ArchivedLogs:Also, Zombies

From X-Men: rEvolution
Also, Zombies
Dramatis Personae

Ash, B, Daiki, Dusk, Flicker, Hive, Horus, Isra, Jax, Melinda, Shane, Spencer, Steve, Tag, Tian-shin, Tove

November 16-20, 2015

"{I can /so/ think of worse ways to be spending my last hours.}" (The zombie siege of the Commons.)


<NYC> Harbor Commons - Lower East Side

<NYC> {Melinda} - Harbor Commons - Lower East Side

The change in light is the first indication that anything is wrong. Melinda looks up from washing dishes to see a brilliant display cascading across the furniture of her living room. The light is warm, taking the chill off the air, but to bright and to orange to sit well with her. She leaves the dishes to soak and wipes her hands dry on a towel as she steps out of the kitchen and heads to the big bay window, her nose twitching as the acrid smells of a house fire start to play on her senses.

The lights change, the orange mixing now with the red, blue, and white of emergency vehicles, splashing a small trio of figures near the front windows of their apartment. They are bundled up warmly despite the heat pouring off the neighboring building and warmer temperatures inside. Tola cries in her mother's arms, unable to understand the noise and the light and everything in the world which woke her up when she was so peacefully asleep. Melinda watches the fire intently as Tove fidgets with their things, waiting for someone to come to their home to evacuate them.

'They'll shut it down and we won't have to worry. It won't spread.' Tove attempts to be optimistic. He settles a weathered bat under a strap resting on his shoulder and tucking it against two grooves in his shell.

'It's not always up to them,' Mel signs around her child's body, jaw clenching in concern. 'Wind could stir up. There could be electrical issues. It's better to be prepared.' She holds her daughter's head and gently bounces until the toddler starts to calm down.

As they watch the crew arrive, dismount, and approach the building, Mel turns Tola around to watch the fire personnel start to remove equipment from the truck. She begins to grow concerned as things aren't moving as directly to firefighting as she expects. She turns her head toward Tove, her eyes still locked on the people dressed in firegear. 'Are they?' She then peers at him, bewildered.

'They… are …leaving.' Tove replies, his brow furrowing, deep lines running across his green visage.

They don't have much time to question. Soon Tove's arm is snaking its way around Mel's shoulders and turning her slightly toward one side, pointing to the entrance. Mel gasps, eyes widening, her hand sliding blocking her daughter's gaze out the window. The pair divides up after, Melinda works on deploying the ground floor shutters while Tove runs downstairs to secure the basement.

The departing lights of the emergency vehicles paint the walls of Melinda's apartment until no lights shine in any more.

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Courtyard - Lower East Side

It might be a crisp November night. It's hard to tell at the moment, dry and toasty hot; a fierce glow lights the blistering ragged tatters of Dusk's formerly snow-dusted wingsail. The other is still intact, velvety black with its dusting of white in swirls and eddies; the wintery decoration is incongruous with the whorls of flame that throw warm gusts of air against his limbs.

He lifts one hand to shield it from the fire's light. From the bright departing flashers on trucks heading away from their responsibility. Night-adapted eyes half-blinded by the blaze, he has to blink, close his eyes, blink again; even then he doesn't /quite/ accept the silhouetted shapes he can fuzzily make out, pouring in up the sidewalk, down the streets, pressing in at the stone wall. It's only when he /closes/ his eyes, when his soft series of clicks bounce back to him off so many (so many!) reaching shambling grasping bodies that he really accepts this.

And reaches a cracked and bloodied hand for his nearest housemate, curling a wing around another to nudge them towards the Commonhaus. "-- /Run/."

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Commonhaus - Lower East Side

Around Jax, the air is still hot -- but it is, at least, no longer incendiary. He isn't /wearing/ much; no shirt, no shoes, what is left of his jeans is just charred burned scrap that does a poor job of providing either modesty or warmth. It makes it easier to see the swelling of bruises developing thickly along his side, the heavy gashes torn into a leg and an arm, the deep punctures bitten -- a few places, really.

If these are troubling him he seems somewhat insensible to it. He's perched on one of the lower platforms of the enormous climbing maze strung up through the center of the common house, one hand curled around a steel cable that supports it, toes (painted cheerfully glittering purple) only barely touching the ground. There's a cell phone in his hand -- not his -- and his thumb taps at it again. Tries another number, with less hope than before. Against the heavy metal shutters that close off the windows and doors of the house, there's an almost ceaseless thumping. If this is troubling him, he seems somewhat insensible to it, too. He hits dial somewhat numbly, and waits.

<NYC> Up Above

Isra's pale coloration does not make ideal camouflage at night, but skimming so low over the black waters of the Hudson with the crescent moon gone below the horizon, she proves rather hard to spot all the same. Though laden down with a bulging knapsack worn over her chest, she flies swift and sure.

As she draws near Manhattan, her wings beat down hard, clawing for altitude. High over the City, she glides silent and graceful like a ghost. Her bright green eyes shine with borrowed light as she surveys the unquiet streets, then the deep sylvan shadows of Central Park. The glimmer of firelight to the south catches her sweeping gaze, and her immense wings move again, faster.

Banking, she circles the Commons, veering closer to the conflagration on the upwind side where the heat remains tolerable. She squints hard against the light of the blaze, even though her pupils have narrowed down to guard against it already, searching the burning shell of Workhaus, searching the grounds that swarm with the dead. The cold wind drowns out the steady growl rising in her throat.

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Roof - Lower East Side

There's still a flicker of red light glow coming from what used to be his house, but stone itself doesn't really ignite so easily. The organs of the home now gutted, its bones are less likely to burn. Hive's eyes are steady as he watches the flame. His hand far less so, a constant jangling tremor as the gnawing screaming minds of the dead press in on his from all around below.

