[SCI-FI/FANTASY] ★ The Star Rush ★

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Ythania, Jun 14, 2015.

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  1. Time of Day: 6:21 AM
    Ship's Location: En route to the star fields.
    Other notes: Ship is on autopilot towards the star fields.

    The faint whirr of air tumbling through the ventilation system was accompanied by a symphony of snores aboard Ad Astra 9. Across the corridor, in separate sleeping quarters, rested the crew of the star harvester - all but one, who recently woke up. The hiss of a sliding door opening, followed by a shuffling movement and then a few, repeated bangs on your door and the familiar voice of Captain Tingwink hollered out through the corridor - a rough tone, croaky with sleep. "Rise and shine, darlings!" yelled the Lerrin, a grin splitting her features. "I'm making coffee if anyone wants it. And if I come back and you've all gone to bed again, so help me, I'll put you on dishwashing duty for a week!"

    The woman made her way down to the kitchen, the smell of coffee wafting from the machine. It's been three months since the crew of Ad Astra 9 made a stop off at space station Sophia and got their new repairs, including a fancy new water filter so that no water is wasted. Now they were passing through the emptier portions of the galaxy, where naught but a few planets floated around, empty of sentient life save for beasts and plants. every so often, a couple of ships come into radar, but it's really the countryside of space - empty and vast and full of boredom when you're driving past it.
    Tingwink Spannerfizz

    The alarm buzzed on her clock at 6:20 AM, waking up the Lerrin. The first thing that hit her was the pulsing headache, the second thing that hit her with some disgust was the word "Lipenium". Her lifeblood, her filthy addiction - she'd been off the painkiller for around a week and was suffering rather heavily from withdrawal. It was going to start affecting her leadership abilities, soon, and she wasn't able to hide her irritability this morning.

    Still, she gave it a good try. Tingwink hefted herself out of the bed, dressed in nothing but a plain white bra and underwear, her tattoos a dark brown on her skin, her long hair gathered up into a loose bun over the top of her head. She started slamming methodically on the door of her crew's sleeping chambers individually with the bottom of her palm, calling them to awaken and threatening with dishwashing duty if they disobey. The bright lights of the corridor switched on when she entered, momentarily blinding her and sending another ripple of pain across her skull. She screwed her eyes shut, exhaled, and kept going. The kitchen itself was a rather small affair; she kept it clean whenever possible, because some of the crew were messy eaters. She pulled a chair to the counter and started brushing her fingers across one of the drawers, pushing aside tinned foods, bottles and containers of nutrient supplements for Al'terra, until her fingers caressed the glass of the coffee jar - she slid it towards herself and placed it on the desk, pouring some into the machine along with some water.

    Water. It grossed Tingwink out a bit that she was probably drinking the same water that Xago took a whizz into a few days before, but she certainly didn't complain about the new-fangled water filtration system being better than the old one - barely any limescale, thanks to the scientists on the space stations...the scientists she wanted to join.
    Another ripple of pain, a grimace, and the Lerrin sat down on the chair she stood on, her legs dangling in the air as she waited for coffee to be made. Food will come later - she needed some sort of energy because her positivity was going to wear thin soon enough. Despite her best efforts, the captain was showing her usual signs of withdrawal - she looked pale, weaker, fingers drumming on the desk in a frantic sort of restlessness that accompanied her withdrawal.
  2. There was a slight whine of dissatisfaction from one of the rooms after the banging stopped. Mitra curled up into a tighter ball in his hammock. Unhappy with the early morning wakeup call when he’d been having such a good dream. His paw like hands curled around his snout as his ear flicked irritably. Finally he gave up trying to go back to sleep. He had no wish to get even more dishwashing duty this week. Not when he already had two days. His head peeked out from the sheets that surrounded him and he sat up enough that his ears would be visible above the hammock’s high sides.

    He blinked blearily and looked around his room. It was cold outside of the nest of blankets and Mitra desperately did not want to put his feet onto the cold floor. He spotted his boots on the ground about a foot from where he’d hung his hammock. Determined now, he gripped the hammock side with one hand and leaned out of it. The fingers of his other hand brushed one of the boots. The GMH growled softly and extended his claws. He sighed in relief as he tugged the one boot toward himself. This was followed by a loud yelp and a crash as his hammock overturned and he was deposited onto the floor.

    Mitra cursed as he sat up. He was certain that if anyone else had still been asleep after the Captain’s wakeup call, they were likely up now after that. He looked down at the boot that was in his hand with a huff. Well that had been worthless. He stood up and got some clean clothes on that would be easy to work in. He slipped the demon boots onto his feet and fixed his hat on his head. He tripped a little as he opened his door and headed to the kitchen.

    He gave a low whine as he sat on one of the chairs by the table in the small kitchen. His head thumped on the table. His ear was still twitching in irritation as he mumbled a good morning to Tingwink. He turned his head a little so that he could look at his Captain and frowned when he noticed the withdrawal signs. “No one else is up yet?” he asked in a bit of surprise. He wasn’t usually the first one up in the mornings. Though he supposed the tumble out of the hammock probably had woken him up a bit earlier than usual.
  3. Sterren was a morning person. He was also an evening person, and an afternoon person-- and really, not someone who liked to sleep at all. So the waking call came as a relief, and Sterren was up and ready to get started soon after. He stretched his limbs to release the collected heat in his joints, rolled out of his cot and searched around for his boots, which were tossed haphazardly across the room the night before. Boots on, double tied, pants pulled up after and folded around the ankle. Two braids found their way into the long fur on the left side of his head, beaded with a sour green that shown quiet nicely in the artificial light.

    He hefted a small bag - spare parts, bolts and batteries - over his shoulder and checked around the room for any loose bits before setting off down the hallway to catch breakfast. Probably more dried jerky that stuck between his teeth, but he kept his hopes up.

