Into The Black

Lights Out

It ain’t right. I knowed that my brain pan aint right, not since the war. I knowed that I fought in the war, but I cain’t recall none of it. I aint got no family I ken recall, nor any real name neither. Sometimez I jess sit in mah bunk, tryin ta remember, an I think I git sum lil idear or sum kinda memory or sumtin, but it jess slips away like itz a rattler slidin down a hole. Sometimes I jess lose it, blank out fer sum time, useless, but it aint ever been like this. Not inna time when I waz needed. Lez face it, I ain’t needed much. Alwayz afeared as sumone will find me out and knowed that I aint who I sazy I am, that I got no past, an prolly no future. All Iz gud fer is ifin therez sumtin to be shot, or punched, or a lock ta be picked. I’m mostly useless anymore doin much elze, save whorin an drinkin. If it werent fer Alice alwayz sticken up fer me an sayin that she wont werk lessen I git signed up too, I’d still be killen fer money back on Sephanie. Now I aint even gud fer that. It aint that I feel sorry fer meself so much. Shit happens, and sumtimez it even happenz to you. Its jezz that I kept tellin meself that it wernt what it waz, an thatz jess stupid talkin. Now, I caint say it aint no more, cauz it iz what It iz an everyone knowed now. Imma dead man walkin, a man with no past aint no man a’tall, an now I seez that Imma likely as not ta get one of my own kilt cauze of mah shit.

I blanked agin, cept’n this time it waz on mah watch. Some reel shit came downa road an I jest fell apart. Walkin zombie iz what they sayz. Folk were gitten shot, and Reaverz were onna deck an I waz jess stumbling around with mah finger up mah noze usless asa turd inna fridge. Werse. Them haffin ta babysit mah ass meant they could ave been shot cause of me. Anna Preacher Man? I guez he showed sum mettle in mah place. He aint no yeller bellied skinwaste liken I thought. Guez he manned up iz what he did, and what I outta been doing instead, kicken Reaver ass and bustin heads. I think I dun him wrong an I caint figure what ta do bout it. I caint face none ov em. I aint dun nuthin right sinz ah left Sephanie, lest there I did sumtin as needed doin, killin folk as needed it, an I was gud at it. I caint jez leave Alice, she haz a shine on me, though it aint cause she wanz me nun, but ah caint stay here no more neither. The Captin an Rokitt, they run a gud ship and theyz need a man is kan get the job dun right. Not sum half man thing as ken never be counted on inna pinch. I think Imma hafta vanish on hayseed.

5 days later, 6:41am Core Time****************************

Gotz us ta Hayseed today. Fokz is still talkin ta me onna boat, but I caint figure why. Gotz us a new feller, Alliance solder. Young’en, full ov spunk and spit. I like em. He talks a gud talk, an he knowed lots about gunz an stuff. Mebbe I won jump at Hayseed right off. Mebbe I’ll stick about a short bit an see what the Capt’n duz. Alice keeps at me ‘bout meetin her folks. I aint comfertable with that so much. Juz seemz weird ta me, we aint hooked nor nuthin. Alice iz Alice though, shez a pushy lil cuss an with that damn smile of herz I caint seem ta never say no to her. Imma prolly hafta go. Jez fer a good meal tho, quick in an out. First thangs first, Imma get me sum whiskey an sum trim, an not in that order neither.

9.5 hours later, 5:11 Core Time****************************

Alicez family iz nice homey folk. Her momma keepz lookin at me funny, like mebbe she thinkz Imma doin her daughter. I caint even tellya how that kreepz me out. Dunno why neither, shez sumptin ta look at all right, but it juz aint there twixt us. They let me in an gave me the run of the plaze, an I gotta say, I liked all at ferst. Kinna homey inna way that makes a man feel… hell I dunno, makez me feel like I wished I had me sumtin like this in mah past. Wishin dont git cow pie off yer boots though. As I got ta lookin at all the pikturz it started ta make me feel real strange like. I dunno what it waz, like I couldn’t breathe none. I started ta get real hot anna I had ta go. I jez couldn’t stay no more. I caint ‘splain it, makes no damn sense ta me. I don wanna go back though. No damn way.

