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Balcerzak

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About Balcerzak

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  • Birthday 04/23/1983

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    Eden Prairie

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  1. Jess was standing in the bathroom, gripping the edge of the sink, faucet running. The sound of the water hitting the bottom of the basin was somehow comforting and reassuring. There was no other reason for running the tap. She wasn't planning to wash her face. She wasn't planning anything. She was just standing and thinking. She raised her head, looking up at the mirror now instead of down at the sink. Jess had taken her eyepatch off already. Her eyelids were still fine, even the ones over her ruined right eye. With them closed like this, without the patch, nobody would ever be able to tell. Why have you not seen to replacing your eye? Grimacing, recalling the words, the tone, the facial expression, the curious confusion, Jess slowly worked muscles she hadn't used in days. It was painful. And it was disheartening. The sight in the mirror greeting her good eye was every bit as ugly as she had feared. She felt her stomach churn a little just looking at it. The room swayed slightly. Her head sunk again, gaze turned back to the bottom of the basin, watching the stream of water spilling over the rim of the stopper before swirling down the drain. It hurt. The alien was right and that stung. She felt like crying. Sinking to her knees, her fingers gripped the edge of the sink tightly, and she brought her forehead to rest upon the smooth coldness of the outer surface. Why hadn't she replaced it? It was the only sensible call, and yet... And yet... wouldn't it be like just pretending that day had never happened? That wasn't an acceptable choice, there had to be a solution she could stomach. A few cold tears trickled down her cheek as Jess resolved to discuss the matter with Megumi. "On it, Doc," Monty flashed an OK symbol with his hand and pulled up a seat at the desk in the opposite corner of the room from Megumi. Using on of the readily available consoles seemed a speedier option than hooking into the network with his alpha tool and going about it that way. The ship manifest was easy enough to find, and conveniently had photos alongside the relevant personal information for all the crew and pilots, so it was relatively easy to identify who was present in the infirmary. There was a brief moment of confusion, when two of the people helping out in the infirmary didn't appear to be registered anywhere in the roster... but since his task involved only the bridge staff. ...No, better to be sure. Maybe there'd been some cosmetic surgery since one of the photos. It would be terrible if he marked someone dead who actually wasn't. The fact that they were reasonably attractive ladies didn't factor in at all. "Um, excuse me," he hailed Bennet as she was walking past on other business and stole a moment of her time. "Could I trouble you for your name, and that of your compatriot? It's for the report." He was half tempted to ask for their numbers too, but now wasn't really the proper time. All the men, though, he'd already gone ahead and moved to the deceased column. The only males in here aside from himself were one of the pilots, and one of the engineers, no bridge staff accounted for here. Whether or not these two in addition to the XO were amongst the females to be spared was the only question left.
  2. Jade snorted a little as well, after Marina giggled at her own corny joke. Somehow it clashed so much with the image of the Hero the merchant had always expected, but it fit so well with the Marina she'd been growing to know along their travels. She refrained from adding any additional comments on the girl's form or posture, curious to just watch what an outlander with her own knowledge might provide her. The kneeling position wasn't one she'd used much herself, but it seemed sensible enough. Then there was the approach of trying to lead the squirrel, like one would a fowl in flight, that was an unexpected touch. Not something Jade had mentioned at all, having limited her lecture mostly to specifics of the gun itself, so when it came out of nowhere that was just more proof positive that the claims of experience were not just idle boast. "Aww, ah shame," she exclaimed sympathetically when the fired shot failed to find effect on target. Jade received the rifle back with a smile, then nodded thoughtfully as Marina explained about the troubles with casings and her dominant hand. That was a subject she'd never really given pause to consider. "Interesting, I wonder..." the zombie began to speculate, but cut herself off at the sounds of approaching wildlife. When it became clear just what was padding toward them, a look of delight spread across the zombie's face. "Well I'll never," she started, interrupted by a tinkling laugh. "After how things had ended there at the ruins... to see you again now? Hahaha. At any rate, what a fine job you've done fetching those. Who's a good dog?" Turning to look at Marina as she stepped forward to pat the center head first, then the right and the left in turn, she began to explain. "I came across this one while you were fighting with Morwen. Lost track of one another in the chaos following the emergence of the dragons, and the confusion of her death, but we'd started to get along before that happened. Least, I think so, and really, playing retriever like this, seems to show it's not just on my end. Ah, right. Names. Center head is Medius; the right, Dexter; and the left..." Jade paused, her bright smile slipping slightly. She hadn't actually named that head yet, she'd still been chiding it for biting her hand. The obvious choice would be to continue the theme, but... "Kelly." Jade's lip twisted up in a bit of a smirk. A very light 'punishment', but certainly not undeserved. "Though, I wonder... maybe there ought to be one for calling just all together, and not any individually? Perhaps I should have thought things through a little more before I'd gotten started, but I'd never had to deal with a Cerberus before. This is all new, should be a good learning experience. What do you think?" She continued to beam with excitement, hoping its contagion infected Marina as well, instead of perhaps the more human reaction of fear.
