FIREFLY UNIVERSE

A Defiant 'Verse - In Character

POSTED BY: DEFIANT2THELAST
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 22:49
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Friday, April 24, 2009 6:39 PM

DEFIANT2THELAST


The Thebarton Sky Plex is built like a city within a box. Each building is separate from one another, and fall short of the exceedingly high ceiling. If it wasn’t for the lack of sky, one would think this was something planet side.

In recent times, the Sky Plex has become a trading hub, and many ships flock here for one of the few neutral ports in the middle of the war, which has lead to a large number of refugees aboard stations, and an increasing crime rate.

The many streets are lined with apartment blocks, bars and merchant stalls. All things common or popular during war abound. Booze, accommodation and desperation, a lovely mix. This doesn’t change the fact that if you want crew, or goods, you can’t do much better then a free port.




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Friday, April 24, 2009 6:40 PM

NATHANREY


Nathan sat only a few hundred meters from the Defiant, in one of the many bars the city had. The air was putrid, a thin haze covering the vast station, with neon lights advertising everything from brothels to places of worship in a variety of languages. Places like this are the reason he didn’t believe in a higher power. You could taste the poverty.

That didn’t mean the Ambrosia wasn’t good, another glass downed for the night. The entertainment for the night was starting to hurt his ears, and he was starting to wonder if he shouldn’t try his luck at another. Instead, he slouched back in his chair and scanned the Cortex Wave again.

He’d been eating noodles across the street with Lincoln when he came up with the idea. That was yesterday, and he was still wondering where to hit for the goods. There were enough sites, but he couldn’t help shake the fear. What if troops were still there?

Nathan stared at the street, for the millionth time this night, from behind the plastic window. Hundreds, if not thousands of people bustled to and from, not one of them seemed like they had a credit to their name. He circled one of the various battle fields at random. That was the one they’d hit. He then put the Cortex News head lines back down on the table, and looked across the street again.

He wondered how many hundreds would have tried to apply to rent the shuttle now, or responded to the Port Master listing saying they had space for passengers. Nathan shuddered at the thought of sorting through all the crew applications if he’d openly put that up too. No, just like he’d done previously he’d go searching for them himself.

He lit a cigarette, and took guesses at how long it would take for his crew to find him, and bitch about not having work. They’d been here a week now, and he still hadn’t heard a thing. Nathan stared at the place he’d circled absently.






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Friday, April 24, 2009 7:34 PM

LINCOLNZ


Lincoln shouldered his way through a throng of arguing vegetable salesmen, the generally smaller men scurrying to get out of the way of the larger, bear-like man. The smell from a nearby grill made his eyes water, the smoke of the roasting chili peppers almost unbearably caustic. He quickened his pace and continued on past the restaurant and towards the bar where he knew Nathan would still be. Carefully avoiding a puddle of suspicious looking substance.

He entered the crowded pub, spotting Nathan in a booth near the corner by the large windows. He stepped up to the long bar and ordered coffee, black, then walked over and sat down opposite Nathan in the booth.

"Evening Nate"

He glanced at the cortex feed in his Captains hands. A rotund waitress approached with a mug and a carafe.

"Anything interesting?"


Zhù na ya tian guò de yú kuài!

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Friday, April 24, 2009 7:52 PM

ELPAGAN


Dale was getting restless. They'd been parked on this floating piece of fei-oo a week now. It was starting to grind a little on him.
Sure, he loved the chance to get off the ship, stretch his legs and get to know the place. But without purpose to their stay, the skyplex soon felt even smaller than the ship...
At least when they were in the air they'd be going someplace to do something.
Sitting in the Defiant with nothing to do but remember his old home didnt really appeal.
So, he wandered about, trying his best to avoid the refugees standing about everywhere. When they'd docked Dale had been eager to see what other ships, what other opportunities were out there. Maybe he could find a better deal. Or maybe he'd find a decent independent he could truly follow. Truly believe in. He doubted it.
A better captain though, that he'd thought possible. Maybe even a prosperous venture that didnt have a side in this Niou-se conflict.

When they touched down though, he wasnt ready for the poverty, the listless families with no prospects. The press-gangs from both sides that'd stalk the able-looking men and disappear as the station guards walked by.
Seemed everyone here was waiting for a ride outta here, or preying on those who were waiting. He didnt want to dock here anymore, with job or no.
This hwai dong felt like the moment you stopped long enough, you'd be ensnared, enveloped by it.
So, as a result, Dale rarely stopped walking..


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Friday, April 24, 2009 7:56 PM

NATHANREY


Nathan scowled at the larger man, his annoyance clearly shown through the process. Whether he was simply winding him up or not, Nathan was not in the mood.

"I thought I had already made it clear I don't like being called 'Nate', Bargara."

He took one more look at the Cortex Wave before handing it over to Lincoln and turned back to the window. No sooner had he looked out the window, he found himself staring. She was out of place, about 5’10, and some what attractive. His gaze wasn't broken as he continued talking.

“So? What do you think?”



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Friday, April 24, 2009 8:11 PM

LINCOLNZ


Lincoln grins openly as the captain passed him the cortex wave. He scans the news report, scowling at the number of casualties. Thirty thousand, taking into account both sides.

"So this is what you want to hit? I seriously don't know how I feel about looting the dead. What's more, what if they aren't all dead? What then? We aren't exactly armed or crewed for a battle."

He sets the cortex wave down and pours himself a mug of coffee and asks the waitress to leave the carafe. He raises his eyebrow and takes a sip as he lets Nathan consider his reply.


Zhù na ya tian guò de yú kuài!

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Friday, April 24, 2009 8:22 PM

ELPAGAN


Turned out wandering about came with mixed blessings,
He now had a decent knoweledge of the skyplex, better than many of its residents he'd wager.
Of course, he was going to have to use it now, as he was being trailed by some shifty lookin goons. Likely either a local gang, or worse, a press gang.
Dale increased pace imperceptibly, considered his position in the 'plex and looked about for a friendly face..
Where the hell was Bucket anyway?


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Friday, April 24, 2009 8:45 PM

NATHANREY


The woman slipped out of sight, walking on to another street. However, Nathan found himself still staring out the window. Despite the desperation of the scene, he liked it. It was life, noisy, busy, dirty and disturbed, but it was life. The lack of this was why he didn’t like the core. It was his home for many years, but he never liked it.

