A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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It’s in the Water

Posted on 16 Apr 2019 @ 4:13pm by Lucas Bird & Adam Johnson & Jacobina Newton & Natalia Johnson & Sebastian Reeve
Edited on on 16 Apr 2019 @ 4:15pm

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

One thing Natalia never tired of was being looked at. Looks both furtive and open followed her wherever she went. At first it had been an annoyance, back on Santo, she had been singled out for her looks when all she wanted really was a quiet life, to be left to do her job without attracting too much attention, but that was never going to be. Now, years later, it bolstered her ego which was not insignificant in size. Glances of surprise and admiration landed upon her, necks craned to follow this her through the crowd as she moved with Adam and Bast, pretending to look over the various ships in port and occasionally speaking to crewmembers of the ones they secretly already knew weren't going their direction. Most if not all eyes followed the companion, impeccably dressed with a long Cape and Hood keeping the dust from invading. Such a shame then that it was a complete crock of bullshit.

Natalia has been ejected from the companions Guild years before for criminal activity. But it wasn't going to stop her from getting what she wanted, which right now was passage on the Valkyrie. The distinctive neck of a firefly became visible over the throng of people about them and Natalia let Adam lead her in the direction of their target with a gentle nod and a sweet smile.

Adam knew he was lucky, having a fully trained companion for a wife even if she wasn't a member of the guild any more, it wasn't just that the sex was amazing either. She tended to distract people simply by being there, which in situations like this, was an advantage. Whether he belonged to her, or he'd paid her to accompany him on his trip didn't matter to the people who watched them pass, and he was happy to let his lips form a slightly smug smirk as they moved through the docks.

The firefly they wanted wasn't due to leave for another few hours, but with enough credits Adam knew they would be able to convince the Captain to leave now. The Ship was registered as heading for Persephone, and offering passage to anyone who was also heading that way. Adam was hoping that they would find themselves in luck regarding other people not wanting to go that way, that way the Captain would be more inclined to take the detour. Luckily, at the moment, Valentine wasn't too far from Persephone. He glanced over his shoulder to make sure Bast was keeping up and as they left the last crew behind them they headed over to the firefly.

Bast followed in the wake of Natalia and Adam quietly, hardly paying attention to their surroundings. His bag was secured with latches that were noisy and required knowing the trick to open, and made of a material that made cutting it open nearly impossible, which meant that there was little harm that could come to him in the crowd that wasn't going to get the attention of his companions. He fiddled with a little metal puzzle as he walked.

"Good afternoon Ma'am" Adam said, tipping his hat to the woman who was moving around on the ramp formed by the space door of the ship. "I was wondering if I could speak to the Captain," he said with a smile.

"The Captain's busy getting us ready to take off again, but maybe I can help you?" Coby settled the small crate of medical supplies she held on her hip and looked to the group.

"Then I hope so, I'd rather not disturb him unless necessary," Adam replied with a genial smile. "I'd like to enquire about passage for me and my associates, cost, and the possibility of a slight detour to our exact destination. We've had a slight issue with our arranged transportation which means it cannot leave, and I'm afraid we're on a rather tight schedule," he explained, he spoke quickly but clearly, conveying the urgency of their situation without seeming desperate just yet.

Coby looked over the three people standing in front of her. They looked respectable enough, the man speaking to her was being polite. She'd been told to ask the standard rate plus some negotiation cushion for anyone who showed interest... but that didn't include figuring out things like detours or leaving early. And weren't there parts and supplies that were still waiting to be delivered? Qi would be put out if she didn't get her fresh fruit.

"Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to negotiate beyond the basic cost... I'm just the boat's doctor. I'll have to disturb the captain. Excuse me a moment." Coby nodded politely before stepping back to the comm panel near the foot of the stairs just inside the airlock. After giving it half a moment to connect, she leaned in and lowered her voice. "Captain, I have a group of three potential passengers here at the airlock. I would have just negotiated the price based on the guidelines you gave me, but they're asking for some special accommodation — they want a detour, and they're in a hurry, so I suspect they want to leave sooner than we're scheduled."

