(2530-05-24) To (almost) catch a (not) thief and other hijinks
Summary: Enola/Skyler gets falsely accused of stealing a comic, a vomitous reaction….just another day in the market.
RL Date: 24 May 2020
Related: None
skyler vel ty john isabel max 

Eavesdown Market

This large field between the docks and Eavesdown proper has turned into a permanent, sprawling bazaar. At the center is an ancient roof of corrugate iron, the size of a football field. Spreading outwards from that in every direction are additional structures built from wood, brick, slabs of metal, or simply tarps to create a sense of boundary between the vendors. Navigating the Market is just as tricky as navigating the Docks - there is no discernible plan to how it was laid out, and one is surrounded on all sides by merchants and customers, swirling patterns of cloth, the smells of every cuisine imaginable, and a deluge of goods and services of every type (both legal and not so much). Ships frequently fly overhead as they launch or land at the docks to the north and west.

At its fringes, the market butts against large warehouses and cheap ancient housing, which is used by an assortment of hopeful entrepreneurs. Among the more successful of those are Manny's Motel, offering basic accommodation for travellers, and The Bat Cave, a rowdy tavern, where visitors and locals alike congregate for games, music and cheap booze. The market gives way to slums to the south, and several paths lead east into Eavesdown.


Enola is wandering the market. Someone just gave her a HUGE wad of cash. She fingers the money in her pocket as she stares over a table full of silver jewelry - not a necessity. She moves on to the next stall, which has used clothing, all in mounds that are hard to shop. She sifts through, but finds nothing she actually wants. It's afternoon on Sunday, overcast and drizzly.

Near the stall that Enola browses, a clipped, authoritative voice demands: "Fan out." Ty's standing near a group of fellow Feds. There are six of them in total. Her words aren't meant for more than the group, but, due to the particular circumstances of the weather and acoustics and story-teling magic, they carry.

Near the stall that Enola browses, a clipped, authoritative voice demands: "Fan out." Ty's standing near a group of fellow Feds. There are six of them in total. Her words aren't meant for more than the group, but, due to the particular circumstances of the weather and acoustics and story-teling magic, they carry. "I want him collared. Immediately," she demands of the group.

Meandering into the market bazaar, John pulls a flask from his pocket, deftly unscrews the lid and takes a long pull. He secures the lid and places it back in his pocket. He startles a bit at the call to fan out, "What if I don't have one?" he says in a normal conversational level voice. He then sees the source, and makes his way into a thicker part of the crowd. It might look somewhat suspicious to law enforcement if they notice him doing so.

One of the Feds (not Ty) catches sight of John and starts to pursue him. He pulls out a pad, pulling up a series of digital pictures and scrolling through them. Even if John's not their mark, today, he seems to think he'll win some sort of favor by bringing in another outlaw.

The Fed who turns to respond to the shop stall owner seems less interested in small time arrests. He's a bit older, maybe with the sort of job security that allows him to /avoid/ paperwork situations. Still, he can't very well ignore a direct accusation. He sighs, but then starts to move toward Skyler. "Let's go, kid."

Observing all of this, Ty arches an eyebrow, contemplating whether these two arrests will be worth it, if they don't bag the offender they sought out to catch.

Skyler drops the comic book back onto the stack of sorting boxes the vendor keeps for his wares, takes a step back and holds up both hands, "Not me. I'm legit. I got money and no reason to steal nothin'."

The Fed running pictures of John is probably disappointed, as there is nothing in the Cortex marking him as wanted. But if he does a wider scan, he will find him in a list of retired military officers, one each Major John Henry Holliday, Retired with Honor and recipient of a few low level medals of merit. Why he's evading the Feds, who knows, but his record is flagged as "Subject to recall into service" which expires in a few years. Maybe he's thinking he's getting drafted or something. John does notice the accusation against Skyler and upon seeing the kid he visibly sighs, and avoiding being drafted be damned, he starts heading that way as well.

The Fed looks at Skyler, then sighs. "Says she didn't steal anything," he calls over to Ty. Ty gives him a long-suffering sort of expression, like she's not entirely sure why she has to even respond to that. "Search her," she says in a clipped voice.

