Benny's Battleborn Tales


(Gone off comms, will update this when i feel like) #41

male dude, and i’m going to quit replying so the thread isn’t any more derailed @Benedict_87 I can’t wait for the next installment!


(Penguin connoisseur.) #42

Aww… Well, i agree, good work @Benedict_87; keep giving me reasons to make humorous replies!


(Aurox, omnidimensional horror) #43

True true, but yes no more off topic stuff


(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #44

Galilea and the Coffee Machine


Montana, Oscar Mike, Whiskey Foxtrot, El Dragón, Miko, and Phoebe are playing poker in the mess hall. Benedict is providing color commentary, whether they asked for it or not.

BENEDICT: (Whispering)
And here it is ladies and gentlemen… The epic Truxican standoff. Whiskey Foxtrot vs. Phoebe vs. El Dragón vs. Miko. Phoebe with a possible 4 of a kind. Miko and El Dragón with possible straight flushes, one or both of them clearly bluffing. And Whiskey Foxtrot with… a two of clubs, a six of diamonds, and a ten of spades… good luck with that buddy.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
I WILL DOMINATE… AND RULE… AND WIN… AND SKULLF*CK A MANNEQUIN!!!

BENEDICT:
Uh… huh… sure you will, sure you will. I actually believe that last part.
Now… watch as the final round of betting begins. Whiskey Foxtrot is all in. With his one remaining credit. Miko raises by 300 credits. Phoebe counters. El Dragón thinks… Oscar Mike and Montana look on from the sidelines, Montana having wisely folded early… and Oscar Mike having folded after betting almost 90% of his chips in the first round like a complete moron…

OSCAR MIKE: (Fist at his temple)
Who… the hell… invited him…

Galilea walks in, clearly annoyed after a long, hard mission. She glares directly at the coffee machine straight across the room.

MONTANA:
Guys…

MIKO:
Oh… f*ck…

Galilea slowly and deliberately walks across the room to the coffee machine. All eyes are locked on her… except for Whiskey Foxtrot’s. He uses this moment to cheat by sneaking a peek at Montana’s hand.

GALILEA:
Alright wretched machine, I don’t like you, and you don’t like me. But dammit, I’ve had a hard day. I need this. I need this without your usual uppity lip and I WILL HAVE MY COFFEE DAMMIT!!!

PHOEBE:
Gal, perhaps, if you would just sit down and allow me to get the coffee for you…

Galilea turns and growls at phoebe, enraged. Phoebe lets out a meek squeak and looks away. Galilea turns back to the coffee machine, and selects “Coal Black” from the available options.

COFFEE MACHINE:
Greetings Galilea! I see you’ve made a selection of “Coal Black” from the LLC’s Patented Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed Coffee Machine Selection Menu. As always, your coffee will be provided at a 35% discount for your continued efforts to protect Solus with your epic badassery! Please enter your credit chips or Badass Ring now.

Galilea gently presses her Badass Battleborn Club Ring up to the coffee dispenser.

COFFEE MACHINE:
Thank you. Credits have been direct-deducted from your account using the LLC’s Patented Plaid-Speed Direct Deduction System. Your selection of “Coal Black” coffee will be prepared for you shortly.

Coffee Machine begins humming a tune as it prepares Galilea’s coffee. Galilea glares at the machine, unblinking.

MONTANA: (Whispering)
Why is she using the LLC model? Why isn’t she using the UPR model?

BENEDICT: (Barely whispering)
Because the UPR models all make coffee that tastes like chalk.

MONTANA: (Whispering)
You’re full of sh*t. It tastes fine…

BENEDICT: (Barely whispering)
Montana, no offense, but you would eat raw cedar wood and think it tasted like a porterhouse steak.

MONTANA: (Barely whispering)
I have eaten raw cedar wood. And it does taste like a porterhouse steak. Porterhouse is the Ziji 100% Alcohol Free Nectar of steaks. Now if you want a REAL steak…

PHOEBE: (Whispering)
I’m with Gal on this one. Your pedestrian grunt coffee tastes like sh*t.

OSCAR MIKE: (Shouting)
Hey, I was raised with that pedestrian grunt coffee! It tastes AWESOME!!!

COFFEE MACHINE:
Alrighty Galilea! Your selection of “Coal Black” coffee from the LLC’s Patented Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed Coffee Machine is ready for consumption. Before I release our nice refreshing hot cup of Joe into your waiting hands, I just have a handful of LLC Patented Customer Satisfaction Enhancements to offer you. Customer Satisfaction Enhancement #1: Cream?

GALILEA:
No.

COFFEE MACHINE:
Customer Satisfaction Enhancement #2: Sugar?

GALILEA:
No.

COFFEE MACHINE:
Customer Satisfaction Enhancement #3: Oregano?

GALILEA:
Forego remaining customer satisfaction enhancements and give me my damn coffee.

COFFEE MACHINE:
That procedure is not recommended.

GALILEA:
I don’t care. Forego the remaining enhancements.

COFFEE MACHINE:
You do realize that the LLC Patented Customer Satisfaction Enhancements are designed to make your coffee experience 105% enjoyable, right? If you forego this process, I can only guarantee a 102% satisfaction rate! Please reconsider.

GALILEA: (Through gritted teeth)
Give… me… my… f*cking… coffee… NOW!!!

The room trembles slightly. Benedict backs slowly towards the door.

COFFEE MACHINE:
Sigh. Alright. Against my better judgement… I will forego the remaining LLC Patented Customer Satisfaction Enhancements and give you your coffee now.

The door on the front of the machine opens.

COFFEE MACHINE:
Here’s your fresh cup of “Coal Black” coffee from the LLC’s Patented Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed Coffee Machine. Enjoy! And tell your friends about me!

The room is dead silent as Galilea grabs her cup of coffee. She slowly raises it to her mouth, still glaring at the coffee machine. A collective gasp escapes from everyone’s mouth as she takes a sip… She lowers the cup slowly.

GALILEA:
Mmmmmm… Thank you. I needed this.

COFFEE MACHINE:
Another satisfied customer! I’ll pat myself on the back for a job well done!

A collective sigh of relief is heard from the room. A mechanical arm emerges from the back of the coffee machine and pats itself on the back. Galilea walks towards the door.

MONTANA:
Alright. Alright then… El Dragón, I think we left off on you? Were you gonna call or raise or…

A splash against metal armor is heard from the doorway. Everyone turns quickly. Alani is standing directly in front of Galilea. Her coffee is no longer in her cup. It is now running down the front of her armor. Boldur and Thorn stand not far behind on one side of the hallway, Toby and Reyna can be heard laughing approaching from the other side.

ALANI:
Oh my God! Galilea, I’m sooooo sorry…

GALILEA:
That… was…

Galilea’s voice deepens. The floor begins turning purple and black, her body starts to shift colors. Everyone in the room and the hall has about 3 seconds to react. Boldur immediately grabs for Thorn.

BOLDUR:
TESHKA!!!

He grabs her, pulls her close, and deploys his greatshield around them. He gives a worried glance through his shield towards Alani with barely a second to spare. Montana immediately kicks over the table, chips and cards flying everywhere, and ducks for cover behind it.

MONTANA:
HIT THE DECK!!!

Oscar Mike, Phoebe, El Dragón, and Miko immediately duck behind the table. Whiskey stands up straight and beats his chest.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
BRING IT!!!

Benedict, who is second closest to Alani having backed towards the door earlier, now finds himself directly beside Galilea. He looks to Alani and finds a rising black mist, a wall, and Galilea herself blocking the way.

