S1:Ep2 - Blasting Off Again

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

Mona Heyerdahl

April 10, 2019, 03:47:53 PM #20 Last Edit: April 10, 2019, 03:53:48 PM by Mona Heyerdahl
"Incoming! Hit dirt!"

Mona pulled the woman next to her to the ground and rolled them both back into the trench. Mortar shells cratered the ground around them, caving in the open spot in the barbed wire where they'd attempted their advance. Hera may as well have been Hell at this point in Mona's eyes, and she cursed Hafthor for the millionth time since throwing on the brown coat she wore now. She felt a tug at her thigh and looked down, pulling the length of the coat aside to inspect her leg and seeing roughly three inches of metal sticking out. Mona flexed her knee and turned her foot, then flinched in pain. She didn't know how deep the burning chunk pierced her, but at least her limb remained mobile.

"Sar - hyack - sar... jen..." Mona crawled toward the breathless gurgle coming from the younger woman's throat. Femke's tour with the unit began only a few weeks prior, making Hera her first battle under The Valkyrie's watch. As a Staff Sergeant Mona's responsibilities usually only concerned around a dozen soldiers including another ranking Sergeant who thankfully possessed more medical knowledge than she. Her shouts failed to rise above the steady pattern of explosions and she felt her throat becoming raw with effort. Suddenly remembering her radio and for the first time recognizing the rising ringing in her ears, Mona called in the request for the medic and attempted to stall the blood flowing from the shrapnel lodged between Femke's ribs. Blood bubbled across the young specialist's lips. Desperate for ideas, Mona looked up to the heavens and saw a star shooting across the sky. Then lightning. Then thunder. "No. That's not right." Dazed and confused, Mona peeked her head above the trench and watched rockets rain down from Alliance gunships above.

"Tabby. Listen to the Preacher. Put it down."

Mona blinked twice and swallowed, reminding herself where she stood. Barnaby's rant only half registered as she worked her empty hands in an attempt to get the blood flowing back into them to chase the chill out. Her palms felt clammy and she wiped them off on her coat. She knew the frustration and the pressure that bore Barnaby's words into the cargo hold, or at least she thought so. "Deal's a deal", said her Captain. And orders were orders.

"You all heard the Captain! Less speculatin' and more workin'!" Mona barked, well aware of her own part in stoking Barnaby's fire but finding no use in apologizing for it at the moment. Barn had his job, she had hers, and the crew had theirs. Her eye's flicked toward the drink in Rian's hand. "Corporal, cup of coffee could go a long way right now." Mona disabled one more of the clocks and tossed it into the crate Rian hauled over without realizing the way she erroneously addressed him. "And Rian." She plucked another pupper from the litter and glanced toward the door, assuring herself that Barn went well out of earshot. "Got any of that armor to go around?"
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"


April 10, 2019, 04:57:56 PM #21 Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 02:01:29 PM by Lomari
Ship and Planet time: 1120
Location: Aphrodite's Space Port

They’d been attached to something harmless, and yet had caused an explosion all on their own. The clocks, now known to be hiding something far more sinister and valuable within their endearing bodies, were eventually silenced and packed back up as well as the crew was able. Only four had been broken by the end of it, and considering the number of hounds, anyone could consider that a win. But despite the sense of closure some might have felt at knowing, finally, why they’d risked life and limb for this cargo, others were still reeling from their own nightmares and emotions.

The ship, guided by Barnaby’s expert hand and patched up nice and neat thanks to Riot and any hands that’d helped hers, rocketed down through Aphrodite’s atmosphere as smoothly as the Captain could have hoped. Fire licked almost lovingly at the edges of the front window and aside from the rumbling and vibrating through the hull, The Darling seemed pleased as punch to be headed dirtside. The same could likely have been said for a fair number of her crew. It seemed that perhaps things were finally looking up for this particular job.

As the ship neared the docks, it became immediately and abundantly apparent that the Alliance presence had seemingly been upped in this region of space. Official vessels took up almost all of the available stations at the port, smaller light weight vessels flew in an orderly fashion though the sky, carrying people and information this way and that like bees relaying information to their hive. A formal hail was sent up, but from the docks themselves and not the Alliance, if that was any comfort.

“Scarab Class Cargo Vessel, state your designation and purpose for the visit,” came a stern, but blessedly laid back voice through the pilot’s communications systems. Standard procedure, something familiar and easy. The kind of message that was only sent because it had to, to keep things tidy and records neat. Following the reply, the man sent them their berthing station assignment and cleared them to land. So far, so good.

Baron Hugo Tate would be expecting them in the afternoon, and they’d made good time getting to Aphrodite, so they had a few moments to spare before the meeting.
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha

Darling ~ Iscariot

Barnaby Goodweather

April 12, 2019, 07:43:17 AM #22 Last Edit: April 12, 2019, 07:47:25 AM by Barnaby Goodweather
"Don't be so hard on yourself." Barnaby said. His reflection stared back at him with a sort of patented aw shucks mope. He tried on a smile, thin and forced. It was no use. With a sigh, he picked his gunbelt off of his side table and wrapped it around his waist, belted it, and adjusted how his old Webley sat on his hip, opposite his drawing hand, until it was comfortable. He didn't wear his gun while on board the Darling. Never saw a need for it within the confines of his home. But going dirtside, that was another tale waiting to be told, with peculiarities and particulars he had no way of foretelling. Better safe than sorry. On his way out of his bunk he pulled his planetary hat from its hook, wide brimmed and sweat stained, and sat it atop his head.

Hesitating only a moment before switching the light off and heading out to face his crew, Barnaby found an assemblage of apprehension in his abdomen. That is, a knot in his stomach about what he'd said and how he acted with the crew. He could tell himself they wouldn't hold it personal. That they understood why he had done what he done and said what he said. But truth was, Barnaby would always have that little worry in the back of his mind that held one undeniable truth: he wasn't cut out for the captain life. That voice sounded an awful lot like Jeremiah Goodweather. "Button up." With that small command, Barnaby's back went straight, he stiffened his upper lip, and Pappy's voice faded away.

Barnaby could be a good captain when he set his mind to it. And boy, his mind was set, alright.

