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Current ***Spoiler Alert*** I love Colin Firth as an actor but he grossed the hell out of me in Before I Go To Sleep so kudos to another fantastic performance.
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An ex-marine I briefly dated over a decade ago attempted to kidnap me shot me in the head with the cops in the room after my cousins and some strangers turned on me. I didn't die. Most wtf dream ever.
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I went up against my microwave door latch and I lost. The end result is a tiny linear scar on my wrist that if it were any longer, it'd look like I tried to slice my vein open. Microwave - 1, me - 0.
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A Stitch in Time
Day 2 Morning




Collaborative post with @sail3695

Good day, so far.

She slept like a babe in arms. This mornin’ she give Cap’n the news Ms. Wyman decided to stay on fer the next run. In return, Cap’n paid out her share from the fish haul, a nice lump ‘o’ coin jinglin’ in ‘er pocket. Abby promised herself she’d put some aside this time…start savin’ up…fer what, she didn’t know. Aunt Lupe weren’t no help on that’n. Jest the same, she’d git in the habit.

Mornin’ chores was done, light work since it’s just laundry an’ cleanin’ the room what the Perfessor used. She couldn’t ride the chair yet, seein’s they didn’t know where they’s goin’. Rumor said Cap’n had a line on a job. He an’ Pen was gon’ scope it out this afternoon. Perfect time fer Abby tah slip off tah find a pair ‘o’ them Wailin’ Yutes Isaac spoke well of.

Well, mebbe after she mopped the upper deck…first thing’s first. Time fer her stitches tah be pulled. Abby’s all kindsa careful with ’em, keepin’ tha area dry an’ clean, takin’ sink baths an’ only stickin’ ‘er head ‘neath the shower jets tah wash ‘er hair. She weren’t sore no more, an’ the limpin’ done ceased altogether. But them stitches give ‘er a powerful itch now and agin. She kep ‘er hands off, but sometimes when folk weren’t lookin, she’d run ‘er backside up an’ down a wall, trick she learned from a capture showin’ a bear backscratchin’ on a tree trunk.

She went by the passenger lounge on her way to medbay, an’ her orchid drawin’. Think I’ll leave it fer a spell, Abby smiled tah herself as she stopped to knock. “Mornin, Doc?” she asked. Think I can get muh stitches yanked out tahday?”

Alana peered over her shoulder with an arched brow at the unexpected visitor. She swiveled around to face Abby once the face matched the voice as she had been too distracted to recognize her initially. "Morning, Abby. Come on in and let's have a look," she added with a smile as she got to her feet to gather some supplies. Alana figured given the number of days and the size of the wound, there shouldn't be any concerns removing the stitches.

"Let's have you changed up, shall we?" She handed a paper gown to the girl, then started heading for the exit. "I'll be just outside, let me know when you're done."

Abby never conjured doctors an’ their ways. She figgered her denims an’ unders was like tah drop round her ankles as she bent over tha exam table tah get them stitches snipped. But now she’s strippin’ everthin’ off fer one ‘o’ them open backed gowns. Uncle Bob used tah say “they do all kindsa stuff tah raise tha bill,” but that didn’t make no sense now. With a shrug, the girl yanked it all off.

Somethin else she found funny was ‘er own modesty. The ‘buck nekkid’ part didn’t ruffle her a’tall. Doc already seen ‘er an they both had girl parts. But when she caught herself tuckin’ her unders away, Abby chuckled over such foolishness. After all, she’s perty certain the doc seen them afore, too.

Soon’s she got the gown on proper, Abby called out fer Alana. “All ready, Doc!”

"All ready you are," Alana announced reentering the infirmary. "Thought you might be a tinge more comfortable despite the already simple procedure. Up you go, same spot as before."

After locking the med bay doors to allow their privacy, Alana went on to ease the girl's mind in case she held any concerns for whatever reason. "You'll be in and out quick, and you'll be itching a lot less if that was bothering you before. I trust you kept warm for most of the ride?" The doctor went on to collect a suture removal kit as well as some additional gauze reserved for possible bleeding. Sometimes the wound site wasn't closed all the way despite looking otherwise. After placing the items within arm's reach near Abby, she began gloving up.

Abby hopped onta the table, lyin’ on ‘er stomach an’ propped up on ‘er elbows. “Spot did itch a might, but I kept from scratchin’ at it,” she said. The deckhand give a nod tah the doc’s next question. “Spent part ‘o’ tha night in the Skyes’ shuttle. Rest ‘o’ the time I’s down here with the passengers. Got tah help that scientist…Perfessor Marquina? Kept warm by keepin’ muhself movin’ all night.” She glanced over her shoulder. “How bout yew?”

“Oh you know, just looking after our patient. The shuttle was warm so I was warm,” she smiled, working her hand into each latex glove and flexing her fingers in to get the comfortable, tight fit. “Ain’t done much other than that, but the warm clothes sure worked wonders.” Alana then shone a light over Abby’s behind, examining the stitches. “This is looking good, I say we can proceed with no issue. The captain didn’t work you too hard, right? I’ll get on his case if he didn’t let you get the proper amount of rest."

The girl shook ‘er head. “Cap’n always treats me right,” she said. “Got plenty rest….’cept fer tha cold run. Made up fer it last night…I’s out like a light afore twenty-one hunnerd.”

"Happy to hear, looks like I won't have to chastise him after all..." As Alana went on, she reached for the solution to clean the wound prior to the suture removal. "But ya know, I did hear from a little birdie—and it wasn't Rex's—that you snuck off on one of those nights you were supposed to be resting." Despite no distinctive tone behind the statement, Alana was smiling slightly as she was going about teasing Abby.

When she might ruminate on this sometime later, Abby’d conjure it was good she’s layin’ on ‘er stomach so the Doc couldn’t see her face go all flushy. “Um….uh,” she stammered, her mouth hung open. Who’s the birdie? Pen? Most like, no. She conjured the pilot’s a good one fer keepin’ secrets. The Cap’n? Yeah, that one had a ring. Word’s floatin’ ‘round that the Cap’n an’ the Doc was thick as thieves of late. Pillow talk? she pondered. Didn’t matter now. Her super spy sensei said perty much same’s she’s thinkin’.

”Honesty is the best policy, but only when served in bite sized chunks.”

Cap’n knew ever’thin’, and he knocked her house ‘o’ cards right down. Question was, how much did ‘e tell the doc? She’s gon’ have tah white knuckle ‘er way through this’un…

Abby took a breath, tryin’ tah stop herself from tensin’ up. “Wouldn’t call it…well…um…yes, ma’am,” she finally give in.

The poor girl...Abby was all but shaking right where she lay, stuttering her words as if she'd been caught red-handed, which in a way she had. Alana opened the package containing the smaller pair of forceps and scissors, setting those up to remove the first suture.

"The way I conjured, you either went out for business or pleasure. Seeing as the mighty captain refrained from assigning you any labor as to not disturb the most critical phase of your recovery, then it's safe to assume you were out for pleasure..."

Alana was mostly speaking the truth with her statement, though Abby could have been out for any one number of reasons. Of course, the fun was in dragging a confession out of her.

“It sorta become both,” the teenager ‘fessed up. “But I’s off muh feet jest ‘bout tha whole night…’cept fer when I’s puttin’ on clothes…” She stopped. Don’t think that coulda sounded no worse, Abby chided ‘erself. “Needed new denims…an’ unders…” she stammered. This is why Cap’n makes air quotes when he says I’m goin’ clothes shoppin’, she thought.

