Wash Meets the Captain
Monday, October 23, 2006

From my RPG world. This is Wash's first day on the ship where he proves his flyin' skills.


The engines of Odyssey were winding up. Dust from the landing platform was being sprayed in all directions as the pilot began to move the throttles forward. Everything looked good and then…

Kane needed a pilot. He had had one, but they left over a personal disagreement with Captain Kane. The personal disagreement was that the pilot thought Jade (Kane’s wife) should be available for ‘entertaining’ the crew and Kane thought the man should learn to breath hard vacuum. Fortunately, the former pilot was able to get off the ship before Kane could give him his first lesson.

Kane was a pilot, but of very basic ability when it came to space craft. He had no delusions about that and did not put up a front to the contrary. Oh, he could take off and land, even fly from place to place without much danger, but beyond basic flight, he risked his ship and his crew.

So, the idea had come to him to set down on a well traveled rim or core world and see who he could attract. He knew what he had to have. The candidate had to be confident and competent, but also had to keep their head in pressure situations. Of course, most of all, they had to treat Odyssey as if she were the love of her life—no banging into the ground on landing or sloppy take offs. Hot Roding, when needed (which was rare), is fine, but for this ship fine control and solid temperament was important.

So, he brought Odyssey and crew to Persephone. The planet was popular and a hub for all manner of space travelers. In addition, fuel and maintenance tended to be relatively inexpensive there. He figured he could afford to be there for a long layover until he secured a new pilot.

He did not expect it would take as long, but it did.

Kane had already tried out several potential pilots over the past twelve days. While they each had something to offer, there were too many negatives with each to even consider turning Odyssey over to them. Fortunately, none of them had done any damage to her…fortunate for them, that is. But he was beginning to become concerned after spending almost two weeks idle and still no pilot. So, he had decided today was the last day and then he would have to move on. He had one more pilot to try out and then he would have to pack up and move out.

That is where Carl came in.

Carl Busby was a big, confident, dark-haired man who seemed to be perpetually chewing tobacco. Kane had met him at the bar the night before and they had talked for hours. Carl was a pilot looking for work and seemed tailor made to what Kane was looking for concerning Odyssey and crew. He kept his eyes respectfully off of Jade, even though she was dressed in some of her best finery and seemed only to want to fly.

Carl was at least a foot taller that Kane and probably sixty-five pounds heavier. He carried himself well, and due to someone’s indiscreet comment, proved he could fight well. He could also hold his liquor without loosing his senses, which Kane considered a plus.

Kane was convinced and decided to give him a tryout the following day. Worse case scenario, he wouldn’t be as hot of pilot as he claimed to me and then Kane might offer him a role as the ‘muscle’ for Odyssey. Otherwise, he figured they would shake hands a part ways peaceable like.

So, here sat Carl in the pilot’s seat, Kane standing behind. Carl ran through the start up sequence fine. He balanced the engines and did everything just as it should happen. Then he started advancing the throttles. That is where things went down-hill.

At first he eased the throttles forward together, but then for some reason decided to slam them to the firewall while shouting out “Yee-haw!” Unfortunately, his hand slipped and only two levers went forward causing the nose of Odyssey to shoot up in the air to a forty-five degree angle. Kane was holding on to the back of the chair, his eyes wide.

Carl reacted quickly. He pushed the other two throttle levers forward and at the same time pulled the original two back…all the way back. So, as Kane painfully expected, the nose came slamming down while the rear of Odyssey, when into the air. Likewise, Kane had now reversed angles and was hanging from the control panel.

“Put her down now!” he shouted at Carl as his blood began to boil. Kane rarely got riled except when it came to the two women he loved: Jade and Odyssey.

“Aight,” said Carl, still chewing on a wad of tobacco as if there was nothing wrong.

The tail came down hard causing the nose to bounce up again. But the fun didn’t end there because Carl, instead of idling the throttles kept fiddling with them. It was not working and as a result, when the tail came down, and the nose went up…and over and over again. Oh, the variation was getting smaller and smaller, but the noise was tremendous. What was worse was that Kane was sure he could hear metal being stressed.

Kane timed it out and right as the nose came down again, he reached up and hit the master fuel flow cut off. With one more shudder, she came to a rest. Kane laid on the floor for a moment, collecting himself and would have ended this little misadventure on good terms, until…

“Pahtooyee,” came the sound from Carls mouth as he spit a big trail of tobacco juice onto the flight deck. Kane could not believe the total lack of consideration for another man’s ship. However, it got even worse when Carl started laughing.

Kane stood, straightened himself and then looked Carl in the eye.

“Excuse me,” Kane began, “what exactly is so funny?”

“Woo hoo!” Carl exclaimed. “What a hoot that was.”

