Thankfully, it is clear. Mostly. The truck rattles, rocking hard back and forth as Yan Sun's lack of attention causes her to run right through a thick dune of snow. The right side of the truck tilts up on an angle as it lurches over the uneven terrain and snow slaps against the windshield, momentarily blotting out any vision until the snow slides off the hulking machine.
#Kirill'sTruck – January 28, 2019
Jessica's expression seems to visibly sour as Yan Sun begins to explain the VR process. Memories of an ocean of yellow flood in. A lack of vision. A lack of consciousness. Lungs filled with viscous fluid. Broken fragments of false memories and invasive thoughts and the kind, inviting smile of a mother. Her gaze drops as the mere mention of willingly subjecting herself to something like that causes a distant sense of claustrophobia to
set in. The heavy rattling as they plow through a snow dune is a welcome- if temporary- distraction, causing her attention to shoot through the windshield, eye widening. She instinctively presses back against the seat and brings an arm out in front of Yan Sun, a reactionary act. When it becomes clear that it was just some harmless snow, she draws a breath in through her nose and pulls her arm back, shooting a scowl Yan Sun's
way as she swallows at the lump that has settled into her throat from before the jolt. "Watch where are you going!" she grumbles.
Yan Sun lets out a surprised noise as her explanation is interrupted, wide-eyed gaze shooting back to the windshield and grip on the steering wheel tightening. This time, at least, she has the presence of mind to lighten the pressure on the pedal instead of stomping down. Upon realizing they're fine she lets out a relieved sigh, relaxing. Her attention goes briefly to the extended arm before its pulled back. "Sorry." she's quick to reply
Jessica draws in a few deep breaths, the small jolt of adrenaline having perked her right up. "If I die because of your shit driving, I am going to kill you, kitty cat." she threatens through a furrowed brow.
Yan Sun takes a few moments settle down before starting to move the truck again, eyes on the road now. "Might be hard if you're already dead." she teases, deciding that she feels like poking the bear. "Besides, you asked me to drive!"
Jessica cocks a brow and glares at Yan Sun. "You think this is going to stop me? I die before." she says matter-of-factly. "I am maybe not so good at staying dead, mmm? So I will come for you while you are sleeping and-..." she jabs two fingers sharply into Yan Sun's side as a big grin spreads out across her face.
Yan Sun doesn't seem quite sure how to react to Jessica's first comment, but the second starts to elicit a smirk before she's prodded hard in the side, causing her to let out a squeal and scoot away from Jessica, jerking the steering wheel in the process, although she's quick to correct that after her recent misstep. "Gah! You're gonna make us crash!" she complains.
Jessica's gaze once more shoots to the windshield as they veer sharply for a moment. After a moment, her shoulders begin to rise and fall in laughter and she brings her legs back up on to the seat. "You are the most shit driver I ever meet!" she exclaims. "Howwwwww you are so bad?!"
Yan Sun furrows her eyebrows. "This is literally my first time driving!" she exclaims, hunched over the steering wheel with a tight grip on it, stubbornly avoiding taking her gaze off the path ahead.
A couple hours pass without much to look at. The closer they get to Adrasteia, however, the more tracks they come across. Only enough to count on one hand, of course, but there's still more in the past 45 minutes or so than they had seen in the entire time since leaving the region of Freedom Falls. The snowfall is only getting worse, slowing progress to a crawl. It also implies the few tracks they've crossed paths with are relatively recent
Jessica has grown pretty restless over the past couple of hours with no clear indication of a cause. She's kept herself busy by snooping through the belongings left in the truck behind the seats. It has mostly just consisted of clothing and extra winter gear stuffed away. But, on her knees, hunched over Yan Sun awkwardly to get at the things behind her seat, she hits the motherlode, causing a throaty gasp to escape from her. She drops
Jessica back, sitting on her feet and moreso facing the back of the truck as she shows off her bounty to Yan Sun. In one hand is Kirill's dumb winter hat. It looks to be made of some sort of animal hide, dyed black. The inside is lined with a thick, white, wool-like fur of sorts. It's the sort that has ear flaps that can be snapped up. In her other hand are his aviator glasses. She looks over the hat, running the back of her other hand
Yan Sun is leaned uncomfortably to the side to make room for Jessica's snooping, a look of mild annoyance at the disruption of her driving having settled in on her face, and she seems relieved when Jessica pulls back. "What did you find...?" she asks, shooting her a quick glance. "Uh... nice...?"
