I'm not really the character Ruby from the New Zealand show The Tribe. This is just a journal for the RPG community the_mall. I do not claim possession of this character, nor do I claim to be Fleur Saville.
The following PreTribe was written by _salene_ and myself with the help of Tribe World specifically for tribe_ruby in accordance with the LJ RPG the_mall only. PreGame Information is written as an update on what has happened to Ruby since the end of her PT and the start of our game. In Game Updates are a running tally of what happens to Ruby in the game. These things have not happened on the show, we are not implying that it could or should happen, and we do not mean any offense to the writers/creators/owners of The Tribe or Cloud 9, this is simply our version of an S5 and our version of Ruby. She still belongs to Cloud 9 Ltd, however.
Ruby Christine was the first born of Benjamin and Andrea Wallace, two loving and caring parents who spent a lot of time with their children. They had met in University, her Father studying business, her Mother studying accounting. They fell madly in love, becoming inseperable and sharing many passions, including horse back riding. Ben's dream was to one day own his own ranch and raise horses, as well as some sheep. He wanted it close enough to a city that he could commute to his small tack shop in town. Andrea was in heaven, Ben was so driven, focused, and it sounded like a dream; a nice little house on a few acres of land with some livestock, but close enough to a city that she could drive into town and go shopping at the Mall, they'd have everything, it was perfect.
The fairytale wedding and honeymoon was like a whirlwind, Andrea could remember every detail, even years later, recounting it to her small daughter who would put the veil on her head and imagine her own storybook wedding someday. "Remember," her Mum would say, "you don't need a man to complete you Ruby, you are strong, don't ever let anyone tell you that you're not good enough for anything just because you're a girl," and Ruby would smile and promise, she was going to grow up to be somebody, she would take on the world.
Years passed, the ranch life was content, quiet and peaceful. Ruby and her little brother, Blake, grew up knowing what it meant to work hard for what you wanted in life, what you needed to get by. Life on a ranch was hard work, and it wasn't a rich life, they had everything they needed, and some of what they wanted, but it didn't matter much. Ruby and Blake were both raised to be proud of what they had, who they were, and how hard they worked to get what they achieved. Good grades, the lead in her ballet studio's Christmas production of The Nutcracker, a solo in the Fall Choral production, Ruby loved her life. Living so close to the city meant she went to school in the city, that she spent time after school hanging out with her friends at the Mall, driving around and checking out the guys, and generally having a good time before heading home to her chores and school work. As much as Ruby loved her friends, she really loved the peace and quiet of her home life, riding her horse, Lucky, helping with the chores, it was routine and that was the way she liked it.
In the summer of Ruby's fourteenth year, she and Blake, then twelve, did as they did most every day; morning chores, lunch, riding in the late afternoon down to the creek that ran through their property and stopping to splash in the cool water. Blake liked to catch frogs and their tadpoles, making Ruby laugh as he splashed her and threatened to throw her in. He was a great little brother, sure they had their moments when they would yell and fight, but it never lasted very long, and of course their parents always encouraged them to apologize and talk things out. This day was not a day of fighting, but a day of laughter, of fun, a day Ruby would unfortunately never forget.
Ruby doesn't quite remember the order of events that happened next, she remembers heading back up to the house on their horses, Lucky and Charm, laughing about some silly little joke kids laugh about, she can still hear it sometimes, the way his laughter tinkled like bells, he was so happy in that moment, and if she really thinks about it, so was she.
It was unfortunate that Charm got spooked, by a snake perhaps, or just by something only a horse can know. He had never gotten so spooked on Blake before, and Blake usually knew how to handle him when he began to get nervous, but this horse reared up so suddenly that Blake, relaxed and telling a joke with his hands, had no time to make a move to grab on. He was thrown backwards off of the horse, and Ruby can also still hear the screams in her head, "BLAKE! BLAKE!!" as his horse went running off into the hills of their property. It took her a few moments to calm Lucky enough that she could step down, before she could check on Blake. His face was so pale, his eyes were closed, and his lips were turning purple. She knew better than to move him, but it was her first instinct to grab him, to hug him to her. Even before she found the cognitive thought to run home and get her Mum, she knew.
