S1:Ep5 - Life from Red Clay

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

Lomari

Previously on The Darling...

The Away-Team

As the snowy dust settled, Jeb could be seen getting out of his vehicle, covered head to toe in furs and bracing himself against the wind to inspect the damage to the path ahead of them. In the back seat of the Darling's mule, Potter groaned softly and went limp, body sliding off Arlo's shoulder to rest horrifyingly across his lap. His breathing was quick, labored, and carried a wheeze. His skin was jaundiced, his body temperature high, and his skin covered in a sheen of sweat. The briefcase tumbled off his lap onto his feet, no longer attended or guarded.

The Home-Team

Another message notification beeped from Rian's cortex device: "Ther still here sir. Fuled up an repared but they aint leevin. 1'a them haz fancy hat, keeps smokin an lookin yer way from open cargo ramp. I think they lookin 4 ya."
CHARACTERS
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha


NARRATION
Darling ~ Iscariot

Barnaby Goodweather

July 31, 2020, 07:42:42 am #1 Last Edit: August 20, 2020, 10:36:33 am by Lomari
The Away-Team

"Confound it." Barnaby muttered, staring out the windscreen ahead of him as snow piled on their path. He sat there for a moment, contemplating their situation. They were well and truly cursed, Barnaby was beginning to be sure of it. Normally one for a sunny disposition, these clouds and winds and snowflakes all overcast his optimism. He should have taken everyone back when he had the chance. Hell, he shouldn't have left the ship at all. Damn that Potter. Barnaby glanced back to see the old man and Arlo were getting comfy with one another. Now the two of them are agreeable? Figured. "Everybody..." He didn't know what orders to give. Jeb came into view of the mule's headlights, partially obscured by the storm but visible all the same. "...Stay here." He said, pulled his hat tight over his ears, and exited the mule.

The fall down from the Mule was only a few feet, but finding himself buried then again by the snowdrifts really put the sour on. "Ruttin' gorram tarnation son of a mother-" Barnaby said, curses flowing freely in the light of recent events. He trudged, because that's all you can do when snow is around your legs, over to where Jeb stood surveying the damage. The pass no longer was. It was a stop. Barnaby sighed. "Well- I'm open to suggestions Mr. Jeb."
Dialogue Color - LightBlue

Mattie Rooney

The Away-Team

"Confound it."

What did I tell you? Mattie wanted to say, but bit her tongue, instead sinking deeper into the gloomy silence that had permeated her entire mule ride. She managed to hold her peace just long enough for the captain to leave the vehicle and start making his way through the snow and towards the roadblock ahead.

"What did I tell him?" She said out loud as she watched Barnaby's receding back. "I told him this was a bad idea and we oughta head back, didn't I? I told him!"

She turned to look for affirmation from the men in the backseat. "I ruttin' told him, didn't I?" Her infuriated gaze darted from the Preacher to Arlo to Mr. Dried Grasshopper Husk, whose skin tone was beginning to match the nickname. She twisted her face in disgust and turned to face forward again, sat still for a moment and then, with a barely audible grumble that may have been a profanity, shoved the passenger side door open and tumbled into the snow. Instead of following the captain, however, she remained right next to the Darling's vehicle, keeping an eye on him and Jeb from a distance.

Viktor Söderberg

Away Team

"Everybody...Stay here." He said, pulled his hat tight over his ears, and exited the mule.

"What did I tell him?" She said out loud as she watched Barnaby's receding back. "I told him this was a bad idea and we oughta head back, didn't I? I told him!"
She turned to look for affirmation from the men in the backseat. "I ruttin' told him, didn't I?" Her infuriated gaze darted from the Preacher to Arlo to Mr. Dried Grasshopper Husk.

Viktor felt like he had to defend his home. In a light voice he replied, "It's usually not this bad. We came during storm season. No one travels too far during storm season unless it's urgent."
He looked over to Arlo and shrugged as Mattie got out of the mule. "Mr. Potter must have something urgent to want to travel so far in this weather, right?" His tone had a pleading edge for the other man to affirm his statement. A request to relieve the guilt that this was his planet, and his judgement that left them knee high in snow on this mountain side.

Disregarding the orders given, Viktor followed in his Captain's wake glad for the ease of path the older man had left for him. He cleared his throat on his approach to not startle anyone, though he was sure they heard him crunching through the pre-packed snow.

