S1:Ep3 - A Tale of Darling-Do

Started by Lomari, July 23, 2019, 08:20:07 am

Barnaby Goodweather

September 06, 2019, 12:17:48 pm #20 Last Edit: September 06, 2019, 05:09:44 pm by Barnaby Goodweather
Earlier...in the Cockpit


Barnaby settled into his chair, well-worn from years of his pi gu finding it and staying there. By the implications of Abernathy still holding that pistol, casual though it may be, Barnaby figured it was best the seat and his pi gu get re-acquainted. He made himself comfortable and waited for Riot to give him the go-ahead on takeoff.

Abernathy leaned back against the opposite console, out of arm's reach but close enough to be threatening enough to keep Barnaby from acting out. "So you did bring the cargo to the meet. That's funny." He said, easing the tension in the air that had persisted for a few moments.

"What's funny about it?"

Abernathy sighed. "You don't meet many honest men, doing what I do. Doing what we do. What you and I do isn't exactly the same, but it does share a common goal. Do you know what that is, Captain?"

Barnaby didn't.

"We get people what they want. We're couriers. From the Latin "To Run". In Ancient Earth-That-Was couriers would hand deliver goods and messages on foot. Miles and miles and miles. Putting themselves in harm's way all to carry something from one place to another. From the Darling's records, I would say that is exactly what you do. And that is what I do."

"You ain't a business man?"

"I am many things, Captain. An entrepreneur, yes. An opportunist, definitely. But, if I paid taxes, I would put arms dealer at the top of the form. People have enemies. And when they need to deal with their enemies they need weapons. And when they need weapons, they come to me. And I get them what they need."

"I ain't got no enemies." Barnaby took umbrage with the notion that everyone had enemies. Sure, there was folks he didn't want to sit down and break bread with. And he'd killed a man or two in hostility, but it was always justified. What Abernathy was talking about was- "Warmongering. That's what you do." Barnaby practically spit it, the taste of the word tainting his tongue.

Abernathy laughed and shrugged.

"Cap, pressure sensor disconnected, thanks entirely to my lovely chaperone's brilliant input. Did that do the trick?"

Riot's voice cut through their conversation. Barnaby turned away from Abernathy and checked the systems and found everything to be where they needed it to be in order to take off. He began the ignition sequence and, soon, found his hands around the control stick and lifting them up and off into the atmosphere. He was glad to say toodle-oo to Aphrodite and her crazy robber baron-pi gu king.

Checking the monitors, Barnaby found on the scope a small shuttle craft nearby. "I reckon that's my guy, there. Mind if we pick him up?"

Abernathy shook his head. "Go ahead. I want you happy and whole, Captain. Happy and whole."

Barnaby picked up Rian's comm channel. "Darling to shuttle. Hey, uh, Rian, that you? We're burning out, be in orbit in a few. I think I see ya. Radio in and we'll pick you up, over." He hung it up with a weary sigh and steered the Darling in a rendezvous type trajectory with the shuttle, fingers crossed it was the right one. "Mr. Abernathy, I just gotta know. What's so special about them dogs?"

"Dogs?" Abernathy seemed puzzled. "Oh! The clocks. I don't care about the clocks."

"But..."

"It's what's inside them. Computer chips. Highly advanced for weapons guidance systems. Ever hear of a smart bomb? Put in coordinates and then fire her off and she flies all the way there and hits that target within about fifty meters, the explosion of course being so destructive that's really close enough. Incredibly advanced stuff, very expensive. Well these chips in your puppies make those look positively imbecilic. Not only do they steer a missile to it's target, it can avoid obstacles, turn corners, seek heat signatures, and is accurate to three inches. It has a one-hundred percent kill rate. And each one is worth a small fortune all by itself."

Barnaby was alarmed. "That's awful. What sorts of people would want those?"

"Bad people."

Barnaby considered this. "I don't want to sell them to you."

"Of course you don't. But they aren't yours to sell. As I said, I'm paying you to courier them for me. And I'll even double your normal fee. Twenty-thousand. Just for letting me take them off your hands. I'll make that a thousand fold when I sell them."

A silence descended upon them as Barnaby watched the shuttle craft get closer.