    He lumbered grumpily into the kitchen, wide shoulders and ruffled fur brushing against doorways and souring Sterren's mood further. Work, hunger, ruffled hair? He might as well shave it all off, but then he'd never have the time for upkeep and it'd grow out regardless. He let out a soft mumble-growl as he pulled out a chair in a more secluded part of the kitchen, and plopped down heavily to munch on his jerky. It tasted terrible, but his stomach didn't seem to be complaining.

    The GMH didn't seem too interested in striking up conversation with the other two in the kitchen but managed to nod curtly in g'morning mid-chew. Then he went back to contemplating the horrible taste of the stuff in his mouth.
  4. Xago Largakh woke to the soft whirring of navigation machinery, his torso slumped over a desk cluttered with half a dozen maps of different sizes and colors. The glitok quietly grumbled as he sat up, rubbing his temples and trying to remember the events of the previous night. When the Ad Astra 9 had docked around three months ago, he had bought charts from a few other navigators in order to expand his own; those same charts had apparently served as his pillow last night. With a sigh, Xago examined the work he had done before falling asleep. Drafting additions to the Ad Astra 9's master chart was no small task; details from the other maps needed to be checked and checked again, then compared to other charts or notes he himself had made on previous expeditions. Although the glitok was not satisfied by the quality or quantity of work he had managed to complete (he seldom was), he felt a headache coming on and decided to have a quick breakfast before subjecting himself to the grind once more.

    It was only when he stood that Xago noticed the blanket falling off of his shoulders. He paused, thoughtful, before bending to pick it up; a few years ago Tingwink had started leaving blankets in the navigation room in response to Xago's frequent late-night drafting sessions. She must have thrown it over him after he had passed out last night, then quietly retreated off to her quarters. Although he didn't say it often, the glitok appreciated his Captain for her caring gestures. Ten years ago, openly kind individuals had been scarce in Xago's life, but in his new family aboard the Ad Astra 9 there seemed to be no shortage. The shadow of a smile played about the glitok's lips for a moment as he folded the blanket and hung it on the back of his chair.

    After checking to make sure the auto-pilot was running smoothly, the First Mate re-laced his boots, tied his dreadlocks back, and left the Navigation room, mentally running over the ship's intended route. They were traveling through dead space now, toward a promising star field Xago had researched meticulously back on Sophia. One of the older maps he had referenced while charting their course had mentioned some pirate activity in the area, in addition to a few stranger warnings that he hadn't been able to decipher; however, the map was very outdated and a few ships had gone through the area since then without trouble. Xago wasn't worried. Old maps were useless if not updated regularly.

    Within a few short minutes the glitok was gliding through the kitchen doorway, quiet but for a soft, "Good morning," as he scanned the room. Sterren looked about as cheerful as a wet cat, somehow having managed to seclude himself in a corner of the small kitchen. Mitra sat at the table, his eyes bright and fresh. Xago almost smiled again, but restrained himself; when he was Mitra's age, he had been finishing his final year on the military barge and looking into new opportunities for employment. By contrast, the GMH sitting at the kitchen table seemed so young, barely more than a child. Once again Xago was reminded of his species' short lifespan, though he tried not to linger on the subject for too long. Knowing that your friends and family would all outlive you by several decades was not exactly a comforting thought.

    The First Mate sighed internally when he saw his Captain sitting at the table. Though he knew she had gone through lengths to conceal the withdrawal symptoms, Tingwink looked like hell. He guessed she had been off of Lipenium for about a week, and he was proud of her for it, even though the sight of her in this state picked at him like a painful itch. Needless to say, Xago would not mention it; he had learned that lesson within a few short years. His Captain was doing her best, and it was not his place to judge.

    A light beeping called the glitok over to the coffee machine, where a pot had just finished brewing. Wordlessly he poured two cups and set one in front of the Captain, holding the other between his blackened claws as he leaned back against the wall. As was customary during breakfast, Xago began to plan his daily schedule as he thoughtfully sipped his coffee.
    #4 girlabot, Jun 16, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2015
  5. Al'terra opened her eyes and peered around the room, the darkness was somewhat discomforting as she couldn't see, but then no one can miss the bright blue jumpsuit of the crew's uniform. She allowed herself a moment to ponder over what had woken her but it hadn't taken her more than a few seconds to know exactly how she woke up, as she had been every day. She clapped her hands together, once, and the lights flicker on in a somewhat blinding and no-where near smooth transition, she blinked it away and rose out of bed. She looked over herself and checked a dark brown cut which, having been made long before now, still refused to heal. She run a hand over her leaves, checking they were in place, and yet they've never before fallen out of place. A weird human tradition, to keep your body covered with cloth. She thought while casting a glance to the blue jumpsuit. "I'm not going to bother, today." She said, aloud. It was hardly as if she bothered many days, the leaves were enough. Besides, she'd wear it when she does work, so what does it matter?

    She walked along to a leaf shape mirror, a gift to her with good intention, however questionable. She thought of it once as if sending someone a mirror in the shape of a face, but never brought up that point as, knowing humans, they'd probably enjoy it. She ran a finger down her face, one day she will wilt. But like a tree she may live for hundreds of years before that happened. She is still a new Telmyra, after having lived for ten years on the ship, she still only lived for ninety or so years before. It would be a long time before she was elderly. For now, she revelled in her youth and felt joy in her looks, how vain. She turned and walked out with the ever quiet rustle of a forest. She opened the door and stepped out into the corridor.

