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Jordin Carter

Shit, I can't afford bootstraps to pull me up by

0 · 317 views · located in Berkeley, California

a character in “Weeds: A College Experiment”, as played by Faith Fanon

Description

ImageGENERAL INFO
Name: Jordin Carter
Nicknames: Sauce (team-mates), Jor (friends)
Ethnicity: Black
Age: 20 (July 5 1995)
Sexuality: Straight
Role: Muscle
Major: Economics (freshman)

APPEARANCE
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 260lb
Distinguishing Marks: Three-inch scar on left knee, both earlobes pierced.

Jordin has the classic build of a linebacker, broad, rangy, and muscular. He keeps his hair tightly buzzed, and occasionall wears a thin mustache. He dresses simply, sticking predominantly to beat-up hi-tops, a white tank, and Berkeley athletic clothes. His diamond stud earrings were a gift from a high-school football well-wisher, and are his only extravagance.

So you better grab your pistol, if you sit still I'm gonna make your fuckin' shit spill

PERSONALITY
Jordin alternates between quiet determination to make the most of his one shot at a different life, and simmering frustration at the social forces that have put him in a last-chance saloon at such a young age. He resents more privileged students, who have come by their opportunity much easier, and have safety nets should they fail.

As a result, his default appearance is one of a silent, sulking scowl, which has become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more people give the intimidating giant a wide berth, the more he scowls. And there's something about California's endless optimism that just rubs him the wrong way; people that happy have to have some sort of inside track on life that's closed to him. This unease sometimes comes across as shyness or lack of confidence.

However, anyone who is genuine enough to pierce Jordin's outer shell, and convince him for a moment it's not him against the whole world, will find a loyal, even grateful, friend who takes an almost patrician interest in their well-being.

Likes: Working out; playing, watching, talking, and studying football; sport generally; street life
Dislikes: Loud or overdramatic people; wasters and slackers; injustice and unfairness; high-class society; police; junk food
Hobbies: Football (see above)

HISTORY
Relationships: Three younger brothers and an uncle in Detroit.
Known Languages: English, motherfucker, do you speak it?

ImageThe Carter boys grew up in Baltimore, where their mother Yolanda worked three jobs and stood in as their father, delivering the occasional beating to make sure they stayed in school, stayed in line. There was always a broken window or a burst pipe in their two-up-tow-down project house, never enough to eat, always some kid on the street corner dealing. Yolanda never pressured Jordin to step into the role of man of the house, but it came naturally to him, particularly as he always grew large for his age. His brothers instinctively looked up to him, and not just literally. At 10, he was bigger than his mother, and when Yolanda shook her head and told him 'I've given you your last thrashing, you gotta find someone else now', something clicked in his head; he was a man now, part of something bigger. He had to use that power responsibly or else all his mother's sacrifices would have been for nothing.

So, eschewing the easy route to the street corners, he threw himself into football, taking on bigger and bigger players in his own version of Jordin-versus-the-world. When it came time to go to high school, three different schools sought to enroll him. Jordin chose the best, but only after elicting the promise that his three brothers would be enrolled there too. For two years, everything went Jordin's way as he lived the high-school athlete dream - girls, parties, hero-worship, compliant teachers... Then he tore his ACL in a meaningless game, and his football career hung in the balance. All the trappings of success vanished, leaving him feeling hollow, betrayed, bitter.

Three days later, Yolanda was shot dead in a convenience store robbery, and the Carter boys were sent to their Uncle Kane in Detroit. Without football to bargain with, Jordin and his brothers ended up in the worst school in the district. And Uncle Kane, heavily involved in the Motor City trade union movement, wasn't a football fan. Instead, he imposed on the boys, and Jordin in particular, his interest in current affairs - the patterns of politics, the swirls of society, the tides of time; he gave Jordin the gift of the bigger picture. Still bitter from his injury, Jordin was a willing pupil.

Silver lining time: The distruption of the move to Detroit meant an extra year in high school for Jordin, an extra year for his knee to heal, another year of playing football and beating on the biggest guys he could find. But whereas in Baltimore he'd played for the joy and the glory, in Detroit he found an urgency verging on desperation not to let this second chance slip. Uncle Kane had lined him up a job building Grand Jeep Cherokees and attending community college evening classes; in front of Berkeley's scouts, Jordin channelled that urgency into a mean streak and recorded two sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown.

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But it didn't take long for the magic to wear off Jordin's West Coast adventure; his athletic scholarship barely covered his tuition, let alone living expenses, and as he was spending more time in reserve than on the field, he wasn't picking up the little perks and bonuses that help many college athletes survive. With no option than to get part-time work bouncing at a nearby bar, Jordin's grades began to suffer, and the late nights began to affect him in training. Giving up any one of work, study and sport means giving up everything he - and Yolanda and Kane - fought for. How can Jordin get out of this Catch-22?

So begins...

Jordin Carter's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Violet VinLee Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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Having the day off from work freed up time for your average college student to study, however with Kay it was a lovely excuse to sleep until noon and stay in her PJ's until well into the evening. She had spent the majority of her day killing things and crushing teenaged boys hearts on Xbox Live as well as taking a short stroll on the beach to capture some timeless shots for her somewhat popular instagram page, however she really wouldn’t do much with herself or her attire until it was time to meet up with her friends for one of their typical poker games.
Before heading out for Danny’s room she’d hop in the shower for five or so minutes and get dressed in a pair of high-rise denim cutoff shorts, a crudely cut Led Zeppelin crop top, and her bright tie-dyed Grateful Dead converses – which matched the various rainbow bracelets and body jewelry she frequently wore.





As the time to call their hands came around again Kay leaned back with her legs crossed and fiddled with her long purple hair that was still damp from her earlier shower.
Her expression was one of befuddlement but not because her hand was confusing or bad, quite the the opposite, It was flawless….again.
”I’m gonna spend all my scarce luck up on this damn game….” she’d joke before throwing down her third Royal Flush of the night, right as Danny walked through the door.
”I hope you guys aren't playing strip poker without me” he’d joke.

”Oh if this was Strip poker they'd all be naked by now, or damn near close to it!”
Kay couldn’t help but gloat in a joking manner before taking a long sip from her bottle of Jack Daniels followed by a few puffs of her cigarette. It was always nice to be winning more hands than you were losing.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Violet VinLee Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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JORDIN CARTER

The distractions rattled though Jordin's mind as he tried to focus on his hand.

His knee and his pride both ached from today's practice. The knee he could put out of his mind if he tried; since the operation to repair his ACL two years ago, it had always ached after practice. You were supposed to hurt after football, after all. The old mantra, 'Pain is just weakness leaving the body', sparked through his mind. He attempted to suppress a wry smile as the offensive lineman riposte, 'Sweat is just fat crying', followed unbidden. No, physical pain wasn't a distraction. It was a comfort.

But Gregg's words whispered in his mind again: "Don't keep showing me the same side, Sauce." The running back was only 5'8", but he was as broad in the shoulders as Jordin was, a real barrel of muscle. It took a perfectly timed, full-contact tackle to stop him, and he'd gone through Jordin like a turnstile. He'd appreciated that Gregg had only muttered it to him as he was picking himself up off the ground, rather than revealing the weakness in his play to the entire squad, but the shame had burned Jordin's face nonetheless. He had been weak, he had been afraid, and it was becoming a habit, the kind of bad habit that would see him picked apart mercilessly. There was no hiding place out on the field, and Jordin knew if he kept protecting his knee, his whole body would be useless to his team. Really, he should ask one of the coaches for help, but why give them another reason to keep him on the bench?

As a result of this humiliation, Jordin hadn't stayed long at the post-practice meal, wolfing down only three or four mouthfuls of bacon mac'n'cheese. As a result, his stomach was now groaning and grumbling at him; another distraction. Jordin had finally stopped growing in the last few months - no longer was the world shrinking around him, bringing shower rails and doorframes down for him to bump his head on - but nonetheless it took an enormous amount of calories to maintain his huge frame, and his stomach - the laughably rotund Coach Keith called it 'the fuel tank' - was letting him know it was running on empty.

He shifted uncomfortably and the chair creaked ominously beneath him. The movement saw him jostle the Asian girl with the British accent next to him. He knew he knew her face from somewhere, but couldn't place her. No matter. She was nothing compared to the ultimate distraction sitting opposite him, playing with her hair, arching her back to reveal a toned stomach, smiling that coy smile.

Jordin knew Kay didn't do it on purpose, or, at least, it was little more than a reflex. She had to be used, at this point in her life, to the effect she had on men; it must be second nature to her now. Jordin snapped his eyes from her breasts back to his cards just as Kay purred: "Oh, if this was strip poker they'd all be naked by now."

"Daaamn, girl," he exhaled, and threw his cards, face down, next to Kay's royal flush, grateful that her stunning hand had excused him of the need to concentrate. Three of anything would often win a hand, and kings were especially pretty, but against a royal flush? Forget it.

He nodded at Danny in greeting, watching his hyperactive friend fidget in his seat. He hadn't realised Danny and Vya were together - neither had seemed the 'type'. Then he winced inwardly and corrected himself. There wasn't a 'type', just like there wasn't one 'type' of black kid, which he already knew, or one 'type' of hot girl, as he was discovering as he got to know Kay. College really was a learning experience. "Keep it shut and keep learnin', fool," he told himself.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Violet VinLee Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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#, as written by TushoKa
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When he started here at Berkeley, Chris could never had thought that 8 people would fit in their cupboard-sized room. Still, it apparently was possible, with some people on chairs, some on the floor and some on the bed, they all sat around the table in the middle of the room. Chris himself was sitting on his bed cross legged, with an open seat next to him and Vya a bit further off.

