Charon's Opus ::
Previous

Lunar Pancakes and Too Much Beer

Posted on Sun Aug 7th, 2022 @ 8:14pm by Executive Officer Kenneth McTigue & Comm Tech Wulf Edevane

Mission: Stories From The Expanse
Location: Earth's Moon
Timeline: A while ago

Luna. Moon. Yue. The large, rocky body orbiting Earth had as many different names as there were cultures down the gravity well. For the next week it would be home to the crew. The 'Tross was laid up for some major refurbishment by the Bush Orbital Shipyard. Well, a small independent outfit working out of the shipyard. If it was handled by the large organisation it might be recognised as something that should've been recycled metal and not a functional ship.

Wulf had convinced Ken to spend the week in the Arnhem district of Lovell City. Arnhem district was known for as the party district. The young man had arranged a pair of rooms in an old but clean hotel on the edge of the district. For the last five days the two men had been drinking, dancing, and even bringing home the occasional sexual conquest, be they paid or free of charge.

Day six started like many had before. Ken had been roused from his alcohol-assisted sleep by the beeping of his terminal. It was nearing noon and he wanted to get ahead of the hangover today. He also wanted his last day in Lovell to be a rest day. After a quick, expensive shower, he felt more or less as alive as he could be. In a pair of jeans and a shirt he stepped out of his closet-sized room and banged on Wulf's door. "Time to get up Wulf."

Ugh. The sound of Ken's fist hitting the hotel door was unwanted enough that the younger man pushed his head under the pillow and pulled it close over his ears. That unfortunately didn't make it go away, and the muffled sound was almost more irritating. Wulf, well aware of the UNN Marine's tenacity, dragged himself out of the warm bed and padded barefoot to the door. He opened said portal to the hallway, and with a wince of a welcome expression he regarded the man behind it.

"Mornin!" Wulf chimed with enough happiness to at least tell Ken he felt bad about not having been up and showered yet. "You bring breakfast?" He asked, rather optimistically.

"Buddy, it's your turn to pay for breakfast." Ken glanced down, then quickly back up and made eye contact. "How about you shower and get some pants on and we can find some food. I've seen way too much dong in my times in the service."

Behind them both, the sound of a shower interrupted the two for a fleeting second. Guilty pleasure flashed across the younger man's face, shifting to a dumb grin quickly enough. He didn't follow Ken's gaze downward, suddenly very aware that he was only wearing a sleeveless tee and nothing else but. "Heh, sorry," Wulf recovered, cupping himself with a modesty too false to fool either of them. "Give me 5 and I'll be right with you."

----

Six minutes later, the door re-opened and a skinny lass with neon hair, wearing one of Wulf's t-shirts as a dress confidently exited, strolling off down the corridor. She was followed swiftly by a wet-haired comm tech smelling of shower gel, but suitably dressed in cargo pants, boots, dark shirt and crew jacket.

"Whatcha wanna eat, Ken-dog?" Wulf asked, sounding far too chirpy for the amount of sleep he hadn't really had. "My shout," he added, with a bright, innocent smile.

"She was cute." Ken observed as he hoisted himself off the small sofa that stood in the hallway. "Aren't you running out of t-shirts at this rate? She was what, number seven now?"

"Number five for round two, but she's dyed her hair since last time," admitted Wulf, not wanting to falsify the numbers. "But yeah. Gonna need to hit a thrift store." He grinned, not particularly fashion conscious or precious about his t-shirts. The tech didn't really have any family heirlooms as far as clothing went and his current prized possession was the Tross jacket.

"How about we go find some tacos. I have a need for real guac though, so I might even chip in for this breaky." Ken suggested as they walked down the hallway.

"Sweet!" Agreed Wulf by enthuisasm alone. "I'm craving pancakes and syrup. I'll shout us for real maple if you get the tacos?" His stomach growled. "I'm thinking big brunch..."





It took some searching. Frankly, it took about forty minutes of searching before they found a place that served real maple syrup. It cost roughly three hundred UN Credits per 10 millilitres. The same amount of money would allow them to run one shower for an hour in their hotel. But Ken was flush with mostly legally acquired coin and after seeing Wulf's stack, Ken wasn't feeling guac so much any more. A respectable stack of yeast-protein pancakes appeared, with 30 millilitres off maple syrup, and was put before Ken.

