Log Title: Night of Terror
Date: 20 October 2016
As logged by Major Bludd
The last several hours have been a night of terror. Kimber has taken shelter in Starlight Mansion. She and the rest of the Holograms have done what they can to secure the building from roving gangs outside. While the nightmare violence in the streets resembles something from "The Purge," all Kimber and her sisters care about is keeping the Starlight girls safe. Armed with little more than their wits, the Holograms have made the mansion look more heavily-protected than it is, with the hope it will encourage marauders to attack somewhere else. Kimber bunkers down near a front window, fearfully watching the yard for signs of approaching gangs.
When he learned Los Angeles was also a target of Cobra's armed gang attacks, via a television in an electronics store window, probably mere minutes before it was smashed by Dreadnoks, Major Bludd, usually calm under fire, had a moment of panic. He made his way to Los Angeles, checking in with Synergy now and again to ensure Kimber was safe, but twenty minutes before he arrived he lost contact with the artificially intelligent computer. Fortunately he reviewed the location of Starlight Mansion before the tech started misbehaving, allowing him to move in toward it, confident at least that he's going the right way. His holographic disguises, provided by Synergy, have also gone on the fritz, so he's dropped them to move about as himself. He approaches the mansion from a few blocks away, moving cautiously to avoid gaining the attention of both Cobra troops and any gang members or other ne'er-do-wells who may be prowling for victims.
Luckily for Kimber and the Starlight Girls, the mansion is a bit back from the main street, and protected by a high metal gate (in some episodes -- by a stone wall in others, but whatever). Gangs haven't gotten onto the property yet. But with what they could see before the power went out, and from the smoke and noise rising from the city, Kimber and the girls are in full freak-out mode, especially after losing touch with Synergy, and by extension, the rest of the Holograms. Kimber continues to crouch near the window, baseball bat in hand. Older Starlight Girl Anne is near by -- the rest of the Starlight Girls are hunkered down further into the mansion.
Bludd grits his teeth as he's forced to wait out a pair of young men in beat-up leather and denim jackets who loiter near the corner of the Starlight property, smoking and bragging about things they've stolen or destroyed in all the chaos. They briefly discuss going over the wall and looting the mansion, but give it up, complaining of the height of the wall, and move on.
Once the coast is clear, Bludd makes his way to the wall and scales it, rolling quickly over the top of the wall to reduce his visibility and dropping down on the other side. He starts low-crawling across the lawn toward the house, whispering toward the necklace bound around his wrist as he does so. "Synergy, you read? Come in, please. I'm heading for the mansion an' I don't really wanna scare Kimber to death if I can help it."
Unfortunately, contact with Synergy is still down, so Kimber has no idea that Bludd is coming, not able to see his approach from her vantage point at the window. "Are they going to hurt us?" Anne says, fretting visibly.
"They're not getting in here," Kimber says, waggling her bat. "Don't worry. Why don't you go check on the girls?" Kimber is scared witless, but she's not about to show it in front of the Starlight Girls -- someone needs to be strong until this situation sorts itself out.
Bludd frowns at the lack of response from Synergy. When he reaches the house, he creeps up to the front door and sits down, pressing his back against the front wall of the house. 'This is probably not going to be pretty no matter which way you slice it', he thinks as he reaches up to rap on the door. Listening attentively for response to his knock, he scans the yard for any other uninvited guests who may actually mean Kimbar harm.
Kimber shrieks loudly in surprise at the unexpected knock. "I don't know who's out there," she yells through the door. "But we're heavily armed in here and not afraid to stand our ground!" She only has a vague idea what that means, but she heard the term while touring in Florida and it seemed right for the situation. "You'd better, like, take off now while you have a chance!" She silences a moment, straining to hear a response, afraid to peer out to see who's there.
'I dunno what I was expecting,' Bludd complains inwardly, sighing to himself as he tries to think of a way to identify himself to Kimber without endangering her or himself. At least she seems to be alright. He rummages in his pockets for a moment, eventually coming up with a pen and a receipt from a pharmacy in New York where he bought some first aid supplies to patch up the injury to his head. He prints, 'Kimber, it's Sebastian. Open up.' on the back of the receipt, folds it in half, and slides it under the front door, then knocks again.
