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[Firebrand Crew] Pre-Chapter One: Iron Brand

SirSkully

FM of S6
Game Master
RP Date
ye 40
RP Location
Some dingy station in frontier space
The steam-filled walkways were bustling with the interstellar-midday crowd as folks of almost every culture short of being a Kuvvie could be found here along with stalls selling everything from spiced rice balls to some kind of still-twitching tentacle on a skewer that a certain group of grey-skinned humanoids seemed rather interested in.

It was mostly folks re-stocking or coming back to relax briefly during a long voyage, this particular station was a rather popular stop-off for folks who liked to function outside the factional systems that lingered closer to the core of Yamatai - sure things were a little rougher out here but so were the people, they could handle it. 'Spacers, Neps, Minkans and even a few Geshrin were visible if you looked hard enough - there was a Kodian on one corner selling 'redistributed ship parts' while an Iroma across from him was offering to sell passers by a variety of weapons hidden within her trench coat, it was certainly a unique and rather jarring experience if you weren't expecting it

There was one little in-the-wall shop that was rather popular with a certain bushy-tailed Captain Firebrand, they sat there on a stool with the faceplate of their helmet open only just enough to shovel a bowl of spiced noodles into their mouth methodically - large tail whipping around excitedly as the Captain got their fill.

Meanwhile another interesting figure was patrolling the food district, substantially shorter on change than the patrons who had actually paid for theirs and who's eyes were scanning the seats for left over meals or potential targets. A swipe here and distraction there and the grey skinned neko had snagged herself a small dessert as well as enough money for tomorrow's breakfast, and then she spotted the tail. Wasn't every day you see a tail like that around here.

Slinking over innocently, Sakura put on her best smile and introduced herself. "Hello there, don't see tails like that around here too often, you got a name or can I call you bushy?"

The thing with the fuzzy tail turned with a slight clanking noise as at least seven guns could be heard jostling around on their person, a long strand of noodles were quickly slurped up from the bowl and dissapeared into the Captain's mouth - this was followed up with a gulp as two blue circles on the helmet focused on Sakura, a synthesized voice that was both male and female but did nothing to help identify the user's gender spoke.

"Bushy, that's new - I kinda like it but the name's Vinni Firebrand, Captain V-I-N-N-I Firebrand," the bushy-tailed thing spoke back, the electronic eyes on the helmet became happy little hemispheres as a kind smile graced the exposed mouth.

A captian huh, maybe this would be her chance to get herself a ship, she'd always wanted a personal ship to fly around in. "Oh you're a captain, coooool. I'm gonna stick with bushy I think it suits you better, anyway mind pointing in the direction of your ship so I can go uh, y'know. Steal it?"

Those blue eyes narrowed into lines of annoyance, it was this type of person again - the kind Vinni knew all too well, they'd pretend they were joking and then wham, you're down a ship. "You can try, it's the one with this logo on it," the supposed captain spoke, tapping their chopsticks against the metal flame-badge on the tan jacket's arm to emphasize the point before continuing.

"There is a big ID-SOL with a big stick on-board though so good luck even managing to run away afterwards, and it's Vinni - not Bushy."

Sakura nodded, "Thanks Bushy, I'll make sure to leave your body guard with at least 3 out of 4 limbs, and which direction was it in again?"

The Captain went back to eating their noodles in annoyance and gave only a thumb pointing in the direction behind them.

"Anything you want left behind from the cargo hold? Any personal stuff you'd like to hold on to? I doubt it'd be worth much anyway but I am more interested in the cake routes around here than gems or anything valuable." Sakura continued as she headed off in the direction motioned by the annoyed captain.

"It's not too late to apologise y'know, there is still time," Vinni called after the cocky neko, turning around in their seat to bring the nearby Veilburner II into view as the captain simply continued eating their noodles.

"Apologise for what?" She called back over her shoulder, "But you're welcome to come with me if you like. Or wait until i'm done stealing cakes in a few days and you can have it back." The neko said breezily as she moved further away.

Well now Vinni was almost curious, the captain shrugged off the initial talk of cakes but this girl almost seemed serious about it all - the noodles were hurriedly shovelled into the bushy-tailed thing's mouth and the bowl was set down on the counter before Vinni took somewhat delicate steps over to Sakura.

