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Meg Sanderson

Hiding from her past, she just seeks a new beginning

0 · 281 views · located in The Infinite Void

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by Saviarre

Description

Image

Life can do funny things to a person.

Meg never talks about her past. She carries herself confidently and with purpose, but she casts random anxious glances over her shoulder. Her laughter never quite reaches her eyes. Her bearing betrays past military training, yet her eyes hold a wistfulness when she glimpses a fine designer dress or pair of killer pumps. Occasionally, a hint of a germophobe seeps through her carefully crafted demeanor.

All she wants is to live her own life... whatever that may be... and she will fight like hell to keep her secret safe... to keep her past hidden.

So begins...

Meg Sanderson's Story

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Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson
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With a shrill squeal of brakes, a fourteen foot moving truck with a familiar logo painted on the side pulled to a stop at the curb. The occupants inside sat for a moment, silent. Slowly, the hand of the female driver shifted to the automatic door lock button and pressed it. The audible clicking of the lock caught her passenger unaware, and he jumped, his lips pulling back from his teeth in a quiet hiss, the hair covering his neck tufted up.

“You sure this is the right area?” the passenger asked, a paw lifting to scratch uncertainly at his chin. He didn’t want to question his companion, but he had to admit, the area in which they found themselves was not exactly what the brochure had described.

The driver said nothing. Her jaw tightened in the dim light of twilight. Her brows furrowed. Lifting the cell phone from its cradle in the console, she tapped at it a bit. Her frown deepened and she lifted her head and squinted at the nearest street sign. “Yeah,” she said finally. She checked the directions one more time and bit her lip. “The entrance to the neighborhood should be right up there.”

The passenger’s tail flicked spastically twice before settling against the door once more. “It’s…” he started, clearing his throat. “…nice?”

The attempt at a compliment was met with a sharp bark of a chuckle and the driver turned her face to him. “Well, we wanted a new start, right? How hard can it be to start here?”

The paw was back to the awkward scratching once more before smoothing out his whiskers. “Do you have a gun?” It was meant to be a joke, but it fell short of being humorous.

Rather than crack a smile at the awkwardness, she nodded. “I have six.”

With that, she shifted the moving truck into drive once more and continued down the road. At the entrance to the Fontainebleau neighborhood, the truck turned a sharp right with a rusty groan.

The setting changes from vargeras to Fontainebleau

Setting

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Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson
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The moving truck continued into the Fontainebleau neighborhood, its occupants’ frowns growing deeper as it wound through the streets. The passenger’s ears flattened against his head as he watched the seedy neighborhood move past the windows. Down one alley, he was certain he’d seen someone getting beaten or mugged. He’d already counted seven prostitutes and those were just the obvious ones. Beaten up cars passed with loud bass blaring out of their stereos. People standing on the sidewalk stopped whatever they were doing to watch the moving truck drive through the neighborhood, their attitude clearly indicating that the newcomers were not welcome.

“Old world charm…” the passenger muttered.

The driver was silent as they passed a house that had been condemned. When she spoke, her tone was amused. “I believe the ad said ‘old world elegance’.”

A shoulder lifted in a silent chuckle. “My mistake.”

After flipping on the turning signal, Meg waited for a group of rough looking individuals to cross the street before turning onto Beaulieu Street.

The setting changes from fontainebleau to Beaulieu Street

Setting

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Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson
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The brakes on the moving truck squealed once more, a long reluctant noise as it pulled up outside of 11519 Beaulieu Street. From the passenger seat, Finn squinted at the dilapidated house. Behind the wheel, Meg checked the directions and address once more, comparing the picture on her phone to the structure outside the truck.

“This isn’t… exactly… how you presented this whole situation to me.” Finn’s discomfort was obvious and Meg almost wanted to comfort him, but she had to admit to being a bit unsettled as well.

“This isn’t exactly how this was presented to me either,” she responded.

There was a sudden burst of noise and both heads turned to the door of the house across the street. A handful of rough looking men had just exited onto the street, clapping each other on the back and laughing raucously. A scantily clad woman followed them out onto the sidewalk. Words were exchanged, more laughter erupted, money exchanged hands. The woman went back inside. The men eyed the moving truck suspiciously before making their way down the street, occasionally turning their heads to watch the truck as they moved off into the distance.

Finn blinked. “Is that…?”

A red lightbulb flicked to life over the door of the house. Meg couldn’t help the laugh. “Oh God, this just keeps getting better and better.”

“Well, at least I know that if I ever need… um… you know… I can just go across the street.” Finn tried to laugh, but his unease gave it a pathetic tone.

Meg couldn’t tear her eyes away from the door. She was fascinated. She’d never been this close to this sort of activity. “Well, now I have an idea of where to ask for a job.” She gave it a moment for the words to sink in before she turned to look at Finn. He was staring at her, jaw agape, eyes practically bugging from his head. “I’m kidding, Finn. Geeze. Seriously? You think that’s what I’m into?”

