[SWAW] In Transit to Raxus (5)

edited December 2014 in SWAW
Ladro,

You hit hyperspace and ride the Correllian Run towards the Inner Rim. Lee informed everyone over the loudspeakers that she didn't get any auxiliary cargo, so she's hoping to pick up some Inner Rim goods to ferry down the Hygian Way before stopping at Raxus.

At some point, you head out to grab some food at the lounge, right? When you do, you find that there's a very handsome red-skinned Zeltronian male seated at the table eating some fruits and a slice of some meat. He's talking idly with Jojee.
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Comments

  • Ladro Eyes

    Since there's absolutely no reason for me to be threatened by or jealous of a majorly attractive male that emits "love me!" pheromones and comes from a people known for their aptitude and enthusiasm for the amatory arts, I'm clearly not threatened. Must just be the residual pain from the blaster fire, or hunger. That's it. I haven't had anything to eat since that mediocre canned soup whenever it was, and I'm hungry. Definitely not threatened. Or jealous. That would be stupid.

    I grab some bread and a slice of nerf roast to make a sandwich, and wash it down with some caf. I think about klava, but I've taken to making that myself, in my cabin. I like the way the aroma sort of gathers in the small space before the ventilation system dissipates it.

    I'll take a seat. "Hey, Jojee." I'll reach out a hand for the stranger to shake. "I'm Ladro."
  • edited October 2014
    Cander
    Jojee gives you a nod of greeting, she just took a mouthful of blue milk to wash down some crackers. The Zeltron stands up, wiping his hand with a napkin and shaking yours with a bright, pearly-white grin, "Greetings, Ladro. I am Cander B'luu. It is most excellent to meet you." He tilts his head for a moment, studying you. "Are you hurt?"
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Cander B'luu, it's good to make your acquaintance." I adjust myself in the chair, looking for a comfortable position. "It's really nothing. A little scuffle, station-side. Will you be travelling with us for long?"
  • edited October 2014
    Cander
    Cander's brows arch playfully and he sits again when you grab a chair. "If you need a massage, Ladro, I'm fully trained. I am very good at working out kinks." Yes, his tone matches the words and the hints.

    He sits back in his chair as if it's a little throne and replies, "I'm a stowaway. Don't tell Leeadra." Jojee chuckles, like she's had this conversation before. She keeps drinking her blue milk, choosing not to fill you in on her result.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I smile at Cander, without conscious intention. "You know Lee's usual policy for stowaways is to put them out the airlock, right?" It's just too much work to be as grumpy as I want to be, and I'm not going to give Jojee another reason to remember I'm a pile of bantha poodoo. If that's partially Cander's doing, well, whatever.
  • edited October 2014
    Cander
    "Well, that sounds uncomfortable." He glances over at Jojee and smirks, "Surely there's some role I could fill... on the ship. What do you think, First Mate?"

    image
    Jojee looks up to the ceiling like she's pondering this question, but her silly smile gives her away, "I think the captain has some positions for you." She covers her mouth like she didn't mean to say that. She giggles a little.
  • Ladro Eyes

    Well, my attempt at tolerance, which I shouldn't need, is coming to its fraying edge. I stand up and drop the rest of my sandwich and caf in the disposal. "I should check on Squall. Ze was pretty banged up last night. It was good to meet you, Cander."

    I suit actions to words, walking out of the galley to Squall's quarters.
  • image
    When you buzz at Squall's quarters, the door slides open. While Lee's is manual, Squall automated zirs. Engineer, of course. The room is very dimly lit, and smells like grease and the faint scent of compressed air.

