Logs:TSO-NOLA - A Family Matter

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TSO-NOLA - A Family Matter

Characters: Kara, Nikola, Michelle, Essie, Sterling and Mingzhu as ST
Date: 2020-07-12
Summary: Nikola receives an upsetting phone call from an Angel, Michelle gets a job offer, Sterling is sent upstairs for a bath.
Disclaimers: Mild Profanity

The Dome of Sins is always busy -- particularly around the slot machines, where even the poor can dream of striking it rich. And every now and then -- not often, but on occasion -- it does happen. Sunday, being God's Day, does occasionally bring God's Own Luck to the place. And sure enough, a siren begins to sound sometime around nine PM. A woman -- in her fifties -- jumps up from her spot at one of the slot machines as it lights up in front of her and actually screams "JAAAAACKPOT!"

Attention swerves toward her from all over the Casino. One such head belongs to Nikola Senjan, captain of the Regas Strabuloj and Sheriff of the Praxis of New Orleans. He is dressed in a charcoal gray, double-breasted suit this evening, with a carmine-shaded tie and a pale pink dress shirt -- exquisitely attired, really, if he were a 1950s gangster. Nikola begins to cut through the crowd toward the nice old lady, who's clutching her ticket. And already arguing with a younger woman, who's trying to make some sort of claim on her prize.

Essie's head swerves as well, as she winces slightly when that siren sounds, even well away from the slot machines over at the blackjack table. The distraction is enough to convince her to call it enough on the game. The house wins, yet again, and so she gets up without even a tiny bit of winnings to claim. "Shoulda known better than to push my luck on luck..." She mutters while giving another envious look over to where Nikola is heading towards the jackpot winner, a bit envious maybe.

If she was being honest with herself, Michelle wasn't quite sure how exactly she got here - but now that she was she didn't exactly care. This was the coolest casino she'd ever been to. Like some weird, epic, floating wonderland... Thing. So the young woman wanders about quietly, hands idly clasped behind her back as she looks about, distracted by almost everything. The ads. The TVs. Events she might be interested in but then realizes she has no idea what they're actually about, or where they are. Hmm. Being new in a city kind of sucks. Eventually, the multi-colored haired girl makes her way further in, the trusty camera strapped across her shoulder and hanging by her lower back. The sound of the 'jackpot' catches her attention just like everyone else, it seems, and her curiosity has her shuffling over closer to look. She stops a few feet from Essie and can't help but grin as she looks on, though she doesn't seem to be talking to anyone in particular. "Damn. Lucky git."

"Congratulations, madame! I am Captain Nikola Senjan. Let me esc--" Nikola is cut off as the younger woman, aggressively, intervenes. "That was my machine, I just let her play! It came up because I let her play on that pull. It oughta be mine!" The Captain of the Regas frowns, shaking his head subtly. "No, ma'am, that's not quite how it works..." But the young woman rides right over him. "I've been gaming here for years! I know the owner and the captain!"

"Do you, then?" Nikola looks confused, then amused. "I am Captain Senjan, and I do not know you." He lays a hand on the older woman's arm and begins, without ceremony, to lead her away. Coincidentally, they pass right by Essie and Michelle as the younger woman rushes up behind him, apparently intending to either continue the argument physically or, more wisely, very loudly. A crowd is beginning to gather.

The sight of a rather fancy camera, definitely catches Essie's attention and she blinks a little in surpirse. "Huh. Didn't know they let cameras and stuff in here..." The they might be those suited secruity staff. What casino isn't worried about folks counting cards somehow? As for the lucky winner, she gives a nod of agreement. "Yeah. Although who knows how much she might have paid to get to that luck..." Pessimistic much? But then there's the Nikola-led parade coming up past them and Essie winces as the woman looks like she's about to rush up on the captain. "That... that is definitely not the best choice." Not the one she would have made, but she'll happily be part of the peanute gallery to watch the bad decision play out!

The longer she stands there listening to the younger woman scream about the money being hers the more Michelle seems to reconsider her previous statement. "Or not so lucky," She adds, a bit mumbled under her breath as the scene takes place. It doesn't look like it's dying down, and a brow arches as she lifts herself once to bounce on the balls of her feet. How much money, exactly, had that person won? Enough to be upset over, apparently. The camera comment has her glancing back and down briefly, a frown touching her lips before she spares a quick glance at Essie. Mild confusion, and a second's worry. "Oh. Uh..." But they hadn't stopped her, or maybe they just hadn't noticed. Mental note not to use it - just in case. "I don-..." The words die off as Nikola passes by, followed by a small parade of jack-pot winner and angry youth. A step or two is taken back but there's a look of mild disgust at the behavior going on. "Rude." Under her breath, and then a little louder as her eyes find the Captain. "You want us to like - get security or something?" Shouldn't they have radios for that?

At the sound of the woman rushing up behind him, Nikola turns sharply on his heels. Just for a moment, the genial facade of the gorgeously-dressed casino manager with his plastic smile and his groomed beard...slips. There is something colder, something angrier, behind those twinkling dark eyes. The young woman walks full into that glare, stops cold. "Madam. Get off my boat." The words carry with them a harsh current of authority, a snap of command that cannot -- apparently -- be overriden even by this obnoxious woman.

