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#Miner'sRespite – July 21, 2017
A couple hours has passed and the booze has continued to flow. So much so that the crew has added a second pitcher to the first and the refills have been plentiful. Jason, notably, has drank the brunt of it. A fact which hasn't gone unnoticed by Gage who has made a few passing remarks about slowing down. Gage has proven to be a fairly charismatic leader and there's little doubt that Shane and Priya are loyal to him. Even Jason seems to
have fallen right back into rank as if he was still serving under the man. There's just a way about him that commands respect without ever even asking for it. They're a rowdy bunch, but respectful. Certainly not trouble makers. The past few hours have mostly consisted of passing around old stories for Nathan's amusement.
Gage nurses his beer in his hands. He's taken the drinking quite slow in comparison to the others. "You run into all sorts of shit out there. Never know what to expect." he says to Nathan on the heels of another story. "We've been openly invited onto ships where they go about their business right in front of us- I'm talking slave pens, no more than 15 feet away from us. Acting like it's the most natural thing in the world. Then we've
Shane clasps a hand on Gage's shoulder as he suppresses a laugh. "The-... uhh, the omni-tools! Did you tell the story about the omni-tools?" he asks, unsure of what he may have missed during one of his many trips to the bar to get refills... And to continue (Unsuccessfully) with his attempts at wooing Leah. If nothing else, he's not a quitter.
Gage is unable to help but laugh a bit himself as the story is brought up, but he shakes his head. Jason and Priya immediately have a chuckle of their own when the omni-tools are mentioned. "No, no-..." he says, waving Shane off, claiming the story for himself. He sets his glass down and leans a forarm against the table as he looks Nathan's way. "Alright, alright, so-..." he pauses, mid-sentence to shush Shane who finally manages to
get his laughter under control, "...So we board this freighter, right? Just standard procedure. Make sure nothing is out of place. Usually we would've just let it go by but-..." he shrugs, realizing what he's about to say might not land right, but it's not like he was the one calling the shots so it is what it is, "...We go a little harder on the batarians out that way considering how much trouble they get into. Anyway, they pull
the old 'Our translators aren't working' ordeal once we're onboard. Not the first time we've heard that one. Everyone's translation software seems to conveniently stop working when they're expected to answer questions." he snickers before gesturing towards Priya. "So Pree steps up and begins repeating the questions in batarian-..."
Gage gives an apologetic nod her way. "Rah'shagur." he repeats. It was this sort of behavior that made it clear why the others respected him. Never too proud to be corrected. "So, it must've mind flooded the hell outta these guys, because he does one of these-..." He pantomimes verrry stiffly tilting slightly to the side towards Shane and whispers, 'We must kill them.' The others at the table immediately burst into laughter again,
but Gage quickly quiets them down. "Now, they know our translation software is working. Hell, Pree here just spoke to them in their own damn language. Why he thought it was a good idea to issue a kill order right in front of us I'll never know. We put 'em down before they could even raise their weapons. But the kicker?" He leans in, tapping a finger against the table, "The kicker is we searched that whole damn vessel and all we
found were some bootleg omni-tools they were smuggling. We're not a customs office. We wouldn't have blinked twice at a few bogus omni-tools. Our job is to look for signs of slave trading. Weapon smuggling. We check cargo against recently attacked ship manifestos for signs of piracy. cheap, knock off omni-tools? Not on our radar. But he got his whole crew killed over a haul of-... what? Ten K?"
Nathan has been keeping pace with the rest of them pretty well, more on the merry side of things rather than bordering being completely hammered. And, if he were being honest, it was helping. The talk with Leah, shooting the shit with Jason and his old team, all of it was helping to put his mind at ease. Or, at least, quash the haunting thoughts in his mind as he raptly listened to every tale that Gage and
the rest have told him. He laughed, he gasped and he questioned, each story giving new light to his boss and the people he worked with. "You're shitting me? Right in front of you? All for a bunch of counterfeit omni-tools?" He snorts, shaking his head as he snatches up his glass of... what was he drinking by this point? Eh, doesn't matter. "Smugglers, man. You'd think they would have some brains
Yan Sun descends the stairs of the Respite, wearing her usual attire - black jeans, a simple top and a black vest. She makes her way over to the bar, giving Leah a small wave and leaning her elbows against the counter as she waits for her turn.
Jason slugs back a healthy portion of his drink. "They weren't even good counterfeits!" he chimes in with a snort. "Spelled 'Ariake' with a Q!"
Shane immediately burts into laughter once again, nodding along with Jason. "Right, right. And remind us, Jason? How do you spell Ariake?"
Jason furrows his brow at the insinuation that he can't spell it. He opens his mouth but suddenly stops.... "I know there's not a fucking Q in it!" he says defensively.
Leah has remained up near the counter for pretty much the entirety of the past two hours. Unlike Steve before her, she doesn't seem to spend much time in the back office. She prefers to mingle. Be among the patrons, always striking up conversations and remembering mundane little details about their lives. As Yan Sun approaches the bar, she offers a smile. "Hey, what's up?" she asks, stepping aside briefly so Yan Sun's order can
Nathan snorts again, the rosy tint to his cheeks deepening as he laughs. "You're a fucking wonder, Jason. Mr Dinnosaur man." He shakes his head, slinging back his drink and gulping it down with a content sigh. "You guys sure had some pretty interesting jobs, huh? But, hey! Good to know people like you were out there kicking names and taking ass." He grins and makes to refill his glass. However, he pauses,
Yan Sun glances towards the bartender, who seems preoccupied at the moment. "I'm starving. Think you could get my order to the kitchen? Just the usual sandwich." She furrows her eyebrows when she realizes it might be a bit presumptious to assume Leah would remember her order, especially considering she's security. "Uh, that one." she says, pointing towards the menu with a small smile.
Jason's shoulders rise and fall as he has a laugh at Nathan's expense. Probably just happy to have the attention pulled off of him. "Get this man more booze!" he says.
Shane reaches forward to scoop up one of the empty pitchers with a nod. "Speaking of taking ass. I'll be right back." he says with a wink. He eagerly rises to his feet and starts towards the counter, happy to have another excuse to bother Leah some more.