“I never said it wasn’t risky, but think of the profits. One hundred wa tsao percent. We’ll be able to buy our own floating islands on Bellerophon if we escape with our ass still at our rear.”

Nathan turned to face the obviously not assured Lincoln. It didn't surprise Nathan, as he himself had his doubts about the job.

“Look, we’re taking on more crew while we’re here. I know we can do this.”

With that lie, Nathan got up and headed back to his ship, chucking the but of his cigarette on the way. He hoped Lincoln forgot about the moral side of the case. He didn’t have an answer for that, and he probably never would.




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Friday, April 24, 2009 10:37 PM

LINCOLNZ


Lincoln watched him leave, but didn't follow. He sat and sipped the rest of his coffee. When the waitress came around again he got up to pay his bill and leave.

Outside he stopped by the noodle joint across the way and bought a cup to go and then swung by the tobacco kiosk on his way back to the ship, grabbing three different cigars and a small butane lighter. As he passed a group of performing mimes, he stopped to watch.

As the trio attempted to construct some imaginary structure, he considered the Captain's idea. It would certainly pay off if there wasn't anything major along the lines of trouble. He honestly had very little qualms with taking supplies, weapons and ammunition from a battlefield. His emotional side didn't like the prospect of robbing the dead but his practical side countered that if they didn't someone else would anyway. However, this did little to ease his mind, in the end he decided to sleep on it and figure out how he felt about it after a night on his relatively comfortable bunk. He turned and headed off in the direction of the docked ship.


Zhù na ya tian guò de yú kuài!

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Friday, April 24, 2009 10:55 PM

BIGRICHARD


Alexander softly pushed open the lid of the crate. Light seeped in the cracks, but he still couldn't see anything. He sat with his ear to the gap for a good few minutes, and after hearing nothing, carefully removed the lid and climbed out of the box. He couldn't see very well, but made out the vague shapes of cargo boxes lining the walls of what seemed like a warehouse. Alexander looked around to make sure he was alone, and slowly began to creep toward the sliver of light coming from one end of the room. As he neared the door, he heard voices.

"Sooo...you like...uhh...The Alliance huh?"
"..Yeah...that'd be why I joined..."
"...guess so...yep...........mmmmm"

Alexander waited patiently, sneaking a look through the crack in the door. The two Alliance guards were slumped in boredom in the office to the right. Both were looking out into the crowd, watching for trespassers in all the wrong places. Alexander quietly opened the door a fraction more and snuck out of the building and around the side. Picking up a rock, he threw it to the other side of the guards, and, while they were distracted, Alexander disappeared into the crowd.


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Saturday, April 25, 2009 4:26 PM

YINYANG

You were busy trying to get yourself lit on fire. It happens.


Ainsley scanned the port master’s listings, looking for passage. It was only her second day in this feifei de piyan city, but she was eager to see it behind her. She’d already been mugged once, and she had no need to experience worse, even if it meant lowering her standards for suitable transportation.

Her eyes caught on a description of a shuttle for rent. The name and type of the ship made it pretty obviously not Alliance, and renting suggested a long-term deal, which was all she really needed. After filling out the application, she double-checked the listing information and hurried off for the docking area where the Defiant was located, as going to the ship directly would increase her chances of securing the deal. It was a skill she’d learned from working in business – taking initiative beyond the minimum requirements impressed people. She just hoped there wasn’t a line.

Ainsley forced her way through the crowds, resolutely avoiding the beggars. Normally she was soft on those sorts of people, but there were just too many and they’d dry out her accounts if she let them. She felt their eyes on her, knowing that she stood out like a sore thumb with her purple satin tunic, black pants, and decorated sandals.

She slowed her pace as the crowd thickened around a group of mimes. The dock was just ahead, food smells cutting through the stench of humanity and enticing her. She hadn’t eaten much since she’d landed, wary of bad food quality. But, there was always time to eat later, so she continued on. There was a Firefly up ahead that could be the Defiant.

“Excuse me,” she said with authority in her voice, stepping around next to a large man who looked like he was headed that way. “Is that the Defiant, there?” She pointed.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009 4:56 PM

LINCOLNZ


Lincoln, distracted still by his own thoughts and the mass of humanity surrounding him, was somewhat taken aback by the tall, dark haired woman who quickly stepped in his path. He glanced her over once, her bearing was strong and her clothing mostly casual, but definitely hinting at wealth. Most likely not a local, he decided she wasn't a threat. Nodding once, he replied in a friendly manner.

"Yes, that'd be Defiant. Wouldn't mind telling me who you are then?"


Zhù na ya tian guò de yú kuài!

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Saturday, April 25, 2009 5:17 PM

YINYANG

You were busy trying to get yourself lit on fire. It happens.


Ainsley kept the authority in her voice when she answered, despite the man's friendliness. For all she knew, he was the captain, and she would need to negotiate with him. "My name's Ainsley. I'm here to rent that ship's shuttle. And you are?"

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Saturday, April 25, 2009 5:27 PM

LINCOLNZ


"Name's Lincoln Bargara. I'm Defiant's first mate. Headed there now. Interested in the shuttle, eh? The captain is going to want to talk to you, right this way."

Lincoln walked past her and continued towards the docked vessel.


Zhù na ya tian guò de yú kuài!

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Saturday, April 25, 2009 6:11 PM

YINYANG

You were busy trying to get yourself lit on fire. It happens.


Ainsley followed Bargara to the ship. Running into the first mate was lucky, and it opened up a possibility she hadn’t considered. If all else failed, she could appeal to him, which gave her another shot to get this deal.

Not that she thought she'd have too much of a problem with the captain. Even after being mugged, she wasn't in danger of running out of money for the foreseeable future. So, as long as he wasn’t ge zhen de hundan, she could pay his asking price if he refused to negotiate it down.

She almost felt like the shuttle was hers already, but tamped down on that before she got too far ahead of herself. She needed to concentrate on the present or she'd set herself up for failure.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009 9:28 PM

BIGRICHARD


Alexander wandered carefully through the crowd, making sure to blend in as much as possible. His first stop was to a small, crowded food vendor. Starving from his long journey in a box, he ordered a large bowl of noodles and sat with his back to the wall, looking out into the mess of people. He needed to get out of this port fairly quickly. Scoffing down his noodles, he stood up and merged into the nearest lane of traffic. He followed the line of people, not really knowing where he was going, until he saw a group of ships.