The Fed trailing John disengages as soon as he realizes he's barking up the wrong tree, then hustles over to another section of the market to search for the suspect.

There's that moment of indecision while Skyler debates just letting them search her, but it's against her instincts and her entire life's training. She twitches, mental preparation to run, then her body springs into action, ducking under the used-clothes stall's table in an attempt to get the hell outta Dodge. or Deadwood.

"The kid's fine! At ease!" John barks out, the Major in his voice coming out, "She didn't steal any…." and then Skyler bolts, "thing." John's voice trails off and he shakes his head and yells out, "SKYLER! It's fine, I got you." Maybe she will trust him, maybe she won't.

The Fed who was given the order to search Skyler sighs. His knees hurt. His back hurts. It's been a long damn day and is preventing kids from stealing from merchants who mark up their crap, anyway, worth all the drama? He nods, agreeably, with John's statement, then immediately winces when he sees Ty's lips curl back from her teeth. She's pissed - not that Skyler's run, but that her authority has been disrespected. Maybe she would've let Skyler go, but for her authority having been questioned. "/Go/" she snaps at the officer, her voice low and harsh.

Skyler comes up on the other side of the table and calls out to John, "I didn't take nothin', honest. I was just lookin' for a Tempest comic for Max…" She holds up her hands in a second sign of innocence. It was his voice of command that brought her up short, the tone of it.

Seeing the reaction from Ty, John jogs to where Skyler is, "It's okay, kid, I know you didn't. You're not building a house of cards this time." He looks at Ty, and the Fed, "You really don't need to search her, she was standing and reading not running with it tucked in a pocket, yes?" He looks almost like a protective father, maybe he just has a thing against kids being jammed up by jackboots, or maybe he's just ornery, "But if you must search her, you best believe I'll be watching your every move."

And with that, John produces an id that does indeed identify him as a retired Alliance military officer, "I don't stand up for people that don't deserve it. And this kid deserves it."

Ty studies John, her gaze cold and entirely unmoved. If she's going to be swayed, it's going to be by something other than feeling bad for a kid. She appears to no understanding or ability to acknowledge that being searched could in any way be invasive or unpleasant. Good citizens submit to authority. Still, she also doesn't seem inclined to enter into undue power struggles that she might lose, either, so when John produces the ID, she nods at her underling. That Fed moves in to inspects the ID, then nods to Ty She tilts her head, beckoning him, and, if John allows him to take his ID, the Fed delivers it to Ty so she can see it for herself.

Skyler isn't sure what's happening. She didn't realize doctors were so respected by the Feds. She stays there, protected by a table of ratty used clothing, ready to take to her heels should it turn out that it's needed to keep herself safe and whole. Her expression, bemused.

With a nod, John hands his ID to the Fed, "Though I would like that back, the paperwork to get a replacement is a bitch." Appealing to a common dislike amongst government employees to endure bureaucratic processes, he offers the fed a slight grin. He rests his hand on Skyler's shoulder, protective, yet also indicating through strength of grip that she'd have to exert a bit of effort to bolt.

Taking the ID, Ty inspects it, appearing the sort to read something slowly and carefully. Heaven forbid it be a fake, after all! But, when she's quite certain that it's a reliable ID, she nods, then hands it back to her underling. As he returns it to John, Ty's demeanor shifts, her expression shifting into something else. It's the look of someone who knows that it's important to be gracious, but not actually giving a shit about what other people think. The smile that dawns over her features is almost wolfish. "Major Holliday," she greets him, then politely inclines her head. The Fed who delivers back the ID even offers a salute.

Wait. What? John's a fed, too? Can a person be a fed and a doctor? He may just have slid in his approval ratings to just below the old joke-telling guy. Skyler, without realizing she's doing it, holds her breath and waits for all the action to end, so she can go back to being invisible to the world.

Ty and some of her men are facing off with John, who has a hand on Skyler's shoulder. One of the Feds is handing back John's ID, with a salute.

Also, it's Sunday afternoon and overcast, with the constant threat of precipitation.

