#Kirill'sTruck – January 5, 2019

The morning has been a hectic mess of packing, showering, loading up the truck, and shopping. It was already early afternoon by the time Jessica and Yan Sun departed. Thankfully Jessica doesn't own very much, because she packed it all up despite them having already paid for a block of time at the Respite that should encompass their return. Clothing. Armor. Weapons. It's all been crammed into the bed of the truck. As a matter of fact, she even

stole the Respite's towels, blankets, and pillows, replacing Kirill's shoddy blanket interior upholstery job with an equally shoddy one of her own. Her grocery list was comprised of enough booze to get them through the trip with minimal sobriety, plenty of water to add to the stock Kirill already had stored in the bed of the truck, sandwich supplies (an important part of any road trip), a package of something called 'tunga eggs' that are,

apparently, a local delicacy from a 'big dumb bird', and a few bags of fried varren fat that looks quite unappetizing and smells even less so. She also purchased some extra blankets, snow boots, and a thick, black winter jacket.

It's been about an hour since their departure and Freedom Falls is already little more than a memory in the rearview. Amongst the hills and the snow banks, the city disappeared out of sight shortly after they left. Open, untouched land as far as the eye can see. Fields of snow on all sides, like white sand that stretches on towards the mountains to the south and the river to the north. It's almost blinding in the way it catches the sun,

glistening like sheets of diamonds. Unlike during the shuttle ride to Adrasteia that gave Yan Sun an eagle-eyed view, far removed, she's now in the thick of it. And unlike the late night drive back with Burd when visibility was dictated by Litae's good graces, sightlines during the day stretch on for miles. But, despite their goal being to the west, they're currently heading east, the long way around the mountain range. While there are plenty

of mountain passes to the south that would get them through the mountains- which Yan Sun should be somewhat familiar with considering one such pass was used by Burd to bring them home- they're notoriously dangerous. Considering neither of them have the luxury of being a krogan- and Jessica's silent refusal to acknowledge the Gorge's existence- the long way around it is for them.

Unlike Earth, there are no dedicated roads outside of population centers on Aite. There's no central government, building and maintaining streets. During the summer, there's obvious paths worn into the terrain by convoys and caravans, and most merchants and travelers stick to such paths. Unfortunately, winter is a whole different beast. Storms and strong winds push snow banks around, burying paths that had been worn into the countryside mere

hours ago, often leaving travelers with little for guidance other than their own sense of direction and whatever outdated topographical map they might have. It should have become obvious to Yan Sun by this point why Kirill drives such a monstrosity of a truck. It might not be pretty to look at- little more than a hulking piece of machinery fortified by sheet metal- but it's sturdy. It lurches onwards, crunching snow under its large,

industrial-sized wheels. And, equally important, it's warm. At least warm-ish.

Jessica has her omni-tool set on the dashboard of the hulking vehicle, pumping out some throaty, batarian Terminus tunes. She's dressed in a pair of thick cargo pants, a long-sleeved gray thermal shirt, her new winter jacket and boots, and the beanie she has refused to return to Yan Sun after stealing it from her this morning. She's also wearing a pair of gloves that she tactically clipped the tips of the fingers off of to turn into

'driving gloves'- her words- this morning. Of course they weren't a pair of her gloves. That would just be reckless. She needs those to keep warm. No, they were Yan Sun's. One hand is rested on the large steering wheel as the truck thumps through a snowy valley. Even the steering wheel seems to be custom built for the harsh conditions of Aite. A large circle with what almost resembles handlebars jutting out from the steering

column to the outer edges of the wheel, useful for maintaining a grip and controlling the wheels in case it begins to slide. Beside her is an opened bag of fried varren fat. She mindlessly pops a piece into her mouth and crunches into it. They have an almost Cheeto-like texture. Crunchy and light. The taste, however, is anything but light. It's almost sour, but disguised by a whole lot of strong local spices.

