Gravity Wells

Within the ruined cathedrals of a wasted mind resides the falling star.

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Fourth
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Gravity Wells

Post by Fourth » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:56 pm

I always knew it'd be strange. Coming back wasn't something I really understood, not after I'd left the first time. Not just Rhy'din - anywhere. Everywhere? Had I ever really stayed anywhere for any length of time? No, I'd have to say no, I guess. A part of me thought that was a shame back when I labored under the delusions that I'd find a home somewhere. That, that. That's the point, yeah? We drift, or at least I know I did, without a purpose. Everything felt the same. Everything looked the same, didn't it? Didn't it?!

No. It wasn't the same, or was it? I asked myself, the first night I slept in a hotel bed with my feet back on this ground, if it was the same or I was just wanting it to be the same. I don't know, really. I couldn't answer that. I'm so self-aware but so unable to do anything with that information, all the careful perceptions that don't skip past my attention. If only life was a battlefield... Is it the same? It feels like it is, but am I just wanting it to be? Life's come down, at least so far, to perception. How I perceive, what I perceive. What the fuck does that even mean? I asked myself that too, of course I did. And how, how in the Hell, did I end up back here? Oh, that's because this is the only place I can summon up enough courage to take off the dark, black-tinted lenses and dare, dare and hope, to put on something akin to rose colored glasses.

This is the only place where I haven't been kicked out of yet. Odd, that.

The tattoos were the same, of course. The fact that peopled stared hadn't changed, not at all. It was something I'd grown used to after all these years, knowing eyes cutting skeptical glances. Most Mandalorians don't fly the flag so openly and so brazenly in waters that haven't been proven safe. This place was hardly anything anyone could call reliable or predictable but then again, I'd never been anything close to the typical Mandalorian, had I? The man that was showing me his business likely thought I was insane, for I'd started laughing at the twisted, confusing train of thought that'd stolen my physical focus. Silence reigned and, after a moment, I tilted my head to the side and peered, unblinking, in his direction. "What?"

He'd stopped talking, sadly. That meant I had to. His arms were folded and I imagined, given his rather imposing height, shaved head, black cargo pants and muscular form, was used to being intimidating. Imperious. I don't think, based on the dubious look he gave me, that he was used to women that tipped the scales at 119 pounds staring, smirking and shrugging at him. Poor guy. He'd stopped the tour in a room that was more a vault than anything else. Racks upon racks of weapons, stacked crates of ammunition and wall lockers stuffed with armor, peripheral equipment filled the room to bursting. Our hips touched, the passageway was a small, winding little thing. I'd never understood human weapons - most of you weren't good enough to project any force with something that required so much precision. Dark eyes rolled as the silence drew itself to an anticlimactic grunt. "Need anything?"

Did I need anything? My lips transitioned into a full, blossoming little smirk. "No, no. I'm good." I'd taken my jacket off already. In fact I'd only worn it because I was tired of explaining that I didn't care about the cold. I felt it, surely. I felt it for a second before I shrugged, shook my head and denied the sensation. It's like that, insanity is. That's the upside to all that agony, all the focused, purposeful torture. Thank you, Father. Was it cold? Did that hurt? Was I sad? Put it all away, little girl. Shove it back down in that box your momma gave you before she never came home. Don't let it be anything. Eat it. It's fuel, that hurt. Let it burn, the world'll burn too. I rolled a shoulder in his direction, tank-top straps sliding across an elegant collarbone as I displayed the prominent, dangerously bold ink. The twin tusked skull, dark, bloody red, was sprawled across a bed of thick, flowing flowers. Vines bit into bone, thorns scraped perpetually tanned, sun-kissed skin. I didn't ever have to tan; Thank you, Mandalore's sun.

"I've got my own gear, but I'll need an armorer. Not the-..." How to put this? How could I seem so arrogant, so vain? So needy and so entitled? The human that was left in this ruptured spire felt embarrassed, awkward and spoiled. Petulant. The Mandalorian in me, the dominant force, just smiled and murmured, "a personal one. There's some things no one else really needs to see, yeah?"

