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This RP is part of the Great Reformation arc.

Synopsis: Milon, Ahab, and the Doctor head out to a nearby warehouse to bring back the survivors among the quarantined Infected to the Cross clinic. Ahab sees one of the Infected he remembers from his past and loses his temper. To protect the recovering Infected from Ahab, Milon is forced to threaten Ahab with his rifle, and Ahab manages to collect himself enough to leave the sick woman alone. Upon returning to the Cross, Milon and Ahab seek out Croix to tell her what happened, and Croix is forced to remove Ahab from the mission to bring back the survivors to the clinic. Instead, she sends him back to the West to bring her Bartholomew, her personal inventor.

Characters: Ahab, Croix, The Doctor, and Milon

Location: Deserted Market Place and Cross Headquarters, East Ankou Ennis

Derelict Apartments

The apartment buildings crowding the factories of a once prosperous era look like brick hospitals; their architecture wasn't intended to charm but to be practical and inexpensive during their original construction. They boast a drab, box-like exterior, their bricks stained with the dirt of centuries' neglect and total abandonment. Their interiors also speak of minimalism and utilitarian design, but such is their selling point: they can house thousands of people. Some buildings are too far-gone and have been boarded up to prevent access while others are undergoing gradual renovations. The interior of one of the buildings has been demolished to create a makeshift stable, the windows always propped open to let the stench of horse manure out. Barbed fencing to protect the district's inhabitants surrounds the entire area, making it a safe zone.

The Cross Headquarters are located here.
A makeshift stable made from an old, small building is here.
This area is clear of Infected.

Milon gathered a couple of guys for the journey to the rest of the Infected. He tried his best to make sure the horses were secured to the wagon, but it being his first time, he wasn't all that sure. One of the senior workers of the Cross checked his work and ended up having to tighten a couple of things before they were set to go. The journey would hopefully be quick, considering they'd be going on a wagon drawn by horses, but he took once glance at the Doctor and wondered just how much the seven-foot-tall figure would weigh the wagon down and slow them.

The Doctor stood hunched over with the beak of his mask protruding awkwardly out before his goggles. His head was canted to the side as he watched Milon secure the horses, the black, wide-brimmed hat of his sagging with wear and age around his head. His gloved hands rested in front of him over the bag that slung across his chest. He was quiet and still, only the slightest movements of his head noticeable as he tracked Milon's movement through his tinted goggles. He was an awkward, anachronistic sight to behold, but he admittedly wasn't aware of it. That, or he was simply apathetic to it. When Milon focused his attention on the Doctor, the towering figure stepped forward in measured steps, approaching the wagon to climb on it. Clutching his bag against himself, he lifted a leg onto a foothold on the wagon to hoist himself up. The end of the wagon dipped dramatically under his weight. He moved further in, and as his weight was shifted further onto the wagon, the weight he contained was less obvious but still there. Although he was indeed tall, the wagon perhaps should not have dipped so much.

Ahab was clearing things up with some of the Cross workers, telling them exactly where they were going, how'd they get there, and then when to show up. And then the next. And the next. Ahab had a route already planned out. It'd take them a bit, but they'd damn well make sure of the status of every single infected. Ahab was practically beaming as he got back to the wagon just in time to see the Doctor step onto it...and weigh it down significantly. Moving to Milon and patting him on the shoulder, he spoke. "Y'know, still not sure what exactly the Doc is but damn it all, he's on our side at least." Offering Milon another genuine smile (two in two days!), he squeezed his shoulder lightly. "Ready to go save some folks?" Without waiting for an answer, he hopped up onto the wagon, ready to steer the horses to their destination. Milon was, of course, offered a seat up front.

