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Topic: Trilogy War Q/A
Subject: I'm getting there, I promise!
Thanks to our webmaster's magical administrating abilities I've got my "sneaky-pete" way back in to the forums from work... I've managed to catch up on my other games for the most part and, once I get my bearings here, I should be good to go...
My intention is to have a post for you NLT tomorrow, Tann, but it may be as late as Saturday evening (depending on how things go time-wise, of course). Sorry for the delay, nonetheless... Hopefully, it'll be worth it once I get comfortable in Cor's skin.
Posted on 2007-01-18 at 19:45:32.
Topic: Continuing Where We Last Left Off
Subject: Backpost II... Nighttime at the Waymeet...
As he had promised, Jal did what he was able to in helping to shelter the horses and equipment once the party reached the ruined Waymeet and, after that was done, begrudgingly sought shelter inside the magical sphere that Valentine had conjured. Given recent confrontations with some and despite more understanding interjections by others, the urchin-mage had almost resigned himself to weather the evening with the horses rather than impose himself on the rest of the party… It had become obvious that he made many of them nervous at the least... He had decided, though, that to do so would be to invite even more distrust and possibly further sunder the already damaged unity of the group as a whole. Thus, Jal sought out a spot within the sphere of protection that was as far removed from the rest as could be found and remained quietly withdrawn while he pondered on how he would best be able to tell the others what it was they wanted to hear.
After a while, and after a few unsuccessful attempts at coaxing Wynter back to apologize for earlier letting his thoughts get the better of him, Jal sighed softly and finally lifted his gaze to meet Dapple’s. The rogue had been staring coldly at him since they had settled in under the sphere; it was obvious that the lad was still awaiting his explanation… His eyes panned slowly from face to face and, as Talas hunkered down near him, finally came back to Dapple.
“My name is not Jal Spellbinder,” he began uncerimoniously, wrapping his cloak about him as if the threadbare patches of the thing would keep him safe from his memories, “at least, it is not the name I was given by my parents… if I even have any… if they even cared to give me one…”
((For the sake of brevity and getting my in game posting caught up with “current events” I’ve posted Jal’s “bio” in the Q&A thread… the urchin mage will relate most of the info contained therein to the party at this point, in his own words, of course… … warning, Jal’s liable to get pretty darn emotional when it gets to the part about Wynter’s death… ))
“…and so, now you have all the answers that I can give, Dapple Moon, about how I know what I know,” Jal finished a bit later. Sometime toward the last portion of his tale, the Spellbinder’s voice had cracked more than once and he had retreated behind the tangled veil of his unkempt hair to hide the tears that had welled in his eyes, “unless, of course, there are naught but more questions you may have. Ask them if you will, dear boy, and I’ll… I’ll do what I can to answer…”
He swallowed hard, then, closing the shirt he had opened during the telling of his tale to show them his scars, brands, and tattoos before wrapping his discarded cloak around his shoulders again. “If you are satisfied, though, and your questions about me and my flawed magic are answered,” he rasped, “I shall bid you all good night. I find myself… tired… by all of this.”
With that, Jal let his forehead fall to his knees after hugging them closer to his chest, and tried to find the path to sleep. As Talas shifted his great bulk into a position sufficiently comfortable for sleep, the urchin-mage risked a glance at the big man who, in the short two days they had been out from Freegate, had become more of a friend to him than any living person since Wynter. “Thank you, my friend,” he whispered, “for not caring about my madness…”
((Aaaaand there’s the last of the backpost – unless of course anything more arises from it … Next post, catching up with where we be now…))
Posted on 2007-01-18 at 17:59:13.
Topic: Continuing Where We Last Left Off Q&A
Subject: Jal's history...
The man who now refers to himself as Spellbinder spent the earliest years of his life as a homeless urchin on the streets of Freegate and, like many others in his situation; he was forced to eek out a meager existence by resorting to the typical street-rat skill set of panhandling, picking pockets, and petty thievery. If he had ever had a family of any kind, he had no memory of them – not so much as a fleeting image of his mother’s face hovering over his crib – and, in fact, the boy didn’t even have a name of his own until, at the age of 8 or 9, he managed to pilfer enough extra coin from a loosely strung purse to pay for a reading from a Gypsy fortune teller who had set up a tent in the city’s bustling market. For a neat sum of 6 coppers, the gypsy woman was able to divine that the boy’s name was Jal (a moniker that, he would learn later, was little more than the gypsy word for ‘wanderer’), and, thus informed, young Jal returned to the streets a little happier than he had been moments before and with a little brighter outlook on his life. A name was a start, after all…
Now, firmly affixed with a name that he could call his own, young Jal was still set apart from his peers by a much better than average intelligence. While those urchins that he huddled with at night for warmth and safety were content to take their daily haul to the nearest fence and sell it for the first flash of coin, Jal was a bit more deliberate about the black-market trades that he would make. Should an open pack or cut purse render up something more than coin or baubles, Jal would keep the item in question close to him and, as he could read and write almost as well as any noble’s child, would spend quite a bit of time sneaking into libraries and researching his treasures, learning as much as he could about them before deciding which black-market hawk would be best to trade with for the particular item and, in pursuing those transactions, was not afraid to use the information gleaned from his study and research of the loot to haggle with the fence and boost his profit substantially by doing so. Things went well for Jal for quite a while until one of the aforementioned acquisitions happened to be a scroll case from the pack of a member of the cult of Iuz. Initially, Jal was successful in the theft and escaped with what he later determined to be at least part of the wizard’s spellbook. In fact, he might have eluded the wizard all together and made a nice, tidy profit from the sale of the scrolls but, as had become Jal’s way, he spent a great deal of time researching the scrolls – making trips to the library and referencing his own collection of pilfered tomes and parchments – trying to determine exactly what it was that he had. Really, if he had considered it at the time, he would have realized that he was spending an almost ridiculous amount of time on the scrolls… he couldn’t help it once he realized that he could actually decipher some of the spells and even, after a bit of practice, cast some very minor cantrips.
As fate would have it, Jal spent so much time pouring over the scrolls that their original owner eventually caught the young pickpocket in his own ramshackle hideout with the scrolls spread out before him, trying to make another spell work for him. For some reason still unknown to Jal, the wizard chose not to kill him outright (which was no small allowance for a follower of Iuz). Instead, the wizard “suggested” that Jal accompany him back to his tower where the urchin would receive a “proper education” in the arts arcane. Unfortunately, that education was not at all what Jal had been expecting. Rather than take him as an apprentice, the wizard used Jal as a slave and worse. Over the next few years, Jal was subject to the sorcerer’s whims and abuses, and the closest he ever got to practicing magic with the Devotee of Iuz was when the wizard required his blood as the component to some spell or if the wizard happened to run out of materials on which to scribe newly crafted or learned spells, the young urchin’s skin made for a handy tablet, didn’t it? Despite all of this, Jal still managed to gain somewhat of an education in the use of magic. Many times it was by sneaking out of his room and secretly observing the wizard but, just as often, he found lessons in the moldy and musty closet in the cellar of the tower that, until his arrival had served as a repository for the wizard’s “useless” tomes on magic – and, of course, he accompanied the wizard (as little more than the slave he was) on several of his travels. It was on one of these trips that Jal decided it would not be long before he would have to leave the wizard’s service one way or another.
The details behind this all are still fairly unclear, as it is something that the spellbinder is reluctant to talk about and, typically, the mere mention of the subject sends Jal off into what might appear to some to be gibbering insanity – if confronted with his past and/or mention of his master, Jal tends to withdraw into himself, muttering under his breath apparently talking to himself… In all actuality, when Jal gets like this, he’s talking to the “memory” of a miller’s daughter named Wynter. This girl – perhaps the closest thing to a true friend and true love that Jal had ever known – lived in a town not far from the wizard’s tower where Jal was trained and befriended the young slave/mage on one of his first trips into the town (Jal was tasked with gathering provisions while the Master went about more pressing business). Jal and Wynter became close friends over the years – a secret that the boy kept from his master, of course – and as they both aged, Jal came to believe that he loved the girl. Unfortunately, as seemed to be the case with many secrets he had tried to keep hidden from the Iuzian, the sorcerer discovered Jal’s infatuation with the girl… had even seen him enjoying himself in her company… and by way of punishment for the unauthorized dalliance, killed Wynter and her family. Jal literally went mad when he discovered the smoldering remains of the mill on his next trip to town and, upon returning to the wizard’s tower that evening, shuttered himself away in his room for the next two weeks, and, at the urging of Wynter’s voice – which now constantly whispered in his mind – spent every possible second of his time copying spells from the moldy tomes in his room and carving them into his flesh (spellbinding as Wynter called it) in preparation for his own escape. Nearly a month later, Jal’s opportunity presented itself. The wizard had retired to his rooms after casting a particularly draining spell and, while the Iuzian recuperated, young Jal gathered his meager belongings, slipped from his room and stole into the Master’s laboratory. With Wynter’s voice to guide him, Jal cast every spell scribed into his flesh at the center of the wizard’s lab… the results were cataclysmic… Jal remembers very little after that until he found himself wandering along a road that he didn’t recognize several days later… Wynter’s voice whispering in his head for him to “go home”… So it is that Jal Spellbinder spent the next several years traveling from one town to the next, existing as he could by hiring himself out when necessary – but only to those who did not expect him to use his skills for evil as he had seen his master do – and trying to find his way “home,” wherever that may be.
Bits added by the DM: It was some years later that Jal found his way back to Freegate, only then realizing that he had been taken deep into the Empire territory with his “mentor”. Vague recollections came to him in the streets and alleys and he found himself staying here in hopes to find something called “home”. His studies as a mage began again under the gentle and watchful eyes of the Mage’s Guild. There he has even taken lessons from the great archmage herself – Gwanele. So it has remained for a year now. Then just before the fall ended last year, you were encouraged by your ghostly companion to join a group of adventurers in dealing with an ogre problem to the North West. It was good to work in a group, but most of all you had the chance to unleash power like you never had before. After the winter, the call came again for another group, and you barely had to wait for Wynter’s urging to sign up again.
Posted on 2007-01-18 at 17:40:10.
Topic: Continuing Where We Last Left Off
Subject: Backposting -- Char and Adrian...
Surprisingly enough, it had been the ranger that approached him first. He hadn’t expected any of them to get within an arm’s reach of him after what had just transpired between them. Even more surprising was Char’s tone; instead of the venomous and threatening words Jal had expected, the woodsman seemed to be forcing himself towards civility.
"Th' cave'll no' do," the man said, actually reigning his horse in alongside of the urchin-mage close enough that his low voice could be heard.
“I know,” Jal mutterd in reply, “ and I am sorry. Had she told me of the bear, I’d not have suggested it.”
"Da waymeet be rubble an' I no' 'ave any luck findin' somet'in' proper." With a sigh, Char glanced back at where Valentine endured the weather. "So, if'n one er two o' you spellslingers'd kindly make somethin' dry an' warm where's we can' take 'r res'... I won' be objectin'."
“Would that I could, ranger,” Jal confessed, smiling weakly and almost hanging his head in embarrassment, “but, if there is such a spell scribed upon me, I don’t yet know which it might be or how to make it work...”
That’s not your fault, my love, Wynter offered reassuringly.
Jal’s ice-colored eyes shifted from the ranger and regarded the girl hovering on the opposite side of his horse and, at the sight of her, his smile warmed a bit. His gaze swung back to the ranger; “…I will, however, do what I can in helping to build a shelter.”
"… it will not be comfortable, but it will be dry,” Valentine’s voice sounded from behind them, “I can summon a small sphere of protection, fifteen feet in diameter…”
Of course you can, the Spellbinder sighed inwardly, trying not to let the battle-mage’s thinly veiled arrogance get under his skin, you’ve had proper training, haven’t you?
Jal knew that Adrian’s spell would likely be better received than the haphazard, shanty-style lean-tos that he had learned to make over the years of sleeping in alleyways and such. To that end, Jal offered the ranger a tight smile and a faint nod. “A shelter for the horses, then,” he muttered as the party formed up behind Arien’s already reatreating warhorse, “if not for the rest of you.”
It wasn’t much longer after that, once Char had galloped ahead to the front of the party and Jal had thought himself to be thankfully forgotten for the time-being, when Adrian decided to pull up alongside him.
"Why is it your magic is flawed, diviner,” the former Red asked in a voice loud enough to be heard by the rest, “When I decide to summon aid, or enhance my abilities, my magic never witholds from me."
Flawed!? Jal stiffened and his teeth clenched as he felt Valentine’s glare burning into him and, at the same time, several of the brands and tattoos on his slender frame prickled in anticipation. Of those, the one that worried Jal at the moment was the last spell that the Master had ever carved into his flesh – the one that, Jal was sure, had been used to kill Wynter. For one brief moment the urchin-mage almost allowed himself to fall into the spell’s calling… wished that he could decipher the formulae through the feel of it alone and then reach out, place his hand on the ex-Red’s sleeve, and watch the flames…
JAL!!! Don’t so much as think it! Wynter’s voice was terrified and, after her warning, Jal sensed that she had fled from the darkness of his thoughts…
"You may have them fooled with your voices, Spellbinder,” Valentine continued, now in a hushed tone meant only for his ears, “but any airborne familiar could have spotted the cave, missed the bear, and quickly told you. A priest of power equivilent to me can speak with the dead rather easily, and only a small dip into arcane magic would be required to summon your winged companion. Despite your sufficient use of color spray earlier, Spellbinder, I am so far unimpressed."
