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The Darling IC / S1:Ep7 - Party On, Whitefall
June 28, 2023, 12:02:24 PM
Previously on The Darling...

The docking clamps were finally locking onto the ship. They were safe on terra firma. Before the shit-shoveler could get up from his seat, Rian grabbed Albie by the arm.

"Everybody out except the kid....Why the hell are you chasing sheep around? Did the big guy save your life and now you have some sort of Golden Trail life-oath thing where you have to do what he says forever?"

Ship Time: 1438
Ship Location: Patience Docks - Whitefall

Outside the ship, a small group of strangers waited on horseback, their eyes on the Darling and their guns held idly across their laps. Behind them, someone was driving a hover mule with a large pen in the back, presumably for the sheep. Their leader, or so it seemed, sat side-saddle atop a large black horse, her wide brimmed hat blocking most of the sun from her already freckled skin. She toyed with a brown bag as she waited for the occupants of the ship to start unloading.

Beneath the ship, the clamps holding the Darling in place tightened and locked, a red light flashing quietly next to the mechanism.
Ship Time: 1438
Ship Location: Patience Docks - Whitefall

Despite their best efforts, Noah Caraway and his beast of a security guard had been sequestered into the 'Med Bay' to check for possible concussions or abrasions from the bumpy ride. No matter how much they argued or assured the tiny blonde, they didn't seem able to get out of her grasp and nothing they did helped them escape her care.

Outside the ship, a small group of strangers waited on horseback, their eyes on the Darling and their guns held idly across their laps. Behind them, someone was driving a hover mule with a large pen in the back, presumably for the sheep. Their leader, or so it seemed, sat side-saddle atop a large black horse, her wide brimmed hat blocking most of the sun from her already freckled skin. She toyed with a brown bag as she waited for the occupants of the ship to start unloading.

Beneath the ship, the clamps holding the Darling in place tightened and locked, a red light flashing quietly next to the mechanism.
Ship Time: 1217
Ship Location: In Transit (Days to arrival: 4)

"I dun' get paid to answer your questions...Do I?"

At the question, Noah turned to stare eagerly at the Captain, following Mattie's look in his direction. The shrug from Rian set his smile back into place and his attention burrowed into the woman's face once more. He set his notepad down on the table, pen poised above paper, breath held hopefully in his chest.

"I shot people."

"Oh!" Noah exclaimed, both startled and exuberant at the answer. His pen began to scrape over the pad of paper in some sort of shorthand. His lips parted to ask some clarifying questions, when Rian spoke up and caught his attention.

"I mean, who hasn't?" Rian asked. The author's brows shot up even further and he twisted his torso to take both Mattie and Rian in now. Again, his lips parted, and again, he was stopped from asking anything.

"How long have you had the meat castle watching you? There some rival writers looking to turn you into from an is to a was?"

Although it had been an admirable attempt, Noah did not take the bait and waved the answer aside with a sweep of his hand. He did grimace, however, at the way 'an is to a was' echoed in his head for several seconds. Surely there had been a better way to phrase that that wasn't so grating on the mind. "Quite a long time," he answered shortly, then scooted forward onto the edge of his seat, practically vibrating with excitement.

"Tell me, what sort of folk need shooting?" he asked, looking quickly between the pair of them. "Pirates, maybe? Trying to steal your cargo? Or...something more nefarious?" he asked, wiggling his brows and staring at them with wide, expectant eyes. Rian's sudden "Ha!" at Arlo's misfortune made the man flinch and glance in that direction before turning back around. He was a dog with a bone and nothing was going to distract him.

"In the sophisticate's defense that six foot twenty sausage is shockingly stealthy at times." Noah nodded in response, then waved his hand a second time before tapping at the paper with his pen. "How many people would you say you've had to shoot?" he continued.

In the meantime, the mountain of a security detail turned his head slowly to glare down at Arlo, a hand having lifted to settle heavily on the man's shoulder to stead him after the bump. "Careful," he grunted. Something moving in his peripheral vision caught the beast's attention and he leveled a hardened gaze at Albie. The sheep hand was currently in the middle of taking a few slow steps backward toward the door to the galley.

"Wrong direction," he snapped at the young man, releasing Arlo's shoulder and pointing sharply toward the kitchen portion of the room.

