S1:Ep5 - Life from Red Clay

Started by Lomari, July 28, 2020, 07:23:56 PM

Rian Carpenter

"The day I can make pasta sauce with real tomatoes... y'all are gonna dàbiàn your pants."

He paused for a moment then laughed at his own phrasing.

"In a good way. I won't give you food poisoning."

But Rian did share Tabby's enthusiasm for the idea of a garden. But his mind was already keenly attuned to his new mission: Meat. The acquisition of protein was now his priority. He awkwardly shifted in his seat but then stopped, as they were doing a pretty good imitation of sardines in the back of the mule right now with the top on. His squirming would only discomfort those pressed up against him.

When the mule finally came to a stop he practically burst out the back. The cold air beating down on his face as a greeting. He held his hand up in front of his face and mused:

"I believed Vik when he said his homeworld was beautiful but I assumed he meant in a serene, Christmas card kinda way. Less the brutal, cruel beauty of nature's extremes... Go-seh, I sound like Potter... This planet, man..."

He shook his head and rubbed his hands together. Even with his obsessive layering it was colder than the devil's heart out there.

"Who's with me for grocery duty?"

Viktor Söderberg

"I think maybe our flock is in need of tending," Tabby told the preacher with a frown as the walked, fingers laced, to the mule.
He had a strong urge in that moment to hoist her up, fling her onto his back and take off running into a cushy snowbank, their laughter trailing behind them in the wind - something he used to do with his sisters quite often. Well, another time, maybe.
Instead, Viktor just smiled and replied. "Yes, I think you are right. I pray some leave will be just the thing to get us started."

They packed into the vehicle. It was a little snug with everyone in. However, with the snow calmed and the roads safer, they should be home lickety-split. He grinned to himself behind the wheel. He'd always loved driving, but didn't get much call to do it in space.
He drove quietly for a while, remembering this particular skill and how it felt to drive on the crunching snow. The snow tires were more than capable in this terrain. He remained quiet and concentrating until it all felt second nature again. It didn't take as long as he anticipated it would.

As he maneuvered the mule, only slightly too quickly over the cold roads, he turned to face Mattie.
"So..." he began, with a lengthening of the word to add extra o's, "anything special you want to do while we are on leave? I could point you in the right direction for something specific. You seem like someone who likes adventure." His eyes slid back to the road for a fraction of a second. Everything was clear. Not another soul in sight. His foot pressed the accelerator a notch more firmly.
"There's been a feral hog problem near the Franks' place for a few years. God only knows how they manage to survive in this cold, but Mrs. Franks is constantly lookin' for folk who can keep 'em in check."

Viktor let his mind relax and wander as he drove and talked to Mattie. He forgot about the crew in the back seat. He forgot that they weren't use to his home, or his driving. (To be fair, after years and years his own family wasn't used to his driving either).
Another quick check to the empty road for snowbanks or ice, his head turned back to Mattie and he continued: "Or, some folk like to backpack up the mountains this time of year for a good challenge. It's demanding, but rewarding, they say. I have all the gear for that. You're welcome to borrow it, if you'd like."

Viktor finally stopped speaking and turned his visual attention fully to the road while he waited for her answer. After a few more minutes, they were nearing home and there was a particularly fun part of road ahead. He pressed the accelerator further and felt the speed in his belly. There were two curving banks ahead, a hill, and then his property.
He was an expert in rounding the banks, breaking only slightly initially and then accelerating through the curves. He felt the pedal contact the floor as he pushed the engine to race up the hill through the slightly damp slurry. Someone else had driven through here recently. They broke over the top of the hill bouncing slightly over a dry patch and he removed his foot from the pedal as they descended the other side. The traction would not be good with another vehicle having come before them. He knew how to handle it.

He whooped in glee as they slid down the snowy embankment. Despite the snow tires, the back wheels began to skid left. He let them, having a fun ride. At the last second, he spun the steering wheel left. They were sideways from how they had started now, but Viktor was in perfect control. There hadn't even been a little tilt from the top of the mule. Only the fun slide exactly as he'd wanted it.
The hill leveled out and the mule slowed to an easy drift while the preacher laughed in pure joy. He straightened them out and drove the 100 yards to his fence line at an even but clipped pace. As he crossed the property line he pressed the break evenly and smoothly, coasting up to the house at practically a crawl to him. His mama wouldn't be happy if she saw him speeding down their lane.

