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#Litae'sGrace – August 29, 2018
The evening has passed into night, and several more glasses of beer - as well as some snacks, along with it. Elena has listened more than she's talked, grateful for the distraction offered by Shane's presence. Still, she hasn't shied away from offering up the occasional anecdote from her time in the Alliance - comparing experiences, as it were. It's clear that her experience in the Alliance has been rather different from Shane's - as a
combat engineer she's only seen action groundside - peacekeeping operations on unstable worlds, setting up staging grounds for sustained planetary operations, support for assault teams - not the meatgrinder of a narrow slaver ship corridor. Despite an occasionally irreverent tone it's obvious from the way she speaks of it that she holds the Alliance in high esteem. She's gotten quiet whenever the subject veered towards more recent times,
and has steered entirely clear of earlier years. "...so he goes to take a piss, right? Barely been gone a minute before he comes waddling into the middle of the fucking camp, pants halfway down his legs - totally... totally fucking panicked, yeah? Everybody's scrambling. Thinking we're under attack or something. " A snicker interrupts her briefly before she resumes, hand gestures accompanying her words. "...so-... so we're all rushing for
our guns, trying to get eyes on the treelines, he's still shouting - too fast for the translators to pick up. Young's gotten her fucking mech powered before the Chief manages to get something coherent out of the boot. Yeah... turns out one of the grazer bugs was hanging out near camp." Another laugh as her grin widens. "Guess-... I mean, nobody'd-... nobody'd told him they're vegetarian." she snickers, sinking into her seat as she starts
to go quiet, still grinning and rolling her empty beer glass in her organic hand. "Nooobody let him forget that shit..." she adds a bit more quietly as her amusement starts to die down.
Shane has pulled his weight on the storytelling front and, likewise, seems to have nothing but admiration for the Alliance. The usual suspects- Gage, Priya, Sam, and Jason- form the backbone of most of his stories and it's not hard to tell they've had a long, storied career together. But the names of other past squadmates have cropped up as well. Shane leaves their fates out of his stories. While some simply finished their tour and
moved on, others never made it home. But Elena doesn't need those stories and Shane just isn't the type to let that be the focus of his memories anyway. He remains silent outside of the occasional snicker, big grin plastered across his face as he nurses his beer and listens to Elena's story. As she wraps up, he bursts into laughter at the imagery and leans his head back against the padding of the bench's backrest, slightly
unfocused eyes resting on the dirty ceiling momentarily as his shoulders rattle. "Shiiiit. See, I'm telling you that's why I'm glad I served on a ship." he says as he looks back to Elena, "Didn't have to deal with any wildlife. No crazy temperatures. Weather. No thanks. You can keep all that. I'll take my climate-controlled tin can." he snickers.
Elena snorts. "Riiight... wouldn't wanna get your boots dirty, ey? Mimado pinche espaciador..." she mutters, although the faint, lingering grin makes it clear she's not exactly serious. She shifts, taking her empty glass in her cybernetic hand and tapping a finger idly against the glass as she sighs, sinking a bit in her seat as momentary tiredness overtakes her. Her gaze drifts idly across the bar, unfocused.
Shane is quick to respond with: "Not if I don't have to!" without the least bit of shame, ear-to-ear grin still on his face. As things start to quiet down, he takes another sip of his drink. "You miss it?" he asks, peering across the table over the rim of his glass.
Elena shrugs. "Sure. I mean-.... I mean, yeah... it was... Alliance was my home." she says, still looking out across the bar, partly leaning against the wall - she's shifted towards the corner of the booth, sitting at an angle in the corner. A sigh follows. "Yeah..." she repeats, looking over at Shane and studying him in silence for a moment. Her grin has faded.
Shane gives a couple of small nods as he sets his glass down. "Yeah..." he agrees with a wistful sigh, though his grin remains, "...Me too. Not that my last tour ended the way I would've liked but-... Yeah, I'll miss it." he adds, a snicker following despite the somewhat grim circumstances.