Milon's eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw the way the wagon dipped beneath the Doctor's weight, but he chose to say nothing about it. He slowly turned away and shook his head in disbelief, caught off guard when he felt Ahab's hand on his shoulder. He looked down at it confused, and then looked at Ahab. His expression wasn't particularly readable, but it was sure that he wasn't as sociable of a person as Ahab was. He was really out of his element, having to deal with people and work with them. Although he believed in what he was doing, he wasn't sure if he liked the part of it where he had to do it with other people. The other men hopped into the back of the wagon with the Doctor, sitting as far away from him as they could manage in such a confined space. The smell was really awful on the Doctor, and they could barely stand it, but they both tried in vain to maintain a face as unflinching and neutral as humanly possible given the circumstance. Milon decided to take the seat beside Ahab and settled in for a simple journey. "The closest one isn't too far from here," he said. "We should be there quick on the horses."

The Doctor had seated himself in the middle on one side, not preferring too close to the front and not too far to the back. It left the other two men in a difficult position because no matter how far forward or how far back they sat, they would be the same distance from the Doctor no matter what. He seemed unintrigued by everything that was going on, evidenced by the way his goggles pointed unmovingly in the direction directly in front of him. He likely wouldn't shift or turn his neck at any point throughout the ride. He would probably just bounce in place with the natural turbulence of a drawing wagon. His hands continued over the bag filled with books, holding them in place in his lap. Unlike Milon, he was absolutely silent.

Ahab lightly flicked the reins and made a clicking noise with his tongue, and the horses were off at a brisk pace. Ahab had spent some time learning, asking questions about horses in general. He had more to learn. But this was nice for now. "It'll be a good show. I hope. Reaaally hopin' the first place we go to don't have too many marked for puttin' down. Rather not put a damper on our little trip, ehn?" He looked over to Milon and offered him a grin. "We'll be fine. S'good thing we're doin', savin' people, y'know? I mean don't get me wrong they could probably save 'emselves, some of 'em, but uh...y'know. Good to make sure who's gonna make it out alive 'n who's slowly passin' away..."

Milon didn't share Ahab's opinion, but the truth of it was that he didn't share any opinion at all. While he 'believed' in what he was doing, he wasn't doing it because it was the right thing to do. He was doing it because the world was changing and he had skills that could help it along. It wasn't a waste of his time while not doing something would be. Taking part in rounding up the Infected and killing the ones that were dying anyway just made his life easier, especially if he decided to go back out on his own again. Taking care of the Infected – regardless of what 'taking care' was supposed to mean - benefited him through and through. He didn't see them as people, but most of the time, he didn't see people as people, either. He sighed. "Doesn't matter how many we kill. We spent our whole lives killing them anyway. What's a couple hundred more?" He looked over his shoulder at the Doctor and then to Ahab. "That guy probably knows how many we're gonna end up killing on average, and my crosses are on more than we end up taking back to the Cross." He seemed satisfied with that answer, but then he added, "Think about it. Most of the Infected runnin' around are the original people that got infected. The ones that'll survive are the ones that arrived by train or left the city. Not that many when you compare the two, I'd say."

Ahab listened along, guiding the horses the entire way. "Could be yer right 'bout that. Actually, not could be. Yer pretty much right. But Milon, all we've been doin' all our lives is killin' and survivin'." He huffed a brief sigh, keeping his eyes on the road ahead. "Thinkin' it's about time I take a break from it. I ain't good at much besides mass murder 'n bein' a nuisance. So I gotta find somethin' new. Gotta...be reborn, really. 'n the way I see it, what we're doin'? One step towards figurin' out somethin' new." He looked Milon's way. "Might be I find out I'm just too good at killin' to give 'er up. Might be I find somethin' else worth doing. Either way." He looked forward again, smiling to himself. "Either way, it's worth it. I wasn't supposed to make it outta this whole mess alive, 'n look at me now."

