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Harvik

Mercenary for hire. Noble Causes cost double.

0 · 329 views · located in The Undermarket

a character in “The Multiverse”, originally authored by Tristan_cross, as played by oldtimereminiscence

Description

Thin, calloused fingers scratch through thick stubble and dark eyes survey the other party.

"No." He says at last, his voice harsh, as though it has been too long unused, sounding more akin to a raven's angry caw than anything a civilised human should possess. "'T ain't that at all." The chin lifts, bearing a neck covered with the same scruff that surrounded his mouth, allowing those dirt encrusted fingernails access to the itch that had attempted to evade his attention. "Ain't about good or evil. Seems t' me, everythin's got a price. But them who want you t' work for the Light, them's the ones who'll send yeh into th' worst sorts o' danger in the name o' some god, or cause, or other. Always 'xpectin' more. So. Double."

His hand finally fell back to rest upon the ankle he'd propped on his opposite knee, a level glare serving to silence the one sat before him. "'T's non-negotiable. Want work fer less, find yersel' another hireling. B't men like me 're hard t' come by. Best b' thinkin' o' that before yer go cursin' and splutterin' 'bout my rates, eh?" He turned, then, waving to the man behind the bar, allowing the client time to think... at least for a moment, before those green eyes fall back upon them.

"So. Wh't's th' job?"


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Name:
Harold Victor Greyson

Codename:
Harvik

Designation:
Mercenary Contractor

Speciality.
Tracking. Elimination. Transportation. Protection. Small arms. Explosives. Arson.

Physical Description.
Height; 5'11.
Weight; 190lbs.
Hair Colour; Dark Brown.
Eye Colour; Green.
Distinguishing Features Thick scar running through right upper lip.
Other Information; Unavailable.

Psychological Profile Assessment.
Unstable.

Threat Rating.
High.

File Conclusion.
Approach with caution.

So begins...

Harvik's Story

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#, as written by Guest
The glass panelled door opened, creating a temporary portal between the bright, scent laden diner and the grey, bitter cold, rain drenched world outside its door. The man to step through pauses briefly, raising one hand to ruffle his hair roughly at the doorway, continuing the shake down his body like an oversized dog, before continuing to traipse into the establishment. Despite his best efforts, the black combat boots squeak slightly as wet rubber soles meet the tiled floor, and he's quick to hop onto a bar stool and silence his presence all together.

The battered leather bomber jacket that is peeled from his body might have once been black, but years of use and abuse have worn it down to, at best, a grey ensemble , and the occasional wet mark on the long sleeved, light grey tshirt underneath speaks to it's presence as more of an emotional affectation than a practical one. A long, angular nose turns this way and that, locating the nearest waitress, before waving a slender-fingered hand at her. "Coffee, sweets." He asks. "Ahn your pie of th' day, too."

Harvik didn't live, what some might call a high life style, but fresh from a round of employment, he had enough money in his pocket to deal with most of his expenses, so it could damn well fetch him some pie. Even the scent of the delicacies being baked in the back room was enough to make his mouth water distractingly. He props himself on his elbows and leans forward on the shining counter-top, accepting the drink into his hands a few moments later. Four sugars later, he lifts the dark brew to his lips, with the look of a man who has been waiting for it for days, and indeed, Harvik had a desperate need for the substance. Three days on this job, and never a moment to sit back and properly enjoy a damn coffee. He rolled his shoulders, allowing some of the tension to begin to unwind itself. Thank god that nonsense was done with.

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Character Portrait: Eight McShane Character Portrait: Harvik Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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There was a quiet squeal of breaks as the cab pulled up in front of Canti’s Diner. With a small cough of protestation, the engine was turned off. Fingers, white as fish bellies, gripped the steering wheel tightly as the vehicle sat silently except for the periodic metallic ticking coming from under the hood as the engine cooled. It was the start of her shift, the first shift she had taken in months. She’d mentally prepared herself for this day, but no amount of mental guidance could prepare her for the reality of actually being behind the wheel again.

Slowly peeling the fingers of one hand from her death grip on the steering wheel, she glanced out the window, her brows furrowed as she scanned the street ahead through the raindrops, gathering and trickling down the glass. From this vantage, it appeared an endless street, lined with buildings, sidewalks, interrupted regularly by stop lights. And everywhere: pedestrians. People. Bodies.

Closing her eyes, she drew in a shaky breath, pulling her hand through the mass of wild curls she’d attempted to tame after neglecting for months. “I don’t know why I thought I could do this,” she muttered to herself before glancing out the side window to the diner. Well, she might be on duty, but she definitely could use a drink cup of coffee.

Opening the door of the cab, she stepped out of the cab into the rain, not realizing that her movements made it clear that she wanted to put as much distance between herself and the hated vehicle as quickly as possible. As she skirted the car, she couldn’t help but glance at the front bumper, the hood, the windshield. The shop had done amazing things. One could hardly tell that the car might have ever had body damage. But in her mind, she’d always see it. She stared for a moment, her thoughts catapulting her back in time as the raindrops sought her out. After a few moments, she shook herself and turned to the door, pushing it open firmly and then actually pushing it closed behind her rather than let it swing closed on its own accord – literally shutting out the past. The ‘Here and Now’… that was what mattered most, right?

