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Thread: Discomfort Zone

  1. #1

    Thread Semi-Open Discomfort Zone

    "Firespray 31, this is Jovan Station Control. Please identify yourself."

    "This is TCI78V1212 Nemesis of Reason requesting permission to dock."

    "Hold please."

    The time spent waiting was starting to pile up, and it was giving me way too much time to think about what I was doing. Sure, it wouldn't be the first time I'd flown halfway across the galaxy uninvited in hopes of scoring some ass, but I had to admit that even I had a few lines I didn't cross; and here I was staring at one of them. Jovan Station might be an Alliance military and civilian outpost here on the galactic border with the Empire, but it was also a flagship for Cizerack culture and people. I had been here before on business a few times, and I have to say it sucks to be forced to confront a slice of home that I want nothing to do with. The very idea has my stomach already curled into balls of stress, and the long wait for docking confirmation was making it worse. I mean, I get it. I haven't exactly been the best guest when I've been here before. It's not like I'm going to confront the ghosts of my past sober, and yeah shit happens when I've had way too much Vosh.

    "Nemesis of Reason, you have been approved to dock at S3D7. Watch yourself. Any further disturbances will result in lawful punishment up to and including exclusion, impound, and jail time. Welcome to Jovan Station."

    What an overreaction, jeez. It was only a little property damage, and those guys deserved the beating they got. Seriously, who tries to fight a big ass motherfucker in armor like that? They would have broken their own bones on my armor even I hadn't broken them first with my hands.

    If I was going to be forced to watch my step then this visit just got a million times worse. That means no venting, no hard drinking. Fuck. It's fine. I can handle it, and what's more I will be a little fucking model citizen. That'll show 'em, and them maybe they'll take down the heat. Maybe Vraska will give me jobs again if she sees I'm not the trouble maker she thinks I am. Goddess knows I can't keep working exclusively for Sheegoth. I love that big lizard but he's driving me crazy with the jobs he's been giving me lately. Baby sitting corporate rats, scaring cavemen on backwater planets, and transporting goods. That's not what I signed up for. I swear if I don't get to shoot somebody in the face this year I'm going to fucking lose it.

    It didn't take long to get docked on Spire Three, but it did take a long time to walk the length of the Nemesis several times making sure every single weapon I owned was properly stored in it's proper place. Every time I thought I had everything taken care of I found another particle laser or vibro knife out of place and started the whole process over again. In the end, I had a lot more weapons than I thought I did, and even more surprising it all fit in the lockers I had on-board. I wouldn't say I'm not a safe person when it comes to blasters, but I do tend to leave more lying about just in case I need a quick grab. Never know what you'll run into. But this was Jovan, and knowing the bastards they'll conduct a search or some shit and I was not going to get caught with my tail out.

    A place for everything and everything in it's place. It looks like a goddamn holomercial in here. Thanks, I hate it.

    "Oni, watch the ship and lock it up after me. If Port-Sec does anything fishy, you let me know... Acknowledged, Master Abaddon. Safe travels."

    The Nemesis did not actually have an on-board ship AI, but after seeing the one on-board Fook's ship I've been wanting one of my own. However, that's not something I'm ever going to be able to afford with the shit jobs I've been getting on top of what feels like a never ending sea of medical bills, so in the meantime I've been pretending to have one, trying out different names and personalities, and voicing both parts of the conversation. Not sure I like Oni all that much. He's a little too much a butler and not as cool as I want, and it felt like a rip-off of Guan Yu. I don't want to be a copycat. Abaddon the Void Knight is a unique and cool guy, and doesn't need to steal the style from anyone else.

    I'd made sure my armor was polished to a shining finish, and every bit of chip damage and blast scoring was cleaned out and patched properly. New armor was higher on the priority list than ship AI but it was still going to be awhile before I could afford another top of the line set like this one. Getting the helmet repaired after Centares had cost a lot more than I could have ever anticipated, and that monthly payment was really wearing down my credits. So for now it was patch and polish. The worst of it would be covered by my full length coat. It felt weird leaving the ship armed with nothing. No hidden blaster, no stashed knife. I was on my best behavior. If it wasn't for the armor I would feel completely naked and vulnerable. Shit. What am I saying? Abaddon doesn't need weapons. He's a badass. Yeah. Strut that stuff. Ain't nobody going to mess with me if I walk confidently, and look scary. I pulled my hood up over the top of my helmet and as soon as I passed the security checkpoint I stuck a stim in to the vent in the front of my helmet.

