Author Topic: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm  (Read 22192 times)

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5130 on: March 10, 2019, 03:15:54 pm »
Now that she was sitting next to her, the person Jennifer was already thinking of as "the hussar" seemed even more vulnerable and nervous than before. Cherise was trying though and in the presence of people she would have spent her time hunting, and the absence of the armor she used to wear, was admirable. Last time Jennifer had seen this woman, the only part of her she'd actually been able to see  was her head. A round unfriendly face topped by a mop of county cork red hair like a load of limp springs. The grim look from before hadn't suited her, but Jenny thought the new look of nervous fear suited her even less. Without the light power armor, Cherise was built like a small truck. Where Jennifer was smooth and feminine, Cherise was lightly muscled and somewhat imposing. The overall impression was a lady who could and would knock the teeth out of the skull of any man dumb enough to try getting fresh with her. It had been her idea to sit close.

"To get used to being near you..." She explained. Jennifer sighed and made a gesture. Nearby, Lolita had been watching and when the gesture was given the new chef ordered the old chef to get out a fresh plate of fries. It had only taken a moment to explain their part in the meeting. To Jenny's surprise though, Cherise hadn't missed it and appreciated the effort as a means of trying to get the woman to be more comfortable around her. So, they ate fries. Jennifer forcing herself to go slow and make sure Cherise got a fair share. When the plate was gone, only then would Jennifer talk business.

"So, I know you. Do you know me?" She asked. Cherise rubbed a cheek and thought. Jenny seemed familiar, but not quite. It took Jenny covering her ears with a hand to bring it back to her fully.

"From the bar! How did you get into New Bangor? Or... did it happen after?" Cherise asked. She was a gentle woman by nature it seemed and that was fine and good with Jenny. It would help her fit in better. What Jennifer knew about her though was what she wanted for her rangers.

"You'd be surprised how easy it is to hide them under a scarf and tuck my tail into a pair of way too big pants. I'm not mutated like the rest of these people anyway, but I doubt that matters much. Cherise- I can call you Cherise right? Good. Cherise, I need you."

Cherise chuckled at something that struck her funny, then said, "Sorry lady, I hardly know you. Besides that, I don't swing for that team anyway." Jenny cocked her head for a moment out of confusion, then burst out laughing. Both of them did in fact, and the tension between them seemed to melt away. Over by the kitchen, New Bangors former barman looked up at the commotion and grinned before getting back to his new work. Things would be alright.

"Holy shit lady," Jenny said when she got her breath back, "You sure know how to turn a girl down gently. Joking aside, that's not what I meant. Listen. I would like your talents for a job."

"My talents?"

"Yeah. Fighting. Tracking. All that stuff. Instead of going after people though, I had something else in mind. Are you in?" Jennifer asked casually, thinking that she'd loosened the woman up enough.

"No." Cherise said, "I just got here and someone is already trying to get me to do something without explaining what's going on. I didn't agree to come here of all places just to start doing more dirty work."

"I'm getting to it, but I need to do some scouting first. Can I at least get a maybe out of you?"

"No. If you want me to help, then your going to need to share some details."

Jennifer squirmed a little in her chair and looked around. She'd been somewhat subtle about this whole thing up to this point mostly because she wasn't sure it wouldn't get out that she was up to something. She didn't want it getting back to this Hoyt guy and ruining the whole plan before it was even formulated. At the same time, she really wanted Cherise. Jenny had never formally met the woman, but her reputation back in New Bangor had been enough to keep Atomos away. Rumors that the huntress could smell mutants. A stupid rumor, but tempting considering all the strange things in the world. Especially when the ranger had been spying. Cherise was watching her carefully, then broke the silence of Jenny's thoughts with a request.

"Take me with you when you do your scouting." She said. That was an idea. Not a bad one either. Perfect in fact, it would give Jenny a chance to get some more personal discussion with the woman and share her plans without fear of it getting around.

"Yeah, that sounds acceptable." She said and offered her hand, "Tomorrow first thing in the morning, I'll meet you in the foyer and we'll move out."

"Well, alright. You've got a deal I suppose, but don't be surprised if I don't show up." Cherise said a little despondently.

"Don't say it like that, c'mon. It'll be fine. I've already got a code name for you and everything."

"Codename? Listen lady, I haven't agreed to anything yet and you're already throwing code names and shit around. Good god, It's like when I- er..." Cherise looked around and lowered her voice, "When I was conscripted..."

"I swear to god," Jenny said slyly, "It's not going to be like that. How does 'Hussar' sound?"

"It sounds dumb. What about you?" Cherise asked, scowling. Jenny didn't know what a hussar was, but liked the sound of it. As for Cherise, her brother had been a hobby historian and absolutely mad about cavalry. The old unit didn't describe her in the least, but if this was how it was going to be then this girl with the ears and tail wasn't going to be dissuaded.

"It's Atomos outside the center, but don't worry about that for now. Just try to relax and meet some of the people you'll be helping out around here. In the morning, things will look so much better."

