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Messages - Dr. Amadeus Stenger

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1
The Verse / Re: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Skyplex
« on: November 15, 2017, 07:04:33 AM »
Am’s face pulled into a pained expression as she asked to be taken back to the ship. He knew once she was there, he would have no more chances to convince Jean to let her go. “I don’t think—”

Jean spoke up in a dangerously empty voice, and Am’s hand tightened on Alexis’ shoulder. He turned to look over his shoulder at the man. It was impossible to guess what the pirate’s motives were, and he was loathe to leave Alexis. And he sure as heck hoped Jean wasn’t including Alexis in his summary of ‘supplies’.

The doctor’s jaw worked, and he debated his options. A) disobey Jean and stay with Alexis, B) follow the order and leave Alexis alone with Jean. Neither was preferable. The first would undoubtedly rile Jean up and potentially set him off again, leading to Alexis getting hurt. The latter meant he would have no chance to intervene if Jean was going to turn on her regardless. He had a horrible aching feeling in his gut that the moment he turned his back, the captain would take another shot and the next one wouldn’t be a warning. Jean only ever gave one warning.

Stiffly, he got to his feet. “I’m sorry, Alexis. I have to go - just do what he says and I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

He scurried to the table and picked up as much as he was able, making a note to come back with some bags, and Mao, to carry the rest. He cast one last lingering look over his shoulder to the poor woman trussed up on the floor before he steeled himself and left her alone in the room with the murderous pirate.

Of all the morals he’d expected to test today, this was not one of them.

2
The Verse / Re: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Skyplex
« on: November 10, 2017, 07:48:36 PM »
Am’s prognosis of his own social-stuntedness was mild compared to the emotional range that Jean was displaying currently. He may as well be a robot for all the empathy he showed. He barely blinked an eye at Alexis’ outburst, but Am could barely stand to hear that pain in her voice.

He went to the distraught woman, crouching beside her and putting a reassuring hand on her shoulder - as reassuring as he could be in this situation. He had no solution for her, no easy fix, no saving grace. He hated that he couldn’t just wipe this all away. This was where his experience with physical wounds far surpassed his inexperience with emotional ones. If she were bleeding, he could fix that, he could heal her. Tears? All he could do was be the literal shoulder to cry on. He was a glorified handkerchief, and just as good at one as consoling her.

It was a runaway train, and only Jean could put on the breaks. All he seemed capable of however was adding more coal to the burner and holding the whistle open as they screamed away into the darkness. Am wanted to stop it, but getting ran over in the process wouldn’t help anyone.

He resolutely kept his gaze away from the Captain. He wanted to glare, to shout and rave and tell him what a monster he was but what good would it do? He felt like a coward, a hopeless coward. He should be able to save her and he couldn’t.

3
The Verse / Re: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Skyplex
« on: November 10, 2017, 04:02:38 AM »
Am glanced over to Jean as Alexis spoke, pausing at one of the shelves in order to gauge the man's reaction. The captain barely registered her this time, only fixing her with a surly stare. Doc watched for a moment, but there were no immediate signs Jean was going to react with more violence or otherwise. It didn't mean that he wouldn't, but Am hurriedly set a few more boxes on the table. The less time Jean had to ponder the million ways he had  to hurt her, the better.

After gathering a few more trays from the cooling units, he cleared his throat. “For the Echo ,” he pointed to a small pile on his side of the table, “For you,” he pointed to a larger pile at the other end. “There are a few other things, but we may need Mao for those.” He added, gesturing to some heavy looking boxes on the other side of the room.

“The rest is basic essentials, high volume low value,” Am made a sweeping motion with his arm to encompass the items he'd shown no interest in. His voice was still dull, eyes downcast and focused more on Alexis than Jean. He couldn't meet the man's eye. He was already in collusion with him, helping with this ‘job’, he wanted to distance himself from as much of this as he could.


4
The Verse / Re: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Skyplex
« on: November 09, 2017, 06:23:08 PM »
As loathe as he was to do it, he stood and left Alexis where she was. He didn’t want to take away the meagre barrier he’d created between her and the captain, but at least the man wasn’t pointing guns any more. That was the best (and only) way Am had for judging Jean’s state of mind. He wasn’t exactly the expressive type.

He sniffed and rubbed his face in his shirt cuffs, clearing his eyes so he could better see the labels. He had a few essentials in mind, for Tavi, but a couple of other supplies caught his eye that fit Jean’s criteria of ‘valuable’ that also ticked Am’s checkbox for ‘unlikely to cause fatalities among intended recipients if stolen’.