I could see that I'd annoyed Jared. He could probably see that I didn't care, nor was I threatened by his proximity, our seclusion and the fact that his biceps strained against a small, form fitting tee--shirt. I'd already identified what tendon I'd slit first. All those biceps without an elbow..... My smile, soft and serene, must've said something, given that his only reply was a rather vague, hardly committal shrug. I could understand that, of course I could! That, I decided, was likely settled.

"We've got mages, too. You're somethin' like a mage, aren't ya?" Maybe that was why he'd looked at me like I was either something to fuck or something to kill. I'd come to realize that mages were often small, often frail. I was that, of course. Physically, at least. My head tipped to the side again - I didn't need to look at the ground in order to wind my way through the maze of piles, racks, cabinets, cases, empty boxes and potentially dangerous explosives. He had to look. Maybe he felt insecure? Who knows? Who cares, actually.

"I uh-......sort of?" I didn't know how to explain it and the look that this poor man was giving me seemed to be asking for an answer. I held my hands akimbo, fingers spread and held wide apart. A deep breath stilled whatever apprehension I was feeling. I hadn't ever gotten used to telling anyone about me, about the things I could do and the things I had done. "I mean-...." He cut me off! Who, I thought, was that fucking stupid? "Lissen' girlie, I don't give a damn, all I know is that wit' what we're payin' your pretty ass you'd damn well be clean 'bout what you can do so I don't sen' you into somethin' you can't handle." He huffed and he puffed for a minute - I still didn't care. I was still smiling and thinking, of course. "An' gawd DAMN IT WOMAN ANSWER ME! ARE YOU INSANE? CAN YOU UNDERST--------"

Silence. I'd never liked getting yelled at, of course. The room's temperature dropped and, for a short, split second I could see the fabric of his shirt bunching as it hardened slightly. It crinkled, it crackled and the individual tendrils seemed to grow brittle and fragile. "I didn't know how to answer, that's all." I didn't need to breathe but the moisture that flowed past my lips became a cold, chill mist in the room's frigid confines. Everything was freezing, it'd all slowed when I'd devoured the energy in a single snap of proverbial teeth. I let it go slowly, I breathed back out and took some of the stinging, biting chill out of the space we shared.

"Imagine the world on a smaller level, yeah? Narrow your focus down to what makes up the world, what's happenin' in it. Energy, the world's an engine and we're the fuel, Jared. You're the fuel, the box is the fuel, that wall's fuelin' everythin' around it." I reached forward, small fingers bunching in the crackling, rigid center of his shirt - he'd somehow managed to sweat even though the room was near freezing. His eyes were wide, barely able to track the progress of my hand as I twisted and jerked the fabric. "There's a lattice of connections, I see 'em as bright, vibrant red strands that connect each an' every livin' thing in the world; we all share energy, we all share a relative connection. That wall's connected to the floor, which is connected to your feet an' the boxes, so they're on the same beam, if you will...."

The boxes started to rattle, to shake and to slide in a benign, playful manner. I was playing, at least. He was breathing hard and staring down at me like I was some sort of freak. I love, love, love the terror some people show so well. It tastes so rich, so livid! Chaos..... I shook my hair out, maybe he'd understand that I was just playing with him? "And there's space between each an' every cell, each an' every molecule. I talked 'bout fuel, yeah? The energy I work wit' exists between those spaces, in the small ones, the little cracks. The places we can't see. That's energy, yeah? Mages manipulate that, an' while mos' can't create more of that red energy, mos' can change it. Edit it, move it, inspire it, twist it, Reshape it."

My lips fell into a terse, tense little frown. I didn't like the seeping exhaustion that accompanied the energy's withdrawal. I'd fed on it, I'd feasted on life itself for a minute, yeah? And I had to let it go. I wanted it. I needed it. HE ALWAYS NEEDED IT.

