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 Coppertop vs Kaylin: Interval 06 (Weapons of Choice)

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Join date : 2009-05-21

PostSubject: Coppertop vs Kaylin: Interval 06 (Weapons of Choice)   Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:45 pm

Coppertop vs Kaylin: Interval 06 (Weapons of Choice)

(This log is presented more or less intact, rather than edited for narrative purposes. This is because I'm half-asleep. Maybe I'll fix it later.)

Following the briefing, in the final week of the approach on Brazarius...

Coppertop pads lithely down the corridors, the sweet scent of amasec on his breath as he hums a tune under his breath, some product of a far-off civilization. Likely a dead one. How many have died and taken their music with them? Such a shame, and he doesn't even know much about art - but he knows what he likes... trailing fingers across the wall, they pass across a plate with the name Ghent scrawled, the dust of many other names collected in the cracks. Knock, knock!
Kaylin blinks, twitching from her meditations before making her way to the door, lacking her cloak but with mask intact before sliding open the metal and blinking. "Coppertop. Er...hello?"
"You see? I can do things properly." He grins, deftly slipping past her into the room. "Thanks for the invitation, I appreciate your seeing me on short notice..."
"Never a problem, I'm rarely particularly... is that amasec?" She asked, wrinking her nose slightly behind her mask as she closed the door behind him, cocking her head to the side.
"Among other things," he replies off-handedly as he twirls in a slow circle before ending up against a wall, kicking a foot up behind him and his hands behind his head. "Ah! Much better, I missed this wall. How are you?"
"Curious. What, may I ask, drove you to your drinking? I don't think you've ever come to me before while drinking; usually preoccupied with others, I assume."
"You don't travel in the parts of the ship where there's drinking," he laughs, "so it's a moot point... what drove me to drinking? I have a mechanical liver, which demands daily supplements of ethanol, or I felt like it. Mm... I think I felt like it. I'd probably remember the liver." He tilts his head. "Would you like some? I know you wouldn't, but it's polite to offer, and I'm doing this properly."
"...no. No, I would not like some, but thank you for the offer." She noted, slightly amused before looking about her room. "I'd offer you a seat, but I'm afraid all I've got is a bed, which you're welcome to if you'd like. Are there any other polite necesities to be gotten out of the way?"
Tilting his head, "We should shake hands to check eachother's arms for hidden weapons, but we both know we have them, so let's not and say we did. Our own little secret." He grins, stretching up against the wall before dropping to a crouch, elbows resting on knees. "Is it strange that I'm here?"
"It's perhaps strange that you're here and drunk, but...no, I suppose it's not so strange. I'm just...not used to having company over." She says, slightly awkwardly. "Is it strange to you? The only time I can remember you actually coming into my room is when you broke in while I was drugging myself."
"Ah, so you don't remember the other times I was here! I'll have to tell you about them sometime. Mm... I like to hunt you down in public, because it's good for you. Why are you wearing your mask in here?"
"Why shouldn't I?" She asked, cocking her head to the side slightly. "And I'm not sure what there is for you in my room; it's not particularly entertaining."
"Ah! That's where you're wrong." He claps hands to knees, pushing himself up. "You're here, aren't you?"
"Yes, and at the best of times I'm not particularly conversational. At the worst, it's a health risk to attempt it. Though you still have all your fingers, so clearly I'm not threatening enough."
"What's life without risk?" Laughing, he shakes his head. "If it makes you feel better, I find you quite threatening. But if I let everything that threatened me slow me down, I'd never get anything done..." Regarding her, he pouts. "Am I threatening? I try not to be."
"Not to me, no, but then again I don't find most things particularly threatening, so that's unsurprising. If it's any consolation, I'm well aware that you could kill me in my sleep if so inclined." She pointed out, leaning back against the wall. "You certainly don't come across to most as threatning, I would imagine."
"I should hope I could! I'm an official assassin, I have a little card somewhere..." He pats phantom pockets. "Other pants. Never mind. No, Kaylin, I'm here because you're here." Frowning, "I'm not sure why. Maybe you can help me remember."
Kaylin sighs, reaching up and deciding to remove her mask of her own volition, offering a slight smile as she undoes the twisting clamps that pull it tight to her face, the slight red marks along the edges showing how tight to her it is clamped. "Because you're dreadfully in love with me, of course." She notes dryly, putting the mask down before cocking her head to the side with a slight smile. "Perhaps because you were lonely, or bored?"
Coppertop grins. "Oh, of course. We must all fall in love!" he declaims. "Caiten Reath was the first Inquisitorial matchmaker, and his acolytes shall repopulate the Imperium! For the Emperor! That's a scary thought... ah, wait. Lonely, maybe. I can understand that. It's not just that though. Tip of my tongue." Shaking his head, "It'll come to me."
Coppertop tsks, waggling a finger. "Coppertop Coltrane is never scared." Swinging himself away from the wall, he sprawls on the bed, feet idly dangling over the floor. "It's in the rules. Are you scared? We're going to drop to the surface of a warp-twisted planet, chasing a xeno's dream and a prince of a backwater world gone missing for months."
"I don't know that scared is the word. I thought I would be, but I'm actually closer to thrilled." She noted as she watched him carefully, raising an eyebrow. "If I'm not not wearing my mask, you're not allowed to wear yours, you know. What happened to all this talk about being polite and proper procedure?"
Coppertop waves a hand dismissively. "That was five minutes ago." Hooking his legs around he sits up, planting an elbow on a knee and looking over at her. "Of course I'm scared! I'd be a fool not to be, a fool or a commissar. I'm scared all the time though so it shouldn't enter into the decision I made. But you, you're thrilled, you get the chance to cut loose and carve yourself some expiation."
Kaylin sighs and makes her way over to him, sitting primly and slightly awkwardly on the bed beside him, looking down to him. "Thrilled perhaps isn't the right word. I don't process fear the same way most people do, so I'm a bad example. And that was just a guess; I could be wrong as to the source of all this...drinking. You might even just have wanted to enjoy my company." she adds with a snort.
"Oh, I do!" With pursed lips, "And I think that's part of it. Ah- you should take into account that I've been known to get drunk just because. I'm only moderately inebriated... want me to prove it? Ask me how many fingers you're holding up."
"This is true enough." She allows, putting her palm beneath her chin before proffering a set of three fingers. "Go on, then. I'm not sure if I'll be so helpful in reminding you why you came, seeing as I didn't know in the first place, but I'll do my best."
"Thr- wait. Let me start again." He looks away, planting a hand over his eyes, then turns back to peek between his fingers. "Three!"
Kaylin chuckles lightly before leaning back to look at him, pulling her legs up to her chest and cocking her head to the side. "Do you work hard to be funny all the time, or does it really just come that naturally to you?"
"I'm the returning fucking champion." He laughs, sobering. "Mm? I don't know, I am drunk so it may be the amasec talking..." Pondering, "Helpful. You are helpful, you know. You're the Emperor's blade, and the Emperor's pariah, and the Coppertop's spanner wrench."
"I sense a meaningful decrease in the esteem that comes with my title. A spanner wrench, now? Is that because I help you work things out, or because I'm cold, hard, unyielding?"
Earnestly, "You don't understand how useful they are." Patting an actual pocket, "I always have one on me. Always," he stresses. "It's a mark of honor! Wear it with pride. But give it back when you're done."
"I'm likely to die before I get that chance, but I'll keep it in mind. I never was good with machines and mechanics, so I never even bothered, really."
"Most people here are like that. Me, it's where I grew up. It came with the territory. You had at least some knowledge, or you were dragging everyone else down."
"A forge world, then?"
"A hive," he corrects, "an entertainingly clanky hive. Oh, there were parts you could get along in without it; I wasn't in them..." He trails off, lost in the past for a moment, before shaking his head. "Helpful, frightening, companionable, fearless. The many-faceted Kaylin. So damn... oh, I know." Coppertop orders his thoughts for a moment. "Yes, that's it. You're safe. You make me feel safe."
