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Lights Out

Posted on Sun Jan 5th, 2020 @ 11:35pm by Captain Clayton Stanton & Tobias Sinclair & Katerina Kutsarova & Ayla Seton & Cassian Grimshaw & Maximilian Wells & Dr. Moira Dun & Millicent VaBrey

Mission: Mission 1: Gearing Up

Tobias swore again, then froze, as he heard footsteps on the catwalk above his head. He pressed himself against the back of a container of rations, praying that no one heard him...

After a minute, he sighed, letting the pent up tension leave his body. His work was even more vital now. He made his way through the hold, creeping along on the balls of his feet, to once of his bags. Reaching in, and shuffling around for a few moments, he retrieved a small black device, pulling it out of the bag. Checking the screen, he smiled, relief washing over him. After manipulating it for a moment, he tapped a button on the screen, looking around expectantly. It was at that moment that the lights went out.



Clayton stood in the center of his quarters, shocked to the core. The message he had received was shocking, cut him like a knife. How...how did they know? How could they possibly know? Any of it?

And just as he began pondering this, the lights, and everything else, shut down. "What now?", Clayton yelled out into the aether.

--- Passenger Area ---

Max was in the middle of reassembling a light fixture he'd found flickering and, part out of boredom, part wanting to be useful, had decided to fix when all the lights on the ship flicked out. Sitting on the deck cross-legged, he felt the comforting thrum of the engines slow to nothing.

His first reaction was fear, in the total darkness of a metal box floating in space with no natural light, panic welled up and he fought the instinct to crawl for the safety of the small space under his bunk, but he needed some kind of light to find his way.

Light... he remembered seeing an emergency flashlight mounted on the wall not far from where he had been sitting. He stood clumsily, fumbled in the dark until he found the bulkhead and then ran his hand along its surface until he found what he was looking for. A quick yank freed the flashlight from the wall and it turned on automatically, casting a sickly light down the hallway.

The light calmed him, a little, enough to abandon the idea of scurrying for his bunk, anyway and he remembered, belatedly, that he wasn't alone. "M... Moira? You here?"

Max shone the light on Moira's bunk, seeing only a book on her pillow but no sign of the woman herself. For a moment, he stood rooted, indecision about what to do sticking him to the spot, but then the thought occurred to him that being on a dark, dead ship on the drift in the middle of space was a quick, sure way to get turned into a human popsicle and the decision made itself - engine room.

Flashlight in hand, he set off in the direction he remembered the engine room being, hoping he'd come across someone else along the way.


---Common area/Kitchen---

"It's lovely." Moira's statement echoed back to land on her ears as Ayla paused beside the other woman. There wasn't that much to see, and she hadn't spent much time it the kitchen as of yet. She'd rather let her other abilities be known and relied upon before tossing out her past and the fact she could cook a decent meal. But she guessed it could be considered lovely, for one looking on it with fresh eyes. Or someone that hadn't spend at much time a-board a ship.

"Well," The single word was as far as she got as suddenly everything just stopped. The lights went out, not even flickering, bringing up the dim emergency lights. It was strange and eerie the way the silence seemed to cut through and just be, settling around them. Whatever had just happened wasn't good. There was no way silence like this was good. "Go shi"

Ayla blinked, her hand immediately reaching for and not finding her pistol that was usually holster right there on her hip. Well, that was new. How had she been so complacent already to leave the thing back in her quarters? "Go shi" she only repeated, semi thankful that she at least had her knife tucked away in her boot.

There was something unsettling about the quiet to Moira - but something oddly comforting about it well. The silence reminded her more of her home on the farm than a ship. She hated how used she had grown to the steady hum of a ship.

Moira might not be a fighter or a mechanic, but she wasn't an idiot. She noticed Ayla reaching towards a gun... spending so much time with the military and she knew that motion well, even if she didn't carry one herself. She guessed that fit with Ayla's story about being security - but then again, had Moira ever doubted her? She herself only tensed up slightly, breathing a short, startled breath.

