Sunday, December 13, 2015

Highs and Lows

Written while listening to:

She slumped forward against the kolto tank, squinting at the controls slightly. Regardless of anything she had said prior to this point, whether it be to whoever had set her organs straight, the droid in the taxi, or even a few passersby on the way back to Harbinger, there was no way in hell she was okay. One of the multiple reasons she knew that was by the sheer amount the ship seemed to be rocking, even though she was next to certain it was still grounded.

“Harbinger,” she muttered, when she finally managed to process the thought that there wasn’t much of a chance that she was going to manage to operate the tank on her own. “Start evaluation process, prep kolto tank, heavy damage.”

Overhead she could hear some instrument start whirring until it had apparently finished its assessment. Elsewhere some speaker crackled to life, the ship’s deeper tone coming throw, “Tank prep underway. It is assumed that you did not complete capture of present target.”

Resting her head against the top of the panel, she let out a short cough, jerking her head left and right, “No, Harbinger, I didn’t.”

“And it really doesn’t matter either way, now does it?” she rolled her eyes, reaching up into a cabinet, hand patting around until it found its way around the familiar neck of a whiskey bottle.

Plucking the bottle from the cabinet, she shut the door, turning to look back to her companion once more, popping the top off and taking a swig. Once she had downed a fair share from the bottle, she looked back to him, continuing, “I am perfectly fine. It weren’t nothing but a fight. That’s what happens.”

His face happened to have been beet red by this point, whether because he had been hitting the bottle prior to her showing up, or he was getting too worked up. It got rather hard to tell sometimes, depending on how bad he was feeling by the evening, not that she had any room to talk in the alcohol consumption department.

He pointed to her armor, where any number of patches had been recently sewn in, her best solution to the problem of having holes in her armor until she could get someone to properly attend to it. Which only served to remind her that she needed to make that appointment with that tailor. Blinking, she looked back at him rather than through him, raising a brow until he got to his point.

“Gettin’ stabbed ain’t never been ‘just a fight’ in my book,” he said, frowning when he apparently realized she wasn’t going to explain herself as he hoped she would. “Neither’s looking for a fight, and getting in trouble with Imps.”

Daeria couldn’t help but smirk, bringing the bottle up to her lips again for another pull, “Didn’t get in any trouble with Imps. I mean. Ain’t like they’re hangin’ me for treason or anything, now is it?”

“Yet,” he muttered.

She waved the idea away, even though in reality she had considered the possibility a number of times. It wouldn’t be the first time someone had decided to cut loose ends at the end of a contract, and certainly wouldn’t be the last. “It’s fine. Everything’s fine. Me? I’m fine. You? You’re fine. We’re fine.”

He narrowed his eyes, finger coming up again, this time to point to himself, “I sure as hell ain’t fine. I went to some black market lookin’ to see if anybody knew you where you mighta been, ‘cause you decided to wander off an’ get caught, and couldn’t check-in to tell me everythin’ was fine, so I get to go into a panic over the fact that maybe we’re gonna get some sorta hammer brought down on us.” She opened her mouth to respond, but he cut her off as swiftly as possible, “I got manhandled by a guy dressed like a banana. And I kept lookin’ ‘cause I was startin’ to fear that eventually I’d just be getting’ visited by the folks in shiny suits to be hauled off to some prison camp or somethin’ to do whatever the hell you do in a Zakuulian prison camp.”

Daeria tossed her arms up, walking to the other end of the room to find some couch to crash down onto, drinking yet again from the bottle when she had settled in, setting it off to the side for now. “I don’t get why you’re getting so pissy about this. It’s my kriffing job, idiot. If you haven’t gotten that part thus far, I seriously don’t know what to tell you, besides grow up.”

Red frowned, following, “Then where the hell was this job in the past half a kriffin’ decade, huh? All that time where it was just bein’ creepy ‘round folks, starin’ at ‘em and reportin’ on ‘em, or crawlin’ in their windows to stab ‘em in their sleep? Not this stalkin’ and ambushin’ crap. Nothin’ of the sort.”

