A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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And The Barrel Was Empty As Air

Posted on 19 Aug 2018 @ 6:13pm by Lucas Bird & Zhong Qi & Gabrielle Lemaire & Jacobina Newton

Mission: I Don't Care, I'm Still Free

The flight from Hera was going smooth. The ship was in great condition—especially for a Firefly of her age—and Qi had been pleasantly surprised that even the small things that usually were left broken on a Firefly had been seen to with care. The small readout for the cockpit temperature that she'd never seen working on a single Firefly she'd flown before had its needle pointed at 68°F/20°C, which is about what it felt like in the cockpit. She settled back in her chair—tempted to put her feet up but she was afraid to scuff something with her boots—and kept an eye on the controls.

She heard boot fall on the deck and stairs leading into the cockpit and half glanced over her shoulder. "Everythin' smooth as silk, Cap'n."

Luke was pretty happy with the crew they'd found. From the moment he'd met Gabrielle he knew Alice had made a good suggestion there, and as she'd walked him round the ship everything she'd said and the way she'd handled herself had done nothing but tick boxes. The pilot was a dream, in every sense of the word, even if she'd cut his balls off in those dreams if she was pushed. He couldn't help but smile at himself at that thought, he liked being around people who could handle themselves.

It was their medic who had been the real shock when she'd turned up, the twin of someone he'd seen die in the war. Needless to say it had been more than a little awkward to start with, but they seemed to be getting over that.

"Glad to hear it," he said as he moved into the cockpit behind her and across to lean on the back of the co-pilot's chair. Worse come to worst, he could have flown the ship himself, but he'd much rather let Qi fly, she did a much better job.

"Valkyrie's in better shape than most Fireflys I've seen. You just got her?" Qi sat up, leaning in towards her panel to seem more attentive. She didn't think Luke would care how attentive she looked as long as the job gets done, but too many of her previous employers had been the sort hung on appearances, so old habits died hard.

"Captain, you might want to get down here," the intercom came to life with Coby's voice. "Ella looks about ready to put Reeve out the airlock or fill him with lead, and I don't really blame her... But it might be bad for business, and the latter makes for a lot of cleanup."

Luke had been about to reply, noting her shift in body language. She was proving her worth a a pilot without the show, but it was nice that she wanted to make sure he knew she was doing her job properly, a smile crossed his lips just before Coby spoke over the com.

"What the," he muttered before slamming his finger into the com button. "Where are you?" he asked, no point going to the wrong place after all.

"Cargo hold. I'll try to keep them to yelling 'til you get here, but no promises. Ella's steamed."

As Coby spoke, Qi made sure that the auto pilot was set and any proximity alarms were configured right. She didn't intend to miss this.

Luke would have rolled his eyes at Qi, but as this was the first inter-crew bust up he couldn't imagine anyone wanted to miss it. No doubt Nick was already down there adding fuel to the fire. He sighed and made his way through the ship at a jog, practically throwing himself down the stairs onto the catwalk. He ran down onto the main floor taking the steps two at a time.

"Someone needs to tell me what the ruttin' hell is goin' on here!" he growled, looking between the crew members gathered there.

Qi was on Luke's heels all the way from the cockpit until he left the stairs, as she elected to wait on the bottom step, hopefully out of the line of fire if guns were drawn.

Reeve wasn't going to waste any time in telling his side of the story. He'd applied to be the mechanic not a stinkin' deck hand. All he'd done was point out that she'd made a mistake and then gone back to correct it when she wasn't there. "This Jien huo tried to knife me!" he shouted.

"Better one dead idiot than the entire crew! Je devrais te couper la tête et pisser dans le trou!" Ella spat at the deck hand. Like her father Bastien before her Ella had some kind of temper. Bastien’s had got him killed but his daughter wasn’t quite there, at least not yet.

"You think the little blonde girl doesn’t know how to stop the gorram bay doors from sticking? Huh? You think you’re so gorram smart! But if you had done an inspection of the entire ship like the rutting ships engineer did you would know the voltage converter for the door motors is fucked like your mother cruising for customers on a Tuesday night!"