"Oh," she muttered, silently calculating in her head how long they might live life-support. If the lights were off, was that off too? This was a dangerous situation. Then she broke into a laugh, mostly at the irony of it all but tinged with a bit of nervousness. "Well, this is exciting." She offered, half-heartedly. After all, there wasn't much she could do. The mechanic would get to work on this and fix it, whatever the problem was. After all, it was his life at stake here too. So there was nothing for Moira to do but continue on, and her worrying wouldn't help nobody, much less her.

Her dark head lulled sideways as Ayla tried to listen for something...anything, but there was nothing. She rolled her bottom lip, biting it briefly before quickly settling on a small plan. At least until Moira decided to burst into a fit of giggles. Though she was right, in a way. Not that Ayla would think it exciting. Maybe interesting. She shook her head, a smirk creeping onto her mouth, "Guess that'd be one way of a-lookin' at it." What a strange little bird this woman was.

Ayla cast one last glance about, find the captain or take a jaunt to the engine room? Should she stop and get her gun? There didn't seem to be a reason to be needing it, but if she ran into the captain would he be expecting her to have it on her person on board? But first there was the matter of the passenger that was standing with her. "Gotta get you back to your room."

"Yes!" Moira said cheerfully, after a moment of staring at the kitchen in the dim emergency lighting. It brought back old memories, memories which she never would have pictured herself feeling nostalgic about, of sneaking into her parents' kitchen in the wee hours of the morning to steal a few extra snacks. There was something exhilarating about that, yet Moira rarely felt any true excitement any more, especially not for breaking the rules. What had changed?

"We should get me back. Wouldn't want me hurting myself or anything, after all. It might be a legal liability if I were to trip and fall in this poor lighting." In hindsight that was probably not the first observation Moira should have made, but she just shrugged off any of the awkwardness surrounding it. Besides, she did want to be back in her room. A tour wasn't useful when she could hardly see anything. With a casual smile, the woman turned around, placing her hand on the wall as she started back down the stairs.

"Right." It should be simple enough. Get the passenger down two levels and basically across the ship without either of them tripping, falling, or getting hurt. A phantom pain tinged in her side as she recalled the healing bruise. It was something Ayla certainly didn't want to re-injure. She hadn't expected Moira to sound so cheerful about the prospect of returning to her room, but then again, the woman was a bit strange.

"In that case, maybe you should plant your shiny ass over there in a chair and wait, instead." But Moira was already starting down the metal stairs. Ayla rolled blue eyes before following cautiously along. Who was she to stop someone from doing something? Oh, right...maybe that was what she was supposed to. Her job. But getting Moira back safely meant she could hunt up the Captain and see what was gorram going on.

Moira giggled just a bit at Ayla's comment. She might not be the most graceful person but she was far from clumsy. Still, the thought of being planted in a chair so she didn't hurt herself, just like a little kid, was more or less amusing. Still - at least she didn't trip. Instead she slid one hand along the wall as she descended the stairs, balancing herself.

"So - does this happen often?" The woman asked, pausing at the bottom of the stairs. At this point, she figured it might be best if Ayla were to lead the way. As good as her memory was, it was dark and she didn't want the embarrassment of walking the wrong direction.
Okay. She wasn't used to being giggled at and yet the strange, curious bird that was named Moira had just giggle at her. Having people roll their eyes, or smart off with some comment, sure. But giggling...no. Ayla wasn't sure whether to be appalled or not. Instead she just shook her head. Truth was, she had been on the ship the same length of time that Moira had, but being crew, she had been able to explore, learn her way around.

Ayla tossed a sideways glance at Moira as she passed her on the stairs. As long as the woman didn't need to her hold her gorram hand. "Wouldn't know." Her dark head tilted as she paused to listen, her forehead wrinkling in concentration, "Did you hear something?" Except she didn't wait for an answer before leading them over towards the crew rooms. "Been here as long as you." She stopped at her bunk, pushing and pulling at the door, trying to get it to budge even just enough for her to shimmy through. Except, the only thing she succeeding in doing was hurting her hand and aggravating the bruise on her side.