He closes his eyes, dips his head, takes a deep drag of the cigarette held between knobbly fingers. For a moment the shudder in his shoulders calms. "I built that." The words come out in a stream of grey, his former home obscured through this thinner sheen of smoke just in front of his face.

Horus sidles closer, a scrape of taloned feet against the edge of the rooftop. His feathered head butts in against Hive's shoulder with a softlow warble. In his mind a castle springs up in Workhaus's place -- no, a palace -- a huge floating airship -- a glittering fortress built entirely of stars. << You'll build it again. >>

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Sunroom - Lower East Side

Shane is draped into a hammock. Not getting a lot of sun; given it's well past three in the morning he wouldn't be getting a lot of sun even if the windows were /open/. But there's no glass, now, the wide panels heavily shuttered with very -- very -- solid metal barriers. He's not actually dressed, really, just draped in a blanket stolen from a storage closet, bundled loosely around his waist. Not really sleeping, though. One eye is puffily sealed shut with a mess of bruising; the other is cracked open, eying the bundle of blankets and winged toothy infant he's nestled into a chair nearby him. Egg /is/ sleeping. Shane -- just growling, soft and hungrily.

The thumping of fists and heads and bodies against the metal shutters is joined by quieter footsteps as Daiki slips into the sunroom, carrying a tray. Two mugs of cocoa, a large plate of beef tips. He eyes Egg in their blanketnest, eyes Shane. Veeery gently nudges Egg's chair farther from Shane, replacing it instead with a small table that he sets the food down on, neatly in Shane's reach before he tucks himself around the smaller teen, arms wrapping around Shane as he settles into the hammock-chair. "{This tastes better. It's been marinating.}"

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Guest Room 1 - Lower East Side

It's just after 5AM, but the light in the guest room has been on for a while. Steve sits at the desk, dressed in only a white A-shirt and black athletic pants, bent over a yellow legal pad. The pencil in his hand sweeps over the page in smooth, confident strokes.

The image taking shape beneath his hands is that of a large bird. It has just leapt from the window ledge in the lower right corner of the paper, talons not yet folded in for flight, powerful wings cupping the air and flight feathers splayed wide. He leaves the drawing relatively simple, long clean lines full of movement. Doesn't sign or date it. Just tears it gently from the pad, folds it into thirds, and tucks it into a plastic zip bag he had snagged from the kitchen.

Rising a bit stiffly, he opens the window (the groaning and thumping from below grows briefly louder) and closes it again to wedge the drawing in place against the wind. He stands there a moment longer, staring out into the night as though he expects the winged messenger he just sketched to show up right then and there. Shakes his head. Unhooks a strand of turquoise rosary beads from the lamp and kneels down at the foot of the bed.

"In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti," he whispers as he makes the sign of the cross, church Latin tumbling easily from his lips by rote, "amen."

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Second Floor - Lower East Side

Dusk is leaning against the railing -- slumping against the railing, more like. There's a shiver in his posture, a tremble in his wings. Maybe pain, maybe exhaustion, his skin riddled with burns. His eyes are focused down over the balcony, watching people talk one floor below; the growl that rumbles in his throat as he watches them is edged with a soft hungry whine.

Unlike many of his housemates, Flicker is actually neatly dressed, thanks to a permanently-packed In Case Our House Burns Down Again Or Maybe Gets Raided Or Maybe I Have To Go On The Run From The Government At Short Notice duffel bag tucked under his bed. Khakis and a polo shirt and boots and a soft black fleece, right now. What wasn't in the bag was his phlebotomy kit -- so the glass of fresh dark blood he holds out to Dusk as he wanders out from the game room has been taken the somewhat messier way, judging by the small cut in his arm.

Dusk takes the glass with a deeper growl, but one wing curls out around Flicker, squeezing slowly inward in thanks.

From the pocket of the fleece, once the glass is taken, Flicker extracts a small canister that rattles in his hand. His brows lift as he holds it up with a small shake to Dusk, gesturing back to the game room. On the label, a toothy corpse gnashes teeth. Inside dice rattle again. "{Feeling lucky?}"

Dusk blinks. Blinks again, then grins, sharp and fangy. He takes a swig of the blood, snags the Zombie Dice canister from Flicker; his wing is still curled around the teleporter's shoulders as he drags himself away from the railing to head into the game room.

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Guest Room 1 - Lower East Side

By breakfast time, the ziplocked sketch has vanished. In its place, a small wire-wrap sculpture of a motorcycle, slightly rusted, heavily dented, one handlebar broken off, its back wheel twisted at a strange angle.

Another delivery comes some time while Steve is out zombie-fighting later that afternoon. Tied to the window, a small cluster of silver and pearly-edged feathers, threaded together with purple and silver string.

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Kitchens - Lower East Side

The kitchens are smelling very chocolatey. There are cooling racks stacked high, chocolate-chip and chocolate chocolate chip cookies laid out to cool atop them. At the stove, Jax is not currently baking -- the timer is counting down on /that/ -- he's tending, instead, a very large pot of bean and squash stew. There's bandaging, finally, on all his cuts; he's gotten himself a pair of jeans from someone, plain and old and faded, paired with a t-shirt off of Ryan's first album tour; his bright hair is gone, shaved down to the skin to leave his bright skull /tattoo/ visible instead. His eye is focused on the stove, but the thumpTHUMP thumpTHUMPthump from outside puts small jangling tremors in the light around him.

Flutterblink. Flicker shimmers in from outside, heavily laden with bags, so many bags, crisscross draped around his body to leave his sole arm free. He heads off to the dining room to set them down so that he can start unloading, but blips back into the kitchen first. His arm snakes carefully around the photokinetic, squeezing brief and small and gentle as his head bops lightly against the back of Jax's smooth one. A heavy bottle thunks down onto the counter beside Jax. "{Figured you'd need the strong stuff.}" Flicker shimmers away to unpack his supply run.

