Daybreak of Change.
That is how one might describe every morning, or evening, in Vesper — Change. It has already begun with some of the nearby stores and residences that share their ‘space’ with D-Bees from other dimensions as night turns to day. What is early for one person, is late to another — and this is reflected strongly by the numerous D-Bees congregating in the lodging house known simply as ‘Grans’.
Some are here for dinner.
For others, it is breakfast.
On this particular day, delegations from two different Planes have arrived in Vesper at the same time, creating a minor — if colourful — clash of entourages, philosophies, manners and social mores. As a result, Grans… is busy. A group of Wolfen — presumably from the same Tribe — bicker in a corner, while reptilian creatures emerge from the rooms. There are plenty of humans present, and management is keeping up with all of it.
Well, most of it.
Dalia likes Vesper, at least, somewhat. She prefers to be out under the open sky but as far as cities go, it’s a pretty good one. Most people are pretty accepting of her looks here and her status and chosen profession are never questioned. It’s a rather normal and altogether tame job for a city like this.
Today the Fennod Preacher is on hand to help calm the crowd of disparate groups. The hairless grey skinned alien, dressed in leather pants, boots, jacket and cowboy hat all in a shade of tan that matches the accents marking her skin, moves quietly through the groups of gathered people. She stops to listen often, offering soft soothing words and a calming presence amidst the chaos. Her gentle manner could almost be mistaken for shyness, only she never avoids contact and seems to actually seek out the loudest and angriest. A preacher’s place in a gathering like this is to offer wisdom and council, encourage peaceful or at least, not overly hostile lines of communication and expression.
Out front is a rather large Titan robot that has been painted in psychedelic colors; about the only thing it would be camouflaged against would be a giant poster advertising Grateful Dead albums. “I’ll be right back, I promise!” the blonde emerging from the machine yells back into it before rolling her eyes. “Every day you want ice cream and every day we never get any” she sighs. “You don’t think I want ice cream too?” She slides down a ladder and jumps down the final few feet to the ground. A moment to steady herself before she raises a small fob and points it at the Titan. A press of a button and a ‘beep beep’ noise – that she makes herself – and she seems satisfied that she can proceed inside.
Maddy currently has a towel wrapped around her hair and is wearing a tattered old bathrobe with ‘Crusher Douglas’ written on the back – it may be more a boxing robe. It is tied closed for now. In one hand is a toothbrush and in the other a small bag of unknown contents. Barefoot she walks over towards ‘Grans’, mumbling along the way. “Tits are so demanding!”
Yes, it’s noise and chaos at Gran’s today. And yet, in the middle of all of the bustle and traffic and noise, there’s a lone human (looking) woman seated at a small table in the corner of the dining area. She’s nursing a beverage and just letting the noise wash past. It’s not any of her business, and she’s already concluded her business, having dropped off the supplies she brought for Gran. It was a lean run and almost not worth it, considering she’s having to be even more cautious than usual around Dogwood. At least there’s hope that she’ll be able to go from here to Tibbs’ garage to get those mods done on her truck.
Should one be searching out the loudest and angriest of patrons tiny Teresa Beddingford would likely be completely overlooked. Tessa has just disembarked from the slender white robot which served as her ride. It is notable for two reasons. The first is that it is a peculiar bot. Lightly armed, lightly armoured, a little smaller than would be expected. The second is Tessa herself.
The diminutive brunette scrambles to disembark with perhaps a bit more trouble than would be expected of an actual pilot. She manages to reach the ground without falling on her face and takes a deep breath, turning to look around before heading inside with careful steps. There are no words, just wide, curious eyes the color of the evening sky on a rainy day.
The Shift is almost complete.
Tourists/visitors are not the only ones to be found standing outside as dawn finally breaks over the horizon, here in Vesper. The changes in colours is truly spectacular. A store for the selling and repairs of shoes turns into a beauty salon — specialising in fashion and glamour for underseas adventures. A restaurant that caters by night to the entirely carnivorous happens to share its space with a pet-store.
Outside Grans stands a single Wolfen, his sightless visage lifted toward the East as the Sun comes up. A breeze goes by, eliciting a smile from the being, who then turns inside the ‘bed & breakfast’ — but not before pausing to cast an ear in the direction of the two D-Bee delegations arguing in the street.
