Iscariot Ep 6: Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

Started by Lomari, June 14, 2021, 02:03:19 PM

Lomari

June 14, 2021, 02:03:19 PM Last Edit: June 16, 2021, 09:05:58 AM by Lomari
Iscariot Station Location
Approaching the Automated Cortex Relay past the Himinbjorg System out in "The Rim."
Station Time: 1225

Another day, another hastily avoided catastrophe. A few days later, 'Afternoon' was approaching on Iscariot Space Station as it made its way through its long orbit around the systems. No plants showed up in the outer windows or the glass of the upper dome as more than anything but distant lights, however they were clearly near enough to a Automated Cortex Relay station that it was just visible out in the Black. Whenever this happened, communications between the station and its ships were far more frequent and of a much higher quality. Radio shows, news, and pictures came in faster and more often, and jobs on the Iscariot Job board began to populate with the stronger signal to the cortex.

Shipments came in in an influx now, the docks full of ships coming and going as demand for supplies reached their intended vendors quicker. Merchants set up shop in the main shopping sectors of the station, businesses were replenished of their wares and stores of food, and fresh blood came to Iscariot for work or pleasure, the latter taking the form of betting, the Companion House, and possibly a little drinking and Karaoke. This time also proved a perfect window for those on Iscariot who wished to get moving on to somewhere else. With this many ships at port, the possibilities were endless.
CHARACTERS
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha


NARRATION
Darling ~ Iscariot


In the despair of utter helplessness, Velocity watched the missile hit the ship that held her wife; the false hope generating pause as the missile buried itself into the hull, and for a moment, nothing. A misfire? Then the horror as a white light, tiny at first, then blooming out into an unbearable flare as the warhead detonated and magnesium incendiaries burned, some fleeing harmless into space, others burrowing their way deeper, igniting inflammables and turning the air into fire, searing fragile lungs, burning delicate skin. Over comm, she heard a quiet, "I love you, Valerie," followed by a soul-destroying scream as the flames took Bonnie, suddenly cut off as the signal from a ship so recently whole and now an ever-expanding cloud of gas and debris.

Suddenly the oxygen was spent and the light fled with it to leave suddenly...

Nothing!

Velocity screamed as though the sound would tear her apart and sat abruptly upright, smashing her head on the bottom of the bunk above her.

"Shut up, Yi Da Dwei Bun Chou Roh1" The man in the bunk above her hissed.

"Ow," she whimpered, dazed by the collision between her head and the bunk and confused by the unfamiliarity of her surroundings, what little she could see of them in the tiny amount of light that filtered through what laughingly passed as curtains from the station corridor. It was not the sort of establishment that ran to low-intensity night-lights, instead relying on free light coming in from outside.

"Where am I? she asked, her fear and confusion evident in the tremulous, high-pitched tone of her voice.

"Shut up. Some of us are trying to sleep here!" There was an edge to the voice that had Velocity drawing into herself, more figuratively than literally, her long limbs not lending themselves to allowing her to curl up into a ball. The overall effect was of a confused tangle of limbs that seemed more appropriate for an insect or spider.

After a few moments, when she dared risk making even a tiny sound, Velocity lay back down and rested her head on the stained, lumpy pillow. She soon drifted off to sleep, despite the throbbing in her head, only to wake up screaming again a few minutes later.

This time the man said nothing but flung himself off his bunk, grabbed Velocity and dragged her out of the room and flung her into the station corridor outside the doss-house. Her minimal belongings, being a small bag and a violin case came flying out after her, the latter impacting with her before bouncing onto the deck. Velocity grabbed the case and bag and holding them tightly to herself, scooted over to the far side of the corridor and tried to blend into the wall, her eyes darting around as she did so like a frightened animal looking for a danger she "knew" was there but couldn't identify. Her body ached from the impacts; there would be numerous new bruises to add to the motley collection of bruises of various ages that even her leather clothing could not prevent.

"Valerie, my love". It was if Bonnie was there; for a moment Velocity thought she was and looked around, expecting to see Bonnie beside her but she was alone. A tear leaked out of the corner of one eye but if Velocity was aware of it she gave no sign.

Velocity's nose caught a stray whiff of cooking and her stomach suddenly rumbled, mercifully distracting her by the need for food. Instinctively she turned in the direction of the odour and followed it, slinging her violin over her shoulder and supporting herself against the wall as she slowly staggered toward it. The man in the doss-house might have been trying to sleep but in this sector of the station, the food court never slept and for that Velocity was grateful, albeit subconsciously.

One counter that offered cheap quantity over quality caught her eye and she made her way to it. Scrabbling in her bag she found her purse and with it came a battered notebook.

READ THIS NOW, VALERIE it proclaimed in large, hard-to-ignore lettering.

