CROSSED: Nowhere To Run

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    The blasting wind of Alaska's wasteland laughs in my ears as I drip crimson into the snow.

    I guess I don't really have any right to be surprised that this is how it ends for me.

    My footsteps are sluggish, heavy, my legs growing more and more unwieldy with each step. One hand presses against my thick parka jacket, applying pointless pressure to a wound I'm never going to have the chance to recover from. The other is locked tight around my final insurance policy. There's a reassuring weight to it, and I'm grateful for the small amount of calm it brings.

    Ragged breaths are all I have left now, deep and desperate gasps of air; it's as if my lungs know what's coming soon, and are working on over-drive to savour every last gulp. I want to run, to burst off in a flurry of snow and push as far ahead as I can. But there's only so far sheer determination can carry you. Sooner or later biology kicks in and you learn that there are limits to the human condition.

    I just wish the same rules could apply to the things chasing me.

    But they lost the right to be human a long time ago.

    Their laughter echoes above the mockery of the wind, cutting in and out amidst the howling air to create a disturbing effect. They're close now. Bastards are probably just following the blood trail. No need for them to rush ahead, they know I'm not going anywhere. No doubt they're enjoying this, going by the shouting.


    Desperately, I try to force my legs on...

    ...but instead they buckle and I find myself on my knees, the snow around me beginning to stain a deep shade of crimson. Sighing, I unclench my grasp from the last thing I have left to me, reading the grubby, faded words printed onto the side of it.


    My other hand moves from the wound on my side, coming away coated in blood. Behind me are furious footsteps rushing through the snow, that hideous fucking laughter only they can do so well.

    My free hand grip's the grenade's pin.

    Nowhere to run.



    The Rig is never quiet.

    The sounds of the fifty-odd survivors, moving through their day-to-day routines. The buzzing and humming of the machinery that has managed to survive the ravages of salt-laden sea air, water filters and other devices working away at tasks most of the residents do not understand but have figured it best to leave alone lest something important gets broken. The groaning of rusted metal, the frame of the oil platform itself contributing to the noise.

    It's a reassuring sound. A sound that the people aboard have come to associate with safety. Sanctuary. A place where one can lay their head down without fear of what might happen to them in their sleep. Somewhere with fellow survivors to depend upon, weapons to defend themselves with, the sea to keep the ravages of the mainland from reaching them. Though the brutal temperatures of the open areas and walkways aren't anyone's definition of ideal, the cold itself is a reassurance too.

    Very little can survive in such a climate without the power of their new home.

    Not even the things that overran the lives they once led twelve months ago, and who still lurk out in the ruins of civilisation...

    I used to love the peace and quiet.

    Strange, thinking back to it.

    Being alone with my thoughts was a leisure-time activity for me, the mull things over, think things out, to reflect and consider. Those moments alone in my chopper, nothing but me, my stereo (naturally blasting out Johnny Cash tracks like there was no tomorrow) and a big old ocean below me for company. No-one to have to talk to, to respond to. No nervous server techie who's never been on an offshore site before in need of constant reassurance.

    “Used to”, mind.

    My love for silence is dead, like so many other things these days.

    Yet silence is all I'm left with at the top of our makeshift crow's nest, staring out across the open waters with nothing but the howling wind, the biting cold and my own thoughts to keep me occupied. We may be out in the middle of the Cook Inlet, just off the coast of one of the most vast and isolated parts of what used to be the United States of America, but these days the saying “better safe than sorry” has never been more applicable.

    Because if you get caught unprepared by the things out there now, you're going to be very, very fucking sorry.

    Thus this crow's nest was rigged up, up on one of the de-activated drill cranes of the production platform, allowing anyone sat there a nice, sweeping view of the seas around our new home: the perfect early warning system for unwanted visitors. Where it's less perfect, naturally, is in it's ability to keep the cold off you. Though the interior of the Rig may be nice and heated (one of the bonuses of living in a facility that can extract fuel from below the ocean's surface on demand), out here there's nothing to spare you from the wrath of the wind except thick clothing. And even that will only get you so far.

    My teeth chatter as I raise up my left hand and brush the frosting from my old watch to check the time. Not long to 3pm. Not long until my replacement clambers their way up here and I can enjoy the sensation of having the feeling return to my extremities. The technically-minded fellows of this place (mostly Frank and Vasili, though, given that no-one else would have the nuts to pull such a stunt) have welded a walkway and safety rail onto the crane, meaning that it's never too much of a struggle to get up and down here anymore.

    Unless the weather decides it doesn't feel like playing ball.

    If there's one thing I've learned in the six or so years I've spent on oil rigs, it's that there's nothing in the world mankind can do if Mother Nature were to suddenly decide to remove this hunk of steel and ingenuity from her ocean.

    So here I sit, staring out at the sea. Trying to avoid the sight of the mainland. Trying to keep the cold out. And desperately trying to keep my mind from wandering. You don't want your mind straying these days.

    Like as not you won't enjoy what it settles on.

    Down on the bottom walkway of the Rig's living quarters, wrapped in a mix and match assortment of jumpers, jackets and a home-made poncho, Dominika Aliyev is attempting to discern how to use of the makeshift fishing rods put in place to help bolster the food supplies.

    The Russian teenager isn't meeting with much luck.

    Of the six members of the Aliyev family, Dominika and her father tend to be the only ones the rest of the survivors on board the platform have much contact with. Largely because they are the only two who know both English and Russian. The rest of the family, consisting of Dominika's two younger brothers and mother, tend to keep to themselves, and in a facility designed to house just under two hundred employees now home to barely a quarter of that number it's an easy thing to do.

    Not the eldest daughter, however. She possesses both an inquisitive mind and a surprisingly droll sense of humour, and always seem keen to chat with the other survivors of the Rig. At this moment in time, however, her face is locked in an expression of concentration intermixed with frustration, as she attempts to manoeuvre the improvised fishing rod into position.

