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Object in Space
, Writing Exercise
Member No.: 1,235
Joined: 14-October 11
Hey guys! This is the start of Object in Space. I just wanted to go over a few things here so that we're all on the same page.
This is going to be a continuity and characterization exercise. Some of you guys haven't gotten to do much, so this is where you can explore your characters a bit more and get a feel for them before they get onto their ships. The story will revolve around an old coin, which will be passed from character to character. We will follow the character that has the coin from the minute they receive it, until the time they lose it. Three guidelines that I'd like to follow:
1) The character before you will determine how your character receives the coin. This will require a bit of GMing, so let's keep it reasonable. I'm going to have links to each character's application so that you can get a feel for who's who. Try to keep the pass-off as in character as possible.
2) The coin should feature prominently in your tale, at some point. It doesn't have to be the focal point, but it has to be a factor somehow. How and why that is will be completely up to you.
3) Your character can be in possession of the coin for as long as you want, within reason, and your character can travel to different worlds as part of the story, again within reason. As long as they pass it off to the next character, I don't care what goes on in between.
One more thing to keep in mind: your character may or may not be a part of the crew they're actually assigned to at the time of the story. For Vindicator characters: consider them unarrested for the time being. And everything here is non-canon, so go nuts.
That all being said, here's the Official Posting Order, as determined by (mostly) randomness:Jonny AppleseedCharlie MortarZira GriffonNate Crawford Zizi PoquettJason CunninghamElliot LawsonJax MaloneJulius BrawnslawSam "Sketch" ScottNicodemus MontenegroLilly Proud-BearCal Foster JessieVittoria TateBooneButton GwinnettSelenity ItoAlyx HawknoseJiro KeioThe Breeze Jeth RiddleDrea Allen
Brian WallRhona Cego Storm XiaoMoira Bryce
IF ANYONE WANTS TO ADD CHARACTERS OR JOIN IN, PLEASE PM JONNY APPLESEED, AND HE WILL ADD YOU TO THE LIST SOMEWHERE!
Also, as previously stated, try to get your post done within a few days of the previous one, so everyone can get a turn in ASAP. If this works out well, we can always do more of these. This post has been edited by Rabbit on Apr 23 2012, 01:18 PM
Member No.: 1,237
Joined: 16-October 11
"Here ya go, young man!" The wrinkled old gentleman smiled and passed the food vendor a generous handful of coins, making a satisfying jingling sound as they settled in his palm. Taking a bite of the sausage and pepper sandwich, he started to walk away, juice running down his chin.
Jonny smiled, as well, watching the old codger make his way to who-knew-where. For some reason, the old folks on Paquin had a greater appreciation for greasy diner good than the young ones. Maybe his presentation wasn't artsy enough. Either way, he still did decent business here. And the place was beautiful. Who could complain?
He glanced down at the coins in his hands and frowned. One of them didn't look quite right. At first he thought it was just dirty, but it was actually tarnished. The size and weight were off, too. Pocketing the rest of the change, he lay the coin flat in his hand and squinted at it.
He was looking at a drummer, dressed in the finest tricornered hat he'd ever seen. A torch with thirteen stars and the words "E Pleribus Unum" to his left. He could barely make them out, as time had worn them partially away. He thought he could make out the words "United States of America" and "Quarter Dollar" around the edges. Flipping it, he saw the head of George Washington, a guy he recognized from his granddad's old books, and the date.
"1776 - 1976?" The coin was over 700 years old! He looked up in the direction the old man had headed, but he couldn't see him anymore. "Hey, gramps!" He called, hoping that the old man would come back. As cool as this thing was, he didn't feel right taking it from the old bastard. After all, he had enough bad karma. But he got no response. Gritting his teeth, he took off after the geezer, but after fifteen minutes of fruitless searching, he realized that it was a futile effort. The old man was long gone.
With a sigh, he pocketed the coin and headed back toward his cart. He couldn't even imagine what the thing was worth, but he knew that it was probably more money than he'd ever seen before in his life. As he started to clean his cart and get it ready to go off planet, he wondered to himself if maybe his luck was starting to change for the better.
Paquin spaceport was all light, sound and color. Not exactly the best place for a hangover. Jonny had spent the night before celebrating a bit. Not that the drinking was anything new for him. It was the amount of drinking that had changed. The future millionaire had gone way overboard, but he had a flight to catch. He didn't dare bring the coin anywhere respectable, because questions would be asked of the scruffy looking gent with the Earth-That-Was currency. If they looked into his past, they'd likely come to the conclusion that he'd lifted it. And who could blame them, really? Luckily, he knew a reputable fence, if there ever was such a thing.
The coin was burning a hole in his pocket, and the brightness of the port was starting to give him a headache. That's why he didn't see the thug coming at him until it was way too late. In a flash, the suited man had him by the collar and slammed him against the wall. Jonny's head bounced painfully off of the marble. He muttered a few choice words about his attacker's mother before looking Hervey in the eyes.
Hervey pinned him against the wall with one arm, reaching into his pocket and removing a switchblade with the other. Jonny's eyes only glanced at it for a moment, before flicking back to meet his rival's. "Good mornin', Herv. How's things?"
The man sneered, his grey eyes cold. "Always a smartass, huh Jonny? That mouth a yours is gonna get you killed someday. Maybe today, you don't pay me what you owe. Now, you got my money, or am I gonna have to core you, Appleseed?"
Jonny's mouth twisted into a frown. This was definitely more like his usual brand of luck. He'd managed to gamble his way into a small debt with Hervey a few months back. Not a lot, really, but Hervey thought himself a hardass, and he wanted folks to know that he'd always get what was coming to him. Jonny guessed that to a guy like this, the fact that it was barely a thousand credits didn't matter much. He raised his hands slowly. "Hey, now, hang on a second... We're both reasonable cats, we'll figure this out, okay? No need to make a scene."
Hervey frowned at him, but backed away about half a step. He made sure that Jonny could still see the knife, though the blade wasn't drawn. Yet. "I'm listenin'."
Atta boy. Jonny smoothed out his rumpled shirt a little. Not that he cared too much, but it did give him another moment to think. Formulating his plan, he rubbed his chin. "Tell ya what, Herv. We're both gamblin' men here, so let's make a wager." He reached into his pocket and pulled out the first coin he touched: the Bicentennial Quarter. "Heads, I get another week to get you your money. Tails, I owe you double. Either way, you're getting paid, but I just need some time. What do you say?"
Hervey crossed his arms, as if to ponder over it. Like there was much to think about. It was a win-win, wasn't it? He nodded. "Flip it."
Jonny grinned and settled the coin over his thumb. And as he launched the ancient currency as high as he possibly could, his plan went into action.
People are animals. And, as animals, they are subject to certain behaviors universal to every member of the species. To wit: when someone flips a coin into the air, a human will look up to watch it. As Hervey's cold eyes moved upward, Jonny's body moved downward, kicking the man's legs out from beneath him and sending him sprawling. Jonny's left leg pinned the hand holding the knife, and he raised his right leg up, before bringing it down onto Hervey's face. The man was knocked cold, nose easily broken.
"Heads. I win."
Hearing the metallic clink as the coin hit the floor, Jonny turned and hurried to recover it. Pocketing it once more, he hurried to catch his flight off-planet.
Santo - Four Days Later
He was meeting the fence in the morning. Which meant one last night of getting blitzed on the cheap stuff. And had he ever tonight. Sloppy and obnoxious, he was stumbling around, ordering rounds for the house, and telling everyone who would listen that he was going to be a millionaire in the morning. For half a second, he thought about the old man who had given it to him, and concluded that he'd wanted him to have it. Maybe the old guy knew his time was running out? Either way, his thoughts drifted again when he realized his glass was once again empty. Standing, he weaved his way back to the bar.
Leaning against it, he glanced over to see a freckle-faced angel in a badass leather jacket. He gave her a long look, trying to figure out if she was real or not more than anything. Satisfied, he moved in closer and took a ridiculous pile of coin from his pocket, including a certain tarnished one, and dropped it on the bar beside her.
"Hey... c'n I buy you a drink?"