Noting the Diner’s only other occupant, Eight considered snagging a table, but then realized that a whole table to herself would be space wasted should a group come in. The counter was the best place for her. In her mind, she went over the etiquette of spacing (‘Never take the seat immediately beside someone unless there is no other option’). Selecting a seat two bar stools over from the man, Eight dropped her keys onto the counter as she sat. As the waitress turned from the man beside her, still clutching the coffee pot, Eight lifted a finger. “While ya got it, I’ll take some of that too.”

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#, as written by Guest
Harvik turns his head enough to catch sight of the diner's newest patron out of the corner of his eye- a habit he'd worked long and hard to engrain, and had no intention of breaking any time soon. It doesn't take a head-shrink to note her pale pallor, or the way her fingers shook as she drops her keys on the counter. One glance at those, combined with her relatively dry state compared to his own tells him enough to assume that it's the cab he'd seen draw up that had brought her here, and that rather than acting as a fare, she was the driver of the vehicle in question.

He grunts to himself, turning his attention back to his coffee. It'd be useful, that. Better than trying to navigate the rigours of the public transportation system with such a tidy sum tucked about his person. Still, he takes another sideways look at her expression, at her manner, and decides that in this case some small talk may well be warranted. After all, she looked like she'd seen a ghost, and a jumpy driver would be prone to mistakes. Mistakes that drew attention. Attention that Harvik wanted no part of. Fine.

He casts another look at her, this time making it at least more obvious before speaking; It's a voice rough with disuse, an accent littered with ticks and dips from around the continent with no real effort to condense them into one, cohesive vocalisation. Such was life as a mercenary, and when he wasn't being paid to conceal it, he felt no inclination to expend the energy to do so. "Don't look so good there, girlie." He says, keeping his gaze indirect, scanning the counter, the coffee machine, what could be seen of the kitchen. This wasn't a come on, and everything in his body language screamed the fact. "You al'righ'?"

He takes the opportunity to look out directly at the cab, and sees no hint of damage, or indeed, an unwanted passenger that might illicit such a reaction from a driver, and so now, at last, he looks at her face directly. He doesn't remark that she seems awfully young to have resigned herself to a cab-driver's fate, though he does take note of her age with some surprise, and files it away for later consideration. Backstory, and potential fodder to fill awkward silences later. Ideal.

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She’d been staring into the cup of coffee, watching the concentric ripples the waitress’ retreating footsteps inspired within, her hand reaching slowly and, she hoped, inconspicuously toward her back pocket when his voice snapped her out of her reverie. Her hand shot away from whatever she’d been reaching for and wrapped innocently around the mug. Her body jerked, startled, and she turned her head to study the stranger almost guiltily. Anything was possible in Wing City, and it wouldn’t surprise her if he could read her thoughts… as if her past was written across her skin for him to read as easily as one could read the paper. So far, she’d been lucky that she hadn’t come across any that could, but in Wing City, one never knew.

“Oh, I…” she started, looking around herself for a reflective surface. Snatching up a napkin dispenser, she lifted it and squinted into it, studying her warped reflection. Pale. Crap. Setting the dispenser back on the counter, she quickly lifted her hands to her cheeks, pinching them a couple times as she gave a self-conscious chuckle, her mind spinning to try to find an explanation for her shakiness. Taking a deep breath, she nodded slowly. “I’m alright,” she said, her tone carefully measured, before another self-conscious chuckle slipped past her lips. “It’s just… Wing City, ya know?” That was as good a cover as any, and Eight realized it the moment the words were out of her mouth. Bolstered now with a plausible explanation for her state, she turned to him with an apologetic shrug. “Seems like every corner you turn, there’s somethin’ else trying to eat you or startle you or blow your head off. Guess my skin isn’t as thick as I thought.”

There. Would it work? She kept her eyes on him, attempting to gauge his reaction as she lifted the mug to her lips, blowing across the steaming liquid. Even as she studied him, however, part of her brain circled around behind her, niggling at her about the contents of her back pocket. Making a conscious effort to ignore it, she continued speaking. “You’re pretty wet. You know, the city has some decent cab companies.” Companies. Not drivers. Did she even realize that she didn’t mention the drivers?

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#, as written by Guest
He grunted another affirmative, the jerk of his chin indicating that he did understand how Wing City could be, not just on occasion, but on every occasion. It was how he made his living, and how, he suspected, she made the greater majority of hers... though at this moment he was having to reevaluate that particular opinion. It wasn't that he had any evidence that she was lying... there was none. Perhaps it was simply that the city, it all it's vast miscellany had overwhelmed her... but when a rambling, disjointed oversharing did not occur, he quietly filed that under 'unlikely'.

