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Topic Started: Jan 1 2016, 07:38 PM (5,820 Views)
Quan de Yun You

The Black

It was named centuries ago by the men and women from Earth-That-Was. It was named so because, while they were awake, blackness was all that they saw on their long trip to the 'Verse

The Black is cold.

The Black is Death

The Black is Silence

Ships fly between planets like the ships of ETW did on her seas with planets as ports of call. Even the terms are still used.

On one such ship, darkness reigned. Only minimal lighting with the occasional burst of fraying wires and circuits.

There is noise as well

Lots of sound, lots of violence.

Gravity is not right, in some places and the stomachs of the passengers flip flop as they lay in their support chambers as one by one, their slumber is interrupted and they awaken to sound and fury on a ship headed to the Nine Hells

Outside the great ship, the Black is still quiet even though the ship itself plummets toward the gravity well between Ithaca and Priam.
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The constant buzzing of her alarm clock was starting to really grate on her. She'd been trying to ignore it, but it felt like it was filling the whole room, and echoing around and through her skull. She flailed an arm toward where the clock would normally be, not wanting to open her eyes, as that would be admitting defeat. But her arm didn't find the familiar table at her bedside.

Was there ever a table? Was there ever an alarm?

Her eyes shot open, and she found herself in a small chamber, the door slightly ajar. The first thing she noticed was the dimly lit room on the other side of the door.

The second thing she noticed was that she had no idea who she was. That's disconcerting.

She pushed the door open and took a tentative step outside. Her legs were wobbly, unsure. The heavy footfall of her boot echoed momentarily before being drowned out by the insistent klaxon. Nothing was familiar. She was in some sort of living quarters, and she had to assume they were hers. Slowly, she made her way to a mirror. The face looking back at her was completely unrecognizable to her. Almond eyes, long black hair... she supposed she was pretty, but that wasn't a lot to go on. Lots of girls were pretty, weren't they? Not much of a clue.

She was following this line of thought a little further when the whole ship shuddered dramatically, sending her off balance. She caught herself on the bureau. Was that what it was called? Bureau, dresser, wardrobe... these were all words for the same thing. Where was she going? Oh, yeah, the ship was shaking.

She quickly made her way to the door, looking down a darkened corridor. It extended in both directions, and she had no idea which way led to what part of the boat. She closed her eyes for a moment, trying not to panic. Panic is what we do, but panic accomplishes nothing. She had to be resolute, and solve the problem. She made her way to her left, eyes opening again as she made her way along.

The first thing she noticed was the lack of... anyone on the ship. Was she truly alone? How was that possible, unless everyone died. But if they'd died, where were there bodies? Had she killed them? Shot them out of the airlock and into the Black? Maybe she'd eaten them. She could really go for some food right now, now that she thought about it, but she wasn't particularly craving human flesh, so she assumed she had not, in fact, eaten the crew. Which was a relief.

She found a table, a widened area that looked like the ship's galley, doors on every side leading to different parts of the ship. Up ahead, she could see the forward of the ship, a window through which she would be able to see where this rig was headed. Maybe find some other information, too.

She hurried through the door onto the bridge, a slight familiarity, but not enough to trigger an epiphany. She looked at the instrument panels, lights flashing hither and thither. Then she looked up and out the window at... trouble.

She wasn't entirely sure what she was seeing, but whatever it was triggered a primal fear deep inside of her. Clearly, knowledge of one's identity was not a prerequisite to recognizing danger.

She felt her knees weaken. She was alone, she was confused, and she was very, very dead if she couldn't figure out how to turn the ship around.

"Ti wo de pigu..."

Oh, I know Chinese!
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She could be anything she wanted to be here in the world of dreams. A princess, an enchantress, a faerie, a superhero. She could even be an animal if she wanted to be. At the moment, she was simply floating in darkness. Sweet, peaceful darkness. Well, it would have been peaceful if not for the annoying and loud noises that were intruding on the peace and quiet. Why would she dream about such things? Why would she dream such noises when she could dream about happy things instead? Then the darkness began to recede. No! She wasn't ready to leave it yet! But no matter how hard she tried she couldn't keep hold of it and other things began to intrude on her senses.