    Squall's laying in zir bed, a light cover over zir. She doesn't look drunk anymore. Well, not as drunk. "Hi Ladro." Ze looks up with half-lidded eyes.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I come on in, perch myself on the edge of the bed, and look Squall in zir watery, hungover eyes. Put a hand on zir forehead as a gesture of comfort, stroking the smooth skin with my thumb. "Hey. You doing okay? You hit it pretty hard..."
  • edited October 2014
    image
    Squall nods slowly, zir big eyes looking up at you, "Thank you. For the whole spice thing." Ze sighs a little, breaking eye contact, "Sorry I ruined your chance with Parsi."
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Squally, Parsi's sweet, and she's cute, but I was never going to kriff her. I invited her along so you wouldn't have to feel bad about abandoning her." Which is true, but I realize as soon as the words are out of my mouth that they might mean something different to Squall than they do to me.
  • image
    "Oh?" Squall asks with a hint of a grin forming at the corner of zir mouth. "It was. Really nice dancing. Wasn't it?" Ze reaches for your hand, slipping zirs into it.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I squeeze Squall's hand gently. "It was nice, Squall." She... ze looks so vulnerable to me, and zir hand is cool in mine. "What are we going to do with you?"
  • image
    Squall watches your hand in zirs, zir thumb rubs lightly over your fingers. Ze savors the touch. Squall's tongue darts between zir lips to wet them, and ze asks, "What do you... want to do with me?"
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Truth, baga naiz?" I return the caress ze's given my hand. "I'm lost... over my head. I want... I want to not care, about you, or about Lee or Jojee or Hosk or kriff me, Seesk. I want for someone to take care of me, not be trying to take care of everyone around me." I pause, realizing how hurtful those words must be. "I'm a broken reed, Squally. Don't try to build any bridges with me."
  • edited October 2014
    image
    Squall nods, zir lips thinning slightly. "You're not broken. Not at all." Ze slips zir hand away, reaching up to pat yours softly. "I got really trashed tonight. Thank you for taking care of me. I'm a little head achey, but I'm fine now. I get it. Our bridge is solid, but it needs to be two-way."

    After a moment, Squall smiles, "You're a good friend, Ladro. I ask too much of you. I won't anymore." Zir tone is not tinged with sarcasm or spite, not even hurt. It's like ze realized what's driving a small wedge and ze's trying to backtrack to when you two were good.
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Squall, please don't be afraid to ask, if you need me. I'll try to let you in, too, not be afraid to ask you, when it matters."

    I'm tired and hurting, and the future looks like a scary place right now. If my first "mission" for Sark got me shot and almost dumped the Libation into a pile of trouble, how much worse will it get?

    If Squall lets me, I pull zir up into a hug. Simple comforts right now.
  • Of course ze lets you, Ladro. Ze slides into it, even though ze is only wearing a slinky, spaghetti strap top.
  • edited October 2014
    Ladro Eyes

    Ze feels good. Slender frame, cool, smooth skin. I let the hug linger a bit longer than I should, then give Squall a kiss on the forehead. "We're going to be fine, Squall." Not too many hours ago, I was so close to just walking away, and now I'm talking about "we" again.
  • image
    Squall sighs into the hug, not moving away until you break it. Zir left hand softly rubs along your back, avoiding your shoulder. It feels nice. When you pull back, kiss zir forehead, ze looks up at you like ze always does, but more relaxed, less expectant.

    "I know we will. I'm just glad you see it my way." Ze smiles softly. Then, like the moment is over, ze's pushing at you, "Now let me sleep this poodoo off, yeah? I've struck out like ten times in the last week, so get out of my bed now before I take advantage of you, Ladro." Ze's trying to be light and playful, not really coming on to you.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I can't help but chuckle. "Yeah, Squally. Sleep tight." I leave zir and head back to the shuttle. I think it's time for a cup of klava and a little pain management.
  • edited October 2014
    When you leave, the lights cycle off and ze rolls over in zir bed. You head off to the shuttle for a while. You're all in hyperspace for almost a day.

    As you come about an hour from dropping out of the Corellian Run (at Corellia, of course), Leeadra calls everyone together for a meeting. Jojee's on the bridge, but she has the comms open to listen in. Squall is there, rested up, bubbly as always. Seesk has taken a spot near the autochef, she's quietly observing. Hosk waited for you and walked in with you. He's been sleeping most of the trip. Your "new passenger" (aka the stowaway) is not here.

    Leeadra
    Leeadra's standing there, waiting for everyone to settle in. She's got a very relaxed pose, like she's had a good couple days. She offers you a polite little smile when you come in. "Alright, let's chat a bit before we hit Corellian space. First order of business: I've had Squall swap out our transponder codes, and I'm going to register the ship under a new name when we hit port. It's under the table, but my uncle, Jojee and I have done it a half dozen times." She looks up, "What's in a name, right?"

    Squall's shoulders slump. This seems to be a complete surprise for zir. Seesk has no visible reaction. Hosk chuckles lightly.

    Leeadra
    She continues, "If you've got ideas, let's hear them." Lee looks around, in case folks want to throw in.

    image
    Over the loudspeaker, Jojee chimes in with, "We should keep the Libation part. Easier to remember. Never liked Star Crossed anyways."
  • Ladro Eyes

    I say the very first thing that comes to my mind, which strangely enough, is, "Serendipitous. Serendipitous Libation."
  • image
    Squall chirps up, "Ooh! I like it!"

    image
    "I was going to suggest Easyfound," Jojee says over the loudspeaker. "But Serendipitous has a nice ring to it."

    image
    Seesk says in a low voice, "That issss a very long name. What do we call it for ssshort?"

    image
    "The Libation, of course!" Squall says lightly. "Same as it ever was." Seesk accepts it with a nod.

