#Torthus-CrossBuilding – January 17, 2019

December 10th. The trip to Adrasteia- even by shuttle- is a long one and it's late afternoon by the time Jason and Vasquez arrive and the sun is just beginning to set. The snow picked up during the last leg of the trip, bringing visibility to almost zero and forcing Jasper to rely on instrumental navigation rather than flying by eye. As instructed, Jasper put in a call when they were an hour or so from their destination and were

instructed to land on the roof of the Torthus-Cross building. It didn't stop them from being hailed on approach but, upon identifying themselves, landing was granted.

The Torthus-Cross building stands out like an obelisk against the backdrop of the rest of the city. Along the trim of the rooftop, the Torthus-Cross logo is lit up on a rotating holographic display. A stylized T and C intersecting one another. The 50 story building would be a drop in a pan back on Earth, but out here amongst a sea of buildings no larger than 3 or 4 stories at most it's practically a mountain looming over the city.

Red lights that blink steadily dot the upper portions of the building, visible through the heavy snowfall to warn any air traffic of its presence.

The air traffic itself mostly consists of grey Enforcer gunships emblazoned with their black insignia. A stylized circle with three lines intersecting it resembling an E. As they approach the Torthus-Cross building, they glide overtop the connected Enforcers headquarters just as a massive portion of the flat rooftop slides open, revealing but a fraction of the interior. Far below them a gunship takes to the skies to begin its

patrol and numerous other gunships can be spotted on the platform beneath the now-open rooftop.

Through the blizzard it's hard to make out many details of the rest of the city, but neon bleeds through the pockets of white snow, blasting the city with pockets of color. There's four small landing pads on the Torthus-Cross building large enough for little more than shuttles and gunships. Aside from the Redrock shuttle that touches down, there's only a single Enforcer shuttle occupying one of the other landing pads. Out the

window there's a pair of armored- and armed- Enforcers on the rooftop flanking a doorway leading inside.

Jason despite everything weighing on him, has kept his spirits high during the trip. A chance to leave it all behind and disappear amidst a city full of people who don't know him- don't know his struggles- is exactly what he needs. He's dressed in... GASP! Jeans?! A fact which, judging by the amount of times he's plucked at the odd sensation against his upper thigh, isn't lost on him either. He was unable to forsake the

boots, however. But-... what's this? They're NOT combat boots? Just a pair of nice, casual black boots. Unlike the heavy combat boots he usually sports, these go just over the ankle and are tucked away under his jeans. Beneath his heavy brown canvas jacket he's sporting an olive green button-up shirt with a pocket on each of the breasts over a plain white t-shirt. As they set down he peers out the window, studying

the armed presence.

Vasquez has put in some effort too. Military fatigues have been left behind at the base, replaced by a pair of blue-gray jeans and a well-fitted black top that gives off a completely different impression than her usual tank tops, especially when combined with the thin grey sweater she's wearing over it. Of course, most of her clothes are hardly visible under her olive-green winter coat. She's even replaced her combat boots

with a less aggressive option. A pair of sleek, fur-lined winter boots that must be a new purchase because she's certainly not worn anything but combat boots or gym shoes in the past. Even her ponytail is different - less severe, more loosely tied. It's a bit of an odd sight - her appearance has none of her usual militaristic edge, and there's a bit more of a feminine lean to her clothes overall. If it wasn't for

the gruesome scar across her cheek she could just as well be a random civilian back on Earth. Ever since Elysium the Alliance became her whole life, and after she was discharged, it was her job as corporate security. All that kept her sane, all that kept her going forward. Those years as a no-nonsense professional shaped her style, and after Omega it wasn't even a choice anymore. It was quite literally all she had

left, and the station wasn't really the sort of place where you let your guard down anyway. But things are different now. Sure, she still prefers the sense of comfort and confidence that comes with a pair of heavy boots and rugged fatigues, but maybe it's not so bad to mix things up a bit. To try something new. Especially for something like this. Still, it's odd for her to leave her job behind so completely, and

its shown in the little bits of awkwardness during the trip. A shift here, a shuffle there. A check of her omni-tool to make sure she hasn't gotten any messages from Fergus. As they start to approach the Torthus-Cross building her attention turns out the window, though, watching the buzz of activity visible through the blizzard, and, as they set down, following Jason's gaze to the security present. A lot of people

in Citadel space would no doubt find armed guards at a hotel off-putting, but on this she's most certainly in a Terminus frame of mind.

Jasper enters the passenger's compartment once the shuttle has landed and he's given a quick run through the systems. He casts a brief glance through the window before looking to the seated pair. "Looks like this is yer' stop." he says through that kind smile of his. "I could-..." he gives a gesture towards their luggage stowed away beneath the shuttle seats with a nod of his head, "...Give ya a hand with all that if

ya'd like." he offers.

Jason draws in a breath as the rumbling of the shuttle dies down once they've settled. Despite the trip being long, it still wasn't enough time for him to get comfortable in his clothing choice. Much like Vasquez, his sense of style- or lack thereof- has been almost entirely shaped by his career. He joined the Alliance young. Spent months-long stretches of his life on a hulking ship that defined most aspects of his life.

He ate when he was allowed to eat, slept when he was allowed to sleep, and wore what he was allowed to wear- what followed Alliance guidelines. His life was on rails. So much so, that he never really built his own sense of 'style' by the time it flew off the rails. The armed security lingering outside causes him to absently reach into his jacket and touch his hand against the Phalanx folded up against the shoulder

holster as if to make sure it's still there. The satisfying SNAP of it unfolding as his hand nears it brings a certain comfort with it, but he withdraws his hand and zips his jacket, hiding the sidearm out of sight. Jasper's words cause him to perk up and cast a glance towards the older man. "Nah. Appreciate it, but I got it." he says, waving the man's offer off as he climbs to his feet with a grunt and begins to

collect their things from beneath the seats, shrugging dufflebags over his shoulder.

Vasquez unbuckles from her seat, going to stand up. She snatches her duffelbag from Jason before he can shoulder it, shooting him a questioning look before turning to Jasper. "We're fine, Sullivan. You focus on getting home safe. Weather doesn't look too friendly." she says with a glance out the shuttle window.