And a certain Fennod with them.
He is caught completely offguard by Maddy’s comments, and barks a short chuckle. “One… begs your pardon?” he inquires.
Inside Grans, an unkempt fellow pushes past some squabbling patrons — including Tessa — to half-collapse at her table. “You the… transporter?” he asks in between breaths.
Dalia is used to keeping up with the hustle and bustle of large crowds. It’s the part of her job she enjoys the least, so many people, thoughts, emotions. The Fennod doesn’t read them without permission, doesn’t even skim the surface but it’s still all so much mental noise. Combined with the actual noise, it would be overwhelming if she weren’t used to it. The alien’s eyes, tiny black dots centered on small fins to either side of her face, often mistaken for ears actually, extend and turn, scanning the crowd for potential problems as she listens to the current disagreement.
The Preacher notes the Wolfen standing on his own, briefly surprised as he turns and she can see his eyes. A blind Wolfen? Could it be… the one she’s heard so many tales of.. One eye turns next in Maddy’s direction. Slightly puzzled by that one as well but no emergency seems forthcoming. The other eye turns to look over the street outside and the vehicles, robotic and otherwise. Checking for trouble, or perhaps just out of simple curiosity. Vesper is a rather fascinating place.
Bridge looks up the person that just all but slammed into her table. “Yeah. Who’re you?” She hasn’t changed her posture, but her gaze has sharpened on the man, watching him warily. Normally, she’d not worry about anything while in Gran’s — the owner of the establishment is NOT one to be trifled with — but things have not been normal for her lately. So she’ll remain cautious.
Tess barely manages to avoid being trampled. She tries to dodge but, not being terribly-nimble, instead she slips and then half slides out of the way of the hulking “man” who tries to press past her. Then the little pilot begins to determinedly make her way inside once more. As Maddy begins to speak Tessa blinks a few times, tilting her head slightly to better here the speaking-woman. She mouths the word “Tits” to herself then like it were one of the strangest words she’s ever heard. Perhaps on impulse Teresa turns. “Tits and Sera…” The girl starts to giggle quietly and then spins on her heel to head back inside and runs face first into the back of an angry… Something. They’re no longer arguing with the other D-Bees, at least. It doesn’t matter that the creature is four feet tall, they’re still larger than Tessa at heart. “Oh, I-um… Sorry?” Then she darts past him toward the door, the glare following her.
‘”Hey!! Be quiet! People are trying to listen to music here!”‘
True enough, the deranged mech-pilot’s voice carries to the bickering delegation, as well as to the Wolfen arguing inside Grans. The noise stops.
“I’m desperate!” says the man who had just collapsed onto Bridger’s table; of course, with the momentary silence, his voice carries across the B&B (bed & breakfast) so that his exclamation is heard by every living soul in there.
A waitress walks by, sets a couple of drinks down on the table, gives Bridger a sympathetic look and tells the man: “Here, on the house. You… stay off the D-Bee caffeine, yeah?” Then she kisses him on the cheek and goes back to the bar.
“I’m… Burke,” says the man in softer tones as the noise returns to ‘normal’ levels. “I.. need a transporter. …cash on arrival?” he says that last part a little hesitantly, turning it into a question as if he already knows the answer. Then he turns his head around to look at Tessa and gives a hesitant: “Um… I’m? Uh, sorry. I’m sorry.”
The man’s mannerisms are… erratic. Suspiciously erratic.
At the door, Howahkan gives a puzzled shake of his head, noting the ruffle of fur on his arm — from Maddy — but he does not look in the indicated direction of the Titan outside. Blind, after all. What he does notice is the shift in vocal direction as she refers to ‘something’ outside, and then his lips spread in a wry smirk.
“One thinks you are right;” says he with his head tilted to the side a little. “One has… very little experience… with Tits.” He does not reply to the comments about ‘doing tricks’, but Maddy earns a shake of the Wolfen’s head as he ducks and enters the B&B properly. “You are very strange… for a Naked-She,” he tells Maddy on the way in. “But you do not smell sick.”
She does stink of machine oil though.
“Join one inside,” Howahkan then whispers, casting his voice on the wind back toward the Fennod Preacher trying to calm the alien delegations. “Their noise is making the Wind restless.”
