Heathens

Discussion in 'Private Roleplay' started by Dieter Kohler, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Dieter Kohler

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    "Well. I was stopping by on my way to get some shitty street food, so there's that." He sighed unenthusiastically, then perked up. "You know what's important to a speedy recovery? Hydration."
     
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  2. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    "A bar then?"

    She asked with a grin, placing a hand dramatically over her heart. "A man after my own heart. Let's go."
     
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  3. Dieter Kohler

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    “Hey. For the record, you said it, not me. If you stroke out and die or something, that’s on you.” Dieter grinned like an excited child, and hopped up from the bed, grabbing anything narcotic-looking that wasn’t nailed down. For Violet. Probably. Might as well go all out if he was going to break the rules. “You know where your clothes are? If not, fuck it, wear the gown.”
     
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  4. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    She laughed and slid off the bed, having to move slowly to not jostle her bandages or her injury. With careful steps, she moved over to a pantry in the corner of the room and opened the drawers.

    "Do uh... you have a jacket? Mine is sort of... covered in blood." She asked, pulling her pants on underneath her gown.
     
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  5. Dieter Kohler

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    "Right," he nodded, glancing hesitantly down at his own. The best up olive jacket had probably been one of the few possessions he'd kept for more than months at a time. He hadn't exactly brought luggage. He wiggled out of it after a second of reluctance, and tossed it her way. "Try not to get shot in that one. It's my favorite."
     
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  6. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    "You mean it's your only one."

    She smirked back at him, tugging on a simple black shirt with her back to him. It was too big for her slender frame. The cool air already had her shivering once she was out of the warmth of the blankets and she quickly pulled the jacket on once it had been tossed over to her.

    "If we get shot at... it's entirely your fault." She murmured as she stepped closer to him with a grin. There was a slight limp to how she moved, but the painkillers must have been doing a good job, because she didn't complain. "You ready?"
     
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  7. Dieter Kohler

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    “Potato potato,” Dieter shot back, politely finding something remarkably interesting on the bare ceiling as Violet finished changing. “And I went years without getting shot before I met you lot. Shot at, occasionally, but not shot.

    He moved toward the room door and leaned out, looking down the hall in either direction. He held up an open palm as one of the staff strode by, then signaled for her to follow when the medical tech’s back was facing them. “Clear. Let’s move.”
     
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  8. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    She struggled to not laugh at the absurdity of the moment, the medication making that goal all the more difficult. It felt entirely too similar to the last time they were on Tycho. She grabbed onto the back of his shirt so that he didn't accidentally leave her behind when he moved.

    "I mean... I'd never been shot before I met you either, y'know." She replied with a hint of amusement in her voice. When they moved forward, she kept close to him
     
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  9. Dieter Kohler

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    Techincally,” Dieter hissed in mock irritation as they did their awkward centipede shuffle towards freedom, “You met me while being shot at, if we’re getting specific. Just because I was the one who almost died doesn’t mean the bullets weren’t meant for you.

    The tech re-emerged from a room in front of them, and Dieter stopped abruptly, without warning, immediately widening his stance and trying to look super casual as he nodded in greeting. “Hey. Nice day, yeah?”

    The tech either did not notice Violet behind him, or more likely, did not care. He just narrowed his eyes at the puzzling sentiment, then rudely turned to continue on to the next patient’s room. When he’d disappeared inside, Dieter yanked Violet by the arm and hustled her out through the main reception area. It was crowded enough that nobody would likely recognize a single patient, nor was there sufficient security to do shit about an escape. Only when they’d burst into the openish air of the main roadway did he turn back around. “Consider your sainthood revoked, rulebreaker. You’re living on the edge with the rest of us heathens, now.”
     
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  10. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    Violet looked around the 'outside' street with a faint grin, folding her arms over her chest. She was colder than she should have been, but the jacket was helping at least. When Dieter called her 'rulebreaker' she turned to look up at him with a wide grin.

    "Oh aye? Well, I would nae go so far as to call you a heathen, Dee. Though... now that I'm out on the edge, what exactly is the next step, hm?"
     
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  11. Dieter Kohler

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    Suppressing a laugh, Dieter held his hands up and patted the air between them. "Woah, woah. Easy there killer. No need to rush straight to genocide. Losing your humanity and soul should be a gradual thing, probably. Maybe let's just start with some light drunken degeneracy."
     
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  12. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    She laughed along with him, shaking her head. "I think I can handle a little drunken degeneracy. I am scottish after all." She quipped, wrinkling her nose up at him.
     
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  13. Dieter Kohler

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    "Right. And I'm German, so that must mean I'm well-organized and industrious. I bet most people out here don't even know what those terms mean."
     
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  14. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    A low chuckle came from the woman, but her mouth stayed closed. Spinning on her heel, she looked up and down the street as she clicked her tongue. "I guess we're just a couple of terrans without much direction."
     
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  15. Dieter Kohler

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    Dieter struggled. "If it weren't for the accent and the whole vertically-challenged thing, I'd have my doubts about you." He went to elbow her in the side, thought better of it, and started walking without warning. "C'mon Scotty-girl. There's a place I found up here with the perfect cost/health code violation ratio."
     
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  16. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    She turned, trotting after him, and lightly nudged his side with her own elbow. "Doubts about me? I am the most recently added member of the heathen realm. I'm innocent in all this." She teased, looking up at him
     
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  17. Dieter Kohler

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    "Innocent." Dieter spared her a short skeptical glance, then guided the way into the crowded neon lit bar. Brothers loved their neon. He raised his voice over the god-awful noise that someone was passing as music. "No one's innocent, this far out. How's an Earther as trusting as you survive more than a week on the Belt?"
     
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  18. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    "Blind luck mostly!" She shouted back him, grabbing at his belt loop as he made his way through the crowds. It made her a little anxious to be around so many people, but none of them seemed to pay her or Dieter any mind. "Though, to be fair, you and Keith are the exception. What with the whole, saving my life, thing!"

    He glanced back a little confused at the tug, then turned back to navigating, finally finding them a pair of empty stools near the end of the bar, casually flashing two fingers at the bartender when the woman looked their way. He hopped up on his, then proffered out a half-mocking hand to help her get a boost up. “I wouldn’t put too much stock in that. That’s just the kind of thing people hold over you later, when they want something.”

    She smiled and accepted the offer of help, pressing her hand against his to push herself up high enough onto the stool. She leaned forward, resting her arms on the counter in front of her. "Are you planning on holding it over my head?"

    A pair of beers appeared in front of them, and he nodded appreciatively before sliding one towards Violet. "Probably."

    She smirked at him over the brim of the glass, then paused as she considered him. Her hand moved to hold the glass towards him in a small toast. "I'll buy your drinks? Does that count?"

