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Mistress of Whispers

[IC thread] In the Black

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Jake half-walked, half-stumbled through the hallways of the Harmony. Maybe he should have asked the doc to give him something to kick the last effects of the drug. Oh well, no turning back now, he had to find the - Ah! Nelson!

 

"You know where the captain is?" he asked the engineer, "I need to ask about that second son of a *" Nelson considered that for a moment. Should he tell Jake about the tracker? He could predict where that would end, but he also thought the man had a right to know all of his options.

 

"Well," he started, "I'd might have a lead for you there...." Huddled together, they discussed what Nelson had seen and done.

 

 

-----------------

 

Wrapping a healing bandage around Athena's shoulder, Xiao surveyed her work. Any patient would be pleased, but Athena was a companion. Perfect skin was part of her livelihood. Well, nothing for it - there were salves to mitigate scar tissue, but they were prohibitively expensive for the Harmony's crew.

 

Placing one hand on Athena's chest so she couldn't startle, jump and roll off the bed, Xiao injected a wake-up serum with the other.

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"Of course, of course," Eli responded. "You can't complete jobs in a decent manner if the ship is in disrepair," he stated, smiling still. Nodding, the man replied, "Yes, I'm in." Glancing at the ship and then his few weapons on the ground, he motioned towards them. "Am I permitted to rearm myself, Captain?" he inquired. Briefly he mused over the realization that the woman he spoke with over the intercom had never introduced herself. He'd have to learn her name later then.

Edited by Narvix

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"Go ahead," Teela said as the gestured to the weapons box. "I'll show you to the mess and your room. The rest of the ship will flow from there." Teela had spent most of her life on ships, so the lay-out made intuitive sense to her. She sometimes forgot the same wasn't true for anyone.

 

"The crew tries to get together for meal times," she said as she showed Eli the mess room, "I'll introduce you to everyone then." The mess held a small kitchen, and a large table that dominated the center of the room. A corner niche, slightly elevated, was home to a smaller round table, replete with comfy chairs and sofa, on which dice and cards still lay.

 

After Eli had a chance to look around in the mess, Teela continued the tour. The Harmony was a bare bones ship - her metal floors were uncarpeted and the walls had never seen a paint brush. Everything was clean however, and the soft hum of the engines revealed that the ship was well-kept.

 

"Where you from?" she inquired as showed Eli to crew cabin 5, where he'd be staying. Teela herself spoke with a peculiar accent, mixing Core and Border inflections, as if she didn't really come from anywhere.

Edited by Mistress of Whispers

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Jay - Pilot - Checking, checking, checking...

 

Jay looked at his dashboard again, running diagnostics on every system Nelson had referred to in his status update on repairs. On his side - the bridge - things surely looked in order, but nevertheless, he checked all systems. And did a double check.

 

He knew what damage a gunboat in space could do to a vessel like Harmony and he knew exactly what dangers lie ahead if *any* system wasn't working properly and they wound up stranded out in the Black far away from any help... It wasn't his worst nightmare, but it was in the top three, right next to Shadow and Serenity Valley.

 

He suppressed the urge to get his hipflask out and take a swig of the poison of the day. No, he had to fly this boat first, he could get drunk when the flyin' was done. Or during dinner, whichever came first.

 

Finally he was satisfied with how the switchboard looked and responded, and he flipped the comm on to report to Teela. "All systems are go, Captain. We are ready for departure."

Edited by Biologist

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Teela was still showing Eli the mess hall when Jay's voice came over the central com. Barely a moment later, Jake's voice sounded over the same system: "Negative, Jay. I need to discuss something with the Cap before we go."

 

Before we go? There weren't a lot of things that absolutely couldn't wait until after take off. As a matter of fact, the only thing she could think of was .... Ah. Either Jake wanted her to bring a passenger along - and they hadn't spent enough time at the station for him to pick someone up - or he was planning to go after the bounty hunters. She considered her options: Harmony was low on both fuel and resources, so they *needed* to go after Eli's job. That meant Jake had to postpone his revenge, or find another ride.

 

"I'll come over to your place," she replied to Jake as she pressed the mess hall's com. Then she turned back to Eli, "I'll show you to your quarters - you're in cabin 5. Feel free to roam around once you're settled, but the engine room is off limits" The cockpit was only at pilot's invite, too, but she didn't bother to spell that out as it was basic ship etiquette.

 

-----

 

Atlanta had heard the exchange too, and arrived at the same conclusion: Jake was about to disembark. Maybe she should too? That might be safer for herself *and* the crew. She mulled her options with some urgency - she needed to decide, either way, before Jake left.

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((Before Mistresses last post))

 

Nelson wrapped his arm around Jakes shoulder, pulling him into a huddle.

