[DVFP] Consultations (J 3.4, S 3.3)

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June,
You spent a few hours training Missed at Fall On Inn, then parted ways to head back to High Rent to work on some projects. Rothschild took off to set up a few deals with some traveling merchants, leaving you alone in your flat. What did you end up working on?

It's late now and Rothschild still hasn't returned. You should probably be asleep by now. You heard some gunfire and a few bikes and cars racing around maybe fifteen minutes ago, but then it died down.
Why are you still up when the door opens up and Beckett walks in?

Sierra, the ride with Reese and Beckett was filled with music, DJ Gnarly broadcasts and excited conversation between Becks and Reese. Seems the two know each other relatively well and spend the time catching up. They chat with you, too, of course, but you're a little preoccupied, right? Beckett told you excitedly that her best buddy June knows some stuff about The Feed and promised to take you to her.

It's late at night when you come rolling into west gate at Depot. Beckett parks at the Depot Garage, and you see the guards are clearing a couple dead bodies from the area in front of the Garage. Beckett asked around when she parked, turns out the United Front had a small fight with the Skorpions and "some guy called Gigg".

You headed to High Rent in the chill of night, Reese walking close by and keeping an eye on you both, openly carrying his rifle over his shoulder and his magnums in their belt holsters. Beckett gave a nod to the High Rent guards and Reese had to turn over his shooters to get inside. Did you ask Reese to stay outside or have him come in with you?

Up some stairs and down a hall and Beckett opens up her door to a small apartment that has a wide open floorplan. Inside you see June.

What do you do?

Comments

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    When I get back from instructin' Missed, I check my brews and clean and prep some equipment for the cola whiskey that I think I'm goin' to start up tomorrow. I need to keep the vessels I've got workin' for me and get a rotation goin'.

    Why am I still up at this hour? Well, after brew prep I set down with the antenna I mugged off of DJ Gnarly. I want to see this critter's guts, check it for anythin' that might tattle to the outside, map it for my own use when the time comes. I overfocus on it, and get a good old case of insomnia.

    Beckett opens the door and I'm seated on a high stool, usin' the whole worktop to hold the spilled innards of the antenna in a semblance of order. My jacket and hat are hung up on the wall near the door, and my sleeves are rolled up and cuffed neatly, gloves over my knee. A few diagnostic wires hang from my head and attach to crucial junctions I want to test.

    The door opens up, and I don't look up right away, I think I can recognize the way Beckett turns the key in the lock already. Nash is hangin' over the door, and I amuse myself by thinkin' he might hop down on my enemies.

    "Beckett, pardon the mess, partner. See our new security detail above the door?"

    Wait that's more than one set of footsteps. I look up.
  • Even at night this is the most of the DVFP I have ever seen. I have to say, like Cinch said, it's beautiful. When we get the garage and see the bodies and stick a little closer to Reese, keep my head down, attempt to draw as little attention to myself as possible. When they mention Gigg, I look to Reese, but he doesn't seem too concerned.

    If Beckett doesn't mind I ask Reese to come up. I have no idea how long this will take and I'd rather keep him close by for now. I see June, before she sees me and I smile. I wasn't sure, but I had I feeling it was going to be June Weaver. I raise my hand in a wave. "Attlevey, June."
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    Sheetfire. I 'bout drop my 'driver. Quickly I look over the faces comin' in..Beckett, Reese..Sierra. Right here in my place, while I'm handlin' heavy contraband.

    "What's this?" I say, tossing a towel over the antenna as quickly and neatly as I can, then pluck the magnetic wire ends away from my head all at once. The beast of public interest is certainly here now, invading the local surveillance. I should step away from the table and draw attention from it, so I take my crutches up and do so.

    I could reach out to the Feed right now, see what's comin' with her. Listen for that thing, feel for warnings of the pressure from before. But would that make me vulnerable?

    "I didn't think I would ever see you again, Sierra." The words of a welcoming greeting with no welcome in them. I size her up like I'm seein' her for the first time again..if I pinged her, what would happen?
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    Beckett stares up at Nash for a moment, commenting, "He's handsome." June, you scramble to put things away, and Becket steps closer, "Hey Junebug, no need to worry!" She lowers her voice a little, "Sierra here needs your help to hide from The Feed. There's folks after her, and Reesie is watching her pretty back, but that isn't enough, you know?" She exhales, then apologizes, "Sorry for the lack of warning and all. Twas a long ride, and a big fight at the Garage we narrow missed."
  • edited January 8
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    "Hide from it?" My face sinks under the weight of incredulity. From what I can tell, the Feed cuts people off from their somatic nervous systems on her behalf, and really hiding from it's a challenge I haven't even engaged with myself. Ah. I'm answering my own questions. I rise back up a little and look past Beckett, into Sierra's eyes.

    A fight? Immediately I think of Claire, but the Garage isn't where the traders tend to make deals. Beckett's look as she describes it..seems impersonal to her, that's good.

    Not sure I want to say yes to this. Not sure I want to hustle them out, either.
  • edited January 8
    June's reaction to me is not what I would call positive. Given the last time I saw her though, which shit, was at the bar when Ziggy came in, I shouldn't be so surprised.

