S1: Ep1 - You'll Never Leave Haven Alive

Started by noseatbelts, February 09, 2022, 01:30:07 PM

Rory Mayfield

August 30, 2022, 04:41:02 AM #20 Last Edit: August 30, 2022, 04:45:45 AM by Rory Mayfield
New Cambridge Spaceport

Rory was naturally disappointed that he didn't get to pet Pauly, but he was more concerned about the tension between LeBlanc and MacArthur. Without knowing either of them, it was difficult to tell just how serious the disagreement was, and as was the case with LeBlanc's anecdote about the twins on Greenleaf, Rory was unsure how to react. Was it just playful ribbing of did LeBlanc have some genuine underlying gripes about MacArthur's lack of professionalism? He stood awkwardly by, willing himself to be as invisible as possible. Fortunately, nobody asked for his input on the horse situation.

MacArthur, defying LeBlanc's orders (or more like ignoring her feedback -- he was her superior after all), rode ahead, leaving the deputy and intern to follow on foot. Whatever the exact nature of LeBlanc's displeasure, Rory felt it linger in the air as they walked through the docks, and felt compelled to fill the silence somehow.

He went with the first thing that popped in his head.

"Did you know that horses are the opposite of mouth breathers? They can only breathe through their nose. Their nasal passage is not connected to the mouth like in humans. I don't know if that's very interesting..."

It was definitely not interesting, and what's worse, it was completely irrelevant to whether or not an equine belonged aboard a space ship.
Dialogue color: pink

Genevieve LeBlanc

Location: The Space Port

The Captain's cortex buzzed. High priority. Gen was about to ask him what was up when he answered before she could get the words out.

"I've gotta make sure Hyde doesn't blow up the bloody replacement HQ sent..."

Noah gallantly climbed into the saddle and with a click of his tongue, he and Pauly were off like a shot. Leaving them behind. He could have at least offered to take the boy with him. That horse could have taken two riders. She could feel the muscle in her left eyebrow begin to twitch, so she pressed a fingertip against it in an attempt to run some of the tension out.

"We can do some research on alternative forms of land transportation shortly, Gen!" he called back at her. A hand lowered to her weapon. He wasn't too far off, she wagered she could hit his leg from here. The internal image of Noah falling from his horse brought a smile to her lips. After such a heated conversation about how he wasn't going to get a horse, she couldn't believe he'd done it anyway. No, that was wrong. She could believe it. Then, he was too far away and she had to put away the satisfying imagined scenario of shooting him off his horse. Maybe later. For now, she needed to get Rory to the ship.

Gen led the new recruit through the space port in the direction Noah and his horse had gone, her gaze scanning the crowd the whole way. She kept both hands settled idly on her belt, one hand ready to pull Rory closer if she needed to, and the other hand ready to draw a weapon.

"Did you know that horses are the opposite of mouth breathers? They can only breathe through their nose. Their nasal passage is not connected to the mouth like in humans. I don't know if that's very interesting..."

Her tension eased and Gen offered Rory a smile. "Is that so?" she asked, nudging the young man with her elbow, "I think that's very interesting," she assured him.

Location: The Wyatt

It didn't take them long to catch up to Noah back at the ship, and Gen walked Rory up the ramp and into the safety of the vessel. Then, she froze. "Noah!" she called out in accusation, one slender finger pointing at the pile of horse excrement sitting in the middle of the ramp. Seething internally, she turned her head to stare first at Nelly, and then at Hyde, her brows furrowed. Now that she was in the presence of more people, her smile turned into a firm line and her expression grew professionally cold. The warm smile she'd shared with Rory was locked back up.

"Danielle Newcastle, and Desmond Malarkey, I presume?" she asked, her body language tight and controlled. With a hand, she gestured for both of them to stand, then jerked her head toward Noah. "Captain on board," she told them both, her gaze slowly sliding back toward the horse scat and her scowl returning. Her attention snapped to the back of Noah's head as she glared daggers through his skull.
Dialogue Color: Purple

Nelly Newcastle

August 31, 2022, 06:51:10 AM #22 Last Edit: August 31, 2022, 06:53:45 AM by noseatbelts
Was it disbelief? Surprise? No. Nelly decided it was admiration she felt for Hyde. To not care what anyone thought. She didn't envy his weariness, but his experience. He'd clearly seen it all and done perhaps more. That was the life she was seeking. But that is where any admiration ended towards the brute, otherwise he seemed to be proper full of it.

Speaking of... hooves hit her ears while manure hit her nose as she saw a striking man astride a steed, silhouetted in the cargo bay doors by the light of the day outside. It was like a painting. Beautiful. And strange. Unlike anything she had ever seen. Horses were not common in the core, let alone at a city's docks. "What?" The word was barely out of her lips when she heard a command.

"Captain on board!"

Training took over as adrenaline and muscle memory forced Nelly to jump her feet, heels clicked, back straight, and hand raised in a perfect salute. And there she would stay until given further orders.
Dialogue Color = Plum

Noah MacArthur

September 23, 2022, 04:40:51 PM #23 Last Edit: September 23, 2022, 04:44:29 PM by Noah MacArthur
Noah's attention snapped away from the leavings he was going to have to clean up and regarded his crew. The bright-eyed scout, a demolitions expert, his (occasionally) former rival, and then the mystery box.... The mountain of a man's gaze sat on Nelly for an extra moment. The way she snapped to: Fresh out of the Navy. In a way, they were all soldiers trying to play cops now. He tried to remind himself the newbie probably had no say in any of the last-minute roster change shenanigans.

