Once the pair have gathered up whatever is deemed necessary for the night (Or just not worth risking leaving in the truck), they exchange temporary farewells with Kirill and are sent back down the road they drove down.
#Traveler'sGorge – July 27, 2020
Jessica drags her armor crate lazily behind her, a duffelbag shrugged over her shoulder. Amongst the change of clothes and a few necessities within the duffelbag lies her prized possession, neatly folded up. A Falcon grenade launcher! She's not about to leave it unsupervised in the truck. It's not that the Gorge is a nest of thieves, but it does happen. It's to be expected when you have so many people constantly rotating in and out
and traveler's passing through. She's managed to slip out of Kirill's sight without having to turn over her stylish new headgear yet, so the ridiculous floofy hat still sits atop her head, stolen aviator sunglasses shielding her eyes from the bright reflection of the sun on the snow. It's probably more than just a coincidence that it also helps to conceal her identity as she strolls through a place filled with far too many
Yan Sun walks alongside Jessica, winterwear back on and backpack slung over one shoulder, hand on the strap to ease the weight. Because using both straps is for suckers, of course. She took a moment to pack a few things over from the duffelbag, leaving the rest of her spare clothes behind in the truck. Her gaze wanders the Gorge as they walk, curious and probably pretty obviously a new arrival, between the look on her face and the fact that
the clothes are hardly the rugged sort meant for the Aitian wilderness. Neither is she, for that matter.
Thankfully it doesn't seem like 'concealment' is much of an issue. The people here have far more to do than watch a couple of folks passing through. After all, travelers are just a part of their lives out here. People using the Gorge as a temporary stop-gap between destinations. A place to lay their head before they move on. The tent town is abuzz with life as people go about their days. On close inspection, one might see that there's been some
work done in preparation of the upcoming holidays. A few of the tent's with canopies have inactive lights strung up along them.
Jessica adjusts the strap on her duffelbag as she sniffs at the air, her cold still lingering. A bit of laughter erupts from a collection of tents on their right, pulling her attention that way. The densely packed tents obscure her view from the culprit, but she's left with the threat of a smile tugging at the corner of her lips. Conversations spill out from both sides of them as they continue down the road, specifics muffled amongst
the rest of the colony's noise. The scent of someone cooking is carried by the wind, hitching a ride with the soft cacophony of chimes that ring out nearby. A thin ribbon of smoke rises up from between some of the tents on their left. Likely from an open fire. Jessica draws in a deep breath through her nose, the uncomfortably familiar sights, sounds, and smells causing her to turn her gaze towards the ground in front of her as
Yan Sun seems kind of fascinated by the settlement that is the antithesis of everything she's used to. The sense of liveliness despite being in the middle of nowhere brings a small smile to her lips, which softens as her gaze falls on Jessica. Her eyebrows furrow slightly and her free hand shifts slightly as they walk, her knuckles bumping briefly against Jessica's as she tries to catch her eye and shoot her a reassuring smile.
Jessica tilts her head slightly as Yan Sun's hand makes contact with hers, peering at her through her stolen sunglasses. "Mmm?" she hums as she continues down the road at her own pace, at times having to drag the crate behind her due to the bumpiness of the road being uncooperative with her armor crate's wheels. "What you are looking at?" she asks, her attempt at being playful overshadowed slightly by hints of fatigue. It's been a long
trip. Tiring both physically and emotionally. Being back here certainly doesn't do much to lighten that load. But she does her best not to think about that right now, grin widening slightly as she gives Yan Sun a bump with her hip and reaffirms her question with another hummed, "Mmm?"
Yan Sun snickers slightly. "You look ridiculous, you know that, right?" she opts for, instead of prodding her about how she's feeling. She takes a moment to stretch her arms as they keep going - it's good to be out of the truck, it's been a long, cramped few days on the road. Her backpack almost slips in the process and she has to shrug it back up her shoulder.
Jessica scoffs, giving Yan Sun another, slightly harder bump with her hip. "What you mean to say is that I am looking sexy." she corrects confidently. Far ahead, the gates that they entered through have since been closed back up.
Yan Sun lets out a snort of laughter. "Always." she agrees through a growing grin, jostled a little by the hip-bump. Her gaze lingers on Jessica for a moment before scanning ahead of them again. She draws in a long breath, tilting her head back and letting out an exaggerated, relieved groan. "I can't wait to showeeeeer..." she says with clear enthusiasm, pulling a little at a greasy strand of hair.
Jessica gives a snicker, smirk widening. "Mmm. I can not wait for you to shower, too." she agrees, attention shifting back ahead of them as she continues down the uneven road. "You stink like ass. This is the real reason for us stopping, kitty cat. One more day in this truck with you and I am thinking that I might leave you on the side of the road."
