The Law & Other Lies
Mission: Mission 1: Gearing Up
Kat exited her shuttle for the first time, her arms folded under her chest. She spent the past few hours in the room and she felt, finally, that she was ready to take her first adventurous steps into the rest of the ship. She turned right immediately, her golden dress flowing over the factory-like deck of the ship. She emerged into an empty common area. She entered the galley and started rummaging through the cabinets, her mind a million miles away.
Clayton, who's private quarters shared a wall with the galley, could hear the rummaging. Though it wasn't a loud sound, it was quite distinctive. It better not be rodents again, he said to himself with a sigh, dragging himself away from the Cortex panel, and the desk it was built into.
Emerging from his quarters, he was surprised to see the Companion, who's name still escaped him. She had so far been sequestered in her shuttle, and now, she was seemingly raiding his supplies. "Help you find something?", he called out, leaning against the bulkhead of his cabin's entrance.
"Oh, yeah." she responded, looking over at him innocently. Her hands froze on the cabinet handles they had been grasping when he'd made his presence know. She looked over to the Captain, her expression calm. "Water. I'm just looking for water."
He gestured with his head, slightly amused. "Water reclamation station is against the bulkhead. Might still be a half-full pitcher in the cooler."
"Oh, okay." she said, realization on her face as she moved to the cooler, her dress still a contrast with the environment. As she reached the cooler, she paused, remember why she had been rummaging through cabinets in the first place. Asking would make her feel stupid, but it was far too late now. She looked over at Clayton, her dough eyes seeming almost to ask for mercy.
"Uhhh...a glass?" she said, adopting a strained expression. This was going well.
He gestured again, to a set of cabinets above the counter-top, opposite of the cooler. "Up there. Plates and bowls on the bottom, cups above, silverware in the drawer below."
She opened the cupboard and pulled out a glass. As she filled it up with water, she spoke again.
"So, is your quiet mysterious wanderer persona a cover for a good man or a bad one?"
When the glass was full, she turned to him and sipped, waiting for the answer.
He quirked an eyebrow, face neutral towards her. "Who said anything about it being a cover?"
"My general experience with quiet mysterious wanderers." She said, facing him fully. She looked at him, her brown eyes studying his features. "Everybody has a cover, it seems. Some people use their cover to hide their pain, some their ambition. Which are you?"
"Neither. It is a convenient part of my identity that allows me to move unfettered, which is quite useful in this line of work. Though I suppose you'd know nothing about that. If anything, the more your name spreads, the better business is for you."
"So you are hiding something." She said, offering an interested smile. She'd ignored his comment about her line of work, but mostly because she was focused on her own line of questioning.
"You're not doing anything....illegal, are you?"
"Let's not kid ourselves. Everyone aboard is doing something technically illegal. Companions are illegal on some of the border moons. Carrying sidearms is technically illegal in most ports. And yet, here we are. The Alliance could board and seize this vessel for any number of reasons, but carrying illegal cargo is not one of them."
He then directed the question back to her. "Do you not hide things constantly in your line of work?"
She leaned against the nearby table, her golden dress flowing over the sides artfully. She couldn't help but grin just a bit as she listened to his response. These people were very different than the people she'd grown used to all her life. They were common in living and in thinking; not fancy, not proud. She could tell their was something different about Captain Stanton, though. He was clever; clever enough, at least, to obfuscate instead of lying to her.
"I don't lie to people, if that's what you mean." she answered, demurring just a bit as she thought of her next sentence. "But..it is considered...in good taste...to leave some things unsaid. I am, however, not a criminal. I obey the law."
"Ah, so you just hide the truth, then. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose. And whose law are you referring to? The Alliance?"
"I'd tell the truth if that's what my clients wanted. " she responded with a shrug. "They very seldom want that. They come to me for sweet things...or rough things...or smart things. Never true things. That's what they make wives for."
She paused for a moment, realizing how that may have made her sound. It was an astute observation, but somehow, it made her feel dirty. She decided to try to back away from it and onto another subject.
"What made you want to be a rugged outlaw, Clayton Stanton?" She asked, then bringing the glass of water to her full lips.
He shrugged. "Who says I'm an outlaw? Perhaps I just enjoy living on the move?"
"Well, I have no doubt I'll see which one you are soon enough." She said, standing up from her position against the table. She moved past him slowly, her graceful strides bringing her across the deck plating. Her perfumed scent followed after her. She stopped beside him, her head turned sideways toward him. "Thanks for the water."
He merely shrugged. "No problem."
With something akin to a smirk, she turned forward and continued down the hall until she entered her shuttle. She flowed over the threshold of the newly opened door and she was gone with a swish.