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October 3, 2012
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Welcome aboard the Dionysian.

It was very quickly after he'd said the words to the doctor, their newest kidnapped crew member, that Cyrus realized he was leaving her with more questions than answers. The shocked look on her face told him that much. But just as he was backing out of the alcove, the young woman found her voice and demanded, "The Dionysian? Am I supposed to have heard of that?" And then, hastily, "Listen - we won't be able to take-off from here, security won't allow it, this won't be a clean exit - "

At that, Cyrus groaned in agreement and muttered, "I don't think anyone expects a clean exit." But there was no time to explain, he thought furiously as he backed out of the alcove and turned into one of the hallways (the doctor was right on his heels), no time to explain now, not when he had to be downstairs, not when -

Above both their heads, a crackle sounded through the intercom speakers, followed by the familiar sarcastic voice of his brother. "Now I'd love it if someone could explain to me how to get my ship in the air without a damn engineer in my engine room," said Fiearius. "Really, please, suggestions welcome." It was followed by another crackle and a loud screeching click.

Throwing a hand at this forehead, Cyrus did not hold back another groan. Another impossible escape - of course it had come to this moment, even though the whole mess had started some weeks ago now.

Really, it had been a normal job. Nothing out of the ordinary. A quick run across border lines and a swift delivery. Naturally, with almost every normal, ordinary job, the delivery ended in gunfire. No casualties on their end, but Fiearius had been slightly off his game, slipped for just a moment and been shot in the shoulder. Even that wasn't too unusual and neither he nor Cyrus nor the rest of the crew had thought any different of it. There was no, nor had there ever been, a doctor aboard the Dionysian, though Fiearius fancied himself a decent field medic who could, at the very least, rip out a bullet and sew together the wound. Usually, he could. This time, apparently not so much.

He'd started noticing something off about his elder sibling a couple days ago, on a backwater little planet called Torfin. They'd been in the middle of alleviating some rather worthy goods from a local merchant. Cyrus had just been in charge of watching for passing witnesses, so he'd missed most of the confrontation, but what he saw was enough. It was a grand mansion with wide brick stairs leading up to a great and unnecessarily massive wooden carved door. Fiearius and a couple members of the crew had gone inside to take care of business and disappeared for a good ten minutes doing so. It was to be a fairly straight-forward task. The merchant in question was known to be a coward of the most convenient sorts. Show him a gun and he'd be apt to back down immediately. The best kind of job, really. Which was why Cyrus had been so surprised when, ten minutes later, that very merchant had emerged from his gaping doorway, sobbing uncontrollably, Fiearius behind him with a gun to his head, yelling at the top of his lungs incoherently.

His brother angry wasn't exactly a rare sight, but it was clear that this was no regular anger. This was plain unmaintained fury and, from Cyrus' point of view at least, he could see no reason behind it. Regardless, there was no doubt in his mind that, at any moment, that gun would go off and the weeping would stop. Never one to allow needless killing and this, surely, was needless, Cyrus abandoned his post and stomped up the stairs. "What the fuck are you doing?!"

The look Fiearius gave him in return was even more out of place. It was as if he didn't even recognize him for a moment. His pupils were wide and fuzzy and he appeared less angry now than just plain confused. Though only missing a few beats, he finally managed to yell back, "Nothing! What the fuck are you doing?" though a little half-heartedly. He then turned back towards the house and shouted, "Get the goods and let's go, now!" Without hesitation, he'd hit the cowering merchant with the butt of his gun, clomped down the stairs and made for the street. "Let's get the hell out of here."

Fiearius had then gone through a great deal of trouble to pretend that nothing had happened, but it was a flimsy mask to say the least. However, Cyrus had been willing to perhaps overlook it had not the condition gotten slowly worse. Over the next two days, more than once, Fiearius had been subject to random bursts of emotion before apparently feeling faint and storming away before anyone could do anything. This morning, however, having found his brother talking to himself alone in the bridge of the ship for a good twenty minutes, switching between uncontrollable laughter and incalculable anger every couple seconds, Cyrus decided it was time to actually do something about it. Delirium, he was pretty sure, was a bad sign, even for someone as volatile as Fiear.

It didn't take long for Cyrus to figure out what the problem was, after confronting his surprisingly accommodating patient. Fiearius had even admitted that he wasn't feeling well, though that admission had been delivered in the form of a tortured laugh. Just one touch of his skin told the story and it was a story of an unbelievably high fever. The story behind that wasn't too hard to figure either, once Cyrus managed to unwrap the bandages on his brother's arm, revealing the purple and green, swelled, veiny mess of a very infected wound, the likes of which had spread from the simple gunshot Cyrus had forgotten about, all the way down his arm. He pointed out that he needed to see a doctor immediately. Fiearius just laughed and said, "It's okay, little brother, I've been to the circus before, I know." Which was when Cyrus decided it was time to take helm of the ship.

And now, who knew if Fiearius was even up for flying her? But if the low rumble of the ship's walls was any indication, they would soon find out.

In the hallway, as he hurried toward the staircase, he mercifully intercepted Corra, who was walking (much less worriedly than he) in the opposite direction.

"Corra," he said, catching her arm, "can you help the doctor here with the passenger seats? Or, I don't care what you do, survive take off. Figure it out. I have to go before he pushes her into critical revolution just to piss me off." Grumbling under his breath, he turned towards the stairs down to the engine room and ran off.

Corra. Yes, that was her name. This was the same girl from the ramp. Names and faces were coming a bit easier to Leta now that some of her shock was wearing off, although she still felt like she was being led through some kind of twisted circus show, meeting the various performers along the way.