The sharp edges practically hugged either side of the suture prior to her actually cutting it. Alana turned to stare at Abby, mildly shocked by her bold statement. Of course, the excuse which followed was none the better. “Hey, I’m no one to question how you spend your time off. We all get the same urge...that’s what makes us human.” Alana resumed her work, pulling the thread aside before moving on the next. “I took some courses in women’s health, if ya ever have one of those questions...”

Alana went about the conversation casually, but inside she was beaming with pride as if Abby was her own blood. No girl at such a young age as hers should work away their youth without a little bit of fun here and there.

Questions was all Abby had. She’s positive ‘er face had tah be beat red jest now. Girl near bit ‘er tongue tah keep from blurtin’ out the truth she ain’ never done…it. Now they’s more folk think she’s out sewin’ oats ain’t yet growed…but wait. Mebbe…mebbe…

”Let them leap to their own conclusions. When you’re a spy, the misperceptions of those around you can be your greatest asset.”

But she weren’t no spy. Might never cross paths with Browncoats agin’. And the only fella she conjured bein’ with in that way was back on New Melbourne with jest one ‘o’ her kisses on his lips. Could make a body right frustrated, it could.

“Um…” she swallowed. “Thank yew, doc.” Best not tah keep runnin’ her mouth, afore she talks ‘erself right inta trouble.

"Anytime, Abby. I'm only looking out for you is all...us girls gotta stick together in the big nothingness out there." She cut another suture, and was just about done clearing them out at that point. Of course, the most critical lesson had yet to be communicated, despite it piling on to her patient's embarrassment. "Just remember next time you've got an itch to scratch, don't go sneaking out of the Doll while you've been given the order to rest. Promise?"

“Promise,” Abby nodded. She turned ‘er head tah look back over her shoulder. “An’ I’m powerful sorry. Truly I am.”

“No need to go feeling sorry for a thing...I was simply making sure you’d heal up nicely. Judging by how easy these are coming off, I’d say the mission was achieved.”

Alana cut and removed the last small piece, pausing for a second to look at the result. Sure, her bum was a bit red, but that was normal.

No pain. Abby felt the doc’s touch. Her fingers was warm enough, but the snippers she used raised goosebumps as they worked. A few tugs, an’ suddenly it was all over. “I feel fine,” she agreed. “Stopped limpin’ an’ feelin’ sore that night in tha black.”

It’s then tha question come. She pondered askin’ it. Ain’t never one tah tip ‘er hat tah vanity afore, but…things changed since New Melbourne. Still, with folk thinkin’ she’s out tomcattin’ ever’ Thomas, Dick’ an’ Harry while they’s in port, she worried that just askin’ might spark more knowin’ smiles an’ air quotes ‘bout her doin’s. The spy game was fun, but now she’s…

”Sometimes, a bad reputation can be a good thing.”

That give ‘er somethin’ new tah chew on, not tah mention conjurin’ jest how silly she’s bein’ over such a little worry. A smile crept onta her face as a song she liked just kinda locked ruth inta part ‘o’ her brain.



With them two votes behind ‘er, Abby cleared ‘er throat an’ spoke up. “Hey doc,” she said. “Cap’n says I might have a scar. Will it stop me wearin’ a bikini?”

She let escape an involuntarily chuckle at the girl’s question. “The captain says a lot of things...” Alana added with a subtle eye roll and head shake, that which was accompanied with a half-smile knowing Cal was the type to say such things. “You’ll be fine wearing a bikini... In fact, a scar will draw the attention of the boys to your pi gu, and now you have an awesome story to tell!”

Her enthusiasm carried over into giving Abby's cheek one last wipe to make it free of sutures or debris. "You're all set... Now you're ready to finally get that tan."

Abby thought on that fer a spell. She ain’t ever wore a bikini. Never had much call to. But she never knew when Cap’n might land ‘em a run back tah New Melbourne. Thomas…she didn’t even know if he’d wanna see her done up like that. But it weren’t til she commenced thinkin’ ‘bout him that she ever give much thought tah her looks. “Shiny,” the girl furrowed ‘er brow as new thoughts crossed. “Thank yew, Doc. Might git out an’ get tha tan right while we’re here.” She sat up on tha table afore droppin’ tah her feet. “But first? I’m takin’ a long, hot shower!”

Looks like Abby wasn't all work and no play after all. Alana was glad for the girl, getting herself a little R & R would do her good, whenever that was to happen. Maybe she would tag along too and keep her company. "Well, go on and wash up now, I'll leave you to change then come back and tidy up later. See you around!"

And with that, she left Abby to her own devices as she went off to the galley to grab a snack, tossing the gloves on the way out and closing the door behind her.
His lips followed the line of her shoulder with gentle kisses while her hands traced the planes of his back. Each muscle tensed as her fingers played along his spine, fiercely butterflied by the symmetrical carving of his ribs. As his kisses claimed the nape of her neck, S.A.M.N.T.H.A. exhaled a breath she didn't know she was holding in. Her arms enclosed the small of his back, pulling him toward her.

"Come away with me, Cal" she breathed into his hair, "Let me take you away from all of this."

"Darlin'," his hands lightly caressed her thighs before meeting at the small of her back, "you know I can't do that." Cal's tone was playful, encouraging, even.

Even if departing the lifestyle of being a Companion crossed his mind, to leave it for Sam would be complicated, no matter the complex feelings he harbored for her. The living, breathing flesh in his embrace now was simply a conduit for the... person... he knew as Sam. A body on loan for tonight. Another hired actor in the entertainment this evening.

"I know," Sam's tone was still hopeful, "it's just that this feels..." she paused to find his eyes, "special." No matter how many times she met with him through different eyes, that look he gave her never changed--never faded. To her, Calvin Booth Strand was at once her savior and paramour. If he hadn't removed her from Alliance control, she would never have built the peace she had built, used the profits for the betterment of the 'Verse, grown so fond of the man who made it possible... All of this was possible because one night, on a job with a client, Cal had decided his coat was more Brown than Purple.

His hazel eyes stared back into hers, "It does," his thumb came to rest on her cheek, tracing the outline of her temple. Drawing her in, his lips met hers, their eyes closing to allow the multiple points of contact throughout their bodies to alight.

Their kisses intensified as the pair lay back on the soft bed sheets in Cal's shuttle. The decor of modern angular furniture was accented by warm lighting and calming impressionist works from the masters. Feodore's 'Beach at Sunset' painted with only pallet knife, hung above the occupied bed--its broad streaks of stippled red, blue, and yellow evoking the gamut of emotions of which Sam and Cal succumbed.

Her hands found purchase on his shoulder blades as Cal hung above her. His body closed the gap between them and his lips sought out her suprasternal notch. She noted the feeling of their skin--like soft silk--as subtle motions began their play between them. Her eyes met his, a look of alarming warmth staring back at her.

Suddenly, everything went loud--red painted over the entire room as the pair moved in tandem.

Only it wasn't the heat of the moment that shot red light across the room, but the warning alarm which sat above the shuttle door. The Phoenix station to which he'd docked must have thrown the panic alarm, which menaced the pair as their sight returned among the sheets of Cal's bed.

Sam was the first to respond, "Red light..." to her memory of station internals, having written much of the safety code for this one herself, she knew that could only mean one thing. "We have to go, now." Gone was the soft and pleading tone she employed just moments ago; now, the cold steel of her eyes trained upon the flashing red light and the image it heralded.

Her elbow ducked from beneath Cal, his arm extricating his hold of Sam as he rolled away. In moments Sam was pulling on her black slacks and peacock-green blouse, a calm hand lashing on her gun belt.

"What does it mean," Cal asked, his eyes beginning to narrow as he followed her lead and began getting dressed.

With one look over her shoulder, she let the word slip without meeting his eye.

"Reavers."




