A Briar Patch Tale

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Welsh Halfwit
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A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

And now for the latest of my tales. I'm still writing this so it won't update every day. It continues the stories I've written previously but directly follows on from IOC - On the Sea. The reason for the ambiguous title? For the first few parts I hadn't decided which of my lead characters (Captain Marius Postain of the Rodomont or Commander Aldair Hawle of the Loper) would actually BE the lead character! So there's some fun and catch ups in the first few chapters too.

Anyhow...

One.

The Lappinean came crashing down on the other side of the obstacle and wondered how he’d gotten into this mess again. He kept himself running, away from the dogged pursuit that he KNEW was right on his heels, some ten to fifteen yards behind at most. He wondered how he wasn’t losing this pursuit like he had all the others. His muscles stretched and strained as he ate up the yards to the next obstacle and wondered if this was to be his victory. Cora II was the location that had his heart pounding as a mission that had started to prove friendship bonds had become something far more intense. Honour, prestige, pride and dignity were all up for grabs here as he could hear the baying of crowds around him. The chase must be entering the final phase now. Defeat or victory would come in the next few minutes. His straining appendages brought him towards the barrier. He could clear it easily. He knew how much power to use and he listened to the voice in his head telling him to jump now. He went for it, launching himself upward, into the air and he knew that…

...he knew that…

...he knew that the voice in his head had mistimed and he wasn’t going to clear the obstacle. His foot caught on the top of it and he toppled forward, sending up plumes of brown goop as Aldair Hawle landed in the mud side of the obstacle fence in the steeplechase. He felt it on his head. It was around his muzzle. It was up his nose and all down his arms. The slimy, gelatinous, mud that now could be found on the planet following the installation of weather control was everywhere as he pushed himself back up to his feet and staggered back to a running gait as the Rottian landed beside him at full speed and took the lead.

In the stands where the spectators had gathered to watch the games between the Council ship crews, the refugees and the long term locals, one of them turned to their mate and took their hand. “Bit of luck, the Lappy mistiming that jump after getting it perfect the last six times around, eh, Harmony Appleby?”
The Erminian looked back at her. “You know it, Senny Appleby. And you’re the only one allowed to call me by that first name.”
“Good,” the former pirate said, snuggling in and putting her arm around the telepath,, letting the ring glint in the sun. “I’m the only one allowed to come to Harm.”
“Oh, get a room,” Kerri sniped from the other side of Appleby. The little Chipmunk Engineer had a baseball cap on and an oversized foam finger with the word ‘Rodomont’ on it on her hand. The others were pretending she wasn’t with them.
“We have one, Kerri,” Appleby reminded her little friend. “We are married, y’know?”
“I was the bridesmaid. When’s my event, again?”
Senny checked her digital program. “The 100 metres is in… three hours,” she said. “After the hammer and Discus.”
“Who’ve we got in those,” Appleby asked.
“Hmmm, an Equinna from sciences and Kella from Cartography. He doesn’t have much of a chance. Sarina Raven’s throwing for the Loper in that. Who won the steeplechase, by the way,” she asked, suddenly realising she’d missed the end of the race.

Down in the changing room, the Lappinean – or, as she preferred to be called, Rabbitoid – nurse Salla tapped the container on the desk with a pen and told the winner of the 400 metres, a colonist Mican called Leith, that she needed it filled and brought back for analysis. “Any time in the next five minutes would be good. Number one will suffice,” she added, seeing him open his mouth to ask the same question three previous ones had. Across the way Mercy was doing the same for the runner up and directing him to the other bathroom. “It was funny the first time I heard it,” she told her daughter when they were alone.
“No, it wasn’t,” the Lappinean/Canine cross replied. “Karla’s on today, isn’t he?”
“Yeah. In the wrestling. Good job he probably won’t win.”
Mercy laughed curtly and scritched her left ear, a habit she’d picked up from her father. “You’re not supposed to say that! He’s practically your new mate. Everyone should be telling you that!”
Salla huffed but she couldn’t disagree with her daughter’s words. They WERE mates in all but name, arranging meets and dates around the Loper’s routine. With the Commander dating the refugee’s councillor, the ship was being routed through Cora II on regular occasions now to ‘keep council contact’ with the people released and help establish a Council pre… oh no, she reminded herself, that was why the OTHER Council ship kept dropping around for high level conferences which Hawle had told Davees about in strict confidence. So Salla had never been told. Really. It wasn’t like they’d become close friends or anything… Hem. “Doesn’t feel quite right yet, Mercy,” Salla said. She grinned. “Does feel good though.”
“And it’s great to see you smiling again, mom,” Mercy replied.
A Wolf in a white coat wandered up to them, hands in pockets. “If I have to check one more ruptured tendon,” Doctor Flass complained.
“You’ll bite someone,” Mercy replied, showing the fearlessness her mother had shown in her youth.
“Well, I’ve not had lunch,” The Rodomont’s C.M.O. replied.

Night Barleycorn had been surprised by several things these last few weeks. Fuze had requested an extension to his duty rounds on the ship rather than taking up a good post in Pandera city’s general Hospital. Doctor Cobalt, the Raitchian on Postlethwaite’s staff, had accepted her apology and even gone for Coffee with her a few days back. But what was most surprising the big Mican Doctor right now was the three people sat to her left. Rakell’s Celican grandparents had tried taking her back to the colony they lived on but the locals hadn’t been very accepting and, frankly, the Varkonian/Celican girl hadn’t been able to settle there so the grandparents had sold up their holdings there and moved to the patch where they got a home on a Canine colony for what they believed was a discount price. Which it had been. Rakell had told Night, Night had told Colleen and Colleen had told her father who bought the estate agents and ‘celebrated’ with a 50% sale on houses. Now they were more or less settled. And soon they’d announce who won the steeplechase...
Commander Hawle. U.S.C. Loper. By the talented DDeer.
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Amazee Dayzee
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I think I like this even more now that I read it the second time. As I said, I will send you a reply soon. Hopefully.

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Rydr Warklub »

Nice work, Welsh!
Matthew 6:15 - But if you do not forgive men their sins, God won't forgive yours.

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Now I just got to find time to write for the love interest.

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Two

President Dundee applauded the victor of the 1000 metans race and the other podium finishers after she’d placed the medals around their necks. The Cheetan in first, who’d started a hundred metans behind the others for fairness, had almost had to bend double for the Colonial President to be able to reach his neck but, as a newcomer to the colony -arriving a year ago to work on the farms – this was a proud moment for him and he puffed up his chest as he took the accolades from the crowd. Chichester wondered if he’d switch his allegiance from the Feline worlds to hers. She certainly hoped so. Cora II could do with runners that could cover the distance in less than 90 seconds. She resolved to speak with her sports minister about it later. The Patch games were coming up later this year, after all. That was partly how she’d managed to get this idea past the Athletics board, if she was being honest. With so many new colonists following the Loper’s rescue mission they had almost a thousand potential new athletes to check out and this seemed a very good way to do that. Plus, adding the Council lot from both ships that had made headlines here meant that Marius could, ahem, drop by during the organisation and duration. She was especially looking forward to the awarding of the steeplechase medals. That was to come after the gymnastics program was completed in the auditorium. That was something else they’d gotten out of the deal. A new sports stadium and gymnasium paid for by Lappinean money. All in all, Chichester thought, the colony was doing well under her watch this last year. Of course, there’d probably be some comeback on that some way down the line. But she’d take the glory days of the moment over the possibilities of bumpy roads in the future.

Henry Postlethwaite sat in his office on Talvary Communal station and wished he could take a holiday. It always seemed to be something after another these days. First he had the Lappinean situation, then he had the monstrous mess Hawle had landed him in, then there was that little thing with Harriet Thurso on Caldera and now this. A missing Doctor and an attempt to steal a top secret new craft that was annoying Henry with its’ mere existence. He’d sent word to Central to raise protests with Monta and their partners that they’d kept the Council in the dark on the development of this new ship. The various navies often had their own little eccentricities, like the Celicans’ focussed beam weapons that could generate a continuous beam of energy to cut through shields or the Mican ‘mini-hop’ drive that could formulate and carry out warp jumps lasting for just seconds to give them the advantage in a fight but it was the Raitchian refraction technology the other members of the Council were still trying to work out. Well, work out workarounds for, anyway. But it was the missing Engineer that really concerned him. It had taken money to arrange that escape from the liner. It had taken money to hire the mercenaries. Especially Raston. It had taken money to bribe the Militia Officer too. He felt he had to get a grip of what was going on. The answer, clearly, was they needed Raston to talk. Jones was currently holding the Canine in the cells at Pandera Central but that couldn’t last forever. What he needed was Raston back in the core worlds. Which meant getting him there. Which meant… With a sigh, Henry pushed his comm button. “Welt,” he told his current adjutant, “I need to make a call.”

