S1: Ep1- The Most Dangerous Aim

Started by noseatbelts, September 18, 2019, 08:44:28 am


September 18, 2019, 08:44:28 am Last Edit: September 18, 2019, 09:10:59 am by noseatbelts

Commodore Dr. Stanley Miller was a proud, learned man. More historian than warrior, he nonetheless loved ships. And thus, against the advice of his accountant he purchased a top-of-the-line (25 years ago) Seaward Class Luxury Yacht at sticker price and gave naming rights to his wife. Eliza, a Vice Admiral with the Alliance Navy, actually knew a thing or two about ships and thought her husband a proper idiot, and thus named it "The Courtesan" for her husband's long-ago dalliance with a disreputable and swindling Companion. His children promptly began calling it  "The C-Word" in between giggles on misguided family vacations.

And it was there that the Miller clan, those that could be found, had gathered. They sat at a table, once finely polished and brand new, now worn by use and time, much like those around it. Brought together by circumstance and held there by stubbornness and desperation, they each seemed to be waiting for another to give in and be the first to speak.

Martin Miller

September 19, 2019, 07:46:46 pm #1 Last Edit: September 20, 2019, 06:04:00 am by noseatbelts
Three hours from now. Highgate Grand Hunting Grounds:

"Please stop shooting at me!"

Marty impotently shouted as bullets helplessly ricocheted off the rocky outcropping he'd taken cover behind. His assailant was packing a large and cumbersome drum magazine, and had seemingly adopted a strategy of trying to dig through the hill with bullets. Unfortunately, while it felt like forever for the youngest Miller, the supply of bullets was insufficient to this task and finally the hammer clicked on an empty chamber.

As the shooter fumbled to reload with a smaller traditional "clip" style magazine, magnanimously, Captain Miller tried to warn them off yet again.

"You've seriously got to stop! You don't have any bloody cover! I am a licensed bounty hunter, and that sodding moron-"



Marty beat his brother to the punch, his cool demeanor finally worn too thin. He slipped slightly around cover, his rifle's sight lined up center of mass, and he double-tapped, staggering them back. The coup de gras came from Mason about a hundred yards away, snapping into the side of their head a second before the crack of the rifle could be heard.

The newly minted Captain popped out of cover and shrugged at his brother watching from his scope. Speaking to him over the radio he mused:

"Blimey, bruv. You said killing people was going to get easier but I never thought you'd be this bloody literal."

But just as the words left his mouth he heard something coming around the bend on the hill. Marty spun around and his eyes went wide with a combination of disbelief, confusion, and frustration.

"Sod off..."

Now. The Courtesan's Meeting Room:

Captain Martin Miller. I. Am. The. Captain. Just start the gorram briefing. If you don't, Mace or Penny will...


Marty stood there at the end of the table, projector screen behind him alight, but blank as he'd yet to start the briefing. Normally this room had been used for movie nights when he was growing up. It had been repurposed for doing business presentations during Mason's combination shareholder meetings/booze cruises in their adulthood. There were even still cupholders on the table.

The screen lip up with a montage of footage on the projector screen with a small tablet device in front of him.

"Meet Oliver Rutlidge . Rather, Wendell Shultz, or maybe Jensen Pumdlebrew? That one's my personal favorite. Comptroller, financial consultant, town councillor, and now.. Treasurer of the Highland Grant Hunt."

He cleared his throat somewhat awkwardly, the audience seemed slightly annoyed for some reason.

"The brass tacks: This wanker has been lying his way into jobs watching the books for small towns, non profits and tzao gao across the very rutting edges of civilization, slipping the coin into untracable accounts and promtply fucking right off before anyone can think to do an image search of his face on the cortex. Proper dickhead. Penny, and Wulfy both have told me several times we cannot kill him."

Marty looked over at his brother and tried his damndest to give him a stern look.

"We cannot shoot him on sight like this is one of those cowboy books you like, Mace of spades."

The captain brought up another clip off footage: The King of Londinium traipsing through a forest with large entourage. They were all dressed to the nines, his royal guard in tuxedos and carrying ceremonial swords. The king himself wore his crown and a rather flamoyant cape. He was armed with a rather impressive handlebar mustache and an almost equally deadly belt-fed machine gun. He roared like a lion as he unloaded the weapon on a nearby charging animal. It was meant to be a tyrannosaurus from Earth that was. Though if they were looking close they'd notice it was more closely related to a turkey thanks to the limits of science.

"So what's the Grand Highland Hunt? I'd never heard of it but apparently rich wankers from all over the 'verse come here every summer to shoot genetically engineered animals that rich people think it might be fun to kill. Apparently dad went a couple times. Just heard of it. Hate it. They don't announce the extinct animal you'll hunt until they let 'em loose. Bloody strange. Nothing larger than a shuttle is allowed to fly in during this so as not to disturb the hellbeasts."

Switching to a map view, he highlighted a large but slightly ornate barn on the continent reserved for the grand hunt.

"Penny, Tilly... The mark is supposed to attend a party here... at some point. Your team Alpha, and you get to attend the party, sip some drinks and wait for this pillock to show. Convince him to follow you outside, clickity clack go the cuffs, we're back on the ship for supper and more libations."