She didn't, paying for the food first, returning her purse but not the notebook to her bag and then taking the food to a vacant table. She didn't read it then either, wolfing down all of the first portion and a quarter of the second before she felt replete enough to turn her attention to something other than food.

Velocity read the first couple of pages that helped set the scene for her and gave her some important dates.

You may grieve for Bonnie for a few minutes, Valerie was one of the messages in that section. It seemed an odd thing for someone to have written but it resonated and she did so, tears welling in her eyes but remaining pooled there. It was like a new wound and an old throbbing injury that had never healed both at once. In many ways it was; the pain was new each morning as Velocity was reminded that Bonnie was not just away on a mission and that it was nine years since Bonnie had been sacrificed to the flames of a war that was no less pointless than all the wars ever fought by humans against each other.

With a deep, heavy sigh Velocity pulled herself together and thumbed through the notebook as instructed to the last few pages on which there was writing, working her way backward until she felt that she had enough of a grasp of the last few days to consider what to do.

She was adrift again! Figuratively, at least, not like the last time when she had been adrift for real in an escape pod. Velocity skimmed back further and the tears welled up again. It was like reading a tragedy though she couldn't get enough of a feeling to know whether it was hers or someone else's. The notebook left no doubt that it was her story but she felt a detachment.

"Is that what I always feel?" she asked herself, sufficiently intelligent and self-aware to be able to ask the question of herself but there was never enough detail in the notebooks, never enough indexes to link to the memories that would have given her the context she needed to answer such questions.

And it was the same old story, at least that was what her notebook told her. A ship too tired to repair, broken in service, gone bankrupt, a falling out with the crew, someone who wouldn't take no for an answer. It meant always looking for another ship, another opportunity to fly. This last was at least just an expected ending, a single run from one planet to the station with no expectation of continuance. She had coin for a little while but not enough to live comfortably on, not if it would take her more than a few weeks to find her next berth.

"Perhaps I should go back to topdressing," she thought, surprising herself but only a little; it was a memory from before the war, before the disaster that had taken her wife and her sanity. Those memories were still accessible and often intruded strongly, making it hard to remember that they were from so long ago.

Velocity updated the notebook with what had happened since she had woken up and then pondered the now empty dishes of food.

"So now what, Valerie?" she asked herself.

Her answer came with her action as she stood up and, feeling a little stronger now that she had food in her, put her things away into her bag and slung both it and her violin over her shoulder and made her way toward the closest of the docks. It was more crowded now than when she had made her way to the food court and it was slow going, her long, ground-covering stride curtailed by the complexity of navigating through seemingly randomly moving people. At least she could see over everyone's heads.

The boards were empty of opportunity at the first dock; at least, nothing listed on the crew wanted except for gun-hands. There always seemed work for them but Velocity knew she could never pass herself off as one of them; she carried no weapons and her height was more than offset by her obvious fragility.

A little disheartened she found herself a corner and pulled her violin out of its case, set the case down in front of her, tightened the bow and drew it across the strings, adjusting the pegs until it was tuned to her satisfaction. Then she began to play a quiet, melody, not too melancholy, not too loud to warm up her fingers.


1 Big stupid pile of stinking meat



Player: Clare
Characters: Beth

Lomari

June 15, 2021, 10:43:19 AM #2 Last Edit: June 15, 2021, 01:33:07 PM by Lomari
Location: The Docks - E.V, Briar, Freya

As ships came and go, cargo finally being imported and exported in a timely manner, a small ship no larger than a shuttle limped toward the station. As it approached, the docking clamps had to take a couple tries at finding purchase on the old boat's smaller frame. When it finally settled down, the door opened with an unpleasant screeching sound and its passengers and crew practically bolted from its confines.

First was a long, lanky gentleman with several leather bags and large circle rimmed glasses. He hobbled down the ramp, pausing a moment to straighten and crack his back before disappearing into the crowd. Next, a pair of what looked to be brothers, both of them heading immediately to join the station crew doing the refueling. Then, the rest of the passengers, notably a trio of women. Well, two women and a smallish almost-woman. Its Captain, a man under four foot with a bright smile and confident walk, exited last, his hands on his hips as he breathed in the recycle air of the space station's port.

"I love this station," Captain SkyBeard (he wouldn't clarify if that was his birth name or something he'd made up) announced to the trio, his eyes alight with the possibility for commerce. "You three be careful, now. Great place for business. Not a great place for safety. But that's what makes it fun! If you're lookin' for work, check the Job Boards," he told them, taking a hand from his hip to point toward several board posted a reasonable distance apart along the dock's walkway. "And those doors there'll take you to the other sectors of the station, shops, bars, accommodations and the like, while that elevator'll get you up to the Hub," he explained, finger moving to gesture at each of the station's features. "If you're lucky, you'll be here during one of the races. What a sight. Heard the golden boy lost the last one," he added, laughing boisterously.

