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Episode 1: Bait and Switch - Part 1
Topic Started: Dec 4 2016, 01:49 AM (2,949 Views)
Chicago 2
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Chicago 2 is about to make her maiden voyage. They were picking up five passengers for a private cruise from Londinium to Pacquin. It consisted of an extended Game, along with providing the guests with some entertainment, good food and sumptuous accommodations. Buy-in for this little soiree is a cool 40,000 credits each, or $1,000,000 ETW cash value. One thing that was nice, was that Chicago was taking a 7.5% flat fee percentage of the buy-in as payment. The casino would net 5% of the fee, which was 8,000 credits (or $200,00) and the crew took another 2.5%, which was 4,000 credits (or $10,000). There were 11 crew members who would each net about 364 credits each (or $9090). Not bad for a few days work.

But not everything was starting the way the owners of the Chicago thought they would be...
Edited by abbey, Dec 4 2016, 02:04 AM.
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Atarah Kobain
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Atarah stood at the doors of the cargo bay waiting to greet their guests as they came aboard. As she did, she had a somewhat saddened expression on her face. This was not how she and Richard planned on this part of their life starting. She knew something was up on that day of initial interviews. He had been pre-occupied and absent. He had blamed it on the contractors, but they were nearly finished; only minor touch ups had been needed. Atarah knew something was amiss and it was confirmed when she came back from the market. She would remember it quite vividly for a good long time.

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She looked up as she neared the ship and Richard was waiting for her, his duffle sitting on the floor behind him. Her gait slowed as her heart leapt to her throat.

Something was wrong.

She steeled herself and walked up to him, ready for his explanation.

"We need to talk."

She raised her eyebrows at that one.

"I kinda figured that out on my own, Richie."

He reached out and took her hand. She gave it to him and he quickly pulled her back into the ship to the room nearby with her wardrobe storage in it.

"I have to go..." he said huskily as he pressed her against the wall, his face a hair's breadth from hers. "We got a good lead on Tony."

Tony. Richard's brother that had disappeared into thin air during the crash of the original Chicago. Richard never believed him to be dead and had feelers out there as far as he could reach, looking for any sign of him. The only thing that hindered a decent search was the fact that Tony used Chicago 1 as a base of operations for his spy work and so would be laying very low. That spy work was what got them boarded and sabotaged. It was Tony's fault that the original Chicago crashed, very nearly killing Richard and Atarah.

But Richard loved his brother and would do anything to get him back.

"So you're going to head out there?"she said as she nodded her head a bit. It wasn't really a question, it was a statement on the fact she knew he was going to. "Will you be careful? And wave me when you can?"

He nodded as he pressed his lips against her neck.

"I promise that I'll be careful..."

Her hands moved to rest on his hips.

"But you can't wave me because it's dangerous."

She felt him nod again as he kissed up her neck.

"Tony runs with some not-so-nice people. I don't want them tracing anything back to you."

She understood. She really did, but it didn't make her happy.

"I know that isn't the most romantic way to part ways for a bit," he whispered as his fingers started peeling away her clothes. "But I need to remember every bit of you..."

And he "remembered" her as long as he could.

Afterwards, she walked him back to the ramp and watched him begin to walk off. He turned about 50 feet away from the ship and held up a copy of her pictorial in Play 'Verse magazine.

"You won't be far from me!" he yelled back with a grin.

She couldn't help but chuckle.

And pray that he'd be OK.

Then he was just gone.


So now she was the sole proprietor on the ship. Noah had taken over a good chunk of Richard's entertainment responsibilities. He was doing a good job, although it wasn't the same as her Richie. Richard did make sure that someone he knew was there for security. Atarah's safety was a high concern for him. She didn't quite know where Richard knew Macabee Cricket, but he wouldn't trust her well being to just anyone.

They got a couple of acts, a food service team of a chef and bartender (who happened to be a performer as well), a supply chief, a doctor and a pilot. The crew filled out nicely.

So all they had to do now was prep the ship and wait for their guests.

Atarah is wearing this:
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OOC: Open posting is now available. Feel free to wander about and interact with each other as they wait for the passengers.
Edited by abbey, Dec 4 2016, 04:04 AM.
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Augustus Cromwell
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"I'm going to need you to sign here sir." The dockman insisted, holding out the pad of paper and pen with all the determination of any soldier, as if daring the man to refuse. Fortunately, Cromwell was more than happy to take the paper, after all it was his job.