Yan Sun has seemed a bit on the anxious side as their departure from Freedom Falls has grown closer, some pre-travel jitters showing through. It's become painfully obvious that she has no experience whatsoever being away from civilization for any real period of time. Camping, or roadtrips, hasn't exactly been a part of her past. She's spent her whole life surrounded by tech and people. Even Freedom Falls, small and disorganized as it may be,

was still familiar enough in most ways. Now, faced with the prospect of being days from any settlements, with only the truck to separate them from the wilderness, and no guarantees of reliable communication, she's been quite invested in making sure that they're stocked up on what they might need. Aside from Jessica's supplies she's made sure there's some 'just in case' nutrient paste. She's never had any but it can't be that bad,

right? She's also made sure everything is as it should, as far as she can figure anyway, with the spare power cells, parts and whatever toolbox the truck has. She's definitely no mechanic - her tinkering has never really extended to anything that wouldn't fit on a desk - but she does know how to look things up! She's bought some energy drinks, and a bag of snacks of her own that she's done her best to stash away, perhaps doubting the

suitability of Jessica's choice for an Earthborn palate. She's followed Jessica's example in picking up some proper snow boots, but otherwise judged her current winter clothes sufficient (of course, that was before Jessica stole her beanie and cut up her gloves). All her things have been packed up into the truck. She's not leaving Freedom Falls with much more than she arrived with - most of it fits into her backpack, but she's

brought a duffelbag to carry the rest. The holo-emitter sits inactive on the dash, and Yan is eye-ing one of the fried snacks skeptically. She pops it into her mouth, the skeptical look turning to a no less uncertain grimace as she swallows, stifling a cough as her eyes water a little. She's defaulted to mittens since Jessica destroyed her one pair of ordinary gloves - something that has caused more than a little

grumbling since they left. The mittens lie discarded next to her in the seat as she eats.

Jessica takes her gaze off the windshield to watch Yan Sun's reaction as she eats one of the crunchy treats. The spices don't do much to cover the taste. And they're quite, well, spicy. Like a spoonful of tabasco sauce. Jessica snickers as she watches Yan Sun's reaction. "Is good, yes?" she asks, undoubtedly aware of what the look on Yan Sun's face means. She pops another one into her own mouth, seeming to legitimately enjoy them.

Acquired tastes and all. As for communication, it's in and out. More 'out' than 'in' even this close to the town when there's no technology present to boost their signals, which is something the truck is, unfortunately, unable to provide. She lifts the bag, offering more Yan Sun's way without a care in the world about keeping her eyes on the 'road'.

Yan Sun 's grimace remains as she shakes her head, drawing in a breath through her nose before deciding now's a good time to open one of those energy drinks. She cracks the can open with a 'pssssssh', taking some quick gulps. "Pfwehg... I'm-... I'm good." she mumbles, rubbing her tongue against the roof of her mouth as her gaze wanders out the window at the snow-covered foothills that surround them.

Jessica snickers and shrugs her shoulders. "Mmm. Fine. More for me." she decides as she sets the bag back nestled beside her. Her gaze remains on Yan Sun, one hand on the steering wheel, a surprisingly sincere grin on her face. With her now-free hand, she reaches out and turns her music down a bit, allowing the chunky sound of the engine to filter through. "We will try and get around the mountains before it is too dark." she says,

Jessica briefly glancing back towards the windshield and giving a nod ahead of them. Before them is a constant descent. Uneven. Jagged in places. Treacherous, even, close to the river that widens and narrows in places, only saved from freezing over by the constant motion. But so long as they give the river a wide berth it should be fine. The constant downward slope to the east gives a much wider scope to just how nestled away Freedom

Jessica Falls is. Tucked away in a mountainous fortress that takes a bit of work- or a shuttle- to enter or leave.

Yan Sun has left her boots on the floor, and pulls her legs up into the seat, getting comfortable against the door as her gaze continues to scan the landscape as Jessica speaks. "Gonna tell me where we're going yet?" she asks with a small smirk, attention turning to Jessica. She gives her a little prod with a foot clad in a thick sock, something bought after experiencing the cold for the first time, and finding that she does not care for

Yan Sun frozen toes. Brrr. She takes another sip of her energy drink as she watches her drive, tilting her head a little as her eyebrows furrow, another question on her mind but waiting to speak until Jessica's replied.

