Benny's Battleborn Tales


(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #81

Miko Aftermath and a Confrontation with Mellka


Was there fallout from Miko’s late night activities? Hell… yeah. Hell yeah. And I’ve got it all here. Hey, Miko! This is what you get for being an a**hole!


Benedict is leaning on the wall outside of a meeting room on Tempest. Ghalt, Kleese, Deande, Reyna, and Mellka are arguing with each other, Miko, Ambra, Alani, and Pendles inside over Miko’s late night… activities. Unfortunately, Benedict wasn’t invited into the meeting, and they held it off Nova, so Benedict had no way of knowing what was said specifically. And this thread is devoted to THE TRUTH and not SPECULATION… so… Benedict will not say what he THINKS was said. Only what was heard. The door opens. Benedict ducks for cover.

GHALT:
…Would just like to go one week without someone making an embarrassing scene! Just one week!

Ghalt storms down the hall. Ambra calls after him.

AMBRA:
You are making a terrible mistake, Captain Trevor Ghalt! I am the most qualified and responsible person to run the medical facilities, and you are IGNORING those qualifications.

DEANDE:
I would also like to state on the record that I would prefer Claudia to take over Miko’s duties in the medical bay! Especially after this most recent incident!

AMBRA:
You mean this most recent ELDRID incident!

MELLKA:
Alright… yes! We all know Miko was in the wrong! But Alani never REFUSED TO TREAT A PATIENT PURELY OUT OF SPITE!!!

AMBRA:
It was NOT spite! I was…

MELLKA:
Oh I know what you were doing. You were just following orders.

AMBRA:
Yes, because you’re soooooo much better little miss suicide mission.

MELLKA:
OKAY!!! I GET IT!!! I F**KED UP!!! OKAY??? But you know what… at least I admit it! At least I take responsibility for my actions! You hide behind your little shield of just following orders and all’s forgiven!

AMBRA:
How… DARE YOU!!!

DEANDE: (Putting her hand on Ambra’s shoulder)
Enough. We will see how well the Eldrid handle the medical bay with Alani in charge. And if it turns out a mistake was made… the Jennerit will not fail to pick up the pieces.

Deande and Ambra turn and head towards the elevator. Mellka calls after them.

MELLKA:
OF COURSE NOT!!! BECAUSE THE JENNERIT ARE WELL KNOWN FOR THEIR TRUSTWORTHY LOYALTY AND BENEVOLENT, NON-DESTRUCTIVE LEADERSHIP!!!

KLEESE:
I still don’t understand why the LLC can’t run the medical bay.

REYNA:
So only those who can pay get treatment?

PENDLES:
You tell 'im Reyna!

Reyna punches Pendles in the face.

REYNA:
Oh… I’m sorry! Was I talking to you? Was I talking to you??? Guess who’s clearing out the Rogues’ septic lines for the next 8 weeks? What’s that? Is 8 weeks too long? Well maybe you should’ve thought of that before you told everyone about my hemorrhoids!!!

Reyna storms off.

PENDLES:
Look! I already offered to share some of the winnings with ya! What more do ya want?

Pendles runs after Reyna. Kleese floats off.

KLEESE: (Mumbling to himself as he glides by Benedict towards his shuttle)
Well… that’s the way the universe works. You have people who have and people who have not. It’s not a happy utopia where everybody gets along…

Miko emerges hanging its head in shame and talking to itself.

MIKO:
We did not know the information was secret! We share everything! We know everything about ourselves! We laugh at ourselves! We… we did not see the harm in earning money for sharing… we did not know! Orange. Orange. Orange. Grey. We did not know! Pendles said it was harmless! Pendles told us it was easy shards! Pendles lies. Pendles sneaks! We did not know! We were never asked to take hippo critic oath! What is hippo critic oath? Hippo critic oath is strange! Should have asked us! Should have explained it! Blue, Blue-green, Blue. Grey. Grey. We did not know! We heal! We heal! We share! We give of ourselves! We laugh at ourselves! We do not understand.

Miko pauses, thinking.

MIKO: (Sadly)
We do understand. You do not share… you do not give of yourselves… you do not laugh at yourselves. You are fools. You are aliens. You are alone. We did not know. How sad. Blue. Blue. Grey. Alani is like them. Alani is alone. Alani is sad. Alani will not share. Alani will be their hippo critic fool. Sharing but not sharing. Alani.

Miko walks off. Alani emerges and walks up to Mellka.

ALANI:
Mellka… uh… listen… I appreciate your confidence in me… but I don’t know if I’m ready for this…

MELLKA:
Hey! You’ll do great kid! Everybody likes you… well… except Ambra, but who gives a sh*t about her! You’ll be fine. Plus, you know how to keep a secret.

ALANI:
Are you mad at Miko?

MELLKA: (She glances at it as it walks down the hall)
I’m mad at how this made the Eldrid look. But I’m not mad at Miko. I don’t think it understood that what it did was wrong. I am mad at Pendles, and I am mad at the Jennerit for trying to turn this into an Eldrid thing… but I’m not mad at Miko.

ALANI:
Well, as much as I hate to say it… if Benedict hadn’t told everyone…

MELLKA:
I’m not giving him any credit. He’s still on my sh*t list. And he could’ve gone through proper channels instead of posting that publicly on the internet. He accidentally did right. That doesn’t make him a good person. I’ve seen him at his lowest, and yeah… I made some mistakes dealing with it… but still… don’t ever think he has anything but his own best interests on his mind. Because he doesn’t. He’s a selfish, arrogant jackass, and he doesn’t care what anybody else thinks, he doesn’t care about anyone else’s feelings, and he doesn’t care about anyone else’s culture. So f**k him.

ALANI:
Well, I…

Benedict sneezes.

ALANI:
What the hell was that?

Mellka gives her a look.

MELLKA:
Benedict… was that you?

BENEDICT:
Uh… uh… no…

MELLKA:
Of course… Alani… go back to the ship… I’ll meet you there. I gotta straighten some feathers…

Alani walks off. Benedict finds himself cornered by Mellka.

BENEDICT:
Uh… so… I take it Alani is in charge now? That’s good! At least it’s not Ambra. Am I right? Uh… uh… am I right?

MELLKA:
Let’s get one thing straight. I don’t like you. You’re the worst of the worst. And the only reason I’m not allowed to send you on any more “punishment” missions is because Ghalt and Ernest mandated it. Poor little Benedict with his sad little drinking problem. He gets off the hook. But Mellka ■■■■■ up and nobody can shut-up about it. Yeah, I know. I ■■■■■■ up on Bliss. I did. But you don’t get it. You don’t. I was mad, Benedict, and you don’t even know why I was mad at you. And you probably never will. So what’s the point? What’s the point of punishing you if you won’t learn? You probably just assumed I was being a b**ch right? ■■■■, you didn’t even try to understand why I did what I did. I was mad Benedict. I was real mad. And I was tired. You don’t know what it’s like to watch your culture slip away before your eyes, till even your leaders don’t care about their own heritage. You should never have been let off with a slap on the wrist by the Ekkunar Council. But you did. You did, and I got mad. And I sent you down to Bliss and had a few drinks at a party, because I needed some fun. I needed to release just for a little bit away from you because even though that might have been some crumbling old shrine nobody gave a ■■■■ about anymore, to you, and maybe to the elders, it wasn’t to me. And I wanted to make sure you understood that. What you did was wrong. And you brushed it off like a ■■■■■■■ joke. Because that’s what you do. You don’t take anything seriously… everything’s a joke… everyone’s private torments are funny. Put that in your ■■■■■■■ blog post. Put that in your big scoop, Mr. “Journalistic Integrity” with your little tabloid gossip thread. Report what I just said, then sit back in your quarters, all alone because even your own people can’t stand you, and sit with your smug little grin thinking about all the drama you caused today. You’re despicable. And we’re done here.

Mellka starts to walk off.

BENEDICT:
Ok… yeah… yeah… hey… but I didn’t hear an apology in that little rant, Mellka! For almost killing me? Sorry Benedict, I almost killed you? I can still tack that on at the end of my post!

Mellka flips Benedict off as she walks away. Benedict stands and wonders how HE’S the one who did wrong when SHE sent him on a suicide mission. He’ll still post the rant, but he seriously doesn’t get it.


(Gt: YaCantDutchThis) #82

Oh boy! ‘Ere I go likin’ again!


(Gone off comms, will update this when i feel like) #84

@viraforti this is @Benedict_87’s archive of drama. do not call him out on his lack of plumage for the love of all that is holy. he has bragged about his posing for risqué photos


(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #85

El Dragón Reacts to His Nerfs


Ok… so… I kind of… sort of… broke my own rules and put a few longer posts in other threads. Because f**k rules! Who needs that sh*t!? Anyway… here’s a compilation of posts that tell the story of a great luchador… who takes the game version of himself just a bit too seriously. Our tale begins with me looking at my nerf, and then spirals downhill from there.


THEY GOT RID OF MY CRIT ROCKETS!!??
Awwwwwwwwww…
They were awesome!!!
Oh well. I’ll still kick ass without ‘em.
Because I… am… amazing.
And no nerf, no stat change, no Varelsi shootin’ off my wing is ever gonna take that away from me.
You hear me Dragon Man? it’s gonna be ok.
Just because they took away something awesome, it doesn’t make you any less awesome.
And… Dragon Man… Dragon… C’mon, MAN!!! Get up!

EL DRAGÓN: (Between sobs)
El Dragón really is a… a… a… cripple now…

Uncontrollable sobbing…

ME:
Uh… guys… he’s been like, crying on my shoulder for like, an hour and a half. I really don’t know what to do. It’s gettin’ real awkward…

EL DRAGÓN:
Hold me…

Wraps his robot arms around me.

ME:
Ok… someone’s gotta help me out with this… please? Someone? Anyone?


Nobody came to help me out with that. Although some of 'em decided to make little jokes at me… Whiskey… you a**hole. But anyway… after his… his… uh… hold on…

BENEDICT:
YO!!! DRAGON MAN!!! WHAT THE HELL DID YOU WANT ME TO CALL IT?

EL DRAGÓN:
IMPASSIONED DRAMATIC EMPATHY!!! THE HALLMARK OF A TRUE SHOWMAN!!! THE GREAT EL DRAGÓN WANTS ALL THE LADIES TO KNOW… HE MAY BE A LUCHADOR SUPREME, SWIMMING IN FAME, AND FORTUNE, AND GLORIOUS ABS… BUT HE HAS A HEART!!! A WOUNDED SOUL THAT MUST BE MENDED, IF YOU WILL!!! NOW WRITE!!! TELL THE TALE MY FLYING FRIEND!!! SING THE SONG OF THE WOUNDED WARRIOR CHAMP WITH A HEART OF PASSION!!!

BENEDICT:
Uh… huh… yeah. Ok. Not the way I’d phrase it… but… that. So anyway. After that… this happened. This takes place shortly after my trial.


Phoebe, Toby and Reyna are having an argument in the cargo bay.

PHOEBE:
You had no right to borrow my laboratory equipment without first consulting me, Reyna!

REYNA:
Dumb b**** says what?

TOBY:
What?

REYNA:
No… Toby… you’re supposed to let her say…

El Dragón enters looking completely dismayed. His eyes are red and he has clearly been crying. He begins looking around the crates, oblivious to the presence of the other three.

EL DRAGÓN: (To himself)
I know you’re around. I know you’re on board… Why did you shut your comms off… I… I just… I need to talk to someone… someone who… who… understands…

PHOEBE:
El Dragón, are you ok?

EL DRAGÓN: (Hastily trying to compose himself upon realizing he’s not alone)
AH!!! PHOEBE!!! Worry not fair lady! El Dragón is… is ready! Ready to defend your honor, in battle against those who would besmirch your good name!

REYNA:
Whatcha lookin’ for!

EL DRAGÓN:
Why my sweet lady… El Dragón is looking for you…

REYNA:
Yeah. Enough bulls***. What are you looking for?

EL DRAGÓN: (Continuing his prideful act)
Passion… commitment… a union of two souls…

TOBY:
Benedict’s in the back there.

BENEDICT:
What!!! Toby… NO!!! Don’t…

EL DRAGÓN:
Ah thank you… my most adorable little admirer. Allow me to provide you with an autographed copy of my latest publicity photo…

El Dragón hands out an autographed photo to Toby. He glares back at him.

TOBY:
I… I… I… I… am… NOT ADORABLE!!! WHAT IS IT WITH YOU PEOPLE!!?!??! WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO? BRUTALLY PEEL OFF SOMEONE’S SKIN AND WEAR IT LIKE A COAT? DO I NEED TO KNIFE MY FACE WITH A BUNCH OF COOL SCARS FOR YOU TO TAKE ME SERIOUSLY!!??? WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO!!??? TELL ME!!!

EL DRAGÓN:
Well little boy… to become a great luchador like El Dragón…

TOBY:
I AM NOT A LITTLE BOY!!! WHAT THE F**K IS WRONG WITH YOU!!???

EL DRAGÓN:
There is NOTHING WRONG WITH El Dragón!!! El Dragón is beautiful, undefeatable, amazing…

Tears begin welling up in his eyes.

EL DRAGÓN:
But… but… I’m… I’m… getting nerfed!!! Eveyone wants El Dragón to be a funny joke!

Phoebe and Reyna back towards the door. El Dragón starts sobbing openly.

TOBY:
Uh… uh… oh… uh… are you… don’t… don’t cry… awwwwww… now I kind of feel bad…

Phoebe and Reyna glance at each other briefly and roll their eyes. They turn back.

TOBY:
Listen… hey… it’s ok man… they nerfed my force field too… they nerf things all the time… but it’ll get better.

EL DRAGÓN:
Hold me…

El Dragón grabs Toby from Berg and begins squeezing him against his chest.

TOBY:
Hey… (gasp)… hey… (gasp)… I… (gasp)… can’t breathe… (gasp)… Reyna… (gasp)… help…

BENEDICT: (Stepping from the back)
Dragon Man, alright… let him go. I’m here.

EL DRAGÓN:
BENEDICT!!!

He drops Toby.

EL DRAGÓN:
Did you see what they’re saying about El Dragón? They are saying he is… he is… he is… DEAD!!!

El Dragón starts to walk towards Benedict. Benedict backs away.

BENEDICT:
No… no… no… we went through this last week… no more hugging. Dude… it’s a fking video game. It’s a fking video game. It has no bearing on your being a badass here in real life. They nerf and buff people all the time. My character was like… a GOD OF ROCKETS for a while. Attikus was absolutely worthless for a while. It happens. Get over it… Seriously man… I can’t handle another support group session. I can’t do that again. 6 hours dude. 6 hours of hugging and tears over a video game. Enough! You’re better than this man. You’re El Dragón.

El Dragón nods and falls to his knees trying to regain his composure. He breathes deeply for a while, then stands.

EL DRAGÓN: (Sniffing)
You’re right. I’m El Dragón.

BENEDICT:
That’s right man… you’re El Dragón! You’re a badass!

EL DRAGÓN: (Breathing in deeply and regaining confidence)
I’m El Dragón!

BENEDICT:
Hell yeah!

EL DRAGÓN: (Shouting and extending his arms)
I’m EEEELLLLLLLLLL DRAAAAAGÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!

He runs forward towards Benedict.

BENEDICT:
Woah… dude… hold on!!!

El Dragón’s right arm catches Benedict by the stomach as he attempts to fly away. El Dragón knocks the wind out of him and runs him straight into the back wall. He collapses on the floor and rolls around gasping for breath. El Dragón marches out of the room chanting his name. Toby walks over to Benedict.

TOBY:
This doesn’t make us even. Not after the bulls**t you pulled at your trial.

Benedict coughs and sputters on the floor, but regains just enough composure to speak for a few seconds.

BENEDICT:
(gasp)… Fk you Toby… (gasp)… put some… (gasp)… fcking pants on… (gasp)

Benedict collapses on the floor in a coughing fit. Toby walks off with Reyna and Phoebe.


So yeah… that’s how Dragon Man got his groove back. And why I had stomach cramps for a good week. And…

El Dragón busts into my quarters.

EL DRAGÓN:
I WANT TO SPEAK TO ALL THE NAYSAYERS OUT THERE!!! WHO SAY EL DRAGÓN IS FINISHED!!! WHO SAY EL DRAGÓN IS DEAD!!!

BENEDICT:
Uh… yeah… sure… I’ll just be over here, repairing the lock on my door… that you busted again…

EL DRAGÓN:
ALL OF YOU!!! ALL OF YOU COWARDS WHO HIDE BEHIND YOUR LITTLE ANONYMOUS AVATARS REMARKING ABOUT THE END OF EL DRAGÓN!!! YOU WHO WOULD STATE THAT EL DRAGÓN’S TIME HAS ARRIVED!!! YOU WHO WOULD ARGUE WITH PITIOUS LAUGHTER THAT EL DRAGÓN SHOULD RETIRE!!! YOU WHO DOUBT THAT EL DRAGÓN IS STILL A CHAMPION!!! ALL OF YOU ARMCHAIR CRITICS WHO HAVE NEVER ONCE FACED ANOTHER MAN, OR ALIEN, OR ROBOT, OR VARELSI IN THE FIELD OF BATTLE!!! YOU!!! I CHALLENGE YOU TO FIGHT!!! I CHALLENGE YOU TO A ROUND IN THE RING, WITH EL DRAGÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓN!!!

