Title: Crackers Don't Matter
Blades Bill - September 7, 2011 07:53 AM (GMT)
It was a quiet, tranquil life on a skyship. Sometimes. The hum of the engine was smooth enough to engender deep thought, of life, of love, of adventure...
"Blades" Bill O'Dell sat in the back of the galley, peeling potatoes as was his cultural curse. He knew an Irishman peeling a potato was a stereotypical sight, but dammit, they had a bag and supper needed making. Today's menu included beef and potato stew... and french fries. With Mr. Pibb because that's all they could get. He briefly considered making potato straws, but he considered that to be a bridge too far.
As he peeled, he sang a little song to himself to pass the time. "You take th'high road, and I'll take th'low road, and I'll be in Scotland a'fore ye..."
Yeah, it was a Scottish song, but it sounded good on his lips and fuck the English anyways.
That's when he realized he had a guest...
Sheol - September 7, 2011 08:01 AM (GMT)
"Hi," Esther interrupted his song. He was still peeling potatoes. Wasn't that supposed to be some sort of punishment? Esther was pretty sure that she had seen enough movies to know that peeling potatoes was a punishment. This guy was probably a total fuck up and she was ruining her chances at succeeding at anything by talking to him.
She was hungry though.
"Are there some snacks around here?" she asked. "I think I might starve."
It was totally rude to ask for food without introducing herself and she stuck out her hand. "I'm Esther."
Blades Bill - September 7, 2011 08:05 AM (GMT)
"Ah!" Bill said, pulling himself to his feet via convenient overhead pipe. He wiped his hands off on his wifebeater and extended one to Esther. "Y'must be th'new XO. Bill. Blades Bill, they call me. Nice t'meet yuh."
He looked around the dimly lit galley for some food that wasn't uncooked and tuberous. "And as t'snacks, um... how d'you feel about Pringles, boss?"
Sheol - September 7, 2011 08:14 AM (GMT)
Esther nodded. "I suppose I am," and that had all been a strange and confusing turn of events. It seemed like a promotion, though, and one couldn't argue with a promotion.
"Pringles are fine." When was the last time she'd even had Pringles? Forever, probably. It actually sounded like the best snack ever at the moment. If only chocolate was somehow involved. "Thanks."
She smiled awkwardly. "Am I interrupting?" She was probably interrupting. Fuck.
Blades Bill - September 7, 2011 08:18 AM (GMT)
"Ah!" he said, waving a hand to blow off the intrusion. "I'm halfway there already. It's no problem."
He confidently strode over to the pantry (it must have been a pantry; it was closet shaped, at least) and pulled out a tube of multigrain ketchup Pringles, a bit of saran wrap pulled over the top with a rubber band in addition to the lid for freshness. Hurling the tube to Esther (why not, half of them were smashed anyways, he inquired, "Y'wouldn't want a Mr. Pibb t'go with that, wouldja?"
Sheol - September 7, 2011 08:38 AM (GMT)
"No," she answered politely as she caught the tube. "This is fine, thanks."
Ketchup chips. What the fuck were ketchup chips? She tried not to look too horrified while she inspected the label. Esther was, after all, pretty hungry. Her other concern was that she was going to get scurvy, because, come on, Pringles and Mr Pibb? She was not seven. She tried a chip, experimentally. It wasn't the worst thing. Maybe a little weird.
"So," she ventured. "How long have you been doing this pirate thing?"
Blades Bill - September 7, 2011 08:44 AM (GMT)
"Well, first, I prefer 'ind'pend'nt businessm'n'," he corrected with a grin, "and a coupl'a years. Just trying t'raise some funds, retire with a grin, all that stuff. Are y'new to it?" he asked. "The proverbial landlubber, as it were?"
Sheol - September 7, 2011 07:34 PM (GMT)
Esther ate another chip before deciding how she wanted to respond. "I'm new at this." She scrambled to think of anything that would count as related experience but she was struggling to do so.
She paused. "I guess you could say I'm making somewhat of a major career change."
