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Chained to the sky[Closed]
« on: June 16, 2014, 11:02:41 pm »
Dilav Region - Three Sisters Constellation
The Azon System - Deadspace
Queen Anne's Revenge- 00:47 Unity Standard Time (UST)

An alarm was blaring from the bridge and Captain Andy Kaplin rubbed the sleep from her eyes and rolled out of her bunk. She stumbled the few steps from her attached quarters to the captains chair and fell into it, hitting buttons with her eyes closed as she slid the seat into a locking position.

She jammed the heals of her hands into her eyes and finally opened them to look at the monitors of the ship. She closed one eye as the glaring light as the navigation screen flicked to life and illuminated the darkness and she turned off the alert.

She sighed at the notification. They were a few days worth of travel from inner colony space now. She knew coming back into the ABC planet's to trade was a terrible idea, but it couldn't be helped. Their client wanted something picked up, and was willing to pay. Verse knew The Anne could use some of the parts they could buy with the credits they were getting.

Andy sighed and reclined back into the chair, a stupid children's song dancing through her head with the names of the core planets- Absalome, Besselian, ChaAmphelion, DeIrada, Elenmont, Falinia, Gallieen, Hi'yalafan, Issa, Jasec'Helion, Kinallava, and Leaimatia.

She was glad they were only going as far in as Falinia, and even that was too far in for her comfort. It wasn't that she was afraid of the inner core -she'd grown up there- and since leaving she'd kept herself, her ship, and her small crew mostly off the radar. But coming in and being around so many 'like minded' folk set her teeth on edge.

It couldn't be helped though. They'd actually picked up a descent job, and she couldn't afford not to take it. She turned to the navigation controls and pulled up the star map. She scanned the possible routes and started plotting alert points.

She didn't trust the auto pilot to keep them on course, it was one of the many things that they hadn't been able to fix for who knew how long. Not that her mechanic wasn't capable. Not that the ship didn't respond to him better than her, something she still wouldn't admit outright and never brought up. She had her suspicions as to why, but she let him keep his secrets like she kept hers. She knew what she was buying when she'd bought it, even if the merchant selling it hadn't. It had meant she'd had to be choosey in who she let into the inner workings- she'd left more than a few mechanics planet side before now. This ship meant lots of modifications to get human tech to work, but it was worth it. The Anne was fast, among other things.

She paused in her navigation to run a hand along the hull  to her right and smiled. The Anne was a class 9 cruiser- just small enough to not be a carrier class and have to be on a registry on Coalition records, but
Andy knew it was also a gen-zero dormant life ship as well. A Marked ship. She'd gone to some expense to modify the outer blast plates and hull to hide the more telling areas of the ship, from knowing or curious eyes.

Gen-zero ships weren't exactly illegal, but the Alliance also didn't like to have them around either. Andy knew enough of the history. Before Earth could no longer sustain it population, explorations had been sent out and the inner core planets were found and either terraformed in their entirety or terra domed on the livable parts of the inner core. The problem was, there were other races on some of the planets. Andy was evidence of that. She was a mix breed, though she kept the telling signs mostly hidden. She thanked the verse she wasn't one of the Marked, a practically extinct race the Alliance had been malicious in hunting down- even mixed race children.

Andy didn't know as much as she'd like behind the motives of their annihilation, but she'd known enough to fight for the Resistance as a teenager.  The resistance lost the battle for the Marked, as well as the fight to dissolve the current Alliance and start over. Now no Marked person was really safe, or those that harbored them. Not that Andy really cared. She was so rarely in direct contact with the formal Alliance these days.

After the war she took to sticking to the outer rim as much as possible. She crewed ships, until she saved up enough for her own and then started her own ventures- pirating, smuggling, legitimate and illegitimate transport of goods and people.

She shook her head, pulling herself from the past and turned back to the navigation panel and checked her plot points and then pushed back from her spot. She stretched and looked out into the vastey expanse of nothingness they were speeding through and put her hand against the cold glass.

She was contemplating trying to go back to sleep when she heard the ship groan and there was a shudder and the distant sound of a bang from the direction of the engine room. The lights and systems flickered for a moment and then seemed to right themselves. Her hand slammed over the com, connecting her to the engine room, "What in the goram Verse are you doing down there to my ship?!"
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 11:09:42 pm by Peregrine »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2014, 09:36:29 am »
"Raleigh! Raleigh! Aw, shit, stay with me, Raleigh! Don't you dare-"

There was an intense ringing in his ears. It was a sound he'd never forget, even now, years later, the past seemingly behind him but always lingering. His head ached, a feeling that left him irritable, sitting up from his bed, a thin, made of some type of high tech memory foam bullshit. He'd seen the adverts for it once or twice. "Made for the achey muscles of space". Yeah, right.

Feet on the floor, Raleigh Calloway could tell they were on auto-pilot. There was a certain feeling to Andy's piloting, a certain touch that a machine just couldn't replicate. He sat still for a moment, bare feet on the cold metal of the floor, the ringing still in his ears, head throbbing accordingly.

Cool, grey eyes glanced at his left side, his constant reminder of once being part of the resistance. There'd been an explosion, he honestly didn't remember too much, other than the blood, which seemed to be everywhere and the deafening ringing in his ears, the same sound that haunted him now. He'd lost his left arm and burned most of his left side, the scars dark, some ugly. Science replaced his arm, the resistance doing what they could at the time. It worked just as well as his right, although the grip was something to get use to.

Raleigh grabbed a shirt, noting the change in the movement of the ship. Andy had the reigns now. It was probably time to get a move on. He grabbed his old, brown leather jacket, a garment he seemed to always wear, almost like a trademark. It had been his father's, a man in love with ancient aviation. He lived by the skies and died in space. A pilot to the end, really. The gloves Raleigh put on after were his own personal touch, hiding his metallic fingers, hiding part of who he really was.

The Calloway man lit up a cigarette as he left his quarter's, feet booted now, head still aching as he tried to soothe it with nicotine and smoke. His dark hair was unkempt as always, styled by half assed attempts at combing it with his fingers. His face was unshaven, going on the fifth day in a row now, a combination of his lack of caring and a lack of sleep. All in all, he'd gotten about 10 hours in the past week. Man, he felt like shit.

Clenching the cigarette between his teeth, Raleigh came into the bridge just as Andy slammed her hand on the com.

"He's probably feelin' her up or somethin'. A man's gotta take his pleasures when he can."
« Last Edit: June 19, 2014, 09:45:01 am by Lightning »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2014, 01:12:05 am »
“I heard that,” Mac said.  He half expected the teasing from Raleigh although he wasn’t quite smiling.  “You’re just jealous because she likes me better than you.” 

The ‘she’ of course was the ship, although it might have been meant broader.  MacIntyre had a certain disposition that women liked.  His body was pink and perfect where Raleigh’s was challenged, but Mac did his best to hide the difference.  He didn’t dress fancy or go out of his way to seek trophies when they were plantet-side.  In fact, Mac tended to avoid attention where he could, and explained ‘dumbing down’ his looks with being self-conscious although that as far from the case. 

He also used formality to create distance. “Captain,” he called Andy when most of the others didn’t, “I’ll need to take the main’s off-line.  Looks like a clog or a leak in the fuel line.  Wouldn’t hurt to get some new tubing and crystals when we stop for cargo.”

Mac didn’t wait for permission before pressing the button to disconnect the Com.  Down in the engine room he could barely stand straight.  The ceiling was low and his wavy brown hair brushed against it as he moved around.  The static electricity tended to play with the strands, making him look like he stuck his finger in an electrical socket.  He put on safety glasses over his blue eyes, and a sound plug in his ear. Music blared inside his brain as he took the tools and found the hole in the ship he needed to climb into to complete the repair.

He moved with the grace of a dancer even in the confined space. It’s in the way that you use it.  Mac hummed to himself as he produced the right tools for various sockets and bolts.  The ship was older, but they’d developed a bit of a rapport.  He wouldn’t say that they spoke to each other but he understood what she needed – similar to a doctor with a patient.   In this one area she was held together with chewing gum.  Literally.  Mac removed the piece in his mouth and used it to plug the pin size leak.  He gave a sniff and hoped she liked strawberry.

“Hold together baby,” he urged.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 03:46:30 am by Beau »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2014, 08:33:23 am »
Everyone is born with some special talent, and Georgia Vermillion discovered early on that she had two: escaping, and a good memory. Three if anyone counted spending money a talent. She used the first talent to cause any kind of havoc that crossed her path, and the second to recall her life--if not in precise detail, then at least with an astrologer's poetic vagueness. The things we forget may as well never have happened, but she had many memories, both real and illusionary, and that was like living twice.

"You cannot possibly remember that, Georgia, newborns are like cats, they have no emotions and no memories."

Her father used to say from under the hood of the Seraphim, the craft she had been “born” to pilot her entire life. She believed him; after all, he'd studied neuroscience. All her life, she remembered the stars, the inky black night of space. She remembered a pale-haired woman standing over her crib, and the scent of cherry perfume. But how could she forget something so mysterious as the thunderous weather of her home? Father was from Earth, where most humans populated the metropolitan cities, and it rained constantly.

How could she remember so clearly certain parts of her life that she was told never happened? Sometimes in her very dreams she saw herself holding the pale-haired woman's hand and standing on a conveyor in an elegant hallway that led somewhere. Every time she saw this, she imagined something different at the end of the hallway. Her father had always corrected these, though.

"That was before a banquet you accompanied me and your mother to. No wonder you remember, you ran straight to the desserts table." But she didn't remember that part. She didn't remember mother either. There were pictures of her all over, but Georgia bore no resemblance to the short brunette woman she saw every day in the photos of her father's office.

Supposedly, parts of her memory were wiped from the accident she had been in during the early years of her youth. Her body and brain had been damaged, but repaired ingeniously by her father to accommodate her as well as assist in piloting the Seraphim, a six-winged fighter craft that she had been allowed to freely fly when she turned sixteen. Shortly after, however, tragedy struck when father and his lab-tech were seized. They resisted and it cost them their lives. She was sure she'd be next if she didn't escape. Her only hope had been the angelically named craft. Father would have wanted that. He would have been proud.

Georgia had lost her precious Seraphim though. It had been confiscated a week ago. She hadn’t known a lot about what had been going on back then. But she did now. Now that the brand of a mark had recently appeared on her tanned skin. The reddish-orange ring glowed dimly against her left side, the size of a table coaster. They had come for her too, but by now she was experienced in escaping.

The horror she had felt when she discovered the mark had been terrible. She was a human! A human now marked and targeted for the rest of her life. Georgia had grown up around experiments and labs. She didn’t want to be the subject of those experiments. Her case was incredibly rare. How could something like this happen to someone born with human genes?

She hated everything about the planet she had come upon, of all the places to be stuck without transportation. Something about it was familiar to the point it hurt her head. She had never been to Failinia but it felt like home…in a constricting sort of way. Georgia felt like she belonged here. It had only been a week of hell, being pursued by authorities she didn’t know or understand what they wanted with her. They had her ship. She needed to find another one. This place lacked the resources that would be useful to her. All it provided were strange, imaginary memories.

Georgia lingered around a loading dock that wasn’t very busy. Hazel-gold eyes flitted from small ships refueling to larger ones loading and unloading cargo. None of them were convenient for her. They weren’t the Seraphim. She stayed in the shadows, slipping into a restaurant nearby for travelers. There were a lot of empty seats, so she took one near the entrance…just it case. She waved the waitress away and just waited. For what, she wasn’t sure. She ran her hands through her hair; a mane of wild blonde locks that faded into pale blue stains at the ends- an attempt to be original. Now they just made her stand out even more. She tried to hide them beneath a backwards yellow cap, but it was futile.

Sometimes this place was so vivid compared to what she had been told her entire life. It was like her mind was at war within itself.


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2014, 11:09:41 pm »
he turned his back on the stars and left his heart sleeping in the silence of space.

Genesis Region - Oven Constellation
The Simela System - Deadspace
The Erebus - 23:12 Unity Standard Time (UST)
Three years prior to the events of Chained to the Sky

The bounty hunter smelled like copper and gun smoke.

Or at least, Artificial Intelligence Designation Number Nine mused, that’s what she suspected he must smell like. Some senses were beyond an artificial intelligence. She could provide several medical explanations for why blood smelled of copper and was more than capable of analyzing with a 99.7% degree of confidence the exact caliber of bullet and model of gun the smoke residue originated. But for all the vast knowledge that resided in the data files of her quantum entanglement chip and the remarkably life-like personality that was the result of decades of research into lifeships, Number Nine would never know exactly what the smell of copper and gun smoke was.

She watched him step over the bodies of the fallen crew, the boots slick with their blood squeaking against the polished metal floor as he seemed to search for someone in particular. It was perhaps a bit odd for an AI to have a specified gender, but she had never been particularly normal. Her programming was invariably feminine, much to the surprise of her creators when she promised to tell them nine different ways they could mate with themselves if they called her an ‘it’ again. But most people, like the captain of the ship the man of copper and gun smoke stopped to stoop over, didn’t care for her vocal opinions. She wondered if the dead captain being scanned with a handheld identification device regretted giving her a standing order of ‘absolute silence unless spoken to directly first’.

Admittedly, she hadn’t really wanted to warn him anyways. It was rather amusing to watch the shock on the captain’s face when he realized what she knew the moment they were hailed: the ‘friendly’ rebel ship seeking to dock with them was not very friendly at all.

The handheld device made a confirmation sound and the bounty hunter stood again, turning his attention to the flight console. As he approached the center terminal, Number Nine willed her avatar to flicker into existence, a blueish-white hologram that took the appearance of a young woman with long, black hair dressed in a flowing white dress. She stood at an average human female height, roughly 5’5”, though she felt much smaller when the man came to a stop in front of her.

The killer was very large, a six and a half foot wall of muscle adorned in guns and bandoliers, a clean shaven face marked with scars and match with a head of black hair buzzed tight to the scalp. But it was not his size or appearance that was the most intimidating thing about him. It was not the fact that she had watched him kill three armed guards with his bare hands, moving faster than a man his size had the right to. Nor was it that every action he made as he moved along the ship was done with brutally efficient intelligence, leaving a trail of controlled carnage in his wake.

It was the fact that in his brown eyes, a shade so deep it was nearly black, there was the raw gleam of an apex predator.

“What is your name?”

The human did not seem surprised by the question. His voice was a graveling bass, deep and oddly quiet. “Orion.”

“Not that name. That is what you are, not who you are.” She shook her head. “Your real name.”

This did surprise him. There was a slight lull before he answered. “Jon.”

“Jon.” She named was echoed with a smile. “Thank you for telling me, Jon. Are you going to deactivate me now?”

The bounty hunter studied the flickering hologram, but did not answer her question. “What is your name?”

It was her turn to be surprised. The answer was automatic, the same response she had given a thousand times over. “I am the artificial intelligence designated 09 of Project Prometheus, designed for study and combat of the living ships. I am commonly called Number Nine.”

“Not that name.” His smile was a wry twist of the lips. “Your real name.”

Her avatar flickered with her uncertainty. "I...don't have one."

"Is that so?" She shivered as he walked through her hologram toward the center console. She turned, expecting to see him drawing a gun to destroy the protective casing of her quantum entanglement chip, but was surprised to see him sliding into the pilot seat.

"Then it seems we need to find you one."

Alliance Core Planet – Falinia
Planetside: The Docks – 10:05 Unity Standard Time (UST)
Current Day

“Have you seen this woman?”

The dock worker squinted at the three-dimensional hologram of a young woman spinning slowly from the capture device in Orion’s palm, her image frozen in time mid-step as the picture was taken while she was fleeing. The worker rubbed his chin thoughtfully and glanced up a little nervously at the giant who gazed back, dark eyes rooting him in place.

“Uh, I don’t think so?” The uncertainty in the voice made the bounty hunter frown, his brow creasing with his displeasure. The dockworker laughed nervously. “I mean, she’d not half bad lookin’ if ya know what I mean, so I feel I would have really noticed someone like that walkin’ about.” He paused, watching the giant pull the device back into his pocket, eyeing the large revolver holstered just above it. “I don’t suppose she’s just ya missin’ friend or sumthin’, eh?”

“No. She’s not.” That tone left the worker with no further desire for conversation. He smiled nervously and nodded his farewell, but froze when a large hand grabbed his shoulder before he could completely turn away. “Is there a bar nearby?”

“Not anywhere within walkin’ distance, Imma afraid.” He glanced at the hand on his shoulder, still heavy with expectance. “But, uh, there is a restaurant for traveler’s just a bit over that-a-way with a great view of the ships comin’ and a-goin’. Coulda probably grab a drink there, yeah?”

The hand lifted and the gunman inclined his head. “Thank you.”

Orion watched the man walk as quickly as he could back to his job, eager to be away before the hunter could think of any more questions, before reaching up to touch the small piece in his ear. The quiet chime told him she was listening. “No one has seen her here either.”

“She’s there.” Number Nine assured him, the AI’s voice confident. “We have her ship. These docks are her best chance at getting off planet without it. I am keeping the Erebus cloaked and hovering in low orbit, monitoring all incoming and outgoing traffic. What are you going to do?”

“I think I’ll ask around at a local restaurant, see if anyone has seen her. If it has a good view of the travelers coming in and out, I’ll stake out from there.”

“Without her ship or anyone to help her, she’s cornered here. Be careful. If the last week has proven anything, she is very resourceful.”

“Her kind always is.” Orion agreed and began to make his way toward the restaurant. “But it always ends the same way too. It’s only a matter of time.”


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2014, 02:47:37 am »
"Mac, don't you dare!" She knew he'd clicked off already, she knew he couldn't hear her even as her fist slammed down on the panel, "Gorammit!" She continued to swear in what sounded like muttering English, but was more likely the guttural Chima tongue she generally refrained from using in front of anyone.

But it was only Raleigh with her, so she let it string off her tongue as her hands went to work tossing a hasty braid into her loose blond locks, with a handful of stray red strands snaking in for the any with a watchful eye. She tucked it down the back of her shirt over her neck.  It would have to do in place of her usual scarf. She couldn't be sure more of the crew wouldn't show up and she wasn't exactly dressed to pilot. 

She had been planning on going right back to bed, so the t-shirt and shorts had seemed appropriate. She hooked one foot under the control panel before the artificial gravity, among other things, kicked off when the mains went offline.

"Couldn't wait till we landed to refuel. Couldn't wait till we hit a station. Had to be now. I hate anti-grav," she muttered as she pulled herself back into the pilots seat and hooked her feet in to keep herself in place so she could adjust all of the plot work she'd just finished. The whole time table would be off by however long it took Mac to do whatever it was he was doing.

In the end, they were able to make better time after the repair. She didn't thank Mac for it though. It was his job, and she still resented the fact that she'd had to not only fall asleep in anti-grav, but wake up in it after a vivid dream of her past that left her covered in a cold sweat and her stomach threatening to hurl.

It had been nearly two weeks ago and she was still finding it hard to be civil, to anyone, let alone Mac.

She'd been awake and piloting since they had come into visual range of Falinia and were making their final approach to the planet. She'd spent a good hour scrolling through the newest alerts, notices, and warrants that had updated over the cortex since they had crossed into inner core space. A bad habit she hadn't been able to break since the end of the war- always searching for faces of old friends.

She shut it off just before Raleigh came in. She'd made sure that he was woken up to pilot as Falinia came into range and she'd gone and gotten herself ready. She hadn't met the man they were dealing with, but in the inner core, there was an expected degree of cleanliness.

She stepped back out of her quarters and onto the bridge and was able to crack a smile at seeing the sun starting to rise at the edge of Falinia as they got in close to the planet for entry orbit. There was nothing like watching a sunrise from orbit.

She tugged the top of the brown leather knee high boots before sitting down in the co-pilots seat. She'd managed a cold shower- something else she needed to harass Mac to fix- and had pulled her hair up in a curling mass at the back of her head. She had changed into a dark blue high collar v-neck shirt, with a green scarf, brown leather vest,  tight cream colored pants, and a brown leather coat that fell to her knees. She also wore her shoulder holster and gun belt at her hips, she finished tying the leather thigh strap as she sat.

When she finished she clicked on the ship wide com and spoke as Raleigh pulled into a deep synchronous orbit that would make breaking through the atmosphere easier, "This is your Captain, It is now 07:10 UST for all you lazy gits who aren't up yet. We are about to land on the fancy rock known as Falinia. This is a quick stop people, we're doin our business and getting out of inner core space as quick as possible. You'll have just under three hours to do your jobs, resupply, stretch your legs and be back on ship or this is your port of harbor. If you get yourself into some sort of trouble, do not expect me to bail you out. I will leave your sorry behinds here." She clicked the com off and turned over to Raleigh, "That means you too."

