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Time for me to fly
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Lirssa Sarengrave
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Joined: 29 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 10:48 am    Post subject: Time for me to fly Reply with quote

A tremble. The low growl of heat shielded aluminum-steel against the atmosphere. Then a sigh. Punching from blue-red into the black, the Motley Moxie relaxed into the gentle hum of space flight.

Lirssa also felt a shift: relaxed, untethered. Habit guided her hands over the controls as information about the ascent scrolled across the screen. "Spaceport, this is Motley Moxie requesting clearance vector 56A." As she spoke to the comm, she also sent through the cargo manifest.

A glance behind her to the pile of cargo. The stack of one hundred square plasti-steel boxes, each the size of a wolf, remained snug beneath the wide strapped netting. It had arrived early that morning. Eye stinging, stumbling to the cargo door type of early. That was her own fault, of course. "Stupid girl," she mumbled for the fifth time that morning.

"Hey, Lulu. You Dionysos bound?" The familiar friendly voice of Astor returned her call.

Oddly, as if getting used to eating a lemon, Lirssa didn't mind being called Lulu. It was welcoming, even. She smiled and rested back in her seat. "Yeah. Supplies for the pleasure cruiser."

"Don't misbehave there. Vector 56A clear. Safe flight."

"Thanks." Lirssa turned to the vector assigned, seeing the enormous, near city size ship half a parsec away. It rested like a drunken man among his precious empty bottles and his decadent dreams. Or maybe she just imagined it that way considering the ship's purpose. While other vessels moved smartly about their business, Dionysos remained fixed.

Misbehave. That required further definition by her way of thinking.
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Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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Lirssa Sarengrave
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 29 Jul 2007
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Jobs: Performer
Can Be Found: Rhydin
38982.98 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The catering and event teams hustled below in frantic order. Each person knew what task was to be done, and only diverged from it when the head chef or event coordinator yelled out a terse correction. Lirssa watched them from the event room rafters. It was just one of several rooms on the Dionysos constructed to house lavish entertainments from theater productions to grand balls. Or, as this event was, a birthday party. A grand, ostentatious, gorging on its own glory birthday party.

And Lirssa had been hired to perform. Lucky to be spotted on one of the performance decks last week trying out her routines there for an extra coin. Luck, as ever.

The neatly arranged mound of aqua-blue aerial silks rested at her back. She had been grateful for the loan of the event coordinator’s mage to get the material so high. Of course, she had been hired by the coordinator, Mr. Dunlap, so loan was not exactly the correct word. Still, the matter of getting the yards and yards of special made fabric up forty feet to the rafters had been settled with little struggle on her part, and Mr. Dunlap was looking quite pleased as he strutted in review of the organized chaos.

“Poppet?” Mr. Dunlap bellowed up to her. He was a cheerful ogre of a man who professed to know all the best tailors of Rhydin. Considering his boulder-like structure was styled in impeccable suits with coordinated cufflinks and ties, Lirssa had to agree he must know at least several good tailors -- if not all. There was no need to argue.

“All checked, Mr. Dunlap!” Even as she called down to him, she leaned over to check the security of her gear once more. No safety wires or nets, just the silks, the figure eight, swivel ball, and carabiners. Her fingers roamed over the gear as she viewed, checking with sight and touch.

“Good! You’ll start when the guest of honor is seated in that chair.” He pointed to the dais with its long table and the one peak-carved chair at its center. “Music will start with your descent.”

“Yessir,” she smiled. She knew her routine. “I’ll be coming down to dress now.”

“White and yellow, yes?” There was a nervous squeak to his question, like ice crushed together.

Lirssa rolled her eyes a moment while she finished the climb down. When she touched down on the floor with its strewn leaves and flowers, she turned a perfected smile to him. “Yes, the costume is just as you designed, sir.”

“Oh, good. Good.” He sauntered over to her. A weighty finger that smelled oddly of cinnamon lifted her chin. “My little bird of paradise.” Eyes grey as charcoal looked over her face. It was as if he was trying to remember something -- or forget. “Now,” he turned with surprising agility, “Corlina! Promise me you have not destroyed the cinnamon butter sculpture! It must look just like a thriving tree! Not a hacked down one!”

“Cinnamon.” Lirssa whispered with a laugh. That explained the smell of his hands. Likely he had his own taste testing several times over.

She turned for her designated dressing room, weaving and darting her way out of the paths of the other staff. Her eyes looked over the cavernous area as she went, imagining how her routine will look at the start in a few hours. It was an ornate oval that mocked the warmth of a wooden structure with its molded and painted aluminum, steel, and plaster. It was prepared for full cast shows with dress rooms and storage for props. There was an orchestra pit currently covered as the musicians were set up on the stage. It could house hundreds of performers in its wings.

