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Point of Interest (Eric and Vincent)

Episode 01

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#1
Vertigo

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Eric left the debriefing quickly.  Not much more could have been contributed on his part.  He was much more interesting in pursue one of his responsibilities as the combat forecaster and general aerial squad coordination: actually getting the members to work together.  This new guy was a bit odd, if Eric didn't know better.  Which he did, even if he had only met him briefly those years before.  Another interesting quirky side effect...

 

By military standards this corridor would have been positively cramped, which was saying a lot given the lack of creature comforts aboard most combat ships.  Vince had a good minute head start on him, and save for cheating and feeling out his energy Eric could have easily lost him down a side corridor.  Muscling past another deck hand Eric caught up to his quarry.

 

"Hey, Vince, was it?  Wait up a sec!"



#2
Rallye

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He staggered to a halt, bringing his boot to rest on the threshold of the bulkhead door. One arm held him steady as the other massaged the back of his neck covering his Skull & Cutlass ink to baby his headache. The attendee in the room gazed back at both gentlemen with bright blue but curiously coy eyes, but he himself would be the last to notice her. He didn’t even bother looking at his pursuer, who’d easily located him through the corridors. He just wanted some salve and a shot of acetaminophen. That, and a guy who could make decent Wraith.

Through it all, and the lack of ill feelings towards the stranger, a feat in itself in The Sea of Red that was his psyche, he kept his tone friendly.

“Ehy, at ease soldier. Where’s the fire?”



#3
Vertigo

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"Last I checked, somewhere a hundred miles down in the rough vicinity of the ODF's courtyard.  But that's not really important right now, is it?"  Eric grinned broadly at his own joke.  "Name's Eric.  Eric Lewellyn.  ELINT section, drone control, air coordination, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, other impressive title, bleh.  Call it curiosity, but I got a feeling you and Alexi have history."

 

Eric produced a hip flask, swirled it once for effect, and tossed it gently to Vincent.  "A rather well aged nip of Jameson.  Consider it a really cheap bribe.  Anyone who can get under Alexi's skin like that and walk away with his contract intact is worth talking to.  So, what's the deal?"



#4
Rallye

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"There's no... deal."

 

At least, not as far as I am concerned.  All that was witnessed was a natural reflex from a general dislike of authority and said authority's  reaction. To go deeper, you'd either have to already know or find out, somehow. But he was damn sure Alexi and his cronies were furiously digging to fill in the gaps on their INTEL. Spacies just couldn't let be. After all, he was one of them.

 

Grabbing a paper cup, he topped it to the brim with cold water and slammed it back. This was repeated, about eight times. Crushing and tossing his litter in the corner, he sat down with the small flask in front of him. He looked at the attendee, who was glaring at his waste in the corner.

 

"Salve please, antibacterial. You can save your aspirin— Johnny Come-Lately brought something better."

 

He opted to hydrate himself then take a swig of the cheap medicinal nectar, swishing it around some to get the mouth feel. His face and mouth visibly pursed to the sensation of it going down. This was his first whiskey since... shit, Tatsu. Damn, this guy was good at bringing up old shit, whoever he was.

 

"Just a normal gent, like every— Aah!"

 

He winced as she grabbed his arm around the rash, showing her stern disapproval for his behavior in her domain. Her quarter had been spotless until he had tracked in his dirt, trash and splashes of liquor. She calmly applied the clear jelly over the rash, seemingly content look on her face.

 

"God, what is it with you nurses, I swear..."

 

He turned to look at the man still in the doorway whilst indulging his palate with another nip.



#5
Vertigo

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"For the most part they're tired of dealing with presumptuous doctors and demanding patients.  But thank God for the uniforms"  Eric said with a not too sarcastic grin.  The nurse shot him a murderous look.  Eric shrugged nonchalantly, then turned his attention back to Vincent.  "Yeah, we all know former Spooks are normal."

