|Interview in Blythe|
|Time & Date||7-24-15|
|Summary||Ari met Buster and Avin in Blythe while looking for work.|
Mid to late afternoon around Blythe is typically the same. Days sort of stretch from one into the other as traders come and go, scrappers come and hopefully leave with what they needed. The guards out front have been finally switched out so that they're not standing in the hot sun all day. The shadows are starting to crawl out into the world, long and brave - nearly hungry for the night that will let them swarm together to create the carpet of darkness. Right outside the walled enclave of the trading post, a number of bikes, mostly Hellcats, are parked neatly and under the watchful gaze of one of the tower guards high above.
The Rumbler would be parked out of view a good distance from the enclave, secured against intrusion, leaving Arianna to walk about a mile to the front gate. Over one shoulder, she carries a bag of various trade goods. It may seem like she's got her eyes on the broken trail in front of her, but she's no fool. Out here, you need to keep your attention just about everywhere. Guard positions are picked out and noted. Other runners and their vehicles. Potential escape routes if things go bad. The survivor's Bucket List. When she reaches the gate, her boots grind into sand and rubble.
The guards at the gate give the woman a quick look and then a much more intense look once they realize that she's not just anyone walking around out there. She's well-muscled and seems to have a clue about what she's doing out there. "What's in the bag?" one asks as he fingers the handle of his Saber-style shutgun.
They're not really pushing the point but they're paid to make sure that nothing -too- dangerous makes its way into the enclave. Runners, generally, are allowed to hold onto their weapons but bags and enclosed packages make the guards a might twitchy.
"Goods for trade," the heavily-armed woman replies, her crystal blue gaze lifting to meet with the one who addressed her. "MREs. Parts. A few tools."
She opens the bag for inspection, but the real threats are at her hip and across her back.
While the contents of the bag are being searched, she adds, "There a fee for entrance?"
The guard, the large one who's just wearing an old vest to cover his rather plump frame, shakes his head after checking out her bag. "Nah - Scrappers bay is inside to the left, slavers are next to them and Runner's deck is up behind the Green Machine. Can't miss it." He thumbs a sausage-thick thumb to the gate and lets her pass as he focuses on harassing the next traveler.
The bag is cinched and Ari passes on by. A mental map is scrawled for later translation into her implant commlink. The noted locations within the trading post are flagged with more to come, she's sure. "Thanks," she mutters to the fat man...
The enclave is a throng of people, not exactly body-to-body, but the sides are definitely full of people. Runners and such cluster around the big Green tanks looking to top up on biofuel. The Water sellers at the back are never NOT busy and the slavers to the left of the gate are starting to thin out. Though technically 'voluntary', the slaves are hoping to be taken out of the squallor of the wastes by depending upon the ability of their new masters to provide. Person after person cross the compound going on whatever errand but what seems to be moving more frequently are the 'short-runners'. These small children, usually boys and a few girls of around twelve or thirteen years old run errands for the Runners up on the deck above the fuel station.
"Hi..." a voice says chirping out befor the female Runner. The small boy is bright-eyed and clean-skinned and apparently eager to help.
Ari stops in her tracks, picking out the source of the voice. At his appearance, her eyes narrow slightly. Clean is unheard of out here. Someone's taking care of this youngster. "Hi," she replies simply. The peace tie on her weapon is secure. The bag is in front of her. She's not an easy mark...
The small boy bows dramatically before the woman and slinks back up to stand at his full height, the blue poncho covering his body flourishing a bit as he makes his dramatic entrance. "Name's Buster...nice to meet ya Mizzus (misses with an accent). Ain't seen you around the post before." His eyes dart from the woman's weapon to her possessions and then, oddly enough, to her shoes. "What you lookin for ta'day?"
"A job." Ari's a woman of few words. By the look of her, the sort of work she's looking for probably involves a lot of shooting. Or maybe stabbing. Likely all of the above. She doesn't look particularly strong, but she moves with almost catlike grace.
For a moment the boy looks almost disappointed. "So many Runners comin in looking for jobs since the Crash. You'd swear that Avin had a For Hire sign out on the highway or something..." he groans a bit too maturely for a boy of his age. "Welp...most of the jobs around here go through...there," he points to the red-roofed tower at the far back corner of the enclave. "Just tell 'em Buster sent ya. Might get you a job..." He smiles and takes another quick bow and wanders off in search of someone else to 'help'.
Buster almost got himself a MRE from the bag, but he's off before Ari can get it out. Half-drawn, it is replaced and the sack is closed again. After watching the boy disappear into the crowd, she turns her attention on the indicated tower. One more glance at the boy's wake, then she shrugs and heads off in the tower's direction. "He probably isn't hungry anyway," she murmers in transit.
