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The Cleon Memorial Library For discussion of Traveller fiction, both official and fan-written. Fan-written drafts are explicitly welcome.

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  #21  
Old August 1st, 2017, 08:44 AM
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Post Down A Peg pt. 16

“Can I see him?” asked Kakhskha to the ship’s Medic and Counsellor, valkyrie Marine Lt. Ardell. Kakshkha had met the veteran outside Dedhekhsgourz’ assigned stateroom. Rather than his own, as Captain of the Gatherer, Kakhkha had made available one of the pricey High Passage staterooms as a reward for the calculations that had, with the cooperation of the Chief Engineer, allowed the ship to escape certain boarding and capture. Jumping at 90 Diameters from the mainworld was dangerous, but not for the Gatherer. Its Ultimate Stage Jump Drives were an upgrade thus far only found on Serue (Knoellighz 1221). The Astrogator had worked steadily and without sleep for more than thirty hours on an escape jump from Roethoeegaeaegz (Knoellighz 1726). Kakhskha wanted to thank ‘Dead-Hex’ for his work and the subtle tactics just before jump.

Dead-Hex had suggested a ruse of surrendering the ship to system frigates and the ploy worked. Under the deception of striking colors and surrendering, Kakhskha was able to delay the enemy Admiral from firing upon their Surveyor long enough for him to amend his calculations and let the ship coast into ninety diameters or 90D, far enough outside the mainworld gravity well to allow the Gatherer to jump safely. Normal ships without the Ultimate Stage Jump Drive would typically and safely jump at 100D. Who knew the exact distance in kilometers this ship could leave the universe behind and still remain structurally sound? Any less distance from a planet, star or other large system body and a ship was committing self-destruction. All this and with help from Chief Engineer Anghal, Dead-Hex had saved the crew and the vessel.

“He put too much caffeine in him, Captain,” reported Lt. Ardell with a lowered voice. “I’ve administered a sedative and told him to sleep all of it off, take meals, drink water and go to the fresher as needed. But for the rest of the week, you need to lay off the male.” The Medic sniffed once in a quick breath. “But if he will see you, you have a few minutes before the meds kick in.”

“Thanks,” whispered Kakhskha.

After knocking at the otherwise empty High Passage stateroom door, the beige female Vargr heard, “Come in.”

Kakhskha opened the door and stepped in as quietly as she could. Dedhekhsgourz was lying in the wide bunk bed. A hardcopy book, some manual for a ship system, was bookmarked and closed beside him. A bunk lamp illuminated him. The Astrogator still looked worn thin, threadbare for all the mottled gray and black of his unkempt pelt. From out the side of the bed’s covers wagged his tail in greeting Kakhskha. She was welcomed by the gesture.

“Hi, Dead-Hex,” she said softer than her normal voice as Captain.

“Hey, Kakhskha,” greeted the male Vargr.
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  #22  
Old August 1st, 2017, 08:56 AM
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Post Down A Peg pt. 16a

Beside the bed were the discarded, poofy, pink and red-striped, poet shirt and the black canvas kilt that Kakhskha had loaned the male in the bed. The viewport to the stateroom had been closed since there was nothing outside the ship to see but the quicksilver wall of the jump bubble maintaining the existence of the Gatherer. But she kept a straight face despite smiling inwardly that Dead-Hex still wore the silver torc set with a large quartz crystal amethyst she had fastened about his neck ruff.

“How are you doing?” asked Kakhskha. “You looked manic in those last moments.”

“Just happy to be the hero for once, I guess,” answered Dead-Hex. “A male’s gotta work twice as hard for half the credit on this boat.”

“Don’t say that, Dead-Hex. You did the ship right. You and Anghal’s oversight let us escape. Doc says you’re about to zonk out, so I came to retrieve my brother’s clothes and that.”

Dead-Hex’ left claw, the one that was closest to the closed manual, rose to touch the clasped, solid silver ring about his neck. “Kakhskha.”