She drops her head meekly after a moment and begins to depart, still muttering curses and imprecations at her elderly friend. The poor old woman looks -- well, a bit lost. Dejected. "I paid for it myself," she tells Nikola meekly. "I paid for the play. It was fair. Should I give her half?" Nikola touches her elbow lightly, assuring her, "Not on your life." He turns to smile at Essie and Michelle, responding to the latter's question. "It's quite alright. I do appreciate it. And I do ask that you not use that camera hile on the Casino Floor. Pictures of the cocktail lounges are, of course, quite acceptable."

It is at this point, when Nikola has just finished dealing with Miss Entitled over there, that one of his staff approaches. One of the waiters, and he's carrying a.. phone? "Sorry to bother you, Captain. But a call came through to the bar.. for you?" He sounds faintly perplexed, but offers the cordless phone over nonetheless. "It sounds urgent."

Essie gives a careless shrug for the reality of whether the jackpot winner is lucky or unlucky. Either way, they do get some entertainment out of it. Her eyes widen a bit as Nikola displays just how much the Captain's word is indeed Law upon this boat. "That is some impressive crowd control..." She sounds a little bit envious of it.

Yeah. Who needs security, anyways, when you have a stare like that? You know, the kind that makes you question your worth, or makes your heart stop for a beat or two, or hinders your ability to move. Probably... probably not this guy. The uh. Captain. Michelle is standing too close for comfort when he does that - and it's still a few feet away. Subconsciously her weight seems to shift back and just... stares. Even when it's said and done and the angry person skulks away, it takes Michelle a moment to realize he's even talking to her. About her camera. Well shit. "Okay." And it's a squeak of a breath, followed by a clearing of her throat and half-hearted, two finger salute. "You got it... Captain?" Unsure of how to address him, before she shoots an awkward glance towards with Essie with a matching shrug.

Descending the stairs that stretch all the way to the third floor of the opulent steamboat, mingling with those other patrons departing restaurants and quieter lounges in favor of the glamour and hustle of the casino below, Kara casts an appraising gaze over the Dome of Sins, moving at an unhurried pace. Attired only a little oddly, in comparison to those around her, the brunette manages to pull off her ensemble with enough aplomb to pass muster aboard the floating palace. A black slip dress falls to just above the knee, well-fitted though with a few telltale wrinkles to the skirt, creases suggesting perhaps she's been seated a while. Alas. It's paired, however, with an expensive looking pair of skyscraper heels and an exquisite suit jacket.. though the latter, to a keen eye, is blatantly of masculine cut, hanging too loose about her narrow shoulders and falling to mid-thigh. Well, perhaps her boyfriend lent it to her to keep the chill at bay or something. Wouldn't it be delightful to believe that chivalry isn't entirely dead?

Trailing a hand idly along the smooth, polished surface of the banister - just in case she needs the balance, presumably, given the constant ebb and sway of the decks underfoot, the young woman makes her way down to the main floor, her other hand smoothing her dark hair back from her face in an apparently habitual manner. That sort of 'I woke up like this' careless tousle ordinarily takes a considerable amount of effort, after all. Best to check it's remained perfectly in place. Kara draws to a halt momentarily, now that the steps have all been safely traversed, eyes of a dark-lashed hazel that leans toward an unusual honey gold drifting over her surroundings with the sort of hazy contemplation one might employ to disguise their being ever so slightly tipsy. Well, when in Rome.

There is a soft, almost purring voice on the other end of the line. Female, recognisable as the Angel, and speaking flawless Croatian. "Have you lost something, Captain?"

Nikola says "what the fuck do you want?"’ in Croatian.

From the phone: The Angel laughs quietly. "You took something of mine. I thought it only fair to take something of yours. The longer you hold onto what you took, the more you will lose."

Nikola responds in Croatian, ‘I am going to tie you to a cross on my docks, douse you in gasoline, and watch you burn in the predawn light."

Nikola stares after the departing woman for a few moments, making certain that she does indeed leave the ship. As the crewman comes up with the phone, Nikola accepts it. He does not lift it to his ear just yet, instead turning to answer Michelle. He sees the startled expression on her face, summons up his quick, sharp smile, tries his best to slip the mask right back over that brief expression of raw authority. "Nikola, please. We rarely stand on ceremony here." He smiles at Essie as well, replying "I developed quite a voice, back when I was serving on long-haul freighters. You deal with some rough customers."

He lifts the phone to his ear, turning slightly. His gaze falls on Kara as she passes through the Dome of Sins, trailing her with his eyes. He lifts a hand, beckoning her over, just as the phone reaches his ear. And then -- and then he goes very, very, still. There is a faint tremor in his hand. The smile remains in place, but only through sheer force of will. It's as though every other muscle in his face flees from it. When he answers, it's in -- if anyone speaks it -- Croatian. A short, curt, response to whatever has been said.