    Leeadra
    Leeadra chuckles at the banter, looks around, "Show of hands for Serendipitous Libation?" Squall raises her hand. Seesk does, too. Jojee chimes in over the loudspeakers with her support. Then, Leeadra looks at you and Hosk, a brow raised, as if asking for your vote.

    What do you do?
  • Ladro Eyes

    We get a vote? I wouldn't have thought... Well... I shrug and raise my hand.
  • edited October 2014
    Hosk does, too.

    Leeadra
    With a nod, Leeadra says, "Looks like it's unanimous then. I sincerely doubt that name's on the register, so that's good." Everyone chuckles, and there are smiles around. Even Hosk has a wry smile.

    "Alright, second order of business." Leeadra says, bringing things back to order, more or less. "I'm pretty sure you've all met Cander. He was unable to get off the Libation before we left Vespa. I've decided, magnanimously, not to kick him out an airlock. He's asked about a position on the crew. I'm considering testing him out as our, ahem, procurement and customer relations expert. For the time being, I'll pay him out of my cut, and will do so until we have enough experience with him to evaluate his worth as part of the crew. As you all know, the books on our operations are open to all members of the crew, so you know what everyone makes. We don't have enough credits to take on another crew member, I'm well aware. But Cander is willing to give a shot at increasing our workload enough to pay for his salary. I'm willing to give it a shot, but I don't want to break up the.... well, I hesitate to call it "harmony" here so I'll call it "the flow". Are there any concerns?"

    image
    Without hesitation, Seesk says, "Don't kriff who you work with. It'ssss bad bussiness." The rest of the crew is quiet for a moment. Squall's eyes are wide as saucers, ze did not expect that reaction.

    Leeadra
    Leeadra accepts it, "Thanks for your candor, Seesk. Anyone else?" Hosk looks really uncomfortable about this. He won't say a word.
  • Ladro Eyes

    "I don't understand why Hosk and I are here for this, Lee. We're not crew, we don't take a cut, we don't usually have a vote. I raised my hand for the name because it was my idea, but... well... why?"
  • Leeadra
    "You don't have a vote, Ladro. Neither do you, Hosk. Like you say, you're tenants and contractors. But, we have an undeniably close relationship." Squall's looking right at you when Leeadra says that. Whether Lee meant it as a double meaning or not, you know Squall sees it that way. "So I need to know if you have any concerns about us working with a Zeltron. I, ah, need your rent. And your help, from time to time."
  • Ladro Eyes

    I think about this for a bare second, then turn to leave. "You don't need us both, then. Hosk has my proxy. Let me know when our rent is due. Or you need our help."
  • Leeadra doesn't try to get you to stay. Squall gapes, but ze doesn't move from zir seat. Their meeting continues.

    Since you stuck Hosk with them, do you just head back to the shuttle?
  • Ladro Eyes

    I'm sorry, Squally. I really am. But this "neither fish nor fowl" thing doesn't sit well, at the moment. I head back to my quarters on the shuttle.
  • Within the hour, the newly named Libation comes out of hyperspace in the space lane to Corellia. Hundreds of ships are clogging up the lanes, being directed to slowly come into port. It takes nearly three hours before you're cleared to land on planet.

    As Lee said, there's a day to kill here. Do you stick around on the ship, or head off for anything? Corellia is a fascinating place of culture, technology and beauty.
  • Ladro Eyes

    This is not my first time visiting the Five Brothers. There are people that would probably be glad to kill me here on Corellia. However, there are also friends, maybe acquaintances, that might have the wherewithal to give me a little of the poodoo on a certain Imperial Captain. And I'm pretty sure at least one of them remembers me fondly.

    I take my shore leave gladly, not asking for company or inviting any. I might catch some culture or beauty, but I'm mostly interested in meeting up with old friends. Failing that, I'm not averse to drinking some Whyren's Reserve and complaining to a bartender, maybe meeting someone for a little distraction....
  • edited October 2014
    Corellia, like most Inner Rim planets, is a paradise. Many years ago, all manufacturing was moved into orbit, and the temperate landscape on the planet was carefully restored to its previous lush state. There are rolling hills, a small snow-capped mountain range, and rows and rows of lush vegetation and farms. It's not unlike Secundus in that aspect, except the temperature is slightly lower, and of course, the use of technology, though camouflaged, is pervasive.

    The Libation lands at a spaceport at the double-city of Tyrena. After heading out on your own and reaching out to old contacts, you set up a meeting on a mag-lev train with Kersten. His messages were friendly enough. How did you two meet, and why does he "owe you one, big time"?

