#TheMonument – July 31, 2019

The following morning begins with an abrupt wake up. Trace and Malek, being early risers, seem to assume the same of Jessica and Yan Sun. Or at the very least assume their intentions are to get an early start. Probably not a bad assumption given the fact that they're camped out in the middle of nowhere on a lawless planet. Light pats against the outside of the tent and name calls greet the sleeping pair. A belligerent Jessica is all that's

required to inform them that their assumptions were wrong. Very wrong. Thankfully, it seems they quickly warmed up to the way she is during the night the four shared together and seem mostly unfazed by her storm of expletives in an impressive amount of languages and dirty looks. Thankfully- as with most of Jessica's moods- it only lasted for so long. Trace and Malek stuck around to help the pair with loading the truck back up. Having been

given a warm place to spend the night, they felt it was the least they could do. And, much to Jessica's surprise (And possibly dismay. Her grenade launcher isn't seeing any action), it seems they haven't stolen anything.

Jessica is at the rear of the truck, recklessly shoving her banged up armor crate back into the bed of the truck. Like forcing a square peg into a round hole she just keeps pushing at it. Her eyes are heavy from a short sleep and she wrestles with a thumping headache from a monster of a hangover. The casualties of the previous night are strewn all across the battlefield. Broken bottles. Bottles that weren't entirely finished, but were

somehow lost track of and left behind when another beer was claimed. Most of them are notches on Jessica's belt, but the pair of strangers did a healthy amount of drinking, too. Jessica drank them under the table, of course, but it wasn't a competition. At least, not to anyone who wasn't Jessica (She totally won). They certainly look to be faring much better than she is, too. Lacking the same borderline-sick look on their faces

or the sluggishness with which Jessica has moved throughout much of the morning. Or the soft groan she makes anytime a loud noise was made. The burdens of a winner.

Yan Sun 's hangover is blessedly mild since, unlike Jessica, she held back on the beers. Also unlike Jessica she's offered friendly morning greetings to Trace and Malek. That's not to say she was thrilled about the early wakeup, of course - they had a busy night, and she's not a morning person under the best of circumstances. She hid under the comforting warmth of the sleeping bag until forced to move by a grumpy Jessica. After going through

her improvised morning routine to get ready she's gotten busy doing her part to help pack up. She drops the heater onto the truckbed with a clank, pushing it inward. She casts a glance to her side at Jessica, watching her futile struggle with a mixture of sympathy and amusement. "Showing that crate who's boss...?"

Jessica winces at the sound of the heater hitting the truckbed. The screech that sounds out as Yan Sun shoves it across the truckbed seems pretty close to forcing a vein to erupt from Jessica's forehead. The throbbing in her head is palpable in the way that she narrows her eyes, her left eyelid practically vibrating in tune with the unappealing sound. Of course Kirill's commandeered sunglasses hide most of that, leaving little to be

seen aside from the jittering of her eyebrow. She doesn't answer Yan Sun's question, instead responding with: "I am going to be beating you to death with this-..." she gestures towards the heater Yan Sun is putting away with a raise of her chin, "...if you are any more louder, kitty cat." There's not a whole lot of energy behind the threat.

Malek arrives at the truck just in time to catch the tail end of Jessica's threat. "Well that just sounds like a whole lot of unnecessary effort. Can't imagine it would be too easy to swing that thing around." he chimes in as he drops the large firepit onto the tailgate of the truck. Which, suffice to say, makes a whole lot of noise.

Jessica leans forward as the sound rings out, pressing her floofy hat against the crate in front of her, as she lets out a groan as if the sound cuts right through her. "I am going to beat you to death with this if you are not being more careful!" she warns Malek, gesturing wildly with a hand that comes nowhere near the firepit, though it's likely that it was the intended object of her threat.

Trace hoists the cooler into the truckbed from the side, letting it drop into a free spot with a loud thud, unaware of Jessica's threats. It gets another groan from Jessica, but she doesn't bother lifting her head or threatening him this time. He casts a sweeping glance out over their campsite as if inspecting it for anything that might have been left behind. "Well, believe that's everything." he decides as he dusts some dirt off his hands

from the cooler, looking over at Yan Sun.

Yan Sun lets out a quiet snicker as Jessica threatens her, remaining in place for a moment. As Malek arrives and causes the hungover woman to lean her head against the crate she places a hand on her back, rubbing gently back and forth with an amused grin on her lips, before leaning in to press a quick kiss against Jessica's cheek. Afterwards her attention turns to Trace, his words prompting her to also look out around them for missed items.

Upon verifying that they seem to have everything she flashes him a small smile. "Thanks for the help. We appreciate it." she says, deciding to speak for Jessica as well.