Exiting his cabin, he found the rest of the crew as ordered in the cargo bay, ready to make landfall. Barnaby gazed upon them, the shame he felt subsided for now, and replaced with admiration. "Job is simple, same as it ever was. Aside, you know, from all the times it ain't been so far." He tried on a grin that felt a bit better than the one before. "Mona, Rian, and I are gonna meet with our employer. Baron Hugo Tate. Bigwig here on Aphrodite." His hound-dog blues fell on Mona, passively double-checking his plan with her. "Riot, Tabby, Preacher, ya'll are free to reconnoiter as you like. Pick up anything that needs picking up, if it suits you." And now, the hard part.

"Next in order, I'm beggin' pardon for my words earlier. Weren't meant at any of ya'll. Been a troublesome time of late, and I'm sorry for any worse I mighta made it." Barnaby left that with a pained smile, emotions threatening to overtake him. He cleared his throat, regained composure, and continued. "Revelations of the nature of our shipment got me thinking, which is why I set our groups how I did. Don't know how this encounter will unfold. If it turns showdown, Mona and Rian are the best bet to get all three of us out in one piece." Both got a nod from him, in appreciation of their skills. "Preacher." Barnaby regarded Viktor. "Hope you'll take this with due respect to your prevailing occupation, but I know you also served and I'm counting on you to keep on eye out on Tabby. Riot."  The mechanic's turn. "I know you can take care of yourself. Keep on eye on the good reverend, wouldja?" A wink. "And if anything happens to me, I'm counting on you to fly everyone else outta here. Now, before you say you can't fly, I want you to think about that a tick. You know Darling better than anyone, inside, outside. She'll mind what you tell her." One more. "Tabby, the agenda for the three of ya'll is up to you."

Objective cynicism told him to be prepared.

Subjective optimism told him that wouldn't be necessary.

"Everyone's got my permission to take a lackadaisical approach for the next twelve hours. Somewhere middling between on and off guard, savvy? We've all earned a little furlough. Any questions?"
Dialogue Color - LightBlue

Tabitha Haemish

After Barnaby's clear display of frustration, Tabitha had been less upset that he'd snapped at them and more worried about what that meant for his state of mind. She'd wanted to bring him a cup of tea and something sweet to snack on after the dogs had been properly put away, but she knew sometimes people needed their alone time, even if she had a hard time knowing when that was. Boundaries were still something the doctor was getting used to, although she was thankful the other members of the crew weren't as strict with their walls all of the time wherever she was concerned.

Taking some time to get dressed for the day and tidy up the bunks, Tabby had wandered this way and that until she ended up serendipitously in the cargo hold. She'd trusted the ship to get her there eventually and hit hadn't failed her. Her mass of platinum curls were held up in a loose and messy bun via a synthetic ivory clip, although two ever petulant strands of coils refused to be done up and stayed framing her sweet face. Her gauzy blouse had been paired with a blue corduroy vest and a ruched skirt in an effort to keep cool once they got out into the mid morning, early afternoon sun. She turned her head upon seeing the Captain enter and smiled brilliantly in his direction, blue eyes twinkling. Her hands remained clasped behind her back as he told them the plans for the day and she rocked back onto the heels of her granny boots once or twice, almost tipping over each time.

"Riot, Tabby, Preacher, ya'll are free to reconnoiter as you like. Pick up anything that needs picking up, if it suits you," he told them, and the Doctor nodded. It wouldn't hurt to resupply while they were dirtside, and doing it while the Captain and the others dealt with the main delivery wouldn't be such a bad idea. Two stones...one stone? Her face scrunched up. She didn't like the idea of hitting any birds with any stones, so she resolved to make up a new saying when she had some more time. Having been assigned her team (and protectors), the woman hooked her arms with Riot's and Viktor's, grinning up at them in turn and wiggling happily. She was eager to get everyone off the ship for a while. A little sun and some fresh air would do them all some real good after their time in space. Recycled oxygen and UV lights could never really replace the feeling of warm sun dancing along your skin while a cool breeze ruffled lovingly through your hair.

The mule had been moved to the cargo boxes and they'd been placed onto the vessel and its towing attachment sometime during their approach and landing by one of the members of the crew, which was a blessed time-saver. The sooner they got these pups off the ship, the better off they'd all be. Tabby nodded firmly, agreeing with herself.
Dialogue Color: Pink

Rian Carpenter

April 12, 2019, 07:40:11 PM #24 Last Edit: April 12, 2019, 07:43:37 PM by Rian Carpenter
Rian of course, had extra armor. He'd figured out he could order the ballistic material they used to make the much more expensive combat armor in bulk. The catch, was that it was the spare chunks of oddly shaped bits that were cut off to make proper vests and other armor. The inventive former crook would coat one side of the foam like material in a non toxic adhesive, and like a patchwork, attach it to himself before properly dressing. It was much less noticeable and conformed to the natural shape of his body. But then it was like ripping off several hundred band-aids when the job was done. It was worth getting the look Mona gave him when he explained she'd have to temporarily glue a bunch of composite material to herself naked before she got dressed for work today. A sacrifice one makes for cost savings and not ruining the lines of your outfit.

Back on the cargo bay before the briefing, Rian was early, and for a business meeting, Rian Carpenter always wore a suit. Sure it was on paper, just the sale of some adorable yip-yapping alarms. But he was a man of habits. It also helped that coming to an exchange over-dressed can give you an air of knowing what your doing. Which was especially helpful when he didn't. Today, Rian also didn't want to know what the deal was with the alarms. He was quick to question what type of deal they'd gotten themselves into, but the more evidence things had gotten murky, the more he wanted the job done and over with.

He understood why Barnaby was cranky with them. If he was in their place he'd probably have told everyone to shut up to, and possibly in a more curt manner. He sure knew when he was Rian Russo his managerial style with Russo gang wasn't exactly polite. While many would chafe at the backslide in authority, he coveted the decrease in stress and frankly, more time to devote to trying to perfect his dumplings. He only had one question for his old friend:

"Do you know where I can get good meat here? I'm thinking after this job... ribs...side salad... I think we've earned it right?"

