A Night Out

Characters: Mazun Contreras, Darrurz
NPC: Aegazae
Location: Edzgzoerrghueradze
System: Tagan

1202.12.6 - 19:10 Local Time (26 hour day), 19:10 (IST)

Aegazae knocks on the door before entering. She's still dressed in her work clothes: generic hospital scrubs.

"Ready to go?" she asks.

"Yes! But..." they gesture to their hospital issued athletic apparel.

"Don't worry. Where we're going, you'll fit right in."

The group leaves the room, walks to the elevator, and heads down to the lobby. You pass a non-emergency admissions desk and Aegazae waves to someone working there who, in turn, waves back.

In the middle of the lobby, a four-story affair is a three meter wooden statue stands atop a three meter pedestal. The statue is of a female vargr physician tending to a wounded male soldier.

Once outside, Darrurz takes in the scent of the city. It lacks the acrid taste of industry, but the surrounding countryside isn't dominant. There's still asphalt, ozone, HVAC effluent, and other assorted urban scents, but they all denote a city that's healthy.

No one pays you any mind as you walk two blocks to Edzgzoerrghueradze. It spans a corner, offering its patrons a view of two streets. One side is a bar with a few tables while the other side is all tables. The bar itself is a dark-stained wood with plenty of lacquer. The tables, chairs, molding all share that similar style. What little wall space is present is painted tan. Decorations appear to be antiques. The place is about 2/3 full and almost half of the clientele has the easily identifiable hospital clothing on. 90% of the crowd is vargr.

Mazun smiles and nods appreciatively, then scans for groups of humans and mixed groups. There don't seem to be any exclusively-human groups. At most it's 50/50, with 3:1 a more prevalent ratio. Groups tend to be two, three and four sophonts in size.

OOC Carlos: Silly question. Can Mazun tell, by casually looking at a Vargr, whether it is male or female?
OOC DED: Yes, to some extent. Females tend to be smaller and better groomed than the males. Some wear jewelry or dye their fur. Their features are softer. Sometimes their teats are noticeable underneath their clothes. Females tend to have narrower muzzles and foreheads, thinner necks, slightly shorter legs and less massive shoulders than males.

OOC Carlos: Any of the humans in hospital clothes?
OOC DED: Yes, about half.
Aegazae heads over to the bar and sits down. Mazun and Darrurz follow suit with the latter sitting closest to her. The bartender, a male vargr, briefly howls a hello and asks in Gvegh, "What would you like?"

Behind him is a full bar. It looks like 60 different bottle of liquor, 18 taps for beer, and a couple wine chillers with maybe two dozen bottles each.

Aegazae orders a LLARRAER Pale Ale. It appears to be a local brand and whose varieties occupy 1/3 of the taps.

Mazun gestures Darrurz to order first and meanwhile looks around to see what kind of beer other human patrons are drinking. There doesn't seem to be a consensus. Most of the female patrons are drinking wine, evenly split between white and red. The rest appear to be drinking beer, mostly golden-colored, but there's an amber, brown, and what certainly must be a stout or porter. Among the men, only a couple are drinking wine. Most are drinking beer though there are few cocktail drinkers. For the beer drinkers, it seems an even mix of color.

Meanwhile, Darrurz orders a LLARRAER Pale Ale.

Mazun points at the amber beer one of the humans nearby is drinking and says, "I'll have one of those."

"One LLARRAER Amber Ale."

Afterwards, once all have their beverages, Aegazae raises her glass, a wide mouth bowl really, designed to accommodate the vargr snout. "Welcome to Tagan," she says in Gvegh.

"Thanks!" says Mazun, and after drinking a sip, he adds, "And thanks for the drink." It's a smooth blend of hops and malt. A good session beer.

Darrurz adds, “Yes. Thank you for the welcome and the drink. When we’re back in town, I’ll repay the favour.”

"I look forward to it."

Darrurz says, "Remind me to get your number before we leave." And he smiles.

She smiles in return.

Darrurz enjoys the pale ale. It's fresh and crisp, but not overly hoppy. A slight hint of fruitiness and a clean finish.

"So how are you wolves adjusting to these strange new hunting grounds?"