Yan Sun rolls her eye with a scoff. "Yeah, I'm the only one that stinks..." she mutters, hitting her with a retaliatory hip-bump as her gaze wanders their surroundings.
Jessica stammers a step away as she's nudged by Yan Sun's hip bump, smirk still plastered across her face. "What you are talking about? Mmm?" she asks as she retakes her position beside Yan Sun, shrugging her duffelbag a bit higher up onto her shoulder to make sure it'll stay in place so she can toss an arm across Yan Sun's shoulder. If it was anyone else, it might be easy to confuse the gesture as a display of affection. But since it's
Jessica, it's almost certainly just an attempt at being annoying and an excuse to shove her armpit in Yan Sun's face. Thankfully she's wearing layers of winter gear. "You like my stink." she insists, the tents flanking them beginning to grow sparse as they put the makeshift housing area behind them.
Yan Sun grumbles quietly and puts her elbow in Jessica's face to pry her away. "Gh... asshole!" she complains, although the barely suppressed laughter that accompanies the word undermines the supposed insult a little.
Jessica snickers to herself as she gets the desired reaction. "What?!" she exclaims innocently, head leaning to the side as she's pried off. She once again ends up a few steps away from Yan Sun, her armor crate temporarily tilting onto it's side due to the sudden movement and the rugged road, forcing Jessica to right its orientation before continuing. "I am trying only to hug you and you are acting like this?" she continues through her
There's numerous people visible through the greenhouse walls up ahead. From the side it's easy to see that the building is segmented into multiple large 'rooms'. People within tend to long rows of soil, tending to the beginnings of what they hope will be the answer to their largest problem.
Yan Sun seems unconvinced, shooting Jessica a skeptical, unamused look before breaking away as she fail to keeps her grin from returning. The greenhouse soon grabs her attention, gaze running the length of it. "Sooo... what was it that they 'actually did'...?" she asks with a curious glance towards Jessica as she's reminded of her surprise as they rolled into the Gorge.
Jessica maintains her innocence, combating Yan Sun's skepticism with a smug look. The question prompts a furrow of her brow as she follows Yan Sun's gaze back over to the greenhouse. The big smirk on her face winds down into something a bit more restrained as she continues meandering down the road while watching the worker bees in the greenhouse. She takes her time before answering, examining the building in question for a moment. It's
not until her attention reaches the front of the building- or, more appropriately, the familiar woman within- that she jerks her attention away, turning her focus back towards the road before her. "When I am here?" she eventually says when they're nearly in front of the building, casting a glance Yan Sun's way. "We-..." she stammers briefly, the word alone enough to cause some of that guilt to bubble back up in her chest. We.
During a time when she was more than just another traveler passing through. She swallows, trying not to let it show on her face as she continues, "...are-... umm-... are trying all kinds of shit for finding out how to feed everyone, yes? Trading. Raising animals. We even try and plant our own food but the ground-..." she slows down, lifting one booted foot and bringing it down hard on the road for emphasis, "...the ground is not
so good for this here." she explains. "So..." she shrugs, "...Kirill and some of the others have this idea to build this-..." she trails off as the name escapes her, resulting in her tilting a nod towards the greenhouse, "...this fucking thing. But nobody knows how to do it so-..." she gives another small shrug of her shoulders, sucking her lips in as she takes a few more steps.
Inside of the greenhouse, Paige has gone back to work, attempting to distract herself with the busywork of going over supplies in the entry room of the building. The room seems to be in a constant state of flux, caught somewhere between a 'staging area' and a 'storage room' while they continue to try and get their footing and figure out what they're doing.
Yan Sun frowns a little at Jessica's obvious discomfort, but she nods along as she speaks, gaze scanning across the greenhouse again. The idea of having to figure out how to get your own food is novel to her to say the least. Even the worst-off in Hong Kong have access to nutrient paste dispensers. Nobody starves in the city, and the whole place is so very far removed from actual food production. "Huh..." she mumbles quietly. "Guess they
figured it out, huh...?" she muses as her gaze falls on the test-tomatoes growing in one of the rooms.
Amy kept on working after things settled down, but seeing the new arrivals pass outside has reignited her curiosity, and after a brief moment of hesitation she buries her trowel in the dirt, leaving it there as she heads over to the next segment in search of Paige. She heads over to her, gaze briefly following Jessica and Yan Sun again as she waits for Paige to notice her, not really wanting to interrupt her work.
