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Welcome to Paradise

Posted on Sun Jan 17th, 2021 @ 5:20am by Passenger Florian McLennan & Comm Tech Wulf Edevane

Mission: Ticket To Rhea
Location: Albatross - Crew Deck
Timeline: Somewhere between Mars and Saturn

He should have been working, but Wulf had found himself the sweet spot somewhere between should-a-been-doing-something and no-one-will-notice-for-a-little-while. It was, he figured, a victimless crime. The ship was full, way fuller than it needed to be. After two years of working with the same four people, they'd now more than doubled the compliment on board the Albatross and it showed. The shower was filthy, all the filters were backed up, the galley was in need of some basic maintenance and wherever a soul went to breathe the air stank like... well ass.

Whatever he did to make it smell just a little sweeter in this big tin can hauling its metal ass from one planetary system to the next would only make that stench nicer for a few hours. Then all the folk breathing in here would stink it up again. So, there was really no rush.

Wearing his most expensive bit of tech - a top end spec set of noise-cancelling headphones - Wulf was successfully ignoring his chores by losing himself in the rich depths of his complicated and varied music collection. Air guitar accompanied his soft singing, neither of which created enough sound to draw particular attention to the com tech. The longer it took him to do the work, he'd decided, the less anyone expected from him.

Flo had somehow managed to find Wulf amongst the maze that was the ship's innards, coming into the room to see the other man's back facing him. He tilted his head curiously as he watched, quickly realising that Wulf was completely immersed in music, hearing the humming and mumbled lyrics, and of course the occasional sudden jerky movements that was pretend-guitaring.

The kid had been asked to help Wulf by starting at the deck just outside the galley, then to make his way through the kitchen. A sealed container of soapy water, a stack of dry towels.

"Hey," Flo said. With no response from the other man, he raised his voice. "Hey!"

Wulf spun round, imaginary guitar still in his hands, and stared for a second at Florian while the panic faded from his eyes. It was just the stowaway, not Ken or Mickey or Allegra. The comm tech exhaled, pushed his headphones down around his neck and shrugged.

"Sup?" Wulf asked, a light frown clouding his features. "Something happen?"

For a fraction of a second, Flo seemed to stand there dumbfounded, silently staring at the other man. "Umm," he opened his mouth to say, diverting his eyes around various random spots of the room. "I, uh, Bossman's told me to come find you about cleaning duties... and maybe repair duties, probably a little later on. Maybe. And whether you have a schedule. Y'know, to divvy up the load. Workload." Gosh he sounded stupid.

There was a moment where Wulf simply needed to process this confusing set of possible facts. Then, then there were questions, asked with a cant of the tech's head and a dumbfounded expression on his face. "Huh?" Wulf said, eloquently. "So, Mickey sent you down here to help me clean?" He shook his head to Florian's 'maybe'. "Repair stuff?" Wulf asked. "Seriously?" That was... weird. "Okay," he rallied, brain catching up with this unexpected boon in the chores department. "Well, you can clean this deck then. Start with the toilets and shower room." Hell YES, he could definitely handle delegating those.

The kid awkwardly stepped further into the room, pushing the container of soapy water, hearing it slosh about within its sealed compartment, adjusting the force of his foot to the ship's strange gravity - something he was still trying to get used to. He wouldn't want to make a mess.

"Do I just... start over there, in that corner?" he randomly looked over towards it. It seemed clean enough to him, but then again everyone seemed to have their own opinions of what was clean enough and what wasn't.

Wulf followed Florian's movement as the younger man moved into clearer view and did a classic double-take at the presence of the mop and bucket. "Bossman told you to start right away?" He asked, sounding surprised but not ungrateful. "Uh, yeah, sure," the tech rallied. "You can start over there." Didn't really matter to Wulf where he started so long as someone else was taking on the chores.

Flo nodded, flipped open the box flap over the soapy water, and dunked one of the thicker towels in it. His two hands then dove in for a few seconds - the water was ice cold - before pulling the towel out and twisting it dry. He knelt down on the deck and began his work, stifling a small sigh. At least he knew this was better than being spaced.

"Anything that can't get wet?" he asked, probably a question that he should've considered earlier.

"In here?" Wulf grinned a lopsided grin. "Plenty yeah, but none of it is on the floor." He hopped up to sit on one of the unused top bunks and regarded Florian from this new vantage point. "You're doing great," he noted, picking up a game on his hand terminal and disconnecting his headphones so that the rock music could flood the room. "So you've given up on the chef thing?" He asked.