Viktor took an easy buy steadying breath as they pulled up to the house. It had been a very long time since he had let himself go in such a wonderous delight like that. Even though he'd been with the Darling many years, he wondered if they had ever seen him in such an undone and genuine state.

Mattie Rooney

Once again, Mattie stared out the window of the mule in sullen silence. She hadn't participated in the conversation during their mission earlier that day, and she had no intention of participating in it this time, either.

Fate had other plans, it seemed.

"Sooo..."

Mattie's religious upbringing had been a fraught one. Looking back on it, she figured her mother had internalized all the worst parts of the Good Book, the bits about always respecting your parents and suffering on earth in order to receive some sort of divine reward once death finally put you out of your misery. Maybe it had helped Lenora Rooney deal with the lousy hand she'd been dealt in life, but it had only added to Mattie's plight.

Despite this, there was some part of her that didn't feel quite right dismissing a preacher, especially not one who seemed as kind as Viktor, so instead of groaning and rolling her eyes, she turned to look at him, scowling only to the extent that was part of her resting face.

"Anything special you want to do while we are on leave? I could point you in the right direction for something specific. You seem like someone who likes adventure."

"S'pose I do," she shrugged. Not the most earth-shattering of observations, considering her line of work. "Didn't reckon there was much of that to be found in these parts."

"There's been a feral hog problem near the Franks' place for a few years. God only knows how they manage to survive in this cold, but Mrs. Franks is constantly lookin' for folk who can keep 'em in check."

Mattie's ears perked up in spite of her determination not to enjoy her time on St. Albans. She was surprised there was any sort of wildlife roaming around this frozen hellscape, but she supposed hogs made sense. They could be real tough bastards.

"Or, some folk like to backpack up the mountains this time of year for a good challenge. It's demanding, but rewarding, they say. I have all the gear for that. You're welcome to borrow it, if you'd like."

Mattie scoffed at the thought. "Thanks for the offer, Preach, but I like my hikes with a little more birdsong and a little less frostbite."

She turned her gaze back to the snowy landscape, deciding she'd had enough of small-talk for the ride. But the talk, small as it had been, had shaken her resolve to retreat into her chambers and binge drink alone. Feral hogs. Between all the odd jobs she'd had to take to keep afloat before joining the Darling, it had been a while since she'd gone hunting. Plus, she was growing a little restless with just how quaint life on the Darling was. When was the last time she'd had a real rush, the fun kind? She reckoned it had been storming the ship with Rian. Gorrammit, why am I giving this serious thought?

When they stopped, Mattie shuffled out of the mule with considerably less gusto than the cook. She stood in the snow, looking at him out of the corner of her eye, shifting her weight from one leg to another as she contemplated between stubbornly sticking to her initial decision to be miserable or actually allowing herself to try and have some fun.

"Who's with me for grocery duty?"

I can't believe I'm doing this. She approached Rian, wiping her cold nose with an even colder glove.

"Preacher mentioned some folks havin' trouble with feral hogs." She shrugged, trying not to show that she was actually sorta kinda genuinely excited about what she was proposing. The fact that her hat and scarf covered most of her face helped. "Dunno. Could be worth lookin' into. If nothin' else, we could get some good meat out of it. Won't have to make do with that... artifical venison." She still didn't know why he'd lie about something as absurd as that, but she was going to bring it up at least two more times before letting it go.
Dialogue color: darkkhaki

Thackery Arlington III

Wedged into the backseat as before, Arlo was silent the whole way into town. A few times, he thought about attempting small talk or remarking on some triviality, but he couldn't think of anything clever to say about the weather, and the timing never seemed quite right. The mule always jostled or someone else would say something about pigs or pasta just as he was about to start, so Arlo kept his mouth shut and stared off into the middle distance.

At last, they arrived, and as the others started dividing themselves up for errands, it occurred to Arlo that, as awkward as the encounter in the cargo bay had been, it had at least revealed that he and Tabitha had a common purpose.

"We appear to both be in need of warmer protection against the chill. Would you care to accompany me in search of a haberdashery, Dr. Haemish?" was what he would have said had his social competence given him a choice in the matter. Stopping abruptly in front of Tabitha with a frown, "Coats. Shall we?" was what he said instead.
Dialogue Color: darkseagreen | 8FBC8F

Tabitha Haemish

Tabitha's hands lifted as the mule slid and slipped all over the ice, guided by Viktor's expertise. "Everyone, put your hands in the air!" she encouraged, laughing giddily as they were rocked side to side in the cramped confines of the back seat. She was pressed against Arlo's side, then Rian's, while they rolled through the snow.

