|Ashley Graham|| The Church, currently under new management of the U.S. National Guard, is a sorry sight. It's starting to smell, with unwashed, sweaty people making up the tenants. And of course there's no working toilets so ... use your imagination. But one thing they don't have a lot of is food and supplies. Perhaps that's why Ashley Graham, known around here as Ashley Swann, is working on her knees in one of the side alcoves. She's got a bloody blanket in her hands, which she's scrubbing in a Home Depot bucket full of soapy water. There's a few other blankets like that, hanging up around the statue of Mary, which is now being used as a clothesline. Perhaps it's better that her face is covered. She wouldn't want to see this.
Ashley looks much the same as when we last saw her. Pale and beautiful, her now-reddish platinum hair pulled back in a tight french braid with strands escaping every which way. A slightly blood-spackled man's button down, leggings, and bare feet. Perhaps those are her socks hanging on the virgin's outstretched fingers.
Ashley looks tired. She looks worn. The light in her eyes, momentarily, is dulled.
|Markus Berger||The newest visitor of the Church, after only barely getting past the guards, is a certain Doctor Markus Berger who is clad in fully sealed NBC armor except for the gasmask thats dangling down from around his neck. All in alll he looks rather well equipped and not too worse off compared to likely many others, so he definitely isn't here out of desperation as he walks through the church to get a good look at the visible misery... one of these being a familiar face he hoped not to see again. Namely Ashley who is getting a visit now as the doctor approaches her.|
|Ashley Graham|| What could be wrong with seeing Ashley's face again? It's such a pretty face. Perfectly proportioned, with sultry lips and bright blue eyes. It's a wonderful face! And that face now turns toward Markus as his feet carry him closer. At first, she doesn't seem to know him, although the sight of a man so well-prepared has her leaning back, just a little, timidly. And after a moment her eyes, flashing over the man's face, light with recognition.
"Doctor Berger?" She asks, increduliously. "Jesus," she swears in a light breath. "I never imagined I would see you again. Are you well?" She actually seems concerned, the poor dear, drying her hands as she rises to greet him.
|Markus Berger||The only response Ashley gets for several long moments is a very strained grimace from the doctor as he just stares at her before shrugging. "Could be far better. One friend of mine has been kidnapped by a bunch of lunatics, the other one probably was killed by zombies and another one has been shot by some Umbrella made monster with a minigun. Also... I really hoped you would get out of here before all this happens. Probably hoped for too much, huh?"|
|Ashley Graham|| Well. Markus has quite a tale to tell. Even the cliffnotes version is something to behold. So Ashley's eyes go wider in surprise and awe at his tale. "Jesus," she whispers. And then? She reaches for him, just to place a hand on the back of his shoulder to steer him toward a pew. "Come sit," she urges, gently. "I'll find you some water." Bless her heart, she really does sound caring.
"Yes," she admits, if he's sat or not sat, depending on his preference. "They've tried to get me out twice now. It's not gone well," she admits, a bit more quietly. "I remember the minigun, from the second attempt. He murdered a number of SEALS." She likely doesn't mean the cute slippery animals when she says that.
|Markus Berger||Markus is sucessfully steered as he sits down on the pew with a slightly gratefull smile. "Don't bother with the water. I still have some supplies back across town and I'll get by until I get back." With that said he leans back, allowing him to actually look and sound as tired as he feels... which is very. "So, you have encountered the B.O.W. Nemesis. Be glad that you yourself are still alive then. Friend of mine actually shot that thing several times with a anti-material rifle which included shots into the head. It ultimately just made it more angry than anything."|
|Ashley Graham||"What's that mean, B.O.W. Nemesis, Doctor?" she asks, moving to sit beside him a respectful distance from him, but still close enough so they can speak in quiet, hushed tones. Perhaps out of respect for the church or for the respect of the topic at hand. She rests her hands between her clenched knees in a nervous gesture. In the meantime, her eyes search over his form or what she can see of it so ... his face. Particularly his eyes. "And you too have survived your experience with him," she notes, with a light sigh. "Do you know anything about it? It's a person, I assume a man." It must be a person. Just a very big person. "Perhaps in armor?"|
|Markus Berger||The doctor closes his eyes for a moment, before he too talks in more hushed tones. After all, not everyone needs to hear him talk about whats essentialy the greatest nightmare of all in the town at this moment. "Bio Organic Weapon. Codenamed Nemesis. Going by what I could piece together some mutant based on something called the Tyrant Experiment and injected with something called the Nemesis Parasite. Umbrella apparently had the plan to deploy it for weeks until they did so now. So... a mutant created speficialy to kill everything they want dead. Which pretty much confirms that Umbrella has created even more than just that one creature, or the virus, or bioweapons in the usuall sense." At the mention of the armor though Markus can just shrug again as he stares ahead, looking at nothing. "Unlikely. Going by what I could see that coat its wearing is not armor and that creature is just that insanely tough. I mean, it took bullets designed to shoot through walls and armored vehicles to the head and it only got angry."|
|Ashley Graham||Ashley listens, her mouth slightly agape at the words. Really, how does one take all this in? So she just sits back, clenching her hands between her knees more firmly, and sighs. "Good Lord above," she mutters. Perhaps being trapped in a church has had some effect on her, one she herself may not have noticed. "But why, Doctor? Why do all this research here, in the States? It's not legal, and so anyone they'd want to sell it to would be outside the borders. It'd be hell to move that across U.S. borders," she says, lifting her eyes to look at the man.