Down on the walkway, the Job Board was glowing with a bright neon green, several jobs posted and more trickling in as the station regained connection with the Cortex.




Location: Sector 3A - Velocity

As soft as the melody had intended to be, the sound of the violin managed to coil its way through the throng of shoppers and those running their errands in the early afternoon. Several stopped and exited the flow of foot and cart traffic to watch the strange woman coaxing music out of wood and strings.

Typically, the halls were filled with the sounds of commercials, shop keepers calling for customers, arguing, and the dull thrum of conversation. However, for the station dwellers, such noises were so commonplace that they faded into the background and became one with the dull hum of the station. The sound of the violin, new and foreign, cut through that hum and caught their attention. However, in a place like Iscariot, sometimes attention wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

A few passers by tossed spare change onto the ground or in the direction of the violin's case, sparing what they could to someone who'd gifted them with music or to whom they thought was lesser than or more in need than they were. A few minutes in, a boy looking to be about ten or twelve tripped over someone's foot, got crushed up in the throng, and finally was pushed free onto the side where Velocity was playing her music.

He yelped in surprise as he landed awkwardly on his back onto the top of her violin case, his wide green eyes staring up at her upside down, his lips parted in surprise. His wool hat had flown off when he'd fallen and lay atop his stomach, his clothing brown and dingy. He stared silently at her before offering a lopsided grin and extending his hand up to the lady, still laying on his back on her violin case, "Hi!" he greeted.
CHARACTERS
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha


NARRATION
Darling ~ Iscariot

June 16, 2021, 01:23:26 AM #3 Last Edit: June 16, 2021, 09:24:24 AM by Lomari Reason: Added location tag.
Location: Sector 3A

Velocity had hoped for, rather than expected, a little coin, welcome though it was, and if she was dismayed that people struggled to actually get the coins in the case, she didn't show it, instead responding to each donation with a smile and as much of a nod as the constraints of having a violin under her chin permitted.

She had intended to progress to more lively tunes but the response she was getting and her own mood kept her choices at the slower, quieter end of her repertoire though her she did move, after a few melodies, from the minor key to a major. As she had hoped, Velocity became lost in the music, focusing on the melodies, drawing the nuances out of them. Her world shrank to her violin, the sounds that it was coaxing from it, and sweet memories of Bonnie, who, without musical talent of her own, had loved to listen and watch Velocity play, be it for her ears only or for a larger audience. Lost in the music Velocity didn't need to remember who she was, what had occurred or what might happen; there was only the now.

There was only the music.

Oblivious to almost everything around her, including the disturbance occasioned by the boy, it thus came as a complete surprise to feel her case pushed back against her feet and her balance start to go. The music abruptly stopped as Velocity teetered dangerously. She dropped her bow with a clatter and she reached out behind her to brace herself against the bulkhead. The violin she retained, dropping it out from under her chin and lowering it to the extent of her arm so that if she did fall it would have the least distance to travel to the deck and thus the least chance of damage being inflicted.

But she didn't.

Somehow she stayed on her feet and had the time to look down and see what had caused her to so nearly fall. She was surprised to see a boy lying on her case and looking up at her.

"Oops," she said, smiling down at the boy, initially assuming that he was okay but social niceties, instilled in her by Bonnie, kicked in. "Are you okay?"

Kindness, despite her own troubles, was something that Velocity could do; cruelty, not so much. So when the child offered up his hand, Velocity didn't hesitate. She reached down with her right hand, having to bend a long way, and made to grasp his hand with hers, her intention to lift him up, taking care not to hurt him but also to avoid putting the violin at risk, or putting undue strain on her back; it was instinctive, a matter of muscle memory rather than a deliberate act, born of a lifetime of living with a fragile body.



Player: Clare
Characters: Beth

Freya

Location: The Docks

For most of their long trip to the station, Freya had fallen into old habits. They'd paid their way and were allowed to be on the tiny ship, but she still managed to find hiding spots that had impressed even its Captain. The sleeping area had been cramped, several bunks pressed together with only a few inches breathing room between them, but Freya had slept in the vents, the only indication of her presence there being the bottom corner of her blanket hanging from the slatted hole in the wall.

The dining room was just as tiny, a small table there likely intended for a couple of people used by the passengers and the crew alike, where if they all ate at once, they'd have been touching knees. Most of them ate on shifts to avoid this, but Freya found happiness sitting underneath the table during meal times. She remained social with E.V and Briar, but said little to no words with the crew or Captain, offering them emotionless stares when they tried.

Now, they were finally on Iscariot."You three be careful, now. Great place for business. Not a great place for safety. But that's what makes it fun!" the Captain told them. Freya took a deep breath, mimicking what he'd done upon exiting the ship. Her nose scrunched up at the smell. One hand slipped into E.V's and the other into Briar's, her upper lip trapped awkwardly between her teeth as she stared out at the crowds, her brows furrowed. She looked like an anxious bull dog.

