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Messages - Rian Carpenter

1
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep3 - A Tale of Darling-Do
October 18, 2019, 11:08:03 am
Med Bay

You can do this Rian. One breath in. One breath out. Repeat. You cannot control every situation, and the liberal expenditure of ammunition will not solve any of your problems right now. Yes, there are no guns within five feet of you right now. That is okay.

He took that breath, in, then out. He repeated the mantra again in his mind. Years of a certain lifestyle made it hard for him to cede even the smallest amount of what he perceived to give him control, agency, freedom. Carpenter knew that his guns were equally shackles. The longer a gun is your hammer, everything, and sometimes everyone could look like a nail. Plus it was the infirmary, if anything popped off there were at least 4 implements nearby he could use to slice an assailants throat within two paces.

Don't mention how many things there are you could use to stab somebody with in here. Tabby will take them away.

The security specialist and temporary XO reminded himself. Tabby was on the war-path to keep him from further injuring himself, or passing out from over exertion given how much blood he'd lost. He almost instinctively rejected Tabby's offer of a sandwich through her adorably stern face. But he never ate before a job, so he was actually pretty hungry, and the sooner he ate the sooner he'd start to get his energy back, and be less likely to pass out if he stood up too quickly.

Rian smiled back at his attending physician's attempt to put him in his place. It didn't intimidate him but it had its desired effect nonetheless. Resistance was futile, and Tabitha Haemish would be damned if she was going to let him go storming off into a fruitless display of toxic masculinity.

"Yeah... I'll take a sandwich. Thank you, Tabby."

The former outlaw attempted to relax and brought the bed up into an only semi-reclined position. He added 

"Not just for the sandwich. Thanks for patching me up and uhh... for benching me. I've been on this ship months now.. I've been lucky to just be the cook y'know? Thanks for telling 'old Rian' to take a hike."

He'd finally distracted himself for a moment, and just for a second he wasn't thinking about Merryweather's verkakte version of his plan. Then again, his version of the plan wasn't much better. They had a veritable buffet of crappy options to choose from. Rian didn't even realize he'd just spoken about his life before Darling with another crewmember for the first time. He'd been incredibly careful to avoid the subject so far but he'd finally slipped a little. This was beginning to feel like home now, despite or because of the insane situation. 
2
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep3 - A Tale of Darling-Do
October 10, 2019, 05:31:37 am
Rian was losing this fight. Defeated at every turn, his foe anticipated each move, and countered. He tried telling her:

"I'm fine, Tabs."

The cook insisted:

"This is like... the mosquito bite of gunshot wounds."

While he was well versed in combat, Carpenter found himself ill-prepared for thwarting the therapeutic imprisonment thrust upon him by the ship doctor. He couldn't get too frustrated with her about it. Tabby's superpower seemed to be that she was one of the few people in this universe that never really brought out his bad side, or even saw that much of it from a distance. Rian Russo was pretty well bottled up inside but he could practically feel himself bouncing off the walls in his mind.

Tabby had left him alone for a few minutes now. He checked his arm and looked around him to see if he was still "plugged in" to the EKG or to any IVs. It looked like he was in the clear. He slid quietly, like a mouse, off the bed and started to tip-toe towards the exit, but only as he got the doorway, was he intercepted, and his plans of escape once again were thwarted. It was his captain this time though. He felt a slight rush of relief.

"Oh, hey Cap, I was about to go look for you after I found a shirt...I was thinking about what Abe said..."

Before his boss could interrupt him he stepped back and sat on the edge of the medical bed, wincing slightly as the wound was still a bit fresh, but pain was temporary. At least that's what his dad always said.

"I want to get Mona back. But if we're going to partner up with this guy to take her back we're gonna have to be careful."

Rian commandeered one of the tablets in the room used for medical charts and such, and switched it over to something he'd been working on when Tabby wasn't looking.

"And I'm not talking about your normal kind of careful..."

=======================================

The Darling rattled like a can kicked down the road. The combined high speed and wind coming off the turbo-train made the whole ship take on a resonance. Rian, Mattie, Riot, and Abernathy stand in the cargo bay just in front of the ramp, waiting for the door to open. The former crook and his crewmates were all dressed head to toe in black, balaclavas covering their faces, body armor on their torsos, alliance surplus sub-machine-guns in hand, pistols on hips.

They didn't look like the humble crew of a blue collar cargo ship any more. They looked much more like the Russo gang in its heyday. The cargo ramp opened up, and nearly just as soon as that happened, Abe fired a device that looked like a missile launcher and a spear gun combined. Its steel spiked tip heated up to near melting point in microseconds as it ripped through the air, and essentially welded itself onto the hull of the train on impact. A cable stretched all the way back to Abe as he slammed the other side of the launcher down on the Darling's steel floor, and it fired two bolts that locked it into place.

As the crew lined up and hitched themselves up, they slid down through a rush of air, all of them still dead silent. Landing atop the speeding train with a thud, Rian got busy with his breaching charges, and popped an emergency escape hatch from the outside, turning back and giving the team a thumbs up. Then, one by one, they dropped in. The team followed behind Rian, pressing down the hallway, watching doorways as they went.

Then, through the first junction between cars, the first guard turned, and saw them. Before words could meet tongue, a spray of bullets erupted. They pressed on, alarms began to blare, their steps still quick but deliberate. More guards came funneling down the halls towards them, into what professionals like Rian and Abe would call "a kill box" attacking right into a ready and equipped cadre. Room by room, they cleared them all, purple uniforms falling to the floor, pools of blood left as their wake.