Worth it, Wulf agreed. His stomach growled now, hungry for sugary goodness and that old fashioned carby feel to the morning. Besides, he didn't have a lot of things, but he did have a good deal of credits right now. And with the paid female company they'd both been working their way through the last few days, what was a guy to spend it on that was worth more than his best buddy and a celebratory brunch?

"Oh hell YEAH!" Confirmed the comm tech as the tray landed on the table. A wayward hand with an equally impish fork stabbed the top pancake in the stack and attempted to get it from A (said plate) to B (Wulf's wide open mouth) as swiftly as possible.

Ken studied his own stack. Hot steam was rising off it, and with it a very inviting smell.A quiet growling rumble came from Ken's stomach and the engineer shrugged and smiled. He poured the very expensive real syrup onto the middle of his very tall stack and let it drip over the edge. The deep golden liquid was half-absorbed by the pancakes, and half-dripped off. Before taking a piece however, Ken finished off his coffee and gestured to the elderly lady that he would like another before slicing off a small chunk and savouring the taste.

Silence emanated from Wulf as he devoured his own perfect lunchtime breakfast. Slow and steady, the young man used his fork like a shovel, dunking broken pieces of syrup-soaked pancake in still more syrup. Not a single drop of the amber nectar was wasted and every mouthful was dutifully and completely savoured. He didn't look up more than twice, both times a dumb grin backlit by happiness in dark eyes as Wulf regarded his partner in hunger management. Coffee was an afterthought, negated until the tech needed a little caffeine boost to continue his demolition mission.

As Wulf cleared his plate, Ken was still only half-way through. The UNMC had imparted many good habits into the engineer, but rushing to devour your food was one he had struggled to break from since he got out. In the past he had utterly destroyed expensive meals, clearing plates within minutes of receiving them. He was determined to savour every bite of this meal.

It took a few minutes after Wulf had emptied his plate to notice. Ken then noticed Wulf eyeing the half-stack that still remained on Ken's plate. Ken then made eye-contact with his friend, and Ken flipped the knife in his hand from a cutting grip to a reverse grip, ready to stab Wulf's hand if the young man reached across the table.

Wulf held both hands up in a classic sign of surrender. "All yours, dude," he promised first, then cast his gaze about the place and impatiently waited for Ken to finish. "Where we going next?" He asked, considering their options.

Between the final bites Ken answered, "We've seen just about every bar and club in this part of the city." Then he filled his mouth with the scraps and answered while chewing. "How 'bout we muv to the east side?"

A big dumb grin occupied the tech's face for a full two seconds before he spoke. "Hell YES!" Wulf whooped. "C'mon, let's go," he followed up swiftly with more enthusiasm than he should have been feeling with as little sleep as they were currently rolling with. "I wonder what the girls are like over there..."

He put money down on the table and started looking at options on his phone while Ken finished his coffee.

"Probably more expensive." Ken mused as he set the empty coffee cup down. "But let's find out."




More expensive turned out to be right on the money and in every other way possible.

There had been no sign, warning or indication - either physical or verbal - that the two women the Tross lads had hooked up with had any ties to another. If anything they'd started it, Wulf would argue (repeatedly) once they were back on the ship.

So, deeply in temporary love with a ebon-skinned lass with pale purple tight curly locks and matching facial tattoos, Wulf felt nothing but blissful happiness until the slap.

The slab of a hand hit the side of his head hard enough to drop him sideways from the bar stool to sit, surprised, ears ringing, on the bar's real wooden floor. 'His' girl stood and turned on her fella, words harsh in protestation, while just beyond them, Ken was catching up on current events of his own.

Ken was quite busy. His mouth had found a willing partner in kissing-crime. But the sound of a barstool clattering on the ground tends to pull attention. Usually the kind of point-and-laugh attention. As he looked over he saw a rather sizeable Earther bend over to lift Wulf by the collar of his shirt. "Excuse me a mhuirnín." Ken said, pressing a final kiss upon her lips before approaching the man-mountain. "Hey friend, mind putting my buddy down?" The engineer asked with a smile.

