[DVFP] Dreams, Portents, Warnings (E 2.1, S 2.2)

edited December 2016 in aw2e-dvfp

You wake in a cold sweat from a nightmare, the same one you've been having on and off for months. Who's killing you in this dream? How do they do it?
It's morning again, too damn early. Hey, how do you tell time in here again? In the far off you swear you can hear the low rumbles of motorcycle engines echoing down the main shaft, but it's probably your imagination.

Doubtful you'll get back to sleep now. What do you do?


  • I fight the urge to get out of bed and walk around for a bit, pretending I'm gunna go back to sleep, but as the minutes pass, and I can barely keep my eyes shut, I give in. I take a swig of the swill next to the bed, and head over to the washbasin to splash some water on my face.

    The same fekin' dream... That fat piece of shite Fipper who raided the brothel my Ma and me lived in, takin' my Ma for "reconditioning" — whatever the fek that means — kicks down the door here, with his squad of goonie fippers tearing my joint up, carting off my girls, and beating the shite out of me for some bullshite, made-up thing... All the while nursing a ragin' hard-on. I'm smillin' at him, my face bloodied up to fek, as he pulls out his gun, and executes me — just like he did my Ma's operator.

    The Fippers are feked.

    Of course, that ain't why I sleep with a knife under my pillow... I sleep with a knife under my pillow because I deal, and serve, a slew of degenerates booze, and offer games of chance that are designed to give the house money more often than not. Occasionally, some cookin' blazebrain comes up here – loaded up on piss, vinegar, and booze – and I can't talk him down. You bet your arse it's always a he, too. Women are too smart for that shite — men are fekin' stupid. I'm not.

    Once I'm cleaned up a bit, I eye the air-vents. They go straight up to the top of the mine, and were made so you can see the sun through 'em once it's up. You can usually tell roughly what time of day it is, if you're observant — and you can easily tell when it is day if you're too dumb to know what color the sun is at different times of day.

    Either way, I throw some pants on, and make my way down to the bar.
  • edited December 2016

    You come out to the bar to find Motley and his crue have left on their mission, leaving behind a bit of a mess. Empty mugs, shite spilled on the floor, trash and the like. Sasha's behind the bar cleaning up a little. She's chatting with those two new girls that Marigold brought in from Depot. One of them is quite a looker, her name's Ivy, the other is passable for looks but strong, name's Tink.

    Oh, and Sierra's just now walking in.

    Wiping sleep out of your eyes, feeling a bit cleaner after the wash last night, you come into Diamond's bar about the same time as Esco.

    What do you do?
  • I take a seat at the bar, and rub my eyes for a moment, trying to overcome the grogginess hanging over me like fog in the morning. I reach over the bar, and grab a bottle of swill, and a pair of cups, when I see Sierra enter the bar. I motion for her to come join me.
  • I stretch as I enter the bar. Is there anything that a decent night sleep, a little bit of soap, and a clean outfit won't fix? I feel fresh in my soft yellow dress.

    I scan the bar looking for Esco, surprised for once to see him alone, almost like he was waiting for me. He sets a drink down at the stool next to him and I slip into it easily.

    With as much as I have been wanting to have this conversation, I'm honestly not sure how to start it. I look over at him, maybe he hasn't been waiting long, there are still sheet creases on his skin, looks like he just woke up.

    It's kinda endearing. "Morning, sunshine."
  • edited December 2016
    Sunshine? Fek... That gets a smile out of me. Not only is the thought ridiculous because I look like shite, but it also seems odd to imply something as harsh and unrelenting as the sun could be seen in a positive light.

    I eye her up and down, groggy as a drunken blazebrain, tossed out on his arse.
    "Don't be teasin' me now, lookin' lovely as you are..."
    That wasn't sarcasm. The lady looks magnificent — a sight for sore eyes. I pour myself a shot, and pound it back like it's water.
    "I take it you're here for that chat? Here good? Or d'you wanna go somewhere more private, like?"
  • edited December 2016
    I blush slightly at the compliment, but really it's just Esco. He says similar things to all the girls, it's a part of his de facto charm.

    Though, Esco isn't quite as charming as normal and the way he took that shot... maybe he ain't up to a talk.

    I poor myself a finger and shoot it down, giving me time to think.

    I lean towards him, "You feeling ok? You look lightly frayed around the edges."

    I bite my lip. "We don't have to talk this very moment if you aren't feelin' up to it."
  • Her bashfulness puts a smile on my face, and I dismiss her concerns.
    "It's nothin' — just a bad sleep is all. I'm all ears."
  • edited December 2016
    OOC: I'd like to read Esco

    (Rolled: 2d6+2 . Rolls: 5, 1. Total: 8)

  • OOC: I'd like to know how Esco is really feeling.
  • edited December 2016
    I am genuinely charmed by you. I'm also tired, and a bit on edge from a dream I had that reminds me of why I came out here in the first place – but you calm me, and put me at ease... I'm also worried you might leave, so I'm trying to play it all off to keep you here with me for a while.
  • edited December 2016

    Oh. I have no idea how to process that ltitle bit of information. I've never been friendly with a man, let alone...

    Well, at least I'm not bothering him. I blush, he definitely hides his interest better than most men.

    I look at the girls at the bar. They're new and Sasha, I don't know what Sasha thinks of me, but I know she wouldn't think kindly of me if she thought I was a "Feed-Freak."

    I was going to suggest going somewhere where I wouldn't be overheard, but now? Mayhap I try to keep it casual.

    I bite my lip. "Well, have you thought about what I said? 'Bout the whirling?"
  • edited December 2016
    Right to it, I guess... I slide my glass away for a moment, and calmly nod my head.
    "Yes I have... I could have sworn I heard it again before bed... I went looking for the source, but came up empty.
    Not that I was looking very hard, but I was looking.
    "So you're sayin' that's this ... This woman? Watchin' us?"
  • Blazes, I'm an idiot. When I try to recall what I said to him in his bathroom, nothing is clear. I must have cracked this up royally.