Jessica raises an eyebrow, nodding a few times as she studies the hat. "Mmm." she hums in agreement as she continues to stroke the fur. "Touch it." she says, thrusting the hat towards Yan Sun. "Feel how floofy."
Yan Sun snickers quietly, her gaze darting between Jessica and the snowland ahead. She removes one hand from the wheel, touching the hat at Jessica's insistence, another laugh slipping out. "'Floofy'" she agrees.
It is, indeed, quite... 'floofy'. Outside of the truck, the snow is coming down en force, the wind violently whipping it about. Visibility is rapidly diminishing.
Jessica pulls the hat back, brow now furrowed. "He actually wears this dumb thing..." she mutters before shifting in place to swing her legs back over the side of the seat and face forward again. She tugs the cap on her head and puts on the aviator glasses, studying herself in the rearview mirror. "How I look? Mmm?" she asks, gaze fixed to herself as she lifts her head to rub at her chin a bit and slowly tilts her head from
Yan Sun 's eyebrows furrow as she focuses on the road for a moment, not very happy about the worsening weather, but Jessica's antics draw her attention, a burst of laughter slipping out when she spots Jessica, a big grin spreading across her face as she studies her. "Amazing. Give it a little while, I'm sure the beard will come." she suggests encouragingly.
Jessica settles back in her seat, grin remaining on her face as she shifts her attention to the windshield. "...Fuck." she mutters as she watches the snow whipping about outside. "Is only getting worse..." she adds, a bit of concern slipping into her tone.
Yan Sun 's smile fades as her attention returns to the weather. She's already slowed their pace a bit in the face of reduced visibility. "Yeah..." she agrees. "Guess setting up a tent in this isn't really gonna be an option if this keeps up, huh?" she asks, peering through the flurry of snow to ensure the path is still safe.
Jessica draws in a breath, her grin slipping away at both the prospect of being stuck in a blizzard and of being stuck in the cramped truck for another night. She gives a few distant nods, attention remaining on the windshield. "Just keep going, mmm?" she suggests, shooting a glance Yan Sun's way. "I-... We can't stay in the truck. Not tonight. Need to-..." she trails off without any explanation. "With the wind, is going to make-..."
Jessica she begins, trying to come up with an excuse. "The truck will be very cold tonight, kitty cat." she decides on. And she's not wrong. Out in the open like this, if the wind keeps up through the night it's unlikely the truck's heater will be able to keep the chill out of the air. But there's more to it than that. "Maybe we will come out of the snow."
Yan Sun nods a couple of times, gaze darting over to Jessica more than once. "Yeah, I-... yeah, okay." she says, not sounding too happy at the prospect of being stuck in a snowstorm with inadequate heating and shelter, her misreading Jessica's caginess as concern for their safety only heightening her unease. She ups their speed a little but remains careful, straining to make out the terrain ahead.
It's another half hour or so before something is visible through the rapidly-worsening snowfall. In the current conditions it's difficult to make out exactly what it is. Little more than a large, dark spot in the distance amongst a flurry of restless, churning, white snow. Jessica has activated the navigation tool just so they can be sure they're still heading west. The uneven terrain makes it difficult to know just how straight the truck is
traveling, so it's useful in making sure they don't get turned around. In the current conditions, they probably wouldn't even be able to tell if a river embankment was right in front of them. With the sun descending, it's quickly becoming clear that they'll need to stop soon.