This post has been edited by Jonny Appleseed on Mar 28 2012, 08:23 AM
The Lovely Gunner Extraordinaire
Member No.: 1,137
Joined: 20-February 11
Charlie had just gotten done one of her jobs. She had done well helping to unload some, er, borrowed cargo, but one of the crew members of the generous ship had returned early and Charlie had taken a few punches. She had come to this bar to relax, have a pint of beer and let the stiffness ease out of her muscles. She had been enjoying herself too. Then, some drunk asshole has to come up beside her and slur his words to her? Charlie turned towards whoever it was to tell him to buyao darao wo as he dumped his pile of coins on the table. Charlie's eyes widened and she stared at the coins for a moment before looking back at the man. She took in his appearance, noting that his clothes were fairly rumpled, his eyes were bloodshot, and he was having some trouble focusing on her face. He was thin, with lean muscle, and with a good sleep and some food, he woulda been cute. Either way, he did not look like someone who should be throwing down piles of coins on bar counters.
'"Well, hi stranger. Unless you're looking to send me under the table, you'd best put some of these coins back." Charlie said to the man who seemed dazzled by the fact that she had spoken. Charlie couldn't help but chuckle as she picked up some of the coins. He was looking at her like she was a mystical creature or something. She tried to hand them to him, but the man suddenly seemed shaken out of whatever mist he was in.
"No, no. You keep them. I'm gonna be a millionaire tomorrow!" He said with enthusiasm. Charlie smiled and rolled her eyes and she pushed the coins into her pocket. She looked back up at the man to see that he looked a little green.
"Hey, you okay?" She asked, leaning towards him. He seemed not to have noticed she had spoken. He looked around, then suddenly hurried off in the direction of the bathroom. Charlie looked after him, then shook her head and turned back around. There was still a small pile of coins on the bar. She looked at the bartender who was standing not too far away and chuckling to himself. She pushed the coins towards him.
"Make sure he gets to where ever he's staying alright, will you?" She said. The man looked at the pile and smiled, nodding. "Thanks."
She had had more than enough fun for one night, she decided. Then, Charlie stood and made her exit.
Charlie had, without really looking, pulled the coins from her pocket the night before when she changed for bed. Now, she stared at the top of the small dresser, covered with coins. One stood out, being a different shape and color. Charlie picked it up and examined it, seeing the face of a joker and some words. It was an interesting little coin.
"I'm not usually into all that superstitious fei hua," she said to the coin. "But, everyone can use a good luck charm," she finished quietly. Her mind flickered to a time back on Shadow.
Timmy's huge brown eyes looked up into hers as he held up the tiny green clover.
"It's got four leaves, Leen!" He said, his voice bursting with excitement. He had never been able to say Charleen when he was little, so somehow she let him get away with calling her Leen. She couldn't help from smiling when he got excited like that.
"That's good luck, Timmy! Keep that clover with you and it can be your good luck charm!" She said. Timmy's smile seemed to take up his whole face as he beamed up at her.
Charlie was still staring down at the coin when her thoughts returned to the present. She smiled and slipped the coin into her pocket.
Charlie was tucked behind a crate reloading her gun and listening to the sounds of firing all around her. The job had gone south, about as far south as a job can go. She was supposed to be here to help lift the cargo. Just some extra hands to make it go faster. But, the guy on the ship's crew who had called them in to help him lift the goods had been discovered. Charlie's group had been ambushed as soon as they entered the ship. She had ducked behind the crate to fire and duck out of the way. Now, she had to reload with her spare and last clip. After this she would be screwed. Everything clicked into place and Charlie peeked around the side of the crate. She was met with the barrel of a gun. Charlie looked up through her choppy bangs to see a man standing there with a gun to her head.
"That's plenty far enough." He said. Charlie stayed still, thinking over her life and how very pathetic it had been. She could count her friends on one hand. She needed to stop doing these fei hua jobs and settle down to a ship or something.
"Good g-," he started to say, but was stopped by the bullet which tore into the back of his right shoulder. He crumbled to the ground, still in shock, and Charlie could see one of the other women from the job standing behind him with a gun. The sounds of shots was petering off as Charlie stared at the woman with her green eyes huge.
"Thanks," Charlie said, still breathless. The woman, sort of shrugged. Charlie remember that her name was Zira, and moved towards her, careful to stay out of rang of any last bullets. Charlie didn't know what she could do for this random woman who had probably just saved her life. Then, she remembered that she had her good luck charm in her pocket. It was just some stupid wacky coin, but maybe it would bring this woman luck. The room had become suddenly quiet, and Charlie waited to hear any more shots. When there were none, she took a cautious look around to see that most people were laying, nursing their injuries. She could see some of the other people from her group looking around cautiously, and they seemed the only people looking. Charlie straightened and strode over to the woman, careful that when she stopped, she was behind cover.
"Zira, right?" Charlie asked, looking into her eyes. Before the woman could even respond she smiled and held out her hand with the coin in her palm. "Here. Take this. I don't have much else to my name except this weird little good luck charm. I don't know how else to thank you," she said, a huge smile lighting up her entire face.
(buyao darao wo is leave me alone, fei hua is bullshit,
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weird little good luck charm...
It had kept her safe through her years as a mercenary on Santo. After she had left home, she didn't think she could ever go back, didn't think that her ma would want her coming home. She had seen what had happened to her da, and wouldn't tell a soul aside from the fact that she was going to take care of it one day.
That thought was what made her up and leave as young as she had been to go out on her own to learn how to shoot. It was hard, at first. Couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. But it slowly got better, until she could beat her mentor--if mercs were allowed such things--at a quick drawn often enough that he named her "not a complete waste of his time".
'Course, then he went and turned on the crew that he was with, selling most of them out to the Alliance. It was like a repeat of her da, only this time she didn't care as much because she hardly knew the people that had been taken. And she couldn't bring herself to care. If she did, if she cared about everyone that got hurt in front of her, then she would never sleep at night.
So she started hiring herself out as "private security". Sometimes, they were easy jobs. Watch a thing there, keep an eye on a child there. Othertimes it got more dicey, dirtier.
Few years later, she would have a name for it: interesting. Cade might have called it fun.
But she didn't know them then. She didn't know her home was on a ship as much as it was still there waiting for her on Athens. All she really knew, in her heart, was that Zira Griffon was someone who needed to get things done, and needed to harden herself enough to do so.
So that she stood a chance to protect people she cared about when the time would come.
I don't know how else to thank you
It was on one such hire that she rescued another woman without a second thought, shooting fast enough to have made ever her da proud of her, had he still been around and keen on his daughter using guns.
She tried to explain she didn't need thanks, that she was just doing her job. But the words wouldn't come. Nor would the words of "thanks" that she knew should have been spoken. Instead, Zira nodded, holstered her weapon, took the coin, and walked away.
She needed to be paid so that she could eat.
It had been a few long whiles since a meal that was anything more than "it looks like it might be food".
In a bar on Paquin a few months before she would find her home on a ship that sailed with pirates and good men alike. Where children might still believe in Santa and even those who had never met him still got toys.
There was a dancer on stage. A woman. Though the woman preferred to name herself a drag queen.
Did it matter what a person wanted to call themselves as long as they were happy with it? Or did the name bring to them what they were, and they were nothing without it?
The strange little coin danced with the dancer, spinning across the table top and flipping from hand to hand as it was played with. She scanned the cortex, searching for a job, searching for anything, that might get her her next meal.
Or maybe something to take her back to a place she didn't think existed anymore.
And the job offer was found. For a small ship. A ship just looking for freedom and a sky to fly in and it called her name like a siren song.
Draining her drink, Zira Griffon, tossed the weird little coin to the dancer on the stage, who caught it with a wink, and she walked out of the night club and hitched a ride to a planet she knew nothing about for a job she knew no one on.
For a ship that would become a home.
((An experiment in writing with no dialogue. This was a story Z hadn't even told me of her past. Hope you enjoyed it.))
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Joined: 27-October 08
Fate. Destiny. Those were some of the things Nate was thinking of as he stood in Hitch's office, staring at a capture of a young woman with dark hair and piercing green eyes. The moment he had seen the capture, he knew that he was meant
to be here today, that their paths hadn't crossed accidentally all those years ago. Before that moment, fate wasn't something he had taken seriously or even believed in. But now, as his thumb brushed over the surface of the coin in his pocket, he knew differently.
