S1:Ep6 - Lights, Camera, Action!

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

Mattie Rooney

August 31, 2022, 04:01:23 AM #60 Last Edit: August 31, 2022, 04:13:04 AM by Mattie Rooney
Location: Crew Quarters

So, we meet again, Zane Harkness, you cocky góu zaĭ zi...

It was only this morning that Mattie had tucked the book away with grandiose promises of not touching it again unless things got dire, yet here she was, reaching for sub-par literature to take her mind off of the events of the day.

Not that there were any real events to take her mind off of. Thanks to her crafty sheep-related excuses and supreme gift of stealth, Mattie had managed to avoid Caraway's prying questions for now. It helped that as the acting captain of the ship, Rian had gotten the brunt of the writer's attention; she'd felt bad for him, but not enough to step up and take some of the heat.

Maybe she was being selfish. She knew he had bigger skeletons in his closet than she did, ones that could cause actual harm if they got out. Mattie's skeletons were the kind people were told to confront, to deal with, make peace with. She didn't want to think about it right now (ever), which was why she turned to the one source of distraction she had at hand, the will-they-or-won't-they (finally take revenge on the gang that burned down the Porter farmstead) between Virginia and Zane.

The book finally turned out to be good for something -- as the pages crawled by, each of them taking the protagonists further away from revenge and closer to a physical consummation of their relationship, Mattie found her lids growing heavier, until sleep swooped in just in time to rescue her from the incoming mediocre erotica.

Mattie's slumber was far from peaceful, filled with one intense dream after another, most of them bordering nightmares. In her final dream of the night she was back home, bedridden with a terrible fever. Her mother kept vigil beside her, but Caraway was also there, hovering with his notepad, following Lenora Rooney's every move with a keen, inappropriate curiosity.

And what's worse, Lenora was prattling Mattie's life story to him, only she was telling it all wrong; she lamented that her daughter didn't realize she was pretty and was afraid to wear dresses because of it; that Mattie needed companionship and was too blind to see that her best friend Georgie was in love with her, so she'd had to go out and find her a husband herself; that Mattie had been so traumatized by her father going to war that she'd turned her back on her real passions and picked up sharpshooting as an unhealthy coping mechanism.

Mattie wanted to interject, to tell Caraway that her mother was twisting everything, but she was too exhausted to speak, her body hot and heavy with fever. She could do nothing but watch Caraway's pen fly across the page as he recorded every lie and misunderstanding that left Lenora's lips. He only paused to place his clammy hand on Mattie's forehead to check her temperature, looking to her mother for confirmation that he was doing it correctly.

Finally, mercifully, the sickbed scene faded away, and Mattie felt someone tugging at her pillow. She rolled on her side and came face to face with a flustered Tabby. What was she doing? Why was she up already? Not only up but fully dressed, wide awake and seemingly busy at... whatever this was.

"What?" Mattie sat up groggily. "What time is it? Ruttin' hell..."

Her body felt a little like it had in the dream; not feverish, but heavy, sluggish. Waterlogged with sleep. She knew this feeling; it was the feeling of oversleeping, of your body collapsing under the weight of one too many restless nights and losing grip of its usual schedule. No wonder her dreams had been so numerous and vivid.

"What're you doin' snoopin' 'round my bed?" she cast a suspicious glance at Tabby as she gathered her pants from the floor and pulled them on. "Shouldn't you be, I dunno, fixin' our guest a cup of tea for breakfast?"

She wasn't annoyed so much as genuinely confused why Tabby was buzzing around the crew's quarters instead of making Caraway feel welcome. She'd seemed happy to have new blood on board. Kinda. Maybe? Or had everyone else just been so profoundly uncomfortable that she'd looked enthusiastic in comparison?
Dialogue color: darkkhaki

