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Messages - Bert Manfeld

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The Verse / Re: Fixin' Stuff That Needs Fixin'
« on: Today at 02:36:31 AM »
Much as it was for her, Bert had also wanted this for quite a long time. True, he flirted with just about any girl he thought was worth the time to flirt with, and Becca certainly fit into that category. But in the time she'd been on the GoldHound, he'd found himself drawn to her more than the others, and in truth - he felt the most... relaxed... when in her presence. The other ladies who had come and gone certainly had their good points, but none like Becca.

Also like her, he'd thought of kissing her many, many times in the past. For him, it wasn't worry of her breath or her face that kept him from it. Instead, it was the uncertainty of how she might react. A simple slap across the face would have been fine enough, but if she told the captain about it... well... he rather liked his job on the ship, and the pay was definitely better than most other ships he'd been on. Sure, he knew he could find other work, but he -liked- this ship and its crew - including Becca, of course. He didn't want to risk losing that, and he certainly didn't want to risk alienating or angering Becca herself. He considered her a friend - and those weren't easy to come by out in the black.

But now they were doing something 'friends' didn't always do. Maybe that's all she'd see him as - a 'friend' with the ability to distract her for a bit. Maybe even possibly a 'friend with benefits'. He could certainly fill that mold for her if that's all she wanted, and part of him wanted that same thing. But another part of him thought maybe there could be something a bit different. Some sort of... consistency? But he didn't let his mind dwell on it too much as the kiss slowly deepened.

Bert decided to let it takes its course, and simply enjoy it... and enjoy it he did. The deliberate slowness, the intentional easiness in which it happened, the calm, relaxed pace all worked together to fire him up pretty strongly, as well, and it didn't take long for an all-too-familiar ache to begin in his pants. It was quite easy to imagine doing far more intimate things -while- kissing like this.

Almost as if sensing it, she brought the kiss to a slow end, and he didn't push his luck. Why ruin a good thing? She didn't pull completely away from him, then, and instead opened her gorgeous eyes and looked up at him. She suggested doing -that- more often, and his eyes widened in response, a bright smile instantly forming on his lips.

"The more often, the better. Anytime, anyplace, and twice on Sundays," he muttered softly but enthusiastically, clearly conveying how much he enjoyed it - and desired it again. She caressed his cheek, and he blushed slightly - that wasn't a show of affection he was used to, especially with smooth, bare skin. His crooked grin remained, and he couldn't help but cast a faint, quick glance back at the shuttle.

"You know... it's awful temptin' to drag you back into the privacy of the shuttle...," he said, hinting at sly thoughts. "If we get to kissin' like that again... I might not be able to stop it next time..," he added, suggestively hinting at where further kissing like what they had just shared could lead. It gave her an 'out', too, if she wanted to move on, but it also passed along his message, his clear desire to kiss her again - and perhaps even more than that, if given the opportunity...

The Verse / Re: Fixin' Stuff That Needs Fixin'
« on: October 11, 2017, 03:02:03 AM »
Becca agreed with his claim, and that was important to him – more important than he realized. He didn't want her to think he was stoned out of his mind all the time – or even regularly. He was a casual user of the leaf he smoked, and when he didn't, he didn't binge on it. It helped take the edge off, and she even point-blank made it clear she knew that he sometimes smoked it in order to help him sleep when he had a hard time doing it.

His eyes darted away for a moment when she said it. It was nothing to be proud of. A lot of people might think him 'weak' for it – but those fuckers hadn't walked a mile in his shoes, or seen what he'd seen! But Becca seemed to know – and understand.

But then she accused him of not being able to do 'subtle', and expressed her doubt about him doing 'romantic', either. He smirked an let out a noise of disbelief – but he didn't -say- anything to refute her claims. He wasn't big on 'subtle'. Direct and to the point were so much easier, especially in his line of work, and most especially during moments of importance. Telling Jack that the engine was in desperate need of repair was 'subtle'. Telling Jack that the engine was gonna 'splode and splatter them all throughout the black was more direct and to the point and tended to get her attention – and the desired response – that much quicker. Why beat around the bush, when the desired end-result would just take longer to reach?

She laughed softly, their eyes locked on one another, as she encouraged him to catch-on when a moment was ripe for something more intimate. As if to show him, she grabbed the front of his shirt, rose to her tip-toes, and and pulled gently downward such that his head moved naturally towards hers – until their lips met.

Lucky for him, he hadn't lit up that day, and that morning – in preparation to be in a shuttle and in the presence of three hotties – including Becca, the one he REALLY desired – he had bathed, and shaved and, of course, brushed his teeth. So when their lips met, he had full and complete confidence... but he also had poise.

Their lips pressed together, and he let it progress smoothly, gently... even slowly. If she wanted to eat his face, he'd get the hint quick enough and return the favor. But right now, he wanted her to know, to feel, that he was eager to enjoy every second of it... his one free hand sliding to her hip and around it to her lower back, gently holding her to him as his neck craned downward, making the kiss more comfortable for them both.

Damn.. -this- was certainly a nice start, he thought... and now, he just hoped she thought so as well...

GoldHound ~ Bounty Hunter / Re: Pick-Up In The Cold Lanes
« on: October 05, 2017, 02:26:50 AM »
“Illegal?” the voice blurted out from the doorway that led onto the Observation Deck as Bert came to a sudden halt just as he entered, obviously having heard the tail-end of the captain's reply to Cordell. ”I've explained before, it's TOTALLY LEGAL... on most planets, especially out on the rim. And if we head toward the Core, I can always hide it like usual and-....”

Bert froze mid-sentence, reaching a hand up to rub gently at the faint hint of stubble on his chin as he began to get a sudden vibe that told him the captain and their newest crewman weren't talking about any of -his- questionably legal belongings – or habits. Quick-thinking found him changing the subject completely, which the captain might be used to by now.

”Ah, where are my manners? Good morning to you, Cap'n... and to you, Cordell,” he said, offering them each a friendly nod in turn.

Bert still wasn't sure whether it was 'cool' to call Cordell by the shorter 'Cordy' or not, as the newcomer was still a bit of a mystery to the mechanic. Sure, there was a little bit of sadness to Cordell's arrival, as it also heralded the departure of Emma and Talia. The GoldHound had lost two hotties – and gained a Cordell. Still, the big man at least seemed friendly enough and competent, and Bert could only hope that he would also prove himself reliable. Bert considered the possibility of offering the big man a 'special smoke' at some point, too, but he didn't want to risk running the guy off quite yet, either, so that could certainly wait.

For her part, the captain had seemed to take the coming-and-going crewmen and crewwomen in stride. Of course, Bert wouldn't expect anything less. She was tough as nails, and Bert was certain that the GoldHound was going to fly into the black one way or the other, even if the captain became the ONLY crewman left.

”Am I interruptin' anything?” he asked as he glanced back and forth between Cordell and the captain, figurin' one or the other would shoo him off if he had come at a bad time.

The Verse / Re: Fixin' Stuff That Needs Fixin'
« on: September 20, 2017, 02:20:57 AM »
Bert raised a brow when Becca made her comments about the companion they had recently taken on board the GoldHound. Bert thought the girl was cute and all, but she had barely said two words to him – which was pretty much par for the course since most people found him a little bit... strange. He was fine with that, of course – if some folk didn't like him because of who he was, then it wasn't likely worth his time getting' to know them anyway.

”Other than lookin' the part, she doesn't really strike me as a 'Companion' to be honest. Oh, I know they are probably all a bit different, of course, they ain't carbon-copies of each other. But ours has more of a... roguish-type feel to her, rather than that 'walks in water' type feel that I've heard so much about. But I am probably one of the people who knows the least about 'em, to be truthful, so I could just be plain wrong,” he finished with a shrug. When it came down to it, Bert didn't know Emma all that well at all.

But it was her next comment that had both of Bert's brows trying to crawl up his forehead and into his hair-line, as she made it abundantly clear that she had given him not just one, but more than one invite to kiss her. Maybe he didn't do 'subtle' too well, or maybe he was just in his 'mechanic mode' and had missed the cues, but now that she made it clear she had made the offer – and he wasn't yet showin' any signs of accepting – she definitely had his attention. His mouth moved to reply, but no words came out, as if a dozen or so thoughts were all trying to escape at once. She walked past him, gently bumping her shoulder into him in that playful way they sometimes did, and his head turned to watch her go. She added in her one major request – and that was enough to help him find his tongue.

”Oh, well, if puttin' off the wacky-tabacky is what it takes to lock lips with you, Becca, you can take it to the bank that I won't light up if'n there's a chance we might get... close. I smoke it purely for recreation – not addiction,” he assured her, his eyes wide, his voice and demeanor serious now as if trying to impress her.