* * *
The coin went into Randi's cleavage without so much of a second look as she continued the show. Tips weren't unusual at her shows. Tips from beautiful women weren't terribly unusual either. Tips in the form of coins were though, and even as she slipped that little piece of stamped metal away for safe keeping, the drag queen knew it was special.
Later that night, after changing and transforming into Nate Crawford, he sat in the dressing room looking closer at that coin. Valuable. Very much so, if memories of his father's coin collection served him right. But he was also fairly convinced that that hadn't been the reason why the woman had turned it over to him. It was something else, something intangible and unknowable.
So he kept it. And kept it safe, as the good luck charm that it obviously was, which became obvious just a few days later when Ryan sent him a wave about an interesting job offer.
* * *
Sweat trickled down his face as he lay in the dust on a bluff high above the tiny town, which didn't really deserve that title. It was more of a village or a hamlet. Maybe not even that, Nate mused as he looked through the scope at the small collection of houses half a mile away. The coin in his pocket dug into his thigh, bringing on a dull and constant reminder of its presence, but at least it helped with keeping him somewhat alert in the heat of the desert.
Down below, things were heating up as well as Jaelle, then Ryan and Rafe came running out of the large mansion which dominated the hamlet, weapons drawn and aimed back at the large wooden double doors. Nate's attention was drawn to the roof of the mansion where a figured had appeared with a rifle in hand. "Sniper on the roof,"
he warned and put the shooter squarely in the middle of his crosshairs."Well, take care of him!"
Ryan shouted, the sound of gunfire carrying over the comms. "Kind of busy here!"
Humming an ancient tune from Earth-That-Was under his breath as he tracked the other sniper's movements, Nate waited for a few beats of his heart, slowing his breath and adjusting for the wind that had picked up a little in the last few minutes. Then, as the other shooter took aim at those below, the Queen of Sherwood squeezed the trigger and watched as a head turned into a pink mist. "Threat removed,"
he announced and shifted a bit, easing off the pressure the coin was putting on his thigh and realigned his aim.
* * *"Didn't figure her your type,"
Hitch said, a note in his voice that sounded almost protective, interrupting Nate's train of thought and bringing him back to the present. "Her name's---" "No. Don't tell me,"
he said and turned away from the capture, trying to refocus his mind to the business at hand and gave Hitch a crooked smile. "I kind of like the mystery. Anyway, tell us about the ship?"
He glanced at Titania as he sat in the chair beside her and gave a slight shrug at her slightly raised brow.
A frown creased Hitch's forehead, but at least he didn't enquire further and instead started telling them about the Falcon class ship he was offering them.
* * *
The docks were getting more and more crowded as the sun rose in the Athens sky and even being taller than most people milling about didn't give Nate much of an advantage as he carried armfuls of fresh supplies back to Endless Horizon
. Fresh as in genuine, picked-right-off-the tree citrus fruits, lamb shanks straight from the abattoir, a heavy bag of potatoes and other vegetables, herbs, spices and a bottle of the finest olive oil Athens had to offer.
So when he bumped into a young girl and felt her hand in his pocket, there wasn't much he could do about it. She was at least a foot or more shorter than him and did the usual apologetic spiel and before he could rearrange his purchases to make a grab for her, she was gone, slipping into the crowd like a sprite disappearing in a puff of smoke.
Even then, he knew what she had lifted from him. But right now it didn't matter. Whatever luck that coin had held for him, it was gone now and something told him that now was exactly the time for it to be in the hands of another. Looking over the heads of the crowd, he found a smile and shouted, hoping the girl was still close enough to hear. "Good luck with it!"
Member No.: 1,289
Joined: 29-February 12
"Good luck with it... good luck with it? What're they going on about..." Zizi thought to herself as she opened up the palm-full of coins she had snagged, and eyeballed one paticularly old one. She paused, and her head tilted a moment as she flipped it over in her hands, then tucked it away in her jacket pocket. Looking up from her place hidden amongst the flotsam and jetsam of missing luggage and late-arriving cargo at the port, crouched down in the shade she was able to see if the man with the packages had followed her. He'd been an easy mark, hands full. Probably some hand on a ship. Likely would be gone in a few days... not that many made trouble for a fistful of change anyway.
However, fistfuls of change can add up quickly, and Zizi had enough to treat herself to something she'd been craving for days, something she enjoyed so thoroughly that her stomach twisted up in knots just thinking about it.
There were fresh peaches in a bag on the little nightstand. There were linens -- real linens -- on a bed that wasn't crawling with lice and who-knows-what-else. Zizi had turned in all her 'findings' at hawk-shops around the port, and with her fistfuls of change had managed to find herself a fine little room in the back of some little hotel with a food stand to the front and a big bar to the back. And best of all, she got to have a shower in. Bathrooms kept to oneself were a luxury she would only let herself have once in a while -- after all, it's best not to stand out too much.
Body scrubbed clean of street grime, fingernails carefully trimmed and every part of her body down to her toes hand-dried with caution, Zizi went to work. Make-up was allied, her hair was curled gently and rustled with fingers. Ball-stud earrings were removed and replaced with elegant twists of silver and copper, and Zizi drew up "the Fancy Dress".
Once upon a time it'd belonged to the "Lady of the House" on Osiris, over time Zizi had managed to take in the waist to fit with the fashions, change out the buttons. It looked almost military-inspired at the fitted top, with lace coming off the three-quarter length sleeves, then leading down to a full skirt with layers of ruffles. Zizi gave a smile, painting her lips a darker color to stand out more, then drew a coat over herself and stepped out of the room, locking it behind her. There was a fancy party waiting. Plenty of marks to be relieved of their fancy watches and bracelets in an alcohol-fueled environm--
She stepped into the bar to leave through the side door when she had spotted them. Zizi's breath caught in her throat, and she recognized the man in the black jacket, its shoulder revealing the Zayne Shipping emblem. Her heart stopped, her eyes grew wide, and he turned his face to meet hers across the bar.
"Tsao gao... not good.." she whispered to herself, and whipped around back around, frantically digging the key out of her handbag, her hands shaking as they began to make their way across the crowded bar. She slammed the door, locked it, and slid the bolt over -- not that it would hold them off long. She wheeled about, tugging the strings from the dress off and tearing it from her body, stuffing her possessions in her bag. She stuffed her hair into her hat, grab her bag and the peaches as they began to bang on the door. There was a sudden crack int he wood, and Zizi thought, forlornly, that she'd never be able to stay in this place again.
They even included little soaps with the rooms! Who DID that?
CRACK. Another hole in the door.
They called a name -- and it wasn't Zizi. The girl pursed her lips, then turned and opened the window. A narrow ledge was outside, but left with the alternatives --
CRACK! The door gave way.
WHUMP! One of them knocked against the bed in the darkness. A curse.
Hands grabbed at her backpack, but Zizi growled, and gripping the bag of peaches as hard as she could she whipped around, aiming for her assailant's head and knocking him off-balance. She managed to shift out of the way just before his partner, the man in the Black Jacket, lounged at her, and with a yelp, Zizi went down, grasping at the window edge and trying to wrestle herself from his grasp. Hit-with-Peaches cleared his head, and for a moment Zizi saw the night sky in a very close and personal way... before the lights went out.
The first thing she was aware of was that her head was pounding, and her stomach was churning uncomfortably. She didn't remember eating too many pastries at the party... she... didn't really recall a party at all. However, she tested her wrists, and found metal bracelets connected by a chain -- must have been one hell of a party.
"Whatever the hell I was drinking, I have to make a note not to drink it again."
The talking registered next. Zizi willed her eyes to open. Her jacket was missing. It was hanging over the seat in front of her, pockets turned inside out. Black Jacket and Hit-with-Peaches were talking. Black Jacket had the funny coin in his hand, and was walking it over his fingers. They spoke about the reward. How much money she was REALLY worth. Zizi's eyes narrowed. She tested the cuffs, and managed to wriggle one hand out. The other followed once the metal cut into her wrist enough for it to bleed. Drops of red traced their way down her wrist to her fingers as she looked down at her hand, slowly moving her head to not make any sound.
