December 24th. Christmas Eve. Late. Club Cobalt, pillar of Freedom Falls' community, is open as always - not a surprise given that none of the staff are even human. Much like the Respite, there's fewer humans in the crowd than usual, although unlike the Respite, those present aren't sulking at the bar or in some dark corner - they're on the dancefloor. No less drunk though. Probably more, actually. There's no hint of the holidays in
#ClubCobalt – June 30, 2021
the club's decor, although the usual colorful lighting with a bias towards ocean blue has shifted to warmer hues today, maybe as a counter to the cold outside, an orange forest of holographic seaweed tangled above the dancefloor, bobbing in unseen waves that match the beat of the music.
Thankfully for Emma, Ironheart have rented a vehicle for the duration of their stay in Freedom Falls, so no hopping down an icy, snowy road to get to the Club is necessary. Though, judging by the discussion during the short lot-hopping trip, the rental fee is far from a bargain. Probably not much of a surprise given how small and remote Freedom Falls is. It's not exactly booming with competetive car rental services. Shane offered his services
to Emma as a shoulder to lean on in order to help her get around. Once they've checked their jackets (And firearms) with security, settled at one of the many tables surrounding the dancefloor, and decorated the table with a round of drinks and a pitcher of beer, the battle over who will be left out of the dancing raged anew! As before- and in what's an obvious attempt at preventing his drunken teammate from further sulking the night away-
Shane was unwilling to budge on letting Sam off the hook. Gage, having never planned on dancing in the first place, quickly swooped in to take on the burden of the one left behind, leaving Priya to forcefully tug Sam away from her drink by her hand and drag her off to the dancefloor.
Shane gives his drink one last parting slug before climbing to his feet and looking down to Emma expectantly, that big, ear-to-ear grin of his coloring his features. "Shall we?" he asks, offering a helpful hand her way.
Emma looks immensely skeptical. "This-... I have a... broken leg!" she exclaims with a demonstrative gesture towards said leg, extended out in its protective brace as she sits. She finished the rest of her drink before they departed and it's showing. "No dance. Det går inte."
Shane merely thrusts his hand towards her again, seemingly not taking 'no' for an answer. He's got a bit of that 'few drinks in' shine to his eyes as well. Something that's suspiciously absent to both Gage and Priya. Cowardly responsible drinkers! "You can stand. You can wiggle. Hell, that's already better than half of these clowns!" he says, shooting a glance out towards the dancefloor. As he looks back to Emma, he gives a pleading
little tilt of his head, "C'mon. What are you afraid of? You really think I'm about to let you fall?" he asks, baking a little bit of faux offense into his tone for added guilt-tripping.
Emma lets out a long sigh and shakes her head, looking exasperated, and no less skeptical, but maybe a little bit amused too. "Fiine." she says after running a hand over her face. "Det här kommer inte o gå bra..." she mutters as she shifts her crutch to help her get on her feet, her free hand reaching out to grab Shane's arm for support as she pulls herself up with a groan.
Gage lets out a sigh and gives a shake of his head as Shane's persistence works once again. "Be careful out there." he warns, playing the part that he's so often teased about by the others.
Shane's grin widens as Emma gives in, though the muttered words that follow remain unfiltered by his translator given the amount of interference around them, causing him to merely raise a brow and gives a few rapid nods of his head in agreement, as one does when they have absolutely no idea what's being said but aren't willing to admit as much. "Couldn't agree more!" he adds, flashing her that grin as he loops his arm through hers
when she grabs ahold and begins to lead the way. Priya and Sam are already swimming their way through the crowd on the dance floor, moving to the beat. But Shane doesn't attempt to follow them. Far too crowded. Instead, he leads Emma towards a less crowded corner of the dance floor so there's less obstacles to contend with, careful to match her pace so he's not dragging her behind him. "When was the last time you went
dancing...?" he asks, tilting his head closer to Emma as he speaks as his raised voice is unable to permeate the loud music and the cacophany of voices inside of the club for more than a few feet
Emma limps along with Shane, looking about as ridiculous as she feels. His question makes her blow out a puff of air as her eyebrows furrow. "Uh... years." she says, the exact number not coming to her right now. There'd been times when she was younger that she'd allowed herself to be dragged along when on shore leave. "I'm not very good at it."