Viktor interrupted whatever conversation was taking place in an attempt to make things right. He placed his left had on Barnaby's right shoulder from behind in friendly greeting and further attention getting.
"Sir, we should turn back. I'm sure Jeb here has a solid plan on continuing on," he tipped his head at the man, "but this can't have been in the pay considerations. Not to mention Mr. Potter doesn't look too much willing to survive us digging out this snowfall. We should turn back. Either go back to The Darling and wait it out or the long way around the mountains."

Rian Carpenter

August 07, 2020, 02:19:47 pm #4 Last Edit: August 07, 2020, 06:16:30 pm by HumanHyperbole
The Home Team

They got to the cargo bay and their new mechanic was gone. There wasn't a sound coming from the ship. He was speechless there for a moment. Tabby's arm still wrapped around his to coax him into a relaxing jaunt through the ship. At least that was the idea. But now that Riggs wasn't where he was supposed to be, he was worrying about that loud sound he'd heard earlier.

He looked around the room for a moment. Trying to find signs of a scuffle like blood or well any kinda hint and the mystery just deepened. The highest ranking crew-member on board found himself in quite the sudden staffing emergency. It was his first hour in charge and he'd lost half of the crew in his charge. He moved quickly to a microphone on the cargo bay wall. It was hooked up to the ship-wide PA system and he beckoned the errant mechanic.

"Riggs, your pee-gu better be on the latrine right now. Double back to the cargo bay after you wash your hands eh? Better yet just holler back at me over the intercom. There's one on the wall in most rooms."

Rian stood there for a moment by the intercom waiting. The unending wall of noise from the outside made it feel somewhere almost like too much, but so much that it all nearly homogenized into nothing, nearly silence. His right hand still rested atop his pistol. Index finger tapping out a beat synced up only to his level of anxiety. The former enforcer would take ten firefights than go through something like this. It was like walking on thin ice. Except instead of slipping and falling, its possibly a well trained assassin, versed in the art of silent death. Or Riggs is just dropping the kids off at the pool, as they say. It was that uncertainty. The possibility of any moment exploding into violence. And the possibility that this tenuous state may not end any time soon.

He sighed and looked over to Tabitha.

"You leave my sight, I'm kick'in your butt."

The gunhand jokingly wagged his finger at her. It seemed this was the only thing to do. Stay together, stay by the only way in, and out. Keep the ship safe, keep Tabby safe. They could try and find that damned engine-jockey later. All they could do is just... wait. The kid's message said they were being watched. But JUST that. But now that Riggs was gone he couldn't help but worry they had a fox in the hen-house.

Thackery Arlington III

August 07, 2020, 05:13:16 pm #5 Last Edit: August 20, 2020, 10:36:08 am by Lomari
The Away-Team

Potter was in his lap.

Potter was in his lap.

Potter was in his lap.

Potter was in his lap.


Goodweather told everyone in the mule to stay, as though Arlo could move. He desperately, desperately wanted to. Because Potter, as he could not help but notice, was in his lap.

Mattie turned around from the front seat. Her gaze met Arlo's for a moment as she looked from one man to the next. Arlo tried to hold the gaze, silently begging for help, but it flicked onwards, and she said something that he could not interpret but sounded very cross.

Viktor also spoke. He seemed to be asking Arlo a question. "Hnnnnnnggg," Arlo replied.

Potter was in his lap.

Lomari

Ship Time: 1330
Ship Location: Secondary Claim, St, Albans
Mule Location: A secondary road to Primary Claim.

The Away-Team:

"Well- I'm open to suggestions Mr. Jeb," Barnaby called over the wind. Their new companion turned his head to stare in the other man's direction, eyes peeking out from behind the furs and fabrics over his face, gaze narrowed from the brightness of the snow and the onslaught of the frosted gale. A hand lifted, index finger hooking over the face covering and pulling it down just enough to expose his nose and mouth. "Not sure what to do here! Could try digging it up, but we're like to get frostbit 'fore makin' any progress! Could double back," he shouted back at Barnaby as Viktor approached the pair of them.

"Sir, we should turn back. I'm sure Jeb here has a solid plan on continuing on, but this can't have been in the pay considerations. Not to mention Mr. Potter doesn't look too much willing to survive us digging out this snowfall. We should turn back. Either go back to The Darling and wait it out or the long way around the mountains."