This day, however, was just Lirssa -- and the orchestra. The dressing room was empty except for her satchel and the costume. The white and yellow leotard hung on the dividing screen. Sequins glimmered across the sheer portions of the full body costume. White and yellow patterned as feathers covered her torso and backside. An sheer panel in the shape of an inverted triangle ran from neck to navel. It was both modest up close and very much not from a distance. She would be covered from neck to knees, but most would think she in danger of exposing too much.

Lirssa ran her fingers down the sleeves and shook her head. As she had grown, expectations of what she should be had changed. But she was still just herself.

And she had to get ready.

(This performance happens on Thursday, just posting first part today for convenience)
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Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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Lirssa Sarengrave
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The room was full except two seats on the dais that waited. Noise rose as murmurs became conversations became shouts. Each person tried to greet and speak with another. Lirssa tested the locks and wraps of her descent. The fabric wrapped around her torso and twined in pressure locks around her feet. Her hair was flowing free. Normally she would have bound it, but Mr. Dunlap wanted it streaming out from behind her during her routine. For her own part, Lirssa would have to fight for sightlines when the strawberry blond locks would block her vision. Still, it could be done and would be.

Music began. It was not her music. It was the music of an important entrance. The shut-up and sit down music. The gathering obediently, if slowly, obeyed the implied command. Seats were claimed at the tables arranged around the unmarked circle that was her place to perform.

Lirssa stretched a few more times, breathing slowly to get into her performance mind. Her face felt tight, but she dare not stretch it out. Mr. Dunlap had evidently found her own makeup not up to his standards, and now her face was painted and jeweled by the hands of an artist. And it itched. Another deep breath, drawing her thoughts away from her face and to the routine.

The music swelled, strings and brass in chorus to mark the arrival of the guest of honor. Lirssa did not know where Duke Robert Sorith’s duchy was, she had never heard of him before, but considering the price of such an event on a ship like Dionysos, his duchy was doing very well.

From the height of the rafters, it was hard to tell if he was anything of the typical fabled dukes with their aristocratic features always in handsome combination. The lady on his arm was the Duchess, and she was little more than a walking glow with the way the lights struck her golden orange dress and tiara. Lirssa fought the urge to make a snarky comment as she would have if they had been at a tourney. She was a silent performer this evening. It was her physical talents, not her snippy commentary required.

As the Duke and Duchess took their seats, the music altered into a beautiful lyric with the oboe taking prominence. Lirssa drew in a breath and dropped. The material unwrapped, a stream of silken aqua, as she tumbled out of it only to come to a startling stop five feet above the floor as her foot locks held her in a split. The gasps and applause had to be ignored, or she would start grinning like an idiot. Her role was a removed bird in flight, playing between air and water of a forest. She went through her routine, twining the fabric about her, changing her locks as each move required. As the music swelled, she wrapped the fabric in arm locks, took a run across the floor and swung up into flight, circling overhead.

Through the flight, she subtly changed the locks on one arm to let that length of fabric fall free, and turned the flight into a twirl by the other arm. Momentum and the aptitude of her body, she altered her position to slow the twirl and struck a leaping pose. Applause was more like a whisper as she focused on the task. People below became as indistinct to her as pebbles. The routine and the music consumed her. Her body was alive with the strain, the strength, to execute each maneuver in flawless precision.

Into the final minutes of the routine, she bound herself up through the climb, preparing for another freefall, feet in fabric locks. From the top of forty feet of fabric, she waited for the right measure of the music, and started her fall. The swirl of lights and sound, she counted her turns, and prepared for the stop.

A sizzling crack. Pain struck at her side. Screams. Shouts. Two more cracks. A sharp, metallic scent in the air. Music stopped and everything sounded wrong. Lirssa blinked, but all she saw had a halo about it, greying shadows drawing closer. She was upside down. The pressure to her head was increasing. Her foot was still in a fabric lock. She tried to reach up to undo it, but her body screamed in agony. Or maybe she screamed. Her throat felt so dry.

There were faces. Shadowy faces and garbled words. She could not understand them. An image here. An image there. People in anger and fear. Frozen tableaus. Someone spilled a hot drink on her. She felt it spreading across her costume. Mr. Dunlap won’t like that. It was getting harder to see. Oh gods… “Get me down,” she whispered.
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Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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Lirssa Sarengrave
Ancient Wyrm
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Joined: 29 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The cargo hold was empty. Hochi had left just a few minutes ago. It had been a profitable run, and Lirssa lay on the ship floor scanning through the list of jobs on her datapad hoping to find another like it. Profitable, not necessarily labor intensive.

Poor Hochi had taken the brunt of the cargo management, wrangling the droids, checking the cargo netting, anything that required lifting or shifting. He had done so cheerfully, but Lirssa was wary of asking him to help again. It wasn’t fair to him. Lirssa frowned a moment. She hoped she paid him enough for his time. She’d ask him later.

Moxie was quiet. Her hull kept most of Bravo Port’s ruckus at bay. In that seclusion, Lirssa took a moment to rest. The doctors had assured her that a two day stay in the medbay was sufficient, and thankfully so. Confinement was not a situation she felt suited to handle. But she was to return to her daily activities slowly. That was another thing she was ill suited in handling. She was, however, doing her best. The mending wound also reminded her often when she failed to meet the doctor’s requirements.

