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Thread: Pale Reflections of Plastic Dolls

  1. #1

    Closed Pale Reflections of Plastic Dolls

    ji'm gonna mjissss jyou...

    Phew. Survive another encounter with the Beautiful Beck with the Bountiful Badonkadonk. It'd been a magical couple of days starting with that dinner date and just going from there. But fuck, the whole the time I had a nagging thought in the back of my head. Beck was all big on saying out loud that we were a thing, which I thought was a given considering everything. After that I felt like the pressure to take it to the next step, to those those three little words, and I was terrified to do it. Yeah, I like her her. Like a lot, but I don't want to rush things and ruin it all. I didn't say it this time, and that seemed to be okay, but damn if I didn't want to. That girl does things to me I didn't know was possible. She has her fist shoved so deep into my mind guts that I don't know how to act.

    My vacation was over and it was time to leave Jovan and hit the spaceways again. I had a fresh crop of non-guild bounties to look into with some stagnant leads that were going to require some significant investigation to turn up anything. That was gonna take time, and the sooner I hit vacuum the sooner it would be done, and the sooner I would have a chunk of credits in my hand to spend back at Jovan Station to spoil a certain thicc brunette.

    I had been on my best behavior. Seriously! Dear Diary, you might not believe me, but I've been a fucking space scout. Sure, there was that encounter at the restaurant. I might have gotten a little big for my britches and flirted a little in front of Beck. Trust me, I've been playing that over in my head on repeat since then just waiting for Beck to break up with me. She didn't seem to mind and that whole encounter put me in quite the mood; which I took out on Beck the moment I woke up from my food coma. Still, that squat officer had been living rent free in my head a little and I would really like her to move the fuck out already.

    So yeah, maybe I was headed down to the promenade and looking for a drink. I deserved one for my good behavior. Goddess knows my liver was feeling too good for itself and needed to be put back in it's place. Little bitch. There were plenty of watering holes on the main concourse. I was really tempted to hit up the Shatterstar. Hadn't been there since I met Beck. That place was hot, but that really wasn't what I was in the mood for, which was a fucking bananas thing for me to even think. What happened to you Ori? You're a totally different person now. Nah. I wanted something off the path. I didn't have Abaddon with me and I didn't want to go anywhere I'd been before where a sharp noodle might be able to put two and two together. Abaddon has pissed off way too many people for me to let his enemies know that underneath that terrifying armor was a fucked up skinny Cizerack girl with mommy issues.

    Draver's Tavern. Sounded like the right kind of shithole. Not too rough that I'm going to get glassed without my armor, but the kind of place where people don't look at you too closely. This time of... night? there weren't too many people but the kind of career drunks you expected from places like this. My kind of people. I didn't want anyone here to know who the fuck Orianna or Abaddon are, and after tonight never think of us again. Besides, that's less to get back to Beck. I wouldn't want her to think I stuck around on station long enough to get a few drinks before leaving.

    My eyes had barely adjusted to the dank gloom before I recognized a familiar shape sitting at the bar. Well shit. What were the chances of all the shitholes on Jovan that I would run into the Major here. Can't say I blame her. If I had to parade around in a dumb uniform all day I would want to drink my brains out every night and do it somewhere people might not recognize me as the Major. Part of me wanted to turn in go find somewhere else to go, but I'm a lazy fuck and at least this way I have someone I kind of know. Could be nice. Drinking alone was only so much fun.

    "Vossh Jarranjizz. Ice." I said as I took the stool next to the quiet Major. Yep. Definitely her. There was no mistaking that stump of an ear and inability to reach the top shelf. The bar tender nodded and went to work. Good. Guy knew his stuff. This was the right kind of place. A place for degenerate people who order degenerate drinks.