“Hmm?” answered the female as she picked up the clothing beside the bed. “I know you don’t like these clothes so I’ll bring you some of your normal clothes later.”

“Can I - I mean – may I wear this a little longer? I’m from Duelunogorrzuez, an Asteroid world. Our entire lives are spent around space rocks. I-I’ve never worn jewelry. May I?”

Kakhskha considered the request. The torc had been her intended piece for the eventual time she might find a mate-husband to marry. But now that she had clasped it around her Astrogator’s neck, to keep the other females of Roethoeegaeaegz from coveting a consort male, it seemed to look nice on Dead-Hex. Now that he had worn it for a just a couple of days, the beige female could not see it on anyone else. It was attuned now in her mind to the male in the bed. Did he like the thought of its symbolism or was he being truthful about the novelty of wearing jewelry?

Most Vargr decorated armor or dyed their fur in pleasant designs or fearsome patterns. Corsair Vargr were especially noted for such ostentatious gallantry. It was in every pirate holovid Kakhskha had watched in her youth. Even the females tried the decorations at one time or another. But Kakhskha was from Roethoeegaeaegz. Jewelry was a cultural diversion, both for marriage and successful, one-year terms of blessing females with litters in hopes of rebalancing the gender ratio on her homeworld.

Leaning over Dead-Hex, closer than comfortable for their normal and usually barking distance, the female whispered, “You don’t mind being a mate-husband even if for a little, do you, Dedhekhsgourz?” Folding the striped shirt and the kilt, she looked into his gray eyes.

If it could be seen through Dead-Hex’ mottled gray and black facial fur, Kakhskha could have sworn on the Recovery that he was blushing. His Charisma, his personal image of self-worth among this crew, was already receding at the threat of having to return the torc to her. Mated husbands on Roethoeegaeaegz were often elevated, honored and enjoyed an equal Vargr Charisma to their wives. But Dead-Hex was from the Infinity League not the Ascendancy Pact. Before he could answer, she held up an index claw over his muzzle to keep him quiet. She didn’t want his mouth to spoil this moment. Her stomach was already full of butterbees. Her heart was yelling at her to deny him. “Think you can behave yourself even though you don’t have to wear these, Dedhekhsgourz?” The Astrogator nodded though his eyes were becoming drowsy.

“Okay then,” consented Kakhskha, “for as long as you like. Just don’t let it go to your male chauvinistic head, Leaguer.” Then, without thinking of the causality, Kakhskha licked the male in the bed. “Get some rest. Good job, Dead-Hex. You did good….husband.” She had delayed too long before saying that last title. Dedhekhsgourz was fast asleep. The beige female nodded – just as well – and switched off the light over the bed. Standing up, the female from Roethoeegaeaegz padded softly from the stateroom.
__________________
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Empress Wave: Not something done in a local stadium.
Incoming Code: tc 23- mgt++ tn++ t20- t4- t5++ tp? tg- th? to~ ru+ ge- 3i+ c+ jt- au+ ls+ pi+ ta he+ kk hi+ as++ va++ dr+ ith? vr? ne? so+ zh+ vi+ da+ sy~
The Pakkrat 0608 X58738-8 S va++ so+ zh+ vi+ da+ 534
On assignment: Roethoeegaeaegz (Knoellighz 1726)

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Old August 1st, 2017, 09:40 PM
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Post Down A Peg pt.17

“Outermost Giant to top off and I want 3Gs,” declared Captain Kakhskha. She furrowed her muzzle in an unrelated thought then spoke again. “Professor, can the Canopy handle that kind of acceleration while open?”

Professor Zannun considered the question. He was pacing back and forth behind the helm and the question stopped him. Shrugging, he said, “So long as you don’t perform any maneuvers, close it again at turnover and again before fuel skimming, it should be okay.”

“Deploy it then,” ordered the beige Vargr at the helm. Let’s fill up the Collector Drive capacitor while we’re vectored for the Giant.”