Black Jacket turned to step outside for a moment, grasped in his hand and left them alone.
Peaches got up. His gait was uneaven, his body tilting slightly and Zizi closed her eyes. She could smell the /bad/ kinda cheap booze on his breath as he leaned over her. She felt his hands on her stomach, pushing inwards and thumbs digging in beneath her ribcage, and he hissed something.
That's when Zizi brought both her knees up, and swung a fist at him. In sudden pain, Peaches fell, grasping at the front of his pants as he squeaked. Zizi's blow set him to the side, and she grabbed the cuffs, swung their arms around and cuffed him to the side of the shuttle. And for good measure, she kicked in his stomach. She grabbed her jacket, grabbed her bag... and remembered that Black Jacket had something of hers. She grit her teeth. No one -- not ANYONE -- took what was hers. Freedom, possessions, nothing. Peaches was yelling something. She didn't care. From the side, she pulled open one of those bars the porters used for opening the crates, and she waited, sliding to the back of the shuttle where Black Jacket would come in. She turned the lights off. Peaches eventually quieted down.
When the door opened, Black Jacket called out to his partner. He stepped inside, and Zizi moved behind him, and with all the strength she could muster, she swing the curved end of it, striking Black Jacket in the back of the head. He slumped down, and the coin clattered out of his hand, rolling to the side and catching the light of the afternoon.
"You made two mistakes today." she hissed, "You underestimated me, and then you took something of mine. If you come after me, you hu choo-shang tza-jiao duh tzang-huo, or if anyone else tries to take me, I won't be so nice -- and you can return and tell HIM that." she bluffed. She stepped over the slumped form of Black Jacket... and for good measure gave him a kick to the side, before grabbing up her coin, and abandoning the weapon of opportunity, she turned and stalked out of the shuttle. She dug into her pockets, coin held tightly in her bleeding hand, for something to staunch the blood flow. Her knees were shaking, and Zizi had the distinct feeling that she'd need to eat something before she figured out what to do next.
She ducked into the first place she could find, and she looked at the coin. She flipped it over in her palm. She rubbed the blood off it again, and gave a shrug. That guy with the packages said it'd bring good luck... but she figured she'd had enough of this "Luck". She turned, sighting a few guys playing cards, and drawing herself up, wiping away some of the smeared make-up she walked over. She didn't have time to lose it properly -- but the coin rolled onto the table from her fingers, and she gave a flirty bit of a wink to one of the players who'd shuffled the cards a bit more than she would have thought necessary -- really, who shuffles seven times?
"Thought maybe some of you could use a little extra in your pockets tonight, gege. Good luck! she grinned, then stepped off to find the greasiest, cheapest food she could find.
It's hard to be charming on such a headache.
Chinese used: Tsao gao - Oh, Sh*t!, hu choo-shang tza-jiao duh tzang-huo - animal f*cking bastard, gege -- big brother.
Member No.: 1,153
Joined: 13-April 11
Jason looked up at the young lady as she passed the table. His gaze followed, a small smile gracing his face. Beautiful girl. Sadly, she couldn’t be too much older than his sister which made him stop in his tracks. Usually, a gorgeous girl like that, he’d take a moment to appreciate her verbally. But her age just made him think of Riley. It was a more prominent thought when she called him “Gege.”
His gaze fell to her wrist, seeing the blood trailing down her hand. His brows furrowed together and he couldn’t help but feel a bit concerned.
“Need some help, mei-mei?!” he called, but she seemed to miss it. He sighed, hoping that she would be okay. He looked in the direction of where she came, overhearing his card partners comment on her looks. He had to admit that they certainly weren’t as respectful as him. Graphic, explicit. For God’s sake, she was a child.
“What the hell is this?” one of the men asked, catching Jason’s full attention. He looked at the item in question. A strange coin of sorts sitting in the middle of the table. He reached for it, but his hand was slapped. He jerked back, looking up at the culprit. “Uh-uh. It’s in the pot now. You’ll have to win it.” Jason sighed before dealing the cards. Seven shuffles as always.
The men all looked at their two cards. Jason did a quick glance at his before placing them face down on the table. He looked around the table. Jason watched for his opponents’ facial reactions. Only one of them had a good poker face. Two of them were horrible at concealing it. Jason placed some money into the pot.
“We’ll start it off with fifty,” he said. He leaned back in his seat, relaxed. He always was. He never felt like he was gambling.
There was a small ruckus outside the pub he was in. He cocked a brow, but ignored it, focusing on his game. The betting continued. Jason put a card in the graveyard and flipped over three cards. He glanced at his two cards again. Another round of betting. Another card to the grave. Another card flipped. Another round of betting. Another card to the grave. Last card flipped.
The revealed cards formed a cross beside the pile of money.
The last round of betting took place, leaving the pot at a good three thousand creds. Good enough for Jason.
“Call it,” he said. The men one by one showed their hands. Full house, three of a kind, straight, four of a kind. Jason gave a look to the man with the four of a kind, but didn’t reveal his cards. His opponent returned a cocky smirk.
“Looks like I win,” the man said, reaching to pull the pot to himself. Jason flipped his cards over, placing them on top of the open cards.
“Win to dealer. Royal flush,” Jason corrected. He pushed the man’s hands away, pulling the pot to himself. He organized the money, listening to the men complain. He shoved the wad into his jacket pocket, glancing out the window of the pub.
“He’s cheatin’ I tell ya!” one of the men exclaimed. “No one’s that lucky!”
Jason cocked his head to the side, seeing two men holding up some sort of sign. He squinted his eyes to get a better look. For a short moment, he picked out the coin that had been tossed into the pot. He observed it, reading the Latin on it. An old ETW coin. How rare. His stepfather had always wanted to find one. Thought they were one of the greatest treasures you could fine. Had the girl told him good luck?
His gaze returned outside. Five games won in a row. It was time to leave now.
“Thanks for the game, gents, but I gotta go.”
Jason stood, shoving his hands in his pockets. He gripped the coin in one hand, his winnings in the other. He headed toward the door, but a hand grabbed him. He looked back, confused, at one of his poker players.
“No way, boy. You’re cheatin’. I knew there was something fishy about you. Whatcha doin’, huh? Countin’? Lose like a man, boy!”
Jason cocked a brow before shifting his torso and bringing up his arm, hand still stuffed in his pocket. He elbowed the man in the face, knocking him to the ground.
“Don’t think so,” Jason said before running out the door. He ran into the two men holding the poster. Getting a good look at their faces, they’d obviously been roughed up pretty bad. He didn’t have time to wonder, though. The men in the bar were getting up.
“Have you seen this girl?”
Jason looked at the poster. The girl who had tossed him the coin. He looked at the men, nodding.
“Yup,” he answered before pulling out a hand from his pocket. Coin in fist, he punched of them in the nose before kicking the other in the shin. “Not gonna tell you, though.” He turned and rushed through the crowded sidewalk. Okay, that might have been a bit idiotic. He was already being chased by a group of men. Did he need two more after him? He didn’t even know that girl. But still, she reminded him of Riley and he would protect Riley if it were her.
A few people yelled in complaint as he shoved past them. He didn’t even bother with manners to say “Sorry.” He couldn’t afford to lose a second.
“There he goes!” someone yelled. Well, they’d gotten through pretty fast. He looked for the nearest exit, his smuggler eyes going to work. Escape route. Where? Where? Where?
He continued pushing through before crossing the street. He avoided getting hit by a vehicle and ran into the motel he’d spotted. He ran up the stairs without a word, despite the protests of the clerks not to run. He got to the third floor and slowed down. Was there an emergency exit anywhere?
As he walked the floor, Jason could hear the sounds of ecstasy coming from a few rooms. It was particularly loud in one, though. He stopped, glancing around.
“Thin doors much?” Jason said aloud. He took a moment to catch his breath and think. He occasionally looked behind him, worried for what would happen next. He took the coin out again, looking at it. Luck, his ass.
He heard a door open and looked up. His eyebrow rose, but he soon after shook his head. He needed to be on his way. He quickly moved down the hall. He grabbed the man’s hand, placing the coin in his hand. Maybe he’d do better without this bad luck coin. It obviously hadn’t done that girl any good.
