(Setting/Bar)Smoke filled Midnight Hideaway

| >Within a small hole in the wall in Midnight, facing the waterfront was established a tiny bar, with a singular counter and a row of seats.
>The walls were adorned with AR banners and adverts, slowly passing by endlessly as the smoke from cigars and other cigarettes lingered within the air. There was barely any airflow within the small room, and so despite being empty other than a tall bartender and his smouldering cigar, the cloudy veil never lifted.
>Rain fell outside.

| >>803715
>A diminutive woman enters the bar, shaking off the rain from her shoulder-lenght fiery red hair and the garrish Sukajan jacket she wore over a short skirted french maid uniform.
>Mikamo walked towards one of the counter's seats and plopped down unto it with a sigh.
>She brought out a small cigar case from her jacket pocket and started considering her options.

| >Another woman enters the bar, her vintage trenchcoat and munition boots in subdued colors immediately out of place amongst the bright AR banners. She herself was just done with a cigarette, blowing out a puff of smoke as she steps inside and look around. She lets the cigarette drops and crushes it with the heel of her boots and make her way towards the bartender.

>She takes a seat.

| >A thin man enters the bar wearing a t-shirt featuring some indistinguishable robot from an obscure, ancient anime series and a bright red Hawaiian shirt like a jacket over it. His hair is slicked back and bleached blonde. On his face are gaudy tortoise shell glasses. He pulls a cigarette from a box in his pocket and begins struggling to find a lighter anywhere on his person. He makes his way toward the bartender.

| >>803767
>The woman in the trenchcoat looks at the man and produces a lighter from her pocket. She hands it towards the man.

"Need a light?"

| >>803768

>The man startles at the question. Nearly dropping his cigarette in the process.

"Y-yeah, sure! You seem kinda familiar. Were you at the restaurant during the uh...*incident*?"

>Taichi says the word 'incident' like he's trying to be covert.

| >>803776
"What a small world, if it isn't Mr.Karaage man. Take a lickin' and keep on kickin', huh?"

>Elise replies teasingly with a grin, lighting the lighter for Taichi.

"Sorry, didn't remember your name."

| >>803779

>Taichi lights his cigarette off the lighter.

"Taichi. My friends call me Taichi, and you're... Emily right?"

"Gideon decided I needed a day off, I've been putting in overtime to fix the damage and empty out his office."

>He takes a drag off of his newly lit cigarette.

| >The Bartender simply looks over >>803766 and>>803767 before pointing behind him to a large handwritten menu.
>It was quite the simple one too, in large brash lettering, it read:


>Underneath, in a more restrained free-hand is written:

"Rare Cigars and tobacco also available here."

>The bartender did not utter a singular word, seemingly waiting for your orders.

| >His silence seemed almost expected from such a man as he was.
>He was the tall sorts, yet his hunched forward disposition made him appear much shorter than he was.
>His black hair was straight, long and tied up into a long bundle which he draped over his unimpressive shoulders.
>His eyes were sunken in, making their somber coloration appear even darker under the prominent arcs of his orbits.
>And his nose was long and aquiline, giving him a fierce air like that of a bird of prey.

| >He was obviously not of the beautiful kind, yet his appearance was well groomed; his clothes proper and refined, which indicated a gentleman of the sporting type, his anachronistic look was antithetical to the brigthly lit, smoky neon locale.
>He was in one word "odd", but those who wished to spin the narrative in a more gracious way would certainly reffer to this man, whose name had yet to be heard, as a "mysterious" type of character.

| >The small maid, having finally picked out a cigar she liked from the metal box she had with her, knocked it closed and with a practiced hand, cut the end and lit it up using a disposable match.
"I'll have a seltzer', with nothin' in it boss."
>She said, in a rough tone.
>She glared at the other two who came in.
>She said.

| >>803780
"Nice try, but it's Elise."

>She replies, pocketing her lighter away.

"Yeah, messy one wasn't it."

"Well that got the point across alright. You have a beer, chief?"

>Elise comments before asking the bartender.

| >>803788
>The man leans under the counter, before retrieving a can of Kiririn light and placing it in front of you.


>He says in a raspy baritone voice

| >>803785

>Taichi hails the bartender with an ounce of reluctance.

"I'll take some gin, neat please."

>He sighs and speaks of the situation at the restaurant.

"Damn it! Sorry! Elise! Elise! It really was a rough one, I'm still trying to unpack everything."

>He waves over at the cigar smoking girl and offers a handshake.

"Hey there, Taichi."

| >>803800
>Elise nods as she takes the can.

"It's fine. At least you got the E right."

>Elise says as she cracks the can open.

"Besides, you probably had a rough week."

>Elise raises the can as a greeting.


| >A grizzled looking 40 or 50-something-year-old enters the bar, average in stature and largely unremarkable, save for his impeccable posture. He combs through his salt-and-pepper shag with a few fingers as he surveys the few patrons milling about the place with quiet disinterest.

>He goes to wave the smoke from before his face; then, realizing such a motion is useless, drops his hand into his pocket and approaches the counter.

"... Evening."

>A beat.

"Whiskey ginger, please."

| >>803807
>From behind him, the man grasped a bottle of spirits, and without any theatrics, poured a few ounces into an art-deco style flat bottomed glass.
>He slid it over to you, alongside the bottle itself, although he did not utter a single word, you could guess his unspoken intent; "Feel free to pour it yourself if you want more".
>The gin itself seemed to be of Dutch origin.

| >A very, very tall woman enters the room, ducking under the door with a smile as she breathes in the atmosphere
>Standing at over 2 meters tall, the lady is hard not to notice, and the black bangs hiding half her face only highlight her visible ruby red eye as it scans the room
"This is a smell alright, smoke and spirits."
>The suit she's wearing only emphasizes the sheer scale of her body, especially around the chest
"I'll take vodka, master, raw as I like."
>She seats herself

| >>803823
>The Bar tender rapidly mixes the drink for you in a collins glass, before sliding it over.
>Condensation pools upon the sides of the glass, affirming it's coolness.

| >>803827

>Taichi takes his glasses, nods it toward the bartender and takes a sip.

