Vesper and Dogwood have a history together and a fairly long one too. It’s not always a friendly one. The two nations have gone to war several times in their past. The last time, though, was about seventy years ago. Long enough that some people still remember, but not so close that it things are still unbearably tense. Vesper and Dogwood do trade. Some of it’s official. Some of it’s… well let’s say it’s unofficial, at least as far as some of the authorities are concerned.
The northern end of Vesper is a series of loading docks that are for the most part unattended. Especially this late at night. There are a few people hanging around waiting for a shipment to come in.
For some definitions of ‘people’. One of them is a psychic. And another one of them is a… six legged vaguely lizard like mountain lion that’s about eight feet tall.
Another on the dock is a tiny redhead, dressed in leggings, tunic and a cape, making her way towards to the lizard cat she’s trying to avoid the others there. Side stepping one rather large brute, she’s knocked into a pile of cases by another. Right next to the cat.
It’s enough to the shake the jenga structure and the words she mutters might draw some looks.
The raptor is paitently waiting in town. In his mind he is stalking his prey however the reality is he is attempting to look as unmenacing as possible while outside an eatery by the docks hoping someone will give him some scraps. //Can a raptor beg? Yes, yes he can//
Hezqak ponders on how the moonlight brings out the dark green hue in his scales. There are also the specs of blue across his hide but those can be seen under most lighting conditions quite well and need no further attention.
There goes another patron who selfishly ate all their food. Life is hard for a hungry raptor in the city. Maybe he should wander out a little further into more rural lands to catch his prey.
The faint sound of a vehicle engine finally makes itself known. However, while the engine sounds like the approaching delivery is still at least a hundred meters out, a matte black full size pickup truck with a camper top on the bed appears around the corner and slows to a stop in front of the waiting ‘people’. And, you know, because, the headlights kick on to temporarily blind the people waiting.
What could possibly be so important, so vital, so incredibly rare that someone would hire one of the area’s transporters to bring it down to Vesper at a premium for both the items and the driver’s time and risk?
If anyone from before the Rifts could see it they might not understand, but fresh cow is as popular as it ever was and there’s a lot less of it than there used to be. People get by hunting edible D-Bees and such but there is absolutely no substitute for grass fed moo critter.
Hezqak can probably smell it as the truck arrives.
The flash of headlights gets something moving that the driver might have thought was art or a statue or…
Well it’s a Dragon Cat. The six legged feline thing turns its head away and gets up to move, crossing in front of Slaine as it does. It’s huge. It may well be the size of the truck, if not somewhat bigger.
The man who was (but is no longer) standing next to it shields his eyes and just watches. Well, as best he can with the brights on.
Not that Slaine knows there’s steak in that truck as she shields her eyes from the lights. “What the…” she mutters again, rubbing her shoulder and looking up a Ghost crosses in front. “Oh, hey Ghost! Here alone or are you with your pet?” No, Aiden isn’t Ghost’s pet but it amuses the Mystic to tease him like that.
Slowly, carefully, she follows in his wake.
The Blood Lizard catches a wiff of that succulent dead meat. Who needs to beg when the all you can eat buffet just rolled into town. //Have you ever seen a raptor smile? It’s terrifying.//
“Time to get some grub on” Hezqak says to himself. He promptly evacuates his perch to make his way to his dinner. Being on a single track he is oblivious to whom ever is in his path. Hezqak may knock over a few carts on his way to his goal but these are the casualties of war one comes to expect in such times. It was their fault for being in the way anyways.
The vehicle just sits and idles while the lizard cat approaches with the small redhead in its wake, and then finally the driver’s side window lowers. Gotta love power windows. The driver, a lean and stern woman with very closely shorn hair and pale blue eyes studies the approaching individuals. And says nothing.
“Hey. Make some room!” The people who were hired to actually recieve the shipment push their way forward. Again, for some definition of people. Some of them are human beings. A couple of them are D-Bees. Big strong ones. Which… makes sense. There’s a lot of cow in the back of that offroad truck.
