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Alms For A Barnacle

Posted on Mon Jul 13th, 2020 @ 11:55pm by Commanding Officer Mickey Serendipity & Executive Officer Kenneth McTigue & Passenger Kol Wescott-Fitzgerald & Medical Officer Florian McLennan & Comm Tech Wulf Edevane

Mission: The Forgotten Arm
Location: Med Bay
Timeline: Just After Cosmetic Surgery & Rat Trap

"Greetings from Win-River Diagnostic Systems. System ready for instruction."

The autoDoc's screen's glowed to life, and the mechanical arms with the various swan-necked surgical and diagnostic tools flexed, almost eagerly, as power flowed into them.

"You don't mind none if me and Kol hang around in here to make sure the bag of varied broken organs doesn't get up to anything?" Mickey asked, keying in a code to a lockbox on attached to the side of the med bay. Unlike all the other cabinets in the room, this one wasn't festooned with medical symbols. And when it opened Mickey pulled out a compact auto pistol, and tossed it in the mico-gee to Kol. The dainty little thing had the ingrained feel of ceramics, weighed nearly nothing. A holdout piece.

Flo had become awfully disoriented as the men dragged him out of the tiny compartment he'd hidden in since the launch. Bulkheads and the corners of walls and blurry faces zipped past his monocular field of vision, one eye having become swollen shut. For a while he simply let himself go, allowing strangers to manipulate his weight through cramped corridors, at times bumping an arm or a leg against something that caused him to yelp out in pain. The next time he held his eye open was when he'd been taken to what he thought was some medical bay, or at least a room reserved to conduct medical therapies and treatments to some extent.

He felt himself strapped against a table, or a stretcher, or whatever it was to keep him still. From the corner of his vision was what he presumed to be an Auto-Doc. He knew such things only did quick fixes, and certainly inadequate for the extent of his injuries. He'll need an actual person to patch him up. Hopefully this crew's medic wasn't also their cook or barber.

It didn't take long for the boy to see the gun. "No, no..." he managed to mutter. "Please, don't..."

"Choice is in my hands kid. This is my ship, my crew. Which you are not, which makes you cargo or ballast. Who are you, and what are you doing on my ship?" Mickey asked.

Was this really it? Was this really how he was going to die? Surviving, out of complete utter and unexplained luck, from the tremendous G-forces of launch, only to become crippled, fall into the hand of someone who knew nothing of him, and then executed? The boy could barely talk, let alone offer a decent explanation of why he'd taken the risk of stowing away on this ship.

"Please..." he managed to mutter, another tiny droplet of blood escaping from his lips and drifting off. "I'm... not here to..."

Before the badly injured young man could reply further Alex reached out and activated the sedation program on the auto-doc, flooding the man's system with a drug to place him into a deep sleep. "I'm sorry, but if you want to get any meaningful information I'm going to need to get to work. You are more than welcome to stay if you'd like. But please stay out of the way," he said, as he slipped on a pair of gloves and began to work through the various diagnostic scanning programs that would give him the information he would need.

When it was all finally done he began to set the broken bones he could set, placing casts as needed, and stitched up the lacerations he could stitch up and cleaned out the abrasions. It took him nearly two hours of constant work, and by the time he was done he was exhausted. He'd also confirmed exactly what he'd been most worried about, the guy had one of the worst cases of radiation poisoning he'd ever had before in his life.

Flo had sunk into sedation, and then into full unconscious, completely losing any little control he had on his own survival. His last thoughts was that of fear. Fear that he'd never wake up again. At least it would be painless, or so he hoped.

Finally taking his gloves off and washing his hands, Alex wiped the sheen of sweat off his brow and sighed as he leaned against the cabinet, feet crossed in front of him, and arms across his chest and looked at the ship's captain. "He'll live. He'll only do so as long as he takes massive doses of anti-cancer drugs, and he's probably going to have some pretty severe pain to learn to deal with, but he'll live. Shouldn't be long before he come up from the sedation if you want to ask him some questions."