Jasper gives a small, appreciative nod of his head upon hearing Vasquez' words. It's pretty obvious the weather has him concerned. He has a long flight home and it doesn't look like it's going to be letting up anytime soon. "You got it, Chief." he says. "Ya'll have yerselves a good time, though." he's quick to add, his smile growing ever-so-slightly. "If anyone deserves it, it's the two of you." He remains in place for

a moment longer, attention bouncing between the pair before touching the tip of his beat up old cap with his thumb and index finger with a nod. "Well... I best get to makin' sure this ol' bird'll get me home in one piece." he adds in a snicker before continuing through the shuttle towards the back.

Jason withdraws his hand as Vasquez' bag is snatched out of his reach. So much for chivalry. Her shoots her a none-too-serious glare before looking to Jasper as he passes them by. "You be safe out there, Jasper." he offers before facing the shuttle doors and opening them. The interior is immediately blasted by a rush of snow and the sound of the wind- unhindered by closed doors- picks up tenfold. Jason adjusts the

dufflebag strap over his shoulder and steps out against the wind.

Vasquez returns Jason's glare with a small smirk, giving Jasper a nod as well before stepping up to the door. As the wind hits she uses her free hand to hold her coat closed, having kept it unzipped for the flight. She steps out alongside Jason, eyes narrowing against the wind, and lose strands of hair whipping in her face. She raises her arm from the duffel bag in greeting to the guards as they start to approach the

doorway.

There's a small staircase consisting of three steps leading off of the landing pad and onto the rooftop proper. As Jason and Vasquez approach the door, one of the Enforcers steps towards them, pulling free a long, handheld black rod that's holstered against his thigh but the Avenger remains holstered on his back. Nameless and faceless, hidden behind a helmet and matte grey hardsuit. The only sense of identity is his silhouette that

gives him away as turian and a small, golden armband around his left bicep. "Good evening!" he calls out over the weather, keeping it friendly and personable. Something that he's been trained to do to keep things light around the hotel. "Just need to check you for weapons real quick!" he continues, telescopic scanner in-hand, when the door behind him- which doesn't appear to have any visible associated panel- slides open.

Cross is stood just on the other side of the door. His shoulder length hair is pulled into a neat ponytail that's swept about by the wind that enters the building when the door opens. He flashes a million-credit smile and brings a hand up to shield his eyes from the wind. "That won't be necessary!" he calls out to be heard above the wind, causing the Enforcer to stand down. "Chief Vasquez." he greets, stepping aside to

allow them entrance into the corridor beyond and extending a hand towards the pair to shake. "Mr. Wolfe." As usual he's dressed impeccably. Tailor-made grey suit and slacks. Shoes that probably costed as much as Jason's entire wardrobe. He looks... expensive. Beside him is a dark blue asari with small, purple accents at the edges of where her eyebrows would be were she human. She's dressed in an elegant grey dress

with a thick, fashionable blue belt that compliments her skin tone. She remains silent, wearing a big, friendly smile.

Jason seems to tense a bit when the guard approaches to check for weapons, but Cross' timely appearance causes him to draw in a breath. "Mr. Cross." he greets with a nod of his head, raising his voice over the wind. He shrugs at his dufflebag before stepping through the door past the guards and gives the well-dressed man a firm handshake.

Vasquez stops as the guard steps toward them, her eyebrows furrowing slightly. Checking for weapons is all well and good, but she's hardly comfortable surrendering it, even here. As the door opens and Cross greets them she raises an eyebrow, stepping inside and shifting her own bag back a bit to shake his hand unimpeded. "Mr. Cross." she says with a sharp but polite nod. "I... wasn't expecting a personal greeting." she

admits, letting her surprise show. The offer had been a surprise in the first place. Redrock isn't exactly all that influential, and they haven't had the best of relationships with many of their past employers, so gestures like this are something new, much like the Matriarch officiating their wedding.

The door leads to a plain, short corridor. Something of a service entrance, it's more function than fashion. A pair of elevators stand at the end of the hall which, presumably, run the length of the building. It's not until they're inside that they'd notice a short, porcelain skinned asian woman tucked silently away against the wall just beside the door. She has long, jet black hair in a neat braid that runs down her back and large

bangs that hang over her face. She's dressed in black, military-style cargo pants that are tucked into long, black boots that nearly reach her knees and a thick black jacket with a pronounced collar that's turned up against her neck. A holster is strapped to her right upper thigh in plain sight and a folded up Predator is attached to it. She should be recognizable as the woman that accompanied Cross' people during their raid on the

Dome. Aya. She studies the pair openly.

Jason glances to Vasquez as she enters and speaks up, causing his gaze to turn to the woman that's now behind him and giving him a bit of a startle. He pivots on his foot to fully face her, nearly jerking around. "Fucking he-..." he begins before cutting his own surprise off in embarrassment and tightly shutting his mouth. "She is-..." he begins to Cross before deciding it's better directed at the woman herself, "You are

very quiet!" he decides in an attempt at covering up his own surprise.

Aya delivers an incredibly dry smile. Just a small, almost imperceptible tug at the corner of her mouth that doesn't even come close to meeting her eyes.

Cross offers a smile and a nod to Vasquez' statement. He opens his mouth to speak when Jason's surprise gathers his attention, causing him to inadvertently snicker. "She... is. Yes." he agrees, almost as if confused by the observation but too polite to call him out. That out of the way he levels his gaze back on Vasquez. "I have a pretty busy evening ahead of me, but after everything-... Redrock did for us-..." he says,

choosing his words diplomatically in the company of those not in-the-know, "...it only felt right that I be here for your arrival and to congratulate you both." he offers, glancing to Jason briefly before settling back on Vasquez. "Unfortunately-..." he begins, snapping his hand up, palm upwards, and using his other hand to gently raise his sleeve. Beneath it is a small, narrow black band that projects a holographic

interface before him as soon as he does. He studies it through a distracted, furrowed brow momentarily before giving one of those 'shit to do' sights, "...I won't be able to show you to your room myself. But Sillera here-..." he gestures towards the asari at his side, "...is more than capable of escorting you. It's on the 44th floor. Amazing view. You're gonna love it." The asari's smile widens momentarily as if on

cue and she gives a small bow of her head.