But she was worried. She had rental fees to pay to Port Bravo for housing. Plus fuel to keep her ship flying. Holiday season was coming fast -- too fast. She needed to get extra funds to the foster homes so they could plan parties and gifts. Plus all the gifts for her family. She loved the holidays. She did not like being wounded that kept her from preparing for them. And kept her from training.

It was enough. Lirssa stopped scanning the jobs, she was barely taking notice anyway as the worries kept piling up. As she closed her eyes, the datapad was lowered to rest on her stomach. She just needed a moment to relax. She would make a plan later. Take it one step at a time, not unlike wire walking.

In her stillness she heard the gentle whirring of the air compressors. A few clanks and squeals haunted from outside. She listened to her breathing and let worries rise up and fall away. A wince and flinch at a phantom pain in her side. Her fingers crept across her stomach to rest upon her sore side.

Beneath the silky soft cotton shirt was the crinkle of a square bandage. Beneath that a neatly mended wound. The medical technology on Dionysos was top of the line, but it was not magic. Not that she wanted magic; she preferred to heal on her own, but that would take time. Eventually the pink scar would fade to white. Lirssa knew the memory of that moment would, too. It was not like the sunglasses that still whispered in the back corners of her sleep, goading her into quickened fear.

Lirssa blinked her eyes open to chase away the forming image and its memory just as the datapad pinged. The unexpected sound made her jerk. “Saints and proxies,” as her mother would say.

The device pinged again, and Lirssa slowly pushed herself up to sit before opening the com video link. The face on the other side was not familiar, but the uniform was. “Lirssa Redbane Sarengrave al Amat.”

Oh crap. He had the entire name. He did not look very cross, nor particularly pleased. He was trim; an active officer by appearances. “Yes, officer?” A few quick checks to the com stream verified its legitimacy.

Dionysos judiciary department attorneys request a meeting to discuss the matter of the attempted assassination of His Grace, Duke Robert Sorith.”

“Oh, no, see I just want to leave that all behind, though glad no one was killed.”

The Dionysos officer looked to the right and then left of the screen as if suddenly lost. “But, ma’am, you were injured. The only injured…”

“Don’t I know it. By the way, you all did a fine job catching him-”

“-Her”

“Her before she hurt anyone else. Have to say that medbay is killer nice.” Lirssa wondered how long she would have to chatter before the officer completely forgot why he contacted her. “Though I do hope no one has use of it. Have you had to?”

“Had to?”

“Use the medbay?”

“Well, no, but--”

“That’s good. I’ve been to a couple in my life. One down here planetside I go to a lot, but that’s because I have a friend who is a doctor, and she--”

Suddenly another person leaned down into view of the vid screen. Her smile was tight, perfunctory, at odds with the soft waves of her black hair. Thin rimmed glasses framed blue eyes. “Miss al Amat, you are going to meet with me at 9 tomorrow morning by Rhydin time. I’ll see you then.” And the communication ended. Damn.
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Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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Lirssa Sarengrave
Ancient Wyrm
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Joined: 29 Jul 2007
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Jobs: Performer
Can Be Found: Rhydin
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Miss al Amat. I’m pleased you could join us.” Us included the lawyer of Dionysos, Lady Silvie Marlton, and her assistant and recorder of the meeting, who sat quietly in his three piece suit in the corner watching a screen to be sure the dictation was taken accurately by the computer.

Lirssa wanted to tell the lady where she could stuff her pleasure, but when thought about it a second time it sounded more like crude flirting than an insult. Instead, she made an indifferent, “Hmpf.”

The judiciary rooms on Dionysos were comparatively subdued to the rest of the ship Lirssa had seen. That was to say its opulence was in craftsmanship and cost of material than in extravagance and overabundance. If austerity could be snobbish, Lirssa had found it.

The table between her and Lady Marlton was a high polished black lacquer with shell chips arranged in an intricate design along the edge. All ten chairs suitably matched. A crystal pitcher with its own matching glasses rested on a mother of pearl, silver handled tray. Lighting brightened the cream and brown walled room from architecturally devised hangings and shelves. They hid the light source, but not the light.

“Please sit.” Lady Marlton continued while Lirssa eased down to a chair. “I am surprised at your reluctance to assist in the assassin’s trial.”

As much a Lirssa wanted to rest back, she forced herself to sit up straight. “Not my kingdom or my problem.” And she wanted to just get past it: get back to work; get away from the nightmares.

“You were shot.”

It was ridiculous. Lirssa snickered, shaking her head. “I’m not sure why people keep feeling a need to tell me that. I’m rightly aware of the annoyance in my side. It’s keeping me from working.” She could feel her temper flaring and did nothing to keep it down. “And besides that and changing the dressing, which just looks wonderful at the end of the day, my shrinking accounts gives me a daily reminder, too. So, what do I get? I get you keeping me from working what little I can.”