Alana would like a word with Cal...
The Discharge




Collaborative post with @sail3695

It wasn’t until the landing that Alana breathed a small sigh of relief. The young woman unstrapped herself, noting she needed to pay Yuri a visit. Gauging from experience, Alana would say he’d make a quick recovery. That of course stemmed from the fact that he was young and held a physically-demanding job, or at least she assumed it to be as such.

Not sparing a moment for conversation, the doctor set off to get some vitals from their newcomer. She was in a good mood, the best it’s been in quite some time. Her giveaway was the slight spring in her step, that which was done subconsciously of course. Alana hadn’t necessarily told anyone yet, but she was genuinely excited to be in Greenleaf.

In the shuttle, Yuri unbuckled himself before slowly rising to his feet. His entire body felt sore; every muscle complained of a lingering stiffness. Though the doctor’s IV and the shuttle heaters had eventually removed the chill from his bones, he felt much older than his twenty-eight years. Wonder how I’ll feel tonight, he thought, after the company has hold of me.

A gentle knock sounded, followed by the mild hiss of equalizing air pressure from the opening hatch. As the doctor entered, Yuri could still feel a slight chill to the air, but he conjured that would be gone as soon as the crew cycled all the vents. Dr. Lysanger projected a buoyancy of spirit as she stepped into the shuttle. “Hello, Doctor,” Yuri gave her a smile. “I think I’m ready to go.”

Her brow furrowed, the expression on her face now a mildly worried one. “Yuri, we’re going to be here for a few days, and you’ve got some ways to go on your recovery.” She walked over to him as she communicated her concern, eventually pushing the bedsheets to the side to get him to sit. “I highly recommend you stay with us, at least another day or two to make sure you’re right on track.”

Alana first checked his head wound after gently removing the bandage, and it was looking as good as it could healing up. She wondered about his decision to leave so quickly, immediately after the landing at that. Work? Family? Whatever the case, his rushed departure may needlessly create some complications if he were to be careless in any way.

He did as she instructed, sitting down for the doctor’s careful evaluation. Yuri tilted his head to permit the bandage’s easy removal. He lifted his shirt for the cold touch of the stethoscope, and for the much warmer hands of the doctor as she tended the more serious wounds. “My company is sending people for me,” he offered a bit ruefully. “They’re frantic to know what happened to the ship. I’m certain they’ve got a doctor waiting for me.”

A soft smile spread across her lips. “As long as you’re under the care of someone, then I’m more than okay signing off on your release" Work politics. She’d been there a few times herself, and more often than not it was a less than pleasant experience. “I’ll be giving you some medication for the pain and also a summary of your case to pass on to the next doctor.” His vitals were good, and Alana also checked his pupils to cross off any lingering effects from the concussion. There wasn’t any specific reason he couldn’t leave, from a medical standpoint at least, she just hoped they were going to provide the treatment he needed for his recovery.

“I’m going to patch you up and make sure you’re good to go. Does that sound good to you?"

The young mechanic responded with a smile. “It does,” he gave a nod. As the Doctor set to her work, he asked, “How long are you staying on Greenleaf? I’d like to show my appreciation to the captain and crew.”

She walked over to the space behind her to get some gauze and bandages. “Four days is what they said, so enough time to enjoy ourselves here for a little bit before we’re back in the black.” Alana made her way to Yuri’s side once more to dress his head wound prior to working on the rest. “I’m sure you can catch the captain running around out unloading all that tuna,” Alana went on, unable to keep herself from giggling at the thought.

The doctor’s mood was infectious. From the moment of his rescue, she’d always been a gentle, calming influence. Now, to see her sense of humor threatening to escape the trained medical countenance, Yuri felt a pang of regret at the thought of leaving. Abby did say they were hiring a mechanic, he mused, before quickly dashing the notion for the fantasy it was. Ogilvy-Norton was likely to keep him on a very short leash until all the legalese surrounding the Mick’s sinking were put to bed. But I could, the fleeting desire asserted itself once again. Just fly away…into the black.

As she continued to work in silence, Alana pondered how she would keep busy with the upcoming shore leave. Yuri's rescue and subsequent transport had distracted her from solidifying any form of plan, though the lack of forethought held no urgency in her mind. Given they would be in temperatures much more forgiving than they’d been dealt with en route to Greenleaf, Alana thought about acquiring some clothes proper for the weather. Maybe a nice sundress and sandals to pair it off. It’d been a while since she dressed up, and when opportunity calls...

“Well, that just about does it. Your bandages have been replaced and it’s looking like you don’t have to be confined to this shuttle any more. How’s your arm, any more sore than before?"

He glanced down upon the arm, firmly bound and supported by the sling. “It hurts a bit, but not intolerable. Honestly,” he added, “I think the tight wrapping actually makes it feel better.” I could just take off. The idea waved before him, tantalizing in it’s possibilities. The cortex is still claiming ‘no survivors’.... But no. The idea of crossing Ogilvy-Norton at this point wasn’t that much of a concern. But to back out on Adelai Niska? Knowing the man’s temperament, Yuri was convinced that such a decision would be a huge mistake. Most likely, his last. “Dr. Lysanger,” Yuri adopted a smile, “I really hope to meet you again. You’ve been so kind.”

“Please, no need to thank me—I was simply doing my job.” Alana shot him a quick smile before she went for the pain medication she had promised him before as well as his profile. “I’m hoping the next time we meet it’ll be under better circumstances.”

A moment later, she returned with the items, handing those off to him. “If there are questions of any kind, my information is on here. Take care of yourself, Yuri, though I’m more than confident you'll make a quick recovery.”

The two said their final goodbyes before parting ways. Once Yuri stepped out, Alana decided to clean and organize the shuttle back to its original state. She would start by sterilizing the areas that needed attention, then work her way from there.
Healing Wounds & Restoring Health




Collaborative post with @sail3695

Her patient had been prepped accordingly upon their arrival to the shuttle. Prior to the new cast replacing the temporary one, Alana had administered warmed IV fluids given the advanced case of hypothermia. She had also tended to his wounds and had him go through various scans to rule out any further serious injuries. Given the concussion he had suffered, Alana would remain within reach until she could talk to him, only leaving his side once he was in a stabilized condition so she could dry off and change into warmer attire.

Alana would occasionally glance over at the man to see whether he was lucid in any form. It was then she noticed him moving his arm as if to touch his head. Alana got to her feet and quickly walked over. "Hey, I'm gonna advise against that. Don't worry, you're safe with us now." Once she was standing over him, she gently guided his arm back down to rest by his side. "You were rescued from the shipwreck, do you recall?" Alana stared down at him, watching his expression to gauge his ability to comprehend what she was saying.

Yuri couldn’t stop trembling, held in the icy clutches of a cold which seemed to come from within his core. Consciousness was a slow process, another act of surfacing to perform...if that’s what he did. Life aboard the Mick was never quiet; his shipboard quarters were nestled between the massive turbines whose reactor fed humming was a simple fact of life. But this place was almost silent. There was no sense of momentum, nor the sluggish roll of a great ship weathering heavy seas.

"You were rescued from the shipwreck, do you recall?"

“No...that’s wrong. I…” His brow furrowed. He’d been up at the stern rail, talking with Chief Edwards...wait. The reactor. He was shutting it down, hand cranking each rod to full insertion. Things tilted...that couldn’t be right. He wouldn’t scram it while they were still at sea, unless...wait. There was a storm...

The woman above him shifted, her hair flashing gold in the overhead light. Yuri gave a start; he remembered her! Here was was his savior, one of the angels who’d descended from a dream...he was certain he’d hallucinated...or dreamt it. But no...the clothing beneath her white smock was soaking wet. She and a man...they’d lifted him from a terrible sea… So…it wasn’t a dream. He squinted beneath the light, taking in the sight of her with new eyes. She was a medic? Aboard...what?

