06.07.3013: Other People's Money
Summary: Nitrim and Helena chat while she shops. He spends his father's money. The dreaded 'guestright' incident is brought up.
Date: 07 June 2013
Related: A Matter of Hospitality
Nitrim Helena 

The Bazaar - Blue District - The Ring
Stepping off the lift and into the Blue District is almost like stepping into another world. The senses are assaulted with a complexity of scents, sights, and sounds. Light that abscribes to the same hours as the rest of the Ring glows from insets in the dark metal ceilings. The Bazaar is one of the central hubs of the Blue District — also known as the Entertainment District. There are dozens of shops and emporiums that clutter around the outer edge of the bazaar with stands and kiosks making organized chaos of its center. There are some shops that have been there for generations, including the famous — if not a little infamous — Gregor's Strange Meats. This is the place to find the weird and the bizarre. It is known that the Blue District hosts the impoverish and underworldly inhabitants of the Ring, making it not only the most mystifying but also the most dangerous district on the space station. There are several corridor-like thoroughfares that branch off from the Bazaar, leading deeper into the District.
June 07, 3013

Of all the things that Helena could be looking at, she is standing outside of a display for prominent womens' clothing, staring rather intently at the mannequins highlighting some of the more popular garb of the year. While people circle about her about their business, she stands rather still except for her hand that fiddles with the pendant about her neck. Suddenly, and perhaps unexpectedly to anybody watching her, she blinks and reaches up to touch the earpiece that is ever present these days.

"Hmm?" Helena murmurs to herself before shaking her head, despite the fact that the person on the other line cannot see it. "No, I went there yesterday. I walked them through their evac procedures. We checked their supplies. I told them three times and left a checklist. I'm not going back. I've already spent too much time there. No — I understand, but — I'm — fine. Take it up with Lady Dalton." In frustration, the doctor rips the bud from her ear and shoves it down deep into her pocket. "Fucking idiots."

Having spent the last night on the Ring to see his family off to the Shadow of Intent, Nitrim was left to himself and his desires to roam the massive Ring, its sights, sounds, and experiences. It's an early point in his evening, having just been freshly showered and clothed in his fine, clean threads, and the sound of an upset Dalton nearby draws him to her side of the walkway.

"Now now…" A voice says calmly from behind Helena as he approaches. With a quiet smile on his face, Nitrim Khournas steps into view and moves to stand alongside Helena with his thumb and forefinger upon the goatee he wears on his chin. Eyebrow lifted, he glances sidelong to her and motions to the display case before them. His eyes slide from her profile to one of the dresses, which brings a tilt to his head. "…my color isn't blue but if you're going to swear there's no way I'll let you be seen with me while I go and get my measurements." It's a joke, at least the tone of his voice suggests it.

For a moment, Helena isn't even aware of Nitrim's presence. It isn't that she doesn't hear his voice, but she is quite used to going unobserved unless in the clinic. Or someone is bleeding. So when he steps up beside her, she glances over and raises an eyebrow — an expression that affects some semblance of surprise. Still, she recognizes the face almost immediately, and bobs her head to the Khournas man in greeting. Her gaze follows his back to the clothing, but the idea of wearing a dress…

"Hah. They would need a size extra small for you, I think," Helena answers, playing along with the joke. She reaches up to tap her lip, looking between the man and the display multiple times as if sizing him up in her mind. "You lack the certain assets that would hold up the dress properly. Although, I suppose donning a pair of prosthetics would help. But you're right, the blue would wash out your face. Better to go with pink. Shall we go in? I promise I will keep my swearing to myself."

Her response is something…unexpected. Nitrim blinks as if not expecting her to take the words so well in stride, and a genuine smile crosses his lips to match the chuckle that rumbles through his chest. He leans back against one of his heels and stretches his arms over his head. "Oh hells. Lady Helena Dalton, I feel it's probably my duty to make it very clear I'm not in the market for prosthetics, which I'm sure you're more than capable of arranging." He drops his arms and looks back over to her. Fixing a curious eye, which he casts in the direction of the store, he makes the decision to move towards the door of the storefront and holds it open for her.

"This should be an experience." Nitrim muses, waving an arm like a host in the direction of the open door. "Though, pink? Really?"