Jessica has fallen silent, arms folded across her chest as she watches intently through the windshield, foot bouncing nervously against the floorboard. As something comes into view she leans forward and brings her hands against the dashboard, eyes narrowing as if to make out what it might be through the wall of white before them.
Yan Sun slows down when she notices something ahead, likewise leaning forward and trying to make out what it is. Jessica's talk of ambushes ambushes the day before may have put her a little on edge when it comes to the possibility of running into people. "What is that...?" she asks, as if hoping Jessica might have answers.
Jessica continues to study the object in the distance as they slowly creep towards it. Her brow furrows as Yan Sun speaks up. "I lose my eye, kitty cat. I do not know if you know what this means, but it did not make me see better." she mutters snarkily. "Why I would know this? Mmm?!" she continues, gaze remaining on the windshield.
Yan Sun furrows her eyebrows, shrugging defensively. "Yeah, well... I can't see anything either." she says, reaching up to tap her temple. "This doesn't really help me see through snow..." she mutters, continuing to slowly creep up on the unknown structure ahead. "I think it's a building or something...?"
Jessica shoots a glare Yan Sun's way for stating the obvious before turning her focus back on the structure, still wearing those ridiculous hat and sunglasses which probably aren't helping.
It's not until they're a good 20 yards away or so that it becomes clear that it's a single story building. As they slowly roll closer, it becomes easier to make out. It's a home. Slanted roof- something that's necessary out here unless one wants to manage the snow buildup by hand- and a simple front porch. Given the size, it can't consist of more than a few rooms. But it's in disrepair. The windows are boarded up- either an action performed by
whoever once lived here or squatters that passed through after- and parts of the roof over the porch have collapsed. It's hard to tell how long its been in such a state. Out here it doesn't take too long for nature to reclaim what's hers. Plenty of structures like this all across Aite. The region surrounding Adrasteia is infested with them. People, groups, or even corporations that set up cookie cutter farming colonies in the outer regions show
up. Set up shop in hopes of thriving off of Adrasteia. Then, once they've found themselves pulled into the city's violent orbit, they run for the hills. If they're lucky... There's another structure a good distance behind it, but it's impossible to make out through the snow.
Yan Sun pulls closer, stopping temporarily near the building to look it over. "Looks abandoned." she says, stating the obvious once more since she's not quite sure what else to do, glancing Jessica's way after taking a look around.
Jessica looks to Yan Sun, blinking a few times. "Mmm. Is snowing, too." she adds sarcastically to the stack of obvious observations. With a sigh, she shakes her head and scoots further away from Yan Sun to reach out towards the compartment in the dashboard on the passenger's side. As it slides open, she gains a look of surprise, muttering a, "Mother shit!" as she looks into the compartment.
Yan Sun 's attention turns to Jessica, a confused look on her face at the exclamation. "What? What's wrong?"
Jessica reaches into the compartment and pulls free.... a pair of plain black panties. She lets them dangle off her index finger as she looks to Yan Sun, an unamused expression crossing her face. "You hide them in here?" she asks.
Yan Sun 's hand shoots up to her mouth, suppressing a laugh. "No!" she exclaims, voice muffled by her hand. "Promise! Theyyy... were in the glove compartment?!"
Jessica raises an eyebrow skeptically. "Uh huh... suuuuure." she mutters before tossing them at Yan Sun and reaching back into the compartment. This time she pulls free her unfolded Predator pistol. Much more dangerous. She tilts the weapon and runs her thumb along the thermal clip to ensure it's seated properly.
Yan Sun lets out another snicker at Jessica's skepticism, but the sight of the pistol quickly wipes her amusement away. "Uh... what are you doing?" she's quick to ask, eyebrows furrowing.
Jessica glances Yan Sun's way in confusion, as if it should be obvious. "I am going to see if the house is abandoned." she says with a small nod towards the building.
Yan Sun blinks, glancing over towards the house. "Oh. You're-... you're thinking we could stay in there?" she assumes, looking over towards the house again. "Looks pretty abandoned. And... probably colder than the truck..." she adds, hesitance in her voice.