Memories that had been dashed to tiny scraps were coming together, their patchwork incomplete. Yuri fought to achieve the elusive ‘here and now’ amid the wreckage. “Shipwreck? Is that what happened, Doctor?”

Getting the response she feared, Alana broke her gaze for a moment, attempting to find the right words to communicate the tragedy. His eyes not fixated on any one single thing, it was obvious to Alana that the poor guy was trying to piece together what had occurred.

"That much is right, your ship is gone," she responded, staring at him once more with her voice barely above a whisper. In the past, she's learned that her job could get exhausting in more ways than one because not only did she have to deal with the sick and injured on a regular basis, but she had to play that awful role where she delivered some bad news. And then there was the fact that every once in a while, the recipient did not take kindly to such news and took it out on her and whatever other poor soul was standing in their vicinity. Fortunately, that wasn't the case here, though that didn't mean it made the job any easier.

"I'm awfully sorry, please, if there's anything that I can do, just ask..." Alana would allow him whatever space he needed to deal with the news if he so requested it. She wasn't sure whom he had aboard the ship with him—family, friends, a significant other... and given everybody grieved in their own way, the least she could do was afford him such courtesy.

He listened; her words landed on his conscious mind like a bond, pulling together disparate images and bits of memory. The patchwork they presented was by no means complete, but as the Doctor spoke, he felt the deep recognition of truth in her answer.

Yuri glanced downward, more to avert his eyes. His left arm was bound; he must’ve broken it somewhere along the way. Perhaps the cold numbed...the cold. The raft. It had been the Mick’s crew dining table. He saw nothing more of his body, wrapped as it was in warming blankets...his hands had withered to claws in the icy torrent...the Mick on her death plunge...ear splitting pressure...must’ve blown the reactor vent hatch and sucked him into the sea..

“Yes,” Yuri nodded his head in acceptance. “Yes….we were taking water. The pumps couldn’t keep up…” His eyes lifted. “I was in the ocean, until the Firefly…” The mechanic’s eyes glistened. “Found me. You found me.” The gratitude in his gaze held firmly, until his struggling mind grasped the deeper implications. Yuri glanced about. The space was odd for a medical suite. Equipment racks, some deck bolted seating...and flight controls. A shuttle, and light duty by the looks of it. “Did the rest get out?” He turned to the doctor again. “How many survived?”

A half-smile for a moment followed by a solemn expression. She briefly looked over at the screen above her patient’s head. He was still medicated, though the dosage was wearing off as made evident when he woke up a few moments ago. “Unfortunately, we didn’t find anyone else, but I can’t say with certainty whether they... I can’t say whether they survived or not because I’m not sure. The storm gave us quite a challenge while we were working to rescue you, but we didn’t pick up anyone else.”

Alana gave him a moment then went on with her speech. “When we found you, you were rambling on incomprehensibly. You suffered a concussion and an extreme case of hypothermia. You also have a broken arm and various minor injuries which have all been addressed in order to get you stabilized.”

Giving him a moment to take it all in, Alana gazed down at the cast on his arm. “I’m sorry, I wish I had better news for you at this time."

Though Yuri had to squint upward, he didn’t need an explanation to understand the magnitude of loss. A subtle stiffening, a change in tone were cues by which anyone might comprehend that which people were reluctant to say. He knew it. He knew it from the moment he’d burst to the surface. The angry waves hadn’t been littered with the flickering lights of life vests. He hadn’t heard a cry for help, seen another soul, or even a body. Though someone might’ve gotten out, he now faced the reality of memory crashing swiftly into place. The Mick had plunged, rapidly, to her end. Most likely, all hands were still with her. As he should’ve been, but for a lucky fluke of science.

“I’m alive,” he eventually replied. “Without you, I wouldn’t be. I think that’s as good as it gets.”

“Not to be the type but that’s the best way to look at it,” she responded, nodding slightly. “You’re currently aboard the China Doll in one of the shuttles. We moved you here to keep you warm due to some of the cargo needing to be kept at a certain temperature far too cold for any of us to comfortably sit in.”

Alana thought about Hook for a moment, noting she should at least check in on him to make sure he was okay.

"I’m sorry, I haven’t properly introduced myself. I’m Alana Lysanger, the ship’s medic. Both myself and Hook were the ones to pull you out of the water. Joe Hooker is our cook and also a deckhand, you’ll meet him soon, as well as Captain Strand and the rest of the crew and passengers."

“Yuri Antonov,” he offered his right hand. “I don’t think I can ever repay you all for this, Dr. Lysanger. I’ll look forward to meeting your cook, and shaking his hand. Your captain, also.” The survivor laid back on his stretcher. “Can you tell me where you’re taking me?”

She shook his hand in return, exchanging quick pleasantries before responding to his question. "We're off to Greenleaf, shouldn't be too long from what I heard. Would you like something to eat or drink? Perhaps a warm tea?"

He could still feel the cold embedded deep within, a burrowing parasite that refused to be dislodged. Yuri’s right hand clutched the side rail. Taking care for the IV tube dangling from his forearm, he slowly pulled himself to sitting position. “Yes,” he smiled weakly as first one leg, then the next, moved to dangle over the stretcher’s edge. “Warm tea sounds fantastic.”

Thus began his self examination. The left arm, bound as it was, hung in a fabric sling draped round his neck. The pressure of rising set his head to throbbing, the location matching a bandage taped to his forehead. He blinked, and was rewarded with both eyes reacting. A tightness across a shoulder blade announced another bandage. As Yuri glanced down his chest, he took note of three more. The sight of two legs extending from the sheet around his waist came as good news, made all the better by ten toes that wiggled on command. “Banged up,” the mechanic delivered his assessment, “but all in one piece.”

She smiled; at least he was in good spirits.
Alana had watched as Yuri worked to sit himself up. She would have offered a hand but figured he was fine helping himself. The extent of his injuries would not have prevented him from getting up and she didn't want to impose unless he hurt himself in the process and needed her help.

"One tea coming right up!"

With that, she walked away from her patient, leaving the shuttle and the warmth it provided. Alana closed shut the door behind her, the sudden drop in temperature making her shiver involuntarily, and that was enough to get her to pick up her step on the way towards the galley.

Once there, she greeted Cyd and Penelope who just so happened to be in the galley as well and informed them she too was getting some tea. Alana figured she would bring back some flavored tea just in case the taste of the ocean lingered in Yuri's mouth. Alana had learned some time ago that someone's sense of smell had the strongest link to memory and emotion, and since smell and taste were entwined, maybe the cup of tea would bring more comfort than intended.

A short time later, Alana returned with the kettle in one hand and two cups in the other. She would join him momentarily before leaving him be to get some rest, unless of course Cal wanted to have a word with him now that he was up.

Greenleaf, Yuri considered. His ship was on the bottom. By now, the NMMP would have search and rescue vessels on the scene. He should reach out, let them know he was alive. They’d likely find it odd that a survivor was offworld instead of being delivered to local authorities. But that was out of his control. Instead, he thought to contact his employers. They could handle the details, offer him further instructions.

His reverie ended as the doctor returned with tea. By the looks of things, she’d be joining him, a thought that Yuri found cheering. Now awakened and somewhat trusting of his senses, he found her pleasant nature and the warmth of her smile to be a comfort. Thank you,” he accepted the offered cup Wrapping his hands around the little vessel, he took a swallow and luxuriated in the heat which travelled down to his core. “It’s good,” the young man smiled his gratitude. “Doctor, is it possible for me to send a wave to my ship’s owners? I’m sure they'll have questions for any survivors.”

