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#MSVJackOfDiamonds – January 25, 2018
Ilyna is sitting by the bedside next to Li, still awake despite the girl having fallen asleep moments ago. Li was at her side, and every life risked in the rescue made it to safety in the end; it should be a cause to celebrate. However, Ilyna didn't appear to be happy. She has changed into a pair of gray sweatpants and a black shirt that's a little on the small side for her.
Ehanis have moved a few more steps down the stairs, and should be harder to spot for anyone passing by than earlier.
Jason makes a round through the ship before his voice comes from atop the ladder to the cabin Ilyna and Li have taken to. "Hey..." he calls down in little more than a whisper in case Ilyna is, understandably, asleep after the long day they've had. "...Mind a little company?"
Ilyna is startled from her thoughts upon hearing Jason's voice, having thought his footsteps by someone just passing by. "I... don't mind," she replies without looking up. The current medications are doing a lot more to numb her neck pain, but it doesn't hurt to be careful nontheless. She rises to her feet with a yawn.
Jason soon appears, lowering himself down the ladder with one arm, his other tucked in close to his chest. As he turns to face Ilyna, she'd be able to see he has a couple of beers and a glass tucked into the crook of his elbow, held in place by holding them against his body. His gaze drops to Li and a tire, but genuine, lopsided smirk crosses his face. Redrock had more than its fair share of failures. Di Yu and the Evening
Star, just to name a few. But not today. They had set out to bring Li home, and here she is. It hadn't really set in before now, seeing her asleep safe and soundly. They did it. Sure, the rescue wasn't as clean as they had liked. They lost people. A woman lost her husband. A man lost his sister. People whose names he never even managed to get died on that forsaken ship and their faces will join a seemingly unending list
of things that haunt him. But Li is safe. For now, that's going to have to be enough of a victory. He steps towards the desk, setting the glass atop it. "Brought some juice in case she was thirsty..." he explains sheepishly, keeping his voice low as to not wake the girl. Free of the glass, he uses his thumb to pop the cap off of one of the beers and extend it towards Ilyna. "Figured you could probably use a little
Ilyna joins him at the desk, and takes the offered beer with a nod. "I suppose I do," she says with a weak chuckle. Not that she's one to drink her problems away, but she couldn't turn down the offer of a drink and company after all that has happened. "It's... it's been a long day, and... I'm exhausted, so I don't... understand why sleeps seems to elude me."
Jason gives a humorless snort at her assessment of the day as he pops the cap off of his own beer. He leaves the desk chair to Ilyna, stepping back and lowering to the floor with a strained grunt, his muscles still on fire from the day's stress. Sitting against the wall beside the ladder, he cradles his beer in his lap with one hand as he looks to the asari, lopsided smirk still on his tired face. His other hand comes up and
idly prods at the thin layer of medi-gel cutting the small gash across his forehead. "Probably for the same reason reason everyone else still seems to be up." he says, casting a brief glance up the ladder, "Don't let the quiet fool you. Think everyone's still coming down and trying to-..." he shrugs as he shifts against the wall, "...process what in the hell just happened."
Ilyna glances at the desk chair while listening to him speak, but she doesn't seem to take it. "Yeah, I've... noticed," she says. "Mercier looked exhausted when I asked her to look after Li for a few minute, and...," she frowns, "I think Ehanis will see the bottom of that Whiskey bottle soon." There's a resignation to her tone, hinting that Ilyna had spoke to her about more than just borrowing clothes. She
takes a few steps across the room and lowers herself to the floor right beside him. "Not to mention Halisi..., I wish I could help her."
Jason's gaze lowers briefly at the mention of Halisi, a bit of guilt still digging into him over snapping at her. "...Yeah." he says simply as he takes a swig of his beer. A few moments of silence pass as he merely studies his beer before leaning his head back against the wall and cocking his head to look to Ilyna. "So... here we are yet again." he finally continues, giving a tired, humorless snicker at the circumstances they
seem to find themselves in far more often than he's comfortable with. Another swig follows and his head settles back against the wall. "Hell, I'm not even sure where 'here' is anymore..." he trails off.
