The Last Of Us: New Hope

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Rainjay, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. The Last Of Us: New Hope
    OCs, canon backstory

    Morgan Avana (open)

    [​IMG]
    Age: 24
    Height: 5'7"
    @Coma


    Heather Wright (open)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Age - 23
    Height - 5'5"
    @Rainjay




    [​IMG]

    Corpus Christi - Texas
    Naval Air Station Corpus Christi - Quarantine Zone

    Heather was barreling down the halls of the place she called home- which really was only a refurbished section of what was once a naval air station- as she rushed to make it to the Hole before evening began to fall. The rubber soles of her boots squeaked on the concrete floor as she ran, the only sound in utter silence. Everyone was probably working in the newly settled fields, or perhaps with guns training. If they weren't, they were waiting in line at the rations building in futile efforts to find even small scraps of food to bring home to broken families. Heather had been there yesterday and even though she had a handful of ration cards to offer, she only got a small box of what used to be canned soup, and was told to go on her way or face the consequences. She chose the former, rather than face whatever punishment would be dug up for her. It was well known in Corpus Christi what happened to those that struggled with the soldiers. That said, sometimes it was a better fate than slowly starving to death.

    A small sign that read "EXIT" was sitting crooked on the wall above the heavy metal doors that lead out of the housing block. In the dim light, Heather could see a small spider building it's web in one of it's corners, among the torn wires and dust. She skidded to a stop and slammed her shoulder against the doors, which made shrill cries as she pushed them open. She squinted in the dying day light, placing a hand over her eyes so she could see across the clearing without burning her eyes. Once she noted the path was clear, she raced across the dusty makeshift streets to the next block, and slipped into the crowd of survivors that were heading away from the rations buildings and towards the family blocks.

    At Corpus Christi, the several buildings that once were used to train new soldiers now were used to house survivors. People were split up into family blocks, meant for those with children and grandparents, and single blocks, where couples without children, or those living alone, slept. Some other buildings were converted into cafeterias, and others were bunkers and weapons storage. The open runways were used for training, and every morning young teenagers ran laps on the hard asphalt surface, sprinting through obstacle courses and wrestling on thin tarps.

    It hurt Heather's heart to see these kids fighting, fighting for their lives before they even grow up. Even she, only two years old when the infected struck, had been put into a similar training system, although she hadn't become the soldier they'd all wanted her to be. She'd passed her training, and worked as a soldier for some time before she hurt her knee, and although it managed to fully heal, she was given leave from duty to rest and recover. Ironically, that was the last thing she was doing with her free time.

    Please let him still be there. He has to still be there! Her stomach was doing flips as she pushed through the crowd and into the empty street beyond. Jorge's family lived in the block that was furthest away from the others, and the least occupied. It was too close to the Zone's borders for most to feel comfortable staying there, which provided a great opportunity. Jorge had a direct passage to the outside through the Hole in his front room, and had no qualms about protecting it, even with his two kids living in the same apartment. Heather thought him insane- but perhaps his trigger-happy insanity was better protection for the children than the patrolling soldiers ever could be. Once, an infected had managed to slip his way up through the Hole and into the apartment, but it's head was blasted into chunky bits before anybody could even open their mouths.

    However, today he was going into the Hole with them, and he wasn't going to wait for her to get there before closing up access. She'd been warned several times- Don't be late this time, Heather!- but it wasn't like she could help it. She had orders to follow, like anybody else here. It wasn't in her to disobey and draw attention to herself.

    She raced through the overgrown streets that lead to the final housing block, and pushed open the doors- even squeakier than the ones at her block- and raced down the abandoned hall to Jorge's apartment. She counted off doorways as she ran, jumping over piles of trash and broken bottles that littered the floor.

    There- there it is! The door was shut, but when she reached for the handle and turned it, it opened without a hitch. Jorge stood in the small entry way, his arms crossed, a beer sitting on the rickety slab of wood he called an end table. His shoulder leaned against the haphazard walls, which creaked as he shifted his weight. His eyebrow raised when he saw her, windblown hair and all.

