Who S The Boss


Max.jpg Jaya.jpg

Date: 2010.11.11 - backdated to have occured two days after King Passes Queen's Knight
Location: EW - Max's Quarters
Synopsis: Two days after their return from Telgar, Jaya stops by Max’s office and the two hash out the beginnings of a working relationship.
Rating: PG13 - some language
Logger: Max

It’s a late night in the beast caverns. All of the stablehands have gone on to their respective places for the night, so all that Jaya came in contact with when she arrives is Waine. She takes a long look in before making her move further into the stables, not much looking like she’s casing the place like that first time she entered. Well, she couldn’t anyway with Waine present. She gives him a nod in greeting, hands in her heavy wherhide coat. “Hey Waine,” she sends him along with one of her suggestive smiles as she spies him fiddling with one of the runner stall doors. “Max in?” Simple words, short words. She was too familiar with Max’s thugs to make any pleasantries, though it’s certain Waine would know that about her by now.

Turning from finally getting the latch to settle into place, Waine puts out a lazy grin in return to the manner of smile sent him by Jaya, "Evening, miss." Even although he well knows her name by now, everyone of the female persuasion is 'Miss' to the big stablehand with it being rare for him to make use of a given name. "In there," a cock of head in the direction of the beast manager's quarters. And he'll leave her to make her own way there as he heads down toward the entrance and his post for the night. With the door to Max's quarters standing slightly ajar, the beast manager himself currently appears to be fast asleep. Boots up on his desk, chair tipped backward, arms dangling over the sides of it and an opened book handling the subject of the anatomy and physiology of the human body, over his face. From somewhere beneath the pages comes a low sound which could be mistaken for a snore if one is of the belief that he's sleeping.

Once Waine tells her what she wants to hear, Jaya lifts her chin sharply in thanks and approaches Max’s door. With the door slightly ajar, she only has to peer in to spy the beast manager seemingly fast asleep with his boots up on the desk. Her eyes narrow slightly on the book over his face before the barkeep opens the door more to allow herself entrance. She’s pent between deciding whether to announce her presence or not, closing the door behind her and moving towards one of the chairs facing the desk as her gaze stays on the man. Once she settles into one of the chairs – and if that hasn’t awakened the man yet – she folds her arms across her chest and continues to stare him down. Naturally, she should still be irked with him for laying claim on her and her services up in Telgar – which was the main reason why she was here – and laying claim to Southern. What crazy thing was that? Clearing her throat loudly, “I was under the impression that territorial renegade crimelords never had the time to sleep – or read, for that matter,” Jaya announces as her customized greeting just for Max, a brow lifting at him with her head tipping to the side. “Up, Lomaxin! Time for you and I to have a chat.”

The chances are good that the moment Jaya opened that door wide enough to let herself in, he was aware of her presence. And yet, he doesn’t move an inch, possibly listening to the small telltale sounds that announce her seating herself across from him, or genuinely, asleep. Only once she clears her throat and makes her opening statement, is there indication to the contrary with Max’s voice coming muffled from under the book, “Reading up on new ways to kill a man without leaving a mark.” Sardonic return. In one swift movement, boots drop from his desk, hands come up removing the book from his face and then snapping it shut he sets it to the desk with a muted –thunk-. Dark eyes regard the woman before him, weariness indeed etched across his features. Sighing a hand palms over his face and he gives simply a quiet, “Aye,” of agreement. Leaving the floor open for her to start laying into him for having staked claim to both her services and the continent as a whole, with the following dry prompt, “Go on then, spit it out before you burst.”

“Guess you would need to,” Jaya remarks on Max’s comment on the book, the Bitran barkeep casually leaning back more comfortably in the chair. “You’ve put yourself in quite a predicament in two days.” She watches him straighten up in silence, her arms staying folded while she meets his gaze evenly. She says nothing further from that until he makes his dry comment in giving her the floor. With a sardonic sort of a smile touching full lips, she clicks her tongue to the roof of her mouth before saying, “I must say, beast manager, you are smoother than Vaputero was when he tried to convincing me to take my top off.” Chin tilting downwards with a brow going up, “That, and you’ve got balls. Crimelord of Southern, Max? What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” At least she’s not yelling, right? Nope. She’s looking at him like she thinks he’s finally lost it. She even says it. “You’ve finally lost it, shuga. You must have, if you think I’m going to work for you.” Beat. “For free, even.” The smile wanes at this point as she works her jaw open, when the business of her services is brought up. Such business is no smiling matter, after all. “You could have let me handle it,” she notes then more evenly to him. “Kelarad. I have a history with him, shuga. I would have…” Pause. Jaya frowns just a little before continuing, “…worked for him. We both know it’s only a matter of time before I’m back in the game again.” No need to mince words of her lineage, nor her current willpower when it comes to the temptation of it, around Max.

Cue the expressive roll of eyes for the jest he’d delivered over his reasons for having been studying the book that he was. A brow goes up and the faintest of smirks traces onto Max’s mouth for comment of smoothness and the taking off of tops but he lends no words to that particular topic. Leaning back in his chair, fingers lace across his stomach and the man listens in silence, his face expressionless while she speaks. Once her last words have died on the air, he maintains that silence, fitting Jaya with a long study. Finally, with a short intake of breath, words are delivered in measured tone, “What I’m doing, is trying to ensure that some bastard from up north that uses his dick to make a point, will think twice before tainting Southern’s shores.” Pointed the look for that and then hands free from one another and he leans forward a little, an odd smile coming into play, “You work for me, or you can kiss that racing runner of yours goodbye, Dicori.” Not meant to rankle but rather to put her in knowledge of his intention to make good on at least that part of the deal. “As to your having handled Kelarad,” features darken slightly and a finger lifts in the air, “One, I pay back by own debts. Two,” another finger joins the first, “You and I both know it wouldn’t have ended with just that one run.” A faint smile touches his lips as he leans back again, “You’re clearly talented, Jaya. That much is obvious for the way he was hungering for your services. And you obviously enjoy the line of work. But from hereon in, you make only the runs I give you to make. You find a run that might look worth the time spent on planning it? You bring it to me.” Not once has his tone turned demanding or lecturing, if anything there’s a hint of kind ruefulness to it. “We were both renegades in some form or another before coming here. The difference now, is that we use it to the good of our Weyr, and this continent, aye?”