Dalia turns from settling the latest dispute by suggesting the Reptilian and Wolfen men take it outside and engage in a literal pissing contest rather than this verbal one and stop wasting everyone’s time. The suggestion is met with outraged stares by the two men, and much laughter by the women who are quick to take over and start an actual conversation. The two males are relegated to the back of the discussion much to their chagrin and dismay.
The alien heads to these two next and before they even know what’s happened the two opposites are sitting down and sharing a drink, guided to a discussion of a subject in which they have common ground. Relieved, and more than a little amused, Dalia turns to find the next spot of trouble.
Eye-fins regard the man in front of Stella. ‘Oi. This guy. Doesn’t look like he’s holding his smoke well. Or drink or..’ His manner is off. Not violent or aggressive but..erratic. Despite having the abilities, the Preacher doesn’t attempt to probe the man’s mind. High, drunk, ill or otherwise that is very rude and unthinkably inappropriate behaviour. Those skills are saved for situations where permission is granted or it’s necessary on behalf of the greater good. This doesn’t seem to be one of those times. One fin turns towards Maddy and pauses. ‘That is not the usual human outer wear is it?’ And there is also the blind Wolfen, someone she’d like to meet although his comment over his lack of experience with certain anatomy as she passes by is a little.. random? Unexpected. The alien flushes slightly, grey skin taking on a slightly orangish hue around her cheeks.
“If you can avoid Tits then all power to you” Maddy nod sagely to the giant wolf as she wanders in with him. “Naked? Damn it! Has my robe turned invisible again?” A look down at her clothing suggests otherwise so she is a bit confused. “Do you have x-ray eyes, Rin Tin Squared? Oh, I’m Maddy by the way. And I don’t think I’m strange…neither does…” She looks around before pointing to a balding drunkard lapping up gruel from a bowl. “…he.” Nope, she has no idea the wolf is blind.
And then there is an alien with fins chatting to Maddy about her clothes…maybe they are invisible! “It’s not?” she asks back as she fondles her the tie that keeps it closed. “Dang. I thought it was pretty stylish. But I did just get out of the shower.” Though there is not much of her that seems wet. “Oh! Look!” Maddy has spotted Bridge. “Hey there!” she grins, talk of clothes forgotten. “That’s Bridge” she helpfully informs the blind wolf and the blushing alien. “She is totally my BFF…though she may not know it yet.” Her eyes fall on Tessa. “Ooh…and she has a cute friend.” They’re nearby, they must be friends. “Though not sure about that guy” she adds about the man harassing the transporter.
“Burke.” Bridge studies the man, her initial suspicion proving to be well-found more and more with each passing moment. “I don’t agree to transport anything without knowing what it is, where I’m picking it up, and where I’m dropping it off. Terms of payment are irrelevant until everything else is agreed upon.” She looks at him squarely. Either he’ll tell her what he’s on about, or he can fuck off.
“Cute friend? … Me?” Tessa first turns her head to check on Bridge, then reorients herself slightly to face Maddy. She blinks a couple times and tilts her head slightly. “I think you’re slightly mis…taken…” A beat follows and then Tessa flashes Maddy an incandescent smile, complete with perfect teeth and a slight overbite. “That is a lovely, ah… Bathrobe, at least. Stylish? Sure.” She seems to quickly lose her momentum at that assertion. “My grandmother had one that was quite similar… Um.” Now each of those addressing Maddy is being considered carefully, Tessa shifting her weight from foot to foot while she does so.
“The She — Maddy — is wearing a…bathrobe?” Howahkan remarks, tucking in his chin, his ears directed toward Tessa. He dismisses the thought a moment later, giving a snort of good-natured humour, and adds: “One is called Howahkan — of Moon Fall,” as if that should explain everything. His nostrils flare a moment later, and he focuses his attention a little more on Tessa; he can’t quite ‘smell tech’, but physical frailty… is easier for the large, predatory Wolfen to detect.
Only this one responds with almost pity in his features.
Meanwhile, Burke — the man getting too close to Bridger — hears her response and slumps forward. “Uh,” he manages to say before sinking to his knees and slipping sideways — away from the table. “Head is killin’ me.” True enough, as he turns around the implants in the back of his neck become visible — along with others in various places over his body. He is a ‘borg of some kind, and the tech is failing him.