"Riiiiight," Essie sounds a little bit dubious that it was just the shipping experience that leads to such an air of authority, but she's not exactly gonna argue about it. When the phone is passed over, she turns ever so slightly but the background noise of the casino keeps even her cybernetically enhanced ears from picking up the conversation. Not like she'd understand it, being in Croatian. She turns instead to the slightly unsettled seeming Michelle. "So... you okay?"

Michelle shifts, her feet spinning in place to fully turn towards Essie - trying to divert her attention from the already sort-of scene, and leave the man to take his phone call in peace. She bites her lower lip and then almost laughs, a grin breaking through. "Fuck. Yeah. That was a little wild. Casino life, right?" Like she knew. She didn't. A few steps closer and her voice lowers just slightly. The attention isn't on them, anyways. "As intense as that was, I'd probably let him order me around. You know?" Hah. Right? Right...

The Angel mm's quietly. "Don't threaten me with a good time, Captain. Next, your ship might be the thing you lose."

Perhaps it's happenstance, perhaps the sheer weight of Nikola's gaze. Either way, the newly-arrived brunette catches the look, the beckoning gesture that follows.. and there's a visible, deep sigh that heaves her chest. Still, Kara starts in the Pirate Lord's direction only a splitsecond later, stillettos clacking their way across the dancefloor at the same measured pace as before. There's a curious glance offered toward the two women with the colorful hair, accompanied by a pleasant - if rather weary looking - curve of her lips in a smile. Does she work here, maybe? She has the distinct appearance of quiet authority possessed by those in such positions.. nothing compared to Nikola himself, obviously. Just.. understated self-possession. Not having ventured over, though, she has no chance to address the unfamiliar faces.

No, her steps carry her toward the tall Captain at his wordless request, a single brow arching in polite enquiry as she draws closer toward the spot where he stands, the telephone already at his ear. And then his expression changes. It's subtle. Most people would overlook it. He is, admittedly, awfully good at camouflaging his true nature behind that enigmatic mask. But she can tell; something is very wrong. There's a minute falter in her stride, as if for a fleeting moment she were reconsidering approaching him. But as ever, kindness wins out. The brunette's own features soften visibly as she comes to a halt before him, conveying a wordless 'what's wrong..?' with a searching gaze alone.

Nikola says, "I'm coming for you," in Croatian.

There's another quiet laugh from the Angel. "I'll see you soon, Captain. And you won't enjoy it when I do." *click*

Nikola rolls and succeeds to resist frenzy.

Kara rolls Empathy to note Nikola's Mood.

As Essie turns to talk with Michelle, it seems like Nikola may have heard the tale end of the multi-colored-hair photographer's comment, but he is focused entirely on what the voice on the other end of the phone has said. He responds again in Croatian as Kara begins to approach, staring at her. It's becoming obvious that something is wrong. His smile is vanishing, and he reaches out to take Kara's arm through the suit-coat, as though for support.

And another comment on the other end of the line. And Nikola responds again, still in Croatian. Everything else is forgotten. He's staring at Kara blankly, his lips barely moving as he responds. But there is anger in him now, or at least he has lost the capacity to conceal it. His hand is tightening around the cordless phone as though he wishes to take it and smash it against the deck. He refrains, but it seems... a close run thing. And then, apparently, the line goes dead. He stares at it for a moment, then turns and very carefully hands it back to his staff member.

Essie glances between Michelle and the very angry Captain on a phone call and gives a bit of a shrug. "Probably wouldn't recommend the whole yelling at him about a jackpot. At least not for that kinda order." She gives a wink and a pat to the taller woman's shoulder. "Good luck, photobug." And with that, the cyborg is taking herself out of the casino, having lost enough for one night.

How much does Michelle love the nickname 'photobug'? Like... a lot. There's a stupid little smile that lingers even after Essie's gone, followed by a mild frown that appears when she realizes she has no idea who that person was. That sucks. She liked her hair. A resigned sigh leaves her lips, her own finger coming up to twirl a strand of purple hair idly before she remembers - and spares a glance at the Captain and the phone call she was attempting to give him privacy for. It's a nosey sort of glance, really, but the intention is harmless. She should have probably just walked away.

The brunette doesn't protest at the grip taken upon her arm. As a matter of fact she's impressively unflinching in the face of Nikola's obviously rising ire, simply looking up at him with an expression of sombre concern. It really is a bitch, the burden of a soft heart. Leads one into all sorts of grim circumstances. Initially, while he's looking back at her, she knows full well he's not seeing her.. and she waits, patiently and silently, even as the call ends and he hands off the phone with such deliberate care. The tension emanates from the man in waves, frankly something of an assault on the senses for the young woman, who bites down gently on her lower lip. Hopefully the hand about her arm doesn't feel the urge to crush things quite so blatantly. She doesn't much fancy the bruises.

Kara allows a moment longer before speaking up, her voice kept low as she offeres merely his name, question and worry writ clearly across her tired features, as well as lacing her soft-spoken tone. "Nikola..?" The pronunciation of the Captain's name is near-perfect, though she clearly has no clue about the translation of this side of the conversation, judging by the way she's regarding him.