Returning the salute with a practiced crispness that is never forgotten, John accepts the ID back and places it back in his billfold and the grip on Skyler's shoulder relaxes, imperceptible to the eye, but Skyler can definitely feel it easing. He's unable to clearly make out Ty's rank, so he returns the wolfish smile with one that almost mirrors it, "Officer, thank you for upholding the peace." He manages to avoid having his voice drip with sarcasm. Barely

Sunday afternoon, means no work for Vel, who is at this moment moving through the market place, shopping for dinner. Her long black hair has been pulled back into a french twist. She is dressed in a long comfortable linen sun dress that has been dyed black. Over her shoulder she carries a bright purple and orange backpack. On her chest is 7 month old has been strapped and is apparently dozing underneath her yellow hat. In her other hand is a red empty reusable shopping bag. Vel's long legs have her moving in the direction of the gathering as she has spotted Skylar and John.

Ty salutes John as well, although hers is a bit less crisp - she's annoyed, no doubt, that he interrupted her. But her smile stays firmly in place. "Quite the contrary, Major," she shakes her head. "/You/ kept the peace," her gaze turns to the accusing shopkeeper. Someone's getting arrested. "The Alliance doesn't take kindly to liars who waste our time," she adds, her gaze steady on the shopkeeper for a beat longer. Then, she looks back to Skyler: "Wouldn't you agree? How wretched it must feel, to be falsely accused?" Her head cants to the right as she seeks Skyler's agreement, maybe wondering if the young woman will be quick to turn the tables on the shopkeeper to curry favor.

No. No, Skyler doesn't take advantage of the situation. She's still sort of frozen into place, trying to endure the next few moments so she can return to being her rude, egoistic self. Yet, because the fates rarely smile on her, her next action is 100% involuntary, and less than suave. She holds a hand to her stomach, leans forward, and vomits on the concrete floor of the used-clothing stall. Her nose wrinkles in disgust at the display of pre-digested eggs and she asks John, pathetically, "Is that what that anxiety thing looks like?"

Managing to avoid getting his boots bathed in vomit, John looks down at Skyler with a concerned yet also somewhat amused look, "Now who's the doctor? Yes, indeed, that's one manifestation." He then turns his attention to the shopkeep, not his problem, glances at Ty, not his problem, and then he spots Vel and his visage brightens a bit noticeably, "The coffee savior!" Or professor to most.

A look of concern touches Vel's face yet still she offers a courtly, bow of her head to those who are there. "Dr Holiday and young Skylar, lovely afternoon is it not. Skylar do you need a ride home? You look a green around the gills, child." She looks over at Ty. "Day to you, I pray all is well." Vel offers politely. When she is about five feet from the group she comes to halt.

Although Ty's immediate reaction to the vomitting is a disgusted nose wrinkle, she smoothes out her expression, quickly. "Poor girl," and then she turns back to the offending shopkeeper. Her tone full of regret, she tells the shopkeer: "Now you have /really/ disturbed the peace." She shakes her head, then nods politely to Vel. "Good day, madam. All is well. I pray the same for you," her speech is almost robotic, rather than with any warmth in it that she cares whether anyone's having a good day.

The other Fed, the underling standing closer to John and Skyler, finds himself splashed with vomit and suddenly looking for someone to focus his own puke-stained ire on. After a nod of approval from Ty, the Fed moves behind the shopkeeper, summarily arresting him.

The shopkeeper is disgusted, "What are you arresting me for? She's the one puked. Sure sign of guilt if you ask me. She's always causing trouble. She stoled from me before and got away with it. You Feds are good for NOTHING. I demand a lawyer!"

Skyler says, rather weekly, "I'm okay, but for sure I'm gonna haveta find another comic dealer. The Doctor gave me some money, so I was gonna buy one with The Tempest in it for Max cause we was talking about how good that character is."

Shifting his grip to under Skyler's arm, he provides a bit of support for the recently sick Skyler. He looks at the shopkeep, "Be thankful I'm not the one deciding what backwater camp you'd be spending your life in. I don't cotton much to them that would cause harm to a child." To Vel he says, "Professor, charmed to see you. I was actually looking for a hat, and my young ward here was rather ungraciously accused of being a thief." No, Skyler is not his ward, but apparently he has taken some responsibility for her well being. Another withering glare at the shopkeep. His right hand, being his free hand, instinctively reaches towards his right hip, but the weapon that used to hang there has long since ceased being carried, but the unconscious gesture is obvious. He turns his attention to Skyler, "When you're feeling better, let's get something back in your stomach. Something mild and not prone to cause further upset."