25 hours later, 6:15pm Core Time************************

Alice gotz meh goin back ta her folkz place. Capt’n werent no gud in gittin me outta it, hells tits, the woman iz parkin her ass onna ship an sendin the whole krew off with Alice. I caint place it, but I think she wantz me to go out there agin. It aint right, why iz Alice so hot on me bein out there an why is the Capt’n not given me a scuse not ta go? Shez always been eazy on that kinda thang afore, what gottin inta her now? That place kreepz me out. Therz gunna be food, and her momma knowed how ta cook, better’n the Preacher Man, an thatz sayin sumptin, but I jez don wanna go. I caint say no ta Alice though, an I knowed thatz gunna git me kilt some day.

15.25 hours later, 9:30am Core Time************************

I’m goin krazy. Mah brain pan is fried now, an I jez knowed I is gunna crap out again an itz only dayz from the last time. Itz too much, I caint live like thiz no more. Itz happening more n more ta me, and it aint no way fer a fellah ta go, like some kinda crazy coon hound with the flush on him. This house, these folk here, mah brain is itchen like ten thousand bugs is crawling over on it an bitin, an bitin. I’m reel sorry Alice, ya dont deserve this from me. I ‘preciate all ya done fer me, an I caint figure why ya done any ov it, or why ya even care ta begin with. Yer jezz that gud a person I guess. Too gud ta get stuck on thiz waste of skin. Thiz is eazier. I gotz this stuff breakin up inna mah brain pan an I caint figure it none, an, an… I’m tired ov being scared alla time Alice. Sorry Lil Peaches.

(-sound of gunshot…. recording ends-)

(Little Peaches was Billy’s nickname for Alicera before the war.)

This little light

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
Judges 6:11-13

After my self pitying prayers and grey slumber I remember being handled and moved. My area of recoupment being given to a corpse. I then heard our captains voice made twice as shrill though tinny ships speakers telling us what to do.
I then remember Leonid’s massive form pressing me out of the infirmary and through the ship. Most of us came to stand near the ships egress point… all but the besmirched Mrs. Bates. We were made aware that the Alliance was visiting on account of the murdered passenger.
With some pomp, an overly friendly sounding and self-important official made us aware he was to spend more than the necessary time needed to get his version of the truth of how his man died. Like me, he apparently did not believe it was the unlikely Mrs. Bates either.
An acidic exchange between the official and the pilot took centre stage as clever quips hit there marks on both sides. Tremblay’s metal was on display and did not cow to this flying Pharaoh’s barbs. We found ourselves put in locked quarters, by twos… how familiar. Given the choice by an official looking Alliance woman, I quickly chose the true hearted Louise as my cell mate. Mostly to keep her from being jailed with a predator but nearly just as good of reason was her company and her kindness towards me.

“…and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.”
1 Samuel 14:14-16

A mighty attack shook the once-impregnable man made ship, power was lost in key places throughout the craft from the quake. In time, the massive vessel fell pray to this generations Daemons: Reavers; the children of man’s sin and the Devil’s fortune. I was willing to continue my prayers and conversation with the lady Louise but could not overcome the shrill voice of the captain again telling us what to do.
Hearing others in the hallway, I tried the door. Unlocked! In the corridor, there was clear stagnation of action; the captain saying words to walls and ceiling, her slave standing like a bookshelf, Leonid pushing and rubbing, and our passengers doe-eyed and lost.
Then a strong voice spoke with authority and force of will. It was Him though me. I found the warrior within! The voice within me made our paths straight. I routed our group and we came to Tremblay’s interrogation suite. But guarding the door was an armoured soldier levelling a powerful looking rifle.
The group shrank at his first volly, but then a shout rang clear, “Forward!” It was me again and like a bolt I listened and charged the armed man. I grappled his form entire! Like a terrible squid across the bow and spirit of some sea vessel, I enveloped this brawny tortoise. Gingerly, the crew ventured close and I managed to convince the bossy captain to take the weapon I had trapped between our bodies.
Moments later, I found myself again eschewing our plan. I donned the guards armour as Tremblay was freed by the ladies. I now held the rifle and put my good hat upon the skivvy dressed guard, nudging him before us. With his will broken, he lead us toward our ship. On the way, our fears were affirmed when our paths nearly crossed those of Reavers. At my beseeching, we all waited quietly down a hall for the Daemons to just walk on by.
Next, we finally found our ship on the lowest level but shambling from it came more Reavers. Dead soldeir’s weapons lay within reach and those of us who cared, grabbed them. Tremblay was quite put out by the Alliance man’s rough interrogation. Much the same way I was treated earlier this same day but for me there was not back an forth, just the hitting.
In the end, full of God’s wrath I am sure. I killed the lion’s share as the crew was falling around me.
Those that hid and myself who did not, remained able to act. We dragged the wounded aboard the ship. In a pinch the ship was free from it’s hold but cast into a soup of battle debris. The captain at the wheel, took to the slalom like newborn calf to roller skates. Shaken and battered to conciousness by the green pilots bashing and colliding with everything possible, Treblay, at my urging, took the controls and ended the nightmare.
Finally as we float in the aether of His galactic creation I find time to think on His words,

