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Stray Musicians
Summary: A live band playing at the Dead Fish Tavern picks up an unexpected fifth member.
Cast: Arizhel, Jantine, Norton, Ras Algethi
Air Date: 2006.12.01

Dead Fish Tavern <Greenville, New Luna> - New Luna - ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

A large, wood-floored establishment with dim lights, and faded leather-and-wood booths lining the gray brick walls, it features real candle-lit chandeliers made from old ship's tills, and new-looking square tables lining the edge of the room. In the center, a large, lit dance floor takes up about a quarter of the floor space, and is well-worn from use. A holographic kareoke machine, a raised band platform, and a small DJ's booth make sure that the building is filled with music at all hours of the day. A polished wooden bar sits at the far end, with a thirty foot long stuffed Washingtonfish mounted on the bar's back mirror. It has been named Herbert, and is dressed in a new hat daily by the barstaff. A sturdy wooden door leads outside to Birthright Parkway.

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Jantine is at the bar, a beer in hand.

On the stage, a band appears to be setting up, judging by the instruments and all. A drum kit's been set up, and various other cases, most likely containing implements of music, can be seen. A tall, rather slight man is standing at the edge of the platform and scowling, checking his watch as he eyes the door.

In from the street, Arizhel walks in, raising both arms as if to say 'I'm here!' while grinning in the direction of the stage. The thin man's expression is a mix of relief and frustration as he commences checking the connections on the microphones.

Jantine just watches the ongoings, not commenting at all, he seems to be more interested in the beer.

While the rest of the band does the dirty work of completing the setup and checking the equipment, Rish saunters past the bar, and greets several patrons, seemingly in no hurry now that she's actually inside. Finally reaching the platform, she sets her case down and opens it, shouldering the guitar before checking its tuning perfunctorily. That done, she looks the room over, nodding in approval, and giving the thumbs-up to the thin man, who's now standing beside her.

Jantine seems a bit more interested now that it's definitely evident he's going to be in for some entertainment, certainly a bit less interested in his beer now.

"Any of you have any requests to get us started?" the dark-haired woman asks, giving a winning smile to the room in general. "FREEBIRD!" someone in the back yells, much to the amusement of the band, and most of the room's patrons. Some jokes never die. "Maybe once you guys have had a few more," the female guitar player says, her smile now a bit sly. "But seriously, requests? Let's kick the night off with something familiar."

Jantine looks around the audience, obviously waiting for someone to make a request. His beer almost seems forgotten in his hand.

Arizhel chuckles and shakes her head at the lack of requests, then looks over her shoulder and shrugs at the band. She nods at the thin man beside her, who seats himself at a keyboard and strikes up the first chords of a song that'd probably be familiar in just about any tavern the Orion Arm over. The dark-haired woman follows the chord progression on the guitar in her hands, and starts the opening lines after the introduction:

"It's nine o'clock on a Saturday
Regular crowd shuffles in
There's an old man sittin next to me,
Makin love to his tonic and gin..."


Jantine just sits back and listens.

However, there's a drunken man who isn't content to do that, he decides he wants to go on the stage too, and begins trying to climb up, failing miserably. The people around him just laugh, but don't do anything to help or hinder the man.

"He says, 'son, can you play me a memory?
I'm not really sure how it goes,
But it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man's clothes..."


The dark-haired woman goes right on singing and playing, though she does give a worried glance to the drunken man and takes a small step back, further onto the safety of the raised platform.

Jan laughs along with those laughing at the drunken man.

Drunk boy? Well, looks like he finally realizes that getting onto the stage isn't an option in his state, so he settles for the next best thing. Singing. If his drunken drawl can be considered that, he tries to mimic Rish's words, although most of them don't seem to make sense and come a while after Rish sings them...

Arizhel stifles laughter at the drunken man's antics during the chorus and nearly misses her cue for the second verse, earning a dirty look from the slight man behind the keyboard.

"Now John at the bar is a friend of mine,
He gets me my drinks for free,
He's quick with a joke or to light up your smoke,
But there's someplace that he'd rather be.
He said, Bill, I believe this is killing me
As the smile ran away from his face,
Well, I'm sure that I could be a movie star,
If I could get out of this place."

By now, many of the patrons are doing much the same as the drunken man down front, singing along with varying degrees of success.

The drunken man apparently thinks he's supposed to sing along now, so he begins singing louder, and in an even more drunken voice, if that's at all possible for him. He raises a half empty beer bottle while doing so, and somewhat quickly, sending some beer spraying over a few people who give him slightly dirty looks.

Jan is still just listening in.

Another chorus, and verse, another stifled laugh from the dark-haired singer, covered with one hand. By now, most of the other band members seem fairly amused, though the man behind the keyboard seems more annoyed than anything. Still, the song continues.