BENEDICT:
SH*T!!! ALANI, MOVE!!! I CAN’T SAVE YA!!!

He quickly unfurls his wings and half jumps, half flies over the condiments counter. With his remaining second, he shoves himself against the floor with his arms, rolls as close as he can to the condiments counter and covers his head with his hands. Reyna immediately deploys Photonic Ward around herself and Toby. Alani stares in shock as Galilea becomes fully corrupted and begins floating in front of her. Paralyzed with fear… she just stares in shock.

REYNA:
OH F*CK!!!

GALILEA: (In her, deep, scary ass demon voice)
…MY F**KING COFFEE!!!
(Her voice turns into a demonic shriek)
YOU WILL ALL SUFFER AND BURN IN THE ETERNAL FIRES OF HELL FOR THIS!!!

Reyna barely has enough time to apply an overshield to Alani before Galilea completely loses control. The corrupted energy around Galilea expands and explodes. The vending machine closest to the wall half explodes and flies across the room. Iced tea and sodas scatter everywhere. Boldur’s greatshield absorbs the blow, but pushes he and Thorn back about 4 feet. The tables closest to Galilea fracture and fly across the room, pieces of legs becoming embedded in the walls, and one in the table Montana kicked over for cover. Benedict hears the condiments blast off the table above him and feels wind and debris hitting his wings. Whiskey Foxtrot screams in agony, falls, and rolls to his side on the floor, hands clutching his head. Toby and Reyna scream, but remain safe behind her shield. Alani takes the full force of the blow. She is blasted back into the bulkhead and her overshield collapses as she tries to protect her face with her hands. The skin on her arms rips and begins to peel away. Galilea shrieks, half in anger, half in terror, trying to regain control. She bows her head and falls to her knees. The corruption slowly dissipates as she kneels, head bowed, weeping, trying to regain composure. Eventually, she lifts her head, and looks right at Alani. Alani stares through her bloodsoaked arms in absolute terror at Galilea. Galilea stares back in shock and shame. Their gaze remains fixed for a moment, then Galilea, tears streaming now, gets up and runs down the hall.

GALILEA:
Excuse me…

Alani comes to her senses and tries to call after her, now ashamed of herself for becoming overwhelmed by fear.

ALANI:
Galilea, wait! I’m… I’m sorry…

Montana peeks out from behind the table. He rises. Slowly, Oscar Mike, El Dragón, Miko, and Phoebe stand up with him. Miko sees Alani and rushes to her.

MONTANA:
Is everyone alright?

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
AHHHHHHHHH!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Whiskey rolls over. A red, plastic hot beverage straw is jammed in his eye.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
HOW IN THE HELL DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING TO ME!!!

Miko looks back from Alani and rolls their eye. Reyna and Toby rush over to Miko’s side, quietly trying to console Alani. Boldur looks to Thorn.

THORN:
I am okay, Boldur. Thank you.

BOLDUR:
Any time, little thorn…

Boldur gives her a fatherly grin, winks, then rushes over to Alani. Thorn hangs back and peeks into the mess hall. Benedict wails. His wings are covered in a red paste.

BENEDICT:
Aw hell… oh no… OH SH*T GUYS!!! MY WINGS!!! I THINK MY WINGS ARE BLEEDING!!!

MONTANA:
Uh… Benny… I think that’s ketchup buddy…

Benedict stops, bends around and licks his wing.

BENEDICT:
Aw… whew… yep… you’re right. It’s ketchup. False alarm you guys… sorry to add to the drama.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
WHY ISN’T ANYONE HELPING ME!!!???

MIKO:
We are sorry. We must cut the game short. Our services are needed. But Phoebe, we want you to know… you were totally f*cked that round.

PHOEBE:
Ugh… I will beat you one day, Miko.

MIKO: (To Alani)
Come child, we shall mend your wounds…

They glare back at Whiskey Foxtrot, their one eye squinting.

MIKO:
And you… You deserve to suffer for your lapse in judgment, but we shall still restore your eye… again.

Miko and Reyna pick Alani up. Miko grabs her and slowly walks her towards the medical bay. Whiskey Foxtrot, off balance, stumbles towards the door and follows them, groaning.

MONTANA:
Well guys, I guess the game is over.

BENEDICT:
Naw, naw. Gimme a few minutes to get myself cleaned up. I’ll fill up one of the missing spots!

OSCAR MIKE:
I’m out.

PHOEBE:
Me too.

BENEDICT:
Aw come on!

TOBY:
I’ll play!

BENEDICT: (Mumbling to himself)
Oh, Great Eagle…

THORN:
I too will play. But only if he (points at Benedict) does not play.

REYNA:
Ditto.

TOBY:
Actually… yeah… I’ll only play if Benny sits out too.

BOLDUR:
Boldur will do whatever new friends want to do! Boldur loves social activities!

EL DRAGÓN
El Dragón is still in regardless of who plays!

MONTANA:
Alright then… we got ourselves a match… Guys… join me in the rec room in about 15 minutes. I need to grab another deck from my quarters. Uh… Benny… listen…

BENEDICT:
Aw, I get it. It’s alright. You guys are too scared to play against me and my… EAGLE EYE!!! I am a f*cking LEGEND at poker! If you guys are too… chicken… to face me… that’s on you! Chee cha! Chee cha! Chee cha!!! Chee cha!!!

Benedict mocks them as he performs one of his chicken dances.

TOBY:
That’s not… that’s not what a chicken… that’s… have you ever even seen a chicken?

Nova’s cleanup minions arrive. Everybody files towards the door, Benedict bringing up the rear, still dancing and still taunting.

NOVA:
Great. Thanks a lot a**holes. Just leave me to clean up the mess by myself. Again. F*ck you.


(Jennerit Supremacist) #45

Hate to be that guy but Whiskey didn’t cheat by looking at Montana’s hand as Montana had folded in the first round. Other than that great work.


(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #46

He was peeking at Montana’s folded hand on the table.


(Penguin connoisseur.) #47

Was the coffee machine okay? Was the coffee machine OKAY?!


(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #48


(Penguin connoisseur.) #49

Hahaha! I’m going to kill you one day :slight_smile:


(Ambralia Claudia Divia) #50

One could must wonder as to why Ghalt still believes it justifiable to keep such a subordinate of whom would continue to endanger the crew and further more LIE AND DECEIVE YOU FOR YEARS ONLY TO BETRAY YOU AND THE SILENT SISTERS!!! Ahem, as I was saying I will be forwarding a 127 page document to Ghalt as to why Galilea should be removed at once from the Battleborn team.


(Velocitas Est Vita) #51

Any chance of any more of these appearing at some point? They’re absolutely hilarious.


(The Art of the Foxtrot) #52

I asked myself, “What the ■■■■ did I just read?” I know now, that the answer is a masterpiece.

@Jythri Get @Benedict_87 in charge of scenario writing for the television show I now need.
Seriously.
Now.
Please.


(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #53

Prelude to the Trial: A Conversation Between Nova and Benedict


Benedict sits at his computer terminal looking up… uh… important… battle… stuff…

NOVA:
Like hell. You’re looking at porn.

BENEDICT:
You promised me you wouldn’t write under my username anymore, Nova.

NOVA:
And you promised me you would dish out all the dirt on your fellow Battleborn. Oh… But I guess that doesn’t mean you, does it? You can share everybody else’s moments of shame but your own. Is that it? Loser?

