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Zasha Venediktov

"Call me little again and I will bean you with this wrench."

0 · 560 views · located in The Black, The 'Verse, Firefly and Serenity

a character in “Sanguine Caifu”, as played by WendyDarling

Groups

This barely-cohesive bunch of near-strangers are the crew of the Qi. Under the orders of Captain Ju everyone...pretty much just does what they want, honestly.

Description

Image Alliance Personal Identification Card
  • Username: WendyDarling
  • Name: Zasha
  • Age: 24
  • Occupation: Engineer
  • Equipment: Two small Makarov pistols. Tools for fixing and sometimes used as weapons (heavy wrenches are excellent for both), bomb materials (not in volatile forms of course), a small box of select parts that she collects and uses on the ships she works on.
  • Purpose of Voyage:
Money and getting away from her family and the complications therein.

So begins...

Zasha Venediktov's Story

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Zasha Venediktov took a deep breath as she walked up to the ship, holding everything she owned in two packs. One, on her back, carried her personal items, and the second bigger bag she carried in her right hand held her tool box and all kinds of spare parts she'd picked up in her journeys. Even if they didn't fit the ship perfectly, most of them could be used to jerry-rig something until the proper part was found. Any time she had a bit of extra money and a good market, she picked up a thing or two, in faith that she would eventually have a place for it. Her brown leather pants and tall boots were good for resisting wear and tear, but in the heat she'd taken off the matching leather jacket to reveal a white tank top. She had overalls in her bag for when she actually had to get into the engine and get dirty, but otherwise she liked to present a tough front, and baggy overalls made her look even smaller and cuter than she was, not a good first impression for a new captain. Her guns were worn on her thighs, just to ensure that no one in this place thought that her size made her defenseless.

Her last job had lasted a record length for her, over a year, but as usual something had gone wrong. The Alliance hadn't broken up the crew, nothing so dangerous, but personality conflicts and the lack of paying jobs had driven everyone apart. She wasn't too worried about finding a job, usually someone wanted an engineer, but not everyone would hire a girl who looked like space could break her. Besides, she was getting uneasy about being planetbound, it'd been a week since she'd landed from her last job, and it wasn't as if she had a bunch of money in a bank somewhere to keep her going. No, she needed a job, and even if it didn't pay much beyond food and board it could keep her learning and moving around the 'Verse. She'd heard this ship was hiring, and hadn't heard much bad about its Captain--or much information at all, really--so it was worth a shot.

"Excuse me," she said in a faint Russian accent. "Is this ship looking for an engineer? I heard you might be hiring on a new crew."

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Image "This'll be your first time out of Atmo?" Ju Min could see her expression, a mix of incredulity and surprise, in Monolith's helmet. She had taken a few people on their first time off-planet, and it was always an adventure. "Lucky me. I'll make sure to get you a bucket in case you get sick when we hit the Black." She flashed him a smirk as she began to lead him to the docked Qi.

Artificial gravity had made the transition much easier for new fliers, but there was always that one person whose body reacted badly to the artificial gravity. Apparently there was some sort of minor difference somewhere in the inner ear that could pick up on the artificial-ness and would send the body into a panic. The last medic she'd known explained that it was an attempt by the body to purge possible poisons or hallucinogens, which the dry-heaving passenger had found humorous, in between retches.

She chuckled to herself at the memory, stopping as a soft voice tinted with the weight and smoothness of a Russian accent. She turned to see a svelte girl with long, dark hair. Ju's eye quickly picked up the girl's guns strapped to her thighs. An interesting choice, to display arms so outwardly. Whoever this girl is, she had some steel to her, even if it was just the stuff on her legs. More interesting to Ju Min though, was what the girl was asking. An actual engineer. Someone who was qualified to work with the Qi's engines who would stay on the ship. The ship deserved such attention, but she'd never been able to give it that.

Just how desperate was this girl that she was willing to take on a job like this?

"We're hiring alright. And an engineer would be damn appreciated. You're interested?"

"I would be," she replied, "assuming your ship is heading out of dock soon. I'm not good on land, and there are other ships that might be coming in if I'm not to your liking."

And, if she stayed planetbound too long, the odds went up that someone would find her that she'd rather not see. As well as the unfortunate fact that most ships would only hire girls her age for assistants, or worse, and very few would chance giving her the position as main engineer. If this Captain was willing to give her that power, she'd stick around. If not, it would just be another temporary stop as she worked her way up to the big ships with better money. Money wasn't everything, but it did come in handy, especially if you had to hide from the Alliance double quick.