Tightening the fine diamond cufflinks on the end of his freshly pressed regal purple shirt, Augustus shifted the cigarette to the side of his mouth to avoid blowing smoke in the other man's face and took the ledger. "Did you bring a full dozen as I requested?" His tone completely neutral. It was neither prompting nor judgment but rather an honest concern. He was the acquisition manager after all, and if anything were out of place it'd be his head on the chopping block, which wouldn't bode well for his retirement...

"Yup, the finest cuts of steak that Lodinium has to offer, grain-fed, free range." The man stated in a robotic drawl, as if completely uninterested in the nature of the freezer-sealed package and its rare contents. It had cost Cromwell a small fortune to acquire, and that was at a thief's price, even so, the steaks were likely worth more than what the delivery man made in a year. Cromwell was particularly proud of that final price he'd agreed upon, a good amount less than his employer had given him for their acquisition. A good first impression was key to success in the business world and Augustus was determined to be quite successful.

"Excellent."His signature was signed with his typical amount flourish and gusto, steady hands flying across the page. Capping the pen and returning both to their original owner, Cromwell shook the man's hand."If you'd run that order up to the kitchen for me I'd be delighted. Enough to perhaps pass the gentleman a credit?" He looked at the dockman who seemed more than happy to take him up on the offer.

I just pressed this suit, I'm not carrying a crate of meat.

Answering the man's unspoken question he stated, "Take the elevator to deck four. Go past the dance floor to the back room, someone in the kitchen will take happily them." Passing the man his promised tip Cromwell patted him on the back, "Thanks for helping an old man out."

As the dockworker moved by with the vacuum-sealed crate clutched tightly in hands, Augustus took a long drag on his cigarette. The cargo bay was quiet, but soon it'd be bustling with activity as their five wealthy passengers arrived for their journey of high stakes gambling and entertainment. This was the maiden voyage of the Chicago II a new chapter in his life, and the lives of all those who'd call the vessel home. And yet, his lovely new employer, Atarah Kobain, didn't seem entirely happy with it. In fact, she seemed almost glum. She stood alone across the cargo bay from him at the guest entrance, looking radiant in her evening attire and, for a moment, he almost dared to ask her what was wrong. Yet he knew his place and said nothing, besides, at that moment another dockworker arrived with a case of wine, and someone needed to ensure it made its way where it belonged and since his name was on the order it might as well be him...
Edited by Augustus Cromwell, Dec 5 2016, 07:36 AM.
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Solomon Fletcher
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There were few things as truly fulfilling as the sight of a clean kitchen ready for use. Seeing all the tools of the trade looking shiny and new, sent a thrill through Solomon like nothing else. And as he looked out over the kitchen that was to be his workspace on Chicago 2 for the foreseeable future, he felt an extra bit of joy. He'd worked for others people before, in kitchens with other owners alongside other chefs with their own ways of doing things, their own peculiarities. But here, it was different. As long as he was employed aboard Chicago 2, this kitchen was his. The thought set his heart to racing.

If this kitchen was to be his, though, it would need to be organized to his liking. He wasn't about to wrestle with the heavy metal shelving or try his luck at moving the oven (which he was pretty sure was bolted down anyway), but it was up to him where his tools went. And with his new employer still downstairs waiting for her passengers to arrive, he had ample time to lay everything out. Solomon grinned, rolling up the sleeves of his dark blue button-down shirt. This was going to be fun.

Before any food deliveries had entered the kitchen, Solomon had dropped off his tool case. Now he unlatched and opened it, his smile growing at the gleam of his knives. He picked one up, reveling in the feel of its weight in his hand. With the travel necessary to meet up with Chicago 2 in time to be ready for the maiden voyage, he hadn't gotten to cook anything for a few weeks now. His whole body hummed at the thought that the drought would soon be over. Soon Chicago 2 would be host to several wealthy guests with (hopefully) refined palates, and he'd have ample opportunity to create for them. He was giddier than a kid on Christmas morning.

But that would be difficult to do without adequate provisions. Luckily, Ms. Kobain was attentive to the needs of her staff. He had drawn up a list of what ingredients he needed in collaboration with her in regards to their guests' tastes and dietary restrictions. Apparently she had employed someone to ensure that everything on the list was acquired successfully and swiftly. Solomon had met this Mr. Cromwell, albeit briefly, and hoped that he was as good as Ms. Kobain thought he was.

"Excuse me?"

Solomon looked up as an unfamiliar voice reached his ears. He saw a man in the kitchen doorway, a crate in his hands. He shifted the crate to better balance its weight. "Old man downstairs said someone back here would receive these steaks. Assuming that's you?"

