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#Miner'sRespite – April 12, 2018
It's early morning on the 3rd of December. The air is cold and crisp, but still, and the pale yellow of the newly risen sky mixes with the reflected white glow of Litae and the pink of the sky above the mountains. It's a short drive to the Respite, and there's plenty of room in the small parking lot at this hour. A thin layer of snow crunches under Vasquez' boots as she makes her way towards the entrance. She's wearing an
olive-green winter coat along with a gray scarf and black pants. Her hair is in the usual ponytail. With most of her time spent in the Redrock offices, she's not exactly a common visitor to the Respite, and her mind inevitably goes to the time she and Jason spent there while their base laid in ruins as she steps through the door.
Jason follows a few steps behind Vasquez dressed in usual attire. Black pants, boots, and a brown jacket covering his long sleeved white shirt. He shoves his hands into his jacket pocket as he exits the vehicle, a habit he hasn't yet broken despite the lack of feedback his cybernetic limbs give to the cold. He gives a glance upwards towards the sun, shutting one eye tightly as his eyes adjust to the brightness. A smirk tugs at
his lips as he glances to Vasquez. "Been a while since we got out of the office together." he muses aloud. "Part of me was afraid you might burst into flames when the sun touched you." he adds as he takes a quick couple of steps behind to catch up to Vasquez and give her a soft nudge.
Vasquez rolls her eyes, shaking her head slightly to herself. "Funny." she mutters, glancing around the interior before starting to head towards a booth. Once there she removes her winter coat and scarf, placing them by her seat. She's wearing her light Redrock jacket over a white tanktop underneath. Her M-4 Shuriken is secured on her hip.
Va'ynna is standing behind the bar on another quiet early morning, struggling to stay awake as she reviews something on a terminal. Aylena's wounds have healed enough to stand behind the bar, but other matters has her too occupied to do so. She looks up, and a small smile shows up as she recognizes the pair that just arrived. Va'ynna closes the contents on the terminal and stands up. "Good morning, Jason," she
Jason gives a light snicker to himself as he follows Vasquez over to the booth. He remains standing, giving a glance towards the bar as he begins the process of removing his jacket. It still hasn't become second nature yet, so it takes him a moment to guide any upper body-wear over his shoulders in order to avoid snagging and tearing shirts, but he's getting better at it. As usual, he has his Phalanx attached to his left side via
a shoulder holster. As he haphazardly tosses his jacket onto the seat on his side of the table, he raises a hand to greet Va'ynna. "Morning, V." he calls back through a lopsided smile before looking to Aylena and greeting her in turn with a short nod of his head. "You guys all set up for breakfast yet...?"
Vasquez remains silent as Jason speaks to Va'ynna. She mostly just knew the girl second-hand through Jason. That was her own fault, she supposed. She stuffs her hands into the pockets of her jacket, feeling a little cold from the brief walk outside.
Va'ynna nods. "Yes," she says, casting a glance at the screens high up behind her. "What can I get for you two?" Most of the food options are things that can be prepared ahead of time like sandwiches, but there's also some warm meals like omelettes and pancakes. The drink options are the same as any other time of day, however.
Jason furrows his brow, considering the question for a moment as he meanders closer to the counter. After giving the screens a couple moments of consideration, he shrugs his shoulders. "Omelette should do the trick. Something with cheese. Lots of cheese. And a bee-..." his head snaps back towards Vasquez briefly, drawing out his word "...eeeiiig ass glass of juice!" he finishes with a little more enthusiasm than befits the
Vasquez approaches the counter as well, furrowing her eyebrows as she considers what to order. There's still some lingering unrest in her stomach that gives her pause. She raises an eyebrow at Jason's apparent enthusiasm for juice, but thinks little of it. "A... sandwich. Something simple. And water." she says, nodding slightly to herself as if to confirm the order as her gaze falls on Va'ynna.
Aylena is too busy doing something on the terminal to notice Jason's greeting, and there's frustration in her expression as whatever she's doing probably isn't working out for her.
Va'ynna briefly frowns at his order, which is immediately followed by a look of guilt. It's not his fault that she's tired, and in truth whether she cooks or stands out here something makes no difference either. She simply nods to Vasquez order. "Okay," she says. "It'll take me a few minutes, but I could bring it to your table?"
