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Episode 1: Winds of Change
Topic Started: Jun 18 2016, 08:22 PM (2,894 Views)
The Machiavelli

Beylix System
Outside the orbital path of Beylix 2, second moon of Beylix
1945 Hours

The music slowly rose in volume, piped over the intercom system, heavily synthesized notes rising to a crescendo that settled into a simple beat.

I want to break free
I want to break free
I want to break free from your lies
You're so self satisfied, I don't need you.
I've got to break free
God knows, God knows I want to break free.

"Everybody report to the galley. Dinner's ready, folks. Come and get it." the captain's voice rang out through the ship, clear and clearly amused over the intercom speakers. "That means you too, Benji and Ted. We've got the most advanced autopilot system in the 'Verse. Let's use the company's resources and let it do it's job, huh? Surely it can hold us steady while we eat. Come on down here. That's an order."

The ship, a brand new (refit) Blue Sun Terraformer called The Machiavelli, rode through the darkness of the Black, pulling her train of cargo containers beneath her hull, trailing astern. Quiet but powerful, she moved gracefully, if slowly, like an Earth-That-Was whale, too big to confront except by those purpose built predators who hunted in the bad parts of the Black. Thankfully, her blue and gray paint job, along with the Blue Sun logos kept her relatively unchallenged, and for the times that being unseen or sporting the livery of the biggest corporation in existence failed to effect deterrence, she had several heavily armed fighters in her bay, and a pair of continental shaping lasers mounted at her fore. When one carried a stick large enough to cut a world in two, predators, even the most tenacious ones, tended to think twice before picking a fight.

The captain, a young man by the name of Troy Lockheart, hummed along with the music as he carried serving platters to the long dining table. He laid out a hearty spread of salads, sweet cornbread, and chili that was spiced enough to rid the tastebuds of the flavor of protein packs. He took good care of his crew, and cared for them the way he'd been taught as a child by his father's coworkers, burly men who worked hard and played harder.

You love someone, you keep them fed. Troy Lockhart truly loved through food.

She cruised along quietly, did The Machiavelli, wielding her power gently, using it to shape worlds for habitation. This, the crew's maiden voyage, had been uneventful, but every new day brought new challenges with it. Terraforming was dangerous work, and it attracted hard people. Her most recent crew, the latest since she's been rebuilt from the ground up and repurposed for terraforming, had only been together for a few days. They'd boarded up at the shipyards, and had embarked to their first destination, a rock that tended to be cool, which had plunged into sub arctic temperatures for no apparent reason. Some sort of malfunction with the planet's atmospheric processors had thrown off the entire biosphere.

And so The Machiavelli'a crew arrived, there to save the world.


Lyrics from "I Want To Break Free" by Queen
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Ted Johnson
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Ted Johnson sat in the pilot's chair on the bridge of the Machiavelli. Well 'sat' in the most generous definition of the verb. Ted was mostly prone in the chair, his head tilted back and mouth wide open, his legs stretched out with his heels on the deck. He was facing away from the pilot console with his eyes closed, swiveling the chair slowly back and forth. His elbows rested on the padded armrests with his fingers interlocked over his stomach, partially obscuring the faded cartoon characters (a skinny tan animal that loosely resembled a dog and a red and white 'thing' with a bulbous blue nose) that were printed on his t-shirt.

When Lock's message came over the 'comm, Ted sat up slowly and rubbed his eyes, spun around in the chair to face the pilot console, held his arms out to his side and made a small gesture like dancing 'The Robot'.

"That's 'n order" he said mockingly, half under his breath, as he reached out and switched on the autopilot. He then checked the navigation screen.

"Dude!" He reached over and turned the autopilot back off, typed something on the navigation computer console and switched the autopilot back on. Again, he checked the navigation screen.

"Duuuuude, not shiney!" He switched off the autopilot again then slid down off the pilot chair and climbed up under the console. He removed a panel from underneath the navigation computer and reached in to input a sequence of numbers on a small keypad located there. He replaced the panel, climbed back up into the pilot chair and switched the autopilot back on once again.

