Description: While Johnny is lost at sea, he runs into an unlikely benefactor. Or rather, an unlikely benefactor runs into him, with a deal to die for.
The waters of the Atlantic were still.
It was the doldrums, the Intertropical Convergence Zone. The calms. Where there was barely any wind, and a heavy fog was hanging over the warm waters. It was so close to the equator; the trade winds were further north and south. This was once the fear of many a sailor, where their sails would have no wind to capture, to be trapped in the sargasso and the calms. In the modern era, with engine power driving ships instead of the wind, it was merely a quirk of a bygone era. It was incredibly quiet now.
Through the mists, the Black Noah breaches.
The massive carrier glides silently across the waters. It was painted black, and supernaturally silent, supernaturally undetectable by conventional satellite methods. Like a ghost, it stalked the waters. It's destination was the Adriatic Sea, situated between Bulgaria and Italy. It's goal?
A team of technicians diligently operate the array of scanners from the depths of the carrier. The vessel was a mishmash of old and new; the carrier's origins were a mystery, but the technology stolen to operate it was truly an international effort. NATO, Warsaw, and Asiatic technology intermingled together crudely. Carrier didn't typically need the advanced defense systems you would typically see with escorts, nor the sort of full spectrum detection systems onboard. But the Black Noah was a unique vessel, a floating fortress and base of operations. It not only needed to stay below detection:
It also needed to be constantly aware of any threats, no matter how small, encroaching on it.
The waters of the Atlantic were boring.
It's unclear just how long this horribly strung together raft of incredulous failure has been floating through the water. It really does look to be as incredibly pitiful as it may sound. A dark yellow color with singe marks and scratches that are not deep enough to have made an impact in the floatation ability of it. There's a single broken oar balanced precariously in the less-than-fully-inflated life raft. A strip of black cloth dangles from the top of the broken oar, flapping weakly in the lack of wind and just enough that the words: 'Yellow Snow' can be seen scrawled onto the cloth in some haphazard script.
The Yellow Snow drifts lazily through the waters of this ocean without a destination or purpose to its name.
There is, however, a passenger on this raft. An incredibly sexy passenger if the way he seems to be carrying himself is any indication. His athletically toned frame is wrapped in the finest of silken swashbuckling attire. We're talking slacks, an impressive belt, a stylish shirt with most of the buttons open so gazing upon his chiseled physique is encouraged. It's all the more encouraged by the way he's relaxing on this raft, his legs crossed as he's sprawled back against the side of the raft. His black hat is pulled down over his sunglass shaded facial features and a gold coin is flipped almost unconsciously in a bored stupor of raw lack of emotion.
There is a real good chance that this man's been out here for a long time...
"THere's something on the radar."
One of the technicians squints at the read out on the screen. There was a small, faint blip. His partner looks over. "Coast guard?" He asks. But the man shakes his head. "Too small, that's what's weird. Is it a whale? A sunning fish? It could be a lifeboat but- we would have had wreckage wouldn't we? What does the Sonar read?" The other technician looks at his. He adjusts some dials. "Well it's not a whale. Might be a fishing boat of something. Maybe we're closer to the coast than we thought. I'll report up to the bridge."
Up on the bridge of the Black Noah, a man sits.
Astride in the captain's chair, high up on the glass-lined observatory deck, is a striking blonde haired man with a thin mustache. He is dressed in a formal suit o crimson in jacket and slacks. A white dress shirt is underneath his jacket, and the red jacket carries a red trim. He dons a modest bow tie around his neck, and fingerless black gloves on each hand. While the man might be overdressed, he is no less imposing; Towering over 6 feet tall, his is bearing a powerfully muscular build that's clear even under his suit. A dangerous aura radiates from him. One of his eyes is a bionic red; it seems to have been replaced with cybernetics. He sits with one legged crossed over the other in a plush chair, looking high up as the helms crew receives word. "Sir, we have report from ESM." The helmsmen states. The one eyed man doesn't respond, but he raises his wine glass. "They say it's a fishing boat or something. We have no visuals, it's very small, and we can't find it in the fog. But it's coming up fast." The one-eyed man sips his wine. "Run him down." He states cooly. "Then send some of our men down to fish out what's left. He was hoping for a catch if he is out in these waters." The man sneers as he looks out past the observation windows, deep into the fog.