"What about your woman?" Abernathy asked suddenly.

"Woman?" Barnaby didn't immediately follow who he meant. "Oh! You mean Mona?" He shook his head and gave a sort of sad, overwhelmed chuckle like he'd forgotten all about yet another problem he would have to solve. "That is a pickle."

"Yes, the Amazonian with the golden hair. Would it make you feel better if I offered to help you emancipate her from Alliance custody?"

Barnaby looked at Abernathy like he was speaking in tongues. "Why would you help me? In fact- why you offering to pay me at all? You could just take the cargo. Kill us all dead." A ship to ship message, text only, indicated that the shuttle indeed had Rian on it, and was willing to dock with them. The sequence was initiated.

Shaking his head, Abernathy sighed. "Captain captain captain. I told you I want you happy and whole. Whole means all of your crew back on board, safe, sound, snuggled in their bunks. Happy means paid. We're alike, remember? I don't have enemies either. It's bad for business." Abernathy stuck his hand out. "We have a deal? Twenty-thousand and we work together to get Mona back. All I get is the chips."

Pappy's voice echoed through Barnaby's head. He chewed on the inside of his lip.

noseatbelts

Engine Room:

Bandit stared at Charlie.

Charlie stared at Bandit.

"What's it looking at?" He said, a slight quiver of fear tightening his throat. Sweat formed at his brow, which he wiped at nervously. "Lady. I don't like dogs, ok? I had... an experience." Charlie didn't go into further details on his experience. "Make it stop staring at me!"

Bandit growled.

Barnaby must have gotten the message, though he didn't confirm it, as Riot heard and felt the Darling come to life. A slight shift in gravity indicated that the decouple had successfully freed them from the Alliance locks and they were making their way off of Aphrodite, which had been anything but a lovely stay.

As the systems kicked on in turn, a steam vent directly above Charlie hissed, startling him. He raised his weapon in shock, and Bandit took her chance. The mutt leaped through the air, paws forward, and knocked Charlie back, his head knocking against a protruding pipe Riot might have warned him about had his safety crossed her mind.

Charlie crumpled to the ground as the pipe reverberated from his strike, a headache to look forward to when he woke up.

Bandit sat next to him and cocked her head at Riot, as if to assess her good-girl status.


Galley:

Raul and Maurice snored softly, their bodies shifting slightly as the Darling lifted off, but their slumber continued, and Tabby would have to wait on whether they would like to see the frock that Emily made.

If the crew was going to make a move, now was the time to do it.


Thackery Arlington III

"Oh! University! How exciting. Does she know what sort of profession she might like to study for?"

Arlo considered the question briefly, trying to recall the most up-to-date answer. "Architecture, I believe, although she may have turned her attention to music by now," he finally decided. "She's always been rather keen on piano."

"I find that learning on the road and jumping right in is always a good way to really learn a skill. Just immerse yourself in it and make it your life!"

"Oh, is that how you learned to, ah..." Arlo had been planning to politely inquire about how the strange young lady had learned her role on the ship, but realized partway through that he didn't actually know what she did there. Catching sight of the lumpy blanket, he switched tack, and decided to ask about her apparent hobby instead. Just as soon as he could figure out what that was as well. "....knit?" he hazarded.

She carried on conversing with their guards and telling of her own siblings, whose names Arlo immediately forgot the moment they'd left the air. He snorted into his tea when she commented on the color of Maurice's aura, although he tried to play it off as a sneeze, but suspected he did a very poor job of it. She reminded him quite a lot of Georgie in many ways - they even looked rather similar - but the idea of his hyper-rational little sister involving herself in auras and visions and all that faffery was enough to send silent laughter shaking through his shoulders. He supposed the chatty hostess would want to read his tea leaves next.

"-- would you like to see it?"

Arlo froze mid-sip. He'd quite lost the thread of the conversation and hadn't the least idea what he would or wouldn't like to see or what the most polite and painless answer would be. "I, ah, well, that's very..." he fumbled, only to be serendipitously interrupted by a rather loud snore from Raul.

