Chapter 5: Sacrifices...   Posted by Shan Yu.Group: 0
Makani Ano
 player, 239 posts
Tue 11 Oct 2011
at 09:21
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(lounge)

Makani smiled and getnly patted the younger woman's hand.
Shan Yu
 GM, 459 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Tue 11 Oct 2011
at 14:41
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Infirmary)

Taggart's eyebrows raised at Stacey's suggestion to appoint Makani as the leader of the undercover team.  He gave a chuckle as he replied, "I should turn over my team to one of your passengers?  Nothing personal, but that's got to be the craziest suggestion I've heard lately.  Corporal St. Pierre might not be the ideal choice to be leader...she certainly wouldn't be my first choice...but she's all I've got.  At least she has some experience dealing with...customers."  He paused, his brow furrowing.  "Then again, maybe there's something I'm missing.  Is there something I should know?"
Shan Yu
 GM, 460 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Tue 11 Oct 2011
at 14:56
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

As she inaudibly conversed with Makani, Jenna's face registered relief, and a quick smile crossed her face.  It disappeared just as quickly as she shook her head in seeming resignation.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:21, Tue 11 Oct 2011.

Makani Ano
 player, 240 posts
Thu 13 Oct 2011
at 03:32
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Makani gave Jenna a kindly smile, her eyes twinkling slightly at some private joke as she tilted her head.


As she spoke, Makani's movements became far more refined and graceful.  She again gave gave Jenna a consoling smile as she stood.

"Thank you my dear," she added as she moved towards the door, following the direction the Captain had taken.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:35, Thu 13 Oct 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 461 posts
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Thu 13 Oct 2011
at 04:56
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge)

Jenna watched Makani as the older woman walked toward the passageway leading to the infirmary, finally returning her attention to the group at the tables.  "Y'all can continue practicing with your rings for the rest of the day, but come this evenin', you should start wearin' them.  Be sure not to use the real drug, but if you do, it will wear off in about an hour or so."  She took from her table the bottle of clear liquid and held it up.  "Which brings me to this.  This here is the antidote for the drug.  Usually, when we're done with a customer, we bring them out an sit their butts on a stool at the bar, where Dem..." Jenna paused when she mentioned her dead comrade's name.  "...where Dem would give them a free drink with a few drops of this in it.  It quickly counteracts the susceptibility to suggestion, so that there ain't no accidents, like somebody suggesting that it would be a good idea to jump off a cliff.  The customers are still a little disoriented for a while, but they only remember what we told them to remember in the rooms.  We'll be taking several bottle of alcohol with us, and since we don't have a bar to give them the antidote, you'll need to be sure to spike a bottle with this stuff, and give the customers a drink before they leave your room."

Jenna paused, looking around the room for anyone with questions.
Makani Ano
 player, 241 posts
Thu 13 Oct 2011
at 09:38
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Lounge to Infirmary)

Makani gave Cole a coy nod as she walked past him and continued on to the infirmary.  With each step the image of the scholar faded away and she allowed her training and the confidence that came with it to shine through.

By the time she reached the door to the infirmary she was everything she had been trained to be.

Makani closed her eyes, schooled her features and gave a polite double knock on the infirmary door.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 338 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 13 Oct 2011
at 17:38
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey paused before responding. He wouldn't reveal his crewmate and freind's history, but Taggart needed to get the message.
"Makani is one of the most capable women I've ever met. Im sure there are things about her that neither of us know but what I can say is that she's someone you should consider.".
A knock on the door prevented him from going on, and without waiting for permission from Taggart he stood to see who was waiting outside. A gentle smile flickered on his lips and he looked at her with his head cocked. "Were your ears burning Miss Ano?". Something about her stance was different and stepping back he waved her to enter the infirmary. Her presence was reassuring and the Captain moved aside to let Taggart see who had arrived.
"Come on in. I was actually just saying to our employer here that you might be more of an asset for this mission than he realises.".
Makani Ano
 player, 243 posts
Thu 13 Oct 2011
at 19:05
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(infirmary)

Makani smiled and gave a throaty chuckle at the captain's greeting.