Jessica just moves against the crate. A nod, maybe? She takes in a few deep breaths before lifting her head up from the crate. She seems to have given up on trying to fit it in the snug spot along the side of the truck between a few other items. Instead, she just nudges it far enough into the truck to be able to get the tailgate closed and hangs her head, hands gripping the edge of the tailgate to keep herself propped upright.

Malek gives a big smile as he watches Jessica, seemingly taking no small amount of amusement in her suffering. She did threaten him with a grenade launcher, after all. He nods a few times to Yan Sun. "Don't mention it. Least we could do after you two gave us a safe spot to lay our head for the night." he says in response, shooting a glance Trace's way who agrees with a nod of his own.

Trace remains at the side of the truckbed for a moment before joining Malek near Jessica and Yan Sun. "Before you go let me go ahead and-..." he shoves a hand down into his jacket pocket to retrieve his omni-tool, "...get you two the coordinates of our farm." A lime green interface that nobody in their right minds could ever like erupts from it and he begins to poke through it. "Now, grandma is a bit-..." he tilts his head to one side and

then the other as he searches for the right word.

Malek is very animated behind Trace, mouthing the word 'EVIL', eyes wide. Though, judging by the smile on his face, it's not too serious of a warning.

Trace opens his omni-tool up to transmit the coordinates to Yan Sun as well as his contact information. "...Cautious." he decides. Malek's movements cause him to shoot a glance back his way, brow furrowed, seemingly already aware of what he must be doing.

Malek nods sharply, hands coming to his hips. He puffs his cheeks out as he pulls in a breath, acknowledging Trace with a few additional nods. "Cautious!" he agrees. "Mmhmm. Yep. That's what-... I was just about to-... to-... uhh-..." he trails off, nodding a few more times. "Cautious." Another nod. "That woman is-... is veerrry.... cautious."

Trace cocks an eyebrow as he studies Malek, the man's intent not lost on him. But he merely shakes his head and looks back to Yan Sun. "I'm gonna try getting a message out to her, so you two just give her your names. Let her know you ran into us last night-..." he shrugs as if it should be that simple, "...and you got yourself a warm bed, a hot shower, and a good meal."

Yan Sun 's hand shifts as Jessica lifts her head, lingering on her neck idly, thumb stroking gently back and forth while her attention is focused on Trace and Malek. Her smile widens a bit and she nods in response to their words. Malek's theatrics garner a snort of surprised laughter, mitten-clad hand springing up to her mouth to muffle it. "Thank you again for the offer..." she says, voice a little off from the laugh that's caught in her

throat and pushed back down. "Definitely wouldn't say no to a hot shower." she admits, the prospect sounding quite appealing in the morning cold. Her gaze darts over to Jessica as she finds herself suddenly remembering that she hasn't really ran this by her at all yet.

Jessica finally turns about to face the pair, leaning back against the tailgate of the large truck. There's confusion on her face, though she doesn't speak up. Probably unsure if she's just forgetting something. She is, of course. Plenty of the previous night is just black spots to her. But rather than admit that, she just passes a glance Yan Sun's way.

Trace gives a single nod of his head. "Mmhmm." he says in acknowledgement. He lingers for a moment before giving the tailgate a small pat with his hand. "Alright." he sighs, "Suppose we should get a move on, too." The amused glance he shoots Malek way seems to imply that they're moving a bit slower than they had expected to be. Sticking around to help load the truck has probably put them behind schedule. Not that it's much of a 'schedule'

anyway. "You two take care of yourselves out west."

Malek gives a nod in agreement with Trace's words as he backs up from the truck. "And keep the booze out of this one's hands!" he adds, stabbing a finger in Jessica's direction with a big grin on his face. It gets the expected response. A middle finger dangled his way, but that only seems to make his grin widen. "Was nice meeting you, too, Jessica." he responds, as if her gesture was a polite sendoff.

Yan Sun nods a couple of times, her eye lit up from receiving the coordinates and contact info from Trace. Malek and Jessica's exchange prompts a small smirk. "Alright... was nice to meet you, guys." she says sincerely, her friendly tone contrasting Jessica's hungover grumping. "Good luck with the hunting." she adds as she too starts to shift away, giving Jessica a bit of a nudge. "Want me to drive?" she suggests in a quieter tone, figuring

she might want to rest for a bit, and feeling more confident about her ability to handle the truck now that she's done it before. So, she can't park, but the driving itself was pretty straightforward.

