[NOVA] Old Friends (K 2.12)

edited September 2014 in NOVA

Ksenia, you are sitting in The Company Store, a low-key pub in one of the up-and-coming districts of Port Brockton. You're at the bar, and "Gibson Dunkelzahn" is sitting at a two-top along the wall. He's sipping on a Gianan whisky, neat, while you've reinstated the toxin filters and are drinking freely of a local wine. You're both dressed casually but elegantly, appropriate for a weeknight. You arrived separately, of course.

It's mid-evening and you've been in place for half an hour when your old friend Lana, now known as Mina Desrogiers, walks in. Church sees her first. She's here, Ksenia, you hear through the near invisible earpiece. She hasn't seen you yet as she walks up and finds a stool on the other side of the bar, greeting the bartender with easy familiarity.

What do you do?


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    Wow, she's really grown up! She's so beautiful, and strong, too. I watch her for a bit, telling Church, "I'll give her a few minutes. Make sure she's alone."
  • You wait patiently, as she sips a glass of red wine, the same as you're drinking, as it happens. She chats with the bartender, and one of the servers comes up to say hello. Five minutes, ten, and you see no sign of anyone she might be meeting or any shadow. Church chimes in Seems clear from this angle. No-one reads like a bodyguard or tail. He's proven surprisingly adept and resourceful during the three days you've been on-planet, even picking up the local accent with some real fluency.

    You've had some time to watch. Ksenia, what's the thing that strikes you most about how Lana has grown up?

    What do you do?

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    Church is badass like that. And a pro. I love working with this guy. Okay, I'm heading over. Watch my six.

    I walk over, glass in hand, heading for the bar to take a stool next to her. Tempted to put my hand over her eyes, but well, that's sort of useless. Plus, you know, the glass. I'll take a seat beside her, to her left, so I can turn to her and lean on the bar, if I need to. "Hi, stranger." I'll say with a little smile.

    What strikes me most about how she's grown? She's so frakking muscular! She was all smooth curves, even a little baby fat. Cute, always. But not like now, hard angles and a lovely shape. She's amazing.
  • Ksenia, Lana turns to you with a look that says she's preparing to fend off an unwelcome pass. Then, when she recognizes you, her eyes grow wide. Fear and anger chase each other across her face. "Did they send you to kill me, Ksenia?"

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    My mouth drops a bit, I'm not even sure how to take that. Does she know what I did for M-T? "N-no... Lana, I'd never..." I stop. I'm stunned to silence, reeling a bit. Did she run from me? Why?
  • Lana looks doubtful, still afraid. "You expect me to believe that you wound up on Giana Prime after all these years, and the Fingers didn't send you? How did you find me?"

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    I sigh through my nose, things fall in place. "I don't work for the Fingers anymore, Lana." I lean over, whisper in her ear, "Can we grab a table, talk in private? I need your help."
  • Lana is clearly still afraid, but your old friendship is there in her eyes, too.

    Please give us a roll to see how well you calm her down.

    Basic Challenge: 3d8 (Rolled: 3d8. Rolls: 6, 1, 3. Total: 10)

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    d8 Duty - I'm doing this for the job. I will make sure the mission is completed.
    d8 Comms - Needing to gain Lana's confidence here.
    d4 Temper - Her accusation does sting a bit. (rolling as a d4 for a PP)
    d8 Church - He's got my back here, I can focus on Lana
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    (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 5. Total: 5) Duty
    (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 5. Total: 5) Comms
    (Rolled: 1d4. Rolls: 1. Total: 1) Temper
    (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 5. Total: 5) Church
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    My 10 squeaks by. Looks like there's a 1 out there if you want it, GM.
  • Well, you got a plot point for rolling that d4, and you're getting another for the lovely 1 you left me. That was a success, she's calmed down, but for the rest of the scene take a Complication: Lana is Suspicious. Remember, if I roll a one, you can pay a PP to remove that complication.

    "Okay, Ksenia, okay." She gestures to the bartender, asks for a bottle of the red and two fresh glasses, then leads the way to a booth near the back. "So, tell me about this help you need."