Mona sat up from her steel bunk, looking around, she and the other prisoners were a mix of scared, confused, and excited. She looked on in confusion as she saw her crew clad head to toe in black armor, and arterial spray spattered across Rian's mask as he walked up to her cell and placed a breaching charge. The cell popped, and before she could say a word of thanks or protest, he threw a black hood over her face, and hit her neck with a small auto-injector full of sedative. The valkyerie crumbled to the floor. As she faded into unconsciousness, the Russo gang member pulled a set of charges out of his backpack and placed them in several spots as the other prisoners shouted, and pleaded to be released or told what was going on.

As they hooked up and zipped back up to the ship, a timer counted down, and anyone looking back would have seen all the train cars they crossed through suddenly buckle outwards and jets of flame blew out the windows with a thunderous explosion. Rian pulled his mask off, and along with the rest of the crew, dragged their compatriot back through the cargo bay. Abernathy finally speaking to say:

"I knew I liked you..."

===========================================
Rian took a breath and plopped the diagram of the turbo-train down. This is what it would take. This was what they'd signed themselves up for. If you want to dance with the devil, you better know the steps. He couldn't see it any other way. If they were really going to work with this black market thug, they'd have to play by his rules and leave no witnesses. No single part of Rian wanted to do this. Even the part of him that could be still called a Russo knew he could pull it off, but shuddered to think if it was truly worth it.

"I was tryin' to say earlier, Cap... We go on the dark side of the law on this, we've gotta go all the way. Or else we're gonna end up in a worse cell than Mona for the rest of our lives, or all buried in the same shallow grave by Abe's gang."

Was he seriously suggesting they become terrorists? No. But if they wanted the Alliance to think it was somebody else, the simplest way to sell that is to use the kind of brutality some of the more extreme browncoat partisans. He also, wanted to convince Barnaby of just what a bad idea it was going to be cooperating with this guy.

"Or... me and Abe have a chat in the cargo bay alone. You distract the crew for a couple minutes. You can contact the Baron and tell 'em it was me, then drop me off at the next port. They'll spend the rest of eternity coming after me and those chips. Not y'all."

He itched at the bandage on his bare chest and looked down at the floor. Rian was the one who drove off as he watched Mona get cuffed. Part of him knew he could have tried harder to get her back, but those who fell behind stayed behind on his old crew. For sins recent and long past, Rian wanted penance, even if he didn't deserve forgiveness. He didn't want any of these things to happen, but he wanted his crew happy and whole again. Even if that meant he'd have to walk through fire.
3
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep3 - A Tale of Darling-Do
October 07, 2019, 02:12:46 am
Rian had holstered his weapon, giving into Tabby's medical decision to bench him. He was just off to the side as Riot and Mattie kept Abernathy honest, so to speak. He was leaning back on the steel hull peeling off his glued-on ballistic material, to allow Tabby to work. Carpenter was bloody, exhausted, nearly out of ammunition and in a really bad mood. nothing about Abernathy really made sense to him. He'd taken over the ship via a sort of "silk glove" invasion, and now Barnaby was still letting him have his way, even now that they've retaken the ship.

Carpenter tugged on a larger piece of the ballistic material, making a long protracted ripping sound and he groaned slightly at the pain of the bullet lodged in his rib-cage as he continued tearing off his armor. He couldn't help but chuckle slightly though, at Abernathy's "real men" comment. Not one for enforcing gender roles, the cook noticed everyone else noticing him laughing lightly to himself.

"Oh. I just thought it was funny what he's saying. I tell you what, if he's a 'fake man' that impostor's got a point..."

While he'd been making fun of the Arlo's name earlier, the posh guest did know when to take action and make himself part of the solution.

"I can't help but wonder why you're suddenly so friendly, huh? Let's cut the goh-se. You had this ship more or less hostage up until: oh, say thirty seconds ago. If any of that agony over our misfortune was real you'd have met us at the docks with a mule, not in the ship with a handful of shooters... Hell, I thought I needed to offer my new blood spattered friend here a job to even the score."

He winced slightly as he pulled off the final piece of his ballistic padding and propped himself up against the wall, his adrenaline was still going. Carpenter, eyed Barnaby and just shook his head as the shirtless culinary artist resigned himself to the current state of affairs. Every instinct in his body was telling him to waste no more time on Abernathy spare what it took to put a 9mm in his brain-pan then vent him out the airlock with the rest of his goons. But that's not how they did business on the Darling.

"I'm fixing to get Mona back from the feds, but we do it with this guy...If we're gonna get out clean we're still gonna end up bloody..."

He started walking back down the hall and away from Abernathy and the assembled crew. This was supposed to be a simple salvage job, but the longer it went on, the more it called on the part of him he'd hoped to retire kept creeping back out. Slumping slightly in his posture from the pain and exhaustion, he departed, his words echoing back:

"... but what do I know? I'm just the cook."
4
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep3 - A Tale of Darling-Do
September 27, 2019, 10:12:07 am
Rian, exercising proper "muzzle discipline", pointed his weapon down at the ground the second Tabby entered his frame of vision. Just as soon as she emerged, so did Riot, neither of them seemed to be particularly captive at the moment. Now he was confused, but gave a thumbs up to Mattie, to indicate they were okay to let their guard down a bit. Confused, angry, bleeding, but still, he was relieved.

"Hey guys..."

The security specialist still carefully approached the engine room Riot had just exited, and saw the unconscious goon Bandit had knocked out, smiling sightly he popped back out of the engine room. He was proud of his crew for standing up for themselves in his absence. But they weren't in the clear yet. One unwelcome guest on a ship can be ten pounds of trouble and he wasn't going to relax or even think about medical treatment until he shoved that smug son of a bitch into their airlock. Intuiting the situation somewhat, he started moving towards the front and the cockpit, motioning with a jerk of his head to Mattie to follow.

"Are all of our guests besides Abernathy all tucked in? I think I should join the Captain and see if they could use some more company."