Lady Marlton pursed her lips, wrinkles gone sour. “If you cooperate, this can much more quickly. I am sure His Grace would remember your assistance kindly as would the directors of Dionysos when looking to ship items in this sector.”

It couldn’t have been. Lirssa frowned even more. “I’m thinkin’ you’re gonna want me to pretend I didn’t just hear a bribe in there.” A flicker of a glance to the quiet gentleman in the corner. His hand hovering over a key. Probably paused the dictation when that part was spoken. “Don’t you legal folk up here have ethics?”

The way Lady Marlton bristled, fingers clenching together, Lirssa guessed. “Nah, you were just thinking I wouldn’t. Caw, lady, you just tipped me over from not carin’ to riled.”

“Listen, Miss al Amat,” Lady Marlton seethed, standing from her chair and leaning on the table between them, her fingers with their sharply manicured nails splayed, “we have an assassin in custody. We can detain him for a short time, but we cannot take part in another system’s political scuffles. You, however—“

“I was actually shot while employed by Dionysos. Doesn’t look good if you don’t take care of it, does it? Might lose some business. Folks might think their parties and such aren’t safe here. Can’t escape their troubles back home.”

Cooling, the lady stood back. Narrowing of eyes, she examined Lirssa. “You understand more than you reveal.”

A shrug. Lirssa understood appearances; performing the right scene at the right time. “Still doesn’t change what I said.” At the silence, Lirssa supplied in a slow staccato, “Not my problem.”

A muscle ticked in the woman’s jaw, and her smile was crafted from ice and stone. “Well then, time to have you learn what you don’t know.” A flick of her finger to the man in the corner and he tapped through a few places on the screen. “Lirssa Redbane Sarengrave al Amat, you are charged with contempt of court. A hearing will be held in three days before a judge in Dionysos jurisdiction.”

“I’m what?” Lirssa heard her voice crescendo. “You can’t do that!” It was more Lirssa hoped she couldn’t do that.

“I am doing it.”
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Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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Lirssa Sarengrave
Ancient Wyrm
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“I don’t want to file charges. I can’t tell you what happened. I didn’t see what happened. Listen to me!” Lirssa tried once more to get her point across while the judge snarled and pointed at Lady Marlton.

“You have overstepped, Marlton. I will hear what Miss al Amat has to say, or you will find yourself in contempt.” He turned those blue, pupiless eyes on Lirssa.

She fought the urge to ask just how his eyes worked. Pupils were pretty important from her rudimentary understanding, but then again, the judge was obviously not human. While his face was of a similar shape with two eyes, though pupiless, there was no nose. His mouth worked in a box-like fashion, with two pairs of lips that would come together in the formation of words. It must have taken him years to pronounce common correctly with the way his mouth was constructed. Lirssa wondered what his home language was like.

“Now, you say you didn’t see anything?”

“Yes, your honor. I was spinning down from the rafters when it happened. My hair was in my face, too. It wouldn’t have been, of course, because I usually put my hair up. But, Mr. Dunlap had his vision, and as a performer you try to meet the vision of the person that pays.”

Both the judge and Lady Marlton were looking at her in a way that made Lirssa think of clockworks. Something was going on behind their eyes, clicking into a new conclusion. “What about before it happened?” The judge asked.

Lirssa opened her mouth and closed it. “Before it happened?”

The judge nodded. “Something we will discover during trial. I understand the inconvenience, Miss al Amat, but if you do not agree to assist in this trial, I will uphold the contempt charge and you will be fined. You will meet with Lady Marlton tomorrow to answer questions. Good day."
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Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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Lirssa Sarengrave
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lirssa sat in Lady Marlton’s office once more. She was counting down. The lawyer had two more minutes before Lirssa left. It had taken thirteen minutes past their scheduled meet time to get to this point. Lirssa really had other things to do, and was not going to waste another morning sitting and waiting.

“Miss al Amat,” The words came even as the door opened. “I apologize. I know your time is precious.” Every word was delivered in a crisp, even pitch. The lady was unhappy.

“Well, you made it under the cut off.” Lirssa should not have been so pleased in seeing the heat bloom in the woman’s cheeks. She just took Marlton’s unhappy into a new gear. Yes, far too much delight in that accomplishment.

“It seems you’ve made it under the cut off, too.”

Lirssa was not about to let Marlton get her off balance. Struggling to put meaning to the words, Lirssa sighed. “Whatever are you talking about?”

“The duke is requesting, adamant to be more precise, to have his birthday celebration go on as previously planned.”

It did not answer the question about the cut off, or anything remotely near it. Still, there was some angle to it that Lirssa was eager to work and get free of the mess. “Should help with Dionysos’s image. No one would doubt the safety of the ship if the guy nearly killed shows up again.” Lirssa dared a hopeful smile. “So, I can go, right?”