"Captain Yannaro, I thought we were well past that," she said with the slightest flicker of amusement in her eyes: amusement and something else, something far more dangerous.

"And it should surprise neither one of you that I am here," she said with a graceful nod that included Colonel Taggart.

"Although there are certain 'assets' that will need to be re-allocated shall we say.  I cannot even pretend to be a prostitute or to accept a job of espionage without either the Guild's approval or without first tendering my resignation."

She smiled and gave an appraising nod to the Colonel.  "You see Colonel, we have not only our safety, but the success of this mission in mind.  Corporal St. Pierre is a quite capable agent, but what you are asking her to do... "

She paused shaking her head as she regally took a seat.

"The yoke of command is not something one simply assumes.  It is learned, and it is earned... and the sort of command you are expecting her to take is not the sort she was trained for."

She paused tilting her head with confident and practiced ease.  "It is the sort of thing the type of men we'll be dealing with will pick up on.  I was not objecting to the job earlier, but you would do well to listen to me now.  You need someone who is used to being in command, having their orders and wishes obeyed and will not take guff from our... 'suitors.'"

She smiled as she continued.  "Of the people going on this mission I would recommend either myself or our pilot.  Burne is more suitable to the military side of this mission and you may or may not find that more comfortable, but... and I do mean 'but' she does not have the training I have.  I am used to the sort of attention we will be getting and I am used to using it to my advantage on a professional level.  That is what will be expected and necessary."

She paused giving the Colonel to not only think about what she had said, but to make his own assessment.

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:52, Thu 13 Oct 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 462 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Fri 14 Oct 2011
at 22:21
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Infirmary)
As Makani talked, Taggart looked back and forth between Stacey and the Companion, a growing expression of confusion on his face.  When she finished, he sighed and scratched his head.  "I think that maybe I must have missed an important episode of this soap-vid, because part of what you said doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.  But of that which I do understand, Miss Ano, I appreciate, but with all due respect, a writer, or journalist, or whatever you are just isn't exactly the person I'd look to for expertise in these matters.  You're an attractive woman, and your other physical attributes make you an excellent choice for one of the prostitutes, but you just don't have any relevent experience.  And don't worry about your good standing in the Writers Guild, or whatever other literary society you belong to...I can't imagine them revoking your membership over a great story opportunity like this."

"Look, I agree with your remarks about the need for leadership and such, but like it or not, Corporal St. Pierre is the best qualified.  She's the only one with prostitute experience...well, fake prostitute experience...and she's got military experience, as well.  The only other female with any relevent experience is your pilot, who I am reluctant to place in a position of authority.  I've seen her military record, and there are some...irregularities, shall we say?  Physically, she's quite acceptable, but I'm not sure how her military mindset will work in her role as a hooker."

"It's all well and good to list all the "should haves" and the "this is what we needs", but we have to use what we DO have, and like it or not, it's a damn small labor pool that we have to choose from.  Now, you've got the rest of the day to learn how to act like a prostitute, so I suggest you return to the class so that Corporal St. Pierre can try to pass on whatever it is she knows."

Makani Ano
 player, 244 posts
Fri 14 Oct 2011
at 23:58
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Infirmary)

Makani sighed and gave the Captain a resigned look.  If the situation wasn't so serious she would have been laughing.

"My dear Colonel, I spent the first five years of my life being told that I was the worthless child of a common whore.  My benefactors felt it important that I be reminded of that constantly so that I would not make the same mistakes my mother did."

She sighed, knowing that the Captain didn't know the full story.  She had hoped to tell him the full story long before this but it never seemed... necessary.

"When I was old enough they sent me out as a servant, thankfully I was sent, not to a brothel, but to a Companion Hall, where I cleaned up after girls a few years older than me, where I learned to dance..."

"As I grew, so did the level of my chores, until the Ladies and Guild Mothers noticed me.  When the girls from my area moved to the next level-- I joined them.  Not as a servant but as an apprentice."