Then they were breaking atmo and the Anne made a groan. Andy gripped the co-pilot controls against the shaking, though she didn't do anything but hold them, another habit. A few minutes later they were through. She radioed down for a dock number and within fifteen minutes they were touching down.

She clicked on a personal com link, "Mac, wait for me at the port cargo bay." She stood up and tugged down the vest and gave Raleigh a look, "I need you to make sure the second Mule is at Persephone's in two hours to bring back whatever it is we're picking up for Rochester and taking back out to the rim. I was told it wouldn't be too heavy for it and should be an easy transport back to the ship. I'm taking the first to go parts shopping with Mac. Don't get in too much trouble."

She gave him a wink and a shake of her head as she walked away and he was finishing the power down. Telling Raleigh not to get in trouble was like telling a fish not to swim in Andy's opinion.

She moved through the tight corridors down to meet Mac. She let herself forget how irritated she was at the anti-grav situation and actually gave him what would pass for a smile from her. "We've got an hour an a half and nine-thousand credits to get what we need for Anne, not a minute or a credit more."

She'd  never come outright and asked, but she was fairly certain Mac was from Falinia- or at least had spent a fair amount of time on the planet, so she suspected he'd know where to go for what they needed for Anne's particular needs, and where to avoid so as not to have unnecessary contact with the Alliance. Even if he hadn't, a good mechanic usually knew where the best parts supplies were any any planet. She climbed into the Mule and started the rumbling land speeder, "Where to?"


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2014, 07:37:09 am »
Whatever it was for Rochester eh? Better not have been any damn animals again. Those birds from last time made such a fucking racket that most of the crew had to lock up their guns, lest they kill the "precious" cargo. He sighed, leaving her Highness behind for the noisier land speeder. The word "jackass" was fading on the side of it, something Raleigh had painted out of amusement and a bit of drunkenness. The paint never really came off like he said it would. Something he doubted Andy would forget, she did give him that wink when she left. Nice as it was, it was probably more of a subtle remark at "don't do anything stupid".

And by stupid she meant, hustle people out of their money with arm wrestling competitions while hiding the fact that his arm wasn't made of the same flesh and bones as everyone else's. Sure, his wallet appreciated the gesture, but the rest of the bar patrons wanted his head once he was busted.

Yeah, he wouldn't be stupid enough to do that again. Genius like that, it's a once a lifetime bit.

Still two hours was plenty of time to kill and while there were probably a few things he needed, there were more pressing matters. He needed a drink, something to kill off the headache he continued to carry, and possibly encourage some well needed sleep when he got back to the Anne.

The restaurant the Calloway man settled on wasn't too far away from the harbor. He could have a nice view of the Anne if he wanted by the looks of it. Although, he made sure to park the Mule in the back, lest Andy get a good look of it as well. The less she knew of where he was spending his time, the better. Inside, Raleigh's eyes widened, almost colliding with a behemoth of a man near the back door entrance. "Sorry about that..." he muttered, eyes still looking upward. Even standing at 6' 1", tall for a human Raleigh supposed, this man towered over him, with an air about him that was rather intimidating. If Andy meant him as the "trouble", Raleigh would do his best to avoid it. The man could probably rip his cybernetic arm off.

Fortunately, it was an easy beeline to the bar once the giant was out of the way, apology accepted or something, Raleigh hoped. His bartender wasn't even looking his way when Raleigh sat down, eyes elsewhere, probably looking at the man who stood out like a sore thumb. Where else would they be?

Raleigh cleared his throat, a loud noise, and smiled when the bartender looked his way. "I need a glass of the strongest shit you got on that shelf. And keep 'em coming. I've got time ta kill."


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2014, 06:38:58 am »
“Acknowledge.” It was all Mac needed to say.  He figured the Captain didn’t really even need that when it came down to it - of course he’d meet her in the docking bay.  They probably couldn’t break atmosphere without the parts and the time to fix the ship.  Well, he’d have to figure how to do the minimum and fix the rest in transit.  Mac wasn’t planning a long winded conversation about the ins and outs of the ship.   She didn’t pay him to complain.

Not that the pay was all that great.  Mac put on his cap and tucked a few strands of hair under the brim.  He’d had worse, but he’d also had better.  He tried not to dwell on either scenario.

Mac arrived in the hanger wearing simple and non-descript clothing.  He expected to blend, denim and leather.  The captain didn’t try to be flashy, but he had to admit she tended to cause most people to do a double-take.  It’s the gun, he thought to himself, noting the sidearm, as well as the confidence it took to wear the holster.  Mac didn’t bother with a weapon.  His hands would likely be full of machinery, so why carry anything else.

He adjusted his cap again, making it square on his head, the brim pulled low to almost cover his eyes as he took the passenger seat obviously meant for him.  “There’s a suburb twenty clicks outside the main city.”  He pointed vaguely south.  “I know someone who probably can get us fixed up.  Don’t tell her how much you have.  We’ll need to barter.  Do you know the local dialect?”

The captain was smiling.  He wasn’t sure that was a good thing.  “Never mind,” Mac said. “I’ll do the talking.”
It had been awhile since he’d been home.  He’d heard there had been more resistance fighting.  He wasn’t looking forward to seeing more death and destruction – that was the entire reason why he left.  He sighed as they pulled out of the hanger, and decided to mentally review his long parts list for errors and omissions, rather than let his mind wander on what was, and what could have been.


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2014, 04:02:08 am »
Andy gave a short laugh as they pulled out of the ship and into the traffic. Speaking in a perfect Falinian accent she raised a brow and looked over at him, "Afraid I'll butcher your native tongue?" It was the closest she'd ever come to speaking the truth.

Being in the inner core, and Falina in particular was doing things to her. She slipped back into the common tongue and the smile slipped from her face as she wove dangerously fast and close between the other ground vehicles with ease.

"A fair amount of the Anne's first parts came from the Dover parts district." her hands gripped tighter on the controls. She actually knew the place he wanted to go, but in this situation it only made it worse. She had never imagined a scenario in which she would be back on this planet, let alone back on this part of the planet. She just had to hold it together for a few hours. "Just a few hours," she muttered into the rumble.

Mac shifted in his seat.  Let her think it was discomfort over her driving rather than a need to look over his shoulder to be sure no one heard her comment about being native. He knew she knew, but it wasn't something she tended to talk about.   He decided to go for the shock value.  "Let's just say that I'll get farther negotiating with this woman than you will, Captain."

Let her stew on that for a moment.  Mac tried not to analyze why he was throwing another woman in front of her, but he felt better for it.  This was the first time they'd been alone in awhile.  Typically Raleigh was attached to her hip -- figuratively of course.  The odd happenstance of being alone with her seemed to have him tongue tied, however.   Mac took a deep breath of the air.  It felt fresh and familiar.  "I haven't been here in five years."

Andy turned and raised a brow at his comment. She gave him an appraising look and turned her face forward again, swerving quickly to avoid rear-ending the cargo vehicle in front of them. She didn't doubt that Mac could be persuasive with women, she'd fallen for it herself, he was on her ship for starters and, he'd wheedled more than a few extra credits out of her when he decided to actually lay it on for something for the ship. Not that she denied the Anne much, she loved that ship, and quite a large quantity of her personal coin had gone into her.

Her curiosity came from the fact that he was actually admitting to his ability to charm and disarm. That he was going to do so, had her wondering just who they would be dealing with.

She wasn't prepared for the next comment and she almost ran a small personal transport into the emergency lane when she pulled into the lane it was in without checking first. She gripped the controls tighter,  the Mule groaning with her intent on high speeds. He was making conversation, and she was making an effort to not let memories crowd their way into her head while she tried to act normal and reply. She could make conversation, no need to raise suspicions. She reminded herself that she'd started it with her flippant comment. "Been nearly ten for me."

Two years into the real fighting.

There was a sudden ache in her chest. She could not let herself think of the last time she had been here. She had a powerful need to change the subject, "You know, you can call me Andy. We aren't on the ship, and we've known each other long enough," an old argument, "Might get farther with this mysterious women too, if she doesn't know I'm in charge. And if it isn't on your never ending list already, we ought to pick up a few new entry couplings if we can barter them in. The last few entries have been a might rockier than I like." She could see the district coming up he wanted and she eased down to a more sedate speed to navigate the twisting streets as he gave directions.

"To the left," Mac directed.  He tried to pace out the instructions so she didn't have to swerve.  He rocked with the ship as she maneuvered.  Did his best not to get whiplash.

He could call her Andy?  "Hum.  I could." He considered it.  "But in this case I think it would offer the wrong impression.  I don't want her to think that I like you."  His hand went to the hip where a weapon was supposed to be but which he'd forgotten.  He shrugged as though it didn't matter.  From the corner of his eye he watched Andy and her long fingers on the controls. He added her list of parts to his own with a nod.

"End of the path," Mac said.  "White building."  Although white was a bit of a misnomer.  Greyish would better describe it, along with glass and metal.

When the craft slowed he let her know she could wait if she wished.  "Like I said, it's been awhile.  I doubt my mother is expecting me."

Andy rolled her eyes quietly and wondered what kind of ex-something or other he was taking her too. She finished following his directions, but the final gear down ground a bit on the word Mother.

The Mule came to a stop with a deafening silence as she cut the engines. Andy knew strands of crimson were wending their way through her hair unbidden, even as she took a breath and tried to reign her emotions in. She wasn't sure what set her off most, that it felt he wanted her to be present, but silent, that he let her drive him out but seemed to want her to stay outside, or that he didn't want to leave any sort of impression that he actually liked his Captain, or maybe it would have been different if he wasn't part of a female captains crew, of her crew.

If she was thinking rationally, she would most likely know he hadn't meant any of that, or at least not the way she was taking it. Being on Falinia was wreaking havoc on her usual stoic demeanor.

"By all means, Captain it is then. We certainly wouldn't want to leave the wrong impression. Last thing we need to be doing is wasting time explaining ourselves. The sooner we're off this verse forsaken fancy rock the better in my book. I'm just wondering," she climbed out of her seat, speaking across the small cockpit, her voice rising the longer she spoke, "Was there a reason I came on this little excursion at all? Because I could have assigned someone else to chauffeur duties and given you a capped credit chip if I had known what you wanted was for me to stand around acting like a hired companion rather than the Captain of my Goram ship!" She slammed the door in his face before he could answer and started the long walk toward the door at the far end of the building.

If he thought for one second that she was going to act sedate and silent, maybe he really didn't know her well enough to call her anything but Captain. She had helped build the Anne up from a ground stuck wrecker. She might not know all the in's and out's of her ship like Mac did, but Andy knew enough to have gotten her in the air and kept her there long before he'd come along. 'And long after he leaves, like all the rest,' she thought bitterly.

Her boots crunched in the gravel and she could hear his not far behind. Why hadn't she parked closer?

Mac had known Andy for about a year, and in that time he'd only seen the tell-tale crimson on her cheeks a few times.  Once when he'd caught her bluffing at cards.  Once when he'd fixed an engine issue she couldn't.  As she stormed out he wondered what he'd done this time to injure her pride.  He unwound his long frame slowly, but didn't let her get too far ahead before he pursued.  He took off his hat and held it in his hands, allowing his face to be seen by those watching from the windows.

"You go in there without me they'll likely shoot you," he warned.  He figured that would cause her to slow her steps, enough so he could catch up.  "And can I take from your cutting remarks that you would prefer to be introduced to my only living relative as something other than my captain?"

Now he was angry too, and it took quite a bit to get under Mac's skin.  The crack that he couldn't be trusted with her money and needed to pay for companionship pretty much did it, and he reached for her wrist, intending to pull her back into his arms.  But if he achieved his aim he'd find the situation volatile, like he was standing on the brink of something, unsure of the depth of the leap. 

"If I kiss you, there will be no doubt what you are to me."  Face to face his next words would be more promise than warning,  "And we won't be getting off this rock in less than three hours."

Her pace stuttered at his call, her hand moving to the gun at her side for a moment before she balled it up. "Then I'll shoot them back and take what I want. I'm a Pirate." she muttered through her teeth as she kept walking, even if she didn't mean it.

Her brow furrowed at his next question, but before she had much time to analyze what she would have preferred, his hand had circled her wrist and was pulling her to him.

In the mood she was in, he was lucky she was able to keep her fist at her side instead of bringing it up to connect with his gut or his face as he spun her around. She knew what her fist could do to the face of a Falinian. Now one of her arms was pinned and his hand was still on her other wrist. She only tensed more as he kept speaking.

Andy had spent the vast majority of the last year in denial, but there weren't many places you could run when something was staring you in the face. "Mac..." She searched his face to see if he was joking, a face both familiar and foreign. She realized she wanted him to kiss her, she wanted to be introduced to his mother, she wanted to not be broken inside anymore, she wanted to prove to herself she hadn't bought his freedom and brought him on her ship because he reminded her of someone else, she wanted to leave her past behind her.

But she wouldn't or couldn't, it was hard to know. She turned her face away, so she could mask her longing, and closed herself off, like usual when he got close. She looked past him so she wouldn't have to look at him, hoping she wouldn't give herself away. Her voice quiet and cool, "We don't have time for that." She could have left it at that, but it was easier to try and push him away. "I'd forgotten my kind aren't really welcomed by yours." Old wars, old prejudices, all why she hated the inner core. If he didn't know what she was before now, he'd be able to guess.

She felt his hold on her loosen and she took a step back from him. She pulled the credit chip from her inner vest pocket and held it out, "I'll wait in the Mule. You've got an hour."

She was right, they didn't really have time for what he had in mind but she wasn't looking at the expression on his face, she was looking over his shoulder  It would have been better if she had slapped him - hurt less than the silence and the cold words. 

The same walls that always separated them returned.  He should be pleased; it was better this way.  Mac figured there was a reason that his gut screamed 'leave this one alone' but he hadn't thought it was prejudice.

The Captain (as he resumed mentally calling her) stepped out of his grasp and he let his hand drop to his side.  His back stiffened as he imprinted the threat to harm his family even if in self defense.  The impulse had been foolish to allow her to come.

"You're right," Mac said, but took the credit slip with due care not to touch her.  He took a step forward and to the side so he wouldn't obstruct her hasty exit.  "You can make better use of your time than sitting here.  I'll find my own way back."  Another step and a hurtful jab, "Assuming I'm as honest as you think I am."

Andy's jaw tightened, so he hadn't known. She didn't say anything at his movements. It wasn't the first time she'd experienced rejection because of what she was, but that didn't make it hurt any less, especially coming from him. If she was as wrong about him as he was trying to imply, there weren't many places he could hide from her- the Anne knew too much about him, and Andy knew if she really wanted, she could have the ship find him.

She wasn't sure how this situation had gotten so messy and complicated, but if he was going to play dirty so was she. She turned her head to look at him, trying to make the hurt in her eyes look hard, "You've got an hour to get my parts back on my ship MacIntyre. If you don't, we both know who would pay good money to know your last known whereabouts. And we both know he doesn't shy from collateral damage."

She turned and headed for the nearest street to hail a cab. The Mule was the only thing strong enough to carry the load of parts they needed, besides a commercial transport, and they both knew it. She also knew if she tried to pilot right now, she'd likely kill someone.

She pulled her comlink out and messaged her contact for an earlier meet. She wasn't sure she could last the next hour, let alone almost three more, on this planet.

He was willing to meet as soon as she could be at his favorite port bar. Another plus in her favor, since she suddenly had a powerful need for a drink. She flagged the next cab that went by, sent a crew wide alert out that the time table had moved up, and tried to empty her mind of everything but the task ahead.


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2014, 07:54:34 am »
She had a brief flashback, a memory of tubes and wires attached to her, the deep ruby of her blood traveling through them, a dull ache in the few limbs she could feel. When she looked down at her body now, it was seamless aside from a few small incision scars. She bore no prosthetic limbs, just an interesting hair color. It was underneath the surface doctors and lab techs would find fascinating.

And the glowing circle on my waist.

The young woman shoved her hands into the deep pockets of her rust-colored leather jacket. She was dressed simply enough in a loose white shirt and black jeans. She wanted to look plain, though her boots and the jacket were both expensive looking. On top of her fathers’ charged malpractice debt, (which he had so kindly passed down to her after his death) she had a bit of her own spending problem. Another reason this girl was wanted at so young.

The “criminal” ducked her head as soon as she saw the giant shadow cast over the main seating area. She knew that ominous shape, like a thundercloud enveloping the restaurant. The woman did her best not to seem too obvious with her avoiding glances. She tugged gently at the brim of her hat and quickly struck up a conversation with her bartender, commenting on the view of the dock. He wiped a glass clean and poured something into it.

Georgia had never tasted alcohol. On some planets she was too young to be legal, at least in human years. Nineteen was considered the age of recklessness, and she didn’t think she disagreed after all she’d been through. Her nervous hand found the curved shape of her glass and pulled it towards her. She looked up from examining the contents,

“What’s in this?”

But the server had moved on to a customer who’d just arrived, he was asking for something strong. The blonde looked back down at the drink, and then lifted it to taste, daring to take a brave gulp. A cool burning sensation enveloped her tongue and she swallowed clumsily, holding back a cough and failing. She wiped the small amount of dribble from her lips. How could something with no color have such a dangerous flavor?

When the bartender walked away, Raleigh let his eyes wander, flickering about the room, trying to catch anything of particular interest. Bars in the early hours of the day always held a curious range of people, albeit probably none of the best kind, but usually the most interesting. His grey eyes halted on the girl near by, hesitant with her drink, before almost spewing the contents all about her. His dark brows went up, amused by the girl's reaction. She was young, seemingly too young by the looks of it, which would probably explain her reaction to the drink. However, she was pretty and Raleigh would be damned if he wasn't a bit of a sucker for a pretty face. It might have been why he'd stuck by Andy for so damn long.

Raleigh was smirking as the bartender placed his own glass in front of him, giving his thanks before turning to the girl. "It helps if you pinch your nose really hard. Smell's half the taste, you know."

Her eyes darted immediately to the sound of esteemed advice coming from the man beside her. They tried not to linger, because she would be blind if she didn’t see the cybernetic arm. The young woman was suddenly embarrassed when she saw the amusement alight in his pale eyes. Georgia reached for the napkin that protected the counter from her drink. She dabbed her mouth quietly, throat still burning.

Hesitantly, she did what he’d suggested and pinched her nose before taking another generous swig. It was still awful, but it helped. Georgia swallowed it and let out a relieved sigh afterwards, blurting out, “How do people drink this!?”

The bartender glanced towards her suspiciously at the end of the counter, and she immediately spun in her seat to face Raliegh before an ID was requested. She didn’t know what the legal drinking age was here. There were differences everywhere she went. Some places her debt was higher than others, and she was beginning to wonder if the governing forces had just combined the amount in all currencies.

She faced Raleigh, genuinely curious in the answer to her question, but she was also desperate for conversation. That would allow her to blend into the small crowd that populated this restaurant. Her eyes had wettened up from the taste of the liquor, but they were filled with the same amusement as Raleigh’s before they softened, “Do you get used to the taste?”

Raleigh decided it probably wasn't a good idea to mention that the pinching the nose bit was bullshit. He was surprised it worked, in all honesty, or that it seemed to anyway. She handled that attempt considerably better, although she looked a bit ridiculous in doing so, which had been Raleigh's point. Young and a bit gullible, she really wasn't bad at all.

"Well, some, girls in particular, usually drink their liquor with umbrellas and sugar. Something I think you'd prefer probably. Doesn't burn so much." Raleigh downed his glass after speaking, savoring the burn down his throat. The fire in his insides always seemed better than the fire out.

"But I suppose you could suck it up and get use to the burn. I rather like it." He motioned to the bartender for another round with a metallic hand. Once the bartender had turned away, out of ear shot, Raleigh continued, "So, what are you drinking for? Don't tell me it's cuz all the kids are doin' it."

Her mouth twisted somewhat, "I'm not a kid." She muttered, and she sounded like she believed it, although a kid was exactly what she was. A young kid who'd been accidentally thrown out on her own into a situation she would never be able to get out of, not with the little knowledge she had of the verse right now. She hadn't been able to decipher the importance of food between designer boots just yet. But she would if she kept up like this. Georgia smirked as Raleigh ordered another round. It made her feel like a fellow respected adult. Which she was as well...caught in between.

"Actually, he just gave it to me and I thought, why not?"

If she didn't think of herself as so mature, Georgia may have found the man a bit creepy, ordering a young girl like herself another drink. In her eyes, it was this huge man or the even huger man in the back. If she ran out as soon as Orion had walked in, he would definitely know who she was. Georgia figured the next-biggest guy in here was just as good in case someone recognized her. His arm was probably seconded as a weapon. At least in her imagination it was. Sometimes she could catch her naivety. But right now it was a risk she was willing to take for freedom.