Vasquez ' attention turns at the sound of Jason's surprise, looking over towards the woman that startled him. Her eyebrow rises slightly as she realizes she hadn't even noticed her at all, but Jason's reaction causes a quiet snort of exasperated amusement to slip out before she turns back to Cross and nodding. "I'm sure." she says, giving the asari a nod as well as her gaze shifts.

Sillera gestures towards one of the elevators, doors already open as she takes a step back towards it. "Right this way." she says, her voice warm and inviting as she energetically leads them into the elevator.

Jason gives Cross an appreciative nod of his head when he delivers his congratulations. "Finally managed to trick her into getting hitched." he jokes, giving Vasquez a goofy wink as he does. When they're handed off to the asari, he gives the man a parting nod and begins to back up down the hall after her, gaze turning towards Aya and giving her a little raise of his hand. "Really... really quiet." he adds, that sense of

amazement returning to his voice to accompany a small shake of his head before he steps into the elevator.

Cross gives a snicker as Jason departs and he gives a small wave to send them on their way. "I'm hoping to find the time to swing by but, in case I can't? Enjoy your stay. Sillera will be happy to field any questions you might have."

Aya remains in place, a stone sentry if ever there was one.

Vasquez brings a hand up to rub her temple as Jason speaks, but a small smirk manifests regardless, unable to feign annoyance for long. "We appreciate it." she says, offering Cross another nod before following Sillera to the elevator.

When the elevator dips into the next floor it becomes clear that the back wall looks to be entirely glass, giving what would probably be an incredibly scenic view of Adrasteia to the west if it wasn't for the literal blizzard outside. Warm lights filter in from below but it's otherwise a violent flurry of snow. Anyone who was to pay particular attention might notice that it's not, in fact, glass but merely a display projecting

what's on the other side of the elevator shaft's wall. Whether the decision to shy away from a glass encasement was made for structural integrity reasons or paranoia is anyone's guess.

Sillera puts her back to the familiar view, facing the pair with a smile. "Any questions I could answer for you?" she asks.

Jason adjusts the strap against his shoulder as it begins to dig into the seam where flesh meats synthetic material. He brings his other hand up against the 'window, looking out into the blizzard. "Booze?" he asks with a brief look to the asari.

Sillera gives an nonjudgmental nod of her head. "The restaurant does have a bar." she confirms, looking from Jason to Vasquez. "It's located on the ground level. The restaurant opens at six AM and closes at midnight. The bar is open from noon to two AM. There is also a mini-bar in your room. Mr. Cross has included full access to the bar with your room so you are, of course, free to take what you wish from it."

Jason gives a loud, "HOHO!" when Sillera delivers news about the bar. "He's gonna regret that." he jokes (probably) with a snicker, but immediately seems to think better of it and casts an almost apologetic glance Vasquez' way.

Vasquez watches the turbulent weather outside for a time... until Jason causes her to cover her face with her palm, letting out a quiet groan. She offers a restrained "Thank you." to Sillera as she lowers her arm. "No questions." she adds, furrowing her eyebrows as she thinks for a moment to make sure that's actually true.

It's not long before the elevator slows to a gentle stop, holographic display informing them that they have arrived on the 44th floor. The doors slide open to reveal a long, carpeted hallway. A sleek color palette of greys, white, and black accents decorates the hallway. The walls are adorned with digital frames that display photos from around the city in an attempt at making everything seem just a little more local-centric.

Sillera steps past the pair and into the hall, continuing to lead the way. "There is a gym located on both the ground level and the 25th floor." she says as she escorts them down the hall. "It's open around the clock but you'll need your omni-tools to remain on your persons in order to enter." she explains, coming to an abrupt stop when she's reached the room at the opposite end of the hall. It's a corner room. Room 449,

according to the dim holographic readout on the door. "Which reminds me, I'm going to need to sync your omni-tools to your room. This will grant you access to, not only the aforementioned gym, but also your room. The elevator. And various other doors throughout the building." Strict security. Probably not surprising given Adrasteia's notorious reputation. "If you'd rather not carry your omni-tools with you, I can have a

keyfob delivered as well."

Jason lays an arm across Vasquez' lower back as he starts down the hall, leaning slightly against her affectionately. His spirits seem to continue to lift the more it settles in that they're actually free- however temporary it may be- from the unending stress their lives seem to have become. He pulls away once Sillera requests their omni-tools so he can fish through his pocket and hand his over. "Uhhh-... Omni-tool should

be fine...?" he says, his words starting off as a statement but ending on a questions as he looks to Vasquez for confirmation.

Sillera gets right to work on Jason's omni-tool. Syncing it with the door causes a small, holographic panel to project from the door which she keys something into. It doesn't take long before she returns the omni-tool and looks towards Vasquez expectantly, kind smile remaining.

Vasquez briefly tenses up a little as they walk down the hall, forgetting for a moment that she's not working. Quite the opposite, in fact. This is their honeymoon. It's okay to relax. She allows herself a small smile and leaning a little against Jason in turn as she mirrors his gesture. As they reach the door her attention turns to Sillera. "Omni-tool works." she agrees, withdrawing her arm and tugging the sleeve of her

coat up, unstrapping her omni-tool from her wrist and handing it over to the asari. She lets her gaze wander the corridor for a moment as she waits for the syncing.

The hallway is otherwise unoccupied. It's almost eerie in a way. Just a long, empty corridor leading back to the elevator. On the wall opposite of the elevator is another window, but it's impossible to tell if it's a window or if it's a 'window'. Doors only seem to line the left-hand wall down this corridor. But, back a ways- passed by on their way to their room- there was a T-intersection that veered off to their right where more

doors lined both sides.

Sillera repeats the process, keying something into the door to sync the device up to it before passing it back to Vasquez. "You're all set!" she says with a bit of forced enthusiasm. "Is there anything else I can do for either of you?"

Jason gives a small shake of his head but defers to Vasquez with a glance, hand returning to her lower back.

Vasquez likewise glances Jason's way to make sure he didn't have anything else. "No, I think we're good." she says while strapping her omni-tool back onto her wrist. She even adds a "Thank you.", with a nod, before turning her attention to the door, shrugging the strap of her bag up a bit and reaching out to activate the interface.

Sillera gives a small bow of her head, her smile widening as it seems she has done her job. "Perfect." she says, clasping her hands together at her waist. "Then enjoy your stay and don't hesitate to contact the front desk if there is anything we can do for you." She remains for a moment longer, passing one last glance between the two before setting back off down the hall towards the elevator once more.