The pile of furs nodded back at the preacher, lips pursed and upper lip now glistening with the unbidden running of his frozen nose. "If you got injured, this ain't the way," he agreed, nodding vigorously so they would be able to see the gesture under all the coverings. "Mountain pass ain't bad, gonna take you some time though. Might be best to head back to Secondary, if that's where you came from. But from the looks of it, blizzard is headed there with an awful hurry," he shouted, pulling the face fabric back up over his nose and shivering a little in place.

Back in the Mule, Potter breathed slow and heavy, his body like bricks in Arlo's lap. He didn't seem like he'd be moving any time soon and both of his hands remained limp and useless, the briefcase resting against Arlo's feet. He inhaled, then coughed violently, a little bile dripping from his mouth onto poor Alo's fancy pants. He was warm, the utter fire of his body finally radiating through his own clothing to begin heating up the man serving as his bed. Had he always been this warm? Or was it a fever? Or was Arlo imagining it all as he panicked.

The Home-Team:

"Riggs, your pee-gu better be on the latrine right now. Double back to the cargo bay after you wash your hands eh? Better yet just holler back at me over the intercom. There's one on the wall in most rooms."

Rian's voice echoed through the ship and Tabby cupped her hands around the backs of her ears to listen for a response. And yet, none came. Where could he have gone? The doors were all still locked up tight and while the Darling was large, she wasn't infinite. The amount of hiding places weren't very large, unless you knew where to look.

"You leave my sight, I'm kick'in your butt," Rian threatened half-seriously. The doctor saluted and grinned brightly up at him, having no intention of running off and adding to his stress. When this was all over they'd make their s'mores, have some nice chamomile tea, and wait for their crew to return all happy and safely bundled up.

"Maybe he's sleeping?" Tabby guessed, making her way to the old mechanic's hidey-hole and crouching down by the hatch, trying to remember how to open it. There was another clatter back upstairs and out of the cargo bay as something slipped off who knows what and landed with an echoing thud on the metal grated flooring.
CHARACTERS
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha


NARRATION
Darling ~ Iscariot

Mattie Rooney

The Away-Team

Mattie stayed put as the Preacher pushed past her and joined the assembly ahead. For a while, she kept an eye on the situation, but as it began to look like there was no impending ambush ahead, her attention wandered to the mule. Something was wrong. She yanked the door to the backseat open, her gaze only briefly registering the thinly veiled panic on Arlo's face before dropping to Mr. Potter's limp figure in his lap.

"Is he dead? We ain't getting paid if he's dead." The words had an accusatory tone to them, as if whatever was ailing their passenger was Arlo's fault. Under different circumstances she might have capitalized on his turmoil and bullied him a little more for good measure, but this was neither the time nor the place. She pulled off one of her gloves and gingerly pressed a bare hand on Potter's damp forehead, recoiling a little at the heat radiating from him. Her expression darkened. Growing up as one of six children in a cramped farmhouse, Mattie had seen many a fever come and go, sometimes on the receiving end of one, sometimes as the caretaker of a bedridden sibling. Those countless pneumonias and ear infections and what have yous had nothing on whatever was burning up Potter.

"Boss!" She pulled away from the mule and called out to the captain through the blizzard. "I think our passenger might be dyin'!"

Rian Carpenter

August 15, 2020, 12:16:20 pm #8 Last Edit: August 15, 2020, 12:26:39 pm by Rian Carpenter
The Home Team

Rian was anxious. Pregnant pauses like this. He hated them. The closest thing to an acting captain on the ship itself paced out a tight circle by the cargo bay doors. As he started to rub at the back of his neck, he realized how much his stress was coming out physically and stopped on a dime, then took a breath. It made him think of a job his dad's crew pulled back when he was a teenager. The four foot ten XO of the "Merry Berry" was missing when they did a headcount of their hostages. Little bastard managed to run circles around them, sneaking around through compartments in the hull of the ship. After a day and a half, it was Rian himself who ended the siege. By venting the ship of all gasses.

He didn't like thinking about the jobs. Especially ones like that. Trying to distract himself, and Tabby, just enough to try and cut some of the tension, the deadly culinary artist tried to make small-talk.

"So... Help me brainstorm dinner for when the mule gets back with everybody."

