|The Enemy Within: Who Would Seek Peace, pt. 1|
|Summary:||A not-exactly 'fishing trip' that heads for Jasper Point.|
|Cast:||Leodhais Lucius Norton Ruin|
Dead Fish Tavern <Greenville, 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.
Ruin and Leodhais are having morning caffeine at a booth. Neither's had much to say as yet.
Norton is packing a can of dip as he enters the establishment. There's an unlit cancer stick dangling out of his mouth despite this.
Leodhais glances over at Norton, taking a sip of his tea. "There's our guide," he comments to Ruin.
Ruin nods, and gives Norton a wave. The aversion to watching the dip is, at this point, automatic. Focus on the coffee, Ruin, focus on the coffee.
Norton sketches a salute using the first two fingers of his left hand as he continues to pack the can of dip. He's taking a pinch out and inserting it behind his bottom lip at about the time he shows up beside the table. "Morning, sailor. Skipper."
Leodhais looks up at Norton and nods. "Good morning, Chief. How's the world today?" He takes another sip of tea, glancing over at Ruin, the corners of his mouth twitching.
Ruin shakes his head with a little lip-quirk of a smile. "It's contagious, it seems."
"Bit off kilter," says Norton with his grin tinged a bit by the brownish dip residue. "But, that's OK, buddy, I'm able to work well sideways." He looks between Ruin and Leodhais, "Peanut, Lewy, you two all packed? Ready to feel the fresh sea air smack you upside the face like a two pound hammer?"
Leodhais unconsciously sucks on his teeth before responding. "I'm as ready as I'll ever be," he replies. "How about you, Peanut?"
Ruin gives Leodhais a level 'don't YOU start' look. "Ready as I'll ever be," he echoes, setting down his coffee. Like Leodhais, he seems to be having minor issues with nausea. "Shall we go?"
Norton's Adam's apple bobbles up and down as he swallows some dip laden spit without a waver in his grin. "Good, I would have just drunk myself into a stupor while you were packing if you weren't already ready, and no one wants a drunk man at the helm, eh? Straight down to Davie Jones's locker like that, eh? You two already settled the bill?" He starts towards the door.
Leodhais glances at Ruin, and quickly finishes his tea. "I just have one question - is this a round trip, or one way?"
Ruin handles the bill, setting rayden on the table before moving to follow. He doesn't, however, answer the question.
Norton does such a convincing job of acting like he didn't hear the question that he might, in fact, have not heard it. He does, however, hold the door open and cheerfully grin back at the pair.
Leodhais walks to the door after Norton. "...either of you can tell me, you know. I'm just curious."
"I hope to come back," Ruin replies quietly. "But I don't really count on anything anymore."
"Tell you what?" asks Norton as he ushers Leodhais and Ruin through the door he is holding open.
Birthright Parkway <Greenville, New Luna>
- A straight, sloped road, Birthright Parkway is designed to transition from the low-lying areas of the Harbor and landing pad to the main city atop Independence Hill. Buildings line the parkway with faded wood facades and brass trim, almost too cute and consistant to be accidental. At the bottom of the hill is the cheery Decon building, while at the top of the hill, the Parkway T-bones into Plaindid Street. At about the middle of the Parkway, a street snakes off to the east towards a more residential neighborhood.
Norton produces a glasses case from a cargo pocket on his shorts. With no small show of reverence, he produces a pair of silvery wrap around shades which he then perches on his nose. He's outside the tavern with Ruin and Leodhais.
"...I'll figure something out then," Leodhais says in response to Ruin's comment. "I plan to come back too. Just have to figure out how, if Chief here isn't sailing roundtrip."
"Well, in theory you can hike it," Ruin shrugs. "Don't know that anyone's tried, though."
"What kind of low rent cruise operation do you think I'm running here, guys?" asks Norton from behind the shades. His standard grin is fixed into place as the cigarette dangles unlit out of the side of his mouth. "Who ever heard of a cruise operator leaving a pair of feckless lovers stranded to hike back? Now, if you jump over board, I'll do my maritime duty of trying to fish you out of the drink, but I can't be expected to risk my life doing it. Not come back with you, bah."
