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Chapter Seven: Full House

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Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Sherwood Sherwood

(Part 3 of 3)

I just... really dig this song, Gang. I played it on Loop as I wrote this. Call it inspiration. =)
"Ollie Wride & Sunglasses Kid - Stranger Love"

Full lyrics Source: Musixmatch

I ain't talking forever
Just need some time
Cause I'm fresh out of courage
To speak my mind
I can see a high wind blowing
Across our ventured plain
Has the last straw broken?
Do you still feel the same?

You and I both got
Something bigger than the fall
A stranger love, stranger love
And we tear out every page
Then leave nothing left to waste
A stranger love, stranger love
Not in your nature
To be vacant
It don't matter who's right
Just thought you should know
That you can call it what you like
It's stranger love, stranger love

I never killed the feeling
Like the one we've had
When I said I would be there
My work just held me back
So we go through the motion
You swear on our lives
No one else can disarm me
No one else has your light

You and I both got
Something bigger than the fall
A stranger love, stranger love
And we tear out every page
Then leave nothing left to waste
A stranger love, stranger love
You made me feel like
I count for something
It's only after you realise
How faith gets blinded
You can call it what you like
It's stranger love

I could be wrong about this, but maybe I'm right
Let our troubles fade out into the night, to the night
We got a stranger love
We got a
Stranger love

I ain't talking forever
Just need some time

Mario quickly learns that Sheesa is a person who prefers to communicate through body language and wordless murmuring instead of talking. It shows with her every movement. Unlike humans, most of the sounds she makes never leave her throat and every sound she makes has a purpose. Mario comes to learn that if he truly wants to communicate with her, he has to watch her and listen to her like an animal.

But Sheesa makes that watching and listening very, very easy.

No tail, of course. She is not wearing a skirt, but attractive brown leathery trappings that fit her like a second skin. Sheesa looks like this but with darker skin (think slick-looking and Caribbean-tanned). She possesses a lean, soft-yet-hard musculature that most women (like Hitomi) work very hard to keep (like the six-pack you could bounce a coin off of). Sheesa's soft black-and-green straight hair drops down just below her butt. Her eyes are emerald-green (deeper green than this) and shine when she wants them to. She smiles just like this picture when she smiles.

Like tonight. =)
Sheesa the Scout.  Drawn by clayscene on Deviant Art.jpg
(Image credit: The terrific Clayscence at DeviantArt!)

Spaceman Sam is waiting outside the Mess Hall to escort Mario and Sheesa, but Mario soon realizes that they are not headed in the direction of the quarters he was assigned, but somewhere else on the SCL-107 Broadsword. Sam escorts the two of you to a part of the ship Mario hasn't been to before. There are crew quarters here with strange markings on the walls, carvings into the hypercarbon steel, both beautiful, remote, and otherwordly. They are Broo markings and they are fantastic to behold for the ten seconds Mario has before Sam stands outside the room "he" has escorted them to.

Sheesa's room is dark but the She-Broo has no problem moving around in the blackness. One by one, she lights what passes for candles, draping the room that is the same size of Mario's quarters, but that is where the resemblance ends. Shadows dance along the walls, none of which are blank but covered in strange pictures of mountains, sea, and forest. Looking up, the ceiling here is marked all over with stars Mario is not likely ever to see in-person. There are thick piles of strange furs all over, some for use as rugs, others for sleeping and others for blankets. It is a very comfortable room that smells nice. Exotic even. A wide portable bath like the one Shirley healed up in the Sick Bay is here. Sheesa activates it and little flower petals inside move about. Everything including the bath is decorated in animal trappings from feather beads to netting that covers the ceiling and broad bone cups that sit beside clay-like jugs similar to the one Chieftain Faydra reached into at the Mess Hall.

Smells of incense reach Mario's nose as Sheesa moves ghost-like from one flame to the other until only about a dozen are lit, illuminating the bath. She opens a jar lid and holds it up for Mario to inspect. It smells like some kind of rice wine. Potent rice wine that makes sake smell like spring water. Sheesa drinks from the jar and a murmur of pleasure erupts from her.

During their time together, Sheesa speaks only on two occasions.

Like her actions, Sheesa's voice is unhurried and in a very womanly way, her Broo accent is as thick as they come as the Beastie pronounces every word with slowness and care. Her deep green eyes stare into his as if she finds something fascinating about him. Her murmurs, born from her healthy chest and carrying through her throat, have a soothing, attractive quality and she makes wordless sounds, each their own expression. She is most definitely in touch with the beast inside of her, moreso unusually than some of her brethren.

When she speaks, her pleasing voice seems to echo from the walls.

She talks as if her words carry great meaning for her. "Mar-ee-yo... feed tribe. Sheesa return... gratitude. Until morning... I belong to you."

She takes Mario's hands in hers and slowly, readily draws them upon her body. She indicates around the room around you. The bath. The furs. Then over herself and then back to Mario's hands as she leans back and whispers...

"Anywhere yooou waaant." ...and Mario sees something many humans and some Broo never see. Sheesa fully smiles at Mario as she closes with him, removing her clothes as she does. Mario is taken into a world where it is just the two of them. One Human. One Broo. No war. No monstas. Just safety, warmth, and lots and lots of heady, unforgettable pleasures.

It is enough to make a man remember just what he is fighting for!

* * *​

Mario wakes later feeling worked out and absolutely marvelous! It is perhaps in the middle of the night, but without a clock, he can't tell. Not that it matters. He finds himself naked under the furs against Sheesa. She is drinking from a bone cup and offering him one, perhaps to rejuvenate the energies they spent hours ago. This time, Sheesa looks a little different. Her eyes are glowing like pretty emerald moons, full and bright, almost shockingly against the remaining candlelight. Her Broo eyes are so bright now as to make luminescence of their own. It makes her face become something out of a spirit-touched dream, outlining her features - the very stuff of fantasies.

Smiling savagely, Sheesa speaks for the second time that night. "Mmmar-ee-yooo gooood-fun... but now... Sheesa turn!" Sheesa rolls Mario over onto his back. The bestial She-Broo begins to embrace him with all that she is.

And it becomes a very good thing that Piper turns out to be right... that the walls of the Broadsword... are soundproofed!

During the night, Mario joyfully sustains 13 S.D.C. of damage!

Oh. He loses 3 hit points to damage too...

...all while having the time of his life!

* * *​

Hours later, Mario wakes, this time to the sounds of metal scraping across stone. Sheesa is looking tired and very pleased as she is expertly dragging a small object between a V-shaped stone apparatus. Mario realizes Sheesa is sharpening his penknife. She does not cease until she is able to slice the hairs off of her own forearm without hardly trying. All the while, she is making "Mmm" sounds and smiling. For in the warmth and shadows of Sheesa's room, Mario has made her very happy tonight.