Left behind in his wake, in a half-gallon jug: Pure Vermont maple syrup, Grade B.

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Walkway

A sturdy catwalk of polished steel stretches between Funhaus and Commonhaus, gleaming in the sunlight. Up here, it's a perfect autumn day: warm in the sun, cool in the shade, with a crisp breeze that chills the skin but not the bones. Down below, however, the courtyard swarms with undead. Those closest to the buildings scrabble and pound at the shutters uselessly, while others jockey for position without skill or strategy.

In the middle of the walkway, Tag has his arms folded across the railing and his chin propped up them. His hair is an uncannily luminous shade of purple, streaked with bright metallic green and hanging messily across his face. He wears a slightly oversized hoodie covered in rainbow vortex that might look like tie-dye at a casual glance, and two layered handkerchief hem skirts in magenta and teal.

His eyes are glazed and his shoulders slumped, and while he might look like he's just zoning out, a keen observer might notice his handiwork spreading through the zombie horde. One by one, their dead eyes are transformed into various cartoonish renditions: stars, hearts, dizzy spirals, X's, and a vast range of caricaturish expressions from skeptical sideways glances to permanent upward eyerolls.

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Courtyard - Lower East Side

The thumps and groans of the dead drown out the usual background rush of the city. It's sunny, bright, clear; it /would/ be a lovely day -- if. If.

Several stories above the courtyard, Flicker is leaning against the railing of an outer balcony at the commonhaus. Dressed plain in boots, khakis, a warm black fleece. One of its empty sleeves has been neatly folded and pinned against its side. His other hand has a crowbar -- held almost lazily as he looks down at the roiling sea of bodies clawing over themselves to beat on the shuttered doors below.

Steve emerges onto the roof, blinking in the light. He's wearing a black windproof jacket zipped up over red and black plaid flannel, dark blue jeans and combat boots. He has a round shield strapped to his left forearm, a white star on a blue field at its center and three alternating red and white concentric bands around it. He has a long combat knife strapped to his belt and a shorter one strapped to his boot. He joins Flicker at the railing and follows the his gaze down into the courtyard. Then looks up at the man himself, eyebrows arching very slightly. Almost as if he suspects there might be more to this mission than just jumping off the roof into a sea of zombies. "Hola," he says, "Steve Rogers." He starts to offer his right hand, then switches to his left instead, shield and all.

Flicker leans his crowbar up against the railing, turning to clasp Steve's hand. His grip is firm, his smile easy and warm despite the very clear overhang of exhaustion that shadows his scarred features. "Flicker. {Jax said...}" This trails off; his head shakes quickly. He picks his crowbar back up, looks down over the crowd beneath them. "{You as good as they say you are? /I'm/ -- feeling restless.}"

Steve's hand is large, strong, and heavily calloused, but his answering smile is friendly. Almost boyish. "{Maybe? They say a lot about me.}" His Spanish has a heavy Italian accent and sloppy conjugation, but is still comprehensible. "{But I fight good. I help you, you help me.}" His broad, muscular shoulder hitch in a small shrug. "{We go?}" He braces his right hand on the railing, ready to vault over it.

Flicker hooks the crowbar in a sling across his back. His eyes widen when Steve makes as if to vault down several stories into a mob of hungry dead -- his hand reaches out to clap onto the other man's shoulder. "{We go -- the less bitey way. Brace yourself. It's a little bit of a rough trip, my way. Less teeth at the end, though.}"

The world around them blurs, shifting in a rapid flit of movement. There's a rush of air, a dizzying shift of the scenery around them -- Flicker's hand is steady on Steve's arm through it, though. When he sets them quietly back down on steady ground, it's half a block away, the pack of undead visible down the street where they press in around the houses. "{You're such a} Gryffindor." An amused smile has broken across Flicker's face. "{But personally I'm very attached to my life.}"

Steve sways on his feet momentarily after they re-materialize. He blinks rapidly, looking around--perhaps more disoriented by the new perspective and surroundings than the actual trip itself. "{Thank you. Not want to die, but my way...messy. This is better.}" Though, after a split second's thought. "{Also messy.}" He quirks a very crooked smile at Flicker as he draws his knife and turns toward the zombies. "{/Later/, you tell me what is a 'Griffin door.'}"

<NYC> {Birdhaus} - Harbor Commons - Lower East Side

For all his constant swagger, Ryan's bedroom does not hold very much of what many people might think when they think of the cocky rock star. /Cribs/ would probably be disappointed. With Ryan away from town, the room Jax has taken up residence in is startlingly plain; simple wooden desk, simple wood-frame bed set low to the ground, the place largely undecorated except for one painting hung on the wall and a hanging-feather mobile turning slowly by the window. The window does a poor job of keeping out the noise from outside, groans muffled but still quite clear. Probably they should be worrying -- but by now the thumping and groaning just fades into a sort of backdrop against which Jax has far more pressing concerns on his mind.

Notably, the sleek new laptop in front of him, which, he is quite certain by this point, is "{-- just giving me /sass/. Seriously I /did/ the thing just how you said I don't even understand this error -- /why/ doesn't it know where my tablet is?}" There's a flutter of light around him, a brighter searing flare as he gesticulates emphatically towards the screen.

