#Adrasteia – July 13, 2018

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Dawn has spent another day out scouting the Torthus-Cross building, as well as a few other places in the city. She's done so the previous two days as well, while the 29th was spent largely in seclusion after her reckless outburst in Burd's place. It had shaken her - she was supposed to be in much better control than that, but the familiarity of the place had put her off-balance. She couldn't afford slip-ups like that. It doesn't help that

the Blossom offers little in the way of calm and sanctuary. She's had to find space for that elsewhere. She's been relying more on layers than a heavy coat to ward off the cold - leather jacket over a hoodie, along with a scarf and ever-present fingerless gloves that do a good job of covering up the scarring on her hands. She wrings her hands for circulation's sake upon stepping through the door of the Blossom, casting a look around

the increasingly familiar but no less dismal place.

The whirr of a gunship sounds overhead as Dawn reaches the Blossom's front door. She's momentarily bathed in a bright glow as its undercarriage-mounted searchlight passes over her. The light catches on the sprinkle of snow in the air, reflecting it light small shards of glass before disappearing back into darkness as the gunship continues into the outskirts. A man smoking a cigarette is leaned against the wall beside the front door paying

little attention to Dawn. His gaze turns upwards, watching the gunship with distant amusement. It's not as if the Blossom discourages smoking inside, so he most likely stepped out for some air. He's adorned by a long, black wool coat, collar turned up to help fight the cold. His dark hair is well groomed, a proper coif swept to one side. The front door does little to dull the music and voices inside- perhaps lending reason to why the nearby

storefronts are still vacant- but at least it seems to keep the warmth in. It's another rowdy night at the Blossom, which seems to be its default state. The speakers spill a loud, bassy batarian tune- one of many queued up by the establishment's song request system accessible via an omni-tool app. But the music is little more than a dull droning and a thumping reverb that fades into the background under the weight of voices and laughter. The

usual suspects are all there. Brix and his crew of Enforcers are in their usual spot at the bar after another night's shift. Their arrival and departure from the Blossom are like clockwork. The bartender is fixing up drinks for a pair of asari, facing them in conversation even as a pair of his tentacles go to work behind him on their order.

((reflecting it like*))

Dawn can't help tensing up as the searchlight passes over her, and she's actually relieved to get inside for once. That doesn't last long, the assault on the senses that is the Blossom eliciting a slight grimace - and a twitch of her hands. She heads off towards her room to drop off her backpack and take a quick look through her omni-tool as she collects herself. She's back in the bar soon enough, heading over towards the counter near the

two asari, leaning her arms against it as she waits for the hanar's attention.

The two asari are mostly talking amongst themselves, the hanar adding little of its own outside of polite acknowledgements. It seems they've just come from Illumination and have quite clearly already had more than their fair share to drink during their bar hopping. Once their orders have been placed before them- a pair of bright, almost-neon, purple drinks in tall, narrow glasses- the hanar redirects its attention to Dawn. "What might this one

do for you?" asks the bartender, a dull glow emanating from it with each word. The asari waste no time before pulling long draws of the colorful liquid through their straws. The unmistakable thundering of Brix' voice sounds out from the other side of the asari. " 'Nother round down here!" he calls out, getting little more than a silent acknowledgement from the hanar by way of a swift glance in his direction.

Dawn glances briefly in Brix' direction before turning her attention to the hanar. "Just a soda." she says, just loud enough to be heard over the noise. She continues to lean on the counter as she waits for her order, studying the space behind the bar as she listens to the conversations around her.

The hanar's glow briefly returns. "Of course." it agrees politely. The simple order allows it to get started on Brix' request as well and, soon enough, its tentacles have stirred into a multi-tasking fray, filling beer mugs as it pours Dawn's soda. Having finished his cigarette, the man from outside steps back in to be enveloped by the bar's warmth once more. He covers his mouth with his hands to breathe some heat into them.