The woman snickered. “No. You are going to provide me with a complete story of what happened and when.” She grit her teeth. “And then you can go. The board has decided to not extend the unpleasantness for the ship.”

“How very practical.” And very unexpected. The day previous at the hearing, Lirssa was convinced that a trial was going to fill much of her days in the immediate future. “I appreciate them coming to this decision so quickly.”

Marlton flopped down her leather-bound datapad and sat. She did nothing to hide her disappointment. It would have been a name creating trial, no doubt. “It had something to do with you. Everything to do with money.”

Everything to do with money. Lirssa felt a trickle of guilt slither between her shoulders. So much of what she did had to do with money. So much of what she tried to get out of, to alter, had to do with money. A grimness gripped at her heart.

“Now,” Lady Marlton adjusted her sleeves, stretching out her arms, and then punched through a sequence on the datapad, “Who hired you, when, and for how much?”
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Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lirssa woke to the musical notes of Moxie waking her on time for training. There was temptation to text her absence to Cane. Wasn't the drop in the ocean last night and it's accompanying cut to her head training enough?

Her hand reached for the communicator and then flopped away from touching it. That was lazy weakness trying to overtake her. It was also a very real desire for more sleep. After the time at Ms Jewell's fighting soiree, Lirssa had made the long trip back to Stars End to spend the next several hours reviewing possible commissions.

Long distance commissions. Performing in the musical had been a dream come true. It had also opened up the realization that she did not belong in the city any longer. She was as a satellite floating in an orbit around the lives of the residents; tethered by an invisible, mutual relation.

That recurring thought jolted her upright from her bed, tossing aside the bedsheets with a scowling huff. "Enough of that." She growled. She had things to do. A punch to the pillow cast the remnants of that thinking into the far corners of her mind, and she stood to get ready for the day. Training first. That would get her back in the right disposition.

Then flying. That would help, too. A nice long flight. And before her mind could start going down that path again, she pulled up everything that had to be done before she could go. She kept her mind busy and ignored the soft voice trying to trip up her day, like a needle poking at her.
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Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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Lirssa Sarengrave
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Joined: 29 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the entrance of the warehouse in Stars End, Lirssa could see the line of people -- in the broadest meaning of the word -- started from the landing of the second floor office down the stairs and behind the wall of storage bins. She felt her stomach churn, tying itself into knots, until it stopped in a painful nervousness.

A man approached from behind another wall of storage bins. His clean shaven face and tidy hair were counter to the abused, dingy flightsuit he wore. His hair was kept under control in the front by a series of cornrows that stopped at the top of his head to let the blonde hair wave free down to his shoulders. No piercings. No tattoos. Lirssa felt he might be better placed in a business suit, pin stripes even. "Pilot?" He asked, his hands shoved into the unzipped pockets of the flightsuit.

Lirssa looked past him to the line and nodded. "Yeah. Guess not for this job, though."

He smiled. The man knew his dental hygiene, too. "No?" He turned with an incline of his head to the line at the back. "Come on. Give it a try. Might be you win. Might be you get the contract."

"Might be." She agreed. But that 'might be' against more competition than she anticipated was shrinking to a more accurate 'likely not.' Others would know her tricks, too. She'd have to get Moxie through tricky areas of space at her very fastest and shortest.

But a contract would mean confirmed income. Meant knowing when she was flying and where in advance. Meant being prepared for the coming holidays.

She straightened her spine and lifted her chin, looking the man squarely. "Name's Lirssa." She offered her hand for a shake in greeting.

"Walter." He shook her hand.

The name didn't fit either, but she had no reason to doubt him. "Right then, Walter. I better get in line and sign up."

His grin remained, the nod a simple one as he turned back to whatever he had been doing in the maze of storage bins lining the warehouse.

Lirssa found her way to the end of the line. The warehouse smelled cold and sterile that far back. Someone kept it neat and tidy. A droid whirred up to her and she read it's screen. Another contestant in front of her turned around, and sneered. "You can read, yeah?"

The smell of the man's breath released from his brown stained mouth nearly made Lirssa gag. She knew she paled, but she could not help that. Instead, she turned her head a little to try and breathe in from over her shoulder and answered. "Yeah."

Fortunately, that was as much as the man wanted to say. Maybe Lirssa's luck would hold out. Might be.
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Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

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Lirssa Sarengrave
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was too early for her ship to be pinging out urgent messages to wake her. That was her thought at least. She twisted in her bunk to look at the time piece magnetized to the wall, punched the light to brighten, and then groaned and flopped back onto the pillow.

It was too early. The long walk from the Gardens meant she had four hours of sleep. Four was better than nothing, she admitted. Curling up to grasp a few more winks, the pinging started again. It had never been so loud before. Maybe it was just the way her thoughts scattered like butterflies with each ping.

Feet to the floor, she realized she had slept with her clothes on. At least she had taken her boots off. That was something. The idea of the sludge of RhyDin and Stars End streets on her sheets was vile to contemplate.