Beside him, the faintly glowing holo-pup is completely unfazed by the burning light. B rubs a webbed hand across hir face and does not /quite/ successfully repress a groan to match those coming through the window. "{Pa take a deep breath you don't need to burn a second house down.}" Her hand makes a small unnecessary shooing gesture as she slips in closer to examine just what mess Jax is making of things, already asking (a little wry): "{Did you try turning it off and on again?}"

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Game Room - Lower East Side

Together with the dining room, this is the largest room in the common building, a plentiful expanse of gathering space for people to come and socialize. There is typically a brightly-coloured array of whimsical artwork hanging on the walls, and its wide windows overlook the grounds. Tall cabinets along one wall hold a wide library of board and card games -- there's a sign-out sheet for the use of these clipped to the front of the cabinet doors. The room provides plenty of place to /play/ games in, as well, with several separate wide tables -- three ringed by straight-backed chairs, two nestled amid more casual clusters of couch-and-armchairs -- scattered throughout the room. In the back of the room there's a ping-pong table; over near the windows on the right, an air hockey table, while a pool table stands to the back of it. Doors to either side of the room lead off to the media room and the children's playroom.

On one of the tables, a game of Last Night On Earth has begun to look rather desperate indeed. The cardboard map of the endlessly doomed little town grows crowded with plastic zombies, and the heros have gotten separated, holed up in three separate buildings.

Slumped in a chair next to the soon-to-be-overrun village church, Tian-shin nurses her tea in a black ceramic mug bedecked with cheerful cartoon bats. She wears a seafoam green tunic with a mandarin collar and ancient, soft black gi pants. The toesocks on her feet are rainbow-striped and look more at home in her brother's wardrobe than hers, and a sword hangs from the back of the chair in which she sits. The character card in front of her reads 'Jenny, the Farmer's Daughter.'

'Becky, The Nurse' sits in front of Hive, together with a laaarge mug of coffee. He's scowling at the board deeply. "{The world's fucking boned, guys. Like /maybe/ if sketchy hobo can get a really damn good roll this turn but --}" His bony fingers fling outward towards the throng of small plastic zombies.

"{... we house-ruled that we're ignoring the heterosexism of this card, right?}" Flicker is eeeying the board. His fingers drum against the face-down cards in front of him. He does not, actually, specify which card he means.

The puffy bruising has receded /somewhat/ in Shane's face, but some lingering swelling makes his grin kind of lopsided, pulling crookedly at his face as he snorts. "{Come /on/ like you need to fuck with us more?}" In front of him: 'Sheriff Anderson, Small Town Law Man': currently stuck in the doomed church together with the drifter. But he's leaning forward (stiffly), brows lifting as he looks Steve up and down. "{Hey, bring it. I can /so/ think of worse ways to be spending my last hours.}"

Flicker's smile is a smaller quicker echo of Shane's. Quietly, he flips the zombie card over. Flicks it -- "This Could Be Our Last Night On Earth" -- towards Steve and Shane. "{Enjoy your night together, boys.}"

Steve, wearing a heather gray Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters t-shirt that does not quite fit him, looks up from the game board. The look of intense concentration/confusion does not immediately fade from his face. "{I'm sorry, what I need to do?}" The card in front of him identifies him as Jake Cartwright: The Drifter. He picks up the card Flicker just played and reads it. "{Do we die now?}" Then, cocking his head at Shane. "{I do not think we will have last /hours/. We are...have many zombies here.}"

Hive's eye screws up at Steve's words. It's a /pre-emptive/ wince.

When Flicker lays down the card, Ash grins, chuckling quietly under his breath. When Steve speaks, he blinks at him and then laughs out loud. He straightens his hero card, 'Father Joseph, Man of the Cloth,' before glancing over at Hive, "{And here I thought /I/ was the least frisky person at the Commons.}"

Shane's grin spreads wider. He picks up the drink in front of /him/ -- no coffee or tea, /he's/ got an old-fashioned glass of whisky -- and lifts it in salute to Steve. "{Only a little death, don't worry. I'm sure we'll make the most of it while we can.}"

"{Little death...}" Steve echoes. Looks at Shane. Squints at the card more closely. Suddenly his eyes open wide and his face flushes bright red. He opens his mouth three times before finally sputtering a protest--not about being surrounded by zombies or the fact that their characters are both men, but rather: "{In the /church/?!}"

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Roof - Lower East Side

The groans of the dead or their endless hammering don't seem to have any respect for things like normal sleeping hours. Even well into the night, the courtyard is full of the rattling, thudding, shuffle of feet, pound of hands. The noise carries easily up to the rooftop, a muddled chaos from below that -- somewhat oddly, at this hour -- is currently being joined by the quiet twittering warble of birdsong.

A large feathered figure is perched at the roof's edge, taloned feet clicking on the rooftop with a small restless shift from side to side. Feathers rustle up and outward, plumping himself up to bigger size. The soft warbling continues.

The light in the guest room window below has gone out a few times, but not for very long. At length, sluggish footsteps on the stairs announce the arrival of one touseled and weary Steve, wearing a red throw blanket on his shoulders like a shawl over a white A-shirt and blue jeans. Even though he clearly just rolled out of bed, he has shield in hand and knife at his hip. His eyes scan the rooftop and those of the surrounding houses. He goes pretty still when he sees the bird. Blinks a few times, eyebrows raised. Then makes his way slowly to the railing, though not directly toward the bird.

The warbling continues, quietly, for a moment. Then trails into a soft series of chirrups, then silence. The pearly-highlit feathers plump up further. Puff, puff. A few twitchy quick tilts of head eventually bring one very large reddish-rimmed eye to bear on Steve. The rustling of feathers goes very still.

"Hey, don't let me interrupt," Steve says, his voice hushed and low. "Just out here to get some air." He looks out over the courtyard, at the shambling forms vague and threatening in the darkness. He falls silent, stares pensively into the shadowy press of walking corpses. Then he looks back at the bird again, tilts his head. "Those were /your/ feathers. Never seen a bird like you before."

The bird stays frozen a moment. Then a moment longer. Then skitters baaack along the railing, taking off in a sudden rustling flutter of wings. He returns a moment later, though, settling back down on the rail -- a foot or so closer to Steve than he had been. One long talon scrapes a moment at the railing then taps. Then scrapes three more times.