Chris was wearing a pair of grayish camouflage shorts for comfortability and had only put on one of his band shirts when the first person had entered the room earlier that evening. He sat with his back against the wall and his laptop, as the name suggests, on his lap. His dreads hang loose around his head and his eyes were red and concentrated on the screen in front of him. On the open seat between Vya and himself lay a few cell phones, current jobs he was busy working on. In between his lips was a joint, lit, and the scent coming from it was quite strong. It was one of their own making, a quality check so to say.

Taking a break from working on his laptop Chris looked up when he heard his room mate entering the room. He picked up the cell phones laying between him and Vya and threw them into a shoebox on his desk, so Danny could sit down. He closed his laptop and put it out of the way underneath his pillow. "I hope you guys aren't playing strip poker without me." With renewed interest Chris looked at the cards on the table.

He heard how Kay had her third Royal Flush of the evening. "Kay..., you know that to get a Royal Flush you have a chance of about 1 in 650.000. I wouldn't say that getting three in one night is impossible, as I think that nothing is impossible, but the word 'improbable' comes to mind. Luck definitely be a lady tonight." Chris had been one of the first out of the game this night, so jealousy and admiration were the biggest motivators for his comment. If they had been playing strip poker he had been naked before the cards had been dealt. In poker he was quite literally an open book, you could see through his bluff as easy as looking through glass. And if you ever played with Chris before you would know that he will only bet if he has very good cards. He would then quickly get bored and go all-in on a pair of threes or something. He himself preferred playing Blackjack, at least you could use maths to beat the odds in that game.

He saw how Danny grabbed a beer from the fridge and took a seat next to him. Chris handed him the joint he had and got up himself to get a beer as well. Hearing Jordin's stomach on the way he grabbed an energy bar first. "Jordin, heads up!" Chris threw the energy bar at his general direction, but threw a bit to far to the left without noticing. He dived into the mini fridge and got a beer out, Heineken to be exact. Ever since he had been to the Netherlands he had been addicted to the golden Dutch liquid, how he was ever able to drink any other beer before was a mystery to him. With the beer in his hand he walked back to the bed and sat down again.

He looked at the cards that were being dealt for the next round while enjoying his beer. Absent-minded his thoughts went to his ex-girlfriend, his only ex-girlfriend. They hadn't really fought before breaking up, but to say they were still friends would be an incorrect statement. Sometimes he thought that Berkeley was his way of running away from her.. and anyone else he knew. He looked around the room at the others, some friends, some not, some male, some not. You know what, maybe a room as full as this isn't as bad as I thought. He picked one of the phones from the shoebox and stripped it down to the core in order to start fixing it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Violet VinLee Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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{ berkeley, dorm of chris & danny }



Sleep could be neglected; efficiency in the duration of deprivation had to be compartmentalized, combated with mental respites and caffeinated beverages. Therefore he had risen with the sun and donned Armani, appropriate dress for a house visit, although by ten in the morning debris of macarons collected on his knee. Off Albany there was a home with a basement owned by an elderly porn actress, a friendly woman familiar with obscured transactions, had sought asylum in the states after ruffling the feathers of the wrong people back in France, and she smiled when giving him a rent estimate to turn her basement into growing center for plants made illegal. They could trust her, who offered cups of tea along with homemade confectioneries. It’d be inconspicuous, and with a schedule often dictated by trips to islands and foreign locations he would call it perfect if born equally spontaneous and foolish.

Vyacheslav stared at his poor hand, the low numbers mingled with fruitless intervals of false hope, and he wondered if this consistency was more on part of bad luck than lack of experience. He might burn holes into these playing cards, though that was more likely to trigger a brain aneurysm than provide comprehension further than basics and vague memories. It had come to some misfortune that his career in gambling had been snuffed the night it began, fourteen and betting portions of his own money with men two, three, four times his age. His right pinkie finger would be crooked until the day he died after father sprained the other nine, broke the tenth when his mien distorted on reflex – and on that account he hadn’t repeated those mistakes. Still, the knowledge would have been useful now, with Kay achieving another flawless victory and Jordin admitting to his own defeat, however his own hand was discarded with an amount of secrecy, so as his silence, from glancing at the various models of cell phones to calculating the possible threats and benefits of locations currently presented to them.

The organic farmer owed him more than a favor, and there was a fish merchant who had premises scented in the stench of raw mackerel and fermented shrimp, which wasn't ideal, nonetheless the design of the building would permit needed ventilation. Thoughts of urgency wouldn't become muted, not by substances or distractions, but the nerves began to uncurl and heal their frayed edges, forgot time itself when the electricity fragmented the air because Danny, no matter how brief, had a presence of a memorized heartbeat that quelled the tempest of mental gymnastics, seconds nonexistent for a moment, and time resumes. His eyes flicker, the attention on these people abandoned for a moment, his cigarette left burning between his fingers and knuckles joint to the surface of the table. Actions are limited incessantly, the individuals in the room liabilities, couldn't be wholeheartedly trusted but more importantly the direction he should take remained a guessing game.

Too accustomed to directing those that had pledged oaths of loyalty and tucked experience and birthrights underneath their belt his tongue tasted the bitter poison of hesitance. Were they discussing business or were they indulging in merriment - and if the latter, why was he taking part when there were phone numbers to dial, addresses to visit? His fingers tangles with Danny's, skin against blood and veins communicating through the quiet pattern of life. His lungs don't constrict but the alveoli tightens, and he must remind himself that this is fine here - those with grudges and agendas of tradition weren't watching, and Vya squeezes the bones, gently so, to reaffirm the reality underneath his palm.

"Outdoors or indoors." To Hell with this, his patience wears thin and pulls apart in fibers, the vocal cords in his throat buzzing, a nemesis to the atmosphere of off-work days and the appendages of his free hand collide with the wood in mundane rhythm, sliding, lying flat afterwards. Since the morning he had altered his appearance, swapped formal attire for casual, light weight T-shirt of gray and jeans predestined to not stray far from the form of ones legs, and the heat had never gotten to him, even in the cramped dorm room early summer seemed to be a tale never told, leather jacket hanging off the back of the chair. "There's still opportunity for us to transfer what we have to an outdoor garden, given we are able to find a decent piece of land. The risk involved is just as high as it is unpredictable, but a larger harvest will come out of it, which obviously means more money. Indoors yields less, however, the control is better, even with the threat of discovery." The professional metronome, steady and confident when pulling information dissected in his head, and he pauses to look at the cards dealt to him, cigarette butt pressed into the basin of an ash tray.

Three of hearts, Five of Spades, Five of Diamonds, Ten of Spades, Jack of Hearts. What a surprise, another 'fuck you' packaged by some ancient God of prosperity. Facial muscles do not twitch and his visage is composed of stories of ambiguity, no answers sketched in the expression, a poker face mastered to perfection - too bad he was absolute shit at this game. "The sooner we can come to a decision between these options the quicker we can eliminate the risk associated with keeping to closets, our current situation isn't one we one to be in too long. Days pass and the probability of being caught early rises, and even if relocation is problematic, it'll lessen the chance of someone being charged with a felony." What should be his, and their, next move? The unnecessary cards are examined for a moment, his thumb trailing the structure of Danny's knuckles and he debates on the value of the Jack and turns over rocks in his head, seeking for those that need to remain exposed. "...And so we can conclude with picking a place to grow properly, be it a basement or outdoor private property." Yes, he really wants to burn these cards, will create a special place in Hell for them.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Violet VinLee Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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JORDIN CARTER

Jordin lurched to the left as the object spun towards him. As always, his instincts had his body in movement, halfway to where he needed to be, before his mind even engaged. He reached up and knocked the energy bar off its trajectory and tumbling up and then down, allowing him to gather between two palms as it fell. The chair creaked and rattled as it settled back on all four legs under him, and Jordin was immediately aware of the scowl coming his way from the Asian girl as she straightened herself up again after his latest intrusion on her.

"Hey, sorry, Dollface," he grinned sheepishly, patting her shoulder in an awkward attempt at familiarity. His large hand all but enveloped her shoulderblade; he could feel bones delicate as a bird's beneath her cold flesh. Her scowl deepened as she attempted to shrug him off; the dorky smile fell from Jordin's face in her cold glare, and he blushed as he dropped his hand, feeling clumsy, oafish, next to someone of her minute size. The rest of the room seemed to darken as he stared into the girl's angry features.

Danny came to his rescue. "Nice sports catching, Jor," he quipped, playing up his ignorance of football terminology. It was one of the differences between the unlikely friends they'd managed to turn into a virtue, each able to tease the other about their areas of expertise. Jordin felt relief fill him and he shot Danny a grateful glance. "Hey, you know I got mad receiving skills. Even when noodle-arm over there is quarterbacking me." Chris raised his bottle in salute.

Feeling grateful to his friends for bailing him out of a possible emotional confrontation, Jordin tore open the bar and bit off half of it in one go. Mashing it noisily between his teeth, he chanced a glimpse back at the girl next to him. The mention of football had triggered a memory. Was she a player's girlfriend? An enthusiastic fan?

"Thanks Chris," he mumbled as he chewed and picked up his next set of cards. "I gotta get me some groceries." Unlike his friends, who had to keep their cards clutched to their chests or face-down on the table, Jordin could hide all five cards in his two hands. Jack of Clubs, Ace of Clubs. Promising. "I am just one broke-ass son of a bitch though," he finished off before quietening down with a small sip of the beer he'd been nursing all night.

