#Traveler'sGorge – January 12, 2021

Jessica's smug grin grows as she gets the desired response. When Yan Sun turns her focus to her hair, she watches in silence, tapping the toe of her boot rhythmically against the chair's backrest to some unheard song stuck in her head. The question that comes causes her grin to slip slightly, gaze turning down towards her boots. She seems to mull her thoughts over for a moment, expression twisting from frustration to confusion before

finally settling on something a bit more neutral. "She-..." she stammers quietly with a shrug of her shoulders. "...I don't know." she admits, sounding like she isn't particularly thrilled to talk about it. Too many confusing thoughts. Confusing feelings. She thought she had put this place behind her. Put these people behind her. "She does not understand why that I leave..." she continues, hazarding a look Yan Sun's way.

Yan Sun continues to brush her hair, half-turned away, maybe an attempt to not put too much pressure on Jessica, but as if sensing the eyes on her she meets her gaze for a moment, the look on her face a bit sad. "Yeah..." she says softly, a faint nod following as her gaze falls to the floor. She takes a seat on the edge of the bed, picking at the hairs stuck in the brush. "It-..." she shrugs, shooting Jessica an apologetic smile. "I know

you didn't ask me, but... I think it's good that you're doing this. Instead of leaving it like it was." she says quietly, a bit worried that acknowledging what this visit is is going to agitate Jessica. "I, uh..." another shrug, and a look to the tent wall before turning her attention to the woman sat on the table once more. "I know I wish I would've."

Jessica averts her gaze back to her boots when Yan Sun looks her way. With a sigh, she sits up a bit straighter, forearms coming to rest against her thighs. She remains quiet as Yan Sun speaks, suddenly reminded of just how little she actually knows about Yan Sun's life back on Earth and the circumstances surrounding her departure. "Mmm. You are right, kitty cat..." she says softly with a small nod of her head, gaze still resting

distantly on a bit of dried mud stuck to her boot just to have somewhere to look. But there's no real agitation to be found. Her usual hair-trigger defensiveness and combatative nature seems to have been somewhat sapped by their time on the road. From the relentless cold that seems to have settled into her bones. From sickness that's still lingering despite her best efforts to hide it, evident by the occasional sniffle and rosy

tint on the tip of her nose. From a lack of good sleep and a body of aches and pains from that cramped truck that were only exacerbated by Yan Sun's tumble off the roof. Nevermind the unexpected emotional toll the past week has had. She draws a deep breath into her lungs, dark brown eye flicking up to meet Yan Sun's gaze. "I did not ask you." she clarifies, a small grin tugging at the corner of her mouth. Okay, so maybe not

quite all the fight hasn't been drained from her.

Yan Sun is so surprised when Jessica agrees with her that she's immediately shaken out of her own regrets, the look on her face as she studies the drained woman soft, and almost a little worried. She's on the verge of extending a booted foot to prod her when the clarification draws out a fond snort, an echo of Jessica's grin crossing her own lips. She allows herself to fall back against the bed, lying across it with her feet still on

the floor, too lazy to take off her boots as she stares up at the tent ceiling. It's odd how a cot like this can feel better than the luxurious bed she grew up with after a week of sleeping in a truck. She lets out a groan as she closes her eyes, her aching, exhausted body welcoming the relaxation. "I got a message from Malek." she informs, partly in the hopes of avoiding follow-up questions about her departure from Earth.

Jessica's grin only grows as Yan Sun falls back against the bed. She gives a small roll of her shoulders to try and stretch out some soreness, causing her face to twist into an expression of discomfort as it urges out a jolt of pain through her... well, everything. Yan Sun's words pull a glance her way as she leans down with a pained grunt to start removing her boots. "Mmm?" she hums distractedly.

Yan Sun offers an "Mhm." of confirmation, eyes opening, the left one alight with blue glow for a couple of moments before Jessica's omni-tool pings with a copy of the message, and the attached picture. "It's kind of freaky to think animals like that are just walking around out here..." she muses quietly after giving Jessica a chance to check. "There's nothing like a carashan left in the wild on Earth."