Lucius walks onto birthright parkway with a fat cigar perched between his lips - it's the same type as the one he was smoking last night, and a small, almost empty duffel bag slung over his shoulder. He quickly scans the area, not as busy as rush hour and finds the group of people, heading over.
"Stranger things have happened," Leodhais says to Norton, mirroring his grin - sans brown residue on his pearly whites. "Some people take one way trips you know. I was just wondering if this one was such."
"It probably won't work as a cover," Ruin notes. "I'd make a terrible spouse." He slants a glance at Leodhais. "Somewhat too tempted to smack people, I think, which just isn't healthy. Where to?"
"Life," says Norton as he strikes up a herioc pose with one hand on his hip and the other shading his shades on his forehead. He may or may not have noticed Lucius in the doing of it. "Is what you make of it." He starts walking towards the DIC. "Let's make tracks before we miss the tide. If we leave this dump within the next twenty minutes, I can show you a broomfish. They're over fifty feet long and have mustaches that'd make a bearded woman blush."
Lucius comes to a stop a few feet away from the group, clearly not in any official uniforms, but rather a loose t-shirt and a pair of surfer's trunks. "Morning, peoples. Heard you're going for a swim and fishing trip, was wondering if I could tag along." A smirk rests on his lips, as natural as the sun shining down onto Birthright Parkway.
"Hmm," Leodhais considers that. "It might, if people aren't quite so... obvious about it," he finally says. "We'll see when we get there?"
Ruin looks Lucius over, eyebrows rising. "....If Norton doesn't object," he replies slowly, clearly caught somewhat off guard.
Norton's grin is turned on Ruin as he says to Lucius, "All the same to me." He continues speaking as he nods to the other Lunite, "But if the boat starts to rocking, it might start to sinking not too long after. I thought you were a bit more prudish than all that, Sparky. A duo is one thing but a trio is a whole 'nother bag of worms. Maybe this isn't the lover's tryst that I was told it was."
Lucius rolls his eyes but chuckles. "Hey, I'm just out here to catch some Washingtonfish. See, got my fishing line, bait and tackle." The Martian motions towards the duffel back he carries.
Leodhais' face turns an interesting shade of not-quite-red, indignation flickering in his eyes. He waits a moment before speaking. "Some people don't like their personal lives advertised," he says quietly, his voice calm and even. "Lucius is here on his own, I'll vouch for that."
"Adding to that is the simple common sense of locking a Martian, a Lunite, and a Sivadian in one room," Ruin replies evenly. "Frankly, I'd be lucky to get out alive. We'll take a hike on the shore somewhere, thanks. Solid ground would be a good break."
"Uh huh, you'll need a cable line and a bigger boat for a washingtonfish. They're twenty to thirty feet long, couple of spare rows of teeth, and will eat our boat before we cook their goose," says Norton. "All the same to me like I said. I'm just trans. They're the ticket paying customers. They got the boat. The make the calls." And, yes, he's still grinning.
Again, there's a roll of Lucius's eyes. "My sarcasm is a bit too subtle for most people to get. I guess we could chop up the Washingtonfish into little chunks, though." He shakes his head. "Shall we go?" He grins, as well.
Independence Harbor <Greenville, New Luna>
- The land and sea meet uncertainly, salty blue ocean water giving way to thick hummocky estuary mud in a whisper of spent waves. The silt-laden waters of the Washington River snake out of the muck, pouring a fertile brown stain across the ocean. Sea birds with enormous wingspans wheel and cry like calligraphy against the sky. The long light wooden finger of the Independence Docks stretches out through a clear stretch of ocean with several small boats tied along it. It leads to a broad wooden platform of roughly split logs that's set on a patch of relatively dry ground and tethered against the lift of the tide. Upon this are some few wooden sheds and coils of rope, half-repaired boats and sailcloth. Crisp ocean scents struggle for dominance with brown organic decay and the smell of fresh wood.
