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2 yrs ago
Current Malfunctioning Space Toilet (favorite death post in RPG) : roleplayerguild.com/posts/4…
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4 yrs ago
Example of a "Character Flaw": roleplayerguild.com/posts/32..
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Ash Holloway
Location: Jail (AA)
Skills: N/A

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The continuing back and forth coming from Hunter and Ted was interesting, at the very least. Having gotten over the majority of his annoyance with the situation, Ash started to reflect on what he'd seen from the two men locked in the room with him. He didn't disagree with a word of what Ted was saying, if he looked at it objectively. It all sounded pretty straightforward. True, he reminded Ash of a drill instructor who was trying to call out a single person who was screwing something up in front of the unit, a tactic that was usually successful when it came from a person in a position of authority and in front of peers. Again objectively, he didn't figure that Ted was actually angling that way to instruct or motivate. It was just something that reminded Ash of a detail of another life.

A tiny, barely perceptible sigh of relief came over Ash when the door opened and cage entered the room. A fragment of him still thought that this might be a significantly less ideal situation, but all turned out to be well. This place was still new to him. He hadn't figured out the quirks just yet. As the older man entered bearing what he assumed was Hunter's supper, Ash reflexively found himself straightening his posture. Old habits, he figured. Had to be. Ash patiently waited as the quips flew between his workmate and Cage. It made him think back to Newnan, or an aspect therefrom; it was said that Newnan ran on alcohol. Fuel, heating, medical application, cleaning, incentive, and reward. If that was true, the humble distillations of grain acting as the great social lubricant of the settlement, then surely sarcasm held the same role for Camp Mexico Beach. This place contained more pure, unblemished snark than Ash could hope to demonstrate in a lifetime, and he had plenty of practice in the craft. So he just shook his head and let the moment wash over him until Ted left. He was neither giving nor receiving it this hour.

This stance of non-involvement persisted until such time as Cage gave him an eyeballing, followed by the proclamation of shit to do and a decided preference that he leave. This was just fine by Ash, who was already behind schedule. "Yes sir," he responded promptly, stepping over to the cleaning supplies to grab what Ted had left behind. He hesitated for a half second to initiate eye contact Hunter, if only to let him know that he did hear him and was listening. This did not stop him from getting the supplies together while he spoke.

Ash did not address the apology directly except to make eye contact and nod again. Shit happened, shit was apologized for, so long as a repeat wasn't in the making, that was all that needed to be said to him about it. When all was said, he did finally speak aloud, "Thank you, Hunter. And you're welcome. I'm pretty damn sure I wasn't 'stuck with you', Monroe. I'm thinking we were assigned together for a reason." More and more, his mind drifted to the possibility that it was no toss of a coin, no roll of a die that had them assigned for work detail now and put as roommates in Quarantine initially. Whether it was for a greater good or merely to observe what might happen, he believed there was purposeful decision behind it. "But I appreciate. You acted with humility and respect, and I thank you for it. If I can please offer a suggestion? How you just spoke - try doing that with others, whether you think they deserve it or not. I guarantee it'll be a turning point for you." The last of the supplies gathered, Ash rose fully and cocked his head in Cage's direction, adding, "Start with this guy. He looks like he does deserve it."

Ash looked to Cage, giving him a final, "Sir," before making for the stairs. Before he left, he made sure to give a final, parting, "Be seeing you, Hunter," and exited the lockup.

Making his way to the golf cart outside, he was surprised to note that Nikki was there. Whatever conversation she and Ted were in or about to be in was a big chunk of "not his business", so he merely gave her a polite nod and expressed, "Evening, miss." Ash placed the cleaning supplies in the back neatly, secured the goods, and settled into the passenger's seat. He wasn't sure what time it was, but he was fairly certain that he was late as all hell for his recommended therapy session. There wasn't a reason not to go, and the odd stigma that came with attending sessions like that in some places didn't seem to be present here. In fact, these guys were anxious to make sure you got your head checked out and squared away for the betterment of the community. Plus, getting a fully clean bill of health, mental and otherwise, meant that he could rejoin the ranks of the officers, so to speak. Maybe not immediately, for reasons both personal and of social prudence, but he wanted that option open for when it was time. He did first want, and probably a little selfishly, some time to just be with Thana, laboring as the community saw fit, with some sense of normalcy after so long a period without it, and without her.

Then Ash suddenly felt like a dumbass. So much as he was struggling to get done to attend therapy and then hit the evening meal, even going so far as to tell Thana that he would be late getting to supper because of it, his brain left out the detail that the schedule was posted that day. He signed up that day. He was technically clear until Thursday for his therapy schedule. Shaking his head at his foolishness, Ash looked to Ted, "Thanks for waiting. In case you're going someplace else, could you drop me off at the Mess Hall? I think I have a date." If he didn't have a date persay, he did want to meet up with Thana as soon as he could.

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Thalia Carmichael
Location: Education (M)
Skills: N/A

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Thalia let out a short but sputtering laugh at Thana's comeback to her vulgar insistence that she engage in oral copulation. She shook her head a little and, as she was beginning to get in the habit of doing, pinged her metal middle finger into the upright position temporarily and nodded a bit, motioning to it like a game show host showing off the lovely prizes that were up for grabs in the next amazing installment of whateverthehell wheel-spinning, cash snatching, big money big money no whammy no whammy, trivia guessing bullshit was about to come into America's homes at prime time. The mirth gave way to a little jealousy. Not much, just a tiny undercurrent. Thana was someone. Thalia was almost afraid to have someone. She regarded it like seeing the couple in Quarantine - the ballerina and the guy with the same local accent as herself - having the out and out hardcore courage to have a baby in the middle of everything. Courage to continue with life was a highly underrated and oft overlooked form of it these days.

But not to be rude in any sweeping amount with Nigel, Thalia went back to what he was just saying about her brother. Of course, being dismissed from Profesora CoΓ±o's presence meant that it had to be addressed in the hall on the way back to the doors as they all walked in that direction. "Sharpen his blade? Yeh... Joaquin's good, no lie. The few times be spahhed back in the day, I had to cheat to beat him. That was when I had both hands." Then again, this was during her younger formative years. He had left to seek his fortune before she matured to a woman and really come into her stabbing, bitchsmacking own. And that did put to focus the fact that a knife fight wasn't the kind of thing you could "cheat" at, not when survival was on the line. Still, she didn't have the manual dexterity she used to. Hell, she didn't have both the manuals she used to. It threw everything off in a permanent way.