It was true, though. His entire food stock at his off-campus SRO consisted of a drum of pasta, some mouse-nibbled instant noodles and, in the mini-fridge, a rapidly-drying block of cheese. He had to know, and soon, whether this business venture to which Vya kept alluding was going to come to something. Sure, it presented unique difficulties, most of which would be faced by people other than himself, but it was either that, or giving up the job at Scooters for longer, later, more hazardous shifts at Pigalle, and that would mean kissing goodbye to his sleep, his grades, and eventually Berkeley and the glimmer of hope of a new life.

He spread the rest of his cards. Two of Diamonds, Six of Spades, Eight of Hearts. It was all he could do not to crush them in his hands.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Violet VinLee Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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The reaction that came from Jordin caused her to chuckle a bit under her breath. She wasn't sure if it was the remark about them all being naked or the fact that she had once again managed to stomp each and every one of their hands that caused such a response from the heavily built linebacker, but nevertheless it tickled her.

Being one of the first out in their little poker game Chris had been sitting back on his laptop in his own world, at least that was what Kay thought until he finally spoke up again. "Kay..., you know that to get a Royal Flush you have a chance of about 1 in 650.000. I wouldn't say that getting three in one night is impossible, as I think that nothing is impossible, but the word 'improbable' comes to mind. Luck definitely be a lady tonight."
"I must admit I'm not up on the latest odds of various poker hands, but I do adore that song, and i adore Ol' blue eyes even more!!" Kay would giggle after her comment - a common reaction from her whether she was sober or not, yet one that was much more frequent when she was lit.

"Luck be a lady tonight! Luck let a gentleman see, just how nice of a dame you can be..."
Being a huge fan of the dearly departed Sinatra, much to the surprise of everyone she told this fact to, she'd sing the rest of the verse word for word an even theatrically throw her arms about as if auditioning for Guys and Dolls until the deck was shuffled and the group was once again forming their hands.

"Oh this would just be cruel..." Kay mumbled. She had managed to pull a nine of each suit as well as a two of hearts - giving her four of a kind.

"The sooner we can come to a decision between these options the quicker we can eliminate the risk associated with keeping to closets, our current situation isn't one we one to be in too long. Days pass and the probability of being caught early rises, and even if relocation is problematic, it'll lessen the chance of someone being charged with a felony."

Out of the lot of them Vya was the most focused on business at the moment, he brought to the table of cards and intoxicants an important discussion - Outdoors vs. Indoors.

"Indoor has my vote. Yes you'll yield less growing indoors however you don't have to worry about the lost dog, nosy neighbor, or bored teenager stumbling upon a yard full of our yumminess. Also you can grow all year long and control the environment better - from CO2 to soil to nutrition to pest control, and of course human control. In a perfect world we could do both, but last time I checked this world has more flaws than I care to count...."

After stretching her arms over her head for a few moments Kay would stand and throw her cards face down. "It would be wrong of me to continue spanking you guys and dolls so I fold....out of compassion of course"
She'd wink at the end of her sarcastic remark and then scoot around the table as she made her way to the kitchen - bumping a few knees in the process.


"What to eat what to eat...." she muttered to herself while combing through the cabinets until she stumbled upon an unopened bag of Cool Ranch Doritos - one of her favorites. Kay opened the bag as she'd rounded the corner of the Kitchen counter just in time to spot Jordin's catch. "Impressive, you should play football!" she'd say in jest before digging her bag of chips.

Chris and his phones had caught her attention on her way back to her seat so she stopped beside him and bent down until she was able to get a better view of the phone he was working on. "So are you just stripping it down for fun or is there something you're specifically trying to fix?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Violet VinLee Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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Danny's eyebrows raised as Kay threw down a handful of cards, and he used his pinkie to push his glasses up the bridge of his nose before leaning forward just slightly. Royal Flush. And, as he could guess from the aura around them, not her first one of the night. He snorted, nodded back at Jordin, and fell against his seat again.

Chris threw facts at them about the probability of Kay getting not just one, not even two, but three royal flushes since the game began and Danny shook his head a little. "Or she's cheating," he mused. Which is where he always went when things seemed 'improbable'. Mostly because Danny Jacobs was the biggest fucking cheat in the world. He could find a way to get around the rules of just about anything. He had a professor one time that told him if he put half the amount thought into doing the actual work that he did figuring out how not to, he'd probably have a perfect gpa.

Kay went on to sing about her victory.

Danny took the joint Chris handed him happily, setting aside his beer long enough to take a drag, because there was no way he was letting go of Vya's hand. Thus, he even passed up the next round of cards. Poker was his game -- he was an effing awesome liar, but he also hadn't seen his boyfriend in quite some time.

Almost as if Vya could read his thoughts his grip on Danny's hand tightened, ever so slightly, reminding them both that this was real...they were real, and Danny squeezed back to remind him that they were safe. Their relationship was nothing if not complicated, dangerous, always hanging on a thread...and paranoia and training was hard to shake.

They had gotten good at pretending not to be together around outsiders...so good, that relaxing, that holding hands even under a table top felt terrifying. It was still engrained in him so deeply that regardless of that fact that he wanted nothing more than to steal a kiss, press himself into Vya's side, rest his head on the older male's shoulder...he kept his distance.

Chris tossed an energy bar Jordin's way, but his aim was off and the kid pulled a spectacular move to catch it. He jostled Violet though, who Danny had learned long ago wasn't particularly a fan of touch, and her glare could shoot down a room like nothing he had ever seen before. And make Jordin look increasingly uncomfortable. "Hey, nice sports catch, Jor!" he commented, using his grounded foot to push him up on the back two legs of his chair. Jordin looked grateful, said something about mad-skills and Chris having noodle arms with some words Danny didn't know...nor particularly felt like googling at the moment so he just didn't bother.

"Man we need to get some shopping done too," he admitted, pushing his glasses up again while Chris rejoined them. "I think all we have right now is beer, tortillas, and energy bars." Danny actually loved to shop, but Chris ended up disappointed in him every time he came back from the grocery store. Mostly because he bought a lot of candy...and then tried to buy beer, but he was actually underaged and with all the sweets would undoubtedly get carded. Every. Time. But someone should go shopping because the group were always eating their food. Maybe Danny should tell one of them to go...

"Impressive, you should play football!" Kay had mentioned on Jordin's part, and Danny had actually almost missed it he'd been too worried about the amount of food in their room. Especially now that she had doritos. They weren't his, otherwise he'd probably take them from her. His brows knit together, confusion drawing on him. "Wait," he whispered, leaning towards Chris a bit. "Doesn't he play football? Did I confuse my sports again?"

"Outdoors or indoors." Vya's voice brought Danny's attention back to business problems, and the fact that they were actually supposed to be discussing. He went on to probably explain the cons and pros to both, but Danny wasn't really listening...actually he hadn't realized he was openly staring at the man until Vya's free hand hit the table, dropping cards, and he smirked slightly. His boyfriend had never been good at poker. He laid his head back on the edge of his chair, focusing mostly on Vya as he spoke but trying not to get distracted again. It was hard to do. Two years and he still hadn't quite gotten over just how attractive Vyacheslav Yanayev was.

"What's safer?" he wondered aloud more than anything. He knew he had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, but Danny basically ran his mouth twentyfour seven so everyone by now had either learned to block him out or just ignore him. "I mean can we even find land we need like that in California? Can we even handle a crop that big? Can we even grow a crop that big?" Of course he was picturing like a cotton field of weed...that was a lot of weed...and there were just eight of them. "What about the weather? I mean, like, what if we have a hurricane or something and it wipes us out?" Which was extremely rare, but the idea was kind of panicking him a little bit.

He took another drag of the joint Chris had given him and shook his head. "Ignore me. I'm just selling this shit. I don't need to know all the specifics." He watched smoke blow in front of him for a moment, mixing with the cigarette in the air. They should probably open another window but...he didn't particularly feel like getting up. "I guess we do need to make a decision though because we're doing too good to stay in closets..."

His talkative nature stopped there, though, because in the next moment he realized Vya's thumb was soothing across his knuckles, and that was a nice feeling. Enough so that he closed his eyes for a moment, sighed.

Kay voted for indoors, for climate control like Danny had been worried about to stuff about Co2 he wasn't even going to pretend to know about. He wasn't nearly the smartest kid in the room but he could live with that. He was a good pair of legs, he didn't need to be smart when he was cunning.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Violet VinLee Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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With the srew driver in his hand he carefully removed the two bottom screws from the phone that he had in his lap. The screws he put on his desk in a little cup that was usually used for this purpose. Next he took out the simcard which ended up in exactly the same place. While busy he heard the thank you coming from Jor as he chewed in to the energy bar. "No problem Jor, Noodle arm's got your back." Chris replied without looking up. He was already busy with removing the glass of the phone in order to display the inside of the mobile device. Danny leaned into Chris and whispered out of anyone's earshot but his: "Wait...Doesn't he play football? Did I confuse my sports again?" A smile appeared on Chris' face and he replied with equal volume:"You're spot on Dan. Just try to remember, if he really would be a chess player he would be far less muscled, that's how I remember." Chris thought for sure Danny would appreciate the sarcasm, after all Danny had thought him well.

