Location: Desert - Australia
Date: 10 April 2016
TP: Killing Jar TP
As logged by Major Bludd
Desert - Australia
This is the Red Centre, the desert interior of the continent of Australia. Red earth and sand abound here, as do dry salt-lakebeds. Getting lost in these parts is generally a death sentence, as there is no fresh water for kilometers.
Famous locations within the Red Centre include Uluru and Kata Tjuta, better known as Ayers Rock and the Olgas, Alice Springs, Coober Pedy and Lake Eyre.
There is a flash, and suddenly Kimber is different - close to what she looked like when Bludd first saw her on the alien ship. Her hair is pulled back neatly in a long pink ponytail, with the sides freshly shaved to give her cute appearance slightly more of a punk look. Her makeup has returned, hiding her freckles and making her look at least 10 to 20 years younger. Her clothes are once again clean and crisp, from her white half-jacket to her high-waisted lavender capris pants. Her necklace seems to have disappeared.
Bludd blinks and leans back a bit at the flash, but grins at Kimber's new appearance. He runs a finger along the side of his own head as he gazes at the shaved sides of hers. "I like this," he says. He tilts his head at her. "But I have t'say I liked the no-makeup you better."
Kimber frowns and makes a face. "Oh, my gawd!" she exclaims. "Are you kidding? I look so old! You look really handsome, though - I mean, you looked handsome before. Not that you don't now. I mean, you just look more generic now, because of the disguise." The hologram hides some of the physical aspects of her reaction, but just from her stammer and the look in her wide eyes you can tell she's blushing again. "Oh, my gawd! What am I saying! Oh, please shoot me now!" She slumps back down and slides halfway under the table.
"Old? Y'don't look old." Bludd's smirk fades into a slightly stunned look as Kimber gives her opinion of his appearance. "I, er ... I do?" He touches his face, frowning. "Did you change me too?"
GAME: Kimber PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of Average difficulty.
Kimber nods, and frowns again. "Though I guess I should change us back until we leave - otherwise they won't know who to deliver our pizza to!" She holds her fingers up near her mouth, and mutters, "Show's over, Synergy." Instantly, she reverts back to her real current self - no makeup, tangled hair, dirty clothes, and looking more her true age - that of someone who was a teenager in the 80s.
"Well, yeah... I thought you were gonna wait to do that." Bludd glances around at the empty cafe. "It doesn't look like anybody else saw us flash an' turn into somebody else, though." He smiles wistfully at her as she reverts to her previous appearance and reaches out a hand toward her face.
Just at that moment, the proprietor moves back into view behind the counter and moves around it to approach Bludd's and Kimber's table, bearing a large square tray of pizza. Bludd's face flushes briefly, and he quickly lets his hand fall to rest beside his soda glass. "Here y'are, folks," the proprietor enthuses, setting the tray down on the table. "Enjoy." He gives each of them a grin and then heads back to the counter.
Kimber rears back slightly as Bludd reaches for her face, and then glances up with a now-visible blush as the proprietor comes into view with pizza. "Thanks," Kimber mumbles, sitting up once again in her seat. "Sorry, Major," she mumbles again. "I wasn't thinking." She grabs plates and quickly busies herself with distributing slices for the both of them, keeping her pale eyes down on the pizza.
"Nah, I'm sorry," Bludd mumbles, wrapping his hands around his glass and staring determinedly into it. "I wasn't thinkin' either." He examines the pizza, forcing a smile. "Looks good, doesn't it?"
Kimber smiles, her mood seeming to rebound with almost dizzying speed. "It does! Oh, my gawd I'm so starving! I could eat this whole pizza myself, and the plate, too!" she exclaims. She immediately pulls up her piece of pizza and takes a huge bite. "Oh, my gawd!" she gasps over a mouthful of pizza. "Hawt hawt hawt!" She reaches for her soda glass, which is empty. Tears rolling down her face, she swallows the hot pizza and grins with embarrassment. "Maybe I should give it a minute," she allows, still blushing.
Bludd laughs at Kimber's antics. "Maybe you should. I'll get you another soda," he promises, turning around in his seat to look over toward the counter. He grabs Kimber's empty glass and holds it up. The proprietor grins back and nods, turning to dispense more soda from the fountain behind him.