He let out a long breath and tried to brief the crew succinctly.

"Pleasure to have you all here. Some of you are just joining us and others of you are teenagers and haven't been briefed. Our long-term mission is to keep an eye on the situation on Haven. We're supposed to be the boots on the ground bringing equitable justice and accountability to the rim and all that wank blah blah... We're here to do two things:"

The Captain paused held his hand up, as if pointing to his bullet points on a chalkboard that wasn't there.

"Monitor the situation on Haven, and if possible in the course of our duties, we could stop a labor uprising from ballooning into a system-wide civil war that's a bonus."

"Secondly and most importantly... I do actually mean it when I say we're here to look out for the people of the rim. I grew up on a farm riding around horses just like Pauly there and I had this vision of me riding into small towns, and rounding up the villains that have plagued them for years without recourse because nobody wealthy enough to finance a Parliamentarian's campaign lives here then nobody cared. But maybe that's a bit on the nose."

MacArthur glanced at Gen. The horse bit was obviously geared towards here a bit. If not an explicit apology for bringing the horse aboard it was an honest attempt to contextualize what he was doing, and what he wanted the rest of the crew to see and understand.

"We are here to carry out long-delayed justice, plain and simple. Most of us here are ex-military except for Rory but he's practically got soldier in his blood. We fought for this union and now we have to preserve it. Look out for each other and follow most of my orders and all of Gen's, we'll be grand. Cams on when we're off-ship and on duty. Exceptions apply of course for undercover work and Gen will personally murder you if you muck about out there."

Noah pointed towards the interior of the ship and dismissed the crew.

"Pick your bunks. If you end up with the one Rory's uncle was in I'm sorry for the cologne smell."

He let out a laugh through his nose and led the way into the ship.

"If any of you know a good restaurant locally that does delivery to the port, I am so hungry I might eat the delivery person too."

The Captain was joking about the cannibalism but not the menu. He could put it on his work account since they hadn't commissioned them a cook yet.


Shortly after wolfing down the tasteless but nostalgic field issue ration bar and closing his eyes the faint sound of hooves and people bickering cut the recent silence of the cargo bay.  His best guess would be two or three people with one on horse-back just under 200m at a 5-8 kph trot,  heading in a bee-line towards the ramp.

Customary for nap-time, Desmond's palm gently rested on the hilt of his sawed-off 40mm grenade launcher at his hip, something that looked more appropriate on a 17th century pirate ship. Desmond casually and imperceptive flipped off the safety while opening his eyes and standing up in one clean movement.

Desmond thought the chances of someone looking to kick things off in New Cambridge and with a ship of Alliance Marshals at that was pretty gorram low. Still, it didn't hurt to stay frosty thanks to a little dose of healthy paranoia, which usually came with the side-effect of staying alive.
With a few seconds left before the newcomers arrived,  Desmond made a quick tactical assessment of the situation in case this was about to be anyone other than those on the operation dossier he memorized on the flight to Boros.

Even though the two just met, Desmond would make sure Nelly had a long and fairly healthy career ahead of her.

Worst-case, any party crashers would get a complimentary gift bag of twenty anti-personnel flechette rounds mixed with his custom blend of white phosphorous and thermobaric explosives. Nothing that would do significant damage to a ship but would make swiss-cheese and fondue of all unfortunate bastards in a 40 foot cone of white death. For their sake, Desmond truly hoped the new arrivals were on the guest list.
As soon as they started up the ramp, Desmond recognized the blonde figure on horse-back as the CO, Captain Noah MacArthur having what appeared to be a squabbling like a married couple with who Desmond recognized as the XO, Genevieve "Gen" LeBlanc.

With a machine-like grace and precision that may have defied his appearance, Desmond re-engaged the safety on the pirate gun, letting it slip back into the shadows of his coat .  All of this being done while moving both hands behind his back and spacing his feet exactly 0.30m and staring straight ahead towards the approaching figures, now standing at-ease and awaiting a debrief from the CO on what he really was supposed to be doing here vs what was on the in-flight brochure.


Haven - Yardley Mining Territory

Halfway between the shantytown and the entrance to Mine Shaft "Alvin", a gallows has been erected, and its location is anything but coincidental. Despite the heavy rain that is falling, turning the sand to mud, a crowd has gathered around the apparatus. Sable Point Mining Company overseers ring the spectators, clubs and whips at the ready. From above, Sheriff Karlo watches impassively, before checking his pocket watch. The second hand ticks its last of sixty before turning over to three o'clock. The shift change whistle blows. None of the spectators move.

Karlo disappears back into his office. He soon emerges with a young man, beaten and bloodied, hands shackled in front of him, and leads him down the stairs to the ground below. This must be Fortuna. In one hand, Karlo guides the young man by the armpit. In the other, he cradles a shot gun. At the bottom of the stairs, Bob was waiting for them. Karlo handed Fortuna off to his deputy and followed them to the gallows.