He started to make a collection, flitting like a worker bee between the shelves and the table where he neatly stacked the supplies. He certainly felt like an insect drone, that was for sure. Alexis had told him it was fine, but they both knew it wasn’t. Am wasn’t a genius when it came to social interaction but he wasn't a plank of wood. But how he was ever going to think his way out of this was beyond his grey matter’s capabilities.

5
The Verse / Re: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Skyplex
« on: November 09, 2017, 04:59:53 AM »
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, letting the rolled end of the bandage drop, pulling until it unravelled completely. He took hold of it somewhere near the middle and slid it through his hands, folding it in two to give it more strength. “I’m sorry.”

Tears were running unchecked down his face now, the occasional hard blink and a sniffle in his attempt to quash them. This act was nothing he’d ever done, or wanted to do. He’d confined patients in the past but it had been for their own good. That’s the mentality he clung to, desperate not to be the man in this situation now. He could pretend she was hurt, that if he didn’t bind her she’d only hurt herself more, to the point of fatality perhaps. In a way it wasn’t far from the truth. If he didn’t bind her, Jean surely would, or worse.

“I’m sorry,” he murmured again and again, a broken record as he reached to wrap her ankles. “I’m so sorry,” his voice breaking as he pulled the first loop tight. It had to be tight, the captain wouldn’t accept anything less.

Am couldn’t look at himself. He couldn’t stop to think, because if he did he wouldn’t be able to finish. Here he was, a man who had vowed never to harm another soul - a physician - aiding in the complete and utter revocation of someone’s freedom. It was a simple thing, tie her legs, but the grander concept was abhorrent to the doctor. Take away her movement, take away her choices, take away the things that made her human. Tie her down like a piece of cargo that might topple on a tight corner. He was disgusted, he felt physically sick, and then the man who had made him choose to do this spoke up.

Am turned, looking over his shoulder with one eye on the pirate. How dare he? How dare he say this wasn’t what he wanted? Am could still clearly remember the Shetland’s kitchen, blood and viscera painting the floors and walls, chunks of human meat scattered over the floor like a slothenly butcher’s abattoir. No man who could do that ‘didn’t want to hurt anyone’.

Am turned away from the man and his meaningless remorse and tied off the bindings, tamping down the unfamiliar feeling of anger churning in his gut along with his breakfast. He shook his head, reaching out to put a hand on Alexis’ shoulder. He opened his mouth to speak, but what could he say? ‘I’m sorry’, wasn’t nearly enough. ‘It’s going to be okay,’ would be a lie, he didn’t know what would happen now. He tried a reassuring smile but it just served to emphasise his sorrow. Instead he rested his hand on her shoulder, resisting the urge to look to Jean and put the blame for this squarely on him.

But it wasn’t all Jean’s fault now, some of it was his own. With a hollow voice, he spoke to Jean without turning, “What now?”

6
The Verse / Re: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Skyplex
« on: November 08, 2017, 08:22:49 PM »
The captain’s voice was almost as deafening as the gunshot from just before, and hit just as hard. Am cowered, flinching down on all fours as if the floor could somehow save him. When the words weren’t immediately followed by fists and/or bullets, the doctor steeled himself to look up again.

No. The simple word was at the forefront of his mind, on the tip of his tongue, brimming with the tears that were stinging his eyes. No. He’d never wanted to deny someone something so much, and yet he couldn’t say it. Alexis was dead if he did, and maybe he would be too but it wouldn’t matter, he’d have failed already. Failed Alexis, failed himself, and failed Jean.

He wanted to help the man, he really did, but it was that moment that he wondered if Jean was beyond helping. Part of him wanted to entertain the train of thought, ‘why bother’. A drowning man would always drag someone down with him. Jean was drowning in whatever past he’d made for himself, and maybe there was no way out of it, but Am did not want to be the one dragged under with him.

Sniffing, rubbing his cheeks on the back of his sleeve, the doctor half crawled to the box of scattered bandages he’d spotted earlier. He shuffled back to Alexis and sat on his heels with a quavering sigh. “Alexis, I have to do what he says. I’m sorry but it’s the only way. If he won’t let you go and he hasn’t hurt you yet, then it’s likely he’ll keep you - like me.” He sniffed again and rubbed at his reddening eyes. “You just have to stop agitating him and he’ll calm down. Maybe he’ll see reason and set you down on the next planet after all.”