Ship Time: 0710
Calibrating for Planet Time
Ship Time: 1408
Ship Location: Approaching Whitefall (Time to Planet: 30 Minutes)

The rest of the trip had been filled with endless questions for the first halves of the day, followed by blissful silence while Noah jotted down everything he'd heard either in his notebook, or by using the quite new and remarkably expensive typewriter he'd packed. There had been several close conversations between him and the other sophisticate on board, all as disarming and confusing as the talk in the galley. He often invited Arlo to sit and have tea or supper with him while he wrote, the security brute hovering somewhere nearby.

As for the security guard, other than these long moments in the bunks, he made it a pattern to patrol the ship in several different patrol patters throughout the day. This pattern often led him into Albie's personal space, Mattie's comfort zone, the safety of the med-bay, the peace and quiet of Victor's prayer, and into the cockpit to make Rian nervous. Was this all intentional? Did he get some small joy from making the crew uncomfortable? Probably.

For now, the Darling was approaching Whitefall and it was time to switch out of auto-pilot and manually begin maneuvering the ship down through Atmo, and to the waiting landing gear at one of the planets trade hubs, one which might be best described as 'rinky-dink'.

They were still about a half-hour from landing, and getting rid of their new passenger and his sheep, but that didn't mean there was time to sit back on their laurels. Much needed to be done prior to landing, especially with the sheep. They'd become antsy and moody during the journey and had taken to bleating and stomping at all hours, either out of frustration or in some attempt to move around and shake off the potential atrophy in their legs.

Currently, the muscle of a man stood ominously in the cargo hold while Noah chattered away on the bridge.
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep6 - Lights, Camera, Action!
February 16, 2023, 09:38:35 AM
Ship Time: 1215
Ship Location: In Transit (Days to arrival: 4)

"Of course, ehem, yes, details, after all, are the, ah... They're, er, the devil's...Tell me of your book," Arlo urged with unprecedented decisiveness. "What sort of themes does it explore?"

The question seemed to startle Noah, for he froze for a moment and had to shake himself visibly to get his train of thought back on track. He was torn between two instincts. One, to go on endlessly about his book and the themes, the last few books he'd written and their themes, and the reception he hoped to get when this book hit the shelves of high-society. And the other instinct, to assume Arlo was trying to distract him and thus, delve deeper into the potential secrets of a man of class aboard a blue collar ship filled with sheep.

His gaze sharpened knowingly and he leaned in closer to Arlo, prodding the man's chest with the tip of his pen, his face only inches from the other gentleman's. Lips parted, words hovering on the tip of his tongue... and then Mattie walked in. Noah's gaze slipped over Arlo's shoulder to watch the woman sit at the table. "Ah, the quiet brooding one," he whispered to the poor man before him. "I'll be back, then we can talk all about my book, and how fascinating you are." Then, he patted Arlo on the cheek warmly, leaned back, and slipped around him like a cat wrapping around a leg.

The author made his deliberate way to the table, then sat opposite Mattie. "At last, our paths finally cross," he began, looking at the sandwich fixings and grimacing a little. Rian had informed him that the meat had been caught by the crew and butchered by the Captain himself, but he wasn't sure he was in the mood for such rustic finger sandwiches. With a shake of his head, he got back to the matter at hand.

"How did you end up on board the Darling?" Noah asked, brows aloft and pen hovering above his notebook. "You seem the kind who likes to keep to yourself, or maybe... you were avoiding me?" he asked, eyes alight with curiosity. "And why is that? Do I intimidate you?" he asked, putting his hand to his chest and flashing his most winningest of smiles, then laughing at himself. "But in all seriousness, what did you do before you worked here? Something thrilling I bet," he continued.

While Noah got to interrogating Mattie, the brute of a security guard hovered behind Albie, staring holes into the back of his head. He tilted his meaty chin slowly to the left, and then the right, cracking his neck loudly, then rolling his shoulders back. He must not have slept very long, if at all, and his body was in desperate need of physical activity. He might as well have been vibrating in his skin from keeping still for so long.