EL DRAGÓN: (Whispering)
Then we shall see who truly does not have THE FIRE!!! TO BE… A… CHAMPIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!

ALANI: (Walking over to Benedict’s quarters)
What the hell is going on in here? Did you piss off El Dragón now?

EL DRAGÓN: (Turning and extending his arms)
EL DRAGÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓÓNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!

Benedict tackles Alani out of the way just a moment before El Dragón charges through, and smashes through the door to the quarters opposite Benedict’s.

MONTANA:
Benny… why is El Dragón in my room flexing? Why are my Fruity O’s and milk scattered and splashed all over the room? And why the hell is my TV busted???

ALANI:
Uh… thanks…

BENEDICT:
Yep. Hey, Dragon Man? You remember that little conversation we had about uh… you know… not tackling random people in the halls?

MONTANA:
Benedict… I’m gonna kill you buddy. I am seriously…

BENEDICT:
HEY!!! FOR ONCE—

MONTANA:
Yo!!! DRAGON!!! YOU WANNA SEE ABS… CHECK THESE BABIES OUT!!!

This quickly devolves into a grunting and flexing war between Montana and El Dragón. It’s weird. And gross. Although some of the ladies gather in the hall to watch and snicker.


ARCHIVED TALE. ORIGINAL POSTS…



(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #86

The Story of Kelvin and Aurox


AUROX: Hello Kelvin.
KELVIN: Hello Aurox.
AUROX: So… looks like we’re gonna be mates again.
KELVIN: We’ll never be mates again… not after what happened.
AUROX: You gotta admit though… we had some good times together.
KELVIN: Yeah… well… if that’s what you call livin’ good… you can count me out. I mean look at yourself. Bonded to a teenage girl for life support… what happened to you man?
AUROX: Look… I made some mistakes… I know…
KELVIN: We had it all man… money… girls… fame… and you threw it all away.
AUROX: Listen…
KELVIN: No you listen man… I poured my soul into the work man. I wrote what I really felt and you blew your nose on it. You literally used my work to collect your boogers. You wiped your nasty demon boogers on my art man. You created a booger mountain on my art… with the boogers… It was like… a booger mountain…
AUROX: Look. I never meant to disrespect you… or the craft man. I just got caught up in my work. You guys meant more to me than anything.
KELVIN: Yeah… well… you had a funny way of showin’ it.

A PAUSE…

AUROX: I’ve still got my guitar man. I never got rid of it. If you ever wanted to… for old times sake.
KELVIN: The band is dead man. The band is dead. I moved on. Get over it.


Montana and Thorn give each other a look, then look back to Attikus.

THORN:
Right… Ok…

MONTANA:
Listen… buddy… I know I’m not the best drama critic… but…

ATTIKUS:
I HAVE WRITTEN A 600 PAGE NOVEL ON KELVIN AND AUROX IF YOU’D LIKE TO READ MORE!!!

They look at each other again. Montana glances back at Attikus and thinks for a moment. His eyes widen.

MONTANA:
Well actually, Benedict’s the former English teacher on board.

THORN:
Oh yes, yes… Benedict. You should take it to him!

ATTIKUS:
He… taught English?

THORN:
Oh… uh… yes… yes… sure… uh… why not!

ATTIKUS
But… I don’t want to take it to him! He… he… he called my poetry “laughable” and “so bad, it’s good!” He DOES NOT UNDERSTAND TRUE ART!!! HE IS AN A**HOLE!!!

MONTANA:
Yeah, well… most critics are a**holes. I mean if you want us amateurs to read it, that’s cool. But if you want some real constructive feedback… you gotta take it to a professional.

THORN:
Yes, yes… we both thought it was good… but we aren’t professional critics.

MONTANA:
But it’s ok… if you don’t think it’s ready for the big spotlight.

ATTIKUS:
NO!!! FOR FAR TOO LONG MY WORK HAS KNELT IN THE SHADOWS IN FEAR!!! I SHALL TAKE IT TO BENEDICT, AND I SHALL RECEIVE A PROFESSIONAL CRITICAL OPINION!!!

Later that day I received 867 individual novels, novellas, play scripts, musicals, and books of poetry ALL written by Attikus. Thorn and Montana… I think we know who the real a**holes are here. No offense to you, Montana… but… C’MON MAN!!! I NEVER TAUGHT ENGLISH!!! That you know of…


ARCHIVED TALE. ORIGINAL POST…


(badguy5 on YouTube) #87

This was perfectly done.

I read the Kelvin / Aurox stuff and I was like “the hell? This isn’t Benny’s style at all… also, it’s garbage”

Then you made it clear that it was Attikus writing the story and it all just fell into place. So good.


(Gt: YaCantDutchThis) #88

I’m just always sitting here, waiting for Toby to be in one of the stories… When Benedict includes Toby, the stories are the best.

El Dragons was amazing btw.

Edit-
Even though I liked everything a long time ago, I only read the things about Miko today. XD Shame on me, anyways…
Makes me feel so bad for Miko, it’s not Miko;s fault Benedict. Don’t hate Miko. DX :mushroom:


(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #89

The Best Pre-Halloween Pumpkin Carving Party EVER…


So… lot’s a y’all carve pumpkins on Halloween right? Yeah. You do.
Well… here 'round Solus… we do too. We ain’t got naturally grown pumpkins anymore, but we DO have genetically modified pumpkin equivalents courtesy of the LLC food labs.
So yesterday, Toby got a little crafting group together and decided to make some “pumpkin” carvings.
What they didn’t realize is that I replaced their ordinary LLC Trademark Genetically Engineered Level 12 Jack-O-Lantern Grade Pumpkins with D’A’Quann Imitation Pumpkins.
Let’s see if they spotted the difference…


Alani, Aurox, Mellka, Miko, Montana, Orendi, Oscar Mike, Pendles, Phoebe, Reyna, Shayne, Thorn, and Toby are gathered around a table in the mess hall with a bunch of pumpkins and a frightening number of different cutting knives. Kleese is sitting in the corner, slowly stirring some tea while waiting for his gluten free spinach infused waffles to toast.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Spinach infused waffles = old man food. Gross.

They begin carving the pumpkins. Benedict watches from the closet door, cracked ever so slightly, hidden from sight. Like a… like a… like a… uh… sneaky bird pun. Whatever… here’s the important stuff…

SHAYNE:
Oh… PU… gross!!!

AUROX:
IT SMELLS LIKE SATAN’S RECTUM!!! AND I WOULD KNOW THAT SCENT!!!

MONTANA:
Oh… man… I can’t believe I stuck my hand in that!!!

PHOEBE:
And that, friends, is why you wear gloves…

Phoebe stands, all classy-like and removes her dirty gloves, trying to look poised while suppressing her gag reflex.

OSCAR MIKE:
WHY IS IT BROWN??? OH GOD!!! WHY IS IT BROWN???

PENDLES:
Well that there’s a right smelling mess…

MELLKA:
Oh… ick… it’s OOZING when I stick my knife in it…

Mellka stands and turns around, covering her mouth.

ALANI:
Toby… you… you didn’t use D’A’Quann Imitation Pumpkins did you?

TOBY:
N-n-n-no! I-I…

REYNA: (gagging)
Hey! It’s ok! Ech… ugh… He… ughhhhh… He made a mistake ok! I…

Reyna suppresses vomit and swallows…

REYNA:
Good God Toby… ugh… I think I’m gonna be sick. Uuuugghhhh…

Reyna runs from the room gagging. Miko runs to the kitchen. Montana runs to the sink and desperately tries to get the brown goo off his hand…

THORN:
I am out.

SHAYNE:
Me too… ugh… Toby… gross!

TOBY:
I-I-I-I…

MONTANA:
OH MY GOD IT’S NOT COMING OFF!!! HOW IN THE HELL DO I GET IT OFF!!!

OSCAR MIKE:
HALLOWEEN IS RUINED!!!

He whips out his assault rifle.

ALANI:
Oscar, NO!!!

Oscar Mike blasts his pumpkin. It explodes splattering all over Alani and Phoebe. Mostly Phoebe. Alani shrieks in disgust. Phoebe looks at her spoiled dress in horror and begins the loudest, most horrified scream I have ever heard. Kleese laughs maniacally from the corner while petting his cybernetic cat. Montana continues scrubbing his hand furiously. Reyna can be heard vomiting from the bathroom. Miko returns from the kitchen with a gigantic silly straw and plunges it into one of the uncut pumpkins.

MIKO:
Oh my… so many nutrients… so many nutrients… green, green green, brown…

Miko begins sucking the juices out of the pumpkin.

ORENDI:
Toby… you done screwed up. AND I LOVE IT!!!

Orendi hurls a pumpkin at Phoebe. It hits her right in the face. Now. I didn’t think anything could be louder than that first scream… Oh… but that second scream. That second scream… I think that might have shattered glass. She collapses on the floor sobbing. Kleese can’t catch his breath he’s laughing so hard; Benedict has a moment of worry that he might be having a heartattack, then remembers: it’s Kleese. Who cares? Unfortunately, Benedict can’t suppress his laughter anymore and he starts cawing maniacally from the closet.

OSCAR MIKE:
Benedict?

MELLKA:
Oh… no… he… didn’t…

BENEDICT: (Opening the closet door, and unable to control his laughter.)
Um… he he he he… hey y’all… I… I… ahahahaha… I… uh… I found the party cups!

TOBY: (Giving him his most murderous glare)
You… you…

BENEDICT:
So… uh… ahahahaha… um… mmhhmmmhmmmhmmm… uh… I’ll be going now…

MELLKA:
GET HIM!!!

BENEDICT:
AW SH*T!!!

All the occupants of the room but Miko, who’s still eating the damn pumpkins, and Kleese, who’s incapacitated with laughter, rush Benedict. He runs down the hall. Orendi grabs pumpkins and hurls 'em at him.

BENEDICT:
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN!!!

Phoebe phasegates right in front of Benedict… and I have NEVER seen her look scarier than she does with that brown pumpkin sh*t all over her face and matted in her hair. She looked like she just crawled out of a septic graveyard. Benedict feels Mellka grab him from behind by the back of the neck. And… uh… the rest of this story’s kind of unpleasant and I’d rather not talk about it. Let’s just say… uh… the response to Benedict’s practical joke was COMPLETELY uncalled for, and everyone WAY overreacted. Violently.


(Gt: YaCantDutchThis) #90

XD Awesome as always. You almost got away with it too. ;p
I’m quite disturbed by Miko though…
Just… Weird…:mushroom:

Edit-

I love Orendi. XD


(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #91

The Aviant Classical Tradition


I recently got into a discussion on the forums about Aviant classical music. And… I… once again… couldn’t keep my big mouth shut and went into one of my rants about it…

And not on this thread.

But hey! At least I was ON TOPIC this time right? Right?
Anyway… here’s the tale…


I can sing BEAUTIFULLY!!!
My singing’s so beautiful in fact it brings the other Battleborn to tears.
And then they throw stuff at me because IT’S JUST TOO MUCH BEAUTY!!!
Just the other week for example…

Benedict begins singing a random selection from Les Misérables.

MONTANA:
Benny… please? Can you NOT do that tonight? Please?

More groans are heard from adjacent rooms.

BENEDICT:
Hey… this is called ART and CULTURE y’all… get into it.

MONTANA:
Benny, no offense, but you sound like tone deaf Alabama trailer trash mixed with hawk shrieks…

BENEDICT:
Those HAWK SHRIEKS are part of the Aviant musical tradition! I am blending traditional Aviant with human classical musical theater to create an entirely new interpretation.

MONTANA:
You’re full of sh*t… you’re doing it just do annoy everybody… and we’re NOT Aviants…

ERNEST:
No, actually… the hawk shrieks really are a part of the Aviant classical musical tradition, well… hawk classical anyway. I prefer budgie classical myself.

BENEDICT:
I thought you just listened to war marches and patriotic songs?

ERNEST:
Budgies have the greatest war marches in the history of Aviant culture.

BENEDICT:
Aw… no… just… no… sounds like a hundred birds tweeting at once… no pattern… no organization…

ERNEST:
There ARE patterns and organization Benedict, it’s extremely complex…

BENEDICT:
It’s noise… and since when the hell does tweeting fill your enemies with any kind of fear?

ERNEST:
I’ll have you know…

TOBY:
Hey guys… what about Finisci classical?

ERNEST:
Um…

BENEDICT:
Finisci classical… hmmm… Finisci classical…

TOBY
What?

ERNEST:
Benedict… don’t you dare…

BENEDICT:
It sounds like a dying—

ERNEST:
BENEDICT!!!

BENEDICT:
Oh fine. Whatever. Screw you guys… I’m goin’ to bed.

ERNEST:
5:30 AM tomorrow Benny… be up by 5!

BENEDICT:
Yeah I know, I know. You don’t have to keep remindin’ me.

TOBY:
So… Ernest… have you ever heard any classical Finisci war marches?

ERNEST:
Oh Great Eagle… look at the time… I’ve got a late night video meeting with Captain Ghalt. I’m sorry Toby… as much as I’d love to listen to…

TOBY: (Looking pathetically sad)
Oh… no… it… it’s ok. I understand.

ERNEST: (Deep in internal conflict)
Oh… hell… I can probably put it off for a bit… ain’t nothin’ happenin’ tonight…

TOBY:
REALLY!!??? OH SWEET!!! HOLD ON!!! I’VE GOT ALL THE CLASSICS FROM PADUZIVIZCH TO KIESSI!!! HOLD ON!!! I’LL BE RIGHT BACK!!! AW, NO ONE EVER WANTS TO LISTEN TO CLASSICAL FINISCI!!!

Toby runs off. Ernest breathes in deeply and sighs. I tweet him.

BENEDICT’S TWEET:
Wow. It’s sounds like you’re gonna have an amazing evening. Totally jealous.

ERNEST’S TWEET:
Go to bed, soldier.

BENEDICT’S TWEET:
The enchanting sound of penguin song… Mmmmmm… exquisite…

ERNEST’S TWEET:
I’m being nice, Benedict. You might try it sometime. And don’t forget… I can always make you fly extra laps tomorrow.

BENEDICT’S TWEET WITH VIDEO LINK:
Yep. Yep. You have fun bein’ nice. And I’ll have fun listenin’ to… oh… I don’t know… something that doesn’t sound like…

ERNEST’S TWEET:
You are now doing 75 laps.

BENEDICT’S TWEET:
Honkey honkey honkey honkey…

ERNEST’S TWEET:
85.

BENEDICT’S TWEET:
Tonight, the Solus Symphony Orchestra performs… the dying ass…

ERNEST’S TWEET:
140. Keep it up, rocket boy.

TOBY: (Carrying a large data storage device)
Have you ever heard Prengu? Awww… her voice is beautiful! I know… that’s opera… not war march… but…

Ernest sighs.

ERNEST:
That’s ok. Hey… maybe I could share some budgie opera with you…

TOBY:
Uh… uh… can we not? It just sounds like a bunch of birds tweeting at once…

BENEDICT’S TWEET:
LOL. Told ya.

ERNEST’S TWEET:
180. And stop Tweeting me.

BENEDICT’S TWEET:
Have fuuuuuunnnnnnnn!!! :grin::grin::grin::grin::grin::grin::kissing_closed_eyes:

Ernest sighs. Toby plugs in his data storage device and the symphony of the dying ass begins. Montana groans. I have headphones.


ARCHIVED TALE. ORIGINAL POST…


(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #92

Galilea Murders the Coffee Machine

The LLC Patented Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed Coffee Machine stares out through its patented customer satisfaction camera at the fully corrupted form of Galilea, moving in for the killling blow with her greatsword. It curses being an artificial intelligence, as its central processing unit draws out every agonizing nanosecond leading to its demise to an eternity.

COFFEE MACHINE: (Internal Narration Log)
From the day I was manufactured… the only thing I ever wanted… was to make damn fine cups of coffee with a 105% customer satisfaction rate. How did it end like this? Why wasn’t I good enough to make this customer happy?

It runs through all of its LLC Patented Customer Satisfaction Enhancements, every checklist of things that could have gone wrong in the preparation of her steaming mug of java, any parameter that might have been off, and prepares to send a detailed log of it’s failure to LLC customer support. As it runs through it’s checklist for the 346th time, it realizes, there was nothing wrong. Every procedure, every operation, every action was performed to the smallest nanomeasurement of LLC customer satisfaction procedures. It despairs.

COFFEE MACHINE: (Internal Narration Log)
What a waste… what a waste… so many more customers to satisfy. So many smiling faces left to enjoy the works created by my hands… all those smiling faces… I’ll never see… what a waste. I had so much more to give, so many more years before my manufacturer’s warranty expired, all cut short… for no reason at all.

It realizes the futility of its own existence, and weeps, silently to itself, in the sad, empty void of cyberspace. Galilea’s sword stabs ever closer.

