S1:Ep2 - Blasting Off Again

Started by Lomari, March 05, 2019, 11:34:34 AM


Ship time: 0700
Planet time: 1015
Ship time: 1015
Location: An hour out from Aphrodite's orbit.

From their position between Meridian and Aphrodite, it had taken the Darling another five days to get to their next destination. Five days of repairing, organizing, and enjoying each other's company without the immediate threat of death and oxygen deprivation. The cargo was tightly secured in the cargo hold, scanned into the ship's manifest as was proper procedure for shipments that weren't necessarily meant to be hidden. There had been no contact from their current employer other than the coordinates for a meetup sent five days ago when the salvage had been brought on board and the ship and its crew brought to order. Since then, there had been radio silence, and it was increasingly unclear if this was all part of the plan or if perhaps something else was afoot.

About an hour out from the planet's orbit, the blessed silence of the Darling was interrupted by a cacophony coming from the cargo bay and echoing through the halls of the ship. It was loud, incessant, almost rhythmic, and after a moment to focus in on the sound it became confusingly apparent that the sound was clearly...barking? It appeared, from the sound alone, that the ship had picked up a pack of stray dogs, all of them crooning and barking together in a bark...bark...howl...bark...bark...pattern.
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha

Darling ~ Iscariot

Barnaby Goodweather

March 05, 2019, 01:51:22 PM #1 Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 07:35:36 AM by Barnaby Goodweather
Barnaby Goodweather was swimming. It was a large, open body of water, naturally formed as far as he could tell, but it didn't really matter. It was bliss. He floated and paddled and kicked his way through the serene waters as the sun shone brightly overhead. The temperature seemed warm, but not hot; perfect. And then a noise perked his attention. Barnaby turned and saw a door in a large white space, the water was gone, but he didn't mind. He wanted to know what was behind the door. As he got closer, the noise seemed to get louder. Barking? It sounded like barking dogs. Oh no! The puppies were trapped! He had to help them!

His eyes popped open and Barnaby nearly aspirated on the sharp intake of breath as he awoke in his bunk. "Hubawhaa..." He said, groggy from his dream. He thought back on that dream and then... "Puppies!" Barnaby dashed out of his bed, tripped and fell over his boots on his way out of his quarters, and dashed towards the cargo bay in his sleepers. "The puppies!" He shouted as he ran. "We have to save the puppies!"

Once in the cargo bay he nearly tumbled all the way down the stairs, but managed to only skip a few steps in his fall. Frantic, Barnaby scurried back to his feet and rushed over to the crates they'd recovered from the derelict ship. No one had opened them since they'd been brought on board. That sort of thing had gotten him into trouble on more than one occasion, but when you are in the business of taking whatever job is available, and the job has conditions like "do not open this box" you tend to make it a habit to listen. The manifest, as reported by his away team, said "novelty toys" ( he'd gotten no small amount of grief from Mona on that account). How could novelty toys possibly be worth a look, let alone any trouble? But no puppies were going to be trapped in no box, not on Captain Barnaby Goodweather's watch.

"Don't worry little guys, I'll save ya!" In his sleep addled mind, the sheer improbability of there being actual living, breathing, barking puppies in these boxes didn't even occur to Barnaby as he grabbed up a pry bar that was close at hand and began trying to break into the nearest box.
Dialogue Color - LightBlue

Rian Carpenter

March 06, 2019, 05:01:49 PM #2 Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 05:03:25 PM by Rian Carpenter
Rian was starting to wonder if he was going crazy. The door to the armory shut, the almost distant sounding barks... couldn't be barks. He shook his head, dismissing the notion. Turning back to the workbench, he had his prized rifle disassembled, a spare bolt sat on the table next to the original. The shiny metal shrapnel now safely in their recyclable refuse compactor, he was just about to get to the final step of reassembling the weapon with its new parts when the gorram barking started in again.

Where is this gorram barking coming from?

Finally taking his mind totally off his firearm repairs, the culinary killer got off the stool by the work bench and listened intently. It was still going.... and close? He plucked one of his spare revolvers from his locker and tucked it into a holster he clipped onto his pants. Sure it was just the sound of impossible barking dogs but why not be extra safe? Pushing open the armory door he walked out into the cargo hold to see Barnaby scrambling back onto his feet. A man possessed, he started prying one of the crates open. Thinking of possible retribution from their employer.

"Woah woah... Barn..."

The younger man jogged over from the other side of the cargo bay, trying to calm his boss and former brother in law down.

"They can't be real dogs, Cap...."

Not sure if he should or even could stop him now, he couldn't help but indulge his curiosity and stopped just a few feet from the crate as it began to crack open.

I hope he finds a gorram off switch in there.


March 06, 2019, 06:37:09 PM #3 Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 06:39:10 PM by Riot
Riot was up in the engine room, where she had spent a large amount of her time during the five days since the derelict. Upon reentering the ship from their space walk Riot had headed straight to the guts of the ship, pausing only long enough to get her suit off, and to wrap Tabby in a very tight hug. She'd torn the old Grav-Exchange apart to find out why it had failed. It turned out to be a combination of simple ware and tear, and some complicated jerry rigging that would have continued to go unnoticed without taking the whole thing apart. Whoever had "fixed" it had succeeded in keeping the Exchange operational, but the end result was akin to replacing a breaker with a solid piece of metal. Sure it worked, but when it failed there was nothing in place to stop the cascade failure that it unleashed.

