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Insatiable Curiosity (The Reboot)

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    Odolana only watched in silence as the group before her began talking about the mission. Talking in earnest she was pleased to see.

    "Alright then," she said when Garran had finished, if holding him with a small smirk for a beat longer.

    "You all know what the layout is, what the plan is, and your places in it. I suggest taking at least the next twelve hours and using it to get some sleep. Plan amongst yourselves, sit and talk about it over dinner, whatever. But make sure you're rested and ready when this thing launches. All of the key people will be in place and ready in sixteen hours. That's your launch schedule. Canaan's told me your people are refitting the backup ship, and says it will be ready on time. Be ready to knock this thing dead, then. Till then, I hope the lot of you have a good night."

    With that, she turned to sign off. Before she did though, she fixed her eyes back on Garran for a moment.

    "Darlin'," she said smokily. "You'll need to bring more'an handcuffs if you want to control me in bed." Then she gave Garran a wink, a big grin and then signed off. Just before she did, she said, "I will be in touch two hours before the mission starts. Good night."

    *****

    Waterrunner nodded thoughtfully at Leon.

    "When I said he was stubborn," she said. She smirked a little. "I was making an understatement." Her smirk faded. "He is under enormous strain," she said more seriously. "The likes of which I think most of us can only begin to imagine. It is why he is missing meals and not sleeping properly. Probably doesn't touch his food because he has no appetite, and lays in bed awake nights, tossing and turning with worry. You'll need to be careful with him. A big part of the stress he is feeling is from the loss of our world. There's a lot of rage there. A whole lot of it. It is eventually going to need an outlet. I trust that he realizes this himself, otherwise he wouldn't be dealing with the kind of worry he is. But one thing is certain, and this is especially where you're concerned, is you don't want to become the outlet for it, yourself. If you push him too hard, he will push back. And if he pushes, a lot of what he is struggling to hold back, might come pushing with it."

    She glanced at Rick. He was still asleep. She turned back to Leon.

    "Ryshadium men of his age, because of their inordinate height, tend to have a problem as they reach their older years."

    Rick was almost ten-feet tall. And he was well into his fifties, almost sixty.

    "Their hearts start to weaken enough so that blood doesn't reach their brains as good as it used to. When they come under a lot of stress, they can simply up and faint."

    She nodded over to Rick's sleeping form.

    "I knew at once that that was what had likely happened to him. I examined him for darts or punctures, just as precaution, but I had already suspected there wouldn't be any. The IV drip I am prescribing for him is the standard medicine for men of his age. It causes mild constriction of the blood vessels going up to his brain, to increase the blood pressure to it. After the IV, he'll have to go on pills. He'll have to take one every day for the rest of his life. Other remedies are mild exercise, proper sleep and a good diet."

    Her brows knitted somewhat at Leon. "See if you can get him to take those meditation courses. They couldn't hurt. But no more sword practice. When I said mild exercise, I meant mild. Daily walks, light calisthenics, but nothing overly strenuous. If he overdoes it, with him on this medication, it could lead to a stroke. Rick is healthy."

    She glanced at the sleeping stallion again.

    "That will help, but nothing too strenuous."

    She turned back to Leon again. "You'll need to handle him with kit gloves. I don't envy you the coming days. But that is the best way you can care for him. See he gets proper rest and eats right, and he should be alright."

    With that, she patted Leon on his shoulder, giving it a squeeze. "I'll send someone up shortly."

    She turned to leave the quarters. "I'll give you a call before I send them, so that you'll know who is coming."

    *****

    Waterrunner was looking for just such a nurse, when she ran into Doctor Fordis in one of Medical's corridors.

    "Doctor Fordis," she said, pulling him to one side of the corridor. "You're familiar with Eponeon physiology, aren't you?"

    She knew he was. He had spent a year on an Eponeon colony before breaking into his cybernetics research, conducting field medicine and the like, for one of his internship assignments. The assignment was in his file. It had raised Gwen's brow when she'd read it.

    "Are you doing anything at present?"

    Fordis wasn't. The machine shop had almost finished with Commander Skystrike's wings, and planned to have them ready to be sent up to medical in about six hours. When Fordis told Waterrunner this much, she nodded at him.

    Taking out a pad, she wrote a prescription. Handing it to Fordis, she said, "Stop by the pharmacy and pick this up."

    It was a prescription for an IV drip and the associated equipment for one.

    "Then report to Captain Canaan's stateroom. Begin administering it to him at once."

    The order given, Gwen didn't give the squirrel opportunity to reply. She turned on her heel and headed off down the corridor. As she went, she had the presence of mind to call Rick's guard Captain.

    "Slight change of plans," she said, when Leon answered the call. "I'm sending Doctor Fordis up to administer the IV. He's a squirrel. He knows what he's doing, so when he gets there, just let him get on with it."
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    SciFur Players: Alienbird, Arratra, Daryn, Rick Canaan and SliceofDog

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      Leon let out a sigh once Waterrunner explained.

      “I understand,” he replied, “I’ll try to coax him into eating and sleeping properly. I won’t push it, though.”

      He listened to Waterrunner’s explanation of the medication, his display feathers drooping. His own species wasn’t prone to the problem (having evolved from pack-based pursuit predators, a raptor’s heart tended to be quite powerful), but he’d seen a man fail out of basic training for a similar problem.

      When Waterrunner gave the order for no further sword lessons, Leon let out a disappointed noise, making him sound like he was deflating.

      “I was going to let him wail on a practice dummy,” he offered in explanation, “He’s not going to like having to go without the lessons.”

      He baulked on hearing he’d have to treat the Captain with kit gloves.

      “Nor is he going to like that,” he muttered, running his claws through his display feathers again.

      “Thanks, Doctor,” he replied, “I appreciate it.”

      He gave her a respectful nod as she left.

      Once she was gone, he walked over to one of the chairs, setting his ion carbine leaning against the chair, before seating himself and pulling out his pad. He pulled up an E-book in it, and leaned back.

      Since the device was in his hand when Gwen called, he picked up almost instantly.

      “Doctor,” he greeted, before nodding when she informed him of who she’d sent, “I understand. Thank you for the heads-up. I’ll let him through when he arrives.”
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      Insatiable Curiosity

      Major Leon Stormstrider

      Varatyr Scorchtalon

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        Fordis had actually just gotten himself up from a brief rest, almost stumbling through the nearby hallway when he had run into Waterrunner. Far from being in his place to complain or bark orders, he simply kept his mouth shut as the exasperated doctor told him what he needed to do. The Captain? Of all things to have him on duty for, Fordis didn't directly expect to be taking care of the Captain. If anything, he was intimidated by a man of his size, being just barely over five feet himself.

