December 20th. 7PM local time. Terminus Systems. Phoenix Massing. Northern hemisphere of Aite, orbiting Typhon. Independent spaceport of Freedom Falls. The cargo ramp of the MSV Stuck In Reverse descends to reveal an unremarkable hangar. The ship itself is a modular Kowloon-class freighter carrying two cargo modules and a single habitation module. The passenger quarters were cramped and offered little in the way of privacy or comfort - a
#Spaceport – September 13, 2019
dozen simple bunk beds with sheets of questionable cleanliness and a footlocker each for storage. At least it beats sleeping in a cargo hold. Food came at a premium - the well-prepared would have brought their own provisions for the trip. Tamil is ushered out of the ship alongside the rest of the passengers - most of them human, although there's a pair of asari and a lone quarian as well. The hangar they find themselves in is a pretty standard
affair. A couple of storage crates and power cells are stacked along one of the walls, and the freighter's crew has already started dragging a refuelling cable across the floor. There's a door against the east door towards which most of the passengers are heading, aside from the quarian. The latter is heading for the main hangar door, a much larger affair which is standing wide open, revealing the center of the spaceport where open-air landing
pads service ships that cannot fit in enclosed hangars, and empty ground is offered for those that cannot afford either. Two things stand out - First, sizable portion of the available landing space is taken up by a haphazard assortment of small freighters, shuttlecraft and other miscellaneous vessels, a number of colorful tents and even a few simple prefabs surrounding and connecting them. A quarian encampment. Second, it's snowing. Heavily.
Travelers that have done their research may be aware that Aite's northern hemisphere is currently in mid-winter, and that Freedom Falls faces significant seasonal weather changes. There's mounds of snow here and there on the spaceport grounds but it's kept mostly kept clear so as to not impede ships, or the cargo trucks ferrying goods to and from freighters. The sun is set, but it's not exactly dark outside. Even through thick clouds Litae
shines bright, looming in the sky. The result is an eerie white glow in the gray clouds above, a diffuse light that reflects in the snow.
Tamil - When Tamil planned for the journey, he was reasonably sure he planned for the weather. Having spent most of his life in climatised interiors, he guessed wrong - the cold is noticeable even through the extra layers of clothes. On the other hand, in regards to things that could have gone wrong, 'a little chilled' certainly beats walking into a toxic atmosphere unprepared. <c>
- It's normal to feel out of place right after landing on a planet one hasn't previously visited. It always feels permanent, but never is. So this was Aite. Summer on this hemisphere was an eternity away, but he would withhold judgement until he'd seen one. The air felt rather light - it'd take some getting used to, like everything else.
The humans, as well as one of the two asari, depart through the door to the east, showing little interest in lingering in the grimy, and, as refuelling and cargo unloading starts, loud, hangar. The other asari, a young woman with dark, gray-blue skin seems to have shared Tamil's mistake - She's wearing only a pair of worn sneakers, ill-fitting pants and a tattered hoodie, and she shivers as she stops for a moment, letting the other passengers
move ahead. Her gaze is drawn to the view through the hangar door, looking almost in awe. Of what isn't exactly clear. The quarian, meanwhile, has already left the hangar, moving on her way towards the encampment. Her envirosuit is wrapped in navy blue cloth covered in an intricate, trinagular pattern of silver. It must have been beautiful once, but it's worn and frayed now, and stained with grease and... what might be blood.
Tamil - Despite the chill, Tamil is less interested in lingering. He frowns, more inwardly than outwardly, at the hesitant asari. He's noticed the blood on the quarian's coverings, but it feels like just another detail of the area - somewhat expected, if a little alien to his mind. Self-defence? Crime? Or something fractionally more reputable? <c>
- None of his business, either way. Or rather, so he reminds himself, usually none of his business. He only has that many credits to burn and his background in security might make a bit of nosing around a good idea; that was partly what he'd come here for, after all. <c>
- He decides to trail behind the quarian at a respectable distance, thinking very little of it for the time being. If he loses the trail, he'll pick up another. There's much to take in - the place, the people, and even the faintest hints as to his personal quest. He shivers a little as he stalks through the weather. <c>
- The first concrete plan beyond the indeterminate sight-seeing would be to find somewhere to stay - a hotel for the night, perhaps.