    The mag lev train circuits the double-city, winding around the business and residential districts. It is crawling with Stormtroopers, since there is a recruiting station as well as a major base here. You find Kersten in car four, like he mentioned. He's sitting in the dining car, several clutches of troopers out of uniform but obvious by their haircuts and Imperial tatts.
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Kersten, it's been a while. How's your wife?" That's the reminder. It so happens I introduced them. Well, not on purpose. She was my date that night, at least until she went home with him. Bygones, but he still feels a little guilty. If you saw Mara, you'd know why.

    Keeping my voice low. "Looking for some information on a guy, seems like it might be up your alley."
  • Kersten looks up, a smile spreading on his face. He stands, tries to shake your hand, but sits back down when you're obviously here for business only. He does answer, "Mara is well. We're having a third, Ladro! When are you coming to see the family? Maybe this trip?" It's like he can't help it, inviting you over. He may feel guilty, but he sure is proud of his family.

    You tell him you're looking for info and he nods curtly. "Alright. Business first. What do you need to know?"
  • Ladro Eyes

    "I'd love to stop in and see Mara and the girls, Kersten, but it's not likely to be this trip. Just a quick cargo stop. " As I say this, I turn my datapad to face him, showing two words. "Captain Sark."
  • He narrows his eyes, looking at the words. There's no immediate recognition. Behind him, a pair of brutish young men are joking about some Rodian they roused for "making trouble".

    Karsten shakes his head, "I don't know that officer."
  • Ladro Eyes

    Still keeping it soft. "Think you can find out anything? Thinks he owns me, and I could use some leverage. Or at least knowledge."
  • He nods, "Of course. You sure he's Imperial" He glances around, once, reminder of how close they are to you. "Got a pic?"
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Wears the uniform." I tap the datapad to show him the capture of Sark's face. Wish we weren't in the middle of off-duty Storm Trooper land.
  • Karsten looks at the picture. His eyes widen and he quickly reaches up to turn it off. He swallows, leans closer, "What does he have over you?"
  • Ladro Eyes

    I take back the datapad and pull up a holonet article about the "incident" on Falleen. "This. And dirt on my partner. And my ship's crew. And probably a microscopic bomb planted in my scrotum, though he hasn't told me about that yet."
  • Karsten nods, unsurprised. He starts to sat something, but the mag lev comes to a stop. Troopers filter off, a couple more get on. Citizens, huddled and trying to look small and unimpressive, skirt around the edges as well.

    After a minute, the train picks back up. "I believe I've seen him. Not sure if he was known as Sark then. If he's who I think he is, he's I.I.." Karsten doesn't say "you're in serious" trouble out loud. But you hear it.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I was beginning to suspect, but hearing Karsten say it out loud is still a punch in the gut. "Okay, I'm totally kriffed. I get that. So, I just run away and join the space circus under an assumed name, or...?" Please fill that blank, Karsten. I don't like the space circus. Too many smelly animals in one place.
  • edited October 2014
    Karsten opens his mouth to reply, but it hangs open. He shuts it, thinking better of what he was about to say, then exhales with frustration. He glares out the window at the buildings zipping by. The mag lev train makes another stop, more troopers exit, less get on.

    When the train starts moving again, Karsten suggests, "I'll check about the ISB. They hate II. Perhaps someone will have enough of a grudge against Sark that they might offer something. It's a stretch... but that's about all I have, Ladro."
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Karsten, you were going to say something just then, before you brought up the ISB. What was it?"
  • Karsten shakes his head no, like "not here, not now". "You really should come visit my family, Ladro." He licks his lips, "My stop's coming up."
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Sure, sure. Just tell me where and when. I've got a day or so, I can make the time."
  • After a few minutes, the mag lev stops again. Karsten stands up, "This is my stop." He shuffles for the exit, moving without cowering like many of the other Corellians. The train stops, doors open, and he heads out.

    What do you do?
  • Ladro Eyes

    I let him get to the door, then follow, slipping out just before they close again. I'll avoid catching up immediately, assuming he's going to make it easy for me to follow.
  • He does. Karsten heads out of the station and across a walkway until the crowd thins out. Then he stops at a small bridge walkway over a beautiful river. You reach him as he leans his elbows on the guard rail. He doesn't meet your eyes. "I don't know any solid contacts, but I'm sure you could pick up a contract on Sark. Pay enough credits and anyone can end up dead."
  • Ladro Eyes

    Kriff me. I'd hoped for something I could actually use. "I hire consultants for special skills, sure, every now and then. Slicers, whatever. But those kind of credits... and it feels like I should be the one to dig myself out of this hole."
  • "Yeah." Karsten says, but he really doesn't believe you can do that. He looks over at you, "I'm sorry you're stuck, my friend. Maybe, for now, you shouldn't come visit the family. You know?"
  • Ladro Eyes

    As I turn to walk away (I'm doing that a lot recently), "Sure, Karsten. Sorry to drag you into my poodoo. Maybe next time, if I'm not dead." And it's time for that bar, and an attractive female with low self esteem. Or high self-esteem and poor judgment.
  • We'll skip ahead to the next morning.

