Three Hills, One Clue

Started by Sidney Applebaum, October 29, 2020, 12:55:52 pm

Sidney Applebaum

October 29, 2020, 12:55:52 pm Last Edit: November 04, 2020, 10:26:38 am by Lomari
"Pool?!"

It was a word he'd been saying about a hundred times a day now. Ever since he showed up planetside looking for the old pirate. The banker set out to find Pool, but the man himself heard there was a half awake man wandering around town just slurring the word "Pool" over and over again to everyone who spoke to him. As far as Sid knew, he was at one of those resorts where you can swim up to a poolside bar, order a drink then go float in the sun.

The ape of a man sloshed up to Sid back paddling in a rain water filled hole in the ground. The "pool" he'd found was used to cool a lot of the machines for local businesses, including the reclamation business Sidney could have found if it weren't for his magic airplane tic-tacs. He didn't even find the pool that Pool had in his actual property. It was a muddy recess filled up with water, and pipes snaking out of it going towards every bit of light industry in town. Somehow the goldfish swimming around him and the toxic sludge didn't seem to mind.

Location: Space Port

One week later, Sid was coming down from his sleeping medication, but this time it was a new brand. He felt a bit sharper. Though his mouth felt like a space-ship. They were on Three Hills, shuffling through a crowded space-port.

"Pool!"

He tried again to get his attention. Coming off a bit like an over-eager fan boy. Which he was. Finally getting the larger man's attention he inquired.

"Ship or clues first? I mean we can't really go look for any more clues after this if we don't have a ship really. Well, I mean I did the math, its cheaper to just lease out a ship for the whole thing rather than hire a bunch of different crews... its even a security thing if you think about it..."

Applebaum smiled, realizing something.

"I'm rambling, and you... know what you're doing."

They resumed walking. Sidney intentionally slowed down to then be walking next to his daughter, who'd tagged along.

"Hey, Pool-ling... Wait, Kiddy Pool! That's the one."

Sid snapped and then did a little fist pump move, proud of his dad joke. Then got right back on track from before.

"Ship first or clues...?"

Like a dog with a bone, he was having fun, and just eager to get to the next part. Sid felt like a new man. Maybe it was the side effects of the drugs and how they made him feel like his eyebrows were floating just above his skull, but he hadn't felt this excited about a new job since... ever.


Reinhardt Pool

October 30, 2020, 03:54:51 pm #1 Last Edit: November 04, 2020, 10:23:50 am by Lomari
Location: Space Port

"For cryin' out loud would you shut up?" Pool asked for what felt like the hundredth time. The guy - Sidney Applebaum - never seemed to shut up. Since he'd shown up at their scrap yard- yap yap yap yap yap. Pool actually liked that about the guy, but in this particular instance, it was to their detriment. He pulled the man by the elbow to the side, as if that would hide them from prying ears. No one seemed to be paying them any mind. Pool checked to make sure. "I told you I got a warrant out on Three Hills." The warrant was over thirty years old, but Pool doubted they had forgotten about him. The good ol' days. Before he had been saddled with...

His eyes darted in his daughter's direction. Pool tried to remember how much he had told Rhiannon, whom he affectionately referred to as Junior, about his past. Probably too much. She took after him in all the wrong ways, and yet, that's what Pool liked best about her. Either way, playing the heavy wasn't something he was used to doing in front of her, even though it had been his stock and trade for almost forty years before she'd been born. He let go of Sid's arm and patted the guy on the shoulder. "Just play it cool, okay, Slick? I don't remember much from my time on this rock. There was some folks I ran with, but I figure they're long gone by now."

He figured right. The Horse Thief Gang, as they were creatively called by the local press, hadn't operated long. But they'd made an impact. Their leader, a fella by the name of... what was it? Orenthal? Octavius? Orlando? Something with an O. Oscar? Orpheus? Orifice? No, that can't be it. Pool didn't remember, but he'd been strung up along with half their ranks. Pool had watched from from under a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses in the crowd. Felt he owed it to them to see them go, if not join them. And he sure as hell wasn't about to turn himself in. Their own fault getting caught and all.

"We'll play it as we go, but Three Hills is a horse planet. Not a lot of ships. So those that are dry docked will either be expensive or desperate." The old man looked around, trying to get his bearings. None of this seemed familiar. Even a backwater like Three Hills had progressed beyond his memory. "I dunno. Maybe coming here was a mistake. He half muttered.
Dialogue Color: firebrick

Ulrich Kruger

October 31, 2020, 09:08:38 pm #2 Last Edit: November 04, 2020, 10:26:55 am by Lomari
Location: The Ship

The thundering of hooves demanded Ulrich's attention, pulling his gaze from the device in his lap. 