    I swallow thickly, but I don't step back. She's looking me over, but I honestly don't know what she's looking for. I open my mouth to speak and Beckett sort of jumps in for me. I smile at her, for her help. She really is a sweetheart.

    I look at June, this is, a huge step for me. In a lot of ways, this step, it's the only step I have to take. Unless I want to track the DJ down and from the sound of his show, I don't think that would be easy or wise. June is, sort of, my only hope.

    "Listen, June, I'm sorry for barging in. I'm sure, you probably don't want to see me, but... I really need help and I think, I think you're one of the few people who can. If you wouldn't mind hearing me out."
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    I'm still focused on Sierra, and a hand drifts to where my jacket pocket would hold my cigarettes at the ready..if I had them. Damn. "Reese, would you be a peach and throw me my cigs? You can take one as tribute if you like."

    "You're probably right, Sierra. But I wonder if you know what you're askin'. First, for the children takin' notes at home..Autonomous Surveillance Environments 100." I move into the kitchen and take a handful of flour to dust the counter with, then draw a rough shape. "Here's the general boundary of DVFP, right? Now, here in the center is the valley itself, which reaches temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. So all the life clusters on the hills and near the walls." I swipe in the middle and poke little dots out on the edges with a finger. I find myself missin' my gloves.

    "Every element of a surveillance network takes resources. Which two do you think are most important?" I hold up two flour-dusted, chalk-white fingers.
  • edited January 8
    I look at the flour and back at June. I'm following, I think, I didn't really have a formal education. However, I think it's obvious what she is implying. Plus, I know one or two things about the logistics of the DVFP from Gloriana.

    "The cameras and resources are disproportionately relegated to the population centers. Not including the satellites, which monitor the roads and the outlying areas for good footage." I draw lines crisscrossing over her image, without actually touching it. "I know what I am asking for might be impossible, but I'm never going to be safe unless I do."
  • edited January 8
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    "Tsk. Gettin' ahead of things. Equipment, includin' software, cameras, yes even satellites.. and expert labor." Well that defines her level of knowledge, more or less. Not bad, not impossible to work with.

    "Out in the wider world, there's so much data generated that it's overwhelming. House experts turn to computational solutions." Assuming Reese has done me a solid, I light and drag on my new cig. "Most cameras are, at any given moment, dumb things. Unobserved. Each individual one needs a connection to a network to be useful, and that connection is managed remotely via software."

    "That's all you get for free, spoken in the open." I hold out my right hand to her. "Now, convince me."
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    Reese did toss your pack to you after taking a one cig toll, which he puts away and doesn't light right now. He leans against the wall and hangs out, listening with interest, but staying out of the way.
  • She starts talking about computation solutions, networks and remote controls and I pay attention, try to remember the way she says it and the context. It's how I learned more than music and etiquette around Gloriana, slowly, by piecing together fragments of information till they made sense. This is really no different. The terms she is using, they are all words I have heard before, but I have no tangible idea for what they mean. Instead I store these relationships away, learning a little more. I think I am starting to get a good idea of what a networked-system is, although software is still a bit fuzzy.

    She reaches out her right hand as if waiting for something. For a second I am not sure what to do, then I remember my letter. "Oh, of course." I had anticipated this, that people would want to deal in paper instead of voicing everything out in the open. You can position a piece of paper so that no one can see it, even the DVFP cameras.

    I turn from her to dig through my bag, pulling out a few sheets of paper - my story really. I look at them, at June's pale hand, and place them near her palm. "That's... it isn't everything, but it's a start."
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    She looks at my hand. I feel for a moment like I've made a terrible mistake, opened myself up to some sort of attack. My gut tells my addled mind that there's no hostility. I'm tired and paranoid and irritated. But the threat of outside involvement here is real.

    Then I quietly watch her go through her bag and follow the paper from there to my hand with my eyes. I raise an eyebrow at her and skim the contents. "That's right, you're a lover of books, aren't you?"
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    Beckett heads into the kitchen-type area and gets everyone a glass of something to drink, then she sits on the couch and busies herself with taking off her boots. You two are still talking and it seems like you're "getting on", so she heads into the bathroom and washes up a little.
  • edited January 8
    OOC: The Letter

    June,

    Thank you for reading this and taking my case into consideration. I appreciate your time and your expertise, more than I can say. I suppose, where do I start. Perhaps, with why I am here - I am looking for a way to hide from the feed. To make myself invisible to the cameras in the DVFP. Which, I am honestly assuming you already know about. Or at least hope you do, because if you do not I am not sure there is anyone here who can help me.

    I suppose you will also want a reason why - I was not sent to the DVFP by trial. I was banished here as a means of temporary punishment by my Mistress. It was meant to be a way to humiliate and humble me. You see, I ran away - I embarrassed her and caused her pain. Gloriana of House Chimera and Sub-Warden of the DVFP is not used to disobedience. I ran because she was planning to make me her official consort, planning to breed me for heirs, and murder those she would have me sleep with. Gloriana could never stand to see another touch me and I could stand all the things she did to me, but I could not stand that. So I left.