The eldest Vargr crewmember on the ship nodded and stepped to Lt. Anghal at the Engineering boards. Kakhskha began throttling up the Maneuver Drive to an acceleration of 3Gs. Once she had the Giant in her corridor, she locked the helm.

“Captain,” called Dead-Hex from her left at the Astrogation-SensOp station, “the latest charts show a Naval Base in this world system. I suggest the Stealth Mask and it’s likely any Pact Navy will have seen our breakout flash.”

“Do it,” agreed Kakhskha. She watched as the mottled gray male wearing her wedding torc turned and toggled the powered stealth coating that absorbed various Active Sensor pings. “Everyone, we’re going to run quiet. Except for the M-Drive, lower our power usage and general footprint. Go play some board- or card games. No electronics or anything else with a signal. The Navy hates my homeworld's SysDef ships, but they will be very happy to catch us and make the ladies back home eat it.”

The beige-furred Captain was about to dismiss for shifts now that the Gatherer had precipitated from Jump Space, but she turned to face the fifty-something male Zannun. “Professor, would you mind taking a turn at Astrogation for Kaeuelldhuegh (Knoellighz 1522)?”

“As long as we’re not in a hurry,” shrugged the black-furred Scholar, “I can run the numbers here on the bridge given enough time.”

“Hot dog,” smiled Dead-Hex. “I’m gonna go pull my guitar out of cargo and tune it. Performance in the Commons, gang in an hour.”

Surprised, Kakhskha said, “Dead-Hex, I didn’t know you could play. Was it on your resume?”

Sheepish in his goofy cringe, Kakhsha’s Astrogator looked at the rising Engineer, Lt. Anghal then he admitted, “I didn’t include it. I didn’t want to end up being assigned as Steward and end up playing for passengers while in the hole.”

“But you’ll play for us, right?” Kakhskha asked Dead-Hex to be sure of what he was offering. “I’ve never heard live guitar before.”

The gray-eyed male smiled at Kakhskha, like he had a secret weapon up his sleeve. “Yes, ma’am.”
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Incoming Code: tc 23- mgt++ tn++ t20- t4- t5++ tp? tg- th? to~ ru+ ge- 3i+ c+ jt- au+ ls+ pi+ ta he+ kk hi+ as++ va++ dr+ ith? vr? ne? so+ zh+ vi+ da+ sy~
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On assignment: Roethoeegaeaegz (Knoellighz 1726)

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Old August 2nd, 2017, 07:01 AM
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Post Down A Peg 17a

Dead-Hex played his Duelean Twelve-string Guitar, the one he received as a present from his dam who encouraged at least one art for everyone in the litter. The Astrogator found affinity with the stringed instrument and its mathematical tuning. After a few adjustments, the male Vargr from Duelunogorrzuez started playing. Playing by oneself was relaxing. However, playing to a small group was rewarding and Dead-Hex smiled to the crew gathered in the Commons.

Libations and snacks were prepared by Lt. Ardell the Marine as Capt. Kakhskha had cleverly maneuvered Professor Zannun into running the numbers for the Gatherer’s next jump. With the poor cook out of the way, tails wagged to see the tray of treats and drinks from the Galley.

Captain Kakhskha was riveted to watch Dead-Hex and he smiled to her as the first song began. The female could not fully let go of the ship as he saw the beige female had kept her Portable Controller in her lap and was toggling between Sensors and the helm. Dead-Hex wondered as he played if Kakhskha ever truly let herself truly relax.

He played slow and moving songs. Dead-Hex played faster songs the crew could clap along with. The Astrogator used his claws to pluck out a tune with a twelve-eight time signature that had the crew swaying heads to the beat and tails wagging. Some whispered to each other. Kakhskha’s eyes shone just then as she took a moment to sink into his playing. He coaxed from the strings that put a dreamy look on her lupine face.

Dead-Hex did not sing during playing. His voice had always been too scratchy or rough sounding to ears. Instead, he occasionally hummed or whistled an accompaniment to his guitar. Since it was an acoustic guitar, he was able to tap out a downbeat on the body of the instrument. The action got feet tapping the deck with his song.