While continuing to disassemble the phone to get to the deepest insides of it, Chris listened to the moral question of this evenings meeting. Are we out or are we in. Chris had his answer from the beginning, although his role gave him a bias point of view. What technology would he be able to install if they were going to choose outside? If he wanted to stay involved into this lucrative enterprise he either had to make sure they would choose inside, or he would have to become a salesman, like Danny. The latter one however, was very unlikely to happen. He was proud of himself for talking with these people without sweating profusely, with others he would not fare so well. Vya laid out the pro's and con's of either option as if he had them written down in his head. "The sooner we can come to a decision between these options the quicker we can eliminate the risk associated with keeping to closets, our current situation isn't one we one to be in too long. Days pass and the probability of being caught early rises, and even if relocation is problematic, it'll lessen the chance of someone being charged with a felony."

Chris had actually quite enjoyed the cupboard phase of their enterprise. It had given him a lot of work, but also a lot of experience with less than safe electrical solutions. He thought though if they were expanding to a basement he might be able to learn a lot more, plus the money would be better. From the group they were in now, he actually didn't need the money as much as the others..., certain exceptions considered of course. His other activities like fixing cell phones and setting up party lights kept his pockets well filled. For Chris it threw up some questions that he had thought about a lot in the past two weeks. Why was he doing this if not for the money? Of course it could be the excitement, the fact Danny asked him, a learning possibility, or maybe even something else. With 'something else' in mind he looked at Kay who answered Vya's question first.

"Indoor has my vote. Yes you'll yield less growing indoors however you don't have to worry about the lost dog, nosy neighbour, or bored teenager stumbling upon a yard full of our yumminess. Also you can grow all year long and control the environment better - from CO2 to soil to nutrition to pest control, and of course human control. In a perfect world we could do both, but last time I checked this world has more flaws than I care to count...." Kay ended her retort rather philosophically.

Obvious as his answer was he decided to reply as well: "Obviously I would choose indoors, unless you want me to install the sprinklers and walk away. Thinking logically, most of us are here for one reason....., school. Since we need to study, attend class, activities, sport and other things I think we shouldn't move away from campus, or at least not very far away. If you consider that most weed growing businesses are caught because of abnormal electricity usage, a campus would be the perfect cover up. Lights are on around the clock and school itself uses more then 60% of the power of the entire city. I mean, I would install the lights wherever you want me to, but keeping it hidden is a second one.."

The moment he stopped talking Kay was standing beside him and seemed to have a look at what he was doing. She bent down quite far and gave Chris a view that made him think of twin Capitol buildings and simultaneously made him red in the face. "So are you just stripping it down for fun or is there something you're specifically trying to fix?" Chris didn't know if it was a weird sense of humour, a nervous twitch or the fact that Kay used the word stripping, but his response came out before he had properly thought it over. "Some things just look better naked...", not believing what he just said, he quickly tried to recover, "Eehm, I mean water damage, probably a wet T-shirt contest or something..." Oh no, what was he doing. He hastily spoke his next words with a voice a bit louder and higher than he intended: "Or a toilet or sink accident..., sink, definitely sink." In a desperate attempt to stop himself from talking, Chris grabbed a few Doritos from the bag Kay was holding and put the entire handful in his mouth. He almost dropped the phone he was fixing out of his hands when he felt his own phone vibrate in his pocket. He dumped all the parts in the same cup as before and grabbed his phone.

With almost shaking hands he navigated to his messages and saw two messages came in from Lydia. Glad to have an excuse to save him from his clumsy behaviour he got up and accidentally knocked over his beer. He picked it up as quickly as possible and took a sip to calm him down. He read the message and thought it best to call Lydia from outside the room. Trying to hide his red face with his dreadlocks he walked over to the window first, to open it a bit. The weed smell became a bit too heavy for such a small room. Then he walked over to the door. "I'll be right back, just helping Lydia with something." He opened the door and closed it again behind him. He stood there for a moment breathing in and out and picked the Doritos from the corners of his mouth before he looked at his phone again.

Deducting from the two messages he learned that Lydia had both 'an idea' and 'a thing'. He smiled at the two messages that you apparently needed to be psychic for to understand. He replied back: [Awesome, do you need help with your thing? Where are you?] Awaiting her reply he already walked to the stairs past the blasting music from one of his neighbours and on his way to the dorm entrance.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Violet VinLee Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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JORDIN CARTER

Kay had lain down her cards and wandered over to Chris, who was already out. Vya looked to have lost interest, perhaps distracted by Danny, who wasn't playing anyway, certainly distracted by the conversation's turn to business. Looked like the game was over. Jordin slung his cards casually into the discarded pile and pushed his chair back, this time careful not to bump anyone. From here, he was able to admire Kay's long, lean legs as she bent down to chat to Chris. He was partly envious of the attention his friend was getting, and partly amused as Chris stammered and stumbled, caught in the full beam of Kay's charms.

Jordin took advantage of the break in conversation caused by Chris's awkward departure from the circle. He cleared his throat and began hesitantly. "Uhhh..." At his deep rumble, Vya fixed his penetrating gaze on Jordin. It unsettled him, and the words stuck briefly in his throat. "Y'all scientists gotta decide indoor or outdoor, what's better for the product. All the same to me. Here's what I gotta know."

Now he returned Vya's stare directly. The rest of his friends were, as far as Jordin could tell, just regular college kids, pooling their unique skills, resources and interests into something larger than themselves. They could be a band at rehearsals, the college newspaper staff, charity campaigners, for all anyone else knew. But Vya, Jordin knew, was connected to a far more sinister world, one that Jordin had glimpsed on Baltimore corners his whole childhood. Jordin couldn't stop his friends endangering themselves. But he could make sure the risks were minimised, he could make sure they were aware of all the risks before they got involved. To a certain extent, he felt that these confident Californians had taken him under their wings; now he could return the favour.

Feeling he had the room's attention, that no-one was going to ignore or talk over him, Jordin spoke more assuredly. "Right now, we slingin' nickel and dime bags to nickel and dime dudes. We right down on the bottom rung, we small fish. You get me?" Vya nodded imperceptibly. "Some kid buys from us 'stead of his regular man, no-one notices." Perhaps intrigued by his boyfriend's focus, perhaps intrigued because selling was his area of business, Danny dropped all pretenses of clowning around and leaned forward.

"But if we grow up ten, fifteen, twenty times more product, we gotta sell ten, fifteen, twenty times more product. We don't just gotta be the biggest game on campus, we gotta be the only game on campus. That don't just mean more legwork, more selling. That mean cracking some heads."

There was no fidgeting or joking in the room now. Danny glanced searchingly at Vya, knowing he'd be on the frontline. Vya kept his gaze fixed on Jordin, his eyes narrowed.

"And I ain't just talking 'bout no college heads. We can fly below radar for some little while, sure, but after a while someone pretty serious is gonna feel it in their pocket, gonna ask why they got all this product piling up at home and nobody smoking it."

From years on the field, Jordin was used to subconsciously reading minute shifts in body language. Vya's lean body was deceptively muscular, and it looked like his shoulders had bunched up marginally. Jordin knew Vya would keep his cool; he wasn't expecting a physical confrontation. But he got the distinct impression Vya hadn't wanted to broach this subject right now.

"Hey, I don't wanna speak out of turn or nothing," Jordin said, attempting to diffuse the sudden tension that crackled across the table. "Just, turf war is turf war, and I seen too many fools brought low just for not thinking it through."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Violet VinLee Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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Like a lot of other girls Kay had an unconscious habit of playing with her hair, so as she continued to munch on the Cool Ranch Doritos she had found in the cabinet all by their lonesome she would rake her hand through her long thick hair, shake any loose knots free, and then repeat both actions a few times before Chris responded to her question.
"Some things just look better naked..."
Kay's eyebrows instantly shot up in surprise as a huge smile appeared on her face, she would of expected such a cheeky response from just about anyone else in the room, but not Chris. However before she could come back with a comment even more cheeky and colorful Chris spoke up again in an attempt to recover. "Eehm, I mean water damage, probably a wet T-shirt contest or something..."

By this time Kay's giggles had morphed into a barely muffled laughter as she bit down on her bottom lip, pleasantly amused by her stammering friend who would clear his throat before speaking up in a loud tone to once again try and recover from a comment he regretted the instant it left his lips. "Or a toilet or sink accident..., sink, definitely sink!"
"Yeah, okay....those pesky sinks." she'd respond sarcastically through her laughter as Chris shoved his mouth full of Doritos.

As he began to fumble with his phone Kay would lean over his work-in-progress, place the bag of chips on the table, and then pick up her lighter. Standing up again she'd shove her hand in her short's back pocket and dig in it until she pulled out a rather fat blunt.
"'ll be right back, just helping Lydia with something." she'd hear Chris say before he stood and made his way towards the door.
"Hurry back now -" Kay began before the door closed, leaving her to finish the rest of her comment to those in the room instead of Chris himself. "-so we can talk about more naked things and those wet t-shirt contests!"

Taking a seat in the chair left empty by Chris Kay would light her blunt and inhale - letting the smoke be released through her nose.



When their little group was formed Kay, who was in it largely for the adventure and potential for extra cash, wasn't quite sure what to expect from a bunch of people who were all rather different and came from a myriad of backgrounds, each holding their own personal demons. However she had grown to not only like but respect the lot of them, placing in them something she didn't place with most others - her trust.

Quickly relaxed by the intoxicant she was inhaling Kay would lean into the chair and let her body slide down slightly. Outside of the giggles, the odd desire to dance or sing, and the physical arousement that always occurred whenever she was stoned Kay also tended to daydream and tonight was no different, however she snapped back into a smoke laden reality when Jordin suddenly spoke up in a manner strong enough to scare a kid straight.

