slipping the surly bonds of earth || elena & mulciber

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slipping the surly bonds of earth || elena & mulciber

Post by thegirlnamedcrow on Sat Mar 07, 2015 3:38 pm

          For a woman traveling with ten crates of illegally acquired Alliance weaponry, Elena was remarkably calm as she made her way through the crowded shipyard. There was, after all, little reason to fear. She could see no Alliance officials patrolling the area, and even if they had been at hand, her cargo was safely hidden away beneath boxes of stolen medical supplies. With her credentials, it would be easy enough to construct some sort of lie about transporting necessary medicine to one of the outer planets. 

          As she made her way through the shipyard, she carefully examined each vessel as she passed, taking special interest in the captains. Finding a ship that suited her needs was nothing too difficult – ships with warp drive and large storage bays were common enough, but a captain who would be willing to transport her stolen goods was far harder to find. Some of the captains carried crews far too large for her comfort, others had ships clearly unfit for her needs, and the vast majority of them seemed far too legitimate for her decidedly illicit venture. No, she needed a very specific sort of captain if she was to complete her mission. The sort of captain who would not ask questions about where the money was coming from, so long as he was paid generously enough.

          She had almost reached the end of the depot before finally stumbling across a ship that caught her interest. It was an old Medic-KS, battered and bruised from a long life spent traveling the galaxy, but seemingly still functional enough to keep going.

          Now, that was curious. Elena had been stationed aboard a decrepit Medic-KS on her first assignment, and eventually had been transferred to another ship when the Alliance had decided to pull all of the KS series out of the air, scrapping them to help finance the introduction of a newer, more functional model of medical transport ship. As far as she knew, no ships had been authorized to remain in service. That the Medic-KSs had been pulled out of service was not particularly common knowledge, but Elena quickly realised that something less than legal must have happened to keep this particular ship off of the scrap heap.

          And if that hadn’t been enough, the fact that the owner had allowed most of the letters to wear away, leaving only the proud title “DIC-KS” would have been something of a tip-off. Satisfied, Elena made her way towards the captain, a young man with intense eyes and a thoroughly unnerving smile.

          This might just be the opportunity she had been searching for.

          “A Medic-KS,” Elena said, smiling fondly and reaching out to run her hand across a segment of hull. “They’re good ships – steady, reliable. Tell me, is her warp drive still intact?”


          That was the real question. As promising as the young man appeared, she would have no use for him if his ship couldn’t make it out of the solar system.
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Re: slipping the surly bonds of earth || elena & mulciber

Post by lindarkness on Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:39 pm

