#RedrockAgency – October 23, 2018

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Vasquez is still working by the time Jason returns home. Another late night in the office trying to keep Redrock from imploding on itself in the wake of another expensive, self-funded excursion and the sudden need to prepare for future threats. Tired eyes scan the screen as she struggles to keep her focus, scarred face lit by the glow of the terminal. After a quick glance to the empty coffee cup on her desk she curses Halisi's

caffeine restrictions. Dressed in combat boots and gray fatigues, including jacket to ward off the chill in the air, she certainly looks more the part of mercenary captain than expectant mother.

Jason's return is announced by the sound of boots echoing against the lobby floor in the otherwise-empty building. The dim night lighting of the lobby is welcome and helps with the whole 'world is spinning' thing he's got going on at the moment. A bit of that 'late night bender' dread settles in as he comes to a stop near the reception desk, pressing one hand against the top to steady himself. That moment when you realize you

may have had one too many and you're probably gonna get yelled at. "Fergs?" he summons the VI, voice lowering to a whisper that's just slightly too loud to actually be considered a whisper, "Linda sleeping?"

Fergus flickers to life behind the desk as Jason approaches. "No, milord. She is in her office." the VI replies at its normal speaking volume. "Shall I notify her of your return?"

Jason waves the VI off, eyes still shut to stave off the light-induced headache that's sure to be coming his way. "Mmm-.. no. It-... Not necessary." he says, swallowing hard. As he opens his eyes, he offers Fergus a drunken grin and pats the desk. "You're alright, Fergus." he says, as if having just decided on it. A revelation sent to him down a river of booze. "Just-... You should know that. I..." he stammers, not having put too

much thought for which words are to follow. After a moments hesitation, he merely shrugs his shoulders. "...appreciate you." His smile widens slightly, unfocused gaze turning towards the corridor and he gives the desk one last pat before departing down the hall.

Fergus bows his head. "Thank you, milord."

Vasquez looks up from her screen upon hearing the exchange down the corridor, eyebrows furrowing. She remains behind her desk, hands resting against her desk as she waits for Jason to come into view.

Jason glances back towards the desk, arm outstretching so he can point at the holographic entity. "Thank you! My lord!" he shoots back in appreciation. He then points to his eyes, then at Fergus for... some... reason. Clop. Clop. Clop. Clop. The heavy fall of boots against the hallway floor grow louder as he approaches the door. Without paying much attention to the door itself, he slaps a hand against the holographic interface

to buzz the room before realizing the door is, in fact, open. "Oh, shit. There she is!" he says as his unfocused gaze turns to Vasquez, big dumb grin plastered across his face. He places a hand on each side of the doorframe, remaining outside in the hall as he fills the entry to her office.

Vasquez ' lips turn to an unamused line as she realizes he's drunk. Again. "Here I am." she agrees with a small twist of her head, looking at him from across the room. Judging by the fact that her tired face is mostly illuminated by the glow of the screen in front of her she never bothered to turn on the lights after the sun went down. She doesn't say anything else.

Jason gives a nod, putting most of his weight against the doorframe. "Here. You. Are." he agrees with her agreement. Yep. He's in trouble. Even in his drunken state, he knows that. Play it cool. "You-... uhh-... Working late?" he asks, dumb grin unwavering.

Vasquez flashes a brief, insincere smile that serves more to bare her teeth than anything, and then turns her attention back to the screen. "Someone has to..." she says as her gaze scans the text, making no attempt to hide her annoyance.

Jason's grin slips, but doesn't quite fall away. "And that's why I love you." he says, clearly doing his damndest to keep this from devolving into a fight. "You take care of all-..." he swallows, his head dipping slightly as he nods towards the terminal in front of Vasquez, "...that." He dips his head a bit lower, a drunken stage whisper accompanying his added: "And look damn good while doing it." He shifts a bit against

the doorframe, his brown jacket handing open as his forearms hold the brunt of his weight. "And I keep the troops rallied. We make a gooood team."

Vasquez sucks in her lips, her hands balling into fists above her keyboard just as she was about to start typing. She stares down at the faintly glowing keys for a moment, before drawing in a deep breath and looking up at Jason. "Four days. It's been four days since we-..." she starts, a sharpness to her voice, but she stops with a frustrated sigh and changes tracks to: "I thought you were checking up on Velrin?" with no less

annoynace in her voice.