    Navigating around the station took a bit of doing. I had no idea where she is, and I had to ask around. A lot. Even less fun I ended up increasingly around Alliance personnel, which made sense since that's who she worked for, but still, I'd like to spend as little time around the Alliance and their felinoid allies as much as possible. By the time I found my way the stim had long ago burn down and been discarded. I found myself at a door that said "Engineering" over the door and the plaque next to it listed several names of servicemen that worked within. I ran my finger down the list and read each one... Rabeak... Floewander... Rakkamar... Beck! There it is. So this must be the place. Looked like an office workshop combo from out here. I hope I look presentable. Shit. I should have brought something. Flowers? Nah. That's way too sissy. Fuck. I probably look like such a weirdo. Stand tall, heroic pose. Now hit that buzzer. What's the worst that can happen?

    Oh shit.

  2. #2
    Tucked away towards the back of the main shop area, nestled in a corner alongside Chief Rabeak's own office, was the office of Tamera Beck. If not for the clutter of datapads, shipping crates, courier box containers, and a smattering of other knick-knacks, it would've seemed a spacious area. The desk was piled with old crisp wrappers, a main terminal, a comm unit, a few holos of the speeders that she'd fixed up while still working on Nar Shaddaa, and even an old caf mug filled with a mess of stylus pens. The walls, what portions weren't blocked by crates, held cheaply framed posters of old speeders. An XJ-6 on one wall beside a print of an Eclipse speeder bike. Another wall held a lineup of Stingray speeder bikes and a faded old flimsi of a grizzled rancher atop a dun-colored fathier, with a mountain range in the background. Unlike the others, it had a gaudy golden frame that looked like it belonged in a senator's private office. It was also exceedingly dusty, the only 'clean-ish' spots being the fingerprints from when it had been last moved.

    And happily buried deep in the center of it all, Tamera Beck was fully engrossed in a comm call.

    "No no, Senna, that's not what I want. I told you what I want. And you said you have it."

    A pause.

    "Yeah no, that's not what you said you would send me. Look. Senna. I need those pulse retractors in less than a week... the Alliance needs them. And last I checked you're on an Alliance world, yeah?"

    Another pause.

    "Come oonnnnnnn! You know what this means for me. I even put in-"

    The buzzer-chime cut in, and Tamera briefly looked up at the closed door of her office. A moment later, she palmed the speaker pad.

    "Chief?! Chief! Someone's at the door!"

    Was Anauri even in yet?

    "'Doona? May? Hey guys?! Someone needs you!"

  3. #3
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    "I'm aan it!"

    Cutting the juice to the spark cutter, Gradoona eased the torch onto its rack, drawing the protective goggles up from her eyes. Easing up from her work, the Herglic doffed her heavy work gloves, stuffing them into a pocket before slapping the door control. The figure on the other side of the door was...not what she expected. She hauumed from her blowhole, shifting slightly to place a hand on her hip.

    "There a praablem?"

    Not that there was a law against wearing head-to-toe armor on a generally peaceful space station, but since the Empire had packed up, it wasn't exactly common. Maybe that was a bad first impression. Maybe the fella had to have a sealed environment and respirator, like one of those Kel-Dor fellas? Not that Gradoona was particularly paranoid or jumpy, but she also had never been shot before coming to Jovan, either. It paid to at least pay attention to things.

  4. #4
    "Uh..."

    Goddess above, that is a big lady! She filled the entire doorway, and some. I have never seen anything like it. All slippery and shiny like the Sabaa back home. I wondered if she liked lying on beaches in the sun, too. Damn, I wonder if I could take something like that in a fight. Probably. I'm a pretty good fighter, but yeah. I don't think I would go out of my way to fight a... whatever that is. My hand had strayed to my hip, but there was no blaster there. Not even an empty holster to rest my hand on. Instead I stuck my hands in the pockets of my coat and looked off to the side to hide the awkward fumble and also look like I'm too cool to care.

    "I'm looking for Beck. She here?"

  5. #5
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    Gradoona didn't budge.

    "Who waant's to knoow, eh? She in some kiiinda trouble oor whaat?"

    Not that she was Tam's protector or anything, but she also didn't want her professional acquaintance getting pinched by a bounty hunter if this was what was going on. I mean, she'd miss her for sure, but it would also double her work!

  6. #6
    "Um, that is, that, I'm not on the clock; Citizen. This is a personal call. No big deal."

    Why were the goddamn words so hard to get out of my stupid mouth! This was Abaddon talking and my big dumb words are coming out of his mouth. Shut off your brain, Ori, and let Abaddon be in control. He has this handled. She's not his type, anyway. Not my type either. I think. Goddess, she looks strong...