A familiar beast raced by, ridden by a figure in a cattleman's hat.  The horse's mane eclipsed the sun just for an instant, gold on gold.  Then it was past, along with its rider, and the unfiltered rays of the sun blasted Ulrich's face.  He winced, both at the bright light and the odor of the animal that came to him on the morning breeze.

The universe was populated by machines.  Every germ.  Every insect, every mammal.  They were just machines.
 Machines of varying sophistication.  But the natural machines- those that had come to exist over millions of years of trial and error- they were dirty, depressing things.  Foul-smelling, prone to breakage, destined for degradation, bound to disappoint you. 

He dipped his head again, letting the brim of his own hat block the light of the sun.
 
The ship's catalyzer was mostly on his lap, and partly on the ramp he was sitting upon.  It had served for millions of kilometers before failing.  But it had not disappointed.  It had served valiantly.  It would have served forever if given the necessary maintenance.  When it finally broke, a victim of neglect, it had done so without foul odors or filthy emissions.  It would never decompose, nor become food for worms.  Ulrich could apply his skill and make it whole again.  The process was perfect, and if that process was perfectly replicated, it would give the catalyzer an eternity of service. 

These were machines Ulrich could respect. 

Had he been left with such machines, and the tools and parts needed to tend to them, he could have enjoyed his life to the end of his days.  He could have kept the ship in good repair, and worked on his prototype improvements, gradually walking the eternal march towards perfection.

Unfortunately, the world did not work that way.  Everything he did had to be filtered through the needs of organisms.  Foul, disappointing organisms.  The people were the worst.  People he had to impress.  People who were never satisfied, who never met his needs adequately, and who never understood the importance of his work.

He set the worn catalytic rod aside, replacing it with a slightly less worn catalytic rod.  Then he began snapping the assembly back together.  This was not the perfect procedure, replicated perfectly.  This was yet another disappointment from the world of organisms.  The flawed processes he was forced to improvise on behalf of a person who did not understand the reliable perfection of machines when they were reliably maintained according to proven practices.

He stood, and began walking up the ramp, back into the ship.

"Captain," he called out, "The failed catalyzer has been restored to a pre-fail state.  But it is not optimal."
Dialogue Color: burlywood

Rhiannon Pool

November 04, 2020, 11:02:59 am #3 Last Edit: November 04, 2020, 11:03:19 am by Lomari
Location: Space Port

Finally. Finally! Out of the junk yard and into a real, honest to goodness, adventure. Just like the ones her father had gone one in his youth. Probably. Well it was more of an adventure than arguing with her brother about who had to do cleanup duty. She loved the Yard, she really did, but she also wanted to see more of the worlds than the metal kingdom they lived in. She'd yearned for the adventures that she'd pieced together from tidbits her parents had let slip during conversation or from whatever her father had told her during times of hard work at the Yard or to get her to sleep and settle down at night as a child. More than anything, she wanted to be like her father and to have a plethora of secret stories to kind of share with her kids in the future.

"Hey, Pool-ling... Wait, Kiddy Pool! That's the one...Ship first or clues...?" The rambler's voice pulled her out of her gawking at the scenery, and she cleared her throat before eyeing him as he spun. Her brows furrowed and her expression became steel and stone. She wasn't sure if she liked 'Kiddy Pool'... Before she could tell him not to call her that, her dad had pulled him aside. She followed, shoving her hands into the pockets of her jacket and grimacing at them both.

"For cryin' out loud would you shut up?...I told you I got a warrant out on Three Hills."

Rhiannon noticed her father glance in her direction and a brow rose curiously. She fiddled with a piece of paper left in one of her pockets, folding it up between her thumb and index finger idly. She tried to remember what he might have told her about Three Hills, but sometimes his stories jumbled together from the lack of specifics. She knew he hid things from her, but didn't pester him for further details. One his mouth locked up, she knew no prying from her would get him to divulge anymore.