Turning she leaned back, resting against the unmoving door, "Guess that was a stupid idea. Ayla pushed away, her hand lifting to gently touch her side before pointing towards another set of stairs, "Let's go."

"Oh," Moira said. It was just a short word, nothing much could be interpreted from it, other than maybe a bit of surprise. The fact that Ayla had not been here for very long was not reassuring. Was this... was this even a sound spacecraft? The woman watched (as well as she could, in this lighting) as Ayla tried to open the door, keeping silent. She thought about how much time they had spent, and did a small mental subtraction from her earlier calculations. But everything would be okay, she told herself, as it always had been in the past.

Except once. Moira tensed just a little bit at the memory, but tried to play it off as thinking somebody was behind her, glancing over her shoulder. Then again - maybe somebody was behind her. After all - where was the captain? Or that mechanic Boney? Or that girl Kat, that Ayla had mentioned... was that pilot still on board? What about that boy that she shared a passenger dorm with? The fact that Moira was on a ship small enough to name all its occupants suddenly made her feel like a very small person on a very small ship out in the middle of a vast, vast, expanse of nothingness. She frowned.

But still she followed Ayla, now without another word.

She moved a bit slower this time around, taking the metal steps more cautiously as not to jostled her torso too much. The bruise itself was healing nicely and more than likely as it should, but the area was still on the tender side. But what did one expected when some gorram idiot jammed a door knob into her side. Normally, Ayla wasn't one to hold a grudge, but certain things just seemed to be grudge worthy, like what Ace had done. There was no denying that she had been a mite pleased to find out the captain had given him a what for and booted him from the ship. Gave the man a notch on the belt of respect, until it had crashed right back down...regarding that piece of ivory.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, Ayla nearly missed the last rung, her booted foot sliding and clamoring loudly against the sheer quite of the ship. It was eerie; both the odd sound and the fact that there were no other sounds. Her hand clung a little longer to the railing, grasping until she released it, muttering a quick expletive under her breath.

The silence caught Moira's attention. She must have have been thinking about the same thing as Ayla, as she found herself caught in a sort of startled trance at the sudden noise. The cruiser had been quieter than this ship - at least, the medical bay had been, Moira had not been near the engines - which made the silence all the stranger.

"I haven't heard silence like this since back on the farm..." Moira thought out loud. It was true. She had forgotten how much she loved the lack of noise, loved hearing her own thoughts. College had been loud, in the cheap, shared dorms. Medical school had hardly given her time to appreciate what little silence there was, working night shifts in a busy hospital. Then the cruiser... then she had been stuck on core planets and transports since then. Even her short visit back to her homeworld had proved loud, for the farm she had meant to visit was paved over and full of the whirring sound of engines. This silence was as close to her home as Moira had been in a while, so she made little attempts to break it, instead following Ayla with a new intensity to her quietness.


--- Deck 2 ---

Max had made his way down the passenger corridor with the disassembled emergency light (great timing, Max.) up the stairs on to deck two, where he was able to flick off the torch, the emergency lighting provided enough for him to see where he was doing and he didn't like the feeling of drawing attention to himself with a great stinking light. The boy knew the engineering space was located. It stood to reason that it was at the back of the ship, so he began heading that way.

A torch illuminated Max's face from further down the corridor, seemingly originating from his intended destination. However, the source of that particular source of light was far from ideal; it was attached to a pistol. The weapon, massive even in Clayton's large hands, had an intimidating look to it, small chrome accents reflecting the red emergency lights coming from the engine room.

His voice, even through the expanse of the hallway, was booming and gravelly. "A mite bit suspicious, you walking around just as the power goes out. Cargo hold, now. 'Less you want a bullet to the brainpan, that is." To emphasize his point, he cocked the hammer of the weapon, switching it from double action to single.

Max hesitated a moment, dithering between explaining himself and simply acquiescing. The sound of the gun cocking was enough to make the decision easy. "Yes captain," he said quietly, raising his hands and turning to walk towards the cargo bay. "If it helps, I was goin' to see if'n I could help, didn't feel like sittin' around on my bunk waitin' to freeze to death." He explained over his shoulder, feeling the weight of the gun somewhere behind him. "Sorry."