The mention of food definitely piqued Thalia's interest. Not so much the snoring kid and the girl who was about to play paper ball free-throws using him as a basket (though that was kind of fun). To put it plainly, she could eat. But a more pressing item was on her To Do list for them moment. Some two things before she sat down to a plate of fish and homegrown edibles: Finding the Major and locating that One Way sign. Thalia supposed that getting herself checked out took priority. "Ah shit... hey Navy, you see where Major was on the wahl? Or you thing she'll make it to dinnah like the rest of us if I wait around theah?"
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Ash Holloway
Location: Jail (AA)
Skills: N/A

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Rosie's bathroom. The invocation of the name of that place struck Ash with a sort of internal revulsion. He was the new guy, and already subjected to one of the more ...interesting... aspects of CMB that might be related over drinks at a fire at a later date. But more to the point, it was being used as a comparison of Hunter's attitude. "Hmm, wow. Too soon, Ted. Too soon." He had recently gotten away from that place, and during that time was kicking himself for getting the tuna casserole before going back to it. Fate had placed his work elsewhere, but the very thought of the near miss there was close to a gag-worthy event. Still, Ash was interested to note that his sense of sarcasm was developing back into his casual conversation. It was oddly comforting.

The abrupt change in topic had almost blotted out the answer that Ted had given him from his memory. But as the issue calmed a little in the foremost portions of his brain, Ash processed what he had been told. Ted went an got himself in a heap of trouble when he first got here. Oddly, he seemed a little bit like a cautionary tale, if such a thing existed anymore aside from the usual rule of law outside of walls, summed up as "Be paranoid at all times, or you will likely die". Such was life.

Mulling everything around in his head, Ash finally spoke up, "Well, this room isn't permanent for us. Guy in charge'll be along. Place is clean." Looking to Hunter, "This room isn't permanent for you, either. One way or another, you still have options." Again, unless the Powers That Be have moved more than a fair sight away from the Uniform Code of Military Justice. For all Ash knew, he stepped into Napoleonic Code a few stops back and they were waiting with a cigarette and a firing squad. It would definitely be an ending to an odd day. Ashton shook his head and redoubled his efforts to nonchalantly lean against the wall.

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Thalia Carmichael
Location: Education (M)
Skills: N/A

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The nonchalant manner in which La Profesora addressed Thalia's potential ability to write in cursive as met with an arch of her eyebrow. Much as most things were a cause for annoyance to her, she really couldn't help but feel a little annoyed by the exchange. "Good to know," she said carefully. In truth, it really was good to know. Such things weren't on her "To Do" List right at the moment and really weren't up there on her list of priorities overall. Thalia was on a mission, and this was just part one of two. Now that it was coming to a close, Thalia was anxious to move on to the next step.

The question of Nigel proving himself academically took her by surprise. For a moment, Thalia thought that the Professor was talking to her until she looked up and saw for herself who was being spoken to. Of course she was talking to Nigel. Books weren't her thing anymore. Then again, the thought of being in a position where she would eventually be able to concentrate on more academic pursuits did have a sort of appeal, so long as it didn't make her weak. Or dependent upon others. Or worse yet, others dependent upon her. This whole "living in civilization" thing was going to take some getting used to again, especially the social aspect of it. In a passing effort in that regard, she looked to Nigel, a guy that she really only knew as the other weapon and shield person from quarantine, and surmised, "Guess we'ah officially the first, then." As mentioned earlier, there would probably be more that signed up after a while.

But that wasn't what Thana had commented about. She had made leading comments about their instructors in the finer arts of inserting and removing steel into living and undead flesh. And she recalled part of the conversations from lunch, before she disappeared under the table and booked it for parts elsewhere. Thalia's eyes narrowed, and she quoted one of the few literary passages she remembered from college, "Cry 'havok!', and let slip the dahgs of war...?" If anyone in that place knew how to handle a short blade, or a long blade for that matter, it would be Shakespeare.

In regards to the line of pure bitchery perpetrated by Thana, signing in cursive just to spite her (which in truth she didn't regard as such until the tongue-sticking-out incident), Thalia leaned her head back a little as if to size her up. Her expression was summed up efficiently enough by the words she chose to mark the occasion: "Yah. Go eat a dick, Navy."
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Ash Holloway
Location: Jail (AA)
Skills: N/A

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Hunter's story sounded much like many of the other stories coming from military men who had made it past the first six months. Ash supposed that his own wasn't too different. Specific of circumstance, certainly. Told from the point of view of one of the people making a decision or two rather than merely following orders, yes. But not too different than the multitude of others. It was almost comforting being reminded that he wasn't particularly special in this regard. Still, the point of view from Infantry's side of things was slightly different than that of Sappers. It was interesting to note. Ash listened intently, nodding knowingly every so often as a familiar concept came up. Like the hordes around New York. "Massive infection rates in high population densities. Hordes form. Cities diffuse slowly, but they don't usually go too far..." He could really only speak to his experience. City runs were nigh-suicidal sometimes, especially on foot.

The impromptu camaraderie with Ted, Soldier in the Army of Colonel Harland Sanders and Keeper of the Eleven Herbs & Spices, was a bit of stress relief for Ash. It had been a while since he had gotten to know a detail about someone new that didn't have something to do with the screaming necessities of life, such as ammo counts or securing a perimeter, or briefing on new surroundings. Or catching up, though that last part was precious to him. This was just shooting the breeze with another human being in the context of getting to know someone, even in passing. And being that they unknowingly shared some real estate a while ago, back when the world made more sense, it was cause for minor celebration.

Of course, that cracked a little bit when the discussion went to Cage. Specifically, what he was out there doing and what he had already had to do so far this shift. In addition to the last three shifts as well, apparently. Ash felt a little foolish. Based upon what Ted had told him, he had assumed that Cage was leaving them in there until he took his own trip to the Mess Hall to take a break, grab some dinner, then get back around to letting them out when he felt like it. His trademark stoicism helped him out there, keeping his internal voice internal and prompting him to change the subject. The fact that he was thinking it, though, gave Ash an attack of creeping guilt. He was still an asshole as far as Ash could tell, but he was demonstrating diligence to his job.

It was also a kind of relief that this man, Ted, didn't seem to know about Newnan or Eden directly. Or Franklin, for that matter. Or Fairburn's Castle Town. So Ash settled back against the wall for the time being, mulling over their predicament and the use of NOID, a thing he hadn't heard in years. "So he'll be along soon enough. Takes away some worry." Ash even permitted himself a chuckle, and asked (partly in hopes of avoiding a continuing, strained conversation), "So what did you do to get stuck down here overnight, Ted? If'n you don't mind my asking." There had to be more to the story than banging on a door.

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Thalia Carmichael
Location: Education (M)
Skills: N/A

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Of course, it had to be written. This was going to be her big hurdle, Thalia could tell. A place with paper meant a place with paperwork, especially if it was being run by the military. Or a reasonable facsimile thereof, anyway. Of course, the problem with that was that, of all the things she was beginning to really get the hang of with her non-dominant hand, writing was not one of them. She remembered having to fill in her entrance questionnaire while in quarantine. It looked like a toddler with some kind of palsy tried to write it. Thalia was honestly surprised they didn't throw her out for smuggling alcohol inside somehow and getting blotto before the big test. But they did see the lack of hand she was sporting. It was hard to miss. This was probably a good indicator that she used to be right handed, too. But back to the present: Writing. It sucked. It sucked pretty hard, but she should have seen this coming. Moving on.

