Umbrella Surveillance System
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Trixie Midmorning in the battered shell of Raccoon City. The bright, carefree sunshine belies the deadly epidemic and resultant violence sweeping the once peaceful city as Trixie Mackenzie jogs toward the truck stop. Her eyes roam the shadows of the street around her, and she keeps herself mentally readied to slow and draw one of her pistols or pick up her pace if any infected make an appearance. Tucked into her pants pocket is a folded sheet of paper, a message from the National Guard encampment at the church, intended for a recipient at the Waffle House.
Tobias Hunter     The gas station and truck stop used to be a hub of activity and still is, but it's different now. Instead of the excitement and impatience of waiting for a pump to open up so the next guy can get in and get out, it's the tension and fear of waiting for the next group of undead to hurl themselves at the makeshift wall of trailers that block off approaching streets and alleyways. Instead of truckers irritably sucking down coffee and puffing through packs of cigarettes while waiting for a call from dispatch to get them on their way, truckers on the verge of passing out and having a nicotine fit slowly pace back and forth on top of those trailers with shotguns or pistols in hand as they look out for signs of incoming trouble. The total indifference somebody moving quickly up the street a week ago would have received, today, gets Trixie the attention of three armed goons on the trailer tops who all draw beads on her and one more who steps up to a sandbag barricade between the trailers on the ground and raises his .357 to sight at her too.

    Outside the truck stop perimeter, crouching inside an alley mouth with his back against the wall and his rifle cradled across his lap, Tobias Hunter watches as Trixie goes jogging by and flicks his eyes past her to the guarded base she's approaching far too quickly.
Ares Buchanan The Waffle House has seen better days. When the shit hit the fan it was looted, and now it serves as the makeshift mess for this base. Outside is home to a makeshift ring where two shirtless individuals are throwing down. One would be the head of the security team, and the other is the former cook and resident of the motel, Ares Buchanan.

         The Southerner covered in prison tattoos dodges a wild swing from the officer, and counters it with a quick jab to the ribs followed by a reverse elbow to the jaw. And that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Rather than leave him there he helps his sparring partner up and dusts them off. "Good fight." But his attention soon shifts to the guards atop the trailer, "I'm gonna go check that out."
Trixie Trixie becomes aware of her peril at about the same time as Tobias, slowing her pace as she approaches and waving her empty hands above her head in a 'wave-off' gesture. "Hey! Anybody in charge around here? And point those damned things somewhere else! Geez..." She slows to a walk as she approaches the sandbag barrier. "I'm from the National Guard camp over at the church. Got a message for whoever's in charge around here," she adds, slightly breathlessly.
Tobias Hunter     The general sense of relief that washes over the truck stop sentries at Trixie's self-introduction can be felt as much as seen as they lower their weapons and go turn away to resume looking out up the roadways.

    Tobias Hunter lets out lets out a low chuckle and straightens up, walking slowly up the street behind Trixie with his rifle in one hand and the other hand in the air.
Ares Buchanan Ares Buchanan pulls himself up to look out at Trixie and the arriving Tobias. He tosses his hand up in a slight wave, before promptly hopping back over the edge and moving to meet the pair once they enter.
Trixie Trixie makes her way past the barricade and onto the parking lot of the truck stop, heading in the general direction of the Waffle House. She waves to Ares as he waves to her, smiling a small smile, but doesn't slow down yet. tobias has momentarily escaped her attention, between approaching from behind her and being quiet, though that may soon change.
Tobias Hunter     Tobias Hunter passes through the narrow passage the truckers created in their barricade a few steps behind Trixie, having been in no rush to catch up to her, and while she moves on ahead to meet Ares he stops to have a palaver with the guard there at the sandbags. Both men gesture at Trixie's back, the guard casts a look her direction and gives a nod, and Tobias produces a much-worse-for-wear box of cigarettes and flips open the mangled boxtop to let the guy take as many as he wants.