Kaylin stops, looking to him before blinking a couples times, a flush touching her pale cheeks. "I...did...Of the many things I've heard, I don't think I've ever been called safe before." She murmured lightly, embarassed, but she had to work rather hard to keep the smile from her face.
"I didn't expect that either," he assures her. "I thought maybe I lost something in here."
"I'm not used to you being...sweet, I think is the word. It's almost disturbing." She noted with a slight chuckle before cocking her head, amused. "What could you possibly have left in here?"
"Mm... do I usually carry around spiders?"
"You'd have to tell me. If you do then you and the spiders must be very close, considering your bodysuit is sprayed on."
Coppertop laughs. "It's not that bad. Is it? I don't want it catching on things, or my gear swinging me around..."
"Have you ever actually looked at yourself when you wear it?"
Coppertop huffs. "Are you accusing me of vanity?"
"I don't think there's a question on your vanity." She notes with a snort. "More on your powers of perception."
Coppertop grins. "Well done. Of course I have." Teasingly, "I'm surprised you noticed, though - I thought you had eyes only for Mina."
Kaylin blushes instantly, red color filling pale cheeks and extending to the edge of the bodysuit just beneath her chin, where it probably continued. "I don't have 'eyes' for her!" she muttered, ducking her head and kicking him in the side slightly.
Coppertop grins, half-heartedly going to parry the kick with a forearm. "Oh! That got a reaction. She sure has eyes for you..." He sighs, solemnly. "Unrequited love is so tragic."
"That much is obvious..." She mutters, still red as she puts her head in her hands. "She gave me a ring, you know..."
"Oh slag... really. What did she want you to do with it?"
Coppertop leans over, gradually overbalancing and rolling across a shoulder to sprawl on the floor, a leg still hooked up on the bed.
Kaylin tugs off the glove of her bodysuit, a few new scars added to her hand as she pulls a small, ruby ring from her finger with a slight sigh before looking to him with a raised eyebrow. "Completely intentional, I know. She said she wants me to wear it, as a good luck charm or something like that. I asked if she meant to marry me, and I told her that wouldn't be possible, but I don't know if she...you know...got it..."
In an injured tone of voice, "You say that as if you don't believe it." Hooking his hands behind his head, he peers at her narrowly, studying her face.
Kaylin leans back against the wall lightly, cocking her head to the side as she watched him. "...what?"
"I wish I could do that. How do you do it?" He wriggles his brow around, almost furtively. "I try... eh... just one side, and the other goes up..." Frowning, "It's not obeying, dammit. Nothing ever obeys."
"Practice; between the rest of you all, there's a lot to cock an eyebrow at. And most of what you spend your time commanding are people, and people don't obey particularly well. While you might be charismatic, you're not exactly a figure to inspire the masses."
With a sigh, "That almost stung. Agh... they are stronger than I. That makes them good soldiers. I am smarter than them. That makes me a good leader. That's how it works!" Raking both hands through his hair, he peers at his fingers for a moment, before letting his arms flop back. "I went out on a limb back there, with Tarkus. Emperor knows if I can keep it when I can't rely on my tools..."
"Don't worry. I can take him." she notes dryly.
Wryly, "I wouldn't doubt it."
"I beat him with a blade, at least; I don't think I could do it if he was armed with pistols, which he apparently prefers, but I could probably do it again if I got up close. In any case, it's not just about being smart, it's about using your smarts to make them listen to you."
"Who else are they going to listen to? Fuck. At this rate I'm going to end up drunk, morbid and bitter. That's bad. That's not a good place to be." He stares up at the ceiling. "Rings!" Lifting his head, "You're wearing it. I wonder where she got it on a Guardsman's pay?"
Kaylin blinks at the abrupt change of subject, cheeks coloring again. "Yes, I suppose I am..." she mutters, perhaps a bit guiltily. "And why are you morbid? I haven't even mentioned killing you this whole discussion."
Coppertop laughs, head thumping back. "I have a lot on my mind. Ow," he adds petulantly, rubbing at the back of his head where it hit the floor. "Meant to do that."
"Head meets floor causes pain, yes. I thought you said you were smart. And I don't know where she got the ring, I was...well, there wasn't all that much of a chance to ask."
"It's not the first thing you think of, is it? 'Oh Emperor she's giving me a ring, does she have the receipt?'"
"What do I do about this whole thing?!" She cries, flopping her own head back against the wall behind her, though she manages it without the petulance.
Very deliberately, he rearranges himself, pulling himself up and crossing his legs into a less silly position. Resting elbows on legs, he tents fingers together, studying the result before looking up at her. "What do you want done?"
"I don't even know... this isn't the sort of thing I deal with!" she points out, bringing her hands to her eyes and pressing slowly until it was almost painful before moving one to look at the man. "And you still haven't told me why you came in the first place."
"What I hear from you... is two things." He raises a finger. "It confuses and frightens and irritates you, even offends you." He raises another. "It pleases and-" Pausing a moment. "-flatters you. You want more of it." Peering at the fingers, he waggles them a moment, before looking up again. "What I don't know is if it's her, I mean her her, you like Mina - or if she's just pushing the issue."
Kaylin blushes once more, looking as though she really would like to be offended at that before dropping her head and sighing. "I don't know. I mean, you're right, I understand all that about the first part, but I don't even know how to distinguish between the two. I can't start thinking about it without feeling guilty, and I can't even...gah." she muttered, flopping her head to the bed before mumbling into it. "Shouldn't you have some sort of trouble like this? You've got more experience with girls."
Coppertop chuckles absently. "That's why I don't. Ah- are you sure you want to hear about this?"
"Hear about what?"
Coppertop considers his words for a moment, before laughing. "Fuck it - I'm a dog about it. I sleep around. I don't pretend otherwise. If I had tits, they'd call me a slut. It's all about fun for me, Kaylin. Everyone involved has fun, no regrets the next morning, no promises. So I don't have trouble, because I play with people who know that game and everyone wins. Just fun. It's not love, it's never love." His lips thin, no longer smiling. "The last time I loved, I watched them die. I couldn't help them, I- I ran. I didn't even try. I was too young, too weak, too worthless and- I can't, won't. I won't love again. Slag it..." Taking a deep breath, "I wasn't going to go there."
Kaylin leans down and almost pats him on the chest before deciding better of it, bare hand stopping not far off before she pulled it back slowly. "I understand. I don't know if you think I do, but I do, we're not...well, I guess you already told me we're not all that diferent, thus all this...friendship, and such." She notes dryly before offering a slight smile. "We both certainly wander to dark places."
Looking away, not meeting her eyes for once, he lets out a sigh. "Drunk, morbid and bitter. Bad place, very bad to be. Forget I said any of that, please." Slapping his thighs. "Enough of that! We were embarassing you."
"You do that plenty. And it's alright, you're at least not morbid, bitter and alone. Maybe that's why you came?" She offers before shrugging. "Besides, I'm not sure how much more there is to embarass me about the subject; neither one of us is exactly stable when it comes to love, and I'm relaively certain you don't have magic solution to me problem, thus."
"Ah, but I do!" He points to her hand. "Wear it or don't wear it. You're trying to do both. Figure out which you actually want, and- problem solved! Also..." Leaning forward, he snags a throne out from behind her ear. "Magic. Now it's a magic solution."
"No, that's slight of hand." She pointed out, smiling slightly. "Where would you be without your resident stick in the mud?"
Coppertop carefully walks the throne over his fingers, palming it and making it disappear, before shaking it out of his sleeve again. "More muddy?" He grins, although it doesn't quite reach his eyes this time. "You asked me why I came, I already figured it out - you make me feel safe. I could be out there, riding some pert young filly from aft of deck fifteen, but I'd rather be here tonight because you've saved my life more times than I can count. Yeah... it's friendship. Don't tell anyone or they'll all want one."
