RP PotHN: Lending a Hand


Active member
“Are the bars strong enough to hold him there?” Caleb asked, walking through the door frame of the poorly lit workshop. It looked the same as it did the last time he’d been there, or if Mal had made any changes he didn’t notice it. His gaze quickly landed on the bracelet, hanging from the pale wrist.
The first thing Mal had done when they attached the new arm was remove that damn bracelet. Accessories like that would only get in the way- if that thing draped over their palm when they were working on moving gears, then it would rip the whole arm off by the stitches, and they'd have to find a replacement. It was a pain.

It was sitting on their workbench once Caleb walked in, and Mal was over in the corner with the spider. Though expectedly irritated at being interrupted, they decided to greet the captain, rather than telling him to come back when they were done. Things had gone too wrong too quickly for them to be comfortable doing anything else.

"They should be." Mal said, "Even if they aren't, then we'll know another vampire we can't trust, won't we?"

They stood up from their work and faced Caleb, gesturing vaguely with the wrench.

"I'll check for damage when I let him out. I expect it to be pristine."
One second the bracelet was on the bench, and then it wasn’t. Caleb didn’t know if Mal would care enough about it to notice him put it in his pocket, but if they did, well… It was just Mal. A part of the ship more so than a person, one that knew a lot more of its secrets than most, but had more interest in its engines than in spreading gossip. His hand itched after touching the trinket like it had done the first time, proving that the spell Hester had put in it still worked and could still be put to good use.

“Good. If there is damage, find a way to make it stronger.” Caleb said, ignoring the part they talked about trust. Trust wasn’t the reason Lucien was still in that ship, but power. Which is why Caleb needed to have more of it, or make sure Lucien had less.
Mal noticed. Of course they did; anyone touching anything in their workshop usually found a wrench to the head, but the bracelet wasn't theirs, and it wasn't anything they cared much about. Did Caleb just want some fancy jewellery from his executed ex-crewmate? Or was there a reason? They flexed their new hand tentatively, splaying the fingers out before them.

"I'll test it myself, regardless- now that I have the means."

They stopped. For a second, it looked as though the captain was going to get away with his theft- but Mal had noticed, and they weren't shy about bringing things up.

"Tossing that bracelet overboard, are we? Or is it something important?"
Caleb, who was about to leave, stopped on his tracks and opened an insincere smile.

“It was a gift, and he has no use for it anymore now, does he?” He said, nonchalantly. “You got your souvenir, I got mine. Good night, Mal.”
Mal frowned.

"A gift?" They asked, "From whom?"

Though they weren't exactly going to prevent the captain from going about his business, something told them this was a question that needed answering, and they wouldn't be satisfied if he left without offering something. They walked forwards a few paces- not quite threatening, but curious.
From whom. Caleb thought about the question and of how much trouble he would be in if he told Mal the truth. They had been loyal to Sinead, but now that he was captain he didn’t know where the creature stood and what their interests were. The betterment of the ship? He guessed so, but that could mean a lot of things.

“How will I know if you can keep a secret?” He asked, stepping away from the door after closing it behind him.
Ah. So it was something interesting. Mal narrowed their eyes.

"If it's worth keeping, I'll keep it." They said, plainly, "Who do you think I'd tell it to, anyway?"

Emer? Lucien? Pris? Would any of them even give a rat's arse about it? Would Mal even give a rat's arse enough to tell them? They were trustworthy by means of antisocial tendencies- as long as the secret wasn't that Caleb pissed in the engine, it probably wasn't their business anyway.
“I don’t know, would you tell me?” He asked, sitting at the workbench.

“If you heard or saw something… Would you tell me?” Would you tell Sinead? He didn’t ask, but he wanted to. Caleb waited for Mal’s response, taking the bracelet off his pocket and fidgeting with it, partially out of his own curiosity and to further instigate theirs.
Mal shrugged.

"If it's worth saying, I'll say it." They said, "My priority is keeping this ship afloat, and it's damned hard to do that when it's full of corpses. If telling you would make my job easier, then I don't see why I wouldn't."

They sighed.

"Though, you must know by now- I'm not privy to much on this ship. Any secrets I can share with you mostly involve engineering details- which, I assume, this bracelet doesn't fall under."

Any subtext in his words would be lost on Mal- straightforward to a fault.

"So, what's so interesting about it? What's so secret?"
“We have the same priority, then.” Caleb said, searching for any sign of understanding in Mal’s eyes but failing to find any. Perhaps that would be a conversation better had another night, with a better incentive and certainty that no one would listen. The ship had ears after all, and the vampire locked a few meters away had damn good hearing. The captain stood up, putting the bracelet back in his pocket.

“Hester made it.” He answered, before gesturing to the severed arm in their hands. “Ask for her help with it, she’s quite good with dead stuff.” He made his way back to the door, intending to leave for real this time. “Good night, Mal.”