Jessica furrows her brow and gives a few shakes of her head. "If you drive. I puke. I will drive." she decides. She seems about to start locking everything down when something strikes her and she frantically searches her pockets, moving with a bit more purpose than she has throughout the rest of the morning. The glow of her omni-tool hovers in front of her and she pokes at the interface a few times. "Hey, shitheads!" she calls out as

she lines up the interface with one hand clutched around the omni-tool, peering through the glow. She lifts her other hand to give them another one finger salute.

Malek and Trace are about halfway to their truck by the time Jessica calls out to them. Not that it's a particularly identifying call but, hey, Yan Sun is the only other one around, so who else can it be. They swing around in confusion, studying Jessica for a moment. It takes a few seconds before they realize she's trying to take a picture and it causes both of them to grow a bit more rigid. Squaring up their shoulders and attempting to not

look like they slept in a truck all night and have been wearing the same clothing for two days, the pair put on their best smiles and each lift a hand to return the salute. The audible click that sounds out from Jessica's omni-tool signals to the pair that they can relax their posture. Head shakes accompany their fading snickers as they continue on their way.

Jessica gains a small, soft smile as she studies the picture on her omni-tool for a moment to make sure it's good enough. Seemingly satisfied, the glow fades out and she stuffs the device back into her jacket pocket. Gesturing for Yan Sun to handle the tarp, she begins locking up the tailgate.

Yan Sun gains a grin as she realizes what Jessica is doing, crossing her arms and watching. She takes a peek at the result from over her shoulder before getting to work tugging the tarp across their cargo. It's not exactly a speedy process, but she gets the job done. She grabs a couple of energy drinks and chips from among the supplies she brought before closing the tarp completely.

Jessica remains near the driver's side door and watches Yan Sun. "Foods!" she encourages as she sees Yan Sun digging through the supplies. Tugging the driver's side door open, she climbs up onto the step. Something seems to catch her attention, causing her to furrow her brow and lift one leg, reaching down with a hand to give her shin a few pats. When she stands back up, there's a bit of subdued panic on her face as she rests her arms

on the top of the truck's cab, peering out overtop of it while she stands on the driver's side step. She scans the campsite for a few moments before letting out a deep breath. "I forget my knife!" she calls out to Yan Sun and thrusts a hand towards a grouping of empty and near-empty bottles near where their tent was. Her batarian blade is stabbed into the ground beside them, buried a few inches into the ground. "Go and get it!"

she orders as she swings into the driver's side and begins to start up the truck.

Yan Sun obliges, grabbing some of Jessica's sandwich supplies as well while she's digging around. She's just about to head for her door when Jessica calls out again, prompting a quiet snicker as she heads over, pinning the things she's already carrying against her chest with her right arm as she grabs the knife in her left, heading on back to Jessica while studying the menacing blade.

There's a bit of dirt caked against the batarian blade. It's not until Yan Sun is a few feet from the passenger's side door that the truck jolts forward. It only gets about 10 feet or so before abruptly stopping. Trace and Malek are at their truck, stood in the bed as they do their last check before setting out. When the truck starts moving without Yan Sun they both look that way.

Jessica can be heard from her driver's side window that she's lowered. "Hurry up, kitty cat! You are wasting time!" she scolds, the faint sound of amusement in her voice.

Yan Sun startles as the truck jerks forward without her in it. When she realizes what Jessica is up to her shoulders drop with an unamused look. She shoots a brief glance towards Trace and Malek and gives an exaggerated shake of her head before heading for the door again.

Once again, when Yan Sun is only a few feet from the passenger's side door the truck surges forward. Trace and Malek watch with passing amusement. Yan Sun's headshake is met in kind.

Jessica's muffled snicker can be heard through the 'driving gloves' clasped over her mouth. Once her amusement has died down she gives a loud, exaggerated sigh. "Why you are so slow?!" she calls out. "Mmm?!" She can be seen through the cabin's rear window leaning over and, soon after, the passenger's side door swings open.

Yan Sun flinches slightly as the truck jumps forward again. Her arm, which was outstretched to reach for the door, falls to her side with an exasperated sigh. She remains in place, eyeing the open door with suspicion. "...are you gonna stay put...?"

Jessica's voice sounds from the truck. "Are you going to be getting into the fucking truck?!" The annoying smile can practically be heard in her voice. "Let's go!"

Yan Sun hesitates for a moment, eyebrows furrowed as she cautiously approaches the truck once more.

Jessica is watching the passenger's side door, eyebrow cocked as if annoyed Yan Sun is keeping her waiting. To her credit, the truck doesn't move.

Yan Sun climbs into the truck with a scowl, dumping the supplies she brought on the seat next to her and showing off Jessica's knife. "Shouldn't fuck with me when I have your knife..." she mutters grumpily.

