Summary: Some of the first OtherSpace players gather for a first-ever scheduled RP event in June 1998, kicking off Arc I.
Cast: Garunth, Softpaw, Summer, Grayback, Malcolm, Wells
Air Date: Summer 1998
Van Allen’s Belts Tavern <Spaceport: Mars>Thick smoke hangs over a dark, circular counter. Behind the bar, colorful bottles represent the preferred drinks of the known worlds. Near the back of the room, three steps lead up to a rather unimpressive stage. Tables and chairs around the room give the impression not so much of camaraderie, but shady gatherings.
Garunth sits at the bar, sipping a stench-rich drink from a heavy metal cup
Malcolm makes his way through the crowd, blinking as his eyes adjust to the smoky room.
Softpaw wrinkles her nose slightly, then turns back to the bar.
Summer searches the bars patrons once again as if searching for someone or something finally resting her attention on Garunth, “So tell me..”
Garunth coughs harshly, then thumps the cup down, and turns his attention to the softskin.
Summer stops her statment for a quick laugh, “Too strong for you?”
Grayback leans back comfortably against the bar, elbows on the counter. He observes the newcomer entering the bar.
Malcolm looks around for a moment, seeming somewhat out of place as he studies the bar’s patrons.
Summer sits at the bar, an empty glass of blue liquid in front of her. Her attention focused on the lizard.
Softpaw stands behind the bar casually watching her reflection in the mirror.
Garunth harumphs at the softskin. “Sometimes it goes down the wrong tube.”
Summer smiles unbelievingly, “Of course…”
Summer leans back, “Heard quite a few of your kind where hooking up with the Fringe….”
Malcolm hangs back for a moment or two, weighing his options. Finally, he strides rather decisively up to the bar and sits, studying the bottles behind the bar.
Garunth sneers at the softskin. “My kind?”
Softpaw walks whisper quiet to the newcomer and blinks slowly “What for you?”
Malcolm considers the question for a moment. “Hmm. Any recommendations?” he asks.
Grayback says, “The Demarian Wine is tops.”
Summer smirks, looking at the hand placed on the bar for a moment as if contemplating then back up at the reptile and shrugs, “You see any other reptiles in this room?” she says nonchalantly. “I didn’t think so…so the way I figure it, the others that look like reptiles, are ‘your kind'”
Grayback motions towards the newcomer with his glass.
Malcolm turns his head slightly, chuckles, then shrugs. “I’ll try that then,” he says.
Garunth laughs roughly and thumps Summer on the back. “Do you lump yourself in with the other softskins, tube-breeder?”
Softpaw turns to the bottles, pointing to them, but obviously distracted by her own reflection. “Yes, Demarian wine is a favorite…Centauran crystal ale… and Castori honey wine.. Or I can mix just about anything that has been invented. *turns back* “What will it be?”
Grayback tugs and straightens at his uniform for a minute or two, and resumes sipping his drink.
Softpaw nods, giving one last brush to the fur on her cheek, and again takes up the rose-colored bottle.
Malcolm considers the bottles. “The Demarian wine will be fine.”
Softpaw places a stemmed glass in front of Malcolm and fills it with the wine. Then, with a conspiratory wink, “5 credits”
Malcolm nods, handing over the credits before taking a quick sip of the drink.
Softpaw takes the credit, holding it for a brief moment in her palm, as if weighing it.
Grayback finishes off his drink and sets the empty glass on the counter.
Summer gives a forced chuckle and looks down at the ground for a moment and grins then looks back up and says, “You see…if I thought you understood what you just said I might take it as an insult…seeing how you probably caught it off some Sivadian passing by, I’ll pretend you didn’t say it.”
Wells has arrived.
Garunth chuckles wickedly.
Garunth says, “Look, little one, you are but a gnat on my landscape. Try to stay out of my way.”
Summer catches his eye and continues her tone almost threatening, “But be a good little slimy and watch your mouth from now on.”
Malcolm again sips his drink. Turning in his chair, he studies some of the bar’s patrons critically.
Softpaw turns cautiously to the exchange at the end of the bar, her whiskers quivering ever so slightly.
Garunth’s eyes flash angrily at Summer and he stands to his full height, his scalp bristles scraping the ceiling tiles.
Wells swaggers in. Perhaps this isn’t the first establishment he’s frequented tonight.
Garunth snatches Summer by the shoulders and lifts her roughly off the floor so she is face to snout with him. “That is enough out of you, tiny.”