The gunhand and cook was clearly addressing the whole room. Stress of the situation at hand, why not envision your reward? He smiled and talked of dinner, but in the corners of his own mind he was still at work thinking about operational security. Going more restrained, Rian was just sporting his side arm securely tucked into a holster under his black suit coat, and a several spare magazines tucked into pockets custom fitted to the inside. While he didn't bring along his prized rifle, not wanting to worry their contact, he did tuck his spare revolver into another holster on the other side of his jacket.

Viktor Söderberg

In the time Viktor had been on the ship, he could count the instances of the Captain losing his temper on one hand and it was almost always to do with stress. Viktor would offer his counselling services, but he expected Barnaby would decline, as he did most times. The preacher would still offer though, soon as the deal was done and Barnaby could sit down a fraction long enough to listen. 

Viktor never did assist with the clocks. His brain was too fried and his body too slow. He'd ended up falling back asleep there in the hold with all the crew working around him. Tabitha was nice enough to escort him back to his bunk and let him sleep the remainder of the sleeping tincture off. It wasn't long but any bit of shut-eye he could manage at this point was helpful.

So it was that he found himself rushing to shed his lounge pants and cotton shirt and don his usual black on black, threading his clerical collar into his shirt. It was only after he missed the same belt loop - twice - that he took a breath and slowed down, realized the crew wasn't going to leave without him.

He was last to arrive in the cargo bay. It was only a little embarrassing, but at the very least he was more awake than the last time. He was unsure if it was the scant bit of extra sleep or the sharp realization that he'd been running late that made him more alert.

"Riot, Tabby, Preacher, ya'll are free to reconnoiter as you like. Pick up anything that needs picking up, if it suits you." "Preacher." Barnaby regarded Viktor. "Hope you'll take this with due respect to your prevailing occupation, but I know you also served and I'm counting on you to keep on eye out on Tabby. Riot, I know you can take care of yourself. Keep on eye on the good reverend, wouldja?" A wink.

The preacher gave the Captain a small but sincere solute in acknowledgement of his assigned duties. However, he was unsure that he, himself, would need looking after. He was considering their twelve hours of free time when he felt Tabby hook her arm into his elbow. She had a warm and far away look on her face when Viktor glanced down at her. He could imagine her already running through sunny fields in her mind.

Knowing full well he was intending to spend at least some of his time in a local church or temple, he turned to his companions and said, "Just the three of us, then. What kind of mischief shall we get up to?"

Mona Heyerdahl

"This is ridiculous."

Mona lined the outside of the armor fragment with the adhesive foam and pressed it into place near her collarbone. She'd laid out the pieces Rian gave her earlier and assembled them like a puzzle across her bed until they formed a shape close enough to her own, and thanked her makers yet again for blessing her with her father's shoulders instead of her mother's bust. Still the assemblage, which covered her from abdomen to shoulder well enough but left most of her back aside from her more easily reached kidneys far more open than she liked, left very little room for easy breathing. Sure beat catching hot lead, she knew for a fact. Mona glanced at the scar from a flesh wound on her left arm just beneath her shoulder.

She pulled a loose, tattered sweater over her torso as best she could before turning to the gray, unarmored, decommissioned Alliance issue flak vest she set out for herself. A momentary glance toward the crate in which the brown leather trencher rested threatened to stoke the old embers of defiance into raging wildfire. She drew in as much air as she dared to allow herself as the adhesive compound set, knowing the gaps that existed between the pieces of cobbled together scrap plate already left her prone to thin blades and not wanting to widen them further, then released her reluctance with a sigh. Mona thought of her family, friends, and her home aboard the Darling. She wouldn't let Hafthor's war burn this patch of paradise.

After zipping the vest over the sweater and knocking on the hidden plates to reassure herself of their stopping power, Mona strapped on a modified holster which held a .44 Magnum revolver beneath her left arm and allowed her to carry a 12 gauge, double-barreled coach gun across her back. The pistol holster carried extra ammunition for the shotgun in the strip of tailored excess leather hanging beneath it. The Valkyrie hoped not to use either weapon, but hoped against losing anyone in her crew a might more. The whole gorram get up itched to the dickens as Mona marched toward the cargo bay, per Captain's orders.

Mona thought briefly on her part in stoking Barnaby's frustrations earlier with the clocks and wondered if she ought to apologize for acting out of line. She understood the stress of command, and while one might argue the difference between fighting it out in a trench and transporting goods for a living, Mona knew the work the Goodweathers did during the war and admired them for it. Its one thing to leave your blood behind on St. Albans to continue the legacy if you don't make it back from the frontlines, and another thing altogether to put both your family and your home on the line in any situation. Arriving at the cargo bay, Mona looked for Rian to question him about the reliance of his plating method and, when he finally arrived, almost wondered aloud whether the two of them could be any more oppositely fashioned. She shook her head at his polished appearance, but had to admit he cleaned up rather well. Not that dapper gentlemen were usually her type.

Once the Captain came to address the crew, Mona only nodded along with the beat. She didn't think he had anything to apologize for: a crew needed to stay focused on working hard and getting food in their bellies, not breeding paranoia and doubt about the nature of the job. When Barnaby mentioned her and Rian's reliability in a firefight she returned his gesture with a stern nod of her own. She smiled in spite of herself at Rian's request for dining suggestions, before replying. "I'd say you got the right idea there, Chef. Though I think I'd prefer a shiny, juicy, steak and a couple taters aside." Mona looked around with a smile toward the rest of the crew, hoping to reinforce Barnaby's words about lackadaisical furlough despite her potentially heavy-handed armaments.

As the crew split into its assigned groups, Mona edged in close to Barnaby as she thought acceptable and spoke to him in a low voice. "For what it's worth, Captain, I ought to be the one to apologize. I'm the The Darling's first officer, and it's my job to keep the crew on task. I should've reported my findings to you in private, and instead I let them wind themselves up with scuttlebutt. You ought not to even have to concern yourself with a mess like that, so... Don't know if 'sorry' is what you want to hear, and when I was enlisted we were learnt that apologies didn't amount to much. But you're more than my commanding officer, Cap - you're the head of this family and master of the house, and I want you to know that I know I owe you a might better than that."
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"


"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." Riot blinked at the uncharacteristically flustered outburst from the Captain, and her mouth fell open a little bit. She hadn't been bitching had she? She didn't think she had.