His eyes widened as he took in the two sleeping guards, their empty mugs, and the convenient pile of blankets where they'd been left on the counter; Arlo was an unobservant man but not an unintelligent one, and he could put the pieces together as well as anyone else. He lurched backwards, driving his chair several inches across the floor, as though he'd suddenly found a live snake in his tea. But no - after the initial brief jolt of panic, he realized he'd drunk more than half the stuff already and didn't feel the least bit drowsy. Whatever had been slipped to the other two, Arlo had apparently been spared.

"Good God!" he gasped, staring from the girl to the priest and back again as the latter casually discussed their doses. "What did you do to them?"

Mattie Rooney

Mattie watched Rian tie up the pilot, a hint of disapproval passing over her face as he repurposed the tie she'd intended as dressing for him. Mattie's go-to course of action in hostage situations was just to point a gun at the prisoner and shoot if they tried to do something stupid, but Rian was clearly used to a more sophisticated approach.

Now if only he didn't bleed out in the shuttle before they made it to the ship; Mattie was starting to have a feeling the fight wasn't over yet.

"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..."

Mattie shook her head. "Tate didn't really share the details with the hired muscle,"she said. Now that she'd resigned with no employer pi gu to kiss, there was no need for any of this 'Baron' nonsense. "At least not with me."

If he had, I wouldn't have even taken the job, she thought, the memory of Tate's treatment of the Darling's crew making her anger flare up again.

"Why, you think he's up to something?"

She tried to read Rian's expression, which had suddenly taken a turn for the somber. The same thought that had occurred to her had obviously occurred to him as well, as he spent the next minutes conducting a plan of action and walking their reluctant pilot through it. He was holding together well for a guy with a hole in his chest, but the subtle shift in his energy as the initial rush of adrenaline began to subside did not go unnoticed by Mattie. She didn't want to draw the pilot's attention to it, though, so she said nothing.

"Hey... Thanks."

Mattie almost smiled because that felt like something you'd do in response to such a sincere expression of gratitude, but her lips merely twitched awkwardly before she shrugged, as if shaking off Rian's gesture along with any reactions she might have to it.

"Don't thank me. You offered me a job, remember?"

She was happy to turn her attention back to their hostage while Rian kept an eye on the radar.

Rian Carpenter

September 12, 2019, 06:14:32 pm #24 Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 06:30:16 pm by Rian Carpenter
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!!!"

Tabitha Haemish

"Tabs?" Viktor began and Tabby turned her head a little, making a soft sound of question in response to her name. "Will their doses last as long and be as deep as the one you gave me? What kind of time are we working with here?" he continued. She tilted her head side to side as she recalled how much she'd put into their tea, her hands grabbing the top knit blanket and unfolding it carefully from the pile. "I think I might have given them a little less than you had," she told him thoughtfully, laying the blanket gently over Maurice's shoulders and making sure he looked comfortable. She returned for the second blanket, then, turning her head when their fancy guest lurched back away from his tea.

"Good God! What did you do to them?" he asked, the doctor gently laying the second blanket around Raul, tucking him in as best as she could. "It's just a tincture," she explained warmly, picking up the two tainted mugs and carrying them back to the kitchen to be washed. "It's probably safer for everyone if they took a small nap. Them included! This way, no one will think they're a threat and accidentally shoot them," she further clarified, nodding once and smiling brightly. "Oh, I have tea cakes! They're individually packaged, but would you like one?" she asked, brows raised in question.

Before she could get an answer, the Darling lurched to the side and she yelped in surprise, stumbling a bit before tripping over her own feet and landing on the ground with a surprised squeak. She sat up quickly, "Oh! Make sure they're okay!" she called out from the floor, not able to see anyone over the counter just yet but worried the sleeping thugs might've fallen or gotten a good thumping from whatever had just rammed into the side of the ship. Innocent subterfuge aside, she was a doctor.

"Abernathy!!!"

The call echoed from the bowels of the ship and Tabby stood, moving to the doorway of the galley and peeking out, staring down the way toward where the cargo bay and the shouting had come from. "Rian?" she called out curiously. How'd he get on board? Any how come he was shouting?



Riot

Engine Room:


Bandit stared at Charlie.

Charlie stared at Bandit.

Riot stared at Charlie.