Priya takes a tentative sip of her drink as she looks to Nathan. "EOD with a company like Sandbeck, surely you must have some stories of your own." she pries.
Leah glances at the bartender in turn, then follows Yan Sun's gesture to the menu. "Oh... Right!" Spotting Shane's approach, it seems like as good of an excuse to avoid him as any. "Yeah, of course!" she says as she backs up towards the door, "Give me one second. I'll be right back." She makes sure to give a small wave with her fingertips to Shane as she backs through the door.
Yan Sun slips onto one of the chairs as she waits, tapping her fingers against her arm and glancing towards the TV screen and the muted news broadcast playing.
Shane takes a position beside Yan Sun and sets his pitcher down with a sigh as he just misses Leah. "She coming back?" he asks with a grin as he leans an elbow against the counter.
Nathan perks up at the sound of more booze. "More is good." He peers at Shane once more, impressed by the man's tenacity and amused at how many times he gets shut down. Blinking, he looks to Priya and scratches his chin in thought. "Yup, I have a few with EOD. Lemme think... ah!" He shifts to fully face her and the rest, leaning on the table. "Right, so, back when Sandbeck was still relatively new, most of
our armour was just repurposed or modified, like this." He raps his knuckles against his chestplate. "This is modified to hold up to a hell of a lot more punishment than your standard suit. Anyway, we were called in to defuse an IED sitting in the middle of the road that was blocking the mechanised company. So, me and my friend Gabe were sent in to check it out and clear the way. We got there and
started to gently chip away at the grounf around it so we could get a better look at it. Gabe decided he would disarm it whilst I kept a lookout. So, as I was scanning the rooftops, I heard him whistle low and chuckle. I turned back around to see the fucker pulling off his armour!" He shakes his head. "So, I was like 'Dude, what the fuck are you doing?' And what he said still sits with me today. He
said, 'Ten, this thing has enough ordnance to turn me and you to dust. I'd rather be comfortable while defusing this.' Shed the rest of his armour bar his visor and got to work."
Yan Sun glances off to her side at Shane, raising an eyebrow. "Uh... I hope so?" she says, her eye lighting up as she looks back towards the door to the kitchen, gaze darting around as she prepares to pay for her order.
Gage gives a snicker at the story. "Yeah... Yeah, you EOD boys have a few screws loose. I've heard stories." he says with a shake of his head. No offense intended, of course.
Jason gestures to Nathan with his beer. "Think 'a few screws loose' is a requirement for Redrock at this point considering all the shit we've gotten into." he chirps.
Priya gives a brief chuckle before looking to Gage. "We've had our own... run in with the wrong side of an IED." she says, the briefest of apologetic looks on her face for bringing it up.
Gage sighs at the prompt Priya put out there. "Yeah..." he says, turning to the side as he begins to roll up his pant leg. "Last tour out in the Traverse..." he continues, extending his leg outward to give Nathan a better look at it. Not that anything looks out of place. It's just a leg. It's not until he draws a line just below the knee with his index finger that something of a 'seam' is noticeable. Just the slightest of
discolorations. "Just one of those things. We boarded a ship. No red flags. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Must've let my guard down at some point. Didn't even notice the trip mine on the way to the cargo hold. Took my leg clean off. If it wasn't for these tough sons of bitches-..." he gestures to Priya and gives a brief glance in Shane's direction, "...I'd just be a puddle on the ground. They fought off an ambush and dragged
Jason cranes his neck to get a look as well. It's the first he's hearing of this and, for a moment, there's a look of jealousy on his face. Jealousy at being left out of the loop. Someone he, at one point, considered to be family lost a leg and he's just now hearing about it.
Gage studies his own leg for a moment before continuing. "They put me up in the hospital for a hot minute. Set me up with this bad boy-..." he pats his leg below the seam, "...Cloned. Still blows my mind how normal it feels." He slowly slides his pantleg back down as he repositions in his seat. "That's when the boys upstairs had a talk with me. Suppose they thought I was getting sloppy. Overconfident." Priya snorts and gives a roll
of her eyes at the statement. "I've seen kids right out of basic turned into paste during their first boarding party." he continues, "Sometimes shit just happens... No rhyme or reason to it. But I guess they've gotta cover their own asses, so-... cue the cushy desk job."
Shane cocks his head to the side as he looks Yan Sun over and his grin widens. "I like your hair." he says. A pattern has formed. "Really brings out your eyes."
Yan Sun rolls her eyes. "Thanks. My girlfriend likes it too." she says with a smirk, her cybernetics lighting up as she activates her omni-tool, starting to type idly, her gaze never really going back to Shane.
Emma enters the Respite, a whirl of snow following in her wake causing the bottom of her long, dark blue winter coat to flutter for a moment. As she takes a moment to brush the snow from her boots, Markus steps in beside her, wearing a, likely newly acquired, grey winter coat. Emma is a tall woman, with long blonde hair, most of which is in a braid, much like when she first arrived. Markus has short dark hair and
stubble which seems to have been left to grow since he arrived on Aite. They both start to make their way across the room, but Markus stops upon noticing the group in the booth. "Jason." he says with a nod.
Shane doesn't seem particularly deterred by Yan Sun's statement. Maybe even more encouraged. "Ohhhhh~" he sings, leaning a little more heavily against the counter.
Leah makes her return just in time to catch the tail-end of the exchange. "Order placed!" she says enthusiastically as she approaches Yan Sun and Shane and swipes the pitcher up off the counter. "You're a disgusting human being." she informs him non-chalantly as she begins to refill his pitcher.
Yan Sun grimaces, seeming about to say something when Leah returns, and her comment elicits a quiet snicker. "Thanks. I'll have an ice tea too." she says, queueing up the payment with a few quick swipes across the omni-tool interface projected on her arm, as she already knows what the order will cost.
Leah sets the pitcher back down in front of Shane and stares blankly at him for a moment before shooing him off. "Go. Get."
Shane, smile still chiseled into his features, collects his pitcher and begins to take his leave. "Alright, alright. I'm going. Just-... I'll be right over there." he gestures back to his table, looking between Leah and Yan Sun, "...If either of you need me. Ladies~"
Leah rolls her eyes and quickly fetches some tea for Yan Sun. "Don't mind him. He's an idiot." she says as she slides the glass towards Yan Sun.
