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1 yr ago
Current If you do, I'ma do too.
1 yr ago
If you do, I'ma do too.


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.

Most Recent Posts

I keep having dreams of pioneers and pirate ships and Bob Dylan,
Of people wrapped up tight in the things that will kill them,
Of being trapped in a lift plunging straight to the bottom,
Of open seas and ways of life we've forgotten.
I keep having dreams.

Amy worked in a bar in Exeter, I went back to her house and I slept beside her.
She woke up screaming in the middle of the night, terrified of her own insides.
Dreams of pirate ships and Patty Hearst breaking through a life over-rehearsed.
She can't remember which came first, the house, the home or the terrible thirst.
She keeps having dreams.

And on the worst days, when it feels like life weighs ten thousand tons,
She's got her cowboy boots and car keys on the bedstand, so she can always run.
She could get up, shower, and in half an hour she'd be gone.

I keep having dreams of things I need to do, of waking up and of following through,
But it feels like I haven't slept at all when I wake to her silence and she's facing the wall,
Posters of Dylan and Hemmingway, an antique compass for a sailor's escape.
She says "You just can't live this way", and I close my eyes and I never say,
"I'm still having dreams".

And on the worst days, when it feels like life weighs ten thousand tons,
I sleep with my passport, one eye on the backdoor, so I can always run.
I could get up, shower and in half an hour I'd be gone.

And come morning, I am disappeared, just an imprint on the bed sheets.
I'm by the roadside, with my thumb out; a car pulls up, and Bob's driving.
So I climb in, we don't say a word as we pull off into the sunrise,
And these rivers of tarmac are like arteries across the country.

We are blood cells alive in the bloodstream of the beating heart of the country.
We are electric pulses in the pathways of the sleeping soul of the country.
Why do I suddenly have a yen for fava beans and a nice chianti?
Happy Sunday from the cargo bay!

Episode 4, "Redemption Road," is pushing toward Day 2, when our intrepid crew begins to sneak folks out of the blackout zone. The plan seems pretty good, and even The Sister has signed off...but now Yuri's not so certain there aren't eyes on them. Watch your step, people!

As of today, I'm aware of 2 JP's in the queue.
1. Alana, Abby, and Yuri are at a souped up, central planets medical center to get his arm mended and to erase Abby's bruises from her rough ride with the bikers.
2. Hook and Sister Lyen will begin their work inside the BZ, which might also include the exorcism of a few personal demons.

If anyone else has a post in process that requires either a little help or for us to slow the clock, just let us know. We're glad to help!

A closing thought: "Motion is the lotion." Though often used by fitness gurus to get slackers like myself off the couch, I find the words equally meaningful as they pertain to growing your character within an RPG environment. We had a happy dearth of writers join the game during the summer, many of whom have dropped off the radar once Labor Day was behind us. It's no problem; we've held from the beginning that FFF2V is a game for adults who have real life commitments. However, I will add that if you're struggling to find a place for your character within our plot or crew dynamic, all you need do is reach out. I'll be more than happy to brain storm solutions with you.

Just remember that to be involved, you have to get involved. Writers who don't make an effort to engage others and join in the plot will eventually fall into the "out of sight, out of mind" category. We want you to enjoy your time in FF2V, and to that end we're glad to help you ramp up among the crew. If a character doesn't get written either in solo or joint posts, that character simply doesn't grow. Come on and fly with us.


Hi Bugman,

Look for a response in your PM's.


A band of women approached the checkpoint. They all wore matching uniforms, short sleeved, pale blue janitorial dresses that dropped to mid calf over whatever shoes they happened to own. Their hair was bound beneath matching peasant scarves. From his seat at a dingy cafe across the street, Yuri trained a monocular toward the guards’ station, zooming in to the glow of a large data screen. As the women passed through an archway, , he noted lines of text, flashing onto a growing column of data.. “Looks like names,” he whispered, “and some sort of ident code. I’m guessing a chip registration.”

“Waiter’s coming,” Edina cautioned. As Yuri slipped the little device into his breast pocket, her face blossomed into a grin. “Why, yes, honey,” she laid a hand upon his, “I’d love to. Friday?”