“Do me a favor. Put on a shirt,” Jason said before going into the man’s room. He noticed the girl lying in the bed, but ignored her. He moved to the window and opened it. He looked down. Not a bad drop, he guessed. He climbed out the window and scaled the ledge before finding a way down. Time to get the hell out of dodge.
*Mei-mei: Little sister
Lover of Ladies
Member No.: 1,291
Joined: 2-March 12
It had been a good day. Better’n good, ta tell the truth. He’d done a couple of odd jobs here and there, dirtside, and had gotten paid, even. A couple of beers and a decent kinda meal later, and he was upstairs in his room in the not too terribly cheap motel with a lovely little palomino filly whose name he didn’t know, or care to know. She’d picked up on him as soon as he’d entered the bar, and it had been less than two beers later that she’d suggested that they repair to someplace more private.
He’d led her up the stairs from the bar, and they’d slipped inside his room. It was only moments before clothes hit the floor and...well. Ya get the idea. An exertion filled hour later, they broke for air. Elliott slid into his jeans and boots, and smacked her backside as he crawled out of bed.
“Not bad, little filly. Not bad at all.” he said, grinning.
He stretched, and stepped towards the door, picking up his cash on his way. He stuffed it into his pocket, and opened the door, intent on getting another beer for himself, and maybe one for his companion as well. The door creaked on its hinges, and he stepped out into the hallway.
A young man with hair as dark as his own stepped forward and took his hand. Elliott’s first instinct was to lay a fist into the kid’s face, but he felt something being pressed into his palm.
“Do me a favor. Put on a shirt.”
Elliott watched the young man enter his room, barely glancing at the blonde in the bed, who he heard giggle as he passed.
“Oooh! A younger stud! So soon?” she bubbled.
The young man ignored her, and made his way to the window, which he promptly exited.
“What the hell do I need a shirt fer?!” Elliott roared after him, stepping back into the room, but he was already gone.
Elliott stared after him for a moment, until his companion spoke.
“Is he not joining us?”
Elliott snorted and smirked at her, slowly unbuttoning his jeans.
“What? I ain’t enough fer ya?”
She just giggled again.
“Shut up, ya silly po fu. C’mere. I’ve got a second wind.”
It wasn’t until days later that Elliott withdrew the coin from his pants and examined it. It was old. Really old. Like, Earth-That-Was old. He smiled. Maybe his luck was changing for the better for once. He’d picked up extra jobs dirtside, and was making steady money while the ship was docked, and he’d just dove into this world’s supply of women, starting with the little palomino at the motel, and moving on to a cute little thing called Jessica, so things were looking up. The little coin in his pocket could finance him his own ship, probably, if he sold it to the right collector. He resolved to find such an enterprising individual on the next rock they landed on, since this one was far too dry and dusty to house such finery.
Two weeks later...
Elliott crashed through the underbrush, moving towards the shipyard as quickly as he could. He’d slipped the local Sherriff’s deputies, and made good his escape, for the moment. He couldn’t go back to the Dymo, his current place of employment, but he could certainly find passage offworld. That gou tsao de ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng of a girl had turned on him quicker than you could spit, and her daddy or uncle or somebody was the township’s judge, to boot.
He needed to get off world in a hurry.
He approached a swift looking Firefly and stepped into the cargo bay where he found a man a few years younger than himself, checking over a cargo manifest.
“Hey, there, partner. Yall lookin’ ta take on payin’ passengers?” he asked. “Cashy money in hand, and a bonus if there ain’t too much question askin’.”
He dug into his pocket, and pulled out every bit of cash he’d managed to put together, both savings and his recent pay, along with the Earth-That-Was coin.
“See? It’s all yers, if’n ya get me a bunk on this boat, quick-like.”
He heard a shout just outside the cargo bay, and turned to see four deputies running towards him, stun batons in hand.
”Tian xiz shou you de ren dou gai si.” he muttered, dropping the cash on the console next to him as he prepared for a fight.
It didn’t last very long. They were better prepared than the last group that had come for him, and just beat him straight up with the stun batons. The last one he remembered hitting was the one at his groin. After that, it was just pain and then darkness.
As Lawson was dragged out of the bay, one of the officers turned to the young man with the cargo manifest. He glanced down at the pile of cash, and snorted.
“I think you’d better put your money away, sir. There’s criminals about.”
po fu - b*tch
gou tsao de ching-wah tsao duh liou mahng – dog humping, frog riding bastard
Tian xiz shou you de ren dou gai si – F*ck everyone in the universe to death
Jax of all trades
Group: BDV Admin
Member No.: 37
Joined: 8-May 06
"That's one way to get free money." Scooping the coins into his pocket, Jax hardly gave the Feds a second glance. They didn't need to linger and get to examining the cargo; no need to make them suspicious. He kept busy til they had left, then fell to counting the money. "Whoa."
The coin was different, unusual, and very old. Jax flipped it experimentally, checking the weight. Was it actually possible this coin was from Earth-That-Was? Another flip and a miss, the disc landing on the cargo manifest - just missing a minuscule slat that led to a hidden compartment. Gorram, that could've been bad. Pocketing the coin again, he picked up the cargo manifest. That second glance, the description the coin had landed on, told him why things hadn't looked right. One crate was missing. Rutt. "Cargo needs stowed. I'm off to collect what's missing."
"What's missing? Why would anything be missing?" Jax either ignored or didn't hear the panicked voice. Surely the missing crate was with the rest of the regular post since the drop site was clean, though why the shipment had been divided like that was anyone's guess. Well, anyone who didn't know what they were shipping. Confident he could find what he was looking for, Jax slipped through the crowd like a shadow.
The local post office hardly deserved the name and was just as crowded as the rest of the docks. Between the tourists and the crews trying to fuel up and get out, it was clear the man behind the desk had his hands full. Looking past the uniform's distinct purple hue, Jax reminded himself to be patient and calm. This could be fixed. As he waited, he studied the strange coin.
It was tarnished with age, the letters worn down from repeated handling. Running a thumb over the stamped image of a drummer wearing a tricornered hat, he shifted his hand, watching the coin catch what light could get past the dark tarnish. E Pleribus Unum. The other side felt smoother, showing a head in profile. United States of America 1776-1976. ETW, all right. No telling what this was worth.
"Next." Jax rose, still holding the coin, and reminding himself, again, to stay calm as he walked toward the desk.
"I was wondering if there were some packages my crew might have left behind when we came through earlier. Maybe something that came in late." He slid the ship's information across the desk, but the tired looking man never glanced at it.
"Everything's run. If it wasn't here, it hasn't come yet. Next!"
"I don't think you understand. We're taking off in a few hours and without that package - Could you just take a look, please?"
"Gorram. Fine. I'll check in the back." As he grabbed the crew roster, Jax watched, glancing at every parcel and crate he could see. It had to be there. As the door opened to the back room, Jax tried to inconspicuously lean across the counter. Against the wall, he saw what had to be the missing crate. Same material as the rest, same company stamps on every side.
"Okay, I see it. It's right there, on the floor to your right." When the door snapped shut, Jax bit back a groan. He had seen the crate! Chewing at the inside of his cheek, his thumb kept running circles over the smooth, ancient coin.
"There's nothing back there for your ship. You need to wait until tomorrow."
"I honestly think I saw something that looks exactly like the rest of the crates sitting on my ship. Could you look again? Please?" The last word stuck in his throat like tar; he had to force it out.
"You'll have to wait until tomorrow. Next."
"Look, I'll pay extra to get that gorram crate, you -" He bit back the insult and held up the tarnished coin. "This coin is from Earth That Was. It's got to be enough to spring one simple crate, friend."
The employee's muddy brown eyes flicked up with disinterest, but when he offered a hand, Jax surrendered the coin. If he didn't get back to the ship with that crate, the Captain would have him keel-hauled. Watching, praying, the gunhand didn't dare blink as the coin was studied by fresh eyes. Was that a spark there? Did this irritating government employee know what this coin's potential cost was? Just in case, Jax emptied his pockets of the other ill-gained, but more legitimate currency. It was swept away almost before it hit the counter. Maybe that gorram crate could be bought.