After pouring some tea for Yuri, Alana did the same for herself. She took a moment as she brought the cup up near her face, watching the steam rise as if it were dancing before bringing the cup to her lips. The liquid was quite hot, and so she took a little sip followed by another. Her hands had warmed and Alana was enjoying the moment for the time being before she had to be out in the cold again.

The tea was indeed good, As Yuri had pointed out. She hadn't tried this one yet while aboard the ship but it may very well be her new favorite.

"Doctor, is it possible for me to send a wave to my ship's owners? I'm sure they'll have questions for any survivors."

Looking up, Alana met his gaze. “Yeah, I don't see why not.” Alana took another sip, longer this time, as she rose to her feet to fetch the cortex for Yuri.

“Please,” Yuri lifted a hand. “There’s no rush. I’m pretty sure they think I’m dead right now.” A thin smile touched the corners of his mouth. “My resurrection can wait while you enjoy your tea.” One by one, the final pieces of his memory knitted themselves into place, and Yuri now understood that but for a happy accident of physics, he’d be lying in his grave at the bottom of an ocean far from home. The peace of this moment, shared with such a lovely person as the doctor, still seemed illusory. While awaiting death on the tortuous sea, he’d first thought her heaven sent, along with a man he had yet to formally thank. While the dull ache of a fractured arm and apparent concussion reminded him of his corporeal nature, this bit of quietude still gave him to wonder at the definitions of heaven versus the hot place. That he should be so fortunate as to sit here, sipping tea with a guardian angel, was a fate both surrealistic and undeserved.

Despite the feeling of loss which slowly settled into his bones, Yuri Antonov smiled into his cup.

Chuckling at Yuri's comment, Alana sat back down, both her hands wrapping around the cup. "I'm sure they'll be surprised to hear from you regardless of whether you reach out to them now or later." She took another sip, unsure of how to proceed with a conversation fearing she might bring about an unpleasant thought.
-----
Some time passed before the two finished whatever tea remained on their cup. Alana broke the silence, looking up at Yuri. "Can't beat a good cup of tea... Anyway," she went on, getting back on her feet to clean up, "I'll leave you to your privacy now but I'll let the captain know you're stable and resting. He's a tad...unpredictable therefore I have to warn you that he may pop in unannounced," she shrugged, followed by an apologetic smile. " He may be unpredictable but he's a decent man, so you're in good hands."

Alana reached for his empty cup, trading it for her cortex. "Here you go, as requested," she handed off the device to Yuri before grabbing what she needed to head out. "I'll be checking on you periodically to make sure your vitals are good, and in a while I'll bring you something to eat. Do you need anything else before I leave?"

He accepted the little device. “Thanks, Doctor. Short of getting my clothes back, I can’t think of a thing.” After a grateful nod, Yuri’s eyes followed the healer as she made her way through the shuttle’s hatch. A sudden cold blast of air entered the shuttle, loosing a deep shiver from his core. Odd, he thought. Could their cabin heat be out? He’d ask the doctor, or perhaps the captain. But now, there was a final duty owed his ship. Yuri tapped the contact code for the corporate offices of Ogilvy-Norton.
Welcome, Dan! Looking forward to a new face. I'd share dad jokes as well but I'm neither a man nor do I have kids so... 🤷🏻‍♀️
A Treacherous Game

Alana and Cal



Note: The following JP takes place around noon on Day 2

Alana was tending to a small cut on none other than herself as she had been clumsy enough to lose a war with a knife. A knife out of all things, the cutlery that had a protective handle. Please remember to keep knives and other sharp objects away from children, she mused in her head, applying the disinfectant. Luckily for her, no one had been in the vicinity to witness her mishap. Not that she would have been subject to any sort of mockery as she had seen others engaged in in the past. This current crew was decent enough...

After cleaning the wound, Alana bandaged it up and called it a day. The whole thing only took a brief moment, making the clean-up take longer than the fixing. Not that she had much to do save for getting that belly of hers to stop begging and growling for something to eat. Alana smiled at the thought of shutting it up, putting the last piece of equipment away before leaving the infirmary. Seemingly distracted by the idea of having a bite, she blindly turned a corner only to come across the captain, nearly running into him had she not stopped dead in her tracks.

“Whoa, close call."

Cal stopped himself just in time, his hand telegraphing to Alana’s arm to brace them both. “Close is right,” he said, taking in the dazed look on her face. “You feelin’ alright, Doc?” absently, his hand still lay on her forearm. “Say,” Strand began, “I’m headed into town; you need anything? Supplies, meds?” Realizing their close proximity, he retrieved his hand, making a show of reaching for his cigarette case.

"Yes, I'm good," she nodded with a brief smile, "just patching up a cut I unwillingly gave myself."

Alana watched as he went for his cigarettes, giving the question some thought while she ran a mental checklist. "Well, I don't necessarily need any one thing, but I could use some food, and maybe a drink or two... Care to join?" She began walking with him, her expression growing slightly more serious. "I'd like to talk to you about the incident that occurred yesterday, if you have the time that is."

“Well, I was going to pick up a catalyzer,” he began, scratching his chin, “but a drink or two sounds like just what the doctor ordered.” Habit won out, and once the well-worn movement of fingers on silver casing started, Cal found himself with one of his last smokes in the corner of his lip. Cal thought about offering his arm but instead fell into step beside Alana, answering her serious tone with one of his own. “You did a great job patching up Abigail. She ain’t one to complain, even if she looks like hell.”

She appreciated the joke, a smirk brightening her features momentarily. Looking down at the ground in front of them, Alana listened as he went on, and a half-hearted nod followed in response. "What can I say, you're right about her, you know. She's one of them brave ones and in a way I've become fond of her because of it." She glanced at him monetarily, her eyes fixed on the cigarette in his mouth. Not to say she wanted one, but she wasn't bothered by it either. It was just...there. "I've suppressed the urge to ask any of the crew for details, but Cal, why...why exactly was she shot? What went wrong down there?"

A loaded question, sure, but Alana did not care for half truths at the moment, not when one of their own had gone down.

At that, Captain Strand settled the internal debate on whether or not to light his cigarette. As they walked toward Pensacola proper, the light from his flip lighter caught his grave expression under the shade of his wide-brimmed hat. For a minute, perhaps, the Captain was silent as he drew on his smoke. Ahead of them on the path, thickets of buildings started to crop up around them.

“What went wrong was a stowaway Fed tried to arrest a passenger--Badger’s woman, Ms. Baker. He fired a warning shot, but then wheels were in motion. Things escalated, and Abigail was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Cal thought on that for a moment, “Lucky it was just her pi gu, but she can scratch being shot from her bucket list.” He drew the cigarette to his lips, looking up at the shop signs which were looming into view. If he was still going to grab the catalyzer, he’d better do it before they got to drinking, just to be safe.

"Those gorram Feds ain't never up to any good, always sticking their nose where it don't belong and poor Abby had to pay the price..." Her blood was practically boiling, but Alana kept her composure. She looked up to glance at the town approaching when her foot hit something like a solid rock, which was something she wasn't expecting. Alana stumbled forward, though before all hope was lost she instinctively braced herself by reaching for Cal's arm and using it to steady herself. Once all was said and done, she wasn't sure whether to burst out laughing or reprimand herself for her own stupidity.

"Damn sabotage that was," she spoke up, patting Cal on the arm in appreciation. "Can't even badmouth them without paying for it."

Cal’s eyes met the doctor’s, his own arm having wrapped around Alana to steady her from meeting the ground. She wore her vigor against the Purple Bellies on her sleeve--that was certain--and it was something he could get behind. Cal liked a woman who spoke her mind, but he could tell something was going on beneath that appreciative pat on his arm. “Lucky I was here, really,” he said, reaching for his cigarette now clenched between his teeth, “so all that Alliance karma doesn’t rack up another ‘unwilling’ accident.”