“Wynter is not a familiar, Red” Jal snarled through clenched teeth, “and I am trying to fool no one!!!” He returned Adrian’s glare, finding it difficult to mask the anger that he suddenly felt and doing his best to ignore the all too familiar tingling in his finger tips. “Furthermore, had I been told that part of this mission was to impress you, warmage, I certainly would not have petitioned Granitecrusher to be part of it!
You say that my magic is flawed and yet you seem to require your magic to speak with the dead. The dead follow me and speak to me unbidden, Imperial! There is no arcane manipulation necessary for me to see the spirits that saturate this world, nor talk to or summon them! Could it be, then, that your magic is just as flawed as mine? Maybe moreso, yes?
I imagine it is easy for you to be so condescending when your instruction in the arts came under the structured regimens of the Empire, though, isn’t it?” Jal’s voice rose with his anger. “Unlike you, I didn’t have the benefit of a teacher and was forced to learn the craft on my own by reading moldy tomes in the reeking hole where my Master kept me for the better part of my life, and by deciphering the spells that he carved into my flesh! Do not speak to me of flawed magic! Do not ever again speak to me of the dead as you just have! And, should you ever,” he jabbed a finger in Adrian’s direction, “EVER attempt to summon or otherwise use your skills on Wynter, Valentine, I swear to you that you will discover exactly how flawed my magic is!”
Shaking with anger and the fear of what he might do in its clutches, Jal put his heels to the mare’s ribs and galloped away from the former Red before he could say anymore and sought out the comfortably familiar spot alongside Talas. He imagined that Adrian would view this as hiding behind the big gladiator but Jal found that he really no longer cared overmuch about what Valentine might think.
((More coming soon... this is turning out to be quite the lengthy catch up session ))
Posted on 2007-01-18 at 16:09:12.
Topic: Continuing Where We Last Left Off Q&A
Subject: Covering some of that in a backpost, Van...
Both Char and Adrian have asked some questions that will probably bring about a couple of revelations and I had planned on having Jal, perhaps, try and speak to Dapple once camp was made (if that's okay with you, of course)...
Working on wrapping up a fairly lengthy post, atm, so you may have something to "work with" very soon.
Posted on 2007-01-18 at 14:48:37.
Topic: Voyages of Rocinante - Serenity/Firefly RPG
Subject: Keepin' on...
“No one is in there Captain! She’s locked up tighter than Tai-kong suo-yo duh shing-chiou sai-jin wuh duh pee-goo.”
Dash glanced in the direction of the dock chief as the older man approached Wyatt and replied to the captain’s unspoken question regarding the crew with a curiously quirked brow and a faint shrug… We’ll be off ta th’ Idoru, I reckon, he thought, knowing that would be Cap’s next move.
His gaze drifted over Royale again, lingering on the destroyed thruster for a long moment… How in th’ hell do ya not miss a crybaby?... before panning the length and breadth of the dock. He had hooked his thumbs over his gunbelt and was pondering how even the dumbest of autopilot programs should have been able to avoid something that obvious when the Alliance patrol showed up. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up and one hand drifted instinctually towards his iron as he nervously scanned each face in the patrol (he didn’t figure to find a familiar face among the group but, for some reason, he always expected it). At the same time, he had stepped back a pace or two into Royale’s shadow and positioned himself as to keep a wary eye on the Purple Bellies but keep himself out of their direct line of sight. Gorram it, Wyatt! Ya had ta go an’ put the rule o’ threes out there, din’t ya? He listened intently to the exchange between the Sergeant and he dock chief, mumbling something about the standard Alliance BS and politics as the soldier warned the chief against asking too many questions.
“C’mon, boys,” Wyatt said. “Time t’ see if’n ol’ Griff’s been sharin’ his luck, er if’n he’s sharin’ ours.”
Paranoia aside, it didn’t appear that the Alliance patrol had an interest in him; nevertheless, Dash made sure to keep Wyatt and the Kid between himself and the purple bellies. “Ku,” Dash nodded, grinning as he fell into step beside the Cap. “I could stand a beer an’ I wouldn’ hate seein’ somethin’ nekkid.”
“Captain San!” Dash couldn’t help but grin wickedly as Willow appeared on Rocinante’s ramp and cooed all pretty-like to Wyatt about the provisioning run.
Ai ya! Speakin’ of… Course, I’d prob’ly go blind if’n I was ta get so lucky… His stomach growled as Willow mentioned the fresh Bao that Ma was famous for whipping up when food stores were plentiful. It wasn’t exactly a t-bone steak but damn was it good. The way things had been going, though, Sam was pretty sure that there wasn’t going to be a whole lot of extra scrap to fill out Trish’s grocery list. Nevertheless, he cast a quick, hopeful glance in Wyatt’s direction as he answered the lovely Doc…
((OOC: Backposts and/or edits as necessary of course.))
The Idoru was Sam’s kind of place – a dark, rough and tumble little hole where a fella’d be hard pressed to find a lawman of any sort let alone an Alliance goon. The fact that they didn’t actually lock up your iron at the guncheck didn’t hurt none either. “Ni how, ladies,” Sam purred, his gaze trained on the attending girl’s ample cleavage more than on her pretty face, “how’s the mountain climbin’ round these parts?”
The guncheck girl offered an immodest… no… downright suggestive smile as she ushered them past the checkpoint. “If you’ve got any money left later, honey,” she replied, coyly fingering the neckline of her blouse, “you come back and find out.”
“Damn,” Dash grinned, still ogling the girl, “talk like that’s like ta make me spend all my money!”
His gaze didn’t linger overlong, though, and as he and Asher strode into the bar-proper in Wyatt’s wake, the pilot’s eyes swept appraisingly over the scattering of patrons. “Ya up to a drink, Kid,” he asked Asher after completing a visual circuit of the place, picking out Griffin (and not failing to notice the large stack of chips piled in front of him) as well as a few other faces that pinged against his twitchy nature. “I won’t tell Ma,” he promised jokingly as he edged towards the bar.
((OOC: Good enough for now, I suppose… Dash is heading for the bar not just to get a drink but also to ensure he keeps an “extra angle” on the place while Wyatt has his chitty-chat with Grif.))
Posted on 2007-01-17 at 21:50:26.
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Firefly RPG QnA
Subject: Thank you...
Actually, I used Emmy Lou Harris as a base... Glad you like it.
Wyatt's the tricky one, I must say... still wrestling with that one, but I should have it soon.
Looks like I also need to post... in several threads... Where does the time go?!?!
Posted on 2007-01-13 at 20:25:04.
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Firefly RPG QnA
Subject: Another update
Trish's portrait has been added. Link can be found with the rest on pg 4.
Next up: Our Big Damn Cap'n!
Posted on 2007-01-12 at 23:36:40.
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Firefly RPG QnA
Added a link to Willow's "portrait" on pg 4 of this thread. Also, found a nice, simple, uncluttered Map of the 'Verse for those of you who may need/want a peek to get an idea of where all them planets're lurkin'.
Posted on 2007-01-09 at 22:02:56.
Topic: Continuing Where We Last Left Off Q&A
Subject: LOL @ don't eat our horses...
Yep, I understand animal empathy but I didn't figure Wynter (or even Jal) might have a good grasp on how that worked.
By the by... I sort of ended my last post with Jal "separating himself" from the party... Just to be clear, he's not trying to lead anywhere and he's not really going any particular direction...just keeping some distance for the time being.
Posted on 2007-01-05 at 11:01:15.
Topic: Continuing Where We Last Left Off
Subject: You can't handle the truth! LOL
“Who or what is a winter,” the rogue demanded, “Is that your familiar, or maybe one of those, uh, unseen servents? I’m thinking we don’t have another psuedodragon around or Sunset would have given some sign of it. So… friend…” the lad spit the word as if it were a curse rather than any sort of endearment, “spill. I’ve had enough of your mutterings without a bit of explanation.”
Jal shrank bank a bit in the face of Dapple’s barrage. Firstly, because the lad had just strung together more words at a single time than he had in the few short days Jal had known him and, secondly, because he was truly at a loss as how to explain Wynter to make the rogue understand… A familiar? No…Jal pondered as he blinked rapidly against the flury of Dapple’s questioning… A familiar would serve to impart knowledge of magic and the like. Wynter has never done such a thing; though, I suppose, she has offered encouragement and guidance at times…Unseen servant? Definitely not… Unseen to all of you, perhaps, but not a servant…never that…
Still looking a bit puzzled, Jal had opened his mouth to speak – though he had no idea what he might tell the lad – when Char came thundering back into their midst and informed them of the bear that currently occupied the cave he had suggested at Wynter’s urging. He had tried to explain it to them again but defining Wynter and how she… how any still-Oerth-bound spirit perceived things and worked around them. There had been more than one time in the past when the ghost-girl had asked him to follow her only to disappear through the wall ahead of them, for instance. Even if Wynter hadn’t seen the bear, its presence in the cave wouldn’t have been a consideration for her… she may have wanted to know if it was a cute bear, or if it was a cuddly bear but, otherwise, she wouldn’t have wondered or worried any more over it. The more Jal sought the words to make the rest understand, though, the more he found he agitated Dapple (and, likely, the rest as well).
At least this lot speaks to you, Jal, Wynter noted, her voice fading a bit as if the conversation was boring her and she was wandering off in pursuit of more entertaining diversion, the last scarcely noticed you unless they needed a spell or some such…
Jal’s gaze had shifted, following the diminishing voice, but snapped quickly back when Dapple, once again, angrily challenged Wynter’s motives (as Jal saw it anyway).
“Intended any harm?” Dapple grated through a throat gone tight, “Let’s bunk with a bear and maybe we can sing him to sleep!? Are you mad?...”
“Perhaps,” Jal replied simply… early on, when he realized that he saw people that others didn’t, the urchin-mage had questioned his own sanity on several occasions – even now, at times, he found himself brooding over the state of his own mind but then Wynter was always there to bring him back by reminding him that the ability to question ones own sanity was surely the sign of a lucid mind; “Many seem to think so, and I’ve been called far worse…”
“…Do you think we are?”
“No,” the urchin-mage said, shaking his head before reaching up to push aside the rain-soaked strands of hair that had become plastered to his face, “I do not.” His gaze ticked, following the lad’s exasperated glances, from the face of one party member to the next. He sighed heavily and glanced up at Talas for an instant, then turned his ice-hued eyes back on Dapple; “But I don’t think that you would understand even were I to explain it… The dead do not see the world as you might, Dapple Moon,” he shook his head slowly, turned and moved to haul himself back into the saddle, “or any of the rest of you, for that matter…”
Jal! You’re being rude!
“I begin to wonder if I even care,” Jal snapped back, now openly conversing with the nothingness rather than trying to hide behind mumbling and muttering, “Even were I to explain it, they’d not understand!
And why shouldn’t I be rude? From the moment I left that damnable tower, people have treated me no better than he did! Thrown stones at me… spit on me… hid their children at the sight of me… called me evil, mad,” he shot a glare in the rogue’s direction, “Spooky!”
Not Gwanelle, Wynter reminded him softly, and what of your new friend, Talas?
“No,” the mage replied, lowering his voice again, “not Gwanelle, dear Wynter…” And Talas… his gaze turned in the direction of the big gladiator… so far, aside from Wynter, Talas was the closest thing he had ever had to a true friend but Jal wasn’t sure that the man really understood. Neither was he sure the man would remain his friend after this…
“Let us find some shelter from this weather,” he sighed, once more tugging the rain-heavy folds of his cloak about him, “and then, if you’ll listen, I shall do my best to explain…”
What are you going to tell them, my Spellbinder, Wynter asked curiously as Jal, without waiting for a reply from the rest, urged his horse away from the group.
“I don’t know, my love,” he mumbled, “Everything?”
Posted on 2007-01-05 at 10:20:10.
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Firefly RPG QnA
Subject: Speaking of Chinese...
...I've stumbled across a few words and phrases here and there that don't seem to be included in any of the "official resources" (i.e. the rulebook, the pdf's on the site that Al linked earlier in the thread, etc)... Don't seem to have that pile of notes with me at present but I can stick them all togehter and post them for reference if you like.
Posted on 2007-01-04 at 14:31:39.
Topic: Continuing Where We Last Left Off
Subject: How' d you miss a bear, dear girl?
Jal shrank a bit from the suspicious and scrutinizing eyes that were trained on him and cast a questioning glance at Wynter who lingered nearby; “Why did you not mention the bear, my love,” he whispered, half-hidden behind Talas’ hulking form (and, currently, more than happy to be shielded so as the limited trust the others may have had in him seemed to have been stripped), “First bandits that turn out to be nothing more than boys and now a cave with a bear?”
I knew of the bear, Wynter returned, but I didn’t think it was a concern. Does this one’s kind not have the capacity to speak with beasts, her ethereal arm swept out to indicate Char, causing Jal’s eyes to follow and come to rest uncomfortably on the glaring woodsman; perhaps he could simply ask permission to use the shelter?
Or, the ghostly girl continued, between yourself, dear Jal, and this Valentine, I’m sure that the creature can be convinced to remain a-slumber…There was a skittering mote of light dancing behind her eyes and, Jals was sure, at any moment, that mote would spill forth in the ghostly equivalent of tears… I’m sorry, my love. Have I gotten you into trouble?
The mage couldn’t help but smile at Wynter’s answers and suggestions and he found himself on the verge of reaching out a hand to touch her cheek… “No, dear girl. All will be well,” …but then he remembered that the others were watching… and listening. His gaze ticked nervously from Wynter to the soaking knot of adventurers and the tender, loving smile diminished, turning instead to something more appropriate to apology and embarrassment.
