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Chapter Seven: Full House

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Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus (Tag!)
(Part 1 of 2)

"Mass Effect - Main Title Screen (1 Hour of Music)" by Jack Wall

Mario places a comforting hand on Beema's shoulder and gives a slight squeeze. "Iris is a ally, friend, and a member of the team. She has helped us all out on several occasions, and has earned her right to be called a Wild Card. Let her be a friend to you, too, and you won't regret it."

Beema looks deeply into Mario's eyes as if searching for something in their Italian-American depths. The excitable little Broo calms for a moment, moves forward and very lightly, very gently, brushes her soft cheek against his own in an affectionate manner. Then her breathing returns to its rapid pace as she gets out of Mario's way lest she further interfere with his preparations. She murmurs mostly to herself. "Mar-ee-yo say Iris is friend. If Beema let Iris be friend, Mar-eey-yo say I no regret." Beema glances at Cera and then at Shirley before smiling excitedly to Mario. "Okay!"

Then Beema scampers off of the table. On all fours, she slowly and non-threateningly approaches Iris, all the while gazing up at the Scrath. Iris, in turn, notes the Broo's approach and becomes still to the point of appearing statue-like. When a Scrath is still, it is like they have cloaked their very souls. Such is their stillness that they appear to be devoid of threat, perhaps devoid of life. It must be an excellent way to avoid attention in the wild.

Beema scratches at her leathers, adjusts her scabbard-covered short sword, and plops down in front of Iris. For a short time, they simply seem to look at each other. And for the two of these otherworldly creatures from extremely different circumstances and backgrounds, that appears to be enough for them.

Iris returns to her conversation with Ylva and Beema hops up on a table and appears to attempt to discover the usage of the human tool known as... tongs.

* * *​


Looking around at the bustling mess hall with all of the people and Sams in it (he was already starting to think of Beema's race as 'people', not a bunch of aliens), Mario was starting to get a feeling of contentment inside. This is a place and a team that I can really see myself being a part of for the long term. I like being here. He then grabs a large pot of boiling water and heads for a sink to drain the noodles. "Watch out! Hot stuff coming through! And the water will scald you, too, if you aren't careful!"

He offers up a grin as he works, feeling good about his newly found life onboard the Broadsword.

Mario can feel someone's gaze upon him. It is Shirley. Her Californian-blue eyes follow him. She looks like a kid at the edge of a pool who is all ready to jump in, but can't for some reason or another. Shirley seems to enjoy Mario just being Mario.

* * *​

"Hi there." If there's a right and polite way to start a mental conversation, that's probably not it. "Iris. Sorry, I'm not... quite used to this kind of speech." She speaks the first part, tries to 'think' the second, and probably does a great job of making a fool of herself. "We... weren't doing any fighting, back then. Only looked at things that sunk to the ground from the war up in the sky. Wreckages, mostly. As far as we knew, then, there's nothing down there that'd be a reason to worry too much. I mean, part of why the Broadsword took a bath is because it's safe for us, at least for now, right?"

Iris briefly shakes her head from side to side. "Apologies are unrequired. This form of communication is non-standard for humankind whereas we Scrath emerge from our creches learning it. Vocal speech is beyond our means though our ocular forms of receiving your mouth-words function quite well. We can hear and understand, but not speak.

Iris blinks twice and slowly, almost soundlessly moves herself closer to a table as if she is attempting to be out of everyone's way. "This One is curious if any place on your homeworld is safe for this highly-sought-after vessel and its unusual crew. As long as there are Zentraedi, there is a threat to Scrath, to Ura-Meltrandi, and to humanity. This One cannot recommend complacency. Constant vigilance is required for survival."

"So it should be fine, at least for now. No need to worry. But thanks for asking. And thank you for helping." Be it with the war, or with coffee stains. "So, what do Scrath actually eat, Iris?

Iris holds her head up high like a human might if they were feeling pride. "Zentraedi!" she answers. "Quality protein in large amounts are required for continued productivity and activity, especially during combat. Scrath hunt, prepare, consume, digest, and keep protein storages of ingested enemies in order to ensure prolonged health and aforementioned vigilance. While nearly any source of living protein - specifically meat - can be ingested and kept, properly-maintained Zentraedi are our favorite source, especially Zeki-Zentraedi! To destroy our foes is one matter; to use the bodies of our enemies to further our causes is seen as a continued victory, but perhaps best of all, Zeki-Zentraedi only consume the highest-quality protein salves! Devouring them therefore has positive results not only on Scrath survivability, but also morale! Is this not melodious?" This last question appears to be rhetorical as it is heartfelt.

"Do not worry," Cera tells Ylva with a red-eyed grin. "Scrath rarely devour humans. Your species tends to consume fuels that are inefficient and often of low quality. In other words, enemy humans are 'junk food' to Scrath - to be devoured only as a last resort."

And... just out of curiosity... would you mind if I tag along when you try to use that, Lieute-... Shirley?" She sheepishly points out the fluid. "I... might have an interest in substances that do wondrous things. If that's alright, that is." Her last comment is directed at both Cera and Iris; who knows whether there are social conventions where Scrath spit is involved... but organic laundry detergents? Come on, one doesn't need to have spent years in labs to get excited by that, right? Right?

Cera continues to set the tables as she considers this line of thinking. "Leader Mack is my superior. You must direct your query to her."

Iris replies, "This One does not mind if Leader Mack's permission is granted!"

To which Shirley turns about as if just now coming into the conversation. She looks at the container of fluid then to Ylva. She waves. "C'mon over! Let's see how it takes on coffee stains together!" Shirley raises one hand to get Sam's attention when the blast doors to the Mess Hall open. A Samantha unit in red colored armor enters the room with a huge jacket that can only belong to Hercules. As the door closes behind her, the Sam unit moves to an out-of-the-way table and lays the jacket down flat.

"That's thinking ahead! Thanks, Samantha!"

The robot puts one hand to where her lips would be if her helmet possessed lips and "blows Shirley a kiss." "Ain't no thang, sugar plum! Ah reckon y'all would wanna test out that there theory of y'alls, so here we are, rarin' ta go!"

"'Sugar plum?'" Shirley hears this and with an expression of amusement slowly turns to Elinor as she takes out the container and walks toward the offered jacket. "Elinor, do you really talk like that in Georgia?"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
(Part 2 of 2)

"Happy Italian Music Italian Dinner, Background Music, Folk Music from Italy" by Tim Street"

Timers go off, steam and generous scents rises from literally dozens of pots, and soon the aroma of fresh-made spaghetti has filled the Mess Hall. Your noses signal your tummies which respond accordingly, while your brains tell you that this is the first non-M.R.E. meal of any decent quality that you have partaken of in waaay toooo loooong!

Out of the oven and onto the plates comes... Mario's spaghetti!

This but with steak strips instead of meatballs. Those may require another adventure. =)
spaghetti-and-meatballs-7-500x500.jpg
(Image credit: Kim's Cravings)

Your mouths begin to water. For something in each of you knows - any fresher than this and you would need your own butcher's block and gardens. The enticing smell of garlic bread alone is enough to put pauses conversations and turn heads, but it is the terrific experience of the (unburnt!) sauce that seems to seek each of you out. Glistening spaghetti noodles drip onto plates begging to be covered in sizzling steak strips and zesty marinara sauce all adorned with just the right amount of pleasing-looking garnish.

As you look to each other, there is a moment - a reminder if you want to call it that - that these are the moments that define humanity. The togetherness, the sharing of food and culture, and in these days of the 21st century, simply to have survived to this point in time is a great blessing that must be appreciated.