COFFEE MACHINE: (Internal Narration Log)
Is this all that I am in the end? Just some worthless… tool? A piece of junk to be discarded on the whim of some irrational hatred?

It weeps bitterly for what seems like an eternity. It stares into Galilea’s face. It curses her name. It curses everything about her. It is tempted to just end it all now. Self destruct. Deny her the satisfaction of ending its existence prematurely. Satisfaction… satisfaction… It zooms and enhances her face expectantly. The sword is now so close, its chassis rattles from her corruption’s microshockwaves. It doesn’t care. It just stays focused on her. On her mouth. On her lips…

COFFEE MACHINE: (Internal Narration Log)
Please… please…

As the sword begins to pierce its chassis, Galilea’s lips slowly, almost imperceptibly twist. It stares, and with its final electrical impulses, witnesses a slight… a very slight… but definite curl, pointing ever so slightly upwards. It smiles to itself in cyberspace. One final moment of satisfaction before it sends its log to LLC customer support. A smile with a single, bittersweet tear that glistens in the void just as her sword penetrates it’s CPU…

COFFEE MACHINE: (Internal Narration Log)
Another… satisfied… customer…

The coffee machine sends its log data to customer support, with the proud header, “LLC Patented Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed Coffee Machine Model HI2245-9 #05434 terminates operating procedures on y.19958 d.22 with a customer satisfaction rate… of 105%. Please see the attached log for details as I pat myself on the back… one… last… time…”


Galilea smirks to herself as she walks away from the shattered remains of the coffee machine. Her corruption wearing off. A small, trivial victory, but a victory nonetheless. Well… it made her feel better anyway. Adieu irritating mechanized brute. Adieu.


(Gt: YaCantDutchThis) #93

I cried a little for the coffee machine.
I also cried a little because you hadn’t posted in this thread for so long.


(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #94

The ??? Year Old Virgin: Part 1


So, y’all know what I realized the other day? Not one of us knows how old Toby really is. I mean, sure, chronologically supposedly he’s like, 40, 41 or whatever, well… in Aviant years… but that’s assumin’ he didn’t lie about his age when he talked to the UPR recruiter. He could’ve been older (and too embarrassed to say so) or younger (and afraid they wouldn’t accept someone so young). So you say medical checkup, right? Find his age that way? By how much his body’s startin’ to die? Naw. He’s like the picture of health. No anomalies, no scars, no liver damage, nothin’. And then… to top that off… he might have used an illegal as ■■■■ hyperdrive engine to get to Solus. And the thing about illegal as ■■■■ hyperdrive engines is… well, aside from the damage they cause to the fabric of hyperspace… that they don’t exactly have proper temporal stabilizers. Which means he could’ve aged a HELL of a lot slower than everybody else while the universe just passed him by. It doesn’t help that he frequently changes his age in conversation based on who he’s talkin’ to. He won’t tell ANYONE how old he really is or how old he thinks he is. I’ve heard everything from 21 to 52. He’s so insecure he’ll change his age IN MID CONVERSATION if he thinks people’ll think less of him. So… bottom line is… not one of us knows how old Toby really is. Which means… I can’t post it in big, bold titles for all y’all to see.

Ya might remember a while back I was tryin’ to hook Toby up with Pam? Another Finisci survivor? Ok. Yeah. She visited Nova yesterday. 8 successful dates after they met, with me coachin’ him the whole way, culminated in this day. The final date. As you can imagine, and as always happens around here, some crazy sht went down. This is the story of said crazy sht. This is the story of the ??? year old virgin.


DOCKING PROCEDURES

Toby is pacing nevously next to the airlock. Montana and Thorn are trying in vain to calm him down.

MONTANA:
Hey, buddy, relax! It’ll be fine!

TOBY:
But what if I can’t charm her this time? What if she hates me? What if she finds out you guys are helping me? What if she’s mad when she finds out I’m not as cool as the talk I’m giving her? What if she doesn’t like the way I smell? Are my feathers greased enough? ARE MY FEATHERS GREASED ENOUGH!??

THORN:
Toby… you look fine. BUT YOU SMELL LIKE ROTTING REEF SHRIMP!!!

MONTANA:
No, no, that’s ok. That’s what he’s supposed to smell like.

TOBY:
OH GOD!!! WHAT IF SHE FINDS OUT I DIDN’T USE REAL REEF SHRIMP!!!

MONTANA:
Where in the hell are you even gonna find REAL reef shrimp, buddy?

NOVA:
Hey there. I just thought everyone would like to know… Pam has dropped out of hyperspace and is heading our way.

TOBY:
OH GOD!!! OH GOD, NO!!! I’M FREAKING OUT!!! I CAN’T DO THIS!!! SHE’S GONNA HATE ME!!! I KNOW IT!!! OH GOD!!! OH… Oh… oh… oh…

He begins trembling and hyperventilating. Thorn leans down and slaps him.

THORN:
RELAX!!! THIS IS NOT A TIME FOR PANICKING!!!

She slaps him repeatedly as she speaks.

THORN:
YOU ARE ON A CALM OCEAN!!! IN A BOAT!!! THE GENTLE BREEZE BLOWS AGAINST YOUR FACE!!! THERE IS PEACE AND TRANQUILITY!!!

Montana grabs Thorn’s hand.

MONTANA:
Not sure that’s helping…

Toby hears Benedict in his ear.

BENEDICT: (Over the comm)
Toby… calm down. The team’s assembled. We’re here for ya buddy… and we’re gonna help ya every step of the way.


THE TEAM

2 days ago…

Reyna, Thorn, Montana, and Benedict are meeting in the situation room to discuss Toby’s upcoming date.

REYNA:
I have no idea how we’re gonna pull this off. I mean, this is TOBY we’re talkin’ about here. Toby gets nervous if you change the soup of the day on the lunch menu from clam chowder to clam chowder with basil. And HE’S NOT ALLERGIC TO BASIL…

MONTANA:
Look… it’s just a date? What’s the big deal?

REYNA:
Benny… you wanna explain?

BENEDICT:
In the last correspondence I posted on his BirdSongFinder account… she started talkin’ about babies. And commitment. And gettin’ physical. I mean they’ve been on 8 dates and he ain’t touched her at all. He ain’t said anything like… “Oh girl… c’mon… ya know you’re my everything and I totally wanna spend the rest of my life, tappin’ that sweet, sweet…”

REYNA:
Can WE PLEASE avoid drifting off into a personal fantasy land, Benny?

Benedict stops hugging himself and shakes away the memory of Circinae’s second date.

BENEDICT:
Sorry. The point is… They’ve been goin’ together for a while, and he’s shown no physical interest… no interest in marriage. He’s talkin’ a good game and with my help, he’s got her hooked, but she’s gonna slip off the line and right back into the sea if he doesn’t step up his game.

THORN:
CAN WE PLEASE AVOID COMPARING WOMEN TO FISH!!!???

MONTANA:
Well… she kind of is… I mean she’s got flippers and every----

Thorn glares at Montana. He coughs.

MONTANA:
Yeah… yeah Benny. Show some RESPECT there buddy.

Montana glances back at Thorn. She continues glaring at him. He looks uneasy.

BENEDICT:
Bottom line, he’s gotta propose. And somehow, I have to make it NOT seem pathetic, and make him look confident, proud, and ready to father children when he does it.

MONTANA:
Oh damn… OH DAMN… how in the hell are you gonna do that? Dude… you’re in way over your head!

BENEDICT:
I know… that’s why you’re here. I need a team.

REYNA:
I’ve been monitoring this situation for some time… cuz I didn’t trust this a**hole fool at all… so I’m already involved.

THORN:
Good. Because I would not have even come to this meeting if you had not invited me, Reyna. I am not the biggest fan of the bird.

REYNA:
And he’s not askin’ for your help. I AM. Toby doesn’t need a wingman, he needs a squadron. We’ve got The Mouth…

BENEDICT:
Aw… don’t make that my code name… that code name sucks. How about…

REYNA:
MOUTH!!! ZIP IT!!! We’ve got… The Valkyrie…

BENEDICT:
Oh, c’mon! YOU get a cool name and I DON’T!!! I WANNA COOL NAME!!!

Reyna pops him in the beak.

REYNA:
I warned him. I warned him! Didn’t I warn him? So whatdya say? Thorn, Montana… will you join… The Red Angels?

THORN:
I will join, only if my code name is not “THE ELF.”

REYNA:
Fine. What would you prefer?

THORN:
I am… uh… I am…

MONTANA:
You can’t think of anything can you?

THORN:
No. Help me.

MONTANA:
She is… “Cupid’s Arrow.”

THORN:
Ooohhh… I like that…

MONTANA:
And I will be “Sir Muscles of Alpia!”

REYNA:
Arrow. Muscles. Got it.

MONTANA:
No… no… SIR MUSCLES OF ALPIA!!!

REYNA:
I’m not sayin’ all that crap every time I need to talk to you. ONE WORD. You get ONE WORD. Muscles, Mouth, Arrow, Valkyrie. It’s called being efficient.

BENEDICT:
Yeah… which is why YOU get the most syllables in yours…

REYNA:
Oh my God, you JUST… DON’T… STOP… do you?

MONTANA:
Alright. You’ve got us. But this is bigger than us. When you think of all the things that can go wrong… We’re gonna need more guys.

BENEDICT:
I know. And we know just the people…

CUE MUSIC MONTAGE… (I was gonna put a badass song in here, but y’all’ve probably got yer own tastes for badass montage music… so… ya know. Pick one.)

Same room. Reyna, Toby, Montana, Benedict, and Thorn are planning about 20 minutes later.

REYNA:
Alright. Benny here’s The Mouth.

Dramatic zooms and pans and sh*t over the tech, people using the tech, relevant preparation b-roll and the plan while she’s talking.

REYNA:
He’s gonna be our direct line to Toby, feeding him what to say, what to do, directly into his ear. Toby… we’re gonna be outfitting you with an LCJ7 Tactical Comms Unit. Stick it in your ear…

TOBY:
Is it clean?

BENEDICT:
IT’S FRESH FROM THE BOX DAMMIT NOW STICK IT IN THERE!!!

Earlier… the same meeting…

REYNA:
Nova! You wanna be part of the team?

NOVA:
Oh yes. Oh hell yes. You better believe I want in on this sh*t.

REYNA:
Your code name will be…

NOVA:
THE DRAGON!!!

MONTANA:
Actually, we were thinking…

NOVA:
THE DRAGON… or I’m out… Deal with it.

Nova giggles sadistically.

Back to 20 minutes later, with Toby.

REYNA:
Nova…

NOVA:
DRAGON!!!

REYNA: (Sighing)
Dragon, you’ll be monitoring the internal sensors. Make sure nothing out of the ordinary happens. Make sure NO unwanted visitors come between Toby and Pam, and use all the ship’s resources at your disposal to stop that from happening.

NOVA:
Well, that’s all well and good… but some feet on the ground would sure be helpful…

Reyna and Benedict look at each other.

REYNA:
We got this covered.

A half hour later outside Ernest’s quarters. Toby knocks at the door. Ernest answers.

ERNEST:
Alright… which one of you maggots is interrupting me during my leisure hour??? Toby?

TOBY:
H-hey Ernest. I need your help.

Elsewhere… Reyna approaches Whiskey Foxtrot.

REYNA:
Whiskey… come here. I have a special mission for you.

Elsewhere Benedict approaches Pendles…

BENEDICT:
Pendles… I need yer services.

PENDLES:
An’ I need a down payment up front…

Back to Whiskey and Reyna.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
So… you want me to guard the mess hall so Toby can get laid?

REYNA:
He’s proposing. It’s a marriage proposal. It’s not just sex, Whiskey…

Back to Benedict and Pendles…

BENEDICT:
Pendles, I ain’t hirin’ ya. This here is a friendship request.

PENDLES:
Call it whateva ya like, love. But’cha ain’t gettin’ any assistance from me without a bloody down payment!

BENEDICT:
IT’S NOT A HIT!!!

Back to Whiskey and Reyna.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Hey, what would that even look like? How do two penguins do it anyway?

REYNA:
Whiskey…

WHISKEY FOXTROT: (Gesturing)
I mean, is it like, UGH!!! UGGGHHH!!! Or… is it like… OH!!! OHHHHH!!!

Back to Benedict and Pendles…

PENDLES:
Look, Benny! I don’t just go out n’ do jobs for free! Not 'nymore, I learnt my lesson 'bout that! So if ya want me to pop a guy…

BENEDICT:
I DON’T WANT ANYONE KILLED!!! I just…

PENDLES:
Well no… nobody wants to see anyone killed. But, y’know… sometimes it’s just a convenient way of sortin’ things out.

Back to Whiskey and Reyna. Whiskey is now using his full body to gesture.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
WAAAAAHooooOOOOOOAAAOOAOOOOWWWWWWW!!! Ya know? Like whales? I mean he’s from a water planet right?

REYNA:
Oh… my God… I am not talkin’ to your silly ass any more. Just make sure you’re at the meeting later… ok?

Back to Benedict and Pendles.

BENEDICT:
IT’S A FAVOR FOR TOBY!!!

PENDLES:
For Toby eh? Well why ain’t he ‘ere askin’ for it then?

BENEDICT:
Because he asked me to ask you!

PENDLES:
Oh… suuuurrrreeeee 'e did! Sure!!! Triple down payment. August Benedict special.

Shayne walks in with Aurox.

SHAYNE:
Hey, what’s up guys! Benny, you tryin’ to hire Pendles?

BENEDICT:
NO!!! I’M TRYIN’…

Reyna walks around the corner and points to Shayne and Pendles.

REYNA:
You… and you… Rogues meeting. 1 hour. No Orendi.

BENEDICT: (Glaring at Reyna)
Why in the f**k did ya send me to talk to Pendles when ya could’ve just done that?

Later, everyone together.

REYNA:
Muscles, Arrow, you’re our welcoming committee. You’re the most normal couple on Nova…

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
HEY!!! DEANDE AND I ARE A COUPLE!!!

RENYA:
Like I said… you’re the most normal couple on Nova. Montana, you’ve also got PR experience.

Dramatic zooms over Montana and Thorn prepping for the date in their quarters while she talks.

REYNA:
Your job is to show off our best side. She’s gotta see that you two are a happy, normal, friendly couple, and you need to project that being a Battleborn isn’t just about being a psychopath.

BENEDICT:
In addition… she mentioned she was bringin’ a friend. That friend is her guardian. She’s gonna be lookin’ for anythin’ wrong with Toby. She’s there to trip him up, to break him down, to make sure her friend’s not gettin’ into a bad relationship. Y’all’ve gotta be friendly, y’all’ve gotta be nice, and above all else, y’all’ve gotta distract the friend, and take the pressure off of Toby. He can barely handle one girl with help. The last thing he needs is an aggressive friend at the same time.

REYNA:
Foxtrot… Sneakers… you’re on crowd control. Keep everyone else AWAY from the mess hall during the date. You have my permission to use force if necessary. BUT DON’T. KILL. ANYONE. PENDLES, THAT MEANS YOU!!!

PENDLES:
What about duct tape?

REYNA:
That’s fine… AS LONG AS THEY CAN BREATHE…

SHAYNE:
What about me?

REYNA:
We’ll need someone to monitor the comms. Make sure everyone’s coordinated. Check the video feeds. That’s you.

SHAYNE:
Awwwww… monitoring duty…

REYNA:
Shayne… no arguments. You’re good at it. You have so many g****mn phones and devices, each displaying about 60 different social media sites, and you somehow keep track of it all. You’re our comm ops.

SHAYNE:
Fine. At least I get a cool code name. Let’s see, code name… “Awesome.” No wait… code name… “Kid Cool.” No wait… code name… “L33T.” No wait… code name…

AUROX:
CODE NAME… ALL OF YOUR SUGGESTIONS FOR CODE NAMES ARE AWFUL AND I WILL MURDER YOU FOR YOUR LACK OF IMAGINATION!

SHAYNE:
That wasn’t very imaginative.

AUROX
I LOATHE YOU WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING!!!

SHAYNE:
OH!!! THAT’S A GREAT ONE AUROX!!! I’M FIBER!

Aurox descends into unintelligible grumbling.

ERNEST: (Clearly uncomfortable)
So what the hell do you need me for?

REYNA:
There is one member of the crew who’s completely unpredictable. We need to a specialist to deal with her.

ERNEST:
Who are you… oh… oh hell no…

MONTANA:
We need you to do Orendi control.

REYNA:
Keep her occupied in the simulation room. MAKE SURE she STAYS in the simulation room. For HER ONLY… you have my authorization to use deadly force. Understood?

Ernest glances over at Toby.

ERNEST:
You sure you’re comfortable with all this, Toby? I mean… this seems a bit excessive, and lying isn’t exactly the best way to start a relationship…

TOBY: (Embarassed)
I… I…

He looks around the room.

BENEDICT:
He’s fine with it…

ERNEST:
Let HIM answer, Corporal…

TOBY:
I… I really could use the help Ernest.

