Crisis meeting

Where: Blue Dwarf, en-route to the water world the Aquanauts mentioned
When: Three weeks later

Finishing washing himself with a flannel and a sink full of water, Jay wiped the mirror clear of condensation and twisted to look over his shoulder into the glass, quietly examining the scratches covering his back for a moment before turning back to the mirror to give himself a wolfish grin
That had been a bloody fantastic night, he reflected - One of the best he could remember!

He dried himself, wrapped the towel around his waist and walked out into their room to stroll over towards where Cass was still lying on the bed
She smiled up at him as he approached, stretching languorously and allowing the covers to slide down around her waist, giving him a fine view of her naked body
"Heya gorgeous" she murmured muzzily, her voice still thick with sleep "How you doing?"
Jay smiled down at her – Cass was funny first thing in the morning; for a few short minutes after she woke, she was all warm and friendly, her usual sardonicism only resurfacing once she had finally come-to
"Fancy getting some breakfast?" he asked
"Hmm" she stretched again, running her hands through her hair, the covers inching a little lower "How 'bout you come over here instead?"
Jay's smile widened into a grin and he moved closer to sit next to her on the bed, Cass stretching her warm arms to embrace him, her lips finding his
"You know I'd love to" he breathed after reluctantly breaking the kiss off a moment later "But we've that breakfast meeting this morning, remember?"
"Urgh" Cass groaned, letting her arms fall away and releasing him from her embrace "Who smegging cares? It'll only be about the bloody food and water situation again anyway!"
And there she was, back to her usual self; Jay figured it was some sort of defence mechanism, but after six centuries of life, he was wise enough to realise she was opening up to him at her own pace, and he knew that it would be a bad idea to try and hurry the process
"Yeah, I know it'll be the rations thing again" he mock-grimaced "But I've got to be there in case Seymour or anyone else comes up with some hair-brained plan, like trading our weapons systems in exchange for a few bottles of fine wine with the next crowd of Malodorian's we meet"
"Ah, the pressures of command, eh?"
Jay wrinkled his nose and stood up, tossing his towel aside to retrieve his clothes from the floor and begin dressing
"Comes with the territory at the top; although I've never enjoyed it" he admitted
Cass pushed herself up onto her elbows, watching him get dressed
"You mean you just like telling people what to do, but don't want to accept the consequences?" she teased
"Piss off" he smiled "Are you coming to this meeting or not?"
"Oh, alright" Cass muttered, slipping from the bed to scoop her clothes up off the floor and begin dressing “We'll go talk about it, but we all know we're screwed if we don't get any food from that water world...”
"So, what have you got planned for today?" Jay asked, quickly changing the subject
"Alex and Alfredo are fixing the sewage recycling pumps on deck five this morning, so I'll be waist deep in filth while I get the pumps reintegrated into Holly's control matrix; and after that: Just ...stuff"
Cass paused to pull a t-shirt over her head
"What is it that you're doing?"
"We're securing deck twenty three today; now the fish are dead and those Chodmonsters have been herded into a more remote part of the ship, the Huzards are beginning to get more adventurous"
"Huh" Cass grunted, tugging her boots on and beginning to lace them "You know my thoughts on that little time bomb"
Jay gave her a pained look - they had been over this before
"Yeah, they're every bit as dangerous as you say they are, but nerve-gassing them would just be wrong; that's why we're isolating them in their own areas"
“Yeah, yeah, I know” Cass murmured “It's just that having them aboard with us is a little like handcuffing yourself to an axe murderer”
She finished lacing her boots and stood, a faint, humourless smile on her lips
“Just make sure you don’t get hurt while you’re in their territory” she said gently
Jay smiled
This was her being nice - If he had been anyone else, she'd have vituperatively instructed him in the error of his logic and argued him into submission, rather than just biting her tongue and accepting his judgement like she just had
It was little things like this that made Jay aware of the effort Cass was investing in their burgeoning relationship; and even though, at times, it was mentally exhausting just keeping up with her, for the most part they were getting on well
"Thanks!" he said, holding out his hand "Shall we go?"

Rounding the corner into the canteen, they found that the meeting had started without them, the 'Dwarf's remaining crew sat on the tables and chairs scattered around the room, gathered in a rough semi-circle around Seymour, who was holding forth about the need to try and conserve their meagre rations
“Ah, Chrysler!” Seymour smirked when he spotted them “Good of you and Ms. Jones to finally join us!”
Jay frowned
“It's quarter-to; this was meant to start at nine!”
“Well, we're all busy people, so I thought we'd just get cracking, rather that wait for the stragglers”
“Whatever” Cass shrugged, languidly strolling across the room to stretch herself out on one of the empty chairs “So how far have we got with this tedious little charade? Did we get past stating the blindingly obvious yet?”
“As I was saying” Seymour said primly, glaring impatiently at Jay as he walked past him to find a seat next to Cass “We need to conserve our rations...”
“Oh, no shit?” Cass muttered sarcastically, prompting a wry smile from Jay
Seymour glared angrily at her
“However unpalatable it might be, Ms. Jones” he huffed “These things need saying!”
“If, of course, you're an empty headed cretin” Cass shot back “I mean, come on! Only an imbecile could fail to notice that the culinary output from this canteen has been less than stellar – Davie's...”
She paused to glance apologetically over at Davie
“No offence man; but last night's tinned asparagus and custard surprise, wasn’t exactly haute cuisine, was it?”
“Yeah, well; we've run out of fish, and the labels have peeled off all our canned goods” Davie shrugged “What was I supposed to do? We don’t have enough left to just throw stuff away!”
“My point, precisely” Seymour nodded
“And mine” Cass said levelly
“Besides” Davie smirked “It's your turn to cook tomorrow Cass”
“Yeah, about that...” Cass started
“Let's have the report from Mr. Solvay” Seymour interrupted “How are the repairs to the water recycling units coming on?”
“Would you let me finish?” Cass protested
“No, this is important!” Seymour snapped primly “Mr. Solvay?”
“Twat” Cass muttered, sullenly slumping back into her chair and crossing her arms
“...Our repairs are going well enough” Alex sighed smokily, grinding his cig out in the ashtray on the table next to him “We'll easily have enough water to last us until we reach the water world the aquanauts told us about; but we could really do to replenish our stocks after that”
“Excellent” Seymour beamed “Now, about the food situation...”
“I was going to say...” Cass interrupted impatiently “How about we take one of the Starbug's, and go on ahead to the water world? If it's inhabited, we may be able to trade or even work in exchange for supplies; or failing that, there's always the chance we can forage for food ourselves?”
“That's not such a bad idea...” Phil nodded thoughtfully
“What if the planet is crawling with hostiles?” Seymour protested
“Maybe smegging Elrond here can do the negotiating and win them over with his charm, wit and eloquence!?” Cass replied
“Now that” Phil smirked “...might just work”
“Either that or he could maybe just abandon them on a starbase or something?”
“Alright!” Jay suddenly stood “That sounds like the best idea we're likely to hear in this meeting, so anyone who's coming: You've fifteen minutes to gather your stuff and meet in hangar one. We depart in thirty!”
He strode from the room, several other crew members following in his wake
“Now, just wait a minute!” Seymour near shouted “Who do you think is chairing this meeting!?”
“It's adjourned” Cass smirked as she strolled past him “You coming?”

We need supplies – is there anything on the water world that can help?

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