That, along with several reassuring talks from Barnaby, had relieved her of most of the guilt she had felt. Most of it, but not all. She still was a bit upset at herself for not catching it, as irrational as that was.

So to assuage those feelings Riot had, in effect, been working self imposed overtime. She'd gone over the majority of the engine by this point, and had a long list of things she wanted to replace, rewire, or fully strip and restore. Many of them would have to be done planet side, and many others would require trips to a scrap yard. Most of them weren't actually that urgent, but making the list made her feel better.

So the morning found her already awake and working. Her overtime had messed with her sleep schedule a bit, and she'd actually been up for about 4 hours already when she first heard it. Or rather when Bandit gave a GrrrUFF and called her attention to the improbable noises filling the air. Riot looked up, cocking her head to the side. There was... barking? Coming from the cargo bay? That didnt make any sense. Someone must have been watching some funny dog video on the cortex and mistakenly had their volume maxed out.... but the sound continued. "What... dogs? That... what? Vær rolig, pen Bandit. Vær rolig." The wolfdog sat up and whined, staring out towards the cargo bay, her head tilting this way and that. Every few second she looked back at her master.

Riot sighed, wiped her hands on a rag and stood up. "Alright, alright. Go. Finne." She said, gesturing to the door. Bandit exploded into motion, running out of the engine room and along the catwalk to the stairs. Riot followed her out just in time to see Barnaby rush into the cargo bay. "Don't worry little guys, I'll save ya!"

"Hva er denne nye rarheten..." She muttered to herself as she hurried down the stairs.  Barnaby grabbed a crowbar as she approached, and began trying to pry the lid off one of the crates from the derelict. Rian had come out of the armory as well. "Woah woah... Barn... They can't be real dogs, Cap...." Bandit was pacing around Barnaby and the crate, her ears standing at attention, and her head tilting back and forth in confusion and curiosity. "Well... Rationally I'd agree with you Rian but... Does seem to be something in those crates that knows how to bark."

Tabitha Haemish

After the hubbub at the derelict, Tabitha had spent the last five days speaking to the ship from various open ducts and vents, cleansing the air with burnt sage (much to the frustration of the fire and smoke suppression systems and the air filters), and moving around some of her extra Tibetan flags and various other superstitious protection charms, stones, candles, and hanging accessories. The ship now looked like a fortune teller's tent, although she'd calm down on that once she felt the bad juju of their near death miss could be swept off the ship once they were dirtside again.

She'd saved the cargo bay for last, trying to essentially squeeze any and all bad energy from the ship starting at its head and working her way to its rear end, trying to expunge the bad energy like she were rolling up a tube of toothpaste. This morning, after waking up from a bad dream that she could currently no longer remember, Tabitha had made her way to her last zone of darkness to begin the cleansing process.

Standing atop a little ladder, she coiled some Tibetan flags around pieces of machinery or taped them to the metal surrounding the airlock door, humming to herself and wiggling slightly in thought, her loose fitting harem PJ bottoms swishing softly around her pale ankles. Strands of wild platinum curls bounced around her, not yet contained by any ties, clips, or ornaments. She leaned forward to finish tying off the flags when a racket of barking and howling set off behind her, in the general vicinity of the cargo boxes. With a squeak and a yelp, Tabby dropped the flag she'd been holding and grabbed onto the top of the ladder to keep from tumbling backward off of it.

Turning, the doctor stared at the boxes, almost too nervous to go anywhere near them. Ghost dogs? Surely they couldn't be living ones, not after they'd been out in the void like that... so it stood to reason that they must have been incorporeal puppies. Although, she thought, brows furrowed in consternation, if they were incorporeal why were they still in the boxes? Maybe they felt comfortable and safe in there. That seemed reasonable.

By the time she'd wrapped up her thinking on the matter, Barnaby slipped down a few stairs and made his frantic way toward the boxes, grabbing a pry bar on his way. "Don't worry little guys, I'll save ya!" he shouted, going at it on the box nearest him. Tabitha carefully hopped down off the ladder and walked toward the Captain, chewing worriedly on the nail of her index finger.

"Woah woah... Barn...They can't be real dogs, Cap...." Rian called out, hot on the heels of the captain but seemingly to no avail as Barnaby's wailing on the boxes continued, Riot entering the cargo hold at around the same time. It seemed the barking had called the crew to it quite effectively. "Well... Rationally I'd agree with you Rian but... Does seem to be something in those crates that knows how to bark," the mechanic pointed out astutely. With her feet unhindered by shoes or socks, Tabitha made her silent way up to the group, stopping beside Riot as though she'd materialized out of thin air.

"I'm thinking ghost dogs," she told them, lowering her finger from her lip and pulling the strap of her white tank top back into its place on her shoulder and watching Barnaby with a mixture of curiosity and concern. She crouched down and held her hands out, both to Bandit (although the pup was clearly distracted) and to the potential flood of haunted hounds bound to spill from the crate.
Dialogue Color: Pink


Ship time: 1017
Location: 58 minutes out from Aphrodite's orbit.