Carpenter was grasping for straws and pretending everything was just going to be honky dory. But maybe momentarily indulging in Tabitha's unrelenting positive attitude wasn't the worst call. It was definitely a better idea than venting all the air.

"We've got carrots, one sweet onion, four pounds of protein mash, a half box of angel hair pasta, and... a stick of butter... So far my ideas are to... eat Riggs when we find him."

Maybe not that positive.

Barnaby Goodweather

August 16, 2020, 12:50:33 pm #9 Last Edit: August 20, 2020, 10:35:50 am by Lomari
The Away-Team

Failure. Utter and complete, and Barnaby wasn't just talking about this job. He felt it in his bones and it was getting harder and harder to quell the voices in his head reminding him about it. Barnaby had done his fair share of listening to others in all his years, and not a lot of listening to himself. He'd let his pappy boss him around even when he wasn't the boss. And that led to... well, Barnaby didn't want to think about that. He'd let Tricky do his worst on the ship, and hadn't even been the one to stop him. That was Gerry, and she'd tied Barnaby around her little finger. And now Potter had gone and gotten himself sick or killed because Barnaby hadn't talked the old man out of proceeding on the perilous path.

Hell, Mattie had told him it was foolish. Why hadn't he listened to her? Barnaby looked back at the young woman and remembered how he'd failed her on the last job, too. Rian had gotten shot. Riot had left. Mona, too. How long would the rest of them stick around? Even Potter seemed to want rid of him.

Failure.

"Alright. Thanks for your help, Mr. Jeb. Much obliged. We'll be heading back now." Barnaby said, his voice calmer than his thoughts. The Captain tipped his cap in the man's direction and ushered Viktor along with him. The Preacher had also expressed concern about Barnaby's plan of action, he needn't remind himself. "Preacher I..." An apology formed on his tongue, but wouldn't speak itself. What good would it do? Unless Jesus empowered his clergy with atonement for incompetence. "I... uh... would appreciate you administering to Mr. Potter as best you're able. We'll get him back to Darling and hopefully Tabby can, I dunno, give him a tonic or some such."

They hustled back as quickly as the snow would allow and Barnaby looked at Mattie briefly before climbing back up into the driver's seat. "We're heading back." He announced and zipped it back up before putting the Mule in reverse and high-tailing it back. If there was anyone on board the vehicle at that moment who wished he wasn't Captain, it was Barnaby himself.
Dialogue Color - LightBlue

Tabitha Haemish

The Home-Team

"So... Help me brainstorm dinner for when the mule gets back with everybody...We've got carrots, one sweet onion, four pounds of protein mash, a half box of angel hair pasta, and... a stick of butter... So far my ideas are to... eat Riggs when we find him."

Tabby smiled warmly and set a hand on Rian's upper arm, "Hey, let's make a plan," she offered. She knew how much having a structured plan put him at ease. "If there's something on the ship, let's go take it off! You said Riggs found it so how about I crawl up and get it and you watch over me to make sure I don't slip or anything else? Easy peasy! I bet the dock folk would let us borrow something to help me get to the right spot, they seemed nice."

With that, she reached up to push her mess of light curls into one spot atop her head, procured a pencil from their winding masses, and somewhat secured the coils in place. As she rolled up her sleeves, the doctor cleared her throat and then remembered it was awful cold outside. "Oh, I should put on a jacket first..." She wiggled her bare toes against the metal ground of the cargo bay, "And probably some shoes!" Tabitha laughed softly. "Once we find the thing on the ship, we'll go find our mechanic! Maybe we should get new jobs as detectives!"
Dialogue Color: Pink

Rian Carpenter

August 20, 2020, 12:11:08 pm #11 Last Edit: August 20, 2020, 12:13:37 pm by Rian Carpenter
The Home-Team

Rian did like the idea of prying that bug off his ship. But going outside in this storm, to try and get at it also sounded like it'd leave them very exposed. But he also didn't have much of any other idea what to do right now. He couldn't help but just shrug at her suggestion. He made sure Riot taught him how to lock down the engine, so he could make sure he left the ship at least in a state that nobody could STEAL it. With their new mechanic missing, he wanted to make sure nothing else wacky happened.

"All right..."

He motioned with a jerk of his head towards the bunks that they should go get their winter gear. It annoyed him he was going to have to go out into the open without his rifle, as it was now riding along inside the mule with their ill-fated away team. As they headed to the bunks he popped into the engine room to lock down the ship's flight systems with a couple switch flips and punching in a pin code.