When the vehicle finally came to a halt, and those in the back seat scrambled to get out, Tabitha stayed behind with Viktor for a couple of moments. She scooted toward the edge of her seat, then scrambled between the middle to flop into the passenger seat, half upside down. Tabby rolled to the side to get in the chair the right way, then, she set her hand on Viktor's shoulder and offered him a smile.

"I like seeing you have fun," she told him warmly, "We should do more of it. And I think our family seeing this side of you will help with morale too," she added, nodding a little and reaching up to smooth out his hair. "I'm excited to see your home," she told him, looking out the front window and nodding her chin downward before finally slipping out of the mule and into the snow with the others.

"Who's with me for grocery duty?"

"Preacher mentioned some folks havin' trouble with feral hogs... we could get some good meat out of it. Won't have to make do with that... artifical venison."

Tabitha looked between them, her eyes as puppy-wide as they could get. "Maybe...you could find one that's died of natural causes?" she asked, pouting in Rian's direction. "Or you could bring some back with us and we can take care of them on the ship and give them a good life and /then/ wait until they've died of natural causes?" she asked, clasping her hands in front of her heart and staring up at the 'cook'.

Her attention was diverted, luckily for Rian, by Arlo's abrupt arrival in front of her. Tabby tilted her head curiously.  "Coats. Shall we?" he asked. Her pout melted back into a warm smile and she lowered her hands. "A coat would be great!" she agreed, laughing kindly and reaching down to take one of his hands.
Dialogue Color: Pink

Rian Carpenter

June 26, 2021, 12:03:05 PM #65 Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 12:11:40 PM by Rian Carpenter
"I could make pork chops, sausage, barbecue pork burger sliders, ribs..."

Rian did like hitting the farmer's markets. But being able to go properly farm to table with a wild boar was like a dream come true. It was all he could say in reply to Mattie's proposal to slay a couple of the bovine pests. She certainly would know him well enough by now to know this translated to an enthusiastic "That's a fantastic idea. Good job, Mattie." But he went on thinking of what he could make with a couple of chopped-up pigs.

"Pork fried rice, chorizo..."

But then came Tabby's god damned doe eyes. Rian had been shot before but the girl truly had weaponized her innocence. He shot a glance over to Mattie and winced, trying to think on his feet. Listing off more things he'd make out of what she was probably picturing as cute little baby piglets was probably a bad idea. Carpenter tried to think of a rationalization. But one that was also honest.

"You ever gone on the cortex and watched the vids of and seen what a big pack of angry, restless pack of boars can do to a farmer's crops? Imagine you live on this snowball and you gotta rely on what you've got in storage. And if that's gone, it's between you and getting to the next shop and hope they got what you need from the last supply shipment.... We're only gonna get the bad boars. Mommas and their piglets are safe with us."

He paused for a moment trying to think of a way to justify the big, healthy looking boar he was likely to bring back. But they were the ones causing most of the trouble for these folks. But he went back to the best argument he could think of:

"And you've never had my ribs Tabby..."

He patted her on the shoulder and pulled his rifle out of the covered section of the mule. He pulled the sling around his shoulders and shot Mattie a thumb's up, and a guilty-looking half smile. Walking over to Mattie's side he tried to reassure Tabby again:

"Only bad pigs! We promise!"

The young doctor had seen him shoot actual people but for some damn reason, the idea of her knowing he was about to go shoot down an animal of any kind made him feel like he was drowning bambi in a bathtub.

Mattie Rooney

"I could make pork chops, sausage, barbecue pork burger sliders, ribs, pork fried rice, chorizo..."

Mattie smiled at Rian's enthusiasm in spite of herself, a smug little smirk that was wiped from her face by Tabby's interjection. Mattie herself had grown up on a farm, seeing many an animal slaughtered for dinner, and had therefore become familiar with the ugly, gory side of carnivorism from an early age. Truth be told she thought it only healthy, not to mention respectful, to be aware of where the food on your plate came from. She had seen Tabby eat meat before, so it wasn't like she had some sort of moral conviction against it.

But it wasn't really Tabby's reluctance to face the truth that most annoyed her; people who didn't want to think about where their food came from were dime a dozen in the 'Verse. No, it was the way Rian fell all over himself to reassure her. It was true what he was saying about the hogs being a threat to the livelihood of the locals, but Mattie would have put it more bluntly, maybe topped it off with a "don't like, don't eat", and definitely would not have made promises about the safety of sows and piglets; sows made more piglets, and those piglets grew up to be "bad boars", as Rian put it. She frowned at him when he gave her the "crisis averted" thumbs up. Tabby was a grown woman, wasn't she?