        A doctor's oath is absolute, however, and he knew he could handle this. With a nod to the Doctor, Fordis headed off quickly to the pharmacy. With a tap to the side of his head, he'd bring up the map and head off, bringing up a journal to his vision as an overlay.

        "Arden Fordis, Entry 186. I've been a serving doctor on the Curiosity for less than a day and I'm already on duty with Captain Canaan. I'll have to be careful with how I carry myself. Can't talk much more though. Fordis out." His reading shut down the moment he reached the pharmacy, exchanging brief words with the tech there as he picked up the IV drip. Following up with a brief thanks, the squirrel was quick to get his bushy little tail up to the Captain's quarters. He didn't have much time to waste if he wanted to make a good impression.

        Soon enough, he would find himself at the elevator to the Captain's Quarters. It was a long, silent ride for the squirrel, but he'd find himself arriving shortly after.

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          Leon walked over to the elevator when it chimed, and brought up the camera feed.

          “Ah, Doctor Fordis,” he said when he saw the squirrel, “Just a moment, I’ll let you in.”

          When the elevator doors opened, Fordis found Leon waiting for him.

          “I’m glad you’re here,” he said, giving him a nod, ““I’m Marines Captain Leon Stormstrider. Captain Canaan is just over here.”

          He led Fordis over to Rick, stepping to one side.

          “Do you need any help setting the IV up?” Leon asked.
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          Insatiable Curiosity

          Major Leon Stormstrider

          Varatyr Scorchtalon

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            Fordis stepped in and was surprised at just how big everything was. It ought to be, considering the Captain's species. He gave a friendly nod to Leon and a smile, shifting his gaze over to the prone Captain. He didn't look too worse for wear, but he was most certainly in need of the IV he'd brought.

            "Oh er, no thank you. I haven't done much for the basic care in a short while, but I still remember." Fordis chuckled at this and stepped around to the side of the Captain to set up the IV, first setting up the hook to rest it on before making sure it wouldn't drain too quickly. All it took from there was a little prick on the Captain to get it going.

            "And there we are. It sure looks like Captain Canaan will be alright, but perhaps I should stick around to make sure he's alright for a bit. I hope that isn't overstepping any bounds?" He'd address Leon, making sure he wasn't going to offend.

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              Not only big, but also opulent. If after an austere sort of fashion.

              There were obviously some things which were important to the captain of this vessel, while some things were less. In some case, not at all. The bulkheads, for instance, were f the same dull bronze and brass colors of the bulkheads all over the rest of the ship. In addition, the bulkheads' support beams were bare, also - they at least adding their contrast of bright, nickle-alloy steel to the dullness of the brass and bronze. Also, the room's lighting was provided by the same kinds of fixtures found all over the rest of the ship - standard, suspended Luma-strips in industrial grade white fixtures. Additionally, pipes and conduits were exposed all throughout the ceilings and up the bulkheads, they complete with their flow-arrows and purpose markings.

              The opulence began at the floor and worked its way upwards within the bulkheads' confines.

              First of all, when Fordis stepped out of the elevator, he did so into an expansive lounge. Fordis had seen mansions will smaller receiving areas. What was more, emblazoned in what was already rich, dark blue carpet that looked too expensive to trod upon, was the symbol for the Insatiable Curiosity, itself. It was no less than ten meters in diameter, all in full color splendor, and inlaid in what looked like polished gold, silver, and other highly polished metals to give it its various colors. It, by itself, looked like it could have cost no less than a million LUTC to have done.

              But that was where the opulence only began.

              Just beyond the emblem, was a large furniture suite. A couch, two lounging chairs and a heavy, glass-topped table. On the table, moreover, stood a meter-tall crystal 'egg', which looked like it could weigh no less than two-hundred kilos. The table looked like it weighed twice as much, and the furniture was made from the riches, fine leather Fordis had ever seen. Deep brown, it looked like it had been poured onto the furniture's frame, and then solidified into absolutely unparalleled comfort.

              Just beyond this, and against the far wall, was a giant desk of beautiful hardwood. It was horse-shoe shaped, with its opening facing the wall. Upon it resided various data terminals and communications arrays. Behind the desk, was a huge office chair, it upholstered in the same leather as the other furniture in the room. The desk was three meters wide at its widest points.

              Then, upon the walls were a small multitude of paintings. The largest of these was an outside rendition of this ship. It was gorgeous - depicted against a multi-hued nebula and background of glimmering stars, it captured the grandness of the Insatiable Curiosity in all of its majestic splendor. The other paintings were of other ships, all of them as equally beautiful - they depicting ships the Captain had likely captained or served upon during his naval career.

              Then, there was the grandfather clock. It was huge. Nothing short of stately. Within its glass doors swung a pendulum at least two meters long, which had a slow-swinging arc of no less than half a meter. The clock's face, which was another half meter in diameter, boasted two hands, hours and minutes, they stylized after the fashion of Gothic cathedrals. The clock's face had upon it a giant, pastel orange gas giant, it depicted as being orbited by a shining jewel of a blue planet. Fordis would recognize this at once, of course. This was Eponeon being depicted as orbiting its mother planet, Epona's Eye.

              The bedroom, wherein Fordis came to the Captain, was just as richly furnished. The bed in which he lay, was wide enough for three of him, and stacked highly enough so that Fordis had to lean over it to administer the IV. The rest of the furniture in the room was just as rich as what was in the entrance room, and this room was almost as large as was the first, also.

              Also, Fordis saw what looked like a full service kitchen, as he came into the bedroom. There was also a bath fitted with gold and silver fittings, black and white tile floor, and a shower large enough for six of the Eponeon Captain to bathe in.

              Closets, too, big ones. And chests, coat and hat stands, footstools and even a full service wet bar. Fordis even saw what looked like an opulent dining room beyond the kitchen.

              In any case, the Captain stirred slightly when the needle was pushed into his arm. Opening his eyes slightly, he saw Fordis. When he did, his eyes snapped open. When they did, he immediately jerked his head up, only relaxing again when he saw Leon.