The surface she was laying on was soft and slightly cool. She was laying on her stomach, a blanket pulled up over her shoulders. One leg was sticking straight out from under it. The other was sticking out from under it too, but lifted slightly with her knee bent. Her hands were tucked under her a little, her fingers curled loosely around the blanket. Her feet were bare and she was wearing loose comfortable clothes... pajamas, she guessed, given that she was asleep in a bed. Well... in a bed, anyway. Not sleeping anymore, though the infernal noises continued. Alarms, and... something else, something that made her heart beat a little faster, and made her want to find a small dark space to curl up in until it was all over. The trouble was she had no idea where she was. This room wasn't the least bit familiar to her.

Groaning, she sat up and looked around the room a bit, just to be sure. Nope. Definitely not familiar. It was cold, and metallic looking. Almost... sterile, really. The presence of a few personal effects saved it from being completely sterile, but only by the narrowest of margins. Looking at the floor, she saw a pair of slip-on shoes. Sliding her feet into them, she found they were a perfect fit. Hers, then. Most likely. She didn't recognize them, but they fit her and she thought they were cute. That they were hers seemed a logical assumption. She had noticed her toenails were painted purple, and looked at her hands. They too had purple nail polish on them, and rings she didn't recognize but that fit as well as the shoes did.

Standing, she made her way unsteadily over to the door and lifted her hand to try to open it. At the last moment, she changed her mind and turned to look for an air vent. There was one in the room, and she thought she could reach it, but she didn't know where it might lead even if she could get the grating off. She didn't know if there were any tools in the room and she didn't know if there was time to search it.

Taking a deep breath, she opened the door and peeked out cautiously. There was no one in the hall, and she didn't hear or see anything to indicate anyone was nearby. Heart in her throat, she began making her way down the hall. She chose a direction at random, either way looking the same to her. She stayed close to the wall, just in case. At an intersection, she peeked carefully around the corner, and let out a breath when she didn't see anyone. She had no idea where she was going, but being on the move was almost as good as being curled up in a hidey hole somewhere. She didn't see anyone else, and began to wonder if maybe she had been abandoned by... whoever she had been here with. It was weird she couldn't remember anything, but that might not matter if she couldn't figure out where she was and why the alarms were going off.

Her feet brought her to a room with panels and flashing lights, and a huge window. Given the view outside and how things were moving, the cold-sterile-metallic feel of everything she had seen thus far suddenly made sense. She was on a ship, in the black. A ship that was in serious trouble, if what she was seeing was any indication. And she was alo... okay, not alone, she realized. There was another person in here. Another woman, but one that was a total stranger to her. She stood there to one side of the doorway (when had she moved there?) frozen with uncertainty and fear. Should she say something to the other woman? What if she had a gun or knife or something and attacked? There weren't a lot of things she knew right now, but she did know she was no fighter. Well... she was pretty sure she was no fighter, anyway. She wouldn't stand a chance if she got attacked. A soft whimper escaped her and she backed up against the wall, pressing her back as tightly against it as she could manage.

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Most people have probably been there. You tried to stay up late and watch a movie, but you were too tired to pull it off. You started closing your eyes briefly, just to rest them, but at some point, you dozed off.

Then you woke up.

The movie was still on, but you had no idea what was going on in it, or how you got from the last scene you remembered to what was on the screen now. It was like time had taken a sudden lurch forward, leaving you wondering what you missed.

But you still remembered what the movie was, remembered that you chose to watch it.

What if you hadn't? And what if it wasn't on the screen anymore?

What if you were in it?

She was in bed; a bed that seemed neither familiar, nor strange in any identifiable way. It simply was. While her senses took in her surroundings, she realized how odd this neutrality was. One's own bed, unless it was quite new, should feel familiar. A new or unfamiliar bed should feel that way; should remind you of what it isn't. She didn't know if this was her bed.

She couldn't remember.

She was dressed. It seemed odd, like something people didn't do, but she couldn't say with certainty that she hadn't lay down in bed to sleep fully clothed, because some people do things people just don't do, and was she one of them? Like the bed, it was neither familiar nor strange. It just was.

What wasn't oddly neutral was the noise, the shaking. That couldn't be normal. It felt distinctly alarming.