Melanie didn't want it, however. The room warmed, the ice thawed and I belatedly let go of the man's shirt. "Sorry 'bout that...." My hand idly brushed across the bare patch of skin and the long, superficial scratches that my nails had left on the space just above his heart. "So that, yeah? That energy? Mos' mages utilize it. Me?" I shrugged, I smoothed the front of my tank-top and started walking towards the doors. "I eradicate it."

I said that over my shoulder, one hand on the door. It was almost open, I'd almost made my way out and found someone who wasn't such an idiot. I didn't want to talk that much, nor had I talked that much in ages. "So you're a-....so you kill mages an' energy? Like a gawd' damn EMP bomb on long legs?"

I couldn't help but laugh at that. It was an honest thing, the rich, sibilant laughter that I couldn't hide very well. I didn't even try. "Somethin' like that, sure?" The door was half closed - I'd seen someone's posters in their office and pictures of their pet. Maybe I could bring Wellington? "Welcome to the team," I heard him shout seconds before I kicked the door closed and meandered through the offices of Dynastic Defense, Incorporated. It was ostensibly a fairly legal, above-the-board sort of contracting agency that catered to all sorts of clients, both planet-side and not.

That thought had me chuckling again as I, hand on my hip, glanced into the cafeteria. People and their food. Defense? My ass. This place was a front, they just didn't know it yet. But they'd signed up the second they'd glanced at my credentials and started talking numbers and contracts. Funny how everyone seems to think I'm some pretty little wallflower, God I like that they do. No one ever expects much out of the scatterbrained woman with the baby panda, do they? I'd sooner keep it that way, I decided, with a wry, feral little smirk. I'll be pretty in the mirror for you, Dynastic. Just don't mind the smoke.


-------------------------------------

But I did really need to figure out if there was some place suitable for Wellington, given that I'd not be leaving him alone for any length of time. And by that I mean more than an hour. He gets lonely! My journey took me towards a gym, through a shooting range and past a detention center. I'd be damned if they wanted me to put him into a cell. Frustrated with the lack of an answer, I barged into a conference room and stared at the group of men seated around tables that reeked of someone who was trying to convince people they had connections. You know the type. A long, polished dark-wood table and high-backed, black chairs. "Where the fuck can I leave my panda?!"

About ten sets of eyes peered in my direction, some wide, some confused and some pretty doubtful. I didn't cut much of an imposing figure, not with arms folded across my chest and a deep, angry little frown on pristine features. They'd always said, my ex-lovers, that I was adorable when I was angry. I only killed people, or planets, when I felt like I needed validation, after all. If I'd taken the time to let you know I was angry you were likely safe, but I still didn't like the way they seemed to doubt the seriousness of my all important question. "I'm Melanie, by the way-...." I'd forgotten people didn't recognize me anymore - I'd have to take up modeling again.

Someone at the front of the table stood and, with the day's first smile, held a hand out. A hand that I didn't take, of course. He might not have washed his hand since the last time he finger-banged some hussy in the back of his convertible, after all. I just sort of stared down at it for a painfully long ten seconds until he drew it back in, cleared his throat and beamed around the room. "And this is our prize investment, gentleman. We've got a job you might do, actually. Sit?"

I didn't sit on a chair, of course. Or someone's lap, though I wanted to be touched, of course. Rather, I sat on the table itself and tried my best to slump down until my feet touched the floor. I didn't look very intimidating with them dangling, but that couldn't be helped. "Only if I can leave Wellington an' Chester here." I needed them to think I was insane. No one ever looks to deep at the person who's so far from balanced that it's a wonder they even remember to shower.

I smelled like Victoria's Secret perfume and body was, of course. I showered twice a day, every day! And so they droned on, on, on and on. I smiled. I listened. I batted my lashes and shifted my hips. It's amazing what men will say around a pretty woman who they think works for them. Impress me? I learned at Revan's knee.

But I listened, of course, and I nodded when they'd finished. I'd need to see that armorer, after all.
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