Inspecting each one carefully, Alexander's decision was made easily when his eyes fell upon a Firefly. Not the shiniest boat he'd ever seen, but he'd heard of these by reputation; lots of little spaces for hiding things in. He walked around the vessel and inspected it closer, it would do, at least for now.


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Saturday, April 25, 2009 9:37 PM

ELPAGAN


Bucket.
Damn it.
He'd hoped to see him with lincoln, or argueing cheerily with a guard about the virtues or faults of types of coffee (as had happened on previous occasions).
He'd hoped at least to find him someplace public, and likely, not bobbing up and down with an orange in his hand and a strong smell of java coming off him.
Dale altered his course and swept past Bucket, swinging his arm round his should in what he hoped was a matey fashion. Why exactly he was worried that the arm swing would be seen as camp by the thugs wasnt exactly logical, but both that, the analysis of the reflex and the meta-analysis werent suitable for the moment.
Bucket was already keeping with Dale's brisk pace and looked right about to speak when Dale cut across him speaking rapidly with a trace of giddy fear.

"Listen, uh, Bucket, I am, now we, are being followed by folks who likely want us to be chargin across a flamin field o' fire sometime in the near future. Whos side I dont care, but WE" Dale breathed in
"need to lose them, ooor find some guard-types who dont take kindly to 'em. Soo, two things-
one- How should we do that, and,
two- why are those mimes at the end of this street lookin veeery angry at you?"


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Saturday, April 25, 2009 11:51 PM

DEFIANT2THELAST


...Two. Three. Nathan turned full circle on his heel again. With a flick of his wrists, the ball hit the floor and bounced back up into his open hands. Nathan’s eyes calculated the shot subconsciously. The ball flew momentarily on what seemed to be on course, before hitting the side of the ring, which in turn span on its chain.

It had been going this way for about twenty odd minutes when Lincoln came aboard again, followed by a woman who was blatantly upper class. Business. The last time someone boarded his ship for business with out his prior knowledge, certain bullets were exchanged.

Nathan pulled his rolled up sleeves back down and wiped his hands on his trousers, before approaching the pair. He looked at Lincoln so it was obvious to whom the comment was directed, his gaze as if Ainsley wasn't even there.

“So you ain’t of the ton shing lian sort after all, Lincoln?”

EDIT: Gorram' account missposts. By the way, you can roll over the chinese.





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Sunday, April 26, 2009 1:33 PM

LINCOLNZ


Lincoln crosses his thick, hairy arms over his chest and smirks at the jest. He shakes his head and retorts.

"You know very well. You were with me that time on.."

He clears his throat as he remembers his tag along and turns to introduce her. Realizing he'll probably get an earful for bringing someone onboard without first talking with Nathan about it. Even if she is a possible source of income.

"This is a miss.. uh.. Ainsley was it? She's interested in the shuttle."

He glances at Ainsley and nods towards the captain adding.

"This is Captain Rey."


Zhù na ya tian guò de yú kuài!

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Sunday, April 26, 2009 4:27 PM

CELESTIA


Dr. Jaclyn Holliday made her way purposely through the masses of humanity crowding the Thebarton Sky Plex, trying to avoid being coughed on or sneezed at. This boxed-in sky port was a breeding ground of all the known diseases in the 'verse and a birthing ground for nasty potential new strains to develop.

Tonight she'd boil her clothes and scrub extra long in the shower once she got back to her little cottage on Beylix. She tried to block out the faces of the sick ones in the crowds, knowing if she stopped and opened her medical bag she'd be surrounded by more of them, all asking, begging, some even demanding her help.

But they were too many. She'd have been overwhelmed, all her medicines depleted with nothing in return except knowing she might have helped a few of them to last just a little longer than they would have anyway.

She'd learned that hard lesson in her first week in Beylix. Mayor Bayne, a kindly old gentleman, had resupplied her stores and given her a mild lecture on wastefulness. Now, barely a year into her contract as the town's only medic, she'd come under the thumb of the new mayor -- a mean and controlling type.

Q'bart Flinders, was making an already bad situation intolerable. Arrogant and self-absorbed, the new mayor had made his intentions clear. He expected more from the two-year contract she'd signed to be the town's physician. He wanted her body as well. In fact, the man seemed to think the conquest of women was a game, one he refused to lose.

As she passed along the port she eyed the docked ships longingly. How wonderful it would be to jump on board, heading out for parts unknown as long as it was far from Beylix. And especially from Flinders.

Her head began to throb and she realized she was scowling deeply, wondering what condition her clinic office would be in when she returned so late. The last time she'd been gone this long, it had been searched, drugs stolen, and a general wreck had been made of the place.

She'd come to the Sky Plex to reexamine a young woman who had given birth only days ago and was being herded off to a new colony on Pyranny 3. Jaclyn insisted on examining her and the newborn once more before they left.

Her poor husband couldn't be blamed for the risk he was taking with his wife and child's health. The family had no choice after Flinders foreclosed on their little scrub farm and the shack they'd turned into a home. Mother and baby's chances were better somewhere off planet than they were in this jung chi duh go-se dway.

And what would her patients do if she left them? The idea of breaking her contract was hard enough on her moral ideals, even before considering the legal ramifications and possible damage to her medical reputation.

But doctors were hard to find on the border planets, good doctors harder still. They needed her, these kind, hard-working folk. If not for them, she'd have worked harder to find a way out. And find a way to get out of her debt to Flinders.

Her eyes drifted over the ships as she walked past the docks. When she caught sight of the battered Firefly model, she smiled. It was an old Aught '3, one of Danny's favorites of the old classic models. He'd loved those old boats and had made a hobby of studying them. Seeing this one brought back bittersweet memories which she crammed down to keep unwanted tears from clouding her vision.

It was late. She should hurry home to a hot shower and early bedtime, but the thought of a sweet, cold Ambrosia made her mouth feel suddenly dry. She stopped, looking up at the flashing neon sign. Maybe she could make time for just one; she'd heard they served the best ones in this particular noisy bar. She looked through the filmy haze of the large window, considering.

A man sitting in a corner booth wearing a worn black jacket was looking back. For one long second she stared, thinking she knew him from somewhere else. He was unkempt but somehow didn't seem as lost and directionless as most of those here. And he wasn't alone as she noticed the larger darker man across the booth from him reading a news sheet.

Could he be one of Danny's old war buddies? No, probably not, though he had that same world-weary look in his eyes that she'd seen in so many of them. Perhaps she had it, too.

