#Kirill'sTruck – April 22, 2020

December 21st. Despite Jessica's still being a bit sniffly she sticks to her word, taking over driving duties for the day. That also means she has taken control of the music, so it's back to Terminus tunes. Mostly bands nobody has heard of. A bit of loud, throaty batarian music. Occasionally a more mainstream song that was just too popular not to have a presence out in the Terminus. She seems to have a little more energy today than she has

the previous few days, hibernation beneath a nest of blankets seemingly having done some good.

Jessica is gripping the wheel with one hand, head boredly propped up by her other hand, elbow wedged against the driver's side window. Kirill's sunglasses adorn her face, protecting her from the painfully bright sun reflected off the blanket of white. They've been on the move for a few hours since waking. That new burst of energy she seemed to have persisted for the first couple of hours. She obnoxiously sang along with a few obscure

songs, seemingly just for the sake of drowning Yan Sun in (pleasant) misery. But the past hour or so she's grown suspiciously quiet as they grow ever closer to the new dot on the navigation system that denotes Traveler's Gorge.

Yan Sun is taking advantage of her time in the passenger seat to stretch her legs and sit more comfortably. Even if she was perfectly ready to drive the whole way back while Jessica regained her strength it's an undeniable relief to have a break from driving duty. The promise of imminent relief from the cramped space of the truck and the dirt that feels like it has seeped into her bones has left her more energized as well today, the quiet

grumpiness that has lingered under the surface the last few days vanquished. Jessica's Terminus sing-a-long even managed to draw out a few laughs. Still, it's been hard not to pick up on Jessica's nerves as they start to near Traveler's Gorge. She's gotten quiet in turn, knowing better than to bring attention to it, thinking back to the day they left Freedom Falls instead, to her talk with Kirill. She tries to imagine what the Gorge

might be like, not for the first time. With a shake of her head she tears her mind back to the here and now, prodding Jessica's leg with one of her feet and leaning forward to study the map. "How are we looking...?"

Jessica is pulled from her thoughts by the unexpected voice, Yan Sun's presence seemingly forgotten amongst the combination of whatever was stirring in her head and the overbearing music. She furrows her brow, the creases in her forehead hidden by the floofy hat she continues to wear as she glances Yan Sun's way. "Mmm?" she hums, eyes hidden by the mirrored sunglasses. A quick glance towards the dashboard and the rapidly converging

bloops causes her to draw in a breath, shoulders bouncing in a shrug. "Maybe-... one hour?" she suggests, gaze hastily turning back towards the field of white in front of them as the continue in the shadow of the the Dactyl Mountains.

Yan Sun nods a couple of times, gaze lingering on the hologram and the little dot ahead of them. Part of her wants to ask how Jessica is feeling, but she knows that's unlikely to be productive. Instead she waits for a lull in the music before asking: "So... what should I be expecting? Is there a lot of people there...?"

Jessica settles her head back against her free hand, once more looking out through the windshield. Not that there's much to watch out for. It's a pretty easy drive when the weather isn't acting up. But a few moments pass as she pretends to focus on the drive rather than answering immediately. Truthfully, she's been wondering the same thing. How much has changed since she left? It's not like she's been gone all that long, but even in

just the short amount of time she spent there the small outpost went through several big changes. "Mmm. Not so many." she says. "Maybe six or seven." she says flatly.

Yan Sun looks surprised by Jessica's words, eyebrows rising a little. "Oh." she says, trying to adjust the image in her head to match with this information, slowly recontextualizing other things said. She'd clearly been expecting a larger group from how Jessica and the others had talked about it. "Didn't realize it was that small." she comments, eyebrows furrowing a little as her gaze turns ahead as well, as if she might spot it somewhere

amid the mountains.

Jessica hums a quick, "Mmm." in agreement. "Is only one building. With a bucket to shit in." she adds. "The shower that they are having? It is a big hose. You will get undressed outside and then I will spray you while you turn." she continues, though there's a dumb grin angling to escape as she focuses intently on the terrain ahead to try and fight it.