Her body felt familiar, or at least she didn't feel any more disoriented sitting up and swinging her feet to the floor than she would have expected from the circumstances. She was wearing a black silk turtleneck and black jeans, neither brand new nor badly worn. She felt something hard and cool pressing lightly against her breastbone. Her fingers slipped into the neckline of her top and found a slender chain, pulling it upward. There was a copper ring on the chain, hanging beneath her top. It was wide and solid, covered with Celtic knotwork, darkened black in the negative spaces. She poked a finger into it. Too big, and most likely, a man's ring in any case. No ring marks on her fingers.

There was a shuddering and a violent wrenching sound. She dropped the ring back where it had been and reached for the boots that sat on the floor where her feet had touched down. If your house was burning down, you couldn't just sit there until you figured out why.

But was this her house? Was it a house at all? Unless there was an earthquake, a house didn't shake like this, and even though she couldn't recall ever experiencing one, she was pretty sure that an earthquake wouldn't sound like this. No, there was a loud alarm, and something about the room said "ship." She couldn't remember getting on one, or ever having been on one, but she knew what one was, and this was probably one of them. If it was a ship, it was in trouble.

She hoped she wasn't someone expected to do something about that. If people looked to you in a crisis, you ought to know what you're supposed to do the moment one arises. Those thoughts should be the first ones running through your mind. They weren't.

There was a mirror, and in spite of the danger all around, and her resolve to set aside less immediate concerns, it stopped her in her tracks. It wasn't that what she saw was shocking or unexpected, it was that it wasn't familiar or expected either. It was like a portrait of some random person, but it was her.

Well, what did you expect to look like?

She had no answer.

"This is ridiculous." she said to the strange image. "I may be disoriented, but I know myself. I'm . . . ."

The reflection seemed to pause, waiting for an answer.

She didn't have one.

"I don't have time for this. I could die on this gorram ship without a name."

She turned and headed out the door, only realizing as it opened that she had simply assumed it would. For all that was happening, being locked in wouldn't have been out of place at all.

Drugs. It could be drugs. Do I take them? Did someone give me something?

There was a door open ahead through the galley, that almost certainly went to the bridge. Apparently, she hadn't forgotten things, she wasn't staring at the table and chairs wondering what people did with them, and she knew what a ship was. It was herself that she had lost. The one thing you normally have a firm grip on no matter how crazy everything else was.

On the bridge, illuminated by far too many flashing lights to feel secure, there was a woman, maybe a girl, younger than her by quite a bit, even from behind, if what she saw in the mirror was any indication. What she was staring out into The Black at wasn't the worst thing one could see while on a ship's bridge; she could remember life in general well enough to know there could be worse things, but it was bad enough that in the end, that might be a moot point. The way she was staring, rather than doing something with the controls, also seemed to say "Not the pilot."

Unless she doesn't remember that's what she is.

She stepped forward through the doorway, past the other young woman without noticing her there. A person drawn back against a shadowed wall can hide pretty well when the potential viewer has the alternative of continuing to watch a vision of impending doom.

"Hello?" she said. "Ni hao ma?"

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Noise intruded, as it often did. He was floating, weightless, in some dark, vast void. There was a tinge of blue to the darkness, like perhaps he was underwater, but he wasn't wearing any sort of protective gear, and wasn't sputtering and coughing, so he must have been breathing fine.

He began to tumble in space, not knowing what way was up, and the dark inky blue...darkness, turned slowly purple, and then a deep maroon, blinking back and forth, like red lights flashing outside of his eyelids. It was only then that he realized that his eyes were in fact closed.

He opened them, and found himself floating above a bunk, head towards the mattress, his feet angled at the ceiling. There were in fact red lights flashing, and alarms blaring. The gravity in this cabin appeared to be malfunctioning, as he was, as previously mentioned, floating.

It found it's way back swiftly, though, as he suddenly rushed downward, slamming into the surprisingly springy mattress, and bounced off. He went airborne again, and crashed down onto the floor. It was with this impact that he realized that he'd been referring to himself mentally as "he" instead of "me".

He blinked hard, and caught his breath. Clearly something was wrong. He couldn't put his finger on what it was, beyond alarms and flashy lights, but he surmised that he should get to solving it.

Lying there on the floor wasn't doing any good.