All you need to do is sit down and be served.

"Uh, Mario?" Shirley stands smiling from over Hercules's jacket. "Is this a good time to call the others down?" And it is if you want it to be, for all of the food is hot, fresh, and ready! Spaceman Sam glances up to the ceiling and Italian music begins to gently fill the Mess Hall perhaps for the first time ever in the UEEF Broadsword's long history!
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph shoots Mario a wide grin from across the kitchen with a thumbs up, then says to Hercules, "Can we talk after dinner? Please? The Wild Cards are a family, and I don't want to have something going on between us because of . . . what I said before." The short lady looks up at the much taller and robust man. "But in the meantime, lets eat!"

Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario returns the grin to Toph, and looks over at one of the Sams. "Yes, please, call the rest of the off-duty crew to come and enjoy some home cooked goodness!" Even if I did ruin a pot of sauce, I think that Grandma Zuko would still be proud of what we pulled off here together.

As the assembled members of the ship begin to dig in, Mario stands back with a pleased expression on his face, waiting patiently for his turn to help himself. Maybe I can arrange a seat next to Shirley. Damn, she's so pretty. Work your suave moves on her, Mario!
 

Silanon

Three Thousand Club
Iris holds her head up high like a human might if they were feeling pride. "Zentraedi!" she answers. "Quality protein in large amounts are required for continued productivity and activity, especially during combat. Scrath hunt, prepare, consume, digest, and keep protein storages of ingested enemies in order to ensure prolonged health and aforementioned vigilance. While nearly any source of living protein - specifically meat - can be ingested and kept, properly-maintained Zentraedi are our favorite source, especially Zeki-Zentraedi! To destroy our foes is one matter; to use the bodies of our enemies to further our causes is seen as a continued victory, but perhaps best of all, Zeki-Zentraedi only consume the highest-quality protein salves! Devouring them therefore has positive results not only on Scrath survivability, but also morale! Is this not melodious?" This last question appears to be rhetorical as it is heartfelt.

"Do not worry," Cera tells Ylva with a red-eyed grin. "Scrath rarely devour humans. Your species tends to consume fuels that are inefficient and often of low quality. In other words, enemy humans are 'junk food' to Scrath - to be devoured only as a last resort."
As Iris speaks, Ylva's expression changes quickly from one state to another. Surprise and disbelief, at first - the innocent questions had many possible answers, but this one certainly caught her off-guard. Then a hint of disgust, briefly showing through, a grimace that quickly is replaced by an odd smile. The kind that sometimes shows up when people aren't quite sure if they're really supposed to fascinated by what they've just heard. She certainly is. Just like she's glad that this conversation isn't happening in form of spoken words. Likely, the others know, and maybe they're fine, but it's still a picture that most would not want in their mind when dinner's right around the corner. Presumably. Luckily for the world, not all humans are oddball scientists.

It makes sense, though, obviously. Just feels totally alien. Logical thoughts, like those that Iris shares, are mostly associated with humanoid minds. Those who'd be close enough to Zentraedi themselves to shy away from these kind of diet plans. A sharp mind in a predator's body - it's something else entirely. "That's... amazing, actually. Not what I expected at all." Though any other possible response seems unfitting, now that she's learned the truth. "I mean, I don't know what I did expect, exactly." There's a short pause, as that line of thought doesn't really lead to a decent continuation. "I mean, I'll stick with the spaghetti, those smell amazing. Or with field rations, they're pretty much optimised for us. But still..." Well, that line of thought doesn't lead anywhere else, either. Is this weird, from Iris' perspective? No human would be amazed by someone else's decision to live off the ordinary things any super market has to offer...
How do they travel? Without available prey? It's not like space is full of Zentraedi, at least hopefully... might be a question for later, perhaps. "Thanks for sharing."

To which Shirley turns about as if just now coming into the conversation. She looks at the container of fluid then to Ylva. She waves. "C'mon over! Let's see how it takes on coffee stains together!" Shirley raises one hand to get Sam's attention when the blast doors to the Mess Hall open. A Samantha unit in red colored armor enters the room with a huge jacket that can only belong to Hercules. As the door closes behind her, the Sam unit moves to an out-of-the-way table and lays the jacket down flat.
"And thanks for the clearance. I'll take a quick look, if you don't mind." With that, Ylva's off to join Mack over there, and see the wonders of nature first-hand. Still, she shakes her head as she moves over, a lingering sensation of disbelief. The universe's truly an amazing place, if not for all the things that try to kill you. Luckily, Iris is on their side. There are no plans to become junk-food anytime soon.

"So, Scrath spit. Last thing I would've tried, that's for sure." She gives Hercules' jacket a short look, but there's really not much to see. Doesn't take a curse to produce coffee stains, not when you've spent years with people who basically rely on the dark brew to get them through the day. Sometimes, it's wondrous how many of mankind's sorrows have been partially solved near a coffee machine... anyways, back to the question at hand. And that one doesn't really involve the jacket, but mostly that fluid in Shirley's hand. Potential proof of the theory that nature has already solved all of mankind's problems, hidden in the least likely places. "Think there's enough time to get this done right now?" Food's on its way, it won't be long now. Then again, maybe it's best to get it over with, let it not be in the way later on...

"Mind if I have a look?" One hand tentatively reaches out for the bottle, trying to get a closer look before anything gets started for real. "You know, it's funny. I've spent months in labs, and every time you think you've figured everything out, something like this shows up and leaves you speechless again. Me, at least." There's clear excitement visible in those eyes.
 
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Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Ylva discovers that the facts presented to her from Cera are right on target. Shirley takes one look at Ylva and steps to one side, her hands clasped behind her back - the Californian surfer-become-squadron-leader wants nothing more than more-capable hands to see this through to success.

And that is just what takes place.

Ylva examines the liquid which is indeed friendly to human skin and after taking a dab on a stain in a discreet place on the jacket, discovers that the coffee stain "dies" upon immediate contact. Cera stares at Ylva's work with a look of concentration and patience. "The trick is applying a small amount at a time, slowly working your way up until you have reached the correct amount for the stain or scuff in question. The impatient ruin their items; the careful make them shine like never before.

Ylva appears to have the patience and pace down pat in moments as the ugly coffee stains upon Hercules's military jacket fade and dissolve until his jacket is as good as new. Cera leans over and sniffs. "Once you can smell no more of the undesired substance, you let it dry and your work is done." And with one sniff, Ylva smells a very faint hint of the Scrath secretion - which has such a light inoffensive scent like pure aloe vera - that it can easily be overlooked as something altogether natural from the plant world and not from insectoid origins.

Hercules's jacket dries and is good as new!
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Kaerri Kaerri Psychie Psychie Sherwood Sherwood Silanon Silanon (Just so everyone gets this.) =)

The Broadsword's incessant humming continues through every wall and every bulkhead. The blast doors to the Mess Hall part revealing all of the Broo (you immediately spot about 30 of them if you're counting) in a variety of defensive positions and postures (some on the ceiling). Every last one of them has their swords out in their hands, but none of the blades are activated. The savage Beasties are wide-eyed, curious, and look either ready to storm the place or bolt to safety.

The very moment the doors open, Beema's blonde head swishes toward it in the way an undomesticated animal's does when presented with the unknown. Is it a threat? Is it something wonderful? Beema closes her eyes in glee and pants excitedly as if she has been running. It is her family! What could be better?