Bludd pushes his soda glass toward Kimber and picks up his own slice of pizza.
Kimber grins, her blush remaining as a pink patch across the bridge of her freckled button nose. "Thanks, Major." She takes a big drink of soda, and then blows on her pizza for half a second before taking another, smaller, more hesitant bite. Apparently approving of its temperature, she chews this bite daintily, and then takes a second, bigger bite. All signs of awkwardness seem to have disappeared like a wisp of smoke in a strong wind.
The proprietor returns and sets the new soda down on the table. "Thanks, mate," Bludd tells him with a smile. Once the proprietor leaves, Bludd dedicates himself to his pizza slice, taking out half of it in just a few bites. He closes his eye and slumps in his seat, a blissful look on his face.
Kimber finishes her first piece of pizza and quickly grabs another. Around a bite of hot cheesy goodness she asks, "So, what's the plan to go to Ayers Rock? Are we just going to be tourists for the day? Are you able to afford it? I'm still sorry I can't pay my own way. I wish I at least had a credit card on me or something." She grins guiltily, but only for a moment before tearing back into her second slice of pizza.
Bludd makes short work of the rest of his slice and reaches for another. "Yeah, tourists," he says, starting in on the new slice. "Don't worry about the cost. I can afford it. An' don't worry about payin' me back fer anything." He leans toward her, smiling into her face. "Really." He sits back again and continues, "Accordin' to the brochures, there's a bus comin' through here that heads to the Rock tomorrow mornin'." He jerks a thumb over his shoulder toward the counter. "Long's they've got a room for us to stay in, we can crash here for the night and hop that bus tomorrow."
Kimber chews thoughtfully on her pizza. She swallows her pizza and slowly grins. "Uh, what were you thinking for sleeping arrangements, exactly?" she asks, sounding curious. She raises her amber eyebrows and leans her head back slightly, looking at Bludd down the short bridge of her cute freckled nose. She then picks up her soda and sips it silently while waiting for Bludd to respond.
Bludd chuckles. "Well, with luck we'll get a room with two beds in it." He takes a large bite of his pizza slice and chews thoughtfully for a few moments. "What were you thinkin'?"
Kimber's pale eyes widen as she's called out. "Oh! Two beds, yes. That would be appropriate." She frowns and quickly changes the subject. "I hate that I have, like, 300 pairs of pajamas at home, and nothing to sleep in here. That alien provided some when we were in - what was that, a ship? But I didn't trust 'em - for all I knew they were holograms and I'd wind up naked!" She squeals in horror at the thought, covering her mouth with one hand.
Bludd finishes off the pizza slice. "Yeah, clothing is an issue." He gazes down at his own dusty clothes. "All we've got is what we're wearin'. At least we'll be able to get cleaned up. If the rooms're too small to have showers there's always the camp showers. There's a caravan area here too."
Kimber makes a face, crinkling her button nose. "Camp showers? Are those, like, outside?" She glances down at her wrinkled outfit. "But, yeah. I know what you mean. I might have to burn this blouse when I finally get back home. Maybe we can do a little shopping and maybe pick up some basics? I'd like at least a toothbrush before bed if we can swing it." In the meantime, she starts in on another piece of pizza.
"Yes, they're outside." Bludd grins and claims another slice himself. "I'm sure we can get touristy t-shirts here... maybe shorts or the like. Probably they got some toiletries-type stuff for people who forgot or lost theirs." He shrugs. "This isn't a real ritzy place," he adds, chuckling as he bites into his pizza.
Kimber laughs. "Do they have any that say, 'I got kidnapped by aliens and all I got was this lousy T-shirt'?" She grabs the last piece from her half of the pizza pie and chows down, with occasional pauses for air and soda. "I don't really need ritzy. I've been high and low my whole life. I could sleep on the floor of a van if I had to. Still, I hope they have indoor showers. I am a famous singer who needs to protect her privacy, you know. I don't want to wind up on the cover of some Australian tabloid," she grins.