Helena offers Nitrim a cheerful smile, one that seems relatively genuine despite the frustration from just a moment ago. Already she has forgotten about the little scrape, and follows the man toward the entrance to the shop without hesitation. "You are not in the market yet, you mean. Someday, everyone will be in the market to have something replaced or altered or taken away, and then I will have to specialize to keep up with demand. And cost."

The doctor pauses as Nitrim opens the door, and when she breezes across the threshold with all of her ladylike charm she can muster, she lets out a light laugh and shakes her head. Her ponytail swishes across her shoulders with the gesture. "Pink is a suitable color for many complexious, and yet so few people actually try it."

"Well, your attempt to be the first person to get a Khourni to wear a spring shade has failed, Milady. Failed miserably. Failed catastrophically. Failed completely." Nitrim drones low to her as she passes. He rolls his shoulder against the doorframe and slides in after her, letting whatever weight that governs the door let it close itself. His hands clasp behind his back and he follows behind her, gazing over the racks of dresses ranging from conservative to scandalous. "My oh my…and the selection."

Nitrim looks up from a black and green dress to keep his eyes on Helena's shoulders, following her deep within the bowels of the rather gender-specific store. "And no…I'm not in the market period, unless of course something vital like an eye needs a replacement, but let's hope that it doesn't come to that. I happen to like my current all-fleshy status. Though, after seeing how well-composed you are in action a few days ago, why on Earth would I ask any other than a Dalton to replace my venomy greens?"

Although she is unwilling to admit it out loud, Helena is rather out of her element in the shop. Buying clothing beyond that which is utterly utilitarian in nature is just not her 'bag', but she plows through the racks with as much confidence as she can muster. Must not display weakness in front of the enemy (that being the dresses). She pauses at a wall of some not-so-scandalous attire and glances back to Nitrim, cocking an eyebrow. "If you're sure you don't want to wear one of these instead…"

Helena shrugs and turns back to the clothes, reaching out to slide them by until she stops at a white one. It falls past the knee, but looks as if it is made out of material meant to cling to her form. The cowl neck hangs loosely on the hanger, and when she pulls it from the rack to hold it up, immediately she sees it is relatively backless. "Well, so much for modesty. What about this on you, my lord? White is a fetching color. It makes one believe you to be innocent. And — thank you. I appreciate the compliment."

"And why would anyone not believe me to be perfectly innocent?" Nitrim retorts, cocking an eyebrow to her as he reaches out to take the dress from her. He holds it into the air between them and turns it around, glancing over the backless cut that would expose a vast amount of skin. In question, he quirks a silent look to her, as if to say are you sure?. "No…I think this would probably look much better on you than I. I don't have the legs for this sort of thing. Perhaps if you could find a dress with a pair of pants, some large boots, a heavy tunic, a dark coat that begs the question why-oh-why do the Khourni dress so heavily when it's so hot outside?"

Flashing a bit of self-depricating humor, he elects to hang the dress off of its hook around the top of his left hand. It makes him an impromptu clothes-rack. He steps beside her and opens the rack to reveal a dress with a wide neckline that's cut to bare an entire shoulder, with a hemline that would sway around the knees. He hrmms and looks over to her. "So how long have you been daring yourself to come in here?"

"You raise an interesting point without me even having to ask it of you," Helena replies with a laugh, reaching out to run a hand over the dress as Nitrim holds it out for study. She exchanges a glance with him, something in response that could be interpreted as an I am so not even close to sure about the dress. Still, it is intriguing enough to consider the implications of wandering about Detritus in something so scant. "Why do the Khourni wear such heavy clothing in the heat? Even on Inculta we realize that hot weather requires lighter fabrics - both in weight and color."

Saying that aloud seems to decide it for Helena, and she points to the dress hanging from Nitrim. "I want that one for sure, but…" Her voice trails off, and she studies the newest garment. "Daring myself to come here? The question is more like 'how long have I been putting off buying anything that can be worn outside of the clinic' - which is to say, far too long. But as I will be spending more time mingling now in my new position, I need something less — brusque. Since when have Khourni been such clothing connoisseurs? I like that one too, even if it is short."

"It's kind of a strange labor of love, really. It's hot outside, but there's also things that you don't want to fall into, ash, embers, angry predatory creatures. There's reasons to at least provide some kind of protective layer from the harsh countryside, which isn't as soft and sculpted as the sands I saw when I breezed through Detrius for a night." He grins a toothy grin to her and gives her a daring look, nudging his eyebrow towards the more scant of the two dresses.

