Citizens of the Imperium

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Leitz August 26th, 2017 01:07 PM

[TDW:1416.2] Redemption
 
[Haearn System 208.069.1204 Fleet Time] Bridge, Agrassian

Wilmer wanted to gently wring her neck.

She was only a meter and a half away. Of course, she could physically stop him and then the rest of the crew would beat him senseless. No idea what Graves and that Captain Webb would do either.

Webb.

Flossie had dug up the records. Webb had done well for himself. It was rag tag but it was a fleet. Seven years faster that Wilmer’s captaincy. If Lecoq hadn’t gotten himself knifed at the bar Wilmer would still be captain of the Tirannon. Of course, he’d be dying of radiation poisoning too. Such were the joys of having it out with Marnie. She had banished him by promotion and recalled him when things got tricky. Pragmatism.

Wilmer sighed. He was now acting fleet captain. He still wanted to wring her neck but it would be bad form in front of visitors. If she survived the trial he would talk to her. Comfort her. Just like they always did for each other. Then he would wring her neck and she’d beat the crap out of him. Just like they always did for each other. The crew joked that they acted like an old married couple. Only Sally knew about the ring Marnie had never accepted.

Fleet Captain (Acting) Wilmer Holden sighed again.

Spoiler:

Captain Marnie Stephens [F] [9A3A96] (age 44) Agrassian – Fleet Captain
First Officer Wilmer Holden [M] 6239A7 (age 37) Agrassian – Helm (Acting Fleet Captain)
Third Officer Flossie Barlow [F] 767B57 (age 36) Agrassian – Comms
Third Officer Sally Roux [F] 77C874 (age 24) Agrassian – Engineering
Fourth Officer Madge Lebrun [F] A98663 (age 27) Agrassian – Sensors

Leitz August 26th, 2017 01:50 PM

[Haearn System 208.069.1204 Fleet Time] Turret P2, Abandonment

“I’m going to hell for this.” Nila said. “What’s so special about her, anyway?”

“No, you’re too much of an angel. Tell the Creator to put it on my tab, it’s already long enough.” Beinon gave her another hug as his eyes danced over the hand comp.

“You really fall hard for her? That fast?” Nila said quietly.

He paused. He had heard the tone. The unspoken plea. His eyes met hers.

“Yes.” Honest. Painful. “But it’s kind of personal.”

Beinon sat back and turned the screen upside down so he could focus on the woman in front of him.

“You know my record; a broken life’d good for nothing. My relationships with women have been about the same. I could never do well.” His eyes strayed to the hatch but came back to Nila. “Even with beautiful angels such as yourself. All because of a dream.”

“I can imagine what your dreams might entail. Glad I wasn’t in any.” Nila grinned.

“Not saying you weren’t.” He stuck out his tongue. “But my crew is off-limits.”

“You’re serious about her, aren’t you?”

“Much likely she’ll ignore me like all the others.” He nodded. “I gotta try.”

“The dream?”

“I was a kid.” He nodded. “Paid some Fish wizard to tell my fortune. I probably got bad info since I had stolen the money I paid her with. Not even sure she was really one of them, you know?”

“Uh, no. Not really.” Nila said.

“Oh, yeah. Well, back home the Fish have seers. They can sense things, even the future. Everybody listens even if they don’t believe. I didn’t believe at the time.”

“And now?”

“Now the weird things the Fish seer said are falling into place. Not just that, but for two weeks after I had talked to the seer I had this same dream. A strange woman rescued dozens of people and then looked at me and said...”

Nila put her hand on his arm. She smiled. “She said she loved you.”

He nodded.

“We all want to be loved. To be special. I’m glad I stole that info for you. I’ll steal more if you want.” She leaned forward. “Or, I can talk Chen into putting you on the crew your dream woman is leading. She’s already there but they’ll need a mechanic to repair the damage.”