Summer calmly watches as he stands, “Is this where i’m supposed to run in fear, slimy? If it is your gonna have to try a little harder then that” she says cooly.
Softpaw lifts her pink nose slightly, sniffing the air.
Garunth says, “No. It’s where you fly in foolishness against the wall.”
Garunth says, “Or apologize, and perhaps I will cut you some slack, just this once.”
Summer attempts to push him away with her hands, “Get your claws off of me and I’ll think about it.”
Wells mutters something to himself. He seems to always be doing that.
Malcolm leans forward slightly, focusing more of his attention on the heated exchange. A frown slowly begins to cross his face as he watches.
Grayback chuckles at the drunken patron entering, and turns around towards the bar. “I’ll take another glass of that Wine, sweet thing.” He blinks slowly and places the credits on the counter.
Garunth laughs roughly, a harsh blast of his breath displacing Summer’s hair as he sets her down
Summer meets eyes with the Zangali, her gaze not shifting.
Summer smooths her hand with her hair quickly.
Garunth says, “Humans of all stripes are so amusing.”
Softpaw reaches out for the money, her paw lightly brushing that of the young sergeant. “Surely”
Summer takes a step back re-taking her seat, her eyes not changing their focus, “And you lizards are all so entertaining…glad we can enjoy each others company.”
Grayback grins slyly at the waitress.
Wells swaggers over to a barstool, attempts to sit down, and misses with comical results. He stands up quickly, glares accusingly at the stool, and sits down a little more carefully. In his drunken state, he manages to stammer out, “They just don’ MAKE barthools like they usta.”
Softpaw pours pink wine to the rim of the glass, smiling knowingly
Garunth smiles wickedly at Summer. “You know, my grandfather probably drilled a few dozen of your old freeze-dried ancestors in the big war. Sometimes I miss those days.”
Grayback nods and blinks slowly, taking the drink and sipping at it.
Softpaw tilts her head curiously at the clumsy newcomer.
Malcolm takes his wine glass, his attention not leaving the two. Taking a quick drink, he continues to observe, prepared to act instantly should the need arise.
Grayback looks over at wells, and grins. “One thing about humans, they can’t hold their drink.”
Summer parts her lips slightly, “Its a shame that’s all your ancestors where good for…much more could of been accomplished if 1 of my ‘freeze-dried ancestors’ had survived compared to 12 of your slimy friends..”
Grayback chuckles and takes a sip of his drink.
Wells squints at Softpaw in a vain attempt to see less than four of her, “Give me a…” he says, then tries to pronounce the name of a drink before it turns into a slurred mumble.
The bartender’s eyes are slowly, inexorably pulled back toward the mirror.
Garunth shrugs. “Don’t take your venom out on me, tiny. These other softskins bred your little ancestors and sent them packing to this world of ours to kill us. They are the wasteful ones. We merely defended our homeland.”
Wells finally says helplessly, “Beer.”
Summer turns back to the bar slowly, her eyes leaving Garunth, “Those that have to will get theirs..of that you can be assured.”
Garunth says, “Besides – it was more like a 12 to 1 ratio, breeders to the proud Zangali making their last stand on this devil soil. Humans tremble when they hear the legendary tales of that remarkable conflict.”
Wells stares down at his feet, verifies they’re still there, and breathes a visible sigh of relief. He might have been into something more than alcohol tonight. He looks up at the mirror and yelps with a start.
Malcolm chuckles quietly to himself, sipping his wine.
Summer smirks, “Too bad I ain’t human…guess being a tuber has its perks.”
Not bothering to find out what *kind* of beer, the feline bartender fulls a frosty glass mug with amber-colored beer from Earth. She walks casually around the bar to the table where the human sits, then holds out a paw “5 credits”
Grayback glances now and then at the heated discussion at the other end of the bar, but seems more interested in his drink and checking his uniform for wrinkles.
Garunth laughs harshly and nods to Summer. “Indeed, a good thing. I suppose we have something in common, then. Despite your diminuitive size.”
Wells is still staring at his reflection in the mirror, his mouth agape. “Well I’ll be Jiminy Cricket,” he says, “Thath me!”
Softpaw blinks slowly, her paw still awaiting payment.
A varicolored butterfly with four wings flutters into the bar from outside.
Summer looks over at the lizard and reaches into her pocket once more, “And your smarts.” as she places several credits on the bar.
Wells frowns at himself, then searches through his pocket, “I wath thure I had thomething thomwhere….” He mutters and grumbles many more things, mostly incomprehensible, then turns his pockets inside out.