      Earth, the origin of mankind. 
       From far away, it had appeared to him more and more outstanding, a cluster of vibrant blue, faded green, and the rusty red of rocks and deserts - the only live planet in the current solar system. Out the window of the ship it had appeared to him with an unusual brightness, like a lone lighthouse to guide his way out of the vast darkness of space. 
       The young man had to admit that the planet had spiked in him an uncharacteristic kind of curiosity, an ancient yearning for more. What was that place, he asked himself, that had inspired so many contradicting stories, one more epic and outlandish than the other, and all of them cut out to play in their tellers favour? What kind of environment could have possibly bore the seeds of his species? What kind of planet could have possible conceived a species so utterly rotten and destructive as humanity itself?
       It was a place of legend. 
       He had heard it all before in his childhood education, or picked it up from other travellers. Supposedly, Earth had once been a gushing spring of beauty culture, and history. It was said to host one of the richest variety of cultures in the known universe, and the greatest amount of languages spoken on one single planet. It was a place of colourful fashion, fascinating art, and grande, magnificent buildings that would last for centuries. He had not been spared even one, inane detail when it came to all of that - the gigantic pyramids in the midst of neverending deserts, cities with rivers for streets, majestic waterfalls that went on for over a hundred feet..
       More than any of that, Earth was quite literally the source of his life, the root of all human experiences and shared culture. This small planet in one of the most insignificant solar systems of the universe, this was where it had all started. It was all that was left when you took away all the luxuries of modern technology, travel, and civilization. That sentiment was even reflected in its name: Earth. While all the other planets that mankind had discovered so far had been given fanciful descriptive names, its home planet had only remained just that - the Earth they had grown and blossomed from. 
       It was the very basis of humanity. 
       It was a festering hell hole. 
       The first thing he noticed was the smell, a foul, all-consuming thing that threatened to burn the insides of his throat. The more crowded a place was, the more it stank of piss and disease, of shit and maggot pus, of sweat and rot, and food gone bad. Everywhere he looked it was crawling either with dirt, vermin, or people, huddled together like pigs. Most of their faces were hollow, and tired, baring witness of work, poverty and a constant struggle to survive. 
       Hopelessness filled the air like a toxic gas. 
       Avarius Mulciber took a deep, drawn-out breath and grinned.
       O, how grande the irony of it all! As humanities reach extended over the known solar systems, its core had continued to rot and blacken. As the Alliance kept promoting unity and civilization, Earth was a pit of crime and anarchy. As the travel between planets was constantly being improved upon, he could barely get close enough to buy the necessary fuel without encountering a broken road. 
       No matter how much they pretended to be bigger than themselves, at heart, all humans were still monsters; they would always be. 
       The man had a mind to laugh, to dance, even, if his bones would permit it. Fresh off into this new world, he felt younger and stronger than he did in months, like he could jump and sing and run if he put his mind to it - all the while gleefully shoving local orphans into a puddle. It was glorious, and despite all his effort not to stand out enough to attract the attention of anyone who might give him trouble, he still could not quite wipe that grin off his face. 
       Here, on that abandoned planet full of death and decay, was the first time he felt truly alive

       Despite that, he needn't lose track of his reality, and the reason he was there in the first place. Though the planet was far off any place he'd been before, it was exactly that which made it so attractive to him as a destination. There were certain things he needed, things like fuel, and money, and specific medical supplies that he could get only if he started in a place as wild and chaotic as this one.
       Stealing the ship, and everything on it - some money, some food rations, some medical equipment and supplies - that had been a place to start. Yet, it had also left him with little opportunities to go from their. His ties to his previous life, and his previous means to make a living he had cut when he made a run for it. And though he did not regret his decision - he had been nothing but a plaything for society to throw around then. That was in the past now.
       What it all boiled down to was that he needed a job. He couldn't just make by with stealing everything he needed - even without his condition it would be impossible for him to go that way for long, at least while he was alone. His sitch with the ship had been not only a testimony of his incredible cunning and brilliance, but also a gigantic stroke of luck. He could not afford to keep relying on that alone.
       And so he had decided to put his ship on display in the main port of this district. It was safe enough for him there, or so he had estimated. The few resources that Earth had to spare were not spent on trying to crack down on crime, that much was obvious just by taking a look around him. And besides, he wasn't planning on attracting any untoward attention this time - after all, his business here was perfectly legal, offering his ship for storage and transportation. A simply enough job, but it would bring money into his pocket. That was all he needed for now.
       He stood there for a while, looking out for anyone who might take interest. There was still a permanent grin stuck to his face as he observed the miserable excuse for society the people here were attempting to keep up with. Even here in the darkest pit of humanity, people still went out of their way to avoid him, lest they be seen in his presence. As if that would make this place any worse.
       After several hours of holding his post, his legs, which had been feeling sore for quite some time, he had started to feel a straining pain in his muscles, a slow burn underneath his skin. The sun had set some time ago, by now half his weight was only being supported by his cane, and so far not a single soul had responded to his offer. Mulciber was almost about to give it up for the day and go back to his ship, as he saw someone approach.
       The young woman in front of him seemed entirely out of place in the midst of the gritty environment that surrounded her. For once, her exterior was entirely spotless, and he was not only talking about dust and dirt there. This girl was the antithesis of everything he stood for - truly, she resembled the picture of innocence and purity personified, with neatly cut blonde her, warm blue eyes, and a friendly smile. She looked like a grown-up version of one of those naked angels he had seen painted in books of ancient Earth history - except she didn't have a tiny penis. Probably. 
       He gave her a wide grin.
       Now there was something curious about what she said, about the subtle notion in her voice that suggested more than would meet the eye, about the exact way she had phrased her question that tipped him off, that made him suspicious. Clearly she was knowledgeable, more knowledgeable than a mere trader ought to be about the properties of his model. Something was definitely off. 
       "Ah, yes. It's up and running - served me well gettin' here", he said, "Though not as well as I can imagine you servin' me, pretty one"
       Objectively, it might not be such a great idea to go so much out of his way to sexually harass the only person who showed any interest in him today, but the man simply could not help it. Such a piece of beauty and civility only deserved to be put in her place for it and made uncomfortable. It was fun in any case, especially if she didn't know how insincere he was being in his words. He enjoyed watching little women squirm.
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Re: slipping the surly bonds of earth || elena & mulciber