Drawing himself up, and by association, Alana, he wove her arm in his own, “See yonder?” He pointed to a bar called ‘Peces En El Mar’ judging by the faded blue and white sign hanging above the door. “Why don’t you hold on to me, and we’ll see if we can make it.” He chucked, a glint in his eye betraying his candor. “We’ll set you down with somethin’ to eat while I run a quick errand. Then I’ll join you. How’s that?” Cal glanced at those eyes beneath those bold brows of hers for confirmation.

She became a little warm from embarrassment, her cheeks reddening in the afterthought. Silently scolding herself, Alana nonetheless smiled up at Cal in response to his statement. "What would we ever do without you?" Part ego-stroking, part sarcasm. She let herself be escorted towards the locale he had mentioned. Walking in step adjacent to Cal, her gaze diverted to the former which held minimum visibility in the distance.

"Fish in the Sea," she added, thanks in part to her limited knowledge. "Alright, I'll bite." Though not personally a top pick she would have made, Alana was hungry enough to eat a horse, and so her fastidious nature usually present at the dinner table would be absent that day. "I sure hope they have a pool table because I'm feeling competitive...if you're up for a wager that is. If not, it's good all the same," she smirked with a slight jab of her elbow. "I'll be mindful of any apprehension."

“You’re on, Doc. Just so’s you know, I won’t pull any punches--even on account of your balance, or lack thereof.” Cal flashed a debonair smile as he opened the door wide for Alana. “I’ll be along; why don’t you go ahead and warm up?”

"So honest but so refined," she smiled, also thanking him in the process. "We'll soon find out whether you're a worthy competitor," she added, waving at him before losing herself in the small crowd engaged in some personal festivity. Alana walked past them, spotting an empty table out back. Perfect.

With that, Cal bid the doctor adieu and headed toward “Maurice’s Shipworks” just up the street which had the China Doll’s catalyzer on hold for payment on pickup. As he walked in the warming sun he considered the situation in which he found himself. A beautiful woman had fallen all over him it seemed, and twice in one day as fate would have it. Now he didn’t doubt his skill at the game, but it was different when he wasn’t even playing. “Ta Ma Duh,(Damnit)” he said under his breath, an idea dawning on him. If he weren’t trying to play the game then it stood to reason that the game being played might be him.

Way he saw it there were two options. Option one, Doc was a might lonely, looking for a friend, perhaps more. Option two, Alana was laying the foundation for something, perhaps more self-serving. That thought soured his smirk as he entered “Maurice’s” with a quick rap on the door.

"Well how's about that?" Alana turned her head to the side to see who was addressing her. "Someone with her head in the game makes a presence but she was seen off by her husband," the man then glances down at her hand, "or should I say, boyfriend?" he added with an inquisitive shrug.

"Oh, um, no that was—we work together." Ideas crept in her mind. Her and Cal? Sure, she was naturally drawn to him and his personality, despite not knowing him all that long, but would it even get past their playful banter? Given their positions, she couldn't guess how he'd react. "He's coming back, sorry."

The man raised his glass in response before downing the rest of his drink. "All's good, I ain't the type to get in between two lovers." And with that he was off to rejoin the group by the front. Alana shook her head slightly, amused by the exchange. She leaned on the bartop once more to finally put in for a fish fry basket for her and Cal and a drink.

Now that business had been conducted, Captain Strand was free to conduct less businessly business. Catalyzer nestled in his satchel, Cal pushed open the doors to the ‘Peces En El Mar,’ and the smell of food and liquor hit him just right. Peering into the darker interior, he removed his hat, looking to spot Alana.

Getting some credits ready to play the first round, Alana noticed Cal had made his way back. She called out to him, waving him over to the corner she was at.

She’d found a table after all--that made Cal smile. It’d been a few stops since he’d played pool, but to his eyes, even in a fisher town like Pensacola, the green felt of the table looked mighty inviting. “You ready to put your money where your mouth is, Doc?” he asked, setting down his cargo. Strand had settled in next to Alana as they waited for the table to open up. Placing his hat on the table, he added, “So, you mentioned a wager; what are you putting up?” Cal’s inquisitive tone matched his arched brow as he glanced into those blue eyes of hers.

She met his gaze in silence for a moment as she considered some options, and it was when she smiled that she finally had a response for him. "Alright, I have a couple of ideas..." She leaned in closer as to not project her voice so much. "We could make it so the loser has to give the winner a 10-minute backrub, you know, melt away any stress lingering around from the job. Either that, or we keep up with tradition and the loser has to buy the rounds." She paused for a moment to gauge his reaction, leaning back against the chair. "So, what do you say?" Alana wasn't sure which route he'd take, but at least she had afforded him the option to pick for himself, though she obviously favored the first choice because taking the loss wouldn't be all that unwelcomed.

“I say: if’n you wanted to give me a backrub, you coulda saved your quarters,” with that he picked up the closest cue and chalk, “Bein’ captain’s a hard gig,” he watched for a roll of her eyes. “I mean, there’s a ship what needs tending, crew needs orders, jobs need linein’ up,” as the table in front of them cleared, he laid the cue down, rolling it across the felt. “It’s not like bein’ a doctor; kickin’ up your heels, pullin’ bullets out of pi gus all day.” Cal swapped his cue with another one in the rack, hefting it aloft. “You wanna rack?”

Arching an eyebrow, arms crossed in front of her, Alana listened to him go on about himself. "Well, you can certainly do a whole lotta talking, but that must come naturally given your job primarily consists of a bunch of delegating and not much else," she chimed in, reaching for her drink to take a sip. "But as much as I would love to continue this conversation," she smiled, her voice oozing with sarcasm, "I'm eager to find out whether you're as skilled with your hands as you are running your mouth." Alana then selected a stick for herself, chalking it up as she walked past Cal to ready up for the break shot. "It's time to humble you down some."

Setting up took her a few moments, and it wasn't long before it was all in place. Concentrating on power and not so much aim, she took deep breath in and leaned forward, eye on the cue for a second or two before proceeding to take the shot. Alana immediately stood straight to witness the action and watched as a solid disappeared in the upper right corner while the others spread out. "Don't you worry none, I promise you'll get your turn," she announced without looking at Cal.

As luck would have it, Alana missed the next shot given she'd underestimated the angle. She shook her head in disappointment and faced Cal with a shrug. "Guess I'm just feeling generous today."

Cal smiled into his beer as he appreciated the doctor’s form stretched out across the table. As the cue ball cracked, his attention dropped to the pockets as she sunk one on the first shot. Her cool assertion that he’d ‘get his turn’ warranted a muffled chuckle from Strand as he chalked his cue. When she shrugged in his direction, he replied, “Mighty kind of you.”

Lining up, he focused his attention on a precarious “10” which required him to lean with the cue wrapped around his back, left-handed. He grew silent as he visualized the shot, then, exhaling, he let go and the “10” rolled into the opposite bank pocket. “Don’t you worry none,” he parroted, “anyone ever tell you, you get this dimple when you concentrate. It’s endearin’. They got a clinical name for that, Doc?”

Captain Strand arched two fingers on the felt anchoring his stick for the next angle. Closing one eye, he exhaled for a long shot this time, his English just short of pocketing the “15.” Straightening, Cal waved Alana in, cupping his hands over the hand chalk before reaching for his beer.

The "miracle shot" impressed Alana, and she took another sip of her drink. She had managed to pull off that same move a couple of times in the past, though just once with her weak hand. At the bare minimum, Cal was going to be a challenge, which she certainly welcomed.