Pointing to Mason then back to himself, the map moved over to something that looked like a farm from the satellite view.

"Mace and I will be team Beta. We'll try and catch him at a 'practice hunt' whatever that is. We can't be sure what time he'll breeze through this part so we're a bit of a contingency. Again... other guests of the event: They'll be rich, and they will have very big, very expensive guns, so just y'know be careful..."

Marty was now out of footage to put up on screen and ran out of steam. There was a pause as he tried to think of what else he had to tell them... His face lit up.

"We get to wear fancy dress!"

It was then Marty realized that Wulf and Penny did the research on the target, and probably knew half of this already. Mason had given him a tactical brief on the ambush points after they went through their intel on the schedule of events and the maps. But he'd worked very hard on the presentation. He'd just gone on and on basically for his own self indulgence. Seeing the looks he was getting, the young Captain smiled anyway. It was time to head to wardrobe. He was finally back in show business.

Mason Miller

As his brother wrapped up his speech, Mason sighed and forced a smile. A polite clap one might see on a golf course seemed appropriate, and the sounds his hands made when forced together in slow, deliberate succession echoed alone amongst those gathered at the table. What have we done? Mason wondered, barely able to contain his annoyance at not being made Captain of their little enterprise. "Thanks, Tatters. You did... admirably." Mason needed a drink.

He got up from his seat at the table and wandered over to a globe in the corner. It didn't matter that it was still mid-morning. What did matter was that there was no bar in the globe. It was, in fact, just an antique that illustrated the geography on Earth-That-Was. Mason fumbled with it for a moment before giving up. "It's just a globe." He informed everyone, disappointment heavy on his voice.

Mason rediscovered his seat and plopped down, the aging springs creaking in protest to his sudden distribution of weight. "So when do we start?" He said with a resigned sigh. He reached into his jacket pocket for his cigarettes, popped one into his mouth and lit it haphazardly. Dad never let them smoke in here, and thus it was all the sweeter.

Matilda Miller

How had this happened? What had she done in some past life to deserve this situation? She didn't reckon she was that bad of a person and the people she hurt typically deserved it. Most of the time. Alright it was about a seventy-thirty split. Matilda Miller sat hunched over at the 'dining table', her hands in fists on her lap and her chin resting atop the surface of the table. She eyed her brother Marty while he went on and on about a mission they'd mostly already been briefed on, expression some amalgamation of annoyance and boredom. This was revenge for her hitting him back at his apartment, wasn't it...?

Her eyes began to unfocused as she stared at Marty, watching the two ghost images of him move closer and farther away the more she narrowed or opened her eyes. "Penny, Tilly..." That was her name. He was talking to her now. She paused. Oh! He was talking to her! Matilda sat up and blinked several times to get her eyes to focus on her brother again, brows raised in some attempt to indicate that she was probably listening. She got to go to the party and play bait. Could be interesting. At least she'd get to dress up...which was apparently something Marty was excited about also. Or he was floundering for things to say to keep his siblings' attention. She shrugged. Could be both.

At the end of his speech, Tilly slouched down in the seat and lifted her feet, placing them on the table in a way she knew her father would have most assuredly not approved of, which made it even more comfortable. She watched her older brother mess around with an antique globe before realizing that that's what it was. Was there something wrong with their genes? She squinted over at Mason, nose scrunched up in deep thought. Sighing, she reached into her jacket and pulled a flask out from an inner pocket. "Surprised you don't have one handy," she muttered, holding it out to him to finish what little remained inside.

Matilda rubbed her now empty hands across her face to wake herself up, then inhaled deeply and frowned at Marty. "Good job. What're we waiting for?"

Millicent Miller

Millicent Miller steepled her fingers and stared intently over them at Marty and his blank projector screen. He was the captain, gorrammit, and he would act like one. And if he didn't, well, then, she supposed she would simply have to step up where he had failed and get this gorram briefing started the right way. Just as soon as the whole family had seen her patiently affording him every opportunity to fulfill his role.





Penny shifted impatiently in her seat through his entirely unnecessary litany of their target's known aliases, then very nobly and visibly quelled the urge to pipe up with additional details of his background that Captain Marty had missed.

"Penny, and Wulfy both have told me several times we cannot kill him."

Here, Penny could no longer resist cutting in. "One would think that the once might have been enough," she drawled lightly. Casting a glowering eye upon Tilly, and then also Mason for good measure, she added, "Timely reminder that if the dear Mr. Rutlidge perishes before we deliver him, we do not get paid, particularly if we are at fault." A brief pause while she considered her priorities, then remembered to add, "Also, there is a small chance we may be arrested." Another pause, longer this time. "Additionally, I suppose we'd have the loss of human life on our conscience."

She managed to keep her peace through the remainder of the presentation, although it was certainly trying at times. Marty was doing a proper mangle of her and Wulf's carefully collected research, but then, she supposed she'd expected nothing more.

Afterwards, she quizzically watched Mason lead his lonely slow clap, then go harass the decor.

"It's just a globe."