    She's not meeting with a lot of success, which apparently prompts her irritated hiss of,
    “Yebat, pochemu ne eto rabotayet?”
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  2. FRANK HIGGINS "I'm getting too old for this shit," The universal mantra for the tired, aging, grouchy bastards of the world. Still, for all of Frank's complaining, he was still up here on this goddamn wind turbine, replacing stripped bolts and sealing the cracks caused by temperature contraction and expansion. Out of the fifty-some survivors, there were very few that had enough technical know-how beyond changing a light bulb let alone general maintenance, so that left ol' Frank as the last man standing between sanctuary and death.

    It was one of the few gasoline and diesel-free systems functioning on the Rig that provided electricity to the generators, which kept the oil pumping, which in turn kept the other generators running, which in turn kept everyone as happy as one could be in this new Hell on Earth. With a few more grunts and some elbow grease, he'd finished the job and unhitched himself from the pulley rope, then grasped it firmly in his only hand and slowly began to lower himself back down.

    A stray and powerful gust cut right through his layers of clothing, eliciting a shiver and an annoyed exhale as he began to swing wild and free in the middle of the air. He'd persevered though, bracing himself against the pillar of the turbine until the swaying stopped, and resumed his path down until his boots touched to the familiar steel of the Rig's platform five or so minutes later.

    Tug there and snap here, and he'd managed to undo the crotch and shoulder harness typically reserved for hiking expeditions, then tucked everything away near the base of the turbine. There was no sense in taking everything down, he'd eventually have to go back up again, and he'd be damned before he did that all over again.
    Frank adjusted his britches with the claw of his prosthetic limb; it was reminiscent of a crustacean, with two prongs of metal used to grasp at things which didn't need a delicate touch. It could come off and be replaced with any number of attachments he'd devised in the storeroom, also known as his domain, a place few dared to tread unless they were specifically looking for the buzzard, likely to remind him that something else was broken and needed his attention.

    Each attachment had its own loop along with the other tools of his carpenter's belt. He looked like a walking hardware store, but that was necessary, as he didn't have the time, patience, or energy to keep trekking across the whole of this metal behemoth every time he needed a Philips instead of a Robertson head screwdriver.

    He was far from done with his list of chores this day; It was back to the quarters platform where there was a bad fuel injector in one of the sub-generators. It was a good thing they had spares and extra parts, or this place would have gone downhill fast. God, he could use some codeine to settle his nerves...

    The old man paused in his passing, having heard the swears of one of those Aliyevs from below. He'd lean over the railing, gripping it in his metal claw, and sure enough it was Dominika trying to handle one of the reels and cursing at it when it refused to do what she wanted. "
    Fishing is a game of patience; Something you youngins' rarely understand these days. You've got to coax it into place, not scream and jerk on it." He'd call.

    He often didn't have much to do with the other residents of the Rig, on account of his constant schedule. Occasionally he'd stop to offer a quip or a piece of wisdom to those in need. The best he could do, aside from keeping everything running, was to guide the future generations of this hellhole by teaching them the way past mistakes he'd already made in his long life.

  3. So what if the storeroom was Frank's domain? Hoi had to make sure their medical supplies were organized and in the appropriate boxes should disaster strike. Sure he would probably figure out she was in there messing with stuff, but she had every right to. After all, not everyone had the same sort of medical knowledge as her... well maybe Frank. More than once she had to help him out with his withdrawals and they weren't always pleasant for her to witness.

    Sighing, she glanced down at the supply list to ensure everything was in order. The items were separated into boxes in case they needed to evacuate the premises.

    SUPPLY LIST (open)

    Plastic First Aid Kit:
    Roll of gauze
    Bottle of acetaminophen, aprox 40 tablets
    Half bottle of anti-histamine

    Cardboard Box:
    One dosage of morphine - No one and I mean NO ONE is allowed to touch this
    Syringes x4
    Roll of gauze

    Hard candy
    Protein bars, stale...
    Metal flask

    She triple checked to make sure the list was correct, and frowned. Hoi remembered when their supply list was three pages long but this was pathetic. The woman made a mental note to ask Josh when they were going to restock and walked outside. A nearby clock told her it was 2:45, time for her to start the trek towards relieving their guard.

    Getting dressed for the cold was a chore but Hoi was loathe to ask someone for help. Ever since she started living in the oil rig she didn't want to show weakness, since weakness was what got you killed. Standing at the bottom of the ladder, with her hood up and the wind ripping about, Hoi began the ascent towards the 'crow's nest.' It was slow going, since the rungs were frosty and she had only one arm. At the top - she always felt dizzy when she got a view of the place - she released her breath and shouted,

    "Hey Josh! You can go down now!"
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  4. Cold out. Another day in sanctuary.

    Damn, I never thought my career would go down this far. I always thought of this place as a big dump for us theater-folk: if you started taking gigs here and only here, then you've gone down the drain for good. No pay, no audience, no heating - speaking of no heating, I wonder if this cold's affected my voice now.

    We'll meet again; don't know where, don't know when; but I know we'll meet again some sunny day.

    Hmm, a bit raspy here and there, and some of the notes don't sound so full, but other than that it's all good. Anyway, where was I going again? Oh yeah, right, Frank, that good old bastard. I can't believe him, his life and all: he's older than my father and he's half-handed (heh), yet he still moves like... like... I don't know, young Clint Eastwood or something. Handsome, too, though I don't think love is prime in his mind at this time. I wonder if he's got those cigarettes we were gonna trade, though... I'll be damned if he was lying to me, I worked more than a week fixing up these new coats for him.

    Keep smiling through; just like you always do; til' the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.

    Huh, this song's too sombre. I should sing something more fun, more graceful, more... ill-fitting to these times. Say, what was that song Liza got famous for again? It was... German, I think... yes, German. Bye bye mein... lieber herr! Yeah, that's it.