"I figured you'd want to go after them people. Makes sense considerin' what happened... so uh" Nelson pulled out a small monitor from his pocket, a set of co-ordinates were displayed on the screen, a distance counter dramatically increasing.

"I might've placed a trace on that female bounty hunters boat," Nelson stood up and stepped back from Jake, his arm outstretched with the monitor.

"I know that when people are held back from their motivation, things can get sour. And I don't want that to happen to us, we're all part of the crew. Plus we're friends! I don't want us holding you back here, while you're busy fuming for revenge. That'll just lead to bad things," Nelson declared, he gave Jake a hearty pat on the shoulder as Jake took the monitor.

Nelson chuckled, "Just remember that next time we meet, you're buying. Happy huntin'".

Nelson turned from Jake and made his way to the engine room, he certainly didn't want Jay getting mad at him for not getting things working down here.

 

((Sorry for the rather sub-par post))

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Jay - Pilot - waiting

 

Jay sat in the small bridge of the Firefly class ship. His systems monitor still told him everything was ready to go. When he heard boots walking on the metal grating of the walkway between the bridge and the engine room, he looked back through the open door and saw Nelson getting to his engineering station opposite the bridge.

 

Jay opened a comm to the engine room. Static crackled as his voice came over the small box's loud speakers: "Nelson, every system is green. Great work. Any news from the cargo bay?"

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Athena~Hating to be woken up

 

The companion gasped as the sudden surge of serum surged through her veins. Causing her heart to pound quickly and a quick cough to remind her of her injury. But the hand upon her chest caused her body only to jolt slightly. She looked up and gave Xiao a small smile before sitting up on the bed and looking at her disheveled and torn apparel that was hanging off of her form. She wrapped one arm around her injured side and the other moved her blonde hair from her face. Her eyes took in the situation, Jake must have been up, seeing as he was no longer in the bed across from her, that was good seeing as he wasn't dead because of her...

 

"When do you think I can take off the bandages?" she asked as she stood already thinking about the remedies that she was going to have to apply to make sure the mark was never to show, "Actually never mind that, I want to get out of these rags." Athena said with a bite of her lip as she stood, the slight pull on her side was bearable but noticed as she started for the door. There was a general murmuring in the ship, as if everyone was on their toes. They had every right to be, she had just brought something down on the ship that was not to be forgotten anytime soon.

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"Normally I'd say leave the bandage on for a few days," Xiao answered Athena's question, "but if you have anything to stop the scarring, you'll want to apply it as quickly as possible. Be sure to keep the wound clean and stitched intact though." She didn't bother to explain about sterile wound treatment - if the companion had any wound salve, she likely knew how to use it responsibly.

 

"Jake is leaving the ship," Xiao told Athena as she was at the door. Admittedly Jake hadn't told her for sure yet, but she knew his personality and there was really only one was for this to go. She didn't look at the companion while she spoke, instead cleaning up her workspace - Xiao didn't intend to be rude though, she was merely trying to utilize her time efficiently.

 

----------

 

Teela just finished talking to Jake, when her door chimed again and Atlanta entered.

 

"Captain," the young scientist said, "I want to go with Jake." Teela hadn't seen that coming, and neither had Jake as he clearly did a double take. The weapons master opened his mouth to protest, but Teela beat him to it.

 

"No refunds," she replied to Atlanta. "And let's talk about why you want to leave first?"

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"Ezra," Eli replied smoothly, as if he had expected such a question and was at ease with sharing his origins. As Teela showed him around the ship a bit, leading him to the mess before briefly speaking to other crew members via intercoms, the man followed her with interest for the ship. "Engine room equals no entry, understood," Eli stated, nodding in slight emphasis to the limitation on his roaming abilities. "Thank you, Captain." At his designated cabin, Teela left to tend to other business and the man rolled his shoulders slightly, causing bones to faintly crack.

 

Stepping into the cabin, he set his portfolios down on the cot before examining the layout of his quarters. There wasn't much in terms of furniture and the decoration was just as plain as the rest of the ship - unpainted walls and uninteresting colors. Fortunately, there was a desk with a couple drawers, perfect for his files. Making certain that they were locked and secure, he slipped the portfolios into the bottom drawer then proceeded to unpack the small bag of belongings he brought with him. Mostly clothes, he sorted out his things until everything had a place. Once done, he stepped out of the cabin and glanced about.

 

Where should he go first? The captain was busy at the moment so calling a meeting to debrief everyone was going to wait until Teela was good and ready. So, might as well return to the mess and relax there.

 

Which way was it again? Right, this way.

 

As he walked to the mess, he tried to keep his footsteps somewhat light, not wanting to make it seem like he was stomping around the ship. Lord knows, that would be a bad first impression.