    I had been her personal slave since I was five, most valued confidant since age eight, and lover since age twelve. But I have also been her victim. For all of my life that I can remember, I have never had choice. Then she put me here and that changed.

    All I want, all I am asking for, is a chance at a real life. As long as I am attached to the feed, I am being watched. I know, from Fippers, that I am a topic of great interest to the outside. I need help to disappear. Can you help me?

    Thank you,
    Sierra
  • I watch her read over my letter quickly, surprised and confused by her comment. Surprised she knew I loved books at all and confused because... "Is that not... not what you meant?"
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    "See," Reese says from his spot on the wall. "I think she's asking for payment. Some jingle. Depot dollars or barter." He gives you a nod, June, as if to say, "that is it, right?"
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    I shake my head a little as I smoke and read..I glance up into Sierra's sincere face. Gloriana. That's where she's from and how she can petition four polls in under a minute. I've heard how House higher-ups treat their live-ins..this seems excessive even for that. Bitterly, I think of how I'm supposed to be the pervert. "I rarely did read much fiction back home.." I muse.

    She sees living here as an opportunity to be free. And I can assume, right now, that the Sub-Warden of this whole place is watchin' her lil' lamb converse with me, wonderin' what I'm still capable of. I fold up the letter and hand it back to Sierra. When she takes it, my open hand is still hangin' there.

    "We'll talk payment later, depending on what I decide. Take my hand."
  • I look at her hand, and I think about giving her the same warning I have given everyone who has touched me in the last two months. Namely, that it is dangerous, but she read my letter - so she knows.

    I bite my lip, which really, I need to train myself to stop doing. JDs voice rings through my head - I don't know why she needs my hand, but I'm not the one in control here. I swallow, nod and place my hand in hers.
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    "Good, now then.." I clasp my hand around hers, gently, not so she can't pull away. Her skin is petal-soft in my damaged hand. She's brave enough to touch me, so let's discover if she's brave enough for more. "Don't panic." I strum into her mind.

    "The truth is, even if you broke free of this place, you would not be free from surveillance."

    "The truth is, freedom from surveillance is a process and not a destination. Just like any other freedom, really. You need to be the one in charge of this process, for if you surrender it, you will be in someone else's control." I watch her eyes and give her a moment to breathe. If nothing else, she needs to hear this, even if I have more to say.
  • Her hand is cold, but solid in mine. Her voice, and it is her voice, is in my head. My eyes widen and my breath goes shallow.

    Don't panic. Good advice. I'm trying really hard to follow it.

    Her mouth is saying something, but the voice in my head, it's louder. It grafts itself on top of the physical sentence, making her purpose clear.

    "I... I'm not sure..."

    "You are, I've heard of people like you. I don't... I don't know what you mean. How can I control the process?" My hearts in my throat. I can't calm my thinking. "This is... I was told... I didn't really think people like you existed. This is amazing."
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    "Shhh, don't despair, this only means you have to grow up, now. Breathe."

    I can feel her rabbit heart, racing under her discovery. "There aren't supposed to be people like me. But what about you? It's a wide world, gettin' wider." I pause, remembering Diamond. I've only heard rumors that I had dismissed, myself, about that kind of thing. I push away thoughts about how to solve the energy problems involved..after all, what if I solve them?

    "When I say you have to be in charge of this process, I mean be in charge of you. If you let it become someone else's responsibility, they'll use your need to feel safe to control your ability, and your body. Be damn careful who you tell about Gloriana, as well. Imagine someone with power leveraging your life against someone who controls conditions here."

    I with my left hand, I drag on my cig and then rest it carefully on the sink. The smoke I blow well away from Sierra's face as I consider my next words. "I held out from surveillance for years, doin' high crimes. But then I was caught. You need to shift your goals."

    "I'm a week or so away from being able to shield you from surveillance. That requires equipment and energy. But it would have to become my whole vocation to work like I assume you want it to. If you have that sort of wealth, come see me. I can put jingle to use like you wouldn't believe." I take a sip of the cold tea I've had prepped.

    "As it is, I can still help you in smaller ways. I'm deadly curious about you. Gloriana, is she still obsessed with you? Because really. If you make her a pain in her superior's side.." I pluck my cig back from the sink and return it to my mouth, grinnin', raise a brow.
  • edited January 8
    I take a deep breath in, I have to concentrate on both what I say and what I think. I look into her eyes and calmly say "I really thought you'd be able to help me."

    When she asks me what I am, my heart stutters.

    "Skinner. That's what she called me, at least. Have you, have you ever met anyone like me?" When she mentions people using me, my body, my ability because of Gloriana, I move to pull away, but her grip is solid. So I still. "What do you mean, my abilities? I've only told two other people about Gloriana... you... you are by far the most dangerous."

    I'm shaking a little, but I widen my stance and try to keep it together. Keep my knees bent, my shoulders straight. It's how I stood when I was being punished, or tested, it helps to keep you upright.

    She says she can help me, but then no... I don't know what she means. I move my feet. "What would I shift them too? I had no other options."

    "I don't know... how much jingle are we talking? I can sing and play, I can earn my keep." I sigh when she makes it clear it's probably more than I could make. I... I don't even really know how much anything costs out here.