Gage's smile re-emerges as he's granted some solitude. Hooking his boot around the leg of Sam's vacated chair, he pulls it a bit closer and kicks his feet up on it.
Shane gives a small shrug as he halts their journey and plants his metaphorical flag into their little corner of the dance floor, turning to face Emma. Plenty of space to keep from bumping into others. Right near the edge so they can retreat back to their seats if Emma starts to get tired. The perfect spot to cut a rug if you happen to be nursing a broken leg. "That's not a problem." he assures her, casting that big, bright smile at
her and punctuating it with a wink that's nearly lost amidst the dancefloor lighting. "I'm good enough for both of us."
Emma lets out a loud snort that's noticable in the way her expression changes even though the sound is lost amid the music. "I-... I think that will just make me look even worse by comparison." she points out as she plants her crutch firmly against the floor after they come to a stop. Her gaze darts out across the dancefloor, admiring holographics for a moment as colorful digital fish dart through the kelp. She's swaying
Shane snorts, smile unwavering. "I doubt anyone is gonna care." he offers, already beginning to move a little to the music. "Besides, dancing isn't about how great you can dance. It's about just-..." he shrugs his shoulders, making sure to stay close to Emma in case it looks like she might be losing her footing, "...getting lost in a crowd, right?" Proof to his point, despite him having to raise his voice to be heard, their
conversation couldn't be more private. Lost amongst the beat of the music. Even those closest to them couldn't have less interest in whatever they're trying to say.
Emma hums in acknowledgement of Shane's words, although it's swalloed by the noise of the club. "I'm not a crowd person." she admits, gaze sweeping across the people on the dancefloor before landing on Shane. Thankfully, she's had too much to drink for it to bother her too much right now. "It's just noise and... movement and... too hard to keep track of things when you're in the middle of it." The swaying continues as her
eyes sweep across the nearest dancers again. It's just a little shuffle, side to side, it seems to be about all she can manage.
Shane gives a chuckle, seeming entirely unsurprised by her answer. It lines up with what little he knows of the reserved woman. Despite his confident bragging prior, he doesn't exactly seem eager to show her up, his own dancing little more than a bit of swaying. "That's what I like about it." he admits. For a moment, it seems as if he's going to leave it at that, but soon enough his gives a nod off to his right, to something beyond
Emma. It's just a small lift of his head. Inconspicuous, but enough to imply he's gesturing at something. "Guy at your eight-o-clock. The way he's moving? Figure he may have snuck something past security. Hell, maybe he is security. Knife? Gun? Something is keeping him from extending his right leg too far when he moves." he explains, a veiled admission that he can't turn it off either. It's the kind of habit that sticks
with you when you've been in this line of work for long enough. A habit that's required. He's careful not to cast any glances towards the patron in question, but his smile never wavers and he gives a dismissive tilt of his head. "Or... maybe his omni-tool is just sitting in his pocket weird." he admits with a shrug and a snicker. "Probably a hundred other little things on this dance floor that would be setting off red flags
left and right if I was out on assignment. But here? Not much I can do about it. Like you said, it's just too hard to keep track of everything. So I can just... let go. Have a good time. Fuck it."
Emma shifts just a little, managing to quickly get a glimpse of the indicated man out of the corner of her eye despite the alcohol in her bloodstream. She keeps 'dancing'. Shane's words garner another snort. "I can't do that." she admits with a glance towards Shane. "Honestly? Just leaving my gun at the door is enough to... put me on edge." She'd nearly turned around and left right then. On another day she probably would
Shane gives another hearty chuckle, shaking his head to himself. "Gotta clock out some time." he says and, despite the levity surrounding the discussion, there's a sincerity in his tone that implies that's important to him.
Emma doesn't seem to have anything to say to that, falling silent as her blue eyes, less sharp than usual given her current state, sweep across the club's crowd, eyebrows furrowed. After lingering briefly on some club-goers squeezing their way off the dancefloor she makes an effort to locate Priya and Sam amid the dancers.