And then? Then she frowns. A slender pale hand is set on his knee, far away from anywhere that could be considered suggestive. More reassuring, soothing. "Are you alright, Doctor?" she asks, her tone not asking if he's physically alright, clearly.
|Markus Berger||"I haven't been alright for a long while. Ever since they forced me to head into that research facility in the mountains I've been expecting that I would die any moment now and the fact that I'm still alive anyway is unsettling. The constant fear of death or worse, it chips away at you and I have been waiting for it for a good while now." He in all honesty looks quite haunted as Markus looks to her and tries a very strained smile. After all, so far luck is pretty much the only that has ensured that he is still alive so far. "As for your question. I have no idea, although considering how filthy rich they are, the many branches the corporation has and the fact that they even seem to have what is essentialy a private army I doubt that they would be deterred by something as trivial as borders or what your government thinks about bioweapons."|
|Ashley Graham|| "But the Iranians are well-known for-" Ashley begins to argue with the good doctor, but then she shakes her head. "I suppose it doesn't matter now, does it." The question is clearly rhetorical. She moves her hand from his knee to one of his to give it a squeeze of reassureance before releasing it.
"You're here now," she says, softly and gently. "With the National Guard. You're as safe as anyone can be, here. And when the next evacuation is ready, you know we'll be the first to hear of it." She meets his smile with a sad one of her own. "It'll be alright. We just have to keep ours heads down. Leon's taken to calling me Ashley Swann after a fashion so no one knows me. We can hide you, too." Such an idealist, this niave girl is. Such a dreamer.
|Markus Berger||Meeting an idealist is likely one thing that Markus needs, seeing as his smile gets a lot less strained. After all, how few actually are still this optimistic. "Thanks for the kind words, but I'll be heading back to my own hideout again soon enough. My friend Archene is still recovering from a bulletwound there and I'm more or less in charge of medical treatment, Benny is still there as well since he tries to find Emma and we all are trying to find her. Not to mention that we fortified the place to hell and back which is quite usefull since staying there with only 3 people draws no attention."|
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley nods as she listens to the man's words, able to meet his smile with a soft, gentle one of her own. Her hands are back between her knees, clamped there. Idealist or not, there's never a time when people aren't nervous or stressed, in this environment, and these little gestures show that Ashley is no exception.
"Do you need anything? Is there anything we can do for you or your group?" she asks. She's become something of a mother hen in recent days, apparently. "Is there any way I can find you, or get in touch with you, when I hear more about evacuations from the guard or from ... from my people?" Because Ashley Graham has her own people, naturally.
|Markus Berger||"Seeing how you all are doing here, you shouldn't worry about us. We will get by, since we are a stubborn lot." The latter bit is surprisingly said with something that sounds like actuall conviction, which has become rather rare for the doctor. "As for how to get into touch with me... doubt it since nothing is working aside from the Uphones which Umbrella are tracking. Actually, do they still work? Don't have one. At best keep an eye out for either Benny or me since either of us is likely to show up here. The former since he is a cop and likely has friends here and I since... Well, I'd prefer to keep track of how the other people who aren't dead yet are doing."
Markus just lets another one or two moments pass silently before he glances over to Ashley and smiles a bit more. "Actually, there is one favor I'd like to ask from you."
|Ashley Graham|| Ashley can't help but smirk at that. "Are you politely inferring that our circumstances here are a bit shabby, Doctor? Perish the thought." But of course these circumstances are rather shabby. Ashley has been washing clothes in fish water, for goodness' sake. But then she nods, a bit more solemn. "I will look for your friend Benny," she assures him. "If he comes by. And you as well, of course. And as soon as I know anything, I'll absolutely let you know."
Then he's asking for a favor. She tilts her head toward him a little, already nodding. "Of course," she assures him. "I'd be glad to be of any help at all."
|Markus Berger||"Survive. You are one of the few people around I like and you are by far too good a person to have to suffer through this hell. So... do me that favor." The fact that he doesn't actually know anyone else aside from his small circle of fellow survivors... and Ashley... in combination with what are varying degrees of depression totaly aren't responsible for that favor at all. Not in the slightest...
At least the doctor tries to keep his smile up. He is failing of course. "Seriously, I'll just hope that a few more people get out. You included."
|Ashley Graham||His favor makes her smile and face soften, looking gentle and appreciative and sad. She's very expressive, this one. Wears pretty much everything on her sleeve, when she chooses to. "I'm no more or less 'good' than anyone else caught in this, I'm sure," she says, humbly. But she nods. "If it is up to me at all, I'll live to be an old woman with a dozen grandkids around me," she jokes, insofar as she can joke given the subject matter. But perhaps it's a bit too close to home, her eyes starting to sparkle with tears that threaten her face. "And you must do the very same, you know. You're a good man, an intelligent man. The world will need men like you, after all this. The world needed men like you even before this!" She chuckles, softly.|
|Markus Berger||"There are far better men like me which the world will need. I'll try my best simply because I don't fancy the thought of dying... and I personaly want to see Umbrella burn. I'll just hope that you get to do what you are hoping for, eh?" At this point his smile for sure has failed him. After all, the doctor isn't even a cheerfull man at the best of times.
"I think I'll get some fresh air and be on my way." With that said he gets back up from the pew and begins to leave by walking past Ashley, although he does pause for another moment to turn to her and abruptly squeeze her shoulders. "Be safe, yes?"
|Ashley Graham|| "What I was hoping to do? Honestly it seems a lifetime away already," Ashley admits. "I'm sure I'll find something, though. Life's long, right? Lots of time to think of something." She smiles to him once more and nods as he rises.
She pauses though, seeming surprised when he squeezes her shoulder. She returns the gesture by lifting her hand to the one he has on her, giving it a squeeze before releasing it. "You too, Doctor Berger. I very much hope when we next see each other it will be under better circumstances."