Umbrella Surveillance System
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Bob The volunteers have been working mighty hard. There's been thieves, a near riot, hordes of the sick, hungry, dying and even one dead. And there's been a baby and thankful people to make things seem brighter than they had been before the arrival of the aid workers. Not only that, but when they get an opportunity for a break there's a little chow line set up for them as well as tables and chairs.

When he finally decides to take a break Bob looks like shit. He's pretty worn out looking and his formerly awesome looking tropical garb is covered in dried mud, a little blood and some other unidentifiable goo. With a deep, heavy sigh he approaches the start of the chow line, happy to see it's a washing station. Taking full advantage of it his head and arms are mostly soaked, then soaped, then rinsed again. Of course there's only paper towels, but Bob nobly ignores them to let the momentary relief of being covered in water wash over him.
Trixie The press van seems to have departed for the moment, so Trixie trudges back to the relief tents, no longer bouncing. "Crisis averted," she says wearily, trying to wipe her bootsoles off in the half-dead grass. "I can't remember the last time I talked so much nonsense... not even on the pom-pom squad. Am I still smiling? I may need to have that surgically removed..."
Elliott     When there's a chance to help out, Elliott cannot pass that up. The new drive to serve, to do all he can, doesn't let him just slack off. Stepping around lightly, unhurriedly moving around the area, he's currently trying to take everything in. Those striking blue eyes of his sweeping around as he turns his head, filled with emotion as he slowly, eventually, makes his way closer to where the chow line is. Occasionally, Elliott will pause, frowning thoughtfully as his eyes pass over somebody. "I- I can help with that," he offers out in his British accent as he finds someone struggling, instantly jumping to assist. The faint smile he gives is disarming and warm.

    Elliott lifts his head to a voice close by, and he offers a nod to Trixie. "Nothing wrong with a little smiling." He straightens as he offers a wave. "And hello. I'm Elliott."
Bob Taking his time about getting in line, Bob spots Trixie and hears her speaking. His eyes go towards her face and go wide in a curious expression and he takes a few seconds to think about a reply, eventually squinting and saying after Elliott speaks, "I don't know. Perma-smile surgeries are really painful." Despite having a bit of trouble snapping out of his serious expression, Bob attempts a smile, "Nice job keeping those guys back, I would have decked one of those suckers if they got close to my patients." Then he focuses on Elliott himself and his smile finally snaps into place, "Nice to meet you, Elliott. Bob Delgado, medic."
Trixie "Better than looking like a demented auntie forever," Trixie replies to Bob, with a wry smile. Thankfully, her smile is not fixed after all. "And it was nothin'... I love an audience. Any excuse to ham it up, right?"

She manages a more sincere smile for Elliott. "Only if your face freezes that way. Hi, Elliott. I'm Trixie. Sergeant Trixie Mackenzie, if the formalities matter."
Elliott     Elliott turns his head to Bob when he speaks, looking from him to Trixie before he offers a cool nod of greeting to him. Taking the two of them until he, too, is addressed and he offers out a hand. "A pleasure," he says welcomingly. "To both of you," he says as he extends the comment to Trixie as well. "Right, perhaps a more intimidating expression would be more of more use frozen in place," he says with a little humour, smile flicking to the right. When he glances off briefly with a little 'hrm,' Elliott lets out a short breath and asks, "So who's in charge around here? Whatever I can do to assist." With a brief glance towards the chow lines, he gives a little nod to indicate where he's looking. "You've gotten something to eat yet?"
Bob With a big grin of his own back at Trixie Bob says, "You put on a hell of a show, sergeant. I'd have just fired a round in the air and caused an international incident." And there's a chuckle at his own bad joke.

Elliott's hand gets a friendly, firm shake. "Doctor Emma O'Connal runs the show here, MacKenzie and I are just volunteering to help out for a while." But he's distracted by the idea of food and looks over at the food line, "I tell you what, why don't we grab a bite to eat and then I'll stick you somewhere you can be helpful?"
Trixie Trixie blinks. "Oh, /hell/ no! Wearing that ugly uniform's bad enough!" she retorts, unable to keep from laughing, even if it has a nervous edge to it. "And Bob has it right... we're just volunteers. Not even allowed to show the flag on this one. But we're giving what we can, when we can. Doctor O'Connal's wearing the pants on this job. And I'm glad to let her, 'cause I'm clueless. Except maybe when it comes to baiting paparazzi."