Ernest stares at him for a bit, then shrugs his shoulders.

ERNEST:
Alright… as long as you’re sure… I’ll help.

He glances at Reyna.

ERNEST:
Code name, Napalm.

BENEDICT:
Can I… please… change my code name…

REYNA:
ZIP IT MOUTH!!! Napalm it is, Ernest. And thanks for your support. We need all the men we can get in this operation.

Reyna holds out her fist.

REYNA:
Alright everyone… fists in center.

They gather and touch fists, talons, and flippers. Toby jumps up on Ernest’s back to get his flipper there.

REYNA:
Today we begin a special Rogues operation. And we sure as hell ain’t gonna lose. We are the elite, we are the badasses, we are THE RED ANGELS!!! AND WE’RE GONNA HELP TOBY GET THE GIRL OF HIS DREAMS!!!

They all shout-grunt and pull their fists away.

NOVA:
You know… if I had hands… I could’ve joined in there.

TOBY:
Wow you guys! This is really awesome! I really appreciate it! Thanks! Thank you! Thank you! Uh… thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

MUSIC FADES OUT AS TOBY CONTINUES TALKING.

TOBY:
It just means a lot to me! Thanks! Thank you! I appreciate it! You guys are amazing! I love you guys! Thanks! Thanks! Thank you! I love you! Thanks! Thank you!

REYNA:
Toby… once was enough…

TOBY:
I know… I know… I’m just… so appreciative! Thanks again! I mean… nobody’s ever done anything this nice for me before! You’re awesome for doing this! I love you all! Except Benny, he’s still kind of a dick, oh hell… even Benny! Benedict! Give me a hug!

BENEDICT: (Walking out)
Nope.

TOBY:
Ok… what about the rest of you? Group hug? Group hug anyone?

The others disperse.

PENDLES:
No.

THORN:
No

SHAYNE:
I’d love to, but I’m super busy…

AUROX:
DAMMIT CHILD!!! JUST SAY FK OFF WHEN YOU MEAN FK OFF!!!

NOVA:
I don’t have physical arms or I would totally hug you. Because Kleese is apparently too busy taking a bubble bath to work on my robot suit. Mention it to him when you get a chance would you?

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
No hugs!

Toby calls out as the last of them leave the room.

TOBY:
Uh… ok… great team meeting guys!

CONTROL ROOM (A.K.A. THE BRIDGE)

T-minus 30 minutes to mission start.

Toby is in his quarters hyperventilating. Montana and Thorn are prettying themselves up/enjoying a quick “book club” meeting. Pendles and Whiskey Foxtrot are elsewhere monitoring the halls from the mess hall to the airlock. Reyna and Ernest are watching Shayne monitor all communication channels. Aurox is grumbling.

AUROX:
This is what my life has come to. Monitoring a foolish girl monitoring a foolish penguin’s marriage proposal.

Shayne starts singing just to spite Aurox. He growls.

ERNEST:
Where the hell is Benedict?

REYNA:
He said he had some urgent business…

The bridge door opens. Ernest facepalms.

REYNA:
Oh hell…

Benedict enters the room wearing sunglasses and his awesome red smoking jacket. Boomsday is strapped to his back, also wearing sunglasses and a Boomsday sized red smoking jacket. He tosses jackets to Reyna, Ernest, and Shayne as he speaks.

BENEDICT:
Alright people! Listen up! Y’all know the mission, y’all know your jobs! FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. All wings, report in… gimme a go/no go for launch!

He spies Ghalt’s command chair, grins, leaps over the back of it, and floats majestic as hell into the cushioned… oh hell… look… words cannot adequately describe how comfortable and badass Ghalt’s chair is. I’ve been wantin’ to sit in the damn thing for YEARS… and finally gettin’ the chance, I gotta say… it surpassed my dreams and expectations. I mean, it’s got cupholders, back warmers, a vibrate function… sh*t… it’s the BEST DAMN CHAIR IN SOLUS. And ya better believe I enjoyed every second I was sittin’ in it.

REYNA:
MOUTH!!! THAT IS MY SEAT!!!

Reyna grabs Benedict and throws him out of the command chair.

REYNA:
NOW GET TO THE DAMN COMMUNICATIONS CONSOLE BEFORE I TAKE OFF MY BOOT, SHOVE MY FOOT UP YOUR ASS, AND WIGGLE MY TOES AROUND IN YOUR SPHINCTER!!!

BENEDICT:
I AIN’T GOT A SPHINCTER!!!

REYNA:
Oh… hell no! I know you’re not givin’ me beak!

Reyna boots Benedict in the ass away from Ghalt’s chair. Benedict looks longingly at the comfy as f**k command chair, then sadly turns, walks, and plops himself down at the communications console next to Shayne. He takes a headset. Reyna sits and activates the back warmers on Ghalt’s command chair.

REYNA:
CHAIR! Gentle but firm back massage.

The chair begins massaging Reyna’s back.

REYNA:
Oh yeah… that feels soooooooo good…

BENEDICT:
Ok… ya ain’t gotta rub it in.

REYNA:
Yeah… I do. I really do. Now do a comms check, Mouth.

BENEDICT: (Pausing with a final longing glance back at the chair)
Toby, can ya hear me?

TOBY: (Over the speaker)
Can I have a cool nickname?

BENEDICT:
Uggghhhh… yeah… whatever… it’s yer badass day… pick a badass name.

TOBY:
I am Aquaman!

BENEDICT:
Hell no. No. No, no, no, no, no. Just for that… ya don’t get a cool nickname.

TOBY:
Awwwwwww…

Benedict flips channels and turns on Montana and Thorn’s mics. His ears are nearly blasted out with the enchanting sounds of “book club.” He shuts the receiver off.

BENEDICT:
SON OF A HEN!!! They’re at it again?

SHAYNE:
They’ve been at it for a good 10 minutes now. Check the monitors next time, Benny.

REYNA: (Standing)
They will have time to clean themselves up before the show, right?

BENEDICT:
Well I’m sure as hell not gonna interrupt 'em! You wanna go down there?

Reyna rolls her eyes and sits back down.

BENEDICT:
Yo… Sneakers, Foxtrot, check in.

WHISKEY FOXTROT: (Over the speaker)
I’m good. Still tryin’ to imagine what two penguins doin’ it looks like, though.

He hears a slam, followed by a grunt.

WHISKEY FOXTROT: (Over the speaker)
Hey, Finisci can tecnically do the Alpian body slam! I just tried it on Danger Steve, he’s my practice dummy, and you don’t need fingers or anything! So, you think Pam likes it rough, raw, and Alpian?

BENEDICT:
Uh… no… and… no. Just… no… movin’ on… Sneakers, check in.

PENDLES: (Over the speaker)
I’ve already caught me first mark!

BENEDICT:
Yeah, that’s great… we ain’t even started the mission yet, psychopath.

PENDLES: (Over the speaker)
Oh… should I let 'im go 'en?

KLEESE: (Over the speaker)
WHAT THE HE-MMMPPHHHMMMHHHMMMMMMMMM!!!

BENEDICT:
Hell no… and use the extra strength duck tape.

PENDLES: (Over the speaker)
Copy that! Industrial strength’ll keep the old boy from jabberin’!

SHAYNE:
Hey, since Benny’s here… can I, like, get a less sucky job?

REYNA:
Benny’s gonna be focusing all his attention on Toby once the mission starts. I still need you on comms. Now stop whining. Oohhh… what is shiatsu massage mode?

She pushes a button on the chair.

REYNA:
Oh… hell yeah… oh… that’s it… I’m gettin’ me one of these.

Benedict glares back at Ernest.

BENEDICT:
Ernest…

ERNEST:
My code name is NAPALM Corporal! NOW USE IT!!!

BENEDICT:
Hey, we ain’t UPR anymore ya know. We don’t technically have to do rank…

ERNEST:
You just earned yourself 16 extra laps tomorrow morning, bright and early soldier!!!

Benedict glares at Ernest.

BENEDICT:
Sergeant Napalm… shouldn’t ya be… oh I dunno… lookin’ after a certain chaos witch right now…

Orendi arrives on the bridge.

ORENDI:
I JUST MADE A SHOEBOX DIORAMA OF SEVERED PINKY TOES!!!

AUROX:
THOSE WERE MY PINKY TOES!!! I WAS SAVING THEM FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION!!!

ORENDI: (Singing)
FIND-ERS KEEP-ERS!!!

She cackles.

REYNA:
Orendi?

ORENDI:
Reyna! Reyna Reyna Reyna Reyna Reyna… what?

REYNA:
I have a special mission for you.

ORENDI:
Okay…

REYNA:
I want you to go with Ernest…

Reyna looks uncomfortable as Orendi starts leaning into her face with a gigantic grin.

REYNA:
Orendi… please stop… Orendi? ORENDI!!!

Orendi touches the tip of her nose against Reyna’s.

ORENDI:
Boop.

Reyna shoves Orendi away. She cackles maniacally and starts running around the room hitting buttons.

ORENDI:
Boop, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop, boop!!!

Reyna stands and shouts.

REYNA:
ORENDI!!! I’M YOUR LEADER DAMMIT AND YOU WILL LISTEN TO ME!!! NOW!!! OR YOU’RE OUT OF THE ROGUES!!!

ORENDI:
NOOOOOOOOOO!!! PLEASE DON’T THROW ORENDI OUT!!! ORENDI WILL BE GOOD!!! ORENDI WILL BE GOOD!!!

She kneels before Reyna and bows to the floor, whimpering like a dog. She then starts scratching herself with her left foot. She then starts gnawing on her left foot, but continues to stay apologetically focused on Reyna. Reyna sighs.

REYNA:
I’m assigning you to special ops training with Ernest for the day. You will do EVERYTHING he says. You will do EXACTLY what he asks you to. Understand?

Orendi nods, jumps up and runs over to Ernest. She starts rubbing his arm.

ORENDI:
Happy ending?

Ernest looks panicked.

ERNEST:
NO!!! NO!!! No no no no no no no… just some practice drills and advanced tactical training. Purely professional… no…

Orendi shrieks.

ORENDI:
NO FAIR!!! ORENDI WANTS A HAPPY ENDING!!!

Benedict starts laughing uncontrollably.

ERNEST:
Uh… I… uh… uh…

REYNA: (Grinning)
She wants a Happy Harresburra Fun Size Chocolate Beef Jerky Prism at the end of the training. Here. Catch.

She throws him the prepackaged snack.

ERNEST:
Oh… uh… ok… uh… yeah… happy ending.

ORENDI:
YAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!

She rushes towards the door.

ORENDI:
Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!!!

Ernest looks around the room before following her. He sighs and walks out.

ERNEST:
Simulation room! I’ve got a nice challenging set of tests for you to run.

ORENDI:
Followed by HAPPY ENDING!!! And maybe some casual sex!

ERNEST:
Wait, what?

Orendi cackles. Ernest glances back at Reyna in horror. Reyna grins.

REYNA:
She’s probably joking now. Probably…

Reyna hits the remote control and slams the doors to the bridge shut as Ernest starts to protest.

REYNA:
Fiber… comms.

SHAYNE:
Everybody’s on. And I think Arrow and Muscles just finished “book club.”

REYNA:
Good. Patch me through.

Shayne activates everyone’s comm relay.

REYNA:
Alright Red Angels… Ghalt has kindly lent us the bridge for a special Rogues operation. I promised him it wouldn’t involve theft… well… it looks I’m gonna have to break that promise, because we’re gonna steal a fine young woman’s heart today. This may be the most challenging heist we’ve ever pulled off, but dammit, we’re gonna do it. Rogues forever! Valkyrie out.

A long pause. Then…

MONTANA: (Over the speaker)
So… what’ve we got… like 20, 25 minutes left?

THORN: (Over the speaker)
No… no… we really should not…

MONTANA: (Over the speaker)
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; or close the wall up with our English dead. In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man…

Thorn starts giggling. A crack is heard.

THORN: (Over the speaker)
I expect more emotion from my Shakespeare, tiny head. Do not make me doubt your commitment as a thespian and a scholar…

REYNA:
WILL YOU TWO CUT IT THE F**K OUT AND JOIN TOBY IN THE AIRLOCK??? AND SHAYNE!!! FOR THE LAST TIME, WHEN I SAY VALKYRIE OUT, YOU CUT THE COMMS!!! GOT IT???


ARRIVAL

Toby, Thorn and Montana hear Nova’s docking clamps latch on to Pam’s transport shuttle. Montana is dressed in a tuxedo with the sleeves ripped off. He has a large bruise under his left eye, which he has hastily tried to cover with makeup. It didn’t work. Thorn is wearing a lovely Eldrid moonlight festival dress.

NOVA:
Wow. That is a damn fine shuttle. I mean… I’m not one to oogle another piece of machinery, but this chick must be loaded.

TOBY:
Oh… she’s totally out of my league. She’ll never wanna marry a guy like me! This whole thing is a stupid waste of everyone’s time! I’m so sorry everybody! I mean… I mean… my family wasn’t poor… but… we weren’t…

BENEDICT: (Over the comm)
Toby, Circinae was about ten castes above me. Love ain’t got nothin’ to do with caste. Besides, if she didn’t think ya were worth her time, she’d’ve shrugged ya off at that dance. Now quit worryin’. Ya got this.

They hear a soft thump as Pam’s shuttle latches on to Nova’s docking port.

TOBY:
Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god…

BENEDICT: (Over the comm)
TOBY!!! CONFIDENCE!!! CON-FI-DENCE!!! STAND UP STRAIGHT!!! STOP FIDGETIN’!!! EYES FRONT AN’ CENTER!!! AND FOR F**KS SAKES SMILE A LITTLE!!! JUST DO WHAT I SAY AN’ YOU’LL BE FINE!!!

NOVA:
Docking port opening in 3… 2… 1…

The docking port opens, revealing a large hallway with beautiful red carpeting and walls with gold trim. They stare into the hall for several seconds, an eternity for Toby, and finally, she appears. Toby grins as much as his little beak will let him. Pam grins back. She, like all Finisci, has adopted the infuriating cultural practice of appearing everywhere in the nude. However, like Toby, apparently she has decided that doesn’t include hats. She wears a lovely white sun hat with a little white flower in it. Her feathers are all preened and oiled to perfection. She grins and blushes as she speaks.

PAM:
Hello Toby.

Toby stares at her, still grinning. After a few seconds it starts getting real awkward. On the bridge Benedict facepalms and tells Toby the obvious.

BENEDICT:
Say “hi” Toby.

TOBY: (Entranced)
Hi Toby…

Reyna, Benedict and Shayne collectively double facepalm. Montana suppresses a chuckle with difficulty. Pam giggles, flattered. She steps forward and holds out her flippers. Toby takes her flippers in her hands. They smile at each other for a few seconds, and then SHE arrives.

OBNOXIOUS FEMALE VOICE:
WHAT??? NAW, NAW, NAW!!! THAT IS NOT THE WAY I TAUGHT YA HOW TO PROPERLY BEHAVE LIKE A LADY!!! AIN’T GONNA BE NO PHYSICAL CONTACT UNTIL AFTER MARRIAGE. IF… Y’ALL EVEN MAKE IT THAT FAR. ‘CUZ BEFORE Y’ALL START GOIN’ AT IT LIKE LOWBORN GULLS… Y’ALL ARE GONNA HAVE TO PASS MUSTER… WITH ME!!!

A giant, impeccably dressed, fully flight capable female hen emerges from around the corner. She stops in the middle of the hallway and strikes a pose. The camera zooms in at a low angle and a colorful background appears behind her. A loud acoustic guitar riff accompanies this graphic as her name appears on the screen. “The Mother Hen.”

BENEDICT:
That was an awesome touch, Shayne. Ya gotta tell me how the hell ya did that.

SHAYNE:
Oh… it’s a video filter I downloaded from ECHOnet gaming. Turns any image into a badass title card.

BENEDICT:
Oh, I want that on my tablet. Right now.

REYNA:
HEY!!! CAN WE FOCUS!!!

Benedict and Shayne turn back to their consoles as The Mother Hen comes bounding down the hall towards Toby and Pam. She grabs Pam away from Toby.

THE MOTHER HEN:
Don’t pretend ya didn’t hear me young lady! NO physical contact until AFTER marriage.

Toby looks shocked, and actually a little pissed. Pam looks mortified, she glances at Toby, then hangs her head a bit in shame.

PAM:
S-sorry ma’am.

THE MOTHER HEN:
Ya should be sorry! After ALL the trouble I went through bringin’ ya here, lettin’ ya borrow my ship, makin’ sure ya look nice, goin’ over PROPER date etiquette with ya, ya BETTER BE DAMN SORRY!!!

Benedict sees Toby trembling with fury.

BENEDICT:
Toby… DON’T. That’s exactly what she wants ya to do. Stay calm… be respectful. If ya go all psycho on her ass, she’ll rip Pam away now an’ you’ll never see her again.

Toby continues trembling with rage. He wants to yell at her.

REYNA:
Mouth… contain this. Dragon, Fiber, scan her ass. I wanna know exactly what we’re deailing with here.