    "Yer late," he said to her. His voice held a thick accent that hadn't managed to fade over twenty years of living in a quarantine zone. His heavy way of speaking had always amused her, and the corner of her lips tilted upwards in a smile.

    "I thought you would have expected less of me, Jorge. Are you going to let me in, or will I have to fight you for the privilege?" she teased, drawing the small pocket knife from her boot and tossing it in her hand.

    "Girl, you thi-"

    "Jorge! Just let the damned girl in, would you? You're too drunk to stand upright, nonetheless aim straight. Do yourself a favor and just shut up!"

    Heather smiled. Jorge's wife, Paula, had an even thicker accent than he did, and was usually twice as crabby. She loved seeing Heather around, but whenever her husband decided to use his left brains, she wrangled him back into line. The older woman- she perhaps was only forty or fifty years of age, but was already graying at the roots- came from the kitchen, wiping her hands off onto a ratty towel that she flung at Jorge before she pushed aside the bookcase that covered the Hole. She may be old, but she was also strong.

    "Thanks, Paula. Want me to take Jorge along with me?" She made the offer politely, but the woman shook her head.

    "No, he'll only disrupt everyone. Nobody needs a bumbling idiot interfering with their lives. He would probably get shot first thing." The woman sighed, grabbing Jorge's beer from the end table. He protested, lurching forward to grab it from her hands, and promptly collapsed onto the bare concrete floor.

    "I see what you mean. Good luck, Paula!" She knelt by the Hole, threw her light backpack down, and jumped into the darkness.

    It was only a few feet of a drop, but she stumbled at her landing and fumbled about for a light. Her fingers clasped around one of the many flashlights stored down here, and she flicked it on. She was standing in the remnants of a basement storage room.

    The storage rooms had been in disuse since the main entrance collapsed a decade ago, making it nearly inaccessible. Even from the Hole, there were only a few directions one could go in- one of those being simply out, through a newly made tunnel. Thus, the pathway was linear and easy to follow, apart from bits of uncleared debris laying here and there along the path. After a few minutes, she could hear voices from ahead, and could then see the faint light of candles and lanterns.

    The Fireflies.

    It was here that the quarantine zone communicated with Fireflies based at Ward Island. The Hole lead to a storage locker very close to the edge of the Zone's fences, and through tunnels the Fireflies built themselves, it lead past the edge and out towards the coast. There, you had to travel over land- or by boat, if you had one and wanted to row it across the water to the Island- to reach the Firefly base, an old university that had been secured into a Zone of it's own. The soldiers never spoke of it's existence to the survivors in base, but you could catch snippets of hushed conversation near the patrols as men and woman glanced anxiously towards the Island's position in the distance.

    The entrance to the storage room had no door or working lock, so to cover most of the light a blanket was tossed over the old door frame. Visitors knocked five times in a rhythm to signal that they were friendly, and then someone would pull aside the curtain for you. Heather knocked- five times, the way she had been taught not long ago- and the curtain was snapped aside.

    "Heather. How pleasant of you to finally join us."​
     
  2. It had been another long day at the FEDRA. Morgan was just returning from beyond the walls as another patrol was getting ready to head out. Several years ago, the quarantine zone at Corpus Christi was a mad house. The chain of command was fractured, the civilians rioted only to be put down with lethal force, and the corruption ran thick amongst who got what. Only after Representative Douglas - a leader reining in both the science ad military branches of the FEDRA - stepped into power did the riots stop. Instead of chaos and death, order and control were demanded. Compounded onto the already strict legislature, ruthless amendments were added. Morgan should know; she already had the pleasure at enforcing it. Violation of the five cardinal laws was summary execution. No longer was there to be prison houses, they had to be repurposed for other things. Either you would obey or you would die.