She’s good at this, he thought, his own face lighting in reaction as their fingers twined. “Friday’s good,” Yuri’s own smile was tempered as the waiter arrived. After ordering sandwiches and drinks, they played the role of the smitten couple, planning their romantic getaway until the server moved out of earshot. “Nice,” the first mate nodded approval as he resumed his surveillance.

“When you’re a spy,” she quipped, a soft laugh escaping her lips at his confusion. “Something Abby taught me. She’s quite the little secret agent.”

“Do I want to know?”

“Probably not.”

Yuri watched more of the uniformed night shift women passing through the checkpoint. “The good news,” he whispered, “is no photo ident pops up onscreen. The system tracks chips, not people. Ohhh man,” he muttered, “there’s a child.” As he watched, a mother led her daughter to the guards’ station. The little girl, perhaps eight or nine, he guessed, wore the same pale blue work uniform. She stood nervously by as her mother beseeched the guard’s favor. After a moment’s obvious pleading, the guard lumbered away from his station. He took the child by the right arm, pressing a pistol-like device to her upper bicep, before squeezing the trigger. The little girl flinched, her face registering shock and sudden pain. As her mother crouched before her, Yuri could see the child nodding, her lip quivering as she fought to “be a big girl and don’t cry.” Meanwhile, the guard concluded his efforts by spraying something onto the fresh wound, which he then bandaged with a piece of duct tape ripped from a roll. “Like animals,” Yuri’s eyes blazed as the mother led her child off to a life of servitude. “The bastards treat them like fucking animals.”

Edina, mindful of her role, hadn’t turned to witness the spectacle. “But if we do our job,” she laid a hand upon his cheek, “at least forty of them will get a shot at their own lives.”

Her eyes offered him calm. “Thanks,” Yuri put the monocular away. “We understand how it works. Now it’s all up to the doc.”


“You promised me a drink,” Edina teased. They strolled together, arm in arm to keep up appearances as a pair of lovers.

“And I promise I’ll make good on that,” he replied. “After we find this place.” Though quite serious about their plan for the night, Yuri was coming to find this particular bit of theatre to be very pleasant. “Besides,” he gave her hand a gentle squeeze, “after that lead brick of a sandwich, the walk’s feeling pretty good just now.”

She lifted an eyebrow. “Oh yeah?,” Edina asked. “Is that the only reason?”

“Um…our mission’s going well?” He feigned a playful ignorance. “Did our friend ‘Abigail the Spy’ offer any tips of the trade about distraction?”

“Is that all I am?” she asked. “A distraction?”

“The more beautiful the woman,” Yuri fixed her with a smile, “the more unnoticed is her counterpart. Thanks to you, I’m completely invisible.”

“Aren’t you smooth?” She leaned into his arm. “Keep that up and I might force you to take me dancing.”

He laughed. “You can’t scare me…well, maybe you can.” He stopped, confusion evaporating his smile. “Thirteen-twenty-three,” he pointed toward a small corner market. “And thirteen-nineteen. I don’t get it. His shop should be right here.”

Edina gazed into the empty lot, an illicit dumping ground for trash and discarded furniture. “You sure of the address?” she cast a dubious eye toward Yuri.

He checked Hekubah’s business card once more. “1321 Wright Street,” he read off the address. “This is the place.”

“Maybe he moved?” She offered. “Why don’t we step in there and ask?”

The little market was universal in its’ appearance..tidy enough to pass community standards, but not entirely clean. Some of the overhead lighting cried for replacement, casting a generally dim, gap toothed illumination upon the cramped space. Narrow aisles led them past overflowing shelves toward the lone clerk on duty, a man who barely looked up from his cortex as Yuri stepped forward. “Beg pardon, sir,” he extended the card through the gap in the anti-crime partition. “I’m looking for this place, but the address must be wrong. Do you know where it is?”

The clerk passed the card back. “Seen that before,” he didn’t bother lifting his eyes. “Never been a clothes shop next door, but every now and again, somebody comes in with that card.”

“Curious,” the first mate remarked. “He gave it to me this morning.”

“You don’t say.” The clerk shifted back to his capture show. “Sounds like a con to me. Watch your back, son,” he offered before restarting the comedy.