".....and I ain't just talking 'bout no college heads. We can fly below radar for some little while, sure, but after a while someone pretty serious is gonna feel it in their pocket, gonna ask why they got all this product piling up at home and nobody smoking it."


The air suddenly grew thick with tension and Kay subconsciously responded to it by sitting up straight and pulling her legs up onto the chair until she was sitting Indian style.
The topic Jordin brought up was an important one, one that everyone in the room probably would of preferred to table - procrastinating on it for as long as possible. However it was something they legitimately needed to discuss...sooner rather than later.

"This probably isn't the best time for this...." Kay began as she leaned up to reach her hand into the bag of Doritos on the table. "....but Jordin makes a good point, we eventually need a plan on how to deal with the people who aren't going to be all the happy if we find success with our little venture here. We aren't selling cookies and our competitors won't be sweet old grandmas who welcome us to the bake sale with open arms."

As soon as she finished her remark Kay's phone would buzz, and as she waited for someone to continue the discussion now unfolding amongst them she'd scroll through her latest instagram comments, which were a mixture of flattering, hateful, and flat-out creepy.

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Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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{ berkeley, dorm of chris & danny }



The knowledge crawled itself underneath his skin, and the fact harassed him, succeeding a lifetime of memorizing methods to assist those devoting loyalty and allegiance to a family name in rising above poverty, aware that the comrades in progress were still suffering from injustices. His thumb and index fingers pressed the cards together, a thin pile of losing faces, reminded himself that losing sleep from worries of bills and loans will soon enough become the least of their problems. They are in their genesis, the sparks of expansion are their vocalized opinions and the continued confirmation that they are clever people, people willing to sacrifice, and it is like rainwater to his mind. Worry unwinds itself and he exhales, shoulders sloping whilst his eyes flicker, from Jordin to Kay to Danny, listening to the conversation and the concerns from their brains, the conclusions they reach. There is no wrong or right choice, just execution and taking responsibility for what they create.

Vyacheslav removes his attention from the actions determined unimportant, he has no business observing amusing antics at the moment, not when his focus must be elsewhere - and those droplets of oil shift from these friends to Danny, through the barriers of glass to the woven structures in his rises. There, deserted in the past, before intoxication and a dive into the illuminated abyss was his fate sealed by flowers blossomed from seeds put into his heart by witticisms and a sly smile. It was then, in the earlier months, that he believed Danny would be an obstruction to his sight, a diversion that would disappear and leave him with nothing but wasted time and distraction, that he would let himself indulge and be led astray, but no longer did he believe those noxious thoughts to be true. Never had the path seemed so clear, and he smiled, if in a subtle quirk, the corners of his lips curling.

"I have a nagging suspicion that you're not picturing an economic plot of land." He commented, right eyebrow raising independently, and the word cute comes to mind however - although it is true- Danny is so much more than cute. But he is, with constellations laid out across his skin with a mind like those distant stars, and he snuffs the urge to get closer, grips onto composure and becomes sober, because a procession of foolish decisions could end them, one way or another. "We should put that word out of our head, nothing in this world is safe. No one can predict which is likely to be the safer option, crops may be destroyed outdoors but our identities may be further protected when in the cover of trees, opposed to how neighbors and residents would see us come and go from a building." Vya pauses, and the groups cognition and responses are organized in his mind. Indoors would be preferable, ideal for this group, but safe?

"Indoors seems to be the favorable opinion, and there is no error in that logic. With a shelter comes control, and it'd be easier to grow our garden, keep it from those that meander, yet there is the threat of outsiders and sniffing dogs, along with undeniable culpability if our location cannot argue against it. An outsider gossiping about us is as dangerous as any weapon, word gets to officers...gets to the wrong people who can follow us and trap us like rats." The bitterness found in foul medicines simmers at the edge of his tongue, tone lowering into dark poetry that he hadn't wished to speak, not today, but he knows it's necessary, that these are truths that shouldn't be ignored, that he would be wicked to promise what is out of his control. His countenance relaxes, if by force, the chiseled stone softening as his fingers slide away from the notches they had molded between them, the tips of them trailing up Danny's arm before detaching, rejoining at his boyfriend's nape, pushes the appendages through strands of hair. Fragile promises are a weak man's tool, and yet he does just that, promises to keep him safe, then drifts away and rests his hand on the table, or else it will seize from exchanges of electricity.

"Ignore you? Is that a joke?" He teases, and there's an allowed, temporarily surrender where the smile is unadulterated, tiny wrinkles forming around his eyes. "With precautions, logic and of course, creativity, our business shouldn't suffer, there are ways to walk away unscratched." I've seen it - rarely so, but seen it. They're words he doesn't say, leaves off with a hint of lightness as they await Chris and Lydia for official decision making and further discussion, and a repose does not come, hindered by Jordin divulging into a subject not yet fully breached, not one he particularly wanted to speak about quite yet anyways, could have waited until the bulk grows along with the threat to avoid scattered attention, skewed priority.

There were lines to be drawn, boundaries that needed to be constructed and he had never built, only maintained. He knew the strategy his grandfather used to turn a cartel into soot two years before today, had their traditions branded into his memory but this - warning shots and establishing dominance? His lips pressed together, didn't know where being forgiving ended and self-disfigurement began. "This is fine, we would need to discuss this sooner or later." Vya began, glancing away from Kay and back to the man who introduced turf war to the conversation. With palms against the table, his shoulders again became rigid in taut muscles, not in defense, but in a spell of slight apprehension. They all must tread carefully from here on out.

"...We can make use of procedures that will eliminate competition without drawing attention to ourselves, and we'll plan strategies with anonymity as a goal. Yes, eventually we'll have to express the domination as ours, although doing so impetuously will destroy us. He's pensive, obsidian, unwavering in eye-contact and his chest moves in regulated breaths of air, calm on the surface, as if they had resumed their game of cards and poker faces. The question was which modus operandis and which newly conceived strategies would yield results in their favor, and which would irreversibly burn them, alas, his answers were scarcer than he'd like. "We'll take advantage of their mistakes. Reveal their operations, turn them onto their backs and make them into dust. They can destroy each other, we can set them on fire, and if we play our cards right - " Oh, how ironic. "No one will know who is responsible until it is too late. Still...those bridges are yet to be crossed, but we will take care of them when we must." They are cold words with emotion stolen from their stanzas, and his attention remains on Jordin - it's for a purpose he speaks and looks at him, not Kay or Danny - because this is their burden; the destruction will be theirs to create, and these lives theirs to protect.

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Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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JORDIN CARTER

The different reactions of his friends as words slithered from Vya's lips told Jordin its own story. Kay, robbed of the distraction of tormenting Chris, gave her opinion stridently before being diverted again, this time to her buzzing phone. After all, the dirty, street-level concerns of selling and surviving, of market takeovers and turf wars, weren't her end of the business.

But Danny was uncharacteristically silent. Danny was more in tune with Vya's moods. And Danny knew the outcome of this conversation could affect him directly. So Jordin tried to take into account Danny's concerned glances at Vya, who sat still as stone, and reined in his frustration before he spoke.

"Yeah alright, we'll talk about it." It was no good; faced with that expressionless, superior visage, Jordin's temper flared. "Vya, man, you trippin'. You talking 'bout strategies and procedures one minute, burning peoples to dust the next. It ain't no easy thing, and it ain't gonna happen just on your say-so."

Jordin heard his own crude speech, and felt ashamed of it in comparison with Vya's fancifully-constructed, stylish sentences. He took a deep breath and rolled his shoulders, trying to dissipate the tension. Exhaling, he spoke more calmly, trying to regain control of himself. It wasn't good enough to leave the safety of his friends - the lives, even, of his friends - in someone else's hands, especially when that someone was from a different world, had a different appraisal of the use of violence and the dangers they faced.

"Look, it ain't no easy thing," he repeated. "We're not all gangsters here. Yeah, I can ball, maybe you can too, but Danny ain't no gangster, Chris ain't no gangster."

If only Vya could maintain that poker face when actually playing poker. He barely blinked as Jordin openly hinted at his criminal connections. Jordin didn't know how much Vya and Danny had discussed that matter; maybe he was prying where he shouldn't. Danny shot his boyfriend another glance and sucked heavily on the joint between his fingers, then waved it over at Jordin, almost as a peace offering.

"Fool, you know I can't," Jordin snapped, the snarl baring his teeth. "I get random tested. I told you a hundred times."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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Lydia passed him with several quick steps to the door and held it open has he went through. She nodded along with his monologue enthusiastically, occasionally interjecting extra ideas as they came.

"If the insides were lined, with mirrors or aluminium, it would multiply the light intensity, like greenhouses. We could have smaller lights to need less power. Would that need less wiring?"

She frowned ruefully at the 'Out Of Order' sign on the elevator as they came up to the first flight of stairs. She let Chris get ahead of her on the steps, and then reached to grab the bottom end of the server case and help carry it up the stairs. When he asked for a song, she tilted her head and raised one eyebrow credulously, wondering if he was making fun of her.

"If the school cafeteria is ever stormed by the Germans, we can sing 'La Marseilles', like in the 'Casablanca' movie." she smirked. But with a sigh and a light smoker's cough, she gave him the benefit of the doubt and gave him the first four lines of "Trois Navires de Blé", a folk song common in most regions where French is spoken.

"Un gros coup de vent de nordet -/ Nous irons jouer sur le bord de l'eau/ Trois Navires de blé s'en fit rentrer -/Nous irons jouer sur le bord de l'eau."