Perhaps she was just shy. Perhaps.

At her suggestion of taking a cab, he grunted again and shook his head slightly. "Don' know any cabbies. D'n't trust th' companies. Can't look in it's face, know it's intent..." Narrow shoulders rose and fell oddly, just a little out of time with one another, and with a wince that indicated some earlier injury was acting up in the damp- it was, too, Harvik's left collarbone ached where the bone had grown back together, leaving an unsightly notch, safely hidden beneath his shirt... but there was nothing he could do to hide from the damp atmosphere that had descended on cloud city with a vengeance. He ignored it, however. Focusing on one ache would only remind him of the others, and he'd be pressed into taking a cab by the very parts of his anatomy that had failed him in the past.

His pie arrived a moment later, and he glanced to her. "One for her, too. Girl needs feedin' afore she falls over." He pushes enough cash across the counter to cover it, before reaching for his fork, his intent, apparently, to ignore her... at least for a time.

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The grunt of affirmative, the jerk of the chin. Maybe he believed her. Inwardly, Eight breathed a sigh of relief and turned back to her coffee, wrapping both hands around the cup as if to draw its warmth within herself. Maybe he believed her. But there was something about the way he looked at her that made her think otherwise. She squirmed on the stool slightly, crossing her legs, her mind once again returning to her rear pocket. No. Not with anyone around. Pushing the thought from her mind, she listened to his reasoning behind not taking cabs.

It was then that she felt she understood. This was Wing City, after all. She’d had her share of questionable fares – the silent, the secret harboring, the offers of a greater tip if they could rely on her discretion. In this town, trust was not just something to be earned but something more precious than gold. Everyone had their secrets. Everyone had their own business to attend to. Everyone had their own agenda. Just as Eight did. It was something Eight could respect.

Startled by the stranger ordering her a slice of pie, Eight was speechless for a few moments. “Thank you,” she finally managed. It was unnecessary, but as she watched him shovel a bite into his mouth, she had to admit that it sounded like just the thing to take some of the edge off her nervousness. Something she could indulge in while another looked on. She smiled to herself over the rim of the cup, taking a long swig of the coffee before setting it on the counter. Her hand was halfway to her back pocket before it slowed and she seemed to think twice about what she was about to do. Taking a deep breath, she slipped two fingers between the body heat-warmed aluminum container, curved to the contours of her posterior, and the outer fabric of the pocket. When they emerged, they clasped between them a smooth black business card. It was simple – pure black, a white 8 lying horizontally over a phone number.

Sliding the card across the counter to him, she relinquished it. “Now you do,” she said quietly. “Name’s Eight.” Feebly, she gestured to the symbol on the card. “Easy to remember, right? I specialize in discretion.” As soon as the final words were out of her mouth, she mentally chastised herself, and very nearly added something else, but was spared the impulsivity as the waitress set a slice of pie before her. “Thanks,” she nodded and waited for the woman to clear out before turning back to the stranger. “I also don’t sing along to the radio. Beats walking in the rain, right?” she offered.

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Character Portrait: Eight McShane Character Portrait: Harvik Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Guest
Hm.

Did she realise she'd contradicted herself in that moment? He doubted it, he'd heard the hitch in her voice as she announced her speciality, and despite himself the corners of his mouth quirked beneath three days worth of stubble growth. He leans on his farthest elbow, turning his torso towards her and reaching out to take the business card with two fingers. "Appreciate discretion." He agrees, looking at first one side and then the other of the card before tucking it into a pocket. "B't I doubt any man likes th' idea of his business bein' public." He allows a long, laden pause, one that ticked his twisted sense of humour before offering; "'ts what you meant yeah?"

He'd flash her a moment of raised eyebrows, and then, unable to contain the smirk that seemed determined to crawl onto his features and set up a permanent home there, he turns back to his pie. It takes another two, flavourful mouthfuls before he feels composed enough to speak again, the amusement scrubbed as best he can, both from his raven-caw voice, and his features. "Might be beats walking. Might be you'd rather not." Shoulders rose and fell again, and he does them both the favour of not looking at her as he speaks, instead his eyes remain fixed on his coffee, and his pie, as though they were the best two inventions in the entire damn world... and after his last three days, he felt about the same way.

"That said. Won't steal from yah, threaten yah, or draw in yer cab so..." he offers the faintest glimmer of a smile to his pie, regardless of whether she can see it or not. "B' up to you. B't ah don' trust liars." He doesnt give her time to prepare, time to think of another excuse before his head has turned, and she finds both grey-green eyes fixed upon her. "Ahn you didn' half try t' feed me some horseshit j'st then." He gives her a beat, a long moment to collect her thoughts before scratching at the growth under his chin with the handle on his fork. "So. What's got ah Wing City driver rattled. Ain't just the City, or yeh'd've never made it t' ah cab."