    She looked up and down the corridor, a few doors lead to dorms decorated each to a person's taste. She quite liked her own, when she had a moment to herself she'd play music and lie in bed in attempts to relax. She spotted a few, weary eyed people who were dragging themselves out of bed. She turned toward the group and pressed on, she closed the door with a kick behind her and approached the draw that Tigwink had just been through, she had to reach down a bit to get it, little Tigwink, she mused teasingly and plucked out her supplements and walked to a blender. This would be the only "food" She'd need for the next day. She poured water into the blender - dumped some powdered suger into it, just a little, and crushed up her compressed tablet and dunked it in there, she peered longingly at her unopened liquid-sustenance and sighed, she knew she'd have to finish the pills first. She let it whirr and peered across the table "Hey fluffballs, having a bad fur day?" she said, though not with any true mean intention. After being on the ship with then ten years they had probably long since grown tolerant of her jabs, which made teasing them no fun. Though perhaps she wasn't wrong, the two rich kids looked worse for wear. She glanced to the blender, a thin, sloshy liquid with tablet dust floating around it had a lightly white, translucent appearance to it, by all means it didn't look tasty but that didn't matter to Ally, she sloshed the mixture into a cup and drank it all. She walked to the sink, rinsed out her cup and let it dry, that was one less item for whomever was on dishwashing duty, perhaps it was Mitra. She spared a glance to the captain and smirked jovially when she looked worse for wear and hummed her little tune for her drug addiction while walking over to the kitchen island and leaning on it.
    • Love Love x 1
  6. Raine's eyes slowly came open, blinking to restore her sight. Her left hand came up to wipe her eyes awkwardly; it was not her dominant, but her right hand, a bronze prosthetic, sat limply and silently on the bed, having been disabled the night before she went to sleep. She let it hang as she sat up and stretched her arms, yawning, then reluctantly flicked the latch on the back. Instantly the sound of whirring gears reached her ears as the mechanical hand came to life, the hum drifting up through her wrist, an omnipresent feeling she was used to. She flexed the thin fingers, making sure everything was in order, as she did every morning. She stared at the hand with blurry vision for several seconds, trying not to let her mind wander. Finally satisfied it was in working order, she stood up, fetching her glasses from her nightstand and slipping them over her face. She was only wearing lacy undergarments, so she stumbled over to her dresser. The doctor selected her usual outfit, pulling on her red shirt and black jacket, then slipping into a knee-skirt. She fastened her collar, putting on her two leather arm cuffs with dangling chains last.

    Gazing at her face in the mirror, her troubled night was obvious. There were dark circles under her eyes, and her hair was an absolute mess, hanging in tangled curls all around her head. Sighing, she picked up her brush and slowly began to brush it out, until finally she had forced it into a semblance of straightness. Deftly looping the back into a ponytail holder, she adjusted her bangs and turned away from the mirror. Raine stepped out into the hallway, tracing the path she had taken for ten years to the kitchen, where she could smell the coffee. Noting who all was there before her, she slipped up to the counter, leaning back and resting her elbows on it while her left hand's fingers idly played with her chains. "Morning," She said with a cheery tone, although she had pointedly noticed her captain's drumming fingers and pale face. She sympathized with the Lerrin; a couple years before she had signed onto the Ad Astra 9, Raine had wrestled with addiction. Even so, she tried her hardest not to become a coaddict. But Tingwink's aggressive insistince that her problem wasn't one made it very difficult to stay out of it. She sighed audibly. Even if she could, they didn't stay docked long enough for the captain to seek help, and she would never think of taking a leave to attend therapy.

    "Everyone sleep well? I dreamt of electric sheep." She continued whimsically.
  7. Time of Day: 6.53 AM
    Ship's Location: En route to the star fields
    Other notes: Ship is still on autopilot.

    And in the empty expanses of space, the crew of Ad Astra 9 began to make their breakfast - most of it is dried or tinned food with nutrient supplements, as the evening meal is saved for the genetically modified fruits and vegetables. The heavy sense of routine pressed down on the crew's sleep-addled minds - there would be breakfast, a briefing, and then the crew would get to work.

    Or, at least, that's what would've happened.

    Mid-way through the breakfast routine, as crew members fumbled around with the drawers and pantries and started sorting out their morning meal, an ungodly crunching, creaking groan ripped through the starboard side of the ship and send everything that wasn't nailed down reeling off to the left. For a long, agonising moment there was complete silence - as if the entire incident hadn't even occurred. Around two minutes later, the ship slowly drifted to a halt and a red light pulsed above every door - the warning light.

    Tingwink Spannerfizz

    They all started filing in one by one. Surprisingly, Mitra was first - the kid liked his sleep. Tingwink stopped drumming her fingers on the desk long enough to peer at the GMH and pour herself a cup of coffee. "Nah, you're the first one. Looks like you're eager to start work, eh? Don't worry, there's certainly a lot to do." she replied smoothly, looking around for the others. She didn't want to waste water, but she was pondering over a bucket to help speed things along.

    Sterren tumbled in shortly after, looking like the picture of grumpy mornings. Ting knew when to take a hint and merely nodded to the weapons master as he ate some of the rationed meat jerky sulkily on the table. Tingwink bit her lip with anxiety - her headache was getting worse.

    And then came Xago. Tingwink's right hand man, the one she could rely on to do anything she couldn't be bothered to do...the very same one who wasn't in his sleeping quarters that night but Tingwink banged on the door anyway to save him the embarrassment of trying to explain why he fell asleep in the navigation room again. Tingwink contemplated moving the spare sleeping bag under his desk as he looked at her, and the pair had the same thought at the same time - Withdrawal? Withdrawal.

    It hung over the kitchen like a bad smell. Al'terra noticed it too when she entered, sending a jovial quip at the GMHs and then proceeded to hum that song tauntingly at her captain. Of course, it was hardly surprising when Tingwink growled out a short, snappy response to the leaning Telmyra next to her - "Maybe if you kept quiet, I wouldn't be thinking about it, and I wouldn't have to try and rip your pretty little leaves off and smoke them to stop the damned headache."

    Tingwink knew she'd feel bad about it later but instead of apologising, her hand guided the coffee Xago made for her towards her mouth and she drank some of it whilst Raine came in and lightened the mood Tingwink just spoiled. Thank the cogs for Raine - ever optimistic, always smiling. "Heh, morning Raine. I think everyone else slept better than us, based on the fact they aren't even up yet." she called out, raising her voice a little in the hopes of catching the ears of any stragglers in the corridor.


    The Lerrin was tossed off her chair, the coffee she held onto spilt all over the floor and the ceramic mug shattered on the tiles. She tumbled a bit, then bumped into the table before the ship righted itself. Tingwink groaned, pulling herself to her feet - there was coffee across her side and on her undergarments, and bits of ceramic in her hair, and besides looking shaken and a bit bumped she was holding up surprisingly well.