Mazun smiles. "Too early to tell. Except for a walk in the park, this is our first time out of the hospital. Just hoping my Gvegh is not too rusty."

Darrurz just smiles showing the slightest hint of teeth.

"Do you have any plans? Rumor has it that Pack Security recruited you to forage in the Wilds."

Mazun arches an eyebrow, then laughs: "Wow. Not that much of security if rumor already has it! Where did you hear that?"

Darrurz’s right ear goes up and his head tilts to the left slightly as he listens to what Aegazae has to say.

"It's hard for people not to speculate. It's not like Pack Security made any attempt to hide their presence when they came to see you. Every staff member on the floor when they went in and out of your rooms saw them. And we all know the government is paying for the Cryogenics team. I like Doctor Aegzgorr but without that money she wouldn't be here. She'd probably be on Igodosakfell."

"Are there other cryogenics teams on Igodosakfell or is this the only one? And do other agencies come looking for old timers?"

"As far as I know, Pack Security is the only agency looking for 'old timers'. And, so far, the facility here on Tagan is the only one they're using. The cryogenics work on Igodosakfell is catered more towards short term low berth work, not years like you wolves. The military feels that for long range missions, it might be worth it to keep as many personnel in low berths to minimize resources and keep crew morale high. Keeping a contingent of soldiers on board a ship could lead to boredom. I mean, how do you keep people entertained for those long periods of time in jump?"

Darrurz answers, "Fitness, damage repair drills, training, skills, cleaning, maintenance, books, films and time consuming hobbies...that worked for me," and he smiles. "The last engineer I was with used to strip parts of engineering like the fuel filters down to the bolts and call it routine maintenance. Although they say that frozen watch is the hardest watch to do. You either lose your life—getting killed in low isn't all it's cracked up to be by all accounts—lose a bunch of time, stuff has happened and you weren't a part of it (a case in point with us), or you wake up in an emergency and have to respond immediately having just been revived from low. My friend who was in the Navy said that they had to do special emergency reaction training before being put into frozen watch because in all likelihood they would either wake up in a Navy base normally after the mission where nothing had happened, or they would wake up in a ship that was about to explode due to battle damage unless they could fix the jump sinks.”

Mazun sips his beer. "Sounds about right. Great thing of being an engineer, though, is you almost never get frozen. The second the brass threatens with that, you give them a lecture on all things that might go wrong if you are not there checking, and that's the end of it." Mazun laughs. "There's always a component which happens to be a little shaky just in time."

After her answer, Mazun adds, "Actually, we don't have much of a plan yet apart from the job. Would be nice to round up an apartment and have some place to go back to. What are the nice living areas here?"

"You can't go wrong for most places and a Den Agent will steer you away from one's that don't fit your status. Everyone here treasures and appreciates what we have. We were raised on news video showing the destruction on Igodosakfell. With such a high demand for living here, if you break certain environmental or property laws, like stealing for instance, you run the risk of being deported. So even the poorest among us has an incentive to maintain what we have." She pauses to show she's quoting. "Better to be a poor wolf on Tagan than a rich wolf among the ruins."

"So is the crime rate on Tagan very low?"

"Yes, it is." She nods her head for emphasis.

Mazun keeps looking around, taking the locale in. Curious about how the music is piped in he eventually spots a few small speakers but the volume must be turned down because he has trouble hearing it. Above the bar and on high patches of wall there are a couple of screens. There's some business news channel with tickers scrolling by and the commentators words are displayed in Gvegh as the sound is down. A couple patrons have holo displays at their tables. Those are tuned to sports news. Mazun good-naturedly looks at other customers, making brief eye contact and smiling, trying hard not to show his teeth. He is trying to gauge the general mood and how open people in this planet are. No vargr growl at him. The humans make eye contact back. Many people from both species are laughing and having a good time.

"So what did you two do before you were frozen? Did you know each other?"

Mazun answers, "Nope. Fact is, Darrurz here was even alive and kicking for four years longer than me. I was in the Imperial Scout Service. You know, the bold space explorers from the holoseries? Er, sorry, don't know if you have those here." Mazun smiles and pauses.

One of Aegazae's ears flops and her head tilts to the side. "No, never heard of it."

