Monday, 15 March 2010

On The Edge

It was a long way down. A very long way down.

The small Gallente leans forward, elbows propped on her knees, the yawning gulf open beneath her boots not phasing her in the slightest as she looks up instead at the frigate drifting in dock above her.

'One wrong twitch and you're gonna be needing a parachute, girl.'

The redhead chuckles without looking up. 'Good thing I'm not twitchy.'

'You were when you got back up here. Even two weeks in nullsec really fucked you up.' The willowy Thukker woman leans forward on the railing, gazing up at the ship. 'She's looking good.'

'Yeah...' The smaller woman leans back on her elbows on the deck, swinging her feet carelessly over empty space. 'First time in ages I've fit up a Rifter. Hot little thing.'

'Hot like a bounty-huntress tricking you into an alley. Lemme see her fit.'

The Gallente tugs a datapad from one of the myriad pockets of her grease-streaked black combats and passes it up, then lays back on the deck and tucks her hands under her head. 'Bear in mind, it's all bits I had lying around. There's a couple things I need to buy.'

'Not too bad, though. You gonna rig her?'

'I was thinking I could ask you to retrieve a few things from highsec for me so I can do that.'

The Thukker hands the datapad back and lights the cigarette dangling from her generous lips. 'For a price, as usual.' She drops down gracefully into a meditation pose, her back braced against one of the railing's upright. 'Shae, you know you're welcome to stick around in H4VN' --she pronounces it 'Haven'-- 'as long as you need to, but I gotta say, we worry about you. A lot of people are worried, actually. You've not been yourself for months.'

The Gallente languidly extends a tattooed arm, plucking the cigarette from her friend's lips and drawing just enough to blow a perfect smoke-ring before handing it back. 'I need time to think. And space.'

'You wanna tell me what's been bothering you? It's not the pirating, I know you too well to think that.'

Blue eyes meet green before the green turn away to stare into the haze shrouding the hangar ceiling far above. 'I don't... I've been trying to figure things out. I feel badly for leaving after only two weeks... they deserved better of me than that.'

'You were going very quietly insane down there, and the only one who didn't see it was you.'

'I... yeah. Okay. They're good guys, they have a good cause. I'm just not accustomed to having to trust people I don't know.'

The Thukker shrugs. 'Pacts are forged for different reasons down there than they are up here.'

'And the last time I joined a nullsec alliance, the leadership flipped standings without warning the soon-to-be-red blues. That was fun.'

'That was Syndicate. It's different.'

'Doesn't mean I trust pacts like that to last.' She sighs and tugs one leg up, hooking her heel on the platform's edge. 'I like things simple. I like reds and neutrals: you don't have to keep one eye awake at night worrying about being stabbed in the back.'

Sighing, the taller woman flips the stub of her cigarette into the void. 'Face it, girl, nullsec is too complicated for you.'

'Fuck yeah, it is. I don't see why anyone would want to deal with stuff like that. Gimme a gun and a sea of neutrals and I'm happy.'

'Simple Shae,' the Minmatar chuckles. 'What do you want to do?'

'Dunno. Could do with a drink, though, sit and mull things over.'

The Matari woman flows to her feet, then reaches down to help the Gallente up. 'I've gotta bounce off Goinard, if you want a lift to the Last Gate.' When the smaller woman looks down at her grime-streaked combats and sleeveless red shirt, blazoned proudly with the Hellcats' crossed flaming swords and cat-skull logo, she laughs. 'Who gives a fuck what you're wearing? I hear grease-monkey girls are the hot thing this year.'

'You been bootlegging porn again?'

'Of course I have. C'mon, I'll drop you off at 4-5. You just have yourself a think about things, sugar.' The two turn their backs on the Rifter, bantering amiably as they exit the Vitrauze hangars.