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    I follow her to the booth, a little irritated that she doesn't trust me. I grab a seat across from her. "What the hell, Lana?! This is me. Ksenia." I glare at her, showing how I'm hurt.
  • Ksenia, Lana looks at you, looks at you. "You show up, out of the frickin' Gray, missing an arm, looking like you've been in about a dozen seasons in Ma Tuft's knife fighting arena, with a metal leg, and tap me on the shoulder with a 'Hi, stranger,' and there's a price on my head and I'm supposed to be all 'HI, KSENIA, HOW ARE YOU, HOW'S THINGS, YEAH, I'M FINE, LET'S HAVE A FRICKIN' SLUMBER PARTY?'"

    Church: Ah, you do realize you're both using real names, don't you?

    Quieter now. "You left me, Ksenia. You left me for the Corps, left me alone. What am I supposed to say?"

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    "Last I knew, you were happy on Mars, Lana." I answer in a controlled tone. I'm not going to freak out, too much riding on this. "I left for the Corps, but I never left you. How did you end up..." I look around, "Here? Are you okay?"
  • Lana looks down at the glass in her hands. When she looks up, suspicion is still hard in her eyes. "After you left, I was starting to get some attention at the dance school. Apparently El Alambre's daughter, Lori, was in my class, and El Lame Casuelas came to one of our recitals. Seems the Bowl Licker was a... patron of the arts."

    She licks her lips.

    "Three weeks later, I had a new name, a spot in the corps de ballet, and an apartment of my own. He only visited once a month or so."

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    I wonder if she expects judgment from me. Some look of reproach, or maybe disappointment. Well, she doesn't see it. We each made a sacrifice for what we wanted. I killed people, lots of people. She frakked an old man.

    She probably got the better end of the deal.

    Still, best to ask. "Are you happy?"
  • edited September 2014

    Lana blows out a breath. "Are you not listening, or do you just not deal with spoilers well?" She puts her fingers on her temples and moves them in firm circles. "They wanted to kill me, but instead they moved me here, after..." She pauses.

    "Wait, why are you here, Ksenia? Why am I talking? You're the one that wants help."

    Still using real names out loud. No tradecraft, Monté?

  • edited September 2014
    My heart goes out to her. I'd hoped she was in control, but I feared the worst as soon as I heard she was here. I huff a breath, settle into character, "Mina," I say clearly. "I'm Monté Dirk now. I need to speak with Jax Yu. If you help me, I can help you."
  • edited September 2014

    Lana's eyes narrow again. "Dr. Yu? Is this about TruLuv? What are you into, Ks... Monté?" She looks around the bar, searching, her glance passing Church without hesitating.

    "Okay, here's what I'm going to do. I am going to pay my tab and walk out of here. There's a park, Generations Park, six blocks away, with some benches facing the lake. Give me some time to get there ahead of you, then find me. I'll be on one of the benches."

    She nods to the bartender, thumbs the pad he brings her. "Once you get there, I'll let you make your case, tell me how you think you can help me."

  • edited September 2014
    I nod once, a curt nod that betrays my military upbringing. Need to hide that. Get up from my seat, and head for the bathroom. Over the comm, "She'll meet us at Generations Park. She wants out. I need to know what we can offer. I want to help her, if we can do it without risking the mission."
  • Church: I'm following close enough to see if she makes any contacts. I'll keep checking in.

    Csorba, monitoring comms from a rented office suite, speaks up. Make sure to keep her on the hook, Ksenia. Remember that I need her, too.

    When you return from the bathroom, Church and Lana are both gone. The bartender takes your thumbprint with a nod, and you make your way out into the night. It's pleasant, cool, and although the cloud cover prevents you from seeing the stars, the buildings are lit with colors, a play of light and shadow.

    When you reach the park, guided by Csorba, it's a well-lit green oasis in the midst of the urban architecture. You see a figure seated on one of the benches near the lake, farthest from the lighting.

    Church: All clear for approach, Ensign Cribbage. I've got eyes on. Make the signal if you need me.

    What do you do?

