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Firefly: Opportunity

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By the time Lawrence finished his bean paste and rice, the alarm went off, causing tingles to run down his back. What happened? Oh, for the love of ravioli, Lawrence crossed his fingers to assure himself that the freaking engine wasn't going wacko or anything. Heck, he was just making adjustments to it earlier in the day!

 

"Oh dear, not the engine, not the engine," Lawrence chanted as he walked over to a trash can to dispose of his "meal." That is, until the intercom turned on, and relayed a message:

 

"This is First Mate Malcom Bution. False Alarm everyone, I repeat, False Alarm. You may now go back to sleep or your book or whatever you are doing."

 

"Thanks for letting us know!" he yelled sarcastically at the intercom in the mess hall.

 

'Back to the engine room, I guess,' Lawrence thought. Once Lawrence pulled his scarf to cover the lower portion of his face, he made a sharp right turn, and began his journey back to the room.

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Xiao stood in the hallway and watched the green-haired girl - 'Luna', she vaguely remembered her name was - move out of sight. Still disoriented by the blaring sound and bombarded by memories, she didn't move until the siren stopped and a voice - 'Malcolm, the First Mate' she reminded herself - announced a false alarm. Even then, it took her a while to remember where she was going and it wasn't until her stomach growled again, that she continued on her way to the mess hall. By now the place was blessedly empty and she got herself a small plate of lukewarm rice and beanpaste, before taking a seat at the far side of the table and beginning her meal.

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Jay had done as much as he could for the moment: the engines were running smoothly and they were burning fuel at an acceptable rate; the course was plotted and he had sent the old lady off to the planet Lilac; and his other adjustments had to prove themselves in the course of the journey. Satisfied for now, he headed back to the galley to grab a second helping of the delicious meal, hoping no-one else was going to wave guns in his face today.

 

As he entered the galley, he noticed the young woman in the corner. She looked familiar. He smiled at her, but turned to what was left of the food and plated up another heap of beans and rice. All the while trying to remember where he recognized her from.

 

He sighed, tired. I need a cold beer. he thought as he tried to clear his mind.

Edited by Biologist

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A decade had passed since Xiao last saw Jay, but she recognized him immediately even if ten years of hard life (and more than a little gambling and drinking, Xiao suspected) had aged his features. She could also see that he did not recognize her, but she knew he'd piece it together eventually - Jay wasn't the *quickest* thinker, but he wasn't stupid. She considered 'retreating' to her shuttle until they reached Lilac and disembarking there, but discarded the idea; it had been hard enough to find a captain willing to take both her and her shuttle on board in a reasonably busy spaceport - attempting the same on Lilac could result in her having to leave the shuttle behind or not finding new passage at all. Since that effectively left her with the only option of staying on board with Jay and even *she* did not relish the thought of being cooped up inside her shuttle indefinitely, she decided it would be best to take the bull by the horns.

 

Leaving her discarded meal at the table, she rose and approached Jay. Extending her hand, she introduced herself: "I don't believe we've met before? I'm Li Xiao -" she inclined her head almost imperceptibly to emphasize her last name as Li "- a passenger on this ship."

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Ronon

 

Ronon lifted his energy magnum from the workbench, finally satisfied with his work on it. As he flipped through the different weapon settings on it to test if they were working properly, he found everything in order as it chimed each time it was switched from stun, kill, and incinerate. Deactivating the weapon, Ronon spun it around a few times in his hand, feeling the familiar weight, and was pleased to find that the balance on it had not shifted at all. Slipping it into his holster, he exited his cabin to wander around the ship for a time.

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Leaving her discarded meal at the table, she rose and approached Jay. Extending her hand, she introduced herself: "I don't believe we've met before? I'm Li Xiao -" she inclined her head almost imperceptibly to emphasize her last name as Li "- a passenger on this ship."

Jay took her hand and shook it firmly.

 

When the woman rose from the table he was still racking his brain, but when she introduced herself, he remembered. It had been ten years since he had last seen her and she had changed from a skinny teen into a mature woman (albeit still on the skinny side). She had introduced herself with a different name, though, so he suspected she had started a new life. Good for her. he thought We all try to escape that past. He decided to keep her secret and answered her: "Nice to meet you, Li, I'm Jay." He allowed himself a small smile.