With his free hand, Carpenter pulled the shirt/bandage tight around his stomach. The patch-work of ballistic material looked like a ratty sleeveless shirt and a tire had a love child, but had done a good enough job to decelerate the round now grinding into one of his ribs, and the white shirt was slowly turning more red. The death dealing culinary artist gritted his teeth and controlled his breathing. Now wasn't the time to relax. At least not yet.

The son of a crook proceeded forward passed his crewmates, weapon aimed forward, back in the game, checking corners, right up to the door of the cockpit. Sliding up next to the entry he bellowed out one more time:

"Abernathy! You're going to step out of there, hands interlocked above your head. Slow, and calm..."

Rian steeled himself. The man had an upper crust wardrobe, but his body language and the way he watched the room before screamed that the two of them were cut from near the same cloth. He couldn't trust this would go smooth. Not for a second. After only a second he barked again.

"You're still in there by '1' I'm comin' in blasting.... Three... Two..."
5
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep3 - A Tale of Darling-Do
September 12, 2019, 11:14:32 am
Rian's eyes lit up, and some of that precious adrenaline hit his bloodstream. He turned his head over to the pilot. His and Mattie's seats were staggered back slightly, but he still made sure that his gun was again pointed at the pilot, but not so close she could try and head-butt it or otherwise make a quick play at it to try and turn the tables.

"I'm going to cut you loose. My friend is going to keep you honest while you get us in position."

Rian holstered his pistol and cut the tie loose before unbuckling himself for a moment to pull off his suit jacket and then just rip off his shirt, popping the buttons right off. Rather than a proper undershirt or his bare-chest, there was the patch-work of ballistic material he'd glued right onto his body. He rolled up the shirt then tied it around his torso like as an improvised bandage. He smacked his chest once to help jolt his adrenaline.

"Full disclosure, I gotta double check with Barnaby, but he hasn't responded to what I radio'd earlier. Which means somebody's probably got them leaving orbit at gunpoint. Cap wouldn't leave me behind knowing I wasn't pinched or dead."

Carpenter shifted his attention to the pilot:

"Don't wait for them to come to us. Dock, close the doors behind us and hit the gas. You ain't ever going to see us again. Assuming you do the smart thing and find a new job."

Strapping himself back in as the pilot, changed course and the afterburners punched them back into their seats. The darling grew larger and larger in their vision. The security specialist tried to brief Mattie best he could for the mess he was pulling her into.

"You'll recognize the people who were at the meet but check your fire when we breach. We show this asshole we mean business he'll back down. If he's smart. I'll watch left, you clear the right. There will be rooms on each side as we advance, we go straight all the way to the bow. After we clear the first floor, we secure the bridge. They'll probably have at least four or five men to effectively overpower the crew."

The ship reversed thrust hard as they came to an even harder stop, smacking into the darling hard enough that everybody on the ship should have felt it. Scrambling, Rian undid his restraints and sprang out of his chair, letting Mattie keep on eye on their chauffeur for a second as he bolted towards the airlock, pulling back on his shoulder holsters as he ran.

"Barnaby, if you can hear this... French fries."

He warned Barnaby over the comm, before pocketing it. Carpenter opened the shuttle doors to reveal the Darling's cargo-bay doors, then he punched in a code on a keypad. The knocking of metal could be felt as the locks and then the doors themselves moved. As soon as the doors opened wide enough for him to fit through, he exploded forward into the cargo bay.

"Abernathy!!!"
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The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep3 - A Tale of Darling-Do
August 09, 2019, 10:56:56 am
Orbit

Rian snatched the tie with his free hand and held onto it for a minute as they escaped the bounds of the planet's gravity, keeping his weapon trained on the captive pilot. He didn't take any microsecond he had somebody held at gunpoint for granted. Most of the Baron's employees were ready to fight and die for their paycheck. Save one. As he felt the ship settle into orbit, waiting for the Darling to break atmo herself, Rian needed to keep the Pilot under control if she got any ideas.

"Now what?"

She asked pointedly. His blood red index finger pointed toward the cockpit windscreen indicated he wanted her to stay eyes front. His voice calm, and almost polite he told his captive:

"You're doing great. Face forward, bring your arms back towards me like you're hugging the seat backwards."

The man had obviously held a lot of people at gunpoint before. If Mattie hadn't caught on this shepherd spent some time as a wolf, it likely became a bit obvious now. Carpenter had pressed the tie against his wound only for a few moments as they'd entered the atmosphere, but it was still a bit damp with blood as he wrapped it around the pilot's wrists to keep her from trying anything stupid for a moment. It was less severe than the method of crowd control his father had always preferred. The compact breaching charges they all carried made convenient motivators. A strip applied to the base of the skull between the neck and the spine on each prisoner, and a hand on a dead man's switch was just about fool-proof.

He dismissed the thought and holstered his weapon after he pulled the knot tight. Rian's eyes stayed on the radar on the shuttle's dashboard. Rian couldn't fly, but he had memorized the Darling's transponder ID, and the second it popped up on their proximity screen he'd free up the pilot's hands so they could make a hasty rendezvous with his employer. A seemingly endless moment passed, and Rian sighed, wondering what was taking them so long to get into orbit. Riot should have had the engines spooled up and ready to go. Something was still off.

Rian thought of the nouveau riche fellow who made a bid for the goods. The killer cook switched his gaze over to his new blond compatriot:

"You know anything about that tall guy with the beard at The Baron's? You helped escort Thappington Montgomery Moneypants or whatever out with us..."

Carpenter asked, pausing only for a moment, his face had grown more serious. The idea his crew might still be in danger without him or Mona on the ship was starting to bug him. Especially since he was starting to suspect their friend from the Baron's fortress of doom was making his play, and that's why the Darling was delayed. His devil may care mid-battle veneer shifted to something slightly different. Rian addressed the pilot again.