Brix glances the man's way before loudly announcing a change to his order: "One for my old pal, too!" The well groomed man silently protests, waving off the krogan's offer with a hand, but Brix doesn't seem to be having it. "It ain't every day you get a pardon from the big man! So we're celebrating!" Brix insists, and it certainly sounds more like a demand than a request.

The man puts on his best fake smile and relents with a nod. "Appreciated." he lies before stepping over to an empty booth and slipping inside just as Dawn's drink is placed before her.

Dawn watches the hanar work with a hint of curiosity. She hasn't quite gotten used to the appearance of such alien aliens yet. The exchange between Brix and the smoking man catches her attention, and she spares him a quick glance before the arrival of her soda causes her to turn back. She takes her time fishing out a credit chit to pay, hoping to see whether it looks like any of the Enforcers intend to join Brix' 'pal', as well as casting

a brief glance around as she waits to get the chit back in an effort to survey how full the other booths are.

The hanar continues to dish out drinks, sliding mugs of beer down the length of the counter to Brix with the grace and precision of an old-timey salloon owner as it scoops up Dawn's credit chit with a free tentacle and begins to process it. A pair of drinks is collected by the asari Enforcer who regularly accompanies Brix and the others. Dawn would be privy to the fact that her name is 'Veneya', having surely overheard such during one of their

group's many loud discussions. Veneya abandons her stool to deliver a drink to the man in the booth. A good number of the booths are packed, patrons shoulder-to-shoulder. The booth closest to the door where one is most likely to catch a breeze anytime someone enters the room is vacant, however, as is a second one beside the booth Veneya has slipped into to join Brix' old aquaintance. Once the funds have been transferred, the hanar slides the

chit back in front of Dawn with a polite: "This one appreciates your business." A phrase it seems to end every transaction with.

Dawn 's only respons is a nod and a glance as she grabs the credit chit off the bar and returns it to her pocket. She opts for the booth near Bishop and Veneya - the fact that it's empty would've made it hard to attempt joining an occupied one anyhow, while the one near the door was easily excused thanks to the cold. She settles for listening, her interest piqued by the mention of a pardon from what she can only assume must be Cross.

Veneya slides Brix' gift over to the man in the booth. Given the choir of raised voices filling the establishment, it should be difficult to hear the pair. But considering it's difficult for them to hear each other, they too have to raise their voices to be heard by one another, allowing Dawn to eavesdrop. "Good to see you back, Bishop." she says. Her tone implies familiarity. Warmth, even. With a nod to the beer, she reiterates the

obvious: "From Brix."

Bishop cocks an amused smile. "Is this the part where you try to convince me he isn't so bad, love?" he asks. He has a heavy accent that would be immediately identifiable as British to anyone in the know. Despite the familiarity, there's a certain tension between the two. The place Bishop once called home has changed much in his absense and, as he studies Veneya, he questions if she, too, has changed.

Veneya gives a glance towards the krogan, almost as if to ensure he isn't listening in. Drawing in a deep breath, she looks back to Bishop. "He's still as terrible as ever." she says plainly. The two share a brief chuckle that seems to drain a bit of tension from the air.

Yet you still work with him.

Veneya allows a sigh to slip through, but she's quick to cut it off with a kind smile. "We all must make sacrifices, Bishop. Brix is a handful but he's nobody's concern these days. Cross keeps him in line." Her gaze lowers to the table. "I find myself more concerned with the sacrifices you have made. You found yourself on the wrong side of Cross, that much was made very clear. The bountry was up to nearly fifteen-thousand credits, I

believe. Ironic, really. The bountry hunter becoming the bountry." She gives a slightly amused snicker at the notion. "But now? Nothing. A single statement from Cross and then not so much as a trace of you in our system. So, tell me... How did you manage to balance the ledger?"