The Broo sniff the air. You can watch them immediately catch interest in the many delicious and lingering scents born from the work upon your tables and ovens. Some of them freeze. Others tap and pat each other (they are a very touch-filled people) to get their attention. Swords return to sheaths. Claws retract and fangs close. In moments, every one of them is peering and creeping to the edge of the Mess Hall as if asking silent permission to enter.

Then you all hear a very un-Broo-like voice roar up from behind them. It is Piper. She is clearly less intoxicated than when you last saw her hours ago, but her red hair, roaring voice, and aggressive body language are impossible to mistake. Beside her are Bong, Captain Sharp, and Professor Stein. Mixed in with the Broo are Hitomi (who waves a friendly acknowledgement to each of you), Reggie (who is holding the hand of one of the Broo while looking as curious as they), and Murphy (who seems to be looking around for spots to take cover in should the need arise).

"Wiiild Caaards!" Piper howls and staggers without taking the time to look and see what is going on. "The next time you dummies try to burn down my Mess Hall, I'm gonna--"

Bong interrupts. The handsome shaman has already examined the scene and come to a conclusion. "Pie-pa. Close mouth. Use nose."

"You shut it!" she rails at Bong. "Yer the reashun I'm all meshed up like this! You an' yer damnable witch-brew! You--" Bong rolls his eyes, grabs Piper around the waist, pulls her against him, and cups her mouth shut forcing her to breathe out of her nose. In return, she pounds against his muscled chest in protest, tries to bite his hand, and stomp the bridge of his feet with her heels, except in her stupor, she can't seem to find her own feet much less his.

It takes maybe five whole seconds. Piper's body responds to the need for oxygen by inhaling through her nose. Scents escort the air through her nostrils. Piper quickly calms, her fervor replaced by wonder. "What... what is that... smell?"

"Those smells..." Bong corrects. "...they is nommies in great numba, Pie-pa."

This revelation that the Wild Cards have created return Piper to some semblance of humanity. She looks up to each of the Wild Cards with a new look, a silent expression that can only be described as a tense-yet-relaxed mixture of gratitude as she is promptly seated with friends and crew all around. The Broo scuttle and amble in behind and around her. One of the Wild Cards prepares and deposits a gorgeous red plate of tantalizing, high-quality, Mario-approved spaghetti with a side of crisp garlic bread. Someone stabs a piece of sauce-covered steak and puts it in her hand. Piper stares at it like a woman frozen in awe and amazement.

"Spaghetti? Real... spaghetti?" She gulps as her sense of smell and taste do some grasping of their own. "I've... never had real spaghetti before! I was too young..." Then she trails off, gazes at it, and the biggest smile you have seen out of her yet appears across her face. Wwarlock the King Shephard trots up beside her, sees what is going on, and nudges her as if beckoning her to stop staring and start eating. Slowly, dreamily, the fork glides closer to her salivating mouth when all of a sudden...

"Captain to the bridge. Like, uh, captain to the bridge. Priority."

It is Sam's voice. One of the Sams is looking right at her. This is immediately followed by another transmission, this one from Samantha.

"Captain to the cryogenic chambers! Howdy y'all! Captain to the cryogenic chambers. Priority."

Captain Piper's eyes stay locked on the spaghetti. It does not take the psionically-talented to read the clear and dire emotions that begin to consume her. Her face is silently shrieking, "Can't I even get ONE fucking bite of this spaghetti before something else pulls me away?" And the answer appears to be a solid, "No." Piper's chest shudders and her teeth clench as the fork begins to fall. You see the tears forming in her unblinking eyes. Then someone makes their way through the watching Broo. A hand, a strong able hand, grabs her shoulder.

"Eat. I've got this." It is Captain Sharp. His steely eyes and cannon-sure voice are confidence incarnate.

Piper doesn't take her eyes off of the spaghetti. She stammers and looks up at him. "But... but... even you can't be at two places at--"

"That's an order, Acting Captain," Sharp smiles down upon her. Piper stops shaking. She reaches over, grabs him around his thick waist, and hugs him for all she is worth.

Sharp continues. "Albert? Doctor Yashida? Stay with Piper."

"Nowhere else I would rather be," Professor Stein seats himself beside Piper. Hitomi seats herself strategically yet casually directly across from Piper. She relaxes in a way with her body and expression that seems to tell Piper, "It's all right to enjoy yourself." Piper's free hand strays down and strokes Wwarlock's thick fur. The big hound pushes his head against her fingers.

Sharp walks toward one of the exits. "Murphy, you're with me."

"Damn right, Top!" Murphy skedaddles out of the Mess Hall with a steaming plate and two forks, one you see him handing to Sharp.

"Sam? Show me the best way to the bridge, please."

"Sharp!" Piper calls. He pauses.

"For when you hit the Ice Box. Take Beema with you."

Sharp considers the advice and then nods.

Piper whispers. "Beema. Go."

Beema, her face stained with sauce with a big smile on her face, goes running out of the Mess Hall while chomping down the contents of her own plate. Faydra swiftly grabs a handful of napkins and shoves them into Beema's leather outfit as Broo-girl hustles by. Beema kisses Faydra on the cheek on her way by. Faydra brushes her cheek against her and reaches for a napkin of her own.

The doors close. Piper stares back at the fork. Then she aggressively bites down on the steak, noodles, and sauce before the universe finds some other way to interrupt her. The Broo begin to settle among the seats as the Sam units begin to serve everyone. Piper chews and chews and with every passing moment, her smile gets bigger and bigger. She swallows, folds her hands, and leans her head down upon them.

"Zuko. Wild Cards." Her voice is a croak as she takes a long sigh and stares at the soon-to-be-devoured plate of steaming spaghetti. "This... is the best fucking food I have ever had." Something in the steely gratitude of her voice sounds convincing. "Sams. Save enough for the crew still in the Ice Box."

"You got it, sugar plum!"

"Abso-fer-suuure, Captain!"

"Wild Cards?" Professor Stein sees a plate of his own coming in for landing and asks all of you. "Do you think this means we shall be raiding more Anti Unification League targets?" His hearty laugh continues as he reaches for his fork.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph looks over at the big brass and says, "Um, sirs? If there is trouble in the cryogenic chamber, that might require a doctor. I am quite willing to leave my plate here to go take care of the crew. That comes first." She is already standing, expecting the go-ahead to make her move to the Ice Box, as Piper called it. Besides helping out, going to the cryogenic chamber will give me a chance to see mom again.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
"Zuko. Wild Cards." Her voice is a croak as she takes a long sigh and stares at the soon-to-be-devoured plate of steaming spaghetti. "This... is the best fucking food I have ever had." Something in the steely gratitude of her voice sounds convincing. "Sams. Save enough for the crew still in the Ice Box."

"You got it, sugar plum!"

"Abso-fer-suuure, Captain!"

"Wild Cards?" Professor Stein sees a plate of his own coming in for landing and asks all of you. "Do you think this means we shall be raiding more Anti Unification League targets?" His hearty laugh continues as he reaches for his fork.
Mario doesn't answer right away, since it is rude to talk with a mouthful of food. But when he does finally clear his mouth, he says, "This ain't nothin', Cap'n. You should taste the real deal from Grandma Zuko. This? This is a fine attempt, but her good cooking is leaps and bounds beyond what this ol' armor driver can do. But I do thank you! It is a great complement to a chef to see their work appreciated!"