Finn’s jaw shut with an audible click and he shifted uneasily in the bucket seat. “I, um… Well, I… I don’t really know you, you know?” There was a sudden click as something Meg had said earlier finally reached him. “Wait, you have six guns? Why would you have six guns? Jesus, Meg, who the hell are you? What did I get myself into?”

A hand reached across the cab of the truck and placed itself soothingly on Finn’s knee. “Relax. We’re both just looking for a new start, right? And this is where we’re going to do it.” She looked once more at the house she’d purchased, sight unseen, from an ad placed online. “I’m sure we could make it work. But we will still need those roommates, you know.”

A quiet angry yowl rose from the cat carrier wedged between Finn’s feet. “In a minute, Brad,” he muttered, looking up at the house. He didn’t want to admit how much he enjoyed the feeling of Meg’s hand on his knee, so he cleared his throat and shifted away. “Yeah. Roommates. I’m sure we’re going to have the most upstanding applicants. At least you posted the ad in the paper. That way we know that our potential serial killer roommates would most likely be literate.”

Meg couldn’t help her laugh. She didn't mention that she'd also placed an ad on about four websites advertising the need for up to three roommates as well. “Come on, kitty cat, let’s go.”

“Don’t call me that,” Finn growled, his ears flattening against his skull. “It’s Finn. Just Finn. Brad is a kitty cat. Not me.”

“Right,” she nodded, waving her hand dismissively. “Let’s go check out our new digs.”

Finn opened the passenger side door and stepped out onto the sidewalk, reaching down to grab the cat carrier. “Maybe we should hire security while we unload the truck,” he suggested, only partially joking.

Meg didn’t think that was a bad idea.

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

They managed to unload the truck into the new house in record time. One would stand outside guarding the truck and the possessions within as the other would take in a load. It was only as they were handling the furniture that they weren't able to keep an eye on the truck. Considering they came out of the move missing only a floor lamp, an ottoman and a queen sized box spring, Meg thought they did pretty good. But she had loved that ottoman.

Once the door was shut and locked against the night, they set about attempting to arrange their new house into a home.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj
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The following morning, Arren was once again out on the prowl for somewhere to stay. The sun had slowly started to creep over the city's skyline as the morning radio broadcasts filled the cab of the truck.

"Good morning Lutetia, thank you for turning into 97.3 LTKQ, your go to place for the morning happenings!"

He reached forward and turned the radio down with the simple twist of the knob, before he shifted in his seat, his eyes scanning the neighborhood, a red 'For rent' sign catching his eye.

"Well it's not a terrible neighborhood... certainly good if we want to stay incognito." Arren commented to himself as he put the truck into gear.

"I'm not sleeping in this damn truck again, that's for sure..." He commented to himself before he started from where he was parked, slowly bringing the white truck across the street and towards the house.

"11519 Beaulieu Street" He said aloud to himself, letting his eyes scan the outside of the house. "Looks like it's a room mate situation, I hope the existing tenants don't ask too many questions, then." He said as he parked the truck in front of the house. It looked like some people had just moved in.

"Alright, well.. I better get cracking." He said, stepping out of the truck and smoothing out his pants.

Arren was a rather imposing individual, with his six foot stature, his muscled body, and faded Military fatigues, in addition to the tattoos that were strewn about his body. He looked downright menacing, which was good for a place like this. He made his way along the sidewalk, as the neighbors offered him suspicious stares, wondering to themselves if he was a cop or a well connected thug.

The fatigues themselves didn't have any emblems or seals that betrayed who he worked for, rather an old faded camouflage, and a green vest with a large knife strapped to it, free from any patches or insignia.

The white truck chirped twice as the alarm was armed, and he started up the stone stoop.

He eyed the door for a moment, before he brought up his fist, affording three audible knocks against the door, along with the freshly printed ad clenched in his other hand.

He quietly waited for an answer.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj
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Meg and Finn worked throughout the night to turn the dilapidated house into something resembling a home. They set up furniture, unpacked the kitchen, filled their closets. Meg even put hand towels in the guest bathroom, even though she wasn’t entirely convinced that the toilet was completely functional. As she worked, her frown deepened. Here she’d thought she’d gotten a good deal on a century old house in the heart of a quality neighborhood. Instead, she’d been swindled and ended up with this ramshackle property in the midst of a neighborhood she once would never have set foot in. Still, she was trying to make the best of it.

Finn had taken up position for the past few minutes on the sofa in front of a large living room window. He was staring out at the house across the street, watching the coming and goings of a tough looking crowd. At first, the bars on the window had made the house seem like a prison, but as he watched the activity in the neighborhood, he started to resent the bars a bit less, seeing them more as protection than display.

“Hey Meg,” he called, his tone joking. “You think I should go ask the neighbors for a cup of sugar?” He waited for a response from the woman sitting at the table in the dining room, but none came. “You know, cause… it’s a brothel? Get it? Sugar?” Still no response. He sighed and turned his attention back to the window. The white truck that had just pulled up caught his attention, and his tail bristled out. The stranger was extremely interested in their house. Finn’s eyes narrowed. “Uh, Meg…? There’s… There’s some guy checking the place out.”

