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Dolor Aeternum

The Web She Weaves

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“That Legion of Doom attack and current state of this city sure guarantees job security right Jeff?”

“Well a steady paycheck sure helps me pay my debts from all my former…uh…escapades.”

“When will you find the right gal there Jeff?”

“Someday there pal…that special…”

Jeff then saw her. A beauty who had no business entering this unsavory establishment full of men who had finished a long day of work and would like nothing else then to let off some steam with the broad of their choice. Jeff, however, knew this lady was no ordinary broad. This beauty he laid eyes on seemed otherworldly, gracing him with her presence in a fated moment he just had to seize for his own.

“Excuse me…she may just be the one.”

Delphinia Morozova, one of the newest members within Toxicant, took a seat at the bar of the Curled Fang. The sheen of her black hair stood out along with the brightness of her blue eyes that glazed over all of the patrons. Jeff was beside himself then, unaware he was staring at the woman so blatantly as his thoughts raced through several scenarios concerning his approach. This exotic beauty was nothing like the Norkotian women and after his many escapades that was a welcome difference that brightened his stint here in Last Chance working for the BlackBlood Industries as a Corporal within the Corporate Security wing.

What Jeff thought he needed was to branch out of his roots and try his hand at poaching this magnificent beauty that sat only a few feet away from him.

“Alright, Jeff. This is your moment.”

A long breath helped him settle himself in before he made his move.

“I will front the beautiful lady’s tab.”

“You sure? I have quite the expensive taste.”

“Well..uh…”

Jeff took a seat beside her then.

“Spending some time with someone so gorgeous should be worth it.”

“I suppose I can repay such kindness and flattery with some of my time.”

Jeff smirked as he considered that a success and then casually looked at his friend who briefly rolled his eyes but offered a secretive thumbs up while he drank. Delphinia received her drink, a rather hard liquor called the Burning Sting, and took a small sip. Her face scrunched up a bit as she pretended that the drink’s strength caught her off guard.

“So what brings you to Last Chance?”

“Oh just here for work.”

“Work? What do you do?”

“I am a talent recruiter. Here to find the right person for a role.”

Jeff didn’t really care about that but the ‘rulebook’ states that casual talk like this is necessary before one can deliver the real offer.

“Sounds interesting. Can I help?”

Delphinia looks at him smiles while she offers a contemplative look as if considering this.

“I don’t know.”

Jeff could feel his chance slipping.

“I’ve worked in this city for a few months now and feel I can be a good resource.”

“Oh? Well how fortunate that we’ve met…what is your name?”

“Jeff Altman.”

“Carrie Shepard. Pleasure. This place is a bit too loud for my liking. Know of a place that is quieter?”

This was it…this was Jeff’s chance to be bold.

“My apartment?”

He tried to sound less eager than he was to offer his own home by formulating his response as a question. Delphinia took a large swig of her drink to enjoy the burn before she started to speak again.

“I don’t usually do this sort of thing but living dangerously might be fun in this city and you seem…nice enough. You’re not some sort of body snatcher or other murderous type right?”

Jeff chuckled.

“Oh no. Clean, upright male right here. You can investigate all you want before we get there if you like.”

Jeff’s confidence gradually increased as he felt things going his way tonight.

Delphinia offered a much practiced chuckle that has proven to make her seem adorable to simpletons.

“Ok. Lead the way Jeff…”

Jeff turned over to his friend and winked before pivoting and exiting the Curled Fang, ready to have himself an eventful night.

Pity that he did not know that none of it would be anything he expected.

Edited by Dolor Aeternum
better wording

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"What the . . . "

The words were slow to his ear, and thick too, as if filtered through a mouthful of marbles or a cotton gag. He realized that his mouth was dry, and in the same instant of realization a straw pressed to his lips; he was so thirsty that his body was already sucking the fluid down even as his mind struggled through the fog to remind him of his training, and why drinking whatever was put in front of you wasn't a great idea.

It tasted, and felt, like regular water. Now that he had a little hydration in him, things were starting to resolve in earnest. He realized, only now, that he had been unconscious a few seconds ago, which explained his groggy state of mind, and the sudden, intense shock of finding that he was tied to a chair.

