The Aces theatre was brightly lit, decorated with the right combination of flare and color so as to draw the eye. Currently, all eyes in the room were drawn to the figure on stage dressed in a duster and ten-gallon hat. He was strumming an old beaten guitar. Possibly his most impressive aspect was a magnificent handlebar moustache. The audience, made up mostly of middle-aged women, watched rapturously as he quietly serenaded them with love ballad after sickening love ballad.
His own eye, however, was drawn to the young woman sitting in the corner, sipping an extravagant orange cocktail. The same could be said for all the other men in the crowd, for she was strikingly beautiful, with emerald eyes, long flowing black hair. Against all logic, her desert ranger combat armour, and heavy duster only served to accent her already exceptional figure. A beret was angled upon her head in a way which served as much for style as for practical function. If one were to focus on it instead of her tanned face, they would see the emblem of the first recon sniper division of the NCR. The beret looked good on her. Everything did. Her looks were the first thing people usually noticed, and she took full advantage of that fact. Human beings were always more inclined to listen if the voice in question was being delivered to their ears via a perfectly shaped mouth.
The woman usually enjoyed the attention her looks gave her, but at that moment, being the center of attention was the last thing on her mind. Thankfully a distraction came in the form of a middle-aged man, heavily tanned with a thin nose and winning smile. He caught the barman's eye, pointed at her drink, then at the empty bar in front of him,
"Afternoon, Ben." She said in a calm honey-filled voice, "Shouldn't you be at the wrangler?"
"Afternoon, Jessica." The man replied, his own tones equally as soothing, "I finally built up the funds to visit the Strip.
The woman named Jessica smiled slightly and took another sip of the strange orange drink, "And you decided to visit the Aces theatre…"
"I had heard a rumor it's lineup had improved immensely." The man shrugged, "Besides, spending fifty caps at the bar to watch a show is much better for me than losing three times that much to Mister House…"
"I believe Mister House would disagree."
Ben chuckled. The barman came by, dropping off another orange cocktail. The man took a sip, then turned back to Jessica, "The rumour mill says the Mojave seems to be barren of any NCR military personnel…"
"Does it?" Jessica asked carefully.
Ben nodded, "It also says the Legion have disappeared. People say you convinced both of them to leave without firing a shot."
"Not true." The young woman smiled, "My gun went off by accident after it was all over. I always forget about the safety switch…"
"What did Mister House do that made you so loyal?"
"I believe in his vision." Jessica told him.
"Nothing more?" Ben inquired casually, "People are starting to call you Mrs. House."
Jessica smirked, "The rumour mill also says I'm his daughter, and that's impossible."
"Why?" the man asked innocently.
"How much did Cachino pay you to snoop?"
Ben showed a sudden and mysterious interest in his drink.
"Well, I'm afraid I must be going." Jessica said pleasantly, getting to her feet, "Oh, and Ben? Remind Cachino that I made him, and I can break him just as easily. The same goes for you."
Alright, so this is mostly just testing the waters (and trying to jumpstart the muse). It's a series of connected shorts, where I'm introducing the Courier. What I'm aiming for is a foil for Jason. Whereas the Lone Wanderer is a silent, dirty, stoic, unkillable hunter who can't really talk but can damned well shoot and solves his problems by eliminating them, the Courier would be someone who can talk anyone into or out of anything.
Jason lives the hard life, eating dog food in tin cans in some desolate subway station. The Courier (via Mister House and the Strip) is used to fancy drinks and full meals. She's a silver-tongued femme fatale working on behalf of mister house.
I'm hoping to avoid the trap which a lot of femme fatale characters fall into i.e. making it about the looks and the sex and nothing else. I think the key to that is to have her arguments and discussions make sense beyond that. You know? "Don't listen to me because I'm pretty, listen to me because the solution I've proposed is the most sensible one and everyone comes out on top."
As is pointed out on my profile, there is a plan for a cross-over, so I might was well introduce the courier.
Anyway, Comments? Thoughts? Suggestions? Seriously, anything you got…