Off Waterbug Way

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For background: This vignette takes place on 06/26/5120. Socius, onetime leader of Mist Harbor, had a bounty out on him due to crimes he had committed [1] after losing his memory [2]. Many of his supporters sought to protect him.

Juspera lay back in the rope hammock, lacing her fingers behind her head. From her position off Waterbug Way, slung between two trees that strove to reclaim the little alley, she could hear everything in the street -- breezes hustling palm leaves down to the sea, gulls pecking at refuse. If people happened to wander through, she'd know it. If they happened to be trading murmurs about the island's little problem, all the better.

In the fading light, she spied something light-colored under a low plant and leaned over to seize it between two fingers, grabbing quickly at a nearby branch when the hammock threatened to dump her. Regaining her balance, she examined the item. It was another of those leaflets that had been all over the place a week ago, until they mostly found their way into the ocean. This one had been softened somewhat by the week's weather.

She scanned the words she was already familiar with, snorting. Obviously, Socius was innocent. No man who didn't even know who he was could be guilty. Who could they even prosecute? There was no one there; not yet. Speaking of which... she needed to check with Akenna on how his memory was coming along. The man had to be kept safe until he was himself again, and could tell them...

She lay the paper on her palm, pulling out some loose tobacco and sprinkling it in a line down the surface. She rolled it with deft, practiced motions, then clamped it between her lips as she took out her matchbook and lit a match. Holding the match to her makeshift cigar, she watched the paper take flame, just where the word "Please" was scrawled. Then she inhaled, blowing the smoke out in two streams from her nostrils.

Night falls quickly in the tropics. In a few minutes more, all that could be seen of her was the little glow that materialized whenever she drew another puff. She settled in for the night, ears alert.