Yan Sun 's face fills with dismay as her gaze snaps to Jessica. "What?!" she blurts out, the exclamation filled with the horror of having her dreams of a hot shower and an actual toilet rudely snatched away. "But you said-..." she trails off, eyes narrowing suspiciously as she studies the side of Jessica's face.

Jessica's muffled snort slips out, dimples showing through as she continues to try and fight off the widening grin as Yan Sun's disappointment is put on display. "I will-..." she tries to keep a straight face as she switches hands, bringing her left onto the steering wheel as she looks to Yan Sun again, pantomiming spraying her with a hose with her right hand. "...Like-... like this." she continues, doing a terrible job at keeping the

snickering from slipping out. "Shwoooo." That's water being sprayed. Probably.

Yan Sun 's lips turn into a thin line, shooting Jessica an unamused glare before letting out a theatrical sigh and turning to look straight ahead, pointedly ignoring Jessica. She has to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling despite herself.

Jessica relents, shoulders bouncing in a hearty laugh as she settles her attention back on the windshield, relaxing a little more into her seat. "How I am supposed to know how many people are there? Mmm?!" she asks in her usual brand of frustrating amusement. "I didn't count them all and put it in my omni-tool. There are people. You will see." she explains. At any rate, the exchange seems to have relaxed her a little. She reaches up

with her right hand, using her index finger to nudge the bridge of the sunglasses up a little higher as a sniffle escapes her. "The hose thing is true, though." she insists despite the stupid, amused smirk that returns.

Yan Sun crosses her arms, making a show of grumbling a little. "I was promised a shower. If there's no shower, I'll never forgive you. I hope you know that." she warns, her voice full of false severity.

Jessica snorts loudly. "What?! If I am pouring water on you, how this is not a shower? Mmm?!" she challenges.

On point with her estimate, it's around an hour before the sturdy, grey wall of the Gorge is visible. Signs of life began to appear well before the structure, however. Overlapping tire tracks dug into the snow has marked the way for the past half hour or so. Jutting out from the sheer stone, the wall boxes in a canyon pass set in the mountains and it spans the entire width of the Gorge, only broken up by the gate in the center of it. Mounted on

the wall near the gate is a sign denoting the outpost's name. 'Traveler's Gorge'. It's etched out of sheet metal a few shades darker than the rest of the wall. No company was hired to build this. It seems to mostly be made of reclaimed metal, clean welding lines visible where they're joined together. Just outside of the gate- barely a visible speck from this distance- is a small prefabricated shack. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jessica's description

of the place is immediately proven untrue. Even from outside the tops of a few buildings can be seen. And as their approach brings them closer to the front gate and gives them more of a straight on angle, what appears to be a large antennae can even be seen jutting upwards deeper in the gorge. It's unlikely they're pooping in buckets and washing themselves with a hose.

Jessica sits up a bit straighter as the familiar sight comes into view, grip on the steering wheel tightening. She continues on in the wake of tire tracks left behind as they approach the outpost.

Yan Sun likewise straightens up in her seat, studying the structures up ahead with no shortage of curiosity. She's hardly surprised that Jessica was bullshitting, of course. As they crawl ever-closer she glances to the woman next to her, her obvious tension prompting her to place a hand on her knee and give it a squeeze, expression soft as she studies her for a moment.

Jessica slows down as apprehension takes hold. She didn't exactly leave on the best of terms. Now she's just gonna... what? Act like nothing happened? Stroll in like she's still welcome? She doesn't acknowledge the hand on her knee, merely swallowing the lump in her throat as she glances Yan Sun's way. "This is it." she points out matter-of-factly, ignoring the pit in her stomach as if she doesn't have a care in the world about how this

will play out. Attention back on the windshield, the truck lurches closer to the small shack.