    Her violent eyes lit up as she stared at her crew members with a mixture of incomprehension, anxiety, and excitement. A faint grin played on her lips as, in the pressing silence, the warning light popped up. She was always a bit of an adrenaline junkie, and it wasn't every day you hit something in the dead expanses of space to and from a star field. "Xago, with me! The rest of you, get geared up, I think we might have a bit of hull repairing to do!" she ordered, her voice turning from the usual drawl into a short, snappy tone of authority. Without even bothering to get dressed, Tingwink pushed the kitchen door open and sprinted down the corridors to the navigation room.
  8. After Sterren came in, Mitra had finally pulled his body off the table top and gone over to the cupboards. He only nodded briefly at the other GMH. He had been a little intimidated by Sterren the first time he’d seen him, but he found now that he enjoyed the others silence. He pulled out a tin can and unscrewed the lid. He pulled out a dried grasshopper and began munching on it. He was just glad that his mother’s species had a better time conserving water so he didn’t have to drink the recycled water quite as often as the others. It made his nose curl in disgust whenever he had to use it.

    His ears perked up and stopped twitching so much when Xago came into the room. Mitra’s tail wagged a little as he woke up a little bit more. He wondered if the First Mate would have time to show him the new charts he’d been working on today. The GMH did love maps, he still had a few that he’d collected from home hidden in the cubbies in his small room. But the master chart was something else. It was so fascinating to look at. “Morning,” he yipped at the First Mate. He pulled out another grasshopper and crunched on it.

    “My fur’s perfect everyday,” Mitra replied to Al’terra with a barking laugh. “Unlike your leaves.” He knew that he looked rather disheveled, but he’d always enjoyed not having to look perfect all the time. It’s what made the Ad Astra 9 home.

    After eating a few more dried bugs he twisted the top of the tin can back on again. He was setting it inside the cupboard when Raine finally came into the kitchen. “But you wouldn’t be able to eat them,” he commented on the Doctor’s dream. “They’d just stand around uselessly.”

    Before he could sit back down Mitra was thrown against the wall as the ship was hit by something. He cursed under his breath and rubbed an arm. He saluted Tingwink almost lazily, “Will do Cap!” he called at her and turned quickly to run to his room. He grabbed the gear and shoved the suit over his clothes. He peaked into the navigation room as soon as he was done with his things. He knew that he’d be more of a support role for the others as they fixed the ship. Until he knew what they needed him to do, he’d try to stay out of the way and watch.
  9. Sterren ran his tongue along his upper canines to get rid of the bitter taste and salt left over. Fresh meat was preferable to this, something smoked seasoned with just a tad of... He would start drooling if he kept thinking these things. Last thing the Captain needed was a Weapon's Master who kept salivating over food he wouldn't get for a few more months. At least until they made port for commerce, whenever that was. He'd remember to ask when their next dock was. The GMH picked his teeth absentmindedly as he stood and made his way back to the cupboards to an assortment of things.

    A milky, vanilla scented liquid, a handful of small berries - which looked too dried out to be palatable, but he didn't seem to mind - and a thin powder. He dumped each into a small glass, swirled it around, and chugged the whole thing in one go. It made a complete breakfast for Sterren, the jerky and the mixture. He seemed satisfied enough, shoulders relaxing a bit as the tightness eased from the night before.

    The corners of Sterren's mouth lifted to expose sharp canines as he went about his daily routine of washing whatever dishes he'd used and setting them back where they belonged. His own room was only half as organized as this, but he preferred to call it "messy organization"; nobody else knew where anything was, but he sure did. And that's all that mattered, right? Right

    At least he was in a better mood, because he looked ready to say something in an attempt to join in the conversation-- only for it to be torn from his throat as the ship jerked and he was forced to stabilize himself against the wall. "The hell kind of pirates attack in the mornin'--?" He assumed they were pirates, because anything else was bad news. Sterren scooped up the bag of spare parts and zipped it closed so he could sling it over his shoulder, and darted down the hall towards Navigation to await further orders.
  10. Raine was thrown forward past the table into the wall as the ship lurched. She slid to the floor, gasping for air, the wind knocked out of her. She nodded while she caught her breath, slowly pushing herself to her feet. Her mind was awash with fear--her first thought was Lost Ones, but she was able to banish it quickly as unlikely. Her second was pirates--that was a real possibility. Regardless, she was following orders. She stumbled out of the kitchen, back down the hallway, and ran into her room, shedding her leather jacket as she entered and pulling her uniform on. She almost tore the drawer out of the nightstand opening it, retrieving the two pistols within--one which fired regular ammunition, and another loaded with a canister of water, designed to fire high-pressure streams that tore through Lost Ones. She strapped the two holsters to her waist, nervously aware that if it was pirates she would likely have to use one of them very soon. The doctor darted over to the door, beside which stood a hefty red backpack marked with a white label that simply said "MED;" her personal trauma kit. There were more advanced supplies in the infirmary, of course, but Raine preferred to have something portable on hand too. She slipped it onto her back, tightening the harness-like straps that kept it in place, and left her room, her mind reeling with the potential for violence--they could have simply hit free-floating debris, but she was poignantly aware of the more dire possibilities.

    Raine hated emergencies.
  11. Al'terra simply grinned as her captain dished out the snappy response "Calm down, Cap. Tiredness making you snappy?" she poked again at the bear, who cared, she could patch herself up with some simple plant hormones and water. She grinned at Mitra then feigned a hurt expression "My leaves? Why they're beautiful every moment of the day." She ran a hand over the top of her red leaves that slide over her body like an outfit, "An elegant shape for an elegant lady~" she chimed and laughed. She finished her breakfast and placed her cup in the sink, she changed position by a flick of her hip and rested against the island. As the ship gets hit, it lifts her, being relatively light, her legs got lifted by the impact and she'd been slammed into the hard surface of the island, she frowned and straightened up.