"The moment The Darling is zero G, I want you to make an emergency docking maneuver. I killed some of your co-workers but that's only on account of them trying to murder my crew. My friend here made a different choice. I ain't got one drop of hate for you, but I need to get back to my ship before somebody kills my crew. Roles reversed, I imagine you might do something similar. But since we're putting ourselves in each other's shoes, don't think for a second I won't cut you apart if you don't let me save them."

He sat back in his chair, and noted that he hadn't started to feel faint yet. He could feel the sting in his chest and as adrenaline was fading. The bullet was lodged into his ribcage. It would bleed and hurt like hell until Tabby plucked it out, but he figured he wasn't in mortal danger. Rian glanced over at Mattie:

"Hey... Thanks."

Then just like that Carpenter directed his attention back to the radar screen, waiting, hoping, everything short of praying to see her pop up on screen.
7
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep3 - A Tale of Darling-Do
July 27, 2019, 03:26:18 am
Outside the Darling

Rian watched the crowd carefully as Mattie worked her way through the melee unfolding before them but his eyes narrowed on the Darling as she came in sight, and her closed ramp. This threw his plan into the shredder and the gunhand started looking for another option. The Darling needed to get into orbit with the cargo now while they had a chance of getting away with their freedom and their potential payday. Almost chuckling at Mattie's question about the dress code he smiled somewhat self consciously.

"No... I just try to look the part of a professional...You seem to let your actions do the talkin'.."

Carpenter pulled the communicator out of his jacket and informed Barnaby of his new plan as he caught sight of a shuttle at the docks bearing the Baron's mark.

"We'll meet you in orbit, Darling."

A trio of the baron's guards huddled around his overly ornate shuttle, pointing it out to Mattie he tucked the communicator back into his pocket and withdrew his forty caliber. As they drew in, the guard's took notice and once again bullets were pinging off the mule's engine block and it started to finally give out.

"Like I said... appearance of being professional... think your boss will miss a shuttle too?"

As they ground to a halt, Rian came out guns blazing and kept moving, darting to the side and strafing fire across the clustered group. Between him and Mattie they had enough firepower and surprise to put a round in each of the guards before they had a chance to properly take aim before returning fire. Bursting through the door to the cockpit, Carpenter made his intentions and expectations very clear.

"Orbit or a bullet. Pick."

He found himself worrying about if the pilot didn't cooperate, how he was going to get this thing in the air, why nobody had answered back from the Darling yet, and what that stinging sensation was in his middle chest. He felt the area with his free hands as he aimed the other at the pilot's head. He let his hand fall back to his side, showing slight touch of red from the blood that had seeped through his subtle armor under his suit. The round had been slowed down but nothing was truly bulletproof. His adrenaline still pumping, Rian decided now wasn't the time to address such trivial things and sat himself down next to the pilot and started strapping himself in with his bloodied hand.

"Now!"

He shouted somewhat incredulously. Rian had just planted a lead farm in a not insignificant portion of her coworkers, but he was now strangely dependent on this stranger to stay alive and possibly rescue the crew. He gave his new partner a look of bemused exasperation as if to say. "Another day at the office, yknow?"
8
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep2 - Blasting Off Again
July 22, 2019, 11:21:26 am
Rian watched as Mona leaped off the mule, distracting the feds as he neutralized the threat. He recognized the sonic weapons coming out and the group assembling around her. It distracted him from his jokingly flirtatious greeting to his new friend. As smoke rose from the vehicle he'd just shot up and the Darling's mule slipped into the chaotic crowd on the docks and the gunhand brought his attention back to Mattie.

"Aiya... Sorry about usurping your vengeance there...I think a friend of mine just got herself pinched..."

He made a show of carefully placing his pistol back into his shoulder holster under his suit jacket. The chaotic scene juxtaposed with his somewhat nonchalant demeanor didn't betray how worried he was about Mona at the moment. He could join the fray, but that'd likely only get him and his new friend locked up too. He tied it off, and shut the thought from his mind. Focusing on getting Mona out of the lockup would just land him in a matching cell. Best he could see, he and the blond badass had about one shot to try and gun the shot-up mule towards the Darling.

"I don't know what brought you 'round to my side of the fight, but I'm sure glad you were on it. If you can help me get to the Darling, you can usurp vengeance from me any time you want."

Rian didn't have much time to make his pitch and seeing the group of approaching purple bellies, he hoped that the implied job offer wouldn't come off as a flirtation, and that Barnaby would be okay with that seeing as how security was his job, he wasn't exactly cleared to start hiring strange women he'd just met, but today was a weird day, that called for weird solutions. He threw his hands up as if to ask "What you gonna do?" as the feds got closer and he pointed towards a gap in the crowd and the Alliance agents.

"We go flat out towards that gap, we might make it before this hunk of junk departs this world."

Pulling on a seat-belt he stretched one arm then the other. Preparing for a rough ride.

"Darling, myself and a friend are going to be approaching in the mule that just attacked. I'd ask you kindly not shoot us."

He paused for just a second, considering omitting what just happened to their XO, and the sacrifice play she'd just made for them.

"Feds have Mona."