Norton walks down one of the docks whistling in an off key sort of way despite the cigarette and the dip in his bottom lip. He reaches one of the boats which looks ordinary enough despite not being called the Luna or moon something or other. Instead, it's called the Dead Cow. It's tied securely alongside the dock, and Norton puts a hand on the side as he vaults on board. He walks over to check the two oversized outboard engines.
Lucius walks along with Norton on the docks, puffing away merrilly on his cigar. He comes to a stop in front of the Dead Cow, smirking slightly. "That's the most appropriate name I've ever seen." Lucius himself also gets on board, holding onto the docks as he does so, and sets his duffel bag down. It /does not/ sound like a fishing rod when it clanks against the bottom of the boat. Metallic parts of some sort, though.
Leodhais pauses on the dock and then peeeers at Lucius before boarding. "...interesting fishing equipment you've got there," he says. "Mind if I take a look?"
Ruin follows quickly, reaching out to catch Leodhais' arm. "Best it stays in the bag," he says quietly, shaking his head. "There's already been enough trouble." He looks at Lucius, level and a little too calm. "I'd like to know why, though."
Norton lowers the bulky engines down into the water and walks on over to the helm of the vessel. It does have a small built up shack type deal around the controls. Well, shack's not the operative word since it is structurally sound and appears to be a part of the vessel's original design. It's big enough for the guy or gal at the wheel to stand in, but there's not much room for guests.
Lucius blows a cloud of smoke into the salty sea air, taking a seat on the bench next to his bag. "I'm sorry, I don't know exactly what you're talking about. You can take a quick peek, Leo, just don't take it out. It's for getting the really big fish."
Leodhais frowns, getting onto the vessel, and takes his place near the stern, portside - the back, left side, in non-nautical terms.
Ruin shakes his head, taking a seat opposite Leodhais. It's fairly clear that he's as uncomfortable on boats as Leodhais seems to like them, and is apparently waiting for this marvel of floatation to explode, sink, or get eaten by something.
There are benches around the vessel, and there's a tent like contraption that can be raised over the front seats to block the sea spray and what not. Most of the benches have signs that say the cushions can be used as lifesavers. About half of them have hinges hinting at compartments underneath. Norton stands firm in the deckhouse while he revs the engines and eventually gets them started. "Avast, matey! Someone unshackle us from the dock! Cast us adrift! Ahoy." He coughs.
Leodhais blinks as no one else seems to be interested in hopping to it, and unreeves the line from the dock. He coils it up and ties it secure before setting it down on the deck. "Clear to cast off, Captain," he murmurs to Norton.
Lucius snorts, removing the cigar from his mouth and tossing it into the ocean. Not much of an environmentalist, anyways. "I can't believe you just called him Captain. Ahoy, it be the Captain of the dead, bloated and rotting cow!"
Ruin is not budging, no sir. He's eyeballing the engines as if /daring/ them to break down or blow up. Just you behave, engines. The last thing you want is a nervy engineer going through your guts because he wants something to do with his hands.
Norton moves the throttle forward and water churns behind the engines as the boat leaves the dock. Luckily, they were docked at the dip of the dock facing out, so there is no tricky sideways motion needed to get out from between two other ships. The water of the harbor is calm and no washingtonfish immediately attack the Dead Cow. Norton navigates amongst the ships anchored in deeper parts of the harbor well enough. He even slows to a near stop as he waits for a sailboat to cross in front of the bow of the Dead Cow. The engines behave well enough. Norton yells, "Avast, throw the mutinous one overboard. Ahoy. Matey." He lowers his voice but keeps it loud enough to be heard around the ship. The engines really aren't that noisy. Must be a marvel of 3006...more likely 2999 by the look of them and imported from Sivad at a later date. "There's chow...grub? Scuttle? What's the nautical term? Scuttle-butt? I don't know. It's under the red and white striped cushion up front in a fridge. Other than that, entertain yourselves. If you got to puke, do it off the back and not into the engines."
Leodhais puts a hand over his mouth, stifling a laugh. "It's usually just called 'mess'. Scuttlebutt is where you keep water."
"Captain, can I go spearfishing? I've always wanted to go spearfishing. We could catch some probably toxic dinner that way and then /all/ throw up overboard." Ponders Lucius, cracking his knuckles.
