Episode Three: Charitable Endeavors

Started by HumanHyperbole, July 06, 2020, 10:04:36 pm

William Breene

August 29, 2020, 01:18:48 pm #20 Last Edit: August 29, 2020, 03:08:38 pm by HumanHyperbole
Willy smiled at Melody's threat of booty-trapping his toilet. The fact that she was now just jokingly threatening him whilst thrusting a bottle of pain killers into his bare chest was definitely an improvement. It was only a matter of time before she was flirting back (in his estimation). Wait... Now Breene remembered why she punched him last night. He laughed at the memory, not her threat of toilet traps.

But duty called, and the crew was more or less assembled. They needed a briefing from the man in his boxers.

"All right uhhh... "

The eldest of a gaggle of William Breenes popped the pain killer in his mouth, then bent over backwards slightly, putting his head under the sink, and running it directly into his mouth. He gulped down about a liter of water and bent back forward, splashing water off his face, then gave himself a quick slap to the face.

"Okay!"

Breene saw his cortex unit was sitting out on the table from the night before. He did a quick little fist pump then scooped it up tapping in a few names. Their hungover guest then put the device into projection mode and blasted the faces of two men onto the nearby wall. The two images switched into short clips that looped. One would turn out to be much more recent than the other.

"My generous hosts, meet our clients. Doctor Ricardo August and his just absolute pistol of an assistant: Alan. I uhh don't know his last name. Anyway, Doctor August is some kinda big shit physicist who used to work in the core. That's the only photo I have from when he used to help make weapons for the feds. Anyway long story short, he expanded his mind a little and couldn't quite fit in with the squares anymore. Now he's working for a Community College on Dangun, and thinks he's perfected some sort of spacial mapping program. To run those big numbers he just so happens to need the kind of advanced chip the Purple Bellies put on their inter-planetary fission weapons. The technology that destroyed Shadow might save lives. Finding micro-meteor fields or even the big boys that can wipe out entire colonies. It could lay out new shipping routes and save a lot of mom and pop spacers time, money and possibly their own asses.  It's not sexy, or decent coin for our effort, but we might be able to salvage something good from all the murder and betrayal."

While the fact that he had to mutiny against his own crew was the reason half of them were reluctant to trust him, if he hadn't, dozens of these chips would have ended up in the hands of whoever was crazy enough to hire the Russos. Speaking of whom...

HumanHyperbole

August 29, 2020, 01:57:35 pm #21 Last Edit: August 29, 2020, 03:06:43 pm by HumanHyperbole
After Breene delivered his briefing, he put some clothes on at the insistence of the captain and her restrictive ideas of what business casual was. Then he took over the flight controls to relieve Izak and the auto-pilot, giving the former military man the run-down on the job on his way out. Melody quickly found out he was behind the wheel and promptly kicked him out of the pilot's seat with a smack to the back of the head, relegating him to navigating at the co-pilot's chair. They were already close to Dangun orbit, Breene guided the Revenge down into atmosphere and flew them over hundreds of miles of mountains until they arrived at a valley in the midst of the mountains. Almost perfectly in the middle was a modest two story building that looked closest to a hunting lodge, surrounded by dozens satellite arrays.

There was nothing around the lodge for miles. Just the mountains range surrounding, dotted with trees and visually impenetrable forest. It was a great place to get line of sight on the stars. But it was out in the open and exposed. The bon-fire Ricardo started was visible from miles out. His silhouette illuminated against the desolate valley like a towering kaiju as he danced around the fire. It was around three in the morning local time. But stargazers are night owls. At least that was the first excuse that would spring to mind.

There were a couple key details Breene didn't have to share with the crew of the Revenge. But anyone watching those mountains they passed over would have noticed more than a few other smoke trails from camp fires all over the mountain range. While Dangun was considered the ragged edge of the frontier in many ways, it would seem that these hills had become home to many of those that sought the freedom to settle their own land, practice their faith in their own ways, or maybe escape the law.

The Revenge settled in for a smooth landing a couple hundred yards away from the small home. Still close enough for the air rushing from her engines to put out his bon-fire. Their customer, clad only in a loin cloth, a fiber optic head-dress, and a crap load of self applied face paint, Ricardo August, ran up the ramp of the Revenge as the crew gathered to depart.