"It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
Cause he knows that it's me they've been coming to see,
To forget about life for awhile.
The piano sounds like a carnival,
And the microphone smells like a beer,
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say 'man, what are you doing here?'"

Jantine keeps watching, taking another drink of his beer.

The drunken man continues his drunked singing, now pracing around in front of the stage, swaying from side to side as he does so, beer bottle still held high, perhaps he thinks the song is about him? He seems rather amused at the idea.

The band, still ignoring the drunken singer to the best of their ability, wind up with the first song, and take a brief bow amid a smattering of applause. "Alright, so lots of people know that song! That's great! Well, let's pause here to make a quick introduction." She points to the keyboard player, the drum player, and then the bass player. "This guy on the keyboard is Brad, the lady on the drums is Lila, and that other guy over there is Hal. They're otherwise known as Drunk Ferretmonkey, and they were nice enough to let li'l ol' me share a gig with them. My name's Arizhel, and I'm about ready to sing another one, so shall we?"

Another smattering of applause, and they start playing the second song of the evening, this one starting with a rather mellow guitar and bass introduction. Ras Algethi enters the bar to incoming music and perks up his wide brimmed hat. Walks up to the bar and sits himself down and calls the bartender and orders a brandy supreme. Turns around to watch the band.

Drunken man? He obviously thought the applause was for /him/ and he takes a bow before draining what's left in his bottle. He then promptly passes out, falling over on the floor, arms and legs spread out wide directly in front of the stage.

Jan is sitting at the bar, listening in to the band, and drinking a beer.

The band is mostly nondescript - the two gentlemen are both dark-haired and dark-eyed, as is the woman singing. The woman playing the drums is the sole exception, being pale and blonde. All of them give a relieved sort of chuckle as the drunk passes out on the floor, and a nearby patron commences checking on the guy.

That dark-haired singer keeps right on playing, and starts the words to the second song, another piece of Earth history for the musically knowledgeable.

"I have climbed the highest mountain
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you
I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for..."

Ras Algethi notices the man from earlier and changes a few seats forward near him. "Hello again sir. Came for the music I see?" he says friendly to Jantine, taking a sip of his drink.

Jantine shakes his head "Just a bonus, came here for a beer, didn't know they were playing, you?" he asks, just as friendly.

Ras Algethi sets his drink back and nods. "I came for both. Its a rare thing to see band in bar these days. It almost makes me want to ask if they need a harmonica up there. But I doubt they play much blues." he says as he loosens his thin white tie.

Now that the drunk man's gone and passed out on the floor, the band seems to be a lot less distracted, in any case. Arizhel keeps on singing, no interruptions or nearly-missed cues due to badly-sung, drunken imitations to be seen. The patron that was checking on the drunk guy looks up and shrugs, seeming to indicate that he's okay, if a little worse for wear.

"I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in her fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire
I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of the devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

Jantine nods "Thought you sounded good when you played, earlier, where did you learn to play like that?" he asks, half listening, while half paying attention to the band.

Ras Algethi taps his hand in unison to the beat of the song and answers back, he himself as well half paying attention. "Its the last and tradition of my family. My dad told me that my family has had notorious history of having been blues musciains. This harp was my great grandfathers and it was passed down to me. I keep the music and tradition alive in family."

Heedless of the conversation at the bar, the band keeps right on playing. Also mostly heedless of the conversation, many of the other patrons keep right on singing along.

"I believe in the kingdom come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
Well yes I'm still running
You broke the bonds and you
Loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Of my shame
You know I believed it
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for..."

Jantine gets that nostalgic look on his face, like before, however, he wipes it off after a moment, replying with a simple "Oh" before he takes a drink of beer.

Ras Algethi takes another drink of his brandy visually enjoying the music and the band. Even pulls out his harmonica and begins play quietly in unison, quiet enough so he isn't a distraction to nearby partons. Seems to look geninuley happy as he plays, his foot tapping out a silen rythmn.

That song brought to a close, there's another smattering of applause, with more enthusiasm this time around. Arizhel waves a hand and grins after a few moments, and the applause trails off. "Okay, so, you can probably tell I've got a fetish for old Earth tunes. We'll keep right on going with that vein, but I think I'm going to mix up the style a bit here, if you don't mind." She plays a gritty-sounding riff on her guitar, then the band joins in in a fairly standard blues progression, the bassline walking rhythmically along and the guitar part picking up the rhythm.

Ras Algethi hears the blues tone right from the start and can't bear it any longer and stands up matching the sound, volume, and rythmn with the rest of the band, knowing the song by heart, playing right along with them.

Norton enters with a cigarette dangling out of the corner of his grin. Making his way over to Jantine, he asks, "What'd we have going on here, general?"