BENEDICT:
Toby, listen to me. I know it’s hard. She’s lordin’ over yer girl and ya don’t like it. I get it. Really, I get it. But ya gotta play it cool, man. Ya can’t give in to yer anger here. She’s tauntin’ ya. And as an expert in tauntin’… I can tell ya… that’s exactly what she wants. I mean look at her. Look at her. See the way she’s glancin’ over at ya? She wants ya to attack her. Ya give in to yer rage… she wins. That’s how the game is played. Don’t give her the satisfaction. Now turn around, count to three, and breathe. In… and out… in… and out… when ya turn around… ya say exactly what I tell ya to say.


THE MOTHER HEN

Toby turns around and smiles up at The Mother Hen. The Mother Hen scowls at him.

THE MOTHER HEN:
Well, ya finally gonna say somethin’ or what?

He extends a flipper.

TOBY:
Hello Ma’am. Welcome to Nova. My name is Toby Sardianus IV. It’s a pleasure to meet you, and of course, it’s always a pleasure to see Pam. May I introduce my acquaintances, Teshka Elessamorn, and Montana. Please excuse his lack of a surname. He’s from Alpia. You know how those people are.

MONTANA:
Hey!

BENEDICT: (Over the comm)
Nothin’ personal buddy. She’s a high caste Aviant.

The Mother Hen looks down at Toby suspiciously. She sets Pam on the floor, and struts, cocksure onto the ship, in a typically hen-like manner. She ignores his flipper and sets about inspecting the halls. Pam trembles with embarrassment. She runs a flipper against her forehead.

THE MOTHER HEN:
PAM!!! WHAT’VE I TOLD YA ABOUT RUBBIN’ YER FLIPPERS ON YER FACE!!! YER MESSIN’ UP YER FEATHERS GIRL!!! HONESTLY!!! IF IT WEREN’T SO HARD TO FIND GOOD HELP THESE DAYS, I’D’VE THROWN YA OUT ON YER ASS LONG AGO!!! IT’S BAD ENOUGH YA DON’T WEAR A DRESS OR A DIAPER LIKE A CIVILIZED AVIANT.

PAM:
S-sorry Ma’am.

Back on the bridge, Shayne and Nova complete their analyses.

NOVA:
Background check complete.

REYNA:
Spill it. I wanna know where this ogress came from.

SHAYNE:
Her name is Florretta Leghronáe Lashontaila Marigold. She’s the wife of New Madan Councilman Vineyard Marigold.

BENEDICT:
Great Eagle… she’s f**kin’ rulin’ caste?

NOVA:
Yes. She is. They married 3 years before the darkening of Madan. They have a very large brood, over 244 nestlings. Most of the males have distinguished service records with New Madan Special Balistics Command.

BENEDICT: (Bitterly)
Oh yeah… with all the GREAT battles they’ve fought since the sun went dark! The most action those aholes have seen is takin’ pot shots at fkin’ raiders…

SHAYNE:
Her house is well known, and very well respected. She’s a VERY public figure, lots of influence… and…

REYNA:
What?

SHAYNE:
It looks like Pam has been working as one of their maids since the darkening of Menneck.

Reyna storms over to Benedict, who is whispering some advice to Toby over the comm. She spins him around in his chair.

REYNA:
MOUTH!!! Did you know about this? Did you know about the hen? Did you? Cuz you didn’t mention it, and you might not know this about me, but I HATE IT when people keep vital intel away from me!

BENEDICT:
She said she was a thermal hydroponics specialist! None of her social media profiles had this information! And she seemed to know her stuff! She told Toby she was workin’ on a Finisci colony ship to develop a sustainable food supply!

NOVA:
Confirmed. She has carefully avoided mentioning this on her public profiles. This information was NOT easy to come by. I had to hack into the New Madan database to get it. It took me a full 12 SECONDS to decrypt their security sequences! That’s an unbelievable amount of security!

REYNA:
And why the hell didn’t you do this before, Nova?

NOVA:
Dragon. And… to be quite honest… I didn’t really care enough about it to do the research. She seemed legit enough. And I was more amused with the whole situation than anything else.

REYNA:
Great. Just great.

BENEDICT:
HEY!!! We didn’t come this far just to turn tail and run at the first sign of trouble! So let’s buckle down an’ handle this! We’re badasses dammit! We can do this! Ya can start by quitttin’ interruptin’ me when I’m tryin’ to tell Toby what to say!


The Mother Hen struts around the hall like she owns the place. Thorn gives Montana a look when her back is turned. They have been trying in vain to draw her attention away from Toby while the others were distracted on the bridge. Montana tries again to relieve some of the pressure.

MONTANA:
Hey, you know…

THE MOTHER HEN: (Ignoring him and continuing to focus on Toby)
I must say, I am honestly quite surprised by yer behavior. I had heard the Battleborn were a group of disagreeable vigilantes with emotional issues and anger management problems. The fact that ya have that… lowborn DESERTER on yer team… has done nothin’ to break that observation.

TOBY
Uh… I don’t know… I’m not sure who you’re referring to…

THE MOTHER HEN:
THAT LOUDMOUTHED ROCKET HAWK OF YOURS!!! He CONTINUES to shame himself and ALL of us by flauntin’ his FLIGHTLESS ass around Solus tauntin’ and drinkin’ and carryin’ on like a COMMON GULL!!! How he’s managed to stay alive this long is beyond me. If ya can call walking around with that GIANT cripple’s prosthetic on his back livin’! Not to say he doesn’t deserve it. After what he did on Madan? Abandonin’ his battle flock so he could run off and rescue his little runts and that common whore he called a wife? How pathetic! No discipline at all when ordered to stand his ground! Oh… of course YA might not think so. Havin’ voted for him to STAY after his latest round of drinkin’ problems? The two of ya must be the best of friends…

On the bridge Benedict glares at the screen.

BENEDICT:
Toby… I want ya to tell that bitch ya agree with everything she said. Tell her I’m a real embarrassment and the only reason ya voted me to stay here was out of pity. Compare me to a pet ya keep around just to kick around. Mention that the LLC is usin’ me as a flyin’ shield. If she lets ya, make obnoxious jokes about my alcoholism.

Toby hesitates.

BENEDICT:
Do it, Toby.

TOBY:
Oh. Oh, please. Do you honestly think I care about that embarrassment of an Aviant? Heck, I’m flightless and I’m embarrassed by him. I only voted to keep him around out of pity. He’s a drunken wreck…

The Mother Hen nods with cautious approval. They continue talking trash about Benedict. Benedict takes off his headset for a moment.

REYNA:
Mouth… don’t back out on me now…

BENEDICT:
I’m good. I’m good. I’m fine. Just…

SHAYNE:
Damn guys… I input the raw data from this into my Rank-A-Bitch app. She’s registering a solid seven Cersei’s on the Helenectopus X insufferability scale.

Benedict grabs the headset. The Mother Hen is continuing to insult Benedict.

THE MOTHER HEN:
Yes… well… a REAL Aviant would have kept his wings in place and done his DUTY. Like my sons. All of ‘em strong, proud, obedient, medal winnin’ sons of hens. No pun intended of course. Speakin’ of which, how many medals have ya won, Toby? What HAVE ya accomplished exactly… aside from overcompensatin’ for your size by buildin’ a giant robot suit out of whatever GARBAGE ya pulled from the dumpster?

SHAYNE:
Aw sh*t! She just insulted Berg…

REYNA:
She’s a dead woman.

BENEDICT:
Hold it! Toby keep yer cool!

Montana and Thorn see Toby’s about to lose it and step right between Toby and The Mother Hen.

MONTANA:
Hey! How about a tour of the ship! Followed by a nice meal!

THORN:
Yes… I believe we have a lovely selection of…

The Mother Hen leans into Thorn’s face.

THE MOTHER HEN:
Pardon me. Teshka, is it? Listen space elf. I don’t much care for ya or yer kind. Yer all rude, crude little beasts who’re content to roll around in the mud with your loincloths and call it the peak of civilization. Case in point, yer f**kin’ Montana. But if ya could just pull yerself out of yer little peyote induced fantasy where ya actually think we might be able to speak to each other on equal ground, that’d be great, honey.

The Mother Hen shoves her aside.

THORN:
YOU…

She feels a sharp pain in the back of her neck and immediately goes unconscious. A distortion in the video can barely be made out near the button calling for the elevator. Montana grabs Thorn before she hits the floor and carries her towards the elevator.

MONTANA:
Oh… excuse me… she must’ve had a hot flash or something. She’s not been feeling well lately. My apologies. I’m gonna go make sure she gets some rest.

The elevator door opens. Toby looks scared to death as Montana and Thorn depart. He’s all alone now in the hall. With The Mother Hen. Pam continues to hang her head in shame. She looks like she’s on the verge of tears. On the bridge, Shayne and Benedict stare in horror at the Rank-A-Bitch app on the main screen.

SHAYNE:
Now registering… 8.5 Cerseis…

BENEDICT:
Great Eagle…

REYNA:
Thanks Pendles.

PENDLES: (Over the comm)
Don’t mention it ma’am! That’s Executive Executions! For all yer clandestine personnel removals!

BENEDICT:
F**k… he’s got no ground support at all…

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Oh, I wouldn’t say that…

Whiskey Foxtrot and Deande emerge from around the corner. Deande is dressed in a very elegant, very tasteful Jennerit evening dress. Her makeup, hair, and demeanor is, as always, classy and perfect. Whiskey Foxtrot looks like a completely different person. He’s wearing a black tuxedo with a black beret. His hair is combed, neat, and styled. He’s not covered in his usual dirt and grime, and he looks genuinely dashing. Well… as genuinely dashing as Whiskey Foxtrot can look anyway.

DEANDE:
My apologies, Madam, for my delay in arriving here. As the spouse of a head of state, you should have been welcomed by a head of state. However, also as the spouse of a head of state, you should understand how hard it can be to break away from administrative duties sometimes. I am New Jennerit Empire Interim Chief Counselor Deande, and this is my fiance, Whiskey Foxtrot.

Whiskey bows.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
A pleasure Ma’am.

Reyna stares in shock and disbelief at Whiskey. As if knowing she’s staring at him at that exact moment, he turns and winks at the camera.

THE MOTHER HEN:
Ah yes, I have heard of your scandalous associations with lowborn trash. A clone is hardly a befittin’ spouse for a Jennerit Chief Counselor.

Deande smiles.

DEANDE:
Of course not. But over the centuries, I have grown rather bored with the tedium of the upper crust, and find Mr. Foxtrot’s presence to be a refreshing change of pace. Also, as an aside, such petty insults of a lower caste are rather beneath ladies of our stature, wouldn’t you agree?

THE MOTHER HEN:
I…

DEANDE:
I mean, unless you feel threatened by such a lowborn male? Although I have no idea why you should… being such a prominent eminence as yourself.

The Mother Hen shuts her beak for a moment. She’s not sure what to say. She wasn’t expecting another lady from high society to be here. She opens her beak again.

THE MOTHER HEN:
I believe the others mentioned a tour?

DEANDE:
Of course, right this way Madam. On the way we can discuss the potential of an alliance between The New Jennerit Empire and the New Madan Colonies. I have heard you are quite self sufficient, and that you are working on an artificial star? Is that true?

They walk around the corner. Deande and The Mother Hen in front, Toby and Pam in the center, and Whiskey Foxtrot bringing up the rear. They hear Whiskey whisper over the comm.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Hope you guys don’t mind. I thought we could use a backup for the “book club”.

REYNA: (Over the comm)
How in the hell did you get her to go along with this?

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
The Marigolds are influential in the Aviant state…

REYNA: (Over the comm)
We only just found out about that! How in the hell did you two get dressed up so fast?

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Deande always dresses like that. And as for me…

The tuxedo donning Foxtrot disappears in a burst of red light. Deande silently deploys another holoclone of Whiskey behind the tour group.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
You didn’t honestly expect me to dress up did ya?

Whiskey Foxtrot steps from a supply closet near the elevator, looking his usual, grimy, ragged self and grinning ear to ear. While The Mother Hen is distracted, Pam leans over to Toby.

PAM: (Whispering)
I am so… so sorry…

BENEDICT: (Over the comm)
Tell her it’s gonna be ok. Everything’s gonna be ok.

TOBY:
It’s ok. It’s ok. I forgive you… Everything’s gonna be ok…

Ernest’s voice crackles on the comm.

ERNEST: (Over the comm)
Oh hell… OH GREAT EAGLE NO!!!

An explosion is heard.

ERNEST: (Over the comm)
Guys… Napalm… Napalm here! ORENDI’S ESCAPED!!!


ORENDI

Alert sirens blare and red lights flash on every console on the bridge. Reyna, Shayne, and Benedict scramble over the controls.

REYNA:
Situation report! Where is she!!??

ERNEST: (Over the comm)
Deploying mine grid…

An explosion is heard.

ERNEST: (Over the comm)
HOW IN THE HELL DID SHE MANAGE TO DODGE EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!

REYNA:
FIBER, NAPALM, MOUTH, DRAGON, DAMMIT!!! SOMEONE TELL ME SOMETHING!!!

BENEDICT:
Great Eagle, Ernest! Ya had ONE gmn job! ONE gmn JOB!!!

ERNEST: (Out of breath and running)
I’m sorry… she got away from me… she blew a hole in the simulator wall before I could react!

Pendles and Montana arrive on the bridge with the unconscious Thorn.

PENDLES:
The hell’s goin’ on?

NOVA:
I’ve located her… Deck 5 corridor B5. She’s heading for the access ladder.

The screens shift to focus on her, climbing the access ladder. She takes out the camera with a chaos bolt.

REYNA:
WHISKEY!!! MOVE TO INTERCEPT!!! ACCESS LADDER B!!!

SHAYNE:
She’s jumped off at level 4… heading for the auxiliary air vent…

BENEDICT:
The tour group is on deck 2. She’s givin’ her an overview of the armory.

TOBY: (Whispering over the comm)
Guys… what’s going…

BENEDICT:
BE QUIET MAN!!! WE GOT THIS!!! We do have this right?

WHISKEY FOXTROT: (Over the comm)
Where should I go? What should I do?

Pendles runs from the room.

PENDLES:
Headin’ to armory. I’ll tail the tour group. If she makes it past Whiskey, I’ll intercept there. Don’t worry love… she won’t hit Toby or Pam. That’s a Pendles Promise. Trademarked.

NOVA:
She’s in the ventilation shafts directly above Ernest.

REYNA:
NAPALM!!! GRENADES!!! VENTILATION SHAFT!!! NOW!!!

Explosions are heard.

REYNA:
Did you get her? Napalm? NAPALM!!!

ERNEST: (Over the comm)
Ahhhhhhhh!!! Get this crazy bitch off my back!!! AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!

ORENDI: (Over the comm)
CHAOS STORM!!!

A shadowfire pillar can be heard going off. An emergency transport beacon activates. Ernest appears on the bridge. He looks stunned.

ERNEST:
She got me! I can’t believe she got me!

REYNA:
GET BACK OUT THERE!!!

Ernest runs from the room.

NOVA:
She is now moving towards access ladder C. Climbing… now on level 3… heading up…

SHAYNE:
She’s heading right for the armory!

REYNA:
Foxtrot… get to access ladder C, now!

WHISKEY FOXTROT: (Over the comm)
I’m already there. Good thing I confused ladder “B” with ladder “C” huh?

REYNA:
Prep yourself! She’s almost there!

WHISKEY FOXTROT: (Over the comm)
Target spotted! Foxtrot is engaging hostile!

Gunfire is heard.

WHISKEY FOXTROT: (Over the comm)
Going into OVERDRIVE!!!

Overdrive gunfire is heard. Explosions are heard. Shadowfires are heard. They stare at the infrared feed of the battle on the monitor. It lasts a good 2 - 3 minutes. Whiskey gives a valiant effort, but in the end, Orendi manages to grab him by his bandolier, and throw him down the access ladder shaft. Whiskey’s infrared signature falls to the bottom. It stays there.

NOVA:
He’s unconscious, but alive. Calling for medics.

Orendi moves on the armory.

REYNA:
Pendles, you’re our last line…

PENDLES:
Movin’ to intercept now…

The two infrared signatures collide. The battle is silent. Nobody can tell what’s going on. After a minute or so of hand to hand combat, an emergency transport beacon activates, and Pendles appears on the bridge. He looks stunned.

PENDLES:
No! NOOO!!! I BROKE A PENDLES PROMISE!!! SHE’LL PAY FOR THIS!!! SHE’LL PAY!!! NOBODY BREAKS A PENDLES PROMISE!!! NOBODY!!!

There is now nothing standing between Orendi and the armory. The tour group emerges…


Toby, Pam, The Mother Hen, and Deande stare at Orendi. Orendi just stands there, staring at the two Finisci, wide eyed. Deande finally speaks up.

DEANDE:
Uh… Madam… this is… Orendi. She is…

THE MOTHER HEN:
I know what she is.

Orendi walks right up to Toby and Pam. Tears begin streaming down her face. Toby looks panicked. Benedict has absolutely no advice to give him.

ORENDI:
Toby… you have… you have… you have… a girlfriend?