"You're early Breene! I needed to finish the ritual before we run the algorithm!"

He slammed his "shaman stick" down onto the steel to emphasize his point. His pupils were dilated, and he was sporting at least five days of stubble. Alan meanwhile jogged up behind him, panting slightly, still in his pajamas.

"Sorry! Whoo! No, Doctor. Do you remember our conversation from last night?"

Ricardo shot him a look with his seemingly now giant eyes.

"Right. He was high. You guys must be the Revenge! Please tell me you were able to get the chips."

Alan was polite but straight to the point. And also seemed to be expecting MULTIPLE of the guidance chips their guest blew up on the Atkinson.

Holger Heyerdahl

Born with ice and rock beneath his feet, a day's work always at hand, the drift and aimlessness of space never suited Holger. Of course, he was a practical sort and knew that one couldn't do the sort of thing he did best and stay planetside. Sure, there were local thugs and would-be crime bosses on every rock in every system. But despite the climate, the heat would always catch up to someone. So ships were a necessary inconvenience. And he was used to it. One didn't travel the 'verse without becoming accustomed to the ebbs and flows of space. Still, Holger was eager to get back where a man belonged.

So, he waited nearly at the door, anxious for it to open and to birth him to the described grasses and trees that awaited them at Dangun. Holger had no idea what waited for him, and his jaw dropped in joy at what he found.

A bonfire. Primal, fiercely red, and taller than an average man's head; in other words, it was nearly Holger's twin. He could scarcely take that in when a nightmare come to life appeared from the darkness. Holger readied for a fight, but quickly learned that the handsome William Breene was friends with the creature and, therefore, it must be a friend. Shorter still after this realization, it was revealed that this was, in fact, their contact.

Holger admired the man's stick as it struck the Revenge's deck. "Hello." He said. His blue eyes reflected the fire outside as it called for him. "Goodbye." He said, before running for the display, his shirt flying over his head as a beastial yalp escaped his bearded mouth.
Dialogue Color - Orange

Melody

September 11, 2020, 08:29:09 am #23 Last Edit: September 11, 2020, 08:30:11 am by Lomari
Earlier...

The glow of the fire was visible through the view port, which had her concerned. If what they were doing required any form of stealth or discretion, that had gone right out the window. And that wasn't even touching on the subject of all the other little dots of light they passed on their way to their destination... She didn't like this. Or that, she added to herself, shooting a glare in Breene's direction as he sullied the co-pilot's controls with his grubby hands. Now, she had no proof that they were grubby, it was just a gut feeling. Her disgusted sneer deepened. He hadn't done himself any favors in earning her trust by immediately and without hesitation plopping himself down in her seat, and she'd be filing that away for later. Mel tended to hold grudges.

Now...

Melody stood on the ramp with her arms crossed over her chest and a deepening frown pulling at her lips. She stared at the wild man running up to them from his bonfire, baby blues taking in the face paint, the pupils, the mess. A small, 'huh', registered from the woman. It made sense that this creature was friends with Breene...

"You're early Breene! I needed to finish the ritual before we run the algorithm!"

"...You guys must be the Revenge! Please tell me you were able to get the chips."

Melody shot Breene a look. "We were able to retrieve...some of said chips. What will you be doing with them?" she asked. She had to ask. Despite what Breene had implied, this situation wasn't good for the doubtful. Her arms crossed over her chest and she stared at the painted man and his pajama partner. Her body was tense, coiled, ready to lash out should it become necessary. She's taken the chips away from the mutineer on their ship and given them, instead, to Jo. Either to look over if he felt so inclined, or just to keep them safe. She didn't want their guest somehow leaving them behind with their payload. Now, she'd insisted he'd come along not only to hold onto the chips, but to be her interpreter, should the brainy contacts get technical with her.

"Hello...Goodbye."

She rocked forward onto the balls of her feet as Holger rushed off, some part of her wanting nothing more than to follow and not deal with the mess Isa had left her. But, a larger part of her pulled her back, flattening her feet and grounding her to the Revenge's ramp as though she were a magnet held against its metal. "Missy, please..." she began, looking over at the blonde with what could have been interpreted as a desperate, helpless plea. A hand pulled free of her crossed arms and she gestured toward where the red giant was stripping. The man was still recovering from a concussion, and of all of her crew, he was the one she cared the most about. She didn't want his brain melting out of his ears. If that was a thing that could happen.