“Wynter…” Jal began, stepping from behind the protective wall that was Talas and nodding a silent thanks to the gladiator as he did so. He swallowed and tried his best to meet the ranger’s stern glare; “Wynter imagined that you… Char… could ask the bear for permission to share the cave,” he explained, “or that, through the use of our skills, that Adrian or I could perhaps keep the animal asleep whilst we rested...”
He glanced back over his shoulder at the spot where Wynter last floated, offered another smile, and then turned to the living members of the party again. “She… she has a great confidence in my abilities, it would seem,” the odd little mage seemed as if he might be blushing, though it was difficult to say for sure through the rain, “and… I suppose, of your’s, as well… I don’t… I don’t think that she intended any harm…”
((OOC: Just “running with it”… ))
Posted on 2007-01-04 at 10:46:04.
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Firefly RPG QnA
Subject: On relationships...
See, that's the kind of "clarificatin" I was looking for. Thanks, Vanadia. Like I said, most of what I put in that post was derived from a scribbled note here and a stray thought there trying to figure out what the relationships might be like as we've all been crewed up for a year or so... I'll revisit some of Dash's thoughts on Willow.
And yeah, I figured Sam (in his life-that-was) was likely entertained by a "true" companion on at least one occassion (one of those "perks" for being the one of the Alliance's "top bomb droppers" or what have you... y'know, corporate/gov't bribery ... I seriously doubt, even with a pilots salary, that he'd have paid that one out of his own paycheck, though...)
Posted on 2007-01-03 at 19:07:20.
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Firefly RPG QnA
Subject: Twitchy indeed...
...it's right there in the char sheet.
In Dash's estimation, though, twitchy would've been actually packin' the scattergun and the sniper rifle to boot... "Hey, Kid, I'm feelin' a might on the light side, mind if'n I borry some o' yer ordnance?"
Come to think of it, the only "truly visible" iron Sam's sportin' is the Avenger... them derringers're dinky enough that his boot should cover the one and his jeans an' jacket t'other... I reckon the knife hilt's stickin' up from his boot, too, but, otherwise, I'd say he's lookin' right tame... He din't take nary a grenade, ya notice?
Posted on 2007-01-03 at 16:32:16.
Edited on 2007-01-03 at 16:35:14 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Firefly RPG QnA
Subject: Sam's not that shifty...
Rachel and Leah bein' Ash's "favored ladies" Dash'd like leave his hands off of those (lest there was just call fer it)... I was thinkin' more like the Grizzly... the Uzi's... y'know... all them spares the Kid's jus' got layin' about.
Posted on 2007-01-03 at 14:53:50.
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Firefly RPG QnA
Subject: Almost forgot...
... I am getting close to done with "my version" of he crew portraits and, with luck, should have the remaining ones posted by the end of the week. Had a serious bout of "oops fits" with Willow's pic (just couldn't pull what I was hoping for from the reference images that Van posted, so I picked through some other images in my reference folders and have started completely rehashing our loverly doctor-type... it's looking much better than my first attempts already :TUP...
Now, as far as Wyatt's pic works out... I've scribbled a few things and peeped out some faces to use for references but, for some reason, I can't help but make Wyatt turn out to look an awful lot like a vaguely Asian version of Lance's pic on his "the-crazed" site. ... I reckon, if the Universe is nudging me in that direction, it can't be too far off, but I may just wait until our industrious Cap posts his pretty before I commit to much more on him than what I've got.
Now, I've also played around a bit with a pic of Trish (even though she is an NPC, I imagine she'll be pretty integral to the crew and, the way my brain works, I just can't leave Ma out). The funny thing with her is she's looking a little bit like EmmyLou Harris at the moment and I'm having a hard time uglying her up quite right. Maybe I'd be best off to "hint at" the ugly rather than try and work it in to the pic, huh? Ooooh! Yeah! You guys are awesome... good thinkin'... thanks for listenin to me ramble...
Anyhoo... Wil's pic by the end of the week... I promise.
Posted on 2007-01-03 at 13:08:39.
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Firefly RPG QnA
Subject: Crew relationships?
Since we’ve started putting this together, I’ve been trying to get a feel for how Dash might feel about and act towards the rest of Rocinante’s crew and have made a few notes here and there… I figured since we’re liable to get started fairly soon and since there’s some efforts being put towards back-histories and such that I’d compile and post those notes for the perusal, approval, and reference of the rest of you fine folk.
What follows are synopses of Sam’s “thoughts” about the rest of the crew and, if any of you disagree or see the relationships being different, just let me know… I ain’t opposed ta editin’ nothin’…
- Wyatt – As far as Sam is concerned, Wyatt’s probably the truest friend he’s ever had. The two don’t always see eye to eye, of course, but, in the time the two have traveled the Verse together, any disagreements they might have fall well short of causing any kind of falling out. Sam actually trusts Wyatt (which is saying a LOT)… I figure that these two have an almost brotherly relationship these days – ain’t much that one wouldn’t do for the other. Sam, most often, calls Wyatt by his name or addresses him as “Cap”… on occasion, though, Sam’ll refer to the captain as “WyungSung” (apparently started when Sam drunkenly stumbled over Wyatt’s full name one evening….)
- Kora – Rocinante’s mechanic almost led to Dash skinnin’ out from the crew when she first come aboard. That tattoo on her arm indicatin’ that she’d been one of the Browncoats “spook types” plumb rose Sam’s hackles an’, for a few days, had him more twitchy than usual. Wyatt had a hand in keepin’ Sam from jumping ship, though, and despite the tattoo, Sam came to realize that Kora was one helluva mechanic and eventually learned that she and he shared some similar views and regrets when it came to having served in the war – not that Sam’s ever admitted to having been a former Purple Belly to the woman, mind you. There was a breakthrough of sorts in Sam and Kora’s relationship the first time Kora ever had one of her flashbacks and freaked right the hell out… The girl had gone plumb loco and every last thing that might’ve been in her brainpan seemed to have leaked out. He’d suffered a pretty good beatin’ at the woman’s hands in the doin’ of it, but he managed to get through to her somehow and, after a while, coaxed her back to the here and now… since that time, Sam and Kora have developed what some might perceive as a love/hate relationship as the two seem to take pleasure in harassing and bickering with each other (Kora always griping about Sam breaking stuff on the ship; Sam grousing back about Kora not being able to keep up with his skills… “Yer a scruffy puke, Sam!”… “Yer a greasy wrench-wench, Kora!”)… The truth in the relationship is revealed in Sam’s “nickname” for the woman, though… Even when he’s giving her a rough time, Sam’s like as not to refer to her as Mei Mei.
- Trish – Trish scared the livin’ mi tian gohn out of Sam when she first came aboard – first there was the way her face was all mangled up and the fact that she didn’t speak none (both of which, anymore serve as a reminder to Dash that the Alliance and them as are associated with it, really don’t give a pile of crap about “anyone” and is perfectly content to ruin the lives of good, honest folk in their pursuit of having the entire Verse under their big gorram thumbs) – and he had a really hard time not making crude comments about her appearance and demeanor. There did come a time though when Trish changed Sam’s views and opinions of her – she took that foofy pink scattergun of hers and sawed a man in half with it when the fella got the drop on Sam once (and she’d been their “savin’ grace” in more than one situation after that, too). When Trish knitted a blanket and hat for him, though, Sam fully came around to getting as close to loving the woman as his Twitchy nature would allow… He stopped giving her a hard time about her looks (though, like everybody else on the ship, Sam still unintentionally offends her by running off at the mouth and saying something off color) and, given the gifts she’d given him and the fact that she could make canned protein taste like a gorram steak, he took to calling her “Ma”, or “Mama Trish”. There are times to this day when Sam will forego his bandana in favor of the hat that Trish knitted for him… he’s also cut a neckhole in the middle of the blanket she’s made and, occasionally, will wear it as a poncho (he always sleeps with the thing on his bunk, regardless)… “Go ‘head, puhn yoh! Call Ma ugly agin an’ see if ya can say it once more once I put a whole in the back of yer ruttin’ head!”
- Asher – Known in Dash-speak as “The Kid” (because he’s ‘just a pup’), “Ma’s Boy” (‘cuz the boy’s so cose and cozy with Trish), or just plain ol’ Ash (cuz that’s ‘is name, ain’t it?). Sam likes Asher well enough – he thinks the Kid is right amazin’ with guns (and he figgered him an’ Wyatt was some pretty good shots) an’ is handy as a pocket on a shirt when it comes to the other skills he’s got, too – but, more than liking the kid, Sam loves to give Asher a hard time (Sam’s been known to “borrow” one of Ash’s guns (the kid being unaware until it’s too late, anyway and return later only to toss the thing to him with a wink and say something like; “Almost forgot, Kid… I borried this… Yer outta ammo!”)
- Willow – Of all of Rocinante’s crew Willow makes Sam the most twitchy (next to Kora and her “freak out sessions”) – ...re-visiting some of this as I was reminded that Wil din't quite finish Companion training... the "makes Sam twitchy cuz of the Registry is out the window, of course... may just have to assume lustful stares and off-color comments for the time being ... she’s the gorram hole patcher an’ boo-boo mender aboard the boat and there’s been more than once that the fine looking lady has had him completely unconscious and vulnerable when he’s needed to be patched up (the fact that anyone might see him that way is enough to give Sam the heebies but, when it comes to someone being able to cut into him at the same time, it’s even worse). Now, while Willow does tend to tweak his twitchy side a bit more than the rest, she’s also the one crew member who seems to glean the most genuine respect (aside from Wyatt) from the Rocinante’s coarse pilot – she was a Companion, after all, and in the Core, anyway, that title demanded respect if not admiration (Companions were known for their discretion, too, so, even if she was to find a trace of Morgan Trent in the registry and recognize him as Sam Dash, Sam figures that she’s like not to go spreadin’ it around… he hopes…). Of course, Sam still won’t let Willow sedate him if he has any choice in the matter, choosing instead to get stitched, patched, poked and prodded without the benefit of having his faculties numbed and, of course, just like with everyone else, Sam has his crude moments – joking about “happy endings” when she’s got him on the table in the infirmary, commenting on how “delectably fine yer lookin’ t’day, Miss Willow”, and other comments that, coming from other folk, might be construed as a might “untoward”, etc… Sam most often refers to Rocinante's doc as "Miss Willow," "Wil", or *gulp* Hot Damn!
Posted on 2007-01-03 at 12:05:59.
Edited on 2007-01-04 at 11:47:17 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: Continuing Where We Last Left Off
Subject: Hints, allegations, and things left unsaid...
At the Waymeet
Whether it was Char’s intention to be threatening with the blade or not, Jal noticeably flinched and nearly cowered away when the point of the knife flipped around and aimed in his direction. Up until that moment, Jal had hoped that he might have gone a step towards breaking the ice between himself and these other two (who seemed to be the most wary and untrusting of him for some reason) but, confronted with the glinting point of the antler-hilted blade, even the rogue’s uncommonly inviting smile had been chased away. Any hopes he had entertained of a ‘normal’ conversation had already been skewered on that knife. The ranger was saying something about the birds needing to be cleaned and how he preferred for his game to be untouched by spices but all the mage could think about at the moment was how many times the Master had turned a blade on him like that… and what the gesture had often led to afterwards.
After that, Jal kept his distance and his silence – though he did keep his promise to help cook and did so without a word when Char returned and dumped the birds at his feet – for the rest of the night, mumbling only to himself on occasion before drifting off into a fitful sleep. Dreams of the Master carving spells into his flesh tormenting him for several hours… Countered by Wynter’s whispered singing coaxing him back to sleep.
The next day
The urchin-mage had maintained his silence throughout much of the next day’s traveling – he had spoken once or twice to Talas but neither conversation had amounted to much aside from comments on the trail and the miserable weather. Occasionally, too, through the pouring and running of rainwater, the Spellbinder could be heard muttering to himself (or whatever invisible force it was he so often chattered to). Aside from those moments, though, the only words Jal had spoken to the others that day didn’t come until Char returned with his report on the sad state of the waymeet where they were to have spent the night.
“There is a cave nearby,” Jal said quietly and, even then, only at Wynter’s urging, “Could we could use that?”
Everyone had stopped and looked at him then… the expressions were unreadable, at first, but there was something a bit disconcerting in the gazes that were leveled at him. Jal was hesitant then to reveal anything more…
And suffer the night in the damp and gloom?, Wynter chastised, as he shivered in the heavy folds of his saturated cloak, You’ll catch your death of cold, my love… all of you.
Still somewhat reluctantly, Jal pointed towards the rocky cliffs where the phantasmal girl had indicated the cave could be found. “That way, about a quarter mile,” he said. “It is rather large, and should hold all of us.”
“How the hell do you know that, Spellbinder,” Dapple demanded, startling the odd little mage a bit, “when Char does not? You don’t strike me as someone who left the city to stroll the countryside.” The boy was glaring at him and, he sensed, so were the others.
Jal’s gut told him to run… he’d spoken of Wynter to other people in other places and had found himself chased from town as a madman… other folk had wished to hang or burn him… No, the knowledge Wynter imparted to him he was more than willing to share but experience had taught him that revealing the source was not always the safest of decisions.