"Don't worry; I won't let the world get you." She said, deciding to shift down to the floor to sit next to him, her position otherwise largely unchanged. "And how do you ride a woman? I thought girls did the riding, otherwise the pieces wouldn't fit."
Coppertop laughs, with genuine amusement this time. "I believe I already said I'm a dog about it." Balancing the throne on edge a moment, he starts carefully rolling it across his knuckles. "There are all sorts of ways to have fun, Kaylin. Can you honestly tell me you haven't- shit," he adds as the throne tinks off the floor. Picking it up, he tries again, lips pursed. "You've never even once peeked at the more lascivious side of the ship's library?"
"Why would they have that sort of thing in libraries?" she asks, genuinely surprised.
Coppertop blinks, focusing on her. "Oh... whew. We're cooped up in close quarters for months at a time, they have to be sure everyone keeps their needs in check." He shrugs. "That or the library is stocked by perverts, you make the call."
Kaylin flops her head into the palm of her hand, kneading her temples with her fingertips, having returned the glove to her hand once more. "Yes, but they don't need to instruct people on it..."
Shaking his head bemusedly, "It's a sinner thing, I suppose. Don't think too much about it." He flicks a finger at her hand. "If it makes you feel better, I've been proposed to before."
Kaylin twitches slightly as his finger touches her hand before blinking. "That's... actually not all that surprising, somehow. Was it serious?"
Coppertop grins. "I was wearing the dress at the time. It was complicated..." Tilting his head, he lifts a thumb to brush up against the earrings. "This is what I did with the rings. Souveneirs."
Kaylin reaches out almost as though to flick them, though again she stops short of acually touching either the rings or the flesh. "Interesting. I had just assumed they were cosmetic. I had piercings, long time ago. I used to like them."
This time he catches the abortive motion, lips twisting with suppressed mirth. "They aren't trapped."
"No, but they are on you." She points out, as though it were obvious.
"Well done." He claps once, twice. "You were pierced? Where?"
"Most places, really. It was part of initiation into the prayer gang, branding and piercings."
Coppertop chuckles. "You liked them?" He props his chin on the clasped hands. "I can see that. Why did you give them up?"
"Pride is a sin." She pointed out dryly, pulling aside her hair to reveal the ragged edges of both her ears, all from the lobe to the top, her thumb brushing the scars at the left side of her lips. "The first of many; piercings were not tolerated."
Kaylin shifts, slipping her hair back over them as her usual.
Coppertop lets out a soft breath, reaching forward to brush her hair back again - taking his time, giving her plenty of opportunity to see it coming.
Kaylin twitches slightly as his hand approaches, but manages to keep her wrist down, twisting her head slightly to let him see, also to move her neck from his fingers. The edges of her ear are almost entirely ragged, the lobe missing almost wholesale on the left one. She once must have had piercings all through her ear, perhaps seven or eight of them. "Nothing, really, just a punishment for vanity." She murmured, eyes downcast and away.
Murmured, "That fits their profile." He sighs. "Pointless excess." Carefully, professionally, his fingertips brush across the keloid scarring. "An object lesson, or just a zealous rage... never mind." Drawing back, he smiles. "Would you like to try it again?"
Kaylin laughs slightly. "Both... and I don't know that it would pierce properly, and I don't know...that I'd want to, really. The first lessons are some of the sharpest, even if now they would be trivial."
"It wouldn't - not in the shape that it's in. But your piercings were along the edge. The shell of your ear remains intact, and this part..." He runs a thumb along the inner circle of his own ear. "The rook, the snug, the antitragus. They lacked imagination."
"It wasn't imagination, it was an example." She points out slightly, her wrist twitching upwards towards his before slowly relaxing, forcing her fingers to spread to lose the tension. "It was...it was display, more than anything else. Just to show me how... how stupid, the whole thing was, you don't..." she breathed. "You don't want me talking about this. Drunk and morbid and bitter is no place to be, right?" she offered with a forced laugh, brushing his hand away with a carefully gentle motion to the side. "Something happy, right?"
"Mm." Pursing his lips, "You used to be happy about this. I'd hate to think they could steal that from you... I want to show you something." Sprawling on one side, he stretches an arm, muttering something as a strap of his bag eludes him momentarily. Managing to pinch a grip, he grins as he tugs it closer, feeling blindly around inside as he speaks over his elbow. "I used to use aluminum, but there was an incident with a low-freq EMP, and- hah!" Drawing out a small box, he rolls onto his back, thumbing it open on his stomach. "Ceramic." Pinching out a small bone-white post, he holds it up to the light. "I can't wear the earrings in my spray-suit, can I? So these keep my ears company while I'm on the move."
Kaylin cocks her head, leaning in slightly to see it better before cocking a slight smile. "Clever; I hadn't really thought about it, but you'd have to put something there or they'd close..."
"That's right!" He grins. "I'm clever all over. I'm so clever I have spares, because the slagging things are fiddly. You drop one of these on a carpet? It is gone." Carefully sitting up, he cradles the box in his lap. "They're small and inconspicuous, and a little reminder that the Emperor's weapon deserves a polishing from time to time."
Kaylin shakes her head lighty, laughing. "Keep them; they look better on you. I don't have holes anymore, just scars." She points out before shifting back. "Besides, I'm not sure I could handle it. Little triggers, and that sort of thing. Do they spray on the suit, or do you do it yourself? I've nver used synskin, just a bodysuit."
Coppertop tilts his head. "I won't push you, but I'd like to see them on you. I think it'd do you good." With a laugh, "But I'm the drunk one here. Ah..." Closing the box up, he tosses it into the bag. "I do it myself, most times. I'm all flexible and that sort of thing. But!" He points at her. "How do you talk with that mask on? How do you move your chin?"
"Small vox-caster, I think, or maybe just careful design." She explains, reaching over to the thing and letting him see the inside, the blast-reflective visors and rebreather unit lining the inside. "There's some slight room for chin movement, but not much; it's made to cinch tight, and to seal when necesary."
"Mm... I was hoping you were throwing your voice." He stifles a yawn. "-uh. Party trick. Here!" Reaching up, he clamps a hand over her mouth. "Talk!"
Kaylin chuckles. "Sorry I'm--" She started, snapping her wrist up to catch his as he pressed a hand to her mouth, fingers closing around his before she stopped, forced her fingers wide, and removed her hand from his arm before mumbling into his hand.
"Sometimes," he murmurs philosophically, "it's all right to cut off the hand."
"I'd rather not cut off yours." Her voice comes out, dry, from apparently at his left hand. "You look better symmetrical."
Coppertop laughs, rocking back. "I knew it! I knew you can throw your voice! You sly trickster! Also, thank you for not taking me literally."
"I try not to broadcast all the things I can do." She pointed out, shifting back slightly from the hand. "Though you're lucky; if you'd done that at the beginning of all this, you'd be bleeding."
Solemnly, "Coppertop Coltrane doesn't need luck." He grins, scooting back to the far wall. "There! All the space you need, or at least enough to see me coming. Ah, Kaylin... what would I do without you to torment? I mean therapy. Therapize."
"You'd move on to Modesty, she seems to have almost as many self-hatred issues as I do."
"Then Vlad would be jealous, and you'd show him up, and tragedy or hilarity would ensue, depending."
Coppertop waves it off. "I'm not qualified to deal with Modesty. Girl's got family issues, and that's another mess altogether."
With a sigh, "I'll have to try someday... I'm not looking forward to it."
"You could just leave her be. She certainly seems content to feel put upon and chained."
"That's just what I'm doing for now. She's found her own solutions, Emperor help her..." He shakes his head. "But Necromunda's got a long arm. We're going to end up crossing paths with it eventually."
"And perhaps when it comes to that time, she'll be better in a position to deal with it. Or perhaps they'll all be declared heretics, and I'll butcher them before she has to. Who knows."