    (And as Meredith sang this, she danced as best she could, taking care not to drop the coats, slip on the walkway, or break a hip)
    Bye-Bye, mein lieber herr. Farewell, mein lieber herr. It was a fine affair;
    but now it's over.
    And though I used to care, I need the open air. You're better off without me,
    Mein He- AH!
    I almost slipped there! I did the routine right, I think- ah, the walkway's just a bit frozen, that's all. Haha, that was pretty close - one real slip there and I could've broken something... But wow, I didn't think I'd still know how to do that. I guess I should be proud of myself.
    (Meredith then looked behind herself, hoping for someone to have witnessed her little show. No one was there)

    Pity. I think I real a did fine job there. I mean, the last bit was the only mistake I'd made - the rest, I daresay, was even better than Liza's original! Haha, I wonder how she would've reacted if she saw that... I believe she's lost a lot of her grace as she aged, unlike me...
    How is Liza, by the way? Hmm...
    Nah, she couldn't have been changed, right? She's got too much fight in her, just like me! Hehe, right?

    ...And to think, all of that I did while this walkway was all iced up, and while all of these coats encumbered my arms. Yes, I think she would've been real impressed... Hell, even embarrassed.
    Huh, but I think I just killed my cheery mood there... Back to Vera Lynn, I guess.

    So will you please say hello; to the folks that I know;
    Tell them I won't be long.

    Oh, there's Frank. And down below's one of the Russian kids. Aww, she's trying to fish! And I think Frank's trying to help her... Hmm, I guess it would be less disturbing of me to just wait for Frank and the kid to finish on their lesson... But I am getting a bit tired here, and I'd rather just get back to my other orders of business. I believe Josh... or maybe Vasilii... well, I believe they've got some jobs to give me? Anyway, here I am.

    "Hey there, Frank. Trying to teach that girl how to fish? You'd do much more good if you actually went down there and, well, helped the girl. Anyway, here are the coats you ordered. Do you have those cigarettes you promised me?"
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  5. Snow and I have a love-hate relationship. My fondness for it exists in my heart, where the spirit of my youth struggles to survive. I guess that explains my foul mood this morning. Snow used to make my eyes sparkle, and I'd never stop smiling. Now? It's just a bunch of crap that's getting in my way.

    "God, that smarts." As I mutter to myself, I rub the sore spots in my upper arms. Probably wouldn't feel so bad if it wasn't cold. My hands are so cold that I can barely feel my fingers. I had a pair of gloves, but I gave them away to a young girl last week. I felt sad for her, she looked so cold, so afraid... I just hope there aren't any cute faces to rob me of jacket. I'm pretty sure I would freeze to death without it.

    There's plenty of work for the botanist in this chilly season. It's a good time to strengthen the bones of your garden. That's what I'm taking a break from currently; I was making new beds in the dirt. When the set up is done, we can start using the new seeds. I collected a nice pile of them from the fruits and vegetables we ate recently. Growing food in Alaska isn't easy, so I keep some plants indoors too. We manage with what sun and artificial light we can get.

    As I breathe warmth into my hands, my lips accidentally brush against the gold ring around my finger. The one that symbolized that I was married. Ever since that afternoon when I lost everything, I've been having flashbacks. I mostly see them when I'm reminded of this damn ring. Why did I still wear it? For a few seconds, I saw the weak smile on Lyle's face. The one he made after he tucked me under a park bench, kissed my forehead, and sprinted off so he could draw away those monsters. He... He didn't make it far. In the dim street light far beyond me, I could see--

    With a grunt, I drop my hands to my sides and stand, dusting snow from my ass afterwards. I'm grateful to Father Time for helping to heal me. Those memories suck, but I've learned to deal with them. Worst has happened in the past year... Much, much worse. It's making me tired, but it's also making me stronger.

    Well, Amelia Castle has more work to do. Before I return to work, I get my jacket zipped all the way up and adjust the pink and black Hello Kitty hat that's on my head. It's not mine; just something I found on a dead body a long time ago. Cheap gardening tools in hand, I returned to my beloved dirt, working in the safety of the homemade fence some gentlemen were kind enough to build. I'm glad there's some way I can contribute to the group. I spent years becoming an expert on this stuff and never did anything with it until I got here.
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  6. Christopher Desny Chrisopher was, in relative terms, content, sitting in his worn reclining easy chair with a leg crossed over another, his eyes darting across the pages of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He'd read it dozens of times before, having lacked the foresight as he left Tennesse to grab more than a handful of books. By the time he'd gotten to Alaska, he could nearly recite any line from any of the thirteen books he'd brough with him on his way.

    Surely there were other books on the Rig. Of that, he had no doubt. But a sense of nostalgia kept him occupied with Close Encounters. Before all this shit, he might have even watched the movie, quietly comparing it to the text on the delicate, yellow pages, but that was a luxury it seemed no one could afford these days. And so, tucked into the little corner of heaven, three hatches down from the infirmary, he quietly turned the pages of his book, hearing the characters' voices in his head and being transported from the harsh reality that was today.

    Someone knocked on his rusted door sharply, twice. He glanced up as the muffled voice drifted in. "Mess 2 in about thirty minutes." He considered asking what was on the menu this afternoon, but he thought the better of it. He'd see what there was when he got there. Probably fish. He finished up the chapter, closed his book with a sigh, and placed it on the small nightstand, right next to his pistol, the leather holster a bit worn down and specked with dried blood.

    Back to reality.
    #6 Mjr.Chaos, Apr 4, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014

  7. Sweet shit it's cold out there.
    Jameson Powell

    The temperatures were actually low enough for certain swears to be thrown in with incorrect adjectives and it still made sense. He had been cold plenty of times before, but this was the mother load of cold. Or at least, the great aunt. Wind only served to remind you how quickly your balls can turn into icecubes. Thankfully, it was generally the only terrible thing he had to worry about. If he had to choose between this and driving away from a Crossed ambush, the cold could take him as far as it wanted. Anything was better than even being around the Crossed.

