#Traveler'sGorge – September 24, 2021

Amy slowly begins to (awkwardly) interrogate Yan Sun about Earth, drawing the latter's attention away from the others around the fire. Just how far away is Earth? What's it like to have so many people in one place? Where does everyone get their food? What's a government? Law enforcement, how does that work? The conversation veers uncomfortably close to Yan Sun's family at one point, but she manages to steer it away. Amy seems to grow a little

bit more confident as they talk, shyness taking a back seat to curiosity as it becomes obvious that Yan Sun is a friendly sort, and not all that different despite being from so far away. It helps that it's less crowded around the fire too. Yan Sun, for her part, seems amused by Amy's curiosity, and she's enjoying talking about her home, despite the small hints of complicated melancholy that slip out sometimes. The current subject is her

cybernetics - she's pulled up the sleeve of her jacket to show off her arm and the glowing patterns that decorate it, her palm turned upward to display the microfabricator set into her hand.

Yan Sun flashes a smile. "Go ahead and touch it."

Amy hesitates a bit, hand hovering just above Yan Sun's wrist, before lowering it to carefully brush her fingers along one of the glowing lines, a quiet, breathless laugh slipping out.

Yan Sun 's smile just widens. "High-end synth-skin like this is almost indistinguishable from the real thing unless you know what to look for." She wiggles her fingers a bit. "You might feel that the underlying structure isn't quite the same as tendons and muscle though."

Gaz is quick to join the others around the fire- laying claim to Rafe's abandoned seat- as Yan Sun and the planet she's from takes center stage. She seems just as curious as Amy, albeit far less shy about it, slipping enthusiastic questions of her own in whenever the opportunity arises. Jean-Luc, despite his apparent apprehension towards Council Space, is undeniably fascinated by it all. How could he not be? Terminus life may be all he knows,

but he's still a human and- symbolic or otherwise- Earth holds a special place of importance amongst humans. Even to those who have never been closer to it than a picture on an omni-tool, as it turns out. Kirill seems to have quite a bit more knowledge of Earth than the others. Probably no surprise since, given his age, he couldn't possibly have been born on Aite. He had to come from somewhere. Where that somewhere is, however, never seems to

come up. Strong ties to Earth are likely, but that's not saying much. Considering when he was born, what didn't have strong ties to Earth? Before humanity made first contact. Before the Council. Before the Alliance. He was born into a very different galaxy. The greenhouse lights did eventually activate, though the figures inside were hard to make out given the distance. But anyone paying attention may have noticed that the large, homemade

structure recently went dark again.

Kirill snickers as Amy studies Yan Sun's cybernetics.

Jean-Luc leans forward a bit in his seat to get a better look at Yan Sun's arm as she rolls her sleeve up, small smile tugging at the edge of his mouth. "What do you think, Amy?" he asks when the newest member of their ragtag settlement traces the bright lines across Yan Sun's arm, "Does it pass the touch test?"

Amy snickers quietly, still running her fingertips over Yan Sun's lower arm. "I can't tell at all." she admits, poking a bit. "It's really all artificial?"

Yan Sun 's amusement grows - she doesn't seem to mind at all - wouldn't have offered a closer look if she did. "Uh-huh. Take a look." There's a pulse throughout the blue lights, coalescing into a rectangle on the inside of her lower arm. There's the faintest hiss as a panel of skin lifts slightly and slides aside, revealing the internal workings of her arm - a power cell and an omni-gel canister sitting in a compartment amid synthetic muscle

fibres, hydraulics and wires.

Amy gasps, hand reflexively pulling back. She watches with wide eyes, surprised look turning into a big grin. "Wow..."

The display gets a chuckled gasp from both Jean-Luc and Gaz, who is now also at the edge of her seat to better see the display. Kirill nurses his beer, amused expression hidden beneath his beard.

Gaz looks from the open panel on Yan Sun's arm to her face, faint grimace crossing her features. "Does it... feel strange to do that?" she asks curiously, absently reaching across herself with one hand to rub at the inside of her own lower arm.

The returning trio are heard before they're seen, Paige's unmistakable giggling piercing the darkness from the direction of the greenhouse. It's a sound that isn't heard from her nearly enough. Only when the weight of helping Kirill to keep this place running is melted away by far too much booze. Kirill cranes his neck in their direction briefly, but they're little more than silhouettes down the road at this point. Jean-Luc casts a quick glance

in their direction, but his focus soon returns to Yan Sun's face as he awaits an answer to Gaz' question.

Yan Sun looks Gaz' way and shakes her head. "Not really. It did at first, but by now? That's just how my arm works. The brain can adapt to a lot. Sensation is restricted to the surface layer, and it doesn't really register pain, but other than that it has full sensory integration. A lot of that can be tweaked too." The distant giggles briefly draw her attention, and makes her snicker quietly, but she's soon back to looking at her own arm.