Bishop grips his mug by the handle and brings it to his lips, taking a long sip from his drink to buy time as he forms his thoughts. Considers how best to proceed. There was a time when he considered Veneya a close friend. Perhaps even more. But too much has happened since then. Friendships have faded. Alliances have shifted. "Guess I made a deal with the devil, love." he says, once again flashing that smile. "It doesn't matter. I won't be

around much longer."

Veneya seems bothered by this news, but does her best to cover it up. "Oh I thought-..." she begins but stops herself. Clearing her throat, she reaches for her own drink and pulls it in close. "...I could get you a job." she offers. "With the Enforcers? I don't have much pull but I'm confident I could-..."

Bishop interrupts the asari with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Couldn't ask you to do that." he says. "Besides... Cross is tolerating me. Because I'm willing to play his little game. Last thing I need is to wear out my welcome. No, I think I'll get out of town while I still have my head on the right way, thanks." He gives a pointed glance towards the krogan at the bar to punctuate his remark.


((Bounty x3*))

Dawn sips her soda in silence as she listens to the pair behind her. Something alcoholic probably would've been a better choice for blending in, but then she'd be left with an untouched glass, and that wouldn't do. Besides, she needs the sugar, and this was a considerable step up from the syrup tubes. She allows her gaze to wander idly, although her attention is on the conversation.

Veneya gives an understanding nod, gaze lingering on her drink. "Lucky came through here the other day, too." she says. A sense of feigned exhaustion enters her tone as she mentions the name. "Looked like he didn't cut the same 'deal' you did." she says, her words dripping with curiosity as to what Bishop may be alluding to but she's too respectful to outright ask, "Aleenin ran him down but- you know Lucky. Always manages to slip through

the cracks somehow."

Bishop allows a genuine snort to slip through. "Snake in the grass, that one." he says, though there's some clear affection in his voice. "I-..."

Brix swivels on the large, reinforced barstool. "We're startin' to feel like you two don't want our company!" he calls out. "Ain't that right?" he asks, swatting at a turian Enforcer's chest plate with the back of his hand. The turian silently agrees with a nod of his head, not wanting to displease the rambunctious krogan. "C'mon, get your asses over here."

Bishop, his thoughts interupted, turns his gaze to Brix and once again gives him his fakest smile. "Gonna have to pass, mate. But I appreciate the beer. Cheers." he says, lifting his mug. It gets little more than an aggitated grunt from Brix. With a sigh, Bishop looks back to the asari, studying her momentarily. A small amount of sadness falls over him but he swallows it, shoving it down. "You should get back to your friends." he says,

"Wouldn't want the infant to get cranky."

Veneya nearly winces at Bishop's use of the word 'friends'. It wasn't intended to be a pointed remark but, after everything they went through with Brix, a certain guilt fell over her at hearing him referred to as her friend. "...Yeah." she says, hazarding a brief look Brix' way. She slowly exits the booth, taking her time as she collects her beer. Once back on her feet she faces the booth and looks down to Bishop, shoulders tightening as

she feels Brix' eyes on her back. She gently places a hand atop Bishop's, giving his a small pat. "Keep in touch." she says gently. "And-... please. Take care of yourself, Bishop."

Bishop's gaze turns to the soft blue hand over his as he considers his words. But when he opens his mouth, all that comes out is a swift, cold: "You too, love." As she takes her leave, he takes another sip of his drink, gaze distantly turning to the table.

Dawn keeps on listening, the talk of Lucky garnering some curiosity. She allows herself to glance over at Brix for a moment as the krogan calls out loudly, but other than that she remains as she is, sipping her soda and doing her best to ignore the variety of unpleasant smells and sounds that surround her as the conversation comes to a close and she considers her options for the evening.

