to the teeth looking for someone to shoot… And I'm pleasantly buzzed and that's kind of knocked what I was remembering back into the past where it belongs. Yes, okay, I'll take a hit of that." She takes it, and tosses back maybe half a shot-sworth. "Smooth." she croaks

Elan laughs, "Well, you wont even notice it's raining and we'll know each other much better by the time we get to the bottom of the flask," He throws a shot back and looks down at the toolbox, speaking raspily, "How'd you get a jukebox working? Generator?" He asks, offering the flask to Monica again, "Found a real old music box down around Vega. First music I'd heard in a year. Remind me to give it to ya later."

Monica 's eyelids flutter. "Whoa… feeling that one… no more for me…" she blinks. "Are you coming on to me? I never know how to tell." She nods to the technical questions. She's not that drunk. "I took one of the gennys to the bar the other night. Tonight after the medical apartment I wanted to go get a drink, only Sophia wasn't there, so I basically had a good cry and took the jukebox apart for something to do." She whispers conspiratorially. "It's a vacuum tube machine. They're a lot easier to fix, and tubes don't give a shit about EMP. They run with hundreds of volts internally. That's why the Russians used them in military hardware up into the 90s. So all I had to do was find a couple burnt inductors and solder them back together. Don't tell anyone. Gotta keep my reputation as a miracle worker."

Elan watches Monica's eyelids flutter and blinks. Is he coming on to her? "Absolutely." What the hell, why say no? He nods with a smile, "I'm glad you got to feeling better…ahh, you were able fix the inductors, that was pretty handy," He laughs at the last of her statement, "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone, I promise," he assures her, "I didn't know that about Russian hardware, that's interesting. Stands to reason. The gringos spent over a million and a half developing a pressurized ink cartridge pen to write in zero gravity conditions, before the project was shut down and taken over by Fisher, into private development. The Soviets just used a grease pencil," He smirks, taking another swig of whiskey, "You sure you don't want any more?" He asks, talking through a throat that doesn't much care for being open.

Monica holds out her hands. "No more for me." She repeats. "And the thing about the space pen is a myth. Fisher developed it on their own and gave them to NASA for publicity. I read that once on the net. Shit, I miss the net. Wait, you're seriously coming on to me?" She blinks again and takes a step back, then transfers her toolbox to her off hand to let her right hand drop near her belt. "Should I be worried?"

Elan nods slightly, putting the flask back in his coat pocket, "Fisher presented NASA with the space pen for publicity, but there had also been a public development project which got scrapped. It was a story that snowballed, though…the internet was good for that. Every time someone told that story, the figure would jump a little higher. Pencils were problematic in space…chunks of carbon floating around when they'd break. China markers, not so much. Leastwise, I'm pretty sure there was a public project," he thinks, "Doubt I could prove it now. Doesn't seem to much matter, anyway," he raises an eyebrow with a smile at her reaction, "Why would you be worried? Haven't had enough to drink to put up with my unsolicited advances? Relax. I wasn't really coming on to you," he takes the flask back out of his pocket, unscrews the lid and takes another swig, "…much."

Monica nods. "Okay. I wasn't worried. Much. And… people usually just don't come on to me. I open my mouth and prove that I know zilch about music that was made since the turn of the century, and I don't watch much TV, that I'm a total nerd and… they'd stop paying attention. Or my big brother would come loom over them. Or Dad would." She looks down and squeezes her eyes shut a moment and shudders. "So I'm a total nerd who's barely been kissed. And… now… Jesus, can you imagine what a mess it would be to have a baby here? Now?"

Elan looks up at the sky, considering her words. He replies nonchalantly, "Well, my favorite recording artists were Nora Bayes and Enrico Caruso, I was never all that fond of most music that came out after the advent of the triode tube, though I guess I'd make a few exceptions for certain songwriters, Woody Guthrie and Phil Ochs come to mind. Nobody watches much TV anymore, but I never watched much TV to begin with, my parents had the damn thing on night and day when I was growing up, and it soured me to it, I always liked the old radio dramas better. Anyone who stopped paying attention to you probably wasn't paying attention to much of anything to begin with, you seem like a perfectly charming young lady to me, you're one of the only people I've met in the last year that doesn't strike me as a total flake, and it would probably be more of a mess if nobody had any babies here. But aside from all of that, the last thing I would ever want to do is make you uncomfortable in my presence, and I apologize sincerely if I did so. Are you sure you don't want more whiskey? It's good for you. High in vitamin W."