Mario's penknife is now so sharp, it does +3 damage. Sherwood, record the damage and pen-knife upgrade on your Character Sheet. =)
 
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Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
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Elinor watched the stormy Coosi go, curious about the reaction. If a choice had been offered, why get upset when a choice was made? It'd be good to know if another such choice was offered to her. She followed the interaction between Coosi and Bong with interest.
"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.
Elinor was surprised by a sudden wave of homesickness. Just so might one of the elder members of her own family scold, then hug the penitent youngster. She dropped her eyes to her plate, hoping everyone else is watching Mario and his chosen lady.


"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.
The sudden flare-up, from both Sheesa and, surprisingly, Piper (Elinor would have thought she'd ask for an explanation herself, not start sniping), distracts Elinor from her own feelings and pulls her back into the group.

"I wouldn't'a said offering to make one of a threesome was callin' someone property, ma'am, even if that's how Sheesa took it," Elinor said, but mildly. No point in riling things up further. "Invitin' oneself into a closed pair, now, that's another matter. But seems to me we got a lot of different cultures tryin' to mesh here, and it'd help if everyone would assume no offense is meant right off, no matter who's doin' the speakin." Or are the non-Broo supposed to just tiptoe around them? She left that unsaid, but kept her gaze fixed on Piper.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Psychie Psychie Tag! (Don't have to tag Kaerri - she's right here! *huggles da Kaerri*)

"I wouldn't'a said offering to make one of a threesome was callin' someone property, ma'am, even if that's how Sheesa took it," Elinor said, but mildly. No point in riling things up further. "Invitin' oneself into a closed pair, now, that's another matter. But seems to me we got a lot of different cultures tryin' to mesh here, and it'd help if everyone would assume no offense is meant right off, no matter who's doin' the speakin." Or are the non-Broo supposed to just tiptoe around them? She left that unsaid, but kept her gaze fixed on Piper.

Piper stuffs a bite of garlic bread into her mouth and chews, thinking hard. The young redhead swallows and glances to Toph, then to Elinor.

With a sigh of built-up emotion, she taps her fingers near her plate. She speaks just loud enough for Elinor to hear her which is just loud enough for the naturally-perceptive Toph to pick it up. "What Toph said pissed off one of my Beasties. Nobody messes with them. God, I'm so fucking lit up!"

Hitomi, calm and cool, nods. "Captain," she asks, "did something happen back in your time to make you feel this protective of them?"

"Yeah," Piper nods emphatically. "And now that Drake and Kirin aren't here to manage me, I can see I'm... not handling it well." Elinor shoots a look of regret toward Toph and Elinor before continuing. "The blasted Science heads at the UEEF Main Fleet, upon learning that we had discovered a new lifeform on Terrestria, damn near demanded that we go back and bring some along 'for the benefit of humanity!' When Drake asked what that meant, those fucking scalpel-wavers replied that they wanted to perform some 'cursory examinations using science.'" Piper glares at a memory etched into her mind.

"We knew them well enough to read that they wanted to poke and prod the Broo regardless of how the Broo felt about it - just to see how their physiology could benefit us! The Broo trust us with their very lives! And isn't that kind of how the Invid Regess treats other races? Who's 'da monsta' here?" Piper seethes. "So Drake lied. Told the scalpel-wavers we didn't have any onboard. Couldn't find them on Terrestria, so don't bother asking us to go looking. Heck, Drake didn't even mention the Mewwoos and forbade the whole crew from doing the same!"

"So yeah. After that incident, we all felt a great deal of shame towards our own military. Guess I still do. But I think I see why you're asking," Piper meekly nods to Hitomi. "You're trying to make me see that Lt. Kirin here isn't like those guys and it's not fair to compare 'em, even if I am Acting Captain. Right?"

"That's right," Hitomi returns the nod in a serious manner. Hitomi's gaze seems to hint that she hopes Piper isn't done expressing herself.

Piper seems to recognize this. She turns to Toph and Elinor, especially Toph. She lets out a surrendering sigh. "Hey, I'm sorry. I don't know any of you Wild Cards as well as I'd like yet, and here I go messing it up by bringing my baggage with me. You didn't mean anything by it. Heck, if anything, I guess it was sort of a compliment Sheesa's way, wasn't it?

Piper frowns to Elinor. "And if it wasn't for you speaking up, I would have just kept on with it! God, I'm such a lousy leader."
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Hercules cheerfully watches the whole situation as Mario ‘chose’ his date for the rest of the day, but as he witnessed what followed after, the smile gradually slid from his face and was replaced with a heavy frown. Finally, he gently but firmly put his fork down, wiped his face on a napkin and walked to the kitchen door. He found the nearest Sam or Samantha and said, “Take me to Col-, I mean Captain, Sharp. I need to speak to him, now.”
 

Dannigan

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

The Samantha unit Hercules approaches becomes rather still for one long moment as "she" seems to process Hercules's request. Then the automaton turns to him and replies in the most friendly of Southern accents and in a volume not loud enough to attract undue attention. "Sweetness, the captain will see you now. He's on his way back from the Cryogenic Chamber and he's got some company with him, but he says you're awfully welcome to meet him on their way here!" She discreetly points toward the exit to the Mess Hall. There, Hercules sees none other than Spaceman Sam approaching that exit and standing nonchalantly beside it.

On the far end of the Mess Hall, one of the Sam units carrying a small pile of dishes turns a corner too quickly and falls. This creates one heck of a commotion which draws a lot of people's attention and as people react toward that, Spaceman Sam kindly escorts Hercules with as much obfuscation as an automaton can rightly get away with and soon, with what looks like practiced ease, Hercules is out of the door of the Mess Hall and being escorted by Spaceman Sam down the hallway with only the most perceptive and lucky seeming to have noticed.

"Duuude," Sam says with a hint of his former Japanese-style body language as he guides Hercules along the many halls and doorways of the ship to where Hercules wants to be. "We think you oughta know - Captain Sharp's on his way here with the recently-defrosted Marine Recon team, the 'Mad Dogs' and the rest of the remaining crew of the Broadsword. Beamer and Trouble are with them. We've communicated to the big kahuna that you seem to want to have a private pow-wow with him." Sam nods.

"We, like, have been observing everybody and you seem to have noticed Captain Piper's bad vibes, man. Her decline in morale and command ability." Sam points a thumb at himself. "We may be robotic, man, but we think it's awesome that you seem to be moving in that direction. Drake would have approved. So, like, whatever you're going to Captain Sharp with, we'll try to, like, root for you, because we think you're acting because you care. You diggin' me, bro?"

The minutes pass. As you turn down yet another well-lit hall made of superstructure, Hercules hears the sounds of talking and movement. Coming down the hall, you see lots of people and even hear Beema excitedly chatting with someone. Captain Sharp is there at the head of the group, strolling along leisurely. With a raise of his hand, the group behind him comes to a halt. They continue chatting and stay put.