Blades Bill - September 7, 2011 11:50 PM (GMT)
"Has t'happen at some point, boss," he said, returning to his duties as potato peeler. "Best t'jus' jump in rather than flout about not knowin' what y'want doin'."
He palmed a potato and extended it to Esther. "Wouldja care t'join me? Work goes faster with twice th'hands..."
Sheol - September 12, 2011 03:34 AM (GMT)
She looked at him blankly. Really? Really?
Esther has sort of hoped that she'd moved past that point in her life. She did know how to peel potatoes, of course, but things were supposed to be different now. Things couldn't be different if she was doing someone else's bitch work. On the other hand, she'd probably look like an asshole if she said no.
After some hesitation she sat and accepted the potato. "Yes."
Blades Bill - September 12, 2011 03:43 AM (GMT)
"Thank y'kindly, boss," he replied. "This'll go fast, promise."
A lightbulb went off in his head. "Oh. An' another peeler... lessee... here." He handed her the one in his own hand and stood up to root through a cutlery drawer until he returned with a long knife with a gentle curve. "Ah. There we go..."
Plunking back down and starting in on a new spud, he asked, "So how'd y'run across our infamous Captain Blake?"
Sheol - September 12, 2011 04:01 AM (GMT)
"It was sort of random, actually," she answered as she worked. "I was in this coffee shop and he sort of just busted in." Literally. "And asked if I wanted to go with him. I didn't have anything that really seemed better to do, so."
So indeed :"Here I am." Esther shrugged and felt that statement explained most of her life thus far.
"What about you?" Esther was pretty sure Blades had never actually been the Captain's wench. But... you never knew. She was open to alternate lifestyles.
Blades Bill - September 12, 2011 04:07 AM (GMT)
"Ah, well, I was born up here," he said. "... not this one. My parents' ship, the O'Malley. Once I set off on my own, I bounced around a few ships, landed here, actually started gettin' money... decided to stay. Mostly cuz the cap'n'd die in a week without me. He's decent enough that I wouldn' want that happ'nin' on my account."
Sheol - September 12, 2011 04:42 AM (GMT)
She nodded and shot him a sly grin. "Most men are some degree of helpless." It was true, the whole lot of them. Her workers, her brother (fuck), her ex-fiance... actually the only person not included in this was Kristján but he was a demon so there must have been some sort of loophole.
"He seems nice, the Captain." Also crazy as a fruit bat. But so was Esther, so she didn't judge.
Blades Bill - September 12, 2011 04:47 AM (GMT)
"Well, one, that he is," he agreed, "but two, hey. Y'be talkin' to a MEMBER of that hapless class of humans called men. I'd call m'self dead b'fore I called m'self helpless!"
He tossed a potato in with the others. "Even dead, I got organs y'wouldn't believe. And there's good eatin' on me."
Sheol - September 12, 2011 04:48 AM (GMT)
Esther couldn't help but side-eye him. Had he just made a reference to his penis?
She was pretty sure he had. Men.
"You don't have to call yourself helpless," she said sweetly. "I called you helpless."
Blades Bill - September 12, 2011 04:54 AM (GMT)
"Oh, really?" he replied. "An' why would y'call a big buff feller like m'self helpless?"
Ah. Cheeky. THAT'S why Cap'n likes her... crazy bugger.
Sheol - September 12, 2011 05:00 AM (GMT)
She shrugged noncommittally. "Guilty until prove innocent. I've know enough men to know you all cry like children when you're sick and you'd rather die lost in the woods than ask for directions."
She scoffed. "And I've only met a few men who can pick out a proper suit or match their belt and shoes."
But maybe pirates didn't care about these things. Esther focused on her work and smirked. "You know what they say. The bigger they are, the harder they fall."
Blades Bill - September 12, 2011 05:04 AM (GMT)
She may have me on a point or two...
"I'll be glad t'try and surprise ya, boss," he happily said. " ... belts are the thing that go 'round your waist, right?"
