Homecoming (Closed)


Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
September 1st, OE 102
Prosperity Outskirts
3:18 PM


It hadn't changed at all.

The wind rustled her hair, dust lapping at the end of her boots as Eris Pseudea moved past the creaky, wooden gate. The mid-day sun hung over the ranch, located just outside of Prosperity. Behind her, the gangly form of the Bellzelute rested in a crouch, its figure shrouded with protective dust filters and a cape designed to keep out the dust... Not, she knew, that it would help much. It always found a way in, no matter what you did.

She patted the head of a curious cow that had come up to the side of its pen, its wet eyes following her suspiciously as she stepped up onto the porch. She took a deep breath, clutching the package under her arm closer.

Her hand reached up to the door to knock... and faltered. She closed her eyes... and let her shoulders sink, and her forehead fall to rest gently against the door, feeling the sweat trickling down her neck from the heat.

"...What am I doing?" She said to herself, softly.

One year ago, she had left this place in the dead of night. She'd slipped out of the window, into the refreshing cold, clutching a bag that held all the money and valuables she could carry... including those from the family safe. She needed to get out of there. She didn't owe these people anything. That was what she had told herself at the time, how she had rationalized it. That money had bought her a one way ticket out of Prosperity, a used Axio... and freedom.

Now here she was, back at their doorstep.

She took the package out in her hands, hesitantly. She could just leave it there, and make a run for it. There was no need to face her crimes just yet-


At the sound of that familiar, gravely voice, she snapped to attention. There was a clatter as something dropped to the dirt below.

Sheriff Moss trudged around the corner of the building into full view, squinting in the sunlight. His features were tired and worn - but very much exactly as she remembered him, the picture of fatherliness. For a moment, both regarded one another in shocked silence.

"Is that really you?" He asked, uncertainly.

She gave a long, slow sigh, and closed her eyes.



Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
Moss Residence
4:05 PM

The scent of brewing coffee was heavy on the air, mixed with the pleasant aroma of chili, beans, and roasted beef. Eris sat quietly at the dinner table, as Moss placed a hefty plate before her, where peas, potatoes, sliced brisket and baked beans were nestled between a small mountain of mashed potato, peas, and spinach. After weeks of eating nothing but synthetics... it was a feast to die for.

All the same, her appetite failed her,

"You left so suddenly." Said Moss, taking his own seat opposite her. There were two empty seats on the other side of the table, a heavy layer of dust frosting their backs.

"We were worried about you."

Eris blinked, slowly, prodding at her plate gingerly.

"The Missus around?" She asked, as she turned over a carrot.

"We parted ways."

Her fork slowed its venture, and she lowered her eyes.


Moss just gave a low chuckle, and a sigh of his own as he worked on his own plate with the appetite of a man who'd been working eighteen hour days ever since the Shura had made their presence known.

"It was amicable-like. Wasn't because of you." He said,

"Sometimes these things just happen."

Eris let the silence settle in once more, before placing the package she had brought on the table, pushing it towards Moss.


The Sheriff paused his meal, looking at it bemusedly. He tugged at a corner of the paper - and a collection of thin, red plastic bills spilled out across the table.

"What's this?" He muttered, picking up the closest one between thumb and forefinger.

"Repayment." Said Eris, bluntly.

"I'm not a thief. That's twice what I borrowed."

The girl had an interesting concept of "borrowing", the man thought as he lifted the package experimentally. It was heavy.

"I don't need-" He started, but her answer was immediate, rising to hold the bills in place, determination flashing in her eyes.

"You do." She said;

"Don't lie to me."

Moss's eyes met hers... but only briefly. Uncharacteristically, he gave a shrug.

"I don't get to say no here, do I?"

Eris slipped back down into her seat, relinquishing her grip as she returned to her food.

"You don't."

"Thank you, then."

Silence settled in once more over the table. This time, she ate quietly, and Moss simply watched, deep in thought. Was this how she wanted to leave it? He picked up his coffee, swilling the dark liquid at the bottom of the cup, and wincing a little at the taste. He'd burned it.

"Never said why you left."

"You know why."

"You could shoot. Could ride. N'body had nothing bad to say about you. Seemed like you were happy here."

Eris paused, letting her fork hover over a half-finished piece of meat. She didn't meet his eyes as he spoke, shaking his head slowly.

"When you showed up... It felt like God was giving us another chance."

Moss rose, moving across the dim room to pick up a picture. Himself, his wife... and their daughter, in uniform. He wasn't smiling. Back then, he thought, if he'd known what he did now, he'd have tried to smile more.

"Like a bit of her... had come back to us."

A terrorist attack. An act of vengeance for the war. Just some angry kids lashing out, but the consequences had been dire. An explosion, a car bomb he was told. Wasn't enough left of her to put in a matchbox. That was when they'd left for Mars... Trying to start over. To forget.

