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Author Topic: Tech Support  (Read 194 times)

Description:
Tech Support
« on: September 08, 2018, 01:54:24 PM »
If Jo tried really hard, Beylix smelled almost like home.

Almost.

While Beaumonde's air had been heavy with smog from its countless factories, Beylix's signature smell was a mixture of rusting metal, exhaust from jury-rigged ships being taken for a spin, and something else Jo couldn't quite put his finger on, something that should've been objectively unpleasant but felt familiar to him. Almost comforting. Jo hated the fact that the smell of industrial waste filled him with nostalgia, but that was the grotesque truth. The same pollution that had made Beaumonde's air unbreathable at times had given its sunsets an unrivaled vibrancy. The Beylix twilight he walked through now seemed dull in comparison.

Jo had tried to settle down several times after leaving his home world, only to grow restless and move on. Beylix had seemed promising at first: It was a garbage dump of a planet that nobody paid much attention to, least of all the feds. For a while he'd felt at peace here, like he was just another piece of junk that laid forgotten behind the civilization's back. That didn't sound like a good thing on paper, but it was for someone looking to lay low and leave his past behind.

Now, after being stuck here for several weeks, Jo was starting to feel that familiar anxiety settle in. Lately he'd been only exiting his motel room in the evening. He didn't know if it was actually any safer than going out during daytime, or if stepping out during daytime was any more dangerous than waiting until nightfall. Part of him realized he was being paranoid; hell, he was being downright egoistic if you really stopped to think about it. The feds had bigger fish to fry than one failed whistleblower who'd pulled a half-assed Robin Hood stunt and disappeared into the night.

And yet he couldn't stop worrying. The human brain was stupid that way: the logical conclusion could be right in front of it, and it still insisted on complicating things with its emotions and all those other pesky quirks. That's why Jo had chosen to become an engineer instead of a psychologist -- although now he was neither.

Today was yet another day Jo had spent cooped up in his room until he could no longer ignore the rumbling of his stomach. He'd taken a little evening walk to get a breath of (relatively) fresh air and some more susbtantial nourishment than the protein bars he snacked on during the day. He purchased his usual dinner from a vendor down the street from the motel: stringy noodles with meat of unknown origin, drenched in a very potent sauce that was undoubtedly meant to mask the sketchy taste of the ingredients. It hadn't made Jo sick yet, and so it was good enough for him.

With the overflowing cardboard container in hand, Jo returned to his motel as fast as he could. There was no reason to linger and take in the sights. He'd already seen everything this corner of Beylix had to offer: scrapyards, a dingy watering hole he didn't dare to step in, a small dock for ships that usually hailed from another busier part of Beylix instead of landing directly here.

He hurried up the stairs and made a beeline for his door, keeping an eye out for any other guests who might suddenly pop out from their rooms and try to make small-talk. Thankfully, he didn't run into anybody. Like the flickering neon sign in the yard announced, there was always vacancy here. That's something Jo liked about this place -- it wasn't exactly a tourist attraction. On the other hand, most of the visitors who did stay here were only passing through, and that wasn't such a good thing. With every day he lingered here, he was sticking out more and more, a permanent fixture in a landscape full of temporary visitors. Soon the locals would start getting suspicious of the quiet outsider who was sticking around for no apparent reason. Maybe he could get a job on one of the scrapyards; he did have the experience. And yet, he found himself resisting taking that step. Something about it seemed too... permanent. Like a scary point of no return, an admittance that this was it for him.

Jo found his room as he'd left it: sparse and depressing. His tech junk had been set up in one corner, but other than that the room was tidy. Jo's surroundings only ever got messy when he got too immersed in a project to clean, and he'd had nothing to immerse himself in lately. The last job he'd taken had been helping a hospital worker cover her tracks after she stole some Allied medicine to distribute to some poorer citizens who could not afford it. It had been simple; all Jo'd had to do was fiddle with the hospital records, erase a few shipments from the inventory and it was like they'd never been there in the first place. Nobody would know to miss them if they weren't written down somewhere. The Alliance had plenty of goods to go around, they just didn't want to share.