Jason gives a tentative couple of nods to Va'ynna's offer, not particularly sure what brought on the brief change in demeanor. "So-... uhh... how have you been doing lately, V?" he asks, deciding to prod, "Everything good...?"
Vasquez lets her gaze wander idly across the bar while Jason speaks to Va'ynna. She has little to say, so she settles for listening in while the two of them catch up. She seems to be in a decent mood, although it's not all that easy to tell.
Va'ynna considers the question for a few seconds. "Long days at work, and… and…-." She sighs and shakes her head. "Your orders won't ever be done if I stand out here... and talk." She takes a step back and walks off towards the kitchen without waiting for a response.
Jason draws in a deep breath, watching in silence as Va'ynna walks off. "...Alright then." he says softly, casting a brief glance Vasquez' way and giving a raise of his eyebrows as he shrugs. Deciding it's most likely work-related and having Aylena nearby prevents her from talking about it, he pushes it to the back of his mind for now and takes a couple steps back from the counter. "Good to see you up and about again, Aylena." he
Vasquez glances towards Va'ynna as the asari heads off towards the kitchen, and then meets Jason's gaze for a moment before they head back to the booth. She sits down with a quiet grunt, grimacing slightly as she closes her eyes for a moment, leaning against the table on her lower arms.
Aylena looks up as she's spoken to. "Thank you," she says curtly before she resumes her work on the terminal. Repairs by the looks of things by how she's swapping out cables and restarting it every now and then.
Jason offers only another small nod to Aylena before he clambers into the seat across from Vasquez, scooting in and sliding his jacket towards the wall. His gaze settles on the woman across from him and his smirk returns. "A sandwich?" he asks, mock disapproval clear in his voice as he gives a small shake of his head. "Could've made a sandwich at home!" he continues, his lack of culinary skills seemingly making him oblivious to
the fact that an omelette would be equally attainable at home. "Should've gotten a big ass plate of pancakes or something."
Vasquez frowns slightly as she opens her eyes, studying Jason. "Yeah, I'm... not taking any chances right now." she mutters without elaboration, glancing over towards the bar again before returning her gaze to her husband.
Jason winces slightly as he recalls the morning sickness. "...Right." he agrees with a small nod. He shifts a bit in place to get settled in before resting his hands on the table in front of him. "So?" he asks without any context. "What are we thinking? Get everything taken care of and, assuming Riley comes through and shows up when she's supposed to, hit Adrasteia next week?" Despite everything going on and that pull deep inside
of him that fears they don't have time for this sort of shit in the face of a potential Collector attack, he made a promise. Both to Vasquez and himself. He's not going to let everything that happened ruin what was the happiest moment of his life. He can be a soldier tomorrow. Today, being a husband is more important.
Vasquez gains a faint, short-lived smile, pondering the question for a moment as her gaze turns to the window. After a little while she looks back to Jason with a small nod. "After getting things sorted and debriefing everyone, yeah. Need to... organize." she sighs. "But then? Then we go." she affirms, another small nod following, accompanied once more by a faint smile.
Jason nods in turn, his smirk making a return as if he was worried she may have considered scrapping the honeymoon. It's not like he hasn't considered it with everything going on. "Sounds good. But I'm not sure how up to the task Ilyna's gonna be to keep everything running while we're gone..." and by 'we', he of course means 'you' considering most of his management work consists of making sure the rec room is properly stocked
with donuts, "...considering she's probably got a lot on her hands with Li and the repairs and-..." he trails off, deciding not to get into all of that with a shake of his head. "Figure maybe asking Mendez to step in and give her a hand might be a good idea. He's already handling a lot of the security scheduling and everything anyway, so-..." he shrugs his shoulders.
Vasquez nods in agreement. "Makes sense. He's proven himself, and... it's become obvious we need more people that can be relied on to lead." she says, taking a long breath. Her frown returns, her gaze falling briefly to the table. "Besides, I don't want to keep Ilyna away from Li. Not-... not now." she says with a shake of her head, a slightly uncomfortable look on her face as she looks back at Jason.