Amy is still fully entranced by the high-tech cybernetics, briefly looking like she wants to poke at the exposed machinery before thinking better of it. "I-... I had no idea it was possible to make something like this."

Kirill takes a sip of his beer, filing away Amy's reaction as one amongst many that imply a very sheltered upbringing. Perhaps not all that uncommon amongst the homesteads and farming settlements that dot Aite, but usually not to this degree...

Jean-Luc, too, seems to take note, cocking an eyebrow as he glances Amy's way, smile widening. "Then you are going to have your mind blown when you see some of the shit that passes through here."

Gaz snickers as she looks up from Yan Sun's arm, gaze turning from Amy to Jean-Luc and offering a small nod of her head in confirmation that they've seen some rather... unique mods. "Nothing quite this elegant, though." she adds, the word chosen carefully as her focus shifts back to the exposed panel in Yan Sun's arm.

Amy looks up in Jean-Luc's direction, half embarrassed by the realization that she's by far the most impressed person here, and half excited at the prospect of seeing more cybernetics. "Really?"

Yan Sun wiggles her fingers again, making the elaborate machinery inside move, and then she closes the panel with a quick thought. Gaz' comment brings out an undeniably pleased smile. "I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. A lot of late nights figuring out the details of the design." she admits. Or maybe brags. Of course, she could never have made it without access to state of the art tech.

Paige gives a shout of "Mush!" that devolves into more drunken laughter as the trio reach the boundary of the fire's light. Given the big smile on her face, it seems likely that Jean-Luc's guess that she was puking her guts out was inaccurate. But the rosiness in her cheeks implies that she's no less drunk. She also happens to be on Rafe's back now, arms around his neck, urging him forward.

Rafe has his arms looped around Paige's legs, leaned forward to make sure she doesn't fall to the ground, big smile on his face. "I'm-... mushing-...? ...as fast as I can!" he explains, giving Jessica a confused glance. His slow gait implies otherwise, however, as they seem to be in no rush to return to the fire, meandering along at their own pace.

Jessica gives an equally confused shrug Rafe's way. Her beer is long gone. Probably shattered in a field somewhere. In its place, she has another tomato, already partially eaten. In her other hand is a large, unopened bag of chips. "Why you are keep saying this?!" she groans, "What does this even mean?"

Kirill furrows his brow as he overhears part of the trio's conversation, but pays it little mind. Amy's question garners a nod from him. "Oh, we've seen some wild ones." he snickers, glancing back Jean-Luc's way. "Remember the guy with the-..." he reaches up, gesturing across his head, his smile growing.

Jean-Luc gives a few nods, both to Gaz and then Amy in turn. As Kirill begins to speak, his smile widens and he reaches up to gesture across his own head at the same time as the older man, both of their minds seeming to return to the same instance. "With the-..." he starts and stops as he realizes they're both on the same page. "...How do you even live with something like that?" he chuckles.

Gaz' eyebrows raise as Yan Sun speaks, sitting up a bit straighter at the edge of her seat now that the panel is closed. "You designed this?" she asks, sounding both surprised and impressed. It certainly puts the little trinkets she strings together to shame.

Amy listens with interest to Kirill and Jean-Luc's exchange. "What? With what...?" she asks, entirely out of the loop. Her conversation with Yan Sun (and the consumption of her beer) has emboldened her a bit.

Yan Sun 's beer meanwhile sits forgotten on the bench, since she's been too busy showing off her tech. She nods in response to Gaz. "Mhm... me and-... and a friend. A lot of the tech is modified versions of existing designs, obviously, but yeah... this is a one-of-a-kind custom build." she explains, although her eyebrows soon furrow and she adds: "Well, three of a kind. We put together one for me and two very similar designs for my friend.

She got both sides done." Her eyes shift from Gaz to her own hand again. "It was a lot of fun, figuring out how to cram everything we wanted in there." she says with a slightly distant snicker as memories of hours spent staring at the holo-blueprints alongside Hotaru fills her mind. "The neural chip was-" Her attention is drawn to the approaching trio as they emerge from the darkness, a big smile crossing her lips as she waves -

using her lit-up left hand, of course, a slight streak of blue left in the air just for effect. "Hey guys!"

Paige gives another loud, "Mush!" followed by a cackle as Jessica voices her confusion. With a tilt of her head, she glances down at the woman beside her from her perch on Rafe's back. "It meeeeans, 'Go!' " she explains as if it should be obvious, a tidbit of information only recently acquired via an old, oddly specific documentary she watched. When you live on a backwater planet with questionable-at-best extranet access, you find yourself

watching whatever vids you can get your hands on. Yan Sun's greeting causes her to lift one arm into the air in response and utter an impressed, "Oooooh!" in response to the small light show that just devolves into more giggling.