Milon turned his attention toward Ahab, but not because he wanted to pay better attention to him. He was giving him the look. Ahab was going on again about touchy feely things, and it was making Milon uncomfortable again. "Look, you can go ahead and think you can only ever do what you've been doing for so long or you can suck it up and learn a new skill. Nobody's born doing the stuff they end up doing in life, so they're not fixed to any particular thing. You wanna be 'reborn again', then you go ahead and do it, but don't make it my business or my problem. I've got enough of my own shit to think about." He turned his head then to look out at the passing buildings, falling quiet once again. It wasn't a wonder why Milon didn't make many friends.

Deserted Market Place

Once a dangerous place to find oneself, the market place is no longer threatened by the presence of infected people. The antiquated, brick buildings crowd tightly together, which is a characteristic feature of East Ankou's city landscape. The buildings were abandoned centuries before and their contents either destroyed or stolen. Glass from broken windows remain scattered among the wreckage found inside the buildings, and doors either hang broken on rusted hinges or lay flat on the ground. Dead leaves and overgrown weeds decorate the neglected cobbled roads, and although traces of old blood aren't difficult to find, no bodies can be found.

Ahab took it quite well, all things considered. He looked at Milon and nodded the once. "You got it. So long as you ain't tryin' to punch me in the jaw again, bud." A giggle, but he grew quiet afterwards, letting the silence win out. At this point the sun was practically shining out of Ahab's ass he was so optimistic. Not long after their talk ended, they had arrived at their first location. Looked much like a warehouse that had been refurbished. Windows boarded up, though some of them looked like the boards had been torn down to let the sun in, now that the infection was subsiding. Pulling right up to the big double doors of the warehouse, Ahab brought the horses to a stop. "Alright folks, gameplan's simple. We go in, Doc picks out who's gonna make it, 'n we put down the ones who ain't. Any infected who're gonna be livin', they get the wagon. Let's roll." With that, he stood up and hopped off the wagon, patting the horses lovingly as he walked past them.

Milon and the other two men hopped off of the wagon, the other two perhaps too eager to get away from the awful smell radiating from the Doctor. He strode to the double doors and waited for the Doctor to follow suit. He pulled his pump-action rifle from his shoulder and readied himself for when they went inside. The warehouse was relatively quiet, which was unsettling. The two others had weapons as well, but they stayed further back. "I'll do the killing," he said to Ahab as he pulled the elastic cloth around his throat over his mouth and nose, hiding his features save for his reddish brown eyes. His way of helping Ahab 'sober up' from his old habit. When the Doctor approached, he'd nod at the figure, pull the long piece of wood free from the warehouse's handles to unseal the doors, and then pull the door open for the Doctor to walk through. After the Doctor was inside, he'd follow suit and they could get this over with.

The Doctor was slower to get off the wagon, but when he did, the sudden lifting of the wagon was just as dramatic as when it dipped under his weight. Measured as his movements were, he didn't take very long to get to the warehouse doors. As Milon freed the handles and slid the door open, he lumbered through, the darkness of the interior swallowing him up as he passed through the threshold. The smell of decay plumed out of the warehouse with the hot air that had collected inside, but that didn't deter the Doctor. Just several steps inside, he stopped. A moment passed before he turned back around to exit through the door. All but two of the Infected had already died and started to decompose. One of the two that had survived sobbed quietly as the Infected beside her breathed quietly with heavy-hooded eyes. He was at the point of dying but not from the Infection: from dehydration instead. The one that cried raised her eyes and looked away from the sunlight suddenly, the brightness hurting her dilated pupils. "Please," she muttered through a dry throat, making her voice rasp. "Don't leave; please help." She pushed herself forward onto her hands and knees and started crawling toward the door, too weak to stand up. "Please," she said a little more loudly. She managed halfway across the floor before she stopped and sat herself back on her knees. Her wet eyes fell on Milon and then on Ahab as she pleaded with her eyes. The woman must have been in her forties. She didn't recognize either of the young men before her, but she was no stranger to one of them...