"I'm a good engineer, and even though I look young I've been doing this for years," she said urgently as her blue-grey eyes looked into the Captain's. "I don't cause trouble as long as no one gives me any, and I'm good in a fight. If you're looking for someone to have main responsibility for your engines and mechanics, I'm the engineer for you."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Montgomery Character Portrait: Fu Ju Min Character Portrait: Monolith
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Were he not wearing the helmet, the normally composed Operative would have spoken in an embarrassed tone. "Oh, yes, I have been on ships before... I'm just not very good with-"

He paused as he noticed the woman who had just walked up to engage the Captain in conversation, ignoring him entirely. She appeared to be an engineer interested in working on the ship; did the Captain really have such an understaffed ship?

As they talked on, another man appeared, also requesting employment, though as a pilot. This one eyed Monolith, as he outwardly appeared, with marked suspicion, but he waved it down.

"I am simply a traveler. Have no concern about the attire."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Montgomery Character Portrait: Fu Ju Min Character Portrait: Monolith
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Image Ju Min nodded to Zasha. She too was anxious to get off the ground. Despite what Charles had said, she was still nervous about being tailed. Se should have lost them all more than a week ago, but the risk still made her uneasy.
"We'll be heading out as soon as the medic gets here." She assured her. "I thought I'd have to take on the engines, which I'm not great with, so it's good you showed up." She turned to see Montgomery eying Monolith with suspicious eyes. Her eyes lit up briefly with a hint of mischief.

"I don't think we have any problems, Monty, this is Monolith. We'll be taking the helmet off once we hit the skies." She grinned wickedly, enjoying the feelings not only of having a crew again, but watching the two Alliance run-aways rubbing up against each other. Yes, this was lucky indeed, two Alliance fugitives might weigh in her favor if she had the need. And yet, the doubt tickled in the back of her mind, was this all too lucky? "We'll just make sure he's got a bucket on him. I don't imagine those helmets react well to vomit."

Xhava had been right. She had doubted she'd get this fortunate, to go from an empty ship to a solid crew overnight. Well--not quite an empty ship...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Montgomery Character Portrait: Fu Ju Min Character Portrait: Monolith Character Portrait: Corvin Ross
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The war had left him on this rock without a home, without a family, and without a pot to piss in, but over the few years since he'd managed to scratch out a decent little life for himself. He had made associates, and friends, and had even found the occasional love interest. He was on a first name basis with all of the local bartenders and a few store clerks in the shopping district. He'd even managed to get used to the heat ( a feat he had thought impossible at first).

Things were changing though.

It seemed like a penchant for strict overbearing rule of law was radiating outwards from the core planets, like some sort of infectious disease. This scourge was washing over more and more of the outlying rocks. It had finally come knocking on his door. Local law enforcement had been cracking down on narcotic sales pretty hard, generally making his life hell. He knew better than anyone how futile it was to fight against such things. The better option was to pack up and move on, and that sentiment is what led Corvin to Xhava's Shipyard on one relatively cool afternoon. After all, the Alliance could own every rock in the 'Verse but free men still had a strong hold: the space in between.

Corvin was wearing a pair of cargo shorts, a tank top, and a dufflebag slung over his shoulder containing the remainder of his belongings. The butt of a gun hung under one arm, secured safely in his shoulder holster. A rifle was strapped to his back, the muzzle peaking over his opposite shoulder. A cigarette protruded from his lips, bobbing slightly with every step. As he rounded the corner the Qi, her captain, and her crew came into view. He stopped the moment he saw the operative.

An operative in full gear just standing around? Hanging out? Has this planet really gone to shit THAT quickly? Corvin knew how operatives operated. They weren't dispatched to write parking tickets. If he had been there on assignment blood would already be spraying... so what was he doing? With his free hand Corvin unlatched the safeguard on his holster so he could pull his pistol in a moment's notice if needed.

He made his way towards Ju, the only one there he'd been previously antiquated with. He greeted everyone not wearing operative's gear, with a nod or -- in the case of the young woman with guns holstered on her thighs -- a wink, on his way to the captain. "Looks like a fine crew," he said once he had reached Ju. It wasn't until he had said the words that the realization hit him. "Please don't tell me we're flying with Robocop over there."

Monty smiled under his balaclava at being called Monty and at the image of an operative vomiting in his own helmet. He nodded at Ju, "As you say ma'am." He then looked at Monolith, "Operative." then turns back to Ju, "I'll secure my gear here for now if that's ok?" As he finished saying that, a man wearing a pair of cargo shorts, a tank top, and a dufflebag slung over his shoulder walks up to them. The man nodded at Monty who respectfully returned the nod. After which he set his footlocker off to the side in the cargo hold and walked back to the group. He stood a little ways a way from the group so not to crowed the captain, awaiting orders or at less being dismissed.

"I'll get aboard then, start getting settled in and acquainted with the engines." She held out her hand for the captain to shake. Nodding politely to the other crew, and ignoring the wink entirely, she headed to the interior of the ship. It was always best not to encourage anything of that kind until she knew what to expect from the rest of the crew. Zasha had, on more than one occasion, dealt with men who thought that just because she was small and female that she was easy prey. With a female captain that might not be an issue as much, but she didn't want to rock the boat before everyone was even acquainted yet. Best to be polite but dismissive until she had taken everyone's measure, unless of course someone pissed her off while she was trying to be professional. They already had an Operative aboard judging from that helmet and uniform, as well as a few others that looked like they could handle themselves--including the captain--so she also didn't want to make a bad impression.