Steve doesn't seem as surprised when the bird takes off as when it returns. The first scrape and tap just earns a perplexed frown, but at the three dashes his eyes go wide. "No..." he says, perhaps in disbelief, or perhaps just speaking the message aloud.

The series of scrapes and taps continue, a little faster after Steve speaks. -. --- / -... .. .-. -.. ... / .-.. .. -.- . / -- . Horus's feathers ruffle up again after this, his warbling soft once more.

Steve's jaw drops open by degrees, but by the end of Horus's message he has collected himself somewhat. "I imagine not! I have so many rude questions bouncing around in my head." He chuckles self-consciously. "I hope you can't read minds! But I wanted to thank you." His eyes drop to the shield strapped to his forearm. "I don't have much in this world. It's not that I /need/ things, but the presents--they mean a lot to me."

Horus's head shakes at the mention of reading minds, a low warble coming with this gesture. The swift tapping continues. .... .- ...- . / ..- ... / -. --- .-- .-.-.- / - .... .- - ... / --- -. . / - .... .. -. --. It's followed by a faint skitterscrape of claws down the railing. His head stretches out, bopping -- lightly -- against the shield. There's another flutter of wings; this time, when he takes off, he doesn't return.

Struck speechless, Steve stares in the direction that Horus had gone long after his eyes lose the avian shape to darkness. He looks down at the glint of city lights off of his shield, then back out at the courtyard. Lets out a long breath and closes his eyes. "That's a lot more than one thing, my friend."

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Sunroom - Lower East Side

Yet Another Laptop. The rate at which Hive has been replacing /these/, lately, is growing a little silly. And yet here it is, fresh out of the box (which still sits on the floor beside him), finally (finally) ready to work on after a long morning of configuration.

His teeth are gritted, though. The scowl on his face isn't /exactly/ one of concentration as he stares at the blueprints in front of him. His fingers curl into a tight fist and then relax, reaching instead to pick up a mug of coffee and take a long swig. He /huffs/ out a sharp breath, narrowing his eyes back on the shiny new laptop screen.

Isra's laptop, not so new, has clearly seen better days. Its plastic case shows myriad scuffs and scrapes not at all hidden by the sunset ombre color scheme. The brand logo on the back of the LCD has been replaced by Tag's tag in rainbow cursive. A baby carrier sits on the floor near her feet, Goblin curled up inside in a tangle of knit blankets and dreaming of gigantic rabbits.

She looks up from the wall of text on her screen, first to Hive and then to the heavy shutters keeping out the dead. Her ears press back, but she says nothing. Her thoughts are chaotic, flicking rapidly between annoyance at the noise, concern about the sick, and a kind of unfocused fury that makes her question whether she has, in fact, caught the illness after all. Then she takes up her /own/ coffee, stretching out an icy-white wing to press against Hive's shoulder.

Hive's shoulder tenses, at first, but then presses into the touch. "{Gonna blow this fucking deadline.}" His voice is a gruff grumble. He sets the mug back down with a clang, tearing his eyes away from his screen to glare at the shutters instead. "Think we could ask them to keep it the fuck /down/?"

For a moment, Isra hesitates to reply. Even after she relaxes, accepting that Hive would have known before even she if she had gotten infected, she sticks to her rather coarse Argentine Spanish, "{They don't like to listen,}" she deadpans, her voice soft but resonant, issuing from both sets of vocal folds, "{unless you tell them with a knife in the head.}"

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Media Room - Lower East Side

In here, at least, the soundproofing means a modicum of quiet. Less noise coming from /outside/, at least. The stream of cursing coming from Dusk as he glowers at one of the shared computers in here, though, /that's/ perfectly audible. Behind him his gnarled and ruined wing twitches, mangled and red with raw-healing skin. His shoulders are tensed, brows furrowed as he tries to drown out the other sounds in here coming from over by the television.

The television is /currently/ playing /Legend of Korra/ -- in front of it, Horus is taking /notes/ of some sort very studiously on his tablet. Then checking his IM. Then taking notes again. He pauses the show after one message from Jax, though, fluttering over to perch cautiously on the arm of a nearby chair and tap out a message to Dusk: 'Dinner ready.'

"{Thank God I needed a fucking break.}" Dusk runs his fingers through his hair in a frustrated scuff. He pushes out of his chair quickly, glancing over towards the television. "{What's for dinner I'm goddamn starving anyway.}"

'Jax cooked. Something good.' The ruffle of Horus's feathers along his wings might be close to a shrug.

Dusk's good wing snaps outward rapidly, a snarl very abruptly on his lips as his path towards the door stops, shifts, turns back in on Horus with a sudden lunge and snap of teeth.

The birdboy squawks, fluttering rapidly up and back, hovering away out of Dusk's reach. 'down stairs dinner down stairs down down down downstairs horus not the dinner down!' His words trail behind him as he shoots towards the door.

<NYC> Rainbow Sector - Harbor Commons - Lower East Side

Tag's room has been completely consumed by fabric. There are blankets, sheets, and tapestries hooked to the hardpoints on the walls and ceiling, and the floor is entirely paved with pillows and more piles of blankets. In addition to making the space cozy and warm, it actually muffles the noise from outside somewhat, though Tag's proclivities tend toward blanket fort even when there are no zombies outside at all.

Tag is, at the moment, up in the loft, sitting in half-lotus position with his eyes half-lidded. Before him, the cardboard file box that still serves as his altar holds a glow-in-the-dark statue of Guan-yin, a black onyx bowl half full of sand (and a burning stick of incense), and two glass lotus votive holders, their petals a riot of rainbow hues.