Malcolm begins to untense and relax somewhat, the exchange apparently not having gone as he feared it might. Slowly, he turns and continues scanning the room’s patrons, studying each face carefully.
Softpaw’s eyes dance as she spots the colorful butterfly.
Garunth brings his left fist smashing down on the butterfly as it rests on the bar.
Summer looks over at the furball and sighs, “Hey.” she calls.
Wells looks at his reflection in the mirror again forlornly, as he says, “I don’t have any— wait.”
Softpaw looks miffed and disappointed.
Softpaw turns back to Wells
Summer looks up from the butterfly to garunth and chuckles dryly, “That’s one way to get her attention….not neccesarily the one I would of chosen…but effective nontheless.”
Garunth picks up the butterfly’s remnants, sniffs at it, then flings it off his clawed fingers onto the floor.
Wells reaches down and, horror of horrors, removes his shoe. Dear god! He takes out exactly five credits.
Softpaw puts the beer down on the table, ignores the five credits, and goes back behind the bar.
Grayback wrinkles his nose in disgust at the smell. He shuffles a couple feet down the bar from wells. After getting into position, he smooths out his uniform.
Malcolm takes another sip of the wine, noticing Wells’ predicament at nearly the same time. He just manages to swallow his mouthful before he begins to laugh.
Wells watches Softpaw leave. He shrugs, puts the credits back into his shoe, and replaces his shoe. Fellow patrons sitting near him are visibly relieved.
Softpaw glides back behind the bar, smoothly dragging a rag over the polished wood surfaces.
Summer looks toards Softpaw and taps at the bar again trying to get her attention, the credits already upon the bar.
Malcolm shakes his head, continuing to laugh. “Serves him right,” he can be heard to mumble by those near him. “Some people need a little self-respect.”
Softpaw turns slowly, disdainfully toward the woman. “What is it?”
Wells turns again towards the mirror where he unsuccessfully attempts to start a conversation with himself. The saying, “one over the eight” comes to mind.
Garunth stomps on the butterfly remnants with his bare foot.
Summer meets her eyes for a moment and responds coldly, “2 rats water, 1 here and one for my friend over there.” she says motioning towards the Zangali.
Garunth walks over to Malcolm, thumping him on the back. “I know you.”
Malcolm turns quickly, yet calmly. “Oh?” he asks, studying the new arrival with a frown.
Garunth is standing a bit stooped to keep his bristles from sliding along the ceiling tiles. Garunth says, “You aren’t in uniform, but I have seen you in one. Vanguard, correct?”
Softpaw collects the credits and slides the bottle of rat water toward the woman.
Summer catches the bottle as it slides across the bar then nods slightly in approval.
Malcolm doesn’t appear the least bit intimidated by this, holding his drink in one hand. “Yes, that would be correct.”
Grayback glances over towards the two at the mention of Vanguard, idly sipping his drink and smoothing out his hair.
Softpaw leisurely leans on the bar near the sergeant. “Have you any word on the protests on Earth?”
Garunth nods to Malcolm, breathing harshly at Malcolm. “I’ve seen you around before.”
Grayback turns towards Softpaw. “Plenty of word flying around on the base, hon. What are you looking for in particular?”
Malcolm merely shrugs at this, his expression one of confusion. “And?” he prompts.
Softpaw runs one sharpened, painted claw along the wooden bar. “I was just wondering if they are still protesting the otherspace drives”
Garunth scoffs at Malcolm. “So, I’ve seen you, here and there. I occasionally make it up to the Citadel during my duties with the Legislate.”
Summer pours the bottles contents into a glass and takes a sip from it, listening in to the conversations all around her.
Grayback puts an arm on the bar and sips his drink. He blinks slowly, “Word is they’re still protesting. Gettin’ fairly nasty from what I hear.”
Garunth snaps his head around at the topic change. “Misinformed apes is all they are.”
Malcolm nods, seeming satisfied with this explanation. “Yes, well, I’ve been there off and on. I’m catching a transport over there soon, been offered a squadron command.”
Grayback casually glances at Garunth, but doesn’t look for long. He returns his gaze to Softpaw and his drink.
Softpaw sniffs at the young woman, then pulls her long tail up to groom. “Hmm. I see.”
Wells stares up at the lights, squints and quickly looks down again. A little too bright for his current situation…
Garunth shakes his head, then looks back at Malcolm. “They cannot see, for some reason, that if it were not for the OtherSpace drive – there would be no great Consortium.”
