Candidates in Space

Xanadu Weyr – Clearing

A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a this and sharp border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.

The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the mountain where, high above, Xanadu's Star Stones and the ever present watchdragon sit on a lonely peak. Directly south is a massive tunnel, fully wide enough for even the largest dragon to fly down. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the Caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the Infirmary is a human sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Tavern. Southwest lies the low ledges currently belonging to Xanadu's queens while north and west a broad path cut by the side of the cliff leads to the Feeding Grounds and due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr.

It's early evening in Xanadu, the chill of early Spring putting a nip in the air, but compared to Winter, it might seem almost balmy. The word has gone out from the AWLMS that the Candidates are being taken for a restday/educational trip overnight to the Yokohama. With that end in mind, they've been told to pack an overnight bag, bedroll and dress for Between then meet in the clearing where dragons await their transport. Among them is Thea and Seryth, the junior watching the giddy excitement (or would that be abject fear?) on the faces of the candidates as they assemble. She's seated atop Seryth with an anticipatory and let's face it, an amused smile as she waits for the AWLMs to wrap up their the lecture about Between and zero gravity in the cargo bay, not moving too fast in weightlessness and behaving while up there yaddayadda… When it's all finished, and they're directed to pick a ride, she calls a cheerful, "I've room for two!" Holds up two fingers, offers the landing line and a readies a hand up to whoever dares approach this (not) intimidating junior.

e-on would be displaying a mottled mix of curiosity and anticipation, but not particularly fear. Concern, yes. He's dressed warmly for the Between trip, bag and bedroll lashed together into one sturdy dark brown canvas unit, and strapped snugly over a shoulder. He has a blue denim cloth tied over his hair and back around the ponytail, gloved and jacketed in dark, muted colors otherwise. As they're divided to pick rides, he accepts the welcoming wave of a bluerider to his left, approaching him and his dragon steadily with a polite greeting.

Among the AWLMs gathered is Kirilla, and once their lecture is complete, she swings up onto Pheriannath, who is peering curiously at the gathered candidates. Once she's up top, she gives Amelia a hand up and helps her daughter buckle in, then waves at the other candidates, "Got room for one more up here!" The greenrider grins at her daughter who is adjusting her bedroll and nightbag for an easier ride.

The minute someone said Between, Rylavi found just about every single bit of clothing she had and started layering it on from tightest to loosest. Atop everything is a leather jacket that would normally be about two sizes too big for her skinny frame, but is down to one size too big - given her added bulk. A small bag stuffed to the seams is slung over her shoulder and she seems to be struggling to stuff something down into her jacket before holding the flaps closed. Her just dues for wearing so many layers, no doubt. Once the lecture is finished, she ambles over to a young brownrider and accepts her hand up; her movements overly gentle. It's unclear whether she's worried about hurting herself, the rider or the dragon, but young Rylavi is definitely cautious.

As soon as word of this little (big!) outing got out, it was with definite excitement that Ashkeia got her kit together and pulled out the one pair of trousers she owns. Skirts in zero grav? So not a good idea. Bundled for between, with her cheerful blue-and-yellow bobble hat and mittens adding colour to her otherwise dark attire, she tromps out with the rest of the group. Watching as people divvy up, there's trepidation on her face only when the prospect of mounting one of the winged beasties is before her. Approaching Thea, she calls up to the junior, "Ma'am… she doesn't bounce, does she?"

Natali's emergence from the hatching area is nothing short of well … undramatic, the girl dressed in what looks to be fairly new (and likely quite warm) pants and a shirt, with a brand new jacket draped over her shoulder, which she's already shrugging into one-armed as she lugs the bedroll and her knapsack behind her. "Ooof," the trader lass grumbles for a moment, and then starts dragging her gear towards the junior goldrider. None intimidating! Totally, she'll dare approach her. Besides, she's the mom of one of Natali's bestest friends. "Hi Thea," the girl smiles broadly, dropping her bag at last and wiggling all the way into her jacket. "Can we go with you?"