    Stepping into the locker room, Morgan began to take off her vest and pads. Since the mandatory military training that all teenagers and adults had to undergo as citizens of the quarantine zone, Morgan reached the standard required for military eligibility albeit barely. While the life was often short - from infected or riots - the benefits were huge. What Morgan didn't know going into the occupation was the cruelty that she had to carry out. When in uniform, she couldn't show any of it. Her demeanor - like the rest of the guards - had to be cold, tenacious. However, word had gotten to the wrong - or right depending on one's view - people concerning her beliefs.

    Namely, though she wore the uniform, Morgan was a reluctant Firefly. She wanted to believe the ideal that the organization fought for. A return to democracy, a belief that she only heard of by the older generation. While it was sound in theory, was it really practical in a time like this? Martial law allowed the survival of the United States - or what was left of it. If a Congress was reinstated, Morgan had heard of the inefficiencies when people disagreed in that form government. No, martial law was the only way. While she was not loyal to the Fireflies out of policy, she was for the desire of a less cruel regime. Plus, it wasn't just herself that she was looking out for. Her little sister Eva was her responsibility. Her parents were killed in a riot for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    "Avana." Morgan turned around as she stood to attention. It was Sector 2's chief. "Your Sergeant reported that you encountered a horde of runners. Where?"

    Morgan started to draw a mental map in her head as she retraced her patrol. So many things happened out there, that everything blurred. "The Walmart superstore, sir. It's the one location where our squads haven't hit yet," she said. "We lost half our squad. There must've been hundreds of runners, sir."

    The section chief nodded. "Supplies are getting low. Crop yield is getting lower in the agriculture district. Damn farmers fucking around." The chief took of his hat as he scratched his bald scalp. His desk position really showed through his physique. "We're sending another squad. You have two hours before you leave with them. Your Sergeant said you made it to the super market. We need actionable intel on site. You're it."

    "With all d--"

    "Drop the formal bullshit, private," said the chief as he straightened. "This is an order, not some civil argument. You will report here in two hours, and you be on that convey out."

    Morgan bit down a crude retort. "Understood sir."

    Flicking the section chief off as he walked away, Morgan sighed as she changed into her civilian clothes and walked out of the barracks. She loved the atmosphere and the thrill, but she swore someone had it out for her. Recently, she had been pulling a ton of involuntary overtime. The reward were ration cards, but the ration stations were already low as they were. Contrary to popular belief, the soldiers didn't get bigger rations than what the civilians believed. They were just as hungry - maybe more due to their jobs.

    Arriving at the checkpoint to the family housing, Morgan showed her credentials as the guard look for a few seconds and opened the gate. "Been quite so far. Boring ass post," he told Morgan.

    Shrugging, Morgan quickly made her way to the building that housed her sister and her. Morgan received guardianship over her little sister. All the younger Avana's mistakes were also hers. Finally getting to her room, she took out her key and opened the door to the small studio-like room. Sitting on the couch, a younger image of herself busily worked on homework - or so she presumed. Morgan smiled as she sat down next to the younger Avana. "Buenos noches, nina."

    Eva looked up as she continued her mathematic homework. When she was old enough, Eva had been placed in the science tract because of aptitude test. The kid was smarter than Morgan, the older grudgingly accepted that. "Long day, hermana?"

    Morgan rolled her eyes. "You have no idea. You hungry? I got some ration cards - finally. I can't stay long. They want me on another patrol."

    "Again? They're going to work you to death!"

    "If we pull this off, we'll have more food. I think it's worth the extra exercise, sister."

    Eva shook her head. "I don't care about food!" she said. "Mama and papa are gone, and if you go too!"

    Morgan reached over and patted Eva's cheek. "Enough," she said. "It'll take more than some fatigue and infected to put down your big sister. I'm doing this for you - for the community. I'll be back; I'll see if I can find a twinkie on my way back for you, si?"

    Eva looked away. "I don't care about a stupid twinkie..."

    Before Morgan could respond, she heard a knock from her door. Her eyes focused on the thin piece sheet metal as her ears picked up on the rhythm. It was a signal; she knew who it was. Getting to her feet, she went to the door and opened it. Joseph, a fellow guard - a fellow Firefly - eyed it her. He looked nervous. "You free?"