"And that... Wasn't really fair to you." He concluded, sitting back at the table where she remained, motionless.

"Can you really blame me, though?"

"Shut up."


A steak knife sunk into the table, silver blade glinting in the low light. Eris rose in her seat, shoulders shaking with barely-suppressed anger. How long had she been waiting for this conversation? This confrontation? How many times had she played it all out in her mind, over and over - and that was how he wanted to end it? With a folksy shrug?

"I hate how you talk to me." She said, fighting the urge to clench her teeth.

"I always hated it."

Her hands curled into fists on the table as she glared at Moss.

"I hate how you projected your little fantasy onto me. Like I was supposed to play along, and be your perfect little... replacement."

She practically spat the word in contempt, face morphing into one of disgust.

"People don't just come back from the dead. You think God was rewarding you, is that it? For what? Your folksy cowboy act?"

Eris shook her head... and sunk back down into her chair.

"No God up there gives a damn about you, Moss." She said, quietly.

"Or me, for that matter."


Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
Silence once again settled in. Moss hadn't filnched as she'd lashed out, as stoic and immovable as a granite wall. Just when it felt as if the quiet couldn't be bore for a second longer, he finally spoke.

"I'm sorry."

"Stop that."

There was a gentle plip noise. A droplet meeting the plate's surface. Eris' face dipped into her hands, as if trying to block out the outside world.

"Stop... apologizing to me." She whispered.

A little too late, now. Her eyes and throat burned. All the familiar sounds, scents, and sights... it was all just too much. She'd left behind a life of warmth and comfort for what? Freedom? Drifting through the dark void of space, with her only value being that of a killer? How often had she lied awake in a spaceship enduring spiteful dreams of blue skies, of home-cooked food, and the closest thing to parents she'd ever known? How much had she missed all of this, the first time she had stood over a cold, lifeless body, the product of her own handiwork?

"You could have stopped me from leaving." She said, hoarsely.

"You didn't even try. I wish you had. I... was happy. I really... really was..."

Her voice cracked, and gave out in her throat. The fatigue of the day washed over her, and she pulled her limbs inward, as if into a little ball. Everything was rushing in all at once, and there wasn't anything she could do to stop the tears from falling. Not anymore.

September 2nd, OE 102
Moss Residence
7:30 AM


Frying bacon was easy, thought Sheriff Moss as he cracked another egg into the pan over the outdoor fire pit. Not like women at all. With everything else going on, he still had to finalize the paperwork to bring that relic out of storage - but he'd managed to at least make sure Iris was taken care of, letting the poor girl rest overnight in one of the guest rooms.

Nothing he said, after all, could have made a difference. "What if" was a phrase that only ever brought misery.

At length, as he worked the pan over the flames, he felt her eyes on him. Sure enough, there she was, leaning against the house exterior. Despite looking a little bedraggled, there was no loss of intensity in her eyes... or her voice.

"I'm going back to Deimos."

She folded her arms, looking at the pan skeptically, adding lamely:

"Just... thought you should know."

Moss flipped the eggs in it expertly onto a waiting plate. He'd had a long time to get his technique right.

"Back to your kind, huh?"

Eris blinked, slowly, suppressing a small gasp.

"You knew."

Moss smiled and sat back on a makeshift seat of cinderblocks, proferring a plate to Eris, who took it gratefully.

"Hey, I'm smarter than I look. Give the old man some credit."

This time, they ate together in comfortable silence. It was as if a weight had been lifted somehow, he felt... Yet, there was an eerie feeling hanging over her. No, not just Eris - everything, all the bizarre news from Earth, the Shura arriving... Was all of it connected, he wondered?

"Something big's happening, isn't it?" He said, finally.

Eris only nodded, solemnly.

"Can you tell me what?"

"I can't. It's..." - She paused, a piece of bacon half in her mouth as she tried to find the words;

"It's like singing a song. One that you're making up as you go along. Even I don't know what will happen, exactly. Only... That it's what I was born to do."

Moss raised his eyebrows at her wording. Somewhere in the distance, a bird trilled a morning greeting to its mate.

"A song, huh?" He said, thoughtfully.

"It got a happy ending?"

Eris gave a short laugh... but smiled, somehow.

"I hope so."

Putting down her plate, she stepped past Moss and his makeshift barbecue pit, giving him an awkward nod.

"Sorry. I need to get going... Sir."


Behind her, the sun was rising. There was a curious sense of finality to her words, but he couldn't quite place it. Almost on impulse, he practically blurted out as she turned away:

"When you get back... Let's talk again."

She stopped momentarily, surprise written on her features like a delicate porcelain drawing. Moss dusted his hands off, and folded his arms. He gave her a grin that was full of the confidence he wished to impart.

"This'll always be your home! Don't forget it!"

In response... the mercenary nodded, a little color in her cheeks as she strode back to the silver-clad archer on the horizon.

It was time to get going.