Harvik shows not one hint of shame, his gaze scanning unapologetically from Eight's head to her feet and back in one flowing motion, without a hint of stopping at the, ah, more pleasing areas. If he was to climb into her cab, he knew what he would bring with him. The baggage, both metaphorical and physical, was carefully catalogued and stored in his mind... hers, though? That was an unknown, and he couldn't have given half a rat's-ass if it didn't appear to be so blatantly on her mind. If she was shaken, he wanted to know why before he climbed into a hurling-death-machine under her pilotage.

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A hesitant fork picked at the crust of the pie. Was he laughing at her? Even if he wasn’t actually laughing, something she’d said amused him and she replayed the words in her mind, trying to figure it out. Taking a bite, her brows furrowed as she chewed, but found herself distracted by his words. She swallowed as she listened and took another bite… but his words stilled her jaws.

’…don’ trust liars.’

His gaze on her, studying her. Her eyes held his for a moment before dropping to look sidelong at the counter. She swallowed, the delicious pie losing all flavor and sticking like sawdust as it made its way down her esophagus. Reaching for the cup, she swallowed some coffee, hoping to clear the pipes. Caught. But, not exactly. She hadn’t exactly lied. It was that thought that brought her eyes back to his, challenging his gaze. So, she was shaken when she’d arrived in the diner. Her excuse still worked. Wing City. It was, after all, things that happened in Wing City that made her this way, right?

Still, Eight figured that if he would actually consider paying for her services, she could offer him a little bit more. But not all of it. Setting her jaw, she looked at him seriously. “What happens in my cab, stays in my cab,” she said evenly. “What fares do, they do. I don’t talk about it. Some of them do things that shake me up.” She turned back to the pie and took a bite, chewing while holding his gaze almost defiantly. “But what shakes me up is my business.”

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#, as written by Guest
He does crack a smile then, showing blunted, slightly yellowed teeth beneath the unkempt whiskers. "An' it is so." He agrees, tilting his coffee in her direction in a small toast.

Oh, it's not a satisfactory answer... at least not in the way he'd intended. He didn't want the girl's life story, but knowing what it was she was piling into the cab would have been a comfort. But then, having any woman look him square in the eyes and hold her ground was more than enough to cajole some respect out of him, whether he had been prepared for it or not. "So long as it'll have no weight on yeh for mine, fair's fair." He flashes her another brief grin. "Discretion, after all."

He turns on his seat, swivelling his body back round to face his half-consumed pie, and decides to put a damn good effort into making it an entirely consumed pie. It takes him another order of coffee, adding her top-up to his tab almost without batting an eyelid. He wanted her alert, and if pie and coffee was enough to chase that shakiness from her demeanour, then he'd make that investment gladly.

Once the plate was empty, he spins the stool-top around to face the door, planting his elbows behind him to prop him against the countertop as he watches the traffic, both person based and vehicular, sweep it's way through the rain outside the window. This coffee would be slower to drink, and he savours the bitterness, and the feeling of something warm and rich in his stomach rather than quickly-eaten ration pack grub. He'd leave her in as much peace as she requires, and only when she'd finish her own pie would he say; "Out by the Undermarket alrigh' for you? Need t' make a stop first." He glances across at her as he drains his cup. "If yer up t' it."

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As soon as he grinned and tilted his mug toward her, Eight felt as if she’d won something. She wasn’t exactly sure what she’d won, but she definitely felt some satisfaction at his reaction. Either she’d said something right or she’d said enough for him to drop the line of inquiry. Perhaps she’d even talked him into considering using her business card to give her a call sometime if he ever needed a ride. Cabbing wasn’t the best money in the world, but it paid the bills. It was the fares she picked up outside of her normal working hours that held the most profit for her. Or at least it had months ago when she’d last driven.

She was faced with a momentary panic as he turned back to his pie and she turned to his. What if he actually did call her? Was she really ready to get back into driving? She’d barely gone three blocks after picking up her cab before she had to pull over, the shaking in her hands too distracting to be much use should she actually pick up a real fare. She allowed him to finish his pie in silence, and she did the same, the sweet fruit filling the perfect compliment to the bitter dark liquid steaming in the cup in front of her.

Eight was thinking about what she would say if he called to request her services. How would she know it was him? She hadn’t gotten his name or anything. On the verge of opening her mouth to ask what she should know him as should he call, he spoke, and Eight froze, her hand halfway to the coffee cup. “What?” she asked before she could control herself. “You mean, now?” For some reason, she hadn’t considered the fact that he might need her services now. A few days from now, maybe. A week. But now? Right now?

Struggling to exude an aura of calmness she most definitely didn’t feel, Eight wrapped her fingers around the coffee cup, lifting it to her lips, swallowing a good bit of the freshly topped-off coffee and singing her tongue in the process, causing her to swallow strangely, most of the liquid slipping down her esophagus like molten lead, but some catching in her trachea. Immediately, she dissolved into a fit of coughing, her face reddening as her body expelled air from her lungs forcefully in an effort to clear the bit of liquid from its entrance. After a handful of long seconds, she came up for air, tears in the corner of her eyes. “Swallowed wrong,” she gasped by way of explanation, hoping it would cover her previous uncertainty.