Elena 's expression starts to sour as her silence grows longer and her gaze more distant, but when she realizes she starts to sit up, turning her attetnion back to Shane. "Shit..." she sighs. "It's late, huh? Should-... gotta get back. To the Jack. Yeah..." she mumbles, scooting closer towards the edge of the booth.
Shane furrows his brow as Elena's demeanor suddenly shifts and matches her movement, scooting towards the edge. "Uhh-... yeah. Right." he says, gripping the edge of the table as he swings his legs out. "How about I walk you back?" he offers, "Make sure you get there alright. You've had a bit to drink so I wouldn't want you slipping on a patch of ice and busting that fine ass." he offers through his grin, not that he's much less
Elena lets out a snort, but she can't help a small smirk from tugging briefly at the corner of her mouth as she gets out of the booth. "Cómo no..." she she says with a sigh, nodding for him to come along. "Cuz you haven't had any, huh?" she says, turning in a less than graceful manner and reaching back with a knee on the seat for her jacket upon realizing she's forgotten it. Her toolbelt clanks and rustles as it shifts.
Shane's grin widens as he reaches back to scoop up his own jacket and slips it on as he stands from his seat. "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm fine." he insists, the glassiness in his eyes betraying him.
Elena nods a couple of times. "Uh-huh..." she says as she makes for the exit while slipping her jacket on, pulling the zipper up in expectation of Aite's winter chill. As soon as she's outside and the first gust of wind hits her she mutters "Gwh... Fuck this planet..."
Shane follows, offering a brief wave to the tired bartender leaning against the counter. She returns it with a small nod. It's not until he's hit by the cold Aite air that he reaches for his jacket's zipper. "Shit..." he mutters, clenching his teeth momentarily. "Like I said: Climate-controlled tin can alllll the way..." he says, nudging into Elena playfully with a shoulder.
Elena snorts again, shaking her head to herself as she looks around. "...fuck... where the-... where the hell's the spaceport?" she says, scanning their poorly lit surroundings for any indication of where she came from.
Shane allows her to drown in her confusion for a few moments as he watches, grin only growing. With a shake of his head and an exaggerated sigh, he nudges her and starts down the street. "Come on." he says, a bit of pride slipping into his tone as if proving his earlier point that he's handling his booze well. Unfortunately, he only gets a few steps before doing an about-face and starting the opposite way. "This way." he says
Elena has just about turned to follow Shane when he spins around, and she more or less bumps into him, a drunken snicker slipping out as she finds herself turning once again, remaining close to Shane as they start to head the other way - not like she has a better idea of which direction is right. "Lead the way..."
Shane does just that, tucking his hands into his jacket pockets and casting a brief glance to the woman at his side. He doesn't seem to be in any rush despite the cold, the alcohol in his system surely helping to numb the effect a bit. As he lets out a deep breath, he focuses on the steam in the air. Something seems to occur to him and he looks to Elena once more, eyebrow cocked as he continues down the street. "So let me get this
straight. You give me shit about not wanting to get my boots dirty, but after the Alliance you went ahead and took a job onboard a ship? That hypocrisy I smell?" he teases in an amused tone.
Elena snorts. "Yeah-... you-... you see our ship, you'll see my boots sure as hell ain't clean..." she replies. "Besides, I'm-..." she cuts herself off rather abruptly as her mind catches up to her words. 'I'm part of the field team.' James' team. Is there still a field team? Fuck. An almost flustered chuckle sounds, a cloud of mist forming from the hot air she expels. She sucks in her lips, going quiet as they continue to walk
Shane draws in a deep breath as Elena cuts herself short, gaze turning towards the ground in front of him as he continues to walk. He doesn't pry for what she was going to say. "Alright, fair enough." he says, instead deciding to respond to her initial statement to keep things light. "So...? Is that an invitation inside, or...?" he asks playfully with another brief glance down at her with his big, dumb grin.