Gwanelle knows and she doesn’t seek your demise, my Spellbinder, Wynter cooed, her ghostly fingers stroking his cheek. The girl’s face materialized through the rain before him, smiling softly as if to reassure him. And wasn’t it Gwanelle that placed you among these people? Do you think she would have done so if any of them would kill you for it? They’ll need to know sometime, Jal, my love…
He nodded faintly as she dissipated from his sight and, somewhat sheepishly, fixed the young rogue in his pale eyes; “Wynter…Wynter told me,” he said softly. “She… she tells me things… shows me things…”
((OOC: don’t want to get too far ahead, I suppose… Good to be back in action ))
Posted on 2007-01-03 at 09:10:16.
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Back-history
Subject: Episode II: Wyatt meets Sam; concluded...
Wyatt blinked, dropped the remains of the bottle that still clung to the unbroken neck of the thing, and made to draw his own iron.
“’Uh uh,” Sam warned, cocking back the hammer of his pistol for emphasis as he trained his aim on Wyatt’s chest, “leastways not til ya hear me out.”
“No. Ya hear my piece, Wyatt, hear it til it’s done, an’ then, if ya still wanna do this, I’ll put my iron away an’ we’ll do it proper. Duhn luh mah?”
To this day, neither man could likely say true why what happened next happened – Sam, despite his better judgment, was about to share with someone who wanted nothing more to see him dead something that only a handful of people in the entire Verse was privy to. Maybe it was because he really wanted the job and felt that being completely and brutally honest with Wyatt was the only way to ensure that he landed the job and held it for a long time. Maybe it was because, in the very short time he’d known the man, he’d sensed… what?... a kinship?... a common foothold in the world?... a chance to apologize to the right folk and make things right with his guilty conscience… something… about the man that made him want to trust him with this secret.
For his part, Wyatt right at this moment, wanted nothing more than to tune this ruttin’ purple belly out, slap leather and either end this pain permanent-like or get another little piece of retribution for Eden and his precious Summer-girl. Something in this Dash fellow’s eyes, though, told him that he might be well advised to let them man have his say. There was definitely the threat of danger behind those squinting, amber eyes, but more than that, Wyatt thought he saw a pain that might, somehow, come close to matching his own… that, and seeing as how Dash had already gotten the drop on him, drawing the hogleg now would like get him killed as it’d get him revenge. If he heard the wong bah duhn out, he’d at least get the chance to shoot the bastard down from an even draw. Rocinante’s new captain wriggled the fingers of his gun-hand slowly once more, as if deliberating the choice further, then nodded fractionally and let the hand drift away from the gun.
“Shiny,” Sam nodded, slowly lowering his own weapon and, after a time, easing it back into the low-slung holster but still keeping a keen eye on the former Browncoat. “Yeah, Wyatt,” he swallowed, “If ya want the truth of it, I did do my time with the Alliance… an’ yeah, I’m prob’ly guilty of the things yer thinkin’…”
Wyatt’s lips pursed and his shoulders tensed.
“Thing that separates me an’ them as who done you wrong, Wyatt, is when I come ta find out what I were doin’ in th’ name o’ makin’ a better life fer folk out here, I had ta gorram kill my own self ta git away from it…”
Sung still didn’t care to hear this man’s excuses and still waged an internal battle over continuing to listen or, since Dash had holstered his piece already, taking advantage of the moment and shooting him down. The thing was though, it didn’t much sound like Dash was excusing himself for anything… more as like confessin’.
“…an’,” Sam swallowed hard, “I’m awful sorry… Up ‘til the day I seen them kids on my targetin’ display, runnin’ out of a buildin’ as was s’posed ta be a Browncoat command center but comed up ta be a gorram schoolhouse, I never believed we was actual targetin’ civilians… gorram innocent kids!!!”
Wyatt’s hands balled into fists whether he realized it or not… an’ apologizin’? For some reason, that twisted his gut more than if Sam had been bragging about his deeds. He didn’t want to shoot Samuel Dash, anymore, though… No, he wanted to beat this feh feh pi goh to death. “My ass yer sorry,” he hissed, “Ya don’ have no idea wha’ sorry is, ya rotten sumbitch! But I aim ta learn ya.”
As Sung howled like a lunatic and charged, Sam knew he could easily draw and fire before Wyatt got to him; instead, he nodded in resignation and let Sung’s bull-rush hit him full on in the gut. Even as Wyatt’s lowered shoulder knocked the wind from his lungs and plowed him roughly into the grated deck of the cargo hold, Sam had the wherewithal to wrap one arm around the man’s head and flail madly at his kidneys with the other, dragging Wyatt down into the dirt with him.
“Yeah,” Sam whoofed as Wyatt pulled free of the head lock and shot a knee into his ribs, “I am…” Sung’s fist stroked painfully across his cheek before he could finish. In reply, Sam grabbed two hands full of that damned brown coat, worked a foot into the man’s gut, and tossed him roughly away. Wincing, he got to his feet and was advancing on Wyatt before the firefly captain had truly finish sprawling. “I was out there doin’ what I reckoned was the right thing… fer somethin’ I’d been taught my whole ruttin’ life was honest an’ true… an’ I come ta find out I ain’t no hero, puhn yoh, I’m a gorram monst.. uuuhhr!!!”
As Sam reached down to haul him back to his feet, both of Wyatt’s legs had come up and found solid purchase in the rag wearing bastard’s stomach. Now it was the purple belly’s turn to go flying… Jes’ like the sumbitch wants!
For the next half hour, the sounds of battle rang from the hold of Rocinante. Passers-by were treated to growled expletives punctuated by the sounds of violent physical contact – flesh hitting flesh and flesh colliding with metal, the crash and clatter of upset and overturned containers and equipment – and had any of those folk stopped to gander through the portal to see the ruckus, each one would like to have seen the tide of that battle turned in favor of a different combatant. In truth, if the fight could have gone longer than the half an hour it had, it would’ve. After thirty-some minutes of full out, unbridled fisticuffs, though, battered, beaten, bruised, and bloodied, neither Wyatt nor Sam could scarce stand, let alone swing the wildest of haymakers.
“Nee… nee tzao se mah,” Wyatt wheezed through the grating in the deck as he found the strength to push himself up and look at Sam who was also breathing raggedly through the gridwork of the bay floor.
“Chi nwi duh,” came the garbled reply as Sam got his knees under him and managed to get his rubbery arms dragged into a position to push himself up off of the floor. If it wasn’t sheer force of will, it was dumb luck that Dash managed to push himself, more or less, into an upright position, “Ya hit like a girl.”
Wyatt was dragging himself across the floor, obviously intent on throwing at least one more punch if it was possible by any chance in the Verse… Sam was so numb with adrenaline and endorphins that he could scarce make a fist, so when he took a wobbling swing at one of the three Wyatt’s he saw, it looked more like a sleepy swat and resulted in nothing more than Sam falling forward onto his face again.
Wyatt snorted, not quite laughed, at that and, finally managing to find his own legs again, lunged forward and landed just short of being able to lob his weakly clenched fist into Sam’s face, which he was now looking directly into. Only a meter or so of atmo separated the swollen and bruised face of one man from the other, both of them wishing more than anything to continue the fight but neither having the strength to do much more than glare at the other one.
“A girl mule,” Sam groaned his amended appraisal after a long while spent gulping down painful swallows of air. He laughed, then, moaning once more as he mustered the strength to roll over onto his back. “So,” he winced, clutching at his tender ribs, “do I get the gorram job er not?”
“Ha,” Wyatt spat, “ha ha ha. Get off my ruttin’ boat!” He couldn’t fight off the chuckles that erupted from his mouth as he dragged himself closer to the man who had just exposed his belly to the wolf. Once more, though this time laughing, he launched himself at the very un-Alliance looking pilot with the intent of delivering that one final blow to the man’s jaw.
Sam coughed when Wyatt’s open hand fell across his face and pushed his bleary gaze toward the bulkhead. “So that’s a no, I reckon,” he chuffed, clenching his eyes shut as the sudden movement shot bolts of stabbing light into his brain.
“Tha’s a right proper no.”
When he opened his eyes again, Wyatt was still laughing, and Sam, too, found that he was chuckling in spite of himself. He reached up and shoved Wyatt’s limp hand off of his face and, blinking, realized that he was looking directly at the nearly untouched bottle of hooch that Wyatt had handed him earlier…
“Oh,” he grinned, reaching for the bottle and trying to haul himself up to a vaguely seated position at the same time, “looky yonder.” One hand, of course, found the bottle and the other found purchase on the jutting piece of bulkhead on which he had sat not half an hour ago. He flinched and groaned more than once as he propped himself up but it was all worth it when he was able to put the bottle to his stinging lips and take a proper drink.
Wyatt was still throwing what he thought were punches – his hands rising and falling, landing weakly on Dash’s legs – when Sam’s hands grabbed hold of his collar and hauled him up, roughly depositing him against the bulkhead next to him. Next, Sam’s hand, clutching a bottle slapped against Wyatt’s chest.
“I a’ready stowed m’gear,” Sam laughed as Wyatt tugged the bottle free of his grip and took a long shuddering drink.
Wyatt winced as his laughter forced a portion of the alcohol to shoot through his nose. As he gingerly wiped his bleeding mouth on his sleeve, he weakly jabbed an elbow into Dash’s ribs before taking another swig and passing the bottle back.
“So,” Sung sighed as he rolled his back completely onto the bulkhead, “killed yerself ta get away, ya says?”
“Yup,” Sam said around the mouth of the bottle, “that’s a tale long in the tellin’, though, Cap.”
“Well,” Wyatt reached over and took the bottle, “I don’ much feel like runnin’ off anywhere jes’ yet…”
Sam grinned as the whiskey bottle was thumped back into his chest and Sung said; “I got all gorram day t’morra as t’ find us some work.”
The man who, these days, called himself Sam Dash took another long, appreciative pull on the bottle, let his head loll to one side and squinted Wyatt into focus. “That bein’ the case,” he said, “here’s how it is…”
Posted on 2007-01-02 at 18:10:59.
Edited on 2007-01-03 at 12:12:00 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Back-history
Subject: Episode 1: Wyatt meets Sam
(Collaboative effort between Brom and Eol))
Wyatt’s face was solid-stone-cold as he sat casually back in his chair, his left hand on the table in front of him, his right below and out of sight of those who sat near him. His head was tilted slightly forward so that he could barely see the eyes of the man across from him from underneath the brim of his dark reddish-brown cowboy hat. His brown duster—the very same that marked him as a former Independent—hung from his shoulders like a proud banner that spread open for easy access to the Colt holstered at his waist. His hands were gloved with soft leather gloves indicative of a pilot and where his left hand rested were five cards face up so that all could see. All were black spades and they bore a ten, jack, queen, king, and ace; Wyatt had arranged them in that order for effect as he’d lain them down upon the surface of the scarred table. Now, he felt the familiar curve of the pistol’s grip underneath his gloved palm as he eyed the fellow who’d just called him a cheat.
It had started as such a calm affair. Five men had sat down at a table in a saloon on a backwater planet called Beylix and one of them had been Wyatt Sung. They’d gone hand after hand and Wyatt had barely been able to keep himself in through the whole evening. The fellow across from him hadn’t been so lucky... he also hadn’t been very prudent. Wyatt had remained quiet while this captain of a firefly class ship had bought and imbibed whiskey after whiskey, pushing his hard-earned platinum in front of him as though he were paying the others for the right to sit at the table. It wasn’t none of Wyatt’s business if this flyboy wanted to waste his payday in one fell swoop. As a matter-of-fact, Wyatt could give a feh feh pi goh about the man’s personal finances as very little of it came his way. He also could care very little for what the man kept on about.
”Yup, she’s a beaut, ol’ Rocinante is.” The man had started speaking using that introduction at least six times already that night. “Why Rocinante? Let me tell you about this man back on Earth that was. Went by the name of Don Quixote and he wasn’t a lord or mayor or a man of standing; he was just folk like you and me. Lived in a place called Las Mancha, which I think was in Texas back on Earth. Anyways, the man had a love of reading though, and took to books like a fish to water. So much so that them folks in his town started to think he had a leaky brainpan due to all that reading. You know how them backwater folks can get them strange notions in their heads.
Anyways, this Quixote fella, he took disagreement with the local uppity-ups. Real giants of industry that held the area in a tight grip on the account that they owned all the wind-mill power generators. Since they had the power and the money, they basically took control of the area and made their ways known to the folks. Not completely different from some places in the Verse now, come to think of it. But Don wouldn’t stand for it. He took up arms against that sea of troubles, even though he was just one man.
Now Don had a horse - wasn’t a pretty horse or a fast horse or even a young spirited one. It was an old nag workhorse, much like any of us have rode or used on the farms. But Don didn’t see the horse as old and useless; he saw the horse as a faithful steed upon which to ride out and undo the wrongs of the world. So he called her Rocinante, which was Spaniard for “not a work horse”.
Now I’d like to tell you that Mr. Quixote went out and did great things and became a big damn hero. But, sure as shooting, one man against giants doesn’t have much of a chance. However, no matter how often he went out and got beaten, bruised and generally messed up – Rocinante always got him home again.The folks tried to get Don to stop, being scared of them lords and their power, but he kept right on trying, and Rocinante keep bringing him back for mending.
Soon enough though, an old man can’t take the beatings anymore and he died a broken man. But once he was gone, the folks suddenly realized they had lost something. They felt it in their hearts and it made them mourn something awful. Then they rose up against those giants of industry and cast off their shackles. Wasn’t for Quixote though, they wouldn’t have say boo. Isn’t that the way though? Folks don’t know what they got until its plum gone.
So I named her Rocinante, cause she was once a work horse, but she ain’t to me. She’s much more than that, and if I love her and take care of her; she’ll always bring me home. No matter if I succeed in my ventures or I am running bruised and bleeding – she’ll get me home again. She’ll do the same for you too.”