There's some movement inside of the shack, visible through the window. It's not long before someone steps through the door. A dark skinned human man. He's thin, though you wouldn't know it at first glance given the layers of winter clothing he's wearing. He's of average height and peers out from beneath a pair of layered tuques with obvious confusion on his face as he studies the truck from the open doorway. He zips his jacket up as the truck

comes to a stop, hands dipping into the pockets of his thick jacket as he approaches. "Didn't know we were expecting anyone-..." he begins to voice his confusion in a raised voice so he can be easily heard, seemingly aware that the truck is one of theirs. But as soon as he gets up close enough to see through the now-open driver's side window his words are immediately cut short. Ridiculous hat and sunglasses aren't enough to hide a face like

that. "...Jessica?" he asks, his confusion only worsening.

Yan Sun offers a small nod in the face of Jessica pointing out the obvious. She can't help but be nervous on her behalf as they roll up toward the shack by the gate. She leaves her hand where it is as she watches the man approach, perhaps hoping that the contact will provide some small measure of comfort.

Jessica watches the approaching man, elbow resting against the now-open window frame. The confusion in his voice is like a sharpened blade. Unwelcoming. Confused. Hurt. How do you respond to that? An apology? An explanation? What does he know? What has Kirill told him? Has Kirill told him anything? They fed her. Put a roof over her head. Maybe the closest thing to safety she's ever known. And she pretty much just gave them the finger

and left them in the dust. How do you fix that? "Hey, fuckface." she says. Yeah, that was probably right. It felt right. "Where is Kirill?"

Thomas doesn't seem all that offput by the response. No, that's pretty much par for the course when dealing with her. He seems more caught off guard by the whole situation than anything else. "...Hey." he says, his response delayed and sounding more like a question than a greeting. "He's-... uhh-..." he begins, but it only takes a moment for him to regain his composure, giving a shake of his head as he does. "Wait, wait, wait. What in

the-..." he begins before hazarding a brief glance towards the gate. Grabbing ahold of the truck's door, he climbs onto the step so he can better see into the cabin without having to look up. "What in the hell are you doing here, Jess? Does Kirill know you're here?" he asks. The new height has allowed him a better look inside and his gaze naturally wanders over to Yan Sun.

Jessica gives a loud scoff, the eyeroll practically felt in her tone even if the sunglasses obscure it. "Don't worry. We won't be here long." she says as if to imply she's well aware that she's not welcome. "Kirill?" she repeats expectantly.

Yan Sun winces a little, both at the tone in the stranger's voice, and Jessica's choice of greeting when she replies. She remains silent as they talk, pulling her hand back into her lap. When Thomas climbs up to look in at them she flashes him a brief, uncomfortable smile upon meeting his gaze, lifting her hand in an awkward little wave behind Jessica.

Thomas lets out a frustrated sigh in response to Jessica's usual standoffishness. "You know that's not what I meant..." he says, already growing exasperated by the difficult woman.

Jessica tilts her head back against her seat as a short bout of silence passes between them. "I will talk to you later, okay?" she offers in annoyance when it becomes obvious that she's not going to be passed through to Kirill until she appeases him. "I need to see Kirill."

Thomas draws in a deep breath. "Yeah..." he says softly, defeat slipping into his tone when it's clear he's not gonna get any answers. His gaze travels from Jessica back to the unfamiliar woman in the passenger's seat who seems to be just as uncomfortable as he is. He offers a small, polite nod her way before dropping back off the step, snow crunching beneath the weight of his boots as he does. He puts his back to the truck as he retrieves

an omni-tool from the jacket of his pocket. "Uhhh... Kirill? Got a bit of a situation out here at the gate. You busy?" he can be heard relaying as he takes a few steps away from the truck.

Yan Sun shoots Jessica a brief glance before watching the man call in their arrival on his omni-tool. She opts for silence as the safest option at the moment.

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