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“Goodness!” Was all Cook could cry as another ‘object’ shot right past him. This one he had enough time and proximity to catch as being that of Demarius. What does she think she is doing? was all he could ask himself, but even this question was to folly; a person in such a state didn’t so much think as act, acting indeed on the mind’s pre-thoughts of act-this-way-when-faced-with-this-situation. For his part, Cook could only lean over that rail watching yet another person fall to their splashing fate as a sudden thump! broke the sea’s surface and a crackling swoosh! followed immediately behind it. Two there were, now three souls to save.

He might have taken a breath of hope, if the waters were not so calm, the ladder not so close like its buoy counterpart, and the floating caravel not a carrack at full sail. All aboard, Cook thought, fighting brows with gray hairs that cared for a smile creased in amusement. In the end, he did smile, but not so much from the comic truth in three persons being thrown off the ship by an accident standing in happenstance as that of the truth behind Demarius’ purpose. Without hesitation, this one. She shot right past me, and dove into the darkening abyss to save her friend, without flinching. Cook, at least, admired the trait of fearless empathy each time he encountered it, more as often than not.

 

 

“Panda pi—“ Mal couldn’t finish it. For starters, he’d already used that curse (using it twice in a row would be unseemly), and it’s not like any of those fools could hear his vexations. In my head, then. I’ll just start swearing like a sailor in my head. The irony of that thought was immediately lost on him. Where otherwise it might have led to another bout of awkward display, the captain was presently fixated on pulling three overboard’s back onto his ship, whether they were in any real danger or not. A captain can’t have people floating in his sea all willy-nilly. It’d be like hosting a beerfest without the beer. He related that comparison to this one time when Tranquility had hosted such a festival, had gotten most of its crew and then some drunk some and then some, and a drunken Mal had never been any the exception as he took his own wheel and steered his own ship toward the horizon, leaving a handful of folk screaming at him as they floated behind. Katie never forgave me for that one. Though James did, for leaving him with a naked Katie, and Waltz did too, after I let his thrice-chugged chingwine ass take the wheel. Mal had never forgiven himself for that one.

“Petro! Are they on board yet!? I’ll be havin’ no lollygaggin’ on my ship from you, mister!”

He looked from an oblivious Petro, who was barely able to peer over the railing with its ladder unfurled before him, to the railing, and quickly found the answer to his question. It was a stark “No” just when the head of one male Andersen popped up into view, with two ladies bound to follow behind. Mal slapped a hand on his barrel and nodded to satisfaction. He did feel a shred of guilt for all this, on account of it not being appropriate for any of his crew to go for a swim without a background check that they knew how, and anyone aboard his ship was a part of his crew so long as they were on it. Makes me wonder why the heck I didn’t give them the “Can you swim?” test beforehand. Sometimes, that was a requirement before stepping from plank to deck, but maybe he had simply assumed that a mercenary and her aide would have the know-how. Though puking into the wind might be a mite less suggestive.

Edited by Die Shize

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She relaxed as she saw Demarius pull Andersen from the water, tilting to float on her back for a moment. She closed her eyes for a moment, pulling her heart rate and breathing back under control. She’d climb back up onto the ship in a moment, once she was calm again. She simply floated there for a few moments, letting the cooling water and gentle waves drain her panic from her. She took a deep breath a minute or so later and opened her eyes, flipping over onto her front to lazily swim to the ship. 

She jumped up onto the rope still hanging from the deck and climbed up rapidly, her hair dripping everywhere as she vaulted up onto the deck. She ran over to where Demarius and Andersen were, crouching beside them and wringing her hands. 

“I’m so sorry, miss. I weren’t looking where I was going. I didn’t mean to bring your boy into the water.” She looked down at her hands, biting her lip. “I didn’t expect you to be where you were, and - “ She swallowed, deciding it was probably better to simply stop talking. She straightened and turned away, nervously wringing out her hair.