Qi snorted and bit her lip.

"Woah, woah, enough with the cussin' an' shoutin' an' gettin' tetchy, I wanna know what happened so I can decide who's goin' out the gorram airlock," Lucas growled stepping forward and putting himself between the bickering pair. "So you, shut your pie hole like a gent, and let the lady speak," he said, pointing at Reeve before turning to look at Gabrielle.

"Speak fast and speak plain, what happened," he asked her.

Coby stood not far from Ella, and her eyes moved from Reeve to Nick. Nick's hand sat on the handle of his gun and he stared at Ella with a stern frown.

"I swear to all you hold holy, Nick, if you draw your gun I will not pull the lead out of your fool body, nor your buddy's. And God help you if your bullet finds me." Cody then looked to Ella and Luke. "Apologies, but he seemed to need to hear some sense."

Fire flashed in the eyes of the engineer as she looked at Luke. It wasn't directed at him, but now the det chord had been lit good and proper and a man could either take his chances stamping it out or wait for the bomb to go off. Instead of running her mouth like the company expected Ella crossed to the airlock controls and lent on them. The rumble of the space doors should have filled the Bay, but instead a maniacal silence prodded at the crew daring someone else to speak.

"This tah mah duh hwoon dahn has been busy again!" Ella explained to Luke at extreme volume. "The cargo bay doors are now smooth like butter but because the transformer for the motors is shot the FUCKING SPACE DOORS WON'T OPEN! We'll be gorram lucky if the whole rutting system isn't fried. It's a good thing we don't, oh I don't know, need to UNLOAD THE FUCKING CARGO THROUGH IT?! It took me HOURS to get them both working without replacing the transformer! PUTAIN!"

Luke held Gabrielle's gaze, he knew she wasn't angry at him, and he didn't want to incur her wrath any more than he did Qi or Cody's, but he couldn't back down. He raised his eyebrow at her and waited. He watched as she moved over to the door controls. As the space doors failed to move Luke's expression darkened and he turned slowly to look at Reeve.

"Do you wanna explain to me why we're having this peck of trouble, why you think you've got any right to touch anything mechanical on my ruttin' boat or give me any reason not to label you yi dwei da buen chuo roh?" he growled, moving closer to the slightly weedy deckhand and towering over him.

Reeve glared the engineer as she went through her demonstration, and then that glare passed to Luke as he spoke to him.

"She's a ornery amateur who don't know what the hell she's talkin' about. She stopped me before I could finish the job!" he replied throwing his arms into the air in frustration. "Another ten minutes and it'd be workin' like a charm, good thing she's khu ai, she's got a fine ass but her brain ain't worth..."

Luke had drawn his gun before he'd even finished insulting Gabrielle and pointed it at the guy's face.

"You listen, and you listen good," his tone was measured, if he was being honest he'd like to punch the guy in the face right now but he couldn't do that, not yet anyway. "This here is my boat, she's the engineer, she's paid to mess with this stuff, you're gettin' paid to move the cargo. Now you've jammed the gorram doors shut how exactly are you panning to get that done, cause if that cargo don't move, you sure as hell ain't gettin' paid. Now you can either do the work I'm payin' you to or you can get the hell off my boat, and if you can't do that, you'll be gettin' off it a hell of a lot sooner than you think... Dohn luh mah?"

"You'll be down a gun too," Nick spoke up. He cleared his throat, and when he saw Coby look at him again, he made a point to take his hand off the butt of his gun. "You fire him, and I walk."

"You won't be missed," Qi shot. "Small brain, smaller dick." When Coby raised an eyebrow at the pilot, Qi snorted. "Someone can't be fucked to do up his pants before leaving the head. I sure as hell wouldn't waste my skills on the likes of him."

"Hey, you watch your mouth, whore." Nick's hand landed on the butt of his gun again as he took a step towards Qi. In one move Ella's sawn-off shotgun was out of its holster and pointing at Nick. She flicked the twin-hammers back with a menacing click.

"You'll be in bits before you call her that again, Nicholas." The pronunciation of his name was pure French, loaded with the derision that only that language can bring.

