Movie night was something of a hit, even if Tasha and Layth had difficulty following the video play, which had a lot of idioms and place names and other things that only someone growing up on Terra would recognize. Afterward Eli, Layth and Gabriel retired to their cabins to get some sleep, but Tasha was still a bit buzzed, and decided to talk to Fred about learning how to operate things. To this end, she and the projection have arrived in the vehicle bay.
Bellerophon Vehicle Bay
This long bay rests in the belly of the great ship, and has six vehicle deployment airlocks and a plethora of mobile cranes on rails and service equipment. Only one vehicle is docked at the moment, making the long room seem eerily empty.
Tasha stretches as she steps into the vehicle bay; despite their hunt for chairs Bellerophon, no wing-friendly chair were available and Tasha hasn't taken much time to fly, leaving her wings sore. "After thinking about things some more, and, well, rr, meditating on it, I thought it would be good if I reviewed vehicle operation and maybe asked about some hard suits?" She glances at the projection in askance. "I know Gabriel pointed out a few, but for … reasons, I had been avoiding them. No more."
"Well, a regular Karnor model wouldn't work for you, obviously," Fred Kohler notes, rubbing his chin. "Even the undersuit would have to be heavily modified, but that at least could be fabricated without a lot of difficulty. Once you have that, modifying armor would be easier."
"There's an undersuit?" The woman listened with ears perked, nodding here and there, but her eyes widened at the mention of an undersuit. "I didn't see that in the … Well, when I looked. Earlier."
"It's really only used for space or combat work, not casual planet-side stuff like the Grendels were used for," the engineer notes. "It contains a lot of biofeedback monitors in it that can help with keeping the suit comfortable and for anticipating wearer motions. Some of the lighter armor can be attached directly to it as well."
Tasha nods again, although her brow quirks a little at 'bio-feedback monitors.' "Is that something we could work on here, do we have time? Layth was shot in the chest by a toy, if that had been a real weapon a Silent-One defense or something else, it might have killed him. I thought I could try it out and learn, since I have some experience in the Themis-Skoll, and then we could work from there." She takes a breath, then forces a smile to show she isn't afraid. "Plus, it's just something I need to do," she admits.
"I also miss the Titan," Tasha adds with a quirky grin. "This seemed like a small compromise."
Fred hmms, and says, "Well, I think I can get one of the Fabs running in Terratown to produce it. I just need the body data." He eyes Tasha's wings and hooves. "I imagine the differences in your legs and spine are pretty systemic."
"Systemic?" The woman glances over her shoulder, looking at her left wing, which she flaps a few times. "That's not the word my mum used, I guess that means different?" She lets her wing fall and looks towards the Chief Engineer again. "Can we get started? I'll go with you; after my meditation, the party, and ALL I learned today I can't sleep. Might as well get something done."
"Oh it just means that the differences touch on all parts of your anatomy," Fred says, and then nods. "Okay, uh… " he looks around. The bay is still pretty empty. He points to a boxy service machine on wheels. "Just put your clothes over there and I can get your measurements."
"I bet this is your favorite part of engineer work," Tasha says as she begins heading towards the vehicle. She doesn't even hesitate when she starts stripping; Tasha grew up dressing and undressing in front of a crew of men, after all. "Let's just hope Gabriel is asleep, having him walk in would be embarrassing. Explaining, "I used to do this all the time," probably wouldn't help much, either." By the time she's done, her flak vest, boots, pants and jacket are on the machine and she's in her skivvies. She stands with her eyes wide, grinning at Fred. "Look, an alien life form!"
Fred laughs, and then says, "All of it, I'm afraid! Normally there'd be a laser scanner for this stuff, but we don't have one. Besides, I'll need to see how things stretch when you flex your arms and wings."
"And here I thought this was all leading to a respectable life," Tasha says with a mock sigh, then she pulls after her underthings and tosses them on the cart. Having acquired at least a little modesty, the woman mantles her wings to hide herself for the moment. "Looking at me is probably reducing your Karnor card status!" She grins, although if she's blushing her red fur makes it almost impossible to tell; the Vartan doesn't even know if PersoCom projections can scent her mood.