Ilyna sighs, leaning her head against the wall as she looks out the viewport. "And... it won't be the last time," she says, sounding a little bitter. "We can hope, but... I doubt the creature's threats were empty." She brings up the bottle to her lips, casting a glance towards Li. "I guess... Jessica might have a point," she says. "'Normal' may be too much to ask for."
Jason follows Ilyna's gaze to Li, giving a small, somewhat distant nod in response. He doesn't need to be convinced that this is far from over. Their track record is all the proof required to back that up. And this time things got personal. It wasn't like Di Yu. Redrock didn't just happen across them this time. Li was targeted. Whether by this 'Revelator' or whatever may have been left of her mother may be unclear, but things
were different this time. It addressed them and, as far as Jason is concerned, that means it considers them a threat. "Doesn't matter..." he decides, giving a small shake of his head as he continues to watch over Li before finally looking back to Ilyna, "We beat them today. We'll do it again." A moment passes as he draws in another deep breath before tirelessly adding: "...And again....... And again........... And again.
Ilyna takes a small sip of the bottle while listening to him. She doesn't share his optimism, even if she'll be right at his side fighting them over and over again. "Whatever it takes, Jason," she agrees flatly, "I just-... I just want Li to have a normal childhood, and... I'll do everything for her to have that, even if it could mean...." She looks down and shakes her head, not wanting to finish that
Elena 's boots clunk against the metal floor of the corridor after she emerges from her cabin. The ship has been running hotter since their escape, and it's noticable so close to the heat sink. Uncomfortably hot air fills the corridor, and steam releases are more frequent. She soon enough passes through the galley door, heading right for the fridge. It casts a blue light over her in the dim of the galley. She's out
of her armor, wearing cargo pants and a tanktop now. Bruises and small cuts, covered in little dabs of medi-gel, cover both her head and her arms. She walks with a limp. She shares the same exhaustion as anyone else that fought their way out of that place, and it shows in her face. A long heavy sigh escapes her as she picks out a bottle of beer, glass clanking against glass as she pulls it out and shuts the
door, seeming in no rush. It's only then that she notices Nathan sitting on the floor, her eyebrows furrowing as she stops. "You okay...?" she asks, before almost immediately following up with a shake of her head. "Dumbass question." she mutters, looking out across the galley as she leans her shoulder against the fridge. "Nobody on here is okay... ya no."
Jason furrows his brow, unsure of exactly what Ilyna was about to say, but sure that he doesn't like the implication. "Hey-... Whatever you're thinking, you can throw that shit right out, alright?" he's quick to respond, briefly shooting a glance Li's way to ensure he hasn't woke her up. He lowers his voice before returning his gaze to the asari at his side and continuing, "I've seen you with her, Ilyna. That girl loves you to
death. Normal childhood? Not normal? Who gives a fuck? We got her out of a bad situation. We're alive. We're together. The rest will-..." he gives a couple of nods, perhaps trying to convince himself as much as the asari, "...the rest will work itself out. Okay?"
Nathan is still listening ti the melodic music left behind on the dim orange interface of Leah's omni-tool. His head is tilted back, staring hard at the metallic ceiling as if searching for answers within it. One knee is crooked up, his arm and hand holding the canteen resting across it. The other leg is stretched across the floor, his arm lazily resting upon it. He doesn't even seem to notice Elena at first as she
walks in, too absorbed in his own mind to spar even a fraction of his thinking power to the area around him. It isn't until she addresses him that he jolts in surprise, gaze snapping to her in a heartbeat. He relaxes and shrugs faintly. "I've been better. Hell of a lot better. I won't ask it back since we both know the answer to thar, eh?" He raises the canteen in silent toast to her, but he doesn't sip from
Elena nods a couple of times. "Yeah..." she sighs, shifting the beer into her left hand and using her cybernetic right to tear the cap off the bottle. She takes a long swig and then her gaze travels to the half-empty whiskey bottle. "Seems like everybody's helping themselves to the captain's stash..." she mutters, her gaze going over to the door to the bridge. To Lucy beyond it, a frown settling into her face.
Lucy seems to have passed out in her chair. At the very least she isn't moving, and her bottle lies empty on the floor next to her.