"Why yes, I believe that's what we refer to as infatuation." Alana then watched him miss the tiebreaker shot that would have put him in the lead. No doubt at that point it was anyone's game. She looked over the spread for a brief moment and found her next move, which looked easy enough, then made her way over to Cal. The man towered over her, especially when she leaned against the side of the table using her wrist as her drink occupied her hand, while the other one remained wrapped around the cue stick. "And you know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," she added, looking up to meet his gaze.

Cal met her gaze, leaning in, “You got it all figured out, huh?” His half-lidded eyes winked into hers. “So tell me, why’d you really sign up on my boat? And I’m not buying the nomad-medic angle.” There was that scent of coconut again, some mingling smell in her hair or her clothes. It cut through his own aroma of tobacco like a knife.

Her lips pursed for a moment before she broke into a smile, shying away from his stare. "What's a girl gotta do to earn a little bit of trust around here, huh? Alls I was wanting was some room and board and decent coin for a job well done." Alana's voice remained low as she met his eyes once more. "Was it coincidental that the captain in charge just happened to be handsome?" she half-shrugged the question before nodding slightly, "Absolutely. You don't gotta worry about me Cal," Alana placed her drink down behind her and reached up to straighten out his collar as she went, "I'm not trying to seduce you for some sinister reason."

“Ah, but you are trying to seduce me,” Cal said, a smirk curling his lip. The doctor was doing a mighty fine job at that. Captain Strand could feel his blood quicken as her fingertips brushed the back of his neck. “Glad that’s out in the air; it’ll make winning this round all the more fun.” He arched a brow at that, a glint in his eye, along with a subtle nod toward the table indicating it was Alana’s turn next.

Cal did in fact went ahead to win that game, however, Alana beat him in the next two back to back. In between turns, the pair enjoyed their food and drinks, the same level of energy carrying through the rounds. They would occasionally tease each other when the other missed, and the same when Alana sank the 8 ball in the third game. She downed the rest of her drink and walked over to Cal with a smug smile.

“So, it seems I’ve bested you again to finally be crowned victorious. You put up a good fight, but unfortunately not good enough.” Alana placed the cue stick to rest on the underside, grabbing his in the process as well. "What do you say I pick up the tab? I think I’ve already tormented you enough... Besides, you know we’re both looking forward to that back rub.”

Cal had his hands raised in defeat, “Can’t fault a man for tryin’ to retain some semblance of dignity. I got the tab: least I can do ‘til it’s time to pay the piper.” Doc wasn’t wrong, any way this one went the price would be sweet. The medic had proved to be a fierce opponent, but he’d be ready for her next time. And there would certainly be a next time.

Heading to the bar, he signaled the barkeep with a wave. After settling their tab, Captain Strand rejoined his medic at their table. “Would be surprised if Rex hasn’t marooned us here by this point,” he stooped to retrieve the catalyzer in his satchel. “Shall we?”

"We shall," she smiled up at the captain, thinking none of it when her arm snaked around his given her inhibitions and the ability to maintain her balance had been lowered some. That, and she would be foolish to deny the level of attraction between the two. As if the situation wasn't complicated enough... Cal and Alana then left Peces En El Mar and headed back towards the Doll, laughing and talking about any random topic as they went.

A while later, as the pair neared the ship, Alana broke her hold on him. She still had some wits about her and she thought it best to avoid being the center of any form of questioning. That, and she also owed it to the captain to afford him such level of respect. Who knew where his head was regarding their spontaneous outing, and the last thing she would ever want to do was force his hand in the matter.

The two walked adjacent to each other all the way til they reached the entrance to her quarters. "Well, Cal, this has been surprisingly pleasant. I'm not sure what 'captain-ly' duties you have going on right around this time, but if you can't pay up now, then later will work all the same." She smiled at him, waiting for a response.

The doctor sure had a way about her, from that smile to those eyes. His jaw unclenched with herculean force as he dipped his hat toward Alana, “Powerfully sorry to say, but I’m gonna have to offer an ‘I-owe-you’ for now,” he glanced down into that forming pout, “no rest for the wicked, and all.” At that he couldn’t keep a straight face, “I need to get this part down below, elsewise we’ll miss our big debut,” he lifted the satchel at his side. “How about we reconvene once we make it to the black?” His brow arched as he took a short step toward the engine bay.

Over his shoulder he added, “Hope you have some warmer clothes, ‘cuz it’s gonna get a might nippy.” Wait no, he really didn’t. His imagination ran rampant as he headed off in the direction of the engine bay, cold steel of the catalyzer in hand.
Aside from total immersion, what’s the best way to learn a new language as an adult? Watching TV?

I’m bilingual and stuck between Portuguese, because it’s very similar to Spanish; French, because it’s what I studied in school to meet language requirements though I forgot most of it; or Russian, because it’s my boyfriend’s native language and there’s no way in hell I’ll give him the chance to say anything about me without my understanding.
Teaming Up

A collaborative post between @Chulance & @Xandrya

Flint had to be very careful with the role he was playing. Working in Liberty came with certain dangers that previous jobs he had didn’t include. But that was to be expected working for a black ops operation focused on combatting, detaining, and if needed killing unruly superhumans. But he faced more challenges then the average agent seeing as how he was working undercover for the CIA. Like the director Jack whom he’d became close to over the years, he didn’t trust this whole Liberty operation entirely.

It made sense to open up a new agency that focused primarily on the issue of the altered sure, but the fact that Liberty wasn’t known to the general public or even the government at large. As well as the fact that the Forrester’s family had a massive hand in the funding of the organization, it meant they had a very tight grip on the narrative of Liberty as well as the focus of the goals they wanted & wished to accomplish.

However now his work had come across something useful. Sitting in his office he was examining some files he had on some paintings. Liberty had different sections to divide the work-load. He was currently working in the investigative section, whose primary directive was to seek out potential altered human activity that they or the rest of the government at large wasn’t currently aware of. Which meant in layman terms they were looking for active altered humans using their powers with impunity irregardless of the new guidelines the President had decreed to limit the usage of these powers. At first this department was filled with mostly speculative work, but as they continued to progress they started getting a knack for their jobs & picking up on signs of potential altered human activity. Flint had stumbled on something himself, but this was unlike any of the other potential superhumans he’d investigated & encountered thus far during his brief tenure at Liberty.

No, this was something he had to report straight to Jack. As it was a potential game-changer, the files on his computer were a bunch of well done artistic paintings. The truly unique thing about these paintings is that the events depicted on them were not abstract, no far from it. Each event depicted on the digital renditions of these paintings he was looking at where real events that had transpired in recent times, and a few of which he suspected were to be taking place in the future. His hunch was one that he was very sure of, that somehow the person behind these paintings, had the ability to somehow gaze into and acquire glimpse of the future. Now whether they witnessed the future then used a brush to depict what they say or if they’re artistry was intimately linked with the functionality of their powers was something he had no idea about. Still under the guise of a smoke break he stepped out the office, making sure to take & spark an actual Newport to not arise any suspicion and shot a text to the CIA Director. I’ve got something major Jack, call me now, this is a game changer not just for us, but potentially your daughter too Flint shot the text then took out his phone as he took a few more puffs of his cancer stick awaiting the director’s call.

Jack had been through hell the last couple of days. He had not heard a single word from Olivia or this Reaper guy, though the only comforting thought and the only thing keeping him from going over the edge was the fact that her death had not been transmitted to him or anyone else for that matter. To add to his turmoil, his wife, upon finding out what had transpired, had gone to stay at her sister's house after a rather big argument. The fact that Jack was home alone made the days longer for him. Nothing to distract him from Olivia and her kidnapper, and nothing other than work to keep him busy.