The engines were about as she expected, for the ship's class and model. She'd thrown her things down in a corner of the cargo bay, if this ship was like any other the captain would assign bunks according to whim or would make it first come first serve. Zasha wasn't picky about quarters as long as she had a bit of space for her parts, so she preferred to wait to be assigned or simply shoved into whatever small area was left. She'd taken this tack in most of the ships she'd been on, and it had proved to be the best way to keep from getting into a fight with an idiot about something meaningless like an inevitably cramped space on a cramped ship. If she had to kick ass and take names, she preferred to do it about something more important.

Zasha took a small tool belt out of her pack and slung it around her waist. This one just carried the basics, general wrenches and bolts, that sort of thing, for the kind of basic maintenance work she'd be likely doing on a daily basis to keep the engines running as smoothly as they could possibly be. In the Black, there were no margins of error. There was a thin hull and these engines keeping the crew from certain death, and she didn't want to be the one that failed. She checked the drives carefully, noting that they'd been maintained well and everything looked like it didn't have any long-term issues. True, she wasn't exactly taking an in-depth examination, but the engines indicated that the captain and current crew were at least competent. Later she would take readings off everything, note what was and wasn't running at optimum levels, but for now she wanted to just cover the bases. Even though it looked like that had already been done. These were her engines now, and her responsibility. She would leave nothing to chance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Montgomery Character Portrait: Fu Ju Min Character Portrait: Monolith Character Portrait: Corvin Ross
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Image Ju Min stepped on to the ladder that lead to the Qi’s main air lock. The door opened as soon as she hit the last step. She smiled to herself, the ship was keyed into her biological signature, which meant the ship responded to her in ways that were always satisfying. Nothing made her feel like more of a bad-ass space captain than the ship’s doors opening for her but no one else. She turned to the others and ushered them onboard.

"Welcome aboard the Qi." Her body visibly relaxed. It felt good to be back on her ship. This place had been her home for so long now, and now she had a crew for her again. The ship lit up as she stepped inside, revealing a steely-blue interior. The main-deck airlock opened between the medical bay and the starboard cargo-bay, it didn’t show off the bulk of the ship, but the clean lines and brushed steel made the ship’s military lineage clear.

"We’re on the main deck here. Most of what you’ll need is here. You can store your gear in the cargo bay there." She gestured to the first set of doors on her left. "Don’t store anything in the port-side bay, the one behind the engine room. There’s Space Spiders in there. Just, don’t go in there okay? Nothing but Space Spiders in there." She noticed Monty had already started moving his gear into the cargo bay. That was good, while the others were settling in she’d have to show him the Bridge. She also saw Zasha make a bee-line for the engine-room. She seemed eager to start work, a good sign.

"The lower cargo bay is down that ramp. The lower deck is for the ship’s cargo only. Unless you’re loading or unloading, there’s no reason for you to be there. The Space Spiders will find you and I won’t be held responsible for what happens if they catch you. " She took a few steps into the interior, letting the others come further onboard. As more people stepped on board more of the ship lit up.

"There’s the gym, it’s not much but there’s some gear there to keep your bone density up if we’re spending a long time in The Black. Bathrooms are here behind the med bay. You’ve got one shower room and two lavatory rooms, learn to share. I have my own facilities." She stopped at the air-lock lift that lead to the second floor. "Communal dining hall and bunks are on the bow-side from here, should be enough bunks for all of you, two people to a room if you can. If not, find somewhere else to sleep, I’m not picky. Up this lift is the Bridge and my cabin. This is an air-lock lift so it’s not fast. If you need to contact me or the bridge, there’s a communication panel here. "

"We’re stocked alright, but we should be getting more supplies soon." She glanced over at Charles. "And that’s the tour, any questions?"

The setting changes from The Qi to Main Deck

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Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Montgomery Character Portrait: Fu Ju Min Character Portrait: Monolith
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The Qi echoed nicely, so Zasha had caught most of the Captain's speech. Space spiders? Kakogo cherta? Did those really exist? Assuming they did, which seemed the safest method for now, she would keep her guns close. No spiders would be interfering with her engines, and if they did she'd swiftly dispose of them.

Picking up her things again, she went back to the main area and listened as the other crew (or passengers?) questioned the Captain. She wasn't quite sure who was who, yet. Zasha didn't want to interrupt, but her belly was empty--it frequently was--and was demanding sustenance. Best to ask, then, just in case someone was picky about using the facilities. Once everyone else had their questions answered, she inserted her own.