"As I said... I have experience... not as a prostitute but as a fully trained and licensed guild companion.  If you doubt my credentials, please feel free to contact Mother Jenna at the Guild House on Sihnon"

This message was last edited by the player at 17:32, Mon 17 Oct 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 463 posts
 Are you familiar with...
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Sun 16 Oct 2011
at 02:19
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Infirmary)

When Hell freezes over...

When pigs fly...

When Londinium stops spinning on its axis...

Some events are SO unlikely to occur that they become cliche phrases used specifically to serve as examples of unlikely occurrences.

Now add to that list, "when Taggart is rendered speechless".

And yet, it happened.  Taggart was rendered speechless my Makani's revelation, his mouth hanging open and his eyes wide and staring.  There was total silence in the infirmary for several seconds, then the Alliance colonel began to laugh.  He slapped his thigh as he rocked back and forth, and the people attending the class in the lounge all looked up from their endeavors, exchanging questioning glances and wondering what in the world had just happened.

After about ten or fifteen seconds, the Colonel was able to suppress his laughter.  "A Registered Companion?  Well, spank my butt and call me Judy!  We conducted full background investigations on the crew, but I didn't think that it was really necessary for the passengers.  Just goes to show you...don't do things halfway.  Of course, I believe you're telling the truth...now that you've said so, it's so obvious in your carriage and bearing that it's a wonder I didn't figure it out sooner."  He smiled at Makani, then pushed himself off the exam table, bowing formally to the woman.  "Lady Ano, I would be honored if you would consider taking the role of madame for tonight's operation.  I believe it will come as a relief to Corporal St. Pierre.  Shall we return to the class, where I will make the formal announcement?"
Makani Ano
 player, 245 posts
Sun 16 Oct 2011
at 20:50
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani smiled and gave him a slight half bow, half nod in response, but as she stood and held her hand up, asking him for a moment.

"Colonel, I cannot go as a companion, nor can I be a companion when I do this.  Would you allow me to contact my guild mistress and resign?  It is very important that I do this and I fear if I do not do it quickly... I shall not have the strength to do it."

This message was last edited by the player at 17:30, Mon 17 Oct 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 339 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Mon 17 Oct 2011
at 11:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey listened to Makani's words in silence. They were personal, vital to her being and he met her eyes with gentle support. He wished the situation had been different, that he could repay the sharing of her essence with the parts of his own past that he held dear and secret. The Captain knew that what she was doing was for the good of Lydia and he would ensure it was not wasted.

As Taggart erupted with laughter the Captain scowled, instinct driving him to protect Makani's grace. But his words and Makani's patient dignity made the Captain hold himself in check. Instead he responded gently "Makani, you do whatever you need to do. We can inform the others of the change and the practical lessons from Corporal St. Pierre can continue as before until you are ready.". He paused and added meaningfully "Thank you.".

Looking back at the alliance man Stacey stood. "We should tell the others. And like I said, I want to be with them on the shuttle in support.".
Makani Ano
 player, 246 posts
Mon 17 Oct 2011
at 18:30
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Makani gave the captain a grateful smile.  "Thank you Captain."

When he mentioned coming along Makani gave a graceful slow nod in agreement.

"Perhaps a precaution arranged by Madame Tang since I'm am merely her apprentice.  Untried, I may not be able to keep the girls from forgetting their contractual obligations to Madame Tang, and therefore would need someone with a more... forceful presence?" She suggested with a coy smile.
Shan Yu
 GM, 464 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Tue 18 Oct 2011
at 14:05
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Infirmary)