"Lets give him a fine catch to think about."
The ship picks up speed, as it's vast black shape spreads out as a shadow upon the fog. WAves begin to build up.
It is closing in on the raft.
The Yellow Snow doesn't seem to be in too much of a hurry. The small raft is merely in a state of drifting wanderment, clearly headed on a path that will take it and its passenger wherever it needs to go. There are no destinations when the journey is so fulfilling or something of that nature.
Then again, the Yellow Snow could just be lost. Navigationally speaking, dealing with this much and this dense fog makes it pretty hard to tell which direction one's going. Even if they do have compass stashed on their person. It wouldn't be as dramatically driven if they were to actually use it.
As it stands, though, the Yellow Snow finds itself in the path of the Black Noah and due to the lack of oar situation, also the laziness of the passenger, there is absolutely no hope of the Yellow Snow removing itself from said path. It is, quite frankly, going to be run down without nary a second thought.
The Yellow Snow buckles easily under the velocity of impact, what air that's left escaping as the life raft is popped in dramatic fashion. The raft doing a combination of exploding and whistling as it loses its life. That broken oar flag sinks slowly into the violently disturbed waters as the Black Noah cuts through them without hesitation. The Yellow Snow is lost.
The words are accompanied by a slow clap coming from the side of the carrier. Leaning against said side, right there on the deck, is that same finely tailored man mentioned before. Only this time he's leaning as though he's been here the entire time. His hat is cocked slightly askew and his glasses are shining slightly as if he'd just had them cleaned for this moment. His big grin is featured most prominently to take eyes away from the knapsack at his feet and the claws of a grappling hook attached to the side of the Black Noah not far from where he's leaning.
"Now that we've taken care of that business." A nod is given in the direction of where the Yellow Snow no longer exists. "What say we make this a proper rescue mission and..."
It only takes him a moment to raise his hand to show off a huge bottle of Rum.
"Drink to my health!"
After the raft is crushed, the boat suddenly lurches.
Big boats should move like big boats: slow and long. The Black Noah almost -stops- dead, a strong jolt as it suddenly spins. All while being dead silent, a ship that defies the rules of logic and physics. After a moment, the ship just hangs. Footsteps up above, up on the topside of the carrier. From up on top of the carrier deck, three foglamps flash on. Scanning over the water from left to right, the three beams lock on to the remains of the Yellow Snow. A voice comes up from over Johnny's head, up on the deck.
"There it is."
The beams of lights dance around, struggling through the fog as it transfixes on the last of the black flag still on the water. "Keep your eyes open. The Captain told us to fish out any men we find." Another voice pipes up. "Well what if we find some women? Can we keep those for ourselves?" There is a burst of hideous cackling from at least four other voices, bringing the total to six. "Might not be anything, it looks like it was a buoy or something." "Awful big for a buoy." "Awful small for a ship." One of the lamps drifts away, pulling to the side as it scans away from the wreckage. "What the hell are you doing?" "I- don't any of you notice that?"
"Doesn't anybody else smell rum?
This whole ship should be able to smell the rum at this point since the man in the stylish hat has popped the cork on it and giving it a mighty it a mighty heave. It looks like he's doing some sort of celebratory toast to his rescue but it may also just be an excuse to cover one of the men in rum for a potentially better reason.
The truth is, though, the tossing of the rum bottle is just meant to keep certain individuals busy trying to catch it while he proceeds to move in close enough for some swift pick pocketing action. It's all a ruse, obviously. But at least it's one that comes with a sharply dressed man.
"Best believe it's good you all showed up when you did! Else I was gonna' have to rescue myself!" Johnny tosses this out as a quip as he attempts to look as unthreatening and inadvertently thankful as he possibly can. Even while attempting to get some pick pocketing on before these people realize he really shouldn't be here. Sometimes just acting like you belong is the best option for not getting killed on sight.
"So where's the Captain, huh?" Johnny makes it sound like this was all part of the plan. "I got what he asked for."
Please, nobody call his bluff.
"... I smell it too."
