CERES Between an asteroid and the hard space

Discussion in 'Private Roleplay' started by Lukas Forgrave, Jan 16, 2018.

  1. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    The fine motors of critical thinking had escaped the normally level headed detective. In its stead, it was entirely muscle memory. Stumbling as he held Mamen's limp weight, he moved to lay her down out of angle of the stained window. The punch holes showed shots coming from high on left, so he moved to the left to allow the window sill to block any more shots. Assuming it was just one person and if it wasn't, well then they were fish in a barrel.

    His breath drew hard, tension across his body was easy to see with the way his jaw clamped shut. There was a look in someones eye as the soul drifted from them, like a door shutting and taking with it all the light that once flowed through. And he could hear it creaking now behind the flutter of Mamen's grey eyes.

    Taking the fabric from Mamen's loose grip, Luka held her head with one hand and jumbled up the cloth into an in-situ pillow. Placing it beneath her, he laid her head down gingerly on it - and suddenly he heard Levi's words, despite them occurring so long ago. His shaking hand moved over Mamen's forehead, fingers and knuckles coated in blood.

    ::This is Officer Forgrave. We have shots fired at my position. One casualty, we need a bus here...No it can't wait. No! I don't give a fuck what the Captain said. Send it now...and back up as well...Yes. Rodger.:: The terminal clicked off.

    "Come here..." He looked over his shoulder at Levi. There was a distension of his emotions, something dormant until now. The last step before anguish jumped from the cliff face, anger the only thing to survive. "Hold her hand..." For as long as you can.

    His free hand withdrew the canon from the small of his back and with a smooth movement, he flipped open the cylinder to check the rounds. There was enough there to do some damage. His expression changed as his brow furrowed, running his thumb delicately over Mamen's hairline. Her breath was ragged and labored. And Luka was preparing to do something stupid.
     
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  2. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    She watched their figures fold behind the stands of material, disappearing from her immediate view until he laid Mamen upon the floor. Watched him bundle the length of shimmering green and fold it beneath her head. Watched the dark pool ooze from beneath her mother's figure.

    "...Luka..."

    Watched it all in slow motion. So slow she could feel the moment of pause between the beats of her heart, and that's where she stood suspended in time, all color draining from her face. Seconds slowed to stillness as the world around her fell away from the tunnel vision of her mother's pallid face, red speckling her lips.

    Mamen.

    "Come here."

    Her legs felt like ice stone carved from the asteroid belt but they were moving on their own. Somehow, she would never remember how, Levi's body made it through the store to her mother's side while her spirit remained frozen to the spot.

    "Hold her hand..."

    Had she run? Had she walked? Had she stumbled to her knees? Had she dropped to her mother's side? Her mother's name was leaving her lips, but she wouldn't recall if they were whispered or cried or screamed. Her mother's hand was in her hand, was it cold? Was it squeezing? Mamen was below her gaze, eyes drooping, body trembling, lips moving, words ... desperate words forming. Levi couldn't hear them beyond the roar of her own heart in her ears.

    Mamen was in her grasp for mere moments that felt like hours.

    And then she was gone.

    Levi felt her soul crumble and her world slip through her fingers like shards of glass - it was the only sensation she would truly remember of the event. She wouldn't remember the tears flooding her vision or the warmth of her mother's blood soaking her clothing. Wouldn't remember wailing so strongly into the frail body that her throat went raw and voice failed her.

    Gone.
     
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  3. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    The gun didn't feel like a gun in his hand. It had, moments ago. But when the chamber snapped shut, when he was sure he could have done something stupid in the here and now, there she was. Watching, feeling, knowing in the deepest parts of her chest that Mamen was truly gone. That gun, it became a limp paper weight in his hand.

    There was a place somewhere in the future, a place so unclear it was hard to imagine. But all he could think of was where Levi would be, where a stupid thing had gotten him, and who would be asking her about that tattoo. The one that would memorialize this moment, or all the moments that led up to it. Happy as they might be, there could be only tears for this particular tragedy.