Checking the navigation screen once more, he gave a thumbs up. "Copasetic, dude."

Ted patted the console as he stood. "Don't worry, sweet cheeks. That'll keep ya ridin' th' curve 'til I get back from stuffin' some grub down ma neck."

Checking the nav screen one last time, Ted gave a satisfied nod, turned on the heel of his sandal and exited the bridge, bouncing and bobbing to the music as he strolled leisurely across the command deck to the lift that would take him down to the dining hall.
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Benji Harlequin
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Lock was a man of exquisite taste. Whether it was food, crew members, or, in this case, music, the guy knew how to pick ‘em. Of course, given that she was constantly whispering her influence into his ear to get him to make life aboard the ship as fun as possible, perhaps she was giving the captain too much credit. Still, she approved of his choice of music all the same, and to demonstrate how she felt she sang along. Loudly.

”I've fallen in love
I've fallen in love for the first time
And this time I know it's for real
I've fallen in love, yeah
God knows, God knows I've fallen in love.”

The Machiavelli possessed wonderfully wide hallways, and the co-pilot’s voice rang through one of them as she returned to her post at the helm with Ted. Unable to resist, she drummed her fingers on the wall as she walked, keeping in time with the beat as she belted the lyrics. She was at particularly high volume as she passed Duncan’s room in the crew quarters, though she knew his bunk was currently unoccupied. Benji Harlequin was usually careful to stay on the right side of the line between lovable pesterer and nuisance, but around Duncan she couldn’t help but turn her natural exuberance up a few levels. They had only known each other for a short time, but it was clear to Benji that Duncan Poole should come with a label to all he met that read Warning: This Man is Too Serious. Teasing him was an art—one she was set on perfecting.

The rest of the crew was all right, though she was reserving judgment until they had actually worked together as a team. Casual interaction like what she’d experienced thus far was all well and good, but if these people were the sort who became all business when duty called and had no room for fun, she’d have a problem.

”That’s an order.”

Lock’s announcement briefly overrode the music as the captain summoned his crew to dinner. Benji scowled, irritated that her friend had interrupted her solo concert, and stuck her tongue out at the nearest speaker, even as the music resumed. ”An order?” she scoffed. ”Puh-lease. You’re lucky I like you, Lock, or I’d toss you out an airlock and move up from XO.” The woman was grumbling to herself, but it was good-natured, and had Lock been around to hear her he would have understood. The two had been friends for a while now, and it was her responsibility to hold up her end of the relationship by giving him a hard time. Someone had to keep his head from getting too big; might as well be her.

With the music back on Benji’s good mood returned, a skip in her step as she changed course and headed for the galley. It did not do to ignore their fearless leader’s orders, especially when food was involved Her singing continued as she went, the last few bars fading as she bounced into the galley. Lock’s back was to her, so she glided over to her friend and, wrapping her arms around his torso, squeezed him in a tight hug. ”So, whatcha got?”
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Danira Scott
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Dani continued testing the HUD on her EVA suit as the Captain's announcement came over the internal comm. Her cabin was a controlled chaos of suit modules and spare parts she had already tested and polished. The suit itself wasn't cheap, but, when one was out in the Black crawling around the exterior of a ship or or where ever she was needed, cheap wasn't an option.

Modules for welding, cutting, extracting lay in a neat line on her bed. The other piece of equipment, a safety thing more than for work was a sidearm she lastly clipped into the integrated hip holster that folded back into the suit's armor. Armor that was combat grade which had saved her more than once and lastly when the Reavers had attacked.

Putting her small hand tools back in their hardcase, Dani pushed herself off the bulkhead and off her bed to the floor. After locking the hatch behind her, Dani headed one flight down to the mess hall.

She'd noticed the XO and pilot were already here and the Captain making finishing touches on what Dani deemed a rather elaborate meal. Her stomach growled softly with approval as the aromas entered her nose. Lockhart new how to treat his crew.
Not something she was accustomed to, Dani didn't have a problem with it either.

