Who A'ster, Vossrik
What A'ster continues to be great at putting his abnormally large nose in other people's business. It's why we like him.
When Summer, 2711
Where Fort Weyr, A'ster's Desk


Fort Weyr - Guard Training Field
The TP room desc is unhelpful. Presumably it's a field full of guards that are training. There's a room full of desks for bigwigs apparently, and the scene takes place at A'ster's desk. You know what, just read the log, it's okay to use your imagination this one time.

It's always a brown that delivers A'ster's summonses, non-descript enough it could be the same brown each time, it could be a different one, it could simply be the avatar of brownness for firelizards; the first message finds Vossrik, and simply says 'Vossrik' 'Come see me.' 'A'ster.' The second, at least, elaborates: 'V. 'In my office.' 'A.' with directions on the back. It isn't actually an office all to himself — it's a desk in a room off the guards' barracks, adjacent to their brig (surely) but not part of it. His isn't the only desk, but he's the only one in at the moment. There's a little nameplate that says 'Sergeant Alister' still despite the time since his Impression, there's a few file-folders in a stack, there's A'ster, sitting, and waiting.

Clearly, Vossrik doesn't assume the worst: his tuneful whistling precedes him and his whirl 'round the corner reveals a hands-in-pockets sort of skipping. "Hello? Sir? Uh, brownrider A'ster?" Pulling one hand from a pocket reveals that it clutches the aforementioned note, which wags in the air as he taps the door in a good ol' shave-and-a-haircut. "I just got your message. Thanks for the directions, by the way. Been here, what, most of a Turn and I still get lost. Is this for another, um, whassit. Mentoring session? 'Cause I just had one, but I'm willing to go again!"

Obviously, this is why even at twenty-eight, A'ster still ends up playing 'good cop,' and doesn't even come across as scary when he's being terribly uninformative in his summonses: when he hears Vossrik come in, he looks up and his whole face lights up with amiable good cheer. "Candidate Vossrik! Hello. Come in, sit down-," there's a chair that usually resides next to the desk, that's been pulled around to provide seating in the front. "It's not — quite that. But could be, could be. I'd like to go over some information with you, if that's alright?"

"Sure deal!" Vossrik chirps, slinging a long leg over the offered chair to mount it, pushing the note in his pocket in the same movement, and folding his hands on the desk as his butt hits the seat. "Is this about Inri's party? Or, uh, the power outage which I had nothing to do with. Oh! Or Rulayn? She's doing alright!" His words are fast, tumbling over each other, his smile too bright, his eyes too disarmingly wide. "Just ask away!"

"Noo-pe," draws out the 'o' and pops the 'p,' but with each suggested reason his finger moves on a page; it isn't that one that he addresses, but flips a page or two earlier in the file, then taps his index finger against it. "I've been compiling dossiers on each of the candidates, with special attention paid to the ones Akleteyth was the most adamant about. That includes full backgrounds-" here he looks up, and his expression is the charm-and-disarm special that Vossrik is trying for and overshooting.

Shots fired! And clearly, it hit home, as Vossrik's face loses all trace of its normal flush. The knob of his adam's apple bobs up and down on a swallow and tears even appear at the corners of his big, blue eyes. "Re… really?" he manages to croak out after a long time of swallowing and willing his tear ducts to start sucking up the emotion-fluid. "And, um… wh-wh-what did you f-f-find out?" His arms cross over his chest, his fingers digging into his upper arms until his knuckles turn white with the effort.

"Relax," A'ster says, as Vossrik's response seems to confirm his investigative non-reporting. "I didn't go into the family business, either. If you'll check this over and make sure nothing's missing?" He turns the page, where Vossrik's pertinent personals are listed: mother, father, sibling, point of origin — what details about the aforementioned that a good investigator would be able to unearth. His expression, still, is far from unkind.

Gulping again, Vossrik reaches a shaking hand out to take the file. It takes only a moment for him to scan the names listed, and upon finishing, he closes his eyes, his head slumping down so as to hide his expression. The papers fall to his lap with a soft swishing. "Yes, sir," he whispers to the floor. "All of this is correct." His lips press into a thin, quivering line, then open to allow his front teeth to worry at his lower lip hard enough to whiten it. "I'm sorry."

A'ster signs something at the bottom of the page, flips to the next one, slides it over: more than the minimal background, more than the brief mention of the candidate's infamous father's name and activities and unhappy end, this one is — entirely about Vossrik. Brief notes from Smiths he's worked with, mostly, a few from other candidates, A'ster's own assessments. They are — nothing surprising, really. Positive, but not overly praiseful; good kid, room to grow stuff, basically. "Why?" the brownrider asks, still on the disarm end of the spectrum, "were you planning on trying to blow us up?"

Vossrik lets out a watery little 'heh', still not looking up from his intense scrutiny of his lap. "No, sir, but what he did…" He shrugs, spreading his fingers in a hopeless little gesture. "What happened with my mom — which nobody told me nothin' about what really happened on account of pop losing his noodle kinda overshadowing that — and what he did, Reksler and I spent a long time trying to escape. Both of us went different directions and alla that. Hell, one of my Masters claimed me as son so I didn't get kicked out of the craft." His hands wrap around each other, clinging, squeezing, worrying at those long, rough fingers. "What pop did was so scary. He was a brilliant guy, and he'd been a Smith. The craft disavowed him and struck him from the records. And wh-wh-what he did, that was HERE, and I thought maybe nobody would know nothin' and I've been trying so hard to start again, s-sir."