"Oi," he finally grunted at Albie's back. "Come help me get this tea made for Mister Caraway," he ordered, although it was unclear if he was able to order Albie around. He technically worked for Noah, not the security guard. But still, it very much felt like an order. "And we can get yer hands washed while we're at it..."
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep6 - Lights, Camera, Action!
November 30, 2022, 08:48:57 AM
Ship Time: 0815
Ship Location: In Transit (Days to arrival: 5)

"Shàngdì, qǐng shāle wǒ."

"Running on empty, Captain Carpenter?" Noah Caraway asked from the doorway, his smile bright as he sipped a fresh cup of tea from a teacup he'd brought from home, the saucer held delicately beneath it. "I brought my own brew, if you'd like some," the man offered, nodding his head to the brute of a security guard.

With a grunt of dutiful, albeit reluctant obedience, the mountain turned and headed back to Mister Caraway's things.

"It'll give us some time to talk about how we'll handle the journey and what the arrival might look like, oh and how we go about unloading the cargo. I'd also love to shadow you for the day, I think some interactions with the crew would make great detail for my novel, you see!" he continued, sitting at the table and putting the cup and saucer down onto its surface, eyeing Rian expectantly all the while.

Ship Time: 1200
Ship Location: In Transit (Days to arrival: 4)

Noah had barely left Rian's side since the day he arrived, only parting ways to follow whoever had the misfortune of crossing their paths when the author became bored. As such, today the writer and his ever present threat of a man had focused their attention on the poor, unsuspecting Arlo, catching him as he crossed paths with Rian and the group on the way to lunch in the galley.

"Oh, perfect timing!" the man exclaimed, moving away from the acting Captain to fall into Arlo's orbit. "You are a conundrum! Mister Arlo, was it? And I think that will be an interesting bit of juicy drama for my book! Say, what's a man of your cleanliness doing on a ship like this?" he asked, looking the other man up and down.

Clearly, this wasn't a working man. His hands were soft and smooth, looking more moisturized than calloused, and his spine was still remarkably straight, not bent from years of hard work. Noah tapped near his eyes with the butt end of his pen, "I've got quite an eye, you see," he explained, stepping closer to Noah and sniffing him obviously. He smelled pleasant. "Details are my business, after all!" he added with bright laughter. His guard rolled his eyes, but remained silent. "And don't spare me any of the juicy details!"

Meanwhile, the sheep in the hold were getting antsy and some of them had started growing anxious from the lack of sky and fresh air. A couple had taken to bickering with one another and bleating in frustration.
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep6 - Lights, Camera, Action!
August 02, 2022, 02:22:24 PM
Ship Time: 0800
Ship Location: In Transit

There had been a few moments of relaxation and conversation between the acting Captain, their Author Employer, and a few members of the crew, while the new sheep hand and Mattie remained in the cargo hold with the livestock. It was a quick conversation, however, as Caraway was eager to watch a real Blue Collar Captain pilot his ship out into the black. He'd been on plenty of ships, of course, however he'd rarely been too attentive when it came to how his chauffeurs worked the vessels. But now that it was directly related to his interests, he just had to see it for himself.

If Rian thought piloting with Tabby and Mattie on the bridge left little in the way of personal space, he clearly hadn't been ready for the way Caraway watched him pilot. The man paced back and forth, wobbled this way and that when the ship hitched and swayed on its way upward, and politely rejected the option to sit further away where a seatbelt would hold him steady. His pen moved furiously over his notepad and every so often he'd move into Rian's peripheral to ask him a question about one thing or another: What did that switch do, exactly? Is that alarm supposed to sound so often? How hot do you think the front of the ship is now?

The ride smoothed and the quality of flight improved exponentially the moment the Darling broke through the atmosphere and entered the Black. Now, the ship sailed smooth as butter, taking much of the decisions out of Rian's shaking hands and doing the math on her own. With a course plotted for Whitefall, the crew had roughly five days to operate the ship under the persistent and unrelentingly watchful eye of Mister Caraway and his security.
Ship Time: 0728
Ship Location: Caraway's Personal Landing Pad, Londinium

Location: Galley - Rian

"...Feed the crew before they eat you."

He poked the author in the chest lightly to drive the point home. The mountain of a man looming behind the pair cleared his throat and inched closer, but a thoughtless waving of Caraway's hand had him rocking back on his heels and departing Rian's personal space bubble. Clearly, the writer was used to his bulldog of a security officer being more than a little over enthusiastic about his job.