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:8-10

running the gauntlet

So I work to get Gideon off of zee chair, about zee’s time the big box full of zomzing is taken away as the alliance is boarding zee ship, i put zee dead man in the chair and meet up with zee crew in the dining room, you can tell zee man (rammstein) and Tremblay hav zee issues from past, he forces uz to board zee ship to be questioned, i knowz nothzing so I board ship, I am put in holding area with Andrew, we wait for 1/2 hour, Leonid does push upz to pass time, then next we know something rocks boats, alarms sound.

I hear captain making noise outside so I open zee door where men with gunz meet me and sayz go back, he says we are safer in holding areas, but captain complains and Leonid move to assist, men try to stop Leonids path but I push right thru, men are more scared of other thingz, we gather up crew, except Tremblay is gone and BB appears to be sedated with drugz, we regroup and try to find Tremblay and also Woodrows, we retrace stepz and find room with Tremblay. Gideon charges guard with rifle and hops on back of guard, Leonid wants to help but finds he cannot, ghosts from past make me freeze, mind swirling with thoughts of death, I freeze and feel ashamed. Captain disarms guard, we find Tremblay has been beaten quite badz during questions, Gideon wears guards armour and helmet, we find Woodrows and proceed to try and find way off zee cruiser.

Smart peoplez remember direction from boat to holding cells, we retrace steps and get on elevator with takes us back towards boat, doors will not open, so Mr Woodrow and leonid open doors, we decend down ladder as the cruiser is rocked again and again. we come to hallways and find where our boat is parked, we sense movement in hangar…….reavers! We let reavers go by and make too boatz, reavers attack and again Leonid is afraid and ashamed, I look at monsters and decide they are not peoplez, I shootz gunz in anger and hit one in shoulder, by the time Leonid is ready to fight but reeavers are killed, Prudence and Tremblay are wounded, Tremblay unconscious, we board boatz, gideon and leonid secure boatz and Alicera ensures we get zee big doors open so boatz can leave, Prudence and Alicera try to fly boatz away but hit tings, Tremblay comes too and flys zee boat away from danger, zee crew is one less because Miss bates has been taken and one alliance guard named Wilson is now on zee boatz……..much work for leonid as we have many wounded and BB is incapacitated with some strange drugs or mental issues, no time to diagnose as we run from one room to zee next, now that boatz isz on course for Greenleaf we can work to fix boat and crew.