Captain Sharp, his uniform immaculate and his old glasses slightly foggy, steps forward openly watching Hercules. "Thank you, Sam," he nods down the hall and Sam, not usually one to miss a hint, salutes Captain Sharp, waits as that salute is returned, and when those motions are complete does the automaton whom you have known since your first hours aboard the Zeki-Zentraedi Assault Scout makes his way to join the crowd and leave Hercules and Captain Sharp around a corner with privacy.

Unless Hercules is attempting to hide or disguise himself, Captain Sharp asks, "Papadopolis, you seem concerned about something. What's happened and how can I help with it?"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Back in the mess hall, Toph takes her now empty plate to the cleaner and slides it into the machine, her thoughts on the upcoming videos that the group will be making to send to their loved ones. While it is true that she doesn't have any family, she does have a few good friends back at Eglin that she would like to tell that she's ok. Especially Dr. Kevin Baker. He was a mentor to her as she struggled through the trials of her internship and studies. I would have to guess that it was quite a shock to hear that I was declared KIA after the mission against the Assault Scout. It would be nice to be able to tell him that I made it through the fight.

Toph takes a deep breath, then goes over to where Hitomi is waiting. "I suppose that I would like to make a video, too, when we are all ready to do so."
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Hercules stood before the man he'd previously known as a Colonel of the ASC and now as a Captain of the UEEF and snapped out a parade salute, before returning to parade rest.
"Sir,", he started, keeping his chin raised and his voice firm but quiet, "I want to preface what I am about to say by stating I understand that we Wild Cards are still so new to this ship that we've not even worn the starch out of the uniforms or even visited the commissary, but there's an issue I believe needs to be addressed at the earliest possible opportunity. Before it affects the dynamic between the command and crew of the Broadsword and the Wild Cards, sir.
"Sir, it is this Marine's opinion that Captain Piper is acting in a manner unbecoming of a senior officer and is unfit to command this vessel.", he took a breath, then continued, "This morning, as you are aware, we took breakfast and then travelled to Drake's Bar. At that time, Captain Piper began drinking strong liquor to the point of becoming incapacitated. Should this vessel have had an emergency, the sole commanding officer with experience of this ship's capabilities would have been impaired. This state would have placed the ship and all aboard in jeopardy, sir. Further to this, sir, is an event you did not witness. After you and Sergeant Murphy left the mess hall, the Broo decided to reward Sergeant Zuko in a....tribal manner, sir.
"Lieutenant Kirin remarked that if Sergeant Zuko needed help she would be willing to pick up his slack, so to speak, sir. This was met by Captain Piper beligerently dressing down the lieutenant publically by revealing for the first time that there had been an incident within the UEEF fleet when certain of the scientists of the fleet wished to experiment with the Broo for reasons unknown. Captain Piper made an assumption regarding Lieutenant Kirin's intent and chose that moment to explain the previous incident. Sir, it is this Marine's belief that if the Captain does not fully brief the Wild Cards about the full history of the Broo and their interaction with the fleet, chances are we will continue to make errors and be subject to the Captain's anger. Sir, it is this Marine's belief that if this state of affairs is allowed to continue, the Wild Cards may come to feel overcautious about interacting with the Broo, for fear of aggravating the Captain. Further, sir, it is this Marine's belief that if the Captain's volatile nature is not addressed, the bonds of trust between the Wild Cards and the Captain may be strained.
"It is this Marine's belief that Captain Piper would benefit from urgent coaching from yourself and that it needs to happen quickly for the future smooth running of this ship and this crew, sir. That's all I have to say, sir."
 

Dannigan

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

Captain Sharp listens in a relaxed manner without interrupting, his mind in a deep state of thought as he watches Hercules. His first question is, "Do you know Lt. Kirin's state? Is she all right?" This is immediately followed by, "At ease and you have permission to speak freely, Serge-- ah!" Sharp grins at his own mistake. "It's Chief Petty Officer now, isn't it? I miss the ASC rankings already."

After hearing Hercules's reply, Sharp lets his thoughts be known.

Please add any reply from Herc in your next post. I didn't want to interrupt this one by playing "Post-pong" and giving Real Life the opportunity to invade. There's been enough of that recently with the site being down for days. =)

Sharp looks Hercules in the eyes. "We've come a long way since the Assembly, haven't we? Being on board the Broadsword is introducing all kinds of new challenges and I appreciate your letting me in on what I could not know. Piper and I haven't come out and said it, and we have our reasons why, but rest easy - I am in charge of the SCL-107 Broadsword until further notice. She and I have agreed that if I played a certain card, and she conceded, then that would settle it. I played it. And it did." Captain Hiram Sharp takes a deep breath and closes his eyes at the memory.

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.

"As for your request of my coaching her, well, that's already underway. But... it won't be enough." Sharp sighs. "See, Captain Piper's right about this. Remember the thing we killed in Cpl. Booty's armory? The Broadsword has faced it en masse. Captain Piper's faced it. Not to excuse her, but she knows she can't beat it, hence her behavior. So I've been treating Captain Piper like she is suffering from a gunshot wound. She's out of danger, but she's still bleeding, and worst of all, the bullet is still in her. Papadopolis, I can't get that bullet out. The Wild Cards can't. Not Dr. Yashida, Albert, Reggie. Not even the Broo."

Sharp takes a moment to peek around the corner to the entourage some 40 meters away. "Humor me and take a good look over here." Hercules is so large that Sharp doesn't have to stoop down for the huge Greek to see over the old tanker's head. The halls of the Broadsword are well lit and carry sound well. Hercules hears the unmasked chatting going on from an entourage of people dressed in uniforms like his. Some look sad, some look in shock, but most of them have this look of total readiness. Even eagerness. There must be over two dozen of them, maybe more. Hercules only recognizes Beema and Trouble who are both ecstatic to see these people and the feeling is 100% mutual.

"They can," Sharp nods. He ducks back behind the corner. "Now, your timing is something else, Papadopolis. They just came 'off the ice.' The last they remember was being in battle with the Enemy in their timeline with the SDF-3 and their fleet. And they were losing badly. Sam briefed them and caught them up. I've just introduced myself and asked for their trust.

"This leads me to your other request. Relieving Piper." Sharp shakes his head firmly. "Request denied. If my first order of business today is to relieve Captain Piper of command, someone they've fought with and bled with - even with Piper's blessing which I think she would gladly give, that firmly puts me in the top spot with the ability to assign whomever I want as my new second and so forth. That's not the act of a good leader; that's the act of a dictator. We are the strangers. This is their house. The only house they've got and they've killed and been killed for it.

"Regardless of what anyone thinks of me, I need your trust and respect, and I need their trust and respect, if I am to command this big boat. That means I need to do right by both parties. So from here on out, Captain Piper remains second-in-command. Temporarily. That is," Sharp sniffs, "until we can get Commander Kirin off the ice and back in charge. I think Kirin will be the solidifying force that will put everyone here at ease. But that, of course, requires some Isotope-9."