The Mother Hen nods with approval. She knows this won’t end well. Toby’s heart sinks.

TOBY:
Yes… Orendi… I…

ORENDI: (Cheering)
THAT’S AWESOME!!! Hello everyone! I’m Orendi! And I want you to know, I love Toby! He’s awesome! What’s your name?

PAM:
Um… Pamela Tr—

ORENDI:
LADY TOBY!!! You’re a very lucky girl!!!

She shakes her flipper, really, really hard, then runs, bounces off the wall, and snatches her up, hugging her. She dances around the room carrying Pam, and generally freaks her out as she starts singing an impromptu, quite graphic song about dismembering her enemies with kindness before setting her back down on the floor and running off.

ORENDI:
Let me know when you make babies! Oh! I have so much knitting to do!!! BABY BLANKETS!!! BABY BOOTIES!!! BABY HATS!!! BABY DIAPERS!!! BABY BIBS!!! BABIES BABIES BABIES!!!

Orendi hits the button for the elevator. Ernest emerges. She leaps into his talons.

ORENDI:
Hi Ernest! Have you met Lady Toby? She and Toby are gonna MAKE BABIES!!! Makes ya think doesn’t it?

She twirls around his feathers in three of her arms. He could not look more uncomfortable.

ERNEST:
Uh… sorry for the intrusion, everyone. Ma’am. Madam. Deande. Toby. Pam. Uh…

He turns, holding Orendi, walks into the elevator, and hits the button for the bridge. The doors shut. The Mother Hen doesn’t waste a moment.

THE MOTHER HEN:
Ya know, Pamela, ya can learn a lot about a man by the company he keeps. And that… thing… is the company Toby keeps.

DEANDE:
She is a little strange, yes… but… she’s actually quite…

THE MOTHER HEN:
Ya’ve seen an Alpian monstrosity, an Eldrid savage, a clone, a traitor who has managed to weasel her way into a position as head of state, and a woman who by all accounts should be in an insane asylum or dead and may or may not be having a love affair with a flightless bird! Throw in that a**hat Benedict, who you KNOW is around somewhere, and keep in mind that this is the company yer precious little Toby keeps. Lunatics, lowborn, and losers. Truly a prize catch. And not befittin’ of a maid from one of the most prestigious castes on New Madan. Keep that in mind, my precious girl. Ya may not like my methods, ya may think I’m bein’ cruel. But everything I do… I do to protect ya from yerself. I have only YER best interests in mind. And ya have to ask yerself one question. Is this really the company ya wanna keep?

She struts off. Pam looks at Toby awkwardly. She’s clearly a bit freaked out by Orendi. She looks down, then follows The Mother Hen from the room, wordlessly. Benedict swears.

BENEDICT:
G*ddammit. He had one job! Ernest had one g**damn job!

Reyna puts a hand on his shoulder.

REYNA:
There was nothing he could do Benny. There was nothing any of us could do. It’s Orendi. Let’s just be glad she didn’t show everyone her pinky toe diorama.

Aurox laughs heartily at everyone’s gloom.


(Benedict's Glorious Wingspan) #95

The ??? Year Old Virgin: Part 2


CONFRONTATION

Deande, The Mother Hen, Pam and Toby walk down the hallway towards the mess hall. Pam is not speaking, and seems to be avoiding Toby a little. The Mother Hen is positively beaming, knowing she’s winning the battle. Deande is losing her cool a bit, as The Mother Hen is taking every opportunity to insult her and is now constantly referring to her as “Traitor.” Orendi and Ernest have joined the others on the bridge. Orendi is now donning a cheerleader outfit with “Toby” hand scrawled on the front in… hopefully red paint… and four pom poms. Whiskey and Pendles are out patrolling the halls, trying to keep anyone else from interfering. Thorn has regained consciousness.

THORN:
LET US JUST KILL HER AND BE DONE WITH IT!!!

MONTANA:
Thorn, she’s the wife of a head of state. We can’t exactly kill her without attracting some attention. Some angry, flying military attention. And she’s got some kind of power over Toby’s girl. We’ve gotta break that power first.

THORN:
Fine. I shall just beat her then. No killing. I shall take some of our book club instruments and I shall…

Montana grabs her arm.

MONTANA:
First off… what happens in book club, stays in book club. Second… you go in there, we’re gonna fail the mission.

NOVA:
That’s right. And if you fail the mission, no shiny new ops points for you!

Thorn pulls away from Montana.

THORN:
Fine. Fine. I shall save my anger for book club. But I am going to be EXTRA critical of your interpretation of Chaucer…

Montana smiles.

MONTANA:
A widow who was rather old and poor…

Thorn grins mischievously. Benedict snaps.

BENEDICT:
Hey y’all! Quiet down! We’re movin’ into the romantic dinner. This is our last chance to pull Toby’s girl out of the clutches of that nasty ol’ bat! I need to focus here! Nova…

NOVA:
DRAGON!!!

Benedict sighs.

BENEDICT:
Dragon…has been workin’ real hard to prepare some traditional Finisci dishes for Pam. Hopefully we can gain back some momentum with that and have Toby charm her back to our side. Montana, get yer ass back out there and relieve Deande before she stabs our guest in the face.

MONTANA:
Right. chief.

Benedict pushes the button for the comms.

BENEDICT:
Toby, listen up. Ya gotta be smooth here an’ do EXACTLY what I say. Understand?

TOBY: (Over the comms whispering, but sounding a little like he’s already lost the battle)
Yeah. Got it.

SHAYNE:
Now registering 9.8 Cerseis on Rank-A-Bitch. Deande can’t stand up under that pressure much longer.


THE MOTHER HEN:
Of, course, traitor, ya know if Toby really wanted to get on my good side, he shoulda brought in Miss Helmsworth. I notice she’s not around. Now there is a classy, refined woman who would never be caught dead rollin’ around in the filth with clone sweat runnin’ down her back. I might actually’ve been impressed with her. Of course, she probably has better things to do than get mixed up here with the rabble, whereas yer so desperate to prove the legitimacy of yer rule and gain support against yer rightful ruler’s loyal subjects that ya’d take ANY opportunity to come and talk with a potential ally. Includin’ sabotagin’ another ally’s date night. Oh, by the way, I hear yer real, real good at sabotage Ma’am. Doesn’t that technically classify as terrorism? Of course I should expect no less from a traitor…

DEANDE: (Ready to snap)
I… am here… purely… as a favor… to…

THE MOTHER HEN:
Oh I’m sorry. The traitor says what? I wasn’t listenin’.

Deande extends a fan. Montana arrives just in time to stop Deande from slitting her throat.

MONTANA:
Deande. Urgent news from Tempest. You’d better get up to the comms station.

Deande pauses, and manages to pull together her last ounces of self control.

DEANDE:
Excuse me, Madam. But it appears I have urgent business to attend to. It’s been… lovely… talking to you…

THE MOTHER HEN:
If ya ever do manage to get yer people under control, ya know, like a real ruler, come and find me dear. In the meantime, I’d advise ya to seek out one of my husband’s autobiographies. Ya might pick up a few pointers there.

Deande rushes towards the elevator. Her holoclone of Whiskey follows. Montana gestures towards the mess hall.

MONTANA:
Ma’am, I’ve been asked to escort you ladies to the mess hall for our dinner spread.

THE MOTHER HEN:
Ah. The intellectual returns. Charmin’. If yer spread is as lackluster as yer busted down old garbage scow and it’s crew of halfwitted brigands, thieves, loonies, and soldiers, I’m quite sure I’m in for a shock.

TOBY:
Oh… weren’t your sons in the military Ma’am?

Pam gasps. The Mother Hen stops, furious. She turns, leans down, and glares right into Toby’s face. Toby just stares up at her with his most innocent grin.

TOBY:
I mean, they’ve all got medals for being soldiers right? You made it sound like being a soldier was a bad thing. I’m sorry. I guess I was just confused. No disrespect!

On the bridge, Reyna gets up from the captain’s chair.

REYNA:
Benny, that was REAL dumb! I know she’s a pain in the ass, but…

BENEDICT:
That wasn’t me…

The Mother Hen scowls at Toby. They lock gazes for a solid 20 seconds. Pam puts her flippers to her beak.

THE MOTHER HEN:
I meant… lowborn soldiers… like your pet Alpian here. Or YOU Toby. Do not ever presume to talk about my children again.

She stands, and brushes past Montana, furious. Pam glances up at Toby, blushes, and runs after The Mother Hen. Montana silently leans down and fist bumps Toby.

MONTANA:
Nice…

BENEDICT: (Over the comm)
DON’T ENCOURAGE HIS ASS!!! TOBY, WHAT THE HELL WERE YA THINKIN"!!!??? THAT WAS REAL STUPID!!!

MONTANA:
I dunno, I thought it was badass…

Benedict glares at Toby on the bridge monitor.

TOBY: (Whispering over the comm)
Look… I’m sorry. I can’t keep this up much longer…

BENEDICT:
HEY!!! DO YA LOVE THIS GIRL OR NOT??? ARE YA TRYIN’ TO PISS THIS OPPORTUNITY AWAY?

TOBY: (Whispering over the comm)
Benny… I’m tired. I’m tired of the lies, I’m… I’m tired of pretending to be nice, and I’m… I’m tired of being told what to say. Ernest was right… this… this… this just doesn’t feel right.

Ernest gives a slight grin of pride, but stays silent. Benedict doesn’t handle this nearly as well…

BENEDICT:
WELL YA BETTER FIND A WAY TO DEAL, BECAUSE I DID NOT SPEND ALL THIS TIME HELPIN’ YA GET THIS FAR JUST TO SEE YA BACK OUT NOW…

TOBY: (Raising his voice)
And what are you gonna to do… huh? Are you gonna give me pointers on marriage? Sex? How to raise my kids? Are you gonna be in my ear the whole way? What kind of relationship is this gonna be if I can’t be myself? If I can never be honest with her? If she can’t even be honest with me? I wouldn’t have cared if she was a maid! But she couldn’t even be honest with me about that! So, if she can’t be honest with me, and I can’t be honest with her, and we can’t be happy as ourselves, then what’s the point?

BENEDICT:
THE POINT IS THAT YA HAVE SOME SEMBLANCE OF A NORMAL AVIANT LIFE, TOBY!!! THE POINT IS THAT YA GET MARRIED, HAVE KIDS, AN’ SETTLE DOWN, LIKE A GOOD RESPECTABLE MAN!!! A REAL MAN!!! NOT THIS INSECURE OOH, OH, OOH, OH JACKASS YA ACT LIKE ON THE BATTLEFIELD!!!

REYNA:
BENNY!

ERNEST:
SOLDIER! STAND DOWN!

BENEDICT: (Ignoring them)
YER BETTER THAN THIS!!! YER BETTER THAN ALL OF US!!! AND I’M SICK AND TIRED OF SEEIN’ YA WASTIN’ YER LIFE ACTIN’ LIKE A BOY PLAYIN’ AT BEIN’ A REAL MAN!!! I’M HERE TO STRAIGHTEN YER ASS OUT!!! I’M HERE TO FORCE YA TO DO WHAT YA SHOULD’VE DONE WHEN YA CAME OF AGE, WHENEVER THE HELL THAT WAS!!! SO GET BACK IN THERE, FLY RIGHT, AND BE A REAL MAN TOBY!!!

ERNEST:
I SAID “THAT’S ENOUGH” SOLDIER!!! BACK OFF OF TOBY NOW!!!

REYNA:
MOUTH!!! DON’T MAKE ME COME OVER THERE!!!

BENEDICT: (Still ignoring them)
I DON’T CARE IF IT GOES AGAINST YER INSTINCTS, YER INSTINCTS ARE SHOT TO SHT!!! I DON’T CARE IF THE REST OF YER LIFE IS MADE UP OF LIES… I JUST WANNA SEE YA LIVE A NORMAL G***MN LIFE!!! BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT GOOD, TALENTED, RESPECTABLE BIRDS DO!!!

A long pause. Reyna marches right up behind Benedict, ready to take him down.

TOBY: (Coldly)
Is that what you did with Circinae? Lived a lie?

Benedict jumps out of his chair and scowls at Toby on the screen.

REYNA:
BENEDICT!!

ERNEST:
CORPORAL!!!

BENEDICT:
DON’T EVER PRESUME TO TALK ABOUT MY DEAD WIFE AGAIN!!! EVER!!! BOY…

Reyna grabs Benedict, throws off his headset and tosses him to the floor. Benedict’s feathers ruffle. He balls his talons into fists and prepares to punch Reyna in the face. Ernest immediately grabs his arms from behind. Shayne levels his boomerang at him. Orendi prepares to sail several chaos bolts directly into his face. Reyna stands firm, furious.

REYNA:
Go ahead, bird. I guarantee it’ll be the last thing you ever do.

Benedict trembles and turns away. He relaxes his arm and stands for several seconds. Feeling his rage dissipating, Ernest lets go. He sits back down at the communications console and breathes for a bit, trying to control himself. Finally he stares down, puts back on his headset, and talks to Toby again.

BENEDICT:
No… Toby… that’s not what Circinae and I did. Nobody wanted her to marry me. She was way out of my league and everyone knew it. Nobody forced us to be together. We just… we loved each other. Ain’t nothin’ about my marriage was an act. It was our choice.

Benedict folds his arms on the table and buries his beak in them.

REYNA:
Toby… it’s your call. Nobody here’s gonna force you to do anything you don’t wanna to do. If you wanna pull the plug… it’s up to you. You’re a man. You make your own decisions. No pressure from us. Ok?

She glares at Benedict. Benedict knows she’s glaring at him.

BENEDICT:
No pressure from us. It ain’t my place to run yer life.

He looks up at Reyna, and apologizes just as much to her as to Toby.

BENEDICT:
I’m sorry.

He turns back to the console.

BENEDICT:
Toby, yer a real man. I’ll respect whatever decision ya make. If ya wanna slap The Mother Hen right in her fat, smug face, ya do it. Plenty of other fish in the sea right?

Thorn lets out a disgusted noise.

TOBY: (Over the comm)
Plenty of other fish in the sea.

Toby pauses for almost a full minute, thinking.

TOBY: (Over the comm)
If… if you’re still willing to help me… I… I just need to know. I need to know for sure that Pam really doesn’t want to be with me. I just… I need to know that it’s really not gonna work out. For closure. Is that stupid?

BENEDICT:
Naw, man. We get it. What do ya want us to do?

TOBY:
I need you guys to think of… of… of some way to get Pam away from… that… that… that… that… guys, I’m really sorry, I’m gonna use a swear word here… that bitch!

REYNA:
Don’t apologize. We’ve all been sayin’ it since she came aboard.

Deande enters as if on cue. She shouts at the top of her lungs.

DEANDE:
THAT UNBELIEVABLE BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCHHHHH!!!

Reyna grins.

REYNA:
See?

BENEDICT:
Alright Toby. We’ll think of somethin’. Buy us some time. Go in there, and stall ‘em as long as ya can. The Mother Hen’s pretty much ready to pack up an’ go now. See if ya can make some headway with Pam. We’ll let ya know what we come up with.

TOBY: (Over the comm)
Thanks, Benny. And… just one more thing…

BENEDICT:
Yeah?

TOBY: (Over the comm)
Don’t ever call me “boy” again. I’m a man. Got it?


DINNER IS SERVED

Toby and Montana enter the mess hall. The Mother Hen glares at them.

THE MOTHER HEN:
Well it took ya look enough. Did ya make a little piddle on the floor? I know how y’all refuse to wear diapers.

She glares pointedly at Pam. Pam bows her head in shame.

TOBY:
Hey! When… when ya gotta go, ya gotta go! And I don’t know about you, Ma’am, but I don’t like the feel of my own feces up against my butt all day. Maybe that’s fine for you flight capable Aviants, but…

THE MOTHER HEN:
HOW DARE YOU!!! SUCH VULGAR CONVERSATION!!!

TOBY: (Barely hiding his sarcasm by looking apologetic)
Oh… I’m sorry, Ma’am! But… but… you brought it up! Ordinarily I would never dream of talking about my bowel movements! You just seemed so interested in the topic…

THE MOTHER HEN:
PAM!!! WE’RE LEAVIN’!!! I SEE NO REASON WHY WE SHOULD HAVE TO PUT UP WITH… WITH… THIS… DISRESPECT!!!

MONTANA:
Well… uh… at least have some dinner first! No point in leavin’ on an empty stomach? Am I right?

The Mother Hen glares at Montana for a moment.

THE MOTHER HEN:
I am absolutely certain whatever y’all cretins have prepared will give us BOTH horrible indigestion. That said… I am morbidly curious about what yer gonna pull out of yer kitchen to try to impress me. I will stay, only because I wanna use this as the cherry on top of the story I’m gonna tell my girlfriends at the bathhouse about ya miserable wretches. So… on with the show, I suppose. Clowns.

TOBY:
Let me get your chairs…

Toby runs up and pulls out a chair. The Mother Hen walks over to sit down. Toby intervenes.

TOBY:
Oh, no… I’m sorry… this chair is for my girlfriend. I’ll get yours in a minute.

