S1:Ep6 - Lights, Camera, Action!

Started by Lomari, August 01, 2021, 04:17:48 PM


August 01, 2021, 04:17:48 PM Last Edit: October 18, 2021, 03:53:43 PM by Lomari
Ship Time: 1837
Ship Location: Secondary Claim, St. Albans

The sun was nearly set when everyone regrouped at the Söderberg home, with a noticeable change in the roster. Rian's data pad beeped again to remind him of the message waiting for him, forwarded to his machine from the Darling and likely originally meant for the Captain of the ship.

If anything was going to be explained, sorted out, or come to terms with, it was going to be now. The snow picked up, gently raining down on them in thick white sheets, blocking the world around the home with a white haze.
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha

Darling ~ Iscariot

Rian Carpenter

August 05, 2021, 10:45:20 AM #1 Last Edit: August 05, 2021, 10:48:39 AM by Rian Carpenter
Rian smacked the snow off his jacket and set his rifle down. He felt like a dog that needed to shake off the coat of snow that was now melting into his clothes. Taking off his snow-covered boots he felt the urge to drag out the process of removing his snow-encrusted outer layers. If the rest of the crew hadn't noticed Barnaby's absence yet, they were going to momentarily. He took a long breath and gripped one of the Söderberg's chair's rungs tightly as he considered how to address the assembled crew.

The gunhand and cook turned first mate, turned acting Captain cleared his throat loudly. He tried to form the first words of something more elegant, more nuanced than what ended up stumbling out of his mouth.

"So... Uh.... Barnaby left."

He tapped his knuckle on the backrest of the wooden chair again as he gripped it nervously with his other hand. He leaned on it as if he needed it for support.

"I was fixin' to tell him he needed a vacation, and fool I am, he already'd arranged it... I don't know much beyond that he means to stretch his legs for a minute. Metaphorically speaking of course."

He eyed the message on his cortex again. Nervously or as if it would give him the confidence to speak again, he cleared his throat again.

"I got a wave 'bout a job from that purple belly ex of his..."

The young acting captain chuckled thinking of the message meant for Barnaby.

"I figure after I fix us and our kind hosts some pork chops we can get underway. Just a city slicker lookin' to haul some sheep as a matter of creative inspiration. Y'all take a load off, we've got a minute ourselves to just breath and ... Yeah... "

He shrugged, finding the notion a bit alien, but the concept of writers doing first-hand research wasn't unheard of. Rian eyed the crew now looking to him for direction. But all he could think about now was what he was going to make for sides. Damn it Rian, you've gotta fly the ship too. DELEGATE. Carpenter chastised himself and his inability to let go.

He found himself over in the family kitchen regardless, sharpening one of their knives moments after adjourning the impromptu crew-meeting. His first, it was over just as quickly as it began.

Tabitha Haemish

When they'd returned to Viktor's home, Tabby had become timid, wanting very much to impress the shepherd's mother for a reason that was unknown to her. She wanted most people to like her, but she didn't usually have to worry about that being the case. But when it came to parents, she'd developed anxiety about the whole thing. Perhaps it was because of Barnaby's parents...

Shaking her head fiercely, the doctor hauled her bags inside and stomped her feet at the door to get any snow off them before she could drag the wet into their home.

There was only a few minutes between that the their crew meeting, whereupon she set her bags down by the door with her shoes and walked in with a nervous smile. Maybe Barnaby would cheer her up, the sight of him reminding her that his parents were still around in the son they left behind.

Her gaze scanned the group. Rian. Mattie. Arlo. Viktor. Herself. She squinted. One more time. Tabby. Viktor. Arlo. Mattie. Rian. That didn't seem right. A ball of knots formed in her belly. RianMattieArloViktorTabby. They were definitely incomplete.

"So... Uh.... Barnaby left." Rian explained, answering her question before she could ask it. She didn't understand this answer. Where could he go? The Darling was his home. This was where he belonged. He was their Captain. He didn't even say goodbye?

She looked up at Viktor, confusion and hurt plain as day on her face. Taby hadn't had a chance to make sure he had enough vitamins for a vacation. Did he have enough clothing? Enough money for food? She made a soft noise of distress through her nose and looked down at the floor, her hands grasping at her stomach to still the anxious storm thundering about in her gut.

A vacation... you came back from those, right? So maybe when he'd had enough time to think on things, he'd  come right back, right? He hadn't abandoned her... right?

"I got a wave 'bout a job from that purple belly ex of his..." his words came in fuzzy and she looked back up at him, gaze refocusing on his face and brows knit. A job? At this time? During this crisis?

