An Uncomplicated Move
Mission 2: The Cake Walk...
Location: Cargo Area
Timeline: After 'Dirges and Reels' and 'Armed and Armored'
The shuttle was finally cleaned and organized. Kindra had sorted the left-behind things into what she could use and what she didn't need. The process left her more disheveled than usual, and curious about the person she was apparently replacing. Kindra picked up a blouse from the discard box and wiped the perspiration from her forehead and neck. Judging from the garment's size, the previous occupant's bust was much larger than hers. The bed was good quality and almost new, but the pile of pillows still smelled of the other companion's perfume - she'd use them for floor seating. The settee was serviceable enough.
It was time to figure out how to bring her belongings to the shuttle. Kindra started down the stairs leading to the cargo area where her trunks were currently stowed.
Security and part of the crew...this could work real good for Jonas. And as he guessed he wouldn't have to be escorted anywhere now, he took leave to explore the ship and figure it out a bit. Hence, why he was currently meandering through the cargo hold. Well, meandering as it would appear to most folk. He casually looked up to the stairs and saw the woman that had been introduced in the meeting earlier. What was her name again...Kira, Kendall, Kindra! That was it. He tossed his head back in a nod up towards her.
Kindra had paused at the last landing to look down on the cargo area and her trunks. Perhaps she was not supposed to be in this part of the ship without an escort. She recognized one of the men she'd met earlier and returned his welcoming nod with a warm smile before descending the stairs to the lower level. "You're Jonas, right?" Though remembering names was part of her training, reminders were a kindness. "I'm Kindra. Are you a member of the crew?"
"That'd be me," said Jonas. "And yeah, I'm part of the crew." Albeit, very recently. he thought to himself. "Whaddya need?" he asked as he watched her come down to the lower level.
"Well, if'n I'm required to be accompanied while visiting the cargo area, I'd consider it a kindness if you would be my escort, Jonas." She gestured to her three, faded blue trunks. Good quality and yet marred by uncounted destination labels applied and removed, graduated in size as to nest when stored empty, the trunks had once served Kindra's mother. "It'll take me a fair number of trips to move the contents up the stairs to my shuttle."
"I reckon I can help you with that," said Jonas. He looked at the three trunks and picked up the smaller trunk first, settling it for carrying. He wondered what such a tiny woman would have for the need of three trunks. "Your shuttle, huh. Rentin' from Clayton, I'm guessin'?"
"Oh, uh, thank you." Kindra's eyes went wide. Asking him to carry her trunks up the stairs hadn't occurred to her. Each of the trunks was quite heavy, and yet with his muscular physique he had no trouble lifting one. Just for a moment, she allowed her mind to wander into unprofessional territory, but then brought it firmly back. "That's right, renting the shuttle. I'm a companion."
"Ohh," said Jonas. He had started up the stairs but stopped to turn back and take a second look at Kindra. "Companion, huh. Well, you're not the first Companion I've met. One of the prettiest, though." He added a wink with the last comment and started back up the stairs. "I got this trunk easy enough. But I think we're gonna have to carry the rest of it up bit by bit."
One of the prettiest, Kindra repeated to herself, and laughed. She was still wearing the harem pants and choli, but she was a mess after cleaning the shuttle and probably didn't look much like a companion. It was the genuine kindness in his comment she appreciated.
If she'd had more time, the smart thing to do would have been to fly the shuttle to the port authority storage, have the trunks delivered directly, then redocked the shuttle on Geronimo. Too late for that now. She hurried up the stairs after Jonas, and when they came to the shuttle, she ushered him inside. "Please, put it down anywhere."
Jonas walked sideways into the shuttle with the trunk and looked around. He tried to find a place that was out of the way to put it down, but decided Kindra was right. Anywhere would work. So Jonas just set it down against a wall. "What was so funny back on the stairs?" he asked as he took in the shuttle. He then turned around and looked at Kindra.