Sock footed, she crossed the empty cargo bay to the helm. Roughly dropping onto the seat, she punched up the communique. "Who is dying?" She snarled.

"It looks like you are." Lieutenant Commander Vilari, call sign Inferno, smirked to her. "Did I wake you, buttercup?" His voice a sickly sweet taunt.

Lirssa crafted a smile, "You aren't stimulating enough to ever wake me, trust me." She had no idea why she said that. As if she had any experience.

Still, Inferno laughed. "We will never know, kid. You got a transport requisition?"

No. She did not want to say that. "Haven't even checked today." She had checked yesterday. The day before, too. There was one for tomorrow, but it was a quick land to stars job. Time short, pay small. She started to send the information for the next day's flight to Ansel with instruction to pass it on to Quinn if he was busy.

"Well you can stop checking. Got a trip for you. Pays well, but you're going to have to clear your schedule for the week."

IFL. Blast. Lirssa punched up on the companion monitor for the information. Did she want to be on schedule? What was it she wanted these days? Did not matter what she wanted. No fights for her this week. "Looks like I am all clear."

Cane. She would message him. It was polite; even if the message served more as a reminder than a cancellation.

"I'm all clear. What's the job, and what's the pay?"

"Tact team. Need you to get them in, wait, and get them out."

"Hey, now, I'm not military." Lirssa was already sending out the message to Cane that she would miss their fire party.

"Exactly. But you could have been. That is what I need. Need your flying skills, Lulu. You came recommended."

Lirssa let her head hit the edge of the helm as she muttered, "When will coach stop doing me favors?"

Inferno's laugh was as broad and deep as before. "Sending over instructions by messenger. First half of pay sent over when the documents are accepted." Paper. Nothing to be traced. Lirssa needed more sleep for this. But upfront half pay was promising. Promising enough that she did not say no.

"Expect it within the hour, and I need you out in the Black in two hours, kid." His good humor disappeared, like there was a switch he could shut off. "Get them there and get them back. Safe." It was as much a threat as it was an order.
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Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Hey, pilot!"

"Hey, pilot? You can be such an ass, Charlie."

"What? Telling me I need to be all polite here? With where we're going?"

Lirssa drew in a deep, slow breath to control her temper and answered, "Something you wanted?"

"Whoa, damn! You're not a 'droid?" There were chuckles and muttered barbs tossed between the tactical team of twenty. They had stowed their gear under the seats bolted in the cargo bay floor in a perfunctory manner. From launch to six hours in flight, they had kept to themselves. Until right then.

"You could ask around, but not last I checked."

"Can I check?" Another voice piped up followed by more chuckles and the sound of thumps. A few soldiers called for that guy to not be an ass either. Lirssa scowled. She had set herself up for that one.

"Kendrick, you're worse than Charlie."

"Wouldn't want to give up my reign."

Not in the mood to hear more chatter or jokes at her expense, Lirssa called over her shoulder. "Charlie, did you have a question or just randomly shout to convince yourself of a working brain?"

"Hey now, my brain is always working."

"Sometimes the one in the pants, but yeah, always working." That had to be Kendrick. Lirssa did not look over her shoulder. That would be to give them an idea she was touched in some way by their banter.

This was a job. It was, as the first half of payment had proven, a very well paying job. When the directive had arrived, she thought the pay a just compensation for where she would be flying and then waiting. Waiting like a target for the Agrasian ship to just snuff her out of the Black.

Now she was considering asking for more if these soldiers kept up a conversation like this for the next twenty hours. Surely they would sleep some of that. Some? Most? That was wishful thinking.

"So, Pilot--"

"Lirssa."

"Right, Lirssa. Wait, Lirssa? What kind of name is that? Aren't you missing a vowel in there?"

"You're going to be missing one of your brains if you don't get to your question."

That earned a low mutter and more laughter from the others.

"What's our ETA, Lirssa?" Charlie's voice had dropped, serious and dark. All the laughter stopped. The team could turn on a pinhead from joking to business. They probably had to; find laughter in the moments and then slaughter in the next.

"Twenty hours until sector destination, then hunting down the ship will take some time."

"Right team." So Charlie was the man in charge. "Check your gear, eat, bed down. In your own *** beds now, Kendrick."

"A full eight of sleep? Gonna use my time wisely. Besides, I gotta make sure she's not a 'droid."

"Yeah, like you've not bedded a 'droid before, Kendrick. Now leave her alone. Something goes south, you want her remembering what scum we are?"

Lirssa finally did turn. The men and women stopped in the middle of their activity and just blinked at her. "Be asses all you want. It isn't like I don't hear and see stupid stuff everyday, but my job is to get you there and get you back safely. Don't get in my way of that, and I won't get in yours."

She turned back to the helm and checked over the monitors. A murmur drifted up to her. "Been awhile since we've had a pilot." The last word given with a measure of respect.
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Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Sorry about them." One of the soldiers came up to her side and crouched down. He had a week's worth of stubble. Some might call it a beard. He was neither old nor young, but experience was etched on his face and crowded his eyes.