Solomon stifled the glee that threatened to show on his face at the man's words. He settled for a nod instead. "Yes, that's me. If you wouldn't mind just setting them down on this table here, I'd appreciate it." He patted the table next to his tools. The dockman nodded and did as requested.

"Thank you," Solomon said, eyes on the crate. "Do you need me to sign anything?" The dockman shook his head. "You're all set. Old man signed for it already." He turned back toward the door. "There's more on the way, by the way."
Solomon nodded at the man's back, eager for the man to leave so he could be alone with his prize. As soon as the dockman was out of sight, Solomon went right for the crate, his eyes seeking out a label. He found it quickly, and ignoring all the unimportant information of from whence the steaks had come, zeroed in on what mattered. He nodded. Yes, these were exactly what he'd requested. It seemed Mr. Cromwell was reliable after all. He'd have to find time to cook the man something special to express his thanks.

Picking up the crate, Solomon walked it over to the walk-in fridge, cradling it as gingerly as he would a newborn child. He set it down as gently as he could, then shut the fridge and returned to his tools. His eyes ran over each tool in succession, then moved over to his right hand, where, tattooed across his knuckles, was the word "Pride." He raised his hand, clenched it into a fist, and pressed his knuckles against his lips. It was an old ritual, one he performed every time he began work in a new place. That done, he clapped his hands together, his eyes shining. There was more yet to do.
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Dr. Matvei Andronov
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Matvei wandered through the ship, the medbay already in fine order and his few possessions already stowed. Poking his head into the kitchen, he watched as the young man -Fletcher? Was that the right name? went into the walk-in freezer, cradling a small crate like it was a priceless artifact from Earth-that-Was. When he came out a moment later, Matvei stepped fully into the gleaming white and stainless steel kitchen. "Good, eh, morning, Chef. Ms. Kobain, she is telling me we have ship full of magicians, you included." He flashed a wide grin to the younger man as he stepped in, leaning a bit on his cane. Following Solomon's gaze to his steel and plastic left hand, Matvei shrugged and offered, "Was used to be magician too - but make just one mistake with a chainsaw, tsk, all done." His twinkling blue eyes belied his serious tone and Solomon could tell he was joking. "So, best I can do is something different and become doctor. Matvei Andronov, ship's surgeon, how do you do?"
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Macabee Cricket
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Macabee Cricket watched Atarah Kobain as she waited at the open cargo bay doors for their passengers. She was a trooper. Richard had picked his woman well. He could tell she was distressed and sad at Richard's absence, but she hardly let on. Her resolve would strengthen when the passengers arrived. She would not let on that anything was out of place. She didn't have a "tell" at all. He would know it too. He'd spent the last few days as her shadow, staying close and looking out for her like Richard had asked.

He and Richard had crossed paths many years ago, taken pity on him and given him a job when he so desperately needed one. One where he worked as security for the original Chicago where he stayed several weeks. Richard had once watched his back enough to circumvent what could have been a mortal blow during a fight. Someone that Mack had thought to have been dispatched had gotten up and was about to hit him from behind Richard jumped into the fray. The man paid for it too as Richard took one hit to the head with a 2x4 and spent a couple of tense days in the local medical center.

In other words, he owed Richard. Big time. Richard had protected his life and now Mack would protect the woman's life with whom Richard was completely smitten.

"He'll be back you know," Mack said as he sat in the shadows as he whittled away at a piece of wood with a quite formidably sized knife. He may have been hidden from view for most but his vantage point lent itself to seeing most of the surrounding area. "Man is strong and singleminded. He'd have to be dead not to come back to you."

He truly believed that as well. He watched a dockman approach the ship with a package. Augustus Cromwell met him, signed for the package. That man was a professional. How he found some of the things they had procured was amazing. He also knew that some of the channels Cromwell used were probably not quite above board, but not exactly illegal either.

"I'm going to need you to sign here sir."

Cromwell was dressed to the nines, which was pretty normal for the guy, and was very polite when dealing with the public, even to the extent to adjust his positioning to avoid exposing the dockman to his smoking.

"Did you bring a full dozen as I requested?"

Mack wanted to know what had arrived. Some of the things that had been delivered lately had been things that he had only heard of before. Things that the upper crust in life would be attracted by. Premium alcohol. Ultra gourmet delicacies. High end sundries. Atarah Kobain had deep pockets. Or very good investors. Or very good investments.

"Yup, the finest cuts of steak that Lodinium has to offer, grain-fed, free range."

Steaks? From Londinium? His mouth nearly watered at the thought.

"Excellent."