Jessica gives a small shrug of her shoulders, lifting her gaze from the pistol once she's satisfied. "Then we get back in the truck. But-... is out of the wind. Maybe there is a small room inside? We can use the heater and-..." she sighs. "I will check, mmm? You stay here."
Yan Sun frowns. "Wh-.. okay, but-..." the fact that Jessica feels the need to bring a gun to check the building out clearly has her a bit uneasy, but she doesn't seem quite sure what to say. "You sure? I could come..." she suggests, not looking particularly keen, but also not feeling right about leaving Jessica to do it on her own. Not that she'd be much help if there was something dangerous in the house...
Jessica begins to dress up, slipping her boots back on and swinging her winter jacket over her shoulders. That, combined with her stolen 'floofy' hat means she's ready to face the harsh weather. She doesn't dignify the offer with a response, instead giving a simple, "I will be right back." as she opens the passenger's side door and steps out into the cold. There's an immediate gush of wind that fills the cabin, bringing snow with it.
Jessica puts one hand up to shield her face, using the other to tuck the uncollapsed Predator into the back of the waistline of her pants as she steps out into the snow and closes the door behind her.
Yan Sun falls silent, watching with a bit of anxiousness as Jessica makes her way through the snow outside.
Jessica struggles a bit with the thigh-high snow, hips swaying as she trudges through it. The porch provides a bit of a reprieve from the snow, what remains of the roof limiting just how much snow can pile up, but Jessica is still forced to clear a bit from in front of the door before she can properly get at it. If the lack of an interface wasn't clue enough, then Jessica bracing against the ground and using both hands to tug at the door until
it slides open should be enough to inform Yan Sun that the building has no power. Jessica removes the pistol from the hem of her pants, casting a brief glance back towards the truck before disappearing through the dark entry.
Yan Sun 's unease only grows once Jessica disappears into the building, and casting a look at their desolate, and largely obscured, surroundings doesn't help much. The emptiness of Aite's wilderness is a little unsettling to her at the best of times. Add in a nascent blizzard, encroaching darkness, an abandoned house, and Jessica's gun and she's more than a little on edge as she waits in silence inside the lit and heated cabin of the truck.
Seconds stretch into minutes with nothing but the howl of the wind outside to keep Yan Sun company. At least there's no gunshots. Eventually, Jessica re-emerges, folding her shoulders inwards to shield herself against the cold. Her gun is no longer in her hand as she stomps through the snow back towards the truck, attempting- and mostly failing- to reuse the footprints she left the first time.
Jessica pulls the passenger's side door open once again, leaning against it to keep it open in the face of the wind. More snow whips into the cabin from behind her and she clutches at the stupid hat, adjusting it atop her head as she looks to Yan Sun through snow-smudged sunglasses. "Is empty!" she says, raising her voice to be heard over the wind even from only a few feet away. "Move the truck to the side so nobody sees it." she
Yan Sun lets out a quiet, relieved sigh to herself when Jessica reappears, glad not to be left on her own anymore. She starts to slip her jacket on once Jessica opens the door, nodding in response to her instructions. "Ok-... okay, yeah. I can do that." she replies with a couple of nods, also forced to speak up.
Jessica takes a step back and shuts the truck's door. She trudges through snow towards the western corner of the house, waving Yan Sun over as she does. The snow actually seems to be getting worse and the structure off to the north is little more than a dark blot. The setting sun doesn't help things. Thankfully, aside from the deep snow, there's nothing that Yan Sun needs to navigate around. A few trees- their barren limbs cradling
mounds of snow- dot what's visible of the surrounding area, but they're far enough away as to not present an obstacle. Jessica doesn't seem to be enjoying herself very much, one arm hugging across herself as she bounces in place. Her mouth opens but the wind, combined with the closed doors of the cabin, make it impossible to hear what's being said.
Yan Sun starts to slowly, slooooooowly navigate the truck towards Jessica, preparing to round the house. She most definitely does not have a good idea of the turn radius of the bulky truck though, so getting close to it is gonna be tricky.
