Charon's Opus ::
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Posted on Tue Jul 20th, 2021 @ 11:59pm by Commanding Officer Mickey Serendipity & Comm Tech Wulf Edevane & Comm Tech Adrie Magana

Mission: A Knife In The Darkness
Location: SS Albatross, Galley
Timeline: A few weeks out from Saturn on route to Pluto

“Your Soylents Viridian’s meal is now complete. Bon appetite.”

On the little LCD screen was a picture of a classically rendered chicken dinner. A grilled breast, some greens, and a few new potatoes glazed with melted butter. It was the exact image one would imagine the phrase ‘mouth watering’ was meant to dredge up in the human soul.

On the food printers output tray was a beige blob, a waffle of green stuff, and something vaguely potato shaped. It smelled… interesting. Not bad. But interesting.

The output tray upended and went the mass to the floor of the galley where two other ‘chicken dinners’ were slowly combining into some sort of protein based life-form. It then went back to printing another chicken dinner, unprompted.

Mickey looked to the galley deck, and then to Wulf.

“You bought it,” he said with a shrug as it once again tossed the printed food onto the deck.

Wulf didn't look at that shiny happy image of the perfect dinner - he neither wanted or needed to - that happy little LCD meal was ingrained on his brain now, wrapped in crushed hope and the optimistic determination of true hunger. Hell, the green waffle by Mickey's boots was even starting to look appetising.

"It just needs some tweaking, boss," Wulf pointed out, with the sunny disposition of a bright-eyed and well-paid tech out on his first call-out of the week. "Lil bit of software love, and a gentle coding caress. Be good as momma might have made if she cared about us at all, promise."

Could happen, right? He told himself in the privacy of his own brain. "Let me have a look at it," Wulf added, and yanked the plug out of the wall before his pride and joy proved him wrong any more times.

"Your Soylents Viridian Meal is now complete. Bon Apeeeeeeer-"

"Look, Wulf, I'm all for hope. I have a timeshare in hope, a great place, beautiful weather. But there comes a time when CPR turns into necrophilia," Mickey nodded at the congealing mass of foodstuffs on the floor. "And I cannot see how the software will change the culinary nightmare that thing printed out. Also who makes a printer tray spring loaded? A few more Newtons of force on that thing and you could use it for siege warfare."

Adrie was wandering aimlessly about the galley, daydreaming about something or other, when the malfunctioning equipment snapped her out of her reverie. "Are you going to fix it or buy it a dress?" she asked Wulf with a mischievous glint in her eye.

The eye roll from the comm tech was magnificently overacted at the sniping from their paying passenger and Wulf let his gaze rest on those impish brown orbs. "Fix it," he said with a pithy sense of major irritation. It hadn't taken a few weeks to figure out that Adrie was trouble, easy on the eyes and cute as a button, but with the personality of a thoroughly spoiled rich child. Ironic as that was, Wulf hadn't yet done much more than character assassinate back. "Unless you want to try?" He asked, with as much cheerful optimism as he could muster up into a question combined with that familiar middle digit gesture.

"There is no fixing that which was born broken and bankrupt," Mickey said, stepping around the mess and pulling out a coffee pod from a storage cabinet. He held it up in two fingers towards Adrie/Sophie. "Coffee?"

"S'il vous plaît," she said in French, then nodded in the affirmative. "Maybe a snack, too, since the hound might be awhile with the chow."

"I am good for coffee," he said slipping the packet into the machine and getting a cup from the cabinet. "But the food packs are behind you. Second from the emergency decompression kit. Light snacks, instant heat noodles. Sushi I think, but it's been in there long enough the dates probably bogus. But it's yours if you want it?"

"Le chien est un loup et il travaille exactement aussi vite que nécessaire, chère dame Magana," returned Wulf with a perfect accent wrapping about those soft words. His dark eyes didn't seek the young woman's as the tech pulled the printer apart with a gentle destructive grace and got into issue of the spring loaded release mechanism. Looked more beneficial for some sort of catapult set-up than a food delivery system, but then he had to begrudgingly admit (privately and in his own mind for now) that what the machine was literally spitting out wasn't that close to edible sustenance just yet.

"Le loup peut manger le cul de la dame," Sophie/Adrie retorted with a swiveling hob of her head before checking out the snack assortments. "Dehydrated ramen," she said as she examined it with bitchy disapproval. "We're going to starve to death."

"Ne me tente pas. ça pourrait avoir meilleur goût que cette merde," muttered Wulf, with a sense of frustration about his tone. He could fix it, he promised himself. He would fix it. Because the alternative was Flo being right, and ramen for... well, what felt like forever.

Mickey put his coffee cup down and put two fingers to his lips, and whistled loud enough to make a UNMC drill instructor proud.

"New galley rule, no dead languages spoken in earshot of the captain," he said and took the second cup and put it next to Sophie as he leaned in and grabbed a microwaved burrito. The packaging explained the holder would find 'spice excitement' within. "That was French right? Only heard it spoken of Earth in the Québecois wards in Lowellville and Shackleton on Luna."

"Wasn't part of our contract." Adrie/Sophie winked at Mickey and dramatically said, "Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperie de connard d'enculé
de ta mère."