              "W-what h-happened?" he said groggily, flopping back, or just laying back really, as he hadn't risen far. His eyes found the ceiling and he gazed up at it as in half a dream state. "T-the last..." A pause to moisten dry lips. Then, "The last thing I remember was coming onto the bridge, about to say something to Waterrunner... and now..."

              He looked at Leon with a kind of half desperate pleading.

              "What happened to me? Why am I here?"
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              SciFur Players: Alienbird, Arratra, Daryn, Rick Canaan and SliceofDog

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                Leon nodded in response to Fordis’ assertion he wouldn’t be needed, stepping back slightly to get out of his way.

                By now, the raptor had become somewhat accustomed to the opulent furnishings, though he had never found them quite to his taste (preferring simpler comforts).

                Leon stepped forward again when Rick’s eyes opened, standing directly beside him.

                “Easy, Captain,” he replied, “You fainted. Doctor Waterrunner’s diagnosis is that you’re exhausted and borderline malnourished, but otherwise healthy; however, your age is catching up to you.”

                He took a deep breath.

                “That’s what the IV is for,” he continued, “She’s also told me that you’re to rest for the next twenty-four hours. She’ll make it an order if you don’t comply,” he added, “Both Commander Skystrike and Lieutenant Starkle are both more than capable of watching the ship for a day while you rest up.”

                He paused for a moment.

                “I’m afraid you’re also going to be on a prescription from now on,” he explained, “I don’t know what it is, but it’s to up your blood pressure so you aren’t prone to fainting. I’m afraid, however, that it rules out strenuous activity for risk of a stroke. That… includes your swordplay lessons.”

                “Our lessons don’t have to end completely,” he added, “I’ve still got things I can teach you. I learned how to meditate while I was being trained in Claw-fighting; it’s something meant to lead towards a so-called ‘No-Mind’ state, but it also makes for a good way of relieving stress, and I find it also helps with concentration when you’re contemplating something.”
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                Insatiable Curiosity

                Major Leon Stormstrider

                Varatyr Scorchtalon

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                  After their dismissal, Victorious was the first to leave the room. She nodded at Daryn and Salvatore, but ignored the room’s other occupants as she marched out and kept up her pace all the way to her quarters. There, she dropped off her weapon and armour, before hitting the gym.

                  She was a regular there. Most knew her, at least by sight if not name, and she’d often be seen engaging in friendly rivalries and contests of strength or endurance with other gym-goers, sometimes even attracting small crowds to jeer and cheer as she strained against her competition. Sometimes she lost, and was graceful in conceding defeat. Most often she won. Her grace did not extend to victory, and many chants had been started throughout the gym to hammer home how much she had trounced her rival, often with incredibly colourful language.

                  Today, however, there was no such interaction. She walked straight up to the punching bags and delivered a blow that resounded throughout the room. Then another. And another. One for Odolana. One for Garren. One for Argril. And again. And again. And again.

                  By the time they came for the mission, maybe she’d have got it out of her system.

                  But twelve hours really wasn’t that long, in the scheme of things…

                  -

                  Haheen was looking into M’nonk’s eyes as the elk spoke. The eyes truly were the windows to the soul. And to the absolute best of Haheen’s ability, he was sure M’nonk was telling the truth.

                  At least, was telling his truth. Just because someone truly believed what they were saying didn’t mean it had happened – what implications that would have regarding these mysterious shadows the rat didn’t really want to consider – but it meant that to understand the speaker, you had to work from a position of their truth.

                  And M’nonk’s truth sounded sinister indeed.

                  Haheen nodded. “Thank you for telling me that,” he said, “it couldn’t have been easy, and I understand that you might not entirely trust me or my intentions. But I want you to know that I have heard what you’ve said, and I see how it would cause concern for anyone.”

                  The rat sat back, and thought.

                  “I’ll look into this. There are ways to assess this sort of thing. See if any of the interactions you mentioned were caught on security camera, compare time-stamps, and so on. I promise you, if anything unusual crops up, I will be investigating it, and I will be interviewing you and your Templars to see what li- ahem, what understanding you could shed on this situation.”

                  Haheen stood, turned, and rapped on the door curtly, summoning Yanktee back into the room. Then he spoke again to M’nonk.

                  “Of course, we cannot let you go after attempted murder. You understand that, I’m sure? I’ll make sure you’re comfortable, and if your Templars continue to follow the laws of the ship, as they always have done, I see no reason to interfere with your church or its members.”
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                  My Insatiable Curiosity RP character - Haheen Jaquoi

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                    Garran watched as Victorious left the room, with nary a word. A seething aura of anger radiated from her like a halo. It didn't have the tinge of rage that marked true anger, but there was resentment there, and maybe something else. The Akalian shook his head, he would have to trust that whatever baggage she was carrying could be stowed for the mission. He turned to look at the remaining team members. Argril had tracked Victorious's exit with his usual stoicism. The XO appeared relieved that the meeting was over, and Salvatore remained as inscrutable as ever. They were a motley group, but he had done a lot with worse. At the very least none of them were borderline psychopaths. Or he at least hoped they weren't. Combat had a way of bringing out the worst in some people. The Akalian rubbed the bridge of the muzzle. Suddenly feeling extremely tired. The clock on his HUD indicated that he he now had eleven hours and fifty six minutes until the mission. "If its all the same to you two, I think I'll follow her advice. Discounting time unconscious, I don't think i've slept since this entire situation began," he said before giving a respectful nod to the XO. As he turned to leave Argril finally broke his pose to follow, or rather to lead Garran. The Akalian waited by the door as his nano enhanced guard dog led the way.

                    The trip back to his quarters was uneventful. With only a few curious stares from passing crew and at least one look of cold fury and distrust from a security officer who doubtlessly recognized Argril for who he was serving as the highlights. His quarters were as he remembered them. His personal terminal sat almost expectantly, though there was little to do unless he wanted to study MICH or the mission files deeper. The idea of more reading made Garran feel even more exhausted. He turned to his canine companion and pointed to the spare chair in the corner of the room. "Wait there unless you have a biological function that needs to be taken care of," he ordered. Argril looked at the chair, then scanned the room again before walking over and taking a seat. Even sitting the dog was almost eye level with the Akalian, and looked as if the position wouldn't alter his reaction time in the slightest. With a mental keyed code Garran opened his armor. Without the support of an exo-frame station the armor stayed attached as one solid piece, merely opening to allow him to step out. The sudden rush of air across the skinsuit made his fur bristle. it was an inevitable sensation. No matter what the environment, the air always felt cold after he spent time in his suit.