She sniffed slightly and examined him again, trying to get a sense on of if this was some kind of joke, and whether or not she should continue. She gave him a small, awkward smile.

"Is everybody else up there, too, then?" she asked, as they turned in the landing and took the last few stairs, letting go of the bottom of the server so they could put it down for Chris to open his door. She straightened her jacket, mentally preparing herself for the crowdedness of the room on the other side of the door. When it opened, she smiled and waved at everybody with one hand and gestured enthusiastically at the server with the other.

"I have a thing!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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{ berkeley, dorm of chris & danny }



No, he wasn’t familiar with this, to those using their voices to oppose him, to speak in anything other than a ‘yes sir’ if he does not blatantly request their opinions and knowledge. The insubordination burns underneath the nails of his fingers until he remembers that this isn’t a hierarchy of obedience and dogmatic rule, that there is no justification in rage towards Jordin, that what he says should be regarded, break through the disconnect brought to him from physical reminders. Still, what emotions he has doesn’t show, from childhood he had been severed from ties of sentiments and his face is a blank parchment, listening with expression void, but he does feel, feels the uneasiness of ocean tides waxing and waning within his blood.

“Chris doesn’t need to act the part of a gangster to assist in our aggressions and defenses. I may not comprehend technical terms, but I know that in a world dependent on electronics that he can be dangerous – potentially more so than either you or I.” In cold heart of hale the vexation doesn’t leak into his voice but he still falters, fingers curling without his permission and he knows it’s because of Danny – and no, he isn’t a gangster, loathed the proposition of him selling enough as it is and bites the inside of his cheek. Possibilities of harm were too frequent in his cerebral whiteboard; he could spare no forgiveness for himself if he happened to let anyone harm him, yet knew that the man was much more capable than his insecurity would like to believe, and his lungs contract before relaxing, the small blight of panic subsiding.

For this moment, this exception, he’d let his countenance speak for him, his brow furrowing despite the reminder that he should resist, the screams from within a torment ultimately ignored. “No, it won’t be easy. Had I said it would be?” Vya questions, and he contemplates what his father would have done – tug on that tongue and ask if he would like it to be removed – and he has to be better than that savage, lets the thoughts recede into their own corners where strategy resided. He needed to be more prudent, had to sketch new onslaughts that would suit them best, however, with a lack of information, typical of the beginning stage, he was left with blindness, guessing. Had Jordin suddenly developed a sixth sense and an eye for the future? The thought is laughable, but he isn’t wrong, and when he opens his mouth next he’s promptly interrupted by one door and one girl, not to mention the boy behind her.

"I have a thing!"

There’s a disruption ringing in his head, a guillotine to the conversation and even the atmosphere shifts, a lightness enveloping the room and assuaging the tension that had grown during their absence, and he’s grateful for it, didn’t want to continue with a conversation they shouldn’t be having yet in the first place. “Jordin, we’ll continue this conversation later, just the two of us.” His voice is beneath the new excitement and his eyes move from Lydia to Jordin when he speaks, will accept this and continue later, isolated from the rest of the group to save them from distractions they do not need, not now. Now it can depart, where he can reexamine their potential future and their reactions to the caustic forces that will oppose them, but for now he looks to Lydia and Chris, stands when noticing a bulky computer skeleton – had they raided a tech graveyard?

“I’m assuming that…computer skeleton – ” Eloquent, but he wasn’t sure what else to call it. “Is the ‘thing’?” It’s a pleasant change to the previous tone of voice, a dial warmer, and his hand covers Danny’s shoulder for a moment simply because he can before retrieving the pack of cigarettes of his pocket, a hunger gnawing at the back of his skull. “It’s impressive, but what’s its purpose?” He’ll need to break this pattern of sentence structure soon, it is too formal among their casual sentences, though when thinking of how to reformat them he’s lost, had never been expected to speak to fit in with those in a ‘lower chaste’ than his esteemed family. Should he begin using ‘yo’? That doesn’t sound like the best idea, and looking at the unidentified object outside the room he lights a cigarette between his lips, inhales the pollution and walks towards the duo with a sense of curiosity.

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Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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The song she started to sing didn't sound bad. Of course he had no idea what it was about since his knowledge of French did not really go further then 'merci' and 'Je m'apelle Chris'. Chris was thankful for her help with the server, although he would probably not have asked himself. Something about pride and being a man, he guessed. Somehow he felt more comfortable around Leela then around other girls, maybe it was their scientific minds thinking alike. When Leela stopped singing he wanted to ask what it was about, but before he could they arrived at their destination. They put the server down and he opened the door.

When looking again at the people he left about 10 minutes before he could see the mood in the room was different. He couldn't see what happened, but the smiles that had been there before were not on their faces right now. Were they talking about me? Did I do something when I left? Whatever it was, it couldn't be anything good. If it really had been because of something he did, he shouldn't let it get to him. He wanted to say something, but Lydia came past him. "I have a thing!"

The small statement seemed to change the mood in the room in an instant. Vya told Jordin they would speak later, Chris probably didn't even want to know what that was about. He reached behind him to pick up the server box and he placed it on the table in the middle of the room on top of the playing cards that were still laying there. In the process he knocked over a glass that he quickly picked up. Thankfully it had been empty already and with a red head once again Chris put it back on the table. Involuntary he glanced at Kay for the first time since he was back in the room, he just couldn't seem to shake the clumsy streak he was on. It was Vya that spoke before the others. "I'm assuming that... computer skeleton is the thing? Impressive, but what is the purpose."

Chris got a smile on his face when he thought about it, he was really getting on board with Lydia's idea. Polite as he was he made a hand gesture allowing Lydia to explain what she had come up with. Before she could even open her mouth Chris started telling himself. Now that it came to science he could at least step over his clumsiness. "Okay, Lydia had this awesome idea..." Chris started explaining that they could grow the plants in these boxes with some minor adjustments so they could easily move the whole thing when needed and nobody would suspect anything from a few old server boxes. Knowing he spoke before his turn he stopped. "I should really let Lydia explain..." He looked apologetically at her and continued. "It is her brilliant mind where this idea comes from."

He himself grabbed the chair that had belonged to Kay earlier that evening. He turned it around and sat on it backwards. He reached behind Jordin to take the beer bottle he had left there earlier. He took a sip, looked at Lydia and kept his trap shut while he waited for her to give the specifics.

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Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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On the field, the ultimate triumph for Jordin was to scramble and bully his way past blockers to the quarterback, to hit the star athlete before he threw and leave him in a pile, limbs disarranged like a puppet with its strings cut. But his favourite moment was the second or two before each play started, when both teams crouched poised, ready to unleash their collective pent-up energy in a barrage of force and pain. In those moments of white-hot concentration, the roar of the crowd faded until all he could hear was his own heartbeat thudding inside him.

Even as the doorhandle turned, even before the door burst open, Jordin had pressed his hands down on the table, bent his knees and transferred his weight to the balls of his feet, ready to spring into action. He ripped his eyes from Vya's to analyse the intrusion.

"I have a thing," a deadlocked girl cried cheerily, her accent rendering the 'th' as a 'z'.

Jordin glimpsed Chris behind her, and the lightning ebbed out of his tensed muscles as the focus of attention shifted from the impromptu confrontation. He met Vya's eyes once more, this time finding them empty of their previous glacial depth, and he nodded gruffly as Vya muttered "Jordin, we’ll continue this conversation later, just the two of us." He rose slowly, making room for Chris and the new arrival, satisfied he'd done his duty by his friends and impressed on their leader - for it was unspoken but acknowledged by them all that Vya was the true entrepreneur amongst them - that he couldn't put them in danger carelessly. There would be danger enough without being careless.

He lumbered through the small space and parked himself by the open window by Kay's chair, breathing in the fresh air as the dreadlocked girl and Chris and their "thing" took centre-stage. Jordin knew that, stoned though she was, Kay had a nose for physical danger; working in a bar gave you that sixth sense.

"Sorry 'bout that," he murmured, leaning forward over her shoulder, admiring the splashes of colour tattooed into the smooth, toned flesh of her arm.

"You're a macho man, Jordin," she teased.

"I guess," he replied, leaning back again, glad she couldn't see the embarrassment on his face. "I just wanna keep you safe - y'all safe," he corrected himself, a second too late.

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Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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It was a habit of Kay's to smoke a blunt until burning the tips of her fingers, getting an odd sense of pleasure from the sharp tingle on her fingers as the burning cannabis passed inbetween them. However as the tension in the room grew her grip on reality tightened and she'd instead toss the roach into a nearby ashtray as she dropped her feet to the floor once again. She assumed Vya's seemingly lax perception on the threat they'd garner by pulling customers away from other dealers was an attempt to downplay the danger for the sake of the rest of them in the room. Kay however wasn't raised in a bubble nor had she fallen off a turnip truck last night, so she wasn't afraid to broach the issue of violence, but still - this wasn't a discussion she felt like putting herself into anymore than she already had so she'd simply lean back in her chair, arms crossed, as the tension in the room continued to grow.


“No, it won’t be easy. Had I said it would be?” Vya said in response to Jordin's remark, which only caused the bulking football player to tense up even more before he pushed his hand down on the table in the middle of the room and appeared to be standing - ready for a confrontation. Such a sight caused Kay to sit up from her chair and go to stand as well in a bid to prevent any type of scuffle between the two hot-tempered men , but much to her relief the door would open and Lydia's quirky comment of "I have a thing" seemed to quickly defuse the rising tension.