With that, a bit of emotion, and frustration finally registered amid the fracas. Rian punched the plastic dashboard of the mule and growled, momentarily venting the feelings of guilt that accompanied telling Mattie to drive right past the agents as they locked her up. He rattled off several very profane things in Chinese and only a second or so later had himself calmed down and back in the game. Mostly.
9
Darling Asides / Re: Running from your shadow
July 05, 2019, 11:15:44 am
The room had just stopped spinning as Barnaby dropped his gun. Rian sat upright, Buck was exchanging words with his in-law right before they started laying into each other. He tried to get on his feet but couldn't get steady footing. He was still too dizzy. Grasping for control over his faculties, tooth and claw, he roared with anger and frustration. Falling forward onto his hands, he crawled, pistol still in hand. He'd dropped the rifle but still had grip on his trusty .40 caliber. The goons and king-goon were all just a mass of struggling limbs and Carpenter was still seeing double, they resembled some kind of horrifying blob from a science experiment gone horribly wrong.

Pausing as he'd gotten closer, he lifted the pistol up but with everyone on top of each other and his somewhat duplicated vision, shooting was ill advised.

"Gorram it!!!"

He slid the weapon past the struggling trio and just out of reach for most of them, but closest to Barnaby. Well as best he could in his current state. For a moment he let the old man win. Rian shouted again as he threw himself into the melee. He followed an axiom his father taught him: That no matter how outmatched you are in a fight, no matter how much bigger the other guy is, the man willing to become the most violent, the least restrained, he would always win. He couldn't bring them into focus but he could wrap his hands around the neck of one of the goons, each hand going for one of the two necks he saw. Pulling one back violently, he slammed the first faux-guard's head into the steel floor, momentarily dazing him. The other saw Rian pulling away his friend and tried to come to his aid, but by then, Rian had already moved on to him and pulled the short knife that slipped into a discrete holster on the side of his belt.

The thug connected a shot to Rian's chin but Rian's thrust into his stomach connected, Rian fell back onto his back again but scrambled back up as the first goon who's head he'd smashed rose once again, himself still daze. But Rian's adrenaline was cooking and the daze of the salty shotgun blast was wearing off. Both came at him, but now back on his feet, he charged forward, locked one of their arms, and thrust his knife into his throat, then brought it around just like he'd been shown. His partner slightly dazed and unprepared to see his friend opened up, he threw a sloppy haymaker. Rian threw up his elbow to absorb the attack and thrust the knife forward into his assailants chest once, then again, and again as he fell back.

Then again as Rian knelt over him. The Russo former gangmember put one hand down to feel for his beating heart, mark the spot carefully, then brought the blade down with both hands.

"Buuuuucckkkk!!!!!"

Rian shouted over to his former coworker as he rose from the bloodied corpses he'd just created. He pointed the blade at Stanley and advised him in an all too calm manner:

"Let go of my friend."

For just a flash of a moment, Rian's mind went back to the last time he'd seen Barnaby in person. It was his wife's funeral. By the time Barnaby himself was long since a widower. Rian didn't expect him to show but, she did always talk about the loveable goofball like he was still her brother, never mind "in law". Rian felt at first a duty to pay it lip service, but it wasn't until the days after, where Barnaby just stuck around for a couple days to keep an eye on him, they made a world of difference. The difference between just walking into his father's office, blowing his brains all over the walls before getting blown away himself, and rather resolving to try and right his father's wrongs. He still failed in that enterprise too. But at least he tried, and was still alive to resist him in the only way he could. To live outside of his control.

Snapping back into the moment, the unemployed "cook" caught Barnaby's eye and then darted his eyes over to the gun he'd thrown near them, then back to Goodweather. His vision was just starting to lock into focus, just barely. Rian flipped the blade around in his hand and threw it at buck with all his might. The weapon made contact with an unsatisfying *thunk* and hit him in the head handle first.

"Go-se."
10
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep2 - Blasting Off Again
June 27, 2019, 10:01:24 am
Richie Rich was full of sass today. Any other day he'd find it annoying but given the circumstances, it just added a layer of absurdist comedy to him. Rather than try and correct him on his use of the term "contact" or whether he needed his tips on what to shoot at, it turned out their erudite passenger was on to something and hit the weak spot he'd been talking about. The man was a bit too indignant for his taste but he wasn't all talk at least. The gunhand squeezed out the last couple of rounds in his magazine at the vehicle as it started to approach again after crashing through the mall.

"Looks like your idea helped but we still haven't gotten their insurance information!"

Rian nudged Thackery playfully as he slapped a fresh clip into his pistol.

"Try not to shoot me okay?"

As the pursuing mule got close he shouted to his Captain, some sort of wild plan Barnaby would probably disapprove of already formed in his mind:

"I'm gonna go see if I can get their contact information, Cap! I'll be right back."

The enemy mule now pressing up to their bumper, he leaped across and landed in a crouched position on their hood, but not before a bump nearly threw him loose and he had to grab onto the passenger's side mirror. Now close enough to see clearly what had unfolded on their mule since they'd crashed through the shopping center, it must have been their turncoat passenger who lobbed one of their sorry asses out of the vehicle, and not Rian's shot at his dome. It finally dawned on him that Mattie had switched sides and The Darling's security specialist gave Mattie a mischievous smile as he asked:

"Hey, you mind grabbing the wheel?"

Rian's pistol was already pointed at the driver so she could put her hands on the controls. The second she did, with no warning he put a round into Bret's forehead. His cold calculus put them at equal chance of crashing anyway in the vehicle's wobbly state, and a live man fighting them for control wasn't something he wanted to contend with right now. He scrambled over and into the passenger's seat as Mattie drove from the back seat.

"Anyway, hi. I'm Rian. This may be a bit forward and all seeing as we just met and there's a teeny bit of arterial spray in your hair, but you wanna maybe get out of here and ambush an ambush?"
11
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep2 - Blasting Off Again
June 12, 2019, 11:39:26 am
Location: En Route to The Darling

"Nǐ zài shuǎ wǒ ma?"

