Cooper coldly guided Beth along to the ATV. His back was still screaming at him. The rush of adrenaline could only mute it for so long. The subsiding emotion began to make the young woman's pleas not to kill her start to sting. Mr Brown had been kidding himself about how much he was still carrying around the war with him. The anger he'd shown them was really meant for the fools who sent them to his ship. Blocked comms and an unexpected pair of enforcers were a great way to initiate a tragic misunderstanding. Or if they were up to something it was ham-fisted at best.
Before he tried to start the ATV, he pulled up his left sleeve, revealing a unit patch tattoo.
"3rd Requisition Task Force. The only reason things had to get nasty, is because somebody giving you orders is a ... bloody *tóunǎo bǐ xīn hái kōngxū de báichī."
Beth's browncoat had an engineer patch too. From its size and age, it was someone else's from the war. Kid dressed up like her hero.
They say never meet your heroes.
He motioned with a jerk of his pistol to the ATV. Back to business. A slight smirk crossed his face as he climbed onto the all-terrain vehicle and its engine roared to life. This would be much better than the futuristic forklift.
"Pele and I will talk just to your boss. Something still smells off to me but if this is a misunderstanding I'll stand accountable for my actions. If it's not: I don't like killing Browncoats. I just want my friends outta there."
The mechanic directed his gaze to Pele.
"Guns away when we get there, but if they kill me, start blasting and just run. "
It might be a slightly sexist assumption but if lead was going to start flying it would probably be headed towards his Aussie arse first. Mr Brown had just given two of their soldiers purple hearts.
*Translation = "idiot with a head emptier than his heart."
Last post by Charity - October 02, 2023, 09:14:00 AM
"Ohhh. Crap. Why didn't you say so? You'll get your money. But first, let's eat. Drink. Get to know each other. See if... sparks fly?"
Francis shot Charity another look.
Velocity looked at Charity.
Charity's smile remained. Inside, her stomach had done a full round of circles and she ached to sprint toward the door, but her face betrayed none of the fear clawing at her gut. His swift change of emotion and disposition unsettled her, reminding her of home in ways she wasn't comfortable with. And now, her crew looked at her expectantly, hoping she had a way out of all of this that didn't get them all killed.
After a moment of consideration that took up the breadth of a single fluttering of lashes, the Captain smiled in the Major's direction and dipped her chin slightly. "My most sincere apologies," she said, her hands still clasped together on her lap. Her knuckles were white at this point from the force of her own grip.
"We are most eager to share a meal with you, your preparations have been impeccable," she complimented, gesturing toward the table and gathered 'soldiers' with an open palm. "Such a gracious host."
Never smack the lips when eating. Never take a long, deep breath after you finish eating. Never make noises in your mouth or throat. Never suck your teeth. Never put your knife into your mouth. Never pick your teeth.
The list went on and on in the back of her mind, calculations running in the back of her mind without her knowledge. Her only concern was that either her crew would be unaware of the protocol for dining with someone 'important', or that their host would be unaware of the proper etiquette and thus might fly off the handle when good manners are misconstrued as a slight against them.
"I am quite sure that I speak for the crew when I say that we would love to be regaled by stories of your excellence, Sir. Would you do us that honor?" She asked, raising her brows in question and waiting for his 'waiters/servants' to begin serving them. Better to keep him in a good mood and avoid another harsh shift of disposition.
Finally, she returned the glances of her crew. To Velocity, she offered a reassuring smile and raised a hand nearly imperceptibly to hopefully still the taller woman and quell any urges to sprint away from the table. For Francis, a mild raising of her brow in question. Just how violent was this man known to be? And when, exactly, would they need to follow Velocity's urges and run from the room? For King, an upturning of her brows in the middle, a vague sign of her discomfort and playful request for saving.
Last post by Akhsar King - September 29, 2023, 06:18:39 PM
King observed the exchange between the "Major" and Sergeant James with interest, and a bit of well disguised incredulity. This certainly wasn't the first time he'd witnessed flirting during an arms deal, but it was most definitely the least impressive. He felt a flash of annoyance at the man getting flirty with Charity, but he trusted her ability to navigate a social situation. His only real worry was with how pushy ole Mitch would get. In the meantime he distracted himself with other thoughts.