The asari continues after the other passengers after lingering for a moment. The quarian, meanwhile, continues towards the encampent. She's got a large backpack that seems overflowing with... well, it's a little hard to tell right now, but aboard the ship it seemed to be mainly spare parts. Given the rough weather - the wind is quite noticable once Tamil has left the shielding comfort of the hangar - and the evening hour, there's not all that
much activity on the spaceport grounds. A couple of vehicles are out and about, one truck heading towards the freighter he just disembarked, no doubt to load up on goods. There's virtually no pedestrians. Aside from the two of them of course. The quarian encampment on the other hand, is buzzing with life. Portable lights illuminate the area, hooked up to ship reactors, and there's people moving about. The quarian traveler starts to slow as she
draws nearer, before hesitantly coming to a complete stop, taking a deep breath and adjusting the straps on her bag. She doesn't seem to have noticed Tamil.
Tamil - Ugh. One thing seems increasingly clear to Tamil - he can't stay outside, not until he's gotten into something warmer. Of course, he's travelling light - when one plans to explore a large area of space, it's best not to be materially attached to too many things. <c>
- As much as the quarian encampment raises some questions, all currently minor, he reckons he's better off leaving it for later. Damn, it's cold. Inwardly, he scolds his past self and hunches into his clothes awkwardly, the effort doing little to actually reduce his surface area. <c>
- He could just turn and hurry toward where the other passengers went; but having wandered out here, he might as well try to make himself briefly, superficially useful. <c>
- "Hello and sorry," he remarks through the muffling snowfall, coming a little closer, his posture as non-threatening as possible. "Quarian, do you need any medical attention?" <c>
- He reckons the answer is almost surely no, the blood looked dried and old from a distance, but expressing that (at least partly earnest) curiosity should let him get away with having gone in this far too cold direction in the first place.
The quarian jumps slightly as she's roused from her thoughts, Tamil's approach having gone unheard with the weather. She looks the salarian's way and blinks, the glow of her eyes briefly disappearing beneath her blue faceplate. "Oh. Uhm... no?" she says, seeming a little confused by the question, her stance a little tense. There's a moment of awkward silence before she realizes the cause, glancing down at her arm. "Oh! No, it's-... it just
doesn't wash out." she says. "I'm fine." It's hard to tell with quarians, but she sounds young. And tired.
Tamil - Given the reaction, Tamil thinks she might be more used to encountering threats than being one herself. He smiles encouragingly - it's a bit difficult to pull off in the unpleasant weather, his body signalling that the current situation isn't 'encouraging' at all and wanting nothing to do with the associated emotion, but he puts in his best effort anyway.
- "I apologise for spooking you," he says. "I'm glad you're all right; I worked in station security for a while and specialise in medical biology - the combination installs some habits that are hard to shirk."
- He shivers, but wills himself to stay put just long enough to add a polite: "I dressed a little too lightly for the weather, so I need to head over there," he gestures to more permanent habitation. "But for whatever it's worth, in future, if you spot me and I can help, let me know."
- It was likely just a fleeting, transient contact, but he is going to have to make a few of those in the coming days. Some of them might even turn to acquaintances.
The quarian seems a little puzzled, but nods regardless. "Oh. I-... alright." she says with a glance towards the spaceport buildings. Tamil's options more or less boil down to heading back to the hangar and taking the indoor path to the exit, or going straight for the spaceport's main gate, where the road leads into the rest of town. The quarian is lingering for the moment, perhaps not wanting to be rude in case the stranger has something more
Tamil - If the weather were any better, Tamil would have tried to talk a bit more, but it's biting at his shoulders even through the three layers of garbs. The layering isn't the main problem, of course - they're just too loose-fitting to keep out the wind. Turns out clothes meant for 'any weather'... aren't always.