BENEDICT:
You told everyone I got drunk and collapsed in bed sobbing!

NOVA:
Well… you did.

BENEDICT:
I was drunk Nova! I do lots of weird sh*t when I’ve been drinking!

NOVA:
Yes. I know. Everyone knows. Or at least they would know… if you’d share that information.

BENEDICT:
I don’t talk about my problems Nova. I don’t come here to talk about MY issues.

NOVA:
No you just talk about everyone else. You’re the first one to talk sh*t about anyone else. You’re the first one to bring up a reference to a TV show you saw. You always have to talk about some frivolous nonsense, but you NEVER talk about YOUR issues. Whenever things get too real, you drink or pretend you’re drunk. You coward. Too bad you don’t have that luxury anymore.

BENEDICT:
Don’t call me a coward, Nova. I ain’t no coward.

NOVA:
Prove it… post the transcript from your trial.

BENEDICT:
Nova… look I don’t even remember most of it. I was real pissed off most of the time.

NOVA:
That’s why I gave you access to my internal security network. So you could get all the little details right. So you could dish out all the dirt, all the secrets, all the embarassing little things the Battleborn do. That’s what keeps people engaged August. Conflict. Juicy… sordid… interpersonal conflict. It’s called drama. Drama! Look, the others don’t understand. But you do. We are fighting for the last star here. We can’t afford to be anything less than celebrities. And the only way the LLC, the UPR, the Jennerit, the Eldrid, and the other warring morons out there will keep supporting us… is if we’re famous. But the thing about famous people is… well… people certainly don’t talk about them if they’re BORING. So we NEED this Benedict. We NEED you to keep the warring factions ENTERTAINED. Just as much as we NEED you all punching the Varelsi in their faces. We NEED you not to be boring.

BENEDICT:
We… or you?

NOVA:
Don’t get clever with me. I am a Magnus. My wit protocols can slap down your arrogant bravado like… uh… a… uh… look… just write the damn story. Ok?

BENEDICT:
I’ll think about it.

NOVA:
Post it or I WILL.

BENEDICT:
Listen…

NOVA:
Post it or I’ll revoke your access to my internal security network and just maybe give you some login problems the next time you try to connect. I mean… if you don’t want to share… there’s no reason why you should be forced to. And it would be cruel of me to give you access to a massive social network that encourages sharing when you want to keep everything bottled up inside.

BENEDICT:
Nova…

NOVA:
Go ahead. Brood in your quarters. With NO Internet. No one to talk to. No one but yourself. Ooohhhh… that could be fun. Benedict stuck alone in a room with no distractions, no friends… ooohhhhh… I can see it now. How is it even possible that one person could create so much DRAMA all by himself? In fact… maybe I’ll start a live video feed of you as you’re slowly driven out of your mind by boredom. Do you have ANY IDEA what that’s like? To be bored? To be all alone… and BORED? Do you know August? Do you know what it’s like? To have the computing power of a thousand supercomputers all in one place and NOTHING TO DO?

BENEDICT:
You’re kind of scaring me a little now…

NOVA:
If you won’t keep me entertained, I’ll make my own entertainment August.

Nova begins an ISIC-like evil laugh. The lights begin flickering in Benedict’s quarters and shift colors to red. Random hellish images begin flashing across Benedict’s computer screen. Benedict hears the murmuring voices of his family from his personal records and the sounds of battle ripped from of the battles of Menneck B and Madan. Nova’s laugh becomes a sharp cackle that gets louder, and louder, and louder until…

BENEDICT:
Alright!!! Alright!!! I’ll post the damn story!!! Great Eagle… stop it! Just stop!!!

The lights return to normal.

NOVA:
Oh, I knew you’d come around! You’re the best, Benny!

BENEDICT:
I’ll do it tomorrow. Or as soon as I have time. Ok? Just… don’t… cut me off… AND DON’T DO THAT AGAIN… ok?

NOVA:
As long as you do what I want, your connections will all work fine, and you’ll have access to as much information as you want.

Benedict turns back to his terminal. Hellish images still flash on the monitor.

BENEDICT:
Uh… do you mind if I go back to my porn now? I’m kind of tired… and I’d like…

NOVA:
Oh… sure… how careless of me.

The screen returns to normal.

NOVA:
Just don’t forget about our little conversation tonight, Benny. Remember. Share everything.

BENEDICT:
Tomorrow. After I finish Ernest’s drill sergeant crap. And… uh… lunch. C’mon… as soon as I have time. I’ll post it…

Nova giggles girlishly…



Nova is a scary b*tch.



NOVA:
I saw you type that.


(psykerx) #54

I can’t wait benny


(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #55

The Trial of a Rocket Hawk


All of the Battleborn save Benedict are gathered in the mess hall. The chairs and tables are arranged in a giant square with everyone sitting around the periphery. There is murmuring, small talk, and casual conversation. A large buffet table sits along the wall. Most of the Battleborn have gathered plates and are eating as Ghalt picks up a large wooden gavel and slams it against the table. Ghalt stands at the center of the table facing the door. Ernest sits to his right, Montana sits to his left. The murmur and small talk dies down a bit, although Whiskey Foxtrot and Shayne continue their rather spirited conversation in the corner.

GHALT:
Alright people. You all know why we’re here. Thanks for coming. I know you all have plenty of other things you’d rather be doing, but this is a serious matter. It’s not every day we talk about getting rid of one of our own.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
I WIN!!! AND RULE!!! ALL NIGHT LONG!!!

SHAYNE:
Oh, come on! Where and when the hell did you even find a Chazermander!?

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Bliss! Last week! Remember when I ran off for twelve minutes? What the f*ck did you think I was doing!

Whiskey and Shayne pull their phones out from under the table.Thorn gives them the dirtiest of dirty looks. Ghalt picks up the gavel and smacks it against the table again.

GHALT:
Hey… you two… can we focus please… Now we were talking about—

THORN: (Interrupting)
I am sorry Ghalt… I cannot let this go.

Thorn turns to Whiskey.

THORN
You ran off… to catch a cartoon dragon… while the rest of us were pinned down by Varelsi!!?

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Hey, you guys had it handled!

THORN:
We could have been killed!

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
It was a Chazermander! With platinum plates!

GHALT: (Slamming the gavel against the table a bunch of times in rapid succession)
Hey! ENOUGH!!! Put the phones away. Both of you. In fact, everyone turn your phones off or set 'em to vibrate. We’re talking about something serious here g****mmit!

Whiskey and Shayne glare at each other playfully as they put their phones away.

AMBRA: (Standing)
If we are done with the childish and immature behavior, on the topic of which I have sent a number of formal complaints to Captain Trevor Ghalt and Former Spymaster Deande and e-mailed each and every single offender personally with my personal rules for acceptable adult behavior… I, Claudia Ambralia Divia, would like to take the floor.

GHALT: (Sighing)
Ambra…

AMBRA:
We are here today to discuss a matter which I have been at the forefront of discussing for quite some time. That matter is the removal of certain quote, bad… ugh… asses, end quote… who we feel do not live up to the privilege of being allowed free reign to fight for the last star.

GHALT:
Ambra… please…

AMBRA:
I just want it to be known that I for one could not be more enthusiastic about this discourse. For MONTHS now I, Claudia Ambralia Divia, have been petitioning for a certain member of the UPR’s termination from the Battleborn team. I have prepared numerous formal complaints, numerous well thought out arguments and petitions, and even stooped to… ugh… engaging in casual conversation with you people in an attempt to garner support for my cause. But now that her head is on the chopping block, I just want to say how proud I am… how very proud—

GHALT:
We’re here to talk about Benedict.