Viktor Söderberg

With a new passenger aboard and a job focus on, everyone had gone about their duties after the initial hellos. For Viktor, that meant Cortex counseling sessions. He had three sessions lined up for the week as well as two new patient interviews. He had fallen fast alseep reviewing patient files. When he woke, a blanket had been pulled over him and his data pad tucked away in his footlocker. Tabby had a habit of doing this just as Viktor had a habit of falling asleep reading his files. It was a comfort.
This afternoon is was a session with a couple who were having trouble communicating and then a meeting with a lovely older lady looking for grief counseling after her daughter had passed away.
The preacher didn't normally take more than one meeting in a day when he was in the black but the older lady had seemed very distraught and couldn't work in a call at any other time this week. Besides his own mental health and the sometimes spotty connections, time alone in the quarters could be hard to arrange and with confidentiality on the line he had be to certain of no interruptions. He'd have to see if he could find a better space.
"Tabs?" He'd asked, once he found her. "Barring any medical emergencies, would it be OK if I used that med bay for my sessions today? Just two, this afternoon?"

Thackery Arlington III

"Avast, ye scoundrels!"

The hooves of Arlo's horse thundered across the decks of the Earth-That-Was sailing vessel - never mind how the animal was managing to navigate such a space at a gallop, or how it had even attained a gallop at all while confined to a ship; that wasn't important. What was important was the wind streaming through Arlo's hair as he rode, making his ponytail breeze back in a regal echo of the horse's rippling mane and tail. His steed caught up easily to the scoundrels in question, who were all felled in short order by the snicker-snak of Arlo's rapier, toppling gloriously into the waves in bloodless droves.

When all were defeated and Arlo stood victorious, he drew the hoverbike he was riding up short by the ship's mast and dismounted to address the damsel tied there. He effortlessly pulled off the helmet that had concealed his face and shook his hair out in a slow-motion wave.

"My lady," he greeted her with a sweeping bow, ignoring the fact that she bore a remarkable resemblance to his baby sister Georgie's favorite dolly. His blade chopped through the ropes tying her to the tree in a single blow, and he said something else terribly romantic, something to do with sunsets maybe or sparkling stars, he didn't really bother coming up with the details, but she was very impressed and flattered and grateful and leapt up behind him on the horse's back, which was a horse again because he didn't really want a hoverbike after all now that he'd already done the helmet bit. "Those cufflinks go
perfectly with your pocket silk," she told him admiringly.

The desert sun sparkled down on them as they dashed away though the trees, until suddenly the ground started to shake and quake and then the decks of the ship broke in two as a sharp fin crested the sand and an enormous grizzly boar rose up, roaring, from the waves, its claws raking terrible lines through the earth while its tentacles splashed about, creating tidal waves that tossed the ship to and fro.

"What's your horse's name?!" the damsel shrieked in a panic.

Arlo tipped the brim of his hat down over his eyes to squint at the bear through the dusty summer haze. A lone vulture cawed overheard and a clock somewhere tolled high noon. He slowly raised his sword and took calm and careful aim.

"Biscuits," he said grimly, and fired. The shot was perfect, hitting its mark dead-on, but to no avail. Uninjured, the bore simply roared again and towered over Arlo, then came crashing down with a tender smooch on his forehead.

"Ahh! Biscuits!" Arlo yelled, jerking awake and nearly colliding foreheads with the ship's doctor. "Tabitha! What? What are you doing?" He looked wildly around his bunk, which was suddenly much tidier than he was sure he'd left it. "And where have all my pocket silks gone?"
Dialogue Color: darkseagreen | 8FBC8F

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

Albie Smit

There was a string of farm animals across Albie's bunk when he startled awake. He stayed still, breathing evenly,  blinking blearily at the sheep for a moment, processing the voice of the crew.  Then he smiled, just a little. Cute. He appreciated a paper sheep; no shit to clean up.

Speaking of which, if he was going to play the shepherd, he ought to get off his rear and do it. He was tempted to lay there and feign sleep until the room was clear of people, but a the tinny echo of a certain voice chastised him in memory. You didn't put off caring for a beast, not even if you were nursing a gut-wound bound to kill you... so he compromised, sliding out of bed and out the door before anyone could speak to him, offering a quick nod to the wakeful crew in passing so as not to be impolite.

