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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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    "Not really sure." He admitted, trying his best to recall if his father had ever explained or if one of those late night terminal broadcasts had ever featured an episode on cabbage. Just on straight deduction, it was something that was eaten or at least chewed. Beyond that, he didn't really know. A question for a Martian from Gannymede who tended to livestock and food stuffs; It wasn't the knowledge base for an academy flunk out who took to law enforcement and mushroom flavored brews.

    Cutting through Tycho was as easy as following the trail of neon flashing lights. The causeway between well-off and downtrodden could be measured in the wattage of the bulbs or the consistency of the green and purple LED flashing lights. They were looking for something a bit lower on the rungs, a halfway house for those just plopping out from a hot-bunk berth and looking for the bare essentials. Clean sheets, a bed to themselves, and a shower with a favorable water ration.

    So not too low on the rung. While a no-tell-motel could suit their purposes, that was the sort of place where questions were answered if the proper palms were lined. They'd need a bit more discretion, so their path took them half way to the roulette tables and new yen arcades. What they found was something that stunk of appropriation and offered a halfhearted attempt at concealing the nature of the motel. It was tropical themed with a flair for the metropolitan; incense burning in the dimly lit corners gave off the impression of middle eastern flares. New Beirut, without all the fireworks.

    It was an attempt, even if it was poor.

    "Need a room." Luka managed out, tracing the brass tinsel across the ceiling with a skeptical eye. The woman, olive skinned and raven haired, returned the skeptical expression with one of her own. Tapping on the counter-top with oddly immaculate fingernails, her finely manicured eyebrows lifted with expectation. "How will you be paying."

    "Chips." Most reputable spots weren't big on that form of currency; it made things difficult to track in the event of damages. But given the proximity to many gambling establishments, Luka had it on good authority that deals were sorted out to make lodging a bit more accommodating for the patrons who hadn't yet cashed out. And that intel paid off as the woman starting working on the terminal to set up the room.

    Turning to Levi, Luka nodded to one of the lounge chairs. "Those look comfortable..." He assumed a bit better construction than a common dining room table.
     
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  2. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    That really depended on what dining room table one was referencing. A kitchen table in the apartment of a certain tattooed mechanic on Ceres? You've never seen one sturdier.

    Levi found her face stuck in a perpetual state of disgust, and her gaze of molten earth had settled on the woman behind the desk. Those perfectly manicured nails, those immaculately mirrored brows ... the urge to backhand her just to see if her lipstick would smudge was a strong one.

    She really, really needed a smoke.

    "Those look comfortable..."

    The remark caused her gaze to break from the woman, sweeping sideways to his own with a inquiring tilt, before shifting then in the direction of the nod. She'd traveled here vastly on distracted auto-pilot tethered by the trust she had for this man. She didn't even need a whole hand to count the number of people she'd trust implicitly with ... anything, generally, and he had somehow managed to work his way into that number. In spite of everything that should have kept them apart, that everything had become the resonating factor combining both their plights.

    Levi looked at the lounge chairs and immediately envisioned doing things with him there that weren't appropriate for public spectacle. All neon lights and incense smoke.

    "Hm," the woman smirked briefly, thinking that if she couldn't get a smoke soon then she'd have to find another itch to scratch. Well, maybe they were. Giving Luka one more glance, Levi pushed off the counter and strolled across the room to the open lounge chairs where she promptly deposited herself. A moment of consideration as her body slackened and sunk into the cushion, heels kicking up to set upon a footrest.

    Eh, they were okay.

    Lukas received a half-hearted shrug to indicate as much.
     
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  3. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    The sound of belter beats resonated from a distance, mumbling into the motel like a drunkard that had lost his way. The overall tones were cut entirely by the inner lobby music; it was an amalgamation of tanburn string play and a the hum of a zurna in the background, all to the cues of a throat singer who carried the creole accent but sang in thick francais libanais.

    Luka watched as Levi sauntered over and plopped down, after patting the scene down for a moment. With her shrug he smirked, belter shrugging in response before turning back to the desk to the sound of a terminal chirp.

    "We have two rooms available. Two doubles or a king size..."
    "The king is fine." For obvious reasons. But he also suspected that a king bed based room would have better amenities. The woman, decidedly posh Earther, laid on a thick sigh before tapping the key machine to generate two plastic cards.