Jason's gaze darts downward momentarily, grin falling away entirely as if bracing himself for wherever her initial statement might be going. When she changes tracks, however, he merely nods in silence. "I was. He's... fucked up." he says simply, raising his gaze to meet hers once again. A lopsided grin returns to his face, the impact of his own statement lost on him somewhere in the drunken haze. "We're all fucked up, Linda. But

we're alive, so... Fuck it, right?" His smile widens as he tries to sell it, but it's not long before his lips pull into a thin line and his unfocused gaze tilts away from her.

Vasquez lets out a sigh, resting an elbow against the desk and leaning her head against her hand as she rubs her temple. "Right." she mutters, staring at the screen in front of her (or rather through, judging by the distant look on her face). She lets silence fill the room as she considers speaking up again, but exhaustion overtakes anger as she adds a pointed "Goodnight, Jason." with a brief glance up at him, before returning her

attention to her efforts of forming a message to a potential employer.

Jason gives a couple of small nods, seemingly unsure of what to say. He's been around Vasquez long enough to know when the smartest move is to cut your losses and get away from the viper's nest. Buuuut nobody has ever accused him of being smart. Couple that with a bit of liquid courage, and he finds himself gripping the edges of the doorframe and pulling himself into the office. He gives a roll of his shoulder to shrug his

jacket off and underhands it over the back of the empty chair on the opposite side of the desk from Vasquez. The sleeves of his long white shirt are pulled up. It was an absentminded gesture made after a few drinks had entered his bloodstream and he began to warm up. It didn't do much to help. Obviously. But old habits die hard. He slowly makes his way across the room until he's just beside Vasquez and parks his ass on the

edge of the desk. One boot on the ground, one clanking idly against the desk. "You're pissed." he says, dumb, drunk grin returning to his face as he looks down at her. It's not meant to be antagonizing. Just a bit of drunken awkwardness.

Vasquez looks up when it becomes clear that Jason isn't leaving. "What gave you that idea?" she says with an unamused look, hands returning to hovering above the keyboard as she leans back a little in her chair to study him.

Jason gives a snicker. "Because I know you well enough to know when I'm in the doghouse. And I am definitely in the doghouse right now." he says, tilting his head to the side as he continues to hold her gaze. After a few moments, he cocks an eyebrow. "See?" he says, raising one hand to point at her face and circle it with an outstretched finger, his other hand gripping the edge of the desk beside him. "You got that whole-...

'You're-one-wrong-move-away-from-getting-fucked-the-fuck-up' look in your eyes." Another snicker follows and he lowers his hand, reaching for one of Vasquez' with it.

Vasquez swats Jason's finger away with a frustrated grunt. She lets him reach for her hand, but it balls up a little rather than grabbing his. "Redrock's barely afloat, Jason." she says, gaze having gone back to the screen. "I'm doing my fucking best to keep things together, and I-... I thought-... we talked about this." she says, stumbling a little as her voice breaks, stress and worry undercutting frustration. "I said I needed

you here, not-... not getting trashed in the Respite."

Jason doesn't seem to be too bothered by the swat at his hand, her intended effect dulled by the blood-alcohol level. He grips her balled up hand, taking it in his own awkwardly. As her frustrations begin to flow freely, his dumb grin disappears once more. "I know-... I know..." he insists overtop of her. "I'm here." he assures, leaning down slightly as he tries to bring her hand up and press a kiss against the back of it. "I'm

riiight here. I'm just-... I'm a piece of shit, Linda. I know..." he adds as if the self berating might serve as an apology. But his tone is unchanging, cheerful intoxication a sharp juxtaposition against his words. He draws in a deep breath, a slight smirk pulling at the corner of his mouth and he cocks his head to the side. "But I love you?"

Vasquez scowls as her attention returns to Jason. His behavior is decidedly not doing anything to improve matters. "I'm serious, Jason. This is about our future. About-..." A sigh as her head falls a little. "Just go to bed, Jason." she says with a faint shake of her head, her tone that of someone that can't be bothered right now. "I have work to do."