"What's it looking at?" Charlie said, fear obvious in his voice. Riot's grin widened, this was her chance. She could feel it. Charlie wiped his suddenly sweaty brow. "Lady. I don't like dogs, ok? I had... an experience..... Make it stop staring at me!"

Bandit growled.

Riot tensed, ready to tackle Charlie.

Suddenly the engines revved and gravity shifted slightly as the ship began its takeoff. A vent above Charlie hissed loudly, and he raised his weapon towards the ceiling in shock. Riot took a step forward, but Bandit was already moving. The beautiful beast flew through the air, planting both of her front paws in the mans chest, knocking him backwards. Charlies head bounced off a pipe Riot had neglected to warn him of, and he dropped like a sack of potatoes.

Riot just stared at Bandit for a good three or four seconds, and then shock her head with a chuckle. "Always gotta steal my thunder dont you?" She said in mock chastisement. She ruffled the dogs ears. "Good girl, Bandit. Good girl." Bandit huffed and wagged her massive tail happily. "Now... lets go rescue the rest of our family."

Riot grabbed some solid spare wire and expertly hog-tied Charlie, then drew her revolver and crept over to the door, Bandit following at her heel.



Cargo Bay


Riot peaked out into the cargo bay. Empty. Good. She thought as she and Bandit crept out and silently made their way down to the cargo bay floor, and along the wall towards the galley. She was almost to the door, being careful to stay against the wall so no one would see her if they looked through the little window, when the ship shuddered. The audible noise of something docking at the airlock. Riot muttered a few choice curses under her breath while she decided what to do now. Who were the newcomers? Backup for Abernathy? Feds? Some new third party?

She'd just made up her mind to continue on into the galley when she heard the airlock at the far end of the cargo bay open, and a familiar voice shouted out. "Abernathy!!!" Riot blinked. "...Rian? What...?" she said in bewilderment, and then nearly jumped out of her skin when the door a few steps away slid open and Tabby's voice called out curiously. "Rian?" Riot took a step out into the open and quickly peered past Tabitha, ready to pull her aside and shoot anyone threatening... but there was no one immediately visible. "Tabby? What... where are the other bad guys? What's going on?"

Rian Carpenter

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..."

Tabitha Haemish

A little startled squeak slipped past pale pink lips as Tabitha noticed Riot standing right near the entry to the galley. Her hand lifted to settle atop her heart, and she giggled a little to calm her nerves. "Bad guys?" she asked, genuinely not understanding who she was referring to. Seeing her looking past where she stood into the eating area, Tabby turned to look as well. "Oh! Raul and Maurice are napping," she explained, gesturing toward the two thugs slumped over and tucked in, both looking comfier than they probably should have. "They're lovely," she added, nodding her head and smiling up at the other woman.

Stepping out of the galley, the doctor raised her hand and waved at Rian, happy to see him back on board. And with a new friend! How thrilling! She nodded in response to his question and clasped her hands behind her back, rocking back on her heels and grinning like she'd just won something. That stopped, however, when she noticed the movement around his waist. "Mm?" she murmured, head tilting like a bird. A hand rose, finger extending to point toward the red stain spreading on his shirt. "Um..." she began, stepping forward toward him just as he took off toward the cockpit. "Uhh!"

She hurried after him, one hand holding a handful of her skirts to keep them out of the way and the other pushing her hair away from her face, a determined frown furrowing her pale brows. She had to pause and backtrack several times to avoid colliding with Rian as he checked his corners and made his way to the ship's brain. When he reached it, he began shouting.

"Three...two..."

Bonk. Tabitha brought her hand down gently on his head, putting herself between him and the cockpit, her expression motherly and intense. "Nope," she informed him, moving closer and pushing at his wrist to get his gun out of her way. "No siree," Tabby added, bending at the waist and eyeing the red leaking from him. "I think not," the doctor continued, pulling the 'bandage' aside a bit to see the cause of the blood. "Absolutely no," she concluded in her doctor voice. Riot was there, and so was their new armed lady friend. They could handle whatever was going on in the cockpit but she was benching Rian.