Summer looks at Softpaw for a moment then back to her drink taking a sip as she shakes her head and putting the glass back down on the table a bit harshly.
Grayback says, “You got a point there, spike. No Vanguard either.”
Malcolm takes a quick sip of wine. “Well, folks are entitled to their own opinions, I suppose. Let them think what they will, even if they’re not right.”
Wells looks around briefly, seems just about to say something, then promptly passes out, hitting his head violently against the bar and knocking over his beer.
Softpaw looks up from a snarl in her tail to eye Malcolm.
Grayback takes a sip of his drink and smooths out the front of his uniform.
Garunth clenches his jaw as he regards Grayback coldly. “My appellation, if you would be so wise to use it, is Garunth Salaban, third descended from Garther Salaban the Martyr of the Home Stand.”
Summer glances towards wells and chuckles, “Think he’s had a few too many?”
Wells is one over the eight.
Malcolm casts a sidelong glance at Wells, shaking his head. “Hmph,” he mutters under his breath….well, more than one.
Grayback grins slyly. “Oh, forgive me your highness”, he says, sarcasm highly evident in his voice.
Grayback takes a sip of his drink.
Garunth scoffs at the fuzzball, then turns his attention back to Malcolm. “The viewpoints of those protesters are dangerous. Forget freedom of speech. They are biting the hand that feeds them.”
Softpaw’s mouth curls in a sly, conspiratorial smile and she nods at Grayback
Summer grins and turns towards them butting in, “Maybe the hand deserves to be bit.”
Grayback turns towards Softpaw, returning a similar grin.
Garunth shakes his head at Summer, his bristles scraping the tiles above. “No, no, softskin. The hand they bite is a dangerous one indeed. I speak not of the Consortium, but of the ones who grace us with the drive technology.”
Malcolm finishes his drink, placing the empty glass atop the bar. “Well, let them do what they feel is right. Some of our greatest and most historic accomplishments have been sparked by similar feelings of discontent.”
Wells seems to recover very quickly. He regains consciousness, stands up a little too quickly, finds himself on the floor, stands up again, and swaggers over toward all the people talking ready to make a fool out of himself.
Grayback says, “And some of your most tragic moments as well. I wouldn’t be forgettin’ that part.”
Summer raises an eyebrow at that and laugs, “The only ones who grace us with the drive technology is the same ones that created my ancestors. The nice guys in the yellow labcoats.”
Wells laughs too, but who knows why.
Garunth shakes his head. “No. The scientists of the Consortium had nothing to do with the invention of the OtherSpace drive.”
Summer shrugs, “Weather they invented it or not, we got it now. And that’s all that’s important.”
Malcolm nods in response to Grayback. “It could go either way. Restrain them, and all hell’ll break loose.”
Grayback says, “Yeah, but lettin’ em run loose is just as bad.”
Garunth fixes Summer in his dark and silvery gaze. “I speak of the Il’Ri’Kamm Hive Minders. Without them, we have no drive systems. It would, of course, suit me just fine if mankind lost the ability to travel faster than light, but thinking long term, it would knock us back centuries. And trapped here in this solar system, we would be at each other’s throats quickly again, I think.”
Wells grins stupidly at Summer.
Softpaw hisses softly, as if to herself.
Summer shrugs, “Let the hive minders worry about their own…if they’re strong enough to make it through the battle of words then they will. If not” she simply shrugs again, “Then so be it.”
Malcolm leans back in his chair, a look of irritation on his face. “So, you’re for restraining the people’s freedoms, then. How do we go about that?” he asks, fixing Grayback with a critical, studying gaze.
Garunth laughs at Summer. “The Hive Minders have nothing to fear from us, words or weapons. They are not of our dimension.”
Summer smiles slyly, “Then it won’t matter much to them weather we try to bite back or not, will it.”
Grayback says, “Who said anything about restrainin’ them? Just a little nudge in the right direction is what they need.”
Wells continues to stare at Summer. His grin is no longer stupid, per se… except perhaps in its ramifications.
Grayback finishes his drink and sets the empty glass on the bar.
Garunth releases a gravelly sigh. “Tiny, if we show a general spirit of ingratitude, I assure you that the Hive Minders will, how do you people put it – take their toys and go home.”
Malcolm sighs to himself. “Brilliant. How do you suppose nudging millions of free-thinking people in the right direction? Think practically, now.”
Summer turns towards him, “Anyone or anything intelligent enough to create an OtherSpace drive is intelligent enough to know that societies go through these conflicts..its part of adjusting.”