Coppertop grins absently. "Wouldn't that be nice? Just declare everyone we don't like heretics." Lifting his hands, he spreads them, nonverbally setting that one aside. "We have enough to worry about. And we're going to be happy tonight, slag it!"
"You've more practice than I; I'm not in the habit of having free time." She notes before blinking and cocking her head to the side. "How old are you, Coppertop?"
Coppertop frowns. "You're not supposed to ask a lady that question."
"Just because you're more of a girl than I am doesn't make you a lady."
"Much more of that and I'm going to put you over my knee if I have to paralyze you to get there." He thinks for a moment, before sighing and digging out his dataslate. "I'm not used to translating this into the Imperium calendar... hah! I missed a birthday."
"As did I, apparently, though I've only ever used the Impirium calendar."
"Shit. We owe eachother presents. I'm eighteen."
"You seem older. More put together, I suppose."
Coppertop smothers a yawn, holstering the slate. "I had to do some growing up, real fast." With a dry grin, he adds, "Even if it doesn't show."
"If you're getting bored, you can always find entertainment elsewhere, though I'm not sure where to send you." She offers with an amused smile before shrugging.
"Nn. I'm a sleepy drunk. And," he waggles a finger, "a cheap one! One of the lesser-known side effects of being pint-sized."
"Thank the Emperor I'm not a talkative drunk or I'd have to stay away from the stuff."
"The only bonus I've found to being small is that it allows you to dodge more easily. I've certainly wished I had the commisar's arm before; an eviscerator combined with his strength would do well."
"Us slender reeds have it made," he laughs. "Dodging, throwing ourselves around - less weight, less bulk, less gravity dragging us down and less momentum at the end. Easier to fit in crawlspaces, easier to crawl in crawlspaces, stand on fragile ledges, slip around soundlessly and hide behind just about anything..."
"Do you really want Modesty's breasts dragging against your backswing?"
"Of course not." She says, though there's a slight flush to her cheeks and tone. "I can't even imagine working with Mina's breasts."
Coppertop tilts his head, studying her. "You do," he murmurs, in a tone of awe.
Kaylin blinks. "Huh?"
"Kaylin, you're jealous of them. That's wonderful!" He laughs. "You truly are remarkable, you know that?"
"What are you talking about?!" She asks, demanding.
Coppertop grins, resting his chin on a hand as he regards her. "Underneath it all - no matter what you say - you're still a girl, and all that implies."
Kaylin blushes once more, attempting to take the high road on it. "I'm certain I don't know what it implies," she nots, sniffing slightly, "but of course I'm a girl."
Coppertop waves his other finger. "No, no. Of course you're female, that's obvious, fact of nature and not changing. Not obvious, though... you're still a girl, Kaylin Ghent. You want friends, you want to feel pretty, you want to feel loved."
"I don't see what that has to do with anything..." She mutters, cheeks practically glowing before she coughs slightly, straightening her back. "A proper servant of the Emperor has no need for love, appearance or friendship; the knowledge of the righteous cause they serve should wax strong in the face of such petty concerns." She quoted from memory.
Coppertop tilts his head. "Ever wondered if the Emperor had friends?"
"No...? What does that have to do with anything?"
"To deny the humanity he protects is the most profane thing you can do in his memory." He shrugs. "That's how it looks from here. A proper servant of the Emperor should remember that he, too, was a living man, emphasis on life."
"Yes, and to create a life that can be lived safely, piously and prosperously by those in his domain and who follow his name is why I serve my purpose."
Coppertop grins. "Remember that you said that. I'm going to be throwing that quote at you from time to time."
"Remember first that my purpose is to act as the Emperor's hand in all that I can Coppertop; to act for my own sake, desire or end is a sin."
"Yeah, I know. Sinful, sinful..." He flops to one side, hooking an arm under his head. "You know you're in his domain, yes?"
"No, actually, I'm not."
"You are." Tapping the floor. "You follow his name. The Emperor's hand is upon you, just as it is on everyone else. Don't tell me you're going to commit the heresy of denying him?"
"The Emperor's hand is in the Immaterium." She points out. "His eye is the astronomicon. His gaze sees the soul, and I haven't got one, Coppertop. The Emperor hand doesn't reach me any more than a daemon's grasping mind."
Coppertop laughs. "Ah, Kaylin. Are you listening to this? You're arguing for semantics, and I'm arguing for faith. When did we end up like this? Shit... how are you going to be a proper servant of the Emperor when you won't even acknowledge he cares about you?"
"Because he doesn't care about me, Coppertop! Maybe he used to, or maybe I just thought he did, but I was wrong then and it's wrong to think he does now!" She snaps, eyes flashing for a moment before she sharply ducks her head, sliding a hand up to grasp at the side of it, knuckles white as the nails bite into the scalp and just beneath her jaw. "It doesn't-" She started before breathing out sharply, slowly, a bit of blood welling on the lip of her bodysuit from where her thumb bit into her jaw. "Let's just...I told you before, you don't want to talk about this. Something happy, something happy..." she adds in a mutter, scrambling for something to talk about.
Coppertop slips soundlessly across the floor, hooking knees under to kneel before her, his hands gently closing about her wrists one finger at a time. Softly, "Kaylin, you can hate yourself all you want, and you can fulfill every prophecy you give yourself, but there's something you can't do. You can't tell me you're not worth my time. You can't tell the Emperor you're not worth his. That's a decision you'll never be able to take away from us, no matter how hard you want to believe it..."
Kaylin twitches in his grasp, starting to shake, her knuckles turning white as blood runs along the side of her face, a few gentle drops. "Don't...don't do this, Copper, don't make me--I'm losing it, I'm spinning, but I can still stop, I can pull it back together, if you give me a minute..." She whispered sharply, voice shaking. "I'll break, Copper, and you'll see me, and I won't be able to stop myself, and I'll lose it, and you'll...and I'll...Just a minute, and I'll be okay again, and everything will be fine, and we can keep laughing and I can keep pretending it's okay... Please..."
Coppertop hesitates, shoulders tightening, genuinely uncertain as he stares at her... he licks his lips, before taking a deep breath and resting his forehead against hers. "Slag it. Hit me with your best shot."
Kaylin shakes against him, twitching from the feeling of his forehead against hers, but she remains silent and slowly, carefully, manages to still her breathing. "I'm...alright..." she breathed, slowly, not pulling away, her voice wavering but returning. "I'll be fine... now... I just needed to not...not keep going with that, you know?" She whispered softly, a bit of a laugh in her voice.
"Whew. We'll come back to that, I promise, but... someday when we've got a few months to come down from it, not a few days." Gently, he knocks his forehead against hers. "Crazy girl."
Kaylin half laughs, half sobs against his forehead as she slowly pulls her fingers away from her face, blood on her nails and fingertips. "You have no idea..." She laughs through the soft shaking of her shoulders, eyes closed before sniffing slightly, reaching up and scrubbing at her eyes slowly.
"I have some idea," he corrects, shifting to lean against the bed, his arm settling around her shoulders and leaning her against his chest. "I wasn't sure which of us you were about to kill though."
"I don't think you do, really..." She murmurs, shaking her head. "And I...I don't really know. I don't want to kill you."
Coppertop grins faintly. "Thank you. I don't want to die, so we're on the same wavelength." With a sigh, he shakes his head as well. "You might have tried, or you might have tried to kill me. I'm prepared for it-" Breaking off into a laugh, "-but I'm glad I don't have to try it until I'm awake... fuck, that was scary for a moment there. Kaylin..." Sobering. "We get down there, you might have to kill me if the daemons get past my guard. I might have to kill you if you snap and endanger the mission. That's how it is. Up here..." He twitches a smile. "At least it's personal, right?"
Kaylin lets out a slight chuckle, shoulders shaking a bit with a vestige of her breakdown before gathering back together. "A reassuring thought." She offers before shrugging. "It wouldn't ever happen on a mission; there are just...some things I can't deal with, and if you push it...I don't know. Don't ever just let me kill you." She adds quietly. "If I try and kill you, you try and kill me right back."