"What were you expecting? A three-ring circus to pop out?" Almost on pure reflex, Penny reached over and plucked the cigarette from Mason's mouth, extinguishing it in a cupholder. "No smoking in the media room. And Tilly, sit up straight. You'll need to at least pretend to possess some degree of ladylike dignity if we're to blend in at this gathering."

Mason Miller

Red filled his vision and anger nearly took over. He couldn't even enjoy that last swig of gin Tilly handed him. He swallowed angrily and fumed about the wasted cigarette. Those were expensive. Well, not really. They were just his favorite brand and not every back country world had them at the shoppe. In fact none of them did. They were only available on Londinium. And Ariel. Osiris, Bellerephon, Sihnon, Pelorum, Balkerne, Paquin... oh and he had seen them once on Beylix but the less said of that planet the better. So he had to ration them as best as he could. Or at the very least, not let this patronizer destroy them before he had a chance to smoke it.  A thousand pithy retorts to his over-controlling sister appeared in his mind and quickly disappeared.

Mason thought of a better idea.

"Oh, Martin?" He said, deliberately turning to his brother and decidedly using the lad's given name as opposed to the childhood nickname the youngest Miller accepted but may not be overly fond of. Mason honestly wasn't sure. It was more second nature to call him "Tatters" than any sort of teasing. "You don't mind if I smoke, do you? Of course, not. After-all, you are the Captain." He turned back to Penny with a sh*ttiest grin imaginable. "We all voted on it."

Martin Miller

Marty rolled his eyes at Penny and Mason quibbling over his nicotine habit. He'd never fancied the cancer sticks himself but he didn't really begrudge anyone of the vices they chose. He'd only briefly been in command of his tank crew before getting demoted to pilot. This was the longest he'd ever tried to hold a group of people's attention that didn't involve people going 'round and 'round on a track. He had an inkling though he had to keep asserting his place as Captain now or else they'd never take him seriously as Captain. Okay, maybe that ship sailed when they caught him shoving stinkbombs in their neighbor's mailbox at fifteen. But this was his time to gain some semblance of authority.

"Oy, I don't mind when you have a puff but be considerate of your workmates. The meeting's pretty much over anyway, we'll uhhh table the smoking policy for our next meeting yeah?"

Marty shrugged and hit the lights then rubbed his hands together excitedly.

"Let's go hit wardrobe, ya bunch of thespians! Meet me at the shuttle in an hour when you've got your kit."

Leading the way, he smacked the top of the doorframe on his way out in his excitement. His family could hog all the cynicism they wanted, the youngest Miller was raring to go. The former tank pilot darted into his Captain's cabin. It still had a faint smell of cigars from their father, but he didn't mind at all, having gotten nearly nose-blind to it at this point. He opened up the closet and was rifling through their pop's formal-wear. The young man didn't have any formal wear besides his army dress uniform so it was a good excuse to rifle through dad's rags.

Hearing the door open behind him, he turned around to greet them, holding up two hangers:

"Important work question: Ariel University Professor what snogs the undergrads, or French waiter bitten by another radioactive French waiter?"

The youngest Miller asked holding up a well stitched but very scholastic looking gray 3 piece, and a tuxedo who's shirt frills went down practically to his knees.

Mason Miller

Mason had not been aware that anyone would be meeting him in their father's stateroom. In fact, he had counted on precisely the opposite. He froze, hoping that perhaps Martin's vision was movement based and he could sneak away and complete his mission at hand, but alas, Martin spotted him as if he was standing there, out in the open, with nowhere to hide. Strange, that.

"If those are dad's clothes, I'd expect I'd worry less about what look I were going for and concern myself with making sure a tailor was on board." Mason said, the quip accentuated by a pat to his belly. Their father was a great man, but some accounts, but by one unequivocal measure was that he outweighed both of the Miller boys by at least three stone. And now, the mission. "Say, while rifling through our father's things, you haven't spotted that bottle of 18 Year MacAmhlaigh we got him last Easter, have you? I bought it because I know he hates it and thought he might stow it here to preserve my feelings. In fact I rather counted on it." If the Professor could see them now.

With a sigh, Mason pointed at one of the outfits. "I'll take the Humbert*, garçon." Mason didn't particularly fancy himself a predatory professor of preteen pretties, but it was better than dressing as the help.

*Humbert Humbert, protagonist of "Lolita" by Nabakov; 1955

Wulfstan Wynne

Throughout Martin Miller's precious little presentation - almost entirely prepared for him by Wulf and Pen's own efforts - Wulfstan Wynne stared at the little Captain with his arms crossed and a bulldog scowl on his face. Somewhere inside, he hoped if he concentrated all his will on Marty dissolving into a stuttering, clueless mess the rest of the Millers would recognize their folly and put someone else in charge of this operation. Not that the counselor himself had any suggestions, though Pen could do in a pinch to be sure. She at least maintained some capability to keep her siblings' heads on straight. Mason and Tilly were - frankly - Mason and Tilly. Personal favor for the both of them aside, the pragmatist in Wulf knew neither of them was suitable for the position. "'N' at the end of the gorram night, here we bloody well are. Sitting around the table, taking dictation from Party Ruttin' Marty Miller."