When the refill was presented, she was hesitant again. She wasn't entirely sure how to pay for these two drinks. Her credit had been declined with her last purchase, a package of powdered donuts from the mini mart in this city. "What are you drinking for?" She fired back, suspiciously. He seemed tame enough, polite in a rugged way. Maybe she could convince him to get her a ride off this planet.

It wasn't quite the answer he expected, but Raleigh supposed it was better than the response he assumed she'd give. What he hadn't expected, was the question to be fired back at him, her eyes, a golden hazel, were waiting for an answer.

Give her the truth? Tell her it took the pain away, the ache of his scars, the burning that should have gone away long ago.

Raleigh looked away from that gold gaze, the bartender placing his second glass in front of him, and he took the opportunity to stare at its rim. "To forget." He answered, taking a drink, supposing it wasn't quite the truth, but it wasn't a lie either.

All he wanted now was the warm buzz that came from downing his first drink, furthered by how quick he was working on the second. A third and he'd be settled, he figured. Probably not able to drive the Mule at the moment, but he still had time to kill or so he thought.

She smiled at her bar neighbor, watching as he took another generous sip. He finished his drink just before he had another placed right in front of him. Georgia wondered what he wanted to forget. All she ever wanted to do was remember. Ever since she woke up from the deep sleep long ago, she grasped for any information about her forgotten life before.

None of the pieces fit in her mind.

Her eyes went to her drink as Raleigh looked away from her. Maybe if she kept drinking she would forget the life everyone told her and remember what she suspected to be true. They were only inklings, but they did a lot of damage when things stopped adding up.

Georgia took a long sip of hers along with him, cringing at the taste, but swallowing it down anyway. She was beginning to think she liked the burn as well,

“Don’t forget too much.” She said. Her voice was soft while she looked towards the door. She dared to glance in the back where Orion sat, frowning. Georgia turned back to Raleigh, her finger running along the rim of her glass, “What’s your name?” She asked and watched as an ice cube bobbed around until it reached the side.

Raleigh grunted at her response, unsure of what to say in return to that. Although, it probably would be annoying to forget his own name or how to take a piss. Yeah, best not to forget everything. He took another drink before his eyebrows rose, a noise coming from his pocket, his comlink with probably nothing good.

As predicted, it wasn't what he wanted to see. He lost precious drinking time and his time to sober up had shortened as well. He gave the device another quick look over, grumbling to himself, the words sounding something similar to "Dammit Andy" and other things not worth being heard by the young lady beside him.

Grey eyes flickered upwards at the voice of the girl beside him, another question, although this one far more standard.

"Raleigh Calloway." He finished off the last bit of his drink, the bartender already ready with what would probably be his last of the day. "Friends just call me Raleigh. You?"

His pocket fishing came up with something he wasn’t happy about. She hoped that he’d be leaving soon. Georgia swayed her dangling legs uncomfortably and hesitated when he asked her name in return,

“Mine’s Georgia,” She said, “Don’t have any friends to call me anything else.” Her smile wasn’t happy or sad- it was just there. “Don’t have any family either.” She looked down at her swinging feet and clapped the boots together. Georgia hadn’t wanted to play the sad girl card, but it seemed like her time was cut short. “Been looking for some work to pay off a debt my dad left me. He died a few years ago.” It was the truth, just not in fine detail.

The blonde looked up at Raleigh, “You got any positions open on your ship? I’m a decent pilot and I’ve been a lot of places.” She wondered if he’d believe her with no ship as evidence. It was like more pieces of her were missing. “Pretty good with fixin’ the insides of ships too, if you’d need anything like that.” Most crews had specific people hired for those jobs, but perhaps one would need an assistant.

“I’d be really grateful if you could help me out. Or if you can’t and know someone who can then that would be just as helpful too.” Her eyes searched his grey ones for a little compassion. Raleigh had in no way proved his character to her quite yet but she had a feeling he might cave in to her request. She managed to bat her lashes a few times, but not too many.

She didn’t want to go overboard.

Later, he'd be asking himself why he had to be such a sucker for a pretty face.

Georgia, the name suited her and her gold brown eyes. It had a warmth to it, much like the feeling the alcohol was beginning to give him. If it hadn't been for the third, possibly fourth drink in his hand, he wasn't quite sure at the moment, he probably wouldn't have felt as sympathetic as he was feeling. Georgia, his new bar pal, didn't have anyone save but herself. Hell, even Raleigh had someone, Andy had been his friend for years, Mac, well he was probably something.

It must have been that, along with that face of hers, and those lashes that let the next bit spew from his mouth, words he would regret undoubtedly.

"I think we got somethin' available." He recalled a few complaints about not enough hands around, although that was probably due to their inability to afford extra crew members. "Not gonna lie though, the pay's shit." He paused, recalling something relatively important, "How's your cooking?"

Her charade worked.

Georgia almost leapt out of her seat and threw her arms around the man. She smiled and let out an honest sigh of relief when he said they had openings. The catch was the low pay but she could deal with that. It wasn't ideal, but for now her priority was getting off of this planet and away from the shadow in the corner.

"I can cook." She lied. Georgia had never cooked anything in the life she remembered, but how hard could it be? "I can cook like no chef you ever saw!"

That might have been the truth.

To celebrate, she picked up her drink and downed it, the burn rushing right down to her belly. She couldn't help but grin, the slight buzz making her silly. "Thank you so much, Raleigh. I knew I was gonna like you."


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2014, 05:58:04 am »
“Aye, Captain,” Mac said to the timetable order.  His spine was straight and his steps swift as he moved towards the warehouse without looking back. But he didn’t slam the door.  The icy shaft of fear, that Andy might actually hand him over to a bounty hunter, replaced the anger and tempered his actions.  He wouldn’t put it past her, although he couldn’t understand what he’d done to set her off.

Look but don’t touch.

A voice shouted at him, “Hands up!”

Mac did as commanded, moving his weaponless hands into the air and lacing his fingers behind his head with unconscious grace.  The credit chip was palmed and hidden before three men with firearms descended the steps. The one in the lead seemed to recognize him.  Mac would like to think the slowing steps were driven by surprise rather than caution.

“That you’re mule outside?” Came the question as the first gunman walked past and to the window to ensure that Mac was alone.

Mac shrugged, “I want to make a purchase.”

“That will be up to Marlena.”  A pause, “Cash or credit?”


The gun was reholstered.  “Thought that was you, Mac.”  A twitch of a smile, but no genuine handshake as Mac lowered his arms.  “Been awhile.  Where did the woman go?”

Mac shrugged again.  “Back to the ship.  I don’t have much time, Clancy.”

The other two gunman saw some secret signal that it was okay for them to leave. Clancy motioned for Mac to follow towards the rear of the warehouse away from the windows.  Mac didn’t have a list, but such might have been handy. The plethora of choices was daunting.   He selected a few of the smaller fittings himself, putting them on his fingers like rings.  “I need a half dozen power crystals.  Can’t afford more than industrial grade, but give me the best you’ve got in that category.”

Like a kid in the candy store he dug through buckets of tubing and stacks of metal, looking for what he wanted.  Time passed quicker than he planned as he focused on the work at hand, and negotiated the best possible price.  His mind and heart felt better for the feel of metal in his hands.

“I’ll get this loaded up for you.”  Clancy said.

Mac nodded.  Coincidentally the front door opened and Marlena came in.  Her hair was brighter than Mac’s, not tinted dark as he chose to wear it.  The waves were lush and flowed freely about her shoulders.   She didn’t look old enough to be Mac’s mother.  Truth told, he wasn’t really sure how old she really was.

He said, “About time you got here.”

She screamed and dropped the bag she was carrying.  Mac sighed.  This was the second time today a woman had reacted in an unexpected way when he planned to offer a kiss.  He cleared his throat when Marlena didn’t move from her spot near the door.  “Well.  It’s good to see you too.”

She marched over and drew a gun pointing it at Mac.  “Where the hell have you been?”

“Around.”  True.  “Busy.  Working on a ship that’s in port so thought I’d drop by.”  He kept his gaze steady.  “You can put that away anytime you want.”


Clancy returned and said.  “All loaded.” 

Marlena ordered, “Take the shipment to the dock and offload it.  I want to talk to my son.”

Mac opened his mouth to object, then realized that Andy had only requested the parts be on the ship in the hour.  She probably wouldn’t care if he spent a bit longer trying to work through a past misunderstanding.  In fact it would serve her right if he followed the order to the letter and she had to consider her threat seriously.  He could run pretty fast and the pay would likely be better.   

He crossed his arms over his chest.  No telling how long this was going to take.  “The Queen Anne.  Docking Bay 42.”
« Last Edit: July 08, 2014, 06:03:35 am by Beau »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2014, 05:37:29 pm »
Orion glanced down briefly into the man who almost stumbled into him, staring up wide-eyed at the bounty hunter with the same surprise most unfamiliar with him have. Dark eyes sized him up, flicking from the habitual balancing of his weight to the cybernetic arm that was never too far from the holster at his hip. The man was no novice to combat, but his genuine expression didn’t show the panic of prey. He wasn’t a threat. The giant waved a dismissive hand at the apology, moving to the side so the man could enter through the backdoor.

“You know, you could stand to smile a little more. A joke or two wouldn’t kill you either.”

“Oh?” The question was a quiet thrum in his throat, but the AI could hear it even as Orion moved into the restaurant himself.

“Yeah, I bet that’s why most people are afraid to talk to you. Between your grim expression and ridiculous size, you look like you’re on the verge of killing someone at any moment. People probably don’t like that. Some humor would go a long way.”

“Is there a reason we’re having this conversation?” Orion answered under his breath, sliding into the chair of a table by a window displaying the docks. The worker from earlier was right; he had an excellent view. He waved away the waitress that approached. “We’re working, Nine. Now isn’t the time for this.”

The AI made a sound like an exasperated sigh. “Like that even makes a difference. You always have an excuse not to talk, whether we’re working or not. Besides, it takes less than a fraction of a percent of my processing power to monitor this world’s network for news of our target. Surely the mighty Orion can hold a conversation and stake out at the same time?”

The mighty Orion ignored her. Dark eyes moved through the restaurant occupants one by one, observing and categorizing them all. His gaze moved to the front and the back door with each opening, noting who entered and left every time, before he returned to his methodical search of the room. He paused at the sight of the man from the back door, now sitting at the bar and talking with a woman at his side. The bounty hunter shifted his focus to the woman, hard to see from the crowd of people between them-

“Fine! Ignore me! See if I care. I’ll just sit in this cold ship all by my lonesome and talk to myself, abandoned by the only person in the universe who said he would always listen to my opinions, even though I was only trying to help him improve his public image-”

Orion pressed a hand to his temple, closing his eyes in exasperation at her over the top dramatics. He opened his eyes and turned his gaze back to the docks, resignation deep in his voice. “Okay, okay. We’ll talk. Have you been watching soap operas again?”

“Was that a joke?” Her delighted laughter almost made him smile. “See, I knew you could do it!”

By the time the cab pulled up to the meet Andy had managed to pull herself together. Her eyes adjusted quickly as she took a quick glance around, noticing Raleigh at the bar. She shook her head, noticing the girl sitting next to him. She pulled out her com and sent him a quick message, 'Get back and prep the ship asap. Leaving as soon as the cargo is loaded.' She sent it, then smirked and sent another, 'Besides, she looks like jail bait' as a burly looking man came up to her.

She raised a brow and he gestured to a booth in the corner near the front. She took a breath and followed the man over, sliding into the offered seat.

A greasy looking mix raced man was smiling across the table at her and she tried not to grind her teeth. He let his eyes roam over her for a minute and then started speaking in Chima, "Rochester always sends the most delicious company for our exchanges. I'm Damen. Care for a drink?"

Andy raised a brow, her face unamused, and debated on if she was going to reply, "Scotch, neat."

He smiled and slipped into the common tongue, "So nice to have someone who understands a civilized language." He ordered a drink and a moment later they were set in front of them.

"Can we get down to business, I need to get your cargo loaded, and the dock workers will only stay paid off for so long."

He took a drink, "Ahh a women who likes things quick, that is a shame." He started to reach into his coat and Andy tensed. "No need for worries." He pulled out a data chip and slid it across the table. "This is what is important. My men have already taken the liberty of loading a more bulky and legitimate cargo on your ship. Fruit trees. We've left the proper documentation with them should you find you have to go through a customs check."

Andy looked down at the data chip and then knocked her drink back and picked up the data chip, slipping it into the chest pocket of her vest. "Seems we're all squared away then. I'll leave you to your leisure."

The man rolled his eyes and took another swig from his drink, "My, my, aren't we hasty. Know that if this job goes well, expect contact in the future. I'll have one of my men see you out."

Andy nodded and stood to leave. She walked away and took a look around the bar again to make sure Raleigh had left like ordered, who she found instead stopped her dead in her tracks. Her hands were on her weapons before she could think to stop herself, a feeling of pain and panic slicing through her chest she hadn't felt in years.

"Everything alright?" the burly man from before. Andy couldn't speak, all she could do was shake her head. No, if Orion was here, nothing was all right.

Orion’s gaze flickered from the window to the woman who had entered only a short time ago, standing tense with her hand on her gun and eyes trained on him. He met her gaze without turning his body to face her, studying her with the dark amusement of a cat watching a mouse snap its tiny teeth. The man she had been sitting with noticed her obvious distress and stood, saying something to her Orion couldn’t hear from general murmur of the room. The woman obviously recognized him, though she did not stand out in his memory. That in itself was not uncommon; he met the furious loved ones of past bounties more often than he would care to.

No, what was interesting was that look in her eyes. Anger, hate, a touch of fear: all of those things were expected. But what was that? Anxiety? A nervous, almost subconscious glance to the side, as if she was checking to make sure someone else was there.

Or perhaps making sure someone she doesn't want me to see is out of sight?

Number Nine was still saying something in his ear. “-because I’ve never seen you drink alcohol, let alone be drunk-“

“Potential lead, Nine. Standby.”

The playfulness disappeared from her voice instantly, replaced with a more professional calm. “Understood. Try to keep casualties to a minimum this time.”

Orion stood from the table, his chair scraping loudly across the floor. Towering at his full height, more than one conversation in the room suddenly ended as their eyes turned to him and his boots beat a heavy rhythm until he came to a stop before the pair, dark eyes looking down at the woman and completely ignoring the male. “Is there something you'd like to say to me?”

Andy did her best to keep her calm, but when she saw him stand up and move toward her, she couldn't help but move her hand to the com in her pocket and send a crew wide alert to return to ship for immediate departure, a warning she only used in bad situations. Her hand returned to the gun at her hip, as her last conversation with Mac played over in her head.

She couldn't shake the terrible feeling that he was being hauled off or killed as she stood here. Her jaw tightened and she looked up through her lashes at Orion as he stopped in front of her, not giving him the satisfaction if tipping her head back to his height. Every fiber of her being was exuding hate, her hair had even gone black.

"Say? No. But I'm pretty sure I owe you something you gorram purple belly scum." If she hadn't been confronted by Mac, if she didn't have memories rising to the surface over being on Falina, if she even stopped to think about what she was doing, she wouldn't have said anything, just walked away. But she wasn't in her right mind, and she couldn't loose another person she cared about to the Alliance, whether she could really admit to herself she cared about Mac.

She heard the burly man behind her ask Damen if he should intervene and heard the reply come back. "No. No, I love a good cat fight, as long as it doesn't get out of hand."

Orion watched the woman's hair color shift with her emotions, mildly interested to note what was likely a half-blood heritage - Chima were always so volatile - and ignored the insult, never the type to rise to such petty bait. He paid even less attention to the man called Damen and his two lackeys that moved to preemptively flank the bounty hunter. Let them scurry, these insects preparing to ambush a beast. There was something far more interesting here, lurking under the surface of those eyes that refused to look up at him.

"You know me?" It wasn't really a question; anyone with eyes could see that the woman clearly hated him. But his tone implied a different sort of knowing. She hadn't just seen him capture or kill a loved one. He had fought this woman before. Orion could see it in the way she stood, her body turned slightly away not from the gun on his right hip, but from the knife on his left, as if she knew what he would go for in such close quarters. Unlike the three male thugs, she moved like she had real combat experience. Of the four, she was the only potential threat, a mouse among maggots.

No, the real questions in his tone were: How did you survive an encounter with me? What are you trying to hide?

He examined her more closely, trying to put her face to a name. She did look familiar, a nagging sensation at the edge of his memories that he had seen that same hateful look from her in the past.

He was collected as loose and calculating as she remembered. He was one pace away from her, she felt her anxiety ratchet up.

He liked the up close fight- she remembered, how could she not? He'd killed the six other soldiers on the reconnaissance ship with her before he'd even gotten to her, before he tried to kill her to get to who was behind her. Andy smirked and raised her eyes just slightly, "Does anyone ever really know an Alliance Bounty hunter?" She heard a bit of muttering and shifting around her, saw two men behind Orion tense.

This was good. Even if she was terrified to fight this man again, she needed to stall, if Mac was free, she needed to give him all the time she could to get back to the ship. Her chin raised in more defiance, "Though someone who escapes you would know you better than others." She saw that caught his interest. While he had seen thousands of faces like hers, that day and his face were burned in every painful detail into hers.


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2014, 05:38:17 pm »
Her words were mocking, but they seemed to have the effect she intended. The three male thugs tensed at the title ‘Bounty Hunter’, the arrogant chimas likely assuming whatever pittance was being offered for their heads was really worth Orion’s time. It was growing increasingly unlikely that this would end peacefully. Honestly, he was amused and a little impressed with her quick thinking.

"Escaped me?" He echoed her odd word choice, lips moving into a serious frown. That was quite the assumption she was making. If he had wanted her dead, she would be dead; the fact that she was alive was probably because he just didn't care. As far as he knew, there wasn't anyone who he had meant to kill but still-

Orion paused, realizing that wasn’t entirely accurate. It was almost a decade ago now, but it had been the first time he had fought against a chima/human halfbreed. He wouldn’t find out until later that they were surprisingly resilient.

“Ah,” The giant rumbled, his chuckle low as thunder. “I see. So you did survive that wound after all. That Falinian man insisted you were alive, though I think he was more trying to convince himself than me. He was very optimistic.” He tilted his head at her, dark eyes sharp with interest. She had harbored a Marked before. Was it coincidence she was here now? He decided to edge her on, distract her while his left hand slowly reached for the knife at his hip. “What was your name? He said it over and over again, until the very end. I didn’t think I’d ever forget it. Amelia? Amanda?”

Andy felt her chest tighten at his laugh. She had only survived their encounter by the skin of her teeth, or her genetics rather. She figured she could get him to recognize her, what she hadn't expected was for him to have been with Adam when he died.

"You son of a..." She momentarily started to lean forward ready to slug him, but realized her mistake and drew her gun on him instead. She'd honed those reflexes since the war, and her gun was out as she saw him going for his knife.

Damon's thugs saw some gesture she missed and started to converge on him at the same time and it seemed like all hell had broken loose in the place as people started running and moving all at once. She turned and started to run herself, firing off a few shots aimed at Orion for good measure. Time was up, she'd let the locals deal with him.

She was almost at the door when she heard her name and she turned in time to pivot her stance as she saw the coming blade. It sliced at an angle across her calf, but didn't keep her from getting out the door, pushing the distress button so she could be located on her com as she started to run, limping toward the harbor. "Raleigh, I hope you didn't get too far, I could use a pick up. I'm in a little peril here." As she pushed her self past the pain in her leg, she hoped she was the only one.

She tried to reach connect with Mac's personal com, but either he was ignoring her or he couldn't answer. She gritted her teeth"Be on the ship," she muttered over and over to herself as she ran, willing Mac to have gotten back already, and simply ignoring her.

She was almost too slow – his knife was out and flashing before she had fully drawn her gun.

But he wasn’t aiming for her, the hunter moving faster than a man his size had the right to. There was the delicate screech of metal against metal as the knife swept Damen’s gun to the side, despite the criminal’s attempt to draw it on the sly while the conversation was going on. The blade twirled in an expert grip and sent the firearm clattering to the floor, leaving Damen screaming as he clutched a hand with a two less fingers. 

The restaurant erupted into chaos then as people scrambled to get out of the way. The woman did not hesitate to capitalize on the situation, immediately fleeing the moment conflict broke. The other two thugs moved on Damen’s draw, one reaching for his own gun as the other attempted to intercept Orion’s knife arm. The giant pivoted toward the chima struggling futilely against one muscled arm, Orion’s free fist slamming into the man’s unsuspecting throat and then twisting to grip it. The bounty hunter lifted the gurgling thug as if he were little more than an annoying child and threw him into his shocked partner, sending them both to the floor.