"Aww, perhaps this is all a misunderstanding?" Vel offers as she sees the poor shopkeeper being hauled away. "There is no shame in vomiting and it washes off." This is said to both the shop keeper and the Alliance members. Her accent is crisp with just a hint of accent. "Dr. Holiday, I could not agree with you more about your ward and my student. I think I have some candied ginger in the diaper bag." She tells bot him and Skylar. A smile is offered to Ty, who looks like she is in charge.

Ty, a Fed who has several other NPC Feds here with her, is facing John and Skyler, who are talking to Vel. One of the NPC Feds is arresting a shopkeeper, who protests his arrest. As the shopkeeper argues and demands, Ty just seems amused by the whole thing. He wants lawyer? For a trumped up disturbing the peace charge? He must have done something else /really/ bad, if he wants a lawyer for a silly little disturbing the peace charge, right? Ty offers Vel a patient sort of look, but she seems to believe that the time for correcting misunderstandings has long passed.

The Fed arresting the shopkeeper pushes him toward Ty. As he does, the other Feds with whom she arrived, return. Two of them have, between them, another arrest - this one a man, wearing a suit. He hangs his head, defeated int he wake of his capture. Nodding approvingly at this, Ty turns, leading the Feds and their latest acquisitions away.

The shopkeeper cannot believe the NERVE of John, "She ain't a kid. That one there is old enough to be shipped off to the salt mines, and if any one of you had a lick of backbone, it woulda been done by now. You claim to keep order, but you let the thieves and beggars rob us good, hard-working folk BLIND. All you care about is keeping each other's asses clean." His voice gets dimmer as he's hauled off.

Skyler looks apologetically down at the mess at her feet, her gaze going back and forth between John and Vel as they claim her for protection. The keeper of this particular stall is all, "Someone gotta clean that up. Nobody's gonna buy from me with it smelling like puke in here." She means someone other than her.

Not far away, another young woman in denim and homespun glances up at the commotion nearby. Looks like a shopkeeper is being arrested. The presence of the Feds, though… she skirts the edge of a stall, keeping some distance between herself and the uniformed types.

Isabel gives Skyler, who looks familiar, a look of sympathy for her predicament, and moves a little closer, since it looks like the Feds are leaving.

Making his way along the market, Max blinks as he hears the commotion off in the distance. It brings him closer, but not too much closer…yet. He first tries to get a look of what's going on. Feds hauling someone away? Familiar faces? What happened? Does something smell? He sniffs the air, nose wrinkling.

As John watches the Feds depart with the shopkeep, "Might not be a bad idea to make him do it. He did, after all, cause it." He looks at the merchant with the vomit tainted floor, "I'll find someone to take care of it for you." To Vel, John says, "Ginger would be perfect, thank you." He lets go of Skyler, trusting she is stable enough on her face to not face-plant into her mess. Any other arrivals for now go unnoticed, "Skyler, mind keeping me company while I shop for a hat? Perhaps you have a better eye for such things than I." Back to Vel, "And if you'd like to tag along, I would not protest. Much." He says with a slight smile and a wink.

With all this commotion the child strapped to Vel chest sleeps. She cannot help but frown when the Feds leave. She looks back over at John and Skylar. From her diaper bag she takes out a small bag of the candied ginger. She holds it out to Skylar or John to take. "I do not mind, tagging along either does Astrid, it is her nap time and the she sleeps well when there is sound." She offers. She too has not noticed Max or the other Isabel yet.

"There's another comic place on the other side of the market, but they charge too much. Still, I can see if they have a Tempest for Max. He don't have his own comic, but shows up in the Daggers and sometimes the Supersonic books." Skyler accepts one of the candied gingers, pops it in her mouth, and the subsequent range of expressions is like a fireworks show, in its intensity and diversity. Wow.

Isabel, seeing the little crowd gathering around Skyler, hesitates for a long moment… but ultimately takes a deep breath and steps forward, moving to join the group. "Enola, are you all right?" she asks; a cliche but the best way she knows to try to talk to someone who is obviously not in a Good Place if you want to help. "I didn't see everything; I kinda walked in late."