Jostled back into awareness by someone running through the crowed -- probably another pickpocket -- she shook the thought from her head and picked up her pace. It wasn't much farther to the shuttle that would take her back to Beylix.

~~~

Jaclyn unlocked the door to her darkened entry hall and flipped on a light. Just inside, two men sitting on her small sofa leered at her.

O'bart Flinders' goons!

Jaclyn gasped and turned to run back out, instead running smack into another of Flinders' men. He wasn't smiling as he pushed her back inside and shut the door behind him.

"The doc here was lookin' a mite antsy up there at the docks," he said to the seated goons. "Reckon she fancies herself takin' a little ride?"

"Well, then," Mayor Flinders appeared from around a corner, "we'd better make damn sure she doesn't."

"My papers!" Jaclyn grabbed for the documents Flinders dangled in front of her.

He jerked them back, out of reach, then lit a tiny flame and raised it toward Jaclyn's passport folder. "We can't have you thinking of skedaddlin away, can we? We have some unfinished business yet." Flinders chortled.

"O'bart, please. You can't!"

"A-a-aaa," he warned, skirting the edge of the folder with the flame. "Behave or else."

Jaclyn froze. If he destroyed her travel papers, she'd never be able to leave Beylix. And with Flinders' connections within the Alliance, he could make it damn near impossible to ever get them reissued.

"Boys," Flinders addressed his pack. "Leave us alone now."

His goons moved to the door smirking and winking. The front door closed after them with an ominous click, and all was quiet.

Flinders turned to Jaclyn, but she wasn't where she'd been standing a second ago.

With a loud crack, like stone on wood, Jaclyn clocked him over the head. He sank to his knees and then slowly keeled over.

"Whatsa matter, O'bie," Jaclyn mocked. "Got a headache?"

She tossed aside the limestone statue of Fu Shen, the god of happiness, given her months ago by a grateful patient, and bent down to check Flinders' vital signs. "You'll live, you tah mah duh hwoon dahn."

She snatched up her passport documents from where he'd dropped them. Next she grabbed her medical bag and stuffed the folder inside.

"Looks like you just helped me make up my mind, hwun dan,"

Jaclyn hurried to her bedroom and pulled the scarred suitcase out from under her bed. She tossed in handfuls of underwear and socks, then ran around the bed to her closet, grabbed an armful of clothes, and shoved them into the suitcase. She snapped it closed, snatched up her medical bag, and ran out the back door, never looking back.

Until she stopped, ran back inside, grabbed the holo portrait of her dead husband, and ran out again into the darkness, through a back alley, and back again towards the shuttle to the Sky Plex.

(edited 4/29)


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Wednesday, April 29, 2009 9:27 PM

DEFIANT2THELAST


Nathan extended a hand to Ainsley. Fatigue was starting to set in, and he decided to cut to the chase so he could head to his rack, despite his first instinct of delaying it for a more intricate approach at a later date. No, that’d probably ruin his chances at a deal.

“Please to meet’ya. I’ll take it you’ll want to see the bird before giving numbers, so shuttle’s the starboard one.” Nathan took a brief pause to think about what he was doing. “Lincoln can show you around. I’ll be down here once you are ready to talk figures.”


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Wednesday, April 29, 2009 11:35 PM

ELPAGAN


Dale and Bucket finally reached the Defiant. He was quite tired now, having been walking and then running most of the day, and finally having to support Bucket much of the way back after he almost good on his prediction about passing out. As they trudged up the cargo bay ramp Dale idly noted Bucket had been wiping his sticky orange flecks off his face onto Dales shirt.
He didnt really whether he was more annoyed, exasperated or endeared by it. Such is life.
Towards the back of the cargo bay he saw Nathan, looking as weary as Dale felt, learning against a the stairway.
Dale couldnt be bothered yet enquiring about any jobs, passengers or such, and simply dropped Bucket at the stairs before stumbling down the stairs towards his bunk.

What a day


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Thursday, April 30, 2009 11:23 AM

LINCOLNZ


He led Ainsley up the stairs and onto the catwalk. Standing aside as he does, Lincoln opens the airlock to the dim lit shuttle.

"Right this way, ma'am. It's a little dusty."

He follows her inside the starboard shuttle and moves toward the cockpit at the bow of the small ovoid craft.

"We don't use her much but she flies. A few of the bulkheads have been refurbished and the pilots seat is custom, someone must have put a lot of spins on her once upon a time. But whoever it was certainly kept her jiǒng."

He shows her the shuttles various hatches and controls and points out the cramped yet decent facilities in the back of the craft. He then heads back to the hatchway and lets her take her time with her own inspection.


"Guys, I know Kung Fu."

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Saturday, May 2, 2009 2:06 PM

CELESTIA


Bold blue letters on the side of the ship read DEFIANT.

A corner of Jackie’s mouth quirked up, amused. Well that kinda fits, don't it? she thought. Defying my contract, defying the Mayor, defying my oath as a physician to do no harm.

She shifted the grip on her suitcase handle, her hand starting to sweat. I might shoulda defied Flinders a little harder and put that bastard out of everybody’s misery.

But then, she wasn't a murderer. She thought of Flinders again, lying motionless on her floor. She'd defended herself, that's all.

She might as well have struck an Alliance official, for all the trouble she'd be in once he woke up.

Looking up at the Firefly, she wondered if it might be her means to a new life. Was it coincidental that this particular model, Danny's favorite, happened to show up at the Thebarton Sky Plex docks on the day that she’d desperately need a quick getaway?

Nope. She didn’t believe in coincidence.

Jackie whispered, "Thanks for the tip, Danny," and she prayed they were taking on passengers or at least in need of a medic. If not, she’d just have to convince them.

She took a long breath for courage, glancing around one more time to make sure she hadn't been followed, relieved that none of the mayor's men were anywhere in sight.

She walked to the bottom of the loading ramp, her back straight, chin held high, medical bag in one hand, suitcase in the other, trying to look cool, confident, and not like the fugitive from justice she felt she was tonight.

Someone was standing at the far end of the cargo bay but the light was dim.

"Hello," she called loudly. "I'm Dr. Holliday. Anybody home?"



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Saturday, May 2, 2009 6:55 PM

DEFIANT2THELAST


It seemed like he was a pretty popular man today. In a week here at this station not a soul worth a second glance had been interested in his Firefly. Now he had two in as many minutes.

“Yeah, we’re still here.”

Nathan walked the length of the cargo bay towards the doctor.

“I’m Captain Rey. So you be looking for a wage or a passage on my boat?”



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Sunday, May 3, 2009 1:16 PM

CELESTIA


Jackie set down her bag and suitcase, safeguarding them between her scuffed boots. It was a necessary precaution against Sky Plex thieves. She extended her hand to him.