Gunshots rang out, but not from the chimas on the floor or Damen clutching his bleeding hand. Dark eyes found the woman surging through the crowd of people, firing pot shots over her shoulder as she went. The knife spun in deft fingers again as he shifted his hold to the blade, lifting it high over his shoulder and boomed in a voice far from his normal quiet rumble. “Andrea!”

She turned at the sound of her own name, her expected hesitance enough to give the knife spinning through the air time to reach her. For most, it would have found its target deep in the vulnerable flesh of the spot directly behind her knee and sent her tumbling to the ground, unable to stand, let alone flee. But Orion found himself impressed that she managed to pivot out of the way just in time, his blade leaving only a gash across her leg before it sank a few inches into the wooden doorframe at her side.  She was out of the door before the knife handle had even stopped quivering from the impact.

The eight fingered mix blood had recovered his wits in that same moment, Damen roaring streams of Chima that Orion’s basic understanding of the language couldn’t translate. The bounty hunter turned and caught the leader with a snap kick that sent him flying into a table and breaking it, the crunch of bone under the weight of Orion’s steel-capped boots loud even over splintering wood. The other two were almost on their feet by the time the giant towered over them, two massive palms covering the entirety of their faces before he lifted them both from the ground with feet dangling helplessly in the air. They had time only to scratch and claw at his arms for a brief moment before he surged forward and down, swinging their body weight backward and up so that their heads collided against the wooden floor with the full weight of Orion’s muscle behind it.

It was a blow that would have shattered the skull of a typical human, but even their stronger bones were unable to save them from unconsciousness.

The fight had taken roughly fifteen seconds, if it could really be called a fight. Damen minus two fingers laid groaning among the splinters of a table and several broken ribs, his lackeys unconscious and likely with severe concussions on the ground not far from him. Dark eyes flicked between them, confirming each as a neutralized threat, before moving quickly to the front door of the diner and pulling his knife out of the wood. He glanced back at the crowd watching him in something akin to stunned fear, considered them, then gestured toward where the three thugs laid.

“Leave them.”

The unspoken promise of his return made most nod in return. He pushed the door open and moved outside.

Andy could feel her boot filling with blood and she knew she was slowing down, so when Raleigh and the Mule showed up she simply shook her head to any comments or questions, "Drive now. Questions later." But when she went to climb in she saw a girl in the back seat.

She closed her eyes, her brow wrinkling in irritation as she hauled herself in trying not to bleed everywhere. "Questions later," she said out loud again, more for herself to keep calm, while she gave Raleigh an angry and irritated look. She checked behind them and saw Orion coming. "Floor it."

She took aim out the cockpit window and fired a few rounds at him. She didn't expect to hit him, but it was at least a deterrent to following them so quickly. She pulled an extra kerchief from her coat and cinched it around her calf with a wince as they sped toward the Anne and she commed the ship.

"Whoever is on board, spool up the engines and secure all cargo immediately, we are leaving hot. We need to take off as soon as the Mule docks with the ship."

She hoped all of her crew were on board, one of them in particular, but they couldn't afford to wait for anyone to come back. Andy knew what Orion was capable of. Her hand went to a phantom pain in her left ribs, her hands uncharacteristically shaking.

She glanced at the girl in the back seat and back at Raleigh as they were pulling into the ship. "You've got some explaining to do, but for now I need you in the cockpit. Drop whatever navsat trajectory decoys we've got, and any dummy pulse beacons. Anything that will cover our trail. We can't afford to be followed by this guy. And tell Fin or Tac to meet me in the med bay and give me a head count as soon as we break atmo, there is a strong chance we're leaving someone behind."

He stepped out just in time to see the woman hopping into a ready vehicle, the Mule flying into motion before she was even fully inside.  A quick glance around found him exactly what he was looking for: a man climbing out of his personal open air land speeder just outside the restaurant, staring at the rapid departure of the nearby mule. A few large paces and Orion was on the man, taking his keys and tossing him to the side like discarded trash. The giant clambered into the commandeered land speeder, powered it back up, and took off after the mule.

Gunshots rang out from the mule ahead, followed immediately by the metallic ping of bullets against the metal hull of the land speeder. A lucky potshot sent a spider web of thick cracks across the glass windshield, the giant cursing under his breath as he lost sight of the Mule for the valuable few seconds it took him to pull out his own gun and shoot out the rest of the windshield. By the time it cleared, he realized he had missed the turn they made, what little gain he had made on their vehicle lost immediately as he spun the land stalker into a tight u-turn.

By the time Orion caught up, their mule was already pulling into the loading bay of a class nine cruiser and the door was beginning to shut. The bounty hunter jumped from the land stalker before it had even finished slowing, feet gaining traction quickly as he moved in a full sprint toward the ship. His gun was out and eyes were down the sight even as he ran, though he did not fire; it would be a challenging shot to make while running and at his distance, even when closing rapidly, but he was confident he could hit the woman as soon as she emerged from the mule. It wouldn’t be the most difficult shot he’s made in his life.

She had bragged about surviving one encounter with Orion; she wouldn’t brag about a second.

A female figure jumped from the mule and his finger squeezed on the trigger, but stilled the instant before firing. She had turned to look at him through the closing bay doors, and though Orion knew he could have made the shot, it wasn’t the woman he was expecting to be. Rather, it was the woman he had been hoping it would be: younger, hazel-gold eyes, her hair tipped with edges of blue.

The door closed and Orion lost his opportunity for a shot, his run slowing to a stop as he watched the cruiser lift into the air and his hand moving to holster his gun. There was no point in firing at this point; kinetic bullets would do little against a ship’s plating, more likely to ricochet and hit Orion than it was to do any sort of damage. He instead lifted that hand to his ear piece, the quiet chime telling him that Number Nine was listening.

“The girl is on a ship departing from Dock 42. Can you trace it?”

The reply was instantaneous. “I’ve got it. The Queen Ann’s Revenge, class nine cruiser moving through the atmosphere now. I’m tracking its navsat trajectory and finding all files related to it now, but there isn't much." There was a pause. “I’m also getting an unusual signal from it, nonexistent on all scanners but the bio-scan. I think most would call it a glitch, but…”

Orion understood, though he had a hard time believing it. “A gen-zero?”

The soft chime was her confirmation. “Most likely dormant, so most Alliance computers wouldn’t be capable of reading the signal, but my programming is very similar to it. The probability of it being a gen-zero is very high. Shall we pursue?”

Orion frowned. A Marked on a gen-zero ship was problematic, but not impossible. She wouldn’t want to wake it up unless she wanted the full weight of the Alliance military to come down on her. “No. If her captain is half as clever as she seems, she’ll go to great lengths to keep us from tracking her directly. Put an alert out on all Alliance channels that the The Queen Ann’s Revenge is carrying illegal cargo and should be detained immediately upon arrival. If anything pops up with their name, I want to know about it.”

“Understood. Should I come pick you up?”

“Not yet.” Orion turned back to the land speeder. “I’m going to go have a chat with some friends I made at the restaurant. I’m sure they’ll be happy to tell me where our prey is fleeing to if I ask nicely enough.”

“Don’t forget to smile!”


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2014, 09:55:32 am »

Despite the circumstances, it felt nice to be in a craft again.

This one was bigger than any she'd been on, though Georgia had flown few in her time. She sat where she would be out of the way. The Queen Anne's captain was a part-Chima woman with some serious injuries. Georgia didn't see the lady as the type to get in a bar fight, but with her opponent, anyone could fall to his prey. He outnumbered two people with just himself.

She didn't know why he'd approached the other woman, but as soon as Orion stood, she was antsy. Raleigh had gotten them out of there before anything too violent happened. It was when she'd jumped out of his mule that she had made eye contact with Orion. There had been fear in her at that moment, but there had also been something else. Georgia wasn't sure what it was, but she was pretty damn sure she'd winked at the monstrous bounty hunter.

That confidence was kept at bay, though. Orion had still seen her, and he surely would catch up to them now that he knew she was aboard. Somehow Raleigh was connected to all the commotion and the group now seemed a gigantic target.

The night was getting weirder. Captain didn't seem happy with her existence on the ship, but she had worse things to deal with than a stowaway. Georgia glanced to the cyber-armed man, who was back to work and following captains' orders.

She clutched the straps of her backpack and did her best to stay out of the way. With any luck the crew would ignore her.  The girl was happy Andy had other worries and wouldn't be on her case right now. It hadn't been her ideal solution to her predicament, but it had been quicker than she'd thought!


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2014, 09:57:36 am »
Nothing like going through a little bit of hell to make a man sober up. Already Raleigh could fell his head threatening to ache, whether out of stress or the lack of nicotine in his system, he wasn't sure. Although, he was damn sure that after Andy was done chewing his ass out for whatever, he'd be smoking a cigarette as some kind of attempt to quell it.

Jackass put up one hell of a fight on the ride to her Highness. Raleigh was pretty proud of the old thing, although he noted its new bloody paint job. Andy, he thought, it had to be her. Even in his drunken rush, he made sure Georgia was okay as things got ugly. Andy on the other hand, well, he hadn't been expecting to pick her up, nor the hell that came with her.

It was a rush on the Queen Anne. Raleigh's metal hand grasping his seat, spinning him into his chair as his other hand went to work at making sure what Andy asked for was taken care of. He didn't quite understand what was going on or who the fuck that giant was, but by the look on Andy's face, none of it was good news. Answers could be given later, first they needed out of this mess before it would become a real clusterfuck.

"Oi, Fin, Tac, whoever the fuck is listening, get down to the med bay. Capn' needs a head count and some stitches." Raleigh spoke into the com, already glancing away, noticing Georgia not too far away. Her hat was gone, blonde hair with blue ends displayed for all the world to see. Andy was going to give him hell about her, he knew. Another mouth to feed, another member they couldn't really fucking afford. Raleigh was already lighting up without even thinking about it, the cigarette now resting at the corner of his mouth.

The girl better be a good cook or the earful he was going to get later would never be worth it.


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2014, 07:10:44 am »
Mac figured he’d make himself comfortable.  He took a few steps backwards and found a chair.  He decided to sit and did so even though a gun was pointed at him.  His eyes glanced towards another chair, suspecting his mother might want to join him.

She didn’t take the hint.  “You could have called,” she said.

One side of Mac’s mouth twitched, “Sure, that’s what I needed to do.  Hey Mom, I ran into some trouble, would you mind dealing with some pirates for me?  You’ve got some money to spend on ransom.”  Speaking of money, he lifted one arm slowly and removed the credit chip from the hiding place in his sleeve.  “We should settle up.   The captain can pay.”

Marlena took the chip.  She looked at like it held secrets.  Her gun lowered in her other hand.

Mac said, “Nine thousand was negotiated. But you’re going to give me a five percent discount because you like my smile.” He flashed his best, and crossed one leg over the other.

Marlena’s lips twitched.  “I do like your smile, when you choose to use it for good.  Been sadly missing around here.”

Rather than explain where he’d been, Mac  adjusted the brim of his hat a touch lower over his eyes.  “Why don’t you run that through.  Money always makes you smile.”

She moved to a small machine near the door.  A few buttons and beaps later and she returned the tiny item back to Mac who already appeared restless.  He was shifting in his chair like he couldn’t wait to leave. “You could stay.”

His look was sharp as he glanced her way.  “Sure I could,” he’d give the fantasy five seconds. The com-link chirped.  Mac ignored it.  “But for now I have a ship to fix.  She’ll never break atmosphere without those parts.”  He moved his hand to his wrist and a small gold bracelet there.  “I’ll send Clancy back.”

Mac beamed himself back to the ship.  Marlena would be left standing and staring at the empty chair.  Mac would appear in the hold of the ship, in a small corner of the engine room he considered his own.  He doubted anyone knew about the little toy he’d made  soon after joining the crew.  He wasn’t going to hand the ability to dematerialize out to the others.  In fact, he figured the process would probably kill them, so he’d wait until someone pissed him off before sharing.

Andy had pissed him off. Hurt your pride.  Don’t make it more than that.  Mac moved off the portal spot and to the landing bay.  Sure enough the parts had been offloaded.  The mule empty and parked.  Clancy was gone, probably taking a few minutes to hit a bar before heading back to work.  Mac couldn’t blame him.  He put the credit chip on the dash, grabbed the crystals and disappeared back below.

In the engine room he didn’t see anyone, although he heard the final alert to gather the crew back as quickly as possible.   Everything was an emergency.  Andy liked to live on the edge; part of the fun, part of the problem.

Mac touched the side wall of the ship as he crawled into one of the tunnels.  “I’m not here,” he said aloud, as though talking to the metal.  It was always a toss-up as to whether the ship would listen.  He figured he had only a few moments to replace the burned out power grid before someone demanded the ship perform her typical magic.   Even Andy probably didn't know how drained the Anne was.  Just like she didn't get how she'd crossed a line with him that would be difficult to recover from.

For now though he was doing what he loved. He’d focus on the task at hand, and worry about the future later.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 07:18:16 am by Beau »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2014, 11:15:28 am »
Andy stayed in the Mule as first Raleigh left, then his guest followed him quickly. She let her head fall back against the head rest and her eyes close as the rumble of the ship took them out of the atmosphere.

When the roar of breaking into space, turned into the silence, or as quiet as a working ship can be, Andy finally hauled herself out of the Mule, rolling her eyes at the half worn paint Raleigh had promised was gone. She wanted to make sure everyone was aboard, but knew she need to take care of her leg first. She left a trail of blood to the med bay, as every stiff step she took pushed blood out of the top of her boot to slide to the floor.

Fin was waiting. Andy pulled her boots off and watched his face pale as it made a mess on the floor. "Drew the short straw, eh?" She spun her finger for him to turn his back as she started to strip off her jacket and vest and rolled up her sleeves to keep blood off them as she worked on her leg. "What's the report?" He glanced back at her and she growled at him, more at the pain of sliding her leg out of her pants than the fact that he was sneaking a peak. She grabbed a compression bandage from the tray table and a drape to lay over her lap before she pulled herself and the med kit on to the exam table.

She saw him swallow. He glanced at her again as she threaded the needle, "I can help, if you want. My sister was a nurse."  

Andy looked up at him, then back down to her calf faced away from him, where she could see the slim line of scales that went from the back of her knee to her ankle and she shook her head, "Spit it out."

He swallowed and nodded, stuttering slight, "Aa... all present and accounted for," Andy looked up in surprise and started to smile, "Except one." Andy closed her eyes. "Who?"

Silence. "WHO?" She looked up at him threw slitted eyes, he was even more pale. "Mmac MacIntyre Captain. The parts were delivered, but by someone else, and no one's seen him since he left with you."

Andy's jaw tightened and her head dropped in one small sharp nod. "Go make sure the cargo is secure."

"Aye Captain."

When he was gone Andy threw the tray table with a growl and slid to the floor pulling her knees up to her chest despite the pain and started to silently sob. Either he'd chosen not to come back, or she'd left him behind, or he was captured... or killed. It really didn't matter which, it was her fault. More blood on her hands. Another person she'd successfully pushed away.

When she started feeling light headed, she managed to grab the compression bandage and get it around her leg. It would do for now. She pulled her pants back on and made it back to her cabin, using the side entrance so she wouldn't have to see Raleigh yet by going through the cock pit.

She washed her blood off and changed clothes- light wide straight legged cotton pants that barley touched her skin, a tank top and on impulse an old blue knit sweater that had a huge open collar that hung off one of her shoulders - one of Adams, she even managed with a great deal of effort to make most of her hair it's usual blond.

She was as comfortable as she was going to get with the pain in her leg and the guilty ache in her chest. If Mac was taken, that meant the Mother Andy didn't meet most likely was as well.

She knew Anne could tell her what she wanted to know, what she needed to know, if Mac was alive, but she knew she couldn't face it sober, so she went to a hidden cupboard in the wall and pressed and a panel slid to the side. She pulled out three bottles and walked through the cockpit and left one full bottle of rum on the control console, "This doesn't mean we aren't going to talk about her," she said as walked out.

She opened the quarter full bottle and started drinking as she limped toward Anne's engine room. She pulled the hatch shut behind her and locked it before she pulled the sweater off and hung it on the handle of the hatch. It was hot in the engine room, she could already feel it seeping into her cool skin. Besides, no one was there to see the race marks she always kept hidden. She made a line for the back wall that looked like one solid continuous panel. She looked at it and lifted the bottle to her lips, finishing it off, and setting the bottle at her bare feet.

She took a breath and pressed her hand to the metal and tapped out a pattern with her splayed fingers to open an invisible com panel. She felt the metal heat up at her touch and a line of light started above her fingers and ran out and down, forming a small door that slid up as she took her hand away. A pristine and complex panel set in the larger dingy wall. She opened the second bottle, and took another drink, feeling slightly off balance - the drink and the blood loss working together- then set it down too.

She pushed a button and a smaller panel opened up that looked out of place- pieced together and rough. Something she and Adam had built together so she could interface with Anne. Her hand shook as she pulled on a set of wires with electrodes on the end and then set one of them down. She put the other behind her ear over a small scar and tattoo she had. Her hands skimmed over a keyboard and pushed in the protocols to give Anne a small piece of her voice.

Anne was special, quiet from the beginning. Able to be awake, but dormant at the same time, Adam had never gotten around to fully explaining, but Andy had forced her into completely silence for the most part, out of grief and pain.

"I know you can hear me Anne. I... I know it's been awhile."

She could hear static in her ear before a text scrolled across a screen, so she wasn't going to actually speak, "A month would have been awhile, even a few months. But nine months, seventeen days, forty-three minutes and twenty seconds qualifies as more than awhile Andrea. And even then you didn't let me speak, just pulled memories into your head that didn't belong to you so you could punish yourself over the glimmer of moving on."

Andy looked at the other electrode. "You know I couldn't come have chats with Mac always around the place, he already knows more than I'm comfortable with about you. You know that."

There was a squeal and then an angry voice only Andy could hear. "No. What I know is that you could have let me loose, let him in, opened my main panel right here and let him in and I'd be healthier, able to tell him what I really needed at any time I needed it. He knows what I really am. He's a Compatible, we need each other. It could have been like before. But you didn't let him in. You didn't let me free. Just because you loved my last Compatible doesn't mean I belong to you. It doesn't mean you know my secrets the way I know yours. I have a purpose and so do you."

Andy's hands balled into fists.

Anne's voice came again. "I know why you've come. What you want to ask. So why don't you?"

Andy closed her eyes, "Fine. Where's..."

"He's not here."

Andy knew that already. Neither of the 'he's' she would ask about were. The pain in her head, the pain in her leg, the pain in her chest as guilt heaped on guilt threatened to crush her. Guilt over Adam. Guilt over Mac. Guilt over what she'd reduced Anne too. Her hands moved to the keys. "This was a bad idea."

"Fine, shut me up again, but then I won't be able to tell you any of the things I know. Like how I was scanned, or that there is an anomaly aboard," Andy's hands paused, it had to be the girl, unless she had another stray or stow away. But Anne kept talking with a mocking tease to her voice before Andy could think it through much further or her fingers could move, "Or that Mac is alive. He's actually pretty pleased with himself if I read him right."

Andy yanked the electrode free from behind her ear and put it back in the panel. 'Pleased to be away from you, no doubt.' So he'd chosen to not come back. It served her right and he was better off. She was a black hole for anyone who stayed around long. She fought against the sting in her eyes.

Anne wasn't finished, though she'd gone back to scrolling text, "He's just coming out of one of my Aft power tunnels. He's probably seen you and is wondering why you're standing and talking to a wall."

"Traitor," she whispered and in the off chance he hadn't seen her already, Andy quickly shut the panel and the wall became seamless again. She wiped her hand over her eyes and face and started to quickly limp back toward the hatch, her fingers moving unconsciously to cover the back of her neck as she walked.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2014, 10:21:07 pm by Peregrine »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2014, 02:33:27 am »
Mac thought he heard a voice above, but no one was due to be in the annex.  His head turned and his hair brushed against the metal wall.  He listened, identifying the voice as Andy, although he couldn’t make out the words.  With his luck she’d unlock the electrical switch he’d locked out for safety and fry him.  With a sigh he crawled out of the tube in time to see Andy moving down the hall.

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

He didn’t need to imagine what she was hiding behind her hand.  If he walked closer she might see the mark on the back of his shoulder, a five finger handprint.  He was working without his shirt on, his bare chest coated with sweat.  It was hotter down here than usual because he’d turned off the air circulation system; it was that choice or use the antigravity which he knew she hated.  He was being brazen, uncaring who knew his status, since he figured his time onboard was short.  Next port he’d leave as planned.  Raleigh would probably appreciate having his room back.
The wrench tapped in his hand.  He didn’t have anything to say to her, and yet he found the words, “You’re hurt,” pulled from him as he noted the limp.  He grit his teeth together, angry at himself for speaking.  He wouldn’t ask what had happened, or if she was all right.  She wasn’t his concern.