Jason gives the asari an appreciative nod as he shifts towards the wall beside the door while Vasquez opens it.

The front door opens to a short hallway and is flanked by an empty closet used for storing jackets and shoes upon entry. Upon opening, the hallway's lights automatically turn on to a dim setting by default. The color palette from the hallway is carried into the room as well. To call it beautiful would be an understatement.

A short way past the closet is a door on the right that leads into a rather luxurious bathroom. Fluffy, grey robes embroidered with the Torthus-Cross logo hang against the door and toiletries line the sleek black countertop of the sink. The floor is a beautiful marbled black and grey. The shower doesn't have a showerhead. Instead, water seems to come from the ceiling above, covering the entirety of the shower and adjustable via a

holographic interface and voice recognition.

The short hallway opens up to a kitchen on the left and a living room directly ahead. The kitchen has all the amenities of home. Full-sized fridge with all of the bells and whistles. Sink. Coffee maker. Microwave. Plenty of shelf space for those staying long-term. Pristine, white tile on the floor and a black & grey swirl stone design across the countertops. An island with an identically designed countertop separates the kitchen

from the living room and several stools are lined up against it, providing a suitable place to eat.

The living room has a full-sized black couch and a matching love seat. A low coffee table is in front of the couch with a holographic display built into the glass top. Opposite of it is a large screen that can be retracted flat against the ceiling via the long arm that holds it in place. The entire opposite wall from the entrance- and the wall to the right- is lined with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook Adrasteia. They can be

adjusted and tinted via the room's interface.

Through the living room- on the left side from where they entered- is a door leading to the bedroom. It's as equally luxurious as the rest of their room. Upon entering the bedroom there's a door on the left-hand side of the room leading to the private bathroom. A large bed with a soft, grey comforter draped over it takes up much of the bedroom. On each side of it is an end table and a television similar to the one in the living

room is squared up across from the foot of the bed. There's a single black dresser against the wall shared by the living room and a wide closet built into the wall beside the bathroom door.

Opposite of the private bathroom is a balcony that runs the length of the bedroom. It has a nearly chest-high solid railing but an optional transparent, solid barrier can be deployed to allow for use of the balcony even in undesirable weather conditions.

The private bathroom is much the same as the main bathroom with one important distinction: Hot tub, complete with massage jets. It's probably safe to assume that the entirety of the hotel isn't this luxurious. This isn't the sort of room Cross would put just anyone into and it's probably painful to consider how much it would cost to stay at a place like this back on Earth. The gesture was more than just a wedding gift. This was

Cross' not-so-discreet way of attempting to cement a working relationship and show his gratitude for their help at the Dome.

In the living room, against the wall shared by the main bathroom, is the mini bar. It consists of a narrow cabinet with a small assortment of bottles and a mini-fridge filled with beer.

Vasquez steps through the door, raising an eyebrow at the sheer size of the room glimpsed through. Her eyebrows furrow, but she takes a moment to slip her duffel bag off her shoulder, letting it drop next to the door. She quickly removes her boots and starts to step into the room, her pace slowing as more of it comes into view. "Wha-... this is-..." a surprised chuckle slips out, looking almost taken aback as she walks

into the luxurious living room.

Jason follows suit, dufflebag drooping down his shoulder a bit until he allows it to drop to the floor beside Vasquez'. A dumb grin returns to his face as he follows behind her, his own boots forgotten about for now. "Yeah..." he says softly, giving a few shallow nods of his head when he enters the living room, gaze moving to the large, open view afforded by the windows. "Yeah, I think we can work with this..." he

snickers.

Vasquez remains in place for a moment, just... gawking at the room, eyes wandering from the view, to the screen, to the kitchen. She's not accustomed to luxury. She's used to cramped, utilitarian living spaces. Usually shared. Omega had been rock bottom, there. The new base is nice enough, and it's starting to feel like home, even if it doubles as a mercenary compound. But this? This is enough to take her breath away, and

somehow the spacious, luxurious accommodations makes the whole idea that this is a vacation, an actual vacation , with her husband, hit home much more strongly. Jason's snicker triggers another chuckle. "I-..." she starts, not getting far. "This is... something..." she mutters. Eloquent. "...I didn't think-..." she trails off, a grin starting to grow as she wanders the room.

Jason is in much the same position. "Yeah... Me neither..." he responds, not particularly needing Vasquez to finish her sentence to know where she's coming from. He briefly looks about the furnished livingroom before his attention turns right back to the wall-to-wall living-room windows. It's far more 'high-class apartment' than 'hotel room'. Jason gets a few more steps into the living room before realizing he's still

wearing his boots with a muttered, "Shit..." He hastily bends down to remove them as if worried staining the grey living room carpet might bankrupt him. With another small chuckle, he sets his boots aside and returns to the view. As he reaches the windows he brings a synthetic palm up to the glass, resting his hand there as he peers out through the swirling vortex of snow beyond that pelts it from the outside.

Vasquez just keeps on wandering, her grin growing almost comical as she passes through the kitchen and back into the living room, following the massive window for a while, looking out at the blizzard, utterly unfelt in the pristine room. They're here now. The guilt and the doubts don't matter any more because they're here. And the coming week will be all... this. A huge, luxurious suite, with just the two of them. No work.

No obligations. No constant flow of of employees. No thinking about what's to come. About preparing Redrock, about finding new contracts, buying equipment, training their people. And... to her own surprise, there's a single, overwhelming feeling at that realization: Relief. Sure, it's probably not going to last the whole visit. She'll probably be back to thinking about things she shouldn't within a day or two,

but all she feels right now is relief. And it's that relief fills her mind as she hangs up her coat and grabs her duffel bag, heading off to what she's determined is the bedroom to get ready to unpack. It's that relief that colors the uncharacteristic laughter that begins to bubble up after she takes a peek into the bathroom. The second bathroom. "Holy.... fucking... shit." she mutters through her laughter,

backing up to the bed and setting the duffel bag down on it before taking a seat on the edge, looking around the bedroom with a wide grin, allowing her upper body, after a little while, to just fall back against the bed, a loud, drawn out sigh sounding as she closes her eyes.

