BELT Recovery

Discussion in 'Private Roleplay' started by Antumbralite, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. Antumbralite

    Antumbralite Keith Caileanach

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    Pallas Station.

    Keith had not been there for some time, but with the unstable operations on Tycho, it was the best place the crew of The Albatross had to go to get their decrepit ship the upgrades it needed. They had just docked minutes ago, and Violet and Alanna were in the process of contacting the maintenance team to schedule the work.

    Keith had opted to catch up on some sleep. He knew the work on The Alby would not begin within the day, so he had time before he would need to vacate. Ever since Phoebe, his downtime was even more fitful than usual. The Sub-Zero withdrawal was bad enough, but now he had nightmares about the fear gnawing at the back of his mind.

    Laying on his crash couch, Keith stared at the ceiling of his small room, willing himself to sleep. He doubted he would have an easier time resting in some rented room on Pallas. He had grown used to the sounds of The Albatross, and its rhythmic ambience was relaxing. Perhaps he could convince the maintenance crew to let him stay.

    Keith began to hum a song -- some catchy banger he had heard back in one of the bars on Tycho -- as he slowly drifted off. Caught in the odd limbo between reality and a dream, he felt his body twitching and shuddering.

    @Dieter Kohler
     
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  2. Dieter Kohler

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    There really weren’t many better feelings of catharsis than bursting from the claustrophobic confines of a spacecraft after an extended period on the drift. It was like coming up for air after submersion, like the first meal at the end of a fast. An open sky would have made the experience exponentially better, but even Pallas Station felt a little like utopia for the first five minutes after they’d touched down. Of course, after the second bar and a plate full of something passing as pasta, it had started to gradually deteriorate into essentially one of the cookie-cutter shitty little run-down spin station he felt as if he’d been two a thousand times. It wasn’t long after that the euphoria passed almost entirely, and he was back to feeling trapped - though the station was a much larger cage than the Albatross.

    Usually, this was the point where he’d have also been taking a break from those he’d been cooped up with in whatever boat he’d rolled in on, but now, it felt a little odd being apart from the ship’s mismatched little coterie. Violet and Marston had wasted zero time in taking their pooled funds to the dockyard to contract the upgrades. Dieter, not really certain what responsibilities fell to him while in port, had agreed that he’d only be in the way, and likely have managed to somehow talk the potential contractor’s fees up, rather than down. Keith - he wasn’t so sure about. Had he set off on the pub circuit himself? Secreted off to some back alley OPA hideout to conspire with his digital buddies? While Dieter trusted the other two, perhaps a bit too much, Keith came off more as a perfectly amiable ball of red flags. If the crew had been larger, if there'd been room to do so, he would have been happy to swallow his reservations about the Belter. 'Talks' weren't his thing. He didn't have a moral high ground to preach down from. But with just the four of them, there wasn't room to look the other way. No way to make it someone else's problem.

    Finding him, however, would be a challenge. Off the ship on a station full of Belters, he wasn't 'the tall one.' He'd need a lead, then maybe he could track the man drag the man to a bar, and go drink for drink until he could stomach something resembling earnest discussion. With nowhere else to start, he opted to check his room - look for some kind of evidence of where he might have gotten off to. However, when he barged into the room, there he was. That baffled Dieter. They'd just spent weeks alternating between almost dying and being crammed in this rust bucket? What the hell would compel him to stay in here?

    "Princess," he called from the doorframe at the snoozing techie, "Hey. Maybe you missed it. We're docked. You're allowed to leave the ship. And...probably should. This seems unhealthy."

    @Antumbralite
     
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  3. Antumbralite

    Antumbralite Keith Caileanach

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    Keith snapped his eyes open at Dieter's voice. Rolling his head to the side to spot the man in the doorway, Keith had to brush the hair away that had fallen over his face. "I know it probably sounds odd, but I'm more comfortable here than I would be out there." Keith rolled his head back to face the ceiling, closing his eyes. "I just... feel exhausted. Need to sleep. Kowlting gonya gut."

    He silently wished Dieter would not press the issue. Keith was exhausted because the withdrawal was sucking every bit of energy from his body. He wanted to sleep so he did not have to be conscious to feel afraid. He didn't want to feel afraid because of the withdrawal, the loss of the network, Phoebe, Eros... it would all come back and drag him to the Sub-Zero, and the vicious cycle would continue.