Ruin looks at Lucius as if he can /see/ Lucius' last marble of sanity go bing-bouncing overboard, and this is apparently the most fascinating thing around. He pulls up one foot onto the cushion, so he can wrap his arms around his shin and rest his chin on his knee. Sort of - the bouncing of the ship isn't really useful for it.
"Water is kind of deep for spearfishing," says Norton. He tugs his hat further down on his head protectively before he continues, "We got a gaff hook on the left side under the long bench and some rods and tackle, but we don't have any proper spears much less a harpoon." He looks out the side window of the deckhouse. "Whatever you want to do. Don't expect me to launch myself in after you, though. There used to be some fins and snorkles."
Leodhais looks over at Ruin curiously, and then raises an eyebrow at Lucius. "What do you plan on spearing?" he asks drily.
"Too bad. I wanted to catch something with tentacles to cook." Whether or not Lucius has been serious with this whole tirade is not determined as his expression stays ambiguously neutral. "Oh well, something big and scaly."
Ruin is focused on the ship, and its interaction with this unnaturally large body of water. One arm disentangles itself to point. "So what's that then?" he asks. "Flotsam, jetsam, tentacles or scales?"
Norton steers away from where Ruin is pointing after glancing over at the other Lunite. He says, "You just let me worry about whatever it is that may or might not be."
Leodhais sighs. He gets up and goes over to the side of the boat, resting his arms on the gunwales. "...I think it was just seaweed."
Lucius leans on the side of the boat for now, watching over the side as well. He seems to actually be content to shut up and enjoy the air and sight of the unending sea.
Ruin glances at Leodhais. "You know anything about local sea life?" he asks. "I mean besides what's on a menu."
"Seaweed is near the top of the food chain on New Luna. Well above piece of junk boats like this one," comments Norton with his standard grin visible below the silvery shades. "Anyone else want to try this captaining bit a while?" He motions to the wheel. "Coordinates is set. Just steer towards the blinking light on the screen. We should see those broomfish before the hour is out."
Leodhais doesn't make a move towards the steering wheel, merely stays looking over the side. "...broomfish, huh. And no, I really don't. I'm a lot more familiar with Sivadian aquatic life. What do you know about them?" he asks Ruin.
Lucius nods, getting up from his seat. "Yeah, I'll do it. I'm a decent driver when it comes to land vehicles anyways, this can't be too much different." He calls back to the two crazies going into Jasper Point, "Broomfish, about fifty feet long.. Washingtonfish, about twenty. Dolphins, sea-chickens and false hawks, at least in this area."
"I just have a basic idea which ones you can eat raw," Ruin shrugs. "And which parts of them. The part where they're swimming around hasn't really been my field."
"Not much to run into," says Norton as he throttles down the motor and steps aside, keeping one hand on the wheel as the ship slows. Once Lucius takes the wheel, he goes to open the cooler under the red and white cushion, taking out a root beer.
Leodhais goes back to his seat, and watches Lucius closely. "Your sushi is delicious," Leodhais agrees, not taking his eyes off of Lucius. "And knowning where the ingredients come from isn't always crucial to food preparation."
Ruin manages a faint laugh, lost in the engine purr. "It comes from the fishermen at Ebullience," he answers. "Very fresh, there."
"Anyone else want one?" asks Norton. "We're going through the equatorial regions." It's a fast little boat but not as fast as the ferry. "Keep an eye out for kulbati."
Leodhais shakes his head. "No thank you," he says. "I'm fine." He turns back to Ruin. "They sell the best," Leodhais says, looking rather vague and dreamy, perhaps remembering said sushi.
Ruin, however, takes the warning about kulbati quite seriously and turns his attention to the passing ocean. "We don't have psi-blockers on this boat, do we," he says, in a tone that almost answers the question as he asks it.
"Nope," says Norton. "We got speed on our side, and they usually ain't this far off shore, anyway." He drinks his root beer, taking the cancer stick out of his mouth during the process.
Leodhais sighs inaudibly at the appearance of a cigarette, his eyes still on Lucius.