"Fake." The flat tone was a hammer shattering glass.
"This coin is a fake." As the metal disc flew through the air towards his face, Jax caught it and scowled. His blood was boiling now. "Probably stolen, same as those credits I found."
"Fei hua! That coin's genuine." Before he could further plead his case, Jax felt heavy hands land on his shoulders. He tried to pull away, but the hands tightened. This couldn't be good.
In seconds, he was airborne, out the door and in the dirt. Spitting and coughing, every word pouring from his mouth was a swear. Chinese, Gaelic, and English fought for dominance as he stalked off, still muttering and growling. After a few blocks, he was calm enough to check for the coin. It was still safe - unlike his job.
"I couldn't get hold of that last crate. It's in the post office and the employee there is a rutting feckless omadaín." Before he could continue, a shot rang out and ricocheted in the cargo bay. Jax's head snapped up to the catwalks, where the ship's mechanic stood, gun trained straight at him. There was not a single friendly eye in the bay.
"They got you on camera causing trouble. The report beat you here since you shared our gorram dock number. Here's your pay for the job. Get off my ship."
Jax had turned his back on the money. Stupid, really since he was near broke without that. Gorram Irish pride. He'd watched as the crew successfully loaded the crate onto the ship, talking like they knew he was watching. Huen dahns. There had to be some way to salvage this day. Maybe. Gorram, his clothes were already dustier than usual thanks to the security goons. Failing to make himself look more presentable, the Kerryman sighed before his green eyes spotted an oasis.
The bar's sign was grimy, but it was promise enough. Wondering how exactly he was going to pay for any drinks, Jax navigated the dimly lit space while he searched his pockets. His fingers closed around the coin. No way he was going through that again. Time to ditch this thing. What if it was a fake?
Before he could talk himself out of it, he walked to the bar, pulling the small coin from his pocket. Sliding it across the worn surface, he let it settle by the first empty glass he saw. "May this coin bring you better luck than it's brought me." What better call for luck could there be?
The coin gone, Jax sighed and turned to go. He had no money, after all, and drinking himself to oblivion was no way to get a job. Back outside, he sent up a quick prayer and trudged back to the docks. He had to get off this rock.
Halfway there, his CorPad beeped. There was a message from a contractor, Dex Goodwin. He read it quickly, then sighed. "Great. Now, I've got to find a way to Persephone." Playing guard dog to a crate on a Grendel ship translated to more rutting cargo. Groaning, Jax kept walking to the docks. A job was a job and he was in no position to refuse.
Shangren's Singing Sniper
Member No.: 1,189
Joined: 16-June 11
Julius Branslaw, contract killer, sort-of cook and want-to-be musician was in a particularly fine mood. Why shouldn't he be? His last hit had been a dirty cop, it was clean and quick, in and out before anyone had noticed his presence. Now, with his payment resting comfortably in the pocket of his bright red coat, Julius went out for drinks.
Following his normal after-contract rituals to the letter, the sniper had placed a percentage of his earnings in a separate envelope, readying to be sent back to his father. Papa could use the money, after all, it'd be getting cold on Beaumonde this time of year. Choosing a bar at random based on the fact it seemed cleaner than the others, the sniper strolled in, humming some old tunes under his breath at random.
“Rolling un zee deep,” he murmured, approaching the bar and waving its tender over. “Vone vhiskey please.” The sniper paused, glancing around, “Clean glass.”
The bar-keep groaned at that comment but didn't complain, going back into the drinking hole's resident booze room. After wiping down one of the stools with a cloth and a portable bottle of clearer, Branslaw took a seat.
He was glancing around the bar, looking for anything worthwhile, a woman perhaps? When he spotted it. Resting in the empty glass next to him, gleaming in the light, was an old coin. Curiosity got the better of the sniper and he extracted the coin without any thought.
Cleaning the leftover beer off the object with his rag, Julius began turning it around his fingers. It was old, very old. He was no scholar but he could see this item was particularly valuable, Earth-that-was artifacts weren't common place. He wasn't sure why but t he coin compelled him, called out to him. He had to have it.
Slipping the coin into his coat's breast pocket without hesitation, Julius turned to the returning barman and accepted his drink.
“Excuse me, are you Branslaw?” A timid, mousey voice asked him.
Turning in his chair towards the source of the sound, Julius saw a petite young woman with dark curly hair, holding out a slightly quivering hand to shake. Taking it in his gloved own, the sniper shook it firmly. “I understand you take contracts....”
Julius adjusted his scope slightly, adjusting for the blowing north-wind. His position on the rooftop wasn't entirely comfortably, but at least he was sheltered from its bone-chilling embrace. Taking a small sip from his thermos of warm soup, Julius waited.
His target was male, Hispanic, mid forties. Some sort of rapist, according to the woman. She'd left him with clear instructions, the target is to be taken dead or alive, his call. As long as the man suffered she was pleased. Considering himself a man of some moral fiber, Julius took the job. The cash hadn't hurt either.
“Eet's a cruel, cruel summer,” he sang quietly, checking his pocket watch for the time. The watch was gold plated and hanging from his pocket by a chain of similar make. It was modeled on old Earth-that-was styles from the ancient Victorian period. It may have been one of the gaudiest things he bought, certainly one of the most expensive, but he couldn't help it. The watch was so charming.
Here ve go.
10:45 AM; right around the time his contract would be walking to work. Right around the time his life would change forever.
“Leaving me heer on my own, eet's a cruel, cruel summer.” He sang on, setting his reticule on the target's head. He was walking briskly, nose in the air like he owned the world, unaware of the contract killer on the near-by building.
Julius wasn't sure what to do with him. Dead or alive? There were merits to both. His mind drifted back to the strange coin in his pocket. It seemed oddly fitting to him, that this man's life be connected to the strange coin.
“Now you're gone, you're not zee only vone.” The killer withdrew the coin from his pocket, rolling it between his thumb and forefinger. “Heads you lose zee head. Tails, eet ees zee legs.” He mumbled to himself, tossing the coin in the air. It spun in the sky, rotating in air a moment before landing before his nose.
Looks like zis ees your lucky day.
Readjusting his scope with the man's kneecaps, Branslaw breathed out. “Eet's a cruel.” Then he fired.
Emma kicked back in his hands, launching the high powered slug across the street. His shot was perfect, shattering not one, but both knees. The man collapsed, shrieking in agony as his legs failed in a spray of red mist.
Dissembling his treasured rifle with expert precision, Julius scoped up his empty shell casing and the coin. Wouldn't be good to forget it.
His pocket further filled with bills and coins from his grateful employer, Julius sat on a park bench, watching the young main sketching. He was very good, that was no doubt, moving his pencil was speed and precision, leaving crisp and elegant strokes.
Something was telling the European man to leave this young artist the coin. It was too valuable to be hoarded by one person, far to valuable. It had to be given to someone not likely to lose it. In Julius' line of work he couldn't keep the lucky coin, he had to give it up.
Standing with coat-billowing speed, Julius approached the young man. Retrieving the coin from his pocket, he bounced it in the palm of his hand once.
“For zee art.” He told the young man casually with an amused smile as he spun rapidly. Tossing the man the coin with all the precision expected of a contract killer, Branslaw turned and strolled away.
He had a future somewhere, out among those stars, and he was going to find it.
OOC: In this section Julius butchered “Rolling in the Deep,” by Adele and “Cruel Summer,” by Ace of Basses
Member No.: 1,262
Joined: 14-January 12
His subject wouldn’t stop moving. He’d asked the guy politely to stay still, but the language barrier made things difficult. Squirrels didn’t speak English, or at least this one didn’t. Sketch was on the verge of giving up. He was all for challenging himself as an artist, but even his patience had its limits.
”For zee art.”
Sketch was just rearing back his arm to throw his pencil at his difficult subject when the voice reached him. Somehow he hadn’t noticed the older man approach him. He’d been too focused on the squirrel, which was quickly gaining the status of “mortal enemy” in his mind. He did notice the coin, though, and reached out to catch it. Sketch stared at the object, curious as to why it had been given to him. It didn’t look like any currency he’d ever seen. “What is…?” He looked up to ask his question, but the other man was already walking away, coat billowing in the strong wind that blew through the park. Looking back down at the coin, the artist shrugged. Maybe the currency was worthless, and just looked nice. Well, there was only one thing to do with a curious new find. Placing the coin on his knee, Sketch flipped to a new page in his sketchbook and took up his pencil once more.