The urge to rush to her and kiss her now was pretty strong, now, too, after what she said. But she had also hinted at a 'fonder memory', and he wondered if Becca was one of those girls who did – or didn't – wanna rush things, instead being more interested in waiting just a bit longer for a moment more... proper. His eyes lowered and glued to her ass – sweet hickory bacon, that ASS! - as she walked back into the ship to retrieve her things, and that reminded him that he needed to do the same... instead of just standing there like a statue with his mouth hangin' open.

Moving quickly – and almost tripping over himself in the moment – Bert made his way back into the shuttle, as well, quickly putting away his tools now that he knew he didn't need them.

”You know, I mighta taken your hints... but might just be waitin' for the right moment. You know, one of those moments that you won't ever forget,” he said, making a solid and genuine attempt to sound romantic. He wasn't a 'pro' at the romance-stuff, but he knew some of the basics. He wasn't a 'pro' at the flirtation stuff, either... but they'd come close enough to it since they met that it had given him the urge to pursue her a bit – and hopefully now, that would pay off.

Standing up, his own dufflebag in one hand, he turned and smiled her way. ”Ready when you are,” he said, motioning toward the door, ready to follow her out – and into the world...

The Verse / Re: Fixin' Stuff That Needs Fixin'
« on: September 05, 2017, 03:08:48 AM »
Becca seemed to be her rather cheerful self as they headed outside. Everything on the inside of the ship checked-out, which told the mechanic that if there was some sort of issue, it was external. And while that kind of work would prove cheaper than busted electronics or faulty computer systems, outside work also usually meant a lot of long, dirty work, certainly a lot more work than replacing a burnt-out circuit board. Bert just had to hope that it wasn't something serious that would ruin the entire mini-vacation.

She had taken his flirting with the usual grace that she did, not appearing to be offended at all. Maybe she was used to guys hitting on her, or perhaps she just didn't take him seriously. Even when he was at his most 'blunt', like today, she still seemed completely unphased. He couldn't tell if she -liked- his compliments at all, or maybe she just saw his banter as the 'usual Bert' just randomly saying stuff because he had a very tiny and not-often-used word-to-mouth-filter. It had gotten him into hot water more than once.

Her response to his explanation of what he needed her to do quickly made Bert take notice. She wasn't keen at all on going into the intake as he described. It wouldn't be dangerous, especially for someone smaller like her, but even at her size it would still be a bit cramped. For anyone who didn't like closed-in spaces, it sure wouldn't be fun for more than a few minutes. As if to emphasize that, Becca expressed her sincere hope that this wasn't just some sort of ploy so that Bert could grope her. Well, if he would have THOUGHT about that, he very well might have come up with the idea himself.

”Nope, no ploy, sweetpea. I take our safety very seriously – especially when I am flyin' on the ship, too!” he said with a soft chuckle.

But then she admitted that the noise she heard wasn't that bad at all – and that her primary goal had been to get rid of Emma. Bert stopped and raised a brow at that... and then a slow smile slipped across his lips.

”Well, well, now. Seems we've got a sneaky pilot on this crew,” he said, still playful – and a lot of the tension in his shoulders faded and he instantly relaxed. Knowing that she had used a minor noise in an effort to bore someone else enough to get them moving along was pretty awesome of her to do – especially since it was him she apparently wanted to be with. ”If that's really the case, well then we can skip the whole dirty crawling-around-the-intake mess... but only if you're sure, he said, resting his hands on his hips.

”And as far as that kiss and grab-ass... well... the day is young...”

The Verse / Re: Fixin' Stuff That Needs Fixin'
« on: July 17, 2017, 01:33:32 AM »
Bert chuckled heartily when Becca responded to his comment about the new ship's doc by suggested it depended on the doc – and the mechanic was nodding in total agreement. “Ain't that the truth! I s'pose Mr. VanWinkle, or whatever his name is, is easy enough on the eyes as far as lady-folk are concerned. If he was ninety years old and looked like a shriveled grocery bag, then I suspect the captain would have a bit of a different reaction,” he chuckled again.

For Bert's part, he was pretty happy to be alone with Becca, even if he had just a little bit of work to do before they could get started on the 'vacation'. The problem she mentioned wasn't something serious – but as he had learned throughout all his years of training, something small or benign could easily turn INTO something serious if it wasn't taken care of. Bert liked to be proactive in that regard. Better to avoid problems altogether, rather than letting things go until they cropped up.

Admitting to her that her opinion of him mattered wasn't that easy for him to do. But he figured he'd flirted with her enough, and she with him, that this was as good a time as any to make a move. He wouldn't do it -now-, while he was working of course, but when she asked him about the reason he cut his hair, he felt a little daring by telling her the truth. Maybe that would freak her out, or maybe it wouldn't. But her response was a positive one, telling him that it suited him. That wasn't exactly a 'glowing' compliment, but at least she didn't say that it looked bad and he should grow it all back as soon as possible, either, so there was a silver lining.

She rose to move across the small compartment to the exit and paused for a moment before responding to his query about her immediate plans to help him, or to sit around looking sexy while he did all the work. She challenged him in her reply, then, and he laughed again.

”Oh no, you look mighty fine all the time, Becca. REAL good, in fact. And you ain't gotta try hard to seduce me at all. All you need to do is say the word, and you can considered myself 'seduced',” he said with a grin from ear to ear. It might have sounded like a joke, but it was truthful still. He'd wanted to get it on with her since he first met her, and the more he got to know her, the more he wanted her. It wouldn't really take much 'effort' on her part to make it happen, he knew – all she'd need to do is give a hint that's what she wanted, and it would simply happen.

But he knew that was far from an 'assumed' thing, so he didn't act like it was.

He headed outside either just before her or just after her, depending on if she waited for him to exit, or if she stepped out first. When he did, he squinted and turned around to gaze up at the side of the shuttle. He didn't see anything obviously wrong, which was good, and then he pointed at the engine intake he had told her about.

”If you're willing to crawl in there, I'll tell you what to look for. Should only take a couple minutes. If what you tell me is what it should look like, then we're done. But if you describe something different and sets my ears to burnin', I'll be having my hands full when we get the shuttle back to the Goldhound,” he said. ”If you come here, I can give you a boost up there to it,” he added. The intake was about nine to ten feet off the ground – he could help her up to reach it, if she let him....

The Verse / Re: Fixin' Stuff That Needs Fixin'
« on: June 18, 2017, 06:04:14 AM »
Bert gave Becca a sideways glance when she finally gave-in and said she'd sit and look pretty while he finished the work inside the ship. He watched her get comfy, and it was a nice thing to watch, too, as she squirmed and wiggled, and the angle gave him a clear picture of how lithe her body was. God-DAMN, what he wouldn't give to have THAT beneath him! Her hands pinned above her head, his lips on hers....

He quickly forced his gaze back around to his front, looking back to his work so that he could focus – even if he was still smilin'.

Bert couldn't help but chuckle when she disagreed with his assessment about 'physical needs'. Becca completely and bluntly admitted that she could 'take care of herself' with her own two hands, and once again he felt a pang of desire course through him. If only he had a small cam planted in her room, what he wouldn't give to see -that-. A woman pleasurin' herself was pretty sexy, in his eyes, but seeing -her- do it? Damn... was it getting warmer inside the shuttle? And why did his pants suddenly feel a bit more snug?

”Hey, I'm just repeatin' what a doctor told me. And we trust doctors, don't we? They know lots of stuff – book-stuff and body-stuff. Hmmm... makes ya wonder if that's how our new doctor has caught the captain's eye? Maybe -he's- pulled this whole, 'You gotta find a way to release that stress' thing on her, and maybe it's worked,” he wondered aloud. Didn't matter to him one way or the other if the doc and the captain were knockin' boots. Bert had long felt that the captain really -needed- to get laid, and if it helped chill her out a bit – so much the better!

But he also heard Becca's words about the whole 'family' thing, and it gave him pause, too. Had he ever thought about it? Sure. A time or three, perhaps. But marryin' someone would require handin' part of the authority over to the other half, and he had never really wrapped his head around that before. He was a free soul, and beholden to no one (except the person who paid him). Having a spouse would simply put too many 'restrictions' on him, he knew. But... he also knew that it came with various benefits, as well...

”I hear ya, sweetpea. We've all got that clock tickin' inside us, and the older we get, sometimes the faster that clock seems to be goin',” he replied, once again agreeing with her assessment because he, too, had occasionally harbored similar thoughts.

Becca quickly informed him that such talk was generally something she kept to the ladies about, and he nodded his head in understanding. ”Ah, I see now. Since I got a bit different plumbing than you do, there are things you can't tell me. Gotcha,” he teased back at her. He wasn't bothered at all at her wish for privacy. He respected it, just like she respected others, herself.

And then she bluntly asked him why he shaved and cut his hair. He thought she -knew- why, but... maybe she didn't? What if she had been kidding the whole time? And what if she thought he was a dumbass now for doin' it in the first place? Like he thought he really ever had a chance with someone like her? Well, if that was the case – it was certainly better to find out now, when it was just the two of them present, than learnin' the truth some other time where someone else would be listenin' and enjoying such a crushing revelation.

