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[Orig] The Stuff of Legends (1/2)

whoops. looked at the calendar and realized it was March.

notes:
- i keep meaning to describe The Merry Death but somehow it doesn't flow well in casual typing of scenes.
- crew are from various works E and i have piddled with over the years. a couple that will actually make it to 'net this year since all seems to be going well on the written front.

Predecessor - Cosmic: Prologue, Ch 1 Ch 2 Ch 3 Ch 4 Ch 5 Ch 6

The Realm of Eyalus © 2010 property of Kenen and E. Entity. Do not repost. Do not repost and claim as your own. Do read. Do enjoy. Do comment.

The Stuff of Legends

Alinon Galica leaned over the port rail and laughed into Vai's Breath. It was a good day. The Merry Death had sailed into a new star system the night before and Judus Jach had promised they'd dock for supplies and revelry. Alinon had thought that wise. Morale had been questionable of late and a chance to stretch cramped limbs would do the crew well.

Alinon glanced behind him. Due starboard, swabbing the deck was one of the primary causes of contention, Simov. His shirt artfully hung from his slender shoulders. His trousers consisted of just enough fabric to almost cover his buttocks; the underside of his smooth cheeks still visible. His long pale, lavender legs glistened in the starlight. His wispy ears, vaguely reminiscent of fish fins, were tilted in his direction. Anticipating an argument, no doubt. But Alinon wouldn't give him the satisfaction. He'd been annoyed with Simov since he'd brought Leo onboard. The Sylph had taken an immediate interest.

Behind Alinon, sat his mate on the deck of the ship with the old stereo he'd salvaged from the craft Alinon had wrecked upon planet Earth. The stereo had since been dissected into various pieces strewn about the deck. The captain had given Leo scrap metal and wire, and as far as Alinon could tell, he was upgrading the stereo to work in Vai's Sigh.

Leo Cosmic had come a long way from the boy he'd met on Earth. Then he'd been known as Leonard Dukakis. He'd been a five foot tall, intelligent, social outcast with unruly curls, thick glasses, and brows that had stretched from end to end of his eyes. But no one onboard knew that. Here, Leonard was Leo, sole Earthian, with sleek hair and sharp eyes that looked like a supernova had taken place inside of their blue. He was ludicrously smart and excelled at making devices work that had ceased to onboard. Ordinarily, Leo could be found on the deck working in the starshine. His jumpsuit would be stripped to his waist from the heat and his tawny skin would be bathed in the same reliefs of pinks, purples, and deep blues of Vai's Sigh from the light.

It was no different now. As Leo tarried with his stereo, there were little beads of sweat dotting his upper lip and a light sheen glistening on muscular arms. He'd grown an inch for every month they'd been in Vai's Sigh. Now 5'8", Leo still wouldn't agree with Alinon when he'd said Earth's air had been too heavy for him.

"You fall overboard, I'm going to let you float away," Leo muttered gruffly. His alien enhanced eyes never left his project. His mannerisms implied he truly didn't give a damn. Alinon scowled at him. Opened his mouth to criticize. "I'd duck if I were you." The blue alien turned his head and threw himself to the floor in time to avoid a trail of asteroid rocks floating by the ship.

"Sprouting an eye in the back of your head now, Leo?" Alinon growled as he crawled over to his mate who was still studiously tinkering. He slipped slim blue arms around the Earthian's skinny waist. Leaned his pointed, gold dusted chin into the crook of neck and shoulder. Absorbed and gloried in the sweat.

"Censure from a sponge?" Leonard rejoined, minutely flicking eyes that were anything but Human in color to Alinon's direction.

Alinon would have responded but the bang of a door flown open in rage and an angry voice beat him to it.

"Is it true!" a deep voice bellowed.

Starboard of where Alinon sat snuggled against Leo, Simov still swabbed the deck with a gentle sway to his hips, casting discreet glances in Leo's direction when he thought Alinon wasn't looking. The Sylph stopped then, returned the swab to cloudy water, and eyed the being addressing him. He placed webbed hands on wide hips and stood contrapposto, somehow looking down his flat nose at the tall man. Though his stature was hardly imposing, one got the sentiment of absolute disdain, which was far worse than fear.

Black-light eyes narrowed. "Don't raise your voice to me, Dre. Have you lost your mind?"

