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Twinkle Twinkle, Little Spaceport

Posted on Sun Oct 10th, 2021 @ 5:27pm by Alden Loxley & Cooper O'Reilly & Alison Bliss & Daiyu & Jonas Bailey & Kindra Graham & Whit

Mission: Back in Black
Location: Li Shen's Bazaar
Timeline: November 3rd 2517

Ten hours of travel time and they were now looking at the gaudy and multi-coloured exterior of a floating city in space. Li Shen's Bazaar, home of unique foods, uniquer crews and a plethora of pretty much everything in between. Useful services like the Allied Postal System and St Lucy's Medical Center, shady ones like the Smuggers' Guild along with multiple and varied distractions limited only by human imagination and inbound credits.

"This is gonna feel kinda loud, isn't it," Alden said with a happy shrug, as he stood on the Echo's bridge alongside Alison and Kindra while the pilot checked their docking privileges and finalised payment for such. "And I've got that bad feeling we're just gonna be losing Tristan again." There were other things on his mind too, of course. His brother. James' betrayal and temporary forgiveness, Karen's exodus and the very real potential for the Companion to leave, despite their agreement.

Kindra smiled at her two friends with anticipation, happy she wasn't about to permanently leave the Fortune's Echo along with Karen, here at the bazaar. Alden had agreed to Kindra remaining on the ship for now, and she figured the Echo's random trip to Ghost would throw Jim Buccleuch off her trail for a good long breathing space. She tried not to think about the eventual necessity of leaving before her stepbrother became a danger to the Echo's crew.

"Tristan wouldn't be the first young man to lose himself in a place like that." Luckily for Kindra, she'd had Jonas to teach her how to handle herself in a crowded, chaotic location like Li Shen's Bazaar. "Shall I ask Tristan to be my escort? Not that I need one, but responsibility for someone else might curb his wandering inclinations." Plus, after searching unsuccessfully for him all over the ship whilst they were on Ghost, it would give her a chance to get to know Tristan.

"I am not sure, but Alden suggested Tristan might be leaving the crew." Alison commented steering the ship along the final stretch, the approach toward the docking clamp, that was marked on the screen in front of her with a corridor of squares helping her keep the Echo in the right flight corridor. She was dressed in the laced up country washed pink tunic, black leather pants and combat boots. "Am I right Alden?" She gave Alden glance with the corner of her eyes but before he could reply she added lightly. "I am sure that anyone leaving the crew our captain's charming personality will quickly refill with two new lost souls, kids, or puppies."

Alden rolled his eyes and said nothing, suspecting they both knew that Tristan would be the decider of his own fate in that regard. Alden had no particular desire to boot the kid off Echo, but he did need to have a serious chat with him. For now, though, simply seeing where the boy went the moment they docked would be interesting enough.

"Did I hear a mention of lost souls?" Whit asked, sauntering up with his thumbs tucked into his pants pockets. "I thought of maybe taking my leave, but p'raps I might could stick around a might longer."

Daiyu poked her head out from behind a crate where she had been lurking. "Do you collect lost souls?"

"Eh, in a manner of speakin'," Whit said, head cocked to one side in thought. "The Good Lord says his followers are like fishers of men. I reckon I could do worse than snaggin' a few lost souls and showin' them the light."

"You have blood on your shoe," Daiyu noted innocently, staring at his feet.

"Ah, so I do!" Whit let out a kindly chuckle as he whipped out his handkerchief and knelt down to give his shoe a quick spitshine polish. "Ghost was a messy lot. Glad we put that one square behind us, bless the Good Lord!"

The mention of blood, along with the sight of it, made Daiyu turn solemn and distant.

Cooper, patched up and dressed in a clean and borrowed shirt, lurked in the galley. He stood, uninterested by the talk on the bridge up ahead, but suitably intrigued by the petite female questioning his fellow Shepherd. "Any lost souls be wanting a mug of tea?" He asked, voice booming down that corridor between him and the small gathering. It hadn't taken him long to find the supplies. "I'm as hungry as a bear in the Spring," he added, voice an odd combination of brightness and menace as he opened cupboards at random.

Kindra followed that deep booming voice and the offer of tea to the galley. She was dressed for a visit to the Bazaar, in a modest but elegant ankle-length blue dress, with a veil that was currently thrown back. The tall man in the galley appeared lost himself. "I would appreciate a cuppa. My name is Kindra, and you must be Shepherd Whit's friend. May I, uh… help you find something?"

"Cooper is always searching but never finding," Whit said with a chuckle as he clapped a hand on his friend's shoulder. "But we love him anyway."

Silence greeted Kindra's arrival for a minute or so, Cooper's pause falling long enough to allow the other shepherd his own comments before the wounded man found his voice. His gaze lowered for a while, internal conversation unheard by those around him, until the word 'love' left Whit's lips and then Cooper's attention rekindled brightly. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," he said. "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."

Jonas was standing at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the bridge. "Don't have much use for self-control. I love power. And as far as a spirit of fear, I don't mind dishin' that out to people that rightly deserve it. Hopefully, won't be any of that here, though. Grab a snack, check some mail, maybe a hand of cards, who knows."

Kindra gave Cooper a friendly smile. Men of a certain religious background were sometimes uncomfortable around companions. "At Madrassa, control was the first and the last lesson," she said as she eased past their passenger, filled the kettle with water, and set it to boiling. More loudly to the group she added, "Myself, I'm looking forward to bit of exploring and maybe some shopping at the Bazaar."

Pale brown eyes regarded Jonas with a direct, unflinching gaze, then Cooper nodded. "The power and the glory," he said, with a quiet confidence that belied the white knuckles of the clenched fist at his side. "Forever and ever." He clapped his free hand against the one on his shoulder and offered Whit an amicable scowl before considering Kindra's presence for a moment. "... the wayward woman with her seductive words..." Cooper whispered to Whit.

"You have no idea," Alden announced, his grin warm personified as he stood between the bridge and the galley. "But not sure we have time for tea if you want to explore and shop before we head off," he told Kindra, humour wrapped about his words. "Ali... lock Echo down and let's get a taste of that recycled air, cold beer and hopefully serious lack of dead things. Let's see if we can't have some fun, huh? Ain't much you can't get, feel or find on Li Shen's."

Alison waved gently and flexed her fingers shooing everyone. "When you all leave, I'll lock it down." She winked at Kindra. "That includes your puppy too." She waited patiently for people to start moving and leave the ship. Only when everyone left down the ramp she followed and jumped off it next to the ship. Using the small control panel, she lifted the ramp and entered a locking code that locked the ship shut. "There. Only opening codes will work." She announced. Each of the regular crew had a personalized opening code for general use, just in case they would come earlier.

Standing at the bottom of the ramp, Daiyu stared at Alison with her dark, unblinking eyes. "I am supposed to accompany someone. But everyone left. Am I to accompany you?"

Alison eyebrow shot up but there was no negative emotion there. Someone had to take care of Daiyu and it could actually be quite an interesting experience... though Alison was not sure if Li Shen's Bazaar was going to survive it.

"Only if you promise to behave." Alison replied with a shrug. "That includes no shouting, no leaving me without informing me first, no biting, and no touching stuff I didn't pay for first, deal?"



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