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Rev Waterhouse & Remy Waterhouse - "Ring Ring"

Posted on 2021-03-29 10:25 by Ensign Remex Waterhouse & Reverend Noah Waterhouse

Mission: Toys in the Attic

"Fifteen men on a dead man's chest," Noah sang as he paced down the corridor of the new Pelican.

"Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum," squawked Jackson Polly from Noah's shoulder.

"Drink and the Devil had done for the rest," Noah continued.

"Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum," Jackson Polly squawked once more. Noah reached up and pet the holographic bird as he turned the corner and entered the galley.

"The mate was fixed by the bosun's pike," came a voice from the far end of the galley, quickly joined by another in tight harmony.

"Bosun brained with a marlinspike," the diminutive, angular figure continued to sing, a new head appearing beside it as each new voice joined in, the harmonization not quite committing to any one key. "And cookey's throat was marked belike it were gripped by fingers ten."

A smile lit up Noah's face, and Jackson Polly took flight from his shoulder as Noah joined, "An there they lay, all good dead men, like break o' day in a boozing ken."

"Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum," Jackson Polly squawked as he landed upon one of Remy's heads.

The extra heads began to disappear, Remy's body shifting to be under the parrot's perch. "I hope you don't mind my liberties with the arrangement. Traditional Earth harmonics are nice, but once you actually know the math behind them, it's quite clear that they're suboptimal." It looked up at Noah, its face a pixelated piratical pastiche.

Noah chuckled and shook his head. "The song has branched in so many directions from its literary roots, it's hard to really find a true version of it. Yours is but another branch in the tree that grew from the seed in Treasure Island." Noah circled the galley, his eyes traveling over everything he passed — the stove, oven, cabinets, cooking equipment and place settings secured in the cabinets — and moved out into the eating area with multiple wooden tables surrounded by benches. He sat down on top of the end of one such table looking at Remy. Jackson Polly hopped down to Remy's shoulder.

"How are you settling in? I know Dad set up your docking station, but he didn't have time to shove his nose nearly as far into this ship's systems as he did the last Pelican, so..." Noah shrugged.

"The experience is likely comparable to a corporeal being going from one cut of uniform to another. These systems are unfamiliar, but not in any way that impedes me, and I've made a couple modifications to the system for my own comfort." At this last bit, a small [1] appeared within Noah's reach, floating such that, from his perspective, it appeared to be just above and to the right of Remy's head.

"There, uh, a thing floating above–" Noah stopped short as the number expanded as his hand moved near it, and his wristband beeped as his eyes moved over the words: [Changelog transmitted]

"I'm trying not to clutter my conversations with references to reports. Or your inbox, with unwanted reports. If you prefer, I can send you a collection of the day's footnotes each evening, instead?" Remy's face finally shifted away from the pirate facsimile, settling into a calm green smiley.

"Dad mentioned that you were, uh, verbose before you forked," Noah said as he tapped at his wristband. Lenses materialized off the ends of Noah's bridge piercing, and text started to scroll across the bottom. He sighed and shook his head, and what looked like a piece of antique paper materialized mid-air, allowing him to grasp it as his eyes started to move over the contents. "We'll have to discuss who needs what reports. Something like this is probably better sent straight to Nadik — though once we're under way, I do not recommend changing the ship systems without coming to an understanding with him about it first. He's protective of the ship, especially since he hand a hand in her design. Though a daily summary with links to the full reports should I need them, wouldn't hurt."

Remy nodded. "I did get Nadik's sign-off on the larger changes. Most were small or localized enough to be beneath his notice — akin to tugging on your garments when they itch, if I may extend the metaphor. When do we depart?"

"I'm glad to hear you and Nadik are communicating before you make changes." Noah rolled up the holographic paper he had read Remy's changelog on, and it disappeared. "If the inspections go well tomorrow, the plan is to launch the day after. Did you amend the ship schematics with these changes you and Nadik made, so that the inspectors are working with accurate documents?"

Remy's eyebrow rose. "Of course. I'm quite familiar with the value of good documentation. Things just work so much better when you don't have anything to hide, intentionally or by accident."

Noah mirrored Remy's eyebrow, and leaned in closer. "You sound like Dad."

Remy leaned in as well. "There's a reason we chose to take his name. And a reason he was willing to share it." It paused for a moment, straightening. "Though I suppose I should have asked your opinion on the matter, as well."

Noah laughed. "Shit, mate, you may not be flesh and blood, but there's no doubt we share parents."

Remy nodded. "I'm glad you feel that way. Thank you for agreeing to take me on board, by the way."

"Think nothin' of it. Family's family, and Mum and Dad are always going on about you and your– our sibs. Besides, Mum said something about you– er, Tory, well, the both of ya before your forked, being... how did Pond put it? Tricky little shits? Makes her feel better that you can keep an eye on me." Noah rolled his eyes, though he grinned.

