The Vagabond's Code
Pay back your debts to the bit.
The word of a Vagabond is irrevocable.
Who breaks the Code is scum.
The Art of Hitch-Hiking
Often, the traveling man will find that he needs to get somewhere when he lacks an obvious means of transportation. In situations like this, it's best to, above all, remain calm and nonchalant. No one wants to help out a desperate man. Observe your surroundings, and consider your options: is there a fueling station, bar, or some restaurant nearby? If so, your best bet is to mosey on into said venue and scan the crowd. You're looking for a fellow, more on the jovial side, but not too drunk that he won't recognize you later on. He's your man. Such a character is almost always guaranteed to give you a lift, at least to the next docking platform.
However, circumstances won't always be so convenient. Perhaps there isn't any fueling station, bar, or what have you nearby. Or, perhaps, for one reason or another, your in a pinch, and you need to get gone fast. If this is the case, there is no shame in stowing away on a cruise liner, a freighter, or some random fellow's starship. If you need to do this, above all, avoid running into any member of the ship's crew, or even passengers, if at all possible. It is easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.
So here I am on the Terabithia, Miles Bell thought to himself, Never heard of it. What's so special? Why am I safer here than out there, hitch-hiking my problems away like I've always done?
Miles had been led into the main quarters of the ship by Josiah, and had readily made himself comfortable in the sitting room, lounging across almost the entire expanse of a sofa, despite the questioning looks of the others. Josiah had called the rest of the crew into the room to meet the stowaway.
An interesting crew, these folks. Josiah Jameson, I'm sure of heard of him, some sort of planetologist apparently. This Dudley fellow and his uncle, the Colonel as he considered each of them he turned his gaze from one to the next, A Terence March, some random student, and then that kid, Ragamuffin, or whatever ...
"It's Raghast," the boy says.
Miles is caught off guard. "Wha- Well, yes, I knew that. Josiah introduced you already."
"You thought my name was Ragamuffin. It's Raghast."
"... Yes, ok." He's certainly a strange one. "Anyhow, I do hope you all don't mind my stowing away on your fine vessel. It really is rather decent of you."
"Hmph," Josiah grunts, "You might as well, we're already dragging those two along," he says, motioning towards Terence and Raghast.
"Yes, well, what with my being a fugitive ..."
"But you said you didn't do it," Terence broke in.
"Well of course I didn't, I'm nothing but a travelling man with next to no resources. Even if I had had a reason to indiscriminately kill millions of people, I certainly don't have the resources for it." Then suddenly adding, "Not, that I have a reason, mind you."
"We believe you. Just don't get in the way." Josiah says, before walking off, signalling that the introductions are over.
"A traveling man, you say," Dudley begins after Josiah vanishes behind a door, "You must have some interesting stories to tell."
"As a matter of fact ..." and with that, Miles begins narrating his most rehearsed tale. The same one he told in the bar.
"What a tale, my boy. What a tale." "Incredible." "You didn't really do all that did you."
This last was from Raghast, "Well, of course I did. Do you take me for a liar?"
"I agree with Raghast," Terrence speaks up. "It certainly is a consistent and engaging story, but it can't all be true. I mean, aren't the Gibbous Vandals a Lunar Rock band? In fact, their biggest song is "New-moon Bleeder," and much of your story comes right out of the lyrics to that song."
"Ha. You caught me. I never expected to meet anyone else who knew about the Gibbous Vandals ..."
"He didn't make it all up though," Raghast explains, "he just exaggerated ... alot."
"Yes ... that's true."
"You really did have a run in with a Lunar gang. But you didn't know their name."
"Yes. Yes. Ok, fine ... fine. Here's the real story:
"So, there I am, in the fine city of Diana. Not at it's best these days, as anyone who's been there can tell you, but still a relatively decent place. I was just coming out of an apartment complex, after paying one of my friends a visit--and getting a few favours from him while I was there. So, I was coming out of this decently well-off complex, with nice new cloths (one of the favours), and these hooligans, one by one, fall in step behind me.
"Now, I know they're there. My first reaction, on a normal day, would have been to make a run for it. But I was sick of running. I had had an uncomfortable run-in with the Venusian Mafia just the other week, and I was not about to let this one go. Not these no-name Lunar thugs. So, I turn around to them. They all stop, and glare at me. Very intimidating, admittedly. I say this: 'Look, fellows, I'm just a traveling man. I have no money, or anything. I'm looking to hitch-hike my way to Mars. There's nothing you could get from me, so, if you don't mind, just bug off.'
"Well, they are none pleased by my little speech, and their leader, a fairly squat little man, somewhat on the chubby side, points his finger at me and snarls 'Y' wants'a bleed new-moon?' He actually did say this--it was merely convenient to tie in other lyrics from "New Moon Bleeder". I laugh at him. Not really my best idea. They're already mad. They all howl and start yammering amongst themselves. Then, the boss says 'Gedready, new-moon, we gon'a make y'a bleeda.'
"And so now I'm thinking to myself, ah hell, I did not need this. Naturally, I turn, and I sprint down the road as fast as I can't. About half a block down, there's another gang. A rival gang I take it, because, when they saw me running from this other gang, I was suddenly their best friend. Their leader, a lanky mohawked fellow, caught me, and gripping my arms in alliance, passed me off to one of his lackeys and told him 'Th'sman 'sour frien'. Taghim wher'e needs'a go.'
"So, these two gangs face off, and there's a bloody brawl. Of course, I was already being led away by lackey, who soon got me to a nearby fueling station. Gripping my arms as his boss had, he says 'Don'eva ledem thugs chas'y'agai'. Y' jusgall us. W' taghar'adem.' Of course, from that fueling station, I was easily able to hitch a ride to Mars.
"And that's the true story. Not nearly as exciting as my fabrication."
"Not at all," Dudley disagrees, "That's even more exciting."
"Eh, maybe," Miles shrugs, "I'd rather have myself kicking Chunbgut in the face."
Rome, somewhere in the Vatican apartments.
Fr Anton Krause is delving into the ISN, finding everything he can about the Cardinal, especially reports regarding his going abouts days, weeks, months, and a year before the Clarke Incident. Looking for any and every clue as to how the Cardinal is connected to these recent events.