"I mean I warned you, can I at least have a name for the box they put your parts in?" Captain Firebrand asked rather sincerely as the faceplate slid shut and the eyes began counting down from six, hissing sounds were coming from the ship's rear cargo bay.

"Just uh, you know what ask me later when I've had some time to think about it. So did you decide to come along with me to steal the cakes then?" Sakura asked watching the cargo ramp lower down, expecting to see a musclebound meathead at any moment. Not that she was too worried after all Nekos were designed to outclass an ID SOL even if only just.

Vinni was almost bouncing with anticipation as the timer ticked down and the ramp lowered to reveal...

A Daur boy, crouching down and muttering something in Tinacen to the FARS that had been handing him tools until the golden-brown boy span around to see the cargo bay open - you didn't need to know his language to tell they were very very vulgar obscenities and then a whistle.

The Captain seemed... confused for lack of a better word, their helmet was only displaying a question mark over each eyeball as a bamboozled "uhhhhh" could be heard.

"Something the matter Bushy? I thought you said there was an ID SOL here but I haven't even seen whatever he is before, don't tell me someone beat me to the punch and stole the ship already." Sakura said with her hands on her hips before shrugging and continuing to move towards the ramp.

"Oh where have you been?" was the only warning Vinni would give Sakura before a silent, rather powerful hand held the Neko's head - large enough to put a thumb on one temple and a pinky on the other as she was turned around to see a hulking mountain of a woman that was about seven feet tall. The blonde woman's features were almost glowing as she blotted out the nearby sun but Sakura would maybe be able to see some of the scarring around the tanned woman's throat as well as the tribal tattoes that ran in blue lines across the tree-like arms as the other held a metal-headed club.

"There she is, where have you been, Grelish?" Vinni asked as the captain wrapped their arms around the large woman's mid-thigh.

"Oh so this is the one huh, hey Bushy you sure this is an ID SOL?" Sakura said casually while looking up at the giant lady. "I kinda feel like she's more of a summer dress type and not the giant gun toting type."

"Look at her, what else co- HEY!" Vinni cut themself off, eyes turning to exclamation marks as they glared at Sakura. "Look you can either help us get those missiles over there where then need to go or I can get Grelish here to turn you into a pretzel, either way the name is Captain Vinni Firebrand!"

"Sure thing Bushy, but I'm gonna have to skip on the missiles I'm headed to the bridge, gotta go steal some cakes from the cake traders y'know." Sakura chirped back, reaching up to forcibly but somehow gently pry open the giant womans hand to release herself. "C'mon you should lighten up a bit, Bushy is a great name for you!"

"No, stop!" Vinni tried commanding the rogue neko before the Captain decided to instead call out, "Pietrov!"

That same golden-brown daur boy popped out of a nearby conduit with a shotgun pointed at Sakura, continuing to yell what was unmistakeably something rather rude at the cat-girl who seemed so intent on getting cakes for god knows what reason.

Grelish simply let out a throaty huff as she moved with the Captain to surround Sakura.

"Now," Vinni began speaking, trying to assert some dominance or add some order to this chaos and reign in the stranger on their ship. "Now... whoever you are - you can either buckle down and call me Captain, or kindly get your butt and mediocre tail off my ship."

"Ok ok, captain... Bushy. Yeah, Captain Bushy that works, since technically you just wanted me to call you captain. So can we go steal cakes now?" Sakura asked leaning in to look at the shotgun up close, winking at the fox boy as she did. "You guys are kinds funny you know that?"

The Captain gripped their helmet in frustration as Vinni's eyes became nothing but intensely glowing spots on the volumetric visor, letting out a low growl before taking a second to compose themself - the Daur in the meantime cocked his head and sounded like he was asking Sakura something before gritting his teeth at her.

Shit was falling apart faster than the Captain was willing to admit and all because some random Neko wanted cakes for some reason, Vinni let out a slow breath before the helmeted head turned to Sakura once more to speak, "Look - I can pay you in cake if you want and give you looting rights for fourty percent of the cakes we find from here on out if that is what it takes for you to call me Captain Firebrand or simply Captain alright?"