It was silent but for the rain falling.

The employees exiting the mine joined the crowd. Karlo checked the scaffolding around the edge of the ravine, lined with armed men. They were outnumbered but not outgunned. He kept his nerve in check. Bob, Fortuna, and Karlo climbed the steps up to the gallows and, while Bob put the prisoner in place with noose around neck, Karlo turned to address the crowd. "Tenoch Fortuna. For the crimes of sedition, rabble rousing, trouble making, inciting a riot, assaulting a Sheriff, and attempted murder; I sentence you to hang from the neck until you are dead."

Bob tightened the noose and took a step back.

Fortuna looked at Karlo. "I was sentenced to die from the moment I signed on to work here. You treat us like animals. Then we will act like animals. With ferocity. And we will bite you and claw you and trample and eat you." His eyes shifted slightly to a fixed point in the crowd, and Karlo noticed.

"It's a god damned trap!" He reached for the lever to drop the floor beneath Fortuna's feet, but too late. The crowd roared as one and rushed the gallows. Their combined strength and weight toppled the entire apparatus, sending Bob, Karlo, and Fortuna flying into the mud. Hands reached out and freed Fortuna from the noose and he disappeared into the crowd. And like the tide retreating, the crowd dispersed. Karlo got to his feet, bewildered but unharmed. "They... they could have killed me..." He realized. No matter. He looked at Bob who, too, had found his feet. "Find him! Find Fortuna!" His gaze went to the guards up top. "Where is he?! Find him! Find Fortuna! Find Fortuna!"

The Wyatt

The flight to Haven from Boros took about ten days. During that time, bunks were chosen, assignments given, names exchanged, and everyone recovered from the delivery food the Captain had delivered before takeoff. They were also given more information about their assignment came forward from command. They were to guard a Federal Inspection Team who was being sent to satiate labor activists in the Core. The Inspectors would meet them on Haven at the rendezvous point. The Sable Point Mining Company had promised to cooperate fully with the investigation.

The Marshals on the Wyatt would land in about an hour.

Noah MacArthur

Cargo Bay

The sound of the flat-headed shovel scraping against the hull wasn't the most pleasant one. Somebody should have reminded him to order more hay. Pauly let out a whinny in what Noah assumed to be gratitude as he scooped up the horse's leavings. The Marshal was harkening back to his youth at this moment. Cleaning up horse manure first thing in the morning, just like back on the farm.

MacArthur heard his cortex buzz. One hour until they hit the ground. But it was nothing to stress about. From his briefing on the day's task, it should be a cakewalk. The aristocrats running the operation would have everybody on best behavior and have things gussied up enough that they could skate through the situation with a few fines. He couldn't help but assume he'd only be getting involved once things got completely out of hand or they manage to get an insider willing to turn themselves into the Marhsals for witness protection. It wasn't a crazy series of assumptions given human history.

The Captain got down to the last scoop of poop and plopped it down a compactor. He tapped the big green button on it with his boot. With a whir and puff of stinky air, the compactor did its job, then sealed itself shut. Saving them from at least some of the smell. He patted the horse and then gave himself a moment to just pause there with the animal.

It was nice, connecting like this with a wild beast humanity had managed to bring with them across the stars. Even here on a bloody spaceship. He saw this animal's value, even if just as a symbol. A living avatar of his patriotic ideals that brought him into the Alliance military, and even to some smaller extent, this very moment.

Gently stroking Pauly's nose he reminded his steed:

"You're a good boy."

He smiled big. Momentarily forgetting his XO was actively trying to evict the animal he was growing increasingly attached to. The cortex buzzed again.

"Chī wǒ de pìgu, nǐ zhè lìng rén nányǐ rěnshòu de jīqì!"
"Eat my butt, you insufferable machine!"

He cursed in Chinese, a rarity for him. The Aussie-accented Federal Agent had many skills, but speaking Mandarin with anything close to a passable accent and pronunciation was not one of them. A teacher once told Noah that he spoke Chinese in a way that made her think of a dog trying to walk on its hind legs. MacArthur silenced the reminder to start getting dressed for the job and to start assembling the field-team.

At a casual pace, Noah took to the hallways of the vessel, trying to get to his bunk before Gen found him and forced him to a timetable for offloading the horse. If he could somehow avoid his (semi)former work rival and current 2nd in command for maybe the next six months this whole thing could potentially just blow over.

Nelly Newcastle

December 14, 2022, 11:27:15 AM #27 Last Edit: December 14, 2022, 11:29:43 AM by noseatbelts
A table in the galley, spotlit by a single, shaded bulb hanging above. Nelly sat, her hands chapeled in front of her, staring at Rory who stared back. She tried to look tough, unreadable, stoic. Bringing her Naval training to bear, she eliminated any tell from her face. This guy doesn't know what he's up against, she thought. Six years of training. Nelly looked into his big, brown, puppy eyes trying to get some sense of what he was thinking. What is he playing at? He's just a kid. Did he just smile at me? What is he planning?

Her options, considered. Her opponent, inscrutable. Her objective, clear.

She had to destroy him at all costs.

