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Reunion - Dwer and Kes

Prologue

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17 replies to this topic

#1
Coolhand

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Cool air had settled in as it turned to night outside the convention center, things were wrapping up inside and people were heading buck to their lodgings for the night. At least most people were, Dwer was waiting for someone. He stood under a street lamp nearby a small square surrounded by greenery, hoping to somehow shelter himself from the bitterly cold wind blowing in from the large lake the city was built near. Where Dwer was from it was typically still hot at this time of night, the sub zero temperatures didn't settle in for a good few hours yet. Shivering he muttered a curse under his breath and looked down once again at the blue glare of his phone.

She had asked to meet him here, unsurprising really given how long it had been. Too long really, something he had no real excuse for. It had been nearly three years now since his last communication, he'd intended to stay in contact but the situation on Helios had gotten complicated about that time and he'd found himself slacking. She likely wanted to know why, or perhaps not? She was a bit odd like that. Either way she'd be here soon and doubtless she'd have questions, whatever they may be about.

Pulling his leather jacket closer to him in an attempt to stay warm he scanned the crowd, looking for the blaze of red hair that he remembered.

#2
schanze

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"Looking for someone?"

Dwer spun on his heel to face the voice. Kes stood several feet away, smiling as usual. She tossed him a bar wrapped in foil.

"Chocolate. Peace offering. And, to answer your question: long enough."

A cold blast hit the pair. Kes shivered under her coat, scarf and gloves. She might as well worn a t-shirt.

She nodded down the street. "Common. There's a all-hours place a couple blocks down."

The two made off for the diner Kes knew about. It was in the opposite direction of most of the hotels. The crowd thinned to a scant few huddled off to the side or scurrying to warmer places. Kes and Dwer trudged on in silence, unsure of what to say. The buildings in front of them channeled the lake wind directly down the street. Kes folded her arms across her chest and hugged tightly.

Kes managed something first:"What is new?"

It was an awkward something and not at all how she wanted to start. Kes fumbled for a new tack. To buy time she unwrapped and bit into the top part of her chocolate bar. She swallowed and tried again.

"It is good to see you again. I... You know, I really wanted to keep in touch. Sorry for letting it go so long."

She looked over at Dwer. Her smile returned. "Figures that my first contact with you is for a job."

#3
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Well this was just a bit awkward, then again he hadn't expected anything less. Dwer pushed open the diner door, a bell tinkled as he did so and a sleepy looking waitress took note of their entry. He let Kes through before closing it again, there weren't very many people here and the few that were paid the new arrivals no attention. Finding an empty booth the two slid them selves in on opposite sides so they were facing each other across the table. Dwer chose to break his silence.

"So... I should start by apologising I guess." he scratched the back of his head, a nervous reaction "I'd love to blame the lack of contact on the fold comms being on the fritz, but we got that fixed at least a year ago. Doesn't leave me with too many other excuses. So, lets just settle with the fact were both horrible people and go from there."

He said the last bit somewhat clumsily, he hadn't spoken to Kes in far too long and thus he didn't really know what to say now that they were meeting again after so long.

"Um...things have been alright i guess. Colony life was treating me well up until recently, hence i tracked you down. Heard you'd hooked up with the company, figured they might have room for another fighter jock. Though i've been out of the saddle for the better part of a year. They stuck me in logistics, I was pretty happy being a flight instructor but i said the wrong things around the wrong people y'know....."

He caught himself short, he was rambling again.

"But im sure the affairs of colonial military aren't that interesting. You been up to anything interesting?"

#4
schanze

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"Some. After the war let up another aviatrix and I joined General Galaxy. Testing n' stuff. You know."

Kes sighed. "I stayed with them for a while. About a year into the contract there was an accident and we took it as a cue. After Joh healed we really didn't do anything until a CCS headhunter tracked me down."

She waved in the direction of the waitress. The waitress, a world-weary woman in her 60s, noticed but made no quick effort to come over.

"How's the family?"

#5
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Dwer couldn't help but wince a little when Kes asked about his family, there was no way she could know that was a touchy subject. Although it had been years Dwer and his brother Azrael had a strained relationship, what with being on opposite sides of a war and all. Their respect for their mother and love for their younger sister Maria was all that held them together and let them (dys)function as a family.

"The family is uh....they're fine. Brother went into politics, Sister is doing well at school. Not much to say really." this of course was a lie of omission, there was a lot to say but he didn't want to say it.

He shifted awkwardly unsure how to broach the next subject, something that had been niggling at him ever since he'd joined the unit.

"So...uh, where do we stand? You and me? Given how things went and all I'm a bit unsure of things y'know." he stuttered for a moment trying to find words "Not that I'm suggesting we try for a repeat performance, just want to make sure theres no permanent damage."

#6
schanze

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"You and me?"

She expected it to come up. It had to. Kes' eyes drifted from his to the table. What could she say?

The long second passed.

"I think... you know, I'm okay. Are you? Any 'permanent damage?'"

#7
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Not quite the answer he was looking for, but then again it was Kes. He never knew if they were on the same page, especially when it came to sensitive issues such as this. He had to admit he liked that about her though. He answered her question without much delay.

"Some sleepless nights, nothing serious." he gave her a lopsided smile.

"So what happens now?"

#8
schanze

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"Mm. Well, I guess we start over."

She chuckled. "Hi! I'm Kesendra Melzan Vrelkas, former A-Z aviatrix first class. Presently an honorless merc running babysitting jobs on the edge of the galaxy. And you are?"