    At least the boxes he was moving was doing a decent job of distracting him. Full of items gathered in Josh's runs, he moved with what felt like a great purpose. Putting his weight to a door, it slowly opened to a little storage room that served as a lost and found. Placing the last few boxes down, he wiped his sweaty brow. That was quite the workout, and now his room called to him. More specifically, an unfinished sheet of music called to him.

    Music was one of his biggest weapons. It always has been. Something to break the silence or the noise. It was a great equalizer to any bad emotions within him. The arts are the main reason Jameson Powell is still so sane...and some might dare say happy. Even just giving a couple of survivors a song or two give him a heaping helping of joy.

    It was around 3 when he was in the middle of his room, strumming his guitar. The sound helped him think. "If I move down from F to B, I should be able to have enough power to get back up to the next C." He leans over and chicken scratched it onto the paper.

    #7 Cerulean, Apr 5, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  8. Jo Marshall
    The Rig was usually a calm place, after all, being several miles off the coast of Alaska and during the coldest of seasons you really didn't hear the common screeches and laughter of the Crossed. Of course, that certainly didn't mean you didn't hear a fair share of profanity.

    "You Motherfucker! I swear if you don't start fucking working I will beat the shit out of you!"

    I made sure of that. It took a bit of wiggling around with the stove, but I eventually got the nob to turn once more. Looked like I would need Frank to take a look at the stove nobs again and grease them. No way in hell was I going to work in a kitchen where I couldn't even get the gas stove to turn on. Sure, I could use the electrical one the brought back from shore for emergencies but those took so damn long to heat up and were better for my not so hot frying something quick and toad in a hole. However, this was't a half ass breakfast I was making.

    I was making a pickle! I knew that some were gonna try and go fishing and I had every intent on pickling a good amount of the fish. Though most of my "return customers" weren't all that fond of it, it also meant we could eat three month old fish and not worry about getting a stomach bug or worse...Sometimes the old ways are still the best. I was damn lucky to have a grandmother who had the time to teach and the back hand to slap me forward. Also, I needed a very logical reason to use the last of out sugar. And I would never waste it on something that wouldn't last a day! Besides, it was about time we took another trip to shore and looked around. If I was remembering correctly, we hadn't much lock getting through the gated section of the store room where all the good stuff was. I marked the place on the group map as a memory. However, we hadn't the equipment at the time to break through the locks...and Wall hadn't been on that trip.

    Now though, Frank had gotten himself a pair of bolt cutters...not sure where and I wasn't asking. That though was the key to a refreshed sugar supply and hopefully some canned goods to stretch my stuff with. I hadn't the chance to mention it to Josh yet though, he had been on watch earlier today, and I have been in the kitchen making sure we all don't starve. Speaking of Starving I needed to get back on to making the Rig meal. It was once more Fish! and this time pickled with spices! Hopefully they won't complain about this batch. That, and fresh veggies from the indoor garden. Not much, for the sake of the season and having let Amelia give me what she knew was ready. I intended to cook it all though knowing that you could only eat so much pickled stuff in one sitting. Tomorrow would be fresh fish if I got lucky enough.

    I whistled as I poured water into a large stock pot, it having been filtered automatically by the plumbing system...Or so Frank told me. Either way it was water and I needed it to dissolve all the sugar I was using for my next patch of pickled items. It would take a long time to cool anyway so it didn't matter what I did, I'd be waiting until late tonight to get to my canning. Spices tossed in and soaking in the sugar and salt water, I left the pot to warm and boil as I pulled out a kitchen knife and cutting board to deal with the basket of veggies on my work surface.

    "Time to play!" I said with a grin as I chopped off the top of a onion roughly.
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  9. Rigor was pressing his knee against a thin sheet of steel set against a salt corroded panel on the outside of the Rig. He was alone this time, Wall off somewhere else with his own errands. His face was set sternly as he applied the readied torch, the heat collecting in the metal slowly as it softened and molded together along its slender seam. He occasionally held the tip of the flame away and gently pressed against the edge with the head of an old hammer he'd found in Frank's place. After twenty slow minutes he was done and back on both feet, equipment in hand as well as a battery he found on the floor. He couldn't imagine what it was doing there or if it still had some juice, but he wasn't going to be the one who left something potentially valuable lying around.

    He headed toward where he thought Frank might be. He'd finished his chores for the day. Short list, as there was nothing to fix. Or increasingly more often there was no material to fix things with. He had toyed with the idea of going with those brave souls on supply runs, but that meant he had to use a gun and even in the end of the world he couldn't bring himself to do it. Oh, he'd tried before and the results were always a gallon of sweat, hands that shook so bad they were useless, and nerves so frayed he jumped at anything above a whisper. His father was gone. Been gone for more than thirty years now, but his hate stayed. And so did Rigor's anxiety.

    "Well...", Rigor said to no one. "Better find that old cat then", he finished inwardly.

    Frank wasn't anywhere in the upper levels, so he searched floor by floor at a steady pace. Eventually he found himself near the lower walkways and spotted the old man calling down to that Russian girl. It looked like he was giving her some learning about fishing, so he approached slowly, letting the man speak his wisdom. She looked thoughtful to his words, but frustrated by her action.

    "S'done, Frank. Daily shit too. Need anything else?", he said quietly as he arrived at his elder's location.

    Rigor leaned lightly against the walkway railing with his arms crossed. He wasn't in any hurry, Frank along with that beastly Wall, and the angel Amelia, were three people he didn't mind hanging around. So an answer wasn't necessary or really expected, he just had nothing else to do and didn't know what to do with himself at the moment. He glanced down at the girl and her work absently.

    "What was her name again?" Rigor thought. He was never good at foreign languages. Spanish frustrated him, Russian defeated him. "Olives? Oily-something..." He stopped trying.
    #9 The Butterfly, Apr 7, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
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  10. As my eyes catch Hoi making her way up towards me via the walkway, I let out a sigh of relief that's lost amidst the howling gale that surrounds us at this height. An hour or two up here and it's quite possible to start forgetting what it's likely to be warm, especially at this time of year. The doctor looks like she's dressed for these sorts of conditions, though.