                    Garran rubbed his muzzle. The dried on blood crinkled under his paw. He then moved to pull his skin suit off, letting it hang on his armor. A brief stent in the shower left his feeling clean, if not refreshed. He checked the clock on his terminal. He had eleven hours left. The black tendrils of exhaustion crept up around the edges of his eyes. He again considered ignoring them to pursue the briefing files or the League database, but his body made its demands rather clear. His eyes flashed as his nanite enhanced HUD appeared with a green message.

                    Metabolic and Hormonal imbalance detected, engage compensatory measures?

                    He pondered what those measures might entail. Could the nanites 'sleep' for him? He shook his head and sent an affirmative no before crawling on the memory foam padding of his bed. He was still Garran Ventarus of Pride Ventra, Lieutenant Commander in the League Navy. As his head pressed against the pillow the train of reminders of who he was kept coming. Second born of Gentra and Suslia. First Akalian psionic. First of his family to live off world. The reminders calmed him like a lullaby. The swirling blackness of sleep came rushing in, finding a welcoming mind. With a final exhale, he let the world go and drifted off into a dreamless slumber....
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                      Fordis' administrations were going smoothly, though when the Captain woke, it nearly scared the squirrel to death with that slight jerk upward, causing the squirrel to flinch backward a little in response, if only to get out of the way.

                      After the brief moment of hesitation, Fordis would step back over, projecting a little screen to assist Leon with his statement, namely showing a typical scan of Eponeon Physiology.

                      "Thankfully it isn't anything too serious, Captain. And entirely understandable for your age. The Doctor is right, though, you'll need to be resting for the next twenty-four hours. She was quite adamant about this, it seemed. Been a busy day, I'll admit, I could use a bit of a rest myself if you don't mind the company." The squirrel offered a friendly grin, taking down the readout from his projection.

                      Comment


                        Haheen was still interrogating the prisoner, when Zeeke returned.

                        "Oh hey, little buddy. Back already?"

                        Zeeke nodded at Yanktee. He'd just leaped up onto the bison's shoulder.

                        "Yeah," Zeeke said. "I set the forensics crew to sweeping Central, then I got the call from the bridge to escort someone to some place, then got called back and told not to worry about it anymore."

                        He shrugged his little shoulders. "So now, here I am." He suddenly wrinkled his nose. "And what's up with you? You smell like you slept in a brewery."

                        Yanktee grimaced at the little cat. "Got drunk last night," he admitted. "Not so bad now, though. A little hung-over, but Mister Haheen brought me something this morning." He shrugged, making Zeeke need to adjust his balance. "Wasn't bad, either, and it worked."

                        He turned his gaze to Haheen, whom they could see through the interrogation room's monitor.

                        "Not a bad sort, he," the bison said.

                        Zeeke agreed with the big guy, giving one of his ears a playful tug downward. "You aren't so bad yourself either, ya know."

                        Just then, M'nonk was getting started on what he claimed he saw. Zeeke felt Yanktee stiffen under him. Zeeke stiffened, himself.

                        "That dragon that was here a few weeks ago?" Zeeke murmured, feeling a ball of ice forming in his little stomach.

                        "Yeah," Yanktee said. "The congressman. That Abraxian. Cortez."

                        Yanktee's brows drew down. Zeeke looked up at him. "What?" the little cat said.

                        Yanktee glanced back down at Zeeke. "Dunno," he said with another shrug, almost upsetting Zeeke's balance again.

                        "Dunno what?" Zeeke asked.

                        "Why would Cortez do something like that, then help us?"

                        "Help us how?" Zeeke asked.

                        "Well, he helped us with that burnout, even captured one of those supersoldiers for us. If he did all of that, why would he want to do something nefarious to us?"

                        "Nefarious?" Zeeke asked, amused at Yanktee's choice of words.

                        "You know what I mean," the bison grumbled.

                        Yanktee didn't like it when people made fun of him when he was trying to be intelligent.

                        "You know - do something to hurt us after he had done all of that for us?" Yanktee clarified, scowling a little at Zeeke, eying him, as if expecting another quip.

                        Zeeke though, had only raised an eyebrow and then nodded. "It wouldn't make sense, would it? Well, either way..." the little cat took out his pad. It was the size of a large memory chip to Yanktee. Small.

                        "I've got clearance to access everything in security now," Zeeke went on, doing some stuff on the small pad.

                        Haheen, in the interrogation room, had just mentioned accessing video playbacks of the events. In another moment, Zeeke had time frames of camera feeds coming up onto his pad. He showed Yanktee, who had to squint some to see.

                        "Come on," Zeeke said. "Let's get back to Central. I'll be able to put Gagi's..."

                        His little ears faltered. "Sergeant Garaga's programs to working on finding the right time frames," he amended.

                        Yanktee nodded slowly down at the cat.

                        "You go ahead," he said. Catching Zeeke's mood, he added, "Garaga wrote those routines. The best way we could honor him is to put what he made available to us to good use."

                        Zeeke nodded back up the bison. And for once, he appreciated the big lug's streaks of romanticism.

                        "Will do," he said firmly. He turned, making ready to hop down from Yanktee's shoulder. Just before he did, Yanktee addressed him again.

                        "Oh and Zeeke?" he said.

                        Zeeke paused and turned to look back up at him.

                        "Just between you and me?"

                        Zeeke nodded, curious, his ears going up at Yanktee.

                        "I don't know what happened to him, but you've seen the scar on his neck, right?"

                        Zeeke glanced at the monitor, to which Haheen's back was still turned. "Yeah?" he said, looking back up at Yanktee.

                        "When you jumped up on his shoulder?"

                        Zeeke nodded again, thinking he understood.

                        "Yeah," Yanktee said. "I'd let him get to know you a little better first." The big bison reached up and rubbed the back of his neck. "He sort of flinched when you first jumped up there. Just... let him get to know you a little better, first, alright?"

                        Zeeke decided he liked this big lug all over again. "You got it," he said, his eyes brightening.

                        Yanktee smiled down at the little feline. "Good. You go ahead now. Me and Mister Haheen will catch you up as soon as he's done in there."