"I'll be right down, stay charming," Luke told her, the smile evident in his voice as he asked her to keep the passengers talking.

Adam attempted to listen in, but it was only what he would have expected to hear. He glanced across at his wife, and shot her a smile, he was looking forward to meeting the Captain, very much so.

True to his word, it didn't take Luke long to make it down to the cargo bay, and he pulled on a smile as he walked out onto the ramp.

"Good afternoon Ma'am, it is a great pleasure, Lucas Bird, Captain of the Valkyrie," he said with a respectful nod of his head towards the woman in the companions cloak, holding out his hand to her.

"Likewise, Captain." Natalia returned and took the hand gently and briefly.

That done he turned to the clean cut businessman who's arm she was gracing. "Good afternoon Sir,"

Adam held out his hand and shook the Captain's, his grip was firm and sure, just like his posture, his tone. "Thank you for coming down, I'm afraid we're in a spot of bother," he said, with the sense to look slightly embarrassed about their plight.

"What can I do for you?" Luke asked with a smile, tucking his thumbs into his belt. Adam explained their situation once more, and Luke listened, nodding occasionally and looking between the members of the group. "Well, I'm sure we can come to some kind of arrangement that'll suit everyone," he replied genially. "We can only offer second class accommodations, but we have a pair of talented cooks, so anything you're served will be of the best quality we can provide," There was a shout from a Mule heading into their dock and Luke waved. "There's our fresh produce now, Coby can you sort that?" he asked, turning to the doctor.

Though it was the Valkyrie's mule that rolled up the ramp as way was made for it, the figure that guided it was hiding in an olive drab jacket, hair messily tucked up under a cap, and eyes hidden behind goggles. Coby made a face as she followed the mule when it didn't slow down near the airlock.

"Qi, wait," Coby called after her, and once she was deep in the belly of the ship, Qi finally stopped the mule and dismounted. "What is with you? You're going to give yourself heat stroke bundled up like that." Coby finally came to a stop next to Qi.

"Ain't that a companion at the airlock with the Cap'n? Don't tell me he's thinkin' of takin' 'em on?" Qi grabbed the large crate of produce and shoved it towards Coby.

"They just arrived and were asking about passage. It sounds like they want a detour and are in a hurry. I don't know if the Captain will go for it." Coby set the crate down on top of another larger one they stood nearby. Qi jumped back onto the mule.

"I gotta go get Ella, she needed more time looking at parts and we were worried things would go bad waiting out in the heat of the market. Do me a favor, but please don't ask me to explain? Try an' talk the Cap'n down from lettin' the companion on the boat? She'll make for a whole heap of trouble." Qi climbed back on the mule, and held up a canteen. "And don't you worry none about heat stroke, I'll be fine."

Before Coby could answer Qi's request one way or the other, Qi had started to back out at full speed, giving a toot of the horn as she went to make sure people stayed out of her way. With a wave, she was down the ramp again and off to find Ella.

Luke was surprised by how quickly Qi had come and gone, but was more concerned by how much she'd bundled herself up, was she feeling ill? But his attention was focused on their passengers.

Luke was grinning, the slighter man of the pair seemed happy for the one arm in arm with the companion to make the negotiations, as had the companion herself. He was honestly surprised at their approaching his ship, but he'd seen that theirs was the only even headed vaguely in the right direction.

"As for the detour, we do have a deadline to meet, but we could squeeze that in if we leave in a couple of hours, means I won't get any more passengers though," Luke mused, wanting to make his position clear.

"I won't pay more than steerage rate for the unoccupied cabins," Adam said, calmly but clearly, now well and truly into bartering mode.

"Aye, that's fair," he did a quick calculation in his head. "Three hundred and ten credits a day, for while you're on the ship, four hundred for the two days it'll take us to get back on track after the detour,"

"Two forty, and two fifty," Adam countered.