Kimber doesn't shriek this time, but she does call out, "Whoever it is, I mean it! Go away! We're armed and dangerous!" Her voice starts to waver, however, as her confidence starts to falter. "Please go away?" she asks, completely undermining her tough warning. She doesn't react to the note -- there's a chance she hasn't noticed it in the dark. She waggles her bat unseen, readying it in case she has to use it.
Bludd swears very softly when it becomes evident Kimber hasn't noticed the printed note. He's been trying to keep as silent as possible to avoid attracting attention, but he's run out of quiet ways to let Kimber know who he is. He leans down, putting his face near the gap underneath the door where he slipped the note in a moment ago, and softly begins to sing. "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, merry merry king of the bush is he..."
Behind the door, Kimber's light eyes widen in the dark. "Sebastian?" she breathes, her free hand fluttering to her chest. Getting close to the floor, she whispers back, "Sebastian? Is that you?" For the first time since the gangs arrived, Kimber allows herself to hope. If Sebastian is here, things will be OK. She sets the bat down, and places her hand on the locks. Sebastian is one of the very few people for whom she'd open the door.
Bludd grins, chuckling in relief. "Yes, love," he whispers to her under the door, "it's me. I'm here to help. Can I come in?"
"Oh my God!" she says, a little too loudly. "Yes, of course!" Kimber unlocks and throws open the door. As soon as is possible, she throws herself into Bludd's arms, kissing him passionately with the door wide open, forgetting all about the danger outside. She finally pulls back and looks at Bludd with stars in her eyes. "Oh my God!" she repeats. "Why are you here? How did you get here?" She seems to remember her situation, and peers back behind Bludd at the world outside the gates.
Bludd gets to his feet and slips into the house just as Kimber launches herself at him, wrapping his arms around her and returning her kiss with equal enthusiasm, though there's still a part of his mind that remembers he has his back to an open door through which danger may come at any moment. When Kimber pulls back, he glances behind him and reaches to close the door quickly but quietly. "I heard LA had been targetted by the gangs and I came out here as quickly as I could." He cups her chin in his hand and gazes at her with unmasked affection. "I had to be sure you were okay."
Kimber's eyes shine in the dark. "You thought about me?" she says disbelievingly. "With everything going on?" She looks stunned. It takes her a moment to recover from this revelation -- thankfully Bludd has the wherewithal to close the door. Finally she glances back towards where the Starlight Girls are hiding. "Did you bring a gun?" Kimber asks tremulously. "We don't have any. I hate to say it, but we might need someone with your skills," she whispers, glancing back into the darkened mansion again, and then out the window at the chaos beyond.
Bludd stares back at Kimber with a like expression of disbelief. "O'course I thought about you, love. I..." He clears his throat and adds quietly, "I think about you a lot, actually." He pulls his jacket open to show her the shoulder holster he's wearing, remembering after a moment to add, "Yeah, I brought a gun." In the dark it's hard to see the butterfly bandage on his left temple or the fact his destroyed left eye is left uncovered.
If Kimber notices the injuries, she doesn't react to them yet. Instead she gives Bludd another hug, reaching into his jacket to grip him tightly. "Oh, my God. I'm so glad you're here!" She gazes up at him with wide, trusting eyes. "The Starlight Girls are hiding in the basement -- I told them to bar the door, but I'm not really sure what I'd, like, do if gangs busted in to wreck the place. After what happened with Zipper at the Starlight House, I'm not sure I could handle losing another home!"
Kimber seems on the edge of hysteria, but holding it together by the sheer strength of Bludd's presence. "I'm so glad you're here!" she repeats, on the verge of tears. "You really think about me?" she asks, a little slow on the uptake with everything going on, and focusing on the wrong priorities.