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    On the way to the park, I'm talking to Csorba and Church both, "I know Lana. She needs something in this deal. What are we offering?"
  • Csorba speaks up first. We can't make an offer until we know what we're paying for, what her involvement in the original crime might have been, what she's offering us. However, I've got broad authority on my end, and I'm sure Psi Corps will chip in. If she's useful to both of us, I can't imagine the offer is less than repatriation with a new identity and some sort of financial cushion. Is that enough, Cribbage?

    Church voices his agreement. Mr. Csorba's understanding is the same as mine, Ensign Cribbage. If you need something more concrete, it will take some time.

    What do you do?

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    "That's good enough for now. Can't promise her a moon and the stars for crackers." I answer them both. I can sell this to Lana. I can feel it, she's looking for a good escape route. Thing is, a new ident means she may have to wave good bye to any career as a dancer. I looked at her file, she's had some sweet gigs as a Finger's moll. She's lived her dreams. I hate the thought of taking that from her. Showing up out of the blue and stealing what might be her one source of joy, all to hide away in some frakkin lunar colony or off in the frontier worlds.

    I make my way over to the figure sitting, assuming it's Lana, but still checking the butterfly knife I hid in my dress, making sure I can get to it.
  • It's Lana. She's sitting with her hands in her lap, playing with a ring on her right hand. When you sit, she looks up, dark eyes flashing in with the reflection of the light behind you.

    "What do you want from me, Ksenia, and what's at stake, and what do I get in return? I'm already in a hole, K, and it keeps getting deeper and deeper. And now you're here. I haven't danced in years, except with that twisted fucker Yu, at 'events,' and the Fingers will kill me if I say even a whisper of what I know. So, what do you have? Go."

  • edited September 2014
    I answer her, quickly, in the same direct fashion she used on me, "I'm working an op to get Yu and TruLuv." I don't mention which Corps, but I'm sure she knows. "I want to help you get out, but you have to trust me. And you have to help me get him out of here." I look at her, a brow arched, waiting for a response.
  • "Why? Why should I trust you, K? Every time I've trusted anyone, it's just a shovel to dig the hole deeper. If you've got..."

    Church: Down! K, both of you down! Drone incoming!

    What do you do?

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    "This is me, dammit..." is what I started saying before Church came in. As soon as he barks the warning, I grab Lana and try to throw her to the ground, preferably in darkness. If I had both arms, I'd draw, too. But I don't, so helping Lana is priority one.
  • Ksenia, the drone is noiseless as it flies past, sleek and deadly looking, with six missiles mounted below the wings. It continues flying on the same course, though, not firing or turning to focus its cameras on you.

    Church says, Abundance of caution, it seems. Still, good reaction time, Ensign Cribbage.

    You're on the ground, your old friend cradled to you with one arm, protecting her with your body as you were trained. What do you do?

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    I look at her, close. Lying down. Darkness. Reminds me of times long ago, for a moment. I prop myself up on my elbow, "Sorry... false alarm." I get up, offer her my hand up.
  • Lana takes your hand and you both settle back onto the bench. She's quiet for a moment, shivering a little despite the warm night.

    "How did you know that drone was coming?"

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    I answer her low, but my tone is confident, "I'm not working alone. There are eyes on us both. Friendlies."

    After a moment, I ask again, "Will you help me, please?"
  • Ksenia, you know you have the tools at your disposal to convince Lana to help you. Money, safety, freedom. Some combination of those things will surely unlock her. But somehow it feels important to you that she agrees to help because it's you, doesn't it? Not because of what you have to offer?

    She's right there, K. So close and so familiar, this beautiful woman that was your friend when you were girls.

    OOC: she wants to trust you. Why don't you tell us a story, remind us of a moment in your history with Lana when trust was rewarded and then roll some dice. I'll roll my challenge first.


    Basic (2d8) (she really wants to trust you): (Rolled: 2d8. Rolls: 1, 3. Total: 4)

    Complication (1d6) (Lana is Suspicious): (Rolled: 1d6. Rolls: 5. Total: 5)
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    Yes, I want to convince her, to save her. If she thinks I abandoned her before, then I've got to convince her to trust me now.