Thea leans down to reach for Ashkeia's forearm, helping her aboard to a seat just behind her with a laughing, "Nope, she's smooth as glass." Her pale green eyes are still twinkling when she turns to Natalie, "Yep, please do!" It's with a warm smile that she reaches for Natali does the same as she did for Ashkeia, then turns to check the lines on both of them. The clearing is abuzz with activity as gear is stowed and lashed or simply settled on laps, flight straps checked, the clink of buckles is muted by laughing calls back and forth, the rumbling of dragons greeting their passengers - it's chaos - but the organized kind, thankfully. Finally things appear settled and the command to rise is given, the dragons lift off, greens and blues zipping up to circle while the larger browns and Seryth rise a little slower, all finally beating up into the twilight sky taking their place in formation and then… the lead dragon's rider drops his arm signaling the transfer.

You are mounted upon Seryth's shoulders, feeling the powerful muscles across her back rippling beneath your legs. Under your hands her soft, warm hide shimmers - a pale sunrise curtained in golden mist; rain suspended in time and caught by Rukbat's dawnlight. A faint scent of jasmine reaches you from her oiled hide as wide wings lift, enclosing you in cloudy aureate light and trembling in anticipation of that first mighty downsweep that will carry you aloft.

Seryth suddenly disappears -=* BETWEEN *=-

Darkness and cold like you can't imagine. Nothing to see, feel or hear, except the beating of your heart.
Then, as suddenly as you entered the emptiness…

Yokohama - Cargo Bay

Since the gravity units were restored and now are maintained in working order, the cargo deck of the Yokohama is constantly buzzing with activity. With research needing to be done, equipment to be moved, or a plethora of other tasks taking place people are always coming and going, either from the planet 'below' by dragon back, or meandering in and out from other places aboard the ship.

This area is well lit, the floors themselves have had space set aside specifically for 'betweening'. Three large marked off areas remain clutter-free of people, dragons and equipment. With these 'landing pads' clear, dragons avoid the danger of teleporting into an area of space already occupied and causing a tragedy. Several massive sun lamps have been set up over off to the left, in an effort to make the stay of dragon-kind more comfortable.

When the group pops out of Between, it's like nothing they've ever emerged into, unless they've been here, or in freefall (hopefully not!). There's, well, no gravity today. "Don't panic, just push off slowly," one of the AWLM's instructs calmly. The dragon's all fold their wings, floating quietly while their riders undo buckles and hand their charges off with a grins and nods of encouragement. As soon as they are free of passengers, they wink back out, giving the young people room to well, flail if they need to, or simply enjoy their first taste of space by 'flying' on their own.

Relion didn't know quite what to expect, really, other than what had been described in brief, and the guidelines and descriptions given just before this little adventure. Still, that doesn't make this less strange to Relion. He does, however, take Thea's advice, with a careful push, that then, since he completely lacks ability to, say, stop, he laughingly yelps, "Agh—- look out," towards the two that just unloaded with Thea. Not that they probably CAN move quickly, so they very well may end up in a floaty tangled pile.

Ashkeia's clearly not used to clambering aboard dragons, so Thea's assistance was not only appreciated but very much needed. The glasscrafter's laugh didn't do much to hide her nerves, her 'thank you' muffled into the collar of her jacket as she got settled. Up, up and *between* and then… "Oh." A rather anticlimactic reaction on the other side. She does have a rather silly grin though, for anyone she happens to make eye contact with, as she waits for her turn to drift off. "Thank you for arranging this, ma'am," she says. Once free, she tries to push off so that she won't risk bumping into Natali, nor hopefully anyone else. Key word: try. "Ack; Relion! How by the First Egg do we change direction?" Aside from, y'know, bouncing off each other. Wheee!

Just before Amelia is unstrapped, her mother gives her a pat on the shoulder. Shortly thereafter, Pheriannath winks out and Amelia is left to float with her overnight bag strapped on her back and her bedroll gripped by one hand. Her broad grin comes quickly as the green disappears from beneath her and she's left to float next to the girl who had shared the ride up. She waves her arms slowly, discovering them to be propellors. A gleeful giggle escapes and she nearly lets go of her bedroll. She attempts to bring her arms in quickly and of course winds up floating upwards and off to the side- though she does manage to keep the bedroll in hand. "'Scuse me!" she calls to whomever happens to be in her path.

Floating free. Now that's a sensation that the trader girl has never ever experienced. "Whoa!" Natali's arms windmill in the air, collision with the others seemingly imminent as she flounders, she waving about frantically to try and move away from anyone headed her way. "This is … different," she remarks, letting go of her bedroll and knapsack and then scrambling after them as best she can.