                        *****

                        M'nonk looked for a moment like he was torn between demanding this rat take his word for it right here on the spot, or just sighing in resignation and giving up. Who would believe a Templar? It was enough to disgust the elk. If this Master at Arms, head of ship security, or whatever he was, hadn't remained as professional as he had, M'nonk would have immediately given into one or the other just to spite him, whatever consequences doing so would bring. But, he had watched Haheen's eyes, and the rat had given him nothing but his full, professional attention throughout the explanation. No scorn, no dismissiveness - nothing of the sort had flickered into the otherwise steadiness of his gaze. Across the table from him, M'nonk had to decide, sat a man who took his job seriously. He wasn't filled with bias, preconceptions or prejudice. He was the type who listened, only dismissing what he heard as possible untruths after the facts, in this case, evidence, were found not to match.

                        So, instead of giving into either of the two impulses, M'nonk retook his seat. He nodded slowly at the rat across the table from him.

                        But then, his eyes narrowed.

                        "You don't remember any of what happened to you, do you?" he asked. M'nonk was evidently going on the presumption that Haheen would find what he described in the video records.

                        Haheen didn't remember any of what M'nonk had described. He would remember the encounter with the Abraxian, of course. It had taken place right here in security. It was right after that supersoldier, Mufas, had been delivered to a cell. There had only been Haheen's own instinctual suspicion of Cortez and an exchange of introductions with him. Right after that, the creature had left Security. Also, Haheen would remember that M'nonk had been part of the entourage that had brought the lion supersoldier to security. The elk had been dismissed, though, just before Haheen encountered the Abraxian. Had M'nonk paused in the corridor, perhaps glanced back and seen something, then? Also, Haheen remembered that Yanktee had been with him, he, Haheen, when this supposedly had happened. The bison, through most all of it, had remained by Haheen's side, refusing to leave it, in fact. But the bison hadn't remarked on anything unusual... If what M'nonk were saying was true, had the bison been caught up in the same 'spell' as had Haheen? That was, of course, if what the elk said was true, and there had been any kind of 'spell' at all.

                        The elk was speaking again.

                        "I'm not given to flights of fancy, Sir. You can check my record. Six combat campaigns, two of those as a Warrant Officer in the battle dress corps."

                        He gave a soft sigh, moved his arms some in the handcuffs.

                        "Look. I know what I tried to do doesn't give me a lot of credibility." He shrugged. "And I know the church I'm a member of doesn't either."

                        His eyes became intent upon Haheen. "But please... whatever you do, look at those video records."

                        He suddenly gave a bark of a laugh.

                        "But who's to say you aren't part of it, too?" He shook his head, emitting a sound from his throat that was somewhere between laughter and a cry of despair. He looked back up at Haheen again.

                        "But hell, who knows? Maybe that thing was just trying to determine your future or something." He leaned forward, his eyes intent again. "But I know what I saw. Rian knows what he saw. Check those videos. Take my word for it or don't, but for the Love of the Light, check those videos."

                        *****

                        An instant of irritation flashed into Rick's eyes. Doctor Waterrunner order him? Rest for twenty four hours?! But then, he sighed and let himself rest back on the bed. The next words out of Leon's mouth had Rick looking up sharply at him again. But then that too brought another sigh.

                        "Ryshadium Male Fainting Sickness," he said. He grunted and rubbed his face, careful to use the arm Fordis hadn't stuck a needle in. "Might know it would happen just when we had all of this going on."

                        That had him flumping back on the bed again, grunting in resignation.

                        "Very well," he said then, taking a couple of minutes to think it all over. "Starkle has command of the bridge until I am back on my feet again."

                        He glanced up at Leon.

                        "Better call Commander Skystrike, too."

                        His eyes became sharp.

                        "Do not give him any details, however. I do not want him worrying. Epona only knows he's got enough on his plate already, with this mission he's got coming up. For now, just tell him I've taken a food-borne illness and that medical wants me to rest up for the next day or so. If he presses for details, tell him I'm on medication that has me out, and that I'll see him first thing when his mission is over."

                        Rick blinked.

                        "And call that damned mare and tell her, too."

                        He grunted. It would be just like Waterrunner to start spouting all of it out at Daryn. Her motivations might be from concern and worry, all in the right place, but he did not want Daryn to know what was really going on until after his mission was over.

                        "Tell her it is an order from me," he grumbled. A small flicker of almost boyish revenge came into his eyes with it - the Captain getting back some of his own from someone who would order him about, would they? "And if she has a problem with it, she can just bring it to me."

                        That settled, Rick looked down at Fordis. Apparently feeling his oats a bit still, he said, "Of course. Remain for as long as your duties call for it, Doctor." His eyes flicked to annoyed sharpness again. "And since you doctors are so interested in my nourishment, perhaps you can go into my kitchen and prepare me something to eat."
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                          Leon shrugged in response to the name of the problem. He was a different species, and wasn’t medically trained (beyond basic, pan-species first-aid), which meant he’d never heard of it before Doctor Waterrunner had described it to him. Even then, she hadn’t named it.

                          He pulled out his pad to comply with the order, but paused when Rick continued speaking.

                          “Aye, Captain,” he replied, pulling up a connection with the Bridge.

                          “Lieutenant Starkle,” he greeted, “It’s Stormstrider. The Captain’s going to be indisposed for the next twenty-four hours. By his authority, you have the Bridge until he’s back on his feet.”

                          Once Starkle acknowledged, Leon nodded.

                          “Good man. Stormstrider out.”

                          He called Commander Skystrike next.

                          “Commander,” he said, “I’m calling to let you know that the Captain’s going to be indisposed for the next twenty-four hours. It’s just a minor food-borne illness, nothing serious. Might be from that bad batch of onions I heard about.”

                          Leon had heard some complaints about the onion rings aboard ship. He couldn’t eat them himself (while he wasn’t an obligate carnivore, his system couldn’t handle certain types of vegetable matter, which included onions, and could only handle a limited amount of grains), but Ranger had eaten some and regretted it.

                          Once the conversation with Daryn was finished, he called Doctor Waterrunner.

                          “Doctor? It’s Stormstrider,” he stated, “The Captain’s woken up. He’s resting,” he added quickly, “But he’s ordered that Commander Skystrike be told that he’s merely suffering from a mild food-borne illness, if you speak to him.”

                          He paused for a second as something occurred to him

                          “It’s probably for the best,” he added, “Commander Skystrike might be distracted with worry if he’s told that it’s… What did the Captain call it? Ryshadium Male Fainting Sickness?”