  3. "Sure, apologize to her if you like, but at this point, I don't think she'd join back up even if you didn't come. Sometimes people just need some time to themselves," Thorvald commented, as the curiously friendly cat tried to back out from what had seemed obvious there was an interest in. "If you wanna head back to your machine though, I'm not gonna stop you. I'll just have to swing back and pick you up when I'm ready to go speak with Roxanna. Either way is fine, up to you." ~~~ A few minutes later, a piping hot waffle adorned the center of a plate, a pat of butter beginning to melt upon its top. The first of several to come, laid gently on the table in front of those that had followed Thorvald to the cafeteria. "It's a shame we don't have a full variety of syrups to get an even broader experience, filling up different sections with different flavors... a little boysenberry here, a little maple there, a little apricot over in the far corner. But the one we do have should still suffice! Take it away Tarquin. I'll get right back to working on the next one, who wants dibs on the second plate?" Ohhhh, right, right. San'Xuur, San'Xuur. Knight of Leo. Okay, got it, Abigail gave a mental nod, committing the fact to memory, even though it probably wouldn't be all too relevant after they went ahead and toppled the rest of the enemy hierarchy in short order. And that was the only thing the cat had to correct her on, and not even publicly, so honestly a good success on that front. And as for the other half of the equation... Stunned silence mostly, into subdued acceptance. She'd take it. After Terry broke the silence, she followed his comments with a thumbs up, and the rest of the crew began to disperse with little more than a few murmurs here and there. No challenges, no concerns. No problems. At least, for now. A good start, and if they could keep it up, a good everything. When Calina wrapped an arm around her, Abby found herself unconsciously relaxing, tension she'd been trying not to pay attention too leaving her body. It was only for a moment though, as a troublesome topic was quick on her lips. "You said you were going to talk to her..." She faked an evasion, pouting then winking to make it clear she didn't mean it. While true, that had been before this whole nonsense with Reed had even happened. Holding Calina to that wouldn't be fair. But she was certainly going to joke about it. The alien seemed to be trying to fit in way better than expected, dialing back much further on the mind-reading than Abigail remembered making an issue of, and asking questions like a normal human being. It was oddly comforting, even if having to talk about things was sometimes more troublesome than having someone just read your mind. But you can't get that convenience without other inconvenience, so this was fine too. "Ah. No, don't put too much of this on yourself. Sena has always... Well, she's struggled a lot, and her best anchor..." Abby sighed trying not to just run into it straight up. But then again, that really was the best way, wasn't it? Time to just tear off the bandage. "She was very close to Hilling, who'd been helping her get over her past traumas, but then Soor'kan killed him. She's pretty much confined herself to her room since, moping mostly, and how she'll react to you is a giant wild card, to be honest. Not sure what to expect, but probably nothing good. Maybe a source of anger... the ability to feel something again, instead of just a withdrawn nothing, maybe it will actually help though?" It couldn't hurt to be hopeful, could it?