That had been months ago. Since then, he hadn't really been doing anything constructive. Just waiting. For what, he didn't know. To die of boredom? For his money to run out? For fate to unexpectedly come knocking on his door and drop an opportunity in his lap? Fat chance on that last one.

When he went to wash his hands in the cramped bathroom, Jo paused to study his face in the mirror. He'd attempted to grow a beard in the hopes of disguising himself (as if he was that wanted of a man), but it was about time he admitted defeat. His patchy facial hair wasn't enough to make him look unrecognizable, just slightly more disheveled. I don't have the genes for this outlaw gig, he thought. He was clearly designed to sit in an office, clean-shaven and overworked. Too bad that career path hadn't panned out.

He made a mental note to shave his sorry excuse for a beard when he got the chance. For now, however, he turned his attention to his sad, sad dinner.

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2018, 07:53:29 PM »
Melody was angry. Perhaps a little more so than usual, and when she found herself feeling this way, the woman tended to make all sorts of bad decisions, ones that were likely to get her into a fair deal of trouble. Although, really, trouble wasn't a stranger to the Alliance pilot, in fact she welcomed it like an old friend. However, this type of trouble was one she hadn't yet met. Her friend's court marshal and subsequent discharge had left a sour taste in her mouth, but she'd been able to continue with her duties, sabotaging little things here and there out of spite and petty vengeance. However, the Broadcasts were too much. Several of her friends had gone AWOL following the outpouring of information washing over the Alliance and now Melody was looking for her chance to whip things into a frenzy before she'd be on her way as well. As far as she was concerned, the Alliance could get humped.

She'd been formulating a plan for months now, trying to think of what she could do and what resources she would need in order to make any kind of dent in the Alliance's massive ego. It had to be big enough that they'd actually notice, but perhaps not so big that they'd come after her with tooth and claw. But in order to do anything, she needed information. Thanks to her friend's prior stint as a smuggler, Melody had started to take notice of just about every shady little dealing going on behind the big wig's backs and it was one particular clerical mistake that had her heading to Beylix while on leave, something she wasn't looking forward to but knew to be necessary. Beylix wasn't the best vacation location but it had what she needed and so she'd have to ensure the smells and the people.

After discovering a lapse in the records at a particular Alliance hospital, the pilot had made her way there and poked around until she'd found the source. Of course, it took a lot of convincing to assure the nurse that she wasn't there to punish her or rat her out to the feds, but when all was said and done she'd walked away with the contact information of one tech Robin Hood. It didn't take much searching, with the resources she had available to her, to find where he'd holed up. She'd had to chase down official records and then work her way through the underground after her own information had run dry. He was good at what he did, but while he could control what people saw on the cortex, he couldn't control the way people gossiped and Melody was great at getting people to gossip. One drink slid in their direction and the batting of her lashes and she had everything she needed. Well, mostly.

An hour after her shuttle touched down on the planet, Mel made her way around, narrowing her search radius with every person she met. She had a photo of the man she was looking for and a brief description if someone wasn't able to recognize him from the unflattering image. Another hour passed, bringing her into the evening, and the Alliance pilot stood outside a dingy little motel door, her head turning to eye the neon sign with an obvious grimace. Of all the places...she thought to herself, Why couldn't he hide away somewhere nicer... But really, this was the best place for someone hiding away at the ass end of the galaxy. With a shrug, the woman extended her hand and knocked twice. Not wanting to startle the man, she'd left her uniform in her shuttle, opting instead for a pair of grey cargo pants, a white tank top, and a green button up left open, her almond hair untied and loose around her shoulders. A bored expression dominated her face, but really, she was bored. Hunting people down wasn't nearly as fun as it seemed.

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2018, 07:47:22 AM »
Jo was in the middle of contemplating whether the meat in his dish seemed even more rubbery than usual when there was a knock on the door. He froze mid-gesture, the piece of meat (?) falling from his raised chopsticks and landing on the noodles with a barely audible 'plop' that seemed to echo in the sudden dead silence of the motel room.

It's the feds, they've found me, was his first thought.

No it's not, you shǎguā, was his second thought, followed by: Then who? Nobody had any reason to visit him.