Priya and Sam seem to have successfully infiltrated the crowd, leaving only the occasional glimpse of them through dancing patrons near where they entered the dance floor. Despite the gloomy state she seemed to be in when they last left Sam, Priya's infectious smile seems to have rubbed off on her, who can be spotted recklessly bouncing around with Pree, looking as if the hearty amount of booze in her system is barely more than an
Shane doesn't press the issue. Who is he to tell Emma how to live her life? But as he catches sight of what she's looking at, another snicker slips out, his smile growing a bit more genuine upon spotting his friend losing herself to the music. "So... Hunting accident..." he muses aloud as his focus turns back to his dance partner. Or, as circumstances may have it, sway partner. His tone implies suspicion- as if air quotes should
Emma gains a small, sad smile of her own once she spots the dancing women. How could she not sympathize with someone in such a painfully familiar position? She looks a little caught off-guard by the change in topic when Shane speaks, eyes darting back to him. She pauses for a moment, unsure how to reply before settling for "Of a sort..." and a shrug. It's hard to muster up the will to commit to the excuse, and she soon
adds: "I was helping someone out. The girl from the Miner's Respite. The, uh..." she swallows and taps her fingers against her forehead to make it clear who she's talking about.
Shane doesn't seem all that surprised by Emma's response and her gesture causes his grin to waver. For a moment, he turns his attention back towards what little glances he can get of Sam and Pree. "Yeah..." he says, keeping rhythm with the music with small movements, making it easy to keep a conversation going. It's not like he has to do much to keep up with Emma, after all. "Figured it was something like that." he says as he looks
back to Emma, offering a small shrug. "You don't exactly strike me as the sort that has 'accidents'." he continues, propping his grin back up, seemingly having already formed something of an opinion about Emma after their few short encounters. "Accidents have you, right?" he snickers. "And I-... may have got a call from a certain spunky little blonde a couple weeks back about an op that wasn't exactly approved by Jay." he
admits, tipping his hand. "She was hoping I could provide some contacts so I did what I could. Everything-... uhh-... work out...?" he asks. Given the subject matter, it's hard for him not to have some interest, regardless of whether or not it's any of his business.
Emma raises an eyebrow at Shane's assessment, but she seems surprised when she learns Leah had been in touch with him. The question makes her gaze fall away, her swaying coming to a stop for a moment as she considers her answer. "We got it done." she says, not particularly feeling like divulging the messy details, although their existance is hinted at clear enough in her tone.
Shane gives a sharp nod, not expecting any further clarification. "Good..." he says softly. A short silence passes before he speaks up again, "...Some things are-... uhh-... worth clocking back in for." he offers, almost apologetically, as if well aware she doesn't need some random stranger's approval, but wanting to give it any way.
Emma nods herself, her quiet "Yeah..." swallowed by the beat. She clears her throat and readjusts her grip on the crutch for more awkward swaying, only to wince. Her head drops low and she draws in a long breath. "I need to sit down." she says through gritted teeth, casting a glance Shane's way.
Shane does his best to prop that bright smile of his back up to wash away any lingering discomfort. Emma's wince slows his movements, looking as though he's ready to snap into action if she suddenly topples over, culminating in a sharp nod to her request. "You got it!" he offers over the music, quickly extending his arm out for her to grab onto as he shifts beside her.
The table is a revolving door for the rest of the night, with Shane and Sam and Priya all playing musical chairs as they make trips back and forth to the dance floor. Gage's avoidance of the dance floor somehow manages to go unnoticed. They're a friendly group and, despite having pretty much just met her, Emma is treated as if they've always known her. Stories are shared about their time onboard the Beirut. While there's plenty of memories
there, both good and bad, they stick to recounting the fond ones to keep the mood angled the right way. There's a wealth of unfamiliar names and places that pepper their shared history, but Jason is a constant. If nothing else, it makes it clear why they'd come all this way- out to the ass end of the galaxy- for his wedding. He may not have been a part of their squad for the better part of two years, but he's still family. Good music. Good
food. Good booze. Shane, Sam, and Priya get drunker. Gage does not. The more Pree drinks, the more she smiles. It's a kind, infectious smile to go with an equally infectious laugh. It's a good night. But, as with all things, it eventually comes to an end. Gage picks up the tab on his own, and no amount of protesting from the others is enough to cause him to share the bill. As they exit the club, the soft thud of the music at their back,
they're greeted by a horizon of purples and oranges and yellows rising over the buildings, all dancing together to announce the rising sun. Shane offers a shoulder for Emma to lean on as he has all night, having made it his personal priority to keep her from taking a fall. This time, Gage stands close by as well, worried that Shane might not have the mental acuity after a night of drinking to move fast enough should Emma have a spill. Priya
has taken Sam as her charge, though given how much better Sam handles her drink, the roles seem to have reversed at some point in the night, and a giggly Priya is leaned heavily against Sam's shoulder as they step through the club's doors.