    I look over at the girls, no way this is going to be a casual conversation. I sigh, making a quick decision.

    " I don't think I was explaining myself well that night. " The image of a thick puddle of blood on the floor flitters past my vision, but I push it away. "Maybe we should go somewhere private, and I can attempt ta explain better?"
  • Well fek me... That bad, eh? I pause a moment, pour myself another shot, pound it back, and leave the shot glass upside down on the bar.
    "Sure. Come up to my office.
    I'll let her lead the way, presuming she's amenable.
  • I follow suit and take one last shot. I nod and lead us up to his office, I remember it from the other night but I didn't really get a good look.

    Hoolies how am I going to do this without sounding crazy?
  • OOC: SIERRA rolls to read sitch

    (Rolled: 2d6+2 . Rolls: 5, 4. Total: 11)
  • Once we're upstairs, I unlock the door, and flick the lights on in my office/room. I make my way over to the desk, and sit down in my chair.
    "So then — what's this all about?"
  • edited December 2016
    Frack, where would the best angles be? I think looking around the room. Certainly behind the mirror...

    [First question: Where is my best way in?]

    I take one last look around the room, making notes in my head. As I sit down I notice the large bookcase behind him and I momentarily forget what I was going to say. I did not notice those the last time.

    I shake it off and look Esco in the eyes. "I know this is hard to believe, and I am sorry I don't remember what the blazes I said the other night, but it obviously wasn't coherent."

    I look at my hands, where to start? The beginning I suppose. "Everyone knows this is a prison - and it's no secret that people who get placed here don't remember the outside too good. That's by design..."

    I sigh. "I know I'm not saying anything you don't know..." Ching-wah Tsao duh liou mahng, I'm fracking this up. "If folks could remember they'd remember the DVFP, because it's the most popular program on the feed. We're entertainment."
  • image
    In most of the DVFP, under the light of day, satellites would be used to coordinate nanite recorders. Omnipresent. Here in the mines, however, more traditional recording methods would be necessary. One of the slightly exposed screws holding the bookcase together looks fishy.
  • I sit silently and listen as she scans my room, then addresses me directly. I gotta say... I ain't much of a believer in "the feed" — folks come into my bar cooked up on some blazin' drug, rantin' about eyes watchin' them, and you learn to be a little skeptical. I'm tryin' to not be skeptical right now...

    I nod.
    "For who? A bunch of feed worshipers? The fippers?"
    My brain is fekin' fightin' this though...
    "Whoever's watchin' us, for entertainment, are fekin' rocksuckers — I'm one of many folks born here..."
  • Born here, frack. I'm not sure if that makes this harder...

    "The feed, is different on the outside. It's - it's like the arenas, right? But there are channels - so you could watch about a dozen things at once. Like watching all the arenas, some snatch show, you can just flip to what you want to see... The DVFP has 3 channels on the feed."

    But who watches it? I... I don't know for sure. "On the outside, all the water-rich watch. They love it."

    I try to stay calm, sooth my voice. "One of the reasons I picked the irons is that... the cameras are limited, cause of the infrastructure. They're still all over the place though... but I was trying to avoid the feed."
  • This is starting to hurt my head...
    "So where are these cameras? Let's just blow 'em up.
  • Blow them up? That's... is that even possible?

    I look at the bookcase and that flippin screw. Frack, if I am wrong about this I'm going to come out looking like the floopiest floop to ever floop.

    "I don't know where the cameras are, but if I had to guess..." I motion behind him at the bookcase. "Can I try something?"
  • I nod, and wave a hand dismissively.
  • image
    You move closer to the bookcase, and that whirring sound, you hear it again. The third shelf, got to be. You need something to pry out that screw though. Esco has a knife around here, probably.
  • I have to be staring right at it.

    I look at Esco, "Do you have a knife? or something sharp?"
  • I make my way over to my bed, and pull my knife out from behind the pillow. I flip it, and catch it by the blade before handing it to Sierra.
  • I nod to him in thanks and stick the pointy end in the screw... at least that is what it looks like I should do. Turning right I slowly ply the board loose...
  • image

    Sierra, you twist on the screw and it comes loose surprisingly easy. Moments later, you have this in your hand:
    (Sierra's lovely hand not pictured)
  • edited December 2016
    I hold the camera in my hand and frack it if I don't feel a little better. After months, you can't help but wonder if you are the crazy one after all.

    Mimicking Esco's movements I flip the blade back towards me offering him the handle of the knife. In my left hand, I cradle the tiny camera.

    "Like I said, they are everywhere."
  • edited December 2016
    Ho. Ley. Shite.

    I stand there, mouth on the floor, starin' at this small little invasion of privacy starin' me in the face. At first, I don't believe it — who the fek would wanna watch my customers whack off when they can't afford a touch, or watch me sleep, or read... Or listen in on my private dealin's...


    I feel a storm brewin' in my gut as the denial gives way to anger. I point to it, and look to Sierra with fire in my eyes. Words don't come at first. I stutter, and stab my finger at the thing before giving up, and pacing a second. I'm already scannin' the room, my mind racin' with questions.

    This ain't fekin' funny — not in the slightest. I wish I didn't know. I wish Sierra'd never told me, and I could just go on livin' my life thinkin' this wasn't true. I still ain't sure everythin' she's sayin' is true — but there's a fekin' camera in her hand, and that there is pretty undeniable truth that somethin's feked in my home.

    I stop in a huff, and turn back to Sierra. I point back at the fekin' camera one last time, willin' myself to be calm. I stalk over to her, pluck the camera, and my knife, from her hands, and slice the damn thing free from its wires in one swift motion. Then, I bring it over to my desk, and smash it to bits in a fit of rage.

    If I ever meet the fat fek that put that thing in my fekin' brothel, I'm gunna slit their fekin' throat... Or maybe I'll do it in front of one of them cameras, nice and slow. Let them know what I think of folks invadin' my privacy. I slam the knife down into my desk, and turn back to Sierra.