More of the training came back to him. He grazed his fingertips across the arms of the chair; that was steel, not wood grain, so it wouldn't be easy to break. He wiggled a little, to see how much give the bindings had; none, they were well secured, and the chair was either bolted down or something else was holding it in place, so he couldn't tip it over and get a better angle at escape.

"Fuck! What the fuck!"

What happened? He didn't drink that much at the bar. The walk home was mundane. No random mugging . . . but now he remembered that it wasn't mundane. Someone was with him. The woman from the bar. He had convinced her, rather easily at that, to come with him to his apartment. They had another drink. He was the one to mix them but then . . . then what? Then he took his eyes off of her for a second and –

" . . . Carrie?"

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The walk toward Jeff’s apartment had been uneventful. There was an exchange of mundane details about certain likes and dislikes peppered occasionally with Jeff’s insistence on flaunting his knowledge concerning some of the sights along the way. Delphinia offered the occasional smile and giggle where she felt it necessary, prolonging this façade of willing participant to Jeff’s escort to his place. An air of innocence was offered in every single action she presented in an attempt to ease this man into a sense of comfort that she intended to exploit. So as they finally entered the simplistic studio apartment, Jeff went to mix his drinks and she…got to work.

The first phase involved the sedative which she deftly applied after Jeff took some time to explain the gun case at her prompting. Once she felt his body start to go limp, she organized the transport of the limp body over to a prepared location. The walls were thick and the lighting was dark with the lighting a distinct red hue that made it rather hard to distinguish any other color. When Jeff came to, he’d notice Delphinia a few feet away mixing what he could tell was a clear liquid. Once he called out for her she took some extra seconds to finalize what she was doing then spoke.

“Oh good. You finally woke up.”

Delphinia stood in front of Jeff and offered that same smile she had been offering occasionally throughout their encounter with one another. At this point Jeff might begin to feel a tightness around his chest as ‘Carrie’ swirled the liquid within the clear cup and took a whiff of her creation in some form of assessment.

“I took the liberty of preparing all of this for our benefit. I figured you wanted us to be alone to enjoy one another’s company but whatever venue you intended just wouldn’t do. So..Jeff…you might be starting to feel some discomfort right here…”

A now-gloved finger pointed to her chest before she continued.

“That is just the start of a series of discomforts you will sense throughout this interview to…inspire you toward the truth. This drink here could make it all go away but not before we finish of course.”

She taps Jeff’s knee playfully then, ignoring the outbursts that were likely to come and waiting for an opportune moment to continue.

“So I’ve told you what I do for a living….what do you do Jeff?”

Of course Delphinia had already known the answer to this question, but Jeff’s response would help her gauge how much more work she would have to do to get what she needed.

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Jeff waited patiently for 'Carrie' to finish her spiel. What he didn't want to do was interrupt the person with the upper hand and a cupful of antidote sloshing around in her clutches like it wasn't the most valuable thing on Valucre at this very moment in time.

"Yeah. No problem. I'll tell you whatever you want to know, whatever I got. It may not be much, but you're damn right I ain't keeling over for big boss Wilkinson."

And really, that's what it came down to more often than not. Some people are willing to kill at the drop of a hat but ask them what they're willing to die for and the scales become a lot more stubborn to budge. Yeah they clothed him, in a way. Yeah they fed him, if you took the long way about it. But this was strictly utilitarian, the kind of logical game theory BlackBlood would be proud of if they weren't on the receiving end of the stick. You tally up his hourly wage and write out his annual salary, sick days and vacation days added in too for good measure, and what you didn't get was ideological purpose. What you got was the intersection between the free market and an individual monopoly; in terms of the opportunity cost that came with dying, he valued his life much more highly than what he was being paid, so he decided to stop selling.