                          He tilted his head slightly to one side in thought.
                          Last edited by Arratra; 03-14-2018, 10:47 AM. Reason: corrected spelling error
                          Arratra's Signature
                          Fanfiction


                          Deviantart


                          Insatiable Curiosity

                          Major Leon Stormstrider

                          Varatyr Scorchtalon

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                            Rick winced slightly when Leon called Starkle a 'Good man'. He could almost see the fox bristling. Like, who was Captain Stormstrider to be calling him, a Lieutenant, a man of the same rank, if of a different branch of the service, a Good man? It made Rick grin a little. Starkle would not be appreciating the effrontery. But Rick let it pass. Starkle wasn't one to hold grudges. He was too much the professional, and he was sure enough of his place on the ship to not let such a thing bother him. The grin came from Leon eventually probably being made to eat a little crow in some kind of fashion, if Starkle ever decided to get back at him for it. That would probably come in the form of a practical joke, or some offhand comment to make Leon bristle a little in return.

                            It all had Rick holding Leon with twinkling eyes for the few moments it took him to make the calls.

                            Waterrunner, however, was a different story.

                            She scowled at Leon. Finally, though, she sighed, and nodded. "Very well," she said. "But just this once. If his lordship doesn't take advice and his condition worsens..."

                            She said this loud enough for Rick to hear, which had him wiping that small smirk right off of his face.

                            "I'll see to it not only Commander Skystrike knows, but that the lowest scullions in the kitchens know, as well."

                            Rick started to sit up, starting to splutter.

                            "I know you heard me, Captain," Waterrunner said. "And I meant it. You follow advice, or I swear, not only will I spread what a hardheaded ox-brain you can be all over this ship, I'll have Leon there stand on your head to see if maybe he can press some sense into it."

                            This had Rick looking down at Leon's feet, at those nastily taloned feet, then back up at Leon with the deepest scowl he could muster. He looked like he was about to make a retort, too, and a heated one, but then just finally grumbled something under his breath, sighed, and then fell back down into his bed again.

                            "I will follow my doctors' advice," he said then, if through gritted teeth. "To the letter, doctor. You have my word."

                            Waterrunner snorted over Leon's comm.

                            "Good enough," she answered. Her attention turned back to Leon. When she next spoke, her voice softened. "He can be terribly stubborn, Captain," she said. "You may not have to actually stand on his head..." She rolled her eyes. "But Epona only knows he may press us to doing just short of it."

                            She sighed.

                            Rick was scowling again, and straining to listen.

                            "Just see to it he gets his rest. He needn't stay in bed the whole twenty-four hours, but he is not to do any work. I know he has a liking for solving word-game puzzles and the like. Try to find a library of them. If you can keep him distracted with stuff like that, he'll be all the better for it."

                            *****

                            "That punch bag do something to you?" came a voice. It was deep, and jovial with amusement. When Victorious looked up, she found Master Chief Raymond Sansiqual standing nearby. He was holding a bemused brow aloft at her.

                            Sansiqual was a regular in the gym, too. In his case, though, it was for physical therapy. His knee had been injured during the rescue of Commander Skystrike, and the doctors had put him on a daily regimen of it. Whenever he and Victorious crossed paths in the gym, though, they seldom shared anything beyond the regular pleasantries. But Victorious would have to admit to herself, that today wasn't an ordinary day. A thing to which the punch bag she was having it out on, could greatly attest to. The extra pounding she was giving it today, must have attracted the Master Chief's attention.

                            He stepped over. "Use some help, then, lass?" he asked. "Mayhap I can find a couple of sparring pads for me hands, and you can have a go at those for a while?" He smiled that great horned smile of his down at her, the one he was famous ship wide for. The smile of the ship's grandfather. Everybody aboard ship respected Sansiqual. Even the Captain was said to step lightly around him. Not because he feared him, but because of the great respect he held among the crew - respect he had earned from just being the man he was. Decent and kind, Sansiqual always had an ear for anyone who needed to have a word with someone who would listen.

                            "And mayhap, if that bag were any judge, he'd say you might be wantin' an understandin' ear for a minute, too."
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                              As the meeting broke up, with Victorious only pausing briefly to acknowledge him and then storming out of the room. He hoped she would b able to get herself under control for the mission. He knew he shouldn’t worry, Victorious had a good record when it came to her work. He doubted that would change, especially with the stakes as high as they were. Daryn was left with Garran, Argril, and Salvatore. He momentarily thought about bringing up what he’d learned about Argril then and there with Garran, but as he looked at the Akelian, he decided it’d just be best to wait until the lion was rested. A few hours was not going to change much here.

                              He did nod to Garran before he left, “When you’re up again, come by my quarters with Argril. There are some last-minute details we should get sorted out before we get going.”

                              Garran nodded before leaving the common room, leaving Daryn alone with Salvatore. The bird nodded to the black fox. “Well, that turned out better than I could have expected,” he said with genuine relief in his voice. His head darted from side to side idly, “With that, I think I’ll take my leave as well. Thank you for hosting us here on your ship.”

                              Daryn left the Stromboli and walked to the nearest train. He was cleared through security and took his seat in the passenger car. As he did so, he received Leon’s message about Rick. His eyes widened in surprise and concern, while his head bobbed up and down in agitation. Rick wasn’t feeling well. He should head straight for the horse’s stateroom and see if he needed anything.

                              Even as he thought about it, he realized that it wasn’t likely that he’d be able to do much. Besides, his guard captain was there, so there wasn’t any danger that anything would happen to him while he was unattended. So he nodded to Leon’s image on his pad, “Let me know if anything changes, then. Tell him to try a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar. That should help.”

                              Rick had gotten a case of food poisoning or something related. There was nothing to worry about, he’d received treatment and from what Leon said he was fine but he needed to rest. Rest, that was something Daryn could use a bit of himself. Still, he couldn’t help but offer that advice. That stuff tasted vile, but worked wonders.

                              Daryn let out a sigh, finally realizing just how tired he was. He hadn’t done anything overly physically straining today, but he was mentally drained. The discovery with Argril, the tense meeting, the daunting mission that he and his ragtag team were going to undertake. It was enough to leave anyone feeling wrung out.

                              He arrived back at his quarters, removed his uniform and set it in the laundry. He had another fresh one to change into in the morning. As he looked at his bed though, he couldn’t see himself sleeping right then. He could afford to stay up a couple of more hours.

