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Aberrant: Stargate Universe - Snake in the Garden: The Other Shoe

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The Unas tipped her head back until she thought her neck would snap, his hands rough on her skin. His claws tangled in her hair and scraped at her scalp, letting her feel their sharpness. She already felt his strength in the rock-solid arms that restrained her and in the pressure he was using to keep her mouth open.

Relentlessly, her body cataloged and stored the assault, her fantastic senses telling her the exact texture of this Unas' skin. She'd be able to touch his hands years later and know that this was him; she could draw his fingerprints from the impressions he'd left on her face. The tip of a claw grazed her tongue, and she knew instantly everything that was on that claw. Had she not been petrified by fear, she would have protested that indignity; the Unas were not a hand-washing people, to judge by that claw.

And all the while, those frighteningly intelligent eyes had stood out in that animalistic face.

Then she felt hands on her neck. That hadn't happened, but her phobia was driving now, and it faithfully reproduced that Unas' hands on the one part of her that still sent her back to that night. And then the Unas whispered with Hatchins voice, "My advice to women, all women... don't tell me no."

With a whispered scream, Olivia woke up, her hands ripping the blanket away from her neck. She sat up, shivering, caught in an adrenaline rush. A glance at the clock told her it was just after four in the morning. Way too early to get up, but after a long moment, she acknowledged that she was too wound up to sleep. Kicking off her covers, she snagged her robe and put on her slippers and headed out of her room. She needed to be around people and she needed food. She was not only hungry, but the act of eating was a soothing activity.

The mess had just enough people in it to be comfortable, but not so many that she had to socialize. Nods to those she recognized - which was now a staggering number of people, thanks to the Artifact - fulfilled her social contact to those eating, and a bit of small talk satisfied the bored member of the kitchen staff. It was just early enough for hot food, and she waited while he scrambled some fresh eggs and got her some bacon. After she'd filled up her plate with this small snack, she took an empty table away from everyone else and started to eat.

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Things were indeed quiet in the mess hall. It was one of those lulls between shifts when few people were around, but thanks to the SGC's mission it's personnel kept strange hours and strange hours meant there always needed to be food available. It was a good thing too thought Staff Sgt. Hatchins. He'd been abruptly transferred from Afghanistan without a word of explanation to this top secret facility inside Cheyenne Mountain. He had known of Norad of course, everyone knew of it, but the SGC? He still didn't even know what the acronym stood for. Supposedly it was something to do with deep space astronomy or some such, but that's all the detail he'd been given before being bounced halfway around the world on a C130 cargo plane with less than a day's notice. It irked him too. He was having a good time over there. Combat regions always presented a man with opportunities if he was smart enough to spot them and flexible enough in outlook to exploit them.

Still, he'd been approached by a suit during the layover between connecting flights. The man had security clearance and credentials that would give Hatchins a nose bleed trying to read them they were so high. The man had offered him a sizable stipend that would more than make up for his loss of income from his Afganny side businesses. All he had to do was be a snitch and act as the suit's eyes in the facility. What could be easier, given the guy's credentials what he would be doing wouldn't even be illegal. It was a gravy assignment.

He'd only been in the SGC for less than a day and was impressed with the what he saw. As tight as security was here, there had to be people other than the suit willing to pay some big bucks for what he might learn... The thought of that kind of money made his stomach growl and he moved over to the airman manning the kitchen and gave the fellow a friendly smile and asked for a plate of whatever was hot. It always paid to make friends with the little folks, the ones that everyone ignored or treated like dirt. Those were the ones that could most easily be manipulated and could be counted on to do 'favors' for those they considered friends. All it cost was showing them a little respect.

Tray in hand he turned to the room and looked around at the other diners. A smile came to his face as he spotted a hottie at one of the tables sitting alone. She looked like his type. He didn't understand but he got an impression she would show some delightful fear given the right 'encouragement'. He wasn't sure why he thought that, but he had a gut feeling it was true. As he moved closer and sat his tray opposite of her at the table, he thought she looked familiar for some reason.