The Captain turned her head to eye Izak, then gestured toward the bonfire and the home beyond it, "Would you be so kind as to go secure that?" she asked him, attempting politeness despite the irritated growl at the base of her throat. She did not like this situation one bit, but out of the rest of the crew, this ex-Alliance soldier was one of the better suited to make sure no one was lying in wait for them inside the house/lodge.
Dialogue Color: Brown

Izak Archer

Earlier:
The 'shift change' on the bridge proceeded as planned. If you could call it that. Melody trusted technology far too much in his opinion, but then again, what would one expect from a fighter jockey? They did not make a career out of keeping ships running. Well, at least of this size or larger. Izak got his briefing from Breene, then went back down to the kitchen, found some frozen vegetables, sausage, a couple of eggs and got to work whipping up what a marine told him was called a 'scramble'.

It was essentially an omelet without the extra effort of folding the eggs over.

Grabbing a serving he grabbed a seat in across from Missy and ate as the expect journey and shenanigans unfolded. He made note to ask her about her choices in literature later. Some intelligent conversation would be rather pleasant from time to time.

Now:
This was...something. He had heard the doctor's name before when he was in the service. Izak was sure he saw him give a lecture once. But then again, one mad scientist was just another lab coat on legs to him. People who meddled with, maimed, and corrupted others in the name of progress if left unattended. Izak stood behind the crew as the 'formal' introduction was made, and shook his head as Holger ran off. The man was as tribal as you could get. Fighting the urge to sigh, he maintained his focus as things progressed, shifting slightly but not letting go of his shotgun sling.

Melody then asked him to check out the lodge nearby. Politely. That was new. She even used the word 'please' when addressing Missy. That was so new his jaw almost dropped open. Taking his weapon off his shoulder he simply said, "On, it."

Once he was sure Melody could not see his face, he started chuckling. Now was not the time to mess with her for acting like an actual Captain however, there was a job to be done. One that just kept getting weirder.

Joakim Soong

Doctor Ricardo August. The name had rang a bell when Breene had brought it up, and a quick dive into the cortex confirmed that Jo had indeed heard of the man before. His background check did not bear much fruit that Breene hadn't already offered to them on a platter: genius-level intellect, worked on some highly classified weapons projects for the Alliance, abandoned his allegiance to become a recluse of some kind. The man also had a fondness for mind-expanding drugs -- not a subject Jo had any personal experience with, on account of his neigh neurotic need to be in control of his facilities at all times, but it was something he tried to keep an open mind about... Pun not intended.

Jo's mind clearly wasn't open enough to prepare him for the bedraggled, white-faced apparition that greeted them once they landed on the moon. He stood next to Melody and tried his hardest not to look like the wild-eyed man in a loin-cloth was making him uncomfortable. Instead, he turned his attention to Alan, who appeared to be sober and was also closer to fully clothed, even if the clothes in question were pajamas.

"I'm Jo, the tech guy." He reached out his hand for a handshake. "Perhaps we could discuss the details of the project while Doctor August finishes his... ritual." He was momentarily distracted by Holger as he went speeding past them, running towards the dying bonfire. Well, at least somebody felt at home.
Dialogue color: teal

HumanHyperbole

September 24, 2020, 08:08:03 am #26 Last Edit: September 24, 2020, 08:19:55 am by HumanHyperbole
Alan looked relieved to have another colleague of sorts that wasn't halfway to the Mushroom Kingdom. Jo seemed like that person straight away.

"Oh thank god, I'm so relieved to have another colleague that isn't halfway to the Mushroom Kingdom."

Alan is a very straight forward person. Perhaps candor became a necessary coping mechanism dealing with Doctor August. He pointed up at the stars overhead. In this region, most people were using candles and campfires for light, so the night sky was totally unimpeded. If they didn't already live in a space-ship, the view would be incredible. He motioned to Melody to join them.