Sheol - September 12, 2011 05:24 AM (GMT)
She nodded and laughed. "You can call me Esther." It was a nice name. She liked her name. it was a better way for these things to play out, him calling her by her name instead of boss like it was some terrible 70's movie.
"I look forward to being impressed, Blades."
Blades Bill - September 12, 2011 05:32 AM (GMT)
"Bill's fine," he said. "An' any special potato-related requests f'r supper? I was thinkin' beef and potato stew, but if the XO has a request, I'd be glad t'oblige it..."
Sheol - September 12, 2011 06:47 AM (GMT)
She shook head. "That sounds fine. I'm not picky." It actually sounded pretty good. Esther hadn't had homemade stew in a long time.
Glancing up at him, she smiled. "I'm just glad to not be cooking for myself for once."
Esther could probably get used to this life.
Blades Bill - September 12, 2011 06:50 AM (GMT)
"Good answer," he replied. "Beef broth and potato are about all I have anyways. Unless you wanted to stop by the corner store, pick up some pasta?"
He knew he wouldn't have to tell her they were at least a mile above and fifty miles away from the nearest land mass, let alone a 7-Eleven.
Sheol - September 18, 2011 03:51 AM (GMT)
She snorted. "Are you telling me that our illustrious ship cook can't make pasta from scratch?"
Esther glanced at the Pringles can. "Or is egg and flour too healthy for you as far as ingredients go?"
Damn. She was just going to have to do everything around here. Even a pirate's ship could use a woman's touch. They were obviously very lucky to have Esther gracing their presence.
Blades Bill - September 18, 2011 03:58 AM (GMT)
"Well, I'm sorry," he said sarcastically, "but I left me replicator on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise! ... sorry, sorry. S'jus'... it's a pirate ship. Y'get what y'can get yer hands on. Sometimes the ships that transport souffles are a bit hard t'track down."
He stuck his knife into his current potato and addressed Esther directly. "Tell y'what, boss," he bargained. "Next time we raid, I'll pay pers'n'l attention t'the galley and pick you up whatever I can get me hands on. How's that sound?"
Sheol - September 18, 2011 04:12 AM (GMT)
He was looking her, but Esther looked down and avoided his gaze, concentrating on her work. After a moment she did glance up at him. Esther raised an eyebrow. "What do you get out of that deal?"
If she was suspicious (which she was), Esther certainly had the person history and reason to be that way. People weren't kind the way they were supposed to be. People were selfish and ill-intention. Esther was often included in this, but it was all the same.
Blades Bill - September 18, 2011 04:19 AM (GMT)
"Keep a member of the crew happy," he explained. "Oh, an' I don't have to worry about people complainin' I don't have eggs and flour."
An' score a point or two, he admitted to himself. Yer far too cute to not try it with...
Sheol - September 18, 2011 04:30 AM (GMT)
"Hmm," she answered evenly, but smiled a little anyway.
"If you manage to snag some sugar and cinnamon as well, I'm a pretty damn good baker." It was true, though she had no one provide evidence of this as the only person she ever really cooked for had demanded to sleep with her and then disappeared when she'd said no "Just something to keep in mind."
Blades Bill - September 18, 2011 04:44 AM (GMT)
"Oh ho," Bill said in surprise. "A baker... a realm of expertise I'm lackin' in... well, y'll have to show me a thing or two. I could never pull of me mum's apple crumble."
Sheol - September 18, 2011 04:59 AM (GMT)
She shrugged. "Can't be good at everything, I suppose." There were lots of things Esther was bad at, like being a reasonable person and forming loving, stable relationships. Cooking and baking, though. She was pretty alright at that.
Blades Bill - September 18, 2011 05:02 AM (GMT)
"Aye, but I try."
A moment passed before Bill moved onto another topic. "So, where d'ya hail from, Esther?"
Sheol - September 18, 2011 05:44 AM (GMT)
"Here, actually," she answered, then realized that here wasn't really relative to anywhere. "Er, Metro City, I mean. I've never lived anywhere else." Esther had thought about it at times but there had also been some excuse, usually involving Leo. Then there had been some excuses about college. And some about the house. And fiances. And the weather.