    How much worse could things be if he did his typical thing, if he ran with a gun leveled towards the rafters? Maybe he'd hit the assassin, maybe he'd be gunned down in the plaza by whoever it was. And whether he stayed here or he ran out to die trying his hand at revenge, he couldn't understand which was more selfish. The sinking feeling in his stomach, likely felt ten thousand fold beneath Levi's once hardened exterior, planted him to the ground. Next to Levi, next to the body where Mamen used to be, he didn't have the strength he did moments ago.

    The gun slid out of his hand, clattering across the floor, as he reached forward and pulled Levi to him. It wasn't the sort of hug he needed, he wasn't sure it would help her either. But he had to do something. He couldn't just sit there and watch her cry, hear her screams from so far away. And if that sound could be aimed at him, if that grief could be pressed across his skin, maybe he could find the strength to not scream as well.

    "I'm so - I'm sorry. Levi..." He wondered if anyone could ever call her Adi again. He felt tears well up and he steeled himself, hoping he could keep them back. The pain in his chest felt like a scar reopened, first formed with a child thudding lifelessly against the hull of a station. "I'm sorry."

    The door to the shop crashed open and Detective Hartigan entered and if Luka could have seen him, he wouldn't have imagined an expression like that could cross the man's face. Outright awe, on the verge of utter disbelief, as he screamed at all lookers to get the fuck on. "Go! Fucks!" Luka couldn't hear the man but his shaking breath would have been apparent. "Oh God...Lillian?"

    The threat was passed, there was no shooter in sight. It was the same old story in Ceres. Someone died. And life went on.
     
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  4. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    The hours following the incident were a blur that Levi's mind could not commit to memory beyond the image of her dying mother seared before her mind's eye. The drunken stupor of tragedy left only brief glimpses of harried faces, bloodied knuckles, a pool of vomit. The flashing of trams, the pinch of a needle, the burn of bright hospital lights.

    Levi awoke in a private hospital room, the certainty of how she ended up there lost within the fog of overwhelming grief and anger. Head pounding, stomach an empty, painful knot, vision glazed from the smear of black makeup.

    "How are you feeling?" a Nurse spoke from the doorway. Levi looked to her but said nothing. Words refused to form. She had no desire to speak to anyone.

    "I suppose that's a bad question ... you feel awful. Why wouldn't you?" the Nurse might've looked familiar to her if she gave her a good and proper look. Soft footsteps sounded as the woman closed the door behind her and stepped over to her bedside, "Your husband is in recovery now. Just came out of surgery, got him all stitched up. You had a panic attack. Hit a few people, including the doctor, gave him a good shiner."

    She watched Levi carefully before electing to pull a chair over and take a seat just out of reach, "You hit your head on a railing when you lost consciousness, so you're here for observation."

    Levi's gaze connected with the wrist shackles tethered to the bed. The sort you see on crazy patients who like to lash out.

    "But you're going to be fine ... physically speaking."

    There was a long, pregnant pause during which she could feel the Nurse staring at her.

    "I know you. We went to Uni together," frowning, the Nurse leaned forward, "your name is Adra."

    Levi looked up at her, a sudden flare of anger glinting across steely brown.

    "I'm Anne. Anne Dutlenner. Do you remember me? Your mother was my language tutor. I'm ... I'm very sorry, Adra."

    "Don't call me that."

    Anne fell silent again, concern deeply etched into her expression as her gaze slowly surveyed the woman on the bed before her, "You're so different from what I remember. You didn't have any tattoos in school. Your hair, your clothes..." she took a shallow breath, frowning, "what happened to you? You just stopped coming in one day. You wanted to be a teacher. You were going to teach languages to Belta children. I don't understand Adra, we used to be friends-"

    "DON'T CALL ME THAT!" Levi did not repress the urge to strike at the woman, thankfully the tethers did, but the action was so sudden and violent that it scared Anne backwards out of her chair.
     
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  5. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    He let out a heavy breath, dragging his tongue across his chapped lips. It felt dry and coarse, like licking the shaggy bark of a tree that was persistently shedding paper thin wafers. It occurred to him, through the darkness of the sedation, that he had never seen a real tree before. At least, not the sort that wasn't planted in the mezzanines down at the plaza for the joy of the paying stake holders.