Jessica cocks an eyebrow, focusing on the windshield once more as she considers the question for a few moments. With a sigh, she leans forward, poking at the opened holographic interface of her omni-tool. It shifts away from the music player displaying some unheard of local Terminus band. With a few more pokes, it shifts to a three dimensional topographical map of Aite. It's probably not very accurate. Outside of updates from small

inhabited regions marking their locations, it's little more than the raw surface terrain mapped out. And who knows how old the data is. As she zooms it out, surprisingly few points of interest show on the map. Freedom Falls is on there. A few other colonies in the region. She scans past Adrasteia. But there's not a lot to look at. In the same space that an Earth map might have hundreds- if not thousands- of points of

interest, there can't be more than a dozen or so. Surely there's more out there, but most homesteads have little reason to provide updated information and nobody cares enough to ask. Aite is a world forgotten by the rest of the galaxy. So it goes unmapped, with most data that does exist inaccurate and outdated. Colonies and homesteads sprout up and they either thrive, or they wither away, abandoned and forgotten. Jessica

scrolls past Adrasteia, far to the west. Given the time it took them to get back from Adrasteia, it'll undoubtedly take a few days to get there. "We are going there." she says, stopping right at the coast. There's nothing marked. Nothing worth note on the old map. Just some topographical data where ocean and land collide.

Yan Sun shifts a bit, shuffling closer to Jessica to have a curious look at the projections. "The coast...?" she asks, eyebrows furrowing a little as she studies the low-res map as if she might glean some additional details by looking closer.

Jessica gives a nod, her focus back on the windshield for the moment. An affirmative hum of "Mmm." is all Yan Sun gets. There's little to be learned from the map. As far as coasts go, it... is one. Yep. But unless there's something there that the map doesn't show, that seems to be it. Adrasteia seems to be the largest settlement closest to it, and even that seems to be a good day's trip from it.

Yan Sun leans back into her seat again, gaze turning back to Jessica. "Looks pretty far... how long do you think-... I mean, we have enough food, right?" she wonders out loud, glancing back towards the bed of the truck.

Jessica follows suit, eyes off the 'road' once more as she glances back through the thick sliding window behind them and towards the bed. Of course it's covered with the faded white tarp so there's not much to see. "Probably." she says without concern, giving a shrug of her shoulders.

Yan Sun gains a slight frown as she turns away from the truckbed, sipping her energy drink. "'Probably'? That's not-... I mean, yeah, it should be fine, right? I packed some extra, uh... backup food, just in case. Not exactly a lot of food places out here..." she says, flashing a slightly nervous smile.

Jessica looks to Yan Sun blankly. "You are worried that we are going to starve...?" she asks in confusion.,"We are only going to be gone for maybe a week!" Turning her gaze back to the terrain before her, a small smile tugs at the corner of her mouth. "Besides, I am sure that I can think of something for you to eat." she adds crudely.

Yan Sun 's frown deepens, turning to embarrassment as Jessica questions her. "Wh-... No I'm no-... I mean, I just don't want to-..." It takes a moment for the added comment to register, but when it does it causes her to blush and sink into her seat a little, giving Jessica a light kick as she goes quiet. "Jerk..." she mutters, in opposition to the hint of a grin tugging at the corner of her mouth. "I'm just saying I don't want to end up like

we're in some wilderness survival vid! It's good to be prepared!"

Jessica winces as she's kicked, using her free hand to grab Yan Sun by the ankle and tug her across the seat a bit. "I am prepared!" she insists. "If we are lost and run out of food, I am just going to sending-... send a message for help." she explains before adding non-nonchalantly: "And I will eat you while I wait." She lifts Yan Sun's leg, giving her a playful bite on the ankle. "Hopefully it does not take long for the message to be

sent, because you do not have much meat."

Yan Sun lets out a dismayed noise as she's tugged by her leg, which turns into a giggle as Jessica bites her ankle. "Yeah... I'm all skin and bones, sorry." she says through a grin, adjusting the pillows a little to lean her head more comfortably against the door in her new position, leaving her leg in Jessica's lap. The act causes her mind to shift a little though, eyebrows furrowing slightly. "I feel a little bad about the pillows and

stuff. I liked that place..."

Jessica rests her hand on Yan Sun's lower leg, shifting in place a bit to get more comfortable. "How many credits we paid them, kitty cat? Mmm? They owe us." she says. The truck rocks slightly as they come over an uneven embankment. It's nothing unusual. It hasn't exactly been the smoothest of rides. They're basically just offroading, after all. Doing their best to try and follow in snow-covered paths over dirt, rock, and grass. But

Jessica leans forward slightly to get a better view and even them out. Drawing in a breath, she lets out a sigh. "...Besides, we will be back, yes?" she continues as she settles back against the seat, "If you are still feeling soooo bad about some cheap pillows and blankets? We will just put them back. They will never even know."