Jessica pauses amidst her boot removal when a muffled ping sounds out from her jacket that's in a pile beside her. It takes her a moment to figure out the orientation of her jacket before she's finally able to collect her omni-tool from the pocket. Once the orange glow from the device is casted, it only takes a few swipes and pokes before she has the message up. She lets a small puff of air out through her nose in a snort as she scans

over it and, soon enough, the glow dissipates and she returns the device to her jacket pocket. Yan Sun's words cause her to shoot a glance her way as she turns her focus back to her boots. "...Nothing?" she asks through a furrowed brow, a thunk sounding out as one of her boots falls from the chair.

Yan Sun turns her head to look over towards Jessica at the sound of her question. She frowns a little as she genuinely considers it. "Bears, I guess? I know the preserves in America and Russia still has those. Not really the same though... a hundred years ago there used to be packs of big cats in the wild, like lions. They're... just in zoos and stuff these days." she explains, not entirely sure how familiar Jessica is with Earth fauna.

Jessica turns her attention downward once more as she listens to Yan Sun in silence, focused frown on her face. She has a passing familiarity with Earth fauna as is evident by her rundown of tattoos that were lost to the fire (And is- apparently- a big fan of rhinos). But, much like most of her knowledge of Earth, it's secondhand. Pictures and videos showed to her and stories told to her by her brother when she was younger. Stories from

a place that probably doesn't really exist. A romanticized version of a home through the lens of her brother's childhood memories. "At least there is no carashan there..." she offers quietly once Yan Sun has finished speaking, tilting her head upward to look her way. A hollow and pointless attempt at keeping Earth upon that pedestal on which Martin had placed it. "They are assholes..." she continues in a mutter, her second boot

thunking to the ground. "Delicious assholes." she corrects after a moment's consideration.

Yan Sun lets out a quiet snort, making a face at Jessica's phrasing but refraining from commenting as her gaze goes back to the ceiling. "It's not exactly like we're going into nature anyway." she points out, looking a little amused as she imagines a pack of carashan roaming the streets of Hong Kong. "You'd have to travel pretty far to reach anything less built up than the Peak. And I'm pretty confident there's nothing larger than a

porcupine there." she assures with a snicker, casting a glance Jessica's way.

Jessica gains a brief sheepish look at being so ignorant of life on Earth, but she's quick to wrestle it away, lest Yan Sun pick up on it. On Aite, there's not much of a division between civilization and nature. Even in Adrasteia- the closest thing that comes to a 'bustling city' on Aite- you couldn't count out a run-in with wildlife on the outskirts. She uses her foot to scoot her chair aside, causing an irritating screetch to sound

out. "What is this?" she asks as she steps off of the table. "Porcoo-..." she attempts to repeat with little success, frown crossing her features. She gestures nonsensically with a flap of her hand before swiftly talking past her failed attempt, "That-..." she gestures again, "...thing. What is it?"

Yan Sun only realizes that porcupines miiiiight not be universally known in the wider galaxy when Jessica asks about them, but she's immediately distracted by the failed attempt to pronounce the name of the animal, a big, fond grin spreading across her lips. She does her best to swallow it down before answering so as to not embarrass Jessica. "They're, uh... they're rodents, like... this tall?" she says, gesturing with her hand above the

bed to indicate while still lying down. "They're covered in sharp spikes. Actually... hold on..." she says, her eye lighting up and her attention shifting to an unseen interface above her as she starts to look for a picture.

Jessica furrows her brow in thought as Yan Sun begins to describe them. Big rats with sharp spikes all over them? She nods sagely a few times as she begins to approach the foot of the bed. "Mmm." she hums, the inflection in her voice implying Yan Sun has jogged her memory. "I know of these." she lies. "They are very dangerous, yes?" she muses, her mind filled with images of fierce little creatures of death.

Yan Sun can't help the surprised giggle that slips out, her attention shifting back to Jessica, although her eye remains lit up. "Uhm... maybe if you tried to hug one, I guess." she says through her grin. "They're pretty skittish. They'll usually just... make some noise if you get too close." she says, avoiding mentioning the fact that she's only seen them a few times herself, and that her first encounter consisted of hiding behind Changying

while navigating past the critter that had been blocking the footpath they were on. For a moment her attention shifts, and then she reorients her palm, projecting an image from it of a relatively small, spiky creature on a paved footpath surrounded by greenery. In the picture is also a young girl with a baggy jumpsuit and long black hair that looks like she's being held back from getting too close to the porcupine by a jeans &

t-shirt-clad teenager with short, dark hair that's mostly out of frame. "They're kind of... ugly-cute, right?" she says, looking back to Jessica as the picture hovers above her, trying not to let on that the familiar faces in the old photo hit her a bit harder than expected.