    This ain't her fault... In fact, I guess I owe her. If I can find the rest of those fekin' things, at least in this room, I stand a chance at actually havin' some form of a life.

    I stand up a little taller, and walk over to her — a little more composed than a moment ago. I stop just in front of her, fix my hair, and smile. I hold up a finger.
    "One down..." Damn there's nothin' sexier than a competent woman. I look down to her lips, hunger building in me — but I restrain myself. "I would give anythin' to have you on that bed, and force whatever fat fek is watchin' you to look on in horror as you slip further from their grasp."
    I eye her up and down, hopin' she feels the same way — but I won't force her to do anything.
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    Gee, Esco, I think that's a Seduction, right? If so, let's see a roll.
  • OOC: Seducing Sierra. Roll+Hot. (Highlighted)
    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 6, 6. Total: 14)
  • edited December 2016

    (the Seduction move)
    For PCs: on a 10+, both. On a 7–9, choose 1:
    • If you go along with Esco, you mark experience (and nothing happens to your highlights)
    • If you refuse (to go along with it), Esco will erase one of YOUR highlights for the remainder of the session (and you do NOT get XP).
    What you do is up to you.
  • I expected outrage, but the kind of panic mixed with anger Esco displays puts a heavy stone in my stomach. The way he looks at me at first, as if I put the camera there reminds me of too many nights where I was on the receiving end of fury like that.

    It takes everything I have to be still when he points at the camera in my hands and not flinch away from him. He's angry, I'm angry too. I understand a bit of it, but this is his home, he wasn't sent here for a reason. It's easy to forget this place is a prison.

    He smashes that fracking camera and all I can think is thank the scorch it wasn't me at the end of the knife. He sits there breathing over his handy-work and I wish I knew what was going on in his mind. I think about asking when he stands-straight.

    Walking over to me, something shifts. He's standing taller, his green eyes are clear and full of purpose. Frack, he is pretty, but he's still on edge I can practically smell the jitters on him. When his bedroom eyes land on my lips and something in the air shifts.

    Esco makes his offer and my first thought is Gloriana won't like that he called her fat. Which is just, zaradann. How deep does she run in me? The frenzied panic and lust that falls over me makes me nearly erupt in laughter. It's only the fear that stops me.

    The idea itself, it isn't distasteful. It's terrifying, but it's exhilarating too. Still, he still doesn't know. My voice is strangely calm even to my own eyes, honey soft and lilting. "That 'Fat-Feks' name is Gloriana, she's the sub-warden. I've been hers since I was five, I've never..."

    I gesture towards him, all of him. My eyes meet his, imploring understanding.
  • Fek this woman is beautiful. I bite my lip, and consider this new information... I've never had any love for Fippers, or any trouble stirring the pot with them, either. I'm not too keen on that dream of mine becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, though. It does give me a moment's pause.

    Sierra doesn't need that though. Sierra needs someone who isn't afraid to act. To stand up against this Gloriana witch, take a beatin' if she brings her boot down on us, and get right the fek back up. I've taken a beating in my day — and you can bet your arse I won't take the next one sitting down.

    I put my hand on her shoulder, and brush the soft hair out of the way, exposing her neck.
    "This wouldn't be about me, lovely..." I guide my hand up to the crook of her neck, gently gliding my fingers over her skin as I do. "This would be about you. You're your own woman now — and nothin' would please me more than to please you. In part to show this fat witch, Gloriana, that she ain't in charge no more..." I move a little closer to her, tilting my head to the side, and letting my breath roll down her neck. "And in part because a lovely lady like you deserves someone who'll listen. Who'll do anythin' and everythin' you ask. Hot... Cold... Soft... Hard... Start... Stop..." I smile. "You name it. You call the shots."
  • With Esco so close it's hard to think. His fingers on my skin is just a teaser for what could come. When I feel his hot breath on my neck, I shiver. His body is so close that I can feel warmth radiate from him. Frack, the lust that hits me is so strong I have to close my eyes.

    My skin is hungry, my body starved. It's impossible to describe the famine your body goes through when you go from never sleeping alone, to sudden abandonment. Gloriana never let anyone else touch me, but she touched me at every given opportunity for years. I have never had my own bed, I was to always be available. It has been months since my body has been given what it was made to crave. And I am tired of touching myself at night, thinking of the woman who put me here.

    I can still hear every moan, feel every press of her fingers on my skin and know what they mean to give her exactly what she wants. I know what she needs from my body, I know how to give it to her and I know she knows how to play my skin. The kind of obsession Gloriana had was good for that at least.

    Esco might give me something else to think about. Something different.

    This is zaradann. "I don't know, what to ask for." I bite my lips. "Just please don't stop touching me."
  • I'm locked on those blue eyes when the leash falls slack, and I pull Sierra into me, plunging deep into a kiss. Her sweet aroma envelops, and embraces me, as I let the riptide of desire pull me out to sea. I've been longing for this ever since I laid eyes on Sierra. She is an oasis I'd been searching for since my birth, wandering through the desert, looking for a drop to drink. Now she's opened herself to me, and I intend to drink my fill.
    "Oh, don't you worry about that..."
    I guide her over to the bed, and lay her down — taking a moment to worship at the altar of her beauty, before returning to my work. I let my hands wander, exploring every inch of her, and let my lips find her neck. When I've gotten familiar with her, I find spots of pleasure, and linger.
    "Blazin' hell, you're beautiful," I whisper between kisses, "I wanna make you happy."
  • His mouth on mine is hard and sure in a way that is so different from Gloriana that it makes my head spin. His body asks for me to open and I do, melting into his embrace.

    When he lays me down, the way he looks at me, it makes me feel precious. Exploring my body his fingers and tongue find the places that make me shake.

    He wants me to make me happy? I know how to do that...

    I slide my dress off and over my head, baring myself to him. Blushing I bite my lip, a little shy. "Make me forget." I beg softly, ready for what comes.
  • edited December 2016

    Esco and Sierra,
    We fade to black on this scene, with Sierra exploring Esco's affection and caring, and Esco allowing himself to experience this tender, genuine moment with Sierra.