"Thanks, boss."


>His face crumple a bit, how does Gomi drink this shit? He thinks. Recognizing the voice of the new patron he snaps himself out of it, sits up straight and leans on the bar.

"E-Eris! Why if it isn't my favorite space captain! Fancy meeting you here."

| >>803958
>The woman beams at Taichi
"Oh! You also on a night on the town, Taichi?"
>The woman pulls out her cigar case and puts one to her lips
"Fate sure works in mysterious ways, for us to meet like that again."
>She nods to herself

| >>803965

>Taichi shoots a finger gun at Eris.

"Sure am! Haven't had a night off in weeks, I was gonna hit up some bar Gomi was clamoring about. Something about a talking dog but I guess some shit went down there too."

>He shrugs and struggles through another sip of his gin.

"I guess that worked out in the end, seeing as I get to talk to you again."

| >>803951
"... Thanks."

>The man slowly makes his way over to an available seat. In the midst of his wandering, he eyes Eris curiously.


>... Didn't know they made them that tall around here.

| >>803916 >>803958 >>803965 >>804005
>Meanwhile, Elise sizes up the newly-arrived woman curiously. She silently sips her beer while listening to the pair's conversation.

>Finally, she bumps Taichi's shoulder and says, in almost a whisper;

"You seem awfully fond. Who's she, want to introduce me?"

>Her face twists back into a sly grin as she continues, in an even quieter voice.

>"She's your type?"

| >>804005
>Eris grins widely
"Yeah, always cool seeing a familiar face at the watering hole, so to speak."
>She flicks some of her errant bangs off her face as she lights her cigar
"Still, bar with a talking dog... sounds like one hellava place. Also sounds like a health inspector's nightmare."
>She leans forward as she usually does, trying to make herself a little bit smaller

| >>804064

>Taichi's face turns redder than his shirt and he shoots the rest of his drink, which causes him to cough a few times.

"M-maybe, what's it to you? She's just so *cool*!"


>Perhaps another round of alcohol is called for.

"Bartender can you hit me with another one of these?"


>Taichi points his thumb to Elise.

"You remember Elise? She was at the restaurant when everything went down."

| >>804071

>Taichi's eyes track Eris as she leans forward and he sits up as straight as possible in an attempt to appear taller.

"Still, what are the chances, huh? I went out to escape my demons but looks like the gangs all here. Not that I mind it."

| >>804073 >>804074
>The tall woman chuckles
"Yeah, the town's big and small at the same time... run into the unexpected folk when you well, least expect it."
>She turns to Elise with a smile
"Yeah, I do recall, that one night's one I'm not forgetting anytime soon. Pleasure getting really acquainted, Elise."
>She lets out some smoke, pointing her face away from the group for a brief second

| >>804073
>Elise stifles a laugh.

"Nothing at all."

"Oh, nice to meet you as well."

>Elise replies as she turns to Eris, still smiling from Taichi's reaction.

"Eris, is that right?"

| >>804089

>Taichi sheepishly scratches the back of his neck and starts digging to satisfy his curiosity.

"So Eris, last time we met I said you reminded me a little bit of the big dudes from Macross. Where are you actually from? And why are you here?"

| >>804091
"Well, Eris is my last name. You can just call me Malioka instead if you feel like it."
>She chuckles
>She turns to Taichi with a smile on her lips
"Me? I'm from The Frontier. The Scutum-Centaurus arm I think it's called here. It's... well... quite the rough place. As to what I'm doing here, I just wanted to retire from my old work, ended up here for a bunch of reasons."

| >>803807 >>803818
>The cigar smoking redhead nods to both Taichi and Elise, she also gives Malioka a good stare, her scowl seems awfully unfriendly.
"Pleasure's mine, it's Mikamo, written as Beautiful and Sweet."
>She says with a slightly joking tone, the way she speaks at the same time as she smokes a full sized cigar is anything short of amazing.
>Her ears perk up at the mention of "Gomi"
"You friends with Gomi girl, I met her once, how's she doin'"
>Mikamo asks.

| >>803916
>A glass filled with clear spirits makes its way to you from the tall, hawkish bartender, his sunken eyes betray none of the emotions one would expect being confronted by a woman of her size.


>The tender refills your glass, sliding it back to you with a practiced motion.

| >>804180

>Taichi laughs and straightens his glasses with his index finger.

"Beautiful and sweet, huh? Then I suppose it's only fair, Taichirou. Gentle, one, clear."

>He looks up and takes a long drag off his cigarette.

"Ah, you met Gomi, huh? We used to run together back in the day and I
work with her brother now."

"She's actually in the hospital now, just got through fightin' for her life. She's getting better though, had to open a hole in her throat."

| >>804180
>The man nursing his whiskey ginger shifts in his seat, as if to settle in, or get comfortable... how convenient that this leaves an ear turned in Taichi and Eris' direction. Apparently, Mikamo isn't the only bar patron that recognizes Gomi's name. It's a unique one, that's for sure.


>The mention of her hospital stay produces a near-imperceptible raise of an eyebrow.

| >>804292
>Mikamo raises an eyebrow and scowls, or well she scowls more than she already was.
"This is why young folk..."
>She says, shrugging, she drops the cigar from her mouth and with a quick motion taps it over an ashtray.
"The fact that you're sayin' 'used to run' means you were apart of the gang she was then Omae? The Banshees was it?"
>She jams the cigar back into her mouth, puffing it once more
"Glad to hear she's livin' but can't say its fun to hear she's got in trouble'"

| >>804370

>Taichi makes a move towards an ashtray and taps a few times without looking, just to occupy his mind-- scared or potentially excited that he may have touched a nerve.

"S-sorry, didn't mean to piss you off."

"But yeah, we were Banshees nothing more than chinpira, really. Had a bunch of feuds with the other bosozoku gangs downtown."

| >>804370

>Taichi returns the cigarette to his person.