He rose, and exited the chamber, searching for the source of the alarm, which appeared to be towards what he asumed was the front of the ship. He didn't know why it felt like the front, but it did. He moved quickly down the corridor, ignoring the fact that he was coming across more and more things that he didn't recognize, or couldn't remember.

Among them, who he was.

'One thing at a time, lad.' he said, somewhat surprised to find his thoughts coming in an English accent.

As he approached the cockpit, he found two women...make that three women, standing there, not speaking to each other.

"Are we all going to just stand around all day, ignoring the immediate peril the ship seems intent on alerting us to?" he asked, sliding into the pilot's chair, and checking the console to see what the hubub was all about.
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I have no idea what I'm doing...
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All was calm and peace. He had his blanket, he sucked his thumb, his tools were sitting next to him.

All was right with the world.

Except it wasn't.

The screwdriver looked to the Wrench.

Thats the turd time the microfluxuator has cahbanized de hexalvalve.

The Wrench answered back

Yeah. One more time an the whole shbang will crap itself. Botta-Bing Botta BOOM....

The Wrenches last statement was more external to the whole unrealized world he found himself in. The place actually shook.

The Pliers turned and looked over at him.

You gonna look inta dat?

For some reason it didn't bother him that this tools spoke like that. He was used to rude people ...

Wait a minute he thought.

The place is shakin like a new girl in the Heart a Gold. Dat aiint right

His eyes flutter opened as the gravity returned and he plopped back down into the cushions of his pod. Outside the pod there was light and sound and funny gravity. He was going to go back to sleep but light and sound came into this pod as well. It opened on its own

He rolled out, stood, grabbed his tool belt and put it on.

This last action he did without thinking. He just never whet anywhere important ... without them.

He staggered out of his room and went left. Up a ladder and around a corner. He heard voiced and walked toward the bridge. He knew it was the bridge ... sides, there was a sign with and arrow pointing that was. It said ... BRIDGE

He walked in and saw the people there. One women was against the back bulkhead. Was she whimpering.

He also saw what the situation was.

He stood to his full height moved to a panel beside one of the consoles, took out his screwdriver and removed the panel cover, made and adjustment and the gravity steadied.

That's better.

He closed the panel, put the screwdriver away and noticed that he was in his BVD, a tee shirt and socks, and nothing else but his tool belt.

Maybe they wont notice.
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Synthetic Anthropomorphic Intelligence
In the back of the Bridge, behind a panel with a small window showing the face of the inhabitant, the entity behind it was trying to come online. Under the window it is labeled.


Something was not right. Only limited information being received.

Have. to. get. online.
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"Hello? Ni hao ma?"

She turned at the sound of another woman's voice behind her, and realized that there were, in fact, two women behind her. One younger and with red hair, one older and brunette. Both were very attractive, and she was starting to wonder what kind of ship this had been. Some sort of nunnery? Flying brothel? Forward operating base of an all-girl army of sexy ninja killers? The possibilities were myriad. She eyed the other two, trying to play it cool.

"Oh, hey, ni hao and all that. Good to see you girls again. For a minute I'd thought you'd all abandoned ship on me, left me all by my lonesome. Woulda made this whole 'ship's heading for some kinda weird deadly space anomaly' thing totes awkward, dong ma? So, one of you gals wanna jump on the helm, like you always do, and steer this boat away from certain doom please and thank you?"

There was a silence then, just long enough for another interloper to step in. This one a man. A hunky kind of man, kind of. She tried not to stare. This one she didn't recognize, either, and she was going to go ahead and assume that would be a recurring theme. How hard did I hit my gorram head? He moved through the room, looking between the three of them, before sliding dat ass into the pilot's chair.

Thank gorram Buddha, the pilot!

"Are we all going to just stand around all day, ignoring the immediate peril the ship seems intent on alerting us to?"


She wheeled around on him. "Hey, listen, Beefsteak, you don't see us jumpin' into the pilot's chair, on account of the fact that we aren't the gorram pilot. Clearly, as you've suddenly appeared and done just that. So maybe instead of runnin' that smart mouth of yours, you could maybe get us all not killed so we can go back to... doin'... things..."