Kirill gives a deep shrug against his seat. "I mean, he was-... definitely livin', so it must be livable." he offers with a chuckle, causing Jean-Luc's laughter to grow louder. Amy's question causes him to blink, suddenly realizing she can't possibly have any idea what they're talking about. "Oh! Guy came through here 'bout-..." he begins before he's suddenly cut off by Jessica, once again leaving Amy to her curiosity.

Jessica's grin remains plastered across her face even as she rolls her eyes at Paige's drunken nonsense. Not that she has much room to point out anyone's drinking tonight. She's been putting them down at a pretty solid pace throughout most of the night, but she certainly holds her booze better than Paige. Without any context for Kirill, Jean-Luc, and Amy's conversation outside of the tail end of Kirill's statement and Amy's subsequent

response, she interrupts to offer her sagely advice as she approaches the fire. "Anything is livable as long as you do not die."

Rafe continues towards the fire, falling slightly behind Jessica. The trio of smiles would seem to imply that they had an enjoyable walk. He dips his head to Yan Sun rather than take the chance of letting Paige go. "Miss us?" he asks nobody in particular.

Jean-Luc glances Jessica's way as she butts in, blinking a couple of times. He exchanges a passing glance with Kirill and Amy before shrugging his shoulders. "Well... When she's right, she's right."

Gaz' smile grows as Yan Sun speaks, the good mood infectious. "I can not imagine designing something so-... so intricate!" she slips in as Yan Sun continues, her heavy accent shading each of her words. When Yan Sun's attention is pulled away, she cranes her neck around to greet the returning group with a smile and a small wave of her hand.

Yan Sun tugs her sleeve back down, Jessica's interjection into the conversation she wasn't listening to drawing a brief, confused glance before her attention goes to the Rafe-Paige stack. "Starting to feel like I missed out by skipping this greenhouse..." she muses, studying the smiling trio through a grin of her own.

Amy frowns as the explanation is hijacked by the return of the drunken trio, although the exchange that follows between Jessica and Jean-Luc makes a snort of laughter slip out. She lifts one hand briefly in greeting to the others.

Jessica gives a sharp nod in response to Jean-Luc. "Mmm." she hums dismissively to Yan Sun's musings. She licks at her lips to make sure no stray tomato juices are lingering as she presses the bag of chips into Yan Sun's chest. Seems she realized that, given Yan Sun's distaste for the delicious stew, she hasn't had much to eat today. They're some unknown brand from who-knows-where. Probably picked up by the case at the market in

Freedom Falls. Or passed off to them in a trade with a nearby settlement. The sort of thing that just 'ends up' on Aite rather than something you can reliably buy. The text on it seems to be... German? "Now you can not say that I never do anything for you, kitty cat." she mutters as she leans down and presses her lips against the bridge of Yan Sun's nose.

Kirill watches Jessica hand off the bag of chips. "That from the storage closet? You know Glen rations all that down to the last crumb..." he warns, his tone implying that Jessica probably knows better than to mess with the resident chef's pantry.

Rafe winces, quickly galloping to the other side of the fire in hope of avoiding any connection to the great pantry heist.

Paige holds on for dear life as she's lowered back into her seat before flopping off of Rafe's back and safely onto the camping chair.

Jean-Luc seems to catch Amy's disappointment, offering a small snicker and reaching out to give her shoulder a nudge. "I'll tell you the story later." he offers in a whisper.

Yan Sun blinks as a bag of chips is thrust her way, although she's quick to grab the bag and cast a glance at the label. The rumbling of her stomach gives away that it's a very welcome gesture. She scrunches up her nose as Jessica kisses it, her grin soon returning in full force. "I've never said that." she points out with a snicker. "...but thanks." she adds, expression softening - she actually looks a little touched, and she reaches out to

tug Jessica down onto the bench and plant a kiss on her cheek. Kirill's words make her glance his way. The reveal that the snacks are illicitly acquired doesn't seem to surprise her. "Am I gonna be in trouble if I eat this?" she asks with the look of someone that'd really like to dig in right now, shaking the bag a little.

Amy flashes Jean-Luc a smile and a nod before her attention is drawn by the exchange next to her.

Jessica allows herself to be pulled down onto the bench beside Yan Sun, opposite of Amy, leaning playfully into the peck on her cheek. She gives a dismissive shrug to Kirill's lighthearted scolding. "If he did not want me to steal his shit, then he should have changed the code to the door." Simple as that. And another sign that the Gorge's security is probably less-than-ideal.

Kirill gives a small tilt of his head, as if to say, 'Really?' But as Yan Sun voices her question, he relents with a sigh, a reluctant smile peeking out from beneath his beard as he looks her way. "You just go on ahead and eat. If Glen wants to know where the food went, I'll make sure and point him in the direction of the real culprit." he says, shooting a none-too-serious pointed look Jessica's way.