“Looks like the joke’s on me,” Yuri muttered. The program’s audience erupted into laughter as he turned toward Edina. “No dice,” he tilted his head with a weak smile. “Sorry for the fire drill.”

Once back on the street, she took his arm again as they retraced their footsteps. “I saw three men’s clothing shops on our way here,” she volunteered. “We’ll get you spiffed up to play your role just yet…and not just the suit. I insist you buy yourself some new day-to-day clothes.”

As they walked, Yuri’s mind whirled over the nature of Hekubah’s deception. Just doesn’t add up, he thought of the little man’s tale, a purveyor of fine men’s clothing with a distinct fear of flying. He was interested in getting a tour of the boat, the first mate recalled, a pretty sketch move as he thought about it, but then… He saw the Sister, Yuri remembered. He was really curious about her business aboard. His eventual conclusion offered no comforting thought. Could make him out for a slaver…or a cop…

“...and some denims,” Edina said. “You could use at least two pair.” Derailed from his thoughts, Yuri caught sight of the glowing sign ahead.

Work Attire For White Or Blue Collar Professionals

“Looks like the place!” she offered brightly. “And after we’ve had our drink, you’re gonna let me trim that beard.”

I need to get to the captain...”what?” Yuri’s brows lifted. “What’s wrong with my beard?”

“It’s getting sort of…patchy,” Edina’s fingers went to work, gently tugging at the little bits of uneven growth along his jawline. Despite himself and his concerns, Yuri found himself gazing into those brown eyes. Close as she was, her fragrance filled his nostrils. He smiled at the sweetness, his expression revealing a quiet pleasure, until she suddenly realized the way he was looking at her. “What?” Edina asked, her smile softening as she met his gaze.

“Nothing,” Yuri chuckled. “I’m just glad you’re looking out for me, is all.”

Her eyes sparkled. “Somebody’s got to.”

Underworld Underhandedness - Part 2

JP/Collab from @Gunther, @wanderingwolf, and @sail3695

As the four conspired around their table, the Underworld began to fill with an army of young people. You couldn’t look in any direction without catching sight of leather jackets, high top sneakers, torn denims, or the big neon sign that was somebody sporting a Mohawk. As was natural, the murmuring conversation got that much louder, forcing some genius to crank up the music volume.

Cal held a stony silence as One-Arm and The Sister seemed to fall right into accord. While he was all kindsa glad that she cottoned to their plan, that little voice, the one warned him about “gift horses” and “too good to be true” was busy clearin’ it’s throat. Good news was Yuri stuck right on task and asked what needed askin’ despite an obviously pretty woman’s diversion, nun or not. Maybe it’s just Quill gets him tongue tied, the captain thought of his new first mate. In that case, he could forgive the man. There was a lot about the Companion could throw a man right off his balance. Hopefully she’s busy usin’ her feminine wiles to grease the wheels of the local law in their favor…

He leaned into Hook, cupping a hand over the cook’s ear. “You’ve seen how rough it gets in there, but I can’t have you walkin’ through that checkpoint packin’ a pistol. ‘Bout as close to weapons as we can get is chisels to knock mortar off those bricks. That bike gang…the BZ Kings…I’m gonna hand you some extra coin to work out a protection deal. We want this to go smooth as silk.” Cal’s jaw lowered, his eyes and brows lifting to communicate just how serious he was. “You walk in every mornin’. Spend the day cleanin’ bricks and loadin’ wheelbarrows, and then you walk ‘em all out every evenin’, dohn mah? Stick close to the Sister. Just live in her hip pocket every day ‘til we get ‘em all out..”

Joe Hooker understood what was expected of him. He didn’t speak Chinese often, but this phrase was one he was confident about, “dohn mah.” The captain didn’t want him carrying his Ruger. The tool had become part of him, he had been carrying it for so long. “What about a knife?” He carried a K-bar on his belt, right behind the pistol holster. “Ah can hand over the protectin’ money, cap’n. Ah’m also pretty fair fighter, but Ah think ya knew that.” Joe didn’t smile on that note.