“Never… mind…” he mumbles as he climbs to his feet and staggers toward the door. He finds himself practically *shoved* through by the group of Wolfen as they too head outside… followed by the Reptilian D-Bees. The waitress stops next to Dalia on the way past and tells her: “They’re IronClaw, those Wolfen. Like their contests — looks as if the others accepted. Don’t… go after them. Trust me. Now, drink?”
Howahkan listens and after a pause, inquires of Maddy: “One does not have x-ray vision. Describe this ‘Bridger’ to Howahkan…”
Her work for the moment at least done, Dalia nods at the waitress. “Yes, thank ya.” The alien sits and watches the ‘borg man stumbling off. She can’t do much for that kind of ailment aside from prayer that the fellow will find someone who can heal him and all too often in that case it’s not possible.
After a moment, Dalia takes off her jacket and holds it out to Maddy. “Here. Wouldn’t do for you to catch a chill.” For all the preacher knows, Maddy’s clothes were stolen or she simply doesn’t have any. She can find another jacket somewhere later. The eye-fins turn towards Howahkan again, a curious expression on the alien’s face. She’s never met him but has heard of him. She answers the Wolfen’s question, describing the woman at the table the ill man just left.
“One what is called Howahkan?” Maddy asks before looking around for the thing from Moon Fall. “What’s the other one called?” she asks the wolf before giggling a little. “Reminds me of when I met this psycho witch out in the Badlands. She was trying to rule the world and said she had a ‘divine right’. I told her that her left wasn’t bad either.” A loud laugh bursts forth from the blonde before she quickly composes herself. “Guess you had to be there.” She clears her throat and grins back at Tessa. “See, she thinks my robe is stylin’…for a grandmother. Umm…that’s not as good as I want it to be, is it?” A little frown that is reinforced by being offered a jacket. Though…free clothes. Maddy takes the jacket with a smile. “Thanks. I shall treasure it always” she adds as she inspects it before she will also help with describing Bridge. “Tall. Hot. Takes no bullshit. Hot. Really good driver from what I hear. Did I mention she was hot. And you’re definitely a cutie.” The last added for Tessa. “I’ll have a drink” she smiles to the waitress. “Firewater. More fire than water. And do you have any toothpaste?”
Frowning slightly as the man declines and turns to leave, Bridge hesitates for only a moment before rushing after him, shoving past the D-Bees in the way if necessary. When/if she catches up to the distressed ‘borg, she’ll stop him and say quickly and quietly, but with an urgent tone, “If you need help with those implants, go talk to a man named Sterling. He might be able to stabilize your ‘ports long enough for you to get back to Dogwood for proper repairs.” She lets him go on his way, then, and makes her way back inside unless someone stops her.
Sensory overload. Too many people speaking with relevancy to Tessa ranging from tangential to direct. The internal whirring of gears stops as they jam and snag in their attempt to formulate proper response. Like a computer seizing up while loading a series of programs Tessa’s eyes don’t quite cross so much as stop dead center of her face and fixate for a second or so on Maddy while she tries to catch up with herself. Processing… “Ah… Thank you!” Good, fairly neutral response. Cheerful. She turns to look toward the blind Wolfen next, only to find herself immediately interrupted by the plight of the stumbling cyborg toward her left shoulder. So the girl twists with a dazed expression on her face to look in that direction while Maddy heads off to order her drink and takes a deep breath. “Firewater…? Hmm! I’d like one too, please.” A beat. “I… Think.”
The waitress nods her head, hanging there a moment or two longer to see if anyone else wants something to eat or drink. Howahkan, responding to the fact that he hasn’t heard her footsteps depart, remarks: “One is well, thank you. The Earth sustains Howahkan.” He then turns his head in the direction Bridger had taken — after Burke — his Wolfen hearing picking up what she says to the ailing cyborg.
The Wolfen lets his head hang down a bit, smiling.
“That was a good thing to have done for the ailing pup,” he whispers — casting his voice upon the air toward the Transporter’s ears. Then he nods, so that if she looks at him, she’ll know it was he who spoke. The smile on the Wolfen’s face broadens at Dalia’s own gesture of kindness to Maddy, although he finds himself distracted by the pilot’s description of Bridger… in comparison to Dalia’s.