Am picked up a bandage and gestured at her ankles. “I have to do this, because if I don’t, he will, or he’ll do something worse. I’m so sorry Alexis, he promised... I thought... I didn’t anyone else to get hurt.”

7
The Verse / Re: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Skyplex
« on: November 08, 2017, 04:35:38 AM »
The gun turned his way and the man visibly cowered. His bladder made a very compelling argument to surrender, and Doc barely quelled the rebellion. He was pretty sure there was some minor vandalism to his underwear anyway from said bladder’s vanguard. Whether he noticed the lack of Jean’s finger on the trigger or not, the effect would have been the same regardless.

“Another way?!” He squeaked, daring to peer up at Jean - past the gun. His brain was a little distracted by the firearm, so perhaps he might have worded things more diplomatically any other time, “The other way is to let her go, like a good person would! Normal people don’t go blasting ships out of the sky, kill their crew and steal their possessions! Good people don’t point guns at people! Good people don't even have guns!” He was panting, still holding his ground between Jean and Alexis, though if the Captain had the mind, he still had the height for a clear shot on either of them.

8
The Verse / Re: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Skyplex
« on: November 07, 2017, 06:55:34 PM »
Am shook his head as if he didn’t understand the words, “What? No, no that not what you said, you said nobody would get hurt. You promised, I help you get what you wanted and that was it.”

He glared as well as his demeanour allowed him to, looking more like a kicked puppy than an angry grown man. ‘Promised’ was not exactly right, more like ‘heavily implied’, but the doctor had certainly been under the impression nobody was going to get killed.

“No, n-no this isn’t right, you can’t do this I won’t let you,” he said, squaring himself between the captain and his old colleague and trying desperately not to stare at the gun.

9
The Verse / Re: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Skyplex
« on: October 26, 2017, 06:05:21 AM »
Doc fairly squeaked a meek “Okay” when Jean turned that look on him, and scurried over to the shelves that hadn’t spilled their contents onto the floor. He glanced at a few labels, wincing and looking over his shoulder as Alexis continued to speak. She was going to get herself into trouble. He put his finger to his lips in an attempt to remind her of his warning, but he didn’t think she was seeing it from the way she was sniping at Jean. He squirmed, picking up a few vials and squinting at their labels in the emergency light goom. He should have brought a torch.

The words ‘damn gun’ drew him back to the one-sided conversation behind him, and when he looked, Alexis was turning her attention on him. He started to pout, she thought he was doing this be choice? His lip had barely protruded before he spotted movement finally from Jean, and not the good kind. “NO!”

He started forward, but the shot was already ringing out, deafening to him in the small confines of the store room. He dived to his knees between them, frantically looking over Alexis to see where she was hit, unthinking that the next shot might take him in the back. Adrenaline had taken over, but it still took him longer than it should to realise what had happened. He replayed the scene in his mind, Jean trajectory, the noises that followed the gunshot, the clatter of supplies still being displaced from the units where the bullet had hit... The Captain had missed... And not by accident... Doc turned to Jean, a mixed expression of anger and confusion that didn’t sit well on the amiable doctor’s face.

On one hand, the fact that he’d shot at her in the first place was a terrible thing to do, but the fact that he hadn’t gone straight for her was... different. Doc’s experience with the man so far equated to the invasion of The Shetland where everyone who contested Jean had died, Doc himself being the only exception and survivor. Doc knew Jean had the disposition to silence Alexis, yet he’d given her a warning instead. It could have been a verbal warning, but in Doc’s experience, Jean was a man of few words and extreme actions.

“You didn’t have to do that,” he said, leaving ‘you could have just asked’ unsaid - it wouldn’t help. Still, he daren’t move from between them, despite the protest in the forefront of his mind. He was having thoughts that B.B.E (Before Black Echo), would have never crossed his mind, but in this moment it was the only thing that might keep Alexis safe. He glanced to some boxes in the corner, gauze and bandages, they could make a good gag in a pinch. Or he’d spotted some vials of analstegic that would put Alexis into a dreamless sleep for as long as they needed. His stomach knotted in contempt at the very idea, and the doctor’s voice was heavy with regret, “She’s harmless, let’s just get what... we came for and go. Please?”

10
The Verse / Re: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Skyplex
« on: October 09, 2017, 04:53:05 AM »
Doc straightened, wincing at Jean’s tone and making a conscious effort not to follow the orders directed at Alexis. Just in case he was included in the captain’s brusk demands, Doc shuffled over to stand with Alexis while trying not to make it look like he was following orders but with just enough promptness that Jean would assume he was if that was the point. Yay for the socially awkward!