He leaned back from the captain and looked around. He noticed a few men in the corner drinking what appeared to be beer and others with shot glasses. The thoughts of drinking beer and whiskey appealed to him. It was a difficult temptation. He wondered if he would be strong enough to resist this. He promised the captain he would quit. It was very difficult. It took all his strength not to imbibe.

“So they’re chipped,” Yuri replied thoughtfully. “Like cattle…bought and paid for, just marking time until the slavers drop in to swoop them up for a contract.” As Hook and the Captain spoke in whispers across the table, he considered the new challenge of the tracking chips. Like an RFID scan, he mused over his untouched bottle of cola. I conjure it records folk leaving for work in the morning, and then when they return before curfew. Simple tracking… That could explain the guards’ nonchalance. But what about someone like Lyen? “Tell me, Sister,” his eyes lifted to meet hers again. “Are you chipped as well? Can you show me on your arm where they implanted it?”

Ly shook her head, "No, humanitarian aid policies to address the 'non-issue' occurring in the Zones are in place so that organizations like my Order can move freely through the checkpoints." She rolled up the sleeve of her kasaya robe in the darkness of the club's strobing lights, "The Anabaptists have tech under the skin here," she marked the spot with a slender finger. "Even if we remove them after they leave the 'BZ,' the guards will have a list of all lapsed scans. It'd make replacing them with our volunteers superfluous," she said, chewing her lip in thought.

“That’s easy enough,” the first mate leaned across the table toward the nun. “If the chips are just injected beneath the skin, our doctor can extract them. We tape them onto the arms of your volunteers. That, plus a clothing swap,” he added, “should do the trick.”

Cal shook his head. “I’ve seen your knife. One gander says it ain’t for cuttin’ bread. Anythin’ looks like a weapon’s gonna get you singled out. If what One-Arm thinks is true, the guards don’t much study the man, but they’re all kindsa curious ‘bout what he’s carryin’. I got just as much unease in my gut about sendin’ you in empty handed, but Sister goes an’ comes every day.” He thought on that. He also thought on the mindset of his man..a slight tremor in Hook’s hand and nervous eyes darting compulsively toward the bottles behind the bar. He’d gone off the rails once. To tell it true, that’s why they were here with The Sister. It’s clear that if liquor was Hook’s demon, he was fighting the battle to shake it, just as he’d promised.

And now, here was Cal, considering dropping a struggling man into a mighty tetchy situation. “I trust you, Joe,” he finally whispered. “I trust you to think about this an’ not make hash of the plan. If you can hide that knife to keep it free from a pat down, then take it if you gotta. But most important,” his eyes touched on the man’s nervous hands, making his point before he gave it voice, “ain’t no shame in backin’ out if you need to. You tell me you’re good to go, I’ll take you at your word. But if you do, you gotta be on your right game…for your crew, for her,” he dipped his head toward the Sister, “and for forty souls we gave our promise. You good?”

Lyen stole a glance at the Captain as he extended a steady hand toward Hook's shaking one. She glimpsed the look in Hook's eye which she recognized immediately: guilt. Even now as the man thought of some response, she sensed some history here that could play a role in this plan, for better or worse. She returned her attention to Yuri as he puzzled over the issue she proposed.

“Mebee Ah should jus’ take up smokin’ agin?” Joe allowed the words to roll off his lips in a playful manner. “Nah, Ah’m good, cap’n. Ah kin handle this.” Joe’s tone quickly became more serious. He glanced around the bar for a split second, then looked into the captain’s eyes, his voice soft and low. “Ah really don’ need the knife or the pistol. It’s jus’ easier ‘sal. Ah kin fight with jus’ mah fists. You seen what ah kin do with jus’ mah fists.” Joe’s tone became a bit more serious. “Not countin’ the war, ah’ve planted many a men…not just the two you know of. But ah kin control it, ‘specially if ah’m not drinkin’.” Joe didn’t bother smiling. It was not something he was proud of. In fact, he still felt he needed to confess his sins to a shepherd, to do penance, to gain redemption for his sins. He wondered if the nun would count. It was something he planned to ask her later when there was time. The weight of the guilt and shame he carried on his shoulders was overwhelming. It was time to unburden himself.

