CERES A cop walks into a bar and says...

Discussion in 'Private Roleplay' started by Lukas Forgrave, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    It sounded like a good plan, though Luka was more of a mind to bear hug Benton and throttle him into the legitimate blackness of space. He probably wouldn't mind the silence or the removal of this suddenly growing sense of guilt.

    Luka remained unconvinced that such a thing was possible. Between his connections to branches of Helix, corporations such as Royal Charters Energies, and segments of Dos Arriagas and the Flyers, Luka had a good deal of doubt that playing the long con was the way to go. But he had an open mind when times called for it.

    "Meet me in person. I'd prefer to not discuss over terminal." Encrypted or not, there were ways around it. And he wasn't keen on Sikes or Benton or the other numerous little birdies finding out that he was plotting with this nameless man.
     
  2. CFB9

    CFB9 505

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    “Fosho.”

    There’s a beep, then the dull echo of a dead connection.

    One of the advertisements along the corridor flashes a vivid blue. When the zákomang looks up the banner changes to an empty smile of a model holding up the can of some energy drink.

    Text rolls at the bottom in a steady stream of white noise. Only one string stands out – 4GR4V3-M3D-R3D. It lingers on the screen only as long as it takes to cross it, cushioned between promo codes and terminal numbers.

    The man does not speak, but he is not silent either.
     
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  3. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    He clicked off the terminal, blue eyes drawn to the neon around him. Corporation influence within certain portions of the Belt meant that advertisement was rampant. Ice hoppers, air filtration systems, sex commerce, meat distributors.

    This one he had seen before, a flashing board sat against one of the buildings across from his hole in Brent-Wood. An energy drink, better than all the rest because some model said so. But then he caught that particular line of the promo, it hadn't been there before. And then it was gone.

    Had to be the Red light district.


    Pocketing his hands, he made his way from one part of the Medina to the next.

    The Red Light district of the Medina had the character of what it originally referenced but also smacked of legitimate red lights. Lamps hung from closed doors against arched arms of rusted metal. Large bent segments of red neon lights hung around the thresholds of various shops and brothels.

    And pimps pettled their wares from various corners and curbs.

    Luka walked through slowly, head on a swivel, as he did his best to avoid the attention of tired and desperate prostitutes.
     
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  4. CFB9

    CFB9 505

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    It’s not five minutes down the red street that one of those tired and desperate prostitutes makes her move. She falls in step with the zákomang, the sweet, empty smile screwed in place. And though she starts off with her usual spiel –

    “Nax milowda da nax xiya, gufovedi.”

    Then she leans closer, draping a starved body along his side. Her voice falls off into a hurried whisper.

    “Im warte da Exodus. Du fraxe di golden jaw.”

    Just like that, she peels off to drape herself over another customer. The smile persists.
     
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  5. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    At first glance, Luka assumed she was simply another moving body. A pros with a fixed gaze, knowing exactly how to move and how to speak to make men think she cared about anything other than the plink of credits or plastic casino chips. But as she leaned closer, he could feel her ribs move against his elbow, and she spoke again. She had more words to speak than food to eat. Separated from her, Luka looked up towards the flashing red lights.

    Between Siefbee and Queenie, he wondered how these Belters managed to not only craft a network, but also keep such a watchful eye. It was as if he couldn't tread into these sorts of locations without them knowing immediately.

    Spotting the sign for Exodus, he wove his way through a few more hopeful women, offering them a kind glance or a polite shake of the head. The bouncer at the front, a skinny-boned Goliath, gave Luka one look before opening the velvet bar and letting him through. Pausing at the entrance, given a choice between going upstairs or downstairs, Luka felt himself waffle.

    He started to move upwards, trying his best to make out the signs on the wall that should serve as guidance.
     
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  6. CFB9

    CFB9 505

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    The man leans over the low club table and pinches the olive from a martini glass. The martini glass held by Aliss Xeschter, a woman retired from private-sector police into private-sector security. The man often wonders if there is a difference – has even ventured to ask her the same – but Miss Xeschter is somewhat touchy about the topic.

    He leaves it be, if only because of the guest of honor.