One of them approaches the driver with a locked case. “As promised, all in gemstones.” There is money, of course. Both Dogwood and Vesper mint their own. Gemstones though are more universally appreciated. Not that gold and silver and platinum aren’t, but gemstones tend to be more portable. The case isn’t large and the pouch within it is even smaller but it rattles very satisfactoraly when shaken.
//Aiden is here. He’s just behind me.// That voice sounds in the heads of anyone near the Dragon Cat, including the driver and Hezqak which may be a shock. It’s even money if it’s the shock of that or the shock of seeing a nine foot raptor bearing down on him that causes one of the unloading crew to drop his end of one of the cases which splits open and spills a good two or three hundred pounds of beef onto the ground.
The truck is a rare enough occurence in Vesper, that it has Slaine falling quiet as she watches. The stern woman getting a critical look even as the redhead winces because Ghost broadcasts “You don’t have a way to narrow beam that …?” she snarks lightly to the cat.
Without waiting for Ghosts response, the redheads blue eyes widen … “Holy crap is that beef?” she nearly squeaks… “Watch out for the raptor …” she’s already rushing into the frey. Whether to claim some of the spoils or to try and help clean up the mess – is gonna be anyones guess.
Hezqak is suddenly acutely aware that he is essentially trololoping towards the smell of food. //Get your damn head in the game Qak// There are a crap ton of fleshy meat bags circling his prize.
“Damn vultures” He says under his breath. Also, is that a Dragon Cat? This is going to make things more challanging. As fate would have it though there appears to be some meat that has been left in a pile on the ground for him. This will require some sneaky-blood lizard-shit.
“Alright you brilliant lizard you….time to activate stealth mode. They wont even know I’m there” Hezqak appoaches as inconspicuously as a 3 meter tall raptor can.
The surprise of a voice in her head causes the truck’s driver to snap up a projectile weapon instead of reaching for the case of gemstones. And then one of the idiots drops one of the crates from her truck and there’s a RAPTOR approaching.
Leaving the truck’s engine running, Bridge abruptly throws open the driver’s side door and hops out to stride toward where the fallen beef is, aiming her weapon at the ‘stealth mode’ raptor.
The sneak-sneak-sneak actually works better than you’d think it might, really. “Crap.” One of the loaders is saying.
“Just leave it. We’ll come back for it in a moment. Help me with the rest of these.”
The loading crew moves off with the other crates which reduces considerably the number of vultures.
But doesn’t eliminate them entirely.
“So…” That’s Aiden. “If the meat’s been dropped does that mean it’s selling at a discount?”
Ghost snorts. What he’s snorting at… not clear.
Seeing the gun being pulled and pointed towards Ghost, then the Raptor (not that she can see the sneaky thing), Slaine pauses. She really would prefer not to get shot, please.
“I don’t think it works like that…” she murmurs to the psychic… for now, she’s going to opt to try and stay out of trouble.
Not that that helps often.
“Move faster.” The driver of the truck finally speaks up at the loading crew, hefting the sawed-off shotgun and aiming it out past the people doing the unloading. If the approaching creature keeps moving along, there won’t be any more mess than there already is.
Aiden peers out into the darkness. Hezqak is far enough out that he can’t actually //see// him yet. “Is something wrong?” Aiden is prepared, as it happens to just buy a good chunk of this. He’s pretty confident there’s nothing on the ground he’ll horribly object to.
Then again he hasn’t seen the raptor who has decided that dinner is served.
As or the dragon cat it just lays down on the other side of the truck. “This should be good.” He mutters to Slaine.