  4. Jade forgot to breathe. This wouldn't be a problem, however, vocal chords want air passing by them to make sound, so the first exclamation was awkwardly wordless. "⬜⬜⬜⬜!?" Luckily, there existed a simple solution. Stupid lungs, what am I paying you for, do your job. "These... are, century's old technology where you come from?" While the firearms the zombie was using weren't exactly cutting edge, that would be a little too extravagant on her budget, it's not like they weren't solidly within the modern mainstream. This wasn't your grandfather's musket, it actually had rifling for bullet stability and everything. Almost shyly, Jade received her weapon back, wondering if it was really okay for her to 'teach' Marina how to use it now. "Well, I guess, since this is practically an antique to you then, here are the steps for proper handling..." The merchant went through the motions of loading, securing, and ejecting, covering all the bases for ordinary operation. Not entirely sure if it was needed, she also discussed sighting for accuracy and precision. "...and if you really need every extra, you'd fire from prone, for better stability, but that can be impractical more often than not, so this is the standing posture I use." Then, lining up on a newly sighted squirrel, Jade demonstrated the final piece of the puzzle, and pulled the trigger. This time, the little rodent didn't manage an escape; the shot was true, and it fell to the ground from off of the tree branch it had been perched on. Nodding, pleased with herself, the zombie lowered the weapon and prepared to pass it over if the Hero also wanted to have a hands on opportunity, rather than just listening and watching. "Fancy a go yourself?"
  5. Jade was pleased when Marina played along with her joke, but the pleasure was quickly eclipsed by surprise. Not only did the hero have experience with guns, a relative rarity, but she mentioned the guns where she was from were not like the ones they had here. Eyes wide, the zombie grew quiet, lips pursed as she tried to figure out what to ask first. "Hand guns? Long guns? What do you mean by 'different'?" Holding out the rifle where Marina could get a good look at it, barrel pointed safely away from either of them of course, she continued, "Could you show me where any major changes would have been, or is it too hard to remember?"
  6. Oh my. How very, conscientious of her. Jade crossed the rifle behind her back, holding it with both hands, and leaned forward at the waist slightly, just enough that she had to tilt her face up to look at the hero from slightly below her line of sight. Marina appeared shy, rambley, and seemed as though she wanted to break gaze and turn away, but after a couple of nods to gather her courage, she managed to finish speaking her thoughts. And they were about what one might have expected from a genocidal standard bearer who'd accepted that blame and taken the assignment she'd been given from the king of the people who'd been slaughtered in her wake. Jade had arrived at the conclusion that the reason Marina was so focused on paying her debts, no matter how small, was to keep from adding to her mountain of guilt. There was something about the sincerity of it all that was a little uncomfortable. A bit itchy, almost. How was Jade handling her own guilt? A brief flash of light in her eyes, as the unpleasant thought crossed her mind, but the zombie banished it quick enough. She wasn't even aware it had happened, and maybe it had gone unnoticed. Shifting to the actual contents of the conversation, rather than the underlying baggage surrounding it, the merchant nodded, smiled, then rocked back onto her heels and stood up straight again. "I had seen, actually. Folded in a neat pile in the back, freshly laundered. Your diligence did not go unnoticed, worry not. I actually made sure to move them up front, where I store my personal valuables, so somebody didn't end up rolling onto them and spoiling your efforts," Jade couldn't help her voice lowering a bit at the thought of the giant snake's tail crushing the fabric, wrinkling it, or maybe even knocking it out of the wagon entirely. They were rude thoughts for her to have. By all rights, Erephis was a fine individual, a valuable intellectual even, probably someone she might call friend if she went and worked at it. And the demerits of her form were clearly no fault of her own, just like Jade couldn't be blamed for her own... condition. Yet... sometimes a little private grumping couldn't be helped. At least the librarian was better than the thief, right? Bright side, bright side. Transferring the full weight of the rifle to her left hand, surprisingly effortlessly considering its heft, she let go with the right, bringing it forward to offer for a handshake. "There are many who would have taken advantage of that kindness, and I was a little surprised you didn't. For at least a little longer, at any rate," Jade smiled at this, a full one, eyes and everything, before adding a little joke at the end. "The contract is complete." And then she laughed, hopefully making everything clear. "As far as joining me..." The zombie cocked her head to the side, looking a little thoughtful. "Have you ever fired a gun before, even?" Then, hurriedly following up her question so that Marina didn't mistake it for a rejection, she added. "Oh, it's not a problem if you haven't, I'm not saying no, just... would need to know where to maybe start, if that's what you're interested in."