He wasn’t offering anyone the right to take the ship when he’d said that as near as Wyatt could figure. He’d just been talkative and overly friendly. Of course, that changed on a dime when after a night of piss-poor hands and constant losing, the poor sod had ran out of things to wager, but figured luck was finally looking his way as he had a real good hand show up. He was so certain that he wagered the only thing he had left to put on the table: Rocinante. Unfortunately for him, Wyatt had also wound up with an unbelievable turn of luck, and that luck was now sitting on the table in front of him and the air still hung heavy after the previous owner of Rocinante had launched himself backward from his chair, dropped his hand to his hog’s leg, and growled, “Ya ung jeong jia ching jien soh! Ya think I wouldn’t notice when ya cheated?”
That’s when Wyatt’s hand had slowly gone beneath the table, though the rest of his body didn’t move. Some would have felt their heart racing, sweat trickling down their face, or gone all red like a hot iron, but not Wyatt. There were a couple of reasons for this: one was he just didn’t care if he lived or died; not since losing his family a few years earlier. The other was because he was one of those rare types that never really felt such emotions in the face of danger.
”Chui se,” was all he said, his tone low so as not to excite. Of course, the combination of the two things—the words and the tone—told others who’d just scooted back to witness the action that they’d best be getting some more distance between the two men and a number of chairs scraped against the wooden floor.
”I ain’t abidin’ no cheat, an’ you sure as hell ain’t takin’ Rocinante from me with no feh wu hand!” The man was, apparently one of those who sweat when facing danger as two lines of it were carving a path through the dirt that caked his face on the left temple.
”Mister,” Wyatt answered in a slow drawl, his eyes never leaving the other man’s. “I don’t cheat. Never have, never will. Now, way I sees it, yer wong dahn should ya skin that iron. I’ve said it once, an’ I’ll says it again: Chui se.”
”Afta’ you, bei bi shiou ren.” The man stepped back one more step and flipped the leather that was keeping his handgun in its holster. “I ain’t the one gonna die tonight, son.”
Wyatt sighed, “Joo how rin.”
The gunshots rang out in the tavern momentarily deafening those watching. Some jumped at the sudden sound, others blinked at the sight of Wyatt still sitting, his Colt just above the table’s edge a thin trail of ghostly white smoke escaping from the barrel. Eyes shifted at once to where the other man stood with his own weapon in a weak hand, the barrel pointed towards the floor. The man coughed and looked down at his chest as a red stain slowly spread across his tan shirt. He looked back up at his killer with pain-filled eyes.
”Ta ma duh...”
Wyatt slowly slipped his pistol back in its holster and tipped his hat to the dying man.
”Take care o’ ‘er.” Those were the last words ever spoken by that poor poker player as he dropped to his knees, his handgun clattering to the floor near him before he keeled over backwards. Wyatt looked down at the pot, and then reached across the table to where the dead man’s whiskey sat undisturbed. Lifting the tumbler to his lips, the young man tossed it back, enjoying the fiery sensation as it burned down his throat. When he set the glass down once more his eyes drifted to the key card that denoted access to the dock where Rocinante sat waiting for her new owner.
It didn’t really occur to him what kind of prize he’d just won. Right then and there, with the body of the loser still in view over the edge of the table, Wyatt was focused on the pile of platinum in the center of the table. Something was twisting in his gut; something that he couldn’t put a name to right away. Then, as someone coughed, it sprang to mind. There was Eden ‘s beautiful, tan face looking at him with eyes filled with disapproval and in her arms was the light of Wyatt’s life, the baby girl Summer. A frown pressed in on his lips as they pressed together. Closing his eyes, Wyatt took a deep breath and then called out to the barkeep, “Whiskey, puhn yo, an’ keep the trough filled.”
The other men who’d been playing poker with them departed leaving Wyatt alone at the table with his winnings and a never-ending supply of golden liquid. Throughout the night, the young man watched the ghost of his wife slowly blur until the painful reminder of a life he’d once known was no more; replaced by the dull, disconnected feeling of a man heavily under the influence. He didn’t care if the previous crew of Rocinante was coming for him. He didn’t care that people were looking at him with a mixture of fear and awe. He didn’t see the way they skirted his table except when the barkeep moved in to fill the tumbler again and again. Wyatt didn’t even see the diminishing pile of platinum anymore. Everything was a blur, everything was dull. The brightly colored dresses of the dancing girls had been chased away by awful grays that swirled before him, taunting him with their terrible dance. So lost in his drunken daze was he that Wyatt Sung barely heard the gruff voice behind him.
”Son, yer bound by law for the murder o’—“
Wyatt didn’t catch the last of the phrase as a blinding burst of light exploded before his eyes and a loud cracking sound echoed in his head followed by the sounds of the saloon getting quieter and quieter like he was traveling down a long tunnel away from his comfortable seat and the escape that the whiskey provided.
A prairie dog had made its home in Wyatt’s mouth. He was dead sure that this was the truth of the matter as he lay with his forearm cast over his eyes, his mouth working to dislodge the inconsiderate creature. With a groan, the browncoat realized the familiar sensation of a hang-over augmented slightly by the press of something about his head. Using the fingers of his right hand (his left still covering his eyes), Wyatt felt about his temples and towards the back of his head, wincing as pain lanced through the haze of his recovering state. He felt a damp bandage tied tightly about his skull and the spot that had caused the pain was just behind his right ear. With a groan, Wyatt rolled to a sitting position, feeling the heels of his boots strike a wood floor with an unforgiving announcement. He tried to piece together what had happened the night before, but nothing was coming just yet. Squinting from underneath his hand, Wyatt allowed his eyes to become accustomed to the bright light that shown about him. It was a difficult task, but eventually he could make out the room about him and the bars of his cell.
”Duhn ruhn,” he muttered as it all came back to him. Through the haze he knew what must’ve happened. He’d been bound by law for the gunfight despite having acted in self defense.
”Good,” a semi-familiar gruff voice sounded from off to his left, causing Wyatt to painfully turn his head and wince at the blurred image of a man in a gray suit leaning against the bars with what looked like a shotgun tucked under his right arm. “Yer awake. Been waitin’ t’ talk with ya. Feel up t’ some conversatin’?”
Wyatt took a slow breath and gave a hint of a nod before turning and cradling his head in his hands while he rested his elbows on his knees.
”What’s yer name, son?”
”Wyatt. Sung. Wyatt Sung.”
”Well, Wyatt Sung, d’ ya know why yer here?”
”I can puzzle it out.”
”Can ya? Well, that’s good ‘cause folk ‘round these parts did some figurin’ as well. Why don’t we start with yer story first.”
”Ain’t got no gorram story, lawman.” Wyatt snarled a little. He’d been in a similar situation before and just like then, he felt no remorse for what had happened.
”Cool it, cowboy, or I’ll let ya cool yer heels in here fer a few days for I make words with ya again. Don-luh-mah?”
Wyatt understood, but couldn’t bring himself to care.
”Strong an’ silent’ll git ya hung, boy. I’m the only friend ya got right now, so I’d be makin’ with the tellin’ right quick.”
With some effort, Wyatt glared at the lawman from the corner of his slightly slanted eye.
”All right, I’ll tell ya what I think occurred, an’ you can jus’ nod acceptance of it when I’m done. How’s that?” When Wyatt didn’t respond, the sheriff pushed away from the bars and began a slow walk in front of the cell. “Yer havin’ yerself a nice quiet game o’ poker waitin’ fer the right opportunity t’ slip that ace from yer sleeve into yer hand so’s you can walk away from the tables with a bit more drinkin’ money than ya came t’ them with. Only this easy mark comes in an’ dishes out a right pretty plate complete with a shiny new ship. So ya make the classic mistake of makin’ yer move when the pot looks too good an’ deliverin’ a hand that’s damn near bu kuh nuhn. The feller takes offense—rightly so—an’ objects with words. Then, near as I can see it, ya decide t’ seal the deal by puttin’ a hole in his outfit. Could’ve gotten away with it too had ya the smarts in that hollow brainpan o’ yers t’ take the pass key an’ lift that ship right outta dock, but no. You had to celebrate. So here I got ya, dead t’ rights lad.
”Yer gonna hang.”
Wyatt rolled his head back—slowly—his eyes still closed. He’d heard the sheriff, but couldn’t care less about what the man thought happened. He was pretty sure it hadn’t gone down that way…pretty sure. The blur that was the previous night wasn’t necessarily altogether clear yet, though bits and pieces were certainly in place; such as the gunfight and the betting of the... what had the man called that ship? Ross is a hottie? Wyatt shivered. He knew a Ross from back in the war. The fellow had been a roughneck with a penchant for spitting tobacco through a gap in his teeth. He’d also died at the end of an Alliance rifle after being captured and tried. Another ghost...
”Still not talkin’, huh? Shame, that. I was kinda hopin’ fer a bit of a debate this mornin’. Coffee’s a bit brutal an’ I didn’t get much sleep seein’ how I had me some paperwork t’ finish since you decided t’ go an’ make things excitin’.”
Wyatt sniffed and rolled back onto the bunk, propping the boot heel of his left foot up on the toe of his right and folding his hands across his chest. As far as he was concerned the conversation was over. The sheriff chuckled and Wyatt heard the clomping of his boots as the man exited the room, leaving the convict to his own thoughts; sour thoughts though they were.
Sleep must have snuck up on Wyatt after a while because he woke with a start when the sounds of metal cranking metal echoed loudly through his head. Instinct took over, the phantom sounds of war crashing in over the key in the lock. Rolling from the bunk, Wyatt crouched low, his back up against the wood of the bed he’d just vacated, his eyes burning wide as he quickly scanned the room, his right hand dropping to the place at his hip where his pistol was and grabbing only air.
”Heh,” the sheriff’s derisive snort brought Wyatt immediately back to the present. Watching the lawman slide the cell door open the browncoat was amazed at how quickly they arranged their hangings in these parts. Rising to his feet, he felt his balance shift precariously forcing him to bend slightly to right himself against the bed again.
”Still feeling the butt o’ my scattergun ‘ginst the back o’ yer head, eh boy?” The sheriff chuckled again as though he enjoyed the notion. “Well, ain’t that just too bad. But I’ll tell ya what’s even worse: someone came t’ yer rescue, boy. Some good citizen thought it’d be right awful t’ hang ya when some folk consider ya innocent. So, they stopped by an’ said that the fella now takin’ up residence in a pine box down yonder drew firs’ an’ provoked the fight when ya tried t’ git him t’ stop. There ain’t much more I can do fer this, but t’ let ya go. So, yer stay at my hotel’s up, son. Got yer things up front an’ some papers fer ya t’ sign, then you can make yer sorry way t’ that new ship o’ yers an’ git the hell off my rock.”
Wyatt blinked as he processed what was happening and then nodded once; a motion that momentarily caused his world to shift underneath his feet once more. Quickly regaining his sense of self, Wyatt pushed away from his support and walked as smoothly as he could out the door, taking the lead to the front area of the sheriff’s offices. There, upon the sheriff’s desk, he saw his gunbelt, hat, and that pass key.
”I ran ya,” the sheriff said casually as he dropped into his swivel chair behind the desk and motioned for Wyatt to be seated across from him in a stiff-backed wood chair. “The Cortex’s got ya listed, boy. Served in the war—though that much was obvious from the coat. But the real interestin’ read was that which happened ‘fore the war. That piece o’ interestin’ material on Jiangyin. Ya know what I’m speakin’ on, boy?”
Wyatt allowed his head to shift just enough so that he could look warily down his nose at the sheriff as the man retrieved the paperwork he’d have to sign.
”You know what I’m referrin’ to, dontcha boy?”
”Sure do.” Wyatt finally answered in a dry, flat voice. His mouth still felt as though he had a varmint nesting in it.
”Oh, ya do? Good.” The sheriff put the paper in front of Wyatt and offered him a pen all the while displaying a friendly smile beneath his bushy white mustaches. “I look t’ that an’ figure I gots myself a serial killer, but then I read this tiny little notation down at the bottom that states ya gots a clean bill an’ I get all disappointed. I thought fer sure I was gonna get t’ witness a hangin’ this Sunday.”
Wyatt quickly signed his name and stood. Taking up his hat, he placed it gingerly on his bruised head and tipped the rim towards the pleasant-looking lawman. “Sorry t’ disappoint. Now, which way t’ the shipyard, agin?”
The sheriff pointed out the door and just to be insufferable, Wyatt smiled. “Right kind o’ ya.” Wrapping his gunbelt up in his fingers, the man hoisted the rig about his shoulder and then snatched up the pass key before turning and walking out the door onto the busy street.
There was a slight breeze blowing and the sounds of leather creaking drew Wyatt’s attention to the horses in front of him. Across the street was a general store and the rumbling in his stomach informed him that a stop there might be prudent, but then he caught sight of the saloon down the street and made his detour. As it turned out, what remained of Wyatt’s winnings from the night before had been shored up behind the counter. It bought him a fair stock of some fine liquor that accompanied him to the docks in a clinking, jingling sack slung over his shoulder (the one without the gun). After asking a few dockhands, he made his way down the long walkway before encountering the bug-like form of his new ship. His ship. The thought rang strange to Wyatt as he scanned the body up to the cockpit where the word Rocinante was painted over the image of a rearing horse. Wyatt nodded slowly as he took the imagery in and then made his way to the cargo hold doors. He’d worked plenty of fireflies in his days running blockades for the Independents; he was intimately familiar with them.