    We're getting more experienced at staying alive on this Rig every day. That's something to be grateful for.

    And these days, any silver lining is a welcome change.

    Hoi finally reaches the Crow's Nest and yells a greeting above the rushing winds. The lady runs our limited medical facilities with practised expertise; any injuries or wounds we've suffered since we came here, she's been able to clear up. As to what happened to her arm, I've heard the stories.

    But unless she wants to tell me, I figure it's none of my business. We've all got things we don't want to share.

    God knows I do.

    As she steps up into the blazing air current, I crack a brief smile at her from under my heavy, fur-lined hood.
    “Don't have to tell me twice. I could swear it gets colder here every day.” The nest itself isn't the largest thing, just a sturdy metal frame about seven foot by seven foot; there's enough space for the doctor and I to manoeuvre around each other, but any more people up here would be pushing it. Sometimes, when the mainland gets noisy and we think there might be some of them in the nearby region, we step up the watch to two people. More eyes means we're more likely to spot potential threats in time.

    But for the last month or so it's been all quiet on the Western Front.

    As much as we all complain about it, this weather is good for something at least.

    Moving towards the makeshift railing in order to finally get back inside and get warmed up, something clicks in my head and I turn back around to look at Hoi. “Oh yeah, whilst you're here I've been meaning to ask you. How we doing for supplies your end of the Rig? Like as not we're gonna have to pull another run onto the mainland, and I was wondering if there's anything in particular we should be keeping an eye out for, medicine-wise?”

    Dominika jumps slightly at the sound of Frank's gravelly tones echoing down towards her, causing the fishing rod to jerk wildly out of place. This is accompanied by more snarling words in Russian. When she's finished venting her frustrations at the inanimate object, the girl twists her head up to look at the old man.
    “I could be patient until hell freezes over agains, and still would not catch anything!” she grumbles up at him, “Ser'yezno, I can't even figure out how you lower the line.”

    Her English is heavily-accented, and a little rusty around the edges, but otherwise without flaw. A language learned from listening to another country's music, watching their films and TV shows. Snapping her head back round to the task she's struggling at, Dominika tugs at the various improvised pieces of metal put in place to secure the line. After another ten seconds and several angry snarls, another burst of furious Russian echoes across the bottom walkway of the Rig. “Chert chertovoy materi! Who the hell even design these?”

    There's an awkward pause, as the girl once again turns to look at Frank and the newly-arrived Rigor. “I am meanings, uh... no offence, and everything?”

    Above the sounds of her animated cooking, Jo hears the doors of the Quarters Platform Cafeteria being pushed open, followed by low chuckles and conversation just out of earshot. Three voices can be heard, and though their tones are hushed and difficult to hear the heavy, distinctive accents makes these new arrivals very easy to place.

    Big Jim Harrison, and his two nephews.

    Jim's the sort of man you hear long before you see; the booming Texan accent, the heavy footsteps, the raspy breath. Like Josh, he apparently once called the Rig a place of employment rather than just a sanctuary, and his short temper, attitude and general temperament has earned him quite the reputation amongst the new arrivals. His two nephews are his opposite; tall and muscled, they're very rarely heard speaking and almost never seen separated. Someone once dropped the Tweedledum and Tweedledee joke about them, and in the absence of the pair ever having introduced themselves to their fellow survivors that's the name that's stuck.

    Sauntering up to the window that looks into the kitchen, Jim leans in and spreads a heavy grin at Jo. There's little warmth to it.
    “So, uh, any chance you gon' be speeding that up darling? Us boys have actually been working to keep this place from fallin' apart all goddamn afternoon. Figured you new folks might show a little more appreciation, and all.”
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  11. And to think that I had though that I would have some time to talk to myself.

    I knew though heavy foot steps anywhere, all the folks on the rig knew very well who was coming. None other than Big Jim himself, followed by his too much more attractive nephews. A small part of he was surprised to find them related when I first met them, but Tweedledee and Tweedledum have proved that on more than one occasion. Sometimes I wondered how much more luck those boys would have on this rig before their stupid actions got them killed. I doubted the Cross would even be able to get their fingers into the boys since the idiots would kill themselves just in the process of running. Still, as annoying and rude and sexist as all of them were...they did their jobs well and helped Frank and Rigor keep this dump working well.

    Manual labor was all they were but they did it well enough. I rolled my eyes as Jim spoke. If there was one person that I would have to pick to sacrifice to the Crossed, it would be Jim. He was the brains to his two dimwitted nephews, and that was the said thing since he didn't seem that much brighter, just smart enough to do his job. I always got this weird vibe off the guy, as if he thought I should be kissing his feet. We stayed on decent terms, in other words good enough where no one was ending up dead, though I usually didn't hang out with him. I fed him and that would shut him up most of the time. Of course, the fat ass that he was he was always hungry. That man needed to go job or something!

    At least Wall was polite and had good reason to need seconds, his body weight was mostly muscles...Not so much for Jim though, obviously.

    "Go fuck yourself Jim." I said bluntly to his obviously cocky comment as I continued to chop up the vegetables I was working on. The pot on the stove was boiling now and I would soon have a pickle ready and waiting to be used. I still had to pull out the fish anyway and heat that up in the oven, since eating pickled fish warm was a bit easier to do than eating it cold.

    "The food will be ready when it is god damn ready, not a moment sooner. I've got to get the pickle ready for tomorrow fishing catch and I am not gonna give you a fucking thing until it's time to eat." I said firmly as I pulled out a large frying pan and put some oil into it. "Now either sit out there and shut up or go somewhere else. I am not fucking here to listen to your fat ass whine."
  12. Chris After bookmarking his page and slowly looping his holster around his waist, the lanky man picked his way through the rig to the Mess Hall, now currently watching a potential spectacle unfold in front of him between Jim and Jo from one of the dingy tables. Similar to his relationship with everyone else, he had no allegiance to either individual, more concerned with how an angry Jim could potentially keep him and the rest of the community from getting his food on time. Assuming the worst, he rested his elbows on the table, laced his fingers in each other, and perched his chin on his hands.