"Half-hour from landing. Get the rest of these turned off. I'll be at the helm." Barnaby said, and stormed off. "Anymore of 'em get broke, comes outcher pay." He said before leaving the cargo bay. Riots eyes fell back to the amalgamation of clockwork and circuitry in her hands. She sighed. Mona, snapping back into hardline XO mode barked out a command. "You all heard the Captain! Less speculatin' and more workin'!"

They weren't just clocks, and Barnaby knew it. The hardware in all those clocks could kill a lot of people if used correctly. But. That wasn't their problem. They'd been hired to do a job. If they didn't do the job they didn't get paid. If they didn't get paid they didn't eat, or worse, they wouldn't be able to keep flying. Riot grimaced. She didn't like it, but this was how it was for a small ship out here in the black. You do the job, and then you get paid.


They'd touched down without a hitch, and now Riot and the rest of the crew were in the cargo bay waiting for the Captain.

Riot was dressed for town. Jeans, a t shirt covered by an old beat up canvas jacket, finger-less leather gloves, and her gun belt. Today she was packing her .357 and a solid knife with a 4 inch blade. Bandit sat at her feet, fidgeting in anticipation of new smalls and room to really run.

Barnaby entered, and the crew all turned to him as he spoke. "Job is simple, same as it ever was. Aside, you know, from all the times it ain't been so far. Mona, Rian, and I are gonna meet with our employer. Baron Hugo Tate. Bigwig here on Aphrodite. Riot, Tabby, Preacher, ya'll are free to reconnoiter as you like. Pick up anything that needs picking up, if it suits you." Riot nodded. Tabitha hooked her arms through Riots and Viktors, and was wiggling with anticipation some fresh air and sunshine. Barnaby paused a moment, and then continued.

"Next in order, I'm beggin' pardon for my words earlier. Weren't meant at any of ya'll. Been a troublesome time of late, and I'm sorry for any worse I mighta made it" Barnaby said with a pained smile. Riot smiled back at him, hopefully conveying that she understood and that no pardon was necessary.

"Revelations of the nature of our shipment got me thinking, which is why I set our groups how I did. Don't know how this encounter will unfold. If it turns showdown, Mona and Rian are the best bet to get all three of us out in one piece." That definitely made sense. Riot was no stranger to violence, and she'd killed more than a few people in her life, but Mona was on another level. And if Rian was as good as he was supposed to be, Riot felt comfortable with him watching the Captains back.

"Preacher. Hope you'll take this with due respect to your prevailing occupation, but I know you also served and I'm counting on you to keep on eye out on Tabby. Riot."

Barnaby turned his eyes to Riot. "I know you can take care of yourself. Keep on eye on the good reverend, wouldja?" He winked, and she grinned and nodded. "And if anything happens to me, I'm counting on you to fly everyone else outta here. Now, before you say you can't fly, I want you to think about that a tick. You know Darling better than anyone, inside, outside. She'll mind what you tell her." Her grin turned slightly mischievous. "Jeg forstår. Anything happens to you, I take my ship and I come rescue you. Got it." It was only partially in jest. If there was a solid chance she could rescue them without endangering the rest of the crew, she would... but if there wasn't, she would get everyone to safety.

"Tabby, the agenda for the three of ya'll is up to you. Everyone's got my permission to take a lackadaisical approach for the next twelve hours. Somewhere middling between on and off guard, savvy? We've all earned a little furlough. Any questions?"

"Do you know where I can get good meat here? I'm thinking after this job... ribs...side salad... I think we've earned it right?" Rian piped up.

"I'd say you got the right idea there, Chef. Though I think I'd prefer a shiny, juicy, steak and a couple taters aside." Mona replied, to which Riot made an exaggerated sound of longing. "That. Let's do that. Ribs, salad, steak, taters. All of that. Gorramit, now I'm hungry!" She said to Mona and Rian, maintaining her grin. "I blame both of you."

Viktor looked over at Tabby and Riot. "Just the three of us, then. What kind of mischief shall we get up to?" Riot turned her grin towards him. "Oh I'm sure this one will get us into all sorts of trouble." She said, leaning over and giving Tabitha an affectionate headbump.


April 19, 2019, 07:17:01 AM #28 Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 04:36:14 PM by Lomari
Planet time: 1200

Team 1:
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort.

Aphrodite was a planet of excess, for just about two people. While the majority of the world remained modest and simple, there were two hubs of fanciful activity on opposite sides of the globe. Baron Hugo Tate found himself in possession of one such bustling hubbub of wealth and debauchery, a marbled tower paying homage to wealth and power. Surrounded on all sides by hard working shop keeps and struggling families, there was more than a little animosity between the Cythera and the rest of the city. However, Baron Hugo Tate cared not. The opinions of peasants meant little to what he considered to be the Lord of Aphrodite.

The sun had just risen high enough to begin shining down on the mule as it made its way toward Cythera, its cargo in tow and the three members of the Darling's crew settled in safety in the vehicle. A gently cool breeze blew through the city, cooling off the rays of the sun before they could heat up the world too much. The sky was a vivid blue and soft clouds languidly rolled about in the cobalt expanse. All in all, today was turning out to be a good day.

There was no resistance as the cargo vehicle pulled up to the back doors to the casino, although a guard muttered something into an earpiece, then nodded curtly at the response he received. With a frown, the burly, bald man lumbered up to the parking mule. "Captain Goodweather?" he asked, his voice cracked and deep, like it had been baking beneath the sun too long. "The Baron is waiting for you up in his penthouse. He asks that you behave respectfully as he has guests today." The man's chocolate gaze slid slowly over Mona and he seemed to grimace a little at her appearance.  There was a moment of consideration before he deemed her acceptable and stepped aside, pushing open the back door and holding it for the crew. A pair of workers for the casino hopped down off a loading dock and stood with their arms crossed by the Mule, waiting for the go-ahead to unload.