With not so much as a creak of the deck plating, Clayton moved forward, weapon still trained. His voice, far closer this time, replied rather simply. "Keep. Moving." He kept his distance, allowing the boy to descend the stairs into the cargo hold. Once Max had reached the bottom level, Clayton cut to his left, standing on the balcony above, weapon in a lowered, but ready position. "Stand along the back. By the airlock."

Ayla missed whatever Moira said, the woman's words dying in the air between them as the other voice trickled down to reach her. The other voice that was the captain's. She and Moira were on the other side of the hold, her blue gaze darting up towards his voice. "Cap'n?" the note of uncertainly evident in her question. Was he talking to them? How did he even know they were there? And the more important of the questions - What did he know about this whole silent ship?

Moira glanced back when Ayla spoke. She hadn't heard the Captain speak, so lost in her own thoughts, but she had most definitely heard Ayla's response. The woman turned around and tried to follow Ayla's gaze, but in the dim light she couldn't make out whether the captain was there - or who else he might be with. What if the whole crew had come for them? What if Moira got in trouble for not staying in the passenger dorm? Then again, they couldn't really do anything, since she had been escorted. Right? Moira was always an obedient person - a perfect student, an easy child and an officer with no footnotes in her record - and so it felt strange, chilling even, to have such worries on her mind.

Max descended the stairs silently, his mind had started putting two-and-two together on the walk and now it was racing. There was a good chance that the captain was Feng Le and was going to space all of them out the airlock, or imprison them, or shoot them all, or worse, what he really feared, sell them. The boy knew he wouldn't be a slave, he had taken a vow to never again let that happen, death was better than that and that conviction gave him a little comfort.

He looked at Moira and Ayla as he walked towards where the madman with the gun had directed, along the back bulkhead next to the airlock, wondering if those two were in on whatever was going on, or if they were equally Wong Dahn.


Deck 2 == Forward Lounge


When the power got cut, Cassian did not immediately notice. The lights were off in the forward lounge he'd begun regularly using for his devotional prayer time. It wasn't until the seeping cold began to bite into his flesh that he noted the absence of the ubiquitous vibrational hum of the ship's engine. Fear bit into him at the realization. They were adrift.

Being a man of faith from humble means, he didn't know what to make of that exactly. He dry-swallowed a surge of panic, dragging the lump in his throat back down to a manageable pit in his stomach. They would be okay. Whatever went from could be made right. He just had to keep faith.

"CASSIAN!!!"

Boney's voice rang out through the entire deck. Despite the fretful tone, it was still slightly comforting to hear his voice. The short time of travel almost felt like old times.

"I can't see a gāisǐ de thing in this dark! HELP ME, GORRAM IT!"

Almost. The desperate plea from his evil twin made Cassian chuckle, which helped mollify the anxiety of the situation even more.

"Stay put, Boney," Cassian said, edging his way out the door and along the corridor. "I'm coming to you."

"Shiny," came the grousing reply from somewhere ahead.

Cassian allowed himself a chuckle. "Don't worry, brother. I'll rescue you from the dark and--"

"Don't. Don't you say it." Boney's tantrum turned from scared to petulant. "I don't wanna' hear no homilies or allegories or damn parables of lost sheep and prodigal sons. All I want is someone less turned around than me to help me find the engine room and get the lights back on before we're totally humped OU-AAAAHHHH!!!"

The ranting led Cassian right to him without much difficulty. It had lent him an almost echolocative sense. When Boney said "humped," Cassian tapped him on the shoulder, which was a less than gracious gesture in the pitch black.

"Relax," Cassian said. "It's just me."

"That weren't funny, Cassian!" Boney grabbed his brother by the shoulders with both hands. "Now don't you run off. Like I was sayin', I need you to help me get to the engine room or we're--"

The tactical flashlight affixed to Clayton's firearm shone in both their faces, temporarily blinding them in their acclimation to the dark.