Cheerfully, "Oh, there wouldn't be a 'try'."
Kaylin snorts against his chest. "If you were going to kill me, it wouldn't be in a straight up fight." She pointed out, starting to snuggle into his chest slightly before stopping, her body going rigid for a moment before she shifted, almost instantly, from against him and beneath his arm to a respectable distance, in a feat of agility that would have put to shame his mid-air acrobatics.
Coppertop starts to shift fluidly in response, moving to tear her hand away from her face - or his, for that matter - and since that's not what she's up to at all, drops to a knee, watching as she settles down again. After a moment, he twitches a smile, settling back against the bed. "...everyone forgets I'm an assassin too. All this cleverness goes somewhere - I have a plan to kill everyone I meet."
"Of course you do. I didn't doubt that--I just doubt that your plan to kill me was stupid enough to be a straight up fight."
Coppertop laughs. "It's one of them," he admits, "if only because you aren't expecting it. You'll underestimate me, and you'll hesitate."
"It's not high on the list."
"You forget; I'm an assassin. I don't underestimate people." She points out with a slight smile.
Coppertop's lip twitches, but he says nothing more, hooking his elbow across the bed and pillowing his arm on it. "I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I don't want to kill you."
"No, but you would. You want to live more than I do."
Coppertop shrugs his unoccupied shoulder. "I do. I would. Let's both work to make sure it doesn't come to that."

Last edited by Veav on Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Coppertop vs Kaylin: Interval 06 (Weapons of Choice)   Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:45 pm

"Did you ever think any of your other charity cases were going to knife you?"
"I have other charity cases? That's awesome. I hope I'm leaving myself notes."
"It's hard to imagine that this isn't a past time of yours."
Coppertop lifts his head, blinking slowly at her. "Kaylin, break it down... we're sailing this way and that across the Imperium, constantly changing out crews and detachments. When would I have the opportunity?" He squirrels his head into his arm with a sigh. "And you think me far too altruistic if you believe I go hunting after people to help in that spare time you deny."
Kaylin smiles, leaning back against the wall and breathing out as she watches him. "Probably." She admits. "You're a much better assassin than I am; you make me want to believe you're not one."
"I have a card," he mutters grumpily.
"A card. An official one. It's got a seal and everything. Says I'm an assassin."
"I don't. I just have targets."
"You're a weapon. I'm an assassin." With a sigh, "Or so I'm told."
"I'm going to have to do something to break you out... Kaylin, you're not a charity case. You're not the latest in some string of crazy Emperor's weapons I've been assigned to or hunted down while drunk- slag it, you've known all along I was drawn to you because of your past. Our pasts! You're my pet project, my weapon, my acolyte, my friend."
"I know what you're doing, Coppertop. I have never been, and never will be, more than a sword to point in the right direction, and no one has ever treated me as anything else." She said slowly, as though trying to make him understand. "I'm not a charity case. I'm not a friend, in so far as that you aren't helping me out because it's good for me and you care. You're too smart for that, and I know it; you might care, and it might be good for me, but we both know that I'm an ally first and a friend second. I'm a foil first and a person second." She explained before closing her eyes and smiling. "But sometimes I can pretend to myself it's not true, and that's what's important for now."
With sleepy dignity, "Sometimes I pretend to myself it's not true either. If we're both pretending at the same time, what's the difference?"
"Usually? None. Every once and a while it matters, but only to me, so it's alright."
"Mm. I do care, I have my reasons to above and beyond, but... one thing. No one has ever treated you as anything else? I'm hurt." He peers at her over the curve of his jacket. "I'll tell you a secret. I didn't come tonight to home your edge. I came because I wanted to see you." With a sigh, he closes his eyes. "Take it as you will..."
Kaylin breathes out quietly, eyes still closed against the wall. "I know. And you've treated me as more, but it's so easy to see it as just another way to make me work better for you, or as something to make yourself feel better about doing it..." She said quietly before shaking her head and, in a bit of levity and perhaps candid irritation, tosses her pillow at his spiky little head. "And I was ok with thinking that you were just here for fun before you went on your little 'I'm a big bad assassin, not a friend' trip, so you walked yourself right into that one!" She allowed with a slightly comic sniff and a slightly concealed grin, as though trying to force the gloom away.
Coppertop peers up at her again, blinking. "...then let me show you my weapon of choice." He snags the pillow, moving closer with predatory intent.
Kaylin blinks, leaning back warily.
Coppertop plants the pillow in her lap, rolling over and thumping his head in it a moment later, wriggling comfortable. "Hah. You're paralyzed."
Kaylin blinks and does indeed turn rigid for at least a moment or two, a notable hitch in her motion as she looks down to him, slowly coloring. "Your head is in my..." she started, not quite sure what to say to that, still rather inflexible. "N-no fair..."
Coppertop's lips press together, suppressing a laugh. "Yes," he manages with appropriately sepulcheral tones. "I fight dirty."
Kaylin twitches slightly, slowly shifting out from beneath the pillow as best she could. "Apparently... I'm sure there's something that makes you freeze up..." she noted, slowly shifting away from him.
"Aww," he sighs as she shifts. "You're comfy." An eye shivers open, peering up at her.
"I am not! Mina keeps telling me that, and I'm too bony to be comfortable." She mutters, shaking her head.
"You had a pillow," he observes. "In your lap. Where my head was."
"Then the pillow was comfortable, not me!"
Coppertop considers this. "I'll just have to try it without the pillow."
"Oh no you won't."
Coppertop grins, rolling over and levering himself to his feet.
"I don't believe you."
Coppertop tugs off his jacket, tossing it aside, before making his knife appear and sliding it after the jacket. Stifling a yawn, he stretches upwards to the balls of his feet before shaking out his arms - then picks up the pillow and thumps it thoughtfully to his palm.
Kaylin raises an eyebrow, shifting back slightly. "Are you planning on sleeping here?"
"After this, I'm not sure I'd survive that." Coppertop tosses the pillow at her, lunging under to try and tackle her to the ground. Whee!
Kaylin reacts rather swiftly, catching the pillow with a snap of her wrist and trying to bring it down to block him from his tackle, her eyes widening slightly as she realizes the pillow unlikely to stop him.
Coppertop's back gets nicely thwumped as he sweeps an arm under her leg, pushing her down with an elbow and a laugh. "I love it when a plan comes together!"
Kaylin twitches, instead of going rigid shifting lithely to try and toss him off, pressing hard to try and get a proper angle to jetison him off with her leg. "Quite what would that plan be, exactly?!" She notes, pressing hard with her left elbow to try and roll him over.
Coppertop grunts, not overly surprised at the response - after all, they have officially shifted to martial contact - but it was smoothly done, and he rolls across a shoulder, trying to tag her elbow and get the leverage to pull her off-balance. "-let you know when something works, so it looks like I planned it all along-"
Kaylin twists under him, watching him go for her elbow--and decides to see what happens, allowing him to clip her arm properly and pull her center of balance from under her control. It would be easier, she figures, to get out of a lock once it was established, as she figures she was slightly stronger than him...and besides, she's kind of curious.
Coppertop hauls her into his center of gravity, properly pinning her to the ground, and promptly spinning around to plant his head across one thigh - the closest thing there is to a lap, in this position. Of course in doing so there's no point in even pretending he's maintaining any form of control, but that's not the idea here. "There we go!" Coppertop twists his head around experimentally, shifting a little to better place his vertebrae. "Not soft," he muses. "Not bony either. Good lumbar support..."
Kaylin twists, shifting her frame swiftly to bring her other thigh across the man's throat--and then he pressing into her thigh and she finds herself rather unable to take the proximity anymore, changing the trajectory of her leg to come down above his head and immediately push off to scoot her away from him, whirling swiftly to turn to face him as color rises in her cheeks for perhaps the billionth time tonight. "What is it with you and my thighs all of a sudden?!" she asks, obviously embarassed.