"After we get underway, wanna help me finish butchering it?" Rian asked, referring to the hog stuffed into the impossibly tight confines of their tiny on board fridge. Waving a hand back and forth in front of his face, Caraway laughed uncomfortable and took a step back.

"Oh, no no, I simply couldn't. I'd be happy to watch, of course, provided it doesn't get too...messy," the man answered, laughing nervously and holding his pad and pen up closer to his chin as though in an attempt to hide behind it.

The pink glass bottles stood out and the temporary captain grabbed two and offered one to his passenger.


Mister Caraway seemed far more amenable to this offer than he had been to the first. Shoving his notepad back into its pocket, Noah took the offered drink.

"So why is Captain Barnaby on sabbatical?" he asked. The idea of a working man taking some time off tickled him. Where did the common man go on holiday?

Location: Cargo Hold - Albie, Viktor, Mattie, Tabitha, Arlo

The last of the sheep had been loaded on board and Caraway's staff set to finishing the temporary fencing around the beasts, some of them casting resentful glances in Albie's direction. Clearly he wasn't helping them enough.

Another round of servants entered the cargo hold, rolling a cart with Caraway's personal luggage on board and stacking it up neatly in a sheep-free corner. In the end, there were four traveling suitcases made of wood and leather, and two duffle bags piled up atop one another. It looked like a lot more than someone would need for such a short trip, but the rich were mysterious and surely he had a reason to pack so much.

Finally, the 'help' disembarked and made their way back into the main house, leaving the crew to close the cargo bay doors when they were ready to go.
Ship Time: 0723
Ship Location: Caraway's Personal Landing Pad, Londinium

"Viktor Soderberg and I'm not sure my knowledge is transferable, unless reading scripture can put sheep to sleep as easy as some of my parishioners," the preacher answered. Noah snorted, laughed abruptly, and pointed at the man as though he'd said something far funnier than he'd intended. His attention shifted, then, to the medic and he nodded to her politely.

"My colleague, friend and resident medic, Tabitha," Viktor introduced. The security eyed them both, but kept most of his attention on Mattie, who was quick to depart with the tall, gangly fellow.

"'Scuse us, Excuse us," they said. The mountain of man furrowed his brows, crossed his arms over his chest, and stared holes into the back of them.

"...that was our security personnel, Mattie, and your fellow passenger, Arlo..."

"Oh splendid! Another passenger! I'm sure they've got heaps of fun little stories. I'll check in with them shortly!" Noah informed the three remaining crew with a pleasant clapping of his hands. He finished writing their names down and shoved the note pad back into its place in his pocket, the pen slipping behind his ear.

"Perhaps, you and Captain Carpenter should speak business in the galley? Tabby and I can supervise the rest of the cargo loading and play your ice breaker a little later over a cuppa," Viktor suggested.

"Oh! Yes! Right! This little fella' can assist you! Splendid idea, look at you shepherding us all in the right direction already, Preacher! You've got the makings of a main character," he told the resident shepherd with a wink and a nudge against his ribs. The hired security sighed slowly, his jaw clenched so hard that the vein in his neck started to throb. He shot the lanky kid they'd hired to work with the sheep during flight a fairly dirty look, perhaps as a reminder for him to behave when he was inevitably out of the man's sight.

"I think preacher-man's got the right idea...But we can talk more business inside. None of those sheep know how to fly do they? ... That's just a... uh... spacer joke."

Caraway's initial confusion about the sheep's skill at piloting melted away into another surprised but genuine laugh. "Oh! Right! Hah, no I suppose they don't, do they? Or perhaps they do and they just haven't shared that with me." He chortled, pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket, and held it over his nose without thinking. Apparently the smell of the sheep gathered in such a tight space was irritating his allergies, or perhaps offending his senses. 

"We'll tell you more about other common spacer jokes...C'mon... let's get you on the ship before you change your mind!"

"Oh, perfect! I'll need to record a few of those. For the book, you understand! I want to make sure I get all the vernacular correct. That makes things more immersive, don't you agree?" he asked Rian, following the Captain-Pilot out of the cargo hold and leaving the sheep and its keeper behind. Before passing out of sight, the security pointed at his own eyes with index and middle finger, then jutted them out toward Albie. Then, he was gone as well.

