Haumea Colony

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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Dark Mood, Darker Eye

Posted on Mon Dec 27th, 2021 @ 3:51pm by Captain Luka Mahone & Cornelius Warner MS

Mission: Frizzle
Location: Captain's Home
Timeline: MD02 23:30
2270 words - 4.5 OF Standard Post Measure

To say Cornelius was in a foul mood would be a gross mischaracterization of his current appearance. Foul moods were reserved for people who were annoyed about work, or perhaps had been cheated on. No, Cornelius was well past "foul mood" territory, and was currently hovering somewhere around the point of "boiling over". As he walked through the dark streets of Haumea he had his coat pulled up, the collar of the coat obscuring most of his face, but also obscuring the black eye he now had. He'd thought himself to have dodged the first attack from the drunk man - one Arnold Harrington - but it appeared that Arnold had landed the blow, just in the heat of the moment Cornelius had missed it. Still, Arnold was in far worse shape, which lead to the true reason for the barkeep's current temperament.

The clinic doctor, and then shortly after the local security forces, had arrived to tend to the man, who'd regained consciousness by the time they'd arrived. According to the doctor he had a serious concussion, a dislocated jaw, a bruised set of ribs and pretty severe lacerations on the head. A vodka bottle swung as an improvised weapon did that. Mister Harrington had been escorted to the clinic, a security officer in tow, to get checked out, some fluids put in him, and as best of a detailed summary as they could get. He had - the entire time - screamed about how his Uncle was an Admiral, and everyone was going to be sorry in the morning - though that was seriously doubted by most. A few of the bar staff had set about cleaning the area, and the officers interviewed patrons to see what had happened. Most told almost the same story: Harrington was drunk, had swung first and Cornelius had defended himself. Some had suggested the situation could have, probably been deescalated, but that considering the mood of the Harrington, he probably wouldn't have wanted that.

Then the officers had come to talk to Cornelius, asked to see the security footage, and asked their questions. Cornelius offhandedly dismissed them, saying that it was a bar scrap, and the man had got what was coming. Still, after viewing the footage and getting their answers, they warned him that there could still be consequences. "You didn't have to use the bottle," and "you should have called security first," were said, which Cornelius scoffed at. "He could press charges," they added, and the bar owner and smiled a wicked smile that had made the pair take a step back.

"He could try."

But that was over, and Tamara had offered to close up, so Cornelius had headed for home. Except... he wasn't headed for home. Maybe it was the couple beers he'd put back as he'd helped right chairs and clear tabs, apologized to patrons, and settled things up. But he'd walked right past the path to his place and was now wandering without aim throughout the concourse itself. He'd meandered past buildings and shops, stopping briefly to address the throbbing on his head, and then carried on. Now he found himself standing at the end of a path, looking up at the house in question, his face a mask of contemplation. Finally, he made his way down the path, hands shoved in pockets until the reached the door, and pushed the chime.

A scramble came first, followed by the sounds of loud barking, all of which stopped short of just outside the door. A light turned on at the front porch of the humble little home, and the door opened up, revealing the bleary-eyed Captain and his peppy malamute, the latter of which leaning in to get a good sniff of Cornelius.

"... What are you-" Luka stopped himself, pushing the large dog out of the way of the door and stepping forward to open it up himself. "I'd have some quip for you, but I've been so buried in paperwork, I think I'm on auto-generate. Come in, before someone thinks I'm open for another rant about their children."

Cornelius stepped through the door to the home, and into the light of the abode with a grim look on his face. "Oh if someone comes by to do that I can give them a piece of my own mind," he said forebodingly as he glared into nothing, a face that softened by the ever fluffy appearance of the dog that so regularly accompanied the Captain on his adventures. "Not you though Lugh," he cooed softly, "I think you might actually be the reason I find myself here," he continued while ruffling the dog's fur.

"Does that mean I can go to bed?" Luka joked, tone deadpan and wry as ever. He shook his head, giving his dog a softened look. Not even he could truly stay mad at the great beast Lugh had become.

But the Captain's gaze hardened again. Late night visits were not something he was stranger to, even from Cornelius, and yet... "How about you come in? I've got a package from an old friend I've been meaning to open, and if it contains what I think it does, I'm not imbibing it by myself. Then you can let Lugh slobber you to death while you tell me what's on your mind - preferably before you tell someone who could get angrier about it."

Slipping his coat off his body, Cornelius tossed it onto the back of one of the Captain's chairs, while kicking off his shoes to flop down on the chair he'd first sat in when he'd let himself in. "Well, a package of undisclosed origin sounds like a fun evening." His eyes were playful, "maybe I should start screening your packages, just in case." It was a tease, for sure, but was more than man trying to let himself out of the foul mood he'd found himself in, and less to poke at the Captain that would normally be found.

Luka took to sitting in one of the remaining seats, reaching over to the small side table with a glass bottle sitting atop it. The liquid began a deep green, but as soon as Luka had his hand on it, it took on a rich blue tone.

"Screen away. Maybe next time I won't get robotic frogs in my gifts." He shook his head, "He won't tell me where he got it from, but he assured me he has his own bottle of it and he hasn't died yet, so... I guess it's better than poisonous tree sap." As he poured the contents into two heavy-bottomed scotch glasses, the liquid settled into a bright, pleasant orange. One of the glasses was handed to Cornelius, as the Captain took a sip from the other. "... Well, doesn't taste bad. Or like it's going to kill me."