Yan Sun snickers slightly, burrowing further into the pile of pillows and blankets that line the seat of the truck after it jostles a bit. "Probably gonna need a wash..." she comments, her gaze wandering the interior of the truck for a while before going back to Jessica, a small smile on her lips as she watches her in silence. She seems quite comfy stretched out across the seat, unlike Jessica having no need to focus.

The interior of the truck is about as aesthetically appealing as the outside. Like most of the vehicles on Aite outside of corporate colonies, it looks like it was constructed here to specifically survive the harsh conditions. As such, the interior is more functional than fashion. The ceiling consists of an exposed reinforced frame with an old Blasto air freshener that lost all scent long ago hanging from it. The residue from numerous adhesives

also stain the ceiling where things had been added and removed. The seats are, thankfully, covered by the nest of blankets and pillows. But beneath that lies old, cracked and torn seats.

Jessica doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot of focusing either. Aside from when something catches her attention, her gaze mostly wanders about. Not like they're speeding along. Just a steady pace. Though she does occasionally speed up when there's a particularly large snow mound for her to ram through, which usually blocks her view entirely for a few moments as the windshield is dusted with a smattering of white fluff. But, unless

something is concealed beneath the thick dunes of snow she continues to plough through (Which is, of course, a very real possibility), it's mostly risk-free so long as they avoid steering too close to the river. The east continues down the plateau and Jessica only passively routes their course, paying more attention to the view than the driving. "Mmm." she hums in agreement. "I am thinking we will sleep in the truck tonight, but

maybe tomorrow we will set up the tent...?" she offers, passing a glance Yan Sun's way. "Is depending on where we are. But we have plenty of water so we can wash up when we stop." she says, seeming to take no issue with the idea of just wiping down with some soap, stolen rags, and water from a jug.

Yan Sun very, very obviously hadn't really given much thought to the hygiene situation judging by the dismayed look on her face. Her response consists of the meek "Yeah..." of someone that's spent their whole life with easy access to toilets and showers. On second thought maybe camping sucks. How cold is the water? Brr. She goes quiet for a moment before trying for a rapid change in subject. "Does a tent even work in this weather?"

Jessica furrows her brow. "Does a tent wo-... fuuuuck. How spoiled you are? Mmm?" she groans, looking Yan Sun's way. "Is a-... a-... a thing that you sleep inside of so that keeps the wind and the cold and the animals that are trying to kill you out. What is there to 'work'?!" she asks in confusion. "Oh, I am soooo sorry, kitty cat. Our tents do not have tent extranet access." she adds sarcastically. "Or tent hot showers. And our

personal tent cook is going on vacation. But yes-..." she continues to mock with a roll of her eye, refocusing on the terrain once again, "...is going to work."

Yan Sun winces at Jessica's reaction, looking both a little hurt and embarrassed as she pulls her leg back, sitting up a little. "Sorry..." she mumbles, turning her gaze to the windshield as an awkward silence descends on the inside of the truck, filled only by Jessica's Terminus tunes and the rumble of the truck.

Jessica's smile begins to dissipate as she sees Yan Sun's reaction, her ribbing intended to be more light hearted than it came across. But, as per usual, she's most certainly not going to own up to any wrongdoing. So, instead, she just lets the awkward silence persist. She rests one elbow against the cardoor and leans her head against it, focus in front of her as she navigates the terrain. It's slow coming and they've still got a bit to

go before they've descended off the plateau and are able to begin making their way around the mountains, but they're making steady progress. "So-... So you never go camping? With your family or something?" she asks, her voice a bit softer than before, seemingly aware she may have inadvertently pressed a button.

Yan Sun lets out a quiet snort, some of the tension brought on by Jessica's masterful ability to hit sore subjects dissipating as she hears the question. "Uh... yeah, no." she says with a shake of her head, the very idea of a family camping trip ridiculous to her by the sound of her voice. "Didn't exactly leave the city a lot. Some... vacations, but... yeah, no camping. Pretty sure nobody in my family would know how to put up a tent." she

says with a lighthearted snicker that turns sour in her mouth as soon as she lets it out.

Jessica snickers along, perhaps a bit of the underlying troubles missing her. "Mmm. Well, nobody in this truck is knowing how to put up a tent, either. Sooooo...." she shrugs, giving a sheepish glance Yan Sun's way.

Yan Sun glances Jessica's way, unable to prevent herself from cracking a smile as she nudges her leg with her foot. "Thought you were our camping expert...?" she asks, raising an eyebrow.