Wulfstan continued listening intently, though he already knew much of the arrangement. Still, something stuck out so blatantly he couldn't help himself. "What kind of knobhead goes about wearing a yúchǔn sword?" Wulf was asking no one in particular, though he kept staring a hole in Martin throughout. His glare only broke when Pen called her sister's name, shifting to give Tilly a might more than a glance before returning to Martin in hopes that he might actually wrap this briefing up sooner or later. "We get to wear fancy dress!" Wulf blinked at Marty's declaration, looked himself over, then instinctively glanced Mason's direction in self-conscious effort to convince himself that he wore the superior threads on this day or any other.

Martin's run down of his master plan drew to a merciful close, leaving Wulfstan shaking his head in dismay. Somehow, someway, he absolutely knew this was going to lead to litigation. He admitted shared Mason's disappointment in the globe that was just a globe, then regarded him with a smirk as he lit the Silk Cut. "I'd tell ya those things'll be the end of ya, but what's the point arguin' a man thinks he can't be killed?" Martin called the crew toward the Admiral's wardrobe, and Wulfstan found himself slow to tag along. The patriarch of the Miller clan took Wulf into his home and treated him like one of his own when the troubled young lad's options were more or less narrowed down to finding a proper park bench to sleep on for the night or sliding under a parked car in a pinch. Seeing all these empty suits now made him uncomfortable, in much the same way Martin's insistence on calling Wulfstan "Stanley" in irreverence to the rest of the siblings often referring to Wulf simply as "Stan". Not only was "Stanley" not his given name, but Wulf saw it as a slight toward a man whose kindness he assumed he'd never be able to repay. It was the kind of thing a kid born with a father he didn't know not to take for granted tended to do without meaning anything by it, but Wulfstan had a hard time with it nonetheless.

Mason mentioned needing a tailor, which Wulfstan addressed quickly. "Don't lookit me for any cuttin' or stitchin'. I'm a baker, not a seamstress. Speaking of, if that Beef Wellington's going to be done right by the time dinner rolls around I'd best be firin' up the oven. Best of luck to ya boys. I'll be waitin' to bail ya out once Marty tosses a spanner into the works. I'm off to have a butcher's." Wulfstan excused himself back toward the way he came, silently hoping to run into Matilda while no one was around.
When there's no one left to fight
Boys like him don't shine so bright
Soon as I see the dust settle
He's out on the town tryin' to find trouble
Jamie T, "Sticks 'n' Stones"

Matilda Miller

Matilda was thankful that Mason liked to argue so much because it kept Penny's attention off the fact that she was slouching as hard as she possibly could in response to her older sister's order to sit up straight. She watched the boys get up and head off in one direction, leaving her with her sister. Her eyes lowered from the exit back to Penny and Matilda's spine straightened very slowly until she was sitting upright, albeit with her arms still crossed. She looked tense, like a rabbit staring at a dog and deciding its next course of action. Matilda cleared her throat. Rubbed at her nose with the back of her hand. Stared wide-eyed at her far fancier and well put together sibling.

She wanted to go find Wulf before everything went underway, but she had been placed right into a spotlight when they'd all left her behind. Maybe she should say she needed to pee? Or that she'd left something out in the hall? Women troubles? No, that last one wouldn't work, Penny was a woman too. Well, Matilda was a female, but Penny was a woman, and Tilly wasn't sure just how to get there herself. Finally, unable to hold it in, she pushed away from the table and clambered over the top of it to avoid having to ask Penny to move or slip around her politely. "I have to-" she coughed, "-the hallway to..." a muffled yelp as she almost flipped the table, her hand pressing all her weight on one edge of it while she slid off its surface onto the ground, "Lady problems!" she shouted at her sister angrily before turning and bolting out of the room.

Furious at herself for letting her sister get to her (somehow), Matilda stomped through the halls with her hands stuffed deep into her pockets, trying to suss out where the boys had headed. Marty had said something about hitting the wardrobe and so she wagered he was either in Mason's room or their father's, so she started heading in that direction, trying not to look like that was her plan. As she neared their father's suite, she rubbed at the back of her neck with her hand and let out a breath, glancing back down the hallway toward where she'd left Penny. Really, leaving her alone there wasn't polite, but she was the only person in the 'Verse who made her nervous. No longer looking where she was going, she crashed headlong into Wulf as he exited the old man's room, a startled gasp expanding her chest and setting her hands fumbling forward for purchase.

Rory Mayfield

October 19, 2019, 01:20:02 am #10 Last Edit: October 19, 2019, 09:35:57 am by Rory Mayfield
Rory's cabin

"Wow, that's a cool terrarium," Shay said.

"I know, right?" Rory said, fumbling with the datapad as he adjusted the angle to give his best friend a better view of the decorations. "Check out these rocks! There's actual moss on them!"

"Hěn niú, those babies sure are mossy," Shay said. "I wish I was there to pet them, they're so mossy."

Rory's smile froze and turned into an exasperated frown when he realized Shay was making fun of him. Even through the crappy Cortex connection, Rory could make out the familiar smug grin spreading across his friend's face.

"Look, Rory, I know you've got a boner for rocks and all, but I want to hear about the action! You know... the stuff you came there to do?"

"I haven't really seen any action yet." The words came out like an apology.

"But you have something lined up, right?"