Instead he half turned and looked down at the floor.  She’d left a bottle against the wall.  A muscle at his jaw clenched and he managed to find something else to be angry at. “Don’t leave your litter here.”  A pause.  “Captain.”  False respect where trust was gone.

He took a step forward, anger propelling him to pick up the bottle in his free hand.  "And you can give me the keys.  I'm sick of doing all this this hard way." 

« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 03:36:53 am by Beau »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2014, 05:33:21 am »
High Orbit Over Falinia
03:47 Unity Standard Time (UST)
"Arc of Defiance" - "Medical Wing"

This room was a hospital. That much was certain.

Parien, lying in a soft bed, had been slipping in and out of consciousness. Sometimes there had been people in here, talking in low tones and checking on the machines that stood next to his bed. Everything was white. The machines had fuzzy outlines, though that might have been his own eyes. There were tubes everywhere, gossamer strands affixed to his body like he was a string puppet at rest.

Whispered words had drifted into earshot. "Accident" was one. "Escape" was another. And "Marked Ones", though even the whispers seemed to find themselves too loud at that, as if wishing they could emit the word in such a hush as would exist only in pure silence.

At one moment Parien closed his eyes for barely a second, but when he opened them again he saw a man towering over him.

"My name is Dominic Hyatt," the man said, in a tone that implied this was both grand news and something Parien should have known all along. "You are going to give me answers, crewman."

Parien tried to say something but found his voice had dried up. There was a small hiss, and the parched skin in his throat suddenly felt softer.

"That was the rehydrator," Dominic said. "It monitors your needs and applies chemicals based on what your body is trying to do, the less to damage it when you first apply your underused or fragile flesh. You had a nasty turn, Parien. A lot of people did not survive the cataclysm you caused."

"what can I do for you Sir?" Parien asked wincing in pain as if each word sent waves of agony through his body. Dominic raised his data pad and began to read off a list of names and their current status, many of them were listed as deceased or simply missing. Some were listed as being in the same medical ward that Parien himself was currently a guest of. This was partially for dramatic effect and to add some gravity to the situation. Dominic wanted the man to know the extent of the damage he had caused by his actions.

"Do you know me, crewman?"

"No, sir." Parien said. "But I know your name."

The captain gave a mirthless smile at that. "And what does that name mean to you?"

"You are the captain - of the Arc of Defiance," Parien said. His throat stung. "The battleship-class vessel. That I served on. Sir."

"That is correct crewman, Now do you remember the events that lead to you being in that bed?"

The injured Parien slowly shook his head "No Sir I do not, so much happened so qui.."

The mans words were cut off when Dominic tapped a square on his data pad cutting off the steady feed of painkillers that were being pumped into the mans systems. It was then that he became aware of the extent of his injuries. Several holes had been punched through his chest by gunfire, as well as several lacerations and burns from explosions.

"Now now Crewman.. I am still your captain... and you will not lie to me do you understand..otherwise I will leave you to rot here in this bed before I send you out an airlock and then orbitally bombard your families you understand the gravity of what you have done?"

Parien nodded finally looking Dominic in the eyes finally a strange clarity knowing just how serious that threat really was. "Yes Sir I do...the marked ones who escaped.. could return to the gen-zero ships..they were given directions and ident chips.. Should be in the hands of those who would resist the alliance."

Dominic tapped the same square on the data pad and the painkillers started to flow again, and after a moment or two the mans pain began to slowly disappear."Why did you sabotoge the labs crewman.."

"It...was wrong...the experiments...the torture, the genocide, they never had a chance, they were never given a chance to prove they were peaceful and harmless.."

Dominic tapped his pad again and the pain returned in a flash.

"Who gave you the orders...I know this was not you acting alone...You are clever crewman, but not clever enough to sabotoge the equipment as you had."

The man began to writhe in pain again as the medications left his system quickly again.  "It was Jones... he had shown me how to overload the equipment and cause the explosion...I didn't know...No one in the verse could have predicted it would cause a multi level breach.."

"Well it had crewman...sadly it had... Three Marked escaped in a lifeboat amidst the panic..Two thousand souls sucked into the verse because of your sympathy for these marked creatures crewman.. this was not a fair trade no matter how you look at it...These marked ones will be found and either returned to the labs or this point I could care less...however the lives that were lost can never be returned... And this is where our conversation ends...Your fate has already been decided..I just wanted some answers before you were either handed to the families of those crewmen who you spaced..or.."

Dominic looked towards a second data pad on the table beside Parien.

"You could choose to take the honorable way out and send yourself into the you did to your brothers in arms.. the choice is yours.."

Parien thinking he could take out a man who was essentially torturing him as well as the one responsible for genocide reached for the pad and hit the only option on it and he could hear a sharp hiss on the other side of the room as air began to be sucked out into the vast emptiness of space.  A few small items flew across the room, one or two actually passing through the image of Captain Dominic Hyatt, who was in fact there only as a hologram.

"A poor choice Crewman, he said still audible over the now roar of air rushing from the room. "Now go become one with the universe.. "


Dominic deactivated the holographic projectors and set down the datapad,  He had some of the answers that he wanted.. Crewman Balthine Jones had been responsible for the sabotoge on the research ship allowing several marked ones to escape months and perhaps years ago, tracking down the source of the explosion had taken quite a lot of time as the security in the ship had been disabled and there were very few survivors from the event.

"Cain..Able..Locate crewman Balthine Jones.. and report his location to me once he is found..."

Upon hearing their names, two A.I. programs sprang to life on either side of their captain and gave him a quick bow and spoke in complete perfect unison.
"Yes Captain searching....."

"Crewman Jones currently planetside on leave... financial records show his last purchase was in a spaceport tav..Note Authorities are on route to location, weapon discharges in the area"

Dominic smirked, "Perhaps someone has beaten us to the punch... Alert the hanger and squardon three, we are going planetside.."

« Last Edit: July 20, 2014, 08:04:39 am by Iorveth »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2014, 10:50:25 pm »

The personal com on Andy's wrist had started beeping every few seconds with new messages as Mac came closer. Her back was to him, so she forced herself to drop her hand as he mentioned her hurt. Maybe things weren't as bad as they felt. Her hand started to reach out when his back turned and she saw his mark, but she pulled it back like she was burned as he turned on her again. Mad about the empty bottle. She glanced at the nearly full one she'd left on a lip in the wall.

Her com kept beeping as he continued his angry tirade, the beeps were unique, it was Anne. Andy had forgotten to turn off her personal link with the ship, so now she was sending messages Andy refused to open. She looked down and turned it off.

It was her turn to turn her back as she reached for the sweater hanging on the door. She was actually shivering, despite the heat of the room. Gorram genetic mutt!

If he didn't like what he saw, if he was as disgusted as he'd acted before, he could look away. I would if I was him. A trail of purple and green and deep blue scales ran from under her pulled up hair at the base of her neck and trailed down under her tank top.  She also had a very intricate wing tattoo on either shoulder blade that would almost look like she was marked because of the UV lights that exposed cracks in the walls and machinery in the engine room and also exposed the ink, they were nearly invisible any other time. She had other regular tattoos, like the 51st Airborne unit symbol on her upper left arm, but they were covered most of the time too.

She pulled the sweater on as she turned around and looked up with a tired glare at Mac. "No." She took a breath. The thought of Anne bonding with anyone made Andy heart sick. She felt her eyes misting, but she ignored it, she didn't have the energy to straighten her shoulders, but she managed to sound irritated,  "It isn't safe and she belongs to Adam, not to you."

She looked away, closing her eyes as moisture spilled out.  Her chest ached as she realized she blurted his name out. She couldn't remember the last time she'd said his name out loud. Her hand raised to her ribs on the left side where the pain was the sharpest. She didn't open her eyes or look at him, but her head shook back and forth twice slightly. "I thought..."

I thought you were dead. I thought he had taken another person from me. I thought I'd lost you.

She wiped her sweater covered hand across her face and cleared her throat. Without completing the thought she moved to go get the nearly full bottle from where she'd left it. She let her irritation win out, better to feel anger than pain. "You should be used to doing things the hard way by now."

“No?”  He repeated her answer, parroting it back.  She was going to be stubborn and stupid.  His brow furrowed as she gave her reason, “Who’s Adam?”

He’d asked the question, but suddenly he didn’t want the answer. The name hadn’t come up in the time he’d been on board.  Not a whisper, although he suspected Anne had other mechanics before him.  No name had been attached before: nothing from Raleigh, and nothing from Anne.  She was quiet.  Deliberately silenced it seemed.

Andy was upset.  He could see that now as she turned and whipped her face.  It was clear though his anger had nothing to do with it--this was something else she’d keep hidden.  Now she was going to take her toys and go home.  Pushing up more walls, he watched as she collected the bottle and offered him more sass.

He doubted she’d understand how patient he’d been.  He’d known there was something that put the chip on her shoulder but never guessed the cause a man.  It was best to keep his distance than stir it up, he didn’t have time for it.  She didn’t want it – or so she’d proved today.  But it was hard when admiration warred with reservation.   The unattainable has its own allure.
“You have no idea,” he said.  He might have been talking about work, but he was staring at Andy.  The hard way barely summed it up.  He extended his hand.  “I don’t want to be ‘used to it’ anymore.”

She figured he wouldn't let her go in peace, forget she said anything. Still her hand tightened on her side as Adam's name was spoken aloud again.

Going to get the bottle was a mistake, because now Mac was between her and the door. She didn't want to push him aside, she was worn to thin for that today. She felt abused enough by past nightmares and present hurts, she could not bring herself to add another.

Maybe it was just wishful thinking that had him sigh and put his own anger and hurt aside. He didn’t want to go back into the tunnel and let her wallow alone.  He had to try.  Once.  Still, he needed a bit of courage so he snatched the drink from her.  He set the wrench down and took a swig from the bottle.

“Oh man,” he winced as the alcohol burned a fire down his throat.  “How can you drink that stuff?”

He shook his head, because that wasn’t the question he wanted answered.  “What are you scared of Andy?  And don’t tell me I’m wrong and bluster with words, you’ve already threatened me with death today and I came back.”  He added more evidence to stem her avoidance.  “Your hiding behind the clothes, the alcohol, the tears.”  Most men would run screaming for the dark. “There’s something here,” he pointed to the air between them.  “Don’t lie to me too.”

Mac set the bottle down so both his hands were free.  He’d give it 50/50 odds he’d have to defend himself. “I’m not Adam.”  He took a step closer.  A test to see if she’d retreat.  “Is what I am unworthy of the ship?  Of you?”

Andy actually managed a crooked half smile and huffing laugh at his reaction to his drink. It hurts less than other things she might have said if he hadn't kept up his line of questions. He said his name again. She wrapped her arms around her middle to keep herself together. She wished he would have given the bottle back.

Though she doubted even its burn could have distracted her from the panic and pain that were like a vice tightening around her chest. There probably wasn't a drink strong enough distract her mind from racing to all the memories of the things he wanted to know.  She could feel her brain scrambling for walls she wasn't sure she wanted anymore.

She didn't shy away when he stepped closer. His words hurt her though. The implication that she was lying to herself and he could see through it. Mac wasn't Adam, but that didn't make him less worthy. It just made her more selfish. She looked at him, and her brow furrowed not knowing where to start, so she said the easiest thing she could in the present conversation, "I didn't mean it. The turning you over part. I could never forgive myself if someone else died because of me. I..I just..." He was standing so close now and her head was spinning and her heart was pounding. On impulse she stepped forward, putting both of her hands on either side of his face and she kissed him deep and lingering, leaning into him.

After a minute she pulled back, "I'm sorry, that wasn't fair," she shook her head a little as she spoke feeling weepy again, which she hated, her voice was raw, "I don't know how to do this."

Mac was surprised by the kiss.  He kept still with his hands at his side.  He responded to the touch, but he didn’t press, unsure how forgiveness mapped into it.

When Andy stepped back and apologized, a slow grin spread across Mac’s face.  There was a slight twinkle in his eye and heat to his skin that had nothing to do with the air temperature.  “Oh, I’d say you know how to do this quite well.”  He took another step, brushing his thigh and against hers and gently pressing her towards the wall.  His arms and hands went up on either side of her, wedging her in with palms flat on the metal surface behind her.  “It might take some practice though.”  He didn’t grab, only leaned in to kiss her again with enough technique to assure her he meant the promise behind the words. 

Mac tipped his head back and the wolfish smile was still there.  “I am a one woman man,” he said.  He kissed her neck before stepping back and offering her escape if she wanted it.  “But that doesn’t mean I won’t talk to other women.”  His palm was extended again.  “Just talk.  Give me the keys, Andy.”

Andy responded to his grin with a more subtle half grin. She hadn't meant she hadn't known how to do this, she was very good at this. She was glad it had distracted him enough from asking more questions about Adam for the time being. She let herself forget and let go of the past just the smallest bit as he came closer. "I suppose if you need the practice I can oblige."

She looked up at him with mirth and mischief as her back came to rest against the warm wall, the heat from the wall and from him, seeping into her skin. He'd left enough room for her to run, part of her wanted to, but she didn't. Her look was a clear challenge for him to make good on his words. When he kissed her she felt something start to reforge inside her she hadn't been sure could ever be fixed. Her cold hands snaked around and wrapped around his back eating up more of his heat actually starting to feel warm.

She was confused when he stopped and stepped away. She raised a brow that fell when she realized what he'd done, what she'd fallen for. She felt that place inside her start to break again. He'd distracted her, gotten her to drop her guard and then done this.

She caught her breath, feeling like she'd been slugged in the gut. She was hurt, and she couldn't hide it. She turned away, opened her mouth, ready to be stubborn again when she heard the engine rev up and the temperature instantly rise a few degrees. Anne. She was getting ready to throw an all out tantrum that would leave them at a standstill when they really needed to be getting as far away from the core as possible, especially now.

Her hand went up to where there was a large angry scar on her ribs, Orion's face flashed across her thoughts. They didn't have time for this. Andy felt cornered and defeated, and guilty - she'd betrayed Adam and herself by kissing Mac, letting him get to her. She didn't have time to try and argue the point with either of them. They needed to be gone. She sighed heavily, "Fine."

She would give Anne and Mac what they wanted, and she would go back to where she belonged, alone. It was for the best. She turned and limped to where the empty bottle had been, and the engine calmed down,"There isn't a key I can give, you have to get your own." She looked at the rough, scratched, painted, and in some places rusted, metal.

She lifted her hand and her finger traced over a faded bird design with two scrolling "A" initials incorporated into the design. 'Forgive me.' She closed her eyes and placed her palm over it,  felt the heat of the scan, her fingers tapped quickly against the wall in a complicated pattern and the panel appeared like before. There was an instant stream of text on the screen that Andy completely ignored. She just had to get this over with.

She picked up both electrodes, her fingers trembling slightly, she stuck one to her temple and the other slid back behind her ear over the scar and the star constellation tattoo that covered it. Anne started an excited and endless stream of talking as soon as Andy was connected, which was also ignored. Andy spoke to the wall, dejected,  "You're going to have to be quite if you want me to do this."


Andy's fingers glided over the keys, then hovered over the final one to run the command. Anne could tell Mac, show him, so much. Andy's secrets, all the things she'd tried to hide, who she used to be, what she had become, all the public and private moments she and Adam had shared that Anne had witnessed or either of them had given her, how he had died. She swallowed and looked back at Mac, a look that almost begged him not to have her do this. Anne's engine made an impatient rumble and Andy startled and pushed the button.

There was an intense pressure in her head, her brow instantly wrinkling, her eyes watering as she turned away, and gripped the edges of the panel, her head drooping as she got accustomed to it. Her mind was flooded with images, memories, mostly Anne and Adam's, a few Anne had gotten from Andy.

It was always a temptation to watch Adam's life as recorded by the connection between him and Anne, she'd done it the last time she had been here. It was a way to see him, and to punish herself for what had happened to him. Andy forced herself to push the images away with great effort.

The interface Adam had built for her was far from perfected and Andy didn't usually use the mental connection. It was faster, but it was dangerous and painful for her to connect like this for long. It was necessary to do what they wanted her to do. She thought of a sequence of words, and then a stream of particular memories that unlocked her access to Anne's inner workings, her brain as it were.

She shook as she quickly thought out new directives that would allow Anne and Mac to talk, but keep Anne from completely being set loose, the screen in the panel filled with the code as she thought it. She doubted it would be long before the two of them could figured out how to undo it all.

Andy continued to shudder under the weight of what she was doing. There was the very real possibility that as Anne bonded with Mac, Adam would be lost to her, slowly overwritten, and for a second time he would be gone. She did what she could to prevent it, but she didn't hold out hope it'd last.

She backed out of the system that was Anne, the way she had entered, through a complicated series of memories and key words. She slowly unclenched her fingers from the panel and pulled the electrode from her temple, the pressure turned into an instant migraine at the breaking of the connection.

Andy sniffed and wiped the blood from her nose and the tears from her cheeks with the cuff of her sweater. Before she pulled the electrode completely from behind her ear, she caught Anne's distracted after thought, "Thank You,". She typed in the code that would disconnect her personal com from Anne. She didn't want to be getting messages of delight from her. It would also signal the override for the connection with Mac to start. The whole process took less than five minutes.

She turned into him and lifted his wrist, laying his palm over a star pattern painted on the wall next to the panel, "You need to let your hand be scanned and tap in a twenty or longer code so you can access this panel and the mainframe room behind it." She glanced at him, "Your key." Andy's was the melody line to Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty Waltz, it had seemed appropriate at the time.

"It should go without saying that you should lock the engine room and not leave the panel or the mainframe room open, unless you can see it from where you're working. Most of the crew doesn't know what Anne is."

She wasn't sure he was listening, or could, she didn't know if he'd ever connected with a gen-zero ship before, or how it would be different with the restrictions. Anne was probably already chattering away with him and could tell or show him all of this anyway. She let her hand slide down his arm until it dropped off. They were standing so close. She looked directly up at him for the first time since she accessed Anne.

She wished they could have made use of the hammock strung up in the drive room or even just kept kissing, even knowing that he'd only used it as a means to an ends. She told herself she deserved to be used. After all, how many times had she used him to save her ship? Could she blame him for doing whatever it took, using her in return, to do his job?

Telling herself this didn't make it hurt less. She wanted it to be real, maybe even needed it. She might have been angry about it if she wasn't buzzed, if her head wasn't pounding, if her leg wasn't stinging - she ought to get that taken care of; she might have, if it didn't hurt more than anger could cover.

She kept looking at him, not sure if he was seeing her, or things from Anne. She looked away before she could be certain. "If there's nothing else you want, I'll leave you two alone."
« Last Edit: July 20, 2014, 08:33:12 am by Peregrine »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2014, 07:27:53 am »

Amidst the dying chaos, Georgia went on a blind journey through the Queen Anne. Her atmosphere was familiar, like a lot of things lately. This time, they were familiar in a way she knew. She was a gen-Zero. Just like Sera. The young woman passed by a few crewmates, one of them giving her a suspicious eye. She walked around without caution, peeking behind a few doors.

One of them revealed a small kitchen, tiny actually. She slipped in, counting five cabinets and three shelves that went deep into the walls. There were few ingredients. No wonder the crew needed a cook. She tilted her head to the side and examined the contents in the refrigerator. It's location was convenient, next to one of the larger cabinets under the counter. Georgia found a bottle of generic soda and a tupperware container with sliced limes. Sure enough, the freezer held a lowered container of silver label tequila. The blonde studied it for a moment, and then closed the door. Her head was already misty from drinks with Raleigh.

Down the hall were living quarters, most of them occupied. She found an empty room, one bed with no sheets or linens. With a shrug, she tossed her backpack on the bed and looked around, seeing nothing. Better than a metal table with white lights bathing her marked body.

There was a smaller bathroom attached with a stand up shower, toilet, and sink. Georgia noticed there was no light switch before spotting that there was only one lamp under the showerhead. At least she'd be able to see while she cleaned herself. Assuming she was allowed to stay.

When she returned to the sleeping area she unzipped her backpack and began to take out clothing. She slid off her leather jacket. The white tank beneath it was thin and loose around her slender body.

Her body felt loose, off-balance as she pulled a tartan flannel button down out of the bag. She tied it around her waist to hide the mark that glowed through the shirt. Then she turned to face the open door. Someone passed by, and she counted three double takes for the night.