    They did not make good conversation pieces, and Dieter, for however much the Inner had grown on Keith, struck him as a hard person to talk to about such things. He wasn't naive; he knew Dieter still struggled to trust him, and handing him a syringe of the drug just days before so Keith would not be tempted surely did not help. It was just one more thing he crossed his fingers for, in the hopes the topic would be dropped.

    "I'll wander on to the station soon enough."
     
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  4. Dieter Kohler

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    General shadiness, blackmarket connections and terror-group affiliations aside, Keith was a relatively nice guy. Dieter knew what ‘fuck off’ sounded like in nice-guy-speak, but he pretended not to, for the moment.

    “Oh. Sure. Right.” Dieter nodded, crossing his arms and taking a step inside to lean against the wall. “And is that because you’re using, or because you’re not using?”

    There was a little bite of sarcasm, but he’d meant the question legitimately, and the expression on his face almost bordered on the outer fringes of concern.

    “Normally, I’d say it’s none of my business,” he shrugged, then took a step forward. “Let you sub yourself into a coma, then toss you out the airlock when you go cold. No sweat. But you sort of made it my business. Kind of turned it into a…collective crew issue, remember?”
     
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  5. Antumbralite

    Antumbralite Keith Caileanach

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    Keith sat up with a groan, draping his legs over the side of the crash couch. He laid his head in his hands, willing himself to snap awake. Once the groginess wore off slightly, he glanced up at Dieter. "Yeah, I remember."

    "It was a moment of weakness. I panicked, ya? I don't know how much you've figured out on your own, but my brain, my body... sometimes I can't process things in a rational way. I worry, I get paranoid, and I can't think straight. I shake, I can't breathe, and my heart feels like it's going to explode. Kaka's pagal."

    Keith stood up, pacing in what little space he had to do so. He wrung his hands while he spoke. "The Belt doesn't have much in the way of professional medicine, sasa ke? And what we do have is so rare, it's a pashang fortune. I didn't turn to Sub-Zero because I'm a junkie needing a high. I turned to it because it was the only way I could stay calm and keep functioning. It was cheaper and easier than trying to see a doctor, ya?"

    He stopped pacing, instead crossing his arms over his chest and made a nervous eye contact with Dieter. "I know it's bad news, and I've been wanting off of it for a while. When I had to give it to Violet? It's one thing doing it to myself, but not to someone else. That's been my motivation to get clean, and it took every thread of self-control I had to hand that syringe over to you."

    Keith sat back down on the crash couch. The drawn-out explanation left him winded; surely a sign of his weakness. The withdrawal had to get worse before it got better.
     
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  6. Dieter Kohler

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    Dieter lingered in the middle of the room, externally cold and impassive as Keith rose and spoke his peace, tracking the Belter with only his eyes. After nearly a decade working station security, it was a variation on countless stories he'd heard before. Belters were nothing if not innovative. If a conventional solution wasn't available, they got creative. Keith was right. Healthcare in the belt was lacking. Conditions that would have easily been covered even under basic back home sometimes meant a death sentence out here. Dieter wasn't entirely ignorant of the reality of the situation. He could almost sympathize.

    "Look. Keith. I don't mean for this to come off preaching - my entire life is essentially just a series of moments of weakness placed end-to-end, and then set on fire,” he unfolded his arms and shrugged, consciously attempting to relax his posture. “I don’t need you to justify your habit to me. Hell, I don’t even care if you quit. Good on you for trying. I mean, Sub-Zero's not my speed -" he stopped, unable to stifle a half of a chuckle at the unintentional pun - "but I've been there. Kind of. It's not a switch you flip, not something you'll ever escape entirely. At best, you'll learn how to stay a step or two ahead of it."

    He closed the distance between them, squatted on his haunches in front of the couch and steepled his hands to rest his forehead against them. “I just want to work out the logistics of it. How do we run a ship when half the crew are chemically dependent on a coma-inducing narcotic? If you both manage to go cold-turkey, how bad are the withdrawals going to be? How long is this -” he waved a hand at Keith’s crash couch, indicating the man's near-constant occupation of it - “going to be an issue?”
     
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  7. Antumbralite

    Antumbralite Keith Caileanach

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    Keith had to crack a lopsided smile when Dieter made his unintentional pun. If nothing else, he could appreciate the man's wicked sense of humor. At least he seemed to understand Keith's plight. That was a huge step in the right direction, and he said as much.

