Umbrella Surveillance System
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Buck Rogers What the group assumed was a simple, if large movie theater in the night is grander than thought-- by the light of day, once cleared of the dead and fully explored, the interior is revealed to be larger and more elaborate than assumed. What the group explored was merely the vestibule and nearest main auditorium; stretching out around them are halls and doors and stairwells unnoticed, leading to an ornate glass-barriered mezzanine in the lobby leading to the upper floors. Sufficient rummaging eventually turns up a floor plan tucked away in a box in a supply closet near the bathrooms, which, though dated, provides enough information to make a few conclusions..

"Huh," Buck says, making his way toward a table on the mezzanine, a lovely oak thing ringed by plush chairs. He flattens the floor map across it, the paper weathered and yellowed and furling at the corners like a shy flower. "Look at that. This place was built back in the twenties, one of them old-fashioned theaters. For music and plays. You know, the drama shit." He's tried to fit in the chairs-- it doesn't work, so he eventually brought over a small stand stout enough for his weight, and sits on that. "A sign down near the front says it was restored in 2002. Cost over three million to do, can you believe that? Umbrella chipped in."
Isabel Having been out scavenging the night of the big house-cleaning party that Buck, Nick, and Will had thrown here, and staying with her sick aunt since, this visit is the first time Isabel's been inside the theater... well, pretty much ever. She'd never had time to see a show in college, or the money, really, and had only been past it on scavenging runs previously. What can you find to live on in a movie house, really? Hot dogs and popcorn?
But after a quick look around when she arrived, she has to admit that this is an ideal place to ride out a storm of undead. Easy roof access, and several ground floor doors that are strong and easily secured. The only glaring flaw that she can see is the huge glass front entrance.
It's a work in progress, clearly.
But what she's seen is impressive. And someone had thoughtfully cleaned out the popcorn machine prior to her arrival, so she's brought up a couple small bags for this evening's planning session. "Good thing for us they did, huh?" she comments, smiling a little at the irony. "This place is like a fortress with an interior by Michelangelo." She smiles and offers him the second bag of popcorn.
Buck Rogers "It's nicer than I thought it'd be," Buck confesses, despite being the one to lead the group to it. "More Shakespeare than Shrek." His bright, blue eyes scan the floor plan, a brutish, thick-tipped finger tracing the lines. "So we got the entry, leads here into the lobby," he mutters, "and off to the sides are bathrooms and a lounge, some closets. Guess the renovations turned all that into the rooms for the ground-floor concession staff. Lobby has the entrance to the auditorium hall," and he looks off in a direction Nick and Will explored, "and.. shit, that thing has three tiers of seating. A tiny one way above, don't think anyone uses it anymore. They just lower the screen on top of the stage for movie nights, I saw." He releases the paper, and it instantly moves to curl up into a loose roll. "Might not look exactly the same as it does on there, thing's nearly a hundred years old. Gist of it is-- big auditorium, can reach the roof, and a fuck ton of chairs."

This lobby is rather lovely, too-- all golden-hued, with ornate pillars and statues between them, intricate designs in the stone that borders the ceiling and connects to the columns, and a constant warm light from the many second-story windows. Directly overhead, seen above the hanging chandeliers, the ceiling is coffered, an artistic mix of red lines and multicolored octagons, with gold-painted stone flowers in the center.

When Buck sees it, he lets out one long, appreciative whistle. "God damn," he mutters, taking the popcorn. He lifts the opened end to his mouth and sniffs-- and his lip curls as he inhales his own scent, a powerful mix of unwashed man-sweat, grime, and blood. "A few blocks down, there's a Home Depot. The boys and me'll get in there, get what's still there. People grabbed all the food, but nobody thinks of getting tools and sheet metal. We'll cover the glass doors, seal up the bottom-floor emergency exits, and get in and out through the second-story balcony exit."
Isabel "We could house a lot more than us in here, if we needed to," Isabel says, taking an appreciative sniff of the freshly-made popcorn. She's added a little butter to both; the machine still works. It's a nice counter to Buck's contribution to tonight's olfactory experience, and her own small addition as well: She's been trying to bathe regularly, even just sponge baths, but things to do pile up and you forget sometimes. Priorities, priorities.
"Bet nobody thinks of getting plumbing supplies, either. With a little work, maybe we could get a camp shower set up... I think you told me the virus came in via the water, but it's okay once it's been boiled, and we'd have to heat the water for showers anyway." It's an almost sinful thought: Hot running water is a luxury beyond compare these days, but she's not about to deny that they could all use some cleaning up. Their clothes, too.
She looks down at the map. "So... shut up the glass doors with metal and bracing, seal the ground-floor doors. We'll need some kind of ladder for the second storey. Rope ladder? We could let it go if we had to, and it'd be useless from the ground.
Buck Rogers "We could," the behemoth agrees, voice a chest-rumbling growl that indicates neither approval nor disapproval. When his beard, lips, and mustache are sufficiently buttery he tosses the bag on the table's top, a handful of unpopped kernels and fluffy popped ones tumbling out. His face shines with the butter, the sweat, and smudges of blood and dirt from various cuts-- as well as a streak of what appears to be oil, smattered over a cheek and the bridge of his nose like a vicious scar. He swings his arms around, turning on a heel, and marches toward the low glass rails that oversee the ground floor and keep the clumsy from careening the eighteen or so feet to their death below. He flexes a hand, the veins of his forearm standing out, the knuckles cracking like gunfire-- and the glass seems so fragile next to his force-of-nature bulk.