    "He's awake."

    Luka's eyes fluttered open, flooding his senses with the pallid yellow of the overhead hospital lamps. Despite the connotations of sterility, their color system left quite a bit to be desired. A machine next to him beeped on repeat like an incessant relative who wanted to get his attention. Adjacent pumps moved up and down with a crescendo of plastic against metal, filling the vinyl tubes attached to his nose with a cold stream of air. He didn't hurt, as was always the case, but he felt tired and his throat was sore. "Did you intubate me..." He heard the rasp as he spoke and reached upwards to feel his throat. But his arm didn't move. "Am...am I under arrest?" He blinked as his vision came to. Canvas colored velcro straps extended twice across his chest, his arms were cuffed against the chrome metal railing.

    "Why, you want to be?" That thick Russian accent came from the corner. The tall figure was bouncing between inhaling from the cigarette and blowing the smoke up into the air filtration vent above him. "Hartigan...fucking uncuff me."

    "No can do amigo." Even with the blur still on overdrive, Luka could see that shit eating grin as Hartigan aimed the lit coffin nail towards the small Asian doctor. "Doctors orders. Seems like every time you get hurt, you fucking run off and cause more damage. Not today."

    Luka let out a heavy sigh as he rested his head on the pillow. The small doctor approached and felt at Luka's bandages. "We're going to have your slurry brought in. Drink it all and we will assess your recovery."

    "Doc..." Luka rolled his head against the pillow as he looked at her. "Where is Levi?"

    "The girl?" The doctor replied. "Yeah. Lillian's daughter..." Hartigan replied as he stubbed out the cig on the window sill.

    "She's in another room. Hurt quite a few people to get her restrained. You can't see her right now, Luka. But she is being guarded as was your request."

    "My request..." Luka moved to touch his head, forgetting that his hands were restrained. Flexing, he pulled his arms inward to try and break the cuffs. "I need to go...we need to go!"

    The small doctor moved around and pushed a dose of sedative. "See, like I said. Handcuffs a must." Hartigan quipped as the blur set in, Luka watching the faded image of the Russian as he approached. "Don't worry. They won't get to you here."
     
  6. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    Anne picked herself up off the floor, visibly shaken by the outburst.

    "I don't know what happened to you, but I'm very sorry."

    Muscles pulled taught beneath the canvas of color on Levi's arms as she strained against the shackles, an angry snarl carved across her face.

    "Your mother was a wonderful woman. She didn't deserve to go like that..." keeping her distance, Anne stepped around to the monitors at the side of her bed, frown deepening as she watched Levi's anger melt into pain, tears freshly streaking her cheeks with black again.

    "The Doctor told me to sedate you if you lashed out. Maybe this is better. You can get some rest," the Nurse nodded to herself before helping her slip back into a listless sleep.

    ~~~

    "I'm her Godfather. Gilarik Haymes. You saw the records."
    "No visitors."
    "She just lost her mother for fuck's sake! I'm the only family she's got left, let me see her."
    "No visitors."
    "By whose orders?"
    "Detective Forgraves."
    "Well he knows who I am, tell him I'm here! Tell him Gil wants to see her!"
    "The Detective isn't available to speak. You'll have to wait in the visitor lounge."
    "Blimey..." Gil passed a hand over his flushed face. It was much easier to beat down someone else's door when you had a gun or two at hand and when the someone else was part of a nameless, faceless, rioting crowd. He nodded with a huff and turned to make his way back down the hall, jostling a Nurse pushing a man on a bed along the way.
     
  7. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    Mikoff rattled around in his pockets, pulling out a packet of crumpled cigs. There were two left in there but based on the shape of the box, he imagined they were no good anymore. He made a mental note, rubbing down his mustache with a thumb and index, to pick up another couple of packs later. He didn't used to smoke like this, but the times brought it out of him.

    Strolling through the hallway, he made a brief stop by Adra's room. Based on the report he got from the beat cop, seems like there was a whole array of problems going on. Here getting rough with the nurse was the first issue. Mikoff almost smiled at that. Had the circumstances been different he might have made a joke.