    His M1911 was resting on his thigh, safety still on but dangerous nonetheless. He never left his room with an intention to use it, rather prepared to do so. He wouldn't kill Jim if he could help it. He wasn't diplomatically savvy, but even an idiot would be able to tell that that was just a bit too much boat-rocking. That said, no matter how big and tough he was, Jim wouldn't be able to ignore the barrel of a loaded gun to the back of his head.

    In the hands of an psychotically questionable man.

    Your move, Jim.
    #12 Mjr.Chaos, Apr 8, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
  13. By the time my hands felt so cold that the pain could be felt through the numbness, I decided to take a break. The beds were finished, anyway. Maybe later I could rally up some others to help me with planting and watering. That sort of work was pretty easy, I could probably get away with just bossing them around.

    Jo would be happy to see the spuds I collected. A small arm load was dropped into a reused potato sack. I gave one last look over the garden before picking up the bag and then closing the gate. Pretty soon, I would need some other chores to do. The plants wouldn't be doing much for a while.

    I forgot how heavy potatoes could be, especially after you've been out in the cold, haven't eaten yet, and just so happened to be a weak girl in general. Gritting my teeth, I haul the potatoes over my shoulder and proceed towards the kitchen. That was quite a bit of a walk, though. By the time I get there, I should be good and warm from this exercise.

    The entrance to the cafeteria came into view. I decided to take a quick break, that way I wouldn't look out of breath by the time I got there. Besides, I could see Jim. I actively avoided him and his boys. I could recognize that fatso from a mile away, that made it easy to run the opposite direction. Not that he could catch me anyway... 'Hehehe fat jokes.'

    Chris was there, too. With his gun, probably. 'What's going on?' I wonder. Tensions could get high in this place, so it wasn't uncommon for there to be some exciting episodes where the main characters caught a case of the crazies.

    I quietly observe from the entrance, ready to involve myself if necessary. I was armed and dangerous; potatoes hurt when they hit you in the head. In the meantime, I worked on rubbing some heat into my hands. The muscle soreness was waring off, but my skin remained frozen to the touch. The whole time, I could hear Rigor's harsh comment on how I was too careless. Oh how that irks me. Already, I could feel the immature pout on my face while I blew air into my hands more intensely. When I tell him that my gloves are in the ownership of a seven year old, that will change his tune!

    ... I think.
    #13 Fluffy, Apr 8, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
  14. A long and heavy silence hangs in the air in the wake of Jo's retort. Tweedles Dumm and Dee on either side of the man exchange a glance but otherwise say nothing. Jim stares straight at the de-facto head cook of the Rig, who in turn stares right back.

    For several seconds, this continues... only to be broken by the arrival of two new faces in the mess hall.

    The Tweedles turn to devote their full attention to Christopher. Their eyes wander from the handgun at his side to his own gaze, both parties silent and stoic. Like predators encountering each other in the wild, circling one another, probing for weaknesses. If they're similarly armed then their weapons are hidden, but given their bulky parka jackets that wouldn't be difficult. As Amelia arrives at another entrance their heads briefly twist, almost in tandem, to regard her, but quickly swivel back to the silent, gangly figure who sits watching them.

    Jim, meanwhile, seems all too aware that a crowd (or as big a crowd as you're liable to get on the Rig outside of assemblies) is beginning to gather to witness him acting up. He holds Jo's gaze for another few moments before throwing back his head and laughing.
    “Shit, lady, you got quite the vocabulary on you!” he guffaws, “Gotta appreciate that. Least you say what you thinkin', unlike some of these faggots round here,” the laughter cuts suddenly as he shoots a side-long glance behind him. The shoulders of the Tweedles seem to relax as their uncle starts laughing, aware now that the threat of something kicking off has abated.

    Pushing back and away from the window into the kitchen Jim grins at the cook, exposing a double-chin beneath the patchy stubble. “Alrighty then, we'll get out your hair for now. But dammit, the food better be as good as you--”

    The posturing is cut short by a sudden blast of sound. A sound that literally rings out throughout the mess hall. Throughout the inhabited regions of the Rig.

    A sound that the survivors aboard know all too well. One they haven't heard in well over a month. One they hoped against hope they'd not have to hear again.

    The contact siren, triggered from the Crow's Nest.

    Something wicked this way comes.

    Hoi and I catch sight of it almost at the same time.


    An old fishing trawler, if I had to guess (not that I was ever good with boats), not the biggest I've seen but large enough. Once upon a time you'd see plenty of boats like it in these waters; plenty of fish to be found, after all, and there was a decent buck to be made in bona-fide Alaskan fish. A hunting boat, after a fashion, and the part of my brain with a twisted sense of humour points out that, in a way, it's still used for hunting now.

    Only whoever is in control of it isn't on the prowl for fish anymore.

    Cursing furiously, I scramble for my binoculars and peer through them at the approaching craft.

    Immediately I regret this decision.

    Twelve months, I've been doing this. Twelve months, I've been living day to day, trying to keep myself and everyone else going. Twelve months, hiding and sticking to the shadows, to the quiet parts of the world. Twelve months, acting as the witness to humanity's self-destruction. And in those twelve months, one thing I've learned above all else is that no matter how much shit you see? No matter what fucked up things you take in?

    They will always find a new and inventive way to make your stomach churn.

    They've mounted a woman to the front of the boat. Or, part of a woman, I should say; they've got themselves a DIY figurehead, made from the top half of some unfortunate who they cornered. The agonised death throes, locked forever in place by rigour mortis for all to see, tells me that she was alive when they did it, too.
    “Goddamn the devil's mother...” I hiss under my breath, desperately wishing to look away yet needing to try and gauge how many of them we're dealing with, “Hoi, raise the alarm. Then get ready.” I lower the lenses, my face ashen.