For a moment Jo considered not answering the door. Maybe if he sat real still, they'd think he wasn't home and go away. But then, who's to say they wouldn't be back? Not facing them now could just be delaying the inevitable. Then there was always the possibility that whoever was knocking on his door was doing so to check if the room was empty, and if the answer was "yes" they'd attempt to break in. That was a confrontation Jo would rather not have.

He set his meal on the nightstand and quietly moved to the window, cracking the blinds just enough to take a peek at whoever was standing outside. He caught a glimpse of a woman's wiry frame and long, dirty blonde hair; it was difficult to see her face properly from this angle, but he'd seen enough to know that it wasn't anyone he knew.

Well, she certainly knew he was in now, so there was no option left but to confront her. He could play it safe and crack the door just a little ajar, but that would've made it obvious from the get-go that he was a paranoid shut-in who had something to hide. Jo decided it was best to act casual, and prayed he'd be able to pull it off. He quickly ran his fingers through his tousled hair, straightened the front of his t-shirt, plastered a nonchalant expression on his face and opened the door.

Jo sized the stranger up quickly and looked around to see if she had company, doing his best to disguise his apprehension as friendly curiosity. She wasn't in uniform, but that wasn't proof of anything. Still, he dared to hope she was just a jilted lover who'd gotten the wrong door. She certainly looked like she had a bone to pick with someone.

"Can I help you, ma'am?"

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2018, 09:21:05 AM »
The blinds shifted and her gaze slide sideways, eyeing the movement with almost an annoyed frown. At least now she knew she wasn't knocking on the door of an empty room, which the previous silence had started to make her believe. For a brief moment before the blinds were adjusted, Mel had worried that she'd missed him and would have to resume the hunt. A hunt she found no pleasure in. Thankfully, that was not the case. Her thoughts went momentarily to her Alliance issued pistol tucked between the small of her back and the waistband of her pants, but she didn't think she'd need it. Not with this one. Or so she hoped.

As the door opened, the woman lifted her chin a bit and looked over the man who'd answered it, her baby blues scanning his face with a deep and unyielding intensity, taking in every feature, every shape, and every potential blemish. It's him, alright, she thought with some measure of relief. Mel had poured over his files and flashed his photo in the faces of enough people that his mug was burned into the recesses of her brain. She grimaced at the thought, hoping she wouldn't have to remember his face forever. It wasn't a particularly bad face, but she didn't care to linger on it longer than she had to.

"Can I help you, ma'am?" he asked, trying at causal banter, and it took everything in her power not to roll her eyes.

Instead, her hand moved to settle on the front of the door, palm flat against its dingy surface, and she smiled at him, much like the cat that ate the canary. "Room service," Melody informed him, clearly lying and not caring that it was painfully obvious. She pushed, trying to surprise him with the motion and allow her to enter, but waiting to see if he was that unprepared first. At the very least, she put enough pressure to prevent him from easily slamming the door in her face. Not that would stop her, even if he did. These doors looked flimsy enough.

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2018, 10:45:34 AM »
Jo felt his face grow hot under the intensity of the woman's gaze. Her blue eyes were piercing enough to make him want to look away, but he kept his composure and returned her stare, unblinking.

"Room service", she smiled. It wasn't a friendly smile; he could tell she was toying with him, but to what end? Then, without further ado, she suddenly made a move to force her way into the room. Jo resisted, pushing one hand against the door and wedging himself in the opening in an attempt to block her path. He may have been slightly larger than her, but she was obviously strong.

Jo had been prepared to pin her as a random drunk looking to start trouble, but at this close proximity it was clear there was no alcohol on her breath. Besides, she had the demeanor of someone on a mission, and he had the sinking feeling it had something to do with him after all. He thought about his pistol, tucked away safely in his nightstand drawer, and wished he'd gone ahead and grabbed it before opening the door. Not that he would've actually shot a woman at his doorstep, but maybe it would've made him feel less vulnerable. Wasn't that what guns were really for?

"I think you've got the wrong room," he said, still keeping it civil but sounding a lot less friendly now. "You'd better go."

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2018, 03:58:34 PM »
"I think you've got the wrong room," he said, clearly not wanting her in his room. "You'd better go."