  7. As soon as she hit the deck, Abigail strode over to the tall alien with the curly fur, looking up into the other's eyes again a moment, confirming her earlier judgement of the cat. Nothing had changed since their talk out on the palms. The only thing new was her crew's surprise, and that was not unexpected. Nodding to the Sacarian, she answered, "No need for you to go, better everyone see you and work on getting accustomed as I explain." Then she pivoted to face everyone else, Reed'Nahl rising behind her, almost like a muscled bodyguard standing guard over a VIP. "All right, everyone, long story, very very short. This is Reed'Nahl. I killed her boss, so in their culture that means she works for me now. Sounds weird, I know," Abby shrugged, not sure exactly how to better explain. It was still kind of settling in for her too. "Also, and this is very important too, there's no blood feud with this one," she jerked a thumb behind her to accentuate the point. "No connection to the group of cats we were tangling with earlier. Her knight was Sen'Tchur'Leo or something," she paused, turning to look over her shoulder at tall grey cat, a weak smile flashing across her lips as a small crease formed on her brow. She surely had butchered that pronunciation, but she'd only heard it once, and there was so much on her mind. Sorry, I'll get it right next time if it's important, she thought a wordless apology. How could she expect the cat to honor her desire not to be called Rockefeller if she didn't show proper name courtesies back? She was at least a little more confident on Reed's name at least, but the other one... No, back to the topic at hand. Returning her gaze to the gathered crew, Abby continued, "Our grudge was with Soor'Kan, we can consider it dead with him. If someone has a problem with that, I need it out in the open. No festering, and there won't be any retaliation if you speak up. Let me know your honest concerns." Abigail closed her eyes, inhaled deeply, then opened them and looked back first to Calina who'd come up beside her, then to where they'd parked the Vergloria. "But try to keep things snappy. I know Terry said it was just minor damage here, but I want to get my eyes on the diagnostics myself, and I'll need to head to the Riese sooner than later to touch base there. Hopefully we can get things wrapped up here in half an hour? ...Maybe that's pushing it too much... but, I should be back here again soon after that for everything else." Monty remembered to stop humming before he knocked on the door to the infirmary. Then, when the door slid open, he leaned his head in. He was probably going to be directed off to deal with the bodies anyway, sounded like there wasn't much active work to be done, so no point getting settled in or comfortable. The sight of Jess in the tank brought out a low whistle from him though. He waved to the pilots he recognized, and by process of elimination figured out which of the remaining individuals was his counterpart over here. "Dr. Ampharo? Wish I'd be making your acquaintance on better terms, but it is what it is, yeah? Right, sorry, this is Monty, we spoke a couple of times now over comms," he kept his tone and demeanor light, well as light as could be expected given the heavy atmosphere. "You call the shots on this one, so just... point me where you need me."
  8. This Bridgit was a little haughty, with high bearing, but somehow not oppressively so. Which was to say, not the worst noble Jade had ever had the misfortune of having to deal with, either professionally or socially. She didn't end up prying much, though, partly on account of that, either as the vampire had accompanied her back to the wagon while Lavinia had been occupied, or on the few occasions they'd shared more time together in the intervening week since then. They had time enough; no point in rushing things. Today, Jade had been off by herself, instead of palling around with her dead friends. Shooting squirrels, believe it or not, with her rifle. She had some special cartridges she'd put together, specifically for tasks such as these, which is a very different one than stopping hostile human sized targets, or even large mammals like deer. Unfortunately, using the gun for tasks it wasn't really designed for--though there were other models on the market with different bore sizes that would be more appropriate, she didn't have any of them in inventory--meant the accuracy suffered significantly, which in a way, was a welcome challenge and a test of her skills. The zombie had just finished taking a shot, and was grumbling as she saw the small rodent scamper away unharmed... for now. As she considered reloading for another go, a familiar voice called out to her. Lowering her gun, barrel angled to the ground, she turned to look behind her. Ah, the hero. "Good evening. Are things well?" It would be a stretch to say it was out of character for Marina to approach her like this, but it wasn't common either. If there was a problem, best to find out quickly.