Jessica peers at Yan Sun through Kirill's aviator glasses, smug grin on her face. The threat is met with a condescending, fake gasp. "Mmm. I am shaking." she says deadpan. Once the passenger's side door closes the large truck lurches forward again, the light smattering atop the plateau being crushed beneath the massive tires. She passes a glance towards the pair of hunters in the rearview mirror as they work on latching down the tarp over

their truck's bed.

Yan Sun lets out a quiet sigh, putting the knife away in the glove compartment after closing the door. She looks back towards Trace and Malek as the truck starts to move, giving a little wave in the rear windshield even if they might not catch it. As she settles back down in her seat she grabs the two cans of energy drink, holding one out for Jessica while cracking the other open.

The pair of hunters do catch the waving hand in the rear window of the hulking truck. Well, Trace does. He reaches over and gives Malek's shirt a tug and nods towards the truck. The pair both lift their arms in unison, giving wide, exaggerated waves of their arms as if to make sure that they're seen.

Jessica doesn't join in on the waving, but there's a small smirk on her lips as she catches sight of the waving men in her rearview mirror. She accepts the energy drink and tucks it in between her legs for safe keeping. "You drink waaaay too much last night." she says. One hand rests against the steering wheel as the other picks at the can to open it.

Yan Sun eagerly sips her energy drink as she shifts in her seat in search of a comfortable sitting position. "Me...?" she asks questioningly, shooting Jessica a look that screams 'Really?'. "You were wasted..." she contends with a slight snort.

Jessica gives a small roll of her eyes. "I was fine." she lies. The truck is jostled about as they start to descend down off the plateau the statue- and their makeshift campsite- was situated atop. After the night of heavy drinking she's had, Jessica doesn't seem to be enjoying the bumpy ride. Drawing in a deep, hungover breath she sits back in her seat, sunglasses slipping a bit farther down her nose, allowing her to peer out overtop

Jessica them.

Yan Sun casts a brief glance back towards the monument, but she wills her mind not to dwell on it, sipping her energy drink again as her attention turns back to Jessica instead. "So... they were nice..." she says tentatively, once again shifting a little in her seat, making a face to herself. Once she's sitting more comfortably she sits the energy drink between her knees and grabs the sandwich supplies, preparing a sandwich with condiments

that she doesn't recognize.

Jessica hums a brief, "Mmm?" as she casts a glance Yan Sun's way. As she processes the question she merely gives a shrug in response. One elbow resting against the window of the driver's side door, she props her head up with her hand. The other hand rests loosely against the bottom of the steering wheel for a few moments as they continue to thump off of the short plateau. "They did not steal our shit. Is better than I am expecting from

them." she says, making it sound like a compliment. The two hunters and their truck have fallen out of sight and the statue at the top of the plateau gets smaller and smaller as they get further from it.

Yan Sun lets out a quiet snort, continuing with her sandwich-crafting, impeded a bit by the fact that she's in a moving truck with no table. "Trace, uh... he said we could make a stop at their farm if we wanted to. Spend a night there. Could be nice to get out of the cold for a bit...?" she says, looking Jessica's way as she tries to get a read on whether she's amenable to the suggestion. "Sandwich?" she says, holding the one she just

finished out for her. The timing makes it look a little like a bribe.

Jessica's eyes squeeze shut as they bounce about when they come off of the hill and she allows the truck to roll to a stop when Yan Sun addresses her. She pulls a long breath in through her nose and swallows, the bouncing about seeming to have gotten to her. The offer of a sandwich feels a bit bittersweet. Puke-inducing, even. But she sure could use something to sop up some of that booze swirling around in her belly. She blinks a few

times and reaches up, using her middle finger to shove Kirill's sunglasses a bit further up her nose. Her stomach gurgles and she looks over at the sandwich, not immediately responding to Yan Sun's questions. She has more important things to worry about. "Okay, you are driving, kitty cat." she mutters, seemingly have rethought her earlier decision. She leaves the truck running as she stands up, having to tilt her head down to

not bang it on the ceiling of the truck's cab. She puts her back to the windshield so she can scoot towards the passenger's side and Yan Sun can remain seated and scoot across the seat to take her place. Energy drink in one hand, she reaches out with the other to swipe up the sandwich as she tries to scoot past.

Yan Sun furrows her eyebrows slightly as she watches Jessica's struggle against her hangover, briefly moving her free hand to the dashboard to steady herself as their ride gets bouncy. She grimaces slightly, feeling far better by Jessica but still not relishing the uneven ride, especially on an empty stomach. The concession causes her flash a tiny smirk and nod. "Sure." she says softly, letting Jessica take the sandwich as they trade places.

She takes a deep breath before placing her hands on the wheel, psyching herself up to drive again.

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