All it really added up to is she'd never really gone anywhere.
Blades Bill - September 18, 2011 05:48 AM (GMT)
"Oh, we're over Metro City, then?" he realized. "Don't much ask where we are 'less I need t'make a run landside. Bit odd askin' a feller from Tibet where th'nearest supermarket is, but keeps life interestin'."
As another potato passed from his tender care, he asked with the same seriousness of "Oh, you're from Ireland. Do you know Saint Patrick?", "So d'you have superpowers, then?"
Sheol - September 18, 2011 06:18 AM (GMT)
She considered her answer.
A lot of heroes considered it taboo to reveal their identity. However, there were plenty of powered people in the City who could hardly be considered heroes. Or Super, for that matter. Esther had know a guy in high school who could control his own shadow. Unfortunately he couldn't make his shadow interact with the physical world, but it was a pretty good party trick.
Esther liked her powers. Well, she liked having powers. Her powers were okay. But she had then. "Yes," she answered seriously. "Hit me. Go ahead. Hit me really hard."
She paused, then specified, "Not in the face, though, please."
Blades Bill - September 18, 2011 06:31 AM (GMT)
Bill grinned at that pretty face. "Wouldn't dream of it... but I warn ya. I hit plenty hard."
Sticking his knife into the wooden countertop, he rose to his feet and put up his dukes. "One t'the gut, comin' up."
He subsequently dropped his fists, looked to the other side of the room, and sent the blunt side of a meat tenderizing hammer flying straight for her stomach.
Not my hardest blow, he figured, but JUST enough t'know if she's lying...
Sheol - September 18, 2011 06:41 AM (GMT)
Esther didn't flinch, but did look annoyed as the hammer smacked against her and then fell to the ground, landing on her foot. "Jesus Christ, I meant with your fist! Fucking cheater." She didn't know he was a telekenetic! he should have warned her!
She was going to be pissed if she was bleeding. Esther hated bleeding all over stuff and then she'd forget about it because it didn't hurt anyway and people got all weird about it. However, it wasn't like Esther usually bothered to explain these things to anyone. Except sometime when she was sleeping with someone because it became particular useful information.
"For something to hurt, you've got to like, saw my arm off." She'd never had her arm sawed off but it seemed like that might hurt a little bit. "I still get hurt. I just don't feel it."
Well. It seemed like for the moment, anyway, she was not bleeding externally. She was anticipating a pretty serious bruise.
Blades Bill - September 18, 2011 06:46 AM (GMT)
Sometimes Bill did not think things through.
"Oh! Bloody-!" he said, getting the hammer off the girl's foot. "Don't know m'own strength... thought that'd be a love tap. Y'took that like a champ though, dearie..."
Sheol - September 18, 2011 06:52 AM (GMT)
She laughed and flashed him a smile. "It's what I do."
Esther turned the conversation back to him. "So you're telekinetic? Do you have any other powers?" Damn it. Everyone had more useful powers than she did.
They'd see. One day there would be dead person and a mystery to solve and Esther would handle it.
Blades Bill - September 18, 2011 06:57 AM (GMT)
"Ah, not telekinetic," he said. "Just works on metal. Dunno how I got it, just... always did. Genes, I s'pose, though both th'folks are normal. Probably got a Great Uncle Superman hangin' about somewhere. But hey, when y've got metal cookin' utensils and metal guns to deal with on a reg'l'r basis, comes in handy.
"Anythin' else in addition t'the lack of pain reception?" he asked. "D'you grow two heads, p'r'aps?"
Sheol - October 7, 2011 09:44 PM (GMT)
She snorted .Two heads. Ridiculous.
Other powers. Well there was just the thing about stealing memories from dead people, but it was hardly useful in the general scheme of things. "No," she lied. "Just no pain." because that was the useful power.
Esther grinned. "So if you ever need someone to take a punch for you, you know who to ask."