Jessica scoffs loudly. "I am!" she assures, but whatever confidence she's able to muster up slips away as soon as the words leave her mouth. "I-... Kirill is the one who always put the tent up. But I have seen Kirill do it many times." she continues, as if that's some sort of proof of her own ability. "Is going to be fiiiine." she continues, another snicker beginning to slip out. "Is-... We will figure it out." she nods.

Yan Sun lets out a snort of a laugh of her own, smile widening a little and her mood seeming to lift as she nods. "We're smart. I'm sure we can figure it out." she agrees, taking a sip from her energy drink before offering it to Jessica. Her eyebrows furrow as something she said seems to occur to her. "Wait, uhm.. are there-... are there a lot of dangerous animals around here?"

Jessica takes the energy drink and slugs a swig of it before passing it back and chasing it with another varren snack. Yan Sun's question causes her to nod a few times as she chews. "Mmmm." she hums. "But they will not fuck with us if we do not fuck with them." she says, advice passed on from Kirill albeit with her own slightly cruder twist. "...Unless they are hungry. Then they will probably try and fuck with us and we shoot them." she

adds, adjusting the beanie as it has began to migrate higher on her head. "Is fine. I put one of the guns in the-..." she trails off, looking towards the small compartment in the dashboard with a brief gesture.

Yan Sun sucks in her lips, nodding a couple of times. "Yeah, that's-... okay, yeah." she says, trailing off. "I don't think I'm shooting anything." she points out with a glance towards Jessica and an uncertain chuckle that makes it sound more like a request than a statement.

Jessica turns her attention back Yan Sun's way... riiiight as she slams through a snow drift, causing the truck to list a bit violently for a moment. But it's fine! It's fine! Her eyes go wide and she jerks her attention back to the windshield in sheer terror for a split second before realizing it was just a big lump of snow. Then, in much the way that one does when they're trying to cover up their embarrassment, she very quickly

responds to Yan Sun's previous statement in a race to prevent her from bringing up her driving. "If a pack of hungry carashan are trying to eat us, you are going to shoot who- or whatever- you have to shoot."

Yan Sun goes stiff, one hand gripping the dashboard and the other Jessica's thigh as she braces herself, eyes widening in surprise. "敗家了!" she exclaims, a splash of energy drink spilling on Jessica since her left hand is also still trying to hold onto the luckily mostly empty can. She lets out a relieved, nervous laugh as the truck steadies, nodding a couple of times even though she's barely paying attention. "Wait, who?!" she suddenly

questions though upon registering Jessica's words.

Jessica doesn't comment on the spilled energy drink. Because that might bring attention back to her driving. Instead, she just wipes at the spot with her free hand. "Mmm. Lots of assholes between the towns. Trying to rob people. Or worse. Is fine, though. If anyone is trying to stop us?" She speeds up for emphasis, ploughing through another deep snow embankment which causes the truck to rumble once more. This time, thankfully, she was

prepared for it. "Is why we are taking this way." she continues, nodding straight ahead. If one were to look back, they've come a good ways down the mountain in just the couple of hours they've been on the road. Which is a good thing considering their late start means the sun is going to start going down in a couple of hours and the last thing they want to be doing is working their way through the mountains when visibility is

low. "They like to wait in the canyons where they can ambush you." she says nonchalantly, lifting a hand to gesture arbitrarily to the mountains to their south. Just local nuggets of wisdom that come with living on a dangerous world overrun with corporate warfare and sleazy warlords. "That way there is nowhere for you to go. But the mountains go for a verrrry long time this way, so going all the way around them is maybe not

possible unless we are going to drive for a few days. But a few more hours this way and there is a spot we should be able to pass through kind of safely."

Yan Sun blinks, eyebrows rising. "Ambush-... right. Of course." she says quietly, nodding a few times as her gaze scans across the landscape as if she's expecting a squadron of road warriors to encircle them at any moment. "Great..." she mutters, continuing to watch the hills as she fidgets.