"--humped."


Kat's Shuttle


Kat had been sitting on her couch with a very heavy tome on her lap when the lights went out. One second, she was skimming the tiny words on the pages, and the next she was sitting in pitch blackness. Immediately, she felt fear well up inside her. What was happening?

After several seconds, she heard a more local sound begin to work as the shuttle's own power systems began to boot up. When the light's were back on, Kat retreated from her couch haven and stood up. She walked over to the door she used as her main entrance and pressed a key to open it. Her door opened all the way, but the matching door from the Geronimo only came half open before its power was depleted. Beyond it was an intense and foreboding darkness so thick she could make out no details.

"What the hell is going on?" She asked to herself as she stood before the door. She wasn't sure what had gone wrong or whether she should go and try to find out. She had light and heat where she was, but she was also isolated.

Reasoning that she should try and find out where everyone else was, she slipped on some flats which matched her lacey green dress and slid past the half open door into the darkness, sealing the shuttle behind her.


Cargo Hold


Clayton, whose inner worry clawed at him more second by second, lowered the weapon into a ready position, and called out to everyone assembled. "I don't know what in the gorram hell is going on here, but until we get it sorted, everyone by the airlock, hands where I can see them."

He called out to Ayla. "Ayla! We're a few short. Round them up, will you?"

It didn't bode well for them if the captain didn't know what was going on. Ayla slid a sidelong glance towards Moira, nodding towards the airlock with a single nod of her head. She knew the other woman had no part in whatever this was, cause she'd been given her a tour of the ship when the ship had stopped.

The situation also didn't bode well for herself since she herself was sans gun and he thought this blackout warranted one. She almost gave another quick nod, but decided against it, "Aye, Cap'n." It wasn't as if she wasn't armed. The knife was still tucked away nice and pretty like in her boot.

Turning, she headed towards the directions she was headed to begin with, the passenger area. Ayla gave the door a quick knock before shifting over to the other and doing the same. She couldn't right recall which was in which, or if they were both in the same cabin, the rude man and the lady with the pretty lavender dress.

The ship was so eerily quiet that even with the faint murmurs coming from the cargo hold, she could hear no response to her inquiring knock. It was definitely concerning as she reached for the door again, only this time she pushed to see if it would open or if it, like her own quarters, was locked. She was going back to report to the captain until she either knew the occupancy of the rooms, or if she was going back with bad news.

Each door was unlocked, their occupants elsewhere on the ship. Instead, each room seems to have been tossed, its contents scattered across the floor. Someone had been looking for something.

Ayla found the door unlocked, strangely enough the room also looked a complete and utter mess. Like someone had been searching relentlessly for something and come up empty. While odd, it became even more confusing when she found the second room in the same condition. Although she wasn’t the smartest, Ayla also knew a few things around the verse. She hadn’t spent the last ten years being the same naive little girl she was when she ran away and even she knew something was strange with this whole situation.

First the ship had gone dark, floating dead in the black. And now they passenger dorms looked like they’d been tossed in search of something.

Shutting the door firmly behind herself, Ayla gave the area one last glance over her shoulder before walking back into the cargo hold.


"Oh, uh," Moira hesitated. "Okay." She was no stranger to following orders - she had spent years in the military after all. And now didn't seem like the best time to practice her new-and-improved clumsy version of herself, so with a surprisingly calm and practiced grace she walked over to the airlock, lifting her hands in the air. She looked back in the dim lit room, watching Ayla leave. After all, that woman was the closest thing Moira had to a friend on this ship.

Only then did it she turn to the captain. "Having some technical problems, eh?" she asked, with a lighthearted, joking tone. She didn't entirely feel that tone though - this wasn't a normal reaction for this situation, it seemed. The captain was suspicious - and glancing at the gun, he was violently so. Maybe he was just paranoid, that wouldn't surprise Moira, or maybe there was something she didn't know that was leading to that suspicion. It wasn't her, right?

Clayton scoffed. "That's putting it lightly. Someone's attempted to sabotage the ship. And I'm going to find out who."