"If you're lucky, you'll be here during one of the races. What a sight. Heard the golden boy lost the last one," the  man added. Her attention snapped back to him and her head tilted to the side, further cementing the comparison between her and a pup. She released her upper lip and tightened her hold on her companion's hands. A race could be fun. To watch. Not to participate in. Well... She squinted and looked upward in thought. Maybe it could be fun to participate in. Her chin scrunched up and her lips pursed. She could probably figure out how to make a ship go real fast. She'd already sort of done that with the shuttle she'd been rescued from. It eluded her that most of that 'speed' had actually been 'gravity.'
Dialogue color: teal

Briar Williams

Location: The Docks

Briar had spent the ride over to the Iscariot in the state of starry-eyed optimism that precluded most of her attempts to finally get her life back on track, totally for real this time. She'd never had to look after a kid before, but Freya was well-behaved and kept mostly to herself, making the responsibility less daunting than it had initially seemed. She was pretty sure E.V. was flirting with her, and she was pretty sure she didn't mind.

And then there was Iscariot, shining ahead like a beacon full of promises of new beginnings. She'd made peace with the fact that her squeaky clean gig on the Brass Ferret had been a fluke; she'd be more in her element on the space station, seedy underbelly and all. This was actually better than having a steady job, when you really thought about it.

When she stepped out of the boat after Freya, Briar was wearing a large pair of red plastic-framed sunglasses which served no practical purpose inside the space station but made her feel cool. The bulky backpack on her back detracted from the coolness factor somewhat, but the guitar strapped to that backpack added to it, so it all balanced out.

Not that Briar was really thinking about first impressions right now. She was too engrossed in the pamphlet in her hands, its margins filled with scribbled notes about betting odds that only made sense to Briar herself (if even her). Upon feeling Freya's hand brush against hers, she took it absent-mindedly, but her eyes stayed fixed the paper clutched in her other hand. She was only half-paying attention to what their captain was saying.

"...If you're lucky, you'll be here during one of the races. What a sight. Heard the golden boy lost the last one."

That made Briar perk up, and she lifted her sunglasses to look at Captain SkyBeard, dismayed.

"Not Marty Miller! Tā māde niǎo..." She sighed and crumpled the pamphlet, shoving it haphazardly in her back pocket. The sunglasses remained perched on top of her head.

On their way to the space station, Briar had been making some plans, trying to decide which one of the local racers was the best bet if she wanted to make the most out of her severance pay from Fractured Fields. She'd settled on this Marty guy, who was clearly an absolute ace pilot from what he'd shown in previous races. On top of that he was young and bold and kind of cute in that cheeky boyish way, the type of guy who seemed like he'd be fun to have a drink with. None of that made him any more likely to win a shuttle race, but it made Briar want to root for him.

"So much for betting everything on the golden boy." Briar had been very vocal about her plan to Freya and E.V., but she wasn't too heartbroken about having to reconsider it. Maybe her betting target of choice would make a dazzling comeback, or maybe she'd find an even better place to put her credits. She turned to her travel companions. "What do you wanna do first? Race track? Karaoke?"
Dialogue color: peachpuff

Lomari

Location: Sector 3A - Velocity

The boy's smile broadened when he took her hand and he used the extra support to scramble up to his feet, only tripping on the case once during the process. "Sorry about that!" he said, taking his hand back and bending down to start collecting the money from the floor and putting it back into her violin case for her. "Grownups never watch where they're going, you wouldn't believe how many times I've been knocked over or accidentally pushed into people," he continued, snorting. Once he'd helped right what he'd messed up, the boy stood straight again and looked up up up at the lady.

"I'm Chips. What's your name?" he asked, tilting his head to the side and offering her that same lopsided grin. At this angle, it was clearer to see that he was missing his top front two teeth. "Are you new? I've never seen you here before. Are you a musician? Do you play music in the karaoke bar?" he rattled on.
CHARACTERS
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha


NARRATION
Darling ~ Iscariot

Location: Sector 3A

Velocity smiled back, despite the difficulty she usually experienced when dealing with children. She had never really had the urge for her own, assuming she even could, and Bonnie had never brought it up, though that could have been a consequence of the war; it was hard to think of long term plans when the 'Verse was in flames and it wasn't as if it was something that could have "just happened". A blessing and a curse.

"Thank you, you didn't have to do that; half of it wasn't in the case to start with," she said, genuinely surprised and grateful that he had taken the trouble. "A lot of adults wouldn't have done that, either," she added, tacit acknowledgement of his complaint about adults.

"Hello, Chips; my name is Velocity. Nice to meet you." For a fleeting moment she flirted with telling him her real name but she had been 'Velocity' for so long that the thought didn't linger long.