Nila leaned forward and kissed Beinon’s cheek. “You snore. I want a quiet night’s sleep for a change.”

Leitz August 29th, 2017 11:28 AM

“It’s easy, just undo a few buttons and shake a little.” Kel said. “Watch.”

“No! Stop! He’s my fiance!” LT Oalu said. “He wants more than a...a...”

“A slut?” Kel put her hands on her hips. “Can’t say it, can you? Hate to tell you sister but his behavior shows otherwise and in about eight months there will be a screaming bundle of evidence proving that’s just what he wants. He wants me!”

“No!” LT Oalu whispered. “He wants to change, to improve. We can make a lot of money together. We can travel wherever we want and not have to worry.”

“You’re already worried and he’s been gone for less than an hour. He wants me, not you. Deal with it!”

Tears started to pour down LT Olau’s cheeks. Kel’s head exploded.

Lily turned the lacar on LT Oalu.

“She was fun, wasn’t she?” LT Oalu said quietly. “You loved her.”

“Very much so.” Lily said. She had her own tears. “But I love you too.”

“I have to die. Otherwise you will come back here.” LT Oalu raised her chin. “I envied Kel. A little. I love you.”

“I know.”



[Haearn System 208.069.1204 Fleet Time] Bridge, Abandonment


Lily winched. She sighed. The captain’s chair turned smoothly as she reviewed the data.

“Chen, agree with sending a repair crew to help Gail. Run with it.”

“Helm...” Lily smiled. “steady as she goes. There’s a bright future in front of us.”

Leitz October 19th, 2017 09:04 PM

[Haearn System 208.70.0545 Fleet Time] Captain’s Briefing Room, Agrassian

“You think he’s serious?” Wilmer said. He poured their tea and sat back. With Marnie it was always best to give her time to respond. Thirty seven months, three weeks, two days.

“He doesn’t seem much of a comedy act.” Marnie said. “And thank you for the tea; I’ve missed our chats.”

“So have I.” Wilmer said quietly.

“I know. It’s never a good time though, is it?” She reached out and put a hand on his. “You’ve tried to keep it a secret even from yourself.”

“Who, me?” He bowed his head and kissed the back of her hand. “No idea what the lovely lady is talking about.”

“Charmer.” Marnie pushed him back. “Okay, evaluation of the outcome?”

“So much for sweeping you off your feet.” Wilmer shrugged. “Most will come along. It’s a good offer and he means it. Many won’t understand it, I’m not sure I do. That’ll be the biggest issue. I recommend personal contact with each of the crew.”

“Agreed. I think Webb will go for it and I think you’re right; most of the crew have a bad taste from this contract. Some won’t recover quickly from the damage, others will just want to breath unrecycled air for a while.” She looked at him. “And you?”

Wilmer lifted her hand to his lips. “I have a good plan; I’ll stick with it.”

“Wearing me down is not a plan.” Marnie stood and straightened her uniform. She smiled as her fingers rested on the hatch lever. “There’s this place on Saorsa. Locals like it. Maybe we can have lunch and talk.”

“Love to.” Wilmer said as he stood. “Love to.” He whispered.

Leitz October 24th, 2017 06:07 PM

Both crew smiled as Ben walked the plank.

Being a star ship and not an ancient wooden vessel the plank was strong metal anchored firmly. Nearly twenty centimeters wide so that one did not fall off the side but could reasonably be expected to make it to the very end.

Beneath him lay a filthy death. The odor made each step an effort but Ben was man enough to walk. Without complaint and without a second thought.

“Sorry for the smell, sir. We’re working on it.” The woman said. Ben had seen her file; former military before being captured. Like most aboard she was starved thin and struggling. Like some she was pulling floor panels and cleaning the underdark. The Abandonment had been neglected far too long and the grime had seeped deep.