”I have to admit... your words mighta had somethin' to do with it, sure,” he said, ”But I also knew where we were goin', and I knew it was gonna be warm here, so... in an effort to be more comfortable...,” he shrugged as he worked, though he knew that second part of his reasoning probably sounded pretty lame. In truth, though, he HAD done it because of her comments, but he certainly didn't want her to feel 'responsible' for his actions, or guilty in any way, shape or form.

”It will grow back, though, so no worries. And if it grows back as quick as usual, it will probably be back to the way it was in a day or two,” he joked, figuring that would give her an 'out' if she was feeling bad about it at all, though he didn't really expect her to.

And with a few more movements of his hands and the tools that he held within each of them, he put the circuit board back into the wall, and gently closed the panel.

”God DAMN. Sometimes I am just too damn GOOD,” he said, turning around to face her, a big smile on his face, replacing the tools he held into the various pockets and loops around his belt.

”You comin' with me outside, ready to do some work? Or are you just gonna lay there lookin' all sexy and enticing while I do it all?” he asked as he headed casually toward the shuttle's exit.

The Verse / Re: Fixin' Stuff That Needs Fixin'
« on: June 03, 2017, 03:23:47 AM »
Bert chuckled and waved a hand at her response about helping him with the Thruster intake. ”I'll guide you, don't you worry about that. It'll be simple enough, really. If I had to do it myself, it'd be a few hours of removing the cowling, and then ten minutes to examine it and make sure it's all ok. You're small enough that you'll fit and save me those hours, and I won't have to remove anything at all. But I'll walk you through it, easy as pie. Like I always say – I'll take care of ya,” he added, his voice cheerful despite the extra work. If she was able to help as he described, it WOULD cut off a significant portion of time.

As he continued to work, the conversation shifted to the captain, and who the captain 'liked'. Becca seemed to think she had a 'thing' for the doc, which caused Bert to look at her sideways with a sly grin on his face. Yeah, Bert could see that. The doc was a right handsome fella, and a doctor was a pretty prestigious occupation. He couldn't see Chloe ever goin' for a 'mechanic', but a doctor? Yeah, that just 'felt' right. He did some more work for a few moments, then cast another gaze her way, his eyes locking on her body as she stretched lazily across the seat she sprawled in. Damn, that was one fine woman.

”Oh yeah, I could see Blondie findin' a hunk to take the 'edge' off, at least. Hopefully Talia will, too – and heck, even you could use a little tumble,” he said without hesitation. ”A doc once told me that goin' too long without was a danger to the body. It added certain.... stresses, that the body wasn't keen on endurin'. Sortta like a ship that needs maintenance,” he said, turning his gaze to the nearby wall and gently slapping it with the flat of one  palm. But the mischievous smile on his face made it clear where his mind was at. ”And anytime you wanna talk 'men' like a teenager with raging-hormones, I'd be happy to volunteer as a listener, myself. I have good ears,” he said, smiling.

Becca urged him to grab his swim-trunks, towel, and some sunscreen. She admitted her hope to finding a nice, quiet secluded spot somewhere, and then asked if it was bad that she wanted to -avoid- people on this mini-vacation that they were all lucky enough to have.

Bert shook his head and turned to look back at her again. ”No ma'am. It's not bad at all. We don't -get- a lot of time like this, of course. So when we do, you have a right to use that time however you see fit. Sometimes I just grab a bag of my best stuff, and find a good spot where I can see the sunrise and sunset of whatever planet we're on, and just smoke and dream,” he said with a slight shrug, just to show her that sometimes he, too, sought solitude. ”Gotta admit, though, sharin' time with someone is usually a bit more fun, though. Imagine all the trouble we could get up to...,” he added, winking at her playfully before turning back around to continue working on the panel he was examining. So far, he had found two fuses and one solder-joint that needed fixed. Those small things weren't the -likely- problem, but one or both of them certainly could be. Fixed, now, they'd find out soon enough if it was enough to silence the engine issue Becca had experienced....

The Verse / Re: Fixin' Stuff That Needs Fixin'
« on: May 28, 2017, 03:39:18 AM »
Bert did spare a quick glance back at Becca as she scolded him for wasting her time, then he let out a short laugh. “Did you just ignore want I just said? I need your help on the thruster outside – when we get to it after I check this here board,” he said, pointing at the big, long circuit board he was examining, to show her what he meant. ”When I'm done here – which should only take twenty minutes or so - we'll head outside. But I don't want you crawlin' around in the Thruster intake yet – if any of these leads are fried, or any of the fuses bad, you could be in for a very rude surprise when you get up in there. Safety first,” he said, tapping the side of his nose a couple times before returning to his work. ”But if you wanna head on out, go on ahead and I'll catch up,” he offered, not wanting to annoy her if she wasn't really interested in helping out.

When Becca responded about the two ladies that left, Bert chuckled. ”Well, been with Talia longer, and she seems like a straight-shooter. Blondie is newer, but the captain seems to have taken a liking to her... maybe... THAT kind of liking, you think?” he asked, turning his head and waggling his eyebrows suggestively Becca's way. ”Though that's none of my business, of course. Just plain old observation.” He turned back to look at the board he was checking, one by one, moving down the line of solder contacts and fuses, so far, so good.

She confirmed her plans as soon as they could get done. She planned to hit the surf, and then she reminded him of his offer to help her with the sunscreen. He nodded emphatically, though his back was still to her. ”Yes ma'am, and if Bert offers you his help, he's gonna give it to you, you can count on that,” he assured her. But he suddenly paused when she suggested sunbathing 'without tan lines'. That meant, of course, that she'd be going topless at least PART of the trip... and now he just had to make sure he was somewhere nearby!

”As for me... well... I had planned on a bit of sight-seeing, myself... especially if those sights included my favorite pilot in the whole 'verse,” he said. ”She said she'd be needin' my aid to put on the sunscreen, as we wouldn't want her smooth, soft skin to get all burned up,” he added. ”I'll bet you'll be glad to know that I am up to date on ALL my sunscreen application training. You're talkin' to a bonafide sunscreen applicator right here, Becca. A certifiable pro.”

He smiled as he continued on, nearly half-done with his check, and so far so good.

The Verse / Closed Fixin' Stuff That Needs Fixin'
« on: May 24, 2017, 02:54:20 AM »
Alone now, Rebecca's hand traveled from its seemingly innocent perch on his shoulder, up to the back of his neck. He still wasn't quite used to having a lot less shaggy mane there now, so when her palm met the skin on the back of his neck, he shivered as she asked where they had to start, promising to help out as much as she could. He took the gesture as a tease – or her way of messin' with him, just like he enjoyed messin' with her.

Bert turned his head and met her eyes. ”In all honesty? You can best help by sittin' that pretty butt of yours down over in that chair and keeping me company. At least for the inside part of the job,” he said. ”That'll keep you out of my hair for a bit, while giving me a bit of... inspiration,” he said, waggling his eyebrows playfully as he often did to the ladies he liked to flirt with. "When we get outside to check the thruster, you can definitely help me there. Look how skinny you are - you'll be able to slip right into the thruster intake and tell me if you see anything out of sorts," he said, his voice playful, though he was being honest. She was smaller than him and could fit more easily where they'd need to look next.

He moved over to the rear wall of the shuttle cabin and opened a small door, fishing out a toolkit. It wouldn't be as complete as his kit back on the GoldHound, but hopefully it would be enough, and unless there was something -major- wrong, it would be. He moved over to his right and opened a larger panel, then fished a flashlight out of his kit and turned it on. Shining it at the massive circuit board, he wanted to rule out the 'simple stuff' before heading outside to check the thruster itself. How many times had he done it the other way around, wasted hours and hours of work, only to find out it was a blown circuit control, or hydro-fuse? As he slowly looked down the entire circuit board, he kept talking.

”Think those two will stay out of trouble?” he asked curiously, without turning around to look at Becca, the beam of the flashlight reflecting on he dark green circuit board, slowly moving down as he made his inspection.

”And what are YOUR first plans, once we get this here shuttle back to normal and locked up? Plannin' on dippin' those little feet of yours in the surf?” he asked, figurin' that was probably gonna be her first plan of action once they got off the shuttle. He finally had her alone, now, and off the GoldHound... but, there was still work to do...

The Verse / Re: Flying Down To Vacation.
« on: May 24, 2017, 02:46:46 AM »
<Shuttle to Regina @Rebecca Walsh @Emma Jacobs @Talia Renoake>

Bert sniggered softly when Emma made it clear she wasn't going to be caught near any shepherd. ”Damn straight, Blondie,” he said, grinning. ”No amount of savin' is gonna keep me from goin' where I'm goin',” he added. He wasn't a religious man, and he certainly didn't believe saying 'magic words' was going to 'save' him – or condemn him – to some imaginary place that burns for eternity. He didn't catch the rest of Emma's comment, but he smiled, figurin' it was probably something along the same lines as what he thought, himself.