He put the Duelean instrument down after his eigth song to the applause of the four other Vargr. His claw digit pads were complaining from manipulating the strings after such a long hiatus. Though he wanted to play more, he decided to stretch out their interest by saying, “More to come, perhaps in our next jump?”

Nods of muzzles were the response as the Vargr aboard the Gatherer ate snacks and gingerly nursed their drinks. With no passengers to coddle and only thirty tons of unsold, TL-6 gemstones in the cargo hold, the crew became the passengers they served.

“These are good,” declared Professor Zannun, his mouth full of a treat of Lt. Ardell, “who made them?” He had arrived almost late to the performance and thus had missed Ardell’s preparation. He also missed the wagging of her tail from his appreciation.
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Empress Wave: Not something done in a local stadium.
Incoming Code: tc 23- mgt++ tn++ t20- t4- t5++ tp? tg- th? to~ ru+ ge- 3i+ c+ jt- au+ ls+ pi+ ta he+ kk hi+ as++ va++ dr+ ith? vr? ne? so+ zh+ vi+ da+ sy~
The Pakkrat 0608 X58738-8 S va++ so+ zh+ vi+ da+ 534
On assignment: Roethoeegaeaegz (Knoellighz 1726)

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Old August 2nd, 2017, 09:43 AM
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Post Down A Peg pt. 18

The outermost Gas Giant, a deep blue sphere of methane in various bands of hues, loomed ahead. It was well visible out the forward viewports and seemed to wait for the next challenging ship to sink to its upper atmosphere to intake a full tank of hydrogen for processing into L-Hyd or liquid hydrogen. Yet, the female Vargr knew that with the ship's Airframe consisting of wings and fins that Dead-Hex could handle the refueling operation.

Lt. Anghal at the Engineering station watched as the Astrogator climbed into the comfy seat of the helm at the command of Captain Kakhskha. The chocolate brown Vargr watched as the beige female tapped her claw on the silver torc he wore, her ‘wedding ring’ and heard her say to him hushed though she could still hear her speak.

“Don’t get cocky, Dead-Hex,” warned the Captain. “I’ll be right behind you, Sensors in hand. Are you sure you’re recovered enough for this?”

“Yes, ma’am,” answered the Astrogator. Anghal knew that Dead-Hex was an ace pilot. She and Dedhekhzgourz had interviewed for the Gatherer together before hard times grounded the Surveyor at Serue. He had acquiesced upon hire that it was either Astrogation-SensOp or the kitchen as Steward for the fellow Merchant. Anghal herself was ex-Infinity League Navy. So the two at the helm had yet another commonality besides liking to pilot. The Captain was referring to Dead-Hex’ recent caffeine overdose while crunching numbers for an escape jump from Roethoeegaeaegz.

Anghal smiled privately at the sight of the Captain standing directly behind the helm chair, her Portable Controller synced to the Sensors. She was leaning over, just right of his shoulder. Flirting. It may have been unprofessional, but Dead-Hex had it coming. He was always “back-seat driving” or goading the Captain. Now the tables were about to be turned on the Astrogator. Kakhskha was going to give him a lesson or Anghal was truly a handicapped female at relationships.

Turning to her Engineering boards, Anghal announced aloud, “Scoops opened and processor standing by, ma’am.”

“Excellent,” answered the Captain who was using her Portable Controller behind the helm. “The wings allow us to do this with up to four gees, but I want to keep it to three. Got me, Dead-Hex?” When he didn’t answer right away, distracted by adjusting the controls to his arm length, the Captain grabbed his right ear and tweaked it. “Got me?”

“Errgh, yes, ma’am,” Dead-Hex whined from the wrenching action of having his ear turned in Kakhskha’s claw. He tried to sit up taller to take the pressure of her grasp and it forced him to look up at her gaze down at him.