- Tamil begins to stalk to the main gate, rearranging his thoughts and reaching back to his own make-shift rucksack - really more of an awkwardly abused duffle bag - as though to ensure it's still there, as if the pressure against his back weren't enough of a reminder.
- The whole get-up certainly befits someone on some kind of spiritual journey. Too bad Aite just isn't a place for spiritual journeys - especially the sorts that ultimately require snooping around. But there's no helping it. Politeness would have to smooth over most of it. Savviness would come with time.
- In theory, Tamil should already know roughly where in town to go. He hasn't outright booked the hotel in advance, but there had been one on the map that he'd studied that he had intended to aim for as a loose Plan A. Whether it actually existed was another matter entirely, but he hoped so.
The quarian collects herself after Tamil departs, looking for a few moments longer at the assortment of ships and tents in front of her before continuing onward. As for Tamil... an extranet search would have revealed that there's a number of potential establishments to choose from in Freedom Falls, of varying degrees of repute. The Miner's Respite would have stood out as seemingly the most recommended for new arrivals. Good food. Decent rooms
for decent prices. And most importantly, safe. Not too far from the spaceport either, although it's still going to be a bit of a walk. A truck rolls through the gate as the salarian starts to get closer, the glare of the headlights blinding for a moment before it passes on its way deeper into the spaceport. Like most of the vehicles he's seen it's a bulky, sturdy thing, with large wheels and good suspension meant for challenging terrain. On a
planet like Aite, with a low population and no centralized government, there's not much in the way of infrastructure once you leave the settlements. The gate has floodlights that illuminate the area for the passing vehicles. There's an armed guard at the entrance. A middle-aged human man in thick winter clothing, a collapsed handgun mag-plated to his hip. He waves another vehicle through before taking a long puff of his cigarette, exchanging
words with a similarly dressed turian before the latter heads inside through a side door in the gate. What exactly is said goes underheard between the wind and the passing truck.
Tamil - A cigarette - lung cancer, then, eventually. A slow death, easily interrupted by a completely different, more fast-paced one along the way. ...like exposure. Tamil grimaces, but resolves to stop berating himself about it. The self-mockery wouldn't make him any warmer. Moving is at least taking some of the edge off it.
- He gestures a greeting to the guard - hopefully making it clear he's not interested in slipping by unnoticed or causing any other kind of trouble, but for now assuming he's free to move on. He's slow enough that the guard could easily stop him, be it with a gesture or direct intervention, but given the chill, the saunter hardly manages to look casual.
The guard shoots Tamil a look, probably owing to his climate-inappopriate garb, before waving him through. Not much reason to stop someone coming from the spaceport. "You know where you're going?" he asks with little more than a passing interest, perhaps thinking the salarian looks a little clueless. His voice matches the weathered face and the graying beard. The rest of town can be seen through the gate now - the spaceport stands a bit
higher than most of it, granting something of a view. It's a far cry from a Citadel Space metropolis - the population here is counted in the thousands, not the millions or billions. Two or three story buildings are the norm, spread out across the river valley. They cluster closer, and sometimes a bit taller here, near the commerical center of the city. It's a mishmash of architectures. Older, sleek asari buildings from the original research
colony mix with various prefabs as well as locally built buildings that are mostly human-made. The road from the spaceport seems to turn into one of the town's main streets just downhill. In the distance, there are tall, imposing mountains, providing a natural defense for the town.
Tamil - "The Minor's Respite," Tamil confirms. If that's closed down by now, hopefully he'd find out about it now, in a passing comment. But it should be fine, and he should have enough of a bearing to find it on his own.
The man nods slightly, nodding his head down the street, seeming to take the fact that Tamil atleast knows where he's headed as a sign he's probably not going to go get himself killed. "Might wanna get a jacket." he suggests before taking another drag of his cigarette and leaning back against the gate wall.