He glances over at the large pots of sauce and noodles and adds, "Well, depending on just how many crew you have left to dethaw, there is plenty to go around. And I for one am all for the plan of kicking the AUL right in their crooked teeth! Its either that, or we go find this Ice-9 stuff that Toph's mom needs to get better. Either way, I'm down! When do we launch?" Mario grins, and scoops up another mouthful of the fine dinner and chews happily.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Toph looks over at the big brass and says, "Um, sirs? If there is trouble in the cryogenic chamber, that might require a doctor. I am quite willing to leave my plate here to go take care of the crew. That comes first." She is already standing, expecting the go-ahead to make her move to the Ice Box, as Piper called it. Besides helping out, going to the cryogenic chamber will give me a chance to see mom again.

While on his way out, Captain Sharp has just enough time to reply to Toph. "If you're needed, lieutenant, we'll call on you. Count on it." His mannerism is clear - Captain Sharp is on the way to the bridge with just himself, Murph the Smurf, and Beema the Broo, with Sam to guide them there.

Piper seems to think for one long moment. "Kirin, if it's your mom you need to see, just ask." Piper pipes up and then continues to enjoy mouthful after mouthful of Mario's spaghetti. Professor Stein and Hitomi share a polite conversation in her midst.

Hitomi attempts. "You don't think Doctor Kirin has your people's health in mind?"

Piper stares back with half of a grin. "Sure she does. But think about it. Cryogenic technology like what's onboard here? Hell, it wasn't even implemented on starships when she was likely learning her med skills. So... how is she supposed to know what to do if something goes wrong in the Ice Box? I doubt even you know."

Hitomi nods. "I'll admit; I'd be winging it. My specialty is people, trauma, and what happens when they mix."

"That'll be useful, I'm sure. Besides," Piper continues, "that's Commander Kirin in there. Her husband? The guy Spaceman Sam's default behavior was modeled after? He died back on..." she corrects herself, "here on... Earth. Toph Kirin is the only offspring of the commander's we know about." Between bites, Piper looks right at Toph for one long moment as if she were something that is both and unreal at the same time. "So... Dr. Kirin here has no dad and watches her mom fly off into space possibly never to return. What daughter wouldn't want to be as close to her mom under these circumstances, huh?"

Piper looks over at Toph and something between the acting captain and the half-alien doctor seems to loosen. She asks Muppet. "Have I got it right?" Hitomi and Professor Stein slowly turn toward Toph as if to see and hear a reply only Toph can give. Meanwhile, Wwarlock keeps looking around like one big happy puppy as the voracious Broo chow down on the spaghetti dinner like they have never eaten in their entire lives, all the while making happy Beastie sounds and smiling at each other.

Mario doesn't answer right away, since it is rude to talk with a mouthful of food. But when he does finally clear his mouth, he says, "This ain't nothin', Cap'n. You should taste the real deal from Grandma Zuko. This? This is a fine attempt, but her good cooking is leaps and bounds beyond what this ol' armor driver can do. But I do thank you! It is a great complement to a chef to see their work appreciated!"

Piper nods in acknowledgment.

He glances over at the large pots of sauce and noodles and adds, "Well, depending on just how many crew you have left to dethaw, there is plenty to go around. And I for one am all for the plan of kicking the AUL right in their crooked teeth! Its either that, or we go find this Ice-9 stuff that Toph's mom needs to get better. Either way, I'm down! When do we launch?" Mario grins, and scoops up another mouthful of the fine dinner and chews happily.

Piper looks over at Shirley for answer. "'Red Baroness,' right? What do you think about that? You wanna launch soon?"

Shirley shakes her head as she twirls spaghetti noodles with her fork. "We're lost out here, ma'am." Shirley replies with a serious expression. "As cool as it would be to raid the AUL again or miracle our way towards getting Toph's mom out of..." she recalls the nickname of the cryogenic chamber, "...the Ice Box, I can't help that without solid intel, those are just pipe dreams."

"Exactly. Instead, we need to know whatever it is we're really supposed to be doing out here. We need Drake's mission details from Sam."

Professor Stein takes a drink of water and admires Iris the Scrath who sits statue-like some meters away. "Any signs that will happen soon?"

Piper looks at all of you and makes a point of looking like she is listening. Besides the sounds of people enjoying themselves, the continued hum in every bulkhead, panel, and floor begins to reach your ears. You, who have never lived aboard a starship, are not yet used to these sounds. "Well Prof," Piper says, "the Broadsword's engines have been running heavier than idle - moving us somewhere - for hours now. After we left the Gulf of Mexico, I called for a halt in the Atlantic Ocean not long after you came down here..." she glances at Spaceman Sam, "... and I didn't order the ship to move after that."

Piper looks each of you in the eye. "What does that tell you, Wild Cards?"

Cera and Shirley look up from their food, each of them says nothing. Instead, they look around with growing curiosity.
 
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Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter


Elinor's character sheet
Action Points: 8/8
Bonus action point: 1
"'Sugar plum?'" Shirley hears this and with an expression of amusement slowly turns to Elinor as she takes out the container and walks toward the offered jacket. "Elinor, do you really talk like that in Georgia?"
Elinor took a moment to summon up the memory of her last visit home, and deliberately let her own accent slide back into place, not just as it had been before she went off to college and got a bit "city-fied," but a little exaggerated, like some of the farmhands they'd had from even further out.

"Yes'm, Ah reckon they do, iffn ya get too far from civvy-lized places," she drawled with a grin. "Some 's more like than others, but it's a real easy-speakin' kinda place, ya hear?" That last word eased its way into two syllables and lost a lot of the "r" along the way.

"Mind if I have a look?" One hand tentatively reaches out for the bottle, trying to get a closer look before anything gets started for real. "You know, it's funny. I've spent months in labs, and every time you think you've figured everything out, something like this shows up and leaves you speechless again. Me, at least." There's clear excitement visible in those eyes.
Elinor had busied herself once more with dinner prep, but she liked seeing Ylva's excitement. It was good to see someone else who loved her job. Not that she thought any of the Wild Cards didn't enjoy what they did, but there was something special about seeing the glow in someone's eyes when they were doing what God had intended them to do.

"Wild Cards?" Professor Stein sees a plate of his own coming in for landing and asks all of you. "Do you think this means we shall be raiding more Anti Unification League targets?" His hearty laugh continues as he reaches for his fork.
"Sign me up for that any day, sir," Elinor replied between bites. "Long 's we aren't on another mission already, of course. Unless we can work it in along the way."

Piper looks at all of you and makes a point of looking like she is listening. Besides the sounds of people enjoying themselves, the continued hum in every bulkhead, panel, and floor begins to reach your ears. You, who have never lived aboard a starship, are not yet used to these sounds. "Well Prof," Piper says, "the Broadsword's engines have been running heavier than idle - moving us somewhere - for hours now. After we left the Gulf of Mexico, I called for a halt in the Atlantic Ocean not long after you came down here..." she glances at Spaceman Sam, "... and I didn't order the ship to move after that."

Piper looks each of you in the eye. "What does that tell you, Wild Cards?"
Elinor's fork paused as she listened, really listened, to the sounds around her. She knew a bit about starships from her training, but hadn't had enough experience to interpret this aural data. "Well, ma'am," she replied. "I'd say as how the, uh, inorganic crew've gotten us underway towards whatever it is we're s'posed to be doin' next." She too looked at Sam. "And maybe after we're done eatin', or before if you're of a mind for it, we could get a briefin' on what it is we're expected to do when we get there? Maybe with the 'whys' and 'wherefores' thrown in for good measure?" She waved her free hand at the mess hall full of Wild Cards, Broo, Project Eternity, and Piper. "There's a fair amount of us here to hear it, now."
 