                              He sat at his workstation and brought up the latest security bulletins. They were about a week out of date, given the time they’d been radio-silent he wouldn’t have received any new exploit and vulnerability bulletins, but they should be new enough to still be useful.

                              He began to filter through the reports and white-papers, narrowing his search down to those relevant to networking gear, control systems, operating systems, and mobile devices. With the time he had left, he couldn’t go as deep as he wanted to, but he would certainly make the most of the time he had.

                              Not every vulnerability had proof-of-concept code. The ones that did though, he added to his exploit toolkit. Before he knew it, Daryn heard the beeping of his alarm. He looked at the time on the corner of his display. He’d been working at this for three hours. His vision was getting bleary and his eyes were beginning to hurt. It was time for bed.

                              He got up from his desk chair and walked to his bed. Finally, he laid down, pulled the covers over himself, and told the computer systems to turn out the lights. Sleep took him almost immediately.
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                              “Just when you think humanity has found the limits of stupid, they go and ratchet up the standard by another notch.” - Bob

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                                Fordis wasn't sure what to think at the suggestion to cook for the Captain. Sure, he could cook, but he wasn't expecting to be doing so at the moment. Then again, what harm would there be? He nodded his head.

                                "Certainly, Captain. Have to keep you well-fed if you're going to get your energy back up. I'll see what I can whip up." The doctor sported a rather charming smile as he began to pull up a list of recipes that would be beneficial to Eponeon appetites that didn't taste horrible. He's a doctor, so cooking should be a breeze, right? Stepping into the kitchen, the doctor found himself a bit overwhelmed, being half the size of the Captain meant he'd have a harder time reaching some things, but it was at very least within his abilities to climb if he had to, though he suspected he wouldn't need to.

                                The doctor began to mutter to himself as he sorted through what he had to work with, getting a bit lost in his own mumbling.


                                After what was longer than it reasonably should've been, the Doctor would emerge with a meal he hoped would work. Oats, fruits, and some types of nut were all mixed in together into...Oatmeal. Okay, so perhaps he isn't the best of cooks, but it was at least something that would taste good and work for nutrition.

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                                  Leon realised his slip with Starkle right after he said it, and the fox would catch him grimacing, a self-recriminating grumble coming from the raptor’s throat, right before the call disconnected.

                                  He wasn’t used to relaying orders to someone of equivalent or higher rank than himself. Among the League Marines, he’d led his fireteam, but they’d been a frontline unit, and he’d never found himself in the position of relaying orders to them from someone else.

                                  On top of that, while he was fluent in League Standard, it wasn’t his first language, so Leon’s word choice was sometimes a bit awkward or inadvertently slightly rude.

                                  Both had been factors here.

                                  He made a mental note to write a quick apology to Starkle once he had a chance to, hopefully before Starkle sprang whatever revenge prank he came up with, before moving on.

                                  Leon frowned internally as he saw Commander Skystrike become agitated upon being “informed”, the exact opposite of what he’d intended to happen, before the avian calmed.

                                  “Will do, Commander” he replied, “Stormstrider out.”

                                  Closing the line, he went to open the link with Waterrunner, before pausing for a moment.

                                  “Apple Cider Vinegar?” he wondered, “How would that help with food poisoning?”

                                  Shaking his head, he opened the line with Waterrunner.

                                  His display feathers were almost immediately flaring in alarm as he found himself in the midst of a near-argument.

                                  He sighed audibly when the argument was defused, before turning his attention to Waterrunner’s advice.

                                  “Word puzzles,” he muttered, considering, “There should be an archive of those somewhere on the ship’s Cybersphere.”

                                  He nodded.

                                  “All right,” he said, “Thank you for the advice, Doctor. I’ll get right to it.”
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                                  Fanfiction


                                  Deviantart


                                  Insatiable Curiosity

                                  Major Leon Stormstrider

                                  Varatyr Scorchtalon

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                                    Rick smiled at Leon.

                                    "Relax, son," he said. He was starting to grin a little. "She's just doing what she thinks will take the strain off you and the good doctor here, from taking the brunt of my..." He snorted. "My 'stubbornness'." That was followed by a shrug, and then another smile. A small one, contemplative. "And she means well."

                                    With that, Rick's eyes flicked to Leon's with amusement. And then again proving how well he could read his guard Captain, he said, "As to Starkle? Don't worry about him." That contemplative smile returned. He then smirked a little bit. "Let him get back at you. It'll build on the relationship between you and he."

                                    Rick grunted.

                                    "I've seen how awkward you are around him. He's even asked me about it a couple of times. I've told him not to sweat it, that it's probably just part of your people's culture or something." He raised a brow at Leon, accompanying it with another smile. "If you let him get back at you for this, and I promise it'll be something pretty harmless, he'll be able to start feeling more comfortable around you." He grinned some. "If I had to wager on it, I'd be willing to bet the two of you might even end up having a good laugh over it. So, I'd say if anything, what you just did might be the first plank laid to building a bridge of friendship with him."

                                    Rick wrinkled his nose in amusement, still smiling at Leon. "Some of the best friendships I've ever been in, got their starts in little faux pas like this. You'll do well with Starkle. He's a good sort. In fact, I can remember a day when he was just as afraid of making these kinds of little mistakes as you are now."

                                    That brought another grunt. "As to Waterrunner, let her have her little goes at me. She thinks she knows how to motivate me." That brought a bemused grimace. "Which she does, sort of, in a round about sort of fashion." He grinned. "I sometimes refuse to listen to her just so I can watch her rant. At the end of the day though, I know good advice for what it is." He nodded. "I'll be following her orders. Only a fool would refuse to when their doctor is as serious as she is about this. And this is serious. So no worry on that score, I promise."

                                    Just then, Fordis returned with his bowl of oats for Rick.

                                    Swinging his legs out of the bed, he sat up and took the proffered bowl.

                                    "Epona," he said, stirring its contents with the spoon Fordis provided. "I think you put everything but the kitchen sink in here."

                                    It wasn't a complaint, though. To the contrary - Rick had glanced up at the doctor with appreciation when he made the remark.

                                    Then, it was his ears faltering to the sides and his toes doing a little, involuntary curl down into the carpet, when he tasted it. And he blinked, clearly enjoying the flavor.

                                    "Nicely done, Doctor," Rick said, after he'd swallowed the spoonful. "This is good."