    Sierra, please share your Sex Move and make your choice, and then I'll ask a couple questions as we move into the next scene.

  • If you and another character have sex, choose one:

    • You take +1 forward and so do they.

    • You take +1 forward; they take -1.

    • They must give you a gift worth at least 1-barter.

    • You can hypnotize them as though you’d rolled a 10+, even if you haven’t chosen to get the move.
  • image

    Have you ever been in love with someone?
    What worries you most about this... is it a slip into something real? A weakness?

    So, yeah, how was it? As good as Gloriana? Why or why not?
    What do you miss about her right now, anything?
  • edited December 2016
    So, yeah, how was it? As good as Gloriana? Why or why not?
    What do you miss about her right now, anything?
    It was different, good different, but different. In some ways I feel like my body, my sexuality, was built by Gloriana. Slowly over time, she constructed me. Like a musician with their instruments, she strung me to her specifications. Until now, I've never been with someone who didn't know me better than I knew myself. Gloriana never had to discover me, Esco...

    Esco treated my body like it held deep secrets. When he touched me, it was charged. I didn't know what he would do and that was exhilarating. The physical difference... Esco's body is hard and strong, but his treatment of me so sweet. Gloriana hasn't been so sweet to me in years...

    I miss the Gloriana who loved me and I loved. I know, it's utterly zeraddan to think that I loved her at all. But she was my everything. She loved and protected me for years. She was my only friend. She played with me and held me and whispered sweet soft things to me. My sense of self blurred with hers, how could I not miss her? Even if it's wrong?

    But I don't wish she was here. I'm happy here.
  • Don't be ridiculous — everyone's been in love with someone. I love my girls, and JD like a brother. I loved my Ma. I'm gettin' the impression you mean something else, though. I think you're confusing passion with love. What this was, with Sierra? That was passion. It might turn into love, sure, but sex and love are two different things. Sex is something everyone needs sometimes. It's something that can be bought, and sold. Traded, or gifted. Shared, or taken. I don't deal in that last option, but I'm not above the rest.

    That said, I've never been exclusive with someone, sex wise... Most of the girls here don't offer me anythin' special. Sex ain't special in a brothel. That closeness with Sierra, though? That's a need I haven't had tended to in a long time. I could use a little tenderness in my life. If Sierra brings that to the table, I could see myself pursuing that... So long as I can find a way to fit it in my life — I can't risk what I've built here, because whatever this is with Sierra depends on that. Especially if these fat feks are fekin' about with blazin' cameras in my fekin' home.

    If we're bein' totally honest though, given how she helped out with Ziggy, I don't see that as a potential problem.
  • image

    Esco and Sierra,
    There's a rap at the door, then it opens up. It's JD, who looks riled. "We're humped, Esco." He says, then notices you, Sierra, "Sorry, Sierra. Back to you, Esco, "Preen is in Diamond, says Motley and Crue wiped out Ziggy's guard outside. I sent a runner, and yeah, they're all dead."
  • Here I was, all fekin' relaxed, and ready to enjoy a little sleep, when JD comes barging in, without askin', and hands me this bag of shite to hold. I don't move.
    "He still here?"
  • edited December 2016

    He exhales through his nose, then nods, "Yes. For now." He looks at you, Sierra, then makes a decision, "I put him with Wanda, she'll cool him down for now."
  • I nod.
    "Send him up once she's done with him. Did he say anythin' else? About why Mot and his crew decided to fek up their shite, maybe?"
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    JD exhales again, leaning against the door as he closes it. He silently asks if Sierra's good to be around when you talk business, but it's quickly obvious to him that it's alright. "He said Mot gave him some shite, then he demanded an apology. Then Motley's crue started firing, out of nowhere."
    He exhales through his nose, his tic when he's upset, "Pretty sure he's lying. But it doesn't matter now. Ziggy will take his word on it, and then Fat Man will be... right up our ass." He rakes a hand through his hair.
  • JD comes in and I have just enough time to pull the sheets up and over me. I know it's a brothel, but blazes... I sit up straight when JD mentions Preen.

    I listen, "If he gets a chance to tell Ziggy, maybe we can convince him it's better for his long term health to switch sides." I wrap the sheet more firmly around me. "I know Preen, from before. I could talk to him."
  • Something doesn't add up... Other than Mot frequenting the Diamond, Mot doesn't have any public ties to me. At least, none that Ziggy and the Fat Man would know about unless they've got access to the feed Sierra's talkin' about. Even if they do... It's too fekin' late now.
    "Get him up here when Wanda's done with him, and we'll make him an offer." I get up, and kiss Sierra on the forehead as I rise — making a point to keep her covered. I find her dress on the floor, and hand it to her before starting the search for my pants. "Sierra... Does the Fat Man, or any of his people have access to the feed? Would he know what goes on in this office?"
  • image

    JD heads out, locking the door. Sierra, you've never met The Fat Man. He's a convict, on the inside. You've seen him on the Feed, but rarely. His big palace is "off the grid". There are hundreds of griefers who start up petitions to get it on the grid, but it's never happened.
  • I smile when Esco kisses my forehead but wait for JD to leave to slip the dress over my head. It would have been nice to have gotten some more time, skin to skin, but the Irons call.

    The Fat Man... "No one in the DVFP is supposed to have access to the feed, but... The Fat Man's Palace is almost free of cameras, totally "off the grid." The audience has been none to pleased with that..."

    It would be a huge violation on the "premise" of the show if there was someone with feed access inside the DVFP. People would go absolutely zariddan, loose their fracking minds. "It's pretty obvious people can smuggle some information, but the whole feed? That would be a scandal."

    I pull my hair back, trying to smooth it into something manageable. I smell deep, it needs cleaning again, I think remorsefully, briefly looking at the tub with longing.

    "Do you think there is a connection? If I was Ziggy, I wouldn't need proof to put together that you might have hired the crue for protection..."