"Say, what would you say is your favorite part of Captaining?" Noah asked on their way up to the galley. "And what's the backstory to the name Darling?" Again, the pad of paper was drawn out of the pocket, exchanged with the handkerchief.
Iscariot Station Location
Parallel to the Automated Cortex Relay past the Himinbjorg System out in "The Rim."
Station Time: 1515


Although the danger had passed and the general attitude of the station had settled, very few residents were ready to risk heading back out or opening their shops. They'd just call today a 'wash' and try again tomorrow. It was one of the rare moments in the station's history where most walkways, corridors, and tubes were just about empty. Had there been a tumbleweed available, it would have happily bounced across a path or two. For someone wanting to carry out a clandestine meeting, there was simply no time more perfect than the present.

The station was as close to the Himinbjorg system's Automated Cortex Relay as it was going to get until meeting up with the next one in about a week. The signal to and from Iscariot was strong and reliable now, which meant any messages going out or coming in would be best sent in the next day or so to ensure their timely delivery.
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep6 - Lights, Camera, Action!
February 26, 2022, 09:13:32 AM
Ship Time: 0718
Ship Location: Caraway's Personal Landing Pad, Londinium

"Mister Caraway!" Rian greeted.

Noah Caraway grinned and sauntered the rest of the way up the ramp, breaking out into a light skipping jog once he neared the top. Clearing the distance between himself and the Captain, Noah jutted his hand out with a broad smile. The other hand grabbed at the lapel of his blazer, idly tugging it to make sure it was right were it was meant to be.

"Captain Carpenter!" Noah greeted, with ample enthusiasm and oozing charm. The security eyed Rian, then made his way slowly around the cargo hold, not asking permission before doing so. He peered behind support beams and into crevices, his gaze missing nothing. Then, he approached the gathered crew and looked each of them over carefully, assessing. The only one he seemed to linger on was Mattie. He looked down at her hands, stared thoughtfully at the squaring of her shoulders, and finally locked eyes with her and frowned. With a nod to himself, as though making some sort of mental note, the gentleman turned away and returned to his employer.

"I can show you around the ship if you'd like, or we can get right to loading your cargo," Rian offered.

Noah clapped his hands together and rocked back on his heels. "That would be splendid! I hope you don't mind the smell of livestock," he said with a chuckle. "I've never been too fond of it, but the new experience is positively exhilarating. Say, do you write at all? Oh!" he paused, realizing his excitement had made him forget his manners. Turning from Rian, Noah offered the crew a little bow, followed by a boyish smile.

"Greetings, crew! I am Noah Caraway. You may call me Noah, if you feel so inclined. Ah! A preacher! Perfect! You must know heaps about tending to a flock," he noted, laughing cheerily and gesturing back down the ramp they way he'd come. Almost on que, several servants rounded the ship leading a flock of fluffy white sheep. They bleated and stomped around curiously, led up the ramp by the help, who looked frazzled and exhausted. Clearly, this particular duty wasn't part of their regular responsibilities and they were obviously out of their depth.

"Oh, I am so eager to get started. Just act normally, pretend I'm not even here! I'll just be flitting around, making notes and observing," he added, then pointed at each member of the crew, counting them. Out came a pad of paper and he began jotting things down. "For my records, would you mind introducing yourselves? Oh and if you'd like, we can play two truths and a lie! I find that works wonders in breaking the ice!" he told them, although he'd really never been able to get anyone to play along. Perhaps this was the day.
Wyatt Crew / Re: Danielle "Nelly" Newcastle
February 10, 2022, 05:12:29 PM
Approved and Moved!
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep6 - Lights, Camera, Action!
February 05, 2022, 04:33:47 PM
Ship Time: 0715
Ship Location: Caraway's Personal Landing Pad, Londinium

The Darling clattered and shuddered, tipping left and right, dropping suddenly and regaining altitude. It groaned in protest like a horse lamenting the technique of its inexperienced rider. The ship hovered above the landing pad, vibrating with the effort to remain still and on course. Slowly, it lowered, its engines kicking up dust and dirt into the air on its decent. Finally, a dull thud echoed within the Darling as its landing gears made contact with the ground and it settled its weight down onto the safety of the pad.