He was glad to see at least that the gun had been lowered - not much, but enough to be a seven out of ten rather than a twelve on the ‘How scary is Jean right now’ scale. He leaned casually (awkwardly) against the wall, hovering just in case he was supposed to sit as well.

Jean was still glowering at Alexis when he asked “How do you know her?” And for a moment Doc was confused until he realised the question was for him, and Jean hadn’t made that obvious since he was probably paranoid the woman was going to do something dangerous and wouldn’t likely take his eyes off her until she was locked in a cell somewhere. That simple fact made him queasy, and he stammered as he tried to find a way to answer the question that wouldn’t immediately see her abducted like he had been. The problem was, Am had no idea what the captain’s criteria was for kidnappings, or killings or leaving things the heck alone.

“Um,” the truth, then? For fear that anything else would provoke the man. “We met at medical school, on Bellerophon. She’s um, a friend...?” The last was a bit of a question, since he wasn’t sure if he still was now that he’d drawn her into this mess and was to all intents and purposes, a pirate in the midst of looting a medical transport. He wrung his hands and bit his bottom lip, eyes flicking between the woman and the pirate captain.

Oh what a pickle.

11
The Verse / Re: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Skyplex
« on: September 30, 2017, 05:14:18 AM »
The captain was his usual surly self, somehow keeping up the growly silence while in comparison, Doc was burning with questions. What were the chances of someone he knew being on the ship? How did she get here? Why wasn’t she in her room? How did he ever get into this situation? How did handcuffs work?

Jean gestured for him to get on with it, jerking his gun in Alexis’ direction. Doc stepped gingerly over the debris strewn across the floor, wincing when something crunched underfoot. At least Alexis had taken his advice and had finally stopped yelling. He spared a nervous glance to the gun which he was acutely aware that he was now stood in front of too. He was sixty percent sure Jean wouldn’t shoot them both now, but he didn’t want to test the odds.

“I’m sorry,” he muttered, crouching behind Alexis and taking hold of one wrist in a cold trembling hand. He fumbled the cuffs, ratcheting one on and then the other, mumbling apologies as the cold metal pushed firmly against skin. He had no delusions that cuffing her loosely would facilitate any sort of escape. If she tried, she’d be killed, and he’d lose any trust he’d built if not his life too. The safest thing for them both was just to do what the pirate captain wanted.

“You’ll be okay, just stay quiet, do what he says, tell him what he wants to know, don’t ask questions and don’t make any sudden movements,” he put what he hoped was a reassuring hand on her shoulder, “I’m sorry, it’ll be okay...” But the ‘I promise’ was left unspoken, because looking down the barrel of Jean’s gun into the emotionless eyes of a man who had killed, he didn’t know if he would keep it.

12
The Verse / Re: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Skyplex
« on: September 28, 2017, 03:11:58 AM »
What?” Am squeaked, carefully taking his hand off of Jean’s arm as if he was a bomb about to to explode and the slightest nudge would set him off - which was not an unfair assessment in his experience. He looked at the cuffs anxiously, fumbled to pick them off the belt and stood there with them in his palms like they might bite him. He was about to protest an octave higher when someone said his name, and it wasn’t Jean.

The doctor looked to the woman, confusion laced with fear turning to fear laced with confusion as her voice rose. Jean was the sort of angry that you lost wars to, but the level of spite the woman was spitting out would undoubtedly set a few houses on fire before the end. Doc couldn’t help but take a step back, subconsciously putting the devil he knew between them. She was familiar to be sure, but nothing clicked until she calmed down a little and her face wasn’t contorted into rage. He had not expected to see anyone he knew out here and the expression on her face combined with the unknown surroundings made her almost unrecognisable.

“A-alexis?” He blinked, stunned, before he realised what would happen if he didn’t intervene. Of course he wanted to do what she said, but there was no way in the infinite levels of special hells that the Captain would ever listen to him. “Alexis, shhh!” He pleaded, “You’ve got to trust me, just do what he says okay? He won’t hurt you or anyone else if you just do what he says!

His eyes were wide, thinking about the crew of The Shetland. They’d taken up arms against the crew of The Black Echo and what remained of them could fit into a large duffel bag. He’d seen the destruction this crew could wreak given the barest provocation, and the last thing he wanted was to see Alexis splattered across this storage room. “Please?

