Magellanic Cloud

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  1. Space Adventure Time!

    Ship: The Conqueror
    Crew: 20 souls
    Purpose: Research vessel with light weaponry.
    Mission's length: 4 years from the lift off to landing back in Mars docks.

    Colonised planets: Mars (primarily mining), Uranus and Neptune's (research bases ) orbits.


    Show Spoiler

    Name: Natalia Menshikov
    Age: 28
    Affiliation: Livco Inc. ( Primarily weapon's R&D).
    Height: 5'8''
    Hair color: Dark Brown/ Auburn
    Eye color: Grey
    Ethnicity/Origin: Visegrad Group


    There is something arrogant in the way Natalia carries herself. Her chin is slightly raised and features often show bored indifference. Still, there is little she can hide in terms of own emotions since Natalia's body language is rather expressive. She likes theatrical gestures and vapid, non committal conversations that help her in avoiding talking about emotionally difficult issues.

    Natalia was born when her family already bought majority of Livco's shares. She enjoyed rather luxurious and high end life, rarely interacting with people from lower classes. The Conqueror's crew is made of people from many backgrounds and social layers, which makes this all a new experience. Raised by a demanding parent, Natalia is a vain perfectionist who has little tolerance for mistakes (especially her own). There are many traits people around may find difficult to deal with: Natalia can be capricious, moody and stubborn. Life on a ship tamed her, but things may change once the true problems will start.


    Name: Dr Lennox La Fayette

    Age: 25

    Appearance: long brown hair (just beyond shoulder length), grey-blue eyes, slim build and aristocratic features. He is gentle and expressive with mild manners and a shy smile. 5'9" tall and slim.
    Bio: Lennox and his twin sister Lariene were born into poverty but destined for greatness. Both twins exhibited prodigeneous tendencies from a young age. Lariene was an exceptional dancer with above average intelligence. She strove to do well in school but her intelligence paled compared to her brother who was nothing short of exceptional. Lennox pretended to not know things in school to hide his capabilities so he would not be separated from his sister to take more advanced classes but his intelligence was discovered and his teachers insisted his parents make full use of his abilities. Lennox agreed on the condition he wasn't separated from his sister. He began reading advanced books and taking different exams but remained in his sisters class. Lariene's passion for dance led her to audition for the chance to enroll in the most prestigious ballet school in the known galaxy, far from their simple home on the poor colony planet Tyrrius. Lennox agreed to enroll in medical school if his sister earned her place in dance school. On the way home from her audition Lariene was killed in a tragic road traffic collision and eleven year old Lennox plunged into a deep depression for three years, his parents moves across colony for a fresh start but could ill afford treatment for their son. At 13 he was still very much lost in his woes and his parents had no choice but to send him to Citadel Corp to attend medical school so he could afford treatment for his depression which they could not provide. At 19 he graduated top of his class in medicine and began researching and practicing. His travels piqued an interest in xenobiolgy which he studied for 2 years and became a renowned researcher in. Now he has been selected to join the Conquerors crew for their next mission.

    Name: Claudia "Scratch" Michaels

    Age: 30

    Appearance: short, rough around the edges, she has her head shaved on one side and the other side is cut short, raven black hair with dyed green tips. She is of east Asian descent and has sallow skin and small dark eyes. She's short, 5'2" but packs a sizeable amount of muscle. She has a scar on her cheek and slightly overcrowded teeth.
    Bio: Youngest from a large family who owned shares in Livco, Claudia had to make her own way in the world and with a gaggle of older brothers pushing her around ... she ended up a little rougher rather than ladylike. She underwent training in Livco security department and quickly rose through the ranks because other underestimated her because she was a short woman. She was ruthless and earned the name Scratch from her tendency to fight dirty even when she didn't have to. She works closely with Natalie and the two have an amicable apbeit unuaual friendship, Scratch tests Natalie experimental weapons.


    Name: Reed "Cap" Carter

    Appearance : slightly tanned skin, brown eyes, has a neatly groomed goatee/beard and short brown-black hair. He has a dimpled smile and is generally overall pleasant. He's sometimes called the gentle giant as he's warm heartes but a staggering 6 feet in height. Despite his large size he's rarely regarded as intimidating.

    Bio: Only child to a military mom and a military dad, Reed was supposed to follow their footsteps but he was a sickly child and I'll fit for the military, he did however make a superb mechanic and his interest in flight technology was unparalleled. His parents invested in his interest and he want to flight school as soon as he was eligible. His health improved over the years and he even managed to get through basiciliyary training though he sticks mainly to flying and maintaining ships. His good nature and natural charisma saw him breeze into the role of captain with great ease and he was selected from Citadel Corp to lead the Conqueror crew to glory. He was selected because his personality appeared to best suit the needs of the complicated team, his warmth and compassion will hopefully bring people together.


    Name: Roy 'Ghost' Fermi
    Age: 34
    Affiliation:UNATU (United Nation Antiterrorist Unit)

    Height: 6''2''
    Hair color: Black
    Eye color: Brown
    Ethnicity/Origin: Israeli


    No matter how hard Roy would try to hide he is a soldier, it wouldn't work. His features bear few discolourations that betray reconstructive surgeries after many wounds he received in the line of duty. If that isn't enough a tell tale, Roy has been augmented with enhancements available for UN spec ops. His eyes has been replaced by complex optics and bones integrated with durable metal fibres. Roy's heart is surrounded by a thin, electrical network that can keep Roy alive even with significant blood loss.

    All this has a price though - a bouts of imminence pain which he needs strong painkillers for (this makes him a frequent guest at the med bay). Above all, Roy relies on anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids so his body won't reject all the augmentation.


    A child born in slums doesn't have much choice when it comes to future prospects. Between becoming a gang member or a simple slum dweller, Roy decided to join the military. It quickly became apparent he had a knack for it, especially for hunting down and killing people. He rose in ranks rather quickly, before joining spec ops team - to do what he did best. As a unit commander he earned a nickname 'Hardass' among his men, but Ghost among his enemies. Roy never had sadistic tendencies, but was a cold blooded killer when the need arose. A job is a job and it has to be done, no matter the cost.

    Because of the ruthless efficiency, but distant and nonabrasive attitude made him a good choice for a security chief who wouldn't lose his head when worse came to worst.

    Npc's so far: An unnamed co pilot girl.
    Scott Hardesky - astrophysics

    “Man has gone out to explore other worlds and other civilisations without having explored his own labyrinth of dark passages and secret chambers…”
    S. Lem

    The soft hum of engines slowly turned into a vibrating roar when the ship made another jump. The vessel began to shake, resonating like an angry bee. Natalia tensed, her muscles coiled and a sudden rush of adrenaline washed through her veins. The woman pressed her back against the cold, metal wall, but quickly changed her mind. Every time the jump happened she had a terrifying impression the ship would fall apart. Destroyed by the unknown forces that existed in those pockets of reality between space and time. They needed this physical torment as the light speed wouldn’t be enough to get them to another galaxy. So the Conqueror jumped, creating small wormholes. It strained the ship and the crew alike, after the jump their four engineers had to go through the systems, fixing damage to electronic components. For a human the jump meant nausea, headaches, brief loss of orientation and God only knew what else could get screwed up along the way. They agreed to pay the price, for the good of the mankind. And profit.

    When the signal came, it caught everyone by surprise. By the year 2096 humanity firmly believed to be alone in the universe. Or at least their own Galaxy, plus its closest neighbourhood. This arrogant, ethnocentric view was now challenged by a short message that came from the edges of Megallenic Cloud. A small, satellite Galaxy to Milky Way. It took the top mathematicians fifteen years to decipher it and they arrived to a surprising conclusion. The signal was a distress call, a distress call that had approximately one hundred fifty-thousand years. Whoever had sent the message might have died long time ago, leaving nothing but a handful of dust. It didn’t matter, they had to check and Natalia wasn’t one to miss out on something this big. Even if the chances of returning were slim.

    After another disgusting session in the bathroom and getting properly cleaned up, Natalia decided to see how the rest of the crew was fairing. The engineers designed the ship to have plenty of room, even if it meant sacrificing efficiency. Way to often the astronauts developed anxiety, depression or even psychosis from being locked up in tight spaces. When you spent 24/7 with someone things tend to get ugly. Everyone had their own little space, just in case they needed some solitude or were furious with another crew member. This solution had been employed ever since the murderous incident over Jupiter’s moon. For Natalia it meant seeing fewer people who annoyed her, which was just fine. She left her quarters and quietly talked through the hallways toward the main room where everyone had to show up after the jump. It wasn’t enough they could simply call in through their personal comms. No, the captain needed his headcount. Natalia didn’t like the man and had a hard time to hide it. First of all, he was the Citadel’s pawn. Secondly, the captain didn’t seem like a man who could make tough calls when things got hairy. In truth, Natalia was carrying around a grudge that no one made her a mission leader. The overseeing the ship’s researchers belonged to ‘second best’ category, yet still not enough for an ambitious heiress.

    ”Hi, Roy.” She greeted the security chief whose normally tawny, strong features turned oddly green. ”Don’t puke in the hallway.” Natalia added with a sigh to what Roy showed her a finger. A smirk crept on the woman’s lips; they were friends and such gestures already became a part of their feigned rivalry. Along the way she knocked on Claudia’s doors, hoping her friend would be there. They grew close over the past two years, maybe because they both knew means justified the end. Or maybe because they were there were only three women on the Conqueror. ”That was the final jump, let’s go celebrate before Cap will call for the assembly.” She called through the doors. Celebrating meant broaching Natalia’s secret stash of rum, whiskey and vodka. Alcohol could help with the space sickness. They should try it. For science.
    #1 Poludnica, Jan 4, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2016
  2. The med bay was like ground zero of a bomb site after the jump. It came as no surprise, even veterans couldn't fight the symptoms of a jump if they were suceptible to it. Lennox was busy tending to five members of their already rather modest crew, whom hadn't fared well on the jump. Five out of twenty was a pretty big chunk, it was lucky Lennox seemed well enough from the jump and luckier still that the side effects were brief in most cases.

    An engineer was horribly ill in one corne, so bad that he needed an IV to keep him from feeling faint after the sickness passed. The rest were generally mild cases and he flitted between beds, of which there were only five in the med bay.