Looking down at her game pieces, with a shocking amount of red on her side of the board, Nelly couldn't believe she was losing at a children's game, albeit, a children's game with a fair amount of strategy involved. Battleship, it was called, a surprising holdover from Earth-That-Was that had changed little in the centuries since. Even the pieces were largely the same, despite corporations attempting to modernize it from the outdated ocean warfare vessels of past eons. A player strategically places their pieces on a set game board while their opponent did likewise. They then took turns guessing squares on a grid to attack, the goal to sink the entire fleet.

Nelly was losing hopelessly. Embarrassingly. "B4." She guessed, a pained smile was quickly covered by her hands as she could no longer bear to watch the result.

They were having fun.
Dialogue Color = Plum

Genevieve LeBlanc

December 16, 2022, 09:54:51 AM #28 Last Edit: December 16, 2022, 09:58:06 AM by Lomari
Like a shadow, Genevieve seemed to walk out of the darkness of the doorway to Noah's bunk, her arms crossed over her chest and expression flat. Was this her angry face? Was she annoyed? It was almost entirely impossible to discern what this complete lack of facial expression could mean. Dark eyes scanned his attire, took in the dirt on his hands, and her nostril twitched at the smell of herbivore droppings and horse fur.

"You're not dressed. Get dressed," she told him simply, attention returning to his face. "We still need to get the team assembled," she added, mirroring the alerts he'd been getting on his cortex all morning.

Then, she uncrossed her arms and moved past the Captain. It wasn't until she was a few steps away and a hopeful silence lingered between them that she spoke again. "Oh, and get rid of the horse," Gen added, smirking while her back was to him before she headed deeper into the ship.


The X.O entered the galley on cat's paws, her boots eerily silent on the metal flooring. A brow quirked upward as she took in the scene. Both newbies looked completely focused and engrossed in something laid out on the table.

She moved closer, hovering behind Nelly and peering over her shoulder. A smile threatened to tug at her lips at the sight of all the red splashed across her side of the game board. Turned out Rory was quite the tactician. At least, when playing Battleship. She just hoped that carried over into real world applications.

Her attention rose to Rory's face as she waited to hear if B4 had hit anything, all the while standing less than six inches from the back of Nelly's chair, her hands clasped behind her back.
Dialogue Color: Purple

Rory Mayfield

January 24, 2023, 04:49:44 AM #29 Last Edit: January 24, 2023, 04:59:57 AM by Rory Mayfield
The game was not going the way Rory had expected it to go.

As soon as the initial paperwork was out of the way, and the Wyatt was safely on its way, Rory had made building rapport with the crew his top priority. Nelly had seemed like the easiest place to start. As a trainee, she was closest to him in rank -- although that was kind of like saying that between the teacher and the teacher's aide, the TA was closest to the students in rank: technically true but ultimately meaningless. Still, she was a little closer to him in age and, at least on first impression, a little less intimidating than the others.

Battleship had seemed like a thematically appropriate bonding activity. It was a game Rory knew well and was fairly good at, at least good enough to consistently beat his best friend Shay. Shay always said it was because the game was so boring that he couldn't be bothered to put it any real effort. 

But Nelly wasn't Shay. This was a woman trained in the art of naval battle -- to her, the game probably looked like an adorably simple imitation of the real thing, easy to figure out without even trying. When Rory had sat down to play with her, he had fully expected to have his pi-gu handed to him. At best, it would be a teaching experience. At worst, it would give Nelly something to rib him about, which was still a win; ribbing him seemed to be a common love language among Rory's friends and family.

Now Rory was starting to wonder if he had made a mistake.

Sure, to the casual observer, it seemed like he was winning -- not even just barely, but by quite a landslide. But Rory knew better than to believe a Federal Marshal-in-training would be so easy to beat.

No, Nelly was letting him win. The question was, why?

The first possibility was that she was going easy on him because she saw him as a kid, and that's what you did with kids. Rory wasn't sure how he felt about the idea -- it was pretty condescending, but on the other hand, he supposed it was kind of nice of her.

Then there was the other possibility, the scarier one; that while Rory had been under the assumption they were playing Battleship, Nelly had been playing chess. And not just regular chess but the four-dimensional kind, because Rory sure as hell couldn't figure out what her end goal was. He was pretty sure she had one, though, and while she slowly worked her way towards it she was lulling him into a false sense of security, ready to unleash her diabolical plan the moment he got too cocky and slipped up.

Rory's gaze met Nelly's, and he responded to her stony poker face with a smile, his unfortunate default response in stressful social situations. He braced himself for impact.


Rory didn't even have to look down to know that she had missed again, quite spectacularly so. But before he could open his mouth and announce the outcome of her attack, his eyes fell on the third person entering the galley, and he clammed up. The sight of LeBlanc's form looming next to Nelly's made something click in his head, and he suddenly realized the true extent of his mistake--

Because, unlikely as it was, there was also a third possibility: that Nelly simply wasn't that good at Battleship. It was a children's board game, after all. Maybe she actually was like Shay in that she was too clever to stay engaged in something so unchallenging -- except that was just an excuse, wasn't it, Rory knew full well that in reality Shay was embarrassed over losing at a children's game, even as he hid behind his... poker face...