"I figure after I fix us and our kind hosts some pork chops we can get underway...we've got a minute ourselves to just breath and ... Yeah... " The doctor watched him head into the kitchen, then looked around at those gathered again, her gaze settling heavily on Mattie. "Did he say where he was going?" she asked the other woman, her voice coming out as a squeak. She cleared her throat. In an effort to keep herself from bruising the skin beneath where she was wringing her shirt fabric, Tabitha lowered her hands, taking Viktor's in one and Arlo's in the other, having to scrounge around for a moment to find it.
Dialogue Color: Pink

Mattie Rooney

August 05, 2021, 12:54:14 PM #3 Last Edit: August 06, 2021, 08:03:31 AM by Mattie Rooney
Mattie stood next to Rian as he delivered the bad news, still and pale and frigid as an ice sculpture. She didn't want to take in the trio's -- well, Viktor and Tabby's -- reaction, and so she kept her gaze firmly fixed on the floorboards. She didn't look up until Tabby spoke directly to her.

"Did he say where he was going?"

She shook her head. "I'm sorry--" her voice cracked; not squeaky like Tabitha's, but hoarse, as if she'd been screaming non-stop since Barnaby's departure. She, too, had to clear her throat before continuing. "I know y'all were close." Y'all. That did not include her. For Tabby and Viktor and Rian, Barnaby was family. For her, he was just another employer she'd known for mere weeks. She'd had plenty of those. It made no sense for her to get all heartbroken about this one. So why did she feel so rotten?

The sight of Tabby joining hands with Viktor and Arlo rattled something inside Mattie, and she suddenly had a pressing need to remove herself from the situation before that something broke down completely. If it weren't for the fact that they'd just gotten inside and peeled off a preposterous number of layers, she would have headed out for a walk. Instead, she turned to storm off into the kitchen. At least Rian's pigheaded denial didn't make her feel like she was about to burst into tears.

"Hey," she announced her presence as she approached the cook, just to make sure she didn't startle him and take a knife to the gut. She opened her mouth to say something, then closed it again. She felt sheepish stomping in here only to get in his way. To make herself feel at least a little useful, she reached out her hand to give his shoulder a firm squeeze. It felt lackluster compared to the comforting embraces Tabby handed out with such ease and warmth, but it was the best she could do.
Dialogue color: darkkhaki

Viktor Söderberg

Viktor had a wonderful warm feeling to see his chosen family here in his home with his given family. Eleven people for Sunday dinner would stretch the Soderberg's dining room to its limits but it could be done. Viktor was thinking about how they would arrange everyone then. For the moment, however, the six fit comfortably around the table. They would be eight when Eiler returned from his work in the mines, and Barnaby came back from whatever chore he was doing on the Darling. It would be a little snug without an extra table tonight but it would still work, he thought.

They were not all around the table yet, though. Julia was kindly introducing herself to everyone as they came in. Fussing in a motherly way over their coats and hats. Lining up their boots along the wall. She recognized Tabitha immediately and gave her a big hug saying "Ms. Tabitha, it is so nice to meet you. Our Viko has told us so much about you. I feel like I already know you." Julia had a fleeting thought that Tabitha was quieter that she imagined the young woman would be. She couldn't dwell on that though. There were other people to great and make comfortable.

The crew sat around the Soderberg's scrubbed wooden table, waiting for their captain to arrive. Mrs. Soderberg had gone into the kitchen puttering around and giving them a chance to reconvene and settle.

"So... Uh.... Barnaby left."

Viktor's long, boney fingers curled into a fist that he thumped loudly against the table three times as he said "Jesus. Mary. and Joseph!" His voice carried through the house and nearly devoured Rian's explanation about a 'vacation.'

"Metaphorically speaking of course."

"God bl-- God DAMMIT!"
"Not in my house, Viko!" his mother called from the other room.
He would atone later. Right now he was angry. Angry at himself mostly.

He was about the hit the table again, or maybe just get up and walk out in attempt to follow wherever Barnaby might have gone. But then, Tabitha's small hand found his. He grabbed it too hard crushing her fingers, desperate for his lifeboat in the storm.

He put his other arm on the table and put his head into it, banging it a little as he muttered condemnations of himself, completely tuning out the rest of what Rian had to say.
"Cái bù shì."
"Wǒ de mā, liú kǒushuǐ de biǎozǐ hé hóuzǐ de bèn érzǐ."
"Āiyā, huàile."
"Zhēntāmā yàomìng."