Nathan grins, showing he took no offence. "A few screws jiggling about is standard if you work with the payloads we do." However, as Gage speaks and points to the seam on his leg, his face falls a little. Not the first case he's seen, probably won't be the last. Shit, he might be in that position one day. Nathan offers a small sigh, nodding. "Ja, shit happens." His gaze briefly moves to Leah and their recent
Yan Sun lets out a disgusted noise before grabbing her ice tea. "No shit." she says with a small smirk, giving Leah a nod and then pointing a thumb over her shoulder. "Thanks for taking my order. Can't wait to finally eat something..." she says before jumping off the barstool and heading over to a booth close to the stairs. She slides into her seat, sitting sideways with her legs crossed, feet just outside the edge of the booth
- no dirt on the seats today! She sips the ice tea before bringing up her omni-tool again, projecting a fairly large, curved screen in front of her, gaze darting across it as she reads.
Jason follows suit, preparing to slug back another portion of his drink. Markus' sudden appearance causes him to reconsider and stiffen up, however. "Oh-... uhh... Hey, Markus. Didn't expect to-..." he says, trailing off as he looks up at the man from his seat, clearly not having expected to run into him. His gaze moves to the next table over and he gestures towards a chair, "Grab a glass and pull up a chair." he offers with a
friendly smile. It's the sort of offer that you secretly hope the other party declines. Not that Jason has anything against Markus. You know, aside from the fact that Markus has had no issues in the past letting it be known that he doesn't like Jason. It's just that-... okay, maybe he does hold that against Markus. Nevertheless, he's Vasquez' brother, so Jason puts his best foot forward.
Nathan blinks and looks to the man, perking an eyebrow as he shifts his gaze to Jason. "Another friend from the Alliance?" He asks, already standing to offer a greeting to Markus.
Markus nods, grabbing one chair for himself and one for Emma, adding them to the increasingly crowded table. He shakes Nathans hand with a polite smile. "Commander Markus Vasquez." he says, looking to the others seated at the table. "I'll go get some glasses." he announces before heading off towards the bar.
Emma takes a seat on the chair Markus provided, pulling off her gloves and offering a hand to Jason. "Hello again. I'm not sure if your fiancée told you, but I've been hired by Redrock."
Nathan instinctively stiffens up. A commander in the Alliance and Vasquez's relative. Keep professional, keep professional, kee- "Hic." Dammit! Nathan covers his mouth as he sits back down, Markus already heading off towards the bar.
Jason hides the frown he's harboring just beneath the surface as Markus accepts his offer and mouths a silent 'Vasquez' brother' Nathan's way. In case that wasn't obvious by this point. Emma's comment, however, his smile growing a bit more sincere. "Oh, shit. Well, welcome to the team-..." he furrows his brow as he shakes her hand, falling silent for a moment. "...Emma, right?" he attempts to recall. He decides to save the
Shane, having struck out for about the eighth time tonight, returns and sets the pitcher back down. "Well, shit, we've got ourself a party now, don't we?" he says as he notices the new set of chairs at the table. He drags his own chair to other side of Nathan to give everyone room to spread out a little more. Before sitting down he reaches across the table, extending his own hand towards Emma. "Shane." he greets, wasting no time
Nathan blinks and makes a small sound of understanding. At Emma announcing her joining of Redrock, he breaks into a broad smile and nods to her. "Hey, great, new members! Redrock really is growing."
Emma seems about to respond to Jason when Shane extends his ahnd towards her. She shakes his hand with a small smile. "Emma." she says, confirming her name to Jason while introducing herself to the others. She leans back a bit in her chair, shifting as she takes off her coat, letting it rest over the back of her chair. Underneath she's wearing a grey turtleneck sweater. Nathan's comment causes her smile to grow and
she looks around the table. "Are you all in Redrock?" Her accent is noticable, but several years of Alliance service has ensured her English is proper.
Shane's ever present shit-eating grin remains as he retakes his seat. "Nah. We-..." he gestures to Priya, then leans forward to give a nod in Gage's direction, "...know Jason from way back."
Jason mouths her name again as she says it. "Nailed it." he pats himself on the back for recalling her name. Something seems to hit him and he points at Shane and quickly recites aloud, "A-R-I-A-K-E-E!"
Markus reaches the counter, trying to get the attention of either Leah or Va'ynna, uncertain who to address. "Can I some glasses, please? Clean ones."
Nathan stifles a snort for a moment before he breaks into a fit of merry snickers. "A treasure," he comments, motioning to Jason. He then looks to Emma, extending his hand now. "Nathan Tennhausen, explosives expert and armourer for Redrock. Nice to meet you, Emma."
Emma lets out a brief, half-hearted chuckle at Jason's attempt at spelling before turning her attention to Nathan and shaking his hand. Her grip is stronger than her slender hand would suggest. "Same to you. I was a Scout-Sniper in the Alliance. I imagine I'll serve a similar role here. I prefer to maintain my own equipment, but it's good to know that Redrock has an armorer."
Nathan nods and says, "Can't say I blame you for wanting to maintain your gear. Something about that personal touch, y'know? But hey, you ever need something looked at, send it my way. I'll do what I can for it." He gives her a wink as he leans back, refilling his glass.
Va'ynna has just returned from the kitchen after checking on how things are going there. She's just like normal for the current month, tired and exhausted after a long day. The asari nods at his request, frowning at him specifying clean glasses. "Of course," she says. "How... many?" She starts taking two glasses out from beneath the counter and placing them before him.
Markus nods. "Two." he says, accepting the glasses. "Thank you." he says before starting to head back to the table. He takes a seat in the empty chair, placing the glasses on the table and then looking around at the others. "I don't believe I've met most of you. As I said, I'm Markus, Linda's sister."
Leah moves to assist Markus with the glasses, but Va'ynna beats her to the punch and she returns to her position.
Shane scoots his chair closer to the table and leans his forearms against it as he looks across to Emma. "How long were you with the Alliance?" he asks.
Gage reaches for the other pitcher to top himself off as he listens to the conversations going on around the table. As Markus returns, he slides the pitcher his way.