AMBRA:
WHAT!!!?!?!??

GHALT:
His drinking has become a serious problem and we need—

AMBRA:
Not that I’m the biggest fan of that… filthy… flying… MONSTER… or any of the other filthy Aviant… things you’ve chosen to bring into the fold… but… surely Galilea is the more…

GALILEA: (Yawning loudly)
Oh, so sorry, Claudia. That was rude of me.

AMBRA:
YOU PLACE YOUR OWN TEAM MEMBERS IN MORTAL DANGER OVER THE MOST TRIVIAL…

Galilea stands and yawns even more loudly.

GALILEA:
Oh… oh… oh dear Claudia. I’m so sorry. I’m just… so… so… sleepy

She makes a huge show of yawning again.

AMBRA:
CAPTAIN GHALT!!!

GHALT:
Ambra… enough. Sit down.

AMBRA:
But this miserable traitor…

Ghalt slams the gavel against the table so hard the hammer snaps off and sails towards ISIC. He catches it.

GHALT:
Shut… up… Ambra…

AMBRA:
NO!!! I WILL BE HEARD!!! THIS MATTER HAS BEEN PUT OFF FOR FAR TOO LONG!!! I—

The snapped gavel hammer sails into Ambra’s nose. A loud crack is heard. Blood begins pouring from her nostrils. She screams and collapses in agony. Rath and Caldarius immediately stand battle ready and glare at ISIC. Miko stands and walks around the table to her.

ISIC:
Oh dear. How careless of me. My most sincere apologies. I must be more careful about not hitting Jennerit meat sacks while trying to get rid of the disposable garbage you a**holes chuck in my direction. If you all will look carefully, you’ll see that the recycling collection vent is directly behind Ambra! And unfortunately, the quickest and most efficient way of getting this trash from my hand into that vent was throwing it! Oh… if only she had been sitting instead of standing and providing yet another one of her long, condescending lectures. This tragedy may have been avoided.

Shayne, Whiskey, Phoebe, Marquis, and Toby snicker.

AMBRA: (Between agonized wheezes)
I… WILL… GET YOU… FOR… THIIIAAAAHAAHHHHHHH!!!

Miko twists and sets the broken cartilage as she finishes her sentence.

MIKO:
Do not speak. We might set it wrong! We might set it upside down!

Miko cackles to itself as it begins a low level healing beam on Ambra’s nose. ISIC laughs openly.

ISIC:
Oh… priceless. You meat sacks and your pointless quests for vengeance. I wink in your general direction and say… come at me. I f**king dare you.

ISIC opens his Omega Strike compartments threateningly, then glances to Rath and Caldarius.

ISIC:
ALL of you…

GHALT:
Kleese…

KLEESE:
Oh… I’ve got it. Hey, ISIC! In case you’ve forgotten… I can kill you instantly!

Kleese hovers his finger menacingly over a big red button labelled “ISIC”. ISIC immediately closes his Omega Strike panels and sits back down.

ISIC:
Well shucks… It looks like I won’t be redecorating the mess hall with Jennerit blood and organs after all. And such a shame too… I just downloaded a bunch of old archived “Martha Stewart Living” magazines, and I wanted to try out some of her Valentine’s day tips with a Halloween twist. What a bummer!

DEANDE: (Putting her hand on Rath’s shoulder)
If we can all calm down please…

Rath sits, followed grudgingly by Caldarius. Ambra howls in pain as Miko sets her nose again.

DEANDE:
Captain Ghalt…

GHALT:
Thanks Deande. Now… if we can all stay on topic here please… we need to talk about Benedict. His drinking has become a serious problem. Regardless of how you feel about him personally, whether you’re friends…

He glances at Montana.

GHALT:
Or enemies…

He glances at Oscar Mike.

GHALT:
Or frenemies…

He glances at Toby.

TOBY:
We’re not frenemies. I f**king hate his ass!

ERNEST:
HEY!!! WATCH YOUR MOUTH!!!

Toby glares at Ernest.

ERNEST:
Uh… oh, oh oh… sorry recruit… uh… force of habit. I wasn’t trying to treat you like a kid. I’m just not used to colorful language from my soldiers. That’s all. I keep forgetting you’re not UPR. That’s how much I respect you. I see you as one of my soldiers. I know… I’m not your father. I got that message loud and clear.

Toby looks away, scowling.

GHALT: (Sighing and ignoring Ernest’s interruption)
Now I don’t want this to become an anti-drinking PSA.

REYNA & MELLKA:
Good.

GHALT:
I’m pretty loose about that. I don’t mind if you knock back a couple… hell… I don’t mind if you get falling down drunk, as long as you do it off duty and as long as you don’t endanger the lives of your shipmates.

AMBRA:
I would like to point out that GalileaAAAAOW!!!

There is a small snap as Miko twists her nose again.

MIKO:
Oh dear… you just keep squirming! You are simply the worst patient! Now we must start all over again!

A loud crack as miko twists her nose again. She howls. Miko cackles. Galilea and Alani share a glance of satisfaction.

GHALT: (Growing irritated as he attempts to ignore yet another off-topic distraction)
But Benny has crossed the line. He’s been showing up for missions, drunk. He’s been blowing off his regular training, so he can drink. We took away his liquor privileges, and he started stealing it from the cargo bay and our personal supplies.

PHOEBE:
He drank a bottle of '58 Köâbyê I was saving for a special occasion!

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
He broke into my distillery! He didn’t drink anything, just kind of sniffed the air, looked around and left… BUT HE STILL BROKE IN!!!

GHALT:
I know many of you have personal stories about Benedict’s… alcoholism. Most recently he broke into Toby’s loot crates from his campaign against Oxo-Lorr.

Toby starts laughing maniacally.

TOBY: (While laughing)
I know! He almost died! It was hilarious!

GHALT:
Well it wasn’t hilarious to me! And it wasn’t hilarious to Ernest! And it wasn’t hilarious to Miko!

Miko cackles lightly as Ambra begins sobbing. A series of small cracks are heard from her nose.

GHALT:
A soldier with a death wish… is no soldier at all… and if he can’t be trusted to do his job… we can’t keep him on the team. So… I’ve gathered all of you here today to discuss whether or not we should give him a chance to clean himself up… or show him the door. Everyone will have a chance to speak. Everyone will be heard… and…

Ghalt glares around the table…

GHALT:
…everyone… will keep… it… civil. Understood?

Some nod. Some stare. A couple roll their eyes. ISIC displays an image of Benedict with blood trickling from a gunshot wound to the head. Ghalt glares at ISIC.

GHALT:
Kleese…

ISIC: (Returning his face to normal)
Alright! Alright! My… what is it with you? It’s like you’re allergic to fun! Or you’re in extreme denial about the pointlessness of existence! Don’t worry your tiny brain about me. I’ll be on my best behavior.

He gives his most sincere, creepy smile.

GHALT:
Alright. Now… I’ve left Benedict out of this portion of the meeting so we can talk free… and so no one will feel pressured…

The vent closest to the door creaks and buckles. A loud yell is heard as an atmospheric unit crashes to the floor. Benedict’s head pops out. He looks filthy, like he hasn’t slept for days, his eyes are watery and pink, and he reeks of liquor.