At the mention of food, her sotmach growls embarrassingly loudly. "Um, yeah... maybe let's do that," she says, blushing, laying a hand over her stomach.
Elliott     Looking curiously from Bob to Trixie, Elliott lets out a 'hrm' with a small tilt of his head. "A show?" he asks curiously. There's a brief moment of thought at the joke, stalling El for a second before his lips part to let out a chuckle. His hand gestures outward in front of him at the suggestion of getting this food, dipping his head lightly for them to lead the way. "That sounds like a good plan."

    Elliott can't help it when his expression falters a little at the mention of Emma. Stomach muscles clenching as he draws in a breath, instantly his gaze roams around as if looking for the mentioned redhead. Of course it's her... The nerves that have suddenly befallen the man are pushed to the side, outwardly keeping a casual air and forcing his gaze to stop searching and looking back to Bob and Trixie. "Yes," he says, "lead the way."
Bob With a little shrug Bob says, "Uniform isn't that bad on a guy, but they don't cut combat uniforms any different for females than for men so they fit you all weird and are really unflattering. Which is a damn shame." He leads the way towards the chow line and grabs one of the paper plates, looking happy to be getting something hot in his belly. Standing in line, he looks over his shoulder towards Elliott and asks, "So what is it that you do, my man?"
Trixie "Sort of... I was running interference on a TV news van that came out of nowhere," Trixie explains to Elliott. "The Doc was emphatic that there would be no cameras and mics shoved in the faces of our patients. So I bounced over and hammed it up for... half an hour? I lost track. I can't remember ever talking so much nonsense. Just hope the boss wasn't watching the news right then..." She shudders.

She turns to follow the others. "It's more what goes /with/ the uniform... though the uniforms themselves are bad enough. I'd feel a whole lot better about fighting bioterrorists if we weren't constantly getting bludgeoned with expectations to conform to military regulations and standards against enemies who aren't standardized or regulated... who LAUGH at the law, in fact... and laugh harder at our cute little assault rifles and toy pistols and papier mache armor right before they eat our faces. It's a total buzzkill. And troopkill. We're overbudget due to the cost of military funerals more than anything, when the groaners killed the conformists and trashed their regulation toys in the process."
Elliott     Those piercing blue eyes of Elliott's watch both Bob's and Trixie's face as they speak, incredibly focused as he listens. Studying and taking in the words with a sharp, agreeable nod. "What?" he lets out with a feigned look of surprise. "We definitely have to do something about getting better fitting uniforms for the women." The lopsided smile that flickers out in humour gives off the jest.

    When Trixie answers him, Elliott is absorbed into listening to her, his eyes watching as his mouth twitches a little. "Well, good for you for rising to the task," he compliments in response to interfering with the press. He lets out more of a thoughtful hum about the uniform talk, and then swings his gaze back to Bob when he realises he missed his question. "Well, mate," he lets out, shrugging his shoulders lightly. "My job's to see how everyone's emotional state is." White teeth flash as he smiles a little brighter before his gaze shifts to Trixie again, offering her a sympathetic smile for the annoyances of uniform.

    "Should we go in 'release' the uniforms into freedom?" he says jokingly, trying to make light of it. "No one will ever know."
Bob "Fuck that piddly little bullshit. One of the missions I went on we had to use pistol caliber munitions to avoid damaging dead bodies in a hole in the fucking ground," Bob says in agreement with Trixie. "I don't carry a single standard issue weapon on mission any more. The only time I carry one is the M9 when I'm off duty."

A big sigh comes out of him before food is spooned into his plate. He thanks the server with a friendly "gracias" before going back to what he was saying, "It still beats the hell out of the regular army. At least here we can carry what we want to if we can get our hands on it."

Another big sigh, "But the armor... man. I gotta buy myself something better than that issue crap. I'm thinking I'll sell a kidney and buy some Dragon Skin."