Bludd chuckles at Kimber. "I doubt they've got that slogan exactly, love. And the showers are technically indoors... it's usually a concrete building with a few shower stalls in it. Have ya never been campin'? Nobody wants to get caught naked on camera. Well, nobody normal."
Kimber hms "I haven't been camping since I was a little girl, and I was a lot freer and less famous then - a lot less concerned about clothes, too," she giggles. "I'm not sure what I'd do in the woods nowadays - too many bugs, and not enough Internet." She suddenly frowns. "Hey! That alien never gave me back my iPhone! I'm really surprised I didn't notice 'til just now. Stormer teases me that it usually seems to be a permanent part of my hand!"
"Maybe he wanted to study human cellphone technology," Bludd reasons, smirking. "I've camped in so many horrible places in my soldierin' days..." He shakes his head and finishes off his pizza slice. He glances up as the proprietor comes over.
"How's everything?" he asks brightly, smiling first at Kimber and then at Bludd.
"Everything was sooo great!" Kimber replies perkily. "Outrageous!" She glances at Bludd with a smile, letting him handle any further dealings or discussions. She looks around the room, and at the TV to see if it's still showing a concert. Finally her gaze returns to Bludd. "You don't want dessert, do you?" She grins at Bludd slyly. How can someone so skinny be so focused on food?
Bludd grins at Kimber. "Do -you-?" he asks, figuring he already knows the answer. He looks up at the proprietor. "Saw you got ice cream on yer menu," he says. "Can ya bring us some o'that?" He glances at Kimber with a smile. "Pick yer poison," he tells her.
Kimber's light eyes brighten as she looks up at the proprietor. "My favorite is coffee ice-cream, but if you don't have that, and I know it's rare, vanilla is fine. Thanks so much!" She looks back at Bludd. "And thank you! You've been so great! I don't know how I'll ever pay you back - and I'm not talking about the cost of the ice-cream!" She smiles slyly again, and giggles once more to herself.
"I'll take a dish o'chocolate, then," Bludd tells the proprietor, who smiles and nods at the pair, then heads back behind the counter. "An' you..." He rests an arm on the table and leans toward her with a mischievous grin. "You keep lookin' at me like that an' I'm gonna start gettin' ideas."
Kimber's pale eyes widen in response. "What ideas?" she asks with an innocent gasp. "I didn't mean - what? Oh, my gawd!" She blushes furiously, from the tips of her ears down into the flat cleavage of her ruffled shirt. "I didn't mean anything like that!" she says quickly. "I just meant - I mean, you're so cool, and you protected me, and -- I just wish we could be friends, after all this." She suddenly looks ready to cry.
Bludd sits back, his grin evaporating. "I'm sorry," he says, almost too quietly to be heard. He turns away from her to stare at the posters decorating the wall near the counter. "Forgive me."
Kimber thrusts her arms forward with out-splayed fingers, waving them back and forth like frantic jazz hands, nearly upsetting her half-empty glass of soda. "Oh, no!" she squeals. "Oh, no no no no! I don't mean that! Don't be sorry - it was no insult!" She grimaces deeply in clear anguish.
"It's just," she says, tumbling over herself to get the words out. "- I mean, I haven't had someone, like, care about me and look after me like you have since my dad died, and I just - I have a lot of conflicting feelings about all this, you know?" She pulls her hands back, biting on her chipped nails as tears start leaking from the corners of both her eyes.
Bludd nods slowly, turning his head to gaze back at Kimber. "I do care about you," he says quietly. "I didn't mean to upset you, and I'm sorry about that. I've got some conflicting feelings of my own, t'be honest." He sighs, his shoulders slumping somewhat. "I dunno if I even ought to say any more about it."
Kimber blinks rapidly, tears running freely from both eyes. "No - it's OK. You can talk to me. After all we've been through - you can talk to me. I didn't realize I made you feel... conflicted. I feel conflicted, too. It's OK. We used to be enemies. Now we're friends. We escaped alien abduction, and we're mostly OK. We can do anything!" She hazards a comforting smile.