'Shepherds' sure as fuck didn't help during the war, for sure, at least none that he witnessed. They died just like anyone else, and all their fire and brimstone didn't make a lick of difference to a lot of people Bert had known who had perished, sometimes in grisly spectacular fashion. But he wasn't gonna let that get him down: he was on a shuttle with three hotties. Life was actually pretty damned good, considering they could be three sweaty dudes instead.

As Becca set the shuttle down smooth as a baby's butt, Emma voiced her comments about where they'd be staying each night, and she had the idea that they wouldn't be bunking on the shuttle, instead asking about lodging where they'd be landing. Talia piped up, standing near the door and eager to depart, assuring Blondie that there'd be charter guest houses available, and Bert didn't doubt that at all, as well as maybe an 'upper class' hotel or two, perhaps, if she had the coin for it. Becca chimed-in as well, backing Talia up. Places like this had huts or yurts or tents or something to rent for tourists like them, for sure. Bert was content to find some trees or something to sleep under at times like this. Hell, he was liable to be high anyway, and a roof over his head would be the last thing on his mind.

Then Talia turned to look at him, tapping her shoulder commlink as a reminder, urging him to contact her if he needed spare parts for the work he had yet to do – reminding him that -his- vacation hadn't started yet. ”Will do, XO,” he replied back respectfully. ”Have fun out there. Don't do anything I wouldn't do! That goes for you too, Blondie!” Bert called out to each of them before they departed. Becca also called out her farewell to them, as well. See them in seventy hours? Shit, time was already ticking, and Bert hadn't even gotten started yet. The sooner they got this shuttle taken care of, the better.

<<Bert Exit Thread>>

The Verse / Re: Flying Down To Vacation.
« on: May 12, 2017, 02:35:14 AM »
<Shuttle to Regina @Rebecca Walsh @Emma Jacobs @Talia Renoake>

Bert remained in his seat, feeling a bit glum about his prospects upon landing on the beautiful planet below. He had gotten his hopes up a bit, but he always remembered that the 'ship came first', and if the ship – or its components, like the shuttle – needed care, then that's what he'd have to do, even if it cut into his R&R time. He was used to it, though, having plans changed, so he didn't sulk about it really – he simply remained quiet as he listened to the other three ladies in the cabin.

Emma was excited about the landing, obviously enjoying the view and the approached planet-side. She complimented Becca's flying, and for another moment Bert couldn't help but wonder if Blondie had a bit of a crush on the pilot. Bert certainly wouldn't be surprised, nor would he blame her. Becca was certainly the type of gal to get a crush on pretty easy. Emma finished up by asking about boutiques, shopping and food and that sort of thing. Bert wasn't real knowledgeable about Regina himself, so he remained quiet. If Emma looked his way, he'd simply offer her a silent shrug to show that he wasn't going to be able to offer much help on the subjects she was looking for information on.

Talia, meanwhile, spoke of how people could become 'isolated' from others, even if living amongst a small group of people. He could certainly understand that – especially as a member of the former crew which seemed to almost hate him across the board. Bert had largely kept to himself, and didn't regret it. He had enough to keep himself busy with tending to the Goldhound, which had become a 'best friend' of sorts over time.

Bert let out a soft snort and a nod of agreement when Talia spoke about being grateful that they didn't have a shepherd with them. Damn straight! That was the last thing Bert wanted – some crazy wackjob teaching him about 'religion' and 'god', and telling him how terrible it was to smoke weed and fornicate. For the record, those were two of his favorite things in the world – no matter what the 'good book' had to say. The mechanic knew he didn't have a say in the ship's crew, but he certainly HOPED that Jack would never bring one a bible-thumper.

Talia then addressed him directly, offering to let him know what sort of 'greenery' she might come across during her visit planet-side. He nodded in response, and then she let him know that she also wanted a repair-report on the shuttle as soon as he could offer one, and he nodded again. “Not a problem,” he assured her. ”If we're lucky, it'll just be a repair-job and no new parts needed. But I'll let you know right away. I don't plan on spending my R&R time under the hood of this little bucket,” he said.

Talia spoke about keeping out of trouble, and possibly enjoying at least one meal as a group during their stay. Becca chimed-in, offering to put something together perhaps on the third day, a few hours before heading back to the Goldhound. ”I'd be up for that,” he chimed in, figuring that a 'last meal' together before heading back out into the black wasn't a bad idea at all.

He glanced over at Becca when she suggested she'd remain behind a bit while he worked on the shuttle, and he nodded. ”Not a problem. I'd appreciate the assist, Becca. Might even be able to use your help to speed up repairs, too,” he said with a gracious nod. If it would help him get out of the shuttle quicker so he could enjoy this time off sooner, then he was all for it....

The Verse / Re: Flying Down To Vacation.
« on: April 24, 2017, 05:00:23 PM »
Bert smirked to himself a bit as Talia recounted to Becca just how anti-social she was. Bert had seen plenty of other people like that – and hell, he knew he used to be like that himself, right after the war. He was able to 'let go' pretty quickly, but he also realized that there were plenty of folk who had seen worse things than he did, and perhaps Talia was one of those people, for all he knew. So he was never one to push the buttons of someone who wanted to be alone. To him it was a simple process: See pretty lady sitting alone, approach pretty lady, offer pretty lady a massage, a drink, or a join (not necessarily in that order), and then play it by ear from there. If someone wasn't responsive, though – it was time to move on. No sense in pissing someone off by trying to force company upon them. That was just how he rolled.

Talia clarified a bit, explaining her outlook on life, and Bert could certainly respect that.

Blondie made a comment about the sight she was seeing outside the front cockpit window, but Bert didn't bother getting up. He knew what she was looking at, and by now, he had seen it a thousand times. Talia echoed her agreement with Emma about the beauty of the rapidly approaching planet, and then the newly mintued XO turned her attention to Bert and the discussion of his favorite plant.

“I sure hope you can find what you're looking for,” he answered with a nod. “Though I admit, I wouldn't complain about any of those twenty-seven genuses, myself,” he said with a wink. He wasn't terribly picky which 'breed of weed' he used, though he had been buying long enough to recognize good leaf from bad.

His ears did perk up when she mentioned shrimp, though... and he could imagine a giant fish-tank filled with shrimp that they grew – and consumed. Now THAT was a glorious idea, as well.

Bert remained relaxed as Talia also laid a compliment at Becca's feet about her piloting – at least, that's how the mechanic took it. Becca in turn admitted that a pilot's life COULD be a lonely one, with only the mechanic and regular port-authorities to 'talk to'. Bert made a mental note to try to peel Becca away from the GoldHound cockpit more often in the future.

The pilot did make a great point about 'vacation', though, and Bert certainly had every intention of enjoying it, just as he knew all three ladies planned on, too. His mind was starting to take a turn in very not-safe-for-work ways in regards to HOW he would enjoy this vacation, but then he was snapped out of his daydream by Becca's comment about the port thruster acting up. AGAIN.

“Shiiiiit,” he groaned as he sat up straight in his seat, suddenly alert, doing his best to listen to the shuttle's engine-sound. He could tell from Becca's voice when she mentioned it that she wasn't just screwing-around, either. They might joke together once in awhile, like Bert tried to do with all the crew, but when she took that business-tone with him, he was just as business-like back at her. Ship's functions weren't somethin' to be joked about.

“You're right, Becca,” he said, though he had been hoping she was wrong. “I'll have a look at it shortly after we land. If it's something we need a part for, might as well get it taken care of as quickly as possible, to give the local quartermaster a chance to get it for us,” he added. “I've fixed that thing at least three times now, and told the Cap that we REALLY needed to replace that turbine oscillation unit, but nooooooo. Cap gives me one of those 'I am about to open a can of whoop-ass on you' stares until I step back,” he said, shaking his head. He understood putting it off – the other thruster worked fine, and as long as no one was trying any fancy maneuvers, losing one thruster wouldn't make the ship unable to fly. It also didn't help that most of the time Bert went to the Cap for something, it was usually in an effort to get her to -spend money-. Something most captains weren't overly joyful to do unless they absolutely had to.

So much for 'vacation', he thought to himself. Though if he were lucky, it would only mean a late start, rather than an entire cancellation of the festivities.

The Verse / Re: Flying Down To Vacation.
« on: April 11, 2017, 03:19:44 AM »
Bert raised a brow as Emma brought forth a small red-covered book, and then blondie pulled a pen from it and opened it, and began writing. Reminders? Notes? Recipes? Or maybe it was a book of grudges and she was adding his name to the list for some reason? Eh, whatever. People were entitled to their privacy, her included. But then Emma suddenly asked about Jack's clothing size, which confused the mechanic even more. Was blondie gonna do some shopping for the captain? Or did blondie have some sort of great heist in mind for the captain's wardrobe, he wondered?