Accepting the papers from Profesora CoΓ±o, Thalia gave them a brief glance before looking back to Thana. She was right. Thinking about it, considering the number of hardasses in their combined groups, ex-military, and cutthroat survivors, she would be surprised as hell if she and Nigel were the only ones. They were probably just the first. She gave a passing expression of agreement to Thana and held it until her face oscillated back to the Professor, terminating with a shrug and nod that supported their shared suspicion; more would be coming. It was just a matter of time. Then she got back to the papers, awkwardly holding them with her flesh and steel hands, maneuvering to turn the page as necessary. "Blah, blah... party of the first part bullshit, la la la..." she mumbled to herself, seemingly unaware that (while quiet) it was out loud. "Jaysus, this is corpsec basic all over again..." Again, spoken with discretion. She listened to the rundown given about the content of the paperwork, but didn't give it a ton of serious thought until she saw it in print in front of her. Sharps, shield, hand to hand training. "Well shit, that's almost why I'm here," said Thalia, a little more openly than her earlier mumbling. She looked over to Nigel for a second before going back to the papers. She wanted to spar with him, being a fellow weapon and board guy. She needed to adapt to soldiery from these people. Learn another way, compensate for her abbreviated dexterity. Broaden her warrior's horizons and whatnot. But if this was Step One, fine. Thalia would get there in time. They were just making her take other steps first.

"Oh, I'm moving up to C Rostah," vowed Thalia, this time speaking openly. She had reached the bits that required her signature and sighed. She'd have to try another approach to using a writing utensil. Acquiring one, she placed it in an underhanded grip in her metal hand, securing it in place by articulating her fingers one at at time to tenuously grasp without letting it slide. It was a little harder then it looked. Secured like she might use it to impale someone, Thalia began the mildly infuriating task of signing her name, one blocky letter at a time. "I hope cursive isn't required."

Thalia did have to pause in the middle of her own personal hell to look up at Thana, quirking a brow quizzically when she foreshadowed something about their instructors.
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Ash Holloway
Location: Jail (AA)
Skills: N/A

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The truth was, Ash didn't care if the man was "dealing" or not. He had dealt with a lot in his time, and maintained the same effectiveness of his position throughout the worst of it. Granted, he had a staff of people he trusted to handle their areas of expertise and keep the established rolling, and he did have a lot or personal brooding time when he wasn't directly handling affairs in the settlement. But his work didn't suffer. Not seeing to your responsibilities because you were dealing was, in Ash's opinion, close to sinful. None of this he voiced. He wasn't the head guy here, and he sure as hell didn't know the full length and breadth of the story. All he had was knowledge of the situation he was in personally and the word of a man he had just met a half hour ago. And all of this was being colored by his annoyance.

Ted did mention one thing that got Ash's attention, and raptly so. But not before a moment of confusion on his part. "Colonel's Army ..?" until he explained a little bit more, and the realization of it dawned on him. "Hold up, the KFC's Big Chicken? The Big Chicken on Cobb Parkway an' Roswell Rd?" He let out a chuckle before continuing, "Just before all this, I was stationed out of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Marietta. We used to order from there all the damn time. That's a historic landmark, Ted. Hell, I want to shake your hand, sir!" He was being just a hair sarcastic, but it was genuine mirth nonetheless. It was the little things you missed after a while, and something like a bucket of KFC after dealing with Mess Hall chow was nothing to turn away. Ash pushed off of the wall he was leaning on and extended his hand to the man, a little smile reminiscent of the man he might have been once decorating his visage. "You are a national treasure, Ted. They shouldn't have a man like you mopping brains off the floor."

Of course, this meant that they might have even been neighbors, once upon a time. Or might have seen one another at some point, owing to that one restaurant they were in regularly; Ted because it was his job and Ash because he was an occasional patron thereof. But the tiniest amount of suspicion crossed his mind, which he began to address with a question, "So, who were you with after everything went belly-up? Before Mexico Beach, I mean. I heard about groups of survivors around metro ATL. Met a couple, too."

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Thalia Carmichael
Location: Education (M)
Skills: N/A

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Thana was talking like she was to try to cheer her up. It seemed obvious. To her credit, it did elicit a bashful smile from Thalia. Empathizing with the news that she got emotional a few days ago when she saw Ash was a nice touch, but she had to wave it off. "Yah, I call bullshit, Navy," she replied, scrubbing the last bit of moisture away from her eyes. "Girls like us ahren't supposed to cry. Even if you did, no one's gonna believe you. We don't cry. We'ah the bitches that get stuff handled." They were supposed to be, anyway. Lord knew the world needed strong women, and despite the obvious kicking that life had given them both, the fight hadn't left them yet.

It was all tough talk in the first place, about crying. The day they met, Thalia had learned about the death of a handful of people she was close to, friends and family, both. Then her bestie died, whose gravesite she had just left. Thalia had helped storm a goddamn fortress with tears streaking the ash and soot she used to paint her face into a greyscale skull. Thalia sure as hell wept when she lost her arm, too. Before and after. She cried with relief upon seeing Thana alive again. And she damn near got misty-eyed upon seeing clam chowder for the first time in years. She was not made of iron. That thought made her look back down at her prosthetic arm, the beginnings of a wry smirk playing at the corner of her mouth. Okay, most of her wasn't made of iron.

Then Thana had to mention blow-up dolls. Granted, it wouldn't have surprised Thalia in the least if someone had re-invented the inflatable sex toys before tackling only marginally important things like sustainable food sourcing or penicillin. And wouldn't the fetishists just love her? Biracial amputee with a thing for fire. But when it came down to it, she wasn't the one who came up with that particular thought first, nor might she have vocalized it if she did. "You'ah a strange one, Navy. I'm glad you're you." She shook her head. "Seriously? Blow-up dolls?" It was said with in a joking manner with faux incredulity.

Still, being referred to along with Thana's callsign was interesting. Sparrow and Angel. She had never really referred to Thana as Sparrow. It seemed like a different lifetime. And this felt like the first time Thana had called her Angel. The origin of her nickname was rooted in Gonzalez and Carmichael family histories, but it was something that only family had called her until very recently. Thalia might have said something about that to her, owing that she was pretty much as close as any of her family, but the sudden cessation of chuckling followed by Thana's insistence that she seize the opportunity on the immediate prodded Thalia into action.