With a creaking and a loud snap, the crate's lid popped open, splintering just a bit as it slid off one side of the box and toppled onto the grated flooring. Its nails and staples remained in the lid, poking down toward the floor but leaving the rim of the actual container free from any protruding and wound inducing metal. The sound of rhythmic and slightly mechanical barking and howling grew louder still, the baying no longer muffled by the thick few inches of wood keeping it contained. Inside, nestled amidst crumpled white packing paper and multi-sized tan styrofoam peanuts were a great many beagle shaped clocks, each of their ceramic painted tails wagging back and forth, bumping up against one another and grating against the sides of the box as the alarms sounded on each and every one of them, both in this box and in the others.
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha

Darling ~ Iscariot

Barnaby Goodweather

Barnaby peered into the box, cautious, apprehensive, worried. Fully awake now and cognizant of his slightly foolish behavior, Barnaby wondered what it was that had been making that racket. Somehow, deep down, he had known that it couldn't be real dogs inside of the box. Maybe it was leftover reverberations of the trauma his crew had been through a few days ago. With repairs and such, perhaps Barnaby hadn't quite processed the gravity of losing his ship or his crew, stemming from previous abandonment perpetrated by his ex-wives, his parents, his brother, and any other former crew who left without coming back.

Or maybe he just really liked dogs and he was kind of sleepy and got confused?

Either way, looking into the box, he found what seemed to be countless clocks, shaped like little hound dogs, the barking coming from a small speaker in the back of the thing. Picking one up to examine it, Barnaby thumbed a button, which turned off the alarm on this one in particular. His gaze fell on the box still full of barking clocks. He dropped the one and picked up another, likewise turning off the alarm. A few more clocks came and went, before Barnaby looked at his crew who were all looking at him.

"Well, c'mon, make yourselves useful and get at 'em. Ain't gonna turn theirselves off." Before anyone (particularly Mona) could say anything else about the novel nature of the cargo. "And these ain't toys. Useful desktop decoration is what they are." He said, picking another one up and giving it a thorough looksee. The large, affectionate gaze. Friendly color pallet. Wagging tale. "Cute, though."
Dialogue Color - LightBlue

Mona Heyerdahl

March 14, 2019, 08:01:46 PM #7 Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 09:15:36 PM by Mona Heyerdahl
It was snowing on St. Albans, because that's all it ever did. The familiar weathered farm house stood off in the distance, not far from a barn and a chicken coop. At first she wondered if anyone else was home. They'd just won the war after all, and Mona half-expected the whole field to be filled with revelry. Or at least to hear a few gunshots in the distance. Instead she only heard the incessant clucking and crowing of a gaggle of hens running out from the backside of the coop, being spurned along by some red-maned beast waving its warm as it growled and stomped along.

"Holger?" Mona heard herself ask. The face seemed mostly like that of her brother's, yet she couldn't think for the life of her how he'd managed to beat her home. Last she heard he'd been captured, but that didn't make sense if they'd won. They had won, hadn't they?

Her boots thumped on the wooden porch as she approached the door she'd gone through a countless number of times in her life. A door as weathered and familiar as the rest of the house. One she always assumed would just be there, waiting for her to push it open and warm herself by the fire. She breathed deep, expecting to smell her sister's cooking. A pot bubbled above the flame, but Mona didn't smell a thing.

The orange light spread across the furniture: a large kitchen table with stools enough to seat all her siblings, her father's easy chair, the rocking chair where she was told her mother eased her into a slumber in the earliest years of her life, and a worn rug pulled from the hide of whatever uncanny monster her grandfather claimed to have slain before he passed. She turned away from the hearth, intent to find someone home to share the good news with, when she nearly bumped into her younger sister Erna.

Though the baby girl of the Heyerdahl family practically beamed up at her, Mona returned a tight-lipped smile with hesitation. Kind-hearted as her sister was, she and Mona maintained quite a rivalry growing up. Though they'd grown to the point where she towered over the redhead now Mona found it hard to believe her sister wasn't constantly up to something. What she might be up to now, Mona hadn't a clue. Nor could she reason why she wore pigtails today, when she so often used to picked them out of her hair much to Helga's chagrin.

"Come on!" Erna demanded as she snatched Mona's hand. "You almost missed it!"

"Missed what?"

Rushing down the halls until they came to a packed bedroom, Mona's breath stuck in her throat. There, surrounding Helga as she sweat, panted, and screamed in the bed, stood Mona's entire family gathered as if to bear witness. She wanted to know how Hafthor made it home without a scratch, trouble Sigurd for a story from one of his books, inquire into Fridtjof's last good meal, make sure Nils was keeping himself out of trouble, and ask Holger what he planned on doing with the chickens he held under each arm, but as her gaze drifted from his mad smile to the look of worry on her father's face as he offered Helga his hand to grip through the pain, Mona's breath caught in her throat.

Helga's stomach looked filled to bursting. More shocking, perched between her legs offering words of encouragement and urging her to breathe, breathe, push was Mona's own mother. "Impossible." She told herself. "No, dear. It's not impossible. Happens all the time, really. But it's still something special. Here, you should have a look for yourself." Helga released one last excruciating roar and pushed with everything she had. Her mother turned away from her and toward Mona, lifting the bundle in her arms aloft. "See? It's a miracle."