He didn't wait for invitation before sitting down. "Evenin ma'am. Hope you don't mind if I join you. Be shame to eat all alone in this big ol mess hall. This whole base seems so quiet after all the screams and bombs in Afghanistan. Bet you couldn't even hear someone scream in the next room with these thick walls." A sly smile touched his face, "I'm just sayin, seems awful quiet here."

Reaching out a hand, "I'm Hatchins. Staff Sgt. Hatchins that is. What's your name beautiful, I don't know your name, but I'm sure we've met somewhere before."

The more he looked at her and the fear behind her eyes he was sure he had. He couldn't seem to put a name to her though. He wanted to say it must have been when he was stationed in Cali. He'd had some fun times out there.

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She was still asleep. She had to be. This was a nightmare. She was just still asleep.

There was a fine trembling passing through her body, and she couldn't stop it. Like the rabbit hiding in the burrow, she froze for a long moment, staring at the hand offered as if it were a snake.

"What's the matter?" he asked. His dark eyes bore into hers. "Are you an officer? Do I need to be saluting?" There was a hint of mockery, as if he were saying that she should be in uniform to expect military courtesy.

"No," she said, though it was more of a whisper. She flinched when she realized what she'd said, even if it had been an honest answer to him. "I mean, I'm not an officer. I'm a civilian."

"So you can't shake my hand?" he pressed. "I'm a nice guy."

Liv stood up and slammed her tray over his head, and again and again and she didn't stop, ever.

Olivia shivered and blinked at the vividness of that urge, at the sheer desire to do just that. But she looked at his mass and she remembered how fast he could be and she knew she'd never land a blow.

She also knew that:

1) if Declan found him, he'd kill him, and then they'd put Declan away forever;

2) that if anyone else on her team caught wind of it, they'd kill him, too and someone would get put away;

3) that if Vinny learned of it, he'd probably kill him, though he might be too mad at her to care, but again, back to the being put away;

4) he was Air Force, and they couldn't really just kill him, but they might not consider that;

5) she should probably report this, but then people would know, and more killing would then happen as mentioned above; and

6) she needed to think, and that meant swallowing it down for now, getting through it and away from him - again - and working this out. She couldn't quite hear her more rational thoughts over the voice gibbering in fear in the back of her head.

Her brain processed this as rapidly as a hummingbird moved, so to Hatchins, almost no time passed. She took his hand and gave him the weakest handshake ever. "Olivia," she said, her voice tight. Her mind duly recorded the feel of him, the roughness of his skin, the chemical composition of the residue of life on his hands, the size of his pores. Please don't let all of that show up in my nightmares.

She hated him being here. It was like finding an used needle in your bed; the threats were supposed to come from outside the gate, not in here.

She could wake up any second now.

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It was delicious. He could almost smell her fear. Then he had it. He remembered, that worthless slime Bill had sold him a night with this little hottie in return for canceling his debt. The girl hadn't had a chance against him and it would have been four to one their word against hers had she ever reported it, but of course she hadn't. That wasn't the way for a hippy chick like her. The fear and shame kept them quiet. Besides, she could have fought back. She could have tried to run, not that it would have prevented what he'd done to her, but the fact that she hadn't meant that it wasn't rape as far as he was concerned. She'd been a willing participant as he saw it. Well, of course she wasn't really willing but it would have stood up in court and that's what counted. Even if she were to make a fuss now, there was nothing they could do to him.

Staff Sgt. Hatchins might be many things, but he wasn't stupid. He had a nice meal ticket here in this top secret facility and he wouldn't jeopardize that for a piece of tail, no matter how nice she screamed or cried. On the other hand, he could still have some fun with her and enjoy the terror he could inspire. That was better than the act anyway. He'd long since learned that. Hell, that was the thing he was going to miss most about not being on the front lines. Back home he had to be careful about who he messed with and how he went about it. Give it a month and he'd have a few friends among the lower ranks, folks like that cook, that everyone else looked down on... once he had a posse to alibi for him and assist his games he could have even more fun.