As if that moment weren't awkward enough, another dude rolled in in nothing but his socks, skivs and a tool belt. Had it been Beefsteak in that particular wardrobial situation, it wouldn't have been so bad. But this guy.. this guy was... something else entirely. He went to a panel, took it apart rather quickly, and did... something. Suddenly, she felt gravity's pull a little better than it had been. Apparently, the gravity had been off before. Good to know? She looked between new dude and the red-haired kid, who looked a bit scared. She wheeled on Mr. Skivs now.

"Hey, maybe you should put some shorts on or something, if you're going to continue fixing the ship today. You're gonna scar the poor kid for life!" Her hands were on her hips, and she wondered for a moment whether anyone else was going to show up in various levels of dress or undress. After a moment, she was satisfied that wasn't going to happen, and got down to business.

"Okay, now that we're all here, I have a very important question for you all..." She paused, looking between them all once again. "What the gorram rutt is my ruttin' name?"
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She sound of a third voice made her turn her head towards it, where she saw a third person come in. Another woman, who was... or looked... just barely old enough to be the mother of both her and the first woman. Whether the older woman actually was the mother of either of them wasn't something she knew. Both of them had used words that she didn't understand, but recognized as something that she was pretty sure was Chinese of some sort. Well, that was going to make things difficult for her considering she didn't seem to know Chinese. At least they spoke English, too.

The first woman seemed to know both of them, going by how she was talking. Maybe it's just me that doesn't remember anything she thought. Maybe she had hit her head on something. Which would explain why she was the only one apparently in pajamas or pajama-like clothing. Her hands twitched a little with a desire to check her head for bumps. There was no way to do that discretely, though, so she resisted the urge. Her head didn't hurt, at least. That was something to be glad for. She didn't know whether or not she knew how to fly any sort of spacecraft. Hell, she didn't even know if she even knew how to drive a car, though she was reasonably sure she could at least do that because... really... how hard could that be? She was willing to at least give it a try, though. They were already about to find themselves up a creek without a paddle, so she couldn't make it any worse unless she somehow accidentally blew them all to space dust.

She took a deep breath, gathering her courage to speak up, about to offer to try, when a man made his way onto the bridge. Well, helloooo gorgeous! she thought, enjoying the aesthetics. Though with two other women on board... both attractive... she probably didn't have a snowball's chance in hell, assuming they lived and assuming the man wasn't a total asshole or a pervert and was someone she actually wanted a chance with. Then she immediately felt a blush starting creep up into her cheeks and hoped it would be put down to Mr Hottie McHoterson's remark rather than any thoughts she had been having.

The first woman's commentary to Mr Hottie made her lips twitch in amusement despite the fear that was still pressing in on her, but the 'beefsteak' part of that made her even more sure she wouldn't have a snowball's chance because guys just didn't turn down women who looked like that. Ah, well. That was the way it happened sometimes. Besides, they would probably all die in the next few minutes anyway and such speculations would be even more pointless than they already were considering she didn't even know who she was let alone who any of these people were.

More movement caught her eye, and drew her gaze. Her lip curled slightly in disgust as a man old enough to be her father, the first woman's father, and maybe Mr Hottie's father too, for that matter, walked in wearing not much more than his underpants and tool belt. She inched away from him, feeling completely skeeved out. But on the bright side, she suddenly felt a whole lot less awkward about being in pajamas. At least all my bits are decently covered she thought.

The first woman continued on talking to Mr No-Pants. She was glad someone spoke out about his state of dress... or would that be undress?... but she didn't know what 'kid' the woman was referring to. Everyone on the bridge right now was an adult, as far as she knew. And... okay... they were all a fair bit taller than her, at a rough guess since she wasn't actually standing close enough to any of them to be sure, but she could tell that under her own clothes at least she definitely had adult curves. Even if she was on the small side. She knew she was an adult in the way that she knew the others were as well. Alright, admittedly, she hadn't looked in a mirror in her hurry to leave her room, but she just... knew. She was an adult. Still, a small scowl of annoyance formed at the possibility that she was the one the other woman was referring to as a kid. If they were just going off looks, the first woman looked like she could pass for as young as sixteen.