    For every five people crowding the dance floor below, there’s only one sitting in a dark booth somewhere upstairs. It’s by no means quieter, though – the heavy bass sends their glasses a-tremblin’. Difficult enough to hear your own voice, let alone the guy on the other side of the wall.

    It suits his purpose well tonight, and many other nights besides.

    When the heavy jacket pauses to peer at signage at the top of the stairs, the man smiles. “Aliss, enshult mi,” he says, metal chin all but resting on her shoulder.

    Like a king from his throne the man rises from the faux-leather upholstery and stalks over to the familiar zákomang, all strut and hip.

    His breath is warm when he finds his ear to whisper in.Wa koming gut, kopeng.”
     
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  7. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    Blue eyes drifted to Siefbee and then over to the woman. He didn't recognize her but then again, many people lived on the station.

    The club was warm, the breath was hardly noticeable. As cavernous as the clubs could be, it was surprising how they seemed to trap the heat. All the bumping and grinding below probably didn't help.

    "Nice place you have here..." He threw out, perhaps sarcastically. While there was no sense of urgency regarding Levi's care, he was clearly still steaming over the situation. There was a serious lack of justice being dispersed.
     
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  8. CFB9

    CFB9 505

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    “Na pelésh mi,” he replies with an easy smile. Amash pelésh gut fo wowk milowda.” He places a familiar hand on the crook of his elbow, guides him to the booth.

    “Aliss, xi da kopeng da mi xe mi ta showxa-di to.” The man claps the zákomang on the shoulder and gestures to the empty seat opposite the contractor.

    “Shepil nais,” he says to Aliss, then disappears with a wink. Can’t let a man discuss business with a dry throat.

    Besides, Aliss is as gracious a hostess as the Belt can produce.
     
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  9. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    He hadn't realized they were in a place to be discussing each other to other people. In particular, he wasn't expecting to ascend these stairs to find someone he didn't know. She had the look of a lethargic shark, content to wade for the time being. But he recognized a professional when he laid eyes on one. And not the sort that was common in the red light district - an attractive enforcement officer. Maybe retired.

    Taking the offered seat, he responded to the comments with silence - an introspective gaze shifted to the woman as Siefbee departed. Luka assumed it would be brief.

    "So..." He broke the thumping silence as he shifted his gaze to the wall. "Who are you?"

    And what do you know? About me? About Levi? About the Bough?
     
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  10. CFB9

    CFB9 505

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    “Me?” The ex-cop laughs and strikes a hooded gaze over at the detective. “I’m a friend. He—” she gestures towards wherever Siefbee disappeared off to, “is a friend. I’m told you are, too.”

    Her lopsided grin dips behind the edge of the cocktail in her hand, then returns all the wider for the alcohol. “That true?”

    “Im? Fosho.” The man materializes from the kaleidoscope of the main bar. “Rowm. Strext.” He places a tumbler in front of the zákomang and flashes a smile that says Unlike me.

    The man sits next to Aliss, drapes an arm over the back of the seat. “Aliss xiya sasa walowda walowda ting.”

    “You know why I left the force?” The woman motions to the badge on his belt. “That. ‘Cause that piece of garbage meant less every year. Came a point, I swear I was the only one still doing some fucking policing in my unit. Last case I ever took?”

    Aliss shakes her head and sticks a cigarette between her dark lips. “Benton fucking Kahir. ‘Course, he was just another thug back when, fresh off the street with his ink and knocked-out teeth. But even then…” She puffs out a long plume of blue smoke. “Even then, I could tell he was a different breed of evil. Ain’t a single good bone in his body.”

    Her steel eyes slide over to the man for a moment; he nods.

    “My investigation got tanked – ‘contamination of evidence’ was the official line. Bullshit, ‘course. His Bough bosses lined some pockets up high, and I was left with my naked ass hanging in the vacuum.”

    She grins, slow and steady. “Missed him once. Won’t miss again.”
     
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  11. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    He didn't need to look at the badge to know what she was indicating. Instead, he took a long slow sniff of the rum before taking a sip. For some reason, he found the depths of the tumbler to be very interesting - that, or he was just in a mood for thousand yard stares.