    Adra, not everyone can take a beating like Luka...
    Adra, keep that sort of thing in the bedroom...
    Adra...

    But there wasn't any place for a joke like that. The second bit of news was someone stopping by to see her. That piqued Mikoff's interest, it was one of those things Luka told him to look out forward - back when Du Pomang was lucid. Luka the Lucid.

    "Eh, sometimes..." he uttered as he thought, chuckling. The cop gave him a confused glance and the Russian rebutted him with a dismissive wave. "Nothing, nothing..."

    Jamming his hands back into his pockets, he made his way down into the waiting array. Not a lot of people in there. A couple of women, two kids that looked like they moonlighted as sewer rats or water tank fiddlers, and a man that looked seemingly irate. He'd put his next bank statement on it being that one.

    Taking a seat next to the man, Mikoff clicked his tongue. "You know Adra, huh?"
     
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  8. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    "What?" Gil blinked at the man from behind the remnants of sweat and grease. He smelled like an engine block and looked like he'd just crawled out of one. It was no small wonder he sat all by himself at the far end of the waiting room.

    "Oh, you mean Levi," the man shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He was a large man - built like a brick shithouse was the saying, though those sorts of things didn't exist on Ceres. An easy guess was he'd been a muscular and fit man in his youth, and though he kept active and maintained his strength age had slipped in there over the years.

    "She don't like people calling her Adra - yeh should keep that in mind ... " he squinted his eyes at Mikoff, spying the badge, "Detective."

    Gil heaved a tired sigh. He'd worked all day and only just received the news. Heard the news, more like it. The media had covered the sniper scare with as much fervor as rats to garbage. Names were leaked, photos, too. Hard to miss a picture of a woman covered in tattoos frantically trying to bludgeon those trying to separate her from the body of her mother.

    "I'm her Godfather," he said, staring at the set of ruddy hands in his lap, palms up, all manner of grime and callous exposed, "I should be in there with her."
     
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  9. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    "Ah..." He nodded, eyes trained down the hallway towards where the guard was waiting. "I should warn you. I don't give two shits what people like..." He looked towards the greased up mechanic. Mikoff had smelled worse, often times staring back up at him from the bottom of a bottle. Granted, the mechanic was no dime perfumed up at the end of the bar-top, putting on her best show for all the boy birds to see. But Mikoff had seen worse.

    He chuckled. "I hear it's part of my charm. I do what I want, don't take no shit from on one...keeps things simple."

    The fact that this man knew what Adra preferred, by name, was enough to convince him that he wasn't a threat. The only thing he really seemed a threat too was a well kept bathroom, leaving prints and stains everywhere. He thought it might be funny to release this godfather into Forgrave's hole, really muck things up.

    "For example..." He pulled his right leg up, crossing it over to his left, and opened up a digital magazine on his terminal. "Forgrave says to me..." Mikoff puts on an absurd southern accent. "Listen, pardner...I ain't looking for no cowpoke to see my lady. Not until I fly this here angola and see her myself." Mikoff smirked and shook his head, it was funnier there. "But I say...Fuck you Forgrave. What's he gonna do about it, he's cuffed to a bed...Doctors orders."

    He chuckled to himself as he fidgeted. "The word on the street is that this beat cop..." Mikoff pointed down the hall. "Is going to take a piss break in about a minute. Maybe less." He shrugged. "And a particularly handsome Russian detective, who doesn't give a fuck what Forgrave says, is watching guard." He opened his eyes wide and stretched his mouth. "A godfather should be with his goddaughter...especially now. Eh?"
     
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  10. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    Gil made a face at the man, his difficulty in deciphering his words over that awful accent pretty clear. He took a few moments to digest all the words, and perhaps his slowness in comprehension resulted from his failure to get an educational degree - either way, he thought he got the gist. The man frowned, heavy brows furrowing, and then offered Mikoff a nod of understanding.

    "Thank you, Detective." He supposed there aught to have been something a bit more heartfelt in there, but he was a working man that just put in a long day and he'd just lost one of his best friends if words were to be believed.