"Do you mind if I put together a stroganov in the dining hall?" She looked around the room, hoping no one was too picky when it came to food. "I can make plenty enough to share, and it should be ready by the time we're off-planet." Usually ships had the supplies for a sort of substituted version of her ma's recipe, and she'd brought a few spices with her to make sure it wasn't bland as many dishes in the Blank became. If she was lucky, while they shared a meal others might start to introduce themselves. She'd rather choose a roommate than get stuck with one, and this was the best way she could think of to figure that out, as well as to pinpoint who she was working with versus who were just passengers.

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Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Montgomery Character Portrait: Fu Ju Min Character Portrait: Monolith
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Image Ju Min grinned as Zasha stepped up and offered to make food. She was not the best cook and would much rather not be trying to throw together a meal while also getting this ship working. Something she was clearly going to have to work on.

"Zasha, Baobao, you are now my favorite. Stroganoff sounds perfect. I’ll stop by the mess and make sure you’re set up, but holler if you need anything." She smiled again at the girl. Her face quickly going steely as she turned her gaze on Montgomery.

"Ritzu. Monty. If your trigger finger is that fucking itchy, maybe you’d rather be on a warship than a blockade-runner. Charles is on my ship as a passenger, not an Agent. If you have doubts about my judgement on that front then you can take them up with me." Guns were not the sort of thing you wanted people posturing with out in the Black. As tough as the Qi was, a bullet hitting the wrong pipe would at the very least cause problems, at worst it would kill everyone aboard. This sort of shit was not going to be tolerated. As much as she distrusted the agent herself, she wasn’t going to tolerate anyone on this ship questioning her.

The setting changes from Main Deck to Main Deck-Bow

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Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov
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The Captain was taking a very firm line with everyone from the start, Zasha noted with approval. That would probably mean good things for the voyage, if a strong woman was in charge. And getting the favor of the ship's captain right from the start was also a good thing, assuming she could keep it. Zasha wasn't one to worry overmuch about making friends with her captains as long as she was firmly on their good side. Once a captain betrayed her, she was gone, because if the captain treated her like dirt so would the crew, and having to constantly watch her back in a small ship while lost in the Black was never a good idea.

The dining hall was more or less as she'd expected, with the sort of general supplies that could last for long periods of time in the Black without going bad. Nothing too fresh, but thankfully her version of ma's recipe didn't require much. A bit pasta, the kind of dried beef stuff that passed for meat in the Black, a bit of this and that, all spiced well, could make for something filling. Not perfect, or incredibly delicious, but it did pass on the good side of edible. She started clanging pots and pans around, getting things together, and wondering if anyone would trust a stranger's cooking. Usually crews weren't too picky, especially when someone else was cooking, and as she didn't make a habit of cooking of her own volition (or making anything nice like ma's stroganov), it would only be their loss if they skipped it. It was likely, as many ships did, that this one would have some kind of roster for who made meals every night, unless it was one of the ships that just had everyone grab whatever they wanted when they were hungry.

As the room as empty for the moment, Zasha felt no compunction about swearing liberally in Russian when she burned her hand on the stove. Shaking it, she looked critically at her hand and decided it wasn't anything serious, so she ignored it as she worked. She loved mechanics, but sometimes they didn't like her, and she had numerous scars and cuts from when things had gone awry on her with no fault of her own. One more burn would hardly make a difference.

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Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Kiran Character Portrait: Corvin Ross
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Of course… Ju Min would choose a medic who fucking kills people. I don’t know why I expected anything different.” Kiran rubbed his temples, trying in vain to relieve this blasted headache.

My name is Kiran Mu. Former Companion. I’m on this ship until Ju Min finds a way to pay me back for losing me my job when her ex-boyfriend tried to sell her out to the Alliance.” Kiran shook his head. He was getting used to the light, which was helpful, but he was going to need to find those painkillers and soon.

And…to be honest, once you’ve been in the middle of a firefight on a ship pulling out of atmo trying to kick the last remnants of the crew out the airlock before they bring you down to your inevitable arrest…” His voice trailed off, a flicker of a wicked grin dancing across his face. “A safe life on a rock floating through the Verse just doesn’t cut it anymore...” He chuckled, then flinched as a jolt of pain shot through his head. “Jesus! You happen to have any painkillers on you?” He would expect a Medic to have at least something on him.

It wasn't until he heard the swearing from the mess hall that he even realized someone had walked by him. He leaned out of the door way and saw a petite girl nursing what looked like a burnt hand. Despite his own headache he could not ignore such a situation. He had a job to do.

You shouldn't leave that.” His voice was suddenly deeper and smooth. He turned on the faucet and had a cool rag on the girl's hand before he could even think on his own pain. He was, at the very least, good at his job. Former job. Details. He fixed her with a soft smile. “You should take care of yourself.” He softly kissed her hand before letting it go, leaving the dishcloth on it to cool the burn.