Va'ynna glances around the bar for any sign of someone needing her service, but she shrugs and takes a step back. Her attention is mostly on the group gathered at the table, but she'd feel guilty if she stepped away to leave all the work to Leah and Tara. Or maybe that was her excuse. It is a loud group of mostly strangers, which is not exactly the kind Va'ynna is comfortable approaching. She is wearing her
dark green simple dress which she's had ever since she came to Aite. While it clings to her, it shows no skin below her neck aside from her hands.
Gage offers a polite smile Markus' way. "Warrant Officer David Gage." he offers, still not out of the habit of prefacing his introduction with a rank. Especially considering he's addressing an officer. "Just in town for the wedding." he reiterates. Realizing that Shane is much too interested in Emma's story-... or at least feigning interest, he leans forward and gestures to the man. "That big ol' pile of friendliness is one of mine.
Shane only gives the briefest of acknlowedgements as his name is said, glancing about to try and discern where his attention should be. As he realizes he's being introduced to Markus, he raises his glass towards him before focusing back on Emma.
Priya takes her turn once Gage is finished. "Priya." she says plainly, "Tagging along with these two to make sure they stay out of trouble." she adds with a small smile, gesturing between Shane and Gage.
Leah tilts to the side to better face Va'ynna. "Busy day, huh?" she says. "Have you had a break yet?"
Emma furrows her eyebrows for a moment. "Thirteen-... yeah, thirteen years, total. I, uh... I joined in 70. Are you ex-Alliance too?" she asks Shane, reaching for the pitcher and giving it a brief inspection before pouring a beer for herself.
Jason gives a nod Nathan's way. "Ten works with me and Linda. Hell of a soldier soldier." he assures, feeling a slight need to sell Vasquez' safety to her brother by upselling his people.
Va'ynna sighs, giving a small shake of her head. She seemed hesitant to answer, it wouldn't feel right to let Leah do all the work at the bar. If that was where Leah was going with it. "I... haven't," she says. "It's not a... busy day, but... it's a long day like usual. I... hope D'Inea gets better soon."
Markus returns Gage's smile. His curiosity seems peaked by the mention of rank. "Alliance?" he says, echoing Emma's question to Shane.
Nathan smiles, but seeing how the attention is drawn to the rest of the Alliance- correction, ex-Alliance lot, he excuses himself with a polite nod. "Going to grab a bite to eat. Anyone want anything?"
Tara emerges from the kitchen, carrying a plate with a sandwich. She starts making her way towards the booth where Yan Sun is seated, passing the table-full of ex-Alliance personnel in the process. She's wearing blue pants and a deep green, long-sleeved t-shirt, hiding most of her scars, and the barcode, but the brand on her forehead and the net-shaped burns on her scalp remain visible.
Shane whistles in response to Emma. "You got me beat by a few years." he says before giving a nod to her question. "Yeah. We just hung up our hats this past year, so to speak." he says with a gesture to Priya and Gage. "Dipping our toes in the private sector. Exciting shit." He politely waves off Nathan's offer.
Gage goes to answer, but Shane gets the point across before he has a chance to. "Yessir." he says simply, no small amount of pride in his response.
Jason on the other hand, jumps on the opportunity. "Cheeseburger!" he says without hesitation. "Oh, and get me some of those weird-... vegetable.... fried things they have!" he adds. "You know the ones. With the-...." he opens and closes his hand, apparently trying to get... something across.
Leah scrunches up her nose as she studies Va'ynna, realizing how exhausted the woman must be. All she ever does is work, work, work. "Why don't you go take a break, Va'ynna?" she offers, giving a quick glance back and forth across the bar. "I can handle this for a little while. Really." As Tara emerges from the back, she makes sure to clear out of her way and point her towards Yan Sun's table.
Tara delivers the sandwich to Yan Sun, and the two exchange a few quick words, Tara lingering for a moment before feeling the need to return to her duties. She makes her way back behind the counter, wasting no time in getting back to the kitchen, only catching the briefest part of Leah and Va'ynna's conversation.
Nathan slowly tilts his head at Jason. "Fries?" He slowly to back pedal to the counter, keeping an eye on Jason as he tries to convey his order across to him. Cheeseburger and... fried vegetables? He shrugs and keeps heading back, occasionally glancing over his shoulder to make sure he doesn't barrel into somebody.
Markus raises an eyebrow. "It's a shame to see so many people leaving the Alliance for private sector work. Where did you serve?"
Va'ynna looks down for a moment, guilt clear in her features as she considers the offer. "I... I... don't... I don't need a break," she stammers out. She may have expected this, but her bad habit of second guessing her own words is made worse by her exhaustion. "It's... fine," she tries to assure her.
Shane furrows his brow as he catches sight of Tara on her way back to the kitchen. His gaze snaps right to the brand on her forehead. He's certainly seen his fair share of them during his time with the Alliance. He leans across Nathan's recently-vacated seat and gives Gage a pat on the shoulder, signalling in Tara's direction with his eyes.
Gage looks briefly annoyed by Shane interrupting his conversation with Markus, but his expression turns to something closer to concern as he spots Tara. He quickly flags Jason down and gestures to the young woman. The last thing he was about to do is give credits to an establishment that uses slave labor, and there's an obvious disappointment in his face as the thought crosses his mind that Jason might be alright with this.
Jason stares blankly at Nathan as it's implied that Jason may not know what fries are. "Fries? Are you serious? I know what fucking fries are! They're the-... you know! They have those-..." he cups his hand and dunks it up and down, "...with the-..." he rotates his hand back and forth, as if caressing a ball before finally sighing. "Just the cheeseburger, alright!?" It's not until after his exchange that he notices Gage and
follows his gaze towards Tara. He very sternly shakes his head, well aware of what's going on in his old friend's head. "She's not-... No. It's not like that." he says, thinking better than going into detail about the poor girl's story in front of a large group of people. "I'll-... we'll talk later, alright?"
Gage remains focused on Jason for a moment longer before slowly nodding. He casts one more glance Tara's way before looking back to Markus apologetically for being sidetracked. "Sorry-... uhh, out in the Traverse. We were stationed onboard the SSV Beirut. Standard patrol." he explains, downplaying the well-documented danger they faced out that way.