    What's left of the cigs go back into one of the Blackfoot's pockets as he turns away and he slings his rifle across his back while he starts toward Trixie and Ares.
Ares Buchanan "Howdy, howdy." Ares greets Trixie, rounding the corner about the same time as she does. "Anything you're needin' help with?" As he speaks he tugs his shirt back on, getting as decent for visitors as you can, all things considered. His attention shifts back towards where Tobias is, and a slight nod is given in his direction. "Take it y'all didn't come in together?"
Trixie "Got a message from the National Guard camp at the church for whoever is in charge. Nobody seemed to know, so I don't have a name to go with the position. Sorry about that," Trixie replies, arcing an eyebrow as Ares pulls his shirt back on. "Didn't disturb your morning constitutional, did I?" she asks, noting the sweat on his brow and body in general
The slight nod gets her attention, and she looks back over her shoulder to study Tobias, and then to smile faintly. "You're moving up in the world. Where'd you get the heavy protection? 'Cause I'm sure it's not the obvious and suspicious answer."
Tobias Hunter     The Blackfoot returns Ares' greeting nod with one of his own as he approaches and he answers Trixie's greeting with a crooked devilish grin and, "Raccoon City Police Department standard issue," when he's close enough to be heard. Once he's within a few paces of the two he comes to a halt and curls one leather-jacketed arm in a mock bicep curl, "Didn't you hear? There's a new sheriff in town."
Ares Buchanan "Nah, just sparrin' with the head of security. Almost enough ta make me wonder why I'm in charge ah the food instead." Ares cracks his knuckles, watching the exchange between the two. Once the other man has said his his piece, he turns back to Trixie. "Well, I can take that letter of your hands, make sure whoever's best suited ta receive it does. Not really any one person in charge."
Trixie Trixie slips the message from her pocket and passes it to Ares. "Thank you. And how are you with a gun? 'Cause I can say with authority that you /can/ beat on them with your fists, but you sure don't want to have to. Firearms seem to be the way to go for a safe kill." She smirks at Tobias. "Matter of fact, I haven't. When did that happen?"
Tobias Hunter     "She's right," Tobias Hunter adds to Ares. "I pounded one a couple times, dead in the head, brass knuckles on even, he just kept coming, man." His black eyes dart toward Trixie, looking at her sidewise as he adds, "You believe I helped half a dozen STARS officers fight their way through a mob of infected to recover weapons and ammo from the station armory and this kit was hazard pay?" He raps his knuckles on his armored chestplate a couple of times by way of indicating what he means by, 'this kit.'
Ares Buchanan "Fists are still good against other humans though. Keep my guns stashed away until I need 'em though." As Ares speaks one of the younger residents runs over with a set of armor, passing it off to him.

         "Thank ya kindly." he offers the kid a thankful nod and begins to strap the vest and plates in place.

"Either of you plan on goin' and makin' sure we got water? Figure I'll be headin' up to try and help."
Trixie "I certainly /want/ to. I had no idea anyone had gone back there since the civil servants took over... I only barely got out of there ahead of the mob. Five against most of a hundred isn't much of a battle," Trixie replies, somewhat dispiritedly. "The lot of 'em's probably dead of infection by now, or worse. If they'd come peacefully we might have worked something out; that's the devil of it."

She looks to Ares, nodding. "I might come with you all if I don't get stuck walking perimeter again. Worst part of being in the Guard is having someone tell you everything you're allowed to do. If I live through this, I'm considering mustering out."
Tobias Hunter     "I'll be there if I can," the Blackfoot answers Ares, then stretches his neck left and right until the tendons crack and a vertebrae pops which makes him sigh comfortably. He shifts his feet to make his stance a bit wider, too, and sticks his hands in his jacket pockets so his arms kind of hang loose as he looks to Trixie. "You consider that, uh, /this/ is all that's left?" he asks. "Everywhere? I hear everybody talking about getting out of Raccoon City but I ain't really heard anybody talking about where they plan to go, or who they talked to outside of town. For all you know you're defending a perimeter on orders given by a man who got his face ate off a thousand miles away two nights ago."
Tobias Hunter     "Hell," Tobias Hunter adds with a dark little laugh, "maybe he's eatin' somebody else's face off right now!"
Ares Buchanan "That's what all those helicopters were doin' before the outbreak." Ares says to Tobias, "Keepin' those infected animals from spreadin' out and pushin' them towards the city. Ran into them a while before all this happened, but nobody believed me."