"Only bad pigs! We promise!"

"Sure... We'll leave the upstandin' ones alone," she mumbled, more to humor -- or possibly mock -- Rian than Tabby. She rolled her eyes and turned to unload her own equipment from the mule, effectively removing herself from any further conversation around the subject.
Dialogue color: darkkhaki

Thackery Arlington III

June 28, 2021, 08:23:34 AM #67 Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 11:47:35 AM by Lomari
Arlo started in surprise as Tabitha grabbed his hand, pulling away on reflex before he could think about how rude that was. But after all, hand-in-hand was hardly the proper way to escort a young lady. Some proprieties might be relaxed while onboard the ship, but what would the townspeople think?

On the other hand, that really was no excuse to be rude to her. Arlo offered her his elbow by way of apology, and they bid their farewells to the hunting party and set off to find an appropriate shop for their coats.


Town Squad

After strolling along quietly for a few moments, Arlo felt obligated to break the silence with some light conversation. The pigs were clearly a touchy subject best avoided. They'd already discussed her family within the bounds of polite small talk. What did that leave?

People who worked liked talking about their work, Arlo recalled. Perhaps her background as a doctor would do. He opened his mouth, closed it, cleared his throat, and tried again. "So, where did you go to medical school?"
Dialogue Color: darkseagreen | 8FBC8F

Barnaby Goodweather

June 28, 2021, 06:48:46 PM #68 Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 11:47:55 AM by Lomari
Barnaby sat in the back of the mule with his hands folded in his lap, not seeming to mind the cramped conditions. Felt good to be close to everyone. He enjoyed the ride in silence, listening to the crew talking amongst themselves and thankful that he wasn't driving. After his last stint at the wheel, he needed some time in the passenger's seat. They were heading off ship for some well-deserved shore leave, they'd been paid for their work, and spirits seemed higher. But something nagged at him. He turned his head to look out the window, trying to wade through his thoughts and find what exactly that was. It felt as if he'd forgotten something. Maybe they'd left the Darling running? Or perhaps they hadn't closed the cargo doors. He couldn't quite grasp it but he knew it was something.

The Captain was pulled out of his attempt at recollection as the mule slid in the snow, Tabby laughing and enjoying the ride for the both of them. He looked at their doctor, and that's when it hit him. He'd made a call. Somewhere after dinner and before passing out with a bottle in his hand, he'd reached out to someone about something. The blip of his cortex pad, barely audible over Tabitha's laughter, reminded him exactly who it was he'd reached out to. Carefully, Barnaby pulled out the pad and turned it over, reading the message, and sending back one of his own, his finger hitting just one button before pressing send. By the time he'd put his cortex pad away, he looked like he might be sick. Something that could have been easily attributed to the sudden wild ride through the snow.

When they arrived, Barnaby got out almost reluctantly, watching everyone start to split off into smaller groups, making plans and gearing up for adventures. A smile touched his lips. Gaze slipped between Tabitha's group and Rian's as he bit down softly on his inner cheek. Another look at their doctor made up his mind. "Ain't been huntin' in years, I'll join ya and stretch my legs," he called to Rian, moving to join them as the pack began to split. Barnaby looked after the others, full of wist. "Ya'll be good. See ya." The cortex returned to his hand for the briefest of moments before he slid it with some finality back into his pocket.


Hunting Squad

They'd made it a ways from where they'd parked the Mule, and put a modestly impressive amount of space between the hunting party and the group going to town. But the captain felt much further than that. Barnaby walked with Rian and Mattie in silence, his smile soft as he watched them leave behind footprints in the snow. The only noise he would allow himself was his boots crunching snow. Emotions might take over otherwise. Change his mind.

Then, there was a rush of wind, snow swirling around in a mild but sudden flurry. He looked up, shielding his eyes from snow and sun. A shuttle appeared overhead, hovering for a few moments before moving away from them a bit and finally settling down in the snow just a few paces away.

It was time.
Dialogue Color - LightBlue

Viktor Söderberg

June 29, 2021, 12:53:56 PM #69 Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 11:47:06 AM by Lomari
Upon arriving home, Viktor had excused himself from the crew to step in and say hello to his family. It was only his mother and a friend of hers in the house. Everyone else was off working or living in their own homes with their own families. He had expected as much, but they would all get together for Sunday dinner, anyhow. He'd see the rest of them soon.