Sharp grins wolfishly and looks to Hercules for comment. "And thanks to little Miss Beamer over there and a recent conversation I've had with a third party, I now know where we can get some!"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Psychie Psychie

Back in the mess hall, Toph takes her now empty plate to the cleaner and slides it into the machine, her thoughts on the upcoming videos that the group will be making to send to their loved ones. While it is true that she doesn't have any family, she does have a few good friends back at Eglin that she would like to tell that she's ok. Especially Dr. Kevin Baker. He was a mentor to her as she struggled through the trials of her internship and studies. I would have to guess that it was quite a shock to hear that I was declared KIA after the mission against the Assault Scout. It would be nice to be able to tell him that I made it through the fight.

Toph takes a deep breath, then goes over to where Hitomi is waiting. "I suppose that I would like to make a video, too, when we are all ready to do so."

As Toph approaches the ever-beautiful Hawai'ian/Japanese lady, she finds Hitomi pleasantly engaged in conversation with the young and exuberant male Broo, Duskee - it is a discussion that is coming quickly to its completion. The dark-haired Broo is standing above the sitting Hitomi listening intently to her every word. As she speaks, Hitomi's smile is the stuff of magazine covers and the dreams of lovers and she wears it now as she explains to an enraptured Duskee.

"...because women often think with their hearts first and bodies second. At least when they want romantic relationships. Mario and Sheesa are thinking with their bodies. There's nothing wrong with that as long as it's mutual."

"And you?" Duskee stares wistfully.

"Me? Oh no. I'm a romantic!" she shakes her head to him slowly but still wearing that smile.

"Ah! Maybe Hee-toh-mee teach Duskee how be 'ro-man-teek?' You act like... teacher, yes?"

"Yes," Hitomi notices Toph's approach. "In fact, here comes one of my martial arts students right now!"

Duskee turns to Toph and his face brightens at her approach. He is about to make another excitable suggestion when Hitomi steps in with finesse. "Hey Toph! Ready for that interview? I'll get these done one at a time!" When Duskee's expression turns to mild confusion, Hitomi adds, "I need Toph to help me with an important project, which if you ask me, is long overdue! Enjoy the spaghetti dinner, okay?"

Duskee nods to the both of you as he respectfully makes his way back into the throng of lively Beasties. "Okay! Would ratha have time with Hee-toh-mee..."

When Duskee has departed, Hitomi winks and whispers at Toph. "Thanks for the grand timing, Toph! Duskee's a nice guy, but... Shall we?" Hitomi approaches a Sam unit. "Toph and I would like to conduct the first video, please."

Sam nods in a slow and relaxed moment like nothing in the universe could bother "him." "Mondo perfection awaits, doctors. It's rad that you are thinking of your families at a time like this. Mad respect!"

Hitomi gets Mack's attention to let her know that she's "borrowing" Toph to which Mack nods to the positive and in moments, Sam has escorted Toph and Hitomi through the corridors of the ever-humming starship to a room that appears to be some kind of storage room. It's a good-sized room, wide, and without markings, comfortable for a military room, and has a set of drapes positioned along with a camera mounted on a tripod and a couple of chairs nearby. Sam stands guard outside. When it's just Toph and Hitomi inside, Hitomi positions the chairs so that she is off-camera and Toph will be the sole subject in view. The whole atmosphere has a "James Bond" style setup in that everything has been prearranged for efficient, top-notch presentations.

Hitomi instructs. "In the dressing room here, you'll find some civilian designer clothing in the locker I asked Sam to make for you. Hope you like 'em! I figured the colors would go good with the rest of you. The idea here is - we create a sterile recording that can be sent to whom you like that cannot be tracked back to the Broadsword. We'll be using that medical drape in this soundproofed room as a backdrop."

Hitomi then briefs Toph on the basics of what is safe to say (her feelings mainly) while avoiding details of any kind (no mention of Toph's mission, the Wild Cards, the Broadsword, technopathy, etc. and that list is long). "I'll edit the whole thing and The Professor will do the double-checking before we distribute. Above all, you tell us who you want to shout out to. Your mother included.

Hitomi says with some excitement. "Oh! One other thing, Toph! Back at Eglin, you've gotten three recorded calls from a Lt. Marcus Edison. He's been asking if the rumors of your death are true. Perhaps you want to add him to the list?"

This was the little piece of information that caused my delay in response here - I just knew back in our early chapters, there was a mentor-type Character in Toph's life that you had mentioned before but I couldn't remember his name! So... I dug it up and found it along with the post you wrote back in late 2017. Hee hee! =)

What does Toph do?
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph says, "I'm all set to record a message. Just say 'when' and I'll start. I'll just have to be careful not to say anything that will put the ship or her crew in danger."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Hitomi glances at Toph and gives her one of her most encouraging smiles. The best part about it is Toph knows it is genuine. "I've seen you handle a lot worse than a camera in our Jeet Kune Do classes alone. This? It's nothing. I have every faith in you."

I'm about to post in Fat Gandalf's.
Please read that post prior to replying to this post.
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Before giving the go-ahead to start, Toph runs through a few names in her head that she wants to make sure to speak to. With a nod, she gives Hitomi the ok, and starts off with a smile. "Hey guys! Guess you never expected to hear from me again now, did you? Well, I'm alive and doing well, working with a whole new team of awesome guys and gals. I can't give you any details on what I'm doing or where I'm doing it, but trust me, it is all for the greater good of Earth. This is a great opportunity, and it is where I truly belong." She stops for a moment, then goes on to say, "I don't know when I will be able to get another message out to you, since I'm doing all this Secret Squirrel stuff that's all hush-hush, but I will communicate as often as I can." Toph can feel herself starting to choke up, and she wipes away a tear. "Let me wrap this up with a 'I love all of you guys' and leave it at that. Until next time, this is Toph Kirin signing out!"
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
Administrator
Supporter
Hercules nodded, his concerns had been passed up the chain and not only had he been heard out, he’d been assured of action. There was nothing more to be said on the matter.
“So, you gonna introduce me to these newly-thawed saviors of ours?”
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
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Captain Hesperus Captain Hesperus Psychie Psychie Tag! ("A blunder followed by some wonder.")

Once Hercules answers, I'll get the Main Story back on track. You'll see what I mean by the end of this scene. If it goes on for a bit, I'll try to turn it into a side scene, Cap'n, if you're comfortable with that.

Hercules nodded, his concerns had been passed up the chain and not only had he been heard out, he’d been assured of action. There was nothing more to be said on the matter.
“So, you gonna introduce me to these newly-thawed saviors of ours?”

"I can do better than that," Sharp says with a tip of his immaculately-kept hat, "I'm going to introduce them to all of the Wild Cards." Captain Sharp inhales to let out a shout when both he and Hercules hear the sounds of walking from down their end of the corridor, not in the direction of the entourage behind Captain Sharp. Looking down the corridor, you see Spacewoman Samantha escorting an obviously-fatigued Professor Stein.