Kiran Mu, at your service.
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Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Kiran
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"Nice to meet you," Zasha replied, her accent thicker as it always was when she was uncomfortable. She tied the dishrag on and turned back to the stove, thankful she'd seen too much during her time in the Black to blush but still very unsettled. Kiran was far too pretty than a man should have a right to be, so she'd have to keep her guard up around him. He seemed like a man who knew how to use his looks to get what he wanted, although that might just be her own prejudice talking, but a man who flirted like that could only make her life more difficult.

"I'm Zasha Vendiktov, the engineer. The Captain just hired me on with the rest of the crew. What's your job aboard?" Civil but dismissive was probably the best tack to take, she thought as she studiously avoided looking at him while she cooked. Her accent was still thick, nothing to be done there, but at least English was still coming out of her mouth. With any luck, she wouldn't have to share a room with a man who flirted like he breathed, and whom she would feel awkward around until his pretty face was just another bit of the scenery, like all the others on the ship. At the Alliance Operative wasn't this pretty, that would be too many reasons to be wary of that man.

The burned skin pulled as she moved a pan over and she swore again, unable to help it. She didn't have any medicine for it, and was uncomfortable asking the new medic, so suffering it would have to be. But she was Russian, suffering with a straight face was one of the things she did well, and she could still do her job. Taking the "beef" out of the marinade, she looked at it critically. It looked marginally more edible, so she poured it into a hot pan, added a few more spices, and stirred the sauce which simmered in a different pot. Pulling out a clean spoon, she tasted it, and then put the spoon down. Taking out another, she dipped it in and offered it to Kiran.

"Would you mind tasting this? I don't know how tolerant anyone else is of the kind of spices I like."

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Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Kiran
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It felt good to be in his element again. Even his head didn’t hurt quite as much. No, wait. It still hurt. He began looking around, recalling vaguely that Ju Min had tossed some painkillers at him before she’d left him to wallow. After downing two full glasses of water and at least twice the suggested dose he was starting to feel more human. The smell of real food certainly didn’t hurt. Zasha was cooking. Had this kitchen ever had someone cooking in it before?

Wait…you can cook? You cook real food?” He looked at the offered spoon as if it were the greatest thing he’d ever seen. He took Zasha’s hand, lifting the sample to his lips. He took the spoon into his mouth, sliding it out perfectly clean. He took a moment to savour the rich and warm flavors. Though after three days of protein paste he probably would have adored the flavor profile of a fried egg.

He looked down to her, she was a good head shorter than him, he took a half step towards her, his chest mere inches from her face. He’d briefly forgotten that his shirt was wide open. Not that this was a situation he’d never been in before. Though he couldn’t recall ever having eaten a stroganoff in this situation before. “Miss Zasha, would it be to forward of me to propose marriage?” He brushed the tips of his fingers across her jawline. “Or would you accept a simple kiss?
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Former Companion. That figured. The rest of what he said was fairly interesting. An ex-boyfriend tried to sell the captain out to the Alliance... so there was a price on her head. A price high enough for the rest of her crew to turn on her? Corvin thought on that for a moment and tried to tie it in with a few of the port-side bay conspiracy theories he had dreamed up since laying down.

"I once had to cut four bullets out of a guy's chest with a combat knife. We were fresh out painkillers and sedatives," He said after Kiran asked for painkillers. "So as you can imagine... I don't like to... waste supplies." He trailed off some as he spoke. True enough if a Browncoat was ever caught using up med supplies to treat something as minor and self inflicted as a hangover during war time he'd have been given a real reason to need them... but Kiran, Corvin reminded himself, wasn't a Browncoat, and this wasn't war time. They weren't behind enemy lines. They'd be able to land on any rock and re-supply. Corvin had never been off planet before, except during the war, and being back aboard a ship, he realized, had taken him back to that mentality.

Of course there was another more personal reason he didn't like to waste supplies, painkillers and sedatives particularly, but that was neither here nor there.

Corvin heaved a sigh, reached over to his duffle, and pulled out a pill bottle. It was mostly empty with a half dozen or so rattling around at the bottom. "Just take one," He said as he tossed the bottle in Kiran's general direction, eyes still facing upwards. "They're strong."

He heard the bottle clatter to the floor. When he looked back he realized Kiran was gone.

Just then another guy came in, intending to put his stuff there. "By all means." He climbed out of bed. "Monty right? I'm Corvin, the medic." He offered the other man a handshake. Corvin was glad for any roommate that wasn't the operative. Monty seemed to have a similar distaste for the guy, so Corvin couldn't see any reason why the two of them wouldn't get along just fine.

After greeting his new roommate he followed the path the pill container had taken on it's way out of the door and picked it up. The smell of cooking food caught his attention. He followed it to the kitchen area where he saw Kiran and the mechanic -- also chef apparently -- interacting. He'd seen a lot in his day, but he'd never seen an actual male companion in pursuit. He'd always kinda wondered what tactics they might employ. He posted up against the wall and watched the master at work.