How in the hell does a man who doesn't even know what "Munitions" means end up leading a group of Browncoats? Charismatic idiots have been cobbling together followings since the dawn of human history, but it was rare to find one so... lacking in the charisma department. The whole thing was making King seriously wonder if Mitch was just a figurehead being made to believe he was in charge so that the ones pulling his strings had a convenient scapegoat when things eventually went south. Or maybe Mitch had just lucked into finding followers more idiotic than he was... Though "Sergeant James formerly of the 188th" seemed competent enough to be annoyed by Major-Idiots antics. Could maybe use that if things start to go sideways... Although the baddies-to-Us ratio is way higher than I'd like... King decided to keep quiet for now and see how things looked to be playing out. He could always interject and start flirting with The Major himself if need be.
Velocity could only stand and watch with mounting concern as Mitch struggled to understand first what Charity had said to him, and then what the sergeant was telling him. "Please let this end soon," she thought.
"But first, let's eat. Drink. Get to know each other. See if... sparks fly?"
The first part was something that Velocity was not inclined to argue with; the cold journey in the truck and the time in their 'quarters' and been too long for her metabolism and the invitation was greeted by a loud rumble of agreement from Velocity's stomach. Sitting next to Charity was where she wanted to be but there was going to be a least one person not from the crew between them, and she expected that Charity would want to keep Francis and King as close as possible in case she needed to confer with them. Not that the environment encouraged such a thing.
She was definitely not enamoured at the prospect of sparks flying; in this environment that could end up with bullets flying far too quickly, and the weird expressions that had crossed Mitch's face didn't just threaten her equilibrium but upset it completely. Velocity could feel a wave of anxiety rising in her, and unconsciously dug her fingernails into her palms as hard as she could.
"Hush, my love," Bonnie whispered but it was not enough. Velocity looked at Charity desperately hoping to find some guidance from the captain, realising that without help she would find herself fleeing, and there was enough sanity left to tell her that that would be a Very Bad Thing™.
"I'm sorry, we haven't met. But, I'm, uh, familiar with you. Your face. What was your name again?"
"Hello. Bret White, Assistant Lead Investigator. And you are?"
Gen reached out toward the first extended hand, fumbling with her documents and briefcase just the appropriate amount to seem a little clumsy and flustered, as though the separation and late arrival had her off balance. "Ah, yes, we've met before. I brought those Danishes everyone seemed to like uh, oh! Wells, Sarah Wells," she reintroduced to the man she had never met before.
Her eyes snapped toward Bret's direction next, and a couple of calculations ran through her mind before she settled on her next course of action: How to respond to Bret's attentions. Finally, she smiled sheepishly and managed a convincing enough blush before taking her hand back and smoothing it over her hair in a nervous but preening sort of gesture. "Nice to meet you, Mister White," she returned, allowing him to think his peacocking was working.
"Assistant Lead Investigator isn't a thing." Richard cut in. "Marshal, would you be so kind as to lead us outside? I'd like to begin with a perimeter of the mine..."
Gen allowed herself to be shepherded into the the group of inspectors, keeping herself square in the middle of the group and yet slightly behind them to serve as a barrier between the blue collars and the stragglers, letting Noah have his alone time with Bob. Despite wanting to know what they were up to, she could wager a guess and refused to look back, instead busying herself with paying close attention to the group she'd put herself into and Karlo. Despite having known him for such a short amount of time, she felt she could trust Hyde to put himself into a smart position without needing any instruction on how or where to do so. Although she might have to talk to him about his approach to public relations once this was all said and done...
"Good to see you, Marshal. Are you the Captain? Er...MacArthur? I want to begin right away."
"Deputy, technically. Marshal Blue is technically the Marshal for this district. I'm more than happy to get this show on the road."