Jeff was a Guardsman. Not the lowest of the low, but so far from something valuable like a Captain he would have laughed at the idea of being abducted and squeezed for intel about HQ. HQ was smart. They knew about things like need-to-know, airgapping, mantraps, the list went on and on. But what it came down to is that a corporation could not truly exist in a zero-trust environment, and the larger and more complex an organization, the more moving parts at which one could pick, the more entropy introduced into a system. Terrorists and guerrilla tacticians knew this truth well.

He may not have a company directory, but Jeff knew the names and station of the people he worked with and interacted with, at minimum at his level, the level directly below, and the level directly above – that was how a hierarchy worked. He may not have a blueprint or anything close to a photographic memory but he knew what he knew, he knew where bathrooms and mess halls and administration offices and things like that were, and you'd be surprised at what a mind could recollect when the stakes at play were one's life. These were things a skilled provocateur could do something with.

"Now listen, I played you a square game. I feel kinda bad about things, especially about how you got the drop on me, but Jeff ain't a sore loser. I'll take my licks and go on home. I'm skipping town as soon as I can, before BB gets any bright ideas. That's all I'm asking."

Edited by supernal

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Delphinia felt a slight sense of relief at the ease in which she was able to extract information this time around. The information that she managed to gather might have been paltry to some but the small details she meticulously made Jeff explain to her would suffice. She was able to conjure up a rough picture of the headquarters’ layout and a focused hierarchy of personnel around Jeff’s level that may be of some use. Sitting cross-legged across from Jeff, she listened to everything he cared to offer, only pressing for more when she felt dissatisfied or wanted to veer the information dump toward another subject. Once she felt satisfied, she listened to Jeff’s plea with a raised eyebrow but no telltale sign of approval or disapproval. Several seconds would pass before Delphinia finally spoke.

“The game isn’t finished yet Jeff. You will remain here while the job is underway and I will make sure you leave this city unscathed.”

Jeff may have wanted to argue against it but as Delphinia offered him a gulp of the concoction she had made and he could instantly feel relief, he decided against making the woman mad, especially after it was explained to him that the symptoms he was feeling would take time to subside. If they had the means to orchestrate whatever job needed the meager intel he provided it was likely that they could bring him in on the extraction right? He was left to consider the possibilities rather quickly as Delphinia wasted no time exiting the dark room they were in to begin the next phase.

Phase 2:

Had this been Norkotia, the means with which this whole mission could have been carried out would have been crude according to her standards. Thankfully, this was Last Chance, a city still recovering from Dredge’s antics and the escape of several criminals. Grifters, thieves, and murderers alike who could not detach themselves from this city returned to their dark havens to do what they did best which is what the one who sent Delphinia here was counting on. She may have been ill-suited to infiltrate the company herself given the access she had stolen from Jeff required someone with a more masculine appearance but this was nothing a temporary glamour or carefully constructed disguise did not resolve.

The access a Guardsman has to the main headquarters did not truly meet the requirements set forth by her employer but they would at least allow her to gain entry and work her way up from there. The first barrier of security was easy enough to pass, driving on to the site. Delphinia wasn’t too concerned about that. It was the next set of eyes that came upon her in the employee entrance that needed to be convinced of her ‘Jeff-ness’.

“Morning Jeff!”

Coincidentally that same man that she had seen with Jeff at the bar spotted her entry and decided to start walking alongside her as she made her way in. This man was an anomaly to her plan…one that needed to be dealt with if she ever intended to be successful.

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"So, how'd things work out with that gal last night?" the man continued as he strode beside who he thought was his friend.

They approached the fence, passing by stacks of crates and barrels, as well as construction workers hauling supplies and equipment from one place to another. The reality was that the facility was still under construction, as were most BlackBlood facilities here in Last Chance. There were three separate ones, a Corporate Headquarters in the more "upright" sector of the city, a Security HQ located a bit outside the city limits, and the Chemical Division, the smallest of the three. The lot itself had been vacated after the Legion incident, thanks to the amount of carnage inflicted upon the structures (and people) that had previously occupied it. Once BlackBlood acquired the property, most of the buildings were immediately torn-down and replaced with a new facility, one better suited for the hazardous business that was to be done here.

"I.D.s," the guard at the fence gate drawled lazily.

