Umbrella Surveillance System
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Buck Rogers The fury of the storm is undeniable; swell the water, and see the waves crash against the surf in excess of ten feet, the greater ones smashing into the rocks of the neighboring cliff-face all the higher. A parade of demons howl their madness in the rain, flying to and fro in all directions in potent gusts-- and oh, how they darken the sky, their winged clouds blotting out the sun! All is dark, and wet, and windy and wretched.

What did the news call it? Tropical storm Amelia? Something like that. It's going to miss the mainland, mostly, but the islands are getting soaked.

Upon the wave-lashed beach, bare feet sunk in soft white sand, is one Buck Rogers. He's almost knee-high in sea water, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, shirtless, in some cross between shorts and a swimmer's speedo. A fishing pole is held in his hands, a stout solid thing near ten feet long, and the line is cast amidst the tumultuous black-blue depths.

"And I told that girl," he sings, a rough bass, "that I wasn't gonna sleep alone toniiiiight."
Ria There's some saying about 'any port in a storm.' Usually it's a figure of speech, but obviously it's got its roots in a nautical concept, and this is certainly one of those storms where any port would do.

That is, they would for a boat that wasn't transporting several cases of automatic weapons. The Libertad is such a boat, and its captain, Rodrigo Perez, is too paranoid to consider landing in a civilian port with the outbound shipment inside the craft. There's no telling how long the Libertad would be stuck in dock for, and with the state of affairs in Bolivar, security on the civilian docks is tight.

Thus, the ship finds its way into a private cove, its engine in a sorry state, and its crew waterlogged and exhausted as they settle into a relatively dry spot under the tropical canopy.

<If we don't get that fucking engine running, we're going to have to row to the mainland. Someone's going to have to go find a box of god-damned tools,> the aged ex-officer tells the crew in Spanish, who are slouching against whatever surfaces they can draw some rest from. No volunteers present themselves.

Off to one side, a girl in a yellow poncho is sitting on a large tree root and gazing off the coast into the storm. Finally, she breaks the silence. <I think we've got plenty of god-damned tools around here already.>

Rodrigo huffs with something between derision and amusement, reaching up to stroke his moustache as the crew turn eyes like knives toward the audacious young woman. Finally, he speaks up. <Thank you for volunteering, Maria.>

Sighing and rolling her eyes, the girl in the poncho pushes herself up against the tree trunk and starts to wander off, muttering darkly.

<Oh, and stay away from the bar until you got me that damn toolbox, girl,> Rodrigo calls after her.

<Bitch,> one of the crew members, a tattooed man with a bald head, comments.

<Shut up,> Rodrigo commands with a grunt as silence falls over the makeshift encampment save for the sound of the storm.

==*====================*==

<Where the fuck am I,> Ria wonders aloud as she steps out of the trees and into what looks to be someone's private beach. She knows the islands fairly well, but there's never been much reason to stop on this one. The curtains of rain aren't helping her sense of navigation much, either. Her boots squish into the wet sand as she walks slowly forward, giving her a sense of unsteadiness. Frowning, she presses onward. She's pretty sure that she can see a house, but there might be a tool shed on the coast, and taking is easier than asking, so she veers toward the waterline. That's when she sees the figure out in the water. At first, she assumes the shape must be some kind of buoy, but then - why would a buoy be moving that much?

Getting closer, her eyes confirm that there's definitely someone in the water. Pulling her yellow poncho close about herself, she yells out into the storm in Spanish: <Hey, what the fuck is wrong with you?>
Buck Rogers The line lifts on the crest of a wave, and Buck feels the tension in his pole as it suddenly grows taut-- a bite! Bare arms flex, the gleam of sweat mixed with the pattering rain that smacks against him, as he begins to pull! There's none of those fancy motorized reels, no, fishing is best done the old-fashioned way.

As the ocean tosses, splattering the man with salt, the sky lights with a sudden fork of lightning-- it cuts across the clouds in jagged lines and then descends, striking the water far far out, and the thunderous scream that follows damn near drowns out Maria's words. They are but wind, and she has such little lungs.