LeBlanc was hovering over them now, hovering over Nelly in particular, although her gaze was fixed on Rory. Suddenly, the star scout found himself torn between his two base people-pleasing instincts: the desire to be liked and the desire to make everyone happy -- in this case, the desire to impress his superior and the desire to help his crewmate save face.

The pause after Nelly's announcement had stretched on for too long. He had to respond with something.

"Oh! You got me." He tried to sound casual, but overshot the mark, and the words came out in a tone much more chipper than he'd intended. He realized he was still staring at the two women across the table instead of looking down to confirm the hit; he threw a quick glance at his game unit before snapping the lid shut (with an uncharacteristic lack of regard for the pieces still inside) and standing up.

"You know, I'm getting kind of peckish. Do you want to call it a draw?" He looked at Nelly, the nervous smile still fixed on his face, and offered her his hand for a handshake.
Dialogue color: pink

Nelly Newcastle

February 21, 2023, 08:24:21 AM #30 Last Edit: February 21, 2023, 08:59:03 AM by noseatbelts
All too glad to accept the draw, Nelly shot her hand out to accept Rory's, perhaps too eagerly. "Yeah, sounds good to me." She breathed a sigh of relief and began packing up her side. Nelly laughed. "Not my finest hour. Glad the Captain and XO didn't see me do so poorly." She would have to study up on her Battleship if they were going to make this a regular thing, though it had never been her favorite.

She adjusted her seat slightly and realized there was someone behind her. Oh no... Nelly swallowed the lump in her throat and squinted her eyes closed. Oh god... It just wasn't fair. Why hadn't Rory said anything? "She's standing right behind me, isn't she?" Without waiting for an answer from her erstwhile opponent, Nelly snuck a peak and immediately jumped to attention, bumping the table and sending her pieces flying. Sir! Ma'am! XO! Sorry."

Now, of course, the Marshal service did not have a strict decorum as far as officer hierarchy and standing at attention when your superiors entered a room. But that wasn't Nelly's background and it was, what second week on the job? Six years of training was hard to kick. And, so far, LeBlanc had yet to correct her.
Dialogue Color = Plum

Genevieve LeBlanc

"Oh! You got me," Rory announced. Gen's right brow shot up and she tilted her chin back slightly to appraise the young man. Only when he looked away to slam the game shut did the sly smile begin to play at one corner of her lips again.

Was he throwing the game and giving Nelly the win? Sacrificing looking good in front of his superior for the greater good of his team? It was potentially problematic behavior, but also a personality trait that would serve him well while with the Marshals. It showed an instinct to help the team rather than to help himself. But it also had the risk of too much self-sacrifice. She'd have to watch and see in what direction need to be guided.

"...Glad the Captain and XO didn't see me do so poorly...She's standing right behind me, isn't she? Sir! Ma'am! XO! Sorry."

Gen took a slow and deliberate step back to keep herself from falling in the danger zone as Nelly snapped to attention and knocked into the table. Game pieces clattered to the floor, her attention following one as it rolled under a cabinet before she let her gaze slide back to the poor young woman stuck at attention. It was true that Nelly didn't need to stand at attention every time she or Noah entered the room, but... and she'd admit this to no one (although the Captain had probably already sussed this out) she found it amusing. Someday she'd let her know that it wasn't necessary, but today was not that day.

"We'll be landing in about an hour, maybe a little less," she informed the room and anyone in it. "The Captain will want to brief you all, so get comfortable," she added, lifting her hand slightly to acknowledge and dismiss Nelly before she rounded the table to stand near Rory. Gen looked him over for an agonizingly long couple of seconds before glanced down at the closed game board.

"People improve when they have the opportunity to fail," she told him vaguely, then raised her brows and offered him a warm smile, her back turned to the rest of the room to keep it hidden from everyone but Rory. "Dong ma?" she asked, then reached out to pat his shoulder approvingly. With that, Gen gestured at the scattered pieces. "Go on and pick up while we wait for the Captain," she told Nelly, the smile gone from everywhere except her eyes.
Dialogue Color: Purple

Noah MacArthur

March 07, 2023, 08:40:14 PM #32 Last Edit: March 08, 2023, 10:15:51 AM by Noah MacArthur
It didn't take Noah terribly long to get dressed for the job. Jeans, low-profile armor under a simple white t-shirt, and a navy surplus officer's jacket. Last but not least, the shining star hanging from his neck. The title of Alliance Marshal repeated in English and Mandarin was still odd to see.

The captain grabbed a nondescript cardboard box and started on his way down to the cargo bay. Barely stopping for half a second in the Galley, Macarthur updated the XO's orders.


He projected his voice like they were talking over gunfire. Old habits.

Pauly neighed happily at his arrival in the bay. The blond lawman smiled and threw on the steed's saddle. As the first of the crew arrived he was just finishing up prepping the horse. The XO was keen to have the horse evicted but he'd come in handy while they tour the mine's facilities. Not just for carrying his muscled butt around, but to carry ammunition, backup comms, and his finger-print coded assault rifle.

He could just see it now. Riding in like a cowboy on his pale horse. Gen would have to eventually come around. At least that's what Noah was hoping. Otherwise, she was going to kick his ass and sell him to the nearest glue factory. But that was a concern for another time, the Captain needed to brief his crew before they rolled out and met with the inspectors.