Tamil - "Yeah," Tamil confirms, in the tone of one duly chastened, but already having gone through plenty of due chastening on his own already. Then he's through the gate and following the route he's sure he ought to take. He knows he can trust his memory, but maps don't always correspond to the real world, so he'll likely relax once he's inside the hotel and not a moment sooner.
The walk towards the Respite is an uneventful one - at first. The larger streets are fairly well-maintained, plowed on a regular basis. Not that there's too much traffic. Some trucks, and occasional lighter vehicles likely meant mostly for transport across town. Some pedestrians, although not all that many in the current weather. In fact, as he continues on, he soon finds himself the only person on the street. Aside from the human man that
limps out in front of him, that is. His drab gray jacket has its hood up, and a scarf covers his face. "Hey!" he calls out as he blocks Tamil's path, lifting his right hand out off his jacket pocket slightly to show off the pistol concealed within. "Credits. Now." he says sharply, holding out his left hand. Tamil might notice someone else has stepped out behind him.
Tamil - Tamil's initial, inappropriate reaction is one of mild annoyance: Someone is between him and a potential warm room. That he's gesturing at him with a gun seems almost secondary. In the frigid weather it just seems like a frustrating delay.
- "Might be a bit short-sighted, don't you think?" Tamil asks, a tired sigh laced through his words. He's going to be able to get at his credits about as easily as he's going to get at his gun; so either he'll talk the two down or this was going to get more unpleasant than simple posturing. Tamil quite preferred to win his battles from a distance, not by meeting them face-to-face.
- Or just not battle at all, given it was nearly impossible to get engaged in one without that both sides suffered a net loss.
- Either way, there's just about enough heat left in his body that he can move quickly if he has to - his attention almost more behind him than ahead, in case the other person tries to give him a good whack over the head or a literal stab in the back...pack, presumably, given it's in the way, but still.
The human's eyebrows furrow. "Credits." he repeats, a bit harsher, wiggling the gun a little for emphasis - seems like he's not very interested in conversation. The person behind Tamil is a batarian man, dressed in similar rugged winter wear. He's got a knife in his right hand, and is shifting impatiently. "And the backpack." he adds in a growl.
Tamil - "No," Tamil says simply and without bothering with a stern intonation, moving to pass the character infront of him, keeping some distance, remaining alert.
- It's not all reckless annoyance; he's met his share of muggers that don't actually follow up on their threats when the victim doesn't bother to cower and tremble in fear. Aiming at a moving target is difficult even in close quarters and muggers are usually not trained marksmen - he certainly can't dodge a bullet, but he can usually dodge the associated aim.
- Of course, if they'll follow through, his best bet is to step close to the character ahead, wrest the gun from him in a deft motion - practised quite a few times in his time at the station, not always only in theory - and use that on the other, as it was going to deliver more quickly than his own equipment.
- But he would at the very least get hurt in the process, as the most positive possible outcome - and if he managed, one of his attackers would likely die.
The human seems a little caught off-guard by the refusal, but sidesteps to block Tamil's path again, the gun leaving his pocket and his other hand going to push him back. "Hey! Wasn't a question." he snarls with a shake of his head. The batarian steps up behind the salarian now, tugging harshly at the backpack.
Tamil - Before the batarian's fingers get a good grip on his luggage, Tamil's irritation snaps into motions he's memorised from his prior training - his posture twists in the blink of an eye and a generous step slides him around the human to the human's left, extending an arm to reach around to the human's right side from behind,
trying to seize the offending gun from the angle least expected, to whip it around the few inches it would need to move to aim at the batarian. Aiming, as mentioned, is hard even in close quarters, but Tamil does have training; it might not be enough for the move to work, but he has a chance as long as the element of surprise is on his side.