"Come on, you motherfucker!" The brute bellows as the light fades, taking a few steps backwards, watching the bob on his line dip and dance. He pulls again, growls, and there's a whoosh as the ocean releases his prey-- a fat, grey-scaled fish, that gets caught in the razor winds and flaps its tail in the darkness. It gets yanked around and around like a lasso, and comes right for Maria!
Ria The wind howls back at Maria as she yells into it. The wind wins. Humanity might kick nature's ass most days of the week in this day and age, but storms are where the tables turn. Ria's legs glisten in the light of the moon and the lightning; apparently she had the misfortune of getting caught thinking there was going to be shorts weather today. She ventures closer to the water - what the hell is that guy trying to do, anyway, drown himself? - and squints out at Buck. She cups her hands to her mouth again.

"Hey, esse, you trying to drown yourself or what the fu -"

Flying fish! Ria's reflexes are the only thing that keep her from getting slapped with a faceful of fins, her hands coming up to catch the unfortunate bundle of extra-fresh sushi just before it can.

It's still alive.

<Son of a bitch!>

The thing's tail slaps her in the lips as she tries to fend it off, her grip tightening to try and force the thing to stop flapping about so much. Then the inertia of the fishing line hits her, yanking her out to sea. Her teeth clench and her toes dig into the sand as she tries to pull back and anchor herself - just as the water recedes and pulls the terrain out from under her. She falls forward, a bundle of yellow plastic, the fish slipping her grip as her arms splay out to try and catch herself before she falls face-first into the surf. "Meeer-"

*SPLOOSH*
Buck Rogers Buck's laughing as the fish sails, ignorant of the pretty girl who's about to suffer for his entertainment. "Fly, little guy!" He roars, mouth split in a wide, sharp-toothed grin, a visage as hungry as any shark our aquatic friend has dealt with. The pole slips a little in his hands, from the wetness, and he stabilizes it by jabbing it down into a hole in the sand, burying enough to keep it from falling over or going out with the tides.

"Alright, let's--" It's then he spies Maria, a fish in her face, flapping about, as she falls and crashes into the grit of the sand and the little plants and shells and rocks that line the shore. There's another flash of lightning, and in the short span of time between it illuminating the giant and fading once more to dark, he's crossed the intervening space and is kneeling down at her side. "Come on, lil lady, ain't gonna have you trespass and drown on my watch," he grumbles, trying to scoop her up out of the water. Likely still carrying a fish.
Ria The fish has been given back to the waves, though it isn't likely to get far tethered, as it still is, to the pole. Shells and sediment cover Ria's forearms as she's pulled up from the water. As she is, though, the lady starts to thrash, trying to get her arms free and clean and away from the obviously-insane man that would be her rescuer. In doing so, she becomes not unlike a fish herself - difficult to hold, slippery, limbs slapping against Buck chaotically.

"<Let go of me, bastard!>" she curses at Buck in Spanish. He's speaking to her in English? Well, that explains one thing at least. "Americano," she says as she falls backward backside-first in the sand. "Only a fucking American would be fishing in a goddamn thunderstorm!"

She scoots backward through the sand as she stares up at Buck, barely able to see him from under her hood. She spits - not at Buck, but to get the sand out of her face. She wipes the sleeve of her parka across her visage; it loosens the debris enough for the rain to quickly wash it free, though her face remains soaked. "What the hell are you doing out here, anyway?"
Buck Rogers The girl's thrashing isn't enough to loosen Buck's grasp; but it's enough to make it clear she doesn't want his aid, and so he relents, timing his release for when she launches backwards so that she falls ass-first into the sand. The cold water flows in and smacks her back. As she stares up at him, a foul-mouthed little mess, the bull folds his arms over his chest and meets her gaze beneath the brim of his hat.

"Fishin'," he answers, jerking his thumb to the swaying pole locked in the white sand nearby. "I've been readin' a book about this thing the Japanese do called sushi." He nods, satisfied with his answer, and hums. The horizon lights up and thunder rolls across the sea with all the force of stampeding hooves.