Jason's gaze also lowers to the table briefly as his mind wanders to what Li must be going through. He pulls in a deep breath and gives a small nod. "Yeah..." he says simply as he pushes those thoughts aside and makes a mental note to check up on Ilyna and Li soon. "But Mendez is a good choice, I think. He seems willing to take on more work and he's too boring to fuck anything up." he decides, propping his smirk back up in an
Vasquez nods again, agreeing to leave it at that for now. "Yeah." A quiet sigh follows as she rolls her shoulders a bit, glancing over towards the bar as her hunger makes itself known. Remember to eat when you're in the office. "Guess I forgot to mention, with... everything going on, but... Markus left a couple of days ago. The Istanbul is being redeployed, and... I guess they needed him." she says, seemingly out of
Jason's smirk fades away and his eyes lower for a moment. "Shit..." he mutters with a sigh. "...Sorry, Linda." he offers as he meets her eyes once again. "Would've liked to be here to see him off..." Alright, so liked is a bit of a lie. Markus is kind of a dick. But he is family now so, for Vasquez' sake, the statement is true enough. "We'll have to try and get him back out here when he's got time. Maybe once everything has
Vasquez nods faintly, her hands crossing on the table and pulling back a little. "Right. Yeah. Once things settle down." she says quietly, with a tone that hints she has a hard time seeing when that might be right now. "It... was good to have him here for this." she says, a faint, slightly sad smile crossing her lips. "Been out of each other's lives for so long." That was mostly her doing, of course. "I... think he was
Va'ynna emerges from the kitchen, carrying a tray with their orders. An omelette with extra cheese and bits of meat; a sandwich with cheese, thin slices of meat and local lettuce-like leaves; a glass of orange/green juice; and one of water. There's also utensils on the tray and a few tissues. She crosses the room and sits it down on the table without a word, not wanting to interrupt their conversation.
Jason falls silent, a bit of uncertainty and discomfort creeping into his expression as he finds himself wondering whether or not Vasquez shares her brother's hopes. Whether or not she's only here because she knows it's what he wants. He holds her gaze for only a moment longer before turning in place a bit to glance towards Va'ynna as he sees her exit the back room. He offers her an appreciative smile as she sets down their food.
"Thanks, V." he says as he turns his attention towards the food and retrieves his plate from the tray. "Looks delicious."
Vasquez goes silent as well, and for a moment nothing is said before Va'ynna offers a welcome distraction. She gives a nod of her own as she takes her plate from the tray, along with a brief, half-hearted attempt at a smile towards the asari. "Thanks." She takes a sip from her glass of water, eyeing the sandwich with some hesitation, feeling out whether her stomach will find it agreeable.
Va'ynna smiles slightly and steps back, leaving the tray on the table. She stands there in silence for a few seconds before glancing towards the bar. "I'll be at the bar... if you'd like to order more," she says and starts on her way back to the bar.
Jason reaches for his drink, offering the timid asari a small nod. "You got it, V." he says as he pulls the glass in front of him. After a small sip of his drink, he wastes no time in digging in to his omelette. The question still lingers in his mind, but they've had enough heaviness in their lives over the past week, no reason to ruin a perfectly good breakfast by pushing the issue.
Vasquez takes a tenative bite of her sandwich as Va'ynna departs, taking her time. As silence descends on them again it quickly becomes clear that there's something more on her mind, but she doesn't say anything right away, her gaze travelling back to the snowy street outside as she chews. Eventually she looks back to Jason with a hint of discomfort in her face. Rather than speaking, she lowers her gaze to her food, but
she stops herself before taking another bite. "We used to be close, you know?" A half-hearted chuckle, and a smile that doesn't quite manifest. "When I was younger. I... looked up to him." she says with a small shrug before biting down on the sandwich.
Jason peers up from his food only briefly as Vasquez speaks before shoveling another bite into his mouth. He chews silently until she finishes when he washes the bite down with another swig of his juice. Another moment of silence passes as he cuts out another bite of omelette and he gives a shrug of his shoulders. "Nothing stopping you from reforging that bond now." he offers, glancing back to her through his browline once more.
"I mean, I know there's some distance and work and-... shit. But we've got credits." He shrugs his shoulders once again as his blue eyes turn back to his food. "Usually." he corrects before correcting his correction with a sigh: "Sometimes. You know, when shit isn't falling apart... No reason you can't visit him every now and then. No reason we can't visit him... Redrock's not gonna fall apart without us around." he
assures, offering a slight smile as he stabs at the eggs with his fork and scoops it up into his mouth.