    "I'm relieved that you seem to get the struggle. I know I may never be completely free of it, but all I can do is keep at it. Detim imim finyish du wa ting, im ye fo sémpere," Keith said, somewhat solemnly. The thought that he could be battling the urge to shoot up for the right of his life was depressing. "As for how long? It's anyone's guess. It's like I go through cycles; Im gut for a while, Im mal for a while." He sighed. "There's some sort of vaccine or detox on the market I could look into. For Violet, if nothing else." One thing Keith knew he would battle for the rest of his life was giving the Sub-Zero to Violet. That was a fierce piece of guilt that he would wear forever.

    Keith straightened his back, looking from the deck to make eye contact with Dieter. "But I won't let it interfere with our work, ya? I know that sounds like kaka after the incident on the way to Phoebe, but I resisted taking it, keya? I have to believe I will get better with time, otherwise, what's the point? The support of the crew --" Keith moved his hand in a sweeping motion, to indicate everyone nearby, "-- would go a long way. For Violet, too. But I understand she's a true victim in this; I did it to myself."
     
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  8. Dieter Kohler

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    Dieter nodded faintly at the implication that he understood, but in truth, his situation had been a bit different. After all, name one cop or spacer out there without an at least minor amphetamine addiction, legal or not. Hell, a lot of combat-rated vac-suits came chalk full of it, ready to pump the wearer with stimulants on demand. His demons didn’t come attached with the same stigma as Sub-zero users, because they tended to make him more useful to employers and associates, rather than less. Sometimes. He’d weaned himself off them after his cravings got particularly rough on Eros, but he still felt the itch gnawing at the back of his skull if he sat still for too long, or thought too hard.

    He wasn’t trying to police Keith. It probably read that way, and he regretted that. Liberating the Albatross, and then deciding to keep it had at least partially about liberating the people on it. Being free to do as they wished, to get out from under the heel of their respective fates and carve their own path. It that meant feeding a vice, so be it. Still, with such a skeleton crew, they wouldn’t last long if they weren’t functional. Ensuring the collective safety of the crew meant restricting the things that threatened it.

    He glanced up at the mention of a pharmaceutical solution. Presumably, it was either new, prohibitively expensive, or both. Otherwise, he would have heard of it from his days working station security, dealing with junkies. He blinked and dipped his head. “Do it. We’ll find a way to get it for both of you. Somehow.”

    He nodded again, at ‘support of the crew,’ meaning that he’d try not to be quite as much of a dickhead about the whole thing, unless it might help. However, when he landed back on Violet, Dieter tensed, weaving his fingers together and tapping his thumbs anxiously. “I…might have fucked up. Violet lifted your syringe off of me while I was asleep. I found out…” he met Keith’s eyes, then looked back at his thumbs. “…and then I gave it back. Told her I’d help, but it was her fight. Like I said, I’ve never touched the stuff. On a scale of one to stupid, where does that land?”
     
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  9. Antumbralite

    Antumbralite Keith Caileanach

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    The relief Keith felt from the conversation with Dieter was short-lived. As soon as the man mentioned Violet was in possession of the syringe of Sub-Zero, his eyes went wide. "She did what? You did what?"

    He stopped himself. Keith did not think he was overreacting, but throwing a fit would not help anything. Clearing his throat, Keith stood, still feeling light-headed. "Dee, you need to get that back from her. I get that you feel like it's 'her fight' and you're respecting her choices, but, koyo. I should be a perfect example of sometimes needing someone to step in and smack my hand away, keya?. Violet is only one dose in; now is the time to stop it. If she puts up a fight, maybe I can talk to her..." his voice trailed off, already contemplating what he would say to her.

    Snapping himself out of the train of thought, Keith spoke again. "It wasn't stupid, but it's a dangerous call. Stupid would be me buying it in the first place."
     
  10. Dieter Kohler

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    He hadn’t known that Keith was capable of getting that worked up - or worked up at all, really, and as fleeting as the moment was, it was startling enough to prompt him to snap his eyes back up from his hands. He froze, trying to will his body not to visibly swallow the lump forming in his throat.

    Shit.
    He thought, being careful not to vocalize his frustration with himself, lest Keith catch a glimpse of weakness in him.