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Demarius kept a tight hold onto Andersen as they were both lifted back onto the ship. The wooden sides scraped soundlessly against the buoy until she could climb over her assistant and drag him to an empty spot on the deck. The boy was still unconscious and breathing shallowly, his long, curly hair fanning out in a halo around his head as Demarius checked him over. His skin was pale and cold and his lips tinged blue. It was as if he had overexerted himself. 

At the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps and a shadow falling over them, Demarius looked up, her eyes narrowed and her face carefully blank. It was the woman who'd started all of this. The apologies fell on deaf ears until Demarius turned to stand and face the woman. Rapidly cooling saltwater dripped from her hair and her face as goosebumps spread across her skin under her soaked clothes. "Should he die, I will make no hesitation to return the favor," she spat as she gave the other woman a once over as if to seize her up. 

The boy would be fine, but the ship's crew didn't have to know that. All Demarius needed was one favor from this woman. 

Without waiting for a response, Demarius knelt again at Andersen's side, grabbing his arms to carefully loosen the leather band on each wrist until he coughed himself awake. "Mistress," he heaved, hands shifting aimlessly about the wooden deck. "My apologies," he murmured, throat hoarse. 

Demarius shook her head. "This is the woman that caused it all," she told him. 

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“He shall not die.”

Cook’s tone of voice sounded as gentle as it did absolute. He spoke while taking a careful step forward, for no better reason than to combine speech with movement for a better call at attention, his hands ever held behind his back. Though no smile was sported this time around, he had no cause to be gruff, looking from one person to the other, all three of which were drenched in water from head to toe. Crewmen made it a purpose to provide space, a few of them otherwise hovering about with curiosity mixed with concern. Petro was still at the rail, standing and watching like he didn’t know what else to do.

Cook watched the boy as he slept with the sea, counting seconds by before his mind would meet his heart and seconds would prove to be seconds too long before mouth-to-mouth would have to be performed. It wasn’t something that he himself might immediately elect to take up, and Demarius would surely show further color by taking it upon herself. That had not come to pass, however, for life coughed itself up in a spurt and dribble. Cook smiled, looking from Saoirse to Demarius.

“Neither shall she, it would seem.”

“Mistress, my apologies”. The boy wakes from water to say sorry to his mistress, with as little hesitation as her when she had dived overboard to save him. A curious pair, these two. That was yet another admirable quality to marvel upon. That kept Cook’s smile as it was, even as the woman had yet a less than sweet accusation to give to Saoirse. He didn’t intend to jump in on this one. Sometimes the sheep must bah with each other before the shepherd takes it upon himself to herd them. In such a situation, Cook was little more than a father letting his children diffuse it for themselves.

 

 

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Mal landed with a thud upon the deck as boots struck wood. As three persons were being brought back to his boat, he had climbed down from his crow’s nest as fast as his non-Goran hands and feet would allow before deciding to jump the rest of the way. It was a recurring feat of clearing the ten-to-thirteen feet that always left him with a sharp pain in his feet, none too injury-inducing, but Mal reckoned that the day would sooner come when it simply didn’t hurt than when he would learn the lesson of jumping a little closer to deck. “Having the brain of a monkey doesn’t make you one, Mal” Lara had often reminded him. “Leave the climbing and the jumping to Saoirse”. Mal never much listened to Lara, on that note.

“Oh, I’m a woman now?”
He stepped forward to face the group, hands on hips as though he were standing in accusation’s place in place of Saoirse. Sarcasm went from his eyes to be lifted by arched brows as the captain stared his question upon the apparently annoyed mercenary, looking from her to Saoirse.

“It wasn’t her fault, missy. Well, landing into your friend was, I guess, but I’m the one who practically kicked her out of the crow’s nest.”

Mal blinked, catching himself too late. “Well, I mean, not really kicked, and I did offer her my hand.” He smiled. Do smiles diffuse awkward, angry situations? A sudden memory of an awkward situation in which an angry Terran yokel had pointed a gun at Mal’s smile told him otherwise. He blinked the memory away and nodded at the boy.