Up the gangplank, across the hold to the stairs, up the stairs to the catwalk, then up more stairs to the fore deck, down the length of that hall to the ladder on the foremost right; that would be the captain’s quarters. The previous crew had cleared out before the captain had lost the ship. Wyatt later found out that he’d been about to refit her and they’d gone looking for other work, so Wyatt encountered no one as he stepped onto the ladder and felt it fall away underneath him, granting him access to his new quarters like some magical portal from a fairy tale. Dropping to the floor, he stepped around the wall and surveyed his new home. The previous captain had been into a strange combination of art deco and Asian artistry. It was enough to make Wyatt fairly jump into his alcohol. He planned on changing the decor as soon as he could afford it, but first... the whiskey.
Sleep had once again taken a hold of Wyatt and he woke from its embrace slowly. He was sprawled out on the bed, his right leg hanging over the edge, one boot on, one boot half-way off. An empty bottle rested against his chest, another was still being held lovingly though it had barely a swallow left in it. The others were on the floor, still in the bag. Rolling his head, Wyatt tried to register why he’d woken up, then he heard it: a loud banging on the bulkhead followed by a faint call.
Silence greeted his yell and Wyatt sighed in relief, closing his eyes to drift off to sleep once more. Bang! Bang! Bang! Wyatt sat straight up in bed and nearly rolled right off the edge once more. The bottle that had been nested against his chest fell to the floor and shattered causing Rocinante’s new captain to wince at the horrible noise.
”Juh shi suh mo go dohng shee?” he mumbled and rubbed at his eyes. Pounding his boot back on his foot, Wyatt stumbled to the wall, leaned against it for a moment, closing his eyes again only to be rudely brought back to reality by more pounding. Mumbling incoherently, Wyatt found the ladder and made his way to the fore deck. He crawled onto the grating and slowly gained his feet, bottle still in hand. Staring with blurred vision down the length of the hall, he stumbled forward until he reached the stairs. These, he took more slowly and while he went, more pounding ensued. Stepping onto the catwalk he peered out towards the cargo bay and the darkness that indicated night beyond. He could faintly make out a form standing at the entrance, already on the gangplank partially illuminated by Rocinante’s interior lights.
”Nee yow wuo kai chiung? Quit poundin’ on my ship!”
“C’mon,” Sam grumbled, pounding, once again, on the heavy plate of the airlock door that separated the gangplank from the primary cargo hold of these Fireflies, “I ain’t got all ruttin’ night… Ni How, Rocinante,” he hollered a bit louder, “Pilot on the cheap, puhn yoh!”
He leaned in, shading either side of his face with cupped hands as he peered through the triangular window and tried to catch sight of anybody wandering about inside the ship. “Mi Tian Gohn,” he griped, kicking the door and pushing away from the window. Shaking his head in frustration, the scruffy looking pilot stomped down the length of the gangplank and glanced up at the image of the rearing stallion with the name Rocinante painted over it just to reassure himself that he was at the right ship.
“Yup,” he nodded, “big ruttin’ horse flashin’ ‘is nethers at the world. Says Rocinante. Must be it.” He snorted, spit on the deck, and, scratching absently at the three days growth of whiskers under his chin, swept his whiskey colored eyes around the dock looking for the hand that recently had informed him that the captain of this particular boat was, in fact, on board.
“Hey,” Sam called, quickly spotting the thick-built Chinese as the man emerged from behind a stack of crates, “You sure the cap of this bird’s in there? Sumbitch’s darker’n the sphincter o’ Hades.”
“He’s inside,” the dockhand reaffirmed with a grunt, nodding his head even as he wrapped his arms around a crate and lifted it onto the light-duty mule nearby, “He’s been inside for six hours, at least… ask me directions even though the ship’s right there… smelled like powerful strong whiskey.”
Sam arched a brow at that – an action that went all but unnoticed by the dockhand as the black bandana that was tied around Sam’s head all but covered his eyebrows – and glanced back at the bug-like ship. “Jao gao! No foolin’,” the scruffy pilot smirked, “what about the rest of the se duhng; they all plastered, too?”
“No se duhng,” the dock hand replied as he secured another crate to the mule’s stowage rack before looking in Sam’s direction again. The moon-faced fellow’s scowl turned to a smile when he took a moment to glance at the faded image on Sam’s t-shirt – an amply endowed ‘geisha’, wearing little more than her makeup, straddled an absurdly large Gatling gun; the Chinese characters surrounding the image translated loosely to ‘Hump fashion; let’s kill something’…
“Nice shirt,” the big dockworker mopped his brow and chuckled as he clomped towards Sam.
“Yeah,” Sam grinned, “I like ‘er good enough. So, no crew aboard, then?”
“Just the captain,” the dockhand said, shaking his head, “and not same captain went on as came off, dohn-ma? Rocinante come in for a refit, her crew left and found new work whilst they was waitin’. Old captain goes to town, new captain comes back. Heard the new guy won the ship from the old captain in a game of cards and then shot him dead in the saloon,” he added in a not-very-subtle whisper, “you din’t hear ‘bout that?”
Sam shrugged as he turned to face the looming freighter, one thumb hooked over his belt as his other hand moved to tug the bandana a bit lower on his forehead. “Can’t say as I did,” he replied without looking at the man, “Don’t reckon it matters none, neither. Just means the man’s gonna need crew what with his fees comin’ short an’ all…”
It did matter, of course. Everything mattered as far as Sam was concerned because everything always seemed to be one step around the corner from the Alliance (or whoever it was they had sent after him this time) catching him with his pants down. He’d almost forgotten that during his time on Beylix – until just a few days ago when a whole gorram platoon of Feds broke atmo and decided to camp out planetside. Sam had made it a point to stay out of their way as best he could, of course, but he didn’t like the way the few of them he had encountered looked at him… it was like they knew who he used to be and were just waiting for their moment, or the kill order, or whatever it was they were waiting for… the Feds presence on Beylix had started to get under his skin; make him twitchy. It didn’t take him long to figure out that hunkering down on one rock for too awful long was the safest thing for him to do and decided that crewing up permanent with a boat was the best way to keep his tracks scarce from them as were looking for him. So, he thought, it was a good turn of luck that he heard about Rocinante when he did. He wasn’t so sure now, though, considering what the dockhand had just told him.
“Course I reckon if this’n were too much trouble, there’d be purple bellies plumb swarmin’ the thing,” Sam mumbled, convincing himself that he really needed to get some work in line that would keep him moving rather than holing up in one tiny corner of the ‘Verse. “Feds, bounts, always like to be somethin’, I reckon…”
“Shuh muh?”Sam blinked and cast a sidelong glance at the thick man who still lingered at his side.
“Nothin’,” he said, offering a curt nod as he started to stroll back towards the gangplank of the Firefly, “Sheh sheh. Bao jone.”
The dockhand made a reply and returned to his work. Sam didn’t hear it, though. He was already back in the foreward airlock of the Rocinante, pounding insistently at the door. “Ni how, Rocinante! Wakey, wakey, eggs an’ baykee!”
This time, Sam was sure he heard a muffled response; “'Nee yow wuo kai chiung? Quit poundin’ on my ship!”
Did he just threaten to shoot me in the throat, the scruffy pilot wondered as an amused smile twisted his lips, That’s gorram hilarious…
Hilarious or not, Sam’s hand instinctively hovered close to the butt of the pistol strapped low on his thigh. “Hey,” he shouted back, peering through the window again to catch site of what was presumably the captain’s silhouette standing (somewhat unsteadily) on the catwalk, “open up! I hear tell yer lookin’ fer crew an’ thought I’d stake my claim first…”
Gun! Is that a bottle he’s clutchin’? “…Jus’ room an’ board an’ a nice little wad of credits fer shore leave ever now an’ agin’s all it’ll cost ya! Won’t find a better driver fer the price!”
Where the devil am I? Wyatt squinted his eyes and pushed his eyebrows up to his hairline trying to stretch the pressure from behind his eyes. His whole body tingled, seeming to him to echo the vibrations this newcomer had sent through the ship’s bulkheads—the ship! Rocky Mountain, or something like that. I own a ship. Am I looking for a crew? Wyatt felt himself go forward dangerously leaning over the rail. The realization that he was just about to topple came from somewhere crowded to a dim recognition by the domineering alcohol he’d consumed. It was enough, however, to cause him to reflexively jerk backward, his arms wind-milling instinctively, the bottle slipping from his numb fingers to fly up, then drop lazily to the cargo bay floor with a loud shattering of glass.
Surprised at the sudden necessity to right himself, Wyatt sniffed and blinked rapidly, a frown creasing his features. Smacking his lips loudly he peered about at the unfamiliar setting… no, it was somewhat familiar. All fireflies had the same general layout. Then, quite suddenly a voice penetrated his subconscious fog. You do need a crew!
“Sheh sheh,” Wyatt called back, waving a hand in the man’s direction. “I didn’ order no food.” Turning to stumble back down the hall towards the stairs, Wyatt paused. Maybe I did…
“Ya can stow it…” he peered about again as he turned groggily around on one boot heel in a position that’d barely put him in Dash’s range of sight. “Somewhere…”
That said, Wyatt promptly passed out, dropping like a sack of potatoes to the grid-iron floor of the gangway.
Damn but he’s more’n a little roostered up, ain’t he? Sam mused as the man he presumed was the captain of this boat slurred out something about ordering food and then passed dead away in midstep and crashed to the grated floor. Dash had just stepped through the hatch a second or two before the man had passed out and had barely caught sight of him before he took his tumble, but Sam had clearly heard the Rocinante’s captain say ‘stow it… somewhere…”
“I reckon that means I got the job,” he asked with a chuckle, securing the hatch behind him and dropping the bag containing his gear before squinting in the direction of the unconscious man.
He’s snorin’ like a gorram bear, Sam noted as he climbed the steps and found Wyatt sprawled out on the gangway and caught sight of the shards of busted glass not far off, Heh, I reckon the hooch broke his fall. Might’ve hurt, otherwise. He crouched near the man and let his eyes pan around the shadowed cargo bay and catwalks that crisscrossed it, making sure there wasn’t anybody lurking in those dark spots before allowing his attention to turn more fully to the besotted captain. Not that it was easy to ignore the guy what with the whiskey fumes rising from him like he’d just took a swim in the stuff.
“Hey,” Sam reached out and nudged the man, trying to prod him into wakefulness, “Does ‘stow it somewhere’ mean I get my choice o’ bunks?”
Wyatt mumbled something incoherent in reply, shifted a little bit, and smacked his lips before returning to sawing logs and making nice with the deck.
“Shiny,” Sam laughed, wincing as the stink of whiskey on the captain’s breath wafted up and stung his eyes, “An’ I s’pose I prob’ly oughta find a place fer you, too… Wouldn’t do fer nobody else ta see ya like this I don’t reckon.”
Twenty minutes later, Dash had his gear stowed in the single cabin closest to the ship’s bridge and, through no small amount of effort, had managed to get the rag-doll captain dragged back onto the foredeck and propped up next to the hatch to his own cabin (wasn’t too awful hard to figure which one that was, considering the reek of liquor that exuded from the open hatch), and was giving himself the nickel tour of the boat. Despite the captain’s sorry state, Sam figured he’d stumbled into a right fine deal crewing up on this boat. Fireflies were pretty common ships so there was a sense of anonymity that appealed to him and, he figured, if the captain was the sort that could pull in work, it was all but certain that Sam would find himself on the move enough to keep the hounds off his heels for a good spell.
After checking the cargo holds, the engine room, and all the various nooks and crannies that these boats were known for, Dash finally made his way back to the bridge. The captain hadn’t moved much and was still snoring as Sam clipped down the corridor. “Nice barge ya got here, Cap,” he quipped as he stepped over the man’s splayed legs.
Now, let’s check out the shiny bits. He flicked another glance over his shoulder at Wyatt as he stepped onto the bridge and moved for the pilot’s seat.
“Now this is what I’m talkin’ about,” he sighed running his fingers over the consoles that surrounded the chair as he eased himself into the seat. His palms tingled and the urge to light the fires under this boat swelled in his chest and stomach. “Ni how, darlin’,” he whispered as his fingers toggled a few switches to bring some of the Rocinante’s systems online and the cockpit hummed to life in the winking of display screens and flickering of indicator light, “you an’ me’re gonna be good friends, I think…”
As Dash was checking the engine displays and verifying that the reaction control thrusters and engine core were in order he heard a mumbling groan from the hallway behind him. “You comin’ around, Cap?”
Wyatt felt as though he’d been ran over by a mule. Where am I? The man squinted as he opened his eyes, feeling the rough surface of the hallway grating underneath him and the steel of the bulkhead against his shoulders and the back of his head. There was something else too… his left hand went gingerly to the side of his head where he felt a bruise. Must’ve clonked it on somethin’.
As Dash was checking the engine displays and verifying that the reaction control thrusters and engine core were in order he heard a mumbling groan from the hallway behind him. “You comin’ around, Cap?”
Who the…Cap? Confusion flooded Wyatt’s senses for a moment before he swiveled his head to peer up the stairs at the cockpit and the source of the voice.
“Did you jus’ call me cap?” Shifting, Wyatt struggled to his feet, feeling the weight of all the alcohol he’d imbibed some hours before pressing down on his head. He heard the man’s affirmation, and something about hiring him as pilot, but it didn’t immediately sink in. Leaning against the wall, Wyatt licked his dry lips and processed the information he’d just received. Pilot? I don’t need no gorram pilot! I can fly this boat sure as down a bottle o’ whiskey an’ pro’lly better drunk than this lout could sober!