The man accompanying "Jeff" flashed the badge in front of the gate guard so he could see the little picture on it, then slide it through a card reader attached to the gate entrance. The guard them looked at "Jeff", expecting him to follow the same procedure. All the while, "Jeff"'s friend continued to talk.

"Will say, I'm surprised she went with you so easily. I mean, she didn't even browse the selection in there. Why are you always so lucky? You're going to have to tell me the whole thing," he rambled-on.

If Delphinia was being observant, she'd have noticed the name on the man's badge was Cody Sellers. He seemed a pretty ordinary sort, with no noticeable accent, scruffy facial stubble, and dirty-blonde hair that was long enough to form a short mullet behind his head. His uniform and weapon were all standard issue, and he began fitting his cap to his head as he stepped through the gate.

"Coming?" he paused and looked back.

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There was a delicate balance that needed to be enforced here. Delphinia’s knack for observation and ability to infer certain things about people by their mannerisms might aid her here but she knew nothing about the depth of Jeff’s relationship with this Cody individual. It was a shame that Jeff was obviously so extroverted which might have led someone to oversell their impression of him were they not careful. One extraordinary anomaly was acceptable she assumed but if she executed a string of them then that is when suspicions would rise and damage control might lean toward violence. She needed to be extra careful.

“Surprisingly good. I thought she would play hard-to-get all night but I just lucked out man.”

The visage of Jeff smiled wide while she emulated Cody by flashing Jeff’s badge and then sliding it through the card reader, only briefly acknowledging the guard before she responded to Cody’s continuing dialogue.

“Yeah…hold on.”

She clipped her badge on her belt for now and quickly moved to catch up to Cody.

“So…I am just as surprised as you are. I think she might be that special one. I can see myself settling down somewhere with her.”

‘Jeff’ looked around and noticed all of the construction that was still occurring. Attempting to deflect having to reveal any more fabricated details about last night, a question was posed.

“Had a long night. How do you think our days will go today Cody? Anything different we can expect? After last night, I am still aching for more excitement.”

She stretched and let out a small yawn, the glamour holding up quite nicely for now as she adjusted her clothing much like Cody had been doing, feeling the slight weight of the standard issue weapon which was a completely foreign object to her.

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"Phhsshh, then you shoulda called in sick today, stud," Cody laughed, "The most excitement you're likely to get today is another sermon from Dave on the evils of premarital sex, or a verbal thrashing from the captain if you slack off again."

He laughed as he pulled a pack of gum out of his chest pocket and shoved a strip into his mouth.

"And I'm pretty sure you are working door duty with Dave today," he laughed, "You have my deepest sympathies! Then again, Dave leaves at noon and you get Chelsea for the second half of your shift... so I guess you get lucky even on unlucky days."

By now there were nearing the main building, which was still a skeletal shell on the upper floors, though it was completed and apparently in use on the lowest floors. There was a guard on either side of the main entrance, along with another passcard reader. However, Cody veered off from the main building before the reached it, instead moving toward a nearby single-story structure which had open garage-style doors. The people inside appeared to be all guardsmen, which seemed to imply that it was a building specifically for the security units on the property. Inside there were a pair of machines that appeared to be there to accept their security I.D.s for clocking-in to their shifts. Several other guards were doing that at the moment, both coming and going for the day. Off to the side stood a female guard wearing a helmet rather than a cap, her rank insignia indicating she was a captain. Her relatively short hair was stark blonde, almost white, and hung down in bangs over her left eye, and could be seen creeping out from behind the back of her helmet. Her brown eyes were so dark as to be nearly black, and they focused on both Delphinia and Cody as they entered the building.

"Fuck! I know that look. She's probably pissed that we're only five minutes early today," Cody muttered softly, so only "Jeff" could hear, "Better put some spring that step, buddy."

Cody quickly clocked-in quickly, then headed out of the building. There appeared to be a duty roster hung off to the side from the machines, which showed assignment scheduling for the next couple of weeks. Were Delphinia to look at it, she'd find that Jeff was indeed signed to door guard duty that day... at the front entrance to the main building.