Emma has been content to remain at the table with Gage rather than risk any more 'dancing'. Watching others flail around is more her speed. She hasn't said a whole lot, mostly leaving the storytelling to the others, but she's listened and laughed whenever they've stopped by for drinks, rest, and chatting. The lively company is a relief, a good distraction, the kind that makes her feel a bit more alive herself. As they
exit the club, Emma is holding on firmly to Shane's arm - between her leg, the alcohol and the late hour her balance is not at it's best. The lightening sky surprises her, and she stops to watch it briefly before the giggling draws her attention, a quiet laugh of her own slipping out as Priya and Sam pass her and Shane.
Shane pauses just outside the door to take in the sight of the sky, only briefly glancing Sam and Priya's way as they slip by. He lets out an impressed whistle as his gaze turns back to the colors peeking up over the rooftops. "Won't be getting views like this after we head back to the Citadel." he muses, shooting a glance Gage's way.
Gage steps up beside the pair, remaining on the opposite side of Emma from Shane. "We sure won't..." he agrees wistfully. "It sure is something, isn't it?"
Sam is doing her best to drive Priya in the general direction of the vehicle, but Priya's stumbling and inconsistent leaning against Sam's shoulder has her walking nearly diagonally. "Stop-...! Walk straight, Pree!" she orders through a snicker.
Priya's head dips as giggling erupts from her. "I am!" she insists as she continues to force Sam off-kilter.
Emma lets out another laugh before her attention is drawn back to the colorful sky by the conversation. "It's a pretty planet." she agrees with a slightly exaggerated nod. "Pretty. But dangerous."
Gage nods as well, offering a quiet, "It sure is..." as his only response. For a while, he splits his attention between the view and Sam & Priya. But once Sam has successfully escorted Pree to their vehicle, he lets out a soft sigh, bringing one hand to Emma's shoulder and giving it a pat. "Whaddya say we get you home?" he asks, causing Shane to finally tear his gaze away from the colorful sky.
Emma shifts a little after the pat and turns her attention to the vehicle. "Please. Don't, uhm-... don't think I'd get very far on foot." she admits with a snicker as she gets ready to head over to take a seat with Shane's help.
Samantha with much effort, has to practically stuff a giggling Priya into the backseat of the driver's side of their rented truck. Despite having kept a solid pace putting down the booze, she almost seems less drunk than when they left the Respite. Maybe it's the switch from hard liquor to strictly beer after they left the Respite. Or perhaps it's just all the dancing. And, in truth? An hour of having to look after the
typically-reserved woman that's currently being shoved into the back seat might be enough to sober anyone up. With a grumble, Sam slams the door closed behind Priya and moves to claim the front passenger's seat for herself, seemingly having no delusions about whether or not she's too drunk to be driving.
Shane snickers in turn as he begins to escort Emma towards the vehicle. It's a four door utility vehicle. It's ruggedized, but not nearly to the degree of most of the vehicles that you see passing through Freedom Falls. It probably wouldn't do too well outside of town. "I don't know. You did pretty well out there on the dance floor." he teases, that grin of his ever-present as he shoots a look at her.
Gage chuckles as he continues alongside the pair, matching their pace. Silently babysitting to make sure that if Emma takes a fall and Shane isn't quick enough, he's within arm's reach to keep her upright. "Have you manage to get your housing situation figured out yet?" he asks, well aware Emma has only been on Aite about as long as the rest of them have. As they approach the truck, he makes sure to lead their path around to the
passenger's side of the vehicle and pulls the door open so that they won't need to fuss with Priya to get in.