There is a brief moment of apprehension, as they glance around, sniffing the air. The men were dressed in rough mercenary gear, it looked like they were picking between PMC and merchant marine outfits, and picking poorly: BDU pants with summer khaki uniform shirts, and crimson berets. There were five men, and a single woman; all were a diverse set though consistently burly and ill-kept. Each were armed with an old Gulf War surplus SA80, modified with what seems to be some strange warped-looking stones, slung over their shoulders. The spotlights all turn around, transfixing straight on Johnny. For a moment, they were staring, unsure of what to say.
"He's so… handsome!" States one of the sailors, adjusting her beret instinctively.
The other men were still stunned. One of them raises their gun, while his partner pushes it back down. "Don't shoot, you idiot! We're supposed to fish out what's left. It's.. uh…" There was stammering. One of them pulls up their radio. "He uh, fished himself out I guess. He somehow got on the ship. He's not wet sir." The woman takes a heavy step towards Johnny, a hungry look on her round, pock-marked face.
"Well he might not be wet, but-."
Up on the bridge, the helmsmen listens to the nattering. "It seems the survivor made it aboard the ship. And he says he wants to see you-" Rugal interrupts the helmsman with a deep, booming laughter. A heavy, hearty laugh, dripping with cruel contempt. "He wishes to see me? Very well." His crimson eye gleams, as he stands up from his seat. "Bring him to my parlor." He states with bemusement. "I will entertain his arrogance."
"And in turn, he will entertain mine."
The guard down below listens to the radio feedback, and grunts. "Uh, well. Shit. The captain wants to see him." "The captain wants to see him?" "Uh, yeah, But in the parlor." A dark chuckle runs through the team, as they move around Johnny. "Well, whoever the hell you are, looks like the captain wants to see you. I guess you're real lucky?" The one girl almost squees as she gets waaaay to close to Johnny, her hot, vinegary breath washing over him. "Can I escort him there? I would love to see him just the one last time!" One of the guards pulls her back a bit.
"No Cherri, you're not allowed alone with the prisoners since the barefoot incident."
If all goes as well as he's schemed, Johnny's pockets will be a lot heavier with whatever pickpocketing shenanigans he manages to pull off during his escorted ascent. Of course, this is the perfect time to make sure that he can offer some choice and select words of whimsy. It's in his pirate contract, you see.
"I shan't be long! Wait for me, my loves!"
Johnny makes sure to tip his stylish hat in the direction of the women on this here boat and even tosses in a wink to go with it. Then he's once more focused on the escorting attendants.
"So, fellas, the parlor, eh? Exactly what kind of parlor we talking about here? Leather seats? Cup holders? Priceless jewels and artifacts?"
Johnny's grin is somewhere between innocent and mischievous as he asks that last question, clearly up to something but making sure to overplay it so that people just figure he's being so overt that he couldn't possibly actually be up to something.
"Oh, and also, if anyone's taking food orders... I love my steak on the more medium rare side."
All of these words are just to keep the ice broken while Johnny prepares for whatever visit with whatever Captain and potential doom is on his near horizon.
As Johnny makes his way to the bridge, he begins to notice a pattern of women.
Of course, there is his fine lady escort with him. But as he works further and further along, he may notice some of the 'servants' of the ship, dressed in perfectly clean, white uniforms. Maids, Cleaning ladies. Well, no. An awful lot of cleaning girls. Some of them barely old enough to be children. More and more of them, the young women busy cleaning and polishing and dusting. But most importantly, when they glance at Johnny, if they glanced at Johnny? For a brief moment, they would blush, and then, terrified, look away. Johnny's probably seen that before.
That usually means it wasn't voluntary work.
The parlor room is on one of the top floors of the large command and control structure that rises above the deck of the Black Noah. The furnishings are mostly deep, blood-red in color. Comfortable couches, lounge chairs, and sofas fill much of the room. A carpet of thick, red rugs drape over the wooden floorboards of the room. One corner of the room is occupied by small bar, with stools lining the counter and cabinets full of countless rare, expensive liquors from all around the world. Another corner is raised up half a foot and supports a grand piano, its surface polished to a glimmering black sheen. One of the long walls of this rectangular room is occupied by a large window that opens up out over the front flight deck. Planes cover the surface, some looking like they haven't been flown in decades. Beyond the deck, the blue ocean. And beyond that, the empty horizon. The opposite wall is also occupied by what looks like it might be a window. Only the glass is opaque, completely concealing whatever exists behind its pitch black surface.