“No acrobatics or funny business, Dead-Hex,” ordered Capt. Kakhskha. “I don’t need to be impressed today. We are still on the run and just inside the border of the Ascendancy Pact. Though there’s only fifty dirtsiders here, there is also a full Naval Base at one of these Gas Giants. I don’t need to attract their attention. No showing off, Leaguer.”

“Oww-err, yes ma’am,” acknowledged the Astrogator. At that, the Captain let go of the male’s ear and continued scanning.
__________________
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Empress Wave: Not something done in a local stadium.
Incoming Code: tc 23- mgt++ tn++ t20- t4- t5++ tp? tg- th? to~ ru+ ge- 3i+ c+ jt- au+ ls+ pi+ ta he+ kk hi+ as++ va++ dr+ ith? vr? ne? so+ zh+ vi+ da+ sy~
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Old August 2nd, 2017, 10:24 AM
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Post Down A Peg pt.18a

Though the methane Giant’s atmosphere buffeted the hull, there was mercifully little turbulence at that altitude. Anghal swung her head from the fuel gauges to see the torture session begin. The female Vargr’s free claw came up to her muzzle to stifle a quiet giggle upon hearing the first, lowered words from Captain Kakhskha.

“You may not know this, Dead-Hex, but I hear that in the harems of Roethoeegaeaegz….” The beige female transferred her lean to the mottled gray and black male’s left shoulder. For emphasis, she brushed her primary bust against his shulder as she lowered her head and voice so that Anghal could not read her muzzle from his left side.

Dead-Hex’ tongue lolled out the right side of his muzzle at first, but he was forced to keep both claws on the helm controls as the Gatherer began scooping up the needed fuel from the atmosphere. He was soon whimpering at whatever it was Kakhskha was saying to him under her breath but close enough to the Astrogator’s left ear to hear perfectly.

It was a dreadfully vindictive sight to see the Captain tease Dead-Hex with such verbal delights. Anghal had to painfully wrench her gaze away from the two to double-check the fuel intake percentages. She could not hear what was said, but the Engineer could hear his whimpering reactions as the ship continued its buffeted vibrations. “Point five, ma’am.”

At 0.6 fuel capacity, Dead-Hex had to make a course correction. Whining now at 0.8, the Astrogator trapped at the helm had to rise above a thunderhead. The storm would have meant heavy turbulence for the Gatherer. By the time Anghal called out, “One-point-zero, ma’am,” the fellow ‘Leaguer’ was beleaguered and panting with his jaw dropped.

“Very good, Dead-Hex,” said Capt. Kakhskha returning to stand straight and check the Sensors board on her Portable Controller. “You have anything to say, Third Officer?”

“P-permission to transfer you the con, ma’am?” whimpered Dead-Hex. “I am in need of a very cold shower.” To Anghal, he looked highly aroused by whatever she had whispered to him during the skimming.

“Granted,” said the Captain. “I have the con. Go take care of business.”
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Incoming Code: tc 23- mgt++ tn++ t20- t4- t5++ tp? tg- th? to~ ru+ ge- 3i+ c+ jt- au+ ls+ pi+ ta he+ kk hi+ as++ va++ dr+ ith? vr? ne? so+ zh+ vi+ da+ sy~
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Old August 2nd, 2017, 06:52 PM
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Post Down A Peg pt. 19

“Put me on broad-band Comms for system-wide announcement.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Attention Corsairs of Kaeuelldhuegh (Knoellighz 1522): This is Capt. Kakhskha of the SJL-3A32 Gatherer. This is your only warning. Navy Train, Navy Train, Navy Train. Recommend all pirate vessels clear out-system or go to ground if unable to jump. This was your only warning.”

“Do you think that by announcing that you are trailing Naval vessels that they will believe you?”

“Are we lying, you mean?”

“Where did you learn such lingo, ma’am, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“Professor, when you run trade successfully as these past sixteen years as I have, there is no innocence in a Merchant because at some point or another we’ve all hauled illegals, smuggled, stolen goods ‘mistakenly’ re-routed to the cargo hold or otherwise deceived in some form or another. While us Merchants aren’t full-time Rogues, we aren’t the angels of commerce everyone believes us to be. Still want to ride with us on the Gatherer, Zannun?”