The grey skinned neko tapped her chin thoughtfully, it wasn't exactly her dream of ruling the cake trade and hiding in a cave with her cake stash but it was something, but Bushy was so much cuter for a name. "You all seem a little tense, have you tried eating cake before?" She asked quizzically, cocking her head to the side while looking at the captains helmet. "You know I'm actually a really good cook, I can make you guys some if you want. But I'm still gonna call you Bushy, at least 40 percent of the time." She winked at the captain, throwing their own percentage back at them.

That was the final straw for the Captain, "Oh you're such a good chef are you? huh?" Vinni began hissing spitefully - even the Daur boy seemed a little shaken up by the tone, giving a knowing nod to Grelish as they both grabbed on to something slowly but surely. The cargo bay's door snapped shut as Vinni took the helm and began flipping switches, looking back to Sakura one last time to say, "let's see how you handle some heat," before the ship suddenly began plummeting down through the force of gravity alone.

"Oh are we going for a ride already?" The neko said, floating above the floor as the ship dove downwards. "Are you sure you're in the right frame of mind to be flying right now too? This could be dangerous you know, what if you hurt these two back here."

"Oh I'm very sure of what I'm doing!" Vinni called out as the ship dropped like a stone, starting to spiral a bit as it did so with the only reason being the fact the Captain had now crawled away from the pilot's chair to join them in the cargo bay as loose tools and debris flew around - despite all this the Captain with cross-bones for eyes was walking upright toward Sakura through the blaring sirens and alarms.

"You willing to die rather than say my name girly? are you really ready for that?"

The two other members of the Firebrand Crew looked concerned, but they trusted the captain every step of the way - despite the situation at hand.

“Well someone is having a temper tantrum aren’t they? I don’t really mind each way but I probably have a better chance of surviving than you and the kid, big lass could probably live.” Sakura said thoughtfully as she floated there. “What do you think Bushy? Who’ll survive?”

Vinni looked like they were about to say something else before their head dropped down dejectedly, lines of code briefly ran across the helmet's visor as the ship suddenly stopped feeling like it was falling and the cargo bay door opened back up to reveal they had never left the station. "I guess uh, I guess I did get a bit carried away," the Captain admitted as the Veilburner II's two current crew members righted themselves and began picking up some of the more important things that had been tossed around.

"I fought hard to be a Captain and I don't want people to slander that so I'll let you go on your way without any more hassle, apologies miss...?"

"Sakura, Sakura Kirisho or as I call myself nowadays the Kikyo Cake Thief." The neko took a bow and smiled, "Well if you're about to just give me your ship there is a problem with this picture Captain Firebrand, mutineers shouldn't be let off that easy after all so why would you let off a stranger?" The neko winked at them again and tipped a fake hat at the captain. "But I'm bored now, that little stunt was fun and all but the cake routes aren't even around here and I can't fly a ship so I'll just tag along with you guys if that's cool, but I still wanna call you Bushy sometimes."

"I'm not going to kill anyone for stepping on my ship, if you had actually tried to be anything more then an annoyance then I might've," Vinni started before they balled a small hand up under their chin and thought for a few seconds, eyes becoming little hourglasses during the process - she liked that this Sakura lass had finally come around to calling the Captain a Captain.

"If you want to stick around then you'd best get used to either Captain or Vinni - prefferably Captain..." Vinni trailed off as Sakura would hear a soft yet well spoken voice in her head, ~If you must call me bushy then... only when it's us - okay?~

Ooo this was interesting, so she had thought sharing hmm? ~Didn't realise you had this little trick up your sleeve Bushy, but I can work with that, it just suits you so well so don't be ashamed!~ Sakura said back while turning to the others, "Well looks like I'm flying with you now, nice to meet you both, and I wasn't kidding about being a good cook either so I'm now taking requests for meals."

The Captain's eyes became happy little hemispheres once more as Sakura spoke, the Daur chirped something in Tinacen before walking off to the bridge as the tall woman picked up her club and sat down with a nod.

"Actually there is one thing I wouldn't mind dragging you along for, Miss Kirisho - I need to re-stock some of our inventory and so you might as well come with me," Vinni responded before looking at the flame logo on the wall and then back to the Neko.

~You don't quite get a jacket yet, regardless of how much you compliment but thanks for it anyway!~

~Plenty more to come don't worry your fluffy tail over that~ She replied slyly, "Sure, inventory restocking is always fun with more people. Anything in particular you guys are after or eat? Or is the diet as mixed as the crew here?" Sakura said smiling.

