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bright_ephemera
06.27.2012 , 02:43 PM | #153
92. In which Quinn lets the cat out of the bag

In spite of a job that’s quite crappy
True friendship can get downright sappy.
The fraternization
May raise indignation,
But keeps the participants happy.



A holonet café on Nar Shaddaa. Quinn and 2V were busy at a terminal labeled ‘secure’ which, Quinn maintained, was nothing of the sort, but would have to do. Pierce, Broonmark, and Jaesa sat nearby. Nalenne was just coming up with a huge tray of food.

“Last armload,” she gasped, setting it down before the crew. “I thought Vette’s friends’ order was going to kill me. I swear whatever they’re asking for is Twi’lek for ‘bricks.’”

“You brought Vette’s friends lunch?” said Quinn.

“Yeah. It was on the way anyway, and one of her friends is only in town a few hours, I couldn’t ask Vette to take time out of that.”

Quinn turned away from his terminal entirely. “My lord.”

“Yes?”

“I’ve held my peace long enough about this.”

“Uh, what’d I do?”

“You arrested your entire schedule to carry Vette here.”

“Yes.”

“You worked all week to earn the credits to hand directly to her.”

“Yes.”

“Captain,” said Pierce, “this isn’t the wisest line of inquiry.”

“Be quiet, lieutenant. My lord, you then proceeded onto the surface, to stay close to her, so that if she needs you – as, for example, if someone challenges her collar – you can immediately be summoned to sort it out for her.”

“Um, Captain Quinn,” said Jaesa diffidently, “wouldn’t you rather finish up your report?”

“No. Now, my lord, you are staying in town, at her beck and call, and fetching meals for her and her friends?”

Pierce slammed one huge hand on the table. “Captain, please, can we put aside our differences just this once, just long enough for you to really listen to me and SHUT UP?

A stunned silence descended.

“Yeah, like that,” said Pierce.

“No,” said Quinn. “As I was saying, my lord, have you forgotten that Vette is your slave, and not the other way around?”

“What?” said Nalenne blankly. A few seconds passed. “Uh, yeah – I mean, no! Of course not! Who would forget that Vette’s my slave? Ha ha!”

“Dammit, man,” growled Pierce.

“We were going on nine weeks since she gave any indication of remembering,” said Jaesa glumly.

“My money was on another five before she picked up on it again,” added Pierce.

“Eight here,” said Jaesa. “Broonmark’s closest in the pool, by a wide margin.”

Broonmark quorked contentedly.

Quinn looked to Nalenne. “Shall I start from where this behavior is completely inappropriate for a Sith of your station, or shall I start from where she’s an insufferable brat who wouldn’t deserve this level of consideration from anyone?”

“Don’t start at all, captain. That’s an order.”

Quinn glared.

“Vette’s a complete failure as a slave. She has yet to admit to that status and she’s certainly never acted like one. I wouldn’t try to break down that level of denial.”

“You would and you have,” said Quinn.

“But that was for you. You’re different.” Jaesa and Pierce exchanged looks after seeing the look on Nalenne’s face there. Jaesa failed to suppress a smile. Pierce rolled his eyes.

“As compared to her? I should hope so.”

“So she’s terrible slave material. That’s not a big deal. I like her. She’s incredibly helpful with things like keeping my life from collapsing around me and sampling all the new cocktails so she can tell me what’s worth trying. She’s my friend, Quinn. That means I’ll look after her.” She looked around the room. “Especially if ‘looking after her’ means having Tionese for lunch in a reasonably comfortable café with the people I like.”

“Plus Quinn,” said Pierce.

“Plus Quinn,” agreed Nalenne. “ – Hey, wait.”

Broonmark and Pierce snickered.

“Remind me to stop trusting you, lieutenant.”

“I’ll get right on that, milord.”

“Look. Quinn. I know you don’t like her, and I know the impropriety of her status bothers you, and if it were any less important matter I’d take care of it for you. But my ship, my rules, my loved ones.”

“Plus Quinn,” muttered Pierce.

“Vette stays and I’ll treat her as nicely as I like, collar or no collar.”

“Bravo, master,” said Jaesa.

“Back to killing soon?” yawned Broonmark.

“You’re free to wander, big guy. I gotta stay here and make sure nobody messes with my Twi’lek.”
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