"Get that cute ass up," he says, offering her a hand. "Dunno why you're trespassing on my land-- can't you read the sign on the fence? Private property. C'mon, bring you inside and get ya a towel."
Ria Ria's lips twist with distrust as the hand is thrust toward her. She's on her own here - there's no way that her crew would hear her if she yelled or even screamed for them, and Buck is one of relatively few specimens of humanity she's not sure she could take in a fight. On the other hand...

"Fine," she says with vehement finality in her tone as she wipes her hand on her thigh, then reaches out to latch onto Buck's arm and pull her butt out of the surf. "Of course I could read the damn sign. I just didn't /see/ the damn sign. My boat ran up on the shore half a mile over," she claims as she bundles her poncho about herself. Now that she's been submersed, the wind is feeling a hell of a lot cooler. "Vamos. I'll follow you," she tells the giant as she starts to shiver, water dripping off of her.
Buck Rogers Buck hefts the girl up and turns-- though his hand dips low to smack her ass before he steps ahead. "That'a girl," he says, and without another word the chauvinistic fisherman's stalking north along the beach, along the great high green-tipped cliffs that border it, up a path through grasses and trees that leads to a large beach house. It's hard to see it from the beach, in this weather, but when it clears up it's obvious enough.

"Mi casa es su casa," he rumbles, bare feet slapping cobblestones en route to the side-path that branches to the backyard and accompanying pools and patio, the stone slick with rainwater. A glass sliding door leads into a small room, and with a wave of his hand, Buck gestures for Maria to take a seat in a lawn chair within a small roofed alcove. The door opens, the giant vanishes for a few moments, and when he comes back out, he's got some oversized and extravagantly soft towels. One gets tossed to her.

"So your ship's messed up, huh?"
Ria The girl is caught off-guard when the hand reaches around to slap her on the seat of her soggy shorts, jumping a little and reaching back behind herself to guard her backside against further attack. "Easy there, cowboy," she gripes, though by the time she's muttered it, Buck is likely already out of earshot. She snorts and falls in line behind Buck, stepping around the footprints left in the sand by the enormous man as if dodging potholes. She squints into the rain at the beach house as it comes into view. Her boots clop dully against the stone as she follows Buck up the path, one eyebrow curved perpetually up as she goes.

"Gracias," she replies to Buck's offer as she passes the pool and follows him into the alcove. She's already sitting in the chair when Buck returns, though she's perched on the edge of it with her arms across her knees, shivering and wearing a wary expression. The towel hits her in the face and drops into her lap, causing her to blink a couple of times. "Thanks," she says with an even tone as she takes the towel and starts to pad at her face with it.

Once her face is reasonably dry, she lowers the towel and looks up at Buck. "Yeah, that's right. Engine kicked the shit and I had to make an emergency landing. Might just be a matter of letting the motor dry out, but I can't tell for sure without the right tools, yeah?"

Her gaze moves around the room, over toward the door to the house. "The name's Ria. Looks like a nice place. You live here?"
Buck Rogers The towel's not only plush, it's comfortably warm, too-- seems the big guy ran it through the dryer briefly before coming back out. Buck has one, too, and he's ditched the hat, drying off his face and messy hair. The patio's lights provide more than enough light to see by, and while it's still cool and windy out, they're not under the rain anymore-- they can get a good look at each other.

Buck's huge. Movie monster huge, bodybuilder huge, all muscle and vein and hair-- so much god damn hair, he's a fucking bear, it seems, coarse and black and bristly. Must have some Italian in him. But it isn't enough to hide the mess of scars that decorate him.

He leans against the open doorway. The interior lighting shines out behind him. "Yeah, this is my place," he confirms, gesturing broadly to encompass the area. If she looks out behind her, she can see rather elaborate gardens, and stone-carved pools lush with plant life. There's even a little waterfall and a slide cut in a stone groove! "Most places closed early today on account'a the weather," he mentions. "Resort doesn't want people getting lost or hurt. Should clear up in a day or two, and then you'll be able to call up a mechanic."

