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the four times daud summoned a whaler who was totally unprepared for it (and the one time they were)

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one.

Eli's just barely gotten the hang of the transversal thing, so when the world rips sideways without warning and he's suddenly in the middle of the slaughterhouse, he has no idea what the fuck just happened.

And then there's a massive guy coming at him with a bonesaw, which...what, no seriously, what is happening and how in the Void did he end up here?

"Distract him!" yells someone from behind him. It...sounds kinda like Daud.

Which would explain a lot, actually.

"Just...for fuck's sake, don't just stand there," Daud bellows, and -- shit, there are like three more guys, this is awful, he is going to die and Daud's probably going to be really pissed-off about it.

Eli barely manages to blip away before the bonesaw connects, and then he's fumbling for his sword, knowing that he doesn't have a whole lot of time before the butcher regains his balance or someone else comes at him. The momentum of the swing has carried the butcher forward, leaving his back exposed, and Eli quickly takes the opportunity to stab the guy in it. Then -- okay, chokedust, and more stabbing, and mostly he's just kind of transversing around the killing floor a lot while people try to hit him with very loud, very sharp objects, but eventually things go quiet and he realizes they've gotten everyone. He's covered head-to-toe in blood and whaleguts, and it's not even noon.

Daud wipes off his own blade and sheathes it. "Disappointing," he says. "I expect better next time."

Eli winces.

...next time?

two.

Jenkins is in the middle of doing dishes -- fourth time in a row he's gotten stuck with them and it's utterly unfair, it's not his fucking fault Carmichael broke cover -- when he feels it. The strange, whole-body buzzing that's their only warning for the way everything is about to get really messy, really fast.

And he's barely in uniform, because you don't need uniforms for dish duty, because it's dish duty, but either Daud's closer to the base than he'd thought or there's no one else near enough for the stupid powers to latch onto. He manages to grab his mask and a butcher's knife before the Void nabs him, and then it's spitting him back out by the Distillery, where Daud and Lurk and at least two other Whalers are engaged in what looks like all-out gang war with the Bottle Street Boys. He barely manages to get his mask on before someone's blowing fucking fire in his face, shit, he hates these guys, he really does.

Turns out, a butcher's knife is a pretty good weapon to have in a pinch. Nothing like their usual arsenal, of course, but he gets a good number of people with the pointy bit and that's really all that matters.

Daud and Lurk are gone before they finish wrapping everything up, which is a pretty dick move if Jenkins has heard one. You'd think they could at least stick around to help them mop up the last few guys.

One of the other Whalers seems to notice him for the first time. From the way the he cocks his head, Jenkins is pretty sure it's Rulfio. Maybe-Rulfio looks him up and down, takes in the mask and the butcher's knife, the utter lack of uniform besides pants, undershirt, and vest, and finally says, "Really?"

As if Jenkins showed up like this on purpose.

"I was doing dishes, asshole," Jenkins snaps. When the other two Whalers just start laughing at him, he irritably performs a transversal back to the base and sets about the serious business of scrubbing all the blood off his clothes. Someday, he thinks, they're going to be the ones getting yanked half-prepared into a fight, and he is totally going to point and laugh when that happens.

...after he wades in to help out, of course. He's not that much of a jerk.

three.

Smith is relatively sure he was in bed a moment ago.

In fact, he'd be willing to bet money on it. He's not a betting man, not by any means, but...well. He's in his nightclothes, for one thing. Seeing as those are worn only when he's doing such innocuous things as sleeping, it stands to reason that, although he's no longer anywhere near his bed at the current moment, he most certainly was at some point in the recent past.

Also, it appears that there are several people who are about to try and kill him.

That won't do.

That won't do at all.

Smith doesn't particularly like fighting unarmed, and he likes fighting without his uniform even less, but it's not like there's much he can do about the present situation beyond deal with it as is. Besides, his lack of weaponry doesn't last beyond the first man, and after that it's merely a matter of opening as many throats as he can in as short a period as possible.

...they were trying to kill him, after all.