Captain Rey's grip was strong, not slack and patronizing nor rough and intimidating. She took that as a good sign.

"Nǐhǎo, Captain. Jaclyn Holliday, M.D. Uh, would it be all right if we go inside to talk?" She tried to keep her tone light and nerves to a minimum, but couldn't help wondering if the mayor's men were hot on her trail.

"Wage or passage? Answer me that first."

It was a fair question, she supposed, deciding to tell him as little as possible. No need to set herself up for any more trouble.

"Well, I guess that's up to you," she replied. "What's your next port of call?"



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Monday, May 4, 2009 10:39 PM

DEFIANT2THELAST


“With the work.” Nathan took a pause for breath. “Plans current are to Aberdeen through Three Hills, but it’s all subject to change Doc’. With the work.”


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Friday, May 8, 2009 1:48 AM

ELPAGAN


Back in the passenger dorms, Dale found himself inexplicably awake oncemore. Tired, exhausted and weary, yes, but not sleepy.
He'd have to occupy himself with something till he did. Usually he'd read one of Bucket's numerous books, but he couldnt be bothered walking.
Besides, they looked to be taking on passengers, so he'd might as well tidy up, move all his things from their nooks that were dispersed throughout the rear area, into just one of the rooms.
He'd found that each room had a certain, well, suitability for doing things. A reading room, a sleeping room, a thinking and drawing room. It was kinda disappointing to loose the right to the areas he'd designated.
Sure would be good to have someone down here with him though. The ship could be awful lonely down here.
He'd almost moved to one of the crew bunks earlier on, but then he and the captain'd fought about delivering landmines to the independents.
He'd held off the move to the crew bunks.
He'd held off the move to becoming crew.


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Saturday, May 9, 2009 8:02 AM

YINYANG

You were busy trying to get yourself lit on fire. It happens.


Ainsley examined the shuttle carefully, but there wasn’t much to see. Besides the pilot’s chair, the only furnishing was a simple cot; and to her eyes, it seemed more comfortable to fall asleep in the chair.

She went over to sit down in the seat, swiveling around to the front and examining the controls. Almost all the buttons, switches, and displays were in the standard place, so flying would be easy. Then, turning to examine the rest of the shuttle again, she thought of the price she’d be willing to pay for a monthly rent. She’d start at a much lower number, of course, because that’s how bargaining worked, but it was good to set limits.

Now all that was left was to speak to the captain. Ainsley rose from the chair and headed out of the shuttle to the cargo bay. Back out on the catwalk, she paused for a moment, her eyes idly wandering around until her glance rested on Captain Rey. He was speaking with someone at the entrance. Not wanting to disturb him, she waited a few moments, watching them, before beginning to descend the stairway.

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Monday, May 11, 2009 6:59 PM

LINCOLNZ


Lincoln left his spot next to the shuttle's hatchway as Ainsley descended the stairs to the cargo hold's lower level. He took note of the captain below, speaking with yet another woman. He considered heading down to see what was up but thought better of it and left Nathan to deal with it. There didn't seem to be any tension in the air and he felt comfortable that there wouldn't be trouble this evening. He took a last glance at Nathan and turned, catching sight of Bucket slumped on the metal stairs. He rolled his eyes and decided to brew some coffee later, certain the pilot would need a cup or ten before his shift. He rubbed his bristly chin and left, heading toward the stairway leading to the main deck's forward corridor.

Moments later he entered the galley, currently quiet and with lights dimmed. In the center a long, ovoid table of wood and steel stood, surrounded by a motley collection of chairs and stools. He headed to the kitchen nook and took out a large canister of coffee, the white can emblazoned with a vivid Blue Sun logo.



"Guys, I know Kung Fu."

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 3:17 PM

LINCOLNZ


Lincoln had just poured himself a cup when Bucket entered the galley, bounding down the gangway into the room with his usual childlike energy.

"Well I figured you'd want a cup, seeing you on the stairs there, like a battered sack of rice dropped from some immeasurable height. Here ya go bub."

He grinned and passed his mug to the younger man, pulling down another for himself. He filled it and added a drop of some artificial cream substance they'd found a few months back. Tasted like overused fryer oil but with a sweet thickness he sorta liked in his coffee.

"Besides, Captain likes the one flying to be.. well conscious. So do I for that matter. You look like you could sleep for a week. You alright?"

He takes a sip of his coffee, as he heads to an overstuffed, patch-worked chair in the tiny lounge.


"Guys, I know Kung Fu."

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Friday, May 15, 2009 7:02 AM

CELESTIA


"Three Hills, eh?" Jackie's mind raced, trying to put together any facts she could remember regarding that area. "And Aberdeen."

She wanted to answer him quickly in hopes the Captain wouldn't notice that she hadn't a care where they were going as long as it was away from here -- and fast.

"Yep, that's the direction I'm bound for, Captain Rey. I do have coinage for passage, but if you're in need of a medic, I'd just as soon work my way across the skies."

She could tell by the unrevealing look on his face the Captain was a fair hand at poker.

Behind Rey, she noticed a few other folk going about their business on board, one a richly dressed woman -- a passenger, she wondered?

The Captain opened his mouth to reply but before he could utter a sound Jackie asked, "What kind of work is it you do?"

Silently, she bit her tongue for asking. It didn't matter to her if they were a band of professional assassins or a traveling whore house as long as they were shipping out soon with her aboard.

And as long as they weren't Alliance.




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Sunday, May 17, 2009 9:19 PM

DEFIANT2THELAST


The dreaded question. At least once, every passenger makes it. As criminals, a believable lie must always be at hand with appropriate documents to prove it. That’s why the business isn’t as populated as other industries.

That’s also why Rey has made the cut.

“We’re a small time salvage boat. While a Firefly doesn’t seem ideal for the work, we give our peers a fair run for the pay check."

Rey pointed at the undeniably official papers sealed in plastic to the metal wall. Despite the drop dead obvious placing, the years have proven that customs officials are dumb enough to believe them, and even prefer the placement.

With the question deflected, Nathan considered his options. If he happened to spurt it out like a complete fool, the guise which the Defiant acted under may be blown, but he couldn't shake the idea of someone who could patch his crew up as anything but a good one. He prayed she wasn't a fed.

"While I sincerely hope we never will need your services Doc, you're crew as long as the same stays in one piece. The rate is a standard five percent cut and your own rack is available."