Jason's mind goes in the opposite direction. It's like a slice of what life could have been if their lives weren't so fucked up. If they weren't so fucked up. Like they're just a normal couple taking a vacation together to live above their means for a little while. But instead they're here to escape the horror of their everyday life, masking it as a celebration of their wedding. Two very hardened people pretending

they're not so hard for a little while. A fact that's only made more apparent by the comforting pressure offered by the plate of the shoulder holster that's pressed against his left side. When did their lives hit that point where he couldn't even feel safe anymore without a gun without a gun within reach? Probably around the same time the nightmares began... But how do they get back to 'normal'? Can they? When this

whole Collector nightmare is over, is there really a chance for them to pick up the pieces and build something salvageable out of their lives? And even if there is, how many more fights stand between then and now? And, assuming they survive all of that, where is his place in all of this once the fighting ends? Jason finds himself watching the reflection of his own tired eyes in the window against a backdrop of

snow as he deals with his own internal blizzard. But the sound of laughter pulls him out of that dark pit his worries reside in. Because that's what Vasquez does. Keeps him away from the edge of that pit. He tucks his worries away behind that charming lopsided grin of his as he crosses the room towards the bedroom and plants himself against the doorframe. "Find something you like?"

Vasquez lets out something halfway between a sigh and a snicker as her eyes open. She sits up with a grunt, palms against the bed to prop herself up and returning Jason's grin as she spots him in the doorway, unaware of their thoughts have diverged. "I don't know... how about, just... everything about this?" she says, gesturing around them. "We... have a hot tub." she informs matter-of-factly, although that same

relief-fueled enthusiasm shines through all the same. It's a stark contrast to her worry prior to their departure, as taking in the room in person has made it click for her that this is really happening. And maybe, just maybe, she can forget about everything that's wrong with their lives for a while.

Jason folds his arms across his chest as he glances towards the balcony, the big screen lowered from the ceiling, the bed, finally resting on the bathroom doorway when Vasquez mentions the hot tub. It's far from the life either of them are used to. "Hot tub...?" he asks, cocking a glance back to Vasquez as his smile widens.

Vasquez ' grin widens for a moment. "Mmmhm." she confirms, sitting up straight and rolling her shoulders before standing up, taking a moment to stretch as she does, arms grabbing each other above her head as she lets out a yawn. It was a long shuttle ride. Her arms drop back to her sides, eyes opening and attention turning back to Jason. "Let's get settled in?" she suggests with a glance toward her duffel bag.

Jason watches as Vasquez gets up, smile remaining stretched atop his tired worries. As she begins to stretch he steps over to her, bringing his hands to her sides. He gives a few nods to her suggestion, blue eyes meeting hers. "Yeah... That sounds good." he says softly. He opens his mouth to say more, but-...

The sudden presence of a voice chimes in. A woman's voice. "Good evening Mr. Wolf and Ms. Vasquez." it says, its tone lacking any inflection. "I am Valea. I'll be your personal VI assistant during your stay. I am capable of assisting with everything from the lights, tint of the windows, television, water temperature, and climate of the room to ordering for room service. To get started, I'm going to need to log a voice imprint from

everyone who requires access to the room's systems. Mr. Wolf, please identify yourself so that I may assign allowances to your voice imprint."

Jason's smile slips away, his gaze instinctively lifting towards the ceiling. As he turns his attention back to Vasquez he gives a long sigh. "Well... Not a fan of this..." he mutters.

The VI instantly responds. "Perfect! Thank you, Mr. Wolfe." it says, his muttering seemingly good enough.

Jason's gaze shoots upwards once more. "No, that wasn't-..." he begins but is cut short.

Valea isn't having any of Jason's complaining and proceeds to speak right over him. "Ms. Vasquez, please identify yourself so that I may better assist you." it says, its tone pleasant but emotionless.

Vasquez ' gaze scans the ceiling as she listens, a faint hint of surprise in her expression. Jason's displeasure causes a muffled snicker to slip out, a smirk crossing her lips as she rolls her eyes. "Linda Vasquez." she says loud and clear for the VI while looking at Jason, doing her best to suppress her amusement.

The VI's voice immediately responds. "Thank you, Ms. Vasquez."

Jason gives an unamused huff. "Alright. Thanks, Valea." he grumbles unenthusiastically, "That's-... You can stop. We don't need a VI. We're... perfectly capable of changing channels on our own."

Don't worry, Mr. Wolfe. I am completely unintrusive. A list of all commands logged by your voice imprints are readily available through the front desk. I assure you that nothing is recorded beyond simple commands.

Jason gives a loud sigh. "Yeah. Right." he says, unconvinced. "Alright, Valea-..." he shifts back to Vasquez, furrow of his brow. "How do I-...?" he mutters before looking back towards the ceiling and deciding to just throw some ideas out. "Valea. Shut up." he tries as his first command. "Valea. Heel." Nope, that's dogs. "Valea-... Be quiet. Silence!"

Valea's voice chimes in towards the tail-end of Jason's VI abuse. "Of course, Mr. Wolfe. Let me know if you require my assistance in the future."

Jason allows a small, victorious smirk to return to his face and he looks back to Vasquez. "Get fucked, VI." Hopefully that's not a command.

Vasquez nods slightly to herself as the VI confirms her voice imprint, but as Jason continues his one-sided argument she brings a hand up to her face, fingers rubbing her forehead as she covers her face with her palm, but her smile remains, if a bit more exasperated in nature. "Are you done...?" she asks as he seems to proclaim victory, looking back to him as her hand lowers, eyebrow raised questioningly.

Jason gives a shrug of his shoulders, a defensive raise of his eyebrow following. "Depends on if she's done." he says matter-of-factly. "You done?" he asks with a glance up towards the ceiling where it remains for a number of seconds. As he looks back to Vasquez a smug smile crosses his lips. "Check-and-mate."

Vasquez sucks in her lips for a moment, nodding to herself. "You really showed the VI who's boss. I'm proud of you, honey." she says dryly, a deadpan look on her face as she holds back a smirk. She places a hand on Jason's shoulder, leaning in to plant a quick kiss on his lips. "I'm gonna go ahead and unpack now." she says, allowing her smirk to manifest before she turns and slips out of his grasp, going to open her duffel

bag and get started on unpacking her things.