To Makani's request, Taggart just shrugged.  "If you wish to contact your Guild, I will allow it.  I don't understand why you might wish to or need to resign as a Registered Companion, but that's your business.  Captain Yanoro and I will notify the rest of your crew of your status."  He looked at Stacey, "As for you accompanying the group, I see no reason why your presence would be a problem.  You're known to be the Captain of the ship, and it's reasonable to say that you are just along to protect your assets.  I'll have a squad of troopers standing by, in case they're needed, and you could be my eyes and ears, and let us know if you need help, should things take a bad turn and get unpleasant.  Uh...you can fly a shuttle, can't you?"  He immediately shook his head as if to dismiss the thought, and continued.  "Actually, it's no matter.  Someone else can fly it, and you'll just be tagging along.  I think you'll have to remain with the shuttle once you get there, but they might invite you in as well, possibly with the idea of recruiting you.  They can always use transports.  Regardless, it's probably a good idea to stick close to the shuttle, just in case you need to beat a hasty retreat."

"I'm not expecting their security to be too tight, which is both good and bad.  These types live by the gun, and packing a sidearm is normal.  I doubt they'd search anyone, and you'd probably even be allowed to wear your gun openly.  The interrogation team could likewise probaby justify a weapon or two...as long as they are concealed.  The bad part is that things could get deadly if there is any compromise of our mission."


He motioned toward the door leading out to the passageway.  "Shall we?  As they say, we're burning daylight."
Makani Ano
 player, 248 posts
Tue 18 Oct 2011
at 14:37
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Infirmary, to bridge)

Makani smiled and gave Taggart a slow nod.  "It is a political matter, and I shall not bore you with the details...but I will be back momentarily."

"Gentlemen," she said with a formal bow.

With that she left the infirmary and returned to the bridge where she sent her previously recorded message and then initiated a wave to the guild hall on Sihnon using the Companion Guild's private channels used to keep client information secret.

This message was last edited by the GM at 03:52, Thu 20 Oct 2011.

Burne Catweazle
 player, 300 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Tue 18 Oct 2011
at 15:13
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Burne watched Makani enter and walk through the Galley without a word to anyone, wondering what transpired behind closed doors.   It wasn't a concern, so she didn't follow the woman.   There were few places she could be going, and possibly the woman was headed for the shuttle to do something with the captains previous plan of a flyover.
Cole Jackson
 player, 229 posts
Wed 19 Oct 2011
at 01:40
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Cole had practiced his "technique" a couple of times on the fruit that Makani had provided.  The more times he tried to puncture the fruit in a manner that was considered subtle, the first mate found himself wishing that Frank was more available for this time of subterfuge.  Cole was more of an up front kind of person.  He wore his sentiments on his shoulder.  This could very well backfire and he knew it.

As Makani finished her conversation with the Corporal, Cole found himself wondering what was transpiring.  As Makani walked past and gave him a smile, Cole began to realize that the "passenger" was beginning to get lost.  By the time she reached the infirmary, Cole knew exactly what was being said and was glad that she would be able to help.

With Makani inside, Cole turned and watched the rest of the crew.  Burne and Jin seemed to be having a better time of the needle than he was.  He needed help.

"Any chance one of you ladies could show me some of the finer points to use this thing?" he asked.  "I'm worried some lady's gonna think I'm trying to manhandle her or I'm gonna stick myself."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 340 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 20 Oct 2011
at 21:53
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Stacey nodded and led Taggart out of the infirmary. His gaze watched Makani's form dissappear in the opposite direction and he felt a cruel stab of guilt. Maybe if he had acted differently when Scout woke up...if he had made the ship more secure...Lydia would still be with them. Instead Makani was about to give up a part of her self because it was all they could do. All they could do if they wanted to save the missing girl.

As he returned to the galley though a new feeling of resolve and commitment swelled within him. Taggart had agreed the Captain would be of value on the mission, and instead of an untried, unknown girl leading, there was a strong woman he could trust. The situation was under their control as much as it could be.