"Captain, you'll want to hear this too... So! We already know where all our stars and planets are relative to each other. But there's a lot of well... rocks and garbage in our lovely multi-solar cluster of space. Trillions are spent every year trying to vaguely avoid areas we think have too much debris just going between one planet to another. Doctor August figured out a way to hack the Guidance Chips he made for interplanetary missiles to map garbage instead of leveling cities. The more we have, the faster we can map all the garbage between here and the closest moon. We're going to 'borrow' the sensors on some old spy satellites left over from the war, and the guidance chips here will handle the horsepower so the feds don't notice a significant heat increase on any of their old hardware. Once the test run is done, we publish the specs for free and I hope the book deal is worth it in five years. Also prizes. We could win SO MANY PRIZES!"

Alan rattled it all off almost as if a single sentence. The work they were doing, while un-sexy scientifically speaking could make a lot of spacer's lives better. The feds would get better mapping data for their navy too, so they'd be unlikely to make a fuss if this all worked. And if they kept Yank and Valiente from slipping off with the only chip they had.

Speaking of whom...
*******************

Roughly fifty miles away in the hills surrounding them.

Valiente was rubbing his temples. Making his baseball cap bob up and down slightly. Yank was very slowly and condescendingly talking to a man standing outside his cabin.

"Miiiiicrooooo chiiiiipss....."

Valiente's frustration shifted to his partner.

"Guidance chips, god damn it!"

The man continued to stand there stone faced. Something occurred to Yank. He realized the man was obviously of Asian descent. There were still plenty of small communities where people only spoke one specific dialect from Earth that was. He nearly figured it out.

"NEEEE HOOWWWW...."

The man turned to his wife standing in the doorway and said in his native Korean:

"이 사람들에게 무슨 문제가 있습니까? 도움이 필요합니까?"
*What's wrong with these men? Do they need help?*

Luckily the Russo organization was on their trail, but not quite *hot* on their trail.

William Breene

September 24, 2020, 08:32:38 am #27 Last Edit: September 24, 2020, 11:50:58 am by William Breene
Breene wished upon all the stars above them he could turn invisible in this moment. It wasn't his plan to run off his exploding space-ship with only one guidance chip he was pocketing for himself taped to his sweaty back. Then again, Willy Breene's plans were often improvised versions of the last plan that fell apart. His therapist once described it as "...going through life in not cycles of self destruction, but rather somersaulting through everyone else's in a fury of chaotic exuberance..." or something to that extent.

Nowadays he liked to tell himself he'd at least reeled it back to being a cartwheeling fireball of fun. He realized Holger had the right idea. Alan was giving his nerd speech. The spacer knew this wasn't his lane. Pulling his shirt off once again he tossed it onto the cargo bay floor of the Revenge and walked up behind Alan, giving him a slightly over-friendly from-behind one armed hug.

"I think you guys have this covered..."

With the other hand he reached around handed the chip off to Melody. Grinning he stepped back and pointed at Alan.

"Speaking of covered... Specs and Pecs over here! There's a ceremony to the old space gods or something going on! Stop pretending you don't have those puppies under there! I'm serious he's out-benched me on several occasions."

Breene unbuckled his belt and stepped out of his pants off towards the fire and Holger. Doctor August wasn't far behind as they all began to run around and dance chaotically to Doctor August's bongo drumming. The stripping and talk of Alan's surprising pectoral muscles was hopefully enough a smokescreen to get them off his back about the number of guidance chips he brought to the party.

Missy Etheridge

Missy snorted reflexively as soon as she heard the name Dr. Ricardo August, then very hastily turned it into something resembling a sneeze. Back at Osiris MedAcad and its affiliated academic programs, the man was a... well, 'legend' wasn't quite the right word. 'Legend' implied some degree of respect. The man was a story, was really the most flattering possible way of putting it.

She didn't feel the need to volunteer this information to the assorted crew, however, nor did anyone see fit to solicit her opinion on the subject, so she quite contentedly kept it to herself. Encountering the esteemed physicist in person went about as well as she expected it to, although his assistant, who hadn't made it into many of the tales she'd heard, was something of a surprise.

She started when Melody said her name, much less accompanied by the word 'please,' and was even more surprised when the captain gestured to Holger. Missy stared blankly at her, then raised her eyebrows in an expression clearly reading, And just what do you expect me to do about it?
Talk less. Smile more.
Never let them know what you're against or what you're for.