"Anyway, it was nothing like that. More like a cartography, information, and infrastructure service. I was a Starship and Starbase engineer. I basically kept stuff humming past its expiry date." Mazun winks. "Darrurz here is a real frontier trader, the stuff of adventure books! Ain't it so?" He turns to Darrurz.

Aegazae looks to Darrurz to elaborate.

Darrurz laughs heartily. "Yup, in the same way that you were a 'bold space explorer'." And he laughs again.

Mazun laughs with him, genuinely amused.

Darrurz continues, "I made some money trading between the Imperium and the Extents. Trading cross border is much like any other trading, although you get the added danger of corsairs. It's certainly not 'the stuff of adventure books'; it's more like the humdrum of the merchant service punctuated by your worst nightmares. Corsairs left me with this," and he points to his scar.

Mazun nods. "Laser burn, right?"

Darrurz rubs his snout. "Yes. Took out the follicles so it can't grow back, and I was never on a high tech world long enough to get it treated. And to be honest I don't think I'd get it treated now."

Aegazae cocks her head to the side in confusion.

"It's a reminder of why not to trust corsairs, and of course I need something to attract a mate. I mean the ladies all love a good scar, right Aegazae?"

She laughs good-naturedly. "Oh yes. A wolf with scars is irresistible." She growls teasingly.

On that, Mazun merely grins and sips his beer, which is near empty.

Aegazae finishes her glass and sets it down. "Well gentlewolves, I've lapped my thirst. Thank you for sharing the tales of your lives. You can find your way back to the hospital, right?"

Both nod their heads.

She gives Mazun a small hug. For Darrurz she gives the traditional deep sniffing of a long goodbye. She rests her forepaws on Darrurz's shoulders as she inhales on both sides of him. "Here." She hands him a small card with her name and an odd square filled with seemingly random black dots placed within. "Any comm with a camera can scan it and will translate the dots into my contact info."

Darrurz takes the card from her.

Mazun does his best to prevent his eyes from rolling.

"Good hunting!"

With that she takes her leave of the pair.

Mazun nurses the rest of his beer (there isn't much left) and looks around. With a wink at Darrurz he says, "So we are kind of famous at the hospital. Interesting. Let's see how the locals tick, shall we?" Before Darrurz can reply, he stands up and chooses a group of four sophonts including one or two humans in hospital clothes. He walks casually past them, and then, as if in second thought, stops, turns, and says, "Excuse me, but you gents look familiar. Have we met at the hospital?"

The humans study his face while the vargr take in his scent. They all agree that the answer is no. "It's a pretty big place," one of the humans, a male, says.

The female vargr asks, "Are you a patient?"

The male vargr sniffs and says, "He hasn't drank much."

The female human says, "Maybe we should get you back there, anyway." She rises, "Do you remember who your doctor is?"

The human male takes out his phone and starts dialing.

Mazun grins. He already knows what he wanted to know. "I guess I was mistaken," he says and turns around without a further word, completely ignoring the bunch and walks back to Darrurz.

He sits down with him, sips the last of his beer, and says, In Galanglic, "Nope, not an open society at all, they are just trying to sell us that. Total distrust of strangers. Don't think I will be wanting to settle here after all."

Darrurz laughs for quite a while. "That's it is it? One conversation with a bunch of hospital workers you have never met before and you form an accurate assessment of the whole society? Llallaeknuez's whisper! What type of society are you from? The most friendly and generous in Chartered Space?

"We're in a bar, in a pleasant environment, with vargr and humans interacting happily, as obvious workmates. That's not bad on the scale of things already, but no that's just not good enough for you. Lucan would be proud!"

Mazun laughs with him. "You are right, of course. But I call it the 'stranger test.'" Mazun lowers his voice. "One of those guys was already calling to have somebody 'take care of me', and I had just asked if we had met. That's pretty aggressive if you ask me. In most societies, you are just politely ignored. Especially in a friendly environment as a bar.

"Anyway, I am dry, and we have no funds. Time to move."

Darrurz finishes his ale. "Ok. Where to? Back to the hospital or somewhere else?"

The pair depart the bar and walk back to the hospital. They return to their room and go to sleep.

Next: Leaving Tagan