Commander Mikkal Rhew lapped at his ice cream whilst wearing the cold suit against the uncomfortable warmth of the beach on Cora II. Polar Celicans, he reasoned, were not meant for such heat. The sand was getting between his toes in the wing and onto his Ice as he turned sideways towards his mate, the Lappinian Jasmine Dox. “Sure you don’t want some,” he asked her s she kept her hat down and read a book.
She looked at him and sighed, a grin playing on her lips. “Only if it’s not Celican Ice cream,” she replied. “I can’t take meat, you know that.” It was a problem common with the pure Lappineans, the inability to digest the enzymes in meats that sometimes constricted the throat muscles. Enforced vegetarianism, as some tended to put it.
“Ah,” Rhew complained, “it isn’t. It’s local stuff.” He held it out for her and she took a lick, deliberately getting a little on her nose as Rhew put a hand on her womb. “At least that’s a problem our Daughter’s not going to have, eh?”
She leaned back, letting the sun get to her neck and luxuriating in the warmth. “You can have a daughter,” she said contentedly, closing her eyes. “I’m planning on a son. Of course, I still have to tell my folks.” She sighed and Rhew watched her neck move hypnotically. “They’ll probably disown me.”
“Then I’ll have to marry you, won’t I,” he asked, letting some of his snack drip onto her chest. She batted him away. “My family would accept you,” he told her.
Jasmine chuckled. “What did Captain Grumpy say when you finally told him,” Jasmine asked.
Rhew finished his ice cream before replying. “He said…” He dropped into a half-accurate impersonation of the Rottian in command. “Great, another cartographer I can’t send on dangerous missions!”
She laughed happily. “I have enough work to do with all the stuff the Loper brought back! “ She twisted onto her side now, letting her fluffy tail take a little light. “I’m needing this holiday.” She gave her mate a kiss before pulling back slightly. “Shame this is probably the last quiet day.”
“I thought we had a week more?”
“Haven’t you worked with Postain long enough to know there’s no such thing as two quiet days?”
Rhew had to concede she was right.

“How’s the hobnobbing,” Cedar Kirkwall asked, moving a box of paper plates across the stadium kitchens’ worktop.
“Oh,” Colleen Una replied, doing her part by buttering some bread, “it’s not too bad. Couple of small scale ambassadors and business types. Useful people to know and all that. And I’m sorry I couldn’t get you on the President’s dinner job.”
“Ah, that’s fine. Doing the late lunches for the athletes is pretty good. Good thing most of them like sandwiches. Who has the trout paste,” he asked, talking to the ten other associates in the room. A Canine held up a tub. “You need to be rationing that out,” Cedar told him. “There’s far more Felines than we thought and they love that stuff! Who’s on the Zabbin Pate? Remember it was made in a factory that uses Meat so none for the Lappineans! Colleen, keep it up and I’ll make a spreader out of you yet!” Colleen’s latest eight slices made their way down to a random filler as Cedar checked on the hot foods.
“This’ll prove them wrong,” Colleen quipped.
“Who?”
She shrugged. “Whoever said I’m so reliant on staff that I can’t butter my own toast.”
Cedar pointed a finger. “You do know that’s bread, right?”
She tossed a towel at him as her next stack arrived.
Commander Hawle. U.S.C. Loper. By the talented DDeer.
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Amazee Dayzee
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Really do enjoy how this is coming along! Can't wait for more Elena!

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DDeer
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by DDeer »

Just read part one, setting the scene nicely, now on to part two for me.....

Edit read part two, like the level of detail regarding dietary requirements.
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Everybody always requires a balanced diet to stay healthy. ;)

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Thanks, Ddeer. A few more parts and he'll be here...

Three

Sarah Chapston sat at the communications station on the Loper and spun in the chair usually occupied by her fellow Human, Dawton. She’d had the option of taking shore leave to watch the sports but, as her live in lover – they’d got confused by differing use of the word ‘mates’ – Ed Polva hadn’t been able to get shore leave she’d switched with Dawton. It meant long periods alone on the bridge but they’d spent all the breaks together, discussing TV and music and Russellian Opera. He hated it, she quite enjoyed it except for the high notes. It was why they tended to have modulated ear plugs for Humans when they went on tour.

The sports were on the viewscreen, along with a stream of adverts that Chapston had to click off every time as Hawle had said the budget didn’t stretch to the premium coverage. Sarah had stopped watching after the steeplechase and had only drifted back when Raven had won the discus by about fifteen clear metres. She’d be bragging about that, Chapston reckoned as the comm indicator beeped. Someone was trying to get through. She stopped her spinning chair and put the earphone to the side of her head. “Cora II Comm relay,” she said flippantly, “operative Chapston reporting. How may I direct your call?”
<”To the ground, Ensign,”> Henry Postlethwaite told her from light years away. Sarah listened to who he wanted to talk to so she could direct the call correctly.

Elena had been in the dressing room watching the event unfold onscreen and had been hoping that Hawle could pull out a win in this event since she knew that speed and agility were definitely his strong suits. However when he came to that hurdle and threw himself over it, she knew that Hawle wouldn’t make it and watched a bit amused with a smile on her face as he face planted into the gooey mud and lost his lead. The spectators in the stand chuckled after seeing the mud encrusted commander get up to his feet and take off to try to regain the lead. She knew that he didn’t care what they thought as he was someone that couldn’t get embarrassed. She liked that about him. Elena continued to watch him for a little bit longer before she began to stretch herself out and get limber. Her event was coming up next and it would be gymnastics. Something besides negotiating she was really good at. After a few minutes she waited for the next event to be announced and for her to go to the arena. *

“You should wear it proudly,” Chichester told her current guest in private, reaching up on her toes to give Postain a kiss on the cheek.
He looked down at her happily. “I will, Chich,” he promised, not bothering to wonder how she’d gotten into the males shower room. He was just glad he’d managed to grab a towel before she came in. “But not when I’m on duty.”
“I take it you’ll have it on at tonight’s dinner, then,” Chichester asked, not letting on that she’d watched for a minute or so before ‘coming in’.
“Of course.” He didn’t quite feel like it, if he were being honest with himself as he always was, but he knew the press might take offence if the senior officer didn’t show how proud he was to have the award from the President. They might infer he was disrespecting the games and that would undermine the work that was being done. At least that was how Yalla Garza, his resident Press ‘tick’ had phrased it when he’d caught the Captain contemplating putting the medal in a bin. “Flamin’ photo finish,” he griped.
“It was quite a comeback from the dashing young Commander,” Chichester teased.
“He’s not dashing,” Postain huffed, “merely quick. And usually lucky.”
“Something to do with so many Rabbit’s feet?”
“What?”
“Something a Human once told me. Why they’re supposed to be lucky. Where is he, by the way?”
“Went to watch the gymnastics. His Councillor is in it.”
Chichester nodded. “Ah, yes, the lovely Elena Davees. Gives us some time in private, eh, Marius?”
“I’ll have to remember to thank her later,” the Captain replied, picking his presidential ‘girlfriend’ up in his freshly dried arms to give her a proper kiss.

“I’m trying to find him now, Chappers,” the Racon said as he lifted his head over the parapet of the stadium roof and scanned the crowd below. Lieutenant Stikka was the new second officer for the Loper, following Grovan’s promotion and the bandit masked individual was doing his best to fit in and driving half the crew up the wall with his energy. Whereas most of the crew – and the rest of the spectators – were happy in the stands, he’d chosen to climb the stadium, hiding himself from the cameras, and watch the events from the ultimate ‘bird’s eye’ view. Now he was lying on his stomach to see if he could spot one spectator in the thousands. His ocular implants whirred and clicked (inside his own head, it was a setting on the system) and a tiny chip accessed his memory of Postain’s picture to run facial recognition on things. It wasn’t exactly entirely legal to have such accessories but he’d proven he could be trusted over the last few years. Call it the effects of a misspent youth added to a needed surgical operation. And he’d never, ever, used it to record people’s passcodes and log them for future use. Well, he hadn’t used them yet, anyway. “He’s not in the stadium,” he told Chapston. “I’ll go look for him inside. And find out why he’s not got his comm on him.” He pushed himself back, away from the edge, and slid down to where the stairs were to be found, disturbing a couple of lazing birds as he went by.