Rugal is at the bar.
The suited man is inspecting the contents of the shelves, studying and calculating intently. As Johnny is brought into the parlor, Rugal does not turn towards him. The silence is oppressive, as the escort… is gone. They immediately flee from Johnny, the moment they come in. Rugal continues to study the shelves, as his voice rises up. "It's quite amazing that we've found you floundering in the open sea, adrift. More so that you are doing so, bone dry." Rugal turns his head slowly from the top shelf, his bionic eye transfixed upon the stranger. "Who are you?"
"And what are you doing out here?"
Along the journey towards the room that he may actually die in, Johnny flashes grins and winks in at the various servants that they pass. Not anything untoward but more of a 'i got this under control' or 'you'll be free soon' or 'trust me' style wink. It's the kind of thing that cocky heroes do when they find themselves captured and taken behind enemy lines.
Even if these enemy lines he hadn't actually planned to be behind. Johnny, though, seems to be doing what he does best. Improvising.
When he's led into the room that he'll most likely die in, there's a moment taken to look around. The impressed expression on his face as he takes a quick glance around at all of the things. When the escort leaves so quickly, Johnny's eyes pass over the man at the bar but he doesn't head that way. No, instead, Johnny takes off in a quick jog and leaps into an almost somersault to land on one of the comfortable couches. His feet go up and his hands go behind his head as he sinks into the cushions for pure relaxation mode.
What? He was on a life raft for who knows how long. Cut him some slack!
"Just a drifter, pal. Nobody special." Johnny's playing his identity just a bit close to his chest. At least for the moment. If this man is an authority of some sort, he doesn't want to dime himself out as a pirate. At least not until he has a successful way off of this boat.
"But sit right there, pal, and let me tell you a tale. A tale of a fateful trip. It started at a nearby tropic port. On a little tiny ship." Johnny sits up a little bit as it looks like he's starting to remember exactly how he got lost out here. "My first mate? He was a mighty sailing man. Of course, as captain, I was brave and sure. We had, let's see, about five passengers that day and we set sail! It was only supposed to be a three hour tour." Johnny's eyes go a little wider as he remembers what happened next. "As I'm sure you know, as it happens sometimes, the weather started getting rough. Our little ship was tossed. My fearless crew did the best we could but The Yellow Snow was lost."
It looks like Johnny's giving a moment of silence for his ship. And the passengers as well.
"I was the lone survivor of such a devastating and traumatic experience." Johnny looks over in Rugal's direction with a lone survivor of such a devastating and traumatic experience look on his face.
Also to see if he's buying any of this.
Rugal smirks, as Johnny regales with his story from the couch.
The couch was an interesting choice. Demonstrated comfort. Confidence. Most prisoners brought up for their execution would take much more calculated approaches. They would obey Rugal's offer, and come to him. They would keep standing, until they were told to be seated. It wouldn't necessarily change their fate, but Rugal was already calculating how he would want this man to die. He briefly touches on an unmarked bottle of a clear fluid on the top shelf. He was audacious, that was certain. But not aggressive. He had dealt with arrogant, proud fools who came to his ship. He wasn't an assassin. No. Maybe he wouldn't need to die here. He moves his hand to another bottle.
He pulls down the dark Jamaican rum.
From behind it, he draws out the ginger beer, the hollow shell of a coconut, and a mixing cup. He balances out the liquids delicately, accurately reaching the right proportions by eyesight alone, mixing them idly as he responds. "You are fortunate that the ship did not set ground on the shore of an uncharted desert isle. And the others, the millionaire and his wife, The movie star, the professor, the girl from Kansas… and of course, the skipper. But what would that make your name, then?" He was not buying any of this. And yet, he wasn't striking out in outrage. He pours the contents into the coconut, finishing with a small umbrella and a paper straw. Clutching the coconut firmly in his palm, he comes over to the couch. "But here, a drink to your good fortune. A Safe Harbor. Well. To some it's a Safe Harbor." The crimson eye gleams, Rugal's lips curled into a cruel sneer. "You may know it as well as a Dark And Stormy." He extends the drink to his prisoner, to his refugee, to his… guest.
"What would you prefer to call it?"