"Tactical holo-display on."

The voice command didn't take on his first try. Another try was necessary.

"Holo-display on."

More crew were arriving. He needed to get this show on the road.

"Ummm Captain's authorization ... activate holographic display...."

As Rory arrived he pointed at him and started delegating the IT issue to the intern:

"Rory! Can you reboot the tactical map? I can't get this bloody thing to work."

He scratched his dirty blond head and scrunched up his face. How was he supposed to do this without visual aids?

"Do we have a white-board? They always have those in the cop vids.... The box is full of body cams, clip 'em to your shirt, no discussion.... ACTIVATE TACTICAL HOLO-DISPLAY!"

A holographic display did not turn on. MacArthur was starting to get frustrated, alternating between addressing the assembling crew and the unresponsive ship-computer.


Loud footsteps and low quality thrash metal could be heard echoing down the hallway into the cargo bay and getting louder with each second.

Desmond entered the cargo bay wearing matching matte black ballistic armored boots, pants and full-faced helmet contrasted by a neon pink and blue tropical shirt covered by sunglass-clad flamingos drinking margaritas.

Finding the most comfortable bulkhead to lean against for the briefing, he muted the awful unintelligible music with a button on his wristband.

With the other hand, Desmond gracefully slipped a ration bar from a belt pouch, opened the wrapper with one hand and popped up the faceplate to take a large bite of the bar tasting of mostly cardboard with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and nostalgia.

He stared blankly into space in the general direction of the Captain and the kid in their epic struggle against an impromptu machine uprising being lead by the holo-display.

Rory Mayfield

Should I tell him?

Rory stood next to Noah, clutching the datapad he used for note-taking against his chest like a magical shield against the captain's growing frustration. With each passing moment it became clearer that he should interfere, but at the same time, the longer the struggle went on, the more awkward it felt to step in.

The sound of approaching thrash metal pulled Rory out of his internal conflict for a moment. He tried not to gawk at the flamboyant apparition that stomped into the room. Hyde made his presence known and asserted his dominance without having to utter a single word, a level of confidence Rory envied. The marshal settled in and stared at the pair lackadaisically, like they were putting on some aggressively mediocre school play that wasn't even entertaining in its badness. Which just made Rory feel even worse about what he was about to do, but it was better to get it out of the way before even more spectators flocked in.

Trying to be as discreet as possible, Rory tucked the datapad under one arm and used his free hand to flip a single switch on the control panel. His job done, the intern quickly retreated, gaze fixed firmly downward, away from Hyde and, most importantly, the Captain.

"The voice detection toggle was off, Sir..." The words were barely audible and seemed to be addressed to the floor.
Dialogue color: pink


March 24, 2023, 12:38:11 PM #35 Last Edit: May 18, 2023, 11:08:53 AM by noseatbelts
The Wyatt

As Nelly and Gen filtered in with the rest, the screen popped up and, instead of a map, they saw a beleaguered sort of guy with dark hair and a handsome, if tired looking face. "MacArthur? Hello? Hey! I've been trying to call you all week! You ever pick up a wave? Jesus." He looked annoyed. Deciding to ignore Noah for now, he turned and waved at the rest of the crew. "Hello. Some of you know me. For those of you who don't, I'm Lead Deputy Lorenzo Blue. I'm your, uh... well I'm your boss. Kind of."

"I'm still in operational control... With Gen of course." MacArthur quipped.

Lorenzo gave him a look and went on. The holo display changed to show the Blue Sun system, which anyone with a half-decent education would recognize. Blue narrated. "Haven. A diamond in the rough, so to speak. It's hot. Dry. Dusty. Full of rocks. But some of those rocks are valuable." His face reappeared. "That sounded better in my head."

"It orbits Deadwood, the seventh planet of the Blue Sun system. This is as Raggedy as the Rim gets, ladies and gentlemen. Eighteen-months ago, the Sable Point Mining Company leased all mining rights on the moon from the Alliance."

MacArthur seemed surprised at the new ownership. "I was not aware it was under new management." He seemed disappointed. Introspective.

"The Independent mining operation that had existed on the Moon since its terraformation abruptly ended um... well..." He struggled to find the words. "Well, The Miranda Transmission." The weight of that word hit everyone like a wave. Miranda. "Ok. So. Your mission..."

"We're here to put the fear of god in these slavers." MacArthur cut in.

"No. You are not. That is not your mission. Do not do that. This is a peaceful mission. You are there to monitor the situation and..." Lorenzo stressed.

"If things get violent, though, we will..."

"Things will not get violent, okay? If they do, it's your ass, MacArthur. You hear me?" Lorenzo was serious, but anyone who knew him, knew he was more bark than bite.

Noah nodded at Lorenzo, and then quickly gave a slight shake of his head at his crew with a playful wink. They would do what was needed.

"Now, to Deputy MacArthur's point, the miners have made some... complaints. And riots. The Alliance has seen fit to intervene by sending Investigators to... investigate the facilities and living conditions for the workers." Three faces came up on the holo display. "These are the Federal Inspectors who you will be escorting. They will meet you at your landing zone. My intel says they're already there."