Dre glared, ducked through the portal and stomped across the deck. He ignored the reprimand, placed large hands on Simov's biceps and shook him. The grip was easy, but Dre consisted mostly of stone, and when he was satisfied and stopped, blood dripped down the Sylph's arms and anger radiated from his frame in a near palpable force.

"Let. Go. Of. Me," Simov gritted out slowly.

"Not till you answer. Bauer said you lay with him. Did you?"

"Put me --"

"DID YOU!"

"The question is will I if you don't stop pissing me off?" hissed a voice above them.

Judus Jach stood on the level above frowning deeply. He wore only a shirt he hadn't bothered to properly lace, not tucked at the hem. His trousers flared around his polished boots in disarray. The fabric crumpled and folded like a cur dog scolded and moping -- that thought from Leo. Still Jach looked regal and commanded authority.

Lime green eyes held Dre and Simov in their glacial embrace. Alinon shuddered for them, for Ice Eyes Judus Jach was well named and his gaze was how legends were born. The crew of The Merry Death was usually well behaved for no one in their right mind drew Jach's ire because of those eyes.

Jach perched an elbow on the railing and nestled his chin on his fist. Lazily, he drawled, "Which of you slammed Merrec's door?" It was rhetorical. Jach knew everything that happened on his ship.

Dre blanched, but breathed deeply to calm his no doubt racing heart. Alinon guessed this because the rock-man's heart beat had to echo the avalanche his thoughts had become. "Cap'n," he dropped to his knees, "I've no excuse . . ."

"I know," Jach's flash of teeth in a smile was lethal. "We'll get to that. My other complaint is the amount of noise you're making . . ."

"Apologies, Captain." Now Simov bowed to the deck, forehead kissing it in proper obeisance. His smooth butt cheeks were no longer covered in the gesture. Briefly, Leo's eyes wandered. Alinon's eyes narrowed at the thought that grew before Leo plucked it like a malignant weed in his garden. Alinon's attention returned to Jach, but he was relatively certain he'd be eating within the hour.

"The stars are you apologizing for?" Captain Jach asked. He appeared genuinely confused -- a hint of not quite Jach present. "We are not angry with you." He waved a dismissive hand and the other left with it. "Go see to your wounds. I don't want you bleeding all over my deck."

"Captain," Simov acknowledged and slowly backed away. Cast a covetous glance in Leo's direction. Caught Alinon's eye. Smirked, completely unapologetic. Then went through the door causing so much discord.

Judus Jach had eyes of frozen solitude. His voice a chill in the atmosphere. "Dre. My door is more valuable than your hurt pride, isn't it?"

"Of course, Cap'n."

"And you understand that I'm going to have to punish you essentially over a piece of ass, right?"

Dre shook. Could say nothing.

Jach had no such problem. Casually he stated, "You also had no right to lay hands on another of my crew uninvited." Jach vaulted over the railing to land on Dre's splayed fingers with a sickening crunch.

Dre grunted. Swallowed his shout of pain as sweat instantly poured down his face and turned it to mud. Judus stepped to the side to reveal Dre's two middle fingers severed from his hand in crumbled rock.

Leo had once thought the captain's eyes contained Hell. Bleak, merciless pits of arctic chartreuse. Judus Jach was the epitome of that as his gaze raked Dre's trembling form. "I don't want to have this conversation again."

Dre whimpered compliance and was summarily dismissed.

Judus Jach's thoughts morphed from ire to a vague feeling of self-consciousness. Lime eyes flicked to the deck where Alinon and Leo sat. Leo feigned preoccupation and Alinon buried his nose into the crook of Leo's neck so he wouldn't chance meeting Jach's gaze.

"You to think Hiyam too harsh?" the captain asked. Alinon discreetly nudged Leo to answer. Jach had been working on his English for Leo's sake. Why? Alinon could not say; he only knew the captain had insisted Alinon teach him.

Leo minutely glanced up from his task, shrugged. "You're the captain," he responded.

Jach nodded in acknowledgment, "Hiyam." He glanced down at the detached fingers before continuing. "The crew . . . when too long in the Sigh, they are needy. They forget manners."

Leo nodded as he worked.

"What is you do that?" The captain took a step forward then led by his curiosity.

Leo shrugged again, "Just wanted to see if I could make it useful again."

A smirk. "What is it do?" Leo was asked. All manner of ruthless captain evaporated in the face of Leo's attention. Alinon wondered at that. It wasn't very Ice Eyes Judus Jach for him to care about his image.

