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10.29.2012 , 10:39 AM | #123
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 40: In which Jaesa develops as a person

Time period: After Quinn leaves

"For the last time," snapped Nalenne, "gimme."

Andronikos folded his arms tighter around the flimsiplast sheaf in his hand. "For the last time, not likely."

"You would never have found Insatiable Nexu #17 if I hadn't killed the collector who was sitting on them!"

"Much appreciated, sweetheart, but I got my hands on it first."

"You don't even like comic books! They're 'for nerds'!"

"The Nexu's special. Especially the Insatiable run."

"I'm ordering you to hand that over."

"If I ever took your orders I might care." He scowled. "I'm feeling the need to go someplace. Nexu's coming with me." He headed to the bridge, still clutching the comic issue.

"Rrrrg," said Nalenne, and stomped to the mess for a drink. Vette and Jaesa trailed behind.

"That man drives me insane," grumbled Nalenne. "He never does anything I want."

"We have all heard vocal…things…that directly contradict that, my lord," said Vette, wrinkling her nose.

"Whatever. Apart from that. He's horrible."

"He is a cruel unreliable compulsive liar with a history of terrible judgment, seeing as he married Niselle, and a total disregard for anybody else's feelings, seeing as he went on to seduce you," said Jaesa.

Vette and Nalenne both goggled. "Wow," said Vette. "Jaesa, that's the meanest thing you've ever said. Ever."

"I know." Jaesa's usually puppyish eyes were as hard as she could manage to make them, which meant they were only semi-gooey. "Master, I didn't push too hard against Servant Nine because you had nobody else, not in the ways you wanted, but you had it right with Quinn. Even the 'vocal things' were louder."

"Not that it's any of your business, Jaesa, but of course things were different with Quinn. No one else could ever be like him, but he's also unspeakably annoying the other 95% of the time. And pushy, and controlling, and a walking cautionary tale in workaholism. There's a cost-benefit analysis to be made–"

Vette choked on her drink. "What?" she gasped.

"Cost-benefit analysis. Where I say 'Getting laid is great, but it doesn't make up for getting yelled at every time I try to have some fun without being Imperial enough about it'?"

"That thinking came straight out of Quinn's book," Jaesa said, a little smugly.

"Hey. I'm allowed to use certain analytical tools…"

"'There are two kinds of tools: the ones for instant gratification and the ones not worth using,'" said Jaesa. "Direct quote. From you. It seems you changed your mind."

"It's gratifying to know I'm right and he's wrong," Nalenne said defensively. "That was instant. It counts."

"He did more for you than you'll admit," said Jaesa. "He even kept the thermal detonators organized and out of the way, which Lieutenant Pierce still isn't doing. I'm trying to keep it in line, but it's hard at the rate Andronikos and Pierce buy them."

"Even I can admit he sat down and shut up when you told him to," Vette said thoughtfully. "Andronikos has a way of, well, not. It's funny to watch but I've noticed it kind of makes you miserable."

"This whole line of verbal assault is an overreaction for the theft of one lousy comic book," Nalenne grumbled.

"'There's no such thing as an overreaction to the Scarlet Nexu,'" recited Jaesa. "Also a direct quote."

"Would you stop that?"

"Look me in the eye and tell me you don't miss him," said Jaesa. "Then I'll stop it."

"No you won't," said Vette. "You'll just try to talk her into missing him."

"She's right. Jaesa, you just lied," Nalenne said. "First you say something negative about someone, then you actually lie to manipulate me into doing something." She broke into a broad smile. "You're finally learning."

Jaesa's jaw dropped. "That…that wasn't my point."

"Teachable moment, hon. I'll take full advantage. Hell, just for that breakthrough we can watch the animated Mynock Adventures in my room tonight if you like. Which is something that Quinn wouldn't have allowed, in case you had forgotten."

"Count me in, too," said Vette. "Nerd shows or not, I'm dying to see how far you're gonna corrupt Jaesa now that you've started."
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