He hadn’t even heard her rise from the chair. The next thing he knew, she was beside him, her hand behind herself, peering out the window suspiciously. She watched as the man approached the house, her own eyes narrowed until she saw the paper in his hand. Relaxing slightly, she moved the hand away from the small of her back and placed it comfortingly on her roommate’s shoulder. “The ad,” she muttered. “He’s probably here about the ad.”

The knock at the door was firm and she turned to look at Finn to see if he would answer the door. It was clear by the nervous look he gave her that he would defer to her. Pulling the tail of her grey tank top over the butt of the gun sticking up out of the jeans she wore, she made her way to the door, muttering under her breath: “Scaredy cat.”

“I heard that!” Finn called after her before joining her in the entry hall to answer the door. They stood beside each other as they opened the door, a feline anthro in a plain white tshirt and jeans, tail twitching suspiciously behind him, and a human woman. Her eyes flicked down to the paper and then up to the stranger’s face, sizing him up distrustfully.

“Are you here about the ad?” Meg asked, her grey eyes shifting over the stranger on the porch. “Come on in.” She kept her right hand free as she held the door with her left, ready to reach for her weapon at a moment’s notice.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj
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"Yes I am." He said, eyes moving to and fro as he scoped out the inside of the house. "I'm looking for a place where I can.. how do you say.. keep a low profile, Kyllä?" He said, his northern Sagittaron accent somewhat reminiscent of a scandinavian accent, but slightly different emphasis on other consonants.

Though it didn't seem it, he was watching their movements, her hand moving to her weapon, though he didn't see the weapon itself, he knew the gesture.

"Look lady, I'm just here about a place to stay, you can relax." He said, noticing the apprehensiveness of the room. "I come to rent the place for a little while, my associate and I are in town on business, she'll be staying here too; but right now she's out working." He added.

He paced a wide circle around the house, his eyes nodding.

"Zis is perfect.. what's your price?" He said, turning to face the pair. Upon close observation, the man didn't appear at all armed, save for the knife that was. He had taken stock of the security, and made a mental note to make some additional preparations. "Money is no object, you price, I pay. We keep to ourselves, you stay out of my business, I stay out of yours, Ymmärrätkö?."

Setting

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Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj
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“An associate?” Meg asked, a brow lifting in question. “I’m not sure I’m comfortable renting a room to someone I have yet to meet.” She stood with her back against the wall as the stranger moved through the rooms, looking around. “Would you be sharing a room or would you each want your own?”

Finn stood quietly by the door, letting Meg question the newcomer. It was, after all, her house. “We have three, possibly four rooms that could be rented,” Meg continued, shoving her hands in her pockets. “I’d charge $500 for rent and all utilities, however after moving in, I’m finding a lot of problems that I wasn’t expecting. I’ll need to have contractors in here to fix things. So, until that happens, I’ll only be charging $400. Consider it a ‘construction discount,’” she chuckled quietly.

His final words about staying out of each other’s business relaxed her slightly. Perhaps it was something about the possibility of someone else having their own things to hide that made her own secrets feel more protected. But there was something about him she couldn’t put her finger on that niggled at her defenses. Still, she held out a hand to shake with the stranger. “I’m Meg. This is Finn.” The anthro was mentally calculating how much it would cost to put a new lock on his bedroom door. The blonde indicated a furry blur as it ran past them into the living room, settling under the couch and peeking out with blazing green eyes. “And that is Brad, Finn’s cat. He’s really quite sweet.”

Her brain kept picking at her about something, but she still couldn’t put her finger on it. Deciding to let it go for the moment, she tilted her head. “That’s a very interesting accent, Mr…?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj
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"Arren, Arren Valaj." He said, taking her hand in a firm shake.

"Not comfortable renting a room to someone you've not met? Well, I can double your asking price, a thousand up front, how does that sound?" He said, reaching into his pocket to fish for his wallet. "And then I can pay you 800 monthly while we're here." He added.

"We'll be sharing a room too, my associate and I." He said, moving to lean against one of the couches. "As for your contractors, I have some very specific requirements for this house while we're here. Don't worry about your contractors, I'll pay for them, I just need a place to stay, let me take care of the rest." He said, offering a reassuring smile, as best as a 6' tatted up mercenary could.

"Oh.. my Accent... well, it's just something I couldn't quite shake from the old country." He said, brushing it off, but catching the apprehensiveness.

"I hope it doesn't make you uncomfortable?" He said, moving to peer out the window.

"This doesn't look like a very good neighborhood... I hope you don't mind me moving in some hardware... my associate and I, and our Employers have some sensitive equipment we don't want stolen."

Setting

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Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj
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At the offer to double the price, Finn blinked. His tail twitched and his eyes grew wide. Double the price meant that they didn’t have to have a full house. Maybe he could claim one of the extra bedrooms and turn it into a library. The idea made his ear twitch and he absently lifted a paw to smooth over it.