"Mixed - Pietrov over there is mostly carnivorous while our lovely Grelish is a vegetarian suprisingly enough," Vinni began speaking, gesturing to where the Daur had run off to and then the stoic woman who sat there like a sentinel. "I eat uh, well anything really so long as it is made well - I'm hoping to pick some new people up after this job so you might get more issues with them but yeah, that's us," the Captain explained as they began moving over to give Grelish another hug, to which the tall woman simply smiled.

"Oooh a vegi eater and a meat cruncher, this should be interesting then. I think I have just the dishes for both of them, and I'm sure you would enjoy it too Vinni, otherwise I'm sure I can whip up something decent just for you." Sakura said as her eyes followed the Captain and watched them hug the hulking woman, maybe they had some sort of bond below the surface? In fact it was likely the three of them knew each other quite well.

"Cool, then I look forward to you putting your money where your mouth is and then food into our mouths," Vinni shot back before breaking away from the embrace with Grelish, patting the woman on her large thigh once as the Captain added, "Make sure Pietrov doesn't get into too much hassle while we are gone, okay?"

The nod the blonde woman gave the captain was good enough as Vinni turned back around to Sakura, "You good to go?"

"Ready when you are captain, you have a place you like to shop at or will any stores do?"

"There is a small store run by a Nepleslian man, you should be bale to find what you need there as I get my stuff," Vinni replied as the little Captain strolled off of the ship and waited for Sakura to follow so the cargo ramp could be shut once more.

The grey skinned neko followed her new captain off the ship and towards the inner of the bustling space port once again, "So how'd you guys all meet up?" She asked casually.

"Well Grelish was hired to kill me but found out I'm a lot nicer than she was first told, poor lass had a hole in her neck before she found me though so I don't know about that bit - Pietrov on the other hand we found huddled up inside the aft of a ruined shuttle not too long ago - we still need to find him some kind of translator because he simply refuses to learn himself," the Captain explained as they walked past the spot where an Iroma had been selling weapons from her trenchcoat earlier.

"What about you? you look fresh out of a vat so how'd you get here?"

"Oh you know, bit of this led to a bit of that and then I was running away from the law in search of the fabled cake trade. I'm actually 2 years out of the vat now but thanks for the compliment yourself." Sakura gave the captain a wink, she seemed to like doing it for some reason and couldn't reallly figure out why although being a cake bandit was no normal job. "That kid though, Pietrov was it? I dunno if you'll be able to get a translator, I didn't recognise him at first but Yamatai has only recently engaged in relations with his people, they live way our east or something."

Vinni stopped suddenly and their volumetric eyes narrowed at Sakura before the Captain dragged the Neko into a nearby alleyway, "Y... you have Yamatai on your ass?"

Sakura didn't realise she was being wrenched sideways until she was already in the alleyway, hearing the fear, or panic, either one they were quite similar, in the Captaiins voice she had to hold back laughter. "Oh heavens no, I paid that debt off weeks ago, I did at one point have them looking for me as I hadn't paid off my contract properly but it's all sorted now. How else am I supposed to get to the cake trade if the biggest nation in the universe is looking for me."

Captain Firebrand let out a little sigh of relief through the helmet's as they released the grip on Sekura's shoulders to dust off the Neko's clothes, "Well then sorry about my reaction buuuut it was kinda warranted, I don't need them hot on my tail you seem so fond of." Vinni began walking back out to the street once more with their shoulders held high as the fox-tailed thing spoke again.

"Yeah it's hard finding somebody who can do that kind of work and knows Tinacen but I'm hopeful - even if we have to end up swinging though the eastern part at some point just to get the lad a voice."

"Could be a fun adventure, what do you guys do anyway? I was going to try hitching a ride with a guy near you back at that shop earlier but I sort of got distracted by your tail, which is so much fluffier than mine I'm kinda jealous." Sakura admitted to her new captain, sneaking another glance at it.

"We do anything and everything morally grey for money and fame," Vinni shot back with a small hum of approval as the Captain's tail was mentioned, stopping and sticking their pressure-suit clad, shapely rear out a bit as the tail puffed out further for a few seconds. "You really like it that much? thanks - long story about how I got it though..."