"No, I am not a musician, I mean, I don't do it for a living. I am a pilot but I like to play when I can."

For a moment she looked at him, not knowing what to say. She had been very much a work-in-progress as far as socialisation went when Bonnie had been taken from her and the time since hadn't really helped.

"He asked about you, ask about him"

"But what?"

Bonnie "Oh Velocity! The disappointment was obvious, even to Velocity, and it was enough to get her brain thinking along the right sort of lines.

"Do you live on the station, Chips?" she asked, finally.



Player: Clare
Characters: Beth

Lomari

Location: Sector 3A - Velocity

The boy nodded along as she spoke, his hands on his hips and a knowing look on his face. Of course, it was all just a well crafted look meant to make him look wiser than his years, despite that not being the case. It was a look he'd seen adults give one another during important discussions and he liked to think every discussion he had was important. Then, his smile cracked through the mask of deep thought and he laughed a little at himself. He didn't seem to mind the silence as she came up with something to ask, in fact, he might not have noticed it at all. The station did a great job of filling awkward silences with noise.

When she asked if he lived here, his eyes lit up and he turned his back to her to gesture with both arms wide at the entirety of Iscariot. "Sure do! This whole place is my home," he confirmed, then looked back at her over his shoulder. "No one really talks about it but lots of kids get left here, especially during the busy times," he added, rubbing the underside of his nose with the back of his index finger and smiling again.

"Are you a pilot right now?" he asked, turning to face her again and tilting his head to the side.
CHARACTERS
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha


NARRATION
Darling ~ Iscariot

Location: Sector 3A - Velocity

"I'm resting," Velocity replied, using the euphemism employed by actors to indicate that they were anything but employed, and having decided to answer his question before responding to his claim to the whole station as his home. "I had a short run here and tomorrow I will start looking for a new job." She was finding it surprisingly easy to talk to the boy.

"You really live here by yourself?" she asked, surprised that it should be so on a station that was reasonably prosperous with enough comfortably off people to be able to take in waifs like Chips. Most with her experiences would not have been surprised but no one could claim that Velocity fitted in with "most", even before the war. So her surprise was genuine.

"Do you have somewhere warm and safe to sleep?" she asked, surprise giving way to concern. That was something that had survived, the need to feel safe, to be safe. And then a subject very near to her heart, "Do you have enough to eat?



Player: Clare
Characters: Beth

Lomari

Location: Sector 3A - Velocity

"You really live here by yourself?"

Chips shook her head, "Not by myself, there's other kids. And the grown ups are here. But no parents," he clarified, shoving his hands into his pockets and rocking back on his heels. The boy watched her with a smile. 

"Do you have somewhere warm and safe to sleep?"

"A lot of us do. The work sector has dormitories for when we're old enough to work on the station. Top and Jay live there. They work on the engines, I think. Those of us who aren't old enough yet have our own hidden hidey holes to sleep in. But we find our own work!" he assured her, not wanting her to think he was a lazy layabout. He had work on the station most days.

"Do you have enough to eat?"

"Pretty much," he assured her, shrugging her shoulders. However, at the mention of food, his stomach did grumble. Chips laughed at the timing and slapped both of his hands over his stomach to muffle the noise. "I get enough to eat," he assured her, his cheeks and the tops of his ears pink.

"But, enough about me, let's talk about you!" he said, imitating the typical lines from salesmen around the station. "I know a place that hires pilots! Especially now! Station is back in range of the Cortex thing, relay, so lots of ships coming and going with stuff on them. Come with me!" he encouraged, reaching out in an attempt to take her hand.
CHARACTERS
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha


NARRATION
Darling ~ Iscariot

Evelyn Vell

June 22, 2021, 03:23:41 PM #11 Last Edit: June 22, 2021, 03:30:21 PM by Axe
Location: The Docks

The shuttle ride to Iscariot had been long and cramped. Which E.V. didn't exactly mind since one of her two companions was Briar, who E.V. had basically flirted with the entire flight. Proper subtle flirting though, not the embarrassing and delirious level of flirty she had been with Sienna (fueled by sleep deprivation and adrenaline exhaustion). Freya continued to be an odd bundle of joy around E.V. and Briar, which endeared her to E.V. more and more by the minute.

Finally they arrived. As the three of them stepped off of the shuttle E.V. looked around. The station looked pretty much as it had the last time E.V. had been here, which was oddly comforting. "I love this station," Captain SkyBeard announced from beside them. "You three be careful, now. Great place for business. Not a great place for safety. But that's what makes it fun!" E.V. snorted. I mean he isn't wrong. Iscariot was indeed a rough and tumble type of place, which was certainly fun once in a while. It was a perfect place to hide out for a while, or to look for work, both shady and legitimate.

E.V. felt Freya slide a hand into her free hand. She glanced down at the little wisp and gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. The girl looked a bit nervous, which made sense given what E.V. knew of her.