“Heh,” Wyatt chuckled apologetically. “Must’ve been some mistake, puhn yo. Don’t need no one sittin’ in that seat exactly. Now, if’n yer decent at scrubbin’ decks an’ changin’ filters… well, that’s the kinda da shiong la se la ch’wohn tian I don’t like t’ do an’ I’m more’n happy t’ hire crew fer that.
Sung glanced down at his cabin where he’d left his iron; after all, he didn’t really know this fellow. Paranoid sod, the man coulda killed ya in yer drunken sleep if’n he wanted the ship. An’ ya can’t fly all shifts… maybe a spare’d be a good thing.
“Tell ya what, puhn yo,” Wyatt scratched at his head, carefully avoiding the bruise. “If’n I remember correct, there’s this little shanty out yonder that sports a simulation. Why don’ we test things up proper an’ if’n ya pass; we’ll talk salary. Jus’ give me a time t’ gather my outfit an’ I’ll escort ya.”
It didn’t matter to Wyatt whether this fellow believed he was being treated fairly or not right then. First things first, Wyatt wanted to strap iron just in case trouble arose. Second, he wasn’t about to let just anyone fly this boat of his. Third; well, he knew he had exactly thirty-two credits saved up after his gambling and drinking, didn’t know whether his new boat was fueled, and didn’t have a job lined up. He was sure hoping he didn’t have to discuss salaries with anyone at the moment.
Carefully, so as not to jar his hang-over, Wyatt turned away from the newcomer and opened the hatch to his new quarters. Once again, he was nearly overcome by the décor, but pushed through to grab his guns, hat, and coat. Then, he nearly tripped over the remaining bottles of whiskey he’d unwisely spent his winnings on and headed back to the foredeck.
“Well, let’s mosey.” Wyatt let the man lead the way out of the ship. “By the by, what’s yer handle?”
“Samuel Dash,” was the simple answer.
That was the only discussion they had until they were standing in front of the simulation machine. Making a show of being the one in charge, Wyatt offered up the coin to start the action.
“Did you jus’ call me Cap,” Sam heard the man ask. The voice sounded a little worse for wear due to the whiskey that had poured down his gullet and Sam was sure that the caravel’s captain had more than a touch of the dry-mouth, but the man’s question indicated a touch more lucidity than it had a short time ago.
“Uh… yeah,” he answered, still eyeing the helm panels and walking himself through various checklists to make sure that the systems on this boat were in keeping with the refit that had been mentioned to him, “Figured that’s what I oughta call ya since ya weren’t in no shape ta be offerin’ yer name when ya hired me on to drive this heap, you as bein’ captain o’ this boat an’ all. Cap sounds better’n ‘hey, drunk guy,’ don’t it?”
“Heh! Must’ve been some mistake, puhn yo. Don’t need no one sittin’ in that seat exactly …”
Tah mah duh! I knew that interview was a might simple! Sam’s shoulders slumped a little when he caught the ‘oops, what’d I drink myself into this time’ tone in the man’s voice and, even though he hadn’t quite abandoned his examination of the firefly’s controls, he did manage to turn in the seat in, at least, an attempt to face the man who was probably about a heartbeat from tossing him off the ship.
“…Now, if’n yer decent at scrubbin’ decks an’ changin’ filters… well,” Rocinante’s captain continued, “that’s the kinda da shiong la se la ch’wohn tian I don’t like t’ do an’ I’m more’n happy t’ hire crew fer that…”
That’s why ya don’t take jobs from those as ain’t got their wits ‘bout ‘em; always ends up with them extra duties as assigned hitches. Sam eased slowly, almost hesitantly out of the chair, making sure as not to make any sudden moves that might get him shot. He didn’t remember the man having any noticeable iron on him when Sam had drug him up to the foredeck but that didn’t mean he couldn’t have procured some between then and now, did it?
Hump a bunch o’ that, Sam wanted to laugh as he caught sight of the man casting one of those ‘damn I wish I had my gun’ looks down the hatch into his cabin, I ain’t no gorram swabbie, get me? I mean, ya sign me on an’ I’ll do my share but, if ya don’t put me at the wheel, puhn yoh, yer wu toh wu now. Ya ain’t like to come across many as is good as me inna sky, Cap, an’ sure as Hell’s hot, ya ain’t gonna get one nigh on close fer the price. All I wanna do is get off this ruttin’ rock an’ back in the Black.
“Tell ya what, puhn yo,” the fellow interrupted, scratching his head all ginger-like and, luckily, before Sam could try his hand at negotiating, “If’n I remember correct, there’s this little shanty out yonder that sports a simulation. Why don’ we test things up proper an’ if’n ya pass; we’ll talk salary. Jus’ give me a time t’ gather my outfit an’ I’ll escort ya.”
“Ku,” Sam nodded, a quick, double blink being the only thing to betray his surprise at not even having to open his mouth. He knew the simulator the man spoke of well, actually, as he’d spent more than a few off hours in the thing when he felt he’d been too long between rows in the sky (and when he got a handle on his nerves enough to turn his back on folk for that long). It ain’t quite like being out there in the Black with all that nothin’ whisperin’ over yer hull, he grinned wryly as the Captain disappeared down the hatch to put himself together, but it’ll do ta turn this into a how shi chung sung. How’s he gonna say no once he gets a gander at yer skills?
The wry grin quickly disappeared when the man reemerged from his bunk wearing that brown coat… How w’rin bu lai, whai w’rin bu jwo! A ruttin’ Browncoat! Juuust shiny... his eyes rolled skyward for a second… Lord, why do ya got it in fer me? Din’t I try ta do the right thing?Yer testin’ me, ain’t ya? Showin’ me humility an’ sech? It wasn’t so much that Sam bore any ill-will to them as had been Independants during the war – far from it, in fact, it was the tenacity, determination, and balls-out refusal to give up of the Browncoats that had helped inspire Sam to break from the Alliance the way he had – rather, now that the war was over, seeing those dusters did little more than remind him of all the evil he’d done for the sake of Unification and under the misguided pretenses of making life better for folks on the Rim. Though, I reckon, he told himself, them as’re lookin’ fer me like wouldn’t expect me ta be keepin’ comp’ny with a Jone Yee.
“Well, let’s mosey.” The Captain said, indicating with a subtle gesture that Sam should lead. “By the by, what’s yer handle?”
“Samuel Dash,” he answered. He usually introduced himself as just plain Sam but as Dash wasn’t really comfortable with the guy walking behind him (especially not now that there was iron strapped to man’s leg) he’d tightened up and gotten all formal. Twitchy or not, though, as it stood, this man was his best shot right now of getting some distance between himself and Beylix. So, gritting his teeth and choking back the paranoia, he let the man fall behind him just a little but also made sure that he never got directly behind him… always keeping the Browncoat in his periphery…
“Wyatt Sung,” the Captain replied.
Sam nodded but said nothing else until they strolled up on the simulator. As he turned to face Captain Sung he offered up a half-grin when he saw the man already had a coin out and pinched between his fingers.
“I reckon if yer payin’ fer the ride, Cap,” Sam said as he tugged at his fingerless gloves and stretched his fingers, “Ya may as well pick the scenario, too…” he inclined his head toward the machine as his grin spread a bit wider “…cuz if’n ya left it up ta me, I’d like pick some namby-pamby li’l cargo run sim an’ make it look easy er sump’n.
So, what’s in gonna be, Wyatt? You want me ta run a firefly through a boneyard with some Fed cruisers in my wake, a combat sim, er do ya jus’ wanna take me ta flight school?” He winked at Rocinante’s captain and he settled himself in behind the controls.
“You pick it, Cap,” he grinned, “An’ I’ll fly it like ya ain’t never seen it flew.”
Wyatt had woken up even more during the time it took to gear up and get out of the ship. His hangover wasn’t completely gone, but he was doing much better now. He’d always been able to hold more liquor than the next man and he tended to recover faster after a binge. Now, he had to admire Dash’s bravado in the face of what he was sure would be a test that Wyatt would dismiss as common.
“Ain’t no point in running ya with an Alliance cruiser on yer tail,” Sung leaned against the machine and inserted the coin. “Them dogs couldn’t fly worth crap no ways. The whole lot of ‘em were ruttin’ tian di wu yohn in the sky an’ in the Black. There’s a run on ‘ere through an ice canyon. Let’s see how ya fare there, puhn yoh.”
That being said, Wyatt selected the scenario and then made room for Sam to take the seat, purposefully watching over his shoulder to make him a bit nervous… just like back in flight school.
Sam chaffed a bit at Wyatt’s comment about all Alliance pilots being useless. He understood the man’s sentiment, of course – after all, being a Browncoat himself, Sung had probably been on the receiving end of, at least, a strafing run or a hundred during the war – but the man was generalizing, as if everyone who’d ever gone to burn on behind the yoke of a Fed ship was a cheong bao ho tze gun. It wasn’t so much that Wyatt bore the Alliance ill-will (Find me a former Independent as don’t an’ I’ll find ya a Fed plant!) as it was that the man had just unknowingly questioned Dash’s skill without so much as trying.
“Uh… Yeah,” Sam said after sucking on his teeth for a second, “I reckon not, Cap. Ice canyon ya want, ice canyon ya get.” He slid into the seat, casting a quick, sidelong glance at Sung as the man dropped the coin into the machine and loaded the scenario. “How fast d’ya want it run?” he grinned confidently as he cracked his knuckles and took hold of the stick. I’ll show ya what worthless’s all about, ja hwo!
Sam didn’t expect an answer and, even if one had been given it wouldn’t have mattered; after that shiah hwa jab at his driving skills, he planned on running the sim as fast as he could push it out. “Tian-ling-ling, di-ling-ling,” he muttered as the sim started up, glancing back once to see Wyatt hovering over his shoulder.
He grinned at the man again, not even watching the display before him as he fired up the virtual boat’s engines and lifted it off the launch point; “Tryin’ ta make me nervous, are ya,” he chuckled as he sensed that he’d cleared the pad and turned to focus on the screen, “I get ya.”
His eyes checked the simulated navsat readings and, ever so calmly, his fingers flexing delicately on the yoke, Sam adjusted course to point him at the mouth of the canyon he was expected to fly through, then moved his hand to the throttle… “Drop yer jocks an’ grab yer socks, mijo,” he laughed as he shoved the throttle forward and opened up the engines, “here we go! Yeeeeeehaaaaaaaw!!!”
The canyon came up fast – maybe a little too fast for the liking of most pilots – but Sam didn’t seem swayed at all by the speed of it, in fact, flying at such speeds seemed to come almost natural to him. He rolled the ship as he blasted through the entrance to the canyon, keeping a hard bank to port and goading the throttle open even more as he threaded the simulated ship through a needles eye that had formed uncomfortably close to the canyon wall and then, pulling back hard to skim clear of a craggy outcropping just on the other side… Most of the remainder of the simulation was peppered with similar maneuvers, too – flying balls-out at nap-of-the earth, wrenching the ship into what some might have called shiang jing ping aerobatics that might have called the integrity of his brainpan into question, and, as he’d promised himself following Wyatt’s appraisal of purple-belly flying prowess, he’d blasted through the canyon at as close to top speed as could have been managed – as he reached the end of the canyon, he finally tugged the throttle back to a sane velocity and hauled back on the yoke to pull the ship up into a tight arc, looping it over on it’s back as it cleared the rim and then rolling it back onto it’s belly before gunning the engines again and rocketing back to the landing zone to finish the sim.
Sam was laughing as he brought the bird to roost and, once the simulator announced that the program had been completed and displayed the run time and stats, he jumped out of the seat and jabbed a victorious finger at the screen. “Now that’s how she’s done, bunky! Tian bu pa, di bu pa, tze pa Sam Dash! Ha ha!
Izzat good enough ta get me the gig, Cap?”
Wyatt had watched the whole episode in silence born of true admiration. He’d flown through some of the stickiest blockades the Alliance could form and pulled some crazy maneuvers in his day, but this Sam Dash character seemed to be born with wings. Someone less skilled behind the stick themselves might have looked at the way Dash pushed the limits as a little shy of dangerous, but Wyatt knew that Sam was selling himself. He apparently really wanted the job, and with those flying skills Wyatt was sure he couldn’t afford him.
“I said we’d see how ya did, puhn yoh, an’ then talk salary.” Wyatt glanced about the game room before motioning towards the door. “Got somethin’ fiery back at the boat. Why not go there an’ talk?”
He didn’t wait for Sam’s reply but instead started out the door. When he caught site of the ship once more he committed to memory the name he was having difficulty remembering and then stepped through the boarding door to the cargo hold.
“Well, I gotsta say, you sure ain’t no Nien Mohn pilot. Got yerself some Jing Tian Dwohn Di skills.” Wyatt paused and motioned towards one of the jutting pieces of the bulkhead for Sam to sit. “I’ll just grab the alcohol an’ be right back.”
It took him hardly any time to get two bottles of the stuff he’d just purchased a few hours earlier and return to the cargo hold. Handing one bottle to Dash he leaned against the wall and popped the top. Taking a swig to clear his head, Wyatt screwed his face up as the burning sensation almost instantly rid him of whatever bit of hangover was remaining. Taking a deep breath, he focused on the cocky pilot.
“I won’t lie,” he began. “I ain’t seen flyin’ like that in ages, an’ I’m no slouch behind the stick. So, ways I figure it I’d be a Lio Coh Jwei Ji Neong Hur Ho Deh Yung Duh Buhn Jah J’wohn if I let ya pass by like a tumbleweed. I ain’t payin’ nothing up front, though. I know ya can fly, but Rocinante ain’t a ferry ride.” Wyatt’s brain was working overtime as he made up process on the fly. He had no idea what he was going to do with a firefly. The only thing he knew how to do with a ship was run cargo, and mostly through Alliance space when they didn’t want you to be there. Way he figured it, that’s pretty much how he was going to have to make a living now, and his crew would have to play along.