  9. The captured alien Caroline had brought gave a brief accounting of the situation, backed up by the expression and a few words from the chaperone as well. The girl seemed incredibly insecure about the whole thing, but not everyone was so intimidated, Tarquin had some questions of his own, which Thorvald willingly allowed. Budding curiosity was to be encouraged, especially for one that had often given off the impression of being shut-off socially, compared to the rest of the pilots. Her response was one of infectious optimism, despite her position as holding a minority view amongst her race, and the honesty and eagerness found him smiling despite himself as he listened. "Mmm, no, don't worry about having to shuttle her up there right now, Miss Schmidt, you've done plenty fine, and hearing this much has been enough. As long as I know the higher ups aren't in the dark about this, and they've trusted me with managing matters, that will do. I'll take her up to have a longer chat with the XO after, but for now, there shouldn't be any issue as long as she's in my sight. Heck, I bet a taste of human cooking would be right up her alley, going by the sounds of things. No need to put off the waffles," Thorvald concluded with a belly laugh. There would surely needs be discussions on boundaries and procedures, but postponing potentially painful decisions and restriction was more his style than rushing into them without cause. Who knows, when shown proper good-will, maybe this one could be turned into an ambassador of sorts. They already seemed halfway there, better to nurture that sprout of hope than prune it so far back it might die. The sharp, clacking sound of boot heel clicking up against boot heel, and the swish of fabric as an arm was brought up into a salute broke Thorvald out of his inner thoughts though. Sergeant Barnes's cold voice, not hiding her disapproval came shortly after, "If everything has been taken care of then, I should be on my way." She wanted to turn to Tarquin and add a warmer, 'Enjoy your meal,' but she couldn't find it in her to do it. So much for having come to speak with Eriksson, what a laugh, she couldn't even do a simple thing like that. Jess didn't have a plan or idea of where to go, but anywhere that was 'not here' was a good start. Watching her walk off to the elevators, Thorvald tried to salvage the mood. "Well, I guess she must not be hungry. But that's fine too. Anyone that still wants in, follow me." There were plenty of elevators, they could take one of the others and give her some privacy.
  10. Well, that was apparently all Marina had wanted her for. Jade watched as the Hero stalked off, icily informing Lavinia of her destination. The fallen angel and her had been fighting, apparently. Over Morwen. Over her. Bladen also made his escape, also not even addressing her. The zombie turned to Gabriela, who'd at least been conversing, even if accusatory. But Jade must have had too much fire in her response, been riled up too much in what felt like the need to defend herself, and the siren too flew away, looking hurt. What a right mess everything was turning into, no? Morwen's shade disappeared with nothing more than a final riddle, as expected, and Lavinia at least tried to pull things back together, refused to abandon her, expressed concern. The general too, and some sense of order and civility was beginning to return to the group. "I will take you up on that offer, I think. Even without complications, if you wouldn't mind taking a look later, of course. Lavinia too, if you think you might be able to sense something I wouldn't notice myself? I'm not sure exactly how healing magics work or if they'd be useful for something like this." A check-up would if nothing else be able to put minds at ease, and it at least felt safe enough to delay it till evening camp. Anywhere was a better site for examination than amidst these old ruins. Asami's arrival, and her wound, obviously took attention away from the merchant's bizarre encounter, before Nessraya had the chance to respond. But that was fine, there was no rush. Turning back to Lavinia, and her 'sister', now actually showing a bit more acknowledgement of others, Jade smiled wanly. "The general is right, it looks like your skills are needed. I'll be fine, I can walk, but just to be sure, why doesn't your 'sister'?" A rising tone here conveyed her curiosity about the claim. "I don't know that I caught her name, but surely she could accompany me and that would easy your worry while you're tending to Asami?"