She smiled. How to explain? "You have a remarkably unpretentious perspective. I like that, it's refreshing." Kindra suddenly thought of her few close friends, other companions from her training cohort. Friendships outside of the guild were complicated, and yet worth the effort. "Tell me about yourself, Jonas. Have you been a member of Geronimo's crew for a long time? What is your position?"
He nodded at the answer to her question. "Never been one for pretentious. Maybe some theatricality once in a while." He chuckled as he remembered his conversation with Clayton earlier. Talking about himself was something that Jonas usually tried not to do. And despite the new Companion, he didn't plan for this to be much different. "Ain't been part of the crew for more than a day. Pretty new myself." He leaned against the doorjamb briefly to rest a second. The trunk may have been small, but it still had some weight to it. "Cap'n said I was security. Reckon I get to help keep all of you safe. Or at least try to." Which was quite a bit different from the mercenary work he'd done for most of his life. "What brings a Companion on an old cargo hauler like this?"
A lot of men, when prompted to talk about themselves, would ramble on for hours. But Jonas turned the conversation right back to her. She moved across the small space to her harp case next to the bed and rested a hand on the strong shell that protected her harp. "I found myself with a sudden need to put some distance between myself and Persephone. For… safety. And I received a message from someone the captain seems to know, callin' himself the Benefactor, who suggested this arrangement." She gestured in a sweeping motion to take in the shuttle and turned to face him. "I can pursue my profession while keeping a low profile."
She moved toward Jonas, where he was standing in the door frame. "Shall we… continue?"
"I can respect that," he said. "Wantin' to get off-world. At least you'll be able to keep your clients." He pushed himself off the jamb and started for the stairs. "Yeah, let's get back to it. Ya got bags in the other trunks or boxes?"
She started down the stairs, relieved that Jonas was so accepting of her vocation. "Yes, bags and soft cases, though my tea set is in a wooden box. Don't worry, you won't be carrying anything embarrassing." She paused to look up at him and wink. "Most of the awkward stuff was in the trunk you carried up already."
The big guy returned her wink with one of his own. "Well damn. That's just too bad, isn't it?" And a smile. "Little lady, I've seen a lot. I don't think your awkward stuff would be that embarrassing to me. Anyway, bags and soft cases...I can hang a few of those at a time on my arms."
His reaction had her laughing again. "Good to know you're not easily flustered." Down the stairs in the cargo hold, she opened the largest trunk and started pulling out soft cases and garment bags to carry herself. "This trunk is half empty because my harp case was in here."
Jonas removed a couple of the soft cases and slid the straps over his right arm. With his left hand, he grabbed one of the slightly bigger bags. "Half empty is always good. But, a harp? So that's what that giant seashell lookin' thing was up there. Hobby or for your clients?"
Kindra started up the stairs ahead of him this time. "Both. I deeply enjoy playing, and a musical instrument is a tool of the trade. A companion's work focuses on the client's pleasure, which doesn't always involve sex." She threw a glance over her shoulder. Her eventual return to this planet occupied a place in the back of her mind, plus her curiosity about Jonas was still unsatisfied. "Were you on Persephone for long? Do you know the city well?"
Jonas caught her glance and nodded. "Learn something new every day, I guess." Once he reached the shuttle, he put the bags down next to the harp case. "Lived on Persephone since I was a teenager. On and off-world here and there, but always ended up back on Persephone. As far as the city, yeah, I know it well enough. You need a recommendation or directions?"
Kindra's brow furrowed at the vague reference to his past as she dropped bags onto the growing pile. "I lived on Persephone on an estate outside the city, until I was twelve and was accepted to House Madrassa on Sihnon. I've been back since to visit my stepparents, and for business." She didn't want to think too much about whether she could visit Margaret again.
It surprised Kindra, how little time it took to move her things up the stairs. Jonas was strong and practical, with a straight-forward nature that put her at ease. When she set down her last load on the shuttle floor she said, "When we get back to Persephone, since you know the city, I might like to ask your advice about, uh…" Kindra hesitated. "Security. Truth is my head is full of a lot of what-ifs, and I don't rightly know enough facts to ask a coherent question. I expect to hear from my stepbrother in a few days, and… learn more." She shivered.