“I got bored,” she said, resting back and shrugging, “Gotta keep busy somehow. Zakuulian contract’s a great way to do that.”

He stared at her for a moment, “You got bored. Well, next time you ‘get bored’, lemme know so I can try and stick my head under the dirt somewhere in the hopes of hidin’ out.”

She shrugged once more, “I got no idea what the hell you want me from me. So either spit it the hell out, or get over it.”

“I want to know why you got stupid all of the sudden,” he muttered, falling into a nearby chair, apparently prepared to drop the subject.

The Chiss stared him down for a moment, before leaning forward, “I do shit like that because I have to.” She held up a finger to stop him from talking, knowing full well the sort of comments such a statement would bring on, “I had to do somethin’ like that. I had to. ‘Cause I have no idea if I can anymore. All this time of sitting on my ass and playing fly on the wall and ‘crawling into somebody’s’ house to off ‘em, for five kriffing years, instead of doing the stuff I’m good at.”

With a sigh, he just shook his head, allowing his head to fall backward to stare at the ceiling, “I figured the other stuff qualified for stuff you were ‘good at’.” She just frowned. It was by this point in any conversation involving this subject that he checked out, probably because he didn’t want to consider it in his own realm, or didn’t want to think about her in such away. Either possibility made her want to punch him, yet in some sort of endearing way, were such possible. Perhaps because she hated both thoughts, but also knew that they were necessary, lest this ‘safe’ house become nothing but talk of dark things.

“I kill people,” the Chiss said, almost in a whisper, taking her own opportunity to lean back to stare at the ceiling, “I used to be good at that. For the longest time that was just.” She paused, considering, “That was it. I killed people. And it felt, and feels, so good.” There was no need to look at him to imagine the mortified face he was making, “And sometimes, I just need to remind myself that I can still do that. That I can hit that high at some point. And that means getting stabbed, or shot, or punched, or kicked, or any other thing.”

Her armor clattered to the ground with a number of clangs as she unlatched it. With a few feats of what strength she still had, she finally crawled in the tank. Rolling onto her back, she stared up at the top of the inside of the tank, forcing her breathing to slow as the tube closed itself. It had taken quite a bit of convincing herself to come this far, not least of which was the thought of how long it would take her to recover without it. Even having managed to come this far she still wasn’t okay with it.

She hadn’t been okay with it the first time she’d had to use the freaking kolto tank, and she would probably never be okay with it. It was cramped, and enclosed, and the air was so thick, even if the moments she was conscious in it were short. The thought of it just malfunctioning and not opening crossed her mind, potentially choking to death on something that was meant to heal her. How ironic would that be.

No panic attack this time. That wouldn’t be good. As the kolto started pouring in, that thought seemed harder and harder. No panic attack. Focus on something else. Put on the breathing mask and focus on something else.

She wanted to kill that bastard.  She was going to kill that bastard. Or do whatever happened to be worse, which would probably involve just collecting on the bounty. Screw whatever idiot woman he’d managed to scrounge up, screw every idiot Mando in that kriffing bar.

The kolto was working its way into the tank at a steady pace.

Couldn’t just act so stupid the next time. No acting like a jackass. That had never worked in the past. That was something she had done something like a decade ago when she was still green. There would need to be something more to this, that wasn’t acting like an idiot in a bad holovid.

She closed her eyes, nearly entirely encased in the green stuff by this point.

Of course it would mean another fight, one she was just as likely to lose. So wait, and recover. Don’t go in with armor patches. Take hits on the punching bag again. There was a rhythm to be found here. Something to be recovered from where it had gathered dust.

There was the threat of death, of course. Not that she wanted to die. But if she were to die, what would it matter? Better to go out on that high, than crawl into some corner and let it rot. Better to have to crawl back into the Hell Tank than to never hit those high notes again.

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