His little chocolate rabbit was trembling but hadn't fled to her burrow yet. Even so he was already planning his next steps... he'd have to find out who her friends were and how well she was connected then he could really get to work on some serious fun.

"So civilian Olivia, what's there to do for fun around here?" He looked at her hands and didn't see a ring and smiled that malevolent smile, "No husband? Couldn't find a man that could satisfy you?" Now for the final barb, "Nah, I doubt you'd have found any real men, a real man wouldn't let you get away, he wouldn't take "NO" for an answer."

*That should do it. Hatchins you are brilliant. No one hearing that could take offense, but his little Rabbit is going to be leaving a trail of pellets on her way out the door. Man this is gonna be fun! May not be able to do as I please here but the element of danger in the chase adds some excitement that was missing with the towel heads.*

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Her life here had been good and safe and he had ruined it, just by being here. A flare of anger burned in her belly; that he would dare to come and impugn her home, her place. But he was the one who taught her that anger only hurt her and she swallowed it, mostly.

Click to reveal.. (flashback)
"Liv," he said suddenly, "you been listening?"

"Huh?" she asked, blinking at him. Is his name Carl? Or was it Chris? The alcohol wasn't helping her focus, so she went with the truth. "Sorry, I like to focus on my drinking."

He reached out and took the cup from her, setting it on the table. "Well, you gotta hear this." Liv frowned at his rudeness, but didn't say anything. She was trying to be polite. "So I'm stationed in Thailand, and well, you've heard about the Bangkok whores, right?" Liv made a face but he pressed on. "So most of what you hear is true," he continued. "Those ladies will do anything for a buck. This one - she had eyes shaped like yours, Liv - was new or something. She didn't want to do something for me. Do you know what I did?"

"Found a lady-boy instead?" Liv asked coldly. This prick was stomping on her last nerve, as far as she was concerned.

He slapped her, hard and sudden. As Liv gasped and started to raise her hands, he said, "That's what I did."

"You fuck!" she shouted the second she recovered, trying to get up. He grabbed her and yanked her back down into the seat. His hand closed over her throat and Livy froze as the violence became serious.

"I'm not done with my story," he said calmly.

The better and more important question was: did he recognize her? His familiar and malicious grin hadn’t changed much from the moment he’d sat down but she suspected that he did. She needed to gain ground and some protection now, until she had a permanent plan. Her quick mind already had a couple of thoughts to earn her some breathing space.

“Fun?” she repeated. “I’m usually training with my team so I don’t have a lot of free time. I usually spend it researching. You’ll find that the Specialists are really busy around here. That’s my title, if you decide to address me by it.” He didn’t look surprised, so either he already knew she was a specialist or he didn’t know what specialist meant around SGC yet. She hoped it was the latter; the thought that he’d already been asking around about her was terrifying. It also meant that he knew she was helpless.

Not that he wouldn’t find that out eventually.

His eyes raked over her hands; she had just realized he’d been looking for a ring when he made his remark.

Click to reveal..
"So here's this whore, and she keeps telling me no," he said softly, leaning closer to Liv. "I don't like to hear that word. It's disrespectful to me, as a man. I mean... she's a whore." He ran a finger down the side of her face. She tried not to shake, but the other three men had stood, and they were drifting closer to her. "Where does she get off on saying no to me? So I hurt her, and hurt her good. My advice to women, all women... don't tell me no. I hate the word. Understand?"

The first tears fell as Liv nodded.

Again, her mind found the answer to his statement. “Actually,” she said, her voice shaking from fear but still clear, “I’m trying to decide between my current suitors.” Better to think her a whore than to think she was without defenders. “It’s hard to choose between good men, especially when they are all so caring and protective.”

Anger flared in her again, fueling her words. There was a touch of shock as she realized that she was fighting back against him, but that shock couldn’t register through her anger. She met his eyes boldly, willing him to understand the reality of the situation: this time, things were different, and he was in a far more precarious position than she.

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Hatchins just grinned. *Very good little rabbit. You've gained some spine but still smell your fear. That just makes the chase that much more fun.