    He chucked and returned the toast with a clink that was inaudible over the noise. "It's a start." He took a long drink, and instinctively gave the place a once-over. Entrances, exits, the meanest motherfucker in the room - the sort of information that came in handy in his profession. Snapping himself out of it, he pushed off the spun one full rotation on his stool, then landed facing Violet as if he was the host on an overacted gameshow.

    "So. What is sweet, wee little Violet McKenzie running from?"
    His imitation of the accent was bad enough to border on offensive.

    Her face scrunched up at the mock accent that he pulled, the sound grating on her ears. "I dinnae sound like that!" She laughed, shaking her head as she took a sip from her beer, avoiding the question outright. Everyone was on the run from something out here on the Belt. Whether it was from the cops, the UN, or just chasing after money. She hadn't come across anyone who didn't have any angle they were trying to play. At least Dieter's seemed pretty straight forward; he just wanted money. She was a little curious as to why he wasn't trying to get said money back on Earth. "I could ask the same of you though. Why are you takin' odd jobs all the way out here in the Belt, eh?"

    "Smoooooth evasion, there,"
    he drawled sarcastically. "But in my case, I'm mostly trying to get away from everyone I can. This is just the end of the road, I guess." It wasn't completely untrue. "Okay, easier question." He swirled his beer once, frowning at it. "What are we really drinking? This pisswater isn't going to get you feeling better with any degree of haste."

    "There's worse places to end up." She retorted back to him, sipping from the rather stale beer and she grimaced. "If haste is what you want, you've ordered the wrong thing." She set the glass down on the counter and leaned forward to get the bartenders attention.

    "Oye, We'll take a bottle of engine wash and two glasses, please!" She had to raise her voice to be heard, but the bartender nodded, giving a Belter sign of recognition. Not long after, a bottle of dark brown liquid and two glass were set down on the counter between them. She looked to Dieter and winked. For some reason, she felt compelled to be honest with him. She leaned closer to him, one hand on his shoulder for balance and still having to raise her voice to be heard, but she was close enough to his ear that no one would really over hear them. "If I'm bein' honest though, I ducked out of a servant contract on Callisto a few years back. They were nae very happy about it."

    Dieter wasn't sure which was more startling, the news or the first whiff of the liquor as he picked it up and smelled it. He reeled a little from both. "Woah. Wow. There it is. What the hell compelled you to take one in the first place?"

    The woman gave a small shrug, pouring herself a glass of the drink. "I didnae have much of a choice in the matter, aye? My parents went back to Earth, said they had found me a 'job'. Turns out, it had quite a few more strings attached than they made it sound like..." She muttered, pulling away from him long enough to down the shot. She coughed a few times and winces, whether it was from the pain of coughing or the drink burning down her throat, it was hard to tell.

    "Goddamn, Vi," he grimaced, but tried to lighten his tone. "That's rough. Guess that makes me the sole non-outlaw on the ship." He knocked back his own shot in near unison, trying to play it off with a straight face and failed miserably, stretching and laughing simultaneously for a few seconds. He slapped violet gingerlyish on the back. "See? You're looking better already. " He plucked her glass from her hand, and splashed both glasses again.

    "Are you already getting beer-goggles, Dee?"
    She chuckled when he said that she was looking better. With her glass refilled, she picked it up and clinked it softly against his. "So, how come you're runnin' from everyone, eh?" She asked him bluntly, spinning on the stool so that she was facing him, boots balancing on the bottom rungs of her stool.

    "I meant..."
    he started, but trailed off, glaring jokingly at her instead. She knew what he'd meant. Using his free hand, he pushed her glass up to her face.

    "Shut up and drink, Vi." He considered the second pass at the question, then shrugged. Only seemed fair. "Well, no government or corporate has a warrant out that I'm aware of, but it still seems that everywhere I go, somebody winds up wanting me dead. Me." He shook his head and emptied his glass a bit more gracefully than before. "Can you believe that? I happen to think I'm perfectly polite and charming. I don't get it."

    She nearly sputtered over the glass as he pushed it to her lips, downing the drink before it could spill. Laughing, she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, shaking her head. "You're plenty charmin'. Can't possibly see why some would want you dead."

    She smirked, refilling their glasses. This drink was considerably more potent than the swill they had started drinking. Mixed with her meds and she was already feeling the effects. That, and she was quite smaller than the other Earther.

    "If it makes you feel any better, I dinnae want you dead." She grinned up at him, leaning over to bump her shoulder against his.

    Dieter smiled at the jostle, but something somber flickered momentary the vacant expression for just an instant. A reminder that all of it - Vi, Princess, their piece of shit ship - was temporary. Just like everything else. The glint, however, disappeared just as quickly as it had come, the smarmy smile solidly back in place.

    "Give it time." The too-early effects of the booze/narcotic cocktail on his companion didn't go unnoticed. " You holding up okay, shipmate? I'll give you a free pass on this one if you need to call it quits. No mockery. Maybe a bit. Just this once."

    She noticed the solemn look on his face, fleeting as it was, and she frowned along with him. Did he have such little faith in himself? Or was it her and Keith? With her mouth quirked to the side, she reached to refill their drinks again.

    "Who, me? I am golden. Glorious even. This was a brilliant bloody idea!"
    In a typical drunken fashion, she leaned forward with a very serious expression on her face. Her fingers curled around his shoulder, squeezing into the muscle in an attempt to be reassuring. While she gestured towards him, she still held her shot glass in her hand.

    "I just wantchu t'know, if'n anyone wants t'try to kill ya, they'll have t'go through me, sasa ke?" She lightly poked his chest with the glass wielding hand, smiling up at him. "And dinnae be so hard on yerself, Dieter. The Albatross is yer home too, eh?"

    She giggled, leaning forward a little further on her seat which ended up with her forehead pressed against his shoulder. "Jus' you wait! We'll all be proper heathens t'gether soon enough. You'll be a rulebreak...er, I'm already a rulebreak...erina? I like that. Rulebreakerina." She snickered.
     
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  19. Dieter Kohler

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    “That’s very comforting,” he laughed, sipping his glass for taste, deciding that was a mistake and tossing it back. “I’ve never felt safer.”

    In truth, he was not at least a little worried that she might be making a promise she’d wind up keeping, with his recent near-death track record. On the other hand, there were worse feelings in the world than the notion that somebody might actually give a shit. He might not have shared Violet’s trusting nature, nor her seemingly endless well of naivety, but her relatively unfiltered joy and affection were somewhat infectious. A younger, stupider Dieter Kohler would probably seen the moment as appropriate to make a pass at her. The older, worn-down cynic that now sat in that younger man’s place knew exactly how bad of an idea that was. After all, on a ship on the drift, there’s only so far he could run. So rather than make an ass of himself, he opted to enjoy the moment for what it was. “Hey. Less schmoozing. More boozing.”