Jessica once again adjusts the strap on her duffelbag to keep it from slipping off her shoulder, hazarding one last look towards the greenhouse. She catches sight of the new arrival joining Paige in the entryroom but doesn't let her gaze linger long for fear of catching Paige's attention. "...I guess so." she agrees, her voice quieter than intended. She had thought the idea was stupid. None of them knew what they were doing. Sure, some
of them had farming experience, but a farmer is a far cry from an engineer. Yet, despite all odds, here it is. It almost makes all of the blind optimism Kirill had even more annoying. With a nod of her head she gestures to the tent on their left, across the road from the greenhouse. "Come on, kitty cat. This is where we are going." she explains.
The tent on their left is a large, rectangular, canvas structure, dark brown in color. Semi-permanent in nature, it seems to be set atop a custom-built foundation. The windows that line the two longer walls are all zipped up, preventing any preview as to what the inside holds. The front door is set into to a small segment of solid wall, the only part of the structure that isn't canvas to allow an actual functioning door.
Paige stares at a datapad, brow furrowed in frustration. Amy would probably know by now that the datapad is left out here and anything left in this room is supposed to be input into it. Anything removed from here, noted. It allows them ('Them' mostly meaning her) to keep track of everything. Each storage unit along the length of the greenhouse uses a similar system. Her back to Amy, she continues to study the screen for a few moment's longer
before tossing the datapad onto an unused growbed and turning around, intent on tearing the room apart in order to find what she's looking for. When she's met with Amy looking back at her, she's quick to try and wipe the scowl from her face with little success. "What is it?" she asks, her words sounding a little harsher than intended due to the hit to her mood that, unbeknownst to her, happens to be walking by just outside at the
moment. She seems to catch herself, however, and blinks hard. It's not Amy she's mad at. "Need a hand with something...?" she asks, managing to urge some of the frustration from her voice.
Yan Sun frowns a little at Jessica's muted reaction, studying the side of her face with a hint of concern before her attention is pointed towards the 'guest house'. "Sure beats the truck..." she judges, her standards for living spaces having gone through a significant readjustment over the course of their trip.
Amy winces slightly, eyebrows furrowing as she crosses her arms a little defensively. "Uhm... no, sorry. Didn't mean to bug you." she apologizes with a small shrug. "I was just-..." Her gaze darts towards the passing strangers again before returning to Paige. "I was just wondering about the new arrival. Uh... 'Jessica'? I saw the way you guys reacted. Is that someone important?"
Jessica gives a hum in affirmation as she leads the way towards the door. The segment of wall it's on seems to be permanently affixed to the foundation. It's decidedly low-tech. Just a hinged door designed to keep out the cold. Jessica shrugs her duffelbag up a little higher one last time as she yanks the tent door open and steps inside.
The inside of the tent, much like the outside, leaves little to be impressed by. Three simple beds that are little more than glorified cots line one of the long walls with a good bit of space between each, a trunk near the foot of each. A nightstand with a small, simple lamp flanks one side of each of the three beds. A square table sits against the wall opposite of the three beds, a few simple chairs arranged around it. There's a spaceheater in
Jessica is quick to shrug the duffelbag off of her shoulder and slings it onto the table as she passes by it, leaving her armor crate on the ground beside it. First order of business: Cranking that space heater on.
Paige offers a small shake of her head as Amy apologizes. "No, it's-..." she sighs overtop Amy, "...you're not bugging me, I'm just-..." she starts to gesture towards a nearby crate but her words are cut short by the name spoken by Amy and the final question causes her to turn her gaze towards the window just in time to catch the pair entering the Guest House, her expression darkening. There's a whole lot of words that come to mind to
describe Jessica. Asshole is the current frontrunner. Someone important? Considering the reaction she's gotten out of Paige it's probably a fair guess. "A friend." she says as her eyes fall on Amy once again, though it almost sounds more like a question than an answer. "At least I-... I thought she was..." she adds in a mutter, a bit of embarrassment creeping into her tone at voicing it aloud.
Yan Sun exercises a bit more caution with her bag - it contains sensitive electronics, after all! She slips it off her shoulder and sets it down next to Jessica's duffelbag, rolling her shoulder once it's free and looking around the tent. Not exactly luxurious, but after a few nights too many in the cramped cab of the truck leaves it a definite upgrade. She lets out a drawn-out, relieved noise as she stretches, more thoroughly now that she's
Amy frowns at Paige's reaction, her gaze falling away as a bit of awkwardness shows on her face. "Oh... uhm, sorry." she blurts out as it becomes apparent that that the earlier reactions were more personal than she'd realized. She looks down at her thumb brushing idly back and forth across the elbow of her fleece. "I thought maybe there was trouble." she adds in explanation, a faint shrug accompanying the words.
Jessica fiddles with the heater for a moment, cranking that bad boy up. "This one is mine." she says, gesturing towards the bed closest to the heater.
