Buy A Lady A Drink?

Jericho's Landing - Some Time After The Incident At Mfinda Mine

What the hell are you doing, Ezra? This is nuts! I can't believe I decided to wear this stupid outfit! I look ridiculous!

This and more kept buzzing around Ezra's mind as she rode the lift up to the fifth floor at the Lovell Health Center in Jericho's Landing. She was wearing a top that showed off her shoulders and bit of cleavage. It was dark blue and matched the dress he was also wearing. She had her hair down, a mess of black and blonde curls she could never quite get tamed. And she had on makeup, she hardly ever put on makeup. She never felt the need to look pretty while getting shot at like some dragoon women did...

I look ridiculous...

She got off the lift and made her way to the room where Emerson Holiday was recovering from his ordeal at the mines. He'd been hurt pretty bad, but modern medicine and a doctor that Sebastian had personally hired to take care of him were on their way to getting him back on his feet already. He'd be here only a couple more days. Sore, no doubt, but perfectly fine. Ezra was relieved. More than she wanted to admit to herself.

She stepped in and saw Holiday was watching vids on the cortex while a nurse changed his bandages. He seemed in high spirits. Though perhaps he was still on some good painkillers. She smiled at him.

"Hey." She said meekly, her stomach was doing barrel rolls. The fuck, girl? You've stared down mutant monsters and rogue dragons with nerves of steel! This is just a guy!

Not just a guy...

She bit her lip. "I hear you're out of here in a couple days. That's gotta be nice, right?"

You're nervous! Stop being nervous! He'll notice and think you're nuts! Oh shit, that just makes me more nervous!

"Anyways... I was wondering... if... well..." She stammered.

Oh god he's smiling. I must look stupid! Oh but he's got such a sweet smile...

"I was planning on having a drink sometime this week... And I was wondering if you wanted to join me?"

There's no way in hell he'll say yes...

----

Sebastian hadn't been able to sleep ever since the incident. He kept dreaming of that thing. Of it getting him. Killing him. The dreams played out like what had happened only Ezra and Captain Holiday didn't come to save him. He lay in bed, his mind fixated on that experience.

They had saved him. Even when he... Sebastian broke down, cried again. Thankful for the kindness and loyalty. Though painfully aware of how much he didn't deserve it. What a goddamn childish fool he was! His father had been right all along.

When the tears ceased he found himself nodding.

He had to change.

The first thing he did was call up his assistant, Machiko. She came and found her boss standing in front of his bedroom window in nothing but a pair of pants. Holding a smoldering cigarette in his hand. His hair was messy and his eyes told her of his sleepless nights. Yet something was different in them, she could tell.

"How can I help, Mr. Hammond?"

"I want you to do something for me." Sebastian said, his tone was firm. "Get on the cortex with our researchers and corporate investigators. I want them to search for potential black projects being conducted by our competitors here on Jericho."

"Sir?" Machiko was surprised. Sebastian never had such interests before.

"Something smells fishy... What happened at that mine wasn't just some random occurrence. That thing... it wasn't a goddamn Jericho ape suffering from some sort of rabies. As the records now said..." He shook his head and took a drag off his cigarette. "That thing talked to me. It said something... Glory to Her..."

What did it mean?

Sebastian released the smoke from his lungs. He continued to stare out at the night skyline of Jericho's Landing.

"I'll look into it, sir. Anything else?" Machiko asked.

"I want you to get in touch with David Foster. I want to start sending whatever resources we can spare to The Dragoon. They need all the help they can get with this Crimson Queen business."

"Certainly, sir. Anything else?"

"I want to apologize to you, Machiko..." Sebastian said.

This shocked her.

"I have been nothing but horrible to you since I got here. You have had to suffer through my tantrums and follow every inane request and childish demand I placed upon you. And you did so with no complaint, and not once did you fail to satisfy them." He turned and looked at her. "And I am so sorry for that. You are an excellent employee, and a saint."

"Sir... I..." Machiko was taken aback.

"When you've finished helping me with these I ask that you take a well deserved vacation. Head to Clarke Island... Or go off world. Maybe Risa? It's lovely this time of year. Go and enjoy your life for once."

Machiko's brow furrowed. "Sir. I have always enjoyed my job... You needn't..."

"You don't have to kiss up to me, Machiko..." Sebastian's features softened. "You don't ever have to do that with me, ever again. I value your opinion, and I trust you'll keep me flying right from here on out..."

What happened next surprised Sebastian. Machiko rushed up to him and kissed him.

He wasn't sure how to react. "I..."

"You are a good man, Sebastian." Machiko said. "You just didn't know it. But I did... It's why... I always enjoyed working for you..."

Sebastian smiled. "Then I truly don't deserve you..."

"Hush!" She kissed him again. "Let us not dwell on the past..." She pulled him towards his bed.

Sebastian finally found rest that night.

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