Echoes of Lost Brotherhood: Memories and Shenanigans Vitaly clicks the stopwatch to a halt the moment Aleph downs the glass from slamming back the Soundstrike Misfire. A tense stare is exchanged for precisely three seconds, Vitaly examining his squad brother for any signs of difficulty in swallowing or regurgitation. In a particularly sadomasochistic twist he'd learned from studying the social traditions of the septic XIVth, he had purposely arranged the Soundstrike Misfire to be the final drink in the lineup, its incredibly explosive spicy kick all but impossible to imbibe after a previous seven punishing drinks... ...and yet. And yet, here he was. The first champion. The first man in the squad, for certain. The first man in the company, indeed. Possibly the first man in the Millennial - to say nothing of the entire Legion - to complete the Deadly Eight. Not that Vitaly was about to invite that many people to join the circle of expanded membership - he was already having enough trouble keeping this place a secret as it was, with that many 'friends and trusted associates' let into the circle of trust. But here he was, standing on his own two feet, albeit a touch unsteadily, with unfocused eyes. In fact, Vitaly could have sworn he'd seen Aleph's eyes each looking in a different direction for a second or two. But eight in ninety was eight in ninety. And without hurling right away, too. "Friends, brothers, Fulgrimsons - cast your eyes thither and lend me your ears also! We have a champion!" Vitaly's strident celebratory tones ring across the lounge area, accompanied by the brassy tolling of the bell he keeps on the bar to mark occasions just such as this one. The approximately thirty Legionnaires - the other members of Squad 4, but mostly the 'expanded circle' that had Vitaly so constantly worried - milling about the place promptly flock to the bar like a swarm of bees, hooting and whistling their congratulations and playful jeering. A mock eyeball - he hoped it was fake - and a likewise hopefully-fake greenskin ear or three bounce off Vitaly's apron, courtesy of the inevitable practical joker(s) circulating in the crowd. "Alephoros Aster of Squad Four has conquered the Deadly Eight! Eight lethal libations in eighty seven point five seconds! HE IS OUR FIRST CHAMPION!" An explosive roar of celebration breaks out, the noise not unlike the escalade in a Crusade siege as Astartes linebreakers go over the top. As one, the revellers seize ahold of Aleph and hoist him up on their shoulders. "Go Aleph!" "Just goes to show a pretty face hides an iron stomach, eh?" "Tougher than he looks, this one!" "Good old Aleph!" Some wag in the crowd shouts, "Three cheers for Aleph!" and with three rounds of, "Hip hip...HURRAH!"Aleph is hurled, thrice in a row, almost to the rather low ceiling. A little more instigation has the piano player pounding out the melody to, "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow," while the mob forms a procession round the edges of the room, carrying their hero in triumph on their shoulders and stopping for encores to hip-hip-hurrah every so often - the goal now being more obviously to cause the man of the hour as much gastrointestinal discomfort as possible. Vitaly chuckles and shakes his head at the antics before reaching up to write Aleph's name on a large blackboard above the bar. A marker whiteboard would have been neater and cleaner, but he had opted for old-fashioned chalk for its more personable touch. Death Row - Deadly 8 Challenge #1: Alephoros Aster, Squad 4 - Full 8, 87.5 sec, XXX.XXX.M30 As and when the revellers return to the bar with their probably by now-queasy celebrant, Vitaly disperses the mob - and most of the heat on Aleph - by expertly drawing out a round of pints from the tap for everyone. A tall, foamy mug of Magic Mushroom - his latest, fruity-palated offering derived from a high-sugar fungus grown in his own hydroponic racks in the outhouses - plus large bowls of salty snacks go a long way to bringing the excitement down to more manageable levels. @Jorimel He then glances at Aleph while pulling from one of numerous taps at the bar. "No more tipple for you just now, brave sir - you're probably sick to your Preomnor, to say nothing of all kinds of sore in the throat. Have this instead," says Vitaly authoritatively, plonking down a large mug of a dark, mildly aromatic liquid on the counter. This, too, is a familiar sight in the clubhouse - Vitaly's All-Purpose Curative, a beverage concocted from studying the herbal medicines of a hundred different human cultures, meant to soothe inflamed tissues, calm queasy or over-acidic stomachs, dispell hangover headaches and ease tormented bowels. Despite its ominous look, it actually has quite an agreeable earthy, herbal flavour, slightly sweet and immediately soothing to anything and everything in pain along the alimentary tract. Indeed, he has found himself having to standby with gallons of the stuff on tap as a soft drink in its own right for brothers dropping in for short breaks between duty shifts, or sworn off the tipple for a time after a particularly vigorous revel. "You have also earned - hey!" starts Vitaly, producing one of his famous, towering club sandwiches from beneath the bar, only for Extrovious to snag the lot in his bear-like paws and begin stuffing it enthusiastically into his mouth. "I'd tell you to give that back to Aleph right this instant, you outsized thief, but some things can't be reversed," grouses Vitaly at Extrovious, who grins through a mouthful of salad, chopped egg, and about seven different meats layered with seven different breads. "You can have this if you like, Aleph," replies the thieving giant, picking a straggle of half-chewed rocket from between his teeth and offering it to the libatory champion. "We'll all pass," says Vitaly, hurriedly leaning back from the bar, "I'll just make him a new one. You can finish savaging that one, you savage." @Jorimel @dx144 "Review of the tipple, Aleph? I'm always looking for ways to push the paradigm. Anything you'd like to see turned into a full-sized cocktail, perhaps?" he begins as he removes seven different types of meat - fresh and cured - from a chilled cabinet to begin work on another monumental sandwich, "And what can I get you, if not a Death Row, Pholax?"