Zasha's other hand clenched on her gun. This was certainly a lot more forward than she was used to any of the crew or passengers being, and the way his chest was sculpted--too hard to avoid, at her height--was either incredible genetics or long hours of work. Between that and his manner, it made it obvious why a guy like him was being so over the top with a short grease monkey.

"Companion." She blurted out, deliberately taking her hand off of her gun and stepping away. Zasha usually punched guys who took liberties with her, but this one wasn't groping, just flirting, and she couldn't afford to knee him in the junk before she knew how the Captain would react to it. No wonder the man was hard to resist, he was a trained seducer! "You must be a Companion, so you're a passenger, not crew?"

The sauce was about to boil over, so she hip-checked the man, bumping him out of her way so she could attend to it. Everything was just about ready to be thrown in a bowl and served, so she started looking through cupboards to find a bowl big enough. Or a pot, she wasn't fussy. The top cupboards were a bit too high so she climbed onto the counter to keep looking, hoping Kiran would take a hint and she wouldn't have to get violent. The next time he tried to put his hands on her, no matter how nice-looking he was, she would have to make an example of him. The worst thing would be for everyone else to see him flirting with her and assume she was some kind of fresh meat, and as she turned to open another cupboard she groaned to see the medic watching them.

No choice, then, she would have to get rough, just to keep the crew's respect. Zasha turned, and thanks to standing on the counter could actually look down on him to his eyes while she narrowed her own. "Look, govno, I'm the engineer, not one of your little play-pretties, and I don't have time for this fèihuà. I've been nice so far, out of respect, but your pretty face is gonna be a bit uglier if you keep pushin' me. Dohn-luh-ma?" Sure, he was beautiful, and if she'd met him while planetbound she wouldn't mind giving him a tumble, but the rules were different in the Black, especially with a new crew. She couldn't afford to lose face just because Kiran wanted to, well, whatever his motives were. She'd never had enough money to hire a Companion, so she had no idea how they worked.

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Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Kiran Character Portrait: Corvin Ross
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Ahh…” Kiran cleared his throat, giving Zasha a respectful amount of space. The lady has made it clear she wanted no more, and he wasn’t going to go against that. He leaned on the counter near the sink. “More…more an ex-Companion.” He sighed, his lips pressed in a flat line. He did not enjoy reminding himself of that fact.

I really am grateful that you’re cooking though.” He shrugged and decided the least he could do was set the table. Besides the dishes were on a higher shelf and that’d make it difficult for Zasha. He'd have to make sure that changed. If she was going to cooking oftent he kitchen needed to be accessible for her. “Ju Min tends to eat mostly cereal and protein paste. Which means I eat cereal and protein paste.” He set out some bowls and pulled out a trivet, setting it close to where Zasha was cooking. “Here. Easier to serve with one of these. At least her kitchen is stocked, if not…well-used.

As he set the table he noticed the Medic, Corvin, watching them. He fixed the man with an incredulous look. It was not the first time he’d had some gawkers, male Companions tended to get a lot of this kind of attention. Other men would try and glean information from watching them work. They seemed to think women were some sort of machine, and that male Companions had the schematics. It would be flattering if it didn't so consistently anger the women.

The first step, Corvin, is to be as pretty as me. The second is to not make a habit of leering at women from a distance.” He fixed the medic with a pointed look. The man was clearly not very good with people. To top it off he seemed intent on ruining Kiran's day. Was this some sort of conspiracy Ju Min had worked out?

Zasha,” He turned back to the mechanic, resolving to not give the medic any more of his time. “Can I help you with anything else? No ulterior motives. Just gratitude for my first decent meal in a week.” He spread his hands out, a faint smile of sincerity on his face.

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Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Kiran Character Portrait: Corvin Ross
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She looked at him suspiciously and inwardly shrugged. He'd never seemed actually threatening, and his offer of help seemed sincere enough, so she was willing enough to take it at face value. "No, I think this will do. Unless there's a way to let everyone know that there's food available, if they want it." Moving quickly, she got off the counter and mixed everything together carefully in the noodle pot, noodles and meat with sauce, and placed it on the trivet. She carried it over to the table, its weight no problem for a girl used to wrestling with engines, and put it in the middle before going back to get a big serving spoon.

An ex-Companion, eh? Interesting. How did he fit in on the Qi? Friends with the Captain... or perhaps more? Zasha was relieved she hadn't encouraged his flirting, if he was involved with Captain Ju she didn't want to get dragged into it. Relationships could work however people agreed on, the 'Verse was wide enough to welcome all kinds of them, but she was selfish enough to want her lovers to be hers alone, and not involved with other women on the side. It was difficult enough, given the rough and tumble rules of the Black, to have relationships without getting involved in unnecessary drama.