Even in those towering heels, he's taller. Her face is tilted upward toward him in this proximity, the angle casting odd light and shadow across her expression beneath the decadent mood lighting of the Dome. On the periphery of her vision, she's aware of that virbant mane nearby.. but her attention remains unwaveringly on her perhaps-employer for now.

Nikola stares blankly into Kara's face for a few moments as she looks up at him; he is, indeed, looking right through the striking brunette. His eyes are distant, his mouth slightly ajar, even after he has handed over the phone to his employee. The poor man has hurried away before Nikola finally responds to the voice prompting him to wake up, come back to the Land of the Living. Not that Nikola Senjan has been in the Land of the Living for some time. He blinks, refocusing, and it's as though he comes back to life. His chin lifts slightly as he looks down at Kara, absently relaxing his grip on her arm and smoothing the fabric of that exquisitely-tailored coat he had been man-handling.

"It's alright," he says quietly. And then, louder, to the small cluster of people still watching. "Just a family affair, everyone. I apologize for any concern or confusion that earlier incident may have caused. In case I was unclear, winners are always honored aboard the Regas Strabuloj." Right -- redirect attention from whatever the heck this was.

Sensing Michelle's glance, he looks over at her for a moment, blankly -- and then memory floods back in. Right, the photographer. One hand comes up, and he beckons her over, reinviting her to join the conversation. "Kara, young lady -- might I invite the two of you for a drink?"

The glance lingers a little longer only because she really doesn't think anyone's watching. She studies Nikola at first, gaze drifting idly over his attire before her attention shifts to the woman by his side. She seems so attentive that it has Michelle's head tipping just fractionally to the side, probably wondering what it's like to be on the receiving side of that. Her fingers twitch behind her back beside her camera with a sudden urge to capture that look forever, but as stealthy as Michelle can be with her photography, she knows she can't possibly manage that sort of feat at the moment. Besides... rule-following, and all that. Nikola beckons and Michelle stares at him before looking over her shoulder. Then back. Huh? Oh. Her? A double take back with a look of uncertainty before she steps forward, awkwardly, as if trying to confirm. "Wha-... Drinks? I mean..." A look to the woman, waiting for an objection of some sort. She's too pretty not to have an objection.

It's not alright. But this is perhaps neither the time nor place.. and so the brunette silently accepts Nikola's quiet dismissal of concern. For now. And at least he lets up in that grip on her arm, smoothing the oversized sleeve of 'her' jacket distractedly. Inclining her head just a fraction, Kara musters a slow smile as the Captain goes on to smoothe the situation as a whole, remaining unobtrusively before him while he addresses those nearby. Yes, there were a few sidelong, surreptitious looks. And some that were just overt.

Reaching to tuck a lock of dark hair back behind her ear, the young woman follows the gaze toward Michelle, the curve upon her lips twitching wider in a more genuine expression of warm greeting. No... this isn't the sort of woman to offer objection. There's actually something rather endearing about the lack of guile so apparent, in comparison to most other women in a place like this. If the Pirate Lord has an interest in the young lady with the spectacular hair, then that's reason aplenty for hospitality. And she's never one to turn down a curiosity, either.

Looking back up at the taller man, she moves to step aside out of his way, apparently not of a mind to object on her own part. "Sure." Maybe she'd honestly rather be certain that surge of temper is really passed before leaving him in a room full of people. Smart. Or foolish. Take your pick.

Nikola seems rather charmed by the young photographer's sudden case of shyness. He makes a big production of looking past her, all around, even raising one hand above his eyes like a sun-visor. And then, suddenly quite serious, he points his index finger at Michelle. "Yes. Drinks. Come along." The bearded man absently reaches to adjust his tie, tightening the Windsor knot carefully. For someone who had been, moments before, on the verge of some sort of rage, he now seems -- if not calm and collected, then more settled. Able to make a joke. If this is a mask, it's the sort of mask that adheres quite tightly.

He reaches to take hold of Kara's arm once again, this time lightly, at the elbow, like a proper gentleman. Escorting her toward one of the cocktail lounges, that just so happens to be behind where Michelle is standing, Nikola reaches out with his other hand. If she does not move out of the way, he will take her, too, by the elbow and begin guiding her toward that lounge.

"Frankly," he says -- there is, on close listening, a trace of an Eastern European accent to his voice -- "I could sit and watch two such lovely ladies as yourselves drink all night. It will be relaxing." And the man, no matter how carefully he is trying not to show it, is obviously in need of relaxation. His dark eyes flit past the pair of women, all around the room, noting the other occupants as they pass. It's subtle, but if a person is looking, they will see the sense of hyper-alertness.