Tian-shin knocks, but does not wait for a reply before entering. She looks exhausted and a little pale as she scales the ladder to the loft, holding out an insulated mug covered with colorful stickers to Tag. "Bai-hao oolong."

Tag perks up, accepting the thermos. "{Ohhh thank you!}" His Mandarin is as randomly colloquial as his English. "{You're my favorite sister.}"

"{I'm your /only/ sister,}" Tian-shin speaks her part in their scripted exchange, a tired smile tugging at her lips.

"{Oh!}" Tag uncaps the mug to inhale deeply, silver eyes twinkling with mirth. "{Well it's lucky for me that you're so great, then.}"

Tian-shin rolls her eyes and starts to climb back down. "{I better get back to work. You're beginning to look like food.}"

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Roof - Lower East Side

Zombies don't care much about the cycle of the day; morningtime, eveningtime, nighttime, their din continues more or less the same barring new excited howls on the occasions someone enters or leaves the Commons or they notice activity on the overhead walkways. As such there is no particular change in the groans from below even here in the middle of the night as Dusk stands out on the rooftop. The dark does nothing to stop Dusk's gaze from traveling downward, looking out over the shifting sea of bodies around them with a clench of his jaw. Though it isn't /particularly/ cold, his wings fold tighter behind him with a small shiver, and he takes a half-step back from the roof's edge. One wing -- still looking somewhat raw, too-shiny with new-growing skin -- flexes slowly outward, then back in. His teeth grit harder.

Isra brushes past Dusk, canting her head low to give his shoulder an affectionate bump with the side of one icy-white horn. She hops up, taloned feet gripping the railing and wings mantling slightly for balance. 'If you fall, I will catch you,' she signs, entirely using classifiers that illustrate the movement of two bodies through the air. Then she pushes off with a powerful downward stroke of glimmering snow-white wings, lifting into the cool night air and settling into a hover above the courtyard. 'Come.'

A soft growl accompanies the mention of Falling; Dusk's eyes are drawn back downward, but soon snap up and away from the horde. His next flex of wing comes with a small hiss. He climbs up to perch on the railing after Isra does, eyes turning up towards the skin. His wings stretch outward, fists clenching as they catch the air. His downbeat is strong, pushing him up and off the roof towards Isra. The clench of his fists relaxes, until a stronger gust of wind pulls at his wings; the injured one shakes against the draft, crumpling lopsidedly inward, his hover turning into more of an erratic downward twist as the other wing beats more frantically against the air.

The circular beating of Isra's wings to maintain her hover adjusts slightly so that she drifts backward in the air to give Dusk more space as he lifts off. When he falters, her wings also hitch--just enough to drop her a few feet, long arms stretching out to grab him even while her tail whips in the opposite direction he is twisting to forestall the downward spiral that would otherwise result.

Dusk's breath hitches sharply inward as he is caught. Below, some of the zombies have looked up at the noise and motion, hands raising futilely into the air as their mouths yawn open. His wing pulls in tightly as Isra catches him, folding out of the way of /her/ limbs for a moment. His muscles are clenched tight, a little shaky against her before he rotates, considerable strain in his expression as he forces both wings back outward against the wind. Steadying. Righting himself once more. 'Wings spread --' A small motion of his hands. Almost to himself.

Isra's wings beat down hard, once, twice, and the third stroke carries them up past the level of the Common house roof again. As he unfurls his wings again she lets him go, wings pushing her back and away to hover nearby again. The motion of /her/ hands comes more confident, almost commanding: '--don't die.'

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Courtyard - Lower East Side

The overcast sky lends a touch of real November chill to the air, but the groaning bodies in the courtyard are not bothered by the weather. If their shambling has a little extra stagger to it at the moment, it's probably out of eagerness as they fall over themselves (often literally) to get at the prey that has so considerately put themselves within reach.

Though, at the moment anyway, the prey seems to be doing the hunting.

Steve pivots gracefully between two corpses, their grasping hands finding each other instead, to slam the edge of his shield down into the face of a fallen third, while kicking out his trailing leg to send a forth one flying into several others. The (mostly) inert pile of bodies he has dropped and the fallen picking themselves back up seem almost insignificant compared to the sheer bulk of those still standing.

There's a swath of dead being cut down, a slow line being plowed through the sea as Jax tries to make his way back nearer Steve after being cut off from him by the mob.

In some ways there is far less flair to his destruction -- though in other ways far more, a bright searing flash of light here, a starburst of rays fanning out from him there. /He's/ shaky, though, a glimmering shield walling the dead off him at one side just long enough to drop three nearest attackers on the other -- not /quite/ fast enough to avoid a long gouging scrape of nails that adds one more trail of blood to the many scratches he already wears. The air around him shifts, muddled and chaotic; a cloud of shadow for a moment, a too-bright halo around him the next.

He vaults himself over a pile of the dead he has just toppled, out of the reach of the ones who had just been clawing against the shield that is now fading -- a new one is forming in its place, though. This new barrier lasts only moments -- from the pile that Jax has just leapt over a not-quite-finished arm is reaching out, grasping out; Jax's quiet 'oof' is rather lost in the hungry groans of the dead that close in on him as he stumbles, twists, falls backwards into the pile of bodies.

Steve yanks his knife from one zombie's eye socket as it goes slack and turns just in time to shield another one in the face as it rises. And also in time to see Jax vanish behind the press of shuffling bodies.

Dropping his weight low and sheathing his knife, Steve shield-bashes his way through the ranks of zombies. Those direction in his path and catching the brunt of the impact either fall down or fly off if not held up by other zombies, but the ones to either side of him claw and bite at him as he passes.

"Jax," he calls out as he nears, voice pitched to carry over the rattling groans of the undead, "{heads up, it's me!}" Seizing one of the corpses descending on the other man, he bodily /hurls/ it away--into three other zombies, clearing a small space to stand, at least for a moment. He stretches out a gloved and gorey hand to hoist Jax to his feet.