Hawle watched from the shadows as Elena did her performance on the floor and balance beams combined and wondered if his grasp of the intricacies and moves would ever stretch beyond ‘she was doing jumps and rolls whilst spinning’? He wondered what she’d think if she caught him now, all plastered in mud. He’d chosen not to shower after his event because of the time factor involved in getting to the auditorium from the sports field and the fact he’d be showering with Postain, which wouldn’t really do much for his personal pride. He had his medal because scheduling conflicts meant that they’d had to be given straight away - Postain had grumbled that the President would see his later, which had made Hawle cough – and he wondered how it looked against the muddied green singlet and shorts of the ‘Loper’ team. He had to admit, Elena’s blue and gold outfit for the refugees team looked perfect on her as she stretched, arched, twirled and generally made him swallow hard for certain reasons before coming to a graceful end to the routine set to the tune of Kavals’ no.8 symphony. She breathed hard as the scorecards went up and the scores came in and, finally, she turned and just glimpsed him in the corner. After accepting the accolades, she came over.

“Looking handsome as ever,” she said, picking a bit of dried mud from his ear before giving him a slight kiss.
“Well, I didn’t want to have to catch the highlights later,” Hawle replied after returning the kiss. “I wanted to see your performance live. Do you think you’ve done enough?”
“Can’t be sure,” she panted, resting against him so he could feel her warmth. “The colonist gymnast’s a prospect for the actual Mican squad. Not just the colony.” She put her hand to his medal. “Gold, eh? Looks good on you.”
“Yeah,” he smiled. “Only just though. If I ever catch that Ermine…” He grinned wryly, cracking some of the mud. “Never mind, love, I figure you’ll get it’s pair before long…”
They turned as, breathless, Stikka came up behind them. “Pardon… Pardon me, s...sir,” he gasped, “but… but Mr Pos… Pos…”
“Take a breath, Stiks,” Hawle told him. “I don’t want your lungs cybernetically enhanced too.”
The Racon swallowed and swayed for ten seconds. Or five, more like. “Mr Postlethwaite’s um, trying to get in contact with Captain Postain. Would you, uh, know where he is, sir?”

* Thanks, Amazee!
Commander Hawle. U.S.C. Loper. By the talented DDeer.
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Glad that I could help with the story! I really had fun! Here is hoping to seeing more!

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Stikka will never get promoted. He's too much of a security risk(!)

Four

Commander Hawle – whose image was now stored in memory – had told Lieutenant Stikka where Captain Postain might be located and the Racon had slipped off to get a cup of tea so he was at least a little refreshed after his exertions before he delivered the message. He nipped around the closest corner to the changing room and pulled up short at the sight of the security guards standing by the changing rooms set aside for the participants from the Rodomont. All of a sudden the panting athletes in the commissary made sense to him. He turned his hearing up to check on whether what was going on in there was what he THOUGHT was going on in there and yes, it was. He turned the hearing back down “Right,” he said to the nearest guard, “as I really don’t seem to be going any further, I need one of you to pass on a message to Captain Postain at, er, the earliest possible opportunity?”
“We don’t work for you, sir,” the guard replied.
“Quite true,” Stikka replied, thinking on his paws, “but it IS a red priority signal which means, if you DON’T agree to deliver the message, I’ll have to go back to the commissary, get every Council officer and non-com and use them to force my way past you.” he shrugged. “That – or you shooting the assailants – would cause a right political mess.”
“I don’t…”
“What’s the message,” the other guard interrupted. He glanced at the other. “It’s just a message.”
“Sector command needs him to get in touch immediately,” Stikka relayed. “I’m told it’s a ‘lives dependant’ type of thing.”
“We’ll let him know, Lieutenant.”

As Elena and Hawle walked over to the canteen to get something to eat, Elena decided to make some small talk. “So what is the next event you are gonna compete in? You have great jumping skills so I’m sure that you will have a few more events in the bag.” Elena said as she took a seat at a table and smiled up at him, her brown eyes reflected by the fluorescent lights. “I was worried that I wouldn’t see you in action but I guess good things come to those who wait and I am quite glad that I did wait.” Elena smirked a little bit. “Especially considering waiting allowed me to see you face plant in a mud pit.” she giggled. *
“Heh,” Hawle chuckled, “yeah, I need to speak with a certain telepath about that, I think?” He made the order for the both of them, ignoring the server’s stare at his mudclad nature. “Yeah,” he continued, sitting down, “I’m out of events. There’s a few wrap up ones tomorrow but it’s all mostly done now. Mmm,” he added, slightly excited, “did you hear the Osirans are talking about rejoining the Council? They’re excited by some of the discoveries made and want to send scientists to examine them? As the Varkonians will only allow Council vessels, they need to be on Council vessels so we might just have re-embiggened the council.”
“Is that a word? Re-embiggened?”
“I think so,” Hawle told her as the food arrived. He grinned. “If it isn’t, it should be!”

Minutes passed inside the changing room until Postain stepped out in his daily outfit and the message was passed on. With Chichester’s slightly flushed permission, he headed up to her temporary office and turned on the comm system to contact the Loper to be patched through. “Chapston, are you there,” he asked of the Human. His own comms officer was down on the planet as part of the agreement with Hawle as to the crews. He had weapons officers on the Rodomont and a pilot officer. Hawle had Chapston handling both departments of pilot and comms as she could do both from her pilot console.
<”Yes, sir,”> the Human replied on screen, <”I’m…”> She stopped and stared past him at the wall. He turned to see a large picture of himself flexing his muscles that he’d had taken for Chichester a few months ago. He huffed. “A moment, Ensign.” He stood up and took the picture down to show the purple painted wall behind it.
“That’s why I hung it there,” Chichester said, faking demurity.
“Postlethwaite already thinks I have an ego,” the Captain protested ignoring the questioning ‘thinks?’ comment he was sure he’d heard over the comm. He sat down again. “This is secured,” he asked the President.
“Yup,” she replied, taking a seat, “I might have needed to take meetings here so they secured it. The tech guy from the Loper checked it over a day or so back as well.”
“Right.” He looked back to Chapston. “Link me through, Ensign,”

Henry Postlethwaite was just a little irritated by how long he was having to wait. Oh, he understood the reasoning, especially since the last time he’d called, Chapston had told him that Stikka had told her that the Captain was in a ‘private conference’ with President Dundee. It was a diplomatic mission, he’d told himself before rolling his eyes and telling himself ‘yeah, right’. Anyhow, it looked like they were ready as his computer told him the Loper was calling. He accepted and Chapston’s face appeared on screen. “I take it he’s been found,” he asked.
<”Your connection has been made, sir,”> Chapston replied in the manner of an early 20th century English telephone operative. <”Connecting you now, sir.”> Henry waited whilst the picture changed from her frankly pleasant visage to the harsher face of the Rottian Captain.
“Sorry to disturb your downtime, Captain,” he said, “but we’re going to need you to cut it short. There’s been a situation on Pandera that means you need to proceed there tonight or tomorrow at the latest and take a prisoner off IOC there. They know what you’ll need to do from there.”
<”I could leave some people here,”> Postain replied. <”A lot of them need their rest after the last year…”>
Henry put up a hand to stop him. “I’m afraid not, Captain,” he said, “the downside of not being able to tell you what’s going on – for security’s sake – is that I can’t tell you who you’re going to need to take. And I can’t tell you why I can’t send the Loper either. It has to be the Rodomont and full crew complement, Marius. Sorry.”
Postain sighed. <”Understood, Sir. At least we have tonight, I suppose. It’s the final day of the sports and there’s the dinner.”> He mused. <”I’ll need to send a shuttle for Rhew…”>
“He’s not with you?”
<”No, he and Dox are at a beach.”> Postain looked almost embarrassed, as though he was trying to say something uncomfortable. <”She’s carrying his child.”>
“Another cartographer you can’t send on dangerous missions?”
<”About right. I’ll get on it.”>
Henry closed the line. There was a simple reason he didn’t want the Loper involved in this. One of the trails led to Monta Weapontech and Hawle’s Flight Commander was an accredited USC command pilot AND one of Monta’s chief test pilots. Hawle trusted her, it seemed, but Henry didn’t trust Monta. They probably had some way of knowing exactly where that fighter was at all times. If he had the Loper carry out the task, he might be playing into their hands.

