The former capital of Virginia doesn’t look anything like it used to, not that anyone knows these days what it used to look like. These days its an overgrown ruin well into the process of being reclaimed by nature. To be honest, on the good days that does give it a certain amount of charm. On the good days it can be a pretty pleasant place so long as you don’t need much in the way of amenities.
How many good days there are depends on who you are. Old Richmond is difficult to control, so the nearby nations of Dogwood and Vesper don’t try. They just cordon off the area and occasionally sweep it for bandits. While that makes the city ruins somewhat dangerous (bandits, revolutionaries and all) it also means it’s the place to go for things you might not be able to get in Vesper or Dogwood… or just the place to go if you don’t want the authorities watching you.
This is a Transporters ‘Guild’ swapmeet. There’s a lot of trucks around and a lot of things on their beds. Transporters are a pretty stable lot. Some are violent sure but their jobs are to get things from point A to point B. No questions asked. So long as you pay.
There’s a pretty good turnout, to be honest. And someone’s cooking something spicy from the smell of it.
It simply would NOT do to miss a Transporters swapmeet. Thus, Stella and her black truck — by no means the largest vehicle here — are both a bit to the side of the main ‘center’ of the swap area, likely across from the cooking smells. The truck appears to be in the middle of a retrofit, a temporary awning erected over the claimed space and some of the body panels set aside while Bridge watches Jasmine the mechanic busily installing the requested modifications. She’s also contemplating setting up a grill of sorts herself, though she didn’t really bring all that much by way of grillable foodstuffs.
“I appreciate you bringing the parts out here for the retrofit, Jazz.”
Jasmine, a tall, lean blonde with grease and grime smeared on her face looks up from the truck at Stella, grinning sharply and grunts. “Boss is happy to have the equipment moved out of storage.” Daniel Thorpe owned a garage in the New Richmond area and had sold the upgrade to Stella a few weeks ago. It had taken a bit for her to get back…
“Won’t be much longer and you’ll be right to go.” Raising her chin at the rest of the swapmeet “Seen anything else y’like?”
Nixi is walking with an easy going stride through the swap meet. Weaving around and about circling various vehicles. Peering at their cargo in their beds. Pausing to study a grill here and there. Honestly the olde world saying would be she is walking through the swap like a damn tourist.
The young woman pauses at the grill in question and looks at the operator then down at the meat grilling. Nix smiles this winning smile and notes happily “Thank you for the meat.” and plucks some into her hand and starts to walk along chewing on it as the hot grease coats her fingers.
This brings Nix to the opened up transport. Well look at that. Machine guts exposed to all the world to see. She meanders closer peering at the transport.
A tall lupine-like D-Bee with a cybernetic hand crosses Nix’s path ahead of her as she approaches Stella’s truck and pauses to admire it. He’s grey furred with white highlights and a little bit of black at the ear tips.
“That’s probably the best looking machine I’ve seen here today.” He says in a rumbling voice. Glancing aside he catches Nix’s eye and waves politely with his mechanical hand.
“A few things, though only one or two that would consider practical enough to actually consider haggling over.” Bridge catches sight of the ‘tourist’ as she’s chatting with Jasmine, and steps over to block her from getting too close to the truck when Nixi approaches to peer more closely.
“You looking to barter?” she asks of the young woman, in a tone that implies that should be the ONLY reason she’s stepped closer. And then there’s the D-Bee, who gets a brief evaluating once-over from Stella, her enhanced vision making note of anything unusual. Like that hand.
“You should probably do that then, before they get snapped up.” Jasmine grunts again and then smirks at the D-Bee as he makes his comment. “‘Course you’d say that, you old dog. It’ll look even better when we’re done with it.” Glancing at his hand, she raises her eyebrow “Repairs seem to be holding up well…”
“Be nice to the tourists, Bridge…” the blonde mutters as Nix draws near “… she might have coin to spend and y’know Daniel says – y’catch more bee’s with honey, or something.” Nodding to the redhead who’s just joined them “How’s the food?”
Nixi cocks her head to one side looking past Stella a bit when she talks about barter. Then she looks over to Jasmine at work and smiles brightly. She digs around in a pouch and pulls out some coin as it were. “Though I am not really sure what we are bartering for…” she licks the last of the grease from the meat off the fingers of her other hand. “Wait… don’t bees make the honey?”
This trails off though as Nixi looks sidelong to the D-Bee and checks out the canine then steps closer crouching down to study his hand shamelessly.
“I would say it because it’s true. Looks like it’s in fine shape.” The wolfen D-Bee extends his non-mechanical arm to Stella first, then to Nix.
