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Sharing host/GM duties for "Firefly - Second 'Verse" with Wandering Wolf.

Other than that, kind of a goofball who loves writing stories and playing radio for an audience consisting entirely of my dogs.

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After closing the cargo bay hatch behind her, Abby heaved a sigh which sent a stray wisp of hair skyward. Gaslightin’, Uncle Bob had called it. Word made no sense to her; try her best, Abby couldn’t conjure how a gas lantern compared to folk comin’ at yah one way, then doublin’ back on ever’thing. Don’t matter now, she considered as the cash was transferred to a pocket in her dungarees.

But what did you learn, Abigailita?

Aunt Lupe’s favorite question. Always brought her to thinkin’, most times when she straight up didn’t want to. But she would, Abby offered a silent promise to her aunt as she walked out into the cargo bay.

Hook was there, strappin’ down a fresh load ‘o’ crates. They’s all painted blue, ‘cept for where the wood splintered off. All had the same big white letters, S T, with a lightnin’ bolt between ‘em. Must be Seatronics, the girl thought as she lifted her clipboard. “Thanks, Hook,” she offered up. “Jest got three new passengers. Sounded hungry. They’ll come lookin’...”

“Scuse me!” The man yelled from atop the ramp. He’s wearin’ coveralls ‘bout the same blue as them crates. “You Abby Travis?”

“Yep!” She offered Hook a grateful nod afore facin’ the delivery man.

“Boss says give this to you,” he handed off a plump coin pouch. “Same as in the deal.”

She accepted the purse. “Ku,” Abby flipped the clipboard open. “Who’s pickin’ ‘em up on New Melbourne?”

“Fella named Jinks. Clevus Jinks.”

“How’s that spelt?” She copied the name as the freight handler spelled it out. “Shiny. We’ll be there’n three days”. The coin jingled as it slipped into her pocket. As the fella waved an’ left, Abby turned back to find Hook already gone...most like to stir up grub.

But what did you learn?

She flipped to the last page, where Rex Black’s first teachin’ lay.


Her next pondering was over his bird, Lucky. Abby wrote:


She frowned. “That ain’t right.” Hadn’t been a year since she read Captain Blood And The Pirates Of The Outer Rim. Fun story, she recollected, but them pirates? She’d seen pirates afore, and weren’t none of ‘em like Captain Blood. An’ he had a parr… “Oh yeah,” the girl smiled and corrected her work.


Mayhaps China Doll had a cortex she could use to look them things up. Next, she called up words as she could remember...curious words mouthed by them three as she took ‘em aboard. Didn’t sound like no Chinee she conjured, but that didn’t mean nothin’. She put pen to paper, sounden’ em out, tryna make sense of how they’s spelt.







Her brow furrowed on that one. Weren’t shot from a gun, or a shot ‘o’ likker. Mechanic says shot when somethin’s well worn haired girl used it like it meant ku. All these lessons was wont to park her on a cortex fer a good spell.

A squeal of air brakes brought her back to the here an’ now, as a big lorry backed up to the ramp. Passenger door swung open, an’ she could make out one fella as he jumped down. When he stepped into the light, all dreadlocks an’ autorifle, Abby signalled “jest a minute” with a trigger finger an’ went fer the com.

“Cap’n,” she keyed the mic, “cargo bay. Yah wanted tah know when them last crates showed up.”
After a long drink an’ a stop to ‘pay the rent,’ Abby made her way out of the passengers’ lavatory. What little she’d seen of China Doll offered brighter clues as to her overall upkeep. Last few years aboard Mariposa...after Aunt Lupe passed...Uncle Bob just kinda let things go. Depression, one passenger called it. La shi took to pilin’ up in corners an’ some stains et right into the paint. The young girl washed and scrubbed, but with folk to feed an’ laundry to keep at bay, she had to choose her battles.

This boat was old, but leastways she was tended. It showed that Cap’n kept folk on to handle her an’ made sure they did. Abby couldn’t say where she’d be after they touched New Melbourne, but fer now, they’s a spot here with her name on it. Still felt more’n a little unsettlin’ and she accepted there’s tears to be cried, but that’d come on her own time.