"That was close..." Kay thought as she sat back down, sighed, and crossed one leg over the other before looking up just in time to glimpse Chris and his thing.
"I'm assuming that... computer skeleton is the thing? Impressive, but what is the purpose?" Vya inquired, and Kay would begin to think of a myriad of things that could be done with it, however the idea that Chris would soon explain didn't even cross her mind.
"And here I thought I was smart....."



The bag of Doritos were nearly gone but Kay's insatiable appetite was only barely quenched, so as Jordin took a seat beside her she'd begin to scarf down the remaining chips as if they were the first thing she'd eaten all day.
"Sorry 'bout that," he'd murmur over her shoulder - causing Kay to look over towards him for a second.
"It's no problem, you know where I work...I'm use to macho men going at it - nothing little ol' me couldn't have handled." she teased, before turning her attention back to the bag of chips on her lap.
"I guess...I just wanna keep you safe - y'all safe."

Jordin's comment caught her attention an after throwing the now empty bag of Doritos on the table Kay would turn in her chair to face him as she licked her fingers clean. "You wanna keep me safe huh? Well ya know, outside of that bar you don't owe me any kind of protection, I did know what I was signing myself up for here." Kay winked and smirked as she leaned up in her chair a bit and without a second thought casually patted Jordin on the knee. "But thanks for the sentiment. You and Vya keeping fights to a minimum would be lovely though.....you both should consider taking some Yoga lessons from me sometime."
She couldn't help but laugh at her own suggestion since the image of the two of them doing Yoga together was quite hilarious.

"So Lydia, there wouldn't happen to be a Pizza in that server box would there? Three maybe, with extra bacon, feta, pepperoni, an even more bacon? Oh God please say there's three pizzas in there!!!" Kay moaned as she leaned over the side of the chair and looked up at Lydia with a soft smile.

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Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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Jordin grimaced in embarrassment at Kay's gentle teasing put-down. It reminded him of nothing more than of the reaction of the college football groupies, who would beat a hasty, almost hostile, retreat when they found out he was little more than a regular reserve. The friendly pat on the knee just re-emphasised how much of a mistake he'd made; of course he shouldn't have veered away from straight-down-the-line friendliness in front of the rest of the gang. How did he think Kay was going to react in front of all their friends? However, He knew from his rejections by those cookie-cutter starfuckers that the worst thing he could do was protest. He swallowed deeply and tried to retain what was left of his dignity. And, a small voice at the back of his mind reminded him, Kay was no cookie-cutter starfucker.

Even if he'd been paying full attention, the dreadlocked girl's excited patter about technical details would have mostly passed over his head. Danny, Chris and Vya all seemed to know her, so he tried to listen, but his brain switched off again in a flurry of diurnal cycles, servers and ports.

His mind drifted back to Kay's comments. "You don't owe me any kind of protection," she'd said. Had she even been listening to his and Vya's conversation moments earlier, or had she been completely absorbed in her phone? Being on the deep end of a blunt could do that to a person, he mused, and then there was the assumption that, as the money and accounting side of the operation, she would be off the street, out of harm's way. He'd wanted to tell her that, as their operation grew and brought them into conflict with other gangs - real gangs, street gangs, not college students - any of them could be targets. But his protestations would have sounded like bitter arguing, especially to someone as fiery and head-strong as Kay. But the fact remained; the more money they made, the greater the danger to the person who controlled the money. And not just from rival gangs either. As their notoriety grew, so would their attraction to stick-up artists, and to law enforcement - one of the easiest ways cops got wind an operation like theirs was through the sudden flood of cash. He'd seen it in his old life in Baltimore, when one of his former schoolfriends, a low-level dealer, had been viciously beaten by his own gang members for buying a fur coat. Jordin vividly remembered that fur coat, smeared with blood in a crumpled pile on a street corner, like a wild animal shot down.

A sharp slapping sound snapped him out of his reverie. "If everyone understands and approves?" the dreadlocked girl asked in her musical accent. Jordin shrugged his enormous shoulders as if to indicate it was nothing to do with him, unable to shake the sulk that had descended on him.

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Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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Even with the two spirited energy bursts Lydia and Chris in the room, the old tension hadn't washed away completely. Although he looked calm and with his attention now on Lydia, Chris' mind was racing. He still thought they had been talking about him, how strange the workings of the young adult mind. It seemed normal though, if you walk into a room that all of a sudden falls quiet, there is only one explanation. His focus now seemed to shift to his beer while listening to the sounds around him. Just when he was about to take another sip, he could overhear a few words that Kay spoke softly to Jordin. Chris didn't think that any of the people not sitting direCtly next to the two would have been able to hear them. "You and Vya keeping fights to a minimum would be lovely though."

Okay, that was something else than I thought... He looked over at Danny to see if he had also heard the comment. His eyes were facing down as if wanting to frame himself out of the conversation. Chris gathered from that, that he was indeed aware of Kay's comment. Thinking to himself Chris realized that he had not been part of the tension at all. It had been one side of the room against the other. He could also see Danny's dilemma not wanting to choose either side. It is not easy to make a choice between a very good friend and a lover. Bad as he felt about it, the sudden realisation cheered Chris up a bit.

If he was not the problem, maybe he could be the solution. Having an argument was one thing, but if there would be constant friction between two or more people in the group their enterprise would surely fail. The common goal should be clear to anyone and everyone. Chris turned to Danny when Lydia finished. "So Dan, with or without Lydia's brilliant idea, our weed output has gone up massively. I know you can sell ice to an Eskimo, but how are you going to sell all of it?" Chris had thought about selling himself, but quickly realized that if you don't like speaking to people you don't know, you won't get far with selling.

While waiting for an answer Chris also thought back to a location for their business. He knew for a fact that there were some university labs and classrooms wee not being used. Either because of maintenance or because they once housed courses that were no longer available. With the blueprints to the school he would be able to locate the main power sources to give the necessary energy. He could even install card readers that would let them in, and not any of the security personnel on campus.

In order to get the blueprints though, he would need to break in to the school's administration office. "Guys, I have another idea, but before I can see if it's any good I need to have access to the administration office. Someone up for watching my back?"

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Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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After laughing at Lydia's Triscuits remark Kay would sigh - really regretting the fact that she hadn't stopped to get something to eat before coming over.

As Lydia shared her idea with the group Kay would sit and listen while once again twirling a strand of her hair absentmindedly, slowly but surely finding herself quite impressed. Not only was the plan brilliant from a technical stand point but it was a brilliant production move that could possibly net them even more product then what they initially thought was possible.

"So Dan, with or without Lydia's brilliant idea, our weed output has gone up massively. I know you can sell ice to an Eskimo, but how are you going to sell all of it?" Chris asked, causing Kay to chuckle at his choice of words. She had considered selling herself, and still wasn't completely turned off by the idea, however even though the various rave and beach festivals Kay took part in would make for a perfect selling ground she figured selling could still interrupt her daily routine and work schedule too much and instead was rather content to fill a role she was instantly attracted to and much more at ease performing.

As she mulled things over in her head Lydia would mention knowing another girl who could possibly be a seller. The name and family story was familiar enough and it was likely Kay would recognize her face, but nothing more about the girl came to mind.
"So, a trust-fund baby....interesting, not sure why such a gig would be appealing to her. However, if a pretty girl can sell anything then why don't you just sell the stuff yourself?" Kay suggested in a playful manner as she stuck her tongue out at Lydia.
Chris would suddenly speak up again in the brief moment of silence that barely had a chance to linger in the increasingly fogged room after her comment
"Guys, I have another idea, but before I can see if it's any good I need to have access to the administration office. Someone up for watching my back?"
Before she could respond both Lydia and Danny would chime in with their willingness to tag along, but despite one more than necessary already Kay still raised her hand up proudly as she stood.
"Oh this is my kind of fun, count me in....it's Adventure Time baby!" she joked, referencing one of her favorite cartoon shows. "I'm ready to go as is, just indulge my stomach and lets stop off at Dominos or Pizza Hut on the way back - my treat."
Leaning over the table Kay would grab her bag before stretching her arms up over her head.
"I don't mind walking you to your place Lydia, and perhaps I'd get to steal a scrunchie or two?"

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Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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{ berkeley, dorm of chris & danny }



When people congregated underneath the same sky they became sandstorms and whirlwinds, and instruction had found him, constructed talent in silence and speaking, and it had been habit to listen to their words and systematize them, found himself the gargoyle watching from a distance. Here he had nodded to Lydia’s proposition, of minimizing the space seized and manipulating tiny ecosystems in their palms, they could take advantage, the theory only a benefit to them, especially if they could move at a moment’s notice, pack up and smuggle forbidden plants underneath the prying noses.

“Four may be excessive for the endeavor, I wouldn’t recommend it.” Again he vocalizes himself, finding Danny’s gaze and, to speak to him in a language of subtleties, shrugs, and returns to focusing on the myriad of tasks at hand. “External influence may be somewhat of a safety net, however being caught could be detrimental. Security cameras will be your enemy, and if they cannot be disarmed or manipulated then an alternative to acquiring the blueprints would be desirable.” He didn’t doubt them, no. Here were gathered the clever and the strong, with their alcohol and drugs and sorrow and laughter on their tongues, and there were capable men and women that had erected lives in this business that would have made themselves eager comrades, but their souls were eroded and twisted – he couldn’t find better people to put his trust in other than here.