You say, "I'm sure, yeah. I forgot one of my rules for drinking. Put the guns away first. She slowly, after a couple tries, draws her gun hand up and shoves it in her pocket. She looks at Elan steadily for a few moments. "Thank you," she says, finally. "I am uncomfortable with the whole subject, but I'm going to have to be a whole lot drunker and a whole lot less armed to talk about it. And yeah, you're right about babies. We gotta get… as a species… in a position where we're safe enough and things are stable enough to have babies." She looks into the sky where the alien ship always orbits. "Or those assholes have won, and we just don't know it yet.""

Elan puts the flask away again, snapping the pocket of his coat shut this time. He doesn't want to encourage her to drink more than she's comfortable with, "They haven't taken anything from us that we're going to need to beat them. Though if they think, I'm sure they'd like to think they have," his eyes draw up to the ship above with hers, "…I don't know if congregating people together in a static position like this is wise, it goes against my better judgment, but taking up positions does establish that they have to come at us. Just the same, we need to be able to fight them in a fluid, positionless manner," he looks to Monica then, "If they're modifying people and conducting operations dirt-side, then they have to have taken up some sort of dirt-side positions, too. We need to find them, and take the fight to them. If you can think of a way that we can track these drones back to wherever in the hell they go, it would definitely give us one hell of a fighting advantage to be able to undertake a guerilla action against their positions."

And at that moment, Terry shows up, decked out in a new set of threads. He's followed by a small group — maybe five guys, total — and they're all carrying weapons. As Terry ambles along, he gestures to the various dwellings; one by one, the men break from the group, and disappear into one of the dwellings, setting up a defensive position. By the time Terry reaches Elan and Monica's position, he is alone.

Monica 's hand drops right on down to the butt of her gun again, but she knows Terry, and she and Elan have been talking a while, so she's starting to get less drunk. He doesn't have to look down her .44 again. "What's going on? Why's everyone on … high alert?" She looks back at Elan. "You too."

"I'm just tossing some ideas around. Seeing how well we can fortify the perimeter of the camp.. Get into position.. that sort of thing." Terry explains, shaking his head. "No need to go code red."

Elan looks at Monica again, feeling that he doesn't have much of a choice but to explain, at this point, "When I brought Quin in…we'd had an encounter earlier. Something tossed him like a rag doll before it ate my rifle butt. I let it get away, and I'll take care of it, if it comes back, or when I find it," he speaks to Terry over his shoulder, his tone remaining the quiet, flowing semi-staccato of a man who hasn't spoken near this much in awhile, but has no trouble formulating his thoughts, "Eli and Quin made it fairly clear that someone needs to tell Bob what happened at the rail yard. Bob wanted me to ask Elijah for a blood test when I was able to find him. Obviously that wasn't an option tonight. I've been staying away from your camp to ease any unrest about my presence, but the place where I was working, south on the 57 near the railroad, is where my new friend ran off to. So I'm going to be around town for a minute, until I can flush him. I want to set up a nest on east Chestnut where I can watch the southeast advance from the perimeter. If there aren't any objections."

Monica listens to Elan. "Shit. Are we talking Silencers here? She thinks about what Terry said. "If you want to build a better wall around the camp, the roads are littered with perfect raw material. Just have to get a backhoe working and dig a trench about four feet deep, then stick cars in it up past their front wheels, too close together for someone to get through. You get up on the interstate there's plenty of cars. It'd give you a wall about… I dunno… six, eight feet high, made of painted steel. You want to get fancy, do two rings and fill the middle with dirt. Better get two backhoes for that.

"Drop a couple concrete barriers, some barbed wire, and dig some trenches… hm. Bangalores. Bangalores would be nice." Terry nods, rubbing his chin as he glances around. "Cars, yeah." And then Elan's bit. "..South on the 57, near the railroad.. Got it. I'll tell my guys to keep an eye open." After a few more minutes pass, Terry's group reassembles behind him, and he turns to converse with them, leaving Monica and Elan to do as they please.

Elan nods once towards Monica, "Pretty well matched the description you gave me of 'em. Looked like a man. Moved like a kangaroo with a cruise missile up it's ass. You think we can get a backhoe running? I can improvise seals, if we need to. They wont work for a long time, but they'll work. Hydraulic fluid doesn't strike me as something that would have been in high demand, during the looting, so there should still be a couple of buckets at the hardware store, I would think." Terry didn't object to him wanting to set up shop on the southeast perimeter, so he takes that as tacit consent.