MacArthur turned from the holo display and Lorenzo and addressed his gathered crew. "Haven was a proud, tough colony. But she got her teeth knocked out and she can't bite like she used to. We are here to protect the investigators but these people..." He paused for a moment, collecting his thoughts. Composing himself. "They've been through enough. Watch out for each other, scan the crowds. Don't let the security box you in, which they will try to do. We're the law, they're the thugs with badges."

Lorenzo tried to peek over Noah's shoulder through the holo display. "Hey! Wait, that's not what I- We have no indication of- You are there to protect the investigators. Period. You are not getting to the bottom of anything. You are not fighting for a cause. You are not, under any circumstances, saving the day. Is that understood?"

Haven- Yardley Mining Territory

A balding man with a well manicured beard stepped out of a shuttle and the wind immediately overtook him, sending his necktie and suit coat flapping against his body. He struggled to gain his bearings and shouted above the din of the dust storm. "Richard Cohen, Lead Investigator for the Federation of Allied Planets Department of Labor's Occupational Health and Safety Administration." He reached out his hand to the man who met him at the landing dock, not far from Mine Shaft A, Sheriff Karlo Kovachek.

"Welcome to Mine Shaft A." Said the Sheriff with a devil's grin. "That's quite a mouthful. Is there an acronym for that?"

Bret White, another inspector, shouted. "No!" His smile was the kind you wanted to punch.

The third inspector stepped forward. "There was supposed to be some Marshals to meet us. Have you seen them?" She said. Her name was Darlene Simone, as emblazoned on her name badge, which hung from a lanyard around her neck, just like the others.

Karlo's face fell. "Marshals?" He looked at Bob with a concerned look. His lackey shook his head. "Ain't seen no Marshals. Can I ask why you summoned them?"

Richard stared at Karlo matter-of-factly. "Protection. There have been riots here, have there not? Riots you failed to stop. We are investigating the Sable Point Mining Company for Human Rights Abuses, among other things. There are angry people here, Sheriff, and a lot of them. We're here to see if they have a point. Now, can you take us out of this storm while we wait for the Marshals to arrive?"

Karlo exchanged another look with Bob and then nodded to the investigators. "Of course. Come on in to my office."

The Investigators

Noah dialogue provided by HumanHyperbole

Genevieve LeBlanc

Gen's attention shifted between Noah, Deputy Blue, and the gathered crew. Her arms rested across her chest, hands nestled in the crooks of her elbows. She kept toward the back of the cargo bay so she could see everyone and keep her back to a wall. The barest hint of a smile tugged at one corner of her lips as Noah and Blue wrestled for control.

At Blue's question, she exhaled slowly and tilted her chin up a fraction of an inch. "Captain," she started, her voice just loud enough to carry over the hum of the ship and cut herself a slice of attention from those gathered. It was also very intentional that she began by addressing Noah, and not Blue.

"Might help the newbies to know what precisely you'd like them to do. Specifically," she offered up, looking at Rory, then Nelly, and finally Hyde. All three of them had vastly different backgrounds and, from what she could tell, dispositions.

"How do you want us to form up?" she clarified. Typically, Gen wasn't the type to walk alongside their 'targets,' or to participate in the public facing show of force. And she wagered the younger of the bunch (while technically trained or at least briefed on this kind of job) would need a little additional guidance.

Dialogue Color: Purple

Nelly Newcastle

June 06, 2023, 08:47:16 AM #37 Last Edit: June 06, 2023, 08:48:58 AM by noseatbelts
Nelly allowed her mind to wander a bit during the briefing, if it could be called that. It seemed to be more of an argument between the Captain and the Lead Deputy. Under sufficient distraction, after all, while Nelly was well-trained to stay at attention, she was young and impetuous, she leaned over to Rory and whispered. "Have you ever been to the Outer Rim? I haven't. Boros was as far as I've gone."

"I've actually been to the Georgia system before. Highgate," Rory jumped at the opportunity to show off -- then remembered what said visit to Highgate had actually entailed, and that it was not a story he should recount if he wanted to earn the respect of his crewmates. "Once. Very briefly. Barely stepped off the ship. More of a stopover, really. Doesn't even count now that I think of it..."

"I'm from Londinium, though not the city. It was really quite pastoral, actually." She reminisced for a moment, allowing her mind to take her back there rather than listen to her bosses argue, while Rory tried to get back to paying attention -- not very successfully.

"Bit of an odd internship, isn't it? Are you combat trained? It's ok if you aren't, because he certainly is." Nelly nodded towards Hyde, who seemed eager for a fight.

"The crew manifest said he's our demolitions and heavy weapons expert," Rory recalled his homework. A sudden look of concern passed over his face. "You don't think we'll actually need that sort of thing on this mission, do you?"

Nelly paused for a moment, listening to the last of the exchange between MacArthur and Blue. "Depends on who you ask, apparently." With the distraction over, it seemed prudent to end the conversation their, lest they get in trouble.