"Though, if I may, try to think about it this way." He takes the second dress off of the rack and holds it in the air so that she can see it. "After all of your hard work and responsibility, sooner or later there may come a time where you want to look and feel like the Maiden herself. I assure you both dresses would look rather well on you, and by all means…get whatever you'd like, but what's all of this hard work without a little fun?"

Helena thumbs through a rack of skirts, frowning at each one of them, but offers a nod of understanding to Nitrim. "Of course, for protection, I hadn't considered. Our own wardrobe has adjusted for a different level of protection, but it still involves head-to-toe covering." She looks up to Nitrim as if to say more, but catches his expression. Her gaze darts between the two dresses before, in a sigh and with a shrug, she draws a circle in the air with her finger in the 'wrap it up' gesture. "Both." Why not. Be somebody, Helena.

Of course, a girl has to have shoes to match the dresses. Instead of wandering up to the counter to pay, Helena leads Nitrim back toward the shoe section. He could wind up being here all day at this rate. "For your information, Lord Nosey, I happen to derive a lot of fun from my hard work. Well, perhaps that isn't the appropriate term. I find the challenges of my occupation to be entirely satisfactory. It is both emotionally and mentally stimulating — and exhausting. It is, perhaps, even better than — oh, look at these." Helena scoops up a pair of gem-studded sandals, entirely too ostentatious, and with a three-inch heel that looks challenging. "The straps go all the way up to the knee. Ahaha. Nothing says classy like these do, eh?"

With both dresses now over his arm, Nitrim brushes a hand through his short, blonde hair and puffs a mouthful of air towards the sandals. His eyes widen and he extends one finger out to the thin straps and hooks it. "You know…I'm pretty sure that if they unraveled these things you could make a whip out of it. Maybe I should buy a pair and go home, work with them, see what I can do with them because sooner or later I'm gonna need a crop for drake-riding." Drake riding. There's a joke there. Nitrim's the skinnier Khournas, and one of the few children of the mainline that isn't a knight. "But they are rather classy…" He quirks. "…are you sure you not asking if they're trashy because really deep inside you like them and want approval to wear them?"

He steps past her back, his shoulder brushing hers as he passes, and stops before a chair. He neatly folds the dresses over the back of the chair and peels his coat off to reveal a simple, black shirt that is half-buttoned and untucked. Coat aside as well, he pushes his sword's scabbard back and leans over the selection of shoes, plucking a more sensible, yet attractive black pump from it. He looks down to her booted feet and her calves, then offers it to her. "I could tell, you know. You and your cousin were hard at work, moving like a pair of worker bees; completely focused. Perhaps I'm just Lord Nosey, but I couldn't help but notice that steely Dalton resolve."

Helena tilts her head to the side, attempting to read Nitrim's outward expression. Is he bored? Exasperated? Her attention returns to the shoes in her hand, but she willingly relinquishes them as her companion hooks his fingers through the straps and holds them up for study. Her eyebrows narrow at his comment, and she 'pahs' at his question. It hits far too close to home for comfort. "No," she answers flippantly, and her lightning-quick denial belies the retort. Indeed, they are just a little bit too trashy for her. With a sigh, she watches as he walks away, sets down the dresses, and doffs his coat.

"I would not take you for a drake rider," Helena muses, standing with arms crossed over her chest while she watches Nitrim look over the selection of shoes. Her nose wrinkles as he pulls out a pair of simple pumps — they are not the glitzy pomp she is used to seeing noblewoman wear, but they would, perhaps, flatter the dress he chose for her. She sits down on the edge of the chair and leans over to unlace her boots, preparing to try on the shoes. "Worker bees. That is an appropriate analogy, I think. For my cousin and I, in our fields 'steely resolve' is absolutely necessary for survival. When you are holding the lives of others in your hands, you cannot become muddled or distracted by outside influences." Pausing, she glances up and holds out a hand to Nitrim. "Let me try those. Sometimes the toes are too narrow for comfort."

Lowering himself into the chair beside hers, Nitrim hands the shoe into her delicate hands and leans back in his chair. His legs extend before him, crossing at the ankles, and he folds his arms across his chest. His head lulls and watches down the plane of her arm as she tries it on. "What? You don't take me for a drake rider? Lady Helena…" He teases. "…I don't know whether or be insulted or horrified. Like your cousin and your medical work, I take the taming and scaling of drakes with the utmost gravity. Getting them to willingly lay their heads down on the ground so that I can put the harness over their shoulders is really complicated work." He rolls his eyes at himself, not taking himself too seriously it seems.