Nathan extended a hand to seal the deal.



Lincolnz: I'll have an explosion in my pants pocket when I get a text message now

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009 3:51 PM

CELESTIA


Jackie looked down at the Captain’s extended hand, his words echoing in her head: You're crew as long as the same stays in one piece. The rate is a standard five percent cut and your own rack is available.

Wow, just like that she was part of the crew of a salvage ship about to blast away, far away, from this pee-goo planet.

It all seemed so easy, too easy. On the other hand, maybe this meant she was in exactly the right place, exactly the right time to be in it.

She felt the wide grin slowly split her face. She grabbed his hand and shook it enthusiastically.

Sheh-shey, Cap’n. You won’t regret it. I’ll do whatever I can to keep you and yours shiny. I guarantee it, or my name’s not Jackie Holliday.”

A corner of his mouth curved upward and suddenly she felt a little foolish. So much for playing it cool. Country doc meets slick salvage captain.

She lowered her hand and stooped to pick up her suitcase. As she straightened, her eyes brightened. “Do I smell coffee?” she asked hopefully.



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Monday, June 8, 2009 8:35 PM

DEFIANT2THELAST


“I’m guessin’ you do Doc, the galley is that way.” Nathan pointed “Get acquainted with the crew some, I’ll go see to other matters.”

With that, Nathan left for the shuttle Ainsley was currently inspecting. You couldn’t leave business sitting idle too long; it tends to sour the deal some bit…




Lincolnz: I'll have an explosion in my pants pocket when I get a text message now

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009 12:19 AM

ELPAGAN


Standing on the desk in the corner of his room, Dale's head had disappeared into his new frontier.

The roof cavity.

Sure, it was cramped, filled with electrics and composite supports, but luckily, it stuck true to the most stubborn of cliches that survived the vid-culture from earth-that-was.
The ship had a ventilation system.

It was smaller than the "comfortable" sized ones in most adventure scenes, in fact it would probably allow only forward movement, even for Dale. Also, it was undoubtedly linked the the main atmo-pump, which would make it frigidly cold when it worked to counterract the soaring temperatures of the ship- as happened when entering atmo, and likely, a little on the warm-side when out in the cold black.
It'd require conservative planning, cautious scouting and wary exploration- But it was undoubtably awesome.

As he replaced the grill and screwed the restraints back in-place, he resolved to keep the discovery to himself for now. It was his room, his secret, and his adventure for the moment.
Life in the black was too boring without a project, and Dale had just found one.

He pocketed his multitool and turned his senses to the rest of the ship. He could hear several footsteps on the metal stairways of the cargo hold, and just the faintest touch of coffee tainting the air with an irresitible pull. A slight grin formed on his face
His discovery had left him awake, and eager to see what was what, who was who, and where in the verse they were off to now.

It was good to be doing things


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Tuesday, June 9, 2009 4:12 PM

YINYANG

You were busy trying to get yourself lit on fire. It happens.


Whatever conversation had happened at the ship's entrance was over, and the captain was headed Ainsley's way.

"Captain Rey," she said, stepping down the last few stairs onto the cargo bay floor. Her gaze flicked over to the woman he'd been talking to, curious, and then focused on Rey again. "The shuttle seems decent enough. What's your asking price?"

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009 1:49 PM

LINCOLNZ


"Oranges, Mimes? Yeah... I'm not sure what you mean, bud."

He recalled the street performers he'd seen, they seemed mostly harmless at the time. Lincoln leaned back in his chair and sipped his coffee. He considered Bucket's comment about not being cut out for random acts of violence and wondered honestly if he was himself. He glanced at his friend. His eyes had a pinch to the corners which suggested stress or fatigue, probably both considering his awkward nap in the hold and his sigh as he collapsed into his chair. This place was beginning to get to everyone.

"Work, yeah. Captain has a job in mind." Lincoln confirmed. "Details are a bit undecided yet but it looks profitable." He didn't give said details, that would wait until later.

He set his coffee on a small table next to his chair, he preferred his coffee cooled a bit. Never was much of a fan of extreme temperatures, especially in his food or beverage.

"I think we'll be leaving soon, Nathan is keen on getting out of here."


"Guys, I know Kung Fu."

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Monday, June 15, 2009 3:53 AM

CELESTIA


The Captain had turned his attention to someone else, the dark-haired woman she'd seen earlier. Their conversation seemed serious enough that Jackie decided it wasn't the time for introductions. Plenty of time for that later, if the woman was to stay on board for the Defiant's upcoming trip.

Therefore, the doctor decided to follow her strongest inclination at the moment, which meant following the tempting scent of coffee. Could it possibly be the real thing? It certainly smelled like it.

She turned a corner and found two men looking up from comfortable-looking chairs, each with a steaming mug at hand.

Jackie set down her bag and suitcase and came forward with an extended hand to the nearest one, a large and dark-skinned fellow with friendly eyes.

"Hi, there, gentlemen. I'm Doctor Holliday. I sure hope you have enough of that delicious-smelling brew for one more."

She moved to the second man, much smaller and younger than the other, his blond mullet looking like it hadn't seen a comb for a few days. He seemed a bit shy, meeting her eyes for only an instant before shaking her hand quickly and then glancing away.




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Monday, June 15, 2009 6:53 PM

LINCOLNZ


Lincoln had just taken another sip as the woman entered. He glanced from her bag to her hand and then stood, shaking it briskly as she introduced herself. As she moved on to Bucket he spoke.

"Lincoln Bargara, First Mate. This is Mic.."

"Bucket, call me Bucket." The younger man interrupted, Lincoln not even glancing and seeming to have anticipated the correction.

"Coffee, yes. Here let me pour you a mug."

Setting his mug down he moved back towards the galley kitchen and dug out another from a cabinet. He blew in it quickly to dislodge any stray dust and rinsed it out.

"Make yourself comfortable." He called over to her. He continued to talk as he poured the dark coffee.

"So the captain hired a Doc after all? Cream?" He asked the last part quickly and held up a questionable canister with a picture of a poorly imagined cow.


"Big.. big mug."

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Monday, June 15, 2009 9:37 PM

ELPAGAN


"No thanks Linc, I'll have sugar though"

Dale cheekily intercepted, as he dropped down the kitchen stairway, before sitting next to Bucket.
Dale glanced quickly between Lincoln and the new lady, making his decision of whom to enquire to first.. Done
"Lincoln, can you tell us how soon we're making way, and what to?