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"Nice to meet you, Li, I'm Jay."

 

Xiao was satisfied to Jay seemed willing to keep her secret, but had to stop herself from correcting him (how often had she done that in the past already?) that Li was her last name and Xiao her given name.

 

"Well met, Jay. Will you be staying aboard the Opportunity for long?" She wasn't sure if she was hoping he'd leave at the next port, or stay a little longer. They'd gotten along before, but he was a painful reminder of her crimes; she welcomed the dead into her life as punishment, but dealing with the few living was almost more than she could bear.

Edited by Mistress of Whispers

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Jay grinned, thinking back to what had just transpired. "Well, I started out as one of the passengers too, but it seemed the captain was looking for a pilot. I guess I impressed her when I showed her what I can do with this ol' lady". He patted the wall of the galley. "So, I'm staying. At least until the captain fires me." He added with a chuckle. "She seems like a tough woman, that one, from the little she said to me. Half of it was an order, the other half a threat." He laughed. "I think we'll get along nicely."

 

Jay's mood was high. He just went from a man on the run without money or home to a crewmember - a pilot no less - with three meals a day AND a paycheque. He took a big bite of the bean paste. "What about you? You gettin' off somewhere or are you stayin'?"

 

He had mixed feelings about meeting Xiao again. He was glad to see a familiar face, one he could trust - ten years ago, admittedly. But she also brought with her some memories he had tried to drown out for the past decade. His good mood tipped the scales, though, and he hoped she'd stay a bit longer. If she could start over, maybe there was still hope for him.

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"Don't worry about it." Even when the words were passive, her voice made them an order. Perhaps it was her upbringing on an unforgiving world with a passionate hatred toward half the 'verse, perhaps it was just her position of authority. Or...perhaps it was neither. Perhaps she liked to see people grind their teeth and struggle under her big, black boot... NO! Not again... She wouldn't slip into those thought again. She wouldn't let her brief sanity be stained by sadistic thoughts of torture. But she would get back at the Alliance.

That was her greatest weakness, wasn't it? She just couldn't be satisfied to let a sleeping dog lie. No. She had to be a part of it. She had to have the last word. Perhaps that was what made her bark out orders like some people talked about the weather...

"And ya don't have t' treat me like a baby. I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I sure am smart enough to tell when my crew's not tellin' me the honest to God truth o' the matter. And I swear that I ain't gonna let'cha go without a spacin'

less you let me know the truth, the whole truth, and nothin' but the truth." She remembered reading that in some old, old text, but had long forgotten what it was from. Oh well. It still sounded fine.

"Let me tell ya somethin', boy. I'm a nice girl. I really am. I give y'all jobs an' shelter an' food. And I like you, boy. You're a good deputy to my sheriff." She paused to let what she had said sink in. "But if you, even for a second, think that I'm gonna do well with the lies you tell to keep my ego in check, then you're gonna be awful sorry. My ego's my business, not yers. Y'understand?

"'sides, if you're gonna disobey me when I tell you to let the clipboard business go, ya might as well obey all the others, 'cause you don't want me to keep a clipboard o' yer offenses. We're clear." The last sentence was usually a question, but never with her. Never with Lyra. It was always an order. And one of finality. The matter would not be discussed further without hard punches or lashes being given.

Looking around, she found the closest intercom and picked it up, speaking into the microphone. "Cap' Benjamin 'ere. New pilot's Jay, don't pull a gun 'less I say otherwise. Next stop is Lilac if you've got plans, but you shouldn't, 'cause I don't want to stay more than half an hour. 's all."

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[Tag: Whisper and Biologist, whoever is in the mess hall -- Feel free to ignore her if you want. x]]

 

“What the-“ Tas stopped mid wipe as she lifted her head as the alarm started to go off in the ship, blaring through the infirmary as she worked on giving the place a good dusting. She was frozen mid motion as she listened from the open doors, too far down the hall to hear what was going on at the helm of the ship. She couldn’t hear anything over the alarm. Of course she couldn’t damn well hear anything over the alarm. Whoever had blasted the damn thing had made sure that she was a sitting duck in the infirmary with nowhere to go. At least she knew it wasn’t gorram reavers. They wouldn’t be making that much noise if it was.

