Falling … falling … falling …. thump
Furieux woke when his face connected awkwardly with the floor.
He groaned and pushed himself up onto all fours before unsteadily rising to his feet. His skin was slick with sweat and he wiped at his face with his hands before fully opening his eyes. He swayed gently in the centre of the prime VIP cabin on board the Velvet Presley – a room normally reserved for his most prestigious passengers – and tried to get a handle on his situation.
It wasn’t much of a step to come to the conclusion that he’d fallen out of bed; the sweat soaked sheets offering the biggest and only clue, and he winced as his head began to pound again. Rubbing at his temples, Furieux grimaced as the memories came flooding back. After a rather raucous celebration in the Star & Garter with fellow commanders Adamantium, Fangz and Kynoch-Taylor, Furieux had stumbled back into hanger forty and fell into a bunk, sleeping for a full twelve hours before rising to meet what was quite possibly the worst hangover known to humankind. As it turned out, the drink from the night before couldn’t solely be blamed as Furieux steadily began to feel worse with each passing hour. Feverish, he had retired to the VIP room to ‘sleep it off’ and had spent the last few days in a state of zombie like torpor, waking long enough only to drink from the water fountain and to relieve himself before crashing back to bed. He had a vague recollection of a comm from Adamantium complaining of identical symptoms, but he couldn’t be sure if he’d dreamt that or not.
Now, feeling a little more in control of his thoughts, he loped awkwardly over to the washroom and stared at himself in the mirror.
Sweet mother, you look like shit, Deu.
His reflection agreed. His unkempt, unshaven face and red rimmed eyes bore testament to whatever space bug had found itself lodged in his system and he snorted amusedly at the irony of it all. Not a drop of booze for six days and yet here he was; a complete caricature of a Lavian street bum.
He turned on the water jet to let the basin fill and watched the Orca pendant around his neck swing from side to side in the mirror. The Saud Kruger shaped crystal had been a gift from commander Talynne Star, fellow Dragon, friend and – purely in jest – gin supplier to the 8th Dragon Squadron. It had been given to him at a similar celebration in the Star & Garter almost exactly a year before. Since then, there had little communication between the two of them now and indeed, many of the 8th Dragons offered similar reports and Furieux hoped that whatever path she had taken was one borne from self interest and happiness. He himself knew what it was to burn bridges and look to a new future, having done just the same over a year ago, only recently returning to the ranks of the mercenary group.
Annoyed, Furieux stopped the swaying of the crystal with his hand and held onto the sides of the basin for support, still unsteady on his feet. Remarkably, it begun to move again almost immediately and the commander frowned at it, a gut feeling welling up inside that suggested he had forgotten something important.
Watching the pendant swing back and forth like a timepiece, it hit him. Today was the anniversary of Star’s birth. He groaned and screwed his burning eyes closed attempting to come up with some method to contact Star and offer a birthday greeting. He drew a blank.
It irked him that she had left no means of communication and it bothered him even more that it drew parallels to his own past lifestyle choices. His own way of upping sticks without so much as a goodbye had never been in the forefront of his mind, unconcerned, even if unintentionally, with the feelings of others. It smarted a bit.
Perhaps you have taught me something important, Star, he thought. Wherever you are, I hope you are well on this auspicious day. Your enthusiasm, selflessness and kind-heartedness are legendary among this group of ne’er-do-wells and the gin just doesn’t taste the same without you.
Furieux’s reflection raised an eyebrow at the sentimentality of his thoughts.
“Because the rest of them are all too lazy to fly to Hutton to get the real stuff.” Furieux assured it, aloud.
The man in the mirror grinned, looking a lot better already.