Georgia left the room to have a better look around, passing the kitchen and what must have been a med bay station. There was a guy in there cleaning tools, and she made eye contact with him briefly before she walked away. Her steps were clumsier than usual, but she knew she wanted to stay far away from that room. She'd spent too long in rooms like that.
There were areas of The Anne that reminded her of Sera, although she could tell that there were disguises so that it looked generic. It didn’t fool her eye. She wondered if she would be able to take a peek at the engine. Sera’s was more like a nervous system, but perhaps Anne's was different.

Someone seemed to have locked the entrance. With a frown, the woman shrugged and walked around the corner to find another hallway. She assumed it lead to the weapons bay or perhaps the deck. Georgia took it, but stopped down a ways when she spied a smaller hallway with a storage unit. Beside the lift-compartment was another door.

She slid a hesitant hand through her blonde hair, fingers tangling in their pale faded ends. Eventually, she'd have to dye it full blue again. The blonde had long grown out. When she pushed the latch open, Georgia felt an instant burst of heat. She went inside anyway, noticing a hammock set up nearby. The young woman felt a pang of curiosity. Perhaps she should have waited to set her room up in here. The heat wouldn't bother her. It was private enough in here to sleep naked.

Or so she thought. There was the sound of a voice, and Georgia tensed. It wouldn't go well with the Captain if someone knew she was snooping around. The blonde chewed her lip, pressing against the shadowed wall as she listened.

Her eyes widened when she looked around the corner. Two figures stood, one was the Captain. She could see the Chima woman's front facing her, but standing over her was a man with a glowing handprint on his back. Marked.

She moved back, but the metal floors were unforgiving against her boots and her tipsy steps. Georgia found the entrance she came through, hurrying out. A cool burst of air greeted her. But she was sure that running was futile.

The Captain had seen her.


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2014, 09:02:29 pm »
Something was wrong.  Andy seemed to stiffen and her face paled as she honored his request.  But rather than joke and consider how this made them more of a team he could sense her reservation.

He opened his mouth to reassure her that this was the right thing, but she told him to be quiet.  He set his jaw and watched.  She’d made impressive headway on the metal and interface, even he could admire the ingenuity.  Notes and codes, that was different.  He could do the same, but had used a metal lock as well for redundancy in the past.  His mind considered the options.  Andy would want some symbol.

Mac tensed when she put his hand to the wall and began the process.  He would have preferred something less worn.  He wasn’t interested in her memories and deliberated told Anne as much.  He’d walk his own path forward.  He’d strike his own gate.

Flashing text reflected in his eyes and his nerve endings jangled.  Anne was cold, all things considered.  Reserved like a woman dressed in thick clothing buttoned to her chin. He’d have to smile more to gain her trust, a comment he found rather interesting.

Andy said something.  Distracted, almost drugged by sensation, Mac offered only a, “Hum,” at first.  Her touch left his arm. Vaguely he reached towards where he thought she stood and mumbled, “We’ll have dinner.”  If she heard him, she didn’t say – or perhaps it was simply that he assumed agreement. 

“You should get that leg tended to,” Mac added as an afterthought, reflecting his own concern as well as Anne’s.  He could bandage the wound, but he was busy. Andy would understand.

He lost track of time, standing in the hot engine room with the air barely moving. Anne wanted to know more about him.  Apparently one way conversations were not to her liking.  “I’m not Adam,” Mac said for the second time in one day.  He didn’t want to see again the face of her prior master.  He’d delude himself that it was respect for Andy, rather than an intense discomfort at how personal the original tracings were. Anne was welcome to guard and preserve them.  He was reticent about anything so permanent.

« Last Edit: July 20, 2014, 09:31:59 pm by Beau »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #22 on: July 21, 2014, 07:06:21 am »
Mac's 'We'll have dinner' and the brush of his distracted hands on her arms was almost laughable. If he was there, of course they would, the crew pretty much ate together. You either came and got food when it was ready, or there was rarely any left. She didn't bother responding, he wasn't hearing her now anyway. She could tell now, he was in Anne's head space, as much as he was allowed, and who knew when his face would be seen outside the engine room again. She doubted it would be two hours from now when mess was called.

His after thought of concern about her leg also felt halfhearted and Andy felt the niggling of anger she thought she was too tired for, rising up. He hadn't been overly concerned when he was yelling at her, or when he was kissing her, or when he was getting what he wanted from her. But now she should get tended to? Her mouth opened to yell at him, but movement caught her eye. Her eyes narrowed at Georgia across the room as her eyes darted across Mac's back, his mark. Andy let loose a string of some of the foulest swear words in Chima she knew and moved away toward the door.

"Might want to let your new boy friend know he ought to put his shirt on, we have a new guest that just saw his very visible mark," she mentioned out loud to Anne as she moved to the engine room door and unlocked it before slamming it and locking it again. The girl had gotten in through an old entrance to the engine room Andy had thought she'd blocked off pretty well. Either way, it would take her longer to get out to the hall than Andy using the more direct route.

She hop-limped down to the door Georgia should be coming out of at any moment. Andy had a good few inches on the girl and plenty of years of combat experience, even with an injury she figured she could take her down if she needed to. So she just stood in the doorway and crossed her arms, waiting.

When she did appear Andy was glaring. Georgia, unfortunately, was about to get a lot of displaced emotion and anger laid on her. "I don't know what you think you just saw back there, but you now have very limited options if you value that young and promising life. Now who are you and what are you doing on MY GORRAM SHIP?!"

Her clumsy feet were a step behind her brain. Georgia tried to slide to a stop, but the rubber of her boots didn't allow it. The blonde stumbled back after almost colliding with Andy. The captain appeared out of nowhere, blocking off her escape.

The roar from the woman brought fear into Georgia's soul. She was almost as frightening as Orion the giant. Georgia stammered for an explanation, taking one step back. Her hand came up between them to steady Andy from coming too close if she decided to. "I didn't see anything..." She lied, straightening so that the captain wouldn't see her fear. 

Georgia was quite sure of what she'd seen. A marked Falinian, she had confirmed. But there'd been something else suspicious going on that didn't make sense to her. She didn't know these people, and those chances of getting to know them were slimming. "I'm a friend of Raleigh's...was just trying to find him is all..." The young woman mentally cursed herself for getting into this situation. She knew how to fight, but probably not as well as this woman.

Cigarette dying between his lips, Raleigh stood, leaving Anne to pilot herself on autopilot. He would have preferred to still keep her under his piloting, but the silence was beginning to get to him. Nothing was ever this quiet for a good reason, and he hoped it didn't mean anything bad for Andy, who should have been resting in the medical bay. And yet, when he arrived, the captain wasn't there, only Fin, the other man's eyes widening at the sight of him.

"Where the hell is Andy?" The Calloway man was quick to ask, biting hard on his cigarette before flicking the dead end into a metal bin.

Fin shrugged, "I thought she'd be here, but she isn't. I haven't seen a lick of her." The metal tin in Fin's hands clinked, the tools sliding about as the man made to put it away.

Raleigh's eyes narrowed, annoyed by the current situation. Leave it to Andy to set her priorities elsewhere and just bleed all over the Anne. He fished his com out of his pocket, knowing the woman had better answer or he'd set himself looking around the whole ship to find her.

"Andy, where are you and why aren't you in the medical bay?"

Andy's hand snaked out and grabbed Georgia's upper arm before she could try and flee and pulling her so her face was mere inches from Andy, "Liar," she said with cold menace. The look on her face when she had poked her head in the engine room and saw Mac proved it.

Andy heard her com beep and a dangerous smile crossed her face as she pulled back from hearing Raleigh's question. She used her free hand to click back, "Just on my way there. I'm bringing you the spying Alliance rat you let on my ship."

She clicked the com off and yanked Georgia out into the hall and gave her a shove in the right direction. "You wanted to find Raleigh, well, let's go find him." One hall, two sets of stairs and three turns later and they were there, Andy pushing Georgia in before her. Andy gave Fin a look that said he should have been in the cargo bay tending to trees where she told him to be. He left before she even had to say a word.

Andy glared at them both, "I find it a hard pill to swallow that I run into an Alliance hound like Orion, who I happen to have a history with, and you happened to be in the same bar chatting up my pilot to get on my ship. Which, don't you know it, you end up on. Then here I find you not even an hour into open air snooping around my engine room, spying on my mechanic and his... oddities and then you lie about it. I suggest you convince me how to swallow or there's a whole lot of vastey freezing nothingness I can acquaint you with just outside these walls."

Her heart thudded in her chest as Andy reached out to grab her arm. Georgia's breath hitched in her throat. There was no point explaining anything to this woman right now. She could have told her she was her long lost little sister, and Andy still would have spewed curses and threatened what she'd do to her. Everything she said would have been a lie in the captain's eyes right now. The com link spoke Raleigh's voice, and Georgia didn't know if she should feel relieved, or scared for them both.

At least she wouldn't be in trouble alone.

Andy dragged her down the hallway, then threw her into the med bay station ahead of her. Georgia lost her balance, feet struggling to find a sturdy position. She felt dizzy. Raleigh and the man she'd seen earlier were both there. She blinked as Andy snapped at the three of them. The man named Fin left before it could get worse.

The captain had the whole scenario backwards, but Georgia was too afraid and too drunk to explain articulately. All she could do was shake her head, "No.." she said, a few times during the captain's rant. Her sobriety was fading away as the alcohol from earlier caught up with the events that hindered its effect.

"I just want a job." She said, her hand coming to her head to hold it. She shut her eyes tight, then glanced with desperation towards Raleigh as her words slurred. "I need...I can't stay back there." She meant Falinia, a pointed hand gesturing. But it'd be a miracle if anything she said made sense to Andy.

Aw hell, Raleigh almost cursed under his breath, grey eyes flickering from Andy, her face angrier than he'd seen a long while, and the poor girl he'd brought with him. The blonde girl looked almost on the brink of tears, her legs unsteady, and while Raleigh wanted to help her, he knew better. Andy was furious, but she had made a valid point. Everything seemed far too coincidental.

But there was something else that was far more pressing. Andy's leg was still injured. It needed treatment before the thing got in infected. "What in the verse is wrong with you, Andy, give me your damn leg right now before you lose it. These fake parts aren't as fun as they look." He gestured towards one of the cots, indicating that Andy should sit in it immediately. "We'll deal with this Alliance bullshit after that." Raleigh sterilized his hands and went for the medical tools Fin hadn't managed to put away. He then went to work cleaning the wound with an antiseptic before beginning to stitch it up.

He was still working on the stitching when he spoke, facing the wound more than anything else, "Now, does she look like an Alliance bastard to you? The girl's drunk and you've terrified her." Raleigh paused, hands careful about the stitching before continuing, "She ain't an alliance spy and even if she was, you kill her and you'll guarantee we have more than a damn bounty hunter on our asses." Orion was more than enough, more than enough for a life time really. Raleigh had only heard of the man from Andy before this, through her drunken tears and words he didn't repeat. Now, seeing the man in person, Raleigh understood what Andy had meant back then.

Andy rolled her eyes. She'd cleaned and bandaged the thing at least, before she went off on her fools errand to find Mac. She had found him alright, "Lying, manipulating, back berth," she muttered, but she did what Raleigh wanted her to. He could be trusted to take care around her scales, and sew a solid stitch.

She pulled her pant leg up and removed the blood soaked bandage while he got the tools. She couldn't keep from grinding her teeth at the stuttering girl and Raleigh, knowing he was probably right. No spy would be so careless to get caught the way she did, or to have gotten so drunk.

She glanced at Georgia when Raleigh said the last. "Not if we did it right." She sighed and rolled her eyes, leaning back against the back rest, tossing her arm across her pounding head and realizing on some level that her anger at the girl was misplaced. She wasn't sure if her mood was more from running into Orion and not putting a bullet between his eyes, or Mac who she'd let fool her into admitting feelings she had for him that very likely he didn't really reciprocate.

She peaked an eye out from under her arm, "So you brought a mouse instead of rat. She still saw Mac for what he is, and by the way she knew her way around she knows a good deal more about Anne than I'd like."

Georgia's final words of not being able to stay struck a chord with her though. She had been in that position more than once. Lucky for her, the last time she had Anne to break free from it all and push out into the verse with. She glanced over at Georgia and she softened, if only slightly. "Do you have a name, mouse? Can you actually do anything we're in need of, because we can't afford to feed a useless mouth. I also can't afford to feed a mouth that is going to go yammering things she has no business even knowing." Meaning, Andy knew Georgia knew some of her most volatile secrets, and if she chose to share those, she wouldn't last either.

"I'm not a spy." She echoed with a hiccup.

Georgia steadied herself. There was something about the fluorescent room that made everything happening so much worse. The alcohol was an added penalty. She blinked and sat down on the cot beside them. They were becoming blurs as she watched Raleigh help Andy with her leg.

Her leg...

Everything that'd happened at the restaurant came back to her. Orion had done that to the captain. She didn't know what kind of issue Andy had with him, but now he would be after the Anne for more than one reason. Georgia felt like she was going to be sick. At least no one would immediately assume her for his persistence.

"I won't tell anyone." She replied. Mac was marked. They didn't know she shared that in common with him. If she told them that they would surely get rid of her.

Andy spat more questions at her, but Georgia didn't answer right away. She looked at Raleigh for help, but it may have been useless. He wasn't on her side right now. He had to protect his own ass. Still, he'd been way easier to convince than this woman.

But she bet this woman didn't have a weakness for lashes.

"I'll cook. I'll clean...anything you want." She said, gripping the metal edge of her cot. "An' I won't say anything about that guy." She said, her voice lowered. Her body felt so heavy, wobbling slightly when she shook her head. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to see anything. I just wanted to see the brain...not anything else." She was using words from her childhood, the way her father had taught her to look at the Seraphim's engine.

The fighter craft was much smaller than the Anne and there was no engine room. It was a compartment with the most incredible technology she'd seen. Instead of machine she had seen life within it. She had never seen something so beautiful with its glow. The Anne was like that too, she could feel it around her. It had a pulse.

It wasn't the only thing she felt though. Suddenly the girl felt gravity shift around her. Her hand came drowsily to her mouth and covered it. Shit. The glands inside puckered before she leaned over and vomited up what little she'd eaten in the past few days all over the med bay floor.


And there it was, solid proof the girl wasn't an Alliance spy, Raleigh just wished this solid proof hadn't splattered on his boots as well. He clicked his tongue, standing up straight, Andy's stitches taken care of. His head was aching again, either from the lack of sleep or the need of another cigarette, he wasn't sure. Most likely, the girl Georgia and Andy were to blame though. Andy on her own was the source of enough headaches.

"So she knows a bit more than we'd like, I'll keep an eye on her. Make sure she keeps that mouth shut." He couldn't really believe what he was saying to Andy, taking on this responsibility. Not only was this girl's ass on the line, he was putting his there to keep her from getting kicked out into deep space. "And if she does anything, I'll take care of it." His hand, the one made of flesh and bone, rested on his gun, kept safely in its hostler. Andy knew, if he promised to kill anyone that did them wrong, it would be done, no mistakes.

Raleigh glanced at Georgia, "And if you really will do anything, you can start by cleaning this up. Fuckin' reeks." This girl better have been worth it, Raleigh thought, not use to abusing the faith and trust Andy had in him. If she really did fail them, at least it wouldn't difficult to kill her.

Andy rolled her eyes and grabbed a bandage and some medi-gel, swinging her legs and bare feet to the side of the table away from the vomit. Her leg felt even more painful now than when it was just bandaged and bleeding. She hopped a little through the pain and nodded to Raleigh.

Of all the men that had been in and out of her life, Raleigh was one of the most dependable. He'd never left her without cause, or died, or tried to kill her, or abandoned her, or used her without her knowledge.They had been friends almost from the start. He'd let her drink herself into stupors over her grief, then rallied her when there was fighting to be done. He may have lost a physical part of himself, he may cause trouble once in awhile, but it was never anything serious and it never made her question him. She loved him in her own weird way. She knew she could trust him, could trust what he said now.

She limped away, pausing in the door and looking at Georgia, she was able to be less harsh, but no less distant, "From now on, stay out of the engine room unless invited little Mouse" the girl still hadn't offered a name to Andy, and she was liking the nickname a little too much.

She glanced at Raleigh, "When she's done, make sure to find her a place away from the boys, with a locking door. A few of them haven't gotten tail in a good long while and I wouldn't put it past them to try something." She gave him a tired smile, "I've left a bottle for you in the cockpit from my private stash. I'd appreciate it if you could wait until we were a bit farther into our trip before you partook of it though." They were still too close to inner space. "I'll be on my com if you need me."

Then she walked out.

She didn't feel like sleeping, even though she was exhausted, and she didn't feel like plotting a course, even though she should and she didn't want to go to any of the usual places she could be found while they traveled. Instead she found a place to sit and apply the medi-gel and bandage and then limped down to the bridge that went across the top of the cargo hold. The crew had secured them all, so now it was just her and trees.

She sat down and dangled her legs over the edge of the bridge, resting her arms on the lowest rung on the safety rail, her chin resting on her arms as she looked down at the twenty or so fruit trees. The leaves rustled slightly as the life support blew through the vents. She closed her eyes and the soft rustling sound and the sweet smell they made, even in a spaceship careening through the black, it was almost enough to believe she was somewhere else. Somewhere easier, happier. Almost. 

While she was alone, while no one was watching her, while she didn't have to be 'The Captain', Andy let herself fall apart just the tiniest bit. To feel all of the panic and pain and grief and worry and betrayal the day had drug up. She let it silently spill out her eyes and make large wet circles on the sleeves of her sweater. Now she really wished she hadn't left the bottle of rum in the engine room.


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2014, 06:25:16 am »
It was odd, but she felt a little bit better after she'd hurled. Still embarrassing, though. The girl nodded in agreement about the engine room. There was no way she'd be back in there any time soon. She could resist the curiosity to survive.

Andy's orders on a room with a lock surprised her. Why would she care if anything happened to someone like a useless mouse? She watched, somehow the words angered her. She'd never let a man touch her without her permission. Andy didn't know that about her, but the assumption that she was so weak infuriated her.

Georgia held her tongue, obviously. The captain left her and Raleigh, and she looked to the older man, eyes guilty. "I didn't mean to get you in trouble." She had seen him before though. He regretted helping her.

Everyone did.

She pulled herself up and slumped to where she'd seen a mop and bucket. Georgia promised she'd clean, so she did her best in her state. She'd keep the secret even if Andy hadn't agreed to let her stay. Andy may not have a reason to trust her, but Georgia had to rely on these people to survive.

She had no one else.

Raleigh sighed, running a hand through his dark hair, his synthetic hand producing the pack of cigarettes in his pocket. Fin always said not to smoke in the medical bay, but Fin wasn't here, and Raleigh needed something to kill the scent of vomit in his nostrils. He lit up, watching Georgia quietly, something he realized, he was probably going to be doing a lot of. Andy wouldn't want the girl to be alone for long, and Raleigh didn't exactly trust her either.

Trustworthy people weren't met at the bar.

At her words, Raleigh chuckled, taking a long drag of smoke, "I get in trouble all the time. This isn't the first, nor will it be the last." The smoke escaped through his nostrils, the scent of Georgia's insides now gone. He watched her clean, a skill he was beginning to think wasn't her strong point.

"So, you said you 'can't stay back there', right?" Raleigh started, remembering their conversation with Andy from before. The captain hadn't pressed too much, but with her gone and Georgia now his responsibility, it seemed wise to know more about what the girl was up to. "The captain didn't pry too much, but seeing as my ass is on the line for you, I'd like to know where you can't go back to. You runnin' from somethin'?" He breathed in more smoke.

Her head hurt, but at least the nausea was gone. Georgia lifted the mop into the bucket to wring out the wet ends. Then she pulled it back out and cleaned what remained of her powdered donut regurgitation. So embarrassing.

Raleigh remained in the room, a lot softer than before. Georgia was grateful for that. She may have needed some tough love, but every once and a while an understanding ear was nice. She turned to face him, suddenly feeling desperate for a toothbrush or some mouthwash. It wouldn't be her last time getting in trouble either.

His next question made her want to sink into the floor. She'd gone and run her mouth. She'd never drink again if it made her do that. Georgia sighed, plopping the mop back into the bucket when the floor seemed clean. She didn't feel like explaining herself.

"Just...memories." That was half the truth. Falinia was full of familiarities that she couldn't pinpoint. It was somehow like home, but the home you wanted to get far away from. The home that was restricting. She didn't understand the pain she felt while being there until she was away from it. It was as if someone else was living inside her body and using her brain to try and remember things from their life, not hers.

Maybe he'd let it go at that. Falinia was a sensitive subject for plenty of people. It'd been the target of a genocide not too longer than a decade ago. He didn't have to know why she had these memories, or that Orion was on her heels. Raleigh could assume what he wanted, as long as it wasn't the truth.