//Only a little further and we can feast like warriors revelling in the spoils of victory…Shit..//Hezqak slows his approach at the sight of the shotgun being pointed in his direction. “I clearly need to work on this whole stealth thing.” he mutters.&r&r”Whoa whoa whoa, meat bag…Is that offensive? No I don’t think so, if so you should tell me. I don’t mean any trouble. I simply want the spoiled food on the ground. Not all of it just a little, you see, I am Gorbarth the Brave //Really? GORBARTH?! more like Flustered the Blabber-mouth// and have been on the road for quite some time. I am famished so if you would please be so kind to lower your blasting stick I will only be taking 30 lbs and be on my way” Hezqak sends this all psychicly of course as not to alert any of the other meat bags in the area. He is really hoping this works. Simply put he is a little to tired to fight or dine and dash.
//Only a little further and we can feast like warriors revelling in the spoils of victory…Shit..//Hezqak slows his approach at the sight of the shotgun being pointed in his direction. “I clearly need to work on this whole stealth thing.” he mutters.
“Whoa whoa whoa, meat bag…Is that offensive? No I don’t think so, if so you should tell me. I don’t mean any trouble. I simply want the spoiled food on the ground. Not all of it just a little, you see, I am Gorbarth the Brave //Really? GORBARTH?! more like Flustered the Blabber-mouth// and have been on the road for quite some time. I am famished so if you would please be so kind to lower your blasting stick I will only be taking 30 lbs and be on my way” Hezqak sends this all psychicly of course as not to alert any of the other meat bags in the area. He is really hoping this works. Simply put he is a little to tired to fight or dine and dash.
Bridge narrows her eyes at the approaching raptor because talking directly into her brain does NOT sit well with her. “No,” is all she says aloud in reply. And then without looking away from Gorbarth the Blabbermouth she says to the loading crew and the pair with the lizard cat, “I said, move FASTER.”
Aiden makes a decision. He decides that it might be a bad idea to push a starving three meter raptor, so he steps in here. “Who owns the food?”
This is apparently overheard by the returning foreman who has also heard Bridge’s demands to unload faster and now also sees the huge raptor. “Uh. Uh. Uh. Uh. I-I can’t tell you that buddy. It’s just going to some of the places in town. Duty free.” Hence the midnight run and all.
“Yeah, what were your clients going to do with the spoilage?”
“Probably take it out of our pay. Or our hides.”
Aiden holdes up a small string of silver and gold coins with square holes punched through them. Local ‘Cash’. “What if I were to take it off your hands. And then he were to take it off mine?” Aiden eyes Ghost and Slaine for support and then looks to Bridge. “Would that be satisfactory?”
The foreman, for what its worth, thinks that being able to give his clients cash for the spoiled meat would save him a bunch of trouble and is nodding ever so slightly, but he’s not going to argue with the transporter.
Interesting doesn’t describe it. Slaine is almost amused. This time, the trouble isn’t of her making and she gets to observe it. So that’s a thing.
“Sounds like a plan to me.” she notes to the driver. The woman with the rather large gun. “You’ve already been paid, if I’m not mistaken. What happens from here … is someone elses problem. Like his…” she cocks a finger to Aiden.
Hezqak gets a look from the redhead “And you’ll only take 30 pounds?” Of … course he will.
Hezqak’s eyes widen just a little bit at the words coming out of, what he precieves to be, the only reasonable people on the docks. At the very least the most charitable. As he lowers his head slightly to seem less intimidating he cocks it to the side and upwards. “So, we’ve reached an accord then?” he asks.
Responding to the redhead Hezqak states matter of factly, “I have the brave in my title not the liar. I swear on my hide only 30 lbs.” //There is some irony in his last statement//Eyeing meat bag he waits for the gun to be lowered before approaching further.
Bridge looks from Aiden to Slaine to the foreman, and when they come to an agreement about the spilled meat, she nods and steps back, lowering the shotgun. She’s still on the alert as she steps back away from the beef on the ground, though, in case ToothyMaw over there decides that the truck looks equally tasty. But she’s not going to stop him from eating what the man over there just purchased. It was off her truck, and no longer her business.