"Plays music," Leo answered. His eyes were turned to three wires; his fingers twisted one, bent another, and tied the last to the first. There was a spark and then Leo was cussing around sucking on his burnt finger.

"Hiyam to think it do not want play music."

"I'll change its mind," Leo promised; aimed a formidable glower toward the radio. Alinon took the preoccupation to close his lips over Leo's scorched digit and lick the hurt away. That earned him a shove and a glower of his own. Alinon accepted it with aplomb. It was Leo's way.

"Hiyam look to see that," Jach responded and then glided away.

----
CREW
----

Despite the earlier disturbance, the crew was in a jovial mood, Leo noticed as he took a seat in the corner of the mess deck with a tray of alien fare before him. He spooned the spicy, indigo soup into his mouth and swallowed. He hadn't asked Cook what it was; knew better than to. As he ate he let his eyes covertly wander over the company he know found himself. Including Leo there were thirty-eight creatures on The Merry Death. Some, like him, ate their food in solitude, while others played games with other crewmembers. He was again hit with how humanoid all the creatures were. Almost like there really was a master template somewhere that all races were designed from.

For instance, mauve skinned, multiple-armed, Arba Wardat could have been a Hindu deity. She was one of the two women onboard and always trying to prove how tough she was. At the moment, she engaged in an arm wrestling match with Hakina, whose beautiful black skin glistened like onyx stone, and petite Elysses, whom he'd been told was one of the Fae. Seys -- Elysses’ constant companion -- stood beside him cheering for his victory.

Bauer, whose fiery mane was unmistakable, sat in melancholy silence in his own corner. He had furry ears and a long, skinny tail, his nose flat and feline, his hands blunt, like paws, with retractable claws. His slit golden eyes were riveted to Simov, who was flirting with Lilo, much to the former gladiator's dismay. Lilo's partner, Solei, hid his beautiful smile behind long, graceful fingers. The tips of his conch shell-like ears pink.

Alinon slid into the booth and put a blue hand on his arm. "People watching, Leo?"

"A bit." Out of the corner of his eye he saw Dre inching away from a boy no older than himself with storm gray curls and liquid green eyes. Even as he watched those eyes flashed slate gray, like a lightening storm brewing inside them. Dre abandoned all pretense of listening and ran. "Has he always been onboard?" Leo asked.

Alinon followed his gaze. "Retuan? Yes. One day, shortly after I got on, when we were passing through this asteroid belt he just climbed out of one of them and jumped on. Seriously!" he stressed upon seeing Leo's incredulous look. "One second, no Retuan. Next second, Retuan. And Merrec was completely cool with it too."

"And Jach?"

"Jach doesn't go against Merrec when it comes to people allowed to Surf on this ship."

Leo nodded as he digested that. "Alright, so, how come I haven't seen him before?"

Alinon shrugged. "Retuan keeps to himself down in the boiler room. If it doesn't have anything to do with rocks or metals he's not really interested."

"Which explains, Dre."

"Yes."

"So . . . If Simov's so much trouble why doesn't Dre just go for Retuan?"

Alinon pulled a face. "Because Retuan is a FREAK, Leo."

Leo briefly thought on the other crewmembers. "Define 'freak', Alinon."

His alien was about to do just that when the Captain and his Right, Trevbor, entered the mess. "Make merry, lads, for we dock tomorrow at first light."

--------
Marottan
--------

They'd been on planet Marottan all of six hours when two of its denizens stood before the ship flagging them from the pier. They were women as far as Leo could tell, vaguely human in appearance, but their eyes were a little too tilted. They had thick bulbous antenna emerging from their foreheads. Their lips were pouty. On Earth, Leo would have said they'd had collagen injected to achieve that look. Their noses leaned toward aquiline, with nostrils flared. All around, he wouldn't say that they were an ugly race of beings -- just different.

They spoke Common, as that was what the language of travelers in Vai's Sigh. Individual planets, of course, had their own language, but Common was for everyone. Sadly, Leo's Common was lacking and couldn't understand the exchange that had the two Marottanas boarding the ship and standing with fingerless Dre while The Captain's Right went to inform Judus Jach -- as if the Captain didn't know.