It's not until the last man falls that he notices Daud, which makes all the pieces fit neatly into place. Daud needed backup, and the Void chose him. Simple enough, really.

Daud has a very odd expression his face. "That was..." He frowns at the bodies, at Smith's lack of uniform or outer clothing in general. "That was very efficient."

Smith gives him a small, stiff bow. Now that he's no longer fighting, he's all-too-aware that he's not wearing his mask.

He'd much rather be wearing his mask.

"May I go?" he says politely. Daud waves him off with a muttered, "Outsider's eyes, yes, just go, get yourself cleaned up," and Smith is back home before Daud has even finished the sentence. He washes his hands and face, changes his clothes. Goes back to bed.

He falls asleep easily, and he does not dream.

four.

This is the fifth time that Daud's summoned him in the middle of dinner. Tyros is getting terribly sick of it.

"I don't do it on purpose," Daud growls when there's a momentary lull in the proceedings and Tyros has seen fit to voice his irritation. "I've made it very clear that I have no control over who gets chosen or how."

Privately, Tyros has his doubts, because the men who are actually out on missions rarely get yanked away to play the decoy in someone else's fight, but Daud has already said his piece and Tyros isn't stupid enough to argue. Besides, all it took was one time in which he was summoned without any weapons on him at all for him to always keep at least a few things on hand at all times.

Even when he sleeps.

Still, though. Because he was in the middle of eating, he wasn't wearing his mask, nor did he have time to reach for it before Daud's summoning took hold. The air is thick with chokedust residue and whale oil fumes, and Tyros can't help but lament that even if his dinner was left untouched by the time he got back, he's likely feel too ill to eat it.

He supposes it's just as well that someone has probably eaten it already. Somewhere along the lines it was decided that abandoned meals were fair game, and Tyros is one of the better cooks among the group. Just last week, he overheard the others talking about how they draw lots on who gets to snipe his food when he gets yanked away.

Tyros loves these men as he would love his own brothers, but sometimes he really does want to stab them in the face.

And because he's irritated -- with the situation itself, and also the man behind it -- Tyros doesn't take as much heat off their leader as he probably could. It's not that he leaves Daud to his own devices. He's been summoned to be an asset and a distraction, and whatever else he is, Tyros is also a professional. He fights cleanly and with skill, and he draws Daud's enemies away one by one.

He could probably draw them away all at once, but...

This is the fifth time. One by one it is.

Just as he suspected, his dinner is gone by the time he gets back.

plus one.

Daud is very carefully not looking at him.

"You can head back anytime you like," he says. "Don't stay on my account."

Reynolds squints. "You're the one who pulled me out here," he says. "Stands to reason you could use the help. 'Sides, I've already taken out four of 'em. Might as well go for the rest."

Daud looks pained. "About that..."

"Yeah?"

"Two knives?" Daud says. Glances at Reynolds and quickly looks away again. "Two knives and a crossbow?"

Someone's peering around the corner of the wall just ahead. Reynolds fires a crossbow bolt and curses when they pull back just in time. "What's your point? I normally have way more'n this on me. This is nothin'."

"Yes, but..." The head reappears. They both fire at the same time, and while Reynolds isn't sure exactly which of 'em made contact, he's gonna chalk it up as a win for himself. "The thing is," Daud says, "normally people who are naked don't have three weapons on them."

Reynolds shrugs. "Not sure what to tell ya," he says. "You caught me in the bath."

"The lack of clothing and the fact that you're dripping wet was kind of a clue, yes," Daud says. "What I'm a little more puzzled about is the weaponry. Seeing as you were in the bath."

"Gotta be prepared," Reynolds says. Takes out another guy, which puts him at five and also in the lead. "Now do you want the help or not?"

Daud makes an irritated noise but doesn't actually tell him no, and between the two of them they get the job done right quick. Reynolds doesn't say, "I told you so," but he's sure in the Void thinkin' it.

"Leave," Daud says once the last body's hit the ground. "Seriously, just...go, please, and put some damn pants on."

"Picky, picky," Reynolds mutters, rolling his eyes, and heads back to his bath.

Fun afternoon, all things considered.