    "Got a ljight?" I already had a Vespaara Slim pulled out of it's pack and was slipping it between my lips as I asked, and how the hell else am I supposed to break the ice? It's not like I don't have my own light. I might be a cheap bitch smoking Vespaara Slims because that's all I can afford, but I'm not the type to forget her lighter. I might be dumb but I'm not stupid.

  2. #2
    Untaaura's stunted ear didn't budge, but her good ear had heard enough. From where she sat, slightly-leaned forward to rest her shoulders on the bar top, Untaaura pivoted her head with a stony expression steeped with reserved suspicion. The Major thought about it for a second or two, and pivoted her back to the bar to give her guest her good ear. Untaaura passed her lighter - after sparking one for herself. She drew in a quick breath, and a sharp exhale.

    "jIt'ss a bjig sstatjion, and jI don't beljieve jin cojincjidencess."

    And now the mea culpa. Untaaura dropped the poker face, and leaned her elbows back to rest on the bar.

    "Look, jI'm ssorrrjy forr jinterruptjing jyourr djinnerr lasst njight. jI hope that wassn't asss awkwarrd forr jyou asss jit wass forr me."

  3. #3

    I grabbed the lighter and lit my stim real fast before passing it back and taking a long drag. Shit. I hadn't even smoked this whole trip. This was gonna be the last one for awhile. I wasn't going to make the mistake of smoking on board the Nemesis. Getting all of the filters replaced and ducts scrubbed had been incredibly expensive. I could probably have shrugged it off if the tech hadn't thrown up when he stuck his head in the main airflow unit. I certainly can't afford to do that again.

    "jI'm jusst ass ssurrprrjissed ass jyou."

    But not entirely disappointed. I had to say, homegirl was looking a lot better out of that uniform than in it. I was surprised to see her in a place like this. Wasn't there some hobnob officer's club in which she could a drink and a hot serving of boot to lick? Who knows. Not me. You'd never catch me dead in a place like that. Thank the goddess Beck worked a blue collar job and wouldn't be dragging me to any ritzy galas or whatever. That was a level of nightmare fuel I had to not think about or I'd spend the rest of the night shaking in the corner.

    "Nah. jYou'rre fjine. No harrm, no foul. jI don't thjink jI everr got jyourr name. Unlessss jyou ljike to be called jusst Majorr. Heh. jI'm Orrji."

  4. #4
    Instinctively, Untaaura tensed. But the milk was out of the bottle, wasn't it? If she wanted to know, she'd know. The tendency to look for a weapon up the sleeve of every outstretched hand was a hard habit to break. It helped that for whatever reason, she believed Orri.


    Swigging down the remnants of her bottle of Syragori beer, the Marine gestured with the bottle neck to Ori's barstool.

    "jYou mjind jif we sswap sseatss? jI don't know how jyou got jyourrss, but jI don't hearr forr sshjit out of that earr."

  5. #5
    Oh. Yeah. I guess that makes sense. Didn't even think about it. Ya know, since my ear still hears.

    "Nah. Sstajy put. jI'll move."

    My body was moving before the thought had even fully registered. I felt like a big, rude idiot. Shit. Was this how Abaddon felt all the time? I slipped out of the barstool and moved to the one on the other side of the Major. The bar tender looked a little confused when he popped back with my drink.

    "Djissrruptjion rjifle. Went rrjight thrrough mjy arrmorr and sshjieldss. Took mjy earr clean off. jIt wass betterr than djissjintegrratjing."

    As I took the glass of blue liquid I grasped the straw and started to swirl the ice and geref together. Some people like it clumpy, but I like it smooth. Damn, I don't know if I've ever told anyone about the source of my injuries. Beck doesn't ask. She's too polite; but I can tell she really wants to ask about what happened to my tail and ear. I'd tell her. It's not that big a deal. Sunlight over the mountain, as mother would say.

  6. #6
    "Ajirrburrsst arrtjillerrjy on Thalasssjia."

    Untaaura's jawlight tightened, packing up the memory before it evoked anything.