“So,” Hawle said, stepping away from the changing room after dressing and drying his ears, “you eventually found the good Captain?”
“Yes, sir,” Stikka replied, standing up from the bench he’d been sitting on.
“And you passed on the message?”
“Well, uh, no sir. He was…” The Racon looked embarrassed. “He was, uh, in private consultation with the President at the time. Uh, behind closed doors? I gave the message to the guards at the door.
“Good,” Hawle said, striding away. He stopped and pointed a finger. “If you recorded the audio of that ‘private meeting’, delete it, Stiks. Not having you being called a security risk. Again.”
Stikka put on a cross-eyed look that indicated he was actively looking through his enhanced memory. “Five seconds deleted, sir.”
Hawle tried not to look too annoyed. “I don’t need to have Harvey double check, do I?”
“Not this time, sir. To be honest, I didn’t want that in my memory anyway.” he scritched the ear that had the access port.
“Right. You’ve looked over the stats, who’s going to win in the swimming?”
Stikka shrugged. “Not a clue, sir. My eyes don’t work properly underwater.”
“Ju-ust checking,” Hawle said in a sing-song tone.

*Ta, Dayzee!
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Great work once again on this chapter! It is really nice! Glad that Hawle is spending time with his girlfriend. XD

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by DDeer »

Just finished chapter 3, what was rhe inspiration for the sports theme? I'll get on to the next installment..

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Well, I wanted to update things that had happened in earlier stories so I needed a reason for the characters to be together. Cora II had been involved in Postain's story and was where the refugees from Hawles story were so that seemed the place. And conferences are so boring... The games seemed like a way the colonists and the refugees would have gotten to know each other and their U.S.C. heroes...
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Hoping that people can also get to know Elena a bit more also then. :D

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

FIVE

Harmony Dox sighed as she heard the commlink peep and she had the sinking feeling that their holiday was close to being at an end. She cracked an eye open and watched the cold suited arm of her precious mate reach for it next to the heavily iced drinks. “Four days was probably too much,” she sighed, twisting slightly to watch Rhew.
“I could always claim I’m not in hearing range,” he offered half heartedly.
“Nah,” she said, taking one of the drinks and sipping it through a straw, “he’d just send a guard to find you.”
He chuckled slightly, supposed she was right, and answered. “Commander Rhew here,”
<”Postain here,”> the Captain said and Dox smirked as she saw Rhew almost salute. <”Sorry to interrupt your holiday,”> he continued in a tone that stated he didn’t care much about his Commanders holiday, <”but control has come up with something they need us to do. Entire complement required, apparently.”>
Rhew rolled his eyes. “Is it an immediate thing, sir,” he enquired as Dox swung her Lappinean feet to the sand.
<”Not right now, Commander, you have seven hours to get back to the ship, Over.”> Postain cut the line before Rhew could reply. “I suppose a little time is better than none.”
Dox sighed and patted her own stomach. “And I so wanted to spend another night in that bed.”
“Well,” Rhew replied, standing and helping her to her feet with a hand, “It’s not going to take us THAT long to pack,” He took up his drink with his free hand and took a draw through the straw as he led the way back to the hotel.

Celican Science Officer Darren Levan had just gotten off the link with his parents. His Human mother still worried about him and if he was eating right. He told her he was still eating cooked food most of the time and only took time to hunt on planets where he knew the meat was both safe and non-sentient. He was hoping to get promotion to science officer first class in the next rotation and, maybe, get back into the main systems. He’d heard that non-coms had become station chief engineers so he didn’t see why a ‘backwoods’ science officer couldn’t do it. He’d been left in control of the department by the simple distinction of being the only science officer left on board when the others teleported and shuttled down to the surface. So he was the only one there to hear the sound in the hallway. It sounded like something falling off a sideboard and chinking off the floor so he was about to dismiss it as nothing until he remembered that there was nothing out there for anything to rest on and drop off of. So he headed out to look for the source of the sound.

He looked both ways down the corridor, a place usually bustling with at least five or six walking or slithering their way to work stations. Well, there was only one slitherer, a Squamian engineer who was used for engineering in the structural tubes too narrow for many to fit down. “Anyone out here,” he challenged, wishing he hadn’t got his sense of smell from his Mother’s side of the family. He headed down in the direction his ears told him the sound had come from. He kept silent now, hearing the distinct sound of no-one answering, and trod on a loose piece of metal. Being thankful for the boots he had on, he reached down to pick it up…
...and found it was a restraining bolt for one of the vents. He looked up to where it must have come from and noted that, indeed, the nearest vent did only have three bolts securing it in place.
“Is someone there,” a voice said from just around the next corner, making Levan jump. A Feline head poked his head around the wall. “Oh, it’s you, sir,” Keene Dayne said, shifting fully into view. The lithe Ginger technician nodded to the article in Levans’ hand. “Where’d you find that, sir?”
“Um,” Levan actually looked around as though trying to remember where he’d found it. “Right here,” he said, nodding to the spot.
“Hmm,” the technician said, taking it from the Celican. He reached up to make sure it was the one from the vent. “I wonder how it fell out,” he said rhetorically, checking his belt pouches for the requisite tool to put it back in.
“You mean it wasn’t you doing something, Keene,” Levan asked, a touch nervous about the answer.
“Hmm,” Dayne replied. “No, sir. I was just headed down to the gym and I heard you.”
“We’re not officially on duty now, Keene,” Levan said, “you don’t have to call me ‘sir’.”
“Well, I prefer to keep it straight in my head, sir,” He finished his spot of work and headed off.
Levan stepped away from the scene, then paused. “But the main gym’s upship from Engineering?”

Ensign Maldak was first up from the surface, deciding to retake her place at communications and forego the athlete’s presidential dinner after finishing seventh in the 400metres. Like it was her fault that it was being run in the middle of the day when the Quokkan people were nocturnal? She shifted her self into the chair and contacted her compatriot on the Loper that she was ready to take over the communications relay. “You there, Loper,” she asked, feeling the power – whilst she was the senior member on the bridge – to turn the conversation over to the main viewer and spin the chair around to face it.
<”Aye,”> Chapston confirmed from her temporary station, <”I’m here, Ki…”> She paused and looked at the screen. <”Kitty Maldak,”> she accused, <”have you put a personal call onto the main screen? I like your bridge, by the way.”>
Maldak laughed. “Thank you and it seemed like a good idea at the time, Sarah. I’m the first back up so I’ll be taking our section of the comms traffic back if you can release it to me?”
<”Can do. And I never want to try and beat your team in a drinking competition again.”>
Maldak crossed her arms. “I TOLD you Brockians can handle their drink!”
<”The one on our ship can’t,”> Chapston grumbled, releasing the diverted comm traffic back to the Rodomont.

And, down on the surface, the dinner got underway.
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Really wonderful work on the chapter again! I am really liking this a whole lot!

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by DDeer »

Back up to speed, hmm, somethings amiss....
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

SIX

Captain Postain stepped onto his bridge and glowered at the screen. He normally didn’t care about planets when he could see them, they were just start points or end points to journeys but Cora II had begun to grab a hold of him. He’d just been ‘treated’ to an interminable President’s banquet where all the ambassadors and civil representatives had been present. And they hadn’t been talking about the sports and reconstruction topics but the Varkonian relief efforts, the mining rights issues for that new deposit they’d found in the asteroid field. In other words, it was all stuff he had no involvement with or interest in and it all made a hero out of Hawle. It wasn’t that he hated the loopy Lappinean as he didn’t. He quite respected his skills but he had a loathing for how the Buck acted. There was a calculated disrespect for the authority the uniform granted them in that Hawle and, by extension, his crew, barely stayed within regulations when it came to their look and never went anywhere near the norm. His flippant attitude t bridge discipline didn’t sit well with the authoritarian Canid either. He was business like and inspired loyalty through action and trust through obedience. Hawle did it by making jokes and being stupid. And the fact that Hawle, ten years his junior, had beaten him in that race had NOTHING to do with it!

“Captain on the bridge,” Maldak said, turning at her station to watch him enter in his dress uniform.
“It’s just where I left it, Maldak,” he replied, stepping down to his chair in the half empty bridge. “How many have reported back in?”
“Chief Garval reports eighty percent of Engineering’s aboard. Sciences report fifty percent, Disaster control 30%, Security 78.5%…”
“I want accurate numbers more than rounded up. Security Chief Yarkin’s the standard. Basically proceeding as planned, yes? Any sign of Rhew or Xarra?”
“Rhew’s on the latest shuttle from Kendra Beach and Xarra’s still at the party.
“She would be. Send her a ‘request’ to join us,” Postain grumbled, sitting down in his seat. “If I’m up here, everyone’s up here.”