Mirroring his position, she turned on the stool as well, looking out the windows at her cab. Now. He wanted to go now, and he was asking if it was alright with her. On one hand, she had to get back on the horse at some point, and considering she technically was on shift at the moment, she couldn’t turn him down. On the other hand... her eyes scanned the bumper, ghosts of the sounds of that terrible night echoing through her memory. But then again, perhaps it would be best to take her initiation back into the world of the cabbie with someone with whom she’d shared a slice of pie, a cup of coffee... an acquaintance... rather than some random Joe Blow from the street. Her finger tapped against the side of the mug as she considered her options right now.

After a long deliberation, she nodded. “Alright. Undermarket. I’m up for it.” She turned to look at the man sitting beside her, separated by only an empty bar stool. “I’m your gal.” It was then that she smiled. It would appear genuine enough, tinged with a hint of mischievousness and adventure, but it never quite reached her eyes. They remained haunted, despite her best efforts. “Whenever you’re ready.”

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#, as written by Guest
At her shock that he meant to hire her today, Harvik's eyebrows rise suddenly despite himself. He doesn't move an inch when she begins spluttering her coffee across the shining countertop, and instead continues to watch her with a calm, if incredulous, air of curiosity.

He wasn't lying, her refusal to simply hand him off of the information he'd asked for had amused him no end... But to jump from such an act of bravado to one that seemed, truly, fuelled by a surge of panic was a strange thing, and he files it away at the back of his mind to examine later. Each person's business was their own, of course, but where it impacted his own... then he took an interest.

Harvik waits for her to catch her breath, and to flash the smile that doesn't quite sit harmoniously with her features before he moves again, reaching into the pocket of his dark slacks and pulling out a card of his own. It was entirely blank, his number printed across the centre as it's only notable marking. It's extended to Eight in the same way he'd accepted her own, two fingers reaching across the distance between them. He'd wait until she'd accepted the card before speaking again. "Yeah. Finish your coffee, though." He glances back out of the glass door, his eyes scanning the cyborg that walks towards a table before dismissing it. "Rain's goin' nowhere. Ah've got time enough."

He instinctually, almost subconsciously, reaches down with his left hand to check that his jacket still hung securely on the hook screwed into the counter behind him, calloused fingers caressing the worn leather for just an instant. He could wait.

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All Eight could think about was the container in her back pocket, the contents within. The idea of something to take the edge off. Surely, a quick nip would definitely calm her nerves. She very nearly excused herself to the restroom where she could indulge in privacy without her new fare being any the wiser… until she remembered that most people could smell it on a person’s breath. The last thing she wanted to do was scare away a potential under-the-table client. That was where the real money was. And considering she’d taken the past few months off of work, her savings were pretty low. She needed this. She needed him. She could drink later. Hold it together long enough to make this run, and then duck off into an alley somewhere for a quick swig. Warm the belly. Soothe the nerves. She was rationalizing this to herself when she became aware of his outstretched arm, the object between his fingers.

She hesitated for a moment before reaching out to accept the card, looking down at the number. The corner of her mouth briefly twitched into a near smirk as she examined it. Simple card. Plain. Just the number. It wasn’t much different from her own, except she’d chosen to utilize the infinity symbol to represent her name. Hers was plain and vague, the symbol and the number, and his was similar, with only the number. Though she’d never seen it before, it was a card she recognized. It was the card of a person who stuck to the shadows. A person who kept to the edge. A person who dealt in secrecy and dark-room negotiations. While appearing to keep her attention on the card, her eyes flicked to the side to study him through her lashes. He probably had a weapon on him. Probably more cash than she’d see in a lifetime. His work was most likely dangerous and had probably resulted in at least one grievous injury at some point.

Eight pursed her lips as she turned her eyes back to the card, lost in her thoughts. While most people might be put off by the thoughts that Eight just entertained about the mysterious stranger beside her, they seemed to relax her. She’d always made a game out of imagining lives for her passengers – names, occupations, hobbies, interests, secrets. It made the random faces more interesting to her. Most of the time, she was wrong. While she’d associated the relatively blank business card with the darker and seedier aspects of Wing City, it didn’t mean that she was right. But in a way, she hoped she was. Once again, that was where the money was.

The business card had the same effect on her that she had been hoping that a drink would. Her nerves calmed down. She looked up to the cab waiting outside the diner with less trepidation. More confidence. The woman who had entered the diner shaky and pale, distracted and upset was gone. Her back straightened, her chin lifted, a gleam entered her eye that betrayed shrewd thinking. She was Eight McShane, a twenty eight year old Wing City cab driver who spent half of her time driving legitimate fares around town and the other half carting around those with less-than-kosher intent. She needed the money, and damnit, this is what she was good at.