Ahab watched the Doctor with bated breath as he entered...and then immediately left, Ahab almost deflating. Well, shit. Clearly no one was very saveable in there. Ahab peeked into the doorway at least, before spotting one of the ones who had cried. One of the ones who could be saved. He looked into her face with a smile...and the change was instant. He reached in and pulled her out, almost dragging her to the wagon before he let go of her. "Milon, gun. On her. Don't let her move." He looked furious. He stepped back in just as quickly, and could already spot the one the woman had left behind. Grabbing him and pulling him out, he signaled for the men to close the warehouse door. "This one. Get him water. You." He let go of the man, gaze landing on the woman. "YOU." Fingers twitching. Eyes burning. Hate breathing. "I remember you. I remember yer face. I KNOW YOU." He stopped just before her, almost ready to lay into her. But he wasn't moving. He was staring her down. Almost like a show of aggression. His breathing was heavy and ragged, and he looked like he was about to tear her throat out. He kneeled down to stare her in the face. "You ruined me."

Milon was stunned to find the warehouse almost entirely dead, but what was most shocking was the coherency with which the woman spoke. He was impressed. His gun was lowered, but then Ahab flipped, and Milon was completely thrown off by it. "What the fuck?" he said when Ahab gave that command. "I'm not putting my gun on her; you fucking crazy? She's healthier than anyone we've ever seen; I'm not gonna fucking kill her!" He followed after Ahab into the warehouse. "What the fuck are you doing? What the fuck is your problem?" he said as Ahab dragged the other guy out of the warehouse. Milon raised his gun at Ahab and pointed it point blank at the back of Ahab's head. "Either you calm the fuck down or I'm putting a bullet through your head. You will not fuck with her."

The woman was startled by the sudden assault, flailing wildly and screaming at the top of her lungs as she was dragged out of the warehouse. Her frightened protests were unmistakable as she panicked, and even after she was released, she continued to scream. When the stranger approached her again, she started to sob through her screams. She recoiled away from him into the fetal position and with her hands clamped over her ears, started rocking back and forth in a fierce panic. It was clear she didn't know what was going on, but she was terrified.

Ahab watched the woman scream. He couldn't hear anything beyond that. Her screaming, and a dull buzzing in his head. His brain was a maelstrom of emotion as he watched the woman, wanting to tear her damn throat out. And then one small thought shined through; This is what it must be like. He stared at the woman, looking almost...lost. Deflating. This is what it's like to be on the receiving end. He shook his head, taking a few steps back, head pressing into Milon's gun. This is what it's like to be the infected. He saw his mother in the woman. Heard the screaming, the tearing. Was he really about to visit this on her? For what? Vengeance overdue by twenty years, for an act the woman likely had no control over? "Holy fuck what is WRONG with me." He looked over his shoulder at Milon, looking absolutely bewildered. "Put the gun down, I'm good. Just...fuckin' hell, Milon, I'm a shithead. I'm sorry. I recognize her, that's all. Get 'er some water, 'n the other guy too. They've had a long, long nightmare 'n it's about time they saw some good, yeah?" With that, he was already moving for the wagon as if in a daze, moving to bring himself back into the driver's seat and sit there with his head in his hands. He suddenly had a wicked headache.

Milon didn't lower his gun right away, his ears ringing from the screaming, his mind numb from the adrenaline. His heart thrummed in his chest enough to almost hurt. The butt of his rifle was pressed steadily to his shoulder and his cheek hovered over his weapon. The other two guys weren't sure what to do, either. They watched the scene wide-eyed, unable to move until Milon finally lowered his gun from Ahab, though reluctant it was. As if on cue, the men finally moved to the victims to give them water, but the woman was unrelenting in her screaming. Milon joined the man beside her who was struggling to give her water, lowering onto his knees and setting his rifle beside himself. "Calm down," he reassured, resting a hand on her to get her to calm, but it only seemed to make things worse. He didn't know what to do with her, so he looked up at the Doctor, hoping for an idea or some help.