Auger had set those that could to move section by section, panel by panel, cleaning what could be cleaned and annotating what needed to be fixed. Ben had crossed the beam they had laid for foot traffic and realized how much of a job refurbishment was going to be. Some of the conduit was rusted or eaten through while the panel supports oozed towards the mostly functioning grav plates.

Ben saw the respectful nod and continued on. He had seen much in the past two days; it was starting to make sense. A respectful nod here and a slightly more than needed move to the side as he passed through there. ‘Sia’s tone as she bent the sensor arrays to her will. Her brother James assisting in the kitchen after firing deadly warheads against a flesh and blood enemy. Gail risking her own life, yet again, knowing that she’d have to gracefully ignore jokes about ‘going after her boyfriend’ all through jump.

Ben was trading ‘a bunch of people’ for ‘a crew’. His crew.

Lily kissing him softly in private and looking at him respectfully in public. Sleeping through the night.

They would hit Saorsa space as a fleet. Rag tag, shot up, and in serious need of a bath fleet, but a fleet. He chuckled as he remembered friends, and not so friends, from the Jarl’s court. If they could see him now! Some would shake their head at the poor condition of the ship and others would look with disdain at the riff raff manning the stations. The ones who counted, though, they would see. The morale of those who had lost hope. The future wide open for those who had none. The people who counted, alongside the ghosts of Ben’s family, would count him a good man; a hero.

Ben smiled. Home was not lost but duty called. Exports from Haearn to be marketed and requests for dozen’s of things Ben had no knowledge of. More sections to inspect since Chen said “Captain’s Inspections” made a difference. Later he’d be asked to read Auger’s latest rendition of the assault as he tried to force the Star Confederation to invent a new medal for the team and include commensurately astronomical promotion points.

Just like Ben though, Auger would end his shift and consider time with his beloved to be a reward beyond measure.

It was a good ship. A good crew.

Spoiler:

Ngan Bachelet 666878 [F] (age 34)
Army (2 terms), Slave (2 terms) GunCbt-1 Leadership-1 VaccSuit-1 Vehicle-1

Leitz November 29th, 2017 07:22 AM

[208.068.2125 Local] Casimir District, Saorsa

The usual puddle of dirty water pooled on the fake flooring in front of the dishwasher. Tuarth Samptson sighed, took the worn wash rag off the spigot, and knelt to wipe up the floor.

“At least it worked for this load.” Lilliam said. She smiled. “Thank you for being man enough to clean up. The girls at the shop always talk about how their husbands miss the toilet bowl and don’t clean up after themselves, or don’t help with the dishes. I appreciate all you do for us.”

Tuarth looked at her. If he stood he’d be a head taller. If they walked into a store no one would pay attention; neither of them met society’s expectation for young and beautiful. Who cared? The kids were asleep. She was his wife. He was always up for some smooching with her.

She stood beside the counter, next to the putty repaired edge. Her arms crossed in front of her waist. Unmoving.

“When you have the best looking woman on the planet who climbs into a bed too small to not cuddle in, well, it’s easy to want to please her.” He stood and trickled water to clean the rag. A solid squeeze, a full open drape over the spigot, and a moment to dry his hands on the matted towel.

“What’s up?” He said quietly.

“I know this business with AgraChem has you distracted. It’s all over the news, and you said you worried about losing that part time job.” Her face turned square to his. She took a breath. “I started looking through my old gear to see if I could find stuff to sell to help us make it. It’d clean out the basement too.”

“You know there’s a bunch of muck down there. That’s why I keep the door locked. Latesha’s into anything that can open and the sump pump keeps clogging.”

“She takes after her daddy.” Lilliam said. She stepped forward. “You provide for us. My job is good and I appreciate you working extra for my training. I hoped to find some old tools or something to sell. I didn’t expect to find a lockbox.”

His heart turned. “You opened it?”

“Thank you for making me learn your passwords.” She whispered. “I guess. I...I don’t know what to say next.”

“You could say you love me.” His hand went out to her. “Maybe even trust me?”