“If Vaput wants in, he’ll get in,” Jaya seems to know that with certainty, for her tone expresses it matter-of-factly to him. She won’t elaborate, however – at least not now. Jaya’s got an agenda right now that has to do with herself. When Max mentions one of the stipulations – the runner- not even a brow lifts at that. He could probably tell that she is amused, however, by the lingering sardonic lift of one corner of her mouth, and nothing else. She nods a few times to that, though it’s not clear whether she’s nodding in agreement to him or to just acknowledging what’s being said. Her lips part as if she was going to counter, but the words don’t come out; instead, she merely listens to what else he says, a noted look of pride entering her eyes when he admits that she was talented. Arms slowly unfold and rest on the armrests in her silence, the woman finally taking her eyes off of him to look about the office in her time of silence. When he gaze does return to him, “You were serious,” she seems to summarize his words with a twitch of her lips. “You…” and a finger lifts, pointing right towards Max’s chest lazily, “…honestly are going up against the likes of Vaputero, Rad …fuck, the Ralka boys?” She’s almost in awe at that, looking at Max anew now at this turn of events. “I thought, back there, you were merely stoking your precious ego,” she admits dryly, her dark eyes flicking over his frame. “You know, trying to play up yourself so that Rad took you seriously. But to actually… “ Pause. Eyes narrow slightly then, and her lips press together in the long pause that ensues. Clearly she’s weighing her options, her current state, what good (for her anyway) would come from this opportunity. Brushing a hand across her chin, “Our Weyr, huh?” she muses on that a bit dryly. “I guess we would need something to set us apart from the rest of them. You do realize that you’ll have to be legit to even get them to remotely call you by name, right?” Beat. “Rogan,” she drops his name in Max’s lap, the glimmers of a smile forming. “And for that, you’ll need me. I’m not calling you boss, shuga, unless you’re spanking me, and I’m certain Ahni would have a problem with that,” she adds, now leaning forward to place both hands on his desk. “But,” and she lifts a finger to him. “There is more to it than just that racing runner.” And now the smile is in bloom, and it is sweet.

Coldly amused, “Little hard to do so if he’s dead, aye?” shrugging as if the matter holds little importance with him, “He’s already –in-, Jaya. Now we got one of two choices. Kick his lackeys out, or turn them to our cause.” Ah, so he’s already been lending thought to that too it seems. “Aye,” Max gives with quiet determination in reply to his having been serious and the rather mammoth task he’s taken on, “I am.” And then a snort precedes a dark chuckle, “I know I’m fulla shit, but I ain’t got an ego big enough to need to put a deathwish to it, Jaya.” Well, not in his opinion. Others might disagree of course. Setting her with an intent look, “Look, you know as well as I that this needs to be done. From what Rad was spouting, hungry eyes were turned down this way anyway.” He just happened to be in the right place, at the right time. Sighing as he leans back a little, confession is given quietly, “Don’t know if I’m the right man for the job, darlin’. But I sure as shit ain’t never run away from a fight. And,” a glance going toward the volume he’d been studying, “There’s more’n one way to skin a feline.” The smile turned out carrying an enigmatic undertone to it. Clear indication that he already has a plan afoot with which to anchor his name down in the South. Low laughter falls for the pseudonym he’d gone by in times passed, and then a brow lifts upward for her not being prepared to call him ‘boss’, his expression turns sombre, “I need you, Jaya. You’ve got intel about that lot up there. You know how they operate. I need that leg up if we’re going to make this work.” We? Yup, this is not something he’s doing to puff his ego (as recently pointed to) or because of any ambitions of power he might have. Smirking for her last, “Aye, of course there is. You got to get your butt in a saddle and learn to ride it too.” Deliberately countering what he knows is coming next.

“Not even Kelarad knows how to take him down, just yet,” Jaya remarks on his first, hitching one shoulder up in a shrug. “And here you are talking about taking him down and turning his people. If they can be turned. You’ll have a better chance with the ones he’s screwed over – the ones still living, I mean,” she adds wryly. “I may know of a few still around. Ran into them through Keane up in Telgar.” Talk of egos gets a snort from her and pins Max with a heavy look. “You’ve got ego enough to take all this shit on,” she counters without hesitation. “You know this is crazy, shuga, but, as for being the right man…” She finally leans back in her chair, her eyes slightly narrowing at him. “Well, guess we’ll be finding out, eh?” she seems to be signed on with it all, eyes going to the volume he indicates. Amusement flits there, but it settles to something more serious when his expression turns somber, his words there actually giving her due pause. Blinking her gaze away as slender fingers lift to brush along her bottom lip, “We can make it work,” she decides to say, perhaps her way of confirming it. “But I’ll need honesty from you, Max,” she adds, her gaze meeting his pointedly. We work together, and that means I don’t need any nasty surprises biting me on the ass. You’re open, I’m open, and I’m involved in whatever decisions you and whoever else you got make in this.” Pausing to regard him steadily, “I want involvement in the circuits,” she adds then, “and, as to those runs? Profit split, 70 – 30. I can ride a runner, too.” Beat. “Did it when I was a kid.” Yep, and that was pretty much the only time, too. Her gaze turns expectant then, waiting to hear his response on her stipulations to their working relationship.