Talia responded with her opinion of Jack's clothing size, offering up some evidence to support her guess. Yeah, the captain might have a bit more padding in the chest area (not that anyone asked Bert's opinion about THAT), where Talia was more athletic and slender. Both were sexy in their own way – hell, ALL the ladies on the Goldhound were sexy in their own way, but Bert decided it would be best for his well-being not to bring that up at the moment. That's all he needed to do – perv them out so that they'd think he was some sort of weirdo. Well, he WAS, but not THAT kind of weirdo – even after a few blunts.

He listened quietly, too, as Talia spoke about looking for new seedlings for the ship's garden. He certainly liked the sound of some fresh veggies grown on the ship itself, but of course he knew that took time. That kind of stuff was expensive, though, so it would be awesome if they'd be able to create some of their own, no matter how long it took. The topic quickly turned from vegetables – to weed, though, and that certainly got Bert's undivided attention, about as quick as a discussion on plasma converters – or boobs.

“Ah, yeah, I know what strain you're talkin' about,” Bert replied casually. ”Not easy to find, and kinda pricey. But definitely worth it for helping with various sources of pain. I even knew some of my squaddies who used it after the war for PTSD. Not as strong as the stuff I grow, though, but mine is less for pain killin' and more for... relaxation,” he added with a proud smile. “Would be great, though, Talia. And I wouldn't be surprised if the Doc even has some locked away somewhere, savin' it for a rainy day – or for when someone on the ship ends up needin' it most. Not really sure, to be honest – me and the doc ain't talked a whole lot yet. He mentioned something about a 'physical exam' for all the crew members, and I just laughed. Ain't too eager to let some guy I barely know start toyin' with my twig and berries, if you get my meaning,” he said with a chuckle. “He didn't even offer any wine or chocolates!”

Bert -certainly- raised a brow in response to Becca when she spoke up, offerin' up a chance to share an umbrella with her – and a sunrise, too, along with needn' some help applyin' sunscreen – at least to her back.

”Count me in!” he responded enthusiastically. Then he listened to Becca explain what a plant-killer she was, as if she was wanted on plant-planet for wiping out entire populations or something. He was going to offer her a chance to enjoy some 'plants' with him, but just then, the ship shook roughly – signaling that they were entering Regina's atmosphere.

Bert double-checked that he was buckled safely to his seat, and began humming a random song to himself. It would take his mind off the fact that they were hurlin' toward a planet at an insane speed, the heat outside the shuttle's hull – just a few feet away from each of them in each direction – was heating up to temperatures that'd melt a human body in the blink of an eye and leave nothing else to fall to the planet's surface. His humming grew a little louder until the turbulence eventually tapered off.

Then the mechanic simply listened in as Becca dictated some directions to blondie. It was time to let the pros take care of the important act of 'landing' the shuttle... in one piece.

The Verse / Re: Flying Down To Vacation.
« on: April 02, 2017, 03:46:33 AM »
<Shuttle to Regina @Rebecca Walsh @Emma Jacobs @Talia Renoake>

Bert listened as Emma spoke about giving surfing a try and some clothes shopping, while Talia was debating between getting some good-old-fashioned reading done as well as getting some food. Some planet-food might be nice for a change – and in Bert's experience, each new location they visited seemed to do some things different where cooking was concerned, and he couldn't remember what Regina's claim-to-fame was in that department. Either way, all of those ideas Emma and Talia mentioned sounded like fun, and if he was right, he guessed that they'd each have more than enough time to pursue those things and more.

As if reading his own mind, Becca piped-up, explaining that she'd do all three at once, of course – grab some food, a good book, find a spot on the beach to relax, and once the readin' and eatin' was done, hit the water for some surfin'. They'd certainly have time to do all of that, wouldn't they? Unless something came up and the boss called them all back to the Goldhound all sudden-like. Heck, Emma could probably get in some quality shopping-time, as well. Why not? That's what shore-leave was for, right? And if he had heard right, they should have a fair amount of time on their hands to fill with whatever they wanted to do. Three days!

Then Becca looked his way and asked what his plans were for the next three days, other than hunting for new 'medicinal plants'. Bert grinned ear to ear at that and shrugged slightly.

“Well, I had planned to get some serious beach-time in, myself. You know, sittin' in the sand, maybe under a shady beach umbrella, takin' in the sights,” he said, obviously referring to various partially-clothed women who might be in the area. “And yes, enjoying some of my latest crop, and checkin' into what varieties might be available in the area we set down in. I also definitely have a hankerin' for some seafood, too, and maybe a night or two sleepin' near the beach, listening to the tide roll in and out, and then catchin' the sunrise and sunset over the water. Maybe we could play some beach volleyball or something like that, too...,” he suggested, then turned his gaze to meet Becca's.

”Why you askin? You need help with anything while we're there? I AM pretty skilled at the application of sunscreen,” he added, waggling his eye-brows a little as he grinned.

The Verse / Re: Flying Down To Vacation.
« on: March 27, 2017, 01:36:38 AM »
<Shuttle to Regina @Rebecca Walsh @Emma Jacobs @Talia Renoake>

Snik. Snik. Snik. Snik... Bert kept flipping the small little metal wheel on his lighter, hoping to catch enough flame to light his joint. Sadly, his lighter was NOT cooperating.

Snik. Snik. Snik.... he kept on doing it, as if expecting it to suddenly work as if by magic. All the while, he listened to the girls talk, hearing Emma talk about how Becca had a brain and body to die for (she did), while Blondie poked fun at herself for being 'fat'. The 'snik' stopped for a second as he considered Blondie's words: she wasn't fat in any part of her body that he could see – so he quickly assumed that she was just BSing the pilot, and then went back to flicking his lighter.

Talia then shared an anecdote about a Shepherd who visited her military unit during her time in the service. Bert said nothing – he didn't have much use for Shepherds or anyone who tried to convince him to believe in an immortal invisible man. But, he didn't begrudge anyone that did, either. When it came to tryin' times, everyone had their own anchor, and for some, it was the belief in the 'good book'. That just wasn't Bert's way, though.

But she shared some story about the guy who loved to play chess, and some sort of hobby called 'surfing'. Bert knew how to play chess, but as for the 'surfing' hobby, had heard of it, but had never did such a thing, himself.

When Emma produced her own lighter, and signaled that she was gonna toss it to Bert, he prepared himself to catch it. Maybe Blondie would be useful for somethin' other than makin' a mess in the ship's infirmary, after all! Becca tried to stop her, but Emma got it off, and Bert caught it easily. Beccca appealed to his sense of smell, and though he thought the inside of the shuttle would actually smell -better- with some smoke, he nodded in deference to the pilot.

“As you wish, princess,” Bert replied playfully to Becca, pocketing his own lighter for a refill later, holding onto Blondie's for the moment. Then he quietly listened to Becca's chatter about 'body surfing', which in his mind sounded like someone's idea of fancy swimmin'.

Then she was talkin' to someone in her head-set, likely ground control or something for Regina, getting permission and details for landing. They were almost there, then, he assumed, and sure enough, a moment or two later Becca confirmed to those in the cabin that they were indeed clear for landing.

Bert smiled to himself. In a short while, he'd be smokin' and checkin' out the ladies in the sun and surf. No grease, no oil, no windowless, hot engine-room. Hopefully this trip would prove to be as relaxing as he had hoped... For now, he remained in his seat and prepared for entry into Regina's atmosphere. It wouldn't be long now...

The Verse / Re: Flying Down To Vacation.
« on: March 23, 2017, 01:42:12 AM »
Bert snorted softly when Emma suggested that he take a back seat in order to 'babysit' Talia. Not only could Talia take care of herself, but she was napping anyway, and probably didn't care if anyone sat 'with' her or not. Be that as it may, Bert was ever the easy-going dude, and as such he simply continued into his seat, settling in comfortably. But Emma wasn't done with him, voicing her regret that her own CO during the war hadn't been more like his own. He understood her concerns perfectly – no soldier wants to know that their CO is a coward, because that usually didn't bode well for the men under the CO's command. She had been lucky to survive.

Talia spoke up then – obviously not -quite- yet asleep, assuring Emma of what Bert was just thinkin' himself: Talia didn't need a babysitter, and then asked Becca how long they had left. Bert simply smirked as he listened.

But then Blondie turned back to Becca and explained why she had taken the seat she had – because Becca was so pretty. THAT caused Bert to raise an eyebrow for sure. Emma apparently had a thing for the ladies? Sweet hickory bacon – what a revelation. Bert couldn't help but imagine Blondie and Becca, both buck-ass naked, rolling around together all sweaty and such... and he had to admit to himself that the mental image certainly wasn't a 'bad' one by any stretch. Bert simply smiled, retrieved his skinny white joint, and gently rolled it between the thumb and index finger of his right hand.