There was a lot of back and forth about the weather. Something else too maybe. Noah wasn't paying attention to anyone's words anymore. He was watching body language. And that guy with the glasses, something wasn't right with him. He looked at everyone in the room like he was making a list of who he'd draw on first and the order of who'd take each shot after that. Noah should know because it was a force of habit for him too. But it was at least the former Special Operator had orders and wasn't meant to be carrying out the due process of law. It was a shaky moral high ground but MacArthur still felt firm atop it.
"I brought my walking shoes, Sheriff. I certainly hope you have yours."
"What's a little drizzle to stand in the way of law and order, mates?"
Noah gave the "Sheriff" a half-hearted smile then made his move towards the door. No sense in leaving time for the Sheriff to disagree. The investigators were keen to get to work, and if the rent-a-cops wanted to drag their heels they could stay inside and cry to their bosses about how the mean old feds wanted to take a peek at their chattel's living and working conditions.
As everyone filed out, he clapped Bob, whose name he didn't know yet, on the shoulder.
"Why don't you hang back with me?"
Bob whipped around, reacting instinctively to the unexpected physical contact. The mine-cop's hand was already at his waist. Noah looked down at the younger man's weapon, then up at his face. The fake smile was back now, but bigger. Bob matched with an even wider, more out-of-place smile.
"Oh, why's that?"
Bob let out a chuckle. For about five seconds too long.
"It's fine. Don't worry about it, let's just get on our way. Just... you go ahead first a few steps ahead of me."
Bob laughed even harder this time.
"Man you're so funny. This is a great prank. Acting like you're gonna tail me so you can shoot me in the back of the head if things pop off. Right?"
Bob was absolutely right but Noah couldn't let him know that.
"No... no... let's just get on with the job, mate."
The others weren't waiting on them, investigators, sheriffs, or deputy marshals. With them safely out of range to hear the conversation they both started to get more blunt.
"I seriously think, that you think I'm gonna execute all those nice investigators and dump their bodies in an abandoned shaft! Which is offensive! I am a professional and I would wait until after you guys leave before I did that. I'm not stupid! Besides... If you and I fought-"
Bob's hand, still on his pistol, dis-engaged the safety.
Noah didn't let him take the moment to finish that thought or action. A quick jab to the throat had him gulping, with a gag for air.
A quick-draw with his side arm, Mac blew out Bob's left shin, then gave him a pistol whip to the temple for his impertinence.
They were a long way off, but Gen heard the shot.
"Mac, you fucking bellend!"
She was already tackling, and then choking out another deputy with her legs in what looked like a Lucha-Libre move. A couple of quick pops, a soft thud, then BANG! Leblanc's concealed pistol and Hyde's grenade launcher were now in action. The investigators were all running in one direction, back towards Noah.
The Captain directed his attention back to Bob, grabbing him by the throat.
"Sharpshooters, where are-"
Noah felt a drip of blood going down his cheek, then down his neck. Then he heard the delayed crack of a high-powered rifle being fired from long range. Too late.
-- "Oh, why's that?"
Bob looked at him, hints of suspicion in his gaze. Just like how he imagined Bob would react. But Noah couldn't push things as much as he wanted to. The Deputy Marshal was there to squeeze down on these bastards but he couldn't squeeze until they popped. The Captain wanted his adversaries on their back foot but his usual way of dealing with things just wasn't going to work.
Gen needed to do her job, Noah needed to do his. Which did not involve starting a firefight on their first day of the assignment.
"Ahh nothin' mate, just wanted somebody to talk to while we hang back and make sure those jokers don't get us into trouble."
He said pointing at the other sheriffs, and deputies and starting to march on after them.
"How long you been on the job, mate?"
Allowing Bob to flank him from behind, almost as a show of trust, Captain MacArthur continued on with his new, friendlier course of action.
Jedikiah had calmed their would be guards for hire, he had used a local and the procedure was coming along nicely.
Patient Tommy went reaver mad as Cooper dragged Beth away. It tore the fine stitches Dr. Jed had halfway completed. It only took a moment for the calm Doctor to push the morphine and Tommy should quiet very quickly.
The damage was done. A deep calming Tai Chi breath and he started over.
With a note to himself, 'Cooper, maybe some ... no'.