It is perfectly logical to hear, and possibly smell Sterling before he enters the area. Slush-slush-slush of water inside shoes, and the rank smell of swamp water on him, the man looks like shit. While he did his best to wash off in the water, he's been sitting in a swamp for ten years and it's impossible to really smell like anything other than death (perhaps more literally in this case) after that. He has his own handsome face scrunched up, it's so quite unpleasant. He's wearing slacks, a collared shirt, and a blazer, business casual, with some loafers, every piece of which is coming apart at the seams. In the case of his left sleeves, both on the shirt and jacket, literally, having been ripped off.

He certainly is wildly out of place on multiple levels, but as soon as he's in the room he glances around. Seeing Nikola, he seems to have some level of familiarity with the man and walks over, but keeps a dozen paces away out of politeness. He raises his hands, shrugging and shaking his head slightly. "Is there...ahhh, somewhere I can deal with this bullshit?" he asks. "This was /not/ how I went to sleep." he says, sounding plenty grump - though clearly at his situation. He nods his head politely as well to Nikola's two companions. "I really cannot apologize enough, but hopefully I can give a better apology when I don't smell like alligator shit, if that's okay?"

No? No objection from the pretty lady. That's nice, and honestly, unexpected. Michelle returns the smile given, though seems a little amused from the bit of show Nikola had given just seconds prior. Okay, she gets it. He was talking to her. Fine, fine. She seems a little more at ease about it, her posture not so meek. She stands up straight, hands still clasped behind her back as she waits for their lead. "Then yeah. Sure." A nod is given as her gaze briefly falters, back to look around this place for - a bar, maybe. She's no idea where they're going. Michelle is clearly distracted, still trying to guess their drinking destination when the small party starts to move and the gentle pressure of Nikola's touch catches her attention. A blink and glance up, but she shifts without a word and starts to follow. When she said she'd take orders from him earlier - it was only supposed to be a joke. She looks like she's about to say something when the scent of old water seems to catch her attention before the source makes itself clear. He looks... drenched. And Michelle looks confused. "Who falls asleep in water?"

Unperturbed by the guidance of Nikola's hand at her elbow - it is, after all, rather a genteel affectation - the brunette allows herself to be led in the direction of the lounge without visible protest, those towering stillettos crossing the distance with the sort of delicate poise that only comes with years of practise. Honestly, up close it's perfectly apparent that Kara's tired. Despite the natural glamour of her features, there's a telling hollow quality about the eyes, a smudge of shadow, that betrays a need for a decent night's sleep. But she rallies, rather than argue with her handsome companion; shaking a few errant wisps of silky dark hair back out of her face as a subtle prompt to further wakefulness. It's certainly a contrast to the Pirate Lord's razor-edged awareness of their surroundings. The only thing she particularly bothers to focus on, initially, is the colourful photographer that's similarly drawn into the current of his forward momentum, doomed to be swept along until they run aground at a table. Well, her standard order is a Scotch on the rocks...

Pausing as another figure approaches the Captain of the Regas, Kara casts her honey-hued gaze toward the bedraggled newcomer; the arch of her dark, angular brows the only genuine giveaway of response to his appearance. She's nothing if not polite. But.. yes, that is a rather unforgettable sort of aroma. Gathering herself a splitsecond later, prompted by the at-odds eloquence of the man's manners, she returns the nod.. and subtly ensures her next inhalation is taken discreetly through parted lips. With the arm not currently held captive in Nikola's grasp, she tugs her too-large jacket more snugly about herself, wrapping it across her midsection and in about her waist, largely concealing the simple black dress beneath, if not her tanned legs. It's not done in a particularly defensive manner, mostly unthinking. And her words are directed to Sterling, when they're voiced, with apparently genuine concern. "Are you alright..?" There's no sign of injury, really. Just understandable displeasure. Perhaps he fell overboard.. but he looks more like he's been dredging the slurry at the depths of the Mississippi. When Michelle, too, speaks up, the brunette glances sidelong toward her with a momentary sense of solidarity for the forthright attitude. Gold star.

Some nights, a Sheriff just can't catch a break. If Nikola were a more expressive man, he would be slapping the heel of his palm to his forehead. Instead, he is no doubt marking out a list of frustrations for his therapist to sort out later. Nikola's Beast senses Sterling before he sees the man, and so he isn't entirely surprised. But the sight -- and smell of him -- are disconcerting. Marsh water is staining his gorgeous red carpets. The captain takes a look around, noting the way other customers are turning and staring. Noting the security guards closing in from three sides, big men in black suits, with flesh-toned earbuds. He raises a hand to his own earbud. "No need for that, gentlemen. I'll handle this."

It's a shame, really -- he had clearly enjoyed that moment of surprise from Michelle, had enjoyed escorting her and Kara toward this table. It's obvious that Nikola delights in being the peacock in the room, the man with the loveliest companions on his arms. Enjoys making a spectacle -- but in the right way. He leans aside to Kara, murmuring into her ear. "Why don't you two order a round of drinks? Ask her about her photography. Our last photographer relocated to Baton Rouge. Could be a stroke of luck for me. I will join you both in a moment." He draws out two chairs at the quiet table he's selected, gesturing for Michelle and Kara to have a seat. A cocktail waitress, her nametag reading 'Isobel', is already on her way over. Ah, so it was not some wicked plan, then, these drinks. Just a good old-fashioned employment interview.