    "No, Joseph. What do you want?"

    He shrugged. "There's a meeting at the ... briefing room. They want us there. Both of us."

    Morgan rolled her eyes. "Can you cover for me? I have another patrol in less than two hours now."

    "No shit?"

    "No shit."

    Joseph sighed as he leaned against the door. "It's a quick one. You'll be back before your deployment time. This is important."

    Wanting to protest and spend time with the only family she had left, she couldn't skip out on this. It was rare for the Fireflies to reach out like this. It was risky and bold. Plus with her position they wouldn't dare risk compromising her or Joseph. Turning around, she walked to the counter that held her stuff. "Eva, I'll be back later tonight."

    Eva had already returned to her books. "You better make good on the twinkie sis."

    Morgan smiled. "Always. Love you."

    Walking out the door, Joseph fell in right behind her as the two made their way to Jorge's place.

    ---

    Jorge was always a complete jackass. Morgan sat in the tunnel's entrance that separated Jorge's entrance from the Firefly's constructed one. There were several other fireflies there as they held weapons - something that Morgan didn't have but wished she did. "So what are we doing here?"

    One of the fireflies looked over as he nodded to Jorge's side. "We're waiting for another and then we're moving out."

    "Moving out?" Morgan asked. She got to her feet. "Look, I have a deployment in less than an hour and a half now. I can't be moving out."

    Before she could argue further, she heard footsteps then a series of knocks. It was the signal of a friendly. Morgan walked towards the curtain and opened it. Her eyes widened in surprise for the briefest of moments then settled. She knew the woman, Heather. What she didn't know was that she was a firefly as well. "You're a firefly?"

    "Heather. How pleasant of you to finally join us," said a firefly from behind her. "We've got to go."

    Morgan placed her hands on her hips and looked at the crowd. "Okay, stop. What are we doing? I was dragged here under the pretense of this meeting being quick. Care to fill me in, guys?" ​
     
  3. "We've got to go."

    Heather's surprise at seeing Morgan was washed away quickly by those four measly words. Her train of thought crashed when she heard them, and she stared at the speaker- Leona, she recognized- with a slack jaw. The murmurs of confusion and dissent Heather expected to hear in response were absent. Her brow knit into a frown, and she glanced from face to face in her own bewilderment. She'd no idea Leona was talking about, although many others in the crowd in the room apparently did, casting glances of pity towards her and Morgan- the only two people that seemed really lost in the conversation.

    She launched into the conversation after Morgan did, her words overlapping with the end of the woman's statement. "What the hell are you talking about? Are you insinuating that we're leaving the Zone? I hope to God you don't mean now, because your concept of planning and coordination is seriously lac-"

    Leona threw her hands into the hand. "Both of you stop. Listen to me."

    Heather was hardly feeling up to listening, no matter who Leona was. News traveled quickly through the Firefly ranks, and what happened to Marlene and the other scientists in Salt Lake City was common gossip- fear inducing gossip. How could one man cause so much trouble and strife, she had no idea. She also wasn't eager to find out. Since then, Leona had been starting to take charge, trying to gather up the loose threads that was the Fireflies, and straining to sew them back together into a cohesive unit. She was in the head of the Corpus Firefly group, and was attempting to reach the level of power Marlene once held, perhaps even more.

    Corpus was one of the few Zones left that both existed and had Fireflies in it, and that made it special, and important. Without their grip on Corpus, the Fireflies would be loosing a massive connection to FEDRA; if they lost that grip, things would collapse completely. They'd already been chased out of Boston, and they lost New York last month. Several of the research teams hadn't been heard from for ages. Some people wondered if the same guy that killed Marlene was behind it, but Heather knew better than to succumb to silly rumors.

    But what she didn't understand, was why the Fireflies would be leaving one of their most important centers of power. Corpus may be a shitty place, but that only would make it easier for the Fireflies to take control, when the time came.