And one more shrug, "That being said, I don't want to do anything else. Now that I know what all is out there I'd be a total asshole if I wasn't in a position to kill it and the people that make it possible."

Once his food is loaded up he stands around so that he doesn't leave the rest of his conversation behind. His attention focuses on Elliott when he's speaking and when he says what his job is, well, Bob just has to crack a big smile, "A head shrinker! Great!" And he's being serious, very pleased by the news. "I've been getting my head shrunk ever since I punched a standee that yelled at me suddenly and my last fiance told me I had nightmares. The only thing is, my latest therapist is a sailor and he's god only knows where by now."
Tabitha Tabitha emerges from a tent wearing clean but rumpled scrubs, her hair mussed, and eyes bleary. she squints, blinks, and reaches up to pull her glasses back down on her face, rakes a hand through her hair and is all the better for a hour or so nap. She holds a large metal thermous. She takes a drink before she moves to find what might be fuel enough to count as food. Coffee only goes so far.
Trixie "Maybe. But I'm not sure how much more 'rising' I can do at this rate. Call it what you want to, but this assignment's just a big punishment detail over that BBC soundbite a few weeks back, and we all know it. Only one who didn't get the shaft is our former Officer In Charge... /he's/ doing our /real/ job over in Africa and the Mid-East while we mark time in some petty dictator's backyard, just 'cause the U.S. has the bad judgement to have interests in this mosquito farm. Only good we've done here to date is this... and it's strictly off the record and volunteer-only. I even spent my own money to rent the van I drove here, and almost half this month's pay on a cargo of bottled water." Trixie shakes her head. "I was issued the standard M9 and P90 in the early days. Only time I use the P90 is in training, and the M9 has been gathering dust since I got it. I scavenged a XM8 in Paris and that's about all I carry besides my old Samurai Edge handgun. Uses the same mags and ammo as that standard-issue toy, and has the same lines, so even if anyone notices the difference, nobody cares."

She stares at Elliott for a moment as he mentions his real job, even filling her plate forgotten for a moment. "Well, welcome to the washtub. But I think my head's fine as it is. No offense. And much as I'd love to chuck the uniform, I'm sure the Senate would throw another fit over it and cut our allocation even more. We've even been ordered to strip enemy corpses of all useable gear and ammo... that's how thin we are now."
Bob Hey, Bob knows that lady with the thermos, at least in passing. Might as well try to make her feel a bit welcome. "Hello Doctor Marshall!" he calls out to Tabitha, hoping she'll remember their brief meeting back in Paris, but if not it's no sweat off his back.

Trixie's got some more talking in her and Bob is more than happy to reply, "I've been hearing rumors about some shit going down here so we might get a chance to do our real job while we're here. If not, I'm going to keep helping out however I can until get somewhere there's something worth shooting." When she talks about her guns Bob nods along, "The P90 stays locked up. I haven't shot it once since I got my hands on my MP7. That thing's got a similar concept to the P90 but way better execution. Softer shooting, a little more punch and it's not a rectangle with magazines that malfunction when you look at them sideways. And I've got my shotgun, too, of course. With all the other gear I just can't be bothered to carry a handgun. Never carried one as a grunt, don't feel the need to now."

He leads the way to a nearby table now that everyone's got some food, sitting down and digging in without any hesitation. It's a good thing, too, as young local woman comes out of the woodwork calling for "Senor Delgado." Bob looks up when he hears his name and frowns but lifts a hand to signal them. She starts speaking to him in rapid fire Spanish. Something about someone rooting through his medical equipment.