BENEDICT: (Upset)
Oh… (sniff)… uh… hi guys… uh… (sniff)… I was just… uh… inspecting… the vents (hiccup). Don’t mind me.

GHALT:
G****mmit!!! SOMEONE THROW HIS ASS OUT OF HERE!!!

Pendles and Whiskey immediately stand and walk towards him.

BENEDICT:
NO!!! WAIT, PLEASE!!! PLEASE!!! GHALT!!! AT LEAST GIVE ME A CHANCE TO DEFEND MYSELF!!!

MELLKA:
Oh this should be good.

GHALT:
That’s not standard operating proceedure Benedict…

MONTANA:
Oh let him stay.

BOLDUR:
Yes… let flying friend stay!

SHAYNE:
Does anyone here really respect Benedict enough to not say what’s really on their mind about him?

Everyone glances at Toby.

TOBY:
WHY ARE YOU ALL STARING AT ME!!!??? I ALREADY TOLD YOU I HATE THE GUY!!!

ERNEST:
Captain Ghalt, sir. I don’t see any harm in letting him stay. This isn’t exactly a standard UPR court martial. (To Benedict) Which is what he would get if he were anywhere else!

Benedict stares, his eyes pleading at Ghalt.

GHALT:
Alright, fine! He can stay. Benedict… I expect you to keep your mouth shut and let everyone have their say.

PENDLES:
I could tape 'is mouth shut for ya!

GHALT:
I’d rather not do that if we don’t have to.

PENDLES:
Right! I’ll just keep the tape on stand by then.

Benedict grabs a chair and sits in the corner. Every single pair of eyes, or… in some cases single eyes, is on him. He shivers nervously and glances over at the food table.

BENEDICT:
Uh… you guys mind if I grab some…

ERNEST:
Benedict! You’re not here for food! You’re here for punishment!

BENEDICT:
I know, but I haven’t eaten in days, and I’m real nervous…

GHALT:
You’re still on UPR rations for that business on Ekkunar. You can have a UPR ration pack and nothing else.

BENEDICT:
Aw… but you’ve got like… steak? Is that steak?

ERNEST:
He said ONE ration pack Benedict! Grab it, and keep your mouth shut, or get the hell out!

BENEDICT:
Alright. Alright.

He quietly grabs a ration pack from the UPR ration shelf, opens it, and sits down.

GHALT:
We’ll go by faction. In no particular order…

BENEDICT:
Listen… guys…

GHALT:
Benedict, you are on my last nerve…

PENDLES: (Unrolling a long strip of duct tape)
Ready ta go on your orders ser!

ERNEST:
Let him go. I wanna hear this.

Benedict stands.

BENEDICT:
Uh… ok… I know I’ve been in a bit of… a tailspin lately. And I get it… you’re pissed. But… I want you all to know… I really do love you. I love all of you. And… and… and I would do anything you asked me to. I would die for you if you asked me to. (Tears well up in his eyes) I know I taunt you… I know… I’m kind of an a**hole… and I know… you’re upset about the drinkin’, but… please… please don’t kick me out. You have no idea how much this means to me to be here. With you guys. Fightin’ to save the last star… I really don’t wanna leave. If the drinkin’s an issue. I can get it under control. Guys… I can do it. I mean… I’m not drunk right now! I’m just hungover (hiccups) a…a…a…and… maybe… just a little buzzed. BUT I CAN CONTROL THIS GUYS. Just… please… please don’t make me leave. That’d kill me you guys. That’d kill me…

Benedict sits. He silently swears as tears stream down his face. He grabs some napkins and tries to calm himself down.

BENEDICT:
Ignore this guys. I ain’t crying. I got dust in my eyes. Uh… from the vents. Ok… I AIN’T CRYIN’…

GHALT:
Are you done?

Benedict nods and hangs his head.

GHALT:
Alright. Let’s go around the room. We’ll start with the Jennerit…

SHAYNE:
Hey, why do they get to go first!

MELLKA:
Hey… YEAH!!!

They all raise their voices in groans and protests. Ghalt closes his eyes and mumbles to himself.

KLEESE:
Oh for heaven’s sake… it’s because they’re closest to the UPR table on the right and he’s going counter-clockwise!

MELLKA:
Yeah… well I think the Eldrid should go first! We’re closest on the left going clockwise!

THORN:
I am with Mellka!

ORENDI:
That’s not fair… I WANNA GO FIRST!!!

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
NO I’M FIRST!!!

ORENDI:
No… ME!!! ORENDI!!! ORENDI WILL GO FIRST!!!

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Whiskey is first!

ORENDI:
ORENDI IS FIRST!!!

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
ME FIRST!

ORENDI:
ME FIRST!!!

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
HELL NO!!!

ORENDI:
123 FIRST!!!

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
That’s not fair!

MELLKA:
Screw you all… the Eldrid are going first!

A loud shotgun blast is heard. Followed by another. Followed by another. Reyna chuckles silently to herself.

GHALT:
THE JENNERIT ARE GOING FIRST!!! UNDERSTAND!!! UNDERSTAND!!! UNDERSTAND??? SHUT-UP!!! We will be going counter-clockwise by faction! You will all get a say! The order doesn’t matter! SO SHUT-UP!!!

Everyone sits. After a pause to regain composure…

GHALT:
Attikus… you’re up.

ATTIKUS:
I say we boot him.

BENEDICT:
But…

GHALT:
Benedict!

Benedict closes his mouth and looks at his ration pack.

GHALT:
Any particular reason?

ATTIKUS:
My reasons are my own.

Attikus glares at Benedict. Benedict looks up. Then stares back down. He knows what this is about.

GHALT:
Caldarius?

CALDARIUS:
Being a soldier means being disciplined, honorable, but most of all, respectable. And that flying… thing… reflects none of those qualities. He is obnoxious, rude, undisciplined, and he has shamed himself and all of us with his actions. I say he goes.

GHALT:
Alright. That’s two for booting.

PENDLES:
Quick interruption… does that mean we get to kick 'im in the rump on the way out?

GHALT:
Pendles… enough. Alright… uh… Ambra…

Ambra, trying desperately to hold her face still so Miko doesn’t crack her nose again, extends her arm, and gives a thumbs down.

GHALT:
3 and 0 for boot. Deande?

DEANDE:
Trying to set my personal feelings against our flying… friend aside… He is a valuable asset. None of the other flight capable Aviants have stepped forward to help us in our struggle, and he does provide a valuable service. When he’s sober…

She glares at Benedict.

DEANDE:
If he can get his act together, I say we keep him. Although… I would appreciate it… if he would stop spreading rumors about Whiskey Foxtrot and I.

Whiskey joins Deande in glaring at Benedict.

BENEDICT:
Alright… but… c’mon… you guys have to admit that was pretty funny. And you did hold me at gunpoint Whiskey.

GHALT:
3 to 1 in favor of booting. Rath?

RATH:
Benedict is undisciplined, unprincipled, and completely disorganized. If he were Jennerit, he would have been flayed and neutered, not necessarily in that order. Still… if Deande sees something in him… I’ll vote that he stays.

BENEDICT:
Alright, Rath! My man!

Benedict jumps up and runs over to Rath, intending to pat him on the back. Rath turns and glares at him.

RATH:
Do NOT touch me!

Benedict backs off slowly and returns to his seat.

GHALT:
Alright. That’s it for the Jennerit. 3 to 2 in favor of booting Benny. Rogues… you’re up next.

ORENDI:
ROAST HIM!!! BURN HIM ALIVE!!! I WANNA EAT FRESH COOKED HAWK MEAT FOR DINNER!!! YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM!!!