Barnaby Goodweather

"There's no need for all that." Barnaby's voice echoed down the steps from the cockpit. The door finished opening and he descended hands held out in a supplicant apology and request not to do any shooting. Face to face with his crew, Barnaby's eyes welled with pride at the job they'd done to save themselves and the ship- not to mention their Captain. Which made what he was about to reveal to them all the harder. "Y'all did good. Appreciate your concern but at this juncture it's a bit gratuitous." He was quick to cut off any protestations. "Mr. Abernathy and I have come to an understanding." He turned back the way he came and called up to the cockpit. "Come on, now. They ain't gonna shoot you." His eyes back on his crew, Rian in particular, warned them what might happen if they shot the man who just might get them out of all this.

Abernathy descended the steps, cooly adjusting his suit coat as he went. He offered the group a smile. "Hello, again."

"Ain't no two ways about it, folks. This pickle we're in, I don't know how else to get out of it. Mona's in a heap and, as it stands, we ain't getting paid for all the work we done on them pups."

"That's where I come in." Abernathy said, offering his assistance to a crew that was surely cooling on this whole ordeal. "I am a very, very powerful man. I don't say that to brag, though believe me when I say it. The Baron betrayed you. He informed the Alliance of your intentions, which is how they came to be involved and your comrade in their custody." And then a look one might not have expected from a man as dangerous as Abernathy claimed he was. Guilt. "I take some responsibility for that. When I expressed an interest in the shipment, the Baron flinched. And so, I want to do my part to make it right. I have offered your Captain a substantial payday for the shipment as well as my organization's assistance in freeing Mona from custody. Everyone gets what they want, isn't that right, Captain?"

Barnaby nodded. "Happy and whole." The light fell out of Barnaby's eyes just a tad as he ceded control of his family's future to Abernathy. He tried to remind himself it was temporary, but that nagging voice in the back of his head wore at him something awful. This was far from over.

Abernathy smiled, his devil's bargain struck. "Any questions?"

Mattie Rooney

This wasn't quite what Mattie had had in mind when Rian had given her the rundown of his plan. Of course they wouldn't be able to go for an actual surprise attack, what with their shuttle forcibly docking with The Darling and doing so in a very inelegant manner at that. Still, she had assumed that there would be some semblance of stealth involved, given that there was only two of them and no telling how many of the opponent.

Instead, as soon as the doors opened, Rian dashed in like a maniac, his battle cry echoing off the walls of the cargo bay.

"Abernathy!!!"

Maybe it's the blood loss, Mattie thought to herself. She followed Rian, revolver prepared, her hawk eyes darting around and looking for threats. They didn't get far before two people appeared, both of them members of the crew. Rian seemed to only grow more ferocious the wider the red stain on his shirt spread, and Mattie breathed an inaudible sigh of relief when the waif of a blonde who must have been the doctor finally put an end to his rampage. As she stood back and watched her dote on her partner-in-crime, it occurred to Mattie that she still had Bret's blood and brain matter all over herself.

"Just for the record, none of this is mine," she said, gesturing at the red, sticky mess coating her shirt and hair.

When the door to the cockpit opened, Mattie immediately aimed her revolver at the new arrival. She recognized Captain Hurgledurgle, but kept her weapon pointed at him until he called for Abernathy to come out, indicating that he was at least somewhat in charge of the situation and not being held at gunpoint to trick them.

She lowered her revolver and listened to Abernathy's speech. She didn't like the man, that was for sure... but that was about all she was sure of. She didn't understand what was going on. She didn't know any of the people with her. She looked around at her new crewmates -- wait, could she even call them her crewmates? -- and tried to read their expressions to get a handle on what the hell was going on.

"Any questions?"

Now that the immediate excitement of storming the ship was wearing off, her realization of the absurdity of diving head-first into this mess tried to escape her insides as a hysterical chuckle. She managed to stifle it it, snorting loudly instead and immediately covering her mouth with her fist, as if suppressing a cough.

Thackery Arlington III

"Any questions?"

"I have one or two."

Save for a brief moment of waffling over whether he was morally obligated to take the wounded gunhand's place - and how impressive he might look if he did so - Arlo had by and large hung back to see how things played out during the mild eruption of chaos after the ship rocked. His hackles raised, though, as Abernathy's slimy face once again darkened the doorway. He could hardly believe that Bartleby had willingly entered into any sort of deal with the villain; if Arlo thought him capable of even an ounce of deception, he might have assumed there was already a double-cross in the works, but that seemed just a touch too much to hope for under the current circumstances.