He tipped his metaphorical hat at the friend. He thought her name might be Phyllis, but he wasn't sure. He gave a big, tight hug to his mom and explained that the crew would be off to do this and that before settling in for the evening. Julia fussed at him a little - asking if his friends had coats, hats, and snacks; mentioning the weather report for the day; bemoaning that the crew couldn't come in for a warm drink. Viktor promised her that they would all come and say hello later. "You'll be able to dote over them all yourself, Mom. I promise."

"You say that now, Viko, but I know you kids... once you all start having fun I see not hair nor hide of any one of you. Just like you and your sisters, who are all home this time, by the way."

"Don't forget, Sunday dinner. You will, at the very least see them all then. Speaking of. I know you've got a list for me. I'll be heading to town with Tabitha and Arlo -"


Julia didn't let me him finish his sentence but asked after them in excitement. "How is that Tabitha doing? You know I've wanted to meet her for ages. And just who is this Arlo person? I don't remember you mentioning an Arlo."

He smiled warmly at her and took the list from her outstretched hand. "He's new, Mom. I promise. You'll meet them. I'd better go now, before they leave without me." He lowered down to one knee beside her chair and kissed her on the forehead. "Back soon."

As he walked out the door he heard her call behind him, "And don't you be driving like a maniac down my road anymore, Mister!"

He laughed and sighed. There was no fooling her. "Yes, ma'am."


Town Squad

Viktor caught up with Tabitha and Arlo as they made their way into town. He draped his arms around their shoulders, his spindly frame crouched between them as he walked. His face split in a goofy grin. He pointed with his right hand from Arlo's shoulder. "To Talbot's first. For coats!"

Tabitha Haemish

June 29, 2021, 02:15:27 PM #70 Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 11:46:50 AM by Lomari
"Only bad pigs! We promise!" Rian assured her and she stared at him with a thoughtful pout, her hand grasping Arlo's and her attention locked once again on the cook and their new friend. She supposed if they were out there saving the babies from Evil Pigs, then it was alright.

"Sure... We'll leave the upstandin' ones alone," Mattie confirmed and her smile returned. She was practically glowing. There was no inkling that she'd picked up on there being any sarcasm, however, the eye-roll was easier to spot. The doctor's eyes widened, brows furrowed and tilted upward, and her mouth opened in surprise. Her stomach churned. She was about to timidly call out to Mattie to ask if she was feeling poorly when Arlo yanked his hand away from her.

Tabitha almost toppled over into the snow, a surprised squeak escaping her while her arms windmilled to keep her upright. His elbow came into view, offered to her so kindly, and she grasped it carefully, smiling up at the man and laughing a little. "Thank you!" she said, glad he'd been so quick to offer her assistance when he'd seen her near to falling over.

By the time she had been straightened out, Barnaby was offering them a "Ya'll be good. See ya." and they were heading out, both groups moving in opposite directions. Her head stayed craned around to watch their Captain as he walked away, something awful chewing at her insides. Why did he sound so... something? Had she hurt his and Mattie's feelings? 


Town Squad

"So, where did you go to medical school?" Arlo asked, pulling her attention away from what was behind, back toward what was before her. "Medical school?" she asked, looking up at him innocently. Then, she shook her head and laughed a little, "No medical school. Apprenticeships though! Sort of a family business, I think," she added.

Viktor's arrival split the two apart and she giggled as he put his arm around them, her head tilting to the side to bump against the shepherd's chest. "To Talbot's first. For coats!" he announced.

Coats! That's right, she'd almost forgotten. Her hands slipped into the pockets of the over-sized, borrowed jacket and her fingertips bumped against something scratchy. Vitamins! She'd forgotten to give Barnaby the little satchel of the supplements she's prepared for him that he'd need for the rest of their shore-leave (which she'd figured would be a week or so) before they'd split up.

As she was turning to look back the way she'd come, she spotted a shuttle flying over head. She wondered idly where its pilot was heading, whether or not he had someone he was going home to, or if he was out on his own adventure like they were. She chewed on her lower lip and took her hand from her pocket, patting it and the bag inside. "I'll give them to him tonight, at dinner," she told Arlo and Viktor, who had not been a part of her internal realization. "What about you, Mister Arlo? What kind of schools did you go to?" she asked.
Dialogue Color: Pink

Rian Carpenter

June 29, 2021, 08:44:20 PM #71 Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 11:44:22 AM by Lomari
Hunting Squad

"Cool, let's bring home the bacon."