Catnip stared at her tail and tried to get it to move. She wasn't sure how she sometimes managed to get it to twitch, but she'd been told that it could articulate and she thought that would be just peachy. She stared at it and it continued to not move. 'Maybe I should be doing something else...' she thought, 'It's a nice enough day, maybe Kathrine will go on a walk with me?' Kathrine would go of course, she wouldn't dream of not going. She pushed that idea away as Kathrine was napping upstairs. The maid rarely did anything for herself and so the nap was, to Catnip, a small show of self indulgence on her girlfriends part. A bit of self indulgence Catnip would allow to go on unimpeded.

 It was the first time in quite awhile for Catnip where she didn't feel like working. Meeting with guests, building things, fixing things. It was all fun, but it was work. Satisfying work. Even Catnip couldn't work all the time though. She looked over at Kathrine's guitar sitting at the end of the couch and considered trying it out. No, that was out of the question. Last time she'd so much as plucked a string, Kathrine had come down stairs and assumed that Catnip had wanted to hear her play. No no no. No extra work for Kathrine. Catnip wracked her brain for something to do. Games with Dee? No, he was busy with Medeina and Mica. Cartoons? She wasn't allowed to watch cartoons anymore. See what Roxanne was up to? Roxanne was very likely busy with whatever it was she needed a meeting place for.

She picked up a chew stick from the jar on the table and gnawed it thoughtfully. Through the window, she caught a glimpse of Hector and Floyd coming up to the house with someone new in tow. A social call? An introduction maybe? She went to the door and threw it open just as Hectors fist came up to knock. Perhaps a social call would be fine, so long as it wasn't a business one. Maybe the new person would be fun.

"Hector! Floyd! Who's your friend?" Catnip asked cheerily but a little quietly. She was already going over in her head how to go about the tasks Kathrine usually took care of when there were guests. First, answer door. Check. Next, show them to the living room. That was easy enough. "Come in, sit down guys. Er, Mr. Lowe, Mr. Price, and Ms..." She realized she had asked but hadn't yet got the name of the new girl. "Wait, uh, I've done it out of order. Just a sec."

"Good afternoon Nip, this is Branches. She lives across the new lake. Branches, this is Catnip. If you need someone to fix something, you can come to her and she'll take care of it." Hector introduced, then asked, "Where's Kathrine Nip?"

"Sleeping, just leave her be, I can do the hosp-ee-tality thing." Catnip explained, "Come in, sit down. I'll get you guys some food and stuff." She wasn't quite as adept at house keeping and serving as Kathrine, but Catnip would be butched if she was going to make Kathrine get up and do this. Even if she would be happy to do so. She brought out a bag of stale pretzels and a large mason jar of sun tea. All the while, the wooden dowel bobbed up and down fitfully and Branches watched it curiously. "Want one?" Catnip asked when she noticed the one eyed girl watching her chew stick. There was something about the pale girl that Catnip liked. The wide curious eye and bright rice paper white skin reminded her of Mica. Or rather, Branches visually reminded her of Snowball. Snowball had looked out at the small world the children of lab X7 knew with a worldly curiousity under her golden blond hair. Snowball had tripped up during testing, tripped over a skitter and buried under a pile of stinging metal robots. Then she'd been taken away for christmas.

"Nip?" Floyd asked, waving a hand in front of Catnips face, "Y'all right?" She nodded sheepishly and gave Branches a stick stained a golden shade by the honey that had been soaked into it.

"Yeah just thinkin'." She said. Back in the cupboard under the stair, she found a jar of pink and white frosted cookies shaped like animals. Catnip hated white chocolate, but these animal cookies were somehow acceptable to her. Aside from the hard candies that were always present on the coffee table, these cookies were one of her favorites for casual visits. She took a moment to dust off and consider an eight pack of apple juice when a shadow blocked out the light from the door.

"Need any help Nip?" Floyd asked. Catnip handed him the apple juice and the jar, then added a spray can labeled 'squeezy cheese.'

"I think that'll be good." She said, "But I can handle all this. Gimme gimme so I can carry it back. I wanna do it!"

"Nip." Floyd said in a hushed tone, "I don't think I have to tell you to be extra nice, but that girl in there... The center got attacked recently and she lost her sister." Catnip cocked her head and stopped trying to prise the food from Floyd's arms. She was lost again for a moment, thinking about her own siblings.

"Catnip?" Came the small voice at the top of the stairs above her, bringing Catnip out of her memories before she could sink in. Branches (entirely ficticious, not that any of them knew it) tragedy was something Catnip and Mica were all too familiar with. It was a well she could fall into and have difficulty climbing up out of again, and so it was fortunate that Kathrine had stirred and heard the talking downstairs.

"It's alright Kathrine, we have guests." Catnip said. She took everything from Floyd but the can of cheese and rushed them to the table before Kathrine could snap into "maid mode" and start serving. "I've got it all taken care of, you don't have to do anything." When she looked to the maid, she saw the mix of adorable sleepiness and groggy petulance all over her girlfriend. "Don't be mad k?"