Bob replies with, "Fuck." Then shovels another bite of his food into his mouth and tells the young lady to lead the way, his Spanish almost as smooth as hers. To the others he'd been dining with he gives a wave, "I'll catch a break some day. Later guys."
Tabitha Tabitha watches Bob go, gettting somethign light to eat for now, and has a seat at the table with the other. Her big thermos is just clunked on the table beside her. "Hey..", she blinks.. looking at the others. She eyes Trixie. "I.. seen you earlier.. and.. before then.. too?"
Trixie Trixie nods sympathetically to Bob's description. "Yeah... but I was a cop before I went regular Army, so I'm totally used to carrying handguns. It was all I had during the outbreak... literally, I had two handguns. They did the job. But I won't deny that a handgun's a lousy place to mount a grenade launcher. If only the XM8 wasn't so /heavy/ with all the important stuff added... sometimes I think it weighs half as much as I do!" And then suddenly he's being pulled away, and she stares after him in mild dismay. "Um, yell if you need help? I'll come running! Or sliding, maybe, given this whole place is solid mud... and mosquitoes..." she calls, her voice sinking to a murmur in seconds.

She manages a smile for Tabitha. "Hi again, Tabitha. TerraSave HQ in Paris, if I remember right. Glad to have you join us," she says warmly, even if her smile is a bit weak. Being bathed in so much misery and suffering of these poor people does that to you, or so she's discovered. "I was kind of kept busy keeping those shutterbugs off of you all, so I didn't see how things were going for the whole humanitarian aid thing. How are we doing?" she asks.
Elliott     Elliott listens to the talk of weapon makes and ammo curiously, but he doesn't input anything of his own into it. He waits his turn to grab some grub, and finally his pale blue eyes lift to Bob. A welcoming smile slides warmly across his face, growing into a brief grin as he says, "We can talk anytime, mate." He makes a little, offhanded shooing gesture to both Trixie and him to go ahead and eat and to not wait for him. It doesn't take long for him to meet back up at the table, anyway, just in time to see Bob getting pulled away so that he can offer a quick, "See you later."

    Sitting, Elliott tries a taste of food before he looks over to Trixie. "You can have a good head on your shoulders and still want to talk though. Plus," he says as he glances briefly towards another face. "Sometimes people need a little de-stressing. Hello," he adds this in toward Tabitha, standing so that he can properly greet her. "Names Elliott." One of his brows arches marginally as he hrms, looking back to Trixie. "You were a bobbie? So young?"
Tabitha Tabitha smiles up to Elliot. Her eyes show weary tiredness, but a sparkle of of live. "Doctor Tabitha Marshal". she pours some coffee from the thermos.. doesn't offer anyone else any.. it's medicinal. She takes a deep sip "And thats right. Geeze, why does that seem so long ago.. ", smiling overf her cup. She looks back to Elliot, one eyebrow lifting.
Trixie "Bobbie? Oh, right... forgot that you call them that over there. Why's that, anyway? And I was, yeah... long story." Trixie replies softly. "Short version is that my parents died during my senior year of high school, so I had to join the National Guard to stay afloat until I graduated. Couldn't go to college like I wanted, so I decided my physical talents might serve me well as a police officer until I could get into college on the G.I. Bill or something like. I was only in blue for nine months before the outbreak destroyed my hometown... I lived in Raccoon City, by the way. I totally forgot to mention that part. Sorry about that," she adds, more contritely, blushing.

She smiles at Tabitha. "Probably 'cause Paris is like a whole other world compared to here. I never understood all those 'first world troubles' jokes until I came along on this job. It's really an eye-opener. I don't like to think about the possibility that there might be B.O.W.'s here... these poor folks totally have it rough enough."
Elliott     Elliott gives a twitch of his lips and a partial chuckle, shrugging at the term he used for a cop. "Sorry," he murmurs amiably. Then silences before he can comment, because she goes on to explain the 'short version.' His incredibly blue eyes lock on Trixie as he listens with interest, nodding in acknowledgement and offering a faint little smile. "That must've been tough." His gaze trails back to Tabitha, offering out his hand as he responds, "It's a pleasure, Doc. Err-"And Elliott's head turns to glance around briefly. His eyebrows lower a little thoughtfully, nerves just under the surface as he searches again. When he brings his attention back to Trixie, with a look to Tabitha, he gives them a charming smile as he says, "Well... I hope that we can chat again, but I... think I'll try to find O'Connal and offer my aid directly." He has his reasons. And with a little dip of his head, he dismisses his self.
Tabitha Tabitha shakes Elliots hand briefly, watching him go, and then takes another long drink of her coffee. As if offering to share one of her toes..but.. these days, whats a toe or two. "Want some?", asking of Trixie. "I stole James' bean and did several pots ands stocked up. It's extra strong.", waggling the thermous back and forth. "..and how did your day go today?..", figuring it didn't go much better than hers.
Trixie "Understatement of your life, Doc... but I had it a lot better than a lot of folks. I was with the Guard then, and we took care of each other. But I won't deny that we lost a /lot/ of our people. I was assigned to a platoon that was down to seven people, and there were three of us left before it was all over," Trixie replies, with a sad smile. As Elliott is suddenly drawn away, she waves after him. "Take care, Doc! Don't work too hard!"