Nikola turns toward Sterling, not speaking until he's almost within arm's reach of the other man. In mild tones, careful to keep his voice barely above a murmur, Nikola says "For tonight only, I'll arrange a hotel room and shower, and a change of clothing. But sir, this is not a charity. And you are drawing attention to yourself." The heavy emphasis on these last words is almost a hiss. "You should know better." This time, he's definitely issuing a warning. Where his displeasure had been remarkably evident earlier in the evening, it is a subtler thing now. He locks gazes with the newcomer, head canting faintly. "This won't happen again, or I'll have you barred from my establishment. Am I clear?"

Sterling looks at Michelle and his eyes go wide. "I /know/, right? I sure didn't! This is some real bullshit, and it is /not/ funny," he says, sounding irritated at the idea of someone playing some awful prank where he ends up in a swamp. The guy really does smell horrific, though. He turns to Kara and looks all the more guilty and ashamed. "I really can't emphasize how not-alright I am to be honest," he says. "I normally smell like roses and the perfume of the most exotic and beautiful of women such as yourselves, but it would appear that I have won...I don't know, what's the opposite of the lottery? The...shit-lottery?" he suggests. "I seem to have fallen off some sort of wagon." He quirks an eyebrow as Nikola approaches. "Oh absolutely. If this happens again, honestly, I'm as likely to set myself on fire as to even set foot in another establishment ever again." He glances about slightly, waiting for Nikola's instructions quite promptly to make his way somewhere else to remove himself - and that awful stench - from the present company.

This is weird. But... Michelle is okay with weird. Sometimes? Sometimes. The stare she gives Sterling when he responds to her question is blank at first, and then she's hiding back a laugh. Poorly. "I mean. It's a little funny..." She figures it's okay, to mumble that to herself at least, because of the way he responded. Annoyed but also - come on. This shit never happens. A quick bite to her lower lip and Michelle spares a glance to Kara before she tries to sober herself a little, realizing that maybe, truly, the situation isn't that funny at all. Because there Nikola goes, and the security guards and - shit. "Oops." Michelle busies herself with taking a seat instead, deciding that, maybe, just staying out of things that happen in this place is probably for the best.

Eyeing Nikola warily when he leans in her direction, the brunette he has on one arm nevertheless offers a nod of silent acceptance for the seemingly innocuous task she's given. Sit, drink, ask questions. All of those are very much in her wheelhouse. Still, her attention does wander rather inevitably back toward the newcomer as the Captain ushers she and Michelle forward to the selected table. There's a flicker of amusement in her dark-lashed eyes as Sterling waxes poetic about just how lovely he usually smells.. but she doesn't interject with anything further. Not when the bearded man is striding that way with purposeful intent. Leave it to him seems to be the best idea.

Easing down into one of the drawn chairs, waiting for the other young woman to join her, Kara settles herself, crossing her legs comfortably at the knee and glancing up to subtly greet the waitress who arrives. Is that swift down-up flit of her gaze born of recognition or curiosity? Either way.. "A Scotch on the rocks, with a twist, please. On the Captain's tab." Utterly unperturbed, it seems, about having Nikola pay for their drinks, she offers a calm smile of encouragement to Michelle in turn, leaving room for her newfound companion to place her order before venturing anything further. "Oh.. and I'd like some Chinese food. Send out for it, if you have to. I'm sure he won't mind." Isobel levels a distinct look upon the brunette, but doesn't argue. She just sighs audibly and heads off to see to it.

Clasping her hands loosely atop her uppermost knee, Kara returns her full attention to Michelle. And catches that hint of amusement still apparent in her expression, which she reflects in the quirk of her lips. Yeah.. not something you see every day. But she admirably keeps from actually chuckling aloud, focusing on the matter at hand as a diversion, perhaps. "So.. you're a photographer? What sort of work do you do? Oh.. and I'm Kara, by the way." Another of those megawatt smiles, this time with a flash of white teeth for good measure. Despite her visible fatigue, her interest and demeanour seem perfectly genuine.

Nikola nods faintly as he listens to Sterling, his features still closed off. But at least he's not having security escort the poor, stinking, man off the premises. Far from it, in fact. "Sometimes," he tells the gentleman in his rotting clothing, "There are simply few choices available to us. I am not entirely unsympathetic. Aaron." This is to one of the black-suited security guards, who has lingered nearby. "Please have the concierge arrange a room for our guest, on the house. And a change of clothes from the lost and found, please. Clean." A look to Sterling, his brows rising slightly. "I would go and get cleaned up. Aaron here will take care of you. "

And that, it seems, is that -- unless the other man has something to say. Nikola is turning away from him, walking back toward the table and the two young ladies he had just left without waiting for gratitude, or apologies, or arguments. He's still clearly within speaking distance, but seems to assume the matter is closed. Nikola draws out a third chair, settling down between them. Just for a moment, he allows himself to go utterly slack, his features as drawn as Kara's. He seems exhausted, almost despairing. And then the moment passes. Nikola perks himself back up, straightens, looks brightly between the two.