She strode purposefully into the room. Able to distinguish one of the people she spent time with in Quarantine from someone she hadn't met yet, she turned to La Profesora CoΓ±o, speaking clearly and directly. It was very much like her corpsec voice from years past, "Mr. Martin sent me. I'm supposed to be on 'D Rostah', military training. He says you'ah the lady that makes that happen." Then she remembered that she wanted something and quickly added, "Ma'am." She even gave a quick tilt of her head in Nigel's direction, acknowledging his presence with a minimum of cordiality.
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Ash Holloway
Location: Jail (AA)
Skills: N/A

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The interesting, nigh therapeutic conversation hadn't thrown off Ash's sense of timing as it came to cleanup. This was supposed to be a simple job, or as the man who was working security, Ray, had said: "...knock it out real fast." Conversation notwithstanding, that was exactly what they did. Working while talking was possible, especially if information had to be dumped int he middle of a job. Ash was once a Sapper, prone to accomplishing feats of military engineering in the field and oft teaching new men under his command on the job, in real time. So a little heart-to-heart while mopping up human gore was fully within his wheelhouse. Of course, finding out now that it was ultimately a fruitless endeavor because the guy in charge of the location (for whatever reason, legitimate or no) had no difficulty leaving when he knew there was a work detail locked inside. And if Ted was correct in his assumption, it was so the man could go have his dinner in comfort. Ash's face grew stern, though he said nothing.

What that meant was that Ash wasn't going to make it to his next appointment in camp that day. It was not the impression that he wanted to make on his first day. And to be more on the selfish side, he wanted to get that handled so that he might have some quality time with Thana. Ash didn't take Ted's advice and get comfortable immediately. He leaned his head over to one side until a soft popping sound emitted from his neck, squared his jaw, and leaned against the wall nearby. His mask of stone hid the beginnings of profound irritation.

A deep breath in was held for a second or two, then slowly pushed out. Okay, this was the way it was. They were locked in a building that was designed to keep people inside of it. Ash contemplated poking around a bit, using his skills as an engineer to determine if they could get out using a less conventional method of egress, but decided against it on grounds of practicality. This was not something he needed to do on his first day. Or was it? It might even show dedication to his responsibilities and willingness to go to great lengths to fulfill his duties. It was fairly presumptuous of him, however. Before he got to that level of motivation, Ash reminded himself that such acts on his part were better served with tools and/or explosives, things which he did not have access to, and he doubted that the cleaning products were set up to allow for the creation of something truly BOOMworthy. And the more obvious - just because the one guy was an ass didn't mean he had to be, too. Best to leave it alone. It was a fleeting fancy at best.

So far as Hunter's personal revelations went, Ash listened quietly, nodding every now and again as he shared a bit of his history. There were differences. It made sense. People might act differently depending upon their circumstances, and while he wasn't one hundred percent right with his insights, Ash was still surprised to find out that there were enough similarities to keep the heart of his point valid. Concerning the tactless voicing of Hunter's opinion of the jailer, Ash said nothing. He might have put it differently, and he definitely wasn't going to add to it himself, but right at that moment he didn't disagree.

Eyeing the door for a moment, Ash shared a little of his experience, highlighting how it differed. "Before Atlanta fell, our C.O. got himself killed. We got overrun, pulled back to Dobbins Air Force Base. Civilian contractors, Corps of Engineers people, Air Force (of course), regular Army, Atlanta PD, Feds, a few scattered Marines. Everyone thought they had jurisdiction. Fun fact: Combat Engineers can't be ordered off assignment unless it's by the President. So I wasn't listening too hard to everyone else, either." He shrugged. That might or might not have been a mistake on his part, hindsight being what it was. But he and others might not have survived if he did defer to outside authority. He'd never know now. "After a real short time, everyone just started thinking about what was best for just the soldiers under their command. Factioning. No higher orders coming in. Everyone started to compete for resources. I saw what was shaping up. Me and whoever wanted to follow blew town with a truck and as much supplies as we could carry, made for Virginia." Ash nodded grimly. He stopped speaking abruptly after that. It was cruising into personal territory for him, and as much as he wanted to understand what the younger man was going through, it needn't involve what came after. Just as he didn't explain what came before, which was a keystone moment for him. "I guess the world fell apart in slightly different ways for us all, Hunter. Yet here we are." Yes, here they were. Stuck in a jail whether they were supposed to be or not. "How 'bout you, Ted? What were you Before?" It seemed rude to ignore the man, seeing as they were probably going to be stuck down there for a while. He might as well try to get to know his new neighbors a little.

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Thalia Carmichael
Location: Education (M)
Skills: N/A

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Having to slow down didn't make Thalia happy. Having to wait on someone else didn't make her happy, either. Come to think of it, apart from seeing Thana alive again, the only thing that made her happy was that clam chowder her first day in Quarantine, and even then it was tempered by good, old-fashioned survivalist's paranoia. To be fair, seeing her brother alive again was nice, too. But she was pissed that the bastard kept himself away for days before telling her that he was even alive. As she gave it some thought, pretty much everything that had made her happy over the course of her time here was tinged with something that pissed her off. Such was life. Hers, anyway.

It was a small relief to know that the subject of her search was just through the door, even if she couldn't pop in immediately. Fine. She could wait a few minutes. Might be nice to have a few minutes to shoot the breeze with Thana, even if their relationship wasn't so much of an "ooh, girl time!" one. Thinking about it, maybe it should be a little. A lifetime ago, Thalia was a Boston girl who got her hair done professionally and had a favorite color of lipstick. So, she carried a tactical automatic knife on her most days and had a 9mm Glock issued to her at work, but damnit, she used to be more feminine. For crap's sake, she still had a thing for My Little Pony. Thalia shook off the thought and narrowed her eyes a little as she mulled over Thana's question, ultimately figuring that it wasn't really a secret in the first place. In fact, she had talked about it openly before. After a moment, she responded, "Nah, it's fine. He sent me in here to get put on 'D Rostah'. I need to get strongeh than this." Her accent was flaring a bit, as it often did when she felt a little emotional. The more helpless feeling of going from a covert, shadowy, dexterity monster that was hell with a short blade to someone who needed to relearn how to peel an orange was not something she wore well. "Unless you know something bettah, this is my only shot." One could just see the start of her eyes misting over, which she tried initially to blot away with her right hand. Unfortunately, that was her metal one. She learned this lesson at the beach party, and stopped short of breaking her nose or putting another fresh wound on her face (the first one was just clotting properly again). Her left took over, dotting one eye and then the other. "Sorry. Been a shitty last five years."

But Thana would know all about that. Thalia looked at Thana's scars, then to her own metal hand which replaced the one she was born with. They had been through some trials, that was for sure. It showed on them more than most. But in Thalia's opinion, it did look pretty badassed on both of them. "Yah know Navy, the apocalypse versions of us would make bitchin' action figures. Just saying."

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Ash Holloway
Location: Jail (AA)
Skills: N/A

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The expectation of how the conversation was going to go was different than what actually went down. To his credit, Ash felt like he might have overstepped his position in CMB, that being that he didn't have one aside from pushing a mop. Some instincts were hard to break, and he was ever the Captain, even if the military he belonged to technically didn't exist anymore. But to point, Ash expected this to turn into a bigger piece of drama from which he would have to remove himself, then brood over later on as a mistake initiated by his own sense of self-righteousness. But it didn't. Ash vaguely heard Ted say something comparing him to Thana's uncle, then the sound of the tooth hitting the inside of the bucket. Mostly, he was looking at the expression on Hunter. When the younger man spoke, it took Ash by surprise. He waited quietly until Hunter finished speaking, then nodded with a glimpse of understanding.