The doctor and priest had both proved remarkably devious - Arlo acknowledged that much with a healthy newfound respect - but the captain? He didn't know whether Bartleby had ever had to deal with Abernathy's sort before, but the poor man was clearly out of his depth, and the slippery eel perfectly poised to ruin the lot of them; Arlo would hate to see that happen, much less be caught up in it. Call him a sentimental old fool, but during his brief time on the ship, he'd grown rather fond of the odd little family Bartleby had built here.

Thackery Arlington the Third might have barely made it through a street chase and been utterly useless in knocking out the armed guards, but bad business dealings were a threat from his world, and it was high time he did his bit.

"For starters, I'd be very keen to know what you're getting out of this," he began, stepping forward. "All things being equitable, you're a shrewd businessman, Mr. Abernathy, and shrewd men in your position aren't often inclined towards charity, regardless of how much responsibility they may feel for the current state of affairs, so I must therefore beg you to indulge me in a brief moment of skepticism. Everyone gets what they want, is that right? So what is it, precisely, that you want?"

noseatbelts

Abernathy seemed amused, a smile cutting into his cheeks as he filled the remaining distance between himself and Arlo. "Did I miss something?" The question hung in the air as if floating upon the tension. They were closer now, nearly touching, and Abernathy didn't let up.  "I know you aren't a member of this crew. So what exactly is your interest in this, hm?" Abernathy waited to see if Arlo blinked. "Stand down. You aren't cut out for the life, Arlington. Theirs or mine. Go back to your arm chairs and your fine wines and leave the business to the real men." Without breaking his proximity to Arlo, Abernathy regarded the rest of the crew. "Anyone else?"


Rian Carpenter

October 07, 2019, 09:12:46 am #33 Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 05:32:55 am by Rian Carpenter
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."

Tabitha Haemish

October 07, 2019, 09:52:14 am #34 Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 10:03:16 am by Lomari
"Just for the record, none of this is mine," Mattie informed her. Tabitha gave the new woman a long stare, light eyes scanning her as though to verify for herself that the human goo splattered across her wasn't hers. She leaned that way a bit, reaching out to poke at some of the bone splinters on her sleeve. "Well, that's good! Always good to have your bits on the inside where they're supposed to be!" she assured Mattie, grinning brightly.

Hearing her captain's voice from behind her, the doctor turned a little and ceased her prodding of their cook's bloody wound, although she did keep herself between Rian and the cockpit. Was she aware of what she was doing? Probably not. Then, the stranger emerged, and she smiled and lifted her hand to wave politely. He seemed nice, and his henchmen had been positively lovely to speak to, and his offer to help them get Mona back from Alliance custody seemed to cement that in her mind. When asked if they had any questions, she lifted her hand, the other remaining settled on Rian's torso. "Oh! Would you like some tea?" she asked curiously, brows aloft and lips turned upward into an innocent smile.

She paused, lowering her hand when their fancy gentleman took over the questioning. In the meantime, she attempted to bat Rian's hands away from his armor while he peeled it off his skin. "Stop that," she whispered, not getting anywhere in the 'stopping him' department. With each piece removed, she winced at the added skin irritation and continued pulling on the entry wound. "I have solvents," Tabby added under her breath, slapping at his hand once more to no avail. Behind her, she could hear Arlo and the Stranger getting a little heated, so she stopped what she was doing and turned to face them. Oh, my they were very close to one another.

With a little nervous squeak, Tabitha put herself between the two men, her hands held up near her shoulders, palms and body facing Abe. Trying to diffuse the situation and not entirely sure how to do so, she reached forward and timidly patted the stranger's chest, her back nearly pressed up against Arlo. Rian chuckled, drawing her attention back to him although she stayed put, her hands a little bloody and a small red stain placed onto the dark fabric of Abe's suit from when she'd patted at him. Rian pulled off the last bit of armor stuck onto him and she made a soft, helpless 'tsk' sound at the sight of it. Then, after her spoke his piece, he turned and began to leave. Where exactly was he going?