    Claudia, nicknamed Scratch, was praying to the porcelain god in the crew chambers, this jump hadn't agreed with her but she didn't take to the med bay to get treated. Between her coughing and wretching she cursed Citadel for their "fucking useless FTL drives, shitty tin can ships" and so on.
    She groaned and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand when Natalia knocked on the door. She wobbled on her feet but composed herself by the time she turned and opened the door.
    "Better be something strong Nat." She smirked. "We'll be drinking whatever citadel shite these morons carry for a while"

    Reed liked a good challenge and healthy competition, and meeting new people..but this wasn't exactly what he'd usually sign up for. A cross-corporation crew would be difficult to knot together and it was his responsibility to hold it all together, as well as flying the damn ship. As sociable as he was, sometimes he'd just be happy to abandon his captain responsiblities and just fly instead. Of course his crew couldn't know that so as far as they were concerned he was the usual optimistic captain. He was cautiously hopeful that things would work out well with the crew, he had no choice but to find the way. He flipped on the intercom and notified the crew of the entire vessel that the last jump had been a success and that they landed 50 klicks off course which was pretty accurate, FTL travel was a risky game and it was hard to land where you wanted to, a 50 kick deviation was miniscule and they only needed a minor course correction to resume their proposed flight path. He calmly told the crew they had entered a drift period to allow the FTL drives and engines to cool off and offered his apologies to those suffering with motion sickness from the jump. He turned to his Cocaptain,a tall beautiful dark skinned girl and told her to take the wheel while he done a quick sweep to see his crew.
    "Yes Captain" she said saluting, Reed smiled and told her "Just Reed is fine," she didn't need to be formal all the time, he'd give the crew a manners check if they needed it but right now he wanted to promote integration and friendship, ranking himself above everyone made him feel as if he was being standoffish and there was no need for it.

    His first stop was the med bay where Lennox was up to his hears in patients, though the mild mannered doctor had everything under control and operated with a serene calmness, Reed hoped that that promoted some trust and cooperation.
    "Need a hand?" Reed asked, Lennox politely declined. "This won't take long now that we're in drift." He relieved the sickest patient of his cannula IV and two patients who'd finally gathered themselves sulked out to assume their usual posts.
    "It'll be quiet again soon and you can go back to your research" Reed assured.
    "I don't mind, it's quite nice to see a few faces sometimes ... granted it's better when they're not ill. Thanks for stopping by Reed" the doctor smiled tucking a strand of hair behind his ear.

    Reed smiled to himself and left the med bay, next stop was crew cabins and then engineering followed by all the other little nooks around the ship. He'd move back to the bridge after that and call an assembly for everyone who was able to leave their posts but there was still some time to kill before then.

    ((Hope this is okay I'm on my cell and it's like blehhhhhh))
  3. They still had a few days until reaching the signal’s source. Everyone got the message from the lead astrophysicist Hardesky. Natalia’s comm beeped as she pounded on Scratch’s doors. Pleased to hear Claudia’s courses and shuffling about, the tall blonde looked at the brief paragraph. Close range scans picked up a large object - the calculations indicate an Earth class planet. She felt a rush of excitement that washed away the jump’s side effects. Hardesky was excitable like a child, he simply couldn’t wait with this announcement until the official assembly. Natalia didn’t mind, she wanted to know everything as soon as possible. For a moment a breath got caught in her throat - so the message didn’t come from random emptiness where a lost ship could drift thousands of years ago. A ship that could have vanish in the void long time ago. A planet, a planet that could host an alien intelligence. Natalia didn’t feel so useless as an anthropologist anymore.

    When Scratched opened the doors - looking as bad as everyone else after the jump - Natalia tried to grabbed her and pull into a hug. ”They found a planet!” She squealed like an air headed cheerleader. ”I have Finish vodka stuffed under my bunk, who do you take me for. ” Natalia scoffed when Scratch suggested there was any other choice, but a strong liquor. For anyone else from the ship such scene would be completely out of place: miss perfect goading a fellow team mate to such rebellious act. It was the nature of their long friendship that allowed Nat to lower her guard and show what truly lurked under the surface. The same sensation seeker and ill tempered girl that used to tell own father to piss off.

    Roy walked pass them. He looked a bit better now. Nat couldn’t tell if it was just his military composure that let that happen or implants helped to overcome the jump’s sickness so easily. He smiled to Scratch the way he never smiled at Natalia, which stung a bit. She was aware Fermi liked Claudia and in a way that a person who put ‘no fraternisation rule’ in place would be displeased. Roy thought he was clever about and subtle about it. Like all of them. Natalia concluded silently and pulled Scratch after her.

    The room was spartan, like the rest of the ship. Just the necessities: a single bunk, tiny bathroom with only a toilet. For a shower the crew had to use the main bathhouse, as they called it. There was a desk, few shelves and a small cupboard filled with the same boring set of jumpsuits. Under the uncomfortable bunk rest something that could compensate those inconveniences. Scratch, as a soldier, should be more used to such things, but Natalia suffered greatly without her soft bed. She gestured at the bunk before pulling out Kosternkova - an old Finnish spirit. It had a kick like a mule. They didn’t have any glasses, all of them were gathered in the mess before the jump, so Natalia offered Scratch entire bottle. ”For long dead aliens and money we will make on those poor bastards.” Nat offered a toast.

    Fortunately Roy, the security chief, didn’t know a thing about this or there would be serious, disciplinary talk. Instead, he stalked to the med bay. His step was brisk and graceful, predatory even; it betrayed a trained killer and made some of the crew wary. His features didn’t let him make many friends, but Femir never needed people around him. Roy was a lone wolf, aside from the military pack he led. It helped in killing fellow human beings, turned off the empathy. Empathy he didn’t need, even on this mission. The orders from UN board were clear. If they find anything potentially dangerous, the corporations can’t lay their hands on it. Whatever the cost.

    The doc was busy in the med bay, not a surprise giving how badly people could get sick from the jump. One of the engineers was puking into a bucket with a loud bleergh sound. Soon the doc’s sanctuary would turn into a pigsty. ”What’s up, doc?” Roy asked, on his way nodding to the captain Reed. A skilled pilot and amicable fellow, but one that lacked backbone in the soldier’s opinion. ”You need any help?” He added, looking around the shambles. Human excretion didn't phase him anymore. Roy had his fill of torn limbs and spilled guts to treat it like any other thing life had to offer.
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  4. "Whoa careful there Carebear, I just said hello to breakfast again" Claudia lurched a little as Natalia hugged her. Claudia had turned a sickly shade of green that matched her vibrant hair but the green colour was draining, she was pale but slowly her regular sunny complexion crept back in.

    Her eyes went wide when Nat declared that they had found a planet, not some lost ancient space cruiser that was full of old bones and rust. "No way!" This was suddenly a lot more exciting and not just because the crew was full of odd strangers. She didn't notice the significance of Roys small smile that he reserved just for her. She wasn't that observant, she made a stupid face back and turned to Nat. "Lets go celebrate this find properly" she agreed at the mere suggestion of a stiff drink.

    Nat may not have liked the living arrangements but to Claudia they were almost homely, she couldn't sleep on a soft bed if she tried, she'd take the floor or a good stiff mattress any day of the week.
    "Not what you're used to aye princess" Scratch teased, stretching out on the bed like a cat. "You must hate having to share the showers too" she laughed. Oft times Claudia was more like the lads, and if they called her prissy or a princess she'd kick them, within a few hours her buddies all knew she was one of the lads through and through and they treated her just like the other men. One could assume she didn't care for girly things or female company at all but that wasn't really the case. She loved having Natalia here, they were a real sisterhood. Claudia got the best of twork world's and while others may have been uncomfortable at the situation at hand she was quite content. That didn't mean she wouldn't pick fights though, anyone who gave her a funny loom would get a sharp punch.

    "To long dead aliens" she cheered and toasted "maybe even living ones, you'd find them way more interesting to talk to and I'd love to fight one" she knocked back a generous mouthful and scowled as it burned down her neck.
    "Woo! Now that a proper drink to put hairs on yet chest" she applauded. Natalia always did have a keen eye for a good drink, never failed to disappoint Claudia who had an incredibly good tolerance for alcohol despite her small stature.

    "Have you met the captain yet? Reed Carter?" She asked, curious to hear Natalias opinion. Scratch had net him briefly before they'd took off and was curious to discover Nats thoughts.

    Reed gave Roy a respectful nod on his way to the mess hall. Roy wasn't the most sociable and Reed just let him come and go as he pleased, he caused no trouble there was no need to bother him.

    "You must be Femir, I read up your file before we took off." Lennox replied politely, clearing up some used medical equipment. "Ah sorry, have a seat this won't take long." He offered a chair to the daunting soldier, his attitude was passive and kind the entire time as if he wasn't afraid or at all put off by Roys forboding presence.
    After a few minutes of switching between the few remaining patients and clearing up his space, Roy and Lennox were left in peace finally. Lennox apologised again for the delay and pulled up a chair to sit in himself tapping on a data pad he quickly scanned the summary of Roys med file again bur he was already very familiar with its contents.

    "Doctor Palmer led the team responsible for most of your augmentations" Lennox observed. "I studied under him in med school" Lennox shuddered a little, "A brilliant, brilliant man but ... I found some of his methods questionable. How is your pain today?" He asked with an air of empathy that was convincingly genuine ... perhaps it was genuine.

    Reed found Scratch and Natalia giggling and drinking and he leaned against the door frame. "That's against protocol ladies" he noted, Scratch jumped a little since she'd not noticed him behind her. "Offended you weren't invited to join us?" She teased smoothly.
    "Maybe just a little." He smirked, Claudia grinned back. Reed saw no point in chastising them, not truly, they were doing no harm and the no drinking rule was a tad arbitrary unless you were piloting, doing surgery or maintaining the FTL drives, Natalia and Claudia were doing neither.

    ((Sorreeeeeeeeyyyy I'm on the phone again. Hope this post is okie dokoe))
    #4 CaptainObvious, Jan 5, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Natalia promptly pulled away from Scratch. ”Don’t puke on me.” She demanded, expecting that it would end up in a vomit fest from both of them. Humans always dreamed about space travel, what they didn’t know was how gross it could be. To her surprise, the green haired girl never acknowledged nor recognised Roy’s interest. Maybe she didn’t care or like many at the board of the ship, had creeps when looked at him. Natalia shrugged as the only thing on her mind right now was the alien treasure hunt and a strong drink.