Becca replied to Emma, explaining that she was a lot more than just a pretty face – pretty much the kind of reply Bert would have expected from her. Then she turned her head to glance back at him and Talia, and answered Talia's query – they were about twenty minutes out before they had to strap themselves in for entering atmo. She added a comment about almost being able to taste the salt of the sea as Bert stuck his joint between his lips and began to fish out his lighter.

“Drinkin' sea-water is bad for you, Becca,” he said playfully. “That new doctor would tell you that, too, if you don't believe me. Sea's good for swimmin', sailin', and fishin'. But definitely not drinkin',” he said, as he raised his lighter and flicked it once... twice... three times... and still it did not light.

“Ah, dammit,” he muttered to himself, his little twig of a join still stuck between his lips, and began to rapidly shake his hand that held the lighter, hoping to get just enough of the fluid to lubricate the tip so that it will light up at least ONE more time....

The Verse / Re: Flying Down To Vacation.
« on: March 16, 2017, 01:45:34 AM »
<Shuttle to Regina @Rebecca Walsh @Emma Jacobs >

Bert nodded and watched Talia move over to take a comfortable position for a nap. That actually wasn't a bad idea, given that they had a bit of a jaunt to reach their destination. Only thing was, he didn't have his hammock here, and sleeping in the chair he knew would not be comfy. That was all he needed: to arrive planet-side with a crick in his neck!

Then Emma attempted to give him a lesson women and sexuality, which of course he never objected to. Women talking about sex was... well... -sexy-, even though some of them seemed very tight-lipped on the subject. For him, it was just a biological function, though of course he knew that it 'meant' more to some people than others – depending on the partner. But hearing that 99% of women could go 'either way' on any given day without blinking... THAT was something new. He had the impression that Blondie was just messin' with him – and that was cool, of course. Plenty of people did. Was better than being yelled at – or avoided completely.

He listened like the good sport he was until she was done, telling them about bad crap that went on back in her unit, and explaining that her CO was gay, and probably the best guy she had ever met.

Bert smiled, easy as usual and nodded. “My CO – for most of my time in the military, was a woman. Hard as nails. She kept her distance from most of the other men and women of my unit, though she -did- have one fella that she had the hots for – Perez was his name, as I recall. Big dude. It wasn't common, but she'd send for him some nights, and we knew it because even sleeping in a tent pitched a good stroll away from her command tent, we could hear the ruttin'. Of course, durin' war, people let off their tension in various ways. For some, it was unloading a magazine of ammo every now and then. For others, it was grenades. And, for some – it was ruttin' when the ruttin' was good,” he said with a shrug.

“But sorry to hear that there was some bad crap goin' on in your company. We'd heard stories like that, of course – and rumors of what the other side was doin' to our prisoners, too. But our unit was pretty respectful towards both sexes, I gotta say,” he replied, being purposely vague as to which 'side' he had served on, himself, knowing some folk were particularly sensitive about it. Bert wasn't, but that didn't mean others were so forgiving.

After giving Becca a very mild bit of grief, Emma piped-up that she was gonna offer to be Becca's co-pilot. Becca responded, obviously enjoying the prospect of both him and Blondie wanting to take the seat beside her, though Bert figured it was for different reasons. Emma probably wanted to talk to Talia or Becca instead of him – and Talia was clearly passing out for a bit. Bert didn't fault Emma none for it, either – girls usually liked to talk to girls, and Bert knew his personality wasn't to everyone's taste. Meanwhile, Bert himself had just been hopin' to cozy-up to Becca a bit, even if it was just plain chatter, but that could certainly wait. He had no desire to get on either Emma's or Becca's bad side. Even though Becca looked at him and motioned with her head, Bret gave her a wink.

“Ladies first,” he said, big charming grin on his face, using the old expression that deferred to the preference of a nearby female. Bert stepped back and slowly waved a hand toward the seat, glancing at Blondie, indicating that she could sit. Instead, Bert reached into one of his many shirt pockets and pulled out a short, slender rolled bit of paper. He casually headed back to his seat.

He had no problems keeping himself occupied, a smile on his face, knowing that the time would pass pretty quickly as he fished out his lighter....

The Verse / Re: Flying Down To Vacation.
« on: March 05, 2017, 04:56:31 AM »
<Shuttle to Regina @Rebecca Walsh @Talia Renoake @Emma Jacobs >

Sitting comfortably in his seat, Bert turned his head as Blondie went on about spicy curry. He wasn't particularly hungry at the moment, but he knew in time he would be, and curry did have a nice sound to it – especially if it was the REAL thing and not some fake shit made from the slime-protein that space-faring ships often carried. Of course, he wasn't fond of super-spicy foods, himself, but when it came to eating 'real food', Bert wasn't none too picky.

Blondie's description of 'spicy food' quickly turned to 'spicy people' – and then to the kind of 'spicy people' that batted for the 'other team'. Becca chipped-in with her thoughts of how sad it was some of the better-looking men preferred men as partners, though she saw a silver-lining in it by stating how such men often made good 'friends' for the ladies. Talia then pitched-in with her thoughts, sharing how regular it was to see a very attractive woman on the arm of a not-so attractive fella, and Bert knew from experience that was sometimes true. Talia asserted it was because decent women prioritized 'heart' over 'looks', and confirmed that at least in her mind, that's how she saw it.

Bert chuckled for a moment, shakin' his head. “Well, while I do not 'bat for the other team', I certainly hold no grudge against those fellas that do,” he explained. “After all, the more men like that there are, the less competition the rest of us men have for the eyes of the ladies,” he said with a crooked grin.

Soon after, Becca warned the others that they were about to depart, and it wasn't no big deal to get under way. The rough part would come during the entrance into Regina's atmosphere, but he was confident Becca could handle it. Now that they were away from the skyplex, Becca turned her head to look back into the passenger area and informed the rest of them that they could get up and move about, now. She glanced at Bert, too, mentioning how she wasn't going to be able to stay in one place and staring at the planet getting larger for a few hours. Was that a challenge of some kind?

Talia announced that she was gonna take a nap, and Bert made a mental note NOT to wake her up while she did that. Most people being woke up in the middle of a nap weren't too friendly, and he didn't expect Talia to be much different. Looking back at Becca, he saw her grin, and now he was certain she was darin' him to keep her company. Of course, he didn't wanna shout across the entire cabin, so he unbuckled himself and stood, movin' up closer to the cockpit area, lowering himself down to one knee next to Becca's seat.

“I feel so bad for you,” he claimed, looking forward out of the main window. “You've got life so hard up here – pressin' a few buttons here, movin' a few switches there. So very complicated and such hard work,” he said, his face completely serious, but his words obviously sounding playful. “I suppose I volunteer to be your co-pilot, Becca... just to give you a hand and make sure everything goes ok. I won't even charge you for it,” he said, giving himself a bit of an imagined 'promotion'. ”So... how can I help?”

The Verse / Re: Flying Down To Vacation.
« on: February 26, 2017, 04:33:26 AM »
Bert turned his attention to Becca when she confirmed that she used to have to pull her hair out of her ex's beard all the time. Was she being honest, or was she just messing with him, he wondered? Either way, it didn't much matter: she wasn't fond of facial hair, that much was obvious. Bert didn't necessarily love it himself, he just didn't see much reason over the years to fret about it, especially after his own stint in the military. ”Yep, that counts close enough, I imagine. Good practice, I bet,” Bert replied, playfully smirking back at her.

Bert turned his gaze toward Emma when she commented about his look fooling her, and he cracked a crooked grin. “Well, thanks Blondie,” he said, “At least, if you mean 'striking' in a 'good way',” he said with a soft chuckle. He wasn't fishing for compliments, of course, but it sure didn't hurt the old ego none when he heard them. Usually, of course, the compliments sent his way had to do with the magic he worked in the engine room, and little else. He even rarely got compliments about the quality of his weed, which often amazed him.

At least Blondie had seemed to be feeling better, after what she had went through. Bert was an expert at fixin' up engines and mechanic stuff – and that definitely didn't include the human body. Oh, he'd TRIED pretending once, tellin' a girl he was attracted to that, 'The human body ain't much different than a hover-car engine', all in an effort to get in her pants. It had backfired on him a few days later when he was her brother dislocate his shoulder. Bert lost his cookies for a good fifteen minutes over that – and any chances he had with his lady-friend.

The GoldHound's new doc seemed good to go, though, havin' sewed-up Blondie pretty good. She seemed happy about it, at least, so all was well. If Bert was lucky, though, he'd never have to visit the doc in a 'professional' capacity. Surely the man would be ok with the 'medicinal benefits' that Bert's favorite plant provided? He'd have to ask the good doctor about that sometime...