The two bar-hopping asari have since taken seats at the bar. They're giggling and chattering loudly, adding to the noise pollution. The next booth over from Dawn- opposite side from Bishop- contains a crew of batarians loudly discussing their opinion of humans. Their incredibly negative opinions. It's almost as if they're purposely increasing their volume since Dawn sat down beside them. They're the likely suspects responsible for flooding the

music queue with awful batarian noise. Brix passes one last glance Bishop's way as Veneya returns to the group and reclaims her stool at the bar. It's not long before the roar of krogan laughter is heard again, however, giving Bishop a hard time taking a backseat in his priorities. Bishop continues to nurse his beer in silence, pointedly not looking Brix' way despite the urge to steal a glimpse at Veneya. He hasn't survived this long on Aite

by purposely antagonizing violent krogan.

Dawn 's attention has inevitably been drawn to the rather loud - and unfriendly - batarians. She focuses on her soda for a few moments as she considers her options. A barely perceptible hint of a smirk tugs for a split-second at one corner of her lips before she looks across the empty seat in front of her towards the batarians, shooting them a pointed stare as she attempts to make 'accidental' eye-contact with the any of the ones facing

her, making no attempt to hide her frustrated expression.

It takes a moment for the batarian to take notice of Dawn but when he does he returns the stare, all four jet black eyes locking onto her. He's a pale greenish-yellow in color. "Something on your mind, [guasha]?" he asks, commonly known batarian slang that translates roughly to 'two eyes'. It's often used amongst batarians as an insult to other races. He gives a pointed tilt of his head to the right as he holds Dawn's gaze. The man at his side

seems to take notice, flashing a row of pointed teeth through his grin as he watches the interaction.

Dawn sighs. "Think you could keep it down?" she calls out in a harmless enough tone, although she allows hints of fabricated offense to linger in both expression and voice. Her grip tightens a bit around her glass. This is potentially a risky move, but even if it doesn't get the desired result she should be able to find another solution.

The batarian looks quite unamused by the request. "No. I don't." he responds flatly, "Don't like it then find somewhere else to infest, human." Turning his attention to the batarian at his side, he scoffs loudly. "Who do they think they are?" he asks the other batarian, obviously speaking loud enough to continue being insulting to Dawn as he does, "The Council shows them favor and now they think they can go around telling everyone what to do."

he grunts, making it clear that the offense comes more from the fact that she's human rather than the request itself.

Dawn turns her gaze away from the batarians with exaggerated discomfort, returning to silence with a quiet grunt. Not what she'd hoped for, but she's disinclined to poke more strongly, lest the blame for a confrontation fall on her. Instead, she makes for the bar, flagging down the bartender for another soda. She also casts a skeptical look at the menu as she waits for her new order.

The batarians continue their dirty looks as Dawn stands from her booth, and occasional glances her way even when she takes a spot at the bar. The polite hanar is quick to return to Dawn when it gets the chance. The bar doesn't offer much in terms of food, mostly just a variety of overpriced snackfoods- chips and such. Nothing that requires any sort of preparation. Plenty of exotic drinks are available, however, with a wide variety of origins

that range from mixed drinks straight out of Khar'shan that would put the most brave on their ass to colorful Thessian concoctions that could be mistaken for a soft drink.

Dawn considers attempting conversation with the Enforcers, but Brix' presence puts her off from that idea. She'd rather avoid the krogan. Instead, she's fairly quick to leave after receiving her refill. She stops for a moment on her way back to the booth, shooting a glance over at the batarians. Hesitation fills her face, and she turns slightly as she continues, making for the empty side of Bishop's booth. She stops outside it, looking over

at him. "Mind if I join you?" she asks, casting an uneasy glance over her shoulder at the group of batarians.

Bishop glances up at Dawn as she approaches his table, a brief look of confusion as he assesses her. There's a good portion of beer still in his mug, having found himself distracted by thought once Veneya left. He follows her glance over towards the batarians and finds himself staring into the jet black eyes of one. He heard the few shouts back and forth. Unaware of Dawn's abilities, it's not hard for him to begin putting two and two

together. She's worried she stirred an angry group of batarians. Obviously. Like any sane person would be. With a raise of his hand, he gives the batarian a small wave and a respectful tilt of his head to the left. It seems to be enough to get attention off of him for the moment. "Was beginning to get a bit lonely anyway." he says lightheartedly as he glances back to Dawn through a smile, "Take a seat."