'I do mind,' the man might have said. But this particular slab of humanity didn't waste time on mere words. Instead he punched Ken right in that smiling mouth with his free hand, not even bothering to drop Wulf to one side while he did so.

Behind Ken, heavies two and three had a little less bodymass to them, yet still looked feisty and highly motivated for some brawling action. They moved up to form a triangle of trouble about the two Tross crew members.

"Easy now lads." The wiry Earther said, raising his hands in a calming gesture. "I'm sure there..." Ken never really got any further words out. His right foot shot up mid sentence, parking the tip of the steel-toed mag-boot he was wearing straight against the balls of Lunar Jocky #1. Ken pulled the foot back, found his balance and swung his back-handed left fist against the approximate area where Man Meat #2's jaw had to be. As #1 slumped in loud groans and pain, the quiet crack of a jaw breaking could be heard from his unlucky back up. Around the time Ken swivelled back to look at #3 a fist landed in Ken's kidney and the Marine-turned-engineer stumbled away from the punch.

Fella numbero uno hit the deck hard, hands both going straight to cradle his crotch. He didn't spare the escaping Wulf more than a moan of pain and a curseword or two, his eyes, when they opened again, aimed visual venom directly at Ken. His second was out for the count, while number three was raring to go full-tilt til one of them ended this.

Wulf scooted out of the way, involuntarily joining the two women on the sidelines so that the three of them could reassess the situation. The tech winced as Ken staggered, and without further thought leapt into the fray, only to find himself - seconds later - dangling upside down by one leg and reeling from whatever the hell had happened to place him there.

"You're on our turf," Three announced, gruff voice edged with a cutting Irish accent. "T'ese are our gurls. Get fucking lost beth of ya."

"T'ey were looking awefully lonely t'ere." Ken answered, filling his voice with the thick Irish brogue he had left back on Earth. He had already found his way back to his feet and looked at Wulf's predicament, and then to the two idiots that tried fighting him. "But I wouldn't want to hurt your mates any fur'her. So we shall take our leave."

To his credit, the lout paused and stared at Ken, briefly baffled by this unexpected turn of vocal events. "Aye, we'll be both take'in our leave, den. Fair's fair. Don't be worrying none about der loneliness, neither, a'right?" He punctuated his question by dropping the Tross' comm tech to the ground.

Wulf groaned, winced, and figured out which way was up relatively quickly, rubbing his skull with a wary hand and moving as quickly as he could out of reach.

"On yer feet Wulf, these nice lads are letting us walk outta here." Ken said as he grabbed the younger man's upper arm and pushed him to the door. Then the Irishman turned around, keeping his eyes to the room. "Gentlemen."

The comm tech looked from one Irishman to the other and didn't need telling twice to follow the the right one. Up on unsteady feet, Wulf was about to obey the issued command when Ken took control and propelled him towards the door. Wulf staggered the rest of the way, bounced lightly off the door frame and through on his second try. Then he looked back to see how Ken was faring.

Ken caught his friend with one arm as he kept backing away from the door, not letting him out of his sight until he rounded a corner. "How you doing buddy? Ken asked as they rounded another corner and made their way back to the main street.

"M'okay," Wulf decided, after a moment's hesitation. "Rattled my brain... One of these days I wannabe rescuing you 'stead of being the rescued, y'know?" Fighting was definitely Ken's Thing, but maybe it wouldn't always be. Wulf's ego could hope, at least.

"Tell you what. Next time we get in a fight I'll be the hostage and you can throw that Titan Tōon-ryū around. It might even prevent me from pissing blood after the next fight." Ken started chuckling but grunted in pain and grabbed the spot he was hit. "I do think I'm getting too old to get into bar fights with random Earthers. Belters don't hit nearly as hard."

Wulf shook his head. "I dunno," he speculated out loud. "Not sure my Tekken-OT skills will translate to taking down anyone who'd been able to make you their hostage," his tone was light, but shifted to deadly serious the second Ken grunted. "You okay?" There followed a wry expression, then. "Old Man," Wulf added with affectionate amusement.

"I'll live, kid." Ken grinned as he straightened up and smacked his buddy on the back. "I always do."

 

Previous

labels_subscribe