Dalia paints a picture of… a human female, as best a picture as an alien can — but it does give the blind Wolfen the information he needs. In contrast, hearing Bridger referred to in terms such as ‘hot’… and ‘talks no bullshit’, has the shaman’s ears standing straight up.
Even his tail stiffens.
“One… ah,” says he hesitantly. “One… is Howahkan. Me. There is no ‘other one’… and Bride sounds… interesting.” He immediately turns toward Dalia and adds: “Do all Naked-Ones talk so strangely?” Referring to humans, or at least folk without fur.
“Um.” Dalia searches for the diplomatic answer to that question rather than the “hell no” response she’s actually thinking. It takes even her, well used to the speech patterns and mannerisms of many different groups, races and individuals to puzzles out what Maddy means. The moment the alien realizes that “hot” is being used to describe a level of attraction, she blushes again, then more so at the realisation. “Everyone has their own way.” The preacher murmurs in a distracted sort of tone. What is with her today?? Maybe there was something in the last batch of weed…it had been a particularly nice smoke this morning though. One eye-fin turns to regard Howahkan. The other watches Tessa.
“Here, sit.” She urges the overwhelmed looking woman. “A good trait in a Transporter, that. Not taking harassment from others.” She adds in case he took the “takes no bullshit” comment literally. “My name is Dalia.” She offers a smile to others, but directs her voice at Howahkan, knowing he can’t see the smile.
Maddy pulls on her new jacket before sitting down at the table. “Naked people often talk strange” she nods to Howahkan…still no idea he’s blind. “Lots of ‘oh God’ and ‘does my butt look big’ and ‘I could have sworn I put it on’ but you get used to it.” She unwraps the towel from her dry hair and folds it carefully before stuffing it in her robe. “Get Cutie a double!” she calls out after the waitress before smiling at the alien looking after Tessa. “You like doing that” she notes to the alien. “And I love how you can look at two things at once.” A pause. “Those /are/ your eyes, right? If they weren’t I’d be even more impressed” she grins before looking for Bridge and offering her another wave. Then a curious look to the wolf. “You eat dirt?” A shrug. “Better than some things I guess.” A shake of her head to let her long hair out before she grabs some elastic bands from her bag and starts putting it in pig tails.
Wow. It sounds like Maddy is in particularly incomprehensible form today. Returning to where everyone else is, Stella nods to the waitress who seems to understand what that means, then approaches the others. “I’m Bridge. And you’re all very out of place here.” Well, she suspects that Maddy is out of place everywhere, but whatever. Her eyes study each person briefly, the light reflecting in them a bit oddly for a schmegular human (though anyone familiar with Dogwood’s cybernetics would likely recognize the eyeshine of optics) and then she moves to sit with them. “I don’t believe in chance. Why are you all here?”
Tessa accepts the offered seat with a quick nod and a smile of thanks. She takes a deep breath, her chest selling against her chest as she straightens reflexively during the motion. One… Two… Three. When the brunette exhales she seems to have calmed herself considerably. She is now observing the room with the quiet sort of grace one expects of an experienced wallflower, though still careful to give Dalia a warm smile to continue to express her approval of the gesture. Tess has just begun to rap on the table, a soft tune in careful syncopation with the tips of her fingernails against the wood. Then a glass hits the table in front of her. She blinks at it it once, then takes a sniff. Alcohol strong enough to singe the eyelashes and strip paint has a distinctive scent. So Tess continues to regard the drink warily for a moment and when Stella speaks up she responds simply with, “I was thinking of looking for work, to be honest. I’ve really just arrived, though.” She dares to lean forward and get a stronger sniff of the booze and ends up coughing politely for her trouble.
The nine-foot Wolfen lifts his head, eyes gazing sightlessly upward, and inhales deeply through his snout before replying to Bridger’s question. He uses the time to listen, then lowers his head once more. A breeze blows through the B&B — despite the door being closed — and Howahkan nods to himself before taking another seat… without looking at it.
“One…” he hesitates; an ear pierced with metal hoops twitches. “…is a Wise-Wolf of Moon Fall — and is here by decree of his pack. Tribe. The elements in Vesper are… disquieted. The Wind will not be calm; it is… It gives Howahkan a headache.”