    "Whjisskejy." A Cizeri du'arri plunked onto the artificial polished wood counter, and was pocketed a second later. It gave Untaaura a moment to assess Ori with new information.

    "Sso what'ss a gjirrl gotta do to get a djissrruptorr pojinted at herr dome?"

    The barkeep returned with a messy shot glass poured to the brim. The Major hooked it down without relenting another errant drop.

  7. #7
    I'm having a harder and harder time believing this is the same stuttering, awkward mess from the restaurant. Probably a decorated soldier after an injury like that, and dropping hard liquor like it's lemon pop. I took a drag off my own drink, and while vosh was incredibly potent, it didn't have the same dramatic effect of throwing down a shotglass. I guess I could drink it straight from the glass, but I had gotten so used to drinking through a straw into my helmet. Sometimes I forget I'm not wearing it. Only the difference in perspective really tips me off.

    "A, um, frrjiend of mjine pjissssed off the wrrong gujyss. Got jin a ffjirre fjight jin the Corrussccant underrcjitjy. Gujyss wherre a bunch of pussssjiess and djidn't fjight farre. Long sstorjy. jI'm not allowed on Corrussccant anjymorre."

    Yeah, and I smoked every last one of them in the end. You know, after I crawled into a duct, cried a bit, bandaged my ear, and went back for revenge. The authorities didn't quite appreciate how much damage I did to their precious infrastructure with the entire belt of grenades I threw at that guy, but that was his own damn fault for bringing a disruption rifle to a blaster fight. It was the only way I was gonna get that guy before he got me.

    "Ssmall prrjicce to pajy. Not even mjy worrsst jinjurrjy. What about jyou? Got anjy otherr beautjiess to go wjith that earr?"

    Yeah, I could play this around the bush all night but this vosh was going to get me completed crumped in like an hour and I didn't have the patience to play patty-cake with the Major.

  8. #8
    With a day to digest the embarrassment of her attempted move on Beck, Untaaura had a little more perspective (if not better lighting) to get a look at Ori. Thankfully, aside from the scars, fitness obsession, and general tendency to be the last one to know when it rained, she wasn't the twin that she'd imagined a day ago. That it was probably just a jealous instinct didn't offer much comfort.

    Not that Untaaura had much practice with being flirted with, but there was one lesson that she'd learned. Check your six.. The Major quickly assessed the handful of other people in the bar, and they all rated in the I don't give a fuck category. Now, Untaaura had to figure out what to do with this.

    "Not rrealljy. Assjide frrom thjiss beautjy marrk, the worrsst jI got on tourr wass the flu."

    One more glance around as Untaaura stood at a precipice. She rolled the glowing edge of her cigarette against the rim of the ashtray, trimming the grey from the tapered red center before drawing again.

    "But jif jyou want to ssee what happenss when ssomeone getss kjicked bjy a Taltjimant Bjighorrn, jI could sshow jyou that ssome tjime."

    This was outside of her comfort zone, but Untaaura didn't care. Ori was Cizeri like she was. Scars weren't Untaaura's thing, but she was enthralled by the confidence. Maybe that was part of it last night. How could this other Cizeri woman just be out there with a woman like Beck and not care about the consequences? Confidence was one hell of an aphrodesiac.

    "Can jI level wjith jyou? Beforre thjiss goess wherre jit goess, jI'm a ljittle out of prractjice. And jyou majy not have to be carreful, but jI do."

  9. #9

    What does that even mean. I felt like I was doing seven layer dip quantum calculus or some shit trying to figure out just what she was implying. Does she have a scar from getting kicked by an animal, or was she offered to kick me? I can't say I'd ever been offered that before, but I'd always been game to try anything once.

    Double what?