The sheep were in fine shape -- he didn't recognize the breed and hoped no one would ask him, but they were clearly well-fed and well-kept. The fleece he ran through his fingers wasn't the finest, but he expected it would make good warm wool for some frontier town. If that's where they ended up; with a rueful smile, Albie had to acknowledge to himself that he'd jumped into this role headfirst and without more information than Aw-Shucks Albie would have been able to remember. 'spose it does make it easier to commit to the bit. Ain't exactly playing dumb if I don't know anything in the first place.. But he did know sheep, and he went through the chores they required with a steady competence that was buried somewhere deeper than muscle memory.

Feeding, watering, mucking up, and even meandering through the flock checking briefly on each sheep -- which made him feel a little like a Shepherd instead of a shepherd. Be at peace, my children he thought irreverently) -- took up hardly any time. He ought to head back to his bunk, probably, or find the galley -- he was sure he'd been shown it, but everything from before sleep was hazy and a little dreamlike. It was only now, after getting more than a snatched hour or two of sleep, that he realized just how exhausted he'd been running for the past week. Or maybe longer. Shorter? It really was all a blur.

As he wandered among the sheep, the back of his mind weighed the chances of getting caught snooping against the visceral need to know every inch of this territory, just in case. He hadn't even asked how long this trip was supposed to take — well, he couldn't could he, when he ought to have known? — and the thought of perhaps months in space without a single hidey-hole in reserve made him itch all over.

Consequences lost. With a conscious effort to keep his pace to Aw-Shucks Albie's amble, he aimed for the engine room.
Dialogue color: sienna


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.
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha

Darling ~ Iscariot

Rian Carpenter

December 12, 2022, 06:36:05 PM #65 Last Edit: December 12, 2022, 06:52:30 PM by Rian Carpenter
Relief. Complete and total relief. That's what he felt as the writer and his two-meter meat castle of a bodyguard left his flank. He even felt the muscles in his whole body relax. If he'd clenched a piece of coal this morning it'd be a diamond by now. Moreover, he could turn his attention back to lunch. The solace of his first and favored position on the crew: The chef.

Today though, it was simple, the best "real" food he could manage for them today. Ham sandwiches and a salad consisting of 50% synthetic lettuce but at least the ham came from a real pig he shot and butchered himself. If the author had tailed him to this point, he was going to remind him of that before serving him, in the hopes it would prompt him to find another muse for a while. But in his freedom, the acting captain had even relaxed to the point that he was humming a tune to himself as he spread his ship-made aioli onto the sliced bread, and stacked up the rest of his meat delivery vessel.

Rian smiled watching the writer take interest in Arlo. He couldn't help but hope Arlo found him just as exhausting. Then a thought came to him that made him smile, then feel sad at the same time. Barnaby would LOVE this. Playing captain for the writer did make him feel like he was really earning the title of Acting Captain. Playing the role for their guest to write.

The book will probably be crap.

Carpenter's internal monologue mused.

The captain will seem like some idiot's approximation of a Captain. Mine.

Leaning up against a cabinet in the galley, he opted not to sit. Rian was content to hang back and let the crew settle in for the meal as he got right into his own lunch. Taking a large bite out of his sandwich he nodded. Nailed the garlic ratio in the sauce. It was worth getting into that argument with the old lady in line at the farmer's market.

Viktor Söderberg

Viktor sat at the galley table heavily. He was weary and famished and just plain annoyed. His personal counseling hadn't gone well. His flashback dreams were getting worse again and the religious doubts that lived in the back of his brain were slowly but surely creeping to the fore.
The culmination of this was that he did not say his usual grace over the crew's meal. By the time he realized he hadn't done it it had been too long and he was a bit to embarrassed to do it now.
He'd already eaten an entire sandwich!
Although, the more accurate word might have been inhaled.
He managed a muffled "very good," to Rian through the last bites of his first sandwich, while he made a second.
His first sandwich had calmed the nausea in his stomach and raised his blood sugar so he no longer felt dizzy. After skipping breakfast for the disappointing hour with his therapist, he'd been in meditation the remainder of the morning. He didn't often skip meals between Tabitha making sure everyone was eating right and not wanting to miss Rian's cooking. But, he felt better now so he chewed his second sandwich a reasonable amount and remembered to breathe.
In an attempt to distract anyone from noticing his faith faux pas he looked around the table to find a discussion to start up. But he could feel the fatigue glazing over his eyes as they roamed the room and the preacher was sure everyone else could see it in his face and the set of his body in his chair. He wondered if it had been the hunger keeping him awake rather than the meditation.
With that thought in his head he began to ask,
"So how does everyone...."