Jason's smile makes a return when Vasquez leans in for a kiss, offering a quick peck in return. "You laugh now." he says, arms folding across his chest as Vasquez turns her attention elsewhere. "But one day they're gonna turn on us and, when they do? You'll be glad to have me around. Wait and see. Wait. And. See." he says jokingly. Probably... Maybe... At least partially. A small snicker follows and he turns on his heels

to go collect his bag from the other room.

Vasquez spends the next minutes unpacking her things. Clothes to the dresser, toiletries to the bathroom. She leaves her gun on the nightstand, and a few things get left in the duffel bag, which she puts in the closet. Soon enough she's sitting on the armrest of the couch, sipping a glass of water as she watches the inactive screen. "Valea, turn on the TV and give me a content list...?" she tries, partly out of curiosity

and partly just to get a feel for the VI.

Jason is a few steps behind Vasquez and is still currently jamming his clothing into the dresser. Jacket and button-up shirt have been removed and hung by the door, leaving him in a long-sleeved white undershirt and jeans. He hasn't gotten around to removing his holster yet.

Of course, Ms. Vasquez. Displaying listings.

The television turns on before Valea can even finish acknowledging Vasquez' statement. The display on the coffee table comes to life. It's inlaid in the glass and gives off a soft blue glow that's easy on the eyes. It can be used as a direct terminal in its current state but, without prompting, the display is projected outward into a holographic interface that hovers above the table itself. There's a schedule for all of the

available channels presented along with a list of movies on demand, but there's also plenty of recently released movies available as well. They each have a rental price associated with them, but given the nature of their stay and Cross' involvement, each is displayed with a price of 0C.

Vasquez studies the projection for a moment, nodding faintly to herself. "Okay then..." she mumbles as she makes note of the offerings, and the fact that this too is apparently covered by Cross, reaching over to close the projection and taking a sip from her glass before putting it down and pushing off from the couch to go check on Jason's progress. She stops in the doorway, tilting her head as she watches his

less-than-elegant cramming of clothes into the dresser without announcing her presence.

Jason continues about his business, unaware of Vasquez' watchful eye. As he removes his clothing from his duffelbag he pretty much just folds them in half and stacks them into the dresser with little care for neatness. As he reaches for a pair of pants, however, he casts a glance over his shoulder and spots Vasquez. The revelation causes him to neatly set the pants out on the bed and slowly begin folding them as if this

has been his operating procedure the entire time. "Just about done." he offers as he slowly- slowwwwly- folds the pair of pants and sets them gently into the dresser drawer, tactically covering the rest of the messy pile.

Vasquez lets out a quiet snort as she pushes off from the doorframe, walking past Jason, briefly touching his shoulder as she does - her initial instinct is always his arm, but she's been getting used to overriding that. Mostly without impacing her mood. Mostly. She lies down in bed, letting out a relaxed sigh as she gets comfortable, hands folding across her belly as she tries to get a feel for how it compares to their

bed at home.

The bed is topped with a thick, grey comforter and matching pillows and sheets. As one might expect, it's very comfortable. Probably very expensive, as well. The frame- like most of the furniture in the room- is sleek and simple. Intentionally minimalistic. Not the sort of things you could easily get ahold of on Aite. It's wonderful what a whole lot of credits and powerful personal contacts can do for a person.

Jason proceeds to carefully fold one last shirt at the foot of the bed beside Vasquez and tucks it into the dresser. Whatever is left in his bag he seems to deem unworthy of dresser space and lifts it from the bed. Once he joins Vasquez' duffelbag in the closet with his own, he turns back towards the bed, smirk returning to his face as his gaze settles on Vasquez. "Comfy?" he asks, turning his attention to the strap of his

holster to begin taking it off.

Vasquez watches Jason finish the last of his packing and stow the bag away, seeming quite alright with just lying there for a bit. "Mmhm... pretty comfortable." she admits, shifting a little against the bed for emphasis as a small smile crosses her lips. "Cross really went all out, didn't he?" she muses as her gaze wanders the room, scanning across the balcony for a bit, the flurry of snow outside somehow making the

downright comfortable indoor temperature all the more appreciated.

Jason gives a small nod as he removes the holster. "Hopefully he doesn't think this means we're on his payroll..." he snorts as he lays the holstered Phalanx over his shoulder and turns towards the living room and steps back into it. "The op with his people went smoothly enough, though." he raises his voice to be heard from the other room, seemingly unable to keep from bringing up work. He sets his holstered sidearm on the

kitchen island and grabs himself a glass of water before returning to the bedroom, finishing his sentiment as he does, "Wouldn't turn down the opportunity to work with them again if it came up."

Vasquez lets out a quiet sigh, shaking her head to herself. "We're sure as hell not on anyone's payroll." she assures, sitting up when Jason exists the room. "Not gonna turn this down though. Nice change of pace after all the clients that have stabbed us in the back..." she says as he returns, relaxation giving way to subdued frustration as she speaks.

Jason gives a snicker and a small shake of his head as he sips from his glass, "Well I'll certainly take it over him blowing up our building, that's for sure." he says, meandering over towards the window that looks out over the balcony. Across the planet and put up in a room that they'd never be able to convince themselves to invest the credits into if it wasn't handed to them and, rather than enjoying it, they're talking

about work. It incites a sudden thought to hit him, causing him to furrow his brow and look back to Vasquez. "So... what in the fuck do we do?" he asks, seeming almost at a loss.

Vasquez seems a little caught off-guard by the question, eyebrows furrowing slightly. "Well, we..." she trails off, blinking. Fortunately her stomach quickly makes a suggestion in the form of a growl. "...we check out the restaurant?" she voices, raising an eyebrow. There's a not-insignificant part of her that just wants to lie down and sleep for a couple of days after getting a taste of the bed. Lying down made her

realize how tired she feels. The realization is almost visible in the way her shoulders slouch. "...or maybe, try the roomservice?" she suggests instead, suddenly not really feeling like dealing with a busy hotel restaurant full of people.

Jason's smile resurfaces, giving a nod to each suggestion as she gives them. "Alright, yeah." he agrees, stepping towards the edge of the bed and taking another long sip of his water. "So... How do we-... uhh....." he furrows his brow, nesting his glass against the crook of his folded arms. After a few moments he gives a reluctant sigh. "Valea?" he says plainly. "How about some of that room service?"