    Ooookay. That changes a lot of things. Here I was thinking I was just flirting with a breeder to make her uncomfortable, but there was no mistaking that cautious look she did. I watched her eyes as she looked around the room. Twice. I scoped it when I walked in. No other Cizeracks. If there had been I wouldn't have sat down in here. I guess now I knew why the Major came into this shithole. The clientele in here didn't look like they knew Saanjarra from Traanjirra, much less the many other complex and intricate quirks of Cizeri society. But I knew them. I knew it all too well. I saw myself in that scared glance. Keeping one eye out for your family and the other watching society and hoping neither noticed what you were up to.

    Taking a long drag off my cigarette, I pulled it free and blew the smoke down out through my crooked nose. Those memories sucked all the fun right out of the night like heat into the vacuum of space.

    "jYe-jyeah. Ssorrrrjy. jI get that. jI rrealljy do. Don't worrrrjy. jI'm not about to out anjyone. Gotta ssajy, jyou'rre a lot brraverr than jI everr wass. jI rran awajy frrom Clussterr and jit'ss rreach ass fasst ass jI could. jI'll neverr go back. Hell, jI don't even ljike comjing to Jovan. Alwajyss afrrajid mjy motherr wjill sshow up."

  10. #10
    She didn't know

    Untaaura didn't expect that to be the answer. She'd figured Ori had spotted her dead-to-rights. If she didn't know, then why was she here?

    She released a breath she didn't know she'd been holding.

    "jYeah, well jI don't have to worrrjy about mjy motherr sshowjing up." The Major physically shrugged to embellish nonchalance, but it was hard to fully conceal the hurt in the margins. "Sshe prrettjy much told me not to come home. Ssajid sshe wouldn't tell anjyone asss long asss jI kept mjy ssjide of the deal."

    Untaaura drew another long pull from her cigarette, trying to suss out Ori amidst the swirls of purple smoke and new data.

    "jI take jit jyourr motherr jiss the 'jI can fjix them' tjype?"

  11. #11
    "Mjy motherr jiss the 'jI wjill rrepeatedljy ssend bountjy hunterrss to brrjing mjy daughterr home sso sshe can take herr prroperr place jin thjiss famjiljy and forrget all that rrebeljiiouss nonssensee' tjype."

    Among other things. Mother possessed a depth of ego that would be amazing if it wasn't filled to the brim with self-righteous cruelty. Just when I thought we had fully explored all the nooks and crannies of her psyche, she opened up a new store on crazy street and it was a fire sale. All must go!

    "Sso, yeah. jI guessss. Although sshe djissapprrovess of a lot morre than jusst mjy prreferrenccess. Heh. Sshe wass rrealljy mad when jI losst mjy earr. jIf sshe everr fjindss out jI had mjy womb ssterrjiljizzed jit'll put herr jin the fuckijng grround."

    I placed emphasis on that last word by driving the stub of my cigarette into the ashtray.

  12. #12
    "Sso, torrturred famjiljy ljivess assjide, what'ss on jyourr mind? Can jI bujy jyou a beerr to ssmooth overr lasst njight?"

    It was as tactful a diversion as she could think up. If Ori was anything like her, then she probably didn't want to wrench a gut full of bad memories to a stranger at this point in time.

  13. #13
    Jokes on her. I love talking shit about my mom. It's, like, the entire purpose of my entire fucking life to piss her off.

    "jI won't ever ssajy no to a beerr."

    It's not like I have a lot of credits left to my name. Blew my whole load on Beck. I really needed to get back out there and earn some more. There was always fuel and maintenance costs right around the corner. But fuck it. Tonight is for fun, or whatever this is.

    "Can't rrememberr the lasst tjime jI had ssomeone bujy me a drrjink. Ussualljy jI'm the one on top. jI mean, jI'm the one bujyjing the drrjinkss."

    Oh fuck. I could feel my ear turning red. Stupid, stupid Ori! You keep forgetting you can't talk in real life the same way you do on those backwater message boards! Well, Abaddon can. You can't. You're a mess.

  14. #14
    Untaaura exhaled with a smile, which rated close enough to a laugh.