“Well, despite the claims, you and your crew haven’t done anything illegal as far as trade yet; the issue on Roethoeegaeaegz being not our fault-“

“We need this diversion if we are going to land, sell off these Obscure Gemstones that thankfully were tumbled and polished back on Khodhothgvouks. If we’re lucky, maybe they will make good medal stones or desk paperweights. The mainworld Kaeuelldhuegh is a corporate training ground for a security firm of mercenaries who the Corsairs sometimes recruit wash-outs from. The have a training complex next to a Frontier Installation Starport – or E if you prefer.”

“So, when the Navy does jump into this system, they will be witness to many jump flashes as Corsairs will have had time to calculate escape jump vectors, is that correct, Captain? Doesn’t it also clear our path of potential ambushers who might spot our ship?”

“Now you’re thinking like a smuggler, Professor. I knew you could stoop this low.”

“I-“

Zannun watched the Sensors boards as the ship’s Canopy was retracted after a day of in-system commuting to the mainworld in full visual range. The Collector Drives were again full after the jump from Atathagaengorrfaghz (Knoellighz 1623). From the vector to the Gatherer’s aft came Ascendancy Pact Naval ships. Five minutes later a distant lightshow at various angles off the bow of the ship flashed. Corsairs took the warning seriously and left the system, either to wait out a week in adjacent, empty parsecs or to hunt in less-patrolled worlds. Those local pirate vessels without Jump Drives or who did not take the warning seriously, descended to one of seven planets to land and shut down, perhaps inside or under terrestrial formations to hide.
__________________
Virus: When you care to infect the very best.
Empress Wave: Not something done in a local stadium.
Incoming Code: tc 23- mgt++ tn++ t20- t4- t5++ tp? tg- th? to~ ru+ ge- 3i+ c+ jt- au+ ls+ pi+ ta he+ kk hi+ as++ va++ dr+ ith? vr? ne? so+ zh+ vi+ da+ sy~
The Pakkrat 0608 X58738-8 S va++ so+ zh+ vi+ da+ 534
On assignment: Roethoeegaeaegz (Knoellighz 1726)

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Old August 2nd, 2017, 10:27 PM
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Post Down A Peg pt. 20

Kaeuelldhuegh (Knoellighz 1522) E251314-5 Lo Po Corsair NaVa

She knew bad weather was coming. It was her leg that told her. Marine Lt. Ardell rubbed her bad leg and considered medication when massage did not alleviate the ache brought on by a low-pressure system. This pain was like a weather vane Ardell normally did not have to contend with in space or in the warrens back home on Nouon. Even with the Clinic and Medical Console safely in the center of the ship, the timber wolf pelt could feel the grounded Surveyor ship buffeted by the building storm.

The Gatherer had landed some kilometers from the Starport by the only small sea on the mainworld of Kaeuelldhuegh. Sitting on the warm side of the Habitable Zone made the climate warm. It was when the Red Dwarf primary pulsed, a laughable and miniature flare, that generated enough heat to move winds across the deserts and whip up lake effect storms to throw at the rudimentary Starport and Fort Vukhudh. To avoid attracting the attentions of any “just visiting” Corsairs, Captain Kakhskha had already made contact with her buyer for the 30 tons of Obscure Gemstones. The tumbled and polished not-so-precious stones were being delivered by Zannun and Dead-Hex, leaving the ladies to guard their ship. And now a storm was rising and causing Ardell pain.

“Navy girl!” Ardell yelled down the hatch to the lower, Engineering deck. “Happy Birthday! Now get up here and take your annual physical.” Yep, time for pain meds. Lt. Ardell had only two terms under her belt, having taken shrapnel from an exploding vehicle dirtside in the Battle of Ungkhou (Knoellighz 1029). The damage was severe enough at the time that command had to stamp Ardell with ‘Disabled’ and give her an Exemplary Service or XS Medal as she was ushered out the door. At age 37, the female Vargr was the youngest crew on the ship and the Captain’s friend. Kakhskha had taken her in before Ardell could board a starship back home to Nouon. Trading stories, they had an immediate calling to crew the newly-purchased Gatherer.