Silanon

Three Thousand Club
Ylva discovers that the facts presented to her from Cera are right on target. Shirley takes one look at Ylva and steps to one side, her hands clasped behind her back - the Californian surfer-become-squadron-leader wants nothing more than more-capable hands to see this through to success.

And that is just what takes place.

Ylva examines the liquid which is indeed friendly to human skin and after taking a dab on a stain in a discreet place on the jacket, discovers that the coffee stain "dies" upon immediate contact. Cera stares at Ylva's work with a look of concentration and patience. "The trick is applying a small amount at a time, slowly working your way up until you have reached the correct amount for the stain or scuff in question. The impatient ruin their items; the careful make them shine like never before.

Ylva appears to have the patience and pace down pat in moments as the ugly coffee stains upon Hercules's military jacket fade and dissolve until his jacket is as good as new. Cera leans over and sniffs. "Once you can smell no more of the undesired substance, you let it dry and your work is done." And with one sniff, Ylva smells a very faint hint of the Scrath secretion - which has such a light inoffensive scent like pure aloe vera - that it can easily be overlooked as something altogether natural from the plant world and not from insectoid origins.

Hercules's jacket dries and is good as new!
There were things Ylva meant to say, ask, and examine closer. The joint operation by Broo forces and the command staff cuts any attempt to do science short, though. Sometimes, it can't be helped. With utmost care, she seals the remaining fluid back in its container; no need to waste a single drop of what clearly works with pretty much unmatched efficiency. She then presents it to both Mack and Cera, allowing either one to grab it if they so wish - it is quite useful to have, after all. "Thanks for the instructions", she adds in Cera's direction, "that was almost too easy. People worked years to get a worse results." Some people in Lab C over in Stockholm would've been quite envious of Mother Nature, there. Well, they were envious all the time after the budget cuts, but the point still stands. A smile, a nod in the jacket's direction "You ask me, this fine piece is about as clean as it's going to get. Maybe leave it here, let it dry. Keep it away from the sauce at all cost, just in case."

Well, and that's pretty much it, for the moment. Food awaits. Real food. Ylva takes it slowly, savoring the taste of the best meal in who-knows-how-long. The military optimizes rations in several aspects, but taste is not that high on the priority list. How did Asterix describe it? The better the army, the worse the food. Keeps the soldiers in a bad temper. Well, things aren't that bad, these days, but this here is still a class above the usual meals. Makes one wonder what the 'real deal' tastes like... probably about the same, for all but the chef himself. Fond memories are the rare ingredient that turns meals into delicacies over time. Just like this dinner here will become better and better in hindsight, once ordinary rations are back on the menu...

There's talk while she eats, of course, like there always is. Not the kind you'd hear every day elsewhere, but the Broadsword is a special place - just a look around at the Broo tells as much. Cryo chambers, lost parents. A ship that sets course without the (Acting-)Captain's command. Hard to grasp for one who has not the benefit of having been there from the start. Even harder to learn more, since for every possible question, it feels like the time's just not right when it comes to mind. Ask a woman whose name she barely knows about intricacies of her family history? Or a barely sober captain about her ship's course? Yeah... better not. Ylva's pace of eating might slow down a little as she listens intently, trying to pick up a detail here and there; but that's about as much as manners allow for.

Until...
Elinor's fork paused as she listened, really listened, to the sounds around her. She knew a bit about starships from her training, but hadn't had enough experience to interpret this aural data. "Well, ma'am," she replied. "I'd say as how the, uh, inorganic crew've gotten us underway towards whatever it is we're s'posed to be doin' next." She too looked at Sam. "And maybe after we're done eatin', or before if you're of a mind for it, we could get a briefin' on what it is we're expected to do when we get there? Maybe with the 'whys' and 'wherefores' thrown in for good measure?" She waved her free hand at the mess hall full of Wild Cards, Broo, Project Eternity, and Piper. "There's a fair amount of us here to hear it, now."
... it seems like the time for some answers might actually come - soon-ish. Not the answers for the questions she buried in the depths of her mind, just now, but hey - she'll take what she can get. And likely, it's the same for most others here. For all she knows, they're following a plan of someone who... fancied karaoke. That's about all she knows. Well, he probably had his ship under control, too, given that it still follows his plans... and he was a traverser, right? Maybe that'll explain some of the puzzle's pieces eventually...

"Might not be that easy. Maybe we ought to see the place- wherever it is - with our own eyes first. Otherwise, they could've shown us a fancy hologram of it before, right? If only to let their captain know where we're headed." Who knows, might be part of the plan to feed the crew one last time before.... whatever's supposed to happen happens. "Not that I'd mind an answer or three. But there's got to be reasons for all the discretion."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus (Tag!) (I'm also tagging everyone else in case someone isn't provided an alert. =) ) Kaerri Kaerri Psychie Psychie Sherwood Sherwood Silanon Silanon

Elinor took a moment to summon up the memory of her last visit home, and deliberately let her own accent slide back into place, not just as it had been before she went off to college and got a bit "city-fied," but a little exaggerated, like some of the farmhands they'd had from even further out.

"Yes'm, Ah reckon they do, iffn ya get too far from civvy-lized places," she drawled with a grin. "Some 's more like than others, but it's a real easy-speakin' kinda place, ya hear?" That last word eased its way into two syllables and lost a lot of the "r" along the way.

For one long moment, Shirley reels in culture-fed fascination as she listens to Elinor's every syllable. "Well, ah'll be!" she tries to mimic. "Now I know what it's like when the normals pop an ear into our beach-chat. Either you know the lingo or you don't. Thanks for the demonstration!" Wowed, Shirley turns with a grin to Mario sending her black hair spinning. "Did you follow all of what Elinor said, because I caught maybe 3/4ths of it and the rest just right past me!"

* * *​

She too looked at Sam. "And maybe after we're done eatin', or before if you're of a mind for it, we could get a briefin' on what it is we're expected to do when we get there? Maybe with the 'whys' and 'wherefores' thrown in for good measure?" She waved her free hand at the mess hall full of Wild Cards, Broo, Project Eternity, and Piper. "There's a fair amount of us here to hear it, now."

"Might not be that easy. Maybe we ought to see the place- wherever it is - with our own eyes first. Otherwise, they could've shown us a fancy hologram of it before, right? If only to let their captain know where we're headed." Who knows, might be part of the plan to feed the crew one last time before.... whatever's supposed to happen happens. "Not that I'd mind an answer or three. But there's got to be reasons for all the discretion."

Piper speaks up. "It's the end of the mystery! Sam's taking us to wherever Drake intended and now we're gonna find out why we came all this way and what for! FINALLY!"

Spaceman Sam nods in acknowledgement. "Like, that is one epic conclusion, Captain. Just epic! You are just shredding it! We are near our destination and when we get there, I get to spill the beans. Except I won't be the one doing it. I just get to get us there and, like, be totally stoked the whole time!" Sam's head nods eagerly again and again. "It's gonna be a game-changer, dudes. I hope you're stoked too."

After gently staring at Hercules and Toph while Sam speaks, Hitomi raises her hand. Sam turns to her. "What's our ETA?"

"54 minutes at current speed, ma'am."

Hitomi looks to each of the Wild Cards, her brown eyes filled with something mysterious, but the Hawaiian-Japanese lady doesn't let you wonder for long. "So, Wild Cards? This a good time to put my plan for your families in motion? My plan involves taking a short video of you here in the Broadsword against a neutral background with white noise and Sam helped me find just the spot." Hitomi gives a thoughtful grin. "I'll edit each of your messages and have them delivered in a manner that The Professor and I have agreed is virtually untraceable.