Paige forces a small smile back into place, waving off Amy's apology. The explanation gets a tired snicker out of her. Amy is unaware of just how accurate she is. Jessica is trouble incarnate, after all, but she gives a small shake of her head. "No, it's nothing like that." she assures. Her gaze turns back out towards the Guest House and she draws in a deep breath, arms folding across her chest. "I hope not, anyway. You can never tell with
Yan Sun had been about to ask about the beds when Jessica pre-empts her, the unsurprising choice prompting a quiet snort. "Sure." she agrees without argument. It seems like there'll probably be time for the heater to do its thing anyway. Not that she has much experience with such devices. She'd considered asking about sharing, but the truth is that after so many days dealing with jabbing elbows and pinned limbs in the cramped truckseat it
would be a relief to have a bit of space for a night. Instead she grabs her backpack and moves it to the middle bed to claim it, unzipping it and digging out her toiletries in anticipation of the much-needed shower that was promised.
Amy nods a couple of times, gaze returning to Paige. She doesn't look quite sure whether to take the added comment seriously but the final words prompt a firmer nod and a small smile. "Okay. Yeah." she says, a bit of awkwardness lingering over misreading and accidentally digging into personal matters. "I'll... uhm, get back to work." she says with a thumb over her shoulder. She might still be curious about what this woman did to garner such
Jessica steps over towards the table and takes a seat at the edge of it. "Maybe I will share it with you." she hums, as if simply considering it aloud. "Maybe." she repeats as she unzips her duffelbag to begin sorting through her things. Given the amount of space it takes up, she has little choice but to remove the grenade launcher, laying it out on the table.
Paige returns the smile with one of her own, but when Amy gestures back towards the room behind her she's quick to speak up again before she has a chance to leave. "Actually, do you have a minute?" she winces.
Yan Sun raises an eyebrow as she takes a seat on the edge of the middle bed, letting her palms run across the sheets. "Aww, don't wanna sleep alone?" she teases through a growing grin, unaffected by Jessica's posturing.
Amy blinks, stopping just as she started to turn and looking back to Paige, eyebrows furrowing a little. "Uhm... yeah, sure. What is it?"
Jessica gives a roll of her eye. "I-..." she stammers, a frown forming as she finds herself unable to come up with a quick retort. Instead, she tugs the hat off of her head and hurls the device of unimaginable floof Yan Sun's way. "Shut up and turn on the light, slut!" she instructs, allowing the sunglasses to slip a little further down her nose so she can peer over them in the dim room.
Paige gives an apologetic tilt of her head. "Well-... Tommy was supposed to unload some fertilizer from one of the trucks this morning. I specifically told him to leave it on one of the grow tables but-..." she gives a sweeping gesture with her arm towards the row of grow tables against the wall, none of which seem to contain fertilizer. "...no fertilizer." she concludes, just in case Amy isn't quite as astute. She lets out a frustrated
sigh, "It's my fault, really. He can't even be trusted to put a bowl away when he's done eating so I probably shouldn't have trusted him to know what in the hell a grow table is." That scowl returns to her face as she scans over the nearly identical crates all around the room, "If you've got the time, I could use a hand figuring out where he put it."
Yan Sun giggles loudly as the headwear of unparalleled floof is thrown at her, clearly considering it a victory. A big grin remains on her face as she reaches over to turn on the lamp on the nightstand between the two beds, a bit of leftover laughter slipping out. "You know you could see just fine as it is if you took off the sunglasses..." she points out.
Amy uses her hand to suppress a snicker over Paige's continued ribbing on Thomas, a small smile lingering as she nods. "Yeah, of course!" she agrees with perhaps a bit more enthusiasm than warranted, face scrunching up a little as she reflexively gives the room a look-over.
Jessica's left brow rises just a hair, an unamused look crossing her face. She leans back slightly, propping herself upright with one hand planed behind her as she lifts the other to flip Yan Sun off. "Maybe I will make you sleep on the floor tonight." she follows up on her previous musings. "Mmm? How does this sound?"
Yan Sun tilts her head a little, mirroring Jessica as she leans back, palms against the bed she's on. Her grin remains as she studies her with a challenging look. "I don't think you're in charge of the beds here, sooo..." she says as she sways a little from side to side.
Jessica is unable to keep a grin of her own from slipping into her features. "Mmm." she hums as if considering the statement, but seemingly decides she's not too bothered by Yan Sun's observation. "Maybe not, but I am in charge of you." she says confidently as she watches Yan Sun from across the room.
Yan Sun lowers her head a little, gaze falling to her outstretched legs as she bites down on her lower lip to suppress a slightly flustered snicker, the grin widening again in spite of her teeth. "You're lucky I like you." she grumbles. There's the faintest hitch of her voice on the word 'like', as if another one was supposed to go there, but she quickly moves past it with an added concession of: "Maybe we can share..."