There was not an immediate response. Instead, Ash took two steps over to the rest of the cleaning supplies and gathered up a few things. Returning to his original spot, the now tired-looking Sapper continued doing what he was here to do, cleaning the gore from the jail's flooring. As he swept up bits of brain and scrubbed out blood (tasks that might have been strange, even brutally disgusting a few years ago), he started to address some of Hunter's points. Not the least of which was the fact that his first assignment was ...this... He spoke quietly but clearly, letting his voice come from a place of experience. "So you lost your shit. Cussed out folks. Join the goddamned club. We're printin' t-shirts." His Virginian accent stayed with his words, though in a softer tone than the rant before. Ash sighed heavily, shaking his head and cleaning still. "But I don't have to care 'bout you personally to sympathize. I get it. You went through Basic, MOS 11B, Infantry (if I'm correct)? Break you down, build you up, make you feel invincible. It doesn't stop that first assignment from bein' scary as hell, and your first one's the goddamn end of the world. War of attrition against our own Dead. Folks we played cards with yesterday. People we passed on the street. At first, they just look like they're really sick an' need our help. But if you don't pull the trigger, you're a dead man. Or worse."

Ash straightened up from where he was kneeling. With gloved hands, he carefully squeezed red-tinged water and cleaning solution into the bucket and returned to scrubbing. He also returned to speaking. "I remember when it started to get really bad. Communication went down. Dead began to outnumber living. I saw the Army break into factions and turn on each other. What you stepped into wasn't the military anymore, Hunter. It was a bunch of scared men an' women in green with access to automatic weapons, didn't know a damn thing 'bout what was goin' on around them. What they got here? That's a little more what it's supposed to be like. Now, I don't know what shit you did to make it up to this point. We all had to do the worst things just to survive. I know I did. If I didn't have people around me that I trusted, loved, that had my back? Well, I've seen the dark places a man can go. I considered eating a bullet a couple of times an' I've taken more lives after than I ever did in the Army. I can sympathize 'cause I know where you're at. You're lost."

Blowing out a sigh, Ash rose from his position and inspected the floor. He grabbed a mop and wrung it out, then slapped it to the floor with a wet splat, eager to finish up. "Well congratulations. You pulled the trigger. You survived. You have to fight just to do that. But if you only survive for yourself, you're going to stay lost. Yeah, you had a bad day. Your week wasn't so hot, neither. Pissed off a lot of folks, me included. You aren't dead, Monroe. You're not done yet until you give up." Ash finished mopping up and started to put his supplies back, continuing, "Look, I'm not saying we're going to be best buds or nothin'. But I hope you'll be here after you get out. That's still partly up to you." Ash shrugged. "I think." He shook his head, waving a thought away. "You're still around after this, I'll tell you about the shitstorm I was in when this started five years back. Maybe you'll sympathize."

Ash looked over the job, cleaning up bloodstains and bits of a dead guy he'd never met, and over to Ted. "We good here?" He had places to be, but doing a good job was priority. Developing a reputation for work ethic was an important first step for Ash in this new community. So after assessing for himself, he wanted to get the opinion of the guy who'd been here for longer.

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Thalia Carmichael
Location: Education (M)
Skills: N/A

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"Dummel," remarked Thalia, as if committing the name to memory. Not that she was, though it might seem that way to an onlooker. Just a minor habit of thinking out loud, and at that moment she was thinking that the guy gave her another clue as to the general persona of this professor she was looking for. Perhaps she shouldn't have paused to size the guy up, or tilt her head ever so slightly to the side to do the same for the girl who pulled him back down to his seat, but what was done was done. It seemed surreal, like a slice out of her life back in college. It gave her the vaguest impression of a group of people who forgot what was lurking outside of their walls; threats both living and deceased. For all she knew, these people were the elite future of Camp Mexico Beach and she was just some asshole who recently sullied their hallowed home with her presence. Whatever. Didn't matter. She had a series of tasks to complete and this kid throwing her a smartassed salute wasn't going to damage her calm.

Thalia resumed her pace down the hallway. It seemed a little too easy, just putting one foot in front of the other to reach an objective that lay in a obvious direction. She tried to keep her expression blank and allow her eyes to search for names or anything else of the like on signs or doors, but quickly abandoned the idea after honestly wondering if the name she was given was going to actually be a callsign utilized in a a place where kids learned. At least Thalia had the decency to keep from saying it out loud and the carefully trudged down the hallway. That was, right up until she caught Thana leaning against the door frame, down the hall a ways.

Carefully and quietly, Thalia approached her friend, "Hey Navy. Real quick, your tio Maddoc sent me here to find una Profesora CoΓ±o." She knew that Thana had a good enough read on Spanish and figured that it would soften the message as well as carry the proper intent across. That, and it sounded like the worst luchadora name ever.
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Ash Holloway
Location: Jail (AA)
Skills: N/A

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It was a very straightforward approach to keeping prisoners. Limited contact, no help, let God (or Darwin, either one) sort things out past basic care. Ash had heard from Mizrahi what had happened to Hunter, and knew that he'd be in here. It was still a little bit of a surprise to see the younger man behind bars in this place. Strangely, seeing the blood and brain matter on the floor was less of a shocking thing than he might have assumed. Be that as it may, he did release half a breath that he didn't know he was holding when the explanation of how the mess was made came out. For all of the familiar structure and benefits of CMB, he was still a little wary. Full trust would come with time. For now, his two mandates were to clean and stay away from the other cell. He could do that. "Yes sir," he said evenly to Cage. Best to get this over with quickly.

Ash wasted no time in getting the cleaning supplies to bear as Cage was leaving the room. He had already taken a knee for purposes of getting to the spattering of gore on the floor in front of them, but hesitated. Hunter had things to say, apparently, which struck him as odd considering the situation. Still staring in Hunter's general direction, Ash looked like he was weighing options of saying something, but decided against it with a small shake of his head. This wasn't his problem. He wasn't a counselor and he wasn't a commanding officer; this man wasn't family by blood, choice, or circumstance. Hunter was not his responsibility.

Insomuch as he appreciated Ted's offer for a smoke purely as a polite gesture, it was never one of Ash's vices. He declined with a wave, preferring to stick to work. Then he heard a return of Hunter's general smartassery. And immediately following, a marginally more apologetic word concerning his absence from cleaning duty, followed by what he could only assume were the ramblings of whatever crossed his mind that second. Ash was a stoic, disciplined individual with several years of shooting for the greater good behind him. And while it was probably best to cut this person off and let him drift away on an ice floe of his own making, a different sort of responsibility took hold of his psyche. "Goddamnit, Monroe," he said, sounding a touch more like an officer than befitted his present station, "Do you not know when to shut up?" He rose to stand, but did not approach the bars. "A few minutes of AWOL doesn't land you in the stockades. I'm betting you're in here 'cause of your mouth." His Virginian Appalachia accent was becoming more pronounced as he spoke. Thinking, Hunter's choice of words and the actions around them got him threatened by Ash and others, followed by a full takedown by Beatrice while the locals watched from a distance. Like they were assessing the new blood.