Jumping into the saddle, Ruby rode straight to the house, tying Lucky to the fence and dashing inside, "Mum! Blake!" she cried, finding her Mother in the kitchen preparing dinner, tears streaming down her face.
"What? What is it Ruby?" She'd looked chilled to the bone, the look in her eyes, Ruby remembered, they were frantic, scared.
"We were down," she gulped out, "Charm, he got spooked," she explained, pointing out in the direction of the field, "Blake, he fell off," she was sobbing the words out now, "His lips are purple Mum," she couldn't breathe, she couldn't think, this couldn't be happening, wake up, wake up!
"What? Where, Ruby, take me there, you're the only one who knows where he is, you have to calm down," she explained as she turned off the stove and reached for the phone on the wall to dial 111, "I need an ambulance," she cried into the phone. Ruby could tell she was trying to keep a grip on herself as she explained where they lived and what had happened, imploring them to hurry before slamming the phone down. Ruby could feel the panic in her movements, in her voice as she told Ruby to calm down, she had to calm down, grabbing the first aid kid from within the cabinet.
Rushing outside with Ruby, her Mum helped her climb onto Lucky, flinging the strap of the bag across her before climbing up behind her into the saddle. "Go go Ruby, go," she patted her thigh, hanging onto her daughter as they began to ride off, Ruby picking up the pace to a trot as she tried to remember exactly where. The hills were rolling, and their land was vast even on horseback, and in her panicked state she didn't feel as if she could find him again. As if he knew where to take her, Lucky rode almost straight back to the spot, and her Mum hopped down first.
Her skin prickled as her Mum sank slowly to her knees, tears on her face in an instant, Blake's face had turned purple, and as Ruby climbed down and stood there, left hand pressed against her mouth, right hand balled into a fist, she could tell he was cold. She could feel it in her own bones, her heart was aching, he was gone it told her. She couldn't do anything but stand there and watch as her Mother hugged him to her just as she had wanted to, sobs heaving from within her, Ruby had never heard her Mother cry this way in her life. It was the cry only a mother could cry after a loss of a child, like a wail calling his spirit back home, whispering prayers, rocking him. Ruby could barely see through her tears as she supressed her own heartbreaking sobs.
The paramedics arrived and could do nothing, he was gone before they got there, he was gone before Ruby had gotten off of Lucky to check on him, his neck had snapped and death had been instantaneous. Ruby felt guilty about that for months, it had been her fault, she should have told him to hang on, reprimanded him for clowning around, she should have done something to calm down Charm, she should have - but there was nothing she could have done. Her Mother reminded her, often, it wasn't her fault, and it was ok for Ruby to just grieve for her brother, she didn't have to be at fault, no one blamed her.
Months passed in the Wallace household and no one seemed to talk to each other, just silent, grim eyes meeting before falling into hugs. Bonding together as a family seemed to happen best in the silence. Ruby swore she could hear him, Blake's laughter in his room, and if they all sat still enough, maybe she could wish him alive again.
At the insistence of her school counselor, the Wallace family began to see a therapist; he was a nice man, fat and round, a gray friar tuck ring of hair around his bald head. He was so jolly that Ruby deemed him Mr. Claus in private conversation, once her family began to talk again. The silence broke one day at breakfast, as her Dad poured the milk into his bowl of Rice Bubbles, Ruby couldn't help herself, it snapped, it crackled, it popped, and her voice poured from within her. "Snap, crickity crack, pop!" It was just what Blake would have said, if he were there. She looked at her father, wide eyed, waiting for him to yell at her, waiting for her Mum to start crying, but they just smiled; thick grins moving as slow as time, chuckles turning into laughter, repeating it, over and over. The tears that day were tears of healing, Blake was never to be forgotten, but now they knew he was in heaven with Grandma Wallace, and he was happy.