Popping out of the engine room he felt a bit more like a real spacer for a moment.

"I think I'm getting the hang of this spacer stuff, right? I know technically my only skills are making things go boom and making perfect grilled cheese, but I aint as hopeless as when I first got here. Right?"

The young man had technically been the number two at a multi-million credit business, and even briefly ran a labor union, but he wasn't wrong either. His responsibilities in management at both jobs tended to focus on how best to apply violence towards other human beings. As they got to the bunks, they helped each other pull on their jackets, and head out into the snow. A memory couldn't help but work its way through the back of his mind.

It was a good memory, but the type of good memory he hated reliving. After his recent bout of truthsomeness about his past as a criminal, he couldn't help but be a little more candid now. He realized why that specific memory had come to mind.

"I think you're just excited to get out in the snow, aren't you?"

He half-laughed and went back to lacing up his boots.

"My wife was the same way about snow. We only got one or two snow-storms the whole time we -- she was like a kid again. Never thought I'd be making snow-men in the yard as an adult but there I was..."

Carpenter trailed off. It was one of the only distinct stories he'd ever told about himself when he was Rian Russo. He took a beat and tried to cut the thought and its associated emotions off there

"Záluànwúzhāng... anyway. I hate the snow."

The security officer forced a laugh and stood up, tugging on his winter jacket.

"Let's get the fleas off our dog..."

Viktor Söderberg

Away Team

"Preacher I..." An apology formed on his tongue, but wouldn't speak itself. What good would it do? Unless Jesus empowered his clergy with atonement for incompetence. "I... uh... would appreciate you administering to Mr. Potter as best you're able. We'll get him back to Darling and hopefully Tabby can, I dunno, give him a tonic or some such."

Viktor trudged through the deep snow back to the mule and made no hesitation in following the task given to him. He pulled Mr. Potter off of Arlo. Viktor sat the client up straight and turned Potter's head so he could see his face better.

Just from looking the man over, Viktor could tell that something was wrong. His skin has an unusual pallor and was clammy to the touch. Vikor heard that the breathing was shallow and his inhalations were short.
The preacher wasn't in the habit of carrying a med kit any more, so he didn't have a depressor. Nevertheless, he pinched open Mr. Potter's mouth to see what he could see. Up this close, he could smell the man's breath. It was not pleasant. It smelled like urine. It made Viktor think so much more of Arlo. He must have felt like he was suffocating with Potter rank breath in his face. The man's tongue was slightly swollen, from what he could see.

He took the man's pulse. It was thready and slow, but at least he had one. Viktor dug a flashlight out of his bag. He held Potter's lids open and ran the light across his eyes. Non responsive. This was all a bit beyond his measly field medic knowledge. Now, if the man had been shot, stabbed, blown up - that he could handle. This was something much more serious.

"Sir," he said in the direction of their Captain.

"This is.

Well.

It's not ideal. We're going to need a hospital.



Or maybe a stretcher."


Viktor took a pause that was too long to be considered dramatic and too short to be considered spacing out. He was hesitating. He already felt like he got them in a mess by recommending this way instead of the safer way around the mountains. Or just being more insistent about waiting out the storm in the first place. He'd known better. He knew where his faults lay in their current situation.

"Cap, you do remember I was just a field medic right? Tabby would be better for this, were she here. I may be wrong and I very much hope I am... Sir, I think maybe his organs are shutting down. Could be just one. Could be multiple. Point is, he's definitely half way to Heaven if we don't do something soon."

Tabitha Haemish

The Home Team

Tabitha wriggled into the over-sized winter coat, a hand-me-down from her older brother, thankful for Rian's help. It had never fit her, but she had no mind to purchase a new one. This one still smelled like home if she really got her face up into it and sniffed hard enough. She wrestled with the sleeves, pushing them out of the way so she could zip up, the uncharacteristically earth-toned garment swallowing her whole.

"I think you're just excited to get out in the snow, aren't you?" She turned to watch Rian as he began lacing up his boots, her own feet slipping into fuzzy booties, these one a more predictable pink. He wasn't wrong. Any opportunity to go play out in the wilderness was more than enough to keep this spacer happy. She didn't mind being off-world for long periods of time, as long as she had her crew, and they let her out to play on the off chance that they did land anywhere for longer than a few minutes.