"Eventually," he notes, carelessly hooking his hands behind his head, "I'm going to end up in traction on one of these missions, and it'll be good to know who's comfy enough to cradle me while I'm recovering." In fact he already has ended up in traction, but never mind that.
"I'm sure Mina will be happy to oblige." She noted dryly, swallowing. "More likely Vlad will just carry you like a doll, and you'll get to see how his thighs feel."
"Is there something wrong with having a comfy conscience?" Laughing, he closes his eyes - then opens them again, shivering as he rolls over to snag his jacket. "-cold floor."
"I don't heat my room." She points out dryly, amused as he gathers his things. "And I'm not comfy, I'm not supposed to be thinking about things like that! Whether or not I'm comfy is entirely beyond the scope of importance."
"That's why I'm thinking about them for you." Coppertop nods solemnly, wriggling himself comfortable in the thick fabric. "...you know, space isn't cold."
"Sunlight warms you on a planet, but in space, there's no wind to cool you, no air to carry it off your skin - and there are lots of suns. Getting rid of heat is the problem, not heating things up. And knowing this, why are ships so cold all the time? What are they doing to chill this floor?" He sighs, reclining again.
"I...don't know. I'd never thought about it, I had just assumed space was cold, therefore ships were cold."
"I'm sure it has to do with the Warp. Forbidden knowledge," he sighs again, "and even if I knew it, it doesn't warm the floor."
"No, but warmth is another unnecesary comfort for me."
"Hah! It's a necessary comfort, Kaylin. You can't fight if your joints are stiff, or your lungs chilled. We all need that necessary comfort."
"How often do you see me fight with stiff joints of chilled lungs? When I'm entering combat, I make sure I'm properly warmed up."
"You should plan for combat more often, then..." He glances across at her. "Kaylin? Can you answer me honestly, why you wouldn't heat your room? It isn't-" He catches a yawn, looking slightly vexed. "-nn, it isn't a sin. It isn't a luxury or a waste of resources. It's a thermostat, somewhere on board, and the only purpose you're serving is to make yourself less comfortable."
Kaylin remains silent for a moment, trying to figure out quite how to say what he was asking without going into things deeper, before breathing out gently. "It...helps me focus, I suppose."
"Mm. You have your focus." He waggles a foot in the direction of her discarded mask. "That, and your prayers, and your flesh..."
"All of which are supposed to be one, when done properly. My mask, my prayers, my flesh... all are meant to be bent to the service of the Emperor." She points out. "The thought behind them all being that through my mask, I am in his service, not my own, that in my prayers I remember him, and that in my flesh I remember that my pain is cleansing and my body transient compared to His will and my mission."
"...well enough." He gives her a sleepy smile. "I'm not going to push any more today."
"It's a good idea." She offers with a slight smile, breathing out gently. "I'm sorry, I just... it may see silly, but this is pretty put together for me. There are things I don't like thinking about, about...myself, I suppose... that I don't...or I can't just show, you know? I can't control them."
"I'm beginning to understand that." He tilts his head. "In some ways, I feel like you want to deal with it more than I do, in a lot of ways, but... you can't escape who you are."
"I'm not sure what you mean."
Quirking a grin, "At this stage that's all you get. Ask me again when I'm sober..."
"Will you remember when you're sober?"
"Close call, close call."
"What does it even feel like, being drunk?"
"Ask a glass of water."
"You know what I mean."
Coppertop laughs. "It's different for everyone, I suppose. For me it's... not relaxing, the tension is still there, but I end up paying a little bit less attention. I have to be careful about it or I'd spend all my thrones just getting smashed. That's why I'm not drunk-drunk. Just a bit!"
"What makes the tension go away, anything?"
"Not yet. Not for long. Drinking takes the edge off, sex backs it off a bit - for a few minutes." He reaches across, touching his arm, the one with the tattoo seal now lurking beneath the jacket. "I hoped this would help, in that and other matters, but..."
"Why would a tattoo take the edge off of tension?"
Coppertop sighs. "I hoped a purity seal - a good one - would help. A reminder that the Emperor blesses me, and he does... even I can grasp at straws sometimes, Kaylin."
"What is it that has you so tense? Is it really just the daemon world, or is it something more?"
Coppertop watches her from under hooded eyes.
"...you can't go back. That's not it, I mean... let me try that again." He chuckles. "I'm getting influenced by the wrong people. I can show you a little bit of it, but you can't go back. You can't forget what you've learned. Do you want that?"
"Of course you can't go back." She noted simply. "That's what makes knowledge so dangerous an area to specialize in. Do you think telling me will help with your tension?"
"...I don't know."
"Do you want to tell me?"
"Yes, dammit! But I don't want to curse you with it! And," he adds wryly, "you might kill me, which I suppose would be a good cure for it."
"Then tell me." She noted, breathing out and crossing her legs lightly. "You already know the threat of it, so I won't bother reiterating."
"Slag it. I am either not drunk enough for this or too drunk to be doing this, but slag it all." He pushes himself over onto his knees, pulling out his dataslate and placing it before him, inert. Resting hands on knees, he looks up at her. "You don't like the Adeptus Mechanicus much."
"No, I have no love for them."
"Good instincts. They've got some ugly secrets." He tilts his head. "As the Emperor's hand, what would you do if you discovered the darkest of them involved the sacrifice of innocent lives?"
"It's unsurprising to me; what would I do? It depends; I've learned restraint, to some extent. Explain."
"It isn't that surprising these days, is it?" He purses his lips, watching her. "The Gellar fields function through the sacrifice of nascent psykers. A psyker in the rough is plucked from the population, augmented, enhanced and rewired, and installed in the ship's core. We travel through the Warp as we speak cloaked in the tormented remnants of one such soul."
Kaylin blinks, cocking her head to the side slightly. "I'm not sure I understand how such a thing is possible, but I'm not sure why this is such a terrible thing to you. It's practically penance."
"That isn't the source of tension, Kaylin. That's a minor detail at best." With a dry chuckle, "I should have expected you'd take it well. You aren't fond of psykers either... never mind. The first point I was trying to make is this. You have restraint, but others don't. If this became widely known, the call would go out - heresy. Cleanse the Mechanicus. True?"
"I suppose, though they would be in error." She noted, shrugging. "Psykers are a bigger evil than the mechanicus, and to put a witch to use to safehouse the pure from their predations seems a just cause to me. But I agree, widespread knowledge would go badly."
"As long as you understand that. We learned this, back when we earned our mark of tech-heresy - and we did not admit we knew this. Even Vlad somehow managed to get it through his skull that it was in his best interests to keep quiet."
Coppertop taps on the dataslate. "I am definitely not drunk enough for this part."
"What, how you have human blueprints on your slate?"