  11. The cat's sudden interruption, even though it came with the promise of sealed lips, just elicited a groan. Of fucking course. Abigail didn't bother responding, Calina did a good enough job already, and even if she didn't talk, apparently her thoughts were an open book anyway, so there wasn't really a need to add anything more. It was a scant couple minutes later when the Vergloria was fully settled down in Deliverance's hangar, and it was time to disembark. Abby had wiped most of the snot and tears away with her sleeve, she'd wash the uniform later of course, and was debating whether or not to put the helmet back on, or just head out there with it off. Off won. If anybody had a problem with whatever after effects of a good cry were still left, they could just suck it up or leave, really. "All right, Reed, try to play nice with everybody," she muttered just loud enough for Calina to also hear, but not over any broadcast or anything. The cat was probably still listening, and it was time to just get used to it and take advantage of it. There weren't a lot of her rebel crew left, sadly, but it was time to see how well they would manage to accept the strange newcomer. Walking around to Calina's seat first, before disembarking, she stole a hug, a bit longer than maybe she'd intended, but who was judging. "See ya on the ground," she tried smiling as they parted, then cabled down to greet her crew and wait for the Praxis to finish settling down and follow suit. Oh. Oh no. The pilots down here thought there might still be bridge crew alive and in need of treatment, huh? Monty's back and forth with the Riese's doctor had disabused him of that notion already, but he didn't think that arguing with the girl about the right way to spend his time was the proper way to break it to her. When his lasted call with Dr. Ampharo had quickly ended, he instead simply played along. "You're right, you're right. Here," dumping out a handful of pills into her hand, he quickly capped the bottle back up and slid it back into his bag. "Take two of these, and call me in the morning," he smiled and enjoyed the cheesey feeling of that overused line. "Gotta head on up to the infirmary, so I'm gonna trust you to finish looking after your friend then," he added to the woman accompanying the one he'd been helping out. A half dozen or so paces after he'd grabbed his bag and headed toward the lifts, he twisted his upper body and called back. "Make sure she only takes two!" The joke was followed with a bit of a laugh and a wave of the hand before he resumed his journey to the elevator, and eventually the upper deck.
  12. A wailing call of 'Jaaaade! JAAAADE!' quickly displaced the zombie's attention from her 'mare and passenger, and even from the hero who'd apologetically come to explain the reason she'd been called. Twisting around to face the voice, it finally struck her just how much she had never expected to see the old gathlain's weathered face again. And even though Lavinia had just been raising it as a possibility, it had still seemed so impossible, so unthinkable that she hadn't even been close to mentally ready. "I never meant for you to die," Jade began defensively, though that fact would have been clearly obvious even without her saying it. She'd been nowhere near, there was no realistic way for her to have had any connection to the men... yet when confronted with an spirit from beyond the grave of unsure intentions, presumably angry, it felt like the first and most important thing to lay out on the line. "I'd never seen those men before, it'd been months since I'd seen anyone. One tried to kill me too! When I finally made it to you it was too late..." Sure she'd alternated between hate and feeling indebted to the hag, to the witch who'd caught her up in stopped time, bound her up in unlife. But not like that. Even the occasions when she'd fantasized about her dying, daydreamt an early end to the period of servitude, yearned for being set free, she'd never wished it happen like that. Jade had been about to continue with how she'd buried her respectfully, or whatever other appeasing words might have come to mind when the wraith's desperate moans changed to triumphant crows about her 'perfect creation'. And if that hadn't been enough to stop her, the fallen fey discorporating, shooting spectrally across the space separating them, and sinking into the merchant's body... well that certainly would have shut her up in seconds. What... was this? Spinning slowly, looking for where the spirit had gone, not finding her, was quite a disquieting experience. Hearing the voice from above finally reminded her that flight dealt in three dimensions. By this time, Lavinia was now by her side, hands on her shoulders, stancing protectively. Combined with what now seemed obvious, that the wraith had no intention of harming her, Jade's concerns had faded into bemused acceptance. "What are you up to, Morwen? Is this another one of your tests?" She called up after the departing spirit, a twisted, suffering smile sliding across her lips. She didn't expect a real reply: a riddle at the best. But given the current aspect of the ghost? Probably just disappearance amidst haunting laughter. And of course, with everything that had just happened, even if a reply was in the cards, a calm continuing conversation would be impossible. The rest of the group was already bombarding her with questions. The small vampire, of some connection to Lavinia, had quickly swept up close, clearly more concerned about her 'sister' than Jade herself, not even addressing her directly as she aired her concerns. Still... "I don't... feel, any different," Jade conceded, a bit of worried frown transforming her features as she closed her eyes and tried to sense any change. Gabriela's questions were a bit more accusatory, and a small flash of fire came to her eyes, disliking the insinuation, however reasonable it may have seemed in the circumstance. She managed to quiet her momentary anger quick enough, though, giving the following grumbling answer. "I'm Jade. The zombie merchant. I had been Jade, the human merchant, and but for Morwen there I would now be Jade, the decomposing corpse. No... just bleached bones by this point, I'd have to think. Any other questions?" She ended the explanation with a bit of a sneer, not entirely happy with how this was all turning out.