Regardless, he kept expressing his thoughts openly. "Hell, I'm compelled to ask if you're tryin' to get kicked out of here. You have a good thing here, soldier. Damn good thing, and if you pull your head out of your ass for three seconds to get some air, you might see that this place has a lot to offer you. You've got a lot to offer it, too. National Guard, right? You got any idea what a rare commodity military experience is these days? And you landed in the middle of American military remnants. You know how this game is played. You lived it before. Christ's sake, Hunter, these people have the resources to help your sorry ass out as long as you play ball. You even know the rules already." He shook his head more fully this time, continuing, "I don't give a rat's ass about the cleaning detail. I hope this all blows over. I hope they give you a rifle and let you walk the wall eventually. None of that's gonna happen until you stop acting like a petulant child. Apologize. Submit to orders. Go to assigned therapy and work your shit out. Be a useful goddamned person. 'Cause you know as well as I do what the ascending punishments prescribed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice are, and what comes next." That is, if they weren't using a harsher system now befitting the times. "This community might actually need you one day. You won't be here, though, on account of your mouth. You took an oath, once. We're supposed to be better than this. Still can be."

It was more than Ash was used to saying in one sitting, not unlike the story about his fallen friend in the cemetery earlier. He guessed it was just a day for speeches. Whether this one was a rousing call to action or just a series of blahs falling upon ears that didn't want to hear them was immaterial. Having expressed his frustration, he felt a little spent. Like he'd had enough tilting at windmills for the sake of others who couldn't be bothered to help themselves. He let out a sigh and resumed his work. Ash had things to do.

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Thalia Carmichael
Location: Administration (A) -> Education (M)
Skills: N/A

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There was a level of irritation that passed through Thalia as Gunny spoke to her. Condescension was a pet peeve for her, so when a man spoke to her while he was looking through paperwork, it was irksome. Then again, he did look directly at her when he began to address her, deferring back to the contents of his desk as he went into explanation. So really, Thalia mostly stood in confusion. If nothing else, it did reinforce the position that she was a subordinate. What fun. But no, this wasn't too dissimilar from her old position with the Company. She had people to report to. Reflecting, the last five years had really changed her. She could remember how to do this. Thalia was in CMB for a reason; this was part of the deal. In any event, the man wasn't being rude, persay. He looked like the type that had to be gotten used to. Like herself. "Thanks, Boss. See yah tomorrow."

The minuscule conversation with Alexander went in a similar manner, though with him, she spoke a couple extra words. Firstly, she gave a quick twitch of her head, acknowledging his friendly expression for what it was, a minor parting of ways after working a shift. As to his declaration that he needed to sort some stuff out before dinner, she could fully sympathize. She had two issues that she required her attention before dinnertime. "Yah. Same." As to whether they'd meet for the meal, it was a distinct possibility, especially if whatever respective business they each had to do wrapped up around the same time. "I'll be at the Mess Hall aftah a little while."

Thalia had a purposeful stride as she exited the office and walked down the hallway. Yes, food called to her in the way that it always did, but some things had to be handled and this was the perfect time to handle them. As the exited into the lobby, Thalia was actuating the fingers on her prosthetic down into a closed fist, each metallic pinging sound an almost gratifying robotic knuckle-popping effect. She looked to Rolodex, keeping to stride the entire time, and gave her some regard. Odd woman.

She didn't stop when she hit the street, in fact taking to a light jog. That was, until she fully remembered where the Education building was located. She had to sign up for something, hopefully before slots filled up, if that was in fact how things operated there. As she came towards the building proper the front door flung open, both of them, hitting hard against the back stops just as Maddoc stormed out. The doors nearly hit him in the ass as they swung past him, back into place, and out again due to the force he had put behind it. Shoving his cigar into his mouth he chewed it, growling almost, and it became abundantly clear why he was called Maddog.

The sight of a pissed-off older man slamming things about and growling (almost) might ordinarily put most people off, or at least caution them to mind their distance. Not so for Thalia. This was the kind of thing she was used to dealing with as it came to family. It reminded her a lot of her uncle, specifically. And it was that kind of asshole that she needed to deal with. Being direct was her strength, when it wasn't her weakness. And it looked like this man wasn't a fan if "indirect", anyway. "Mr. Martin!" she called, increasing her pace for the final few steps to stand before him. Looking up at him with burning resolve, she half-blurted, "I need to be a soldier. Gunny says talk to you."

The man didn't even stop but his eyes went to her as he stalked closer in a direct collision course. "Fuck, fine, tell Professor Cunt in there to put you on D Roster," he said as at the last moment he side stepped her and went around. "And I want a full psych evaluation from Major, she's on the wall," he yelled back as he turned and started to head east down the road. It wasn't clear if it was cigar that was sending up trails of smoke or his ears.

"Hells yeah," she called back. It was breathtakingly shocking how simple that was. Thalia had expected more to it. She was prepared to yell and stand her ground, defend the fact that she was crippled to the point that rifles were never going to be in her wheelhouse, even throw a punch if needed to make herself heard. But that was over in the space of a handful of seconds. Less, maybe. "Okay, okay," she thought to herself, "Two obstacles. D Roster and a psych eval. Inside here and on the wall ...somewhere." This was her survival strategy. It worked with the Shieldmaidens. It worked with the survivalists. Now that she was physically compromised, she had to adapt yet again. Thalia was actually a little excited as she approached the doors, flinging them open with a motivated lack of fuck-giving spawned of potentially violent optimism.

"Alright..." Thalia said aloud as she entered the Education building. Taking a look around her immediate surroundings, she realized two things: 1) There was a study group present that probably didn't appreciate her entrance, and 2) She had no idea who the hell she was actually looking for. Thalia felt a little stupid, but got over that quickly enough to ask the nearby study group, "Maddog told me to find Professor Cunt." She didn't even get to phrase that in the form of a question before everyone in the group pointed down the hallway at the same time. "Nnn." she responded at a nod. "Thanks." Slower, and with more of a predatory gaze, Thalia turned and began to step down the hallway.