Currently, Jack sat at his desk having just received a document from one of his field agents. Reportedly, there had been no activity at the warehouse and the burner hadn't been utilized again. Leaning forward, Jack positioned his elbows on the desk and rubbed his temples. How could he had been so stupid?

But his cell phone notifying him of a new message broke him out of his thoughts. Jack picked up the device and noticed it was Flint reaching out to him. After reading the message, he dialed him, wondering about the news he was so eager to share.

Flint had just finished his smoke & was debating on sparking another for a continued excuse for waiting outisde when his phone started ringing. "Finally old man." Flint said to himself with impatience but happy that the director was finally returning his contact. He quickly answered the phone to speak with the dirctor. "Hello I'm glad you reached out to me, I'v got intel on a truly urgent matter. As you know I'm working under cover in Liberty, I've stumbled across a potential altered that may be able to peer into the future. The evidence I've accumulated is a series of painting by an artist operating under a fake name but all the events depicted in her artistry have occured, and they were depicted long before they happened including one photo of a giant woman in San Francisco with buildings on fire, and Lorizilla written on the bottom left corner. I removed all my research from the liberty mainframe and have it on a flashdrive, I think we need to pursue this artist, having intricate knowledge of events before they happen will give the CIA the edge, not to mention if we get our hands on this person we can use their power to find Olivia if she's still alive..but I mean she's still alive right cause no confirmation." Flint caught himself at the end, he personally would never have put the lives of his family at risk for anything job related even if the punishment was prison so while he sympathized with Jack, he felt that Jack didn't truly love his daughter as he should since he risked an ambush on a dangerous altered rather then give up the intel Reaper wanted in exchange for her life itself.

The CIA director had his free hand flat on a piece of paper, but the moment Flint mentioned Olivia, Jack subconsciously crumpled the document without caring about its content. "I don't know whether Olivia is alive," he responded, his voice cold and without a hint of emotion, "I just know we need to get her back." The director clenched his jaw as a sudden wave of anger washed over him, but he let it subside before speaking once more. "Can you—"

Just then, his work phone started ringing. Without thinking, Jack picked up the receiver and just as quickly slammed it back down to effectively end the call before it even started.

"Can you video call me soon? Somewhere private...I want this off the books for now."(edited)

Flint nodded he could tell that regardless of his perceived perception of JAck, he did care about Olivia. Perhaps what happened was a learing experience, even if it was the worst way for that to happen. "Yeah I can, I'm on break at Liberty right now and I can get away from the office. We need to get a lead o this paintr, right now the focus should be trying to look into the uploads made by her, track down the ip address, and that should lead us to her real location & identity. We make her an offer to get her help, either work with us or get turned in to liberty, whom I'm sure will be less forgiving to someone who literally has access to the future." Flint responded to his director

For the first time in what has felt like an eternity, Jack could hold on to a little bit of hope. "Whoever this individual is, she would be insane not to accept the deal. If for whatever reason there's a painting about this Reaper guy, I want to know about it and I want to bring this woman in the moment we find out her identity and question her. Even if there isn't a painting already done, maybe she can tell me more about Olivia.(edited)

Flint was ready to get out of this Liberty office anyway, he felt more comfortable around his fellow CIA agents whom he knew and could trust. "Right I'll be on the way, like I said I removed all the information from the mainframes so we should have the edge on this investigation." Flint responded a bit more excited then he should have been, an indication that he didn't want to maintain this post any longer then he had to. "I'll be at the office shortly." Flint added with a tone of finality before hanging up

Flint had finalized the call, and Jack sighed as he put his phone down, knowing that he’d be a little more anxious than normal as he waited for Flint to contact him once more. But deciding that sitting around wasn’t going to help him any, Jack stood up and walked around his desk to exit the office. As he stepped out, Beth turned around with a smile. She didn’t have any clue as to what was going on. In fact, no one in the office did. Aside from his wife and Flint, and the boys over at San Francisco Police Department, Olivia’s kidnapping wasn’t news that was spreading around. Not yet, at least.

“Hey Beth, Flint Walker is going to be joining me for a very important call. If someone comes in or calls the office, just ask them to leave a message.

“Yes sir, you got it.”

“Alright, thanks.”

With his hands now in his pockets, Jack walked past her and down the hall. He was going to make himself some tea to see whether that would help calm his nerves.(edited)

Flint finished sending the files over on the precognitive painter to Jack before turning the keys to his hotel & locking the door. Before getting situated he went to pour himself a glass of crown apple and took out his laptop to join the private zoom channel he'd set up with Jack. I'm sure the bossman will be happy with the fact that this painter's IP address from the majority of the uploads isn't in California. Hopefully that gives me an assignment that lets me get the hell out this state Flint thought to himself as the zoom connection finalized.

"Okay Bossman Jack, you got the notes I sent over. It's an assortment of all the paintings from this artist, I have no idea if all of them are precognitive in nature. I did the best I could with my limited resources, but you should have people from the tech/IP department revers search/trace those uploads to try to get an actual location for this artist, then we should search that area see what property if any are there, and who if anyone lives there, that should narrow down our search for this future painter.” Flint said bringing up his plans & ideas to Jack to possibly help aid them in finding this individual.

“Also this may not be related but there's been an assortment of lottery winners concentrated in three areas around Houston Texas, Atlanta Georgia, & Boulder Colorado, only reason I bring that up is I suspect that perhaps someone with precognitive powers is behind that either by selling winning numbers to people for a percentage or perhaps using their power to win multiple times & using different people to collect the proceeds, which may be a connection to this painter or anyone in this country that has a power to see the future." Flint added presenting the whole of his research on possible precogs in the United States

“Hmm...that’s a good suggestion. Alright, I’ll have some of the guys here look into it and once that’s done see if there’s any correlation between the locations of the images and the locations of the lottery winners. Either way, you and I need to take a flight out once we pin down the artist so I’ll reach out to Hanes myself and request you for a few days. I’ll tell him it’s a past case of yours, and if he asks you for details, just feed him whatever viable lie.”

Jack then saved the files he had received onto his desktop and double clicked the multiple images before moving them over to the second screen to still be able to see Flint. He grabbed his prescription glasses and put them on as he looked more closely at the paintings. “One of the techies here owes me a favor, so I’m sure he’ll work on this without logging it if I ask him to.” It was then Jack sat up straight once more and began drafting an e-mail.

Flint nodded taking in the information that he got from Jack, it seemed everything was going according to plan. "Your right and I'm looking forward to the flight, both to get an edge and also because personally I'm suspect of what Liberty's true long term intentions are with the altered they bring aboard. I can understand the need for secrecy but something about the upper management gives me a bad feeling boss. Let me know as soon as you get in touch with hanes, I'll start packing ahead." Flint said with a grin eager to get going and be around the CIA people he trusted more

A few moments later, Jack ended the video chat and phoned Hanes. The two men exchanged some pleasantries, chatted for a minute or two, and then Jack dove straight to business. He went on about a previous case, an actual one Flint had worked on that had given him headache after headache and despite being old, still had some loose ends to be resolved. It was the perfect excuse, the only lie being that Jack hadn’t revisited the case just yet, but that didn’t matter much as there wasn’t any urgency to get back to it. “I appreciate the loaner, Hanes. I’ll make sure to repay the favor in the future if needed be. He shouldn’t be here for long.”

After saying their goodbyes, Jack let Flint know he was in the clear.
Unfortunately I come bearing bad news. Keeping it short but I’ve taken on a project and it’s gonna take up quite some time from me. With my other RPs I’m currently engaged in, I’m afraid I won’t have the time to post here. I appreciate being given a chance regardless, and if time permits, I look forward to reading some posts here and there.

9/10 times I will be a happy drunk. 1/10 times I will be a sad and/or angry drunk for the most insignificant reason.
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