    Following the rule himself, he topped off his glass, then awkwardly maneuvered the bottle between them to refill hers. He glanced at the bottle as he set it back on the bar - had it been full when they’d first gotten it? “You know. If you like it so much, there’s a tattoo spot every ten feet on Tycho.”

    She laughed at the absurd suggestion of the tattoo, shaking her head. He might have known she was drunk, but he certainly kept the alcohol flowing. There was the slight problem of her not being sure if standing was a good idea, but that was an issue for a later time. Dieter was here and she knew she could trust him to keep an eye on her. Even if he was a terrible influence.

    She picked up the glass and likewise downed the shot. The drink didn't burn quite so much anymore. She leaned back just enough so that she could look up at him.

    Her mouth quirked slightly to the side. It was entirely possible that he was annoyed with her antics, but he had kept pouring the drinks. So that was something.

    The younger girl fresh off Callisto might have been upset that he didn't seem interested, but she was just content to have someone look after her while she was drunk. Instead of the other way around, for once.

    "You're right! More boozing. Schmoozing is later." She chuckled, setting the empty glass down. What did she just say? Seriously? There was no way he'd ever go drinking with her again. Which, honestly, made her a little sad. She had a soft spot for Dieter.

    "What? Are you saying you wanna go get matchin' tattoos?"


    Dieter wriggled his eyebrows suggestively for dramatic effect, but laughed the comment off to keep things from getting too uncomfortable.

    “Matching?” He chuckled, shaking his head. “I mean, I didn’t…but now I feel like anything less would be cowardice.”

    She laughed along with him, pouring him a glass and then her own. "It's a deal then. What should we get?"

    "Hmm. You know....Rulebreakerina would look perfect right across here," Dieter reached over and traced a large arch across her forehead.

    She scoffed at him and caught his wrist when he went to pull his hand back. Turning his hand over, she traced her fingers across the inside of his forearm. "What about 'heathen' right here?"

    His eyes narrowed, trying to determine if she was kidding, but a grin pulled at the corner of his lips. "Is...it bad if I don't hate that?"

    "I'll get it if you do." She teased, wrinkling her nose as she grinned.

    It was a ludicrous idea, of course. Them going to get horrible matching tattoos, but the narcotics and the drinking had certainly made it seem like a brilliant course of action. She was fond of Dieter, why shouldn't she?

    “Let’s do it. And hey - that’s a verbal contract,” he replied, poking her in her wrinkled nose. “That means you don’t get to hit me when you wake up tomorrow.”

    He drained his glass and went to set it on the bar, but there was only a quarter of the bottle left. It seemed a shame not to finish it. He topped both their glasses to the brim, spilling a good bit everywhere. He tried to drink his quickly enough to avoid sloshing more onto himself, with mediocre success. “But first, I’m getting your money’s worth.”

    She picked up her own glass, spilling some of the liquid on her hand as she went as she quickly downed it. Muttering to herself, she licked up the mess from her hand.

    While Dieter was finishing what little remained of the bottle, she was fumbling with her hand terminal to pay the bartender. The woman didn't look particularly pleased with the mess the two Inners had made.

    "I will nae hit you, Dieter." She chortled, moving to stand up off her stool after she had paid. The room tilted under her feet and she grabbed at the counter to keep her balance. "S'fine.."

    "I've heard that before," he joked, dropping his empty glass on the table before hopping up and putting an arm around Violet's back to keep her upright. He was steadier than she seemed to be, but not by much. "C'mon, Vi. All these poor life choices aren't gonna make themselves."

    Leaning into him for support, she laughed at his remark and shook her head. "You're absolutely right they're not."

    When they started to move, she wrapped her own arm around his waist to keep her balance. "Bloody hell... this would be so much easier if I was nae drunk." She chuckled again and gestured out towards the street with her free hand. "I trust y'know where there's a tattoo parlor, 'round here?"

    “But what fun would that be?” Dieter half-navigated, half-shoved them through a throb of dancing Belters until he reached the street she was point at. The recycled air almost felt cool and refreshing after the packed bar. Almost.

    “I bet I can find one,” he shrugged. “I’d be lying if I said this was my first ill-advised tattoo on a spin station.” Guiding them over to a trio of smoking tattooed Belters outside the bar, he waved with his free hand.

    Ey coyos, where’s a spot where a couple innas can pick up some ink?” he inquired, unwisely pointing at his own bare neck in reference to the styled EVA-burn neck tattoos that all three of them sported. They just stared at him, eyes wide and semi-threatening. “Uhhh….’tatuyingis’ - where do we uhhh…..”

    One of the more menacing dropped their cigarette to the station floor and ground it out with a boot, taking a step forward. Dieter tensed, then nudged Violet with his hip. “Uhhhh…did I say something?”

    Since he had his arm around her, she felt his body tense up with the Belter too the threatening step towards them. She glanced up at him when he nudged her with her hip.

    "I think y'said quite a bit... actually."
    She muttered back to him, shaking her head a few times. The three Belters looked less than friendly and she was suddenly very concerned about her and Dieter's safety. Both of them were drunk and recovering from their injuries.

    Her arm tightened around his waist and her free hand came to rest against his stomach as she shifted her stance beneath his arm. "Dinnae mind him none, lads. Jus' had a bit too much of engine wash, sasa ke?" She said, addressing the Belter that had moved forward, hoping to diffuse the situation.

    Dieter nodded. He’d known that tattoos were more than decorative for these people - it’d just momentarily slipped his mind in the excitement and intoxication. As Violet spoke, he casually shifted his stance a bit. Going for the gun under his shirt would be awkward, but doable. He wasn’t going to play the odds with a fair fight if things went sideways. Not with Violet banged up.

    The man shifted his attention to Violet, meeting her eyes and staring blankly at her for a few seconds. When he moved abruptly, Dieter quickly twisted their position to put the wounded mechanic safely behind him - but it was a threatening finger that wound up in his face, instead of a fist. “Pashang fong, paxonísekis. Xiya na pelésh to.”

    Grinning, half in relief and half just to be an ass, Dieter took a step back, pretending not to understand and looked in the direction the man’s finger - as if he’d been pointing at something behind them, rather than Dieter’s face. Cheerfully, he nodded his head in thanks. “Oh? Just over there, you say? Great prices? Sounds perfect. Thanks a million, fellas.”