“Turn his people and take him down from the inside out,” Max remarks simply adding, “If they’re on my turf, them’s the choices.” Interest colours his expression next for Jaya possibly knowing of some that Vaputero might have wronged up north, “Indira’s heading up that way to meet with Keane so perhaps you could give him a list and he can get word out to them?” A dirty look is all that greets Jaya’s words on egos and he brushes it aside, choosing not to make comment. And then a brow goes up and he meets that pointed expression with one of his own, “I ain’t never lied to you, Jaya. Ain’t about to start doing so now.” His other brow joins the first with the beast manager’s visage turning almost amused, “Seventy-thirty, eh?” that drifts away slightly as a steady look with a slightly hard edge fits into place, “You’ll have in on the decisions that affect you, Jaya.” As to the circuits his expression darkens slightly, “This ain’t for personal gain or shits and giggles, darlin’. Any profit made, fifty percent goes back in the kitty for helping out those that need it. You get on board with that, or we ain’t got a deal.” And he doesn’t appear to be budging on that one.

Jaya shakes her head, “Not going to be easy,” she counters on Max getting Vaput’s people turned, her tone sober. “Unless you plan on pulling the same ruthless shit that he does.” Her interest seems to peak as well when he brings up his mother going up to meet her old bar boss, her brows furrowing some before giving him a short nod in response. “Need to know if they’re still about and alive, first.” Lips twist as she ponders on it further. “I can talk to S’las,” she offers then. “He can get up there with that list, at least. He won’t ask any questions about why. At least not right away, but I can deal with him.” Beat. “He’s related to the crimeboss out of Nerat,” she chooses not to hold that information back – since they’re being honest with each other and all. “But I wouldn’t worry about him sending any info towards Ritalia. The two don’t exactly see eye to eye.” She leans back a bit when he responds to her list of stipulations, her expression never changing before him. She figured some of them would be tossed outright, but it didn’t stop the Bitran from putting it out there in the first place. A crooked smile touching her features, “Didn’t say you lied,” she notes to Max wryly. “I just want open honesty, is all. Don’t keep me out of the loop. It’s the sure way to keep me loyal, if we’re going to make this work.” Eyes regarding his own steadily now, “No more secrets, and I’ll tell you whatever you want. This is what Vaputero didn’t get when he decided to turn me in to the guards,” she admits evenly, crossing her legs as she shifts uncomfortably in the chair – her scar showing starkly in the light as she moves her face slightly away. “Might not be much to you, but it’s a deal-breaker for me. Gotta trust you, shuga.” When he mentions her cut, and personal gains, she’s quick to return with a drop of her chin, “Does it look like I’m giggling? I get the deal, Lomaxin. Fifity percent. I can compromise there. I’m not that stubborn, but I do like to jump on an opportunity when I see one.” Now allowing the glimmers of a smile to return, “So. A runner that I guess you’ll teach me how to ride,” she lists off with one finger. “Open door,” another finger, “half on run profits,” another finger, “and involvement in the circuits. Don’t want any profits there, Max,” she adds after the summary, perhaps commenting on the dark expression she picked up on earlier. “That’s your show. I just want to be involved. Consider me very curious in seeing how it’s ran from the inside.” Fingers drop, only to return to a hand now being extending over the length of the desk towards the beast manager in order to seal the deal with a cheeky smile. “You’re onboard with that?” Beat. “Boss?” Jaya adds wryly with a slight dare in her eyes.

With a cold smile pulling into place, “Dead body burned beyond recognition, ruthless enough for you?” A brow lifting in pointed manner. He wouldn’t really, would he? As to his mother heading up to Telgar, shoulders shift in a faint shrug, “She needs to set up a corridor with Keane for us. To get people safely in and out.” A hand lifts and rubs along his stubbled chin and then he nods slowly on her sending S’las up with a list, “Related to Nerat?” looking slightly sceptical for the man’s involvement in that case but apparently prepared to accept her judgement on the matter for Max doesn’t press on the matter. Listening in silence as Jaya touches on having an open book policy, his lips twist around a wry smile, “You know about all there is to know about me, darlin’. You however,” a finger lifting to point idly in her direction, “I have a feeling still have a whole lot more to tell. We’re gonna do this, I can’t be having nasty surprises jumping up and biting me on the butt when I least expect it. Whatever trouble you were in, I gotta know because it sure as shit’s gonna hunt you down the minute you get back into business again.” No judgement or recrimination set into his tone, simply the beast manager needing all cards laid out on the table. “I’ll always have your back, Jaya. But…” and here that self same finger lifts into the air as he adds the following caveat, “You turn a run behind my back, without my agreement…and we’re done, aye?” Yeah, that’s him playing ‘protector’ in trying to keep her as honest as one can hope to be when dealing with the underbelly of Pern. Setting Jaya with a long look, he slowly nods and reiterates the agreement, “Fifty percent of any profits straight into the bag, with a seventy-thirty split of the remainder.” An open smirk grows at talk of her runner, “Darlin’, you ain’t gonna walk straight once I’m done with you,” which under different circumstances could be taken entirely the wrong way by anyone happening by. The open door bit that draws a low chuckle and a sly grin emerges, “That door’s closed…you knock!” Perhaps because he likes sleeping in the buff? Yeeeah right. More like clandestine visits from a certain redheaded weyrling. The fight circuits, that pulls the humour off and bleeds a wry expression into place, “What you gonna do, darlin’? Wipe the blood off my face and help Jonavan put me back together again?” Snorting softly and then adding a soft sigh, “You want in. You got in. But it’s my rules and…you don’t go freaking Ahnika out with whatever you might see, aye?” Not that he intends keeping anything from the redhead just that…he’d like as far as possible to downplay his participation in the actual events themselves. Therefore it’s a moment before a crooked smile greets her cheeky one and he leans forward slightly his hand meeting and grasping hers, “We got ourselves deal, Dicori.”