The preacher's eyelids drooped and his head, which had been resting in the palm of his hand, sank into his chest. The question he had intended to ask has started out as a subtle whisper and faded, unintelligibly, to nothing.

Thackery Arlington III

"Oh, perfect timing!"

Arlo did not leap backwards at the abrupt intrusion upon his thoughts, interrupting his aimless stroll about the ship. He'd successfully avoided crossing paths with Caraway longer than a moment or two for a matter of some days, but ease must have fostered complacency and he'd allowed himself to become distracted.

Regardless, he did not jump. That would be unseemly. He perhaps stumbled a bit as the exuberant writer fell into step with him, and a muffled croak with only aspirations of becoming a startled squawk was throttled in his throat. Only his rote-practiced posture held firm once he'd recovered from the stumble: back straight, chin lifted, gaze unflinching. He was very good at looking like a man of composure, just so long as he wasn't expected to speak. Or react. Or do anything at all.

"You are a conundrum!" his sudden companion declared. It occurred to Arlo that he had probably ought to say hello. For that matter, they hadn't yet been formally introduced, which needed to be addressed as well. Or need it be? Perhaps— "Mister Arlo, was it?" Well, that took care of that, Arlo supposed. He opened his mouth to elaborate on his given name, forgot what it was for the merest fraction of a moment, and in that time lost his opportunity before Caraway was already speaking again. "And I think that will be an interesting bit of juicy drama for my book!"

"What will?" Arlo asked, or rather, tried to. He got as far as "Wh—" before his unused voice turned into a wheeze, forcing him to clear his throat. With dignity, of course.

The other gentleman was delayed by no such limitations. "Say, what's a man of your cleanliness doing on a ship like this?" he asked, unexpectedly bestowing Arlo with an uncomfortable degree of scrutiny.

It wasn't an unreasonable question in the least, but it was still the last query Arlo had been prepared for. "Ah, well..." he began, trailing off with a thoughtful nod as if considering how best to begin, while instead his mind scrambled to recall what the answer even was, never mind how to relate it. "That's quite the question," he stalled further. It was no easier to focus with Caraway's gaze picking him apart from head to toe. He suddenly wondered with a panic if the buttons on his waistcoat were straight, and only years of disciplined resilience kept him from checking.

Fortunately, Caraway seemed to consider this an invitation to seize hold of the conversation again. "I've got quite an eye, you see," he explained with a gesture that would have had Arlo putting out one of his eyes if he'd attempted the same.

"Erm, yes," Arlo agreed, nodding as he followed the pen to the said eye. "Very, ah... bl—" For one blessed moment in his life, he realized his mistake in time to forestall what would have been a highly embarrassing faux pas, slamming his mouth shut on the word blue. The writer was speaking metaphorically. Obviously he was.

Arlo's relief at the averted disaster, however, was short-lived. Without warning, Noah was directly in Arlo's personal space, smelling him. Arlo could only stand frozen rigid, eyes widened like some form of nocturnal wildlife paralyzed by the lights of an oncoming hovercraft.

"Details are my business, after all!" Caraway continued with a pleasant peal of laughter that made the ship feel several degrees warmer. "And don't spare me any of the juicy details!"

"Of course, ehem, yes," Arlo managed, inanely. "Details, after all, are the, ah..." There was an expression there, wasn't there? He was so sure of it. "They're, er, the devil's..." Bollocks, no, he had it backwards. He rushed into a new topic, hoping to distract the author with questions about himself before he could realize that Arlo was babbling or that he'd yet to properly answer any questions of his own.

