Return to Paradise
Return to Paradise
Summary: Homer and Tessa return to Harkins Lodge, where they share what they've learned with Anthem.
Date: PHD 021
Related Logs: When to Hold Them…

A full day of hiking. That's what it's been. Homer's let Tessa stop a few times to shut her eyes or attend to the baby, but they haven't stopped moving for very long. Far from the 'relaxing' trip out, the trip back into the forest to the Lodge has been rapid. The young man looks a little eye-glazed by the time they start coming across recognizable trees and spot the lights of the Lodge. "Home sweet home."

Anthem is sitting in a wooden chair on the porch of the lodge - a position that gives him an excellent view of all the major approaches. He's out of his touristy garb and found some simple hunting clothes. But, what might be of more interest to Homer is the CMC issue battle rifle.

"I haven't been so glad to see a place in a long time," Tessa muses as she follows behind Homer, the infant held in both arms against her chest, still wrapped up tightly. The paramedic is filthy from the voyage they've had - and from the little collection of living beings currently taking up residence in her pack. As they draw nearer to the lodge, she draws one hand away from the baby girl in her arms and raises it in a wave. In her head, she's begging: please don't shoot us.

Homer waves to Anthem too, but he keeps advancing, regardless of the response. "Sarge." Couple more footsteps forward. "We didn't make it to Osprey." He keeps his rifle slung against his shoulder. Not that it'd do much coming up against an actual rifle meant for shooting people, but… "So. You lettin' us back in or are you siding with Angel?"

Anthem's rifle comes up, points at the pair, and then is promptly lowered. "Depends. Frankly, I'm inclined to let you folks back - though Harkins and Angel weren't happy. We're gettin' supplies together to make for Osprey, so if you know somethin' - well, you can buy my good will with intelligence." There's a grin at that. "Doesn't look like guys had an easy trip, either."

"I think that's putting it lightly, Anthem." Still, there's a smile on Tessa's face once the rifle is lowered to mirror the man's grin. "We ran into some trouble. People like the ones who came up here looking for trouble." Gesturing with her head to the infant in her arms, she explains, "That's where we found her." She glances sidelong, expectant, to Homer. There's more to what they saw, clearly.

"There were men with machine guns on the highway. They attacked these people in a pickup. Killed the man, took the woman, left the baby, grabbed all their supplies." Homer's eyes flash a little as he describes the scene. "There were too many of them for me to get involved. They had military issue automatic weapons." From the tone in his voice, this isn't the only thing they saw while they were out there.

Anthem's face instantly becomes grim. "That's…terrible news. And a major potential problem," he states. He rises from the chair, slinging the rifle over his shoulder. "But…it's not like we can turn away a child, is it? Just…I ain't sure what it needs to eat. An' I am happy to see you both back." Pleasantries aside, he grimaces. "But there's more, ain't there?"

Tessa nods grimly to what Homer says, dropping her eyes to the child in her arms rather than having to watch Anthem's reaction. She coos quietly to the baby, as if they weren't actively discussing her parents' deaths (confirmed or presumed). "I have some food for her. There was some in the car. Not a lot, though. Maybe if you're going down to Osprey you could look for some." She glances between Homer and Anthem, shifting her weight. "Homer says he saw ships."

"Yeah. Kind of look like a flying wing. Half-moon shaped. I've never seen anything like it before in my life." Homer looks at the baby while he speaks. "We must have been too small to notice, but that truck with the idiots and the guns, they headed off in that direction. The kid's mother was in the truck. They took her."

"Huh," Anthem says. "Good thing we're goin' on foot. Prolly Cylons, then, an' that's bad news for them. I'll keep an eye out for her, and if we find her…" He lets the rest go unsaid. "Well. You all know the drill. I'll try to talk to Angel and Harkins before they come across you both. Food's in the kitchen, and there's the creek if you wanna clean up. I can watch the baby."

"If… if it's all the same to you," Tessa says, dropping her chin as she returns her eyes to Anthem, "I think I want to keep her with me for a little while more." There's nothing overtly distrusting about her tone. "I had some ideas, though, for the lodge. I can tell you about them later." Because for now, there's something else on her mind, and she's frowning again. "You don't really think it was Cylons, do you?"