    "Information for your stay is available on the room terminal. All basic amenities are provided plus an atrium view of the interior casino. The bar is open all night and they do deliver for a surcharge. Your room is on the 12th floor and the lift is..." She leaned forward and pointed. "Around to the left, passed the water closet." Real thick. "The bar is on the 19th floor, please use your key for access. And mind the railing."

    Luka took the two keys and nodded. "Taki taki..." That got the attendant to scowl quite fiercely, which surprised the detective. Mentally shrugging, he walked over to Levi and threw a key into her lap. "Room or the bar?"

    The bar had drinks, the bar likely had people who weren't exactly white-knuckling when it came to their cigarettes. But the room had a shower, a bed, and a terminal for access to the network. So many choices.
     
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  4. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    She closed her eyes while she waited, feeling the weight of fatigue flood her veins just as soon as boots left the floor. When was the last time either of them got a good night of sleep? Truth be told, she felt much the same way she'd felt most days since before her introduction to du Pomang. It would have struck her as nostalgia were it not for the reminder of her loss tied to it. Now it only made her sick and angry.

    A sharp inhale through her nose was the response to the card landing in her lap. Levi startled, opening her eyes as if he'd thrown a bomb instead, and blinking with a fleeting hint of remorse that he hadn't. She picked the card up between her fore and middle, turning it over as if expecting it to have a hidden message on the back. It didn't.

    "Room," boots hit floor again, tired feet and limbs pushed her up from the moderately comfortable chair. She needed a drink far less than she needed to be away from people, noise, and activity. A break from reality, much like any time spent at his home on Ceres had been. Levi pocketed the card and followed his lead, content to leave the weirdness of noise in the foyer for the dulled quiet of the lift. She stepped back to stand next to Lukas, shoulder to shoulder, and quietly found his hand with her own, tattoos weaving through calloused fingers and closing over scarred knuckles.

    Up they went.
     
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  5. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    Lukawasn't sure what he expected but he admittedly didn't have a horse in the race. If the show during the riot on Ceres was enough to prove his stamina, than this wasn't all that much more. Bunking on the ship wasn't exactly comfortable and the constant rocking, the constant sound of chatter, and the ever growing robust smell of sweat and stale sex; the trip had made for a tiring ride. He could fall over just as quickly as he could go for two more days.

    But he could also go for a drink.

    The lift hummed as Levi's fingers weaved in with his and looking down, he realized that they had been distant since the trip from Ceres to Tycho. She felt removed and callous, more so than his palms, and more than that; she was angry. Not without cause.

    The lift chimed open like some old turnbull with an accordion gate. The music below slowly died for the vacuum of emptiness. The only sound was the occasional scream or laugh that echoed out from one of the many rooms. The hallway was well lit with wall mounted metal halide domes. The floor was covered in red carpet and gold trim and the walls were a neutral blue, like a synthetic sky crafted in the form of the horizon over Dubai. Geometric shapes were spattered throughout like some sort of abstract design, carrying across the carpet and walls in white dye.

    1235. That was the room number and it was just a quick jog to the left. The faux wooden door swung open with the swipe of blank card and Luka unraveled, tossing the leather jacket to the sofa and taking in the surprisingly clean smell of the room. With the door closing after Levi came in, he shut the security latch and opened the blinds to inspect the courtyard.

    The hotel was in the shape of 18 pentagons stacked on top of each other; the center was hollowed out for atrium views of a tropical style courtyard that came to an abrupt end at a glass ceiling on the 17th floor. Above that, people perused across the glass plating of the 18th story bar beneath the cavernous ceiling of the Tycho asteroid wall.

    He took it in quietly as he anticipated Levi would get comfortable in the room. For him, the trip was one he was used to. But for her, it wasn't exactly the case.
     
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  6. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    The moment she stepped into the room Levi felt all means of direction escape her.

    She no longer knew what she wanted and long had she lost track of what she needed. Her mental basin had become a sieve clogged by the last three weeks of memories she would sooner blast from her head with a gun than relive again. The little things that had happened in between had fallen as sand through the cracks. Beyond those flashes of events, she hardly recalled how she'd gotten from point A to point B.

    Hadn't noticed that they'd become distant. That she'd become removed. But it was never her that noticed these things anyway, it was always Luka. Levi liked to blame it on his career, but really the man was far more emotionally aware than she. Sensitive to change, even if he didn't really act against it. Introspective where she was reactive.

    Not that he was without reaction.