"My wife was the same way about snow. We only got one or two snow-storms the whole time we -- she was like a kid again. Never thought I'd be making snow-men in the yard as an adult but there I was...Záluànwúzhāng... anyway. I hate the snow...Let's get the fleas off our dog..."

She pulled on her gloves and nibbled on her lower lip thoughtfully before setting a pink yarn covered hand on Rian's arm, "Hey, thank you for telling me about her," she told him in a warm, gentle whisper, her expression encouraging and thankful. Facing him all the more, Tabby set both of her hands on his cheeks again to make sure he was looking down at her directly, "She'd be proud of you, Rian. You're a great friend, and an amazing member of this team. I'm thankful that you got to join our family," she added, nodding to confirm her own words and hopefully cement them as truth in his mind. Lowering her hands to free him from her emotional grasp, she backed up a step and smiled brightly. "Let's get to those fleas," she agreed, turning and skipping out of the room. She stopped mid skip and waited for him to follow, remembering she wasn't supposed to leave his sight or he'd kick her butt. The thought made her giggle aloud.

When he'd joined, they made their way back down to the cargo bay doors, peeking in rooms on the way to see if they could find their wayward mechanic: Alas, they had no luck. Standing at the doors controls, Tabby wiggled in excitement and pulled her hood on over her curls, which hid most of her now beneath the fur trim of her coat. "Ready when you are, mister man!" she said, saluting him and grinning sweetly.
Dialogue Color: Pink

Rian Carpenter

August 27, 2020, 09:49:07 am #14 Last Edit: August 27, 2020, 10:08:50 am by Rian Carpenter
The Home Team

Rian probably needed a psychologist. But why spend all the credits when Tabby was on the ship? Just about no matter how much he felt he justifiably hated himself, she could convince him at least for a minute that it wasn't a big deal he used to be a black hat. He was born Rian Carpenter, not Russo. It was either Tabby's eternal optimism or perhaps she could just see into the truth of the matter. She was right. This was his family now, no matter what his psychopathic father thought.

As they made their way through the ship his mind drifted back to the job at hand. What happened to Riggs? It was like he'd just been swallowed up whole by the Darling itself. He couldn't see any sign of him leaving the ship. When they got to the cargo bay, there was no snow or signs of melted snow near the door. Before he opened the door himself he looked around the room for a minute. Just praying for some kind of hint, or clue to pop out at him like in the vids.

Nothing.

Rian clicked his tongue in a somewhat casual dismissal of the mystery of the missing mechanic. Tabby was ready to go and gave him a playful salute. He playfully stood at attention and saluted her back.

"Private Haemish! Let's go get the enemy!!!"

He over-acted and shook his fist in the air, and trying to make his voice bellow.

Carpenter chuckled and hit the button for opening the cargo-bay doors casually. But his yucks stopped as he turned and saw two sets of legs already standing on the ramp as the doors opened. In the split second he had to think and react, with his left hand he reached behind him and shoved Tabby directly behind him. He still had his ballistic armor on under his well-selected ensemble.

His right hand popped up with his side-arm at eye level.

"Hands where I can see them, folks!"

Tabby behind him now, his left hand came up in turn with his back-up piece, now a pistol aimed at each individual in the doorway. All that talk of burying Rian Russo, the parts of him he still needed were always back in a flash.

"Don't mean to be rude but we didn't expect company."

The doorway took a good second or so to open, now finally revealing who was in the doorway...

*Narration assistance provided by Lomari

Mattie Rooney

The Away-Team

Told you so. Mattie didn't say it out loud, but it was probably plastered all over her face when the captain briefly met her gaze before climbing back aboard the mule. She could've easily twisted the knife in his wound by opening her mouth. She would've twisted the knife if he had been one of her former employers who had an over-inflated ego that needed to be taken down a notch. But she just couldn't bring herself to do that to Barnaby, no matter how much part of her wanted to. She bit her tongue as she climbed back to the passenger seat, her jaw clenched and eyes averted from the man sitting next to her.

Besides, although she loathed to admit it even to herself, it wasn't like she'd actually foreseen the mess they found themselves in. She had counted on Jebidiah -- how could she be expected to trust someone with that name -- having something up his sleeve, but the real threat had come from the inside. And it was the kind of threat Mattie, for all her sharp shooting and wits, was unable to vanquish. She stared through the frosty window the entire time she listened to the Preacher's diagnosis. When he was done, she finally turned back to the captain and waited for him to give her some genius order that would magically grant her the power to single-handedly bail them out of this situation.