Protein paste and cereal, that sounded fairly typical for a ship without its own cook and crew that didn't share cooking duties. She'd only been a part of one crew in the past lucky enough to have a cook, and those had been good times. She'd endured some horrible crew members, a misogynist Captain, and no money for engine parts for too long just to get good food every day, but the cook had also been fed up with the poor pay and when he left, so did she. Zasha certainly wasn't going to let herself get forced or guilted into cooking often, but if it was always well-received and the engines were running smoothly, she might consider it. Especially if Captain Ju picked up fresh supplies to make good food, because there wasn't much else in the cabinets that could come together to make anything like real food.

She looked at the medic, Corvin, as Kiran called him. "Feel free to serve yourself," she said, spooning some into a bowl for herself and sitting down at the table. "If you don't like it, others will eat it, so don't worry about offending me. She took off the dishrag and ignored the bright red patch of skin in favor of starting to eat.

Monty set his gear on the empty bunk thinking of how little he will probably be in here, due to not trusting anyone yet. He turned and shook Corvin's hand, "Nice to meet you." Then seeing that he was in the middle of something, Monty gave him a respectful dismissive nod and gone back to setting up his bunk. He secured his rifle, throw his shotgun over his shoulder so he could secure it on the bridge, and made sure the safeties were on everything. As he stepped out of the cabin on his way to the bridge, he smelled the food in the galley. It had been a long time since he smelled such delicious food that he could legally eat. Forgetting that he was caring his shotgun or that he had been on his way to the bridge, Monty made his way to the galley. Upon entering he saw Corvin holding a girls red hand and a pretty boy doing... what ever pretty boys do. "Ma'am. Doc." Took a look at Kiran and sized him up, "Kai Tze? Lao Tien Fu." Turned back to the girl, "You have my thanks ma'am. You need anything you let Montgomery know." After that Monty takes a seat and serves himself some food.

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Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Montgomery Character Portrait: Kiran Character Portrait: Corvin Ross
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Kiran sat down, spooning himself a large portion of the stroganoff. Since he’d begun to feel less like an oozing, miserable lump he’d realized how hungry he’d become. When had he last eaten? The fact that he wasn’t sure probably said enough on its own. As he waited for the fresh food to cool—it’d do him no good to burn his tongue after all—he scanned the face before him.

So Zasha was the mechanic, and she seemed solid. She was clearly used to being on a ship, seeing how quickly and clearly she’d put him in his place. Though, he had a feeling that his advances might have gotten a different response if the medic hadn’t decided to treat him like a side show.

The medic, Corvin. Who was himself pawing at the mechanic now. He was everything he would expect Ju Min would have wanted in a medic. Hell, she might even overlook a complete lack of medical training if the man could fire a gun and shared her habit of abusing Companions. Well at least his life couldn’t get more ruined. There was that at least.

Then there was the new man, Montgomery he called himself. Unless Ju Min planned to pilot the Qi herself, this man was not hired muscle and the shotgun he had slung on his shoulder was more paranoia. He was probably the pilot, Ju Min was not the best at driving the Qi and she’d likely want a pilot before she was willing to take off.

So, a skilled mechanic who swore in…Russian? He couldn’t make out the words, but he was worldly enough to catch the accent and the cadence in her cussing. A sadistic medic with a possible vendetta against him and a pilot so on-edge he couldn’t sit down to eat without a gun on his shoulder. Quite the crew. Ju Min would attract this sort of group. It would be interesting to see how this crew gelled. Either way, his food was probably cool enough by now. As he lifted the first spoon to his lips, he paused for a moment.

Is Ju Min not joining us?” Kiran was pretty sure that Ju Min didn't have an aversion to real food, just work. Unless there were more people she was dealing with. He grabbed another stack of bowls from the cupboard and spooned some of the stroganoff into one of them. He'd seen the captain hungry, and it was not pretty.
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"I would appreciate it," Zasha replied to Corvin, her accent relaxing now that everyone's attention had left her and switched to the food. "Mechanical things are always cutting me up one way or another, doesn't bother me much, but losing any use of my hands wouldn't help my job any."

To Montgomery, "You're welcome. I don't often have the time, but every so often when supplies are handy and protein paste won't cut it I like to throw something together. What's your position on the Qi? Passenger or crew?" They had a medic, an ex-companion, this man could be anything from extra muscle, given his rifle, or a passenger, or the pilot, assuming the Captain didn't pilot the Qi herself. She certainly would let him know if she "needed something," she wasn't shy about that, but what he was would determine what kind of things she could get from him, so she was curious enough to ask. If she was lucky, he knew good places to get parts she needed, should anything go wrong with the engines.

She wasn't going to say anything until something actually happened, but the military grade stuff on this ship looked like it was a few hard bumps from going horribly wrong. Sure, the military stuff did tend to dependability, but when they went wrong, they went very wrong, and she didn't have any parts that were made for them. Of course Zasha had plenty of parts and knowledge to sort of cut corners with them until they did get the right parts, but if her supposition was right, her shortcuts might work less and last shorter than it would on a regular engine.