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Delphinia followed Cody casually, making sure to memorize the path they took to get to their destination as well as any potential points of interest along the way. As Cody brought them toward the employee clock-in area, her eyes focused on the female guard with an insignia that took her a few moments to recognize as higher than Jeff’s rank. The focus of her gaze didn’t phase Delphinia at all but when Cody muttered into her ear she felt herself become a bit more rigid as she couldn’t afford to be loose with the persona she was attempting to mimic.

“Right…”

Delphinia’s pace was a bit faster now as she quickly clocked Jeff in for the day’s work. As she eyed the duty roster, she discovered the location of Jeff’s door duty for the day and attempted to figure out how she could leverage it to succeed here. The main entrance’s threshold was good, but she needed more. For now, however, she decided to report for duty and headed toward the main entrance. She hadn’t been oblivious concerning Cody’s foreshadowing words about Dave either but she found they didn’t adequately prepare her for the annoyance that was…Dave.

“Jeff! Beautiful day right?”

“Yes it is…”

First mistake…

Dave took this as a signal to get a bit chummier. He stood rigid at his post, seemingly monitoring everyone who passed through the main entrance which was also protected by another card reader. Several different ranks came by and Dave took it upon himself to greet everyone with a gusto that at first seemed endearing but after an hour or so started to test her patience, especially given his inclination toward flirtation with the female employees that came by and his insistence on engaging in seemingly meaningless conversation with others.

“Have a wonderful day beautiful…”

A scoff was heard from one of the female employees that entered the main building. A woman with stark features and a stern expression that suggested she wasn’t having any of it today.

“Shove it Dave.”

“Aww c’mon. No reason to be like that this early in the morning.”

“No reason for me to stand here and listen to this shit either…”

The woman scanned her id and moved through the door, ending a long line of people coming in for their shift which naturally meant Dave now was free to annoy the only one left…’Jeff’.

“Can you believe her? I mean, do women react this way to you? Is that just her way of flirting Jeff?”

Delphinia wasn’t sure if these questions would even be entertained by ‘Jeff’ but hesitation was out of the question.

“No…on all counts Dave. You need to relax and pick your battles.”

The halfway mark of Jeff’s shift was nearing but there was still some time before the change of guard.

“Listen, I need to take a quick piss Dave. Next lady you want to flirt with, just ask her how she is doing and wish her well. Then you can graduate to my next class.”

Delphinia attempted to badge herself in to the main entrance, feigning that ‘Jeff’ really had to go and if the id badge granted access then she’d move in and see how she could fashion her continued approach from the inside.

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Luckily, Dave didn't question why Jeff was attempting to go inside to relieve himself; anyone assigned to door duty had realized that the indoor restrooms were far nicer than the portable toilets kept in the yard for easier access to the outdoor crew. As such, Delphinia entered the building without issue, finding herself in a fairly complete-looking lobby area. There were several hallways splitting off in various directions, along with four elevators across from the receptionist desks. There were also stairwells visible at the ends of some of the hallways. The room was well-lit and had the artificially inviting atmosphere you'd typically expect to find from businesses or banks. 

There were a couple of guards patrolling the main level, though they didn't seem to find "Jeff" out of place, nor did any of the regular civilian employees. The next level above featured a balcony that overlooked the lobby, and notably there was a guard posted up there as well, gazing down at the room below. It was otherwise difficult to tell what was on the second level, though it was probably more offices and hallways. A couple of people wished "Jeff" good morning as he proceeded along, which indicated that the man Delphinia was impersonating at least had the name recognition of a few different people at the company.

There were numerous signs hung about that offered directions to various locations, and there was even a large and handy floor map on one of the walls. Next to it was a list of the different floors and what services were available on each. Most of the lower floors were offices for paper-pushers, including sales, finance, human resources and several other such departments. The higher levels appeared to be labs and experiment chambers. It didn't appear that there were currently any production facilities built into this building, but that would likely be kept in a separate structure for safety's sake anyway.