    With that, he shuffled Violet away before the man finished exchanging thoroughly confused looks with his friends. Dieter tried to keep a straight face as he looked down at Violet, but failed, bursting into a snickering laugh that he could barely suppress. “I told you. People love me.”

    As Dieter maneuvered her around, putting himself between her and the angry Belter, she tensed up. She had expected a fight to break out. The man shouting at them in belter creole was impossible to miss and she worriedly put a hand against Dieter's back.

    Surprisingly, the terran handled himself perfectly. He was just a drunken inner, who didn't know anything about the belt. Wasn't even worth their time, once they had made their stumbling escape into the crowds. Still unable to properly walk on her own, Violet kept her arm around Dieter's waist and she leaned against him, letting him guide her through the streets.

    When he started laughing, so did she. The entire situation was ridiculous. Though, what night of drinking was complete without a good fight with the locals? "Bloody hell, Dieter. I thought you were going to get your face punched in." She chuckled, shaking her head back and forth.

    “Pshhhhhhh,”
    Dieter waved a hand dismissively in front of them a little too enthusiastically, tugging them forward. “I’d like to see ‘em try. They’d break those brittle Belter knuckles on this solid Earth nose.”

    That wasn’t true, of course. He could think of three occasions off the top of his head, in which Belters had broken his nose. If anyone ever asked how it got slightly crooked, he blamed unexpected high-G maneuvers.

    As they moved in more or less a straight line along the walkway, he started scoping out the stores, looking for something that resembled a tattoo parlor. There had to be about a thousand to keep up with the younger generation of Belters, who seemed to be covered in incomprehensible gibberish.

    “Do you have any others?”
    he asked, suddenly, looking down at her with one eye. He found that if he closed one, the limited depth perception helped the world from spinning. Not literally, of course - Tycho’s artificial gravity kept them planted firmly to the street, so it very much was spinning. “Tattoos, I mean.”

    She tilted her head back slightly so that she could look up at him. For a moment, she considered confessing the truth -- that she had no tattoos to speak of, but she decided against it. He's likely make fun of her or try to talk her out of it. "Oh... tattoos? Pfft... yeah.. loads of 'em." She lied, and not very well. "It's nae like I have an aversion t'needles or anythin' like that. What about you, eh?" She asked, turning the question back around to her more roughneck companion.

    “Mhmm,” he hummed skeptically, beaming back at her. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all, but it was too late to let her back out of it now. He gave her a teasing little squeeze around the shoulders. “So many that you think they still use needles.”

    “One or two…” He nodded in response to her inquiry. “…dozen. I’m like that big tree in the park that everyone carves their name on. If that tree had a weakness for liquor and bad ideas.”

    She lightly prodded his side with her fingers, tickling him through his shirt. "Oi! Are you tryin' to say that you take all the girls out, get 'em trunk and then take 'em to go get tattoos?" She asked, scowling up at him playfully.

    “So…so trunk,” he laughed, until she came in with the underhanded tickle.

    “Hey-HEY-HEY!” He protested, trying to wriggle away from her hand without knocking both of them down. He didn’t do too well with tickling. Swatting her hand out the way he shook his head. “I mean, if it makes you feel better, I usually wait until after a few months or years of emotional torment. So you’re setting a record.”

    He shrugged a little guiltily, quickly adding: “And that list of abusers includes the Navy, every ship, every deployment and every shitty little security outfit I ever worked for.”

    A frown formed on her list when he mentioned abuse and emotional torment, walking along side him in silence for a few moments. Her brow creased a little with concern. After a moment, she looked back up at him. "I didnae think I was that bad." She muttered lowly. In her drunken state, she thought that he was trying to call her emotionally abusive towards him.

    “W…what?” It took him a second to sort out what had gone wrong. When he caught up, he gave her a little shake. “Shit. No. Vi, you’re perfect. I wasn’t…” He grunted at himself and shook his head. “How about I just stop opening my mouth, and maybe my foot won’t get stuck in it?”

    When he shook her she couldn't help but smile, leaning back into him with a chuckle. Her eyes swept over their surroundings as they continued their search for the fabled tattoo parlor. "Oh? I'm perfect, eh?" She teased him, returning to her generally upbeat self. She lightly nudged his side with her hip. "You're nae so bad yourself. Even when y'put your foot in your mouth."

    He just grunted, barely hiding a grin as he looked away to mask it, maintaining his vow of silence before he spotted a narrow doorway with some art designs slapped up on the window. “Ooh! There!”

    He pushed her towards what he hoped was a tattoo place, nearly toppling a neck-to-fingertipped Belter on his way out of the place. The man blocked the doorway, making a point of turning around and slowly flipping the electronic sign on the door to ‘CLOSED’.

    “Nonono,” Dieter protested, as if it would stop the man flipping the switch. It didn’t. “We know what we’re getting. Real simple job. Real quick.”

    “No can do, kopeng,” the tattoo artist shrugged. “If I don’t make it home in ten, boss-lady has my head, sa sa ke? You know how that is.” He nodded at Violet, an apologetic smile flashing on his long features before he wedged past them and disappeared into the crowd.

    “Well,” Dieter said. “Shit.”

    Then he looked at Violet. Then he looked at the locked door. Then back to Violet.

    Violet turned beneath Dieter's arm to watch the Belter saunter off into the crowd, sighing heavily.

    When she noticed that the Terran was looking between her and the door, she raised a brow. "What? Are y'plannin' on breakin' in and giving yourself a tattoo?"

    He frowned at her. “No. Don’t be ridiculous. I’m planning on breaking in and giving you a tattoo.”

    She lightly bit at her bottom lip, looking between him and the door now. There was an excitement in her vibrant green eyes. "Okay. Let's do it."

    Dieter nodded, grinned and untangled himself from her as best he could. “Okay. Watch my back.”

    He spent a few moments inspecting the door lock. It was electrionic - more complex than he’d expected for a little compact Belter dive, but not complex enough to be tied to Tycho’s main security grid. Still the model was one he’d encountered before, specifically in his time in Star Helix. A string of robberies had occurred when a tech-savvy teenager had discovered a workaround for this particular run of affordable magnetic locking systems. Dieter was no hacker, but he was pretty sure this one fell into his skillset. Reaching inside his waistband, he drew a short fixed-blade knife, popped off the cover, and used the edge of the blade to jump the circuit. The lock clicked and went green, and Dieter gave a victorious: “HA! You see that? I totally Keithed that shit.”

    He tugged the door open and discreetly waved her inside with a slight bow. “Après vous, mademoiselle.”

    Violet had casually leaned against the wall, both to keep her balance while Dieter was working and to keep watch for anyone paying too close attention. His whoop of success let her know that he had finished. She looked back to him and she grinned mischievously. "Color me impressed, Dee."