The pilot took another drag, thinking her response over. While it didn't seem like a lie, it certainly wasn't the whole truth. Was she running from Falinia's bad history? She seemed a bit young for that. But what memories could she be running from then? And why was now the time to escape?

Raleigh let the smoke escape from his lips in wisps. "There's not some angry dad I'm gonna have to deal with later is there?" Georgia with her nice clothes and poor cleaning skills, she seemed like daddy's precious little girl. "Because if you came here just to run away from home, you've made a mistake."

Ashes fell to the floor, amongst the bits of half digested food that Georgia had yet to clean up. Orion was on their tail and it worried Raleigh more than anything, unsure if the man was after Andy or their newest engineer or both. The last thing they needed was some runaway amongst all of that.

Georgia wheeled the mop and bucket to the nearest sink, but paused at the thought of it being the med bay. With a shrug, the girl emptied the dirty water into the sink, then rinsed it out while Raleigh made his assumptions.

She swallowed and kept her back to him. "Don't got a daddy." Not anymore she didn't. Georgia replied to his first assumption, shrugging again as she reached for a paper towel. He continued. She tore off extra to get what the mop could not, then tossed it in a waste bin before washing her hands.

"You can think what you want." She slid the soap over her palms, rubbed until suds formed, and then rinsed them. She shut the water off and snatched another towel to dry them with before she turned back to face him again. "I'm only 19," The blonde tossed the used paper into the trash again, "I'm going to make mistakes for a while." She said, looking him up and down before her golden eyes rested on his arm, "I'll have to learn something somehow."

Her cleaning job wasn't half bad. Fin would notice, of course, and be likely to gripe about it, but the man could tend to it himself. Raleigh had enough kindness to not force the girl into mopping round 2. By the looks of it, she just needed a bed, something he was supposed to find her. His bunk was out of the question of course, if not only because he used it, but because he shared it with Mac. He doubted his bunkmate would appreciate the switch.

Raleigh killed off his cigarette between metallic fingers, before flicking it into the trash bin. So Georgia was fatherless, he had to admit, he hadn't predicted that. "Well, whatever mistakes you decide to make, don't cause me too much trouble. Right now, your mistakes are mine." He noted Georgia's eyes on his arm, those same golden hazel eyes that had managed to manipulate him only hours before.

"I'll teach you what I can." He paused, recalling a conversation from before, "And if your cooking is like your cleaning, we'll work on that too. But for now, let's find you a bunk, can't have you sleepin' on the floor."

Georgia hadn't met the whole crew, but Raleigh was her favorite so far. His memory wasn't the best from what she could tell. Georgia was sure she'd mentioned her father to him earlier. Whatever. Made it less likely for him to catch her in a lie. Although he had remembered she said she could cook. Selective memory, perhaps.

She smiled at him. He was less scary than he looked despite that arm of his. "I didn't do such a bad job." She glanced at the floor, taking notice of the cigarette ashes that sprinkled the tile. Her smile twisted into a playful pout at that. "Besides, you're not helping." Her hand gestured to the mess. But her eyes softened and she leaned back against the counter.

"I already found a room." She said with a quick shrug. "There was no one in it and no sheets or anything on the bed so I just assumed it was vacant." Georgia's eyebrows raised up, yellow orbs widening, "That's not off-limits too, is it?"

At this point, it wouldn't have shocked her.

Raleigh shrugged at her remark about the ashes. Fin grumbling about it would be nothing new, nothing he'd never heard before. He'd been told to keep the smoking to his room hundreds of times, but he never listened. Being complaint wasn't a skill he bragged about.

His dark brows went up as she mentioned having already found a room. How long had they left her alone to venture? Had she explored the whole ship already? She did seem pretty talented at being at the wrong place at exactly the wrong time.

"It's not off limits and if what you said is true, doesn't sound like anyone's using it either. Might as well take it. Saves me the effort of looking for one anyway." He made to leave the medical bay before glancing behind him to make sure Georgia was following, "Show me the room. I need to see if it's really as good as you say it is."

She pushed off from the counter, a dull ache in her head. Georgia glanced to the exit, remembering the way she'd come earlier. When she'd passed by and saw the man in here cleaning tools. She walked out, pausing to wait for Raleigh in the doorway. The blonde led him down the hallway, past the tiny kitchen and all the occupied rooms.

"How many people live on this ship anyway?" She asked, counting the doors as they passed them. Georgia stopped at the end of the hall. The room she'd stumbled upon earlier remained empty aside from her things on the undressed bed. 

"I didn't check to see if the door locked." She said with a hint of a bite in her voice, obviously bitter about what Andy said earlier. Georgia turned to look up at the man, leaning against the frame of the door while she awaited his approval.

"Too many." Raleigh was quick to respond as he followed the blonde girl, recalling his own bunk, which use to be his own alone once upon a time. Mac had been his bunk mate for a year or so now, and while the man didn't make too much noise, it'd been nice to have some kind of space to himself.

"Hm." The Calloway man grunted, looking past Georgia and into the room. It was exactly as she said, empty. The girl even seemed to have already made a bit of an effort in moving in. "As long as you don't sleep naked, you can probably go without the door lock." Raleigh looked away from the door and down the hall, where a few curious crew members were watching. He smirked and they quickly looked away.

"And if you really do like to sleep in the nude, I suggest you change that. Some of these sneaky bastards have cameras." In all honesty, Raleigh couldn't blame them. It got pretty lonely up here in space, and it'd been a long while since they'd had a new pretty face aboard the Anne.

Georgia shrugged at the sleeping suggestion. She'd been sleeping in her clothing the past few weeks. It'd been a while since she owned a proper pair of pajamas. She had stuffed her backpack until the seams and zipper could hold no more. Somewhere in there she had something she could make into sleepwear. For a brief moment, the refuge wondered if there was a laundry room, or if she would be washing her clothes by hand. Beggars couldn't be choosers, she supposed.

The blonde rubbed her temples again, the tiny bed calling her name. She didn't care if there were no sheets or linens. "I don't think I need to drink with you anymore." She muttered, sauntering into the room fully now. Georgia did aim a smile his way, though, "Thanks for making sure I'm taken care of." She glanced to the side, uncomfortable to express her appreciation out loud. "You're the first person who's helped me out in a long time." That was all she'd say about that. Her eyes lifted briefly to see if he was even listening.

Raleigh almost laughed at the mention of their drinking from before. Well, he had been drinking far longer than she had, well versed in the consequences and what his limits were. This girl on the other hand, wasn't really even legal to drink. Speaking of drinking, Andy had mentioned she'd left a bottle for him in the cockpit, a gift from her secret stash. He'd have to remember to get that later, Andy's secret stash would be a waste to miss out on.

"Probably shouldn't drink for a few more years at least." He smiled then, amused. "And yeah, better not drink with me, I'll drink ya under the table and then some."

There was a small bit of silence between them before Georgia spoke again, her thanks not being something he'd expected. It didn't look like something the girl was use to giving either, her awkwardness obvious. "Don't worry about it, kid. Just get some sleep. I'm expectin' somethin' at least edible for breakfast tomorrow. Gettin' tired of that instant shit." He waved a hand at her before making his way down the hall, glancing behind him only briefly to see if she closed her door. She seemed like a good kid, but that wouldn't be enough to prove to Andy or the rest of the crew that she was trustworthy.

He could only hope this wouldn't come back to bite him in the ass.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 11:24:20 am by Lightning »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2014, 09:23:13 pm »
It was truly remarkable how cooperative an angry half-chima thug could be after breaking only one arm and losing a couple more fingers on his dominant hand.

Rochester was a name Orion was already vaguely familiar with, if only through common underground connections. He had never met the person face to face, but that would likely change soon now that the bounty hunter knew where The Queen Anne’s Revenge final destination would be. He had immediately put his AI partner to the task, asking her to look around in all the unrestricted net for where he might be – and perhaps most of the Alliance-restricted net as well.

In the meantime, he would need to consider his options. There were many ways to kill a mouse, but capturing one was a far more interesting challenge. He’d have to be careful this time, especially if she was being protected by the half-chima woman Andrea, who seemed already familiar with the tactics he would employ. Orion retired to the same spot on the Erebus he always did when he wanted to think, the pilot seat on the bridge, where he could lean back and see the stars even behind his closed eyes.

The Erebus was one of the most sophisticated lightweight starships in the galaxy, an experimental Specter-class model designed to resemble a luxury shuttle while secretly possessing the combat capacity of a low-grade cruiser. Beneath the sleek metal exterior and the interior of wood paneling was an unmatched density of sophisticated circuits, wires, cooling systems and other components, many never before used in a starship of its size. It shielded its military-grade hardware from all but the most advanced scanners, allowing it to travel unnoticed among civilian vessels. Though it possessed a cloaking device capable of leaving the ship virtually undetectable, concerns over heat and power limited its use to short durations with long recovery periods in-between.

The Erebus was the ideal vessel for a hunter seeking to catch his prey by surprise.

Apparently, the biggest issue with the Specter-class stealth ships was maintenance. Extraordinarily difficult and expensive to maintain due to the super-compressed nature of its mechanics, the specter class became an unlikely candidate for wide-scale production. It was thanks only to Orion’s rather substantial pay checks and Number Nine’s vast processing capability that it was maintained as well as it was. It also helped that there were a number of mechanical drones occupied the ship, activated and controlled at will by the AI to handle all matters of maintenance and living, a robotic crew helmed by a single, vast intelligence.

It had been his secret prize for killing the Alliance captain attempting to defect to the rebels some three odd years ago, the promise of one of the twelve most advanced AIs in the galaxy coupled with the military’s prototype ship his home-warming presents to the dissenters. Those who protested his acquisition of two extremely powerful pieces of technology found it difficult to argue with his long record of successes; there were few individuals in the galaxy who could put them to better use than Orion did hunting down the Alliance’s most wanted enemies. Besides, most people had enough common sense to not antagonize the dark-eyed hunter.


“Hey, Jon.”




The sudden alarms from all over the ship in accompaniment with his partner’s faux hysteria was too much to ignore, even for the patient giant. Dark eyes open to glare at the projected hologram sitting in the copilot’s seat, her white dress shifting as she hugged her knees to her chest to hide the smile on her lips.

“You have my attention now. Happy?” Orion’s tone was not amused. There was a pause as the alarms were silenced, then a slightly more curious question. “Xenomorphs?”

“They’re scary aliens from an old Earth movie, pre-galactic travel.” Number Nine nodded sagely. “They’re quite resilient. Nothing less than the total destruction of their environment could ensure their demise. Unfortunately, the protagonist did not realize this even through several sequels. It’s remarkable she survived as long as she did.”

A heavy sigh and a large hand rubbed the bridge of his nose, lamenting the day Number Nine discovered her love for ancient human media, scouring the galactic net for any she could get her hands on. The AI seemed particularly fond of those with strong feminine leads.

“Are you okay? You’ve been sitting there for a while, brooding.”

Orion lifted his hand, studying the human-like concern on her face, then let his hand fall back on his face. It was her way of getting him to talk, he knew; poke him until he snapped out of his silence, then gently prod him into opening up. But knowing did little to resist the tactic; it only made it worse, because he knew she did it only when she was worried.

“I don’t brood.” He muttered half-heartedly. It was an old argument, but it made her grin. “I was just thinking about a hunt from about a decade ago. I know the easiest way to get our current prey would to be use Andrea’s relationship with that Marked, but doing so would mean we would have to reach an agreement with Admiral Hyatt.”

Number Nine’s hologram flickered, her smile slipping. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“I know you don’t like him.” Orion sat up in the pilot’s chair, hand dropping to rest in his lap. “I don’t like him very much either. But we can use him to get what we want.”

The AI shook her head, all traces of her earlier mirth gone. Her tone was deadly serious. “No. He’s dangerous, Jon. Even for 'Orion'. We are already too involved with him as it is. We should find a different way.”

Orion frowned at her, brow furrowing. “You didn’t complain this much when we accepted a contract from him. Why is this so different?”

“It’s different because he wasn’t directly involved then. Because despite your appearance and your job, you are a good person at heart. And despite his appearance and his job, he is not.” Number Nine’s hologram flickered and disappeared, leaving Orion with only a fleeting impression of her unhappy expression. “We have an incoming transmission from planet-side Falinia.”

“Who is it?” Orion slipped from his seat, turning to face the console on the bridge that would project the transmission. When she didn’t respond immediately, Orion frowned again. “Nine?”

“Admiral Hyatt.”

The giant lifted a brow, surprised by the coincidence. Or perhaps it was fate? Orion glanced at the console casing where Number Nine’s quantum chip was protected, her heart, mind, and soul. He wasn’t sure why she was so vehemently against it, but Orion wouldn’t pass up the most efficient method of hunting down his prey if Nine couldn’t give him a valid, non-cryptic warning beyond ‘he isn’t a good person’.

“Answer it.”
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 11:36:54 pm by Pride »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2014, 09:48:22 pm »
Andy didn't remember falling asleep on the bridge, but she startled awake and preservation kicked in and she scrambled backward. Painful pin pricks erupted from the knees down, where they had been dangling and had gone numb.  At least she couldn't feel the stitches. She was also instantly shivering and realized how cold she was now. She didn't want to go to the engine room, but it was the fastest way to warm up.

She hated being half Chima, if for no other reason than this, she didn't retain heat well. If her body felt overly shocked for any reason, it would start to shut down, hibernate, to preserve itself. Her hand touched her ribs, it had happened before, saved her life, but at the most disastrous time possible.

She stood up shakily and held on to the rail of the bridge and stairs her feet stinging as she worked her way back down into the belly of the ship. She scrubbed her other hand across her face, disgusted at the stiff feeling from the dried tears.

She walked through the quiet ship. It was either really late or very early. Either way, she was glad she didn't encounter anyone. She slipped back into the drive room and slid open the door that connected to the engine room just enough to let the heat blast through and not be terribly noticeable. Not that Mac would have a mind for anything but Anne and his work anyway. She doubted he'd even stopped to eat. She sighed as sh slipped into the hammock and curled up, doing her best not to think about what she had earlier wished she had been doing in it.

She drifted in and out of sleep until she was finally warm to the point she was hot and sweating. She left as she came, silently, and went back to her Captains cabin to get ready for the day. Anne was on auto pilot as she walked through the bridge. The bottle she'd left was gone, Raleigh was hopefully sleeping, he deserved it after her demands planet side and his piloting in general. Andy never really said thank you in the strictest sense.

Mac had been right, she'd let herself put these clothes on and become afraid, she'd become overly emotional, let herself be manipulated. She'd become someone she hadn't allowed herself to be in years. She wondered how she'd let herself get pulled in. She'd dallied with men in the past, but she'd never let herself get attached to them, not like Adam, not like she'd thought she had been now.

Maybe it was Mac doing the dallying this time and she was just the poor sucker getting played. Using her name after so long, the way he'd looked at her as if he'd really meant it, if they hadn't have fought earlier, she even would have met his mother- or not. Maybe it had all been a lure, something he'd only dangled with the intention of taking it away. Just another step in his plan to get access to Anne. As soon as he'd got it, Andy no longer mattered. She yanked the loose clothing off and dropped them in her small laundry bin, she took one last look at the blue sweater and shut the lid.

She paused and ran her fingers over the angry red scar along her ribs as she caught a look in her small mirror of the tattooed words above "A mouse could never hope to kill a hawk" and below it,"Death aims only once, but never misses.". She decided then, never to call the vomiting girl 'Mouse' again. She couldn't believe she'd done it already.

She sighed and stepped in the shower. Maybe she just didn't understand men. If Adam wanted something, he asked for it and accepted whatever her answer was, until he asked her again. If it was important enough he'd ware her down with logic and pestering, if it wasn't he let it go. She'd never felt bullied into a decision by him, or Anne when he was around, for that matter. She never felt backed into a corner like she almost literally was last night. While she didn't understand why Mac couldn't have gone about it a different way, he could now do his job better. She took a long lukewarm shower, washing it all away.

She shut off the water. What was done, was done at this point. Last night was the first and the last time she would let Mac or Anne, or both of them together, get her to do something she didn't want. She was the Captain, and despite the fact she wasn't a Marked, there were certain rights granted her by her title. Anne did not belong to Mac, and it was going to stay that way.

She dried off, re-bandaged her leg, and pulled on her usual 'Captain' clothes; tight black pants, green high stiff collar shirt with a leather vest, and her black knee high boots that she cinched tight to keep the pressure on her calf. There would be no more limping. Her fingers weaved through her hair making a series of slick, tight, and precise braids, she tied a black scarf around her neck and buckled her guns and holsters back on over her shoulders and around her hips.

When she was finished she rolled her shoulders once in the constrained attire, feeling like she was back in her skin, back to herself. She picked up her com, scrolling through the alerts and messages she'd ignored. Her jaw tightened in anger and anxiety at a few of them. She might have turned off personal messages from Anne, but she still got the general information she needed.

Not only had Anne been scanned, she'd been scanned twice. Once Andy vaguely remembered Anne mentioning, but the depth of both of the scans set her on edge. The first was Orion, most likely as they were leaving, the second was a few hours into flight and passing through Falinia's deep orbit. Anne was too busy with Mac to actually flat it important though it was. It had Alliance flags all over it, and few telling ones in particular. If Andy was reading it right, they'd been scanned by someone, or something, associated with Dominic Hyatt.

She almost couldn't believe he hadn't just blasted them out of the sky. It sent a shiver down her spine, that she immediately repressed. They were hours away from both of them now. They'd set off dummy trails all along their journey, dumped the navsat, three false pulse beacons, their trail was covered. For now.

Andy checked the time, it was still fairly early. She walked back onto the bridge and clicked on the ship wide com, anyone not awake would be after she purposely let it squeal for a minute. Her voice was cold,  "Attention crew, your attendance in the mess is required in five minutes. No one is excused, for any reason." She clicked off the Com and settled in the pilots seat and went through the deep space scans, widening her search further and further until she it wouldn't scan anymore.

Raleigh had done a good job of getting them into a less traveled area. As far as Anne was scanning there were a few small class Alliance vessels around, but nothing they couldn't outrun, and the usual commercial and private vessels. Satisfied for the moment, she headed to the mess, where all of her crew should be by now.


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2014, 10:24:15 pm »
18:00 - Where are you? - Mac
18:15 - Did Finn knock you out? - Mac
18:30 - Mac is looking for you - Anne
18:45 - I got you a plate, but it's getting cold - Mac
19:22 - We need to find a place to dock.  I can't make the repair on the main drive while the motors are engaged. - Mac
22:07 - I guess we'll talk in the morning - Mac

The kitchen was empty.  Not surprising since he'd pulled kitchen duty, but there was a rumor there was a new cook onboard.  Apparently he, or she, didn't believe in breakfast.  Mac shrugged and went to the pantry.  Someone had brought some eggs in Fallina - another rumor, but this time it appeared to be true.   He pulled out the two trays and wondered if he had the time or patience to do anything fancier than crack and scramble.  It was too much to consider before coffee, so he focused on putting that together first.

The chorale of buzzes began as if at a distance. When they approached the peak in their symphony, they became like the roar of explosives in her ears.

...beep beep beep BEEP BEEP!!!!!!!!!!

Georgia jolted in her unfamiliar bed. Immediately, she sat up only to smack her head against the ceiling of the sleeping compartment. Her body fell back against the pillow and she groaned, her legs rising as pain shot through to her curled toes. Her hands clutched her injury tangling in her bedhead. The young woman rolled to the side and kicked her sheet off angrily. She slammed her hand on the wall's lit pad, where the noisy blaring was coming from. It silenced immediately.

That must have been someone's idea of a joke, because she hadn't set an alarm.

While she rubbed the fading pink mark on her head, Georgia sat at the edge of the bed hunched over. She gathered herself, remembering her new occupation. Joy. The nineteen year-old didn't bother to slip on pants over her skimpy black sleep shorts. She figured everyone else would be too busy sleeping to see her in her underwear. She sauntered down the hallway, head pounding from the alcohol and her new bedroom surprise.

She rubbed her eyes with the sleeve of her sweatshirt, the garment two sizes too large for her small frame. The pale gray material was lightweight enough to sleep in without her getting too hot. Georgia somehow remembered where the kitchen was in the dim hallway light and fuzzy sleep-vision.

When she entered, the fluorescent lights caused her to squint and she saw someone standing over the coffee maker. For a second she pondered if she should turn around and go put more clothes on, but the laziness pursued her and she decided she didn't care. The blonde recognized the man as the marked she'd seen the night before. She wasn't sure if he'd seen her or not.

Too sleepy for talk, she reached for a vacant coffee cup while scanning the shelves for edible breakfast ingredients.