    She glanced briefly to her assistant doctor - or well she was as qualified as Ally was, and yet Ally... Somewhat affectionately calls her the assistant. Perhaps it was her nervous tendencies and more timid personality. However it was only a nickname at best. From experience the timid girl was a well versed doctor, so she smirked a little as she rushed to get equipment, it was just a little bump, in her opinion, but the girl was always prepared. She glanced briefly to the mechanical hand and frowned, no amount of brain-bleach would wash out the memory of Al'terra's harsh decision to amputate her hand. She had offered little comfort to the girl at the moment, stretched thin by stress, perhaps it was not her highest moment as the crew's doctor, but all things considered it was well amputated and the infection was considerably less so than if they were on a planet. She knew the girl was touchy on the subject and learnt to not bring it up, especially if they were together in the infirmary, otherwise things would get quiet, fast. She had convinced herself that if she'd been a little kinder to the girl, she might not have been so uncomfortable on the matter. However, she hadn't held it too personally, she didn't care too much.

    She glanced to the captain who had gotten up and started making her way - she knew it was work time and she'd have to pull on the ugly blue jumpsuit, so she went to her room, slipped it on over her shoulders and zipped it up half way, enough room to let the red of her leaves shine through. She took a last moment for a glance in the mirror, grinned and stepped outside again, she had a job to do - and although she wasn't a fighter, she'd still fight if she needed too!
  12. Collab with girlabot (open)

    A hiss of pistons follows the opening of the doors to the navigation room. With one violent sweep of her arms, Tingwink sends the navigation charts and maps tumbling to the floor. The varnished table lies clean and empty, a collection of neat engravings around the edges. With a click of a button on the edge of the table, the tabletop's wooden 'lid' pops up and the Lerrin slides it back to reveal the touch-screen interactive map of the ship.

    A blue vertical cross-section of the ship lights up, and a little red circle pulsates in one of the 'tech rooms' - several of these are scattered around the ship itself, small rooms no bigger than 1.5 metres in length due to the large, crammed-in electrical equipment which controls the ship's functions. The one that the disruption is in actually holds the fail-safes for the locking mechanisms of the doors.

    Curiously enough, the ship's radar doesn't detect any objects nearby. Ad Astra 9 is floating in a dead expanse of space - there's nothing around that could've even fired anything at the ship, but there it is, a...a pulsating red light which crashed into the hull.

    "What is that?" murmured Tingwink, pressing on the room with her index finger. A separate window pops up on the screen, a static, shaking camera revealing the situation.

    Some sort of escape pod, no bigger than a twin bed, has crashed into the side of the hull. Half of it juts out of the hole in the hull, the ventilation shafts wooshing as air from the star engines leaves the ship entirely. There's the odd fizz and crackle of electricity as some of the large servers - which look like wooden cabinets and display cases with plugs running in and out of them - stand broken beyond repair.

    Tingwink looks over at Xago; her features are solemn, but her eyes sparkly with the excited curiosity that only a Lerrin can truly convey without words. She leans over and pulls an old microphone towards her - the comms unit.

    Suddenly, Tingwink's voice blares across the speakers."Ladies and Gentlemen, we appear to have some sort of...escape pod in one of the technology rooms. It crashed into the door locking mechanisms so be careful when you're opening doors. Now, could whoever is in that space-craft turn on their speakers and explain to me why you just smashed into my ship?"

    The audio in the room thankfully is intact, moreso than the camera.

    "Oh please, you have to help me - my wife and I, we're sick! The officers wouldn't even tell us what was going on, they just put us in a pod and told us we're going back to the station..." calls out the speaker on the pod.

    The First Mate follows on the heels on his captain through the hissing sliding doors of the navigation room, watching without protest as she sweeps his night's work off of the table in one smooth arc. The crisis at hand takes obvious precedence over drafting, though the glitok's eyes linger on one of the rolled-up sheets for a moment as Tingwink pulls up the ship's interactive blueprints. They were traveling through empty space (or had been, before the ship had come to a grinding, lilting halt), a dry desert in the vast expanse of the known universe. The fact that the Ad Astra 9 had been struck byanythingwas almost unbelievable, especially considering he himself had checked the auto-pilot system not fifteen minutes ago.

    Xago watches, silent, as his Captain manipulates the systems map before them, distantly hearing her voice his thoughts as a pulsing red light appears on the screen. He leans closer as she pulls up the static-filled room, willing himself to see beyond the scope of the damaged camera. An escape pod had somehow buried itself deep into the hull, creating a potentially dangerous disparity in pressure and absolutely wrecking the door-locking control mechanism in the process. An impressive feat for such a small vessel, the glitok thinks with a frown, exchanging looks with his Captain. She has that familiar look in her eye, he notes with alarm; the excited,dangerouslook that only comes out when something is about to go horribly wrong.

    As Tingwink grabs the microphone to inform her crew of the situation, Xago scrutinizes the camera more closely, trying to decipher any movement or indication of what may be in that escape pod. To his surprise, however, the vessel's passengers do not hesitate to speak up when prompted. The glitok listens intently, though with each frantic word he grows more and more distrustful. The voice seems genuine enough, but Xago is too well-trained to place sympathy before the safety of his Captain's ship and crew. After the escapee finishes, the glitok leans back and immediately looks to Tingwink. Perhaps having something to do with the excitement still twinkling in his Captain's eyes, the glitok suddenly speaks up.

    "The ship was not traveling perpendicularly to either Sophia or Elizabeth, and given the pod's position on the port side instead of on the bow, it would not have been on a direct path to either station unless some gravitational field had curved its course."And, as they both knew, there were no objects large enough to emit a significant field in dead space.Pausing for a moment, Xago then continues."Their captain must have ejected them into dead space with the intention of creating as much distance between them and civilization as possible. There's only one ...disease ... I know of to have warranted such an extreme action."'Disease' was putting it lightly; what Xago fears has crashed into their ship is a veritable petri dish of anti-matter.