She looks back to Tabitha with a wry smile. "I'll pass, but thanks lots anyway. And it was rough. Bad part is, I think I had the easy part of the job. I don't know how you medical folks are still standing after all that."
Tabitha Tabitha says, "Ahh", she says with a wry smile. "They beat the crap out of us early. get us used to this. It's called Residnency." She takes a deep sip of her coffee, sounding once more like a nc-17 coffee commercial.

After a moment, "I ..heard rumors of ..something.. that was going on. I was elbow deep in ..work.. How did the food and other stuff go? Any problems?""
Trixie "Sounds sort of like what they call Hell Week in the Army, but with a totally different focus. Might want to take it easy on that stuff... that almost sounded like coffee porn or something," Trixie replies, giggling as she finishes. "Ohmigawd... that is /so/ a word now!"

After a moment to compose herself, she adds, "There was some kind of commotion around the food distribution earlier, but I'm not sure what it was. It must've gotten sorted out, 'cause I totally never heard anything about it."
Tabitha Tabitha says, "As soon as I get woke-up enoug, I've gotta check supplies, see how we're doing. We went through a lot stuff today. I had no idea it was this bad. I saw all kinds of injuries. Despirate sort of injuries" She just shakes her head.

Another sip of coffee. "I'm sorta worried about Emma. couple of bad things hit her hard. She'll need to unwind when this is all over. Nice long vacation. ""
Trixie "Oh, wow... what happened to her?" Trixie asks, suddenly worried. "She's been through a lot already, too. Is there any way I can help? I'm not a doctor, but I can keep her company and stuff like that..."
Tabitha Tabitha take a deep breath, watching the steam rise from her cup. 'Saved a baby but lost the mother. Never easy to see. But, I think maybe bringing a little life into the world helped some.
Trixie "Let's hope so. Nearly getting killed twice back in Paris was bad enough," Trixie murmurs, nodding sadly. "What can we do to help her?"
Tabitha Tabitha shakes her head. "I dont know. She sorta shut do-".. her mouth hanging open for a second, then snaps shut really quick. Her cheeks blush, and the the color drains from her face. She lifts her cup to her lips a bit too quicly to try to hide her mistake.

Before burning her tongue, she lowers her cup. "Good news is probably the best thing for her." Guilty eyes dart to Trixie to try to guage the young woman's reaction, and prays for fatigue.
Trixie "Shut down? As in catatonic? That's... not good," Trixie says, her voice shivery to match her own shiver. "Maybe... maybe we'd better check on her, like, /now/..."
Tabitha Tabitha holds up a hand. "No, not catatonic.", taking a moment. "..I couldn't.." she lowers her voice to a whisper, leaning forward. "I couldn't ..feel.. her. Normaly, I can. The baby.. 'Daisy'. she was 'back' then. but I.." her eyes dart from one to the other as she gazes at Trixie.

Still whispering.. "..I dont know how to explain it and you're probably about to tell me i've been working too hard."
Trixie Trixie frowns faintly. "Feel... back..." Instinctively she reaches out to gently clasp Tabitha's hands in hers. "No, I'm not. Whatever this is, it's maybe half as weird as shooting down zombies that used to be my neighbors," is her low-voiced reply. "This... feeling... that you do. Do it to me. And tell me what you feel. Am I 'here' or 'gone'?"
Tabitha Tabitha squeezes Trixies hands, pulls one away, takes a deeper sip of coffee, and takes the hand again. She lowers her head just a bit, Instead of looking into the young woman's eyes, she unfocuses her own.
Tabitha Tabitha narrows her brows, leaning closer a bit.. now just a few inches away.. A few emotions flicker or.. half flicker across her face.. "It may be an easy guess, but worried.. and maybe frustrated.. I dont know why the frustrated. Worry.. but definitely .. frustrated. that stands out. unexpected", She looks up. "I'm crazy, right?"
Trixie Trixie watches Tabitha, lightly squeezing her hands. For a long, long few moments she sits quietly, unmoving.