Ruin remains pensive, watching the ocean roll past. "I can't believe I thought of saving to buy a boat," he says quietly. "I should stick to spaceships."
Norton finishes drinking the root beer, and sticks it in a trashbag tide to the inside of the deckhouse. He lights up the cigarette with a brass Zippo type lighter. Lucius is currently at the helm of the Dead Cow.
Leodhais tilts his head slightly, brushing his hair out of his face, though it doesn't do much good. "I like spaceships," he agrees. "It's incredible to see the stars and planets up close and personal..."
Ruin blinks. "I just like seeing them without all the atmosphere in the way," he says. "I don't think I like weather."
"You haven't seen weather yet, Sparky," says Norton as he manages to smoke the cigarette in the windbreak formed by the deckhouse. "Speaking of seeing, I'm not sure where the broomfish are. We should be about there."
Leodhais gives up on trying to get his hair out of his eyes, and turns his head towards the wind, squinting his eyes. "We did veer off course a bit," Leodhais points out.
"Broomfish," Ruin murmurs. "...Of all the things I could be worrying about, I'm worrying about oversized lunch." But he's not taking his eyes off the ocean, either.
"Did we? I guess I should pay more attention," says Norton with a grin. "Oh well, no kulbati and no broomfish. It's a fair deal as far as I am concerned." He takes another drag of his cancer stick. "Oh well, we're around the double points and making a straight line to Jasper Point, more or less. If you're a strong swimmer you could probably make it ashore after we capsize. We're about thirty miles out as we arc around."
Leodhais smiles faintly, and looks out towards the ocean, shading his eyes, now curious to see whether or not the alleged broomfish will, in fact, show up."
"I don't swim," says Ruin, in the same tone he'd use to say "I don't juggle jello-shots while clog-dancing naked". "Never found the time to learn."
Norton sucks air through his teeth. "Now's your chance to learn, Sparky. We can drag you on a rope."
Leodhais shakes his head, smirking to himself, continuing to look out towards the ocean. "...is that a broomfish?" he asks, pointing.
Ruin frowns. "I'd rather you didn't," Ruin says quickly. "There are enough ways for me to die this week, thank you."
"Does it look like a sheet spread out over the ocean?" asks Norton. "It'd be sunning its dorsal fins if it were." He doesn't look towards the pointing, focused on the driving for now.
Leodhais squints, the sunlight reflecting off the water making it difficult to see. "Mmm... maybe...?"
Ruin shakes his head. "I wouldn't be able to tell," he says. "I think the angle's off...or I'm just not used to looking."
"What angle?" asks Norton. "We're not doing geometry here." He points towards one of the benches with the hinges. "Should be some binos under there if you want a better look."
Leodhais gets up and makes his way over to a bench, surprisingly graceful, despite the pitching of the boat, and gets out a pair of binoculars. He goes back to his seat, and puts them to his eyes, adjusting them a bit before really looking. "...a fish that suns its fins above water..."
Ruin tugs his cap down tighter onto his head, using its brim to shield his eyes somewhat from glare as he watches the water.
"That'd be the one," says Norton. "The mouth is where they get the name from. They ain't going to eat nothing bigger than a small fish. Don't know why. If I were that big, I'd be sacking cities, but they keep everything else out. Still, I wouldn't want to get caught in the suction of one. You still might drown trapped against the grill."
Leodhais offers the binoculars to Ruin. "Best not to get to close one then," he suggests.
Ruin accepts the binoculars silently, standing up - one hand against the boat's railing for support - to get a better look at whatever he's looking for. He does hand the binoculars back, though, and points. "There's a sheet on the water over there."
"You got a keen mind behind that trenchcoat," says Norton. "I always said us short jokers needed to be twice as smart as our taller associates." He casts a brief grin in Ruin's direction. "That goes the same way with the big fish. It stupid as a thing can get and still function at what it does. We're not getting close. Don't worry."
Leodhais laughs, and takes the binoculars again, looking through them. "Pretty impressive specimens though. Are they edible?"
"Somewhat," says Ruin, apparently taking no offense as he sits down again. "You can get fillets, anyway."