She manages to nod awkwardly to Vel and John, but her attention is on Skyler. Even the smell of candied ginger doesn't distract her.

Someone new, another unknown face. Sky is with two faces he doesn't really know well, and a Vel whom he does, who is carrying a wee one. Curious. There's vomit on the floor…not good. A slight frown. Max moves silently up toward everyone and waits to see if Sky or Vel notice him, or the others but hopefully one of those two first. Regardless he does offer a slight bow if noticed, while meanwhile his bronze coin slips forth, flipping over his fingers, at the moment his left hand to start.

Vel looks at Isabel and then at Max, before her attention is drawn back to Skylar. "I used to nibbled on the ginger when I was pregnant with Astrid. It really does help." She says with sympathy but she lets Skylar answer the questions herself. "Lead the way Dr. Holiday." This is said to John. A quick scan of her surrounding and she spies Max. A smile touches her lips and she offers a bow of her head to the man. "Mr. Max, good day to you."

Skyler isn't exactly sure that hat shopping with John is the idea place for her to be. Nor is she sure that not hat shopping with John, who just saved her a lot of grief and the undoubted confiscation of her 50 credit note, is the wrong place to be. What she is sure of is that her puke, still at her feet, smells vile, looks vile, and if she hangs around longer, she will get roped into cleaning it up on her own. "Oh, Max! Hi Isabel. Everything's fine. Nothing to see here. Just move along." These are not the droids….

Isabel, her nose twitching faintly as it picks up what's on the ground, winces and nodnods agreeably. "Moving along," she replies, falling awkwardly in with the group. She looks up and nods quickly to Max. "Hello."

"Well, I am going to find someone to clean this up for this merchant, if you wish to tag along, feel free, if not then take care and visit any time." John says to Skyler. On Skyler's greeting to Max and Isabel he inclines his head in a nod. Back to Skyler and Vel, "But for now I think the priority should be finding someone to clean this up." And with that he steps away to do just that.

At the hellos, and Sky seeming to be alright he merely replies to those, "Greetings." At seeing people are moving along he replies, "If you are all alright, I must make my way toward the clinic. Be well." He offers a parting bow and backs away slipping back into the crowds of the market, not disappearing in a puff of smoke unfortunately. That must be an advanced technique.

Vel looks Max and nods her head. "Mr. Max, I will catch you later." She says as he moves off towards the clinic. She looks back to John and nods her head. "Thank You." A look is then given to Skylar, "You sure you are fine?" She asks the young woman. A smile is offered too Isabel and then a polite greeting, "Good day to you."

Skyler says to Max, "Yeah. You should go to the clinic." His presence was a problem to her, since she was trying to buy him a present when this whole thing started, and she's pretty sure you can't buy a present when the recipient is standing right there, watching. She's not all that sure about the etiquette for such things, but that seems the way it is. "Don't look now, Dr. C, but you got a baby bustin' out of your chest. Maybe you should get the doctor to look at that. Apparently, he's a Fed, too."

"Good luck, sir," Isabel says to John as he slips away. "Take care."

And her attention slips to Max. "I think we're all good. Mostly. Take care, sir."

She bows her head politely to Vel and the baby on her chest. "Good day, ma'am," she says, careful to keep her voice down for the sake of the sleeping baby. Even when she has to stifle giggles at Skyler's remark on the subject of babies and chests. And Feds who are doctors.

Not quite far enough out earshot, John turns back to Skyler, "No, not a fed. I'm not a jackboot goon with some small delusions of grandeur. Some would say what I was is worse. And they might not be wrong." Here he looks at Vel, with a look of complete respect. "What I was makes Feds sweat, and it's not a card I particularly enjoy playing but sometimes I have to. It worked out well enough, I suppose." And as luck would have it, he sees a maintenance worker complete with service cart. He flags the man down, whispers something to him, indicating where Skyler and the others are standing. Mission solved and he rejoins the group. Finishing his explanation to Skyler, "I was Alliance military. Not something I'm particularly proud of, but it did put me on a path to be able to do greater good."