Rian nudged Mattie to punctuate his truly dad-level joke. The cook's grin slowly turned to a cringe. He stepped to the side a half step and laughed through his nose at himself. Not at how funny his joke was but of course how absurd and obvious and embarrassing it was. But he just pushed past it and kept on walking. Before he could think of another bad pun, he was instinctively pulling his rifle up from its sling, he observed the vehicle.

The former Russo repressed some of his instincts and aimed the muzzle back down at the ground. He craned his neck back at Barnaby for orders. The shuttle hit them with a spotlight.

"Cap?"

His expression shifted as he watched his friend and Captain walk past him calmly. Looking relieved of all things as he walked toward the light.

Rian let his rifle hang from the sling again and asked again, but with an entirely different tone.

"Cap?"

He tried to think of anything else to say. The former crook knew in his bones he wasn't walking into some kind of double-cross. But the look on Barnaby's face. The shuttle was for him.

Goodweather's sort of brother in law was frozen like some kind of well dressed and un-painted mime. But not out of confusion. He knew what was going on now.

"You gonna tell us where you're goin' or you some kind of handsome super-spy now?"
He jokingly punched his shoulder. The killer cook couldn't think of anything else to say. Except make another lame joke.

*Narration assist and Barnaby interaction provided by NoSeatBelts

Mattie Rooney

June 30, 2021, 01:40:45 AM #72 Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 11:44:30 AM by Lomari
Hunting Squad

"Cool, let's bring home the bacon."

"You keep that up and you might just end up in the pan with the pigs," she snorted as she watched him get embarrassed at his own joke, rightly so. She could already feel the tension that had been building over the last couple of days leaving her body. The captain was still being awful quiet, but he didn't seem so somber anymore; there was a serenity to his demeanor, and although Mattie initially kept throwing glances in his direction to check up on him, she soon relaxed and allowed herself to focus on Rian and his terrible jokes, figuring there was nothing to worry about.

That might have been a mistake.

Her initial thought when the shuttle appeared was simple annoyance at having her nice family outing interrupted. It wasn't until the spotlight hit them that she got her hackles up. She reached for her rifle, but stopped when she saw her commander-in-chief give up on his motion to do the same thing. She looked at Rian, who looked at the captain, who was looking at the light. Suddenly, Mattie didn't like his serene demeanor so much anymore.

"You gonna tell us where you're goin' or you some kind of handsome super-spy now?" Rian was still cracking jokes, but it did nothing to reassure Mattie. He hadn't stopped cracking jokes when he'd had a bullet hole in his chest, either.

"Boss?" She walked up to Barnaby, settling on the opposite side from the other gunhand so they were flanking him like two antsy children. The tension was back.
Dialogue color: darkkhaki

Thackery Arlington III

July 01, 2021, 08:51:05 AM #73 Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 11:43:54 AM by Lomari
Town Squad

"No medical school. Apprenticeships though! Sort of a family business, I think."

Arlo opened his mouth to make some vague, noncommittally appreciative remark on whatever school she named, then snapped it shut as the unexpected answer threw him off. He opened it again, came up blank of anything he could possibly say to that that wasn't unspeakably impolite or impossibly inane, and closed it again. Still, he had to say something, so he settled for inane. "Err... How nice– gyaah..."

This last sound was in response to the arm that suddenly descended over Arlo's shoulder as the vicar manifested himself between them. He managed to abstain from cringing away this time, but was truly at a loss for how to interpret the complete disregard for personal space that seemed epidemic among the Darling's entire crew.

"Does this Talbot specialize solely in coats?" Arlo asked, thinking over his inadequately rugged wardrobe on the ship. "I may be in need of a few other essentials. And perhaps we should see if the galley is in want of any other sundries. Do you recall if Mr. Carpenter mentioned anything about what he may need to prepare the pork?"

"I'll give them to him tonight, at dinner," Dr-- er... Ms. Haemish replied.

Arlo's brow furrowed, trying to parse out what he had missed, but distracted somewhat by the low roar of a shuttle close overhead and then immediately diverted by her next question. "Uh... New Dunsmuir, '06," he managed, still somewhat thrown off by the multiple quick topic changes. "And Mayton Prep before that."
Dialogue Color: darkseagreen | 8FBC8F

Viktor Söderberg

July 07, 2021, 01:15:56 PM #74 Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 11:43:47 AM by Lomari
Town Squad

It was difficult for the tall preacher to walk hunched between Arlo and Tabby. After pointing out their direction, he stood tall and walked a little behind them. He thought he might ought to walk in front, since he knew where he was going, but behind he could see if they wanted to stray in another direction.