She knew he had no such thing to give.

Lomari

Ship Time: 1340
Ship Location: Secondary Claim, St, Albans
Mule Location: A secondary road to Primary Claim, heading back to Secondary.

The Away Team:

"Alright. Thanks for your help, Mr. Jeb. Much obliged. We'll be heading back now," the Captain said. Jeb nodded his head once and looked back toward their Mule. He didn't have much in the way of medical training, or he would have helped, but going back to Primary really was the best option if one of his crew was in a bad way. "Be safe! Keep your eye on the road!" he called after Barnaby, then turned back to the snowslide to deal with that.

"I... uh... would appreciate you administering to Mr. Potter as best you're able. We'll get him back to Darling and hopefully Tabby can, I dunno, give him a tonic or some such."

"Cap, you do remember I was just a field medic right? Tabby would be better for this, were she here. I may be wrong and I very much hope I am... Sir, I think maybe his organs are shutting down. Could be just one. Could be multiple. Point is, he's definitely half way to Heaven if we don't do something soon."

"We're heading back."

Mister Potter groaned a little, and moved just enough to try to reach out to grab the briefcase now nestled sweetly between Arlo's feet, but could not manage the strength to do so. His eyes closed again and he seemed to become unconscious once more, breathing labored, and now filling the enclosed mule with the slow creeping smell of amonia. They had an hour's drive ahead of them, to get back to their own doctor and maybe any medical aid at the docks themselves. But as they drove, it seemed like the blizzard was chasing them. Where it had been calmly snowing on their first visit, the same places were now howling with wind as snow battered up against the side of the Mule. The vehicle pumped as much warm air as it could into the compartment, struggling to keep up with the onslaught outside. Visibility lessened, but the way was still familiar enough to follow back they way they'd come.

The Home Team:

"Woah now!" came one man's voice as the door finished opening. He stood before Rian and the drawn gun with his hands now held up, palms facing the Darling. The bowler cap on his head was now a dish for snow and his black winter coat looked a little too expensive for this kind of dock. Beneath the mask he had on over his nose and mouth, puffs of air still managed to escape the less than ideal neoprene material. His partner, whose hand was still poised as though to knock, had his face exposed to the elements. A thick bush mustache crawled atop his upper lip, sunken eyes staring in seemingly good-natured surprise at the gun pointed in their direction. "Oh!" he managed, unfurling his knocking fist and holding both of his own hands up as well.

"We don't want no trouble, jus' came to collect. Heard about the blizzard comin' to Primary Claim while we were gettin' ready to rendevous with your ship so we re-routed. Been watchin' you since we landed, but ya'll never came out to meet us. Didn't Mister Potter give you our contact information? Is he in here? We'll really be needin' to see him pretty soon," he explained, turning his wrist a little to look at the cortex watch on his wrist. "Yea, soon."

His partner cleared his throat, "There's a bit of a time push, I'm afraid," he added in an aristocratic Londinium accent. "We've come to the end of our time line, here. Would Mister Potter be able to come join us, presently?" he asked, arched brows raised.
CHARACTERS
Charity ~ Melody ~ Tabitha


NARRATION
Darling ~ Iscariot

Rian Carpenter

The Home Team

Rian gave them a professional smile and tone.

"Well I'm glad you're here to do business. However..."

The guns were still up at eye level. He gave them each a direct look in the eye, pausing for a beat. With the comms dead he had no idea Potter was in fact on his way back. As far as he knew, they were still embarking on the suicidal run to get him someplace else. As he'd been very insistent about. These guys were calm and acting cool. But then again, so would he in their place. And he'd been that guy, acting nice before he dumped you out the airlock later.

"Quite frankly I think your story smells of mǎ shǐ. Our passenger and client, Mr Potter, was quite insistent he be brought to another destination. My best assumption right now is that you're an interested third party."

He didn't recognize the men. Most likely not Russo boys, especially the Brit. Pops could never stand the arrogance he felt was implied by their accent. They could be legit, but he didn't have any reason to think they were currently.

"You got any way to prove that's not the case now's your time to talk. Or to reach for your belts. I ain't got time for whatever masks we're supposed to wear right now. I got a man missing and I'm about ready to fill people with holes."