Joint post with Scout
Dialogue Color = Plum

Noah MacArthur

June 07, 2023, 03:36:00 PM #38 Last Edit: June 07, 2023, 05:18:38 PM by Noah MacArthur
"Captain, might help the newbies to know what precisely you'd like them to do. Specifically,"

Noah was feeling a little distracted learning which mining operation they were stopping by today. He had a personal history with this planet and this particular mine. The whole human universe had a history with it now. The events that happened here, however, were classified. And not just classified. Classified at the level where you never hear about those secrets slipping because those loose-lipped individuals tended to suddenly "fall" off tall buildings or have a shuttle "accident".

"How do you want us to form up?"

The Captain's former professional rival put him back on task, thankfully.

"Thank you, Gen. As I was saying earlier, I don't trust these local mall cops any further than I can bloody throw them. That's why the newbies..."

Noah's constructive exchange with Marshal Blue didn't mean he missed the newbies having a little chit-chat. The Captain decided to let that little slip-up factor into their assignment for the day. Rory was a Miller so while he could bust his balls a teeny bit, he couldn't exactly put them on shoveling up after Paulie the Horse-Marshal duty. And while Rory's dad would probably be trouble if he put them anywhere close to danger, it was the boy's grandmother that put a chill down his spine. 

"Newbiecastle, you're going to teach Mr. Mi- *ahem* Mayfield about rear security and counterintelligence."

He did like the kid and didn't want to saddle him with the redundant task of guarding their ship that could basically guard itself, but the Captain had duties and responsibilities. Duties and responsibilities like giving the new kids a hard time.

"I want you both checking in with Gen over comms every twenty minutes. I don't want those slavers *ahem* sorry... mine operators attempting to bug the ship or otherwise impede our operations. Questions, again, talk to Gen."

The Captain gave his XO a wry smile.

"Gen, I reckon you're going incognito? Cheap office casual could get you mixed in with the inspectors."

MacArthur pointed at the unfrozen caveman lawyer next.


The mischievous smirk remained.

"You and I are about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face. That's why I'll lead the way in on Paulie as we make contact with the investigators and escort them through the facilities. Hyde, I want you looking like you've been waiting for an excuse to use your service weapon for a decade and circling the pencil pushers like a gorram hawk."

He shrugged at the simplicity of his plan, now addressing the crew as a whole.

"We're federal babysitters today on paper, and your assignments reflect that. But we are here to restore the rule of law. Blue will fret but our highest duty is to our oaths. Watch each other's butts out there, don't miss your bloody radio check-ins and if we have a good first day, I'll order pizza."

The old navy habits died hard:



Haven- Yardley Mining Territory - Mine Shaft A - Sheriff's Office

You could cut the awkward tension with a very dull knife. "Get you folks anything? Water? Coffee? Something stronger?" Karlo rubbed his mustache for the umpteenth time. He sat behind his desk on the edge of his creaky desk chair, its springs having long since given out, with his deputy, Bob, leaning against the wall to his left. The inspectors were scattered across the room.

The younger male investigator, Bret  perked up. "I'll take a beer."

Before the Sheriff could answer, he was cut off by his superior, Richard. "No you will not. Bret. We've talked about this. Nothing for him." He said, admonishing Bret. "I will have a coffee, though, if it's strong. Black. Simone?"

Simone, who had perched herself at the window overlooking the mine, turned at the sound of her name. "Nothing for me, thanks."

Karlo nodded and looked at Bob, who stared obliviously. "Bob. Mind gettin' that coffee?" Bob looked over at the Sheriff, frowned, then walked across the room to the coffee pot and poured a cup. He handed it off to Richard without a word and reclaimed his position.

"You, uh, make it a habit to drink on the job, Sheriff? Don't answer that." Richard almost laughed. "You sure you don't want a lawyer or Representative from Sable Point here for this, Sheriff?"

Bob tensed and Karlo held him back with a look. He didn't like this Richard guy of the Federal whatever it was either, but they couldn't go around hurting Alliance Reps. Even if they were a snide, pompous ass. "Do I need a lawyer here? Sable Point put me in charge. They trust me. I run a tight ship."

Richard smiled. "Oh, I bet you do." The older man looked at Simone, who shook her head a little. Bret pouted on the couch. Richard sipped the coffee and made a face before setting it on a nearby table. "You, uh, sure you haven't heard from the Marshals? Anyone else we should check with? I didn't notice a Port Authority when we landed."

Karlo shook his head. "Nope. Just me and Bob. We're a small operation here, y'see."

'That's not true, though, is it, Sheriff?" Simone piped up. She pulled out her data reader and read aloud. "You have 459 registered minors, all non-union, with independent contracts. 43 Sable Point Corporate employees, though their title isn't listed. I would assume those to be the guards I saw ringing the mine shaft outside? And that's just Mine Shaft A."

Karlo didn't like her either. "If that's what your machine says."

Bret frowned, annoyed. "There's more mine shafts?"

Richard held up a finger to Bret. "Those mines aren't operational, yet. At least according to our data. Is that right, Sheriff?"

Karlo nodded. "That's correct. Corporate has told me they don't intend to fully break ground until Alvin proves a worthwhile yield. For the moment, they are condemned."

There was a knock at the door.

Bob and Karlo exchanged a look. Bob walked across the room and opened the door.

On the other side was Noah, Gen, and Hyde.

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