At her name, the big man huhs, scratching his chest. "Buck Rogers."

If she's familiar with United States media, the Bolivarian civil war, or global anti-bioterrorism efforts, it's a recognizable name. If not? It isn't.
Ria Upon finding that the towel is not only fluffy, but also warm, Ria peels the plastic poncho she's been wearing back to rest against the lawn chair. It's wet inside and out - practically useless for the moment, especially with the towel to substitute for warmth. She's got her hair in a tight bun that's soaking wet since her tumble into the ocean earlier. Without the poncho on, she appears fairly petite, though certainly athletic. The tank top and shorts she's wearing cling to her with moisture. Overall, she looks outdoors-y, like she might've been out boating with an intent to do some hiking.

"Santo dios," she half-mutters as she takes in the full sight of Buck, the now-damp towel drooping in her hands. "I feel like I should know that name from somewhere. You a wrestler or something? Olympics? You look like a god damn grizzly." Not that Ria has ever seen a grizzly bear in person - they don't get them much in these parts. "No offense, or anything. You work for the resort?" Realising she's still holding the towel, she starts using it to dry her legs off, doing so efficiently and quickly, as though working on a timer.
Buck Rogers "You're lookin' young to be boating around here by yourself, little girl," Buck says, watching as the poncho is peeled away to reveal the petite and sporty body beneath. The man's voice is low, slow-- the kind of slow that forces people to lean in and listen, because he's not going to finish his sentences with any rush.

It's arrogant, really. Like he expects people to stop and listen. And does he sound.. suspicious?

"Used to be a cop," he says, idly flicking his head upwards. "Back north in the states. Raccoon City." You'd have to live under a rock to not know about Raccoon City at this point. The worst disaster and loss of human life in American history. Bombed right out of existence. The walking dead.

"Done with all that now. Did some freelance work after, made a few talks. I don't work for the resort, but I own this little chunk here. It's a good spot. Surf and turf all day, every day, spittin' distance of the mainland. Golf and girls wherever you look."
Ria Ria stops toweling herself for a moment at Buck's assertion - that she's too young to be out by herself. It's not fear that gives her pause - it doesn't look to be, at least - rather, it's a calculating look in her eyes for a moment, and then the corners of her lips curve up in a smirk. "I can handle myself," she says easily, though she doesn't expound on the remark.

There's a bit of a crinkle to her nostrils at the phrase 'used to be a cop.' Whatever the reason for it, though, the expression fades when he explains further. She may not have recognized the name Buck Rogers, but she does recognize 'Raccoon City.' Everyone does, even here - 'los muertos vivientes,' the walking dead, zombies; everyone has some word for the new reality, even this far removed from it.

"No shit! With the fucking muertos and everything? The city that got wiped off the fucking map?" It seems believable that the mountain of a man might have survived something like that, from the look of him. Ria's reaction is... perhaps more excited than it should be? She's leaning forward in her chair, eyes wide and a hint of a smile on her lips. "Damn. That was all on the news 'round here. I wish I coulda seen it."
Buck Rogers The girl's smirk is met with a flare of the grizzly's nostrils; he snorts, rapping his knuckles on the doorway, and then stalking forward to wrap himself around a chair and lower opposite her. The towel wraps around his bare shoulders.

"I'm sure you can," he drawls, and then his eyes are on her-- not her face, no; they're on her lips, her throat, the swell of breast, though lower is concealed by the table she's seated at. There's no shame to be found on him, and no attempt to moderate his appreciation of the female form.

"Muertos? Yeah, the dead. I was there when the city went crazy. The dead coming back to devour the livin'. Hell of a time, sweetheart; America's private third world playground, a cannibal circus. Don't think you'd have enjoyed it. When all the rules go out the window, a piece'a ass like yours winds up fucked, one way or the other."
Ria Deeming herself sufficiently toweled off for the moment, Ria lets the fabric drape over her otherwise-bare legs and leans back in the chair, her eyes on his as they wander down her figure. The smirk dims only naturally, not really fading from her eyes. When Buck describes the incident in prose, she straightens up, shifting just a little as one leg swings over the other.

