Template:PostOpening CatH Post 46 the current Hopeful Crew are relaxing with alcohol in Clear's Room and joking about each other. Alexis Thrain seems reluctant to join in, feeling that she cannot take the pressure of being chased and attacked all the time but Pully believes she is upset that she was under the control of Aellisin Koure and that loss of control upset her. She eventually settles down to drinking too. Kokoro Lymn is unable to get drunk because of muovinian biology but she is upset because Ffion Heul left the group to remain on Earth with Hero Force One in HFO Post ?. They then arrive at the planet Dacato to deliver Aurora Briarose to the Rebel Alliance. At the Green House when they ask Governor Oit about Kiron Nightstrider, he claims that the man left however Kokoro Lymn believes the governor is lying. After staging a ploy to get out of the meeting with Ace Lander, Lander agrees to help the two women locate Nightstrider who Lymn believes is in the building.
Clear is lying on her bed. The blur of alcohol clouds her vision and her limbs feel soft. Gentle. Her heart feels energetic and courageous. Despite all of the disasters and horror of recent times, she feels, in some way, she and her friends have won a victory. She reaches out for the bottle with her left hand but her fingers meet with the skin of someone else's hand.
Pully: "My turn."
Clear: "Go get another bottle, Pully!"
Pully: "Too far away."
Clear: "They're in your room."
Princess Aurora: "Pully, you have to go! We're all invalids!"
Aurora is sat at the bottom of Clear's bed, leaning against the wall. Her legs are tucked under Clear's blanket to keep them warm. She has a bottle in hand that looks like it's nearly empty. She waggles it at Pully. Clear's own legs are coming back to life and she's able to move them around well enough, but there's still a lot of pain. At least alcohol serves to numb that pain. She feels the soft skin of Aurora's legs against her own. It's a strange thought that she can feel the other woman's legs but that woman can't feel hers.
Kokoro: "Don't make me use my telepathy on you, Pully..."
Pully, reluctantly, gets to her feet. She unsteadily takes a few steps towards the door. Kokoro is sitting atop a pile of clothes on the floor. A bag of bacta drip is hanging from an IV pole. As Pully reaches the door, there's a knock at it. Pully pushes a button, clumsily, and it slides open to reveal Alexis Thrain holding a fresh bag of bacta for Kokoro's IV.
Pully: "Heya Thrain. She's all yours."
She slips out and then calls back.
Pully: "Don't be gentle! Make her suffer!"
They laugh and Pully's cackle can be heard echoing from the corridor. Thrain switches the plug from the old bag to the new.
Kokoro: "I wish I could get drunk like you guys. Why did we never develop some form of inebriation on my world?"
Thrain: "That would be like trying to encourage a rock to tango. Some things are just too ridiculous to attempt."
Clear: "You do have the biology of a rock actually!"
Princess Aurora: "And the brain of one!"
They laugh again but Kokoro then looks sad.
Kokoro: "That's something she'd say..."
Clear: "Kokoro... she needs some time to come to terms with what she did. I think we do too."
Kokoro: "I can forgive her for trying to kill me. I can forgive her for running away from this. But I can't forgive her for not saying goodbye to me... it... hurts. Even here with you guys, having fun, I feel... alone. She's just... always been there with me. Everywhere. All the time!"
Pully: "Even in the showers? Dirty girls."
They turn to see Pully's triumphant return with the liquor.
Kokoro: "Funny you should say that, Ffion was absolutely convinced you and Clear were in... cahoots, shall we say?"
She mischievously grins. Aurora giggles into her bottle.
Pully: "We are! Absolutely gaying it up! Who can resist Clear's gorgeous, red ass!?"
Clear throws a pillow at Pully who almost drops the bottles. She hands them out to Aurora and Clear and then gives one to Green who grins manicly.
Green: "Thank you, Ms Pully!"
Pully: "How drunk are you, Green?"
Green waves her hand dismissively and opens the bottle with her teeth. Pully flinches.
Pully: "It's horrid that you can do that."
Green: "The people used to make offerings of bijou to me so I'd protect their crops."
Clear: "And did you protect the crops?"