         The man sighs quietly, reaching up to rub at the back of his neck. "I'm hopin' that none of the infected got out. Would like ta go home, be able ta tell my aunt and uncle about what happened to Magnus."
Trixie "Comms to the outside world are cut off, unless you've got a uPhone or somethin'," Trixie counters softly, looking between the two. "And /he's/ not giving me my orders. /That/ honor goes to the Officer In Charge, who isn't the original OIC... but the other is believed to be dead, so he's next on the totem pole. Anyway, I don't do it for /him/. I do it for the people living there that are just barely living from day to day off whatever we can scratch up and every zombie we put down. Besides, I don't think all communications would've been cut off like they were if everywhere was like this. I think they'd just break down gradually but completely as the hardware gave out from lack of maintenance."
Tobias Hunter     Tobias Hunter gives a careless shrug of his shoulders that makes his leather jacket creak. "Only choppers I saw were headed out of town, and I mean way out because I was living past the Arklay Line at the time. Didn't see them herding anything inward," he says to Ares. "All those critturs coming to town, they were just going where the food was which is what critturs do."

    Trixie gets another look and another shrug. "Maybe there just isn't anybody there to answer the phone anymore."
Ares Buchanan "Like I said, I had to deal with a handful of infected monkey's out at my cousin's cabin. Helicopter came in full of people in tactical gear to thin them out. This has been in the works for a while now. Not sure why I didn't fucking leave when I had the chance." Ares grumbles, gaze moving off towards the entrance. "But we're stuck here now. At least until we can find a way out."
Trixie "No way to tell from in here," Trixie says to Tobias, shrugging. "Doesn't much matter to us inside this town whether there is or not. Our priority is keeping people alive and healthy, and eventually getting them out of here. Anything beyond that just has to wait." She gives Ares a long look, her eyes getting wider. "I wish we'd known more about that before things really got out of hand. We could have maybe kept this town together."
Tobias Hunter     Tobias Hunter grins from Trixie to Ares. "If wishes were horses we'd all just ride out of here, eh?"
Ares Buchanan "Fuck no snake. Don't think horses would handle zombies too well." Ares replies a touch dryly to Tobias. Trixie gets a slight nod. "Well, when you tell everyone that the shit in the mountains wasn't rabies and you got attacked by skinless monkeys, they tend ta look at you like you're stupid."
Trixie "Doesn't make you wrong, though. And I think a lot of people are reevaluating what they thought they knew these days, if they're alive to do it. Dead people walking around eating anything not dead has a tendency to adjust a point of view like nothing else can," Trixie replies to Ares wryly. "I'm betting if you told someone that now, they'd look at you without that 'you're crazy' stare."
Tobias Hunter     "That'd depend on where you are," the Blackfoot says quietly, seeming withdrawn from the others since his humor about the grim situation isn't going over at all. "If you're right and the lines were cut, then people in Denver, Cheyenne, they don't even know what's going on here. If you do get out of here and you go running your mouth about what's going on here to them, they'll look at you just like any of those people huddled together in the church looked at you last week." He pauses, looking at the ground, and idly kicks an asphalt pebble with one sneaker toe. "'Course if you're right and the lines were cut, you gotta be dumber than shit to think they'd let anybody out of this town alive."
Ares Buchanan "I'd like to see them try and stop me. Not about to sit here until they firebomb the city to clean out tha infection." Ares moves his attention back to the pair in front of him. "If we could get our hands on one of them vehicles they got decked out for situations like this, I could drive it. And you can bet your ass I'd drive it like we stole it."
Trixie "Maybe, but I was talking about the people inside the city. And I don't care if they try to stop us... I'll get out or die trying," Trixie replies softly, the determination in her eyes making it clear she means every word of that. She gives Ares a thoughtful look. "Now there's an idea. That might get us to the edge of the city. But the only way out is by boat or by helicopter; I've heard rumors that the last bridge is gone, and maybe blown up. So we're not driving out, unless someone somehow missed a bridge."
Tobias Hunter     "I was sitting at a roadblock they set up at the Arklay bridge when they blew that one," Tobias answers Trixie, nodding his head slowly without looking up. "It was military for damn sure. Not the kind of guys who miss a detail the size of a fuckin' bridge," he laughs softly. One toe restlessly taps the ground a couple of times. "Crossing the river ain't the problem. I'd have been off on foot days ago if I thought it'd be as easy as swimming across, jacking a car and peeling out. There's infantry with air support all over the place. You'd think Raccoon City was the biggest fuckin' meth lab on the planet and DEA was takin' it down, and that was before they sealed us all in here. To be honest with you two I feel safer in town than I would out of it right now."
Ares Buchanan Ares Buchanan listens quietly for a few moments, nodding along. "I'm not too worried about the infantry and air support. If we could get ahold of one of their vehicles, I'm pretty sure I could get past all of that. Wouldn't be the first time. Besides, we can die there, or we can die here. Not a whole lot of options."
Trixie "True, zombies don't shoot at you. Then again, bullets don't infect you and turn you into a deader, either... you're just /dead/ dead," Trixie muses. "He's got a point. We're dead either way. But there's a chance we'll live if we get out. In here, there's no chance. Nobody destroys all the bridges to a town to let it sit and fester. I have a bad feeling Raccoon City's days are numbered. So getting out is what we need to do."
Tobias Hunter     "You figure out where the car, boat, or plane is and who's going to drive or fly it, tell me who has to get shot for us to get our hands on it, make god damn sure we know where the keys are and she's got a full tank of gas," Tobias Hunter says, looking up at Trixie and then over at Ares from under his brows, his head still lowered, "/full/ tank of gas, and I'll do any sneaking and shooting needs done in trade for a seat. If we get shot down on our way out and the city ain't burning while we crash, neither one of you is gonna live long enough to get crippled on impact. Fair enough?"
Ares Buchanan "Fair enough." Ares agrees. "Though we'd also have to find a road that isn't full of abandoned cars. Or make some modifications to one of the trucks here."
Trixie "Deal... though I can't help but find your terms unreasonable," Trixie says, rolling her eyes at Tobias's proposal, or at least the end of it. "If it weren't for all these dead people wandering around, we could clear the abandoned cars with a little effort. But how do we get a truck across a bridge that's been blown up or washed out?"
Tobias Hunter     Tobias Hunter fights the smile but it quickly grows into a grin and then a short bit of a laugh. "Come on, guys," he says softly. "We're not getting out of here on foot, we're not getting out of here in a ground car, we steal aircraft who's gonna fly it? We find a pilot, how are we not getting shot down? You're worried about them bombing this town because they blew the bridges, but think about it..." he pauses a moment to provide the opportunity, "why waste little bombs on bridges just to drop bigger bombs a week later? Why deploy troops," he gestures at Trixie, "just to make up a bunch of bullshit stories to put in letters to their moms and pops about warehouse and training accidents?"