"Oh, you should see what I had to go through," Fred notes, then strikes a pose: arms straight out, back straight and hands balled into fists. He looks like he's throwing his chest out, and he also spreads his feet until they're about two feet apart. "Just hold this pose. Oh… your wings. Fold them like you normally do for now," he says.
Tasha does so, but she tries to hide her increasing embarrassment by grinning widely in the face of it or at least, at Fred. "I guess being elite has its downsides. I'm a bastard, so no one looked at me at least until I got older."
Muttering and looking extremely tired, Layth wanders through the far bay door. "I knew I should have taken a left instead of a right," he grumbles, "The bathroom is on the left." The buck draws to a dead stop, though, as he sees a very naked Tasha standing spread before the infamous Fred. He's actually at a loss for words and ends up standing there with his jaw half-open for a few minutes and his right hand raised as if about to accentuate a comment with a gesture. In the end, something just seems to snap in his brain as what he says is, "Well, I guess if you do not have a true four-post bed to tie her to, pretending is the next best thing. Carry on, I'm no one to judge."
"Looked at you?" Fred asks, in a sort of detached voice. He comes and puts his hands around Tasha's left wrist to start with. This far from the projector, he can't hold solid objects, because they slip through him, but he isn't entirely insubstantial. Tasha can feel some pressure and warmth, and a little tingle along with the oddness of not feeling anything with her fur, since it just passes right through Fred as if weren't there. The long dead Karnor mutters numbers as he slides his hands along the arm. "Oh, hello Layth… you're just in time," he comments.
"Well, from what Gabriel and Nora told me about the Karnors past, you were evaluated, looked at by doctors and others, and they were very interested in what you said and did. I grew up on the docks, I was born on an airship. None of that happened! I don't think even nobles get that much attention Terra must be a very interesting world," she says, glad to have something to talk about besides how naked she is, and in front of Fred Kohler no less! "Not as if I'm completely Tasha anym-" She pauses as Layth walks in, ears shooting up, and can only stare at Layth as he speaks until she spits out, "Oh, Dagh! It's not what it looks like, Layth!"
Fred is running his hands over Tasha's shoulders and chest when he comments, "I'm fitting Tasha for an undersuit. I may as well get you too, while you're here."
"It isn't you standing there naked while Fred feels over your entire body?" Layth asks with tired amusement. "And how am I just in time? I'm not going to take part in … oh, a suit. I need a suit?"
"IT'S JUST FOR A SUIT," Tasha declares far too loudly. She immediately widens her eyes at her outburst, clamps her muzzle shut, lays her ears back and looks like she might wish she could disappear. When Fred explains, she nods vigorously. "A suit. A powered suit, like the ones we've seen near the Fenris."
"It also allows for remote medical monitoring," Fred notes, as he knees down to feel over Tasha's lower half. At least his 'hands' are warm.
"I am in perfect health," Layth claims as he watches the rather odd event unfolding before him.
"Well, the idea is to sound an alarm here if you're injured," the ghostly Karnor explains.
Tasha glances down as Fred works, trying to watch without moving too much more. "I figured after Terratown, and learning, … rr … well, don't worry about that part after Terra Town we should try and protect ourselves better. Plus, well … " The woman shrugs slightly, "You know how I like machines, and I couldn't sleep."
"Oh, well, that seems reasonable enough," Layth notes.
"And how much you like Karnors," Layth mutters quietly to himself.
After finishing with Tasha's feet, Fred stands and wraps his arms around Tasha in what looks like a hug, until his hands pass through the skin of her back one on the joint of her left wing and the other on her right shoulder. His chest also passes through, until parts of Tasha are inside Fred's chest, and she can feel his chest pressing right up against her ribcage. "Okay, now lift and spread your wings," he asks her.
"Okay, now that is disturbing. I think there was something in the drinks tonight," Layth remarks and takes a moment to rub his eyes to see if he is just seeing things. "No, I suppose not. Fred is inside Tasha," he notes.