Medbay lights was on, an she seen Hook actin’ the guide to a woman. Judgin’ as words like ‘supplies’ passed twixt ‘em, the deckhand took her fer that new doc Cap’n told of. Purty, Abby thought as she passed by. Her and Penelope. They’s both purty, she mused over thoughts of that new pilot. He can pick ‘em. But the sight of Hook in the new medic’s company doused the girl’s hope of a ready made plate with her name on it. Mayhaps I can slip down to that cook stall, she thought as she crossed the cargo bay.

“Excuse me, young lady.” The fella stood up at the ramp’s foot was tall. Not a thread out of place, and those all looked to cost top coin. Even the dust on his shoes looked like it’d be polished off afore he took to his bed. “I understand you’re destined for New Melbourne?”

“Sure an’ we are,” the girl nodded as she strode down the ramp. “Bookin’ a passage? We still got rooms.”

“Sadly, I cannot,” he smiled. “Harrison Caruthers, Seatronics Corporation. My card.” He had the purtiest hands she’d ever seen, long, slender fingers looked so clean as they’d never touched more’n a china cup. His business card was a sight to behold, too. Caruthers’ name and a whole stream of letters crawled over a capture of a big fishin’ boat, all white and clean as she glided over an ocean flat as glass. Abby seen the ocean once, when Uncle Bob hauled a bunch of statues an’ such to some rich guy on Bellerophon. Damn near went swimmin’ when their pilot almost flew em’ into one of them trash drones…


Abby looked up. “Sorry,” she offered the card. “Nice pitcher.”

Caruthers chuckled. “Please, keep it. Now, as to my purpose,” he continued, “I’ve got a shipment of marine electronics equipment that needs to be delivered before the tuna fleets set sail. What’s your ETA for New Melbourne?”

“Cap’n says we’re goin’ tonight. Three full days to New Melbourne,” she answered. “Got others flyin’ with us what say that puts us down with two days to spare.”

“Cutting it close,” the gent stroked his moustache, “but if the price is agreeable, perhaps we can make arrangements.”

Time to dance, just like Uncle Bob taught her. ...’member, Chick Pea. They try to hornswoggle yah with numbers and what important folk they are, yah just stick to tha rates. They show out tah be a huen duan, make’em pay full boat. If’n they’re respectful, git ‘em tah signin’ off an’ then cut ‘em ten percent. That’ll have ‘em lookin’ fer ye on future runs.

Way this Caruthers was playin’ it so nice she’s liable to make it fifteen. All the while, Abby kept an eye on the darkening street and them as walked it. She spied three folk, all clustered in a little knot. Dim as it was, she couldn’t suss out whether they’s passengers tryin’ to decide on comin’ to China Doll, or footpads casin’ Caruthers fer a rich mark.
Happy Saturday from the cargo bay!

Looks like we got us some passengers. Make sure they get 3 squares a day, an' I conjure we best pack on another case of Captain Bob's Cola.

Word is we got some some of y'all in cahoots on posts right now. We been exercisin' our godlike powers to keep the sun hangin' jeeeest about yea high (lifts hand to demonstrate), an' Badger don't like it at all. If yer' workinn' on somethin' what happens afore we put the spurs to 'er, send us a wave an' we'll keep eyes peeled.

Other' that, once we get our passengers sitchiated an' our mechanic puts eyes on things, we's takin' our last cargo an' gittin' outta Dodge.

Not sure what Wolf is up to. Sail says he's got business all day Saturday an' carousin' that night. But he will be sittin' at his cortex all day Sunday, if'n you need to jay-pee, coe-lab, or whatever it is I hear y'all palaverin' about.

I gotta go. Parrot jest pooped in the galley.

I guess Abby had to hit the head and missed the doc, lol.

Great post, guys!
“Heeeeeere, mechanicmechanicmechanicmechanic….”

Just figgers, Abby thought as the foot traffic began to thin. All about the Eavesdown docks, street vendors and stall merchants were beginning to close up shop and trudge homeward. Usually, them as stayed past dark was sellin’ food., her stomach growled its’ displeasure at bein’ visited by naught but half an Oaty Bar all day.

Once the word was out they’s bound fer New Melbourne, seemed like half ‘o’ Persephone wanted to book rides on China Doll. Lots was bummers, seagoin’ deckhands offerin’ trade ‘o’ work fer a bunk. Whole flock ‘o’ whores come callin’, with scant coin and offers tah take tha entire crew “all the way...if you know what we mean.”