Upon closer inspection, Leo could see that one girl's lips were swollen because it had been split. An antenna dangled at an odd angle, badly broken but yet unattended. The Marottanas blood was purple, it stained their torn dresses in haphazard splashes. The other girl's eye was swollen shut. There were bruises on her throat that vaguely resembled handprints.

Alinon was at his side then, hands soothing his curling hair behind his ear. He would have to comb it soon, which was no trouble as the styling gel of Vai's Sigh lasted infinitely longer than anything Earth had produced. "Why are they here," he asked in English. Leo was cheating, he knew, but he couldn't bear the explanation in Common just now. There were a lot of words he hadn't understood before.

Alinon frowned at him, knowing his thoughts, but he received no more scolding than that. "I once told you that ships are independent vessels, correct?"

Leo somehow refrained from scowling. Alinon's English was impeccable now. So little time, so little effort. He was envious. "Yes, you said." He answered in Common because pride wouldn't allow him less. Alinon's approval was only second to that. Really.

His alien continued, "Captain's of ships are also considered Sovereign Ruler. Their ship is their land; like a floating island with it's own government."

Leo's eyes widened in shock. It was already daunting to think of Judus Jach as Captain, knowing that in his own right Jach was royalty aboard The Merry Death completely blew him away.

"In addition to this Kingdom, when it docks, the denizens of the worlds have the option of petitioning this court if, and only if, their planet's judicial system has failed them."

"So, they must to find justice in the court first of the world before to ask a Captain?" Leo attempted to clarify, but instead received an impromptu lesson on seek instead of find, and ownership in Common. The delay in answer to his question irked him, but he did not complain. He did need to know these things.

"It's like your Earthian appeals court," Alinon settled on agreeing when the idea occurred to Leo. "Only you do it through Sovereign Reign."

"On Earth you can continue to appeal," Leo pointed out.

"Not in Vai's Sigh," Alinon responded. "Sovereign's may agree to hear your case or not. If they listen but don't agree that you're right, then you may ask another captain. But if the Captain you ask agrees with your case and you are given recompense for your trouble, you may not ask another Captain for even more than you've gotten. Understand?"

"Yep. No double-dipping." He'd answered in English because he didn't know the phrase in Common.

"Exactly."

“So what did those girls say to get on?”

“That they sought the wisdom of the captain of this vessel in a matter concerning Sovereign Reign. They said there was bias in their trial and they request the captain’s recompense.”

Leo quirked an eyebrow. “They do know this is a Sigh Surfer’s ship, not a Sigh Swinger, right?”

“Undoubtedly,” Alinon smiled. “It doesn’t matter. A captain is a captain. Besides, if I were greatly wronged I think I would seek someone not quite on the right side of the law because an upstanding man may not be creative enough in delivering punishment.”

Leo thought of Dre, the fingerless, and sighed. Jach could be real Code of Hammurabi when the mood struck him.

A minute later, Trevbor returned.

"Captain says he will hear you," drifted to Leo on the wind. He saw a fleeting look of gratitude and hope pass across the face of the girl with the broken antenna. The other one remained mute. Leo squinted his Alinon kissed eyes at her and couldn't see that this girl even knew where she was. It was upon that realization that he knew whatever the Marottanas said, it would be the truth; felt the conviction sucker punch him in the gut.

"Jach is going to need me," Alinon stated. Leo was distracted enough that he forgot to defend himself from the alien snacking on him. He felt skinny arms wrap around his waist and a face insinuate itself between his neck and shoulders. He was snuggled, much to his dismay, and then released.

"Wait. Why will Jach need you?" Leo asked Alinon even as his alien moved toward the stairs leading to the Captain's Cabin.

Golden eyes met cosmic blue. "Because they don't speak Common fluently."

Of course, Leo thought acerbically. Alinon was useful aboard The Merry Death. Envy burned his throat. He had no purpose here. Judus Jach had graciously given him a few tools and gadgets to tinker with, and the crew consistently jammed a button here or there on their devices; but that was hardly anything. Worse, he had yet to master the new technology and he lived in fear that his life would end electrically and violently before he'd proven his worth.

But there were more pressing matters than his feelings, there always were. Right now, there were two Marottanas with a story he wanted translated, an Arksan he would have to feed later, and a music player that purposely spited his genius. He had no time for self-pity.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
tj_dragonblade
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:33 am (UTC)
*squeals* There's more in this 'verse! Still need to read part 6 of Cosmic, and then this, but...there's more! ^_^ *happy TJ*
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )