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A sense of humor is superior to any religion so far devised

Posted on Sat Oct 7th, 2023 @ 4:08pm by Team Leader Arani Ravenlocke & Regular Haren Moira & Regular Asa Nox & Regular Dorian Cabrera

Mission: Welcome To The Jungle
Location: Hideout

Dorian stepped off the public transport, such as it was, at an inconvenient distance from his destination. He'd had to give up his car as well as his high-rise corporate apartment after he was fired. Not just because of the payments, but the tiny apartment he'd moved to charged almost as much additional rent for a parking space. Dorian adjusted his long coat and reached into the messenger bag slung over his shoulder for his interactive map.

He unrolled the thick parchment, with the foolscap flyer inside. "Seall." The amulet around his neck warmed, and a map of the city appeared on the parchment, centered on where he stood. "Lorg," he said and read the address aloud. A line of hoof prints appeared on the map to mark the route, and Dorian set out, part of his attention on the cracked and trash-littered sidewalk beneath his hoofs, taking care not to step in something disgusting. Again. Oh, he had tried wearing shoes designed for the cloven-footed. But shoes felt heavy and unnatural, and interfered with his graceful movement and appearance. It wasn't like he had ridiculously impractical feet that needed physical protection.

Dorian slowed as he passed a storefront to admire his reflection in a window. His mane of curls bounced artfully behind his horns. Over his white button-down, vest, and trousers, the brown leather duster hung to his knees and – unbuttoned – billowed dashingly around him as he walked. A hint of eyeliner framed his hazel eyes, and the black polish on his fingernails matched the polish on his hooves.

Arriving at his rather unimpressive destination, Dorian rechecked the address against the flyer and sighed as he returned the map to his bag. He needed a job, and if he could get paid for doing good, so much the better. Flyer in hand, Dorian opened the door. "Hello?"

Long ears perked. Slowly, the rabbitess stood and made her way towards the door pausing only to fill up her mug of coffee with what was probably day-old sludge that resembled coffee in another life. As the door opened, Dorian would see Moira's approach. A beautiful creature from across the world, and rumor has it her people started out on the moon and diplomacy started when the diplomat Neil Armstrong was sent to the moon to begin relations between the two people.

Faked moon landing indeed. If only the conspiracy theorists of the time knew the REAL truth.

"Welcome." she spoke, her accent fading slightly, but that came from years of having to suppress it to speak in polite company. She dressed casually, since that's all she could afford now. A Tee-Shirt with some hobgoblin metal band on it, and loose shorts that ended below her knees. Beneath the fur, the filigree of cyberware could be seen. Not just in a localized place, but it looked as though this lunarian had had work done. Extensive work done. Everywhere.

She was a netrunner.

It was true what they said, the people from the moon had no shine in their eyes. Just empty pools that sat in place. Those eyes drifted to the flyer momentarily before returning to Dorian. "As a guest, please come in. If you want coffee, I have to put on a new pot. What's left in the pot is angry I woke it up." she joked. "Tea is easier, but our stock is a little limited. We've resorted to cutting our stock with Lipton." she shuddered. Oh how the mighty had fallen. "My name is Moira, I work for the owner and the source of the flier." a brief pause, "And she knows she has company."

A rabbitess, how unexpected and... fascinating. Dorian could not recall meeting a member of her race in person. A slow smile spread across his face as he took in Moira's appearance with curious and academic interest – her unusual eyes, the hints of cyberware, as well as her beauty. He bowed to her with a flourish. "A pleasure to meet you, Moira. My name is Dorian Cabrera."

He wondered if Moira would conduct his interview, and if it had already started, or if the mysterious owner would appear. Dorian resisted the impulse to decline the rabbitess' offer of a drink, given the description, but he too had been reduced by financial circumstance to making do with ordinary fare. "A hot caffeinated beverage would be much appreciated. A cup of tea, thank you."

The chatter was enough to rouse Asa, who was in her room, or what passed for private space. She exhaled softly, lifting herself from her praying position. She straightened her tunic, adjusting her belt while deciding to forgo putting her boots back on. Her steps were quiet as she entered the room, seeing Moira in conversation with a new person. She sniffed the air subtly, her right ear twitched a little as she took in the new presence.

Stepping further into the room, within the sphere of the conversation, she came to a stop. Her tail swayed back and forth lazily, almost absent minded of the Catian it was attached to. "Welcome, I am Asa," She trailed for a moment, more words on the tip of her tongue that she held back. A former life she was still coping with the loss of. She left her introduction there.

Dorian blinked at the Catian woman, whom he assumed was the proprietress Moira had mentioned. Beautiful in a different way than the rabbitess, Asa projected inner calm, a strong physical presence, and grace. He repeated his formal bow with an extra flourish. "My name is Dorian Cabrera. It is a pleasure to meet you, Asa. I've come in answer to your advert, to apply." He held out the flyer as if presenting an admission ticket.

Asa smiled, a polite smile, and bowed her head briefly. "I am not the one you've come to in answer of the advert. I work for the owner as well."