"Well, now darlin, that sounds like you are a fortunate woman." The way he said 'woman' sounded an awful lot like 'whore' to Livy. Being new here an all, I find myself a bit lonely yet, but I'm sure that will change." Every word from his mouth seemed calculated and designed to stay just this side of the lines that could get a soldier brought up on charges. "If you get tired of those 'good' men of yours feel free to look me up. I've found that 'good' men don't really satisfy a..." He paused, obviously choosing his word. "Woman. No woman I've ever been with has forgotten the experience."

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He said the wrong thing. Words were important to Olivia; they defined her world and were symbols for her heart and feelings. When used correctly, they were the girders and foundations of her world; when used incorrectly, they were weapons that hurt.

"I am not your darling," she snapped, her voice hard with hurt and anger. She was Vinny's darling, or at least, she'd tolerate it from him but not this man. Her eyes flashed with anger as she glared at him, and in that moment, they both knew that the other remembered. Even as his words were proven right - she hadn't forgotten the 'experience' - she stood and said, "Sergeant, you will stay away from me."

Aware that the others in the room were watching this sudden, unexpected drama, she leaned forward and hissed, "You'll find my friends to be more powerful than you can imagine, and none of them are cowards. You are alone here. So remember - your continued freedom and life depends entirely on my sufferance, and silence. Don't talk to me, or about me. I'd ask if you understand, but it doesn't matter whether or not you do. This is your reality now." She gave him a cold smile, blood soaring through her veins at the high of defying him, of letting him know just how bad things were for him. She had a final parting shot, delivered at normal volume. "Welcome to the SGC, Sergeant."

Grabbing her tray, she swept out of the room, leaving him behind. Despite her brave words, she tensed, expecting him to follow her or attack her. She was shaking by the time she reached the elevators. It was only three levels to her room, but it felt much further. If he tried to follow her, she would take the stairs up to Level 21 and pretend to be sick. She could hide there, evade him. She could even call Damien to walk her back down to her room.

She just needed to get away from him physically. It wouldn’t be hard to find out his duty assignments, and then she could just avoid him. At least until she had her plans in place.

He’d learn one way or another that she wasn’t an easy victim anymore.

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Hatchins blinked trying to hide his astonishment at how the rabbit had suddenly become fierce. *Fucking bitch!* Her friends were powerful were they? Well, he'd see about that. Anyone could be taken down a notch or three if they pissed off the wrong people and by being the rabbit's protector they'd pissed off Hatchins. He figured three weeks to a month and he'd have his own little private army of folks who owed him favors or just plain felt loyal to him. Then he could use them to plant something incriminating in their rooms or lockers. Or perhaps they had skeletons in their closets that they wouldn't want the brass to know about. Besides, he had an ace up his sleeve. He had Mr. Suit backing him. Worse came to worse maybe he could get the IOA man to transfer her protectors out. That would be going to an awful lot of trouble for a piece of ass though. She had been a ton of fun that one time, but was she really worth that much? Probably not.

He chewed on the sandwich without really tasting it. *On the other hand, whore like that is really asking for what she gets.* He would ask around and find out about these friends of hers and if they weren't too much trouble he'd make a move. Or if they messed with him for her sake. If they did that then all bets were off. No one ever crossed him and got away with it.

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Gwyn had come from the pool, finishing his swim at 4am was getting to be a habit and it was usually quiet in the cafeteria, perfect for grabbing a coffee and a couple of doughnuts before heading back for some more reading until it was time for a proper breakfast with the team. He had spotted Olivia sitting with a man he didn't recognise when he entered but as he looked up from getting his coffee he saw her walking out, obviously agitated or upset by her conversation.

Ok, this guy has pissed the Doc off, but keep it cool and find out more about the guy. Perhaps he might let something slip about it.

Grabbing a couple of doughnuts he greets the guy on the till by name, it had been easy for him to learn everyones name with the odd hours he kept and his increased mental capacity, then heads over to the table that Olivia had just vacated. Looking the man over as he approached it was pretty obvious, even to his limited experience with the military, that this big guy was probably special forces or something.