"You're spoiling us, Cap'n, not that I'm complaining." Dani stated as she pulled out a chair and sat down, moving it closer to the table.

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Maxwell Jägare
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When you get a contract to simply be a gun hand or escort, you never quite expect something along the lines of music being blasted through the internal PA of the ship, and then be ordered to come down for dinner. Maxwell was used to the set schedule he had, but it wasn’t very difficult to adjust. Then again, the music was making it a little difficult to focus on his task at hand. Was not anything prying, but he preferred peace and quiet when he was cleaning and servicing his firearms. Something about the sound of a wire brush on metal and keeping track of all the pieces of the puzzle helped him relax a bit. He was not going to complain about the music, it was the Captain’s preference and most likely the preference of the crew. He was just glad to be off of that overpopulated station they picked him up from.

” Everybody report to the galley. Dinner’s ready, Folks. Come and get it.”

Looking up from the inner workings of the lower receiver of the rifle towards the PA, he pulled it up and aimed. Pulling the trigger, the solid click of the hammer dropping only brought a smile to his face as he imagined the PA exploding as the round tore through the outer shell and inner workings. Turning back to the table he worked at, he plucked the fully assembled upper receiver from the table and snapped it with the lower. Gently tapping the final pin, he stood up and replaced the firearm into the locker before he closed and locked it. Tucking the key into his right front pocket before he reached up and slipped his fingers into the holes of the cage. Tugging and pulling twice to check the integrity of the lock and the locker itself. An approving nod was all he could muster as he turned to the doorway.

Stepping back into the corridor he sighed, looking left to right. ” Going to have to memorize the floor plans a little better.”

After one or two confused turns and one wrong door, he finally figured out that he was on the wrong deck. It only took a minute or two for him to find his way to the Galley were he could hear some form of life bumping about from within.

” So, whatcha got?”

He only turned the corner to catch two people in a sort of embrace. One of them, he knew well to be Lock; the Captain. The other, he probably heard her name at one point but never bothered to remember it. Clearing his throat to make his presence known he gestured to the doorway he just walked through, ” I can always leave if you two need privacy.”
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Dr. Duncan Poole
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"...conditions on the planet have changed dramatically over the course of only days, with temperatures dropping to arctic levels even in the temperate zone. Suspected axial shift, though the cause of this is currently unknown..."

Dr. Duncan Poole paused there, and tilted his head toward the ceiling of the lab. The opening notes of the Queen anthem began to play over the intercom, causing a tightening of the doctor's lips and a slight twitch to his right eye. Taking a breath, he calmly turned off his recorder, turned to face the room and uttered his general opinion of the ship's captain.

"Bloody hell!"

He rose from his chair and started to stride forcefully through the brightly lit lab, the metal tables cleaned to a mirror shine that spoke of the Chief Science Officer's demand for excellence. Everything was neat and orderly, everything was where it was supposed to be. Poole wouldn't have it any other way.

"And this time I know it's for real... I've fallen in love, yeah..."

To a point, anyway. When it came to the brilliant Stewart Spengler, Poole was willing to make exceptions. So, when he turned a corner to find the dirt-strewn workspace of Dr. Spengler, complete with its occupant singing along with Freddy Mercury in a shaky falsetto. Poole stopped dead in his tracks, fingers rising to his temple. It was a moment before Spengler noticed him there.

"Oh! Hello Doctor Poole, I didn't notice you there." The voice of the geologist was quite friendly and earnest, which almost bothered Poole more than the captain's tomfoolery. There was no one better suited for the task of Geologist on a terraforming vessel than Stewart Spengler, but if they had to share a space, Poole would have preferred someone a bit more professional. "Don't you just love this old time music? It just rushes in to your senses and fills you with such great emotion, doesn't it?"

Dr. Poole felt the twitch returning to his eye again. "Actually, I don't rea--"

Spengler rose from his seat excitedly, his fingertips tinged with soil. "Have you ever heard the one that goes like..." He cleared his throat, and Poole tried to raise his hand to interrupt, but it was to no avail. Spengler put a hand to his chest and began to project. "My loneliness is killing me... I must confess, I still believe..." There was a bit of a dance routine accompanying the tune, which was more than Poole could bear. He snapped his thick fingers, which caused Spengler to freeze.

