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He Ain't Heavy

Posted on Sun May 15th, 2022 @ 12:58pm by Alden Loxley & Drake Loxley & Chloe Waltz PhD & Jonas Bailey

Mission: Home Sweet Wonderful Home
Location: Three Hills Orbit to Port - Echo's Bridge
Timeline: November 15 - just before and just after landing

Drake Loxley. The image of blonde curly haired innocence was, as Jonas knew only too well, an utter lie. Various warrants existed on the deeper dark markets, but the younger Loxley brother also had a serious protection order keeping his ass safe and sound. Adelai Niska. Criminal Syndicate overlord and generally evil sadistic bastard. Intelligent and well-connected, wealthy and influential bastard too, at least in the Georgia system and around Ezra.

Right now the accomplished fence was talking to his older brother via the ship's comm and the shouting and cursing had finally slowed down some.

"You killed Noah," Drake pointed out. "That's not on me. I can find you someone else, sure, but they'll need the credits up front."

Alden rolled his eyes, clenched his fists tightly and didn't look to Alison. He needed to focus his ire on his brother and it wasn't a difficult challenge in the least.

"You faked a kidnapping, cheated, lied and fuck knows what else," Alden repeated. He had no means of proving anything beyond that, but he was pretty certain there was a whole bunch of crime happening behind the scene. "So you owe me a few. This one's on you, Drake. I'm tired of arguing about it. Just help Chloe get Echo fixed up, and don't fucking whine about it."

"Fine," said Drake, after a long minute of hard stare and loaded silence. That hadn't been too difficult, he internally congratulated himself. Big brother all riled up, fight accomplished, distraction complete and argument had. Now all he had to do was fix the damn rustbucket, locate the parts he'd arranged to be transported from about the Verse, and complain some more about how much money he was losing by having his mechanic work for free. "Get yourself landed already," he added, then closed the channel.

It was purely routine rather than fun, this landing. Alison had already taken the starboard shuttle and gone on ahead, promising to leave it somewhere close to the main port once she'd found herself a new position, job or ride. She'd taken her share of the money so far earned, which was likely just enough to get herself anywhere in the Border even if she didn't get employment. That was fair, despite the heavy hearts she'd left behind.

Once they were down on the surface, cleared and secure in the grounds of Drake's business emporium, Alden stood up from the pilot's chair, stretched his arms up to rest his palms atop the roof of the bridge and exhaled heavily.

"Okay, so Ali's gone, Kindra has a client, Drake's helping with repairs and we're looking for a job." He looked to Jonas and Chloe. There was one other big thing that needed to be addressed, but he wasn't sure he had the mental energy after Alison's decision to exit followed by the to and fro with his brother.

"Well," drawled Jonas, "they say family ain't easy. But I wouldn't know. I left mine way back." He continued leaning against the bulkhead where he'd made himself comfortable. "As far as finding a job out here, there's plenty. Just depends on whether ya got a conscience and how annoying the little thing is. Or no scruples. There's that."

"If only it was that easy," Alden complained. He couldn't imagine abandoning family though, not really, no matter how insane things got. And that was just one of his many downsides. He looked to Jonas and shrugged. "Figure you pick this next one," Alden said. "But not the no scruples thing, k. Had enough hard knocks lately."

Jonas grinned. "Scruples it is then. Class of hard knocks, dismissed," He said. "Well, Three Hill has all these shopping districts that are always looking for supplies. I'm sure we could find a simple supply run down there somewhere...including stuff from Earth-That-Was."

"Ah, hell, you find us something that doesn't get us blown up, chased after or hospitalised and I'll consider it," noted Alden with the smallest of smiles. He missed Alison already, and the guilt weighed heavy on his conscience on account of no matter what reason she gave, he not only wanted her back, but he wanted her forgiveness. "I could use a fight," he admitted. "Not sure it's a great idea, but something simple and with an excuse to hit some folks seems like it might help." Help ease that nagging feeling of guilt and loss in his soul right now.

"Supply run's definitely an option," Alden agreed with his new First Mate's altered option. "And," he looked to Chloe with an apologetic look on his face. "We have some time. Gonna take a day or two for Chloe here to install the parts Drake's getting us. Mebbee for once, we'll get lucky huh?"

"Luck...lately ours has been like a bald guy who just won a comb," said Jonas. "But maybe we're in for a good turn. As far as fight, we can find a good one in a bar. Or start a good one in a bar...."

Alden chuckled, but his heart wasn't in it. Ali leaving had sucked the humour from him for the time being, hence the need for an outlet. "Wouldn't be the first time we'd caused a ruckus for entertainment value," he conceded. "Let's see what we can find. Drake might be able to help, too. He always knows how to rile folks up so as they wanna hit each other."

A short sigh, a glance from Jonas to Chloe and Alden remembered all the other responsibilities he had to deal with before he could go wandering around the towns. He rested a friendly hand on his engineer's shoulder and offered up a warm smile for the poor young woman who had been through far more than she deserved since she'd been forced upon the Fortune's Echo by her old boss.

"Chloe, you and I'll go talk to Drake - I'll introduce you and all, then you let me know if you're good to be left alone or if you want armed company, k?" Alden offered.

"Okay," Chloe responded with a quiet hesitance. Based on her previous experience with this crew, she was pretty sure that her answer to wanting armed company was going to be "yes" - despite the fact that she was going to start carrying her gun as well. Still, simply saying okay seemed a simpler answer.

"Sweet," replied Alden, gently. "Don't worry, we'll make sure you're safe," he added. "Okay, any questions before we go see my little brother?"

"Not so much a question as a statement," said Jonas. "Ya 'member that wicked lookin' sword I picked up? It's comin' with. Knife to a gun fight and all, but a little off-the-guard intimidation with whoever we meet on the way there might give us an advantage in a fight. Or a bar brawl."

He hadn't remembered, brain fried from all the joys of recent events, but Alden grinned at that thought. Jonas with a great big sword, swinging at anyone dumb enough to get close to them both.

"I'd say it would get us a mighty advantage in a fight," Alden agreed. "But I ain't in any rush to go back to jail for bringing guns and swords to a bar brawl either," he added, a little more soberly. "You have given me an idea though," he said, clapping a hand on Jonas' broad shoulders and then indicating the airlock from bridge to stairs outwards into Echo proper. "C'mon, let's get everyone moving towards making an exit from this fine vessel, and to breathing some air I ain't paying for."

Alden stood for a moment after Jonas and Chloe left though and looked out towards the expansive grounds of the younger Loxley's domain to spare a thought for the fact this was the first time he'd be planetside without any intention to return with Alison.

"Travel safe, Bao Bei Yao Nu," he told the view beyond Echo. "Joo How Rin."



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