“There’s t’ be some hard work an’ I won’t stand no one shirkin’.” Sung tried hard to remember what the previous captain had said at the tables concerning the condition of things and remembered quite suddenly that Rocinante had about used up her stay. “I’ll be settin’ off first thing in the mornin’ t’ find some cargo an’ you’ll get twenty credits a month—“ Wyatt had no idea that he’d just offered top salary. “—not a cred more. We’ll be flyin’ in overlapping shifts, an’ I’ll ‘xcpect t’ know I can trust ya with that iron too. I won’t have no ruttin’ Guay Toh Guay Nown Nien Mohn Feh Feh Pi Goh sleepin’ quarters on my ship, Dohn-lyh-mah?”
It was a speech and a half, especially for Wyatt at the time. He’d always been straight to the point, not caring about people’s feelings none. Now, lookin’ at the man he’d just hired (the first since his hired hands on the ranch) Wyatt found himself caring even less if he walked. That was the benefit of not knowing much about a person. You could care even less about the way you chaffed them.
“One other thing I won’t have on my boat. Those that love the Alliance. Anyone serves that master ain’t got no business breathin’ far as I’m concerned.” Wyatt made no move towards his hogleg as he spoke, but he was ready to draw down seeing how the Alliance had won the Unification War and as far as they were concerned, he’d just expressed a severe dislike on that fact as well as a very real eagerness to put anyone he could who felt otherwise to the curb. Of course, he didn’t know where Sam Dash stood concerning the Alliance and that just meant he had to be more wary.
An’ here we go with the negotiatin’, Sam thought as a stone-faced Wyatt scanned the arcade right quick and then suggested returning to the Rocinante to discuss salary over a nip of hooch, if this guy’s as long on speechifyin’ as he’s been to now, I reckon that ain’t gonna take but a minute an’ a half. Like a fart in the wind, this Wyatt Sung. Hell, an’ if he’s half-crocked when it comes ta offerin’ pay, I could end up on the richer side o’ well heeled, the scruffy pilot chuckled to himself as he cast another quick glance at his score displayed on the simulator’s screen.
Another of the arcade’s patrons, too, had stopped to gawk at the seemingly incredible tally; the man’s dubious gaze shifting from the display to the man in tattered jeans and a headscarf standing just a step or two away. “That’s right,” Sam grinned, offering the gawker a quick nod and a cocky wink before spitting on the floor, “all me. I won’t wait around ta see if ya can beat it, hump-face. I don’t reckon ya could stand the shame.” With that, Dash tapped the simulator with the side of a closed fist and moseyed out of the game room in Wyatt’s wake.
“Well, I gotsta say,” Wyatt said once they’d stepped through the door and into the ship’s main hold, “you sure ain’t no Nien Mohn pilot…”
Agin with the Alliance crap? Ya privy ta sump’n ya shouldn’t be, Wyatt Sung?
Dash glanced sidelong at the Rocinante’s captain, suddenly wondering if finding out about Rocinante needing crew hadn’t been some sort of elaborate set-up. Could this whole thing have been a trap? Wyatt being a pawn in the Alliance’s twisted dealings or a player in one of Phoenix’s games?
“Nope,” Sam replied simply, “sure ain’t.” Not no more…Not in a long gorram time.
“…Got yerself some Jing Tian Dwohn Di skills.” Wyatt paused and motioned towards one of the jutting pieces of the bulkhead for Sam to sit. “I’ll just grab the alcohol an’ be right back.”
“Sheh sheh,” Dash nodded. He cast a wary eye on the offered seat, quickly returning his attention to Sung as the man disappeared in search of the promised libations, and, finally, sat, if somewhat uneasily. Something about this whole situation had suddenly started making his skin crawl and his trigger-finger itch. How convenient was it that he was looking for a ticket off of Beylix because he figured that either the purple bellies or some ruttin’ slinger looking to collect on Phoenix’s bounty was about to catch up to him and, all the damn sudden, here’s a former Browncoat rooster looking to put together a crew? Yeah, Sam muttered to himself, he either knows somethin’ he shouldn’t er he’s just one damn sore loser carryin’ one ruttin’ big damn grudge…
His gaze ticked nervously around the bay, squinting uncertainly into the shadowed places as he rubbed his itching palms over the already worn denim encasing his legs. …Keep it easy… Don’t play into it… Ya can hope fer the latter, right?... If that’s all it is, Dash, ya can deal fer a ticket, right?
“Yeah,” he whispered, “an’ if it ain’t, I reckon I can get the drop on him once he’s back in that bottle, can’t I?” He leaned back then, dragging his hands along his legs once more, this time, his right hand stopped long enough to flip the catch on his holster, ensuring that the Avenger sheathed there would be one step closer to the ready. Sam’s eyes completed another circuit around the expanse of the bay and his fingers tugged at the edge of his bandana, lowering it enough to compensate for any glare from the overhead lights should he need to end up giving this Sung fellow a case of the dead. Then, forcing himself to play casual, leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees, inclining his head just enough to track Wyatt’s return.
Sam did straighten a bit when the man returned with two bottles. When Wyatt handed him one and opened the other, he offered a nod of thanks – even if his mind was screaming that separate bottles like meant that the one he’d been given had been doped or worse – and accepted the hooch. Sam watched as the other man leaned casually against the bulkhead and took a hard pull on the bottle he’d kept for himself…
“I won’t lie,” Wyatt said, following a screw-faced reaction to a swallowing a gullet full of rotgut, “I ain’t seen flyin’ like that in ages, an’ I’m no slouch behind the stick. So, ways I figure it I’d be a Lio Coh Jwei Ji Neong Hur Ho Deh Yung Duh Buhn Jah J’wohn if I let ya pass by like a tumbleweed…”
“I figure,” Sam offered as personable a grin as he could manage and, after a brief internal battle over doing so, finally uncapped the bottle of whiskey and lifted it to his lips. Gotta play the game an’ see where it goes for ya blow a chance, right? The amber liquid sloshed against his lips – he even let a bit trickle into the stubble at his chin for effect – but none of the whiskey entered his mouth. The way he figured it, if his lips didn’t fall off in the next minute or so, this Wyatt Sung weren’t no doper of any caliber and a real drink was safe.
“…I ain’t payin’ nothing up front, though. I know ya can fly, but Rocinante ain’t a ferry ride. There’s t’ be some hard work an’ I won’t stand no one shirkin’.”
“Mei wen ti,” Sam nodded before tentatively licking his lips and then taking another small sip from the bottle, “I got enough credits as’ll do me til we c’n get some income flowin’ an’ I c’n do a thing’r two aside from flyin’.”
“I’ll be settin’ off first thing in the mornin’ t’ find some cargo an’ you’ll get twenty credits a month…”
Sam arched a brow and probably straightened a bit more; his elbows came free of his knees as he took a decent pull of the whiskey and, somewhat incredulously eyed the man. Tah fah shian jing! This has gotta be a setup! No one offers pay like that off the top!
“…not a cred more. We’ll be flyin’ in overlapping shifts, an’ I’ll ‘xcpect t’ know I can trust ya with that iron too. I won’t have no ruttin’ Guay Toh Guay Nown Nien Mohn Feh Feh Pi Goh sleepin’ quarters on my ship, Dohn-lyh-mah?”
“Yup,” Dash nodded again, wiping his mouth on his forearm before setting the whiskey bottle aside, “Feh chun.”
He got to his feet, trying hard to ignore yet another generalized jab at the Alliance – again, Sam almost understood the sentiment but, with this one it seemed that anyone or anything that had ever so much as seen Alliance space was beneath contempt – and was prepared to seal the deal with a handshake. To get off this planet and get his ass in motion, Sam had decided that he could crew up with this prejudiced wong bah duhn and ride out the rough trails as they come.
“One other thing I won’t have on my boat,” Sung added before Sam could pace off two steps between them, “Those that love the Alliance…”
Sam took a third step. Suddenly, though, there was a sour taste in his mouth that hadn’t been left by the whiskey. Sam Dash didn’t love the Alliance as most would call it, in fact him and the Alliance’d had a major partin’ of ways, but Sung was taking all of this Fed-bashing just a might over full burn and, having been born to the Alliance (and despite the radically differing views where politickin’ and right and wrong was concerned) was beginning to take it right personal.
“…Anyone serves that master ain’t got no business breathin’ far as I’m concerned.”
Sam stopped before he could take a fourth step, hooked his thumbs over his gun belt, and studied Wyatt Sung long and hard for a moment. One corner of his mouth twitched and his eyes narrowed a bit, then, after an almost overlong silence, Dash chuckled and looked away. He snorted, spit on the deck, and, rubbing at one stubbled cheek, turned his whiskey colored eyes back to the man; “Ya ain’t never done this before, have ya?”
He noticed that Wyatt’s eyes had narrowed a bit, too, but job or no job, Sam couldn’t bring himself to let the caravel captain’s bias go unchecked… if he did, it was liable to get a far sight on the bad side of ugly at the wrong time. “I mean, first off, ya offer me top pay without hemmin’, hawin’, er hagglin’… that’s plumb crazy, son!
Then, ya ‘spect me ta believe yer gonna go out an’ scare us up work – any kinda work – when, from the minute I seen ya, ya been runnin’ off at the yap about the gorram Alliance this an’ the ruttin’ Alliance that! Shia Hwa!
Like it er don’t, Wyatt,” Sam sneered, jabbing a finger in the man’s direction to emphasize his point, “the gorram war’s over! An’ if ya ‘spect ta pull in any kinda credits whilst captainin’ a boat, yer gonna hafta learn ta reign yer politickin’ in… It ain’t just them as was friendly ta you Browncoats as have the contracts an’ cash! Hump! If ya run around the Verse spoutin’ that kinda mi tian gohn, ya might’s well go ‘head an’ starve yerself an’ gimme the gorram ship, now, get me?”
“You Browncoats, is it,” Wyatt returned from under raised brows. Not that he cared much if he had, but something he’d said to this pilot seemed to have touched a nerve, and that ‘you Browncoats’ might’ve just hinted “I ain’t sure tha’ yer tone is proper for them as is lookin’ fer work, puhn yoh. ‘Sides, I’m startin’ ta conjure tha’ ya like might’ve been one o’ them cheong bao ho tze Purple Bellies as gorram forced m’ politickin’ t’ th’ trail it’s ridin’… When th’ big damn ugly men rides up t’ yer place an’ takes from ya what’s yers… kills yer wife…” Wyatt’s fingers curled around the bottle’s neck before lifting it to his lips to numb the pain…
“Bi jweh,” Sam growled, hanging his head as he regrettably knew that what the man described was the truth… he didn’t care to be reminded that he knew such things, though… that he had had a part in killing innocents, too.
“…kills yer baby-girl…” Another agonized pull at the bottle; this time, the fingers on Wyatt’s other hand flexed, as if aching to grip the butt of his pistol just as he gripped the bottle.
He had actually winced when Wyatt said that… Yeah, I killed babies, too, din’t I?... “Gorram it,” Dash’s eyes lifted from the deck, “bi jweh!”
“Tha’s wha’ ya are, ain’t it, Sam,” Wyatt hissed following another swallow of the sour mash, “Jes’ a gorram baby-killin’, purple bellied Joo Bah Jeh…”
In the fraction of a second it took for Wyatt’s brainpan to send the order to his hand to raise the bottle to his lips again, Sam’s pistol had been ripped from its holster… The pistol coughed… the whiskey bottle exploded in Wyatt’s hand, showering his coat with shards of glass and splashing him with alcohol.
“I said,” Sam growled through the wisp of smoke that snaked out of the barrel of his pistol, “ta shut yer ruttin’ mouth!”
Posted on 2007-01-02 at 18:02:28.
Edited on 2007-01-02 at 18:04:04 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: Continuing Where We Last Left Off Q&A
Subject: Break's over!
Posted on 2007-01-02 at 17:14:00.
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Firefly RPG QnA
Subject: Sam's an open book...
...as far as what's on his character sheet goes, I'd reckon. I am assuming that Wyatt is probably the only one on the crew who knows the "whole story" behind Sam, though (all except for Sam's "real name", anyway)... the rest might've picked up bits and pieces and might have an inkling that Sam's not exactly what he appears but Wyatt'd be the only one who'd know the "major scoop"... Ya'll'll see how that pans out once we get the "When Wyatt met Sam" thing posted.
Posted on 2007-01-02 at 08:29:20.
Edited on 2007-01-02 at 08:30:14 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Firefly RPG QnA
Subject: Hehehe... we just get percited!
No worries Blammm-o! The game don't really start til after New Year's anyhoo... I'm sure we're all anxious to see "The Kid" in action, of course, but we won't fault ya none for having other things to do.
Have a great New Year's, all... See ya in the World.
Posted on 2006-12-29 at 11:05:02.
Topic: Voyages of the Rocinante - Firefly RPG QnA
Subject: But it's just a pretend oogle! ;)
An' Sam did it... not me...
hehehe... I kinda figure ol' Dash lives by the motto "Ya don't mi tian gohn where ya eat an' ya don't grapple where ya work" anyhow...
"Barkeep! I'd like a beer and I'd like ta see sump'n nekkid!"
Posted on 2006-12-29 at 09:36:54.
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