Wulf winced at the shrill deafening of Mickey's wake-up call and nodded his compliance. "Sorry, bossman," he said with amused contrition. "My first tutor was very proud of my French and I don't get to swear in it very often." The tech looked to Adrie then and shook his head in a clear chastisement, the underlying grin present, but hidden in his eyes. "Contract or not, probably shouldn't be demonstrating the diversity of the word 'fuck' with your Captain."

Adrie gave a look of mock offense. "Wouldn't have known had you not told him, puppy."

"Communication's what Mickey hired me for," returned Wulf, ignoring the cute nickname and pushing on through. "So where'd you learn French?"

There was no safe answer to that question. Where did Belters learn French? "I... read a lot," she said. "Where'd you learn to not fix things?"

"Uh-huh," said Wulf, when he really meant 'bullshit'. "Online videos, trial and error, y'know - the usual," he added, unhelpfully.

"Whatever keeps you away from streaming porn," Adrie/Sophie quipped. "More operating systems get borked that way."

"Nothing keeps me away from porn," Wulf responded with an utterly straight face. "But there's plenty of options besides streaming and out here you gotta improvise." He let that smirk slowly rise and fall on his olive features and shot Mickey a quick look on the way back around to regarding Adrie again. "And I never, never fuck up the OS." A brief pause. "Not on the Tross anyway."

Adrie rolled her eyes. "In your wet dreams, dog boy." Looking at Mickey, she asked, "So how long are you going to let him fondle the food machine before letting someone else take a crack at it?"

"I dunno. Honestly, I'm thinking you two need to pack up this act and do the Jovian comedy club circuit," he sipped his coffee. "But if you think you know as much about that thing as Wulf does, I'm sure he won't mind sharing. Or maybe if you want I have a few chores that Wulf will not be getting to today due to a work-related spillage he's in the middle of making."

"To the second, I'd rather die," Adrie said, "but to the first, whatever it takes to get the chow line moving."

Wulf looked from one to the other and back again, swallowed the demonstrative sigh he'd been planning on making and decided - fuck it. He'd been on the Albatross long enough to feel secure in his place and position, to know he was needed and to not be undermined or intimidated by some upstart passenger who liked to throw her money on a long trip out to the planet with an identity crisis. He still, however, had his pride. This was his bad purchase, and his mistake to fix. But... Mickey was right, he had plenty of other things to do. If the cutesy rich kid from hell wanted to play with the food printer, who was he to stand in her way.

"You want to help, *Sophie*?" Wulf said, with a subtle hint of incredulty in his tone and emphasis on her fake name. "Kinda thought helping was beneath you. But sure, this piece of junk is all yours. Knock yourself out." He smiled, a genuine one this time, because the lass was adorable, if completely obnoxious. "I've got real work to do."

"Good because we're getting far enough away from the ConFed relay that we need all of the ship's data buffers purged so we can start downloading data instead of pinging for it on request," Mickey said. "And I seem to recall last time we went far out beyond the network that took a while, lot of reformating and what not."

Not liking the tone with which Wulf had used her alias, Adrie scowled at the man. "Bippity, boppity, boo!" she said, waving her fingers over the food printer. "Let's see if that worked." A keen eye might have seen her palm something up her wrist. "I think I want..." She looked at Mickey. "Where are my manners? Captains first."

Hilarious, thought Wulf as he wondered if that distracting gesture had any purpose besides ego. At this point he didn't care, the food printer was a disappointment that their paying passenger was welcome to take on. "Cute," he said, lopsided smirk accompanying the word. The tech looked to Mickey then, serious working face back in play and returned a double nod as he responded to the workload ahead.

"I'm on it, bossman," Wulf noted. "I set up some subroutines last time, they should do the heavy lifting, but I'll go triple-check. Might need a little babysitting and tweaking here and there and I want to keep a close eye on the downloads." He didn't look to Adrie, but his gaze lingered on Mickey's. "Just to be sure all's going as planned. Any requests, entertainment wise, or d'ya trust me?" Wulf raised his eyebrows and considered the updates he'd gotten on Rhea. Big to-do list ahead.

"You know our preferences. But go easy on the Earther comedies, we have a Belter and Martian on the ship and I don't want to spend every other night explaining why a film is funny because it's got a gravity-based gag in it," Mickey said as he looked over the machine. He remembered one flight, back towards the beginning of the Tross's operation, where an argument had sparked out over a comedy routine in a film. A person had fallen from a ladder, splashing paint on everything. The Belter pilot at the time had grown angry that people found it funny because surely at such a small distance nothing could have happened. And there was no way open paint cans were legit.

"And what would the lady recommend?" Mickey asked.

Adrie eyed both men back and forth before offering her suggestion. "Got any musicals?"

"No worries," said Wulf in response to Mickey. He'd been in confined spaces on long runs with Belters and Martians before, so there was no arguing with Mickey's logic. Right now, Delphi worried him more than Emma did, but the two together seemed to be getting along just fine. Adrie worried him more, but she was heavily outnumbered and the Tross' data systems were tactically tight and extremely well-protected. He'd had more than enough time to refine that set-up over the last couple of years.

"Musicals?" he asked her, with one eyebrow curving up and high. "Yeah, I got some. You're not gonna sing are you?"

"Only in the shower," Adrie said with a wink.

"And on that note, I've lost my appetite." Mickey said


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