Meg, on the other hand, tilted her head as she studied Arren. “Double the asking price?” she questioned, looking at the wallet as if she expected it to contain a hidden camera. She fell silent as he spoke. When he finished, she folded her arms over her chest and studied him, taking in the tattoos, the shape of his body, the knife, the fatigues. She was silent for perhaps longer than was comfortable for anyone. Finn shuffled from foot to foot, clearing his throat after a few moments, trying to make Meg aware of the awkwardness of her pensive silence.

When Meg didn’t respond, he stepped forward. “You’d pay to have the security improved around here?” He looked at Meg, but she didn’t break her silence. Her brows were pulled together in deep thought, but other than that, she continued to study Arren. Finn frowned, moving to stand beside Meg, resting his paw on her shoulder indicating that he would take over. “I think we can all agree that this place needs better security.” He looked at Meg once more, but she still said nothing. “I think it sounds like a good idea.” Still nothing. Finn looked back at Arren. “You wouldn’t be bringing any drama here, right? Nothing illegal? I mean, don’t get me wrong, but it sounds a bit fishy… But even if it is fishy, you wouldn’t be putting our lives or property in danger, right?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj
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"Double." He affirmed while still fishing through his wallet, the square shaped currency could be seen by the keen eye. "let's see.. I know there's a thousand in here somewhere..." He said to himself and then he nodded. "Ah!" He said with a nod. "Here we go."

He then withdrew a square shaped banknote, and then he handed it to Meg.

"This should cover the up front costs, I don't know what the exchange rates are right now, but that should cover your asking price." Arren explained, noticing that she was watching him, and he grimaced as she eyed him for an uncomfortably long period of time.

"Is.. Something the matter?" He asked, shortly before Finn took over.

"We have a lot of expensive equipment we'll be bringing in that I don't want stolen, equipment that's... well worth the price of this house." He explained. "But there'd be no danger, I just want all the bases covered in a place like this."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj
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Finn watched as Arren pulled out the currency, his tail flicking. “Is that Aschen?” he asked, his eyes wide with excitement. “Man, Aschen money is so neat!”

Meg, however, didn’t seem to share the sentiment. She unfolded her arms and accepted the square shaped bill more out of habit than anything else. At the word ‘Aschen,’ her eyes finally left Arren and shifted to the currency in her hand. As soon as her eyes passed over the figure on the money, her lips tightened. Her hand began to tremble as she stared at the familiar currency in her fingers, the familiar figure depicted on it, but Meg didn’t realize it.

“So, are you Aschen?” Finn asked, oblivious to Meg’s subtle reaction to the money. “They’re the only ones I can think of that would have such expensive equipment that would need to be protected, and the money to protect it.” His paw lifted and he scratched his chin. “If there’s an invasion, Meg and I will be safe as your roommates, right?” He chuckled and looked over Meg’s shoulder at the currency. “That should be more than enough to turn this place into Fort Knox, right Meg?”

Meg didn’t answer. ’Relax, Elise,’ she thought to herself and forced herself to take a deep breath. ’There is no way he could identify you. You’ve eliminated every trace of Aschen tracking within yourself… You’ve had the barcode tattoo on the back of your neck covered with another… Plastic surgery…. Your fake papers can’t be traced to anything illegal. There is absolutely no way he could find out who you are. Besides… What do they say about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer? If you don’t know what the Aschen are doing but you know they’re around, you’ll never relax… but if you have an idea of what they’re up to, you’ll know when to run. Everything is okay. They have no reason to suspect that you’re anyone other than Meg Sanderson unless you give them a reason. Relax.’

Slowly, her eyes shifted from the currency clutched in her shaking hand to Arren’s eyes. When she smiled, it seemed genuine, revealing slightly crooked teeth. “Welcome to your new home, Mr. Valaj.” She swallowed and moved to shove the money in her pocket. Noticing Finn’s questioning glance at the sudden change in her demeanor, she gestured to the stairs. “Finn, can you show him around? I’m suddenly not feeling so well. I’m going to step outside for some fresh air.” Without waiting for him, Meg turned toward the door. “And give him one of the spare keys.” At that, she slipped out onto the front porch, closing the door behind herself.

Finn turned to Arren and shrugged, his tail brushing the floor behind himself. “Well, that was weird. Women,” he chuckled. “Women are weird.” As Meg sat on the front steps, clutching her stomach and staring at the image on the currency she’d been given, Finn gestured to the stairs. “I’ll show you where you’d be living if you want to follow me.”

Setting

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Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj
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Arren couldn't help but stifle a chuckle as Finn mentioned an invasion. "Hah, not hardly." He said, as he pocketed his wallet after handing off the bill.

"I don't know the local attitude as far as our currency is concerned, it'd be prudent to get that exchanged into local currency for that to be worth anything, since this isn't Wing City." He said, watching Meg's reaction, and stroking his chin slightly.

"Yeah, we're Aschen." He said, answering Finn's question. "Well, I'm not ethnically, I'm part of the High Rock tribe, a native Langaran tribe, my associate is from Picon, though." He said, before quickly dismissing talks of invasion.