Elena only manages a brief, half-hearted smirk, but she does her best to keep her mind from drifting back to James and the past week. The haze of the alcohol helps, for now anyhow. "Quizá... fair, no? Got to see your place..." she points out, her gaze wandering the snowcovered street ahead of them.
Shane shrugs his shoulders. "Fair is fair." he agrees with a snicker. "You got some drinks waiting on ice for us?" he asks, obviously not ready to calm down for the night quite yet.
Elena glances up at Shane briefly. "Think I can dig something up..." she says, trying hard to ignore the part of her mind that drifts to Lucy. She'd hit the whiskey hard since they got back. A whole slew of unwanted thoughts start to follow despite her best efforts, and she's reduced to walking in silence as they continue on their path, her gaze on the snowy ground ahead now. "Fucking cold..." she mutters in a questionable
Shane gives a nod, hands dug deep into his pockets to fight at the cold winter air as he, too, falls into silence for a while. He does his best not to let his own concern over Sam creep in. He knows how she is and the last thing she'd want is for him to be fussing over her. As Elena speaks up, he gives a snort. "Right?" he responds, removing the hand closest to Elena from his pocket and tossing it over her shoulder to pull her in
close, as if hoping it'll help to keep him warm. "Walking probably wasn't the best choice, huh?" he snickers.
Elena shifts closer to Shane as his arm goes over her shoulder, glancing his way again. "Yeah... maybe not." she agrees with a faint smirk as the silence is broken. The spaceport is starting to come into view, the surrounding buildings falling away as they head up the sloping, well-worn and well-trafficated road that leads through the gates. She lets silence take over again as they approach, the sharp white lights that illuminate
the gate cutting through the darkness. Within, there's much more calm than usual given the hour and the weather, but the spaceport never sleeps fully. A sturdy truck passes them, heading out into the town. A hangar stands open, spilling yellow light outside as cargo is loaded. The inhabitants of the quarian encampment have retreated into their ships for the night, but there's lively sounds from within, and light shines in
Shane glances about at the activity with only a passing interest as he follows Elena's step into the spaceport. "So which one of these are yours?" he asks, giving a quick nod in the general direction of a random hangar.
Elena takes a moment to locate the right hangar, but when she does she points towards it, heading that way. After passing through the quarian camp she approaches the sealed hangar door. She heads for the small side access - opening up the main door would be loud, slow and highly unnecessary. It takes her two tries to punch in the keycode, which elicits a quiet curse, after which she steps inside, gesturing to the Jack of
Diamonds, which rests battered and beaten in the spacious hangar. The ship has its share of scars old and new, not unlike the crew. The cargo ramp is open, but the inside of the ship is dark, lights dimmed into night mode. "Home, rusty home." she says with a shrug before looking to Shane.
Shane pulls his arm from Elena's shoulder as she approaches the hangar door, instead folding his arms across his chest and leaning against the wall beside the access door. When she fails the first input, he gives a snicker. But as the door slides open, he follows her inside. Giving the Jack the once over, he lets out a high pitched whistle. "Not bad." he says, nodding softly to himself as the grin returns to his face. Of course
it's far less 'impressive' than the massive military vessel he's used to, but it's not unlike the ship he and his team arrived on Aite in. "So?" he asks, leveling his grin on Elena, "You gonna give me the tour?"
Elena studies Shane for a moment before returning his grin and nodding towards the ramp. "Hell yeah..." she says, starting towards the ship. She turns around, backing up the ramp while gesturing around herself. "This is our cargo hold!" she calls out, pointing all around herself, and then to a collection of crates and parts off to the side, partly hidden in shadow. "...and that is where I fix all the shit that breaks inside
Shane's grin only widens as Elena's enthusiasm escapes and she begins to lead the way. He slowly follows, lagging behind as his hands return to his pockets. His gaze turns in the general direction of the crates as she points them out and gives a small nod of acknowledgement before his gaze is pulled downward upon hearing Elena's warning. Despite his relatively high blood-alcohol level, he manages to navigate his way up the ramp
without issue. "So this is where the magic happens." he comments, getting a better look around now that he has climbed the ramp. To him it the work place looks like little more than a bunch of junk. Tech wasn't exactly his field of expertise. But he's certainly not going to say as much.