Viktor had known something was wrong with their captain. He wasn't buying the whole 'vacation' explanation. He'd planned to talk to Barnaby here. Now. Once the other man had gotten his land-legs under him. Viktor knew the captain needed counsel. Had needed it for a while. But the preacher didn't want to pry or push his boundaries too far.
He should have pulled Barnaby aside before the crew had gone their separate ways. He should have reminded the captain how loved and needed he was. What a good job he'd been doing.
Viktor should have told him that he could see the other man's strain and he was there to help him carry the weight. 
He should have done something. Said something.
He wanted to rage about how he should have been better. Done better. Given more. Taken less.

If he had been these things, done these things, maybe Barnaby wouldn't have left. His guilt crashed upon him in waves. He desperately wanted to go out side and stand in the falling snow, which had begun to pick up again. He thought it might make him feel better. The white, icy rush might cleanse his mind. His soul.

He couldn't though. He was tethered to his lifeboat. His Tabitha.
Viktor knew that she needed him. She'd sought his face out when the news came down. Her hand stayed grasped to his despite how tightly he'd held it. Despite his wallowing. He was her lifeboat as much as she was his.

The meeting concluded. Rian and Mattie had adjourned to the kitchen. Viktor's mother hovered uncertainly between the kitchen and the dining room, caught between wanting to insist the newcomers rest and relax while she cooked and wanting to comfort her only son. In the end, she decided to leave the two in the kitchen to cope in their own way.
Julia stood behind and between Viktor and Tabitha's chairs. She noticed the way they practically clung to each other. It reminded her of when her and Eiler had gone through heartache and loss. She wondered if there were more here than she knew.
The mother knelt down behind them and embraced the two as if she could shield their hurt with her own body.
"I am so sorry, my children. How can I help you? What can I do?"

Viktor did not answer her immediately but rested his forehead against hers momentarily. He saw the love in her eyes. He saw the desire to remove all pain and anguish from himself.
He replied to her in Chinese, not wanted to give voice to his concerns in his native language as though that might make it more real. Quietly, he asked "Wǒmen huì zuò shénme? Wǒmen rúhé ràng zìjǐ chóngxīn biàn dé wánzhěng?"

No way.
Mother of god, you dumb son of a saliva-drooling whore and monkey.
Shit, this is bad.
The situation's really fucked up

What are we going to do? How do we make ourselves whole again?

Rian Carpenter

August 19, 2021, 04:28:47 PM #5 Last Edit: August 19, 2021, 04:32:10 PM by Rian Carpenter

Rian stopped sharpening the knife and rested it on the table, and when she squeezed his shoulder he exhaled and relaxed ever so slightly. There was a tension running up and down his entire body. He'd felt it ratcheting up and even the escape of cooking a meal with fresh ingredients wasn't enough for him right now. He appreciated Mattie coming along to keep him company, even if she was about as good with a spatula as he was with a surgeon's scalpel.

Carpenter realized the knife was plenty sharp and he'd just zoned out in the task. The cook got into his work itself, but kept talking to Mattie as he worked.

"I always wanted to be a cook. Really, that's all I wanted to do when I was a kid."

He slammed a butcher's knife down, slicing off a thick chunk of meat for one portion.

"It was fine for a minute so long as he was teaching me how to use a knife. I got to practice butchering meat myself before I could make a hard 'R' sound."

Then he sliced through several more in rapid succession, before stopping, to strip off some fat and cartilegde. Then got right back to it, and his short monologue.

"By the time he realized I'd taken to knives 'cos I wanted be a cook, I was tied to a tree outside with..."

Rian trailed off, looked at the meat he was slicing into, then Mattie.

"... I'll tell you sometime when I'm not making dinner. Point is..."

The cook and temporary Captain continued prepping the meal and expanded on his thought that he'd cut short.

"I spent a lot of time trying to find someplace I could just... hide... use my knives to feed people rather than cut 'em apart... here I am cooking but now... feels like I'm gonna have to start using them guns again soon."

Carpenter was trying to describe a creeping feeling he had right now. Barnaby running off, the cook who'd been hiding his true identity was now thrust into the Captain's chair. Darling had been his peace, but it felt like the drums of war were not far away, thundering closer and closer.

"I'm gonna need you to watch my back. The job sounds easy enough but I don't trust cops."

He stopped cooking and looked around, then to his new security chief. He feigned a look of disappointment jokingly.

"You haven't found their booze yet?"

Mattie Rooney

With the obligatory comforting out of the way, Mattie quickly pulled back to give Rian some room. She leaned on a counter and watched him work from a safe distance; she liked looking at his hands as they carefully sliced and diced the meat. It was more like watching a skilled craftsperson work their magic than someone cooking a meal out of necessity.