You say, "Have to find one, but even a little Bobcat could do it, given time and gas." Mon rubs her temples. "Man, things were simpler when it was just me and running the circuit of the jukebox." She smiles weakly. "I wonder if you could fill ordinary irrigation pipe with black powder and get a reasonable bangalore torpedo? I mean, I can /make/ gun cotton, but I'd need a crap-ton more nitric acid than I've got." She looks back at Elan. "You catch me a drone, I'll poke at it and pretend I know what I'm looking at. Linc might be better for that. He's the advanced propulsion systems engineer and woulda-been astronaut. We didn't cover zero-point energy or whatever it is that powers those things in junior college physics." She yawns softly. "So I'm torn between going to bed and getting my Sharps out to go Silencer hunting with you guys. Or at least guarding…""

"I was actually thinking of going hunting, or maybe scavenging, once I was done running numbers." Terry responds. "I'd love company. Hunting and scavenging is always better, in my opinion, with company." He nods. "I'll provide cover, if you folks want. Got my long-distance injector.." He pats the carry-case strapped to his back. "And my equalizer." He pats his hip.

Elan grins at Monica…not a wide grin, but a grin, "I can manage propulsion, well enough to strike a low drone. I've got an old excelsior twelve-gauge. A piece of dowel, some glue, a shell with a primer, a soup can packed down tight with some wadding, 36 inches of waterproof fusing, and about six ounces of black powder would give us a shot. An electromagnet would give us a shot that wont miss. Got a working battery?" He asks, before scratching his chin, "…you have a Sharps? Good. I was going to ask if you were any good with a rifle. Odds of him coming back tonight are pretty damn slim. I knocked his brainpan down into his boots. Bastard must have glue for cerebro-spinal fluid. I've just been being belligerent, standing out here. We should get you inside, where it's warm. You'll be in better shape with some rest," He nods to Terry, "I'd love to, but I hadn't slept last night, and after that melee in the rail-yard, my reflexes are probably worn down to a stump. I was going to find a dry doorway to crawl into, for a couple of hours. I'm going to set up a position in the morning to keep a better eye on the southeast advance. Not that he's likely to be stupid enough to follow the same in-route twice, but you never know. I don't know why he was in the rail-yard to begin with," He looks back to Monica, "Sorry, I don't mean to discourage you, if you want to go out…I'm just projecting my own exhaustion," he yawns.

You say, "I'm thinking I would rather do that sober, to be honest. I try to keep gunpowder and alcohol separate in my life." She looks at Elan. "Get with Eli though. Get that blood test, so you can come in from the cold. I think you're a good guy." She gestures to Terry. "I know he is. It could be a lot of fun." She doesn't say it, tries not to think it, but it would be a lot like being out with her father and brother again. What surprises her is that she smiles, very slightly, at the thought. She nods slowly. "Yeah. I definitely need to sleep it off.""

And then the whole military-man-don't-need-no-sleep facade fades, as exhaustion smacks Terry around like a biker bar brawl, and he lets out a muffled yawn. "…On second thought, a quick bit of shut-eye sounds lovely." He stretches, squares himself away, and sets off toward his bunk. "I'll see you two later." He fires off a quick salute, looking back over his shoulder.

Elan nods, "Bob didn't say I couldn't come in…been in and out fairly frequent. He told me to stay in Building D. Just said he didn't want me doing much in the way of new projects around town, so I was working out to the south," he looks back at the apartment building, "…but I wasn't much on apartment living before the alien apocalypse, and I suppose I still haven't warmed up to it. Especially after a year on the road. I like having at least an immediate egress route, and I don't think I'd rest very well where I couldn't watch the sky," he looks her over with a bit of concern, but smiles as she smiles, "…are you going to be able to get in alright? I'm sorry if I got you too drunk…you're not going to fall down, are you?" He waves to Terry as he leaves, "G'night, be safe."

Monica nods. "Yeah. I live right next door to Terry. I'll just follow him in." She waves, hesitantly. "Um… if you ever want to take a short sojourn out without having to hitch up the mules and move the Titanic… you can borrow my cart." She snaps her fingers. "Gotta fix that alternator now that I know what to look for. But… batteries. Anyway. G'night."

Elan laughs, "You saw what I've been working on. Well, sad to say, it's going to be a minute before it's ready to go anywhere. A minute longer still, until I clear the way. I appreciate the offer…may have to take you up on that soon. Goodnight, Monica. Sweet dreams," He pulls his collar up around his neck and adjusts his hat, "If you need anything, I'll be nearby, to the east. Just shout out the door and I'll hear you, unless the rain's really pouring down," he pulls his gloves out of his pocket and starts putting them on while he moves towards east Chestnut.

Monica Follows Terry in to the apartment complex. She's getting comfortable with Elan. She feels safe with Terry. There's a difference.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License