Leah frowns, scrunching her nose up with a sigh. "Are you sure? I'm getting better with the drinks! I can handle it!" she assures with a smile. An older man sitting nearby interrupts as he leans forward, "You got my drink wrong." he says. He's one of the Respite's regulars, always planted right in the same stool. Leah gives him a sidelong glare. "Shut up and drink it." she says, to which the man merely snickers and buries his
Emma 's gaze is drawn to Tara with the others, and spotting the brand causes her to stiffen up, her gaze going a little distance as she continues to follow her with her eyes until she disappears into the kitchen.
Nathan rolls his eyes at Jason, making to flip him off until he sees the collection of looks sent Tara's way. He winces and turns, hurrying over to the counter where he props himself against iy.
Nathan waves Va'ynna and Leah down, offering the pair a smile. "Hey ladies," he says. "You mind if I place myself an order?" He then, were Leah to come closer, lowers his voice and asks her, "How's she doing? Tara that is?"
Markus briefly glances Tara's way, staying quiet for a moment, but as Gage speaks to him again he nods. "Tough assignment. Important assignment." he says, clear respect in his voice. "I'm the XO on the Istanbul. We've been doing Terminus patrols. Power projection. Reminding people the Alliance has reach. That kind of thing... needed now. Lot of people having doubts, with the disappearing colonies..."
Va'ynna raises an eyebrow at the older man's complaints, but she relaxes when it's clear to her that it was in jest. "I'm sure," she says before turning to Nathan. "What... do you want to order?"
The doors of the Respite open briefly to the cold winter night outside as a figure concealed beneath a purple cloak, embroided with a pattern often seen on the quarians that have taken up residence in the spaceport. The figure stops only briefly to get a sense of the layout of the room before heading right for the counter, trailing in a little snow as black boots are glimpsed beneath the snowy cloak.
Leah's frown deepens as Nathan places an order and Va'ynna jumps to take it. She works herself too hard. Upon hearing his question, she gives a glance back towards the door Tara just disappeared through. "Fine?" she says as she looks back to Nathan, kind of caught off guard by the out-of-the-blue question. "She's still- you know- adapting. But, yeah. It's going good. For the most part." she scrunches up her nose before
adding, "I think?" With renewed confidence, she gives a stern nod, "Yeah. Yeah, it's going good." she decides. Her attention shifts to the new arrival- taking particular notice of the beautiful pattern of their cloak- but it doesn't linger long. Nothing out of place about a new face.
Gage nods a few times in response to Markus. "I hear that. Been a lot of unrest lately- especially among the outer colonies. I know I'll sleep a little better knowing we've got good people out that way, though."
Shane gives a point in Gage's direction. "That's exactly why it should be us out there right now..." he says, an obvious bit of leftover contempt at Gage's request being denied.
Markus raises an eyebrow. "Why aren't you?" he asks Shane, pouring a glass of beer for himself as he waits for an answer.
Nathan smiles at Va'ynna, dipping his head in thanks. "Two cheeseburgers, thanks. And... Jase said something about... friend vegetable things that you dip? I dunno." He shrugs, already fishing out the credit chit from his armour. He glances to Leah and flicks his eyes to the table of Alliance. "Her brand is drawing lots of attention. It just... can't be easy can it?"
NewArrival reaches the counter, pulling the hood of the cloak down and waiting for Va'ynna's attention. She's a human looking somewhere in her 20s, with medium-short, unevenly cut black hair, violet eyes and brown skin. She shifts her shoulders with a slight grunt, causing a great deal of movement under her cloak, which indicates she must be carrying something under it.
Leah's frown returns and she gives a sigh to accompany a shake of her head. "No. It can't." she agrees. "I'm trying to convince her to get the markings covered up but-..." another sigh follows, "..It's a work in progress." Of course, being security, she keeps a idle watch on the new arrival fidgeting beneath her cloak, but unless there's cause for alarm she doesn't think much of it.
Gage takes a quick sip of his drink. "Last tour didn't go so well. Brass seemed to think I'd be more useful back on Earth-..." he shrugs non-chalantly, "...I disagreed. I understand their position." he makes clear, having nothing but love and respect for the Alliance, "But I feel like I can do a whole lot more good out there than I can behind some desk. So, here we are." He looks to Shane and Priya with a proud smile, "And these
knuckleheads just so happen to have more loyalty than brains, so... Yeah. Private sector." he says with a long, drawn-out sigh.
Va'ynna nods at Nathan's order and starts tapping on the terminal, understanding the order. Even if she didn't, she would have easily dug it up in the order history; a guess might have worked too, because the Respite's menu isn't that extensive. "Tara will bring it to your table," she says upon sending the order to the kitchen. She then walks over to the new arrival and nods to her in greeting. "Welcome to the
Markus smirks slightly and nods. "I can appreciate that motivation. It's a waste sending good soldiers to a desk job." he says before taking his first sip of beer.
Emma adjusts her position in her seat, leaning her arms against the table. "Sounds like we have some things in common... I left for... similar reasons. I felt I wasn't doing as much as I could. That I was not being used to my full capacity. Now... here I am."
Nathan smiles his thanks to V, placing the chit down for when she gets back. His eyes are drawn to the new arrival, a brief flash of suspicion crossing his eyes... until the tipsy haze covers his vision once more. He looks back to Leah, making a subtle gesture. "I getcha. It can't be easy for her. Heh, maybe you should get her to talk to Sofia? My sis will probably slather her in makeup and take her dress
NewArrival offers no smile in return as Va'ynna addresses her. "I need a room." she says before extending a leather jacket-clad arm from beneath the cloak, tossing a credit chit on the counter. "That will cover it." she says, as the chit clatters on landing.
Va'ynna takes the credit chit and starts setting it up on the terminal, her smile fading shortly after. It's not the first time she's dealing with a curt customer, so she does not mind her behavior that much. A smile would have gone a long way, though. "For how long do you need it?" she asks.
Jason remains silent as the others speak, suddenly feeling guilty of his own reasons for leaving. For abandoning his team. It was selfish and, in the end, achieved nothing. Just lashing out. Meanwhile, the rest of them remained behind, leaning on one another.