Still, it felt strange hearing her boss gunhand talk about his childhood dream of becoming a cook. Mattie had just kind of assumed it was the Darling that had softened his rough mercenary edges, much like it was trying to do to her. The Russo gang didn't sound like the type of people Mattie would willingly associate with today -- she liked to think of herself as someone who stood up to bullies instead of joining them -- but she couldn't help but feel that five, ten years ago she might have been enamored with the thought.

Did that make her a psychopath?

"I'm gonna need you to watch my back. The job sounds easy enough but I don't trust cops."

"That makes two of us," Mattie scoffed. "I'll stay sharp."

"You haven't found their booze yet?"

"Right. I'm on it." It probably wasn't a real request, but Mattie was relieved to have an excuse to do something other than just stand around idly. She turned to go through the cupboards, peeking into each one to see if anything caught her eye but not fully committing to the rummaging -- she did have enough manners not to turn their host family's home inside out, shockingly enough.

"Y'know, it really sounds like our parents shoulda swapped kids," she picked up her trail of thought from before. "My mom was always gettin' on my case for playin' with guns and not doing my chores well enough. Told me I was worse than my brothers. She woulda loved you. My dad--"

Mattie stopped herself. She hadn't really talked about her family to the crew, least of all her father. The topic was a can of worms she'd rather not get into, especially not now. She didn't know why she'd even brought him up in the first place. She closed the door to the cupboard she was crouched in front of, almost slamming it in her hurry to change the subject.

"I stole your bourbon from the ship." she stood up and turned to look at him, nonchalant. "It's in my bag. I ain't gonna apologize, 'cos I bet you're happy I packed it."
Dialogue color: darkkhaki

Thackery Arlington III

September 10, 2021, 09:33:30 AM #7 Last Edit: September 10, 2021, 09:36:01 AM by Thackery Arlington III
Arlo didn't say a word when Barnaby's departure was announced. He'd been about to say something vaguely congratulatory about the old chap getting himself a well-earned sabbatical, but the temperature at the meeting dropped to even colder than the snow outside, and even Arlo at his most oblivious could read that room. He still didn't understand what everyone was so upset about, though. Barnaby was a nice bloke and Arlo supposed he'd miss him, but they were all acting like the man had died instead of taken a holiday.

It all completely mystified Arlo, but Tabitha's anguish was clearly real enough nevertheless, so he tried not to be a complete ogre about it. He even managed to wait until Viktor had gotten over his surprising outburst and Rian and Mattie had both left for the kitchen, taking at least some of the tension with them, before finding a slightly-askew-fork at a nearby place setting that he could straighten and thus justify removing his hand from Tabitha's.

"So, er... sheep sound nice," he said to her, mostly for the sake of something to say. His normal speaking voice felt uncomfortably loud beside the soft words spoken between Viktor and his mother, so he dropped his volume to a chagrined hush. "You know, soft little lambs and whatnot." Too late, it occurred to him that Rian hadn't specified whether they were hauling livestock or mutton, and sincerely hoped he hadn't just set Tabitha up for an even worse disappointment than the pigs.
Dialogue Color: darkseagreen | 8FBC8F

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

Tabitha Haemish

September 13, 2021, 04:14:10 PM #8 Last Edit: September 15, 2021, 03:11:42 PM by Lomari
"I am so sorry, my children. How can I help you? What can I do?" Tabitha felt the warmth of a mother's love in that hug, even if it wasn't her own mother. Her shoulders relaxed and she closed her eyes, accepting the affection and letting her be the lighthouse that kept these two lifeboats heading back to shore.

"Wǒmen huì zuò shénme? Wǒmen rúhé ràng zìjǐ chóngxīn biàn dé wánzhěng?" Viktor asked, and the doctor's eyes opened. She looked Viktor's face over, then craned her neck to peer in the direction of the kitchen where Mattie and Rian had escaped. She turned her gaze in Arlo's direction when he dislodged his hand from hers to straighten the place settings. Her brows furrowed a little. They were wounded. And she was a doctor.

Clearing her throat, Tabitha leaned forward to nuzzle her nose against Viktor's mother's before she slipped free of the hug and took a breath so deep she nearly coughed it back out. Her fist lifted and lowered into the palm of her other hand, her eyes wiped dry with the back of said fist soon after. There was no time for wallowing, her crew needed healing.

"So, er... sheep sound nice," Arlo said sheepishly and she took that line of conversation and grabbed it as tightly as she could. Her own pain and concern and anxieties were pushed into the back of her mind as hard as possible, to be dealt with when she was alone. "You know, soft little lambs and whatnot," he added. Tabitha nodded firmly.