    The Blackfoot shakes his head and looks up at the other two, each in turn, more squarely. "If they're going to blow this place off the map, they aren't doing it any time soon. There's rich people and politicians in here with us, people with friends in high places. When there's none of them left, I'll take the risk of getting shot in the back trying to run away. Til then I'll take my chances with super-rabies, or zombie-rabies, or whatever-the-fuck you want to call a bunch of crazy assholes who want to eat my face. Frankly I've seen worse and most of them have been city cops." He offers a nod toward Trixie, "No offense, miss."
Ares Buchanan "You're more than welcome to sit on your ass and find out when it happens." Ares says with a simple shrug. "Not sure what else they'd be doing. Blow the bridges to keep the infection in one spot. Evac the important people while you can, and when it gets too to get anybody else out, drop bombs to make sure it doesn't spread."
Trixie "None taken. Not much, anyway... the police chief was one of the people who sat on this and stalled until it was miles too late to do anything at all," Trixie replies, giving Tobias an irritated look. "Most of us on the street were trying to help whoever we could, but we had no intel of any kind, no support from above, and we were blocked at every turn by the administration. We got the same mushroom treatment the rest of the city got, and most of what we /did/ find out was swept under the rug by higher-ups, so we couldn't even coordinate at a meaningful level. It's... I don't have the words to describe it. I just hope Irons got what he deserved when the station was overrun."
She looks between Tobias and Ares. "I think you've both got the method down. The thing we've got to worry about is how long it will take to do that, because that's how long we've got to find or make a way out of this town."
Tobias Hunter     "You watch way too many movies, man," Tobias answers Ares with an upward roll of his eyes. "Have you actually run into these things on the street? The ones they call 'infected' are way worse than the ones they call 'undead' and the critturs are worse than the people." He takes his hands out of his pockets, lolls his tongue out one side of his mouth, slurps at his saliva really hard and mumbles, "cheeeeeeeeeseburgers." The Blackfoot shrugs his shoulders and holds both hands out, palms up. "They're really only a problem when you don't know they're there and there's more of them than there are of you. Motherfuckers are slow as shit and dumb as a box of broken hammer handles."