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Ash Holloway
Location: Mechanics (K) -> Jail (AA)
Skills: N/A

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It looked very much like Ash had walked in just in time to interrupt "guy talk". He wasn't often the type to engage in that sort of thing, but as a military man he'd heard it more often than most and yes, in periods of temporary immaturity, had lent a word or two into the discussion. Be that as it may, he still refrained from participating or even inquiring into what the hell they were talking about. Whatever Volts was saying to Roy was his business; Ash didn't even announce himself any more than he already had until Roy nodded in his direction, which he returned with equal depth and duration of gesture. His attention went to Mizrahi, who gave him the tiniest bit of unexpressed elation as the tall Middle Easterner informed him in two words that the bathroom was done, this punctuating the sudden emergence of a new face from the room in question. The new guy looked disconcerted. Ash couldn't blame him.

Of course, the next sentence to leave Mizrahi's mouth served to settle Ash right back into his previous mindset, that being the guy who needed to pound out work and get to the rest of the appointments of the day. For all he knew, the jail was worse. So much worse. Internally, he braced himself for what was to come. Also internally, Ash had no idea where the jail was, exactly. It might take him the remaining half hour just to find it, preventing him from both therapy and supper to tend to whatever they were using for stockades here. On the bright side, at least this job allowed Ash to see more of the settlement. Knowledge and familiarity were very good things. The faster he acquired them where CMB was concerned, the better everyone would be. "Yes sir," he responded to Mizrahi, ready to get this over and done. Ash extended a hand to Ted, introducing himself with with a simple, "Ashton Holloway," before striding back out into the Florida air. "At a jog, then?" he inquired eagerly, wishing for haste.

"I'm not running there," responded Ted, pointing to a golf cart loaded with cleaning supplies. He did jog, but just as far as the driver's side of the golf cart.

The pleased look on Ash's face was almost infectious. He climbed into the front passenger's seat and felt the awesome power of (probably) five horsepower careening him away from Mechanics, down the main thoroughfare, and around the waterfront on the settlement's interior. Ash waved to people he knew along the way, which might have been the people in front of Admin or Medical, though it was hard to tell from the distance. Well, he tried. Around the water, past Distillation, across a bridge and through a former residential area went they, finally coming to a building that looked to be directly across the waterway from the Admin/Medical buildings. Following Ted around to the entrance, he waited until protocol was met for entry to announce and introduce himself to whomever was in charge here, "Holloway, reporting for cleaning detail," It was brief and to the point. Ash wanted to do a good job and move to the next thing.


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Thalia Carmichael
Location: Administration (A)
Skills: N/A

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Court Martial. Thalia knew what that meant, after a fashion. Her old work didn't exactly have the same thing, as they were not allowed to assume responsibility over a person's fate unless certain, very specific criteria were met. Mostly, that involved credible threat to life or property. Or course, that would be called "Corporate Coaching", "Reeducation", or "Civil Disciplinary Action", most of which involved amassing evidence, restricting the individual in question, and turning everything over to local law enforcement. That wasn't her department, anyway. Still, Court Martial? The very sound of it made her think that someone military fucked something up really badly. This place had enough former military. Or present military, considering the way things were run here. Still, no peeking or leaning for her to find out more. She was not the Latina Ninja of CMB. Yet. And if so, spying on one's own people (if indeed, that's what these survivors were supposed to be now) was probably a no-no. If she wanted to know, she'd ask directly. In fact, Thalia planned on it.

First, Thalia was asked a question. She left the door open as she was bid to, and as she was not offered a seat she elected to stand with her hands clasped in front of her, or rather, her metal hand encased in her left. Then she tried to answer the question that Gunny put to her as succinctly as she could, considering that she didn't know the proper answer, herself. Did she have the time she needed? Thalia had to assume he was talking about the memorial service. To that end, both yes and no. Not as much as she might have wanted but significantly more than she expected. Ever. "Time. Yah, thanks for that, boss." She was terse but respectful. This was Thana's family, after all. Dipping her head toward the folder as a gesture of indication, whether it was noticed or not, Thalia took a direct approach of inquiry: "Who's getting Court Martialed?" If he wasn't hiding it, no harm no foul. If it wasn't something he wanted getting around, she could handle a direct NUNYA without it upsetting her day. Otherwise, her former profession and instinct for survival had her seeking relevant information about her environment and the people in it. This could be a learning experience. Learning was why she was here.

Oddly, Thalia was still thinking that she wasn't used to air conditioning any more. Hopefully, at least the blood on her face had stopped again.
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Ash Holloway
Location: Administration (A, exterior) -> Mechanics (K)
Skills: N/A

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The smile at the corner of Thana's lips was mirrored by Ash. Rather boyishly, he began to walk backwards a step or two, loathe to break eye contact. He was acting a little immaturely, granted. The joy at being reunited with her again, especially after beginning to mourn for her death, wasn't going away anytime soon. Though it was tempered by his sense of professional ethic, which was why he didn't sweep her up in a spinning embrace right then and there, in front of God and anybody else who cared to watch. "Yes ma'am," he said respectfully, and with that little smile remaining. Before he committed to the full turnaround in preparation for the hauling of his posterior to his designated location, he ended with a quick information dump. "I've uh, got voluntary therapy at 1800." He wanted to get off on the right foot with CMB, for everyone's sake, including Thana's and his own. It was about community, and finding a productive place in it. "Bye for now. I'll report to the evening meal soon as I'm done." If it didn't go past time for the meal, anyway. It wouldn't be the first supper he'd skipped in his life.

It felt a little strange to take orders and place his duties around someone else's timeline. In many ways, he hadn't been in this kind of a position since advanced training at Fort Leonard Wood. As a green 2nd Lieutenant, he was still an officer, but the lowest ranking person present. He might have had all the training necessary to lead, but it was his duty to follow. Just as it was now. So in the usual form of a man whose time was not purely his own, Ash turned on his heels and made for Mechanics/Fabrication at a jog. It wasn't but a short distance away; he could clearly see it from the bus as they pulled in, so precious little time was spent moving from Point A to Point B.

Entering Mechanics, Ash gave a cursory look around. Unsure exactly who was present or who the highest ranking person was at that moment, he settled with the old soldier's gambit of announcing his presence to the room, "Holloway, reporting in!" before the search for someone specific began. He mentally readied for more cleaning on his part, likely the women's restroom in all of its fetid glory. He'd done worse. Perhaps he might even have time for a shower before he spoke to his assigned head shrinker. Psychological evaluation wasn't a new thing for him, it being standard in the Army that used to be. First things first - work.



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Thalia Carmichael
Location: Administration (A)
Skills: N/A

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There was something about Rolodex that Thalia didn't like very much, but just couldn't place. It wasn't the way the seemed to act around men so much as an underlying method about her that rubbed her the wrong way. Maybe it was something a little too familiar, like the distinct urban-ness of the lady that didn't seem to wear away after the world regurgitated itself upon the living. Like she herself was, at first. Or the cloying way she had. It was difficult to say. Then again, the thing that was invoking her ire right that second was the condescending, impatient way in which the tapped her fingernails on the door until she went through. Thalia found herself swallowing back a low growl before it could reach the world outside of her head and stepped through, in route to Gunny's office. Demonstrating annoyance would get her nowhere. It was best to pay the lady no mind. Besides, she seemed to have found a niche here, and Thalia could understand that even if she didn't want to be friends. Survival didn't always have to mean bushcraft.