Team 2:
Location: The Market

The Market was the true lifeblood of the planet. Cultures collided and melted seamlessly into the vast expanse of shops, tents, and stalls. Meats of varying levels of quality and identifiable animal product line the shaded portions of the clearing, the more sparkly and eye-hatching accessories and goods remaining out in the sun just at the entrance to the market, leading shoppers into the mile or so of stores. High quality, knock offs, expensive store fronts, hand-made stalls; the market had it all. Something else that it seemed to have was a heavy Alliance presence. Groups of guards wandered about with their full regalia and weapons half drawn, seeming both relaxed and constantly on guard, their eyes slipping this way and that as though in search of something. The feeling of being followed or watched was hard to ignore, but whenever someone turned to look, no one was looking back.

Tabitha had clearly wanted to find the first field of flowers and lay in it, but she did have enough self-awareness to know that they had more pressing things to attend to. Like restocking the kitchens so Rian could make them a hearty dinner for tonight to celebrate the completion of another job. Of course, they would be bound by whatever meats were available here at the market, as Tabitha would never condone acquiring any other meat in any other way. She walked arm in arm with her team, looking around excitedly and trying not to rush off in any unknown direction. She'd promised to behave herself, after all, and transferred her outing leadership to Rian and Riot.
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha

Darling ~ Iscariot

Barnaby Goodweather

April 19, 2019, 08:12:16 AM #29 Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 09:36:55 AM by Lomari
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort

"Yup!" Barnaby said, perhaps too enthusiastically. "That's me." He intended to introduce Rian and Mona, but the guard seemed impatient to get them inside and, manners notwithstanding, Barnaby tended to agree that time was of the essence. The sooner they got rid of this cargo, the sooner this whole ordeal would be over and that was what he really wanted. His crew each got a look and a nod in turn, indicating that they should get to unloading now that the doors were open and permission was given to go inside. It took Barnaby a full minute to realize that the Baron had his own workers waiting for his okidokey to get to work, and that wasn't really even until he went to unstrap one of the crates from the mule. "Oh. Shucks. Sorry. You boys go'n ahead." Barnaby waved them on, unsure if he should step back or help. The workers didn't seem to care about him or his feelings. They had a job to do, and did it quickly and efficiently.

A bashful, awkward look was shared with Rian and Mona. "I'm more used to, you know, doing the heavy." As the workers did their work, Barnaby wandered deeper into the loading area. It was pretty standard, all things considered. "This is big. Real big. Tidier than a body might think. Can't even speculate what comes through here, day to day, to need so much space." Barnaby said, sort of rambling to himself, but with enough volume for everyone to hear. This was nice, to be sure, but it wasn't exactly what he expected. A Baron was kind of like a King, Barnaby reckoned, and he therefore sort of thought that a building as big as this one would be a bit fancier. But he wasn't one to judge. "Say, we meeting the Baron down..." He spun, beginning his question, but not finishing it as he noticed that the guard was awaiting them at the door to an elevating lift off to the side. "Oh. We're going up? Right. We're going up." He said, as if informing Rian and Mona of a plan of action he knew about all along.

Inside of the elevator, Barnaby, unsure of what to do with his hands, crossed them over his chest, put them on his hips, tried hanging his thumbs on his vest, anything to make them seem useful. It wasn't working. "This is a shiny lift. Fanciest I been in by a mile." No response from the guard. Barnaby thought of a question. "What is a Baron, anyhow? Like a King, right? Boy..." He shook his head, impressed.
Dialogue Color - LightBlue

Rian Carpenter

April 23, 2019, 04:33:57 PM #30 Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 09:36:47 AM by Lomari
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort

Rian counted each guard he saw as they were waved in. It wasn't an entirely different animal being the protection on a job. Trick was you just had to be casing the joint everywhere you go. Luckily it was practically muscle memory at this point. It made you view the world around you with a form of detachment, like you're watching a cortex vid or playing a game. They were on the buyer's home turf that put them all on their back feet, from an operational security perspective, and on a negotiation level. Nothing says power play like having your contractors ride all the way up to the top of your medieval domicile.

He suppressed a smirk at Barnaby's enthusiasm as he followed behind him.  He kept back by about five or six paces, just off to the side. On the lift he intentionally placed himself slightly between the guard and Barnaby. It became harder to keep up his palace guard act when the captain started musing aloud about how royalty even works these days. Withheld chuckle aside, he had a point. Didn't the 'verse wide Alliance government basically make royalty more or less meaningless? One thing it did mean for certain was that he either came from money, or acquired so much nobody would dare question the efficacy or accuracy of the title.

"Personally I always thought the French had the right solution for royalty."

The populist and former labor revolt leader couldn't help but reply. Quietly he hoped the guard wasn't that up to date on his 18th century Earth history. Though even if somebody ran to teacher, he probably didn't need to worry about his reference to the guillotine-ing of the French nobility on Earth that was. Hopefully.

Thackery Arlington III

Location: Cythera Casino, Penthouse

Arlo took a step back, the better to stare up at a rather garish painting on the baron's wall. He squinted critically at it for a moment, trying to assess whether the artist was daring or merely incompetent, and coming up short of a conclusion. "Tate," he called idly over his shoulder. "Tate, you didn't pay actual credits for this, did you?"

There was no answer, so Arlo shrugged delicately and moved on to the next display, taking another sip of wine as he went. The glass was nearly empty. Did he want another? Arlo rather thought he did. It was excellent stuff, really; apparently, from some moon nobody had heard of out in the Red Sun System, but sure to be the next big thing, so the baron said. Arlo could believe it. Remarkable what one could find outside civilized society!

Oh, there were hardships too, to be sure; his bags had been handled quite roughly by an unspeakably surly attendant on Hera, and Arlo was quite certain that the incident was to blame for his missing set of carnelian cuff links, but all in all, his journey had been a most rejuvenating one thus far. These other Border planets weren't really all that bad, once you got right down to it. In fact, he'd found a most exquisite antique typewriter in a dusty little market just the other day, something he'd have been sure never to have seen on Bellerophon. The salesman had said it dated all the way back to Earth-That-Was, and while Arlo highly doubted that, it still had a certain old-world flair that was sure to be just the thing to channel all this new inspiration he was collecting.