In the meantime, however, at least a dozen more shambling bodies have wandered in from elsewhere, cutting off their retreat.

Jax's hand (sans glove but with a lot of gore) stretches up from the pile of more-or-less inert bodies to clasp at Steve's. He's noticeably unsteady on his feet when he does stand, though; the swirling pulse of shadow around him has returned, thicker than before. "{... Oh --}" He sounds too /tired/ to achieve proper dismay, swaying heavily as he lets go of Steve's hand to fling his hand outward, send a pulse of light through one more skull among the many incoming.

There's a hum whining down from overhead, a glow of gleaming silver light that outlines the silhouette of a motorcycle veering sharply /down/ from the gloomy sky above. There's a blast of light and then another; two more of the zombies drop, clearing more breathing room for Steve and Jax. Atop the bike, B has paired stompy tall boots with a pleated skirt, her kutte worn over heavy denim; smokey gunmetal-grey gauntlets (palms currently glowing bright) sheath her webbed hands.

Neither of which are on the handlebars, right now; instead, Spencer (in B's motorcycle jacket and helmet) is steering. And making rather /earnest/ 'pew pew' sounds as B's gauntlets fire.

For a man who spends so much time looking shocked, confused, or just plain overwhelmed, Steve doesn't seem /too/ put out by the growing horde of corpses closing in on them. "{About time we get back inside for some cocoa, you think?}"

He uppercuts the next one in line with the shield and then drives his knife up through the soft tissue under its chin. Before he can tug the blade free again, another zombie is half-lunging half-falling at him, teeth clamping down on his forearm...and then it collapses in a flash of light.

"{Thank you!}" Steve shouts up at their newly arrive air support, though he doesn't really have time to look up at the bike too closely. He presses on into the space left by the two newly fallen bodies, shield swinging and knife flashing. "{Just a little further.}"

Jax stays at Steve's back, following in the path the other man clears and firing another two blasts as a pair of lumbering corpses grasp in at them. "{Cocoa sounds} -- hngh!" He's kicking at another body picking itself up off the ground to lunge at him, only for it to crumple again under B's blast. Though there's still a noticeable /droop/ to his exhausted posture, he stands up a little straighter, a little less shakily, as he catches sight of the pair on the bike. "{Oh, thank you.}" This is not to B. It's whispered with somewhat the tone of a prayer. He hastens after Steve towards the common house, a shield walling off one side of them.

There's a brief pause, though, as he takes a longer look at the bike: "{-- /B/, you let Spence /drive/?}"

B picks off another two zombies from overhead, just before throwing hir hands outward. "{Would you rather I let him shoot?}"

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Walkway

It's chilly up here, the wind whipping over the railing where Jax stands slumped on the bridge stretched between the common house and Birdhaus. The air around him is thick with shadow, his sweatshirt torn, boots bloodied. The howl of the wind carries other noises with it; a chorus of moans lifting up into the air. Jax's shoulders are trembling, his fingers drumming restlessly against the rail. His eyes are focused outward, sweeping over the ground below. It's hard to make out the still bodies of the /fallen/ dead as the still-moving corpses shuffle over them, press back in towards the houses. His gaze shifts past them, towards the stone wall that rings the neighborhood. Another shape is dragging itself through one of the open gateways, followed not too long after by an upright one stumble-shambling in.

Tag pads out onto Commonhaus roof wearing a rainbow-vortex hoodie, a black scarf emblazoned with a teal double helix, and bright yellow cargo pants. He carries two insulated mugs and, joining Jax on the walkway, hands the other man one of them. The smell of chocolate rises from it, strong and warm. "{I watch them.}" His unwieldy Spanish is heavily accented by his native Mandarin. "{More and more come, all the time.}" The two newly arrived zombies' eyes change as he speaks: the first one into gold, five-pointed stars, and the second one to pink cartoon hearts. After another glance at his companion, he unwinds the scarf from his skinny neck and offers it also.

"Ohhh." The shiver of breath that Jax exhales at the scent of cocoa is practically orgasmic. He shifts one arm off the railing, curling fingers around one of the mugs. He leans in, shoulder butting up against Tag's. His head bows to accept the scarf around his neck. "{Their call.}" His bald head turns an ear towards the sound of the moaning. "{They cry. Others come. Like trying to dig a hole in the /river/.}"

Tag nods, sipping at his own cocoa. "{Safe here. But...}" His free hand (nails gleaming in metallic multichromic glory) waves forward. "El...futuro?" he sounds rather uncertain about the word, perhaps just guessing at it. "{Cannot stay here always. People...go crazy.}" Several other zombies gain goofy cartoon eyes. "{But, so many. How to...}" His shoulders shrug almost imperceptibly, though Jax can feel the shift easily enough, being in contact with one of them.

Jax leans in harder against Tag, shaking his head before sipping at his cocoa. “{We have been --}” His fingers make a very small scissoring motion in the air -- snip, snip. Two of the zombies Tag just redecorated vanish from view. “{When we need to --}” Now instead his hand slices through the air, one clean chop. The courtyard around them clears entirely, the whole sea of bodies replaced with (a still eerily groaning) clear pathways and drying fall grass once more.