The package was signed for and the dockman had been sent up to the kitchen with a sizable tip. Mack needed to talk to Cromwell about sending unauthorized personnel into the ship to roam freely about. It wasn't secure and security was his responsibility.

It wasn't long before another delivery arrived. The box was labeled "wine." Cromwell stepped up to sign for it as well. Now was as good as any to stop the line of individuals coming into the ship.

"You can leave the wine over there," Mack said, using the knife to point to a space across from where Atarah stood. "One of our crew will take it to where it needs to be."

Mack raised an eyebrow at the acquisitions manager for Chicago 2.

"Isn't that correct, Augustus?"

As it was Augustus's job to handle the incoming packages, but it was Mack's job to handle the security of the "lady of the house" as well as all the others who lived within.

He doubted that an explanation would be needed, but he would be more than happy to give it if need be.
Edited by Macabee Cricket, Dec 5 2016, 03:49 AM.
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Abigail Adams

"Go se, go se, go se."


Abigail was running late.


Not terribly late, but later than she'd like.


She could hear her father's voice in her head, reminding her that if she wasn't half an hour early, she was late. As she approached, she mentally reviewed her timetable.


"Ten minutes ta get the gear I'm carrying stowed, and the rest that was sent to arrive early can wait till after work. Ten ta shower, thirty ta dress and do hair and makeup, another ten ta find me way ta the spot in the cargo bay I'm ta occupy as part of the welcome wagon...go se. I'm still five minutes behind." she thought, as she picked up her pace.


Her rucksack slapped gently against her back as she turned the corner, and stopped dead in her tracks. The Chicago 2, her new place of employment and temporary home, came into view. It was bigger than she'd expected. Sure, a Joseph Class Luxury Passenger Cruiser was nothing to sneeze at, but seeing it in person, the sheer scale of it, made her feel very, very small indeed.


The docking ramp was down, and she saw her employer, Ms. Kobain, standing there in a lovely evening gown, and she cursed herself again. She'd planned on showing up super early, and being dressed and ready for work long before the passengers began arriving.


"No such luck there, lass." she thought, climbing up the ramp, refusing to hang her head in the shame she felt.


"Good mornin', Ms. Kobain. I'm so sorry I'm late. I'll get changed and prepped fer work right fast if ye'll just show me the direction of me quarters." she said, her accent showing through a bit more than normal, given the stress she felt.
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Sylandra Godwin
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Sylandra was just rounding the corner when she saw the other woman approaching the ship's ramp. She hoped she wasn't too late in arriving. They wouldn't be leaving without her, she figured, but there was that shiver of anxious anticipation as she realized her attempt to put forth a good first impression might be flawed if she were late in arriving. She put a little double time into her step, slinging the overstuffed duffle over her shoulder to give her better balance.

As she arrived, she nodded and ducked her head in respect to the woman there; Kobain was it? she dropped her duffle at her own feet and smiled.

"Uh... Sylandra Godwin reporting. New pilot? Is there a specific bunk for me, or ..." She left the rest to hang in the air between them.

She was dressed in khaki cargo pants and there were obvious bulges in the pockets; a white cotton shirt tied just above her navel, the sleeves rolled up to her elbows; her hair braided and wrapped in a coil at the back of her head. Her eyes sparkled in anticipation of this new ship to pilot. Her large pistol was tied down (port requirements) in a cross draw holster on her left hip.
Edited by Sylandra Godwin, Dec 5 2016, 10:05 PM.
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Noah Prejean
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"So, did you look over the proposal I sent you?"

Noah was leaning heavily against his desk, staring intently at the screen in front of him. The man on the other end of the wave was looking back with an indifferent air about him. It was infuriating.

"Yes, yes, I've looked out over..." There was an edge of annoyance to the reply, the bald, older gentleman was looking at something off-screen now, his lips twisted into half a frown. "You only ever seem to contact me when you need something, Noah... I don't understand why you have so little regard for me..."

Noah groaned, closing his eyes and rubbing his forehead, directly between and above his eyes. "Really? Guilt trip? Is that the best you can do? I'd say you were better than this but, well, that would be a lie."

The other man gasped, and places a hand high on his chest. It was clear that it was meant for Noah to see the gesture. Had it been over the man's heart (assuming he had a heart at all) it would have been too low for the camera. "A dagger! A dagger to my heart, boy! My own son!"

Oh, for the love of... Noah rolled his eyes at his father's display. Always the actor, barely the father. "Oh, save it for the stage! You really should take this seriously, dad. This is as much an opportunity for you as it is for me and the Chicago II."