    She winked up at him as she stepped around him, ducking into the empty tattoo parlor. It was nicer than she had expected with individual booths and trendy artwork on the dark walls. She tucked her hair behind her ear as she looked around, then her eyes landed on Dieter. "Have you ever given someone a tattoo?" She asked dubiously.

    “No,” Dieter admitted. “But I’ve never let someone give me a tattoo, either. It’s a day of firsts.”

    With that, he flopped in the nearest chair - snatched up the laser-tattoo-pen thing and held it out. “Here. I’ll be the guinea pig. We’ll figure out how it works.”

    She chuckled as she took the pen from him, curiously looking it over as she sat down next to him. Inside the parlor, it was much quieter than out on the streets. She could still hear the crowds mulling around outside, but they were detached from it all. "Hmm... well. I don't want to do a bad job." She muttered, moving to grab a marker from one of the nearby tables.

    Gently, she took his good arm in hand, pulling it into her lap as she leaned over him. "Okay... we're still doing Heathen?" She asked, pulling the top off the marker with her teeth.

    “Wimp,” he teased, but complied. “But yup. Still one of those, by my estimation.”


    "Whaaat? You're gonna be stuck with this forever! I wanna make sure that I do it right." She scoffed at him, playfully reaching over to poke his cheek with the tip of the marker.

    Holding his arm steady in her lap, her hair falling over her shoulder as she worked, Violet started to meticulously etch out the word on his forearm. Her mouth quirked to the side as she focused, brow knitting together. She glanced up at him with a small smile, then picked up the laser-pen again. The pen hummed softly when she clicked it on.

    "Yeah, but you're a good heathen." She murmured to him, gently pressing the glowing end of the pen against his skin. The red head took her time, very much a firm believer of doing something right the first time around. "Does it hurt?" She asked him softly while she worked.

    He jerked away, bouncing his head back forward off the headrest, leaving a long black streak across his cheek. He looked shocked for a second, but that quickly devolved into giddy giggling as she went to work.

    “If you write ‘Good Heathen’, I will be very cross with you, young lady.” He watched her for a few moments before she picked up the pen. “Oh man. I hope you’re not expecting this level of artistic perfection from me.”

    He was quiet as the pen hummed to life, closing his eyes and smiling at nothing in particular. When she asked, he slowly opened his eyes to look at her. “I feel like the only correct answer is ‘no,’ if I’m gonna keep you from backing out. So…no.”

    Her eyes flicked up to him, watching him through the bangs that had fallen in front of her eyes, lingering for a few moments. It was a peaceful moment. And it was one of the first times they had ever spoken without one of them being in some sort of danger.

    "I'm nae gonna back out, dinnae worry that pretty head of yours none." She murmured quietly as she went back to work.

    Every so often she would glance up to him, making sure that he wasn't too uncomfortable. When she finished, she leaned back and gave the pen a delicate twirl. Her shoulders ached from being hunched over for so long, but she didn't complain. "There! All done."

    The silence was unusual, but oddly not uncomfortable. It was nice. Feeling stupid for just sitting there staring at her, he gave her a quick wink before his eyes darted back to his arm.

    He stood up, holding his arm up to the dim light, bobbing his head in approval. “Eyyy, Vi, not bad! You might have a backup career plan if the Alby falls apart on us.”

    “Alrighty. Your turn.” After pointing at the chair, he rubbed his hands together mischievously, and rolled his shoulders like he was preparing for a bar brawl. “If you don’t actually want to get an amateur tattoo while hopped up on meds and booze, now would be the time to say so.”

    He picked up the pen and test fired it at his hand, grimacing when he realized there was now a small black smudge on his palm. “Shit.” Then he burst out laughing again.

    Violet busted out laughing as the man accidentally marked his hand with the pen, rocking back onto the chair and holding her sides. If she wasn't as drunk as she was, or doped up on so many pain meds, it would have hurt to laugh that hard. "Dee! Oh my bloody stars, I cannae believe y'did that!"

    Biting his lip, he shrugged. “A bonus memory, I guess.”

    Still chuckling to herself, she rolled the sleeve of his jacket up to her elbow, baring her forearm to him. This was a terrible idea, but she wanted to go through with it. "I promised ya I wouldnae back out. Besides, I'd say it's high time that y'got to leave your mark on someone else... instead of the other way around."

    “D’aww,” he cooed (only a little mockingly) as he knelt down, laying his forearm on top of hers for reference. If they were intended to match, it would be better it one didn’t look like a preschooler’s scrawling. “You’re gonna make me cry - and then your tattoo is fuuuuucked.”

    With that he chuckled and grabbed up the marker. He wasn’t quite sure how to express that the sentiment was actually a little touching, without compromising his lack of human decency, so he opted not to. Just went to town on the arm. The test run wound up being a good idea, because he made a couple slight errors. However, the finished outline didn’t look half bad. With that, he grabbed the pen and looked up at her.

    “Okay, heads up, I lied. It stings like an asshole. Gonna start in 5…4…” Without waiting, he fired it up and started tracing the outline, trying to match the same shapes and shading that Violet had done. He made sure to throw a couple “OH SHIT!”s and “GOD NO!”s in there, always giving her a wicked grin to indicate that he was kidding, maybe take her mind off the pain. Or maybe he was just contributing to it. When he was finished, he covered it with his hand, hovering over the sore skin as not to injure her. “Hey. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen. You know? Maybe we should just set up shop, take this place over?”

    “Okay. Now, don’t be mad. I free-styled a little. Took some creative liberties.” He didn’t move his hand, now genuinely wondering if she’d be upset that he’d put ‘IN-TRAINING’ in a smaller font right underneath the main piece.

    Not used to the sensation, Violet pressed her head against the back of the chair and she closed her eyes. Every time he shouted about making his mistake, she'd worriedly look over, but his body blocked sight of her arm.

    After he had finished, she raised a brow, suddenly very concerned that he had drawn something offensive on her arm. "Dieter... what did y'put on my arm? I swear t'god, if y'drew on dick on me, I cannae be held responsible for what I'll do." She said, narrowing her eyes at him as she leaned towards him.

    “Oh,” he said, his eyes widening in horror. “Oh no.”

    He gave her a few seconds to sweat, then he yanked back his hand, grinning like a maniac. “Nah. Nothing quite so ingenious. Next time.”

    Her eyes lit up with excitement when she saw what he had added to arm. "Oh my god! I love it!"

    She exclaimed then wrapped her arms around his shoulders in a warm hug, laughing in his ear. "You sly pashang dog."

    He was a little surprised by the hug, but laughed and let it happen. “Good. I’m gonna need that in writing - for tomorrow morning.”