"There's not going to be an invasion, we work for Tech Con, we're here scouting out business opportunities for the company." He said, moving to lean against the couch. "The Empire's so pre-conceived with other matters, like war with the Avaeons." He commented. "I just don't want some of our survey instruments stolen, so we're going to take some measures to protect them. Afterall, Mr. Hagan takes all stolen property directly out of our paychecks."

He checked his phone a moment, noticing that Hagan had sent a text scrapping their initial operation. The orders were to sit tight until the Board could come up with something feasible.

He watched Meg some more, and then he tilted his head, watching her ever so closely.

"Though... I'd like to know more about my roommates..." He said as Meg started out of the house, and he moved to follow Finn.

"Your friend there... she always like this?" He asked, gesturing to the front door with his thumb. And then his eyes moved towards the stairs of the house. "She strikes me as a bit... odd.. the way she looked at me it's unmistakable... She must have some... Aschen issues... I wonder what the Empire did to her..." He said, canting his head.

"I can only imagine.." He said to Finn. "Aschen settlers nearly exterminated my Ancestors... but that was thousands of years ago."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj Character Portrait: Illara Carter
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Illara rounds the corner of Beaulieu St on her hoverscooter, a small brown cardboard box tucked under her arm. She pulls up onto the sidewalk and right to the front door of a neighboring tenement, leaning sideways off her seat to ring the bell. After a few seconds, she jams the button repeatedly, and finally knocks, her plastisteel knucklegloves rapping loudly on the doorframe.

The door opens a fraction and a growling response can be heard indistinctly from within. After a terse exchange, the girl hands the box over in exchange for a folded wad of bills. As she snatches the money from what seems like grey-furred fingers, her AI updates her accounts with a retro console-game 'coin' soundbite and bleats a tinny "Thank you for your business" as she rounds back toward the street.

Noticing the "For Rent" sign, she slows, looking over the run-down old manse it indicates. She speaks into a mouthpiece, and listens to some barely-audible reply from her AI before coming to a decision. Hopping off, she thumbs a lever to collapse her bike into a heavy but manageable carrying case and swings it over her shoulder to head inside.

She knocks and lets herself in, waving placidly at the inhabitants. "Yo. You guys have room for one more to crash? I can pay."

Remembering, she raises her dark goggles onto her forehead, exposing shrewd dark brown eyes decorated with triangle tattoos on the upper lids.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj Character Portrait: Illara Carter
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Finn had watched Meg walk out the front door, his ears drooping, his whiskers twitching. Now, as he led Arren up the stairs, he waved his paw dismissively. “Meg is…” he started, trailing off as he tried to think of the words. “Meg.” He reached the top of the stairs and opened a door. “Bathroom,” he indicated, stepping back and gesturing inside. “She’s pretty quiet about her past. I haven’t known her long, actually. Like you, I responded to an ad. We just moved from Wing City. She was looking for someone to join her in settling down in a new place. I had nothing going on for me in Wing City, so I figured it would be a good chance to start anew… maybe open a bookstore…” He continued down the hall, opening another door. “My room.” A few feet more and he opened another. “Closet.” Another few feet. “This room is one of three that we have free. They’re all pretty much the same size and they each have their own bathroom, so that’s a plus.”

He continued down the hall, opening the doors and indicating what was what. There was only one door he didn’t open, a sturdy oak door at the end of the hall that looked newer than the others. “Meg’s room.” He started away from it. “I don’t know of any history between Meg and the Aschen. I admit, her reaction downstairs was strange, even for her. She’s really normally pretty cool.” It was obvious from his fidgeting that the anthro might have had a bit of a crush on the mysterious woman.

Meanwhile, on the front porch, Meg was interrupted from her reverie by the arrival of Illara. As the young woman started up the steps, Meg stopped her from entering the house, wondering for a brief moment if this was Arren’s business associate before taking stock of her and deciding against it. Carefully, Meg composed her face, shoving back all of the emotions the brush with the Aschen had conceived. “We have two rooms left, actually. The rent is four hundred a month. Right now, the place is a bit…” she spread her hands apologetically. “Well, quite simply, the house is falling apart, but I’m going to be hiring contractors to put this place back together. I think it has the potential for being a pretty decent place…. After a lot of work.” She held her hand out. “I’m Meg. Would you like to come in and take a look around?” She started for the door and then hesitated. “You aren’t, um… allergic… to cats, are you? My roommate, Finn… He has a cat.” She didn’t mention anything about her roommate, Finn, being a feline anthro.

(My apologies for the delay in my post. My craptop finally gave up the ghost.)

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Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Callandra Henderson Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj Character Portrait: Illara Carter
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"I see..." Arren said as he listened to Finn talk about Meg.

"I've seen some strange things in my lifetime, but her reaction was certainly on top." He said, playing it up with a shrug. The former LDA Agent was already making a mental note, He was suspicious of the girl, was she some Terrorist? Part of some Anti-Aschen reactionary group? He'd have to do some snooping to find out."

As Finn led him through the halls, his eyes lingered on Meg's door, as they ran over any visible lock, traditional or otherwise.