 

Eric beckoned for Vince to follow him.  "I don't really care if you two have had any past dealings or whatever it is between you two.  Maybe you slept with his sister, I dunno.  So we'll drop it for the time being."  He pushed off the door frame and gestured down the hallway towards the galley.  "I've got the rest of the bottle that came from back in the pantry.  We can go kill it before Kes knows it.  So, new guy, what do you fly?"



#6
Rallye

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"Pick up your trash!"

 

He stopped midway heading towards the door, turning back to look at his healer, who'd launched a double assault of a furrowed brow and hands on her hips. Grinning, he chided her a bit.

 

"They have creams for that, you know? You should scowl so much, but I'll be back later, rest assured."

 

Ignoring her grumbling he passed the man at the threshold as he took another swill then handed him his property. That damn short term memory of his had him drawing blanks. Shit! He just introduced himself two seconds ago. Ah well, whats in a name? He's got more liquor.

 

"I don't fly much these days— Ah, sumimasen  Mister Whiskey. Who are you again, a weather forecaster? And where are we going?"



#7
Vertigo

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"Sue-me-what?" Eric blinked.  He shook his head.  "Yeah, I'm a forecaster of sorts.  Combat forecaster, your wonderful early warning system and long eyes on the field.  Also, I control all the drone fighters we don't have at the moment."  He sighed and shrugged.

 

The pair turned a corner and found the rather modest kitchen.  Being a converted freighter, space on the DR was not as big a concern as aboard a military ship.  The galley  could seat about a dozen and a half comfortably, maybe double that in a pinch if people didn't mind sitting in each others laps.  Currently it was empty save for the two mercs.  "Here we are."

 

Eric moseyed over to the cabinet, reached inside, and found his target.  A half empty bottle of Irish whiskey popped into view, along with a pair of shot glasses.  For later Eric turned on the coffee machine and set about brewing a fresh pot.  He went back to the central dining table and sat down, gesturing to the chair across from him and placing the bottle down.  He poured a half shot in each glass and downed his own.  "Good stuff.  So, Vince, got any family to speak of?"



#8
Rallye

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Sumi-masen. Its the Japanese apology. I learned it…”

After a pause he filled in the gap, smoothing over the fact that in the other life he went to the exclusive boarding school ranch where the hyper wealthy dumped their indiscretions and let them mature until they either have use for them or attendees themselves broke out to hunt them down in a rage of anger and jealousy fostered by abandonment.

“…from their animation subculture.”

The two rounded the corner into a galley occupied only by two shadows in the corner. Taking a seat in the center most table, he was immediately served a small half shot of scrumptious amber tinted elixir. He filled remaining half of his glass to the brim. Placing it on the back of his hand, he kept it level until the rim touched his lips. Downing it, he flipped the glass with the twist of his wrist and caught it to place it down and slide it to the center, completing The Ollie.

Parents? Pff, mutual sperm and egg donors. Who needs ‘em?”

His hand idly crept towards the bottle again, as if he was fighting a natural instinct, like breathing.

Brothers too. Although, I’d have to admit, sometimes they can come in handy. What about you, Mr. Whiskey? Was your womb warm, or was it as cold and unforgiving as a test-tube?”

The latter question stemmed more from chemical than actual curiosity. He had a habit of asking off the walls with liquor was building his system. He felt the pleasant tingling embrace slowly channel through his body, starting with his extremities. It had been six years too long.



#9
Vertigo

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Eric paused for a minute, gauging Vince's last question.  Coincidences did happen in the universe and that last bit seemed honest enough, but such events often turned out to be more... inconvenient. 

 

"Mom was fine until I stopped measuring up.  Dad... left the picture when I was in high school.  I guess in their eyes I'm somewhat of a disappointment.  Not that I really care what either of them intended for me.  Rogue Zent fleet got my mom and my brother and sister eleven years ago."

 

Eric took a long drink from the bottle direct.  "My kid is living with the grandparents.  Last card says he's doing well."