    The glitok glances at the screen once more, then back to the Lerrin beside him."Captain, we are thousands of miles from the nearest station, with depleted water and ration supplies. An escape pod has careened out of nowhere violently enough to rip a hole in the hull, and so happens to have broken the door-locking mechanismand the supervising camera. I'm not sure this collision was unplanned." Having spoken his uncharacteristically-lengthy council, Xago patiently awaits a decision from the Captain; despite his strong misgivings about the whole situation, she knew he would do anything she asked of him.

    Tingwink sighed, her finger off the speaker button to listen to Xago's advice. "But from where? Who, or what, would have the ability to aim - probablyweeks in advance - to ensure that pod hit the door locking mechs at that precise moment?" she mused, drumming her fingers on the table. Her head hurt so much...

    Tingwink held a hand up for momentary silence - it seems odd, in fact, that she's shushing Xago before she talks...She's certainly hiding him from the two in the pod, but the reasons aren't entirely clear yet. "And for how long exactly have you been travelling?"

    "A week at most, missus - oh please, you've gotta help us get back to the station, my wife, she-" is all the pod manages to get out before the man broke out into wet sounding coughing fits. Tingwink removes her finger from the mic again, sinking into a chair and holding her head in her hands. She remained quiet for a long time.

    Finally, she looked up at Xago painfully, and it's probably not from the drugs this time. "That," she sighed out, "Sounds like an internal infection. So that man's already dead." Tingwink stood up, picking up the navigation charts carefully but unable to hide the tremble in her hands. "Cogdamnit, I feel like I'm going to be sick."

    The Lerrin wheeled around, looking at Xago, her voice rising in anger; the gleam in her eyes is present but it roared up into a furious flame. "There's a group of men out there that jettison their crew into space the moment they get the space sickness! And, cog forbid, if you're right then there's a group of men out there who use people as cannon fodder and antimatter as a weapon to remove competition from the star fields. Do you comprehend how utterly disgusting that is?!"

    Tingwink's expression cleared somewhat after her outburst, letting out a weary groan. She knew Xago knew; that's why she made him first mate, after all. "Right, I'm-...gonna prepare the crew for an antimatter assault...two Walkers. -Somehow-, without telling our 'guests' what's up and who's doing what. For all we know, they're beaming back whatever they see and hear to wherever they came from."

    Tingwink shuffled over to the microphone, took a deep breath, and spoke remarkably nonchalantly into the microphone."Thank you, sir. Right! Ally, dearest, prepare a needle for me and get Raine to Sputnik as soon as possible. Fluffy, I want you to get out all of the...weapons that don't fire bullets or lazers and distribute them to the crew as soon as possible. Kit? Round up as many wa-...as many capsules as you can find and start filling them up. When you've all finished that, you can group up in the washroom and wait for me to come down."

    Not a second passed after Tingwink took her finger off the microphone before she was at the map again, zoomnig in, taking a look at two systems in particular - the (broken) door locking mechanism, and the ventilation shafts. Frantically, tingwink tried to lock the door to the tech room - to no avail. They're all open. With a growl, Tingwink cut off the air ventilation shafts heading towards the broken room.

    "If anyone's feeling short of breath in the engine room and the corridor leading towards it, then first off you shouldn't be in there, second it's because I cut off the air ventilation to the room to avoid losing too much air. You okay over there, sir?"

    Nothing but choked coughing and retching came out of the pod's speakers as the man tried to speak, along with some sort of feminine, gruttal growlings. Tingwink looked over at Xago nervously.

    The voice over the speaker insisted that the pod had been traveling for no more than a week, prompting the First Mate to think back on any significant events that had happened around that time. He had set the current autopilot settings around two weeks ago, which would have given whomever had sent the pod -ifsomeone had intentionally sent it their way- a little more than a week to calculate the Ad Astra's current velocity and position. Theoretically, it waspossible that someone had planned the collision, but no entity he knew of was capable of such a feat. Xago could not even imagine the genius that would have gone into the necessary calculations, nonetheless in a single week.

    Another equally troubling matter was that, if his theory was true, someone had hacked into his navigation system to record the auto-pilot settings. Perhaps ... Perhaps a crewmember had leaked the information? The glitok did not entertain the idea for long; the crew was his family, and he trusted each member with his life. Still, the question lingered like a poison in his mind. If someone had breached his secure navigation system, how had they done so, and for how long had they been observing the Ad Astra's flight patterns?

    Tingwink had been quiet for some time, and when she finally spoke her voice was heavy with responsibility; unsurprisingly, fury followed soon after. Having analyzed the situation from a purely logical angle until now, Xago hadn't yet considered feeling anger, but the Captain's outburst stirred within him a twin fire to the one gleaming in her eyes. To use antimatter as a weapon was an extremely irresponsible, vile act, and that it had been done with such careful, precise planning only added insult to the injury. The Ad Astra 9 had been targeted, attacked, and left to its demise in the middle of dead space, and there was no hell hot enough for the souls who had done it.

    The First Mate waited for his Captain to finish speaking over the intercom, then met her nervous gaze with a steady look of his own."We've handled far more than two Walkers at a time in the past. Your crew is well-trained, Captain."No attack had ever startedinside the ship, though, or had been preceded by such strange events. Something about this whole situation just felt ... wrong, somehow, as if more surprises were still coming. Regardless, Xago tried to believe his own words for Tingwink's sake, who could not have been faring well- especially with the withdrawal symptoms on top of everything else. For the first time since breakfast he noted her current uniform, and spoke gently, "If we have to dispose of anti-matter today, it may be in your best interest to put some more protective gear on."

    Sterren made it outwardly clear that he was suspicious of the newcomers, his eyes glued quite firmly to their frightened faces as they relayed to the present crew what had happened. It was unusual for an escape pod to seek out such a ship as theirs, much more unusual for it to be out here, where Sterren was pretty sure was nowhere. He was no Navigator, but he had his talents and remarkably helpful (in some, rare, cases) paranoia.

    Drawing his expression away and towards the captain and first mate, Sterren's expression soured. Walkers, his least favorite. Their prevalence and bizarre gait added to the creep factor. At least he could, usually, take them out with a blast or two from his static cannon.