Or will we be hearing that from our gallant leader?"


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:04 PM

CELESTIA


Jackie chose a chair next to the one Bargara had just vacated as he went to get her some coffee. Good to know her companions on the Defiant were mannerly, civil folk.

Like the rest of the lounge furniture, the chair was worn and nearly threadbare, and that was okay with her. It was clean enough.

She sat stiffly on the edge of the seat cushion, not quite at ease enough yet to completely let down her guard. Until liftoff, there was a chance the Defiant might be detained at the last minute by Mayor Flinders' brother-in-law, Sheriff Brock Rilen. He and his henchman might be right now searching for her, ship by ship.

The doc discretely flexed her left calf just enough to reassure herself that her little taser pistol was still strapped inside the leg of her baggy black pants, just above a scruffy boot top.

It's a rough 'verse out there, and a girl's gotta be prepared.

Bucket twitched in his seat, seemingly distracted, ignoring her for the most part. Jackie was just about to ask him what his job was, by way of making conversation, when Bargara called out from the galley kitchen.

"So the captain hired a Doc after all? Cream?"

She was just about to decline when another crewman appeared suddenly, startling her.

He answered Bargara's question instead, shooting Jackie an ironic grin as he planted himself in the chair next the blond fellow. "No thanks Linc, I'll have sugar though." He glanced at Bucket, then at her, then back to Bargara. "Lincoln, can you tell us how soon we're making way, and what to? Or will we be hearing that from our gallant leader?"

Jackie opened her mouth in order to share with them what the Captain had told her, but Bucket made a face at Dale and started in on him about sugar and Nuttella and cheese. His comments confused her some.

From the looks of the coating on the tongue Bucket stuck out at the new guy, he might be suffering from an acid imbalance. And from his dark-circled eyes and drooping mouth, she figured he desperately needed some rest.

She thought it best to bring it up confidentially to Bargara, him being first mate, and see what was the usual protocol on the Defiant regarding diagnosing the crewmen. She didn't want to step on any toes when she'd only just got on board.

Deciding to make an appearance of getting her own coffee, Jackie moved toward the galley kitchen, where Bargara was looking a bit annoyed with the new crewman. The one who'd suddenly appeared in the lounge requesting sugar in his brew.

Suddenly, Bucket leaped up, nearly bowling her over as he ran past her and jumped up on the counter next to where Bargara was pouring coffee. Obviously, the fellow wasn't as worn out as she'd first assumed. Hmm, she'd need to do some blood work to be sure how to treat his condition.

"Yeah," Bucket said to the darker man, "Where we going, Uncy Abe? Or does Fred over here know?" He waved toward Jackie.

Fred? Jackie turned around and glanced behind her, expecting to see someone new, but no one was there. As she turned back around, Bucket had a mangled sandwich in his hand. He tore into it with abandon and smashed a corner of it into his mouth, then chewed with his eyes closed as if in a state of bliss.

Jackie's eyes widened. She stole a glance at Bargara to see if his face indicated anything was out of the ordinary here. The first mate looked slightly amused.

Jackie cleared her throat loudly, half expecting to be interrupted again. "Actually, the Captain told me we're going to Aberdeen through Three Hills, but he didn't sound too firm about it." She sent Bargara a questioning glance to see if he'd confirm it or not.

As an afterthought, she added, "Who's Fred?"



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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 5:19 PM

ELPAGAN


Dale was suddenly less jovial.
He was still happy. ish
But this was business. And business was hazardous.
"Three Hills eh Lincoln?"
He spoke with one raised brow.
He knew what business they were in, and he'd been following the war as close as possible through cortex waves, indep casts and good ole word o' mouth.
He knew well enough about Three Hills


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Thursday, June 18, 2009 8:17 PM

LINCOLNZ


"Yes, Three Hills." Lincoln passed the Doc her coffee with a smile and leaned against the door frame between the galley kitchen and the small seating nook, a small flake of green paint falling to the scuffed steel-blue floor below. He made no move to pour a cup for Dale and glanced from him to the doctor and then down at his mug.

"We'll all go over details later with the captain,"

He paused and considered the new Doc. Should he speak openly of their criminal activities in front of a newcomer? He decided to dance around the true nature of the job.

"but yeah. We've got some work to do and I know the Cap will want to get out of this place as soon as we can clear it."

Lincoln sipped his coffee and glanced back at Bucket, still slumped against the cupboards. He stared at his coffee and swung his feet idly.

"Bucket, I'll talk to the captain. I'm sure he wouldn't mind handling the take-off and flying for a bit. You get some sleep."

He looked back to the doc and grinned slightly, giving an almost subtle shake of the head. She squinted at him curiously and he shrugged, as if to tell her this was about par for the course. He was worried about his friend but knew he'd sleep it off and be back to his typical, only slightly less bouncy self. He cradled his coffee in both hands between sips and cleared his throat.

"So Doc, what brings you to book passage on this old hunk-o-junk?"


"Big.. big mug."

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Sunday, June 21, 2009 12:13 PM

CELESTIA


As relieved as she was to be leaving this planet behind, Jackie was starting to wonder just what exactly she'd gotten herself into.

On top of that, she hadn't prepared an answer for the perfectly reasonable question Bargara posed.

"So Doc, what brings you to book passage on this old hunk-o-junk?"

Jackie took a long sip of coffee -- it was pretty good stuff -- as she tried to think up a perfectly reasonable answer.

"I always wanted to take a ride on a Firefly."

The First Mate gave her a look that she interpreted as 'Sure, lady, whatever you say, but what's the real story?'

So quickly she added a lie. "My contract was up and I'm a free agent, so to speak. After two years in a backwater, I'm feelin' a mite restless. Need to find myself a bigger pond."

She slanted an uneasy look toward Bucket. "He really a pilot?"


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Sunday, June 21, 2009 12:36 PM

LINCOLNZ


He glanced at the jittery Bucket. Then back to Holliday and replied in all seriousness.

"The best."

He grinned and then finished his now lukewarm coffee in one large gulp. While setting the mug in the sink, he glanced at her bag and suitcase sitting on the deck.

"Did the captain assign you a room yet?"

Knowing Nathan he figured not but decided he'd ask anyway.


"Big.. big mug."

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Sunday, June 21, 2009 1:06 PM

CELESTIA


"No, he didn't. I wouldn't mind settling in if you're inclined to show me where I'll be bunking, Mr. Bargara."

Jackie followed the First Mate's example but slugging down what was left of her coffee and likewise putting her mug in the sink.