  • OOC: Which enemy is the biggest threat?
  • image
    Ziggy is nothing. The Fat Man sent a nothing here, so it must mean he doesn't care. But Gloriana was deprived of her show. She's your biggest threat, for sure.
  • OOC: What should I be on the lookout for?
  • image
    Fippers coming in to fix the cameras, but they won't say that's what they're after. Some kind of infraction. Anything at all.
  • That's a relief.
    "Probably not... If they did, then they'd probably know the deal I made with Zig's predecessor... Which was probably worse than the deal I made with Mot. I'm payin' Mot top jingle to play the part of Sand snakes, then I'm gunna have to tie off those loose ends – and if Zig's going to blame me for this shite, then we've got to stick to the plan anyway, and make her look stupid for wastin' her time here."
    I notice Sierra eyeing the tub, and motion over to it.
    "Let me pour you a bath... This shite with Preen won't take a minute.
  • image
    I think that bath uses up a hold, right?
  • I look at the tub and smile. "Mind-reader." I tease.

    I move to sit at the edge of the tub, just looking at it. It's such an odd thing to see at the Irons. "Does it get hot water?"

    I look back at the mirror - how many cameras could be in this room anyway? How would we even find them all. "Ziggy isn't going to be the problem once we start taking the down the cameras. Gloriana, she sent Ziggy in the first place, she'll send Fippers in next. To get the cameras back up or..."

    Or to take me away -
    Or to kill you -
    Or to burn Diamond to the ground -

    I bite my lip, feeling guilty again. "or... somethin' worse."
  • I keep dressin', listenin' to her wax on about what might happen next.
    "I'll tell the girls to start boilin' some water. Don't you worry about the Fippers — you said the Fat Man's runnin' a hold off the grid, we just need to figure out a way to make that happen here, too."
    The guilt on Sierra's face snaps me out of business mode, and back into a more tender place. I walk over, my belt still undone, and take her into my arms, brushin' some of that silky brown hair out of her face.
    "Imagine what might have happened if I'd found those fekin' cameras without you here... We're gunna sort this out, we're gunna do it careful like, and we're gunna make this place a haven from those dirty Fippers, and that fat witch." I smile, "I ain't gunna rest until that happens."
  • Hoolies, when his arms go around me for a second I startle and stiffen. I can't help it, I'm jut not used to people taking liberties with touch. It's nice though and I resist the urge to run and instead relax into it, resting my head on his shoulder.

    He sounds like he's promising me the world. Which is zaridann of course. He's doin it for him, as much as he's doin it for me, if not more. Got to keep it in perspective. Part of me till doesn't believe it's possible. Gloriana has controlled every aspect of my life since I can remember, she controls (at least in part) the DVFP, I'm only here cause she wants me here. The other part of me, wants what Esco is promising more than I have ever wanted anything in my life.

    I don't know what to say. So, I don't say anything at all. I turn my head, meet his striking green eyes, and lean in, pulling his lips to mine in a kiss.
  • image
    The warm water arrives in buckets carried by Rufe and Tink. Sierra, it's amazing, the feeling of normalcy and comfort, it's been so very long. Esco, do you slip into the tub with her?

    Cleaned and refreshed, you receive Preen, who comes into your office with Sasha. Sasha remains by the door, but, Sierra, you spot that she has some kind of weapon with her, hidden from Preen's view. What is it?
    He looks a little skittish, but probably much calmer than he was before Wanda. Looks around the place. "Nice digs, Esco. You did right by treating me with Wanda. I'll make sure Ziggy knows about that."
  • edited December 2016
    I absolutely do — for one, I could use a good bath, and for two, I can't resist spendin' more time with Sierra in that capacity. I don't push her to do anythin' extra, though. I just enjoy yakin' some more, and soapin' up that beautiful body of hers. I take my time gettin' dressed once we're done: dryin' off, puttin' my knife into it's usual spot, tucked into my belt, and waitin' for Preen to show up. When he does, I motion for him to take a seat across from me at my desk.
    "I'd rather she not actually, Preen. That was a courtesy I'm extendin' to you, and you alone — on account of the hardships you've been through here in the Irons. My boy JD tells me Mot and his crew messed up your boys pretty bad... You mind tellin' me how that went down?"
    I'm listenin' close, but I'm watchin' him even closer.
  • I needed the bath and the extra skin-time with Esco. I feel practically calm when Tayt walks in with Sasha.

    Sasha clearly isn't calm though. She's carrying a ladies pistol strapped to her thigh. I can just see it from where I'm sitting, I'm certain Tayt didn't notice it at all given the way he's acting. He probably thinks the girls can't take care of themselves. Derelict floop.

    I listen and wait. He didn't acknowledge me, why do men do that? I'll jump in when I think it's the right time.
  • image

    "Wiped out my boys and girls, he did, the rocksucker." Preen says with a sneer. "My boys bought some time for me to get out, but Motley and his crue had no mercy for them. Killed everyone."
    He takes a moment and composes himself, falls into a stance that reminds you of Tayt, Sierra, then reports, "They were coming through the blockade, and Motley started talking some trash, so I demanded he apologize. Next thing I know, he attacks my people, and that... big vixaxn with the mask tore down the turret with his bare hands! "
  • I gasp when Tayt calls Gigg a vixaxn. I've only ever heard Gloriana use it. It's, well, it's bad.

    "Tayt, why'd you set up the blockade to begin with? That wasn't part of the deal."

    I hope to bring his focus to me. I don't want to talk about Ziggy. I want to know what he knows about her connections to Gloriana.

    [OOC: Read a Person?]
  • image

    He blinks a few times before answering, like some part of what you said didn't quite register. "Ziggy's orders. No more tax on Diamond, but a toll on travelers. She kept the deal." He shrugs, like he knows it's not really true.

    Go ahead and Read him, Sierra!

  • (Rolled: 2d6+2 . Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 11)
  • I sigh. "We all know that's utterly zaradann. It's like Ziggy is aiming for a fight and left you there like sacrificial lambs."