"You're not gonna lose this place," Bludd declares, giving Kimber a gentle squeeze as she hugs him. "You're going to want to stay in the interior of the house," he advises, "away from the windows. The basement is a good idea. What kind of supplies do you have? And I don't suppose you have a generator on-site..." He pauses, gazing down at her with a serious expression. "I've scarcely been able to stop thinking about you since I last saw you." He pulls her close and lets his chin rest atop her head for a moment. "I've missed you terribly." He leans back again and tells her, "My prior obligations are fulfilled. As of right now, I'm completely contract-free."
GAME: Kimber PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of Average difficulty.
Kimber frowns, burying her face in Bludd's chest. "I think there's some kinda gas-powered generator in the basement, but I don't know how to work it. I thought we should keep the lights off anyway, to keep from attracting attention." She accepts the wisdom of staying towards the interior of the house, but doesn't want to let Bludd go just yet. "I've been thinking about you, too," she whispers, as if afraid to admit it even to herself.
Bludd nods. "That's good," he says in response to Kimber's mention of keeping the lights off. "You definitely don't want to attract attention. I'll take a look at your generator and see if I can help get it running. If you need fuel for it, or food or water, I'll see about getting those for you too." He seems content to stand there with her, his hands stroking lightly up and down her back. "Really glad you're okay," he adds quietly. "I thought about messaging you, or calling..." He presses his lips together. "I ... I guess I wanted to let you get back to your life here, without the complications of hearing from me to cause you trouble."
"It's so weird to have you here," she admits. "It's like -- the time in Australia is like something that happened to someone else, you know? Now it feels real -- and that's OK. I'm not sure how I'm going to explain all this to Jerrica and the others, but I don't care. I'm glad you're here." She sighs happily. "I think we have some kerosene or something for the generator," she says finally, getting back to business. "There's plenty of food in the kitchen, although I'm not sure how long it'll be before the stuff in the fridge goes bad." She sighs again, not yet willing to let Bludd go so he can check.
Bludd glances around the darkened room. "Didn't think I'd be standing here so soon... not without your sister on the phone to the cops, anyway." He smirks. "And why am I not surprised you never told Jerrica about what happened?" He tilts his head at Kimber curiously. "How -did- you explain being out of contact for so long, anyway?"
Kimber looks down at the floor, and even in the dark Bludd can see a flush spread across her pale freckled skin. "Wasn't being kidnapped by aliens enough of an explanation?" She glances shyly back up at the Major with a smile. "There was no need to mention being rescued and ravaged by a devilishly handsome international man of mystery." She gazes up at Bludd's face, and then suddenly frowns, reaching up to touch him lightly with slender, delicate fingers. "Ooh, you're hurt!" she says with a squeak. "Are you OK?" She looks around for something to wipe away the blood.
Bludd smiles slyly in response to Kimber's description of him, but it fades as she takes in his injury. "Oh, yeah," he mumbles, as if he's forgotten about being clocked upside the head by an angry biker's chain. "It's alright, love." He reaches up to gingerly touch the butterfly bandage on his temple. "It was a rough time in New York," he adds, paling for the briefest of moments as he recalls his response to the attack. He shakes his head to clear it, wincing slightly. "You can help me look after it once I've had a look at your setup here."
Kimber nods quickly, breathing, "Of course." She checks the locks on the door, and then can't help glancing at Bludd's injuries again as she leads him deeper into the darkened house. She moves through the mansion effortlessly in the dark, taking care to make sure she doesn't actually walk Bludd into the corner of a wall. Arriving at a door down a side hallway, she raps the percussion part of one of her solo songs on the door. "Kimber?" a voice asks from the other side of the door.
"It's me," Kimber replies. "I have someone here who's going to help us. Open up." There's the sound of wood scraping behind the door, the click of a lock, and then the door swings open into darkness.
Though he can't see much as Kimber leads him through the mansion, Bludd still gets a sense of the size of the place. "Big house," he mumbles, smiling at Kimber's coded knock. "Hello," he calls quietly as he follows Kimber into the next room.