“You okay? Quite a tumble you took. You should be grateful. Last person that fell off my ship didn’t get pulled back up, on account of stealing from my hold.”

Though Mal had in no way spoken those words to upset the lad, he was bright enough to seek to cover them with another blink of his eyes. “ ‘Course, for this little hiccup, I’ll give you a free run of that hold, and you can take the first thing that tickles your fancy. Sound fair?” Sounds fair to me, I reckon.

Edited by Die Shize

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Saoirse unashamedly hid behind Mal as he came to stand before her. Demarius terrified her, even more now, so hiding behind her captain made perfect sense to her. She curled her damp hands into his shirt, peeking around his ribs to watch Demarius. This was even worse than the time she’d accidentally knocked Aine out of a tree and broken her nose. It had healed almost perfectly, but she’d still been in an incomprehensible amount of trouble. Aine had forgiven her quickly, but their mother and aunts hadn’t been so quick. “I’m really sorry,” she murmured into Mal’s back, huddling closer. She was rarely thankful for her barely five foot one inch of height, but right then? She almost wished she was smaller.

She slipped out from behind Mal once Demarius wasn’t focused on her anymore, fleeing to Cook instead. “Is she going to kill me?” she whispered, huddling in close. “I didn’t mean to knock her boy off the ship!” She looked up at Cook, her brows drawn together and her eyes wide. “I don’t think she believes me, though … “

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Demarius hardly noticed the crew members quieting once the captain jumped down onto the deck with Andersen attempting to sit up. Her attention was momentarily caught in the way the water dripping from his hair glinted against the light of the setting sun. He glanced over when his mistress redirected his attention to the woman now cowering behind the captain's back. "Why was she flying about?" He murmured, voice strained from the effort it had taken to cough up the sea lodged into his throat. Glancing down, he frowned at his feet. "My boot..."

"I'll buy you a new pair," Demarius rolled her eyes before finding the flask that he'd brought her and handing it off to him before standing to face the man that was offering what simply amounted to a halfhearted apology that he couldn't manage to keep his guests on board — or his crew from accidentally knocking them into the sea. "You would rather take responsibility for this than she?" Demarius cocked her hip to see the woman skittering from behind the Captain's back to cower beside Cook instead. The action made her sneer. She sure seemed faint-at-heart to be one to work on a pirate's ship. 

There was nothing wrong with the captain stepping in on behalf of his crew member. In many ways, it was better than the patronage of the woman. The Captain with more than a few contacts owing her a favor could be useful. 

"I'm uncomfortable," she told him, crossing her arms over her chest at the chill that ran through her as the water began to cool. Inclining her head, Demarius shifted her weight on her bare feet. "May we speak frankly, Captain?" She asked him. "Privately." 

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“Hey! What in the!?” Mal twisted himself to identify the creature that had just wrapped its limbs around him. Sometimes Saoirse was as much a monkey as a terrified little squirrel. He kept his thumbs dipped into his belt to keep from prying her grip off him as she apologized to his shirt. I’m hoping I retain my swashbucklin’ stance despite the squirrel. There was plenty of dignity in defending a damsel in distress, but Saoirse made a habit of making it look like she were a cat. Monkey, squirrel, cat. I’ve got quite the zoo on my ship. Fitting, considering that zoo takes the shape of a five-foot Goran. He cocked a brow toward Andersen.

“What? Her? Well, that’s what she does. She might be a squirrel, but she’s a flying squirrel all the same.”

 He looked away in time to catch Demarius as she rebounded on him. Suddenly her question caused a stirring in his senses, and he wondered if he might phrase a cold “No?” in answer. Take responsibility for a monkey-squirrel-cat? He thought about that. In the end, Saoirse’s blood ran as blue as his own, for she was as much a sailor on the sea of sin as he was. However, he himself wasn’t the one who had landed into a harmless and innocent child. He opened his mouth to speak when Saoirse withdrew herself, uncoiling from his chest, and Demarius spoke in his stead. It felt like a welcome interruption. Why was she uncomfortable?