    A time when Lana trusted me and it paid off? Well, there was the time when her parents sent her to the eye doctor alone. I walked her there, waited around in the room with the vid screen for her. They dilated her eyes, and she couldn't really see anything on her way home, so I held her hand and led her every step home. It was nice, feeling her beside me, letting me guide her.

    Roll Proposal:
    d8 Duty - we have to finish the mission
    d10 Leader- I'm telling her what needs to be done
    d4 Tough as They Come (rolling as d4 for a PP)
    d8 Church - he's got my back, again
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    (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 6. Total: 6) Duty
    (Rolled: 1d10. Rolls: 3. Total: 3) Leader
    (Rolled: 1d4. Rolls: 3. Total: 3) Tough as They Come
    (Rolled: 1d8. Rolls: 1. Total: 1) Church
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    That's a 9. I got a 1, if you want it.

    I'll spend a PP to buy that 1 you rolled, and make the Complication of Suspiscious go away.
  • Lana searches your eyes for something, and apparently she finds it. "Okay, K, I'll help you. I trust that you'll do the same for me."

    She bites her lip. Her Martian accent slips in for the first time tonight as she relaxes, a complete 180-degree change in attitude coming over her. "You know, I think about you a lot. We had some buenos tiempos, no? You ever kiss another girl? We sure practiced enough, eh, hermanita?"

    You definitely hear a second of laughter from someone before they cut off the mic. No telling who, of course.

  • edited September 2014
    Oh. That accent. Been forever since I heard the trill the way she does it. I relax and tense up at the same time, if that makes any sense. Relax to have a bit of her trust, tense when she pushes on that unspoken thing we had. I banked on it, so I shouldn't be surprised. But still....

    I grit my teeth at the laughter, but well, it is what it is.

    "Yeah," I laugh a little, looking at my friend. "They were muy bien. I've missed you." I admit, "I hadn't kissed another girl for a long, long time." I admit. Then, I add, "Until recently.... what about you?" I try to keep the quirky grin off my face.
  • edited September 2014

    You reminisce for a minute or two (the answer, by the way, is apparently "Yes," she has kissed more than one girl since your practice sessions), and then she turns back to the matter at hand.

    "So, what is it you need me to do? Sounds like you want me to set something up?" She shivers. "Are you going to kill him? The Bowl Licker told me he just wanted to 'talk' to Dubhan Shannon, and then had him shot right in front of me..."

    Csorba: Aha... that's what I'm talking about.

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    I grin when she shares her escapades, even joking, "You know, you should've told me you were actually into girls, you know." Then, I add with a smirk, "So I could make jokes and shit." I pause for a bit, then offer, "I want to introduce you to my girl. She's really special."

    On the subject of Yu, I explain calmly, "My bosses want him for his work. It's an acqui-hire type of thing, but I expect some resistance. I'm actually supposed to protect him. There are, ah, competing interests as well."
  • edited September 2014

    She immediately snaps into business mode.

    "Okay. He's in the middle of some big project at the moment, but I think I can get him to take me out for dinner. He's always got two security goons at least, plus one that isn't so obvious. I don't always know who the 'subtle' guy is, but I can try to figure it out. I'll be at my desk during the day... how can I let you know where we'll be?"

    She stops to gnaw on her lip again for a minute. "I don't like being a honeytrap. This is the last time. I'd rather the Fingers just shot me than keep being a whore for them. Or anyone."

    She reaches for your hand with both of hers. "Just promise I'll be safe. I know Yu's doing crazy things, even if I don't know what they are. Sometimes it's like he's afraid himself."

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    "Lana..." I tell her as serious as I can, "I won't let them do that to you anymore. We can get you out." I pull her hands up with mine, bend down and kiss them. "I've got your back, girl."
  • Ksenia, as you kiss her hands, held in your own single one, Lana seems to soften, hidden tension in her shoulders, neck and back loosening like a snowdrift under sunlight.

    "Tomorrow, then. I'll go to the Noodletime on the first floor of the Gaspar-Chung building for lunch, at one o'clock, send someone that's not you, I'll try to arrange things before then."

    She puts a hand to your cheek as she stands. "Good night... Monté." Then she walks away.

    ---END SCENE---

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