Post by thegirlnamedcrow on Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:07 pm

          Elena scowled inwardly, though her practised smile remained as warm as ever. She had forgotten the extent to which the social system had deteriorated here on Earth since the Alliance had begun their slow evacuation. In all honesty, she shouldn’t have been surprised by the harassment – she was a pretty young blonde traveling unescorted through the dangerous streets of her dying home world. Her very presence had been almost guaranteed to provoke the sorts of pitiful creatures who needed to tear down others to build themselves up.

          And that had been the man’s motivation, she was sure of it. She had seen enough of humanity to differentiate between a line meant to entice and one meant to demean. There had been no genuine interest behind his words, only malice and a smug sense of satisfaction.

          Had Elena been stationed in her proper post, she never would have stood for such disrespect. The offender would have been reported, disciplined, and required to issue a formal apology. For all its problems, at least the Alliance had moved beyond this sort of casual misogyny. 

          No, they oppressed all of their people equally.

          But Elena wasn’t stationed in her proper post. No, she was here, stranded on Earth, where anarchy ruled beneath the façade of a proper government. And if she didn’t wish to delay her departure another day, she would have to make do with this rude young man.

          She allowed her features to adopt an expression of mild confusion, before letting forth a soft laugh. “Oh, you misunderstand,” she said, reaching to tap the pin on her lapel that identified her as a medical professional. “I’m not a doctor, I’m afraid, but merely a nurse. If you’ve a medical concern, I would be happy to examine you, but you’d be far better off with the service of someone with rather more training than I’ve had.”

          Of course, Elena hadn’t been merely a nurse, but she had decided that, for the purposes of this journey, it would be wise to cloak her identity as much as possible. Besides, she didn’t think that this particular captain would be willing to welcome her aboard if he knew that she’d spent the last five years climbing her way through the ranks of the Alliance’s medical corps. 

          She couldn’t simply allow the man to believe that she’d completely misunderstood his jab – he would simply keep hurling insult after insult her way, and she simply hadn’t the patience to deal with that sort of childishness. She had shown him that his words had not impacted her in the slightest. It was time to return fire.

          “Still, I’d be happy to volunteer my services if you want me,” she said, quirking the corner of one mouth upwards and minutely raising an eyebrow. “I’ve been told that I have excellent bedside manner.”


          That had, perhaps, been a bit subtle for the man to understand, but Elena wasn’t willing to risk escalating the situation further. Let them be friendly for now – she could more effectively punish or discourage misbehaviour once he was officially in her employ. 

          Turning her attention back to the matter at hand, she said, “I’m looking to hire a ship to transport me and my cargo to the planet of Troy in the Caspian system. I can pay a half million credits for the journey, with an additional fifty thousand if we leave immediately.”

          Five hundred thousand credits was nothing. She would sell each crate of weapons for at least a million credits each, perhaps a million and a half if her contact was receptive to her suggestions. Even if the captain decided to negotiate for a higher wage, she could more than afford to pay his fee. 