"Thank you, no, I haven't had the pleasure of that symphony. However, there will be plenty of time for discussing musical tastes and the like in the future." The words dripped from his tongue like venom; there could barely be more disdain in them. "Right now, the captain has summoned us for a meeting. So, if you haven't filled up on dirt perhaps you should come along..." He didn't wait for a reply, just walked around the other man toward the door. He already knew that the captain would try to make it seem like the two of them together shared leadership of the vessel, but Poole would correct that inaccuracy. The Machiavelli belonged to him, as the leading expert on planetary engineering. Today would be the first day of what would likely be years of assignments. The time to assert his ultimate authority was now.

(Jiro gave me permission to GM Spengler, I promise.)
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Troy Lockheart

Lock began setting out pots and pitchers of drinks as the crew began filtering in. Coffee, tea, (black, green, sweet, and unsweet), water, milk, and something akin to orange juice, or as close to orange juce as Blue Sun’s Deep Space Nutritional Experimentation Division could come up with…

As he walked from galley to table, a pair small, but deceptively strong, arms wrapped themselves around his waist, and compressed his ribs. Benji, being the sneak that she was, had mastered the art of the “ninja hug”. He’d gotten used to them, but he was thankful that both his hands were full, as he was sure that if they hadn’t been, he’d have been lifted off his feet.

“So, whatcha got?”

Lock chuckled and nodded to the spread on the table, setting down the large pot he held so as not to spill it, as Ted, their pilot mosey’d into the room.

“Grandpa Lock’s award winning chili, Grandma Lock’s ‘Verse famous cornbread, and enough veggies to keep the Sunshiners off my back for feeding you non regulation foodstuffs.”

A voice came from the open area near the lift that led into the dining area.

“I can always leave if you two need privacy.”

Lock turned and saw Maxwell, or Max, as he’d decided to call the young man. He was quiet, kinda, and had a brooding way about him, but he’d come highly recommended from some of Lock’s counterparts in the division.

“Max. Welcome to what I hope is the first of many unhealthy meals I feed you.” he said, grinning. “Um, Benji? You can let go of the Captain now.”

Danira, their EVA Specialist and mechanic extraordinaire took her place at the table, inhaling appreciatively.

"You're spoiling us, Cap'n, not that I'm complaining."

”Well, Danny Boy, I do aim to please. A well fed crew is a happy crew, so says my dad.” Troy said, beaming. ”That bit of advice has never steered me wrong. Wise man, my dad.”

As Lock moved around the table to take his seat, he saw the Good Doctors Poole and Spengler enter the room. The look on Poole’s face was enough to stop Lock in his tracks. The man was easily the smartest person that Lock had ever met, and he knew it. When it came to the technical aspects of terraforming a planet, Troy Lockheart was no slouch, but Poole outstripped him by miles. Lock had seen his work. The man was a damned artist when it came to creating new worlds. Unfortunately for Lock, he seemed to be laboring under the misapprehension that “smartest” meant “in charge”.

Lock was willing to let that slide, as the man did have nominal control of the grand decisions on how a new rock would be shaped into a habitable world, but that didn’t make him Captain. Lock was in command of the ship, and honestly, this mission was beneath Poole’s considerable talents at this stage.

That was, of course, no reason to be rude.

“Doctors. Excellent. Please, come in. Sit, eat.” Lock said, sitting himself down at the end of the table. ”You’re just in time for dinner and a briefing.”
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Making Better Worlds...
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Yvaine Selvig
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Being brought on board a ship as crew was not something Yvaine had ever seen as something that would happen with the career she had chosen. And yet, here she was, in that very position. Not that she minded, of course. If she had minded, she would have turned down the offer when it was made. Her curiosity and her eagerness to see and experience new things had been part of what had caused her to choose to go into biology anyway. There was always something new to discover when it came to science. That was the thrill of it, and why she had followed in her parents' footsteps... after a fashion.