Jessica gives a deep scowl at the sudden giggle at her lack of knowledge. She opens her mouth to speak, taking another step towards the bed when she's halted by the sudden projection. As she studies the little creature, her scowl only deepens. That's not fierce! "These are not 'sharp spikes'!" she insists, gesturing to the image as if she was misled. Tricked into exposing her own ignorance! "These are just-... big hairs..." she grumps

in a mutter, arms folding across her chest as she continues to examine the image.

Yan Sun furrows her eyebrows, pushing herself up into a sitting position with a grunt, the picture wobbling a bit before stabilizing as she stops moving her arm. "What? They're sharp!" she protests. "I remember a news story about this kid that got stabbed by one and almost died because he wouldn't leave it alone."

Jessica gives a roll of her eyes. "Mmm. Sooo scary." she mutters with about as little conviction as possible as she continues to study the ferocious quilled creature. Eventually, when it becomes clear that the picture isn't some random image from the extranet but one Yan Sun took herself, her gaze turns to the others in the photograph, prompting her to step closer and gesture towards the pair with a nod of her head. "Your friends?"

she asks, a hint of lingering disappointment in her tone from the decidedly non-intimidating porcupine.

Yan Sun frowns slightly, her attention turning to the picture. "Oh, uhm... yeah." she confirms with a nod, voice suddenly a whole lot quieter, regretting not just letting an extranet search churn for a while instead of using one of her own photos. She's tempted to just shut down the interface and change the subject, but it feels... unfair, after how much Jessica has let her in. "Jing and Argent." she offers, the corner of her mouth tugging

upward briefly as she says the names.

Jessica studies the people in the photograph. Or, at least, what she can see of them. Eventually her gaze turns from the picture, shifting onto Yan Sun. After a moment, she drops onto what little space remains on the bed beside Yan Sun, casting one more quick glance towards the photograph. The telltale smile that threatens to slip out of Yan Sun as she speaks about them seems to encourage her to continue. "And when we are in Hong Kong,

you are going to see them again...?"

Yan Sun shifts a little uncomfortably, gaze lingering on the slightly grainy faces in the projection. "I don't-... uhm..." she goes quiet for a moment. "Jing isn't actually in Hong Kong anymore. Not on Earth at all." she reveals with a gesture towards the young girl, maybe twelve or thirteen in the picture, a genuine smile manifesting despite her unease, although it's laced with melancholy. "She, uh... got a full scholarship to Grissom

Academy a couple of years ago."

Jessica offers a quiet, "...Oh." as Yan Sun directs her attention back to the picture. "And-...?" she asks, gaze briefly flicking back to Yan Sun as she nods towards the other person in the picture- Argent, apparently.

Yan Sun 's attention turns to Argent, the smile wavering. "Argent? They, uhm... they're still with the Little Dragons as far as I know. I'm not sure if they'd want to see me. We... didn't really stay in touch after I left." she admits, looking down at her hands, the left lit up in intricate patterns of electric blue. She falls silent, chewing on her lower lip.

Jessica doesn't linger on the image for too long, instead studying the side of Yan Sun's face. She shifts back slightly, leaning an elbow against the rather uncomfortable bed to prop herself up. "But you are wanting to see them...?" she continues to pry. Even with the window flap open, there's not much light in the tent with the lamps off, leaving Yan Sun's cybernetics to bathe the tent in its blue glow.

Yan Sun lets out a sigh, her discomfort obvious as she closes her eyes. "I don't know..." she says, closing her hand and ending the projection in the process. "It's... complicated."

Jessica is no stranger to 'complicated'. Their presence in this tent is a testament to that. She's also no stranger to just how often 'complicated' means 'I'm overcomplicating it' but she keeps that part to herself. Saying as much would practically be admitting guilt as far as she's concerned. Instead, she gives a small shrug of her shoulders against the bed. "So make it not-complicated, kitty cat." she says, as if it's that simple.

"You want to see them? If yes, then do it, if not?" another shrug, "Then-... fuck them, yes?"