Life was never quite the same again, but things had begun to look up, and Ruby began to ride Lucky more than just to exercise him, getting back into her favorite routine, even if it meant doing it alone, or making Mum come with her. Charm had to have someone ride him someday, and no, she couldn't sell him. That was all they had left of Blake, how could they sell him? They couldn't, and in time her Mum warmed to riding Charm, enjoying riding again the way she had as a young girl. Ruby was content again, and she had learned long ago that she was strong and could overcome anything, "Remember that Mum? We can make it, we're strong," she reminded her. Nodding in agreement was all she needed from her, as long as they had each other, they would be ok.
Only, they wouldn't have each other much longer. In their grief the Wallace family had watched little television, listened to little radio, and read few papers, consoled in their grief by the silence of their world. By the time the virus had killed off people world wide, the Wallace family had finally recovered from the death of their son. They didn't have long together, the virus swept through the countryside, taking neighbors down, and Ruby's mother, in her incessant need to heal people, began to make lots of casseroles and deliver them to their sick neighbors, practically becoming a nursemaid as she fed them. The stories she'd tell of the blisters, of the gray hair and wrinkles, chilled Ruby to the bone. She hadn't felt that way since Blake had died.
Ruby reminded herself that the virus couldn't kill her parents, they had already suffered enough tragedy in their lives, the last thing they needed was some virus making them all sick, taking away all Ruby had left. Whatever power watched over her wouldn't let it happen, Blake would watch over them, right? Her denial was strong, a happy place for her, until the night her father coughed at dinner. Every ounce of resolve she had left, every moment of denial was forgotten and she felt her eyes tear up. "Daddy no," she whispered, watching in horror as he coughed, coughing until blood was left on his dinner napkin. Andrea put him straight to bed, she couldn't lose Ben, not now, no please, and as she prayed at the side of the bed, Ruby saw it in her too. The hair underneath had begun to gray, and if she looked closer, she had blisters in her hairline. "Mum! Your hair!"
"Shh Ruby, not now," she reproved, continuing with her prayers. Ruby moved closer, leaning in, yes, that was just as she had described, "Mum you have blisters," she whispered, horrified. She was not thrown by her mother's hand swatting at her to get back, lifting her straight up, "Straight to bed with you," it was scary, how easy it was to lift her mother like that. She was weak, too weak, and Ruby didn't like it. Just as she had not reprimanded Blake, she had not noticed her Mother falling sick. This time she'd been in denial of what she was facing, and she'd ruined the chance, whatever slim chance she had, to save her parents. As they lay in their bed, Ruby knelt beside them and prayed, prayed as she had never before. Please...don't take them.
Looting didn’t happen as often or as severely in the countryside as it did in the city. Ruby did as great a job as possible of defending herself, her home, and her family’s land with the help of a baseball bat. No bullies who ran out of places to destroy could even step on her property without her scaring them off. Of course, she couldn’t stop them all; she was only one person. The day they stole Charm was the saddest day Ruby can remember since Blake died, since her parents had died. At first she didn’t want to think of the possibility that he could have been stolen, so she called for him day after day, leaving sugar for him, but no horse returned. She accepted that he was gone and she would never see him again, just as she would never see her family. It seemed she was losing everyone these days. Eventually, even the sheep got away and she was left alone with Lucky. He became her only friend and her confidant. She cherished him - even if he couldn’t talk back, or maybe because he couldn't talk back. Lucky and the house seemed to be the only reminders she had of her family.
Ruby finally had enough after the five thousandth attempt by a looter to destroy her things, when she was so low on food she was sure she'd only have enough for one more four bite meal, and the electricity had gone out, which meant she couldn't pump water from their well into the house either. Making the hardest decision she had ever faced, Ruby decided to leave one night, packing her saddlebags and the last bit of food, a few precious items of jewelry belonging to her mother, little reminders of Blake, pictures he'd drawn, his favorite hot wheel, and her Dad's bottle of cologne, as well as his scarf that smelled just like him. She laid down on the large, comfortable couch, watching the candlelight flicker on the pictures she would take with her when she left, crying herself to sleep.