The answer causes a laugh from Vel, but there is a look of respect in her eyes. "I agree you were not a boot licker, Doctor. Then again many are just following orders. What you saw today is that, coupled with burn out, and add in a lot of callousness. Mind you this is my assessment after just catching the tail end of everything, but Skylar be careful fall back on civility when you have to. Yes, she is came bursting from my body, she is somedays my very own parasite. Yet, I am fond of her." She looks over at Isabel and smiles. "Do not worry she sleeps better with nose around her."

"I ain't sure what that means," Skyler says to John. "Were you, like, a Fed Killer, or somethin?" Why else would they sweat? A Fed aerobics instructor? "Whatever. I'm glad you're a doctor now, cause that means you found someone to clean all that up and I don't gotta, which is good, cause it might make me sick all over again." Skyler wasn't uncivil…she just tried to run away.

"She's adorable, ma'am… though maybe not so much when she's awake and hungry," Isabel replies to Vel, managing a quick smile. "But parenthood is a package deal, or so my own parents used to tell me."

She looks to John, too, and there is curiosity in her eyes. She swallows and holds back on the questions. For now, anyway.

Skyler's mention of potential future sickness brings out the nerdiness in her. "I read once that water and baked salt pork can settle the stomach… I could look it up? I have my C-Book with me…"

"A Fed killer?" John asks, not quite sure if Skyler is being serious, but apparently she is, "No, I wasn't, but the Federal Police really don't like to run up against military folks, they have bigger guns." And more clout, but that part goes without saying, "It's all part of a larger pissing contest, one that I'm glad I know longer have to worry about." He looks at Isabella, "Water definitely helps, but I definitely wouldn't recommend baked salt port. Crackers, bread, broth, those are good for upset stomaches. Baked salt pork is too rich, and the salt could cause more nausea not to mention water retention which could also lead to diarrhea." He pulls the flask out of his pocket and with practiced ease unscrews it with one thumb, lifts it to his mouth and takes a long pull and exhales a long sigh, "Hat. I still need a hat." He screws the cap back on and slips the flask back into his pocket.

"Thank you, her name is Astrid and your parents are correct." Vel tells Isabel with a smile. Her blue eyes glance over at Skyler now "You sure you are doing okay?" She cannot help but ask again, her tone is more motherly. She looks back to John, "Fedora or a Flat cap would suit you well. I can also see you wearing a Bowler."

"The doctor says it's cause I don't do breathing and image guiding and I should feel all my muscles," Skyler tells Vel. "Because my brain is screwing everything else up, but it ain't a tumor, and I think a swallow of what's in that flask would settle me better than any ruttin' broth would. Yuck. It's like lazyass soup."

Isabel digs her C-Book out of her stylish little leather backpack and opens it, logging on. No… she really can't let something go once she starts thinking about it. "Cortex search: What should you eat or drink to get rid of nausea? It's working… there! Results incoming!" she says brightly, as if everyone finds this kind of thing as interesting as she does. "And… you're exactly right, sir. There's a bread-seller over there… and I have my water bottle," she says at last, closing the C-Book and shrugging off her pack, slipping the device back inside and digging out a weathered, surplus Alliance-issue canteen, the marking covered by an old Trans-U company patch. She offers it to Skyler.

She does smile in return to Vel. "Astrid… very Earth-That-Was," she says approvingly.

"I am so pleased that you and your little book agree with my diagnosis" John replies sardonically to Isabel. Ever watch House? Yeah, he sounds kinda like that, but to soften it he does offer a slight smile, "At least you had the good sense to verify." He pulls the flask out and hands it to Skyler, "I would say you're too young for this, but we both know you've probably already had plenty. Just go easy on it, it packs a bit of a wallop. So just a small sip, please." He nods to Vel, "I was thinking fedora. Practical and looks good. Probably get a black one. I like black."

"Most names are very old, and those names have an origin from Earth." Vel cannot help but point that out Isabel patiently. "For example my name is Veldra, it is another old name from earth." She look casts a look at Skyler. "Are you sure?" She looks to John, "You are right in that assessment. A black one would look good on you."