"The water was what I heard, back on the force," he confirms. "But I got all death-sick once when one of those dogs bit me, back before we know. Whatever it was got in my blood. Had to get tested, spent a week making out with my toilet. Fever, shakes. So whatever it is.. it can get in you if you're hurt by them. But I didn't die or turn. Too tough." He cracks an unseen grin, looking out over the elaborate lobby. "Wouldn't mind a shower. Sorry everything's a bit rough and nasty, miss."
Isabel Even after knowing him for a week or so, Isabel still has trouble comprehending just how /big/ Buck is at times. She doesn't even have to duck when his arms sweep over her head. The cracking of those knuckles draws a faint wince. "So... you can recover from it, then? Whatever it is? I mean, you don't look all undead," she ventures, setting down her own bag and joining him at the rail. She tries to look him in the face, blue eyes wide with concern. "You're all right now... right?"
Buck Rogers "Right as rain," he booms, hands smashed together in thunderclap, turning and casting his shadow over the girl. "Look at me." He spreads his arms wide-- he's ditched the armor while inside, wearing scuffed blue jeans and an off-white wifebeater, all hair and muscle and, despite his absurd decision to meet every monstrosity in the city face-to-face, a lack of wounds beyond the superficial. "Do I look sick to you? Hell, I feel better now than I did before all this--the whole damn world's fucking perfect. Babylon has fallen, and become a home for demons." His fingers curl, and scratch at the tangles of his beard, grown thicker and more wild after a week without trimming. "I don't think everyone turns. A lot of people do, but some of these corpses, they're just dead-dead. I figure some folk's immune, some gonna get bit and dead out in five seconds flat, and the rest'a ya are somewhere in between." He levels his gaze at Isabel. There's a zealous light within. "I'll get you all out, guaranteed. Keep you safe and sound, I promise. But all of this, it's.." He grunts, at a loss for words. "I like it."
Isabel Isabel /does/ have to duck this time, when Buck's hands come up and clap, the sound echoing all over the huge viewing room. She steps back a little at the explosive burst of motion; it's almost like watching a skyscraper suddenly bend down and strike up a hearty conversation, ho-ho-ho!
It's also food for thought: Sometimes you don't really see a person for who they are until the right moment. Apparently, this whole undead mess is Buck's moment, and what she's seeing brings the sheltered girl into a new understanding of how different people can be from each other.
No wonder civilization, and even cooperation, are such fragile things.
Small and frail in her worn denims and purple longsleeved tee, she shakes her head, her unbound hair swishing about her shoulders. "I don't... I don't like it at all," she whispers. "My aunt might die, she's so sick, and /everyone's/ dying, or turning into /them/, and you can't help them once they start. And I know I've been really lucky so far, but eventually one'll bite me and..." She hugs herself and shivers, her eyes falling to her shoes.
Buck Rogers "Ah, shit..."

Buck closes the small distance between the two and pets her head with paternal affection. His hand's heavy, rough-skinned, and warm, with the finger tips dancing along her scalp as he musses that unbound hair. "Shh," he says, and he takes a knee, his titanic frame bending at hip and spine to bring him roughly eye level with her. "C'mon now, little lady. There's still some medicine in the city, and bound to be a doctor or two-- I'll make sure your aunt gets checked out." His hand has moven from her head to her arm and the wild light in his eyes has faded; now, the brute's thick brow is furrowed, his thin lips forced into calmer smile, and even the growl of his voice is... well, it isn't gone, because that's just how he talks. But he sounds like he's deliberately trying to be nicer. "Look, I *know* if I get bit, I'm okay. It's like chicken pox, you can't get it twice. So you girls just stick out of trouble and watch where you're going, and I'll get you out of the city. Okay?" He lifts that big hand and holds up the pinky. "Pinky swear."