Lirssa shrugged. An apology was nice, but not from one who had done nothing. "Are you not going to sleep?"

All but two of the team were secure in their makeshift pallets. Kendrick was thankfully one of them. "Later. On watch now."

"Watch?" A smirk, she looked sidelong at him. "Watch for what? A comet?"

When he laughed the lines around his eyes deepened. "No. Just in case. But what about you?"

"Two hours here and there." A silent ping on the monitor caught her attention. Information scrolled up. Merchant ship on similar course. She made a minor course correction. "You must have missed my last nap."

"Not me. I just got on watch. I don't miss a thing."

It amused and puzzled her. Looking to him, she asked, "Are all of you that confident?"

His lips pursed, fighting the grin that pulled at one corner of his mouth. "Yes. Some of us are even cocky."

"Kendrick," she supplied.

The laugh came back, and he looked at the floor between his feet. "He takes it to a new level." The man even looked a little weary when he said it.

"Oh, I know one or two people that might give him a race for the reign he is so proud of."

"Really?" In a moment of thought, he continued. "Not sure I could stand that."

"I can't." She smirked. A glance to the view. "There is something to be said for humility or at least earnestness."

He stood with a slow shake of his head. "With us, such things get you sidelined more than not. You have to know what you want to do and have the courage to follow it up. Thought most pilots were confident braggarts."

She grinned up at him. "Some are even cocky, too, but those that really know what they are doing, don't have to be."

He nodded and took one step away, then turned back. "Hey now, that was cocky right there."

A shrug, a cheeky grin, but Lirssa did not say anything more. She did not need to.

"Yeah, yeah. Hey, get some sleep." Thankfully the tone came out as more a friendly suggestion than an order.

She gave a little nod. But what he said and what was going to happen were not the same. She explained, "Next lane change will get me more time. I've got it all under control." Saying it out loud might convince herself as well as them.
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Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the twenty six hours of flight, Lirssa had learned all of the team's names; some were their true names and others went by a nickname. Charlie, Kendrick, Lilly, Turtle, Squirt...they were people. A few she knew even more than their names and their sense of humor. Eddie -called Barricuda- was the mage.

"I zero out other mages, if the mission calls for it. Throw a few sparks, cast about some flames, and then heal up the team when all is said and done." He told her while he sat on the floor next to her seat. He, like the others, were checking their gear. Again. It was a simple circle, looked to be of bronze, that he took an old cloth to.

Throughout the flight, when she was not sleeping, someone had come to talk with her. She had started to get the feeling that being "on watch" meant watching her. "Seems a lot to do for one mage."

"Lilly has some ability, too. A backup, I guess, but not many of us join up. That independent, self-centered, ***-all streak we magical people tend to have." His was no smirk, but a true smile that contradicted what he had just said. Of course, he had signed up, so he did not fit the mold.

Lirssa chuckled as she slowed the engine output and set them to re-calibration while she transferred to the sub-engine. "Not just mages."

"No," he admitted, " but seems pretty common among the type."

"Not you or Lilly, then."

Eddie grinned wider and tapped his chest. "I'm a team player."

"Well, team player Eddie, best you join your team." Lirssa checked the monitor. "We're in Agrasian space now. Just got to track the rabbit."

"It's a damn big rabbit." Charlie said coming up behind them. Eddie stood up and straightened. He only stepped away when Charlie gave a nod. "Any idea on how to track it down?"

With a slow nod, Lirssa answered trying not to sound like she was sassing. "I thought I would use my eyes." It did not come out without sass.

"Great. We have enough rations?"

She laughed and looked up at him a moment, then pointed to her secondary monitor. "There are two nebulas I can go coasting through the edge. That will muck up some sensory readings, but it will also play merry hob with anyone pinging into the nebula, too. There are some specific lanes big bruisers like Agrasian warships like to wander. I'll go hunting along them."

He clapped her on the shoulder like she was one of his team. "Good. Keep me informed."

Not sure the proper response, she said, "Right."

And then Lilly was there, sitting down with her own gear to check. When she smiled her freckled nose crinkled up. "Hi," she said.

"Hi." Lirssa replied and accepted that the watch would continue.
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Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lirssa looked at the monitor. One hour and seven minutes had passed. Moxie was tucked up under the Agrasian warship's sensor relay. A few skipping stone steps from nebula, rough ride across the engine wash, and coast up the aft spire of the ship and she had latched the ship on like a leech.

One hour and eight minutes. With her legs curled up close, arms around her knees, she watched the clock. Charlie had said one and a half hours, punched the timer, and then the team had processed the transition between ship and service port on the relay tower.

She had no idea how they were going to manage their mission in that short time. But then, she was not a soldier. The camaraderie had been fun, even in the brief time of flight. It felt good to imagine that she belonged to their group. They had accepted her, and Charlie was treating her like one of his own.