Luke laughed. "Three, and three seven five,"

Adam took a moment to consider, holding Luke's gaze, he'd gone low to see what the reaction would be. "Three and three fifty," he said, Luke look a little surprised by the high offer, but Adam had a condition. "And we leave within the hour," he added with a smile. Luke paused as Adam held out his hand. As long as Qi and Ella got back in time that was doable. Unless Ella had something burning she wanted to fix, but she'd gotten the space doors open, she assured him they would close, and she'd not told him of any other burning needs to pull the engine apart or something...

Coby picked up the crate of produce that Qi had left, and had turned to head up to the galley with it when she heard the negotiations. She turned to see the potential passenger holding out his hand. Shit, she needed to try to talk to the Captain; she hadn't had a chance to tell Qi she would, but she should at least try.

"Uh, Captain, can I have a quick word?" She set the produce crate down again.

Luke sighed and his smile widened as he looked down at the hand being offered to him as they were interrupted. He looked back up at Adam and gave him an apologetic smile. ”Very sorry, could you give me a moment?” Adam merely nodded, but once Luke’s back was turned he looked across at Natalia with a raised eyebrow.

“What?” He asked, moving quickly over to Coby, wanting to find out why she’d interrupted them, quickly before he lost out on the custom of their potential passengers.

She offered Luke a wide apologetic smile, and spoke softly. "I don't know what's up with Qi—you just saw her tear out of here like a horse with a switch to its flank—but before she left again, she asked me to talk you out of taking the companion onto the ship. She didn't say more than she felt she would bring trouble."

And bring trouble she would, not that anyone was aware of it just now, save the prospective clients who were all plots and nastiness. Still, Natalia looked all sweetness and cordiality and she deployed her charm with full effect at this potential hickup.

"I hope there is no problem Captain Bird?" Natalia let her hood fall, showing the golden glint of her blonde hair in the bright light. "I understand a companion is an unconventional cargo but we'll be on our best behaviour," -she added a cute chuckle to this, as if the chances of anything but cordiality were remote as a recluse's residence- "...and a companion will do plenty for your reputation. We're in such a bind. You wouldn't leave us stranded here to miss our appointment?" Large brown eyes looked up at him. Puppy dogs had nothing on these, the look on her face could have willed a ruttin' coward to cage fight a reaver.

Luke looked over his shoulder as the companion spoke up. “No, no, not at all,” he reassured her, when she let her hood down he could see that she was in fact, absolutely gorgeous. For a moment he was more than a little stunned, barely taking in what she said. He blinked. He scrubbed the back of his neck with his hand, looking between Coby and the companion, and the look she was giving him. “I uh...”

Adam looked from his wife to the captain, and only practise at not rolling his eyes at her antics allowed his face to remain passive. She would have been one of the best companions available if she hadn’t fallen in with the wrong crowd. As it was, he let a slightly smug expression creep onto his face, he was after all the man with a companion on his arm, negotiating her passage around the ‘verse.

Luke looked back at Coby. “Look, I’m sorry, but I can’t let over two thousand credits go on a trip that could have been one without a profit to it. I need more than a feeling to go on,” he whispered. He turned back to the trio waiting on the ramp.

“Three and three fifty?” He clarified, and Adam nodded. This time Luke held out his hand, “You have a deal,” Adam took his hand, both grips firm and sure, and they shook on the deal, both men smiling widely. Natalia was smiling widely too. Her face was pleased that the deal had been done and they would be on their way, but her mind was smiling for an entirely different reason. The job was on. They would never see it coming.

From somewhere in the ventilation system Tabitha observed the exchange. New people. Shit. She thought to herself. She was just starting to get used to the crew and was looking forward to spending more time around them without being quite so timid. This now there were more of them and unknown persons too. She'd spend most of this next trip hiding and cooking, just like the last one.

Lucas Bird

Zhong Qi


Coby Newton

Natalia Johnson

Adam Johnson

Sebastian Reeve


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