The Ferret's Rejects

Started by Briar Williams, May 16, 2020, 11:08:33 pm

Briar Williams

May 16, 2020, 11:08:33 pm Last Edit: May 17, 2020, 01:21:59 pm by Briar Williams
So much for that good feeling.

Briar had had such high hopes for the Brass Ferret gig, and aside from the part where she'd almost gotten sucked into a black hole, it had been good -- too good to be true, as it turned out. Less than a week into her employment it came up that while her friend Airi had managed to talk Zeke Tapoa into hiring her, his associate was less enthusiastic about hiring someone with a spotty record like hers based on word-of-mouth. It didn't help that as a pilot she was redundant on a ship whose captain was also one, and her salary would be better spent on a medic. David, bless his heart, had stood up for her, but his superiors had shut him down. What a shame. It had been nice to like her boss for a change.

And so Briar found herself in the same place she'd started her short tenure on the Brass Ferret: sitting at a table in front of the Jolly Dog bar. Only this time she wasn't alone. The pilot looked up from her glass of pink lemonade at the girl sitting across the table from her. Freya's only crime, as far as Briar knew, was being underage and therefore unfit for the job, at least in the eyes of the Fractured Fields management -- Briar personally thought it was a total crock of gǒu shǐ. At Freya's age, she'd been co-piloting a ship and looking after its engine, and she'd never felt exploited.

It was quite a pickle Briar had gotten herself into. Not the getting fired part itself; she'd been fired plenty of times before, and the severance pay was enough to buy her one last drink from the company bar and treat Freya to one while she was at it. It should also be enough to get her off Beylix and keep her flying until she found another source of income. No, the pickle was Freya. David had voiced some concerns over whether she had a place to go, but Freya had assured him she had everything under control. Sitting here with her, Briar wasn't sure if that was entirely true.

A silence hung between the two. It wasn't an awkward silence, more of a melancholic one, neither of them knowing what came next. Briar decided that the mood could definitely use some lightening. She looked at the glass of milk in front of Freya and nodded her head towards it.

"You know, Wisp, you're braver than me. I dunno if I'd drink the milk in this place. Ain't no tellin' what animal it's from."

She shot a glance at the sign reading "The Jolly Dog", then turned to back to the girl, her face twisting into an expression of feigned dawning horror. Then she smiled tentatively, waiting to see how she reacted to the joke.

Freya

To the onlooker, it might have seemed as though the girl sitting with Briar lacked any visible emotion, or perhaps that she was bored with the situation or had checked out mentally. However, this was very much not the case. Her job with the Ferret had been a whirlwind and she was still struggling to catalog the whole thing in her head.

First, she'd been part of a ship looking to cultivate crops while sailing through the 'Verse. Then she'd been stuck in a shuttle launching herself at a star. After she'd been rescued, she had very briefly worked on the savior ship, and had almost allowed herself to begin growing little itty-bitty roots and to feel a connection with the crew. Fast forward to now, sitting in a questionable drinking establishment while the crew left without her. Her eyes rose slowly from her drink to glance at Briar. Well... without her or Briar.

One hand wrapped itself around the cold glass of milk while the other slowly rose to pluck at one of the braids tangled in her dark hair, gaze locked blankly on her drinking partner's face. She didn't look forward to hiding in another ship's cargo hold to get her to the next whatever, but if she had Briar hiding with her it might not be too bad...

The woman's voice focused her eyes and brought her out of her thoughts enough to look with her toward the sign, her brows furrowing thoughtfully and nose scrunching up along the bridge. Did dogs make milk? When Freya turned back to Briar, she just looked perplexed, and a little alarmed. Did dogs make milk!? Her lips pursed, hard, the skin around them turning pale before she set her palms down on the table and leaned forward to whisper, "Dogs make milk?"

Briar Williams

"Dogs make milk?"

It wasn't the response Briar had expected, but it made her grin widen. She didn't consider herself a very wise woman, so it was nice to discover she at least had something to teach Freya, no matter how insignificant or obvious.

"They sure do," she beamed. "But they're pretty darn hard to milk, so I'm sure you're safe. It's the hamburgers you gotta worry about..."

Briar chuckled to herself before a shadow passed over her face and her grin faded into a lukewarm smile. Why was she cracking these stupid jokes? They were just delaying the inevitable serious conversation that needed to happen, preferably pronto.

Before they'd parted ways, David had pulled Briar aside and asked her to keep an eye on Freya. His concern had apparently prompted him to do some research into the girl's past -- something about an orphanage and running away, tale as old as time. As far as Briar was concerned, Freya was old enough that there was no need to return her there at this point, but the fact that there was an orphanage involved in the first place certainly made her apprehensive about letting the kid go her own way. Not only did an orphanage mean no parents, it usually meant no family at all, and roaming the 'Verse with no safety web whatsoever? Briar had done that after being released from Muir while her crew stayed behind bars, and she had to admit that hadn't turned out so well -- and she'd been a full grown adult at that point!