“Hunter.” It’s not clear if that’s a first name, a last name, a nickname or what. Or a joke. Could it be a joke? Probably not. He doesn’t look like the type to have his name be a joke. “Enjoying the swap meet?” That’s to Jasmine and Nix mostly.
Stella Bridger is actually a very good judge of replacment prothesis limbs. And she can already see the possibility for at least a few upgrades to that existing hand and partial arm… not that she’d mention that openly. Oh, right. Barter. She really doesn’t have much to offer as her main reasons for being here was the retrofit and possibly buying some incidentals. But she does have…
A half a bushel of alost perfectly ripe apples is lifted from the truck’s open bed in Bridge’s left hand and held for Nixi and Hunter to peruse. “Apples.” She indicates the different colors as she names them. “Fuji, granny smith, golden, braeburn, honeycrisp.” They’ve actually been pretty popular, because they’re great for snacking.
“Yeah, they do … ” Jasmine mutters to Nixi’s observation. “Might have the sayin’ wrong. Daniel says all types of things.” Taking a rag from her back pocket, the blonde swipes at her face, making the smears worse rather than better. Casting Stella a glance and then the other two “Produce is good. Tasty. Got myself some when she arrived.”
Extending her own, rather dirty hand, the blonde grins sharply at Nix “Jasmine, or Jazz. As you like. Just don’t call me late for dinner.”
Hunters question gets a snort from the woman “Enjoying it? I’m here to work, can’t you tell. Haven’t had much chance to look around. Should though, boss needs some supplies for the garage. What about you?”
When Hunter offers his non-mechanical arm Nixi takes it in one hand and tugs him in closer so she can snag his mechanical arm. It is a smooth easy motion as Nix studies it closely turning it a bit this way and that.
Not letting go and totally not seeming to understand personal space Nixi quips “Nixilanthius. How much for a honeycripsy apple then. How many coins?”
“Uh, hi there.” Strong little redhead is strong. “I was, uh… is everything okay?” He’ll get to what he’s here for in a minute.
Pulling out the largest of the honeycrisp apples, she offers it to Nix while quoting a decidedly reasonable price. She’ll definitely be turning a profit selling the apples individually, but far less of a profit if she were pricing them a bit more on par with the market levels.
“Looking for someone to what, Hunter?” The lupine might be able to tell that the half-bushel is too heavy to be held one on hand so easily by any ‘regular’ person.
“Here now…” Jasmine remarks as Nixi pulls Hunter off balance “… you’re a strong little thing, aren’t ya? Don’t know your own strength.” Not that she moves to help the Wolfen. Instead, she looks rather amused. “Looks like this one has the better of you, Hunter.”
Leaning back against Bridges truck, the blonde folds her arms and watches the proceedings.
Nixi smiles brightly to Jasmine and then looks to the offered apple. She pivots and attempts to trade the Wolfen by the arm for the apple. “Thank you.” polite to. She fidgets the coins in her free hand and then offers the right amount before stepping closer to Jasmine. “So you fix the transports?”
The apple gets a sniff and then a big bite, and the chewing commences. She took a chunk of the core and there is some juice on her chin as Nix swallows it.
“Uh, I’m looking for someone to transport some fusion reactor parts from Dogwood. Past customs.” Fusion reactor eh?
“It’s for that.” He points at a very heavily armed looking robot. Near 20 feet tall, bristling with guns and… actually… you know what? It kind of looks like him.
Stella Bridger sets the bushel back on the truck’s tailgate, then steps out again to look at the… giant wolf-bot. “How big are these parts?” She’s promised one last run of produce to that Gran lady, and she could probably tuck the fusion reactor parts underneath them if they’re not too expansive. She also looks at Jazz questioningly, as the mechanic would likely have a good idea all on her own.
“Fix Transports and just about anything mechanical…” Jasmine answers Nixi “Been known to build a few things as well. Did ya need somethin’?” Hunters request gets a questioning look “Past customs?” She’s not sure if he wants them smuggled or not.
“Reckon you could, Bridge. They’ll fit in the bed. You’ll have to cushion them though. Not exactly sensitive but the ride could be rough. Can help you with that, if ya take the job.”
Nixi takes another couple of bites she is working her way through the apple and the core one bite at a time. She eyes Jasmine and then shakes her head. “Nothing to fix.” chipper tones as she licks the juices off her fingers. “That is a big version of you… though it looks like it has much to many guns… do they all work… is it just to scare people?” directed towards Hunter.
Because really, who orders silver plated mechanical wolf jaws.
“Probably take up half the bed. I’d be more worried about your shocks but I think your truck can handle them. Lifting them might be an issue.” Hunter looks sidelong to Nix. “You could always get her to help I suppose.”