But that was where things went a little sour. It was great being part of a group, but bristled with the idea of taking orders. This was a job, and her accepting of it meant she took orders now. But every day? No. No, she would just have to learn to live as a satellite.

One hour and fifteen minutes.

"Move, move!" The communication frequency she had set up for the team suddenly came alive.

The noise filled the empty space of the ship. Voices, shouts, blasts, the screech of abused metal, and the shriek of abused bodies. "Barricuda, back us up!"

"Too many! Get out of here!"

"Target? Do we have the target!" That was Charlie.

"Copy that." Kendrick. "On our six! Move, move!"

"Logan, cover. Lirssa?" Charlie called. "We need an exit plan. Can't get to you."

There was no need to be secret anymore. Now it came down to be good at what she did. "On my way. Somebody activate their ping. I can't just hope I catch you falling out of a hatch."

A tiny dot showed up on her monitor. With a tug to the latch release, she gave a little push to the thrusters and twisted Moxie around.

It would take maybe two minutes for the fighters to scramble. She had to catch and carry away before they could get a shot on her. Her heart raced, but she was rather certain she was not scared. She was thrilled. That disturbed her for a moment. "Keep focused, Lulu," she murmured.

Glancing to the monitor, she directed Charlie. "This is going to be interesting. Close to a small service bay. Get there. I'm coming in." Hopefully the fighters would not blast up one of their own bays. Hopefully.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2015 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The theory the Agrasian would not shoot up their own bay was proved false pretty quickly. Lirssa went in full speed. With a quick switch, the full reverse and turn of the helm set the wash of her engines against a line of Agrasian firing at the team she was picking up.

A few blasts pelted against Moxie. Glancing to the monitor, she had a few more minutes before one broke past or fried her wiring. Her ship did not have weapons. She had told Inferno she was not military, that meant her ship, too.

When she noticed the tracer on the move towards her, she settled down and opened up the starboard hatch. The noise from outside crashed in just as the team did. Like marbles funneled and set free, they came clear of the door and scattered. A few carried others, and she heard Kendrick yell, "You have to heal them!"

"Move, Lirssa!" It was Charlie, but his voice lacked it's usual strength, breaking at the end.

As much as she wanted to count to make sure they were all there, she listened to Charlie's command, and the warning signal from Moxie, and hit the engines, sending a blast against the bay wall again as they shot back into the Black.

Her angle was off. The quick adjustment turned a collision into a scrape of her port wing. That sent them turning right into the oncoming fighters just as they exited the bay.

One deep breath, Lirssa unfocused her vision but focused her attention. It was as if she could see the entire area. Where a ship was going, how it would have to turn, the trajectory of its fire. In the spaces between, she wove her ship.

As she spiraled and turned to avoid being fired out of the sky, the argument behind her filtered forward.

"I can't." Eddie wheezed and coughed. She heard the sliding thump of someone collapsing to the floor. "I'm tapped out."

"You're gonna heal them." Kendrick. The anger in his voice was as palpable as heat from the sun. "It's why you're here."

The sound of a scuffle, Lirssa dared to glance behind her. Eddie was just letting Kendrick shake him. Lirssa could see the mage was worn physically and magically. "I can't," he whispered. "Use a med kit. Keep them alive until--"

"They don't have that long!" Kendrick shouted.

A blast skittered along the hull, and the helm complained by sending up a spark. Lirssa flinched, but everything seemed to be working still. The helm was sluggish, but maneuverable.

And Inferno had commanded her to keep them safe. Commanded. Threatened. It was all a matter of perspective. The fighters were still chasing, but Moxie was beginning to outrun. She still had to keep avoiding the fire patterns.

She could hand the helm over to another and help save the wounded crew, but then risked the whole team -- and her ship -- to the fighters following. Risk saving the few alive to try and save them all.

Lirssa bit her lip. She did not want to tell them. Kendrick in particular. There was something not right about him.

But letting others die to keep her secret was a thought that made her sick. There were too many times in her life when she had failed to act, gotten caught up in something and had to be rescued. If her parents, the Baron, so many others had been afraid to act because of their secrets, she would be dead.

"Kendrick!" She shouted. "Can you pilot?"

The silence was annoying. "Can you or can't you?"

"I can." He was right behind her. She had not heard him move at all. It made her jump.

"Take over." She looked up at him and saw the blast marks on his uniform ringed with blood. He was not in good shape either. That meant the others were much worse.

Not waiting for a debate, she moved away from the helm. The rattle of her chair as the larger man fell into it was satisfying. She rushed over to Eddie, sliding the last few feet on her knees. A lean of her head to try and capture his eyes. "I can help." Lirssa whispered. "But I need you to not tell people what I have done."

She did not wait for the promise; no matter if he gave his word or not, she was going to help. "Try again. Reach out to your talent." Laying down, she closed her eyes and opened up the fountain of power, reaching out.

And Eddie found her.
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