Talia pitched-in with a comment about her ma untangling a younger Talia's hair from her pa's beard one time. This caused Bert to laugh again, picturing it. ”Alright, alright, you ladies have convinced me of the dangers of growin' a beard,” he replied in a good-natured tone, smiling as he glanced over toward Talia. ”Lucky for you all, I was gentleman enough to keep my distance from each of you since we met, keeping you safe and sound away from my beard,” he added, reaching a hand up absently to rub at his bare chin, still obviously not used to the change.

Then he simply made himself comfortable as the three ladies talked amongst themselves. He felt almost like the King of his own little harem, though he dared not say that out loud. Three hotties, headed for the beach, and if he was really lucky he'd get some decent 'bunk material' out of the trip. Well, except Talia. She seemed more intent to do some shopping, but Bert figured she'd join-up with the rest of 'em at the beach at some point.

He glanced over at Becca for a moment, wishin' he had the ability to read minds, though. How did she take the 'change' he had made, he wondered? Was she flattered by it at all? Did she take it as it was meant? Or was she silently mocking him for being a doofus? Bah, it wouldn't be the first time he'd fell on his face tryin' to impress a lady, and it wouldn't be the last. Besides, hair grew back with a little time. He could just go back to his old, furry self if it came down to it.

Becca described the spot she had picked out to land the shuttle. A small little burg named 'Sunnyvale'. Sounded fine with him. Becca promised a bumpy ride headin' there, though, so Bert made sure he was safely buckled in his seat...

The Verse / Re: Flying Down To Vacation.
« on: February 18, 2017, 07:13:08 PM »
<From Cabin to Shuttle @Rebecca Walsh @Emma Jacobs @Talia Renoake  >

Bert smiled and even blushed a little – which was much easier to see now that his face was drastically more visible – when he heard the comments from Becca and Talia. He was pretty sure how Becca would take it – it had been one of the more recent discussions they had shared. He assumed Becca really -did- know it was him, despite her playful greeting. Talia then answered him directly about her own plans, to do some shopping and searching for a particular book she was looking for.

”I figure wherever we relax for a few days is gonna be warm, and all that facial hair would just make it unbearable,” he said, though there was only a tiny bit of truth to his words. He had worked for years in cramped engine compartments with long hair and a beard with no problems, so the heat of a 'beach' wasn't likely to cause him any undue grief. ”Besides... either of you ever try to get hair out of a beard? Oh, no, I suppose you haven't,” he added playfully, because to his knowledge, neither woman had ever grown a 'beard' before – as far as he knew.

He took one of the available seats as Emma entered, and the surprise in her voice when she said his name had him holding back a smile as much as he could, though the tips of his cheeks went red. ”Nothing to be alarmed about, blondie. Still the same old me, just ten pounds lighter, he replied, smiling.

He sat comfortably in the seat he had chosen, making sure his bag was secured for the flight to come.

The Verse / Re: Flying Down To Vacation.
« on: February 15, 2017, 02:24:06 AM »
<From Cabin to Shuttle @Rebecca Walsh @Emma Jacobs @Talia Renoake  >

Bert hadn't felt this... strange... in a very, very long time – and that was saying a lot. He enjoyed 'recreational drugs', though he mostly stuck to wacky-tabacky, and he avoided the 'hard stuff'. He'd been in a variety of scrapes in his life, during the war and beyond. But this... was just so -weird-.

He headed to the shuttle, his dufflebag in hand. The Goldhound was finally gonna take a break, enjoy some R&R, and he was gonna make sure he was one of the first ones to get off the ship. Of course, he had also found out which shuttle Becca was piloting, and that had quite a bit to do with his decision when to depart. He could wait for the second shuttle that would go later, but then he'd be stuck with the captain and the doctor, and though he had total respect for both of them, Bert had his eyes set on someone else.

Regina. It had some nice spots to relax in, if the pilot knew where to go. Not a bad place, all said and done, and Bert was looking forward to putting some sand between his toes for a few days. Sure, he preferred life on board a ship, but he also enjoyed little 'vacations' like this, putting his feet on the ground and breathing fresh air once in awhile, too.

And if he got to see some of the female crew dressed in scantily-clad swimwear, well, that was nothing but a sweet bonus to go along with the fresh air. Each of the ladies on the Goldhound were quite easy on the eyes, even new-girl Emma was not bad at all. He knew it could be worse - he could be stuck with a bunch of dudes, after all.

But he had also remembered Becca's words a few days ago, as well. He had to think long and hard about her suggestions, because they weren't easy to contemplate. But in the end, he figured the risk would be worth the possible reward. And if it didn't pan out? Oh well, it would all grow back.

Bert raised a hand up to run fingers over the bare skin of his chin for the hundredth time since he shaved his beard and stache completely away. He had thought about sticking with a goatee, but Becca had said she wasn't keen on -any- facial hair, and besides – he kinda messed it up as he was shaving anyway, and the only way to 'fix' it was to just cut it all off. He also shortened his hair... a bit. Shaving the man-scape off his face was one thing, but getting rid of the golden locks? That would take a LOT more than just some sweet words from the gorgeous pilot to get him to do that.

Bert reached the shuttle hatch and saw that the door was already open. Becca was probably there going through pre-flight, he assumed – even though he wasn't a pilot, himself. He heard voices, and he instantly recognized Talia's voice, too. That was good – the sooner the shuttle was full, the quicker Becca would get them on their way to Regina. The trip would be about three hours, all said, and he had made sure to get a good meal in ahead of time, even though he brought a few snacks with him anyway... along with some other 'precious cargo', plus clothes and such.

He was dressed in one of his various work jumpsuits, but it was fresh and clean – not greasy and soiled, like usual. Bert liked being comfortable, and his worksuits were the most comfortable clothes he owned, pretty much. Around his hips he wore his gun-belt with is small-caliber pistol. Nothing fancy, but he wore it often when he left the ship – just for 'peace of mind'. Bert wasn't someone who felt the need to 'compensate' for anything by toting around a monster piece of iron.

Bert stepped through the entrance to the shuttle and looked toward where Talia and Becca were talking. ”Hey, hey, hey, you two! We ready to hit the beach or what?” he asked, obviously in a good mood. He headed toward one of the empty seats and sat down, securing his dufflebag in the compartment beneath the seat. He felt a little self-conscious about losing the beard that he hadn't shaved off in -years-, though he had to admit, it did make him look a bit younger...

GoldHound ~ Bounty Hunter / Re: Mistaken Identity
« on: December 13, 2016, 03:20:03 AM »
<Engine Room>

Bert casually performed a bit of maintenance on an exhaust pipe as he held his breath. The Feds were on board, and no one knew how long they'd be sticking their noses where they didn't belong. No one knew what they would find (if anything), and no one knew what would happen if they DID find the hidden spots on the ship.

What would happen if the Feds found Emma? Well, for sure, Emma would be dragged away in cuffs, injured or not. Or maybe there'd be a shoot-out and people would die – which was why Burt was feeling cozy and safe in the engine room, all by himself. He had thought about going to the cockpit to hang-out, but then that would look a little 'odd', him being somewhere he wasn't normally found. Might draw attention. Might invite a little closer look, one that the GoldHound didn't need.

No, he'd just chill there in the engine room, performing some routine maintenance that needed to be done anyway, listening to some classic tunes on his radio and minding his own-....

“Hello there,” a male's voice sounded from the entrance.

Bert paused and turned his head, his eyes coming to rest on the visitor at the doorway. It was one of the Feds, a freakin' port inspector. They must be -very- curious if they sent one of their dorks down to his engine room.

“Howdy,” Bert said, not invitingly, but not dismissively. He looked busy, and figured if he continued to look that way, the Fed would glance around and leave.

Instead, the inspector walked into the engine room, hands folded behind his back, and began to look around. Bert glanced back at him after a few moments. “Can I help you with something?” he asked, not rudely, but not overly friendly, either.

“We're conducting an inspection of the ship... quite curious that this vessel would depart the planet... then return such a short time later. Such a waste of time and fuel,” the inspector said. “Which, in your captain's line of work, is also a waste of -money-. Means that returning was... important for some reason,” he said, as Bert simply turned back around and returned to his work.

“Any thoughts you'd like you share with me on the matter? Maybe an idea or two why she would do such a thing?” the inspector asked.

Bert shrugged, his back to the man as he replied. “Nope. The Captain makes those sorts of calls, and she isn't the kind to run such things by her mechanic,” he said, his hands, covered in soot, working the pipe-baffling carefully. “You might try asking her.” The mechanic had been on the ship -plenty- of times when it was being inspected, and he knew most of their games.

The inspector chuckled softly. “No, I suppose you're right. Grease monkeys typically aren't involved in important decisions and such,” he said. His words definitely caught Bert's attention, but the man's tone didn't sound insulting – much.