Doctor Jul finished putting everything he’d ‘borrowed’ from the main medical bay back and was headed back out when Doctor Cobalt stopped him at the door. “Been busy, Jul,” she asked coyly, “down in bay two?”
“Well,” the Mican smiled, scritching his neck as he tried to think up an excuse for his actions, “it made more sense for me to have the stuff down there than keep coming up here to…”
“Relax, Martin,” she said, stepping past him into the room, “I get it. Had many things to treat whilst the senior Doctors were gone?”
“Oh, a number of sprains, a broken foot from one of the maintenance lot, a couple of transmitted infections…” He looked at the quizzical look on Cobalt’s face and corpsed into laughter. “Not ME, Kelly! A couple of pilots commenced docking procedures is all! One didn’t know they had a minor gene defect that infected the other. I sorted them both out! I don’t need your dirty looks(!)”
“Well, you can’t say you don’t deserve them,” Doctor Cobalt shot back, a grin on her face too. “You’ve slept with half the single females on deck 12. “
“I have not,” Jul retorted, before shrugging. “It’s about twenty percent. Probably. I’d better get on before Specs gets back, eh?”
She nodded. “ESPECIALLY if you want to live when calling him ‘specs’. Shoo, Mouse!” She waved him away and started a stock check.

Kerri opened the door to her room and said farewell to her two friends as she hopped onto her bed and glanced as the clock she’d taken from Pascals’ room before his sister had claimed everything. She still missed him but the connection with the Appleby’s had helped. She only cried about him a couple of times a week now. She was bored and zipped across the room to the replication system for a Seed bar and a Malt shake.

“I’ll unpack everything,” Senny told Appleby as they reached their quarters, “you go on up and soothe the mutts troubled brow. Maybe find out why we’ve been brought back up?”
“Well, I’ll do my best,” Appleby replied, “but he’s not exactly an open book. Keeps things to himself and forever has ‘shields up. But I’ll find out what I can, love.” She gave her mate a passionate kiss, holding Senny’s face still as Senny held hers and savouring the slight scent of mildew the Castoran always had around her. Eventually, however, she had to break the embrace and just look her in the eyes. <I gotta go> she sent direct to Senny’s mind.
“I hate when you do that,” Senny replied, giving her a quick peck. “See you later.” She broke the embrace and watched Appleby walk away, towards the nearest lift station, before taking the bags inside.

Appleby popped up on the top level some five minutes later and slinked onto the bridge to take the seat she’d never been assigned. “You’ll have to give that seat up when Xarra gets here,” Postain grumbled.
“Sounds fair,” Appleby allowed, “it’s her seat, after all.”
He glanced at her. “Not going to ask what all this is about,” he asked, “or do you already know?”
“I’m not reading your mind, Captain. That’d be against regulations.” She looked the picture of innocence. Enough to convince him of something else he suddenly felt he should say.
“Sorry for cutting short your honeymoon, by the way.”
“Ah, don’t worry. I’ll blame Postlethwaite. He cut your holiday short as well. May I ask how you, er, handled all the politics?”
He glared at her for a moment before mentally chuckling and relaxing his face. “Negotiations were… good,” he said guardedly. “We got… a lot of things done.”
“The less mentioned the better, hmm?”
Postain looked about. Of all the officers on the bridge, officially none were listening in right now. “Don’t push it, Appleby.”
“Acknowledged.” She sat back and waited for the others.

(In the next part, a new character pops up. Security Officer Jak. He already has a fan. And, that's a cue to said fan...)
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I can't wait to see how that is going to go and why he has a fan!

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Got the part wrong. Jak's introduced in Part 8.

SEVEN

The Rodomont turned it’s attention away from Cora II and the engines began to impel it away from the planet and the Loper, which remained in orbit. The ship was leaving two days early and the people were, generally, a little irritated at being drawn back aboard early. The Captain had remained tight-lipped over the reasons for this until both his first and second officer were in attendance and they were underway. Now he regarded the Polar and the Mican whilst they stood on the bridge, next to his chiefs of Security and Engineering, and waited for him. He wasn’t going to repeat this and he saw no reason to broadcast it to the ship either. “Right,” he said. “The situation is this. IOC Pandera’s taken a major mercenary into custody as he tried to steal a significant piece of hardware. Postlethwaite wants someone to take the prisoner to Laparra. I believe he thinks someone’s going to try to rescue him so the toughest shi in the sector’s doing it. That is to say US. Make no mistake, although this seems like a pointless run, is IS indicative of the import the Council places on this person. It is believed that his associates and those who hired him will attempt to either rescue him or silence him. Yarkin, set aside the priority cell for use. Only IOC or Command Officers are to have access to him.”
“Aye, sir,” the Feline replied.
“Other than that, back to your stations,” the Captain ordered. “We’ll be at Pandera in the morning. Helm, get us there. Everyone else,? About your duties. Appleby, hang about in my office.”
“Aye, sir,” the group chorused and split.
“You want me to do the bridge duty,” Rhew enquired. “After all, you’ve all been partying and running around…”
“Whilst you’ve been lazing on a beach. You have the duty. Xarra, go hit the hay.”
The Second Officer, who normally covered the night shift, thought about saying she normally slept in a bed but thought better of it. Captain Postain’s lack of humour was one of the more famed things about him and she’d certainly never heard him say anything funny or amusing. She simply agreed with him and headed off the Command deck as the Rottian stomped to his office with the Ermine in tow.

“I can guess the other reason we’re taking him,” Appleby started, as soon as the door was closed. “I mean, if we’re taking him to Laparra, it becomes obvious. Telepathic interrogation?” She put both her hands down on the table as he sat opposite. “It’s not exactly my forte,” she protested.
“”You underestimate yourself,” Postain mused. “The last one you did it with you married in the end.”
Appleby swallowed. “You know that wasn’t really an interrogation,” she declared, “just sensing the way of things.”
“That’s what I’d need from you, Harmony.” Postain sat up straight. “Postlethwaite couldn’t tell me more about the situation over an open line but I feel you’re probably why we’re on the trip rather than Hawle and his ragamuffins. Two registered official telepaths in the area and his isn’t half the psychic you are.”
“You want me to start the questioning? Isn’t that against some regulations?”
Postain gestured towards her. “I don’t want anything of the sort,” he said. “I want you to get ready for the possibility. S.A.C. Jones will tell us what’s going on and what’s needed when we get to Pandera tomorrow. One of his team will probably accompany the prisoner. As for now, get some rest. And try not to tell your wife anything.” He held up a hand. “She’s still officially serving her time! It could complicate things down the road.” He nodded to the door to tell her the ‘audience’ was at an end. She thought about protesting but thought better of it. He was probably right.

Darren Levan sauntered down to the food machines for something to eat. Commander Savva, the head of sciences, had relieved him in the laboratory and the Celican had felt the need for sustenance. A bowl of Yavarra might hit the spot right now. He looked sideways as he was joined in his walk by Technician Dayne. “Good evening, sir,” the Ginger feline said pleasantly. “Much doing?”
“Very little, Keene,” Levan replied, wondering quite why the technician was engaging him in conversation. “I’m just on my way for dinner and then, possibly, to my quarters.”
“Oh,” Dayne said, his ears pricking up, “well, I’m headed past the nearest refreshment room. I’ll head with you, if I might?”
Levan rolled his eyes but supposed he didn’t mind. He considered that he should have anticipated something like this, sooner or later. No-one ever blamed anyone for falling into desire with a Celican. They were, after all, acknowledged as being a very handsome race and people often desired handsome things. It even applied to him, officially a cross. “I have no objections,” he said.
Thy walked on for a moment before Dayne spoke up again. “Did you find out anything about that restraining bolt?”
“Well, no-one’s claimed it,” Levan replied. He put in a chuckle. “Probably doesn’t want the blame for bad work.”
“Quite possibly,” Dayne responded, putting on a chuckle of his own. “I know I’d never live it down.”
“Well, it’s not like it’s going to prove dangerous or anything,” Levan mused. He turned into the rest area. “And I’ll see you later, Keene.” He nodded to the Feline and stood behind a Seganku in line for the machines as Dayne continued on. Levan made a mental note to report the earlier encounter to someone later. There was something just not seeming right about it.

Senny hated it when she knew Harmony was keeping things from her. She understood the reason but it put a thin barrier between them, even as they pressed together in bed. On a purely subconscious level it made the collar she still had to wear feel tighter around her throat and she simply lay there, watching her wife sleep as she held her. She kissed her forehead and tried to sleep.
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by DDeer »

Introducing the Character that already has a fan (me) ................ Security Officer Hadrian Jak, he features in the next instalment of a Briar Patch tale (thanks Welsh for letting me have a crack at drawing him). I think you can guess why I have an affinity with said character :) .