Yan Sun actually smiles a little at the simplicity of Jessica's advice, another sigh escaping as she lies down again, shifting partly to her side, legs still dangling off the side of the narrow bed. "I-... I'm not sure yet." she admits, reaching out to place her hand on Jessica's arm, thumb stroking idly back and forth as she studies her.

Jessica allows her head to lull lazily the side as Yan Sun's gaze rests on her. Her free hand- her left- shifts to Yan Sun's waist, fingers idly drumming against her. "Mmm." she hums as she meets Yan Sun's eyes, holding her gaze in silence for a moment. She playfully closes her damaged eye, as if it helps her to see Yan Sun in the dim light of the tent before a quiet, tired snicker escapes her. "You are still having some time for making

up your mind, kitty cat. We are not leaving this shithole tonight."

Yan Sun offers a small, tired smile and nods against the bed. "I know..." she sighs before finally peeling her jacket off, 'uncomfortable' outweighing 'lazy' at last. Afterwards she shifts to match Jessica, one elbow to the bed. She slowly runs her hand up her arm, eyes following her own fingers as they trace across the fabric of her thermal shirt. "Sounded like we have something to attend tonight...?" she asks a little curiously as her gaze

shifts to Jessica's face, hair inevitably falling in her own as she tilts her head.

Jessica gives a lazy nod of her head to Yan Sun's question. "Mmm." she confirms, hand shifting to idly brush the hair out of Yan Sun's face. "Drinks and foods at the fire." she explains, grin crossing her lips. "We are going to get fuuucked up."

Yan Sun lets out an amused snort, raising an eyebrow before leaning in closer. "I think maybe you should take it easy... you're still sick." she points out, pressing a gentle kiss against Jessica's lips to soften the blow of her trying to nix the 'get hammered' plan.

Jessica scoffs, but her grin persists as Yan Sun plants a kiss against her lips. "I think-... fuck you." she retorts, ever the elegant and clever wordsmith. She flashes a wider, insincere grin to punctuate her words. She shifts to scoot a bit further into the bed so that her legs aren't hanging off, but as soon as she twists just a little at the waist, a sudden throb shoots up her left side, stopping her in her tracks. Shifting onto

her back, she brings her hand up to the affected side, deep wince wiping the grin from her face.

Yan Sun looks unfazed, shooting Jessica an unimpressed look, but when her shuffle is interrupted by a wince she sits up, looking a little worried. "You okay...?" she asks, the sudden motion enough to make her grimace a little herself, bruised body protesting. Stupid roof.

Jessica sucks in some air through her teeth at the sting. She shoots a grumpy look Yan Sun's way before settling back against the bed. Reaching down, she begins to tug the bottom of her shirt up and the culprit of this newfound pain very quickly becomes apparent. The shirt doesn't get much higher than her belly button before dark brown and purple bruising comes into view, having already formed along her left side. She twists a little to

get a better look at it which causes her to wince again. She hooks her finger under her shoot, lifting a bit higher along her left side, the bruising getting darker as it goes further up her side. Seemingly having seen enough, she releases her grip on her shirt and levels an accusatory look on Yan Sun. "Bitch." she growls through a wince.

Yan Sun grits her teeth in sympathy, looking appropriately guilty at the display. Clearly Jessica got the worst of it. "Uhm... thanks for catching me...?" she tries, expression half smile and half wince. She sucks in her lips, looking at the gnarly bruises for a moment before suddenly turning around and starting to dig through her bag. "Hold on, just a sec..."

Jessica gives a half-hearted grunt of affirmation as her focus turns back to the mess of bruising along her side. "Next time I am letting you fall." she adds in a mutter. When Yan Sun begins going through her bag she shoots a curious glance her way, eyebrow lifting ever so slightly. "What you are doing...?"

Yan Sun glances back over her shoulder. "I don't believe you." she says with a small smile before turning back, finally retrieving the small medi-gel canister packed for the trip from her bag. She takes a moment to peel her boots off before scooting back next to Jessica. She wiggles the canister. "We should get that coated. Numb the pain a bit?" she suggests, tugging the sleeve of her hoodie down, baring her forearm. The blue lines that

crisscross over her skin congeal into an outline of the service panel embedded there, synthetic skin sliding apart with a hiss. She extracts the omni-gel canister, replacing it with the medigel.

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