"Yeah I like it that much, I wish I could have had one like it it's so much cuter than the one I got." Sakura said, her own, longer yet marginally thinner tail swishing around behind her, it wasn't exactly flat but its fluffyness couldn't compare. "Now let's here this story it ought to be good!"

Vinni looked at Sakura's tail and continued walking, beady little eyes on the helmet tracking its movements for a moment before the Captain spoke up, "Nuh uh, not going to give you the full story but I'll tease you and just say I'm very grateful for the gift it was given as..."

The fox-tailed thing's voice trailed off for a bit, the volumetric eyes looked down toward the ground before Vinni piped back up again, "Anyway we could look into getting you a fluffy tail too if you plan on sticking around - why do you even want cakes anyway?"

"Woah really? That would be pretty awesome, thanks Bushy!" Sakura exclaimed before throwing her arms around the captain for a quick hug. "As for cakes well, It's been a long standing dream of mine, or rather a bucket list item, to become a cake bandit and capitalise on the cake trade." She explained as they continued their journey. She wanted to press for info about the tail, or even their face and identity, but the captain seemed to like their secrets which was understandable.

"Ah- eep," the Captain's synthetic voice let out as they felt Sakura's arms wrap around their body, along with the slight awkwardness that came with seven concealed guns being made less concealed - Vinni gulped and returned the hug before they broke off and went to continue talking. "No worries, I like to take care of my crew but you must realise cake is a bit odd when a crate of gold tends to sell for so much more per pound than baked goods yeah?"

"Oh I don't want to do it for the money, it would just be hilarious! That and I can learn new ways to bake cakes for when i'm done being a bandit." Sakura said easily, as though planning such a strange crime for what was essentially fun was normal.

Vinni giggled at the statement before speaking, "Fair enough then, would this new tail be black or grey or something funky you want to try out?"

"Probably have to stick with black if I didn't want to be called a weirdo." She said thoughtfully, as though stealing cakes wouldn't also earn her the same name. "Although I did want to change my hair to like, purple or red or something crazy eventually so a disco tail could work just as well."

"Whatever you end up deciding on just make sure you're sure because while volumetrics are free a new neko body is not... I'm kind but I do need to worry about finances," the Captain admitted as they tried to imagine Sakura with clown hair and let out a small giggle.

The neko cocked her head at the giggle, not entirely sure why the captain was laughing but shrugged and decided it was an inside joke or something she hadn't seen. "Trust me I don't plan on damaging this one beyond repair, and it's not like I have any ST backups lying around now that I'm not in the military."

"Caution is good, I'm going to guess you were a cook in the army? or was that just a hobby you picked up?" Vinni queried kindly as they put a hand on Sakura's lower back to guide the Neko off to the right slightly.

"Hobby turned profession out of neccessity and boredom, I got good at baking and then got a fancy yellow panel slapped on me." The grey skinned neko spoke as she let herself be guided by the captain. "What about you Bushy, got any funky skills as well as that awesome helmet?"

"Mhm," Vinni replied as their eyes became happy little hemispheres once more, "Electronic warfare, close quarters combat, piloting uhh OH I can fix things and I'm pretty fit too!" As if to emphasize their last point, the Captain flexed their arms as they went down a slight incline.

Sakura whistled softly, both at the list of skills and the, super dooper impressive muscles, actually they were pretty good... Now Sakura realised something, she didn't actually know if Vinni was a guy or a gal, she'd assumed gal because of the way they conducted themselves but the muscles didn't look entirely lady like. The truth was she had no way of knowing given they wore the helmet the whole time. "Those certainly are some impressive skills. How much further to the store actually, it might be tedious to carry eveything back by ourselves."

If the Captain's helmet was capable of it then the cheeks would be blushing but the eyes were shut tight from the compliment, it took a second for them to return to their round selves as a small snicker could be heard, "Dawww you're being too kind to your captain... I mean I like it but." Vinni's eyes shifted side to side before they focussed on a little store with an off-white front and windows that displayed a dark-skinned Nepleslian behind the counter.

"Oh uh- there it is, that place just o'er yonder," the fox-tailed captain spoke as they gestured to the nearby store.

"Oh sweet, and if you don't want me to compliment you just say the word. I've been told I'm overly forwards like this before so I understand... I do love that tail though." She finished with a chuckle before heading for the store, she had a lot to get if she was going to prepare for both carnivores and vegetarians.