    “We got Crossed en-route.”

    The alarm blasts out, causing Dominika to yelp with panic and drop the fishing rod. It topples over the side of the railing, hurtling down to the waters not far below. Cursing, the girl swings an arm down and tries to grab it, but catches only air.

    That's when the ringing properly registers with her.

    Dominika goes perfectly still for a moment, arm still dangling over the railing, mouth slightly ajar, as realisation slowly begins to set in.

    Then the ringing ceases, the silence that follows overwhelming in it's absence.

    But this close to the water, both Dominika and the group clustered on the walkway above her can hear another sound. It's quiet at first, almost inaudible, but growing closer every moment. Engines, yes, but something else as well. Voices cutting in through the whir of the ship's approach.






    Dominika's head turns to look up at the others, the panic starting to show on her face.



    The survivors can make out the boat now.

    And the figures standing on it's deck.


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  15. That alarm... I knew exactly what it meant. The first several times I heard it, I passed out on the floor because it scared the crap out of me. I'm surprised my narcolepsy hasn't gotten me killed yet. Perhaps today will be that day. I guess we'll find out.

    Those potatoes are going to have to wait. I decide to let them stay where I set them, to be collected later. Assuming we make it out of this one.

    Rigor and I made a rule a while back. When there's danger amiss, we book it to our meeting place. Seeing how I don't always know what the hell I'm doing, I go with it. It's nice to have some guidance. I have another blade stashed in my room, too. If I don't use it, somebody else certainly can.

    The whole way there, I can hear him speak. "Meet here no matter what" is what he told me. He doesn't say much, so when he does say something I take it very seriously. Well, as seriously as I can handle, anyway. Being totally serious hurts my face; I'm used to smiling all the time. At work, I was always smiling. More than half the time they were fake, to not drive business away, but that's not the point. Smiling is good for you, even if you don't mean it.

    As fast as my feet can carry me, I move towards the living quarters. I'm armed with my now dead husband's fixed blade; I keep the sheath snapped to my left belt loop. You never know what you might run into when there's panic. I very well might have to stab somebody in the face for getting in my way. I'm a swift motherfucker. I'll bet Rigor won't even be there yet.
    #15 Fluffy, Apr 12, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
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  16. Oh... Oh mother of... Not again...

    (Meredith dropped the coats. Then she pulled herself into a long, thoughtful, empty silence)

    I can see the boat clearly now. There's something about it that feels oddly familiar... Or maybe it's just me. I've seen a lot of boats in my lifetime, ridden a lot of them too, all of different sizes, shapes, models. Some for business, some for pleasure... most for pleasure, actually: I was quite the party girl at my peak.

    Anyway, that boat... It's an old fishing trawler, yes, but it looks like something owned by one of my boyfriends back then... Richie? Richard? Something like that. He was a fisherman, and I think I first met him in some sort of "wilderness retreat" my agent my forced me to join in Oregon. Handsome man, and Oh the boat's getting closer.

    I can't see if anyone's on it, though. I... well, I don't think they're hiding. But oh, oh I can't mistake that awful smell coming from it: it smells like shit and gore. And fish. And... onions? That's unusual.

    I can make something out on the prow, though... Some sort of, hmm, figurehead... A... A woman...

    Oh god. (A sick feeling jumped up Meredith's stomach, a feeling that prompted her to lunge towards the railing and vomit out to sea. But no bits nor even fluid came out; the feeling had been dulled by her being used to the gore) Oh, you know this world's finally got to you when you just feel that urge, but... well, don't.

    Wait. Wait! The Russian girl, she-she-she's down there! Wha-what-what's her name again? Dom-do-d d d it starts with a d DOMINIKA!

    "Hey! Hey there! Dom-Dominika! Come on, get out of there!"

    Oh, okay, okay what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do?! Oh, umm, rope? No, no, no there's a staircase there. Some sort of, I don't know, rope?Ladder? Maybe I can jump down there, pull her out? I-I-Where am I going? (For as she panicked in her mind, her body was already springing into action: she was running to the lower walkway, gun in hand...) Oh, oh no... Uhh, uh, line! Child! I'm coming!

    Row, row, row your boat,
    Gently down the stream.
    Merrily merrily merrily merrily,
    Life is but a dream.

    Row, row, row your boat,
    Gently down the stream.
    Merrily down that throat of yours,
    This medicine- or... sunbeam...

    Oh, just take the syrup, child. It doesn't taste bad, and it'll help you with your cough.
    Oh, so you want me to sing, then? Like Mary Poppins? Alright.

    Oh, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
    The medicine go dow-own
    Medicine go down
    Oh, just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
    And there! See, now was that so bad?

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  17. Rigor subconsciously heard the engine long before he was aware of it, a dull drone of an internal combustion engine slowly rising to a crescendo. The sound was of the old world and thus it initially passed any danger sense he possessed. It wasn't until a look of raw terror began to spread across the Russian girls face that he turned and looked out at the water. He regretted it...

    Out in the distance was a boat that looked as if it was splash with rust colored paint. The voices picked up behind the engine, a song was sung that immediately froze him to the core, it only had one terrible verse and that was enough.

    "...Frank...", Rigor whispered not daring to turn away from the ship. As if his eyes were what kept it from getting too close. It took a few seconds to tear away and look down at the girl.

    "Get inside, girl. Get inside. Hurry now!", he called down to the Russian girl, but she didn't respond initially, fear stayed her. It wasn't until he heard another voice shout out, the old crooner, that she jostled herself out of her state. Simultaneously he grabbed his elder's arm, "Let's get, man.", he told the him just as he was starting back towards the stairs. He waited for just a moment before leaving the man to see to himself, with his back turned away he allowed his face to show the briefest sign of worry.