    "I... yes. Yes, she thinks, she thinks I want to come home. She sent fippers to the Irons to hurt Esco because,because she thought he was a threat. I'm not exactly safe to know."

    I take the drink Beck's hands me and give her a smile. I take a sip and it's delicious but most definitely non-alcoholic."There is nothing you can do?"

    She raises her eyebrow at me and I almost answer out loud. I open my mouth, but I bite my lip instead.

    "Hoolies, this is zaridann, how would I make life hard for her superiors? And what do you mean, smaller things you could do?"
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    "I can't help you. You should come back, talk to me about books, though."

    I feel her moods shift through her hand. She even changes her stance to keep up with the pressure..it's tempting to soften and let her recover more, and it's tempting to give her no space to breathe at all. "I'm a sack of rattlers, girl. But you might be more dangerous than I am."

    In the end, it all comes back to the psycho-sympathy papers, doesn't it? The ones where I dared talk about meshing and sex. "I've never met someone like you before. I've only heard rumors that I didn't believe. Back at Diamond, when you stripped, the Feed pounded down on me like an ocean wave. I should be thankin' you, though. You woke me up."

    "You need to focus on making your time here worthwhile, is all."

    Fippers hurt Esco? Ah, that cut lip. Sounds like it could have been bad but turned into play-play.

    I nearly tut at her when she opens her mouth at the wrong point, but then she bites her lip. I've got to glance aside and breathe in.

    "What I mean is, I can give you some temporary relief from surveillance. Help you end up in unexpected places. Train you. Give you advice. As to Gloriana, it's just the kernel of an idea, but if she's obsessed with you, you can make her waste DVFP resources. If that makes work for her bosses, then she might be ousted."

    I release Sierra's hand, slowly. "Y'all can spend the night. If you like. And if Beckett approves. I'm sure you came straight here."
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    "Yeah, I approve. O' course, it'll be crowded in here, an I aint givin up my bed. I'll sharrre it, though. heh." Beckett give you a grin and a wink, Sierra, but then she looks over to Reese and grins, too.

    Becks looks back at you, June, "Where's Roth?"
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    I chuckle and shake my head. "I'll take the couch, I suppose." It's a premature offer, but whatever.

    "Roth went to hustle with some traveling merchants. I really expected her back by now, though." With a command that takes less effort than a thought, a number pops up in my vision again. 12:57
  • She let's go of my hand and even with the slow release it feels sharp, like a sense is just taken away - like I suddenly can't smell or taste or see. I step back, light headed.

    "Thank you, both of you." I say trying to sound disappointed and not confused. But I am confused - I could be more dangerous than her? How? She also doesn't tell me anything about cost or time or...

    And the idea of messing with Gloriana, it feels like betrayal. It also seems like it would get me yanked out of here for bad behavior, unless I learned to hide. Which I guess is what June is offering.

    I can't think about where, I'm sleeping. But given the back and forth in the car, Reese should have the pleasure of Beck's company. But I smile at Beck's teasing.

    "What kind of books do you read?" I say, bringing my attention back to June. I bring my cup back to my mouth, take a full sip. My throat is weirdly dry. What I really want to do is reach back out and continue our conversation.

    She... she might know what I am. Frack, I feel jing tian dwohn di. I finish my tea and turn to Reese - "Maybe we should find a place to play?" I look around at June and Beck's, "Know anyplace with a piano?"
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    I lean back against the kitchen counter, propping myself up a little more easily than before, dip my cig out in a few drops of standing water in the sink. Sierra's hands are still shaking. I feel like I've jumped a bull myself, and take a matching drink. "I was mostly exposed to classics in school. I have an odd affection for The Whale. Couldn't make it through Ulysses, though."

    It's late, but I'm more awake than an hour ago. I want to puzzle on what I've done in the past few minutes..but Beckett has plucked at my worry.

    I roll my sleeves down and knock the last of the flour dust off my hands before grabbing my jacket. "I think they have a piano downstairs at the bar. Am I remembering right, Beckett?" I set my hat down on my head. "I can show you now. I'm goin' to look for Rothschild, if anyone would come with me, I'd appreciate it." Last, my gloves. I glance at Sierra and Reese.
  • "I brought my entire library. I have the Iliad, some Shakespeare, an entire book of TS Eliot." I sit down on the arm of the couch and, yeah, it's a real couch which, is derisann for the DVFP. What is this place?

    June mentions going with her and my head perks up like a dog catching sent. "Of course, I don't normally get to sleep till 2-3am, bar hours, you know?"
  • edited January 9
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    "Been forever since I had my hands on a proper book. Shakespeare..what's your favorite play?"

    I wave her along with me. "Goodness, I remember bein' on those hours durin' my university days."
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    Beckett's pulling off some of her outer clothes. "Junebug, I need some winks. If you need a ride, you get me, I'm there lickety, but I'm spent. Alright?" Her tone's apologetic, but she does look wiped. June, if you push, she'll throw on clothes and boots and join you. Do you?