“Hey!” Ardell called again. “Don’t make me come down there, grease-monkey!” Ardell recalled when she and the Captain interviewed the Infinity League contributions to the ship. Merchant Third Officer Dedhekhsgourz and ex-Navy Lt. Anghal had answered the call as a pair - no relationship – to sign on to the independent Surveyor Gatherer. She smiled when she thought Kakhskha might assign Dead-Hex to Steward. The ship needed a cook and the male fit the minimal bill. But when he ran a simulated Astrogation crunch the fastest Ardell or Kakhskha had ever encountered, the two allowed him on the Bridge as the new Astrogator. This was new to the two since both were from the matriarchy culture of Roethoeegaeaegz and its colony on Nouon. But, to keep an open mind, they signed on the line across from Dead-Hex’ signature. His partner, Lt. Anghal the Chocolate was a shoe-in for Chief Engineer. However, because of Anghal's head injury, she was forced to split her job with Dead-Hex as the Jump Drive Engineer under her. Anghal was to supervise Life Support, Maneuver Drive and the Power Plant in the balance.

“I said-“ Ardell spun to jump down that hatch and meaning to haul the Engineer up by the ruff of her neck when she nearly ran into 44-year old Lt. Anghal almost nose to nose with her.

“I heard you, Lieutenant,” explained the chocolate-pelted female Vargr in very close proximity. “I could not say anything with an empowered electrical torque wrench in my mouth while calibrating the Jump Drive thanks to Dead-Hex’ 90D jumps. Now it won’t burn out with these new tunings.”

“Yeah well,” huffed the ship’s Medic, Counsellor and Security Vargr, “siddown and open your…DINGY uniform in my clean Clinic and Med Console. Ugh!”
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Old August 3rd, 2017, 08:31 AM
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Post Down A Peg pt. 20a

Ardell commenced with the annual physical exam upon Lt. Anghal all the while the Engineer was tainting her Clinic and Medical Console with both Drive grime and-

“Just what is that smell, Lt. Anghal?”

“Drive cleaner,” answered the Engineer from the Infinity League. “I had intended to spend the morning just cleaning below decks in Engineering. But, as it happens I made one clean spot and the rest of the deck, all the Drives suddenly looked much worse. I’ve been scrubbing and cleaning. That was when I felt the Jump Drive’s atonal tuning and stopped to pull out my tools.”

“But it’s just now two hours post meridian, Chief. Open your mouth and say ‘ahh’.”

“Ahh,” the chocolate brown female coughed, “Don’t stick that thing so far down my mouth.”

“It’s just a tongue depressor so I can check your throat. Tonsils removed?”

“Ya.”

The Marine Medic and Counsellor went through the motions of checking Anghal’s eyes, sound tests for her ears, limb movements, the works of a physical. Once she finished the physical stats, she pulled up a stool and sat down.

Anghal asked, “Are we done, Lieutenant?”

“Not yet, Lieutenant,” answered Ardell who countered with the Engineer’s final Naval rank. “Let’s have the talk.”

The Engineer sagged as she sat on the fold-down Medical Console bed. “There’s not much to tell. The ship took a hit and I was thrown. I hit my head on a Console and woke up in the hospital with a medal and discharge papers. The doctors said that the Navy could not see me keeping it together in combat situations with the condition I now have.” Anghal’s tail drooped over the far side of the bed. She clearly did not like talking about her disability.

Anghal then asked, “Your resume doesn’t say where you got your wound, Chief.”

“The Captain’s interview did not ask,” responded Lt. Anghal. “You were there. Dead-Hex did most of the talking for the two of us. But if you must know, it was at the Battle of Ungkhou. My ship was in orbit.”