Abby might not have travelled the road, but she knew the map. “Keep walkin’ girls,” she folded her arms as the women all turned away. I prob’ly just pissed off all the menfolk, she thought, only to draw a sharp breath as one of the working girls blew her a kiss. Mayhaps the women, too…

“Heeeeeere, mechanicmechanicmechanicmechanic….”

As sky changed to a darkening blue and shadows lengthened, the girl weighed their options. Hell, she dismissed the concern, there’s dozens ‘o’ times Uncle Bob took Mariposa to the black without a mechanic… But she had to fess up that Uncle Bob had ‘em broke down in the black a whole bunch, too. Over time, Abby had jury rigged half the parts on the radion core, forcin’ ‘em into place with wraps of duct tape and even little cages of bailin’ wire. She liked to think she could turn to an’ get this crew to New Melbourne, but the truth of things was she’d never seen the shape of this boat. No sense in lettin’ her alligator mouth overload her canary pi gu.

Down the way was a stall had lights on ‘er...and what they’s cookin’ set her stomach into overdrive. She could hear the meat sizzle; the aroma of its’ seasoning carried on the night breeze like a sireen’s call. Abby’s mouth positively watered for a taste of whatever it was. Don’t rightly care what ‘tis, she thought, her gaze fixed upon the cheerful lanterns and a woman working the cooktop. I’m starved...right now I’d even tuck into a nice bowl ‘o’ beagle an’ noodles. But no. Orders was orders. Long’s there was boxes to check, Abby would stick to the chore. Mebbe Hook talked his way into the galley, she tried to cheer herself up. He’ll put a plate by fer me. That bit of reassurance paid up, Abby chanted the mantra again.

“Heeeeeere, mechanicmechanicmechanicmechanic….”
No worries, Gunther. Kids always take precedent.

I'm just N of ATL. All that we received from Elsa were the rain bands she kicked to the North on her way toward SC, which put a real cramp in some outdoor painting I've been trying to finish.
Happy Sunday from the cargo bay!

So we've seen lots 'o' crew come aboard. Cal done got us a pilot and a doc. Abby's takin' names at the ramp. Hook's squarin' away what cargo as gets paid to haul, and Rex is moppin' up a bloody nose.

Hear tell we got us a mechanic, but she ain't showed yet.

Sun's goin' down. We's lookin' fer Badger's crates an' his passenger lady. Soon's they're aboard we're gonna blow this pop stand, so if'n ya got business in town, now's the time tah get 'er done. If not, Cap'n Cal invites yah to gitcher ass in gear and get aboard...cuz when Penelope touches throttles we ain't lookin' back.

OOC: Joint post from Aalakrys and Sail

As Penelope made her way through the throngs of folks going about their business, she hummed a tune of her own makin’ idly as she was known to do when particularly content. Not only had she found a way home, but somethin’ to do on the way there. More than somethin’ to do - fly a bird on her list of desirables. Even if the crew and captain didn’t work out, she could at least say that she flew a Firefly.

Since it could be a bit before they took off, and the smoked jerky smelled mighty fine, Penelope made her way over to one of the vendors O’Malley swore used real meat. She smiled at the familiar face as her shoes crunchin’ on the gravel and dirt came to a stop before the man. After a small exchange, jerky with a complimentary kabab for some coin, her lively eyes turned in the direction of slip eight and the ship she could see docked there. The kabab was taken in along with the bustling sights as she made no hurry to the ship despite how excited she was to see it up close.

When she made it, the kabab was gone and stick stored away back behind her in the large flap of her rucksack. There was a use for that, she thought, and she’d find it when she had time. Right now, she had a fellow crew member to meet. Penelope’s light smile she’d been wearing spread just a little as the sound of the ship’s metal gently met her soles and she greeted the red-head girl letting folks aboard. “Hey, there. You must be Abby. Cap’n Cal sent me this way on account of your need of a pilot.”

“Uh...yeah,” Abby found herself caught flat footed in the bright presence of this new person. The woman before her was petite, and looked her senior by just a few years. Though her clothing weren’t no match for the kaleidoscopic First Mate she’d just boarded, bouncing on the balls of her feet as she was gave her to stand out. Could be the feathered earrings. Mayhaps it was the open face, the lively eyes...or that ready smile. Whatever it was about this new pilot had just managed to completely disarm the deckhand. “Sorry,” she stammered as she thumbed her way through the clipboard. “I’m Abby, alright. Cap’n told you true. What’s yer name?”