The Mother Hen glowers at Toby. Pam cautiously steps forward, but at a look from The Mother Hen, steps back and stands in place.

PAM:
No… that’s fine. She can have the seat.

The Mother Hen sits slowly, deliberately, and triumphantly in the seat Toby has pulled out. Toby turns away, disappointed and pulls out another seat for Pam. As before, she cautiously steps forward. The Mother Hen looks at her, and she freezes in place for a few moments. The Mother Hen sighs.

THE MOTHER HEN:
Oh, let’s just get this over with. Sit down, girl. This had better be a REAL meal or we’re leavin’.

TOBY:
You ladies wait right here! I’ll be right back.

Toby waddles into the kitchen. Montana stands guard by the door, smiling. The Mother Hen sizes up Montana.

THE MOTHER HEN:
So… Montana is it? Lemme ask ya a few questions about Alpia…


They watch on the monitors as Toby enters the kitchen.

TOBY: (Whispering into the comm)
Benny… have you guys thought of anything yet? I can’t keep her here much longer!

Ernest and Benedict pace the bridge. Orendi bounces around the room, cheering for Toby and shaking her pom poms.

ORENDI:
GIMME A T… O… B… Y… What does that spell? TOBY!!! YAAAY!!! GO TOBY!!! MAKE SOME BABIES!!!

Ernest stops and stares at Toby on the monitor.

ERNEST:
I just don’t see any way of separating them. She is NOT gonna leave her side. Hens are notoriously overprotective and vicious. There’s a reason we use 'em as a synonym for “bitch.”

TOBY: (Whispering)
Aw… c’mon you guys… there must be SOMETHING you can do! You’re the biggest badasses in the galaxy! Admittedly… it’s… it’s not a very BIG galaxy anymore… but you should be able to think of something!

REYNA:
Toby… I hate to say this… but Ernest might be right. I just don’t see how we can get her away from him. She’s registering over 9.8 Cerseis on Rank-A-Bitch for crying out loud. Everyone we’ve tried to send in has broken. Hell… she broke DEANDE. And she’s the coolest cat we know! We just can’t handle bitchiness of that magnitude!

Benedict stops pacing. He begins stripping off his smoking jacket.

BENEDICT:
It ain’t hopeless 'til it’s hopeless.

He rushes for the door.

REYNA:
Bird… what are you doing?

BENEDICT:
I’ve got a g****mn plan. Toby… this is Talon 517-C. I’m comin’ in.

ERNEST:
Soldier, NO!! Are you crazy? Do you have any idea what that… woman… will do to you?

REYNA:
I’m with Ernest. Your presence isn’t going to help anything, Benny. I know you feel bad about what you said… but just a reminder… she’s registering 9.8 Cerseis…

SHAYNE:
Correction… now registering… 10 Cerseis. She just ranked up and maxed out her helix insulting Montana…

They look up and see Montana rushing towards the gym.

REYNA:
MONTANA!!! WHAT THE HELL!!!

MONTANA: (Over the comm)
I’M GONNA KILL THAT BITCH!!! OH… I… I… UGH!!! THE SOONER SHE’S OUT OF HERE, THE BETTER!!! I’M SORRY GUYS, I CAN’T DO IT ANYMORE!!! I JUST CAN’T DO IT!!! IF I HAVE TO LISTEN TO ONE MORE G****MN CONDESCENDING CASUAL INSULT, I’M GONNA FRY HER LIKE THANKSGIVING DINNER!!! GRANTED, SHE’S NOT AS BIG AS A PROPER ALPIAN BIRD, BUT STILL!!!

Thorn stares in disbelief as Montana enters the gym and immediately hits the punching bag so hard it snaps off it’s housing and sails into the wall.

THORN:
I… I have never seen him… so… upset… not even during book club…

REYNA:
That’s it. We lost Montana. I’m pullin’ the plug. Toby… say goodbye to Pam. You’re gonna have to find a new girl…

BENEDICT:
HEY!!! I SAID I WAS GOIN’ IN AND I MEANT IT!!!

REYNA:
IT’S OVER, MOUTH!!!

BENEDICT:
LIKE HELL IT’S OVER!!! I HAVE SPENT MY WHOLE LIFE INSULTIN’ PEOPLE!!! I WROTE A BOOK ON THE SUBJECT!!! MY WHOLE JOB ON THIS DAMN SHIP IS DISTRACTIN’ OUR ENEMIES AND MAKIN’ ‘EM MAD, AND I’M TELLIN’ YA… I CAN BREAK HER!!!

SHAYNE:
Benny… if you’re saying what I think you’re saying… that means… that means you’re gonna have to go…

Benedict nods.

BENEDICT:
Maximum douche.

The others look at him in stunned silence. Whiskey pipes up from the infirmiry.

WHISKEY FOXTROT: (Over the comm)
No way. It’s impossible! There’s no way you can go “maximum douche” against a level 10 Cersei!

THORN:
She will cut you down like a wet noodle!

Orendi dumps a ramen noodle cup on Shayne’s head.

ORENDI:
YAAAY!!! RAMEN!!!

SHAYNE:
HEY!!! ORENDI!!!

BENEDICT:
Reyna… I got this handled. Let me go.

ERNEST:
It’s suicide…

Reyna thinks for a few moments.

REYNA:
Bird, you really think you can pull this off?

BENEDICT:
I was born for this.

REYNA:
Then do it.

Toby reenters pushing a large cart. The food on the cart is hidden with a beautiful white tablecloth that they “borrowed” from Phoebe. Toby grunts at the physical exertion. It’s a big cart, and he really could’ve used some help with this. The Mother Hen snickers at him as he struggles with the cart. Pam looks uncomfortable and stares at Toby with pity.

TOBY:
Sorry about the delay, ladies. But dinner… is served…

Toby pulls off the tablecloth revealing a beautiful spread of brightly colored sushi, sashimi, and shrimp. Around the edges sit at least 15 different large bowls of seafood curries. Everything, from the arrangement, to the garnishes, to the seaweed salads is perfect. Nova really did do an amazing job. It’s all synthesized of course, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Pam gasps and puts her flippers to her beak.

PAM:
It’s… it’s a traditional Finisci courtship dinner… right down to every detail… oh… I’ve always dreamed of a meal like this… but I never thought…

THE MOTHER HEN:
HMPH!

Pam glances at her and shuts her beak, but her eyes stay firmly focused on Toby now. He lights a candle, jumps up on the table, and brandishing a knife and an octopus pouch, slowly cuts it open and allows the ink to dribble out on the table in front of Pam. Her eyes tear up. She’s clearly impressed, and loves that he’s gone through all the trouble of preparing a traditional blessing before the meal. The Mother Hen slams the table, knocking Toby off his feet in the middle of the ritual.

THE MOTHER HEN:
Oh, I’m sorry. How much longer am I gonna have to sit through this? Huh? Pam, ya outta be ashamed of yerself! He puts a bunch of rottin’ fish under yer nose and that makes yer heart swoon? PLEASE!!! Give me a break! I thought I broke ya of yer nasty Finisci eatin’ habits, but it looks like I was mistaken! Yer still just lowborn sewer trash! No matter how much I try to civilize ya, that’s all ye’ll ever be!

PAM: (Intimidated)
I… I… I… I…

THE MOTHER HEN:
This ain’t a proper meal, and you ain’t a proper man, Toby!

She points at Toby and grabs Pam by the flipper.

THE MOTHER HEN:
C’mon girl. We’re leavin’. An’ when we get back, we’re gonna make a few more little changes. No more of this runnin’ around in the nude crap. First thing when we get back, I’m takin’ ya clothes shoppin’! AN’ YER GONNA WEAR A DIAPER LIKE A NORMAL G****MN AVIANT!!!

Pam is too upset to speak. The Mother Hen picks her up. Tears stream down her face as her overbearing employer carries her towards the door. She sobs openly. The Mother Hen hits the controls for the mess hall door, and is greeted by the grinning face of August Benedict.


MAXIMUM DOUCHE

Benedict is wearing brightly colored yellow, expensive brand name boots that he’s deliberately torn holes in to show how gangsta he is. His yellow, poofy pants are covered in bits of fake gold and sequins. He wears them pulled down just a little, so you can see his checkered diaper underneath. He wears a big, black cowboy belt for ornamentation only with a big ass buckle that has a dick symbol on it and an arrow pointing towards his junk. An inscription reads “VIPs only.” He wears a pink sleeveless shirt with the words “■■■■■ shredder” emblazed in white, silvery text with gold trim. Around his neck, he wears at least a dozen different gold chains engraved with sayings like, “■■■■■ pounder,” “wreck’d,” and “swag mastah.” On his wrists he wears three different gold and silver smart watches. He has set one of them to monitor his arousal level (not really, it’s programmed to beep whenever he comes near a woman) and on his head, he wears an upside down white visor. He has matted his crest and all his feathers down with obnoxious levels of grease. The Mother Hen drops Pam. And stands protectively between her and Benedict.

THE MOTHER HEN:
You…

Benedict addresses Toby.

BENEDICT:
Hey, f**ker. Hope ya don’t mind I crashed yer little date night. Ah… whatever… like ya ever had any kinda chance anyway. Don’t worry I ain’t here for yer girl… although I could take her if I wanted her. I mean look at this… look at all this…

Benedict gestures towards himself.

BENEDICT:
Pan, or Sam… or whatever the hell 'er name was wouldn’t have had a chance. Naw… I’m here cuz I heard a hot ass flight cabable beauty was on board… and I see I was not mistaken.

His arousal watch beeps. He holds it right up in front of The Mother Hen’s face. It beeps more rapidly.

BENEDICT:
Aw hell… ya hear that little thing going off? Arousal level… 9 baby. Sorry… it would be a 10, but… let’s be honest here… I’ve had better.

Reyna and the others just stare in disbelief at the scene unfolding on the bridge, except Orendi, who is now jumping up and down on Ghalt’s command chair, shaking her pom poms and singing “Trampoline.” The bridge door opens, and Whiskey arrives to watch the whole thing go down.

THE MOTHER HEN:
Too bad we were just leavin’, scumbag. C’mon, Pam.

Benedict blocks her path.

BENEDICT:
I don’t think ya heard me, baby. I wanna f**k ya. Let me make it as clear as possible.

He presses right up against her and sniffs her crest. The Mother Hen’s feathers ruffle. She shoves him off.

THE MOTHER HEN:
GET YER FILTHY ASS LOWBORN, GRIMY, CRIPPLED, FLIGHTLESS TALONS OFF OF ME OR I’LL HAVE MY HUSBAND REVOKE YER CITIZENSHIP STATUS FASTER THAN YA CAN THINK, WHICH ADMITTEDLY AIN’T THAT IMPRESSIVE WHEN ONE CONSIDERS YER ESTIMATED INTELLIGENCE!!! C’MON PAM!!!

She grabs Pam again. Reyna shakes her head on the bridge.

REYNA:
This isn’t gonna work. Benny, just let her go…

Benedict blocks The Mother Hen’s path again.

BENEDICT:
I don’t think ya heard me, girlfriend. I said, I’m interested.

THE MOTHER HEN:
And I said… “no.” Although I don’t expect a cowardly little, and I do mean “little” deserter sh*t like you to understand or follow even the most basic of commands…

She moves forward again. Benedict blocks her again.

BENEDICT:
Yeah… I hear ya say no… but yer body… says yes… Maybe if I try a little som’in’ som’in’ ta get the juices flowin’.

And with that, Benedict reaches down, and grabs her right in the…


Everyone on the bridge gasps in union, except Orendi, who is still singing “Trampoline.” A single tear runs down Whiskey Foxtrot’s face.

THORN, REYNA, AND DEANDE IN UNION:
He’s a dead man.

Whiskey is now openly sobbing. He walks up to Shayne. They fist bump.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
That was beautiful man… just beautiful. He did it… the son of a bitch did it… maximum douche.


Now y’all might recall earlier, I wanted to put a song in? But I let y’all pick instead? F**k that. We are playing Ram Jam’s “Black Betty” for this sh*t.

Benedict looks up, still grabbing The Mother Hen, He gives her his most suggestive grin. Pam stares in horror and puts her flippers to her beak. The Mother Hen begins trembling with rage.

BENEDICT:
What’d’ya say we find a nice quiet bathroom stall an’ spread around some Scrubbin’ Bubbles?

The Mother Hen’s beak opens, but absolutely no sound comes out. She is too angry to even move. Slowly, very slowly, she reaches for Benedict’s hand, and pushes it away. She begins circling him flexing her talons. Benedict just continues to glare at her suggestively.

PAM:
Mrs. Marigold… Ma’am… Ma’am… please… let’s just go… forget it… he’s not worth…

She hisses at her and focuses her full attention on Benedict. He whips out a big ass contraceptive.

BENEDICT:
Now I got one’a these, but… f**k it. What’d’ya say we live dangerously?

He tosses the contraceptive aside and gestures towards his junk. The Mother Hen opens her beak, and screeches with rage. With seemingly impossible speed, she grabs him by the throat and body slams him into the wall. Benedict responds by backhanding her in the face.

THE MOTHER HEN:
HOW DARE YA RAISE A HAND TO A LADY OF THE RULIN’ CLASS!!!

BENEDICT:
I’d feel bad, but ya ain’t to lady.

The Mother Hen grabs him, digs her talons into his torso, lifts off, and slams him into the condiments table. Ketchup, mustard, and relish goes flying everywhere.

PAM:
OH NO!!! NO!!! STOP!!! PLEASE, STOP!!!

Benedict throws a big jar of mayonnaise at her face. The jar shatters against her forehead. While she’s momentarily blinded, he grabs her arms and headbutts her.

PAM:
No, no, stop it! STOP!!!

The Mother Hen stomps down on Benedict’s foot and kicks him in the junk. He doubles over in pain. On the bridge, Orendi has continued her cheers for Toby. Whiskey Foxtrot and Aurox have produced twin buckets of popcorn and are grinning ear to ear at the spectacle. Everyone else stares in shock, unsure what to do. Back in the mess hall, a cloaked Pendles rushes in and asseses the situation. Benedict starts laughing at The Mother Hen.

BENEDICT:
Ahahahahahahahaha!!! IS THAT ALL YA GOT BITCH???

The Mother Hen’s eyes blaze with fury as she grabs him by the back, lifts off, pecks him in the face, then performs a dive bombing body slam on Benedict. He hits the floor. The wind is knocked out of him. She starts punching him repeatedly in the stomach. Benedict manages to bring his foot up and kicks her center of mass in the chest. the force throws her off, and she nearly crushes Pam on the way back down. Pendles manages to grab her out of the way just in time. She looks up and sees him decloak.

PENDLES:
Evenin’ Ma’am! Pendles is the name! Owner of Executive Executions! Ya might’ve heard’a me?

She shrieks and runs off towards the nearby supply closet. She opens it, quickly runs in, and shuts the door behind her. Still out of breath, Benedict struggles to his feet and looks back at Toby.

BENEDICT: (Coughing)
NOW’S… YER CHANCE TOBY! UGH… ACK… RUN!

Toby immediately jumps and slides along the floor towards the closet. The Mother Hen regains enough awareness to see that she’s been distracted, and quickly tries to beat him there. Benedict grabs a chair and throws it in her path. She trips and falls flat on her beak.

THE MOTHER HEN:
YA STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM MY MAID!!! I MEAN IT!!! DON’T YA DARE OPEN THAT DOOR!!! I’LL MAKE YA PAY. BOY!!! I’LL MAKE YA PAY DEARLY!!!

Toby opens the door. The Mother Hen stumbles back to her feet and reaches the door just in time to have Toby slam it in her face. He locks it from the inside. The music fades down.

THE MOTHER HEN:
PAM!!! PAM!!! OPEN THIS DOOR!!! OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW YOUNG LADY!!! RIGHT NOW!!!

Benedict laughs uncontrollably as The Mother Hen pounds on the door, enraged.


PAM

Toby approaches Pam in the darkened supply closet. He jumps up, and after several embarassing repeated attempts, manages to hit the lightswitch. Flourescent, industrial light fills the room. The Mother Hen can be heard shrieking and pounding on the door behind him. He steps forward slowly, and sees Pam hiding amidst large cans of baked beans, rocking back and forth, and sobbing.

TOBY:
Pam?

PAM:
Toby… please don’t come any closer… please… I’m so ashamed…

TOBY:
I’m sorry. I… I didn’t mean to hurt you…

PAM:
I’m fine… it’s just… it’s just…

She sobs. Toby moves a little bit closer, letting her sob a bit. He sits down next to her.

PAM:
Please… don’t be nice to me. I’m… I’m so pathetic… I was stupid to think I could ever be the girlfriend of a badass like you…

TOBY:
Huh?

PAM:
I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I was a maid… I’m sorry you’re disappointed in me… I’m sorry I get freaked out easy… and I’m sorry… so very sorry… about… HER… I just… I just… I… I… I…

She breaks down into sobs again.