Had she been a little more of a sensual person, she might have been able to attempt the coy interested party ploy, but she had no interest in seduction and was fairly sure she didn't even know how to do it. It was a martial art she hadn't bothered to learn and the Alliance didn't seem to teach it, at least not where she'd trained.

With her hand still on the door, Melody leaned closer to him now that he'd wedged himself in the door, her face hovering a couple inches away from his. "Not on your life, Joakim," she murmured under her breath, tilting her head to the side like a bird. Of course, there were probably a hundred more tactful and pleasant ways to deal with this situation but Melody was volatile and frustrated with how hard he'd been to find and she lacked the continued patience necessary to attempt subterfuge and forced camaraderie.

"Would you like to speak inside, or would you like me to continue flashing your photo around town and calling out your name? I'm sure there's a Fed somewhere who would be pleased to hear your name on the wind. Maybe follow the trail right back here, just like I did," she continued in a soft voice, clearly giving him at least some small amount of respect in not outing him loudly or shouting his name at his doorstep. "You were very difficult to find and I'm running out of patience. Now, be a gentleman and let me in. Maybe even offer me a drink," she continued, this time in a hiss, clearly frustrated but holding herself back. She seemed to vibrate with the effort it took not to try to kick him into the room and storm in without his permission.

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2018, 06:01:38 PM »
Jo's fears were confirmed when the stranger spoke his name out loud, and he had to stop himself from gulping audibly. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Yup, she was a woman on a mission alright, and she'd just hit jackpot -- only she didn't seem very happy about it for some reason. Part of him wondered if he could still get out of this by elbowing her in the face and making a run for it. Then he sighed, moved aside and gestured for her to come in. As soon as she had he closed the door behind them and turned to face her.

"Sorry, I'm all out", he responded to her remark about offering her a drink.

"But please, feel free to help yourself to my dinner, if you're hungry after your long hunt", he said with mock hospitality, gesturing toward the half-finished noodles. "Just be warned, I'm pretty sure it contains peanuts. Like, packing peanuts, not the edible kind."

If she insisted on being cheeky, two could play that game. He couldn't see how it could make his situation much worse.  Maybe he wouldn't be cracking jokes at an Alliance officer in uniform, since disrespecting authority was somehow a punishable offense, but the woman didn't strike him as the type. Plus, she'd threatened to rat him out to Feds, which further suggested she wasn't one herself. So what was her deal? Had someone actually gone through the trouble of hiring a bounty hunter to track him down? At least she'd said he'd been very difficult to find. That was... kind of flattering? He'd take any silver lining he could right now.

"What brings you to my humble abode?" he asked, crossing his arms. He wasn't smiling, but he wasn't bursting at seams from frustration like she was. What did she have to be so exasperated about, anyway?

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2018, 08:21:00 PM »
With a forced smile, the woman pushed past him to enter his room, her gaze scanning the interior suspiciously, the bulge of her gun in her waistband only visible when she stopped moving or crossed her arms, pulling the fabric of her top tighter over it. Not seeing any immediate threats, her gaze dropped to the offered food and she grimaced in disgust. "I'll pass," she informed him, looking at it warily. Maybe there was one threat in here and it was in that container. She didn't know how he was able to eat it and stay relatively healthy. Mel turned her head to look him over, perhaps confirming that he didn't seem on the verge of food poisoning.

"What brings you to my humble abode?" he asked.

Melody turned and made her way around the edge of the room, starting furthest from the bed (and his nightstand) and slowly opening drawers, looking through them cautiously. For now, she was still a few pieces of furniture away from the gun he was keeping hidden. Her training dictated that she make sure her new environment was safe, and she didn't much mind if that bothered or annoyed him, but she was giving him (intentionally or not) plenty of time to block her from his personal items or to move them on his own.

"I'm here to..." she paused, looking up at the ceiling in thought, "...'ask' for you help," she informed him, having no intention of leaving without it. "The same sort you offered the bleeding heart nurse, if you're up for it," Melody continued, stopping by where he'd been eating his 'meal' and looking down at it again with some sense of morbid curiosity.