The Doctor watched after Ahab from a hunkered stand, watching the way he moved and behaved. His beak tracked Ahab's movements but nothing else moved. He seemed unaffected by the tension and unbothered by the woman's screaming. It was as if he were watching through a soundproof window and not participating in the drama. He lost interest in Ahab's behavior as soon as he moved to the wagon and looked toward the other men instead. The glare of his goggles seemed to focus on Milon, then. Perhaps unexpectedly, the Doctor turned his attention to his utility belt and extracted what might have been a dart. His heavy feet carried him to the panicking woman and he lowered just enough to stab the needle into her arm. She reacted to the pain suddenly but the effects were almost instant. Her eyes fell closed and the air fell silent. The Doctor didn't bother removing the needle from her. Instead, he straightened and moved to the wagon to climb back into it.

Ahab held his head like that until the woman had stopped screaming. He figured the Doc would have something up his sleeve to fix it. Once the screaming stopped, he stood back up, hopping off the wagon. "Let's get 'em in 'n lock this warehouse fer good. No point in wastin' bullets when they're all gonna rot in there anyways. And I'd rather not light it up." With that, he was moving towards the dehydrated one, aiming to pick him up and get him into the wagon.

Milon rose to his feet with his rifle in hand once the woman quieted, tugging the cloth over his mouth and nose down to his neck. He didn't look at Ahab right away but stared down at the woman with a furrowed brow. "Let's get 'er into the wagon," he mumbled to the guy with him, slinging his rifle over his shoulder and then grabbing the woman by the arm to pull her up and throw her over his shoulder. He managed to leverage her limp weight easily enough and carried her over. The other guy followed and climbed into the wagon to grab her from Milon and then waited for Ahab to bring the other survivor. Everyone was deathly quiet, unsure of what to say. As soon as Milon released the woman, he spoke up. "We're all going back to headquarters together, and I'm gonna let Croix know what happened here so she can decide how to deal with it. Because what you did was fucked up, and if you're gonna be losing your shit like that, then you shouldn't be doing this. You've got issues, man. You need to get your shit figured out. Fast." He moved to the front of the wagon and climbed up behind the horses. The second guy hurried to the warehouse and slid the door shut before running ahead of Ahab to climb into the wagon and grab the survivor from him. Before long, they'd be off, and the two guys that came with were more than ready to get back to headquarters to escape the tension.

Ahab nodded in agreement. "Yer not gonna let Croix know what happened. I'M gonna let Croix know what happened." Once everyone was in the wagon, he flicked the reins. "I ain't lettin' anyone else own up for MY shit." And with that, the horses were on their way and Ahab wasn't speaking a damn word the whole ride. Inside his head, though, he couldn't help but giggle to himself. Of COURSE the first place they visited, he'd happen to see the one thing that could almost send him over the edge. At this point he was wondering if Meran was involved. And if so...he had played it very well.

Milon wasn't planning on letting Ahab see Croix alone. As far as Ahab's track record went, he didn't trust the guy at all, and there was no way he was going to give Ahab a chance to spin it to his benefit to Croix. No one spoke the whole ride back, and thankfully, it was a short ride to begin with. As soon as the wagon pulled up to the gate of the barbed fence, people were stopping what they were doing to get a look at the survivors. Everyone seemed mostly confused as they looked on, seeing the same faces as before and just two survivors. The gate was pulled open to let the wagon through. Milon finally broke the silence. "Stop at the clinic. We'll leave the survivors there and then have a chat with Croix." Turning around to look at the other guys, "You guys take care of them when we get there." They nodded, diverting their eyes.