    "Contamination of Evidence..." He smiled with a quiet chuckle. "Didn't have anything to do with Benton's bosses. And everything to do with the Zákomang that was training him."

    He took another sip, it wasn't half bad. Could hardly taste any notes of mushrooms. Looking towards the woman from the corner of his eye, he tilted the tumbler to catch his own reflection. "You and that Benton boy have done more for Helix-OPA relations than we could ever dream...That's what the Captain, at the time, told me when he found out I had been drafted into the Bough as early as I had been recruited by Helix...or, when he informed me that he knew all along."

    "So..." He rattled the ice with a regretful smile. "Do I still get to be a friend?"
     
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  12. CFB9

    CFB9 505

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    Aliss flicks her sharp eyes over to the man quick as a Martian PDC. About as deadly, too. Siefbee lifts his open palms with an easy grin, like he knows this confrontation was coming all along.

    But if her smile before was sweet, her glare now is just as poisonous. “Shoulda known something was off when none of them stories about your new kopeng ain’t include a name. Damn me for a fool.”

    The woman stands so fast she near-on spills their drinks.

    “To sedi,” says the man, still grinning. “To ando pochuye mi. Im mang mogut xitim unte im tenye mowteng. Milowda kang aiut. To kang aiut.”

    “Desh da zákomang ere to nox ke?”


    For a few seconds there, Aliss looks ready to spit fire. Her hands are curled into fists at her sides.

    “To wa snek, Siefbee. Wa pashang rext.” She shakes her head and slams back down into her seat. Her cool eyes shift from the man to the pomang. “Let’s hear your story, then.”
     
  13. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    Luka didn't much register a response to the woman as she stood. Nor did he involve himself in the interaction, beyond a piercing blue gaze of neutrality. She had every reason to consider him in the fashion she did, he deserved it.

    "No such thing as a clean cop, not really..." He took a sip of the drink as he leaned back in his chair. "Some just wash up better than others." Even Hartigan had a rough history back in Moscow, tending to matters that drifted between duty and family. And that vulgar Russian was the cleanest they had beyond the new recruits, like Loske and Gully, who hadn't had the time to rummage around in the filth.

    "What do you want to know? My history? Or maybe we can scoot past that and into why I'm looking to send Benton out of an airlock?" Blue eyes drifted from Siefbee back to Aliss, then back. Luka was feeling rather angry, rather soaked in self-loathing, so he was content to take whatever path the former officer desired.
     
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  14. CFB9

    CFB9 505

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    Aliss drowns the rest of her drink with a smile and sets it down hard enough to crack glass. (Which the tumblers in this joint aren’t so it’s fine.)

    “I think I got enough of your history for today, Forgrave. Why don’t you skip past that shite and let me know what’s got you huntin’ down your sweet protegé after all this time?” She scoffs, leaning back in her seat without sparing a glance to the man.

    “Conscience catch up with ya?”

    The man slides his pale gaze over to the retired zákomang, but keeps his lips sealed. Miss Xeschter has enough dirt in her past to make this red rage of hers simmer down right quick. It would not serve him to land in her ill graces tonight, however.

    He keeps his lips sealed.
     
  15. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    He chuckled as he tilted his head, though it might have been more clear than he wanted that the assumption offended him. His conscience rested somewhere out in the shallows of space, slapping against the hull of Ceres station.

    "When you gave up your badge, did they confiscate your intuition as well?" He took a drink before setting the empty tumbler down, eyeing the retired officer. "Maybe you should take on some easy jobs before jumping back into the deep end with us? That is unless...you can stow your judgement for the time being?"

    Blue eyes moved over to Siefbee, lifting the tumbler. "Is there anymore where this came from?"
     
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  16. CFB9

    CFB9 505

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    “Listen here, you—”

    Her next bristling words die in her throat as the man places a firm hand on her shoulder. He squeezes. There is business to attend to; business that supersedes this petty squabble. His eyes say many other things besides. It’s nothing that Miss Xeschter doesn’t already know; she merely requires a reminder.

    The exchange is brief. [1.37 seconds]

    Aliss deflates with a breath.