    Back at her quarters they managed to down two drinks and prepared for the third. Natalia already felt slight buzz from the alcohol. After all they had some time of abstinence since the journey started. The travel toward the signal lasted mere two weeks but the way back would take more than three years or the engine would blow up from the strain. The time period between jumps would have to be counted in months, not days.

    When Claudia mentioned the spartan conditions of their quarters, Natalia’s features morphed into something akin to cold indifference. ”I will adjust.” The anthropologist shrugged, too prideful to admit how much discomfort she felt over the entire situation. Maybe the planet had well preserved ruins with some nice bathroom, warm bed and hot showers. And a toilet that didn’t freeze dry their faces to absorb the water back. She shrugged at the thought. ”Who knows?” Natalia commented on Scratch’s eagerness. It seemed they both wanted to find something alive down there. ”Maybe they look like pet rocks, we will walk over them and won’t even notice.” She summed up before downing another drink. Natalia was well on her way to get drunk like a pig.

    Claudia on the other hand seemed unfazed by the strong liquor. It was remarkable given her stature, but Scratch was always the tomb boy. They knew one another since…forever. Their parents worked closely, running Livco. Despite the core differences between the two girls, they remained friends that sometimes engaged in odd pissing contests.

    Maybe if Natalia wasn’t so tipsy, she would politely kept the thoughts about the captain to herself, but the alcohol easily loosened her sharp, venomous tongue. ”Him?” She sneered. ”Ctadel’s little bitch. He isn’t even important there. Just some space jockey.” The woman muttered. ”He wants to be best buds with everyone, that won’t end well.” Natalia added, hoping Scratch would share her opinion. Unless the tiny soldier had a crush on their captain. That would be bad.

    When the girls got themselves drunk, in the med bay Roy could finally have some alone time with the doc. Most crew members was now stabilised and curled on their beds. Roy didn’t really feel bad for them, from the soldier’s perspective that was a minor inconvenience to what he had been through every day. Roy shook his head. The entire ship was made from wimps. Maybe those scientists and engineers got some training but was nowhere near what they should have been through. They were scientists; brainiacs but not survivalists. That caused troubles, he wasn’t trained to keep civilians alive - that was another unit.

    ”It’s Femir, actually. Colonel Roy Femir to be precise.” Roy corrected the young doctor. His voice was indifferent and betrayed no offence. Many mispronounced his name - it belonged with almost a dead Hebrew language. Lennox was the youngest on the crew aside from private first class Nyang. For Roy, he was just a kid. A prodigy child, but still a child that seemed fragile. Easy to break under stress. How many of those he had seen over the years? Too many. Even in his own unit. Roy didn’t even remember their faces - they died so quickly.

    The doc looked over the file Roy was too familiar with. With every year his body was dying piece by piece. Finally, to keep it going, he would need more upgrades. The vicious circle of never-ending pain. He smiled blankly when Lennox mentioned Palmer. So that was why the kid didn’t flinch every time he saw him. Like many did. ”You gotta do what you gotta do.” Roy commented. ”If not for his augs, the Balkans terrorists would be still rampaging around the world.” He explained. Seven years ago the world had heard about the enhanced soldiers for the first time. It hadn’t even been a battle, but a massacre that forced unconditional surrender on the Balkans part.

    After a few minutes of switching between the few remaining patients and clearing up his space, Roy and Lennox were left in peace finally. Lennox apologised again for the delay and pulled up a chair to sit in himself tapping on a data pad he quickly scanned the summary of Roys med file again bur he was already very familiar with its contents. The soldier looked down on his hand, reflecting on Lennox’s question. He flexed his fingers where thin, black cables peered through tawny skin. ”It’s bearable.” Roy concluded, caring little for the doctor’s affection.

    Of course from med bay, Reed just had to stumble upon their party. Natalia could swear the bearded giant just knew where she was up to no good. Hopefully he didn’t overhear the harsh opinion the Livco had of him. Still, a radiant and completely insincere smile spread on her full lips when the captain showed up. ”Sorry, the girl’s party.” Natalia said. ”Have you seen Roy, he owes me ten euros for the last poker night.” She added, quickly diverting the topic away from the alcohol and onto something completely useless. Like money. They had no need of them, but just for the kicks they would write the debts on the piece of old fashion paper to pay it all up when they go back home.
  6. Scratch scoffed, she knew Natalia since they were young. Natalia was studious and clever and came from wealth of course. A poor man wouldn't be involved in something as colossal as Livco, she wasn't the type of girl who grew up on hard beds on cheap canned and freeze dried foods. Scratch was more military though, so the living conditions didn't faze her at all. She frowned at the thought of the aliens being boring rocks or virtually invisible bacteria or something dull like that. She wanted an Alien VS Predator expedition, some action, although with the number of civvies in the crew, she was acutely worried. There wasn't enough "muscle" to defend them, and only one doctor, and a young one at that. If something dreadful happened ... Scratch assumed Lennox wouldn't be well enough equipped to deal with it and the thin "security" crew wouldn't be enough to protect everyone. They must be expecting rock-aliens ... if there was any real danger, they would have a stronger crew, a doctor who was old enough to grow a beard and a team of nurses to support him.

    "Rock aliens would be dreadfully dull, but I've seen the crew records ... we've no reason to expect anything other than rocks and bones out there." Scratch admitted glumly, still, perhaps those rock aliens would have an interesting story to tell. "You get a look at the files I sent you?" Scratch kept her voice low, she'd done some snooping around, bribed the comm guy to hack in and get her some crew dociers so she knew who she was working with. She'd normally keep that kind of intel to herself, but Nat was the exception and she'd encrypted and forwarded on the files. She smirked at Nat's comment on their captain, it seemed she had scanned the files that weren't exactly "secret and confidential", but weren't handed out to all the crew. It took a little digging to find and it was probably a faux pas to go snooping, but technically there wasn't any red tape that forbade it.

    "I see you read up on the Captain." she took a slug of vodka, it was quite strong so she was beginning to get that fuzzy floaty feeling, starting to feel a little tipsy. "Say what you will, his flight record is pretty impressive and he done okay in basic considering he had some illness or was crippled or something." she appeared neutral, reserving judgement, the captain had done enough work to earn some grudging respect, but she'd have to judge his character over time. "He's persistent, I'll give him that, we'll see how it plays out though, I don't trust him, no one wants to be everyones friends, as much as he tries play that game, there'll be someone he can't stand or someone he stands too much if you know what I mean. What else can he do though? I sure as hell don't envy him his position. The co-captain has even less spine than he does and thats saying something, the doctor I'd keep an eye on, his psych file was a rainbow, did you read that part? Didn't go into specifics but since he was a kid, he was pumped full of mood stabilisers, anti-depressants ... spooky stuff. The Citadel security division gave a few decent guards though, none as good as Livco grunts though aye!" she flexed a short, thick arm. The door "fwshed" open after a short knock from the captain and Scratch lowered her arm.

    "The Colonel was in the med bay with Doctor La Fayette last I checked." Reed replied politely, he wasn't going to become Natalia's messenger bitch though, she'd have to sort out her bet with Roy herself, he wasn't going to play the messenger.
    "Hope he's going easy on him, that dude is scaaaaary and I saw the doc when we were loading up, how old is he? 17? I bet he hasn't even grown a chin hair yet!" Scratch cackled.
    "Now now Claudia, play nice, if you get hurt that kid is the one who has to patch you up, he's 25 and very capable, with or without facial hair." Reed had insisted Lennox come on the past few missions he'd piloted and captained on. Lennox was familiar with Reed's condition and was pleasant to work with, it was convenient to keep him along rather than find someone new and have to break them in fresh. Reed's file included his condition, a congenital heart defect, though it was under control now thankfully, it had made life tough for Reed, but since his surgery it had been much more manageable. He was cautious something would go wrong and he absolutely trusted Lennox to notice if something went wrong and correct it.
    "Whateverrrr you say captain." Claudia replied running a hand through her vibrant green hair, she hadn't even spoken to Lennox but she would in time, she'd likely wind him up too, thats just how she was.
    "You should take the time to check in with the doctor when you have a moment, he's likely read over your files already but it does no harm to have a quick consult, we'll be out here for a while, best make sure everyones in tip-top shape." he was authoritative but at the same time approachable, at least he was trying to be moreson than usual.

    Roy was right about Lennox being easily broken ... Moreso than he'd even know, for now at least. SInce he was a child he'd battled depression, he battled it every day, a cocktail of drugs kept him going, try as he might to quit them, he knew there was only so much he could take. If he took too many, his head would be fuzzy, while it was more comfortable and bearable, it impeded his work, so he couldn't afford to dope himself excessively, but if he didn't take enough ... well time had done little to heal the wounds of his sisters death. Anything could set him over the edge, but that was a closely guarded secret. His depression, at least a majority of the details, were vaguely glossed over in his files, his academic merits and medical prowess as well as his research swallowed the other portions of his file anyway. But Reed was aware, he had access to files no one else could access. For whatever reasons, Reed didn't appear to mind, he assured Lennox he'd be there and supportive and so far he had been, though Lennox hadn't had a "dark day" for the many months he'd worked alongside Reed. Hopefully Roy wouldn't get to see just how correct he was about Lennox being a fragile prodigious child.

    "My apologies Colonel." Lennox apologised, the subtle french hint in his accent leaking in, Roy's name was a little hard for him to properly pronounce but he'd try regardless.

    "His proposed augmentation papers were impressive, but thy were nowhere near ready for live subjects, they were barely tested when you underwent the procedure." it was nothing Roy wouldn't have already heard before. But he was right, the augmented soldiers had turned the tides on the terrorists but at what cost exactly? Lennox was still training in medical school back then, he was 17 when Palmer created his super soldiers.