"Ever wondered what was behind that door?" He said, turning to Finn. "For all we know she's packing some serious heat." He commented, and then quickly dismissed it. "Ah well..." He said, shrugging again as he took in the details of the hallway.

"Each room has it's own bathroom... alright.." He said, looking up and down the hall, nodding in approval as his head turned to the direction of the sound of the front door.

Instinctively his hand moved to the back of his pants, as if to reach for something. "Maybe it's my associate." He commented, visibly relaxing. "Sorry... it's just when you're in a place where everyone wants to lynch you... you tend to be on edge." Arren added, peering out a window that so happened to be facing towards the street, watching as a black BMW 7 series slowly rolled up to the front of the Apartment.

----

"Beaulieu street..." She said to herself as she put the phone down on the dashboard. "This is it... what a seedy ass house you rented, Arren." She commented to herself as the car was placed in park.

"Rims are gonna get stolen, the car's going to get jacked... oh well it's a rental." She said, opening the driver side door and slowly stepping out. She was still in the flowing designer dress that she had worn to the VINDEX meeting, the black dress accentuated the woman's form, and was complimented by a small leather purse.

She didn't look like much, nor did she look like Arren's business associate. But none the less she made her way towards the front door with what amounted to a look of disgust.

She would have arrived mere seconds after the other woman arrived, and was making her way towards the front door just as Meg offered Illara to come in.

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Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Callandra Henderson Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj Character Portrait: Illara Carter
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(sorry to hold things up! Ill be checking up here on a daily now.)

Illara smiled broadly at Meg, clasping her in a rough handshake more suited to a dockworker than a young lady. Her fingerless leather gloves were grubby but worn supple by years of use.

"Pleasure. Call me Illa." Craning her neck to look up at the crumbling old manse, she commented, "Hey, if it's got power and keeps the rain off, can't complain." The shadow of a frown crossed her face, "It does have power, right?" She was still adjusting to the technological disparity between Lutetia City and her home in Aslund, and it wouldn't be the first time she was taken aback by the anachronistic infrastructure.

"Cats.." she murmured, trying to find a polite way to address the question without revealing that, like most of the denizens of her seedy district, she had eaten more cats than she had ever patted on the head. The memory of the gamey flavor thinly concealed by a thick layer of five-spice and a few turns over a spit-fire made her a touch nostalgic.

Her rescue came in the form of the striking woman now approaching. Glad to change the subject, Illara emitted a low whistle, her eyes drinking in the rich elegance of her outfit. "Miss Universe!" She called out, a sardonic grin splayed across her face. Scenting old money with bloodhound acuity, a business card filled her fingers quick as thinking, and she proffered it to the elegantly dressed woman as if no further introduction was needed. A tiny embossed hoverbike at the center was flanked by the enigmatic script, 'Carter's Goods and Services Delivered"

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Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Callandra Henderson Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj Character Portrait: Illara Carter
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Finn looked at Arren with wide eyes, his ears flattened against his head. "Of course I wonder what's behind that door," he admitted, but then shook his head. "But Meg deserves her privacy, just like anyone else. You'd do well to remember that. She guards herself for a reason, I'm sure. We've all got our secrets, and whatever hers are, they're her business. She's a great woman. You'll see. You'll like Meg. Don't let her... ahh... reaction... give you the wrong impression."

As they came down the stairs, Finn noticed Arren's reaction to the opening of the front door and his ears flattened once more. A blur of brown fur shot out of the living room and Finn reached down to scoop up the cat, using one paw to scratch lovingly under the feline's chin. "This is a safe place," he said quietly. It was unsure if he was saying it to the cat or reminding Arren that there should be no violence in the home... or said as an affirmation to himself and his nervousness at the strange situation. "Nobody's going to lynch you as long as you're a good roommate, you know?"

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

Outside, Meg laughed at Illara, the discomfort of the Aschen proximity shoved aside for the moment. She liked this girl already. "Yes, there's electricity. We even have running water. It may not be the most luxurious domicile in town, but it serves its purpose right now. I'm planning a lot of remodeling to make it much better, so as long as you don't mind being patient, I promise it'll be more than just some rundown shack. In the meantime, I think you'll find that it isn't as horrible as it looks." She turned to open the door, smiling. "Oh, and every bedroom has its own bathroom, so you don't have to share with one of those silly males that can't quite seem to hit the toilet."

Just as Meg opened the front door, she turned to notice the newcomer and blinked in surprise. Her eyes moved over the vehicle, the designer gown, the impeccable hair and makeup. Covetousness flashed in her eyes, a longing that lasted only a moment as she took in the details and tried to place them with a designer she was familiar with. And then, as if reminding herself that she had no business appreciating such finery in her current situation, she cleared her throat as the woman approached. "Um, hello... Are you lost?" She couldn't see any other reason a woman of this caliber would be in this part of town.

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

Back inside, Finn noticed the two newcomers. "I should have made cookies or something. Holy hell, is there a housing shortage in this town or something?"

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Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Callandra Henderson Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj Character Portrait: Illara Carter
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Arren nodded somewhat in appreciation.