“Control..that’s the thing,” Cal nodded before turning toward the whole group. “Sounds like we got this all sussed out. Sister Lyen,” he said, “Hook and Yuri’ll meet you at the checkpoint tomorrow at eight…”

“Nine, actually,” Yuri cut in. “Doc’s taking me to get this arm mended. We’ll have wheelbarrows and chisels..everything we need to look legitimate…”

“Plus a little grease for the guards,” the captain added. “Have your first ten or so ready and Hook here’ll put ‘em to work,” he instructed Lyen. “Get your vols to start showin’ up at China Doll mid afternoon. Have ‘em come in ones an’ two’s…spread ‘em out, so they don’t raise eyebrows…that make sense?”

"Duhn Ruhn," she said, nodding to the Captain. The plan Yuri had set out was a simple one, but now the bows needed to be tied by her hands. Ly was confident the Underworld's clientele would make the very volunteers she sought. The only task left to do was to organize and motivate them to help the Anabaptists. She was confident in the outcome, even if it stepped on the toes of hubris. Before she left tonight she would make sure her call to assemble at Club Banebdjedet would meet the ears it needed to.

Her eyes lingered on Joe Hooker, a man who seemed to be struggling with his worse demons here in the middle of the pulsing lights and techno-schism bass drops of the Underworld. This place had once touched the very same nerve for her, in the smell of alcohol, the unveiled delivery of corporal anesthetic. But the healthy don't need a physician; only the sick. And here she found plenty who needed tending.

“Shiny,” Cal answered as he took to his feet. “Love to stick about and listen to this…music…but we gotta round up wheelbarrows. Sister,” he offered a formal nod as his crew all rose. The captain turned for the door, falling into step beside Hook as Yuri brought up the rear. “Tune really is kinda catchy,” he looked sidelong towards the cook as they stepped outside.

”...and take your money…”
Happy Sunday from the cargo bay!

Looks like our "Redemption Road" caper is now in full swing.

Cal, Hook, and Yuri have gone to hang with the hipsters at The Underworld to get on the same page with Sister Lyen. Abby took advantage of not bein' seen to crawl down memory lane and check out China Doll's possible hiding places. And Quill? Despite her better judgment, she's massaging her connections to grease the wheels of justice.

To refresh memories, we're in Capital City, on Osiris. Our next official stop is Pelorum...but things happen, copy?

Everyone is encouraged to jump in and help the crew get ready for this job. If you're looking for a way to insert your character, just drop me a PM or chat! We can brainstorm some great ideas that help you into the fold and push the plot forward.

Hope everybody's having a great weekend. Beautiful weather here in ATL, which might force me from my subterranean lair into the outdoors to repair the mailbox some local kids decided to smash. Ah, the joy of teenage years, lol.

Write When It's Fun,

Underworld Underhandedness - Part 1

JP/Collab from @Gunther, @wanderingwolf, and @sail3695

“Well,” Cal spoke plain and dry as he looked about, “we’re sure to blend in here alright.”

All around them, the organized chaos and postured anarchy of The Underworld, Capital City’s most well known counter culture bar, seemed to point Cal, Hook, and Yuri out for the three ‘sore thumbs’ they clearly were. The entire space was festooned with posters from either bands who’d played upon its’ stage, or stylized images of historical revolutionaries. “Rebellion chic,” Yuri said as he took in the spray painted Viva Zona Libre! slogans as the music blasted from a high quality speaker system. “Never seen so many children with such thick beards,” the first mate observed as the captain led them toward an open table. “Then again,” he chuckled, “I gave up wearing sunglasses in the dark first time I barked a shin.”

“The birth of wisdom,” Cal replied as they settled in around a sticky table. “Sister said she’d be right along. Anybody want anything?” he asked. “One-Arm’s buyin.”

“Ah’ll have a whi-, err, How ‘bout some ah that bob’s cola, Miss Abby always be drinkin’?” Joe would have enjoyed a whiskey, but he swore to the captain, he would quit. Now didn’t see the time or the place to go back on his word. “Thanks, mister Yoo Ree!” Joe smiled at the first officer.

Yuri, caught off guard, looked every bit the deer in the headlamps as his eyes darted from one to the next. “Oh…uh…shiny,” the first mate replied as he took to his feet. “Three Captain Bob’s…comin’ right up!”