    "What if I told you I have revised Palmers papers several times and I may have a solution to some of the faults in the augments?" he offered carefully. It was still only a proposal, and he'd never do something reckless like launch a full scale procedure like Palmer had done. It would be careful, calculated and certainly less risky. "The serum he injected to promote accelerated muscle growth basically flicked a switch in the pituitary gland but it didn't turn that switch off." he flipped his data pad around to show Roy a diagram, it was much easier to understand than the long jargon-filled essays Lennox often read. "What happens is the gland keeps pumping out hormones telling your muscles to grow, but they've maxed out, now all these extra hormones are floating around when they shouldn't be there and triggering your immune system to fight them off, theres a war going on inside your body, its what keeps you big but it also causes some of the pain." he tapped on the data pad and a new diagram appeared, contrasting with the old one, "I've proposed this counter measure to block the serum signalling your glands to produce the hormones, it should alleviate the pain without altering your current muscle mass." he put the data pad onto his desk, "Its not without side effects of course, I can talk you through them if you'd like to undergo some light clinical trials. You'd need to take regular injections for a few months to gradually build up on corrective hormones, it would be a slow steady process, and I can balance your current pain medication appropriately." his light eyes were wide with youth, he looked young, and yet he was wise well beyond his years concerning advanced medical procedures.
    "The materials in your implanted augments are made from a decommissioned polymer, it's prone to rejection, theres a research base on Mars that are piloting replacement parts but I"m afraid I cannot offer that kind of treatment all the way out here, I can advise you on it if you'd consider it after this mission." Lennox was just a little awestruck by Roy. He'd read the papers, he'd seen the statistics, the fact that Roy survived the procedures was impressive, but actually seeing him in real life ... huge and strong and tall ... It was amazing.
  7. A sigh escaped Natalia who forgot how clueless Scratch could sometimes be. ”I was joking, my dear. They will look like an octopuss.” She explained and smirked. ”You know, eight legged cats.” The blonde was often unforgiving when it came to abuse the soldier’s simple minded nature. Scratch was’t foolish, by far, but she could be a goof when it came to abstract, complex concepts. Natalia received the best education money could buy, but there was someone much more intelligent than her. A doctor prodigy. Maybe that was why she had been so suspicious of him. The guy was twenty five in his files, but looked like a mangy teenager. Natalia frowned as well, which suddenly made the atmosphere in the room shifting toward unhappily drunk rather than cheerful. ”Oh, I read them.” Natalia confirmed with a nod. ”I still don’t know how you’ve managed to put your paws on them.” She added. A hint of praise in her voice. Scratch could be very resourceful. ”Reed can be as good as he wants in flying the ship. He is still a Citadel’s mole.” Natalia pointed out. There was still plenty of tension among the crew. The suspicious bred and grew behind fake smiles and polite gestures. Natalia didn’t trust men who were too nice. They were either weak or mendacious.

    When the subject moved to their doctor, Natalia couldn’t hide her mouthy nature. The kid was troubled, that was certain. Still, Scratch’s words touched a sore spot. ”Who doesn’t take mood stabilisers this day and age?” The young blonde asked, a bit too defensively. Natalia’s own emotions often ran rampant, burning out her psyche and body. For ten years now she flounced between anti depressants, neuroleptics and anti convulsants. Sometimes Natalia mixed it with plain tranquillisers and booze, but this wasn’t in her files. Her father made sure of that. Not because he cared this much about the daughter’s reputation, but his own. Scratch could have suspected something, but Natalia never confirmed it nor denied. ”He is too young, though.” She continued. ”And looks as if he is about to cry.” Natalia added, but without menace. She would have never admitted it, but sympathised with the poor doc. The woman knew it first hand, what it meant to suffer emotional turmoil.

    ”Yeah, our grunts are ok but you know…As much as I like Roy, I’ve heard…” Natalia looked around as if the augmented soldier could hear her. She made a circle gesture next to her forehead. ”I heard they can go all psychotic from those upgrades.” Natalia’s tone was now akin to that of a conspirator. The government denied such incident happened, but people talked. This could have been just an urban legend, spurned by superstition and fear of the unknown. The gossips ended when the captain appeared in the doorway. Natalia finished her glass, still half full. ”Roy spends too much time there. I think he likes our doc.” It was an offhanded remark Natalia gave no thought as soon as it appeared. ”Now, now Scratch. Roy would be very disappointed if he heard that.” The anthropologist smiled sweetly, already more than tipsy. ”Yeah…” Natalia said, lounging on her bunk. She felt a pang of awareness when Reed spoke about Lennox. There was strange…warmth in his voice. He was probably very protective of their youngest crew member. Natalia would be to, if she actually had maternal instincts. ”I think you like our doctor too.” She said and waved the now empty glass. ”I can’t go, I am drunk.” Natalia added and curled into a tight ball. ”Go take us to octopuss aliens.” The woman offered Reed. She didn’t want to go and try to weasel more anti convulsants from the doc. Showing weakness like that pained her.

    The med had their own problems with Roy unenthused with the doctor’s claims. ”You have idea how many before you tried.” The soldier said. ”Maybe it wasn’t perfect, but they sure as hell are doing good job. “ He said and took the hand away. Roy had never heard about the hormonal solution, but wasn’t willing to try. Not before the important mission. ”No offence, doc, but I won’t risk any changes until we are back on Mars.” There was certain change in his voice. It became less impassive. Roy’s features were often those of a mask when he didn’t try to be sociable. He had been taught to associate with people, to try and understand them but it wasn’t an inner drive. Roy looked from his hand back to the doctor’s face. As unskilled as he was in reading human expressions, the soldier could swear the kid stared at him in awe. If Lennox only knew, if anyone knew how many lives he had ended. How many collateral damage he had agreed to…The tortures, the executions. They wouldn't have been this friendly.

    ”I would be nice, not to feel this pain.” Roy continued with nostalgic undertones creeping into his words. When was the last time he didn’t wake up with burning rod thrusts through his arms and chest? ”Later. He said with a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. They always remained cold and calculating. ”Give me some painkillers doc, I need to see the captain and talk to him about our drop.” Roy rushed the doc a bit, knowing how important the next few days would be.
    #7 Poludnica, Jan 8, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
  8. Scratch scowled at Natalias jibe about her being ... well stupid. Scratch had a hard head, it was good for being a soldier but not so great when it came to being particularly brainy. Natalia was aware and teased her often for being significantly stupider. Still, Claudia's inadequacy was enough to make her scowl whenever Natalia reminded her. She didn't take it too personaly when it came from Nat, but when other people pointed it out she was well able to lash out and bite and kick and ... scratch. "Ha ha, you're so funny." she replied sarcastically with a pout, she could be sulky when the mood siezed her.

    Nat's slight praise at her resourcefulness did manage to ease a smile out of her. She was nothing if not crafty despite her average/below average intelligence. She wasn't book smart but she was street smart and knew how ot get what she wanted. "Thats a secret." she replied, her methods of intelligence gathering were a closely guarded secret, there was method to her madness. She'd bribed one of the techies to give her the details ... of course her bribe involved less cash and more wrestling the poor sod into a chokehold. "Well that Citadel mole is the guy flying the ship and I sure as hell don't care who he works for as long as he doesn't crash and the guy knows how to fly so I'll give him a pass on the Citadel thing." she shrugged, it didn't mean she wanted to make friends though ... just that she wouldn't give reed a particularly hard time .... yet.

    "I get that people take mood-meds Nat, believe me, but you have seen his reports right, didn't go into specifics but ... it seemed serious. That kid does surgery when I get shot at, don't tell me you wouldn't be afraid of him cutting you open when he's off his head all the time." Scratch could be blunt and perhaps a little too forward, but she wouldn' tlie or hold her tongue when talking to Nat, she'd get the whole unpleasant truth.

    Reed was relieved to hear that the formidable Roy appeared okay to the doctor, at least from Nat's report, though he didn't quite like what she iimplied, not that he could correct her without giving away his game. "I'm relieved, those upgrade pack a pretty nasty punch I hear, I'd like the doctor and Colonel Femir to be on good terms, part of the reason Dr La Fayette is here is so that he can research the super-soldier augmentation program." Reed didn't want secrets amongst his crew, he liked transparency, he felt like a bit of a hypocrite though since he had his own secrets that he intended to keep very much secret. He kept his poker face well and truly in place when Nat implied he fancied the doctor as well.
    "I do." he replied unflinching. "He is a talented doctor and a pleasure to work with, I'm sure he would be rather interested in some of your research Professor Menshikov, this far from Citadel, there aren't many dedicated academics, perhaps you'd be good company for each other." He was wary of Nat ... He was wary of anyone as educated as the likes of Nat and Lennox, but Lennox was transparent, he was invested wholly in his studies, Nat was cunning, while Lennox was an open book, Nat was a mystery but he wouldn't let her know just how wary he was.

    "I do know, but I also know I haven't tried" Lennox corrected, he had all of Roy's files, he saw the trails he underwent, he'd read them all. He nodded slowly, it was a fair compromise, to wait till they returned to mars before altering his augments. "Very well, I will have more time to research the new augments and propose a possible treatment plan should you wish to go ahead." he replied optimistically. He nodded and got up to dig out the necessary pain meds to alleviate Roy's symptoms and a syringe to administer the drugs cocktail.

    "I hope someday I can alleviate your symptoms permanently, we're on the cusp of a great break thorough in augmentative medicine" he jabbed the needle in with delicate, accurate precision and pushed down the plunger. He dabbed the needle-site with a cotton swab and binned the spent syringe. "Come back if you need another shot, or if you have any other symptoms or even questions about the clinical trials" he wanted to offer "come back if you just wanna chat", but decided against it, Roy's unapproachable demeanor was a little daunting but perhaps it would fade over time.

    Reed was on his way back up to the bridge by now, leaving Scratch and Nat to their drunk debauchery, there was little else to do during the cooldown that followed an FTL jump so he just let the crew settle. Soon they would have a meal time, half the crew would be on duty while another half had a break to eat, then the two teams would rotate so that the ship was always well tended to.
  9. After a long period of sobriety, Natalia felt immediate effects of the alcohol coursing through her system. She never had constitution to deal with alcohol well. After a moment Scratch’s words became a white noise. ”I am a riot.” She mumbled with a delighted smile, ignoring her friend’s sarcasm. Natalia curled on her bunk; the conscious thoughts slowly fading. Only when Claudia commented on their disturbed doctor did the young woman showed interest. Reed being a good pilot was a useful thing which she commented with simple “Whatever”. Lennox was whole another matter. He wasn’t the only one with issues. Roy had no more than a decade ahead of him before all the upgrades would turn him into a drooling zombie. The doc was disturbed and Reed…Something had to be wrong with that guy. It seemed everyone carried a baggage that should have exclude them from such important mission. Maybe…Maybe they were simply expendable. Natalia was a good linguist and anthropologist, but there were older and better ones and her father’s money could do only this much. It was UN mission from the start.