For a few minutes he stood with arms folded, watching the lessons and giving Makani time to do as she needed. Then Stacey cleared his throat as a lull in the training emerged.
"I need your attention folks. Our benefactor and I have had a short discussion and agreed on a couple of points. First, I will be coming with you, nominally as your security. That means if things dont go to plan, help wont be far away.".
He glanced at Jenna. The girl looked almost hopefully at the Captain.
"Second, Makani Ano will be taking the lead role in this mission moving forward. As some of you know, Makani has more experience in this area than any of the rest of us. If your customers are going to believe your story her experience and leadership will be vital.". He looked at Jenna, hoping she would take the news well.
"Corporal St. Pierre will of course remain a vital part of the mission and work closely with Makani to ensure Alliance interests are served.".
The Captain looked back toward Taggart meaningfully.
"Mean while the Alliance will do everything they can to track down our freind.".
Burne Catweazle
 player, 301 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Sat 22 Oct 2011
at 02:37
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Burne was considering Cole's odd request.  Her ring was a subtle and precise instrument.  She could see why it would do well in the hands of an Alliance agent...

or assassin... a command could be given for the target to kill themselves, as easily as forget...  What other purposes have these little fangs been used for?

  Part of her felt bad for the first mate.  To struggle for precision and subtlety wasn't something that came easy to everyone.  It made her think of Frank with his wrench in one hand, wrestling with the goblin fighters engine.  There was little that could be as direct and calloused as her best friend.   But Cole wasn't too far off from him.

When the captain stepped up, she gave him her attention while she absently stroked the head of her ring.  She could feel the cool sensation of the drugs she had taken when dressing earlier.  Her eyes were on the captain, but part of her mind was spiraling through space, considering variables and vectors such as the rings other uses.   She dismissed the ideas.  It was too noteworthy a piece, and she would likely be returning it.

"So Frank is going to be here guarding the ship?" She looked over towards where the ships mechanic had been when she started practicing with her ring, wondering what he would have to say about a ship filled with Alliance and only him on board.  "Captain Yanoro, will our guests be leaving the ship to do everything, or will they be onboard."

The Alliance probably hadn't divulged extra info like that.  Why would they?  Still, if the Captain knew 'what' to ask, he might get a straight answer.  In the meantime she could talk to Frank.  He would have time to prepare himself.

Makani mustn't be preparing for a flight then.  She's probably using the Cortex.  Good thing I didn't shut any of the communications down.    Burne had initiated the recordings right after she and Jin had started examining the strange communications.  She made a mental note to delete the recordings.  They were private conversations, and none of Burne's concern now that they knew who the transmissions were going to and from.

The captains words about Makani showed that the pilot and mechanic had been given the bare minimum on yet another thing.  A persons past was his or her own as far as Burne was concerned.  After all, no one here knew anything more than the Cortex propaganda about her, and she was quite pleased leaving it that way.  She absently rubbed her upper lip brushing away white powder that wasn't there.

Well... Except Frank...  But he had proved himself an acceptable risk, and their lives were intertwined now.
Makani Ano
 player, 250 posts
Sun 23 Oct 2011
at 21:53
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Bridge to Galley)

Makani drew a deep breath and centered herself before activating the cortex and calling home as it were.  She wished she had better new, but at least there was hope.

She could only imagine what Lydia was going through at that moment.  Makani had never wished anyone dead before. She was a protector, a follower of the dance and of Hi'iaka herself.  She would have been perfectly happy to allow the bastard live, if only he had been willing to leave her Lei Hulu alone.

He would not and now, given the chance, she would hunt him down.

SHe closed her eyes and let her breath out again.  This was not the frame of mind she wanted to be in when she spoke with Mother Jenna.

When she was ready, she activated the com.


It was not a long conversation, there was not much to say, not much she could say.  She hoped that her friend and mentor understood and forgave her, but there was much work to be done and now was the time to do it.

She allowed herself a moment to gather her thoughts before heading back down to the galley.

When she reached the galley she stood in the doorway, studying those who would be going on this mission with a critical eye.

If they were to pull it off, they would need to play up their assets.  It was going to be interesting at best.