"No. That's an advanced lesson. This is what frightens me." A dense field of light springs up. "This is the Imperium. Each point of light is a single star with at least one civilized planet. At this size, you can't even make out the individual stars - you'd need one of the larger projector fields to manage that, and even then it would show up as a bright cloud. "Word gets out, of that, or of other things - there are much darker sins in the Mechanicus. I don't feel like talking about them. There is a falling-out and the orders turn upon eachother. The Gellar fields go down - either because the Mechanicus withdraw their sanctions as a bargaining chip, or because another order brings them down on the mark of heresy. I'm marking stars I consider self-sufficient to shine green, now. By'self-sufficient' I mean they can feed their populations, keep their pollution and toxicity below manageable levels, repopulate, and so on. They can survive... and if you're wondering, I've done this before. I'm not actually this fast. The Gellar fields go down. Shipments stop, commerce goes down, a few meager ships may make it through but nothing worth talking about. This is how many planets die within a day." The cloud dims perceptibly. "No one starves, yet - this is just from the breakdown of order, from the panic and chaos and war. A week." The cloud abruptly resolves into points of light. "Food supplies don't last a day. What little there is gets hoarded, fought over, destroyed, devoured. A month." Most lights flicker out. "These worlds are shadows of their former selves. Except for planets specialized in food production, or truly self-sufficient, the few survivors have resorted to mass cannibalism. It's not a healthy way to live, and with the collapse of Imperial support, the means don't exist to keep the corpses fresh and uncontaminated. Another month- and they die out. I've ran this simulation a hundred times and it never gets easier. In two months we've dropped to two hundred stars. But some of the green planets, the self-sufficient worlds, have dropped too. War, yes, but not civil war. Opportunists are spreading their spheres of influence. Fuck the daemons - the orks are the biggest concern. The Imperium has just become their smorgasboard. They have no qualms with getting through the Warp however they always have, and they cannot be stopped. I'm strobing one month per three seconds now. Don't look for Terra, because it's already fallen. A year. Two years. Within ten years a few lonely ships who have either recovered Warp capability or are relying purely on reaction engines are all that remain. The human race is dead. I have imagination, Kaylin. It took me a while to put this all together and it scares me to the point where I don't want to sleep at night in case I talk in my sleep, which I don't." Coppertop thrusts himself up to his feet, shifting from side to side. "Want to see a civil war in the Imperium? I can show you the fallout. Want to see what happens if Terra drops out of communication for a week? How about what happens if some xeno finagles a way to break psyker communications? The Imperium is fragile, like a statue made of spun glass."
"Spun of sin, contained by their own vices." She notes, watching the projections, breathing out slowly. "Master Faceless would be proud."
"And oh yes - I know things too. I know plenty of things I shouldn't. Everything I learn teaches me why things are the way they are, and how they could get oh so much worse when they crash down around our heads. This is why I'm tense. I've always been active, and I'm not all that happy about the daemon situation, but this- I can't ignore it. I can't pretend it isn't out there. And I can't believe there's another Coppertop Coltrane prepared to pick up where I left off if I die. I'm going to have to do something about this, even if my grandchildren are the only ones who see even the barest glimpse of hope at the end, and I have no idea what."
Kaylin sighs slightly. "It's easier to believe, I find," she pointed out dryly, "that it is the strength of our faith that holds back the darkness, and that is our best course of maintaining in the future, but I understand your trouble; does your projection indicate if it will come to that, or not?"
"It does," he assures her, "by the Emperor's own truth it does. If we-" A waved hand indicates the projection, by extension everyone, "-didn't have that faith, we never would have made it. If we didn't have that fear we never would have gotten this far. You ask me if it will come to that?" He shakes his head. "I can't answer that yet... but the Eldar think they have. That's what it sounded like to me."
"The eldars are liars and trickesters." She pointed out quickly. "To believe anything they say is a folly, they would not have shown it to you if it didn't benefit them. Why is this on your shoulders? Why not the Inquisitor Lord's?"
"They didn't show it to me, Kaylin. I've pieced this together from chance comments and conversations. Why me? Who else?" He grins savagely for a moment. "Coppertop Coltrane. Accept no substitutes. Slag it, there are others out there, many others, but I have something they don't. I'm not talking about the human blueprints, I'm talking about the difference between a fanatic like Vladimir and myself. Vlad does not compromise. I do not accept."
Kaylin breathes out slowly, still trying to gather the whole thing in her mind as she looks to him, quirking a slight smile. "You're more vindictive than you look." She notes dryly. "And all in the name of a greater Impirium?"
"I'll settle for the survival of the human race. I like humans, my best friends are human."
Coppertop thumps onto her bed. "Besides..." He sighs, raking both hands through his hair. "You said it yourself. I want to live, and I'm clever enough to make it happen. That means I'd be around to watch it happen. I'd be in one of those lonely ships. That's not a future I want for myself, either."
"Why not tell the inquisitors about this, Coppertop? They're in a much better position to act then you are, aren't they?"
"Caiten knew, and was in a very unique position to understand how my knowledge was legitimate."
"That motherfucker had better be alive."
"But, Kaylin - who's to say they don't know? What kind of asshole would I be if I started running around telling everybody the sky was falling, and didn't have a solution to offer?"
"You're an acolyte, Coppertop. Bringing matters of such importance to the understanding of those who have a position to do something about it is part of your duties. Solving it is only after the Inquisitors know of it."
Softly, "Do you think Karrius is the one?"
"...no. I wouldn't bring this to Inquisitor Karrius."
"You see."
"I see that to waste an advantage over the end of everything is foolish, yes, and to squander it would be death."
"I don't intend to do either - which means I don't intend to waste it by speaking prematurely, or to the wrong people."
"And, yes, Kaylin, I am fit to judge that."
"I think so. If you can understand all of that, you can understand what sort of mind it takes to do so." She noted with a slight shrug. "Do you not think Inquisitor Tarkus would be well recieved to it?
"Tarkus... I'm waiting for a sign. I do suspect so, but I need something stronger to guide me."
"I would say he is, especially while you yourself are not an inquisitor."
"As you've stated you don't want me killed, I'll take your feedback into consideration." He tilts his head, bemusedly. "...actually, you just said you didn't want to kill me."
"If anyone was going to kill you, it might as well be me." She joked dryly. "I wouldn't want to do it, but from my perspective it would have an amusing irony.
Coppertop grins, with genuine amusement. "I'll be sure to mention you by name if the question arises."
"Let's hope it doesn't come to that, though I don't believe Tarkus would have you killed."
"No, but it's good to hang onto. I'll just advise the daemons that you have right of first refusal on my death and that they can slagging well get in line."
"You won't have time; I'll have killed them by then." She notes coldly, breathing out slowly. "I've no use for restraint against the daemon."
"I like that plan." He flops back onto her bed, arms outstretched. "...that did help, a little. I've been practicing some of that for months now."
"Glad to be of whatever help it was, though I basically just told you to tell the Inquisitor."
"You were there. You're always there." He lifts his head enough to make eye contact. "It is not unappreciated, or unwelcome."
Kaylin bows her head lightly, shrugging a bit. "Everyone has things they can't take by themselves, I guess."
"Even you?"
"Do I really seem like a well adjusted individual to you?"
"Your parts are all in working order."
"As long as you take them one at a time. They don't play nicely with each other."
Coppertop lets his head fall back. "That's all right. They'll play nicely with me in time."
"Why not just leave them where they're at? I don't really want to go into most of it." She points out quietly.
Lightly, "What else is there to do between missions?"
"Train. Pray. Repent. I'm sure for you there's drinking and sleeping with women."
Coppertop laughs. "You're very focused on that, I could arrange things so you could watch."
Kaylin blushes sharply, shaking her head. "I think I can do without that, thanks."
Coppertop grins to himself. "Well enough!" Hauling himself up, somewhat less lithe than he normally might be, he stretches. "I was going to crash, but after all that, I'm more awake than I want to be."
"Tackling people does tend to get the blood rushing, yes." She notes with a slight snort. "Be careful, lest Mina get jealous and call you out on it." She adds teasingly.
Coppertop laughs. "I am careful. I keep waiting for her to kick down the door and jump to conclusions, or jump to conclusions and kick down the door, or... some combination of those events."
"It's alright. She's a pushover without a gun." She offers with a slight shrug. "I half expected you to have had some great row behind my back."
"Why?" Settling down, he wanders over to retrieve his knife, secreting it once more upon his person. "So far I haven't needed to upbraid Mina about anything specific, and you're doing well so far in not following her delusions."
"Her delusions?"
"Her peculiar fantasy about love on the battlefield." He shakes his head.
"I wonder if she really believes it. I don't know, sometimes."
"She was into it enough to harass a wounded warrior in the middle of a hostage crisis," he returns dryly.
"Yes, she certainly doens't understand the idea of time and place..." she sighs, shaking her head.
Curiously, "What was the time and place?"
Coppertop picks up his bag, slinging it around his back and patting it under his arm in the familiar position.
"I...don't really know, I suppose..."
"She found at least one that worked..."