“Uh, wait, get me a…” Cal held an index finger aloft, a futile gesture as Yuri hustled away toward the bar. “Ah well,” the captain’s eye met Hook. “Listen,” he leaned toward the cook to speak in quiet. “You know how this plan’s ‘sposed to work, but plans got a funny way of goin’ sideways. You’re here because we need a man inside the blackout zone. Somebody to act like our job foreman…give the guards their daily bread…and see to it that we march some of our folk out each day. If anything crawfishes, I need you in there lookin’ out for The Sister and helpin’ us come up with a Plan B…copy?”

Joe listened to the captain. ‘Ah’m gonna be the inside man, eh?’ he thought to himself. “No problem, captain.” Joe considered how he would do this. He knew all he needed to do was appear confident, he belonged there and knew exactly what he was doing, even if he didn’t.

And so it was with baited breath that Ly quit the Club Banebdjedet, her message successfully passed in and among the community. The plan was in motion, even as footsteps carried her toward an uncertainty; it all rested on her shoulders now, and she knew what must be done for the people which she championed. Once she arrived she paused, collecting herself: she had a job to do, and the end was finally in sight.

The back door swung open and Sister Lyen entered the Underworld, with a nod to the closest busboys and bartenders. Once inside, the darkness of the club morphed into shuffling bodies in and among each other, but it wasn't hard for the Sister to spot her quarry, if from nothing else than the look of distinctive dissimilitude on the captain and his crew. Like water passing downstream, the nun picked her way toward the conspiratorial pair as the captain righted himself in recognition. She returned his nod with a veritable smile, turning toward Hook.

"Amituofo, I am Lyen Giu. I don't believe we've had the pleasure," the nun said, bedecked, as ever, in her orange kasaya robe, her hand outstretched for his.

Joe quickly took the nun’s hand to shake. “Very nice to meet ya, sister. Name’s Hooker, Joe Hooker. Most folks call me Hook.” He didn’t feel it necessary to discuss the first time he saw her. They had more important issues to deal with.

"Mr. Hooker," Lyen replied, taking an open seat at their table. In the brief connection they shared, Ly felt something heavy inside the man whose hand she returned now. The 'Verse seemed to be telling her that there was more to Joe Hooker than met the eye, and at first glance the eye revealed a man who clutched a soda bottle like it was an old friend.

The woman’s look at him made Joe feel uncomfortable. He didn’t know what it was, but it made him uneasy. He remained vigilant around her even though he felt probably did not need to be.

“Sister,” Cal settled back in his chair after rising to greet the nun. “We think we’ve cooked up a plan, but you need to hear it out and let us know where the holes are.” He gestured toward Yuri, who’d just returned with three bottles. “Got you a soda,” the captain said as he passed his own cola toward her place at the table. “You met Yuri last night. It’s pretty much his plan, so I’ll let him lay it out.” He cast meaningful eyes upon his first mate. “Without the joke this time, One-Arm.”

The presence of The Sister had created a quiet stir among the college aged counter culturalists in the club. Little groups huddled together, murmuring excitedly as the trim figure in the orange kasaya robe made her nondescript passage. Yuri watched as along her way, she paused, delivering comfort and blessings through the simplest of gestures. A kind word here, a touch there. It was clear that to these idealistic young minds, Sister Lyen Giu was a living embodiment of the better angels they all hungered to develop in themselves.

“Yes sir,” he replied before dutifully taking his seat. “Hello, Sister. Here’s how we think it works. We’re salvaging old bricks for a trendy restaurant on Pelorum…” Over the next few minutes, the young man explained the job, cleaning and hauling bricks out of the Blackout Zone to load them aboard China Doll. One of theirs would play the role of a well to do client who’d make arrangements with the guards. “Mr. Hooker will be the job foreman,” he continued, “somebody on the inside for you to pass messages and help keep us organized.” As Lyen sat quietly, he explained the notion of swapping out the Anabaptist refugees for volunteers. “Once they push their wheelbarrows aboard China Doll,” he whispered, “we’re hoping you can supply volunteers to take their places for the return to the Blackout Zone?”