    "Names Abaddon, as in Abaddon the Black; Maybe you've heard of me. I'm a pretty big deal."

  7. #7
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    "Waaait a tick." Gradoona's voice drew out in suspicious timbre as her little eyes narrowed. She squared up, staring the laminate-clad figure up and down before her blowhole gasped and she whistled.

    "Yoou're the booyfriend, arren't ya?!"

  8. #8
    BOYFRIEND!?!?

    There had been a dozen quick witted, sharp tongued responses preprogramed into my head, ready for whatever she had to throw back at me, and now I couldn't get my tongue to form a single one of them. It felt cold and dead in my mouth; but, like, at the same time my guts felt warm. Hot even. Abaddon did not like this. Not one bit. He was rebelling in my head but I couldn't even hear his words anymore. He wanted to be all cool, shrug it off with a 'whatever' and then do something cool; like a kickflip. But I liked it. I liked the implication of it. The way the words sounded. Abaddon the Black Despoiler of a Thousands Worlds had been many things, but Boyfriend has never been a title he has possessed.

    The best I had ever managed before was Booty Call, and that didn't go well. Repeat visits never did. That's why this was so stressful. Oh. My. God. What have I gotten myself into?

    "Yeessss?"

  9. #9
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    Anauri's left ear twitched at the sound of voices outside his office, while he attempted to pay attention to an efficiency report call coming in through the earpiece in his right. Garfife, but Melerian Sgu was boring, and she just kept droning on and on while Gradoona could be heard talking with... someone.

    Someone apparently there to see Tamera, as she'd called out for him to go see who it was. Even if he wasn't on a call, why would he go see who it was? Anauri tipped over the nameplate on his desk, so he could read it as yet more efficiency ratings rattled off. Yep, it said "Chief Engineer - Anauri Rabeak" on it. That meant if there was anyone in engineering who didn't have to play doorman, it was him. A sip of cooled stimcaff brought a smile to the brown-furred Nehantite's muzzle as he thought about that.

    Then he blinked. There was no more incessant prattling from the other end of the line. She had ceased speaking, thank Garfife!

    "Excellent report, I'll keep all that in mind," he replied. "Looking forward to the next call. Rabeak out."

    A satisfying click terminated the call, and he fished the earpiece out before getting up. Whoever was here, Gradoona seemed to be keen to talk to them. Not that that was anything out of the blue. Anauri was sure that Gradoona would talk to a wall if it had a face painted on it, sometimes. And occasionally if there was no face, either. And, as Beck's door hadn't opened, he figured he ought to go take a look. Besides, his mug of stimcaff was low, and cold, and the machine was in the common room anyhow.

    "Let's keep the social visits down while we're on the clock, Gra- whoooo the hell are you?" The chief engineer's voice, and expression changed as he crossed the room, and the armored form of Abaddon came into view from behind the total eclipse of herglic which was Gradoona.

  10. #10
    Her less-than-pleasant call to Senna had been finished, and Tamera grabbed her datapad up in a quick scoop, mindful to take up the half-eaten bag of fire-pepper crisps with her other. She adjusted her glasses slightly, to make sure that she could read while walking, and skirting her desk, the brunette headed out of her office.


    "Hey!" Her call was to everyone and no one in particular, "... so we've got a crate of priming rods and flash couplers coming in tomorrow, but I... I...


    She had one chip halfway up to her mouth as her gaze finally lifted to take in the site of 'Doona, the Chief, and... Ori?!


    The chip was quickly shoved back into the bag.


    "Or- " she caught herself just in the nick of time. Unfortunately her course correction wasn't really any better.


    "Abby?!"

  11. #11
    "Come on guys, it's Abaddon. Black. Despoiler of a thousand worlds..."

    The walking talking furball was almost as much a surprise as the fish lady, but at least I was expecting this one. Beck had mentioned something about her boss being the only man in an engineering team full of women. Still, not exactly what I was expecting. I pictured a very handsome human man with long flowing hair and a barrel chested strapped under a revealing V-Neck. A real adonis of a man, you get me? How else can you expect a bunch of women to work under you like that. Clearly I was very wrong, and this guy looked more the type that drank heavily and hits his kids. I'd bet a hundred credits his personality is "mean".

    And then like my savior angel she swooped down from the sun and finally presented herself; the fat bottomed hoochy mama of my dreams herself; Beck.

    "The one and only. I was in the sector and thought I'd drop by for a visit."

    The kids today call it a Smash and Dash, but I wasn't about to say that in front of Drunk Uncle and very-large-but-totally-not-my-type fish lady.

  12. #12
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    "Yaknoo, we're naat in haard vacuum oor a radiation leak. You can doff the ool sunbonnet."