                                    He paused there to take another bite. Mumbling around it, he said, looking up at Fordis, "Until Waterrunner clears me to go back on duty, you may consider yourself appointed as my personal physician."

                                    He took then another bite, and then another, shoveling them in. "Mmph. In fact, with skills like this, I might have to reconsider your posting all together! I think you might be just a good a chef as you might be as a doctor!"

                                    Rick was only joking though, of course, letting Fordis know this with a twinkling of his eyes. He went back to eating again, more like shoveling down the contents of the bowl again. "Blessed good, though. Best I've had in ages."
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                                      Curio had been sitting on his bed for a while now with the new uniform still resting over the back of a chair though it was not at what he was looking. His gaze was focused on the flightsuit still folded on top of one of the stacks of uniforms and its helmet. A soft clicking could be heard in his room as he tapped the hard tips of his prosthetic fingers against the palm.
                                      Being on two minds of the sudden rank of Lt and fighter pilot made him a bit fidgety. He knew how to fly small craft, he knew how to fly during combat. He had after all studied in a navy funded school so some simple combat simulations had been part of the curriculum there but... Perhaps when any fighting broke out he would have the adrenaline make decisions for him so sitting here worrying about it till his ears fell off would be a waste of time.

                                      Getting up and off the bed he picked up the black case with the yellow line that held his revolver and clicked open the locks, took out the revolver and started checking it. It was in exact the same condition as when he had handed it over it seemed and needed no maintenance so instead he found a clear desk and pulled out a small set of tools from one of his own bags.
                                      Out came some sanding paper, clippers and other small tools and he put down the box holding the small eagle ship model and he started slowly preparing it for a repaint after its journey through his Falcon's pedal hydraulics. Chuck had done great work restoring the build, now it needed some detailed loving to get it back to its intended beauty. He'd have to figure out if there was a civilian store on the ship, there no doubt was, and if they had any of the things he needed or if they had to be ordered.

                                      "Fly in, drop off soldiers, get them out. Sounds easy..." he started muttering to himself as he worked on the model.

                                      Despite his fears he was also excited but whether it was in a good or bad way was yet to be seen.
                                      Miqu's Signature
                                      Curio Valence Character Sheet

                                      Curio Valance Backstory

                                      Orbona, Doomed Orbital FAQ

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                                        That night, Daryn had a dream. The dream was a collection of images, the images metaphors, Daryn knowing them for this. He would not be able to explain why he knew. He just knew them as such, as images of what was to come, and most importantly of all, what lay before them.

                                        A giant arm, a universe made of glass. A giant glass sphere wherein was contained all of the stars, moons and all inhabited worlds. In the arm, wielded by it, a giant hammer. The hammer struck the glass. It vibrated terribly under the blow. Then again, and again the sphere which was the universe vibrated, the hammer striking it hard blow after hard blow.

                                        The imagery shifted, became something else. A demoness with red eyes, a face with a terrible, grinning countenance. She had only one horn, the one she had terrible to look upon, the other horn missing. She called beats to the arm with the hammer, calling its blows upon the glass universe, blow after terrible blow.

                                        The imagery changed again. This time to a huddled figure, it looking up at the coming breaking of the universe, it watching in helpless horror, knowing that if he did not do something, the universe would shatter, and all would be lost. The figure wore robes of white and black, Daryn knowing them to signify that the huddled figure who wore them, saw the universe in those shades, and those shades alone. When he looked up, he raising his hands beseeching against the coming destruction, Daryn saw a long, jagged scar upon his neck.

                                        The view shifted, panned outward. The demoness, she stood over the huddled figure, a long, wicked looking dagger in her hand. She stood, ready to plunge it, but had to wait on the arm with the hammer, for it to tell her she could. The arm with the hammer, though, was too preoccupied with its blows. It had no attention for the demoness or the figure huddled beneath her. It had not mind for her, for it was too intent upon cracking the universe with its hammer. She held the dagger but had no attention for it, either. She was too intent upon calling the blows.

                                        The view shifted again. When it did, it was no longer of the arm with the hammer, the demoness or the huddled figure. Instead, it was of a ray of light. It shone in the darkness, it becoming brighter and brighter as Daryn moved closer toward it. As he grew nearer, the ray of light resolved into a figure. It was a lion in resplendent white armor. The armor was not the light's source, though, but the lion's face. Beside the lion, another figure slowly resolved. It placed its hand upon the lion's shoulder. Its color was neutral. It somehow held neither shade nor was somehow not without color. It stood tall, dignified, its ears up in points, its countenance Anubean.

                                        The lion had its gaze upon the arm with the hammer. It seemed concerned by the blows it witnessed, but held the expression also of uncertainty about what it should do. Then, the figure with its hand upon the lion's shoulder looked at Daryn. Its eyes were flat, held in them terrible unconcern. Daryn knew this as only concern for he upon whose shoulder his hand rested. It was neutral to all else. Daryn saw death in them, death of soul, of spirit, of being, a ghost of what once was, of what was to come.

                                        And there, it shocking Daryn to startled wakefulness, the dream ended.
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                                          It was hard to keep from turning a little red in the cheeks at the compliment, shuffling his own feet on the floor and looking down at them. He hadn't ever considered he'd be good at cooking, he just followed the recipes!

                                          The squirrel looked back up and cleared his throat, tugging at his own collar. "Oh, it's my pleasure, Captain. I just do my best when I can. As for a personal physician? I happily accept! Though I do think I'll need to be heading off eventually to examine the wings, just to ensure they're made correctly. I have no doubt they will be, I just need to make sure." He offered a friendly smile, stepping back to rest up against a nearby wall, arms folded.

                                          "You know, Captain, I can't exactly say I expected to end up here in the Captain's personal quarters back when I was working in the warfronts back on the surface. If anything, I somewhat expected to just have a small office in a corner back home. I can certainly say I prefer this outcome, tenfold." The squirrel rose up his hand and briefly tapped at the air, then swiped as if dismissing a digital window. "Far more entertaining, and you've already given me a project I'd never done before. Wings weren't very common back where I was from, you see. I'm just glad I could be of use." A spark seemed to go off in his head, like a light bulb. "Oh! And before I forget, make sure you tell me if you feel faint in any way. The IV will help for now, but we'll obviously need to monitor your caloric intake and nutritional needs. I might be able to come up with some kind of vitamin to keep you from feeling weak. A Captain needs to be kept in tip-top shape!"

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