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.
Dialogue color: lemonchiffon

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.
Dialogue color: lemonchiffon

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?"
Dialogue color: lemonchiffon

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.

Briar Williams

August 15, 2020, 11:33:36 am #6 Last Edit: August 15, 2020, 11:37:22 am by Briar Williams
"'No Safer Bet, Than On Iscariot,'" Briar read out loud and frowned. "Is that supposed to rhyme?" Her inner musician cringed at the tortured rhyme scheme, if that was indeed what it was, but the gambler's ears perked up. No safer bet, huh? Could be the place to put that Ferret paycheck into good use...

Why stop there? The pilot chimed in, her interest piqued. You've always wanted to try shuttle racing, haven't you? Well, not really. But now that you have the option, you'd like to, right? I guess it could be kind of cool. A change of pace, anyway. And how hard could it be, really? I bet the racers are a real fun bunch to hang out with, too.

"You know what? You might be onto something." She picked up the pamphlet to have a closer look. "'Iscariot Space Station'. Well, aside from being named after the guy who stabbed Jesus Christ in the back, don't that sound like the perfect place to look for a job? Maybe we'll find one for you too. I bet they'd let a kid work at the racetrack. Doesn't seem like a place that'd get too hung up on labor laws." She said it like it was a unanimously good thing.

"Go on then, finish your drink and we'll be off," she urged Freya, not taking her eyes off the pamphlet in her hands. She was slipping into the absent-minded daze of a parent perusing a newspaper at the breakfast table, only half-paying attention to their kid. "By the way, did you know humans make milk, too?"
Dialogue color: lemonchiffon

E.V.

E.V. stared at the ceiling of her crappy room on Beylix. The clock read 6:13 am, but she'd been awake for an hour already. The dreams hadn't come again, her brief jaunt on the Brass Ferret had pushed them back, but she could feel them getting closer. Their flight had been several days ago now, and with the damage to the Ferret turning out to be more extensive than they'd originally thought, it looked like the ship would remain grounded for a while. E.V. had no interest in sticking around while the dreams crept closer and closer. She'd already been on Beylix a whole 7 weeks, and that was enough.

Time for something new.

She sighed and rolled over, wistfully looking at the empty space next to her on the bed. Wishing, not for the first time, that a certain brown haired blue eyed woman was there. Such was life. Two ships passing in the night, or something like that.

She sat up, retrieved one of her Cortex pads, and got to work. It didn't take her very long to hack into FFI's systems, and it took only slightly longer to set up a script that would remove her contract from existence and siphon 2 weeks pay to a fresh account. The easy part out of the way, she set about looking for a destination. Time ticked by. She sighed in annoyance. None of the outgoing ships were headed anywhere she wanted to go.

A glace at the clock told her it was just after 10 am. The hustle and bustle of the space port would be well under way. Her stomach made a plaintive noise, and suddenly she realized how hungry she was. Mmm, food. And coffee! She scrambled out of bed and quickly showered, pausing a moment to inspected herself in the dingy mirror. Not bad, bags under your eyes are almost gone, and with a couple nights of sleep you look almost like a person again! She dressed in her usual garb; jeans, a black shirt, her black leather jacket, and an assortment of necklaces, bracelets, and rings. After one more stop at the mirror she shoved her Cortex pad into her backpack and headed out.

E.V. walked with purpose, pausing only to buy a breakfast burrito from a street vendor, and to flirt with the cute guard at Fracture Fields gate. As she approached The Jolly Dog she noticed two familiar figures sitting at one of the tables, their pretty blonde pilot, and the young girl they had rescued. She diverted from her course and went to greet them.

"Heya Freya," She said, giving the girl a smile and a wink. E.V. liked Freya, the girl was young, but she had taught E.V. a breathing exercise when she'd had one of her nightmares just after the Ferret rescued the girl. "-hey Briar!" E.V.s smile brightened a degree or two. Between her dirty-blonde mane of hair, delicate features, and big green eyes, Briar was a knockout in Vee's humble opinion. She didn't really know much about the gorgeous blonde though. During the flight E.V. had been down in the hold being distracted by Sienna, and extreme sleep deprivation, and after their return Vee hadn't spent much time around the ship after it became clear that it wasn't going to be lifting off again any time soon.

"What are you two lovely ladies up to?"

Freya

"By the way, did you know humans make milk, too?"

Freya's eyes widened and her mouth dropped open in mild disgust and disbelief. Surely that wasn't accurate. Where would it even come from?! She looked down at herself.She'd seen images of cows and knew they had udders, but she surely didn't! A hand went to cover her stomach were she imaged the udders would be.

"Heya Freya!" a familiar voice called, snapping her out of the horrifying implications of human milk that Briar had just put into her brain. The look of horror on her face melted into surprise, and then a broad smile brightened her eyes and straightened her posture. The previously racoon eyed member of her almost crew was looking a lot better, and she didn't think she was at risk of falling asleep on her feet. That was an improvement. She did, for a moment, look around to see if Sienna had come along with EV, but didn't see her right away. Maybe she was still on her way.

"What are you two lovely ladies up to?" EV asked.

Freya pointed to the pamphlet in Briar's hand, "We're going to get jobs at Iscariot, 'No Safer Bet, than on Iscariot'," she repeated, the phrase not managing to rhyme no matter how many times someone said it. Still, she tried, and that's what counted. "Because they probably don't care about laws, and something about stabbing people in the back!" she added, eyes alight with excitement. She'd lit up considerably since EV's arrival, likely due to her being one of the people who'd pulled her out of the shuttle she'd shot toward the sun. Briar, of course, had had a hand in rescuing her, but she hadn't been one of the first faces she'd seen and like a baby bird, Freya had apparently imprinted on Sienna, EV, and Carrie. Although, if she was being honest, she'd been mighty fond of the married couple more than the rest. 

Briar Williams

Briar felt a little bad for Freya for being saddled with her. She didn't have anything against the kid, she wanted to help her, but she had a feeling she wasn't really cut out for it. Trying to get replies that were more than three words long out of the girl was like pulling teeth. She'd been the opposite at her age, talking the ear off of anyone who would give her the time of day; an open book, for better or for worse. It was difficult to gauge what was going on in this young girl's head.

"Heya Freya! Hey Briar!"

"E.V.!" Briar looked up, her expression brightening at the sight of the familiar redhead walking towards them. "Look at you, you're looking less undead every time I see you." She thought back to the first time they'd met, almost in this very same spot, and how she had, to put it bluntly, resembled a reanimated raccoon carcass with just how dark the circles around her eyes had been. Raccoons were cute, dropping dead from a heart attack brought on by prolonged sleep deprivation less so. Good for her.

"What are you two lovely ladies up to?"

"We're going to get jobs at Iscariot, 'No Safer Bet, than on Iscariot', because they probably don't care about laws, and something about stabbing people in the back!"

The change in Freya's demeanor did not go unnoticed by Briar; that was the longest sentence she'd heard her speak since they'd left the Ferret. Briar almost felt a little jealous of the way seeing E.V. made Freya cheer up instantly, but such was life, and such were shy, traumatized youths.

"What about you, lone lovely lady?" She assumed E.V. was just taking a morning stroll before a productive day of waiting for the Brass Ferret to get fixed up, but then her eyes landed on her backpack and she frowned. "They didn't give you the boot, too, did they?"
Dialogue color: lemonchiffon

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