    Do you wake up alone, or is someone with you?

    Where do you wake up? In the shuttle? Some hotel? Somewhere you don't remember ending up?

    What's one thing that finally went just right for you last night?

    What do you regret about it?
  • Ladro Eyes

    I'm not sure exactly where I am, in terms of map coordinates, when I wake up, but I certainly do remember how I got here.

    I was working on one of those slow and steady drunks, just in that initial "laying the foundations" stage, when I noticed a pair of really cute young Corellians at the bar getting hassled by yet another off-duty Storm Trooper. Being the savvy individual I am, and wishing to avoid further Imperial entanglements, I did not engage with the Trooper. Instead, I bought a round of drinks for he and his squaddies, who were conveniently located at a table in the middle of the room, away from the bar.

    During the short window of opportunity provided by their need to toast the Empire and drink tasty beverages, I whisked the girls away to a dance club I'd passed while looking for a place to engage my natural right to drink myself blind.

    The ladies, Frieda and Theia, were roommates. And they liked to share. I'm guessing this is their apartment, because there they are, one on either side of me.

    Regret? Buying drinks for a bunch of Imperial thugs. Pretty much worth it, though.
  • As you're slowly waking, a bit of a fog in your head from the intoxicants...

    Theia
    You hear Theia's husky voice whispering in your ear, close enough that her lips brush against the skin. She asks, "I was better. Wasn't I? Tell me I was better." Her hand traces lightly on your chest.
  • Ladro Eyes

    Even a little befuddled, I know an opportunity when one comes along. "That was hours ago, Theia. I think you'll both have to refresh my memory if I'm supposed to judge."
  • Theia
    Theia chuckles low in her throat. You feel her smile against your ear, then her lips and tongue begin working on the ridge, "I'll remind you, lover." Her nails scratch lightly on your chest, then trail downward towards her prize. She quickly, fiercely, trails kisses following the path of her hand, both of them joining together to bring you to life. She's eager to prove she's the better.

    Interesting how she said "better", not "best", right? Did they fight at all last night?

    Frieda
    Frieda stirs with the movement near her on the bed. She groans lightly, then mumbles in a sleepy haze of a voice, "Heyyyy, you started... without me." She slides up to start kissing you, Ladro, running fingers through your hair. Her eyes are unfocused, she's like some mewling babe reaching for the milk, except you're the milk.
  • Ladro Eyes

    It wasn't so much fighting as it was competition. A constant series of little bets and dares. Who could get the most expensive free drink from the bartender. Who could convince the most females to kiss her in five minutes. (I was the timer and the judge. I let the contest run a little long.) That sort of thing. They even had their own private currency, little multi-colored beads they handed back and forth.


    Right now? I'm happy to let them compete. Like the doctors say, "Take two and call me in the morning." I kiss Frieda back with enthusiasm and reach down to tangle my hand in Theia's hair, egging her on.
  • Theia aggressively has you erect and she begins working on you with hands and mouth. She reaches up at one point to place your hand on the back of her head as she bobs up and down on you.

    Meanwhile, Frieda continues kissing you, waking up in the heat of you and Theia. She moves up to press her left breast against your chest, and as she kisses you, her hand continues running through your hair while she rubs her erect nipple against your flesh. She pulls back and smiles, "Is she winning? How do I win?"
  • Ladro Eyes

    "How many beads is my answer worth?" I make a thoughtful hum in my throat. "I think this should be a contest of... creativity. Whoever provides the best surprise, wins." And Ladro wins. No matter what, Ladro wins.
  • A few hours later you're walking out of their apartment, a handful of blue and yellow beads in your hand. You won, they even declared it. A unanimous decision.

    You get a message on your comm, text only

    From: Captain Leeadra Navaro
    Candy scored a great haul!
    We're running some goods to
    Lianna on Perlemian Trade Route.
    It's one system over from Raxus.
    The credits are goood, but I'll need
    some shuttle space. You get a cut!