"I pretty much do," Homer confesses, then adds, by way of explanation to Anthem, "She and the baby have bonded. Love at first sight and all that." Smirking just a little, he notes, "I know the drill. And somehow I don't think I'll find myself thrown out any time soon. I think the distinct lack of crazy shooting people and then taking women for to get my jollies off on speaks in my favor, personally. I had to see it for myself."

Anthem nods to Tessa. "'Course. Just offerin' to help. And unless the Aliens from the Lost Nebula attacked or some Gemonese terrorists secretly developed a craft, chances are good those are none other than Cylons." He pats the butt of his rifle. "Luckily, we're safe enough here. Homer, no one followed you?"

This doesn't seem to sit well with Tessa, who divides her attention between the men without saying anything more on the subject of Cylons. Discomfited, she steps up to the porch and settles down on the step with a grateful sigh, tipping her head against a post. She has no idea if they were followed, so she leaves tha tpart up to Homer.

"No one followed us," Homer reports, sounding pretty confident. "Tessa's got a pretty keen idea she wants to try and put into effect here. Might help us with the food situation down the line." He glances out into the forest and says, "Pretty sure this is the safest place on the planet right now."

Anthem nods. "Best I can tell, Homer, this is the safest place on Scorpia if not the whole of the Colonies." He frowns then at Tessa. "You'll want to talk to Phaistion and Angel before we all head out. They've been takin' care of the food situation themselves thusfar." He pauses, then smiles slightly. "Still, it's comfortin' to know we're not alone. Maybe, if we make it to Osprey, we'll find some more."

Now that she's seated, Tessa cradles the baby with one arm as she slips her arms out of the straps of her pack, letting it fall to the deck behind her with a soft thud. "I know Phaistion was working on a garden," she replies to Anthem with a shake of her head, "but some of their ideas are backwards. Radiation, fliers overhead— I'll talk to them about it." The notion that this is the safest place on Scorpia sends a chill down her spine, the memory of her first evening here playing in her mind.

Homer opens his mouth, but (for once) doesn't say what came into his head. Adding to this feat, he simply nods to both the others and then heads for the porch, settling down onto the stairs next to Tessa. He shoots her a brief smile, then leans forward on his knees.

Anthem nods to Tessa. "They'll listen. Phaistion is a thoughtful guy, and I think he can see reason if it hits him in the face."

"Just hope they haven't put too much work into their plans already," Tessa says quietly, turning her elbow out to nudge Homer in the side as he takes a seat beside her. "We saw a couple places along the way that might be good to use as outposts, too, if we get a radio. Good places to have one or two people watching over us." Settling the baby down to sit in front of her as she swings her legs around, sitting cross-legged on the porch facing Anthem, Tessa asks, "Did anyone new show up?"

Homer takes the nudge pensively, having gone oddly quiet. For him, anyway. He just nods absently at her and stares off into the forest.

"No one new that I know of," Anthem replies. "But, our numbers only keep growin'. Interestingly enough." He frowns. "Outposts are good. Important. Cuz, frankly, this is gonna have to be our cradle. A secret place. Safe."

"Not real secret if there's ships flying overhead and we're lighting fires in the back," Tessa points out as gently as she can, leaning over the baby to lay the tattered stuffed bear in front of her. "Now that we know there's something flying up there, we might should stop doing things that'll get us noticed, you know?" Flashing an impish grin to Anthem, she adds, "So no one closer to a real doctor yet, huh?"

"Esme." One word, no explanation. Homer glances towards the child in front of Tessa, a smile (curiously with no attached crookedness) on his face.

"I was gonna ask if she had a name," Anthem drawls. "And, nope, you're still the Chief of Medicine in these parts. Angel assures me that we're mostly undetectable from the air, but we'll have to keep on keepin' on to make sure that we're not."

"With all due respect, sir, I'm not sure if we can really know that." Casting an apologetic look to Anthem, Tessa seems reluctant to question her peers at the lodge— but stubborn, at the same time. "Not unless we go up there ourselves and make sure. Fire stands out, especially at night. Draws people - and animals, depending on which ones - to you." Flicking a glance to Homer, she echoes, "Esme. That one's pretty. …better than 'Rainbow Unicorn'."