"Yeah," Kimber replies to the comment about the size of the house. "Can you believe we won it in a Battle of the Bands? Outrageous, right?" Kimber turns back to address the darkness, saying, "Anne, this is Sebastian. He's a soldier, and he knows what to do to protect us until everything calms down, OK?" Kimber looks back at Bludd and nods, and then slowly leads him down a set of wooden stairs into the pitch-black cellar. The musty smell is punctuated by the scent of engine oil and kerosene. Small whimpering sounds can be heard around the perimeter of the darkness. "Who's got the flashlight?" Kimber asks. "I do," says a young female voice, and then suddenly, there's light again.
"G'day, Anne." Bludd greets the girl he can't see, then follows on after Kimber. As the flashlight flares into life, he squints against the sudden light. As he's all but forgotten about the injury he received in New York, he's also forgotten about the fact his ruined left eye is exposed. He peers around at the room and its occupants.
The basement is full of young girls of various ages -- some of them shriek when they see Bludd's ruined eye (although truth be told they may have shrieked anyway just at his overall haggard appearance among them). "It's OK!" Kimber insists. "He's a friend." She looks around, and says, "Everyone, this is Sebastian! Sebastian, I'll make introductions later. Here's the generator." Kimber leads Bludd over to an old but well-maintained kerosene generator. Containers of fuel are stacked neatly nearby, behind a locked cage.
Bludd makes a passable attempt at a disarming smile, then goes over to the generator. After spending a few minutes examining it, he declares, "Looks to be in good enough shape." He glances to Kimber and gestures to the locked cage. "You got a key to this?"
Kimber looks at the locked cage, and blanches. The flush of her skin fades completely, leaving almost pure white freckled skin in the dim light of the basement. "I think Rio has it, and I can't get a hold of him!" she says in growing horror. "I'm such an idiot!" she squeals, balling her hands into tiny fists. "I think there's a spare somewhere, but I don't know where. The kitchen, maybe?" She screws up her face hard trying to think. The kids watch in silence, eyes wide. Anne, older than the rest, keeps them back so Bludd can concentrate on the problems at hand.
Bludd lays a hand on Kimber's shoulder. "Relax, love, relax. We'll find it, and if we don't, we'll just have to break the lock." He takes a deep breath, closing his eye for a moment. "We don't wanna light up the whole house, just have the power to run a few things. I think for tonight this is the safest place for the girls to stay." He turns a weary gaze on Kimber and adds quietly, "I'm starting to run outta steam here. If the girls have sleeping bags or cots or something, they can set them up in here." He glances back out the door. "I need to do a quick check of the house anyway, so if that stuff needs to be collected from their rooms, it can get done then. How's that sound?"
Kimber calms down, and nods. "I can gather their stuff while you check the house, and then we can camp out in the foyer to keep an eye on the house while they sleep. Sound OK?" Something makes her giggle in near hysterics, but she pulls it together and addresses Anne. "We're going to get things for the girls, and then check and make sure the house is secured, OK? Stay here. Everything is going to be OK." She stops to give reassuring hugs to some of the younger kids, and then returns to Bludd's side, flashlight in hand. "OK," she says resolutely. "Let's go."
Bludd nods to Kimber and accompanies her on an impromptu tour of the house. He checks locks on windows and doors, and occasionally pokes behind furniture and appliances. He leaves Kimber to take the girls' things to them while he makes a perimeter check around the outside of the house. He stays close to the building and completes the circuit in short order, returning to the foyer where he meets up with Kimber again. "Everything looks clear," he tells her. "Gonna request a twenty minute nap to recharge my batteries just a bit. Then I'll be good to keep an eye on things for the night."
Kimber grins at Bludd, and is looking at him with adoring, shiny eyes once more. "OK," she says quietly. "You sleep all you like. I'll watch over you," she says quietly, handing him a pillow and blanket. As if liking the role-reversal of protecting Bludd, even for just a little bit, Kimber retrieves her bat and sits down next to Bludd's pillow, to watch him sleep and maybe stroke his hair if it won't keep him awake. It's true. He's really here. The night of terror has become a dream.