    Gilarik sat there in silence as, just like Mikoff said, the guard stationed at Levi's room motioned for the Detective to cover while he disappeared off to relieve himself. Waiting just a moment longer, Gil slowly pushed himself up from the chair with a grunt and ambled down the hall, watching for any gestures from Mikoff for the all-clear before heading into the room.

    The moment he got inside and locked his gaze with Levi's, his eyes welled up with tears.

    "Tell me it ain't true, Levi. Tell me it wasn't Lil."

    Levi's expression was one of stone - grief, pain, and fury all etched into an amalgamation of something dour. She was glad that Gil was crying because she hadn't any tears left to cry. Brown eyes slowly turned away from him. It wasn't the confirmation he was hoping for.

    "Oh, Gods, Lillian-" Gil lifted a large, ruddy hand to his face to cover the grimace forming there, streaks forming where tears rolled down through dirt and grime. He managed to make his way over to the chair beside Levi's bed, garnishing several tissues from her bedside to wipe his face. For several minutes he said nothing, instead muttering things under his breath, shaking his head, pushing more tears from crinkled eyes before he managed to pull himself together.

    "I'm sorry Le, she didn't deserve it. She deserved to go with dignity in the comfort of her bed. Are ye hurt?" he reached up to take ahold of her hand, realizing shortly after that she was tethered to the bed.

    "No."

    These weren't handcuffs and they didn't require keys to undo, so he began to pull the locking mechanism open.

    "Don't."
    "What they got ye shackled for? Ye just lost your mother, this is insane. Ye should be with Forgraves."
    "Don't."

    Gil looked up from where he fussed with the velcro, leaving grimey fingerprints all over the thing - there'd be no covering that up, "Le?"

    "Because I'll leave and I'll hunt him down."
    "Hunt who down?"
    "The one who did this."
    "...you know who killed your mother?"
    "Benton Kahir."
     
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  11. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    Mikoff struggled with the pack of cigs, reneging on the idea that they were beyond salvaging. He had made due with worse, here and back home. Unfolding the cardboard, he pulled out something that more closely resembled a puzzle piece than something that could be lit and smoked. "Eh..." He shrugged as he approached the cop, returning from his piss break.

    "Everything come out good?" He said with a coy smile, rocking the cig back and forth between his lips. Holding up a hand as the officer moved to speak, Mikoff shook his head and laughed. "Don't want your fucking life story..." The cop was visibly irritated, his pressed uniform and tan overcoat was disheveled and that 5 o'clock shadow was well into the midnight hours.

    "Fuck you, Hartigan..." The man managed to utter out petulantly and the Russian rebutted with a laugh. "Yeah, fuck me." Opening up the door to the room, the cop moved into to see the Godfather tear struck, Adra tied to the fucking bed, and someone saying something about Benton Kahir.

    "Ah...words cause trouble, eh?" Hartigan narrowed his eyes at the woman. A brief paused lapped over them before he scoffed and walked over to the vent, lighting up with a sigh. He then fiddled with the blinds, looking out in the hallway. He was sure he caught the other cop dosing against the wall. "Ship takes on water, hard to know where when it's up to your balls..." He looked over to the two. "A fucking metaphor. We have leaks and no one knows who is talking. So words...they cause trouble, hmm? You understand?" He nodded at them as he took another breath of smoke.
     
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  12. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    Levi rounded a gaze of molten steel on Mikoff as he spoke his little metaphor. Every syllable caused her anger to rise until it was a boiling, seething cauldron just waiting to explode.

    So words, they cause trouble hmmm? You understand.

    "If you think..." the woman's tone was low, level, and strained over the precipice of her fury, "that I'm worried about words. Causing. Trouble."

    "Levi..." Gil frowned deeply, recalling his hands as she pulled against her restraints.

    "BENTON KAHIR KILLED MY MOTHER!" they exploded out of her with the ferocity of a dragon breathing fire and there was an absolute certainty that everyone just outside the room and within earshot beyond heard her.