Max's expression went flat as a coil of fear wrapped around his gut. It was his experience that in a situation where someone was going to take the blame, it was usually the homeless street rat that got it. He looked to the left and right at the others lined up in the cargo bay, wondering what bastard had shit in the chicken coop and fucked everyone aboard, and why.

"Wasn't me!" Boney blurted out, for which he earned a smack to the back of his head from Cassian. "What?! It wasn't..."

"Just... keep quiet," Cassian said, half pleading.

It was at that moment that the assembled group heard a rustling from inside one of the wall panels, off to their right.

"Wo-tsoa! The hell?" Max spun and stepped back all in one motion, one hand reaching for a shiv that wasn't there all on it's own accord, the other pointing at the vent.

There were several moments of silence, and then the rustling happened again, seemingly quieter and more cautious then before.

Solo, Ayla strolled back into the cargo hold, her confused blue gaze lighting on those gathered before shifting her gaze upwards towards the captain. She disliked coming back empty handed, and that things were looking right strange. Strange that two of the passengers were missing. Strange that the captain was acting funnily.

“Weren’t there. Rooms’ve been tossed though.”

Moira glanced at Ayla when the woman returned. It was a confused, questioning glance - so far Ayla had been the closest thing to a friend that she had on this ship. "Who wasn't there?" Moira asked, ignoring the rustling sound in the walls... That didn't seem the concern of a random of a random passenger, right?

With a light shrug Ayla's eyes returned to the two present passengers, skipping over the Shepard and his twin. "The other two. The man and the red-head lady."

Max glanced sideways at the women speaking, wondering if he was the only one who had noticed the weird sounds coming from the vent. "There's something," he pointed again towards the vent, "in there!"

Blue eyes narrowed on the young man. Just what in the tomfoolery was he prattling on about? Her drifted past him to the vent and back, "Did you go and bump your head in the dark, or somethin'?"

"I'm tellin' ya, Jieh-jieh" [Big Sister] Max replied, arm still extended pointing towards the vent, "there's somethin' in there, I heard it clear as day, or I'm a Feh-Feh Kai Tze" [Baboon's Male Prostitute].

"I.. I think I heard it too," Moira admitted quietly, slightly embarrassed at not having said something immediately, her gaze on the floor instead on the other two folk. "I just thought it was my imagination, but if he's seeing too... well, that would be quite the imagination, then."

Well, that just didn’t make a lick of sense. Something in the vent? Ayla didn’t know the kid that much, and as odd of a bird as Moira was, she didn’t right think that the other woman was crazy enough to have that sort of imagination.

“Yeah?” She took another look around at the small gathering before tossing a quick glance back up at the captain. This was obviously falling to her. Ayla let out a tired sigh and crossed the space over to the side of the ship and the vent, “Here?”

"Yeah, up in there." Max nodded, finally letting his arm drop and giving Moira a glance, hoping to convey his gratitude at her backing up his story. It was hard, he had learned, for people to trust him.

Moira just shrugged, barely perceptible, at Max's glance, as if saying Well, what else could I do? The action was a bit unlike her previous, slightly naive demeanor before - more controlled, more subtle. The stress was getting to her, in the end. She knew enough about the human body and about ships to realize that the fact that the power wasn't back yet was not a good fact. Out of all the ways she had planned to die, this was definitely not one of them. "Yeah, up there," Moira said in agreement, and she found herself wondering if Ayla were armed. Why? Was she paranoid? Did she think something... dangerous?... was in there?

With one last glance around at everyone, Ayla leaned in gently ran a hand along the cool metal. It has hard to tell much of anything. So she did something stupid, she pressed her ear against it and felt completely like an idiot.

From inside the panel, she heard a bump, and a faint sound of swearing.

"Ai ya!" Ayla jumped back from the vent, obviously startled. She hadnt truly believed that there had indeed been sounds coming from inside. Blue eyes darted up towards the Captain, "They weren't lying. Get me somethin' to get this open."