Grayback says, “That’s for the politicians to debate, buddy. Me, I just go with the flow and do what I have to.”
Garunth bares his teeth. “Is it? Do you think they really want us to adjust? Or do they merely want us to become reliant on them? We have, you know. We can’t afford to disappoint them, or they can threaten to yank our power from us.”
Softpaw yawns overdramatically, adjusting her satin choker.
Grayback grins slyly at Malcolm, and turns towards the mirror, smoothing his uniform and hair.
Malcolm laughs to himself, shaking his head. “Well, get your head out of the clouds, it ain’t happening. Nothing short of total control over a society will do what you’re saying.”
Summer smiles, “have some trust in fate…if we’re meant to win our ‘independence’ from OtherSpace the protesters will win the battle. If not..well, if not we’ll become the Hive Minder puppets. Either way we’ll find a way out of it in the end.”
Wells whispers something into Summer’s ear, then pulls back and wheezes out a laugh.
Grayback pointedly ignores Malcolm, instead fixing his gaze on Softpaw. He puts a credit on the counter. “Top notch drinks, hon. I gotta head back on duty.”
Garunth laughs harshly. “I am no one’s puppet. But I think I know what may be best for this civilization of ours if it is going to survive. Mankind has been trying for centuries to accomplish faster than light travel on his own, to no avail.”
Summer looks over at wells with a disgusted look, she reaches out with her right hand and pushes him off his stool harshly before turning her attention back to her conversation.
Wells finds himself staring at the lights again although this time he is unable to get up. He winces and puts a hand over his eyes.
Grayback walks out towards the door, comb in hand as he smooths out his hair.
Softpaw takes the credit with a quick wink and puts it in her pocket “I hope to see you again.”
Malcolm glances over to the drunk and merely shrugs, appearing completely unsurprised and unamused.
Garunth grabs his cup, looks into it and sees that it is empty. He growls and thunks it on the bar. “Furball, another rat water.”
Wells opens his fingers a crack, peeking out to check if the lights have dimmed at all. Judging by his facial expression they haven’t.
Softpaw quietly takes the bottle of rat water and throws it to the ground, smiling as it shatters.
Summer chuckles lightly, “Furballs always were a bit clumsy” she remarks simply.
Malcolm looks at the remnants of the bottle, puzzled. “Why waste that?” he asks, motioning to the shards.
Garunth blinks cooly at the cat. “You know, I wouldn’t mind having you as a rug in my quarters.”
Softpaw opens her mouth wide, hisses at the lizard and turns for the other end
of the bar.
A nervous-looking comedian walks out on stage despite his small audience.
The comedian says, “Well, hello everyone. How is everybody doing tonight?”
Malcolm turns to regard the comedian.
The comedian frowns, takes a BIG gulp of water from his glass, sets it back down on his stool, and says, “You know, I just flew in from Earth and BOY are my arms tired…”
Garunth draws in a deep breath and winces as if he smells something wretched coming from the stage.
The comedian says, “I talked to my wife this morning, and I said, “Mary….”” The comedian frowns. He glances up at the ceiling. He looks around nervously. “Now what did I say again…” he mutters.
A short, dumpy man in a stained white jumpsuit walks from a rear door to the bar area and begins to clean up the remnants of the rat water
Malcolm looks toward the comedian, his expression apologetic as he anticipates the crowd’s reaction to further jokes.
Garunth harumphs. “If the fuzzball isn’t going to serve me, I’m not troubling myself to remain.” He tosses a few credits on the bar. “May a meteorite find its way through the dome and into your hearth.”
Softpaw says, “May your hunt bring you only skinks…tiny skinks.”
Summer chuckles at the saying, “May a meteorite find its way through the dome and into that comedian” she responds motioning towards the stage.
Garunth laughs harshly and steps to the door.
The comedian says, “Oh, I remember!” just as a bottle strikes the wall behind him. The comedian says quickly, “You’ve all been a great audience… I’d take you all home with you but…” Another bottle hits the wall and the comedian rushes out.
Malcolm cringes slightly. “Tough crowd,” he mutters as he looks after the poor comedian.
Softpaw looks up at the time and, without a word, locks up the liquor bottles and leaves.
Summer watches as the crowd begins to empty and stands finishing what remains of the rat water before turning her attention to the door.
Wells is picked up by somebody and slowly dragged away…
Malcolm glances back toward the bar, doing a double-take when he notices that the bartender has left and secured the drinks. Frowning, he stands and leaves.