    "I don't want to hear you-"

    "HEATHER. ENOUGH." Leona snapped, glaring at Heather with a look that could kill. Several others in the room that were armed with pistols and rifles began shifting anxiously. "Listen to me. We are leaving the Zone."

    "We've been trying to make contact with countries outside of America-" Leona's face scrunched up when she said the word, as if it left a sour taste in her mouth. "- and we've made contact."

    "... Contact? You mean, you talked to somebody? Not in America? Are you sure?" Heather eagerly questioned, eyes wide.

    Leona sighed, crossing her arms. She looked very much like an exasperated mother talking down to a noisy child. "Yes. Unfortunately, we didn't managed to contact the north or south Americas, but we managed contact across the ocean. Europe. What's left of the United Kingdom."

    "We don't know too much of their condition but from what they told us, they sound much better equipped to house survivors, and further, to search for a cure. They have full functioning facilities, medication, food- It's all we could ask for." she continued, looking around the room, meeting each Firefly in the eye. "So we're evacuating. We're going to gather up as many Fireflies and survivors that we can, and get to the coast. Then they'll come and retrieve us."
     
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  4. Unsatisfied with the Firefly - Leona - who demanded silence, Morgan found a small divot on the tunnel's wall and sat. Leave the zone? The Fireflies had to be completely insane if that was their intention. It was no secret that the Fireflies were on the decline. With the death of Marlene, all hopes for the Fireflies rivaling the FEDRA was shattered. Boston's branch had dropped out of contact and so had many others. Last time Morgan checked, the DC branch and Washington branch were still operational. That wasn't saying much either. The Corpus Christi branch was an intelligence cell. Namely, Fireflies like her tracked the FEDRA's movements and reported them to their leader whom relayed it to the other branches. To lose this location was crazy. The Fireflies might as well just disband!

    Listening to the exchange between Heather and Leona, Morgan was about to lose her patients until her suspicions were confirmed. She stood up. "You want to leave Corpus?" she said. "Leona, you can't be serious. I've been outside the walls. What lies out there is way worse than in here! Those clickers? The runners? No way we're getting through this unscathed! Not even remotely salvageable!"

    Leona sighed as she looked at Morgan. God did the woman look pissed. "If you can shut the fuck up for one second, I'll tell you!" Morgan was about to respond until she saw a Firefly shift the muzzle of his rifle towards her. Morgan lifted an eyebrow. "Jason, put the fucking gun down. Last thing we need is to start killing each other." Letting the silence linger for a moment, Leona spoke again, ""We've been trying to make contact with countries outside of America, and we've made contact."

    Morgan blinked. They made contact? With that old trashed up radio the crazy old man managed to fix? Morgan shook her head. She didn't know whether she should be impressed or not. Even if they did make contact, what good did that do them? Morgan laughed as Leona told the group that it was Britain they made contact with. "Across the goddamn Atlantic ocean? Jesus christ," she said. "I can't even fathom how far away that trip is. You thought Marlene's trek was impressive? We don't have cruise ships to get our people and survivors to this goddamn promised land!"

    "Hey fuck you!" Jason said as he stepped towards Morgan. She stood up. "You'd rather stay collared to the FEDRA? Chicken shit little girl!"

    Morgan took a step closer as she stared straight into Jason's eyes. Even with the gun, she knew she could do damage. She had spent the last few years competing with soldiers who were indisputably tougher than her. Even with how many bastards existed within the military, they were all tough bastards. "Say that again, puta," she said. "I'll pick your skinny ass up and sit you the fuck down."

    Laughter broke the tension as Jason and Morgan looked at Joseph. He wiped tears from his eyes as he fought to control himself. "Jesus, you can feel the testosterone! Estrogen in your case Morgan. Why don't you two just sit down. Lets hear Leona out."

    The woman clapped her hands together. "Finally, someone who isn't some angsty ball of emotions. Look, the situation sucks. Britain is thousands of miles away and a big blue sea is in the way. It's worth the risk. If there's a chance we can get people to Britain - our scientist - maybe we can manufacture a cure."