    He pushed her back far enough to furrow his eyebrows at her. “Not sure what we’re gonna do when you graduate, though.”

    "You can just break into another tattoo parlor and mark out the 'in-training' part. It'll be like a tradition." She snickered , wrinkling her freckled nose up at him.

    "I hope you're serious," he warned. "Because that's 100% on my bucket list now."

    "I'm very serious." She replied quietly.

    She suddenly realized that she still had her arms around his shoulders and she pulled back from him with a faint blush, tucking her hair behind her ear. "Is there anythin' else on your bucket list, while we're at it?"

    He didn’t miss the blush, but just smiled gently in an effort to dispel any awkwardness she might be feeling. Stuffing his hands in his pockets and rocking back on his heels, Dieter pretended to do some deep thinking. “Hmm. Let’s see. End system-wide hunger, ensure permanent peace and prosperity? You know, the usual.”

    She scoffed at him and shook her head. The tattoo on her arm was still stinging, but she was pleased with it. She had honestly expected him to just lazily scrawl some sort of gibberish onto her arm and call it good. She made her way over to a cabinet on the wall, grabbing two tubes of ointment. "Well, I cannae help you achieve any of that tonight." She quipped.

    “Slacker,” Dieter muttered, smiling as he plopped back down in the chair and kicked his feet up. “I really am drawing a blank here, Vi. I haven’t really been bothering with ‘goals’ lately, apart from keeping my head attached and myself on the inside of the airlock. Don’t suppose you have that issue. I bet your aspirations are still as miraculously intact as you are.”

    She glanced down at her side as she pulled the sleeve to his jacket back down over her arm. "Heh.. I would nae say that I'm intact, Dee." She muttered, taking a seat on the foot of the long chair.

    There was a brief moment of silence between them, then she handed him one of the tubes of ointment with a small smile on her lips. "We're all a little messed up, aye?"

    Dieter’s resting smug, smirking expression flickered when he recognized the shifting tone, and he scooted his legs aside to quickly make room for her. He was tempted to simply nod and make a witty segue into any other possible topic. He wasn’t good at…this. Never knew how to handle people when they got squishy – usually started looking for the nearest exit. Where was Keith when you needed him?

    There was nowhere to run, however – except for back to the claustrophobic tin can they’d be sharing for the foreseeable future. More than that, even Dieter wasn’t dull enough to miss recognizing that Violet deserving of more than his dismissal. She’d already invested so much of herself in the ship, its crew, in him – the least he could do was make an effort.

    “Ah,” he started awkwardly, intertwining his fingers and resting them on his lap, staring at them before glancing up at her as if finding to find the will to look a venomous snake in the mouth. “Yeah. Some of more than others. Look – I don’t want to pry – believe me, there’s no bigger advocate of secrets than me – but for what it’s worth, as far as I can tell, you seem like one of the best human beings stomping around our little corner of the universe. Your halo’s firmly in place in my book, Vi.”

    When he made room for her, she settled a little more comfortably onto the chair with him, tapping her fingers against the end of the tube in her hands. There was little room for her to complain. From the very first moment they had met, Dieter had been taking care of her, whether he did so intentionally or not was more difficult to say. He had told her that his first instinct on Ceres was to take care of himself, but he had still come back to the Albatross. If he hadn't shown up, her and Keith likely would have been killed outside the safety of the small ship. She found it difficult to not put her trust in the man. No matter how much he proclaimed himself to be a vile human being, he was still there for her.

    She smiled softly to him, shrugging her shoulders. Much like him, she wasn't very good with this sort of thing. Opening up to someone and actually getting to know them? It was new for her, even if she seemed to be the friendly sort. The stinging in her arm was a reminder of just how far she had come in just tonight alone.

    "Heh... thanks, Dee. I dinnae know about the best though. I just sort of... try to treat people the way I'd like 'em t'treat me."
    She shrugged and glanced up at him from her lap. "I just keep expectin' you and Keith t'vanish or somethin'..."

    He decided not to tell her that she was sort of describing his signature move and gave her a slight kick. “Hey. I did say ‘until something better comes along.’ It’s looking like that might be a while. And good luck getting rid of Keith. Unless he…”

    He stopped himself, quickly trying to switch gears. “Hey. You hungry?”

    "I've been eatin' paste out of a tube for the past few days... I'm famished." She smirked at him when he kicked her, leaning forward to grab the ticklish spot just above his knee.

    "Though, I think we're doing things backwards. Supposed t'eat first and then go smash." She said playfully.

    A pause.

    "GET SMASHED!"
    She quickly corrected. "then GET SMASHED!" Her cheeks turned a deep crimson.

    He immediately went into survival mode when he realized what she was doing, tensing up and trying to wiggle away on the chair as best he could, which wasn’t ideal. When he didn’t have room to escape, he got ready to fight…then promptly fell off the seat in a fit of laughter in the moment of silence between Violet’s slip up and her correction. He pulled himself off the floor after he caught his breath, pulling his head up to rest his chin on the edge of the seat, grinning up at her like the cat who ate the canary as he fanned himself like a dainty Southern lady from the old Earth-American vids with the accent to match.

    “Oh mah starrrs, Ms. Mackenzie,” he drawled. “You’re gonna give me a case of the vapors.”

    Dropping the accent he winked at her, “Should I take that to mean you’re buying me dinner, too?”

    She laughed at him, still fiercely blushing as he propped his chin up on the seat. When he started speaking in that ridiculous drawl, she reached over to playfully push at his forehead. "It'll take more than a little bit of a slip up to make you blush. Dinnae lie t'me." Her fingers ruffled his shaggy hair and she huffed at him.

    "If I buy y'dinner, what do I get out of it, hmm?" She winked back at him.

    “Ey, now. Eaaasy tiger,”
    Dieter laughed, pushing himself back to standing and offering her a hand up. “You do know you have enough booze and meds in you to tranquilize a small elephant right now, don’t you? That’s the kind of question better asked when you don’t have a bullethole in you.”

    Listing the excuses out loud was a healthy reminder for him, too. The combination of liquor, physical proximity and easy flirtation was doing his lizard brain no favors. “Dinner. Just dinner.”

    She took his hand and let him help her up onto her feet, smiling faintly. Her hand lingered in his for a moment longer, not quite pulling free from him just yet. "Yeah. Jus' dinner. I was implyin' that you're gonna have to repay the favor sometime." She chuckled, reluctantly pulling her hand from his.

    He wasn't wrong though. She had so much in her system, she was honestly amazed that she could stand up. Once she had let go of his hand, she stumbled backwards and landed back on the chair with a soft thump. Okay. Maybe she couldn't quite stand up. "But aye... food is a good idea, Dee."