"Yes!" she exclaimed, turning to look back at Viktor and his mother, before she knelt down by his chair and reached out to grab both of his hands in hers. "Sheep do sound nice. Our Rian is acting Captain, how exciting!" she began, offering the shepherd her brightest smile. "And we have a new job! We can do this job and make some money and when Barnaby comes home, he'll be so proud of us," she added, her brows twitching with uncertainty once before she shook it off. Literally. She brought his hands toward her face, rested the backs of them on her forehead, then stood again and put her hands on her hips a la Peter Pan.

"Mister Arlo, aren't you a writer? Won't it be fun to spend some time with a fellow lit...erator? You can share stories and see each other's work!" she told him, hopping forward to stand between the kitchen and the dining room, "It'll be okay! We can take care of the Darling while he's away," she told the group, her jaw clenched and eyes wide, hoping they would be on board.
Dialogue Color: Pink

Rian Carpenter

September 17, 2021, 03:16:11 PM #9 Last Edit: September 17, 2021, 03:18:05 PM by Rian Carpenter
Mattie trailed off relating how their parents might have been pleased had they switched places more or less, revealing her bourbon, which was his bourbon.

"Well I guess that makes you security chief now, clearly I can't keep my own hooch secure."

Rian deadpanned, shaking his head at her mischief and his own terrible ability to stash the booze. The Temporary Captain breezed along through his meal prep, salad ingredients were chopped, then finally, meat was thrown onto a sizzling hot iron pan. He grabbed the bottle, pouring three small glasses, he pushed one towards his younger blond compatriot, left one to the side, then clinked his against each of them.

"To Barnaby finding his way back before I crash the ship."

He tossed the shot back then splashed the third onto the pan for flavor.  The Captain, killer, and cook stared at his frying pig meat intently for a prolonged beat.

"God, I hope that gāisǐ de writer doesn't try to mine us for pathos filled backstories..."

He looked over to Mattie then shot her a look that implied he was just messing with her. Mostly.

Mattie Rooney

October 01, 2021, 08:55:17 AM #10 Last Edit: October 01, 2021, 08:57:06 AM by Mattie Rooney
"Well I guess that makes you security chief now, clearly I can't keep my own hooch secure."

Mattie responded to his deadpanning with a smug nod before heading off to fetch the bourbon, but as she left the kitchen, she felt an inexplicable lump in her throat. That makes you security chief now. Rian had been mostly joking around, but it was kind of true; his sudden promotion naturally meant a promotion for her, too. It wasn't like she had anyone to chief around, so it didn't actually change much, which was good, because she was more of a follower anyway. And she'd rather liked following Rian. Well, technically, she was still following him, he'd just moved a few ranks up the chain of command. Why was she getting so worked up about this? She just needed a meal, a drink and a good night's sleep.

Fortunately, the group in the dining room seemed to be absorbed in a pity party of their own, so Mattie was able to slink past them without making eye contact, rummage through her luggage for the bottle and return to Rian in no time.

"To Barnaby finding his way back before I crash the ship."

"Tā mā de, I hadn't even thought of that part," Mattie uttered under her breath with feigned horror -- maybe there was legitimate cause for concern there, but it could wait. For now, she threw back the drink, welcoming its sweet, burning distraction.

"God, I hope that gāisǐ de writer doesn't try to mine us for pathos filled backstories..."

"If he even writes anythin'." She leaned back against the counter, her demeanor relaxing somewhat now that she'd had a drink. "Could just be one of those folks who likes callin' themselves a writer."

Well, at least her grief hadn't crushed her bullying spirit, that was something.
Dialogue color: darkkhaki


Ship Time: 1847
Ship Location: Secondary Claim, St. Albans

With a motherly smile that hovered somewhere between pride and worry, Viktor's mother embraced her son and the ship's doctor one last time before finally releasing them and moving to the head of the table, insisting everyone sit while she served the food, thinking that was the least she could do as thanks for Rian and Mattie having cooked for them.

The dinner went relatively awkwardly, given all of their vastly different reactions to the Captain having left. Viktor's mother did her best to keep conversation light and it mostly worked to keep things from becoming a crew-wide pity party. Somewhere in the middle of dinner, however, Viktor excused himself from the table and found himself outside, staring up at the sky, perhaps hoping to see the shuttle return with Barnaby exclaiming that it was all just an elaborate joke...