Leah's smile finally returns to her face at the thought of Tara getting all dressed up and she gives a nod. "Sounds fun. Just give me a little time to try and sell the idea to Tara." she says.
Priya finally chimes in on the conversation. "As much as I love the Alliance and my time spent with them, sometimes it just feels as though their hands are too tied up with red tape to do what's right. Colonies are going missing. People are scared. Now, more than ever, the people need the Alliance. I'm sure they're doing what they can, but they need to let people know that..." she says before looking to Markus apologetically, "...I
Jason's silence is only further encouraged as the current conversation continues. He has his own feelings regarding the Alliance's stance on the missing colonies, and it's a whole helluva lot harsher than Priya's. He imagines that probably wouldn't go over too well with Markus, so, silence is a friend. He takes another long sip from his drink.
NewArrival adjusts her shoulders again, grimacing slightly in discomfort. "A week, for now." she says, her gaze wandering to some of the nearby patrons, lingering on the table-full of loud marines for a moment.
Emma nods in agreement with Priya. "You're right. What's been happening out here... it's not acceptable. The Alliance is supposed to protect colonies from being... taken, like that. Somebody has to." She seems comfortable voicing her opinion in front of Markus - perhaps they have discussed this before.
Nathan smiles, waving a hand idly. "Sure thing. You sell it to her, can probably combine the dinner at my place and the shopping into one session. I'm sure Sofia would enjoy the company and, hopefully, Tara too. Give her a chance to just do something that isn't working." He turns to lean on the counter, idly watching the table and catching snippets of the conversation. "Hm."
Markus frowns, looking down at his beer for a moment. "It's not as simple as sending out the fleets... lot of people in the Terminus would take that as a sign of aggression. It's a delicate situation."
Va'ynna nods and charges the chit. After the transaction clears, she sends over the details on which room it is and how to access it to her omni-tool. "Your room is upstairs," she says, not giving any more verbal instructions.
NewArrival extends another hand from the cloak, activating an omni-tool and checking the screen briefly before nodding. "My thanks." she says quietly before heading right towards the stairs. She shifts again as she moves, pushing the cloak back since she's becoming increasingly warm now that she's indoors. She's carrying a large black duffel bag and a satchel under the cloak, no doubt explaining her discomfort.
Leah follows suit, leaning against the counter on the opposite side from Nathan. "Sounds like a good time." she muses through a smile. She glances at the departing new arrival before she follows Nathan's gaze over to the table and gives an idle nod in its direction, "So what do you make of them?" she asks.
Priya bows her head respectfully to Markus. "Of course." she agrees, "I merely think it may be a good idea to open a dialogue about it. Allow the people to know how delicate of a situation it is. Remaining tightlipped while assuring people that it's under control is only giving them more cause for concern."
Shane gives a shrug of his shoulders, seeming a bit less tightlipped and diplomatic about it all than Priya. "Shit, we all saw that footage, right?" he asks with a glance around the table, his tone implying he's already assuming that to be the case. "If that shit ain't cause to 'send out the fleets' then what is, right? If a bunch of assholes want to see it as a 'sign of aggression'? Let them."
Gage sighs at Shane's frankness. "What Commander Vasquez is saying is that we don't need to start a war among our own people-... or the rest of the Terminus, in pursuit of protecting them. That doesn't help anyone. It's-... complicated." he says, giving a nod Markus' way to imply the man doesn't need to explain anything.
Va'ynna watches her leave for a few seconds, but once she's starting up the stairs she takes a step back and resumes watching the bar, occasnionally looking towards the group at the table.
Nathan hums a small laugh. "Them? They seem like good people," he says with a nod. "Gage is charismatic, a natural leader who's led his people through thick and thin. Priya and Shane would follow him through hell and back if he asked them." He pauses for a second before adding, "It's the Alliance's loss with him going private sector." He then looks to Markus and Emma. "Those two? Can't really say."
Tara emerges from the kitchen with Nathan's order on a tray, heading towards the table indicated in the order and inadvertedly bypassing Nathan in the process. She carefully approaches the rather crowded table, unable to reach to place it without disrupting someone, so she stays back. "Excuse me..." she says quietly, her head lowered as she awaits acknowledgement.
Markus gives Gage an appreciative nod, opting to sip his beer as Gage covers what he was going to say.
Jessica storms past the new face with reckless abandon, taking the stairs two at a time before reaching the bottom. She's got a couple of hours before she needs to head off to work and she's gonna make the most of it. She plops down across from Yan Sun and slides into the booth. Without bothering to ask for permission, she reaches across and scoops up Yan Sun's sandwich, taking a large bite out of it before tossing it back down
Leah gives a couple of nods. "Yeah I-..." she begins but trails off as she watches Tara. "Looks like your food is ready." she says to Nathan, giving a nod back towards the table and keeping her own thoughts to herself for now.
Shane looks to Tara with nothing but sympathy in his eyes when she arrives. Regardless of her story. Slave. Ex-slave. He's crashed enough slaver parties to know that whatever she's been through, it hasn't been a walk in the park. He rises from his seat and leans over the table to begin making space for the tray to be set down.
Jason gives Tara a lopsided, somewhat drunken smile as she approaches and reaches out for the tray. "I got it, Tara." he says. "How have you been? You get through all that Halloween candy yet?" he asks. Sure, it's an attempt at being friendly, but it's also a not-so-cloaked attempt at alleviating Gage's obvious concerns. Let it be known that she's not just a slave and she's not treated that way.
Nathan nods to Leah, pushing himself from the counter. "Seems so. Time to start... eating to absorb the booze or... that's how it works, right? I can't remember." He grins and shrugs. "Anywho. Burger time." He starts to walk back over, his gaze briefly stolen by Jessica barreling down with the grace of a stampeding elephant. He rolls his eyes as he slides past everyone else, reclaiming his seat with a
Tara hands the tray off to Jason with a slight bow of her head. "Yes, sir." she says, a small, hesitant smile crossing her lip briefly. "Thank you, sir." She furrows her eyebrows as she realizes she didn't answer the first question. "I am well. Leah is... very kind."