    Lee


    Info on Lianna. When were you there last? Who do you know at Bantha Traxx? Who wants a stuffed bantha more - Squall or Jojee?
  • edited October 2014
    Ladro Eyes

    I'm playing around with the beads, grinning. The smile fades when I read Lee's message. "Candy"? He's "Candy"? Lee needs shuttle space? Well, the hits just keep coming, don't they.

    Still and all, Lianna. I wonder if Sarna Vox still DJs at Bantha Traxx? She's a little creepy, but the Miralukan knows how to weave together the tracks, and when she gets the rare moment to dance, she's a real pleasure to watch.

    I send a message to Hosk, ask him to move the crate into my quarters if he's aboard. Then I head back to the Libation.

    "Candy"? Really?

    I'm buying Jojee and Squall a stuffed Bantha. Squall will make more noise about it, but I suspect Jojee will actually enjoy squeezing it more, when she's sure no-one is looking.
  • Hosk messages back that it's taken care of. When you reach the Bay where the Libation is, you see huge pallets of containers. Many are routine sizes, others are not. There are some organic-marked sections, some others marked as electronic and dangerous. In the middle of it all, with a datapad strapped to her massive forelimb, is Seesk. She's directing a half dozen loaders in rapid fashion. Squall's nearby, handling some of the work, but really, this is Seesk's show. She's working an intricate puzzle, and the way she coordinates the action is almost like a ballet.

    In short, this Trandoshan is quite good at her job.

    You head around to the shuttle, since the hold is filled with activity. Hosk is outside looking over the set of crates that were dumped in front of your doorstep.

    image
    "Karking Seesk and that red stinker dumped too much on us, Lad. I swear, our cut better be solid, because I'll be holdin poodoo in my room at this rate!" He picks up a crate and starts walking it in.
  • Ladro Eyes

    Well, at least Hosk isn't on Team Candy. So that's something. I pick up a crate and follow him into the shuttle, ignoring the tightness in my back from the blaster injury. This is a lot of cargo. I hope "that red stinker" really has a buyer for it all on the other end.
  • Leeadra
    Over the comms, you hear Leeadra, "Ladro, you're back. Hey, can you come over to the bridge? I need to talk to you."
  • Ladro Eyes

    With a "what are you gonna do?" shrug to Hosk, I head to the bridge. When I get there, "Aye-aye, Cap'n." I'm trying not to act grumpy.
  • Leeadra
    It's just Lee in the bridge, she's doing pre-flight checks, working busily, "Hey..." she starts off. Then, like she senses something's wrong, she looks up at you, stopping to ask, "Are you alright, Ladro?" It sounds genuine. She peers at you.
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Why wouldn't I be? We've got cargo, I'm getting a cut, and I had a night on the town last night."
  • Leeadra
    She looks at you, for a moment, like she knows your non-answer means something is wrong, but she pushes on like there's no time. "Listen. There's more cargo coming. I've got Squall doing the calcs on the extra fuel we'll need, and it's too tight. We contracted, so I've got to juggle things. Both Jojee and Squall have agreed to give up their quarters. Seesk's sleeping arrangements make it impossible for anyone to bunk down with her, it's too kriffing cold. So, I'm giving you first pick. I'll make room for the other one. And... I owe you one. A big one."
  • Ladro Eyes

    Wha? This is... I... I don't even... "Really?" She's clearly serious. Kriff me. And I pick? Will they know I picked? Fine. "Fine. Jojee. But you tell them we drew straws. And I make no promises if she puts the moves on me." Great. Thanks, "Candy."
  • Leeadra
    Leeadra chuckles openly at your distress. "Heh. Candy bet you'd pick Squally. I promise I'll tell her we drew straws, Ladro. And what happens in your shuttle is your business." She gives you a little nod, like she's serious. "It's alright. I appreciate you respecting my request, but you two are adults, and she's my first mate regardless. And... we're still friends." The bit was technically a statement, but you know for the rise at the end that she's asking for you to confirm it.
  • Ladro Eyes

    I remember that moment with Squall and her cousin, when I convinced myself I'd be able to just walk out, walk away. I taste that conviction again, and I want it to be savory, but it's not. I'm just not built to be clanless. The marks on my face prove it.

    "We're friends, Lee."
  • Leeadra nods, then turns back to her work, thanking you again.