Ahab slowly brought the wagon to a stop, making sure the two infected were brought into the clinic and that they were well taken care of. ESPECIALLY the woman. He even pulled someone aside and muttered something to them, patting them on the shoulder. Hopefully he had enough clout for them to take better care of her, at least. But he wouldn't be worried otherwise. He'd likely never see her again. At least, he hoped he wouldn't. Gesturing for Milon to follow, they'd search out and find Croix. And as soon as he saw her, he jerked his head. "Croix. We got two from our first drop. Don't think I'm cut out fer this, though. I fucked up 'n almost killed one of 'em cuz I recognized her. Put this guy in charge'a that shit." He jerked his thumb to Milon with no hesitation. "I'll go 'n clear out any of the rottin' ones who aren't gonna make it. Which, heads up, there's a whole warehouse full of 'em north'a here which I'll be takin' care of after we're done here."

Cross Headquarters

From the exterior, the headquarters are unassuming. Situated inside a squished apartment building, a person wouldn't know where to find it unless they were a member of the Cross or especially perceptive. The stoop leads up to double doors. Immediately inside, a guarded apartment door and a narrow, creaky staircase that leads to the higher levels where members of the Cross sleep reside. The tight-fitting hallway inside the apartment, made so by the stairs, provides access to a closet underneath the staircase. The short, narrow hallway spills into what was once a living room with a small kitchen but has since been transformed into a full office. An old, beat-up desk sits toward the back of the center of the room with a dusty chair behind it. In front of it are two antique couches facing each other. All of the worn furniture was salvaged from abandoned homes throughout East Ankou, giving the room a vintage feel to it. The room also has two doors where one likely leads into what was once a bedroom and the other to a surprisingly functional bathroom. The walls and ceiling used to sport water stains and mildew, and the antiquated wallpaper once peeled off the walls. Now, instead of wallpaper, the walls and ceiling are coated in a layer of paint. The floorboards creak under one's feet, but that is to be expected of a centuries old building.

The Cross message board is here.

Croix looked up from her desk inside the Cross headquarters to stare at Ahab. She didn't speak right away, eyes looking between Ahab and Milon and back again. "Ahab," she started, very seriously. "You have the worst habit of thinkin' Ah'm available t'listen to you whenevah you feel lahke talkin'. Ah need'jou to learn to not interrupt people, even if it looks lahke they're not doin' anythin' important. Common courtesy requires you get someone's attention before you go off talkin'." She had been in the middle of trying to figure out how much she could get done with the number of people and resources she had, and Ahab had broken her concentration. With a calming inhale of breath, she leaned back in her seat and started to rub her face impatiently. "Don'tchu worry about the ones that got left behahnd, Ahab. Ah've got somethin' more important fah you to do. Ah haven't been able to get in touch with Bartholomew in weeks, and Ah'd lahke him brought here. You think you can bring him without trynna kill 'im?" she asked.

Ahab didn't even look apologetic for having interrupted her train of thought. All things considered, he looked exhausted after the whole fiasco that had just happened. But, orders were orders. "Last you saw him was the airport, I'm guessin'? It'll be my first stop. I'll make sure to bring him back in one piece. That everythin', boss?" Dull. Emulating someone else, at the moment. At least, if that someone else talked.

Croix seemed just as unapologetic, searching her desk for a blank piece of parchment before lifting her ink pen, dipping it into her inkwell, and quickly scribbling something on it. She was just as exhausted but for other reasons. Signed, folded, and placed into an envelope, she dripped hot wax onto the back and stamped her seal on it. "Here you are," she said, holding the envelop toward him between two fingers. Her shoulders were heavy and bags had formed under her eyes. Ahab probably hadn't heard the news, but Croix was burying Gilen's body that day. She didn't have much time to feel much about anything. "He'll have to do a few things before he comes ovah, but it's all in the envelope, and he'll know what to do. That'll be all fah now; you can go. Milon, you stay." She would wait until Ahab dismissed himself before she'd speak up again.

Milon pursed his lips. He would do what she said, but only because he wanted to know what she wanted to tell him. Truth be told, he was growing to hate these people.

Ahab took the envelope and nodded once, leaving without another word. He didn't pat Milon on the shoulder, either. Just like that, he was gone again.