He looks up and away, eyes traveling over all of the shoes, dresses, skirts, swimwear, and evening wear that the store has available to it with a quiet whistle from between his teeth. His ringed fingers rake against each other as he drums his fingertips on his knee. "In all seriousness, though, I'm here to see my cousins and siblings off as they head out with the fleet. While they are busy getting armored and mobilizing I'm here to buy the cigars and wish them good luck. I don't know when they're shipping out, but the wait is starting to kill me."

Leaning forward, Helena slips her bared feet into the pumps and slowly rises up from the seat. Her steps are hesitant, initially, and any onlooker can see she is not well practiced in wandering around in heels. Perhaps it is good they're an inch shorter than the sandals. The doctor straightens her back and walks in circles in front of Nitrim, bobbing on her toes, dancing a few steps, attempting to get the feel of them without rolling her ankles. "I only meant that the stereotypical image one conjures in their mind is that of some beefy, scarred and mangled Khourni wrestling drakes into submission," she murmurs in response, glancing up to Nitrim from beneath her lashes.

Flashing a smile, the woman returns to her seat and slips her feet free of the shoes. She makes quick work of donning her boots and rises once more, already grateful to be on an even keel again. "I'll take them too," she decides, leaning down to pick them up. "While many are busy getting ready to travel to what they deem the front line, here I am buying fancy clothes. Not everyone can do the same things in the same place, my lord, else we'd be a very unsophisticated people." Pause. "I am almost certain they ship out in two days, Lord Nitrim. They haven't told you?"

Nitrim flashes his deviously white-toothed smile to Helena, locking eyes with hers through her long, dark lashes. "Then maybe you don't know a really successful one when you see him." He taunts, winking one of his often sleepy, lidded eyes.

"And no they've told me, but my Cousin Sir Victor keeps getting messages of work that needs to be done with his unit." Nitrim explains, waiting until she looks away to pick up the long-legged sandals and leave them on the chair. He motions one of the store's clerks towards them and ticks his eyes towards the register. He'll be picking up the tab on those particular sandals. "Every single time his earbud goes off he's like a dog waiting to run outside to chase some animal. Their anticipation is killing me, and I'm starting to wonder whenever he gets a call whether or not they're shipping out early."

With Helena preparing to move again, Nitrim picks up his jacket and the dresses, drapes them over his forearm, and offers the Lady of Dalton his arm. "Where to next? You know, one of us is doing remarkably well here. I had no idea my drake-killing experience was gonna pay off so well here."

Helena stretches her arms above her head, groaning as some joint pops. "Oh," she groans, rubbing her hands over her face and shaking her head. "You know you are getting old when your body starts creaking like old furniture." Reaching out, Helena is about to pick up her dresses, but blinks as Nitrim beats her to them. Hmm. Her expression turns suspicious, but for now she will allow him to cart them around the store. For now.

"I am sorry that your family's nerves are so frayed, Lord Nitrim. I can see it in the soldiers at home, that sort of jumpy skittishness, looking around corners, compulsively checking messages or to see if the sound on their units is turned up so they can hear when they receive an incoming. Even my stalwart cousin occasionally lets the anticipation get to him. It is a tough thing waiting for the other shoe to drop." Indeed, Helena offers Nitrim a sympathetic look before reaching out to slip her hand around his arm in a near-automatic acceptanceof his gesture.

When they turn toward the register, she grins widely. "Are you saying that killing drakes has given you a better sense of fashion? For I am sure you don't mean to be buying these clothes for me. Oh! I am reminded of a chance meeting with a lovely little Sauveur just barely out of swaddling clothes. She has an affinity for drake, and nearly keeled over with pain at the mere mention of killing one. Have you met her, by chance? A Lady Sophie, I think."

"You'd better fucking bet I'm saying that killing drakes has given me a better sense of fashion." Nitrim replies quietly to Helena, flashing her his best Khourni Devil look, complete with narrowed eyes and Volkan-forged serious look on his face. "I saw some handbags back there make out of some kind of lizard hide. It's the same thing." Nitrim adds, quickly shrugging his shoulder and laying her new clothes out on the countertop. His coat his slipped out from under them, and he digs into the inner coat pocket for his wallet. "As for whether or not I'm paying for these, that is entirely up to your discretion. I was at Detrius a few weeks ago and didn't wire your House. Let's just call it recompense and not worry about who's paying the bill…" He throws his card down onto the dresses as the clerk sneaks the knee-high sandals into one of the bags.