"Alright, I'm gonna need you to be completely honest with me." Briar cleared her throat and leaned forward, meeting Freya's gaze if she let her. "You told David he shouldn't worry about you 'cos you've got a place to go."

Pause.

"But you ain't actually got a place to go, do you?" She tried to sound less like a grown-up interrogating a child and more like a peer trying to get in on a juicy secret. After all, they kind of were in the same boat -- sadly only figuratively, since the literal boat had rejected them.

Freya

"They sure do...But they're pretty darn hard to milk, so I'm sure you're safe. It's the hamburgers you gotta worry about..."

The girl's nose scrunched up and she turned her head in an attempt to stare at the plates and drinks of the other patrons, perhaps trying to suss out who was drinking dog milk or eating mystery hamburgers. The food she'd had during her brief time on the Ferret had been the best she'd ever had. Her time stowing away on cargo ships and hiding from crews in crawlspaces hadn't exactly been conducive to a culinary awakening. To her, the leftovers of proteins shaped into food items was the norm. Milk and hamburgers, real vegetables and meats afforded to them by the Company, that was alien and strange and so far it had all been wonderful. Maybe mystery hamburgers weren't so bad.

"Alright, I'm gonna need you to be completely honest with me.... You told David he shouldn't worry about you 'cos you've got a place to go..." Briar began and Freya leaned back a little to counter the amount that her companion leaned forward. Her chin nodded downward very slowly as though agreeing with the facts as they had been stated so far. She had told him that, that was true. So far, so good on the honesty request.

"But you ain't actually got a place to go, do you?"

The girl leaned back in her seat and crossed her arms over her chest, head shaking a little not as an answer but as a means to get the braids and beads in her hair off of her face. "I do," she answered carefully. Still she was being honest. She had a place to go as long as she could find a ship to hide in that would take her to...a place. But she knew what Briar meant, and to say she had a place knowing the meaning of 'place' in this context, would have been a lie. So she shrugged and tilted her head to the side, "And I don't," Freya conceeded, her brows furrowed but the rest of her face remaining stoic and blank. Most of the time when she found someone who knew she didn't have a place to go, it was a fight to get away from them before they could send her somewhere 'official.' She didn't think she'd have to do that now, but preparing for the worst was in her nature at this point.

Briar Williams

June 22, 2020, 12:41:17 pm #4 Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 01:19:38 pm by Briar Williams
"I do. And I don't."

Briar nodded. That's what she'd thought. Shiny. Now that? All that exchange had accomplished was too establish that her powers of deduction were passable. She leaned back in her chair in a move that mirrored Freya's, expect where the girl had her arms crossed protectively over her torso, Briar let hers hang loose by her sides.

"Well, that makes two of us." She sighed and rolled her head around, stretching her neck muscles. "I was really hoping to stay put for... I dunno, at least a month. Eh, zhè jiùshì shēnghuó."

With a nonchalant shrug, Briar took a sip from the lemonade, which turned out to be all sugar and no bite. Great, she'd made the same mistake she'd made while ordering her first drink here. Suddenly she didn't feel so bad about leaving the place behind. She set the glass aside and studied the young but stony face before her.

"I ain't gonna force you back into the orphanage, if that's what you're afraid of. You're a big enough girl to have some say in where you end up. So... you wouldn't happen to have a place a place you'd like to go, would you?"

Freya

July 02, 2020, 02:06:00 pm #5 Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 02:42:54 pm by Lomari
"I ain't gonna force you back into the orphanage, if that's what you're afraid of. You're a big enough girl to have some say in where you end up..." the other woman assured. Freya took a couple of minutes to continue staring at Briar with careful consideration, her lips having puckered into a thoughtful pout and her eyes narrowed in an attempt to see into the lady's mind. All that did for her was narrow her field of vision and start in on giving her a headache. So she stopped. And with that, the rest of her expression relaxed and her own arms fell to her side, unconsciously mimicking Briar's posture. 

"So... you wouldn't happen to have a place a place you'd like to go, would you?" she asked. Freya thought on this for a moment, looking upward, the to the left, and back again. With a quick intake of air, she sat up again and began rummaging around down the front of her shirt. She began pulling out papers, all folded and pressed flat, as well as some little satchels attached to leather chords that hung around her neck. Papers were unfolded. Satchels emptied. Slowly, the table began to resemble a pile of pocket trash and litter.

Finally, she unfolded a pamphlet and ran her hands over it to flatten out the fold bumps before sliding it (and most of the trash pile) across the table to Briar, only barely avoiding knocking over both drink glasses. Her index finger lifted, then meaningfully pointed down onto the paper. It was an advertisement for betting on a race, it seemed, with a hand painted and then mass produced image of a fancy woman lounging on the hood of a silver race shuttle as it rocketed through the verse around a space station. At the top, the cursive read, 'No Safer Bet, Than On Iscariot!', although it was unclear if the author had intended that to rhyme or if he knew it clearly didn't... In the bottom left, it said, 'Iscariot Space Station'. From the advert, it looked pretty safe and clean and a little fancy, so they'd probably be comfortable there and could likely find work.

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