"If you're lucky, you'll be here during one of the races. What a sight. Heard the golden boy lost the last one," Skybread said, laughing boisterously. That finally pulled Briars attention away from the Iscariot pamphlet in her hand. "Not Marty Miller! Tā māde niǎo... So much for betting everything on the golden boy." E.V. laughed softly. Briar had made her plan well known to E.V. and Freya during the flight. "I'm sure he'll make a spectacular comeback in the next race."

"What do you wanna do first? Race track? Karaoke?" Briar said, turning to look at her companions. "Accommodations." E.V. said firmly, but with a smile. "I, for one, would like someplace safe to put our things before we go enjoy Iscariots amenities" She looked pointedly at Briars large bulky backpack and guitar, and then her own duffle bag, pack, and rolling case. "After that though... I think you might burst if we don't go see the Race Track first." She gave Briar a wink.
Dialogue color: hotpink

Lomari

June 22, 2021, 04:34:20 PM #12 Last Edit: June 23, 2021, 11:15:25 AM by Lomari
Location: The Docks - E.V, Briar, Freya

"Not Marty Miller! Tā māde niǎo... So much for betting everything on the golden boy."

The Captain grinned up at Briar, evidently pleased that not only was she aware of the station's racing, but knew the name of the Golden Boy. He clapped his hands together and started his way down the ramp to go assist his crew, then paused and made his way back up to where the ladies were standing.

SkyBeard reached into his pocket, rummaged around a little, then pulled out a closed fist. He reached up to E.V's free hand, seeing as Freya's and Briar's were occupied. Then, he opened his hand, leaving behind two wrapped candies, a mint, a couple coins, and a piece of popped corn in her palm. "To get yourself something nice," he explained, then turned on his heel and headed back down the ramp, his arms swinging wide as he moved. "Take care, ladies! Hope we'll do business again!" he called as he turned to head to where his crew and the station's workers were attaching the fuel pumps onto the ship.


Attention, Attention. Reminder that there will be a race tonight. All interested parties should submit their information to the Race Master at the Docks before 01900

The announcement echoed over the PA, barely reaching above the general buzzing of the docks, both from the crowd as well as the ships coming and going. The Race Master in question, a lean man with a thick beard that was oiled to near perfection and turned up at the corners of the moustache, sat near the Job Board with his own custom neon sign propped up on a base made of PVC. The pink lights flickered with the words, "Race Meister," which was either his attempt to be clever, or his failure in spelling. His arms were crossed over his chest, the sleeves of his pink button up shirt having been manually ripped off to display the far too muscular arms covered in tattoos of ships and pin up pilots.
CHARACTERS
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha


NARRATION
Darling ~ Iscariot

Location: Sector 3A - Velocity

Velocity was pleased that the boy had someone that he considered safe; she rather felt that he had a better idea of constituted safe in the station than she did. She did feel, however, that for all the promises made by the Alliance before, during, and she guessed, after, the war, very little seemed to have changed, at least not for the better.

The boy's last statement quickly distracted her from immediate concerns about the boy's welfare.

"They're hiring pilots?"

"Let me put my violin in its case, first," Velocity said when it looked like Chips was going to drag her off immediately. She moved the money out of the way by depositing it on the deck beside the case and put the violin in it, taking care to dust it off and to loosen the tension on the bow; some things didn't get compromised.

"Here," she said and offered the money to Chips. If she got a job, she wouldn't need it, and if she didn't, she didn't think that she would have any difficulty replacing it. It was a big enough station that she would be able to move around so that her presence didn't become stale.

Her notebook was there, lying on the deck and looking at her, reminding her of something.

"Sorry, another little thing," she apologised as she opened the notebook, thumbed through to the last entry and then in her spidery, cursive hand, added the date and beneath it added Met Chips; waif; male; nearly teenager. and then his hair colour, eye colour, and approximate height. Velocity didn't attempt to hide what she was writing from Chips but neither did she go out of her way to make it easy for him to read.

Velocity probably should have been cautious; bad things tended to happen to those who let their enthusiasm run away with them, or who put too much trust in new friends but none of that even crossed her mind. There was the chance of a new job, maybe even a choice of jobs.



Player: Clare
Characters: Beth

Lomari

Location: Sector 3A - Velocity

Chips looked down at the money she'd put in his hand when he'd reached for her. He blinked a couple of times, the movement more obvious than the standard bodily function. Confusion melted languidly across his face, then gave way to a return of his broad, crooked, gapped smile. "Thanks!" The boy looked up at Velocity and rocked back on his heels once more, quickly stuffing the money into his pocket so no one else could see that he had it. Keeping your funds secret was an essential step in keeping oneself out of trouble around here.