"Hey! What the-" The human would-be mugger is caught off-guard by Tamil's swiftness, and as he struggles for control of the handgun a shot goes off. His batarian companion staggers backward, dropping his knife and clutching a now bleeding arm. There's the briefest moment of immobile shock and... he bolts, leaving his associate to struggle alone, trying to elbow the salarian to get him off of him while keeping hold of the gun.
Tamil - The struggle combines with the momentum that had already sealed Tamil's follow-up fate - without any pretense of grace, he thuds to the ground at a side-on angle, himself also keeping his grip on the gun, with gravity assisting the associated pulling motion. But it's still cold and his fingers might not deign to keep the grip.
- Fortunately, they might not have to. With Tamil essentially lying on the ground, one spindly leg kicks up, aiming for the human's knees from behind.
The gun goes flying as Tamil falls with both of them still trying to hold onto it, skidding across an icey patch of street. The human barely has time to react before Tamil's kick hits his bad leg, causing him to let out a loud cry of pain and crumble to the ground. Well, that was lucky.
Tamil - Of course, Tamil is now lying on the ground, so the luck only extends so far. He scrambles to his feet as quickly as he can, but right now he's certainly not objectively any faster than the human he just knocked over, and he's lost his element of surprise.
- Still, he rises just enough to throw himself toward the gun - still sideways, so he'd eventually skid across the ice in parallel with his luggage, since he can't quite twist to slide with his back right now - and gives his best attempt at reaching the firearm before the human does.
The mugger is still distracted by the sharp pain in his leg when Tamil scrambles for the gun. He's barely had time to sit up when he spots the salarian grabbing the gun. "Woahwoahwoah!" he's quick to exclaim, both hands lifting, palms foward as he inches backwards, still on his ass on the frozen ground.
Tamil is awkwardly lying on his side, albeit with the firearm pointed firmly at the human, his posture static for the time being, his gaze latched onto his opponent. "I think I'll hold onto this," Tamil says, finally, his voice a little jittery from all this sudden ruckus. "Please go. And before you try this again, please remember that when I say 'no', I mean 'no'."
The human doesn't need to be told twice, he scrambles to his feet in a pained wince, cursing as he limps off as fast as he can manage, hurrying to get out of line of sight. Another weapon lost to an intended victim barely a month since the last time... maybe it's time to give up on the whole robbing thing. The pistol Tamil now finds himself in possession of is a basic M-3 Predator. About as unremarkable as they get.
Tamil - Tamil sags a bit even before the human is fully out of view. He isn't quite registering the pain of the impact yet, but he knows it will catch up to him soon. Useless violence. Pulling a face, he pushes himself into a sit and catches his breath, glancing down at the crude weapon distastefully.
- He allows himself the luxury of staying sat down a little longer regardless, until the bite of the cold penetrates the haze of fight-or-flight hormones. Then he picks himself up and continues towards The Miner's Respite. Nothing in his luggage should be prone to breaking easily from the jostles he gave it, but he'll have to take careful inventory anyway.
There's nothing quite like a Terminus Systems welcome. At least thing ended much better than they could have. Thankfully it's not long before the Miner's Respite comes into view. It's a distinctly human building. Bricks, wood and concrete, with an unassuming, sloped steel roof to keep the snow from building up. A sign on the corner above the entrance advertises drinks, food and lodging. There's an inviting, warm glow coming from the windows,
Tamil 's thoughts coalesce into one brief secular prayer: Please have a free room. Then he's inside, heaving a sigh of pure pleasure at being out of the cold; even given that the lobby itself near the door isn't very warm, it's still so much better than to be slave to a climate that had been in the process of contesting his claim to his limbs.
- A little awkwardly, he's still holding the firearm, but by the muzzle rather than by the hilt, hopefully a universal gesture for 'I am not planning to use this'. The pain from his stunts is starting to register as he approaches the reception desk, but he'll be able to ignore it until he starts unpacking. That's when he'll start grumbling and whining, he guarantees it.