Cross Roads
Taking a right

There is no greater love than this, someone who will take your place in the gunfight that you can’t win. John 15:13

Well there you have it. Ain’t no thing. We as have the message understand that not all will listen. The Boss’s Son got this all those years ago on the Earth-That-Was. He had some folks as said they was His friends. An one especial like feller that said he’d never sit by an not lend a hand… but he did just that- he sat by.
Heck, then the Son carried that cross after that and a whole lot worse happ’n to Him as not even close to my easy suffer’n. No one took gold for to put me to the cot, it just went the way the chief told it to go and I gots to live by it. She saw me as not fit for speak’n out and these are her rules. This boat is her temple.
We tried it real hard together. Weren’t meant to be is all. So my grow’n self’ll be taken a different path now but I am right grateful for all that this trail of lessons has taught me. The Captains got ways I just don’t follow. I just ain’t keen to her calculations. She’s wiley and the crew gets her.
I’ve affixed a little wooden cross inconspicuous that I spect will stay put until the ship is done. I have come to the crossroads again and this time I am turning right but I leave my good wishes for all I met and my future prayers will always have these folks in’em till I give my last breath. Amen to that.

Bad, Gud, Bad, an it aint getting no guder

So thangs ain’t lookin so shiny. Miz Louize got herself a bou back on Hayseed, an she ain’t innerested in werkin her thighs with ‘nother man. I mean dangit, it’s a long stinkin trip with a beaut like her werkin me up inta sweatz at night. What that feller don’t know aint gunna hurt him none, but Miz Louize is all prim an proper an stuff. I guess I’ve been layin it on kinda thick, but I mean hell, the gal’z a saloon singer, howdya figure she be keppin her knickers all sewed up at the kneez while dancing on piano tops? Mebbe the Preacher man knewed ‘bout her bou and was tryin ta lay on a bit ‘o guilt an git her all tight an self achonshinated bout getting slippery over me or sumthin. The way he kept thumpin me grind, man I just wan’ned ta drop him in his shiny black bootz. That’s the Gud part! More on that inna bit.

That fancy feller done got himself kilt, an with a lil .22 round shot too. Now that’z just embarrasin. I mean a lil pea like that killin a man, an only one shot too. Guess it went right on through the fellers soft head… an I’m tellin ya it was soft like a boiled egg. The Capt’n was cool as the black, she was a sight! She got em all locked up in their roomz and kept Mr. Woodrow from gittin himself kilt too by being stoopid. The man came out ‘o his room with his piece on… right after a murderin was done. I levelled Whipser at em and telled em ta drop his belt, but his crazy little lady stepped in ma way. I ken shoot a girl, but I don like it none. Then Rokit gets all stoopid too. That boy is on the sauce so much that I think stoopid is always jez a pocket away, but he got up in’tween Mz Woodrow and me an I aint got a good shot no more. The Capt’n steps up an gitz Mr. Woodrow ta give his gun over an so I don hafta shoot him anna rest none.

Everyun seemz ta be messin with me job on this boat, cause that black sack of a preacher started givin the Capt’n guff ‘bout me doin me job. Ya know he even tried ta git me carry round empty gunz? He don’t got no more sense than a woman onna rag time. Heck, not even that much. Anyhowz the Capt’n, she started gettin up in hiz face and shoutin an stuff, tellin im ta back of or she waz gunna let me belt im three timez lessin he sayz no more’n two werds. Heck she waz so hot when she done that, I nearly fergot ‘bout Miz Louize fer a sec there. Course the Preacher, he cain’t keep that trap closed more’n three seconds so I got the nod and took my swing. Aint no surprise a’tall that lil man went squish like a cow patty onna hot day. Doc come and scooped im up, an carried im back ta medlab. I aint sure whaz werze for im, me fist or Doc’z medicine. I figure now that he seen that he ain’t werkin out so well, that he is gunna jump the boat when we git ta Hayseed. Cain’t see hiz back soon nuff, gunna miss hiz cookin at bit though, an he singz a might pretty.

Anyhowz thing’re a mess fer now. Spineless dropped a ring that waz sum kinda homin beacon, and I shot it ta hell, but we gotz an alliance boat screamin down our back onna count of him. I think he did the ‘ol man in meself. Course now we knowed that Miz Homely ain’t what she sayz she waz. Some kinda survivor of the mess the dead guy done cooked up inna war. Thingz is all screwed. Capt’s had me tie her up on er bunk, an she waz screechin like a coon with the season on her. An Mr. Woodrow is sum kinda smuggler (I kinda like em, stoopid but gud, feedin starving folk an all). Now Doc an I gotta git thiz stuff stowed inna cargo bay inna hidden parts and I gotta git ta me room an get me gunz stowed inta me hidden pannelz. No much time neither. I think mebbe wez gunna be shootin us sum Feds inna bit.