Melody

"On, it," Izak answered, with no sass whatsoever. Mel's brows rose and she stared after him. Hey, maybe there was something to the whole 'polite' nonsense. Not that she planned on getting to soft and amiable. Still... her snapped back to Missy, who was staring at her with raised brows. 

"I don't know! Just make sure he doesn't...put his head in the fire? Or knock himself out? I don't know! You're the doctor!" she explained in exasperation, gesturing wildly in Holger's direction.

"I'm Jo, the tech guy...Perhaps we could discuss the details of the project while Doctor August finishes his... ritual."

"Oh thank god, I'm so relieved to have another colleague that isn't halfway to the Mushroom Kingdom."

"I think you guys have this covered..."

No, they didn't have it covered. But of course he was going to leave them be while going off to enjoy himself at their expense. Her brows furrowed and she eyed him suspiciously. Maybe she could convince Missy to push him in the embers...

"...There's a ceremony to the old space gods or something going on! Stop pretending you don't have those puppies under there!..." Her eyes slowly lowered to his legs as the pants were discarded. Why. One side of her nose scrunched up, her lips parted, and her brows furrowed. Holger, Breene, and their contact were now all semi-clothed and dancing around the embers of the bonfire, which she imagined might just flare back to life with their enthusiasm.

"Captain, you'll want to hear this too..." came the assistant's voice. She slowly tore her gaze off the horror show that was her life, leveling an unamused glower in his direction and crossing her arms over her chest. "So! We already know where all our stars and planets are relative to each other... Once the test run is done, we publish the specs for free and I hope the book deal is worth it in five years. Also prizes. We could win SO MANY PRIZES!"

Her eyes had glazed over almost entirely during the long-winded presentation, and she turned her head toward Jo as though sleepwalking. Help. Space garbage and prizes. She would rather have been standing by the fire with the crazies, if she was honest. "Well...that's..." she commented, trailing off before reaching any appropriate adjectives. "So, who will be paying for this chip?" she asked him, eyes regaining some of their clarity.
Dialogue Color: Brown

Holger Heyerdahl

"Aaaaaooooooooo!"

Holger howled.

"Graaaaawww!"

Holger barked. His scream broke the silence, waking even the dead at night. His vengeance for the time spent in space was boiling, he aimed to kill the light. He found what he was looking for, though, in Ricardo August. And Holger listened in awe as he heard him. His howls and barks pailed in comparison to the good doctor's.

They threw their heads back and barked at the Jiangyin for Dangun was it's moon.

Holger laughed. "Ha ha ha ha ha ha!" For years, he'd felt tormented. The prospect of being buried in a nameless grave (a likely prospect in his line of work.) But now he was risen. A miracle had saved him. Those that the beast is looking for will find him, and Holger had found Ricardo August and the two of them, with everyone else also there, listened to each other and heard each other.

They barked on Dangun.

They cursed and buried their shame. One might have thought their timeless souls were gone. Gone in in an empty, burning hell. But they were holy and unholy at once. And they proved even themselves wrong with their revelry. They howled in the shadows. They lived in a lunar spell. Holger found his heaven, spewing from the mouth of hell. They were the beasts they were looking for. Holger was awestruck as he listened to the ferocity of August's howls.

He smiled and barked on Dangun.
Dialogue Color - Orange

HumanHyperbole

October 06, 2020, 11:40:24 am #31 Last Edit: October 06, 2020, 11:42:15 am by HumanHyperbole
Doctor August, Breene, and Holger danced, and howled, and took turns banging away on the drums. Perhaps tapping into something ancient in their DNA, or just riding with the crazy dude's vibe, they communed with the old gods.

Meanwhile Alan commiserated with the Captain.

"You have no idea, this is our fifth 'ceremony' this month-"


Alan caught himself and stopped there.

"Doctor August is brilliant, though not well funded but hopefully that'll change soon...we only really had enough money to fairly compensate Mr Breene for one chip but he just handed you that single A7 GPU..."

He shot her a look for a second, quizzical, shifting to annoyed, then acceptance.

"That's the only chip isn't it..."

Taking off his glasses then cleaning them with his pajamas he continued on making the same offer he was going to make anyway. Just annoyed that he'd only brought them a SINGLE A7.