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Having wrapped up her discussion with Atlanta, Teela rose to hit the com button.

 

"Attention crew," her voice sounded over the ship, "Jay is readying the ship for departure, but Jake and Atlanta won't be coming with us. You can meet them in the cargo bay if you want to say your goodbyes. We did pick up a new passenger, and he has a job for us. We'll convene in the mess after Jay's got this boat on the way."

 

With that, she hung up the intercom.

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Jay - pilot - hurrying through the corridors

 

Jay made haste to say his goodbyes. He stopped by his bunk to retrieve something and when he finally reached the hold, he just caught Jake an Atlanta disembarking.

 

He scratched his head and extended his hand towards them. Then he handed Jake a bottle. "Good luck on your mission. This here is something to celebrate your victory with." The golden liquid sloshed around in the bottle lazily. Whisky this good was expensive, parting with it was a token of his utmost respect.

 

He then turned around and hurried back to the cockpit, waiting for the order to leave this station far behind them...

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Teela stood in the cargo bay, looking out of the tiny reinforced window and seeing Rose's space station recede into the distance. She was sorry to see Jake go - he'd been an excellent weapons expert - and even young Atlanta had started to grow on her. Life aboard a ship was always subject to change though, and the crew was part of that.

 

Kicking off her boots and setting them neatly beside the bay doors, she padded back up the metal stairs. Years of walking barefoot had left her feet callused, and the grating underneath didn't bother Teela as she crossed the walkway to the passage outside the crew cabins. She pulled her thick green-blue braid over her shoulder and began to undo the strands - today's events had left her with a mild headache and having her hair pulled tight did not help. By the time she entered the mess, Teela's hair hung in waves down her back and she was massaging her temples.

 

Only Eli was present at this point - probably preparing his pitch, she thought. She took off her leather jacket - revealing more leather underneath - and hung it over the nearest chair, before ringing the com for the rest of the ship.

 

"Crew to the mess please."

 

That done, she proceeded the little kitchen. They had syntho bread, matching protein packs, and dehydrated eggs and meat. Fruit and vegetables were expensive as hell in the border parts of space - *if* they were avaibable at all - and they were all out, despite Teela frequently splurging on them after a job. Sighing, she finally settles on a slice of bread with thick gray paste.

 

"So Mr. Hastings," she said as she settled down in her chair, "you didn't get a chance to tell me what brought you to Rose's station?" Her tone was inquisitive, but friendly; allowing Eli the decline sharing if he preferred.

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At the sound of footsteps, Eli looked up to spot the captain. Greeting her with a wave, the man mentally shuffled through the things he intended to say once the whole crew was gathered. Soon enough, Teela took a seat and started talking to him, an attempt at basic conversation. Pausing, Eli smiled. "Ah, I've been looking for some work and I was told that Rose's was as good a station as any to try and find something. Fortunately, that advice held true because I found you," the man replied happily.

 

Leaning back in his chair, he idly scratched his chin while he thought. "How long have you been in charge of your ship and crew?" he asked, curious about the history of the Harmony.

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Teela doused her bread with a generous helping of dried red pepper before taking a bite. She rather liked spicy food and this was the only thing that made gray paste tolerable. Swallowing the first mouthful, she replied to Eli.

 

"I boarded this ship at the beginning of the war. When the captain was no longer able to keep going, I took her off his hands." That latter wasn't nearly as ominous as it sounded: she'd paid him fair and square when he'd chosen to surrender and do his time in an Alliance jail, after the battle of Serenity. That timeline, and the fact that she was traversing the far-flung reaches of space nowadays, made it pretty clear which side of the war she'd fought on, but Teela had never made a secret of her Browncoat sympathies. Eli's answer, likewise, revealed quite a bit about his character: Rose's space station was an excellent place to look for a certain kind of work, which was neither appealing nor wholly legal.

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Jay - Pilot

 

Jay was looking forward to travel, but staring in the black wasn't his fondest hobby. Gazing upon the infinite void made him sullen and he usually ended up contemplating his past...

 

So, he busied himself with checking the cortex, the flight pattern, the short range scanner (just in case) and the coordinates (again). When he was absolutely sure there was nothing wrong, he relaxed a little.

 

Then the comm crackled and Teela's voice sounded loud and clear:

"Crew to the mess please."

 

Jay got up out of the Pilot's seat and made his way to the mess hall at a leisurely pace. He felt his stomach growl. Time for some grub.

 

When he arrived, he saw the captain, barefoot, and the new passenger sitting at the table, chatting. He greeted the captain with a respectful "Cap."; and acknowledged the newcomer with a polite "Mister." Then he turned to the kitchen and prepared some protein paste noddles with synth-spices for flavour. It was hot and almost tasted like the noodles they made in the Eavesdown Docks on Persephone. As he slurped his noodle soup, he faced the others, leaning against the counter top, listening to their conversation...