"It's alright, I've just gotten so used to foreign babbling or a grunt that it's a bit new to me, don't be ashamed of speaking your mind near your captain, Miss Kirisho," Captain Firebrand beamed back happily as they approached the store, holding the door open for the crew's new cook with a polite, "After you."

"Well I'm afraid if I spoke my mind I migh be arrested for attempted grand theft and murder." Sakura laughed as she walked through the door and had a look around the little store. "Cozy place here, I like it. Now to find a cart and then a truck to put everything in..."

Vinni shot the storekeep a small wave that was returned with a small nod as the Captain pulled a cart toward Sakura, "Well I don't have a truck yet but we have this."

"GOOD ENOUGH!" The neko cheered before stepping onto the cart and rocketing forwards with her inertial manipulation ability, zooming right to the end of the store before stopping to check out the various plants that were stocked there. "Hey Captain! What stuff are you low on right now" Sakura called back to her waving stupidly with a huge grin.

"Just... actually get whatever you need - most of our food comes out of a package but now that we have a chef we can have her pick what we eat, consider yourself the quartermaster for everything kitchen-related," Vinni offered as they walked up to the trolley-bound-girl and gave them a friendly pat on the head.

"Quatermaster of the kitchen huh." Sakura mused while her head was pet by the captain. "Sounds like fun, and you better not go patting me on the head thinking you'll get away with it!" She said evily before grabbing the fluffy tail of her captain and running her hands over it several times. "Wow just as soft as it looks huh, well done."

A small eep from the captain turned into a giggle of delight as their tail was played with, it swished around in Sakura's hands but not in an attempt to escape - truth be told Vinni had only petted the neko on the head because they had seen nekos like it before so why not try it out. Captain Firebrand found a bit of joy from both petting the grey girl's black ears and having their own bushy tail played with, it felt nice.

"You look like you're trying to claim ownership over my tail, it's cuuute," the word cute was a little drawn out as if Vinni was putting way too much thought into the word, "But yes, Quartermaster of the kitchen, like it?"

"Yeah, I think it'll do nicely, the title works too." Sakura said releasing the tail as her own ears twitched several times from their own petting experience. "Well I have a few things on my list to grab before we leave then, did you say earlier you had some things to collect while we were here as well Captain?"

"YES ahem yeah, milk," The Captain shot back rather happily after curbing their excitement, rather pleased with Sakura for using Vinni's title. "So I'll grab all that while you do your thing and we are bound to run into each other in a little bit, sound good?"

"All that? How much milk are you buying there Captain cause you're making it seem like an awful lot. But yeah that sounds good." Sakura said wondering what the captain planned to do with all that milk it sounded like they were getting, she was the cook now after all and while milk was great, you cant do much with milk alone.

"Oh right, wel eh - I don't really drink alcohol so..." the Captain's synthesized voice trailed off somewhat, hoping Sakura would be able to fill in the blanks because for whatever reason Vinni felt somewhat ashamed to admit this little quirk. "The raw, unpasteurized kind specifically - I just like it a lot for some reason."

"Huh, you're an oddball that's for sure Captain. But you go get your milk and I'll grab plenty of tastey foods." She replied before scooting away down an isle, tapping things into her cart as she went. Funny thing to substitute alcohol for, Sakura didn't drink much herself but milk was still funny, "Oh so you're gonna laugh at her quirk and just forget what a psychopath you are?" And there it was, the voice in her head she hadn't heard in months. It wasn't a pleasant feeling to hear it coming back now.

A sigh of relief left the fox-thing's helmet as their eyes somehow warmed even more, three out of three new crew members who didn't think it was overly odd was music to their ears, "Ah cool, I'll see you with my own bounty shortly!" Vinni gave a small thumbs up before they began to half-prance away happily toward the shop's chillers, bushy tail swinging around happily as the little Captain did so.

Sakura spent about 10 minutes finding everything she wanted and needed before heading back to the check out and beginning to get each of her items accounted for, watching for the telltale signs of the captain rushing out of somewhere with all her milk.

The Nepleslian man gave a warm look even as one hand reached down to grab the handle of the shotgun under his desk, it wasn't anything meant to be rude of taken the wrong way but rather something he deemed nessicary in a palce where so many people went through. The hand retracted however as Vinni rounded the corner, arms overflowing with cartons of milk that sloshed as each step was taken.