  13. Listening to Lavinia's mini-lecture was... nice. Jade wished she could just, lean back against her and pay full attention, but, sadly, riding a horse needed more attention than that. Doubly so when said horse was of a breed that could sprout and snort fire, if startled. Still, she nodded, and made some active listener grunting noises in between keeping track of where Gabriela was flying, and steering appropriately. The zombie decided against dignifying the vampire's continued worries about her height with another reply. Was probably just a brain worm at this point. Not literally, of course, the knight had better hygiene than that. But if the issue was still eating away at her tonight, she'd apologize sincerely. Until then, continuing to legitimize it by engaging in speculation felt like the wrong play. Luckily for Jade, Lavinia had only circled back around to it--at least, out loud--right as the rest of the crew were coming into sight. If anything was ample excuse to put such triviality behind them, this was it. Shouting out first, to signal their arrival, Jade called to the Hero, as her steed slowed down on the approach. They were still probably going to overshoot a little bit, and have to walk it back after dismounting, but sometimes that just comes with the territory. "I was told you were seeking me, specifically, Marina?" Then, after DV had fully come to a stop, she gave the Lavinia a light slap on her cuisse before swinging down. The looking back up at her passenger, she inquired, "Need help getting down? Or are you good?"
  14. Monty frowned a bit at the request. "Don't have any of that on me. Doesn't mix well with alcohol, and I know it's stereotyping, but I tend to figure most pilots like to hit the bottle when they have a chance. I do have some naproxen I could offer you, if that would scratch the painkiller itch?" The doctor set his bag on the floor, knelt down beside it, opening it up and beginning to rummage around for the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, assuming the woman would say 'yes, that would be fine' and figuring it best to be prepared. He was glad to hear it just seemed to be a headache, telekinetic related though it might be. If she'd been downplaying her injuries, he'd have expected the Asian woman with her to have spoken up by now instead. As he was doing so, the Riese's own doctor gave a call back, checking up on the situation on the ground. When his alpha-tool buzzed, warning him of the incoming message, he gave an apologetic grin to the girls, saying. "Sorry, I've got to take this. If you could wait, just one moment?" He pulled out the small bottle of pills he'd been after, and had just located, closed up his bag, and stepped aside briefly, answering the call. "Everything else seems to be fine down here," he reported back, after listening to her inquiry. "I found someone with a headache, and I'm sure there's probably someone feeling sick to their stomach elsewhere, but the good news is there appears to be nothing major. I'll be up to join you in a bit, just handing out some OTC right now." Abigail tried to smile when Calina chimed in about joining the hate crusade against Gaertner if the situation actually ended up going the was people were saying it was. It... almost worked. But her heart started to hurt right again after, as the reason for the offer couldn't stay buried long. But, really, she couldn't ask better. After the pain she'd unwittingly put her through too, for her to turn around and just give out a blank check of emotional support. Not something everyone would do. Maybe not even something she deserved... A sniffle, and then Abby tried to shut down that line of thought. That wouldn't do anybody any good. "Thanks. Really," the rebel had to make sure her partner knew how much she appreciated this. It was the least she could do. "I dunno what'll end up being, but you being here for me means the world right now." "Haaa," a bit of a sigh, and then. "Oh god, I hope that cat is far enough away not to be picking up all of this." It hadn't been a long walk, keeping Caroline company as they guided the enemy along over toward where Eriksson was standing. It was irritating though, hearing it put in such plain language. The damn cat was probably right. She'd been dragging her heels, refusing to consider making an actual decision. Sure, the injury was recent, and even though medicine