Still, felt gud ta lay out that Preacher man like I did. Imma hankerin for a reel fight now. Uh, mebbe I oughnta say that bit ‘bout the Capt’n. How do I ‘rase that bit anyhow?

Sunday bloody sunday

Today iz sunday which iz special good dayz for some, just another day for Leonid, every day Leonid wakez from sleeping wiz ghostz is good dayz. gideon speaks of jesus as man, but Leonid no see jesus so dis juan must be ghostz? Zee others all know this man jesusz but I no like zee ghostz and no want to talk withz zee ghostz. They talk to ghostsz again laterz but I no wish to putz zee faith in tings Leonid no seez. Leonid putz faith in work, work causes pain and fatiguez, these ting r real, these tings are not ghostz, only thingz Leonid can see and trustz which iz Leonid…… sleep comz fast, except.

Gideon visitz me later to ask why I no watch people talk with ghostz, I say I believe in Leonid, for 7 yearz no one help Leonid but Leonid. I change zeee subjects and showz my growing gardenz of herbs, some for poltice and some for zee fooodz which Gideon cookz very goodz but we run outz of goood foodz now just paste. I scare him wiz vodka and he lookz uncomfortable and leave me to work, he is goodz heart.

So I be called on talking boxz zee captain, to go to roomz of zeeee important soldier officer and his man servant is banging on door, sez zee important offizer man no answer doorz, so I bang on zee door but important ofizer man no answer, he ask leonid to break doorz, but Leoniz knowz captain has keyz to unlock zee door. Important officerz takes many drugs too keep zee mind clean and clearz maybe he forgotz and that iz why he know answer doorz?

Captain opens zee doorz but zee roomz iz dark, bb goez in weeth beeeeg gunz and turns on lightz to find important officerz man layinz on zee bedz, except he no sleepz, thiz one is gone. We try to tellz ifz zee killed himselz or someone elzse do dis.

Leonid take dis one too room to examine. Hole in templz, to small for Leonid to find bulletz with little finger, so Leonid create extra strong stikee and put on bamboo stick and leonid finally pull out zee bullet, apply more stikees and get out small pieces of bullet. I check diz on bloodz and find much alcohol, and 2 drugz dis could be enough with fragilz mind to causz dis juan to shootz self? Leonid knowz not.

Dee otherz question zee passengers and no one tellz truth, Leonid create tea which causzez people to talkz more freely and open, not to hidz behind maskz. I make diz on second brew, firzt brew no goodz, to much gingerz. I makez second brewz and Leonid go to show captain and at dis time I see Gideon crumplez to floorz, bb hitz him, I no understandz how friendz hit other friendz, diz remindz Leonid diz not friendz, diz is crew, diz iz justz jobz. I take Gideon to roomz and movez dead importanz offizer so I can workz on Gideon, dead importanz offizer still dead so no needz for workz now. Gideon comez conscious and at same time bb comz back for Gideon I stand in wayz, I tell bb to leavz, he no leavz, bb sayz movez, I no movez, Leonid wantz to tear himz apartz for beating little manz who waz friendz only hours ago, but zee ghostz come to Leonids mind, az much az Leonid want to fight Leonid no fight, bb lookz for gunz because lttle Gideon iz to shootz zee peoplez aye?

I be told alliance boat to come to diz boat, I no understand whatz diz meanz but de rest of de crewz be afraid. I stay in roomz and makz poltice and salve, I stay in roomz and try to readz zee books and make mind stronger, I stay in roomz and make body stronger, diz iz cage, but much biggerz floorz an fun tings to do but still cage.

Leonid realize diz boat haz no respectz for each othorz, sadly diz no seemz like homz, diz iz not friendz, diz iz job, I do jobz best Leonid can, but diz is crewz………sadly nothing more.

Ain't been eazy.