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2018, 07:31:06 AM »
As expected, the woman turned down his generous offer. Too bad, maybe one bite out of those noodles would've scared her off. Jo followed her with his gaze as she moved around the room, opening every single container as she went along. The situation was almost comical, like she was some incredibly rude houseguest just snooping through all of his things without permission. If this was a raid, he didn't have anything blatantly illegal to hide, but the thought of his only means of self-defence ending up in her hands did not sit well with him.

While the woman was otherwise occupied, he strolled over to his bedside and sat on the nightstand, arms still crossed. He tried to relax, act casual, like this was a completely normal place for him to sit -- it wasn't that big of a stretch, seeing as he'd folded his spare clothes over the only chair in the room.

"I'm here to... 'ask' for you help. The same sort you offered the bleeding heart nurse, if you're up for it." Jo could practically hear the quotation marks around the word "ask" as she spoke it.

Gorrammit. He wasn't mad at Anna for snitching him out; who knows what this woman had done to her in order to get the information out of her. It was the circumstances he was cursing, but only internally, doing his best to stay cool as a cucumber on the surface. There were two options here. One was that she was genuinely in need of help, and the other was that she was trying to trick him into confessing, maybe for the Interpol, maybe for some other party.

"Oh, geeze, you're going to have to be more specific than that," he said, furrowing his brow like he was trying hard to search his memory. "I'm really popular with nurses, you know, it gets difficult keeping track of what I've done for who..."

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2018, 06:42:42 PM »
"Oh, geeze, you're going to have to be more specific than that, I'm really popular with nurses, you know, it gets difficult keeping track of what I've done for who..." he lied.

Her gaze slid toward him again, clearly unamused. She let it slide for a moment, finishing her check and stopping when she was standing in front of him, her eyes flicking down from his face to the nightstand and back again, a brow quirking upward. Letting him have this, Mel turned away and sat on the edge of his bed, a deep breath lifting and lowering her shoulders.

Suddenly wary, or perhaps worried, her attention moved to the door and she watched it for a moment, as though worried that someone might come through it if she started talking about them. When nothing happened, unsurprisingly, she laid back and grunted. The mattress was tzao gao. He was a man of either strong constitution or had no idea how a nice bed felt, if he was able to stay here as long as he had.

"How do you feel about the Alliance?" she asked bluntly. Melody was pretty sure she knew just how he felt about it, but she wanted to see his reaction as well as hear his opinion from his lips. If he didn't lie, which she was thinking he might have. Not looking at him, she stared up at the ceiling thoughtfully.

Her body was still plenty tense, a spring ready to launch her up if she needed to defend herself, but the outward violence on her face and in her voice was muffled and muted for now. Her tone seemed pretty genuine, almost curious, although it was still dominated by the barely contained frustration weaving its way through her words. But perhaps it wasn't entirely directed at him now.

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2018, 07:32:08 PM »
As expected, the woman didn't even crack a smirk at his quip about nurses. The same sulky expression stayed fixed on her face as she finished her rounds and walked up to the spot he was guarding. Jo met her gaze with a blank stare, trying to will her to leave him alone. He suddenly felt like a kid trying to hide something from a grown-up, hoping against hope that his childish powers of imagination were a match for the adult's sharp eye and authority.

Then, to his surprise, she actually seemed to let it go and plopped herself down on his bed instead. Jo didn't much like the bed, but it wasn't the comfort level he was concerned with, it was the hygiene. God only knew how many guests that mattress had seen come and go, and with the quality of the cleaning service in this place... He didn't want to imagine how that thing looked under a blacklight, but often found himself doing so anyway, usually at night when he was having trouble falling asleep and one of his limbs brushed against a particularly crusty spot.

The woman looked towards the door -- Jo followed her gaze on instinct, alarmed, but there was nothing there -- before laying down on her back on the bed. At least the covers were on.

Then she popped the million credit question.

"How do you feel about the Alliance?"

And there he was again, trying to guess what her intentions were. Jo realized this was one of those situations where you were supposed to follow your gut, but the problem was that he couldn't hear his gut over all the thoughts racing through his head. And yet... he thought he'd recognized something in the woman's eyes when she'd watched the door, a familiar apprehension, that "speak of the devil" paranoia he knew all too well himself.