"That was some tasty java," she added politely. "Better'n what I've been used to."

The surge of caffeine had served to settle her nerves a little, and she wondered if they had anything stronger on board. Glancing down at the twitching pilot lumped near the galley floor -- dear gods, he was gonna fly the ship? -- she had a feeling she was going to need it.

"Bye, Fred," she heard him mumble.




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Sunday, June 21, 2009 4:57 PM

LINCOLNZ


"Alrighty, right this way then."

Lincoln reached for her luggage but she picked up her bag before he could lift it as well. Nodding to Dale and glancing once more at Bucket, he carried her suitcase and led her out the doorway to the main-deck aft hallway. Walking down the stairs to the passenger dorms and the mess that was the auxiliary storage, he apologized for the disheveled state. On many baseline '03s this section was used as a passenger lounge, but Nathan had taken to storing extra equipment and supplies, so as to save room in the cargo hold. There was however a faded rug, lending a hint of comfort to the utilitarian ship. He gestured towards the open door of one of the central berths.

"This one is about the cleanest, and not as cramped as most the others. As our new doctor you of course get the best."

He chuckled and set her case down inside the door, continuing to talk.

"Lavatory's just down there," He nodded towards the front of the hall. "We don't have much for passengers so shower schedule shouldn't be hard to work out. Captain doesn't like folks poking around the cargo hold or the engine room, or bridge. Not unescorted anyway, we aren't as strict as some boats as far as protocol goes but still, should be pretty straightforward. You need anything else let me know and I'll try my best. Dinner is at.. well, whatever time we eat, galley is of course at your full disposal at all hours."

He waited for a moment as she looked around the slightly musty smelling room.

"Infirmary is right out here, it's not much but we have the basics. Care to take a look now or leave that until later? You probably want to settle in."

He stood by the sliding door and waited for her response as she dubiously ran a finger over a dusty shelf recess.
================================================


"Big.. big mug."

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Sunday, June 21, 2009 9:56 PM

DEFIANT2THELAST


*Due to the time it's taken for me to get my act together here, I'm quoting to show that it is still this time. Sorry!*

Quote:

Originally posted by yinyang:
Whatever conversation had happened at the ship's entrance was over, and the captain was headed Ainsley's way.

"Captain Rey," she said, stepping down the last few stairs onto the cargo bay floor. Her gaze flicked over to the woman he'd been talking to, curious, and then focused on Rey again. "The shuttle seems decent enough. What's your asking price?"




"Fourty platnium, we'll take credits, but it's less used on the rim. Fifty C' a week in that case."

Nathan measured Ainsley up as the Alliance type, which means credits. Seeing as the Alliance looked like it was winning the war, the idea was credits would be worth more afterwards. As a profiteer, Nathan hoped Ainsley didn't realise this.




Lincolnz: I'll have an explosion in my pants pocket when I get a text message now

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Monday, June 22, 2009 7:36 AM

SHADESIREN


This was all Little Lara’s fault. Shade stared into the slightly dirty glass of.. whatever it was, narrowing her eyes dangerously. Across the surface of the vaguely brownish liquid, she could see the image of herself, the skinny neck of a pretty and curvaceous woman gripped in her hands. The woman’s eyes bulging as she tried to beathe, with Shade’s rough hands tightening. She blinked, and smiling wryly to herself. Ok, so she wasn’t actually going to kill Lara. The woman was... useless, back-stabbing, and completely devoted to her own self-interest, but Shade had known that from the start. Shade had been the one to make the real mistake – trusting that little hu li jing in the first place.

She lifted the glass, swallowed the last of the liquid a little messily, and put it back down, pushing it away. It wasn’t strong enough, she realized with a frown. She wasn’t even warm, much less ‘feeling it’. That just...

Pissed her off.

Her warm brown eyes flickered around the dim room, nearly bare of targ-... other patrons. She frowned more, disappointed. No point in a fight... not with the few here. There was another option, one she’d been putting off. Work. Part of her felt immeasurably weary at the thought. Maybe she should head dirtside... find some place far away from anyone... but she knew better. She liked being around people, if not for the happy camaraderie when things were going well, then for the thrill of a good fight when they weren’t. As much as part of her wanted to avoid the whole rollercoaster of getting to know a new crew, she knew she’d never really be happy all alone. It just sounded... boring. When things went south, as they always did eventually, she’d find herself here again, somewhere else, and she’d make the same decision all over again. Things never changed.

With a heavy sigh, she pushed herself up away from the table, her lean form draped in the slightly too-big coat. The green tank top underneath was a little dingy, overworn and under washed, like most of her clothes. The pants were patched, and one leg needed to be hemmed, the edge ragged and frayed above her heel. Something was smudged along her right knee, something dark and sort of reddish brown. She snagged the flat brimmed hat off the table, jamming it down on her hair. She’d broken her last elastic, so her hair hung loose, brown over her shoulders and only a few shades cooler than the brown of her eyes. Eyes that promised trouble to anyone that offered her the merest excuse for a distracting brawl.

Heck, if she got in a real good fight, she could start looking for work tomorrow, right? She knew better as she strode through the place and out the door. No more excuses.

The streets of the skyplex got considerably more crowded as she made her way to the dockyard. She hated the jostle of the crowd. Her valuables – what there was of them – were safely stashed out of pickpocket reach, although she was always alert to the attempts. Kickin’ some no good pickpocket’s ass would work, and wouldn’t really even count as a delay... she couldn’t help but smile a nasty little smile to herself at that thought. She was as bad as a drug addict sometimes.

She knew there was still a little yellow around her left eye, the last fadings of a heck of a nice black eye. Her lip was almost completely healed. It was a good time to go job hunting, really. Other than the twinge from the old cracked rib, she barely even hurt. SO boring... she paused as she reached the ships, removing herself briefly from the flow of humanity to glance at those assembled. She didn’t read cortex job listings. She’d learned few people actually advertised for her sort of special function. More often you’d present yourself, inquire as to bunks, berths and possible employment, and things went from there. That is, if you didn’t already have a contact or a reference. Shade had found jobs every different way, and some ways she’d never thought of. She was just lucky she always seemed to be able to find one when she really needed it.

Time to see if her luck was holding.

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