“Carl, I don’t think this is working out. Thanks for coming and trying out. If you’ll just clean up that tobacco mess, I won’t keep you any longer.”

“Aw, come on, Will,” Carl replied. Kane was not called Will by anyone. “You aren’t going to let a little shaking and bumping get you all worked up? Oh, and sorry bout that baccy, but it’ll come right up.”

“I am sure it will, which is why I would like you to clean it up.”

Carl’s smile left his face and started to turn to a sneer. He planted his foot on the pool of reddish juice and rubbed it back and forth.

“There…how’s that,” he said with a half grin, half sneer.

“Not acceptable, but I will settle for you leaving my ship now.”

“Well, aight, Will…”

“Kane,” Kane interrupted.


“My name is Kane and that is what I expect you to call me.”

Somehow, Carl began to realize that Kane was serious, and that Carl was in a very dangerous situation. This was further reinforced when Jade showed up on the bridge with her full medical kit and then took a seat nearby waiting for what she was sure was coming. He smiled and took out a rag to wipe up the soupy mess on the floor.

“Nevermind,” Kane said. “Just leave…NOW!”

Carl let out a toothy smile and said, “Alrighty. I’ll see myself out. You know, she sure ain’t pretty, “he said slugging the control panel, “but she can take a beating!”

That was it. Before the laugh could escape Carl’s mouth, Kane’s fist had knocked it back down his throat. What followed was quick and painful. Before Carl could even react, Kane had thrown him down the forward stairwell and was dragging him toward the bow airlock. Kane opened the door and without waiting for the ramp to extend, threw Carl out the door to the waiting ground twelve feet below.

While he stood there waiting for his calm to return, and watching Carl’s unconscious form lying on the ground, Kane noticed a man staring. Kane had no idea who it was, but the guy’s eyes were wide and his jaw was hanging open. Obviously he had seen the whole thing.

The blonde-haired man was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, loose fitting pants, flight boots, and a backpack. He also had a thick mustache that wasn't very fitting for him. He looked like a drifter and Kane was in no mood from anymore characters. But before he could say anything, the man started to back away.

“What do you want?” Kane shouted.

“I, uh…I am, well, I …uh…I fly,” the man stumbled through.

“Yeah? So did that guy,” Kane replied pointing to Carl.

Kane started to turn and leave and close the hatch when he heard the man say, “She sure is a pretty girl.” Kane turned to look at the guy. Immediately he knew he was talking about Odyssey.

“You like her?” Kane asked.

“Did that other fellow do any damage to her? Is she still airworthy?” the man responded.

“No, she’s plenty tough,” Kane replied realizing all of his anger had melted away. “Would you like to have a look?”

“You bet!” came the reply.

The man ran up to the hatch and Kane threw out the ladder for him to climb up.

“Wash,” man said, reaching the top.

“Excuse me?” Kane replied.

“No,” Wash replied nervously and extending his hand. “My name is Wash. Well, they call me Wash. My full name is Hoban Washburne. You can probably understand why I go by Wash.”

Wash was smiling, but Kane was not.

“I am Kane. Follow me,” Kane instructed. He noticed that Wash reached out and touched the walls of Odyssey interior as they went. He left his hand glide over her, experiencing her. He let his finger tips learn about her as if she were precious.

When they got to the flight deck, Wash’s eyes were everywhere.

“She is in great shape,” Wash said.

Although he was impressed by Wash’s affection and appreciation for Odyssey, Kane cut to you chase,” You said you fly?”

Wash swallowed hard and replied, “I do.”

“Do you need a job?”

“I do.”

“You want to try out?”

“I do.”

Kane stepped aside and said, “Do better than the last guy.”

Wash took off his backpack and stowed it in a locker behind the pilot’s seat. He immediately strapped in and when through the start up procedure. Odyssey hummed to life and Kane noticed the smile spread across Wash’s face.

Kane watched Wash advance the throttles and he heard Odyssey’s engines purr louder. However, the ship seemed to be sitting still. Wash was moving the controls, but the ship was as steady as a rock.

“Anytime now,” Kane said with emphasis.

“What?” Wash replied, his face showing a look of confusion.

Suddenly, Kane realized Odyssey was moving. Not only was she moving, but she was really moving, yet, she was sailing as smooth as she ever had. The movements Wash was making were not in response to flight effects, but Wash was feeling what Odyssey was doing before she was doing it. Kane’s jaw hung open.

“If you can land her the same way you go her up,” Kane began, “and you shave off that mustache, the job is yours.”

Ten minutes later, Kane, with a smile on his face, was helping the clean-shaven Wash get settled into his cabin.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006 4:32 PM


What is with the lack of 'stache love by ship captains in the 'Verse? Cuz it was one hell of a 'stache, if you ask me. Quite respectable;)



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