    He took the stairs two at a time and used his long legs to their full advantage. He clutched the handle of his machete at his side, one of three blades he always carried, knuckles gripping so tightly he was nearly losing the feeling in his fingers. He bobbed and weaved through the small groups of people running around preparing their own defenses. Some screaming, some barking orders, all with the same worry on their faces that he felt inside.

    "Amelia", he thought. "I'll be there soon."

    He arrived at their meeting place, his and Amelia's, where she waited for him. Blessedly, she was there. He didn't say anything to her, he didn't need to. He simply nodded as she stepped up to him.
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  18. The alarm sounded, jolting him out out of a land of fantasicalness that involved creation and sounds. A feeling of emptiness had taken over his stomach and he just stared at the metal wall of his room. The sounds of running and just general commotion had him listening to see if there was anything to be picked up from the room. Nope. Not a whole lot. "Time to go see what the hell is going on..." Gently the guitar was placed back into the case and the music book was closed. The Musician was also quickly put away, in favor of The Survivor.

    His door was shut, after a smooth exit. Knife: check. Focus: check. Killer instinct: check. The stairs rumbled with each step of a man who was ready for a fight. Or at least ready for some shit to go down. But first there was a stop that needed to be made. The makeshift Armory. There was a decent rifle by the name of Alfred that was calling out for Jameson. It was his favorite, if that was what you wanted to call it. More like sticking with what worked, but still useless enough to warrant a name.

    "Where are you, Al?" He said going in and giving it a good look.
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  19. She made a mad dash towards the storage room after ringing the alarms. The plastic first aid kit went underneath her stump of her arm, and the cardboard box went into her free arm. Hoi jostled outside, her hand and shoulders bumping painfully against the narrow hallway, all the while trying to maintain her balance.

    This was the plan she conjured in her head. The plan was to retrieve the boxes in case there was an emergency and they had to evacuate. Somehow she and the others would beat the Crossed, and then she would haul the emergency boxes back into the storage room without having to crack them open. And then she would patch up those who were injured, all the while being relieved that no one died. She sincerely hoped that her plan - and expectations - would work and come true.

    Hoi was useless in combat but she would try her damnedest. But first she had to get the boxes to the others. She glanced behind her, at the storeroom that held the third box. She desperately hoped they wouldn't need anything from there, but there was no time. All was chaos, what with people running around panicking and scrambling to find their weapons, and she didn't want to ask for help, especially when everyone was getting ready for combat.

    Grunting, the struggling woman hobbled her way back to Josh with the two boxes of emergency supplies.

    Aw, what's the matter? Having trouble?

    Hoi gulped and shook her head to clear it.

    "Focus. Stay focused."
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  20. I held Jim's gaze for the longest time, knowing very well who had entered, Christopher wasn't a talking, silent as the grave at times and always scared the shit out of me when he randomly appeared. I hated silence, but I liked Christopher. He was one of the few silent things in this world that I was always happy to find. No, he never said much to me and then again, he never said much to anyone, but he was a man that kept things clean and that enough gave me reason to like the guy. He was also on time for every meal as well, early and polite, never whining for his plate as if it was his right. So even though he was creepy, I was more than happy to serve him first every time. It was only fair. I always also felt like he was watching my back in a way, keeping an eye out while I prevented our limited foods from being charred and tasteless.

    Big sis came in as well. Amelia was so light footed, but I could still hear her bony butt walk into my mess hall. She always brought me the vegetables even though I told her time and time again to just come get me so I could. She may have been older but I could snap her in half and that was what frightened me at times. Passing out randomly then popping awake again as if it never happened? I honestly thought she should be dead! Of course I was glad she wasn't, I really liked her, she was polite and smiling and sweet. In this world that was like the light at the end of a dark tunnel, a small glimmer of hope...It's what kept me going at times, I fucking swear...

    Big sis probably was my everything...But I'd never say that out loud.

    Eventually, Jim pulled back himself back. The fucking pig realized that even with is brainless nephews he was not much up against a gun and a witness that favored me. I'd win the battle and they's have a strike against them. Not that there was a system but you could only be ab ass for so long before people started thinking it was time for you to leave...and in this time of our lives being kicked out was like getting the chair in prison. So he laughed it off, making some half-assed comment that was about to become sexual harassment, but he was interrupted but the most frightening sound I knew. The alarm rang and I thought my stomach dropped out of me. I swear my face went pale. I knew what it meant and though I was tough, I hated it.

    Crossed were coming more than likely, because they wouldn't just blindly sound that alarm if it was something non lethal. We hadn't heard it in months either so I was a little surprised. I picked myself up though as I looked to the doorway, a bag of potatoes abandoned. Stomping quickly out towards the potatoes I grabbed them and stuffed them into the pantry of the kitchen, unlocking it as quickly as I could before tossing the bag near the door and locking it again. I knew it was a pointless thing to do since a crossed alarm could always be the last day of my life...but I had a little faith in those with guns and we had height on our side so hopefully we could make a bit do damage on them. Also, I didn't trust Jim to not sneak a potato into a private stash of I wasn't gonna give him a chance.

    I then tossed all the cut veggies into a giant old fry oil bucket I cleaned out and then tossed them into the cooler for later. Burners were shut off and anything else was hidden out of view. If any crossed got int the wouldn't get any of the important food supply. With that done. I tucked down my sleeves and pulled on a sweater I had brought with me as well as grabbing my rifle. It was a good gun, a strong gun...and one I snagged out of a raided gun shop just before I bumped into Josh and some of the gang. I had also stuffed it full of ammo this morning, a habit in my blood now to keep myself armed constantly, just having the safety one while inside. With that, I dashed out after Amelia, knowing my kitchen was safe for now. I always followed after her, mostly because she ran into meet with Rigor and it was common for him to have the word...Then it was just a quick trot for me in the right direction.

    Now I could only pray this crossed would be easy shots.
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