"I'm with you on that. I'm worried about her. I was genuinely afraid I'd never get to talk to her again but, she's tough. Maybe things will be better for all of us when she gets out."

| >>804311
>From his shirt pocket, the man produces a phone. He sweeps it's lock screen aside, only to thumb idly through whatever had been hidden beneath. Looks like a bunch of text, with a chart or a graph thrown in every few paragraphs.


"... Hmmph."

>He scoffs quietly to himself through a mouthful of rye and Dry. Has he really become so dull that all he can think to do after work is peruse journal recommendations from his colleagues?

| >>804441
"Gangs, huh... that really takes me back..."
>Malioka nods with a nostalgic expression
"Sometimes you gotta fight for your place in this world... better if you don't need to, though."
>She sighs
"Still, I'm glad to know the young lass back there pulled through. Guess the good doctor really pulled through, again."
>She grins

| >>804441
>Mikamo raises her eyebrow even higher.
>She chuckles and smirks after a realization dawns upon her.
"Haa, don't be thinkin' I'm angry, I just have a bad case of restin' bitch face. I get it a lot y'see."
>She does have a scary face, her sanpaku eyes are slanted enough to make her look like she's constantly glaring.
"But hey, 'tleast ya recognize you were chinpiras Omae, worst than any small-timer are those who think they're big shots"
>She sneers

| >>804179
"I'll stick with Eris if you don't mind."

>Elise replies.

"Jeez, that was no joke, huh? They opened a hole in her throat?"

>She comments, finishing her can of beer.

"I wouldn't want to mess with the dude, that's for sure."

>She turns to the bartender.

"Another beer or two?"

>She says.

| >>804525

>Taichi cringes as he sips on his drink, it's not tasting any better.

"Interesting. Hard to think after living a life of adventure like that you'd come to stay *here* in this city versus anywhere else in the galaxy."


"We never even invaded opposing turf, it was all a game to us, basically."

"Gideon was a fuckin' demon. *our* demon. Nobody could touch us when he joined in on a brawl."

| >>804549

>Taichi laughs.

"So, mess with who? Gideon did the damage. That stringbean of a doc drilled the hole. That guy's a good dude. Just wish he got to eat his meal.

| >>804556 >>804549
>At Elise's words, Eris simply nods
"Well, last names are more formal, good to keep some distance, we only met once before."
>She nods, but her gaze is profound and filled with nostalgia
>She then turns to Taichi
"Well, it was happenstance, the great chaos of the universe saw fit for me to end up here, I guess? Plus, my mother was born here, so I always had the intention of visiting... not quite so soon to be honest with you."
>She laughs

| >>804549
>The Bartender hands you a can of beer once more, taking great care as he removed the empty one you left behind from the countertop.

| >>804556
"That Gideon-san ever work for the Yak? Think I mighta' heard the name before y'see."
>She smiles, the idea of a man known as a "demon" seems to have enticed her.

| >>804559
"Mostly Gideon. Doc's just doing his job."

>Elise says as she cracks open the second can of beer.

>Elise nods back.

"Bouchard's my last name, but you can stick with Elise. Most people call me that anyways."

>She replies.

| >>804637
"Gotcha'. Nice to really make your acquaitance, Elise."
>Eris smiles and leans back into her seat, taking in the atmosphere while listening to the conversation
>Her only visible eye peers all around the room as she absentmindedly works through the cigar in her mouth
"...Smells real nice in here."
>She mumbles, her mind is clearly wandering by now

| >>804580

>Taichi raises an eyebrow, as he leans back in shock.

"Your mom was born *here*? In GC? Does that mean you're half or that we've had *visitors* here long as I've been alive? I guess no matter what the answer is it's still crazy to think about."


>He scratches his head.

"That's what he tells me, 'Shimohira Clan' or something. I've tried grilling him about it but he's pretty dodgy with his answers. I think something happened."

| >>805073
>Eris snaps back to attention before scratching the back of her head
"Ah, no, my mom adopted me. She's also from Washington, not GC... as far as I know though, she isn't human... maybe?"
>Eris tilts her head, her brows knit
"She... never talked much about herself, at least, not in a way that was easily understood."
>She smiles in the end
"I never really minded though, whoever she was doesn't matter, she's just mom to me."
>She scratches her cheek, a light blush on her face

| >>804559
>Taichi's description of the doctor caring for Gomi earns him a loud chortle from the graying man. He holds a hand to his mouth as he tries to stifle his laughter into a mere snicker.


>Tall talk for a kid looking like a sawed-off flag pole.

| >>805073
>Mikamo smiles widely
"Ah, Shimohira is it? He wasn't the guy with a metal hair-do was he? I think an Ototou-bun of mine may have told me about some weird stories involving their clan y'see..."
>She nods to herself slowly
"Tough life out there in the Kumi, And ya got a crazy amount of weirdoes and losers callin' it home."
>She puffs smoke once more
"I would know."
>She points to a small pin badge attached unto her Sukajan jacket, its a Monshou.
"I'm retired now though"

| >>805093

>Taichi smiles big and gives a firm nod.

"That's a great way to look at things, I think. Sometimes a parent just seems like another species, you know?


"That certainly *sounds* like Gideon, the metal hair thing happened during his time with them."

>He shuffles around his glass as he speaks.

"I don't feel like he thought he had a choice in joining. All he knows is fighting and leading other punks. He's not exactly brainy, but he's the *right* type of dumb."

| >>805106

>Taichi shoots the rest of his next drink, he's beginning to look a little red in the face. He picks up on the laughing man and turns to face him.

"Somethin' funny there chief? You've been doing a lot of listenin' but not alotta talkin'"

"If you got somethin' to say, say it."

| >>805207
"Seems like the man's well loved, ain't that nice"
>Mikamo says, with a smirk, she's probably just trying to smile but her face makes it look like she's mocking you...
>Her eyes don't betray any ill intent though, so she probably does mean it.
"Glad to see it eh?"
>She gives a glance to the older man at the counter, whom Taichirou called out
>She waves
"Yo Ossan, how's the night treatin' ya?"

| >>805217
>The man exhales through his nose sharply, last traces of mirth fading from his features, save for the wry grin that lingers and twists at his lips.