Jessica is quick to interject. "Is fiiine. I used to steal foods all the time." she admits with a shrug as if it's no big deal, bringing her free hand to the bench behind her to prop herself up as she takes a large bite out of the tomato. "Rafe-..." she begins, but pauses as she works through her mouthful of food, swallowing hard as she gestures Rafe's way- who has taken Amy's abandoned seat- with her partially eaten tomato. "...is

stealing shit from there all the time, too." she snitches, the non-chalant way in which she does it implying that everyone already knows that. The wide-eyed look on Rafe's face, however, tells a different story. As does the sideways glance from Kirill. But before he can defend himself, Jessica is already continuing. "Mmm. We steal lots of shit. Sometimes-..." she begins, but stammers as laughter slips out over old memories and

only seems to swell the longer she lingers, "...sometimes he is even-..." a loud snort, "...even taking spoons. Because-... because he knows that she-..." she dips her head Paige's way, "...is counting them every night like a serial killer." she manages through her laughter.

Rafe's eyes are practically the size of saucers and he slowly... slowwwwwly turns his head Paige's way. "I can explain!" he manages as Jessica accidentally solves a mystery more than a year in the making. A prank that has gone on far too long and involved far more planning than he'd care to admit. Late night stealth missions into the kitchen. A hidden cache in the storage building that was nearly uncovered several times by Paige. Even

going out of his way to purchase additional silverware during shopping trips.

Paige blinks. The rosiness in her cheeks seems to drain as she's hit with the sobering fact. Her eyes snap right to Rafe. "YOU!" she shouts before he can offer any explanation. All those nights spent recounting. She knew it had to be deliberate! It just didn't make sense! How do 9 forks go missing in one night?! Only to then have 3 extra forks two days later! It didn't add up! But to find out that the culprit was right under her nose the

entire time?! It wasn't Tommy at all! It was... someone she trusted! Et tu? "Yoooooooooooou motherfucker!" she slurs, one hand moving to the armrest as she struggles to climb out of her chair. "It was you all along!"

Rafe repeats, "I CAN EXPLAIN!" as he leaps out of his own chair, having much less trouble doing so than the much more inebriated woman. "I can-..." he goes to repeat, but the laughter is already spilling out of him as he steps behind his chair, as if to put something between himself and Paige.

Kirill's eyes go wide and a loud snort escapes him that he's quick to try and cut off by tightly closing his mouth.

Jean-Luc blinks a few times, the implication taking a moment to settle in. But when it does, he's nearly folded over in laughter. Yep, there's definitely gonna be a noise complaint in the morning.

Gaz looks taken aback, an audible gasp slipping out before one hand moves to cover her mouth. Rafe is the Silverware Bandit?! He was never even on her list of suspects!

Yan Sun wastes no time in tearing the bag open and stuffing a handful of mystery chips into her mouth. She starts to lean against Jessica, only to immediately sit up straight and look her way as she sells Rafe out. "Remind me to make sure you don't end up under interrogation." she mumbles before Paige's outburst draws her attention, hand moving back into the bag for more chips as she silently watches Rafe's retreat. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

Muffled snicker.

Amy 's eyes go wide, attention snapping to Rafe, already well filled-in on the legend of the missing cutlery thanks to Paige's rambling. It was him?!

Paige, after much struggling, manages to climb out of her chair, rage-fueled look leveled on Rafe. "Yoooooooou!!" she repeats, but no words follow as she staggers towards him.

Rafe tries to reign in his laughter, lest he further push Paige's buttons, but it's not going well. He circles his chair to keep it between them, shooting a glance Jessica's way. "You snitch!"

Jessica's laughter slowly dies out as the scene transpires before her, brow furrowing. "Wha-..." she stammers as Yan Sun calls her out. "I didn't-..." she starts and stops, the confusion apparent on her face. Rafe's accusation slung her way draws a gasp out of her. "No-...! I am not a fucking snitch!" she argues, mere moments after snitching. She's a lot of things, but a snitch isn't one of them! How was she supposed to know they didn't

know?! Had he really gone for a whole year without being caught?! Well, there's only one thing to do when you've burned a bridge. "Get his ass!" she encourages Paige, another bout of laughter already slipping out of her. Find a new bridge. Big, goofy, half-drunken grin on her face, she leans against Yan Sun and slips her hand into the bag of chips as she watches while Rafe dances around the

chair to avoid Paige's reach, laughter spilling out of the others. "Fuck him up!"

Yan Sun wedges the chip bag between her legs to free up her right arm to wrap around Jessica as she continues to watch, managing a "Run, Rafe!" amid her laughter, more chips soon silencing her again.

Amy winces a little at Paige's less-than-graceful departure from her chair, one hand going up to her mouth to muffle the snorts of laughter slipping out. Her mood seems markedly improved from the earlier apprehension.

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