    ”Why do you think they let someone so disturbed on a mission like this? It makes no sense. He jeopardised entire crew. What if he offs himself half way through?” Natalia asked, a worried frown on her oval features. She had to measure with own fears, own dark corners of mind but Natalia would never admit to such weakness. There was no other way, Menshikovs were anything, but weak. ”Lets hope we don’t get shot. We will pull a France and spread white underwear on our ship in a sign of peace and defeat.” Natalia rolled onto her back, happy to be alone with Scratch. They could talk freely, without forced self-censorship. Together, Scratch and Natalia had a potential to turn into gossips hens.

    The blonde sighed. ”Need go to see our wacko doc.” Natalia realised she had to add who she was talking about. Half of the crew had some kind of issue going on - either somatic or mental one. Roy, a chief of their security was already ending. There were better augments, younger ones and more modern. Not as experienced, but their brain had less holes from wires. ”Something is off here.” Nat concluded before gathering herself from the bunk. She was still pleasantly tipsy. Then the Reed had to show up and bug them with his looming presence. Natalia concluded that without a beard he could have been called handsome.

    ”You know, he could research someone younger and more…modern. It doesn’t mean Roy can’t punch his way through ancient aliens. Shame his brain is turning into a mush.” Natalia commented, giving a hint of her concerns regarding the mission. A bit annoyed the captain was still there and refused to take them to the alien world. ”Maybe, but I don’t know much about cutting people open and putting metal in them.” She sighed and pulled a pillow over her head. Reed was finally on his way out. Natalia was strangely anxious around him, as if he could see through her game. ”Yes, go now captain. Alien punching bags await.” Natalia stated profoundly, but there was a subtle hint of mockery in her voice. When the Reed couldn’t hear her she gave Scratch an intoxicated glance. ”He has a nice ass.” She decided, before pulling pillow back on her face.

    When the pain subsided, Roy sighted in relief. It was a reaction he couldn’t stop. Sometimes he wondered if the power was worth this suffering. ”Thanks, doc.” Roy said. Lennox was a good kid and could change the world if he had stayed on Earth. Everyone was so enthusiastic about this discovery, so eager to meet whatever had sent the signal. Roy knew they wouldn’t go back and he was the only one. ”It’s good to hear.” He commented on the new breakthrough and for the first time showed a hint of genuine emotion. It wasn’t happiness, but sadness. From all the crew, he would feel the most remorse over Lennox.

    When Roy left the med bay, he stalked toward the bridge. From the transparent windows he could see a beautiful sea of stars. They reminded everyone how small and insignificant they were. A dust in the summer wind that lived for a mere heartbeat. He walked toward Reed and stood next to him. His implanted HUD recognised and showed important details of the environment. ”Captain.” Roy greeted the tall man. They were using their surnames or names, but Roy had military regime instilled in him. Printed in the neural network. Sometimes he himself wondered if he had crossed the border between a man and a machine. ”We need to go planet side. It…complicates things. “ He voiced the concern of most security operatives. ”We will use most of our resources. Oxygen being the crucial one, if the atmosphere isn’t breathable.” Roy finished, still staring at the transparent screen. His features an unreadable mask.
    #9 Poludnica, Jan 9, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
  10. "Isn't that the thing that they say about geniuses? They are usually a bit mental because they're so smart?" she shrugged, that would possibly explain why Lennox was likely a ticking time bomb that would implode eventually, "And Roy's augments make him a little loopy, but hes one of the originals, he has more combat experience than the new ones." Scratch shrugged, she couldn't offer a watertight explanation ... Natalia was right, this crew wasn't made of the best of the best, it was made of the best with the most damage... They were all specialists with gold stars on their files, but ... together, they needed people with less stars and more stability. This was a highly unbalanced crew. "Yknow you're right ... There's something wrong with this whole set up ... The Captain has a medical history that deemed him unfit for some services, yet he's here on this mission, the Colonel is ... why is he even here? This isn't his usual remit, I think he might be here to kill us all if we uncover too much info about something the feds dont want us to know and the doctor, he needs a doctor, he needs help more than we do if his file is anything to go by." she scratched her head, her green hair puffing up. "I duno whats wrong with us that landed us on this freak show but ... Maybe we should turn this ship around? We'll die out here if this crew doesn't get its shit together fast, and I think it could be too far gone"

    ”Maybe, but I don’t know much about cutting people open and putting metal in them.”

    "He's young and eager to learn, maybe you wouldn't mind teaching him a few things you know, he could show you a few things yourself if you don't get queasy at the sight of blood" Reed smirked. It would be good for Lennox to have a little company on the mission and he hoped perhaps Nat would bond with him since they both had the highest IQ's on the ship. Roy wasn't the friendly type, and Reed knew he'd be busy piloting and trying to keep shit together, he wouldn't be ablet o keep an eye on LEnnox as much as he'd like. Being the captain was exhausting, sometimes he just wanted to shirk all those responsibilities, this particular mission was exceptionally trying as well.

    Scratch leaned forward to peek down the hall as Reed left, to check that Nat's beer-goggles hadn't totally impaired her vision. "Hmm, you have a point there." she agreed, "He could do without the face-fuzz though." she noted, oddly it appeared they had similar tastes even though they were worlds apart sometimes. "Think you'll make a move on him?" she teased, wiggling her eyebrows.

    Lennox nodded enthusiastically, he actually seemed like a burst of sunshine personafied for a moment when Roy's pain subsided and he said it was good that there was more progress in aug-meds, though there was a sadness there, perhaps he felt it was too late for him to avail of these improvements, but Lennox wouldn't give up. It was beyond obvious that Lennox, despite his crippling depression, derived a pleasure in healing others, in learning and fixing and helping. His concern for Roy's pain was genuine, and his desire to help him was genuine and entirely unselfish. Despite his age, young, but still in adulthood, he had an innocence there that much of the crew seemed to lack in comparison. Roy had a lot to feel remorse about when it came to Lennox's fate, he was probably the most underserving of them all when it came to what lay ahead. "I'll be here if you need me." he assured as Roy left. He returned to his work, reading, note taking, thinking, re-reading.

    "Colonel" Reed replied, turning in his pilot/captains chair to face him, a 3-dimensional star map flickered on the touch screen console, complicated symbols and numbers for coordinates and projections and all sorts of things ran along the screen. It was an alien language to some, but Reed understood it all.
    "We're sending in a drone to probe the surface before making a landing Colonel, the health and safety of the crew is paramount to whatevers down there." he explained steadily. The mission came with its own risks, coming back empty-handed was one of them, but that was something Reed was prepared to face if he didn't htink a landing down there would be safe.
    "I don't care what orders from Livco and Citadel are if it puts my men in harms way, that includes you, includes everyone on this ship whether they're Citadel trained or not." he was adamant about that part particularly. They didn't know exactly what they wer getting into, Reed was going to approach it with caution.
    "I don't know what your private mission here is, but I'll respect it, I need you to trust that I don't want to harm a single person on this ship. I didn't htink it was a good idea blending the corporations like this on such a high profile excursion but here we are, we may have different missions but we all have the same goal, to get back home alive, some of us have family back on that big blue ball and I don't want to send them back bodies."
    • Love Love x 1
  11. Natalia smiled at the implications all geniuses are disturbed. She was an academic herself, but not one with the highest capabilities. ”As if the brain couldn’t handle both.” The woman sighed, her thoughts drifting somewhere else for a while. Somewhere beyond the ship. She had known once a girl who could be called a genius. A disturbed in a way Natalia never was - her issues were centred around people. Around creating toxic and pathological relationships that crashed every time. Natalia didn’t blame herself, at least on the conscious level. The blame landed always on her partners, her parents or unfortunate circumstances. The face Natalia had thrown objects around in blind rage had never had anything to do with it. ”Roy is oddly attractive and creepy at the same time. Or maybe I just like fucked up men.” She confessed, realising their conversation evolved into drunks, teenage gossips about who is hot and who is not. ”Anyway, he is a lost cause, seeing how he looks at you.” Natalia sighed, displeased how such foolish and immature thing angered her.

    ”You have a big mouth, that’s what wrong with you.” In truth, she couldn’t find anything wrong with Scratch. Her friend was surprisingly normal with all the crazies aboard the ship. They had an autistic mathematician - a savant, but unbelievably anti social. Even worse than Roy. When Scratch mentioned dying, Natalia looked at her thoughtfully. ”I don’t plan on dying down there, even if our captain will kick a bucket.” So many things could go wrong. Even thinking about it gave Natalia a pounding headache. Or maybe it was just booze wearing off. ”Fine, I will go see him and we will exchange smart things with big words.” Natalia finally gave up. It was strange, it seemed Reed wasn’t only fond of Lennox, but fascinated by him. ”Anyway, I need to see a doc. Maybe he has some magical cure for a hangover. It satisfied Reed who vanished behind the automatic doors. They hissed open again when Scratch herself assessed the captain’s backside. ”Pfft. No. I have enough troubles as it is.” She pointedly looked at the empty bottle.

    ”Time to go see Lennox. You be good.” Natalia gathered herself from the bunk and drag herself toward the med bay. She peered over the corner of opened doors. ”Hi, doc. I need to get sober real fast.” Natalia was slurring a bit, but tried to maintain a bit of dignity. That was why she tried to avoid any human contact on the way there.