"Oh yeah," Rory perked up. "The others are having a briefing about a job right now."

Shay frowned. "Well, why aren't you with them?"

Rory bit the inside of his cheek and averted his gaze. Shay had a way of making him feel sheepish for the most reasonable, straightforward decisions he made, as if doing as he was told was akin to peeing on an electric fence.

"Mason told me to sit it out in my room," he said finally. Just as expected, Shay groaned and rolled his eyes.

"Oh come on, Ror, you're going to have to grow a pair one of these days. And why do you keep calling your dad 'Mason'?"

"I don't know," Rory said, although he reckoned it had something to do with the fact that he'd never had a father to call dad, or pops, or bà ba, and all those words felt strange and foreign in his mouth. He wondered if it was the same with pet names once you started dating for the first time.

"Do you know who calls their parents by their first name? Trevor Pendleton. Do you want to be like Trevor Pendleton?"

"No." Rory shook his head. Trevor Pendleton was a boy in their troop who had once shown them a baseball-sized lump he had assembled out of boogers he'd collected over the years. This had happened when the three of them were ten years old, but Shay was convinced Trevor was still keeping up with his hobby and had probably accumulated a booger ball the size of a toddler's head by now.

Rory took a deep breath. "It's just that, you know, I think-"

"MOOO-OOM!" Shay leaned back in his chair, yelling at an unseen intruder somewhere off-screen. "I told you, I'm in the middle of a call! What? I can't come right now, I'm in the middle of... What?! Tā mā de..."

He groaned and turned his attention back to the screen, running his hands through his curly head of hair.

"Sorry, Ror, I have to go, mom says there's smoke coming out of the console in the living room... Listen, you better have some good stories next time I hear back from you. Don't even think about calling until you've shot a man just to watch him die."

The twinkle in Shay's eye as he said that last part left Rory feeling all warm in his chest for minutes after the call, but the more he thought about it, the more anxiety began to creep in. In an ideal world, their parts would have been reversed: Shay would have been here making the most out of the opportunity while Rory sat back home living vicariously through him. But Shay's father wasn't the one who had conceived a bastard son during a summer fling and then disappeared from the son's life for almost seventeen years until said son tracked him down, so...

Life was pretty weird.

* * *

The captain's cabin

"I'll take the Humbert, garçon."

"Ooh, are we going undercover?" Rory poked his head through the door. In a blink of an eye he was standing next to Marty and Mason, poring over the clothes they had picked as if they were exciting high-tech firearms instead of some old rags they had scavenged from their father's wardrobe.

"This is going to be awesome! Let me guess, you're going to pose as an accountant of some kind, and you're, uhh... his personal... magician?" He furrowed his brows as he eyed the frilly monstrosity Marty was holding up, trying to make heads or tails of it.

"Do I get an outfit too, Ma... d... f-father?" Rory tripped over his words as he turned to Mason, looking up at him expectantly with his big puppy dog eyes. It wasn't an intentional manipulative tactic, just something that happened automatically, on account of his eyes being big and puppylike.

Mason Miller

"No..." Mason said with a sigh at the sound of his son's voice. It was still a foreign concept to him, being a father, and not one he particularly relished. In fact, he had hoped the kid would have holed up in his room for the duration of their time together. Mason had spoken to Marion, the boy's mother, and she had decided that the two of them having some time together was a good thing for Rory, and that was that. Mason remembered why he had liked Marion all those years ago, but didn't much care for her now.

"Ooh, are we going undercover?"

"No." Mason hoped the curtness of his response would put an end to the conversation, but Rory didn't seem to hear him, or was otherwise immune to Mason's powers of persuasion. What was Marion thinking, putting him with Mason? She knew the sort of work that he did. Or at least, that he had done on Ezra. Or did she? Mason had been very careful in those days to conceal his mission.

17 Years Ago...Ezra

In a darkened bedroom, as Mason loosened his tie he looked over his shoulder at Marion, who eyed him from the door frame. She clearly had something on her mind and hesitated before speaking. "Mason, are you a spy?"

Mason coughed, trying to cover it up with an incredulous laugh. "No?"


"This is going to be awesome! Let me guess, you're going to pose as an accountant of some kind, and you're, uhh... his personal... magician?"

It seemed that Mason's powers of deduction were also less than potent as they seemed to have skipped a generation, if he did say so himself. "No..." He said, but his answer wasn't particularly forceful as he considered Rory's guesses and began to doubt the costume choices. He dropped the professor and went back to the closet to look some more.

"Do I get an outfit too, Ma... d... f-father?"

"No!" A preposterous question. Rory was staying on the ship, as they had discussed. Well, as he and Marty and Penny and Stan and Tilly had discussed. Did he actually have to tell Rory that? Marion had said the kid was bright. "Nononono." Mason didn't want him to be called "father". Nor "dad" nor "pops" nor "daddy". And that was final. "No." And then he turned his back on Rory and all but climbed inside of the wardrobe to hide from any further questions.

Was Mason being a prat? Yes.