Clayton nodded to the crate next to her, an open box with tools inside. "Should be a tool in there."


Crouching down, and reaching a hand out to the crate to balance herself, Ayla dug around briefly before her hand metal and wrapped around whatever the object was. Didn’t really matter as long as it would get the job done. But once she pulled it free, and held it up in the emergency lighting, a strange twinkle sparked in her eyes...not that anyone would be able to actually tell. Tool in hand, she pushed upwards, rearranged her grip and then gave a few good taps on the vent. She had a feeling it would echo a helleva lot louder in that space than it would out here in the hold.


"Alright, alright, I'm coming out!" Exclaimed the voice from inside the panel. Slowly but surely, the man climbed out, hands in the air. Tobias emerged from the inner workings of the ship, defiant and cautious.

"What in the gorram hell do you think you're doing," Clayton exclaimed.

Tobias simply shook his head. "Do you know what you're carrying here, Captain? What it's worth? What you're worth?"

Moira quickly lifted her hand to her mouth in a surprisingly feminine display of shock. Who was this? One of the other passengers, right? He seemed too confident to have just been found... he must have another card up his sleeve. He must know what was going on. And what was this banter about worth? Moira's thoughts immediately flashed to the thousands of credit worth of medicine she had stashed in her bags. Was it possibly about that? But no... there were easier ways to steal that than this mess, and he mentioned something about the captain as well. There was a bit of relief about the fact that she was just an innocent bystander in all this, but that didn't change the fact that she was afraid she might die.

Blue eyes blinked once, then twice as she regarded the man as he emerged from the vent. She had taken a few steps backwards as he’d declared he was coming out from his hiding spot. But why was he hiding? Suddenly, for the first real time since in a good long gorram while, Ayla felt naked without her sidearm. The tool was still gripped tightly in her hand, and thankfully the knife was still tucked away safely inside her boot.

Ayla narrowed her gaze at Tobias. This still didn’t explain where the red haired lady was...or what he was getting at with the Captain. ...Unless he meant the tile, that ivory tile she’d been instructed to hand over. Yet, that didn’t explain the last question.

“Cap’n?”

Max felt both vindicated that he'd been proven not to be a liar and worried. What was the captain carrying that was worth so much? A dozen ideas ran through his young head, from gold to some secret magical girl like he'd heard about in that Miranda story... was the captain a pirate? Or something else? Next was the guy himself, he focused his attention on Tobias, recognizing him easily as one of the other passengers that had come aboard, with... There had been two, he remembered. A man and a woman.
"Uh... where's the other one? That peow-liang de shaojie [Pretty lady] he came aboard with?" He asked the room at large, eyes darting back up to the vent.

"Right here," the red haired woman replied, pistol in hand. The muzzle pointed right at Clayton's head, as she emerged from the left side of the catwalk. "Oh, Tobias darling? Looks like you were a little too late." She smiled, using her free hand to reach into a pocket, extract a small cube, and shake it in his direction.

Tobias shook his head. "Do you know what you're doing, Millie? What would happen if that got into the Alliance's hands? Or some privateer?"

She smiled a devilish smile. "I know exactly what I can do with this, Tobias. And don't you worry, I'm going to make sure-"

It was at this moment that the captain made his move, while Millie appeared to be monologuing. He crouched, ensuring her pistol wasn't pointed directly at his head anymore. He then raised his own, firing one shot dead center mass. The woman dropped rapidly, the discharge of the gun ringing throughout the deck of the ship.

In a fluid motion, Clayton moved toward her, kicking the pistol out of her hand, and covering her with his pistol.

He was now in survival mode, and his orders came at a rapid pace.

"Ayla, cover him and search him! Kid, you want to prove you're a mechanic? Get my ship working. And you," he said, pointing at Moira, "give me a hand with this one."