“Regardless, succeeding a night of drinking and smoking, reconnaissance wouldn’t be the wise decision.” His eyebrows raise, if just for a second, in good nature, pondering the possibility that Danny might have forgotten the smoke pulled into his lungs. “Find sobriety, then become thieves.” Vyacheslav concludes, solemn and placid, or perhaps worn from the energy found here, the vibrant vigor so different from the radiation of his family, and those that worked for his family. He directs his pupils over to Lydia now, redirecting the flow of conversation, to the potential seller recommended, would have to study her first, as with selling comes risk, and as much as it made his throat dehydrate and taut, Danny had that competence to talk circles around people and then sink into silence, possessed a nature for the job he couldn’t ignore, and it wasn’t something everyone had.

“Contact her, please. It’d be preferable to meet her sooner, rather than later.” He paused, already picturing the possible future, should bring Jordin along to meet this Frankie woman, admittedly as a bargaining chip, their illustrated security and equilibrium, but more than that, could use the time after to speak to the other man one on one. “If she agrees, I’d like it if you join me to meet her, as I imagine she’d be more comfortable with someone already familiar to her.”

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Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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"Four may be excessive for the endeavor, I wouldn’t recommend it." Vya chimed in. "Regardless, succeeding a night of drinking and smoking, reconnaissance wouldn’t be the wise decision."

Kay chuckled as she picked her wallet up from the counter and shoved it in her side pocket. "Vya, watashi wa bujoku....are you insinuating that I can't function at a high enough caliber, while literally high may I add, to break into a little measly office?" Again she'd giggle as she ran her fingers through her thick hair, knowing full well that partaking in such an expedition would indeed be wiser if done while sober, so there was really no reason for her to protest - she was simply teasing Vya for fun.
"Find Sobriety, then become thieves you say? That's cute, you should write poetry."
After sticking her tongue out towards Vya Kay would become somewhat distracted by her phone buzzing as Danny spoke up. She had never considered herself one of those people who were hypnotically attached to their phones or tablets, however tonight seemed to be a popular evening for her instagram page and she seemingly couldn't resist the urge to scan through the comments as her friend chattered away.


"....and you can have me and Kay for whatever you need" Kay heard as she caught the tail end of Danny's remark. "Whatever he needs, hmm?"
Soon after the words slipped out of her mouth Kay was laughing the hardest she had laughed all night. "I tease, I tease, I know what you meant....i think. I really shouldn't drink when I smoke, I get a little silly."

As she shoved her phone in her back pocket with one hand she'd casually wave to her friends with the other. "I think I'll go hit up a food cart, grab a bacon cheeseburger or two and eat it in the sand. It's been fun as always you guys."



Kay would make her way out the door after a brief round of goodbyes and lazily head to the elevator, however when it didn't open right away she impatiently opted for the stairs. It wasn't anything new for her to go out to the coast in the middle of the night and catch one of the few food carts still serving something to eat. At times she wished she could sleep on the sand every night, finding it much more comforting to lay by the water than wake up to the cackling of her roommates - who she'd be glad to move away from as soon as she finds an affordable place to at on her own.




**(( Watashi wa bujoku = "I'm insulted" or "I am Insulted"....of course she means it in a joking way in my post. =P ))**

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Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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Chris wasn't surprised to see so many people wanting to join his little breaking and entering. Being part of this group already meant that you don't have trouble breaking the law. And on top of that, most would see it as a fun night out. Chris didn't really think they would get caught. Sure, there is campus security, but most of the people that work there do so because they weren't accepted at the police academy. Not really what you would call a challenge. Possibly the biggest challenge were the security camera's, big brother is always watching. Chris thought he would be able to record a 10 minute loop on all of the camera's that would give them enough time to get in, copy the blueprints and get out.

Of course that was only second on his to-do list for the next day. First would be to confirm that the blueprints were indeed located in the administration office. He knew for sure the real ones were at city hall, like they should be. He could only assume that the university wanted to keep some copies on site, even if they were not used on a daily basis. Maybe the easiest way would be hacking into on of the employees e-mail accounts. Whatever was needed, he would sort it out tomorrow.

Although he was glad there were people interested in coming with him, he thought four would be a bit much. Thankfully, Vya seemed to agree with him. Chris couldn't nod fast enough to show his agreement to Vya's observation. Truth was, Chris would probably have said yes, since saying 'no' did not come very easily to him. He didn't like arguments and as such he usually agreed to anything. Vya's comment regarding sobriety made Chris nod so hard, he might end up with a whiplash. It didn't happen often that he agreed with the leader of their little group. He had never been a real fan of him, since he was probably more criminal than all of the others combined. Chris didn't mind growing weed and simply loved graffiti, but those kind of criminal activities never really hurt anyone. Vya, he was sure, was capable of a lot more than that.

As Danny called it a night, Chris got up from his chair and finished the last drops of beer that were left in his bottle. Danny looked at him when he said: "And you can have me and Kay for whatever you need." Chris smiled as he heard Kay's reaction to this statement. It's definitely a good thing that we are not doing this tonight, Chris thought to himself. "Be careful what you promise Dan, I might have some pretty intense stuff for you guys."

Chris had the urge to go with Kay when she spoke about cheeseburgers and the beach. He couldn't think of a more perfect way to finish an evening. But tempting as it was, he was able to shake it off. Tomorrow was going to be a busy and exciting day and he was tired, so sleeping would be the best remedy. While the others were slowly getting up Chris took of his shirt to get ready for bed. "Good night everyone, thanks for your visit to our humble dorm room, please come again." He ended the sentence with a robotic voice, more for his own amusement than anyone else's.

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Character Portrait: Kay Vassallo Character Portrait: Vyacheslav Yanayev Character Portrait: Lydia Marie LaRochelle Character Portrait: Danny Jacobs Character Portrait: Chris Garcia Character Portrait: Jordin Carter
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Almost as if Vya had commanded it, the little party began to break up, with the consensus of waiting until tomorrow before taking any action. Kay was the first to leave, and Jordin watched her long purple hair swaying at the small of her back as she sauntered casually out. He lumbered to his feet and approached the dreadlocked girl. Conscious that he towered at least a foot over her, and might have weighed twice what she did, he smiled awkwardly, in an attempt to mitigate his intimidating bulk, as he extended a huge hand.

"Hey girl, I'm Jordin," said softly. "These three amigos -" he gestured briefly at the remaining occupants of the room "- are my friends. I hope we can get on fine."

Following a short exchange of farewells - "later, HostBost 3000," he'd grinned at Chris, "pleased to make your acquaintance," he'd said more formally to Lydia - Jordin left the apartment and, eschewing the lift in favour of stairs as always, exited the building to draw in a deep breath of fresh night air. He bounced on his heels and stretched out his arms and back before ripping off four or five jumping jacks. He was glad to be out of the confined space - the smoke and the tension with Vya had made it seemed even more cramped - and even though he knew he was heading back to his own, even tighter quarters, he reveled in the moment of physical freedom.

Jordin broke into a light jog, as if the exercise would cancel out the hours of passive smoking and, sucking in huge lungfuls of air, turned over the evening in his mind. Why had he included Vya as one of his friends as he'd introduced himself to Lydia? It wasn't like he had the same easy rapport with him as he had with Danny and Chris. Had he just been simplifying matters for Lydia? After all, she'd made her entrance into the aftermath of his confrontation with Vya; why burden her with trouble that didn't concern her? Jordin picked up the pace a little as he left campus, grinning as the cramps and aches from practice were driven from his body by freshly released endorphins. Perhaps he'd said it as a sort of olive branch to Vya. After all, he knew more about this kind of criminal operation than any of them did, even Jordin, who'd only experienced it from the outside as he grew up in Baltimore, and even then, that world was not really comparable to this; selling heroin in Baltimore, no-one got to Vya's age without a record, a bullet, or both.

Jordin was just resolving to be a better subordinate to Vya - providing he heeded Jordin's warning about putting people in danger - when he became aware that a set of headlights behind him were matching his pace down the street. He was only a few blocks from his building now, and streetlights were few and far between, while the detritus of the poor - newspaper, fast-food wrappers, forgotten trash - littered the sidewalk. He knew better than to glance around; he would be blinded to the identity of his pursuers by the headlights. Instead, he shaped up as if he was going to cross a side street that interrupted his route then, at the last second, planted his foot, twisted his hips and snapped into a sprint down the side street. He heard the engine rev in response and tires squeal as the car replicated his turn. His thumping heart sank as a blare of noise rose into a siren's wail and the unlit side street flashed red-blue-red-blue. Running on instinct, Jordin turned again, darting down a little alley, too narrow to admit the patrol car. Tires screeched, doors slammed, and feet pounded behind him. A guttural voice barked "Police, stop right there you little bitch" even as the chain-link fence at the end of the alley came into view. Jordin whipped his head back and forth, seeking a fire escape, an open doorway, anything to get him out of this dead end. A second voice shouted "Armed police, hands up, hands up!"

Heart sinking, chest heaving, Jordin fought the rage that threatened to take control of his body and wield his huge muscles in an attempt to satisfy a base desire to right this injustice. He hadn't done anything, he screamed internally. What right did they have?

"Lie down, face front, big boy," came the second voice, closer now. "Don't you fuck with us, shitbag," wheezed the first. Jordin could hear the excitement in their voices, the heightened emotion, and he was reminded of the heady glory of the successful chase, of pummeling your opponent into the ground. He knew from his own experience that, in those brief moments of triumph, men were little more than beasts. He also knew without looking that two high-powered pistols were right now being aimed at his large upper torso.

Here, he realised, alone in this dark, deserted alley that stank of cat piss and rotting trash, he was a hair's breadth from death.