"Penelope Randell," Pen said as she watched the red-head flip through whatever the clipboard held, patiently waiting on her to locate whatever it was she was looking for. While she did, her eyes scanned the view into the cargo hold and what she could see beyond from where she stood, just taking it in. Conversationally and with her gaze drifting back to the girl before her, she asked Abby: “Ya been with the China Doll long?”

The deckhand shook her head. “Nope. My first day, too.” She turned the page to the list Cal had left behind. “I wasn’t on the street twenty minutes afore Cap’n gimme this clipboard an’ said “git stuff done.” She took a moment to write Penelope’s name...or at least a reasonable facsimile...into the roster. “As fer pay, Cap’n says it’s standard pilot’s share’n yer own bunk,” she lifted her eyes as composure reasserted itself. “Three squares a day...well, food, most like,” Abby shrugged. “Ever been on a Firefly?”

"Oh, I have been on one, when I was 'bout your age, prob'ly." The now official pilot was grinning, but not about anything the girl was doing or saying. All that was reasonable. Rather, it was their new captain's apparent on-the-spot manner. "Sounds like we both got a bit'a luck today. I was headin' this way to book passage, and here I am set to fly the very ship I was told was headin' my way home."

Hazel eyes flickered past Abby's shoulder at that, eagerness of her own starting to take root now that all the paperwork was out of the way. Still, she had manners. "Reckon I'll head in and get settled 'less I'm to get straighta work?"

Abby couldn’t put a finger on it, but after the loss and confusion she’d tamped down so ain’t nobody would see, Penelope’s straight up cheer was hitting her like a tonic. “Crew quarters is right above us,” she pointed upward, toward the boat’s angled neck. “Grab a single, less’n yer bringin’ someone along. Hook’ll show yah...Hook!” Abby shouted over her shoulder. “This here’s our pilot. Wouldja help get ‘er squared away?”

Penelope glanced back inside just the way one's eyes would naturally follow such a calling out; searchin' for its intended briefly before returning to the caller just as Abby turned back.

“Got another fella aboard...looks to be our First Mate. Rex can’t miss’im. Got a few passengers, them as paid up,” she added. “Cap’n says we’re not goin’ til after dark, so you got time to get squared away.”

"That sounds real shiny, Abby. It sure does." Penelope said in soft joy, ready to head and get acquainted with the bird. The crew, too, but there was always somethin' about meeting the ship that say special for a pilot like her. Standing just outside her neck had that feelin' tickling at her to the point of it almost becoming silly. But, she held off showin' it - for now.

Instead she nodded in way of a parting as she passed by Abby and her chair, strolling up the ramp with eyes scanning for whoever "Hook" was in the milling folk settling their boarded cargo, 'least to tell him she'd be fine finding her own way around. It was awful nice for the offer though. Cal, Abby, Hook, Rex… and I make five. Yep, this is shapin' up real nice indeed.
Excitement is cool, and very underrated. Not to sound like "that guy," (wait, I would love to say "I am that guy"...) but this past week has been really exciting. Getting to know all of you and your characters is is something I've missed doing for about a year now. I told Aalakrys that Abby's really begun to talk to me. She wants more back and forth with Rex, and she's keenly interested in comparing her long rifle to Hook's.

Thanks in advance for putting up with me.

Happy Friday from the cargo deck!

Last night, I got a real kick from JP'ing with Psych0pomp. Rex and Abby were a terrific pairing, and Rex's introduction was simply terrific.

Psych0pomp did a couple things when he posted the collab. I wanted to call everyone's attention to them, and raise a question or 2.

First, the banner art for Rex Black: Timing on this was perfect, as Wolf and I were discussing the possibility of posting banners which might include thumbnails of each character involved in the post. Speaking as one who is graphically challenged, I wanted to get your opinions. Would participant character thumbnails be helpful to your posting or follow up?

Second, Psych0pommp added a link to an audio track for mood music. This started me thinking about some of the music that my FF writing experiences have been inspired by. Wolf and I have bounced tracks to and fro over the past couple years. Maybe it's time that we create a playlist for the crew?

These are fun thoughts to be thinking. I told Wolf last night that exposure to your characters and the sudden upheaval of her world has Abby changing before my eyes. I love these changes when they come.

Keep flying.
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