    How does Jojee find out about where she's sleeping?
  • Ladro Eyes

    Not. From. Me.
  • image
    You've just carried in your twelfth crate when you hear the sound of someone dropping a heavy bag. It's Jojee. She looks less than amused. "Thanks for offering me a place to crash, since the captain decided my bunk was better used to store eight nine crates full of chemical solvents, wax, paper goods and hoverlifter supplies. I'm taking nights in the bridge so if you don't have a bed, we can sleep in shifts. Used to do it all the time when I worked for a megacorp. Dwang, one of the big selling points Lee's uncle snagged me with was my own place. Which, it turns out, isn't a guarantee." She looks around the place, "Packed in tight, too? Well, I promise I won't be any trouble, as long as neither of us make a thing out of this. And if I can't have a bed, I've got a sleeping bag I've used on holidays. So what'll it be?" She looks around.

    Hosk, for his part, has completely stopped working, crossed his arms and is leaning against a stack of crates. It's like you and Jojee are his own private holovid show. He makes a rolling gesture with one hand as if to say "don't mind me, carry on".
  • edited October 2014
    Ladro Eyes

    Hosk has been clearly and obviously waiting for this moment since I told him what was coming and moved the "special" crate again, into his quarters. I've had about 12 crates, including that one, to think this over, with Hosk watching and occasionally giving that gruff chuckle of his.

    The conclusion I reached is... "You can have the bed. I changed the bedding. I'll camp out on the floor... I've got a sleeping bag, too. That refresher..." I point to the one on Hosk's side, "...is Hosk's. You do not want to go in there." I make a "stinky" face. A little revenge. "We can share the one on this side, and there's also a head off the cockpit."

    I smile, winningly, I hope. "It's not much, but welcome."

    There, that came out just the way I practiced it in my head.
  • When you make it clear that Jojee should use a particular refresher and avoid Hosk's, she chuckles, he harrumphs. But he doesn't object.

    image
    "Thanks, Ladro." Your attitude, being straightforward, a bit welcoming, seems to calm her a bit. She heads into your room to drop her duffle and sleeping bags. She says over her shoulder, "Lee ended up with Squally, and you probably ended up with the best deal. Ze kicks in zir sleep."

    Hosk raises a brow and chuckles at that comment.
  • Ladro Eyes

    "You'll have to tell me more about that after our pillow fight later, Jojee." There are more crates to load, so I head out and grab one, pondering the spatial-relations puzzle the shuttle has become.
  • image
    Jojee comes back out after dropping her stuff on your bed. She immediately starts moving crates with you, "Ladro, you think I'm good at flunge, you should see the damage I do with a pillow. It is not pretty. I've left many a bedmate in the dust."

    image
    Hosk adds in his own little commentary, "Lucky you, Lad. No dust up here. Just metal."
  • Ladro Eyes

    I made a joke and Jojee responded with something other than a sneer. I'm noting this day on the calendar.

    We get the crates loaded pretty quickly with the extra pair of hands. "Well, I hope 'Candy' gets us the deal he thinks he will. I wasn't made for manual labor."
  • Ten minutes later, the newly christened Serendipitous Libation is in the air cruising out of the atmo. Leeadra's flying the bird, and Jojee's still here. Hosk's hanging around, which is a little odd. He normally hits his bunk or tools around in his quarters.

    image
    "Where'd you get the klava? And why don't you drink the caff from the autochef?" Jojee asks as she moves up to sit on one of the sturdier-looking crates.
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Picked the set up on Falleen, one of the underground markets, just before we left. I'm just about out of the klava and spices, though. I'll have to replenish. And I do drink the caff. That's fuel, klava is... art."
  • image
    Jojee snorts, a mix of disbelief and derision. "Art? You're joking! Caff's just as good as klava if you spice it right. Klava is for posers and beings with more credits than sense." Her tone is sharp, but you've been around her long enough to know she's teasing you.

    For his part, Hosk is chuckling like he's watching his favorite holo show.
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Hosk, don't you need to, I don't know, groom yourself, or something?" I shift my attention back to Jojee. "And you. Were you raised by nerf-herders? I mean, actual nerf-herders. Klava is to caff as... Corellian brandy is to... well, rotgut. So maybe I'm a poser. I don't have enough credits to have more than sense, even as little sense as I have."
  • edited October 2014
    image
    "But, Captain, I'm helping you entertain our guest by adding an occasional laugh." Hosk says as he scratches his chin. He ponders for a moment, then waves his hand dismissively, "Fine, fine, I'll leave you two reekcats to your... whatever this is." He heads into his quarters, after walking the maze of open spaces to his door.

    image
    Jojee watches him go before she picks back up. "You are addled-brained, Ladro. Klava and caff are pretty much the same thing. Call me a nerf-herder? I swear, if I weren't living under your roof for the next three standard days and if the cargo wasn't filled to the brim with various and sundry poodoo, I'd drag your carcass down there and beat you senseless for that one. Then maybe, just maybe you'd stop carrying around silly things like a klava maker and I'm sure you've got special little containers of "just the right herb" or "so and so rare spice" that cost you a day's pay..." She throws up her hands.