"... First time I've ever heard anybody call that man a >>>stringbean."

>Mikamo receives a politely raised hand in response.

"Not too badly. Yourself?"

>"Ossan", huh? Must be getting a little rough and tattered around the edges.

| >>805277
>Mikamo nods
"Good as can be, work's behind me for today."
>A tiny grin forms on her face
"Name's Mikamo, What should I call you, unless you prefer Ossan"
>She says, jokingly

| >>805277

"Well, lemme tell ya."

>Taichi jokingly flexes his non-existent muscles.

"It takes one to know one. Seems like you and Ron must be buds then, huh?"

| >>805291
"Same here."

>He takes another sip of his cocktail, before setting down it's glass beside him with a quiet "clink".

"... Max. Pleasure to meet you, Mikamo."

>"Buds", huh? I'd rather kick dead whales down the beach.

">>>Roy and I are... colleagues."

| >>805303
>The girl gives Max a wolfish grin.
"That's a good name, Short and sweet."
>She leans unto the counter ever so slightly
"What's a man like you doin' out her tonight? I'm sure there are way better bars out there, no offense to you master"
>She addresses the bartender with a grin
>Mikamo chuckles
"Omae, isn't this the second time someone corrects you on names? are you perhaps bad with them?"
>She's giggling now

| > Now entering the bar was a tall, black-haired catboomer woman. She gently set an umbrella by the door before walking towards the bar, her footsteps heavy and thumping against the floor.

> She paused upon seeing a few familiar faces in a bar... That means she was becoming more normal, she knew more people.

> Approaching the bar she sat down and took off her corporate Himura jacket; dressed now with a tight white t-shirt and her black gloves. She fidgeted and hugged her arms.

| >>805311
>Max chuckles.

"Does it's job. I'd say I get a fair bit of use out of it."

>... What /is/ he doing out here?

"... What kinda place would you say an 'ossan' like me's supposed to frequent after work?"

>This is certainly no regular pit stop on his way home. In fact, it's quite a bit out of the way.

| >>805327
>The girl seems to think for a few seconds before pointing to the cigar hanging from her lips
"Well, you just ain't lookin' like the smoking type, you look like coffee's more your thing y'know, ya wouldn't have tried and waved the air away like you did when you walked in if that wasn't the case, am I wrong?"
>She says sharply, a smile adorning her youthful face.
"You're no slouch as well! Your back is straighter than mine! Gotta be some big man y'know!"
>She says, laughing

| > Tierra regards the woman and the man, finding their conversation somewhat amusing before she turns to the bartender and clears her throat.

"Pardon me, I believe I would like an old fashioned, sub rye for the bourbon, and make it a double, please."

> She then turned her attention to the others as a soft blue glow formed along the front of her throat. She recognized three of them, she was surprised by the maid. They really were that popular, it seems.

| >>805354
>The maid notices your stare and waves, keeping her gaze on Max
"Yo Nee-chan."
>She says

| >>805356

> Tierra paused upon being addressed, then raised a hand in greeting.

"Ohaiy-- Hello, I apologize if my stare caught your attention. It was your outfit, as I had dressed up similarly for the Halloween holiday. My agent told me it was a popular choice, I just did not expect to see it outside of... the holiday."

> She gently tapped the counter, her fingers made a heavy thumping sound.

| >>805311

>Taichi violently crumples forward and swings his arms down on the bar.

"FUCK! His name is *ROY*?! I already made him a nametag and a uniform!"

| >>804910
"You like the smell of smoke, Eris?"

>Elise asks curiously, looking at Eris's expression.

"Jeez, you don't need to be that loud, you know."

>Elise says, having winced slightly from the sudden shout, which also brought her attention back to Taichi.

"What's this about nametag and a uniform? You trying to recruit the doc to fry chicken for you or something?"

| >>805429

>Taichi palms his face with both hands and groans.

"I dunno why Gideon wanted me to do it, I just *did* it-- and I fucked it up."

| >>805592
>The answer did nothing to satisfy Elise's curiousity. Actually, it had the opposite effect; she's now even more determined to hear what Taichi did... or failed to do.

"Did what?"

>Elise replies, her tone rushed.

| >>805601

>He releases his face from his palms.

"Get the nametag and the uniform made! It's already printed, and it says his name is *Ron*! I suspect he intends it as a gift and his name isn't even right!"

| >>805207
>Eris chuckles
"Yeah... my mom was a very special person."
>She then sighs, pure melancholy
"Haven't seen her in a while, she has that tendency to just vanish for years at a time."
>She huffs more smoke
"But hey, that's enough about me, how about your family, Taichi?"
>She asks, a grin on her lips

| >>805354
>The man behind the counter slowly, methodically even, prepares the drink for which you asked.
>Soon enough, a double old-fashioned, without any garnish makes its way into your general area.


| >>805696


> She sipped from the glass, content with the flavor although missing the aromatic orange twist.

> Tierra sat facing forward, but listened in on the nearby conversations.

> Perhaps there was something more to be gleamed from observation that she had not yet learned?

| >>805690

>Taichi laughs a little embarrassed at his recent freak out.

"You wanna hear about *me*? Well, my parents are kinda unique in the fact that they were both never around but at the same time *very* present. Corpos, the both of 'em."

"They were never there when I needed them but always there to tell me I wasn't good enough."

>He puts out his cigarette by dunking it down into a nearby ash-tray.

"Just wait until they heat I dropped out of college to be a fry-cook"

| >>805604
"I'm sure you'll be fine, just get a new nametag."