    Morgan stepped back as she sighed. "The only way with the slightest chance was that girl. What was her name? Ellie? Where are we going to find another of those? Plus, I don't know about y'all, but I want nothing to do with kidnapping kids." She looked at those in the cave then rested her eyes on Heather. "I have a kid sister. I can't imagine how bad it'd be to have someone take her away. I'd kill them, if I ever found them."​
     
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  5. Heather backed off from the dispute before Jason pointed guns at her, too. She could practically feel the tense emotions in the air around them, and it was suffocating. Her own opinions were mixed and muddled, a see-saw of This is the chance we're waiting for and This will get us all killed, and it truly will be the last of us. In America, anyway. She had no idea how populated Europe or Asia were. Maybe Australia even managed to isolate itself completely, if they were lucky enough to demolish the cordyceps before it walked itself off an airplane. Still, the chances were slim, slim to none, and she wasn't so sure that Leona was right to base their fate on a fuzzy radio transmission, which very well could have been FEDRA playing games.

    And although she thought it would be best to mention that to Leona, she kept her mouth shut. Not now.

    "If there's a chance we can get people to Britain - our scientist - maybe we can manufacture a cure." Leona was saying when Heather zoned back into the conversation. A cure? The word had been unspoken of since they'd lost Ellie at Salt Lake, a taboo word among the Fireflies. It meant that they were fighting in a losing battle, with no way to win. But Leona used the word like it were a weapon, a future victory, as if she had the cure in sight and could almost reach it, as though it were almost in her hands. She spoke so hopefully, yet it failed to spark any hope in Heather.

    "The only way with the slightest chance was that girl. What was her name? Ellie? Where are we going to find another of those? Plus, I don't know about y'all, but I want nothing to do with kidnapping kids. I have a kid sister. I can't imagine how bad it'd be to have someone take her away. I'd kill them, if I ever found them."

    She glanced over at Morgan, finding her eyes locking with the brunette's own as the woman spoke. She knew Morgan had a younger sister, but she'd seen her so rarely that it often felt like she didn't. It was hard for Heather to imagine family unless she saw it. After what had happened, all the things that had happened, she'd rewritten the memories of her own in her mind so she didn't have to feel the pain anymore. Their existence, just thrown away into the wind. The remnants of that ache were enough for her. The threat of bringing that pain to even more people was unspeakable.

    Heather knew that the Fireflies were, on some level, right and just for doing what they did to locate a cure. She could see the logic behind Marlene's actions. But she couldn't deny what Morgan said, and what Ellie's loved ones definitely felt.

    She knew that if it were her younger sister or brother being kidnapped, brought to a lab where death was inevitable in the sake of a cure, she would do the same thing.

    Heather quickly jumped back into the conversation before Leona could speak. "Leona, you know as well as the rest of us that finding a cure won't be as simple as arriving at Britain with a team of scientists. Like Morgan said, it's not going to be easy to find another Ellie. We aren't going to find another immune like her, and I'm sick and tired of all these needless deaths. What are we going to keep telling people? 'Your death is not in vain!' doesn't cover the loss, particularly when it doesn't even produce a viable cure." Heather retorted. Leona looked taken aback, almost offended in a comedic way. She knew that Leona had had her hand in finding those cures- and more importantly, finding the immune people to get the cure from- and that her words hit a nerve in the older woman.

    "I thought half of the point of the Fireflies was to fight the FEDRA, not run away like chicken shits," she said, glaring at Jason. "I thought the goal was to re-institute freedom."

    Leona stormed over to Heather, her height allowing her to somewhat tower over the smaller girl. Her eyes were alight with her unbidden rage. Each word was practically spat out into Heather's face. "The goal is to re-institute our freedoms! And FEDRA is collapsing, but we can't create freedom in this country if people are dropping like flies to the infected with no defense. We're the only ones looking for a cure in this country- God knows FEDRA doesn't care- and we need to have a cure before we can take the reigns, or we'll be left with nowhere to go."