Then again, there were a lot of people that she didn't like. And a lot of people that she was pretty sure weren't fans of hers, either. To her philosophy, all of that was window dressing, anyway. She had some more time to clock in before she could get to dinner, and she really wanted to get to dinner. She might get sick of seafood after a while, but today was not that day. But the gateway was Gunny. Striding up to his office, Thalia tapped her prosthetic on the older man's door three times, announcing her presence with the sounds of metallic percussion. "It's An- Thalia. Back from the service." While she was never military in any classical sense, she was part of a private security corporation. In neither world of private security nor corporate America did one simply walk into the rooms of someone higher on the food chain than yourself, not unless special circumstances were at play that were obviously not, here. Besides, ultimately she wanted things from these people. Strategically, playing it safe was better for now. "I'm checking in."

The amputated, biracial seraphim took a lingering look behind her, back to the front of the building. As much as Rolodex wanted her to go away, Thalia figured that it was very probable that she wanted Alexander to stick around. Maybe she'd have to step back out to provide some cover. At least until they were done with their shift. His business was his business, after all.
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Thalia Carmichael
Location: Assembly (P) -> Administration (A)
Skills: N/A

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Let no good deed go unpunished. One moment, Thalia was giving a reassuring squeeze to her friend's hand, and the next she was flung forward by the sudden cessation of the bus's forward momentum. She was not so lucky. Maybe if Thalia was sitting with her feet on the floor instead of curled up in a ball on the seat, this could have been avoided. But no, she had to cringe against air conditioning, of all things. She could drag her happy ass over to a hearth and build a fire from nothing after getting her arm cut off a few hours prior, but somehow, air conditioning was too much of a distraction. None of that mattered after a quarter second or so following Daytona slamming the brakes, as Thalia chose this moment to hurtle forward, face slamming the back of the seat directly in front of her.

"Β‘Chingada gahd damn madre!"

It was strange to hear perfectly inflected northern Mexico Spanish sandwiched around coastal Massachusetts, but somehow it worked for Thalia, representing the two differing halves of her parentage and upbringing. Parting the mists of the passage of time and shifting of eras, cultural linguistics researchers would come across home movies of a young Thalia Angelica Carmichael, seamlessly transitioning between English and Spanish, Monterrey and Boston, all in a confusing attempt to decide if the horrifyingly violent events of her quinceaΓ±era warranted another drink or the spilling of blood. More blood, anyway. Though these learned men and women of the future might try to hammer down her exact accent in this moment, it would all come to naught and plague their careers for years to come. Whomever they chose to play her in the movie adaptation would break down in fits of sobbing back in their trailer and ultimately quit, forcing the directors to go with their second choice that, while she might have been a bit young for the role, would go on to Oscar nomination for her performance. Not a win that year, but it's an honor just for the nod.

Back to the present, Thalia had managed to renew the flow of crimson from her cut face, thanks to the sudden blunt force applied to it. She took a little satisfaction from the fact that a few others also selected Spanish as their preferred language of vulgarity. It felt a little more like home. Still, she was pissed. As soon as she was allowed to depart, she did so at a quick pace, eager to get back to whatever the hell she needed to be doing, then to get food.

The blood was still oozing down her cheek as she came up to Thana, the irritated look persisting. She knew that Ash would be walking up behind her any second now, taking up Thana's time. And she had somewhere to be, anyway. "Hey, Navy," she said in passing. "Your boyfriend's a hell of a storytellah. Gaht to run. Dinner?" She guessed not on dinner either, but wasn't going to seriously hold it against her. If she had someone she cared about that quested Galahad-style to find her, Thalia wouldn't have come up for air for a month. She continued past and walked into the Administration building.

Without regard for most of what was going on around, Thalia marched right up to Rolodex and announced plainly, "Need to check in with Gunny." She gave a look back to see if Alexander had caught up with her. Maybe she should have waited. But little distractions like getting a faceful of cheap upholstery in front of a group of people was, well, distracting.

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Ash Holloway
Location: Assembly (P) -> Administration (A, exterior)
Skills: N/A

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Recently, it wasn't the best thing in the world for Ash to be left to his own thoughts. Despite the guy's default setting to try to be a Boy Scout, things frequently went to a darker part of his psyche. It was like he always planned for the worst case scenario, mentally. Recently, things had changed in that regard, but whether it was a temporary lull in his general brood or a marked change to his personality remained to be seen. The fact was, for an apocalypse, he wasn't too amazingly bad off. Even a funeral was a luxury, and one that gave closure, besides. He was feeling a little more like the soldier he was a long time ago. Maybe not as optimistic and socially ambitious, but a little more like a previous version of himself. Ash glanced around to the people in the bus yet another time, looking at those he called family and those with which he was not overly familiar. Nothing thusfar had given him any hope that this place was the final answer to all of their problems, forever. Like Newnan, or his caravan, or Virginia before that, or even Dobbins Air Force Base before that, everything could fall apart. It was all so fragile. Nowhere was truly, totally safe anymore. But here, in this place with these people, Ash was willing to try as best he could to make it that way.

Such were his thoughts as the bus pulled back into the settlement proper. A moment of drama came and left for Ash as the brakes slammed to the floor. He couldn't see what the matter was from his vantage, but instincts honed from years of riding around in jerky transports prompted him to slip his left foot out in front of him, into the aisle for support. While some of the others were forcefully introduced to the seat in front of theirs, Ash merely rocked forward an inch or two, a bit of tension on his leg telling the tale of a man bracing for a near miss. he gave a look around, wondering what the big deal with everyone else was. Maybe he missed something. Luckily, Ash knew a bit of Spanish and, like most people learning a second language, caught the swearing bits first. It gave a tiny bit of clarification.

Departing the bus, Ash could barely make out the Mechanic/Fabrication building from where the bus was parking in the Assembly area. He figured that he had plenty of time to check in with his boss for the day yet he wanted to get there with time to spare. It wasn't until he actually set foot on the steps that he noticed Thana standing nearby, staring in the direction of the bus. It almost made him not notice the sudden slamming of comparably oppressive heat as he set foot on the blacktop. Thank God for small favors. He glanced back in the direction of his worksite, and figured that he could definitely spare a moment for Thana. "Hey!" he called, giving a wave and quickening his pace to get over to her. Once Ash arrived, he looked very much like he wanted to sweep her up in a big, spinning hug, but restrained himself at the last second. "On duty," he reminded himself. Thana had a position there and he wanted one, no secret there. No making her look unprofessional. No extenuating circumstances, just a funeral detail returning to base. And they were very much out in public. He clapped his hands to his sides, instead saying, "It's damn nice to see you, Thana. I have to check in but I couldn't not say hello to you." His professional demeanor an obvious facade over the affection he wanted to show.

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