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

He definitely does look like he is an awesome and a character that has a lot of potential! Though I still like Hawle. xP

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

And the cheeriness quotient is not about to rise...

Eight

Security Chief Yarkin ran her final checks of the Priority Cell, from floor to ceiling and replication system to air ventilation system. Everything seemed Shipshape and Bristol Fashion – although why Officer Dent insisted on using that phrase was a mystery – but it paid to have an ominous wrankle or two at the back of the mind when it came to dealing with Captain Postain. The uncomfortable feeling you’d forgotten something usually helped you miss nothing. The replication system was set to food only and receive. There were no controls in the cell itself, the order was sent from the security office. The latrine was behind a section of security field that made itself blurringly opaque when anyone used it. The bed was fixed to the wall and the chair was to the opposite side of the small room and affixed to the floor. Nothing movable or usable at all. She nodded to the empty room and returned to her office. “Anything to report,” she asked the control officer. The invalided Officer kept an eye on security incidents, helping to co-ordinate responses when the Chief was out of the office so he turned towards the superior officer. “Not a lot, Chief,” the Cervidan responded. “A minor scuffle by the Starwheel but nothing Altak and Unnic needed help with. Reports logged.”
Yarkin sat down. “How long until you’re cleared back for active duty, Jak” she asked him.
The Male sighed and rubbed the leg that still had the medical wrap on it from the fall during the fight. “One more week, Chief. According to ‘Specs’, anyhow.”
“Who,” Yarkin mused. “Oh, Doctor Flakk. Because of the..?” She mimicked the rings around his eyes with a finger. “Remember not to call him ‘specs’ to his face.”
“No fear,” Jak replied, scritching at his white throat for a moment.“I like my other leg.”
“See you went for the cyber antler operation,” she asked, noting the out of season headgear. “Thought you’d decided against it?”
He shrugged. “The wife likes it. Just have to remember to shrink them down when going through doors.”
“Go last on any operations. Last thing I need is people getting stuck behind you.”

Morning broke over Pandera city for the second time in five minutes as the Rodomont settled into orbit above the city’s spaceport. Postain blinked slightly as he tried to work out colony time as opposed to ship time. On board, it was 0447. On Cora II, it would be about 0230. “Local time, Maldak,” he asked the Quolla, who’d just retaken her station after the fourth rotation. Officially she wasn’t on until 0500 but she liked being on the bridge at the same time as the Captain. Largely because he could remember her name. The helm was lucky if he called them by name, even though he knew them. It was just more efficient to call ‘helm’ or ‘sciences’ or ‘weapons’. Maldak was more economical than ‘Communications’. “Uh, just coming up for 0730 local time, sir,” she reported.
“OK. Have Yarkin and a couple of guards meet me in Shuttle bay two in thirty minutes.” he clicked on his commline. “Go get him, Rhew.”
<”Absolutely, sir,”> the Polar Celican replied from the shuttle bay. <”Clear for departure?”>
“Clear, Commander.” Postain cut the line and watched the screen as the tiny vessel edged out of the bay and angled down towards the planet.

Senior Agent in Charge Jones looked up into the early morning sun, his feline eyes adjusting to the offending light as the installed interception software scanned for anything targetting the incoming shuttle. It had been installed during the last war, after the previous base of operations had been brought down around their ears by pirates and explosives. This one had anti-missile systems around the grounds and a trio of pulse beam interception cannons on the roof. And they’d never had to use them in anger. They occasionally tested them and they were kept ‘live’ for times such as this but, if things went to plan, this should be done easy. He chuckled to himself as the dim speck of the shuttle came into view. When did things ever go to plan? He stayed still as the shuttle ruffled his head fur and came in for a landing, the atmospheric thrusters firing to slow its descent and it touched down with a slight hiss onto the grass. The door opened in the side of the shuttle and Rhew pulled himself out of the small enclosure. “Didn’t even bend the grass,” he claimed.
“The grass is artificial,” Jones replied, offering a hand. “S.A.C. Feldar Jones.”
“The Feline Human hybrid,” Rhew replied, taking the hand. “Captain Postain’s mentioned you and Doctor Flakk wants me to get your permission so he can read your medical files. Sorry. Oh, I’m Commander Mikkel Rhew.”
Feldar shrugged. “50/50’s are quite rare, especially out here. So long as no-one else gets them, I have no objections to him seeing them. Never know when I might need him, after all.”
“This is true.” Rhew nodded to the building. “I understand you’re coming up to brief us?”
“Absolutely,” Jones replied, leading the way into the base. “I won’t be escorting him as…” he grimaced, “...I’ve recently been encumbered with extra responsibilities here that mean I can’t go into the field. So Agent Karl will be serving as additional escort. You’d probably better meet her.”

Agent Patcha Karl was annoyed. True she was annoyed on a fairly regular basis but this was a little personal. She’d wanted to spend time with Molly and take some of the pressure she’d put on Jones’ shoulders OFF Jones’ shoulders. But, with Adriette still getting her hearing back under the Doctor’s care and Whitestar having gone back to her base, that just left Corp Davidstow and her in charge of a few drafted deputies. And she wasn’t the type to lead an investigation. So that meant Corp had to stay here. Thus she had to go. Someone from initial catch had to be present for the duration or until handover at the prison. And that annoyed her. So she was hardly in the best of moods when Jones introduced Rhew. “Agent Patcha Karl, this is Commander Rhew of the Rodomont. He’s here to take the prisoner and ourselves up to the ship.”
“I know,” she said simply, ignoring Rhews’ hand. “I’ll go get him.” She left the room.
“Sorry about that,” Jones apologised.
Rhew grinned and took his hand back. “I love Wolves,” he said. “They’re so grouchy.”
Commander Hawle. U.S.C. Loper. By the talented DDeer.
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

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Amazee Dayzee wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 3:59 pm
He definitely does look like he is an awesome and a character that has a lot of potential! Though I still like Hawle. xP
That's cool, everyone has their favourites in a story.
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Though I have to say he's my favorite since Elena is my character. :P

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

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Amazee Dayzee wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 3:43 pm
Though I have to say he's my favorite since Elena is my character. :P
I see, was Elna created for this Universe or did she exist already?
Back up to speed on the story now, I can see trouble around the corner.
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Already existed and went through several iterations and probably will go through several more at some points. Most notable her surname is wrong though but I probably didn't emphasis it to Welsh enough.

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

What should it have been?

NINE

“I must admit,” Rhew said, sitting in the shuttle pilot’s seat as Jones took the co-pilot’s seat. “there are one or two things I’m still unsure about.”
“Like what, Commander?”
“Well,” the Polar said casually, “two things. One, why are we using the shuttle and not the teleporter?”
“Ah.” Feldar nodded, a tiny smile creeping onto what Rhew thought of as his flat muzzle. “Raston’s a senior player,. We need to make sure no-one was using a teleport scrambler. It could have been very messy. The shuttle’s got ground defences and a qualified pilot to protect it.”
“I secured the scumbag,” Karl replied, half growling the line as she stepped into the pilot’s cabin. “I’ll stay back here and make sure he doesn’t move.” She looked behind her into the main cabin. “If he does, of course, I’ll open his wounds up again.”
The prisoner made some noises from his seat, where he was manacled to the floor. Karl stepped back in and closed the door between them.
“And the second thing…” Rhew started.
“Hah,” Jones interrupted, “someone from the capture team has to do the handover on Lappara. Officially IOC can’t have a Council warship escort a prisoner so he’s still under IOC detention. I know you’ve got one on board but she’s still directly linked to the military structure. It… clears several obstacles to have Agent Karl travelling with you.”
“And opens up some others?”
“Hmm. With Adriette still being treated, I need Corp here for any investigations. That means Karl goes.”
Rhew sighed. “TWO Wolves on board. How will we survive?”