    On the bridge, Roy watched the star map. He didn’t understand a single thing from this. The dots and numbers, all spread throughout the impressing holographic display. ”It’s a good idea.” Roy agreed. He never thought the captain was inadequate; Reed was a smart man, that was why the colonel had been careful around him. ”I don’t care about Livco nor Citadel orders. I am United Nation of Earth representative.“ He smiled, in the typical for him, detached way. ”To make sure the corporations play by the book and according to established laws.” Roy looked at the captain, who was so adamant in returning with every member of the crew a live. Maybe that’s your problem. He thought, but didn’t voice it out loud. ”It’s your ship, captain. I am just a soldier.” Roy concluded. ”Do your best in keeping everyone alive and I’ll do the same.” The colonel leaned over the console, his hands pressed at the edge of it.

    ”Shame we don’t have few nukes if things get heated.” Roy stepped away from the map. ”Our armoury is well stocked with automatic rifles, handguns, grenades, even rpg. We have personal armour, but it will never be enough against entire planet.” He noticed an odd look a navigator was giving him. A mixture of fear and resentment. The man probably had plenty on his mind, but no courage to vocalise it. ”I am a soldier, I am always prepared for the worst case scenario.” Roy explained, expecting what the navigators thoughts could contain. He knew how people saw him. Augmented warriors were consider a weapon more than human beings. The government created those cyborgs to fight anything that threatened the fragile equilibrium the world had built. It was either that or a total war. Fucking hippies Roy commented inwardly.
  12. Lennox lifted his head from his intricately organised notes when Natalia made him aware of her presence by asking for a magical sober-up cure. Of course there were certain metabolic serums that could speed up the breaking down of alcohol in the body, amongst other things, but it wasn't to be used in frivolities like a hangover. These kinds of self-inflicted injuries weren't worthy of that sort of treatment, it was a waste of resources for a start. He spun around on his chair to face Natalia and nodded over to the seat across him so she could make herself comfortable if she wished.

    "Professor Menshikov." he observed, then to answer her question, "Perhaps I am recalling incorrectly but, isn't it against protocol to drink alcohol on this vessel?" he raised an eyebrow but didn't appear to be chastising her, more-so enquiring, he wasn't the captain, if anyone would dole out punishment, it would have to be him, certainly not the doctor.
    "I can give you an alka seltzer or a light painkiller if you have a headache but I'm afraid the best cure for your hangover is simply time." he looked mildly amused by her. "Aside from your impending hangover, is there anything else I can help you with?" he asked with an amicable politeness, he carded his fingers through his hair and pulled it back into a loose ponytail.

    "I noticed" Reed replied when Roy revealed he wasn't Livco or Citadel, he was a third party operative, "It was on your file, I appreciate your input, I'm glad we see eye-to-eye on things." of course trusting Roy wouldn't be easy, but Reed had to give the colonel all the support he could if he was going to paint this picture of cooperation. Roy was the only "free agent" so to speak on this boat, everyone else was either Livco or Citadel and the two didn't mix well, Reed couldn't afford to not work with Roy wherever possible.

    Reed was a little taken aback by Roy's bleak view. Yeah, the mission came with unimaginable risks, but until they became a reality, Reed wouldn't worry on them, his main focus was dealing with what he immediately faced, an absolutely in-cohesive crew. If murderous aliens became an issue, he'd deal with it then, he wouldn't be able to do much without a united crew anyway, that was the first thing he needed.

    "And I am a pilot, I'm prepared to point this bird in a direction and make her go there, as far as captaining goes, I'm prepared to do what has to be done for the crew. Don't sweat the worst-case stuff Colonel, I don't want to send us in that direction. We'll face whatever comes our way."
  13. From the entire crew, Natalia was truly fond only of Scratch and Lennox. Claudia and her had a rich and embarrassing history. Their drunk escapades often ended with a bra hanging from nearby objects. Just for the sake of it and seeing people’s face when they opened the bathroom doors. Lennox…She saw her own problems reflected in him. Their personalities were completely different, but they were both broken in their own way. It is something that instinctively drew people together, at least in Natalia’s case. Lennox was a quiet, shy and by the book guy. His med bay seemed like the sanctuary for the doctor. The woman could imagine why Lennox had it hard in life - a prodigy child, they never fitted anywhere. The peers were too stupid, older students emotionally mature. They were so fragile children. Natalia’s story belonged in a different category. She had vividly remembered her mother swallowing Ambien like candy and her father violently taking it away. Prying her fingers open. Their arguments, loud cusses and slamming of doors.

    A part of her envied Lennox the intellect, but would she switched places? No. Even if her family was fucked up from Earth to another Galaxy, at least she wasn’t the lonely one. ”Reed didn’t have a problem with it. He is a chilled guy.” Natalia commented, realising how much of her complaining about Reed was a way to cover sympathy for the captain. She knew not to trust Citadel, they were main competition, but Reed was just a pilot. A sympathetic and likeable one. Natalia already felt her father scowling. ”Come on, doc.” She looked at him with a begging expression. Lennox politeness seemed genuine, maybe that was why he wasn’t so weird as a genius. It made people feel safe around him, unlike Natalia or Roy. Goddammit, Roy made everyone uncomfortable. The moment he showed up in the room people tensed like mice next to a hawk. Reed wasn’t threatened by the soldier, which also gave him points.

    ”Maybe I can sleep here, just in case octopuss aliens will start shooting at us.” Natalia yawned. ”I will never touch alcohol again” She decided adamantly. The woman would need a super computer to count those promises. Natalia remembered Roy was about to show up on a bridge. Reed and Roy had the strangest dynamic…

    ”You could have just asked.” Roy stated with an amusement. Despite his cold demeanour, there were moments of genuine emotions. Even if Roy didn’t think highly of Reed’s ideas, he respected how the captain managed the difficult crew. Something Roy would have done through fear rather than sympathy. Roy pulled himself away and walked toward the navigator that was the most wary of him. He loomed above him like a jackal. The soldier put his hand on the other man’s shoulder. The navigator - a young, rather handsome fellow with tawny complexion - Rasheed visibly jerked, despite the touch being a friendly gesture. It almost looked as if Roy took certain pleasure in making people uncomfortable. Pushing their boundaries. ”How far we are from the planet?” Rasheed swallowed a tight knot of fear. ”Three days from the signal’s source.” Roy nodded and moved away from the navigator who breathed a sigh of relief. His thoughts already drifted away from the conversation. What next? A gym seemed like a good idea. For a brief moment he half turned to the captain. ”You are a nice guy, Reed. Don’t fuck it up.” He added and vanished behind the automatic doors.

    The gym area wasn’t a spacious one, but big enough for five people to exercise without much fuss. Roy looked around, pondering what routing implement. The augments enhanced his body, but it didn’t mean he could sink in a couch and do nothing. The daily training was a must, especially for someone his age. The man was reaching mid thirties, after that the body’s abilities decreased. After a moment of consideration, Roy chose pull ups on a bar. He removed his shirt, to move without a constrain. It was a habit from military, when the sergeants added to the trainin’s harshness by exposing skin to the weather’s conditions: cold or searing sun. It revealed ugly scars running down his back, at his sides and shoulders. Abdomen and chest bore signs of surgery. Here and there the augmentations showed up, ghosts under the skin. Knife cuts, bullet wounds, burns. Roy suffered it all, a normal human being would have died after such abuse. Yet all those injuries had nothing on the pain the upgrades caused. Without analgesics, Roy felt as if someone tore him apart from the inside. 1…2…3. Roy began to count mentally, firmly set on reaching two hundred.
  14. "Well I guess if the Captain has no issues with it, I need not lecture you." Lennox replied. He knew Reed, he knew Reed better than Natalia of course, and it came as no surprise Reed hadn't made an issue of Natalia's drinking. Reed done things by the book when it was necessary, he didn't mind bending the rules a little when those rules were redundant or overzealous. Lennox wasn't the type to decide which rules were to be followed or broken, he just kept his head down and done his duties, someone usually gave him the orders and he simply carried out procedures and researched proposed procedures. He done what was beset for the patients within reason, with risky surgeries he made sure a patient knew the risk and only proceeded if the patient willed it ... if only Palmer had been the same before installing faulty augments into live subjects. Still, getting drunk on a starship was hardly comparable with experimental and illegal surgeries.

    He rolled his eyes a little at her pleading, it was self inflicted, anyone else would let her suffer the aftereffects of her drinking. "You want me to waste valuable medicines because you decided to drink to much?" he sounded skeptical. "I'll do it this once, but next time you're on your own." he tossed her two small green tablets and offered a glass of water to wash them down. "Those are for stabilising liver function, should do the trick and it won't mess with whatever you're taking for your mood swings." he gave her a knowing look. Of course he couldn't tell from just looking at her that she was abusing mood-meds, he'd seen in her toc report, her bloods had traces of mood stabilisers, though he couldn't pinpoint the exact tablets she was taking, he could rule out a lot of ingredients. "If you need help sorting out a dosage you can talk to me, it's a lot safer than self-medicating, especially if you insist on drinking too, I don't believe you when you say you'll never drink again." again, he was empathetic, though he didn't reveal his own useage of tablets, as far as he knew, only Reed knew of his depression. The files were confidential, he had no reason to believe Natalia of all people had access to, much less read them. "I'll wake you if the aliens show up." he said, tucking a stray strand of hair behind his ear, it had slipped free from his ponytail.

    Reed gave a slanted smile and a friendly shrug and replied "I'll try" when Roy told him not to fuck it up and then promptly left. Well, at least now the captain could say he'd met and briefed all the crew. He wanted to just take a break for now, but the next 3 days were pretty important ... Suddenly it was happening quicker than ever before, Reed wanted to go see Lennox suddenly, the med bay was usually quiet, and Lennox- ... He was a calming presence. He earthed Reed even in the worst storm. He decided he'd drop in later, Lennox had the unfortunate habit of overworking himself, particularly when he was absorbed by his research, he'd simply not sleep, Reed would check up on him later.