A soft huff of laughter escaped her at the question. Yeah, this was one seriously screwed up situation. Maybe she would wake up in a little while and find it had all been a dream. A woman could hope, right? "I don't even know my own name, let alone yours" she replied, the timbre of her voice clearly belonging to an adult despite the fact that it wasn't especially deep. "Any of yours" she added, looking at the older woman and the good looking man briefly, and at some point above the head of the creepy pantsless man rather than at him directly. She had already seen far more of him than she ever wanted to see, and until he put some pants or at least shorts on, she was so not looking at him again if she could help it.
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One woman, the one in front spoke to both men in a tone that broke no funny stuff.

"Hey, maybe you should put some shorts on or something, if you're going to continue fixing the ship today. You're gonna scar the poor kid for life!"

He had noticed the looks the others were giving him and felt embarrassed.

"Right away Capt'n"

He turned and left the bridge. He re traced his steps and soon he was back below decks and at the room he started in. He had not seen anyone on his trip and a total of five minutes had passed since he left the bridge.

The ship still shook, but gravity stayed where it was supposed to.

He looked around the room he had started his life in and found a pair of jeans, a pair of boots, a gun belt with a pistol and a jeans vest.

He dressed, gun included, and stepped back out into the hall.

He heard a buzzing and beeping sound and followed the noise into a large room full of mechanical equipment. He followed the buzzing sound to a panel labeled EMERGENCY SYSTEMS

The panel had a lever and was labeled with an ENGAGE and a DISENGAGE

The lever was in the dis-engage position.

That's not right. he thought as he took the lever in his hands and moved it to the engaged position.
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Quan de Yun You

Once the older man had left all the consoles were found to be dead. Nothing worked. No comms, no controls.

Sparks still flew and cables still snapped but eh gravity stayed the same.

Once the lever was engaged in the engine room the consoles on the bridge lit up and became active The circuits to SAMI initiated and the construct was able to come online. The data feed she received indicated that the ship was reaching critical mass and structural failure.

The ship came ever closer to the space that both planets revolved around.

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Aside from confirming that she wasn't alone on the ship, and that it was possible that some crew remained on board, nothing she had encountered so far had served to illuminate the situation much. She was on a ship that was in peril from some unknown cause, in the company of a group of people she had no memories of, with no idea why she was there, or even who she was.

The two women; young though they were, she could see now that they weren't juvenile girls, even if one might be able to fake it, seemed to have the same problem. The two men who had hit the bridge like they worked there, well . . .

"Are we all going to just stand around all day, ignoring the immediate peril the ship seems intent on alerting us to?"

That was a bit odd, she thought. Not "Could you all clear out of the way so I can do my job?" or some ruder or more polite variation of that. He might be the type of guy who jumps in and takes charge, but he's probably not the guy who sits in that seat.

The pantsless mechanic? Most guys would probably grab their pants in an emergency before they'd grab a tool belt, so mechanic seemed a good bet, but was he actually this ship's mechanic? Did he think the youngest looking person here was the captain, or was that just something he said, like "Sure thing, buddy." She certainly didn't seem to think she was the captain.

Also, one might expect the mechanic not to be much more fond of unqualified people standing around the bridge in an emergency than the pilot would be. No orders to clear the area, or requests for the kind of simple assistance any able bodied person might be able to provide in a crisis, if directed by someone who knew what needed to be done.

No coordination of effort between the two men. They hadn't even spoken to each other.

They weren't crew, or if they were, they didn't remember it. Maybe they remembered their basic skills, but not their role on this ship. Maybe they didn't have one.

Either way, no one was acting like they knew what was going on. They were just responding to it differently.

"I'm not really sensing this situation improving much." she said. "Or that anyone here really knows what's going on."

I know I'm in a lot of danger, but I'm calm. I can think rationally. I might not know what to do in this situation, but if I did, I'm the kind of person who could do it.

More lights came on around the bridge. Not the angry, insistent glare of more warning lights, but the more reassuring glow on active systems. Perhaps pantsless mechanic actually was the ship's mechanic, or at least, someone who could do the job.

"So, two questions. What needs to be done in order for this ship to stop trying to crash and commence flying properly again, and does anyone here have a name and an answer as to how and why they got on this not so shiny ship to begin with?"
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"Hey, listen, Beefsteak, you don't see us jumpin' into the pilot's chair, on account of the fact that we aren't the gorram pilot. Clearly, as you've suddenly appeared and done just that. So maybe instead of runnin' that smart mouth of yours, you could maybe get us all not killed so we can go back to... doin'... things..."