    Reese pushes himself off the wall and heads for the door. "I'm good to go. We can check out that piano, then head out to find Roth. Let's stay smart, though. Lots of rough folks out at night, and the guards at night are the rookies or the fug-ups."
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    "Get your winks, Beckett, we have this in hand." I smile in acceptance of her apology.

    "Thank you, Reese. I'll keep my eyes open."

    I lead us all down to the bar. Either it's got a piano or I'm conflating the place with the Diamond a bit.
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    A player piano, actually. It isn't on right now, they're piping in some soft jazz. There are half a dozen folks sitting in here sipping drinks, most of them merchants. Rothschild's here, too. She's face down on one of the tables, still sitting in a chair, her right hand holding a half-empty glass. She must have passed out at some point, and nobody moved her.
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    First things first, I check her pulse and pupils, leaving Sierra and Reese wherever they are. They're adults and can handle it, I'm sure. "Rothschild? Come on, look sharp." I lean myself on the table, down on one knee with a grunt, and take her face in my hands.
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    June,
    It takes a moment before her eyes open. She blinks slowly, then focused on you a little. "Junnne." Her voice slurs. "I got... I got drunk. Wait... why aren't we... home?" She turns her head slightly, then looks around with her eyes instead when movement is a bit too much.
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    I stroke her head gently. "I'm not sure, but we can fix that right quick." I glance around at the people idlin' by here. Nobody's made sport of her, but nobody helped her back to the room, either. I slide the glass away from her hand.

    "Do you think you can walk, darlin'? If not, we have some friends to help."
  • edited January 9
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    June,
    She blinks a few times, screws her eyes up, then smacks her lips. "June... Junnne, I'm in trouble." She moves like she's going to get up, but gets only a few inches up before giving up and sitting back down again.
  • I think over the question on our way down to the bar. Not sure what this place is called, no sign or anything, but before we step in I answer "Mid-Summer Nights Dream, but my copy is missing a few pages. What about you?"

    I expect an answer but then June's focus goes to a pin-point on a girl with zaridann makeup and a shaved head. She's pretty and I am pretty sure it must be Roth, that or a lover, or maybe both? Me, my attention goes to the piano.

    I turn to Reese, "Think you can get us an introduction to the manager here?"
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    Sierra,
    "Of course, no problem, this is Peppering." He walks over, gives Peppering a "guy nod", "Hey there. been a while, I'm Reese. This is Sierra, she's a songbird, and she can play that piano, too. Better than you've ever heard." He gestures towards the piano with a nod.

    Reese notices the shaved-head girl almost fall and moves over towards you. "Just a sec."
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    "S'truth, the floor is gon' catch you that way." I tease at Roth to keep her from passing out again, but give Reese a pleading look. When it comes to gettin' Roth to the elevator, I'm goin' to be useless.

    "Thank you, Reese. Me gettin' her to the room by myself would be a real tragicomedy.."
  • I watch Reese leave and think about following, but I don't want to make a bad impression. I smile at Peppering.

    "Nice to meet you, Mr. Peppering. I'm great at bringing in customers. I used to regularly double the clientele at the Diamond, the bar in the Irons. I'm new in this part of the DVFP and I'm looking for something steady. What do you think about giving me a shot?"
  • edited January 9
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    Sierra,
    Reese heads over to help that girl for June and Peppering gives you a smile. He's not half bad-looking. He's in his thirties, with a decent build and good teeth. "Nice to meet you, Sierra. It's a little late for playing anything lively. You want to play a little now?"

    June,
    Reese hustles over to help Rothschild stand. When she slumps again, he picks her up by pulling her arm around his neck. You see him shift his weight and grunt when he settles on his prosthetic, but he grits his teeth and looks back towards Sierra."Take care of her while I help her up? I'm sure Beckett will let us in, and I'll come back down shortly."
    Rothschild looks back at you, June, bleary-eyed and anxious not to be "taken away". What do you do?
  • edited January 9
    Hoolies, I don't know why, but I honestly thought it would be harder than this. "Absolutely, something low-key, coming right up."

    I'm not getting as many stares as normal, which I think it s because Mr. Preening is very good at getting booze to his patrons. But, there are a few shark like grins out there and I do my best to ignore them. My heart is beating a million miles a minute, but when I get to the piano, it all calms down. I run my fingers on the keys and turn off the auto-play. I hit my first cord and it rings bright and true. The piano at the Irons may have been a tad nicer, which really I'll have to ask JD for that story one day, but this one, she'll play a good tune.

    I lick my lips, hit the cord again, and begin.



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    I beckon Reese back. "Let's stay for the song, Reese, I think the skitter she's got will sink in if she's dragged back up alone." I pull a second chair next to the one Roth was in and settle down in it, he can drape her over my lap or I can keep her propped up, at least.

    "That leg, tell me about it."
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    Sierra,
    Shark grins shift and people watch you play, you can feel their eyes on you. A ritzy place like this, you've got to imagine a few cameras here, right? Watching. They're all watching you.

    June, Reese lets Rothschild lean against you, she's practically painted on. She kisses your neck sloppily, murmuring unintelligibly. Reese coughs, standing there for a moment before he moves around the table to sit down himself.
    The white tablecloth obscures his leg, but he does answer, "I was riding on top of the Borax Bus coming out of The Irons, we were making a run for Bordertown East before Ziggy came rumbling in for a toll. We got hit by raiders, actually, two of them. A driver and a big fella with a hockey stick and a mask."