"Hiram!" the large bearded fellow in his nice navy blue suit calls out. He is hiding his eyes with one hand.

"Albert!" Sharp replies, puzzled. "Got a headache coming on? You usually do that when the lights get too bright for you."

Spacewoman Samantha snaps her fingers. "Allow me, shugah!" The corridor lights you are in dim lower. Still, Professor Stein hardly looks up as if expecting them to return any moment.

"Thank you, Samantha." Professor Stein nods to the animated CVR-3 mega-suit and turns in the direction of Sharp's voice. Stein speaks hurriedly, like a man who just wants the information out of his brain as rapidly as possible so he can move on to other things, like finding a dark room to lie down and hibernate in. "Hiram, I have got it! Piper! She's suffering from PTSD. Her mind can't make sense of memories. Hasn't slept well in months..."

"Albert," Sharp tries to interrupt.

"...no time for medication or therapy, no one to turn to. It is all from the Invid war in the future..."

"Albert."

"...the Broo help, but I'm convinced she needs humans she knows. People she is comfortable with. Not us. I--"

"Albert!"

"Whaaat, already?!"


Professor Stein finally looks at Hiram Sharp to see him quietly aiming one discreet finger up at the current champion of the "Biggest Greek on the Planet Earth" title.

Stein gawks. "Oh God! Now I have gone and done it!" Professor Stein slaps his large palm over his face. He looks up, sighs, and slowly asks Hercules, "Ever have one of those days when you feel like a complete rookie?"

Sharp grimaces. "Piper do anything recently that makes you want to bring this up?"

"Besides making a first-class mental imbecile of herself just now in the Mess Hall, possibly alienating herself from the Wild Cards, while beginning to have a breakdown right before I got ahold of her? No, not at all."

Sharp just stands there and nods thoughtfully. He doesn't glance at Hercules.

"Are you in a position to command the Broadsword if Hitomi finds her medically unfit for duty?"

Without a missing a beat, Hiram Sharp adds, "Not going to happen, Albert." He points to the corner, indicating that his old friend should take a discreet peek. Minding the lights, Professor Stein does.

"Smashing! Is that all of them?"

"I think so. What are you thinking?"

"I think it is just what the doctor ordered, frankly!" Professor Stein looks back down the dimly-lit corridor from whence he came and the ever-patient Samantha unit standing down there. "I say we get what spaghetti we can before this new group gets to it." Hercules, however, knows there is plenty - despite the thrashing the Broo performed on the supply he helped make and save from destruction.

"What is your take on this, Hercules?" Stein asks.

"The spaghetti situation?" Hiram asks, half-seriously.

"The Piper situation," Stein corrects and looks back to Hercules who is not a great deal taller than the old man. "What is your perspective? Never mind Colonel Sharp here."

"It's Captain Sharp now."

Stein glares at his old buddy in mock distaste and turns back to Hercules. "...the God of all Boy Scouts here?" Professor Stein and Captain Sharp share the teasing looks that only the oldest of friends know before they return their attention to Chief Petty Officer Papadopolis.


* * *​

Side scene with Toph and Hitomi.

"Let me wrap this up with a 'I love all of you guys' and leave it at that. Until next time, this is Toph Kirin signing out!"

Hitomi beams that delightful smile of hers. "Nice. There will be some editing, but that's something we can use." She wraps up what she is doing with the camera and casually pauses.

Oh, now that that's done..." Hitomi takes advantage of their privacy and points firmly to a nearby chair, "...how about you park that pinkness of yours right over there? I've been waiting for it to be just the two of us! We've got some serious talking to do, don't you think?"

Toph smiles at the antics of the Broo, looking to Duskee as he offers up his 'sexy' to her, saying, "I appreciate the offer, but Hitomi is more my type." Her eyes then snap wide open as she realizes what she just said, her face going bright red. "Uuuh, oh my. I didn't mean to say . . . Just ignore that, ok?" She does her best to not look over at Hitomi, hoping beyond hope that she hasn't just ruined a good friendship with her blunder.

Leaving the camera behind, Hitomi's professional mannerisms take a backseat as the lovely Polynesian-Japanese lady gazes meaningfully at the human-Meltrandi. Pulling her long black hair over one shoulder, she takes a seat of her own, focuses for a breath or two then opens up with her feelings.

"Toph! You and Elinor have been my devoted students in Jeet Kune Do for months. We've seen each other in the dressing rooms and outside. All this time, I've been your instructor and you haven't said - haven't hinted - a word of this. And now you make this known? Here? On a storied warship from the future in front of Traversers, time-travelers, androids, and an alien tribe, not to mention the sweet giant Scrath politely watching from the corner or the cybernetic kitten who pokes his little nose into everything whenever he's not napping?" Hitomi chuckles in a good-natured, if confused, way. "Though the last isn't fair - MechaKitten been with us from the start of this. Still. Toph, I can't imagine what it would have taken for you to tell me how you felt about me otherwise."

Hitomi folds her fingers together, crosses her legs, and stares intently at the younger woman, her brown eyes flashing a touch of gold in the lights of the photography setup. Hitomi pauses and looks at Toph with a solid interest to however she answers. It is like Toph has presented her fellow doctor and martial artist with one heck of a mystery that only Toph herself can provide a solution to - except it is to neither the doctor or martial artist in Hitomi that is doing the asking - but the woman herself.

"So... now that the whole ship knows your preference, what exactly are these feelings of yours, Toph?"
 
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Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
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Elinor's character sheetAction Points: 8/8
Bonus action point: 1
Piper frowns to Elinor. "And if it wasn't for you speaking up, I would have just kept on with it! God, I'm such a lousy leader."
Elinor nods, but it's more as a sign of understanding, not agreement with Piper's self-assessment, as her next words are intended to confirm. "We all have bad days. An' you're new at this CO thing. Best to make your mistakes now, when we've all got time to talk it out, than in the middle of combat or somethin'." Someone more socially-oriented might have smiled comfortingly, but that doesn't occur to the engineer/test pilot. "Anyway, it's good that you want to protect your own. But two things I'd suggest you oughta remember, if I may? One, that we're yours too, now. And two -- see that Scrath over there? You prob'ly don't know this, but we Wild Cards decided pretty early on that we'd sooner, um, not report her existence to Eglin Command than see her get dragged into the same sort of 'science' you're worried about with the Broo. An' that's with an alien species that didn't have fellow humans to vouch for her, just her own friendly actions." Elinor does smile now, wryly. "We want to protect our friends, too -- and that means you an' yours, because yours are ours now." She pauses, running that last sentence over in her head. Something doesn't seem quite right, but she isn't sure how to fix it, so she just leaves it there and goes back to her spaghetti.
 