“Is it James?” He sighed and nodded, as if she had just confessed to him her most vile thought and imagined it as a certain someone in an orange, leather coif, somewhere below deck crying in front of casks of Jungjum Rum. “I understand. It can be…overwhelming, that first look upon a man who never made it past evolution.”  She broke in, ignoring him or otherwise. Weren’t we speaking frankly already?

“Privately, huh?” He considered that, watching crewmen pace around like ants, laughing and japing and making merry. The open deck definitely didn’t convey privacy. Why does she want to get private with me, anyway? “I’ll concede.” He held up a finger. “But only if you kiss and make up with my friend over here.” Now which one of them will take it literally? “After all, I don’t want any enemies among my crew.” He looked from Demarius to Saoirse, watched and waited.

 


“Kill you? Goodness.” He was as concerned for the small Goran as he was amused by her, like a grandfather with his granddaughter. “She will come to believe in time that you weren’t aiming for the boy…just for her.” He grinned. “Oh, it’s all just an accident. Andersen is fine, and will be better with a warm bed and a hot cup of soup, whilst someone else will be feeling just as well with a bowl of goodbelly.” He studied the boy, and the woman who stood as his mistress. The inseparable bond as a binding of honor and loyalty between the two, that only the dark of heart would deny finding admirable. Yet for it, it seemed all the captain of the ship could do was seek sin.

“Of which I still owe to a certain someone.” Cook spoke over the deck toward Demarius. He caught Mal’s gaze, what the good captain might call looking “a mite crotchety”. Sorry to burst your bubble and deny you a wild night with an exotic mercenary, Captain. Mal could ever be the lecherous lord of the sea, but he was not the lord that Cook had come to learn of. Not by a mite. The mercenary would be feeling nauseous once more soon enough, and she still needed her remedy.

“Sorry to intrude, but as I said . . . “ He trailed off just long enough to smile. “ . . . It will only take fifteen minutes.”

 

 

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“Let ‘em loose!” Katie shouted, and with that, the black sails dropped. Tranquility was a good ship, but sometimes she was a stubborn bitch, and the seaman had confessed himself to being drunk on his last charge over the rigging. That would get him flayed later, by Katie’s own fingers, mainly for not sharing the rum. Three of the sails had been too busy being stuck to be unfurled. That had tied up the crew-hands some, working to resolve the issue while Mal and company stood in stark contrast as Team Dry and Team Wet. But now the ship was at full sail and blowing back into the wind. Waltz was thus able to put his steering wheel to proper use instead of playing pretend. Katie heard him call from the aftcastle to the forecastle whose foremast she hugged at the base. “Awaaay she blows, like a butterfly in the breeze!” Sometimes Waltz sounded like a poet, and sometimes he sounded like a poet in a convulsion.

 The sails billowed in the wind that carried them, wings of cloth fluttering in a breeze that could propel a caravel but not the souls upon it. Four were Mal, Cook, Saoirse, and of course Demarius, standing by the main mast. Men like Mal directed themselves, and so too the crew they captained. Katie watched hers with a smile, admiring after the man, more in the way that a kid admires after a superhero than a woman admires after a man. She loved this transition, white sails into black, day into night, and every day and night she had Mal to thank for letting her sail over both. Her smile seemed to fade as she took in the new passenger, this mercenary they knew nothing of. Saoirse, Cook, it was true that they were strangers at first too, but so was she, and Mal took all three of them in at their own times. Why should she suddenly feel distrusting of their latest fare? Katie wasn’t quite sure what she made of Demarius, but it seemed that sometimes the whole Tranquility crew didn’t know what to make of each other, so Katie smiled and decided she would give Miss Mercenary a chance and welcome her aboard.

“We're sailin' black over deck, Cap'n' and crew! Yohoho and a bottle o' rum!”

She called over the waves that gently carried the caravel across them, waving her hand to be seen. There was an awkward finale that followed the call, realizing she might have only just helped the confusion that people often had when distinguishing “smuggler” from “pirate”, but there was an undeniable sense of freedom and adventure for both, one that Katie couldn’t help but relate with. And heck, what’s wrong with saying hi like a pirate, right?