The old man scoffed, "Opportunity, he says. As if I'm a neophyte! As if I'm not Norman bloody Prejean!"

"There it is! Like clockwork!" He sighed, "Look, old man: either take the contract or don't, but I promised the new boss that I would at least extend her offer to you, and now I did." He hesitated for a moment, and then: "I... included some publicity photos of her on page twelve, in case you needed some incentive..."

Norman paused now, picking up the contract with one hand, and placing his fancy, gold-rimmed pince-nez in their proper position. He flipped to the twelfth page, as if he'd never looked at the contract before (in all likelihood, he hadn't) and the man's eyebrows jumped up.

"Well, hello there..."

"Eeewww.. Predictable, my fault, but eeewww... I gotta go, dad. Give us your answer by the end of the week, dong ma?" And before the man could tear himself away from Atarah to answer, the wave was terminated.

Noah pulled up another screen, writing a message to the new bartender, Ms. Silver.

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Ms. Silver -

You are under no circumstances to serve me alcohol, no matter how much I beg. I will personally give you a substantial bonus each month you manage to not get me drunk.

Thank you,

Noah Prejean
Edited by Noah Prejean, Dec 5 2016, 10:46 PM.
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Button Gwinnett
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It had been a long time since she had been here in the Core, much less Londinium. It was a decision she'd made on her own, as much as it was one of convenience. Hell, she hadn't even been to any nearer to the Core than the Red Sun in years. So, being back here was a strange trip, for sure. When she was young, Core society and life were her domain. Now, she couldn't feel more like a fish out of water.

It was no wonder: the attire of the central planets hadn't been her fashion sense in years. Ladies wore fancy dresses if they were society types, smart suits if they were of the corporate bent. Button was wearing a pair of tan breeches with suspenders over a white button-up shirt. Her calfskin boots were looking their finest, but they weren't fancy, by any means. The look was capped with a black, Stetson hat, which was her favorite of her collection. She was clean and her clothes weren't rumpled, and that was the best that she was able to do.

How and why she had ended up here was a different story entirely.

Only a few folk in the Verse knew about the St. Albans Roundup. Hell, she'd had to get a man blind drunk to get him to spill the password for entry. Cost her a pretty penny, but access to an exclusive poker game being played out on the Rim was worth the credits, especially if she won.

And she knew that she would win.

When Button Gwinnett rolled up to the cozy home that hosted the game, the regulars didn't know what to make of the diminutive woman. But she came with cash in hand, so they were more than happy to let her play. A few hours later, she had them on the ropes. Most of them left, licking their wounds, but one guy wouldn't quit. He didn't have much left to offer, but he did have an invitation. A pass to another, higher stakes game. It was good enough for her, as it promised free drinks, and two pair (Jacks and 7s) later, he was out on his ass, too. And she was in possession of a boarding pass for Chicago II.

Of course, she didn't necessarily have all the funds for the buy-in. Being an heiress didn't have the same perks when your parents were imprisoned and their assets had been liquidated. But she knew that she had to play in this game. She didn't believe much in fate or destiny or any of that crap, but something about this felt like some kind of that exact sort of crap. So, she'd needed a loan. She didn't have much in the way of collateral, but she did know where members of her family that still had money lived. So, she made a deal she knew she'd never have to pay off: if she won, she'd pay back the 40,000 credits, but if she lost, well... there might have been some light robbery involved.

Anyway, it was never coming to that. But that's how she ended up here, on Londinium, making her way up the ramp of Chicago II, her boots clanking against the steel. There were three women waiting at the top, a blonde,a abrunette, and a redhead. All were rather attractive... she couldn't have been happier with the welcoming committee.

She reached into her pants pocket and pulled out the folded-up invitation. She carefully unfolded it, smiling up at the two taller women. "Nihao, ladies. Button Gwinnett, here for the trip. Got my papers right here and everything." She looked between them, holding the invitation out with one hand and hooking the thumb of her other hand around one of her suspender-straps. "Mighty fine ship you've got here. Ain't been on one this big since... well, since I was even smaller, if you believe that."

She let her gaze linger on the blonde first, in that fancy dress of hers, and she wore it about as well as it coulda been worn. Far better than she herself could have worn any dress, that was for damn sure. The other two were dressed a little more casually, but they weren't eyesores, either. It was official: Chicago II was a good damn ship.