    But the Captain wanted weapons that didn't do a weapon's job. Darn her for stocking those things in the first place and trying to put him out of a job. "Yes, Captain," he said. It wasn't really his place to think these things through, so he followed her command with a curt salute and slipped out of Navigation to look for some... non-projectile lethal weaponry. Electrical discharge stun-guns and reaver cleavers, maybe a few super-heated plasma cubes specially engineered not to burn through the ship, courtesy of himself.

    When he reached the weapon's locker (too conspicuous, he'd say), he gathered up what he could; non-ballistic weapons, discharge based and maybe a shield or two he'd crafted in his spare time. They'd need them, depending on how many of those damned critters had sneaked aboard.

    Mitro's ears swiveled in interest as he caught the last bit of the conversation with the escape pod. His eyes had lost the shine to them as he realized what was going to happen. He still remembered the first time he saw a walker. It had been right before he snuck on board the Ad Astra 9. No, he wouldn't think of that right now.

    He gave a quick nod to Tingwink and scurried out the room. He took some of the smaller passageways to the cargo bay. He grabbed the cases of capsules and carefully lifted them. He wasn't that strong, but living at least half his life on board ships had certainly helped his upper body strength.

    The GMH carefully lowered the capsules to the floor next to the stockpiled water and began to fill them. It took a few minutes because he was being cautious not to spill it.

    Sighing he lifted the boxes again with a grunt and made his way slowly out and toward Sterren. He gave a soft relieved noise as he set the boxes down next to the weapons the Master was gathering. "There should be a lighter way to do this," he complained.

    Time of Day: 7.19 AM
    Ship's Location: En rote to the star fields
    Other notes: A crashed escape pod has hit the ship, affecting door locking mechanisms. The ship is no longer moving.

    Suddenly, Tingwink's voice blares across the speakers."Ladies and Gentlemen, we appear to have some sort of...escape pod in one of the technology rooms. It crashed into the door locking mechanisms so be careful when you're opening doors. Now, could whoever is in that space-craft turn on their speakers and explain to me why you just smashed into my ship?"


    "Thank you, sir. Right! Ally, dearest, prepare a needle for me and get Raine to Sputnik as soon as possible. Fluffy, I want you to get out all of the...weapons that don't fire bullets or lazers and distribute them to the crew as soon as possible. Kit? Round up as many wa-...as many capsules as you can find and start filling them up. When you've all finished that, you can group up in the washroom and wait for me to come down."

    The ships' alarm lights flash in every room now. If you are near the boiler room, surgery, or navigation room you will be able to hear a faint slamming noise and angry growls and groans, echoing down the corridor.


    Tingwink Spannerfizz

    Her bare feet padded the corridors she knew so well. With a hiss, her dorm door opened up without protest - despite originally being locked to hide the confidential papers sitting on the desk. Her room was no bigger than the others, but bore a sign of well-use, posters and photographs plastered onto the walls, notes pinned around the area, a few of Xago's star charts here and there and some more personal items in drawers and cupboards. Tingwink fixed her hair, changed her underwear (which were stained with coffee) and pulled on her usual blue jumpsuit, zipping it right the way up to her neck and combining it with a bear of heavy-duty combat boots, extra thick soles.

    Lost Ones.

    Even the thought made the room pitch and reel; a hand flung out to grab the corner of her desk, Tingwink stared at the floor in numb fear, feeling the bile jump up to her throat. Her fear intermingled with her withdrawal and just made things worse; she felt lightheaded, giddy with the thought. Two all-consuming monsters were currently eating their way through the pod they crashed in on and will eventually cover her ship - HER ship - with dark purple slop, turning her crew into monsters too.

    Well, Tingwink had a plan. It was simple enough - horribly wasteful, but she didn't see any alternative. With a deep breath, she composed herself, looked herself dead in the eye through the grubby reflection on the mirror, grabbed her water gun, a couple of water capsules, and fled down the corridor to the Washroom.

    The Washroom was bone dry when the crew entered, as clean as it can possibly get on Ad Astra 9. Row upon row of sinks on either side, and further away were the showers, an enclosed area for the toilets too. the floor completely tiled to allow water to seep across the whole area and make it rather slippery. Today, however, it hasn't been used - the water went down the pipes and back to the boiler from last night, or through the ventilation shafts as vapour.

    Tingwink started, already, to plug the plugholes with tissue paper. She glanced up at her crew, frowning a little. "Two Lost Ones are trapped on the other side of the ship. The plan is simple enough - we take as much water to that room and drench the whole place through, I want nothing to be left of that antimatter and I don't care if we use the whole supply in the process." she grunts, stamping on the wad of tissue paper to ensure that it stays.

    "If, for any reason, we manage to miss the Lost Ones, I'll fly the ship to the nearest planet and we'll make an emergency landing in their sea. Hopefully, we won't have to do that; Now, fill up your water guns...Mitra, grab the hose from the cargo hold and jam it onto one of the taps in the kitchen, we'll lead it to that room and drench it. Rest of you, grab a water capsule."
  13. The fox GMH twitched when he heard the order to move to the washroom, but he stayed with Sterren. He knew that the weapon’s master would need help carrying the weapons and capsules to the meeting place. He fidgeted a little as he watched Sterren organize and check over the weapons that were slowly piling up.

    Mitra’s own body was vibrating with nervous energy. He didn’t like running into Lost Ones, not because they made him afraid (which they did), but because he always got so angry when he saw them. An anger likely fueled by the fear that he was going to lose this family. The family that accepted and cared for him. “Should I bring some of the weapons to the washroom?” he asked impatiently. His hands were placed on the table and he was leaning on it so that his feet didn’t touch the ground.
  14. Sterren, checking each and every weapon off on an imaginary checklist, offered Mitra a curt nod. "Yeah, you do that. Get movin'." He loaded a few of the weapons into crates for easy lifting, the heavier ones he assumed Mitra would have trouble carrying. Heck, he had trouble carrying them sometimes, with their massive and unbalanced bulk he certainly had no say in. He was a Weapon's Master, not a Toy Master-- and, as he was so fond of saying, these little things were more like toys in his eyes. Not like he could do anything about it; Captain Knows Best, after all. If they got the Creeps off the ship, maybe he'd reconsider his opinion.

