PHD #330: Colonial Pete's Never Closes
Colonial Pete's Never Closes
Summary: Stuck on the Elpis waiting on a lead, Sawyer befriends the bartender, Herak.
Date: 22 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: Ebb and Flow (Kincaid starts Sawyer's ball rolling).
Herak Sawyer 
Colonial Pete's - MV Elpis
Colonial Pete's is the long-awaited successor to Kythera's Aquarian Pete's, though this version is more bar than strip club. Not that there aren't any strippers here, in fact there's even a raised platform complete with pole built just for them. The majority of the room, however, is dominated by mis-matched tables and chairs and a long bar. Lighting is haphazard, the harsh fluorescents that came with the place usually left off in favor of lower lighting from scavenged lamps and even a bit of neon rustled up from somewhere and hung behind the bar. There's a pretty decent sound-system playing a wide variety of music, and a couple of low-tech bar games, like a mini pyramid arena.

There are always a few burly-looking guys around to keep an eye on rowdy patrons, and especially to guard the doors to the back rooms, where the stills are kept along with (rumors say) a few private alcoves for those willing to pay extra for one-on-one time with the girls.

A large black chalkboard that once adorned Cerberus' Ready Room hangs behind the bar. Scrawled on its surface beneath a crude picture of a steaming bowl are the words 'SOUP OF THE DAY: MOONSHINE.'
Post-Holocaust Day: #330

It's Saturday night at Colonial Pete's. Not that that means a great deal in the Fleet. The military works around the clock, and even the civilian population is operating on a schedule where a traditional 'weekend' no longer exists. Still, the place is busy tonight, flowing tonight. The sound system plays some rocking twang that was probably donated by the Aerilon population while one of the resident strippers works the platform. She's more dancing than stripping at the moment, but with the way she thrusts and turns there's no much difference between the two. The place is reasonably crowded and Herak is working the bar, delivering as much moonshine as what passes for money can buy.

Sawyer must have been saving up all her drink vouchers, for she's been in here just about every night this week. It varies, some nights she finds a spot at the end of the bar, some she finds a table. There have been nights when she had company and like tonight, she's drinking alone. Having newly appropriated a seat at she's thinking of having her name permanently stamped on, she raises a hand to flag down Herak.

Crabby squawks out, "Yo mama …."

Herak spots Sawyer when he's flagged and limps in her direction. He doesn't bother with his cane, short as the distance is, which makes his gimping stride more prominent. "You're turning into a regular, darlin'. The usual?" Not that there's much variety in the moonshine. Rumor has it you can get higher-quality booze here if you know how to ask for it, but with the limited supply the trades for that are more than a voucher.

"I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing." Sawyer seems to be just fine with drinking the same swill as everyone else, or at least that's the story that's told when she fishes out and counts what remaining vouchers she has. "The usual." She confirms, sliding one across the bar for collection. Her head tilts with idle inner reflection and her gaze focuses on the negative space between them as she watches him work.

Herak takes the voucher and goes to fix Sawyer her drink. Which just involves pouring moonshine from a bottle into a clean glass, but he tries to add some artistry to it. Twirling the bottle as he pours, measuring the worth of that voucher like a chemist. He does the work with practiced ease.

Sawyer tilts her chin up just a hint as he comes back to deliver her drink, smoothing a smile onto her lips as way of thank you. When she opens her mouth, it's not to laud his skill as a bartender or make some other form of small talk, no the first thing she spouts is, "How did you hurt your leg?" She doesn't even has the excuse of inebriation loosening her tongue.

"Hurt?" Herak barks a laugh. "That's a nice way of putting it, darlin'. Here. Enjoy. Pete's vintage Twenty-Fourty-Two. I hear it's a lousy year, but beggars can't be choosers, huh?" He sets the glass down in front of her. "Long story short? Got into it with some guys I shouldn't have. I'd say 'You should see the other guy,' but I came out the worst in it. Well, then. I guess I'm looking better than them now."

Sawyer makes a little 'ah' sound as if all the pieces came together so quickly. Her fingers toy with the glass more than she seems intent on drinking, fidgeting with the vessel by twisting it in idle circles. "How appropo: the bartender succombing to the inevitable bar brawl. Though I generally thought you were meant to be the peace keeper, not the one who disturbs it."