>Elise suggests.

| >>805828
"Sounds real rough. Had a teammate with that sort of parents back in the day, guy had to restrain himself from breaking bones everytime he heard from the pricks."
>She sighs and puts the cigar back to her lips
"Still, good on you for doing what you want, so long as you're happy, nobody in the world can bring you down."
>She winks... you think?
"Nobody but yourself can be you, important to remember that. No parent gets to decide who you are."

| >>805840

>Taichi starts talking with his hands.

"You don't understand! Gideon already took it to the hospital, the deed is done!"


>He starts to tear up, but chokes it back-- too much time around Gideon, he thinks.

"Thanks Eris, I think I probably needed to hear that, it's words like those that tell me you were a great captain."

>Taichi scratches his cheek.

"If I'm being honest, old mecha and space opera anime raised me more than my parents ever did."

| >>805932
"Haha, I've been introduced to those recently... I'd always thought the Harlock my mom spoke of was a real person so I felt like a moron..."
>Eris's cheeks have gone red as she laughs awkwardly
"Still, I'm glad to know space instills wander in people all around the place just like it did in me."
>She smiles again

| >>805932
"Oh, well, it can't be that bad. Send him another nametag later?"

>Elise continues.

"I don't think it's that big of a deal. Maybe Gideon will chew your ass off at the end of the day, but I doubt the doc would mind."

| >>806033

>Taichi sighs, and looks a little disappointed.

"It's not a big deal, but it *is* a big deal. I dunno how to explain it... He's trying to make friends with the doc, I think."


>His eyes widen and he smiles back.

"I dunno, getting to meet you makes me believe that Harlock might be a real dude. Someday, maybe. I'd like to go to space and free my soul from earth's gravity!"

| >>806089
>Elise cocks her head slightly.

"Oh? He's making friends with the doc? Interesting."

| >>806115
"Man, all of you talkin' about this doctor guy, makin' me feel left out of the loop..."
>Mikamo sighs in an exaggerated manner
"Some friend of you all? Why isn't he here to have a drink!"
>She's obviously not that interested in the "good doctor", but she seems to want in on the conversation.
>Boredom is the most probable reason.

| >>806126
"Nah, didn't know him, met him once and that's it."

>Elise answers.

"I don't think I caught your name."

| >>806135
>The redhead shrugs at your answer
My name's written Beautiful and Sweet, read as Mikamo, it's a pleasure to meet you"
>She says

| >>805344
>Max smirks.

"...I like being able to see a few feet in front of me. Don't mind the smell. I've got plenty of coworkers who light up."

>Mikamo's comment on his posture makes him stretch as he momentarily becomes more aware of the position of his limbs, the angle of his torso... the man couldn't slouch if he tried. He takes pride in that.

"Damned well better not be. Wouldn't be caught dead going under the knife for something >>>I'm usually reversing."

| >>805410 >>805592 >>805604
>Max decides to sit back and watch Taichi's theatrics, rather than get involved and react to them. None of the remarks he'd like to make are of the reassuring variety.

"You're not missing out."

>Max takes another sip of his drink, shuffling ice around in the frigid glass.

"He doesn't drink."

| >>806089
>Eris leans towards Taichi, wide grin on her face
"Yeah! Now that's the motivation you need! Hey, if you ever need a tour guide, just hit me up anytime!"
>She then leans back and gives him a reassuring hit on the back, not too weak, but not too strong

| >>806142
"That's a good name. I'm Elise, I don't really know what it means."

>Elise grins and replies. She holds out her hand for a handshake.

"Nice to meet you as well."

| >>805932

> Tierra hesitated, still listening in before she quietly turned to face the others and cleared her throat.

"Pardon me for interrupting, but I couldn't help but overhear... I'm Tierra, we met at your karaage restaurant."

> She tapped her fingers on the glass in front of her and 'smiled' sheepishly.

"You like mechs? I find they're... quite fascinating myself."

| >>806235

>Taichi gives Eris a thumbs up after recovering from the back pats; both physically and mentally, she's touching me!

"Damn straight! Careful giving me that offer because you *know* I couldn't refuse it."


>He waves at Tierra, happy to see her again.

"Oh, hey, Tierra! How you been?"

>He opens his button up, hawaiian shirt to reveal the mecha on his t-shirt, it's white with a tall cone-like head.

"I don't like mecha, I *love* it!"

| >>806306

> Tierra glanced down at Taichi's shirt. It wasn't any mech that she had seen before but... this was an opportunity! She could make and strengthen another bond of friendship by using a common bond.

"I uh... would you like to um... see a mech? I... know where one is and I've got clearance to bring guests."

> Appear normal, Tierra. Don't reveal that it's yours. Make it seem nonchalant. Someone else's mech and you're just allowed to show it off.

| >>806359

>Taichi looks puzzled but perks up at the thought.

"Y-you know where to find one? I've never seen a real one but much like going to space, I've always dreamt of being in the cockpit."

>He laughs and scratches the back of his neck.

"Even now, sometimes when I start my motorcycle it makes me wanna say 'Taichi! Ikimasu!'"

| >>806306
>Eris seems satisfied by the answer
"Guess I'll wait for your call one of those days. Yeah?"
>She then turns to Tierra
"Oh? A mech? What kind? Model? What kinda systems it running, software wise and weapons wise?"
>Her red eye is sparkling with excitement

| >>806499

"Ah, yes... it isn't space-worthy, but serves its purpose on the ground. Very stable and strong. I know what you mean, though."


> Tierra was momentarily taken aback by Eris' enthusiasm before beginning to respond in kind.

"Oh, um, it's a Himura Yamato-Class Heavy Mech, Model C, it's running Senko-Super Central Processors coupled with an on-board Hermes VI. Weapons wise, er... A Cyclone 30mm, a Taiga Rail Rifle, and Thumpers along with a few other systems.."

| >>806185
>Mikamo gives Max a good natured laugh
"Well, can't fault you for both of those things. And to be fair, my posture ain't the best either, maybe I should work on it."
>She nods to herself her posture isn't even that awful, it's almost like her slouch is calculated to make her appear less threating... with a face like hers, it isn't working at all.
"Just like me then huh, I just assumed all doctors liked to have a drink, they seem like the stressed out sorts y'see"

| >Outwardly, Max appears to quietly observe the conversation flowing along with drink around him-- his mind, however, has retreated deeply within. Some of what's been said requires reflection...