Ain’t goin gud so far. Been inna black now fer over a week, an that lass aint showed no innerest in me a’tall. I’d done jez bout all I kin think uv, waitin outside her bunk, givin flashes of chokolate an makin small talk an all. I guess mebby I’m bein too, um… what I mean is not bein clear nuff what that I like her an all. Alice sez I outta cozy up with her sum, talkin about how dangerous an stuff it is out here and that mebbe showin all my gunz ain’t the right way to go. This Louize gal is a different kinda lady, not like the gurlz I’m use ta hangin out with, or buyin, or liquorin up. She aint innerested in my money none, nor my chokolate, nor my gunz. I guess I’m gunna hafta figure a new tactic. Why iz it that gurls wanna talk so damn much? The fun stuff don’t involve uzin yer teeth ta chatter all the time. She doez have real purty teeth. I dunno. Mebbe I juz need to be straight up and ask her ta share my bunk less we get to this hayseed planet and I miss me chance.

We did have us a bit uv a scare though, the trip aint been all borin. I ken stick with borin though if’n it means I don’t run inta Reaverz. They flew right across us. Rokkit kept em in sight an did sum fancy flyin and them boyz jes shot right on by. I holed up down inna engine room with Alice. Ya know, I plum fergot ta teach her how ta throw grenades? I kain’t even think why I never showed her that a’fore. Once we git ta Hayseed I need ta take her out an make some gofer holes. That little lady needz ta carry a cracker or two to keep the boyz away (C’eptn the ones she wantz I guess. Dunno why that creepz me out a bit.) Anyhow them Reaverz just passed us on bye, guess they waznt hungry or nuthin. I kain’t pikture getting et by sum krazy man. No, I even gave Miz Louize my assault pistol. Better we end ourselvz before we get et by Reaverz. Anyhow, nuthin came uv it.

The preacher is gettin ta be a pest, alwayz gettin in my way with Miz Louize. Alice an I had this sweet plan to let me git Mis Louize forward near my bunk, but that little jag-off book thumpin black sack kept pushin in on my grind. I dunno if hez gunna werk out so well on this boat. I guess its kinda gud ta have God an stuff on our side in a scrap. But why doez God hafta have such annoyin preacherz? Would be a shame I guess if he fell asleep onna grenade. Well, messy anyhow.

Another thing. That gunman feller that the Capt’n let on board, hez hiddin something right important in his bagz. I dunno what it is, but I aim ta find out. The Capt’n, shez a trustin soul, not shure that’s such a gud thing inna Capt’n, but itz her all right. I staked out the cargo bay one night and I saw o’l Mr. Woodrow come down onto the bay all sneakin like and he has this box in his bag. Once he done fished it out and checked it over, was the first time I ever sawed the man smile. Once he left I came down an tried ta pick it, but that thing is closed up tighter than a nun’s underwear. Told the Capt’n, but all she did waz to go down an talk to Mr. Woodrow. Gurlz are always chattin. Drives a man crazy it does. Anyhow, I’m keepin my peepers on Mr. Woodrow… well leasten when Miz Louize ain’t around.

Tinkerbell's Vagina


Dear Diary,

Well I got the engine room redecorated. I guess being on the ship for a few years has finally made me bold enough to brighten up my special space on NIghtengale. I mean I have my own bunk and all but I mostly just sleep there and fold laundry. The engine room is where I spend all my time.

Now I wasn’t bold enough to ask permission from Cap’n until I’d already started on the project and was halfway through it. But she was okay with it, even said if I prove artistic enough I can do some more detail stuff around the other parts of the ship.

I got my garden bunk put together and seeded. Doc bought a garden bunk too so I’m gonna help him put it together. He’s probably got some medicinal herbs he wants to grow. As little time as I spend in my bunk, I oughta see if I can just turn it into a hydroponics so we can have some o’those little cherry tomates fresh and other stuff that takes very little root and growing space. I got me a hammock in the engine room so when I’m napping I’m available in case of sudden emergencies so I’ll think on this somemore.

I guess getting all that fresh food for the first half of this run has made me wishin I could make that nice regularly for our new cook with the religiosity and the crew would benefit from it. It’s a nice little family. I had my serious doubts about Rocket seein he’s in his cups most the time. But with this latest scare, I’m thoroughly trusting being on his team now. We work real good together.