    “Shit.”

    It had felt like the right move at the time. So noble. Symbolic. Grandiose - in a small, shitty way. But hearing Keith condemn it out loud was enough to convince him that it wasn’t as endearing a move as he’d told himself it was. The Belter was right. Dieter had been throwing superfluous theatricality at a simple life and death issue. Keith was just being generous. It was stupid.

    Rocking back on his heels, he fell quasi-gracefully back onto his ass and sighed, resting his hands on his folded knees.

    “Where do you buy it? You trust your source? I know that some of that watered-down, remixed shit on Eros was toxic.” ‘Watered-down’ wasn’t the right term at all. Water would have been too precious for those cheap asshole dealers who thought that the lives of their customers were worth risking if it meant scoring a a few extra bucks and extended their supply. He didn’t know what they used. He didn’t really want to know.
     
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  11. Antumbralite

    Antumbralite Keith Caileanach

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    Keith remained standing and rubbed the back of his neck while he answered Dieter. "That particular syringe? It came from one of the Belta we had on board for the Phoebe job. No idea where he got it from. My stuff comes from the network, though I haven't procured any for quite some time..." The thought of Violet struggling with the Sub-Zero was bad enough, the possibility of it being even more harmful than normal was terrible.

    His eyes went past Dieter, looking outside of his bunk, as if he could peer through the bulkheads to locate their absent crew members. Perhaps they were still on the horn with Pallas Maintenance. "Do you know if she's still around, or did the two of them already head out?" Keith was clenching and unclenching his fists in a nervous gesture, and suddenly, he was feeling very claustrophobic. Perhaps getting off The Albatross would be good for him, after all.

    Moving past Dieter and out the door of his bunk, Keith started for the ops deck, assuming that Dieter would follow.
     
    #11 Antumbralite, Feb 22, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  12. Dieter Kohler

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    Oh. So the Sub-Zero he’d effectively given Violet was some random slush pulled off a random junkie either suicidal or desperate enough to travel halfway across the system in somebody else’s rust bucket. That was…disconcerting. What if it wasn’t the drug at all? What if the Belter’s dealer had seen an opportunity to profit off somebody who’d likely never come back to complain, and loaded up a syringe with god-knows what? Shit. Shit.

    “What?”
    Keith’s movement across the room stirred him, and he snapped his eyes from the floor, fumbling to process the question just posed to him. “No, why would I-”

    He stopped himself short, realizing how defensive he probably sounded. Keith wasn’t implying anything, nor, for that matter, was there anything to hide. Turning to follow the Belter through the narrow halls, he shook his head pointlessly at the man’s back, digging his terminal out of his pocket. “I’m not sure, I'll try pinging her.”
     
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  13. Antumbralite

    Antumbralite Keith Caileanach

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    When Keith reached the ops deck, he found it vacant. Despite shooting a glance into every nook and cranny on the way from his bunk, he saw to sign of Violet or Alanna on the ship. They must have disembarked onto the station after finishing up their business with traffic control and maintenance, though it was odd for them to do so without saying a word. Of course, they may have just retreated back into their respective rooms. Keith turned to face Dieter when he heard the man enter behind him, giving a Belter shrug. Dieter was calling her up on his hand terminal.

    He realized then that the two had no plan walking into this conversation. Many addicts do not realize that they are, and sometimes even the ones that do refuse to be helped. Keith was banking on the hope that Violet was not yet an addict; Sub-Zero was known for being extremely habit-forming, but one dose was no guarantee that she was hooked. Of course, there was no guarantee that she was not. He just hoped that Violet would not feel ambushed by their sudden concern, or worse, react violently.

    His gaze was fixed on Dieter, anxiously anticipating Violet's answer.
     
  14. Violet

    Violet Mackenzie

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    [​IMG]

    Violet paced nervously outside the airlock of the ship as it cycled through the procedure to let her onboard. She tapped the hand terminal against her palm, chewing her bottom lip. Dieter’s call had been more than a little concerning, and she wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted. If she went off the tone of his voice, however, she figured that it couldn’t possibly be something good.

    The door hissed softly and slid open.

    Taking a deep breath to steel her nerves, she stepped into the old, familiar ship. Her eyes swept over the corridor as she made her way up to the common area of the vessel.

    “Dee? Is everything okay?” She called out, doing her best to not sound anxious.
     
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