Zasha shrugged at Kiran's question. It sounded like he knew the captain a lot better than she did, probably even biblically given his former trade and appearance, so he would know better than she if Captain Ju intended to eat with them. They were still missing a person or two, she thought--the Operative in the helmet, whatever his name was, as well as the Captain, and there might be a few others aboard she hadn't met yet. There was plenty of food as she erred on the side of making too much rather than too little, always safe aboard a ship, but she was curious who would join them and who might make a habit of keeping to themselves. Not that she cared one way or another, so long as they kept themselves away from her engines, but it was good to know if a hairy situation went down what bodies to check for before leaving.

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Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Montgomery Character Portrait: Kiran Character Portrait: Corvin Ross
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Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Montgomery Character Portrait: Kiran Character Portrait: Monolith Character Portrait: Corvin Ross
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Charles strode into the canteen with a barely-concealed and perfectly legitimate yawn. He hadn't slept for a solid day; even though he was trained to survive far longer than that with minimal rest, he was currently experiencing a painfully noticeable lack of that lovely little blue powder, to be consumed with every meal, that was supposed to keep Operatives awake for much longer periods of time.

Thusly, the smell of food was an instant attraction. What better in the world than a warm meal and a long rest after that?

Unfortunately, as he strode in he was instantly met by the vaguely hostile looks of four of his fellow crew members; two of them he recognized, the other two he hadn't made the acquaintance of yet.

Not wishing for conversation, and understanding fully well the crew's aversion to him and the past he represented, he moved without a word to grab a spoon and bowl, moving back towards the table and sitting down, expression as neutral as he had always been trained. Was that all life was now? An extension of training? He still moved like an Operative, looked like an Operative, behaved like an Operative... killed like an Operative.

Betelguese.

He suppressed the codename as quickly as he did anyone of his usual targets. He spooned some food into his bowl and began eating, trying to enjoy the food, but the rapidly growing sense of guilt refused to disappear.

Betelguese, the brightest star of Orion...

And that was his nickname. How his codename has developed; the prodigy of Enforcement Team Orion. The one blazing through the ranks like no other.

Betelguese was... extinguished. And Monolith stood at fault.

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Character Portrait: Zasha Venediktov Character Portrait: Montgomery Character Portrait: Fu Ju Min Character Portrait: Kiran Character Portrait: Monolith Character Portrait: Corvin Ross
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Kiran raised his eyebrow as Charles sat down. Even without his helmet, there was a certain way that Intelligence Agents carried themselves. The flat, stoic expression locked on his face like a stone mask was decently familiar to Kiran. Worst face for a client to have, bar none. Things started to turn in his head.

So uh…” Her set the spoon down in his food, looking from face to face. “If you guys killed Ju Min and stole the Qi from her you can just tell me.” This crew didn’t look like hardened bandits. Well, Corvin did. And so did Montgomery. And the Agent… Well Zasha didn’t look like she would hurt anyone. Unprovoked. He would have considered his situation more, if Ju Min didn’t walk into the dining hall at that very moment.

Oh! You are alive. Zasha made dinner.” He held up the bowl he’d set aside for her, flashing her a quick smile.

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"Thank you Kiran…" Ju took the bowl from Kiran. “The Qi is keyed to my bio-sig, so she wouldn’t get off this rock if I wasn’t alive and on her. But I’m glad to hear your loyalty is so unwavering.” She pulled out a chair and sat herself down.

"As long as you have a nice, plush cabin to sleep in I guess you don’t really care who you’re under, huh?" She smirked at him, spooning some of Zasha’s much-appreciated stroganoff into her mouth. It was warm and heartily spiced. She could get used to food like this.

"Well it’s not my fault I’m in that cabin, now is it Ju Min?" Kiran cocked his head at her. "I’m not the one who shacked up with an Alliance solider, let him hand-pick the entire crew and take me off on a career of smuggling am I?"

Kiran…” Ju Min set her spoon down, fixing the Companion with a stern look. “Tai Hong wasn’t a solider yet. And we got away from that fine. No thanks to your help.

You stuffed me in the engine room and told me to scream for you if anything started smoking!” Kiran retorted.

Ju Min rolled her eyes, scoffing at Kiran's indignity. “And I suppose those instructions were too complicated for you since ‘head down, ass up’ is the toughest lesson in that damn Academy?

Well at least my Academy offered ‘How to spot a Shitbag 101’, a lesson I’m sure you could have used. And I think we both know who got me kicked out of that Academy!

Ju Min’s eyes flared with rage and she stood up hard and fast, her chair clattering to the floor. She grabbed the bowl and turned away from the table. “Monty. When you’re ready to take us out of atmo meet me on the bridge.” Her voice was measured and tight. Without another word she stormed out of the mess.