The End to Cottage Bliss

An excerpt of post Skath-invasion life on Piraeus. Melissa Sawyer is widowed and Yari is harvested.

The End to Cottage Bliss
Summary: An excerpt of post Skath-invasion life on Piraeus. Melissa Sawyer is widowed and Yari is harvested.
Date: 09/14/2017 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None

It's a fortnight after her 17th birthday. Yari is taking lunch with her grandmother to the men who are tilling up yet another "potato" patch, when they are overtaken by a rumbling land ram vehicle and couple men on horseback. Loyalist uniforms. The foreboding trio kick up dust in their wake and show no signs of slowing in their direct charge of the field.

By the time the two women catch up, they see old Bernard Sawyer kneeling silently alongside a hole. The two horsemen hover at a short distance, ready to run him down if he becomes a flight risk, and one keeps a rifle trained on the slowly approaching Jorah, arms full of firewood.

"I didn't realize the time for collection had come so soon," says her grandfather.

"I confess our visit is a bit premature, yes," the officer replies, crouching down to inspect the hole. Yari can see from his many badges that he must be a man of importance. His smile is cold, mirthless, about as reassuring as a wolf's to the herd. "But you see, it's come to my attention that the crop was a little short, this last round, and since it appears to me that you have quite the work ethic and healthy little bounty here," he sniffs a bundle pulled from the earth, "secret's fishmeal, is it? /Such/ healthy production…" and tosses out a couple bundles of food while casting a frozen and frightened looking Yari a sly side eye.

"…I'm concerned as to why."

"Just we've added on a new hand…need a little more food for our table. Birds tell it's gonna be arough winter ahead," Bernard bluffs gruffly through the side of his mouth, the other half of his jaw working a pinch of chew. Craggy brows furrow intensely, and a hazy eye sweeps left to give his wife and granddaughter a little nod. "Shouldn't be no crime to prepare. To eat. Man's gotta feed his family."

"Well, I suppose it's a matter of perspective," The officer stands, dusting off his starched slacks and motioning for one of the armed bots exiting the craft to halt its advance. "We recognize the need for hard working 'folk' such as yourself. It's why this farm still exists. All we request in return is an honest share of the production, to feed those laboring so that Sheridan remains secure. Denying us our due share causes certain powers that be to wonder who precisely it is you're squirreling it away for. Yourselves?" One sleekly gloved hand moves to his hip and rests on the pistol holstered there. "Or the insurgency…"

Piercing blue eyes remain unblinking, prepared to sight through the lies. Yari and her grandmother press together, clutching hands, and dart a frantic look aside to Jorah. The young man remains motionless. He isn't stupid.

"No, jus' fer us." Bernie Sawyer grunts, lowering his head.

"Good," clips the officer and turned his viper's smile to the rest of the crew. "I'd hate to report you and yours as resistance fighters. Common theft is a much lesser sentence." And, quick as lightning, the pistol is drawn and fires a single shot into Bernard's skull.

Jorah's start forward is quickly halted by the snap of multiple rifles coming to bear from the vehicle and an impatient stomp of horse. Just waiting…eager to chase.

"Now boy," the officer cautions gently. "I am feeling generous today. Don't add to the moment's tragedy by leaving these women homeless. Without you, this property is now beyond their ownership and residency." He clears his throat and turns to Yari and her gram, where they huddle, sobs stifled by the simple paralysis of shock.

"I'll not hold your husband's trespass against you too harshly…" a glance down to a screen procured from pocket for a moment. "Melissa Sawyer. You may continue to live here. For now. Rather than requisition 100 percent of your assets, I will reduce the taxation to 80. In exchange for the other twenty, I will take her," he nods at Yari and with a single hand motion, one of the horsemen lunges his mount forward to yank her to her feet and drag her kicking and screaming onto the saddle.

The other mount comes up alongside to bind her accordingly with a derisive snort. Why the good doctor had requested /this/ lass for his bride, they can't fathom. What made her such a special creature? Nothing a good scrub-up couldn't fix, perhaps.

"I trust you remember the good doctor Baltus, my dear? I'm loathe to report that his former wife passed away recently from…complications. She wasn't made from such hardy stock, you see, having lived a life more among the stars than good, strong, terra firma. A shame, really. So! As it stands, he'll be in need of a new wife and I do recall his admiration of your spirit when last you were in school." Then, to the grief-stricken old woman and young man now restraining one another from doing something 'stupid'. "Fret not, Widow Sawyer. She'll be well cared for, as is Dr Baltus' way with all his possessions." He tips his ha——

Yari's pencil scratches to a halt, point worn to a dull nub by the latest wall of text she's scribed by flashlight. Tired eyes skim back over what she's written, breath held while her brain struggles for a verdict like it does every time she adds a memory, a piece of her life to the journal. Keep? Or toss? Her children deserve to know the origins of their pedigree. She can't trace Titos' line. She doesn't want to. But she knows hers, at least a little. The boys deserve to know that Piraean men weren't always assholes. They were good, once. But the good got bled into the soil, just like her grandfather, Bernard Sawyer. Absorbed and forgotten.

Or would be, were it not for the power of words. Yari rubs out the lingering scene with the heel of her left hand, pressing it into her eyeballs until she's no choice but think of something else - like putting her damn hand down before she's blinded by her own volition. Enough. Enough writing, tonight. The paper gets folded crisply and tucked away with all the others, followed by the pencil, then a bare arm snakes out from the privacy curtain over her bunk to feed it into her boot for transfer into the locker in the morning.

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