Tag's bright green eyebrows lift up as the courtyard clears. "{I not sure about that,}" he says at last, studying Jax sidelong. "{Invisible zombies?}" Only the faintest smile tugs the corner of his mouth. "{You think, get many people. All same time, fight?}"

A smile flits across Jax's lips, quick if tired; this time the shake of his shoulders is in a small laugh. "{That would not be. The best.}" The courtyard starts to fill back up, repopulating itself with moving corpses. Jax's head dips in a nod. "{I think. Only way we get out. Is together.}"

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Lower East Side

Watery autumn sunlight streams through the window, refracting through the a glass ornament into tiny slivers and specks of rainbow. Steve checks the sheath for the longer knife, strapped to his belt, then kneels down with his shield propped beside him. "{In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit}" he intones in rhythmic ecclesiastical Latin, crossing himself, "{Amen.}" He hesitates only momentarily, pale blue eyes flicking up to Jax. When he does begin again, the words come easily to him, "{Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle...}"

Jax's attention is, for a moment, caught by the twisting glass ornament, his brows pulling together in some puzzlement as he studies it. "{... where did...}" He shakes his head, though, pulled away from this as he bows his head, crossing himself as well. "{... be our protection --}" His voice is much softer than Steve's, quietly chimed in as the light around him (restless, before now) begins to calm.

It's a short while later that he is emerging, strapping his own knife to his side before jogging one floor down the stairs to poke his head into the game room. The worry rolling off him is thick, to psionic senses -- though it's not really directed at what he's about to do. Just a heavy /fretting/ that calms faintly as he gives Spencer a smile, stoops to squeeze him in a hug. "{We good?}"

Spencer extracts himself from the game of Scrabble he's been playing with Dalia, a girl about his age from across the courtyard. Long enough to give Jax a tight hug, anyway.

It's Hive who answers, though, from off by the windows where /he's/ helping adjust a new harness onto Flicker. << {I've got him.} >> An echo of Spencer's hug brushes up against Jax's mind.

To Flicker, he is quiet. Just a strong and steady mental presence that coils bolstering and firm up against the other man's mind. The arm that he curls around Flicker once the harness is secure is -- less steady. His eyes close as he leans in, forehead resting against his friend's.

The arm that Flicker curls back around Hive is hard. Steady. A blank new printed copy whose hand he is still flexing carefully, testing, before wrapping the telepath in a tighter hug. He can't keep the pall of stress and jangling nerves clear of his /thoughts/, though, where his mind sinks (comfortable) (familiar) in against Hive's.

There's a little less jangle as the other man's presence twines around his, though.

Once he lets go he stoops -- tightens his boot laces, checks and double-checks the knife at his side, the crowbar slung across his back, the phone in his pocket. He's out of the room in a ghosting blur, flitting towards the stairs that Jax just came down. It's only seconds later that he reappears in the cold sun outside, shimmering his way up onto the roof to hold the blank new arm out as if in supplication. "{/This/ needs some love.}"

"{...but you didn't tie it tight enough.}" This in a rapid spill of Mandarin as Tag coils his sister's long, glossy black hair into a neat bun on top of her head. He loops not one, not two, but three hair ties over the bundle. "{I don't want it coming loose while you're stabbing zombies.}" His *own* hair, shoulder length, unbound, and bubblegum pink, is blowing in his face quite freely. He brightens (it might have been hard to tell he was looking *dull* before) when he catches sight of Flicker's new arm.

"{Ooh, shiny!}" in Spanish now, bouncing up onto his toes and chewing on his lower lip. "{But I can make it *even shinier*...}" The arm turns bright chrome, gleaming in the sunlight, and a bold green curlicue motif starts making down from the shoulder until the prosthesis looks like a lush tangle of vines over a silver ground. He finishes up with a fist bump and takes a step back to admire his handiwork, leaning on Tian-shin heavily but smiling still.

Tian-shin leans on the railing--perhaps as much to keep her lit cigarette out of non-smokers' faces as to allow her brother easy access to her hair. She wears a heavy red canvas jacket trimmed in black, black jeans with red stitching, and carries her sword slung across her back. Her expression of long-suffering patience softens into a close-lipped smile at Flicker's appearance. "{I don't know if we're ready,}" her Spanish is fluid and casual, "{but we're going to /look/ good in this fight, anyway.}" She draws hard on the cigarette and holds it out as she breathes out a long stream of smoke up into the wind.

"{Have you /seen/ us? We always look good.}" Shane's webbed fingers pluck the cigarette from Tian-shin's hand, gills pressing flat to his neck as he draws a long deep drag. He's in leather jacket (a little too big for him), heavy jeans, boots. Nearby, Daiki eyes the cigarette with a small bit of longing, but does not indulge; just tightens the strap of the katana at /his/ back before checking the wakizashi strapped to Shane's. The bike beside the teenagers is gleaming blue and silver, quiet at the moment where it stands ready and waiting. Shane offers Tian-shin her cigarette back, crouching down beside the hoverbike. "{... we /are/ ready, right?}"

B is seated cross-legged on the rooftop between the blue-and-silver hoverbike and its matching silver-and-blue twin, biting down at her lip as she checks the bike over, checks her phone, checks the bike again. She pats at its saddle -- good bike! -- as she gets back to her feet. "{It'll ride steady. That's as ready as /I/ can get you.}" There are metal bracers on hir arms, matching dark boots on hir feet, metal gauntlets in hir saddlebag that now ze is tugging onto hir hands. The gauntlets clang against the railing as ze turns to look out over it at the sea of zombies below. Hir gills flutter, rapid and silent, only stilling when she finally draws in a deep breath and heads back to mount hir bike. "{Not sure how ready we'll ever /feel/ for -- that, though.}"

There's a rustle of feathers, a greenish-brown newsboy cap dropped lightly onto B's head as Horus swoops past. /He/ has his tablet strapped into place, a dark bowler hat perched atop his head, a starred army patch pinned to it. He lights on the handlebars of B's bike, craning his head up to straighten the sharkpup's newly placed hat. Then butting his head against B's shoulder to make sure his /own/ hat is firmly in place. 'Don't be silly can't go into battle without good preparation,' his monotone tablet voice announces as he swipes his stylus against the screen. His feathers ruffle up, wings spreading in preparation for takeoff once the Hats are in order. '/Now/ we're ready.'