 

“Half a day, you know. I’d like half a day before someone goes off the handle.” She muttered as she tossed her cloth to her bucket, but she could feel it as she closed her eyes to wait it out, to listen for the words to sound through again. She could feel the quickening of her heart and the adrenaline coming through. If there was action she wanted to be there. There was a part of Tas that wanted to run out to wherever it was. She’d face it. She’d-

 

The moment didn’t last long before the buzz of Malcolm’s voice went over the intercom and she was forced to open her eyes. Right then, she wasn’t going to think about it. She had… No, no more thinking about it. She barely got to take in a few deep breaths before she heard Lyra come on the intercom. Another lover’s quarrel it seemed. The woman couldn’t stand to lose her pride. Had to be in charge, couldn’t loosen down a notch. Tas could just picture the whole thing in her mind.

 

And just like that, she was animated again as she ran her hand through her already knotted hair, picking apart a knot only to add to the rat’s nest at the back. Her fingers ruffled up the back as she walked through the infirmary door. She could finish after she got something to eat. It wasn’t like it was actually dirty. Just the infirmary as more fun than the latrines.

 

It didn’t take her long to make her way to the mess hall, glancing at the two in conversation as she walked over and stared at the food hungrily. Out of habit she rustled through some of their ingredients. This was what happened when other people cooked, though she didn’t think that anyone would trust her with a pan. Something about using too many explosive ingredients in a hot pot. But there was a smirk on her face. Rice and beans weren’t bad. Tas preferred food to no food, and since there were people here, she wasn’t in a rush to leave.

 

She scooped the slops into a bowl before walking towards the table with a slight strut as she turned one of the chairs around and settled herself against the back support, linking her arms in front of it as she shoved a spoon full of food in her mouth. Her eyes went immediately towards the two in conversation as she stared openly at them, obviously listening in without any subtlety.

 

“No one ever leaves, you know,” Tas began with a shrug all too seriously, “not alive, at least.” A grin cracked across her face as she shoved another spoonful into her mouth and flicked her brows upwards to them in greeting. That’s right folks, they had their very own peanut gallery and she loved guests.

Edited by Khallayne

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"You gettin' off somewhere or are you stayin'?"

 

Xiao was about to answer Jay's question when they were interrupted; first by the Captain over the intercom and then by the stares of a rather unkempt woman. Xiao considered her response for a moment - she considered the new arrival impolite for staring, but she could hardly expect civility on a ship of - what were essentially - pirates. More importantly yet: she didn't want to stand out by kicking up a fuss.

 

“No one ever leaves, you know. Not alive, at least.”

 

"They don't? Then what happens to them?" Xiao inquired. She wasn't certain if she should believe the woman (and be alarmed) or if the stranger was pulling her leg, but she figured it wouldn't hurt to engage in conversation at least. "I am Li Xiao," she introduced herself, "I arranged passage at your last stop. Might I inquire as to your name?" Her voice was pleasant and soft, with an undertone of warmth - and absolutely devoid of any recognizable accent.

Edited by Mistress of Whispers

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Jay's mood was still high, even when someone rudely butted in on his conversation. A flare of annoyance rose for just a second, but he shrugged it off. It wasn't worth it to get worked up over this. The kid probably wanted a conversation badly, so she joined in. Besides, chances were she was part of the crew, so it was an opportunity to get to know the people with whom he was going to spend weeks in the black. For all he knew he was talking to the cook - though he hoped not - and it was no good angering the cook. So he stayed civil.

 

He did want an answer from Li, though, so he just added "Everyone dies in the end." And shrugged. "Some more messy than others." He took a large swig from his hip flask. "I'm Jay, your new pilot by the way." And waited for the girl to introduce herself.

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How long has it been since Malcom join the ship? Two years? Three? He liked to believe that he knew Lyra enough to sense when she was giving an actual order and when she was just talking normally. The sub-average detection was mostly due to the way he ran his old crew. Looking back on those days, it was hard to believe they held together as well as they did. Basically rules were not killing each other, any tension was settled with either supervised fisticuffs or 'personal one on one' time. If they put in the effort to make a little personal profit on the side, they were free to keep the whole payment, as long as it didn't hurt the crew.