    Then she turned to Morgan, her eyes somewhat softening. "I know we can't find another Ellie and I've no intention of kidnapping children to use as guinea pigs. Not anymore. But this is the first step into fixing this. The UK may be better equipped to finding a cure, and maybe.. Maybe no more lives will be lost in our search. It's worth a hundred times over to at least try."

    "Please," Leona said. "We're stuck between a rock and a hard place, and this is our only way out. We might as well try."

    Heather mulled over Leona's words for a moment before she sighed. She glanced at Morgan again, mentally pleading for her to agree with what she was about to say. As much as she didn't want to leave the other woman on her own, she couldn't deny Leona's twisted, but logical, standpoint.

    "Well, shit. Fine. But you better have plans, Leona. If we're jumping into this with no strategy I will feed you to the infected myself!"
     
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  6. "I know we can't find another Ellie and I've no intention of kidnapping children to use as guinea pigs. Not anymore. But this is the first step into fixing this. The UK may be better equipped to finding a cure, and maybe.. Maybe no more lives will be lost in our search. It's worth a hundred times over to at least try."

    Seconds before, Morgan thought a slap to the face would bring the woman to her senses. She agreed find a cure was the endgame. There was only so much each Firefly could do when it came to warfare. FEDRA had trained soldiers while the Firefly did, but the majority of their operatives were untrained folks with idealistic minds. And FEDRA collapsing? Hadn't Leona been reading the missives Morgan and Joseph sent? If anything - especially in Corpus Christi - FEDRA was expanding their power.

    The mandated training that everyone underwent served two purposes. First, the training allowed every dweller within the quarantine zone to protect themselves to the most basic of standards. Secondly, it allowed for a steady stream of recruits - depending on how one did. If someone did get the privilege of serving, brainwashing was instituted to those who were against joining up. It was something Morgan didn't have to undergo. The stories she heard made her sick.

    Sighing, she crossed her arms. "Look Leona. I might've been a bit too pessimistic before, but," she paused searching for the right words to use. "A trip to the UK - now - is very improbable. We don't have the ships to get there. FEDRA will not let people voluntarily leave. You can count on the infected being around too."

    "We'll think of a plan." Replacing the anger in her eyes, Leona seemed to silently plead with the woman. Morgan had to wonder though. She wasn't high up amongst the ranks of the Fireflies. Why was Leona asking her permission, her advice? By rights, she could've bypassed her thoughts entirely and go ahead with the operation. While their numbers were numerous, they still had a sizable force here in Texas. Marlene was the height of their power. "Please ... We're stuck between a rock and a hard place, and this is our only way out. We might as well try."

    Looking to the others, Morgan once again rested her eyes on Heather as she caught the woman's gaze. There was a desperation there - for Morgan to trust the Firefly leader in this mad quest. It was either be a FEDRA puppet until she died or die out there. At least she'd die a looked after puppet. Was that what she wanted? Was that what was best for her sister? If Morgan could help find that cure without abducting children ...

    Rubbing the bridge of her nose she closed her eyes. "We'll need to distract FEDRA," she said as she looked over at Joseph. "I figure we do what the Fireflies at Boston did. Explosives in districts. Maybe a few in this distract and a few others. Nothing too fancy though. Leona, how many survivors do you plan to shuttle out?"

    Leona pursed her lips, her shoulders relaxed. "Contrary to what you said, we found a battleship."

    "Holy fucking shit."

    Leona grinned. "We have our engineers trying to get it ready. I'm sure it'll be able to fend off FEDRA for a time. But we're missing a lot of stuff. Fuel, parts for the electronic components, and people who know how to get the damn thing moving. Doesn't come with an instruction manual - unfortunately," she said. "There is a bit of a problem though. It's on the east side of the island."

    Morgan's heart dropped. "So, we have to go through FEDRA. How the hell did the engineers get through? Suddenly this plan sounds like shit, Leona."

    "Unless you can find a better idea, Morgan. That's all we got!"

    Morgan cursed as she walked towards the wall and back. "Are there any other sea traversing boats we can find?"

    "The others are ruined."