Captain Hesperus

Harbinger of the End Times and Apostle of Ghan
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Hercules nodded.
”I agree with your sentiment, Professor.”, he replied, “The Captain is currently too unstable to be in command of this vessel and this crew. But then, she’s been through a world of hurt worse than any of us could imagine, and alone, to top it off. She is definitely not operating at her best, certainly not in isolation. But with Captain Sharpe and yourself, Professor, I think she can be hauled back off the edge. She needs to properly unwind. And I mean serious R&R. We all saw it in the mess hall. She sat down to eat and then the moment an issue was raised, she was ramped up and stressed out. Captain Piper needs support and she needs people to help take the weight of the world off her shoulders. She’s not Atlas.”
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Side Scene with Toph and Hitomi

Oh, now that that's done..." Hitomi takes advantage of their privacy and points firmly to a nearby chair, "...how about you park that pinkness of yours right over there? I've been waiting for it to be just the two of us! We've got some serious talking to do, don't you think?"
Toph has the sudden urge to run from the room, but under the piercing eyes and firm expression of the other woman, she slowly slides over to the indicated chair and sits, feeling like a little kid about to get her punishment dished out to her.
"So... now that the whole ship knows your preference, what exactly are these feelings of yours, Toph?"
The pink haired half Meltrandi can suddenly relate to what a bug pinned to the wall must feel like. With a sigh of surrender, she says, "I . . . . yes, I like girls, and I find you very attractive. And I am so very sorry if I have made you feel uncomfortable being around me in any way. I don't know what happened earlier, when I said what I did. It just slipped out." She runs her hands through her hair, trying to think about what to say next. "I have kept my feelings secret for so long. Just think of all the hostility I've gotten as part Meltrandi. Just pile on top of that the grief I would have gotten over the years if I ever came out as a gay half-Meltrandi. I guess I just felt . . . safe enough . . . with this bunch of misfits enough to come out."

"I hope you know, I value our friendship more than you might realize, and I will never, ever do anything to jeopardize that. I have long put my feelings for you aside, knowing that you probably don't have the same orientation that I do." Oh, why can't this ever be easy, like it is in the romance novels? "I promise that I won't get all weird with you."

Her eyes finally make their way to look at Hitomi's face, a feeling of dread building up inside her. Please don't hate me.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario stretches and gives off a happy groan. He gives a happy smile to Sheesa, saying to her, "I must thank you for a very wonderful time, my dear Sheesa, and if you would be interested in doing so, I would enjoy getting to know you better outside the bedroom." He glances at the clock on the wall, and asks, "Shall we rejoin the others, or do you want to enjoy some more quiet time here? Either way, I am thoroughly enjoying my time with you."
 

Silanon

Three Thousand Club
Ten minutes ago - give or take - this kind of conversation would've seemed out of place. Makes you wonder how quickly a few spoken words can change the mood, and everything else. Never underestimate the power of misunderstandings... Ylva chimes in in the silence after Hall's words. She speaks slowly, as if she considers every word twice - because a single wrong choice might do more harm than good, here.

"Maybe a third thing to add to that list." Ylva seeks Piper's attention before she continues. "Captain, there will be mistakes. The Broo have the benefit to know some humans, at least - we can't say the same. And Captain, if mistakes are strongly discouraged" - she nods in the direction where Toph sat, before - "then we won't make them before it matters, and it might cost us dearly. Including the Broo. You want to protect them, and I get that; trust me, I'd like to spit in everyone's face who thinks that slicing up sentient beings wins a war. I'm a scientist, after all, not a criminal. But the Broo are here for a reason. And so are we. And we better find a way to understand each other before it's not just a thoughtless comment, and wounded pride. Before the world out there turns ugly, like you promised us."

"I don't know Toph Kirin. I doubt she meant to offend, but that's not my point, really. What I mean is that she didn't know any better. And that the Broo didn't know to understand the words differently, either. If we want this to work out - and we better should - then we'll have to learn what matters, and how to say it the right way. And we won't get there by keeping our distance. We're on the same ship, fighting the same war."

For a moment, she eyes her fork in thought as if the right words to say were engraved on it. Surprisingly, her own mind will have to do. "I'd like to suggest that you find someone who deserves the Broo's trust, and who keeps an eye on them, and us. Someone who can be trusted to calm the waves if things ever get really out of hand. Today, Sheesa quite clearly spoke her mind, and it was more than enough to get the point across, I'd say. Maybe that'll always be enough, but it might be good to have someone in place and with time if it isn't, at some point. Someone who isn't already trying to keep the grand picture from falling apart. And then I'd suggest we find ways to work together as often as we can. It won't always be effective. It won't go smoothly. But it'll be better than to hope that things miraculously work out. We're all people, not just machines following the same code." She eyes the next SAM. "No offense, you're more people than some humans I've met."

Her gaze returns to Piper. "Last time I checked, we were right on track to be where we're meant to be. And the Broo are here - alive, and healthy as far as I can say. Lively, quite in their element. You ask me, that doesn't sound all that lousy. But we need you to remember is that things probably didn't go all smoothly when you first met the Broo, either, or you wouldn't have warned us about lies, and the like. And that they're still here, thanks to Captain Drake, and you. Trust them to call for your protection when it's needed. They know best what offends them, and their grasp of the tongue is good enough to let us know. We're not the military's pseudo-scientists. Just a handful of people on your ship, trying to learn."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Psychie Psychie (Tag!)

Side Scene with Toph and Hitomi

With a sigh of surrender, she says, "I . . . . yes, I like girls, and I find you very attractive. And I am so very sorry if I have made you feel uncomfortable being around me in any way. I don't know what happened earlier, when I said what I did. It just slipped out." She runs her hands through her hair, trying to think about what to say next. "I have kept my feelings secret for so long. Just think of all the hostility I've gotten as part Meltrandi. Just pile on top of that the grief I would have gotten over the years if I ever came out as a gay half-Meltrandi. I guess I just felt . . . safe enough . . . with this bunch of misfits enough to come out."

"I hope you know, I value our friendship more than you might realize, and I will never, ever do anything to jeopardize that. I have long put my feelings for you aside, knowing that you probably don't have the same orientation that I do." Oh, why can't this ever be easy, like it is in the romance novels? "I promise that I won't get all weird with you."

Her eyes finally make their way to look at Hitomi's face, a feeling of dread building up inside her. Please don't hate me.

Hitomi listens intently, never taking her eyes of off Toph. Toph can tell Hitomi understands her every word and wants to understand like few others do. Even as she sits there listening, unable to look anything less than totally beautiful - an artist's dream come alive - Toph sees Hitomi nod in understanding at Toph's secret keeping of her sexuality, and again at Toph's spoken desire not to harm their friendship which comes along with a look of doubtlessness, as if the thought of hate or even dislike hasn't even crossed the older woman's mind. Not that those feelings aren't possible; just that they don't appear to have crossed the sophisticated woman's mind. This much is clear on Hitomi's face.