    [Question 1: How do I get you to tell me the truth about what Ziggy's up to?

    Question 2: What's Tayt really feeling?]
  • image

    Preen doesn't argue the point about being left out like a lamb. "Ziggy's got her own reasons, Sierra." Preen reaches up to scratch at the scar by his eye, glances to you, Esco, "Thanks again for Wanda. Maybe... I should go. Can I hire an escort out of here?"

    He's freaked out, Sierra. He's waaaay out of his depth here, and he's been faking it until he makes it, and knows he barely survived to this point. He'd roll on Ziggy in a heartbeat, hand up what he knows, if someone would give him a home and a purpose.
  • "Tayt, Preen... " I get up from my seat in the corner, the same impossibly uncomfortable one I sat in my first time in this room, and walked over so I was in front of Tayt. Gently I put my hand on his shoulder and softened my voice. "You don't got to go. Ziggy doesn't deserve you after what she did. Listen, help us out here, tell us what Ziggy is really up to. We can find you a place at the Irons - Reese won't be able to do security after the accident, we could put in a good word for you with the miners. It isn't always the most exciting work, but it's steady and honest."

    I look at Esco hoping he'll back me up.

    I breathe in and take my next gamble. I don't know if he remembers me. Sometimes it seems like he does, other times its like he is looking right through me. It's unnerving. "We shouldn't be working against each other."
  • edited December 2016
    I listen as Sierra goes to work – pinnin' Preen in a corner, callin' him some name he clearly doesn't remember... The woman's a natural. I swap glances with Sierra when she suggests Preen work security here for the miners... She ain't wrong. We could use a capable hand, even if Preen feks off when shite gets tough... It's better than nothing.

    I look over to Preen, and lean back in my chair.
    "The lady's right, and you know it. Zig's scorched earth, playin' on borrowed time. She can't keep up a toll on the Irons, and run security for the Fat Man's holdings... She's a losing bet — and the next blazebrain the Fat Man appoints to guard his hoard is gunna feel that same pressure. I lean in, resting my elbows on the desk, and whisper, "Think of it like an investment in your future — the Irons is the winning bet here, and you've got an in on the ground floor. You prove you're loyal to the Irons, and doors are gunna open up for you."
  • edited December 2016
    I nod, agreeing with Esco. "You could have a home here."
  • image

    Preen practically leans forward with the temptation you lay at his tired feet. He balls his hands into fists, like he's fighting the urges, but then you say the word "home", Sierra, and his resistance melts away like someone lying out in the scorching time of day.
    "Ziggy was almost put out to pasture, left to bake. But Fat Man saddled her with all the rejects, like me. Told her if she could raise up three barter in a day, she'd get a chance to rule the roost. When you... re-negotiated, she left us out front to charge tolls while she scrambled with what she had left back at her compound."
    His voice drops into a somber tone, "I think... we were all a big joke to him. Just lambs, like you said. So he could have an excuse to move on The Irons in force. He thinks Diamond is raking it in. Too many girls leaving Depot. Not enough jingle changing hands at Bordertown. He thinks there's something hidden here."
  • edited December 2016
    Raking it in? Compared to his fekin' holdings? The Fat Man must be fekin' cooked in the head... I mean yeah, there's a bunch of blazin' road agents I pay to keep that jingle in my back yard, but Depot jingle? Bordertown jingle? He's five days in the sun without a hat kind of crazy.
    "Girls leave his shite brothels on account of his shite pimps who rob them blind, and beat on 'em when they don't earn. On account of the raids he lets the fippers conduct to line his fat pockets." I pause a moment – I'm not angry, I'm just on a roll. "He comes here, and stamps his fat fekin' foot down like he does in his shite holdings, and the irons are gunna be one hold more than the Fat Man can handle — the straw that breaks the proverbial Humphorse's back. I'll fekin' bolt, and the Irons will come with me. I look to Sierra, "would you put up with the Fat Man's shite?"
  • Esco is on a rant and at least I know him well enough to know this is just how he gets the frustration out. What Tayt said though - about the Fat Man coming here. I'm not sure it makes sense...

    [OOC: 3rd (and final) question: Is Preen telling the truth?]

    When Esco asks if I would put up with this shite I laugh. I actually laugh. Because well... "I've put up with worse than the Fat Man, but that isn't who I am anymore. The Fat Man can rot."

    I look at Esco and smile.
  • image
    He is telling the truth.
  • edited December 2016
    This news... This is not what I'd come to understand of the Fat Man, and his dealings. This is a much bigger, much more imminent threat, than Ziggy. I didn't think the Fat Man gave a shite about The Irons, or The Diamond. It seems beneath him... I can't get a gauge on Preen, either.

    I look back to Sierra – we make a pretty good team, I think – and I sigh. Without saying anything, I invite her to weigh on on what she thinks about this news.
  • Esco sighed. I am not sure I have ever seen Esco sigh. He's clearly distressed, which means I am not putting two and twp together on this. I smile reassuringly at Tayt. Best get him out of here, I don't think he has anymore to share with us.

    "Boys can we find Preen a room? We can introduce you to Norvell and some of the older miners tonight. Green?"

    I stand up and walk over to Esco and give him a nod, hoping he reads me well enough by now to see the obvious social graces. I put my hand on Esco's right shoulder, as I come around the desk and turn back to Tayt, looking at him over his left.

    "I think you're gonna like it here, we treat people well, even with this ones bluster." I wink at Tayt as if we were sharing a joke. I feel a little rusty, a little sick, falling back into this role. I'm doing it voluntarily, so it's different, but it doesn't feel all that different.

  • image

    Preen seems distracted by the shift in tone, the welcoming arms. His shoulders relax a little. "I'll meet with Norvell then. I... I'll earn my keep."

    Sasha puts her pistol away under her skirt and takes Preen's arm to lead him away. What do you do?
  • I think about playfully hitting Esco over the head. What was that? I sigh, no what would that do...