Elena nods. "Uh-hu-..." she starts, but she's cut off by a grunt as she backs into the small truck parked in the hold, cursing quietly as she steps around it and starts looking where she walks again, not commenting. She starts up the stairs, footsteps on the metal echoing in the quiet space. "We are headed up..." she says, pointing as she continues up the stairs, perhaps wisely forgoing the ladder after a moment's
Shane gets another chuckle at her drunken lack of coordination- not that he's any better at the moment, just less obvious. "Lead on." he says, falling in line behind her. He gives another glance out over the hold before gripping the railing and starting up the staircase. "Great view." he jokes, looking away from the cargo hold to Elena's backside. "Amazing view." he corrects, snickering at his own joke.
Elena furrows her eyebrows slightly, briefly puzzled before she catches onto Shane's meaning, at which point she's unable to suppress a grin that remains hidden since she continues to head upstairs. "Guns, meds, shitter." she says with haphazard pointing vaguely in the direction of the respective doors as they pass the second deck. As soon as they reach Deck 1, she looks over towards the bridge, her gaze lingering on the closed
door for a couple of silent moments before she tears her attention away, heading right for the kitchen cabinets, where she starts to dig around. "Let's find that booze, yeah?" she says rather loudly, cutting through the silence of the sleeping ship.
Shane continues to follow behind, gaze tagging each location as they're pointed out. Being fairly innebriated himself, Elena's volume doesn't set off any red flags for him. He gives a hearty: "Now you're talking." as she mentions the booze and takes a position beside the cabinets. "What've you got?"
Elena almost falls over as she bends down to grab a bottle from one of the cabinet shelves. "We got... whiskey, and... more whiskey..." she says with a shrug before coming back up, bottle in hand. She wiggles it a little and flashes a grin before rounding the corner into the corridor while unscrewing the cap of the bottle.
Shane jolts briefly, as if to reach out and steady Elena before realizing she has it under control and another snicker follows. Upon hearing what's on the menu, he furrows his brow. "Well, shit. In that case? I guess I'll go with some whiskey." he says, matching her grin with one of his own before once again falling in line behind her as she sets off down the corridor. He places a hand on the corridor walls, dragging a palm along
it. The narrow hallways. Tight quarters. The sounds. Most people find it claustrophobic. But not him. To him it carries a certain comfort. He gives the wall a pat and returns his hand to his pocket. "Don't you go hogging it all now." he warns lightheartedly as he notices Elena already dipping into the whiskey.
Elena stops partway through the corridor, taking a big swig from the whiskey bottle, grimacing as she holds it out for Shane. "H-... help yourself." she says with a cough. "Mierda... haaah..." she mutters, pressing one palm against the grimey pipes that run along the walls of the narrow corridor.
Shane reaches out the grasp the bottle by the neck. "Gotta learn to hold your liquor better, soldier." he teases as he brings the bottle to his lips and takes a long pull. As karma would have it, as soon as he swallows a cough of his own escapes, which quickly turns to a chuckle. "The fuck is in this stuff?" he asks, making as if trying to read the label.
Elena lets out a loud snort as she studies Shane. "Geh, it's Roja's... I don't know where the hell she gets it." she comments with a shake of her head, grinning despite everything before unsteadily crouching down to open the hatch to her cabin. "One more stop on the tour..." she mumbles, leaving the whiskey with Shane as she starts her less than graceful descent down the ladder with a grunt.