    ["FUCK YOU AND YOUR TROUBLE MIKOFF!"] now in Russian, made all the more natural accented by her rage, ["FUCK YOUR LEAKS. NO ONE KNOWS BETTER THAT YOU HAVE LEAKS IN THE FORCE. WHY DO YOU THINK I'VE SPENT THE LAST FIVE YEARS LOOKING OVER MY SHOULDER AND BEING BEATEN TO WITHIN AN INCH OF MY LIFE BECAUSE I CHOSE MY MOTHER OVER HIM."]

    Her face was red but her eyes were dry. She didn't have any tears left. The grief had already boiled off in the heat of anger.

    "No one knows him better than I do," the eruption subsided, Levi's gaze left the Detective to glare at the wall across the room, "and now that he's taken her from me there isn't anything you can do to stop him from getting to me."


    ~~~

    10 days later.

    Up for what felt like a week straight. Levi couldn't remember the last time she slept soundly. Everything since that day had devolved into one unending, convoluted nightmare that she wished she could wake up from but knew she couldn't. Her mother's remains were on ice with the Investigators while they continued collecting evidence. Apparently insisting it was Benton wasn't enough, and she wasn't surprised in the least. Even if she had concrete evidence, she was certain he'd never be pinned for it.

    Justice and revenge would have to be served from an entity beyond the reach of the guilty party.

    She emptied her little hovel of an apartment. Putting everything she couldn't stand to lose in a small box and giving it to Queenie for safe keeping. The rest was packed up or Pawned off, including the apartment. Luka didn't even need to offer her his place as a new home - Levi had no intention of living in her apartment any longer. Not that they could stay anyway - she was right.

    Somehow with Mamen out of the picture, the harassment of the Golden Bough returned two-fold. She couldn't go anywhere without turning a corner into Benton's minions and, judging by the fresh scrapes and bruises on Luka, neither could he.

    Luka's hand terminal had been busted in an altercation with an unmentionable red-headed Detective. Levi couldn't be sure but it looked like he'd used it to smash the man's face in. That was the tipping point to everything - he insisted they had to leave. Take a vacation. Wouldn't say why, wouldn't say what happened. They just had to go and they had to go right now. So they left without a word to anyone and made for Tycho.

    It was quite possibly the worst introduction to flying through space anyone could have asked for.

    The few days following that were a blur of constant movement and checking over their shoulders. Luka had a contact there but he couldn't reach him without a working terminal and Levi wasn't keen about turning her's back on for fear of being tracked. With some luck he had a familiarity with Tycho, enough to know where to start, but the faces of who to talk to had changed over the years and they weren't real sure about who they could trust. They got a tip from a Belta Engineer in a bar one night by the name of Krey. A location and a name of a man who fenced tech and implants.

    Levi had to wonder if he was part of the chain from Ceres.

    Luka knocked on the door, Levi pulled the hood of her jacket a bit further over her head.

    "Krey sent us."
     
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  13. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    Hot bunking was a poor form of transit, no matter who someone swapped beds with. Never seemed to get comfortable, everything felt used, and the ships were always hot as hell. Maybe they were kicking heat up from the engines to help offset the cold, maybe they just liked the idea of people sweating and stinking in the back, or maybe they just didn’t make enough money to fix the venting systems and provide just a smidgen of comfort. Whatever it was, it made for a hellish trip between Ceres and Tycho and it gave Luka an inescapable sense of guilt.

    Telling Levi he knew the way, he had a place they could go, and when she needed him most, he gave her this. Hot bunking.

    He had gotten the sense that the trauma of that day wasn’t a thing Levi would easily shake and if he were being honest with himself, which he wasn’t, he’d likely not shake it either. Like a set of weights had been tied to his shoulders, he walked onto the ship with a sort of posture that waved its hands dismissively at the grav boots. He didn’t need them, he was quite heavy enough as it was.

    Finding a friendly on Tycho was a bit of luck, dodging the remains of Star Helix or whatever contorted version of the law enforcement remained in the wake of the OPA upheaval. Power like that, coming or going, had a way a simultaneously fixing and breaking things. OPA were happy with their beltalowdas and milowdas and sasa ke’s but at the end of the day, someone was getting theirs. If it wasn’t the gangs, it was the people that affiliated with them. And somewhere down that length of line, guilty turn to innocent and Du Pomang questioned an extremist organizations ability to delineate it.