Is it Hezqak’s imagination or is the man with the string of Cash – the one he just tossed to the foreman – a bit… psychic? Maybe? Maybe not. The Dragon Cat seems to be watching him and that would certainly explain that. The men move off with their goods and their explanation for missing some of their goods. It’s going to be a decent night for them.
Ghost finally rises and prowls over closer toward Bridge, likely bringing Slaine with him. He’s eyeing the woman carefully. She seems… prickly.
“Dig in. Try not to take it all.” He’s clearly not going to hold him to the 30 pounds bit.
Aiden turns to Brdige. “Thanks, by the way, for not shooting first. You make regular runs?”
Why Slaine would follow Ghost, she really has no idea. But the Dragon Cat has certainly intrigued her … and he puts up with her really bad teasing. Like … Aiden being his pet. “Well, Mr Brave. Looks like you’ve got yourself a meal.” Of course, she hadn’t heard the pyschic exchange with Bridge and doesn’t know his name. “I’m Slaine …” that’s to Bridge and Qak. “That was nice moves though, keeping everything under control …” to Bridge.
“How kind of you sir.” Hezqak says to Aiden. There is something familiar about him Hezqak has plenty of experience with the attuned and it isn’t too hard to pick up on. He moves in with lightening speed and starts to feast.
Between mouthfulls he get something akin to words out. “Ya know…..I…to be honest…OH this is good…I’m…Hez/burp/qak…” He doubts anyone would know that name. There have been no posters plastered anywhere he could see. “Really…was..hungry tho../CHOMP/”
Glancing over to Bridge. “I..’preciate..yo…not shootin’…Meaty…I didn’t..really..fancy a go with you…”
He stops for a moment to digest, that was a good meal and perhaps a little more than 30 lbs.
Bridge steps a little further away from the meat while Hezburpqak chows down, though keeps her truck at her back as she does so. The approaching lizard cat and the redhead as well as Aiden get a nod each. “Bridge. And I’ll make any run that’s worth my while.” Even if the whole talking in her brain thing is just… no.
So the meat-bag’s name is Bridge. Good to know. Aiden eyes the remnants of the crate. With a chunk of the meat now missing, it should be okay to put the stuff back in there. He’s just going to have to find some place cold to stick it. Or maybe do some reselling of his own.
Though it’s possible he might see if a certain blonde or redhead want dibs on the pavement steaks. Stuff’s expensive, or it can be.
The spilled steaks start to float up and back into the crate. Aiden will probably get Ghost to carry it.
Speaking of Ghost. //It’s nice to meet you Bridge. I am G’hors’thrral.// That’s a mouthful and a half.
“Call him Ghost.” Poor Aiden does not realize that Bridge has a thing about mind speaking. Then again, he’s not a thought reader so he wouldn’t. “Do you ever transport things to or from Vanished Point?” Those are the islands that appeared last year. The ones with the demon infested city and the boomtown.
“Bridge.” Slaine nods back and squints as Qak wolfs down the food. OK, maybe the raptor doesn’t wolf. She doesn’t really want to think about how he’s eating. “And Hezqak… ” she omits the burp, though she was sorely tempted to include it. Smartass that she is.
“Might have someone who’d be interested in those, Aiden… ” another nod is given to the steaks. She’s from Vesper in a fashion, after all. And yeah, she’d take one or two herself. It looks like she could do with a good feed.
Hezqak begins to inspect his legs, then tail, and no…he can’t look at his own head. “Dumb question but do I have anything scuffed on my head piece?” An armor tail spike gestures towards his Blood Lizard helm. It is a general question aimed to no one in particular. If the didn’t notice before it is impossible to not see the grieves, tail spike, and helm.
Interjecting into the conversation, “Bridge…I’m gonna stick with Meaty, I feel like we’ve bonded on the docks of conflict. It’s a Blood Lizard term of endearment.”//Is it really? How many Blood Lizards has Bridge actaully known?//
Hezqak looks at Ghost with a vieled hint is distain. “Cat…” he acknowledges with an exagerated bow of the head.