Then there is the light laughter that follows - a happy sound that combines surprise with a little touch of disbelief when Toph mentions her mind on the Japanese-Polynesian's own sexual leanings. Hitomi smiles, thoughts growing in her vibrant mind, and her shining black hair shaking a bit from side to side as her disbelief grows. Hitomi runs her tongue along her teeth as her eyes briefly wander the ceiling in thought. Then she grins as if she is reliving something very special. The memories make her laugh.

"'Knowing,' my orientation, huh?'" Hitomi giggles in a womanly fashion. "My, my. Which feeling do I express first? Oh, here it is. Toph, right now I can't help wondering what my first girlfriend would be thinking if she were here hearing you right now. Or for that matter... my first boyfriend. Miss Muppet..." Hitomi's laughter grows a touch. "...I am comfortable with who and what I am. If you wanted to know, all you had to do was ask! I'm a big girl."

"Okay, so you find me beautiful. Thank you. I am flattered and I think I understand. Sounds like what you've got is something akin to a crush on me. But... Is it really me you want or some ideal of me you've created? Do you want me for me or are you feeling lonely and you're hungry for intimate company? Because if that's the case, I think you saw with Duskee before we came in here that I'm not one for flings or one night stands." Hitomi smiles easily. "My inner heaven is firmly locked inside my heart and I treasure that which is inside with all that I am.

Hitomi leans and speaks thoughtfully. "Look a little more deeply, Toph. Put your illusions aside. See clearly. If you're just feeling lonely, and if I'm reading the Broo right, it seems to me there are enough female Broo in the Mess Hall willing to go behind closed doors with the likes of us. What is it you're really yearning for?"
 

Dannigan

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

Mario stretches and gives off a happy groan. He gives a happy smile to Sheesa, saying to her, "I must thank you for a very wonderful time, my dear Sheesa, and if you would be interested in doing so, I would enjoy getting to know you better outside the bedroom." He glances at the clock on the wall, and asks, "Shall we rejoin the others, or do you want to enjoy some more quiet time here? Either way, I am thoroughly enjoying my time with you."

Sheesa's eyes continue to literally glow their emerald green luminescence inside her candlelit, incense-filled room-become-lair. There are three light scratch-marks along Mario's pectoral chest muscles and lower back, each a passionate and friendly reminder that Mario will keep for a few days if not longer of his time with Sheesa of the Star Watchers. Sheesa's contented smile and happy face are, at first, Mario's only response. Sheesa is a Broo who expresses herself through action instead of words. Though she has a husky, womanly voice that sounds pleasant to the ears when she decides to use it, those times are rare. However, she makes each word count, wasting not a syllable.

"Here," she indicates her room, "Sheesa yours tonight."

Her expression strongly suggests that she is content with whatever Mario decides. Eventually, that time comes and Sheesa, if Mario is agreeable to it, holds his hand as they reenter the Mess Hall together to the sounds of bustling Broo, chatting in their poor English and their many animated movements. Mario and Sheesa's return is announced not by either of them, but by nearly all of the Broo who let out a wild chorus of welcoming roars and yowls and cheers that resonate through the room.

Faydra and Bong are the first to meet them. The predatorial chieftain of the Star Watchers looks the two of you up and down, finally resting her gaze onto your faces. Sheesa continues to wear the same silently-pleased expression happily wearied by delightful pursuits of mutual desire. "Ahh," Faydra smiles. "Sheesa happy. Mar-ee-yo is happy?"

Before Mario can reply, Bong, from Mario's opposite side lightly slaps Mario's recently-clawed pectoral muscles causing the young man to wince involuntarily. As Bong knows they would, the Broo see this and a great wave of bright laughter rises up among their number. Bong claps Mario on the shoulder and proudly proclaims, "Mar-ee-yo numbah one!" Mario is then surrounded by the happy faces of many a Broo before he and Sheesa finally find themselves at the table with their fellow Wild Cards minus Hercules.

* * *​

"Anyway, it's good that you want to protect your own. But two things I'd suggest you oughta remember, if I may? One, that we're yours too, now. And two -- see that Scrath over there? You prob'ly don't know this, but we Wild Cards decided pretty early on that we'd sooner, um, not report her existence to Eglin Command than see her get dragged into the same sort of 'science' you're worried about with the Broo. An' that's with an alien species that didn't have fellow humans to vouch for her, just her own friendly actions." Elinor does smile now, wryly. "We want to protect our friends, too -- and that means you an' yours, because yours are ours now."

"Maybe a third thing to add to that list." Ylva seeks Piper's attention before she continues. "Captain, there will be mistakes. The Broo have the benefit to know some humans, at least - we can't say the same.

Her gaze returns to Piper. "Last time I checked, we were right on track to be where we're meant to be. And the Broo are here - alive, and healthy as far as I can say. Lively, quite in their element. You ask me, that doesn't sound all that lousy. But we need you to remember is that things probably didn't go all smoothly when you first met the Broo, either, or you wouldn't have warned us about lies, and the like. And that they're still here, thanks to Captain Drake, and you. Trust them to call for your protection when it's needed. They know best what offends them, and their grasp of the tongue is good enough to let us know. We're not the military's pseudo-scientists. Just a handful of people on your ship, trying to learn."

Once Elinor and Ylva have spoken, Professor Stein looks from the ladies to Piper and makes eye contact. He reaches one large, aged hand across the table and touches her younger, smaller hand. Piper responds by reaching her hand into his. They stare at each other for one long moment. They release and Professor Stein rises from the table. "If you ladies will excuse me, the little boy's room is calling," and with a pleasant nod to all three of you, the large bearded fellow leaves the table in the direction of the Head. Piper's eyes follow the fatherly gentleman for a moment, then she props one elbow up on the table, sits her cheek in one hand, and sighs.

This leaves Toph, Ylva, Elinor, Mack, and a nearby Sam to continue this conversation. Seemingly lost in a sky of internal ruminations, Mack has been more quiet than normal as she pushes what remains of her garlic bread through the bits of marinara sauce on her plate. The blue-eyed Californian makes some space as Mario and Sheesa, with her long green and black hair tied into a trio of topknots that smoothly merge into one long length down her tall back, rejoin you.

"Welcome back," Mack says.

Mario gets the feeling he and Sheesa are entering what appears to be a deep conversation involving Piper. Meanwhile, smiling Sheesa glances about the table to each one of you, Toph included. There appears to be no animosity from the savage female scout toward Toph. It is as if Sheesa has put their earlier conversation far behind her.

"Yeah... I hear you. All of you." Piper seems to make a decision as she looks to Elinor and Ylva. When she speaks again, it is softly under the din of the noisy Beasties. Running a hand through her short red hair, Piper's voice carries a sense of fear and exhaustion as she seems to try and expel something from her very being.

"Drake said we could trust most Traversers so... here's another go at it." Piper gulps. "I'm really glad all of you are here. Drake was right about you. I... so totally appreciate your faith in me. I wish I had it in myself, but... there is just so much going on at once. I've never been in charge of the Broadsword before! Drake and Kirin do so well at it, I never thought I would. But..." Piper closes her eyes and grimaces, "...coming here doesn't erase our past. It only strengthens the memories." Piper shudders. "And some of those memories of war are... frankly... kicking my ass.