"I'm coming!" the little Captain called out as the many card board shapes were dumped on the bench, a content sigh as they looked over Sakura's haul and the Nepleslian gave a chuckle. "Don't surpose I want to know what you two are planning with all this do I?" he spoke with a grizzled voice that spoke of his past times as each item was scanned one by one.

"Drink it? what else would we be doing?" the fox-tailed thing queried rather innocently, clearly having not the faintest clue what the shop-keep was referring to.

"And cook it, and with a bit of luck eating it too." Sakura finished with a grin, which was slightly strained when she saw just how much milk had been gathered but nonethe less they had everything they needed. "So is this everything Captain? Didn't forget to check out the back as well on your trip." She joked.

"Nah this is all that they had, it's much less common than the normal stuff so they have less at each place," Vinni replied rather seriously as the shop keep piped up once more. "And I'm very grateful for your business here... whatever you are under all that," the Nep added with another chuckle as he began putting Sakura's shopping through his machine, the Captain's volumetric eyes watching the total price rise almost hypnotically.

Noticing the expression on their helmet Sakura laughed, "You act like you've never been food shopping before, do you only buy milk like this and have everything else delivered or something?" She asked, now watching the captain as they watched the number.

"Kinda? more or less, yeah."

"Wow." Was all the neko said as she shook her head and smiled, collecting the shopping as it was handed to her. "Well we should probably get back before the others get worried I might have killed you or something."

The little Captain's eyes briefly became currency symbols as they paid for the supplies, bundling up what the Neko couldn't carry as Vinni spoke, "Yeah I was about to suggest something similar but a bit less morbid, thanks for coming to help - reckon we can make something out of you yet."

The Nepleslian man behind the counter excused himself as his communicator rang, letting the two leave without another word as Vinni began leading them back to the Veilburner II with a few looks at what Sakura had bought, "So what're you gonna do with all this?" the Captain queried cheerfully.

"Melt it down and build it back up better than before. AKA cook it" Sakura said grinning at the captain "Then I'll make 3 different dishes out of it all, one for the vegi fox, one for the meat eating giant and one for me and you Bushy, which will be a little mix of both with a side glass of milk if you're good ok?"

"Oh that sounds grand but you got it the wrong way around Miss Kirisho, it's the large one that won't eat meat and the little one that will eat nothing but - otherwise that's a grand plan," Vinni shot back rather enthusiastically as they retraced their path back to the Veilburner II, looking thoughtful for a second before the little Captain decided to bring something up.

"Payment, I suppose you want to know about payment at some point yeah?"

"Well either way they'll both get food even if they had to switch, least I remembered there was one at each end right?." Sakura said as they headed off towards the ship. "As for payment it can wait, long as I can make cakes and mess around in space you can pay me later k Bushy?" She spoke, waiting to make sure the bushy tailed captain understood properly while trying to sneak a hand around to touch their tail again.

"Ah that's the thing you see," Vinni began to speak, their synthetic voice hitching up an octave or two happily as the bushy tail flicked a little under Sakura's hand - the captain took a moment to gather their thoughts and continued. "...so I might as well say now it's more of a job-to-job thing, I take my cut and enough to keep us running while the rest of you each get your cut to spend as you wish - you'll all be kept fed and bedded as long as I have anything to say about it so keep that money for things you really want... cakes I suppose..."

"Sounds reasonable enough for me." Sakura nodded to herself, job-to-job definitely wasn't uncommon among freelancers and such since they had no financial backing most of the time to affort a wage. "Although I think I could buy something more interesting than cakes, like a hairbrush..." The neko let the statement hang, the captain would understand the true meaning of the thought even without her saying anything.

"...a hairbrush hey?"

"uh huh, hairbrush.”

The little captain looked off thoughtfully for a moment before turning back to answer Sakura, "I can probably scrounge up a fresh hairbrush if you want..." it was clear to Vinni that the neko had some kind of ulterior meaning behind the words but they didn't know quite what that was.

"Ooh could you? I might need a few more than 1 though actually so I'll pick one up later." Sakura mused more to herself than the captain. The neko looked over at the captain and gave an innocent smile.

A few little sounds came from the fox-tailed thing as they held Sakura's gaze, "dumb question but you seem fond of it so... is one for my tail?"