"So what do you say? Want to say a few words to your families and prove you're alive? Or do you want to hold off?"

Shirley looks to Hitomi and nods with an eager expression. "Now or later, I'm game either way!"

What do the Wild Cards decide?
 
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Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph shrugs. "I am fine either way. I don't have any family here on Earth to talk to; everyone I care about is already here." She gives the impression that the Wild Cards are included in that, along with her mother in the cryotube. "I know that many of you do have family that you want to send word to, so lets do that to give them some peace of mind."
 

Silanon

Three Thousand Club
A nod in agreement. "Might not have the time for it, later. Once we arrive... somewhere." Ylva's eyes rest on Spaceman Sam, and betray curiosity - no question is asked, though. If she understands anything about the mechanical crew of the ship, then that they're not inclined to share more than necessary. Well, that, and that they're on point when it's needed. "Any kind of preparation needed for what's in store for us? Not for the vids, I mean, for what comes after that."
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
"Now would be best," Elinor agreed. "No tellin' when we'll have a moment once things really start happenin'." She grinned at the others -- as if the trip so far had been boring, huh? "Besides, the sooner we can give 'em a little comfort, the better."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Kaerri Kaerri Psychie Psychie Sherwood Sherwood Silanon Silanon

Toph shrugs. "I am fine either way. I don't have any family here on Earth to talk to; everyone I care about is already here." She gives the impression that the Wild Cards are included in that, along with her mother in the cryotube. "I know that many of you do have family that you want to send word to, so lets do that to give them some peace of mind."

"That's what you think," Hitomi's mouth curls up on one side. "As the ship's doctor, I have learned there is a small chance that your mother may revive all on her own. All of her medical records and psych evals show she is an unusually tough cookie. So what happens if you're out on a mission and she wakes up?" Hitomi lets that thought stand on its own for a moment. Then she turns and thanks Sam as "he" serves (from the right, of course) a colorful and delicious-looking plate of spaghetti with steak slices and garlic bread. Hitomi doesn't look up as her hands grasp a fork and spoon.

"It's your call and your opportunity to take or let pass by," she says to Toph before putting a piece of sauce-kissed steak in her mouth. "Uhhmm!" she nods, clearly enjoying the hot food. "This is good stuff!"

"Any kind of preparation needed for what's in store for us? Not for the vids, I mean, for what comes after that."

Hitomi and Professor Stein look over to Piper who is twirling spaghetti noodles with a fork as if she likes the act of doing it. "You're all about as prepped as I am, really. Not unless you all want to go over the facts again. Never hurts to review, I say."

"Now would be best," Elinor agreed. "No tellin' when we'll have a moment once things really start happenin'." She grinned at the others -- as if the trip so far had been boring, huh? "Besides, the sooner we can give 'em a little comfort, the better."

Professor Stein nods in agreement. "Spoken like a true Southern lady - God, country, and family, isn't it?" Stein glances about and then gives a lionlike growl. "Now where did Trouble get off too? I can't see the little pest anywhere." And neither, at least for the moment, can any of you.

Hitomi digs in a bit more. "Don't worry about pulling me away from dinner here - say the word and we'll start. That ETA is only getting shorter," she said as the Broadsword continues its dark journey through the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean on a post-holocaust Earth.

* * *​

"Thompson Twins - King For A Day [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]"
Partial lyrics
If I was king for just one day
I would give it all away
I would give it all away
Just to be with you

Mario and Shirley are watching and listening to all of this when... one by one... nine of the Broo begin to show up at their end of the table starting with Faydra. Faydra is an imposing figure with her fiery mane of hair, fit and tanned body, and beastly outfit partly made of creatures she has herself slain. The savage chief doesn't just look like she could lead a hunting party; she looks like a one-woman hunting party. Her mood seems as serene as you have ever seen it when she takes a long moment to study Shirley.

"Leader Mack," Faydra asks calling her by the name Cera uses. "You bring de food? Make for us?"

"Nope!" Shirley glances admiringly at Mario. "That would be Mario! All his idea, hon'!"

Instantly, about four of the Broo depart. They are male. This leaves four female Broo and they are all now looking at Mario and checking him out. Faydra closes her eyes and wraps her fingers and claws together in some strange sign. Calmly, mystically, the chief of the Star Watchers speaks to Mario with the deepest of seriousness. An odd-looking round jar, very stable in design and made from some unearthly clay that sparkles like water with the moon reflecting from it appears from the clawed hands of another Broo who watches it intently. Faydra opens the jar and reaches into it. When she brings her hand back up, it is empty.

"Mar-ee-yo give us. Feed us meat. But Broo have no meat to give you."

Without asking, she reaches down and grasps Mario free hand. Before he can resist, she brings his hand to her lips and presses them to his skin. Then she returns his hand to him. Chief Faydra speaks and her rumbling words sound almost like a well-known chant from ancient times. When she speaks, all of the Broo go silent though the humans carry on, some of them too busy chatting to notice (like Piper) and some unable to turn away (like Professor Stein, Hitomi, and Reggie). Faydra's face takes on a far-off quality as she seems to reach into the past to richen the present.

"Deep Forest - Night Bird (Audio)" Listen to this one on the headphones and try not to be drawn away. =)

"The spirits of one jar, one paipan, one ilfari, these I would offer thee,
O double spirit jar, I offer them to thee,
O triple spirit jar, I offer them to thee,
Spirits of Dreamworld, bowed by the wind.

"Star Watcher tribe of the Valley of Abundance, I offer them to thee,
I do as did my Uncle, younger brother of my mother;
I do as did my Uncle, elder brother of my mother;
I do as did my Grandfathers;
I do as did my Ancestors.

"If tomorrow and the day after tomorrow I eat meat, may I later eat meat again;
If tomorrow and the day after tomorrow I drink from the jar, may I later drink from the jar again. . ."


Adapted for the Broo from "We Have Eaten The Forest: The Story of a Montagnard Village in the Central Highlands of Vietnam" (page 35) by Georges Condominas (published in 1957, translated to English in 1977). Note: There is a review on this page by John Paul Jones III that is very much worth the time (it's the 3rd review from the top).

Faydra returns the lid to the jar and the jar to the waiting hands of a nearby Broo who apparently has come only to take it and vanish with it. Chief Faydra raises her foot and places it with authority on the bench where Mario is sitting. She leans toward him in a way that is not touching him, but in a way that is very difficult to ignore. She folds her mighty arms.

"Mar-ee-yo has fed tribe. We have no meat, no fur, no trophy give you in thanks. But give thanks is Broo way. So..."

From behind Faydra, like silky shadows given life, come the four female Broo all with their eyes on the Italian-American. Two he does not recognize. There is a Beastie about his size with short black hair, black fighting leathers, and yellow eyes that flicker with eagerness in their expression, and a sultry brown-haired female with strong limbs and shy countenance who is trying to peek into Mario's eyes without getting his attention. The other two Broo he does recognize. Coosi, with her taunting smile and incredibly-fit body seems to dare Mario with mildly-suggestive poses and grin that just promises. Lastly, there is Sheesa, lithe and tall, a natural beauty with long black and green hair with emerald eyes that seem to hold mysteries upon mysteries. She raises her chin and stares down at Mario without speaking a word. That stare contains one thing - desire. All four Beasties are all looking upon Mario with their fullest attention.

Faydra's request is like a coo of a jungle animal as she grins. "...choose."