...Unless she was just a really good actress. Gorrammit.

"I think you know perfectly well how I feel about them, seeing as you went through all that trouble to find me," he responded, his voice softer now, not flippant like moments earlier. And I think you feel the same way too, he wanted to add, but he just wasn't sure yet. He uncrossed his arms and leaned forward, his defensive body language easing up just a little.

"Look... I think we got off on the wrong foot here," he said. "could you at least introduce yourself before interrogating me, or enlisting my help, or whatever it is you wanna do? I think I deserve that much, especially since you've clearly been rifling through my life story."

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2018, 01:22:13 AM »
"I think you know perfectly well how I feel about them, seeing as you went through all that trouble to find me. Look... I think we got off on the wrong foot here. Could you at least introduce yourself before interrogating me, or enlisting my help, or whatever it is you wanna do? I think I deserve that much, especially since you've clearly been rifling through my life story," he answered and asked.

Melody sat up slowly and turned to look at him, her brows furrowed and her lips in a straight, thoughtful line. The woman mulled over his response and the pretty reasonable request for an introduction, clearly displeased with something or other. Although, it was rare that Melody wasn't displeased about something.

Finally, she stood back up and moved to where he was sitting nonchalantly atop his nightstand... as one does... Her hand lifted from her side in the offer of a handshake. "Melody Turner, Alliance bomber pilot," she said curtly, clearly not happy about having to introduce herself to him. But really, she had to. He had what she wanted, or rather, the skills she required to get what she wanted, and so the volatile pilot had to play along for now.

She suddenly wished she was better at negotiation and emotions. Her eyes bore holes into his, perhaps daring him to refuse the gesture or maybe hoping he'd panic at her title and run for the door. She was feeling mighty grumpy now and it might've been fun to drag him to the floor while halfheartedly explaining that she wasn't there to pinch him.

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2018, 07:35:32 PM »
Jo's request for introduction had been a simple one, but the woman hesitated. No, it felt less like hesitation and more like he'd asked her for something that required significant effort and she just couldn't be bothered to do it. Finally, she got up and approached him, offering her hand for a handshake. He hadn't expected her to get so formal, just learning her name would've been enough for him.

And what a name it was.

"Melody Turner, Alliance bomber pilot."

Jo's mouth twitched slightly as he stifled the urge to laugh out loud. Melody. It was a name that would suit a mermaid or a goshdarn adorable toddler with dimples and a ribbon in her hair, not the surly adult woman staring daggers at him. It felt like a bad joke.

It wasn't just the ridiculous juxtaposition of her cutesy name and everything-but demeanor that made Jo want to burst into a hysterical giggles; it was also the nervous energy that filled his body as soon as she mentioned her occupation, the dreaded "A" word. He managed to keep a straight face, but his body tensed up visibly. He took her hand in a cold and unenthusiastic handshake.

"If you're here to blackmail me into doing the Alliance's dirty work in exchange for erasing my criminal record, you can just arrest me right now, because I'm not doing it."

Up until this point, Jo had been soft-spoken and evasive. Now, he found a hint of hostility creeping into his voice. It was undoubtedly a bad idea to antagonize her, but there were certain subjects he didn't hedge on.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2018, 07:37:14 PM by Joakim Soong »

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2018, 12:15:34 AM »
Her gaze seemed to harden the moment her name left her, as though anticipating the reaction one might have upon hearing it. It was likely that she'd had to deal with such reactions for most of her lift and the stiffening of her shoulders and furrowing of her brow almost dared him to say something sassy about it. However, luckily for them both, he kept his thoughts on the matter to himself.

Her hand tightened around his as she shook it firmly, once, before releasing him and taking her hand back. With a grimace, the woman slipped her hands into her front pockets, watching him with an unamused expression as he drew his line in the stand. Admirable, but wholly unnecessary. With one shake of her head, Mel turned and looked around at the room once more, gaze settling on the remainder of his mystery dinner.