"Does this Talbot specialize solely in coats? I may be in need of a few other essentials. And perhaps we should see if the galley is in want of any other sundries. Do you recall if Mr. Carpenter mentioned anything about what he may need to prepare the pork?"

"Talbot's is for clothes, camping and hiking gear, and sporting goods - no major firepower though. We'll go to The Market for anything for the galley as well as other sundries. Plus Mom wants me to pick up a few things for Sunday dinner." Viktor's voice and hands raised in joy finishing. "To which you are all invited!"
His voice returned to it's normal volume and he continued, "and by 'invited', I mean you all have to come or Ma might just die of disappointment in not meeting you."

Barnaby Goodweather

July 09, 2021, 12:14:54 PM #75 Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 11:44:38 AM by Lomari
Hunting Squad

Barnaby almost couldn't look back at Rian and Mattie, but he forced himself to do so. Wouldn't be right just turning his back on them. It was an odd thing, this idea of his. And even though it may have been the bourbon who did the calling, a more sober mind didn't argue over the decision. Barnaby never liked being away from the Darling for too long. His land legs took over and he made damn fool decisions. But lately, the ones he made with his boots on familiar grates weren't all that great. It was for the best. So, over the roar of the engine, he said his goodbyes. "I gotta go, Ri'." Tears filled Barnaby's eyes, but he wouldn't let them fall. He sniffed. "Something ain't right. Not for a looong time. With me. Ain't ya'll. You make sure they know that." Emotion nearly overcame him again.

The shuttle beeped at him. It was time to go. Barnaby turned to look at it, and when his face returned to look at Rian and Mattie, there was a smile. "Take care, now." He waved, and before he changed his mind, Barnaby turned on his heel and tramped through the snow to close the distance to the shuttle. Once boarded, he hit the button to close up the ramp, and didn't look back. He couldn't.

The shuttle lifted off without delay, and took the former Captain Barnaby Goodweather away.
Dialogue Color - LightBlue

Rian Carpenter

July 16, 2021, 10:39:48 AM #76 Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 11:44:43 AM by Lomari
Hunting Squad

"Shénme guǐ?!"

Rian was motionless. Like a statue, he stood there for a moment as the snow blew in his face and the shuttle lifted away with his Captain. What the hell do they do now? Who's even in charge? He ticked down the rungs of the chain of command, the XO had left, which made him acting XO, and now the man he'd come to consider a brother had left. He had a whole speech about how he needed to take some time off prepared and everything. But now that whole carpet had been swept out from under him. And he was just standing there like an idiot. The "Acting Captain". Which sounds like the name of a theater teacher on a boat.

After a moment the acting XO, and Captain snapped back to life and shook off the daze. He looked Mattie dead in the eye and said the only thing that came to mind.

"Well... Shit."

He adjusted his rifle's sling on his shoulder and tried to shrug off the bombshell that just landed in their laps.

"I guess it's just you and me for 'grocery duty'..."

And like that, Carpenter was trudging forward to find one of the beleaguered farmers in need of bovine extermination. Like some sort of automaton, or a man trying to bury his feelings, Rian carried on with the business of the day as if it might bring him some solace. It wasn't long before they came upon a farmhouse with visible signs of a recent wild-boar incident. Torn up garbage scattered all over, food scraps, and of course, the wild piggies' leavings. Pausing for a moment again before they approached the door, he reassured Mattie she didn't have to do the talking.

"I got this one."

With that he bounced up their steps and gave the front door a quick and casual:

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

Teensy bit of Narration provided by Lomari

Tabitha Haemish

July 16, 2021, 11:24:31 AM #77 Last Edit: July 16, 2021, 11:43:37 AM by Lomari
Town Squad

"I may be in need of a few other essentials. And perhaps we should see if the galley is in want of any other sundries..." Arlo noted, and Tabby nodded slowly to herself. She could probably pick up some more crafting supplies, replenish what they'd used up in the med bay, namely bandages and the basic triage equipment, and maybe a rabbit. To have, not to cook.

"Do you recall if Mr. Carpenter mentioned anything about what he may need to prepare the pork?" the fancy gentleman asked. She tapped her index finger against her chin, thinking on it. She was sure Rian would appreciate some herbs, or fresh vegetable. Potatoes went well with pork, didn't they?