The next morning she took the pictures from their frames and put them in her coat, along with Blake's drawing, next to her heart. She packed her horse, grabbed the last bit of oats and tied it to her saddlebags tight - only a third of the bag remained, but it would sustain him along with the grass he could eat - and left without looking back. She had to move on, she knew that, and now was better than later, when she would be starving and filthy and so wrapped up in her memories that she couldn't think clearly.
Sleeping in random, well-hidden spots, she considered the places she could go, other places she had spent her happy years feeling safe and content. The Mall was definitely off limits, in the heart of the City it just wasn’t safe, no matter how much time she had spent having fun and feeling safe there. The school was no good, the city just didn't feel safe to her now, she could protect herself of course, but for how long? What about Lucky? A big horse in the city would merely stand out and be killed for food, this she was sure of. Beginning to run out of places to sleep that would completely hide her from view, Ruby became desperate and eventually resorted to sleeping in an open field. She tied Lucky to a tree and sat at the base of the trunk right next to him, fighting sleep. Lucky nudged her softly with his velvet nose, his warm, wet breath making her smile, talking to her horse as she often did.
Eventually, fatigue won and she drifted off, curled up under her coat and blanket, her father's scarf wrapped around her neck. She still remembers how angry she was with herself at not even hearing the looters take her bag, her food, or her Lucky. When she woke up the next morning she was ready to completely give up, the last thing she had left, her heart and her home, it was gone. She didn't even bothering to try and find him. She had nothing left but the clothes on her back, her blanket, the pictures next to her heart, and a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Lying on the ground, tears streamed down her cheeks, succumbing to the depression she had been fighting all of her life. That underlying sick feeling that made her heart feel dead. Mum had always taught her to look on the sunny side of things, even after Blake had died, they hadn't been sad, just quiet. It was ok to be sad, Mum told her, but don't let sadness become you. "HOW? How can I not? Mum, I have nothing left," she cried out, sitting up and screaming at the wide open sky. No reply came, scared birds took flight, but it was no sign to Ruby, she just wanted to die. Laying down she decided that's just what she'd do, go be with her family, she needed them, she needed the quiet stillness of their happy life. She laid in the same spot for days, staring at the sky, not caring that she was hungry, cold, and alone.
Her tears dried up and to any passerby it would seem like she was dead, that’s how she felt, anyway; an empty shell with nothing and no purpose. Falling into a deep sleep, Ruby can still remember the dream, standing there before her, drenched in light, were her Mum and Dad. The hugs warmed her to her core, filled her with love, she knew no pain, no sadness, no limits. Had she finally died? No, her Mum's voice said, almost bouncing off of the insides of her head, but you are loved, Ruby. You are not alone, even when you are by yourself. We are always here, and we will always love you. You must wake up now Ruby, wake up and live. We want you to survive, you're the future and the present now Ruby, be someone, do something, but don't ever give up.
When she finally opened her eyes, her lids were so heavy that it took her a minute, and what met her eyes confused her. Hay. If it weren’t for the ache in her head and body, she would’ve gotten up and run away. The last thing she could remember was being in the field, having some strange dream with her parents, letting herself die. Realizing she was in a barn, she wondered if she was home again, if everything had been a dream - the virus, Blake’s death, losing Lucky, and Charm. What a horrible dream!
Pulling her eyes open, she noticed that this was not her barn, had she fallen off of her horse and hit her head then? Was this a neighbors barn? As she lifted her hand to feel her head she realized how pale she was, the skin on her arm and hand was sallow, she'd never seen it look this way before. She didn’t have the strength to scream as she finally noticed the boy hovering near her, only stare, waiting until he spoke to her, trying to recount the days she had been passed out.