His cortex buzzed. This was a really inopportune time. He stood there for a second, his cortex unit ringing was a rarity. Nobody CALLS these days unless its some sort of emergency.

"Bare with me for a sec."

Carpenter holstered his backup pistol and reached into his side pocket, answering it right away, assuming it would be Barnaby.

"Where in the h-"

His eyes went wide for a second. He kept one of the pistols pointed at their guests' head, and then switched over to the other after a second, then back to the other as he talked to the person on the other end of the line.

"Who - Really?"

His expression went slightly dark.

"Tā mā de... Are you sure you're okay?... No just look after your own, I'll be fine."

Rian ended the call and went to reach for his backup pistol, now waiting for an explanation again.

"Sorry. That was my... prostitute."

It was true. But it was far from a booty call. She'd just called to say some goons working for his dad just tore her place apart looking for signs he might be there. Which meant the Russos were honing in on him. The fact that they'd tracked down his preferred companion meant his dad was eliminating all the places he might go to ground, likely assuming he'd left Darling after getting his identity blown.

Damn. He didn't think I'd be this stupid...

The professional was letting himself get distracted.

Barnaby Goodweather

September 09, 2020, 04:32:20 pm #18 Last Edit: September 09, 2020, 04:38:36 pm by Lomari
A hibernating bear awoken from its winter sleep would have been in a finer mood than Barnaby was behind the wheel of the mule, the accelerator moving them through the snow as quickly as could be afforded. He almost wished someone would say something to him. Tell him he'd made a mess of everything. Not only were they in danger of freezing to death, or worse, but they weren't likely to be paid for this trip as the man with the wallet was making his way to Heaven as they rode.

"Somebody dig in that red bag o' his. See if he's got some remedy in there for his condition. Or instructions." Cold hard cash would do, as well. So foul was his mood, Barnaby Goodweather, the nicest guy in the 'verse, was contemplating ransacking a convalescent. "Call out what you find." Truth was, he didn't care what was in there, curious though the luggage and its owner were. His thoughts were focused on the road ahead, getting them home and out of this snowy snow.

Barnaby hated St. Albans. He hated Potter. He hated that little red suitcase. He hated the snow, the damned avalanche. Throw in those puppy dog clocks, his Baroness, and that spooky Mr. Abernathy for good measure. Barnaby, the nicest guy in the 'verse, wasn't used to hate as a feeling and it left a sour taste in his mouth. Everything was broke, and he didn't know how to fix it. "Well...?"
Dialogue Color - LightBlue

Thackery Arlington III

The moment Victor relieved Arlo of his ailing burden, the pale Core-worlder leaned over the side of the mule and, with as much dignity as he could muster, thoroughly lost his lunch.

By the time he came up for air and located a handkerchief to tidy himself up with - feeling rather embarrassed, but much the better for it - the preacher had completed his examination. Outlook Not Good. The man made a vague, swaying motion towards the mysterious briefcase, but was clearly in no condition to even reach out for it, much less lift or open it.

"Somebody dig in that red bag o' his," the captain called, and Arlo eagerly bent to retrieve it. He had the most right of anyone there, didn't he? Having served as Potter's unwilling minder while the others dealt with the snow situation?

Opening the case, he was a bit disappointed to see it contained only papers, but kept his chin up. It might not be as dramatic as gold bars or secret weapons, but he knew as well as anyone that the written word could still contain vast mysteries, so he skimmed the first page.

Then narrowed his eyes and read it again, more closely. Then the next page.

He knew Barnaby was probably awaiting his report with dwindling patience, given his obvious temper, but this was well outside of Arlo's wheelhouse, and he wanted to be sure he took the time to understand exactly what was at stake. After several more pages of legalese and medical jargon, he cleared his throat uncomfortably.

"I believe I understand his urgency better now," he said, passing the papers over to Victor. "Somebody in town must need what he's carrying, badly." Perhaps the field medic's background was better equipped for summarizing the situation for the captain; Arlo didn't trust himself not to make a mess of the explanation. "Keeping him cold, shouldn't be a problem, at any rate," he added, as an afterthought. "It may also help keep his fever at bay until Miss Haemish can tend to him. Miss Rooney, can you help me pack snow into his clothes?" Arlo asked, rolling his sleeves up to do exactly that.

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