Clear: "Sometimes? I thought you loved all plants, Green!"
Green: "I do! But the humans and panda people kept cutting them down and eating them!! My poor babies!"
Clear: "You know we eat vegetables too, Green?"
Pully: "Speak for yourself! I eat booze!"
Pully drops to the floor beside Kokoro, careful of the tube sticking out of the muovinian's arm.
Green: "I know that! But, I mean, they want me to help their plants grow just so they can kill them! That's not fair on me, is it?"
Clear: "You got bijou!"
Green: "I did say sometimes!"
Princess Aurora: "And what is bijou?"
Clear: "Human alcohol! It's over fifty percent. Honestly, you'll be drunk just from the fumes!"
They laugh again. Green's loud, somewhat crazed, shouting-laugh, Pully's cackle, Aurora's giggling and Clear's snorting. Kokoro, perhaps not finding alcohol so entertaining, chuckles. Thrain sighs.
Thrain: "When you're all finished being louts, you should come to the medical bay so I can administer hangover cures."
Pully: "Thrain, take the stick from your ass and join us! You need comforting too."
Alexis sighs. It's not a sigh of frustration but of sadness.
Thrain: "Because drinking will solve all our problems?"
Clear: "Alexis, are you okay? I think Pully's right! You need to relax with us!"
Thrain: "Clear I--! I know you're being nice, but honestly I--! I just don't know how much of all this I can take. Running through space with people shooting at us all the while."
Pully: "I know what this is."
Pully gets up and wraps her arm around Alexis' shoulders.
Thrain: "Don't call me that."
Pully: "I know you don't like that you were under that guy's control. We all were. Clear knocked me out, you remember? I know being in control is important to you, but you have to let it go. Hey, Kokoro got stabbed by her best mate and she's drinking those cares away. Here. Come on. Just like old times."
She takes the bottle and looks at the faintly glowing liquid inside. Then looks at everyone else in the room.
Thrain: "Well it's not like I can embarrass myself in front of any of you. I've seen you all naked."
She smirks and this gets her jovial jeers from everyone in the room. She swigs from the bottle and winces.
Thrain: "What in the name of all that is decent is in this bottle!?"
Alexis sits opposite Kokoro and Pully, poking a pile of laundry into a seat.
Thrain: "Clear, don't you ever tidy this place?"
Clear: "Why would I? There's only been me, myself and I here for the last couple of decades. You lot show up and suddenly I have to keep my bedroom tidy?"
Thrain: "If we're all going to cram in here, then yes!"
Princess Aurora: "Actually, why are we in here?"
Pully: "So that you and Clear can play footsie under the blankets!"
Clear: "Is this gay jokes hour?"
Princess Aurora: "And it's not like I can play footsie considering they don't work, Ms Terrin-Pullista."
Pully: "That just makes it easier for Clear to ninja-footsie you!"
Aurora laughs and Clear throws another pillow at Pully. She then holds her hands out for the pillow back since she's run out. Pully throws it back at her, almost spilling Clear's drink all over the bed.
Pully: "So. What're we going to do to Kiron Assstrider when we meet him?"
They laugh at the name.
Princess Aurora: "You can't blame him for being honest. And he was right! That weapon exists!"
Clear: "I don't want to talk about this."
Pully: "Don't want to admit you're a mass murderer, Clear? I can understand that."
Princess Aurora: "Joking about the destruction of my home, Pully? Nothing is above jokes when drunk, huh?"
Pully pulls the bottle from her lips.
Pully: "If you can't joke about it then what have you got? You have to smile to keep from crying."
Princess Aurora smiles and shakes her head. Pully nudges her leg with her bottle, not thinking that the woman cannot feel there. She still gets the princess' attention anyway.
Pully: "Besides. It's not much of a loss. I went there once. It was a craphole."
Princess Aurora: "What!? No it wasn't! It was beautiful!"
Pully blows through her lips.
Pully: "If you like farmers and the smell of animal crap in the morning!"
Princess Aurora: "Clear! Please throw a pillow at Pully for me!"
Laughing, Clear tosses a pillow straight at Pully's head. Pully falls with the pillow into a pile of laughter.