Really. Silverplate wears off just SO quickly. Bridge looks at her truck bed, then nods. Half could be easy enough to conceal, and her truck’s suspension system has specifically been beefed up to handle carrying things far far heavier than the vehicle looks like it should be capable of. “Loading and unloading shouldn’t be a problem.” Though she certainly won’t begrudge a bit of extra muscle to wrangle the parts, and Nix’s strength is clearly impressive and not readily visible. “Where do you need these parts dropped off, and how soon?”
“We don’t ask what Hunter does.” Jasmine casts another smirk in the Wolfens direction but her eyes narrow as she takes in the red head. “You’re not from around here, are you?” she asks the bright young woman.
“Bridges truck will handle the load. Of that I’m sure. I can’t go with, though, Bridge. Daniel’ll need me. Y’know how he gets if I’m gone too long.” Wiping her hands on the rag that she’s holding the blonde levers herself upright and starts to pack up her tools.
“Think we’re done here. You’re right to go…”
Nixi studies the giant wolfbot. “I grew up near here.” she says with utter sincerity. “What kind of bigger stuff?” she walks towards the wolf bot a few steps then cocks her head studying it. “I still think it probably has to many guns. It would probably be better with fewer but bigger ones.”
With that she turns and walks back “I’ll help for more apples. Barter yeah?” the chipper redhead smiles.
And with that the wolfen sketches a two fingered little salute-wave and heads off into the crowd. He’s going to get some lunch before headed out.
Seriously? Bridge looks the young woman over again before looking at Hunter and nodding. She’ll most definitely be getting in touch with Daniel about this. But first…
“If you want to ride along and help, Nix,” yeah, there is no way she’s saying that entire mouthful of a name, “we need to discuss your fair cut.” Apples are kind of a given. “Jazz, thanks again. And if you want, I’ll give you a lift back to the garage so we can tell Daniel I’m taking this job.” This is actually better than the bits and bobs she’d possibly planned on bartering over.
“Anytime Bridge…” Jasmine waves to Hunter as he turns to leave. “… you’re always a pleasure to work with.” The blonde squints at Nix and shakes her head. Bridge seems to have the payment issues sorted out, she’ll hold her tongue on that matter. But… “Well, y’know what they say about all the extra guns, or even bigger ones …” Giving the redhead another look, Jasmine shakes her head again “On second thoughts, you might not.”
“Yeah, a lift back to the garage would be welcome. We’ve a backlog of work to catch up on. I’ll just pack up my gear.” She’ll be ready when Bridge wants to go. “Nice meetin’ ya, Nixilanthius. I’m just gonna call you Nix, though. See ya around some time, I’m sure.”
Nixi looks curious there as she studies the walking off Wolfen then looks to Jasmine “What do they say… and Nix works. It is probably easier to say yeah?” she smiles, that easy going sort of smile before yawning. “I would love to ride along, can I nap on the transport?”
“You’re riding along, you have shotgun. You help defend the truck if anyone attacks, and you help with the loading and unloading. You can have all the apples you want, and you’re getting a ten percent cut of the payment.” She moves to help Jasmine pack up to head back to Daniel’s garage, though pauses at Nix’s question about napping on the transport.
“On? No. You need to sleep, that’s what the back seat is for. Though if we have to stop overnight at any point to sleep, you sleep in the front.” Why? Because the front seat is less comfortable for sleeping, and Bridge isn’t a spring chick anymore.
Nix considers this then nods “That seems fair enough.” Bridge better have a lot of apples. This won’t turn out well on the apple front. She smiles and rolls her shoulders in an easy shrug. “I can do that. I also prefer to nap during the day and can keep busy at night if that helps… napping in the sunshine is nice.”5r
Bridge gets the pop up awning and its framework torn down quickly enough and stowed in the truck’s bed. “This will be a daytime only run.” She’s learned from experience that nighttime runs are historically viewed with more suspicion and thus much tighter scrutiny than daytime runs. And because of that she runs only the most innocent of cargo during the nighttimes.
Once they’re all loaded and underway back toward Daniel’s garage, she considers Nix again. “One last thing. No one drives my truck but me.”
Nix has stowed herself in the backseat curled up against the side of the seat so she can sprawl a bit. “Sure. I don’t even know how to drive any of these so that isn’t about to happen.” she yawns and takes a bite of an apple. … . she must have got it from the bushel. “Wake me up when something needs to be helped with.”
The rest of the drive back to the garage is peaceful enough, andthen they’re pulling to a stop in front of Daniel’s establishment. “Jazz, we’re here.” It’s likely that the mechanic nodded off as well. It’s no hardship for Bridge, she’s used to driving alone after all.
A swapmeet for vehicles out in New Richmond sees Stella meet someone new and gaining a commission (Emits by Slaine)
November 16, 2409