"I'm not here to arrest you, or blackmail you," she clarified, turning back toward him again and lifting one hand from her pocket to set her index finger against his sternum, "I'm here to hire you," she reminded him, keeping her finger on him as though to remind him that his newfound hostility didn't bother her in the slightest. "I'm here to hire you to help me steal something from the Alliance," she clarified, one corner of her lips quirking upward into a dangerously mischievous grin.

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2018, 06:24:04 PM »
Jo flinched at the unexpected physical contact, but his gaze flickered toward the finger on his sternum only briefly before locking eyes with her again. In spite of the tightening knot in his stomach his expression was that of calm defiance, like a peaceful protestor having a stand-off with a violent authority figure.

"I'm not here to arrest you, or blackmail you. I'm here to hire you."

Jo was about to reiterate his complete lack of interest, when Melody followed up with an unexpected clarification:

"I'm here to hire you to help me steal something from the Alliance."

Jo furrowed his brow, bemused. A smile tugged at the corners of Melody's lips; Jo wished it had been a sweeter smile, something to give him some indication that there was a kind bone in the woman's body, but it was the sneer of a bully who was clearly enjoying having the upper hand. And yet, somewhat paradoxically, her unpleasant demeanor kind of made him more inclined to trust her. If she was a spy, why would she go out of her way to craft this abrasive persona? Surely it would be easier for her to try to gain his pity, or seduce him, or show him some basic manners.

"And what's an Alliance pilot looking to steal from their employer?" he asked. "Medicine? Rations? Paid vacation days?"

If only she'd had the courtesy of giving him a heads-up in advance. Then he could've run a background check on this so-called Melody Turner to confirm she was who she claimed she was. Then again maybe that was part of her plan. She struck him as someone who enjoyed watching people squirm.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 07:18:54 PM by Joakim Soong »

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2018, 07:48:57 AM »
"And what's an Alliance pilot looking to steal from their employer?" he asked. "Medicine? Rations? Paid vacation days?"

It took everything Mel had not to roll her eyes at him, her finger remaining obtrusively upon his sternum. She gave him time to question her and run off a list of typical and mildly insulting guesses as to what she was wanting to steal before the woman leaned closer in an attempt to cut off the questions.

"A ship," she snapped, raising a brow and leaning away from him, finally. Her finger slid off his chest and she placed it back into her pants pocket, watching him with curiosity. She was still annoyed and more than a little frustrated, but her expression eased the barest amount, replaced with mild interest and what could have been the smallest amount of some kind of professional respect. It was hard to tell under her glower.

"A Shadow Wolf light recon cruiser, armed with 12 missile tubes, and an array of point defense guns. A real beauty of a ship, and one they're likely not keen on losing," she explained, moving away from him and approaching his window. Cautiously, she moved the curtains back with her first two fingers, standing out of anyone's line of sight as she checked out the surroundings outside their room. When it seemed like the coast was still clear, her gaze slid back to Jo and her fingers released the curtain, cutting off the brief sliver of light that had filtered through it.

Her expression changed, then, to one of momentary doubt or uncertainty. She seemed to be wrestling with something, wondering whether or not to tell him more or keep him in the dark before her arms crossed over her chest and she gestured toward his tech equipment lying in the corner. "I'd like to have its whereabouts tracked along with its current missions and objectives. A friend of mine wants her ship back, you see and I don't think those..." she paused, looking at his things, "...I don't think the Alliance deserves a ship like that. Not anymore."

Shaking it off, her glare turned back upon the man, "Sound like something you can do?" she asked curtly.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 07:51:37 AM by Melody »

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2018, 06:19:27 PM »
Of all the things Joakim had expected Melody to name as the bounty, a ship hadn't even crossed his mind. He listened to her go over the details -- what little she seemed willing to disclose to him, anyway -- with a pensive expression on his face. There was clearly a story here, something complicated and messy that he should stay far away from if he valued his own skin... and yet, even now, as doubt about her sincerity still gnawed at some part of his psyche, gears were already beginning to turn in his head, going through the laundry list of things that would go into successfully transferring the ownership of a ship from one person to another.