Jessica casts a glance Yan Sun's way, smile re-emerging as she takes note of her concerns. She opens her mouth, ready to pour salt in the wound, but stops herself. Instead, she reaches out, placing a hand on Yan Sun's leg and giving it a squeeze. "Is going to be fine. I know what I am doing." she assures. And it actually seems sincere. A few moments pass as she bats a few thoughts around in her head, her mind returning to Yan Sun's

earlier comments about her family and their camping experience- or lack thereof. "I do not think my father knew how to put up a tent, either." she says, smile briefly tugging at the corner of her mouth. "He was pretty useless when it came to-... mmm? Well, most things." she adds with a snicker, "But we are going to be fine. I have been around these mountains a lot." A moment passes before she realizes her words may give the

wrong impression and she speaks up to correct herself, "Not with-... Not with my father. But Kirill-... When I come to him and-..." she trails off, stammering slightly as a discomfort settles in at even talking about them. "...He take-... took me with him a lot. So-... Mmm. We will be fine. I know where I am going..." Perhaps the first time she's brought him up without some unfairly aimed vitriol. Baby steps.

Yan Sun 's attention turns to Jessica when she feels the hand on her leg, seeming to relax a little after studying her for a little bit. The following comments cause a small, but warm smile to crop up as she listens. "It was nice of him to loan us the truck." she says, glancing around at the vehicle for a moment before finishing off what little is left of her energy drink and dropping the empty can on the floor.

Jessica doesn't respond right away. She makes a show of focusing on the road rather than acknowledging the remark, a look of focus appearing on her face as she pretends to be too distracted by driving. But it doesn't last. "He is a good man." she says, gaze firmly affixed to the windshield. There seems to be a bit of guilt in her words, as if it pains her to admit it. Or perhaps just guilt over it being so damn difficult for her to even

acknowledge it after everything he's done for her. "A stupid man, but a good man." she sighs.

Yan Sun goes quiet, unsure what to say. She ends up mirroring Jessica's gesture just a moment earlier, resting a hand on her knee as she watches her drive, her smile lingering, although there's a sad undertone to it as she studies her. There wouldn't be much point in anything she could say, would there?

Jessica seems to soften at Yan Sun's touch, relaxing against her seat. But she's not one to leave that wall down for too long. "Tell me about Hong Kong." she says sharply in an attempt at direction the attention away from her. "What you are going to show me when we get there? Mmm? I bet you can not wait to off of this shit hole..." Almost as an afterthought, she waves Yan Sun over with a tilt of her head. "Take the steering wheel, I am

needing beer." she grunts quieter, as if to not interrupt whatever Yan Sun was about to say as she swivels a knee onto her seat and begins to open the latch on the window behind them.

Yan Sun furrows her eyebrows. "Uhm..." she starts, chuckling a little awkwardly. "I-... I don't know. That depends, I guess. I don't-..." she blinks as Jessica waves her closer, shuffling over and grabbing the wheel. She seems about to protest as Jessica reaches back towards the window, but after a moment's thought she decides against it. It's not exactly like there's... any traffic out here in the middle of nowhere. They're probably fine.

"...I don't really know what's interesting to someone that's never been, I guess..." she says, doing her best to hold onto the heavy-duty steering wheel from her awkward position. "I mean... it's just a city." she says, even as she tries to figure out how true that is. She's been more blown away by the Aitian night sky than any cityscape view, but then again she grew up with that. To her, glittering spires reflecting in the ocean and

endless streets full of stores that sell anything imaginable is the norm.

The steering wheel vibrates slightly in Yan Sun's hands. Holding onto it makes it much more apparent just how powerful the truck is. But that should've been obvious given the way it seems to effortlessly cut through the deep snow. It's not difficult to control, but it's probably intimidating to anyone who doesn't have a whole lot of experience with this sort of thing. Unlike the run of the mill wheeled street vehicle or a sleek skycar, this

isn't the sort of machine that was designed for roads. It was built as a workhorse for harsh terrain and the rumbling that emanates through the wheels back to the steering wheel make it apparent. Something like this would have no use in most places on Earth. But out here, it's a lifeline. And, despite the light chill in the air, it quickly becomes apparent just how weatherproof it is- or was- when Jessica finally undoes the latch on the window

and slides it open, causing a blast of frigid air to infiltrate the truck's cabin. Some of the blowback from the snow streaming over the hood of the car is swept up and pulled in through the window as well.

Jessica leans haphazardly through the window without much concern, prying up the edge of the tarp closest to the window to fish through the cooler. "Huh?!" she hums, the wind drowning out most of what Yan Sun said. She follows it up with something else but, with the window open, her words are lost. But she doesn't waste too much time, eagerly shutting the window and struggling with the latch for a moment. She gives an exaggerated

chattering of her teeth as she falls back into her seat, a nice coating of white on her- well on Yan Sun's- beanie. "Fuuuuck! Is windy! What you said?!" she asks, dropping a bottle into Yan Sun's lap and tucking her own bottle between her legs to hold onto it as she retakes the wheel.