"As for Sophie? Yeah, we've met. Her father's a Khourni, and we met briefly at one of those end-of-the-universe parties at Landing a few days after the big announcements went through. Sweet girl." Nitrim comments, peeling his hand from her arm long enough to shrug his coat back on. "So, you're saying when we see her next we should just not mention this whole drake killing business?"

Helena laughs quietly, extricating her arm from Nitrim's grasp to dig around in her pocket for her all-purpose plastic card. She comes up with her earbud and makes a face of distaste, returning it to the dark recesses of a linty corner in her pocket. "I'm not a big carrier of handbags, but I have a nice one that I can take with me when I'm not wearing something with pockets — which is almost never." Of course, Nitrim beats her to the punch before she can even locate her damn card. Where in the hell is it?

The cashier is already bagging the purchases and transferring a digital receipt to the Khourni by the time Helena finds it lost in a thigh pocket. Naturally. "I think the gossip has twisted the story quite a bit, Lord Nitrim. Merely being in Detritus is no reason to bother Lady Dalton, but if you have business with the House, it would be expected that you say hello to her at least. Still — thank you for the clothes." She accepts the bags, slips them onto her wrists for easy carrying, and follows Nitrim out of the store.

"Ah yes, I am saying precisely that. For her sake, and for yours, mine, or anyone else who happens to be around — do not invite that kind of negative attention to yourself by mentioning drake hunting. At the very least, she might burst into tears, and then people will suspect you of being a heartless brute. I can tell you are not that." Helena follows Nitrim out of the store and stops to glance both ways before quirking an eyebrow. "Where to next?"

"Oh, I assure you I'm heartless. But not so heartless that I won't hope that Sophie never sits down and has that chat with Sir Drakefire. I hear she's a drake hunter, and I'm not above inviting her to Volkan just so I could watch her take one down." Nitrim replies, holding the door open for Helena long enough to allow her through. Back on the street level, he folds his arms behind his back and glances watches her from his place beside her while they walk. His cheek tugs into an almost quaint, self-reflective smirk. "Haven't you heard? I'm blackhearted and there's no changing that…"

His words trail off as he spies the illuminated sign of a restaurant ahead. He turns towards it and the doors automatically open for them as his body activates the heat sensors. A server motions for them to follow him as he signals that there's just two of them.

"I was there that night, you know. I'm friendly with Ladies and Sirs Keanen, Soleil, Ariana, and Talayla. I guess it could be said I'm in that generation of nobles. I feel closer connected to some of them than others, but I was at one of your city's nightclubs that evening and spoke with them after it happened." Nitrim pauses near a table, offering to get her chair for her. "Sounds whatever was attempted that night really fell apart, did it?"

"The heartless ones are those who do not admit to it," Helena replies in a faint murmur, unsure if her words are even heard. She glances left and then right before falling into pace beside Nitrim, ready to hike it from one end of the bazaar to the other. So when they stop rather quickly in front of a restaurant, she is forced to backpedal. Squinting, she glances to the sign and offers a slight shake of her head — not a rejection, mind you, but a lack of recognition. "I've never been here."

Exhaling quietly, the Dalton woman follows Nitrim into the restaurant, allowing him to signal the hostess. When they reach a table, she sets her purchases on an empty chair and takes a seat beside the bags. She does not answer Nitrim right away, but instead arranges the cloth napkin neatly on her lap and places an order for water with fresh lemon.

Once this is done, she leans forward and props her elbows on the table (so unadlylike!), clasps her fingers together in a fist, and places her chin atop it. "It was a misunderstanding," she concedes, pressing her lips together. Judging by her expression, this is not her favorite subject. "Lady Ariana was as diplomatic as she could be despite the less than polite attitudes of a couple of her friends. She was visiting on business, but apparently they were not. Still, if you participate in the business meeting, intending to or not, then you follow through with the protocol. I'm not entirely sure they were even aware there was protocol. I can't presume to know what they have and haven't been taught, however." She pauses and studies Nitrim. "I am sure there was a deal of bitching about me, though. Oh, to be your age again."

Settling in across from Helena, Nitrim listens intently, eyes glancing over her hands, her elbows on the table, and eventually to her eyes while she goes into the description of what took place. Meanwhile, the waitstaff fills their water glasses and sets their menus down. Nitrim sets his own cloth napkin down on his lap and leans back in his chair, lounging slightly as he reaches for his water glass. With a swirl of the ice in the glass, he shakes his head.

"My age again…oh come on you're talking as if you're old. Besides, some of us have had enough healthy doses of reality that age or not we're nothing less than beaten horses by my age." His words cut too close to the bone; doing little to hide that he's suggesting himself as the one who's had these healthy doses. "Besides, it's not the age that makes you old, it's losing that defiant fist raised towards the sky. It's forgetting that at one point there couldn't have been anything less than a monster in the closet. Don't forget, magic is real." He smiles, lowering his eyes to his menu.

"They were flustered. I think there was just a terrible breakdown. Lady Ariana and I know each other well, as well as Lady Soleil and I viewed the situation really as just…unfortunate." He sets his water glass down after a sip and looks across the small spanse of table between them to her face. His smile is sympathetic. "Answer me honestly, would you really go back to being my age if you could? It's fucking awful."

Helena flashes the waitstaff a smile as her water is promptly filled, and she sips from it silently while perusing the menu for something to order. Her finger slides over the list, following the descriptions carefully, before she finally settles on something. "I am not talking down about your age, or about anybody's age," she answers without looking up from the menu, taking her chance to look it over one more time. You never know.

"For some people - and I grant you, not for all - age comes hand-in-hand with experience that leads to greater knowledge, or at least deepens wisdom bit by slow, agonizing bit. The best part is realizing that what you have learned and experienced is a mere drop in the ocean despite your age. The salad, please, no croutons. Dressing on the side." Once she has ordered, Helena passes off the menu and returns her attention to Nitrim.

Her lips curve upward in a faint smile. "The situation, my lord, was yet another drop in the ocean. It happened - or rather, it almost happened but was averted - and now it is in the past. If there are complaints, your friends are free to lodge them with Lady Dalton, and she will deal with me and my cousin as she sees fit. If not, then I don't quite understand why we are still talking about it. And no, not for all the money in the world would I go back in time. Looking back isn't very progressive."

"And the shawerma plate, hummus on the side." Nitrim offers his menu to the server, waiting until she walks away before judging Helena's weakened smile. He's ventured into awkward territory, and he lets her see that he knows it with a conflicted loft of his brows. He leans forward and starts to shrug off his coat again. For such a heavy coat, it's quiet the burden. On and off. It's practically aerobics, owning this coat.

"I'm not speaking with you to get one in about that." Gradually, Nitrim's wall of bullshit starts to recede and his features settle. The peeling back and bringing the conversation down a level adds a few years to his features. He's Khourni; he was never intended to be young.

"Honestly, Helena, everything's changing really quickly and it's just nice to have someone to talk to about something other than the Hostile. I know everyone's excited but with everything to dreams to not being able to ignore the constantly-running factories outside of my window? I need a break." His lips flatten into a bittersweet smile. "And seeing you window shopping and dealing with whoever that was on your earbud, I assumed we both could use some interesting company. So, please, the dresses aren't some creepy noble kid social contract. Just my way of saying thanks for the attention."

Well, at least the subject is turning away from that damnable guestright fiasco. Helena lowers her hands to her lap slowly, smoothing the napkin across her thighs and nodding to Nitrim slowly while he speaks. Even as he relaxes, so she does too, and the conversation appears to come far easier to her. "I know how you feel," she murmurs in reply, reaching out with one hand to trace a pattern in the condensation forming on the outside of her water glass. "When your days are comprised solely of prep work for impending doom, it gets harder and harder to not let the weight of futility crush you into a premature death." Oh, how very macabre.

Glancing up, Helena raises her eyebrows when Nitrim remarks about the dresses, and she casts a look sideways at her bags. "I hadn't even considered the two remotely connected, Lord Nitrim. I am just as pleased as you are with the refreshing company of someone who understands when life calls for a break from the serious. So thank you, for both the purchases and your company. I appreciate a good break."

Now that the atmosphere has been cleared, the floor opens up for future lunchtime chatter as the two skirt the issue of Hostiles and the 'war'. They are left simply to enjoy each others' company.

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