Emma snickers quietly at Sam's struggle as they start to head over to the car. Shane's teasing draws out a quiet snort and a doubting noise, but Gage's question draws a series of nods. "Mm... I have. I... got a place on the west side of town. It's tiny. But it's-... it'll do. Good lock. Heavy door. Upper floor."
Shane opens the door, remaining just beside it so Emma can use his arm for balance while she climbs inside.
Gage gives a few small nods, making no comment on her strange emphasis on the sturdiness of the door. Suppose it never hurts to be safe. Especially out here in the Terminus. "Good. Good. We're renting a place not too far from here. Bit cramped with the four of us, but-..." he shrugs, "...doubt we'll be here a whole lot longer, so it's enough."
Priya is already slumped back in her seat, eyes closed. The only sign that she's still even awake is the big, drunken smile on her face.
Emma offers Shane a thankful nod and tightens her grip on his arm as she begins the awkward shuffle of getting into the backseat. She nearly ends up whacking Priya in the head with her crutch as she gets in but thankfully it's a miss, and soon enough she's seated. "It's a shame you're leaving." she comments in respones to Gage's words, although it seems directed at all of them. "But probably smart. A lot of work here,
Shane shoots Gage a look as Emma speaks and there seems to be something behind it, but he doesn't say anything. He doesn't climb in behind Emma. Not right away. Instead, he remains just outside, one arm draped along the top of the open door.
Gage meets Shane's look with a bit of a frown, reaching up to scratch at the back of his neck awkwardly. "Yeah, well-..." he starts and stops, tilting his head a bit. "Wouldn't wanna be competing with Redrock over contracts. Besides, we've already got the ball rolling on things back on the Citadel. Permits. Licenses. Given how much that has costed, feels like it would be a waste to throw in the towel on it at this point just to move
Sam is turned around in the front seat so she can listen to the others, peering out around her seat. Given the look she shoots Gage, it seems that she has opinions on it. But she, too, bites her tongue.
Priya remains as she is, head lulled back lazily against the backrest, closed eyes pointed towards the ceiling. "It would be-..." she begins, raising one arm, fingertips gently grazing the ceiling in... some sort of gesture. "...eighty-six percent more cost efficient if we operated out of Freedom Falls instead of the Citadel." she announces. A topic it seems as if they've previously discussed. Her brow furrows, eyes never opening as
Emma lets out a relieved sigh once she's settled into her seat, heading leaning back and eyes going to the ceiling. Getting out is gonna be a pain, but that's a problem for 5-minutes-from-now Emma. She nods faintly against the seat as she listens. "Mm..." Priya's interjection makes her eyebrows furrow, turning her head her way and studying her as she blurts out numbers. "That's a lot of efficency." she acknowledges.
Priya nods against the headrest, palm now pressed against the ceiling as if she's forgotten it's there. She hums an, "Mmhmm." in agreement, "Sixty-eight percent more efficiency!"
Shane snickers to himself, casting one last glance Gage's way with a shrug. "Can't argue with math." he says, offering the man a smirk before slipping into the seat beside Emma and pulling the door closed. Given the width of the truck, it's not exactly a tight fit in the backseat, but there's not a whole lot of wiggle room either.
Gage gives a roll of his eyes over the all-too-familiar topic, but a smile still lingers and he soon enters the driver's seat. "Alright." he begins once the truck hums to life and begins lurching its way out of the parking lot, "You just point me in the right direction, Emma."
Emma nods a few more times. "Right. Yes." she says before sitting up a bit straighter and looking out the front window as they get going. It proves simply enough to get to the right place. On the west side of town as she said, not too far from the Redrock building. At three stories the apartment building stands taller than the others around it - it's hard not to wonder if that's why she picked it. Once the car has come to
a stop she readies herself for another shuffle, handing Shane the crutch and waiting for him to get out first.
Gage parks the truck along the side of the road as they reach their destination. He takes a moment to look the building over through the window before glancing back to make sure his help isn't needed.
Shane takes the crutch and opens the door. After scooting out, he remains just by the door to assist Emma and make sure she's steady. "Careful." he says as he offers her a hand.
Sam gets out of the vehicle as well. "You got everything...?" she asks, Emma's predicament a nice excuse for her to get some fresh air as a night of boozing it up begins to weigh on her.