Not long after, the drawing was finished. Both sides of the coin were immortalized on the page, and he still had little idea as to where it was from. Words etched into the metal told him that it was old, really old, Earth-That-Was old, but that wasn’t much help. His father was obsessed with Earth-That-Was and all the history behind it, but Sketch didn’t care that much about it. Why think about some old, dead world when he could travel to so many others that were full of life? It made sense for his dad, a professor, but the two would never see eye to eye on that particular topic.
Looking up from his sketchbook, the young man noticed that the sun was beginning to set. Soon it would be too dark to get any more drawing done. He might as well just head back to his way too small apartment and find some way to amuse himself there. So, packing his sketchbook in his bag, the artist stood and left the park, heading back onto the main city streets.
He spent most of his time paying attention to the coin, flipping it over and over in his hand, and so it wasn’t too surprising when looked up and found himself staring at a wall. He must have taken a wrong turn and ended up going down the wrong alley. Oh well, no big deal. He’d just turn around and keep his eyes up this time. So that’s what he did. The artist about-faced…and found his path blocked. Standing at the entrance to the alley was a man, tall, muscular, and intimidating. He had a hungry look on his face, which Sketch would have loved to draw. The man took a step forward. ”That’s a nice coin ya got there, kid,” he said, his voice a low growl.
Sketch looked down at the metal disc, which rested in his palm. ”Oh this? I guess it—”
”Hand it over.”
That was not what the young man had been expecting. He stared at the man, confused. “W-what? Why should I…?”[/b] The man moved closer, blocking off any hope of escape. ”I said, hand it over,” he growled again. He reached forward.
”No!,” Sketch refused, eyes wide with the realization that he might be in some major trouble. Ducking under the reaching arm, he tried to duck around the imposing, but was stopped when the man’s other arm slammed into his stomach. The young man fell to his knees, breath leaving his body in a loud “whoosh” of air. He tried to stand, but before he could his face was introduced to the nice man’s fist. Sketch collapsed on the ground, but his attacker wasn’t done yet. Now the kicking started. The artist curled up into a ball as blow rained down upon him. For some reason he kept his hand clenched into a fist, keeping the coin secure. Some part of his brain that wasn’t screaming in pain was telling him to hold onto the disc, if only to prevent his attacker from getting the satisfaction of acquiring what he wanted. It was stupid, but it was all he had going for him at the moment.
Finally, after what seemed like hours but was really a couple minutes, the blows ceased as his assailant got bored and left him, broken and bleeding, in the alley. The artist slowly uncurled his body, wincing as pain flowed through him, and, at a snail’s pace, stopping every few seconds to feel sorry for himself, pushed himself into a standing position. Gingerly, he used the hand that didn’t have a death grip on the coin to probe his body, using his complete lack of medical knowledge to determine how bad things were. It was hard to tell, but he didn’t think anything was broken. But everything hurt, and he knew he’d have quite a few bruises forming from his wounds. His shirt, which had once been white, was now covered in blood, most of which came from his nose. The coin had also gotten a few drops of the stuff on it, though it was mostly unmarred. Sketch sighed. This was not how the day was supposed to go. He knew he should go to the police, get some help, but all he could think about was going home and sleeping. He’d be fine if he could just rest for a bit. So, wincing with every step he took, the young man fled the alley and resumed his long journey home.
Sketch was walking down a well-lit street lined with cafes and bars when he remembered that he was still holding the coin. He looked down at the things, mostly to avoid the awkward looks he was getting from just about everyone he passed, and frowned. ”You brought me nothing but trouble,” he muttered. ”I’d better get rid of you.” The artist raised his head, looking for anyone on whom he could force the coin. One person caught his eye. Sitting alone at a table outside a café was a strange-looking man with piercings on the side of his face and a black jacket with LED lights built into it. Had he not been limping his way out of the view of other human beings, Sketch might have wanted to draw this guy. As it was, at least he could use the older man to get rid of the coin.
So the artist limped over to the guy’s table and placed the coin down by the man’s hand. ”Take this,” he said. ”Good luck with it.” The evil talisman finally out of his possession, he walked away, one hand clutching his side. His bed was calling, and he was all too eager to answer.
Member No.: 1,184
Joined: 31-May 11
Nico looked at the coin in curiosity. He tilted his head, lifting it up with two fingers. Noting the blood on it, he wiped it clean on his napkin then observed it once more. He couldn’t read anything on the coin, but he knew exactly what this was. He’d seen it several times in pictures his teachers had shown him while teaching him history. It wasn a coin from the time of Earth-That-Was.
He heard someone take a seat across from him and looked up. A smile spread across his face. The intrigue of this antique coin was replaced with admiration for beauty. Golden blonde hair. Emerald green eyes. Rose lips. She was beautiful. She was his other half, his reason for life. She was his life. Serafina Tran.
”What’s that, sweetheart?” she asked in that sweet, soft voice of hers. Nico’s smile grew exponentially, hearing her speak.
”An Earth-That-Was quarter,” Nico replied. Serafina reached for his free hand, stroking it with the tip of her index finger. Her nail tickled a bit, but Nico enjoyed the feeling, enjoyed how gentle she was.
”Where’d you get it?” she responded, jade eyes on the coin. Nico’s attention moved to the quarter as well. If Serafina was fascinated with it, so was he.
”Some guy handed it to me. Said it’d bring good luck or something.” He twirled it between his fingers. He watched her eyes as hers followed the coin, mesmerized. He stopped, clutching it in his hand. Serafina blinked. Nico watched her for a few moments before holding out his hand to her and opening it, revealing the quarter. “Take it.”
Serafina smiled, reaching for it. Teasing her, Nico jerked his fingers as if closing his hand. She hesitated, looking up at the chyeh’s smile. She laughed softly as he reopened his hand. She took the coin.
”Thank you. I’ll cherish it forever.” Serafina leaned forward, planting a kiss on her lover’s lips.
Nico flipped the quarter between his fingers, studying it one last time. Serafina had loved this coin. She hadn’t lied. She had truly cherished this coin. She had had all of her jackets modified so that the quarter would attach to the leather. She had worn it with everything and it affirmed Serafina’s love for him. Well, it did for him.
He looked around the space station. Route 66. His new home. He was starting a new life here. Serafina would want him to start all over again. He wanted to convince himself that she wouldn’t want him to get rid of this coin, her last possession that he had. But he knew that he had to. That it would help him move along.
Nico kissed the coin. He set it down and stood up, walking away from the table. In his mind, he thanked the coin. Thanked it for strengthening the love between him and Serafina.
This post has been edited by Nico Montenegro on Mar 30 2012, 10:02 PM
Member No.: 1,306
Joined: 30-March 12
Lilly groaned, stretching her arms all the way back over her head. Giving that extra push, the young tracked cracked her spine plesantly. The travel bunks on the Wayfarer were so gorram hard. Even after she'd laid down some pelts from her personally stash for extra cushioning she was still sore.
Rolling out of bed, Lilly's bare feet hit the floor, a chill racing up her spine. One major disadvantage of sleeping au natural; cold floors. As if it wasn't already chilly enough, the air conditioning decided that now would be the perfect time to cough to life, blasting her with freezing air.
Teeth chattering, the First Nations girl yanked on some pants, her favourite wolf-skin shirt and a pair of moccasins. Setting a hawk feather in her hair at a jaunty angle, the tracker decided to head for her destination.
In truth, Lilly didn't really know where she was heading with her life, she was following the stars, listening to the advice her ancestors whispered in her ear. Some day, some way, she'd find a purpose. In the meantime, Lilly was happy to pick up any legal contract work that came her ways. She was meeting a provider of said contract work at Moons, one of the clubs on the station. While it was still some time before the client would arrive she figured getting there first would make a good presentation. Besides, 66 was a large station and she could easily get lost.
Working her way through the crowd towards the bar, Lilly hummed a nameless old tune, a broad smile lighting up her scarred features. It was good to be in control of her destiny.