Croix sighed loudly, dropping her forehead into her palm as she leaned onto her desk. "Fuckin' A," she grumbled. Running her hand over her face as she lifted her gaze to Milon, she blinked and sighed, and then straightened in her seat. "What's goin' on, Milon? Somethin's on your mahnd," she prompted.

Milon shook his head slowly and after a beat of silence, spoke up. "I don't think I can deal with you people. That guy is fucking insane, and to be honest, I don't like you, either. I don't like getting told what to do, and I don't like having to answer to anyone. It's fuckin' stupid. I've known freedom all my life, and then you show up, and it's like everyone has to fall in line. I don't like it. I don't know you and I don't trust you, and if you're keeping nutjobs like Ahab around, I don't think we have much to talk about."

Croix listened quietly, detached from the emotion behind Milon's words. "Look, sweetheart, no one invahted you to stay against your will. The reason wah people are here, wah anyone follows mah command, is because they wanna see change. They're sick of hidin' and starvin', and Ah showed up with a solution. In exchange for the labor people put forth, they will get the new life they've wanted all along. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Do you know what that means? It means nothin's gonna change if nobody does somethin' to change it. That's where Ah come in; Ah know how to change things. You doubt it? Look around. People are eatin' and sleepin' outside the city walls without fear of gettin' attacked bah an Infected. The streets are nearly free of the plague, and people can move around now without fear of suddenly gettin' attacked. Now, concernin' Ahab: he is insane. Ah didn't realize how off the hinge he was, and Ah plan on dealin' with him when Ah get a chance, so don't worry about it. He wasn't in charge of anythin', and Ah would nevah put anyone so underqualified in a position of powah. He was deluding himself in thinkin' he was somehow 'in charge'. Everyone's supposed to be workin' togethah as equals on this project. Some people are gonna have bettah ideas than othahs, and Ah'll hear 'em out, but when Ah send people to go do somethin', nobody's in charge but me. We do it that way 'cause people are generally dumb. Ahab is dumb. He might mean well, but he's as dumb as horse shit, and Ah have no patience for such recklessness and stupidity." She rose from her seat then and stretched. "Ah lahke your skepticism, though, Ah must admit. Trah and fuhget Ahab for now. Ah'd lahke you to go back to the warehouse and burn the bodies. Make sure they're dead before you set them on fire, though. You think you can handle that?"

Milon glowered at the floor, his face sullen. He looked up when she rose to stretch, eyes falling to her breasts, and then stared at the floor again. His arms were crossed over his chest, both hands holding on by his elbows. He breathed in deeply and then exhaled. "As long as I don't have to work with Ahab anymore, I can take care of it."

Croix nodded. "He won't be goin' anywhere near the survivors, so you don't have to worry about that." Lowering herself back into her chair, she resumed looking at her papers.

Milon wasn't done talking, though. "I almost shot him," he said. "I almost shot him in the head point blank. I'll pull the trigger next time."

Croix looked up, unfazed. "You trah that and you'll just piss 'im off, and he'll go for your throat. Trust me, sweetheart, you wouldn't suhvahve against Ahab."

Milon asked, "What is he?" He remembered the fangs. Did what she was saying have to do with that?

Croix crossed her hands on the desk as she focused her attention on Milon. "Some vampire," she admitted and pulled back from the desk to return to her papers again. "Ah am, too. Maybe you can ask the Doctah about it. Ah hear he doesn't talk much, but he mahght be able to tell you somethin'. Ahab mentioned that the Doctah had a look at him or somethin'..." she added distractedly. "Let me know what you fahnd out, though. Ah'd be terribly interested to hear about it."

Milon nodded to himself and turned to leave. He realized Croix had a lot to do, and he did, too. Leaving the headquarters, he descended the stoop and went in search of his round-up team. Maybe this time, people won't try attacking the survivors...

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