Fortunately, the one thing Arlo could say with confidence from personal experience was that writers could always be diverted into talking about their work. "Tell me of your book,"  he urged with unprecedented decisiveness. "What sort of themes does it explore?"
Dialogue Color: darkseagreen | 8FBC8F

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

Albie Smit

February 14, 2023, 02:39:36 PM #68 Last Edit: February 14, 2023, 08:10:57 PM by Albie Smit Reason: forgot to bold and color the dialogue
It hadn't taken Albie long to explore the ship -- the parts he could get to without being noticed, anyway -- and some mutton-related make-work kept him pleasantly isolated for a few hours more. By the time he couldn't ignore his rumbling belly any longer, he quite literally had most of the flock eating out of his hands.

"C'mon now," he muttered, gently shoving one of the more forward ewes out of his way and getting to his feet. The dust of grain feed wiped off easily on her lanolin-heavy wool, but the rest of the barnyard smell stuck to him as he set out. By all that was proper he ought to go have a wash first and not inflict his barnyard aroma on other people, but... to the black with it. He was exhausted. Has it only been a week? It dragged a rueful chuckle from him despite himself, as he meandered toward the soft mutter of voices in the galley. Felt more like a century. Even now there was plenty more sleep he needed to catch up on -- and he was as hungry as a young man could be. The crew would just have to put up with a little bit of sheep-iness at dinner, and that was that.

Still, he kept his eyes down as he found a seat. There were plenty of reasons to avoid eye contact. Important, sensible, safety-preserving ones. Albie wouldn't have admitted for the deed to half a moon that the main one, the one that made him do his best to be invisible, was knowing just what Mama would have said about coming to the table without washing up.
Dialogue color: sienna

Mattie Rooney

As ship security, it was technically Mattie's job to look after their passengers and make sure no harm came to them and that they, in turn, didn't cause any themselves. She had been ignoring her duties on this front, doing her best to avoid Noah and his bodyguard. She'd seen and heard how nosy the writer was around Rian, and she had no interest in sharing on the burden of being forced to overshare.

Instead, she'd found herself tailing the shepherd. It wasn't because she found him suspicious but because he was also an outsider, and by keeping an eye on him she could tell herself she was still doing what she was paid for while giving their guest of honor free roam of the ship and looking away while he ruthlessly assaulted her innocent crewmates with his invasive questions and corny smalltalk.

There was another reason, too -- whenever the boy took a break from watching the sheep, Mattie seized the opportunity to slip into the cargo bay and get a few pets in. She liked having the animals around. Their company offered some of the same comfort as being around people, without having to put on a mask and follow arbitrary rules of socialization. Just a bunch of living beings, sharing the same space, acknowledging each other's place among all God's creations. Simple and straightforward.

Unlike Albie, Mattie made sure to wash off sheep smell before coming to lunch -- more to get rid of incriminating evidence than out of any slavish adherence to hygiene. She had a reputation to upkeep, and that reputation did not include her having a soft spot for livestock. Upon entering the galley, however, it became clear Mattie could've spared herself the effort of scrubbing her hands; the cloud of barnyard smell around Albie was strong enough to cover up any lingering traces on her. As she took a seat at the table, she threw him a pointed look before digging into her sandwich.
Dialogue color: darkkhaki

Tabitha Haemish

Tabitha skipped merrily into the galley to join everyone for lunch. One might have thought that was simply an exaggerate expression meaning that Tabby entered the room jovially, but in this case it was literal. The 'doctor' skipped. She paused upon seeing everyone already present, then smiled warmly. The knot in her stomach pulled itself a little tighter at the glaring reminder that someone was missing, and the smile faltered for half a moment before she caught it and put it back into place.

Grabbing a sandwich for herself and gently patting Rian's arm in thanks as she passed, Tabby sat down next to Viktor, ready to say grace. When none was forthcoming, she turned to stare at the preacher with immediate concern. Then surprise. She didn't know a sandwich could vanish so quickly. Her smile returned and she set to eating, her eyes scanning the room as she appraised the apparent conditions of her crew and family.

"Are you finding the ship comfortable? I can add more pillows and blankets to your bunk if you need them. Have you worked with larger livestock before? Any horses?" she asked Albie.