    “Hey. Who’s in debt to who, now?” Mock concern gave way to snickering when she fell back down. Bending forward, he went to yank her back up and overcompensated, almost topping backwards into the chair behind them, but caught both of them at the last second. He held her by the shoulders, trying to keep her upright - not an easy task for a man who was also actively swaying. “Wow. Yes. Let’s get you fed before you wither away.”

    She yelped as they stumbled backwards, grabbing onto him to keep herself from losing her balance entirely. Her head tilted back to look up at him and she smiled sheepishly. "I'd... say that you need some too."

    "I think there's a noodle shop, just around the corner. We can grab some take and... take it down to the docks? I dinnae."


    “I think you’re right. Sounds like a plan.”
    he agreed, nodding hard enough to rock himself back and forth. “Think you’ll make it?”

    She reached up to grab his shirt, swaying forward with him as he rocked back. "I uh... do you think you'll make me?"

    “Vi, pleeease. I’m a professional,” he replied a little too confidently, then whirled around as best he could manage so that his back was to her. “Now hurry up and hop on, you damn drunk. I’m the designated….walker.”

    Violet laughed at the suggestion, not entirely convinced that this was as well thought out a plan as he thought it was. Nevertheless, she jumped up one his back. Her arms loosely wrapped around his neck and her chin came to rest on his shoulder, with her legs supporting most of her weight around his waist. "Dinnae drop me." She murmured in his ear.

    "Not until you start boring me,
    ” Dieter slurred a little as he hoisted her up, pushed open the door, checked both ways in a manner that looked as suspicious as possible, then steered them into the crowd, only veering a little bit as he navigated them in the general direction he thought she might be talking about. It didn’t really matter. Noodles and kibble were as common as oxygen this far out, and he guided under the first set of chopsticks he found, right up to the counter. “Uh. Two of whatever’s the least shitty,” He started. “Or three? Think we should feed our resident hacker?”

    She leaned forward, her cheek lightly brushing against his as she tried to look over the menu. "Are we going back to the ship?" She asked him curiously, rummaging into her pocket for her hand terminal so she could pay for the food. The Belter at the counter looked at the pair oddly, raising a brow . "We'll just take three, Jus' t'be safe." Violet grinned up at the cook, holding up three fingers with one hand, while the other stayed wrapped over Dieter's shoulder to keep her balance.

    “I mean, eventually, I assume so,” Dieter replied. “Unless we’re gonna settle down and open up that tattoo parlor we talked about.” He turned his head so she could see at least part of his joking grin. By the time he’d turned back, the owner of the place had shoveled three small, steaming boxes full of noodles and mystery protein, put them in a bag and handed them over. He paid out his own account without consulting Violet, hoping it would help breeze over their earlier conversation. It was a paltry sum in comparison to the bar tab, anyway. Thanking the unamused cook, he started heading for the docks. “Hey. If this whole ‘nice girl’ thing is a big ol’ sham - how do you really feel about crewing with an OPA blackmarket broker?"

    The question was an oddly serious one, given their intoxicated state of mind and it gave her pause. She was holding the bag of food while he carried her through the halls. Her cheek nestled against his shoulder and she closed her eyes. When she spoke, he'd be able to feel her breath against his neck. "I've crewed with OPA before. They were real trouble. It makes me... a little nervous, if I'm honest. Keith seems like a good lad but... I dinnae know... he could've easily sold us out that that boardin' crew, aye?"

    She adjusted her arms over his shoulders with a soft sigh. "I trust Keith... I dinnae trust the OPA."

    Her breath tickled at his neck, sending a shiver down down his back that made him jump. He'd forgotten how vulnerable he was to that sort of thing - believe it or not, he hadn't had.the occasion to be tickled too often since working security on the Belt.

    "Yeah. His skillset's handy, but we need to keep an eye on him."
    He was quiet for a bit as they neared the docks. "You've crewed with OPA, or been on an OPA crew?" Dieter asked. He hated to be a downer, but he felt like he needed to know.

    She stirred a little on his back, adjusting herself to get a bit more comfortable. He was warm and it was oddly comforting to be carried around like this. If he hadn't spoke up, she probably would have fallen asleep against him. Holding the food in her left hand, she reached across his chest with her right and loosely gripped the elbow of her left arm. The position allowed her to keep a grip on him without choking him. Once she was situated again, she nestled her cheek back against his shoulder. She hadn't noticed the way her breath across his neck had affected him.

    "I was on an OPA crew."
    She clarified. "I didnae realize what they were until things started escalatin'." Her words trailed of for a few moments.

    "Bein' a terran on an OPA crew is never a good thing though..." She continued after a short while. "I ended up runnin' away from 'em when we touched down on Eros for a pick up."

    Dieter bit his lip and nodded in agreement. “You’re right. It isn’t. Glad you got out when you did. I’ve been in a similar boat or two, and it’s not happening again. Period.”

    Damn. He sure knew how to kill a good time. Mentally kicking himself, he held his tongue until he saw a suitable spot for a low-budget meal: a railed overhang that overlooked the loading area for a massive freighter, backdropped by a huge stylized monitor that was almost indistinguishable from an absurdly massive glass window. Outside, Tycho buzzed with activity, even with the ongoing tensions and conflicts: construction cranes piecing together a frigate-sized miner , security patrols, and even a partial glimpse of the Navuu, up close and personal. It might have been fake, but was a hell of a view.

    Lowering Vi to the ground, he dug one of the boxes out of the bag, plopped down on his ass and scooted forward to let his legs dangle over the railing. Snapping his chopsticks apart, he patted the flooring next to him. Hopefully, she wasn’t scared of heights. The loading dock below was a good twenty meters down.

    “Sorry,” he added, poking around in his noodles, smelling them and coming up unimpressed. “You’re right. About Keith. He could have flipped on us, and he didn’t. Plus, not too worried about him overpowering us. Guy could stand to eat a damn sandwich once in a while.” He grinned, trying to steer the conversation back into its formerly pleasant rhythm.

    She settled down onto the floor next to him, swinging her legs over the edge as well. Her arms wrapped over the top of the railing and she leaned against it, though she was close enough to Dieter that her arm nearly brushed against his. For several moments, she watched the docks below and the workers scurrying about. It was a wonderful spot, and she was more than impressed that Dieter had been the one to pick it out. When she picked up her own box of food, after snapping a part of her chop sticks, she smiled softly to him and nudged his shoulder with her own.

    "You've worked with OPA before?" She asked, raising an eyebrow. That was interesting, he seemed so wary of them that she figured he'd never go anywhere near them. "Did you know beforehand? Or was it like what happened with me?" The noodles were lukewarm, but they weren't too wretched. They were better than the usual belter kibble.