Crabby squawks out, "Alert Stations! Alert Stations!"

"Wasn't exactly a bar brawl," Herak says, lingering by Sawyer to tell the story. Since she's asking. "It happened back when I was still on the professional circuit on Leonis. Bullfighting." He preens some as he says it. "Well, a little after, but close enough that I can count it. Wasn't working a bar then. I had kind of…what you might call a varied career path. Variety's the spice of life, darlin'."

Sawyer's smile turns a little more towards a smirk, "Don't I know it." She lifts her glass as if in some sort of salute to 'variety', finally taking a drink of the powerful spirit. A wince pulls at her features, and she exaggerates it for comedic value. "So you were a bullfighter, hmm? What a very…manly profession. You tell that story, maybe exaggerate the limp a bit, get a little free with your pours and I bet you're more than popular with the ladies."

"Everybody guy needs a good sales pitch," Herak says, unapologetic. "Got to work with what you have. But yeah. I did a few years on the Leonis circuit after high school. Herak Takao, pride of the Pantheiras ring. They let me keep the head of the first bull I bested. Had the old bastard hanging on my wall back in Kythera. He's still there, for all I know. Toasters wrecked my neighborhood, didn't have a chance to go back for much."

Crabby squawks out, "Call the ball! Call the ball!"

Sawyer props her cheek on her hand and her elbow on the bar, regarding him with rapt attention. "Huh." She says simply. "So you did the cape and the estoque and everything? You know, I can't say that I've ever met a bonafide bullfighter before. Congratulations, you're my first."

Herak grins. Though the expression has a self-mocking twist to it. "Ex-bullfighter, darlin'. I wasn't waving anything but a bottle for the last few years. It was a hell of a thing, though. The colors, the lights, roar of the crowd, nobody in the ring but you and the creature you were dancing with. Never felt a rush that could compare to it. I never wanted to do much else in my life. Dropped out of high school at seventeen so I could compete full-time. Didn't last long, but frak it. It was a ride while it lasted."

Sawyer could easily leave it at that: a nice memory about a boy with a dream and a bitter sweet end. A good story, in and of itself for certain. But then again, Sawyer wouldn't be Sawyer if she didn't push just that little bit more. Her hand falls away from her, both dropping to circle her drink in a lazy web of fingers. "So what ended it all? The fight?"

"Actually I was kind of…what you might call taking a breather from the ring when I got…this." For effect, Herak taps on his leg, resulting in a metallic 'ping' sound as he drums the fake limb. "I'd made good money when my career got going. I was a stupid kid. Did some stupid shit with it. You know what else is a rush? Gambling. I ended up betting more than I could strictly afford to lose and…word of advice, sweetheart. Never go in over your head to a bookie. They will collect, one way or another."

"Sugar pie," Sawyer finally fires back after being called pet names all evening. "I live for being in over my head." Her feet brace on the cross bar of her stool, giving her enough leverage to stand and be able to lean over the bar. "But I never really had a taste for gambling. I have a terrible Triad face." She hitches up her chin in a little up-nod. "Let me see."

Herak gets a chuckle out of that. He doesn't mind the pet names. He works with strippers, after all. Pete probably /has/ a girl named Sugar Pie on his payroll. "I usually ask that a girl buys me dinner first." Despite the flip remark, he does hesitate before rolling up his trouser leg. But he does. From the knee down, his right leg is pure gray metal, disappearing into his boot. "It ain't so bad once you get used to it. Pain in the frakking ass getting through security lines at the starport, though."

Crabby squawks in mock pain, "Medic!"

Sawyer stayes propped up on her elbows, half bent over the bar for a moment. Just like Sugar Pie is probably well used and abused in this bar, a woman leaning over it in a skirt probably isn't far between either. She takes the sight of his leg in without an ounce of pity etched on her face, instead it's just simple acceptance and a hint of curiosity. "Does it hurt? I hear that amputees sometimes suffer pain or itching in what they call the phantom limb." With that, she simply oozes back into her seat.