As she listened to Yuri lay out the particulars of their plan, she felt herself tuning into his frequency; the scheme taking shape in her mind, too. When he finished, Lyen sat for a moment, absorbing the information. 'Look for any holes' the Captain had said, but from where she sat, Yuri ran a water-proof plot. "It's a good plan," she concluded, "I wager we may have more than a few selfless souls among us willing to join the cause." The wheels turned as she ran down her mental list of who she could call on in this time of need.

Time was getting short for the Anabaptists; the local establishment was of no help in waylaying the slaver ships who arrived unscathed, somehow, in the Blackout Zone, and the Anabaptists were too gentle a people to see that enslavement and serving their God might be two paths diverging. The idealistic students here in the pulsing Underworld who stole glances at the four of them seated there, heads craned together, were beginning to quiet their murmurs as Lyen's calm gaze swept over the club. Many of them were the children of wealthy aristocrats and politicians; untouchable to the local constabulary or slaver alike. A smile played at the corners of her mouth as she considered the statement of what Yuri's plan could become for the Blackout Zone, even to all those important and powerful men and women, if it didn’t get swept under the rug. "Yuri," she said, returning vibrant eyes to him, "That is one blessed plan, and now I'd like to hear that joke, if you please," she shot a belaying look at the Captain.

Yuri’s smile conveyed his satisfaction. “Thank you Sister,” he replied before dropping his voice to a whisper. “Just one thing that eludes me right now is the checkpoint. I’ve watched some folk come and go…headed back this evening to watch a bit more. When people walk through, the guards may stop them to check bags or pockets…but I never see any ident come out. That vexes me a bit. How do they track folk going through the checkpoints?”

"No idents," the nun's brow pulled down, her eyes sharpening, "The Anabaptists didn't arrive of their own accord; they were brought in like cattle, and branded. Tech injected into their arms so they can't go astray." Lyen chewed her cheek for a moment before continuing, shaking her head. "The arches above the checkpoints scan for the chip when they come and go... product on loan to whichever foreman paid the slaver's price." be continued…
The Unexpected Reckoning

OOC: S.A.M.A.N.T.H.A. appears courtesy of @wanderingwolf

So they’s helpin’ folk escape the slavers.

Abby could git behind such a notion, seein’s now she knew a thing or two ‘bout bein’ kidnapped an’ abused. Cap’n took off fer the cockpit, with that really perty lady…Quill…taggin’ along. Yuri collected Hook, an’ the pair of ‘em headed fer tha cargo bay to wait on the Cap’n. As tha cook walked past ‘er with ‘is cold shoulder up, the girl acted all indifferent…but she’s startin’ tah swap confusion fer jest bein’ straight up pissed off. I didn’t do nothin’ tah that sumbitch, she pondered as the rest, crew an’ passengers, all left the galley in ones an’ twos.

Soon enough, she’s all by herself. Order was fer her tah head fer her bunk, but the girl had tah wonder how layin’ around was gon’ heal bruises an’ cuts. She didn’t feel like sleepin’ none, anyway, what with Lido waitin’ in her dreams ever’ time she drifted off. ”Aaaabby,” she could hear that voice, feel ‘is hands touchin’ where nobody but she an’ Doc ever touched afore. Nah, sleep weren’t nothin’ she’s lookin’ tah do fer awhile, she considered.

‘Specially with such a job needs doin’. Fireflies like China Doll an’ Mariposa had lots ‘o’ little crawlspaces an’ hidey holes in ‘em. Most spacegoin’ boats was like that, double hulls what was like puttin’ a square peg in a round hole an’ then ignorin’ tha gaps. Mariposa had plenty. Even as a tiny girl, little Abigail Travis got right good at wedgin’ ‘erself inta all make ‘o’ nooks an’ crannies. Now, as she ticked off her fav’rite hidin’ places, she conjured that Abigail The Grownup best have a look-see, more tah make sure that “huge” places Abigail The Child played in was suitable fer hidin’ fully growed folk.