Just as with the coffee table in the living room, the nightstand beside the bed closest to Jason begins to project a holographic display of the menu above it. There's several options. Burgers. Steaks. Salads. A large selection of booze. Most of it seems to be Aite-grown, but there is a subsection of imported foods. The type of thing surely only on display for when Cross has someone arriving that he needs to impress, and the

prices reflect as much. Uncloned beef from Earth. Thessian wine. Not the sort of thing your average Adrasteian citizen is going to waste credits on.

Of course, Mr. Wolfe. Displaying the menu. Simply make your selection and I will put your order in with the kitchen staff.

Vasquez scoots across the bed to take a look at the menu, studying the selection thoughtfully. She doesn't seem in any rush to choose.

The blizzard doesn't seem to have died down any. As a matter of fact, it might just be getting worse. It's a good hour or so before the food arrives, as was predicted when they placed their order. It's arrival is announced by an indistinct buzz. Despite Adrasteia not exactly having a constant flow of VIPs to fill the expensive upper-floors of the Torthus-Cross building and much of the building being little more than a status

symbol, the hotel does still see plenty of use. Many of the rooms on the lower floors are more akin to cheap housing for employees of Cross and others in his circle of influence. Combined with the occasional foot traffic and the hotel's restaurant is pretty busy on a regular basis.

Jason has eased into things a bit more, seemingly accepting that this is their life for the next week or so. After looking through the mini-bar's admittedly upper-class options- typically intended to impress whatever important business contact Cross has put up in the room- he settled on a simple local beer. He sips at his beer as he watches TV from the comfort of the couch.

Room service has arrived. Would you like me to let them in?

Vasquez has joined Jason on the couch after starting to get settled into their room. She's gotten quiet as they wait for their food to arrive, hunger having become increasingly obvious, and she perks up a bit as Valea's voice sounds out. "Go ahead." she's quick to reply, sitting up straighter as her attention turns to the ceiling.

Jason casts a glare up towards the ceiling- the universal non-body of VI everywhere- and takes a drink from his beer before bringing an arm up over the backrest of the couch to look in the direction of the entrance

The door slides open and the food is carted into the kitchen by an asari dressed in a similar elegant fashion to Sillera. But she's not alone. A familiar well-dressed man is in tow. He's minus one biotic bodyguard this time, but she's probably not too far. The asari gets to work, setting their orders on the kitchen island as Cross enters the living room.

Cross has a bottle in one arm, cradled against his body. It has a vibrant blue liquid inside. He dismisses the staff who has finished placing out Jason and Vasquez' meals and, once she has left the room, turns his attention towards the pair. "Apologies for earlier." he begins as he looks between them, his hair and smile immaculate as ever. "Time is, unfortunately, a commodity that I never seem to have enough of." he

chuckles, "Seems like there's always more work that requires my attention around here. But I wanted to swing by and welcome you properly. I hope the room is to your liking...?" he asks, casting a small glance about the room. His gaze rests briefly on the holstered Phalanx on the kitchen island, but he tries not to let it linger.

Vasquez ' seems a little caught off-guard by Cross' appearance, feeling a little awkward sitting on the couch in jeans and a sweater. She's used to presenting a distinctly different image when speaking to clients, and the casual sense of relaxation that has settled in since their arrival all but evaporates as she shifts gears. "Yes, thank you. It's... more than to our liking." she says as she gets out of her seat, glancing

around the room. "Really, it's..." she shakes her head, not really sure what to say. "...a very generous gesture." she decides on.

Jason follows suit, rising to his feet once he takes notice of the guest. A bit of discomfort washes over him when he notices Cross eyeing his sidearm. They were mere seconds away from being scanned for weapons on the roof. "Uhh-..." he stammers as he begins to round the couch and gestures towards the Phalanx, "...Just a little-... you know. Occupational habit." he says through a wince. "Don't worry. I can count the

number of times I've accidentally shot someone with it on one hand and still have fingers left over." He holds his hand up, giving a wiggle of his cybernetic fingers. His big dumb grin only manifests for a moment before fading away. "That's-... uhh-... that's a joke." he clarifies.

Cross' smile widens at Vasquez' approval of the room. Jason's stammering causes him to cast one last glance towards the Phalanx with a dismissive shake of his head. "I understand. It's fine." he assures. "I'll let security know about it and you'll be cleared to enter and exit the building freely. Just try not to go waving it around." he jokes before qualifying his statement, "Might make the staff a little skittish." A

small, friendly chuckle slips out before he turns his attention back to Vasquez. "I'm glad you're enjoying the room. I'm not sure if Sillera informed you, but we're going to be covering your stay. Food. Drinks. Whatever. Redrock did a fine job in service to our people. The discretion required means you might not get the praise or appreciation that you rightfully deserve from the people of Adrasteia, but-..." he

Cross' gives a brief glance about the room, his smile ever-present, "...hopefully this is an acceptable substitute." The charming businessman is in full effect. Making sure the flames are fanned to keep his business relationships warm. "And with the wedding, the time felt right to extend the invitation."

Vasquez draws in a breath as Jason rambles, not looking entirely happy with the image he's putting forth of Redrock, but when Cross returns his attention to her she flashes a polite smile. "Well, we... really appreciate it." she says, glancing Jason's way in the hopes that he'll chime in too. With... something else than jokes about accidental firearm discharges. "It's definitely exceeded our expectations already."

Jason seems to ease up a bit as Cross downplays the smuggling of weapons into his building. Cross' comment about comping their entire stay causes him to snort. "Well, shit. If I would've known that I would've went with some imported beef." he jokes, seemingly not having nearly as much of an issue as Vasquez when it comes to worrying about how he presents himself to clients. The glance that comes his way from Vasquez causes

him to straighten up, however, and clear his throat. "Yeah... It's-.." he draws in a breath as he looks about the room briefly, a nod of his head accompanying, "...It's something else. Thank you."

Cross doesn't seem too bothered by Jason's less-than-professional attitude. As a matter of fact, he just doesn't seem very high strung at all. Much more laid back and casual than one might expect from the head of an empire of successful businesses. Or maybe he's just really good at playing a role. Reacting to the company he's in the presence of. "Excellent." he says, pleased. "Speaking of weddings-..." he continues,

casting a brief glance down to the bottle cradled in his arm before extending it towards the pair, "Thessian wine. For the bride and groom. What better way to celebrate the eternal bond of marriage than with drinks from a culture that measure their lives not in years, but in centuries?"