Skyler unscrews the lid on the flask, even as she tells Isabel, "No thanks. I never drink out of another person's whatever thing that is." And she drinks out of John's flask. Small sip, at first. She trusts him enough to not lie about the strength of his booze. Then a larger sip." She squints as she screws the lid back on and offers it back to him.

Isabel blushes under the sardonic assessment from John. "Sorry…" she murmurs. "A fedora might be a good hat for you. Black goes with almost anything."

She nods agreeingly to Veldra. "My name is Isabel, and that is another old name. Some do sound older than others, and more regional."

At Skyler's reply, Isabel looks pointedly at Skyler, then pointedly at the flask that is obviously another person's, but in the end holds her peace, packing the canteen away again.

Accepting the flask and slipping it back into his pocket, "The booze sterilizes it as well." John mentions to Isabel, giving Skyler an out. To no one in particular, he states as if a momentous decisions has been reached, "Yes, a fedora." He looks at Isabel, this time with a slightly more gentle tone, "I'm glad you agree. Speaking of old names, not too many Johns out there, either. Apparently, my parents decided that it would be funny to name me after a famous figure in the distant past of Earth-that-was. So, here we are."

A gentle smile is offered to Isabel. "It is a pleasure to meet you Isabel." She looks to Skylar and she signs something to the girl with a few quick gesture. Then she is looking at John, "It is a very old name, Doctor, your parents did you a service." Vel adds with a nod of her head.

Skyler doesn't really need an out - she's perfectly happy snubbing one drinking container in favor of another! "My parents thought I as gonna be a great student and learner. That's why they named me Skyler."

"John has a counterpart in nearly every Western language that has survived," Isabel observes, nodding to John. "And at least one king has been named John… though he never got along with a man named Robin. I'm still looking for a book of those stories. Should I find you a copy if I locate one?" she offers sincerely.

She smiles in return to Vel, bowing her head. "And to meet you, Ms. Velda, and you, Astrid," she adds, with a smile for the smallest member of the party.

She nods to Skyler. "I think my folks would've rather I'd been taller, stronger, and a better farmer," she says… and winces as the com handset clipped to her backpack buzzes. "I'm sorry, I need to take this," she says hastily, and steps quickly away to answer the com.

"Skyler is a good name, for a good kid." John looks at Skyler with genuine affection, "Though I reckon there's a bit of a disturbance of calm when you're around, to be sure. But as I told you earlier, you have smarts. Use 'em." He runs his hands through his hair, "I really should go see a man about a gorram hat." He looks at Skyler and Vel, "Final chance to go on a grand hat seeking adventure."

"Pleasure, meeting you Isabel." She says to the woman as she departs. Vel looks to John, "I will go with you Doctor." A look is then given to Skyler and then a smile, "See Donna and are not the only ones who think that." Astrid continues to sleep.

Skyler apparently expected one or both of them to argue about her parent-given name, given that they both know she has multiple ones. When they don't, she scowls at Vel, "You are SOOOOO bossy. Whiskey's great for head diseases. The DOCTOR gave it to me, like medicine, and that girl acts like she's my best ever friend and I barely even know her. Why would I drink out of her gorram flask? And… And, buy whatever hat you want!" She turns on John, on that last one. It might be noted that she never deals well with compliments about her character or her learning abilities. "I'm goin' home." And so she does! In a fit of teenage angst.

As Skyler storms off like an atmo jet hitting afterburners, and leaving a suitable wake of dust, John can't help but laugh at that and shake his head, "If that kid ever gets out of her own way, she could own the verse. I know it." He looks at Vel, "I'd be honored for the company, Doctor."

Vel laughs, "I agree with you she could. The key getting her to understand that she needs to, and that she is smarter than she thinks she is. If you are ever bored, I could send her to you for some science lessons." With a shake of her head she smiles. "Lead the way, and do you happen to have enough coffee?"

Pulling the flask out of his pocket again, Doc inclines his head to Vel in affirmation, "I did indeed manage to deduce the overly complex process of buying more. We are now well stocked." He takes a long pull, shivers a bit, and places the flask back, "Maybe too well stocked. If there is such a thing." John chuckles a bit, "My PhD is collecting dust, it would be nice to actually use it to teach someone something." And with that he leads Vel on the Great Hat Expedition …

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