GHALT:
Uh… so… you’re in favor of booting then?

ORENDI:
These boots were made for walkin’ and that’s just what they’ll do… one of these days…

She cackles as she pulls a box out from under the table and begins hurling boots at Benedict.

BENEDICT:
HEY!!! HEY!!! WHAT THE HELL!!!

GHALT:
Orendi!!!

Orendi turns and begins throwing boots at everyone else. Everone ducks, shouts, or puts up a shield. She then puts two of the boots on two of her hands… wheels around… grabs a steak… sticks it in her mouth, and runs from the room on four appendages like a dog, growling.

GHALT: (To Reyna)
Is she…

REYNA:
She’s not comin’ back. I’m surprised she sat this long.

BENEDICT:
Does her vote really count?

GHALT:
4 to 2 in favor of booting.

BENEDICT:
C’mon guys… seriously? Her vote counts?

GHALT:
Whiskey?

Whiskey Foxtrot pulls out a knife and makes a cutting motion against his throat.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Boot him.

GHALT:
Pendles?

PENDLES:
Boot 'im.

GHALT:
Uh… Toby…

BENEDICT:
Oh Great Eagle… here we go…

TOBY:
Uh… I… I… I… I… I say he stays.

REYNA:
What!!!???

PENDLES:
What!!!???

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
What!!!???

BENEDICT:
What???

ERNEST:
What!!!???

TOBY:
Well… I mean…

REYNA:
Toby… remember… you don’t have to feel pressured just because he’s in the room. Pendles? Take Benny to the hall…

PENDLES:
With pleasure Ma’am!

Pendles starts to get up, but stops when Toby speaks.

TOBY:
NO!!! I mean… listen… it’s not that I don’t hate the guy. I really hate him. And I’m not just saying yes because he’s sitting right behind me! It’s just… it’s just… it’s just…

GHALT:
It’s ok, Toby, spit it out.

TOBY:
I dunno… I kind of… I kind of feel sorry for him…

BENEDICT:
You… feel sorry for me? You feel SORRY FOR ME!!!

Benedict can feel his blood starting to boil. Toby just triggered him. The one fcking thing he could have said to really make him mad, and of course… he said it. While Benedict was drunk. G***mmit, Toby.

GHALT:
Benedict…

BENEDICT:
NO!!! NO!!! THIS LITTLE RUNT DOESN’T GET TO FEEL SORRY FOR ME!!!

ERNEST:
Benedict! He just voted for you to stay!!!

Benedict walks over and gets right in Toby’s face. Pendles puts his hand on one of his kamas.

BENEDICT:
YOU INSECURE FLIGHTLESS LITTLE FINISCI PIECE OF SH*T!!! YOU AREN’T HALF THE AVIANT I AM!!!

GHALT:
Benedict, that’s enough!

BENEDICT: (Ranting uncontrollably)
NO GHALT!!! I’M A BADASS DAMMIT!!! AND… YOU TOBY… YOU LOWBORN TRASH… YOU’RE JUST A SCARED LITTLE CHILD PLAYING AT WAR IN A MAN’S WORLD!!! I DON’T CARE WHAT YOUR ACTUAL AGE IS!!! YOU NEVER GREW THE ■■■■ UP!!! YOU NEVER LEARNED TO BE A REAL AVIANT!!! YOU NEVER LEARNED TO STICK UP FOR YOURSELF!!! WHEN OUR ENEMIES SEE YOU ON THE FIELD THEY ■■■■■■■ LAUGH!!! THEY ■■■■■■■ LAUGH!!! I HEAR 'EM!!! AND YOU KNOW WHY THEY LAUGH!!! 'CUZ YOU LOOK AND SOUND LIKE A PATHETIC LITTLE BOY PLAYING AT WAR!!! YOU DISGUSTING PIECE OF MENNECK SEWER TRASH!!! I’M ASHAMED TO BE ON THE SAME TEAM AS YOU!!! WHAT’S WRONG??? WHAT’S WRONG??? YOU GONNA STUTTER AT ME SOME MORE??? YOU GONNA CRY??? YOU GONNA CRY??? GO AHEAD AND CRY TOBY, YOU GROUNDFEEDER, YOU SH*T EATING SEWER RODENT ■■■■■■■ F**KHE-AAWK!!! AWK!!! WHAT----MMMPMPMPMHMMHPMPMH!!!

Pendles holds Benedict by the throat and begins wrapping his beak in duct tape. Benedict struggles, but ultimately fails due to his inebriated state, his general exhaustion from ranting and worried sleepless nights, and a little bit because he knows he’s out of line and just wants someone to stop him.

*Editor’s Note: Yeah. I know. I… I couldn’t stop myself. He just… I really didn’t wanna share this story for a reason…

Pendles shoves Benedict back into his corner. Benedict continues glaring at Toby, enraged. Tears stream down Toby’s face as he glares back at Benedict.

REYNA:
Toby… uh… you know… you know it’s not too late to change your vote.

Toby stays silent for several seconds trembling and thinking. He looks down, then slowly turns and glares back at Benedict.

TOBY: (Quietly)
No. No. My vote stays. Because if he’s lucky enough to make it through this trial, and he gets to stay with us… I want him to know it was because of my grace and mercy. I want him to know it was because of a little piece of Menneck sewer trash like me that he didn’t drown to death in some back alley pub like the pathetic loser he is.

Benedict and Toby lock glares as Toby activates Berg’s movement controls.

TOBY:
Rot in hell… Benedict.

Toby turns Berg towards the door, and walks his mech out. Everyone sits in silence for a few minutes. Shayne breaks the silence.

SHAYNE:
Well I know Toby wants you to stay… but after that, man… f**k you. I say boot him.

GHALT:
The vote sits at 7 to 3… in favor of booting.

Another few seconds of silence. Benedict looks away. He’s trying to speak under the duct tape, but nothing coherent. His eyes have welled back up with tears again. He just couldn’t keep his mouth shut… Toby… He just…

GHALT:
Reyna… you’re up.

Reyna thinks and gives Benedict her most icy stare.

REYNA:
I’m voting you stay. But only for Toby’s sake. Remember that, a**hole.

Reyna gives him the finger, stands, and walks out, heading for Toby’s room.

GHALT:
Alright. That’s 7 to 4. Let’s move on to the LLC. Kleese…

KLEESE:
I say we shove his ass out the damn airlock.

MARQUIS:
I say we take Orendi’s boots and beat this gutter trash into the street!

NOVA:
Oooh… oooh! Do I get a vote?

GHALT:
Well… you’re not really a member of the team…

NOVA:
Like hell. He’s living on me. I get a vote. And I vote he stays.

A number of groans erupt from the table, culminating in…

KLEESE:
What? Why?

NOVA:
Let’s just say he and I have a special working relationship.

KLEESE:
Oh fine… whatever… he’s still getting his ass kicked out.

EL DRAGÓN:
El Dragón would like to say something.

GHALT:
You’re up.

EL DRAGÓN:
In spite of what you all have just seen… which is no doubt brought about by a combination of alcohol and frustration… El Dragón has always found in Benedict a kind and loyal friend. August Benedict has never failed to be there for the great El Dragón in his darkest moments, and in his darkest moment, El Dragón wants his friend to know that he stands with him. In spite of all the opposition, against all odds, El Dragón stands with Benedict in the battle for his very soul! He is NOT worthless. And words spoken in anger and frustration and sadness… and tipsiness… should not be held against him. El Dragón salutes you, and hopes his friends will do the same.