Too quiet for her to hear, Tasha just gives Layth a suspicious glance before resuming her monitoring of Fred's activities. "Your hands are warm," she observes, sounding a little surprised. When he practically steps into her, she almost steps back, eyes widening. "This is a weird feeling," she adds. "I can feel … like … my … my ribs are … " She blinks at the request, apparently losing track of what she's here for in the face of having a ghost reach through her. "Rr?" She blinks again. "Oh!" her wings lift and spread, if belatedly.
"You are going to do that to me, aren't you?" Layth finally asks.
At that, Tasha resumes grinning widely. "Oh he is." She then glances at Fred and says, "You are."
"Inside… " Fred starts to say, glancing at Layth, and then breaks into a big grin. "Oh, heh, I guess I could just step right inside if I wanted to. And if I feel warm… hmm… " He waggles his ears at Tasha, and notes, "I bet I could make you warm and tingly in places if you really wanted me to. I wonder if we projections can do this with one another now… "
"I require that he buy me a drink at least. I'm not as … easy," Layth retorts and grins all the while. "Such as showing me a big machine won't get me to do … things."
Tasha's ears shoot up at that suggestion, and although it's almost impossible to see her blush, Fred may be well on his way to proving it possible! "Um?" She waggles her hand. "Can we focus on the suit here! I have a boyfriend a boyfriend I'm very loyal to and don't want to get the impression I'm AT ALL like I used to be!" She shoots Layth a 'help me out here' look.
"Do I need to rescue you from Fred?" Layth asks. "He is bigger than I am… "
"I don't have to worry about wings and hooves on you though, Layth," Fred notes. "So in that respect… you'll be much easier than Tasha!" He then has Tasha go through a variety of flexes and contortions, all while pressing his hands into her major muscle groups. Sometimes poses have to be repeated as Fred moves around to just look. He finally steps back, and asks Tasha to do some jumping jacks.
"This is not at ALL what I pictured adventure to be like," Tasha complains as she does jumping jacks. She starts to glare, but a sidelong glance at the button on her discarded shirt makes her take a breath, then smile. "Oh, well," she relents, "get a good look. Maybe this will stir some memories, Fred."
"Oh, lots," Fred notes with a grin. "That should be fine though. I can compare your jiggle to known models to figure out how much lift and support will be needed."
"It stirred a few of mine," Layth offers helpfully as he heads towards the pair. The buck actually laughs a bit and undoes what little clothing he was already wearing; nothing more than commandeered pajamas from the clothing stores. And being an expert in clothing, he even manages to fold his clothing while walking and set them aside on a crate as he passes it.
Tasha stops her jacks, reaching over to pick up her things and begin dressing. Her ears track Fred as he speaks, then she nods as she pulls her tank top on. "Do you need to know anything else, or is that good enough? Mum used to say I'll probably get stronger as I get older, because I'm a Vartan, but then I'm also a Karnor so who knows?" She pulls her tank to the rest of the way, then grabs her pants.
With the Lapi, Fred can take a more tailor-like approach for the upper body. "I should have enough to know where to put the sensors for your muscles now," Fred tells Tasha as he works his hands over Layth. He does spend more time on the Lapi's rear, legs and feet though, where the biggest differences in musculature are found. He even refrains from tickling or feeling up Layth… but does mutter something about having to fit an appropriate codpiece.
Still, Fred asks Layth to do some naked jumping jacks as well.
"This is reminding me of some murals I saw in Amazonia," Tasha remarks, now fully dressed. She observes with her weight shifted to one leg and her arms crossed, grinning widely.
"A Lapi can kick full force in less than a tenth of a second," Layth remarks while Fred feels over Layth's butt and legs. The jumping jacks come next and the only thing that flops on him are his ears and well, things down below.
"And here's another memory," Tasha adds. Her head tilts, and she considers aloud, "Maybe Mariel or Nora would enjoy this. Next movie night?"
"Be careful what you wish for," Layth taunts as he continues jumping.