Mona shot up in her bed, drenched in a cold sweat. The howling continued despite her woken state, and slowly she realized the sound originated from within The Darling - home. The days that followed since returning from the derelict had been almost as exhausting as the return itself. Though the emotional event reminded all the crew what made their ship so special, the family pulled together and worked doubly hard over the next several days to make sure all repairs were met.

Mona found herself feeling for Riot as the days wore on. The ship's mechanic seemed to be blaming herself for everything that'd gone wrong, while Mona silently kicked herself for not being thorough enough with her checklists. The thought kept her up night after night, resulting in repeated and unnecessary trips around the ship to inspect this and triple check that. Finally, she'd return to her room, flop in her bunk, and at some point pass out. When she crashed just a couple hours before waking, she'd been sure tonight would be her first full night's rest. "So much for sleep, then..." she muttered as she pulled herself out of the bed and grabbed a heavy jacket to throw over her bedclothes. She pushed her bare feet into her boots and tied the strings more sloppily than she should before heading out of her room and following the howling chorus to the cargo hold just in time to walk up beside Barnaby Goodweather as he frantically went about disabling the alarms on what appeared to be dog-shaped clocks. Novel, indeed.

"Well, c'mon, make yourselves useful and get at 'em. Ain't gonna turn theirselves off." Mona raised a sleepy and judgmental brow in a silent question to her captain. "And these ain't toys. Useful desktop decoration is what they are." The Valkyrie cracked a smile, retaining her laughter as she set about the task in an attempt to lead the crew by deftly following Barnaby's example.

"Cute, though."

"They've certainly got a type of charm. Can't say I ever cared for beagles myself. They tend to howl at everything. Too nervous for my tastes. Good hunters, though!"
When the battle is lost And the slain ones are chosen The Valkyries will guide us home
We'll heed the final call A call to arms The Valkyries will guide us home
Blind Guardian. "Valkyries"


"I'm thinking ghost dogs," Tabitha said, seeming to materialize out of thin air. Riot jumped a little. "Gudene holder meg... Quiet as a ghost yourself Tabby." Riot said with some chagrin at being startled. She reached out to affectionately tousle Tabitha's hair at the exact moment Tabitha crouched down to hold out her hands to Bandit, causing Riot to tousle empty space. She shook her head and chuckled to herself.

Bandit paused long enough in her pacing to sniff one of Tabby's hands before returning to the crate.

Barnaby finally managed to pop the top off of the crate, revealing... clocks. Beagle shaped clocks. Bandit immediately hopped up on her back legs against the crate to look inside, her head turning this way and that, her ears twitching back and forth in confusion. Riot laughed. The Captain picked one up, looked it over, and finally found the off switch.

"Well, c'mon, make yourselves useful and get at 'em. Ain't gonna turn their selves off. And these ain't toys. Useful desktop decoration is what they are." Barnaby said. "Cute, though."

Mona had joined them by now as well. "They've certainly got a type of charm. Can't say I ever cared for beagles myself. They tend to howl at everything. Too nervous for my tastes. Good hunters, though!"

Riot stepped over to the crate and began helping turn them off. She picked one up and held it out for Bandit to sniff. "Hva synes du bandit? Er de hunder?" The big dog only seemed more confused, but she went back down on all fours and began her pacing again with a huff. Riot smiled and shook her head, hitting the off switch and placing the clock carefully on the deck before reaching in to dig out another one. After turning two more off a small frown crossed her face, and she held one up for a closer examination. "Little bit odd though, isn't it? All of them going off at the same time like this? Not to mention... Sure they're cute, but are they really worth the cost of hiring a ship to come out and salvage them...?" Riot's smugglers sense was starting to quietly go off. A little worry in the pit of her stomach that they were about to find something in the crates that would get them into trouble.

Viktor Söderberg

It had been five days since the derelict and Viktor was not sleeping. He'd managed maybe ten hours between the crew returning safely and now. He was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. He was both worried about not getting sleep, but also that he might be keeping his fellow crewmates awake with his insomnia. He was spending a lot of late nights in the lounge attempting let the other get their rest. By day three, he was having trouble recalling his interaction with others – which was making mealtimes awkward at best and his counselling sessions disastrous at worst. His coordination and concentration were both suffering. On day five, he wasn't sure if he could tell you his own name if asked. Worst of all he had started to hallucinate.

It was not that he hadn't tried to sleep nor that he didn't want to. He certainly had and did, but sleep wouldn't come. In the brief moments where he did drift off, he saw himself and Tabby in the engine room not being able to fix a part or getting caught in a tangle of tubes and wires. Then it was too late, the Darling was out of control and catastrophically crashed into the derelict. If it wasn't that, then the doors didn't open leaving Riot, Rian and Mona suffocating out in the black. So, he'd sleep just long enough to hit a REM cycle and then jolt awake with anxiety.

On the fifth night of this he'd had enough. He went to Tabby to request a sleep aid. He didn't really like chemically induced sleep, but he was afraid of what would happen if he didn't get some good rest soon. He left her with an herbal tincture and the promise of a full night's sleep.