Ship Time: 0900
Ship Location: Secondary Claim, St. Albans

The next day, the storm had settled and the air outside was crisp and silent, everything muffled by the feet of snow blanketing the land. The Mule had a good amount of snow piled up over it that would need removing before they could head anywhere, ship or otherwise. A green light blinked on Rian's data pad, the indication of a live wave heading his way.
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha

Darling ~ Iscariot

Rian Carpenter

October 12, 2021, 09:19:05 AM #12 Last Edit: November 11, 2021, 03:58:39 PM by Rian Carpenter
Rian only liked one thing about snow: Highly visible tracks. He stood there in the front yard watching the snow fall, and casually surveying the area for signs of anybody lurking about. Just the little hippity-hoppity marks from a rabbit bounding through. Steam billowed from his mug of coffee as he just stared at the snow-covered mule. It was going to be a pain to clear off.

The former super-criminal was now wiping snow off his employer's mule without gloves. It would have been common sense to pack gloves but he always found that he couldn't reload without fumbling while wearing gloves. So here he was, shoveling snow off his all-terrain vehicle with his bare hands. After a moment he had to stop. His hands shaking, the killer cook tried to wrap his hands back around the coffee mug he'd been gripping earlier.

Every bit of his suffering right now was unnecessary. As Captain, he could just delegate the task to Arlo, their aristocratic passenger, and let him poshly dust the snow off at his own pace while Rian sipped coffee and read the latest news from the cortex. But that would mean acknowledging Barnaby had left, and the gunhand they'd welcomed onto the ship only months ago was now in charge.

Carpenter felt the cortex unit in his jacket buzz again.

"Damn it."

Blowing hot air onto his hands for a second, he felt like he had enough feeling back to use his cortex unit. The temporary Captain answered the wave finally:

"Uhh ahoy?"

Ahoy? Who the hell says 'Ahoy' anymore? Jesus Rian. Get it together. Great first call as Captain.

A young gentleman dressed to the nines stared back at Rian through the screen, his smile bright and face expectant.

"Ah! You must be the Darling's Captain! I'm Caraway, I hope our Alliance friend forwarded you my information?" he asked, a pen a paper already in the young man's hands.

"Yeah, I'm the acting Captain: Rian Carpenter. I heard you got some animals that need movin'."

"Acting captain! How pleasant! Another patron of the arts! I do indeed. Purchased some livestock, eager to observe you and your crew moving it to its intended destination. Will you be here soon?"

Rian paused for a beat, realizing he didn't quite now how long it would take. This would take some creative BS.

"We'll be underway within the hour, give us an extra hour for a safer route, the pilot's new."

No need for the employer to know he's the inexperienced pilot.

"Perfect!" he exclaimed, fervently writing things down. "I'll see you soon, Captain Carpenter! Ah what a perfect name!" and with that, the connection closed.

*Narration assist by Lomari

Tabitha Haemish

"Perfect! I'll see you soon, Captain Carpenter! Ah what a perfect name!"

"Is that our new job man?" Tabby asked from behind and to side of Rian's right elbow, having been standing there silently for who knew how long. She pulled her gloves off, a pair of pretty pink knit things they'd bought the day before, and started putting them onto Rian's chilly hands.

Unlike yesterday, she was ready for the snow now, all thanks to Arlo and Viktor. She had on a pair of bright baby blue pants underneath a thick pink wool coat, her hair bundled up and stuffed inside a white snow hat with a puff on top. The fuzzy white rim of her boots were all that were visible above the top layer of snow. "He seems nice," she decided, once she'd been able to get the gloves on him almost all the way.

"Are we leaving soon?" Tabby asked, stomping through the snow with her arms spread out and steps unnecessarily wide as she struggled in the unfamiliar terrain. Once she was close enough to the mule, the doctor pulled off her hat and used it to hit snow off the vehicle as best as she could, her platinum curls frizzed and puffy from the chill air.

She seemed to be handling things well, if her typically cheery demeaner was any indication, although what lay bubbling under the surface of the pink veneer was largely unknown. With Tabby, she spent so much time helping others and observing them and their behavior that her own inner workings remained a mystery.
Dialogue Color: Pink

Mattie Rooney

The dinner had done little to lift Mattie's spirits, on the contrary. What was supposed to be a warm gathering between friends and family had a dark, heavy cloud hanging over it, the unspoken absence of a loved one who should have been there with them. It brought back memories of home, none of them good.

That night, Mattie dreamed she was back on Lilac, sat at the table with her five siblings while their mother paced about the kitchen, looking sick with worry and wringing a dishrag in her bony hands. Nobody spoke a word, but somehow Mattie knew they were waiting for their father to join them, and with each second that passed, she could feel her heart beating harder out of anticipation. Or was it fear?