"Sound like something you can do?" Melody asked, turning to stare him down once more. It occurred to Jo that she didn't really have to do all that much to look intimidating, not with those naturally piercing blue eyes. Although maybe he would've used a different adjective to describe them if she'd used them less for glaring and more for... whatever the friendly version of glaring was.

"It's not a question of whether I can do it", he said, his confidence in his skills shining through his meek exterior for a brief moment. "But I'm going to have to know what exactly you're planning on doing with that ship. I run an ethical business here, y'know."

Jo paused for a moment, anticipating the daggers that would undoubtedly be glared at him, then continued.

"But that goes both ways. Whatever it is you two are up to, whether or not I'm on board with it, you can tell me and trust me not to rat you out to the Feds."

He drew a small cross over his heart with his index finger to emphasize his point, then waited for her response.

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2018, 06:55:40 PM »
"But I'm going to have to know what exactly you're planning on doing with that ship. I run an ethical business here, y'know," he told her with a surprising amount of confidence and sternness. "But that goes both ways. Whatever it is you two are up to, whether or not I'm on board with it, you can tell me and trust me not to rat you out to the Feds."

Melody's lips opened in preparation to launch a thousand sarcastic answers at him, one of her options being something about rescuing orphans and carrying baby bottles as cargo for needy children, all of which would have been said with the highest amount of disrespect and venom. However, the incoming sass stalled in her throat when he continued and her lips snapped shut. Sure, her brows were furrowed and her gaze narrowed in clear annoyance, but she seemed somewhat thoughtful. At least, she wasn't poking at him or threatening him, which was a good sign. A soft breath lifted and lowered her tense shoulders and the pilot slipped her hands into her pants pockets, turning to look away from him and scan the room once more, a little halfheartedly.

With another almost curious glance in his direction, Mel turned and walked toward his tech things piled in the corner, hand curling around the back of a chair and dragging it along with her. Setting it in place, the woman sat down and reached out to poke one of his containers with the toe of her boot. She slouched down in her chair, putting her hands back into her pockets and looking back at him once before nodding toward a second, equally unimpressive chair. She seemed pensive, a little hesitant, but somehow not as angry.

"I'm not sure if your," she gestured at his chest, "little promise means too much to me, but I figure if you try to rat us out I'll just break your legs," she threatened, clearly not too serious but most assuredly not kidding. "In any case, we're going to give the Alliance some trouble. Redirect their shipments to people who need it more, sell some for profit, we have to eat too," she explained, reaching up and running a hand through her hair, "You ever heard of Robin's Coat?" she asked, butchering the name of the story and the character.

Re: Tech Support

Re: Tech Support
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2018, 03:54:47 PM »
When Melody gestured for Joakim to join her, his mind went to the pistol in the drawer that he was still guarding, and he hesitated momentarily. However, the part where she stomped around rummaging through his things like a house guest from hell seemed to be over, and they were entering a new phase, something resembling civilized conversation. Or was it negotiation?

He stood up and took a seat next to her, quietly listening to her go through the plan. She still wasn't coming across as exactly affable -- the joke (?) about breaking his legs was particularly charming -- but at least she was letting her armor down enough to be honest with him. And what she was saying was certainly interesting.

"You ever heard of Robin's Coat?"

Jo began to tentatively shake his head when he realized what she was trying to say.

"You mean... Robin Hood?" he asked. "'Steal from the rich, give to the poor?'"

He did his best to keep his expression and voice as neutral as possible when he pointed out her slip-up so she wouldn't think he was trying to purposefully embarrass her (although, on the inside, he did find it pretty funny).

"So basically you'll play Robin Hood to the Alliance's Sheriff of Nottingham", he said, a hint of an excited smile spreading on his face."I can get behind that. Are all the men in your crew as merry as you?"

He couldn't resist getting that little jab in. His body was suddenly filling with a giddy energy that was making him forget how anxious he'd been when she'd first come knocking on his door, but more importantly, now that he was getting the whole picture it was dawning on him just how much she needed him  -- and that, in turn, meant that she wasn't the one with all the power after all. She'd have to grin and bear a little light teasing in return for pushing him around like a schoolyard bully.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 03:57:00 PM by Joakim Soong »

 

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