Startled by the sudden lack of weight, Rylavi panics. Her eyes widen and her breath comes in short, less-than-useful gasps. Thankfully, the rider who brought her is fairly understanding of the shock and allows her the moment or two she needs to calm herself and realize that no, she's not dying. Just for an instant, her head pops into the neck of her jacket as if to make sure she's all here. When everything checks out, she heaves a heavy, slightly shaky sigh and - once she's un-buckled from her straps - gently pushes off, same as everyone else. Man, this is /weird/.

Thea, having removed her helmet and tucked it into a pocket, has fluff-ball head - her long dark hair is sticking out all over the place - whee! She's quick to unclip both Ashkeia and Natali, a girlish grin on her features as the kid in her(not that she's much older than they are, really) comes to the fore. "Certainly," she tells the glasscrafter and adds, "You've got to see the stars from up here - at least once! Careful, Natali," this breathlessly tacked on while attempting to give the trader an extra push (mind not that impish gleam in her eyes) out towards the open areas of the vast bay while she still has leverage against Seryth. It's not a breath later that Seryth winks out, leaving them afloat with the rest, but just before that, Thea manages to shove off with one booted foot and go sailing across the wide bay with a giggle, zipping past the Relion-tangle (if there is indeed one) towards the opposite wall where she does a slow, albeit awkward somersault and pushes off with her feet again to sail back towards Rylavi and Amelia. The AWLMs seem to expect them to play a bit, some of them even joining in as startled exclamations and laughter fills the air.

Relion likely has enough momentum to send Ashkeia off a little way, but he apologetically untangles from her as best he can, attempting to push off of her bag a little bit to get to the floor— but that doesn't last long, since he'll coast along that, finally giving in with a laugh, lifting a foot so that he doesn't skid on the cargo bay floor, before finally pushing off again, avoiding equipment as he experiments with the floating.

Ashkeia laughs, helping in the untangling and his push away sends her into a slow spin in the opposite direction. Rucksack strapped firmly on her back (really!), her hands are free to flail about, or be clapped together in a childish sort of delight. "Wow, this is amazing!" she calls, to no specific, but shared with everyone in range to hear, as they bob about.

Floating in what seems like mid-air is a very strange sensation. With one hand braced against the front of her jacket and the other splayed out to keep her from ramming her face into something, she does her best to propel herself - slowly! - towards something she can get a grip on. This feeling of freefall may be thrilling to others, but by the expression on her pale, pinched face, Rylavi is not thrilled in the least. "Is there…" She grunts as her arm makes impact with the wall. "Is there somewhere normal we can go? This is too weird."

Thea winds up somewhere over near the lift doors, bobbing along with a few of the other AWLMs, who begin taking small groups up the lift to their temporary quarters, getting them settled and then freeing them to wander and explore with the oft-repeated admonition of, "Mind your manners and don't get in the way of the crew, feel free to ask questions, they'll be happy to share their craft." The Cargo Bay is slowly emptying, though small groups here and there still flitter and float about.. When the lift returns cleared of passengers, the junior finally slips inside along with some others to ride up, though it's clear she's enjoying the antics of the Candidates, it's just time for her to see her stars.

Relion ended up upside-down by accident, and all of the rotating is causing some mild sickness. He'd probably get used to it, but for now a break would be nice. He finds part of a wall coming his way, and snares onto a handhold to redirect carefully towards the lift. He wasn't too far from it, but doesn't bully his way either, leaving the Cargo Bay to explore the other areas as offered, curious about the rest of the place.

Ashkeia, despite her previously established propensity for motion sickness, seems to be having a blast in zero gravity. For now, at least. But then, floating isn't exactly bouncing and jouncing and swaying to-and-fro. Giggling and giddy, she's quite happy to continue bouncing around in the cargo bay for a while longer. She'll probably be in the very last group to be ushered to the lift, flush-cheeked and grinning. Until then? Hey, look, mid-air cartwheels!

Following Relion takes some serious focus. Using only one hand, Rylavi grabs on to part of the wall, propels herself forward and lets go only to grab onto another part and repeat the process. Eventually it gets her into the lift and she leans back against the wall, out of breath but also relieved.

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