Herak shakes his head, rolling his pantleg back down and leaning heavy on the bar. "I've had this thing…frak me. Coming up on a decade now. Don't hurt no more. You get used to it. It's funny, though. You can still feel it sometimes. Where it used to be. Mostly when I'm not wearing the club here. Not so much anymore. Like I said, you get used to it. You'd be frakking amazed what a person can get used to when they don't got no choice." He snorts. "Guess we're all finding that out now."

Sawyer mms quietly, "Been almost a year now." As if anyone needed the reminder. Her attention returns to her drink, as if the answers to all of life's questions are found within. "The worst are the things you never thought you needed in the first place. And then they're gone. I suppose like your leg, you get used to it. But you damn well wish you still had it, I'm sure."

"Frakkin' ay to that, darlin'. Frakkin' ay," Herak affirms, idly pouring another drink from his bottle of moonshine. He unapologetically takes a shot of it himself. That probably happens a few times throughout his shift. "Where'd you come from, anyhow? You don't strike me as a Leonis girl. Let me guess. Caprica? Canceron, maybe? From one of them fancy resort towns, with beaches and shit."

Sawyer finds a sudden smile and graces Herak with it, along with a slight cluck of laughter. "Virgon. But I've done well to learn to speak without the accent lest people try to connect me to fancy resort towns with beaches and 'shit' as you so aptly put. To have no accent at all is perferable, I've found." She polishes off her drink, then idle taps her finger to the edge of her glass. Refill, please.

Crabby squawks out, "Frak!"

"I hear it's high-class shit, don't get me wrong," Herak replies with another crooked grin. "Virgan, huh? Went vacationing on the Actae there back when I had too many cubits to burn. Gorgeous country. Action in the Leonis casinos was better, but you couldn't beat the skiing up in the mountains. I'd ask how a nice girl like you wound up on a boat like this, but you don't strike me as being so nice."

"And it would sound dangerously close to a pick up line. But I'll take the flattery, thank you." Because being called not so nice is a compliment, these days. "Here I came to drink my man-born-woes away, and wound up having pleasant conversation, so thank you for that." She drags out a second voucher to pay for the drink she ordered. "The night wasn't a complete wash."

"Love, money and family, darlin'. Those three things, in that order, keep a bar in business," Herak says as he pours her a refill. After taking the voucher, of course. Gods know what they count for in the Elpis 'economy' outside the bar, but he makes sure to keep very careful track of them. "That's what Pete figured when he opened this place up again. Human beings don't change much. They'll always want to look at a sweet thing with her clothes off, and they'll always drive each other to drink."

Sawyer takes the second drink as a shot, the move no doubt fueled by his words. There is nothing wrong with a little liquid courage, every now and again. "Yeah well. If you see that son of a bitch Rene-Marie, tell him I'm looking for him. You'll know him by his smug expression and the damnable scarves he wears around his neck." She seems about to slip off her stool but hesitates. "And tell him…that I miss him."

"Rene-Marie? Sounds like a scarf-wearing guy if I ever heard one," Herak says. "Haven't seen him in. Pete tries to play it pretty military friendly. The man knows who's in charge and he doesn't make trouble. But I'll keep an eye out. Ask around. One of the girls might've…" Whatever he was going to say, to stops himself. Grunting. "…I'll ask around."

Sawyer reaches out to lay a hand on his, fingers slightly curling over his. "Thanks darlin'. And for what it's worth?" She offers him a soft smile, a bit coy which is almost a foreign expression on this woman's face. "You've still got it." Eluding, perhaps, to their earlier piece of conversation wherein she stated he must be popular with the ladies.

"Frakkin' ay," Herak mutters. There's an element of that cheerful bitterness about it, but he does grin as he says it. He eyes Sawyer when she puts her hand over his, grin crooking even more so. "Know how to get what you want, don't you?" He grunts a chuckle. "Not that I'm complaining. I'll let you know if I see your Mister Scarf. Hells, you bring something higher-value in to trade than a voucher, I might let you get a sniff of the good booze. Just because I like you."

Crabby squawks out, "Yo mama …."

Sawyer draws her hand off of his, the slow slip that allows for the contact to linger. "I'll see you next time, then. Save me a seat." She says in a quiet intonation before she's off with the steady click of her heels on the unforgiving deck.

"Next time, darlin'. Remember. We never close," Herak says in parting. Watching her walk away. Leering, more accurately.

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