    "Ssame on both countss." The major plunked two du'arri on the counter. "Two beerrss."

    Returning her attention to Ori, Untaaura waited for the libations to return before getting to the matter.

    "Sso what brrought jyou herre?"

  15. #15
    "Darrk, sshjithole barr wjith ljittle Cjizzerrack prressencce and the kjind of drrjinkerrss that arren't pajyjing attentjion ssujits mjy fanccjiess jusst fjine. Don't need to rrun jinto anjyone that knowss me; orr mjy rreputatjion."

    It felt like kind of a betrayal of my personal code to even be talking to this Cizerack. I liked to avoid them all together. This one was just lucky she was built the way I like. Lucky for me nobody knows I'm Abaddon, or I might catch some plasma in my back.

    "Orr djid jyou mean the sstatjion? jYeah. jI'm not a bjig fan of Sspacce Sstatjionss. jI prreferr havjing mjy feet on ssoljid grround. Alwajyss feelss ljike all jit'll take jis an assterrojid to kjill uss all. But hejy, thjiss jiss wherre Beck jiss and therre'ss a Bountjy Hunterrss Gujild outposst herre, sso jI get to mjix bussjinessss wjith pleassurre."

  16. #16
    "Well, jI mean't herre herre," Untaaura gestured vaguely around the room. "Guesss we'rre both thjinkjing the ssame thjing. jI gjive jit two cjycless beforre Carshoulis hjipssterrss rrujin jit."

    The barkeep returned with two longnecks, and Untaaura passed one on.

    "Gujild, huh? jI'm guessjing that came afterr the flunkjiess jyourr motherr ssent?"

    Untaaura tilted her beer back, giving her a few seconds to really give Ori a good look. Despite their people's obsession with the cultural ideal of being a Huntress, there weren't all that many registered Cizeri with the Guild. For sure less than a thousand. And usually it was some girl rich enough and crazy enough to try to flex on all her other useless friends, who didn't know how to hunt anything that wasn't a pair of shoes that were on sale.

    Ori wasn't dead, and she didn't sound anywhere close to returning home with her tail between her legs, so Untaaura was curious. As often as she claimed to have come through Jovan, surely Untaaura would have seen her. It wasn't exacly a face that you could miss. Untaaura knew from experience.

    Tilting her beer down again, she knit her brow slightly.

    "Not that jI follow everrjy posstjing, but jI ussualljy ljike to know who'ss Gujild on mjy sstatjion. jYou know, jusst jin casse therre'ss a weapon jincjident. jI can't jimagjine jI would have forrgotten a face ljike jyourrss. jYou wearr a vacuum bonnet?"

  17. #17
    "Not offjiccjialljy."

    Goddess below, I was trying to sound positive as I took the offered bottle, but that came out so relentlessly bitter. I gave the bottle a curious sniff. I can't say that I've ever been intentionally poisoned in my life, but I like to think that was because I was so vigilant.

    "jI do jindependent bountjiess, but often jyou can drrop off and cassh jin at Offjiccjial Gujild outposstss. Thejy take a cut."

    I tilted the beer to my mouth and took a little sip before tipping it back. Didn't taste like poison. There was a nice quiet moment there for a second, and then her next words made me choke on my drink and lower the bottle while I sputtered into my elbow.

    "jI, uh, ljike to keep a low prrofjile. jYou'd be ssurrprrjissed the placcess mjy motherr hass found me. jI, hack, don't do anjy huntjing on the sstatjion. jI don't even brrjing anjy weaponss on boarrd. jI sswearr. jYou can ssearrch me."

    I felt my rhythm coming back as the coughing and throat clearing subsided. I even threw a little wink in there at the end.

    ABORT ABORT ABORT! She's on to you. Disengage and return to base. Live another day. You're playing with fire!

    Shadup Abaddon. Get out of my head. You were not invited to this party. Ladies only!


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