Flo felt an odd feeling of accomplishment simply for receiving a complement on his work. Work that he'd barely begun. "Hmm, no, not really. Bossman still wants to see how I manage stock and provisions on our next stop... And then I suppose I'll have a chance to maybe show off a few cooking skills. But this cleaning is just extra. I've been told everyone does their bit."

Newbie seemed happy to be doing something, considered Wulf, which worked very nicely into his plan of doing very little for the moment. Not that he didn't do his fair share of the work, but a lazy day watching someone else toil was also pretty welcome from time to time, and very much a novelty for the tech. "Yup," Wulf noted, without looking up from his game. "We all do our share of the work, but I do most of the cleaning." He frowned at Florian's statement that he was to be tasked with provisions next stop though. "Oh?" The tech asked, his tone shifting now to mix incredulity with suspicion. "You're gonna be in charge of our food supplies?"

The boy glared back, albeit only briefly. His features softened as his face turned back to the work in front of him. Soap suds slipping down the bulkhead baseboard. "Is that a problem?" he dared.

"Yeah," Wulf opted for simple directness. "It is." He regarded Florian in silent contemplation for a moment. "Why would the Captain trust you with credits and potentially all our food? Makes no sense."

Flo frowned. "Well, maybe you can go and knock some sense into him, then," he said. "I've run a whole kitchen on Ceres before. So I know what I'm doing." Granted, him running a small cafe back then had only been for a few days, and had been perhaps one of the more stressful times of his life, apart from escaping Deimos. It was work experience nonetheless.

"Yeah right," Wulf countered, gruffly to cover the fact that 'knocking any sense' into Mickey Serendipity was definitely not in his skillset or his future. "You ran a whole kitchen? How come you ditched that for the drug running, then?"

Florian's heart sank at the question. He had a feeling that it would come up at some point. It wasn't nice to have other people pry open memories of his most desperate times, questioning his actions as if it was a thing he'd done wilfully and wholeheartedly. What the fuck did this guy know?

"You're making it sound like you know exactly how that sort of underworld works," he snarled. "Maybe you can ask those on Basic on why they can't just try not being poor."

Wulf's gaze steeled just a little. This ship, these people, they were important to him, he trusted them. Florian? Not so much. "I know a little," he said, underplaying his knowledge some. "Enough to not trust someone just because they act cute and helpless."

Flo furrowed his brow a little. "I'm not acting anything. Thank goodness you're not the one steering this ship,' he said, annoyed. Unsure what else to say, he continued scrubbing the deck. If Wulf had been the captain, he reckoned he'd be spaced by now, no doubt.

That overt irritation was a good thing, in Wulf's mind. He didn't bother to reinforce the need to comply with whatever orders Mickey gave - if Florian decided to be untrustworthy he'd learn that the hard way - but that didn't mean he was going to be dishonest himself. Their stowaway was desperate, and Wulf didn't feel comfy with that situation. Maybe given a chance to be honest, the younger man would take it. Maybe he wouldn't. Right now they were stuck with him. "You think I'm the one to worry about, you got this all wrong," Wulf said, with a wry smile.

The kid's eyes widened for a brief moment. He fell into an uncomfortable silence, before asking, "Who, then?"

"Dude, I'm just the comtech," Wulf noted, his tone softer. "Don't worry about it, but don't get your hopes up either okay? The amount of meds Alex fed you over the last couple weeks, you owe way more than you can pay off by cleaning." It was just simple maths. "I might be able to hook you up with a job on Titan." Wulf waggled a palm in the air. "Maybe. No promises."

Flo wasn't sure if he liked the idea of Titan. He could easily be tracked, again. At least based on what he'd seen of this crew, he could stay hidden. And so far he'd come to feel... somewhat safe with the people on board. Especially with how accommodating their boss seemed to be. For now.

"Maybe," he repeated in a murmur, before turning back to the deck, scrubbing.

Wulf exhaled in a rush and rolled his eyes. It was weird, not being the bottom of the pile on the ship, but it was also kinda cool to not be the one swabbing the deck. He turned away from Florian and followed with empty hands a drum solo that only he could only hear. "When you're done here," Wulf called in between tracks. "I'll show you which filters need changing. Then," he threw in casually. "I'll give you a few games of 'Asteroids and Idiots' if you want."

Flo felt himself brighten up a little, a small smile curving across his cheek. "Yeah, that sounds good," he replied, and began scrubbing faster.


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