"Hmmm, yes, I see I'll have to try and make the suit extra fast and flexible to avoid tearing or impact reaction from that," Fred notes. He blinks at Tasha's suggestion though. "What… put on a bunny burlesque show for them?"
"I don't know what that word means," Tasha admits to Fred. She pauses, blinks, opens her mouth, pauses again, then sighs. "Wait, yes I do. No, I'm just joking!"
"You can stop jumping Layth," Fred tells the Lapi. "Do your scars every itch, or are they numb? You have a few in semi-vital monitoring areas I can work around them, but you should see about getting them removed."
"I'm not. I would do it," Layth remarks and grins as he stops jumping, "I've done worse." The question about old injuries earns Fred a quizzical look. "An itch now and then, I suppose. Khattha claws have a tendency to leave scars and they were the type to use them. Er, how are they removable? A scar is a scar."
"Not with the medicine we have," Tasha points out. "We can grow people! What's a scar to Dr. Caravelli?"
"Scars can be removed and smoother skin grown in their places," Fred notes. "Med Bay should have everything needed. And you're both lucky: When I had my fitting, I had to be shaved in order to get better measurements."
"Dense flesh," Layth answers.
"I'll take being shot over being shaved and plucked," the woman deadpans.
"I suppose I will have to ask him about the ones causing you the most problems," Layth says to Fred as he glances over. "Which are the ones that are in the way?"
"The ones on your chest mainly," Fred notes. "I honestly don't know if they'll interfere or not though. But they might be sensitive to the electrical field from the sensors."
"I have to ask," Layth asks, "Do you have any guess as to how the Lapi came to be after that exam?"
"Do these suits work like the Themis-Skoll's mind-machine interface? I've heard you say they sense muscles, so did the Themis-Skoll read the brain, the body, or both?" Tasha sits herself down on the vehicle, ears perked forward.
"Clearly the same as Karnors," Fred claims. "Human and rabbit genes combined together. It doesn't take a lot of human to get bipedal and smart." He runs a hand down Layth's back, and says, "Plus you have all the human spinal quirks, same as a Karnor."
"Spinal quirks?" Layth asks as he looks over his shoulder. "Do you have any idea when we were created?"
"The suits act as light armor, and can interface with military gear," Fred notes. "The sensors can tell when your muscles are about to move, and that's needed for the powered armor to work properly. It doesn't read your mind like the Titans do." To Layth, he can only shrug. "According to your calendar, I'd have to say about 6,000 years."
"Any idea why? The Karnors would seem to be enough extra help, would they not?" Layth asks.
"Then Vartans are definitely not a Terran-created species?" asks the red woman, who glances at her wings. "No one seems to know where Vartans come from." She listens to Fred's answer, nodding slowly as she processes the information. "So, that means other military equipment works through the armor, it's like the Themis-Skoll's helmet, only for muscles, and anything that connects to it works like the body of the Themis-Skoll, in a way. What sort of devices can connect to it?"
"From what Gabriel told me, I don't think there were that many Karnors, and the mothership crashed alone, away from the fleet. If they had lost a lot of people, they might have needed replacements quickly," Tasha adds for Layth.
"Well, civilization requires a lot of people," Fred notes, and looks thoughtful. "If I was the Captain of the Ark, looking at an unknown world with varied environments… then I'd create a lot of different sapient species in the hope that some would be successful in each environmental niche. Karnors aren't suited for every environment, and humans need support."
"Well, armor mostly," Fred replies to Tasha.
Tasha nods to that. "I'll just have to ask when we look at the armors, and anything else just point it out to me so I can learn what's what." She then grins. "Layth's good at being supportive."
"Well, I can see that, since he has big hands," Fred says, winking at Layth and grinning to Tasha. "He'd have no problem at all supporting your breasts… "
"That is about all I am good at," the buck remarks as he collects his pajamas then goes about dressing. The nice thing about loose clothing is the pants and shirt goes on quick.