    He hefted the crate in both hands and pulled it against his chest for stability. Sharp things, round things, blocky things, things that looked vaguely like water pistols, but probably weren't. Everything that fit the given criteria was loaded into the crate or piled on the work bench. Once he'd gathered his balance, Sterren was off to carry his cargo to his gathered crewmates for dispensation.

    The GMH's trigger finger itched a bit. He promised it'd get to pull a real trigger once this was all over.
  15. Raine trembled, leaning against the wall. The whole room seemed to spin. Her heart was thrumming in her chest, which felt tight and painful. Her organic hand was clammy, covered in sweat, and the fingers of her left hand gripped her water pistol so forcefully they turned white. Her vision started to blur, fog over a little, like she was watching the world through frosted glass. Lost Ones. Her mind couldn't focus. It was interrupted constantly by images of her last skirmish with the monsters, welling up unbidden from the deepest corners of her mind where she'd hidden them away. She swallowed. Her mouth was dry, and the motion hurt. Her breathing came faster. She sank to the ground, staring at nothing. All she could think of was the two dreadful creatures, already on board the ship, tearing into her. Ripping out her humanity, turning her into one of those...things. She'd felt that sensation before. The feeling of burning, creeping up her wrist as it ate away at her flesh. As if her thought had summoned it, a sudden, fiery pain raced up her arm. A wave of panic assaulted her mind. She reminded herself, repeatedly, that she wasn't infected. She was surrounded by her crewmates. They would protect her. There were only two walkers--what could the Lost Ones hope to do against a full crew? But rationality couldn't hold back the fear. It seemed to claw her consciousness, whispering to give herself up to the terror. Raine wished she could pass out. She shifted, and the jostling of her pack startled her. It was a small movement, but...
    There's...something I'm missing...
    Something she couldn't put her finger on. She tried to force herself to slow down and think, but to no avail. Her vision dimmed further. The world felt like it was slipping away. A sob escaped her. The doctor was unaware she was crying. Aware of very little, in fact, but the terror that she would soon fight Lost Ones.
  16. As his Captain dashed through the sliding doors to command her ship, Xago picked up several of the star charts and spread them across the floor, allowing him to make quick comparisons without the pain of having to constantly shuffle them around. He was carefully searching (though not without a small measure of panic) for a planet, somewhere to dock and re-hydrate the Ad Astra 9 after certain battle with the Lost Ones. The issue, of course, was that the ship was currently stalled in the middle of a desert. There were no planets, asteroid belts, licensed satellites, or space stations within a feasible radius, and even if there were Xago was not sure their ship would receive a very friendly welcome with antimatter residue on board.

    Frustrated but unwilling to relent, the First Mate forced himself to look harder. He noticed a wrinkled corner sticking out from beneath his desk, and stooped to pull out the older star chart he had been looking at last night. Although outdated, this map did show a small marking near their position that the other maps did not, though whether it was a stain or small planet Xago could not be sure. He inspected the mark carefully, and was unable reach a decision; in any case, it was the only place within "walking" distance that showed any measure of potential. Today had already seen a number of near-impossible occurrences, Xago reasoned, so what was one more? He would break character, and take a risk.

    The First Mate kicked aside the charts and walked lightly over to the central wheel, leaning over the switchboards to activate the few controls needed to set the Ad Astra 9 back in motion. The ship hummed with power, and, guided by his firm hands, began to turn and glide in the direction of the anonymous 'planet' from the map. Every few seconds Xago glanced in one of about three directions: a) the map, now propped up in front of the steering wheel, b) the ship's glowing blueprint, still pulsing on the desktop, and c) the floor, where two Walkers were lurking just below. He didn't hear movement, and the hallway cameras seemed clear, but at any moment the two wraiths could burst out of the tech room like a poisonous black flood. Aware that any audible noise could attract the monsters' attention, Xago quietly urged the ship faster, faster, toward an uncertain destination, trusting that his crew was prepared for anything.
  17. Al'terra glanced up at the sound of Tingwink's voice, and immediately frowned at her order, she ran down the corridor and nodded curtly to Raine ( @Valentyne ) "You heard her, Sterren, now!" she snapped at Raine and pointed her to Sterren, always snappy when events were occurring. She rushed through the ship, taking the quickest route to the Infirmary. She did have a collection of drug needles in her room but the Infirmary was always the better choice. She easilly navigated the area and reached the dim red light of the infirmary, she pushed the doors open and was met with bright, sterile white light.

    She took a sharp turn, straight to the supply cupboard and opened one, taking out a metal box filled with sterile needles, covered in a film to remain sterile. She plucked one out and removed the film, closed the box and put it away and then took a small vial of a slightly tinted purple liquid, though it's mostly transparent. She peered at it and removed 5ml from the vial, into the needle and put a little needle cap on it so the needle wouldn't get damaged. She frowned and took the first aider's battle sash and stuffed the pockets with a few bandages, painkillers and a small sewing kit. She then scooped up three hand-held water capsuled and stuffed them by her hip. They'll do, for now, they didn't contain much water but it was enough to hold them back should she encounter one on the way back.

    She ran out the doors, back through the corridors that led to the kitchen, then turned around the corner, running past all the dorms and then took another sharp turn, right into the washroom and was greeted with plugged up plugs and water. She frowned and looked around. The weapons master hadn't yet arrived and she needed more than a few hand held capsules, she looked through the pockets of the sash and found a sleek, matte black water capsule launcher. It was the best she had.
    "Anyone have any more hand held water capsules? It's the best this guy can do." she slapped the gun a few times and put in one capsule, it could only fire one at a time and she'd have to re-fill it with a new capsule every time, it was time consuming but very useful.
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