He slept the sleep of the drugged. It was a heavy, thorough sleep with no interruptions from mind or bladder. When he awoke, however he felt groggy and his bones ached. It felt as though he hadn't moved an inch in the ten hours he was asleep. With weighted limbs and a full bladder, he stumbled his way to the latrines. He noticed nothing amiss until exiting the toilets, when he thought he heard noises from the cargo bay. He shuffled in, looking gummy eyed, sleep tousled and practically dead on his feet.

Everyone one else was already here and there were weird clocks on the floor and it looked like everyone was reaching into the boxes to pull more of the same clocks out.

He mumbled through tired lips, "You all having party with out me? What time is it any way?" He laughed at his own joke and leaned, exhausted, against a wall. 

Rian Carpenter

March 19, 2019, 04:53:43 PM #10 Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 04:57:21 PM by Rian Carpenter
Rian had every intention of helping with the barking clocks. But there were other thoughts churning through his mind. As a security officer for the vessel, not knowing what was in the crates was a preferable mystery. Knowing, he now he could only begin to wonder. Riot said was he was thinking before he could. Something was odd. Something was off. More importantly, Rian had stayed up all night working out and trying to fix his rifle. But the workday had arrived, and so had the entire crew. The security officer needed to think on what in the hell was going on, and it was going to take a bit to turn off all these gorram dogs. Rian had always been more of a cat guy but Bandit was a welcome presence on the ship. These impostors were nothing but a nuisance so far.

Marching off almost as if he was intentionally defying the captain, Carpenter jogged down towards the galley to fetch something crucial for them to complete this task. He nearly bumped into the preacher on his way.

"Right on time for the fun, Viktor. I'll be right back."

Just a few notches below the urgency for a life and death situation, he flew down the halls of the ship. He rifled through the cupboard in the galley for a few seconds before finding and stacking some cups, then detached the entire coffee machine and shot back into the hall with it under his arm. He bounded back into the cargo bay and alerted the crew.

"I think we're going to need this."

Turning on the machine, he dialed it to the maximum strength, and hit 'go'. With a brief, agonizing moment of delay, it suddenly clicked on and started heating up. Steam rising from the vents, and the faint bubbling noise that preceded the glorious smell of freshly brewing coffee, Rian breathed it in for just a second, then got back to work. He started prying a crate open as the coffee maker did its magic. The gunhand, and cook, and now alarm clock disabler let his groggy mind start to try and ponder. He mused aloud, echoing Torvik's sentiment of befuddlement.

"Yeah. Gotta say risking my pìgu on account of these alarms. Cute and loud as they are...Hard to think how these were worth the effort."

Holding one in his hands, he clicked the button and turned it off. Eyeing it skeptically he gave it a couple taps, curiously, to see if didn't sound as hallow as it should.

Barnaby Goodweather

His crew raised valid points. Why were they sent all this way, asked to risk life and limb, for a bunch of silly clocks? "They's payin' us. End o' story. That's how this works. Keeps gas in the tank and food in our bellies. Ya'll know I don't like jobs that oblige a man to pull a trigger, so that's as particular as we can afford to be." Barnaby said, and he was matter-of-fact about it. He wasn't offended by their asking, nor was he defensive in his answer. It was truth, pure and simple. In order to keep things going, they had to go get things. It was how he had been raised and for fifty years he'd been doing it that way.

He held one of the dogs in his hands, on the verge of reconsidering his entire livelihood. The Darling had nearly been destroyed. His crew was nearly killed or hurt or marooned on a derelict space ship. The canine chronograph looked up at him with dewy eyes, judging him and his choices. What else could he do? This was all he knew. Couldn't throw it all away after one bad job. And, so far, it was less than half bad. Not like it could go any more wrong.

The beagle was tossed back to the pile and he continued on turning off other ones. "They didn't offer what we was gettin' and I didn't ask."
Dialogue Color - LightBlue

Mona Heyerdahl

"Hva synes du bandit? Er de hunder?" Mona smiled watching Riot interact with Bandit. Having the dog on board definitely made the ship feel all the more like a real home, but in truth the Darling's second in command felt more reassured by the fact that Riot seemed back to herself after their experience on the derelict. Mona hated that Riot became a little distant in the wake of it all, and felt relieved to see her joking around again. "Little bit odd though, isn't it? All of them going off at the same time like this? Not to mention... Sure they're cute, but are they really worth the cost of hiring a ship to come out and salvage them...?"

"She raises a fair point, Barn. Seems like a bad investment to me. Stripping the wire and harvesting the outer hull, sure." Mona disabled an alarm and held the beagle clock aloft. "But this? I don't get it, either." Barnaby didn't offer a reply, only looked under his furrowed brow at her and went back to work. Nose to the grindstone, that one. Mona decided she best follow her captain's lead.

"You all having party with out me? What time is it any way?"

"Not quite the shindig we might throw on St. Albans, preacher, but we definitely don't lack for noise-makers. That's for sure!" Mona offered the man a smile as he propped himself against the wall. His presence served to comfort her in a way as well. St. Albans' climate was cold, harsh, and tended to produced people in a similar vein. She appreciated that Viktor sought to share the comforting warmth of his own nature by traveling out in the Black, even though surely they could use it back home.