“I want to. There’s thousands in there. Sealed papers from AgraChem. Other stuff I didn’t open.” She bit her lip. “And...”

“Identity papers. A gun.” His hand fell to the counter top. There was a white sticky spot where he had missed cleaning up the pasta sauce. He reached for the rag again. “Explaining would just be words. Things I probably shouldn’t say. What do you want to do?”

Her lips were tight. She stepped forward and put her arms around his waist. He kissed the top of her head.

“I want to know the man I love is okay. That our family is okay. I can take it if you leave us, but don’t drag it out.” She whispered. “But if there’s any way you can stay, please do. The kids...”

“Are a cute as their mother and three time more trouble. Each.” He pulled her in tight. “Things might change for us, honey. But my love for all three of you won’t ever go away. Ever.”

Leitz December 12th, 2017 07:56 AM

[208.075.1327 Playground Time] Casimir District, Saorsa

“You guys going to be okay?” Duane said. His frame dwarfed the small crete edge of the sandbox. The other two men sat to Duane’s right. Tuarth in the middle and John Pascal on the far end. Both Duane and John looked at Tuarth.

The slight pop of rifle fire came from across the old paved road. The men watched the Sangrean games team practice; summer was coming fast and with it the games. Kids laughed and played in the creaking swings and climbed the metal bars set in crete.

“Yeah. I have a little set aside and there’s some potential contract work coming up.” Tuarth said.

“They shouldn’t have let Lilliam go. She didn’t mess up that bad.” Duane said. He glanced back at his own wife. She still had her job. She did not have, and it showed, a child to coddle and cuddle. The other women did.

"It's my fault, really." Tuarth said quietly. "The row with AgraChem caused me some issues and she's been worried sick about me. We depended on that income."

"I'm pretty good at math, you know. What you just said doesn't add up." John lowered his voice. "How can you depend on a part time salary but still have money set aside?"

Tuarth's hand shook as he patted his chest. He smiled weakly. "I used to smoke. Still get the urge now and again."

"Your call on telling us. I know you've only been in our small group for a while. It takes time." Duane said.

"Let me think on it, okay?" Tuarth said. He patted his chest again and sighed.

Leitz December 12th, 2017 11:36 AM

[208.077.1945 Local] Casimir District, Saorsa

"Thank you all for being here." Tuarth said. He lifted the glass of wine. All five other adults did the same. "To deep friendship; Duane and Dumera. John and Rebaka. My loving bride."

Tuarth's hand rested on Lilliam's shoulder. He smiled. "Best thing that ever happened to me. Not sure it was great for her, I figure if she ever sober's up she'll run screaming. To us." He drained his glass. Duane and John met each other's gaze and slowly did the same.

"The sitter expects us home by nine, Tu. Can you help us understand?" John said.

"Yes, sorry." Tuarth said. "I tend to melodrama. I can make this brief to explain and then answer any questions you may have."

He sat. "Each of you as a couple has agreed to act as godparents to my children should something happen to us. Family is important to me; a sacred trust. Before we go on I want us to be clear and done with the legalities. Duane and Dumera Franco; will you be god-children to my children should we not be able to provide for them?"

"Yes." Both of them said. Dumera put her hand in Duane's. "As if they were our own."

Tuarth slid a paper over to them. "Please, here's the legal document. We'll sign it and I'll take it to the municipal building in the morning so it's on official record."

Rebaka licked her lips. Tuarth turned to her and John. "John and Rebaka, same question. Same form." He slid the form forward.

"We've talked about this." John said. His fingertips rested on the form. "You know we have a lot of kids already. But I promise you, if anything happens and we do this, your children will have as much love and attention as our own."

As the forms were being signed, Duane looked at Tuarth. "Are you expecting something to happen?"

Lilliam sniffed. Tuarth nodded.

"There's a second part of this. It needs to be between the six of us and never go further."