He watched the mule approach. As they drew closer, their shouting to each other over the rushing air was loud enough for him to hear once they got within a reasonable distance. Not the particulars but he clocked the attractive and capable looking blond security guard from Baron Fancy Pants' place and it was for sure. Since Rian had climbed on the back, he had a perfect view of them as they encroached, then lined up. Borrowing some military vernacular he learned from a vet he ran jobs with, Carpenter shouted to everyone aboard:

"CONTACT! SIX O'CLOCK!"

Firmly holding onto a steel handle, he felt the mule practically kick out from beneath him with the impact and as they spun around. But just as quickly as they'd spun around they were facing foward again and in motion as the all-purpose vehicle and their captain regained control. Rian counted about three gunhands in the Baron's mule. But they weren't shooting yet, that meant Serge, the driver, just jumped up to the top of Rian's list of people he's going to shoot at. The second the mule stabilized under him, Rian's hand came out from inside his jacket where it had been resting on his pistol, lined him up, and squeezed the trigger, then shifted one spot over to Bret and Carpenter let loose another. 

"I swear to god, Cap!"

Rian held on for dear life and gritted his teeth in frustration. Another time he'd have lit them up sooner, but seeing as he probably needed to let them attack before anything he did might start getting considered manslaughter-y if there were cameras. Aiming at the engine of the vehicle chasing them he let loose four more rounds in quick succession.

POP-POP-POP-POP

Why he hadn't taken any shots at the blond? Chivalry? Ingrained sexism? Rian wasn't sure but she was in the back and wouldn't be a threat in a disabled vehicle. Hopefully. It was the sort of thing his dad would have kicked his pi gu for back in the day.

"I'm like a reverse lucky charm, everywhere we go somebody tries to kill us!"

And then I have to kill a bunch of people...

Pistol still firmly in hand, he tried to keep it aimed at the enemy mule as they sped off.
12
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep2 - Blasting Off Again
June 05, 2019, 02:52:19 am
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort

"We made a new friend, she's awful pretty. A little stern but we all have our flaws. She wants to speak to the Captain, wants to take the boxes from us, but we told her we don't have any idea what she's talking about,"

He smiled, but wanted to caution the doctor. He was glad she didn't give much of anything away but a flat denial like that could get them in trouble.

"You just keep that pretty Alliance Officer busy and stay off-topic and I'll make dessert tonight-"

The preacher ruined his plan for a bribe:

""Headed back home now Rian, a little light on the groceries. We'll have to have those ribs another time.""

Cursing in Chinese as Rian climbed up onto the back of the mule on the driver's side. He perched himself so that he could pivot around and watch the crowds as they made their way back to the docks. He could feel in Barnaby's driving that his suspicion had grown contagious.

"Don't you worry about it, Vic. We're on our way home..."

As they sped down the streets he eyed each alley suspiciously, any clusters of individuals near a choke point. Carpenter could feel the noose tightening around them as he rested his hand on his holster.
13
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep2 - Blasting Off Again
May 20, 2019, 09:26:56 am
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort

Rian was just a bag full of nerves right now. Anxiety and aggravation given human form. Ever so lightly he tapped his toes up and down inside his shoe. A strange coping mechanism he'd developed ages ago. When he had a feeling things were about to go sideways, but he needed to solider on like everything was normal, that emotion was allowed to only so slightly manifest itself in a manageable way. He marched right past Captain Merryweather and the aristocrat having a nervous breakdown over a lost pocket square. In another situation watching someone as upper crust as him melt down would make his day, but alas today, Rian had a distinct feeling someone was going to try and kill him, or at best: steal from his crew. And as the newly minted security officer it would be pretty bad to blow it this early on.

The crates all piled right back onto the mule, Carpenter swiped a crow-bar out of the hands of one of the baron's employees.

"Sorry, I'm gonna need to borrow this for a second...."

And with no fanfare he marched up to the mule, pulled the tarp off, and jammed the crowbar into one of the crate's lid. Rian was just about sure the crates would be empty, and either a gang of killers or a bunch of feds waiting for them at the docks. With a loud crack the lid gave way and revealed... the beagle clocks, just as he'd left them. There was even the undisturbed layer of blue packing peanuts he added when they disabled the alarms.

"Oh...uhh... sorry."

He couldn't help but scratch his head as he handed the crowbar back to the very annoyed looking warehouse employee. Still nursing a profound suspicion that something was wrong, he pulled his communicator set to the Darling crew's frequency:

"Tabby, how's shopping going?"

Not wanting to worry her or give anything away to anyone who might be listening in, he played it like things were normal. He dropped a coin into one the worker's jacket pockets as he hammered the crate's top back on and waited for the doc's reply. Something was up and he wasn't sure if they should move until they knew the rest of the crew was okay.
14
Darling Asides / Re: Running from your shadow
May 14, 2019, 12:51:58 pm
Bullets clattered off the steel of the door he opened to shield himself. It seemed one of the new "security" guys took offense at how many of his compatriots he'd slain. Jimmy's order not to kill his son was currently being ignored but it was understandable. Emotions were high.  Rian had been clearing his ways through the halls, pulling along a cart crammed full of all his worldly possessions whilst a gang of armed thugs tried to abduct or kill him. One of the shooter's compatriots ran over and kicked him and tried to calm him down.

"Just pin him down I"ll..."

Before he could finish his statement, their quarry popped around the side of the door he'd crept behind and plopped two rounds center of mass one on of them, and the man who'd just been firing on him took aim but he in turn took two more rounds to the chest and as he recoiled back took a third to his head. As Rian went back to his cart and pulled it past his felled opponents, the one who'd tried to diffuse the situation coughed and strained to warn Rian.

"He told you what'd happen if you ran..."

The aspring culinary artist stopped. He turned back slowly. Trying to abduct him was one thing. But condescending to him was another. The man formerly known as Russo leaned over the felled former brother in arms.