Emma makes her way out of the car just as slowly as she entered, rising to her feet with Shane's assistance and a sharp intake of air. She takes a moment to grab her crutch and get it back into place before she answers Sam with a "Believe so." and a quick glance back at the seat to make sure she didn't drop her omni-tool. There's a few nods once she spots nothing amiss.
Shane takes a position as he has all night to usher Emma up to her door. "Let's get you inside." he says.
Gage opens the window before they've gotten too far. "You've got our contact info. If you need anything? A ride down to the market for groceries? Whatever. You just give us a call, alright?" he calls out.
Priya grunts and shifts away from the cold air that's being let in through the open passenger's side door, but otherwise seems oblivious to the world around her.
Emma hasn't really gotten moving by the time Gage speaks, looking like she wanted to say something herself. "Thank you." she says with a nod and a small but sincere smile. "And-... thank you for letting me tag along. Really. I-I appreciate it." she says, the alcohol adding a bit of unintended loudness to her words. With that said she seems ready to head inside, limping along with Shane's help. A few presses of her
Sam remains a few steps behind, just in case she needs to step in and save the day should Emma topple. Or, more likely given her current state, step in and get dragged down with her.
Emma manages to get up the stairs in one piece (with some help) and soon enough they're at her door. Balancing solely on her crutch again, she turns to face Shane and Sam, looking to the former first. "Tack för hjälpen... uh... the help, with getting around." she says in an almost-mumble that switches languages when she realizes she's slipped into Swedish. She looks a little awkward about acknowledging the fact that he's (TyrLaptop
Shane gives a small, dismissive dip of his head, big smile still plastered across his face. "My pleasure. Besides, it's a small price to pay for the best damn dance partner on the floor." he teases, smile widening before relenting with a shake of his head. "Really, though. It's no problem. I had a good time."
Sam looks between the pair before glancing past Emma, brows furrowing. "Well... shit. That is a heavy door..." she mutters to herself in surprise as she sizes up the door to Emma's apartment.
Emma lets out a quiet scoff at Shane's teasing, although she's smiling a little as she shakes her head. Sam's words draw her attention to the door behind her, which is, as promised, quite solid. "Told you." she mutters with a faint snicker, but her expression quickly grows heavier when she turns to look at Sam. She opens her mouth to speak, but the words aren't coming to her. All that ends up coming is a frustrated sigh.
She lifts her free hand to... pat her shoulder? Maybe? She doesn't seem entirely sure herself and quickly abandons the idea with a frown. She settles for an offer of "If you ever want to talk about... you know. I'm around. Just let me know. Misery and company and... all that." The words are entirely sincere despite the drunken delivery, and followed by an awkward shrug as she almost immediately starts to feel
self-concious over the fact that she's more or less a stranger to Sam, who clearly has good friends that have her back while she deals with things.
Sam lowers her gaze towards the ground briefly, offering a few distant nods at first. It's not until Emma tosses her own words back at her that a small semblance of a heavy, drunken smile tugs at the corner of her lips and she offers a firmer nod, finally meeting her gaze again. She's not exactly the sharing type, and there's no small amount of discomfort over having a nearly complete stranger know some of the most intimate
details about her life. But there's a surprising amount of sincerity in her voice when she responds with a simple, "Back atcha." Misery does love company, after all. As she turns to leave, she casts a glance back towards Emma, gesturing to her leg with a pointed look, "Try and keep weight off of it if you can help it." she reminds, stuffing her hands back into her jacket pockets as she starts back.
Shane remains behind a moment longer after Sam. "Be careful. And try not to have any more unfortunate hunting trips." he advises, grin returning to his place as he takes a few steps back, "Would be a damn shame to lose my beautiful new dance partner before I even got the chance to know her." he shrugs, which immediately garners a loud, exaggerated gagging sound from Sam who has decided she's far too drunk to deal with Shane's
Emma looks relieved by Sam's reaction, a small smile briefly crossing her lips as she nods. Her parting words elicit a faint snort and another nod. "I'll do my best." she says, before Shane's additions makes her eyebrows furrow as if to say 'Really?'. A shake of her head follows but a laugh slips out as she makes a shooing gesture, only to sound again with Sam's 'contribution'.