Edited by Biologist

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Nelson was down on his hands and knees trying to pick up a spanner that he'd dropped beneath the ships engine again. He'd been trying to repair one of the exhaust valves which had been shaking a bit upon startup but his rum had taken an effect and his grip wasn't as solid as usual.

 

"Crew to mess please."

 

The voice echoed through the engineering bay. Briefly looking up from his work Nelson stretched his arm as far as he could and grasped the tip of the spanner. Rolling back and sighing with relief he deposited it in a small crate.

 

His arm now covered in a concentrated mix of oil and grease Nelson grasped his bottle and made his way out of engineering to the mess hall. Upon arriving he saw the cap'n, the new guy and Jay all seated. He took a seat at the end of the table and looked at Jay's noodles.

 

"You know, if we ever get tired of protein food you can just drop me off at any planet with a good body o' water and I'll have us some fresh fish to munch on by sundown. It'd sure make evenin'' meals nicer... also wouldn't require to us to use up all our spice just to make the food palpable." He said before taking a moderate swig of his rum.

 

"I'm also gettin' low on my stocks... didn't have anytime to buy any more what with the whole kidsnappin'" He said, somewhat depressed as he gazed at the low level of liquid in his current bottle.

Edited by Marcus Pheonix

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"I know," Teela replied to Nelson, "I didn't get around to my personal list either. It'll be a while before we can spare fuel to go fishing though: we're broke (again). Fortunately our new guest can help there. Mr. Hastings has a job for us and if it goes well, he might have more."

 

Owning your own ship came with a lot of perks, but also a few drawbacks. Insane upkeep costs were part of the latter. Teela counted herself lucky that the CO2 scrubbers had been replaced recently and would be good for another year or so, but she hadn't been able to top off on fuel at Rose's. As it was, the Harmony could still reach any corner of the verse, but she'd need refuelling afterwards.

 

By now Xiao walked in too, having cleaned up the sick bay and confident that Athena was well enough to be released from her care. There was no sign of the passenger yet, though strictly speaking she wasn't crew. Either way, Teela was eager to get going.

 

"Mr. Hastings, please take the floor." The odd figure of speech reflected Teela's upbringing in the halls of academic; a slip of the tongue she usually caught.

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Eli looked up each time he heard someone else enter the Mess. Some idle chatter occurred followed by brief discussion of personal To-Do lists. Which led to Teela giving the man an opening to speak. Nodding, Eli rose to his feet, a warm smile on his face. "Thank you, Captain. For those that do not know me, let me introduce myself. My name is Eli Hastings," he started. "As the captain mentioned, I am here to provide the crew with a job. Presently, an employer is seeking a crew to find a stolen item. It is of great value to this employer and its return would result in a rather charming reward."

 

Clasping his hands behind his back, he started to idly pace a few steps. "This employer wants things quiet, for reasons that may or may not be obvious. Fortunately, this person knows who stole the item so - with luck - we won't have to go on an extensive hunt," he informed. "If you decide to take the job, I can inform the employer and he won't have to worry about searching for another crew."

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Jay - pilot in the mess hall - listening

 

Jay listened to the new passenger, Mr. Hastings, while he skillfully dissected an apple with his pocket knife.

 

Hastings. Sounds familiar. he thought, but couldn't remember ever meeting the man in front of him.

 

When Mr. Hastings finished, Jay nodded in agreement. "One question. Was the item stolen from our employer? Just asking, cuz of potential complications. Or competition."

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"That sounds like semi legit business,"Teela said happily. "Assuming the "object" is neither a person nor a weapon of mass destruction, we have a deal." She'd been burned too many times not to add those caveats. Life in the black was nothing if not eventful, and she'd come across her share of arms dealers and slavers. Even a pirate like herself needed to draw the line somewhere.

 

By now Xiao finally entered the mess hall. She briefly froze at the mention of weapons of mass destruction, but forced herself to relax and continue. She walked past Eli to the counter where a dented iron pot sat waiting. The herbal tea it held was lukewarm by now, but it would do.

 

"Everyone's been patched up. We should be fine for -shenanigans- soon." The words rolled easily off her tongue, but the odd inflection revealed that "shenanigans" was not a word the doctor had grown up with.

 

"Shall we tell your employer we're good to go then," Teela said to Eli. "Although, maybe dinner first." Teela was always hungry.

 

"Do we have anything good?" she asked no one in particular - getting a shrug from Jay (everything was good to him) and silence from Xiao (who didn't care about food at all) in reply. The captain sighed and wound her long green braid into a topknot as she got ready to face the kitchen. Cold meat sandwiched it was then - Teel couldn't cook an egg to save her life.

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