Bein’ up in tha galley as she was, Abby conjured ain’t nobody to fuss about bedrest if’n she took a look forward. Abby put ‘er empty bottle up fer tha recycle an’ padded on bare feet towards the cockpit an’ crew quarters. Best hidin’ places was in the ceilin’s. SInce crew all had hatches with down ladders, weren’t no problem tah pop a corridor panel ‘er two. She picked the starboard side, jest over what must be Yuri’s room. Panel catches come away easy enough, and in two shakes she’s crawlin’ on hands an’ knees inta the dark space. Mindful that any second Cap’n an’ Miss Quill could come down from the cockpit, she pulled tha panel shut behind her.

The place was black as pitch, a problem remedied by the glowin’ screen of ‘er cortex. She shone the light about, an’ found China Doll’s first space to be exactly what she ‘membered from her old boat. It was like an attic, structure beams, HVAC units, an’ power couplin’s leadin’ down inta tha various cabins. She couldn’t stand full height, but as she studied it she conjured five-six growed men could fit the space, easy peasy. “Shiny,” the girl muttered to herself.

She’s fixin’ tah leave when tha cortex buzzed in ‘er hand. Sure enough, it was Thomas.

I was worried sick about you! Sure you’re OK?

She took seat on the dusty decking, foldin’ legs underneath as she tapped out ‘er answer.

Everything’s shiny! Just sitting around.

Crabby? MY Crabby? Just sitting around? I don’t believe it.

That raised a smile, part cuz’ ‘o’ his joke, but also ‘cuz she found ‘erself mighty partial tah bein’ called “his Crabby.” Feelin’ made her glow a bit as ‘er thumbs tapped out a response.

Not by choice. Doc’s orders

Soon’s she hit ‘send’ on that she knowed she messed up.. Thomas didn’t miss a trick.

What? You get hurt again?

“Aw, la shi” she grumbled tah herself as she tried tah come up with tha right answer.

LOL, no bullet in my butt. Tripped on the stairs. Nothing broke, just a couple bruises.

Send me a pic. I miss your face.

“Gorrammit,” she cursed under her breath. This was gonna get tough.

I’m in a dark spot on the boat. Not good for pics.

That cortex has a flash.

I look like la shi right now.

Impossible. You’re too pretty on a bad day. Show me.

Thomas, I can’t.

She’d lied enough. Tah hang on an’ stonewall him just wasn’t in ‘er…but she really didn’t want tah go where this train was bound.

Abby, don’t hide from me. What’s going on?

Before she could talk ‘erself out of it, Abby snapped a capture of her face, bruises, swole up eye an’ all, which she sent to Thomas. She knew what’s gonna happen next.


“Shit, shit, shit!” she muttered while tryna do damage control.

Nobody. Thomas, I’m fine. really.

I got brothers! I know a beatdown when I see one!

Was it that guy who talked la shi to you all the time? One you called Big’un?

No, grifters are long gone. Wasn’t anybody on the boat.

I’m safe Thomas. I promise I am.

She waited fer his reply, but screen just glowed back empty. After a couple years went by just sittin’ in that crawlspace, Abby’s cortex sounded an incoming message. “From Samantha?” she questioned as she tapped the line. “Hello?”

“Abigail,” the AI spoke in a crisp Boston accent. “You’ve got an inbound wave from Thomas Jinks on New Melbourne. I’ve routed it to the cockpit capture. Both Captain Strand and Quill Cassidy have left, so you should have ample privacy for your conversation with Mr. Jinks.”

“Oh,” Abby grunted. “Thanks.” She rose, wiped the dust off ‘er butt, an’ worked ‘er way back out tah the corridor. The cockpit was empty, but she could already see Thomas’ face on the screen as she stepped inside. He was furious. “Hello, Thomas,” Abby curled ‘erself inta the pilot’s chair, arms about ‘er knees as she let ‘im have ‘is say.

Hey folks,

I owe you all a big apology. Travel and work have been pretty successful at keeping me away from posting and moving the plot here in FF2V, but life's about to slip back toward normal. I'm traveling Tue. and part of Wed., and will then be back in my plush, subterranean lair!

I appreciate your patience. However, the crew meeting ended with plenty of good ideas for folk to help out, so if you get a hankerin' to go do what's needed, make a fun post out of it! I mean, c'mon...Abby can't be the only one traipsin about buyin' blankets an' such...especially since doc grounded 'er for two whole days!

WWIF (or when you see cheap blankets,

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