13
The Verse / Re: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Skyplex
« on: September 26, 2017, 05:30:45 AM »
Were you still a pirate if you were invading another ship to steal their supplies even if you were abjectly against it? Doc wasn’t here by choice, he’d tried to convince the Captain that they didn’t need to do this - there was another way - but as usual his protests went unheard. The best he had bargained for was to come with Jean and point out only the supplies they needed, and a few other things that would make money on the black market to make the risk and reward worth it. That way the pirates got what they wanted and the medical transport wasn’t completely pillaged. Still morally reprehensible to steal from hospitals but on the gradient of Black Echo’s Morality Meter, it was closer to grey than the usual pitch black. It was a start, believe it or not.

It was supposed to be an easy job. Nobody would get hurt, because Tavi and Mao would have locked down the bulkheads while everyone was sleeping and trapped them in their rooms. All he had to do was follow Jean’s lead, point out the supplies they needed, and then get back to the Echo without seeing another soul. Nobody would know it was them. Nobody would get hurt. It didn’t make him feel any better.

Doc was already a jittery mess about the whole ‘stealing’ concept, rambling answers to the Captain’s questions and tripping over his own feet as they boarded the vessel (studiously ignoring the fact that the door they had just stepped through had been a portal directly into space before the Echo docked to it, best not think about that too much). Jean barked some more orders over the comms and the door into the supply closet.

Jean stepped through first, the emergency lights illuminating just enough for Doc to see by but Jean seemed to have no trouble. Made sense, this was his natural environment after all. Doc had barely stepped through the door when Jean was raising his weapon and putting on his focus-face. Doc didn’t like was terrified of his focus-face, it almost always accompanied violence, and the fact that it wasn’t directed at him didn’t help at all. The doctor shrieked simultaneously to the sudden movement, falling back painfully into the door jamb as wide eyes fixed on the person illuminated in yellow and red.

She looked... annoyed? Am could safely say that was not the expression on his face when Jean had first pointed a gun at him, in almost this exact situation. And he certainly didn’t cuss at him. His eyes widened a fraction more, and his poor frantic heart did something stupid, and compelled him to help her even though Jean was second on his list of ‘Top Scariest Things’, topped by only the vacuum of space.

“J—” No wait, he wasn’t supposed to use his name, “Captain!” He corrected himself hurriedly. “P-please, wait, d-don’t! She’s innocent,” he reached out instinctively, grasping the pirate’s upper arm, wincing when he realised there was probably imminent violence incoming for daring to intervene. Jean had apologised for lashing out before, but Am knew the monster was still in there, waiting for an excuse. At least he could be proud of himself later for trying.

14
Black Echo ~ Pirate Ship / Re: A Pair of Steady Hands
« on: July 08, 2017, 03:54:02 AM »
Okay, good, no pressure then. Eek. He sidestepped down the narrow gap, wondering if he shouldn’t have taken his waistcoat off for all the engine grime it was collecting. He could really do with new clothes, but it wasn’t as if he could request shore leave for a little bit of shopping.

He got to the panel Mao had pointed out and then set the penlight between his teeth so he could free up both hands. The latches were stiff, and it took a few test tugs to get them undone. The metal was warm and heavy, and he set it down to the side before Mao would get the chance to say ‘I told you so’ about his toes.

Reclaiming the penlight, he peered into the junction box. “Wires,” he concluded, “Lots of wires.” Very scientific observation, if he did say so himself.

15
Black Echo ~ Pirate Ship / Re: Candyland
« on: July 07, 2017, 10:34:00 AM »
Am came in at the panicked shout, going straight to Tavi. He snatches a stethoscope from the counter and hooked the buds into his ears while he quizzed Jean on what had happened. Any weakness before she fainted, any slurred speech, any sign of slack muscle on one side, any pain. He pulled aside her neckline to place the resonator over her heart. There was no caution or fear with him now. Jean could threaten him with another jackhammer to the face and he would still be focussed wholly on Tavi.

Satisfied with her pulse and the sound of her heart, he draped the stethoscope over his shoulders and picked a penlight from his pocket, pulling back her eyelids and watching the pupil dilation. He made a satisfied noise in the back of his throat and whirled about the med bay grabbing instruments and a collection of vials, some empty and some not.

A large pair of scissors and a muttered apology to the unconscious woman preseeded the slicing open of her shirt, and he set an array of electrodes over her chest at strategic intervals, tapping some nearby monitors and bringing up a display of rhythmic jagged lines. He measured her blood pressure, and took some notes down on a tablet.