>Roy's been making a lot of friends during his "sabbatical". Interesting ones. Unusual ones. That trend he'd unintentionally created of endearing himself to people's loved ones seems to have followed him out of the hospital.

"He's got issues."

>... It's disgusting.

| >>806848
>... Where did he meet this loudly dressed dweeb, though? The one in hysterics over the name tag.

>... A karaage restaurant...? Max tunes back in, a little.


>Wonder if he had some company along with him.

| >>803715
>A woman with strangely immaculate skin made her way into the bar wearing a white dress shirt tucked into a plaid green long skirt with a pair of brown leather shoes carrying a black single golf club carrying bag on her shoulder. She walked over to a seat by the counter and sat down.

"A whisky and a can of coke please.. if you don't have coke then just a whisky on the rocks."

| >>806975
>The man behind the counter retrieves a bottle of whisky, a glass and a can of coke and places them before you.
>He does not bat an eye at your attire or choice of golfing implements, instead his eyes wander once more into the waving noise of the AR banners behind the customers.

| >>806848
>Mikamo shrugs
"We all have 'issues', although that colleague of yours seems like a piece of work"
>Her lips warp into a wolfish grin
"But Doctor's a large term, y'see, what about you Max? I'm assumin' here since you said this Doc was a colleague of yours that you're some sort of 'health specialist'. Mind tellin' me of what, who knows I might be good business one day."
>She seems sligtly interested, but she's mostly asking out of boredom.

| >>806992
>The woman nods to the bartender.
"Thank you, sir."
>She cracks open the bottle and poured around 1/3 of the glass full of whisky and filled the rest with coke.

>She eyed the woman next to her, taking note of her attire. She took a big sip of her drink.
"If I may ask, are those your work clothes?"

| >>806711

>Taichi throws Eris a wink.

"You can count on it! Now there's the question of how I'm supposed to get there."


>He clenches his fists, excited about the prospect of seeing a real robot.

"I'd love to take a look at it Tierra! I doubt you'd let me take it for a test drive though would you?"

| >>807051
>Mikamo nods to the woman with a sigh
"As much as I hate it, they sure are. I'm a nice little maid"
>She obviously doesn't hate it as much as she pretends she does, her wide smile and relaxed expression are a certain proof of that.
"Why are ya askin'? First time seein' a maid wearin' a Sukajan?"
>She smirks

| >>807163
>The woman smiled back and adjusted her glasses.
"Well, yes it's the first time I've seen that, but I was asking cause one of my coworkers wears something similar to work and I was getting the biggest sense of deja vu."

| >>807170
"The jacket or the maid outfit you mean?"
>She cocks an eyebrow.
"I was about to say that coworker of yours might be a weirdo, but you got a pretty spiffy look yourself omae."
>she eyes your golf club bag with a smirk

| >>807173
"The maid outfit, it makes absolutely no sense for the work we do, but our company doesn't really have a dress code, so I guess she's not wrong."
>She took another sip from her glass.
"Ah.. that. I'm not allowed to let it out of my sight and, it's hard to go anywhere with out it in the open so uh y'know how it is."
>The girl whispered.

| >>807180
>Mikamo's smirk only deepens
"My workplace has a clear-cut dress code, that's what it means to be a pro maid y'see"
>She puffs on her cigar
"But nah, I wouldn't know 'how it is' unless you mean how easy it makes carrying around brooms and cleaning products, in which case, yeah I getcha'"
>She gives you a knowing wink

| >>807183
>She let out a big sigh.
"Man it's too obvious isn't it? I swear some of the house rules at my job are so dumb, but I can't lose this job either."
>She picked her glass up and downed what was left of the drink.
"Life is pain."

| >>807185
>Mikamo leans backwards, chuckling as the cigar hangs dangerously from the side of her mouth
"Sure is, can't deny that"
>She returns to her ordinary position, her slouch slightly more pronounced than it was a moment ago

| >>807187
"Life being pain or it being too obvious? Maybe if I start wearing a golf cap it'll be a bit better..?"
>She pours herself another glass, this time it was half coke and half whisky.

| >>807188
>Mikamo smiles
"Let's make it half and half, like your drink just there eh?"
>She pauses for a second, fixing her red eyes upon the glass
"You sure you wanna drink that much Omae?"

| >>807189
>She chuckles and nods.
"Yeah this much is fine for me, I can hardly get drunk anyways."
>The girl swirled her drink a little bit.
"So, tell me a little about yourself. All I've been doing is complain anyways. By the way, my name's Auto-Fi- I mean Audrey, I swear I gotta stop giving people my callsign like it's my name, bad habit."

| >>806755
>Eris is now bearing over Tierra, visible eye full of stars and mouth thrown wide open in a full mouth smile, exposing very long, needle-like canine teeth
"Eeehhh!? A rail rifle? Now that's romantic... ah... rocket punches, transformation gimmicks and huge autocannons! Mechas are just the best!"
>She's holding her body tight and wiggling with a blush on her face
"I love it way too much, please, you HAVE to let me see it! Please!?"
>She looks *ecstatic* at the idea

| >>807190
>Mikamo smirks, taking the cigar out of her mouth and tapping it to the side of the ashtray set in front of her
"Well, there ain't much to say, I'm Mikamo, a maid for C&C who hates overtime, my dream in highschool was to become a housewife."
>She says, her hand morphing into a peace sign, which she brings closer to her face.
>It clashes with the rough appearance and glare majestically.

| >>806996
>"A piece of work"...

"... Funny enough, he's the opposite."

>It's what makes him so damned insufferable.


>Max decides to indulge Mikamo's idle curiosity, if only to delay development of his own boredom.