    He shrugs like "nothing you can do", "The bus rolled, and my leg was crushed. Cinch brought me into The Irons, and Fleece cut it off. She gave me this new one. I owe a bunch of folks... I'm lucky to be alive."
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    With an arm around Roth, I'm listening to Reese's story and Sierra's playin'..I accept Roth's affection but don't encourage her further. Just tryin' to keep her awake till it's time to go.

    I shake my head. "Sounds like a trial. You're still getting used to it, I take it?"
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    June,
    "Yeah. Fleece gave me a salve for the wound, it's still healing. I won't win any footraces, but I can get around." He gives you a bit of a pleading look, "Please don't mention it to See - I mean Sierra. She's got enough on her plate." He turns when Sierra finishes her song and claps when he sees Peppering clap, like it's a big of permission.

    "Junnnne," Rothschild whines lightly into your ear. "I'm. I'm in trouble." She paws at your shirt, searching for the tie, sniffles.


    Sierra, you finish the song and Peppering claps a little, respectful of the chill tone of the atmosphere or he'd clap a little more. Reese joins him, and the rest of the room is warmer to you. Looks like Peppering wouldn't mind another song, but he isn't asking for one right now. What do you do?
  • I finish the song and hoolies it felt good. I feel the cameras on me, and I hope if Gloriana isn't getting the hint by now, that the feed is. I need popular opinion on my side.

    I smile at Peppering, as I look for Reese and June - the girl on June's lap, Gorrem, looks like graks. I'd like to give another song a try, but if they're waiting on me and I'm taking advantage of June's hospitality, I really shouldn't keep them. What is it Gloriana used to say before a concert? Always keep them wanting more.

    I stand up and smile at the crowd, making my way to Peppering. "So, what did you think?"

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    "You shouldn't overdo it, but on the other hand you'll need to be on it at least some part of every day. If you need someone to talk about it, come see me." I just give him a nod when he asks me not to tell Sierra.

    I clap a bit with the rest of them, softly and with an eye on keepin' Roth upright. Mostly her weight is on my chest, so I'm not terribly worried, but prudence is called for.

    "You're safe here, Roth, but..tell me 'bout your trouble." I guide my tie-end into her hand.
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    June,
    Reese nods, appreciative of the offer for help, but you're doubtful he'll take you up on it. He seems about as stubborn as you from first blush.
    Rothschild holds onto your tie like a lifesaver and pulls just enough to raise up from your chest. She slurs, "I'm... I'm gonna hurt you, June. I hurt the people... all the people." She sniffs, raises up to try and meet your eyes with her now watery own. "All of the ones who matter. I... I hurt them." Her mouth hangs open for a moment, then, "I should go. But I... I can't."


    Sierra,
    Peppering grins, "That's the best that piano's sounded since I started here, Sierra. I can't pay much, but I can offer you a place to sleep, food to eat, and a few drinks a night on the house. Plus, whatever tips you make are yours. Sound fair?" Sierra, you notice that shaved-head girl is blubbering to June about something, and Reese looks your way, he's calm, but probably very uncomfortable.
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    I pull a kerchief out of my jacket pocket for her, wonderin' if she's sober enough to blow her nose. This could be so sad right now, of course it is sad..but I can't help myself, I'm amused. I make a face of pure gentle effeminate shock. "Why, Rothschild, that makes us two peas in one pod. You're like a mirror into my soul. A short one I can't check my shoes in."

    Most short people, in my experience, cannot stand to be reminded. Maybe she'll be distracted from her melancholy while we get her upstairs, and then she can cry on me while we're on the couch. "So you may as well stick around."
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    June,
    She slowly moves forward towards your face, her head wavering. "I am not. Sssshort. You're. Really tall. That's different." She stabs a finger out to point towards Sierra, "I'm as tall as singerlady! Be taller if.... if my hair grew out!" She exhales through her nose, like a dragon. "I'll stick. But I'll hurt you, June. I should go.... but like I said, I can't leave." She languidly closes her eyes, then lays her head on your shoulder.
    Reese stands, then moves around to be ready to pick her up. She's about gone, you could get her out of here now, probably.
  • I give him a half-smile and nod. "For now." If I start bringing in a lot of people, then I'm going to ask for a cut of drinks, but that can wait till I get a following... if I get a following. "You have a deal if that includes Reese over there." I nod at Reese and smile. "We are a package deal."
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    Sierra, let's see you Manipulate Peppering for this better deal.
  • OOC: Dice don't fail me now!

    (Rolled: 2d6+4. Rolls: 6, 1. Total: 11)
    Inc +1 for Gathering Info

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    Sierra, Peppering purses his lips in thought, then asks, "He ever worked security before? I could use a bouncer."
  • edited January 10
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    "You're cute and your hair is cute." I ignore her threats for now.

    Chuckling indulgently, I help Reese get sorted with her and get ready to walk up with them.