Yan Sun frowns, quickly grabbing the sandwich before Jessica can steal anymore of it. "Uh, yeah... so am I." she grumbles.
Leah snickers and gives a roll of her eyes. "You could always just-... you know, not get shit-faced!" she calls out as Nathan steps away.
Shane's attention shoots to Leah at the mention of her, confusion all over his face. Does she own a slave?
Gage's concerns don't seem to be alleviated by the exchange. He merely stares at Jason, quite clearly awaiting an explanation.
Jason gives an awkward chuckle, realizing this exchange isn't exactly helping his case. "That's good to hear, Tara. I'm sure you're busy, so I'm not gonna take up anymore of your time." he says, casting a brief glance Gage's way. "Uhh-... I assume I'll be seeing you at the wedding, right?" he adds as an afterthought.
Jessica shrugs her shoulders as she looks at the sandwich. "Mmm. But you are a bum, kitty cat." she says bluntly, "You can eat anytime. I am needing to work soon!" She extends a hand towards Yan Sun, palm upward expectantly.
Tara nods, and then tilts her head to the side in respect to those seated at the table before taking her leave, starting to head back towards the bar.
Nathan looks around awkwardly, clearing his throat. For once, he's not sure exactly what to say. After all, it isn't his right to explain Tara's situation anymore than it is Jason's. He merely reaches across to take his cheesburger. As she departs, he gives Jason a small look.
Yan Sun frowns, staring at Jessica for a few seconds before handing her the sandwich with a grumpy look, letting out a sigh and reaching for her ice tea.
Jason sets his own burger down in front of himself, seemingly content with just letting things be. The brow beating he's getting, however, causes him to give a deep sigh. "Look-..." he begins, lowering his voice to just above a whisper as his gaze moves across the others at the table, "It's not what you think, alright? Leah was-..." he glances towards the bar, feeling slightly guilty at putting her business out there. But the
alternative was to let a group of people think she was a slaver, so... "She was on Omega a while back and ran into a group of slavers. I guess they tried to attack her or something and-... She managed to free Tara and get away. So now she's trying to help her get on her feet. She got her a job here at the Respite and gave her a place to stay..." His gaze comes to a rest on Gage, hoping that was enough to wipe that judgey
Gage sighs, but seems to relent a bit. "Jason, her markings-..." he begins, his gaze immediately settling on a group of three batarians that have been seated at a booth near the door since they first arrived. A little racist? Probably. But not entirely unfounded.
Priya chimes in, "She has to get them removed or they will find her, Jason. It's dangerous for her."
Shane has to get his two cents in as well. "It's dangerous for Leah, too. And you if you end up mixed up in that shit."
Jason already over this conversation, tosses a little British accent on as he repeats himself once again, "I knowwwww. Look, I've already talked to Leah about it. We'll-... We'll figure it out, alright?"
Jessica unaware that Yan Sun is going for the ice tea (Or simply not caring), reaches out and pulls the glass in front of her with her other hand. She needs something to wash the sandwich down with, after all! "Mmm. mThis ish good." she says as she takes another large bite from the sandwich.
Yan Sun 's hand drops back into her lap as she lets out a defeated sigh, leaning back in her seat. "I wouldn't know..." she mumbles, her gaze travelling out across the bar while Jessica enjoys her much anticipated food and drink.
Nathan sets his burger down, not having even taken a bite out of it yet. "I already spoke to Leah about a very short term solution," he says quietly, looking at them each in term. "It won't be much but it'll hopefully keep her on the down low." He folds his hands on the table as he blinks hard, pushing away the fog settling over his brain.
Emma sighs, gaze following Tara as she heads off. She mumbles something in her native tongue under her breath, too quietly for the translators to pick up, but the word "batarians" remains the same.
Markus remains silent during this discussion, simply observing the others as they talk. He knows very well he has the least experience with slavers out of the group, barring Nathan, perhaps.
Gage slides his beer closer to himself, looking from Jason to Nathan as they speak. "Just... be careful, alright? You know how batarians are when it comes to their-... property..." he says, a warning to both Jason and Nathan. He pretty much has to spit the final word out and there's a clear sense of disgust in his voice.
Nathan furrows his brow and nods, his hand instinctively pressing against his sidearm. Yeah, he was all too familiar with how slavers were. He was witness to it too many times. He sucks in a deep breath and once more nods. "Don't worry about us," he assures Gage, looking to him. "We'll stay safe and we'll play it smart."
Jason doesn't exactly need to be told. He's seen the damage done by slavers first hand more times than he cares to admit. But he gives a short nod in agreement with Nathan. "I know... Look, I appreciate the concern but we've got this under control." he says to Gage, forcing a smile. Eager to stop explaining himself, he turns his attention to the burger in front of him.
NewArrival descends from the stairs, no longer wearing the quarian cloak or carrying two heavy bags. Without the cloak her clothes can be clearly seen - tight-fitting pants, a top and leather jacket, all black. She makes her way over to the counter, placing a hand on the edge as she waits in silence for her chance to order. If one was to look at the fingers of her hand each finger has a scar running along it out past the
Leah remains in place, leaning against the counter, as the new arrival makes her return. Ever the astute observer, she notices the scars but makes sure not to stare. Realizing that Va'ynna is currently preoccupied, she takes the reigns and offers the woman a friendly smile. "What can I get for you?" she asks from her position.
Gage sighs but relents on the issue, simply giving a nod to Nathan and Jason. He's not here to lecture Jason and, after all, Jason has proven time and time again that he's fully capable of taking care of himself.
Shane follows suit on dropping the issue, though his gaze briefly moves towards the door Tara disappeared through. He shifts in his seat a bit before looking to Nathan. "So what do you do for fun around here?" he asks, looking to get a lay of the land.
Nathan perks an eyebrow as he finally takes a bite of his cheeseburger. He chews thoughtfully before swallowing and replying. "Well, there is always the shooting range. A couple of other bars, a club or two annnnddd getting caught up in something or other. I kid you not, there is always something going down." He nods firmly, taking another hungry bite. "Mmm, mmm. Although with the wedding coming up, I
NewArrival studies the menu for a moment before turning her unusual eyes to Leah. "This will do." she says, indicating a salad on the menu, made from local plants. "The water here... safe to drink?" she asks, glancing briefly at the newst broadcast on the TV, her fingers drumming against the counter now.