    Morgan shrugged. "I'm all out. If - by some chance - you can think of a way that won't get us killed, Joseph and I can wreck havoc across the quarantine zone. But Leona. Think about everything. Example? Rations, fuel to make the whole trip, protocols for emergencies. Do your homework before you commit everything. Get it?" Morgan looked around. "Feel free to chime in. We are a democratic fighting force after all."
     
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  7. Heather was shaking her head before Morgan finished speaking. She had thought the other woman would agree with her on this- didn't she see? This was perhaps the last chance they would ever get! The Fireflies were failing and after the group died off, FEDRA would do nothing to stop humanity- or at least those in the U.S- from perishing. Or, perhaps Heather was just being idealistic. There was nothing that said that a cure could even be found. There was nothing that said this battleship would be able to run, or that it would get far before FEDRA shot it down. There was no way to know that a decent number of survivors would even make it off the continent, and then what? Would the rest die at sea? Die in the UK?

    Her earlier thought came to her again- what if the transmission was fake?- but she shook the thought away again. She was letting herself grow paranoid.

    She didn't want to argue with Morgan. Morgan was a strong, independent woman, from what Heather had ever observed. She seemed the type of person to be headstrong, and unwavering in her opinion, but valuable. If they were going to try and pull this off... Heather could see the appeal in having Morgan on their side. While Heather knew her way around a gun, and could survive on her own outside the walls, she knew, or rather felt, that Morgan would be a hundred times more well off than she.

    Whether or not it was a true assumption, she didn't want the Fireflies to go on this crazy mission without Morgan tagging along for the ride.

    "I'm sure it's not impossible to get rations and fuel, right? I mean, you go out past the walls and you can find tons of stuff, if you look just right." she started off. "Heck, that's where we get most of our guns from now. Med supplies. Clothing. Surely there's got to be other ships out there with fuel in them. And there was plenty of supplies in Christi before FEDRA used it all up; and there were tons of military and naval bases in this country before the infected came along. They can't all be raided and picked clean."

    "I guess it's a lot of wishful thinking, but isn't that what we're based on? Because God knows we're all fighting in vain. We should at least begin gathering supplies. Send word to all the other Firefly bases, have them search too. Start gathering rations. It can't be too hard to start picking some of the storage rooms clean, and we can go and excavate outside the walls for other supplies. And then... if we have enough by the end of the next winter, we go?"

    She was looking pleadingly at both Leona and Morgan, all but on her knees and begging. Leona stared back at her for a moment before she sighed in resignation, glancing back at Morgan.

    "Fine," she said, with a shrug. "It might take some time for the battleship to get all patched up anyhow. But we'll be leaving," she said, a warning glint in her eyes as she looked at each Firefly in the room, "with or without everybody. If you want to stay behind in this dump, go ahead. I'm not going to force those that want to go to stay, either. I'm sure there are other civilians that would love to take your spot onboard."

    Leona straightened up, her expression hardened. She crossed her arms against her chest and looked at the men and women in the room with her usual demeanor, her no-nonsense attitude. This was the Leona that Heather knew, not the Leona that looked to her subordinates for assurance. "I'll be organizing scavenging groups soon. I expect everybody to participate. If you've got FEDRA stuff, attend to it, but I still expect help. We'll start trying to get rations and weapons supplies first. Look for clothing, aid, all that stuff, and then we'll send out groups to look for fuel later."

    "I'm not going to expect anyone to leave the Zone if they don't want to. Not for good. But we'll need people to go out and scout- search the area, look for fuel, clear the way. You'll be handsomely prepared for the journey, but you won't be able to get back into the Zones- we all know that. And if you get Infected... We're not accountable for that." she said solemnly, dropping her arms to her sides. "But somebody will need to do it."

    "Meeting's adjourned. You know where to find me if you want to do more complaining," Leona finished, once again glancing at Morgan and Heather in turn before she left through the curtained door. The room was in silence for a moment before the quiet muttering resumed, and people began to shift and move about. Heather stared after Leona for a moment before she went to follow the elder woman out the door.