          She didn’t provide any additional information about the nature of her cargo or the point of her mission – if this captain was the sort of businessman she believed him to be, he would not ask those questions. At least, not until they were safely offworld, at which point she would be able to handle the situation without fear of immediate Alliance reprisal. 

          The man walked with a cane, and Elena easily recognised the symptoms of a degenerative muscular disease. If he decided to turn her over to Alliance officials, well. She could take care of him.

          Remembering herself, Elena shook her head and smiled. “My deepest apologies – here I am, talking shop already when we’ve not even introduced ourselves.” She extended a hand in greeting. “Helen Bones. Very pleased to make your acquaintance, sir.”
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Re: slipping the surly bonds of earth || elena & mulciber

Post by lindarkness on Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:52 pm

      By now there could be no doubt about it – this girl was trouble.

       He should have noticed it with the first glance he took at her, should have known it at least as soon as she started talking about the model of his ship; that he hadn't could only be a show of how tired he really was by now – or maybe how careless he had gotten in the light of his most recent successes. In either case, the man could not allow himself to repeat that mistake.

       How could he have missed something as obvious as a fucking medical plaque?

       It painted a completely new picture of their little interaction, set the stakes to a new value. Now, the woman was not just a potential employer – no, she had a medical plaque which meant that this was a proper Alliance-bred wench he was talking to, one who'd be awfully sensitive to any kind of funny business she'd suspect he might be up to.

         And all that was only going off on what he knew by fact – underneath that, he sensed that a much deeper layer was hidden inside that woman, something much more insightful than the image of the naïve, little nurse that she was putting up for him. There was a hollow ring to her laughter, a certain darkness to her eyes, a certain kind of confidence to her posture that simply could not convince him that she was as harmless as she claimed to be.

       Obviously, she was an agent of the Alliance.

       Not a very good one, at that either, or did she really think that her pretty appearance and her little kitten face would distract him from how damn suspicious her presence was. One young, innocuous nurse off completely alone on earth? No matter how stupid or naive she'd try to make herself look, it was a damn unlikely story, not one that he was ever going to believe. 

       There was only one way he could proceed with that information. 

       He had to accept her offer.

       Without mentioning that she seemed likely the only person who would be willing pay him in this fucking planet, or the fact that he would only give her more reason to suspect him of something incriminating if he made up some excuse to refuse her - the reason why he needed to take her was something utterly petty. 

       Making a complete and utter fool of an Alliance bitch sounded exactly like the kind of fun that could keep him going for ages. 

       "Heh. Good to hear", he sneered, "Bring with your nurse outfit and lace, you'll have some fun"

       It was of no question that he was hilarious, regardless of whether she'd find the quip amusing at all. Having her go along with it had almost been a disappointment on that front. Sure, it could prove enjoyable to flirt around with her a bit and have her be entertained with it, but he didn't want the whole happy routine for the entire time. Eventually, he'd need to get out the bigger horses.

       That, however, he better wait for until she was actually on board the ship with no chance of getting out without her insides exploding in space. The image filled his mind almost as soon as he finished his thought - her soft, porcelain skin slowly swelling up, going red, then blue with pressure before it combusted in the nothing of space, and filled everything with red again; her crystal-blue eyes popping out of her skull like panicked sardelles trying to escape the fisherman's net.

       "It's gon' be a long journey, too. Much time to get to know you and your physical skills", he said, taking a step closer just because he could, and because the sound of his cane scraping against the cold metal made a sound that would make any sane person coil with revulsion, "But that also means there's certain danger involved with such distance, certain risks, certain expansions. The price ought'a reflect that, don't you think, nursey?"

       There was nothing but cruel mockery in his look he gave her, a quiet challenge to disagree with him, to say something, to walk away and seek out someone else, if she was a coward. For now, he was not going to question how a little nurse like her was able to offer him such a ridiculously high price for his services. He could obviously see that the charade she kept putting up was little more but a formality at this point.