Nathan wags a single finger in the air, a slight slur to his voice. "I haven't touched it," he says defensively. He follows his gaze to the door and he sighs heavily, shaking his head. "This... this was my first time seeing these things. I thought that, maybe, my friends were over exaggerating the severity of it." He taps his canteen, chewing the inside of his cheek. "I wish we could've saved him... but even I
Ilyna keeps her eyes on Li as she stirs, guilt clear in her expression. "She... she deserves a normal childhood," she says. "With education, friends, family that loves her." She shifts closer to Jason, but she doesn't lean on him. "And... thanks to people like you, I...- we can give her that, but... with the Collectors-..." she stops herself, fearing that the girl might wake up and hear her pessimism. She
Elena scoffs, crossing her arms with bottle in hand as her gaze lingers on the door. She looks like she has plenty of things to say about that, but in the end she settles for: "Nothing about this was right." Her gaze falls to the floor, a shake of her head following before she looks up at Nathan again. "There's a couch right there, you know..." she says with a brief, half-hearted smirk, nodding at the plentiful
Nathan breathes a laugh at the mention of seating. "Well, my friend was-" He stops and look up at the cybernetic limb extended to him and he stares at it for a moment. He then shrugs and mutters something about the sofa probably being more comfortable. He takes the hand and uses it to help him onto his feet, where he encounters a brief flash of white light and unsteady limbs. "Christ, I don't think sleep is going
to come easy at all for the new few months," he muses as he scoops up the omni-tool and carries it over to the sofa, flopping down onto it.
Elena takes one of the chairs, flipping it around and leaning her arms against the backrest. Another sip of her beer as she listens to the music. "The hell is that shit...?" she asks with a skeptical look at Nathan.
Nathan frowns and jabs the canteen at her in a warning motion. Which doesn't exactly come across as threatening at all. "Music. It's Leah's playlist, so I don't actually know any of the artists." He shrugs. "But I like it. It's calming for me. Gives me new ideas to toy with when I get back home too."
Elena dueeoqa her eyebrows. "Ideas to... okay. Right." His meaning seems lost on her without context. "Leah..." she repeats, crossing her arms on the backrest, letting the bottle dangle from her non-mechanical hand. "The... tiny biotic?"
Nathan sighs and motions to the omni-tool and the plinking of piano keys in the background. "Ideas for music. I play an instrument. Big whoop." He winces and offers an apologetic look before he nods. "That's the one. Just don't call her small to her face. She'll tear you a new one in her annoyingly cheery manner." The smile of his face certainly conveys that as more of a compliment than a criticism.
Jason allows his attention to turn back to Li, a small sigh escaping him as Ilyna speaks. She's not wrong. The Collectors have already destroyed so many lives. And they were so close to just being another statistic today. His gaze once again lowers to his beer and he takes a long sip from it. "Ilyna, look-..." he begins but stops himself, seemingly struggling with finding the right words for a moment. "I know-... I know things
got a little heated the other day between us. With everything going on-..." he begins, but merely shakes his head, deciding it probably goes without saying. With no small amount of discomfort, he shrugs his shoulders and continues, finally looking to the asari. "...But I love you and Li. Okay? You're family." he explains, obviously concerned that their shouting match may have put a few speedbumps between them. Despite
his discomfort in expressing himself so candidly, it's important that he clears the air. "So-... So come hell or high water, I'm always gonna be there for you, alright? Both of you. Crazy cultists? Infectious-.... robotic-.... monsters? Collectors...?" he begins to list off, shaking his head dismissively at each one before a small smile begins to manifest, "...Or even just, you know..." he shrugs, "...needing a
babysitter so you can have some time to yourself? Whatever comes, I've got your back, Ilyna. And we're gonna do whatever it takes to make damn sure she gets the life she deserves." he finishes on, a small gesture to Li with a nod of his head.
Elena snorts. "Noted." she says before lifting her beer to take another sip. She falls quiet for a moment, her gaze drifting to the colorful distortions outside the viewport. "Hell of a move back there, with the nuke gun." she comments as her gaze turns back to Nathan, studying him. There's respect in her face, but it's muddied by distracted thoughts of their escape.
Nathan rolls his shoulders in a shrug, a small smile on his face that's torn. "Well... it was that or burn through all our ammo to eventually get overrun anyway. It was stupid of me to fire it in such a confined space with no cover, but I saw little choice. 'Sides, better that I was the only one caught in the majority of the blast than all of you, right?" He glances to her with a faint nod. "Was EOD and Demolitions
Elena nods a couple of times as she continues to study Nathan. "Yeah...? Alliance?" she asks, eyebrows furrowed.