She couldn't keep the grin off of her face.
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Reyna "Rey" Silver
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Nervous didn't describe how Rey was feeling. It wasn't a powerful enough word. Anxiety. That seemed to be a much better word to describe how she was feeling. She'd literally taken an entire five minutes just breathing when she woke up. This was her first job... Ever. She couldn't afford to screw this up. This was step one of separating herself from her parents and stepping into her own. She was on her own now. No help from anyone... Okay, except the occasional advice and credit transfers from her sister. But it'd only been a week since Rey left her home and she'd had no money that didn't belong to her father.

Another reason she needed to do well was because this could lead to her getting performance jobs. After all, this ship had a theater. If she hung around here long enough and managed to prove she was a great performer, maybe she could move past being a bartender and start toward her actual career. For now, though, bartending would have to do. She needed an income after all. At least the Chicago II was in touching distance of her actual dreams. It was a great start in her opinion. And her sister had thought it was a good idea.

As she headed up to the fourth deck, she finished buttoning up her white work shirt. Walking toward the kitchen, she folded up her sleeves, buttoning them at the elbow so that her forearms were free, exposing a few small tattoos on her skin. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail to keep it out of her face. She wasn't sure how the owners or any of her other superiors would feel about her keeping her hair down while she served drinks. The longer she was here, though, the more comfortable she'd get with the job and she'd have a better idea of where her boundaries were.

Hearing her CorPad that she always kept by her side, she pulled it from its bag and turned it on. She noticed the new message and opened it. A message from Noah Prejean. She read through it quickly. A request not to serve him alcohol. She'd been pretty certain she wasn't allowed to serve any of the crew alcohol, including herself. Maybe if they were off duty, but were any of them truly ever off duty? All the same, she took note of the request and put the device away.

She opened the door to the kitchen, finishing off the last button on her sleeve. She looked up from the button and smiled, finding Solomon and Matvei. Both men were much larger than she was, whether that be in height or bulk. Either way, she basically had to look up at both of them.

"Morning, guys," she said, walking up to them to create a triangle formation. She shoved her hands into the pockets of her black work pants. "You guys excited about our maiden voyage?" She looked back and forth between them, realizing she had yet to introduce herself to either of them. She pulled one hand from her pocket and pressed it against her chest for a moment before putting it back in her pocket. "I'm Rey, by the way. The bartender."
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Reyna "Rey" Silver
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Karishma Devi Khatri
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Unless there were moons or planets with people on them somewhere out there in the 'Verse that the public wasn't ever told about and that no one ever got to visit, Karishma had been to every one of them. She had performed for people in outdoor theatres and saloon stages out on the rim when she was only ten. She had performed on a morale tour for alliance troops during the war, on stages set up by soldiers, sometimes in fields that had seen battle just days before. She had performed before Parliament and the Prime Minister to mark the first celebration of Unification Day, on Londinium concert hall stages, Bellerophon estates, street festivals and cortex studios. It all added up to twenty years of ship travel, on all variety of ships, to all variety of destinations.

This would be the first time that the ship was the stage and the destination in and of itself.

Her dress shone with gold, as did her jewelry and the trim on her saree, a silky salmon pink that shifted to a sungold orange shade depending on how the light hit it. The luxury and style of it made for an unusual sight, stepping down from the passenger side of a mid size hauler that looked as though it had driven up and down the docks since they were established the canvas cover over the back was a notable fresh note, the old one having finally given up the ghost within the last year or so.

She knew the truck well, and its driver. Every time she passed through this port, she hired him to transport her cargo. He had been driving here when she was still a child, but he had grown up in the same village as her. She knew his family. She had danced in a troupe with his sister.

No matter how far and wide she traveled, she never left home far from her heart. It was the soul of her art.

There was a small group of women at the entrance with Atarah Kobain. At least one was armed, likely security for the ship. There would certainly be quite a few new people to meet on board. This was, after all, a new beginning for all of them.

"Mighty fine ship you've got here. Ain't been on one this big since... well, since I was even smaller, if you believe that."

A young woman in a white shirt, breeches and a fine hat.

"I've been on larger, once." she said. "But not in peacetime."

The largest ships in the Alliance fleet could be compared to moving space stations, but they were still designated ships.

"Certainly none more bright and auspicious."



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Augustus Cromwell
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Good at Finding...
The crate of wine arrived right on schedule, a far scrawnier dockworker struggling with the large wooden box and its liquid contents. He could already taste the sweet nectar on his tongue. Puffing out the last of his cigarette smoke and flicking the smoldering stub out the ramp, suitably away from his newest "guest," Augustus waved the man into the cargo bay.

"Excellent. Those are my wines?" Despite the obvious label on the crate announcing they, in fact, were one couldn't be too thorough, not when there was a reputation to cultivate.