“Maybe,” Jaya is easy enough to counter at Max’s example of ruthlessness, her blithe expression present. Nodding towards the book that has his attention, “That’s why a beast manager is brushing up on the wrong type of anatomy for his field?” She is agreeable enough on what Max wants to do with Keane by sending his mother up there, only responding with, “Makes sense.” She notes his skepticism on the bronzerider with open amusement in her brown eyes then. “Sometimes you have to deal with those in the gray areas in order to get close to those in the dark,” she looses the statement in indication of S’las’s familial affiliation with Nerat. She offhandedly adds, “Sal and I grew up together in Bitra, shuga. Our trading families are close. He’s not exactly that bright, and I wouldn’t trust your girl around him, but he can be trusted. Not a fan of Vaput, either.” Just as well she’s putting that ‘open door’ policy to use on her end right now about S’las. Max brings up the fact that much of Jaya’s past has been in the dark, and the Bitran woman smiles that half-smile of expecting him to say that. Fingers lifting in brief acknowledgment of that, “It’s a lot,” she admits, carefully choosing her words with an incline of her head. “Some of it difficult to say … but I won’t hold back. Trouble seem to find me whether I’m in the business or not, I’m afraid.” Hands spread wide in a show of acquiesce, “Whatever you want to know.” Hands drop when Max speaks of her running game behind his back, the barkeep’s eyes holding a light to those eyes as she gives an innocent-looking shrug. “Hey, do I really need another upstart male lighting my ass on fire?” she puts to him flatly. “I’ll behave as long as you pay me what you owe me. I’m a very reasonable girl.” Well, maybe not all the time, but the beast manager would probably learn her little quirks in time if he hasn’t already. “You’ve got nothing to worry about.” Of course, his comment on her not walking straight sets both brows up in her amusement, the woman replying with a brush of fingers against her collar, “Yeah, you’ve said that already, shuga.” No, she’s not going to elaborate on a time past, but the Bitran was just too crass a woman to let that comment down memory lane slide. “And fine, I’ll knock. Don’t want to walk in on you trying on Ahni’s clothes or anything.” Such banter lets off on the subject of the circuits, Jaya studying the man before her until he finishes his piece. Head tilting slightly, “What, don’t think I could knock you out?” she puts forth with arrogance as she openly sizes him up. “I could take you on, but I don’t want to have to explain to your girl why you’re all bloodied up, so I’ll just make myself useful in some other way.” Nodding once, “Fine. Your rules. Ahni and I hardly gab over klah and cookies, shuga, so I think it’s safe to say she won’t be hearing about any of your antics from these lips.” From someone else might be an entirely different matter, however. For a woman, Jaya’s grip is quite a strong one as the deal between new Southern lord and partner in crime (perhaps literally) is sealed.

To the reason behind his having such a book in his possession, Max borrows her one worded reply and gives it back to her, “Maybe.” As to S’las and her history with him, there is given a faint nod, “Ain’t got a problem with gray darlin’. But if you say he’s not big on Vaputero, then I reckon I’ll take your word for it, for now.” Taking the ‘wait and see’ approach. Then he goes quiet, dark eyes resting on the scar faced woman opposite him and his mouth forms around a wry line, “Just…don’t keep me in the dark, aye?” that with regards to whatever trouble she’s seen that might decide to follow her to the Weyr. A low chuckle slips out, “Looking to keep your ass outta trouble, not light a fire on it, Jaya.” Although he probably wouldn’t hesitate to do so if need be. “Promised Keane.” That he’d look out for her. Her quip that slips out takes a moment or two to register in its meaning and when it does, there comes an unreadable look set onto her before a soft snort drives that away, “You wanna take me on? You might pack a good right hook, darlin’, but I’ll put you on your ass quicker’n you can call your Healer to kiss it better.” Smirk. Thoughtful silence develops and then he nods slowly to her being useful in some other way on the circuits, “Might have something in mind for you.” That being all he gives on the matter for the time being. A light frown greets response on she may or may not tell Ahnika and he gives quietly, “Ain’t got no secrets from her, Jaya. She knows…about Telgar…and all this,” his newly claimed position, “The fighting…it ain’t her thing.” Hence his wish to spare the redhead unnecessary upset over such activities. Their deal having been effectively sealed, he leans back into his chair once again, putting a glance toward the bottle of Bitran brandy sitting unopened and off to one side of his desk, stating quietly, “Ya didn’t have to do it, you know.” Gift him with it, although the appreciation for the gesture is clear to see.