Jason furrows his brow in confusion. He was serious, too! "I'm serious, too!" See? He releases his grip on her hand, scooting a bit closer to her keyboard so he's more in front of her than off to the side. "Look at me. Look at me. Look at me." he repeats in a mutter, hand moving to her cheek in an attempt at pulling her gaze to meet his own unfocused blue eyes. "I need to get my shit together. I know! I know! I will, I-..." he

trails off, giving a few small nods as his voice grows quieter as a bit of sincerity slips through the drunken fog, "...I'm-... I'm trying."

Vasquez lets out a heavy sigh as she lets her attention be pulled away from the screen again. She blinks before meeting Jason's gaze, listening to his drunken attempt at sincerity. When he's done she remains quiet for a moment before giving a faint nod, reaching up to grab the hand on her cheek and give it a squeeze. "Okay." she says softly, nodding again. It's not like she hadn't been there. Actually, that wasn't true - she'd

been far worse than he's ever been. Violent. Dangerous. "Okay. I know you are." she says, a faint, tired smile briefly crossing her lips just to let him know that she's not holding a grudge, even if her frustrations haven't just disappeared.

Jason's dumb, drunken grin returns in all its glory. He pulls his hand back to rest in his lap and, for a moment, merely stares at her, a gentle sway to him as he remains perched precariously at the edge of her desk. Eventually he casts a brief glance towards her screen. "Marathon is going on all month of the best horror vids on-..." he trails off as his drunken mind fails to recall the channel, brows furrowing as it briefly seems

to really bother him. But soon enough he loses interest in figuring it out and shrugs his shoulders dismissively. "...Fuck, I'unno. Think they're up to the 60's now. So why don't we finish this up." he gestures to the screen with a nod, as if he could possibly lend a helping hand to whatever she's handling in his condition. "Then! I'm gonna throw you over my shoulder, carry your beautiful ass upstairs, and we can

curl up on the couch and watch some shitty movies." Sure, in his current state it's far more likely she'll need to carry him, but it's the thought that counts, right?

Vasquez lets out a quiet snort, cursing herself as she's unable to suppress a small smirk. "You go ahead, alright?" she sighs. "I'll finish up this message and come join you." she says with a gesture towards the screen. The prospect of even just a few minutes away from work feels suddenly tantalizing now that Jason's return has broken her focus away from the drawn-out struggle to keep Redrock in operation.

Jason's dumb grin only seems to widen and he looks back to the screen, furrowing his brow and narrowing his eyes as if to look over her work. Rather than acknowledge that it's mostly swirling colors with blurred edges to him, he gives a satisfied nod and pushes off of the desk. His bodyweight causes the chair to turn slightly as he grabs onto the backrest to steady himself and he leams over, pressing a wet, awkwardly positioned

kiss against her cheek. The oh-so-familiar smell of rum is carried on his breath. "She's got ten minutes, Fergs!" he calls out as he stands up straight and casts a glance up towards the ceiling. "If she doesn't get her ass upstairs in ten minutes, you shut her termin-... shut it all off!" he teases as he starts towards the door, jacket completely forgotten on the back of the chair. "All of it! It's for her own good!"

Fergus ' voice chimes from the base speakers with a generic "Yes, milord."

Vasquez sighs quietly. There's a talk to be had later, that's for sure, but now's not the time. She goes back to typing after Jason leaves the room, waiting until he's gone before countermanding Jason's instructions for Fergus.

Jason disappears down the hallway and the slow, dull thud of his boots on the staircase is all that's heard throughout the silent, dark building- the silence only briefly broken by a drunken, mumbled addition of: "You're allllllllright, Fergs."

Vasquez eventually makes her way upstairs after about fifteen minutes or so, having finished her message and shut down the office terminal for the night. A quick exchange with Fergus locks down the base and she makes a brief detour to the rec room to make a sandwich - once again proper nutrition has ended up on the backburner amid work. Soon enough she steps through the door to the rec room, sandwich in hand, and looks around for

Jason, unsure if he'll even be awake.