Leave it to Johnny to just blatantly ignore the request for his name and move right onto the part where he gets a drink. Of course, it might be poisoned but then again, it is rum. And something tells him that there's very likely not a chance that this man were going to do something so weak as poison him if he wanted him dead. So there's that as well. He even grins as he holds up the coconut in some form of respectful gratitude.
"A fan of the classics, I see. I knew you were!" That's right, Johnny. Play this off like it was all some kind of weird test or something.
Johnny continues to get nice and comfortable on that sofa and just keeps an eye on Rugal through all of this. Especially when Rugal is offering him a choice between Dark and Stormy or Safe Harbor. Johnny's not one to like to be locked into black or whites so he goes with the next option that he can think of.
"I was thinking something more along the lines of..." Johnny swirls around the liquid in his coconut. "A ride?"
There is a moment of pause from the mustached man.
And then, a dark chuckle, as Rugal returns to the bar. "A ride? I see. What is a captain without a ship. And it seems your last vessel has met with an unfortunate fate." "I am in fact looking for experienced captains. Well. Experienced and daring. It's very easy to secure one or the other. But there are old captains, and there are bold captains. But there seems to be no old, bold captains. And no offense." He states with a smarmy tone, as he draws a glass bottle from the top shelf.
"But you seem to be far more bold than your age reflects."
He pours himself a tall glass of a thick red port in a full-bodied glass. Carrying it up for himself, he strides back over to Johnny. "And if you are open to risk an ignoble and fruitless death, I have a position to offer to you. A ship of your own, under your own banner, within our private fleet. You keep your own creative controls, and we only skim a portion of collection and proceeds of whatever business is your pleasure. Think of it as a privateer job." He sips his wine, as he stands behind the couch that Johnny sits. "No, a free spirit like yourself wouldn't want to have even the slightest shackles on you. How about I sweeten the deal." The bionic eye gleams.
"How would you like to a command a ship that flies?"
Let's rewind for a moment here. Johnny is in the middle of relaxation and making himself as comfortable as possible. There's a good chance that this will be the last time he ever actually breathes. He's already resigned himself to either fate or some daring escape that he'll have to figure out along the way. Who really knows how much he'll be able to pull off or how long he'll be able to fight an entire ship's worth of people without diving overboard. There are way too many thoughts about such things coursing through the synapses of his mind.
Then Rugal mentions a ship that flies.
Johnny's eyes light up and he even goes so far as to reach up with a finger to push his hat up. That same finger peels down his sunglasses for a moment and Johnny's entire attention is locked in on Rugal in that moment. Nothing else matters. All those thoughts of potential death and potential escape are dismissed without hesitation.
The only thing Johnny has left is a grin on his face and a sparkle in his eye.
"I say... when do I start?"
"When you steal it." Rugal says with a cruel grin.
He walks past the couch, head up as he explains the plan. "I will be joining my son and my daughter for a sort of vacation in the land of Illyria. I will be taking the Sky Noah, an airship. You will disguising yourself as one of my crew; one of the porters in fact. You will be studying under the helmsman on the steering of the ship; if I am not satisfied with your performance steering my ship, then you will not need to worry about commanding your own under my name."
An almost causal death threat.
He continues, with an air of theater. "After we arrive, we will unload the gifts to the King of Illyria. You will assist in bringing them down, and you will disappear into Illyria. You see, Illyria is the home of vasts amounts of technology that uses magic. I have seen their airships. Your job is to find them too, and steal one. Oh, I intend to have them give me the technology with a partnership, well." He sips the port, looking out the window.
"It would be a shame and an convenience if a pirate happened to have stolen one of them, wouldn't it?"
"Good plan. An excellent plan, really. I love it." Johnny's leading with the flattery because he might as well. And then here comes a smidge of honesty, "Of course, I don't exactly like the thinly veiled death threat section but that's only if I don't perform so that's pretty much on me." Somehow, Johnny manages to make even a death threat be recognized as having the potential of being his own fault. "But I can tell you right now, I've never once had anyone complain about my performance."
Johnny takes a moment to wink before pushing his sunglasses back into their proper place on his face. The innuendo cannot be contained when this pirate is on his Ps and Qs.