Jonas put his last load down with the rest of the bags and leaned against the wall. "Well, I could definitely give you some advice about that. Could even give you a name or two if you wanted. Just give 'em my name and they should treat you right nice. If not, you just tell me about it when you get back." He paused and grinned. Then he noticed her shiver. The cargo bay was open and breezy, maybe a little of a chill. But the shuttle wasn't. At least to him. "Stepbrother on Persephone?"
Kindra's gaze settled on Jonas, wondering if she should trust him as much as she wanted to. "Name of James Buccleuch. Normally, he'd be on Londinium, but in a couple days his father Walter Buccleuch's last will and testament is gonna be read. I don't want to be anywhere near James when he hears that Walter left one third of his mortal worth to me - with the stipulation that I give up my companion license." As if she would ever consider doing that. Walter had never understood, he thought he and Margaret had saved her mother from that life. And yet, he was a good man and the only father she'd known. Kindra couldn't think too much about losing him or she'd dissolve into tears. "Because... according to my stepmother, James killed Walter."
As a mercenary, Jonas had usually tried to stay out of family squabbles where one person wanted the other one dead. Well, unless the pay was good enough. And it had to be damn good. "Never heard the family name before. But if you grew up on an estate, that'd be why. Not much reason for a man like me to be on that side of town. Still, doesn't mean it ain't bad goin' through a family death. 'Specially like that one." He wasn't sure why Kindra opened up that much to him, but he stored it in the back of his mind. "You're not gonna give up your companion license, though, are you? Be a shame for those dark brown curls to disappear into the world. Bet you'd break many a man's heart if'n you quit."
Color warmed Kindra's cheeks, and she tucked a loose curl behind her ear. It wasn't that she didn't often hear compliments, she was impressed that he seemed to understand her companion license was more important to her than the money. "No, I won't quit. I just hope I'll be able to convince James of that."
She looked around the shuttle, at the clothes, bedding, rug, tea set - all the décor she used to create her workspace. "It would have taken me all evening without your help. Will you, uh… allow me to express my gratitude with compensation?" Kindra had Alliance credit notes but worried she might offend Jonas by offering them.
"I have a feeling you'll do okay at convincing him," said Jonas. The big guy had a feeling that Kindra's stepbrother just wanted the money anyway. And if he got that, maybe he'd be happy. He watched as she looked about the shuttle, wondering if he had forgotten something in the cargo bay. Then... Jonas shrugged. "I suppose you can if you want. Won't bother me one way or the other. But whatever you choose, eh, it was nothin'. Just got a little extra workout in today."
"I want to. It'll keeps things… uncomplicated." She went to the pilot's chair where she'd left her purse. Keeping her professional life and private life separate was essential. She had a fondness for Jonas, and feeling that she owed him was a complication. She pressed two hundred-credit notes into his hand, holding it with both of hers for a moment. "Thank you for your kindness."
"Uncomplicated it is then. I'm all for that," said Jonas. "Complications just make things...complicated." He laughed but then stopped when Kindra placed the two Alliance credit notes in his hand. That in and of itself was a bit of a surprise. But then she...lingered. "Meh, just doing the job. But...you're welcome. Don't tell anyone I said that, now," he added with a wink. "Can't have it getting around."
"Your reputation is safe with me." Kindra returned the wink, though her tone was sincere. Discretion was a habit in all aspects of her life. "I look forward to seeing more of you, Jonas."
Jonas nodded and removed his hand from hers, placing the credit notes in his pocket. "I think there'll be some pretty good chances of that down the road," he said. He then took a look around the shuttle. "Looks like you got a good bit of straightenin' up to do now. Reckon I'll leave you to it." He gave her a smile and headed out of the shuttle, tapping the side of the wall as he went.