"Oh how could you tell eheh. Yes... they both are, unless I ever decide to get one like yours that is." Sakura admitted with a guilty grin. "So where'd you park the ship again? I haven't memorised it yet so I forgot what it looked like."

"Kinda hard to ignore when you keep grabbing it, I'm not exactly complaining though - it feels nice," Vinni shot back with a happy tone now they had gotten that out of the way. "Over in uhhhh dock seven, don't worry - she doesn't exactly look too fancy yet so I don't blame you for forgetting about our Tenba-class a bit."

"I'm sorry Captain, I just haven't had the pleasure of touching such a soft fluffy tail before, all the others back in Yam were either like me or had no tail at all. I am a little touchy feely aren't I." The neko said almost dejectedly as her tail ceased its swishing. "Anyway I should get acquainted with your galley once we're back and get started on dinner."

"Touchy feely is okay as far as I'm concerned, I can be a pretty tactile person m'self so long as there aren't any complaints with that," the fox-tailed captain responded as they entered the Veilburner II and placed their bundle of groceries on a nearby bench that looked clean enough - giving the Neko a rather anticipation-filled look, seemingly awaiting an answer to an unasked question.

Sakura raised an eye brow, "Does that mean, what it sounds like it does?" The nekos ears twitched slightly as though anticipating something as she dumped her own bags beside the previous and looked around her, considerably smaller, cooking room.

Vinni gave a small giggle and a mischevious "Maaayybeee" before the Captain wrapped their arms around the newly appointed cook to give them a firm hug, the androgynous thing of unknown race could be felt as a mix of light armour, a few too many weapons and athletic muscles with just the right bit of softness as the warm embrace was given.

That bushy tail was swishing around happily, but then again it hadn't done much else as far as Sakura was concerned.

"Oh you weren't kidding huh Bushy." The neko said a little surprised at the sudden embrace, but soon joined in to give the captain a little pat on the back, "Did you forget already that I wanted to steal your ship or something? Don't think anyone has hugged me like that before for trying to rob them."

The Captain leant back with those beady little hemispheres of happiness as they spoke, "Well if you tried then I'd have to rip you limb from limb and I kinda don't want to do that because you seem sweet m'kay? m'kay." After they spoke, Vinni patted the small of Sekura's back and released the grey neko from the embrace - deciding to begin helping put things away.

Sakura chuckled, "Well I'd like to see you try that but maybe some other time, I don't spend all my time in the kitchen you know." She winked back before also beginning the unpacking, stacking everything in its rightful place and making room when neccassary, setting things aside for use in the meals she planned to cook soon.

The wink made Vinni rub the back of their neck with a slight hint of nervousness as they spoke, "Concerning that, either the top left or bottom right bunks are free - alternatively I'll let you drag a stretcher out into the cargo bay but I'll have to apologise for the lack of privacy, I'm looking in to some solutions for that soon."

"Ah well you've never been on a Yam warship then, they can get pretty noisey at night at times, I'll just grab a bunk and help you guys get the ship sorted out. I'm guessing part of why you were quick to give me a spot here has something to do with you mentioning earlier hoping to pick up others soon, thinking of starting a big job or something?"

"You'd be surprised how much I know about Yamatai first hand but- that's a story for another time," the little Captain gave with a shake of their helmeted head before continuing. "I'm hoping to pick up something big soon, yeah - hopefully get our name out there and get some padding in our bank accounts but I can't do that with a skeleton crew now can I?"

"You'd be surprised." Sakura replied slyly. "Now as much as you might be Captain Bushy around here, I'm your new cook, and this dinner is going to be a surprise for everyone so it's time for you to run along and do captainy things."

Vinni let out a small chuckle of amusement at the ship's latest crew member, meeting a minor annoyance with threats of death and then a spot on the roster was not anything orthodox no matter how you looked at it but that is what happened - now they'd just have to see whether or not Sakura could deal with the job's unique kind of pressure. "Alrighty then Miss Kirisho I'll go do my thing, no added pressure or anything but I'm expecting you to surpass my expectations," the Captain mused as they headed to the door but stopped and looked over one jacketed shoulder to say one last thing.

"Welcome to the crew."

"Long as you keep that tail looking its fluffiest I can cook a feast for the gods don't you worry." The neko said with a big grin as she got to work prepping the kitchen for a real workout.
 
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