    A thin veneer of polite hospitality shrouded Gradoona's gossipy intrigue. Who was this guy. And...why Beck? Not that she wasn't a catch, she had a great sense of humor and technically stable employment, but the only relationship goals Gradoona could previously pin on the woman was that she'd eventually have a kidney stone large enough for her to name. Nobody else in the shop was on a first name basis with the guy who stocked the vending machine.

    "Waaait a sec..." Gradoona's eyes narrowed a little, "Yoou're one aaf thoose Maandaloorian guys, aren't ya? I ran into a few aaf you guys aan Subterrel a few cycles agoo."

  13. #13
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    "This one ain't no Mando," Anauri shook his head. "See."

    From one of the slim pockets on his work shirt's left shoulder, he withdrew a gleaming silver object shaped like a pen, but with a flat black disc at one end. With calloused finger pads, the Nehantite pulled upon that disc, extending it away from the barrel of the device, revealing it to be a telescoping magnetic pick-up stick. Without asking, Jovan Station's chief engineer flicked it forward in a gleaming arc of cheap chrome, and let the disc end attach itself to Abaddon's chestplate with a crisp *schtack*, before letting it go. The pick-up stick jutted out from that breastplate as an inconvenient antenna, as Anauri chuckled.

    "Beskar ain't magnetic. No beskar, no Mando," he announced, as if giving Gradoona a quick engineering refresher. The pick-up stick was pulled back, then retracted before slipping back into the pocket from whence it came. "Still, if Beck vouches for you, I guess you can stay, Mr. Abandon. Just try not to... touch anything."

  14. #14
    Abby was getting a heck of a welcome, and Tamera swiftly curled her crisp bag up to close it off as she let her stride somewhat lengthen to join the small group.

    Her datapad was held out to Chief Rabeak, as she sidled her way somewhat between Abby and her coworkers.

    "I've got all the incoming orders prioritized, and everything is slated for prompt delivery. It took a little bit to make sure the parts numbers we use coincided with the numbers in the manuals I have, but everything should be exactly as they should be."

    Which was to say that they absolutely would. Tamera Beck might've been a snack-addled junkie, but she knew her manuals and numbers, and had never failed her superior once.

    She also knew that it was close enough to the end of her shift that she could afford to take the last fifteen minutes.

    Her crisp bag was swiftly given to Abby, and with a toothy, please-let-me-go smile, Beck continued.

    "I even made sure to schedule a shipment of upper oblique blades for the cargo cranes that will be coming up for preventative maintenance next week."

  15. #15
    The furball was coming at me with something. I turned my head down so fast that my chin bounced off my breastplate. It was some kind of probe, and it was connected to my armor. I looked up, ready to engage on the new and present threat, and then remembered I didn't have any any of my weapons. I didn't even want my sidearm. I wanted the big shit. Hadron destroyer, the one that Fook had made fun of. Something about crossfire and collateral damage. I wasn't really paying attention, but it would turn Fuzzybutt into a crater. Guy deserved that much, although he seemed to think it was all a good laugh.

    My HUD beeped back that there was no damage or threat, and I allowed my hands to relaxe just enough to stay fists at my side, and nothing more. His name was going on a list. He was lucky he was Beck's CO. You need to relax a little Abaddon. You aren't in danger just because it's Jovan. These people are important to Beck, and they should be important to you. Stop looking at everything like a nail.

    "Yeah. Not a Mandalorian. Sorry to disappoint. Type VII Durasteel plates with composite plastoid. Not that military-grade Stormtrooper crap. The good stuff. Not as cool as beskar, but about as close as credits can buy."

    Like I was not going to flaunt my armor. Sure it wasn't as shiny and new, or top of the line, as it used to be, but the suit had gotten me through a lot more than your average armor set could get through. A platoon of stormtroopers would have died taking the same punishment. I couldn't help but run my hand over the surface, with it's melted scorch marks and patched blaster holes hiding beneath the veneer of a whole can of polish.

    Beck held out a bag toward me and I instinctively took it from her before turning it over in my hands to reveal it was a snack bag. Good brand. Good flavor. At least I knew that much about her was still true. Now I was wishing I had brought something with me, but outside of a trip to the Cluster, which was absolutely not happening, there wasn't much I could bring that she didn't already have access to on space station like Jovan. Right on the trade routes, and a second home to the Cizeracks at that. Mental note, keep the helmet on. I bet this place smells like home and I do not need that in my life right now.

    She positioned herself between me and the others, which seemed a little defensive but I wasn't going to complain, because I got a good view when I leaned back and looked down.