"Looks like we've found ourselves a stray musician," the dark-haired singer says into the mic, chuckling as the band extends the song's introduction through an extra few bars to accomodate the new player. Quite a few of the bar's patrons turn around to look at the apparent new addition to the show. "Well, you gonna stand out there all night, or you gonna come up here proper-like?" Rish grins and nods to Ras encouragingly, giving the song one last cycle through the intro to give him time to make a decision.

Jantine shrugs "Some sort of concert, they're pretty good" Jan says to Nort.

"At skinning cats?" asks Norton as he grins and settles into a chair. The cigarette continues to dangle.

Ras Algethi smiles through his playing, nods and heads to the stage, standing next to lead singer, stops playing for moment, laughs and places his his hat on her. "In blues Miss, the lead always wears the hat." he says quickly before he begins to play again.

"Fair enough," Arizhel says as the hat is perched on top of her head, grinning to the new arrival and giving a wink before turning back to the microphone. She launches herself into the first verse with gusto, and in fact, it seems like the whole band is a little more 'into it' now.

"Once upon a midnight dearie
I woke with something in my head
I couldn't escape the memory
Of a phone call and of what you said
Like a game show contestant with a parting gift,
I could not believe my eyes
When I saw through the voice of a trusted friend
Who needs to humor me and tell me lies
Yeah, humor me and tell me lies..."

Norton kicks back in his chair and holds his hands in his lap as he watches the performance on stage with his grin a permanent fixture on his face. "Lies? I can do that." He's not even drinking, but he is heckling fairly loudly, "You all are going to be all the rage on the Castori night club circuit. Why, when I came in here the first thing that came to mind was _not_ dying kulbati." He grins at Ras in particular, "You don't sound anything like what I'd expect a Nall mating ritual to sound like. I want my money back."

"There was no cover charge, genius," the dark-haired singer retorts cheerfully into the microphone near the end of the solo, resulting in a ripple of laughter from some of the other patrons. Indeed, her grin doesn't fade a bit, and she even winks as she picks up the words on cue again.

"Oh, I like coffee and I like tea
I'd like to be able to enter a final plea
I still got this dream that you just can't shake
I love you to the point you can no longer take
Well all right, okay, so be that way
I hope and pray
That there's something left to say
But you
Why you wanna give me a runaround
Is it a sure-fire way to speed things up
When all it does is slow me down..."

Ras Algethi almost loses his place in the song, from her remark, but doesn't falter and continues on playing till the end of song, paying no heed to the heckler.

"You wouldn't have the pleasure of my fine company if there had been, sweet cheeks," replies Norton with a grin. The tide of the audience being against him doesn't seem to phase him much.

The song ends with a flourish, and the seated band members stand up to take a bow. Arizhel rolls her eyes good-naturedly at Norton, and laughs. "Fine company! I'll remember that! Alright, we're going to take a short break, but I think there'll be music in the meantime." Yep, indeed, music quite a bit softer than what the band was previously playing now comes from the tavern's speaker system. The various members of the band shuffle off stage and toward the bar, ostensibly to grab a quick drink before the next set, but Rish stays on stage.

She plucks the hat off the top of her head and offers it to the nameless harmonica player beside her. "That was some playing there, hon. Want to grab a quick glass of water? You're welcome to stay on if you like, though I'll be up front and say that it'd be unpaid... we negotiated our gig for just us four." Ras Algethi takes his hat and places it back on his head. "Miss, I play for the music, not for the money. The fact that you allowed me play is all the payment I need." he says and bows his slightly. "Dr. Ras Algethi Caldera. But when I'm not at work, I'm just Ras. And you have wonderfully pleasent blues voice Miss." he says as he starts to walk to get some water.

"Turn that stuff up," crows a still grinning Norton. "Freeebiiirrd!"

"You're the one that yelled Freebird earlier? I told you you'd have to wait a bit," Arizhel calls back, another laugh escaping her as she turns her attention back to the hat-wearing harmonica player. And to making it toward the bar, as well. "Thanks, hon," she says, smiling. "You're pretty good on that harp. But you're a doctor, you said?" She takes a seat at the bar, in fact right next to Norton, and flags down the bartender. True to form, a glass of water is brought over for her and for Ras without any hassle at all.

Ras Algethi shrugs. "I do a number of things, I just have a degree from a medical school, so its easiest to call me that." chuckles as he hears her mention Freebird. "People actually know that song around here." he says he takes a few heavy swallows.

"Medical? Wow, that's cool," Rish says, then pauses to take a swallow of her water. "Like I said, if you want to stay on for the rest of the night, that's fine with me. Seems like it's fine with the rest of the band too, if the playing was any sort of answer." She chuckles and downs half of the remainder of the water, then holds up a finger in a 'just a moment' gesture. "I'm gonna run off to the ladies room to freshen up a bit, and then we'll see what we can do about getting these guys their Freebird fix, hm?" A chuckle, and she rises from the stool, sauntering toward the back of the tavern.

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