"I'm sorry what's that?"

He put his finger up to his ear and leaned it closer for effect.

"I said he told you! Gorram it, boy!

Carpenter smiled. A sort of crooked smile. If he was more like his father he would have just finished the man off. Instead he picked up the man's hand and made him press it down on his own wound.

"You keep applying pressure, and I'll tell you what I told Jimmy...I told him this would happen. And if he doesn't get it now, you tell him for me: The day I come home is the day he dies."

With that he stood and was back racing back to the docks, and hopefully to Barnaby. Rounding the corner he saw several of the "security" goons jumping for cover and saw the good Captain Goodweather sprinting in the other direction shirtless. One of the men was starting to realize it had been a couple seconds. No boom. One of them kicked the device as Rian crept up behind them. The top popped open, and out spewed Rian's used cooking oil.

"What in the..."

'Scuse me where's the docks?"

As both men spun around, Rian had his rifle in one hand, and his backup revolver in the other, two concurrent shots echoed through he hall for a few seconds as the only blast Barnaby would have heard. Somewhat cockily, Rian slung his rifle up onto his shoulder and shouted to his future boss as he ran away shirtless.

"Hey Barn, wait up! I think we're cl-"

Before he could finish the sentence, a shuttle bay door suddenly opened beside him, and before Rian could even turn half-way to face, them, he took a stomach full of compressed rock-salt fired out of Buck Stanely's shotgun. Flying back and onto the ground, he was bloodied, bruised, and dazed. His father was a big believer in DIY less lethal rounds. Buck stepped sure-footed out of the docked shuttle and into the station. Somewhat ingeniously, he'd taken a shuttle the whole-way around to cut him off. Two men wielding stun batons stepped out beside him.

Clutching his wounds he growled down at the younger man.

"I"m gonna take you back to your father... and THEN... ohh haha! I'm gonna kill everyone on that damn Starling and Goodfeather I swear on my father..."
15
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep2 - Blasting Off Again
May 13, 2019, 10:12:37 am
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort

I smell a gorram rat.

Rian could practically hear his father advising him. This assembly of all his useful attributes and pearls of wisdom allowed to haunt him was always piping in at times like this. But, as psychological projections of problematic fathers go, he wasn't wrong. The whole job stank. The derelict. The Baron suddenly getting claiming ignorance of the job, the beagles, this new black clad stranger who just carried himself in the wrong way. The way he walked. Where his eyes went. No. No. No. He wasn't old money like their host or the guy being shown the door. This Greek bearing gifts was somebody more like ... himself.

The security specialist cleared his throat audibly to get his captain's and the prospective buyer's attention. When he caught Abernathy's gaze it would have been apparent on Carpenter's face that he could smell the fèihuà his suit was made out of.

"That's an awfully kind offer and just so convenient you happened to be here..."

He looked over at Mona and exclaimed in a sort of dead-pan sarcasm as they all crammed into the elevator once again:

"Our client suddenly gets amnesia about hiring us... and what do you know the man that was sittin' right next to him has a new offer for us?! I guess we should just ask... where should he kill us and steal the cargo? I mean, I could just tell you preferably where I'd ambush a crew of honest hard workin' spacers, hell, it is a veritable riches of options..."

The doors shut around them and he directed his gaze back to Abernathy, Rian's hands calmly folded right in front of him.

"If you want to do business with The Darling, how's about you be the first person not to lie to us since we took the job?"
16
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep2 - Blasting Off Again
May 06, 2019, 09:44:43 am
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort

This was the point he'd normally start beating the crap out of the goon nearest to him. Probably break a couple bones to make a show of it, or maybe pop a kneecap. Even hinting at a refusal to pay for services rendered could get you killed in some parts of the verse. But here they were and this silver spoon niáng had just decided their little life and limb adventure in zero g was no longer interesting to him. The privileged it took to wave away everything he'd put them through over the course of this job boggled Rian's mind. He felt his arm almost twitch. The inclination to draw a weapon passed quickly but only after he intentionally buried it.

But on the other hand, those chips in the clocks looked to be pretty fancy... maybe this was great? If the Duke of Earl here didn't want the chips, maybe they were theirs to hock? But then again, who'd they hock it to? Most of the people Rian could call would be on the line with his Dad the second they disconnected. But they didn't know that. Maybe lay some cards on the table. Play along, make a show of leaving with the product in tow.

The part time cook and full time gunhand clapped his captain on the shoulder casually.

"Well I guess the chips are ours, Barn. I'll start checking in with some of our other usual fences."

He motioned towards the elevator like they should leave. Just like that. No fuss. Carpenter had a feeling this was all an act or part of the game. Kick them out just as they get there. Probably "confiscate the stolen goods" they have with them and leave them in the lurch. They also had all their shooters boxed in on enemy territory with the preacher, the doc, and the mechanic wandering around unprotected. Trying to act casually, Rian started stepping backwards toward the elevator they'd come in on.

"Maybe we should go check on the kids..."

The reformed crook had layed enough traps in his time to smell one. He was addressing Barnaby but looked over to Mona, who he expected to be getting equally wary. Rian's hand now starting to rest on top of his sidearm he spoke loudly and calmly.

"Y'all have yourselves a nice night..."
17
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep2 - Blasting Off Again
April 23, 2019, 09:33:57 am
Location: Cythera Casino and Resort

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

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

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

The populist and former labor revolt leader couldn't help but reply. Quietly he hoped the guard wasn't that up to date on his 18th century Earth history. Though even if somebody ran to teacher, he probably didn't need to worry about his reference to the guillotine-ing of the French nobility on Earth that was. Hopefully.
18
Darling Asides / Re: Running from your shadow
April 17, 2019, 10:15:50 am
Jimmy Russo paced across the room, looking away, addressing his young son across the room without eye contact. Speaking more in a soliloquy than as part of a conversation.