The issue they were on their way to resolve was a puzzle she couldn't seem to leave alone. Yvaine did try to spend some time getting to know her crewmates and she spent some time doing physical activities but she kept being drawn back to the records that had been given to her. She spent countless hours poring over the notes and theories and everything else she had access to regarding the sudden climate change. Such a thing shouldn't happen. Then again, terraforming didn't always take. Sometimes there were disasters. Miranda was a prime example of that... though information as to the exact nature of what went wrong was next to nothing and extremely vague. That, too, was a puzzle she would dearly love to solve, but that wasn't likely to happen. So she would try to solve this one to the best of her ability. Maybe even fix what had gone wrong before this world became uninhabitable too. But she was only a biologist. The finer points of terraforming were something that she didn't fully understand, even if she did understand biology as a whole, and how the different parts of life all fit together to form a workable ecosystem.

She had already read the records numerous times, but nothing new occurred to her. She was really looking forward to taking her own samples and running her own tests when they arrived at their destination. The work of others in her field was a good starting point, but she didn't tend to trust it without verifying the information and results for herself. Since there wasn't much more to do about that just yet, Yvaine was reading one of the books she had brought along for pleasure reading. When the call to food came, she finished the chapter she was on, then after a moment turned off her corpad. Since she would be in company of others rather than alone or sitting with people she wasn't likely to talk to, it would have been rude to read at the table. She pulled on her socks and boots... having learned the hard way that walking around barefoot on metal floors was not fun and did not lead to warm feet. She would have to get a nice area rug or something for her room on board at the first opportunity. Her only experience with ships before had been the occasional cruise ship in her youth. Those had all had carpeted floors.

Yvaine was... admittedly not entirely surprised to see that the rest of her crewmates had already arrived. That tended to happen when food was delayed in favor of reading, and it was something she was more than used to. "Hi, everyone. Sorry I'm a bit late. I was just finishing up a bit of reading" she said cheerfully, flashing a smile at everyone. A whiff of the food reached her as she plopped down into the nearest empty chair. "Whatever that is, it smells delicious" she added.
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Ted Johnson
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Ted sauntered into the galley with a big grin on his face. "Nee dzummah yahng, crew dudes n dudettes! Whatev' th' grindage is, smells good 'nuff ta eat!" Ted grabbed a hunk of cornbread and stuffed it in his mouth, filled a bowl with the chili and poured himself a glass of "juice". He found a seat at the dining table and set the bowl and glass down then looked around at the assembled group.

His eyes crinkled as he smiled at the by-play between XO Benji and the captain, including the reaction from 'Max th' Merc' who was obviously wound too tight to recognize friendly crew banter when he saw it.

When 'Space Cowgirl' Dani came in, he gave her a chin jut bro' nod. The pilot had major respect for what she was able to do. "I mean I dig Th' Black 's much 's any space jockey, but she ach'lly swims init!" He thought to himself.

Then in came 'Doctor Tarr' and 'Professor Fether' "Nev'r uh more mismatched pair uh eggheads in th' 'Verse!" he mused as he shook his head.

As soon as his behind met with the seat of his chair, he began shoveling chili into his mouth, pausing to either take a large swig of his "juice" or talk, directing his statement mainly to Lock. "So, th' grand ol' lady is shootin' th' curve all shiney like... after I hadda talk wit dat gorram Otto. State uh th' art, my astrolabe. Can't seem ta compensate fer her curves, so I tapped inna lateral offset ta keep her from rufflin' th' Black." He shoved another hunk of cornbread in his mouth as he looked Capt. Lockhart in the eye with an expression similar to a cow chewing cud.

Just then 'Chatty Cathy' Selvig walked in.

Hi, everyone. Sorry I'm a bit late. I was just finishing up a bit of reading

Ted smiled back at the biologist as she flashed her pearly whites at him, cornbread crumbs falling from the edge of his mouth.

Whatever that is, it smells delicious. she said and plopped down in the seat right across from Ted.