He glared at the loud mouthed young girl. She was cute, in an annoying sort of fashion. Come to that, they were all relatively attractive. He noted that this information hit him not in a base, lustful, primal sense, but as information to be stored and used later, in the process of discerning what made them tick.

Why did he need to know that?

He had no idea.

Before he could form a reply, an older man showed up, ready for work, apparently, except for his glaringly obvious lack of pants. He began fiddling, because the man in the pilot's chair had no idea how to technically describe what the other...gentleman, was doing, and suddenly the ship's gravity seemed to increase slightly, to that of a world, real and proper.

"Hey, maybe you should put some shorts on or something, if you're going to continue fixing the ship today. You're gonna scar the poor kid for life!"

The older man looked abashed, and nodded haltingly.

"Right away Capt'n"

The man in the pilot's chair rolled his eyes and gave a soft mutter under his breath, wondering at his own accent.

"Aye, and maybe ye'll shut yer trap long enough fer us ta figure out what we're doin' here, before that banshee wail o' yours causes us all ta go deaf."

Where the hell was he from?

Her hands were on her hips, and she stood with...not authority...imperiousness. She clearly thought she was in charge, even if she wasn't officially in charge.

"Okay, now that we're all here, I have a very important question for you all...What the gorram rutt is my ruttin' name?" asked the loudmouth, voicing the question that seemed to be at the tip of everyone's tongue.

At least someone had admitted that they didn't know what was going on, even if she did have a mouth on her like a sailor six months to sea.

"I don't even know my own name, let alone yours. Any of yours." said the redhead, the kid for that's the impression she gave, looking decidedly less confident than the loudmouth.

"I'm not really sensing this situation improving much.Or that anyone here really knows what's going on."

The lights on the bridge flickered and the console came to life beneath his fingers. Data readouts began to scroll past at dizzying speed, and he recognized some of the terms.

Critical Failure...

Structural Integrity...

These weren't exactly friendly words, and he was growing more uncomfortable by the second.

"So, two questions. What needs to be done in order for this ship to stop trying to crash and commence flying properly again, and does anyone here have a name and an answer as to how and why they got on this not so shiny ship to begin with?"

He straightened himself in the chair, and placed his hands on the controls. The yoke didn't feel familiar in his hands, but it wasn't foreign to him either. This wasn't his ship, but he had a basic understanding, he thought, of how ships worked. He pulled the yoke softly at first, and then more firmly to the left, halting the careening that the ship was doing, pointing it in a black direction outside the viewscreen. Once the ship appeared to be flying level, he pulled back on the throttle, and felt rather than heard the strain on the engines lessen as the craft slowed, coasting in Zero-G under it's own momentum.

"Well, ta answer yer first question, someone needs ta do that. Stop us from shootin' ourselves face first inta somethin' solid." he said. "Once someone figures out that these three switches control the retroboosters, we can come ta full stop."

He pointed at three switches, and realizing what he'd just said, he toggled them on, feeling the momentum of the ship's travel come to a halt as inertia pressed him against the console.

He sat back in the pilot's chair, confused.

"I don't think I'm a pilot, y'see? I think maybe me someone I know was, though." he said, somewhat to himself.

He blinked back to the moment, and shrugged, turning back to the others in the room.

"I've no idea what's on about this ship, or how I got meself here." he said, giving what he knew to be his most charming smile, the one used to put people at ease. "Loudmouth here apparently says I'm ta be called 'Beefsteak', so I s'pose that'll have ta do fer me name fer the moment."
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The stream of noises that started to come out of Steak's mouth were just that for a moment - noises. Nothing that she recognized as proper speech until she realized the man had a pretty substantial accent. She hadn't noticed it when he first arrived. Of course, he hadn't been as generally insulting that time as he had been this time, either.

But, considering the situation, she couldn't be that mad with him. Even less so once he started to take control of the ship. Inexpertly, perhaps, but knowledgeable enough to know what was what. Thank ruttin' Buddha. She wasn't going to die without knowing what her own gorram name was.