"Ah, yes, everyone has their secrets, I certainly can appreciate that." Arren said as he inspected the inside of his room. "In my line of work everyone has their secrets. I used to work in some pretty heavy stuff before I started working for Tech Con." He said, grinning.

"I used to work for the Aschen Ministry of Defense running counter-terrorism and intelligence work, I also worked skiptraces for the Chairman of the Military, and in later years, worked with the Office of the President. When the Empire took power i left all that to spend more time pursuing my own interests."

"This will do nicely." He said, nodding in approval as his gaze went back outside. "My associate is here." He said, smiling to Finn. "Secrets... I tell you what? Could you and Meg maybe help Cal and I unload our truck?" He asked, gesturing to the pickup that was parked on the street. "I've got some equipment that needs to be unloaded." He said with a smile as he turned towards the stairs.

"Got a lot of stuff I need to unload, and then I need to make some phone calls." Arren said, moving towards the staircase so he could make his way down and towards the truck.




As Callandra made her way up the stairs towards Illara and Meg, she would first find herself being assaulted by the woman and her business card, she grimaced at the sight as she heard the words 'Miss universe' being uttered, and gently pushed the presented card away.

"Uhh.. thanks not interested." She said, looking towards Meg.

"Are you the Landlord? I trust everything's in order? I'd like to get out of this infernal dress and into something more comfortable... My associate should have covered everything with you. We're with Tech Con Group, I'm Senior Captain Callandra Henderson, and my associate is Security Chief Arren Valaj, We're with Tech Con Group." She said, giving Illara another strange look before she turned back to Meg.

"I'm going to get changed, and then Arren and I have some equipment that we're needing to offload." She said, gesturing to the pickup truck parked on the road, the one Arren emerged from.

"I'll pay everyone in cubits, fifty each.. it's nothing too intensive, I just don't want the stuff stolen." She said, taking off her high heels one at a time.

She offered the pair a smile. "Any questions?"

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Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Callandra Henderson Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj Character Portrait: Illara Carter
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Illara fumed at the rejection, and turned on her heel to lug her heavy apparatus inside without another word. She slipped her card deftly into Meg's pocket as she passed rather than put it away again.

She strolled past an empty bedroom or two, poking her head briefly into each one. Despite spacious floorplans and large windows, none seemed to meet her expectations, and she continued to scout the first floor. Her eyes lit up when she noticed a door that led to a cramped storage space beneath the staircase. Opening it, she nodded in satisfaction to herself, tossing her heavy case into the room with a loud CLUNK. She knelt and pressed a storage panel on the outer case, pulling an extension cord out and extracting a couple of entangled personal items. After a brief search, she located an outlet around the corner and plugged the cord in, leaving the other end threaded under the door to her new digs.

She returned to the unfurnished space and closed the door behind her, and soon after the faint chsk of a carbonated beverage being opened sounded softly from within. A thin ribbon of smoke snaked it's way out the top of the doorframe shortly after, bringing with it the elusive spicy smell of the cheap black cigarillos popular in the slummier corner stores of Vargeras. Occasional snatches of a one-sided conversation with a tinny digital falsetto are audible from within.

"....No more damn kimchee, still can't get the smell out of the saddlebags... Etienne can get bent, he still owes me for that thing in Lupaix.."

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Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Callandra Henderson Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj Character Portrait: Illara Carter
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Finn nodded to Arren. “I can’t speak for Meg, but I don’t mind helping you guys move in. It’ll give me a chance to get to know my new roomma—“ he trailed off as he watched the women enter the house. His eyes moved over first Meg, then the young courier and finally Arren’s associate. If he could blush, Finn’s cheeks would have been rosy and hot. He cleared his throat as Illara moved past him to check out the rooms upstairs. He watched her climb the stairs before turning his attention to the other woman. Leaning closer to Arren, he swallowed. “I’ve never lived with so many women before…” He trailed off once more as Illara descended the stairs once more. Lowering his voice, he grinned at Arren. “We’re outnumbered.”

As Illara chose the closet under the stairs as her own, Finn blinked, looking over to Meg to see if she had been paying attention.

Meg had seen, alright, but she was also sizing up the new arrival. Unlike Illara, who Meg instantly liked, this new woman made Meg’s defenses rise. Her first impression was that the woman was pushy, and almost rude with the way that she’d dismissed Illara. She didn’t like the formal introduction. In a way, “Senior Captain Callandra Henderson” made her feel like the help.

Her eyes narrowed as she glanced over to Arren’s vehicle. ‘Oh no, no, no, lady,’ she thought to herself. ‘We are all equals in this house…

“I’m Meg,” she said aloud, not bothering to hold her hand out. “I own this house. I trust your… associate… informed you that you will have roommates here. I trust that won’t be a problem for you. So far, it’s Finn and I, but it looks like Miss Illa will be joining us as well.” Her brow lifted as she looked toward the closet under the stairs, making a mental note to speak with the girl about paying less rent if she wasn’t going to be utilizing a bedroom. “And Finn’s cat.”