He frowns after that, his tail poking out behind his chair and twitching, while the Wolfen’s attention shifts firstly toward Maddy and then Dalia. “You smell of Fennodi,” he tells Dalia, then motions with a hand in the direction of Maddy’s voice. “They are her eyes, yes.”
The waitress returns with a tray of drinks then, and begins handing them out. “Who ordered the double firewater?” she inquires with an arched eyebrow. When she goes to say something else, she finds herself interrupted by a cheer — a chorus of howls, rather — from outside.
“It would appear the IronClaw Wolfen are victorious,” says he in a murmur.
Dalia watches Tessa with one eye, then slides her own drink over. Fizzy and sweet and only a faint hint of alcohol. Something soothing that won’t burn the poor girl’s face off. The Fennod seems satisfied that Tessa is relaxing a bit though and answers the others. Stella first. “I too have heard of the disquiet in Vesper though I think through different means. I go where I am needed or can be of use.”
Her voice lightens when she speaks to Howahkan, letting happiness at being recognized properly fill her tone. “Yes, Wise-Wolf I am.” One eye turns out towards the street at the howling and Dalia laughs. “I figured as much but..” It would be impolite to admit she’d suspected that would be the outcome. All things considered, it’s a much easier and preferable way of settling things. For everyone but whoever’s alleyway building they chose. The Fennod winces. Oh. She’ll have to apologize for that later.
Maddy is a bit confused by Bridge’s question. “Umm…couple of reasons. You’re my BFF and I like to hang with you.” She realises that one may not get her far so best try the back-up. “I was just cruising the area and was just looking for a place to grab some food, drink and…some other stuff.” A sly grin forms. “You don’t think I’m following you, do you? I mean, other than the previously aforementioned BFF stuff.”
Maddy lifts her hand and points towards Tessa. “Double is here.” She takes her own drink and breathes in the burning scent with a contented sigh. Then she downs a couple of mouthfuls before coughing and tears fill her eyes. “Damn that’s smooth” she croaks before giving a thumbs up to the waitress. A nod to Howahkan. “I think I’m going to have some disquieting wind too after this drink.” And if Tessa doesn’t want her drink…then Maddy’ll nonchalantly pull it over for herself. A glance over at the street. “They’re not going to spray scent in victory or something, are they? I don’t want my Tits covered with it.”
Stella Bridger claims her beverage from the tray — the only hot drink of the bunch. And, as has recently been established, she ignores any of Maddy’s words that seem non-sensical and not aimed at her. Speaking of Maddy, when she yoinks Tessa’s drink, Bridge slides her own over to the quiet young woman. It’s completely non-alcoholic.
Drinks are being swapped about and Tessa ends up with one or another drink from the women surrounding her and she’s looking around quickly to determine which person she actually received a beverage from. It’s impossible to tell in the tumult so she has a bright smile for Stella and Dalia both. Better safe than not, after all. She then takes her new drink and inhales deeply. The scent of the beverage does not cause the brunette to promptly pass out from intoxication so she ventures a long sip. …And promptly splutters it across the table in response to Maddy and starts to cough. Her cheeks are turning red, eyes tearing as she scrabbles for a napkin. Uselessly, as it turns out- she soaked all of them.
Howahkan… is rather gaping, staring blindly ahead, at Maddy.
He knows all too well what she means by ‘spraying scent’ everywhere, and the rest of her words leaves the socially-uneducated Wolfen… flabbergasted. He actually finds it difficult to speak for a while. It is, in fact, Tessa’s spraying (of firewater, it should be pointed out) across the table that breaks him out of his reverie.
A heartbeat later, the blind Wolfen sniffs the air, turns his head toward Tessa and her too-strong beverage… then reaches over to take the cup from her — and downs the firewater-double in a single mouthful. Immediately afterward, he raises his hand to signal a waitress for more of it.
Whatever has brought this… motley crew together this morning, it is going to require more alcohol to get through it…
A number of very different characters walk into the same 'bed and breakfast' in Vesper, at a time when the atmosphere in the city of magic is... charged with energy. Still, these outsiders find they have something in common, even if it is that they don't quite 'fit in'...
December 03, 2409
Gran's - Vesper