Edited by Die Shize

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On 4/17/2016 at 7:34 PM, Die Shize said:

“But only if you kiss and make up with my friend over here.”

Kiss? No. There was no way in seven Hells that Saoirse was going to kiss a woman that likely had contact poison in her lipstick. She retreated further behind Cook, huddling into herself. She would honestly rather kiss a crocodile. 

She relaxed a little as Mal took control of the situation, and then further when the black sails unfurled. That meant it was time for her to go back to her duties in the crows nest, where she might escape Demarius’s wrath a little longer. She escaped from behind Cook and made for the rigging, ascending fast and nimble as the monkey Mal often said she was. She relaxed a little once she was in the nest, the ship small below her and the horizon vast in front. She sighed softly, resting her elbows on the rim of the nest as she looked out over her sea.

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It was a compromise not beneath her if it meant gaining a meeting with the Captain long enough to barter a favor. She glanced back behind her to get it over with, eyes narrowed in the coming darkness. But the woman had run off as soon as she turned, leaving no words in her haste. 

"..." With the object of her compromise having disappeared, Demarius turned back to face Mal with the sound of Andersen giggling as he watched the woman skitter away. By now, the water was starting to dry on her skin not covered with the cloth of her dress, though the moisture still suck in the clothes left her with a pervading chill. "She has already apologized...profusely. And I have no intention of carrying out my aforementioned threat." It was polite enough, encompassing any transgressions. She didn't know who this James was, and she didn't care.

Andersen looked up at Cook and nodded, shifting to sit up slowly so as not to worry his mistress. "Yes, the soup..." 

With the sails falling and the wind picking up, Demarius wavered in her stance as another wave of nausea rolled through her. Andersen stood to fuss over her after picking up the canteen to bade her drink. She waved him away and crossed her arms, waiting for the Captain to acquiesce. 

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The Leaf on the Water

Sometimes, I swear, I sound like a poet. Other times, probably the best poet there is.

He could see it scrawled in front of him, some awesome words written in chalk, telling of the great deeds accomplished by the Master of the Sail, the Steerer of the Wheel. None of the crew could ever hope to comprehend just how amazing of a man he was; not even Chloe, for all her sadistic sultry and her ways of knowing how to make men hunger. And other times of how to make men blush. Oh, can’t forget that.

A less in love but no less of love was the woman he had since come to know as Katie. Katie had done what Katie did best, dropping the sails so that Tranquility could let the wind carry it across the waves. Ah, the art of sailing. The ship makes it look more like dancing. The way she rocked always felt like dancing, and so endeavored to be endeared to the notion that the sailing master was, he always discussed it with his fellow crew the first opportunity he had, which often meant getting silenced at the dinner table.

“It’s true! Tranquility's a dancer in soul, you can feel it.” He might start, harmless in his own ignorance of his words’ lack of innocence. That usually started the beginning of the end. Chloe would usually be first to scowl. “You cheating on me with the ship, honey?” Such innocent, harmless words of her own, but O the pain from those daggers in her eyes. O to be a woman scorned. Still, as far as she would remain, Tranquility was a dancer. Even if the others couldn’t hear her tap upon the waves, they could feel it when hers was a dance of fury within a storm. As the sailing master rotated the ship’s wheel, he smiled beneath the black sails, letting the breeze transform his face as he took in the breadth of Tranquility.

Mal was still at center mast with that Demarius wo-man and her little friend, Cook there to offer famous dishes that consisted of everything except for anything not made of fish and bread. Saoirse had evidently bolted back up to the crow’s nest. As for me, I’ll stay right here with the only wife that’s never mean to me. A thought corrected the last one, for Tranquility could be a bit of a bitch when it came to getting shot at and such.

“Dance with me this night, my dear, and it’s smooth sailing.” He whispered, a calm wind sending ripples up the sails as waves parted while rocking the ship. “One.” He gently turned the wheel to his left by a small measure. “Two.” Right. “Three.” Left again. “And before you know it, we’re doing the waltz.”