"Great, because medicinal supplies are free and we're a charity," Mickey sighed, taking the gun back from Kol and putting it back into its arms locker. "Least thing we can do is rifle through the kid's belongs, try to figure out some of what he is."

The auto-doc had titrated the dose of sedative as if it understood the fine art of procedural sedation and general anaesthesia. The moment the medic had completed the final necessary treatments, the machine switched over to providing only analgesia, and within minutes the young man was awake. Drowsy, making incomprehensible noises and still vulnerable. But awake.

Flo groaned, a groan that he had no hope of remembering, his mind still drowning in a plethora of sedative effects. The rest of him, however, remained still in the recliner, his eyes fluttering underneath their lids.

"How much broken is the kid Doc, I want to know the limit to which I can push to get an answer," Mickey said.

Alex pondered the question for a few moments, gazing at the deck plating, his lips pursed, and eyes squinted slightly. "He's not all that broken, considering. But he's going to probably need some time to rest before he's going to make a whole lot of sense," he admitted. "The sedation alone is going to make him groggy, and the trauma he's experience is only going to make that worse. He'll probably be good to answer basic questions, stuff like what his name is, where he came from, but beyond that, it's going to be a toss up."

"Twilight thinking. You would be surprised how honest that level of sedation can make you," Mickey said. "I mean the kid doesn't look like a Yakuza or Golden Boa collector. And if he planted a bomb down there, we'd have found it. And if we found one, the kid is going to need a religious leader instead of a doctor when Ken gets inside."

A busted hand terminal, clothes in dire need of being reissued and their former selves burned for crimes against humanity, and an honest to goodness paper diary. Mickey turned the diary over in his hands, letting the pages fan out in the zero-gee.

"You know, if I didn't think Ken would murder someone, I'd be tempted to hold this book out over a flame and see just how combustible it is," Mickey said in a voice designed to be heard.

Flo began to wake as his broken body continued to slowly metabolise the sedatives placed into his system hours ago. Almost an hour after the auto-doc had ceased its anaesthetic drug infusions, the kid's eyes opened, though only just, impaired by the bruised swelling across his face.

As the medication's effects lifted, so did its blockade of pain. The young man writhed slowly with discomfort on the recliner and began to groan more frequently, voice slightly muffled by the oxygen mask over his nose and mouth.

He opened his eyes again, and remained clueless as to where he was, or what had happened to him. The last thing he could remember was escaping. Where to exactly, he didn't know. All he knew was running as fast as his legs would carry him. And now here he was - drugged up, in pain, and surrounded by total strangers.

"Hey there Kid, welcome back to the land of the temporarily alive and kicking," Mickey said. "I'm the CO of this ship, of which you are an unknown and potentially unwanted passenger. I'd like a name and a reason why you are on my ship?"

Flo groaned. Was he being interrogated? Had his... injuries even been taken care of? He couldn't tell. The rest of his body was still numb, but at least that meant he didn't have to experience pain - for now. Perhaps he'd been somehow knocked out by these men, his belongings inspected, and his body given an injection to force him back to some resemblance of wakefulness. Just so they could peel information off of him, or maybe to simply torture him for having stowed away on their ship in order to steal, or whatever it was that these people wanted to accuse him of. His last desperate act of self-preservation having possibly led him to his ultimate demise.

If only he could move his legs and wrestle himself off the recliner chair, he'd try to push himself across the room. Somehow aim his way towards the door. But of course that'd be useless. He was injured and he knew nothing about this ship. They'd catch him before he had the chance to think about escaping.

"I'm... I'm sorry," he groaned, feeling a jab of pain through his chest. "I... I don't have anything, I promise. Please! My name... my name's Flo. I'm... I really needed to get off..."

For a moment he couldn't recall the name of the place his feet were last solidly planted on the ground. "... I needed to get off of Deimos. This ship was the closest. I had nowhere to run, I'm so sorry." Tears began to form from his eyes, his face twisting and lips trembling, fighting to decide upon the many distressing emotions before settling on fear. "You can take all my stuff. Don't hurt me!"