"Only if it isn't illegal." John said. "I don't want to put my family at risk of that."

"This is perfectly legal. Just..." Tuarth sighed. "Just it'll raise questions. I need you to trust me and not ask those questions."

"We trust you. But please understand if we doubt." Duane said. He gave his wife's hand a gentle squeeze.

John and Rebaka nodded.

"Like I said, family is a sacred trust. The forms you signed have legal status but to me they mean so much more. We are, in my mind, family." His voice trailed off. "Sacred. You've done something huge for me. I choose to do something for you. Please accept that I do this out of love, okay?"

"Duane and Dumera, you guys are going to make great parents." Tuarth said. Dumera bit her lip. "I know you will. You're trying to adopt and those things cost. I can't let my family struggle through that. I can't let some child go without awesome parents because of money."

Lilliam pulled two enevelopes from her lap and sat them in front of Tuarth. He squeezed her hand.

"John and Rebaka, you two are so loving and kind. Your kids are great but sometimes they might need something. This is for them." Tuarth slid one envelope to each man."

John shook his head. "You don't have to."

"I want to. Really. Lilliam and I have discussed this. Please."

John and Rabaka nodded. "Thank you." She said.

Tuarth shared the rest of the bottle. "To family."

Leitz December 12th, 2017 04:30 PM

[208.077.2205 Local] Casimir District, Saorsa

"Oh God."

The worn sofa groaned under Duane's weight. Dumera turned on the light and sat up in bed. "Honey, are you having that dream again?"

"No...no..." He looked at her. "No."

Dumera pulled the threadbare blanket around her shoulders and sat beside Duane. She looked at the envelope in his hand.

"That's from Lilliam and Tuarth." She said. "I wasn't going to ask how much."

Duane sniffled. He wiped the back of his hand against his cheek. "A hundred. I was going to put it in the book case where we keep our change."

"A hundred credits? That's close to her weekly salary, isn't it? How can they afford to give us that much?"

Duane shook his head. His hand rested on her knee as he took a ragged breath. "A hundred thousand."

Leitz March 2nd, 2018 09:49 PM

[208.078.0805 Local] Harald's Qana Bunker, Casimir District, Saorsa

"You sent us packing." The woman said quietly. "Now you want us back?"

Tuarth lifted his paper cup. He had always enjoyed the mix of flavors between the strong drink and the cheap paper. He usually had a cigarette to kill the bitter taste. He usually chased it with something stronger to kill the taste of the cigarette.

"No 'How are you? How are the kids?' for us, is it?" He said.

"The bloody kids are fine, my husband is out with his girlfriend of the week, and I'm wondering if it's really too early for a shot of whiskey."

"Never too early." He slipped a small flask under a napkin and slid it her way.

"That's why I loved you." She said. A long pour made it into her qana. "You want to talk about old times? Or have things gotten bad enough that even you leave the happy home life?"

"Maybe this was a mistake." He sat back. "I don't know."

"Maybe it is. Not your first. Mine either." She sipped. "Nice. So, we're here. You're still wearing your ring so I guess some things are off the table. Your eyes have that smouldering dark sexy look. What are you thinking?"

He gave a quiet laugh. "That maybe it is too early to start drinking."

"Never too early." She said. Another sip.

"I'd like to see who is still available. Is there enough to do anything? Do we have anything left?" He sat up straight. "Maybe it's just a bad dream come to life."

"Sounds like marriage." She lifted her cup. "You going to flake again?"

He stared into his cup. The dark liquid stained the inside paper. "I couldn't do it."

"You could, you just didn't. There's a difference. I would have done it." She leaned forward and poured whiskey into his cup. She lifted hers. "To old times and old people."

"To old times." He muttered and drained his cup. He stood and kissed the top of her head. "Old friends."

She watched him walk away. She had felt him slip the envelop into her pocket, he had gone rusty.

She drained her cup and smiled. "Never too early."


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