But this girl, at least, had on a friendly face. She was a head shorter, but built in a way that suggested boyish strength. Her black hair was tied back in an unkempt bun, her dark skin sprinkled with darker freckles. Although Cyrus and other crew members were shooting off in urgency, Corra seemed nothing but relaxed and casual. In fact, she smiled broadly and stuck out her hand. "Corra. Chief arms master. You're the doctor right? What's your name? Probably not a bad thing, having a medic around. Considering how much we seem to get shot at."

A nervous sort of laugh bubbled out of Leta's lips, though it faded off awkwardly. Arms master? Meanwhile she continued to shake Corra's hand for an unnecessarily long stretch of time. Finally realizing, she dropped her hand, blinked and said, "I'm Leta. And I don't know how long I'll be aboard. Actually. But your captain does need treatment and … "

“Fraid you ain’t gonna be treatin’ anything til we’re airborne,” Corra told her briskly. “And if we’re gonna make it airborne, better get strapped in. I was gonna head up to the bridge. Some seats up there to hold on. 'Sides. If the cap'n was right and we're gettin' tailed, should be a mighty fine show and no denyin' they're the best seats in the house."

Turning around, the girl gestured merrily for Leta to follow along as if they were headed out the door for a picnic. Without much else to do, Leta irked an eyebrow, stared, and then started after. Beneath her feet, the floor was beginning to lightly tremble, humming to life. Trying to ignore the unpleasant swoop in her stomach, she carefully followed on Corra's heels through the narrow hallway and up a short staircase toward the bridge.

Leta had never been in a ship's bridge before. She would have imagined it quite a bit larger, but then again, the only ships she'd ever been on were commercial travel vessels. This cabin had only two chairs, a half-moon dashboard of controls, and it would've fit a handful of people. Presently it held just one, the infected captain, at the controls. Once Leta and Corra halted in the doorway, he turned around in his chair and said bluntly, "Can I help you?"

"The passenger seats are broken," Corra informed him, folding down one of the cockpit chairs hidden in the back wall. He just stared back at her blankly. "Needed a place to strap in so you don't kill us." His expression shifted toward a glare. Corra smirked in return. "How's the fever?"

"It's fine," he snapped, and then spun back round in his chair, away from them.

"Not gonna go all crazy again, right?" Corra continued to tease, though the smirk in her lips was a little cruel. Fiearius didn't even bother to look around or respond so she just went on. "But if you do, it's all right, I brought the doctor along." She looked back at Leta and gestured for her to have a seat next to her in the other chair. "Strap yourself in, chika, gonna be a bumpy ride. You been on a ship like this before? Let me rephrase that, you felt like you're gonna die before? Basically the same thing."

Apparently determined to ignore the both of them, Fiearius picked up the intercom and spoke into it, "You ready for this, little brother? I'm counting on you."

There was a long pause before Cyrus' muffled voice filled the room, rather bitterly. "Ready when you are, captain."

"That's what I like to hear," Fiearius said brightly, putting the intercom back in its place and adding, "Hold onto your seatbelts, ladies," while he seized the main controls. On the console screen above his head, six red dots appeared on the radar. Even from the door of the bridge, Leta could feel the power of his smirk as he said, "And the fun begins."
The trials and tribulations of unregistered space vessel the Dionysian. Captained by a madman on the run and manned by his crew of diverse yet loyal misfits, the Dionysian must navigate corrupt leaders, hardened criminals and her own crew just to stay afloat.

It's got friendship, loyalty, danger, violence, hatred, regrets, drama, adventure, mystery, humor, wit, romance, sex, drugs and all that jazz. In terms of genre, we like to think it's somewhere between Firefly and Battlestar with an extra dose of pirates.

Chapter two, in which the doctor meets some crew and the ship preps for a rough take-off.

Caelum Lex is a collaboration between myself and Jenerally in our attempt to write the sci-fi space epic we've always dreamed of. The full experience including extras and illustrated chapters lives at [link] but we've gone ahead and added the chapters here for convenience! There'll be a new one every Friday. We'd love feedback, so hit us up if you've got somethin' to say!

Previous: [link]
Next: [link]
:iconspace-commander:
space-commander Oct 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I really like the way that you two crafted this story.  The narrative has a logical progression that makes sense and the story is a pleasure to read (I have actually made it to Ch6 so far, but I'm planning to comment all the chapters sequentially).  So far the story comes across pretty much the way you described it:  "Firefly" with pirates--but without a River character (from what I have seen so far) or a preacher (I applaud this).  The way the plot and dialogue progressed it was almost as if I could hear "Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand" in the background as I read it.  You succeeded in emulating the essence of "Firefly" while also making this story entirely your own.  I try not to include cursing beyond what one would see in a PG-13 movie in my own writing, but the way you handle it here makes sense and is not overdone like in some sci-fi stories that I have read on dA. 
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:iconkhronosabre:
khronosabre Oct 26, 2013  Professional General Artist
I'm so glad you're enjoying it so far :D Firefly was definitely a huge inspiration when this whole thing first came to fruition because I just loved the mood of it and how the crew interacted with one another and developed through the series. That's basically the gist of what we're trying to emulate here. I don't think any of the characters are specifically based on any of those from the show, though perhaps a few have some similarities (I can definitely see some of Kaylee in Corra). Definitely not trying for a carbon copy in any sense.

We keep the cursing down as much as we can, but fact of it is, Fiear doesn't sound like Fiear without some cursing. I've never been all that partial to the MPAA's rating standards anyway hah.
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