Outside, Mister Noah Caraway, in full view of the bridge's front ports, gave the Captain and Pilot a standing ovation. He was clearly wealthy, if the lavish building behind him was any indication. His grounds, lush and green, were covered in plants and animal shaped topiaries, as well as a hedge maze. He straightened his vest and beamed brightly at The Darling, a hand lifting to tussle his own brown hair. Beside him, an unnecessarily large and lurching bodyguard held Noah's luggage in one hand and his cortex pad in the other. The man had clearly never skipped leg day once in his life. Or arm day. Or back day. Or the muscles that make up your neck day. He was a walking Got Milk ad, his arms so large they barely touched the sides of his suit covered torso.

The bay doors opened and the ramp lowered. Noah and his guard walked out of view to meet with Captain Carpenter and his crew at the ramp.
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep6 - Lights, Camera, Action!
January 11, 2022, 10:16:48 AM
Ship Time: 1142
Ship Location: Secondary Claim, St. Albans

Despite the new hands at her helm, the Darling moved through the sky and up past the atmosphere with only a few jerks and drops. She stalled only once, dropping a few feet before Rian got her back under control and they entered the relative safety of space. Up here, they couldn't fall out of the sky and there wasn't much to bump into. All he had to do was rely on the navigation system and trust the Darling to get them where they were going.

Ship Time: 0700
Ship Location: Londinium Orbit

At base speed, the Darling could make it from St. Albans to Londinium in exactly 4 days 10 hours 8 minutes and 29 seconds. With Rian at the helm, they managed to get there in 5 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes, and 39 seconds. For his first time flying the ship, it wasn't too bad, but it did have them slightly behind schedule. Their employer, one Noah Caraway, had waved Rian every day to check on their progress. He was clearly excited about the upcoming 'opportunity for inspiration,' and had made himself quite the nuisance.

During the days between St. Albans and their destination, Tabby had kept to herself in the Med Bay, although she emerged for every meal and made the rounds once a day to check on their health a little more meticulously than usual.

Now, with his face on the screen at the pilot's console, the Darling hovered in Londinium's orbit, Caraway's personal docking pad entered into their ship's system. It was up to Rian to dock and their employer insisted upon watching the process.

"I've got my pen and paper ready, Captain!" Caraway said cheerily. From the background of his call, it was clear that the man was already waiting for them at the landing pad, someone holding the cortex pad for him so he had hands free to write.
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep6 - Lights, Camera, Action!
November 22, 2021, 09:06:08 AM
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.
New Ship Ideas / Re: The Wyatt
October 06, 2021, 01:57:06 PM
I'd like to put in my hat for either XO or Gunhand, with Genevieve LeBlanc. She is an Infiltration Specialist, so honestly whatever crew title fits. 
Not in Play / Re: Tyson "Turncoat" Hazard
October 05, 2021, 04:20:22 PM
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep5 - Lights, Camera, Action!
October 01, 2021, 11:10:40 AM
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.
A system wide alert broadcast in all directions.


Location: Docks - Elena, Jessie, Ben

Ships docked were locked into place, the race was put on pause, and things were either cleaned up quickly or hidden under carefully crafted storage spaces made to look invisible if one wasn't aware of their location. Now, racing wasn't illegal necessarily, but plenty of those who entered the race had a few warrants for similar actions where it might not have been entirely legal to be going that fast with someone else's ship. A large portion of the potential racers scattered, making a mess of things as they went. Leon the Lion sauntered past where Ben had his ship and offered the pilot a wink and a finger gun, "Nothing like some excitement before a race to get the blood pumping!" he called to him before walking aimlessly in another direction, looking for someone else to deliver a peppy one-liner to.

Location: Station Commons - Hercules, Moira

The announcement echoed eerily across the space, seeming to magnify its volume with every reiteration of the Alliance's presence. The crowds outside of the commons were moving like a fish downstream, and managed to push Moira toward her intended destination much faster than she might have liked. And they were none too gentle about it. A man trying to exit the commons as she was entering elbowed past her, "Oi! Watch out!" he called half-heartedly, too focused on getting 'home' to really offer her any sincere venom. He hurried on his way. Stalls shut their awnings, closing up their 'shops' and some carted them out as best as they could, knowing full well they had no license to sell whatever illegal goods they were likely trying to pawn off on the unsuspecting.