"Fine, both of you will be leaving with that Cargo, unless you decide you'd rather leave before it," Luke snapped, while making a mental note to always check his fly before leaving the head. "I'll even be nice about it if everyone can be reasonable, I'll let you decide this boat isn't the right fit for you and pay you for the time you were here, looks better when trying to find a new position..." he suggested with a smile that didn't reach his eyes. The fact was he didn't trust either of these guys as far as he could throw them, especially now, and he and Alice had both agreed they were worth a try. The kicker was they'd had good recommendations, in a variety of positions, so he couldn't understand why they were being so petty. Do the job you're hired to do, help out when asked, that was all he wanted...

"We don't need charity from some Feh Feh Pi Goh who's being lead around by a–" Nick's eyes settled on Ella's gun, and there was a pause before he continued. "We'll be fine without your nice offer. But we'll certainly tell everyone what sort of person Lucas Bird and his crew of Ma Tze are."

"Go hwong tong, that's not charity, that's me playing fair, which is something you Sah Gwa apparently know nothing about," he took a breath. "You can tell folks what you like once you're off my boat, but right now you're gonna hold your tongue and do the jobs I'm payin' you for. I figure you'd better stop shootin' insults too, cause I'm pretty sure these ladies are a might pissed off, and I don't want there to be a bullet in your brain while you sleep. 'Less I put it there my own self o' course..."

"Don't need to waste lead on a piece of shit like this," Coby said, eying Reeve and Nick. "Just remember, all that same knowledge that lets me patch you back up again means I can leave you in a world of hurt if you threaten anyone again. If anyone needs me, I'll be cleaning my scalpels..." And with that, Coby made her way towards the infirmary.

"Well, the Doc seems to think the trouble is over, and I'd hate to prove 'em wrong..." he said, putting the safety back on his gun and holstering it. "You," he said looking at Reeve "are going to go back to your bunk and stop interfering in things that aren't yours to interfere with, you may have wanted to play mechanic but you didn't make the cut, and now we all know why."

Reeve looked like he wanted to say something but stopped himself.

"You," he pointed at Nick "are going to keep a civil tongue in that head of yours or I'm going to remove it, and both of you are going to pack, cause the second this job is done, so are you, and I never want to see either of you on this boat ever again," He glared at them until they left. Both sulky and looking like they wanted to stab him in the back.

With a sigh and a shake of his head he turned to Qi and Ella.

"Sorry about that, I'd avoid being alone with either of them if I were you, not that I don't think you can handle yourselves, but I'd rather the doc was patching them up than either of you," he looked over at the airlock and his expression darkened once again, he looked back at Ella. "Let me know if there's anything I can do to help, I'm no engineer, but I can follow instructions if I have to..." he shrugged, maybe it wasn't the best thing to say, but where engines were concerned it was the truth. With stink eye still firmly resting on Nick and Reeve Ella uncocked the shotgun and slid it back into its holster.

"I fixed it before, I can fix it again and much quicker too if this branleur hasn't cooked anything" she told Luke before continuing in a quieter voice. "We um... probably need a new transformer at our next stop…"

Luke nodded in understanding, and hoped that nothing had been fried while Reeve had been messing with the system. "I'll get one if I can, we're not going to the height of technical civilisation unfortunately, and like I said, if you need another pair of hands give me a shout," he sighed and tucked his thumbs into his gun belt, custom made with a thigh holster on each side. He'd been hoping that carrying while on the ship would have been unnecessary and had done it mostly for show, hell he looked to be more armed than their gunslinger was.

"If you'll excuse me ladies, I will be somewhere those two assholes aren't..." he said with a smile and a flick of his fingers in place of a lazy salute and headed up to the crew corridor. Once he was done with the pair of them no one who trusted his or Huang Long's judgement on ill fitting crew members was going to go near those dipshits.

Lucas Bird

Ella Lemaire

Zhong Qi

Jacobina "Coby" Newton

NPCS- Reeve #WanderingHands by Z, Nick #SmallBrainSmallerDick by Amy


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