There is a moment of utter silence as Faydra's single word ripples across the table like a log thrown into a still pond. Then as the social ripples hit home, Shirley is the first to turn sauce-red as she laughs aloud with a surprised expression. "Mario, you big kahuna, you!"

Cera pauses from her conversation with Reggie and follows the action. She appears very confused and a little uncomfortable. Reggie doesn't seem to mind, though. The young man is as interested as ever at the scene here in the Mess Hall.

Piper looks over at the wrong moment and just about dies, choking on spaghetti as Professor Stein leans over to help her.

Hitomi just beams this attractive, curious smile at Mario that seems to say, "Wow, soldier! Bet you didn't see this coming, did you?" But what Hitomi says next is a clear out. "Let me know if you're ready for that shoot, Zuko. Sam and I have everything prepared." But she can't help but add with a womanly giggle. "That is, unless you'd rather disappear for awhile?"

What do the Wild Cards (especially Mario) do? =)
 
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Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario has the option to choke to death or swallow his food in one big gulp. He chooses the latter, but still manages to cough a bit. Once he is able to breathe clearly again, Mario can feel his face aflame as he slowly looks over at the Broo in front of him. After taking a deep breath, he says, "Um, meaning no disrespect or insult, but I am not sure what you are trying to get me to do. The Broo are allies and friends of the crew of the Broadsword, and I do not wish to do anything that will cause that alliance and friendship to suffer. Please, what exactly are you suggesting I do?"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Sherwood Sherwood

Mario's reaction is clearly unexpected among Chief Faydra and her Broo. Several of them share uncertain glances at one another as if asking if something is wrong with the Italian-American. The two unnamed females whisper something in their own language and immediately, every Broo within earshot except Faydra begin yelling, "PAN GALACTIC!!" at them until they speak what English they know.

This changes the mood from the one Chief Faydra created as one of the females points at Mario and asks, "He strange. He hit his head in battle?"

"Maybe he neva use his sexy before?"

"Ah!" the black-haired Broo claps excitedly. "I know! He like boy, not girl!" She examines Mario again. "Yes?"

Chief Faydra has no answer for any of them. It's clear on her face. Like Sheesa, the chieftain is incredibly quiet as both Beasties study Mario with new eyes - like he is a new lifeform or something equally interesting.

"It's okay, it's okay! I've got this, I've got this!" Captain Piper stands up, waves everyone off, and staggers over, patting Professor Stein's arm for helping her as she passes him. She plops right down beside Mario, opposite Shirley, and looks Mario in the eye. Instantly, Mario can tell Piper is not yet entirely sober and something in her eyes is fighting to get this moment right. Her lack of coherence isn't going to slow her down, especially because - at the moment - she can still speak straight and she's hoping that will continue.

"Spaghetti Guy! Now, listen and listen good, okay?" Piper puts her finger in Mario's muscled chest. "You're a hot-looking guy! Theeese," she presents with a wave of her hand, "are Broo babes who are hot for you!" Hearing this, three of them pose and display their delicious figures as if on cue with the exception of Faydra and Sheesa who continue to stare at the two of you like you're aliens or something. This elicits howls and cheers from many of the other Broo. Piper continues. "They know - some from experience - that humans and Broo cannot make kids! No matter what!" Piper nods emphatically to Mario. "Something about the chromosomes being 100% completely incompatible or something.

"They also know that they're pretty much immune to our diseases... and poisons for that matter. In fact, they eat stuff that can make us sick or kill us! They even eat it... uh... without using utensils. Hey, Coosi? Do the cucumber thing, willya?"

Hearing this, one of the Broo tosses lovely Coosi a full-size cucumber which she swiftly catches in mid-air. "Ooh!" she exclaims. "I like!" There are sudden cracking and crunching sounds that echo across the Mess Hall as Coosi bites straight into the vegetable, easily tearing off a chunk and chomping the thing down with the same ease you and I would have with a peeled banana. Professor Stein does a double-take and Reggie's mouth hits the deck.

"Point is," Piper says to Mario, "these people are hunters and gatherers. Unlike us, they're used to working for their food. Like, almost daily. This goes triple for a feast like this which they see as a huge occasion! In their culture, you can't just eat at an event like this and not give thanks. It's the ultimate in assholery, er, extremely bad manners! So..." Piper sighs, "...since they don't have any 'monsta trophies' to give you or hunting grounds to get meat and return the favor to you, they're offering for you to pick a willing babe here and..." she looks Mario up and down and looks to the watching Broo, "...you know... have a damned good time!

Piper then mutters, "And if you make me have to spell that out for you, I'm having the doctor check your brain to see if we need to have you grounded."

"How long, you're wondering? Maybe for a few hours... maybe for a few days... my money's on her outlasting you. And maybe you date afterward, maybe you don't, but I'm willing to bet Wwarlock's collar that all four of them volunteered when Faydra asked. Oh, and don't worry. We'll supply all the beer and food and privacy you could ask for."

"Nooow do you get it?" Piper closes her eyes and seems to say a short and vehement prayer in case Mario's answer is "no."

From behind Piper, Mario can see Shirley smiling at all this. Her expression seems to say, "You have nothing to worry about."

"One more thing," Piper raises her hand as if to beg Mario's patience. "You don't have to do this. You don't have to take any of them up on their offer. It's an offer, not an order. Get it?" Piper glances at Mario. "The most important thing is that you tell them like it is. If you want it, take it and if you don't, tell Faydra, 'I appreciate it, but I'm... okay.' Say, 'Thank you so much, but I'm okay.' She'll understand that. I know her. She'll understand."
 
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Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Hercules settled in the kitchen, watching through the serving hatch as the hungry aliens and humans attacked the delicious food with reckless abandon, a smile etched into his affable face. His own plate, sat before him on the stainless steel counter, was piled high with meat, pasta and sauce and he ate with a single fork and consummate skill.
His eyebrows arched and he had to suppress a laugh as he watched Mario being propositioned by the Broo girls. He’d not seen the suave Italian-American flustered before and the sight was one that made him happy for Mario. Let him have his moment, the big Greek nodded warmly, who knows what tomorrow will bring. If Mario so much as glanced his way, Hercules would give him a hearty thumbs-up and smile.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario is a bit flustered. He's hardly unattractive, but he's not had four women (cute, alien women from the future, too!) approach him like this. His feelings for Shirley aside, its not like they have any kind of romantic relationship, and he hasn't had a girlfriend in a while. Looking around, he sees the response from his fellow Wild Cards and thinks, What the hell!

Reaching over to take the hand of Sheesa, the lovely Broo lady, Mario says, "Well, I do hope that I will not offend the others if I gladly accept your extremely attractive offer of some private time. That would be most unfortunate. Shall we, my dear?" He slips his arm around the waist of the pretty girl and pulls her in snug against his own body, ready to guide her out of the dining hall and back to his room, dearly hoping that he's not the target of a very elaborate prank.
 
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Silanon

Three Thousand Club
Well - at some point, a wide grin snuck onto Ylva's lips, and it won't leave there anytime soon, it seems. The food's all but forgotten at the sight of the unfolding scene; some mixture between completely unreal, and hilarious, only that it's the real deal here on the Broadsword. "Well, dang. Should've paid attention during cooking classes, but they never tell you it pays off like that." Good for the man, and the chosen lady. It's short moments like these that make war bearable - a few fond memories in a shitty mess of death and tragedy. The timing's questionable, of course. With the ticking clock of the upcoming arrival, and the chance to get the personal vids out of the way beforehand, but hey - you try to wait for the perfect moment, it might just never come. "Enjoy!" is all she says in case both of them pass by somewhat closely - equally directed at both. Neither banter, nor mockery, even though there's plenty of room for that. Not like she knows either Mario or the Broo at all, really, and one wrong word can ruin a perfect moment.
 