 

Eric poured another shot and lifted it in toast.  "To unfettered pursuits..."

 

He smiled as he finished the shot.  "But enough about that, its boring.  You've given me a name, what do I call such a colorful character as you?  I was thinking Toucan Sam, but that's a bit of a mouthful over the radio..."  Eric made sure his tone was obviously joking.



#10
Rallye

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Ignoring his question for the moment he doubled back to Eric’s previous statement, craning backwards on his chair to look at the gray ceiling. His tone was on an even keel as he exhaled. He hated kids. He hated the word ‘family’ even more.

“All that kid and grandparent shit is as useless and abstract as the emotion that your kids’ card portrays. I just hope you find solace in it when your sphincter gets ripped out due to explosive decompression. Then again I’m not a father…”

Vince’s chair lands on all fours as his hand loudly slaps his hand against the thin metal of the shabby table nearly knocking off all of its contents. He leaned in a bit closer, tone skewered towards a crooked salesman selling snake oil. Unbeknownst to him he had just grabbed attention of the two in the corner, the cook behind the counter, and a passerby.

BUT I see your pain. And having seen that I think today is your lucky day. That and you’re the first to neither have verbally or physically attacked nor out right ignored me— so I’m going to give you a gift.”

Within a heart beat he was up and at the counter, gesturing to the help for an object out of his reach. With it he came back in a whisk, dragging his chair around to sit closer.

“Let’s remember this part of our journey. IF you get to tell your life story, this’ll be a point of interest. That pain that alchemized itself to your soul; lets mute that— with something that’s even louder and more excruciating! Complements to the chef.”

A slamming noise resonated loudly right after he firmly grabbed Eric’s shoulder to drive a heavy butter knife through the thin metallic table, it standing on its own between the two shot glasses. He gave the reasoning, in his mind, of his choice in knife instead of the more traditional fair. He snatched a gaze from Eric, like a hawk snatching a field mouse.

“Don’t look for clean cuts here, because life is almost never clean. It rapes. Cracks. Splays. Pilfers. Mutilates.”

Taking the bottle, he poured another overfilled helping into Eric’s glass and over into his glass, soaking the knife handle in the process.

“Here’s to the desultory wounds of knife and life. Cheers.”

The amber gold disappeared from the glass as edges of the knife quickly disappeared into an angry spin, the friction on stainless steel hilt mimicking the sound of a chopper blades. His eyes never faltered from their target through the actions. The others flocked on cue, like flies to shit.

"You know the drill... and it's Rallye."



#11
Vertigo

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"Rallye, is it?  Got it."

 

Eric watched the knife zip back and forth between the recesses of his fingers.  Rallye was either good, or had lots of practice with this.  Which might explain some of the reactions he had gotten at the expo.

 

The tempo increased, the silver edge, dull though it might be for its usual intended purpose, leaving gouges in the table as it flickered over and over.  Eric gulped down his shot as the blade came dangerously close to his middle knuckle on his index finger.  Trust was a difficult thing for him to come by these days, what with how things had happened in the past.

 

Eric gripped the bottle, poured the last of it between the two shot glasses, up ended it with a slam that stood the bottle vertically upside down on the table, the crowd shaken by the sudden action.  Eric just grinned.  Rallye kept on the game.

 

Asshole that he could be, Eric knew he had chosen correctly.  This one I can trust.

 

"Sometimes you have to take it from the world" Eric said, taking the shot glass in his hand.  "And sometimes, you just gotta grab it."

 

As Rallye came down on his last stab between the thumb and the index finger Eric closed his hand into a fist, gripping the blade tightly.  It broke the skin in the crook of his thumb and partially into his palm though not deeply due to the rounded and blunted edge of the blade.  He released the blade gently, letting Rallye take it back into his control.  Blood welled up slowly in the wound.  Touching his finger to the cut he squeezed, taking a single blood drop onto the tip.  Stretching it back out he let the drop slowly run down to the rim of the shot glass, giving it a new rim.