As you approach the red-roofed tower, its construction becomes immediately apparent. Someone's taken three, round, transport tubes and stacked them one on top of the other to create a cylindrical structure. The top most level has a few windows cut out it of the hull for ventilation and such but generally it's a solid, secure, metallic tube. A pair of guards, each equipped with at least a Maverick and a Saber, shotgun, stand watch over the entrance.
A small crowd has gathered as yelling can be heard from inside - they're all eager to see what will happen. Mutterings and whispers suggest that a Runner failed to complete a job that he had taken for Avin and then tried to double-cross him on it. Avin isn't one to abide by such a thing. Within a minute or two, the crowd starts to scatter as it's apparent from the yelling, that whatever climax is about to hit and they don't want to be in the path.
She stops to judge the crowd. As it disperses, she continues toward the armed duo at the entrance. Whatever's going on inside doesn't seem to faze the woman. As she nears, she makes ready to disarm, common practice when dealing with the Lords of the Land. The bag is resettled to give her better access to the slung Hellcatter.
The yelling continues and there's a bit of a skirmish from inside. A second later, a man half-wearing a poncho that looks like it was mostly ripped from his body runs from the entrance to the tower as though he were escaping. The crowd of on-lookers definitely scatters for not a second after he appears, he drops to the ground. No sound. No loud 'crack' of a gun, just the nearly-silent 'thwip' of a hand-held crossbow. The bolt now pokes out from his back and would seem to have killed him with one shot. Thankfully, being a bolt, it wouldn't necessarily go through the body to do any more harm than needed. Avin is, if anything else, not someone who embraces 'wasted energy'.
"The Boss 'll see you now," one of the guards explains as two more walk to collect the body.
Ari dips her head in response, vision tracking to the body as it's hefted.
Runners' Code: You fuck up a job, the consequences are yours alone to deal with.
"Boys," she says, passing them and heading inside, into the shade. Unfortunately, this time of day, it's cooling off outside much quicker than it is in. She makes a note to herself to keep this meeting brief.
When you step into the tower you have to immediately turn right to follow along the curved wall of the old storage container for a few steps until you then turn to the left to pass through a curtain into a little slice of pre-fall life. The office looks like it could have come straight out of some lawyer's abode back in the old world. Real wood panneling cover the walls with framed photos of exotic things like 'trees' and 'waterfalls' here and there to spruce the place up a little. A large, real desk sets in the center of the room and a rather angry-looking man stands behind it fuming at whatever was just recently discussed.
Avin turns back at the sound of someone walking in and must have only registered that whoever it was was a woman. "Nao...nao," he mutters with a fairly thick british accent, "...no girls right no mate. Bring me Joey in a bit once I've had a chance to cool off."
"I'm not here to fuck you," Ari states, her tone rather cool, as she maps the room in her head. The accouterments are not forgotten, cast aside as needless detail. No, these things tell the tale of the man who sits on this particular throne. "I'm looking for work and judging by the mess outside, you're down a man."
You could hear the groan start in the man's toes it was that low. "oooohaaa GODS! What I need, little miss fuzzy-britches is some damned -LOYALTY-..." he turns and braces his hands on the desk to give him a bit of that old world 'CEO' power-stance magic. "And...I don't know you so why should I hire you to take out the trash?" Yup - he's still pretty heated.
An angry person is so easy to manipulate...
"Because I'm worth ten of that useless asshole you just back-shot and I work cheap." This conversation is probably the most she's said in months. She's scanning for the booze, now. Every 'CEO' has a stash of the good stuff. Ari doesn't mince words: "You need a drink. So do I."
Avin doesn't disagree with the woman. In answer to her statement he just hells one word, "GINGER!" and a few seconds later a red-haired woman, dressed as the perfect pre-fall executive assistant, walks out with a bottle of 'real' rum and two glasses. Obviously she was listening on things from the side-room - the perfect skills package of a dutiful servant. She places the bottle and glasses which are balanced on a tiny wooden serving tray down upon the desk and starts to pour some out. Avin, still being relatively in a foul mood, grabs the bottle and ushers her off. "I got this...", he barks but with a bet less bite than a few moments before. Clearly he doesn't like to be this out of sorts and is exerting what measure of control he can to bring it back under wraps.
"So why don't you begin by telling me your name and what you're capable of out there. Who you worked for in the past - anyone I know?"