The door in from the garage opened and a more humanoid looking woman walked in, wearing what would've best been described as running clothes of dull dark colors. Her blonde hair was tied up in a tight knot behind her head, easily exposing the more pointed ears of Elvenkind, though her build was just a bit too stocky to fully fall into that realm - much closer to Human in that regard. A mix and match of Human and Elf, as it were.

She looked over the scene as she removed her earbuds and turned off the Bardify app on her phone.

"Hello. I'm Arani. I see you've met my associates. I apologize, my run required a bit of a detour or I'd have been back sooner." She said to the newcomer, rummaging around in the fridge, "Would you like something to drink? Don't have much. Water, possibly coffee, and Mana Ade." She came up with one of the latter, a bottle of red sports drink with some cheap marketing related to old potions.

Dorian's right hoof clicked as he took a step back and regarded the newly arrived person of apparent elvenkind decent. Astonished, he calculated the probability that a small team of troubleshooters would be comprised of not one, not two, but three beautiful women. The satyr spoke his detect-magic spell under his breath, and confirmed that he was not seeing an illusion cast by sirens, harpies, succubi, or something else. Well, that was a relief.

He repeated his now well-rehearsed bow. "A pleasure to meet you, Arani. Thank you. Moira has already offered me a drink. My name is Dorian Cabrera, I've come about your advert." He waved the flier with his left hand and offered his right hand to shake.

Moira returned with a mug of coffee for Dorian. Well, Coffee was a relative term. The tin said 'Coffee', and it went into the 'Coffee Maker', and it had all the appearance of Coffee, except down here on the streets what passed for coffee was just a dark and bitter beverage to reflect the dark and bitter life. "The cream spoiled, so it's sugar or nothing." she offered. There was an apologetic tone to her disclaimer, though it's also entirely possible that her and the cream had a fight with how things went down here in the dregs.

"Merde. I was hoping it wouldn't come to using powdered creamer." Arani lamented, though she did shake hands with him before sitting down.

"So. What brings you to us? Reasons, I mean, I'm aware Grace Point's public transport and ridesharing is alive and well." She preempted a potential joke with her own.

"Thank you Moira. Black is fine," said Dorian, accepting the cup of coffee. He had asked for tea, but if the cream had spoiled, perhaps something worse had happened to the tea. He grinned back at Arani, appreciating the preemptive joke, although it was a humorous play he had not thought to exploit.

"I've come about your advert." Dorian held up the flyer once again. "You're looking for troubleshooters, right? I'd like to apply." He looked around the room at Moira, then Asa, and finally back to Arani. "Although, I must confess, I don't have any prior experience troubleshooting. But I believe many of my skills, mainly with magic and research, would be transferrable."

"There's merit in knowing where to go." Moira pointed out, a soft snicker at the joke before taking a sip of what passed for coffee. Her expression said it all. "And to be fair, troubleshooting isn't precisely a skill one goes to a trade school for freelance. If you were a professional troubleshooter, I suspect you'd be employed elsewhere."

The rabbitess turned to Arani, "Someone with research experience might be very useful. Especially for offline research."

"We are lacking in the magic department for sure. Mine is more just a few things I picked up hunting war criminals. And I've let it fall out of practice for sure." Arani replied, "And I think it's safe to say we're all new at this. I can't promise it to be full of glamor or wealth right now..."

She gestured at their rather sad state of affairs at the moment and the fact they were reduced to considering powdered creamer for store brand canned coffee...

"...but the hours are long, the pay sucks, you'll make plenty of enemies but you won't be bored." She concluded with a smirk.

"Well then." A slow smile spread across Dorian's face as he regarded his new boss and coworkers in turn. "I could not possibly turn down such an enticing offer."

Dorian lifted his cup of coffee as if making a toast, then took a gulp - his first taste. He sputtered and coughed, and yet managed to swallow. "Right, I get what you're saying about the coffee." The satyr's wince abruptly became thoughtful. "Hmm… do you mind if I experiment with improving your coffee with magic? That is, unless you have something more urgent you'd like me to research?"

"High sorcery indeed if you can fix this." Moira mentioned, holding up her mug. "But the perk there is that there's no way your efforts can fail. If you succeed in dragging this coffee from hell and demanding that it pay for its crimes, the taste can only improve. If you fail, and the coffee were to, say, come to life to demand retribution... Then we could kill it, and make it pay for all it has done." her people had such a way with words.

"If we're voting, I say he's in." a pause, "If we're not voting, I implore you to let him try to fix the coffee before you send him on his way."

Whilst his potential new employer and coworkers made their final decision, Dorian sniffed the cup of coffee in his hand inquisitively. "I presume that was a metaphorical description of the coffee's origin," he commented absently. If the beans had truly been sourced from one of the nine planes of hell, there was little he could do to improve the taste. The problem here seemed to be simply poor-quality beans, though thinking about demons gave Dorian an idea...

Moira gave a nod, "There's a corner store two blocks down that uses too much incense. Either they're new to the game, or they're professionals who want to look like the wettest ears in town. Got the beans from there. They even made the joke not to plant them for fear of beanstalks." the rabbitess rolled her eyes at the memory. "But no, these are simply just ten cent beans in a ten dollar box." another sip of her coffee, which she once again immediately regretted.

"Well. In that case, welcome to the team, Dorian." Arani chuckled.


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