Oh and that scare, that’s something that’s gonna haunt me for a while. Reavers. Real reavers intersected with our course to Greenleaf till we went silent running and Rocket slightly adjusted our course. Held my breath the whole time I had Nightengale holdin her song. Crises is past and them reavers showed no indication that they noticed us, or maybe they just weren’t hungry. Still I’m gonna be nervous about it for a while so I will most definately be sleeping in the engine room hammock incase I gotta shut Nightengale’s heart beat down at an emergencies notice.

Billy has a fixation with that perty entertainer. I gave him some tips but not sure how good he’s gonna follow through on them. Hoping that when we get to Greenleaf something might jostle his memories, if not all of them then at least ONE. Wonder how Mom’s gonna take it that Billy named a gun after her.

Well, gonna stretch the hammock out to the second hook and get some sleep. Hope we get to Greenleaf without a hitch or another reaver in sight. ~Alice

Session Two - Getting to Know One Another

Nightingale ascended from the earth of Hera just before dawn on May 2nd. The sky was clear and Eugene guided the ship smoothly up into the sky and then out into the Black with his customary skill.

Once in the Black, Eugene plotted his best course to Greenleaf, estimating that the trip would take 14 days to complete. He contacted Alicera in the engine room and asked her what she could do about that. The flower-painting engineer made sure with the Captain that she had approval to ‘push the pulse-drive a mite bit’, and that she did successfully, urging it on a bit more, giving Eugene the news that they’d likely shave a day off their trip.

Gideon, with the help of Emily Bates, prepared the first of many meals for the crew, and it was outstanding. He used some of the fresh produce, eggs, juice, etc, that he was given as ‘departure presents’ when he left his flock on Hera, and he made good and conservative use of these items for the first half of the trip. However, with twelve mouths to feed (6 crew, 6 passengers), these delicious goods were growing few in number half-way through the trip.

There as much discussion and a bit of interacting between the crew themselves, plus the passengers, of course.

Emily Bates had offered to become Gideon’s “right hand” in the kitchen. She proved her competence to him repeatedly, as well as being quite open about her being smitten by the Nordic doctor. Her ‘couch’ on the shuttle proved to be quite a bit much for her to bear, but she refused to go to the captain about it, not wanting to make the captain regret letting her on the ship despite a full load of passengers already. Gideon, being the gentle soul he is, offered to give his room to her in exchange for moving himself onto the shuttle, which Ms. Bates gratefully accepted.

Louise Boyd tended to keep to herself, mostly. Not that she was shy really (she is a performer afterall), but she seemed to want to simply stay out of the way. Even during meals she talked little, but did occasionally chip in, as long as the talk wasn’t about religosity or politics. She is polite when attention is given her way – even Burk’s friendly attempts at putting himself into her good-graces were generally met with a kindly manner, though so far she seemed fairly impervious to his seduction.

Jesse and Selma Woodrow seem friendly enough – once approached. At least Selma was. She seems a bit outgoing, starting conversations at the dinner table at random in friendly fashion, simply creating conversation to pass the time and allow for a friendlier atmosphere. Her husband typically sat beside her in stoic silence, his keen eyes watching those gathered at the table, as if trying to read souls. He spoke little, his calm, quiet voice polite yet direct. He wore his duster everywhere, an unspoken testament to where his loyalties obviously and truly lie.

Andrew Lin (aka Andy, thanks to the Captain) and Sir Basil Protheroe are the most quiet of the bunch. They have yet to truly initiate conversation, and when addressed, Andrew himself would usually field questions and comments with a friendly smile and a polite response. Sir Basil very rarely spoke at all, though when he did, it was in the most polite manner possible. Their manners were impeccable, and Andrew’s attention to his master was beyond reproach.

About half-way into the trip, though, a heated discussion was broached at the dinner-table. Eugene had departed the table quickly as soon as the subject came up, likely in fear that the topic might set him off like a firecracker. Sir Basil openly – yet gently – protested some of the harsh words directed at the Alliance, defending their goals, while admitting their faults. No government was perfect, he’d argued. But his words seemed to irritate others at the table, including both of the Woodrows, while silencing Louise Boyd completely.