Wulfstan Wynne

October 23, 2019, 09:19:03 pm #12 Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 09:20:53 pm by RUNE
"Wha-*oof* Tilly!" Exiting the wardrobe while offering an appropriate parting comment, Wulfstan absorbed much of the collision and, after recognizing his assailant, held out a steady arm for her to latch on to. "Steady you are. Right as rain, aren't ya?" Stan watched Matilda's face for a positive response before coughing and glancing down at his watch. Rory passed right behind him and entered the room without the counselor noticing a thing. "No..."

"So, ah-" "No!" "Oh, what?" "Nononono." "Right, right." Wulfstan reluctantly looked away from Matilda's eyes and turned a quarter-step to peer back through the door, where he shot a suspicious glare at Rory. Stan still hand't put together the mystery of who was setting Mason up, but whoever this kid was he certainly wasn't a Miller. Didn't stand like a Miller, or talk like a Miller. Probably couldn't drink or fight like a Miller. And these thoughts crossed Wulfstan's mind as he was fully aware that he himself was not actually a Miller. But he was close enough to be an expert on the matter. And that, Stan accentuated with a silent point toward the new kid, was not a Miller. "No."

Wulfstan realized he was now wagging his finger in accusation and became quite aware of himself. In an effort to move past the moment before it got too much more awkward, Stan spoke to Matilda without looking at her - at least so long as she was looking at him. Although, he might've glanced back just in time to see her looking away. "You ever picture Mace with one of... those?" Stan couldn't keep the repulsed grimace off his face as he tried to put together which parts of Mason Miller could possibly be hiding in Rory Mayfield, before reminding himself it just wasn't possible. His expression softened before he stole a quick glance back at Matilda.
When there's no one left to fight
Boys like him don't shine so bright
Soon as I see the dust settle
He's out on the town tryin' to find trouble
Jamie T, "Sticks 'n' Stones"

Matilda Miller

Fingers remained coiled around Wulf's offered arm for a second longer than necessary before she too cleared her throat and shoved her hands into her pockets. She turned her chin to stare anywhere but at him, not being able to resist the temptation to steal several glances at his face. When she realized he wasn't looking at her, Matilda gave herself the freedom and permission to study his profile as he chided someone in the room he'd just left with silent finger wag.

His face turned and she forced herself to investigate the room, cheeks a bright pink that she tried to wipe off with the back of a hand. "With what? A god awful lookin' suit what Dad must've found at an Estate Sale for the blissfully unfashionable?" she asked, eyeing the one Mason had dropped onto the floor. One corner of her lips turned upward in a self-satisfied smirk, but she did take a moment to consider his question a little more seriously. She set a hand on the door's threshold and leaned in just an inch or two, staring at the boy as his father climbed into a closet.

"He's probably got a bushel of 'em, honestly..." she muttered, shrugging up her shoulders and glancing back up at Wulf. "I don't know, I kinda like him. He's like a puppy. Lookit them eyes!" she insisted, gesturing toward Rory as he stared after his father. "I mean, hell, he could use some toughening up, that's the truth... but I dunno, the little sprout kinda grows on you," Matilda decided, grinning up at her companion and reaching out to poke his chest with her index finger. "Isn't that right, Marty? You agree, don't ya?" she asked louder, looking back into the room and completely aware that her brother-Captain probably hadn't heard anything she'd been saying beforehand."Oh, an' why are we all here watchin' them change?" she asked, gesturing toward the room with her thumb.

Martin Miller

"Rory, Rory, Rory..."

Marty chuckled at his nephew's bright-eyed enthusiasm. He reminded him a bit of himself, except all that enthusiasm went towards nonsense that got him in trouble mostly. He seemed like he was a nice kid with his head squarely on his shoulders. And somehow he was actually a Miller. Marty tossed his father's formal wear back into the wardrobe haphazardly and walked over to his nephew and put his arm around his neck, bringing him in for a sort of half hug that turned into a noogie coming from his other free hand.

"I have a classified job for you... I had to keep the details under wraps for the sake of uhhh operational security. I don't know if you've met our pilot yet...

The baby-faced captain addressed his baby-aged relation and subordinate. Marty pulled his communicator linked to the ship's PA system out of his pocket and beckoned his partner for the mission.
"Oy, Hubert.... Could you pop into the Captain's quarters for a minute, please?"

An audible flush was heard throughout the room, and the narrow door to the Captain's private lavatory swung open. The co-pilot, Hubert Hargrove or "Sparrow" as he liked to be called emerged, shirtless, and mid-way through hand rolling a cigarette. He wasn't managing too well and a lot of the tobacco was spilling out onto what was once his parents' cabin.

"Heeeyyy... What's up mate?"

His New Melbourne accent rang out. The co-pilot's intonation sounding much like an Australian accent from Earth that was. Marty nudged his nephew slightly toward the shirtless and sloppy smoker. As the shirtless, and anti-antiperspirant free pilot pulled Rory in for a hug as if he too was a member of the family and on much more familiar terms than most of them.

Hubert took a moment as he wrapped his arms around his new co-worker and let out a long breath.

"Ahhhhh sooooo goood toooo meet yoooou kiddo!"

Completing the assault-hug, he grabbed him by the arm gently and started to bring him along as he left the quarters.

"Let's go debug the navicomputer buddy!"