 

 

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The Greasemaid

Off already? She would be too, when it came to crazy captains, crazy cooks and crazy crooks. Which, ha, we kinda all are anyway. Oops! That put a smile on her face, broadened by feats of grace that climbed the air like feathers in a breeze. Saoirse was as graceful as a Goran, as the saying went, except for the fact that Saoirse was herself a Goran. And Goran are damn graceful. The boatswain couldn’t help but feel a pang of jealousy as her friend climbed the rigging to her quaint little crow’s nest. I’ll have to catch up to her to catch up with her. It wouldn’t have been the first time that the two friends had some one-on-one time with, with the sea the only audience to their chitchat.

The woman let her eyes climb down the ship’s center mast in time to catch Cook nod his head politely at Tranquility's latest passengers. That mysterious woman is about to go pop. It was as plain to see on Demarius as it was to see the genuine courtesy on Cook, or the charming renegade on Mal. Not sure if that “charming” is gonna stick… He had caught her greeting with a nod of his head and a look like a father whose little girl kept trying to get his attention. The group of folks made their way for the hatch. That little girl, however, was going up, just not as gracefully as her Goran counterpart.

“Hello-hullo, said the greasemonkey to the treemonkey!” The crew had learned that it was hard to fault Katie for her dorky tongue when they realized that was the reason she used it. Rigging was tugged on as the boatswain ascended herself up the center mast, having reason to be up so high as she began fumbling with rope and mechanisms, making sure the sails were as sailable as could be, especially after the latest incident.

“Heard you took a tumble!” Katie spoke, smiling like a friend who was more than ready and willing to dive into girl-talk with an opening for humor. Her fingers wrapped around a pulley, checking the metal loops connecting it to another. “So what do you think of Miss Dangerous down there?” There was a hint of suspicion in her voice.

 

 

The Dodge Captain

Thank the seas. Mal was glad that the woman had no intention of carrying out her aforementioned threat. That must make her less threatening, right? Right? Should I ask James about this one? Only James would have the answer. Or maybe Lara. She is, after all, a woman. Mal was content that he was glad, and let that settle for compliance. Off to make mess. Turned out he would dodge a bullet for his crew, and Demarius and Andersen were now a part of it, for the short haul though it was hoped to be. In whatever case, he was committed to their wellbeing.

“Watch your heads, folks.” Why do I feel like I’m repeating what I said the first time we met? “It’s mighty tighty in the bowels of my boat.” Mal let that thought hibernate in the awkward air before clearing his throat. “That might not have come out so well.”

He prompted Cook to lead the way, and he led them down the hatch and to the galley that served for the cramped and uncomfortable space of mess. It was as small as one would expect for a ship of such design, but they needed only a table to sit four and they found one. Most of the crew was out finalizing preparations for the night ahead, though a few heads were scattered about, forks clanking with plates and lips slurping ale, when Mal and company entered. He took a seat, if for no other reason than to take the weight off his feet and shift it over to his ass. Cook had elected to remain standing.

“I’ll get right down to making it. Fifteen minutes, as promised.”

Mal smiled at Cook’s smile. “The man preaches only truth, I’ll say that much.” He told the mercenary and her aide. Cook walked off with his back turned, heading to the small kitchen to prepare the remedy. Goodbelly. The only soup that goes in as vomit and goes out as the same old piss. Mal hung back with the others, slouched in a corner of the booth studying Demarius’ visage. What to make of this one? 

“Hang tight, miss. That soup’ll cheer you right up, else I just made a dishonest captain out of myself and will have to relinquish my crew.” A feint smile crossed Mal’s lips.  