Anghal sobered immediately. She had been on the ground while Anghal’s Navy ship was in the skies over mainworld Ungkhou. The two were on opposing sides in the same Battle. Though it was not a full-scale war, the Ascendancy Pact fought and failed to keep Ungkhou from the Zhodani–backed Infinity League. Yet the price was too high for the League to hold the Vacuum world and the entire system became a no-Vargr world visited only by lowly wildcatting mining operations.

To Ardell’s memory, the Ascendancy Pact took the incursion of the Infinity League which had support from beyond the Crystal Wall of Knoellighz as a maneuver from behind the backs of the Ascendancy Pact. She supposed that the League might have felt corralled by the fast-growing Pact. Ardell’s polity had expanded the fastest in the sector despite not being the first to colonize and annex explored worlds. Ungkhou became a worthless pile of rock that hot-head command felt could not allow the Human-loving Leaguers to encroach. Today, two veterans with war wounds and disabilities stared at each other.
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Last edited by The Pakkrat; August 5th, 2017 at 01:07 PM..
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Old August 3rd, 2017, 08:35 AM
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Post Down A Peg pt. 20b

Anghal spoke first as if she had read Ardell’s mind. “You…were there, weren’t you? At the Battle, I mean. That look you are making at me.”

“Not because I wanted to be,” explained the timber wolf pelt. “It was a combat mission and my platoon was picked. I had no say. In my second term, a Marine just follows orders. I was booted out too when a light APC exploded near me. My leg, you know.”

“I didn’t want to be there either,” Anghal agreed. “The League and the Zhodani stood to gain nothing other than to satisfy their egos over Ungkhou since they felt hemmed in. Everyone in this damned sector is racing Coreward in their expansions and nobody can agree that space is vast. Territory and Charisma, so Admirals and Generals can have some sort of progress to report back home, yes?”

Now that Ardell was sure that the older female was not harboring war animosity against her, perhaps because it would cause her undue stress and potentially trigger her; the Counsellor took a professional step back. “About your injury, your past Universal Personal Profile estimates that your mental acumen has fallen four points. Have you considered augmenting and using Single Skill Wafers to make up for the damage our side did?”

The Counsellor in Ardell saw the overall Charisma of the scarred Engineer retreat. It was like watching chocolate melt in the heat of a solar primary. Lt. Anghal turned her head and with her right claw lifted some of her furry neck ruff where it met her head. The action bared the scars of her war injury, an angry pink though healed. The valkyrie heard the female whisper, “I can’t. The site was so damaged that implanting a Wafer Jack can’t make the connections to my brain. I’m barred from their use the day my ship was hit, Ardell.” The chocolate female then turned her head back to focus her deep amber eyes on the Marine. “I’m sorry about your leg, Lieutenant. You seem to have once enjoyed running track or maybe the obstacle course, Marine.”

It was the first time anyone had apologized to her for her damaged leg. No doctors or nurses or therapists had ever spoken a consoling word to Lt. Ardell who was no longer able to run in fast sprinting bursts the Vargr were known for. It touched her. She decided then to reciprocate to her patient sitting on the Medical Console. “I’m sorry for your wound and disability, Lt. Anghal. Our polities it seems do not see the value of talent such as ours. Perhaps it is therapeutic for us to finally meet on civilian, middle ground and reach a closure, yes?”

Navy Lt. Anghal nodded wordlessly. Marine Lt. Ardell stood up despite her aching leg and hugged the opposing female. Cleaning the Clinic and Medical Console was suddenly trivial, petty even. Outside the ship the winds were picking up.

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Empress Wave: Not something done in a local stadium.
Incoming Code: tc 23- mgt++ tn++ t20- t4- t5++ tp? tg- th? to~ ru+ ge- 3i+ c+ jt- au+ ls+ pi+ ta he+ kk hi+ as++ va++ dr+ ith? vr? ne? so+ zh+ vi+ da+ sy~
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Last edited by The Pakkrat; August 23rd, 2017 at 06:18 PM..
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