    He looks at Trixie. "Back me up on this. Other day you watched some 'tard waste a whole clip when he needed a single shell. Would you drop a billion-dollar bomb on this city or a ten-thousand-dollar crate of ammo with a fuckin' pop-up booklet explaining the simple procedure?"
Tobias Hunter     Tobias is of course talking about the undead being slow and stupid, not the National Guard. That may seem unclear.
Ares Buchanan "Bomb would be easier. Guaranteed to work and don't have to put their trust in the average person's hand. Things don't really care about the other's dying. Group of them would eventually take out a group of gunmen. More you shoot the more you attract. And more people get infected every day." Ares gives his head a slight shake. "Doesn't matter how much ammo they drop, because we're already outnumbered."
Trixie "He did, definitely. Dunno if he didn't know about shooting them in the head or if he really is just that bad a shot," Trixie agrees, shaking her head. "Oh, and forget all that noise about how accurate the Guard's M16 rifle is... it's better than average, but the sights aren't good enough to support that degree of precision, and most troops aren't well trained enough to make that accuracy count even if they were. I can make those kind of headshots pretty consistently, but the average Guardsman will take at least five shots to do the same under pressure. That guy... wasn't even /that/ good."
She looks to Tobias, shaking her head. "And I agree with you about the deaders, but you have to be more careful with them than that... you can get surrounded before you know it, and you never know when you'll run into somewhere to escape a mob, only to find more of them inside, 'cause they couldn't get out. And it only takes one careless moment, one mistake, one bite to turn you into a walking time bomb. I've seen it happen."
Tobias Hunter     "It even occur to you that somebody gettin' out of here might be the reason /why/ they get scared enough to bomb the rest of us?" Tobias challenges Ares. "I lived in a lot of shitty apartments where I knew there was cockroaches but I never once set off a bug bomb til I caught one crawling around in my kitchen."

    The Blackfoot looks to Trixie when she speaks, his lips pursed, and he nods thoughtfully at what she has to say. Shortly though he turns his black eyes back to the big man nearby to look Ares up and down critically, one eye squinted like he's taking aim. After a moment he seems to realize that might be offensive because he opens both eyes wide, flashes an apologetic smile to Ares and then another to Trixie, and looks back at the ground in front of his feet. "I guess if you guys are serious about getting out and you find a way that looks real, my offer stands. Without the killing part if it goes bad. I kinda thought we were all joking around about lifting a mountain one-handed."
Ares Buchanan "Ain't nothin' but a thing to get out. Wouldn't be my first rodeo, like I said. Been movin' packages that cops and crooks wanted for years and I'm still alive to talk about it." Ares lifts a shoulder in a simple shrug. But his attention does fall to that letter, "Well, I ought to get this to whoever needs ta see it."
Trixie "Actually... it's hard to tell when you're joking. Something about your delivery, I think," Trixie says softly. Then she smiles. "But now that you've said that, I can see you were. I just hope I can tell in the future, 'cause I don't want some misunderstanding to harm a good working relationship. We need every last ally in times like these, and not having a bit of data because you were mad at someone and didn't want to talk to them just might get a lot of people killed. So I'll try to do better."
She smiles to Ares. "Thank you again. It was good to meet you. I should probably get back before they send out a search party or something. Take care, and good luck keeping this place dead-free."
She smiles to Tobias. "We are. We can't count on anyone in here but each other to save our necks. So that's what we'll do. Good luck, friend." With that, she jogs toward the barrier and slips out into the mad streets once more, heading back toward the church.
Tobias Hunter     The Blackfoot offers Trixie a tip of an imaginary hat as she turns to head away. Turning back to Ares he says, "Before you go, you're looking a little light. You in the market for a blade or a boomstick?"
Ares Buchanan Ares Buchanan pauses, turning to nod at Tobias. "Could used a new blade. Got plenty of guns though."
Tobias Hunter     "I'll keep my eyes open," Tobias answers with a curt nod, and unslings his rifle from his back. "It's too bad, I just unloaded a couple of those the other day. Come across another piece I'll leave it with the sentries for you." He cradles his rifle in his hands and turns to head back for the streets after Trixie.
Ares Buchanan Ares Buchanan raises his hand to offer a slight wave, then tugs the note out to see who he should deliver it to.