"We dated for a while, but we decided to just be friends well, I decided. This was when I met Gabriel," Tasha explains, nodding a little. She stands up and looks between the two men, asking, "Are we up for a trip out, then?"
"I'm about to take a trip back to bed. I'm tired," Layth says with a yawn.
"Not until you learn how to operate this truck," Fred says, patting the side of the docked vehicle. "That way you can load it up yourself when you're looting… er… exploring Silent Town."
"I prefer looting," Tasha says with a grin. "Then I can be the bad alien the Silent-Ones keep calling me." She lifts a hand and waves a little to Layth. "Then I'll be here learning. Get some sleep, I'll be in bed in an hour or two if all goes well. If not, come and dig me out of the truck in the morning."
"If you see Mariel along the way, can you tell her I'd like to see her when she has a spare moment?" Fred asks Layth.
"Sure. I was considering checking in on her. Is there any reason I should tell you you wish to see her for?" Layth asks.
"Tell P.C. Gabe that I'd like to see him too, briefly," Tasha asks as well.
"Ummm… personal experimentation regarding our current forms and abilities," Fred says.
"Ah, you wish to find a mating bower," Layth observes and nods wisely. The buck then also nods to Tasha and tells her, "Certainly."
Tasha shoots Fred a look, but ends up grinning a little too widely after anyway. "Matchmaking, adventure, and looting. Join the JEF," she murmurs.
"What did you want to talk to Gabe about?" Fred asks.
"There's something I'd like him to hold on to," Tasha replies, patting her chest. Fred remembers when she took off her jacket, she removed a set of transponder tags Nora's.
"Ah, you'll have to give those to him closer to the bridge," Fred notes, wiggling his fingers. "Couldn't hold them here."
"I can do that after we get back, or before I leave. I still need to ask Gabriel if it's okay. Well," the woman glances at the truck, then waves at it, "Ready to see if I can wreck the ship from the inside?"
Layth stifles a yawn and says, "No killing Fred again. I'm not sure I could tolerate kissing him again." The buck then grins and waves, "Have fun. Don't stay up too late."
"I won't on either!" Tasha gives Layth another wave, bigger this time. "Sleep well!"
"Sleep well, magic bunny!" Fred calls to Layth with a grin.
Layth waves tiredly as he walks out of the bay.
"The first thing to learn," Fred says, going back to the truck, "is where not to climb on it when you're trying to get into the bed." He starts pointing out various spots that have big yellow-and-red 'NO STEP' warning signs on them.
"Is that because I could slip and fall like land-locked Terrans?" Tasha's face is just a little too straight for the question; the meditation-born entity was right, Tasha is a lot like Nora. They're both smartasses.
"No, because the structure isn't set up for the weight," Fred notes. "Also because of the wheel armatures. See, this truck's wheels are on legs, sort of, so it can rise up and adapt to rough terrain."
"Oh," the woman says, nodding. She glances at Fred, noticing his lack of reaction, then stands a little straighter. "Right, no more smartass! I'm listening. Don't stand on no step because: you might injure yourself or damage the vehicle."
"And don't be a smartass," Tasha adds.
Fred nods as Tasha gets into 'serious' mode and gives a tour of the vehicle, pointing out important safety area, hidden tool storage and power couplings and how the power lift for the cargo bed works. There's even a folded robotic arm for helping to lift the really heavy stuff.
"Any questions?" Fred asks after the external survey of the truck.
Tasha seems to be doing exactly what she said, she listens and doesn't make another smartass remark. The woman can't help but feel it's an ironic turn of events, though. Just today people had been urging her to be less serious and more 'like herself,' and having understood how and why that was important to the point she's begun relaxing more, must now be serious. "Even 'simple,' Terran vehicles are interesting. The Themis-Skoll was beautiful, but there's something amazing about every machine, I'm seeing," she observes.
After her observation, the woman tilts her head and regards the vehicle, thinking. "What powers the vehicle? Actually, I don't even know what powered the Themis-Skoll, or what powers the suits. I do know the Bellerophon runs on something called a fusion reactor," she inquires. "As for other questions, they might be too complicated to answer fast?"