Finally, there was a knock at the door, and Mrs. Rooney rushed to get it. As soon as she did, she broke into a long, unbroken wail; Mattie didn't want to turn around and see what she was screaming about, she couldn't turn around, and the wailing wouldn't stop, it just kept going and growing louder and more distorted until it sounded more like an animal caught in a bear trap than a person, and still it kept going and going and building towards a terrifying unbearable crescendo until Mattie snapped awake in the cold, quiet darkness of the Söderberg home.


The next morning, Mattie emerged from the house tired and cranky and eager to get back to the ship as soon as possible. She let out an audible groan when she saw the state of the mule. Her frustration was punctuated by confusion as to why on earth Tabby had taken on the fruitless task of clearing out the snow with her hat and bare hands.

"Where are your gloves?" Her voice had the stern cadence of an exasperated parent. Upon noticing the conspicuously pink pair in Captain Rian's hands, she let out a small, muffled sound that might have been a sigh, or a snort, or something in between. Mattie wasn't sure herself, she just knew she wasn't in the mood for this, whatever 'this' was.

"I'm gonna go see if they've got a shovel or somethin'," she mumbled as she turned on her heels and headed back towards the house.
Dialogue color: darkkhaki

Viktor Söderberg

It was a rough night for the preacher. He imagined they were all having a rough night in their own various ways. He stayed up late visiting with his family, long after most of the crew had gone to bed. He wasn't sure now if they would make Sunday dinner. It didn't seem like it.
His mother was disappointed but understanding. Viktor was equally disappointed. He'd missed his sisters this time around.

When he finally tried to sleep, it was fraught with half-remembered nightmares and quietly echoing voices in the dark. He turned this way and that dozing off and on but never entirely getting into the stage of deep sleep. Each time he started to sink down into "real" sleep he had the sensation that he was falling, or he would hear a crewmate calling out to him.

He looked haggard the next morning, slumped down at the family table his long fingers wrapped around a steaming cup of black coffee. His hair was a mess, collar unbuttoned, and his face looked grey in the early morning light. The preacher sat there staring into his coffee cup, taking the occasional sip, for longer than was probably reasonable. The crew trickled in and out for coffee or breakfast and then got about starting their day.

Once he was alone again, everyone else attending their morning tasks already, he finally gave a long and low sigh. He said to the empty kitchen, "OK, enough of that. Time to do what needs doing."

He washed his face in the kitchen sink and dragged his wet fingers through his hair, smoothing it down into something more tame. He buttoned his shirt collar and straightened his clerical tab. An extra pair of grey wool socks and his winter boots would see his feet ready for the new layer of snow. He saw Mattie coming back his way as he was grabbing his coat from the hook. She looked irritated and huffy. A peek out the door showed him the probable cause. Their mule was covered in snow.

Viktor met her a few feet outside the front door, anticipating her needs. "There's a few hand shovels over in the tool shed. Why don't we both go grab one. We'll get her uncovered real quick."

He turned his head toward the vehicle in question and shouted, "Rian! Tabby! Get inside and put your hands in front of that fire before you both get frostbite, for goodness sake!" A hint of his mother's timbre raised from his voice. How many times had she said the same to him and his sisters? Too many, he supposed.

Shovel in hand, he got to work on the passenger side clearing the densely packed snow from their ride.

Rian Carpenter

November 12, 2021, 05:03:32 PM #16 Last Edit: November 19, 2021, 08:29:30 PM by Rian Carpenter
"Is that our new job man?"

Rian's response was automatic.


The blond doctor started putting her gloves onto his hands, Captain Carpenter's acceptance of this, despite their color totally clashing with his suit and coat, was also automatic.

"He seems nice,"

Again, an automatic response:


Continuing his icy excavation, the pink mittens were helping. The temporary captain's mind was in a million places. Getting the mule dug-out, getting the crew underway, and hoping he didn't crash the damn ship Barnaby had left in his care. The ship that had been in Goodweather's family now for generations.

"Are we leaving soon?"

If only they could free their mule from its cold confines.

"Gonna try... yeah."

"Where are your gloves?"

Mattie's distinct voice, and demeanor were recognizable before he turned to her, revealing Tabby's pink mittens. The killer cook smiled, not quite embarrassed, more enjoying her reaction. Muted amusement. But amusement nonetheless. He wasn't all that good at being funny intentionally. But cracking the gunhand's exterior a little bit still felt like a victory.

"I'm gonna go see if they've got a shovel or somethin'," 

He nudged Tabby with his elbow and was about to thank her when their preacher came to chide them for their carelessness in the face of old man winter.