Location: Sector 3B - E.V, Briar, Freya

All at once, chaos erupted on Iscariot Station. Shops began to shutter closed, long time residents of the station vanished into alleys, households, vents, and all the nooks and crannies. The motel's front desk gentleman stood abruptly and slapped a key on the counter. "Two beds it is, Queen and Twin, non-smokin'," he told them sternly, his demeanor entirely shifted. "I'll collect the payment once this's all over. I recommend goin' to your room and stayin' there for a bit," he said, rounding the counter and moving to the door. With a grunt, he yanked the shutters down over the doors and locked them at the bottom, leaving them lit only by the small lamps in the reception area.
Location: HUB - Velocity

Chips didn't lift a hand to straighten his hair after it had been ruffled. He was perfectly content to let it stay poking every which way. He started undoing the 'PB&J', internally thankful that she ate meat so he could have the jelly sandwich himself. He always liked those ones more than the ones with 'meat'.

"...When you are used to competing against hostile mis..." she trailed off and even Chips could see that she'd gone elsewhere. His eyes widened and he froze mid bite, the sandwich's corner stuck in his mouth.

Then she started crying. Not sure what to do, he shoved half the sandwich in his mouth and wiped his hands off on the 'grass' before reaching out to pat at her shoulder, her hair, and finally hugged the entirety of her head. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to do that!" he told her honestly. He didn't know what exactly was the matter, but he had seen that look on the faces of many of the station's residents, and it was never followed by something good. He'd seen it lead to crying, violence, and things far worse than either.

A stranger approached the pair of them and cleared his throat to interrupt the moment, his fist balled up in front of his mouth to muffle the noise. Not comfortable around crying women, the man looked up and around while he waited for them to compose themselves before finally bending at the waist to move his clean-shaven face closer to them. "Eh, time for work," he told the pilot, not aware of how cryptic and vague that was. Straightening again, he turned and gestured toward the lift, his brows aloft as he waited.

[Velocity (and Chips) exit to: Odette S1: Ep2 - War Hawks]
Location: HUB - Velocity

After several minutes, enough to give Velocity some alone time to settle in her spot in the grass and watch the ship inch closer and closer to the station, Chips came bounding back with a paper bag held tightly against his chest.

"I got us sammwiches," he exclaimed proudly, tripping, stumbling, catching himself, and finally allowing himself to tumble to a halt next to Velocity. He smiled up at her from where he laid on his back, the food still safe in the bag. "And some drinks," he added, grinning toothily up at her. The boy sat up, and dumped the contents of the bag out onto the grass, revealing two plastic wrapped sandwiches (one 'peanut butter and jelly' and two thickly stuffed 'ham and cheese' sandwiches), and two bottles of water. "A feast! I didn't know if you were keen on meat so I got a backup!" he announced, poking the PB&J.

Attention Racers, now's the time to head back to the docks. Check in when you arrive and begin ship inspection sequence.

The hubub at the bar grew a little louder with excitement and speculation. Their main golden boy, who was currently highly encouraged not to show his face around the station for a while, wasn't racing, but Leon was and they liked Leon only a little less than they liked Marty. He was still a good bet, at least. No one beat Leon. Except for Marty. "If Sebastian doesn't give you a job soon, will you race?" Chips asked curiously.

Location:  Station Commons - Hercules, Moira

The Station Commons were located a reasonable distance from the main shops of each sector. The space was high and wide, filled with smaller food carts, chairs and seating, and settled across from a raised 'stage' area typically used for things like auctions, evening 'entertainment', and drunken roughhousing.

The area was big enough to allow most people to have private conversations, the seats and standing room far enough apart that the general hum of the station drowned out what was being said. The once bare and grey walls had been decorated and tapestries, curtains, silks, and sheets of varying shades of reds, purples, and browns. Graffiti and advertisements for shops filled up any blank spots, and in the corners of the rooms, pillows, chairs, and boxes had been piled up to provide additional seating. The perfect locale for a clandestine meeting.
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