"Oh, and the Belle uses 'reaction mass' to move," the woman tacks on, wagging that she remembered that and what it means.
"Ground vehicles use electricity," Fred explains, and points to one of the large wheels. "Each wheel has a motor in it, and power is sent from the central power cell. The power cell is the most heavily armored part of the vehicle, for safety."
"Because if it goes, it can make a huge explosion, like the Gauss rifle power pack?" Tasha lifts her brows questioningly, curious if she's following.
"Exactly!" Fred says, and pats Tasha (sort of) on the shoulder. "It would take something pretty powerful to breach the cell though, so don't worry about it. Just don't get the truck on its back."
"And don't shoot it with the Gauss rifle," Tasha agrees, nodding. She seems about to ask a question, but pauses, then asks, "Oi, wait, what happens if it's on its back?"
"It's little wheels will just spin around helplessly!" Fred says, petting the side of the truck. "It would just be too pitiful for words. And I'd be upset, too."
"Oh!" The woman sounds relieved, perhaps having expected the vehicle to erupt in some other life-ending fiery doom. "Well, can't have my favorite engineer upset." She then glances at the vehicle again, looking it over, then asks, "The controls you'll teach me as we go?"
"Oh, of course," Fred says. "I just wanted you to be familiar with the outside first, because I will notice any dings or scratches when you bring it back." He then gestures to the door to the passenger cabin.
"Now I actually feel guilty, and I haven't even damaged anything yet," Tasha admits, ears wilting a little. She steps over to the door and opens it, then begins the uncomfortable process of scooting in. "As a Confederacy species representative," she remarks, edging a wing in, "I am going to complain about a lack of wing space." She drops on to the seat and grins at Fred, then holds up a hand, "I know: no smartassness. That was an observation."
"Hmmm, well you can always stick to the open-cabin models I suppose," Fred says as he climbs in next to Tasha. The next half hour is taken up with an overview of the various controls both the automatic ones and the manual overrides for the robotic arms and legs of the truck, emergency sirens and various other critical systems that seem completely unrelated to actually driving the thing. "And that's why the fire suppression system uses purple foam," Fred concludes.
"Engineering is fun," Tasha summarizes, grinning at the projected man beside her. "The more I learn, the more interesting it is. Is that why you became an engineer, Fred?"
"Oh, one of the reasons," Fred says. "And this is just piloting so far. Engineering comes in when you have to fix something. So… don't break anything. This is an antique you know."
"I'm the boss of the world's largest museum," the woman says with a grin. She glances over the controls, then cracks her knuckles and looks back. "So, maybe it's just piloting I like," she concludes, "I still haven't found what I'd be good at in all this. Gabriel says ambassador, but me? Anyway, time to drive?"
"We'll go over the steering and such now, yes," Fred notes, and taps a dark display. "This is your speed. Inside the Orpheus it will be automatically limited to five kilometers per hour, but outside it can go up to fifty with a full load… which is measured here." Another blank display is indicated. "That's your bed mass, in kilograms. The color of the readout will let you know if you're too heavy. Green means you're okay, Yellow means okay but go slow and Red tells you that you have too much stuff."
"Red would be where Layth would make a fa- … Serious. Be serious Tasha." She takes a breath, then wags a little, although her tail doesn't have far to move. "Sorry, Fred! After this evening, I've tried to smile more, but that seems to also make me a smartass more." Her head tilts, and she whispers, "We can blame my sister," before leaning back. "We used leagues and knots on the Rake, but the Captain and Navigator mostly did that for me. I just yelled when we looked off course. But anyway: green good, yellow slow, red too much stuff. Speed here," she points, "mass here," she points again.
"Now, this the most important feature," Fred points out, and points to a cluster of switches. "These open and close the windows."
"Important when you don't want to listen to Layth or the Chief Engineering yelling at you," Tasha agrees, managing to keep a straight face.
"And if you want to smell stuff outside," Fred notes. "These are the window-cleaners," he points out next, along with things like temperature control. Once all of that is out of the way, he starts explaining the steering. There are six pedals, two throttles and a steering joystick to figure out.