Remember those days was enough to bring a smile on his face, but he quickly got rid of it. Malcom didn't need to lose his composure in front of the Captain. For the most part, he held his hands behind his back and sat straight. He listened to her, waiting to speak once she was done. He cracked a quick smile when the Captain did praise him for being 'a good deputy to her sheriff'. However, when the idea of a clipboard of his offences came up, that smile vanished.

"Understood Captain, was there anything else you wanted to discuss with me?" He asked, still standing firm while she used the microphone.

"A half hour Captain? You're sure you don't wanna relax in the dry, hot sun while the crops die?" Asked Malcom, trying to lighten the mood a bit.

Edited by Lore_Master

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Ronon

 

As Ronon walked through the hallways of Opportunity, he saw someone's foot just sticking out of a corner. Curious, he peered into it, and to his surprise saw Luna sitting there. She did not look very well to him. In fact, she looked very stressed.

"Hey, you alright?" Ronon asked, extending his hand towards her.

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[Tag: Whispers and Biologist, Kitchen – Sorry for the wait, work was too busy to let me post last night.]

 

Tas’ grin only cracked more as she looked from one to the other, taking her time in answering them as more rice and beans vanished from her bowl into her mouth. Once she took her time finishing her bite, she started to laugh, eyes alight with mirth. These two were either going to be very fun to bother or were going to be absolutely boring and she was going to have another long trip ahead of her. Of course, it was expected when people didn’t join along.

 

“They turn into cattle and get thrown in the roast,” she winked before adding,” or get caught up in indentured service. You know, take your pick.” Her attention turned towards Jay as she eyed him from head to toe as one would eye a tomato at the market checking for quality. One hand went to table as her long fingers drummed across it for a moment.

 

“So you’re what the fuss was about up there…” He didn’t seem like anything to fuss over. However, they had more than enough people on this blasted ship that knew how to use a weapon and that were more than a little trigger happy. It shouldn’t surprise her and she wasn’t going to let it. At least the ship was running smoothly and she didn’t need to walk around with pillows strapped to her body. She’d had more than enough bruises from Lyra’s driving. She clicked her tongue faintly before turning her eyes back to her meal, glancing back up at them above her bowl.

 

“The name’s Tas, your jack of all trades and master of none.” A wink followed as her grin cracked once more.

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((@ Khallayne - no worries, RL comes first smile.gif ))

 

"Cattle or indentured servants?" Xiao said in a musing tone. "Since you look neither like a cow nor a mule, may I assume you're the latter, Tas?" Xiao's voice was pleasantly (if neutrally) conversational and it was all but impossible to tell if she was joking or not. Perceptive listeners might notice that there was more lacking from Xiao's speech than merely an accent or the tells of a lie - she seemed oddly devoid of emotion, as if she were merely an automaton or ghost floating along. She remained standing, perfectly still, back straight, hands folded in front of her, and politely waited for a reply.

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Jay didn't really get the whole cattle or indentured servant thing, so he decided to wait this one out and let Xiao take the lead here. She was the smart one. He gave this 'Tas' an equally appraising look and the first thought that came to mind was She desperately needs a bath. he couldn't tell much else yet. Maybe the conversation would have an interesting turn.

 

He also started looking around for beer.

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[Tag: Whisper and Biologist. ]

 

Tas looked at Xiao for a moment before looking at Jay, shaking her head ever so faintly. As if she was going to admit that she was basically in indentured servitude. Yeah, right. Nice try though sugar! Tas wasn’t going to open up to a complete stranger. That was just asking for someone to come in and cause trouble. But she’d be lying if she didn’t say that she was somewhat dumbfounded. These people were going to be the death of her. They came off as so, so… so bland!

 

“Humour, love; I’m joking.” The mirth on her face turned into a patient grin before she lowered her eyes towards her bowl and waved at both Xiao and Jay above her head. “Feel free to continue your conversation. I’m a fly on the wall,” she said as she happily attacked her meal once more.

 

That was it. She was going to make her demand to Lyra. If they absolutely had to get new crew, they had to be interesting and have a sense of humour. They had enough sullen serious people on board all ready.