When she began writing in her notebook, he looked away out of some attempt at maintaining her privacy. Curiosity, however, continued to get the better of him and he couldn't stop his gaze from occasionally sliding back in that direction before returning to staring at the bulkhead. He crossed his arms over his chest, then uncrossed them and put his hands in his pockets, and finally took his hands out and clasped them behind his back.

By the time she finished, the boy was bursting with the urge to ask what she was writing and why, his lips pursed hard and his cheeks pink with the effort. He offered her a thumbs up and turned to start heading back into the crowd, then stopped and thought better of it. "Here, so I don't get lost," he said, reaching once more for her hand but settling for anything she allowed him to grab be it hand, strap, belt loop, anything.

He began leading her carefully through the throngs of people, waving away predatory shop owners trying to get Velocity in to look at their wares. "Such a tall and stately figure needs one of my saris!" a middle-aged man shouted, trying to wave them in. Chips shook his hand in the man's direction, "No distractions!" he yelled back at the adult. 

Gradually, the crowds began to thin and become more scarce as he led her to the shops deeper in Section 3A, where things calmed and looked a little less maintained. Eventually, he stopped them in front of 'Lil Sebastian's Bail Bonds and Pawn Shop.' A guard stood in front of the door staring flatly at Velocity and Chips. "Purpose?" he asked. "Hi Zeke!" Chips greeted. Zeke rolled his eyes.
CHARACTERS
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha


NARRATION
Darling ~ Iscariot

Briar Williams

Location: The Docks

"Accommodations. I, for one, would like someplace safe to put our things before we go enjoy Iscariots amenities. After that though... I think you might burst if we don't go see the Race Track first."

Right. Accommodations. In her excitement she'd forgotten all about the boring logistical stuff that stood between her and a wild night out with the girls... as wild of a night as it could be with a minor tagging along around. Not that Briar cared or minded.

"Or we could just lug all this stuff with us... it'd be a good workout," she proposed with a shrug, only half-joking. She gave it up immediately, though, pretending to roll her eyes with exasperation but punctuating the action with a smile. "Fine, Miss Voice of Reason, we'll drop off our things first."

Just then, the captain approached them and pressed something in E.V.'s hand before disappearing again. Curious, Briar leaned in towards the redhead, trying to get a glimpse of the treasure she'd been bestowed.

"What'd he giv-- shh!" she put her hand up mid-sentence and perked her ears at the announcement. She grinned to herself, any thought of accommodations already leaving her mind.

"Ándale. Let's go!" Briar waved at her travel companions to follow her and took off without checking if they did. She craned her neck and looked wildly around until she spotted the words "Race Meister" glowing in the distance like a neon pink beacon. She pushed through the crowd and appeared before the bearded mustachioed man, her face flushed and beaming.

"How do you do, Mister, I think your sign's misspelled." She nodded helpfully at the text before getting straight to business. "So there's a race tonight, huh? Got any hot tips on who to look out for? I heard Marty Miller's a real contender. Heard he lost his last race, too, but y'know what? Everybody's got their bad days. I mean, it ain't like he dumped all his fuel and hurled off the track, right?"

She chuckled at the far-fetched nightmare scenario she'd just made up on the spot and quickly continued before the Race Master could get a word in.

"Actually, while I'm here, I was wond'rin, how does one go about becoming a shuttle racer? Is there an apprenticeship program, or..." she trailed off and finally gave him the chance to speak, putting a pensive hand to her chin as she stared at him expectantly.
Dialogue color: peachpuff

Freya

June 23, 2021, 11:08:09 AM #16 Last Edit: June 23, 2021, 11:15:05 AM by Lomari
Location: The Docks

Freya left most of the planning up to Briar and E.V, convinced they'd handle it much better than if she was in charge. Her first instinct was to suss out where other kids on the station might be hiding from adults, then steal some food from a cart or two. Clearly, those ideas weren't realistic... at least not while she had to adults with her. And she wagered hiding and stealing wasn't as necessary with you had some grownups to help do things the right way. So instead of offering up her input, she watched the Captain leave, turn right back around, and give something to E.V. Just like Briar, Freya found herself moving onto her tip toes to peek at what he'd left behind.

"What'd he giv-- shh!" Freya tilted her head back at the shushing, eyed Briar for a moment, then set her free hand on E.V's elbow to try to pull her hand closer to her own face. "Candy?" she asked, spotting some of the more edible items the Captain had left for her. Then, she turned a set of puppy-dog eyes up at the Candy Czar...

"Ándale. Let's go!" Briar called out, already halfway down the ramp. With or without her candy, she tightened her hand on E.V's and started down after Briar, who had escaped her grasp during all the excitement. The girl stuck close to E.V's side, her eyes darting left and right at the crowds and her shoulders up near her ears. Her free hand gripped her small bag's strap tightly, knuckles white. She felt a tightness in her chest, and had to remind herself to breathe. There was a lot of people here. And they could all see her.