#9
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Dwer cracked a wry smile.

"Dwer Koolhan, Variable Fighter Pilot and former flight instructor for the Helios Colony Defence Force. Like you i'm now an honourless merc. Nice to meet you."

#10
schanze

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"Likewise." Kes laughed. She needed that.

"So, heh, fellow merc: there was something work-related I wanted to ask you about. I got the message right before we met."

Dwer appeared interested, at least. Buoyed, she continued.

"You remember Joh, right? Tall Meltran, big mouth? My old group member? Just before we picked you up the Damask Rose resupplied and rearmed at Tarsus. Joh was supposed to join us there but bailed last minute. Tarsus didn't know. Normally that wouldn't be an issue. But with all the new joins and everything, well..."

Kes shrugged "Point is, we're up one Rhea and down one 171. Corporate wants me to ground a pilot or find someone who can pick it up. Olga's trained but she's never fought with me. I need absolute trust, coordination and skill. We worked together. I know your moves, you know mine and you'd learn a Rhea in a second."

"No pressure. If you want to help that's great and it is fine if you don't. The last thing I want to do is put anyone out, especially you. I thought I'd offer you the opportunity before I pulled someone from the line."

#11
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Dwer paused for a moment, slightly taken aback. He'd read up on the Rhea certainly, in fact Helios had considered purchasing a small number of them for the local Zentran population. He knew their capabilities and the technology that went into them. He was entirely confident he could pilot one given the chance and some time to adjust. He was even a bit curious, the prospect of piloting a new craft was always an exciting one. There was just one hang up.

"Wouldn't i have to, y'know, become giant for that? I'm assuming thats possible?"

He put his hands together in front of his face, elbows resting on the table.

"I have to admit I'm intrigued, but i don't know how well I'd adjust to that. That said I'd rather not ground a pilot, I hate being grounded, wouldn't want to force that on anyone. But its a bit intimidating y'know?"

#12
schanze

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"Only Macrons can pilot a Rhea but that's a pretty simple process; the same for Zentradi or Human. Like...hm. It is like taking off a uniform and putting on a space suit. You have to learn how to move and respond all over again. Everything feels different. You figure it out soon enough."

"The perspective shift is the hardest, I think. 'Big' and 'small' start to lose meaning after a while."

Kes hated bugs for the same reason. She couldn't understand how Miclones dealt with disgusting things that size on a daily basis. It was something she tried not to think about. The idea sent a shiver up her spine.

She looked at him again and rested her elbow on the table, her chin dropped into her palm.

"I know the feeling but I wouldn't have asked you if I didn't think you could do it. You are a great pilot and a good guy. You can get the job done."

Edited by schanze, 15 November 2012 - 09:54 AM.
Because I don't research things.


#13
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Dwer gave a soft grunt in reply, indicating he was thinking about it. After a couple of minutes he spoke his decision.

"Alright, I'll give it a go. Better to use a resource than waste it. If it turns out badly we can just swap the Rhea for a Valk next resupply. I'll use the Rhea until then. Who knows, i may even like it."

"So the other Rhea pilot, Green haired girl. Name started with Q? How are her skills? Whats she like?"

#14
schanze

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"Quola?"

"Mmm." Kes paused. "I don't have anyone I can really compare her with. She's... unique. You will see when you meet her. Offbeat, smart. We met when she joined CCS a few years ago. She needed a partner and we worked well together. We've been friends since."

Kes thought some more.

"Average aviatrix, Meltrandi-trained. Good enough to keep up. She was a hacker with UNI, I think. I had trouble confirming much of that. New Unity likes to keep its secrets."

"Why the curiosity?"

#15
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"Professional interest mostly. I like to know who I'm working with."

Dwer looked for the waitress, who was currently nowhere to be seen.

"I've flown with a few hacker types before, they tend to have good situational awareness. As for UNI, I'm still not declassified for at least another four years. It's amazing I'm even allowed to say that much given the circumstances."

Another pause as Dwer searched for a new conversation topic.

"So what about you? You seem a lot more at ease these days. You were a pretty closed book during the war, more of a natural flow now. Made many friends?"

#16
schanze

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Kes nodded along. Dwer was right on all counts. The UNI bit perked her interest but she knew better than to ask. If he could tell her he would.

"Some. Getting out of the military and working with other people helped. General Galaxy, Cameron, so on. I've gotten used to the culture over the years. It's so different from how we handle things. Easier, right?"

"Mom and dad were so Zentradi. How they thought, how they raised me. You know how they are."

There was more but Kes didn't want to get into it. She wasn't ready and the emotions were still too fresh. She decided it would have to wait.

"I don't think we're going to get any service tonight. Want to head back to the hotel?"

#17
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"Actually I don't. Never met your parents." Dwer stated manner of factly.

Prompted by Kes he looked up and around to see if the waitress had returned from the void. Not seeing any sign he looked back to Kes and gave her a brief nod and they both stood to leave.

As they pushed passed the door's threshold they were met with a blast of icy wind.

"Who the hell builds a colony in a place like this?"

#18
schanze

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"Huh. I forgot you never met them. Dad would've liked you, I think."

She kindly left out what would've happened if her father knew the full details. It was probably better that way.

Kes stood with Dwer and stepped out into the freezing air. The jolt instantly reminded her she preferred places with climate control. Zentradi may be built for any condition but she wasn't. She started into a trot.

"Sadists. Let's get back before we freeze to death."





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