“I don’t want to ask any of you to do more for me than you already have. But, I need to…I can’t rescue her alone. I need your help…will you help me?” Several others spoke up on their participation in the upcoming mission. A tight-lipped nod and a “yeh.” Was Solvay’s incredibly long-winded contribution.

Jade listened as everyone threw in their hand with Jay. Such a charismatic leader, all of them were offering to help him, none of them mentioned helping Cass at all. No, they were all helping Jay once more. Jade was beginning to see how selfish the man could appear to be. Sure he was a decorated war hero, with some of the highest honors imagined after his 'death' on the Hymie homeworld. Sure he was hansome and charming, sure he was one of the more influential people on the ship since the JMC rebellion. However, deep down she wondered if he did it for the attention? Did he want to help really? Or was it a sense of duty? Was he helping becuase he had to, not because he wanted to? She smiled inwardly, apparently, talking to Cass so much had worn off a negative opinion of Mr Chrysler. She thought of Cass, alone with a psycho and determined to find her friend, regardless of if Cass wanted friends or not. 'Gods I know how to pick them' she mused.

Everyone except her had spoken and breakfast was underway in full force as the other Dwarfers started to eat. The focus gradually moved to Jade, the only one who haddn't spoken. The Doctor was getting some odd looks as she finished her meal, a bowl of bland poridge and a bananna. She took a final gulp of coffee and pushed her bowl aside.

"Jade?" Jay said, addressing her directly, walking, slowly over towards her table. "What about you? Will you help me?"

"No." She said, the firmness in her voice surprising even herself. Looking up at Jay, a firmness in her eyes.

"What?" Jay's eyebrows shot up. The nicest person in the room. The one person he thought he could deffinately count on, said no. The room fell silent, and all eyes were upon the two of them. A fork clattered to the floor in the quiet it sounded like a gunshot going off.

"Actually, you should say either 'excuse me' or 'pardon me' if you don't hear someone. 'What' is very rude." She looked over the 'younger' man, hoping that she had knocked some of the wind out of his sails. He did still look terrible. "You should be in bed Mr Chrysler."

"I know but..." He said, not used to such reactions from anyone except Cass and maybe Katrina.

"We aren't all sheep to blindly follow orders Jay." Jade said cautiously, not liking the insinuation behind his questions.

"That's why I asked you all to help." He said, she could see colour flushing his cheeks, he was getting angry. Good. "I wouldn't expect any of you to do anything." Poor choice of words, he cringed inwardly at the assumption it implied about his crewmates. Jade raised a solo eyebrow at him as if some silent eyebrow war was being fought.

"Ineed. However, you asked us to help you. I will not help you. I will help you look for Cass. I will help Cass. To assume that this mission is one for only you to undertake is foolish no matter your feelings." She shot a look at Katrina and Max, insinuating that his familly should be his first thought.

Jay flushed a deeper colour, but Jade kept talking, interrupting him before he spoke.

"You used her and threw her asside like garbage. To pretend you care about her now, enough to put your familly in danger is madness. You owe her more than you can ever hope to give back. We all do, she drove us forward. She was a friend and a strong leader when we needed one, even though she didn't want to be either." She looked around the room, not phased by the expressions she was getting. "She was harsh but fair when needed" This was aimed at a few of the 'boys'. "and she never stopped caring."

She paused, not for dramatic effect, but to take a breath. Her hands trembled slightly and she placed them flat on the table to hide the fact.

"Capt... Jay, please do not presume to wander into this mess on your own as if we are followers to your crusade for justice. You do not own the solo rights to this. You need to learn to share. This burden is as much mine as yours." She swallowed and looked up at Jay, tears fighing to break free. "None of us stopped her going through that portal."

'I can't forgive myself for that. I should have done something.' She internalised, closing her eyes briefly, to regain some composure.

"I..." He began. Jade suddenly became acutely aware that all eyes were on her.

"Excuse me..." She got up and pushed her chair under the table. Walking quickly she paused by Jay, looking him fiercely in the eyes and speaking so that only he could hear her. "She was my friend, and I will not let your ego put her in danger again."

With that she hurried out, letting the tears for her lost friend fall after the door slid shut behind her. They never had got that night out.


"And you say you tried to… stop doing the things?” She didn't name them, for fear that he'd clam up.
“Yeah. A lot of times. But…” He nearly said I'm weak.
“'But' what?”
“But I wasn’t very good at stopping. Can we watch a film or something now?”

"Yeah, what do you fancy?" Jade said, plumping up a cushion behind her. Trying not to feel frustrated at him for being so reluctant.

'Give him time. He'll come to you. You have more stories to share if needed. Patience Jade.'

"I don't mind. As long as you stop asking me questions." He grumped, hastilly putting a hand over his mouth and blushed crimson. Jade raised an eyebrow and giggled.

"Makes it difficult to find out of you want a drink then... Holly, put on the movie channel." The screen in the corner began to play something, it had just statred.

"Holly you have to be kidding is this really the film on now?" Alex asked the AI. Jade couldn't tell if it was horror or excitement in his voice.

"Yep, sorry dude." Holly said.

"Why? What's the problem? What is it? I've not seen this before what film is it?" Jade asked, concerned that some sort of horific trauma was attached to the film beginning to play.

"You've not seen...? Really?" Alex stared at Jade. "Right. Sit. Stay we are watching this. You have to see it at least once."

"It's so old though..." Jade protested as Alex shuffled and got comfy on the sofa.

"Sssh!" He said, as the opening credits began to roll.

"What?!" Jade said as the titles played across the screen. "Are you kidding?!" She shoved Alex playfully. He grabbed her wrists, pulled her closer and put a hand over her mouth.

"I said Sssh woman. Just watch." He gave her that half smile that made his eyes crinkle at the edges and sparkle. That fragile smile that lit up his face but was so easilly spooked away. She feined a struggle but gave up easilly as he refused to move his hands.

"Mmmpht" She huffed, muted by Alex's hand and flopped down in resignation. Just in time to see the title of the film play across: 'Dirty Dancing'.


The small rodent figure had placed the card, knocked and run away before anyone had got to the door of their quarters. Everyone had recieved one and it read in elegant gold script, decorated with images of masks and people dancing:

Wonderful humans. You are invited to join in with the annual Whiskermas Ball. Taking place on what you call the Promenade. Please formal wear masquerade only.

The invite was dated for that evening.

<Tag All!>

OOC - No one did anything so I threw a shindig. That ok? What is a rodent shindig like anyway? What is Whiskermas? What happens at a Whiskermas ball?

Also: I'm not showing my age if I link to this and say it is one of the most exciting things to happen this year right? Right?!

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