Dawn offers an appreciative look as she slides into the seat opposite Bishop. "Thanks." she says, letting a relieved smile show for a moment. "Friendly crowd here tonight." she comments, leaving a little of that unease in place for now as she studies him. Her lipstick matches the unnatural color of her eyes. Her tattoos are largely hidden by her leather jacket, although there's a hint of the ECG line tattooed over her heart visible at the

edge of her tanktop.

Bishop gives a short snicker- little more than an exhale of air through his nose- at Dawn's reading of the room. "A regular ol' group of warm fuzzies in here." he says, casting a glance Brix' way. But he doesn't allow it to linger. He turns his focus back to Dawn as he takes a small sip from his mug. He catches sight of the tattoo peeking out, but takes care not to stare. "Shame Karla's isn't around anymore." he says, his tone implying Dawn

should know what that is. "Used to not have to put up with their shit." he adds, pointing out the batarians behind Dawn with his eyes.

Dawn raises an eyebrow. "Karla's?" she asks, taking a sip of her soda and adjusting her position a bit to sit more comfortably.

Bishop mimics her expression, a brow of his own rising. "Apologies. It was a bar. Back before the city-... turned a new leaf." he settles on, picking his words carefully. "Just about the worst gutter booze you could get." he explains, a smile returning to his face as he recalls his old hangout, "But nobody started trouble there. Karla made sure of it. Was one of the most popular hangouts of Adrasteia." He studies Dawn in silence for a

moment before continuing, "Suppose that means you're new around here." he assesses, "So let me give you a bit of friendly advice..." He leans forward, resting his elbows on the table to lean across it slightly so he can lower his voice to a stage whisper and still be heard. "...Causing trouble with batarians isn't exactly the best of decisions if you're hoping for a long and healthy life, love. They tend to dislike our lot." He gives

another small smile as he settles back into his seat, eyes moving to the batarian booth once more.

Dawn gives a nod of confirmation. "I am. And... yeah, I noticed..." she says with a quiet sigh. "Got a little to learn about living out here, I guess..." she adds with a hint of dismay, leaning a bit more heavily against the table and almost shrinking a bit in her seat, as if embarrassed by her inability to avoid trouble.

Bishop snickers to himself. "I've been out here for-..." he cuts himself off, deciding against specifics, "..too long. Yet, somehow, I still haven't managed to get a handle on it myself." His gaze travels back to Brix yet again. Then to Veneya where it lingers momentarily. "The Terminus operates on its own set of rules." he continues, assuming the Terminus is what she meant by 'out here'. "Can eat you alive if you're not careful, love. Have

to adapt." he adds, the familiar phrase of a recently departed friend coming to mind, "...Adapt, or get swallowed." It's not the most happy of memories to call upon. But, then again, Bishop isn't the sentimental type, so he's quick to put Lucas out of mind. "What brings you all the way out here anyway?" he refocuses, "Hear about all the credits that were being pumped through the veins of this city and decide to take your shot at a

piece of the pie?"

Dawn smirks slightly. "Something like that." she says with a sigh as she leans back, keeping her hands on the table, one grasping her glass. "Honestly, I'm... not entirely sure what I'm doing out here." she admits, almost reluctantly, and there's an undeniable sincerity to those words, despite everything. "...and I don't really have the credits part figured out yet." she adds with a small shrug, looking out across the bar briefly.

Bishop gives a small shrug. "Sounds like you've got it all figured out then." he says, his words coated in dry sarcasm. After a moment he continues a bit more sincerely. "There's plenty of opportunities out here. Just have to know where to look and be willing to get your hands dirty." he says, studying Dawn for a reaction. "And avoid the slavers." he adds, that dry sarcasm of his making a return as his eyes dart back to the crew a couple

of booths away.

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Dorian Bishop