“I don’t think it’s too serious, but I want to do more tests to be sure. For all intents and purposes, she’s fainted. She’ll come round soon, but I’d rather she didn’t, the state she’s in.”

He’d plugged his nose with tissue while he’d been out of the room, and the white wads were already turning red. At least he could use both hands, and at the first available opportunity he replaced the tissue with more absorbent gauze, washed his hands, and put on a new pair of gloves.

Reaching under the cot, he unhooked some restraints that were stowed away under there. “If you wouldn’t mind,” he gestured for Jean to do the honours while he retrieved a saline bag and some clean needles. After taking a few vials of blood, dismayed at the state of her inner elbow and wrists while he tried to find a sturdy vein for the needles, he hooked her up to the saline and proceeded to inject a couple of syringes into the stream. “Extra vitamins. Mild sedative. Saline for hydration.” She was incredibly underweight, and if he had a chance to rehydrate her and try and perk her immune system up he would take it.

“She should be fine for now, a few hours rest and a chance for her body to calm down while I work out what’s in her system will do her the world of good,” he said, eyes still on the monitors, steadfastly not looking at Jean. “I can’t promise there’s no underlying issues here. What she’s taken so far should have killed her outright. It’s a wonder she’s still alive. Even if she successfully detoxes and never touches another narcotic as long as she lives, she could have done irreparable damage to herself. Her psychology is another matter entirely. I am not a therapist, I can only do so much, and if she does not willingly accept treatment, anything I do can be undone. She needs to want to be helped, she needs help that doesn’t reward her behaviour, she needs help that I can’t give her. Yes, I can wean her off what she’s on, I could use the very drugs she’s been addicted to to do it, but if she doesn’t want to be helped, I’m literally just giving her what she wants - I’d be enforcing her dependency. I’d be making this behaviour acceptable,” he gestured to his own rapidly bruising face. He sighed, looking down at the ribby chest and hollow abdomen of the drug-stricken women before him, noting the multitude of marks all over her, some fresh and some fading. Whatever had happened to make her this way, it would not be easy to undo, but he was sure it could be done if she would only let him.

16
Black Echo ~ Pirate Ship / Re: A Pair of Steady Hands
« on: June 14, 2017, 11:37:04 AM »
The doctor packed away his bag and stood, dusting off his waistcoat. “Sure,” he said with an intrigued expression. He had always had an interest in mechanics, though his passion had long taken him away from metal and oil to flesh and blood. He had no other patients, so why not?
 
He picked out a penlight from his pocket and looked into the gap between the pipes and the wall. Taking one sideways step into the gap, he looked to Mao, “Okay, what’s next?”
 
His time on the Black Echo so had been summarily distressing, terrifying and depressing. The idea of having something new and interesting to distract him had put a little sparkle in the ruffled man’s eye, the beginnings of an expression that could turn into the face of a kid with a new toy. He knew not to let his guard down - something was bound to ruin the moment - and reminding himself that getting it wrong might end up with him suffocating the entire crew put some sombre back into his expression.
 
Oh boo.

17
Black Echo ~ Pirate Ship / Re: A Pair of Steady Hands
« on: June 06, 2017, 12:51:54 PM »
Stood face to face, the pair of them were on a level eyeline, but that’s where the similarities ended. Where Am was slim and fine-boned, Mao was broad with a thickset body and easily twice his width. Mao’s skin was well weathered and thick and told a story of a life of hard physical labour, whereas Am’s soft pale freckled skin with delicate veins just below the surface told exactly the opposite. The doctor’s build wasn’t entirely without merit - his lean forearms were corded with sinew and his long pianist fingers had a steady grace to them - but it was clear that the two men had entirely different strengths.
 
Am peered into the gap as the engineer described the problem, only blinking as Mao took hold of his wrist in his bearclaw to demonstrate the difference. “I don’t doubt I can fit, but... is there no way to... reduce the danger somewhat? The patient doesn’t have a, ah, typical biology.” He said with a nervous smile.

18
Black Echo ~ Pirate Ship / Re: A Pair of Steady Hands
« on: June 06, 2017, 07:14:40 AM »
The doctor nodded, a wan expression paling his cheeks. There were few things he liked less than being reminded of the fragility of the human condition in space, and having no atmosphere to provide an abundance of fresh air was high on the list of why he preferred the ground over a ship. Hypoxia, anoxia, death. You didn’t have to be a doctor to know these were not good things.
 