Hadrian Jak sat on a bed in the sickbay and kept his leg up so Dorctor Flakk examined his damaged leg with a scanning device. “Leg’s healing as expected,” he announced. “You’re keeping off it and not doing more than one stupid thing?”
“Wasn’t aware I’d even done one, Doctor Flakk,” the Cervidan said, a little perplexed. Flakk didn’t speak, he simply took a pointing rod from his pocket and tapped the antlers. “You don’t like them,” Jak guessed.
“Stupid vanity is both stupid and vain, Jak. You had to come in through that door sideways!”
“Yes, I’m… still working on controlling the morphing ability,” Jak replied, focussing his thoughts so that the malleable structure of the ‘bones’ constricted and shifted into a more manageable form.
“Hmm,” Flakk noted. “Then stop looking at the pretty girls.”
“Hey, I’m happily ma…” Jak stopped and looked askew at the grumpy medic. “Was that a joke?”
“Was it funny,” Flakk asked, manipulating the leg to test the patient’s reactions.
“Little -ow - bit.”
“Then no.” Flakk strapped the leg back up and reapplied the splint. “What the heck is one of you going in security anyhow?”
“You think I can’t manage it?”
“I think most species might have avoided the injury in the first place.”
“It was a bar fight!”
“Which you should be used to by now,” Flakk half growled as he walked over to his table and put the scanner down. “Think they’d wound ME like that?”
Jak scoffed. “Can’t see you having any trouble in a fight whatsoever.”
“muffins and cookies straight.” Jak felt the familiar chill as Flakk turned to face him. Had his antler’s receded again? “When you’re back up on that foot you’re going to book some wrestling time against me in the gym. I won’t hurt you,” he said in a tone that stated he might just hold himself to that. “And that’s not a request, by the way. Now get out of here, fella.”
Jak stood, putting his hooved feet to the floor and standing carefully so as to not put too much weight on the wounded leg. “I plan to prove you wrong, Doctor,” he said defiently.
“Good to hear,” Flakk responded, seemingly without interest as he checked his files. “It’ll be reassuring to know you’re not stupid.”
Jak almost stomped from the room. Doctor Flakk sat down and chewed his pointer. He wondered if Jak would notice the lack of pain. He really was that good. Regs stated the timeframe, not him.

“Right,” Agent Jones told the conference room, consisting of Postain, Rhew, Yarkin and Appleby. “Our ‘friend’ in your brig is Palla Raston, noted mercenary for hire to the biggest pockets. Our team caught him as he tried to hijack a new ship designed by, amongst others, Monta Weapontech.” He turned from the picture to face the Officers. “They have designed a Clipper class spaceship that is not only functionally invisible thanks to Raitchian tech but can operate in an atmosphere AND underwater.” He heard the disgusted mutterings and cursing from the group and hid a smirk. “Yeah. And they never told us. But SOMEONE got told. IOC Celica discovered a missing scientist and people trying to cover the fact up with terminal prejudice. Doctor Taylan Daccora although Celica believe that to be an alias and a cyber agent is tunnelling it.” He changed the picture. “Legged it on a shuttle to the patch. Avoided customs at Talvary by advantage of the ship receiving a distress call from a freighter in need of repair just after they entered the patch. They repaired the ship and didn’t notice they’d lost a passenger for some time.”
“Planned, I take it,” Appleby asked.
“Most likely. Monta is still under investigation…”
Postain rolled his eyes and sighed. “So THAT’S why we’re the Taxi!” Rhew looked at his Captain. He said nothing but his expression asked the question for him. “Hawle has that Flight leader in a Monta Weapontech experimental fighter, doesn’t he? They might well have ways of tracking that ship or the pilot could be a spy. What’s wanted?”
“Well,” Feldar reached an arm around the top of his head and srcitched his neck. “Officially, Karl’s here to escort him to Lappara but there’s nothing saying IOC agents can’t interrogate him along the way…”
“And, if one of us is a telepath we might just find out where that Doctor went,” Appleby mused.
Feldar looked at her. “Did you just read my mind,” he asked with amusement. “I was just about to mention that!”
Appleby spread a hand wide as she turned away from him slightly. “I’d never read your mind without asking,” she declared. “And, no, not even then.”
“If you find out where the Doctor’s been taken the orders are to hit that location and grab him. Call in assistance from other ships if you need to. Even the Loper. An IOC agent’s stopping by on Cora II to speak directly with Hawle so he should be able to work out if the fighter’s bugged or whatever. Now,” he finished, “I’d better get back down there so you can head to the main lanes.”
“Commander,” Hawle said tightly, “take S.A.C. Jones to the teleport bay and get him off my ship.” The Captain stayed still and mulled things as the meeting broke up.
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I think that this is a really engrossing as well as impeccable chapter! Great work!

Her last name that I gave her was Whittaker by the way. Though you already have it down as Davees so no sense changing it now. I'll get over it if there is more Elena at some point. :P

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

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I agree, really enjoyed it, nice to see how Hadrian Jak features, I love the idea of him having to get used to the Antler implants and how it might take a while to be able to control them properly, Doc clearly not impressed, also the conflict between his slight frame and the general ruff and tumble a security job entails. See this Cervine also has a wife :).

I wonder about the captive and how they will feature. The Doc seems like a good type.

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

DDeer wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 6:04 am
The Doc seems like a good type.

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Oh, he is. He just loves the fact that he can be really intimidating. Hence the 'antlers retracting again' gag when he stares at Jak.
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Just had to go back and reread that part again. It is even funnier now than it was the first time since you pointed it out and I could absorb it better.

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

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Speaking of Wolves and intimidation...

TEN

Doctor Jul was feeling bright and breezy this morning. He’d had an interesting night with one of the prettier young Canids working the small shuttle bay that shared some of his space back here at the end of the Rodomont and had almost felt like staying for coffee after the fun but had used the excuse of needing to set up for the morning to head out of her room at roughly 0300hrs, when the corridors would be least crowded. He’d headed back to his ‘c’ class cabin, showered, changed, and taken four hours in bed to get up at 0800. Or thereabouts. Now he sat in his little office and spun in the chair as he waited for someone to do. He hummed as he checked out the datapad detailing who’d been seen in the main sickbay overnight and who might be shuttled over to his kingdom – or, more accurately – dukedom – if there was a ‘rush’ on up there. Things here were quiet. No patients needing his attention and no troubles. The door booped and a Feline entered the room. “Yes,” Jul asked, stopping his spin by virtue of placing both hands on the table.
“Maintenance,” the ginger fur stipulated, showing his little toolbox. “We’ve got a minor problem with the systems in the bay and I need to access the panels here to sort it out.”
“Is it in the daily orders,” Jul asked, sitting up. The technician handed the datapad across and Jul checked it over. “It seems to be,” he replied, checking his own logs to make sure, “but it can’t be allowed to interfere with any work I need to do here. No turning systems off.”
The technician looked at him and slumped his shoulders. “That’ll take longer, Doctor.”
“I don’t care. If anyone comes in I could need any of these instruments so they all have to stay in use. Work around.”
The technician sighed. “I understand, Doctor.” He stepped over to the far corner of the room and started to open the wall panel closest to the shuttle bay. Jul pondered the rest of the day but was distracted by the door going again and letting in a Raitchian holding his wrist.