Bludd finds himself smiling in response to Kimber's smile. "I don't even really remember how I felt before the alien grabbed us any more. I've learned a lot about you these last few weeks, an' I'm impressed. You're a lot smarter than I used to give you credit for. You're brave enough to stand up to a tentacled alien thing with a steak knife. And ..." He stares at the tabletop for a long moment, then looks up again. "I like you. I think we make a great team. I want you to come see the Rock with me. I've never seen it, and it's ... well, it's a big deal. To me."
More tears well up in Kimber's eyes. "I like you, too," she says without hesitation. "I really wish I could just, like, take you home, and introduce you to the girls, and tell them I was wrong about you, too. You're not like I thought - you're not mean. You're brave and handsome and protective. You make me feel safe. I want to see the Rock with you, and - and I don't want to think any more about what comes after. Let's just have our ice-cream and enjoy our time." She smiles brightly, tears and all.
"Gettin' to have that pizza an' ice cream you wanted after all, eh?" Bludd smiles wistfully at Kimber as she speaks, reaching very slowly across the table toward her. He brushes his thumb across her cheek to wipe the tears away. "You are completely safe with me," he states. "I won't let any harm come to you. I promise you that."
Kimber's smile brightens as Bludd wipes away her tears. "I know," she says. "I believe you, and I believe in you." She looks intently back at Bludd for a moment, and then glances towards the kitchen. "And I like you for more reasons than pizza and ice-cream," she laughs. "Although honestly, it helps. Throw in some red velvet cake and I'm yours!" she half-jokes, perhaps ill-advisedly.
Bludd grins, dropping his hand from Kimber's face to rest it on her hand instead. He closes his eye for a moment, his expression growing serious. "I don't wish to upset you and I do apologise in advance if I do, but I have to say this to you." He opens his eye again and regards her. "I fancy you." As if he's trying to get away from the words he's just said, he presses quickly on. "My previous statement stands and if you want me to arrange your flights back to LA this very moment I will do it without hesitation. But I had to tell you."
No sooner has Bludd finished his sentence than the proprietor reappears with two dishes of ice cream, which he sets on the table. "Here you are, folks." He glances to Bludd's hand over Kimber's and smiles warmly at each of them, then leaves again.
Kimber's eyes widen slightly and her face freezes. "You... 'fancy' me? Does that mean what I think it means?" She swallows and is flummoxed enough she doesn't even look at her ice-cream as it's served. After the proprietor leaves, Kimber says, "I... I'm not sure what to say. I like you, too, but I have a girlfriend, and we could never be together because of your ... work." She squints her eyes suddenly, as if she's quickly getting some kind of headache.
To his credit, Bludd doesn't flinch at Kimber's matter-of-fact rejection. He nods, almost absently. "Well, I'm glad t'have that out in the open, at least," he replies, his voice flat. "I wasn't sure where you stood on the matter, and ... now I do." He avoids Kimber's gaze and instead looks out the doorway, seeming to find something he sees out in the fading light interesting.
Kimber frowns deeply and looks miserable again. Even if Bludd's not looking at her, he can hear it in her voice. "Can we - can we not worry about that, now, and just enjoy the next few days? Not worry about if things can lead to anything or not, and just enjoy what is? I'm really enjoying time with you,... Sebastian... and I don't want to ruin anything. Let's just enjoy our time together while it lasts."
Bludd glances sharply to Kimber at the sound of his name. He gazes at her oddly for a long moment, then nods. "Yeah," he says quietly, folding his hands in front of him on the table.
Kimber smiles a little sadly, and hops up practically onto the table to lean over and give Bludd a kiss on the cheek. "I really like you, Sebastian, and I've very happy we had a chance to meet again." She settles back into her seat, and eats her ice-cream, giving Bludd little smiles and trying her best to make him feel better if she can.
Bludd gives Kimber a bashful smile after she kisses him, his cheeks colouring. "Me too," he replies. "Sorry f'r bein' an idiot," he adds. He picks up his spoon and applies himself to his own dish. "Not many things that c'n make me stupid quite so well as ..." He waves his free hand in vague circles.
Kimber perks up slightly, and she smiles sweetly at Major Bludd. "Apology accepted. Now let's finish our ice-cream and get a room. I'm looking forward to a great day with you tomorrow, Major Sebastian," she says with grin, diving into her dessert with gusto.