"Well, you have." It's a plain statement, and it's echoed by A'ster tapping a finger against the paper he's offered for Vossrik's perusal. "I'm not here to condemn you for what your dad did," is gentle, and sincere. "I'm the only one who'll see these, unless there's a problem. But you've done good, and I think you've got a future here. Shells, Stumpy thinks you've got a future out there on the Sands, but he's not always that good with timelines, so if it's not this time, don't stress that, either."

"Still, though," Vossrik sighs, his clasped hands loosening in front of him. "I shoulda… I don't know." Looking up, he takes the offered piece of paper and scans it, offering a small, proud smile here and there. "A lotta this stuff, y'know, I worked real hard to cultivate. Not lettin' people see me do nothin' negative, or getting in trouble. Stuff like that." Another sigh. SO MANY OF THOSE. He runs his fingers nervously through his requisite Junior Year Teen Fro (tm). "Didn't make no friends really 'til I came here. Honestly, though, sir, I thought you were gonna ask me to pack up and go back to the hall, or maybe put me in the brig or somethin'. It's been so hard to be here sometimes, just knowing what happened. Especially since it's… it's my fault, sir. Some of it. Pop said he had somethin' he wanted to do, and could I maybe get him some chemicals from the hall. Said he wanted to 'clear some land' or something. Do some experiments. I KNEW he wasn't doing good 'cause he would still act like mom was around, and I KNEW it was a bad idea 'cause he would cuss about riders and shit — beg pardon, sir. But I didn't wanna deny him nothin' and so I got him… I brought him what he needed. And didn't ask the questions. And look what happened."

"Vossrik." A'ster looks him in the eye, then reaches for one of the files to the side of center on his desk. This one's folder is — older. Thicker. Has definitely seen more hands in the half-decade plus since it was started. "There was an investigation. When it happened. You — you were cleared of culpability. I wasn't part of it, but I knew there was a reason your name felt familiar when I heard it, so I," he shrugs, and frowns down at the folder in front of him without opening it. "Was looking for connections. You were — you were younger than my baby sister, when it happened. I mean, you're still younger than Bitty, you're the same age, that's not important — don't tell her I called her Bitty, either, she hates that now. The point being —" He sighs. It might be at himself. "Can you tell me the point? You getting it is more important than me repeating it."

Mmm, delicious lip. Nomnomnom. Vossrik cycles through a bunch of different expressions, the most overarcing being RELIEF writ plainly over the confusion and constant worry. "Um… that I shouldn't… be so worried? All the time? They really said it w-w-wasn't my fault?" The long-held dam of his self control starts showing cracks with the wobble of his lips, the working of his jaw, and quite suddenly the whole thing bursts to let forth a flood of tears. Dropping his arms to the desk, Vossrik buries his head in his hands and shakes like a leaf in a stiff breeze as sobs wrack his normally tense body — big ones, soul wracking, life changing sobs that replace any words with hiccups and gasps.

"Yes," is interupted by the sudden dam-breaking, the flood of tears and everything that's backing them. "Ah, kid," A'ster says, then leans forward across the desk to pat Vossrik's shoulder, then ruffle his fingers into the candidate's hair and rest his hand on the back of the teen's head. It's not a hug, but it's less akward than any desk-rounding attempt at one would have been. "Yeah. Any kid would've done the same, basically, and that knowing he was off — that something about it was off — wasn't enough to make you responsible. Wouldn't have been enough, even if you'd been older. You," he sighs. "You're not your dad. You're not responsible for what he did here. You don't have to keep carrying that, okay? You're not him."

Big, wet, boogery SSNNNUUUURRRRFs escape from between Vossrik's fingers, and, at length, he manages to lift up his thoroughly tear-streaked and ruddy face. "Thank you, sir," he offers, simply, but follows it with a crookedly genuine smile. "Kinda helps to finally talk about it. Reks and I — that's my twin brother — don't even refer to it. It's been like our first several years ain't happened and we just sorta popped into being in our crafthalls instead of, y'know, not far from here. Hoooo." The back of his hand scrubs furiously at his swollen eyes, then they get dabbed with one of his sleeves. "I'll try to get past it, really I will, and thank you for not kickin' me out. Heh, for Turns I've only had a few things so I could leave quickly if someone found out. Well, that and most of my stuff was at home when… well, when."

A'ster makes a noise to imitate an explosion, and the sound of things going up in flames — because sometimes his mouth gets ahead of his brain, even now. "We were never going to kick you out. I wasn't even sure if I was going to tell you, until you froze up — if you hadn't known, you wouldn't have." He withdraws his hand, then grins a lopsided grin across the desk, and puts aside the casefile folder. "If you need someone to talk to about it — any of it — I'm better at being a good listener than I look like, I promise."

"Yes sir, thank you, sir," Vossrik gushes, albeit wearily. Good weary, though. Lighter. "If it's all the same, though, right now I'm thinkin' I need to go take a nap for awhile. Maybe get some water or something like, y'know? I haven't done that, the um, crying thing. Haven't done this in a long, long long time." And he's still doing it, just a bit, his shivers dislodging the once pent-up tears from his long lashes and the end of his chin where his stolen beard once scruffed mightily. "Thanks, man, for understanding and all that."

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