>Max places his empty glass on the bartop and gestures to the tender, looking for a refill.

"... I fix people. Arms, legs, backs... I put those back together, or I get 'em new ones."

| >>807076

> Tierra nodded her head, feeling something excited at the prospect.

"I shall show it to you. But unfortunately you could not pilot it."

> She turned and parted her hair, revealing the neural link on the base of her skull.

"It requires an unlinked connection."


> Tierra then turned to Eris and was taken aback by her enthusiasm.

"Ah.. of course, I can show it you too... when we're done drinking here I can take both of you to the warehouse tonight."

| >>807384
>The Bartender swivels upon his axis and slowly mixes the drink once again, before sliding it towards you. His eyes are transfixed upon the fleeting adverts and programs which dimly illuminate the small locale
>He stays silent, his eyes growing darker despite the light he observes.

| >>807324
>Audrey gripped her golf club carrying bag, it hadn't left her shoulder since she came in.
"Dreams huh..?"
>She pauses for a bit.
Well, nice to meet you Mikamo."
>The girl extends her arm for a handshake.
"How's that housewife thing going for you?"

| >>807399
>Mikamo shrugs, she doesn't shake your hand.
"As good as it looks, apparently most guys think a four foot nine girl who smokes isn't hot enough to be worth the trouble of marrying, that or my face is too scary."
>She seems a little bit dejected, it's hard to tell if she's joking or not.
"So at this point I kinda gave up, I'll be honest with ya omae"

| >>807384
"Ehh? really, aren't Orthopedists the ones who help you walk again after you get hurt or somethin'?"
>She says with a wide smile
"Gettin' people new ones means helpin with augs right? must be quite the trouble when some auggie shows up with some busted drek in their meaty bits."
>There's a hint of sharpness in the way she refers to "auggies" she's obviously not a fan.

| >>807387
>The tall woman seems to notice her enthusiasm and reins it in a bit, before coughin awkwardly
"Thanks a lot."
>She says, a bit red in the face
"And sorry about being overbearing, I just really like the damn things, mechs, spaceships, any tech really."
>As she says that, she eyes Tierra's arms

| >>807406
"Therapists. You're thinking of physical therapists."

>Max raises his newly full glass as a sign of gratitude towards the bartender-- a little toast.

"... Yeah."

>A sip, then a pause.

"... I do the installation, but... we've got cybernetics specialists to work out the kinks. If anybody's dealing with--"

>Max sneers and throws a quick pair of air quotes in Mikamo's direction.

"-- 'auggies', it's them."

| >>807419
"Man, I'm off my game it seems, can't believe i'd confuse the two."
>Mikamo sighs in an exagerated manner, it's hard to tell with the way her face seems almost stuck in a constant glare... but there are some telltale signs that she actually does mean it, she doesn't like being wrong.
"Ah yes, Auggies, bet you guys deal with a bunch of weird ones, funilly enough, maids deal with em' way more often than you'd think: kind of folks stuck in VR 24/7 and can't clean ya know."

| >>807446
"Nah. We work pretty closely together. Makes sense that you'd get 'em confused."

>Max shifts his weight in his seat and finally turns himself to face Mikamo fully.

"... We're only just getting the hang of 'dealing with them'. Lotta continuing ed that's gotta be done..."

>...The hospital's been scraping by with the combined anectodal knowledge of it's staff. It's embarrassing.

"You get a lot of clients like that?"

| >>807410

"Ah, I understand..."

> Tierra gently waves her hand to assuage Eris.

"I greatly enjoy it, too. After all it is a part of who I am. Mine does not have any sort of... transformation, though. It just... is."

> She notices Eris' eyes, and gently covers up her arms with her... arms. It doesn't do much.


> Hearing the sharpness with which augmented peoples are referred to, Tierra perks up in her seat and clears her throat.

"Do you have issues with augmentation?"

| >>807402
>She places her arm back on the counter, looking a little hurt.
"Ah.. sorry to hear that. I'm sure you have your audience somewhere.. And for the record I don't think you look scary."

| >>807472
"More than you'd think, lots of folks just clock out of work before slotting in when they get home, it's good business, but I don't know how to feel about it"
>She says with a wry smile
>Mikamo smirks
"I wouldn't call em' issues, I just think people rely on augmentation too much, not to say anythin' about the ethical debate around fixing up brains with plastic and metal and all that drek"
>She pauses
"I'm not against it completely, just on the side of caution"

| >>807479
>Eris simply giggles at Tierra's arm hiding act
"Sorry, sorry... I just think your arms look very cool."
>She winks
"Never really met anyone augmented where I'm from, so I find the concept pretty novel."
"Well, it ain't that hard to go there... much harder to leave the place you've known all your life though, I can tell you that much."
>She turns back to Taichi with a soft smile

| >>807584

> Tierra tilted her head lightly, pulling her drink closer to herself.

"I see not what you mean about an ethical debate. Is it different here in Glitch? I was made more efficient with my augmentations, more effective. I believe they make the inefficient flesh more useful for their purposes."

> She's preaching Himura's rhetoric again. She needed to stop, but it spilled out of her mouth.


> A pause, and a small nod with a blush.

"Thank you... most of me is..."

| >>807387

>Taichi pumps his fists in the air.

"Woo hoo! I didn't think I'd get to see a real life mech on my day off! Thanks, Tierra!"


>He readjusts his glasses and nods toward Eris.

"It's more about the people than the place though, yeah? I know I'd miss Gideon and the boys if I disappeared for awhile, Gomi too. You miss anyone from the old days?"