The borrowing of her own response to the book’s purpose has Jaya fitting a questioning look on him, but for now, the woman’s lets it go. Moving on, “I won’t,” she assures Max on not keeping him in the dark with her past and history, the smile a lopsided one as she regards him from across the desk. “You could ask me now if you wanted,” and she gives a one-shoulder shrug to that. “Not sure how much you know, though. Only person I confided everything to was the gold weyrling.” There was two of them, she knows, but perhaps she might think it’s obvious on which gold weyrling she speaks of being her confidant. The smile does turn a tad bit more appreciative when he Max promised Keane to look out for her, the subject of the old Blood and Bucket boss a fond one for her. “I think he worries too much,” she admits on the old man, shaking her head despite the fond expression never abating. “Like a father. Guess it’s good to finally have one that gives a shit, at least.” Because her real one hardly did. After meeting that unreadable expression fit into place from the beast manager, his own quip on fighting skills has the barkeep lifting her head back a little to laugh. “Might need to have you prove these blasphemous claims one day,” she notes on him beating her out, the smirk a lingering one as she lets her arrogance enter her voice. The amusement does fade at the mention of the healer (of her healer, rather), however, the anger she carries on their last encounter still present since she remarks, “And I don’t need anyone to kiss anything better, shuga. Dicori fighters lick their own wounds, if there is one.” Which she highly thinks there wouldn’t be by the lofty tone of her husky voice. Of course, she turns away the side of her face that marks the scar, it’s clear indication that she had lost one fight already. Once Max explains the situation with Ahnika, however, Jaya goes a little quiet to consider his words and their meaning with a flicker of interest. “Good,” she chooses to say on Ahnika knowing everything, her voice approving there. “She shouldn’t be kept out of it. Fighting’s another matter, but this?” and she waves a hand between them, even towards the book since it’s still relevant. Eyes find the bottle then – the bottle she had dropped off the moment they had returned from Telgar. Meeting his gaze then, she evenly answers, “I know. You didn’t have to save Olira’s ass, either, or Keane’s. We Dicori know a clear gesture when we see one.” Nodding sharply, “I …appreciate what you’re doing, Max,” she admits the kind words, her gaze lingering off of Max to look elsewhere. Being nice and friendly without any intent was always an awkward thing for her. “I know I’m a difficult woman, and sometimes I don’t mean to be, but, know that I mean what I say.” Beat. “In case I ever say to the contrary or something,” she tacks on, her focus falling on him at this along with a twitch of lips for her hidden smile.

There might be two gold weyrlings, but Max is only familiar with the one, and so he sends out a surprised sounding, “Ciara?” Not quite able to picture Jaya confiding in the sweet fisherwoman. “How about…I don’t ask, and you just tell me one night over drinks and a game of cards, aye?” he puts it out there, with the reasoning of allowing the bar owner to do so on her own time, not wishing to press. Smiling in response to the fond expression Jaya wears when talk turns to Keane, “You’re lucky to have him, darlin’. From what I seen, he’s a good man.” A crooked grin peels out with the beast manager making a beckoning gesture with his hand on talk of taking her on in a fight, “I don’t make it a habit to hit women, darlin’.” The smidge of anger carried in her tone when she responds to his comment on Healers, draws a brow upward, with the man actually appearing apologetic in his next, “Sorry darlin’, was just teasing.” A light frown forms as he puts forward tentatively, “You two…have a falling out?” Drawing the book forward and tracing a finger idly over its cover, a faint smile edges out and then his expression forms a sombre line, “Can’t do it without her knowing it all. You know as well as I that the blowback from…all of this…” brows fit toward another frown, “could land on anyone close to me,” like it did with Olira, “She had a right to know what I’m getting into.” Dark eyes lift to fix onto the woman sitting opposite him and a shoulder twitches in the idea of a shrug, a small smile coming into play, “Olira needed help. We’re helping her. Same goes for Keane. And…anyone else that needs it,” Jaya included, although she likely already knows that by now. That smile turns crooked for the confession coming from her with regards to being difficult, and then a low chuckle adds as his own is forthcoming, “In case you haven’t noticed yet, I ain’t exactly the easiest to get along with all the time either. But I don’t let my friends and those close to me, down.” Well, not intentionally anyway.

Brow lifting in question of the name, “Rio,” Jaya corrects, knowing of Ciara due to L’ron but not having met the weyrling in any official way. Sweeping a hand across her mouth, “The one with the veil,” she describes her in that one gesture soberly. “Had a rough time of life like me, so she’s been one of the few I can trust my life with here. Might be able to help us, though I’ve made it a mission of mine to keep her and her little queen safe from all of this. She’s offered to help me with Vaputero, in either case.” Rio had troubles of her own that had Jaya concerned, too, but that wasn’t her secret to tell. When Max suggests they talk story over drinks and a game of cards, the barkeep fits an interested but surprised look onto the man before responding with a wry, “I could be down for that. About time you came by my bar for some other reason than to be the bearer of bad news, beast manager.” Inclining her head briefly to that offer then, “I’ll let you know when,” she decides, not hiding the grateful expression from him for putting the ball in her court there. It was definitely a different mark and touch from what Vaputero would have answered with, so the subtly was not lost on her in their new working relationship. On the topic of Keane, Jaya simply gives in response to the man being a good one, “He is,” before Max’s remark on not hitting women gets a snort. “You have my permission, shuga,” she notes on account of herself, waving one hand of fingers his way with that little smirk in place. “I’m not the typical woman. Never fought in the circuits, no, but I’ve had my share of having to prove to the men around me that I lived up to the Dicori name despite my being a woman.” Head tilting slightly in her amusement at the memory, “A couple of them still have trouble getting their dicks up, even,” she muses then. “They haven’t questioned my competence since.” The Bitran notes Max’s apologetic look on the crack of the healer and she waves it off. “Just deciding whether or not I want to deal with a prick, is all,” she responds coolly on Jonavan, looking away with a shake of her head. “And been wondering if I was better off with women.” Riiight. As if she could ever give up men for women. Eyes seek out Max’s then when he talks about Ahnika, the woman nodding in complete agreement to what he says there. “Seen men in the business try to keep their women out of the loop,” she notes on that, her lips drawing into a tight line. “Never turns out right. Someone always gets hurt whether intended or not.” Max and Indira’s generosity in helping those in trouble out gets a thoughtful glance from her, perhaps seeing them both from a different angle now while his last makes her smile knowingly. “We are who we are,” she responds easily, shrugging in a helpless gesture. “Someone’s gotta give us assholes a chance. We turn out alright.” Nodding towards the bottle, “Hope you enjoy it, though,” she adds, the smile genuine before she takes a look about the place then, and the book. “So. What do we do now, boss?” she asks, her tone slight on the business side and amused on the side of her title for him.