Finally, she nods as Tabitha speaks. "That's pretty well right... I think. You can feel my emotions, then? Something like that?" she asks softly.
Tabitha Tabitha says, "With Emma.. its.. different. I'm used to her, or she's .. I.. dunno. Always easier.. When she's calm, I'm calm. When she's upset.. I can feel it, even if she has a smile on. Sometimes it breaks my heart to ..know.. how she feels inside but she just carries on like nothing is wrong"

"When she dances, or when she holding 'Daisy' today, thats the most relaxed and happy I've ..felt.. her", Tabitha says, struggling for words that never seem to fit."
Trixie "Maybe if you're around someone longer, you get a 'feel' for them... like training with the same gun or the same car all the time," Trixie muses. "Sorry if I'm not very helpful... this is something I've never even tried before. It's all guesswork. Hmm..."
Tabitha Tabitha shrugs her shoulders. "It could be. Emma was the first person I met here, and she's the one i've known the longest. James is one I can get a feel for too. Cant Maxim so far." Her hands squeezes Trixie's. "When we first got here", eyes closing. Her hands tremble slightly as the grip. "..it was like a sea. I felt I was almost drowning in it. It. got really hard"

Tabitha takes a deep breath. "When I actually started working, treating folks, it wasn't as bad. I had something else to focus on. As long as I stayed busy, I didn't feel anything. Thats why I worked until I dropped. It hasn't come back yet, or i'm getting used to it. Thats almost more frightening."
Trixie Trixie squeezes Tabitha's hands more firmly, but not hard, hoping it comes across as reassuring. "I can see why you would feel that way. Just getting out of the van was a slap in the face. I didn't know /anyone/ lived in such... I don't know. Awfulness is the best I can do. And getting used to something like this... I know how that feels, too. When I have to shoot down something that used to be a living, breathing person no different than me... I just do it. Sometimes I cry like a baby on the evac bird, or wake up screaming, reliving it all in my head. But right then... nothing." She sighs softly, lowering her head.
Tabitha Tabitha 's eyes widen a bit, "..cold stone in the pit of your stomach.. dread.", her head lifting slightly. She's still not very good at this, but she gets glimpses. It takes quite some time, however. And, the low first strains of the underlying sea seem to carry on the wind, like the smell of an oncoming tide. "I cant be sure though.."
Trixie "Close enough, I think..." Trixie murmurs, nodding. "I've always worried about passing some point of no return... when I forget that they used to be people and are just /things/ that have to be put down. I never want to get there..."

"I wonder," she adds, "if you could do something to cause an expected emotion. One that could be predicted. Would you be able to be sure then?"
Tabitha Tabitha shrugs. "Possibly. I'm grasping in the dark now. I thought I was imagining at first. Emma surprised me, Here surprised me. Thats the surest way, but there.. biofeedback, I guess. maybe honing in on one particular thing. That migth help", a bit of a silly smirk on her face. "Could try it maybe, though I dont know what kind of strong emotions I'd want to subject someone to"
Trixie Trixie shrugs. "I'm sure we could think of something," she says, with a wry smile. "But this isn't the best place for something like that. And I think we're just in time for the afternoon rush," she adds, gesturing to a group of people approaching. "Guess our break's over for now. Need any help at the medical tent?" she offers, standing and taking up her plate.
Tabitha Tabitha shakes her head. "Just keep the supplies coming. And if you see someone that seems to be worse off, point them up to the head of the line", smiling. She nods at the rush. "Never very long, but a had a few ours." She smiles warmly to Trixie. "Another long day."