"Rian! Tabby! Get inside and put your hands in front of that fire before you both get frostbite, for goodness sake!"

He sighed as if being nagged by a less problematic father, despite their being around the same age. He raised his pink mittened hands up in surrender.

"Fine... preacher's orders. C'mon, Tabs."

Escorting the doctor back inside he looked at his cortex again, noting the time.

"I have no idea if we're running late for that new job but I feel like we need to hurry?"

He said it as if a question to Tabby. Slipping momentarily in his veneer of pretending to know what he was doing.

By the time they were inside and by the fire, he couldn't help but alternate between warming one hand and trying to remotely log into the vessel's control systems. He'd set up a remote connection for the security feeds using an application he found on their futuristic internet, but Darling's hardware was too old and the program crashed over and over. His notions of starting the takeoff checklist before they even got there were dashed.

"Gorram it..."

Tabitha Haemish

November 22, 2021, 08:39:52 AM #17 Last Edit: November 22, 2021, 08:40:06 AM by Lomari
"I'm gonna go see if they've got a shovel or somethin'," Mattie said before leaving. Tabby watched her go, still hitting at the snow on the mule with her hat. Her lips puckered in concern and her brows knit in the middle. As she disappeared inside, Viktor appeared.

"Rian! Tabby! Get inside and put your hands in front of that fire before you both get frostbite, for goodness sake!" he ordered. Tabby giggled softly and stopped batting at the snow uselessly. She pulled her hat back on, yelping and shuddering as the cold snow touched her scalp and the melted frost slid down the back of her neck.

"Fine... preacher's orders. C'mon, Tabs." Rian invited. Still smiling, happy to see that they'd all come out of things more or less intact, she wrapped her arms around one of Rian's and walked back into the house. She'd deal with being cold later. The state of her crew came first.

"I have no idea if we're running late for that new job but I feel like we need to hurry?" Rian asked and she nodded her chin downward.

"Feels that way," she noted, agreeing. She knew no one was kicking them out, and could wager that their next job wasn't entirely time sensitive, but they probably all felt like they needed to run. They were feeling a little better this morning but Barnaby's exit was hot on their heels and if they stayed too long they might have to think about it again. Best to keep on moving. At least, for now.

Tabby put her hands out in front of the fire and took a deep breath of the warm air coiling out from the hearth. "He'll be back," she said to the flames, her jaw clenching shut for a few seconds.

Once the doctor had gathered herself, she stood straight and wiped her hands off on the sides of her clothes.

"I'll wake Arlo and then we can get going," she told Rian, leaning down to hug him before she left him to his cortex.
Dialogue Color: Pink


Ship Time: 1030
Ship Location: Secondary Claim, St. Albans

The crew of the Darling had managed to get away from the Söderberg with bellies full and bags packed with snacks and supplies for the trip back. Julia had lamented the shortness of their visit and insisted they come back again soon, but understood their need to keep on the move.

Several feet of snow were nothing to the Mule as it rumbled and vibrated its way back toward their ship, Viktor at the helm once more. He had the most experience driving in this terrain and it seemed the best idea to have him do it again. Without Barnaby in the back, it was far less cramped for Tabby, Rian, and Arlo, but there was a distinct bit of space where their Captain should have been that none of them seemed ready to encroach on.

Ship Time: 1129
Ship Location: Secondary Claim, St. Albans

The mule pulled up to the Darling, the ship covered in snow. Its cargo doors were open, the ramp down and ready to welcome its wayward crew home thanks to the fancy remote program Rian had installed. It had finally started working, albeit on the most basic and rudimentary level, once they'd gotten  much closer to the vessel. The mule doors opened and Tabby hopped out first, climbing over Arlo's lap to do so. She was glad to be back.

It was time for Rian to Captain the ship...

...and pilot the thing as well.
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha

Darling ~ Iscariot

Thackery Arlington III

Arlo sat silently in the back of the mule, his arms crossed over his chest and his lips pressed tightly. He hadn't said much on the way back to The Darling, save for a polite 'thank you' and 'please' here and there when directly addressed.

He'd been pouting ever since Tabitha had so rudely forced him awake back at the vicar's home. Her having entered his personal space unasked was one thing, but to wake up with another human's face mere inches from his own was something else entirely.

A hand lifted to nurse the little bump that had formed on his forehead, a matching welt half hidden beneath curls on Tabitha's forehead. He sputtered in surprise and silent indignation as the mule stopped and their doctor climbed over his lap to get out, his cheeks a shade of burgundy. Well, I never! he thought to himself, joining her in getting out of the vehicle.
Dialogue Color: darkseagreen | 8FBC8F

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

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