"Tate," he called again, actually turning this time to look down the hall. "Is there still a bottle of...? Blast it, where has he gone?" Arlo suddenly remembered -- perhaps he'd been distracted by the awful artwork at the time; perhaps he really ought not to have another glass of wine -- that the baron had actually excused himself some time back. Something about dealing with some tradesmen or other, Arlo thought, though he couldn't remember for quite certain.

Curious now, he abandoned his empty glass on a side table and went trotting off in search of his errant host.
Dialogue Color: darkseagreen | 8FBC8F

"I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle."

Mona Heyerdahl

April 24, 2019, 06:49:22 PM #32 Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 09:36:37 AM by Lomari
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort

While the climates of Aphrodite and St Albans differed a great deal, Mona Heyerdahl stole quick glances at the eyes of those laborers and shopkeepers lining what passed for a road along the way to the laughably phallic shape that dominated the city's squat and stout skyline and felt a phantom of the kinship shared by those making their lives mining the mineral rich claims making up the economic and cultural foundations of her home planet. The way the erected tower of Cythera rose above the buildings surrounding it like a middle finger sending a clear message to those peoples considered "below" the ruling individuals reminded Mona of the mountain top estates from which those proprietors whose currency she and her townsfolk earned in order to purchase back the fruits of their own labor looked down upon her and her kind in a similar manner. Yet, she saw a kind of pride among these people and a certain liveliness to them she also felt in defiance of those that sought to tell her what kind of life she ought to live.


Is that what drove her to take up with Hafthor's rebellion? Is that what drove her to Hera, only to return to St. Albans with considerably less than what she took with her? She thought on the weathered leather with the mark of her rank on the sleeves back on The Darling. She thought on lives she took and those she saved in the trenches. She thought on those she failed to save and the ones she brought to their final rites. She thought on those whose fates remained unknown. The Valkyrie looked to her Captain's cheery and bewildered mask and she thought of Nate. She breathed the pang of guilt in deep to dwell on it in silence. Rian and Barnaby spoke little as they continued along, giving her an excuse for the introspection. As the mule finally reached its destination, Mona considered all the other motivations that kept her going: family, duty, responsibility, work ethic, commitment. Honor. Even guilt. Especially guilt. And a personal quest for redemption from a burden she placed upon herself. Not pride alone, she considered, but pride factored into it well enough. Perhaps pride lay as the root of all those other motivations in the end, and Mona thought perhaps a healthy sense of pride might not be the worst thing after.

And so it happened that a proud daughter of St. Albans stood in the shade of Hugo Tate's monument to his own sense of self worth and scoffed. She took into account the general trappings of wealth, and the many armed thugs employed to protect it. At the mines the thugs wore uniforms. Here, they preferred suits and ties.

One such thug approached the mule, muttering something into the simple piece of  communications hardware attached to his ear. He eyed Barnaby and Rian with a sense of reserved scrutiny but addressed the Captain in a professional tone. He then eyed Mona up and down with a disapproving grimace on his face, not atypical to her expectations. From a young age she cut a rather "unladylike" appearance, having inherited much of her frame from her father and putting it to hard work in the mines along her brothers as opposed to making the house a home with her sisters. Yet they learned to appreciate her skill with a Personal Continuous Miner Unit just as the Independents would learn to appreciate her skill with guns and explosives. The Valkyrie eyed the guard up and down in a similar manner, though her expression conveyed indifference as opposed to disgust. Finally he waved the group through, clearly disinterested in learning what besides her appearance distinguished Mona from his idea of what a woman ought to be. She moved to lift a crate of the salvaged alarm clocks as if to drive the point home, but found casino employees already going about the task instead.

The former browncoat kept her head on a swivel as they moved through the vast supply docks beneath the Casino. Mona let Barnaby do the talking, and unlike Rian did as little to blend in as possible. She stood out her entire life, after all, and learned early on to use it to her advantage. Besides, most of the guards barely came up to her own shoulders and she liked it that way. Of course, this came as a bit of an inconvenience when she, Barnaby, Rian, and their escort crammed themselves into a lift destined for the Baron's penthouse. At least, that seemed to be the plan according to the guard's declaration and Barnaby's half-sure response. While Rian put himself between Barn and Tate's welcoming committee, Mona positioned herself across from the guard diagonally in a corner and glanced cautiously at the emergency hatch above. For some reason, the idea of a live grenade dropping into the lift played out in her mind. She tried to shake it off, though the tension of being trapped in a kill box wouldn't leave her until Barnaby tried to make awkward small talk as she learned he was prone to do.

"What is a Baron, anyhow? Like a King, right? Boy..."

The Valkyrie shrugged. She'd heard the phrase "mineral baron" thrown around enough on St. Albans, but knew nothing of it's actual roots.

"Personally I always thought the French had the right solution for royalty."

"Don't know much about that." She offered flatly. "Served with a lad from Persephone in the war, claimed his father as a Baron Something-or-Other. Don't remember. Good soldier. Caught most of a frag. Sent what was left of him home in a box." Mona looked around slowly, her eyes finally leveling on the guard. She wore the Valkyrie's blank mask of death, reflecting again on all those lives lost in her brother's war. If only those lives and her efforts sought to unsettle the status quo of St. Alban's instead of the entire 'Verse. Perhaps the spirit of revolt would've prevailed better against the Alliance's fat and happy lap dogs than the full might of the United Navy and its Marines. Something her father told her about picking her battles after she got her lip split in a bar fight echoed in her mind, and she blinked herself back into reality as the elevator came to a stop.
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"


Location: Cythera Casino, Penthouse

Out of the shadows of the penthouse, A MAN APPEARED, dressed all in black, and in a manner in which Arlo might wonder where the hell he had even come from. "I don't think we've met." He said, extending his hand. "Abernathy. Warren Abernathy." His grip was as hard as his hands. This was a man used to work, though he dressed like he didn't have to anymore. "You're Arlington, aren't you?" Abernathy gave him a coy look. "I've done business with Pemberton off and on over the years. Small contracts. Wholesale, mostly. You have access to the best steel in the 'Verse, you know that? And I love that umbrella description 'Manufacturing'. You can make whatever the hell you want. Brilliant." He laughed, wandering over to the bar and helping himself to some scotch. "You a gambler, Arlington?"