"Hi there, mind if I join you? I always like to meet the new faces here."

The English accent would be the first thing that Hatchins notices, followed by the PT instructors build of the 6ft tall newcomer, muscular but agile looking. His BDU are neat, but his hair is still drying. On his chest is the simple tag of Specialist HG Jones, on one shoulder is the SG-21 team badge while the other has the Union (UK) flag.

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Hatchins was still thinking of how to torment Livy when he was thrown into shadow by the arrival of the big man. Hatchins respected nothing if not a man bigger and stronger than himself. So it was a friendly greeting that Gwyn received. "Staff Sgt. Carl Hatchins, newly stationed on base. Just back from Afganastan." He gestured to the newly vacated seat. "Take a load off. Specialist huh? This base seems to have a lot of em. I guess it has to do with the mission? Funny though, you look more like a regular grunt than a specialist. What's your specialty if it's not too classified for me to ask about?"

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"Afgahnistan? See much combat out there? What's your assignment here in the back of nowhere?"

This guy definitely looks the combat unit type, but if he hasn't heard of the Specialists he can't have had his orientation training yet. I wonder which of the teams he is assigned to?

"As to the specialist thing, yeah, there is a lot of scientists and stuff. I can tell you a bit about my speciality, but the rest will have to wait until you've had the briefings about the mission of the SGC and stuff. Not that you aren't cleared for it, you wouldn't have got here if you weren't, but it would take too long to explain everything."

Gwyn takes a bite of his dougnut and a swig of coffee before continuing. "I came to be working with the US military for my demolitions skill. I had already done some joint work with Los Alamos for my UK employer. Specifically I do nuclear bomb disarmament and disposal. I'm actually a civilian, but about a year ago I was teaching my skills to some Royal Marine Commandos, and now I'm here." He finishes with a smile and gestures with his mug to their surroundings.

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Hatchins chuckled, "Well, I don't know about back of nowhere. Norad's right next door, that's a pretty high profile posting. Even if this place is super top secret, that's gotta count for something."

He took another bite and chewed for a moment before answering with his mouth still full, "Well, being Air Force I didn't see as much combat as a marine or army grunt, but yeah, I saw some. Now they've got me doing crap work with the quartermaster's office. Not exactly what I'd prefer doing, but it's better than it could have been I guess." He swallowed his mouthful of sandwich and asked, "So what's a nuke disarmer have to do with deep space astronomy anyway? Why'd they pull you in?"

He was starting to get a bad feeling about this. There was more going on than looking at stars and he didn't have clearance for that. Not that he wouldn't take the opportunity to ferret out anything valuable he could, but if they stuck him here then maybe it was because he was expendable and he didn't like being used.

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Ok a combat gunt doesn't get transferred to QM unless he has pissed someone off or perhaps someone has decided to put a plant in here. If they did they've chosen the wrong guy he doesn't know what's going on and sticks out because of it. Perhaps that's what Olivia picked up on?

Gwyn leans forward and lowers his voice, "Combat team to Quartemasters? Shit man what did you do? It must have been something good. Get caught sleeping with one of the CO's mistresses? Selling booze to the Afghans? Selling equipment on the blackmarket? No, scratch that, they wouldn't have let you near the QM if it was the blackmarket."

He leans back to sitting straighter, "Anyway if you keep your official nose clean, you could get back onto a combat team here. You must have noticed some of the Marines and Army Rangers and shit they got wandering around the place? As I said I can't go into much of it until you get your orientation briefing. Lets just say that Roswell might have been right and not everyone out there is being friendly. The nuke disarming probably won't be needed, at least I hope not, but it means I got a degree in Physics and Electronics and I don't scare easily. It also means I'm used to spending days examining complex bits of kit with a tight timescale to get it figured out in."

If this guy does have any infractions on his record, and I would bet he does, then there is no way he got here on his own. This place normally only takes the best of the best, they got the whole US Armed Forces to choose from. Also it's suspicious that he doesn't know anything beyond the old astronomy cover even while he's here.