Taking a sip, Cornelius made a face. The liquor tasted bitter and the flavour was far off from what the colour suggested. Still, he finished it quickly.

Luka's eyes narrowed. Down to business. "What's got you over here so late at night?"

"I needed a friend," Cornelius said plainly, dodging the bulk of the question. His eyes unfocused and he stared off into the distance for a moment. In his left hand his finger traced the patterns hard to see on the glass, finding the imperfections and following them as he was thinking. Much quieter, he repeated, "yeah, needed a friend."

Both Captain and dog leaned in a little closer, the former curious to Cornelius's actions, and the latter for head scritches. Luka let the thought hang, but not for long. Typically these conversations went the other way around, Luka much more likely to volunteer information he had no business volunteering. And yet, Cornelius listened.

And Luka only wanted to do the same for his friend. "Need to bend a friend's ear about something?"

A wry smile came to the bartender's face. "I suppose so," he said, his head flopping back against the chain as he looked to the sky. "This whole situation has people in a bind, one minute cursing the Federation, the next the stalwart patriots of it. Demanding of freedoms, but when someone expresses theirs its the end of all life as we know it. Not to even begin to getting into the absolute bigotry's we assume we left behind when Cochrane first took to the stars. If I have to hear another backwater hick feel entitled to comment on my-" he cut himself off, his tone having risen in a curling anger the poisoned his words and transformed the smile into a snarl. "Life," he changed the words around, "I'm going to do more than break someone's nose. Cost me a good bottle of vodka at that, which that fat fuck will be paying for." The snappy, snarky tone leaked back in. Cornelius was wound tight. Finally he heaved a lot drawn out sigh.

His hand fell down and landed onto the soft and fluffy head of pup, and his face fell into an uneasy smile. A silence had fallen into the room, and he'd let it hang a little too long, as he ran his fingers and calloused hands through the dogs fur and between its ears. He ignored the heat just below the skin, a wetness that threatened to seep through. "There was a bar fight. One of the people at your earlier scrap came looking for a place to drown his own piss-poor mood. His mouth wrote checks he couldn't cash, and last I saw him he was being carried out by a few medical techs and headed for the hospital. He was still breathing, but there is a part of me looks back and wishes he hadn't been."

Luka let the silence roll back over them, frown forming. On one hand, he was pretty sure there was going to be some word spread about this so far up that he'd hear about it the next morning. People talked. Someone was bound to say something. The Captain in him was not ignorant to thinking the emotions surrounding current events had disappeared. If that wasn't evident anywhere else, it was certainly evident in what Cornelius dealt with however long ago.

"I for one am glad that part didn't win out," he stated, "I can't get beer from the Silver Tongue if it's being locked down for investigation." He offered a weak smile, going in for another sip of the beverage that he was certainly going to ask about later. "I won't ask too many more questions; the less I know the better for both of us I think, but... are you alright? And I'm not just talking in the doctor sense - if you are I still have my supplies around here somewhere - but beyond the physical."

With a wave of his bruised knuckles, Cornelius dismissed the physical. Sure, there was the ability to heal them quicker with modern medicine, but there was also the warning that it would present to anyone else who thought they may have something louder to say. Not that the rumour mill wasn't going to do a lot of that heavy lifting for him. Mentally. "I'm fine." It was a bold faced lie, the kind that was itself truthful in its dishonesty. Both men would know what was really meant - Cornelius was shook in a way that made his usual flamboyant nature dulled, the carefree caretaker of a vibrant pub was now a lot harder to see that way. His jaw was set, his eyes were hard, his shoulders rolled back.

It had been clear to everyone he'd passed that he was not in the mood to be joyful and talk, but was very clearly ready to carry on the scrap, something that had only relaxed when he'd entered the Captain's dwelling. If he was not in such a sour mood, he might have had a comment on that to himself, a snide joke at his own expense. But right now, sitting in the warm entry space with a hand on the pup, he had finally relaxed for the first time in hours. Or, relaxed as much as he was capable of.

The look Luka gave Cornelius was, predictably, one of skepticism. He had heard that routine before. But, he also knew better than to sit on the topic and push. He was also not willing to let Cornelius go right away. "Alright." The statement was neutral, but his expression brightened up. "How about some cookies then? Davna's made friends with one of the baker's sons, and I think she's decided she's had enough sweets, so I ended up with some. I think they're shortbread, but a cookie's a cookie, right?"

Flopping his head back down to look at his friend, the bartender made a look of mock indignation. "I will have you know that I personally love shortbread cookies," Cornelius said, his tone feigning hurt. "A cup of tea, some shortbread and a good book? No better night." A smile spread, and now he laughed. "That sounds lovely though."

"Well..." Luka paused. "Good. Someone should enjoy these cookies. I can only have so many of them. I can most definitely do tea as well. Tea is something I have in abundance." He sprang up, disappearing into the kitchen and returning a few minutes later with a sizeable gold and blue box that he placed on the counter. "... Or at least the cookies. Tea might take a moment. But until then... Why don't you tell me what's next on tap?"

 

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