This message was last edited by the player at 21:53, Sun 23 Oct 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 341 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 25 Oct 2011
at 10:57
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Before Makani returned Stacey continued to address the group. He responded to Burne first.
"Frank will stay with the ship. Its an Alliance asset so I expect Mr Taggart will ensure appropriate security is in place.".
The pilot's question was a good one though, and he offered it to the Alliance officer. "What are the plans for other folk like Tang and yourself? I assume she will stay onboard too; our hosts may legitimately want to contact her here before they let us inside.".

Burne's question led on to security in general.
"Where we are going wearing a piece might not be out of place. Unless anyone objects I suggest you all make sure you are carrying a shooter for self defence. You can store any more significant weaponry with me on the shuttle.". He knew given the chance Cole might go whoring armed to the hilt with grenades and rifles. While the first mate would be forced to limit what weapons he carried on his person, Stacey could at least maintain an arsenal on the shuttle incase things went sour.

"I want as many of you as possible to have a commset too. I'll be on the other end incase problems arise. Jin, can you do anything to find us a secure frequency?". He looked hopefully at the lithe woman.
"Incase we are monitored, if you are in trouble but cant talk openly, then use nicknames in conversation. Call me 'Stace' or something and I'll know something is up.".
The Captain paused and looked around the room to invite input.

Soon enough though he saw Makani re-enter the galley and walked over to join her.
"We've told folk you will be taking the lead, but little else other than that.". He offered a supportive smile. "They are your team now Makani. This is your command. Orders?".

This message was last edited by the player at 10:57, Tue 25 Oct 2011.

Burne Catweazle
 player, 302 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Tue 25 Oct 2011
at 13:57
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Having familiarity with the need to not be noticed in her past Burne asked the obvious, "Guns and comm sets aren't exactly common whore-issue items anywhere I've been.  They're likely to arouse suspicion.  And leaving them on the shuttle isn't going to be helpful behind closed doors."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 342 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Tue 25 Oct 2011
at 16:49
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey looked to Taggart for support before responding to Burne.
"We're not visiting an Alliance installation. Our destination is a criminal domain with their own rules. Alliance intelligence suggests wearing a weapon discreetly for self protection may not be out of place.".
The Captain had been to rough meets and plenty of dangerous 'business' addresses in his past.

"As you say though, you will be playing the role of whores, not upper class escorts. Some of your potential customers may not be gentlemen. Its reasonable for you to have self defence.".
He shrugged.
"Maybe you will all be asked to disarm. If so, we wont cause a fuss and will be no worse off than if we'd gone unarmed in the first place. Remember, you are going in a trusted whores with a reputation. They are not expecting trouble so may not be looking for it either.".

"As for the shuttle, I'd rather be safe than sorry. We dont know how this is going to play out and if Cole wants to leave some grenades in my care...I've no objection. If everything goes to plan I'll sit bored on the shuttle. If I need to come into play, I'd like to be equipped for any eventuality.".
Cole Jackson
 player, 230 posts
Tue 25 Oct 2011
at 22:54
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Cole smiled as Stacey spoke.  Going in armed was a definite.  And they would have to thoroughly search if they expect him to disarm.  As Stacey continued, Cole found himself laughing at the Captain's opinion of him.

"Don't know what they've been telling you, Cap'n," he said with a large smile plastered on his face, "but I ain't got any grenades.  Never saw a need for 'em.  If I'm going to be needed that kind of firepower, I'd rather be taking my shots from a distance.  Best you'll get from me is the Remington.  I ain't been able to find a decent weaponsmith in months."

Cole looked around at the rest of the crew.  He knew that Burne carried a weapon and he assumed that she was good with it.  Makani had her particular brand of justice and Cole had seen the mess it could make.  Jin was a question, one he wouldn't ask in front of Taggart.  The corporal was the only other question and based on her nerves, Cole figured she would not be much use in a real fight.  Cole hoped it did not come to that.  He was in the mood to be much more personal if it came time for violence.

"Not to rush anything but how long we got before we're expected to leave.  I'm guessing some sleep and a change of clothes would be a good idea."  Cole indicated his own blood-soaked clothes for emphasis.