Mister Brown had been hyped up on adrenaline, tired of waiting he had taken action. Jedikiah couldn't slight the man for his being who he was. The urge to hurry and follow for the sake of the rest of the missing crew was suppressed. This one first. And then the others.
Last post by noseatbelts - September 14, 2023, 12:47:40 PM
Rory and Nelly - Wyatt
Despite it being a rather small, impromptu sort of stable, it took them no short amount of time as the amount of poop from this horse was substantial. Rory might have been able to rattle off a fact like "Horses and ponies are designed to be grazers. They are supposed to eat small meals frequently that are mostly fiber based throughout the day. As a result, it is quite normal for a horse to poo 8-12 times a day and produce anywhere from 13 to 23 kilograms of poo a day." Whereas Nelly would recall Mr. Boddington cleaned the stables once a day, every day, up to and including the day he died. But finally, they were finished. Poop scooped and hay laid. All that was left to do was put the horse back where she belonged.
Where was the horse?
Noah, Gen, and Hyde - Sheriff's Office
Karlo and Bob shared a look just before Hyde checked Bob into the wall just behind the door. Bob kept his feet, and an eye on the Federal bruiser. He wouldn't forget that.
"Ah... the Marshals are here.""Ah, the Marshals are here!" Karlo and Richard said together, but with very different intonations. The Sheriff scratched at his stubble and sighed, silently signaling Bob to stand down when he saw the fire in his deputy's eyes. Karlo kept his seat, showing the Marshals what he thought of their preference.
Richard, on the other hand, jumped to his feet and grabbed Noah by the hand. "Good to see you Marshal. Are you the Captain? Er...MacArthur? I want to begin right away." His eyes fell on Gen, understanding the ruse, immediately. He extended a hand to her as well. "I'm sorry, we haven't met. But, I'm, uh, familiar with you. Your face. What was your name again?"
Bret jumped up from the couch at the sight of Gen and put on the smarmiest smile in the system. "Hello. Bret White, Assistant Lead Investigator. And you are?"
"Assistant Lead Investigator isn't a thing." Richard cut in. "Marshal, would you be so kind as to lead us outside? I'd like to begin with a perimeter of the mine..."
Karlo jumped to his feet, alarmed. "Perimeter? Mine's almost ten miles around. Not to mention the storm..."
"Storm seems to be dissipating, according to radar data I have here." Simone said, pointing to her cortex display.
Richard looked out the window and smiled. "I brought my walking shoes, Sheriff. I certainly hope you have yours."
Rory was not loving this, but he wasn't outright resenting it either. He was disappointed, yes, but not surprised that an intern like himself would be saddled with a job nobody else wanted to do. What did seem unfair was for Nelly to share the same fate. She was an actual adult with actual training, surely she would be more useful elsewhere -- although, on a personal level, Rory was grateful for the company.
He did not fully join in on her laughter, more like dipped his toe in with a cautious little chuckle. He was a little more at ease now that he could be fairly sure a superior wouldn't be walking in on them goofing around on the job, but it still felt strange to him.
"This one time at scout camp I was on dish-washing duty -- which is usually fine, I rather like doing the dishes -- but I was paired up with this girl who seemed to have a real problem with it." At first, he kept shoveling as he spoke, but his movements grew slower as he got engrossed in his tale. "We were always told to clean our plates, but you know, there were leftovers -- we'd had meatballs and gravy -- and she kept pointing at them and scrunching up her face and saying things like 'ew, that looks just like my cat's poo' or 'yuck, that looks just like the time my cat threw up in my lap.'"
"Maybe she was playing it up for laughs, but she also kept gagging every time she picked up one of the messier plates. She kept it up the whole time, and I kept telling myself it was just meatballs and gravy, nothing nasty, but by the end I was feeling pretty sick myself."
At this point, Rory realized he had completely stopped shoveling, and resumed doing what he was supposed to do.
"The point is... compared to that, this actually, somehow, isn't that bad." It was true; the smell wasn't great, but it was easy enough to ignore, at least when you weren't paired with someone who was constantly drawing attention to it. At least horses were herbivores, at the less offensive end of the fecal grossitude spectrum.