Johnny grins again and leans backward, his hands go behind his head and his feet go up to cross at the ankles. "You just get me into Illyria and I'll take care of everything else. All you'll have to do is sit back and be amazed." Oh the confident boldness of this pirate captain is being shown all over the place right now. Especially with a grin that's about as mischievous as it is foolhardy and sinisterly trustworthy. Great criminal minds must think alike.
He looks out, considering the potential, and of course, the consequences. "Of course, if you get caught, you will be on your own, as a matter of business." Rugal explains. "I expect you will also be discreet in your affairs. My daughter, Rose, will be hosting her Rising Star tournament in Illyria, and I want no distractions or interruptions. It would be very troublesome if you would exploit my good nature for your own survival, and make my daughter distressed." Rugal's restrained presence instantly disappears for a moment, as he glowers fiercely down at Johnny. Face contorted in a scowl, his hand twitches. For a moment, there is a strange light within, as the killing intent on the man's face is totally revealed. %
And there is a light ringing sound in the parlor.
Almost as quickly as it had come, the moment of pure murderous contempt passes. Rugal stares towards the doorway to the parlor, as the lock is released. "Ah, good, she's arrived. Unfortunately, I do not have any extra living space on this battleship outside of the brig; I don't want you to think of yourself as a prisoner on my ship, only that you have a temporary lodging until we reach the Sky Noah. To ensure there isn't any misunderstanding, I've assigned one of my, well, one of my personal secretaries to take good care of you." He looks away, taking another sip.
"I hope she will be sufficient to satisfy your... appetite"
The woman is suddenly there, as if she was always there, waiting in the wings, she starts across the room in a bouncy step, like a child imitating a soldier's march, but in the next moment she seems to remember something, perhaps that Rugal Bernstein is having a serious conversation involving weapons and contracts and imminent death threats. When this switch flips, suddenly her spine straightens, her hips tilt slightly, and she carries herself with all the appropriate poise of "one of Rugal's personal secretaries.
The woman tugs her skirt down just a little bit lower to better cover her thighs before shifting a polished silver platter and adjusting her square framed glasses up on her nose. Her heels tap, tap, tap as she bridges the distance between the two.
"Hello," she says sweetly. "I'm Zel, and I'll be taking care of you, Mister Johnny." She removes the cloche from the platter, revealing a perfectly seared, medium rare steak with a glistening, well salted baked potato and what looks to be grilled asparagus.
"I cooked it myself, sir!" She smiles, not just at Johnny but at Rugal as well, whom she looks at expectantly.
"If you don't like it, please let me know. I'll replace it right away." Pause. "Are you fine with the baked potato? We have sweet potato if you'd prefer..."
"I'm ninety-seven percent sure if you wanted to kill me right now you'd be doing it a very violent and painful manner and not forcing me to ingest some sort of slow burning toxin that will operate on an acidic level and thus create a method in which I perish at a torturous pace over the next few weeks so..."
This is Johnny making sure that Rugal knows that Johnny knows that Rugal could kill him at any moment and thus hopefully is proving his loyalty to the newfound cause and deal that they have made.
"... I'm going to eat /all/ of this." Johnny's eyes are a bit on the crazed hunger side due to the process of being on a raft for who knows how long and being incredibly hungry. "Also, yes, I'm going to need at least half of this ship's rum stock because you're both incredibly hot and I'm willing to bet you're in charge of a lot of the inventory around here." That last bit is tossed in Zel's direction. It also comes with a wink.
Johnny finally hops up to his feet and gives an overexaggerated bow because he's being himself. When he straightens up, he extends a hand in Rugal's direction with another one of his trust me grins on.
"To Illyria and beyond, sir." This is it. This is the deal-sealing handshake that Johnny is offering at this exact moment.
"Oh no no, it won't be quite as mercifu-"
Rugal is cut off as Zel finally arrives. Almost instinctively, Rugal clenches his hand into a fist, a flicker of bloodlust passing in his heart. He lets Zel introduce herself as she does, and steadily, he relaxes his hand, the memories of passion and sweet violence settling. Johnny was doing a good job of charming people. Even Rugal couldn't resist the rakish charm of what was dredged up from the sea. "As you can see, you have nothing to worry about. Zel is a good girl, who will do what she's told. Hopefully." Rugal adds, almost jokingly, "She remembered to make it medium rare." It seems that Johnny's idle comments were being paid attention to, for better or for worse. He finally shakes Johnny's hand, the bargain having been struck.