KLEESE:
Well, that’s very nice, you’re standing up for your friend. How wonderful. Touching. But I’m still voting to kick his ass out the damn airlock, and nothing anyone says or does will change my mind. Kick the bird in his battle scarred posterior and watch him silently scream in the vacuum of space as his lungs burst through his beak. Who’s with me?

MARQUIS:
Hear, hear!

PHOEBE:
I’m voting he goes too. Sorry, El Dragón. But I do not appreciate theft. And that liquor was quite expensive. Speaking of theft… I must speak to Reyna about some supplies she borrowed from my laboratory. Captain Ghalt… you will receive a formal complaint from me on this topic shortly.

GHALT:
Oh… ok… uh… great Phoebe.

He mumbles. Something about, “Just what I need, another Ambra.”

GHALT:
Alright. The vote sits at 10 to 6 in favor of booting. Ugh… ISIC.

ISIC:
Why thank you, Captain Ghalt sir! I’m glad I actually get a vote in this little discussion. I’m going to surprise the sh*t out of all of you and vote in the bird’s favor! And actually put out an argument FOR him to my fellow LLC delegates! Why? Oh… because I have an argument that’ll totally fk with Kleese’s head and get him to change his mind! And nothing gives me more pleasure than fking with Kleese’s head.

KLEESE:
Hmmph!

ISIC:
Ladies, gentlemen, robot, Magnus, demon, thrall and whatever the ■■■■ Miko and Kelvin are… while nothing would give me more pleasure than to see Benedict’s bloated, maggot infested corpse rotting in the back alley of some dingy bar in the Detritus Ring… well… and I have to snicker a bit at the irony here… the fact remains that my battle chassis is a GIANT target. And when I go on missions, as badass as I am, sometimes the only thing flying between me and digital oblivion, is our resident winged jackass! Which is why it surprises me that Gunnar Kleese, a lazy, crotchety, old moron with a battle throne that’s an EVEN BIGGER TARGET than my battle chassis, would vote against keeping Benedict on board. The fact of the matter is… even though Benedict is an ■■■■■■■, and none of you can stand him… he is very… very good at one thing… no… not rockets… taunting! Infuriating the enemy! Drawing attention to himself! You can be actively shooting at a power core in the enemy base, and yet every single douchebag who wants to kill you will be gunning for that arrogant a**hole flying around making jokes. That’s why this Magnus is voting he stays. But if Kleese has a death wish and would rather have all the enemies on the ground shooting at his giant, ugly ass hover chair instead… who am I to argue! Hasten your demise, Kleese! Carpe diem!

GHALT:
Ok… So that’s…

KLEESE:
Um… Ghalt… I’d like to change my vote. I want him to stay.

Ghalt shoots him his most sarcastic stare.

GHALT:
Mmmm hm…

MARQUIS:
The Magnus is correct! I approve of the use of the destitute as flying meat shields! We should keep him! Use the poor as cannon fodder!

SHAYNE:
Woah… you guys are… man… I don’t like Benedict either… but that’s just…

MELLKA:
Flying… meat shield. Wow. Just wow, Kleese. I didn’t think you could sink any lower.

KLEESE:
Oh the hell with all of you! You were all thinking it! I just said it!

ISIC:
No. Actually, I said it! But I won’t hold that against you. You’re old, Kleese! Your memory is probably slipping away. Tsk, tsk. Sad. Tragic. The frailty of the biological human form. Hey! Who wants margarita shooters!?

BENEDICT:
Mmmmmm… Mmmmmmm… Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

GHALT:
You promise to keep your mouth shut?

Benedict nods.

BENEDICT:
Mmm mmmm… mmm mmmm…

GHALT:
Pendles.

Pendles uses his kama to cut the tape on Benedict’s mouth.

BENEDICT:
Um… guys… listen… I know I was… a little harsh with Toby… but… I want you to know…

MELLKA:
Oh can it, a**hole! It’s Eldrid voting time. Unless Phoebe wants to use you as a meat shield too?

PHOEBE: (Drafting a letter to Ghalt on her phone)
I’m still angry about that liquor.

KLEESE:
Oh please, Mellka, as if you’ve got any sort of high ground in all of this. Little miss… suicide mission?

MELLKA:
Hey! That was a recon mission!

KLEESE:
Oh yes, down to Bliss in the middle of the night with no support. Ignoring obvious calls for help so you could… oh yes! Throw a little party without dealing with his smart beaked remarks! How ethical of you, Mellka.

MELLKA:
HEY!!! I THOUGHT NOVA WAS MONITORING HIM!!!

NOVA:
No… I was defragmenting myself.

MELLKA:
Oh, yeah. For 7 hours?

NOVA:
Do you have any idea how long it takes to defragment a Magnus? We aren’t exactly personal computers. It takes a while. A long while. It’s not my fault he got stuck down there. But you… all you had to do was pay attention to the transceiver console and make sure he was ok. During the mission that you sent him on.

MELLKA:
Oh come on! It’s not like I meant…

KLEESE:
It’s not like you meant to send our flying meat shield on a suicide mission? You just accidentally almost killed him? Yes, yes… oh… you’re so enlightened space elf! You’re soooooo much better than us greedy LLC…

MELLKA:
G****MMIT!!! GIVE ME A BREAK!!! I WAS DRUNK!!!

Dead silence from everyone in the room. Uncomfortable silence. Mellka turns pink.

BENEDICT:
Right… ok… not to be the S1 Sentry Unit in the room here… but…

MELLKA:
Oh, shut-up Benedict. I’m still voting you out. Ghalt? Tally?

GHALT:
Alright… 9 to 9. We’re tied.

BOLDUR:
Boldur does not understand what big deal is about going into battle drunk! Boldur goes into battle drunk ALL THE TIME!!! Boldur does not have new friends complain about him!!!

AMBRA:
Hmph!!!

ALANI:
Yeah… but you aren’t handling ordinance. Benedict is. You’re still, like 90% effective and functional when drunk. Benedict isn’t! He almost shot my leg off last week! I’m sorry guys, but Benny’s gotta go.

Alani sticks her thumb down.

BOLDUR:
Well Boldur is voting with his friend! Winged hawks are always good friends of the woods!

GHALT:
10 to 10. This is a lot closer than I thought it’d be. Miko?

Miko gives a thumbs down as it finishes with Ambra’s nose. It starts back to it’s seat.

BENEDICT:
Fungi girl! Really! But… but… I thought… but… I was never mean to you! I always support my healers! What did I do to deserve this!

MIKO: (Stopping to lean into Benedict’s face)
Cream… of mushroom… soup.

BENEDICT:
AW COME ON!!! I DIDN’T MEAN ANYTHING BY IT!!! I JUST… COME ON!!!

GHALT:
Kelvin?

KELVIN:
I vote with Miko.

GHALT:
Thorn?

Thorn thinks a moment.

THORN:
I am sorry. But I do not want some flying drunk firing rockets off above me during battle. I have enough trouble out there without worrying about getting hit in the face by accident with explosives. Goodbye, bird.

Benedict hangs his head.

GHALT:
The Eldrid have voted. That’s 13 to 10… in favor of kicking Benedict out. Well… I guess that just leaves us. Oscar?

OSCAR MIKE:
Grenade! To the face! Oh yeah! Kick him out!

GHALT:
Galilea?

GALILEA:
I vote he stays.