 

"Rather impressive, my man.  You might give Nick a run for his money as far as knife work goes.  As you said, cheers."

 

He downed his last shot, swirling the blood and whiskey together briefly before letting out a contented sigh.  "I think you and I are going to have a lot of fun times.  But now we need to find a new bottle."

 

Looking at the small crowd watching their antics, Eric beamed a grin.  "Hey, this show isn't free!  Who's got another bottle for round two?  Give it up!"



#12
Rallye

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"Hey, this show isn't free!  Who's got another bottle for round two? Give it up!"

Hearing Eric’s declaration, the cook behind the counter, who had been halfway enjoying the festivities, quickly slid the pantry of hooch in the lower cabinet closed, selfishly sealing it from the world with joy.

“N’more hooch for you animals! You wanner drink? Find the nearest pond wit dehrest of ya’scumsukkas!”

The rabble came to a brief halt as the man’s demeanor nearly derailed the mood in the room. Puzzled look on his own face, Vince interjected.

“My good man, I see you’re in desperate need of a good time. There is a... woman on this ship by the name Jaegermomma. She’ll hammer-smash you good. She smash you loong time. If y'need it, get it, brah.”

Hoots and coos came from the peanut gallery as the volume of the room shot up so quickly that the cook’s response was drowned. As he angrily went back to his duties, a rather large flask materialized itself from betwixt the crowd and found its way to the table. His pupils widened as he eyed the new edition to the foray. It couldn’t be…

“Jesus Juniper Christ, who smuggled in this monster?! And who ever did, what else are ya smuggling?!”

A trick latch clicked open and spryly ejected a cigarette into his mouth. He then pressed down on the cap which produced a thin blue flame adjacent. How'd he know how it worked? He had one like just like it at home, but these limey bastards didn’t need to know that. The burning tobacco sent a cloud wafting into the room as Vincent took a moment to himself, subtly re-declaring his affinity for cigarettes. He lifted the bottle, reading the engraved quote aloud.

“Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life— George Bernard Shaw.”

He let out a loud laugh as the gallery mired in agreement.

“Well fuck, I’ll drink to that! Shaw, you Limey B!!”

After he gulped a swig, his attention turned back to Eric who had flamboyantly displayed small splashes of crimson. He goaded him on while prepping for the next round, spilling some of the liquid over the handle of the knife. It was now Eric’s turn. His time hasn't ever been beaten amongst the trusted few he played with. Usually at the ten-second mark, someone's finger had a new vagina.

“We’ll your human. And that... disappoints me— because your gonna need a lot more than that to beat my time. Fifteen seconds— and c’mon, scare the shit out of me. Round Deux…”

The tip of the cigarette lit up brightly as he smacked his hand loudly against the table, ready to begin.



#13
Vertigo

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"I drink, therefore I am" Eric said as he downed another shot and the world swam for the barest second before going stone sober again.  Heh, thank you, enhanced metabolism.  "Mommma... you mean Olga.  Maaaan, those teef scare me" he commented.  "She's alright, probably give you a run for the money on knife work."

 

Eric looked at the knife, then at Raylle's hand.  "Actually, she'd probably take your hand off in this game.  Or play it with a machete."  He placed his hand over top the exposed digits of his counterpart.  "Aaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnddddddd.... GO!"

 

The knife hit the table with a thwok and moved to the next space, completing the first circuit slowly.  On the second circuit Eric picked up speed, finishing the second in half the time it took him to do the first.  Really, it was child's play.  Simple spatial placement, especially with margins as wide as the space of mere digits on a hand, was no trouble at all for his mind.  Nor would the pace be any issue if he really wanted to push it.  He was fairly confident he could play this game with Raylle's toes if he wanted to.  With shoes on.