"I can have the credits transferred to you the second we complete our first test of the system. But... can you just do us a solid and help keep an eye on the place while me and Doctor August do math? Well, while I try and figure out the math he scrawled onto actual papyrus and he screams at some ancient sex god he believes in? I read what happened to the Atkinson and if anybody comes looking for what you guys ran off with it might be better if there's somebody around who knows how to even hold a gun. Well.. Doctor August claims to have been a Paladin in a past life but I don't think it really applies."

Meanwhile in the cabin:

Izak surprisingly found a fairly well furnished home. The feel might even be called "home-y".

Upstairs was a pair of equally unremarkable bedrooms. Then in the basement he'd find the lab, and Alan's store room. The lab was a chaoitic mess of wires and screens, then the store room was a return to the snooze fest. Wood, dried food, tents, cots. A couple lever-action rifles more for varmints than home-defense. Though the locked closet labeled "hazardous materials" stood out a bit but they were scientists, so this was pretty normal for them.

Joakim Soong

October 17, 2020, 07:12:45 am #32 Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 08:11:41 am by Joakim Soong
"Well...that's..."

"...brilliant," Jo finished Melody's sentence when it seemed like she wasn't going to. He thought Alan had explained the whole deal quite clearly, but judging by the look on her face she could use an even more abbreviated summary. "Easier to avoid space junk. Smoother sailing. That's basically it. And I like the part about publishing the specs for free."

What he didn't like was the part where Alan kept referring to "chips" in plural. Fortunately, Mel let the cat out of the bag right away, and the resulting exchange was a lot less awkward than Jo had feared.

"I can have the credits transferred to you the second we complete our first test of the system. But... can you just do us a solid and help keep an eye on the place while me and Doctor August do math (...) Doctor August claims to have been a Paladin in a past life but I don't think it really applies."


"If you and Doctor August need an extra hand, I'd be happy to help--" Jo did his best to ignore Holger, who had started howling for some reason. "I mean, I technically do know how to hold a gun, but I reckon I'm better at math, even if this exact kind of thing is a little out of my ballpark..."

He glanced at Melody, suddenly feeling self-conscious. He was painfully aware of the fact that going toe to toe with the types they'd encountered on the Atkinson was even more out of his ballpark than harnessing military-grade Alliance technology for charting space debris and dealing with a rogue physicist who dressed in a loin cloth to commune with the spirits or something. As open-minded as Jo tried to be towards the eccentricities of geniuses, he couldn't help but find Doctor August's manic energy a bit unnerving. His own pre-work rituals amounted to putting on a comfortable pair of pants and chugging an energy drink or two.

'Pants' apparently being the operative word here.
Dialogue color: teal

Izak Archer

The cabin was about as organized as any home could be. The term 'cozy' also came to mind. The only thing that stood out was the hazardous materials closet, but Izak paid that little mind. No need to go poking through every space and disturbing whatever experiments and inventions this guy was working on.

On the other hand, if it were little more than a moonshine still, no sense in blowing something up. Overall the place was largely uninteresting. It had just about everything needed for a frontier lab space though.

"For a bit of a madman he certainly keeps most of this together," Izak said with a sigh. Content that there was nothing fishy in the cabin he left and closed the door behind him. Journeying back toward the  madness ensuing next to their ship. He scratched his head in awkward surprise as he drew closer. Despite this deal proceeding as planned, Melody clearly could not get the three around the fire to get themselves put back together. Maybe it would make the deal easier.

Izak shook his head and approached Melody. "Cabin's clear," he said. "There's a secondary storage room labeled hazardous materials, but nothing else stands out."

William Breene

October 23, 2020, 12:42:32 pm #34 Last Edit: October 23, 2020, 12:45:30 pm by William Breene
Breene cartwheeled yet again. While part of him truly did want to just dive headfirst into the manic energy of it all, another part of the Celt knew he was on the thinnest of ice. As he did his best to mimic the madman's vibe, the would be shaman stopped him. His wide, dilated eyes looked back at him in a piercing way that was almost uncomfortable. Doctor August stepped closer. Now it was making him uncomfortable.

Willy noticed his hand going to the cloth pouch on his hip. Instinctively he ducked before Ricardo could blow the powder from said cloth into his face. Breene wanted a good time but couldn't afford to breathe in what was likely to make him trip his face off. Breene rolled to the side and popped back up onto his feet walking backwards.