"Absolutely," the dockman grumbled, putting his crate down with an audible groan of relief. Rubbing his throbbing hands together for a few moments, the man passed Augustus a sheet similar to the one he'd received for the steaks. "Sign here please."

As Augustus took up the clipboard and signed for his newest addition a male voice echoed from across the cargo bay, saying gruffly, "You can leave the wine over there. One of our crew will take it to where it needs to be."

Cromwell turned with a slight jump, his surprise at the decidedly male speaker coming from an area he assumed was occupied only by Miss Kobain. The man was hidden in the shadows, though admittedly, if Augustus had been looking for him he may have seen him.

You're starting to slip up old man. You've gotta be more observant. A mistake like that with the Battle Rats and your guts would have been on the street.

He was gesturing with a rather sizable knife, pointing for the dockman to leave the crate somewhere in the cargo bay. Evidently he didn't much care for Augustus' previous directive of sending the other worker to the kitchen. It wasn't until he spoke the second time Cromwell realized who he was.

"Isn't that correct, Augustus?"

Macabee Cricket, the head of security aboard the Chicago, Augustus had met him briefly, along with a few members of the crew but he hadn't really time to become acquainted with anyone. Cromwell instantly liked Solomon, the chief aboard, in part because he reminded him a little of himself during his younger days. Unfortunately, he hadn't really memorized the crew manifest and therefore hadn't bothered to determine which person aboard would serve as a "porter" for lack of a better word and therefore made a large security blunder. Even though the first dockman had left without incident...what could have happened was beyond thinking. If he'd still been with a celebrity client...

Damn it! Jao Gao! Chwen Joo! Get a hold of yourself old man! Upsetting the security chief isn't how you get back in the game!

Looking at the dockworker, Augustus nodded, "Absolutely. Someone will be along to take that and thank you very much for your time my good man."


"It's the job." The worker shrugged his shoulders and departed the way he came, off to make another round of deliveries. Looking down the ramp to ensure there wouldn't be another arrival soon, Cromwell crossed the bay and approached Mack.

"Mr...er Cricket was it?" He asked, hoping he'd remembered the name correctly, "I understand the breach I've caused, a foolish mistake made by an old man getting back in the swing of things. Rest assured, it won't happen again. No one on board without your authorization." He pulled the packet of cigarettes from his inside coat pocket, flipped the lid open and offered one to Mack as way of recompense, "Cigarette?"

He was about to likewise offer one to Miss Kobain, who was even more ravishing in that dress up close, when, one after another, four attractive young women rolled up to the ship for differing reason. Alas, his days of charming beautiful ladies were long over. Age does that to a man.

At least the company's going to be nice...
Edited by Augustus Cromwell, Dec 6 2016, 10:23 PM.
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Atarah Kobain
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Atarah kept watch over the docks laid out before them while watching what was happening around her as well. Richard should be here today. She wanted him here. Their maiden voyage was not supposed to happen without him, but here they were anyway...

"He'll be back you know,"

Mack wasn't far from her. He never was. It was a comfort.

"I know," she simply said.

Mack must not have trusted in her resolve for he added another comment.

"Man is strong and singleminded. He'd have to be dead not to come back to you."

Yep. Her man was tenacious. That was for sure.

A dockman was there now, making one of the many, many deliveries they were taking. Augustus was doing a great job in procuring what they needed and at keeping things in order as they were being delivered. She Mack was there

"I'm going to need you to sign here sir."

Augustus took the ledger and reviewed it as he did what he was hired to do.

"Did you bring a full dozen as I requested?"

Full dozen?

"Yup, the finest cuts of steak that Lodinium has to offer, grain-fed, free range."

Dear God... The steaks! He had found those steaks she had requested! A small smile graced her lips. He was a true gem of an employee.

"Excellent." "If you'd run that order up to the kitchen for me I'd be delighted. Enough to perhaps pass the gentleman a credit?"

With that comment she almost visibly winced. Unauthorized people allowed access to the ship? She would have to have a talk with Mr. Cromwell.

"Take the elevator to deck four. Go past the dance floor to the back room, someone in the kitchen will take happily them." "Thanks for helping an old man out."

Yep. Definitely needs to have a talk. Security was a hot button for her. She reached up and touched the comm in her ear.

"Dillon?" she said in a whisper. "Keep an eye on the delivery guy going up to the kitchen."

Then another delivery came.

"Excellent. Those are my wines?"

"Absolutely," "Sign here please."

She was about to say something before Augustus sent another person traipsing through the ship, but Mack got there first.

"You can leave the wine over there. One of our crew will take it to where it needs to be."