Vasquez almost seems a little embarrassed by the special treatment, a brief, slightly uncomfortable chuckle sounding before she accepts the bottle. "I-... thank you, that's-... well, thank you." she says, not exactly sure how to react. She's gotten used to exchanging pleasantries with clients but this is quite a different matter and she's not exactly a socialite. She's also not really a wine person, but that's not all that

relevant at the moment since she's not allowed to drink at all right now. "I... suppose we'll have to save that?" she suggests to Jason, casting a glance his way. Her free hand almost subconsciously brushes over her belly after she shifts the bottle from being held in both hands to being pressed against her body.

Jason glances towards the bottle as it's passed off. Vasquez' comment causes his own attention to shift towards her belly briefly, a snicker following. "Yeah... She'd be drinking for two." he jokes before looking to Cross with an appreciative nod. "But it won't go to waste. We'll set it aside and pop that sucker open in-... oh-... about seven months?" he asks through his smirk, looking back to Vasquez.

Cross gives a dismissive wave at Vasquez' appreciation, but her question to Jason causes him to tilt his head inquisitively. When Jason clarifies, his brows raise, a big smile returning to his face. "Sounds like the two of you have much to celebrate. That's-..." he gives a small, sincere chuckle, "...That's incredible. Congratulations."

Vasquez can't help a smile of her own at the change in subject, nodding slightly. "Thank you." she says simply, her other hand returning to the bottom of the bottle as she rotates it in her hand. She finds herself falling silent, not exactly sure what to say to Cross or really how to respond to this situation in general.

Jason gives a small nod. "Yeah." he responds softly to Cross, gaze still fixed to his wife, "It is." He gives her a small, playful nudge.

Cross lets his arms drop in front of him and folds his hands together as he looks between the pair, allowing them a silent moment before drawing in a breath. "Well, that's certainly hard news to follow." he chuckles, "But I thought that the two of you might like know that we've been doing everything we can for the prisoners rescued during the operation you took part in. Some, understandably, wished to depart." he explains

with, what seems to be, sincere concern slipping into his features for those affected. "We helped them to book transportation off-world and, hopefully, they've managed to find some form of peace and are able to recover from what is certain to have been a harrowing ordeal. But those who have remained-..." his expression turns to a subdued smile and he gives a few small nods," ...well, I can't imagine that what they've

endured is the sort of thing one gets past overnight, but you'll be happy to know that they're doing well. One has even taken a position here at the hotel and we've given her and her son permanent housing downstairs."

Vasquez crosses her arms loosely, eyebrows furrowing slightly as she listens to Cross. The information he delivers causes a faint hint of a smile to return, although it's very different in nature. Less personal, more... satisfied with what Redrock has accomplished. She offers a nod. "That's good to hear." she says, sincerely. "We're glad we were able to make a difference."

Jason tears his gaze from Vasquez as Cross begins to talk about the prisoners Redrock helped to rescue. He nods along with Vasquez' words, but the smile that comes to his face very much is of a personal nature. This is why he does what he does. "There's no telling where those folks might've ended up if someone hadn't cared enough to come for them." he says. His time with the Alliance has given him the unfortunate

chance to see just what affect that sort of trauma can have on a person. Stripped of identity and valued as little more than a piece of property. "You probably saved their lives."

Cross' smile grows a bit heavy upon hearing Jason's words. Seeming to grow a little uncomfortable with the praise, he quickly waves off any responsibility. "All I did was sign off on the operation." he admits humbly. "It was Brutus-..." he begins before quickly correcting himself, "...Commander Derthos, the Enforcers, and Redrock who brought those people home safely." His gaze settles on Vasquez. "You should be very

proud of the work your organization does, Chief Vasquez." he says, a bit of the 'upbeat charming businessman' draining from his tone, replaced by a heavy sincerity. "You know, there are plenty of corporations all across Aite fighting over land? Mining rights? It's practically open warfare out there over-... over rocks." he says, a humorless chuckle escaping as he gives a shake of his head. "Any one of them would

probably be more than happy to throw some credits at you-... Hell, probably more credits than we were offering-... to go out there and disrupt their competition. But instead? You put your people in danger to help those in need." He allows his statement to linger for a moment, gaze turning between the pair before him. "I think that says something about the kind of people you are. And I know that this planet is in

a rough place, but I don't think it's too late for Aite. There's a lot that needs to change, but I think we can do it. But it's gonna take good people to make it happen."

Vasquez ' smile grows a little, although tempered by the harsh reality Cross reminds them of. "We agree." she says, briefly looking Jason's way, her smile softening a little. "That's why we moved out here in the first place. To try and make a difference. To... take the jobs we want to take. To make a living doing something... we can be proud of." she says, and its almost as if saying the words reminds her of that. That

they do have a reason for being out here, and that they have made a difference. It's so very easy to forget amid all the pain and fear and guilt. Her smile wavers for a moment, before returning as she composes herself with a quiet breath.

Next Logs

The Honeymoon
#Torthus-CrossBuilding
Bryan Cross
Linda Vasquez
Jason Wolfe
The Honeymoon
#Torthus-CrossBuilding
Linda Vasquez
Jason Wolfe
The Honeymoon
#Torthus-CrossBuilding
Linda Vasquez
Jason Wolfe
The Honeymoon
#Torthus-CrossBuilding
Linda Vasquez
Jason Wolfe
The Honeymoon
#Torthus-CrossBuilding
Linda Vasquez
Jason Wolfe
The Honeymoon
#Torthus-CrossBuilding
Linda Vasquez
Jason Wolfe
Jasper Sullivan
Linda Vasquez
Jason Wolfe

Previous Logs

The Honeymoon
Linda Vasquez
Jason Wolfe
The Honeymoon
Linda Vasquez
Jason Wolfe
Jasper Sullivan
Linda Vasquez
Jason Wolfe
Jasper Sullivan
Jason Wolfe
Bryan Cross
Linda Vasquez
Jason Wolfe
Bryan Cross
Linda Vasquez
Jasper Sullivan
Linda Vasquez