"So how does everyone...." Again, her attention turned to Viktor.

"Ope," she whispered to herself, a hand extending to take his sandwich carefully from his loose grasp and put it back onto the safety of its plate. Then, she scooted her chair closer to him and reached up to very gently tilt his head to the side and onto her shoulder to give him some support. Then, with hands folded in her lap, Tabby sat silently and happily, her eyes on Albie as she waited for his answer. 
Dialogue Color: Pink


February 16, 2023, 09:38:35 AM #71 Last Edit: February 16, 2023, 10:27:51 AM by Lomari
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..."
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha

Darling ~ Iscariot

Mattie Rooney

February 28, 2023, 04:56:54 AM #72 Last Edit: February 28, 2023, 04:58:47 AM by Mattie Rooney
"At last, our paths finally cross."

Mattie froze, not lifting her eyes from the sandwich in her hands, as if she could make herself invisible to Noah by staying still and ignoring him. It worked for prey animals. But since when was she one of those? She looked up at the menace across the table, confronting his twinkling eyes with a death glare.

"How did you end up on board the Darling? You seem the kind who likes to keep to yourself, or maybe... you were avoiding me? And why is that? Do I intimidate you?"

Had Mattie not been busy chewing, she might have let out an audible groan at Noah's... what? Was he flirting, or just joking? It was hard to tell, since whatever he was doing was neither attractive nor funny. She stared at him, stone-faced.

"But in all seriousness, what did you do before you worked here? Something thrilling I bet".

"I dun' get paid to answer your questions," she grumbled through a mouthful of half-chewed bread. A trickle of sauce escaped through her lips and dribbled down her chin; she wiped it off with her palm and glanced at Rian, suddenly unsure. "Do I?"

Mattie swallowed her food and turned back to Noah, sizing him up. She contemplated for a moment before speaking.

"I shot people."

She shifted her attention back to her sandwich and took another bite.
Dialogue color: darkkhaki

Thackery Arlington III

Arlo's mind was a blank void. It was the static of a comms transmission lost to the signalless depths of the 'Verse. It was the color of space. It was the sound between one heartbeat and the next. It hung, suspended, transfixed by the piercing blue of the twin laser rifles trained on him at point-blank range.

His lips parted in an unconscious mirror of Noah's, prepared on reflex to answer his question with the rote-memorized script of some pleasantry or polite deferral, autopilot kicking in to override the sheer, utter uselessness of the man at the controls. But when any words failed to appear, Arlo noticed belatedly that no question had been asked. The program had received no input. He was distantly aware that Noah, too, seemed on the cusp of some unspoken thought, but had yet to say a word...

For a fraction of a fraction of a moment, they were alone in the galley. The cheerful kitchen clatter and chatter around them faded out into a muffled fog and the background blurred and dimmed until only the two writers remained... And then just as quickly as time had stopped, it started again all at once, faster and louder if possible than before. With a brief pat on Arlo's face, Noah slipped past him in far closer proximity than propriety would have allowed were it not necessitated by the tight confines of a working ship, and moved on to his next victim.

Arlo hadn't even noticed the pen in his chest until it vanished, evidenced only by a slight dimple in the fabric and the distant echo of a now-gone sense of pressure. His fingertips drifted up to brush his cheek as he stared across the room at the back of the Darling's newest passenger while he launched into his animated interrogation.

"Fascinating..." he murmured aloud, and it was unclear even especially to himself whether he was repeating from Noah's last words or delivering his own assessment of the other writer. He shook as if he had a sudden chill and forced himself to turn away and look for the galley door as if he needed to find his bearings in the familiar room—

And instead dreamily walked face-first into the gorilla currently looming over the hired sheep-hand.
Dialogue Color: darkseagreen | 8FBC8F

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

Rian Carpenter

March 04, 2023, 03:09:52 PM #74 Last Edit: March 04, 2023, 03:15:39 PM by Rian Carpenter
Rian was nearly done with his sandwich and he'd shifted his attention to his salad, just as he'd gotten a good mouthful of greens into his face when he noticed Noah had shifted his attention to the blonde badass. Suppressing a smile he couldn't help but anticipate this being amusing.