Shane continues to study the label without really looking at it, half-grimace-half-grin etched into his features. "Remind me to never go shot for shot with 'Roja'..." he mutters with a shake of his head. Realizing he's lagging behind again, he turns his lack-of-attention away from the bottle and follows Elena over to the cabin hatch. With slow movements and far more caution than he'd be taking were he less intoxicated, he lowers
into a crouch to glance down into the room. The luxury of a private vessel. No sharing quarters with a handful of other people. Once Elena reaches the bottom, he lowers himself down the ladder. With one hand still on the bottle, it's mostly just a case of stepping as far down the ladder as he can and then hopping off every bit as gracefully as Elena. His drunken balance betrays him and he stumbles to the side, only managing
to stay upright thanks to the wall which causes another stream of laughter to escape him. "Alright, alright. Maybe I've had a few too many myself, too." he finally admits.
Elena breaks into drunken laughter as she watches Shane stumble, stepping in to steady him with a hand on each side. "...you think?" she manages as her laughter starts to die down. She removes one hand from Shane to snatch the bottle and take a sip. Elena's cabin is not exactly spacious - it's little more than a locker, a dresser, a small fold-up desk and a bed that takes up the far wall. There's a small, closed viewport above
the bed. Battered, grimy pieces of armor lie in a corner, the decor painted across them causing them to stand out. Most of the left-side wall is covered by a seemingly hand-painted mural of an antique American convertible car. There's also an Alliance emblem with the Earth below it spray-painted above the head of the bed.
Shane reluctantly releases his grip on the bottle and gives a playful roll of his eyes at Elena's response as he leans back against the wall beside the ladder. His gaze remains on her as she drinks, but soon enough it's pulled towards the rest of the cramped room. He scans over it before coming to a stop on the mural, brow furrowed as he studies it. "You paint that...?" he asks as he looks back to her.
Elena glances over her shoulder as she lowers the bottle, following Shane's gaze. "Huh...? Oh, yeah." she says with a snicker. "Damn right." she confirms, turning away from him and taking a couple of steps away. She puts the whiskey bottle down on the desk, stopping to study the mural for a moment. "Like it...?" she asks while unbuckling her toolbelt, letting it fall to the floor with a hard, metallic clang. She seems relieved to
Shane remains where he is at first as Elena steps away, taking the opportunity to remove his jacket and hang it over one of the ladder rungs. As she moves over to the mural, he steps over to the desk and scoops up the bottle before joining up behind her. He reaches over her left shoulder with his left arm- bottle in-hand- and drapes it across her chest to take a swig from the bottle over her right shoulder as he studies the mural
from behind her as if it's fine art at some high class museum back on Earth. After a few moments, he nods to her question. "They don't make 'em like that anymore, huh?"
Elena snickers, leaning back against Shane. "Sure don't..." she says, sounding undeniably wistful. "...ones that are still running? Few and far. Fucking shame." She turns, grabbing the bottle as she does and taking a swig before letting her left arm come to rest on Shane's shoulder, dangling the bottle from her hand behind his back. Her cybernetic right moves to his side, drunken gaze travelling from her hand across his chest
until she reaches his face, shifting her left arm further up his shoulder as she leans in closer, holding his gaze.
Shane gives a couple of nods. "Mmhmm. Mmhmm." he hums as if he knows what he's talking about. Truth is- outside of pictures and vids- he's never even seen a car like that. His gaze remains on the mural even as Elena retrieves the bottle and turns to face him, studying it in silence as his left hand shifts to lay across her back. It's not until he feels her eyes on him that he looks back to her. "Damn shame." he agrees quietly,
Elena snorts as she continues to study Shane with an unfocused gaze. "Mmmmhm..." Her left arm slips further around his neck, the whiskey bottle coming to rest against his far shoulder as she reaches up for a rather sloppy kiss while starting to press up against Shane.
Shane leans down into the kiss, his right hand moving to Elena's waist. But after a brief moment he pulls back, big dumb grin on full display by this point. "I'm starting to think you didn't invite me in to talk about cars. Elena." he says, once again putting a goofy Spanish accent on her name.