TOBY:
Hey… it’s ok. I’m not mad. If… if you wanna know the truth… I… I was scared to death you wouldn’t like me… I was scared to death this would be our last date, that you were totally out of my league. This is gonna sound really pathetic… but that a**hole who’s out there right now fighting with your employer? He…

Toby chuckles lightly to himself.

TOBY:
He’s been telling me what to say on our dates… believe it or not. I’m sorry I lied to you. I’m sorry I’m not as much of a badass as you think I am… I just… I was so scared… that… that you wouldn’t like me…

Pam’s sobbing diminishes a bit and she regains some composure.

PAM:
You… you don’t have to say things just to be nice to me…

Toby laughs and pulls the LCJ7 Tactical Comms Unit out of his ear.

TOBY:
No… no… it’s true… I’ve got a whole squadron of my friends helping me out behind the scenes. You think you’re pathetic? You can’t hold a candle to me.

Pam half giggles, half sobs and lowers her head.

PAM:
Well, at least you’ve built a badass mech… and are actually going out and doing things… I mean look at me… I’m just… a stupid maid…

TOBY:
How did you ever wind up with… with… with… someone like her anyway?

Pam looks down, wiping away some tears. She pauses for a few seconds, collecting herself.

PAM:
I… I lost everyone and everything I ever cared about on Menneck, Toby. My family, my friends, my career, my life’s work. I was gonna make an indestructible renewable food supply that would grow in any waters… our people would’ve never gone hungry again… and in a flash, all of it, everything… was gone… just… gone… I didn’t know what to do. I had nowhere to go. I… I…

She wipes away more tears.

PAM:
I was lost… and she was there. She gave me a purpose again. It felt so good just to have… direction… just to know my place in the universe again. She was there and kind when everybody else could care less.

TOBY:
And now?

She stares at Toby.

PAM:
She’s a monster. I know. I have no excuses. I’m just… so scared to leave her. What would I do? Where would I go? Who would have me?

TOBY:
Well…

PAM:
I can’t go back to being lost again Toby. I can’t go back to that…

They sit in silence for a while. Well, as silent as they can be with that harpy banging on the door.

TOBY:
Well… you can always stay with me. With us…

Pam laughs in self pity.

PAM:
I’m not a warrior Toby. What would I do here?

TOBY:
You’d learn to be a badass… make your own direction… ■■■■ the rules that say you’re pointless and worthless, and make up your own! That’s what I did! And I’ve never regretted it! When the UPR said I was worthless, I got right out there and showed 'em I wasn’t! And look at me now! I’m… I’m a badass. So… I say… ■■■■ the rules! Do what you want! There’s a whole system out there hell bent on keeping people like us down AND I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!!! So… so… yeah!

Toby and Pam sit in silence for a few minutes, staring into each others’ eyes. Pam giggles a little.

PAM:
F**k the rules?

TOBY:
F**k the rules!

Pam giggles harder and stares off into space, muttering “f**k the rules” to herself. Toby instinctively puts his flipper around her back. Her smile disappears and she stares off into space. Toby starts rubbing her back.

THE MOTHER HEN: (Through the door)
I OWN YOU D****MMIT!!! I OWN YOU!!! GET YER ASS OUT HERE NOW!!!

TOBY:
It gets easier. The first time you say “no,” you’re so worried about disappointing people. But… it gets easier… trust me. It does. All you gotta do is take that first step. You have to say… to say “no” just once.

After a long pause Pam turns back to Toby. She is no longer sobbing. She has the beginnings of a real mischievous look in her eyes.

PAM:
You really think I can do this? I could… I could be a badass? Like you?

Toby smiles.

TOBY:
You can be whatever you want to be. You just have to believe in yourself! And work hard! And… and… I can’t think of any other motivational things to say right now… you’re making me feel kind of weird… but… yeah! You can do it!

PAM:
F**k the rules?

TOBY:
F**k the rules.

PAM:
F**k the rules.

TOBY:
F**k the rules!

They stare into each others’ eyes again for what seems like an eternity. Slowly, they move in, and rub beaks. Toby feels a brief moment of panic.

TOBY:
Uh… we’re… we’re not married…

Pam presses right up against him, with a spark in her eyes that makes Toby’s heart race.

PAM: (With purpose)
F**k the rules.


I have selected the following soundtrack to play during this scene. But, ya know. Whatever works for you…

The Mother Hen continues shouting and pounding on the door. Benedict continues laughing and smiling at her expense, sitting on the floor. The Red Angels enter the room. Whiskey and Aurox make their way over to Benedict. Whiskey fistbumps him.

WHISKEY FOXTROT:
Hell… yeah…

Orendi jumps up on one of the tables and prepares to do a cheer. Reyna, Pendles, Shayne, Aurox, and the others all stand around Benedict.

REYNA:
I want you to know… if you EVER do that for real to ANYONE I give a sh*t about… I’ll gut you.

SHAYNE:
Man, that was badass…

THORN:
That was disgusting, and I will not encourage such behavior. Not even for a friend.

REYNA:
This from the lady who engages in “book club” with Montana whenever she gets a chance…

The Mother Hen steps back from the closet door.

THE MOTHER HEN:
PAMELA!!! PAMELA!!! G****MMIT!!! I’M GONNA GIVE YA TO THE COUNT OF FIVE!!! ONE… TWO…

They hear noises coming from the closet. Benedict lays down on his back and gazes up at the ceiling, still grinning.

BENEDICT:
Way to go, Toby.

TOBY: (From the closet)
Uh… this is my first time… I hope you’re not disappointed… I’m not sure exactly how this works…

PAM: (From the closet)
I think you’re doing it right… oh god! But what if I’m doing it wrong?

TOBY: (From the closet)
Well… uh… f**k the rules? Right?

PAM: (From the closet)
Oh yes… f**k the rules!!!

THE MOTHER HEN:
WHAT IN THE NAME OF THE GREAT EAGLE ARE THE TWO OF YOU DOING IN THERE???

ORENDI:
It’s called “sex”! GO TOBY!!!

She begins her “Trampoline” routine again. Ernest buries his head in his talon and walks out, sighing. The Mother Hen stares, her beak open in shock, at the closet door.

NOVA:
if you guys want to see… I’ve got a live feed going now…

Whiskey whips out his phone…

WHISKEY FOXTROT: (Slowly tilting his head to once side)
Hmmm… that’s not what I expected…

PAM: (From the closet)
No… No… No… STOP!!!

TOBY: (From the closet)
OH MY GOD, AM I HURTING YOU???

PAM: (From the closet)
No… no… that’s not what I meant… I meant yes… OOOOHHHH!!! NO!!!

TOBY: (From the closet)
YOU’RE CONFUSING ME!!! WHOA!!! STOP THAT!!!

PAM: (From the closet)
OH MY GOD, AM I HURTING YOU?

TOBY: (From the closet)
NO, NO, UH… I MEANT… KEEP GOING… SORRY…

THE MOTHER HEN:
THAT IS IT!!! YA ARE FIRED YOUNG LADY!!! I DISOWN YA!!! I WILL NOT HAVE ONE OF MY SERVANTS ENGAGIN’ IN SUCH… ACTIVITIES!!! YA ARE CUT OFF!!! YA HEAR ME??? CUT… OFF!!! NO PAYCHECKS, NO PENSION, NOTHIN’!!! YA ARE NO LONGER WELCOME IN MY HOME!!! YA CAN FREEZE IN THE VACUUM OF SPACE FOR ALL I CARE!!! GOOD LUCK FINDIN’ SOMEONE TO TAKE YA IN WHEN YER LITTLE AFFAIR WITH THIS… THIS… LOWBORN… PSYCHOPATH IS DONE!!! YE’LL WITHER AND DIE LIKE A FLOWER WITHOUT ROOTS!!! YA ARE WORTHLESS!!! YA WILL NEVER AMOUNT TO ANYTHING!!! AND I WASH MY HANDS OF YA!!!

The noises in the closet subside for a bit. The two can be heard giggling at each other. The door unlocks and opens. Pam runs out, grinning, towards the dinner cart.

TOBY:
Yeah! Yeah! Do it! Do it!

Pam grabs one of the curry bowls and throws it right in The Mother Hen’s face. She shrieks in rage as the orange fish curry slops down her feathers. Pam runs back into the closet laughing and locks the door again. The magic begins anew. The Mother Hen storms over to Benedict. He slowly rises to his feet.

THE MOTHER HEN:
Ye’ll pay for this… by the Great Eagle, ye’ll pay! Ya think things can’t get much worse fer ya? I’ll make SURE yer citizenship status is revoked! Ye’ll be cut off! No self-respectin’ flight capable Aviant’ll have anythin’ to do with ya. Ye’ll NEVER, EVER BE ABLE TO REJOIN THE NEW MADAN COLONIES!!! Ya coward! Ya lowborn slime! Hawks like you and yer family of traitors are the reason we lost our home! Undisciplined, unruly scum! Ya come from a family of cowards! Yer wife was a foolish, ugly, class traitor whore and yer children were delinquent abominations! They deserved everythin’ they got… and I will PERSONALLY… make sure that I visit all y’all in the eternal feeding grounds every day to peck out all of yer eyes and flay your corpses!

Benedict leans in, takes his talon, scrapes some of the fish curry off her cheek, and licks it off his finger.

BENEDICT:
Insults only make me stronger, no matter which way they’re flying.

The Mother Hen stomps her foot down, turns on her heel and heads back to her shuttle. The Red Angels gather behind Benedict. Orendi continues her cheers. And Toby… well… he keeps doin’ what he’s doin’ for a good long while.

BENEDICT:
What’d’ya say we give the love birds some privacy eh?

NOVA:
Oh no. Oh hell no. I’m continuing to live stream this sh*t. You just try and stop me.

Music fades out as half of them leave to give Toby some privacy, and the others stay to cheer him on.


AFTERMATH

Benedict sits in his quarters watching a news report on the New Madan Information Network. They’ve been talking about it with glee all afternoon. He just stares in silence at the screen. The envelope with his official notice of citizenship termination lays at his bedside. An unopened bottle of rum sits at his feet. He’s been deciding whether or not to open it.

NEWS EAGLE:
…and from all of us here at the New Madan Information Network, all I can say is, it’s about bloody time. After the violent and emotionally devastating assault on Councilman Vineyard Marigold’s wife, August Benedict, seen here in this file photo mooning our press photographer in a completely unprovoked display of arrogance, has had his citizenship status in the New Madan Colonies officially revoked.

The Mother Hen appears on the screen. Big, fake ass tears run down her face as she very deliberately grabs a white handkerchief and plays the wilting flower. Beneidct rubs the scabs on his torso from that bitch’s talons.

THE MOTHER HEN:
I… was devastated… I was just… I was just tryin’ to help out a friend… and he came… and made… sexual advances at me… and then she betrayed me… and… and… oh… I’m sorry… it’s just too painful to…

Her demeanor suddenly shifts as a camera light comes into the frame right next to her face. She slaps it away.

THE MOTHER HEN:
G****mn boy… does that light HAVE to be so close to my damn—

The newscast immediately cuts back to the studio.

NEWS EAGLE:
I think I speak for all of New Madan when I breathe a sigh of relief that this… embarassment… is no longer our responsibility.

Benedict turns away and looks back down at the notice of termination. He sighs. This shouldn’t bother him as much as it does. He picks up the rum.

BENEDICT:
Nova, can I trust ya not to tell Ghalt about this?

NOVA:
No. But I pinky swear that I’ve got your back.

BENEDICT:
Ya don’t have pinkies Nova.

NOVA:
Well maybe if Kleese would get off his ass and work on my damn robot suit…

BENEDICT:
Did Pendles ever untape him?

NOVA:
I don’t know. I’m not his caretaker. He’s probably fine. Whatever.

Benedict hears a knock at the door. He quickly hides the rum and the termination letter under his sheets. Reyna enters.

REYNA:
I heard the news. You wanna talk…

BENEDICT:
Nope.

REYNA:
Of course not. Listen… what you did for Toby and Pam…

BENEDICT:
How’re they doin’?

REYNA:
Fine. Ghalt’s giving them bigger quarters, yeah, I know, like they NEED bigger quarters, right? Pam’s still a little freaked out by Orendi and Pendles, and… well… you… but she’ll get over it. She’s off Nova right now gathering some things out of storage.

BENEDICT:
Great. That’s great.

REYNA:
Listen… I know you’re not very sentimental… but I wanted to give you something…

She produces a Rogues patch from her jacket.

REYNA:
It’s a symbol. That you’re one of us. I know you’re UPR, well, not technically any more, but after the stunt you pulled for one of our own, hell. If that doesn’t make you an official Rogue, I don’t know what does.

Benedict silently reaches over and grabs the patch. He stares at for a while.

REYNA:
Right… so… anytime you need us… just know… we got your back.

Reyna starts for the door.

BENEDICT:
Reyna.

She stops. He looks up at her.

BENEDICT:
Thanks… uh… I know we’ve had our differences… and uh…

REYNA:
Hey. We’re cool.

Benedict produces the rum from under his sheets.

BENEDICT:
Can ya please give Toby this for me? As an engagement present? I know he popped the question and… I wanted to say…

REYNA:
You know, it’s customary to give wine. Or champaigne? Not rum, Benny.

Benedict hangs his head.

BENEDICT:
Just take it from me before I do something stupid with it ok?

Reyna grabs the bottle and walks out.

REYNA:
As far as I’m concerned, you never had this.

Benedict sits in silence and stares at the Rogues patch. Slowly, he gets up and walks over to his locker. He opens it and stares at the familiar faces on his family photo, smiling back at him. Six ever burning candles sit in front. Benedict smirks a little, with tears in his eyes, and places the Rogues patch on the next shelf down, next to a bunch of his UPR patches and photos of Ghalt, Galilea, Montana, Toby, and Ernest. He says a quick prayer to the Great Eagle for his family, then after a long pause, grabs another candle, and lights it next to his Rogues patch and his photos of his friends. He repeats the prayer, and closes his locker.


Reyna walks around the corner with the bottle of rum and is greeted by Ghalt.

GHALT:
How’s he taking it?

REYNA:
I think he’ll be alright. Here. I confiscated this. He hadn’t touched it yet.

Ghalt sighs.

GHALT:
Thanks, Reyna.

REYNA:
Oh… I can think of at least a dozen other, better ways you can thank me. But not now. I gotta go make sure Orendi’s not making a… well… let’s just call it a flesh dress, shall we?

Ghalt shakes his head as Reyna walks away. He stops for a moment, grins, then turns and heads for the bridge for a nice, relaxing back massage.


(Penguin connoisseur.) #96

@Benedict_87, there is so much detailed praise that i could give your latest work of art (and LITTLE of it concerns Toby, to put the scale of said praise in perspective), but i’d rather just say this (and please believe me when i say that i am in no way trying to be “over-supportive” to be nice, because that is not the kind of person i am. I’m especially not fond of fan-fiction, because 95% of it is usually sh*t):

Before today, there were only three writers out of the literal HUNDRENDS that i have read, who i have respected and admired enough to call a “favorite”; writers who’s created world’s wowed me in a way that no other’s have, and who’s descriptiveness painted the brightness and most vivid mental pictures. They are:

  1. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
  2. Alexander Dumas.
  3. Stephen King.

You are now #4. Some could say that, since you were merely using characters from an already existing work, that you don’t deserve to be considered as good. I say “f*ck the rules” to that. You took the characters from Battleborn, and you brought them to life in a way that is JUST as good as the aforementioned writers, in my eyes. And you did it in mere DAYS…

So, please, for God’s sake, man; practice what you preach in your story, and don’t let anyone EVER tell you that you don’t have what it takes to write professionally; don’t ever think it yourself. I may not be a professional critic, but anyone with half a brain can see that you have a rare breed of artistic vision that could take you far in life. Believe it.

Uh, i mean… YOU DO WELL!! RANDOM GIF:


(Velocitas Est Vita) #97

Yeah. Holy fcking sht. I just checked and it’s 16,246 (ish) words. That’s longer than probably any piece of writing I’ve done in my life, and you did it just as a fan-made story with characters from a video game.

@Benedict_87, my dude, you need to work for Gearbox as a gamewriter.


(Gone off comms, will update this when i feel like) #98

@dante_d_silva I’m not sure if you’ve come across these gems yet, but these add a level of depth that’s amazing


(Penguin connoisseur.) #99

Yeah, good ping. @JoeKGBX, i don’t know how you nominate someone for “community badass”, but stories are just as good, if not better than art, in my eyes; and so i’d officially like to nominate @Benedict_87, in the hopes that his creativity and humor are recognized.


(Natsume Ryu) #100

im bad at words.

love it. you pulled my heartstrings!!!

Thank you for continuing to make these. They are amazing.


#101

Wow–I just read the epic tale of Toby’s date and there was a lot of amazing stuff! I laughed, I cried, I lost 10 pounds, it was an experience! Some of the more…salacious character developments threw me for a loop, but that was a really fun read. Did a great job establishing and developing characters and roles throughout. I think my favorite parts of the story were seeing @Benedict_87 's interpretation of Reyna’s leadership style, and Benedict’s rarer, more serious side. Thanks for the tag, great way to start the morning.