“So how do we fix it?” He asked, looking tentatively at the machinery he’d been gesturing at.

19
Black Echo ~ Pirate Ship / Re: A Pair of Steady Hands
« on: May 26, 2017, 10:24:55 AM »
Doc smiled apologetically. The body was it’s own best medicine, but it took time. He wasn’t petty enough to say he shouldn’t be taking risks if he couldn’t accept the consequences, but a thought not unlike it crossed his mind.
 
The man’s question turned his expression nervous, however. Not knowing the crew overly well, and considering that they all had threatened his life at some stage or another, he was unsure how to interpret the man’s tone. Usually he’d never assume that there was a veiled threat in anything that was said to him, but for all her knew, the way this was going could end up with him threatened with asphyxiation via a decompressed airlock.
 
“Um, yes?” Was that the right answer? “Is... there something wrong with the life support?” He was going to assume the question wasn’t a leadup to his imminent doom and go for the benefit of the doubt. It was better for his sanity that way.

20
Black Echo ~ Pirate Ship / Re: Candyland
« on: May 24, 2017, 07:25:00 PM »
That was the difference between then, Am realised. Everything he did, everything he didn’t do, was bound by a set of principles. He stuck by them because it was the right thing to do, not because it was the easiest. A man like Jean... he had no principles. He lived by the day, taking what he wanted from other that needed it, and if it didn’t come easy he made sure that it did, with bullets and fists.
 
Doc wavered as he got to his feet, holding the countertop with his unbloodied hand, still trying ineffectively to stop his nose from contaminating the entire medbay with the other. His head was still swimming from the impact, and he squinted against the bright lights.
 
He looked at them both, a pair of broken people in the middle of the black. He wondered if they could see themselves, see what they were doing to themselves and those around them. He wondered if they even cared.
 
The doctor shook his head to himself, getting a fresh wad of paper towel to take the place of his red-stained sleeve. What should he do? Tavi clearly needed help, and she refused to accept his. Jeans suggestion, while he couldn’t agree it was the best solution for Tavi, had a fair scientific weight. The point of the matter was, Tavi wanted the drugs. She’d demanded them. She’d hurt him for them. Clearly her obsession went beyond any rhyme or reason, but he still had to try.
 
Substitutes would give her the same medical requirements as the real drug, easing her down from the dependency slowly, and without the reward for her behaviour. She - and Jean - both had to learn that there were other ways to get what you wanted via less destructive means.
 
That said, if she refused his treatment, Jean’s suggestion was the only one left to him. He was not a petty man who could deny her something just because it was someone else’s suggestion, nor would he punish Tavi for Jean’s behaviour, but he wished it had not come to this.
 
When he finally spoke, it was to Tavi, speaking past the seething beast of a man who still had his blood on his hands. He couldn’t dwell on Jean’s actions now. Turning into a quivering wreck wouldn’t help Tavi. His voice was quiet, even more so muffled by the tissue. “Is this what you want? If I do this, will you let me help you?”

21
Black Echo ~ Pirate Ship / Re: Candyland
« on: May 24, 2017, 06:20:03 AM »
Am winced, the sudden outburst ringing in his ears. Even Tavi fell silent, which seemed like a feat. The captain was rounding on him now, and ignoring every instinct to cower and flee, he did something particularly stupid, “This is not my job!” He blurted. “Helping Tavi, that’s my job, and what she doesn’t need is—”
 
He didn’t see the fist until it was too late. Compared to Tavi’s less calculated blows, this felt like he imagined a freight train would feel like. The impact hit him square in the face, something cracked, his teeth snapped together and he crumpled like a ragdoll. Somehow he was still conscious, albeit his vision was black around the edges and he couldn’t hear over the ringing in his ears.
 
He propped himself up on one elbow, touching fingers gingerly to his upper lip and they came away bloody. If his nose hadn’t been broken before, he’d hazard a guess that it was now. Tears were stinging his eyes, and not entirely from the pain. He blinked up at the man towering over him, still somehow surprised that he’d resort to physical violence despite all previous evidence to the contrary.
 
He could understand the man was upset, Tavi was clearly more than a crewmember to him, but for all he knew it was this kind of environment that had set Tavi on this path. Threats and violence and solving problems with more drugs was exactly what he didn’t want for her. She needed to get away from the mental association that taking whatever she wanted would fix everything.
 