"So! Kara! Did I hear you ordering Chinese food?" He sends a glance after Isobel, where the young cocktail waitress is talking quietly into a cellphone, periodically sending Kara dirty looks. His gaze slowly returns to the golden-eyed brunette. "On my tab?" Amusement touches his voice, a brow rising slightly. He stares at her for a few moments longer than might strictly be comfortable, then looks to Michelle. "And you, miss? Have you had a chance to order a drink? I'm told our Cosmopolitans are excellent. May I see your camera, please?"

Sterling holds up his hands, palms forward and upwards in the traditional biblical pose. "I really cannot describe how sorry I am for the inconvenience. All of you, honestly. Foot massagaes for all of you, unless you prefer I just make fun of people you don't like instead. I'll tell them their roots are showing, or they have a muffin top. And the...ahhh, Captain here. Your hospitality is unsurpassed to allow such an interruption with such...what's the word...charity and lenity." He lowers his hands again and gives a warm smile. He looks at the security fellow and smiles. "What a strapping fellow you are. If I had my usual bits and pieces put together..." he says, lightly lifting the wet, torn sport coat's lapels slightly, "...I would provide you with a kerchief and some potpourri. As it is, I am afraid that...perhaps it'd be best to use the stairs? Preferably one we can set on fire afterwards?" he suggests. He looks back at the two women and Nikola, raising a hand for one single, sharp wave of the hand. "Mad'moiselles e' Mon'zeur..." he says in a surprisingly thick Cajun accent and voice, breaking with his previous much more high-society timbre. "If I do not see you again this evening, may you have a wonderful night, and if it's not wonderful, may it at least blow your fuckin' minds." He then turns to follow the nice Aaron fellow.

Sterling's flourish of a farewell earns him a smile from the brunette now seated at the table, golden hazel eyes flicking his way as he offers his hopes for the remainder of the evening aboard the Regas. Wonderful or fucking mind blowing. Quite the choice, that. If only she had any control over such things...

For her part, Kara ignores entirely the looks being sent her way from the young waitress. But her gaze does rise to regard Nikola as he rejoins their little group, expression perfectly composed as she holds that stare unwaveringly. "Yes, you did. I'm hungry." Hopefully he wasn't expecting contrite apology. What he gets is simple matter-of-fact, as if the explanation should have been perfectly apparent. After a moment more, also deliberately a little too long, she offers the man one of those serene smiles. Then and only then does she avert her eyes from him, settling her attention once more upon Michelle as the walking rainbow replies to the questions posed.

Michelle sits as Kara does, adjusting herself on the chair. The camera is still slung sideways about her shoulders and leans loosely against her hip. There's a few glances spared back towards the swamp-man and Nikola, because - curious. But she tries to re-focus once it's just her and the pretty Burnette, her light brown-gaze flickering over to the woman curiously. It's kind of a show on it's own, watching the way she interacts with the waitress. Michelle looks amused as she sits back into the chair comfortably with hands in her lap. "Yeah... uh." She takes a moment to think. "I'll just have whatever she's having. Like. Even the Chinese food." And there's no shame there, just a bright smile at poor Isobel. Seeming to wait until the waitress has cleared the table, Michelle's gaze turns towards Kara again with a brief glance down towards her camera. "Yeah. I mean. Mostly." It's a somewhat indifferent answer before she offers a small shrug. "Inbetween other jobs and all that. But I just..." Another pause, gaze still lingering down at the camera before it flickers up to offer Kara a simple smile. "Take pictures of what I like. People, mostly." Michelle adds, then glances up at Nikola re-joins them with a seat right inbetween. She can't help but stare for a moment, but again it's distracted by Sterling's grand fare-well. Michelle grins. "What a guy." She hopes he comes back. "I just - you know. Ordered what Kara ordered." And then she realizes, "Oh. Sorry. I'm Michelle." Leaning forward a bit, to re-introduce herself to Kara who had introduced herself a moment before. Then back to Nikola, a faint smirk on her lips as he asks about the camera. "Sorry. No photographs allowed. Captains orders." But really, it's right next to him. The strap clip is even accessible from where he's sitting.

Sterling's flourish of a farewell earns him a smile from the brunette now seated at the table, golden hazel eyes flicking his way as he offers his hopes for the remainder of the evening aboard the Regas. Wonderful or fucking mind blowing. Quite the choice, that. If only she had any control over such things...

For her part, Kara ignores entirely the looks being sent her way from the young waitress. But her gaze does rise to regard Nikola as he rejoins their little group, expression perfectly composed as she holds that stare unwaveringly. "Yes, you did. I'm hungry." Hopefully he wasn't expecting contrite apology. What he gets is simple matter-of-fact, as if the explanation should have been perfectly apparent. After a moment more, also deliberately a little too long, she offers the man one of those serene smiles. Then and only then does she avert her eyes from him, settling her attention once more upon Michelle as the walking rainbow replies to the questions posed. The unhesitating manner in which she orders the same actually provokes a more genuinely wicked curve of a smile across the brunette's expressive lips, vaguely triumphant as it carries on over to Nikola, in turn. Yes. He can treat them both to dinner. Why not?