Tucking the business card into the rear pocket of her jeans (on the side lacking the slight curved bulge), she turned her eyes to him once more and lifted her coffee. Keeping her eyes locked on him for the time it took for her to swallow the remaining coffee, she wondered at him. Time to play her little game with herself. “Well, Mr. Seven Four Three Six,” she started, referring to the final four digits of the number he’d given her. Turning back to the counter, she set the mug down and picked up her keys. Glancing toward the bomber jacket, she grinned. “Let’s get this show on the road.” She stood then, and despite the fact that he’d generously paid for her coffee and pie, she still pulled a few crumpled singles from her pocket and tossed them on the counter. She moved to the door, leading the way. Immediately in front of the door, she paused, glancing out at the cab. A brief uncertainty flashed over her face, but she squashed it quickly. “Your chariot awaits,” she chuckled, gesturing broadly to the rain-soaked sidewalk.

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The transformation was remarkable, and the visible straightening of her spine, the glint in her eye, did not escape Harvik's notice. He doesn't comment, or show more than a raised brow to imply that he's aware of her change of attitude, but when she finishes her coffee and grabs her keys, he does flash her a smile. He'd instructed her to finish her coffee, the fact she'd done so without complaint- possibly without realising she was doing as he'd asked, pleased him immensely. He could always use someone willing to take direction, and he slides her card into the pocket of his jacket as he hops down from the stool and pulls it over his shoulders.

The weather outside looked no more inviting than it had when he'd entered, the deluge continued on unabated... but knowing that he only needed to walk from the door of the diner to that of the cab made it infinitely easier to cope with. That same grin flickers across his features as he pulls the door open and ducks inside the dry interior of the vehicle, needing only to pull the door to in order to lock out the rain. Bliss.

Regarding Eight as she moves around and gets herself settled to drive, Harvik considers how much he should use her for. Having the use of a cab was a luxury, and he felt hard pressed not to waste the commodity. "Undermarket t' start, Eight." He tells her, settling himself into the seat.

The setting changes from Canti's Diner to Main Street 1

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Despite the fact that she really didn’t want to be behind the wheel of the cab, the vehicle provided shelter from the downpour and Eight had to be grateful for that. Still, as she shut the door behind herself and started the ignition, she immediately turned the heat on low, turning the vents toward her dove grey sweater in an attempt to dry herself out. As she buckled her seatbelt, her eyes drifted to the rearview mirror to check on her passenger. “How’s the temperature back there?” she asked as she reached up to the mirror and unplugged a discreet video camera. The object was provided by the company to record her fares and provide her with a sense of security. In the event that something happened – a mugging, a hijacking, et cetera – the camera would be used to track down the perpetrator. Eight supposed that the little paper sign announcing to the passengers to “Smile! You’re on camera!” was meant to thwart just such activities. Eight, however, knew how to disconnect it, and would do so often depending on her fares.

With that action accomplished, Eight’s hands rested on the wheel for a moment and she stared out the windshield, taking a deep breath. She had to get back into this at some point, right? It was now or never. Shifting the vehicle into gear, she flipped on her signal and waited for a car to pass before pulling out onto the street. “Undermarket,” she repeated. She fell silent as she moved forward, her tires catching and throwing dirty water into the faces of the occasional unfortunate pedestrian. Her knuckles were white as she gripped the steering wheel, her jaw clenched in concentration. Her speed a bit slower than necessary.

After a few blocks, however, she felt herself start to relax. It really was just business as usual. Really, what was she so worried about? She had a perfect driving record… on paper, at least. She’d never had a problem while taking a fare. This was old hat. This was familiar. This was… normal. A few more blocks later, and Eight began to smile. Yep. This was like coming home. Still, her eyes rarely left the road. Taking advantage of a red light, she once again lifted her eyes to check on her passenger. “So, would you like to listen to music or anything?”

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#, as written by Guest
He did not miss the movement of her hand as he settled into the back, his hands following an almost-unconscious pattern, checking his pockets even as she checked the car itself. He resists the urge to grin at the poor soul who manages to get in the way of their splashback as they move off, and instead folds his arms across his chest and leans back, his feet stretching out before him in a way that made him look, at best, absent in mind, and at worst half asleep.

He doesn't appear to be paying any particular attention at all until her shoulders begin to drop from their knotted position around her ears, and until she feels relaxed enough to engage in conversation. Part of his mind idles on what could have caused her such anxiety, and comes up with no solution that doesn't leave her with a little bit of his admiration- her fear is evident, yes, but just as clear is her determination to follow through with the job. Silently, he touches the inside pocket where her card had found residence. Yes. She could be useful indeed.

Realising that the statement had been a question, he grunts absently in response. "Sure. Anything with decent rhythm. Folks who play their own instruments... none of this..." he jerks his head in absent disapproval "synthesised stuff." Almost as though mocking him he glances out of the rain-slicked window to see a billboard for just such a brand of music, and turns his attention back to her in disgruntlement. Music like that made him feel old. And cranky. Damn kids.