Vasquez sighs. "Yeah..." she says without much conviction, looking down at her sandwich as she turns it over in her hands. "Maybe." she adds, going silent for a moment as she wills herself to mention the greater source of her discomfort. "He got a letter too." she says under the assumption that Jason will know what she's talking about, her posture stiffing a little as she brings it up. Another small bite to distract
Jason furrows his brow, tearing his attention away from his food for the moment. "...A letter...?" he asks, confusion heavy in his voice as he attempts to figure out what Vasquez is talking about. It doesn't take long for his mind to connect the dots back to their mother and a soft: "...Oh." follows. At first he attempts to go back to his eggs, sticking a piece with his fork, but it's short lived and soon enough he looks back to
Vasquez. "...How does he feel about it all?" he asks tentatively, as if he feels he may be prying into things that are none of his business.
Vasquez gives a faint shrug, glancing out the window as she rests her sandwich just above the plate. "Take a guess, Jason." she says as she looks back to him, sounding a bit more hostile than intended.
Jason blinks a couple of times, brows furrowed. But it's not long before his frustration dissipates. After all, it's not the easiest of subjects for Vasquez. And for a good reason. It's not every day that your mother comes back from the dead only to reveal that she's a mad scientist working for a terrorist organization. "Guessing he's not exactly jumping for joy, huh?" he says.
Vasquez lets out a heavy sigh, pursing her lips as she considers her answer. "We'd talked, but it's-... yeah." she says, her voice turning quiet at the end. She shakes her head to herself, lifting her water and taking a sip. Her gaze ends up focused on the liquid in the glass as she puts it down. "He knows about her involvement in..." her right hand rises to her temple, brushing against her implant briefly as she meets
Jason's gaze again. It's not hard to tell how hard it is for her to talk about her mother at all, let alone without an emotional outburst. Her expression remains uncomfortable, stilted.
Jason's discomfort only seems to grow, but he gives a small nod, biting his lower lip as he looks distantly back to his food. He seems stuck somewhere between letting it go and apologizing for prying when he reaches for his fork. But instead he seems to go for option C and his hand moves past the fork and across the table to settle atop Vasquez' as he looks back to her. He gives her hand a small pat. It doesn't exactly have the
same impact that skin-on-skin might, but it's the thought that counts. "I know I said it before but I just-... I don't know. I wanna hammer the point home, I guess. I'm behind you a hundred percent on all... that. Okay? Really. And-... And I'm here, ya know? If you ever want to talk or anything..." he offers, the discomfort is apparent in his awkward delivery but it doesn't drown out the sincerity in his voice. He keeps
Vasquez lets go of the sandwich to grasp Jason's hand, her lips remaining little more than a thin line as she nods, looking unsure about what to say. She settles for squeezing his synthetic hand with a sigh, her gaze lingering on it for a moment before meeting his gaze again. "I know." she says quietly. The rage and vitriol present when talking about her mother in the past isn't there. She just sounds tired, and...
Jason too, seems unsure of what to say, so he simply forces a small smile and gives a short nod. He knows what he'd like to say, but he's already banged that drum enough and, in the end, it's her choice. In the beginning, too, for that matter, and it's just not fair for him to keep bringing it up. So he doesn't. "So. How is the sandwich?" he asks instead in an attempt at steering them away from their usual brand of doom and
gloom. He gives her hand one more small squeeze before pulling his own back to his side of the table. "Is it everything you dreamed it would be?" he teases through a smirk.
Vasquez gives a weak smirk, returning her hands to the sandwich and studying it for a moment as she ponders the question, welcoming the departure from the touchy subject. "It's staying down, so... that's good enough." she mutters, taking another bite, still keeping them small.
Jason snickers. "A woman with low standards." he jokes as he picks up his fork and jabs it into his eggs. After shoveling a bite into his mouth, he looks across to Vasquez as he chews and gives a wiggle of his eyebrows as he continues his thought. "Just the way I like 'em!" he says, talking with his mouth full, most likely unintentionally punctuating his point.
Vasquez just studies Jason for a moment, an unamused look on her face, but try as she might, she's unable to suppress a small, exasperated snicker, a roll of her eyes following as she takes another bite.