"That is... aww shit," Mickey grumbled. He walked to the wall and hit the comm panel. "Ken get down to MedBay we got a thing. And bring Wulf down here too."

He turned at the door, and rubbed his eyes with both hands, dragging his fingers down his cheeks as though hoping to pull the illusion of a runaway on his ship. Alas, it did not do a thing.

"Okay, Flo, first off take a breath and breath it all in and out. I am not in the habit of killing folks, so you're safe. But, you are a complication because you did not ask to come aboard. That does not make you a passenger, makes you stowaway. A stowaway who has gotten himself beaten nearly to death by Newton's 3rd Law because the undercroft of the engineering section is not a crash couch and we had to pull some gee's," Mickey looked at the Doc who nodded. "AutoDoc and Doc Garcia here are taking care of you. But we're not going back to Mars, or any Martian Congressional Republic flagged port for a spell. Our destination is the Saturnian Confederation, more specifically Rhea. Not exactly one of the tourist domes."

Ken answered through his hand terminal, "Roger, Mickey. On my way." He had just stowed his suit and felt gross. The cooling and ventilation gear did its best, but the salty residue on his skin always irked him after a space walk. Even back in the days of his powered armor it felt necessary to take a bath after a mission. But duty before pleasure, and all that. Ken zipped his flightsuit up and looked at Wulf. "You coming up to medical with me?"

Sat with the suit helmet on his knees and his bare feet cooling on the deck, Wulf didn't look up right away, he was making faces at his own reflection, drifting back into reality from the hard labour outside on the hull. Did he want to go up to the MedBay and see the friendly Martian Doc? Not really. What he wanted was a shower, and a brain numbing all-nighter gaming session up on Ops. But, as he looked up into Ken's face, he knew that was over before it had even begun.

"Yeah," Wulf said, as he sucked in a breath and kissed the next level of Danger Zone Wrecker Elite goodbye for the day. On an exhale he nodded. "I'm right behind you."

"Busy room." Ken noted as he stepped into the sickbay. His face carried a glower deep enough to send young Marine privates running for the hills.

Wulf's response, spoken from behind the engineer as he stretched to look over the taller man's shoulder, was louder, horrified and far less eloquent.

"What the fuck is that?!" Asked the comm tech.

"This is 'Flo'. Other than a name and a need to get off of Deimos, you're just in time for the interesting part of Flo's story...when they say more," Mickey said, making a rolling gesture with one hand.

Oh god, there were more of them, the kid thought to himself as two others drifted their way through the compact med bay's entrance. He looked back at the man who looked to be in charge - the one with rather soft features and well-kept brown hair, seemingly young to be the captain of a ship - but then again, he didn't think this was a particularly big ship.

He had no idea where Rhea was, and at this point he didn't really care. All he wanted was to stay alive. Auto-doc and Real-doc had done most of that for him, and he couldn't be more grateful. Now he had to say the right things to make sure his condition remained that way.

His eyes glanced across the room to one of the new arrivals. The one with grey hair and a short beard across his jawline. And then there was the man who appeared the youngest amongst the group, but also with the most intense glare.

"I can't go back to Mars. Please, don't send me back. They'll kill me!"

"Don't look like it would take much," muttered Wulf. His very worried gaze shifted from the human bag of surgical supplies to Mickey. "Is this part of the deal we took? Was he in one of the crates?" He asked.

Ken shot a hard look at Wulf, hoping it would convey that he'd better stop talking about their cargo before looking at Mickey. "He the stowaway you found?"

The young man kept on going as the crew focused on deciding what to do with him. "Please, I won't steal anything! I'm sorry for jumping on board without permission, but I really, really needed to leave Deimos. I can't go back. Please, let me stay, at least for now. I'll do whatever. Clean, cook... anything."

Ignoring Flo Mickey nodded to Ken.