    He had seen it go wrong enough to know. Like watching a woman get gunned down right in front of him, only to see every hand reach out and clink the fur covered cuffs against the bed rails of helix and golden bough knocking boots in the plaza square. Everyone saw it, everyone knew what was happening. Justice died along time ago on Ceres in the faded eyes of Sarah, slapping against the hull, and in the grey eyes of Mamen - gasping her final breath.

    Hold her hand.

    He worked himself free from his thoughts as the metal door swung open. The guy inside was belter, through and through, and smelled like his water rations ran out about two years ago. He was scrawny, belter skinny, and had his bony chest exposed with tattoos to indicate where his ribs were.

    As if it wasn’t clear already.

    Need a terminal.” Luka spoke sternly as the guy tried to shut the door on him. “Not in the mood.

    “Yeah, me neither you fuck welwalla...go down to the square. Fetch one der!” He tried to shut it again but Luka wagered the man might have weighed as much as his thigh. Sighing, he pushed the door forward and knocked the man down. “I’ve got money. I’ll pay for it.
     
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  14. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    She would have liked to say that it was the aggression and the violence and the anxiety that made her want a cigarette in that moment, but the truth of the matter was simple addiction. Unfortunately for her she'd run out two days ago and Levi was really jonesing (no pun intended) for a smoke. It left her with a frayed sense of patience and an embittered humanity - but really the lack of smokes couldn't be solely to blame for the latter.

    Like trying to blame the presence flies on the shit in a sewer.

    She'd become a product of her environment.

    Levi followed Luka in as he impressed his very simple request on the man and closed the door behind them. The belter looked disheveled - abnormally so, which was saying a lot.

    ["We not here for trouble,"] she interjected with perfect Beltalang, ["we just need terminals and we go. Krey said-"]

    The man spat at them as he picked himself up off the floor, nearly a head taller than Luka, ["Krey says what. Krey's a fucking rat and he won't be saying anything for much longa."]
    ["We're not the fucking OPA."]
    ["Right and dis fucka's not a cop. Look at you, fucking shitface cop. Gonna rat me out."]
    ["Look,"] Levi pushed up her sleeves and exposed the tops of her wrists. There, two separate symbols, one on each arm. One for taking, and one for selling. A clever, subtle way to tell a Fencer.
    ["Ohhh, I see. Why don' you get your own sketch?"]
    ["These aren't my grounds."]
    ["Then what, eh?"]
    ["Ceres."]
    ["Ceeereeees...and who you work for on da Ceres grounds?"]
    ["Mano Pax."]
    The man hissed, glaring at them both, ["Fuckin Mano. He take your own shoes from ya and sell em back next day."]

    A pause as he considered them once more, ["Alright. I get ya terminals, but you gatta do sumting for me. Take care of da rat, Krey."]
     
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  15. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    Levi was taking the wheel and that gave Luka the impression that he could putz around a bit. The interior of the belta's hole was shambles, about what he'd expect from a low income technophile on the belt. The back of the room was lit up with various components of salvaged computer equipment, beeping with no apparent rhythm in colors of red, blue, and green. Strings of metal twine looped from corner to corner, with obvious slack, and held various pieces of electronic equipment. Microchips, pieces of plastic, and terminal components - some had power and some didn't.

    It was like decorations for the economically inept, which felt biting given the fact that he and Levi were in a similar state. They just didn't have the same love for terminals as this particular man.

    "No." Luka uttered quietly as he strummed his fingers across the gold and silver circuits of a plastic motherboard, setting it to spin like an unfortunate disco ball. "No I don't think so."

    He shifted as his attention moved back to the Belter. He could have lied and said sure, then turned around and did fuck all with the promise. But Luka wasn't in the mood for it. Clearly.

    "I'll give you money. You give us a terminal. And I won't make you swallow your teeth." The techie was taller but in pretty much every other regard, he was at a clear disadvantage. And the sudden shift in Luka's temperament seemed to ignite legitimate concern in the mans eyes. "Dental prosthetics aren't cheap...sasa ke?"
     