       He could not wait to crack her open like an egg.

       "Y'know, I could see your last name on your tag. So glad you wanna be on first name basis already", he grinned, "Oh, and I'm Avarius"
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Re: slipping the surly bonds of earth || elena & mulciber

Post by thegirlnamedcrow on Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:29 pm

          It had been surprising to find a ship that had not yet taken on passengers, given the tremendous demand for off-world transport, but now that the captain had opened his mouth, Elena thought she had a plausible hypothesis as to why this was. Of course, she had no way of proving anything, not without consulting the involved parties, but she thought it safe to assume that the captain’s unusual personality had something to do with it.

          Elena had encountered enough unpleasant people in her time that she was not particularly caught off-guard by the captain’s behaviour. The difference, though, was that most unpleasant people eventually learned to mask the less acceptable parts of themselves, if only to survive a life in which, like it or not, you were ultimately at least partially dependent upon others. Real monsters walked in plain sight, serving the government and healing the sick without anyone guessing at the evil within, but that was not the case with this man. No, he wore his defects proudly. It was actually almost sad to see – how deeply inadequate he must feel, to be so compelled to lash out at anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path.

          How pathetic.

          Still, if the man’s incredible ability to alienate strangers so thoroughly that they would rather remain stranded on a violent, chaotic earth than endure two weeks aboard his ship meant that Elena could secure private transport to the Caspian System, she wasn’t complaining. Really, it was almost like fate that she had found such an ideal situation.

          She smiled softly at that thought. Most people’s idea of a gift from fate would be something typically desirable – a new house, a new job, a handsome new stranger to obsess over. How very fitting that hers would come in the form of a misogynistic, quarrelsome young man captaining a stolen ship. 


          Deciding it was best, at present, to ignore his little quip, Elena turned to matters of practicality. “I have offered you more than a fair price, Avarius,” she said, raising an eyebrow slightly as she said his name. “If you believe you deserve more, I’m sure it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to find another passenger to take my spot. I can’t guarantee they’d be half as generous as I, but it is, of course, your decision, Captain.”
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Re: slipping the surly bonds of earth || elena & mulciber

Post by lindarkness on Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:57 pm

Had he been about his usual wits, Avarius Mulciber would have wondered by now whether his methods of intimidations were for some reason not working on her, whether he had lost his edge with them after his long time alone, or if the girl was simply outstandingly good at masking her discomfort. He would have been planning his next move already, beyond the bounds of business discussion to take a different path with her so he could amuse himself as much as he could. 
       Yet, none of these thoughts were of matter to him, then. None them were on his mind.
       The girl had not even responded to him, and yet his senses of alarm were already tingling all over. There was something wrong with the conversation, there was something deeply wrong with this girl, something that went far beyond the mere suspicion that she was working for the Alliance. Despite himself, he felt a shiver trickle down his spine at the sight of her expression - her eyes, cold and serene piercing through him. Worst of all was her smile, so soft, simple and at ease, like nothing at all could touch her. Mulciber had never been so unsettled before in his life.
       He would have reached out to slap himself if he could. Like this, he had to make do with an imaginary bucket of ice poured over his soul, and even this mental fall there were still traces of unease left within him that he couldn't quite shake off, no matter how hard he tried. This fact alone was enough to make his blood boil with anger not only at himself for being affected by... by something that he could not even put to words (Who was he?, the man asked himself, for he did not recognize within himself the squealing infant for which the shadow of a bitches smile was enough to be frightened of). 
       And so he turned his anger toward her.

       The whole time, the young man had been careful not to let any emotion disturb his casual smile, and the mocking light in his eyes, no matter how much she had managed to detract him from that state, and even now, the only indication of his quiet fury were teeth he was now showing in his grin.
       "You would have chosen another captain by now if you did not want to ride with me", he said, proud of his little double entendre, "You're paying for more than just the ride here"
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