“Rio?” Max echoes trying to place the woman. He’s heard the name no doubt from informants but hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting the gold weyrling himself as yet. “Don’t get her involved just yet, Jaya. Don’t need another weyrling getting themselves into trouble on account of me and what I’m doing.” Still a little discomforted for Ahnika having gotten herself hurt the way she had. “But if she has information….” that he’ll gladly take. A smile greets her reply on meeting up at some point for cards, drinks and confessions and he leaves it there breaking into a short chuckle before a brow goes up and a no nonsense look fits into place as a finger points in Jaya’s direction, “And you ain’t never getting into a ring neither. It ain’t no place for a woman. You got more class than that, darlin’.” Yes, that may sound chauvinistic but he does have traditional values enough to find the whole idea of women fighting on the circuits, extremely distasteful. Amusement of some kind trails in after that when she mentions women perhaps being a better prospect than men, “Mmhm. I’ll believe that when you start wearing pink frilly dresses.” That having been said he leans back in his chair, hands lacing fingers together across his stomach and sets a long look over onto the bar owner and then slowly but surely a dark smirk forms, “What we do now…is find ourselves a dead body.” Huh?

Shaking her head, "I won't," Jaya assures with a roll of her shoulders back against the chair. "But she'll be a help, one day. Not sure about information, but she's from Crom and …" she lets that fade off with another shrug. Max's words on her getting in a ring gets a brow lift. "Haven't you learned by now that I don't have no class?" she notes, the amusement with his words rolling off in her slight Bitran accent that comes through. "Class don't mean nothing in Bitra, shuga. I was man enough to make it with Vaputero, so as far as he was concerned, I had the same set of balls they did." Pause. "Have you ever ran into a female fighter in those circuits up there?" she asks then, her curiosity getting the best of her since, in the times she did get to see the fights with Vaput, they were only of male fighters. She laughs outright at his quip on her wearing anything pink, and remarks, "Damn straight." When Max silences up then, she draws her arms into a fold across her chest and simple stares back at him until he answers her question. When he does, she regards that dark smirk dubiously, openly, and blinks. "Planning to go out the gate knives flying?" she asks, her tone dry with her questioning look. Nodding upwards sharply, "What do you mean there?"

The gold weyrling under discussion hailing from Crom has Max setting an unreadable look onto Jaya but he’s not saying anything to that right now. Instead he turns to the topic of fight circuits and whatever female involvement there might be. “There’s a big difference between having the balls to stand your ground in a situation,” such as Indira is quite capable of doing, “And getting in a ring to deliberately beat the shit out of another woman, darlin’.” And you can bet, she won’t be doing it in any of those under his hand. Not if he can help it. To the query put forth, his mouth puckers as if he’d just tasted something bad, “Saw a few of ‘em going at it down Tillek docks. Rare. Don’t happen much. Usually grudge matches.” Shoulders shift in what might seem like an easygoing gesture save for the cunning light to dark eyes, “I aim to send a message to the boys up north, to stay the shards away from Southern and get their informants out.” Attention pulls off of Jaya and settles to a distant point and then slide back to her again, tone rough with displeasure for what it is he plans to do, “Body of a holdless man with no family to claim him, use of an Agenothree tank to remove easy identification, and a message on his person. Dropped off up north? I’m counting on that sending message enough for now.” Without him actually resorting to taking a life to do so. Something he would never willingly do in the first place.

"Ahh," Jaya regards Max with open interest now on his response about the circuits. Eyes narrowing a fraction as she nods slowly to what he says, "You'll learn that Vaputero and I are quite… similar," she explains on that account hoarsely, a finger idly brushing down the nasty scar on the side of her face. "Gender don't really mean a thing when it comes to intentions, Max." Leaning forward with a stretch of her shoulders, "I've done my share of beating the shit out of somebody deliberately, and I didn't need to do it in a ring, either." Leaning back, "Vaput wanted me in the rings," she admits briskly, "but ultimately he saw my talents elsewhere. That, and he thought he had a chance with me in those days." Silence then meets his words on his plans for the crimelords up north, her expression unreadable as she nods a few times to what's being delivered. Lips twisting a bit in thought, "You'll never get all of them to pull them all out," she says knowingly, slowly shaking her head at him. "You'll have a better time trying to put your own informants into their areas. I recommend it, in fact. But Serevan, and Harvis?" She sniffs, running a hand over her nose, "They have the best informant network in the north. They won't budge. If they won't, you can expect the others to follow suit, shuga." But, she's giving the plan its due thought, eyes staying narrowed as they light on the book he has before adding, "Still, such a message might be useful in another way," she notes wryly, meeting Max's gaze evenly. "Sent to the right person, made to look like you aim to do damage, it might at least cause them to think twice. Them thinking twice about you is what you want. Serevan's the elder of the crimelords," she adds, an odd note of respect present while saying his name. "You want a message reached to the lot of them? Throw the body his way to Nabol."