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  16. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    The belter, despite displaying some healthy concern, gave an ugly grimacing sneer.

    ["I don't think you understand how this place works-"]
    "I understand just fine," and before Luka could do anything - if he intended to - Levi had the man by the collar with a knee to the gut. He doubled over and she followed through with an elbow into the back of his head. The man buckled beneath her and dropped to the floor with a grunt, coughing up something not quite the healthy red you'd expect. Levi moved to press a boot to his back and grabbed the man by his hair with a rough yank, the whites of her teeth showing over a growl, "Where are the terminals?"

    He struggled, sputtered, then waved an arm haphazardly, ["In de back room!"]

    Brown eyes looked to Luka, suggesting without words that he be the one to check while she kept the belta under her heel.
     
  17. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    Luka wasn’t all empty promises and bluffs, though his obvious preference would have been to make it out of the scenario without having to bruise his knuckles. While his expression remained forcibly indifferent, he couldn't make up his mind on how he felt with the way things were proceeding. It was important for Levi to be able to handle herself and it was clear that she could. But it was coming from a place of grief and it was a thick as the stench coming off the unwashed belter.

    The belter had the wrong sort of answers and Levi had primed the reply; there was nothing for Luka to do but stand back, stay out of the way, and watch the show.

    Yeah, okay.” He acquiesced with a certain amount of ease, adorned with a downtrodden expression that may have suggested he felt bad for the techie. But the techie was stupid and stupid demanded a response.


    Don't get any fresh ideas while I'm gone…” He looked at the man, white teeth showing as his hair was pulled back. “I can't protect you if I'm not around.

    One more look towards those pools of mahogany and he was off into the back room. Opening up the door, the room bled blues and greens and greeted him with various whirring noises. Like a filtration system needed some maintenance but instead, the user just turned the volts up. Luka cat-called the gear as he side eyed the belter.

    "I guess we have our pick of the lot, ya?” The belter grumbled but didn't reply. Shrugging almost imperceptibly, Luka went in and came back out. He had a couple terminals in his hand.

    Think we need more than two?” Is question was clearly aimed at Levi but it served as a reminder for the belter as well.
     
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  18. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    ["Can't hurt to have an extra,"] Levi said while grinding the heel of her boot into the belter's back, ["and you'll throw it in for free."] He groaned and cursed in response.

    ["Fuck you!"]

    ["Do you want to get paid or do you want to eat linoleum?"]

    ["1,000 scrip,"] the belta spat, Levi raised a brow, ["each!"]

    Brown eyes shifted over to Luka, "Those look like they're work 1,000 scrip each?"
     
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  19. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    He facially shrugged as he reached back into the back room and pulled out two more terminals. One for each of them, never know when something might happen.

    Two to grow on.” He uttered as he lifted the flap of his jacket, feeding two of the terminals in. Approaching Levi, he held the other two terminals in hand. Cutting them on, he quickly checked the specs and nodded.

    Looks good.
    He replied quietly as he pulled the currency out of his back pocket. Rifling through it, he lazily tossed 3,000 at the belter - one for free. Kneeling down, Luka looked the man in the eye as he pressed the edge of one of the terminals against his nose.

    Don't make us come back, sasa ke?” Belter put in an effort to look away, Du Pomang wouldn't allow it. “I don't chew my cabbage twice.” Something his dad used to say, back when Luka wasn't listening.

    [Fine! Just fucking go!]
     
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  20. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    She had nothing else to add to the situation other than a grind of her boot heel into the man's back as she stepped off him to follow Luka out the door. Levi adjusted her hood, took a moment to look around, picked a direction and lead the way off. Wouldn't be a good idea to linger - more than likely the techi would call his friends and neither she nor Luka seemed to be in a particularly forgiving mood.

    "They just need to be reactivated," she said after they'd put some distance and warmish bodies between themselves and the hole, "I can do that if we can find a place to crash." Having something to put her mind to other than a likely prospect for lifting cigarettes off of would do her some good. Hell, having a place to crash would do both of them some good; Levi felt like they hadn't stopped moving for nearly a week.

    "...what's cabbage?"
     

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