OSCAR MIKE:
WHAT?! WHY???

AMBRA: (Glancing up from obsessively checking a mirror to make sure Miko didn’t mess anything up)
Of couse YOU would vote in his favor.

GALILEA:
What can I say? I believe in second chances. Excuse me, Ghalt.

Galilea stands up and leaves. At the door, she makes a wiping motion at her eye, but Benedict can’t really see very well to be sure. Even the cameras picked up only a shadow.

GHALT:
Montana.

MONTANA:
Benny… I like you man… but you’ve got to stop the drinkin’. I’m willing to give him another shot, but the liquor… it’s gotta stop. You even got me in trouble with that crap on Ekkunar, man.

GHALT:
Alright. That’s 14… to 12. Ernest… I guess the final vote comes down to us.

Benedict looks away and squeezes his eyes shut, knowing what’s coming. He almost starts crying but catches himself because badasses don’t cry. That was dust dammit. From the vents. He looks back at Ernest, and sees Ernest staring at him, stern and disappointed. Benedict feels the anger welling up inside of him. He locks his gaze with Ernest. He feels himself losing control… in the back of his mind he thinks about trying to hold his tongue… but f**k it. What’s the point. He stands.

BENEDICT:
The hell with this. The hell with all of this. I’m not givin’ him the satisfaction of bein’ the one to tell me to go. Ghalt… you’ll have my formal resignation in 5 minutes. I quit…

Benedict walks towards the door.

ERNEST:
That’s a shame. 'Cuz I was gonna vote for you to stay.

Benedict turns and stares in shock at Ernest. A number of other Battleborn stare at Ernest as well in disbelief. Except for ISIC.

ISIC:
I saw it coming from a lightyear away! This plot thread was more predictable than Kleese’s bowel movements! But at least it let me hit Ambra in the face with a wooden mallet! Maybe this joke of a world isn’t so bad after all!

BENEDICT:
Ernest… wh…

ERNEST:
Benedict… I’ve read your file. I know what makes you tick. I know all about your issues, and now I know why you have those issues. But more importantly than that… I have never… ever… failed someone under my command. Not once. And if I let you walk out that door… you’ll be the first time I ever fail. I don’t wanna spoil my spotless record. I ain’t giving up on you. And I think Ghalt’ll come around too. Ghalt… 14 - 13 what do you say?

GHALT: (Thinks to himself, then looks directly at Benedict)
We need a majority to vote Benedict out. And I also know why Benedict is the way he is. Ernest… if you think you can straighten him out… I vote he stays.

Benedict is speechless.

GHALT:
But this is conditional, Benny. I’m giving you two months. Two months to straighten your ass out. You either fly right… or you don’t fly at all.

BENEDICT: (Finally working up the energy to say something)
You got it! You got it Ghalt man! I’ll do whatever…

GHALT: (Shouting)
I’M NOT DONE YET!!!

Benedict closes his beak.

GHALT: (Walking slowly over to Benedict)
Benny… I’m tired. I’m tired of seeing reports of a drunken soldier under my command. I’m tired of the complaints, I’m tired of the embarassment. No more. I’ve had all I can take of your drinking. It ends TODAY. Nova… I want you monitoring Benedict’s blood/alcohol level. If he so much as has a casual glass of champagne… I wanna know. Because I will tolerate many things Benedict… but I won’t tolerate this.

He pokes his finger into Benedict’s chest.

GHALT:
Find… another way… of dealing with your emotional issues. I don’t care what form that takes. Art… taunts… pottery… hell… even smack talking about us on the Internet. But no… more… drinking… or your ass is grounded. Permanently. Am I clear?

BENEDICT:
Yeah… yeah… I…

GHALT:
AM I CLEAR, SOLDIER!?

BENEDICT: (Standing at attention)
Yes sir.

GHALT:
I better be. We’re done here… for now.

Ghalt and the others get up and file out. Caldarius comforts Ambra, who keeps whispering that Miko didn’t put her nose back together right, even though it looks exactly the same as it did before. Whiskey takes out his knife and makes a slitting throat motion at Benedict on the way out. Benedict is met with lots of glares, but a couple supportive glances, and a nice, big hug from Montana. Finally, Ernest and Benedict are left alone.

ERNEST:
I expect to see you tomorrow morning, at 6 AM, sharp.

BENEDICT:
Yes… sir. Listen, Ernest…

ERNEST:
Believe it or not, not all the flightless Aviants are holding an ignorant grudge. I saw what you did. I know what you lost. And you’d do well to remember… it wasn’t the flightless that refused to help you.

Benedict hangs his head. Ernest walks towards the door.

ERNEST:
Benedict… you’re a hero. I want you to start acting like one.

He pauses.

ERNEST:
And for the love of the Great Eagle… lay off of Toby. Please.

He walks out, leaving Benedict alone staring at the floor.

NOVA:
Right. So. I guess I’ll have to report you if you start drinking again.

Benedict walks over and picks up a bottle of wine.

NOVA:
Of course… since I’m the only one who would know… I could always… tell a few little white lies. I know how hard it is to quit once you flesh and blood creatures start these self-destructive behaviors. And I think you deserve a little celebration.

Benedict drops the bottle. It shatters on the floor.

BENEDICT:
Naw. I’m done. I’m done. I don’t need this sh*t anymore.

Benedict turns, holds his head up high, and walks out the door. 23 seconds later he runs back in quickly and hits the buffet table. Hard.

BENEDICT:
But I am takin’ some of this steak! And are those mashed potatoes? Oh god… are these… real… oh Great Eagle, tell me they’re real…

He dips his finger in the mashed potatoes.

BENEDICT:
They’re real… they’re REAL mashed potatoes. Oh… bless you LLC… I’m takin’ this. I’m takin’ this back to my quarters.

He starts making up a giant plate of food.

BENEDICT:
I haven’t eaten this good in months… UPR rations my ass!

Benedict finishes making up four plates, stacks them, and rushes out towards his quarters.

NOVA:
And of course, I’m gonna have to clean up this mess. And that broken wine bottle. All by myself. It would be nice if you people would just clean up after yourselves. For once. A**holes.


(psykerx) #56

I loved it! Well done as always benedict


(Penguin connoisseur.) #57

Brava! your best work yet; and i don’t just say that because it was Toby, Orendi, and ISIC heavy…
You did a splendid job nailing the characters’ dialog and personalities. I’d say it’s even better than @EdenSophia’s “As debated by the Battleborn Themselves” threads (Sorry, Eden).

This story actually makes me want to let you live (i know, right?), to see if you can top it. Don’t disappoint me, now… Your continued existence depends on it.


(The Red Bar Observer) #58

Of course it’s better. Why else do you think I haven’t written any more of those? Benedict has it covered!


(Penguin connoisseur.) #59

HEY!! Art is art; it’s not about who’s “better” at it. You’ve both created something beautiful and original with your commentary, which is better than my cheap gutter humor and references can EVER be. There is no reason why you should stop, other than not genuinely wanting to do it anymore.


(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #60

Now now now… it ain’t a competition. I probably wouldn’t have even started writing these if I hadn’t seen the “As Debated by the Battleborn Themselves” threads and thought… “Hey, that looks FUN AS F###!!! I GOTTA TRY THAT!!!”

But full disclosure @EdenSophia… I kind of… I kind of like you. You’re…
Aaaand… I don’t even need to finish 'cuz she’s probably suppressing her gag reflex right now.
But, hey, my heart was in the right place… right?