Ted swallowed hard and wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his t-shirt. "Yeah, Pinky, that's wut *I* sed."
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Benji Harlequin
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She had to admit, she was a tad disappointed when she didn’t hear even a single one of Lock’s ribs crack from her hug. Not that she wanted to hurt the man, but she’d really been working hard on perfecting her combination hug/death grip, just in case she ever needed to love somebody to death. It was always good to have a few tricks up your sleeve in a fight…and Benji really, really liked hugs.

“Grandpa Lock’s award winning chili, Grandma Lock’s ‘Verse famous cornbread, and enough veggies to keep the Sunshiners off my back for feeding you non regulation foodstuffs.”

Benji grinned at Lock’s description of the food. “Good to know that you’ve managed to pick up some fun skills to go along with all that dry technical terraforming mumbo-jumbo,” she teased. “And forget about Blue Sun regulations. You know those’re meant to be broken anyway. Too many rules makes for a boring life, ya know.”

“I can always leave if you two need privacy.”

Benji looked up as a voice came into the room from the hallway. First she saw Ted, and beamed at her fellow pilot, but knew that he wasn’t the one who’d spoken; the words were too serious to have come from him. It took her another second to pinpoint the source: Maxwell. She studied the man as he skulked by the door. Maxwell was…strange. He kept to himself, and while that by itself wasn’t unusual, something about him always seemed…off. Looking at him, it was as if a small dark cloud hung over his head. She’d have to see about getting rid of that. How, though, she wasn’t sure; he really didn’t seem like the hugging type.

“Um, Benji? You can let go of the Captain now.”

She hadn’t realized that she was still hugging Lock. At his words, she let go. “Ay aye, Cap’n,” Benji responded, offering an exaggerated salute as she spun away. She converted the salute into a wave directed first at Maxwell, then at Danira as she walked in. She made a point, as the EVA specialist took a seat at the table, to repeat Danira’s name a few times in her head to make sure she had it memorized. Benji had come onto this ship only knowing Lock, and so was doing her best to get to know all the new people she was to be working with. With some, like Ted, that was easy. So far, Ted was her favorite. His laid-back attitude and weird slang were right up her alley. There was a man who had learned not to take life too seriously. That was her kind of person.

Then there was Dr. Poole. If Maxwell had his small black cloud, Poole was surrounded by a raging hurricane of disapproval. The guy looked like he’d never been happy in his life, might not even know what that word meant. She longed to get the doctor to loosen up, but just looking at him she knew better than to even bother with a smile. Instead, she settled for a nod. Dr. Spengler, however…he got a smile. Him she liked. He was a bit odd, obsessed with his field, but she could respect that. Everyone had their quirks.

The final arrival was Yvaine, who said something about reading as she drifted in. As the biologist took a seat, Benji wandered over in her direction. She was on a mission to bring fun into the lives of all she met, and currently Yvaine was her target. There was something about her that piqued Benji’s interest. Maybe it was the hair; pink was a great color. Benji plopped into a seat next to Yvaine, flashing the biologist her trademark grin as she began to grab for all food in her reach.

“What’s up, doc? Whatcha been readin'?”

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Danira Scott
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Pouring herself a glass of sweet tea after a minute of wondering what she wanted from the choices, Dani glanced at the others as the room filled with their colorful presences. As if the ship itself were the canvas and the crew the abstract painting. Dani was no exception with her little quirks.

Not the best at starting conversations, and not meaning she wouldn't entertain doing so, but, Dani would join in if one was directed or included her. Coming across to some as just plain quiet, in her mind, she was taking mental notes and sorting out the crew of whom she'd only known a handful of days since getting the job as one of the mechanics and EVA specialist.

Yvaine seemed to catch her eye. The resident biologist of the scientist personnel. A large contrast to that of Max and Poole. Both needed to loosen up in Dani's opinion. But, it seemed to be a mutual sensation around the crew.
She had some books in front of her one of which she'd been reading intently. About like she did with her EVA tech and engineering manuals. Ok, and a here and there novel that caught her interest.