Realizing that she was finally awake the boy introduced himself, "My names _slade_," he said, nodding his head in her direction before telling her how he had found her lying on the ground in some open field. "I thought you were dead, I brought you here on my bike after I realized you were breathing," he explained, smiling a complacent and somewhat amused smile at her.
"Yeah well," she croaked out, "You should have left me there. I was trying to - never mind," Ruby turned her face away from him, the tears that pricked at her eyelids stung, but she couldn't actually produce tears, and she wasn't going to cry in front of this boy anyway.
"That's no way to talk," he said grimly, "I've been taking care of you, here," he pulled her head up, offering her some water from a tin cup, finding it strange that he had to almost force her. She was weak, he could tell, and he told her she was safe now, that they had arrived in a little town named Liberty, a place he liked to stop and rest as he traveled around.
Helping her to sit up, _slade_ gave Ruby some bread and she ate it, reluctantly at first, before nearly scarfing the whole thing down. Why would he help her instead of steal from her? Her hand flew up to her jacket, feeling the pocket that meant her life to her, relaxing as she felt the papers still there. Was he going to make her his prisoner? "I'm no slave," she told him, to which he replied, simply, "No ma'am," a strange and unusual way to talk, wasn't it? It didn't take long before Ruby realized he was kind, and helpful, and genuine. That was a lost trait in this kind of world, something she could really admire.
During the next week Ruby got to know _slade_ better, gaining her energy and strength back as he brought her food and tended to her, telling each other stories of before the virus and how they got to where they were now. Ruby gained faith and trust in _slade_, for the first time in a long time, she really wasn't alone anymore, and perhaps now she'd even stretch it to say that he was the best friend she had ever had. Unable to walk for days, Ruby felt helpless, useless, frustrated, until Slade pulled her up and helped her walk around, getting the feeling back in her legs, the strength of her feet underneath her. It didn't take long to to get the hang of it and soon she began to help _slade_ do everything he'd been doing for her.
After being an invalid in the barn for a week she was beginning to feel cooped up, wandering around Liberty sounded better and better as the days passed on. Cautiously, and armed with a bat from the barn, she listened to _slade_'s warnings that it was a bit dangerous still, not all of the people there were as friendly as he was. Giving him her adventurous smile, one she hadn't used in a long time, Ruby ventured out and fell instantly in love with Liberty.
The architecture of the buildings reminding her of her home, and yeah the guys were kind of rough and tumble, but they quickly learned how strong Ruby was. One inappropriate touch from one of the jerks surrounding her and they found a baseball bat to the shoulder, a kick to the shin, and a string of strong, angry words from her mouth. Ruby commanded their respect, and in return they would get it, did they want to live dirty and hungry the rest of their lives? No, they didn't, then they would listen to her. A few gave her dirty looks and wandered off to the places they had come from, sitting down in the dirty road and watching the sun move across the sky.
The few that followed behind her, perhaps because they were afraid of her bat, or perhaps because they needed and wanted some direction, were quiet as she examined the buildings. It was then that a brown building caught her eye, the tilted rusty sign told her it was long ago a saloon, and one of the boys following behind her told her it was also something of a hotel. Entering cautiously, a tight grip on the bat in her hand, she kept her eyes and ears open for anything she could use. It had long ago been looted, but the furniture was still there, for the most part, a couple of pool tables, a bar, a kitchen, the stairs leading up to the hotel, the stairs leading down to..?
"What's down there? What's your name?" She asked the tall one with brown hair following her.
"Bruno," the boy replied, "Dunno, basement I guess, there's a big door with this lock on it, no one's ever been able to break it," he shrugged, "It's dark down there anyway, some say it's haunted, say there's dead people behind the door or something," and at that he looked away. The other two guys started to rib him about being afraid, horsing around, making a smile come to Ruby's face. Nice, her very own three stooges.
Her eyes wandered back to the dark doorway and she turned, "I'm gonna get _slade_," she told them, "You stay here and start cleaning up, we're gonna make this place home," she didn't even look back to see what they thought of that. They could either help her and call this place home, or they could not and get out and sleep in one of the other abandoned shops. Didn't matter much to Ruby.