    Levi stood there for what felt like an eternity, staring at no place in particular while Luka took in the view through the window.

    "What are we doing here?"
     
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  7. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    That was an interesting question. He had always planned to bring her to Tycho or at least try to convince to come and see the sights. Tycho was known for being the better half of the ice trade, outdoing Ceres in pretty much every regard possible. It had all the water, all the luxuries, and twice the Outer Planetary Alliance involvement. They couldn't even hide it here. Maybe it had to do with the distance from Earth, being closer to the Jovian Moons than the Earth or Mars. Or maybe the money just flowed differently here.

    But when he had planned it, it hadn't been catalyzed by the death of Mamen. Or by the pursuit of the Golden Bough. Or the change in leadership for Star Helix, becoming just another enforcement branch of the OPA. Everything had gone to shit and it just made sense to leave, to find greener pastures and do something different.

    Get away from Benton.

    "We're running." He finally pulled his eyes away from the courtyard, looking back towards Levi. "Trying to catch our breath. Make some contacts, make a change."

    He couldn't protect her or Mamen. In pretty much every sense of the notion, he was useless against Benton when it came to Levi and her mother. This was the only solution he had for not losing her.
     
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  8. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    We're running.

    The words made her skin crawl with disgust.

    The sensation shivered down her spine and settled in her stomach, churning bile through a current of spite, fury, and grief. It wasn't that she was so against running. Even Levi knew there were times that demanded a smart retreat and that this was absolutely one of them. But she couldn't help but feel that they would lose their way here, catching their breath. Taken to a new form of comfort, far away from their enemies but not nearly so far out of their reach.

    Contacts. Change.

    What change could they hope to effect from here? Who could they really trust in this place? Maybe he knew, but she sure as hell didn't.

    Levi didn't say anything in return. She didn't know what she could say that wouldn't lead to her losing her temper, so instead she pulled her pack from her shoulders, tossed it onto the floor by the couch and kicked off her boots. Layers of clothing followed in a heap, the stink of their voyage peeling from her like shed skin. There was nothing sensual about these things or actions, just a disgusted grub shedding a skin that it had worn for far too long. In the end she was colored by ink but falling far short of anything beautiful.

    She felt ugly in this instance, through and through.

    The hottest shower wouldn't scald away the feeling either, but at least it would clean away the remnants of the last few days. Levi could start with that.
     
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  9. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    It was disconcerting to be the loquacious one. Often times, he felt somber and soft-spoken. But now, he carried the conversation. And the silence was frustrating, leaving him stuck between the awkward attempts to stir up discussion and the hollowness of letting her silence consume him.

    She was everything to him but now, she stood as a silent expression; a dancers body, marred in tragedies written through ink, bleeding from a broken heart. What's this one for? An unending series of unfortunate mishaps, starting with meeting a detective and ending with gray eyes shutting, blood pooling across a clothing store floor.

    Skin as thin as paper, cold as the air escaping the airlock. Cold as the space between them now, the dirty spots on the carpet that counted the paces between them as she moved towards the shower and away from him. There was a carousel in the courtyard, spinning as it took people to their various floors. But all he could hear was their laughing, reminding him of the anger he felt in her eyes.

    Downtrodden chocolate browns, narrowing into slits of nothingness as she shed the grime from their travels. There was a hardness there that crept in like the shadow, formed from the synthetic sunrise of countless Tycho days among the 24 hours. Ink hardened into calcium, like a clam snapping shut when sensing danger, she found her way to the shower and left him in the quiet.

    All the years of training, preparing for high gravity and physical need; he felt powerless. Sitting down on the bed, he stroked his forehead as he heard the shower kick on. The pressure seemed alright, about as good as he remembered. Maybe that would help.

    He suspected not.
     
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  10. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    It was likely the longest shower he'd ever witnessed her take since knowing her, which was to say that it was a few minutes over five. Luka knew that in her apartment their water ration was menial and she did her best to save it all for Mamen. Showers were taken by counting seconds, not minutes, and even in the luxury of his own home where the water was a little more the routine didn't die.

    When she stepped out, wrapped in a plush blue towel and reddened steaming like a locomotive, she was only marginally less strapped by her emotions than before. Now that she was free of her desperate need to escape the remnants of what came before, the second pressing need of exhaustion had slowly sunk in. Levi felt her limbs moving with the weight of her grief, joints protesting against the fire of rage. She found her bag, produced some clean clothes, redressed, and then moved to sit on the bed opposite of Luka.