Besides.. now he has his answer, after a fashion, in regard to what it is Michelle does. Pictures, mostly of people. Little wonder she's so fascinated with the dashing Captain's good looks. Though, Kara cannot help but imagine there might have been some interesting editorial style snaps taken of Sterling, were it permitted. Maybe another time..

Nikola glances back over his shoulder at Aaron, summoning up a weary smile at the man's profusions. It seems to calm him down a bit, this overexaggerated politeness. That ending even elicits a small laugh. "Yes. Have a good evening." Aaron does, to his credit, turn out to be a rather nice big strapping man. "Yeah? I'm sure I'd like that." He leads Sterling to the concierge desk, speaks quietly with an attractive young woman seated behind the counter, turns and hands Sterling a key. "Stairs are just over there." A quick finger in the direction of the staircase up to the third floor. "Feel free to take a shower, man. Or a bath." The big security guard grins -- there's no meanness in it, just good humor -- "Or both. Toss your clothes in a trash bag. We'll have some basics brought up, along with a shaving kit and a toothbrush, shit like that."

Back at the table, Nikola looks attentively between Michelle and Kara. Her stare seems to go unnoticed, or at least unremarked upon. He's probably used to people being astonished at his outright arrogance. Kara's moment of defiance -- the way she holds his stare -- garner another smile, this one a bit sharp, though still good humored. "Fair enough," he tells her. When Michelle follows suit, however, Nikola turns back to Kara, offering the brunette a look of asperity, as if to say Do you see what you've done?

And then, without warning or apology, he leans down and snags the strap, deftly thumbing the clip. He's careful not to damage the expensive device as he hoists it up into his hands. After a few moments of pressing at buttons, Nikola begins to flip through the pictures, inspecting them curiously. He speaks without looking up. "Would you like a job? Five nights a week, eight PM to closing. Customer photos, Instagram photos. Whatever takes your fancy."

Sterling nods his head. He keeps his distance from the woman behind the counter. "A lovely young lady named 'Melanie' will be showing up with a few of my things in a bit, I suspect. Can you send those up instead? Some personal effects is all, a change of clothes," he explains. Afterwards he makes his way off to his room to try and soak long enough to get rid of that horrid smell.

Michelle isn't expecting that. There's a look of momentary disbelief on her expression, clear as day as Nikola takes her camera. She doesn't even know how he did it - shes struggled with that clip so much she doesn't even use it anymore. "Hey - rude." And it's almost a scoff, but not quite, and while she does wrinkle her nose in a mild annoyance and slumps a bit further in her chair, Michelle is too distracted with her device in his hands to say much more, or to actually stay upset, mild as it was. Part of her is watching to make sure her camera stays safe, the other is curious - glancing between his expression and the screen he's looking at. Her pictures, even unedited, are heavy on lighting. Mood. People - mostly those caught up in a single moment. Unknowing, or maybe just having looked away briefly. Unsurprisingly, when scenery is available, it seems to be of the immediate area. And then... a job offer. An eyebrow arches as she considers, lower lip being sucked in a bit between her teeth. "Fuck. Really? I mean..." Tone turns thoughtful. Her gaze drifts back towards the area they'd first met. The casino floor and the big scene. Suddenly she's grinning, one eye closing in a half-squint as she looks back at him. "Alright. But I'm allowed to take pictures on the casino floor." Non negotiable! Maybe? Maybe.

This isn't Kara's area, nor her business. The brunette seems content enough to people watch, allowing the conversation to drift over her and reclining a little further in her chair. She doesn, however, smirk faintly at several points made by the photographer.. particularly the apparent caveat added to the terms of the offered employment. Her gaze, though remains elsewhere; a visible implication that she's not really eavesdropping. Much. Hey, she's just innocently awaiting the arrival of a mountain of takeout.

Nikola does seem to actually appreciate the photography. His brow raises as he looks at a few of the choices Michelle makes, but he doesn't seem displeased. He glances up periodically, noting her quickly-diminishing annoyance -- what little there was of it, to begin with. The suited sea captain eventually seems satisfied, laying the camera on the table between he and Michelle -- perhaps pointedly, not returning it to her directly.

"We'll discuss terms more fully tomorrow. Or the next day. I'll have a few conditions of my own, and I expect that you want to hear about wages." Nikola flashes another smile, this one friendly, even -- even benign. He looks over at Kara for a few beats as she falls silent, studying her features in profile. But then, Nikola seems capable of carrying a dinner party all on his lonesome -- or at least, he's capable of talking a great deal. Whether it's charming or not remains to be seen.

As they wait for the Chinese food -- the Scotch is set down by a sulky Isobel, whom Nikola greets with a polite nod -- he launches into a tall tale. Apparently, no shit, he once captained a crew of Somali pirates. This can't possibly be true. Can it?