    "Thank you again for helping us. I thought this would be a little more rough and tumble out in the Depot itself, but I'll take it." I don't waste breath defending myself or Rothschild to Reese.

    I get the chairs facing back to their positions when I'm fully stood up.
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    June,
    "I agree, better than heading out at this time of night," Reese says while pulling Rothschild up into his arms. He grunts a little with the effort and settling back, but then he's ready to move.
    "Sierra," Reese says as he starts walking towards the exit. "Be back in a few minutes."
  • edited January 10
    I look at Reese and nod. "Security is actually Reese's thing. I'm sure he'd be amiable to the job." I wish that Reese or June was with me now, cause I just don't know the Depot or really any of it's twists and turns. Not that June owes me anything like that... but I feel a bit like I am negotiating a maze with a blindfold over my eyes. "Where would we be staying and how often are you looking for someone to play?"
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    I tip my hat to Reese and then walk my way over to Sierra to keep an eye on her like he asked me to. Feels fair with him takin' care of Roth. I overhear the last bit that Sierra says - good stuff, sounds like she's makin' some ends and meetin' 'em.

    I look over at Sierra, comparing where she comes up on me to how far Roth makes it, then wave a brief greeting to Peppering.
  • edited January 10
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    Sierra,
    "I've got a free room on the ground floor. It's for staff, one bed, one cot, one bathroom. No windows. You two would need to share it. for every night you sing, you eat and drink the next day on the house. If you don't sing for a week, then I charge you a barter to stay in the room. Seem fair enough?"

    He notices you approach, June, "Everything alright with your friend? She didn't want any help earlier, so I made sure nobody messed with her."
  • edited January 10
    I smile and stick out my hand, "Seems shiney enough, I think we have a deal."

    I look over my shoulder and what do you know, I thought and the devil cometh'. I smile warmly at her, "Your friend alright?"
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    "Rothschild will be better after a night's sleep and several glasses of water." I say to the both of them. "It sounds like you've worked out an agreement?"

    "Thank you for looking after her, Peppering. How long was she here?"
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    Sierra,
    "No problem, Ms. Weaver," Peppering says sharply, "Your friend's name is Rothschild? She was here for a couple hours. Drank at the bar, then headed over to the table there. She wasn't too chatty. She turned down a couple guys who stopped by to talk to her, but she was too far gone, so if she'd started to leave, I would've said something. I knew she was your friend." He gives a nod, like "I got you".
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    Still the dull urge to correct him into saying 'Doctor.' A year and a half isn't that long after all.

    I nod back, "Well, I do appreciate it. You're goin' to get first crack at my next batch o' goods."

    I turn to Sierra and say, "Sounds like you've got a room all sorted. My offer stands if you think you still need it. I'm 'bout ready to get to sleep..want to walk me back to 220? I'm sure we'll catch Reese on the way."
  • I nod. "We are getting sorted. How about Reese and I come down tomorrow Mr. Peppering? Get the key and work out a schedule."

    I turn to June, "Of course, let's." I move to June's side and nod back at the owner of... oh geks I still don't know the name of the place. "Tomorrow?"
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    I'm actually more than a little surprised that she's still takin' me and Beckett up on the room. But maybe she needs to negotiate some things with Reese and this helps her do that.

    I'll turn to go and wait till Peppering gives Sierra her confirmation to start our way out. "Oh. By way of return to our conversation, before I dropped my thread..my favorite play of The Bard's is Othello."
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    Peppering nods, agreeing to handle your room and your services on the morrow.
  • edited January 11
    Othello, where the innocent die at the hands of the manipulated. A dark tale of people hating what is different and good. I look at her as we start up the stairs. "Interesting choice. Who's your favorite character?"

    We get to the stair and put my hand out, purposefully, to help her up. Hoping she takes it.

    "I hope you don't mind me sleeping on the floor, I just think there might be something there for Beck's and Reese, you know?"
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    "That's a difficult question. I suppose I like Othello's own lines the best, but the role of Emilia strikes me sometimes."

    I glance at her hand, then reach out to accept it. I'd prefer the elevator, really, but I can see Sierra's game here.

    "Beckett has been so sporting about Rothschild and me, I think she deserves a little help, too." I've still got an eyebrow raised for her. The floor? Well I can't let that just be that. Wouldn't be hospitable.
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    Managing a flight of stairs isn't too difficult together. When you come into the hallway, Reese is there, headed your way. He looks at you, Sierra, silently asking what's up?
  • edited January 12
    I don't know if there is a role for me in Othello, I'm sure some would think of me as Emelia. Though June cautioned about not becoming Othello. I shake my head, it's not a clean comparison.

    When I feel her hand in mine, I feel something else too. Almost like a low buzz, and the smell of ozone. It feels like waking up. I concentrate on the steps and don't look at her, working on making this look as natural as possible.

    "Why do you think I might be more dangerous than you? No offense, but the things you can do... all I do it look pretty and sing."

    "Almost there."
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    Sierra is no longer quite the human question mark I vaguely knew of a few weeks ago, instead here is a thirsty mind and nimble sympathies. Are we two strings speaking or am I simply on a high wire? I keep myself focused.

    "Really, some days are better than others, but it's late, so..thank you."