Nathan shakes his head, motioning to the window. "No, Sandbeck. Peacekeeping company operating in Citadel Space. But they've recently hedged into Terminus Space too. Small, for a PMC, but they're well funded and have access to some of the best gear. They've even started their own line of weapons and armour."
Ilyna sighs deeply as he brings up their argument about Ehanis. "I... I know, Jason, it was... it was wrong of me to put that on you," she says. "My sister is my responsibility, it's just that-..." She stops herself, no longer in agreement with where she's going with that. Tears stars to form under her eyes. "I... I-I don't know what do do about her," she says sadly, barely above a whisper. "It's... it's not
your fault, nor Vasquez', not... even her fault. I... It's mine." She looks up at the window, "I failed her."
Elena 's brow rises slightly. "Sandbeck? No shit?" she says in a tone that implies familiarity. She seems like she's going to say something else on the subject, but after another sip of her beer she reconsiders, her gaze going to the door again as she sighs. "Gotta check on Roja..." she says, her voice turning heavy.
Nathan smiles a little at the familiarity in her voice. He may not have been one of their number for a long time, but it still brings a smile to his face whenever someone recognises them. At her comment, he nods softly and scratches the back of his neck. "Yeah. You should focus on your people, try and help them best they can. Thanks anyway for the lil' chat... and for getting my ass on a sofa."
Jason listens in silence as Ilyna speaks her mind. It's not until she finishes that he shuffles in place a bit to bring an arm up and slip it around the asari's shoulder. "I don't know the whole story there, Ilyna..." he admits as he gives her a bit of a squeeze in a brief, tired side-hug, "...But it's not hard to see how much you care about your sister. Eventually you just have to-... I don't know..." he shrugs, "...Put the
past behind you." Even as the words leave the mouth he's aware of the irony. Telling her to let the past go when so much of his own life still haunts him. "Start again and build something new with her. Something better. Something stronger." A small, lopsided smile crosses his face as he finds his thoughts turning towards Vasquez. His wife. It still seems so strange. But that's what they're doing. Building something
new. Something that will last. He takes in a deep breath, nodding a bit more confidently than he had been a moment earlier. "Yeah... You two will figure it out."
Elena nods a few times, grunting slightly as she stands up and pushes the chair back into place. Pain briefly crosses her face as wieght is once again put on her injured leg. "Yeah..." she sighs, seeming a little distant, her thoughts on Lucy now. "Music's still shit." she adds with a faint smirk as she glances at the omni-tool, although her spirit doesn't really seem to be in it. With that, she starts to limp toward
Nathan rolls his eyes and offers half-hearted flip of his middle finger, before he leans back into the seat and drifts his eyes to the ceiling. He lets his mind wander again, using the music to distract his thoughts.
Ilyna shifts closer and leans on him as she's hugged from the side. "I... can't," she says. "So much has happened in the... last fifty years, and..." She sighs and lays her head on his shoulder. It does cause a slight hint of pain, but she ignores that easily. "We'll... figure it out," she mutters. She glances at Li before closing her eyes. "...figure it out," she repats in a whisper. "Thank you, for...
Jason cradles his beer loosely in his free hand against the floor, allowing his head to lull back against the wall. "Nothing to thank me for, Ilyna." he says, "We look out for each other. It's just-..." he nods softly, "...It's what we do." There's not a hint of doubt in his voice. If the roles were reversed, Ilyna wouldn't have hesitated to jump on a ship and trek half way across the galaxy to protect him and the people he
cares about. That much he's certain of. She had proven it time and time again. When he needed her. When Vasquez needed her. He falls silent, seeming content to just simply sit and allow Ilyna to get some much-needed rest. He could certainly do with some rest himself. He passes another glance to Li, silently reminding himself once again that they did it. They actually did it. They found her. They brought her back. With
Ilyna puts her beer down on the floor beside her, a faint affirming hum all she says in response. She hopes she can keep up her end of it, but she's worried given how much Li needs support and stability after this. Her eyes remain closed, and it doesn't take long for her sadness and worry to give way to the peaceful visage of sleep.