She was half tempted to tell the woman to move her own stuff in, claiming that she had her own things to do… but in honesty, she wanted to know what sort of equipment was going to be entering her house, and what better way to find out than by helping to move it in. With a sigh, she shrugged. “Yeah, sure, I’ll help.”

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Character Portrait: C. S. Finn Character Portrait: Callandra Henderson Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Arren Valaj Character Portrait: Illara Carter
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Perhaps the attitude was typical of Aschen Arrogance, or perhaps it was stress, either way Cally gave Meg a sidelong glance before she relented slightly in her attitude.

"I understand, Meg... I really do." She said, looking up to the house. "My Associate hasn't really told me much, and I don't really have a problem with roommates. Please understand, I'm a very busy person. You see; I'm in charge of all of Tech Con's security on this planet, and it's a very big responsibility. I don't think you would understand but it can be very stressful." She said, making a face.

"Maybe I'm a little hostile.. but I've got a lot on my plate." She said, nodding. "Cats are alright, I don't mind them." She said, before making her way to the truck, just as Arren was coming towards the front door.

"Hey Cal, make sure you don't leave the disruptors in the truck, last thing we need is someone stealing them." Arren said, while Callandra was nearing the truck, at which point Arren turned to Meg and made a face.

"That's Cal, she's my boss... she can be a little... Intense... but what can you say? She is Admiral McGregor's ex wife..." Arren commented, shrugging to Meg as he too started towards the truck. Turning back to Meg he somewhat gave a nervous chuckle.

"I'd have my shit in a wad too if I had to deal with someone like him, stuck up prude who gets what he wants because Daddy's the Emperor." Arren said, out of Cally's earshot of course.

Once he made his comment, his body quickly turned to move to the truck, while Callandra was coming back towards the house, two large carrying cases in hand. Aschen disruptor rifles from the markings on the case, something for Meg, would be easily identifiable.

Once Arren made it to the truck, he grabbed a large case that contained computer components, and a second case that contained a power generator.

"This'll keep the lights on." He said to Meg. "City's kinda been... having power outages."

The setting changes from beaulieu-street to Gambit's Bar

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Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson
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How long had it been since she had last stepped foot within this place? Years, right? Time didn’t seem to work the way it should. It passed much more swiftly than she realized, yet at times more slowly than she ever thought possible. Meg Sanderson pushed open the door to Gambits not because she was particularly thirsty or looking for trouble, but simply because she could.

She rifled a hand through her short blonde hair as she glanced around the room – same old Gambits – but there was something in her eye… a distrust, a nervousness, perhaps even fear as she took in the patrons. After assessing the room, she plunged her hands into the pockets of her khaki cargo pants and strolled to the counter. Had she really come back to Gambits? Was she really here?

When the bartender acknowledged her, she lifted her chin and requested a pint of dark beer, before turning to study the other figures in the room warily.

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Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Issac Schofield MV
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Meg accepted her drink from the bartender with a grateful nod and an extended fiver. “Keep it,” she muttered quietly before taking a sip. Her tongue snaked out to lick an escaped drop from her lower lip before noticing Issac’s open stare. The moment she was aware not only that he was looking at her but how openly he was doing so, she slowly set her glass on the counter.

Calm, girl, she thought to herself. Nobody will recognize you. Nobody knows you. Clean slate.

She swallowed and forced a realistic smile. “Yeah,” she responded. “Me.”
There, was that so hard? Now play nice.

“I, uh…” she started, looking around once more before turning her attention to Issac and picking up her beer. “I’m new to town and, uh… I’ve never been good with new places. You never know what to expect, you know?” Casually, she approached where he sat. “May I join you?”

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Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Issac Schofield MV
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Crap did he really make people that nervous…? I mean sure he wasn’t the most handsome fellow but he didn’t think he gave off the creep vibe.
He gave a soft chuckle at the joke. Maybe not a creep vibe... maybe I read it wrong.

“Sure,company is always welcome.” He said to Meg, nodding at the seat next to himself.
“ I’m not exactly a veteran around here myself. From what I heard tho this place use to be quiet the place.” He said looking around the bar. “ Tho I don’t know if i believe it or not."

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Character Portrait: Meg Sanderson Character Portrait: Issac Schofield MV
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Meg pulled out the seat next to Issac and slid into it, setting her beer on the surface in front of herself. As he spoke, Meg also looked around the bar. As she did so, memories flashed through her mind - faces and names, laughter and heartbreak, love and terror. Her eyes grew sad as they lingered on a corner booth, on the stairs leading up to the hotel above. "Yeah," she agreed quietly. "I can imagine that it was quite the place once upon a time."

Realizing her distraction, she forced herself to focus and reached for her beer, taking a long drink. With a satisfied sigh, she turned to Issac once more and smiled. "I'm Meg. I know it's customary to introduce yourself with a name and an occupation, but I don't really have an occupation right now, and 'I'm Meg; Unemployed' didn't sound all that great in my head. So, yeah. I'm Meg." She realized too late that she was babbling and chuckled, holding out her hand to shake. "Since you're relatively new too, welcome to the neighborhood."