After a moment, he decides to ask rather than continue the pretence that he was unaware. "Turned your camera off." He tilts his head at it, before seeking her eyes in the rearview mirror. "Not worried I'm untrustworthy?" The very idea turned the corner of his mouth slightly, an expression hidden mostly by the three-day-scruff that adorned his jaw. Still. She didn't know so much about him, and so he kept the irony firmly to himself.

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Despite her offer to turn on some music, Eight didn’t make a move to touch the radio until she was safely stopped at a red light. Only then did her fingers unclench from the wheel and extend toward the console, seeking buttons and skipping forward on the current CD. After selecting an appropriate number, she turned the volume dial between her index and middle fingers and then returned her hand to the wheel as the opening notes of Janis Siegel’s version of “Bei Mir Bist Du Shoen” filtered through the cab. Almost immediately, her eyes lifted to the rearview mirror in an attempt to gauge his reaction to the big band music. “I prefer the older stuff,” she explained, almost shyly.

As the light turned green, Eight hesitated a moment, eyes flicking both ways before she accelerated. Two blocks further, and she took a right turn, slowing almost to a complete stop to allow a pedestrian to cross in front of the vehicle. As the pedestrian stepped onto the curb, Eight’s left arm lifted from the wheel, wiping a thin sheen of sweat from her forehead before returning to its original white-knuckled position.

His comment about her turning off the camera caused her to lift her eyes to the rearview mirror once more, and for a brief moment, she studied him as she slowed the cab for a yellow light. She was silent for a handful of long seconds, considering her answer before returning her eyes to the road. Her left hand once more left the wheel. She hesitated another moment before lifting her brown curls away from her shoulder, exposing her neck and leaning forward slightly so that he could more easily see what she was attempting to show him. Running from the neckline of her grey sweater, a thick keloid scar curved from the edge of her collar bone, up over her shoulder and ending just behind her ear. It wasn’t fresh. She’d apparently had it for years. As the light turned green, she released her hair, allowing it to fall back into place, returned her hand to the wheel and accelerated slowly through the intersection.

“My first time driving a cab,” she started, not meeting his eyes in the rearview. “Some crackhead jonesing for a fix figured it would be a good idea to rob me. I picked him up in the red light district… beady eyes, twitchy fingers. He was nervous. Sweaty. Gave me vague directions. Didn’t know where he wanted to go. I knew something was off, but…” She lifted a shoulder in a partial shrug. “I drove six blocks before he started screaming about wanting my money. I refused to give it to him and he reached forward with a knife…” She slowed to a stop, waiting for a car to pass before taking a left. “I only had $39, but I wasn’t going to give it to him. I sped up, driving down this empty road far faster than was safe.” The corner of her mouth twisted into a wry grin. “I was wearing a seat belt. He wasn’t.” She let the implication sit there as she slowed for another stoplight.

Once fully stopped, she lifted her eyes to the rearview once more. “I could have quit. I could have assumed that every single person I stopped to pick up would do something to try to hurt me. But I can take care of myself.” She grinned again and returned her eyes to the road. “If you want to rob me, just say so. I’ve got $39, and if you’re desperate enough that $39 will make a difference, just say so. I’ll give it to you. You obviously need it more than I do, and I haven't even worked for four months.”

Eight watched a man dressed in a suit fighting with a broken umbrella with mild amusement as the light turned green. This time, she turned right, closing the distance toward their destination. “I don’t think that you’re into taking my money. I also don’t think I’m your type,” she grinned slightly, lifting her eyes to the rearview briefly. “So I’m not worried about rape or anything. Regardless of your purpose once you reach the Undermarket, I trust you while you’re in my cab, just as you trusted me to get you here.” One more corner and she pulled over to the curb, slowing the vehicle to a stop.

The setting changes from Main Street 1 to The Undermarket

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Eight's answers surprise Harvik, enough so that it startles an honest smile from his lips, and he meets her gaze in the rear view with new appreciation. The scar had done little to unsettle him, and while it was a damned ugly reminder- especially on a female neck- it was as much a badge of her strength as it was any testament to the evil within man. He gives absolutely no response to her commentary on his own desires and natures, nor does he take her baring of scars as an invitation to air his own plentiful supply, regardless of the opportunity to play a morbid game of one-upsman-ship.

"Don't need your money." He agrees, resettling himself comfortably into the back seat as she traverses the final few blocks into the centre of the Undermarket. When the cab finally draws to a halt, he reaches forward and touches Eight's shoulder. "Wait. Meter running, if yeh like." He jerks his jacket collar up and exits into the pouring rain, darting across the road ahead of Eight's hood and making his way almost halfway up the street before disappearing into a side alley.

It would take almost ten minutes for Harvik to reappear, his hair plastered to his face by the rain, and a man walking before him. Both carried bags, Harvik with his across one shoulder, the stranger with his pulled tight against the front of his body. He would bang one hand on the trunk of the cab as a signal for Eight to open it, with a glance at her rearview and a wave of his free hand to indicate that she should remain at her seat. As the trunk lid rose, there would be a soft thud of the bag hitting it's interior. If Eight was watchful, she might have seen a hand, briefly holding the butt of a handgun lift above the edge of the lid, and fall quickly. There would be another thud, and the weight would increase significantly. The trunk would bang closed, and Harvik would hustle back around to the door he'd exited by, throwing himself in out of the rain. "Government Centre, Eight, if yeh' please." The set of Harvik's body does little to give away his anxiety, but his gaze follows her expression intensely. If she wishes to cause issue, now would be the time... if not... Then it would be the centre, wouldnt it?