"_slade_!" Her bright face came bursting through the door way, glancing around, where..where had he gone? "_slade_?" Walking through the barn to the other side she found his bike gone, had he left her? He'd saved her life, nursed her back to health, and left again? Ruby was confused, she'd thought they had bonded, they had a friendship. More loss, and if she had lost him a week ago maybe then she would have let it affect her, but now she felt stronger, she felt more alive than she had in years. Something about her dreams, rebuilding who she was from the ground up, she was ready to take on the world just as she'd promised her Mum she would, years ago.
Turning and heading back to the Saloon, Ruby grabbed her jacket from the hay and slipped it on, reaching into the inner pocket where she kept her memories. Mum, Mum and Dad on their wedding day, Dad at his shop, Blake on Charm, Blake and Ruby on Lucky and Charm, Blake’s drawing of the family, and a note. A note?
Ruby, I have someone I'm searching for, I had to go look for them. You're strong now, whip this place into shape. I'll see you soon. _slade_
A coy smile slid across her face as she slipped them all back into the inner pocket of her jacket, practically skipping back to the Saloon. Soon enough, she and the strong guys that were accumulating faster than bees to flowers had cleaned up the first floor of the Saloon, they'd gone down and opened up the vault in the basement, which did not contain dead people but was stuffed to the gills with food, shelves of bottled water, liquor bottles, and all across the floor were barrels of liquor. The guys whooped and hollered and danced, and Ruby joined in. They were set, for now, which was quite a good thing.
Ruby set her sights on getting the Saloon functioning, remembering the way her father had made his "special" lemonade, mixing the liquor in the basement and calling it "Ruby's Special". They cleaned up the hotel area, Ruby claiming a room for herself and setting a room aside for _slade_. They had made a home for themselves, somewhere they could come and relax, a place to entertain themselves, a rare thing these days.
Weeks passed, three to be exact, and Ruby began to wonder if _slade_ would ever make it back to town, was he alive? Was he hurt? Was he lying? She'd found a book of crossword puzzles upstairs in one of the dressers, biding her time in the stillness with activity for her mind, even if she wasn't always great at figuring them out, she soon rationed herself to no more than one a day; she didn't want to run out of them.
People passed through town, some escaping from the Locos, then from people they called "The Chosen", and Ruby offered them room and board, setting up a bartering system for payment, she and the boys had to live somehow, didn't they? It was then, between the time of the Loco's and the Chosen, that _slade_ made his way back on his bike. Ruby heard the rumble from miles away, some of the boys had trucks they had repaired, but this was different. Putting her crossword down, this time an old paper she had found somewhere, Ruby wandered to the doorway of the Saloon, pushing the swinging door open and leaning against the door frame. There he was, new leather jacket, and as he pulled his helmet off she could tell he had changed his hair, and his markings.
"Find what you're lookin' for stranger?" She was teasing him, she was so glad to see him again, her confidant, and she hadn't lost him, not at all, he'd actually kept his promise.
"No ma'am," his eyes twinkled, glancing around at what she'd done;, crushed cans nailed to the swinging doors, decorations hung around the place, it had been freshly painted, and he could see that it was very inviting inside. What had she done? "What's this?" he asked, meandering up to the steps.
"This?" Ruby waved a hand nonchalantly at the doorframe surrounding her, "This is a Saloon, something I worked really hard to get started, with no help from you, I might add," her words were sort of bitter, she was actually disappointed that he hadn't been around to at least try and help. She did, however, realize that she owed him a bit of gratitude for rescuing her, if he hadn't taken a chance to try and help her she would be dead now, she knew that.
Stepping up onto the porch, _slade_ gave her an only slightly apologetic look, with the big puppy dog eyes she knew well. "I'm sorry ma'am, I had someone to search for. I'm back now, what can I do to help?"