"Rian!" she called after him, looking back up at the stranger and curtsying awkwardly before offering him another smile and slipping out from between the two gentlemen. The doctor bent to pick up all the discarded armor pieces, holding them in a makeshift bag made by holding the hem of her skirt. "Rian!" she said again, offering her Captain and Crew an apologetic smile before hurrying off after her patient. "Riiiannnn~ Stop walking so fast!" she begged, finally reaching him and gently bumping into his side to alter his path a bit, moving him toward the medbay instead of whatever dark brooding corner he'd been headed toward.

Riot

October 07, 2019, 05:58:54 pm #35 Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 06:01:04 pm by Axe
"Bad guys?" Tabby asked, genuinely confused. "Oh! Raul and Maurice are napping, they're lovely," Riot couldn't help but stare at her for a moment, her mouth hanging slightly open, and her expression one of loving exasperation. "Naturally." Riot said with a bewildered smile. Classic Tabby.

Riot followed close on Rians heels as they made their way to the bridge. She was ready to be the second one in the room, but as he was counting down Tabby intervened in no uncertain terms. A moment later Barnaby appeared, and Riot smiled, glad that he seemed to be alright. However when Abernathy appeared, she couldn't help but raise her gun halfway, but she listened to him talk as well. She was more than a little surprised and the display of guilt. Riot was a bit confused now.

"Any questions?"

Riot hesitantly raised her hand, but lowered it again as the new pretty-boy voiced his concerns. Abernathy shot him down rather quickly. Tabby, in classic fashion, offered Abernathy some tea before returning to her work tending to Rians wounds. After a moment Riot heard Rian chuckle. She looked over at him, a question in her expression.

"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... 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 Mattie here a job to even the score."

Rian paused and looked over at Barnaby.

"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..."

Having finished speaking his piece, Rian turned and walked away, Tabby hurrying after him, his last words said over his shoulder.

"... but what do I know? I'm just the cook."


Riot sighed. Her revolver still held in Abernathys direction and roughly a 45 degree angle, the barrel pointing somewhere a few feet from where he stood. Bandit was as her side, her wolf eyes locked on Abernathy.

Riot looked over at Barnaby, her expression neutral. "Cap... I gotta say I'm leaning towards on Rians side of this. I sure as hellfire don't trust that one...-" She she gestured towards Abernathy with her chin. "-... but I honestly don't know how we're gonna get Mona back. And if he can help us with that, well, alright. Her gaze shifted to Abernathy, though she was still talking to Barnaby. ...But. I wanna know why all of a sudden we're all buddy-buddy after he and his thugs pointed guns at us. At Tabitha. What's HE gain from this?" Her expression shifted to open hostility as she spoke the final two sentences, and Bandit growled, low and threatening.

Barnaby Goodweather

As his crew argued and rebelled against the established status quo, Barnaby couldn't help but feel the proud papa. He knew this plan of action wouldn't go over well. Hell, he had counted on it. If they'd rolled over and accepted what Abernathy was offering then he reckoned they wouldn't be much of a crew, now would they? No sir. But fact-of-the-matter was they didn't have much of a choice. They were caught between a rock and a hard case, the rock being the Union of Allied Planets and the hard case being Abernathy. They'd have to see how this played out.

He calmly let those that had words say them and let Abernathy speak for himself. "Go'n." He said to their new conspirator. "Told ya they wouldn't take to it."

Abernathy laughed. "You got that right, Captain." He clasped his hands in front of him and bowed his head in apology. "Sorry things got heated. And I'm sorry that you all feel that way. I can't say that I blame you. I'm an arms dealer! I'm a bad guy! I can't be trusted. I won't apologize for that, nor will I apologize for looking out for everyone's best interests. And yes, that includes my own. I want that shipment. Easy." He paused, as if for effect. "You want Mona. Not so easy. If anyone here knows how to break a person out of Federal Custody, speak up now. Otherwise, the deal your Captain and I struck will stand. And everyone wins."