"She kind of just...I don't know... Molestation is the word that comes to mind, but not the right one."
Coppertop's lips twist. "I think I understand. Forward momentum."
"She did more talking than listening, more telling than asking?"
"Largly. That and my back was sore."
Coppertop laughs. "A few more scratches? I'm surprised you even noticed."
"Have you ever gotten a back massage? It's strangely hypnotic."
Coppertop starts to speak, then gets a peculiar look, eyes going vague as he thinks back. "Does chiropracty count? Medical therapy?"
"No, that's something else entirely."
"Son of a bitch. No, I haven't." Amused, he focuses on her. "That's kind of depressing."
"Given what I know of your back, I can't imagine your medical therapy being pleasant." She noted dryly before shrugging. "You should ask Mina if she would help some time. I'd offer, but I don't think I've the skill, and...Well." She trailed off, slowly flexing her fingers before curling them back to her hands.
Coppertop waves it aside. "I usually don't need it - just when I've taken a nasty fall. Say what you want about those pricks, they were efficient. What's the point in breaking in an assassin if they're going to throw out their back going over a wall?"
"As for that..." He shrugs, moving as if to set the bag aside. "I haven't had one before, you haven't given one before. That makes us even."
"I don't know if I could touch you for that long."
"Ouch." His lips twitch. "For the sake of my tender ego, I'll take that at face value. Maybe if you think of it as a martial art?"
"You should, it was intended at face value. I could probably remind myself how to strike at each of the muscle clusters. Are you being serious, or just joking around?"
"Some of each." He grins. "If you got too used to it, you might catch yourself helping heretics limber up - that's the joking around part. The serious part is I feel like getting a backrub before going to sleep now, and if you're offering, you've had better opportunities to kill me than that."
"You seem to think I'd come at you screaming down the hall." She notes, amused before she breathed out. "I...can try, if you like, though I don't know how massage-like it will be."
"I'd be disappointed if you didn't," he assures her. Coppertop lets the bag down again, thinking about it before he tugs off his jacket, baring the electoos and tattoos once more. "Ah- shirt on or off?"
"Off. I can't see the muscle groups otherwise, which does me no good, and I'd be irritated if my bodyglove got caught in your shirt."
Coppertop turns his back, pulling off the shirt and dropping it on the jacket. "...there's something about disrobing in cold blood that makes one self-conscious." He flops onto the bed, levering himself around on his elbows as he gets comfortable, goosebumps raised on his forearms.
Kaylin cocks her head, looking to his back and breathing out slowly, flexing her fingers before moving to he side of him. "I wouldn't know. I don't disrobe in front of people." She points out, examining the defined muscles and trying to remember where her lessons began to distract herself from his skin.
"Really?" He squirrels his head around, face half-against the bed and slightly muffled. "What do you do for your downcheck exams?"
Coppertop's spine has the same odd washboard patterns seen before, although remaining still like this, a few other scars become clear - mostly along the forearms, the signs of an unskilled and instinctive defense against a drawn blade. They're whisker-thin by now, nearly nothing but a memory.
Kaylin moves her fingers over the occasional mark, close enough to brush the hairs with a fingertip but not enough to touch the skin. "Some methods remain the same. Did your instructor use shock blade?" She asked, keeping her mind off it before beginnign at the muscles by his neck, less massage and more forced relaxation, a press of fingertips here on a pressure point forcing tension and strength from the muscle, two fingers and a thumb bundled tightly to properly stirke the spot, the rubbery material of her glvoes dragging slightly on skin.
Coppertop shivers. "Ach. Gloves cold."
"My hands are colder." She offered, fingertips sliding across the skin to find the next mussle group, pressing into them and finding another point, slowly working down his back, closing her eyes and trying to think about it like the muscles she'd practiced on previously. It had been some time, her fingers working well but requiring a bit of sliding to find the proper spot.
"That's hard to believe," he mutters, before his shoulders twitch at the next touch, grimacing at each pressure point. But it's working, after a fashion, the muscles receiving some unexpected input from an outside quarter and reluctantly standing down. "Ah... no. No false blades. They had some strong principles about blades. Cutting edge."
Coppertop's frame is wiry, lanky, if you're generous; scrawny and rawboned if you're not, lean muscles laid across bone with very little padding. His metabolism must be working overtime - his skin is surprisingly warm, as if retaining the heat of a far-distant sun.
"No, I mean were the edged blades equipped with a shock generator. Nevermind." She noted, rolling her eyes for a moment before stopping, tugging off her gloves and, a bit more slowly and a bit more hesitantly, pressing her scarred fingertips to his back. Her skin was quite warm, having been encompassed in the gloves the whole time, the slight rasp of her nails and the scars on her fingers tracing their way between muscle groups, a slight twitch now and then as she looked at the ceiling and traced her way through muscles, following lines of tension to their route before forcing them free with an application of pressure. "You should eat more; you could stand to...put on weight..." she offers, slightly distractedly.
"I know what you meant, and that would have been their reaction. Just the blade, Kaylin. The blade is enough." He sighs, his face burrowing a little more into the bed as the bas-relief of his back slowly starts to melt into less defined ridges under her ministrations. "...oh, shit. That's new. I think I like this. Hah... I already eat a full ration's worth with half a Guardsman's mass..." His energy keeps trying to escape, hands twisting restlessly and fiddling with the edge of the bed, toes digging in from time to time - not to mention he apparently can't shut up. "The bastards weren't above using monoblades though. They must count as very sharp cutting edges in their philosophy."
Kaylin looks to his squirming limbs before shifting a hand and, with a precise motion, pressing a line of tension along the exposed bicep to turn the muscle into water. The pressure wasn't sharp, but somehow it seemed to undo all the strands of tension and force within each muscle before she repeated it on the other arm and went back to his back, swallowing slightly. "Stop moving so much; half the point is relaxation." She mutters, shaking her head. "And don't get used to it, I haven't needed to practice this in some time and I doubt I will in the future."
"You're going to get plenty of practice at this if I have any say. And I do. What I say goes." He sighs, settling a little more heavily into the bed. "...slag it, I've been trying to give you something like this all along. I'm never going to catch up."
"Really. What you say goes." She raises an eyebrow, amused before slipping a hand down to his lower back and pressing along a series of points along either side of his spine, driving her fingers into points of tension along the spine of his lower back, which radiated out ino the other muscles; release of tension came with an almost fluid sensation. "I don't really think I do relaxed."
"Mmph. You saved my life. Nothing personal, just the mission. Still had value to me. So I gave you a question. Didn't know if I'd see you again. Nearly didn't." With a long exhalation, his back reluctantly settles into a more natural position, ligaments spreading out obediently beneath her touch. "You keep saving my life. You keep my impulses in check. You... are you paralyzing me? That would suck."
"Not paralysis, but you won't be moving particularly fast soon." She smiles, her fingers twitching now and then as they spread out to the sides of of the muscles on his ribs, moving down to his hips before stopping just above his flanks before shifting away and taking a step back lightly.
"Mm. Have to learn that one," he murmurs. "Caiten... I needed a father. I miss him. Then you. I needed a friend." A slow sigh. "I want to pay you back. Don't know if I can at this rate. Imperium... ought to do the trick."
"I'm sure he's alive." Being reassuring was not her forte, but she would try. "And I'm not sure quite what you would pay me back with."
Another sigh. "...easier to ask for a weapon than a friend. Even for me..."
"If it's any consolation, you're the closest thing I have to a friend." She offers, slipping her gloves back on while wondering if he was falling asleep.
Coppertop sighs again, wordlessly. And again- yep. He fell asleep.
Kaylin stares at him before shaking her head and shifting back, silent across the floor before making her way to one of the walls and sitting down, leaning against it and letting her eyes close. The bed wasn't a high cost for companionship, and it was better than a night left to her prayers, though she wouldn't have admitted it aloud as she let herself wind down.
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Coppertop vs Kaylin: Interval 06 (Weapons of Choice)
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