    Noice.

  16. #16
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    "I knoow it's naat beskaar!" Gradoona rebutted somewhat defensively, making the galactic gesture for duh. "Yaknoo I caan sonically resonaate metal, remember?"


    She shrugged.

    "I'm juust saayin, this fella aan Subterrel wouldn't leave me aloone, kept leavin' me flowers and, yaknoo, some baadaass warrior love pooetry whenever he came by foor maintenance. He never woould take the helmet aaf thoo. Something about this is the waay oor something like that. I just maybe figured we had another one of thoose?"

    Beck, for her part, was trying to dot her i's and cross her t's enough to argue for reprieve from the rest of the day without looking like a goldbrick to the boss. It was a good case to make, and since Gradoona didn't have anything waiting on Beck's requisitions, she'd probably cover for any residual bullshit. Not that she'd volunteer to do it, though. As the saying goes, Ever since the Clone Wars, I don't volunteer for shit.

  17. #17
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    Tamera Beck wasn't the sort to duck out early. In fact, there had been several times where Anauri had to remind her that her shift was over, and she could go home. But knowing this, Anauri still got to delight himself a little by glancing at his wrist chrono, then giving a grumbling, contemplative sigh before relenting.

    "Well, I suppose if you've got everything sorted, I can spare you," he said. "But if this one gives you any trouble, you call me and I'll open the top drawer of my toolbox, understand?"

    The smile given to Beck, in full view of Abaddon, gave the helmeted stranger no indication of what might might be in said drawer, yet all in Engineering knew it well. The same fully-automatic, heavy blaster rifle which he'd used to protect Engineering, and other parts of the station, during the invasion some time back.

  18. #18
    She gave a smile at that. A wide, toothy number that would've been awkward on anyone that wasn't Tamera Beck.

    "Top drawer shouldn't be necessary, Chief."

    Spoken with a breathy tone, Beck pushed her datapad into Anauri's paws.

    "Everything is on here," she reassured, "... including a few of the new TAP numbers for those older resolver sensor plugs."

    The fact that she was being given the go-ahead to check out early was a treat, and making sure that he had the 'pad fully, Beck let herself step back a few paces. She bumped into Ori, who was standing closer than she'd expected. Her backwards momentum wasn't stopped though, as she pushed against Ori in the beginnings of a dual removal.

    She at least had the wherewithal to reach back so that she could reclaim her bag of crisps.

    "See you all tomorrow, yeah?"

  19. #19
    Okay now, that guy was trying to start a fight. Little shit. Talking about coming at me with something he's got locked away. Brave words coming from a guy who's got his whole workshop on hand. I ain't got nothin', and I know I'd still take the old furball. He's hardly the first "wise old guy" who was sure they knew better and could take the young whippersnapper or whatever they call me. They would never find that Avery fucker's body is buried in the swamps of Dartmuth. All his advice about heavy armor being useless in a swamp really didn't help him once we started blastin'. Doesn't matter if he was a better shot, not that I'm saying he was. Fact is, I'm still here and he's not, and my armor kept me that way. This mechanic dude ain't no different. I bet I can thumb his eyeballs out of his sockets before he can even find his arthritis medicine.

    Prick.

    I felt like I should say something, that I should try to make nice with Beck's friends, but I had no idea how to talk to these people. They weren't my kind of people. Come to think about it, I'm not sure I have a kind of people. I hate my people, and I don't really get along with other mercenary and bounty hunter types. Cool. That's fine. I don't need them either. Always been a loner. Just like that Gunshin animation Mando'a. I don't need nobody. Besides, these are nerds. Mechanics. How do you even talk to them? I don't speak binary.

    Before I could even think of something to say Beck started pushing me back, which would have gotten her absolutely no where. This shit is heavy, yo. I took the hint and began stepping back away from the door, but not without looking over the top of her head and waving weakly at her coworkers. Stupid. I should have said something cool. Beep boop, maybe? Fuck knows how mechanics talk. Bunch of weirdos. Here goes...

    "Uh, Later kiddos."

    Fuck. That was worse than saying nothing!

  20. #20
    The door hissed shut, cutting off Abby and Tamera from Anauri and Gradoona. It was a saving grace, and making a thinking-sort-of-face at the now-shut door, Beck let out a hefty sigh before whirling around to look at Ori.

    "What are you doing here?!"

    It wasn't spoken with the sort of tone that was accusatory, but the sort of whispered curious need to know why things were presented the way they were.

    Ori here, now, was the last thing that she'd expected.

    Of course, it was also a little bit flattering that her Cizerack friend was here, now.

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