Barnaby stepped forward. "I don't see no other way." And it was true. He didn't. Barnaby Goodweather had been a spacer for his entire life. Ran all kinds of jobs, seen all kinds of things. But this was a part of the 'verse he didn't understand. With very few exceptions he had always steered to the side of doing what was right. Trouble in your pocket didn't leave room for nothing else. But now, this wasn't a pocketful of trouble, it was a whole heap.

A moment passed, heavy with tension and despair and anger and suspicion.

Abernathy shattered the silence with a clap. "Well, we better get started. I'm going to make a few calls. We're going to need some guys and we're going to need a lot of guns." He said cheerfully.

Lomari

Ship Time: 1410
Location: Low Orbit

"When was the last time you talked to Laurie?"

"It's been a while, don't know if she's upset with me or not. Haven't seen her since the second."

"I thought she was supposed to meet you for dinner? With her family?"

"I guess she changed her mind. Decided to spend the holiday abroad. Should I call her?"

"Give her some time, I'm sure she'll come around. Do you still have her cortex code?"

"I'm pretty sure I do. Last I checked it was 44.08.103.43, did it change?"


Voices came in over the ship's comms system through static and background noise on a signal hijacked with the help of their newfound business partner. The Darling drifted through the planet's Thermosphere, making its slow and cautious way toward the planet, lights reflecting off the moisture of the clouds below and glimmering against the ship's front view ports. Tabitha had corralled Rian into the med-bay to deal with his admittedly worrisome injury and the rest of the crew seemed to have mostly huddled together on the bridge, either discussing their plans or listening to the live transmission. Their home reclaimed, it seemed to vibrate in a warm and familiar way, happy to have most of its family back on board, although eventually it would need its broken pieces replaced with more than tape and luck.

Rian Carpenter

October 10, 2019, 12:31:37 pm #38 Last Edit: October 10, 2019, 01:34:28 pm by Rian Carpenter
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.

Barnaby Goodweather

Any pleasure Barnaby found from seeing Rian doing okay was quickly dashed when his friend began relaying to him what was necessary in order to pull a job like this. In 40 years Barnaby had seen a lot of things he didn't like and done a lot of things he wasn't over proud of, but he had never heard something so... "Evil." He said, his voice cracking even at the small whisper. He shook his head. "No. No. Ain't gonna do that, Rian. None of it. Not one bit." Barnaby chewed his lip again, a habit that was beginning to interfere with his every day chewing and talking.

Checking behind him to make sure no one was dropping eaves, Barnaby looked at Rian. "Maybe we can deal with the Alliance? Get out from this Abernathy fella?" The argument defeated itself. "Alliance ain't much better, but I don't know what else to do." And he didn't. Pure and simple. It was one thing on top of the other and his foundations were crumbling. It was only a matter of time before it all toppled over. "I'm over my head here, Ri. Abernathy told me he'd get us out of this. Promised even. And I believe him but if you say this is what he has in mind..." Barnaby sighed. It was long and sad and tired and carried the weight of the 'verse with it. "Didn't used to be this wearisome."

A memory made him laugh. "I ever tell you about Tricky O'Doyle? Rascal of a man, terrible spacer. He took on with us in Aught-eight, aught-nine, I think? Mighta been a coincidence but that's when things stopped being so simple. 'Course, that's when I took over for Pappy, so I started seeing the disagreeables of being a Captain. Seemed so fun when I was a sprout. Everyone doin' what you say. Being in the big bunk. Anyhow, Tricky was always pitching ideas for jobs that were indecent. Tawdry. Stealin' from folks who ain't got nothin'. Runnin' scams and confidence games." Barnaby laughed. "He even asked Pappy about runnin' women, once. Women! On the Darling. Imagine that." Barnaby couldn't and neither could Pappy. That idea was quickly rebuffed and Trick was told not to speak of it again. "He left this ship in shackles, I'll tell you, it was a-"

Lightning struck Barnaby's brain.

He smiled and scooped up Rian's tablet. "Ain't nobody getting killed, today. You're staying put and I'll be good god damned if you disobey me." Barnaby went to leave, but stopped just short. "I don't come back?" Barnaby appreciated the craftsmanship in the door frame of the medbay of his beloved ship, giving her a gentle pat. "She's yours." With that, a Barnaby left and went to take care of business.

Powered by EzPortal