"I dun' get paid to answer your questions,"

The acting-Captain wasn't inclined to press her on the matter."Do I?"

He shrugged slightly.

"Whatever you're comfortable with."

"I shot people."

That is her comfort zone.

Carpenter thought to himself he should probably throw her a lifeline before the topic of killing got elaborated on any further.

"I mean, who hasn't?"

The killer cook realized he was opening himself up to follow-ups on the subject now. Maybe a line of counter-inquiry?

"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?"

He pointed in the general direction of the ever-present guardian. The Captain-Cook was tempting danger drawing attention to the security detail. By nature, they were supposed to be in the background. Not the center of attention. It was in that moment Arlo collided with him.

There was no holding back a laugh this time.


He quickly covered his mouth and tried to pretend he didn't delight in Arlo's fumbling.

"In the sophisticate's defense that six foot twenty sausage is shockingly stealthy at times."


March 06, 2023, 10:19:04 AM #75 Last Edit: March 13, 2023, 08:43:20 AM by Lomari
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.
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha

Darling ~ Iscariot

Rian Carpenter

Rian is not a pilot. Rian is not a Captain. He's not even an XO. Rian Carpenter is not even Rian Carpenter. But here he is. Flying this gorram space-ship with some damned blue-blood pestering him for more juicy details on his "exotic life of labor and hardship" or whatever. The continued act was exhausting him, and the stand-in Captain eyed his approach to their destination through strained, bloodshot eyes. Good rest had been hard to find.

Not-Captain Carpenter wasn't sure how long Noah had been talking. It sort of just faded into the background hum of all the Darling's many different systems. Then a warning noise blared. It took a good five seconds of it wailing for Rian to snap out of his detached state.

Warning: Air brakes

"What about the damned air brakes?"

Then he realized he was meant to be using them.

"Shit! Seat-belts!"

The skill-deficient pilot started slowly pumping the air brakes as they started to pierce the atmosphere. If he came down onto them too hard they'd shear off. But if they didn't slow down they'd all be pink smears on burning rubble.

Trying to think quickly as he tried to salvage the landing approach, he got on the PA to warn the crew of the impending turbulence.

"All crew and passengers, get yourself to a seat with straps. Now!"

Mattie Rooney

Who watches the watchmen? At this moment it was Mattie, perched on the catwalk above the cargo bay, her eagle eyes firmly fixed on the sea of restless sheep below and, more importantly, the security guard overseeing them. After getting bored of tailing the shepherd -- who seemed too oblivious to his surroundings to pose any kind of challenge -- Darling's resident huntress had shifted her attention to Caraway's hired muscle. Wherever the brute went, she followed, lurking in the shadows, peering behind corners, ready to step in if he attempted to take his intimidation of her crew mates beyond glaring and hovering.

It was very possible he had caught onto what she was doing. Likely, even. That didn't worry Mattie none. What exactly was he going to do about the ship's chief of security keeping an eye on him? As far as she was concerned, he was the one who had overstepped his boundaries by taking it onto himself to patrol the ship. That was her turf. His job was supposed to be watching Caraway's back, and he was currently not doing his job.

In other words, the whole thing was a power move more than anything -- albeit a sneaky and slightly passive aggressive one. Maybe she ought to take more direct action next. Maybe shank Caraway while the bodyguard was busy prancing about the ship or sitting in the cargo bay with his thumbs up his pìyǎn. That would teach him not to leave his charge's side.

While Mattie sat there entertaining herself with questionable daydreams of violence, Rian's announcement served as a reality check. She got quietly up from her squatted position on the grating and found her way to the nearest set of strapped seats. She wondered how many more near-death landings they had ahead of them before Rian got the hang of this whole piloting thing. Part of her wished she could see Caraway's face right now. The other part hoped the sheep wouldn't be too upset.
Dialogue color: darkkhaki

Albie Smit

On the Edie-Qui, there'd been too much to do for him to ever get his hands into something interesting. And then there'd been too much getting his hands dirty, and too much running, and frankly, he was itching out of his damned skin for something to do that wasn't related to sheep. Albie missed grease and and stray parts and engine hum more than he'd ever expected to. The engines had never been his heart's desire, just a way to get aboard and stay there, but... they were comforting. Almost homey. Albie suspected some part of him would be an adolsecent engine-monkey forever.