One eyebrow raised, no questions asked about who he was searching for, Ruby simply turned to walk back into the Saloon and motioned for him to follow. Weeks passed, months, and Slade stuck around. There were times when he'd leave on his bike, head into the city, or go in the truck with one of the boys, and come back with supplies, but for the most part he stayed put. Of course, he often reminded her that he wasn't the, "stick around kinda guy", but Ruby didn't let it affect her. He'd come back when he was ready, she knew that now. They shared a few intimate moments through the years, a few one offs.
Realizing that it made their relationship sort of strained, and knowing that Ruby needed his friendship more than his companionship, they decided to always keep things platonic from now on. The big burly guys in town were cute, and she could have the pick of the bunch if she wanted, they sure competed for her attention at times. You don't need a man to complete you her Mum had said, and it was true.
The one who vied for her attention the most, or maybe she was just more receptive to him, was Dean. Long and lanky, he was also known as Lean Dean, he was tough, and quick to fight the people who got out of line with words over pure physical force. Oozing with charm, it didn't take him long to make his way into Ruby's heart, and then her bed. Ruby was in love, at least, she thought so, and she enjoyed his company. Where _slade_ would leave for days, Dean was always there, tending to the horses they kept, helping keep the barn clean, and generally making life a little brighter. He enjoyed and respected her love of quiet solitude, and he was glad when she would let him share in the silences.
No one messed with Liberty, no one pulled shenanigans in Liberty, not in Ruby's town, and certainly not in her Saloon. If there were still offices of power, and elections, Ruby would have been made mayor, or maybe just raised on high as their Queen. No one messed with her, and if her bat, or serving tray, didn't get to them first, one of the strong boys that had helped her to build the saloon did.
The Chosen passed through, of course, as they did everywhere, and Ruby would have none of it. She, Dean, and _slade_ worked together to run them out of town; luckily for her, the Chosen found nothing useful in Liberty, calling it a pit of sin and vowing to burn them out someday! The wind carried away their threats, and Ruby forgot all about them. _slade_ returned from the city shortly after they had come through and informed her that the Chosen were fallen, they really did have nothing to worry about.
The Technos never got a hold of her town, but Reality Space did. Kids would bring it back from the city; at first she thought it was interesting, and though she wouldn't try it, she let others be as they enjoyed their time in their little worlds. Dean was one who was instantly hooked, going in for hours, then days, at a time. The whirring noise of the machines, the buzzing warble of the helmets, it all drove Ruby mad. The fact that Dean would beg her to spend time with him in reality space than to just spend time with her in the real world, that he couldn't find peace in the quiet anymore, it really annoyed her. It was some sort of drug, trash for the brain, and she didn't approve. The last thing they needed was to fall down from all they had helped to build, to lose their hard work and acheivements by giving in to some stupid, mindless entertainment. Banning it from the Saloon, Ruby tossed all of the equipment out into the street and bashed it to bits with her baseball bat.
Dean chose to steal from her, from the Saloon, to trade in things for gaming chips, a red bandanna tied around his head when he did return from the city, days later. "Stingrays are the future, Reds rule!" he would cry as he stumbled back into the town. He'd stay a couple of days before leaving again, aggitated, irritated, needing to play. Why had Ruby banned it?! Why didn't she love him anymore? If he didn't like it, he could leave and never come back, she was only looking out for him, for his best interests, couldn't he see that? She never found out. Dean left one afternoon and never came back, she hasn't seen him in weeks; last she heard, _slade_ had possibly seen him running through the streets with his red bandanna, playing the live version of the now dead virtual game.
Life in Liberty is quiet now, people pass through, stay at the hotel, and looters are dealt with firmly and without fear. There is no room for Paradise or any of the Techno junk in her Saloon, she'd ban it from the City if she really had the strength. Her only solace comes from knowing that most kids can't run it themselves and by banning it in the Saloon they won't be able to play it anywhere else. This is Ruby's home after all, her baby, her quiet solitude in a world of chaos; no one and nothing will take that from her.