    “I’m... sorry.” There’s a meekness to her tone now as she picks up her drink again. Her nose wrinkles when she tilts it to her lips only to find it empty.

    The man smiles.

    “Mi gonya ge walowda mo.” He rises with the glasses and leaves them alone.

    Trust has nothing to do with it.

    “So… what happened?”
     
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  17. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    Luka neither accepted nor rejected the apology. The truth was that she was right to make assumptions about him, he had done terrible things and felt little remorse for the affect of his wake. He was doing his best to change things, to make amends, but it was from the lens of recouping losses. He knew damnation rested somewhere in the future, he was just trying to use his time wisely.

    But these two had caught the Martian on a bad day. The worst sort. Where he felt powerless, felt hungry for altercation. If it wasn't here, it was strolling into the place where Benton existed and putting a gun to his head. Consequences be damned.

    "He killed my daughter." Luka replied curtly as he narrowed his eyes, an empty expression somewhere close to a smile. It was getting easier to say, which worried him. "When I tried to get out, to change my ways. He killed her to further his own agenda - and the leads were appeased for my punishment." He sat back in his chair, eyeing the tumbler. "I found out a year ago. She's been dead for 15 years. And just this past day, he raped and nearly killed someone important to me."

    He realized that him caring about Benton only when the sins affected him, it came off selfish. But that's how the asteroid worked. The only people who had cared about him were dead, hurt, or on Tycho. Ceres was no place for the selfless. "Conscience? More like...a sense of ownership. His sins are mine."
     
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  18. CFB9

    CFB9 505

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    The man flinches. It is a subtle thing, easily blamed on the play of club lighting. [He is always angry when he misses vital information.]

    As the tragedy mounts, he can feel Aliss grow tense beside him. It’s in the soft tremble of her fingers around the glass; in the taut line of her jaw, the glint of her eyes. The man might’ve overlooked the daughter, but it only helps.

    Insofar as a dead daughter can help, anyway.

    Xeschter places her glass back down. Hard. Her own sister had once suffered a similar fate under the hands of an Arriagas lieutenant. Similar, that is – Maleina Xeschter had been fortunate enough to succumb to her wounds.

    @Levi Jones will have to live with them.

    As seconds pass and nobody says a word, the man clears his throat. The silence is uneasy, weighed down by all that has been said, and more that still lurks under the surface. [But that is for another day.]

    “Im mowsh du-fang,” he says. “Pasow ere seejang tili du towsh. Unte milowda gonya du fosho im du towsh mang ong.”
     
    #78 CFB9, Jun 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
  19. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    Luka could feel the tone change at the confession. As if the revelation of suffering meant something where suffering was common place. This didn't make the detective special, it hardly made him justified. But this was a selfish place and the selfless rarely survived, so he did his best to reconcile that with his attempt at good nature.

    "Iron from this place doesn't make good bars..." He heard the words echo behind his eyes, the very same way his father would have said it. Applying it to a situation that was hopeless or where the circumstances didn't fit. It was rare that it could be taken literally and metaphorically.

    "Benton doesn't have to feel trapped because it's nearly impossible to trap him. But if he were so inclined..." He sat back in his chair, cup still empty. "He could make use of the old network. He knows too many people, has too much influence. I'd be better off..." He pictured the Mormon, the man holding his bible and speaking of blessings in one breath - and dealing death in the other.

    He flicked the glass as it sent a pang through the room. "Putting a gun to his head in an open bar, pulling the trigger myself." The thought was comforting, to think that the line would be broken and done.
     
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  20. CFB9

    CFB9 505

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    The man spreads his fingers in the age-old gesture of benevolence. Whether it’s the truth or a lie… in the half-light, who can tell?

    And does it matter?

    “Mi ando pochuye,” he motions the zákomang on. His business, after all, is built on sapping the knowledge of others to supplement his own – why stop now?Keting plan to, kopeng?”

    Beside him, Aliss grips her own glass tighter. The conversation has split open wounds that were scabbed over for decades.

    But not healed; not until the day they space her cooling ashes after the stardust left of little Maleine.
     

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