Mac had returned to the eggs, but as he cracked the first he heard a sound behind him.  He turned, and looked at the newest arrival.  The hand with the egg clenched and the shell smashed, spilling egg all over his fingers.  It took a moment for the sticky sensation to register, but it offered an excuse to focus his eyes elsewhere besides the scantily clad girl.  He reached for the cloth towel on the counter and wiped his hands.

"Hello," he said.  He couldn't really tell who this was.  Wasn't sure he wanted to know.  Against his better judgment he asked anyway. "And you would be?"

She placed her coffee cup on the counter and scooted it towards him without a turn of her head. Georgia picked up a jar of peanut butter. Maybe she could use this for something. When she turned to face the man she noted the cracked egg in his hand. With a hesitant hand, she took the carton from him. Even she knew how to do that. They did need help around here.

"Your new cook." She said, her voice had a subtle croak from the sleep as she looked for the button to operate the stove. It took her a moment to find it, but the pan was much easier to locate, hanging above her on a rack. She reached for it, standing on her toes as the sweatshirt inched over her bum.

She grabbed the handle and glanced towards Mac, "And you?" Georgia put the pan down on the heating eye, oblivious to the grease she should have applied to the surface. Additionally, the temperature may have been a little too high. She cracked the egg over the pan and let the goop fall lazily into the pan, a few bits of shell stuck in it. Georgia spied it, but only shrugged, jostling the pan like she'd seen on cooking programs. How hard could it be?

Mac’s eyebrows rose over the introduction.  Her legs were impressive but the skill seemed off.  At this rate she was going to ignite what little clothing she was wearing.

“I’m the mechanic.  People call me Mac.”  A name to the face, something she hadn’t done which seemed unusual to him.  The girl paused with one egg in the pan like she only planned to feed herself, and not well at that.  “There are ten,” he amended to add the newest arrival, “or rather eleven crew on board.”

Fresh food was a luxury.  He decided to retrieve the container of eggs and a large mixing bowl.  “I’ll shell these for you.”

She watched as Mac gathered a bowl and began to crack eggs into them. Her eyebrows knitted together in confusion. Georgia looked down at her one egg in the pan, then picked up another one and began to do what he was doing. It seemed like it'd save time.

"I'm Georgia." She said, looking around for a spatula. She opened the drawer between them and pulled one out, using it to dig down in the quickly solidifying eggs. The smell of burnt shells rose to their senses. Now she began to panic a little, looking to Mac's bowl and then her pan. Why wasn't it working as good as she'd assumed?

Georgia removed the pan from the hot eye, holding it up before she set it down on one that wasn't hot. She looked down at the burned mess in the bottom of the pan, frowning. "There's something wrong with this stove." She said, messing with the buttons for a moment as if in full concentration. "I'm not used to it."

When she turned back to him, she knew her excuses were useless. Georgia said nothing else as she put the pan in the sink so it could cool down. Then she walked over beside Mac, watching the way he mixed the eggs like they were batter. After considering something, she reached for a larger pan. He'd said there were ten of them so it made sense. Georgia glanced at the stove, turning it down a little before she placed the pan on it.

She didn't mention his mark that she'd seen last night. Georgia wondered what other secrets the Anne held. It would have made sense if he were the connecting pilot. But by the way Andy had dolled the ship up, she was trying to keep it's generation a secret. Her arm fell to her side for a moment to press where she bore her own mark. "Let me help." She said, reaching for his whisk. "I was just tired, and I hit my head this morning. I think I've got it now." The blonde smiled, holding her hands out.

The girl walked closer and extended a hand for the whisk.  Mac refused to release the hold on it.  He kept another hand on the bowl, prepared to tug that too out of her grip if she reached for it.  They were like two fighters squared off over who should scramble the eggs.  The duty remained on his roster and he wasn’t willing to take the blame for things getting burned.

“I’ll cook these.  You can slice the bread and fruit.”  Another rarity that should be enjoyed while it was fresh.  He hesitated a moment, and wondered if she was really safe with a knife.  “On second thought maybe you should go put some clothes on first?” 

Mac collected a fresh pan while still guarding the egg bowl in one hand.  “You do have clothes?”

« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 10:32:45 pm by Beau »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2014, 03:55:00 am »
(joint with pride)

Once planetside Dominic came across the bar where all the previous action had taken place.  His personal cruiser hovered above the street while his soldiers went inside and did their "investigation". Dom rarely got his own hands dirty, but when he did, he had a tendancy to get carried away and more often than not people were often disposed of through airlocks.

Dragging out a man who was clutching his broken arm with a mutilated hand, the soldiers threw the man at Dominics feet and moved back inside the bar. Dom looked down at the man who had barely moved from his place on the ground. 

"You look like hell Jones..." Dominic gave him a sarcastic little grin. before pulling a thin cigar from a pocket located inside his jacket. Dom was in full military attire,  A long grey coat, pants recently pressed and Boots that had been shined to a near mirror finish. His hair tightly cropped to his head the only thing that was not standard military issue were the sunglasses that covered his eyes. It was annoyingly bright on the surface he couldn't understand why so many people chose to live their lives planetside, he was far more comfortable on his ship.

Dom placed his foot over the man’s mangled hand and pressed down on it, causing him to scream and claw at Doms boot trying to relieve the pressure that was crushing the injured hand. "I'm going to ask you a few questions before I send you beyond the verse.. do you understand?"  Dom asked before stepping harder onto his hand.   Jones responded only with another pained moan.

"Good.. I'm glad you understand... Now what happened here son? " Dom lifted his foot from the man’s hand allowing the pain to subside at least and leaving him scrambling to find the right words that would hopefully allow him to survive another day.

"It was that bounty hunter. the one who takes all the dirty contracts for the alliance, he did this to my hand.."

Dom stomped on his hand this time, causing the man to scream out in pain again.

"That’s not what I am asking you...the marked ones and you causing an explosion on my ship...Its taken a while to track you down son, I want to know who from the resistance has you in their pocket. I need a name, and if its not a name I like then you will spend the rest of your days in a faulty cryosleep chamber before we fix that hand of yours."

The cryosleep treatment was something Dom had perfected and come across entirely accidentally shortly after the sabotage of his ship. He had come across some crew members whos cryochambers had been damaged, The readings on the outside of the chamber told him they were "awake" but still frozen in time. They knew what was going on but were powerless to stop it. And the chamber was damaged enough that thawing them out would be impossible without them dying in the process. A perfect prison where the inmate could never sleep, Never move, just sit there and think and with a broken hand, that would be a lifetime of agony.

"It Was Rochester ok.. Rochester is the one who wanted it done, I don't know why but he provided the explosive chemicals, It was bloody Rochester you monster."

Dom lit the cigar finally and exhaled smoke into the air watching the wind blow it about before snapping his finger and giving the signal for the nearest soldier to put a bullet through the mans skull.  He strode over to the cruiser and sat down in his captains chair.  "Cain..Able, find the bounty hunters ship and open a com channel.. I want to speak to him before he leaves communication range."

Orion listened silently as the familiar two-faced tone of the AI called Cain and Able spoke over the communication channel, informing the bounty hunter of the Admiral's desire to talk. Dark eyes glanced briefly to Number Nine's console again, wondering if she would answer as she typically did; but she was unusually silent, leaving him to handle that conversation. The bounty hunter refocused his attention on the waiting AI.

"Very well. Connect me to the Admiral." There was brief, momentary static as Cain and Able connected him to whatever vehicle their owner was traveling in, the channel filtering out the background noise. Once it stabilized, Orion spoke, his tone lacking the formality that was usually due to a man of the Admiral's reputation. The giant cared little for such pointless things.

"What is it?"

"you really should learn to clean up your messes Orion, I just had a lovely chat with a man who happened to have a broken arm and several missing fingers."  Dom couldn't help but smirk thinking about the crewman whom he had just watched die. The man had it coming, he was in part responsible for around two thousand dead.

"I understand a man named Rochester is of interest to you, He is to me as well, and I can help you find him."

He had at his disposal every comm station and his own capital ship had sevel deep space scanning arrays that could search out their ships signature. He was pretty sure that just scanning for the ship would be useless, but putting word out to the various comm stations and the imperial agents who worked there would be able to locate the ship rather easily. They would have to relax sooner or later and when they did thats when the axe would fall.

"That is of course unless you can track down your bounty across the verse when they know they are being followed."

Arrogance was a common trait among the Alliance brass, Orion had discovered long ago. People who thought themselves untouchable talked as if the universe would bend to their whim, seemingly under the impression that nature itself was merely a tool. But it was for that reason that people like Orion existed, hunters of the highest order to remind people there is always something greater than them self on the food chain. Right now, Dominic Hyatt was lurking at the top, basking in his blood-drenched accolades. He was very smart and very careful, but few people in the universe were hated more than that Admiral.

Orion had a feeling the day would come when he would be asked to end the Admiral's life. He wondered if the contract would come from the Rebels or the Alliance itself.

"Information about Rochester would certainly be appreciated." There was nothing to gain by informing the Admiral that Number Nine had hacked access to nearly all of the Alliance channels anyways, so he might as well play along. "Though there is no need for me track down my prey when I can have them come to me. All I require is the right bait. Do you remember the Marked man I brought you nearly ten years ago, Adam Aker? Because the Captain of the ship my prey is on certainly does.”

"That marked one who's marked with wings on his back? You want to use him as bait do you?"

Dom smirked he had to admit Orion did have his moments, for someone who looked only like a brute he did have a clever mind. They had captured that marked one a long while ago and he was likely back in the labs, honestly Dom had no idea where the man was, He was only interested in tracking down the marked ones who had escaped and keeping them from finding their way onto Gen Zero ships.
If Orion was looking to use the man as bait he would need to hurry, one of Rochester's known locations was on the very edge of alliance space.

"I'll give you clearance to retrieve that man if that is your aim, and I'll transmit one of Rochester's last known locations."

Dom casually leaned back in his captains char and inhaled from the cigar he had lit earlier. He never enjoyed the chase, he got his thrills when lives were on the line. Not his of course there were precautions put in place for many of the high ranking members of the alliance. There was an implant in his skull that was recording and transmitting all his thoughts and memories to a highly secret and protected alliance facility. In fact the Dominic Hyatt that sat in this captains chair wasn't even his real body, it was a clone, and if need be it could be disposed of and recreated. This is what made Dom truly dangerous, He did not fear death, and it would not be out of the question for him to drop his entire capital ship onto a planet and leaving nothing more than a smoldering crater.

"I think your orders are going to change bounty hunter. If you are able to meet up with this prey of yours this time, all targets are Kill on sight,  The smugglers, the marked one on board, and then the winged one. We should have extracted any information from him that we could need now so he will no longer be needed, Once you have killed the ones you are following, Kill him as well."

Orion was quickly becoming more of a hassle than most of the alliance brass realized, He was supposed to keep things quiet, black bag operations and kidnappings of the marked ones, but instead he was a walking bloodbath, a loose cannon. A nuisance Dom would delight in ridding himself of. Perhaps he would pay a visit to that area of space as well, His ship "The Arc of Defiance" often traveled to the edge of alliance space on a routine patrol,  He might be able to take out two birds with one stone, Track Orion's location from space and once he meets up with his prey drop some overly heavy ordinance from space on the area, and be done with it.

"Is that understood?"

Orion frowned at the communication feed. Kill them all? That was the first truly surprising thing the Admiral had said so far. It wasn't so much the smuggler's death sentence that surprised him, as it was fairly common practice to eliminate witnesses to the capture of the Marked. Besides, criminals of their nature were hardly innocent bystanders. No, it was the rather abrupt alteration of a decade long contract of the well being of his prey when he brought them in alive for whatever twisted practices the Alliance put them to. The dark eyed giant considered this command in silence, the lull in conversation growing.

Hunting was not about meaningless slaughter, killing simply for the sake of feeling blood on his hands. It was the thrill of the chase and the challenge of testing himself against truly desperate foes that had motivated him to become a hunter. It was the pleasure of seeing the look in his prey's eyes when the giant crushed every hope they had to defeat or evade him. Death was unquestionably necessary at times and he did not hesitate to deal it out, but there was no thrill in simply killing prey like the Marked. Most were not soldiers. Most were not warriors. They were usually civilians; clever in their own right, but hardly trained killers.

Any fool could put a bullet through a civilian's head. There was no challenge there.

"Very well."

But Orion would play along for now. Defying the Admiral at this junction would prove only to deprive the bounty hunter of resources with minimum gain beyond self satisfaction. Despite whatever that blood-thirsty military fool may demand, Orion would hunt his prey his way. He would bring his target to the Admiral with her head bowed and knees bent, broken but certainly alive. What the Admiral chose to do with her from there was his choice. Be it lab rat or fresh corpse, Orion could not care less once she had proven her worth as prey. After that, if this change in policy proved to be a permanent alteration, then Orion would likely need to rethink his contract with the Alliance.

"I'll be awaiting the coordinates you have promised."

Number Nine sensed his intention and cut the transmission, dropping the hull of the Erebus back into silence. Orion considered the floor for a long moment before looking up, seeing the hologram of Nine standing before him. The AI seemed to understand his frustration, her blue eyes watching him sympathetically.

"I told you so." She was smiling, but her tone was not mocking. There was no mirth to her look at all. "That man's involvement will always make things worse."

Dominic snuffed out the end of the cigar and laced his fingers together. He of course did not expect Orion to kill the marked ones, Maim them sure, but he wouldn't kill them, he'd drag them back in a bloody sack before killing one. They were his precious prey why in the world would he change that because Dom ordered him to?  No.. things would carry on as they always did Dom just wanted to push the bounty hunters buttons a little and remind him of who he worked for.

"Cain, Able dig up the information on Rochester and send it to Orion before he leaves comms range, and provide him with clearance to access the black site where the marked one he mentioned is being kept. Then set our own course for the last known location of 'Rochester' as well. He's been a thorn in the side of the alliance for far too long.."


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2014, 06:59:43 am »
Dark, quiet, the hum of Anne's engines the only sound through the walls. It was comforting, almost like a cigarette, a crutch to hold on to as the pain in his left side continued to burn. With gritted teeth, Raleigh swiped a hand across one of the touch sensitive panels, the screen illuminating the time. 04:30. He was surprised he managed that much, moving to get out of bed, the pain medications in the med bay calling his name.

Fin was the only soul there, asleep on one of the futons, arm dangling off. The man made light snoring noises as Raleigh moved about, getting the usual dose. Even with his body healed and scarred, it never forgot the experience it went through, the pains vicious and usually random, although they haunted him in the middle of the night the most.

Already, the medication was making him feel numb, almost less alive. The pilot glanced over to Fin, the man turning over with a loud snoring noise that would have made Raleigh snort had the situation been a little different. Instead, Raleigh went for the tools he set aside in the med bay, a place less likely to be touched by Mac's hand, and went about disconnecting his arm. The action would be the least painless right now and the thing needed maintenance, it was beginning to make odd noises.

The Calloway man thought about his new responsibility as he worked, fingers careful about the intricate inner workings of his synthetic arm, the same skill that allowed him to stitch Andy up with ease. It was certainly not going to be easy having her aboard, but she seemed to be able to handle her own to some extent, which Raleigh admired. She'd need to be tough to be a part of this crew or Andy was likely to kick her ass to the curb.

Speaking of, the girl had breakfast to make in the morning, best to make sure she got her ass up to do it. Rolling across the room on the chair he'd taken to, Raleigh went to the main system in the med bay and after a quick look around and some swiping, had found the alarm system to Georgia's room. With a small smile, he set the alarm, possibly a bit too early, but the girl could use the extra time probably.

Behind him, a voice chuckled, Fin obviously awake now and curiously looking over his shoulder. "Messin' with the new girl are we?" The smirk in his voice was obvious.

"Yer suppos'd to water those plants every hour, Fin. How many has it been now?"

Fin paled, "Aw, shit. Andy's gonna kill me." The man scrambled away then, leaving Raleigh to continue the rest of his work, now with a freshly lit cigarette that would hear no complaints.

He'd gone through about four cigarettes and a questionable amount of time before the one armed man thought it was time for a break. A cup of coffee was necessary now, the caffeine a nice touch to the nicotine. It would also provide a good excuse to check on the mishaps of breakfast, something he was sure was occurring.

The scene in the kitchen wasn't quite what he expected, his bunkmate present, doing what was mainly the new girl's job. While the new girl's current appearance, would make the crew's week, and would probably be their wallpapers for months.

"Ignore the maimed guy, just continue with..." He paused, turning away from them to grab a mug and set it beside the coffee maker before pouring his cup of coffee, the movement a bit extra to make up for the lack of another arm, "Whatever it is you're doing, she's legal on most planets, I think."
« Last Edit: July 30, 2014, 07:10:49 am by Lightning »


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Re: Chained to the sky[Closed]
« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2014, 10:55:14 am »
Andy scanned a few more messages and the cortex wanted ads as she walked toward the mess. She paused and leaned against the wall just outside the door concentrating on a particular ad, the tell-tell signs of code, the corner of her mouth rising in a smirk.

Until she heard Raleigh's voice through the open door. He was supposed to be keeping the girl out of trouble, not encouraging others to stir it up. She turned into the door, ready to chew him out when she saw who he'd said it too.

Her eyes did a quick scan of the rest of the mess, despite her order, the only crew present so far were Raleigh, the half naked new girl- she needed a name and some clothes apparently- and Mac, his eyes firmly on said girl. Andy's jaw clenched and she turned quickly back into the hall.

"Stupid. Stupid. Stupid." she muttered quietly while mentally reminding herself it didn't matter, she was better off alone. She heard heavy and shuffling feet- the rest of the crew if they knew what was good for them- and she tugged her vest down and walked into the mess, her usual stoic self.

Her voice was cool, her eyes hard and guarded again as she moved to the fridge, "Not likely." She looked the girl up and down once, again sizing her up and dismissing her as a real threat, "And not on my ship. Now if you're all done screwing around..." She looked pointedly at Mac before she opened the fridge, and shoved several containers to the sides as her arm reached to the back and pulled out a single unopened carton of orange juice. "There's food to cook and work to be done, we don't have time for adolescent heartbreak."

She cracked the carton and turned to find her mug in it's usual spot, but it wasn't there. Her nostrils flared ever so slightly spotting it near the stove and the girls hand. The rest of the crew had started shuffling in while she was digging in the fridge. Every single one of them giving the girl at least a once over in her half naked state. Even Fin slinking in looking like a wet dog, stumbled in his step as he caught sight of her.

Andy gave him a hard look, they acted as if none of them had seen a girl before. Irritated at everyone in the room now, she turned and grabbed another mug and poured the juice. She closed the carton and put it back, a clear sign she wasn't in the sharing mood this morning.

She turned back to her finally fully assembled crew and glanced down at her watch and back up again, only a minute later than she'd told them all to be here. A few were still trying unsuccessfully to get an unnoticed better look at the girl.

Andy cleared her throat. Nothing. So she grabbed a wooden spoon and smacked it on the counter, they turned. "If you're all finished oggling and care to keep your jobs," the last of the straying eyes turning to her, "There's news and we have work and a rendezvous to make." Now they were paying attention. Because what she said meant pay. 

"We're about two hours from a deep orbital spaceport, nearest planet is Hi'yalafan. Rochester should have left a wave by now for where he wants his cargo going. We'll be stopping to pick up it up, as well as extra supplies we missed or left. We'll be staying for some repairs."
She hadn't ignored that missed message from Mac. "We picked up some Alliance heat on Falinia." No need to be too specific, most of them had reasons to want to avoid the Alliance, "We seem to have escaped being tailed at this point. It should go without saying that there will be no trouble on this stop. If you aren't doing your respective jobs port side or picking up your long range waves, I expect you to be on the ship. I will deny you are part of my crew and leave you on the port if you decide your 'needs' are greater than my wants." She gave a hard look around the room.

She glanced over at Mac and the girl, then back to the crew. "Eat up then get to work. Should be good, or so I've been promised." She looked back at the girl as the men started moving to get plates and food. She grabbed the juice filled not-her-mug and an apple and started to walk out. She paused by Raleigh, speaking quietly, "We've got problems. Come up to my cabin when you get yourself together." She shook her head ever so slightly to indicate he shouldn't ask anything now, "No need to worry anyone... yet." She started to step forward past him, then rocked back, "And tell your responsibility I expect her clothes on when she's not in her bunk."

She gave Mac one more involuntary backward glance and stepped out of the mess into the hall. If they were caught, he'd be the one to suffer most. And despite how conflicted Andy felt about him and everything else, not wanting him to end up like Adam was clear in her mind. She'd need to tell Mac what was going on too, and sooner rather than later. Give him a chance to leave her. 'To leave the Anne.'