Captain Miller waited a couple of seconds for them to get down the hall before addressing his brother, making a face like he'd just saved his pi gu from a world of grief. Rather than helping his brother from further confronting the fact that his progeny had hunted him down, and that Marty then in turn used his status as Captain to hire the little bugger.

"See? I can Captain! He's much too green to come along on a job at present. He'll be pressing buttons on a screen while our half clothed pilot runs a totally unnecessary but very long diagnostic and won't come within a mile of any trouble."

The co-pilot too waited for them to get out of earshot before holding a hand up to his mouth as if to guide his whispered words towards his new younger friend:

"We're not going to debug that bloody computer tonight..."

He chuckled to himself as they headed towards the cockpit.

"Whole ship to ourselves, we're gonna have some fun, mate!"

And with a sly wink, he could only leave Rory wondering as to what fun they were going to get themselves into, rather than the busy-work their captain had planned.

Wulfstan Wynne

Wulfstan glanced at Matilda just as she turned away, though he never actually made out whether she ever looked at him or not. "With what? A god awful lookin' suit what Dad must've found at an Estate Sale for the blissfully unfashionable? He's probably got a bushel of 'em, honestly..." Wulfstan chuckled softly, nodding as his tongue poked at the inside of his cheek. Tilly broke balls with the best of them.

"I don't know, I kinda like him. He's like a puppy. Lookit them eyes! I mean, hell, he could use some toughening up, that's the truth... but I dunno, the little sprout kinda grows on you," Wulfstan shrank back from the finger poked into his chest in a playful manner before straightening himself back out as Matilda called back into the room. It wouldn't do for the brothers to see him acting like one of Rory's classmates, though truth told if anything made him feel like that it was Tilly's ways. "Isn't that right, Marty? You agree, don't ya? Oh, an' why are we all here watchin' them change?"

"Truth told I haven't the foggiest. But I figure it beats filing another stack of injunction orders all to Hell. 'N' besides, it was worth running into each other don't you think? How are you getting on these days, anyhow?" Wulfstan pursed his lips after asking the question. For a man who'd run his mouth as both a hobby and a profession for his entire life, he felt awkward trying to make small talk.

As Marty's 'enlightened' friend 'Sparrow' left the Captain's quarters with Rory in tow, Wulfstan took a full step back as if he feared the stench of body odor and patchouli might settle in his tailored attire and never come out. "Well. What do you make of that one, then? Figure that's a good influence for such a fine, young lad?"
When there's no one left to fight
Boys like him don't shine so bright
Soon as I see the dust settle
He's out on the town tryin' to find trouble
Jamie T, "Sticks 'n' Stones"

Rory Mayfield

November 07, 2019, 09:16:57 am #16 Last Edit: November 07, 2019, 09:19:35 am by Rory Mayfield
"Rory, Rory, Rory..."

"What is it, shū sh- oof!" Rory never saw the noogie coming. He would have been prepared for it had he been on the schoolyard, but he was still woefully unaccustomed to having complete wángbādàns for adult relatives. He resigned to his fate -- his eternal fate -- without struggle and pretended to laugh it off once his tormentor released him, although he could feel the enthusiasm that had sparkled inside him just moments ago be snuffed out by crippling self-consciousness.

"I have a classified job for you... I had to keep the details under wraps for the sake of uhhh operational security. I don't know if you've met our pilot yet...

"Nuh-uh." Rory shook his head as he attempted to fix his tousled hair. He was pretty sure there was no classified job and his uncle was just trying to make him feel useful, which was pretty condescending but, well, maybe kind of a nice gesture when you looked at it from a certain angle? Right?

However unprepared Rory had been for Marty's noogie, he was even less prepared for the hulking shirtless man that emerged from the bathroom, spilling tobacco everywhere and smelling like the boys' locker room at school.

"Heeeyyy... What's up mate?"

Rory reached out his shaky hand for a handshake.

"Nice to meet you, Mr Hu- unf!" His cheek made a wet slapping sound as it collided with the co-pilot's sweaty, bare chest.

"Ahhhhh sooooo goood toooo meet yoooou kiddo!"

"Nice to meet you too, Sir," he mumbled against the man's pectoral, his humiliation now complete. Although, really, when you stopped to think about it, what reason did he have to be humiliated? Hubert was just being friendly. Nothing to be embarrassed about.

Still, Rory was grateful when Hubert led him off before any of the Millers got a long good look at how pink his face had turned. Debugging the navigation computer wasn't exactly the thrilling heroics he had hoped to partake in on this mission, but it also wasn't the worst thing he could imagine. It was a nice, constructive, safe activity.

If only things had been that simple.

"We're not going to debug that bloody computer tonight... Whole ship to ourselves, we're gonna have some fun, mate!"

"Like... Battleship?" he asked hopefully.

He had a sinking feeling it wasn't going to be Battleship.


Later that day...

Outfits outfitted and assignments assigned, everyone supposedly knew what they were meant to do in the coming job.

Tilly and Penny, dolled up in the most ostentatious, hoighty-toighty, upper crust, one percent finery that they could muster and descended to the planet with invitation to the party in hand, assumed aliases printed large for security to read. The party was an offshoot of the Grand Highland Hunt, reserved patronizingly for the women-folk (or the less outdoorsy men) to drink and gossip and fret over their beloveds. Sounds delightful, doesn't it? But hey, at least there will be booze.