“I'm paid to fix things, not make decisions,” Bert responded, his voice sounding -clearly- as if he was bored of the conversation. The guitar wailing out a solo on Bert's radio was loud and shrill, making the inspector's face wince slightly. Bert continued to work.

“Yes, I see,” the man responded, then turned his attention to a nearby panel that was labeled with a hazard symbol. Such a place would be a -perfect- spot to hide something... illicit. “May I?” he asked, pointing at the panel.

Bert turned his head and saw what he was pointing at. “Sure, help yourself, just don't touch anything inside,” he said with a grunt, turning his head back to his work.

The inspector reached forward and turned the small handle and pulled the small metal door open....

And a loud, wailing, painful-sounding alarm immediately began to blare.

“WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!?!?!” Bert bellowed, turning around in an instant, his face contorted in horror.

“I... I...I didn't do ANYTHING!” the inspector said, shock plastered on his own visage, terror engraved on his features, his skin turning a bright red.

“You asked if you could open it, you fuckwit! NOT fuck with stuff!” Bert shouted, heading quickly to the man's side, glancing into the small compartment. There were several multi-colored fuses and lights, and a -lot- of red flashing. “What did you do?!?!?” Bert shouted. “WHAT DID YOU DO?!?!?”

“I... I... NOTHING!” the man insisted, shouting back and taking a step back in panic. “What is it?!?!? What's happening?!?!” he cried out, his voice rising a few octaves.

“You just mixed the nitro-charging containment fuel stream with the plasma reserves!” Bert shouted, his eyes wide, terrified.

“Oh shit!!! Oh shit that sounds bad!! What does it mean?!?” the inspector replied, the alarm still blaring, the music still blaring, the red alarm lights still blinking brightly.

“It means... atomic reaction imminent, you shit-stain!!” Bert shouted.

The inspector started to shuffle sideways toward the exit, panic clearly written on his face. “We gotta get out of here!!!” he shouted.

“Too late! Unless you can get at least three miles away from here in the next fifteen seconds!” Bert shouted back.

“Oh god!!! Oh sweet baby Jesus, I didn't mean-... I didn't touch-... I--,” The man cried out, blinking rapidly as he fought back tears, his adam's apple bobbing as he tried to swallow down his terror.

“Let me see what I can-...,” Bert said as he stuck his hands into the compartment and began to repair the grid. As he did, he shouted out how much time was left. “TEN!.... NINE!.... EIGHT!!!....," He worked furiously as the inspector raised his hands up behind his head in abject disbelief.

“Oh shit! I didn't... I didn't mean-....” he cried, tears filling his eyes.

"FOUR!!!... THREE!!!... TWO!!!...." And then the alarm suddenly went dead, and the alert lighting faded. All that was left was the sound of an extended guitar solo blaring from the speaker of Bert's radio. Bert himself let out an enormous sigh, then leaned forward, pressing his forehead to the metal wall next to the panel in obvious reilief. The inspector was almost too afraid to ask, afraid that Bert had simply given up – and these were those last split seconds of his life before The End.

“Are we....?” he began to ask, and Bert nodded. The man let out a huge sigh of relief, then bent over with his hands on his wobbly knees. “I think I am going to puke.”

“Not in my engine-room, you dildo!” Bert bellowed, then marched over to the man. “You've caused enough trouble in here – Go! Get your ass on out of here, and I won't tell your boss how you almost just got us all killed in a great big green mushroom cloud of death and destruction!!" he growled as he reached the inspector and put his soot-covered hands on the man's uniformed shoulders, physically turned him to face the door – and began to push him toward it.

The inspector nodded, eyes wide again for a moment. He was alive, and that was the most important thing by far, but he certainly didn't want to risk losing his job, either. He nodded emphatically. “Yes, yes, of course, thank you... Thank you!” he said, his feet finally moving quicker to carry him out of the engine room as quickly as possible. Of course, as he walked away, the soot hand-prints remained on his shoulders and back – and it took everything Bert had to keep from laughing.

Bert stood there until the man was gone a few seconds... and then a smile creased his lips.

“Stupid fuck,” he mumbled to himself.

God, he couldn't wait to tell this story to Becka and Jack! But especially Becka. He really loved making her smile. Telling Jack -might- even get him in trouble, but it might be worth it.

For now, though, he headed back to the 'emergency panel' and reached inside to flick a single switch – which reset the alarm and the lights. BEHIND the panel, of course, was a small compartment that even Jack didn't know about. Pressing a series of fuses caused it to pop open, and glancing inside real quick, he saw his precious plastic baggy containing another 'part' of his 'stash'. The urge to pull a bit out and roll it was strong, but he knew that he couldn't do that until they were off-planet again.

Shaking his head, he closed the fuse-panel and re-armed the alarm, then shut the larger warning door securely. Then, smiling to himself, he got back to work, singing along with the lyrics to the song that was playing  (and doing a terrible job at it).

GoldHound ~ Bounty Hunter / Re: Challenge Issued, Challenge Accepted.
« on: October 17, 2016, 04:36:00 PM »
Bert nodded. "Yeah, the beach, where there's a beach there's usually water. And a flat open place to land a ship this size. Salt water would be better, as the sodium micro-granules act as an abrasive to remove the older, thicker gunk. But we can deal with fresh water instead, if that's all we can find at the time," he explained.

"The horses was just a... recreational idea," he went on, waving a hand like it was no big deal. "I mean, the cleaning could take some time - a day or two, possibly, for a thorough once-over. So you know, if there were horses nearby, or go-karts, or those wind-surfing things... it'd give the crew something to do besides being bored," he finished with a shrug.

As usual, Chloe seemed to be thinking too hard about it. Then again, the ship was probably Chloe's most valuable asset, so it made sense to be careful. Thankfully, Bert had thought the salt-water cleansing through... but, he hadn't come up with a real solid reason for horseback riding. It had been a reach - but then again, a lot of what he did was a 'reach', so that would hardly be surprising to most people who knew him.

"Have you ever ridden a horse? As a kid, my parents told me all little boys and girls loved them. If you haven't, then I can tell you that it's a lot of fun. If you have, then maybe you'd enjoy it again," he said as he turned to depart.

Funny enough, unknown to Bert, Chloe was imagining being with someone along the shore of a beach just as Bert was imagining the same, but with someone completely different, of course.

"Just something to think about!" he called back over his shoulder to her as he left the room.

GoldHound ~ Bounty Hunter / Re: Mistaken Identity
« on: October 17, 2016, 01:07:12 AM »
<@Infirmary, @ Nate, (mentions Emma, Talia, Chloe)>

Bert nodded to Talia. “Good idea. I'll see to it,” he said.

When Emma refused to obey the captain's orders, and instead decided to give him a heapin' helpin' of attitude, the mechanic just sighed, wondering if she and Talia were gonna go at it anytime soon, despite their tense verbal 'agreement'.

Things were about to get crowded – and more tense. Emma wasn't wanting to listen to orders – even from the captain – and it was clear that she and Talia weren't exact BFF's. Bert took a breath, about to remind Emma who the boss was, and the boss had instructed her to remain where she was. But then, before he could say anything – salvation came walking through the door.

“Ah, XO! Just in time!” Bert said, glancing back when he heard the sound of Nate entering the infirmary. Bert didn't miss the fact that Emma seemed to know Nate, as well! What a small 'verse it was after all – just like the song said. ~It's a small verse, afterrrrrr allllll~ he thought to himself for a moment before Nate spoke.

“Yeah, hidin' weed, that's a good idea there,” Nate said, the first words out of the guy's mouth. If Bert didn't know better, he'd think that Nate was kinda hungover. A little. From the look of it, anyway. Of course, Bert wasn't one to judge, since he had his own vices to wrestle with, and frankly at that moment, he was simply glad to see Nate stroll through the door.

“I'll be tending to my botanical issues momentarily,” he said, “But right now, we have a bit of an issue on our hands here. See blondie over there on the slab?” he said, pointing in Emma's direction. “That's Emma. New girl. She came to us with a bit 'o damage, and another new guy, some sawbones from New Hope, patched her up. Emma just woke up and wants to get up and run around, but the captain just instructed her to remain still. Emma ain't havin' that, though as you can see,” he said.

“And to add a ripe, juicy cherry on top – her and Talia here are NOT the best of pals. So... -ENJOY-, XO! Do your... XO thing,” Bert said with an ear to ear grin, waving a hand for a second as if imitating a magic trick. “I have to tend to my very special cargo – captain's orders,” he said, still smiling, as he gave a glance back to Emma and Talia, wonderin' for a brief moment what it would be like to see those two wrestle naked in a giant vat of intake valve lubrication. But then he turned back around and headed out of the infirmary, muttering something to himself about purple cornflowers...

<Bert exits>

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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.

Welcome to Into The Black

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Re: Fixin' Stuff That Needs Fixin' by Bert Manfeld
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