"We'll go to The Market for anything for the galley as well as other sundries..." Viktor assured them, and she made a mental note to find some nice cooking supplies for their resident chef. Maybe she could even find something they could have for dessert.

"Uh... New Dunsmuir, '06 ... And Mayton Prep before that," Arlo answered, her mind having the unique ability to hop back onto that train of thought almost immediately, then stop at the next station labeled Family Dinner without suffering from topic whiplash.

"Plus Mom wants me to pick up a few things for Sunday dinner....To which you are all invited! And by 'invited', I mean you all have to come or Ma might just die of disappointment in not meeting you."

"Potatos, some herbs, maybe some dessert!" she listed, answering Arlo's question about supplies without saying that's what she was doing. "We should get a rabbit, or seeds for the garden! And where is New Dunsmir? Did you enjoy Mayton Prep? Do you have lots of friends from there?" she turned to look up at their Sheppherd as they approached and entered the town, "Should we dress fancy for dinner?" she asked, looking down at her clothing, "I want to impress your Mama," she explained, smiling brightly up at the both of them.
Dialogue Color: Pink

Lomari


Ship Time: 1755
Syncing with local time...
...
...
Ship Time: 1255
Ship Location: Secondary Claim, St. Albans

Hunting Squad

The shuttle hovered a bit over the pair of them before it finally turned and headed back the way it had come, likely going to reconnect with the ship it had come from, the wind from its movement sending tendrils of coiled snow after Rian and Mattie, like fingers curling just behind them in the cold.

The door to the farm house swung upon, the twin barrels of a shotgun leveling up toward Rian's face and pausing there threateningly. "Whachya want?" came a voice from the darkness of the home, the voice old and worn, like something scraping over well used leather. It cleared its throat, the muzzle of the weapon lowering and lifting again as they did so.

At nearly the same time, Rian's cortex received a message. Well, to be more precise, the Darling received a message, which was then forwarded to Rian's data pad.

Town Squad

The closer the group got to town, the more busy and lively it became. Despite the snow and the harsh conditions, people were still actively living their lives. Shopping for dinner or supplies to bolster their homes against the cold, engaging in small talk in the walkways, or getting a bite to eat to catch up with old friends that had been too busy during lately to properly meet up.

Shops and eateries, all simply but still of a solid and noble quality, lined the street, most of them familiar to Viktor, save for the few that had popped up since he'd been gone. Despite the cold, the lights and bustle of the planet made it feel warm and inviting.
CHARACTERS
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha


NARRATION
Darling ~ Iscariot

Mattie Rooney

Hunting Squad

Gutted.

That was the word that sprung to Mattie's mind as she watched the shuttle take off. She'd never really stopped to consider what, exactly, people meant by it, but it seemed to to fit the way she was feeling right now; hollow, like someone had scooped out all of her insides, giddy butterflies included. It was strange. She thought she would be angrier. Maybe that would come later.

With bated breath, she studied Rian's frozen form like he was a wild animal she might startle into bolting or tearing her face off. It occurred to her that despite how quickly they'd built rapport, she actually hadn't known him for very long at all. She had no idea how he would take this, no frame of reference... not that it would do her any good even if she did. She hadn't done anything to comfort the captain even when she'd seen he was having a rough go of it, and she wouldn't be able to comfort Rian either if he broke down. She was only good at dealing pain.

"Well... Shit."

"Yeah." That was the only response Mattie managed to muster through the lump in her throat. She braced herself for the angry outburst, cold shoulder, dejection or other emotional reaction she wasn't prepared to deal with that was about to come.

Instead, Rian just continued as if nothing had happened.

Mattie followed him in a daze. She was no longer excited about the hunting trip. What she really wanted to do was be alone and scream into a pillow, but she knew that if she turned around and headed back now, there would be no solitude waiting for her. She wasn't looking forward to seeing Viktor and Tabby's reactions to this turn of events, and while she hadn't been particularly stoked about the idea of meeting the preacher's family in the first place, now the thought filled her with dread. Of the two evils, this was the lesser one.

"I got this one."

"Yeah." Mattie waited at the bottom of the steps while he ran up to the door. She tucked her hands in her pockets for warmth, but they quickly flew out and up when the shotgun appeared.

Rut everything. Rut this whole ruttin' trip. Never should've come to this frozen godforsaken rock.
Dialogue color: darkkhaki

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