Now that she had an idea where everything was, it was up to Delphinia to decide where she intended to go and what she intended to go after. She likely had a fifteen minute window at the most before Dave began to notice that Jeff wasn't coming back, at which point the disguise would likely become a problem because people would be looking for him.

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Once Delphinia crossed the threshold, she walked rather casually toward her objective. Having already drilled Jeff for a workable layout of this area she needed minimal assistance from the floor maps to get to her first objective. After responding to the people who seemed to recognize Jeff with either a silent nod or a brief good morning, she stood near the finances department.

They were a tightknit group that enjoyed having lunch together despite the fact that logically at least one individual should remain in case they were needed. Jeff knew this because one of his previous escapades had been part of the finances clique and he had joined them a few times when his shift allowed. Though there weren’t many restaurants worth traveling off-site for, the group had managed to find a hole in the wall place that was cheap and gave them their fill. This gap had been just one of the possible points of entry she decided she could leverage.

She wasn’t quite sure how long they had been gone, but decided this was a good of an opportunity she was going to get with the access she had. Boldly walking into the finance department, she went straight for the managerial offices only after confirming no one else was in the area. Delphinia would comb through loose paperwork, attempt to pick any desk drawers that were locked and if possible access any of the computers/digital devices in the area by connecting a small peripheral device she had managed to sneak in.

The device would attempt to upload any documentation stored locally on what it was connected to and also embed a ‘driver’ that would propagate throughout the network with the intent of accessing/copying any networked files or interdepartmental communications accessible by the user of that device. She was explicitly told by her direct employer that this was all that was necessary to get what they needed and since the originator of the device hailed from Hell’s Gate she didn’t have a reason to doubt right now.

After 10 minutes, barring any sudden change of plans, Delphinia would begin to wrap up and make her leave, hastily making her exit in order to make it back to Jeff’s post but as soon as she managed to reach the door she heard the sound of several people chuckling as they headed her way. Delphinia’s heart raced a bit but she knew she had to commit so after taking a deep breath she opened the door and was immediately confronted with practically the entire finance department. Their chatter ceased and one familiar voice shot out in her direction.

“Jeff? What are you doing here?”

“Oh…uh…well it looks like I missed my chance to have lunch with you again Ann.”

Delphinia tried to sound as genuine as possible but she didn’t think to drill into any specifics about who Ann was to Jeff or how things had been left. Feeling that her earlier words were still inadequate she continued, using her heightened sensitivity now that she was under pressure to let the next few words that she spilled seem like they were a struggle.

“I’ve…I’ve…well I’ve missed you…”

Was this a human resources violation? Maybe. But Delphinia would much rather endure company policy than the brewing potential of her guise faltering this early.

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Ann looked confused and taken aback at first, but after she had a moment to gather her thoughts, her face turned dark.

"Well... I did not miss you! I told you that one time would be the only time and I meant it! Get out!" she snapped.

"Yeah, you've gotta lotta guts coming here," another lady, evidently Ann's friend given how quickly she rushed to back her up, "After what you pulled."

"Ladies, do calm down," one of the men urged, "Jeff, you best get going. There's nothing for you here anymore."

It was actually lucky that "Jeff" had a history with someone in that department, as it made his snooping around in there actually seem less strange than it might have otherwise. Even so, some of the people were looking at the disguised Delphinia with expressions that indicated they thought "Jeff" was a little crazy for daring to show up here again, even if some of the expressions seemed semi-sympathetic. Maybe Jeff had transferred out of that department because of how things had gone with Ann...

Either way, that was one bullet dodged, but the infiltrator wasn't safe yet. In fact, as she made her way back toward the lobby, she was intercepted by another guard, who made sure to stop her in case she tried to walk by.

"Hey Jeff! Where have you been? Dave radioed in a minute or two ago that you've been gone taking a piss for like fifteen minutes now. Must be some piss dude..." the guard remarked, then narrowed his eyes, "Except the restrooms are back that way, so what are you doing here?"