    She took another few bites of their meal, smiling a little when Dieter joked about their scrawny companion.

    Making a faux-angry face at her behind a serving of noodles when she bumped him, he started with a slow nod, which shifted to a shake of the head at the second question. “Early on, yeah. First jobs out here were with smaller outfits, building a resume, you know? Learned pretty quickly that just because a group of armed people legally control a station - doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the good guys. Broke a contract or two over that sort of thing, but that was pretty much expected - what with me being an Earther. Even Star Helix wound up being lousy with OPA-sympathizers, but at least they have the decency to deny it.”

    He took another bite of noodles, chewed them unenthusiastically, then frowned. “I thought of something else for my list. Real food. You spent a little time on on the ground growing up, right? Ever had real steak? Cheese?”

    "Nae Earth grown, no."
    She answered with a small shrug, taking another bite from the box of noodles. Her eyes watched a young belter dock worker struggling with a set of heavy crates and loading it onto the freighter. "We did stop at Europa a few times before m'parents went back to Earth. I have nae been back to Europa since then though."

    She glanced over at him with a slight smile. "Dad did say that Europa was nae quite the same as the real thing, but it was pretty damn close. Have y'ever had the beef from there?"

    “Oh. ”
    Dieter looked physically wounded by the words, his shoulders slouching as she shook his head. Oh, Violet. Either your dad’s tongue was broken, or was just trying to keep you in blissful ignorance. There’s no comparison. None. Write that down. Earth meal. Probably not anytime soon - but maybe someday.”

    He grinned the sort of grin one grins when making obviously false promises for effect. The Albatross might get around if their luck held out - but he was pretty sure that Earth was not on the list of likely destinations.

    Violet smiled back at him, running a hand through her hair. "Are you gonna take me there, hmm?"

    It was posed as a playful question. The last time she had gone to Earth was a miserable experience. But if Dieter was convinced the food was worth it, she would consider making the trek down the well. It would be a rough trip, but if the crew stuck together long enough, it might be worth the experience. She took another bite of her noodles, idly kicking her feet back and forth over the ledge.

    "I'll hold you to that though."
    She paused, then looked back to Dieter with a curious expression. "What about the ice cream on Europa? Is that not the same either? I loved that stuff... Haven't had it in years."

    “Maybe. If you live long enough,”
    Dieter shot back, with a sly grin. “I mean, at this rate - we’ll be lucky if this isn’t our last meal.” He gave the box a shake, watching the contents jiggle. “That would be depressing.”

    He perked up at her second question. “Ice cream? That, I’m not so sure about. Haven’t really had much occasion to try it. Maybe once or twice in the service? Now, I know a Belter wouldn’t believe this for a second - but basic assistance back on Earth? Ice cream doesn’t make the list of necessities provided by the government.” He laughed. “As a kid, I was pretty convinced that that fact was a travesty. The greatest injustice suffered by anyone, anywhere, ever.

    "How about after this next job, we head to Europa for some ice cream then?" She offered, grinning over her chopsticks as she tapped them lightly against her bottom lip. "And obviously for work and the like... but mostly for ice cream."

    "I'd be happy with ice cream being my last meal, I think."


    She considered Dieter for a few moments, rather surprised that he had admitted anything about his childhood. "No ice cream for kids is pretty far up on the list as far as travesties go." She chuckled. There were a few more moments of silence as she finished off the last of her meal then set her empty box down next to her.


    "Tell me more about Earth." She said suddenly, twirling a chopstick between her fingers. "I... never really get to hear anyone talk about it out here."

    “I know, right? These Belters think they have it rough.” He didn’t quite finish his less-than-appetizing meal, but set it down when Violet seemed to be finished. His gaze was focused on the window-display when she posed the question, and didn’t immediately turn her way. His brow furrowed, then raised again as he hung his head over the railing to look below and chuckled.

    “What you do get to hear out here is probably pretty accurate. They hate us for all the right reasons. Lazy, underworked, resting firmly in the government safety net. Still, I think they underestimate the misery. People living on top of each other, chasing their high of choice because whatever it is – drugs, sex, gambling – it’s pretty much all they have to live for. That could have been me, if things played out even a tiny bit differently.”

    He was quiet for a moment, then shrugged, a little wistful with the imagery that accompanied memory. “Still. There’s something to be said for a sky. For air that hasn’t passed through a million other sets of lungs before you inhale it. Rivers, lakes, oceans. Even just water that hasn’t been through a urethra or twenty.”

    She leaned forward, as well, to look down at the workers moving about below them. They seemed so removed from the situation, it was almost like watching the display screen overhead. Her chin rested lightly on top of her forearm and she lightly crossed one ankle over the other to keep her legs from restlessly kicking back and forth.

    "Everyone has somethin' that they're strugglin' with, aye? Whether it's the Belter wantin' their independence, Terrans lookin' for a purpose or Martians jus' lookin' to be better than Earth." She chuckled at her last few words. It all seemed a little ridiculous.

    She turned her head to the side, resting her cheek on her arm so she could look up at Dieter. "I'm gonna say somethin' sappy, but only because of the pain meds and engine wash." She clarified briefly, before she continued. "I'm glad that y'ended up out here, instead of washed up back on Earth. It's nice havin' you around..."

    “Not everyone,” Dieter countered, glancing from the screen to her for a moment. “I mean, look at us. Our lives seem to be nothing but smooth sailing.”

    He comically braced himself following her warning, then grinned. “Well. That makes one person in the entire Belt.” He looked down, then back up, a little more serious. “Glad we bumped into each other. It’s nice not being alone, you know?” He smiled just a tad too warmly for his own comfort level, and diverted his attention back down to the docks below, gesturing with his chin at the numerous Belters working below. “Sometimes, I feel like a whole different species.”
     
    #39 Dieter Kohler, Jan 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  20. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

    Messages:
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    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Violet returned the warm smile, nudging his shoulder with her own. "Aye... it is." She murmured softly.

    When he nodded towards the belters below, she followed his gaze. "We're nae so different. Belters want the same things as terrans or martians. Jus' dinnae let them hear you say it. When it boils down to it, we're all jus' people tryin' to get by in a galaxy that does nae give a shit about us."

    The words sounded a little dour and lonelier than Violet would have liked to let on, but they were out there now nevertheless. She always tried to look on the bright side of things, to find the good in people. Life was what you made of it, after all. Sometimes, however, that despair of constant struggle and heartache would catch up with her.

    She looked up to Dieter out of the corner of her eye and forced a small smile. "Which is why findin' people who do give a damn is so important, y'know?"
     
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