ANOTHER bit of mind speaking. Bridge narrows her eyes at GhostCat, but nods to Aiden’s unwittingly covering for the odd feline. And then Hezqak addresses her as ‘Meaty’, and that is just NOT permissible. “You do have something on your headpiece, c’mere.”
If the raptor lets her, she’ll get a grip on said head piece with her left hand and then abruptly and with way more strength than a normal human arm should be capable of torques the Blood Lizard’s head sideways. “Never. Call me that again.”
Aiden isn’t nearly close enough to prevent the little confrontation and he’d only just heard the question. He turns to kind of stare at what happens next. He does, definitely, pick up that the little transporter has way, way more leverage than she should.
“Uh…” He glances over to Ghost and Slaine. Well… that’s… interesting.
Slaines eyes widen as Bridge grabs the Raptor. She’s not familiar with Blood Raptors at all, but this one is tall and looks pretty strong and … well, yeah.
Maybe there’ll be a fight after all.
Ghost peers at the Raptor. //Blood Lizard. Aren’t you missing something? That traditionally goes on your back?//
“That is generous of you. I really do appreciate that Meaty.” Hezqak lowers his head and feels a slight pinch in the neck as his head is jerked. He uprights rather quickly, not fast enough to throw anyone into the air. Should Bridge hold on she will be floating a little in the air as Hezqak stands at his full height. “That wasn’t very agreeable, you could have just said you don’t like it. No need for rable-rousing.” He doesn’t look pissed, just genuinely confussed as to what the fuss is all about. He calls everyone meat bag or some form of that. No one has ever complained before, perhaps it’s because he is a 3 meter tall Blood Lizard.
He cocks his head at Ghost //Oh, you mean the dead weight? We had a difference of opinion and parted ways//
He looks at everyone “But really is there anything on my helm? Serious question.”
Well, there’s something on the helm NOW. It’s Bridge, who didn’t let go when the raptor suddenly straightened up, so now she’s hanging off of his helm by that one arm. “I don’t like it,” she says while staring up close and personal into one of Hezqak’s eyes. And then she lets go and drops back to her feet easily enough.
She steps away from the Blood Lizard and retrieves her case of gemstones as she prepares to get back in her truck and leave again. She’s got another run as soon as she gets back to Dogwood, after all.
//Fascinating. In the market then?// That’s Ghost. Aiden just rolls his eyes. “Ghost let’s go. We’ve got to get this place into the cold.”
//Some other time then, Blood Lizard. Unless you’re coming with us that is.//
The psychic waves to the transporter. “I may be in touch. Drive safe. Let’s go Slaine. We can talk about where to take this. But we’re going to want to save some for Aliana.”
Of course, Slaines psychic abilities don’t let her be privvy to the conversation between Qak and Ghost. If it did, she might snicker a bit. Instead, she squints as Bridge ‘eyes’ the lizard and shakes her head. “Your helmet is fine.” How would she know, really?
“Nice meeting you two!” she waves and turns to follow Aiden, sticking close to Ghost. The Dragon Cat will make the crowd part around them and there’s less chance the pint size redhead will be knocked again.
//You intrigue me feline, you and your pet..or is it the other way around?// Hezqak shoots back to Ghost as he begins to follow. There may be more meat in it for him.
He looks over his shoulder at Bridge and winks, “See you around then B bring some more of that delicious food will ya.”
“Thanks Red, need a lift?” He scoops his head down should she want to not walk for a little bit.
As everyone else moves to take their leave she climbs back into the truck, the case and the shotgun going on the seat next to her. She’ll count the gemstones when she’s back in what she considers a safe zone. Not that these people would have any reason to try and stiff her, but if they did, she’ll have to come back and have serious words with them.
A disturbance on the docks in Vesper see's a psychic Raptor meet up with a truck driver, psychic and mystic. What could possibly go wrong?
October 06, 2409