Branches meanwhile gave the stick an experimental chew. It was sweet and splintery, but not horrible. It could certainly keep the mouth busy. Catnip felt right to her. Open and friendly, willing to please but not soft. She'd been described like some kind of business lady or a strict mechanic. From what the homunculus could see, Catnip was doting and sweet. Kathrine eyed Branches from the top of the stairs. In a little bit, when Kathrine had fully woken up and forced Catnip to settle in, she would see that Kathrine was certainly the most spun sugar and warm cocoa of the two. Even if her face didn't show it. Over the course of the visit, Catnip and Kathrine would hold their attention with talk and food and entertainment, stretching what had been intended to be a short visit into a much longer one.

By the time Branches, Hector, and Floyd were allowed to leave, the sun had progressed through it's usual climb across the sky and had begun to sink below the tree line in the west. Catnip had told a harrowing tale from Arizona and Kathrine had got out a board game which they'd gone through several times. In all, the visit had so far been the most enjoyable time Branches had had in her short life. Floyd departed for his own home, rubbing his back and waving, while Hector saw the Branches.

"Sorry it took so long," He said, "those two are fond of guests. Also it seems Catnip really took a shine to you, so that's good. It's not hard to get on her good side, but it's also not easy to get so close so quickly." Hector rubbed the back of his head. He knew about what Floyd had told Catnip in the mechanics snack cupboard and suspected that maybe that had something to do with it. "Anyways, if you want I can take you home. It's still light out, but it's not easy in the dark."

It was an innocent suggestion but all the same, it made Branches feel uneasy and a little embarassed. A little light and flgihty even. Someone as important and strong as Hector would offer to take a simple homunculus back to her mud hut in the woods? She realized that he would probably think she was some kind of savage if he saw where she lived. Compared to the houses on the farm, Branches might as well have lived in a dirty hole in the river bank.

"N-no, I can take care of myself fine..." She said quietly.

"Are you sure? If you want, you can stay around here til tomorrow. I understand that... Well, I mean I can imagine what it must be like to come home and find your house... empty..." Branches grinned at the ground, unable to meet his gaze. She was touched by his genuine concern for her fake loss. Letting him walk her back would just make her feel terrible for making him feel pity for a sad event that never happened.

"No, it's okay. Thank you though. If I can't take it, I'll just go to Helens." She said. Hector bowed, and the spots of red that caused in her face went unnoticed in the failing light. By the time his head came back up, she'd already turned away and was on the move towards the gate and the bridge beyond.

Yellow Jacket and her crew lay in wait just beyond the tree line, looking out at the ruined shack by the lakes edge and watching for the return for the little cyclopian bitch who'd stolen her gangs property and humiliated her men. They'd trashed the little bitches camp upon their arrival, scattering the little dirt statues like bowling pins whenever the things tried to mount a defense. It was dangerous though, earlier in the day her other man had met them on the road with a hell of a story to tell. The iron marshal was in the area and had laid his protection over the girl. Not that Yellow Jacket gave a tin shit. He'd passed on a warning from the dipshit who fancied himself a knight, and that pissed her off.

"Fuck you..." She grumbled to herself thinking about that warning. The sound of an owl down by the river splashed a bucket of cold water in her face, dismissing her rage for attentiveness in an instant. That was the signal. The little bitch was home. Yellow Jacket peered across the lakeside clearing in the low light towards the rough new path the homunculus had cleared at Helen's behest earlier in the morning, and caught a glimpse of her. A young woman with pale white skin and one big eye at the center of her face beneath yellow hair the color of corn silk. Yellow Jacket tensed. Something off about the girl. It was surely the girl who'd done for her men, but she looked odd. After a bit of watching, Yellow Jacket placed the look. The girl was dreamy, just sort of ambling around like a young woman day dreaming. That eased the tension a little. It would make her easy to take when she got close enough.

When the thoughts of ambush started to formulate though, the girl suddenly snapped to attention. The house was wrecked and it wasn't subtle, she'd noticed before getting close enough for Yellow Jackets gang to close the trap perfectly. That was fine, if her men had followed directions, then several men would be coming up the path behind the girl at that moment. When they came into view, Yellow Jacket stepped into view.

"Sup cunt." She said, "I think you have something that belongs to me." Branches eye widened and she spun about to see the men coming in behind her. "Don't even think about it, we've got you-"

Branches bolted right at them, and to Yellow Jackets horror, her men were sent scattering like the little clay people her own men had kicked and smashed upon their arrival. The first to try and grab Branches was socked in the gut and thrown bodily aside. The next received a kick to the groin that lifted him then tossed him five or six feet straight up, a wound that would no doubt castrate him. A broken leg and pulped face later, the girl was vanishing back the way she'd come and Yellow Jacket was screaming after her. They never caught up, but what they found when they followed was a surprise. Not far away, just across the road south of Branches camp in fact, was a thick line of trees. It was the palisade within that line of trees in the swamp that was the surprise.

"So she's gone in?" Yellow Jacket asked. The man who'd scouted the place nodded enthusiastically, he'd managed to keep up just outside visible range and saw the young woman slip over the wall. It wasn't hard to pick her out in the dark. "Alright then." Yellow Jacket decided, "Keep scouting, we go after her before dawn."
« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 09:04:21 am by saltmummy626 »
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