Dark eyes roll expressively, “I wasn’t born yesterday, Jaya. Shit, Garnalla used to find it hilarious to deck me when I wasn’t expecting it because she knew I wouldn’t hit back,” a dark smirk grows, “Until the day I’d had enough and put her on her ass. She wasn’t quite so keen after that.” Thereby giving knowledge that he’ll only take so much before gender no longer is an issue for him either. A low chuckle filters out for Jaya’s admission of having used physical aggression to work out a grudge with another and then his expression clouds, “Aye, he musta been real hot for you if he wanted you in the fucking rings.” Snort! But then he’s turning back to business with a mild shrug, “Don’t expect ‘em all to pull out. Just want ‘em to know that…I’m watching,” winking at the end there. As to putting informants into his opponent’s areas, a sly grin shows forth, “And that’s where you and Indira come in. You tell her where to place ‘em, and she’ll get ‘em in.” That grin, despite the hard edge widens as Jaya slowly starts to get what the aim of his rather macabre little exercise is, “Now you’re thinkin’, darlin’.” Giving a curt nod to Nabol being the best area of placement for said message, “This Serevan. What are the chances of an alliance with him? How does he roll?” Immediately setting to thinking of using the man’s network of informants already in place, to his own advantage.

"At least I know you didn't always have your hands intentionally tied to your side," Jaya drawls when Max admits what he does on the Lady Tillek, the smirk pulling upwards with a sardonic tilt. But then, on the account of Vaput, "Actually he was real hot for me enough to change his mind and keep me out of them," she corrects wryly to that. "A pity. I probably would have ran into you if he did." That then being the case of him and her perhaps sparring even back then. Back to business, "And they will want to let you know that they are doing the same," she counters on him sending messages to the north, her amusement lingering in her tone with the situation. Yeah. Somehow only a Bitran would find such serious business amusing. Maybe she is like Vaputero. At hearing his instructions to the informants he wants to send in, the barkeep nods once in her agreement with the move. "I'll draw up a list," she offers on locations, the woman already mentally putting together this list wordlessly, and her thoughts linger here even when Max starts to ask about the Nabol renegade. Her gaze unfocused as she shifts some thought to the dark-skinned man, "He won't," she seems quick to cut him down with an alliance with Serevan straight out. "Serevan doesn't like to get involved, shuga. He takes no sides. It's almost strange, even, but the other renegades wouldn't dare go against him. Not even Vaputero." Jaya's gaze focusing then to look pointedly at him, "He has people in every hold, hall and Weyr," she notes, her tone showing slight respect and awe for the Nabol man. "Can't keep nothing from him. That's why the others won't run on him. Serevan won't be a problem for you, as long as you don't create any with him. That's how he is. Harvis, on the other hand," and at this, the respect in her voice clears to something more casual and amusing once more, "he is a different matter. You'll like him. He doesn't kill or make crime for the sake of it. He's a good ally to have on your side. Has a few harpers in his pocket, and helps manage the docks from Ista to Nerat with Mek and Talia. Might want to reach out to him, even," she suggests then, regarding the beast manager considerably.

He can do little but utter a wry chuckle at Jaya’s dig at him, which deepens at thought of the two of them running into each other earlier if she had been put into the circuits. Given with quiet self-mocking amusement, “You think I can be a bastard now?” and he leaves it at that turning his focus back to the matter of networks and alliances. A soft snort erupts, “Ain’t looking to wine and dine the man or go up against him, just want to know if he’s one to make a run on Southern,” and cause trouble by trying to oust him from his new position. A brow goes up when she reveals the extent of Serevan’s network, “He sells his information to the others?” For if not, then he apparently doesn’t have a problem with the crime lord out of Nabol. Harvis’ dealings now that draws definite interest from Max, “He runs the docks, eh? Hmmm….might be a good one to engage in discussion at some point.” Adding as he reaches for the book and from a secreted pocket within its cover withdraws the slip of paper handed to him by Kelarad whilst in Telgar. Sliding it toward Jaya, “There’s still this little matter to clear up.” His tone indicating he’s still not happy about her making a run for the benefit of his debt with the Tillekian.

Jaya is easy on her laughter when Max counters, but she leaves it at that in such banter. She's rather enjoying the banter anyway, along with this side of Max that doesn't have her punching him in the nose. "He could care less who runs what," she continues to say on Serevan, her chi dropping so that she could fit a look onto the man. "So long as you don't try to take what's his." After a pause, "Met him a couple of times," she admits, blinking a few times at the memory. "Liked him. Remember asking myself why he's in this sort of business when he could be doing something more legit. He's that kind of man. Doesn't talk about himself all that much, and he doesn't sell any information unless you give good reason to." Her amusement ebbs somewhat at this, adding, "At most, he sells surface information," she reveals as she watches Max's expression. "Nothing damaging. The others will go to him and ask about you if Kelarad spreads our Telgar meeting around. Expect it. Serevan probably already knows about you, about me…" He probably knew intel on Vaputero and how to end him, too, but since it wasn't 'surface' information, the elder renegade wouldn't be the one to give it. As to the Istan renegade, "Harvis will help get you the information you need," she says with certainty than she does when talking about Serevan. "He's all about mediation and diplomacy. Has some pretty progressive views, too. Make him a priority of people to meet, beast manager." Then he's sliding over that slip of hide given from Kelarad and the woman leans over to pluck it from his fingers. Stealing a glance his way before reading the hide over, "Should be interesting," is her comment on the run, meeting his gaze again as she notes his tone. "Don't worry," she annunciates each word reassuringly in a lower voice. "I ain't the upstart tradergirl like I used to be. I can do this. I don't mind doing it. Guess I could make arrangements to get up towards Crom soon and get this over with." The sheet gets slipped away into one of her pockets.