Given the truck's size, it's an unwieldy process to do anything precise with it. The deep snow only makes it more difficult. It masks the uneven terrain beneath it, causing small bumps and ditches to come as a surprise when the truck lists.
Jessica does not look happy at having to wait. She continues to wave Yan Sun over, which only gets more frantic the longer she's forced to wait in the sharp wind, as if the quicker her arm moves the faster Yan Sun might go.
Yan Sun is far too concerned with accidentally knocking down the wall of the house, or worse, running into Jessica, to be spurred into going faster, so she continues the slow, unwieldy process of trying to navigate the truck around the building and up against the wall. Between her utter lack of driving experience, the weather, the hard-to-control vehicle and the terrain it is not going well.
Jessica gains a deep scowl, eventually giving up on her waving altogether. Eventually, when the process begins to take too long for her liking, she just steps forward and hammerfists the truckbed a few times in an effort to get Yan Sun's attention.
Yan Sun stops the truck, looking at Jessica with a confused expression, giving an exaggerated shrug since they can't exactly talk.
Jessica raises her arms, the shoulders of her winter jacket and her stolen hat already covered in white. Her arms go out to each side, then back up into the air. A few more moments pass where she looks as if she's trying to land a plane, mouth opening and closing with great, frustrated enthusiasm, before she frantically waves her over.
Yan Sun has absolutely no idea what Jessica is trying to say, and her confused face, exaggerated for emphasis, expresses as much. Hopefully she means back up, because that's what she does, gaze darting between the back windshield and her hand on the steering wheel, the look of unease on her face making it obvious that she's not very happy about being in control of the unwieldy machine.
Jessica waves her arms frantically from side-to-side when Yan Sun begins to back up and her mouth begins running again. She reaches out and slaps a hand against the side of the truck bed a few times.
Yan Sun furrows her eyebrows as she tries to interpret Jessica's gestures, the truck coming to a stop again. She points to the side of the truck that Jessica slapped with a questioning look on her face.
Jessica points at the side as well, mouth continuing to move. She bites down, glaring at Yan Sun through the window and stomps through the snow to the passenger's side door. Jerking it open, she leans inside. "GOOOOOOOOOOOOD EEEEEEEEENOOOOOOOUUUUUGH!" she shouts into the cab. "The blizzard is going to be gone by the time you are done! Just-... is fine! Is fine!" she assures, chunks of white falling from her dumb hat. "Turn it off and
Yan Sun flinches as Jessica shouts, her shoulders slumping as she realizes she's giving up. "I can-..." A sigh sounds. "Yeah... okay..." she mutters, reaching over to turn the engine off and starting to put the rest of her winter clothes.
Jessica is stood on the step, bent forward to lean on the passenger's side seat. An audible, rhythmic clank sounds out as she stomps in place against the metallic platform that serves as a step. "This is good enough!" she assures, "Just needs to be close enough to-..." she glances back, looking at the house before returning her gaze to Yan Sun and nodding a few times, causing more snow to fall onto the seat. "Is fine! We need-..." teeth
chatter and she draws in a breath. "...Sleeping bags! Water! Towels? And-... The heater! The stove-... Is going to maybe take a few trips." she decides, shooting another glance over her shoulder, "...And the shovels! Just for in case that we are having to dig the truck out tomorrow, mmm?!"
Yan Sun nods along with Jessica's instructions, grabbing a few things from inside the truck before scooting over to hop out and help with carrying things from the truckbed. She pulls her scarf up tighter as soon as she steps out fully into the wind, no longer shielded by the truck, shivering.
Jessica follows suit, grabbing a few things from the truck's cab (Including the bottle of batarian ale that gets shoved into her jacket) and then stepping back out and shutting the door. She keeps a hand in front of her face in an attempt at staving off the painful cold wind. She hurries to tug down the truck bed and fold back part of the tarp before climbing up into it and hastily working on moving the things they need towards the