Whether it's reassuring or vaguely insulting that he comforts her like a five year old remains to be seen. Buck Rogers has little experience soothing people, and most of them were children.
Isabel Rough, yes. Nasty? No... not really. Or so Isabel is learning. She blinks in surprise as he kneels before her, coming about to her eye level, her own eyes widening at the sight. "Buck..."
And then that hand comes up, massive pinky extended. A pinky she couldn't encircle with her own index finger, probably. Blinking back already-formed tears, Isabel smiles a little shakily, reaching up and grasping the digit with her hand. Evidently she's wearing gloves on her scavenging trips; her own are still soft. "I'm not a child, Buck... but thank you," she whispers, knowing what he's trying to do.
She shakes her head again. "I can't stay out of danger, though. Someone's got to document this mess, get evidence of what's going on. I found a set of optical recording glasses in my aunt's things. If I can get them working and hooked up to record, I can document my trips, get footage out so people will know what's going on here. Once we get out, the world's going to be asking a lot of questions. I want to have something that we can tell them, something they'll believe."
Buck Rogers "That'a girl," the giant praises, and that rough-lined face warms in a broad smile, eyes crinkling. "You're walkin' around with three cops. So you two gotta be good girls and keep your damn asses out of trouble, otherwise I'm gonna have to make a mess." He palms his raised knee and pushes up, joints creaking as he rises and straightens, once more towering over the teenager. "What, you mean like... glasses hooked up to a camera? Huh, pretty cool," he admits, flattening his hands against the small of his back and stretching backwards in a partial bridge, vertebrae realigning with satisfying pops as he pushes in. "But with the guard come on in, and so many people making it out, there's gonna be a ton of evidence-- so you get yours, if it makes ya feel better, but don't go doing something foolish for it." He quiets and turns after a moment, walking toward the far wall and peering out through one of the windows that look out. He blinks at the light in his eyes, wrinkles his nose, sneezes-- achoo, achoo, a second one coming, and he grumbles, sniffing through newly-cleared sinuses. After a pause, he looks back at her, the shadow of concern pushed aside by force of will once he notices her looking back at him, too. A big ol' shit-eating grin. "Now, you want somethin' special, how about you record me? Make me a celebrity once we're out of here." He lifts his hands and stretches out thumbs and forefingers in a square, mimicking a camera lense to frame his face. "Richard Buchanan Rogers, Raccoon City's finest. Hero, warrior, ladies' man."
Isabel Looking up... and up... and /up/ as Buck rises and stretches, Isabel smiles wanly, though her eyes twinkle at the words. "And don't forget modest," she teases, amused. "If I can get the system working, I think I can record some of all of us. But the biggie is recording what's going on. If this goes like most things do, there'll be a big publicity splash on the first day and then everyone'll forget about it by the second. Whoever started this has to be pretty big, and I've got no doubt they'll try to hush it up. And that's if the government or the UN don't squash it for the sake of 'avoiding large-scale panic'."
Looking disgusted with the patronizing platitude, she steps back from the rail, holding up her hands. "But there's still the internet, and video sites. If I get something that goes viral, they'll never be able to shut up the truth. That's what I intend to do."
Buck Rogers "Only so many things coulda done this," Buck muses, resting against the tiled wall beneath a lovely white-gold candelabra-- albeit one whose candlesticks have been long replaced by decorative lightbulbs. "God, government, and Umbrella.. hell, ain't like some other global mega-corp's got a headquarters here. Everything in this damn city's got their branding. A dog doesn't shit without their say so." One impossibly broad shoulder rises, the thick cords of muscle tightening. The man's jaw clenches, and the veins in the side of his neck are emphasized as the tension in him rises. He's a coiled spring, or bottled lightning, or a particularly clever bear that's figured out how to wear clothes and talk like people, all meat and fur and rage, fingers white-knuckling against his arms where he squeezes himself, folded over his chest. "Well, whatever. Worry about that when it's all said and done. For now, gotta focus. Get this place secured. See how the guard's evacuation's going. I figure the military proper'll be in soon enough, help get folks out, if we wait it out. But..." He waves a hand. "Eh, nevermind. I'm gonna go take a walk, miss. Feel free to take the plans over there, if you wanna explore."
Isabel "I don't want to rule someone else out, not yet. But the fingers sure point Umbrella-wards," Isabel says, frowning thoughtfully. "They were my first suspect, too. But whoever did this, I want them to answer for it. In public opinion if nowhere else."
She looks over the huge man and his surroundings, a clash of epic proportions even if he's not moving. Appropriately enough, it's like a strange movie poster... A feature of a modern barbarian warlord in a stately palace of a fortress. She smiles a little and lifts a hand, to beckon him closer. "Buck?"
Buck Rogers "Alright. Get your footage. Enough evidence, and you could get the President himself charged... you know, if he was guilty." Buck steps off the wall, heavy boots clonk-clonking; the man is never silent, never subtle, an earthquake in motion, all wide sweeps of his bursting arms and slow, lumbering gait. He's ready to move to the lounge to fetch his gear before Isabel motions to him, and he catches her hand in the corner of his eye. He turns toward her and approaches. "Whatcha need?"
Buck Rogers Isabel chuckles, gesturing him closer. "Little lower..."

With a curious look, Buck squats, arms held before him and knuckles on the ground like a gorilla. "Yeah, little lady?"
Isabel Isabel smiles as he drops to her level, and, smell or no smell, steps forward and hugs him around the neck. Even that isn't easy, and she has to stretch up on her toes to reach that far. "Whatever else happens, thank you for all you've done for all of us. When you say you'll get us out... it means a lot." She's just not good with words, and tightens the hug to compensate for the awkwardness.
Buck Rogers Buck lifts one arm, near as thick as the girl's waist, and returns her hug. "Don't worry, darlin'," he rumbles, and this close the deep-chested rumble of his voice is enough to vibrate her bones before they release contact, "I did this for a living. Still might, if the R.P.D. comes back." He grins, rises, and hooks his thumbs into the back pockets of his jeans, swaggering off toward the stairs down.