Atarah felt herself nodding a bit, while scanning the horizon for their guests.

"Isn't that correct, Augustus?"

Nice. Mack could be tactful if needed. He could have verbally sliced the man to ribbons, but took the high road instead.

"Absolutely. Someone will be along to take that and thank you very much for your time my good man."

The worker departed as she caught Augustus crossing the bay to talk to Mack.

"Mr...er Cricket was it?" "I understand the breach I've caused, a foolish mistake made by an old man getting back in the swing of things. Rest assured, it won't happen again. No one on board without your authorization."

Good. It looks like the minor chastising was all that was going to be needed.

"Cigarette?"

Then she saw someone approaching, but not a passenger. She knew right away who it was. Abigail Adams. Atarah smiled warmly at her.

"Good mornin', Ms. Kobain. I'm so sorry I'm late. I'll get changed and prepped fer work right fast if ye'll just show me the direction of me quarters."

"Don't you worry, passengers haven't arrived yet. Go on up and get situated," she reassured the young woman. "You're in Cabin 9, it's the furthest starboard cabin on Deck 2 by the Crew Galley area."

That's when Sylandra Godwin arrived too. Dillon was very good at his job and the pictures of her crew he had procured were dead on.

"Uh... Sylandra Godwin reporting. New pilot? Is there a specific bunk for me, or ..."

"Welcome Sylandra. You can probably follow Abigail up. You're in Cabin 5. It's on Deck Two as well. Starboard side, closest to the Bridge."

Then she remembered the security measures they had in place in relation to the weapons the woman possessed. She touched her earpiece again.

"Dillon, lower security a moment so that Sylandra can bring her weapons in with her," she pointed to the lit indicator light off the to side as she spoke to Sylandra again. "When that goes off, you may pass through. Otherwise the biggest alarm will sound off."

Then she saw someone unfamiliar walking towards the ship. A somewhat diminuitive woman, dressed smartly, but not overly showy. With a boatload of confidence she approached.

When it was obvious that she was intent on stopping for a chat, Atarah warned off the others from going in yet.

"Hold up ladies. We have company," she said before tapping her comm again. "Hold on Dillon. Wait for a moment. We have a visitor."

What did the girl want? She was definitely not a delivery person. She had no visible package.

"Nihao, ladies. Button Gwinnett, here for the trip. Got my papers right here and everything."

The girl produced a copy of the boarding ticket for the voyage and Atarah's eyes narrowed.

This was not Henry Walden.

"Mighty fine ship you've got here. Ain't been on one this big since... well, since I was even smaller, if you believe that."

What in the good gorram was going on here?
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Macabee Cricket
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Mack nodded in response to Augustus's apology for the security breach and took the offered cigarette.

"Thank you and it is just Mack. I am not one for formalities," he said as he pulled a lighter out of no where and lit up. He had enough formal-ness when he was a lawman. "Just be more diligent about who goes wandering about the ship. dong ma?"

Then he stepped back into the shadows a bit as he watched the other crew members board. He got considerably more attentive when the young lady stepped up.

"Nihao, ladies. Button Gwinnett, here for the trip. Got my papers right here and everything."

The girl actually pulled out a genuine boarding pass for the voyage, but the thing was that there were no women on the passenger list.

"Mighty fine ship you've got here. Ain't been on one this big since... well, since I was even smaller, if you believe that."

That's when Karishma arrived too. She obviously heard the tail end on their guest's announcement.

"I've been on larger, once." "But not in peacetime."

Mack wondered exactly how large, but dismissed the thought in order to keep to the task at hand.

"Certainly none more bright and auspicious."

Mack looked up at his crewmates.

"Soon as that light goes off, hightail it past while we try to figure out our visitor here," he instructed, hoping they would get the point that he wanted them inside the perimeter asap. Then he stepped forward to study the girl, looking for weapons. He squinted as he got close and saw the name on the boarding pass. The name on it was Henry Walden. Funny how she definitely didn't look like a Henry. He stepped back a bit and whispered into his comm. "Dillon, let the crew in quick-like. Then find out who this person is. Like what kind of name is Button anyway?"

He moved to Atarah's side and looked down at the girl, hoping that the scar across his face made him look even more intimidating.

"What do you say we step down to the end of the ramp and you can tell us how you happen to have Henry's ticket. As much as you might want it to be, those tickets were a cute promotional to only commemorate the trip. They have no real value and they are therefore, not transferable."

To get the point across, he started down the ramp, heading straight for Button. Unless she wanted to be run over, she'd go with him down to where he requested.



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