That said, he couldn’t help a patient that didn’t want helping. He was sure he could bring Tavi round, but the chances of that now were whisked away like air in a vacuum. The captain resorting to this to try and get what he wanted hinted that it was not just Tavi who thought violence was the answer. He had been naive to expect anything else from the people who killed a ship full of people for a cargohold of goods.
 
This wasn’t how things were supposed to be at all. If he were anywhere else, this would never have happened. He was stuck, between a woman who didn’t want his help and a man who would do anything to make him help her. Tavi was scary, but he’d seen the part of her between the mania that was as scared and helpless as he was. Jean on the other hand was unwavering, steadfast in his determination to make Tavi right. Admirable, if not for the abusive domineering violence. Doc spared a hope that he wasn’t like this with Tavi. He couldn’t bear it if Tavi needed two kinds of saving.
 
He’d sat up, supporting himself on one hand while the other caught the fresh flow of blood streaming from his nose on the back of his sleeve. He looked between the two, clearly shocked and struggling to focus. He knew there was nothing else he could do but do right by Tavi, regardless of what Jean would do to him if she refused his help again. He would be just as bad as them if he didn’t give her a choice, even if ultimately her own decisions could hurt her - at least they were hers to make.


22
Black Echo ~ Pirate Ship / Re: A Pair of Steady Hands
« on: May 23, 2017, 04:08:16 PM »
Doc paused with the dermal mender and peered at the first glossy layer of scar tissue. “Good. I’d say go easy on it for at least a week, the dermal mender can only do so much with no skin to work with. Too much strain will break it open, and keep it clean. Let me know if you get any issues with sensation in the fingers - the burn might have affected some nerves.” He tilted the hand into the light again, turning it over to check he hadn’t missed any sections. “I’d like to see it again tomorrow, I can try again with the dermal mender every few days and give the scar tissue a helping hand. I don’t expect there’s much risk of infection but if you feel any warmth in it come and see me right away.” He could prescribe some pre emptive antibiotics but the ship’s stocks were not exactly brimming.

23
Black Echo ~ Pirate Ship / Re: A Pair of Steady Hands
« on: May 23, 2017, 03:47:36 PM »
Well Am was no expert in the ways of women, but if a ‘love tap’ was second degree burns, he didn’t want to fathom what the full expression of the engine’s affection for her engineer was. “She sounds healthy,” he said, tilting his ear towards the machine. “Regular, I mean... if she were a patient of mine I’d give her heart a good bill of health.” Machines and humans weren’t too dissimilar when you broke them down to the theoretical level. A ship didn’t run efficiently if one piece was out of sync, the same way a body could get run down with other systems working harder to support one that was ailing.

24
Black Echo ~ Pirate Ship / Re: A Pair of Steady Hands
« on: May 23, 2017, 03:18:53 PM »
Amadeus paused to glance at the man, he’d stuck his hand into live wires?! “You really should be wearing gloves, if you weren’t insulated...” Well, the man probably had a better idea than most what would have happened if he’d been grounded at the time.
 
Satisfied with the cleanliness of the wound, he fished out the dermal mender from the bag and set about repairing the skin. The man would have an easier time with tight gaps if he took some time to normalise his BMI, but Am kept those observations to himself, visions of flying wrenches dancing in front of his eyes.
 
“Do you need some help? I’m no engineer but I’ve got a steady hand.”

25
Black Echo ~ Pirate Ship / Re: A Pair of Steady Hands
« on: May 23, 2017, 02:56:12 PM »
Am stepped into the room, crouching next to the man and setting down his bag before reaching out for the injured hand. Compared to his usual demeanour, there was a marked difference in his confidence when there was doctoring to be done. His grip was firm but considerate, careful not to pull or poke the damaged skin as he tilted it towards the light for a better look.
 
“Accurate diagnoses, sir. I’m not sure that...” he sniffed at the hand and then cast a side glance to the flask in his other hand, “... Whatever this was is a totally appropriate disinfectant when there’s a medbay just down the hallway...” He rummaged in his bag and picked out a plastic liquid container with something in it that was almost identical to what Mao was already drinking, give or take a few chemical symbols, and a whole level higher on the liver-destruction scale.
 
“How did this happen?” He asked lightly while he administered another good dose of alcohol to the wound.

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2517, The Unification War has been over for a decade and Miranda is still a secret. Into The Black is an Alternate Universe Firefly & Serenity fandom roleplaying game. It centers around independent crews of different ships which travel all over the 'verse created by Joss Whedon.

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