    There were no words that would willingly leave her mouth. Lips parted once, twice, a third time and nothing formed. Levi felt the world of her oppression close around her throat, forcing the boiling emotions within to burn just inside her chest and behind her eyes.

    Sitting slowly shifted to laying on her side, back to him, and the clam continued closing until the outside world was lost to blackness.

    Levi suddenly began to sob.
     
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  11. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    It was a side of Levi that Luka was not only not used to, but for which he was entirely unprepared. Seeing Mamen die, life fading from her eyes, he recalled the still shot of his own mother; a holographic picture powering down as he shut off the kitchen light. It was easy to forget the tragedy of that day if he just didn't think about it, didn't dwell on the failings of all the various constructs that surrounded their life on Ceres. The insurance agencies at Purgatory, the guards and support structures, Star Helix, port control, the Golden Bough.

    Everything had been set against them but up until now, Levi was simply angry. Luka could handle that, it was something he expected and had dealt with in the past. He even half expected her to get short with him, show a bit of that anger that the doctors and Hartigan had warned him about. Anger meant that things weren't being resolved and in Luka's mind, it was better that than accepting what had happened. Better that than to despair over their current path, trepidation born in the murkiness.

    Maybe it wasn't the healthiest way to approach life. But it took him years to overcome the loss of Sarah, if he could even say he was over it. The blips of her heart never faded across his chest, despite the age of the ink.

    Laying down next to Levi, Luka pulled his legs up on to the bed. Draping his arms over her, he pulled her to him and said nothing. He didn't know what to do. But what he did know was that he had to do something.
     
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  12. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    Tears rolled thick and free, staining the skin of her face black with running makeup. Levi wasn't sure how it was possible to feel so incredibly empty and so fundamentally weighed down at the same time. The hole of loss was bigger than the space between the Earth and Ceres, darker than the endless expanse beyond. But the heavy burden of guilt grew far beyond what she'd ever imagined true gravity to feel like. It was a ship casting itself to the stars at full speed and she without the leverage to brace against.

    Mind reeling, limbs unable to respond, gut twisting. It hurt in ways she couldn't fathom. Of all the languages she knew by heart, no words had ever been created to describe the sensation of ... this.

    She sobbed. She cried. She felt Luka's presence and yet couldn't - as if he were something she were experiencing in another plane of existence.

    Eventually the well of tears dried up, sobs steadied to slow breaths, exhaustion took over. Levi sunk into a dreamless sleep, which was probably the greatest mercy she could have hoped for.
     
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  13. Lukas Forgrave

    Lukas Forgrave Scourge of the Water Pipes

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    He laid quietly next to Levi as she cried herself to sleep. Finding a divot in the wall or the passing lights of the carousel in the atrium, he tried his best to not focus on how powerless he was. Once her breath slowed, he pulled his arm out from underneath her and excised himself from the bed.

    Pulling up the comforter and the sheets, he checked over the liner and seams for the red staining of bed bugs. Finding no evidence and content with the short investigation, he gingerly moved Levi over and tucked her in.

    Cutting off the bedside lamp, he released a quiet sigh before undressing and finding his way to shower. He’d be an idiot to jump into bed at this point, given what sort of things can be picked up in transit between Ceres and Tycho.

    But he also expected that this would make for the most likely circumstances to produce one of Levi’s infamous night terror fits. He resolved himself to making the shower short. The door remained slightly open as the water kicked on.
     
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  14. Levi Jones

    Levi Jones Wikibreaker

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    He might count himself lucky that the dreaded Night Terrors did not make an appearance. Levi remained silent and sleeping for the duration of his shower and what followed it.

    It had been a long time since she'd fallen asleep and found herself tucked into a bed upon waking. If she traced her memories back, it would have taken her over twenty years - to the home that once was just a walk away from Luka's. To the days before tattoos and the OPA, before her heart fluttered at the sight of Benton Kahir. When French, Italian, German, Russian... were a common utterance from Mamen during conversations.

    Levi lay in silence thinking about these things, warm beneath the blankets and the weight of an arm upon which her fingers traced the lines of ink. It made her think of the faces she could hardly remember anymore, of the voice of a father that unraveled in the winds of fading memory.

    Made he wonder how long it would take for the face and voice of Mamen to fade as well.

    Too soon, but not soon enough.
     

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