Edited by Die Shize

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Saoirse smiled as Katie climbed up to meet her, leaning forward on her elbows to watch her. She huffed at the implication that she could be anything less than entirely in control of her body and its motions, wrinkling her nose and baring her teeth. “I didn’t fall. I miscalculated my jump. And maybe forgot to see if there was anyone below me.” She sniffed but reached a hand out to help Katie up the rest of the way, should she need it. “Oh, the money-soldier?” She looked down at Demarius and shook her head. “As I said to Mal earlier, she’s prettier ‘an an apple tree in full bloom but with more teeth ‘an a moon-sick wolf. I’d want to bed her if I weren’t so sure she’d garrotte me for it.” She shuddered and shook her head again. “The sooner she’s off a our Tranquility, the better we’ll all be for it, honestly.” She looked over at Katie, pushing her hair out of her face. “And you? What do you make of her, then?”

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At the behest of Cook, Demarius helped Andersen stand on his two feet before following the Captain down below the deck. Despite his crew member running off before she had the chance to accept the apology, it seemed that Mal was still amiable to reconciling in the form of a favor. 

Andersen slipped off from the group once they reached the lower deck, disappearing down a hall as Demarius continued into the Mess Hall. She didn't respond to many of his idle comments until they were seated before one another, her hands folded on the table.

Mal was a good man. That much was obvious. A smuggler or a pirate or both, sure, but the man hadn't the countenance of many other sadistically-inclined leaders in his same position. She was settled after a moment, her wet clothes drying slightly to a cool, uncomfortable damp that she would address as soon as this conversation reached its end. 

“And precisely who would you be relinquishing your crew to, Captain?” Demarius watched him with the faintest of smiles. Now that the worst of the day was over, it was a bit easier to settle back into a more trusting disposition. Being a bit nicer at the start of negotiations generally tended to make them go over smoother. 

Taking a deep breath, she pushed a curl of hair behind the back of her ear. “I wouldn't ask that your favor be anything that puts you or your crew in any untoward position, since fortunately, our own problem had a very good outcome.” While she didn't need his assistance now, there was nothing wrong with planning for the future. The more friends and favors she had, the better her trump cards would be. 

 

Edited by #Rivers
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The Greasemonkey

Katie chuckled through her lips at Saoirse’s reaction. Maybe miscalculations weren’t limited to the mechanic after all. ‘Money-soldier’. Katie had never known about that term before she had come to know about Saoirse. The grease-monkey herself had since come to rationalize that the Goran were one of those people that tended to take single, simple words and translate them into separate words. ‘Mercenary’ became ‘money-soldier’ because that’s what a mercenary basically was, right? Then again, Katie didn’t know much about the Goran. Mal taking the lot of them on a trip to Wolfwood sounded like the adventure of a lifetime, except he hadn’t yet said he would. Captain Jerkface, as he certainly could be, probably never would. Especially not if Katie kept pouting about it.

Maybe as a teenager, she might have blushed. Instead she felt her eyes widen with the curiosity of a science professor as her Goran girlfriend let it be known how she felt about Demarius’ body. Katie could always rely on Saoirse to find out just how good-looking other women actually were. That would be especially helpful when the right Jack or Joe came aboard the ship with his dazzling swagger and handsome anvil of a face with just the right layer of stubble, and all of that became threatened for the taking by some other Jill or Jane. Who knew what other women could be aboard Tranquility just waiting for her Captain Right right when he waltzes on in? Eyelids became shutters in the wind as Katie blinked herself back to reality. For some reason, Saoirse’s talking about women sometimes got Katie thinking about men. Yet her friend’s opinion on the shrouded mercenary felt more important than anything else.

Katie rose from her play with the pulley and promised herself a break from a mother’s habits, putting her hands on the railing as she sat atop it to face Saoirse, smiling at her touch. “Funny you should say that. Me?” She arced her lips and looked to the sea for an answer. “I don’t know. I mean, she’s got a really cool look to her, and I love that dangerous, money-soldier thing she’s got going on, but…I don’t know, you know?” She adjusted her seat and went on without waiting for an answer. “Sometimes I just get this weird feeling about this one. I mean, we’ve picked up plenty of weirdoes before, but something just doesn’t feel right about this. I don’t know.”