"They're not edible off this barge," says Norton with a shrug. "Maybe off a bigger, industrial fishing ship."
"Or from the safety of the shore, after you've paid someone else with a bigger, industrial fishing ship to go get one for you," Ruin says. "Which would be my preferred method." His attention's fixed on a point on the horizon, no different than any other.
"I wasn't thinking of going out and getting it," Leodhais says with a grin, still looking through the binoculars. "Oh wow, there goes a bird..."
"I guess you could go that way," says Norton. "Kind of take the adventure out of the getting of it." He looks over at Leodhais, "Yeah, we're getting pretty close."
Ruin seems to agree, expression and attitude turning distant and focused.
Leodhais nods, and then puts the binoculars back where he found them, going back to his seat. "...I confess I feel a bit nervous, truth be told."
"Yeah, well, I didn't twist any arms to get you on the boat, and we can still turn this joker around iffin you two get cold feet," says Norton as he tosses the cigarette overboard.
"No," says Ruin quietly. "Just because I'm afraid doesn't mean I shouldn't go." His lips quirk briefly. "Marines seem not to have the emotion."
Leodhais shakes his head. "I'm game," he says. "And I'm no marine. Even if I am nervous, I'm going."
"Whoa, whoa, buddy," says Norton. He holds his hands up. "I'm no marine, either, but I don't understand where this sudden hate is coming from. Who says marines are fearless, anyway? Dead marines or marines who haven't been shot at are the only ones I know of who'd spout something like that, and dead marines, as a rule, are a quiet lot."
"Marines," says Ruin quietly, "have tended to look down on me. I can't always hide being afraid, and I'm useless in a fight. Nothing to respect there; I'm just an engineer." He slants a look at Norton. "Not hate, just fact."
Leodhais looks out towards the horizon thoughtfully, still holding his hair out of his face, quiet for now.
"You worry too much, Sparky," says Norton. "You also make up some strange facts."
"I don't make up anything," Ruin replies, watching the horizon. "I don't need to."
"Misinterpret and worry too much. Anyway, we're getting close," says Norton as he takes the wheel from Lucius. "We're going to land about five miles from Jasper Point. Walk up the coast a bit and you'll find the dock where the ferry lands. Easy as pie, right? How are you two planning on getting back?"
"If all else fails, at a dead run," Ruin shrugs. "I can't plan for that many unknowns - anything could be going on."
Leodhais blinks, looking at Norton. "I thought you were giving us a ride back?"
"And how should I know when or where to pick you up?" asks Norton.
Ruin pulls a commlink out of his pocket. "Got one?" he asks. "Or you could wait...well, if Lucius can wait. I'm not sure that's in his vocabulary."
Leodhais nods. "Or I could mail you... do you have a PDA?" he pulls his out. "I never go anywhere without mine."
"I don't even know what his play is here, boss," says Norton. "Your friend, other people's boss." He looks between the two. "Depends on my day job."
Ruin nods. "We may be gone some time, then," he says. "But we'll work something out."
"Yes," Leodhais says. "What's the best way to contact you, just so we'll know?"
"What comm channel are you running, Peanut?" asks Norton.
Ruin considers. "Coin," he replies.
"No decryption keys?" asks Norton as he takes a commlink off his belt.
"TBO," Leodhais replies.
Ruin nods. "As good as any," he agrees, setting his commlink. "Hopefully you'll be in range."
"Long as I am dirtside, I should be. It's a pretty good local net, but I make no promises," says Norton.
Ruin nods. "That was a given," he replies.
"Sounds good to me," Leodhais agrees.
Norton slows down the Dead Cow as it gets nearer to the shore. "Maps say the water depth is good, but we'll see. If one of you want to take a look, I'd appreciate it." The boat is approaching an inlet/bay/harbor/whatever.
Leodhais gets up goes to the bow, rising up on his toes a bit to look over the edge. "...it's dark, and no cloudy shapes, indicating that yes, the water is pretty deep and nothing there to scrape against the keel."
"Scrapes are cool," says Norton. "It's holes that worry me."