Wordcount: 762 words
Summary: Settling in to new quarters and taking stock of the situation.
It said something that the Good Guys had fallen to holding their meetings at the abandoned daycare center where Sarah used to work, but Zoe wasn’t sure what that something was. At the moment she was waffling between ‘completely pathetic’ and ‘creative use of architecture.’ The artwork was all aimed at age ten and under and the cheery cartoonish animals were slightly creepy when you combined them with dimly lit rooms, boarded over windows, and the general knowledge that impending doom really was right around the corner.
For the moment she was alone in the main room, sipping lukewarm coffee and glaring at a whiteboard that refused to provide her with a brilliant plan. It was pretty low tech, all things considered, but John and Trevor were still tweaking the security systems and Wash was neck deep in some sort of wiring job, so at least there was hope for a functional hideout in the near future.
Kelly reappeared from one of the smaller classrooms, having successfully scrounged a handful of working dry erase markers that he brandished in her general direction. “Hah! Old age and cunning triumph again!”
“I’ll give you ‘old age’, Zoe retorted, “haven’t seen ‘cunning’ yet.” She managed to stifle most of her grin as he took overly dramatic offense to the slight. “Now drag your arthritic corpse over here and tell me if I’ve left anyone out.”
Kelly ambled over with only slightly muffled muttering that cast aspersions on her paternity, her parent’s paternity, and the inclusion of possible farm yard animals in her bloodline. Thankfully he was getting better at keeping the jovial cursing a smidge closer to PG-13. The addition of the Good Guy’s families had required a rather significant behavioral shift for some of their less traditional members. Nothing quite like having a six year old pestering you to tell her what the latest slip of the tongue meant.
“You’ve left out the Templar Redux and the Templar Reborn, I see.” Kelly tapped the board next to the mini tangled of relationship lines that was the Templars, Templare-wannabes, and Templar reactionary groups. “Good choice.” He scanned the board for a moment longer then shook his head. “Can’t see anyone you’ve missed, but there’s a few on there I wouldn’t have picked myself.”
“We have to use what we can get.” She snagged a blue pen from the handful he’d found. “I still think our best bet is these three pairings,” she circled the six names in blue. “At least one of them should prove to have the right mix of talents to get done what we need done. These two,” she swapped to a darker purple that skipped and stuttered across the board, “I’m not so sure about.”
“I still can’t believe you’re including the Society send a representative at all.” Kelly made a face at the purple circle that contained Alec and Kat. “And if you really expect Alec to leave the safety of his compound– I think you’ve made a mistake in judgment.”
“‘Mistake in judgment’?” She grinned, “I’m beginning to think having the kids around is a good influence on you old timer.”
“Don’t make me pull out thee Shakespeare young lady,” he admonished, “but in all seriousness, the Society can be dangerous. MegaTech is ruthless in its own way, but at least we don’t have to worry about them taking potshots at the other members of our ragtag band of heroes. Or at us.”
“I have the Matron’s word that Kat will keep her bullets to herself, at least for the moment.” Zoe sighed, retracing the lines that connected the various groups. The ones leading out from the Society were almost all black for hostile. “The problem is we need their experience, things are going to get very dangerous very quickly and I don’t have the time to train and army.”
“So you outsource.” Kelly shrugged, “Ah well, dark times lead to dark bargains I suppose. Still, I can’t help wondering if we’re not just causing ourselves more problems down the line.”
“Just as long as we’re around to have problems, I’m happy.” She capped the markers and tossed them onto the shelf. “Now let’s go see who’s decided to come play, shall we? I think that last sizzling sound was Wash finally connecting us to the outside world.”
“Let’s.” He held out an arm to formally escort her and after a moment she took it and the two of them headed into the tech center aka lunchroom. If they were going down fighting, at least they’d go in style.