Chief Yarkin sat at her desk and mulled over the Wolven as the Agent watched over Raston as he ate breakfast behind the security field. The Agent looked tough and hostile but, having gotten to know Doctor Flakk slightly, Yarkin considered that was pretty much the norm for Wolves. They seemed to like it. “It’s better than he deserves,” the Wolf said archly.
“We do have to feed our prisoners,” Yarkin said, stepping around her desk. “It’s in all the regulations. And we follow those on this ship,” she finished, emphasising the last sentence for clarity.
“I keep getting told that,” Patcha Karl said, crossing her arms and creasing her leather jacket in the move. “I’m told it’s what makes us the good guys. For me, it’s the fact that we wait for them to do bad things before we stop them. I’m fine with being re-active but I wouldn’t mind a bit of Pro-active action sooner, rather than later.”
The Chief showed a few teeth in a threatening grin. “I get it but he’s under my protection whilst in the cells, get it?”
“I suppose.” Karl decided to try to be conciliatory. “The place looks good enough anyhow.”
“I’m glad you approve,” Yarkin said frostily. “Do you have your room set up,”
Karl shrugged. “It has a bed. I’m not here long.”
“But I am,” Harmony Appleby said, stepping into the room behind the pair of them. “So do you mind not souring the people against the IOC, Agent Karl?” She looked at the younger agent askew.
“I can try, Agent Appleby,” Karl replied, deciding she might as well be civil and offer a hand.
“Neat,” Appleby said, accepting the hand. “Not happy on being here?”
“Read my mind, did you?”
“No.” The Erminean tried a smile. “From the limited experience I have with Wolven, you never like being where you are.”
Karl had to consider there was some truth to that. “Well,” she shrugged, “it’s usually boring when you know what’s going to happen.”
“Ah,” Appleby replied, her eyes widening, “than you might enjoy it here.” She leaned in slightly. “We NEVER know what’s going to happen, do we, Xana?”
The Chief glanced at them. “Our Captain determines the course,” she advised.
“You lot do know I can hear you,” Raston called through from the other room. “When are you going to start questioning me?”
“When we feel like it,” Karl called back. She leaned in closer to Appleby. “Read his thoughts,” she rumbled in a low tone. “Don’tt tell us everything you know quickly,” she said, returning to her normal volume. “I want to see you suffer, Raston!”
The Mercenary chuckled without any mirth. “You need me alive, Wolf. Not in pieces. I have an advantage there. I can make deals.”
“I can cut you without killing you, child killer.”
“That was NEVER intentional,” Raston called, recalling the attack he’d carried out a year back on Cestis VIII where he’d been unaware of a school visit to his target. The attack had gone as planned… Except for that.
Karl strode into the room and put herself as close to the barrier as she could. “Children are still dead at your hand,” she snarled, letting him see the anger in her eyes as Yarkin came in and restrained her from hitting the button that would turn off the barrier. “All those lives lost,” she continued, “all those lives you could have saved. It’s all on YOUR hands!” She allowed herself to be pulled out of the room by the feline and the door shut. “You can let go now,” she told Yarkin.
“I have NEVER seen an IOC agent act like that,” Yarkin exclaimed, perturbed by what she’d just seen as she released the Wolf. “I will have to report this to the senior officers and make it clear I don’t want you anywhere near the prisoner!”
Karl shrugged. “I’m not a fan of being near him either, Chief,” she said, suddenly calm. “But it helped me knock the smug attitude right out of him, didn’t it?”
“He’s certainly more unsure of things, Agent Karl,” Appleby said. “A little more willing to make a quick deal, perhaps. He’s a bully with no power. Good job getting him to know it, Agent Karl… Look, can I call you Patcha?”
“No,” Karl replied, stalking off to find her room.
Appleby threw a wry grin towards Yarkin. “Pleasant, isn’t she?”
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Rydr Warklub »

Very pleasent.

Please don't kill me.
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I am loving how this is coming along! Very nice work!

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Rydr Warklub wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 12:42 pm
Very pleasent.

Please don't kill me.
Well I get bored with these characters who insist they want to get along with everyone. Patcha Karl doesn't want to be there or get to know the people. She'll fight for them, just don't ask her to care about them.
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

Certainly sounds like a few people I know in real life that will help if they can but aren't social.

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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

ELEVEN

Raston looked around the interview room and tried to work out which of the featureless walls was the observation window. He moved as much as the chain allowed him to, keeping his left hand trapped to the table that was moulded to the floor and he shrugged. It was plain that they were going to keep him waiting but it was getting quite boring, looking at the four walls.

As though on cue the door opened and Appleby entered with Yarkin. The agent carried two Lemon Squashes in plastic cups and put them on the table. “Which one do you want,” she asked as Yarkin closed the door and stood against the wall.
“Whichever one isn’t drugged,” Raston replied, no hint of humour in his tone or eye.
“Oh, I don’t do that,” Appleby breezed. “I’m the good cop.” She sat down and tapped a button. “Interview commences 0907hrs, 27.13.57. IOC agent Harmony Seronix interviewing. U.S.C. Security Commander Yarkin attending. Interview concerning one Giddeon Quvvin Raston, 49 near old Rottian Canine. Immediate charges of Piracy and Murder. Standard IOC cautions regarding rights and words apply.”
“I am NOT a Pirate.”
Appleby, who had not exactly lied during her introduction as she’s taken Senny’s surname in the ceremony, smirked. They’d decided that, as everyone habitually called her Appleby, they might as well keep doing it. “You do realise that trying to seize control of a ship on the high seas is actually the definition of piracy? Just… so we’re clear on that?”
Raston gave a bitter chuckle. “If we hadn’t had to attack that command centre.” He sighed and sat back. “But I did, didn’t I? I had to make sure that they couldn’t see us. So I hold my hands up to their deaths.” He lowered his eyes so he looked at Appleby from hooded eyes. “Left the kid alive, though. Don’t think I didn’t know she was there. I’m neither blind nor stupid.”
“Hmm,” Appleby mused, sensing anger rising from the next room. “you left a terrified girl in a store room on a stationary ship in the middle of an ocean.” She took a sip of her Squash. “You left her there to die.”
“Figured someone would be by before that happened,” Raston replied. “So, ‘nice cop’, what is it you’re looking to offer me?”
Appleby spread her hands. “Haven’t a clue,” she said sweetly, “it actually depends on what you’re planning to tell us. The telepaths on Lappara will get all the truths but I’m concerned that that’s going to take time. You know we’re looking to save time so information is time sensitive. You’ve no chance of getting on Project Reclaim but the right information could keep you out of the hands of the Celican Prison system. Not to mention,” she added slyly, “the Osirans.” She felt the mercenary’s thrill of fear at the mention of the Lizard race. They’d been on the Council for years and their penal system was the big problem to do with their exiting the Council. Now they were angling to return but there had been no talk on compromises…
“I get a Council cell,” Raston asserted. “In one of their more luxurious and hard to get to prisons.”
Appleby sat back and mused. “You’re angling for Ravalox, aren’t you,” she asked, knowing the truth from his mind. “You must have some right information to spill for that.” She leaned forward. “Information on businessmen and Council members?” She smiled as, unbidden, he thought of several facts she filed away for future possible use. “So,” she asked, “what might they do to stop you talking? What do you believe their plans for you are?”
“Probably try to kill me,” Raston remarked. “Professor Calavix has deep pockets.”
“Who,” Appleby asked.

“That’s a new name to me,” Karl muttered to herself in the observation lounge. “Corp would probably know something about him. Or her.”

In the room, Appleby heard Karl’s mutterings through her earpiece and almost showed her surprise as the Wolven agent broke her silence.
“They’re a bank balance,” Raston replied. “I get paid money up front to carry out operations. This one was from a Professor Calavix. Hole the ship to stop it taking off, steal the ship and take it to a rendezvous point off Kella when repaired. It’s all in my finances…”
“Which will be frozen as soon as located. We have the person who sold you the big guns, by the way. He kept records.”
“Won’t get you my accounts,” Raston smirked. “I never used those.”
Appleby sat back as she heard Karl grouch about how she needed to speed things along. “So what exactly are you offering,” she asked, gently impelling him to tell the truth.
“Access to my finances and what I know of Calavix’s operations.” He sat forward and drained his drink in one shot. “you think I didn’t do my research into them before taking their cash? You need to know exactly who you’re dealing with in my business.”
“I imagine so. That’s why we’re questioning you now. They’re less likely to try to kill you after you’ve talked but you never know...” She shrugged. “The Captain always gives more consideration to protecting co-operative prisoners.” She didn’t tell him that, as far as she knew, it tended to mean he hated them more as they had less courage and commitment to their cause. It had taken him months to even talk politely with Senny.

“How are things going in there,” Rhew asked, joining Karl in the observation lounge.
“She’s soft soaping him,” Karl grunted, knowing full well Appleby could hear her. “After lathering, she’ll probably wash his private parts for him.” She grinned slyly as Appleby coughed on her drink.
Rhew looked at her in surprise. “You do realise she’s taking clues from everything he thinks, don’t you?”
Karl had a feeling that was what was going on. She’d not been sure, though, as she’d had little experience with telepaths. Not that she was going to admit it. “Well, she’d be a terrible telepath if she wasn’t, wouldn’t she,” she asked, after turning her comm off.
Rhew sighed. Wolves. “You do know this is a slow way to make friends, right?”
Karl stared straight at the window. “I’m not hanging around long enough to make friends,” she announced. “Wolves only make fast friends in two situations. When we know we want to stay and when we’re in battle. I don’t plan to stay and you’re not looking for battle.”
Rhew chuckled. “And you are?”
She looked at him in surprise. “No. But I expect it at any moment. So it can never sneak up on me.”
“You sound like our Chief Medic, Doctor Flakk.”
“He’s a Wolf,” Karl remarked, keeping her eyes hidden as she tried not to growl. “That’s why.”

Twenty minutes later, Appleby called an end to the session and stepped out of the room. “You’re a real pain in the rear,” she said to Karl as Yarkin took Raston back to his cell.
“Like I care. You get much from him?”
“Oh, just some finances for them to chase. And a possible location.”
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Re: A Briar Patch Tale

Post by Amazee Dayzee »

I really love the work you are putting into this! Really wonderful job!

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