By the time they got to the Race Meister, the crowds were less severe. There was a comfortable bit of empty space around the Job Board the the race man, and Freya's shoulders slowly lowered. "Actually, while I'm here, I was wond'rin, how does one go about becoming a shuttle racer? Is there an apprenticeship program, or..." The girl's brows shot up and she looked up at E.V, then over at where Briar was talking to the pink stranger. "Can I race too?" she asked E.V.
Dialogue color: teal

Location: Sector 3A - Velocity

Velocity wasn't good at reading the nuances of body language but even she could see that Chips wanted to see what she was writing. "I have trouble with my memory," she told him, "I have to write things down."

Velocity let Chips take her hand, not considering that he might accept anything else. It was still difficult to stick together in the busier parts of the station and more than once Velocity had to user her height and the full reach of her arm to maintain contact; people didn't seem to care that she and Chips were trying to keep together. Their passage added significantly to her collection of bruises but was protected from more serious harm by her leather clothing. There was a benefit to holding Chips' hand and allowing his determination to move them forward; it helped keep her anxiety at a controlled level in the crowd; without him she would have given up and let it take her where it willed until she washed up in a quiet corner.

Going deeper into the station was first a surprise and then a concern. Velocity was about to voice that concern when Chips suddenly stopped outside the entrance to a bail bond and pawn shop. Velocity felt that she misunderstood what was going on; the man seemed unwelcoming but Chips seemed to know him.

Then Zeke rolled his eyes and it was suddenly too much for her; Velocity released Chips' hand and started to back away. "No!" she said, and shook her head again. She took another step backward, clutching her violin to her chest.



Player: Clare
Characters: Beth

Lomari

June 24, 2021, 08:13:18 AM #18 Last Edit: June 24, 2021, 09:30:02 AM by Lomari
Location: Sector 3A - Velocity

Chips' body wobbled when Velocity took her hand back and began stepping away. He turned to face her, his expression a mix of surprise and confusion. Why was she so upset? The boy's brows furrowed and he put his hands on his hips while he looked around, trying to see the area from the eyes of someone unfamiliar with the station.

Less crowded. Kind of dirty. Bright Pawn Shop sign. Dumb 'ol Zeke. It had to be Zeke.

"Is it him?" Chips asked, pointing up at the guard who looked back down at Chips with a frown. "He's rude to everyone, it doesn't mean he doesn't like you," he assured Velocity, raising his brows and holding his hands out in front of him, palms facing her. He didn't step closer, leaving the gap she'd put between them there just in case it made her feel more comfortable. He knew all about that sort of thing.

"This is Lil' Sebastian's place. I know it's..." he dropped his voice to a whisper and cupped a hand around his mouth to hide it from Zeke, "...kind of ugly..." His hand lowered. "But he's the one who gives out the jobs. They're really good jobs too. He gives work to the other kids since we're not technically allowed to work, but that means we have money for food and stuff," he assured her.

All the while, Zeke stood still as a statue by the outer door, staring between them and waiting for them to decide what they were going to do. Chips turned his back to her and patted the door, "Can we go in, Zeke?" he asked and the man looked up at Velocity, raised a brow, then reached down and back to open the door for them. "Yea, I guess so. Head on in, he's not busy right now," he finally answered, his voice far less aggressive than his face.
CHARACTERS
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha


NARRATION
Darling ~ Iscariot

Location: Sector 3A - Velocity

Chips: "Is it him?"

Velocity looked at Zeke again and then back to Chips, her countenance a mixture of confusion and anxiety. Truth be told she didn't know what she felt or what the trigger was for her anxiety Perhaps it was the prospect of going into a confined space or that a guard invoked echoes of times when being in a guarded room meant enforced confinement, meant treatment that caused more harm, of places that assumed Velocity was a danger to others when the most she could be was a danger to herself.

Chips: "... but that means we have money for food and stuff."

The words got through to her; Chips at least believed that the place was safe, that the proprietor helped children like Chips. But did Lil Sebastian help youngsters like Chips in the same way that Fagan did in Oliver Twist? She didn't know why that suddenly surfaced, she couldn't remember when she had read the book. "Read the book?" she wondered. "Did I actually read a book?" Another unanswerable question. Velocity suddenly felt concerned that she might call Sebastian Fagan.

She tightened her grip on the violin case, using the discomfort of it against her chest as a way to blunt the sharpest edges of her anxiety.

"Hello Zeke, she belatedly greeted him, her voice almost inaudible above the background noise. She followed Chips cautiously, her eyes wide and fearful, her head swivelling around looking for the first signs of danger. Her violin case remained clutched in her arms as if to provide extra armour against a frontal attack or perhaps to protect it from being snatched; even Velocity did not know.



Player: Clare
Characters: Beth

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