"To Illyria and beyond." Rugal states, with a smirk.
He lets the smirk drop as he releases Johnny's hand. "Zel, bring this man to the holding cells; the private ones, for VIPs." He clarifies, keeping a tone one would use in instructing a child. "He is a potential hire; and I want him to be comfortable. Do whatever you can to make him happy. Food. Clothing. A shave and a shower." He pauses, and then scowls, giving a stern tone of voice as he release Johnny to the clutches of Zel.
"But do not actually give him half of our rum."
Zel giggles girlishly, putting a hand to her mouth as if she's been scandalized. "Oh, you're funny, Mister Johnny. I think I'm going to like you." Zel smiles, widely. "Or is it Captain Johnny?" She glances back at Rugal. "An-y-way. Mister R says that you're staying in the VIP suite, so I'll be happy to show you where it is and get you set up with anything you need." She puts the the cloque back on the platter and shifts it around as she leads the way.
"And if you need anything, like Mr. R said, I'll be close by. Really close!" Zel turns and beams. She is missing a tooth in the front, but it seems to be a recent change since it's not got a replacement yet. Surely "R" has dental?
"Oh, if there's anything you need me to do, I can probably do that, too. I've got plenty of skills." She pauses. "Just nothing naughty."
"Oh!" She turns to salute Rugal. "Yessir. The guest is not actually supposed to get half the rum, even if he asks." She pauses. "Is a quarter fine?"
"Johnny is fine. I've never really been a fan of titles."
This is a lie but as if right now, Johnny has to play the humble card. He's not exactly a prisoner but he's also not exactly a guest. So he's got to keep himself in his place so that nothing goes wrong with whatever's being cooked up to make sure that he doesn't die on this here boat right now. There's too much at stake.
Too Much being his life.
Johnny starts on his way out to follow Zel but makes sure to look back at Rugal and offer a finger gun. "Later, we'll talk weapons and expendable crew members." Johnny seems to be planning for the Illyria heist already even as he spins right back around to focus on following Zel to wherever he's going to be resting at. And probably locked inside of.
"Naughty?" Johnny plasters on both an aghast voice and facial expression. "I am aghast." That too, apparently. "Do I look like the kind of guy that would request anything of the naughty nature? I'm in this business for the money, not the honey."
Pay no attention to the fact Johnny is keeping just a far enough distance to make sure he can watch Zel lead the way.
So he doesn't get lost! It's a big ship, okay!
Expendable, of course, being considered Johnny himself.
As Johnny hastily makes his distance away, Rugal looks after him, as Zel so, so precociously teases about only a quarter of the rum. Even as he denies about the naughtiness, Rugal just calmly, quietly places a hand on Zel's shoulder. Squeezing it, he looks at the slipping away Johnny, and keeps his voice low. "No, a quarter is not fine either. Keep close to him, and don't let him wander by himself. And don't."
Rugal looks down with his bionic eye at Zel, as he squeezes harder.
"Don't let him escape, Zel."
He releases his hand, and delicately wipes the blood on her dress.
When the hand settles on Zel's shoulder, the cloche is subtly swapped to her other hand. It's a gesture that is simple, but significant. It is also familiar, as though it is well rehearsed. There's a pop, but Zel bears it with a gritted smile and a patience that is in itself unnatural. Her arm hangs limply when wipes his hand on her dress, and Zel frowns, ever so slightly.
"Sorry, Mister R, maybe that was too cheeky. I won't even let him have an eighth, but I'll be sure to get him a nice bottle or two since he's our guest." She continues to look at her arm, then glances to Johnny as he waits. She frowns.
Zel puts the platter on her head with careful balance, freeing up her hand to take her arm and stick her hand in her pocket with her other hand.
"Much better," she says. "Anyway! Right this way, Johnny." She says his name without the title, as if walking in a new shoe. "Oh, I like that." The platter is moved back to her hand. "I shouldn't wear it as a hat, no?" The laughter is quick, but genuine.
She is, at least, nice to look at from behind. There's a certain spring in her step, too.
There's often a little spring in her step.
Log created on 10:57:00 06/20/2022 by Rugal, and last modified on 08:42:17 06/21/2022.