"I was just thinking that same thing," Homer says to Tessa, right around the Rainbow Unicorn comment. He pauses and adds, "I… agree with her on the fire situation. Right now, we're the last bastion. Whether we're well hid or not, we have to do everything we can not to have this place spotted. That means no night time fires. Unless we want a bomb dropped on our heads."

Anthem holds up both hands, palms outwards, towards Tessa. "I ain't arguin'. Better safe than sorry, certainly."

"After seeing what happened down there…" It upsets Tessa just to think about it, and she looks down to her hands, her hair falling around her face. She turns her hands over, examining them and their state - scraped and bloody from the glass, dirty from digging. "I don't know anything about any of this," she admits with a shrug, looking back to Anthem. "I just know the things I've done to BE noticed, when I've needed to, and I'm trying to think backwards. It's… hard. Nice belt, by the way." Only Tessa, fellow fashion disaster, probably means that.

"Alright. Tessa, go wash up. I think the Marine and I can watch the kid," Homer declares, eyeing the woman as she scopes out her hands. "Ladies first. I'll go after you."

"Thanks," Anthem drawls at Tessa. "It's what I could scrape up from what Monty had sittin' around. Man invested in some top notch firepower, but declined to get the amenities that go with it."

It's with reluctance that Tessa finally rises from her seat, carefully untangling her legs and passing the baby to Homer. "I'll be quick," she says, a clipped promise, as she's already hurrying away to tend to the dirt and blood stains on her hands and face.

Taking the baby in his arms, Homer holds it awkwardly for a moment, before cradling it properly. He even manages to keep the ragged looking teddy bear in the infant's arms. Butt firmly planted on the stairs to the porch, he looks after Tess til she's out of earshot and then looks into Anthem's face, stating, "I have a mind to find those men and kill them, Sarge. I'd have tried if Tessa wasn't with me at the time."

From inside comes Angel. Perhaps she heard voices, perhaps not. It looks like, whatever the reason, she couldn't sleep. And so she's appearing with a late night snack of jerky and coffee - four cups of the stuff. It may not be the strongest in the world, but there's the decided scent of coffee in the air.

"You put down dangerous animals," Anthem replies to Homer, stating his agreement as he smiles at Angel. "Coffee, eh? I was actually about to grab some shut-eye." He jerks a thumb towards Homer. "The Prodigal Couple returned with some news. Seems like everythin' ain't fine and dandy outside our little Utopia."

Homer snorts at Anthem's mention of Utopia, while sliding a glance up the stairs at Angelica as she comes out of the house. He offers, "Hey Angel," then, "Took a walk, had a baby. Don't point out Tess' stretch marks, she's extra sensitive." More seriously, he says, "We never made it very far south of Gladwell. Ran across some thugs who murdered and kidnapped this little chickie's parents. They were toting some automatic weapons." He turns his shoulder so Angel can get a good look at the kidlet.

Angel offers Homer and Anthem a small smile, but it's mostly trained on Homer. She looks…sheepish? But the expression morphs when she sees the baby. For a time, she simply stares. There's a myriad of emotions on her face - shock, horror, surprise, wistfulness. They all flash. "I heard voices," she murmurs softly. "I recognized yours, Homer. I wanted to apologize." She's talking to the baby, not the man. It takes her a long moment, but she finally pulls her eyes back to the two adults. "Can I get you all anything? Is anyone in need of first aid? Hungry for more substantial?" Thought processes, apparently, are a little scrambled. "I'm sorry for what I said the other day, Homer. I was wrong."

Anthem grins broadly. "My works here is done," he states before heading back into the lodge.

"No injuries to speak of. And, I'm sorry too, for what it's worth. I was out of line when I last spoke to you," Homer looks down at the baby in his arms and says, "I can't say heading out was the wrong thing to do, though. If we hadn't been there, right at that moment, Esme here would have died." He looks back up at Anthem and just smirks. "Glad as hell to be back, though."