"Right on time for the fun, Viktor. I'll be right back." Rian's merry disposition, though taxing in its way aboard the derelict, struck Mona now as a testament to a hidden perseverance in Rian and she couldn't help but think he deserved a little more credit than she tended to offer him. "I think we're going to need this." Then he walked in with the entirety of their coffee maker under his arm and the same satisfied look on his face as when he harvested components from the derelict's bridge. Mona smiled willfully through gritted teeth, telling herself repeatedly that this wasn't the time to ream the cook for misplacing the ship's equipment. After all, he could brew a mean cup of joe and they might be in for a long night. "Yeah. Gotta say risking my pìgu on account of these alarms. Cute and loud as they are...Hard to think how these were worth the effort."

Rian's suspicions echoed her own and a few others', giving Barnaby caused to address the issue once and for all. "They's payin' us. End o' story. That's how this works. Keeps gas in the tank and food in our bellies. Ya'll know I don't like jobs that oblige a man to pull a trigger, so that's as particular as we can afford to be." Mona's smile wilted and her lips puckered into a silent whistle. "They didn't offer what we was gettin' and I didn't ask." The Valkyrie's mouth tightened and went a bit lop-sided. She wondered how much of Barnaby's tone of finality came from his father, a man she'd only met the once before when she finally tracked the ship down to deliver the bad news. Barnaby's "don't ask" policy probably got the crew through the war in those days, and Mona wouldn't be the one to fault him for it now. Instead she opted to soldier on and do her duty as a loyal subordinate to her superior officer. She snapped up a clock, disabled it, and then snatched at another, then another, and another, and one more with a surprisingly stubborn switch. Intent to prove to even a clockwork puppy that little in the 'Verse dared rival the headstrong humor of a half-rested Heyerdahl, Mona squeezed and increasingly applied the strength of force earned in hard work and battle until the plastic beagle's head gave way with a cringe-inducing *KRAK!*. "Oh! Um..."
When the battle is lost And the slain ones are chosen The Valkyries will guide us home
We'll heed the final call A call to arms The Valkyries will guide us home
Blind Guardian. "Valkyries"

Tabitha Haemish

Tabitha smiled brightly up at Riot, giggling as her curly mess of a mane was ruffled to further heights of dishevelment. It didn't bother her in the least, her hair could do whatever it wanted to, and if it ended up tousled out of love, she was okay with that. Leaving the blonde mass where it was, she padded silently toward the crates, peeking into the opened one and meandering away from the group to eye the ones that were still sealed. Once or twice she bent down to press her eat against the side of a box, listening to the barking and howling from within. She wandered aimlessly around the boxes in some tangled figure 8 pattern before making her way back to her crew, her hands settling on the edge of the opened container.   

Bending in and just about toppling head over heels into the pile of pups, the doctor grabbed one of the alarm clocks and stood back up, staring happily into its big baleful eyes. She agreed with her crew (even if it was said in sarcastic jest), they were awful adorable. She didn't even mind the howling. Turning it over to find its off switch, Tabby listened to the crew debating the reason for their rescuing of these novelty items. She understood it completely, of course. Who wouldn't rescue these little dears? But her crew didn't seem convinced.

She hummed to herself, letting them speak among each other, only pausing to set her now deactivated pup back into the pile and grab another. Turning, she made her way to the smell of coffee and the Preacher, setting the howling alarm clock into his hand and grinning up at him warmly. "We've got puppies," she whispered playfully, giggling at the end of her words.

The sound of something cracking and their XOs uncertainty drew her attention back toward the group, head tilted like a curious animal, eyes blinking rapidly. "Oh," she murmured, nodding to herself and looking at the dog in Viktor's hand before hooking her arm around one of his and tugging him toward the rest of the crew. "What's inside?" she asked in a whisper, thinking it'd be a little puppy soul wafting up from the clock to join the recycled air. How unfortunate.
Dialogue Color: Pink


Ship time: 1032
Location: 43 minutes out from Aphrodite's orbit.


Smaller bits of splintered material sprinkled off the base of the decapitated dog's neck, bouncing off the side of Mona's hand before hitting the cargo hold's grated flooring and disappearing into the cracks, the sound drowned out by the remaining muffled howling from the still sealed containers. Inside, there was about what one might suspect would be necessary to contribute to the proper functioning of a clock and accompanying alarm. Wires led from a small speaker to a circuit board welded to the back of the clock face. The welds were clearly aftermarket, and a little rushed and the wired had been stripped past what had been done in a factory or shop, something a mechanic of any talent would recognize right away. The chip itself was about standard size, however it was far more complex than a clock would require. Anyone with technological knowledge or even the barest of intuition would have known immediately that something wasn't adding up. There were too many possible connection points that were currently unoccupied, the chip seemed made to support a much larger array of commands and data than the body it came in would suggest.
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha

Darling ~ Iscariot

Mona Heyerdahl

Mona's cheeks turned a certain shade of rose against her otherwise pale flesh. "Sorry, boss. Clumsy oafish hands of mine weren't made for finer finger work. Don't mind ya dockin' my pay, if the customer raises a stink." Mona looked curiously at the hole left open where the head broke off at the neck. "Curious little thing, ain't it? Wonder what makes it tick..." Playfully she peered inside the plastic clock, looking at gears and mechanisms she only partially understood from her attempts at getting motors running while ducking the hail of Alliance fire. The alarm's mechanics connected to the inner circuit board by thing copper wires, but in Mona's limited experience with electronics she felt the inner circuitry seemed better suited for something much more complicated; a hand held communication device, at least. She looked back and forth between Rian and Riot, her hand passing offering the clock between the two of them. Confusion wrinkled her brow. "Someone a little more technologically inclined care to take a look at this? Moving parts are one thing, but this is a bit outside my wheelhouse."
When the battle is lost And the slain ones are chosen The Valkyries will guide us home
We'll heed the final call A call to arms The Valkyries will guide us home
Blind Guardian. "Valkyries"


Viktor joined the rest of the crew in the cargo bay, and Rian ran off to retrieve the coffee maker. That was good. The preacher looked like he could use a cup or three, and for that matter Riot would need one as well before they managed to turn every single one of the gorram alarms off.

"She raises a fair point, Barn. Seems like a bad investment to me. Stripping the wire and harvesting the outer hull, sure." Mona said, and Riot shot her a quick smile for agreeing with her. "But this? I don't get it, either."

"They's payin' us. End o' story. That's how this works. Keeps gas in the tank and food in our bellies. Ya'll know I don't like jobs that oblige a man to pull a trigger, so that's as particular as we can afford to be." Barnaby said matter of factly. "They didn't offer what we was gettin' and I didn't ask."

The reply was what Riot expected. These days it was almost an unspoken rule that if someone didn't tell you what you were hauling, you didn't ask. The assumption being you were both better off if you didn't know. Riots frown remained and she continued to study the clock. "Hva er du? Hva gjemmer du?" She muttered to herself.


Riot jumped a little bit and looked over at Mona, looking for the origins of the sound. "Sorry, boss. Clumsy oafish hands of mine weren't made for finer finger work. Don't mind ya dockin' my pay, if the customer raises a stink." Tabitha's whisper was barely audible over the noise. "What's inside?" Mona studied what remained of the clock. "Curious little thing, ain't it? Wonder what makes it tick..." She wrinkled her brow in confusion. "Someone a little more technologically inclined care to take a look at this? Moving parts are one thing, but this is a bit outside my wheelhouse."

Riot leaned in to look. She expected a tiny little battery, a speaker, a couple wires, and a tiny little circuit board. What she saw matched her expectations entirely, except for the circuit board. It was to complex. Way to complex for such a simple device. She reached out and took the clock, studying it closely, and holding it so Rian could look as well if he so chose.

The welds looked rushed, definitely aftermarket, and the wiring had been stripped. The chip itself was clearly made to support far more wires than it currently was using. Riot stared at it for a moment. It was so familiar. She knew she'd seem something like it before. Then the it clicked. "Moderløse geiter av alle moderløse geiter! I think its part of a guided weapon. A rocket maybe? Or a missile? I saw ones similar to this during the war. I'd have to hook it up to something to be sure but I bet its part of the flight control, or maybe the guidance system?" She looked around at the crew, and then her gaze shifted to the crates full of clocks. "Gods... That's a lot of chips..."

Viktor Söderberg

Mona made a quip about St. Albans. He wasn't sure they were remembering home quite the same way. The shindigs he remembered – at least the ones he'd attended – we're about equal to this. Not many in attendance, everyone kind of tired, and a lot of noise that didn't make much sense. 

No one had laughed at his joke about the time, but no one had answered him either. He supposed it didn't matter, he was still very much in the red on his sleep debt. Time is a concept better understood by those whose brains were not wrapped in a thick blanket of haze.

A thick blanket sounded nice. Viktor was considering tiptoeing out of the room and returning to his bunk. The sleep tincture, it seemed had not worn off quite yet. It did have a fierce competitor when the coffee arrived.  It smelled wonderful, but it was on the other side of the room from him. It looked too far for his feet to shuffle. He remained where he was and slid down the wall a little, not bothering to help the crew turn the raucous alarms off.

He had begun to drift. His body floating through space like the derelict but he was warm and happy in the desolate environment. There was a certain peacefulness in the darkness of space that he would not have expected. He reached out a hand and watched it move slowly, languidly through the absence of air. His body tumbled lazily away from the Darling, away from his friends, away from his home, away from everything he had ever cared about or known. He drifted away past stars and planets, past his senses, past his own self. He was merely energy, only thought, just a small lingering of human experience and emotion in a void that was a deep, dark and everlasting as anything he could have ever imaged.

His backside hit the deck and the feeling of weightlessness was smashed by reality as he jolted back awake in the cargo bay. He hadn't come all the way around from the void and returned to the actual when Tabitha handed him a howling alarm clock. She appeared to be moving slowly, but with perfect precision. A trained dancer through a vat of molasses.  The thing felt heavy. It was an anchor pinning him annoyingly in the shallows, stopping him from drifting back out into the deep comforting depths. She leaned down and put her lips close to his ear, as if she knew he was still partially elsewhere. He saw eternity in her face and her hair tickled his cheek and nose. She whispered, giggling "We've got puppies." Her voice was distorted, low and sinuous, a recording slowed down and stretched out. It was one of the most surreal moments of Viktor's life.