Shane cocks a smirk as he glances towards Gage. "I'm sure we can find some trouble to get into." he jokes. "What's the deal with-..." he passes a look towards the group of batarians Gage was eyeing before, "You get a lot of them out this way? Lots of slaver issues in the area?"
Leah chews her lower lip as she looks over the menu and nods at the selection. She furrows her brow as she attempts to work the terminal from memory and put the woman's order in, a small proud smile crossing her lips when she succeeds. "Hmm? The water?" she asks, "Oh, yeah! Of course!" She scoops a glass up and begins to fill it with water as she looks to the woman. "I take it you're new in town, then?" she asks through a
NewArrival turns back to Leah and nods. "Just arrived. Colder than I expected." She looks around before relaxing her stance slightly, leaning against one of the barstools without fully sitting down. "What's good to know?"
Nathan follows Shane's gaze and sighs, giving the man a pointed look. "Since I've been here, the only slaver I've had trouble with was human," he points out. "Well... ex-slaver. I haven't been around long enough to have the right to comment."
Emma 's expression grows cold as she follows Shane's gaze towards the batarians. She nurses her beer in silence, however, a disgusted look crossing her face at Nathan's comment.
Leah shrugs her shoulders as she sets the glass of water down on the counter before the woman. "Good to know?" she repeats, scrunching her nose up, "Welllll..." she hums, trying to decide on any advice that might be handy. "Like you said, it's pretty cold. Winters can be pretty rough and we've still got some time, so get yourself a pair of comfy boots. Also I wouldn't stray too far from town. Not without a vehicle, anyway.
It's usually pretty safe, but-..." she gives a dismissive shake of her head, "...Better safe than sorry, you know? Where are you coming from, anyway?"
Gage offers a smile Nathan's way. "I'll go ahead and apologize on his behalf. Shane here is well aware that they're not all slavers-..." he says, sending another glare Shane's way, "...Just an occupational habit is all. He didn't mean anything by it."
Jason swallows hard, having bit off a little more than he could chew. Literally. He gives a pained groan and swallows again before chasing the bite down with a swig of beer. "People are people." he chimes in. "I've spent enough time out here to realize the assholes come in all shapes and sizes. The good ones, too. Even got a batarian working for us. Jattic. Seems like a good enough guy." he nods. "Bit grouchy. Maybe a little
Emma blinks, her gaze moving to Jason. "I wasn't aware of that." she says, studying him with a hint of confusion.
Nathan gives Gage a single nod, clearly not at all in favour of Shane. "Apology accepted," he says, turning back to his burger. He tisks softly and takes a bite, electing not to wash it down with any more drink. He's had enough for the night. He glances to Emma, perking an eyebrow. "What, that the assholes come in all shapes and sizes?"
NewArrival grabs the glass, her gaze wandering briefly once more before returning to Leah as she's asked a question. "The Traverse." she says. Vague enough, certainly.
Jason reaches for a napkin and wipes at his mouth. He snorts at Nathan's statement. "Jattic is a good employee." he says plainly as he looks to Emma. "This isn't the Alliance. We employ people of all races, so long as they have the right skillset. I assume this isn't going to be a problem...?"
Leah gives a nod in response. She's lived in the Terminus Systems long enough to know better than to pry during a first encounter. She saves the prying for the second encounter. "Well, welcome to Freedom Falls." she offers before introducing herself, "Leah. I work security here annnd try to help out with the bartending whenever I can."
NewArrival adjusts her stance a little, glancing down at her glass and then back to Leah. "Dawn." she offers, studying her for a moment. "Security?" she asks, perhaps a hint of skepticism in her voice.
Emma 's gaze darts over to the table of batarians before going back to Jason. After a moment's silence she sinks back into her chair. "No, sir." she says quietly.
Nathan purses his lips and resumes eating his burger. He can already sense the trouble and such coming from all of this and, knowing him, will likely get involved in it whether he wants to or not.
Leah gives another nod as she resumes her previous position leaning against the counter. "Security." she repeats, her smile never wavering. It's not like she isn't used to being underestimated. "Not that we get too much troub-..." she begins, but stops and frowns. Nope. That would be a lie. Instead she settles on a perky: "Well, nobody has shot up the place lately."
Jason passes a glance to Nathan, holding his gaze for a moment before returning his attention to his burger. He didn't exactly have a good feeling about the exchange, either. "Good." he says simply.
Nathan quirks an eyebrow in response to Jason's look and he swallows another mouthful of burger. His gaze is drawn to the new arrival, studying her the best he can through the slowly dissipating fog in his mind. He couldn't make out the finger details, but he was sizing her up for the moment.
Shane has fallen silent. Most likely due to embarrassment after being called out by Gage. He nurses his beer in silence.
Leah tilts her head to one side and then the other as she contemplates the question. "Major risk? No. But-... Well, it's the Terminus, right? If you've spent time out in the Traverse then I'm guessing you know what I'm talking about... Just gotta be careful out here." Realizing she might be giving the wrong impression, she winces and shakes her head a bunch, "Don't get me wrong! Freedom Falls is great. I just mean-... You
Tara exits the kitchen once more, carrying a tray of food for Dawn, which she is quick to accept, stacking the glass on the tray as well. "It is." the new arrival says before heading off towards the stairs, back to her newly acquired room.
Nathan sighs and stands, shovelling in the last of his burger before gathering his stuff. "I gotta get going," he says after a mouthful. "I've left Sofia in the apartment for too long on her own. God knows what she's done with the place in my absence. Nice meeting you all," he says with a small smile. He turns to leave, throwing a wave Leah's way as he starts to head out towards the chill of Freedom Falls.
Shane chimes in as well. "Take care..." he says, hoping he didn't make too much of an ass of himself.
Leah cocks an eyebrow at Dawn's sudden departure, but doesn't dwell on it too much. She returns Nathan's wave with one of her own. "See you later, Nate!" she calls out.
Jessica scowls as she's simply ignored by Nathan. She silently adds it to the list of reasons to hate him. It's getting awfully crowded on that list.