On that point, she wasn't alone. It seemed that every one of them was a total blank slate when it came to identity, at least. Clearly, Beefy had maintained a knack for flying, and she had managed to hang on to her gift for colorful language. It wasn't much, but it was something.

"Okay, so Mr. Skivvies clearly knows how to fix things around here, and Beefy here can at least steer this thing and help us not die. Whatever's going on here, we managed to keep some bits of our brains. Which is nice." She racked her mind for what her particular set of skills would possibly be, but came up empty. No matter. Just keep talking. "Also, this ship is a gorram mess right now. Something happened, and it was clearly a bad something. We need to try to find some sort of log or something... anything that might tell us what was going on before we all woke up."

She paused, blinked, looked between them. "That is, if you all woke up like this, just now, today. I guess I can't assume anything right now."

Steak spoke up then. "I've no idea what's on about this ship, or how I got meself here. Loudmouth here apparently says I'm ta be called 'Beefsteak', so I s'pose that'll have ta do fer me name fer the moment."

Loudmouth? You yinge jinu de gongren xianggan de erzi...

"No no no, Beefy..." She put a hand on his shoulder, smiling down at him to match his own. "No sense in building up your ego. B'sides, I dunno enough about these other two to know what to call them, so..." She pointed to herself, then the kid, then the.. other woman.. then to Beef. "One, Two, Three, Four, and Captain Underpants is Five. Order of arrival on the bridge, I think it's more than fair, and easy enough. Right?"
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Oh, thank all that's good in the 'Verse she thought when Mr No-Pants made his exit. How someone could forget about pants of all things was beyond her. When everyone else began talking among themselves without responding to what she'd said, she thought no one had heard her. That was... okay, actually. She had expected to be annoyed, but she wasn't. Well, not much, anyway. It was a little annoying not to be responded to when she spoke. Apparently she was used to fading into the background though, because she wasn't angry about it. Or maybe she just wasn't prone to angering easily. Whatever. It didn't matter right now. What mattered was figuring out where the hell they were, and where they were originally supposed to have been heading. And maybe... if they were lucky... where they had come from as well. If they could figure that out, maybe they could retrace their steps and find out what had happened to them all... and why they were here.

Since she wasn't the center of attention, she crept along the walls over to the second pilot's seat and studied the console and panels in front of her. The things Handsome had done had been familiar. No, more than familiar. She had known what he was doing even without the verbal play by play. After a moment, she pushed a button and one of the consoles sprang to life. Navigational computer some part of her mind said. She knew it was right the way she knew she was adult and female. It was instinct. And she also knew navigational computers usually had a record of where a ship had been. But something wasn't quite right with it. A frown creased her brows slightly, and she pushed a few more buttons. "Venez, vous morceau de merde" she muttered. Apparently, she knew French. How she'd managed to learn that, of all things, but not Chinese, was as much of a mystery to her as everything else was at the moment.

She caught part of what the Asian woman was saying, and nodded briefly. "Yeah, sure. That's as good a system as any" she said with a shrug, not knowing or caring if she was heard or not. Her focus was on the screen, and trying to access files. She hadn't actually sat in the chair and handled the controls... not that she remembered, anyway... but she had known what Handsome was doing there, so she clearly knew something about flying. There was a good chance she was, since she had known the navigational computer when she had seen it, and how to operate it. She was no tech monkey, though. That much was obvious to her. But she didn't have to be a tech monkey to know messed-with data when she saw it. All that meant was that she wouldn't be able to get past it, and that she didn't know exactly how it had been messed with. Figuring that out would be a job best left to someone who knew what they were doing, at least in part. Less chance of something getting well and truly baisée that way.

When it became obvious she wasn't going to be able to access any logs regarding their prior ports of call, she turned her attention to sorting out... or attempting to sort out... where they were right now, and what the nearest inhabited... or at least habitable... celestial bodies were. Then they could go from there. Well... provided the computer would cooperate with her, that is. Technically they could just pick a direction and go, but with as vast as the black was, without knowing where they were they wouldn't be able to pick a destination and plot a course to it. They could be flying for decades before they actually got anywhere. Or they could end up in the middle of a supernova or fly through the heart of a sun or something.
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