Thackery Arlington III

April 25, 2019, 10:27:57 AM #34 Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 09:35:51 AM by Lomari
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort


Arlo had, perhaps, made more dignified noises in his lifetime, but that was neither here nor there. He recovered from this... Abernathy's sudden appearance, and took his hand, naked skepticism open on his face as he shook it with a much lighter grip than Abernathy held. "Charmed, I'm sure..." he said in tones that made it obvious he was anything but sure about the stranger or how charming Arlo happened to find him.

"You're Arlington, aren't you?"

"Yes," Arlo answered slowly, "Although --"

But Abernathy was already hurtling down a course of thought about Pemberton and their steel -- which Arlo wouldn't hesitate to admit was quite fine -- and he struggled to get a word in edgewise. "Yes, we're quite proud!" he finally huffed once Abernathy had drawn breath. ""And what exactly is it that you do, Mr.--"

"You a gambler, Arlington?"

Again thrown off his pace by the sudden question, Arlo eyed him suspiciously as he poured his drink. In an unconscious mirror of the other man's actions, he found himself picking up his glass from where he'd left it. Having something to hold onto helped him feel a little more stable and he cradled the empty bowl with a rather rigid parody of insouciance.

"From time to time, I suppose," he said with an awkward shrug. "Never quite got the knack for it. What's your game? Horses, cards, dock-racing...?"
Dialogue Color: darkseagreen | 8FBC8F

"I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle."


April 26, 2019, 08:49:22 AM #35 Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 09:35:40 AM by Lomari
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort

"Life." Abernathy said with a rye smile. Succinct. Cryptic. Full of tzao gao? The man was difficult to read and deliberately elusive. He had underworld criminality written all over him. A soft chime sounded overhead, to which he, again, smiled his devil's smile. "That's our cue. Let's find out if this is one of those times, shall we? I believe Tate has arranged a game of cards for us."Setting his drink down and leaving it behind, Abernathy led the way out of the room and to another door, which he opened and allowed Arlo to enter first.

Through the door was an ornate game room, the centerpiece of which was a round, felt covered table. There were animal heads and trophies on the wall, a billiard table, and a full service bar complete with tender and a waiter, both uniformed. Around the room were several men, one woman, all reeking of wealth and, apparently, waiting to join the game. In addition to the wait staff and the players, several members one could assume to be of the Tate's security team were stationed.

But no sign of the Baron.

The waiter appeared at Arlo's elbow with the wine he had been drinking, ready to pour. Abernathy's scotch glass had already been replaced in his hand.

Elsewhere on the penthouse floor...

The Elevator carrying Mona, Rian, and Barnaby arrived with a DING and if Barnaby thought the Loading Dock and the Elevator were fancy, he was in for a bit surprise. The Guard who took them up stayed on the elevator, but another member of the Baron's security team met them at the elevator doors. There would be no chance for unaccompanied wandering.

Mattie Rooney

April 26, 2019, 10:56:30 AM #36 Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 09:35:30 AM by Lomari
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort

The elevator doors opened to reveal a surly young woman in a black suit, her blonde hair fashioned into a sleek bun just above her neck. The casual observer might have mistaken her expression as the kind of tough guy face guards put on to be more intimidating, but that wasn't the case here: it was Mattie's resting bitchface of boredom.

She had barely joined the Baron's ranks, and already she'd mentally checked out of the job. It probably wasn't that bad of a gig, objectively speaking. The pay sure was better than the scraps she'd been living off for the past few months, ever since everything had gone to hell on Persephone. Some people might have even liked the uniform, but Mattie was not one of them. She felt like one of those dogs whose owners forced them to wear a humiliating sweater for a funny cortex video. It could be worse, she reminded herself. The Baron, slimy guī sūnzi that he was, could have put her in a slinky cocktail number instead. Small victories.

She'd been referred to the job by an acquaintance of hers, and had initially wanted to turn it down until said acquaintance had convinced her she couldn't afford to be picky. He'd been right from a purely financial standpoint, of course, but now she wondered if any payment was worth prancing about inside some smug rich wángbādàn's phallic symbol.

Mattie decided she'd see this one job through, then she was resigning. Or at least she gave herself the permission to tell herself she'd do that. It took some of the pain away.

She quickly sized up the three men as they stepped out of the elevator. One of them had suited up, but the other two looked as out of place in the glitzy corridor as she felt. It took Mattie a couple of seconds to realize the tall one was actually a woman.

"Right this way, we ain't got all day," she gestured impatiently and herded the trio down the hall, falling slightly behind to better keep an eye on them.

Dialogue color: darkkhaki


Planet time: 1215

Team 1:
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort.

The guarding and escort duties of the first guard were blessedly handed off to the new recruit and he let out a sigh of relief that he'd not have to answer any of the guest's questions or be in the presence of the strangers any longer. Even as the 'help', one got accustomed to a certain caliber of visitors, and these three were not exactly shaping up to be that sort of quality. In fact, their leader hadn't known what a Baron was. That was going to go over well. In any case, the man remained by the elevator eyeing the trio and keeping his arm out to ensure the door didn't close shut on any of them as they exited.

With the help of the surly woman, who did look far less eager to be there then just about every other guard or servant present, they were eventually led to a door just as rich as the rest of the tower. The mahogany (now, you can imagine how rare and expensive mahogany was out in the 'Verse) was pushed open and the interior guard held the door open to allow Mattie and her ducklings to enter.

Unlike with a certain wealthy guest, the working men and women were not offered a glass of wine or scotch, but were stared at curiously by those around the table and eyed with suspicion and readily available violence by the security detail. The door shut behind them with a soft thud and a guard passed Mattie with a nod of greeting to stand between the crew of the Darling and the exit.