The last comment draws a snort.

"I've been living in the third world all my life. I'm from Bolivar; they've been killing each other since Juarez came on when I was a kid. If it came down to who fucks who, I'd be the one doing the fucking," she claims, sitting up straighter and setting the towel on the table. Her eyes flit out to the storm for a moment. "Shit. If the zombies came to my old neighbourhood, the price o' real estate would probably go /up./"

Though she's more dry and warmer than before, a noticeable, faint tremor runs through her, and the nails of her right hand scratch at the tabletop absently.
Buck Rogers Buck's stripped her with his eyes enough. They snap back to her face with razor sharpness, and there they stay, direct and overbearing-- whenever she looks at him, he's already looking at her, never breaking eye contact first and blinking less than she does. He smiles like a shark.

"Take it from me, sweetheart," he rumbles, leaning in over the table. One arm reaches in and he moves to curl thumb and forefinger beneath her chin. "I've been to that Bolivarian shit-hole -- pardon my language -- and there's a difference between bullets and bite marks. You can't beg the dead for mercy. You can run, but they never get tired. You can hide, but they never go away. The horde just gets bigger and bigger and bigger, hungrier and hungrier, til every little hidey-hole's so full not even a mouse slips by."

He sits back. "Ain't the same at all. I miss it."
Ria Ria turns her gaze back to meet Buck's as he leans toward her. Her head tilts a little at the touch of his fingers beneath her chin, and one eyebrow quirks upward, but she doesn't pull away. She listens and stares as Buck speaks, silent until he sits back in his seat.

He misses it. That makes her grin.

"Hey, you should mind your fucking language when you're talking about my shit-hole," she says with a smirk, before her brows flatten abruptly. "And let's pretend those words never came out of my mouth." She picks herself up out of the chair and scoops up the towel to rub it over her backside now that she's standing again. "I think I'm starting to see why you like to go wade and fish in a thunderstorm," she remarks before dropping the towel in the chair and leaning a hand against the table. "So, you've been pretty hospitable so far, considering I wandered onto your beach like a vagabundo. You care if I squat on your patio till the storm passes, or should I keep looking? Promise I don't steal anything."
Buck Rogers "You wanna sneak out with the silverware, be my guest," Buck dismisses with a wave of the hand. "Just make sure I don't catch you." The beast of a man slides back out of the chair and rises to his feet, rolling back his shoulders. "Ain't gonna leave you in the backyard like a fucking dog. There's two guest rooms upstairs down the hall from my bedroom. Pick whichever one you want. Got all the modern amenities a girl might need-- might even have some dry clothes in your size, check the closets."

He pivots on a heel and slides open the glass door. "You'll find your way around. Stay out'a the basement, it's where I keep the grown-up things. Got a pot of coffee on the counter, and half a pizza in the fridge."

He waits by the door for the girl to pass by, and he'll cop another feel, then, if she's not wary enough to avoid him.

"Gonna go get my damn fish. Strip and leave it in the hamper." He nods his head to the laundry basket a few feet in, next to the washer and dryer.
Ria "See, now, why couldn't you tell me that before I made a promise?" Ria asks with a pout of her lips. She straightens up as well, grabbing the towel after a moment's consideration and putting it over her shoulder. "Muchos gracias, caballero. I'll try not to make any messes," she says as she walks up to the door when he opens it for her, smiling up at him. Even with her eyes on his, though, she's savvy enough that his hand only brushes against her backside briefly before her hips pull away, swinging with the motion to bump against his thigh. Her lips remain curved subtly upward at one corner.

"Coffee on the counter, clothes in the hamper, sushi later. Got it," she says as she steps inside. She tucks her thumbs into the front pockets of her shorts as she looks around, before calling over her shoulder, "See you soon, Buck. Good luck with that fish, he's an asshole."