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As her passenger disappeared off into the rain, Eight did two things without realizing it. First, she pressed the button on the door that locked all four doors of the cab. Second, she leaned forward and turned up the volume on the music, the strains of a big band song filling the cab and drowning out the sound of the rain. Even as she absently drummed the beat against the steering wheel, she recognized that she shouldn’t be here. The Undermarket was as seedy a place as they came. But it wasn’t as if she hadn’t been here before.

Movement from the corner of her eye caught her attention, and she turned her head in time to see an obviously frightened young man running down the sidewalk as if his very life depended on it. In this neighborhood, it very probably actually did. Her fingers found the volume once more, and she turned the volume up even louder. While studiously ignoring nearly everything else around her, she sang along with Dorothy Dandridge, Martha Tilton and Ella Fitzgerald while waiting for her passenger’s return, fingers drumming against the steering wheel in time to the beat of the music.

He returned as she was halfway through ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing,’ and she popped open the trunk and unlocked the doors without missing a note. She watched through the rearview as the trunk was loaded, continuing to sing along as if she didn’t have a care in the world. She caught the movement, and only after the second weight was added to the cargo space did she falter in her repetition of the lyrics. She didn’t have to see that the man who accompanied her passenger to the cab was no longer standing behind it. She simply knew. Immediately her eyes shifted from the rearview to stare straight ahead, the lyrics dying on her lips. Slowly, she reached out to turn the volume down to a manageable level. As he swung himself into the vehicle once more and gave her the next destination, the song changed.

As Harvik’s eyes met hers in the rearview, he would not be met with an expression of surprise or fear or nervousness. Rather, she stared back at him with an expression of pure amusement. “Government Centre,” she repeated, the corners of her lips twitching as she fought to contain her amused smirk. “Of course, Mr. Seven Four Three Six.” As she shifted the car into gear and pulled away from the curb, she reached forward to turn up the song that had started playing as soon as he’d re-entered the vehicle: Frank Sinatra’s “It All Depends on You.” As they drove through the rain that for some reason refused to let up, Eight reached over to the seat beside herself. Grabbing the object she was blindly reaching for, she held it up a roll of paper towels and offered it to him without taking her eyes off the road. "Miserable rain, isn't it?"

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He had to admit, as his hands moved with practiced motion to catch the object gently tossed towards his face, that he was a little impressed. He knew how it looked, and that, in all truth, had been the point of it. The very nub of what he required of her was to keep her head when circumstances seemed to twist in a... ah... darker direction.

And by god, she did.

Harvik his his wicked grin by ripping off several lengths of the paper towels and tilting himself forward, towelling his hair until the paper threatened to shred beneath his fingers before sitting up again, giving a cursory wipe to those portions of the old jacket that threatened to betray him to the moisture outside. "

The thought makes him glance out of the windows once more, finding a devilish delight in watching the poor souls battle the perpetual onslaught. Usually, that would be him. He had no need, and no inclination, to drive himself to and from every job... and on some of the dryer stretches he hadn't had the funding either. But Eight's timely arrival had eased his life significantly, and the heavy load in the back of the cab testified to just how bloody difficult it would all have been if she hadn't. "Bloody Miserable." He agrees at last, favouring her with an amused glance through the rearview. "Not keeping you from some bigwigs don't want to get their feet wet, no?"

He glanced from her eyes to the road before grunting. "Take the back way. Need the service doors anyhow."

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Normally, half of her attention would be focused on the road and the other half on her passenger. In this case, however, considering the contents of her trunk, she'd be more apt to say that seventy-five percent of her attention was on the road, her eyes scanning all potential avenues for police attention. Never had anyone obeyed the rules of the road more than Eight was in this very moment. At the same time, her eyes continually strayed up to the rearview mirror, watching her passenger with great curiosity.

"Probably," she answered with a half-shrug. "But let me tell you something about bigwigs that don't want to get their feet wet." She slowed to a stop at a red light and turned her full attention on the mirror for a moment. "They're all the same. They think they're more important than everyone else. They're rather rude. They don't tip for shit. And they're boring." She tapped her fingers on the steering wheel impatiently. "This..." she started, pulling into the intersection as soon as the light changed in her favor. "This is interesting. This is something worth my time."

She avoided driving around the front of Government Centre, instead going out of her way to approach from the rear, turning into an alley that ran directly behind the building. Coaxing the vehicle to a complete stop, Eight shifted into park. "Will you be needing some help with your... baggage?" She met his eyes in the rearview once more, a small smirk playing across her lips.