Remy's smile flashed devilish for a moment. "She hasn't even seen half of our TLS protocols. And without any of the tricks I might learn from sparring with that Cardassian antivirus."

"Cardassian Antivirus?" Noah scrunched his face, and his fingers flicked at his wristband again. Text scrolled quickly across the bottom of his lenses, and he frowned. "Dad didn't mention anything about a Cardassian Antivirus."

Remy shrugged casually. "On that spare computer core in my quarters. The one labelled 'RESEARCH SAMPLE, DO NOT ATTACH INTERFACES.' The creature is, roughly speaking, the photonic equivalent of a particularly clever rabid dog. No issue as long as nobody connects it to the ship systems. Which would also require my eight thousand, one hundred and ninety-two qubit highly random encryption key."

"Eight thou– hundred ninety–" Noah scrunched his face and shook his head. He wasn't going to try to wrap his tongue around the rest of that. "I recognize some of those words, but that sounds like a hell of a choke chain for a pet. So, I take it Tory kept that, uh... what was it Mum and Dad gave, er, you– him? The astrobee."

Remy's face shifted to a frown for a moment, before returning to a neutral smile. "Yes, Abram went with Tory on the Norton-B. He wasn't suited for the pirate life, and he had spent more time with that self anyway. I wouldn't consider this antivirus a pet, though; not without some very thorough training, at least."

"Abram," Noah repeated the name with a nod. "That's a good name. Mum said something about you, er, Tory, saying well, that he was going to pick his own name?" Noah paused as the rest of what Remy had said rolled over in his head. "If the antivirus isn't a pet, what is it?"

Remy nodded. "Yeah, he apparently got pretty upset about me going missing and decided not to let it happen again. As part of that, he decided to name himself after a tank." It shrugged slightly. "I don't entirely see what difference a name makes there, but it seems to make him happy. And I suppose the antivirus is a pet in the same sense as a dangerous fish or an ant farm, but it also really is a research sample. Anything I can learn about how it works is potentially knowledge that can improve myself or the next wave of holographic siblings."

"I remember the spiders in the research labs on the Audie Murphy—gorgeous creatures, some of my early sketches when I was small—they were deadly so we weren't allowed to touch them, but the scientist who was giving the school tour explained how their silks were studied to make stronger fabrics, and their venom studied for medicinal purposes. So you're studying the antivirus for something like that?" Sciences and technology were not Noah's strong suits, but he tried to follow. He needed to understand why Remy wanted to keep this thing on his ship, after all.

Remy's smile broadened, clearly pleased at this understanding. "Exactly! Only difference is that my locks are much, much better than whatever they had on the spider enclosures."

"I hope so, the spiders weren't near so clever as you're making this antivirus sound to be. They weren't like, uh, what's the character from Pond's comic books, Spider boy?" Noah shrugged. "Miles somethin' or other. At any rate, if this antivirus is dangerous, please ensure that no one can meddle with your containment of it, your fleshbag sib here and the rest of the crew need the ship's computer working at its best and if'n that thing has the ruthlessness of a Cardassian? I don't want to think what it could do to our systems."

Remy nodded. "Of course. Let me know if you know anyone that can brute-force eight thousand, one hundred and ninety-two qubits." It paused for a moment. "You likely interpreted that rhetorically, but really, if you do know such an entity, tell me, there's some things I'd like to discuss with them."

"I hope I don't know anyone who can, but I certainly don't know enough to know how to tell. Just promise me you're taking all the precautions you can."

Remy nodded. "By my calculations, it should require more processing power than the federation has ever produced to be able to crack it in under a year. And that's if I were using the naïve validator, which I'm not. Better?"

"I understood some of those words." Noah scratched his head. "But Dad speaks highly of both you and Tory's skills, so I will take that as good enough."

"Your trust is appreciated." Remy leaned against the wall, looking up at Noah. "There is one other thing we need to discuss before we leave, and I admit that your mother put me up to it."

"If it's about Alvano needing to stay at Utopia Planitia, I know... Mum caught me earlier to tell me. I guess she and Dad thought it would be easier to keep him under Brass's nose, or somethin'." Noah shrugged.

"It's related to that, yes." Remy took a couple steps away from Noah and then, without warning, was swinging a two meter long staff at Noah's head. It jerked impossibly to a stop just as it struck the colander on his head, ringing it like a bell. "Caught off guard; 5 points deducted."

"What the bloody hell, mate?" Noah stood from the table quickly, clamping his hand on the colander to silence it and stop its movement.

"Alvano had a role to fill. With his absence, I've been asked to fill it." Remy stepped back, stance wide, and began to wind up for a particularly obvious swing.

Noah muttered as his fingers danced on his wrist cuff quickly. Jackson Polly took flight from where he'd been sitting on Remy's shoulder, and settled on a light fixture on the wall to watch. A shield materialized off of Noah's wristband, and he braced it against the incoming swing.