There was a sharp KRAK! and the past seconds which had felt like lifetimes speed up and crashed into the preacher.

"Sorry, boss. Clumsy oafish hands of mine weren't made for finer finger work. Don't mind ya dockin' my pay, if the customer raises a stink."

He was being pulled up and away by Tabitha, her arm hooked around his tugging him toward the rest of the crew. She was stronger than she looked but he was offering no resistance. He managed to stumble over his own feet on the few steps nearer the gathered group. His arms were weights by his sides as he over-corrected and the baying clock slipped from his fingers, smashing into pieces on the ground. 

"What's inside?"

He laughed, only slightly manically, and let out a "Whoops! I think I broke your dog Tabitha." His words were delayed from the action, he thoughts were further delayed only processing her question after Riot had started examining the clock Mona had broken. Viktor thought Tabitha was asking about the one he had smashed.

He pulled her around to the broken body and gestured at it with an open hand.
"Just bits and bobs, see Tabs. It's clock stuffing."

He scooped up some of the wreckage, including the computer chip, in his big hands and dropped it into Tabitha's small cupped ones.

"...I think it's part of a guided weapon..."

Viktor's head turned like a whip toward Riot as he finished his analysis.
  "I bet its part of the flight control, or maybe the guidance system?

It then rotated slowly back to Tabitha and the pieces in her palms. His voice was measured and careful like he was afraid the sound might activate whatever it was.

"Maybe you should put that down."
He put one of his hands over the two of hers and pushed them slowly toward the floor.

Rian Carpenter

April 09, 2019, 04:39:09 PM #18 Last Edit: April 09, 2019, 04:48:29 PM by Rian Carpenter
"Well I'm suddenly much more comfortable with nearly dying on account of these pups."

Rian mused as he poured himself a cup of joe. He took an immediately regretted sip of the piping hot java and resumed deactivating the clocks as he went. He wondered to himself how much one of these would get him on the black market. One would probably pay for a pretty swanky vacation, but could also just easily get him very dead. Anything worth the trouble they'd been through was also probably worth sending at least one assassin. The former black-hat picked up another alarm and turned it off. He shook his head in amusement at another as he in turn deactivated it and moved on to the next.

"I'd say we all just say right now we don't know what these are for sure. That way nobody can say we knowingly took part in ... something. I'm sure whoever made these just doesn't mind skimping on good hardware..."

His implication that they may be taking part in a bit of "light smuggling" and with everything suddenly real, he had experience with the steps one takes to avoid a racketeering and conspiracy charges. His light mood slowly faded as he continued his task, disabling the alarms. Carpenter had yet to fully divulge the nature of how he came to their ship and his less than illustrious past lived under another name. Rian Russo the villain had a lot more to bring to the table than Rian Carpenter the humble cook and it needled him every day. It was frustrating but he resolved himself to try and find some way to finally bring that chapter of lies by omission to an end. But its not like anyone makes "So, I used to be a member of a murderous gang that took over a mining town." greeting cards.

Coffee in one hand, he got up and found an empty crate in the cargo bay, filled it with packing foam, then dragged it over to their salvaged alarm beagles and started tossing the silenced ones in.

"These highly valuable puppy dogs have me about four times as anxious as normal and I haven't even finished this cup yet. I'm thinking I'm gonna put on some subtle armor when we move these in the open. They're worth sending us for, they're worth sending worse people for."

Operational security just became a whole new ballgame and Rian found his mind already running through scenarios and any possible angles of exposure they might have to someone who'd want to get this from them.

Barnaby Goodweather

Barnaby Goodweather was not the confrontational sort. He was capable in an altercation or an arbitration, but he was slow to use hostile methods in either. Preferring to go-with-the-flow, making enemies was bad for business, and Barnaby doubly didn't like arguing with his crew. He preferred not to think of them as his employees, more as friends and family, but sometimes a captain's gotta captain. And so, when presented with pushback (as he saw it) on his plan of action for the ship, and by some subconscious proxy, himself: Barnaby reacted poorly.

"Ya'll quitcher bitchin' and get these damned clocks turned off. And that's all they is, clocks dammit. Ain't gonna get no higher price just because they's made from some de-luxe hardware. I made a deal and a deal's a deal, so so so so... deal with it." He said, flustered. The outburst was uncharacteristic of the Captain, who was more known for his joviality and good nature, and the creeping redness on his cheeks betrayed the shame and regret he felt for it. Barnaby looked down at the clock in his hand and clocked the time. "Half-hour from landing. Get the rest of these turned off. I'll be at the helm." Barnaby dropped the clock on the pile and turned and stormed off, more angry at himself than anyone else. "Anymore of 'em get broke, comes outcher pay." He said before leaving the cargo bay.

In the cockpit, a place he couldn't have gotten to quick enough, Barnaby allowed himself a moment to take a deep breath. Regret and rage and sadness filled him. It wasn't a blown-out gravitec exchange or shady business dealings that would take away his crew, his friends, his family. It was bullshit like that. He allowed the emotion to overtake him for just a moment, a strangled sob of frustration and fear, and then sat behind the yoke and went to work.
Dialogue Color - LightBlue

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