Benji dropped into a seat beside Yvaine, Dani's gaze went to Ted and acknowledged his nod with a smile and chin lift of her own. She liked him.

Reaching for the bounty the Captain had put before them, Dani took a single, cut piece of cornbread then partially filled her bowl with the aromatic chili. She moved a salad bowl next to the other.

"I found the reason for the clatterin' in the vents along the main corridor. Someone back at the dock left a wrench in it." She found herself saying out of the bule in between spoonfuls of chili, her eyes falling on those within her field of vision. Again, not the best at startin' small talk.

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Yvaine Selvig
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Seeing everyone else just digging in and helping themselves to the food and drink, Yvaine did the same. "And it appears it tastes as good as it smells, if you're any indication" she replied, amused at the pilot's obvious enjoyment of the food. Her parents would have flipped their lids if she had been even remotely as messy when eating as he was, but Yvaine had never been as fussy as they were. As long as no errand food bits came flying into her dishes, she didn't care how messy someone was when they ate.

She grinned back at Benji, and gave the chili in her bowl a stir before scooping up a generous spoonful and blowing gently on it to cool it enough to eat. Yvaine liked the woman... and pretty much everyone else on the crew so far. Then again, it generally took a lot for Yvaine to take a dislike to someone... even Dr Grumpypants Poole, and the broody yet handsome gunhand. Disliking someone used up too much energy that could be spent in more productive and positive ways, and she didn't want that much negativity in her life. "Oh, it's this novel from Earth-that-was" she answered cheerfully. "Well, more of a series of novels. Anyway, it's about this group of people that go on a quest to destroy an ancient ring that was forged with evil magic. It sounds hokey, I know. But it's a fantastic story."

Yvaine ate the spoonful of chili she had taken, and made a noise of enjoyment as she chewed and swallowed. "That is delicious" she said, scooping up another spoonful. It was pleasantly spicy, and full of all manner of flavor. She hadn't had much in the way of spicy food until she had gone off to college. One parent was convinced spicy food caused ulcers, gas, and bad breath. The other just didn't like spicy food. Yvaine happened to like it. After eating her second bite, she took a bite of the cornbread, chewing happily.
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Dr. Duncan Poole
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Poole surveyed the crew as he entered the mess. Pink hair, casual dress, hugging. There were serious disciplinary issues going on with this assemblage, and it would take his steady hand to correct them. It was clear that Lockheart wasn't going to do much about it, he was just as sloppy as the rest. Why their mutual employer would ever give a man like Troy Lockheart command of such an important vessel, he would never know.

He took measured steps over to the food in question, begrudgingly admitting that it smelled appetizing. He took the spoon from the chili and watched the substance slide off in a rather unappetizing manner. For someone used to a bit finer dining, it was akin to dog food. However, he knew he had little choice in the matter. He ladled some of the chili into the bowl, and topped it gingerly with a chunk of the cornbread (another new culinary experience for the doctor) and set it down on the table. He then moved over to Lockheart, his arms crossed and his face set.

"Mister Lockheart," he began, trying to keep his tone on this side of venomous. He had a legitimate gripe with the man, this time, and felt righteous in his indignation. "If, in the future, you would be so kind as to inform me of these briefings ahead of time, I would appreciate it. It would be nice to be prepared for these things, if I'm to inform them of the important scientific aspects of the mission. After all, Mister Lockheart, that is why we're here. For science."

He knew that Lockheart wouldn't take this lightly, but he was standing firm on the matter. Public speaking wasn't exactly an expertise of the doctor's, and a little preparedness would go a long way. Plus, it would be a good example for the crew, who, it appeared, would need all of the help and preparing that they could get.
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Troy Lockheart

Danira spoke up, and Lock focused his attention on her.

"I found the reason for the clatterin' in the vents along the main corridor. Someone back at the dock left a wrench in it."

"Well, wasn't that kind of them? Stocking us up on spare tools before we leave." he grinned. "No offense to any of the mechanics in the room, but I hate shipyard mechanics. It's like we're supposed to be impressed that they build the most technologically advanced ships in the 'Verse. Like that's some major accomplishment."