"You're a lump of coal. I am the Earth pressing down all round you, for what will feel like eternity. But when the day comes you finally see sunlight... son... you're going to be hard as a gorram diamond. But you're gonna have to cut your womanly chattering, distractions, and you are going to be the man you're meant to be."

A man with a bag over his head whimpered softly, trying to suppress it. The elder Russo finally looked at his son and pointed at the bound and hooded man, barking at the boy:

"Shut. Him. Up."

Before the young Rian "Russo" could fully raise his voice in protest:

"Now!"

GET YOUR HEAD BACK IN THE GAME, RIAN!

He shook his head and brought himself out of the moment that for some reason was coming back to mind. Possibly because he felt he may soon be the man, hooded, beaten, and bound in a chair in one of his dad's safe-house basements. Fully re-engaged in the present he'd dragged his cart of belongings all the way to the security office. Slowing down he let go of the cart and moved ahead, light on his feet. Carpenter crept up on the door and positioned himself aside it. He knocked twice on the door before bellowing at those inside:

"Jimmy Russo sent you here to get me...

He looked up at a security camera pointed at him.

"You know I've got a man with a bomb and a dead man's switch running 'round in your station. What you don't know is that I have breaching charges in this duffel here, but I'd really rather save 'em for a job where I can make some money. Right now I just want to get out of here. You walk out of there and to the shuttle bay unarmed we're peachy. But if I get to the count of ten and don't see your asses runnin' down the hall, I'm getting my breachers and a sawed-off out of there."

The one bluff was that he had a sawed-off shotgun in there. The rifle'd do fine. Before Rian could count, one of the men inside kick the door open, his very real shotgun leading the way straight forward. Rian, up against the wall simply let the man charge straight out the door and before he could see Jimmy's son in the corner of his eye, the cook's sight was already aiming squarely at the spot just above his ear, and one single gunshot echoed through the halls of the station. Flopping to the ground, Rian stepped over the corpse and into the security office, checking his corners he found a tech guy cowering. With a kick he chased the man out of the room and before he was totally out of the room, the former Russo was putting three consecutive rounds into the security system's hard drive, then pulled the wires out of the hub for their cortex uplink.

Grasping the microphone for the station-wide PA system, Rian addressed all listening.

"This is a station-wide alert! There are trespassers posing as security! Confine yourselves to quarters and seal the doors!"

And with his PSA completed, Carpenter put three more rounds into the PA system as sparks flew.
19
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep2 - Blasting Off Again
April 12, 2019, 12:40:11 pm
Rian of course, had extra armor. He'd figured out he could order the ballistic material they used to make the much more expensive combat armor in bulk. The catch, was that it was the spare chunks of oddly shaped bits that were cut off to make proper vests and other armor. The inventive former crook would coat one side of the foam like material in a non toxic adhesive, and like a patchwork, attach it to himself before properly dressing. It was much less noticeable and conformed to the natural shape of his body. But then it was like ripping off several hundred band-aids when the job was done. It was worth getting the look Mona gave him when he explained she'd have to temporarily glue a bunch of composite material to herself naked before she got dressed for work today. A sacrifice one makes for cost savings and not ruining the lines of your outfit.

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

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

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

The gunhand and cook was clearly addressing the whole room. Stress of the situation at hand, why not envision your reward? He smiled and talked of dinner, but in the corners of his own mind he was still at work thinking about operational security. Going more restrained, Rian was just sporting his side arm securely tucked into a holster under his black suit coat, and a several spare magazines tucked into pockets custom fitted to the inside. While he didn't bring along his prized rifle, not wanting to worry their contact, he did tuck his spare revolver into another holster on the other side of his jacket.
20
The Darling IC / Re: S1:Ep2 - Blasting Off Again
April 09, 2019, 09:39:09 am
"Well I'm suddenly much more comfortable with nearly dying on account of these pups."

Rian mused as he poured himself a cup of joe. He took an immediately regretted sip of the piping hot java and resumed deactivating the clocks as he went. He wondered to himself how much one of these would get him on the black market. One would probably pay for a pretty swanky vacation, but could also just easily get him very dead. Anything worth the trouble they'd been through was also probably worth sending at least one assassin. The former black-hat picked up another alarm and turned it off. He shook his head in amusement at another as he in turn deactivated it and moved on to the next.

"I'd say we all just say right now we don't know what these are for sure. That way nobody can say we knowingly took part in ... something. I'm sure whoever made these just doesn't mind skimping on good hardware..."

His implication that they may be taking part in a bit of "light smuggling" and with everything suddenly real, he had experience with the steps one takes to avoid a racketeering and conspiracy charges. His light mood slowly faded as he continued his task, disabling the alarms. Carpenter had yet to fully divulge the nature of how he came to their ship and his less than illustrious past lived under another name. Rian Russo the villain had a lot more to bring to the table than Rian Carpenter the humble cook and it needled him every day. It was frustrating but he resolved himself to try and find some way to finally bring that chapter of lies by omission to an end. But its not like anyone makes "So, I used to be a member of a murderous gang that took over a mining town." greeting cards.

Coffee in one hand, he got up and found an empty crate in the cargo bay, filled it with packing foam, then dragged it over to their salvaged alarm beagles and started tossing the silenced ones in.

"These highly valuable puppy dogs have me about four times as anxious as normal and I haven't even finished this cup yet. I'm thinking I'm gonna put on some subtle armor when we move these in the open. They're worth sending us for, they're worth sending worse people for."

Operational security just became a whole new ballgame and Rian found his mind already running through scenarios and any possible angles of exposure they might have to someone who'd want to get this from them.
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