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Delphinia raised her hands palm outward in response to Ann’s sudden burst, taking one step back while she listened to her work friends come to her defense. She had a feeling Jeff wouldn’t just tuck his tail and exit this conversation without getting in a few more words so she decided to continue. “Ann….I thought we had something.” She looked as if she was going to step forward but given the friends seemed poised to intercept as she knew they would be, she stopped and began backtracking her way out. “But….ok. If you ever change your mind, I will be ready.” Feigning a bit of disappointment she sulks her way away until she is out of view then starts to walk briskly back to Jeff’s station.

She had wanted to walk by the approaching guard but as soon as she diverted her path she saw him place himself in her path and begin his inquiry. Suspicions were rising, but this was all still manageable and she knew she had to be truthful to build off of the excuse she just crafted moments before.

“Oh yeah…well…after taking a piss I thought I’d give Ann a visit. Give it another go you know? She shut me down hard though. Ladies…am I right?”

‘Jeff’ sighed and then chuckled very lightly before continuing.

“I’ve been gone too long already though and should get back to work. Should help distract me from being rejected..again.”

She attempted to move past the guard soon after, hoping that was enough to get her by and that Jeff’s reputation would only be a boon instead of a deterrent.

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"Oh, alright then," the guard agreed, giving "Jeff" an understanding nod.

As Delphinia was moving on though, she might have heard the guard radioing into someone behind her as she left. Something about "finding Jeff" and "he's coming back now". This did mean Jeff was now expected back at the entrance, and so further deviation would be more costly, but at least it maintained her cover for now. 

Unfortunately, when she finally reached the door and stepped back outside, she found three guards waiting for Jeff. One was Dave, who almost immediately asked if he could go now, and was subsequently granted permission by one of the two other guards, this one also familiar and wearing a captain's insignia. It was the white-haired girl from the guardhut, and she didn't seem in a fair mood as she glared at Jeff with very suspecting eyes. The third guard was another woman, probably Chelsea who was supposed to takeover for Dave at noon. She was an rather attractive young brunette, which was probably why Cody had called Jeff "lucky" that he would be sharing a shift with her earlier. But she was not a concern right now, as she simply stayed at her station beside the door and looked away as the captain stared-down Jeff.

"I do hope you have good explanation for your absence, Mister Altman," she finally spoke, "Or do we have to send your through orientation again to ram-home the importance of vigilance?"

Despite the seemingly "normal angry boss" questions, there was something in the captain's black eyes that told Delphinia that she suspected more than just a lack of discipline from Jeff. In fact, her stance seemed more than just one of attempted dominance, but rather it looked like someone who was on edge but trying to conceal it. And actually, if Delphenia's eyes wandered back to Chelsea, she'd notice that the guardwoman actually had a hand resting on her holstered pistol for some reason.

"Go on, guardsman," the captain continued, "I'm waiting."

Edited by Tyler

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Well this was not good.

Delphinia noticed the trio waiting for her in the distance and did not hide her worry. Her pace was brisk but then slowed down to give her some time to formulate her approach to what was clearly going to be further questioning given that she recognized the white-haired captain and was already aware of the fear she seemed to strike in others. From the way Cody described her and the woman’s rank, Delphinia couldn’t really afford to mess this encounter up or provide any avenue that would force her hand and make things messy.

The fact that Chelsea seemed poised to draw her weapon did little to diffuse the tension that was evident. She had worn this “Jeff” guise around and presented him as the flirtatious man willing to break a rule here or there but something told Delphinia it was best to shift that approach in front of this woman. At the mention of orientation, Delphinia decided to act a bit fearful. At the very least she knew that orientation was not pleasant for many and wouldn’t be something anyone would love to go through again.

“Ok…well you see captain. I came inside to…well…take a piss and then took it upon myself to patrol inside to…well…employ that vigilance on the inside while I was here.”

“Jeff” gulped a bit, gauging the captain’s face and mannerisms, deciding to add things, the tone being employed a mixture of respect and fear which is what Delphinia assumed this captain was used to hearing from those below her.

“Please, I don’t think another round of orientation is necessary captain….really. I came here ready to work today!”

At times “Jeff” came off as pleading for belief while the rest of the time Delphinia hoped the rigid stance was just the right amount of tension to not let this illusion waver.

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