    "You lot are all the same. Throwing good credits away over silly things like food and frills." Jojee shakes her head, disappointed. She's still teasing, but a good bit of her real feelings are seeping through, of course.
  • Ladro Eyes

    You lot? I wonder who I'm being lumped in with. I shrug. "The way I see it, I'm about as likely to get shot or knifed on any given day as I am not to. Might as well spend my credits where they make me a little happy."
  • image
    She rolls her eyes, "See? Letting a dangerous job be your excuse to throw credits away... it's just..." She seems to realize she's rant and starts backing out of it, "Oh, never mind. You earn them, do what you want."

    Jojee begins kicking her feet a little as she sits on the crate. "Me? I'm gonna run my own ship someday. I don't have some uncle to toss me a juicy steak like the Libation, so I have to earn it. If you end up with any side work planetside, like that flunge scam, let me know. Zeng?"
  • Ladro Eyes

    "Absolutely. That was pretty fun, in addition to the profit. So, what's your dream ship? What kind of runs?"
  • image
    Yeah, that got to her. She looks up at you like you bought her a present on LifeDay or something. Evidently she never talks about her dream ship, but it's right on the tip of her dark purple tongue, "The Starfield Industries Z-10 Seeker, no doubt. She's a sleek little scout ship, but she'll handle forty tons and you can kit her for more cargo easy. Her hyperdrive is a one-by stock, and you can even juice it! Sensor package is off the charts, which is good since it only comes with a single autoblaster standard. Made to avoid trouble rather than fight it off. Plus! You can drop the cargo pods and then guess what? She's a racer! No lie, Ladro, she can do the Kessel Run faster than the Millennium Falcon!"

    It's like she's keyed up talk about it, so she hops off the crate and paces a little bit. She "draws" the exterior with her hands in the air, a triangle design. "When I flew commercial transports, I used to ride co-pilot with Elga Arbo. She bought one and souped it up, named her the Redshift Runner. It was amazing, Ladro. I went on one jump and some system flight and I said to myself 'Jojee, you are getting one of these!'" She grins this happy grin that lasts for a little bit before she starts to realize she probably looks a bit silly, so it starts to fade.
  • Ladro Eyes

    The future. Goals. Plans. It would probably be good for me to think about those, even if the shadow of Sark is looming large.

    "It's good that you know what you want, Jojee. I should figure that out myself." I head back into my cabin, start laying out my gear for sleeping on the floor. "Hey, thanks, by the way." When gives me a look. "For giving me another chance." Probably shouldn't say that out loud...
  • image
    She follows you into your cabin, watches you lay things out. "Well, you're not so bad, not really. I mean, you've gone out of your way to be nice. I'm not blind. And now that Cander is... whatever, it's silly now. You know?"
  • Ladro Eyes

    I make a bit of a sour face when she mentions "Candy." "Ah, Cander. I suppose he did a good job with this cargo, and if he makes us money, it's more for me to spend on food and frills, and for you to save for your Seeker. Still, though... I don't know. What do you think of him?"
  • image
    "When I'm around him, he's the sexiest, most interesting guy in the room. I mean, I could totally jump his bones. But then, he's Zeltron." She makes a face, "How do I even know if it's real? Let's just say I'm glad to be staying here."
  • Ladro Eyes

    I nod in agreement. "I agree. I know they're only picking up, and what, reinforcing? surface emotional stuff, but I hate the idea that there's someone between my skull and my brain, even if it's only just the surface. So, sitting here with me, does this cargo seem like a good plan? Is he on Lee's side, or scamming her... us?"
  • image
    Jojee frowns a bit, "I went over the manifest three times, and once more when he wasn't around. It's a legitimately good haul. My worry is that it's a set-up, or he' scamming someone to get in good with her, or us. Then they come back later after us. It's just... on the other hand, it must be awful to be him, you know? Who could even trust him? I know I couldn't. I don't. I don't think I can... it's not fair, but then, what do we do, stick him in an airlock?"

    She walks over to where you dropped the beads, picks up the blue one, kind of a nervous thing. "Like you said, though. More credits gets us all what we're after." She doesn't sound completely convinced.

    She switches subjects on you, like Candr makes her uneasy, "How'd a guy like you end up with a sourpuss like Hosk?"
  • Ladro Eyes

    I chuckle. It's a good story, but I prefer to start a bit cagey. "We were on opposite sides of an acquisition. Reached an agreement. Rest assured, behind that sourpuss exterior is a heart of pure... well, sourpuss. But he's got my back."
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