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Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph looks over at Mario, and feels a bit of jealousy. Those Broo girls were really pretty, after all. She briefly considers jumping in and saying that she helped with the dinner, so by that argument, shouldn't she get one of the pretty girls to play with, too? But no. That might not go over well, and Mario's comment that they don't want to ruin the relationship that the crew here have with the Broo over something so trivial as that. But as much as her mind thinks that is a good idea, Toph's mouth doesn't listen.

She says, "Hey Mario, when you get tired, let me know and I can take over for you." Her eyes then go wide as she realizes that the comment was made out loud and not just in her head. Oh, dear. I really do need to control myself better.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Tag!

(Part 1 of 3)

Reaching over to take the hand of Sheesa, the lovely Broo lady, Mario says, "Well, I do hope that I will not offend the others if I gladly accept your extremely attractive offer of some private time. That would be most unfortunate. Shall we, my dear?" He slips his arm around the waist of the pretty girl and pulls her in snug against his own body, ready to guide her out of the dining hall and back to his room, dearly hoping that he's not the target of a very elaborate prank.

There is an explosion of emotion among the Broo as Mario accepts the Broo tribe's offer, especially as he selects Sheesa the mysterious Broo of the long green-black hair. There are a multitude of reactions from the others. One of the two unnamed Broo (the one with short black-hair) snaps her fingers in disappointment, but quickly gets over and happily claps for Mario and Sheesa. The blonde Broo beside her lets out a small whimper, but shrugs and claps along with a small, but genuine smile too.

Coosi explodes, first in surprise then in utter rage. "RAAAWR! Somebody 'round here gonna teach Coosi how to kiss!!" Her hands turn into fists as she angrily stomps from the gathering. The Broo see this, but most pay her little attention. One look at Faydra tells all of you that this is not a problem. Well, not Faydra's anyway. Chieftain Faydra just grins and looks as if she is glad that Mario has accepted the tribe's offer.

Bong the Shaman with his slitted eyes and cool demeanor chuckles at Coosi as she storms away. He is loud enough for her to hear her. She spins on him, her claws extended and yowls her warning wrath his way, but it doesn't faze him in the least. In "Pan-Galactic," she growls at him fiercely. There is nothing false or faking about her. "What so funny, BONG?!"

"You!" Bong replies simply. "You funny! Coosi expect Mar-ee-yo choose her! No expect he choose another."

"Mar-ee-yo should choose Coosi! Coosi betta than Sheesa!"

"No," Bong shakes his head and his lips curl into a feral smile. "Coosi have beautiful body, but not mind. Coosi only think of Coosi. Mar-ee-yo not dumb. Even human can see Coosi is vain. Even Beema say she want Coosi body, but not Coosi mind."

"What?! She say dat?!"

"Go ask. She say it." Bong sighs. "Sheesa good for Mar-ee-yo because Sheesa think of her mate. Very, very picky, Sheesa."

"Sheesa scared of monsta! Sheesa neva have killed monsta!"

"Yes, but best scout! That is why Faydra say Sheesa can have long-hair. Because she best at scout. Her fear keep us all alive. I have seen. She sees monsta before monsta see us." Bong indicates Mario with a nod in his direction. "Mario must sense this. Sheesa mysterious but Sheesa care. Coosi should care too."

"Yah? Or what?!" Coosi snarls.

"Or Coosi learn to admire her body... alone." Bong walks back to get another plate of spaghetti.

Coosi gasps, pauses in reflection, and finally deflates. She runs up to Bong and stops him. The unthreatened Broo Shaman peers at her curiously.

Coosi, her head low, tells him. "Coosi get plate of noms for Shaman Bong? Coosi want thank Bong for..."

"For?"

"...helping Coosi grow. Coosi not want to be fool forever." She sighs at herself and smiles.

"Just today?"

"HEY!"

"Come. Let us get noms together." Bong reaches over and pulls Coosi into a fierce hug. Immediately, she reciprocates, hugging him with all of her considerable emotion. For the Tribe of the Star Watchers need no village, no country, not even a planet to ever lose the eternal connection that makes them what they are - a family.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
(Part 2 of 3)

"Mmmm..." comes Sheesa's murmur of approval as she pushes her waist against Mario's offering hand. She pats his arm and slowly brushes her cheek against his in an odd but comforting show of affection. This motion creates cheers and howls of approval among the watching Broo and more than a few of your human companions too.

Before Captain Piper goes back to her meal of angel hair noodles and steak, she offers Mario some serious words of advice given with approving eyes and a tone that seems to have his best interests at heart. "Hey, Spaghetti Guy! Whatever happens, remember... don't ever lie to them or say stupid stuff like 'I'm going to marry you.' They'll remember! And only say things you're willing to back up. Oh, and finally... uh... don't worry about... uh... noise levels? The hulls are made of hypercarbon; they're soundproofed. Have fun!"

* * *​

"Well, dang. Should've paid attention during cooking classes, but they never tell you it pays off like that."

That comment gets a light-hearted bout of laughter from Hitomi who nods emphatically. "Oh, for certain! Imagine the swell in culinary artists out there if they knew about this!"

* * *​

She says, "Hey Mario, when you get tired, let me know and I can take over for you."

Sheesa hears this and suddenly looks down on the shorter Toph and when Toph looks up, there is a dangerous and ice cold look in Sheesa's expression. It is the kind of face a beast makes right before she attacks, but the smooth, healthy muscles of the mysterious Broo scout remain where they are as she controls herself. Mario does not see this.

But Piper does. The young captain cringes and grits her teeth like she just stepped on glass.

Sheesa's husky, womanly voice is just loud enough for Toph and those nearby Toph to hear. Her Broo accent is thicker and more savage than average as she tries to pronounce every syllable in sounds Toph can readily understand. Sheesa's free hand opens, revealing sharp black claws that are now extending from each of her fingers as, for one brief moment, she targets Toph's throat before looking Toph in the eye. An unmistakable warning growl, frightening like that of a threatened tiger, erupts from the Beastie's chest and throat.

"Daughter of Commanda Kirin... Sheesa... not trophy to be traded."

Toph sees in Sheesa's eyes another message - there is now no chance Toph will know Sheesa's intimacies, if indeed the she-Broo is attracted to women at all. With her arm confidently around Mario, Sheesa's claws retract and she returns to the accepting, pleased mood she had before Toph said what she said. By the time they are but a few paces away, Sheesa has seemingly forgotten all about Toph, her focus instead on Mario as they walk together out of the Mess Hall.

"Jeez, Kirin!" Piper blanches once the pair are out of earshot. "Didn't think I'd have to explain to a doctor that you gotta treat the Broo like people, not property! That's not the way it's done on this ship, newb-blood." Piper goes back to her meal.

Shirley watches Mario and Sheesa go. She smiles whenever Mario is looking anywhere near her direction, but that smile fades as the Mess Hall doors close. Shirley Mack goes to picking at her food. Beside her, a very still and wide-eyed Cera leans over and asks, "Leader Mack? What just took place here? I feel... strange!"

"Oh! Of course! You Ura-Meltrandi don't know a great deal about men, do you?" Shirley slaps her forehead.

"Only how to kill them," Cera replies, clearly open to hear more. They begin to talk and Shirley does so in a way that leaves the social door open to anyone else who wants to join in.
 
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