Tasha listens with special attention to the steering controls, having spent half her life learning to pilot and a quarter of it behind the reins. It's also no secret that she enjoys piloting or in most cases, attempting to pilot with disastrous results. When Fred finishes, she nods slowly, distractedly, as she takes it all in and reviews it internally. She doesn't say anything for half a minute, looking over controls, touching them, and in one case sniffing them. Finally, she nods. "Got it."
"So, what is the sequence for doing a rear-steering backwards raised angle maneuver," Fred asks, choosing something that will probably never need to be performed, as it involves using just the back wheels to steer with while also raising the rear 'legs' to make the bed higher.
Tasha has to think on the question, looking over the controls for a good few seconds, counting off things on her left hand. Finally, she hazards, "Check surrounding area for personnel, power up the vehicle, check gauges, raise bed, switch to rear steering, recheck behind vehicle, … " The woman pauses here, glancing over controls again. She opens her mouth, pauses again, closes it, re-rechecks, then finishes with, "Ease backwards, since the bed is higher and the vehicle's center of gravity is off? Don't make sudden turns?"
"And turn on the back-up alert and underbody floodlights," Fred adds, smiling and nodding. "Very good! If you do well tomorrow, I'll even show you how the rear seats can be converted into a bed."
"That might come in handy," Tasha agrees, smiling back. "Does that mean I don't get to drive tonight?"
"You should rest and dream about it," Fred suggests. "And then jump right into it in the morning!"
"I guess I'll go jump right into bed now, then." Tasha leans over and gives Fred a smooch on the side of the muzzle, although there's not much in actually contact, . "Thanks for helping me, Fred. I know I can be a lot to work with, but I do want to learn, and I appreciate this. I'll try not to let you down or damage the vehicles."
"I'm sure you won't," Fred says, smiling. "Otherwise I'll have to share your jumping jacks with the others," he mock-threatens.
Tasha laughs at that, then shakes a finger at the ghostly Karnor. "At this point, I think most of them have seen it all anyway. Good night, Fred." Tasha glances out the window, showing she's checking the external geography, then opens the door and steps out. She immediately stretches her wings, and says, "Remind me to loot whatever Confederate part of the ship we can find!"
"If you can get me a Confederate computer database, I might be able to make you something comfortable to wear from it," Fred promises.
"The Orpheus computer core doesn't have a Confederate database?" Tasha asks, glancing back. "Oh, that's right," she says a second later, realizing something she learned in Terratown's central control room, "each area is disconnected from the other, except for vital ship systems? So every group could feel private despite being on the same big ship?"
"Well, yeah, and because we didn't trust each other with any of our technical secrets," Fred notes.
"Time to ruin that; this ship isn't going to be about who's what," the Vartan insists, nodding. "Which reminds me, I'd better go check on Fallen Star before I sleep. Maybe if she's still working with MOTHER, I'll leave her a little datapad message. I see now that I was, maybe, too hard on her."
"I'm sure you were a lot milder than her superiors used to be," Fred says.
"And louder," the woman replies, grinning. "I'm not looking forward to approaching the Silent-Ones in the future, but it needs to be done. One bit at a time, aye?" She gives the big ghostly wolf a wave. "I'll see you tomorrow if you need me, you know where to find me!"
"Yeah, but I can't walk through your cabin door you're too close to the projector," Fred jokes with a wink.
Tasha laughs, then waves Fred off as she turns and walks towards the door, head shaking. The Rake and the Bellerophon, what different crews! And somehow, not so different at all. Ah, I love my crew. She snatches a datapad from her jacket pocket and begins to enter her first attempt at an apology letter … "Fallen Star, I'm sorry for being a bitch," she starts off with, then blinks, erasing it, "Fallen Star, I know I judged you, but … " It's half an hour before Tasha gets a message she wants, but eventually the datapad is left facing the hover form. Then, Tasha flops down in her quarters and is asleep before she can think to undress.