 

No, those weren't issues at all.  Other things were.  Moving on to the final circuit Eric made his decision.  Hesitating just the slightest Eric came down with the knife at a slight off angle.  He didn't spear any flesh with his stroke, but the blade hit the table and didn't bite in.  The handle veered sharply to the side and the flat of the blade came smashing down on Eric's three outer fingers.  He stood the for a moment looking at his smashed knuckles as if dumbfounded, then yanked them out and tossed the knife by the liquor bottle.

 

"FrakkencrackenfuckingHELL!!!!" he yelled as he shook his hand, then stuck the third knuckle of his bruised middle finger in his mouth and sucked on the wound.  "Damndamndamndamndamn!  A little help, someone?!?!!"

 

No one moved.

 

"Really?  Then go get a doc, will ya?"

 

One of the spectators bolted out the door.  Eric stood there thinking for a second, then stuck his head out the doorway.

 

"NOT TIFF!  GET NIVEN!!!"

 

Eric stomped back the table, massaging his hand.  Grabbing the bottle he downed a three second swig and looked at Raylle.  "Guess you win.  Damn, that's always hard at the end."  He then slouched back.  "I swear, if that asshole gets Tiffany.... all she has is fucking band aids with smiley faces and rainbows on them.  Jesus.... give me another it."



#14
Rallye

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That one spectator that had enough sense to react to the situation had to cut a path through the fog of hissing and booing before bolting into the hallway. The rest were mulling around trying to pony up their losses to a nondescript merc that just happened to get lucky. Idly rubbing his hand, Gabe sat by apathetically as Eric put on a “Godammit-I-fucked-up-and-got- hurt” routine, complete with real blood. It was convincing, he would’ve jumped up to get a doctor for the man himself had it have not have been for that dead giveaway. The merc’s back planet side called it a dull glint. That look that someone gets when someone of exceptionally high skill performs a mind numbingly repetitive task, something that they could do, say, blindfolded. He’d only seen it on the older veterans, but Eric’s expression was that of a perfect die-cast replication. His tone went low spoke as he slowly retrieved one half of the knife to his side of the table.

“Your showmanship is excellent, but, your acting needs work…”

He traced small circles in the spilt scotch whiskey and droplets of blood on the table. He just came right out and said it.

“You… have a certain je nai se quoi  hanging about you that no one else has. Not even that cross-dressing lumberjack. I find it very odd—  and don’t think I let it skip my mind when you easily located me through the maze of corridors. Sure, it could’ve been my cologne you followed, had I been wearing any.”

Hell, he found it odd that he himself was aware enough to pick up on it after thoroughly saucing up his innards. Another side effect from that god awful planet that made everything so heavy? Maybe. As the peanut gallery started meander back to the other tables, he spelled out some observations.

“The amount you drank and how fast, also the contrite expression behind those fake ‘wahoos!’, not to mention the stab angle correction from which you managed to break a perfect good knife. You learn to read fast from doing battlefield interrogations...”

With a flinch his body was upright and over him with indiscernible speed, pinching the knife by the blade firmly against his Eric’s Adams apple. Heh, threatics. Dishonest ferocity. Could Eric tell the difference? Even though Vince was the runt of the litter as a child, it didn’t stop him from slapping around the elders, even if it resulted in his near demise on numerous occasions. He’d never conceded anything to anyone, ever. Even in loosing, Eric had showed him up by concealing his true abilities and somewhere deep inside that pissed him right  the fuck off. But he knew that if he hung around this guy he’d probably find himself in some next level shit. Speaking of which, the fire klaxons decided to make their presence known. Loudly.

“..and here, in this very room, dangerous meets crazy. So, next time you choose insult me I’d rather you do it with physical pain to blunt the raw acuity that occupies the space behind my eyes. Capice?

Backing of just a hair, he grabs Eric’s hand and places the dull blade in his palm, grinning. A broad, playful grin at that. Seriously, I should be three sheets to the wind off my ass right now, but I’m not. Maybe it’s the drugs…

“I hope every rat fink on this ship roasts alive. Don’t you?”







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