    "Do you really know that to be true? First, what do you think I'm capable of? I guarantee you the reality is smaller. I have limitations, and people usually understand something is happening to them."
  • edited January 12
    Hoolies, so, she does something to people. Is she doing something now, I wonder.

    "Of course." I say smiling in her direction.

    "I know very little about what you can actually do. I know what you have promised me you are capable of. I know that I have never experienced anything like I am experiencing now. Farthoom, it is incredible though."

    Breathe.

    "I'm was referring more to what your mind and skill can accomplish. You warned me of people who could use me, don't take offense, but if you were so minded you seem like one of those people. Learning, there is something beyond your ability with the feed, that you personally do, to people... as you have just told me. Well, that just further proves your worth and the danger associated."

    I see Reese coming in the hallway and nod towards the door. "Come on handsome, you get the bed. Consider it a thank you."

    Breathe. My hand is starting to shake a bit, but I push through it. Ignore it. This is what I was looking for. I can't be scared of it now. It's that or go back to Glori.

    "But I don't care about the danger. Like I said, I am dangerous to know too. But, if you can help me, June. Let me know what it will cost and I will pay it.""
  • edited January 12
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    Reese seems to sense your nerves, Sierra. His brows furrow and he looks at you closely, "You sure? Where... where are you sleeping?" He turns to walk slightly ahead of you, waits for June to open the door and walks in.
    Beckett's already asleep, her clothes tossed aside and she's deeply gone. Rothschild's laid on the couch, too, she's snoring lightly, her boots removed but otherwise clothed and under a sheet.
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    Hoho, I just got played by miss 'I've heard things'. I can't help it, I chuckle low and shake my head at myself.

    "Look at you and your conversational sleights. No offense taken, I told you I was a sack of rattlers. It's damned temptin', Sierra, I'm not goin' to lie - my imagination lights up with the things we could accomplish together. But I feel like, ultimately, you're after the same kind of things I am, and I respect that."

    I unlock the door for all of us and hang up my coat and hat again, and free myself from my tie with a little image in my mind of Roth findin' it in her sleep. I get to work pulling out a spare blanket and some cushions for Sierra, while cautioning these two to be quiet. I've still got a nice thick rug that I used to cover up the stone walls that housed me in the Irons, too.
  • I furrow my brow and immediately admonish myself for doing so. I gently school my features into a more neutral look. But she still didn't answer the question regarding payment.

    I turn to Reese, whispering, "Of course, I slept on an oil drum for two months - the floor won't be a problem." That's when I notice June.

    "Really, you don't have to go out of your way."
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    "If I leave you on bare floor I won't be able to sleep, be hearin' my mother yellin' at me all night." I pat her shoulder.

    "I'm expensive. Sometimes you might be poised to do me a favor, and I'll gladly accept them. To give you a place silent from the Feed, a jingle a hit - can't be here, can't be where I do business. To train you, a jingle a week. To pop you up someplace else, two jingle."

    I gently slide Roth's legs over enough so that I can sit down.
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    Reese seems altogether uncomfortable with you taking floor, Sierra, but he does move over to the bed to sit down and go through the trouble of removing the straps on his leg to loosen them, then he pulls the covered stump and lets out a low whoosh of air like a sigh, whisper quiet.
    Rothschild doesn't react to her legs being moved other than curling up into a bit of a fetal position. She moans lightly at something, probably in her sleep.
  • "I have two jingle now, and I'll keep making more. But, I want to know how to fish, meaning I'd prefer to be trained to do this. But, I'll happily barter favors, act as low-threat security even, you've seen what I can do. Anything that, well, that isn't going to cost in blood. I'm done with that, if I can be."

    I give Reese his space and don't look, I know it's something he'd rather not have me pay much mind to. And I won't, until I need to.

    I sit on the cushions at the edge of the sofa bed. "Thank you, you really didn't have to... " I nod at the sleeping girl and smile. "She seems like a livewire."

    Once I hear the rustle of the covers I turn to Reese. "Got us both gigs and a place, if you don't mind bunking with me. Room, food, drinks - as long as I play and you act as security. I get to keep tips. I figure, if I can start generating following... I can push to get a cut of the bar tab on nights I advertise I'm performing." I shrug. "If."



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    I nod in response to Sierra more or less calling it a deal, pondering how I can do all this without getting myself neck deep in blazes. I suppose this makes Sierra my second customer.

    I smile affectionately at Claire and nod again, peelin' down to my undershirt and drawers slowly and carefully and then tuckin' myself in with her, gentle and easy.

    There's chatter I can hear as I drift off, wonderin' if I'll have to hold Claire's hair back..metaphorically.
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    "I don't mind bunking with you, See." Reese whispers. "Just hope you don't snore or anything like that."
    That seems to cue up a nasal snoring-like noise from Beckett, who rolls over in her covers and saws a log. Reese sighs and laughs at himself, then moves up to lie beside her on the bed.
    June, as you snuggle in with Rothschild, the two of you barely fitting on the couch, she mumbles quietly in a half-asleep tone, "June..." she says. "I'm in trouble... I love you, June."


    End Scene
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