A couple minutes later, the Baron thoroughly enjoyed making an entrance, you see, a bookshelf in the back of the room slid to the side and a man full of pomp and charisma (or so he thought) walked out with a beautiful gem of a woman wrapped around one of his arms. He was dressed precisely the way one might expect a Baron to dress, donning in white linen suit to keep cool in the heat of the day and a white hat of some notoriously famous design. Everything about him screamed 'This is my palace, this is my planet, and everything on it belongs to me.' which most assuredly included those in attendance, in his mind. Seeing the dirty peasants darkening his doorstep, the Baron threw his arms wide in gracious greeting, the woman stumbling back a bit when dislodged from her place against him. He didn't seem to notice.

"Ah! Captain Merryweather! And the crew of the Darjeeling!" he greeted, smile dazzling beneath his neatly manicured mustache. "Right on time," the man praised, although he hasn't bothered to keep track of their timing, really, and there seemed to be some sort of disinterest or dismissal hidden in the warmth of his voice. With a grin and a wink to those around the table, the Baron sat and straightened his sleeves with a curt pull at the end of each one. "Abe! Meet Captain Merryweather," he said, gesturing now half-heartedly toward Barnaby, his attention drifting from the crew to the cards at the table. "Arlo, my boy, come! Sit! Join the round!" he invited. Well, ordered, really. 

Team 2:
Location: The Market

As Tabitha released her companions to rush happily toward a "Good Dog" food stand, absolutely misunderstanding its purpose and seeking only to play with said 'good dogs', it would become startlingly apparent to Riot that they were being followed. From more than one direction, it seemed. It was hard to tell from the crowd, but similar shapes and more importantly, uniform colors, seemed to constantly be in the milling group of shoppers around the trio.
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha

Darling ~ Iscariot

Viktor Söderberg

April 27, 2019, 10:06:21 AM #38 Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 09:32:22 AM by Lomari
Location: Market

A stop at the market was the first order of business for the trio, as it should be. Viktor had learned long ago that it was hard to feed souls when stomachs were growling. Tabitha was practically pulling at them to explore through the stalls – if not physically, then at least emotionally. The girl was easy to excite but being planet-side always brought out the most enthusiasm in her. Riot, on the other hand was calm, but alert, neither directing nor subverting the group in any particular direction.

Viktor was already enjoying the time on the planet, though not nearly as much as Tabby. He liked being around people and was naturally outgoing. He waved, said hellos and shook hands as he walked. It was good they were not in any rush. His clerical collar could cause quite a commotion whether it be positive or negative. Today, they were in luck that most of it was positive. The people of the market seemed to like seeing the preacher around, with a few exceptions. There were some who frowned at him or hurried in the other direction. He didn't take it personally.

The preacher was distracted momentarily when a mother and young boy approached him. The boy was about 5 or 6 and obviously suffering from some sort of illness. He was outrageously skinny with knock knees and a bowed spine.  It was a strange sight to see on such a rich world, but even rich worlds have their pockets of impoverished peoples where not everyone can afford the medical treatment that was sure to be available here.

"Excuse me," she said timidly, "this is my son, James. Could I possibly ask a brief moment of your time?"

He saw from the corner of his eye, Tabitha bound off towards a nearby vendor. He looked over to Riot throwing his head in Tabby's direction, "Could you make sure she doesn't get into any trouble? I'll only be a minute here and then I'll catch right up with you."

He turned back to the mother and son, "My name is Preacher Viktor. It's nice to meet you James." He held out his hand, but the boy hid behind his mother's legs.

"He's a bit shy," the mother explained. "We don't want to take up too much of your time Father. It's just my boy has been sick a real long time and we haven't been able to afford a doctor. Could you please pray over him and heal him?"

There was a lot of Viktor to unpack in the mother's request. He hadn't bothered to correct her on the "Father", he was used to being mistaken for a priest by now. He was a firm believer in the power of prayer, but also in the power of medicine. He knew his God was a Healer, but he also knew that more often than not, medicine worked faster and better. He gestured the pair out of the way of the flow of shoppers and knelt down on one knee to be on a level with James.

"James, your lovely mother has asked me to pray for you to get better. Would that be ok with you?"

The boy nodded and remained partially hidden by his mother.

"Could I put my hand on the top of your head?"

The boy shook his head but pointed to his shoulder instead. That was fine with Viktor. He didn't need physical contact to do this, but he found that it made for a stronger connection and his shoulder would work just fine.

The preacher put his right hand on the boy's shoulder, reached out for the mother's hand with his left, bowed his head and recited a prayer of healing and comfort. After he was done, he stood and addressed the mother once more.

"Can you stay here for a minute, please? I have a friend who may want to meet you. I just have to ask her to come over."

The woman gave him a small nod and he turned away in search of Tabitha.

Barnaby Goodweather

April 29, 2019, 10:00:01 AM #39 Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 09:34:57 AM by Lomari
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort

Upon entering the gaming parlor, Barnaby removed the hat from his head, his hair sweaty and matted down. Seemed impolite to leave it on inside a place as opulent as this, but truth be told, the Captain might have painted a better picture if he had kept it on. His eyes saucered as he looked up and down and left and right, clearly impressed by everything and everyone. "Oh hey there, Baron! Pleasure to make your acquaintance." Barnaby held his hand out for Tate to shake, but found it left hanging. He swung it around, trying to find someone to help him put it away, as it were, but none seemed all that interested. "Okay then." It was hard to get Barnaby down, and so his voice remained full of cheer.

The Baron and his guests sat around the table and even Barnaby didn't miss that the invitation didn't extend to him and his. But that was ok. They were here on business. No time for games. At least, that's what he told himself. The game started and everything got still but for the flurry of movement and shuffling of cards back and forth. Barnaby gave a look at Rian and Mona and realized they were waiting for his word. Captain's gotta captain. "So we got the cargo all unloaded in the, you know, cargo area." He didn't really want to discuss payment in front of all of these people. "We'd love to get out of your hair." Jeremiah Goodweather's voice echoed in his head. "Oh, and um... your excellency, my ship, she's uh... she's called the Darling." Was that rude? Jeez... "Darjeeling is nice, too, though."
Dialogue Color - LightBlue

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