    Removing my hand from his shoulder I sit on the corner of his desk. I don't understand a lot of the technicalities. I know the players, kinda, I know what they want but...

    "So, I'm not sure I understand. Is 3 barter a lot in a day? What am I not getting here?"

    [OOC: Can I read a sitch here?]
  • image
    Reading a sitch is a much more immediate move. What you're dealing with is political, and tricky. You could, however, Open Your Brain to the feed in hopes of getting an idea from the psychic maelstrom.
  • I slump back into my chair once Sash takes Preen out of the room, and look up at Sierra.
    "It's more than most folks see in a season... More than any of the smaller holds would pay to Ziggy in a year. If what Preen's sayin' is true, and the Fat Man is seriously interested in a hostile takeover of The Irons, then we should be actin' fast to make sure Ziggy gets that position as the Fat Man's lieutenant. We can buy Zig. Manipulate her. We can hold our jingle over her head, as a constant reminder that she's in charge because we let her be in charge... We can't do that with the Fat Man. He's big potatoes. If he comes in here and starts shootin', we'll lose the numbers game."
  • edited December 2016
    I... I am out of my depth. I am so fracking out of my depth. Fat Man comin' in? That would, that would be very bad for me. I know what Fat Man has done to other Skinners he could get his hands on.

    Still, I'm not following. And maybe it's cause I have never had much to hold over anyone's head - jingle or otherwise. But a backdoor deal with Ziggy, just sounds like a backdoor entrance for Fat Man to me. Wouldn't it be better to appear small?

    "If Fat Man is interested in the Irons because he thinks we are raking it in... why do we want him to know we could pull in three barter in 24 hours? Doesn't that seem like more of a reason to come take over, not less?"
  • edited December 2016
    I shrug.

    "You might be right... I should be payin' you..."

    I get up, and pace for a bit while I mull it all over. If I'd known this back before Zig showed up, I might have done things differently... Had she come down here, and I'd known I had the chance to buy her out, I would have.

    "If I had the jingle to call in some markers before the clock runs out, I would. I just don't know... Thrash, Zig's predecessor, came down here once — maybe twice? We had an arrangement. If the Fat Man tossed Thrash because he wasn't puttin' the squeeze on us lately, then that smells to me like the Fat Man already has intent. If he thinks Zig's scorched, then why would he put any faith in her ability to put the squeeze on us better than Thrash?
    I make my way back to her, and sit on the edge of my desk, with my arms crossed.

    "The way I see it, we can bet red, or black... Red bein' we let Ziggy hang in the wind, and hope that sends a message to the Fat Man that the Irons have no juice for him — or we bet it all on black, on Zig, and that the Fat Man will let her run the show without further bloodshed. If we win big on red, then we save a couple jingle for investment in somethin' else — some hardware, maybe, for whenever the Fat Man decides to show up on our doorstep. If we win big on black, then we ride Ziggy out until the Fat Man ousts her, and we hope we've got enough money, and resources, to tell the Fat Man to cook off."
  • edited December 2016
    "I thought the rule was to never bet against the house. Besides, I think we are already on the red path. The problem with that being that if it gets out we hired Mot - then it sounds like we are gearing up for a fight. Which maybe, in that case, we spend some jingle to do."

    I sigh. This stuff, it's all about power, sometimes it's best to look weak. "There is always the third option - we bluff. Go to the Fat Man say that..." It takes me a while to come up with another gangs name, hoolies I really wish I had paid more attention to the feed. "...the UFer? Yeah, the UFers are giving us trouble and with Ziggy on our backs we can barely feed ourselves. Make the Irons small, while we buff up our defenses. After all, looks can be deceiving."

    I shrug and stand, I sound zaradann and dumb. Not sure what to do with myself, I just cross my arms over my chest and lean against the bookcase. Looking anywhere but at Esco.
  • edited December 2016
    I think on it a good long moment before nodding. Option 3 is dirty, underhanded, and my kinda plan. It's missing an element of truth to it, though... we're pussyfootin' around the real core of this. Sierra's too smart for her to not be getting a cut of this. "I kinda like the third option, insofar as it gives us time to shank him in the back later — but I think it'd be a hard sell to the Fat Man. You gotta know you'd be better suited to the job than me... Convincin' him, that is. If we go together — as equal partners — would you play that angle?"
  • No.

    It's a purely instinctual reaction. No. No, I don't want the attention. No, I don't want to be anywhere near that man's grasp. No, I don't want to be feed bait. Just no.

    And it's not just those things, it's The Scorch. It's the hugeness of the outside. I've lived my life in boxes. Boxes and hallways. Gloriana's rooms, the dining room, the hallway back. The rigg, the room where we were staying, the ballroom? Even at the Irons, it's my room which is a five-minute walk down the hallway from the diamond. And with the exception of very few days, that is all that I travel. The only time I have been outside, truly outside, not in a pretty pompous Courtyard, was when I ran away and woke up in the Scorch. If it wasn't for Beckett finding me on the side of the road and helping me find a home... I'm not sure what would have happened.

    I'm sure she figured it would end up one of Esco's girls. She probably figured better that then in the Depot or with the FatMan.

    When my eyes do eventually meet Esco's there was definitive panic there, plain as day.

    It takes me a second to get over the immediate fear and actually hear what Esco said. Equal partners? In what? And what about JD?

    "What do you mean, Equal Partners?"

    Did he think I was angling for a piece of the business, like Sasha? I was just doing what I've always done - listen and give advice.

  • edited December 2016
    I... Did I read that wrong?

    "Partners... Like you just keep doin' what you're doin', and I bring you in on a cut of the Diamond's profits. You've got a real mind for this line of work, and I like you — I think we offer each other a lot more than just the occasional mutually beneficial favor.

    I'm really confused... I'm watchin' her close, wonderin' what it is exactly that's brought this about.
  • OOC: Reading Sierra. Roll+Sharp.
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 3, 4. Total: 8)
  • I... be a partner? If I didn't know Esco's penchant for sleeping with his girls, I'd assume this is something he does. Not because I think that's who Esco is but because, well, no one has considered me valuable in that way before.