"Ari," she replies, taking a seat at the desk across from the man. His ego would be better fed if he were given the high ground, so she elects to give that while letting him pour. He's the host, after all. "And your boys outside have my resume."
The primary weapon she'd brought in, the longarm, is in perfect condition--and a Hellcatter is not an easy thing to come by. "I do have two conditions, however. I won't put holes in kids and I don't run slaves."
Avin doesn't, as yet, offer the woman a drink as the deal's not been finalized just yet. Taking a sip of his rum he raises an eyebrow in question at what was said and glances past the woman to one of his guards. The strong, burly-built black man simply nods as though aggreeing with the her 'resume' tilts his head to one side as he turns his gaze to her bag. "So what you seen out there, 'arri?" Avin asks purposefully mispronouncing her name to make it sound more like a contraction of 'Harry'. "Seen any of the Snakemen to the south ... or maybe you done some runs up north and ran into them Crimson blokes with their stupid crusade?" Another sip. "Nah - I bet you like hunting in the Chrome, don't ya? Girl as well-fed as you are must have some right-good connections back there in Chrome-town, ya?"
"I work both sides of The Wall," Ari nods to that last question. "But I'm from back East," she concedes. "Old U.S. Most of my work's been sunken Atlanta and I didn't Tube out here. I took the scenic route. I've seen just about every damn thing that can kill a body between there and here."
"Even...vampires?" Avin says with such a simple roll of the tongue that he's not sure if he will shock the woman, make her laugh or confuse her. Easing back in his chair, the Boss of Blythe starts to wind himself down and even kicks a foot up to rest it on the edge of his desk while they converse. "I'll talk plainly. I have a contract and I'm not sure if you're the right person or not. Seems that the last guy who tried it just turned around and came back here to tell me that it can't be done." He gruffs a bit, dusting the front of his shirt as if removing any possible taint of failure that could have been spread from the now-dead Runner from their visit.
"I'm always up for a challenge." There's a shrug. The response isn't an admission of any sort: whether or not she's encountered one of the infamous bloodsuckers. But she hadn't batted an eye at his mention of the once-mythical. "So I guess MY only question is this: why do you think he said it couldn't be done? I can't ask him. He's probably being recycled into food as we speak."
Avin shrugs. "That's not really important now. I just wanted to see if you'd flinch at the job." He folds his arms over his chest, looking rather comfy in his reclined position while talking to the woman - which he has not offered a seat to or a drink as of yet. "Turns out, I'm going to have a few jobs come at me here in the next few days that would require someone who's a bit better than your average Runner trash. I need someone who can work with some Chromes from LATMA. It's a research team or some-damn thing. They probably going down to Old Phoenix to check out that crash. If'in they do - I'll toss you at them. Let you see what you can find for -ME- while you're down there, savvy?"
"I get it," Ari nods, inclining her chin to note her empty glass. "Now. You gonna keep that all to yourself or do I have to ask nicely?"
One wonders what her version of 'nice' could possibly be.
Avin nods and stands from his chair, reaching for the glass of rum that he had previously poured for the lady but had yet to offer. "Here luv... and let's drink to our future..." He smiles and one of the guards brings in a scantily clad young man wearing a leather collar and a pair of cut-off shorts. "Not now boy-o. Put him in back..." The guard seems to appologize for interupting and scoot-drags the guy past the small exchange between 'Harry' and his boss and heads him towards the back room where Ginger is most likely waiting for her next summons.
A half-smile and a glance at the boy as he's ushered through the room. With a sip of the rum, she asks, "I won't keep you from ... your engagements. But what, exactly, would you like me to bring back from the site?"
"Anything that you think a Chromy would buy. It'll be the biggest scrap-job tis town's evah seen!" Avin cackles madly. "Just whatever you can grab. I know that they'll be grabbing stuff too - I just want you to grab something for me and we'll both get what we want out of it."
"Understood." With that, pretty little Ari stands. She sets the glass on the desk, only one sip taken. "Your boy probably needs this more than I do," she comments. Then she adds, "I'll stick around town until your Chromers show up. This place got a place to hole-up that won't get me on the wrong end of a robbery?"
"Bruce!" the boss calls out to one of his guards which is apparently not present in the room. A younger man, perhaps in his late twenties, comes into the room from outside and he peers from the woman and then to Avin. "Take this Runner and show her the Deck - then, when she wants something more permanent get her a room over at Wanda's. Got it?" The long-haired man nods and adds, "Sure boss..." and holds open the curtain for Ari to follow him.
"Thanks Bruce," Arianna says, then heads for the indicated exit. "That's good rum. See ya around, Avin."