It all happened quite fast. No sooner than the kid asked about the other missing passenger, she seemed to come from out of nowhere, gun aimed directly at the captain. Of all the time to be without her own sidearm, this was obviously not it. Hopefully, the captain wouldn’t be raking her over the coals for being so neglectful. But she did have the dagger still, and whatever tool this was. Either would probably do a bit of damage if given the chance. It was rather hard to tell from where she was and the lighting, just what the red haired lady was holding up, but if Ayla didn’t know better she would swear on all that kept her sane, that it was a certain piece of ivory.

Ayla took the distraction, bending slightly to slide the knife free of its sheath. She doubted anyone else on board knew she even carried it there, at least they hadn’t until now and slid up behind Tobias making sure the pointy end of her dagger met a bit of skin. With neither one of her hands free she tucked the tool into the back of her waistband and starting giving the hun dan a quick pat down. “Moira, get me the Hu Li Jing’s gun, will ya?”

Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly considering, a subtle calm washed over Ayla as her fingers brushed against what felt like cold tile. “Huh.” Clayton hadn’t wanted to tell her anything about the tile the Benefactor had given her to give to him, yet here she was pulling an identical one from Tobias’s pocket. “That’s jus’ interestin’ ain’t it?”

"Me?" Moira asked, surprised. "What kind of help you want from me?" She hadn't expected herself to be so quickly drawn into this. What kind of help did the captain expect from her... did he know about her job? Well, either way, Moira - at least the old, mistrustful Moira, the one who was coming to the surface at a time like this - wasn't sure what to think about the captain. After all, hadn't these two been passengers just like her? But she knew Ayla well enough to like her, so the petite doctor darted over towards where the woman's gun had been kicked (her lack of hesitation a bit surprising, honestly, for anybody who didn't know how used she was to stressful surgeries). She grabbed it, clicked the safety on, and handed it towards Ayla.

Moira was confused about her opinions on the crew, and the recent events only served to exacerbate that, but right then by handing over that gun she found herself silently deciding her loyalty towards Ayla, and casting an uncertain glance towards the captain.

Max didn't need a second invitation, almost before the captain had stopped speaking he was off and running towards the engine room.

After a moment, Moira turned her attention back towards the woman. She immediately knelt down to find to wound, to try to stop the bleeding. "I know there's an infirmary here... we need to get her there-" the woman said, her voice sounding more pleading than anything. Would this rough crew even want her alive? But Moira couldn't just not help - and she also couldn't get her there herself. She might be strong for her size, but what she really needed was a stretcher or something.

Clayton stared back at her, giving her enough space to work. Apparently, his passenger fancied herself a bit of a doctor. He supposed that it would be better to keep the saboteur alive for the moment. After Moira's comment, he simply nodded. "Fine. Let's get her moved."

He looked down to Ayla. "Anything of interest?"

"Looks like I've missed all the fun.." Kat said as she emerged from the darkness.

Huh. Ayla thought, once again as the Companion's voice drifted over, just a little bit of odd timing. If Kat hadn't of helped her out of a terrible situation back on Albion, Ayla might've had an inclination to be thinking she had a hand in whatever this mess was as well.

"Maybe." Ayla said, answering the captain's question as she palmed the white tile.

Clayton, adrenaline coursing through his veins, wasn't one for subtlety. "Whatever. Get him locked up. And see that our Companion friend makes her way back to somewhere secure."

Pocking the second tile, Ayla gave a quick nod of her head. She might be one to follow her captain's orders almost blindly, but the small piece of white ivory was a different story. A story she wanted considering all this and his own reaction to the one she'd passed along. She gave Tobias a quick, polite tap with the tip of her knife, "If'n ya move, he might jus' shoot ya." The small threat preceding a crouch down to rummage around the small crate of tools, a grin etching across her face as her hand stumbled upon a length of rope.

Tobias, now shoe-less, was tied to the bottom of the stairs. Once the ship was working, she'd see if the captain wanted him locked in a room or if this was just perfect. Turning, Ayla's blue gaze searched out Kat, "Shuttle?"

"That's just where I've come from." Kat said, walking toward her. "I'd sooner follow you if you don't mind."

"Yeah. Sure." Ayla gave one last check to the knotted rope holding Tobias and led the way back towards the Companion's shuttle.

 

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