    Scratch ambled into the gym, in no fit state to work out of course, but she could lie across the equipment and amuse hreself chatting with the other "muscles" on the crew. She'd put them all to shame later when she'd sobered up enough to work out. She was pleasantly drunk now, not utterly legless, but certainly not ready to pump iron."Calm down there G.I. Joe, you might make a girl think we're gonna face some actual action out there." Scratch yawned as Roy hauled himself up and down. SHe planned ot enjoy the "downtime" thoroughly but doing the exact opposite of what Roy was doing.
  15. ”You are smart, you know that?” Natalia mused, still laying on her back. She gazed at the ceiling where small, shielded ventilator worked. It downed on her how claustrophobic the ship felt Despite spacious common rooms, gym and even a pool, there was constant hum of machinery present. Reminding everyone that only the single metal layer separated them from painful death. This realisation stirred so primal, Natalia felt sudden cold seeping into her veins. Thousands years ago even the caves ancient people dwelled in had a way out into the world. Beyond the warm space of the ship only empty void awaited. ”What are our chances of coming back?” She asked while the alcohol wore off, leaving hungover and a downer. When he nagged about the selfish use of the medicine. Natalia blinked, surprised by his doubt. ”Sure.” She offered. ”Relaxing is part of the mission.” A short laugh escaped her. ” I doubt we will need hungover medication down there, unless aliens have some knock on ass booze.” That…wasn’t the outlandish thought. For a brief moment, pondering on this philosophical and cultural issue. ”Thanks, Lennox.” Natalia sighed. She gave Lennox an alarmed look when he mentioned her medication. Of course he had to know, aside from Reed, the doctor would have the highest clearance when it came to the crews files. Trust was crucial on this mission, but a part of her wondered what everyone would do with this knowledge afterwards. If there would be any afterwards. ”I have it covered.” She lazily put a thumb up in a friendly gesture.

    There was nothing Natalia could do to convince Lennox about her own promise, knowing fully well how little it was worth. Lennox was a nice guy, with his hair loose like that, he looked delicate and androgynous. ”What do you think about Reed?” Natalia suddenly asked, realising the doctor was the only person she didn’t ask about the captain. Roy didn’t trust him, Scratch respected him, but remained cautious, the rest of the crew seemed ambivalent and divided in opinions. Lennox at one hand was so easily readable when it came to emotions, but to weasel out any personal information out of him was a chore. At least for her.

    Whether Roy believed Reed or not in terms of fucking things up, he didn’t show it. The remark wasn’t a threat, but a friendly advice. He wanted this mission to go smoothly, he really did. His mind drifted back to the conversation as body worked on another pull up. Everyone liked the captain, even Menshikov didn’t behave like an utter bitch around him. Strange, Reed didn’t seem like a charismatic leader, more like a stuffed bear.

    When Roy was reaching the end of the work out, Scratch rolled in. Good thing the human augmentations only enhanced vision and not smell. The lithe woman reeked like a wild west saloon. Set on fire. ”As a security chief of this ship, I should teach you some military discipline regarding drinking on a space fairing vessel.” Roy exhaled and made a final pull up. It had to be enough for the day. He remembered his body right after receiving the augments, the raw power of his muscles that now deteriorated with every passing month. ”Good thing I am not a dick.” The tall, tawny man rubbed his shoulders and neck before putting on the shirt. He wouldn’t mind a drink himself, probably Natalia stashed some away. Of course. Fucking Russians. ”Shame you didn’t share.” Roy complained. There were always two faces to this tired soldier: strict, professional one and the deceitfully friendly one. Both of them concealing something darker. ”Maybe we will, maybe we won’t.” Roy offered Scratch an enigmatic smile. ”Tired of local boredom?” The younger woman decided to drunkly haunt the gym rather than exercise. Roy was disappointed.

    ”What’s the word around the ship?” He knew Scratch hanged out with Natalia, and Natalia was a walking bag of gossips. Nothing happened on this ship without the blonde researcher sniffing it out, like a hog hunting for truffles. Roy could swear it wasn’t natural. He sat down on one of the benches, resting before going for a swim. The pool was small, but still gave a tiny piece of normalcy and space on the hermetically sealed ship. Might as well spent this time with Scratch.
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  16. Lennox thought for a moment at Nat's unusual question. He'd never even thought about not coming back, he just researched and tended to sick crew members wherever he went, he didn't question what the missions were or what their odds were. He always trusted Reed to bring him back.
    "Reed will bring us home." he replied, a slight fondness in his voice, he hadn't even noticed that he'd not called him "Captain" or something of that ilk. "It's your first time flying with him but ... he always brings his crew home."

    When she asked what he thought of Reed, he noticed how direct the question was, unlike asking about the mission, he had slipped up there and hadn't even noticed. A Captain wasn't supposed to have favourites, a Captain wasn't supposed to have illicit relations with his crew members. No one was meant to know and Lennox had probably given Nat, who was a perceptive woman, a suspicion, entirely unaware he'd done it. This time he was aware she was asking about Reed and he would need to answer about Reed, he'd tailor his response carefully.

    "A few years ago he came to Citadel's chief medical facility, needed a delicate procedure. I was a recent graduate but I was part of his medical team. After his surgery I monitored his recovery and he told me about all the adventures he'd been on, I couldn't believe some of the things he's seen, he asked if I wanted to join his crew, he'd need a doctor and well ... I knew his condition so if he ever had any troubles, I'd know what to do, so I agreed." he tucked a stray strand behind his ear, Reed had always been kind to him. "He's a good Captain, he's never let me down and I've never doubted his capabilities, he's never doubted mine where others have been suspicious of having a "kid doctor" on board." Lennox was aware of his youth, he'd been nineteen when he'd joined Reed's crew on another ship many years ago.

    Lennox smiled at Nat, he was far too generous with his trust, Nat appeared to be an ally, a friend, he probably shoud have been a little more suspicious of her, especially since seh was from another corp. "You have a good nap, I'll wake you when we're there."

    Reed arrived shortly, the lights in the med bay were dimmed slightly where the beds were, so Nat could sleep easier, Lennox's desk lamp illuminated his notes as he studied and scribbled thoughts down.
    "Am I disturbing you?" Reed asked, leaning on the doorframe. Lennox lifted his head and pulled his glasses off, putting them on the desk.
    "Not at all, come in." Lennox replied politely. Reed obliged and the door slid shut with a soft "whoosh".
    "Sleeping off her hangover I see, I hope you gave her a telling off first." Reed joked with a slanted smirk.
    "Oh like you did?" Lennox smiled. "No, I just gave her something for the hangover and let her rest."
    Reed stepped closer to Lennox and put his hands on each of Lennox's shoulders. "How are you holding up?" he asked softly.
    "I-" Lennox stopped, he didn't want to start this conversation.
    "It's that time again isn't it?"
    Lennox nodded silently.
    "I wish we weren't all the way out here, with this crew of strangers jumping into godknowswhat. I should have left you home, you shouldn't be out here right now." Reed sounded apologetic, he cupped Lennox's cheek with his hand.
    "Don't say that. Don't say I'd be better off somewhere without you." Lennox voice was thin. "You're the only one who understands, the only one who knows about her." there was a lump in the back of Lennox's throat, it had been over a decade but the loss still hurt him just as much as ever.
    "It wasn't your fault, shhh, come here." Reed enveloped Lennox in an intimate hug, kissed the crown of his head as Lennox buried his face against Reed's broad chest.
    "You were children, it was a horrible accident but it wasn't your fault, you know this." Reed stroked Lennox's hair as the young doctor muffled his sobs against Reed's chest. Lennox pulled away a few moments later, gathering himself.
    "The anniversary ... it's not today ..."
    "I know, but you're still struggling regardless Len. I know you."
    Reed noted. "Head up to bed, you need a rest, tomorrow will be tougher and I need you at your best."
    "You need a good doctor you mean."
    Reed corrected, "I need you at your best."
    Lennox left the med bay wordlessly, stopping at the door to look at Reed, Reed who'd been his saviour more times than he'd care to count. "I'll be up soon, don't wait up, you're exhausted."
    "And you aren't?"
    Lennox replied, leaving, the door swooshed shut behind him.

    Scratch, still considerably drunk scoffed and rolledher eyes at Roy's military discipline lark. Pfft, tough soldiers drank and pissed and laughed at lewd jokes, robots done drills and practiced salutes in their bathroom mirrors. She liked being a rowdy human not a half-robot power-soldier. She wrinkled her nose and laughed when Roy revealed he was jsoking, "I'm not a dick", hah we'll see, "Do you even have one Roy? What with the augments an' all do they chop it off or make it shoot lasers?" she cackled, unlike Nat who was sleeping it off, Scratch was in the delightfully uninhibited area of intoxication and allowed her big mouth to run amock. She wans't much better sober but that didn't matter.

    "Word around the ship is that its stocked full of crazies, the doctor is manic depressive, extra side of manic I dare say, the captain has a dodgy ticker which the dodgy doctor has to keep in check, then theres you" she pointed to Roy, "One of the first aug-dudes who has cheese for brains where some mad scientist drilled holes in it. The doctor must find you very interesting, is your brain more or less fucked than his?" She assumed Roy was the type who wouldn't hit a lady, probably incorrectly, but while she was drunk, what was stopping her, Nat wasn't here to make sure she didn't stick her foot in it, and Nat had already said Roy fancied her, he wouldn't want to hurt her ... would he?
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  17. He always brings his crew home/ There was warmth in this statement. Admiration that surpassed the loyalty one felt toward the captain. They were really good friends, probably after spending so many years together on one crew it was understandable. Nat sensed something more, but that would mean this ship had more secrets than a Habsburg's closet. Shed new light on Reed who wasn’t so spotless professional as everyone assumed. The woman gave a short, slightly tipsy nod and remained silent, eager to pry even more from the good doc. Maybe Lennox was genius prodigy and in mid twenties, but he couldn’t hide his feelings like a sensitive teenager. ”Is that so.” She smiled enigmatically, recalling what Reed told her about Lennox. Not exact words, but a tone of voice, micro expressions. Everything humans do to hide the truth. This annoying boredom - nothing better to do, but spy on crew members and work out twisted relationships people get into when confined in a ship.

    Slowly, Nat drifted into a pleasant nap as the medication began to work. Her freely drifting thoughts wrapped around alien planets, infinite possibilities. If not for the constant drug supply, Natalia’s body would metabolise the pills Lennox had given her much slower. That way she would miss on the most exciting discovery during this journey so far, minus the alien planet. Her eyes opened lazily just to see Reed and the doc embracing intimately. At first she thought it was a weird dream, some scary fantasy until other sounds began to seep through. Hum of the engine, hushed talk about someone being dead. Only then did she understand what was really going on. Holy shit. Nat looked up, but didn’t raise her head, so not to alarm them. The two men were so engrossed in the conversation, they paid little attention to the surroundings. That was not the friendship anymore. How come they managed to fly together for so long and no one noticed? There was a genuine care enclosed between them, one that made Nat feel miserably and lonely.