"Ha... I'm good right now doc... Maybe later!"

This wasn't his first time to hang out with the doctor. He was a friend of a friend. It was shortly after her got out of prison and he was exploring outside the box treatments for his anxiety and possible PTSD from that time. Several weeks of spiritual experiences and not a small amount of mind expansion later he emerged a more whole man. But he couldn't relax quite like that right now.

He found himself standing halfway between Specs and Pecs, and Doctor August, he looked over towards both groups. Trip balls, possibly have an existential experience he can't afford right now... or go confront something he's fallen short on...

Breene groaned aloud and wished he could just set himself on fire. Then he wandered back over towards the group of squares, though he didn't put his pants back on. He put his arm around Alan like they were old friends and weren't friends of friends of a coworker. And like he was wearing more than his boxer briefs.

"Hey guys... elephant in the room.. ughhh..."

He paused for a moment.

"Sorry we only had the chance to grab the one chip. Things got extra stupid when I found out my old boss made a side deal with the Russos. I hadn't shot him, the Russos were gonna kill us all. We wouldn't have any chips if you guys didn't come save my ass, so thank you..."

Veering close to sincerity, he let go of Alan and looked over at the fire and saw Doctor August approaching Holger. His hand in the pouch of psychedelic powder. William barked at his eccentric friend.

"No!"

And Breene was off towards the fire again, trying to get between the doctor and the brain damaged Viking descendent.

Melody

After the translation from their tech specialist, Melody nodded her chin down a little to indicate that she probably understood what was happening, her arms crossed tight over her chest to close her off from the strangers before her. She was grumpy already and just getting grumpier. And maybe she was a little hangry too.

"I can have the credits transferred to you the second we complete our first test of the system." Not now? They already got the items, why did they need to wait longer to get the payment? Their ship needed some mild repairs after that altercation with the Attkinson, and they needed money to pay for those.

"But... can you just do us a solid and help keep an eye on the place while me and Doctor August do math (...) Doctor August claims to have been a Paladin in a past life but I don't think it really applies,"
the pajama-man added.

"I'll be expecting further pay for our troubles,"
she reminded him. "We were couriers, and now you want us to be bodyguards. I'm sure you, with your big brain, are pretty aware of that costin' extra." She told him sterly, which wasn't a 'No.'

"If you and Doctor August need an extra hand, I'd be happy to help-- I mean, I technically do know how to hold a gun, but I reckon I'm better at math, even if this exact kind of thing is a little out of my ballpark..." Jo offered, and Mel looked at him with mild and very hidden pride. He was a member of her crew and despite his quit and seemingly meek demeanor (except when he was yelling at her), here he was offering up his help in an unknown and probably dangerous situation. She reached out to pat his shoulder awkwardly before crossing her arms again.

"Hey guys... elephant in the room.. ughhh... Sorry we only had the chance to grab the one chip. Things got extra stupid when I found out my old boss made a side deal with the Russos. I hadn't shot him, the Russos were gonna kill us all. We wouldn't have any chips if you guys didn't come save my ass, so thank you..." She rolled her eyes so hard she felt like she might fall backward. She wouldn't have saved his ass if it hadn't been for Jo's championing of the man. She still didn't like him, not one bit. But Jo had been sort of right, during their bridge conversation, so she was trying her hardest not to lunge at Breene and pull his nose off. Instead, she offered him a toothy smile that looked more like a wolverine bearing its fangs than it did a proper 'your welcome' sort of gesture.

"No!" he yelled at the insane doctor shaman before heading back that direction, and she let the 'smile' drop back into a frown. "Missy, go make sure Holger doesn't take drugs," she asked, although this time, when she eyed the doctor, it was a lot less polite than her request from before. "Captain's...Orders," she said, separating the words out as though reciting an ancient spell or words of power. "Please and thank you."

"Cabin's clear, there's a secondary storage room labeled hazardous materials, but nothing else stands out." Izak reported once he'd returned to them and Mel nodded her chin down once in thanks. "As long as no one licks it..." she muttered, eyeing Holger and Co. from the ship's cargo ramp.
Dialogue Color: Brown

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