"Yup. Hiding out in the undercroft of the reactor bay, between the crew maintenance section and containment vessel. No padding, no juice, so you can imagine he had a great time during our run form High Elysium," Mickey said dryly. He then looked at Flo. "Well kid I have some good news for you, we are not going back to Mars. Like I said, we'll be bound for Rhea in the Saturn lunar system in about a days time once we make sure you didn't hit anything critical down in the reactor bay."

"Dump his ass on Rhea?" Ken asked, considering alternatives. "Would be cheaper to toss his ass out the airlock. Saves on air, water, and of course the meds." Ken looked Flo over from top the bottom, then turned to Mickey. "We're running on the fraying end of a shoe string budget already. Besides, I don't think Rhean port authorities would allow him on the rock without a passport anyway."

"Yeah the Saturn ConFed might be a paper tiger, but they are serious on population control. A colony collapse because too many people breathing and not enough work being done to keep them all breathing is always a nasty way to go," Mickey mused. "You have any education kid? Mars is big on the vocational apprenticeship gig."

"Doesn't need to be a formal education either." Ken offered, "Maybe learned some useful things on the street you want to tell us about?"

"Like maybe how to steal rides, and cry like a baby to get what you want?" Asked Wulf, who wasn't buying the act and was considering all the expensive and very portable gear he had lying around the Tross. "But not where to hide on a ship if you want to survive for long. What are you running from, exactly?"

"Well he's here now, and wishing will not make it any less so," Mickey said. He gestured to Ken and Wulf. "My executive officer Ken, and this is my Comm Tech Mister Edevane. Both of whom were outside fixing the ship from the damage we've incurred during our escape from the High Elysium tether statin where you jumped on."

Wulf raised an eyebrow at the formal introduction, then sighed. He was tired, sweaty and hungry, none of which were making this any more fun. "Can I go get a shower now?" He asked, moodily.

"I'm not here to take anything!" Flo responded to Wulf's earlier suggestion, begging, wondering just how he could possibly convince them of this. It was true - he had no intention for theft. He simply needed to leave Deimos. Perhaps telling them the truth might help.

"I was running... from my dealers," he admitted. "I owed them a few things, but my plan to repay fell through. I'd run out of options. So... so I figured if I was going to die - better have that done once I've passed out from the gee's, than to face them."

"There, see we're getting to know one another now ain't we?" Mickey said. As he did he and Doctor Garcia shared a significant look and the Martian medic tapped in a few commands on the AutoDoc's control pane. "So you were running from your dealers and you jumped onto our ship to skip out on their brand of debt collection. Who were they? Martian Bratva? Golden Boa? L-Point Triads? I'd like to know if we're dealing with a local Martian problem, or something that has a few chapter houses out in the system."

Flo's eyes darted back at the guy who appeared to be in charge. "No, no." He gulped, wondering if it was a good idea or not to mention who exactly he'd been running from. "The... Cutters. Falselight Cutters," he stammered. "Them, and the Cappa."

Mickey nodded.

"Can't say I've heard of the Falselight Cutters, but small gangs tend to rise and fall like soybeans in an Ag-Dome. But Cappa...I've heard of them. Boss of Boss's for Mars and some of the Trojan Colonies. I think we're safe with you here with us. If you'd named one of the larger gangs, the Gentlemen Bastards, the Half Crowns, I'd be worried. Let me guess, the Falselights rode the tether? Picking pockets or mauling cargo for the larger gangs?"

Flo kept his mouth shut for a moment.

"Bit of both," was all he replied with, the fear of reprisal from the Cutters simply for speaking about them still gripping him.


No one would find out what Mickey was going to say. The light trim around the edge of the ceiling of the compartment began to pulse with soft blue light, and a tritone alarm began to him insistently. To anyone outside of the military, the choice of light and audio accompaniment might have been thought of as mood lighting. But to those who had served, or knew the timbre of a martial life, it was the general alert to call the crew to action stations.

"Stay!" Mickey barked at Flo, pointing a finger at him. He then looked at the others. "Wulf to Ops, Alex stay here with Flo, and Ken get Long Tom charged and loaded. Just in case."


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