    When Lennox departed the med bay, Nat made a quick decision to reveal herself. That would be a good secret to hold on to, but also unhealthy one. She was selfish, she always knew that, but nowhere near selfish enough to endanger the entire crew because couldn’t keep it in her pants. ”Oh…” Natalia chuckled. ”Roy will be livid.” A short laugh escaped Nat who was very slowly sobering up. That shaped up like an interesting conversation.

    As did one between Roy and Scratch. The colonel liked the feisty soldier, probably more than he should. She was brave, witty and had no inhibitions, and yet had a very good record. Roy snickered at the remark. So this was what she wanted to play…The man tugged at his pants pointedly. ”What Claudia? You want to check?” He winked at Scratch. He had been a soldier for a long time, he got used to not only military discipline, but also crude jokes and blowing off steam right under CO’s noses. As he expected, Scratch’s impulsive nature took reigns and she went on a rant about the crew. Sadly, she didn’t provide anything he didn’t know as a security chief. Unless personal opinions counted as fresh information. The disrespect Claudia presented would never fly in normal circumstances, but they were far from home and not on a military vessel. Roy liked this down time, even if tried not to emotionally attach. It wasn’t this hard - he had trust issues from as long as he could remember. ”Doctor is not the only one that finds me interesting.” The colonel took one of the towels from the near by rack and wiped his neck. ”Natalia is right, you have a mouth on you.” Roy smirked.

    ”Wonder if you know how to use it.” He offered lightheartedly and walked toward the training mat. Roy invited Scratch with a gesture of his hand.

    "Why won't you show me if you can do anything beside mouthing off."
  18. "Roy doesn't need to know, and as far as I'm concerned neither should you. For Lennox's sake, keep this conversation to yourself" Reeds voice was taut, strained.

    Captains weren't supposed to carry on with their crew and if this secret got out ... it might undermine his position with the crew and if it was his regular crew it wouldn't be an issue but with Livco people on board ... we they'd find any reason to undermine Citadel. He couldn't show any weakness or give the crew an opening to tear him down or tear eachother apart. He needed to hold it all together. Not to mention the complexities of his relationship with Lennox were a whole other issue altogether. He couldn't afford to have his crew second guessing him or the doctor.

    "He needs me ... especially right now ... he watched his sister die and it'll be the anniversary soon, someone needs to look after hI'm, even with his meds sometimes it gets to him. I don't mind if you don't care about my feelings at all, but for Lens sake, I think you already owe him one for the instant hangover cure, wouldn't you agree?" He spoke slightly softer now. He didn't want to blackmail Nat, he wished he could just ask her to keep quiet and that would be the end of it but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

    "Lets just keep this between you and me Nat, please." He looked at her seriously. Captain s didn't usually need to use the p word, they gave orders people listened, but Reed didn't want to Lord it over everyone, respect didn't work like that and neither did trust.

    Scratch scoffed. It seemed Roy wasn't such a stick in the mud afterall, maybe he wasn't all that bad, if anything he was a little more interesting now than he had appeared before.
    "Should I start screaming sexual harassment now? Or after you've shown me your cock?" She asked "Because either way I'm I'm no fit state for it because I'm drunk and you wouldn't want to take advantage of a delicate girl in a vulnerable state like me!" She teased, "Not to mention the Captain would lose his mind, you wouldn't want to make the doctor jealous either would you!" She added.

    "I dare say the doc wouldn't mind giving you a proper physical exam, I don't have a gaydar but he honestly couldn't be more obvious, I wonder how someone so limp wristed can perform surgery?" She pondered. She hopped up to her feet and crossed her arms over her chest, "Go on then cowboy, entertain me, unleash the stallion and I'll prove this mouth is good for more than just back sass". Natalia would lose her mind, Scratch couldn't wait to spill all the gossip to her later.

    ((Sorry it's a bit short I'm on my phone))
  19. They didn’t even reach the damn aliens and the journey was already going to shit. The captain was banging the doctor, they could have an entire planet of hostile creatures to fight against and an augmented super soldier of unclear affiliation stalked the hallways. ”Oh. For Lennox’s sake?What about the sake of the crew?” Natalia scoffed. Plenty of that anger was feigned, to add theatricality. She didn’t doubt Reed would make a good call, even if tied up with the good doc. The higher ups expected for people locked together for months to remain chaste. Space travel wasn’t a cloister mission. This one was special and more and more Natalia suspected they were never meant to come back. This suspicion blossomed some time ago, but the anthropologist hadn’t shared this yet.

    Between Reed and Lennox, it wasn’t just a sex buddies friendship like many on the ship. It seemed like something deeper. If one of them died, which was a probably scenario for everyone on this tin can, then the crew would lose two people. One to the cold void and one to grief. Was the captain really this thoughtless? Or optimistic? The ultimate weakness of human kind and a proof they weren’t shaped to travel so far from home. The emotional attachments were impossible to avoid, yet the neutrality of officers was an expectation. The main reason Natalia had never ventured on deep space journeys until now - it fucked up people.

    Natalia held back a temptation to sigh in sheer defeat. Reed’s guilt ride over Lennox was not fair as much as it didn’t do the doc any favours. ”Really?” She asked, her carefully plucked eyebrows rising upward in disbelief. ”That is your argument? He is too fragile? Maybe he shouldn’t be here then and ought to go to the grief counselling first.” Natalia was angry, but not enough to play this card. Secrets were a powerful tool, but once used, they lost their powers. She tapped her lower lip with a fingertip and looked at the captain. ”You owe me, Reed.” Nat smiled sweetly and made a gesture of locking her lips. In theory, the commanding officer could order silence, but in this case he would be condoning breaking the rules. No, he needed to deal with it as if they were equals.

    In the gym it was staring to get warm and not because the air conditioning failed. ”Would you like me to show it?” Roy smirked and crossed arms on his broad chest. A short laugh escaped him, surpassingly melodic for someone his size. ”You? Vulnerable? Even drunk you are vicious like a mad Chihuahua.” Scratch didn’t seem too eager to gnaw at the bait, instead returned to juicy gossips. Women, they are the same whether belong in the military or a hairdresser parlour. ”Yeah? He seems nice, shame I don’t swing that way.” When it came to people, the last thing Roy thought about was who they invited to bed. Mostly because the people’s relationship’s remained a great mystery to someone living in self-imposed solitude. He shrugged at Scratch’s remark. ”Limp wristed or not, guy is smarter than most people on this ship.” Roy summed up. Maybe the soldier had a lump of coal for a heart, but it still could feel fondness toward certain people. Lennox was like so many young guys back in the military who landed in over their head.

    ”Oh, so you can bite it off?” He spread his arms in a gesture of utter helplessness. ”Sober up, Scratch, and find me in my quarters later.” Roy began to gather his things: towel, water, personal comm device. The colonel was fairly sure Claudia wouldn’t take him up on this proposal and he never intended to get it this far. Fraternisation rules were clear….Then again, Scratch was a corporate security, not proper military…
  20. "I'm doing the best I can for everyone here" was he convincing? Unlikely, especially now that Nat had made whatever assumptions about him, and probably Lennox as well, that she could assume. He couldn't blame her of course, she had every right to be concerned, Reed was in charge, if his interests for one member of the crew overshadowed the majority ... it wasn't a very comfortable position for neither crew nor captain to be in. To make it worse, he wanted to appease Natalia somewhat, but ... he couldn't allow himself to be reduced to begging either, not only would that give Natalia way too much ammo, but it would also make her think of him as utterly weak, whether he liked it or not, he had to have her on his side, but there was a line he needed to draw and remain firmly on one side.

    "Fragile or not, he's a brilliant doctor and we need him here. Did his PTSD affect his ability to tend to patients today? Nah he held it together, and if he needs me to help him hold it together sometimes, I made a promise I'd be there." Did Reed's relationship affect his ability to run the ship? Well he hadn't brought that up, but perhaps it did, loving someone could bring out the best and worst in people, Reed was a good captain but ... could he do better? He didn't like to entertain those kinds of thoughts, infact, he simply didn't. The reason their relationship was kept quiet was for precisely those kinds of reasons. Love made people go blind and what use was a blind pilot?

    He exhaled slightly in what could almost but not quite be called relief. It wasn't going to be easy dealing with Nat ... and he hated keeping secrets from Lennox but knowing that Nat knew would only make him nervous, not to mention his thoughts were already trying to retreat to that dark place where his sisters death haunted him. Lennox hadn't been on duty before during this time, and Reed knew how tough it could be on him. With the added stresses of his work ... he could snap. His sisters anniversary was the time of year where he retreated, reflected and ... somehow coped, he didn't work during this time, not until now at least.

    He didn't say a word after she reminded him that he owed her ... Acknowledging it verbally would only reinforce Natalia's power, she'd agreed to silence, that was all he needed, he'd have to face the far reaching consequences later, if they even lived that long. Finally, he let out a breath he'd been unconsciously holding onto. "And not a word to Scratch.", he knew the two girls were close and girls gossiped, he had to be extra sure of Nat's silence when it came to her bff.

    "He is the smartest on this ship, forget smarter than most." Scratch corrected, kid was a genius, "Sure knows how to make me feel dumb anyway, just passing the med bay reminds me how mentally deficient I am in comparison." she shrugged, what would Roy care anyway, he practiaclly had brain rot as far as she coudl tell, maybe they could both compete for the "Stupidest Crew Member" awards or something.

    Her eyes narrowed when he suggested she come find him in his chambers when she sobered up. Part of her was always up for a bit of fun without consequences or complicated strings, but ... all the same she couldn't quite figure Roy out. Was he trying to trick her into it? Was he trying to outwit her. She may have been stupid, but she was smart enough to know she was stupid, at the very least she could be wary of smart, or ... at least smart-er people. "Don't hold your breath Action Man." she frowned. Nat would get an earful about it later, thats for sure! SPeaking of which ... where was she? The way people talked about the doctor, Claudia suspected Nat would already be up on her feet again after some miracle cure.
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