When she returns to the porch, Tessa has cleaned her face and hands, though she's forsaken her clothing until she can unpack properly and find something clean enough to wear. "Well," she says quietly, dropping her hands to her sides, "I feel human agai— " This is right about when she spies the other woman, and though she doesn't freeze, Tessa's pace does slow down considerably. "Hey, Angel."

Angel's throat works as her attention's pulled back to the baby. "Esme," she says quietly, then nods. "Well. I guess congratulations are in order for your new daughter?" She looks up at Tessa and offers a shocky little smile. "Welcome back, Tessa. Glad you made it home alright. I heard voices so thought I'd bring out some coffee and jerky, if you all are hungry?"

"Daughter." Somewhere, someplace deep inside of Homer, there's a warning bell going off. "I…" Gulp. He looks up at Angel and then out to Tessa, slightly wide-eyed. "I guess. Since, I'm one of the two people responsible for bringing her here. I guess that makes sense. Yes." Pause. "Do you have any alchohol for the coffee?"

"Drinking already? We haven't even been back for an hour." Letting out a huff of mock derision, Tessa stoops to take the infant back from Homer with a familiarity and ease that belies the short time the baby has been with them. As she looks back to Angel, she is apologetic in expression and tone. "I… yeah. Coffee, please."

Angel slowly puts the tray down where they can both reach it. "No, I don't have any," she tells Homer with a little smile. "I'm sorry. Maybe one of the others has some?" Shock, definitely a good word. "Does the baby need to eat any time soon?"

Homer gives the child up straightaway to Tessa, though he has recovered enough from his moment of realization that he is able to quip, "Well, I figured I already got all my smoking out on the way here. Time to move on to another sinful desire." He bows his head to Angel and moves to take on of the coffees, passing it to Tessa.

"Something else you can experiment with when I give you your worms," Tessa chimes in her bright tone she often adopts when speaking of this little project, almost conspiratorial as she speaks to Homer. "Grow some plants you can use to make wine from." Taking a seat on the porch once more, she settles the baby into her lap, leaning back against her stomach, and turns her attention to Angel. "She should. As soon as I've gotten over how nice it feels just to be sitting here not looking over my shoulder, I'll take her inside."

Angelica moves to the other side of Homer, putting him between her and Tessa, with her cup of coffee. "You're home safe," she tells the pair. "There's a recon going down into Osprey in a few days if either of you wants to go. Anthem's leading it up."

"I'll go. At the very least, I can point out where I saw the men in the truck and then the ships," Homer offers, pushing up to his feet and taking a coffee himself, along with some jerky. "I'm gonna go clean up a little at the creek… I think it's me that's the stank one this time."

Curling her hands around the warm cup of coffee, Tessa murmurs appreciatively, careful not to move the cup too close to the child. "It is you," she quips to Homer, accompanied by a mischievous little smile. "I think I'll just… stay around here, unless they think I need to go. I'll give them a list of what I need them to look for. Right now, I kind of just want to sleep. For a week."

Angel's eyes drop briefly to the baby and then she looks away, pointedly. "I'll make sure everything's ready in the kitchen," she murmurs, turning back toward the lodge. "I think…I think we may have some supplies."

"They're supposed to be looking for supplies so I can set up a little trauma center," Tessa explains, her demeanor far too nonchalant for the gravity of the situation at hand. "Basically a tiny hospital. I don't know if they'll even find half of what I need. Which reminds me— I was supposed to be blood typing everyone. Guess I'll start that tomorrow." Offering the other girl a smile, she says, "Thanks for not… turning us away."

She started to turn away. She was almost there. Almost home free. But almost doesn't count. "I couldn't have turned you away," Angel comments quietly, going to lean on the railing. "Not only was I overruled, but I didn't really want to." Nope, no elaboration.

"Oh." Overruled. Well, that's comforting, in a sense - as is the notion that Angel didn't much want to turn them away at all. Appreciative but recognizing when to let a subject drop, Tessa ducks her head slightly, tucking stray hair behind her ears before she takes a sip of the coffee. "I'm just going to wait for Homer, then I'll come in," she says, gesturing with her head in the direction Homer went. "I'll see you inside?"

She dips her head, once. "I'll leave things in the kitchen for you," she says non-committally, then flees without a backward glance.

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