Piper's teeth clench and not in a good way. "See... for a long time, I keep seeing the Invid in my nightmares. The faces of the ours they've killed. Or taken. I haven't slept right in... well, forever. I've been so damned stressed, even before the Black Binary. We all spent so much of ourselves just... trying to keep each other alive and going. Something in me snapped. I think learning Drake was dead was the kicker. God, it's so hard just even say it!" Piper trembles a little. "I swear, part of me wants to wake up The Commander and just... trade places with her if I could. It's all I can do to hold it together because despite your being here, the Sams, and my Beasties, I still... I still feel alone!" Looking miserable, Piper crosses her arms and kind of hugs herself. "My crew is on ice and I love 'em all, even the ones I can't stand. Nothing against any of you, but... they were there. Sam?"

The nearest Sam unit turns to her.

"Get me Wwarlock, please? I... need my big growly Fuzzy Bear."

Sam shoots her a long thumbs-up. "Like, totally affirmative, Captain. Hang loose, ma'am."

Piper stares at Sam, then at Elinor, then she shakes her head and coughs half a laugh. "Tell you what," Piper smiles a little. "That Captain Hiram Sharp of yours is one starry mountainside of a guy, you know? He's the closest thing to a real battle-hardened commander we have right now, right? He's trying to give me strength. Like my people who are still on ice." Piper looks uneasy for a moment. "I miss them. I need them. Hell, I'd even hug Scary Jerry right now. There's something I never thought I'd hear myself say!

Piper looks each of you in the eye. You notice her eyes are now cracked with redness as she speaks. "Listen. By the time we get your secret squirrel stuff all done with Doctor Yashida, we should be in the position to see Sam's Big Surprise. I... don't know what'll happen to us after that. Just want to say sorry for causing you Wild Cards any crud after you've gone through the trouble of supplying and feeding us real freaking food and all. And thanks a hugeness for joining us. Whatever the rest of Earth is up to, I think between you and my crewmates - wait. You are my crewmates. That's gonna take some getting used to. Well, between everybody, I think we're gonna give De Monsta some serious grief when the time comes!"
 

Silanon

Three Thousand Club
Even with Mario's return, Ylva's mind remains solely focused on Piper. A glance perhaps, a welcoming nod - but there's only so much attention one can spare when confronted with the Captain's words.

"That's the plan, Captain. That's what we're all here for. No one can promise that those nightmares will stop. But maybe one day, you'll wake up from your horrid dreams , take a deep breath and know that it's over." A short pause. "Sorry for bringing up the old memories, this morning. Didn't know... that. Guess we'll all understand you better than we ever wanted before this is over - cheery thought right there, huh?"

She allows herself to brood for just a moment, then pushes away her plate like it contained those dark thoughts. "Doesn't matter though, Captain, we'll see this through. It's what we all signed up for. And if the surprise is only half as exciting as Sam promised, the Invids might be the ones with nightmares for once." If they even dream. Of all the possible moments, this is not the right one to ask.

"Had fun, both of you?" She looks over to Mario and Sheesa, finally, trying to lead the conversation elsewhere - somewhere less dark, preferably, to everyone's benefit. It doesn't quite work out, even for herself. "Missed a bit of talking, and seconds. Thanks for sharing, Piper. For talking. See, all of this ain't perfect. But it'll work out, and if it doesn't, you'll have the right people aboard to change that. Not like you'll have to do all of this on your own, either. Sharp's here. The Professor's here, too. And Wwarlock. Where's he from, actually? It's a 'he', right? Don't tell me I took biology lectures for nothing."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario looks a bit worn out, and somewhat confused by the level of tension in the room. He looks around for a moment, then turns to answer Ylva's question. "Yes, I had a damn good time, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm just hoping that Sheesa enjoyed herself as much as I did!" He gives the Broo woman another squeeze around the waist before claiming an empty seat for himself. "So, what's going on? What did I miss?"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Psychie Psychie (Tag!)

Side Scene with Toph and Hitomi



Hitomi listens intently, never taking her eyes of off Toph. Toph can tell Hitomi understands her every word and wants to understand like few others do. Even as she sits there listening, unable to look anything less than totally beautiful - an artist's dream come alive - Toph sees Hitomi nod in understanding at Toph's secret keeping of her sexuality, and again at Toph's spoken desire not to harm their friendship which comes along with a look of doubtlessness, as if the thought of hate or even dislike hasn't even crossed the older woman's mind. Not that those feelings aren't possible; just that they don't appear to have crossed the sophisticated woman's mind. This much is clear on Hitomi's face.

Then there is the light laughter that follows - a happy sound that combines surprise with a little touch of disbelief when Toph mentions her mind on the Japanese-Polynesian's own sexual leanings. Hitomi smiles, thoughts growing in her vibrant mind, and her shining black hair shaking a bit from side to side as her disbelief grows. Hitomi runs her tongue along her teeth as her eyes briefly wander the ceiling in thought. Then she grins as if she is reliving something very special. The memories make her laugh.

"'Knowing,' my orientation, huh?'" Hitomi giggles in a womanly fashion. "My, my. Which feeling do I express first? Oh, here it is. Toph, right now I can't help wondering what my first girlfriend would be thinking if she were here hearing you right now. Or for that matter... my first boyfriend. Miss Muppet..." Hitomi's laughter grows a touch. "...I am comfortable with who and what I am. If you wanted to know, all you had to do was ask! I'm a big girl."

"Okay, so you find me beautiful. Thank you. I am flattered and I think I understand. Sounds like what you've got is something akin to a crush on me. But... Is it really me you want or some ideal of me you've created? Do you want me for me or are you feeling lonely and you're hungry for intimate company? Because if that's the case, I think you saw with Duskee before we came in here that I'm not one for flings or one night stands." Hitomi smiles easily. "My inner heaven is firmly locked inside my heart and I treasure that which is inside with all that I am.

Hitomi leans and speaks thoughtfully. "Look a little more deeply, Toph. Put your illusions aside. See clearly. If you're just feeling lonely, and if I'm reading the Broo right, it seems to me there are enough female Broo in the Mess Hall willing to go behind closed doors with the likes of us. What is it you're really yearning for?"
Toph can feel her emotions boiling inside of her as Hitomi talks, and she continues to struggle with the urge to just bolt from the room but manages to stay put in her seat. She looks over at the other woman and gives her a wry smile. "What does any of us want? To be truly loved by someone special. I've spent enough time around you to see that you are one of those rare people that I wish to get to know in a more personal and intimate way. I've only caught only brief glimpses of your true self, and I would like to get closer to you. Perhaps once I do, I will see some personality quirk that puts me off of being in a relationship with you, or vice versa. But just maybe, we will discover a true connection between one another. That is what I'm truly looking for."
 
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