"And I'm glad you care about mecha as much as I do! Ain't nothing cooler than a rocket punch, respect the classics!"

| >>807636
>Mikamo smiles, she doesn't seem to mind your contradictory statement.
>She taps the cigar once more into the ashtray, before crushing it fully, extinguishing it completely
"It's a matter of ethics because it creates both inequality, but also detachment, people with loads of augs usually tend to lose sight of base human strenghts, and lose touch with others who are, for lack if a better word, "normal"."
>She pauses
"That's a bad thing when you got subordinates and such"

| "Not only that, but there's a sayin', dunno how well it applies round here, but back in my neck of the wood they say: failure is the mother of all successes. I don't mean to use that directly here, but to extrapolate y'see"
>She applies more force to the cigar, a plume of blue smoke rises from its smouldering remains
"People who won't work to get better, and instead augment their way to the top don't get the character building that effort and failure brings, it numbs em'"
>She nods

| >>807765
>Eris scratches the back of her neck at the question, a wry smile on her face
"Well... yeah, I miss a lot of people. Mostly the people who stuck it out with me. But I made up my mind a long time ago. I wanted to see more of the world than just my little slice of it... that and I wanted a shot at life that wasn't just a struggle to stay alive."
>She sighs deeply
"In the end, I got half my wish. Love the sights and people, the struggles didn't stop though."

| >>808000
>Max raises his eyebrows. Those are some bold words, coming from this little maid. Words that could land her in some big trouble, around the wrong people. Either she's a good judge of character, or she's got something up her sleeve that makes her confident she could take on a few angry "auggies" at once.

"Can't say I have a lot of experience being in VR. Never really saw the appeal."

| >>808000 >>808004

> Tierra flinched at Mikamo's words. It's true, she wasn't normal. Not with all of the augmentations she had. There's nothing about her that would let her fit in with other people. They were 'normal'.

"...I see."

> She maintained silence as Mikamo continued to speak, but a faint anger began to build its way to the surface.

"...You know nothing of what it means to be augmented, then. It is not simple and easy, it is not painless."

| >>808004

> Tierra's frown deepened as she gripped her drink and downed the rest of it before setting her glass down.

"You speak of a lack of building of character, or a lack of effort those that were augmented. I had to go to great lengths to retrain my body, and to prepare myself for every piece that was removed and added."

> She began to raise her voice, but something kicked in and her frown faded. A placid expression took over and she looked ahead.

"Nevermind. I shall leave"

| >>808121
>Mikamo doesn't seem to mind the outburst, her eyes narrow.
>It's not a pleasant smile, her crimson eyes, influenced by her naturally angry expression seem awfully cold.
"Then maybe you can tell me before you leave"
>She says, her eyes sizing you up.
"If it was meaningful to do so, if you had to work so hard to adjust. Why did you do it?"
>Her voice is low, calm and stoic, lacking the energy she showed earlier.
>Her tone is sharper than a blade, authority drips from it.

| "Was it to be better than others, to be more efficient?"
>She continues on.
"Maybe even to kill?"
>A beat.
"Did you even make the choice yourself?"
>She pushes down on the cigar harder, its sputtering remains crushing under her iron grip.
"You say I don't get it, I really don't. I don't want to understand it, how anyone could ever lean on metal, to trade their body for power or effeciency, to trade pride itself."
>Her tone is cutting, final.
"So which one are you?"

| >Flickering, the AR banners flare up as police warnings and governement messages start to fill the hideaway with a searing red glow.
>The rain grows heavier outside, the smoke within thickens.
>The nameless bartender's eyes wander still, into the wild, pale yonder of the human psyche, slowly drifting upon the lights of the adverts which pass behind the clientele
>His jaw tightens, he shivers slightly.
>It comes.
>The AR banners show a flickering image of a visage... briefly.

| >>808025

>Taichi removes his glasses and wipes them off on his sleeve.

"The problems here in GC worse or better than the ones in space?"


>Taichi overhears Mikamo and Tierra's conversation and tries to butt in.

"Lack of perseverance, lack of pride? Don't let any of that get to you, Tierra. Way I see it, it's just like any super robot. It may be a bunch of metal and circuits but it's the pilot's burning heart and never say die attitude that makes it truly special."

| >>808236
>Eris thinks for a second, before sighing
"Some are worse, some are better, much of it's the same."
>She turns to Tierra and Mikamo
"Like the whole issue about what makes people normal or sapient. The whole AI vs So-Called Natural Sapiants. Although the Aug debate is something I've never seen outside of GC, I'm familiar with it's cousin, the biological modification debate."
>She shakes her head
"In the end, it's pointless shit I'd rather not hear again."

| >>808189 >>808190

> Tierra stood from her seat and looked at Mikamo. Her face did not shift, and she regarded the woman cooly.

"I did what my company asked of me. I behaved in the manner compliant with my parent's contract."

> Her voice was bereft of emotion, as if she were on autopilot.

"Your tone is accusatory, and rather than attempting to offer understanding you center yourself with a thinly layered hostility. You said it yourself, you desire not to understand."

| >>808190

> Tierra dropped a credstick on the bar and walked to the door to pick up her umbrella, pausing only to respond.

"Am I the problem for existing outside of your belief of normalcy? Or are you the one laying accusations needlessly against those you believe beneath you because they are not flesh and blood."

"Am I subhuman to you, now? A shame for one in your position."


"...Thank you, Taichi. Another time."

> Tierra steps out the door, unfolding her umbrella.

| >>808280
>Eris simply looks at Tierra
"Let's check out that mech sometime. Maybe have dinner or something too, eh?"
>She waves overenthusiastically with a wide grin on her face

| >>808283


>Taichi chimes in with Eris.

"Y-yeah, for sure! I'll buy, too!"

>He sighs and rests his chin in his palm with his elbow on the bar.

"So much for that, hope she's doing alright..."

| >Mikamo's face morphs into a slight smile, she closes her eyes and releases her grip upon the cigar she held.
>She starts to chuckle, reaching for her glass of seltzer before drinking from it.
>She turns to Max
"Sorry 'bout that interruption, seems I got us derailed with that little improptu debate, stupid thing really"
>Mikamo's slouch returns, along with that half bored smile which adorned her face earlier.
>She shrugs in an exaggerated manner.
"Where were we?"


Total number of posts: 150, last modified on: Thu Jan 1 00:00:00 1638295333