Jason it seems, has taken up residence on the couch. Head on the armrest, he's sprawled out, eyes little more than heavy slits until Vasquez' arrival is announced by the door opening. It seems he ran out of steam halfway through removing his boots as they're untied but still on. A white, styrofoam container is open and sat on his chest. His leftovers from a few nights ago that he never managed to get to thanks to the whole Ilyna

situation. On the screen is a vid in which a 60 foot varren is laying waste to a city while the military makes a futile attempt at stopping it. "That was more than ten minutes." he teases, flashing a grin Vasquez' way. Not that he's actually aware whether or not that's even true.

Vasquez raises an eyebrow at the scene on the screen, before shaking her head and turning her attention to Jason. "You timing me?" she questions, taking a bite from the sandwich before heading over to the couch and nudging his legs in the hopes of getting him to make some room for her. Her gaze wanders back to the screen as she awaits a response, unable to suppress a snort. "The hell are you watching...?"

Jason non-chalantly bends his legs at the knee and swings 'em over the side of the couch, leaving him in an awkward and uncomfortable position. Head on the armrest, boots on the ground, he gives a bit of a grunt before cradling the container and straightening up. Vasquez' question causes him to turn his attention to the screen and squint a bit. Having clearly been on the verge of sleep before she arrived, he seems to have little more

idea what in the hell is on than she does. But the wheels begin to turn in his head and, soon enough, the drunken fog clears and it clicks. "Oh! Shit! It's 'Attack of the Sixty-Foot Varren'." he says as if it should be obvious, "Haven't seen this in like... fifteen years." He scoops a lone piece of kebab meat into his mouth and then gestures to the screen as the giant varren thrashes against a building. "...That's the

sixty-foot varren." he points out flatly while chewing.

Vasquez ' intitial reaction is little more than a deadpan nod. "Thanks..." She takes a seat on the edge of the couch, munching down the last of the sandwich before getting to work on removing her own boots. Clearly relieved to be free of them she takes a moment to relax, taking in the bizzare movie before starting to change into the sweatpants that hang over the back of the couch.

Jason nods a couple of times to her response, attention glued to the screen. "You can tell because it's-... uhh-... it's sixty-feet tall.... And a varren." he explains. He's not wrong! Now that he's sitting up, he works at his own boots- albeit with much less effort than Vasquez. He merely uses one foot to kick at the heel of the other and nudges the combat boots aside. Once Vasquez has finished changing, he reaches up and tugs at

the back of the waistline of her pants to pull her back onto the couch. Once she's seated, he scoots down the couch a bit more and swings his legs back up onto the couch, head coming to rest in her lap and styrofoam container sat back on his chest. He falls silent as he absently picks at his cold meal and watches the old flick. "...That's one pissed off varren." he muses.

Vasquez rolls her eyes at Jason's musing. "Mm..." she agrees quietly, idly scratching his head as she settles in for a bad movie to cap off a day of suppressed fears and dead-end exchanges with potential clients. For the moment she's just glad Jason's back, despite lingering frustrations and worries about what's to come. As she watches the oldschool monster rampage her mind drifts. Learning about Ilyna had given her a lot to think

about. Of course, from the outside, there's little more than tired brown eyes that reflect the glow of the TV.

Jason's unfocused gaze remains fixed to the screen, occasionally poking some food into his mouth as the military desperately tries to reign in the comically large varren. Buildings are destroyed, aircraft is tailswiped out of the sky, and tanks are stomped underfoot. But the grizzly details are all left out. Swarms of civilians flood the streets, miraculously evacuated to safety despite the chaos and destruction all around them.

Because, of course they were. It's just a movie. But Jason saw the real thing up close. The real aftermath. The real destruction. Stasis pods of people carried like cargo. Bodies left on the floor. The discarded belongings of the dead so numerous that they created hills. And then that footage from Oxaris. The rows and rows of pods, each one a life that they left behind. That familiar desire for another drink begins to

set in, but he's pulled to his senses as the heroes deliver a tactical strike to the ridiculous onscreen monster in a last ditch effort to bring it down. It's successful. Because, of course it is. It's just a movie. "Suck it, sixty-foot varren." Jason mutters unenthusiastically, his drunken mind easily distracted from all of those very-real concerns in the face of a good old fashioned monster flick.

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