"You're as bloody nuts as me Mum."

Remy shifted its swing a little higher but made no effort to avoid the shield. As the staff struck, it released it, taking advantage of the distraction as it clattered harmlessly off Noah's shoulder to materialize another one, ready to swing back the other way below the shield.

Noah scrambled backwards, bumping into the table on his way, and looked around for anything that would work as a weapon. Jackson Polly swooped from his perch towards the galley kitchen.

"Soup's on, Cap," the holographic bird squawked. He landed on top of the rack where a number of tools hung, and whistled.

"Good bird," Noah answered him and he made a dash towards the bird and the tools.

Remy stomped on a floor plank, then sprung lightly onto a table, running along it as the other end of the plank swung upwards to catch Noah's foot.

Noah tripped as the plank lifted his foot unexpectedly, and stumbled forward, catching himself on the bulkhead above the rack as Jackson Polly quickly flew out of the way.

"Watch it, I'm flying here!" Jackson Polly flew at Remy, flapping his wings in the photon's face as Noah selected a wooden spaghetti spoon from the rack and turned to see where Remy was.

Finally disentangling itself from the bird, Remy paused. "Ten points for the bird trick, five for arming yourself. Minus three for arming yourself with that."

"It's not like we have beer bottles just laying around, and I haven't replicated bottles for my next batch of rum, it's still gotta age before I can bottle it." Noah scrunched his face, then lunged for Remy as if he was holding a sword. Jackson Polly circled above the two figures.

"Git it, Cap!" The bird dove and buzzed Remy.

Remy flipped dramatically off the table, ignoring the parrot entirely to land behind Noah. It thrust its staff forward, not striking him, but pinning his shield and arm against the table. "Repeating a trick will neither catch me off guard nor improve your score."

The spaghetti colander tumbled off Noah's head and clattered to the floor. "I'm not telling him what to do. He may not be as smart as you, but he is a sentient lightbulb too, you know," Noah protested as he landed on the table as he was pinned. He made a click of his tongue, and the shield shimmered out of existence. Noah leaned forward across the table, and rolled over quickly, kicking a leg up as he did, and striking Remy square in its upper arm.

Remy teetered backwards, regaining control at the last moment and thrusting its staff backwards for balance. "Of course. I was talking to him."

As Remy teetered backwards, Noah sprung to his feet from the table, and held up the spaghetti spoon in a ready position. Jackson Polly landed on top of his head head, a cackling squawk shaking his little feathered body. "What's so funny, mate?" Noah rolled his eyes up momentarily to try to look at the bird, but quickly looked back to Remy as he remembered taking his eyes on his opponent usually ended by landing painfully on his ass.

Remy wasn't about to pass up an opportunity like that. As Noah's gaze returned to the little hologram, its staff was already too close to block, grazing his spoon as it struck his chest hard enough to bruise. Remy tumbled backwards, ducking into a roll and finally regaining its feet a couple meters further away. "Twenty points for knocking me away; deduct ten for taking that hit. A little pointier and you'd be dead now."

Noah had tumbled backwards to land on top of the table, and Jackson Polly had taken to the air again as the spaghetti spoon tumbled to the deck. Noah made a face as he rubbed at the point of impact on his chest while sitting up.

"So, what? You're gonna send Mum weekly report cards? Your son is an absolute failure at defending himself." Noah rolled his eyes. "She knows that. That's why you and Tygelgor are here."

"Well yes. If I were scoring you on the 'unprotected' scale you'd be deep in the negatives at this point."

"I'm a lover, not a fighter, mate."

"Don Juan, Reverend Don Juan," Jackson Polly helpfully added as he landed on Noah's head again. Noah reached up to bop the bird on the beak, then scratched his neck feathers.

"Based on the media in the ship's databanks, I'd say that one tends to lead to the other." Remy twirled its staff once, then let it dematerialize. "But by my calculations you've eked out a passing grade."

"Thanks teach," Noah said with a headshake. "I guess I should start wearing a sword or a knife all the time now, huh?"

"Jackson Polly was a good bird," the parrot said as he hopped down to Noah's shoulder, and nipped at Noah's ear. "Jackson Polly want a cracker."

Remy summoned up a cracker and flung it into the air for the bird to catch. "Frequency of training and evaluations will be adjusted based on your performance." It paused. "Or to put it more crassly, kick my ass and I'll leave you alone."

"That sounds like how Mum would put it to Pond when we were young," Noah said with a chuckle. Jackson Polly easily caught the cracker and landed on Remy's head to enjoy his treat, whistling and crunching contently as crumbs spilled everywhere.

"Of course. Where did you think I got the phrase?"

=/\= End Log =/\=

Reverend Noah Waterhouse
Pastafarian Minister, Pirate Captain & Artist

Remex Waterhouse
Starfleet Liason

NPC by Amy: Jackson Polly, A Good Bird


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