 

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"A cow, an indentured and now a fly. You are certainly a woman of many talents." Again, it was impossibly to tell if Xiao was joking - though in this case, she surely must be? Turning away from Tas, Xiao returned to her meal only to find it cold. It mattered little though, as she was neither hungry nor particularly enjoyed bean paste. Smiling briefly to Jay, she made to leave the galley.

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As Xiao left the galley, Jay still hadn't had his answer. "'Scuse me, Tas." He said as he left the galley as well and went after the Asian-Caucasian woman. He caught up with her and said in a quiet tone: "So, what about it? You stayin' or not?" It was strange that he asked, he realised, for they weren't likely to share fond memories. There were no fond memories from what they had gone through with their squad. But still, he liked the thought of being around someone who already knew him for who he was. He had been on edge for a long time and - just for a moment in the galley - he had loosened up talking to Xiao. It was definitively nice for a change.

 

Xiao probably noticed Jay wasn't as easy to read as he had been a decade before, but it wasn't hard to see that Jay wouldn't mind her staying...

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As Ronon walked through the hallways of Opportunity, he saw someone's foot just sticking out of a corner. Curious, he peered into it, and to his surprise saw Luna sitting there. She did not look very well to him. In fact, she looked very stressed.

"Hey, you alright?" Ronon asked, extending his hand towards her.

 

"Yeah, I'm fine. Just thinking about a lot of stuff." Luna answered, standing wihtou the help of Ronon's hand. "It gets my head all scrambled. But uh, I can't really work on the laser. Uh, sorry. If I tried to work on it right now, it'd probably just blow up in my face." She dusted herself off, having noticed the dirt from the floor. She mostly trying to stall for time, wanting to avoid everyone until she was certain that she was clear. Plus, she was terrible secrets and here she was holding one in until it hurt. Maybe she fit in perfectly with these browncoats, they were both murderers...

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Ronon

 

"Hey, don't worry about the laser." Ronon replied. "I understand. It wasn't really something we needed to do anyways."

Luna did seem quite off to him, and he believed her when she said that the gun would blow up in their faces if she worked on it. One did always need a clear mind around weapons.

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Lyra chuckled slightly at the comment. "Nah. Reminds me of home to much. Reminds me why I left." She shrugged a little and looked up at the ceiling. Perhaps she was showing an emotion other than anger? Perhaps she was keeping herself from crying? Or perhaps she was just looking up in her faith. It didn't always come up, but it was a part of her. And while one could call her foolish for clinging onto her beliefs, she would brush it off, though not without noting who it was. "I ain't no sentimental crybaby, I'll tell ya." She paused a short while, hesitating. "But if I see another damned purplebelly, I'll gut 'em at the first chance," she murmured softly.

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Xiao paused and folded her hands in front of her body again as she studied Jay's face. Her features were a mask - as usual - even as her mind was in turmoil. 'He likes me,' she thought. Except that was a lie - he liked who he *thought* she was. If he knew... She discarded the thought abruptly - it was counter-productive - and answered: "I booked passage until Persephone. I have no plans after that." She considered that it might be wiser to leave, considering the people here. She already knew she'd find a reason to stay though; she always did. She wasn't certain why or how, but she always ended up with browncoats; veterans of the war or at the least sympathizers. Was she looking for atonement? Or simply death? She discarded that thought, too, as counter-productive and patiently waited for Jay to indicate that his curiosity was satisfied and she might leave.

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Now Luna was suspicious. He just dropped the laser without a second thought. Yet he was pestering her about it earlier? He was a spy. Or maybe a bounty hunter trying to figure out if she was the right Luna. "Right. Do you know mow much longer until Lilac, the ship's starting to feel a bit... small." Claustrophobia or no, every word in th a ship echoed around, and this wasn't as empty as Luna would have preferred. She had no idea how to pilot a ship, that is, if she managed to either incapacitate everyone or kill them. Lyra alone would make that impossible. Everyone else had hidden skills and hidden talents she hadn't tried to learn. Not to mention her previous idea of a bug in the mess would only end with a gun or, if Lyra was being kind, her head being chopped from her body.

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