The Captain did her best to keep things on a different subject, while Gideon did his best as well to do the same. Reaching some point, Basil rose – as did Jesse – and then Burk. Alicera was sure that a fight would ensue, and Leonid looked almost eager to find a chance to ‘patch some people up’. It reached a head when a sweaty Basil demanded that Jesse Woodrow be thrown into the ‘stockade’. Andrew escorted his master back to his quarters so that he could rest.

Between the Captain and Andrew Lin, the situation was diffused and calm was found once again.

The next day, the trip continued of course, and Sir Basil seemed to revert to his old, polite self. He approached the Captain at breakfast and apologized profusely for his poor manners the night before. Even so, it was agreed that he would take his meals in his quarters from now on, and any venturing throughout the ship would be done under escort.

Emily continued her assistance to Gideon in the galley, and sought out the doctor’s help with a sore hip. She seemed to enjoy his attentions to her tender body.

Louise accepted a request to sing later that evening after dinner. Gideon admitted that he, too, was willing to sing, and recollected that Sir Basil carried a fiddle case in his baggage.

The Woodrows seemed no worse for wear after the incident the previous evening. The Captain did request that Jesse leave his iron in his room when he ventured out, to which he reluctantly agreed. If anyone but the captain had asked, he likely wouldn’t have taken the request very well. But he agreed with the captain that keeping calm on the ship was the best course of action, being out in the Black where they were, there weren’t many places to ‘drop someone off’ if clashes in personalities took place.

Just before noon, though, Eugene skillfully detected a ship on a course that would cross Nightingale’s path – in fact, a collision seemed imminent. Scans concluded that the ship was damaged – but heavily armed. It was decided then not to make any sudden moves or sprint for freedom, as it seemed the other ship was likely faster – and definitely bigger.

As tension mounted and the other ship grew nearer, the description of ‘Reaver’ came up. That set the fear in some, and preparations were made ‘just in case’. As the other ship grew ever closer, not altering its course – Eugene nudged Nightingale just a bit, so that the two ships would pass by each other unless one or the other made some sort of change. Sure enough, the two ships passed by each other silently. The other ship was indeed a Reaver, as the various bodies strapped to its hull attested to.

Did the Reaver ship simply view Nightingale as not worth its time? Was the Reaver ship seeking larger prey, or perhaps the crew of the Reaver ship was otherwise occupied, even asleep? Perhaps no one would ever know…


“The herd is plentiful but the cow-hands are few, therefore, he sends out cow-hands onto the range.”

Matthew 9:35

And so it is. Not know’n when or how, I knew he would clear the brush and tell me when. So here I go in this ark upon His sea of stars, his harvest field. And look, I am called by a fine woman like unto Ruth, who was known for her business sense and praised by Him for it. I shall endeavor to feed your flock oh Lord. Both of the ground and the spirit.

But there is the steersman, a sailor if’n I’ve ever read of one in Melville or Stevenson. Smiling an cocky in just the right doeses. But I’ve a nose for the drink that makes men mean or wobly and I think I got a whiff more than once.

Of the dreaming mechanic I’d say she has more than the captain’s ship in the clouds. How a right brained gal like her is so mechanical must be gift from above. She paints, she dreams, everything is shiny. She must have one foot inside the pearly gate.

I understand very little of the Norseman’s speak or ways. I endeavor not to get hurt or if’n I do, I’ll just pray hard with a block of wood fast tween my teeth. Other than his glib and folksy medical stance I rather like the fellow.

Why, then there’s a fellow call’n himself Berk. I find he is troubled in spirit. I am hoping he is not in need of powers and procedures I am not yet acquainted with. I should hate to avail myself of a cortex search for step-by-step of just how one exercises! I suppose it could just be a first bad impression but this one could be like bat-bit dog in to small’a pen.

Well, dinner’s set’n to be fixed, I best get on it or I could have folks snitch’n at my grub as I’m fix’n it an I am not partial to help in the kitchen unlooked for.


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