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02.28.2013 , 08:33 AM |
I love Jurial's inquiries into everything. Always.
Now some lighter Vierce fare for
I Love This Bar
. Spoiler for the end of Trooper Act 1 and vague spoilers for Trooper Balmorra. 1000 words.
According to all available security data, dawn was the best time to hit the Balmorran Arms Factory. To get Tanno Vik's precious weaponry and finally, I hoped, get my hands on the manipulative sleazebag myself. I've known profiteers in my time, but few of 'em ever so neatly roped me into doing what they want. I didn't like it.
We had an evening to kill. Forex was out picking off Imperial patrols. Kirsk had vanished a couple of days ago; maybe picking up another cargo bay full of weapons for the resistance, maybe…who knew. Jorgan, Dorne and I ended up at one of the few Republic dining halls available, the Bugtown cantina. I concentrated on not thinking about the Colicoid namesakes outside. There's no reason a bug should get bigger than thumb size. Ever. Any planet where they do is a highly questionable planet.
There weren't any tables free but we managed to snag three spots at the bar. I started with a beer just to steady my nerves. Between bugs, battles, and my own squad I was way more anxious than I'd have liked to be. The three of us chatted about the doings of the day with no problems. Work's easy like that. Then a little about Balmorra in general, the economic situation. The weather. Dorne seemed mostly relaxed, which meant I could relax, which I was doing as hard as I could. Dammit. My arms seemed to itch from nervousness alone. Why I should be nervous about finally being nice to someone and meaning it, I don't know. Probably because I knew I had no quick way to make up for everything I'd put her through.
But it was all right. Like we'd been getting by with since the post-Tavus vacation, except the ice wasn't nearly as thin.
Jorgan yawned early. "I'm going to turn in," he said. "Early day." He nodded to both of us. "I'll be up for four AM."
"See you then." I waved a bit. Dorne nodded at Jorgan, and then the Cathar was away.
Which left me with Dorne, which meant it was time to excuse myself and hit the head because I had no idea what to say.
When I came back I found a human stranger leaning on Jorgan's recently vacated bar stool. And, actually, leaning in toward Dorne. In a way I wouldn't wish on any girl. Definitely nothing I would tolerate on one of my people.
I walked up just at the edge of the little circle between them; he caught my approach, looked up at me, and sneered with a bravado that really didn't fit his current situation. "Oh-ho," he said thickly. "Are you here to rescue the lil' lady?"
I shot a glance her way. The look on her face suggested that she very politely wanted no part of this guy. So I grinned at him. "Nah. She can kick your a** without any of my help, I'm just here to watch when she does it."
He stopped that gentle swaying motion for a second. He focused a bit to look me up and down: two meters of muscle that I'm told looks just as imposing in street clothes as I do in my workaday armor. Then he turned back to Dorne and looked her over. Then, without another word, he ran off.
Dorne beckoned me to sit on the once again freshly vacated bar stool. "That was unexpected," she said in a laughing voice.
Other times, other places. "Learned that one from a girl I knew back home." Memory tugged a little at the corners of my mouth. "It was in a cantina a lot like this, I sallied in to defend her the old-fashioned way, and she took me outside later that night and beat me near senseless." That was an exaggeration, but Illyris had had some very creative threats on the subject. She got pr*ckly about that kind of thing. "Said if I undercut her like that in public again it'd start costing me teeth."
Dorne, still smiling, raised her eyebrows. "She sounds…spirited," she said dubiously.
"She was. In the best way possible."
Her voice softened and took on a little something of surprise. "She was special to you."
"Too close, Dorne." A warning to her, not a statement about Lyr. No one gets to ask too much about Lyr. And just about then I got enough of my mind off Kegled to remember to be self-conscious on Balmorra. "Anyway. The line's come in handy."
"I was only on my second or third broad hint, with stronger ones lined up. I would have been rid of him before long. Still, I appreciate the gesture. Even if threatening harm upon a civilian is strongly discouraged under regulation 213."
"Stars. You're kidding, right?"
"Not at all, sir," she said in her most businesslike manner. "However, the interpretation may be argued to be…flexible…during off duty hours."
"That's good then. This really isn't the time to be getting you in trouble." It'd be a perfect cap to the way we'd been going, but it wasn't a good time for it.
She arched an eyebrow. "I doubt that I would be the one disciplined for your threatening someone on my behalf, sir."
"Well, it's not a great time to be getting me in trouble, either." There was the smallest hint of a smile on her face, and I was feeling just cheerful enough to grin back. I finished the last of my beer. "I should turn in. See you bright and early tomorrow?"
She nodded smartly. "I'll be there, sir."
"Good night, then." I left the glass and made for the door.
I could do this. Yeah. Dorne was likeable enough when I was done being an a**; Havoc Squad might be working out better pretty soon. Socially, for once, as well as professionally. Might be overkill, but I wanted to make it up to her.
I didn't dream that night. That made two in a row.
Thank you, total stranger, for introducing some small uncommon event suitable for a conversation topic!
Illyris: Training menfolk to suit her taste since…probably 15 or 16, actually. That scene would've been closer to 18. The drinking age is lower on Kegled II.
I bet Dorne would've tried two or three formally phrased yet incredibly biting comebacks against a random interloper before she had to get serious. I see Watcher Two levels of icy disdain rolling off her when necessary.
I generally disapprove of "improving life magically cures psychological disorders", but whatever, I'm rolling with it for now. It's a reprieve, not a cure.
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