Marty and Mason, likewise, were be-suited ridiculously, especially if the idea was to do any sort of physical activity at all, which the Grand Highland Hunt was anything but. More shooting gallery than actual sport, all one needed was a gun that's ammunition spread in a wide berth to hit a target. But hey, at least there will be booze!

Wulfstan, Rory, and the lovably hunky Sparrow, would be left to their own devices on the ship. Sparrow to keep an eye on the ship and be ready for a fast getaway, Wulfstan claimed legal liability, and Rory because Mason absolutely insisted on it. For his own safety he said. Whether that meant Rory's or Mason's it was unclear. What was clear is that Mason would hear nothing more on the subject. But hey at least there will be-

Oh right. They couldn't find any alcohol on board.

Matilda Miller

"Truth told I haven't the foggiest. But I figure it beats filing another stack of injunction orders all to Hell. 'N' besides, it was worth running into each other don't you think? How are you getting on these days, anyhow?" he asked.

Matilda watched him out of the corner of her eye, lips pursed in a straight line and expression thoughtful. She looked around quickly, the movement almost imperceptible in its subtle swiftness. When it appeared to her than no one was paying them much attention, the Miller sister allowed herself to offer him up a bright, brilliant smile.

"Yea, I guess it was worth it," she agreed, putting her hands firmly in her pockets to keep them from misbehaving. "I'm getting on alright, better now, if I'm honest," she assured him, shrugging one shoulder, the barest hint of color touching pale cheeks.

Her body language stiffened and her expression hardened as the pilot and his hostage made their way into her line of sight. She grimaced, leaning away from the pair of them with almost as much spiritually offended energy as Wulf had. It wasn't so much the smell that bothered her as it was the attitude in general. She shot the poor boy an apologetic grimace and shrugged her shoulders upward as if to say, 'what can you do?'

"Well. What do you make of that one, then? Figure that's a good influence for such a fine, young lad?" Tilly snorted a little and shook her head, then thought on it a little harder.

"Maybe. Might desensitize him a little to this life, make it easier for him to get used to it?" she offered up optimistically. But somehow, deep inside, she doubted it.

Later that day...

Matilda pulled at the high collar of her ostentatiously bright pink gown, feeling a rash setting in from the fabric's detergent and the constant rubbing against her neck. She eyed her sister with a deep frown and furrowed brows. While Tilly looked like a suckling pig decorated for a feast, somehow Milicent looked like a glimmering jewel in her frippery.

It wasn't fair. Her cheeks turned a pink to match her dress and the woman idly reached up to push at the updo, the hair ornaments tinkling noisily in response. Knees bent, a hand reaching down to pull her ankle closer to her rear-end as she tested the mobility of her attire, her ankle wobbling as she put all her weight on it and the high-heels. Matilda snorted, lowering her leg quickly and catching herself before she could tumble down in a pile of pink organza and tulle.

Martin Miller

Team Bravo
Location: Practice Hunt - 5km from The Party and Team Alpha

Marty itched at his suit. He'd found one of his pop's older suits from his last visit to the Grand Hunt. He used an air-gun from the engine room to blast the dust out of it. The red still popped and once he had the outfit on, he was surprised how much he kinda liked it. It was completely daft, but it had an over the top charm to it. Marty had his bullpup rifle slung in front of him, pulled tight so he could walk comfortably. As he and Mason strolled casually onto the grounds of the farmhouse at which the "practice hunt" was taking place, he could already hear the occasional crack of a rifle, or the rata-tat of automatic fire as the one percenters played around with firepower leagues over what anyone would consider normal hunting kit.

Captain Miller was feeling good, they were out on their first job, and he was dressed up like an upper class twit but that was part of the fun. Though, his mood quickly turned as they rounded a corner on the path leading up to the barn and the cages holding their pray came into sight. They were meant to be Giraffes from Earth That Was. But since their ancestor's didn't bring them on the generation ships that brought humanity to this corner of the universe, their fodder today were genetically modified horses.

He tried to suppress his shock and disgust as he took the creatures in.

"Ó, gāisǐ de!"

The Ho-raffes only had the bulk and neck length of a true giraffe. The rest of the effect came from yellow paint and then spots of brown. The young captain shuddered and made a half joking sign of the cross as if to cleanse himself from the unholy visage and shot his brother a look of disbelief and bemusement. It was then he noticed his older brother had barely noticed and was marching forward half-way to a jog towards something else that caught his eye.

Mad Marty fumbled for his invitation in his jacket pocket and showed it to the security guarding the cages and shooting range by a fairly ornate looking farmhouse. The invitation and his ID read "Worthington Birtwistle of Buckhamshire". He'd assumed the identity of a bastard son of the duke of Londinium. He had dozens so it was generally a pretty easy lie to get away with and luckily it was the identity under which Marty had undertaken a few races as a ringer, so there was some verifiable backstory for his character.

"Good afternoon, gentlemen..."

Just out of the corner of his eye, the captain could have sworn he saw their target already, mingling by the bar.

No way it could be this easy... Could it?

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