Even when I have no idea what that destiny is.
Picking a table at random, Lilly plopped down into a seat, throwing her feet on the table. Through the leather of her moccasins she definitely felt something on the table. It was tiny, but it was defiantly something. Sitting inconspicuously on the table top, almost daring her to grab it was an old coin.
Snatching it up deftly, Lilly rolled the coin between her thumb and forefinger. Feeling the groves, the dents and the bumps, the woman tried to discern the story of the object. It was old, really old. Lilly was no historian but she'd listened to plenty of Grandpa's stories about his grandfather's grandfather's adventures during the exodus. If she had to wager a guess, the young Native would place this quarter at even older than that.
"Curious, what are you doing here?" She asked the coin casually. As expected it gave no answer.
“Miss Proud-Bear, thank you for being so punctual!” The voice was booming, jaunty, sounding almost jovial. Spinning around to face the sound, Lilly slipped the coin away in a pack pocket forgetting all about it. She needed to see the owner of the booming voice. Of course, it belonged to the man who was hiring her.
Dawson Mudd was round. That shape summarized him better than any other possible description might. He was clean-shaven with a childish face, reddish cheeks and chestnut hair that seemed keen on fleeing his scalp as quickly as possible. Offering her a pudgy hand, the rich businessman shook it without waiting for her response, his smile running across his face from ear to ear.
“Tell me Miss Proud-bear, are you familiar with a small moon called Jinye?”
The sand kept blowing in her eyes, down her shirt, and anywhere it could find an opening. Lilly admittedly hadn't seen to much of the 'Verse, but this was, by far, more dust than she was comfortable with. Holding a tanned hand in front of her eyes, the young First Nation's tracker went back to the task at hand.
Mr Mudd was an avid collector of animals, owning his own private zoo with over twenty animals. Mudd had hired Lilly to acquire a rare breed of cat, resembling an Earth-that-was Lynx. So here she was, hunting some cat on a dust-ball moon. Thankfully Mudd was offering her a bucket of cash for the job. With that kind of money she could upgrade her equipment and buy some luxury items. Oh yeah, life would be good.
The strange coin she'd acquired early on 66 utterly forgotten, languishing in a back pocket in her faded jeans. Almost as if it had a mind of its own the coin sought an escape. Bouncing around in her pocket, the old quarter finally found its hole, slipping through the lining and rolling down her pant-leg. Free-falling, the coin landed, face up, in the dust on Burgesstown's main street. As Lilly left the town in pursuit of her query the quarter simply waited. Waited for the next pair of hands to seize it. It did not have to wait long...
Member No.: 1,129
Joined: 4-January 11
Sand and dust coated everything. The buildings. The vehicles. The people. Cal Foster trudged down the street, eyes squinting against the grit. Bone weary and on edge from the recent events and the cocktail of stimulants, his body screamed at him with every footfall, once fine shoes scraping their way across the road.
A hard leather sole clinked dully against something metal that rolled and tumbled away for about a meter before again settling beneath the sandy soil. Cal's gaze fell with detached interest toward the ground, where he could just make out the dusted silver of a coin. He almost passed it by; after so long in the Core, the coin seemed that much more a pittance. Surrounded by the old familiar moon and all its unending dust, however, just enough curiosity and drive made its way past the crusty callouses of soul to move the doctor's hand.
As he brushed dust from the coin's surface, nothing much registered yet. Curiosity was not enough to drive away the fatigue, and minutes later, the coin lay on the grit-covered surface of the tiny desk in Cal's tiny hotel room, kept company by a half dozen tiny, empty bottles already coated in their own new layer of infernal dust.
Only a couple hours had passed, but Cal's internal clock was clanging with incessant need. Maybe it was the lemonade. He hauled himself out of bed, his scrubs just as dusty as everything else, but with the added bonus splotches of what, if he was lucky, might only be blood. It had been that kind of week.
Half an hour later, he returned to his room, freshly bathed and dressed in a far better outfit than normally seen anywhere outside Burgess' little group. Dust free and ready to get back to work, he paused next to the desk, where he spotted that dusty coin. With a handkerchief and a few drops of whatever was still left from the tiny dusty bottles, he soon had the quarter freshly polished. "Would ya look at that," the doctor muttered as a cocky little smile appeared. He turned the coin over a few times, then bounced it on his palm before snatching it out of the air and slipping into the inner pocket of his jacket. "They sure had ugly women back on Earth-That-Was." His medical training had not included ancient presidents of a country in a world that was as much myth as history by now.
Cal slipped into his well-named duster and buttoned it against the wind and sand outside as he stepped back into the street.
By the time he reached the Heart of Gold, his whole body ached, and it wasn't just the chemicals that were slowly being flushed from his system. Cal hadn't been on a horse since he left Jinye all those years earlier, and his back and back side were suffering from the hiatus.
The afternoon sun dipped toward the horizon and cast the reflective sides of the whorehouse in rippling hues of orange and red, the sky a backdrop of deepening blue as dusk slowly fell. "I know, I know. I signed up for this," he drawled with a wince as he let himself gingerly down from the borrowed steed. Despite the duster, the tinted dirt of Jinye clung to the doctor's trousers and boots; beating at them did little good, so he just had to enter as was.
For a few seconds after he walked into the main building, Cal just stood there, eyes closed. It was no question of morality or cleanliness or anything of the sort. The parlor felt cool. Peaceful. His stance was one of overdue relaxation rather than any shred of reluctance. It was therefore with a loose swagger that he approached the bar while carefully folding the duster. The bleached blonde beauty and her perky little smile brought one to his own lips as he started to ease into a barstool, then thought better of it. Gorram horse.
"I know it seems stupid comin' all the way out here for this, but... I really just want a room for the night. Just somewhere I won't be bothered. Nothin' weird, just need to sleep without someone knockin' on my door for a few hours." He waited for another dazzling smile, maybe curious, maybe just amused, then added, "And Scotch on the rocks."
This, he took with him to the offered room. It was small, but it was dust free and the sheets were clean. Best of all, it was quiet. If you didn't count some faint bumps in the night.
The morning dawned with the unfulfilled promise of dew. It was instead the sheen of perspiration as the last of the stims left Cal's body. He listened to the morning quiet, eyes closed against the dawn. Parched and still sore from everything that had come before, he slowly dressed, and soon found his way to the nearly empty dining room. As he hung his jacket on the back of a chair, the dull thud of a coin hitting the wood frame caught his attention. Sitting down at the small table, he removed the quarter and was finally able to get a clear look at it. No... it still looked like an ugly woman. He brushed his thumb across the printed date and frowned. He might not know American presidents, but he knew dates gorram well.
Just then, a dapper young man sat across from him, his foppish clothes not at all matching the rest of his appearance. One of the house boys, was Cal's guess. He leaned back and politely nodded to the young man. "Just lookin' for breakfast." His bald head twitched to the side slightly as a clang emitted from what he thought might be the kitchen. "Or maybe just coffee."
"Don' mind that, mate!" the other man replied with a beaming smile. "Jus'... y'know. Upgradin'. Hey, that's a shiny bit of pretty, ain't it?" he then asked, jutting his chin toward Cal's hand.
The doctor, flipped the quarter over a couple knuckles and considered. After a brief pause, he shrugged his round shoulders and popped the coin against his palm again before slipping it back into its former pocket. "Just something I found. So. Breakfast is a go, then?"
Once he was alone at the table once more, Cal couldn't help but take out that quarter again. Old. Older than any of the worlds they had in the 'Verse now. Relic? Treasure? Wasn't really for Cal Foster to know. He was here on business (if you didn't count paying for a good night's sleep), not pleasure or antique dealing.
With the distant hammering and clanging as his background music, Cal quickly made his way through his breakfast (and coffee -– the boy was very thorough), then got to his feet. There was a thoughtful pause as he started to don his jacket, and a moment later, while settling it on his shoulders, he made his way toward the door with all that hammering. Coin in hand, he poked his head through and called out, "My thanks to the chef!"
Cal flipped the coin with his thumb toward the first person he saw, which happened to be a dark-haired man crouched beside... something. The doc didn't take the time to look too closely. He needed to find a madame.
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