    "I..." Farthoom, am I actually speechless? I just don't understand, "What do you think I could offer you?"
  • edited December 2016
    That catches me off guard. I look up at her, and wait for her to laugh, or something. If she seriously can't see her own value, I'm not sure how to answer that...

    "I presume you mean beyond being a shrewd negotiator, knowing things about the cameras in our home, or knowing to play all the angles... Never mind whatever this is," I motion between us. "You've more than earned it with what you've done these last couple days."
  • I don't know what to do with that information. It's zaradann. I hold out my hands, like they have any answer. They don't. And the way he said our home like the irons was mine too.

    "I'm just talking. I've never been responsible for anything... I leave the "except Gloriana" unsaid. "And what about JD?"
  • I wave a hand dismissively, and lean back on the desk.

    "JD has his cut; but this is my joint, and this is as much an investment for me as it is an opportunity for you. If JD has a problem with it, he can take it up with the Fat stacks of jingle our joint venture would generate the lot of us. I relax a little. She may be coming around... I hope she is. "It's the way you talk, Sierra. The was you comport yourself. The way you think. You're a capable woman. You deserve the opportunity to make something for yourself — and I feel like I'm in a position to give you that opportunity. The whole of the Irons would stand to benefit from us workin' together."

    OOC: Spending my hold — how can I get Sierra to accept the offer?
  • Adam said:

    OOC: Spending my hold — how can I get Sierra to accept the offer?

    #1: Don't scare her off.

    Four hours ago she had sex with a man for the first time and she admitted she had been a personal slave since she was 5. Fracking you once isn't going to cure her overnight. She's done well in these high-stress situations, but she isn't exactly laden down by experience.

    This is much like the last question. Quelling her fears around what it is you expect her to do. Listening and understanding some of her past might help here. She's capable, yes, but she clearly needs help understanding the scope. She's new to the DVFP and it's players. Also, pay more attention to the benefits. the freedom of jingle, and not having to worry about food, wash and other comforts.

    But remember: Don't scare her off.

  • edited December 2016
    I nod, "I'll tell you what — take some time to think on it. I don't need an answer right now. This stuff with the Fat Man isn't normal business for me — most days it would be serving drinks, playing songs, and chatting with the girls when things are slow — but what it comes with is security." Seedy underbelly notwithstandin'.

    I motion around the room, "the Diamond is how I live in a place like this. It's given me good food, shelter, and enough jingle to occasionally fek about doin' whatever I feel like. A warm bath whenever I need it. Privacy when the world turns me sour. Luxuries the blazebrains work their arses off to have once in a blue moon."

    I pause a moment, and stand up from the desk. I make my way to her side, but I don't bother with touching her, in case she's still on the defensive. "Don't worry about the Fat Man right now. I'll take care of it. What would you be doin' today if all this hadn't happened?"
  • My head is spinning. I don't know what Esco wants, at first he's ready to fek Fat Man's shite up, then he's seriously... well I wouldn't say scared but concerned. Says he needs me. Now he doesn't want me worryin about it?

    Farthoom, I am starting to worry about him.

    But when I listen to the words he is saying, they seem for my benefit. Like he's trying to calm me down.

    It's sweet, in a way.

    "I'd be here, most like. Well, not here..." I lift my hand to gesture around the room. "but the Diamond." I turn to look him in the eye, leaning my head against the bookcase, letting my hair fall over my shoulder. He's suggesting giving me a part of his baby. I know what this place means to him. "You really think I'm worth bringing on as a partner? I mean it Esco, I've never done anything like this." The most I have ever considered myself was a part time musician.

    If I came on as a partner. I'd have something that was mine... it would men potentially going out into the world to defend it too. Maybe that's Esco's whole game. Give me a piece of something, hoping I'll protect it.

    Maybe he's just doing it so I'll stay.

  • edited December 2016
    I nod without hesitation when she asks if I think she's worth bringin' on.

    "Bringin' you on would make us both rich — no doubts — and you have been doin' stuff like this, pretty much the whole time you've been here. Especially these last few days, but even before them. You play songs. You lift the whole damn mine up with a smile." I lean in closer, still not touchin' her — respecting her boundaries in this turbulent conversation. "You go on. Go get a drink. Maybe play a song if you feel like it. Look pretty as you do at the bar. JD will make sure nobody lays a hand on you, like he always does. Do whatever it normally is you do. I'm benefiting from you bein' round — I figure it's only right you get compensated for it."

    I push myself off the bookshelf, and grab my jacket. "I don't like bein' blindsided by news like the Fat Man wanting to storm in here, and take over my business. I spend a lot of effort tryin' to keep this place off the radar of folks like the Fat Man... At least now we've got a plan, and a half-way decent one at that."

    Now I turn to face her, and reach out for her hand without taking it. " Go ahead and sit this one out. I'll go deal with the Fat Man, like we discussed — make it look like we're sufferin' to hand the Fat Man his tribute. When I get back, and you've had some time to see I'm right 'bout you bein' a natural fit here, we can pick up this conversation again, and talk about how we keep our bar safe from that fat fek." I'm all smiles — fek, if I can somehow swing gettin' Sierra in my bed, I just might be invincible.
  • I smile when he mentions JD. I don't know when that started, the boys looking after me, but it's been obvious for a long time. Who am I kidding? It was probably so the customers paid attention to the working girls.

    When he mentions going alone... I reach out my hand and put it in his.

    "I don't like being blind sighted either. Wait though, don't go. We should decide how we are going to beef up defense around here. We only have half a plan. And you said you need me right? Were you lyin?"

    Gorrem, I don't want to go, but I don't want to send him out there alone either. I don't want to find him barely alive like Reese, or worse, if I could have done anything about it. And if I am one of the owners...

    Something, something dangerous and powerful blooms in my chest - warm and inviting - a sense of realness. An inkling of home.
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