Katie shrugged, half-frown, half-smile. She hoped it was just her, but she also hoped that Saoirse wouldn’t make anything of it more than it was. Either way, she felt more curious than concerned, and the last thing she needed was this Demarius money-soldier for an enemy anytime soon.

The Dodge Captain

 Mal stared at the tabletop and the apparent emptiness upon its surface. Something was wrong here. He felt it in the blood rushing through his veins and the hairs standing up on his arms. With Demarius sitting in front of him, Mal didn’t need to look at her for any affirmation as to the theory that something was very wrong here. Something was very wrong. Taking a deep breath, he frowned.

“There’s no pint of ale on this table.”

He swung his gaze up to meet Demarius’, searching for agreement and sympathy. When his eyes shifted about the galley, however, he found only turned heads and ignorant faces where he wanted to see Cook. The problem with goodbelly was that it took fifteen minutes of Cook’s undivided attention to make. That meant that Mal would be pouring his own drink for this sitting.

“Hold that thought,” he spoke while leaning forward for as long as it took to rise and pace over to a counter. He returned with a pint of ale to place beside the glass of water already before him. As saliva resettled on chapped lips, Mal cleared his throat with a satisfied sigh, giving the drops of ale clinging to mouth the  back of his hand. The warm beverage had hit the spot.

“Me and crew are all about change, Miss Demarius. We sail the seas, and our sails change with the wind." Mal leveled his eyes as he spoke with a note of empathy. “I know you're sick, I know you’re tired, I know you’re, uh, wet, but I also know that you’re a lethal little lady of the kick-ass-assin caliber or else I just missed my mark. So before we get up and go about our business, I’ve got a mite query to run by you.” He took a measured sip, forming the question in time to pose it as he set his glass back down. “What’s a boy like Andersen doing tagging along with a woman like you?”

Edited by Die Shize

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Saoirse hummed, her fingers tapping against the railing. She grinned over at Katie when she mentioned the funny feeling, gently nudging her. “Maybe your blood’s rushing down. That can feel pretty funny.” She looked back down at the deck, watching people move about. “But you should always trust your gut. It knows what your mind don’t.” She looked back over at Katie, her face settled and more serious now. “An’ this one feels to me as a cornered wolf does. I think I’m lucky I escaped her with my heart settled in my chest.” She leant into Katie, her head resting on her friend’s shoulder. “Things has felt unsettled since she came aboard. But it won’t be long, now - we’ll take her as she needs to go, and hopefully Mal is given to letting us have more than a day on shore.” 

Her gaze turned a little wistful, then. She loved her sea, loved her ship, but she always felt she was leaving half her heart behind when she left Wolfwood and her sisters. Trees and green and close, musty air felt like home in a way wood and blue and wide, open skies never would. But then, she could never be bound to one spot. She could never be Aine - she’d damn near vibrate out of her skin under the restrictions the life of a noblewoman would set around her. So she was resigned to never feeling settled; yearning to go when she was on land, and yearning to return when she was at sea. Maybe if she pouted at Mal enough he would let her stay a few weeks.

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Raising an eyebrow, Demarius held her tongue as Mal stood to retrieve himself a drink. The man was odd in that way. Always seemed preoccupied with whatever was forefront in his mind and not present at hand. It didn't matter much. She'd dealt with worse. 


Demarius did nothing to hide the blank expression mirroring her thoughts at whether or not there was enough ale on the table. She couldn't say she cared either way. If it was all the same to him, she would rather they finish this conversation quickly, easily, and neatly so that she could retire for the evening. 


The wet clothes were chilling to her bones by the time he returned, though her absent expression closed him off to that. At Mal’s question, she narrowed her eyes scrutinizingly. Mal had too much of an upper hand in this than Demarius could continue to allow. Pursing her lips, she shifted in her seat slightly. 


“If it's all the same to you, Captain, I would rather not disclose such personal information about those in my possession.” Leaning back, Demarius shifted to curl a lock of hair behind her ear. “You are welcome to ask him yourself, of course. I just find it...odd...that you ask such a question at this time.” 

 

Edited by #Rivers

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