Yan Sun grits her teeth, obviously a bit worried about the wheel getting away from her, and she eagerly relinquishes control back to Jessica at the first opportunity. "Ff-..." she mumbles with a little shiver as she feels the cold air that made it in while the window was open. "I was just-... I said I don't really know." she summarizes with a shrug. "I mean... haven't really figured that out yet, I guess."

Jessica takes the beanie off, slapping it against the side of the seat a few times to clear the snow from it, dusting it onto the floorboard. "You are getting me to travel alllll the way across the galaxy, kitty cat. I am expecting my socks to be getting blown off." she says in a mock threat. Once she's tugged her stolen beanie back on and regained control of the steering wheel properly, she uses her familiar- if painful to watch-

trick to pop the cap off of her beer before tucking it back between her thighs to hold it. She takes back the one she set in Yan Sun's lap and repeats the process before passing the opened beer back her way. "There are many places to dance you said, yes?"

Yan Sun can't help the wince as Jessica opens the bottles - she definitely hasn't gotten used to that one yet. "Thanks..." she mumbles as she gets her bottle back. "...and, uh... yeah. There's..." she snickers. "...definitely no shortage there. Aside from that, there's..." she trails off, furrowing her eyebrows. She looks over towards Jessica, tilting her head a little as a small smile crosses her lips. "I guess I don't really know. I

mean... what do you want to do? Aside from going to some clubs and hanging out in our room? One of the parks, maybe?" she suggests, more as a joke than anything as her mind goes to 'tourist-y' options, but her eyebrows furrow a little when she realizes that in all likelihood Jessica has never been to an amusement park.

Jessica rests a hand against the steering wheel, using the other to bring her drink to her lips. Yan Sun's question causes her to furrow her brow. "Mmm? What is 'the parks'...?" she asks, perhaps wrongly interpreting it as a specific thing in her ignorance. "You mean like-..." she begins, but cuts herself off, not wanting to sound stupid, and goes quiet as she awaits an explanation.

Yan Sun shrugs a little. "Theme parks. You know, uhm... rides, shows, games, snacks... stuff like that?" she says, a little uncertain just how basic she should go here. There's a pang of guilt at not having a better understanding of how familiar or not the concept might be out here. She takes a sip from her beer, feeling a little awkward all of the sudden, as the question makes her thoughts dwell on the undeniably vast differences between

their backgrounds.

Jessica feigns familiarity with a few distant nods when it's clear that it's something most people from Earth probably know about. She's familiar with the concept, of course. Well, familiar may be a stretch, but Yan Sun's description helps her to figure out what she's talking about. There's not exactly a whole lot of companies showing an interest in setting up a theme park on Aite. As such, the very idea of a theme park- something

that's just common, general knowledge back on Earth- is little more than a passing familiarity to her. A thing she's seen in movies, but never experienced. There's most likely a whole lot that falls into that category for Jessica. She can build an IED, but has never seen a ferris wheel. She's been stabbed, but never seen a movie in an actual theatre. "Of course..." she nods, a bit of embarrassment settling in as she realizes how

transparent her own ignorance must be to Yan Sun.

Yan Sun doesn't comment on Jessica's obviously sparse familiarity. "We could to one if that sounds-... it's a little stupid, I guess, but... I mean, it could be fun, maybe? I think I might still have some passes that should work, actually." she says, the last part accompanied by a small, mischievous smirk and another shrug. She sips her beer, watching Jessica as she awaits a response.

Jessica is unable to suppress a smile that follows Yan Sun's words. "Mmm. Maybe." she says, doing her best to downplay just how big of an ordeal this whole Earth trip is to her. Or how anxious she is about it all. Maybe even a bit scared, despite her inability to acknowledge it without having it dragged out of her. Okay, maybe more than a bit... 'Terrified' might be a more accurate description. "Booze, dancing, and a new place

Jessica to fuck is good enough for me." she decides, relenting on her earlier threat as she puts wall of cocky confidence back up to sweep her ignorance and insecurities behind.

Yan Sun continues to study Jessica, leaning back against the truck door again, feet pulled up into the seat. Jessica's comment prompts a snicker and a slight shake of her head as she looks down at her beer for a moment. She doesn't seem to pick up on the magnitude of Jessica's anxieties, even if she realizes they're there. "I've got some other ideas, but... I don't know. We'll see. It's... you know." she says with a small shrug, glancing up

towards Jessica again and flashing a half-hearted smile.