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Hatchins took another bite and chewed a bit unconcerned before answering, "Oh, I can keep my nose clean. That's not an issue for me. So how long before I get that briefing about what's going on here? Of course, coming from the QM's office I doubt I'll get the good juicy bits of intel. On the other hand the QM's always know more than people suspect. You can't do much without having to supply your people and what you supply em with tells a lot."

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Gwyn takes another bite of his doughnut and swig of coffee while Hatchins talks, swallowing before he answers, "Not being in your chain I can't say for sure, but I would have thought you couldn't be on site for more than a day or two before they would need to give it to you. After all you'd have spotted god knows how many things that don't make since if all we did was deep space astronomy. Thats not to say we don't do some of that, but just walking in here at one of th emore busy times and counting all the Marine and other rank badges would tell you something odd was going on."

After another swig of coffee he nods, "Oh yeah, you can tell a lot by what people are being issued with. Although the armoury isn't directly under the QM here as I understand it."

He sweeps his mug around, "Actually, given that it's all underground they've got a pretty good set up here. A good gym, decent pool and even a pretty good weapons range on one of the levels as well. That's if you are into all that stuff. Having said that it's a mixed base, as you must have noticed, and while the normal fratenisation within the chain is frowned upon, there are plenty of different work groups here."

He takes another swig, "I spotted you'd met one of the better looking ones before I came over. What'd you think of her?"

Lets see if there was anything else behind Olivia's agitation when she left.

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"Yes I did. If all the women on base are like her this will be a very interesting assignment." He didn't want to say to much. He smelled a rat and he was starting to think he was the cheese. He just happened to be assigned here to be a spy and just happened to run into a woman he'd had some not strictly legal fun with once upon a time. This on a base where he wouldn't have had the clearance level to even know it existed, and she just happened to be a civvy contractor, maybe an important one...

"So what's up with the specialists. I get that there is a lot of tech stuff here, but you, and the specialist that just left. You're foreign and she's a... well, she's not exactly what I would expect. The Air Force doesn't usually contract out work in the super secret facilities from what I've heard."

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"Oh she aint the hottest of them, although I'd say she's probably in the top 10 or so at a guess. What's more there's rumours putting her involved with at least 3 or more men, so you could take your chances, I've head others talking about it."

He finishes off his coffee, "Specialists are just that provif some special skill or ability that the Air Force reckons they really need for this project. Me, well as I said I'd already worked with Los Alamos, so I already had pretty high clearance. And the woman, Doctor Jenings-Inzumi, she was transfered from Area 51, so I assume she already had whatever clearance she needed to get in here as well."

He finishes the last of his second doughnut, "Well better get on, I'll see you around I keep odd hours so I'm sure we'll meet again sometime. Perhaps you'll have had that briefing and I can fill in some details for you."

Click to reveal..

Try to work out his reaction to the stuff about Olivia - does he recognise the name, the rumours about her etc.

Wits + Rapport = 5dice

(02:19:49) ChatBot: (Gwyn_Jones) rolls 5d10 and gets 2,7,6,6,10

2 sux

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Hatchins almost guffawed at hearing the hippy chick worked at Area 51, but the guy said it like it was no big deal. Of course he'd also mentioned something about Roswell. Either this guy was a joker and trying to pull one on the newbie, or he was hip deep in shit here. If he wasn't kidding and she was transferred from Area 51 to work here then that could be the reason for his own transfer. Maybe they wanted him to get info out of her about Area 51, or maybe they were just fucking with her by putting him here. He wasn't so sure he wanted to be part of that if it were true. Not that he gave a shit about the whore, but he didn't like being someone's puppet. He was used to being the puppet-master. The sandwich wasn't sitting so well now with the thoughts of what all this could mean. He was restless but had a good two hours to kill before he was scheduled to report for duty. The frown on his face made the kitchen guy blanch for a second before he realized it wasn't directed at him. Hatchin's never even noticed as he returned his tray and wandered out of the mess.

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