was pretty good these days, with the Riese on the move as much as it had been, even if she'd gotten an implant or a transplant or something, she wasn't sure if she'd be back at top form by now anyway. ...But she'd at least have been on the road toward recovery. Instead of this... limbo she was currently in. Helping out on the sidelines. Milling around, trying to find purpose again. Not that the work she was doing with Tarquin wasn't important either! Just... There was going to be a lot on the plate for her next session with Dr. Hart, wasn't there? Caroline and the captive both spoke their pieces. Rather than overwhelm him, Jess continued to take a bit of a back seat. There was no rush. A quick salute, and a trace of smile, and words could come later. Just as they were about to head to the cafeteria and get the party started, "――Specialist Erikkson!" New arrivals, and new calls for his attention, apparently. Turning toward the unfamiliar voice, Thorvald admittedly let a bit of his surprise show on his face when he caught sight of the speaker. Well, one of them anyway, he knew Caroline, she was a good woman. Took care of her family, very important. This other one though... Raising a hand to his chin, and narrowing his eyes, he appraised the situation. Turning to Caroline, who'd talked, over Sergeant Barnes, who had not, he first asked, "XO or the Captain know about this?" Depending on how much go-ahead had already been granted would play a major factor in how he'd take things here. He was more than capable of making a decision in the field, if that's what it took, but he wanted to make sure not to countermand anything already in place if he could avoid it. Turning back to the cat, he finally addressed the elephant in the room. "Sorry to not immediately, jumping for joy and playing icebreaker games to get you worked in, feeling at home with the rest of the crew, but even for the friendly ones..." Thorvald cast a bit of a side glance at Esther here. How would she feel if she'd had to sit in the brig as long as she had, getting smuggled game system to amuse herself while the ANF tried to figure out what to do with her: How would she feel if there wasn't even the hint of any of that now? "Usually there's some waiting period while we get their background checked out, figure out if they're trustworthy. Just... seems a bit odd, you being as excited as you are. You get me?"
  15. "For an undead myself, I have to confess to knowing very little about some of the others. What exactly are wraiths, who can become one? I couldn't tell you that if you put a gun to my head." The merchant wasn't surprised, or concerned, or afraid, when Lavinia raised the proposition that Morwen might be involved. Mostly just confused. It was as good a speculation as any, though, because there were honestly no other convincing reasons someone would be calling for her. There were so many questions though. "If it was her... why wait? Why now, not years ago? Why here, not closer to the border? None of this makes any sense, there's probably some other Jade out there this wraith was hunting." Gabriela didn't weigh in on the matter, which only makes sense. The zombie couldn't remember having ever mentioned her past to any of the others, and she couldn't even recall how much detail she'd gone into it when talking with the vampire, on one of their sleepless nights, or while passing some boring time in the wagon as they moved from point A to point B. If when the pair finally arrived to where they were being led, even if the wraith was Morwen, Jade couldn't imagine any scenario where Lavinia didn't have to immediately turn to her for confirmation. Certainly she wouldn't go jumping up and down saying, 'Aha, I told you!' As DV kicked off, working up to a canter, and following along behind the siren as best they could, bound to land and not free in flight, a final, unrelated question fought the wind of their passage, scarcely making its way to her ears. Wait, seriously? Jade fought back a goofy smile as best she could, even though seated as she was behind her Lavinia wouldn't see it either way? "Weeeell..." she drew out her reply a little, keeping her on edge. "You are quite tall. But I did overspeak on that. Don't worry. Someone once told me, 'You're only as freaky as you feel.' I think that's pretty good advice, don't you?"
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