As Jaya expands on Serevan, so the beast manager listening in silence becomes more intrigued, and then states in musing tone, "I think I want to meet him." Cleary not too bothered by the man's trade in information and whatever he might know about the goings on in Southern, indicated by the easy roll of shoulders. There was also always a chance he might even have information with regards to the events leading up to the last Hatching. An enigma with loose ends that still rankles Max no end for not having the answers to. "Need to meet with this Harvis too. Might be able to work something to get people moved in and out through the docks if he's holding the routes in his hands." Always looking for a way to safely move people around when the need arises. Lips press into a frown as Jaya inspects the instructions laid down on the piece of hide, "I ain't got no doubt you can. But you ain't going it alone. I want you to take Shijan with you, aye?" and then spoken low and sincerely, "Thank you, Jaya. For doing this for me. I…we…owe you a debt." Not expanding on whom the 'we' might encompass.

The lopsided grin returning upon Max wanting to meet the Nabol crimelord, "Send that dead body his way, and I have a keen feeling you will," Jaya remarks on that end wryly. She even nods in agreement on Harvis, though Max mentioning moving folks in and out of the docks has her frowning a bit. "Harvis won't mind," she says, "but you might run into problems with Timekis and Ritalia." Moving onto the run, the man mentioning Shijan has her rolling her eyes and straightening up from her slouch in the chair. "He better keep out of my way," she drawls, unfolding her arms as she finally gets to her feet. "I usually work alone for a reason." His thanks, however, brings a softness to her features briefly, the woman nodding again and moving away from the desk at the same time. "Figure I need to do something right at one point," she remarks with some wryness in her voice, and then she nods towards the unopened bottle and adds, "Not everyday a man does right by me, shuga. Things like that, I'll remember." Turning as she prepares to depart, "Come by the bar and we'll play cards," she speaks of his offers, the smirk lingering as she looks at Max over her shoulder. "I won't cheat," she adds with a wink.

Chuckling a little, “Said I wanted to meet the man, not piss him off. But if that’s what it takes to get a meeting with him then…” He’ll take his chances. A brow lifts and a faint smirk forms on her pointing out the two renegades that might have issue with him moving people about, “Not if I explain to Harvis what’s going on. But if those two have an issue with it, reckon we’ll have to come up with a way to have them seeing it our way, aye?” And there’s that strong willed determination coming into play again. As Jaya straightens in her chair low laughter follows her words on Shijan’s presence in her upcoming run, “This…is where you get to see why Indira keeps him around.” Spoken somewhat enigmatically for the particular skill set that is yet to be revealed, of the man currently playing her ‘bodyguard’. Dark eyes follow her move away toward the door of his office and a small appreciative smile shows itself as he nods in acceptance of the words given, “Glad to have you at my back, Jaya.” Sincere truth there. He doesn’t move from his seating however, legs lifting to park boots back on his desk as he reaches for that book again, a crooked grin twisting out, “You cheat and I’ll be sure to loosen the girth on your runner’s saddle.” The runner he has yet to procure for the woman.

"He won't leave Nabol just for a meeting," Jaya counters Max's statement with an open smile bearing teeth. "Something drastic will do it. As for Timekis and Ritalia?" darks eyes flick over Max briefly, "The only way Talia will see it your way is in your bed, and Mek is just far too unpredictable to know what the fuck would get him on board." Still, she seems optimistic in either case by tone alone, and his response on Shijan has interest peaking in her expression. She doesn't ask - she'll probably find out anyway - and she pauses from reaching the office door when Max gives genuine words to her having his back. Over her shoulder at his last, there's a rumbly-chuckle and the Bitran quips back, "You do that and you'll be needing to sanction a personal fight of your own - with you involved." Her amusement ebbing somewhat as a thought occurs to her, "Suli…" she could only get her name out, knowing the Telgari barmaid was a touchy subject with the beast manager, but Jaya knew that it would only be inevitable before this topic was brought up. She hesitates to bring her up now, only settling on saying her name before her lips close over it and she says, "We can discuss her another time."

“Something drastic. Like pissing the man off,” Max gives this short consideration and then shrugs with more ease than he likely feels, “Then so be it. I’ll get to work on procuring a corpse and we’ll take it from there.” Delightful topic. As to the other two renegades, he simply snorts at the idea of ever sharing a bed with Ritalia. As to Timekis? Well one can be sure that both will be lent some thought on how to get them to agree to let him have run through their territories when need be. Noting the interest peaking over the topic of Shijan, the beast manager simply sends a mysterious smile Jaya’s way. Indeed, she’ll find out for herself what the man is capable of. Teeth bare in a grin for the consequences of fiddling with the girth strap of her saddle, “Tit for tat, darlin’.” Suli’s name being brought up however, that draws the grin right off and pulls a heavy sigh from the man, “Aye, another time.” Frowning a little over the matter of how to pin what was looking to be a rather slippery individual, in the form of the Telgari barmaid, down. Opening his book and turning back to the page he’d been studying a hand lifts and flickers fingers at Jaya in a teasingly dismissive gesture, “Go on with you now, the boss has work to do.” Brat!

"Good," Jaya seems to sign off on there being a dead body, the Bitran perhaps far too used to the talk of them. She's easy to the rest of it, only resuming her walk to the stall door when Max teasingly dismisses her. She expressively rolls her eyes to the ceiling at his words, but her reaction is one of amusement rather than irritation. "Yeah, yeah," she drawls to that with a flick of her fingers - perhaps her version of a farewell as she opens the door. "Sweet 'work' dreams, boss." With that, the Bitran barkeep is through the door and closing it behind her to return to her bar for the night.

Closing Credits Music: Bon Jovi - It's My Life

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