Jessica casts a curious glance Yan Sun's way, smile still propped up. "Mmm?" she hums, implying she doesn't know. "It is what?" she asks, taking another sip of her beer before returning it to its resting spot between her thighs. Perhaps a sign of a sudden urge for some sort of closeness, with her free hand she pulls Yan Sun's feet into her lap and rests her arm against Yan Sun's leg

Yan Sun seems happy to accommodate, wiggling her toes with a small smirk once her feet come to rest in Jessica's lap, although it fades quickly as she realizes she has to elaborate. "I mean... the places where I spent most of my time aren't really-... they aren't really an option, you know...?" She tries to hide her discomfort by taking another sip from her beer, gaze lingering on the bottle once its been lowered back into her lap.

Jessica glances Yan Sun's way when she hits her with another 'You know?' This is probably where she should just relent and let it go but-... well, she's not the 'let it go' type. "Why? What is stopping you? Mmm?" she asks.

Yan Sun sighs as Jessica keeps asking, a hint of annoyance bleeding into her discomfort as the continued prodding gets to her. "What do you think? Do I have to spell it out? Between my parents and my ex... I'm kind of in a weird spot, okay?"

Jessica's smile slips away as Yan Sun's disposition seems to change, replaced with a familiar scowl. She shoots a glare Yan Sun's way and opens her mouth, ready to spew something undoubtedly knee-jerky. But she doesn't. Instead, her expression slowly softens and her gaze turns right back to the windshield. Parental figures and exes seems to be the theme of the past 24 hours, after all. Parents, exes, and theme parks considering the

rollercoaster she forced Yan Sun through the previous night. "...Okay." she says. There's a hint of frustration in her tone. Maybe it's the early morning she had on a hangover after a long night. Or maybe the previous night sapped a bit of the fight from her. Either way her response is a far cry from her usual willingness to leap head first into an argument at the drop of a hat.

Yan Sun was rather visibly expecting a different response, and any annoyance in her face quickly evaporates when Jessica relents. "Okay." she repeats with a nod, going quiet for a moment and glancing down at the bottle again before giving Jessica's belly a prod with her foot, looking over to her with a small smirk. Perhaps an attempt to show that she's not upset. And that she certainly doesn't want to argue. "It's just-... it's just weird,

that's all." she says, not really sure why she's still talking about it instead of changing the subject. "I haven't really-... I mean, I don't really know how I'm gonna... handle all that, I guess..." she admits with a small shrug, blinking a couple of times before taking a swig of her beer and turning her gaze out the window, catching a glimpse of the half-frozen wetland that surrounds the river below before it is once again

obscured by snow-heavy trees.

Jessica draws in a breath, shooting a glare Yan Sun's way when she's prodded, but she quickly relents, responding to the prod by grabbing the foot with her free hand and giving it a squeeze. As Yan Sun begins to speak, she turns her focus back towards the windshield, doing her best to follow the few signs that life has previously traveled through the area that present themselves, lest she slam into a large rock outcropping or an

uprooted tree disguised by the constant drifting of snow. It probably wouldn't put the truck out of commission- especially at the relatively low speed they're lurching forward at- but the mere thought of explaining a tree-shaped dent in the front of the truck to Kirill is nausea-inducing to Jessica. "Fuck them." she says, giving a quick glance Yan Sun's way to gauge her reaction, following it up with a dismissive shrug. "Mmm?

Like I say to you before. We go. You show me your city." she continues, a sense of respect in that ownership of a city. A fact that surely reflects on her even if she'd deny it. The way she sees herself. Intertwined with Adrasteia. With Aite. Her planet. "You show me your home. We drink. We party. We have a good time. And then when it has nothing else for us, we find somewhere new to go, mmm? It doesn't have to be complicated,

kitty cat. Is just a place." she lies. "A place that is not here." she adds with a snicker.

Yan Sun snickers a little at Jessica's usual blunt irreverence. It seems to lift her spirits a little, and she nods, gaze lingering on her for a moment before looking back out the window. "You're right." she says with another small nod. "I like that plan." she adds with another snicker, shifting into a more comfortable position in her nest of pillows and blankets. No doubt far more comfy than Jessica. The joys of not being the driver.

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