Doc Candy, she of the pink hair, hummed appreciatively at his chili.

"That is delicious."

Troy glanced down, somewhat abashed, and shrugged.

"Can't take credit for it myself. I just do like my Grandpa showed me, and it comes out right."

It was then that the temperature in the room seemed to dip. Lock could damn near feel the disdain seeping off of Doctor Poole as he entered the room. The man cut an imposing figure, all tall, dark, and creeping. He had a right to be imposing, though. An absolute genius in his field (and in general), he was a man to be respected. There was, however, the slight issue of him thinking that he was in command of the Machiavelli. Lock's few interactions with him had been a bit chilly, to say the least.

The good doctor moved over to the food, and looked at it like it was atmospheric processing sludge, though he did put some into a bowl for himself before approaching Lock, his arms folded across his chest, his face a mask of utter contempt.

"Go ahead, Doc. Say something about Grandpa Lock's Chili." Lock thought to himself.

"Mister Lockheart...If, in the future, you would be so kind as to inform me of these briefings ahead of time, I would appreciate it. It would be nice to be prepared for these things, if I'm to inform them of the important scientific aspects of the mission. After all, Mister Lockheart, that is why we're here. For science."

Lock gazed at him for a long moment, measuring his response, biting back the small prideful bit of himself that screamed about his rank. He took a deep breath, and smiled.

"That's an excellent point, Mister Poole." he said, emphasizing the word "Mister". "My apologies. I hadn't intended for this to be a formal scientific briefing so much as a chance to sit and me to give the broad strokes of this particular leg of the mission."

He gestured to the Doctor's chair, indicating that he take his seat and enjoy his dinner, insofar as such a thing was possible for the man who seemed to dislike everything. Lock cleared his throat loudly, and pounded his fist twice on the table, just hard enough for the dishes to rattle.

"Alright, ladies and jellyspoons. Time for work talk. As Doctor Poole has graciously reminded me, I left nobody any prep time for this meeting, so our formal briefing will be in the morning. For now, I'm just gonna sit here and pretend like I know what I'm talking about." he said, taking a sip of his water. "We're coming up on Beylix Two, the aptly named second moon of Beylix herself. Arrival will be about zero five hundred, if Ted's calculations are correct, which they usually are."

"We'll be meeting up with our cargo containers first, which have been stationed in orbit for our arrival, and one of which contains the rest of our crew. Once we get them locked in below...the containers, not the crew...we'll get everybody settled in, and we'll hit orbit over Beylix Two. It's a small-ish moon, with a population of a couple thousand. Too small for our dear sweet ship to enter atmo, so we'll be shuttling down in teams." he said, recalling his mission notes. "Apparently Beylix runs cold, and her moons are the same. Summertime on Beylix Two doesn't usually get too much above about seventy degrees Fahrenheit, and their winters are downright blistering. With that said, as I'm sure yall know, it's currently July. The temperature on the surface of Beylix Two is currently running in the low twenties."

"So with all that said, you were all picked to be on this crew because you're the best at what you do. Except Benji. She blackmailed me into letting her onto this mission." he chuckled. "While we eat, I'd like to hear potential problems we need to watch out for. I'm a fairly smart guy, and I've been doing this for a lot of years, but even I miss things from time to time. When it comes to terraforming, the smallest thing can cause catastrophic disasters, so let's prep out all the issues we can before we go dirtside."
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Ted Johnson
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When it comes to terraforming, the smallest thing can cause catastrophic disasters, so let's prep out all the issues we can before we go dirtside.

Ted had been scarfing his chili all through the exchange between Dr Tarr and the Lockmeister, appearing not to even be listening. But the moment Lockhart had finished his speachifying, the pilot stopped, took a long draw of his "juice" and spoke right up. "Yeah Cap'n, ma gut's tellin' me that takin' them shuttles dirtside ain't gonna be no picnic. A wonkafied teraform's gonna make th' upper atmo churn like a 'rita blender. Whoev's gonna pilot best be able ta ride th' tide."
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