Later Albie will tell himself that he knew. That he sensed something was off. That he wasn't just avoiding the sheep, the ape, and the gunslinger stalking them all. It'd taken days of being excrutiatingly slow and boring for her to finally turn her attention off him, giving Albie some time to explore the ship -- really, just the engine -- for real, without worrying that fascination would give him away. She watched too closely and noticed too much for Albie to feel comfortable with more than a cursory, meandering glance. Until now.

So later, when he's done being terrified, Albie will swear up and down that it was a sixth sense that sent him clanging across the cargo bay balcony and into the bridge and away from any hope of maintaining the Aw-Shucks Albie persona. Because he's not going to admit to being so lost in nostalgia that he didn't recognize the alarms at the edge of his hearing until the captain's voice joined them.

"What about the damned air brakes-- shit, seatbelts!"

Speakers near Albie crackled to life, but he was already moving.

Tā mā de! Nǐ zài kāiwánxiào ba? Bié bǎ chuán zhuàng huàile, báichī! He couldn't hear the speakers over the sudden slamming pace of his heart and boots. He hit the cockpit entry as the turbulence hit the ship, and clutched at the back of the pilot's seat to keep upright. What was the lunatic doing? Albie dropped into the copilot seat and scanned the controls even as he worked, shutting off the ship's assistive interface. He couldn't have said if the captain objected, not with his heart still rushing in his ears. This ship didn't need three people trying to fly her. She didn't even need two, if one of them didn't know to turn on the 'damned air brakes.'

He set the ship to giving him data instead of trying to help fly itself, and felt a fierce grin flash across his face before he could stop it. Sure, a drizzly day on Whitefall wasn't the worst weather he'd ever flown in, but this ship was five times the size of the Edie-Qui's shuttles, and those had been awe-inspiringly huge. At the time.

The Darling began to settle under his touch, turbulence dying back to the standard atmo-entrance vibration most ships suffered to one degree or another. A few simple flicks turned the assist back on -- even the cheapest models could usually handle a port landing-- and Albie's heart settled too, and he sucked in one deep breath after another and watched a light rain begin gently splattering the viewport.

It was only then, as he began to register the sounds around him, that he realized exactly what he'd done to himself.
Dialogue color: sienna

Thackery Arlington III

Arlo was bored. No, not bored. Simply... discontent. He fiddled about in the kitchen - no the galley, then made tea, rearranged the mugs, remembered his tea, paced, got out his datapad to attempt to write, doodled a while, remembered his tea again, remembered he was meant to be writing, and carried on in this pattern until even he found himself insufferable.

This wouldn't do. He finally forced himself out of the kitchen - galley, blast it! - and wandered off toward the... bridge? Cockpit? What was the appropriate term? He made a note for himself to ask somebody, then chided himself for behaving like Caraway with his interminable notes and questions.

Speaking of whom... Noah's chattering voice floated down the corridor from the bridge, and Arlo flushed and stopped in his tracks just out of sight of the entry. Ought he still go in? Well, why shouldn't he? But what if he appeared to be following Caraway there? But then, why would anyone presume that? And for that matter, why should he - or anyone - care? But perhaps he ought to have a sound reason for approaching the cockpit, just in case anyone should inquire. It couldn't hurt. Perhaps he might have a question for the Captain? But what to ask about?

Eventually, a rather alarming degree of noise and turbulence finally managed to penetrate his thoughts and he recalled where he was just in time for a small, flying shepherd to barrel directly through him and into the pilot's seat. Arlo barely managed to catch himself on the door frame and clung there for a moment until the jostling of the ship subsided  and normalcy returned with a startling quiet.

"Ehem, so..." he said into the gentle drumming of the rain, addressing nobody in particular. "Is this called the bridge or the cockpit?"
Dialogue Color: darkseagreen | 8FBC8F

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

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