Princess Aurora: "At least I'm not from Terra Flux, the world pretending to be another world!"
At that Pully receives a lot of playful slaps from everyone in the room, save Aurora who can't reach.
The next day The Hopeless arrives in orbit around Dacato and they're granted permission to land by Governor Oit. The rebel fleet were also in orbit, having returned from Earth ahead of The Hopeless. Kassuin was the only person onboard that wasn't suffering from a hangover and so he generally dealt with any calls incoming to the ship. Clear found a pair of large sunglasses in one of her cupboards and wears them for her trip planetside.
They take the Bug straight to District Vyf and are asked to land at the Green House itself. There both Clear and Aurora are given new hoverchairs. Clear feels it's unnecessary but everyone insisted. Even Kokoro has to use a cane to keep herself upright. Thrain joins them, wishing to be present in case something happens to any of the injured. They travel into the Green House with their alliance escort. When they enter Clear notes a high number of military personnel and worries that even Aurora may not be able to spare her from prison this time. One person, at the front of the crowd, is Ace Lander. Clear can't help but smile at him and, when he smiles back, realises what she had done and checks herself. She's almost disgusted with herself for being attracted to a human, of all species.
Governor Oit: "I'm glad to see you safe, Governor Briarose."
Princess Aurora: "Thank you, governor. We will require rooms."
The alien-coloured alien looks up at the crew.
Governor Oit: "It shall be arranged."
Princess Aurora: "We would like to meet with Kiron Nightstrider as soon as possible."
Governor Oit: "Unfortunately Nightstrider left Dacato a few hours ago."
Princess Aurora: "He did?"
Pully: "Probably knew we were coming to kick his ass."
A few of the people around chuckle, while others look annoyed at Pully's crassness.
Governor Oit: "Quite... if you'll follow me..."
As the group starts to move after the governor, Kokoro tugs on Clear's shoulder. She leans over to whisper into her ear.
Kokoro: "Clear, I'm familiar with Kiron's presence. I can feel him. He's still here, in this building."
Clear: "So he lied to the governor?"
Kokoro: "I fear to say this but..."
She looks around to make sure no one is close enough to hear them.
Kokoro: "I believe it is the governor that is lying. I can sense the falsehood from his mind."
Clear: "So... the governor is hiding Kiron from us? Why? Are they plotting against us? Maybe they plan to put me in prison after all?"
Kokoro: "I think I could lead us to Kiron, if we can find an excuse to go wandering..."
Clear: " I'm sorry, governor, but I have a meeting with Captain Lander. Kokoro will join me in case I need help, considering my injuries."
Governor Oit: "W-well. This is an important meeting!"
Princess Aurora: "I'm sure you can spare them, governor. I'll be there."
Ace Lander steps forward. He glances at Clear and then turns back to the governor.
Lander: "I'm sorry governor, but this is an urgent meeting too. Captain Clear has agreed to discuss information concerning the supposed superweapon aboard her ship."
Governor Oit: "Ah. I'm glad you're going to comply with us, Captain Clear. It will be good to clear the unpleasantness of recent history..."
The group departs and Ace leads the two women from the Green House to the outside entrance. He turns to Clear questioningly.
Clear: "I'm sorry, Ace."
Lander: "I hope you're not using my name just to gain favour?"
She falters as she realises she had called him Ace without even thinking about it. When he sees the blue blush in her cheeks he laughs and is comforted.
Lander: "I'm just teasing. What was that about in there? I hope I didn't just lie to the governor so you could go shopping..."
Clear looks up at Kokoro and nods.
Lymn: "Do you know where Kiron Nightstrider is?"
Lander: "No. I didn't even know he'd left. This was the first I'd heard about it. To be honest I haven't seen much of him since he first arrived on Dacato."
Lymn: "He's here in this building somewhere."
Clear: "Can you help us, Ace?"
Ace hesitates. He looks at Clear and she guesses he's wondering if she's worth the trouble he's about to put himself in. Finally he nods.
Lander: "Let's find him. Funny, whenever I see you, Clear, I get into trouble..."
Lymn: "And anyone else that meets her. We're all victims, it seems."
Clear: "It-it's not my fault!"