"...I dunno. Maybe coming here was a mistake." Junior slipped between her father and the loud-mouth, bumping into Pool with her shoulder and offering him a reassuring smile. It wasn't a great plan, going to a place that wanted to arrest you, but time had passed and he probably looked different, and if anyone tried to arrest him now she'd rip their eyebrows off, so it wasn't too bad of a situation. They'd be fine. "I wouldn't mind getting some horses," she told him in a hushed voice, her grin broadening. "But we should get a ship to use more permanently. If they're desperate, we can get the price down to something advantageous. Puts us in a pretty good bargaining position, I think," she wagered.
Dialogue Color - Indianred

Sidney Applebaum

November 04, 2020, 05:03:33 pm #4 Last Edit: November 05, 2020, 08:23:19 am by Lomari
Location: Space Port

Sidney had stepped in it.

"For cryin' out loud would you shut up?"

Really stepped in it.

"I told you I got a warrant out on Three Hills."

The fifty something Semite winced realizing the gravity of his lapse in memory. He was normally good with details but he was just so excited! And coming down from the spaceship pills. He mouthed the word slowly and slightly exaggerated: S O R R Y

"Just play it cool, okay, Slick? I don't remember much from my time on this rock. There was some folks I ran with, but I figure they're long gone by now...We'll play it as we go, but Three Hills is a horse planet. Not a lot of ships. So those that are dry docked will either be expensive or desperate."

Cool. Sid can be cool. He's Captain Cool. The smaller Pool walked up beside her father and Sid was now walking by himself. He started checking the scenery more. There were a lot of horses! Crazy. He thought it was just a weird rumor when he was a kid that horses were still a common mode of transportation and used for work much the same as they were in the frontier days of Earth that was.

As he admired the scenery and the many fine equine beasts he felt a squish under his foot.

"Ha! Shit!"

He pointed down at his shoe and smiled. Laughing at his misfortune.

"These folks still ride around on ANIMALS!"

Sid mused to himself, a couple people within earshot gave him a look but the core-dweller didn't notice. He hurriedly tried to wipe his shoe off in the dirt before jogging to catch up with the Pools. Applebaum still had a bit of the manure on his sneaker but he wasn't going to let that slow him down.

Dodging around another horse's leavings he noticed a shop selling guns. He stopped in his tracks. He could get a big pearl handled revolver! Or maybe a  shot-gun! The kind with two barrels.

As if a child asking for permission, when he technically was just as "in charge" as the Pools, he inquired:

"Can I buy some guns real quick?!"

Desmond Holt

November 05, 2020, 03:47:42 pm #5 Last Edit: January 04, 2021, 05:16:35 pm by Axe
Location: The Ship

The Captains chair had never really been something Desmond has sought out. Not because he lacked the drive, or the nerve. It just never felt worth the trouble of saving up money, finding a ship in decent repair, fixing it up, finding a crew, finding a job, etc. It was simply just easier to hire out his skills to established Captains.

Yet here he was, in the cargo bay of his very own ship, flat on his back checking the fuel line underneath the flatbed 4-wheeled mule that had come with it. He had always been pretty lucky at cards. One of his prized possessions, the pair of ornate hand-canons currently strapped to his thighs, had come to him as part of the winning pot in a game of poker. The Arikara class ship had come to him in much the same way, roughly two week prior. He smiled to himself at the memory. What the hell, he was always looking for new adventures, and captaining a ship definitely qualified as an adventure. And if it didn't go well he could always sell it and be no worse off then before.

The ship itself was a little rough around the edges. It was an older model that had seen action during the war, though its weapon systems had all been removed. It was a little dirty, and definitely in need of some TLC, but overall it was a solid ship. It even came with its own mechanic! An odd man named Ulrich, who'd had an understanding with the previous owner. Ulrich had made quite a few upgrades to the ships engines, and continued to experiment with them. Desmond had agreed that as long as Ulrich didn't blow them up, the man was welcome to stay aboard and continue his work.

Satisfied with the mules fuel line, Des slid out from under the vehicle and wiped his hands on a rag. Ulrich was sitting on the open cargo ramp tinkering with one of the ships catalyzers that had failed turn an engine test. Desmond stood and glanced around. Just about all the important tasks were done. Once Ulrich got the catalyzer reinstalled they would more or less be ready to go. Which meant that it was about time for Desmond to start recruiting a crew, and to start looking for their first job.

Desmond pondered his options. They could do courier work. Or light transport, though the cargo areas probably weren't big enough for any of Three Hills major exports. Maybe passengers? The ship had nearly 20 beds, if people didn't mind sharing rooms. Somehow he doubted they could land enough passengers to make a trip worth it though. Probably a bit of everything... He thought, absent mindedly scratching his beard. He was dressed in a light cotton shirt, khaki cargo pants, and a pair of work boots. He reached up and pulled his hair out of the ponytail he usually wore it in when he was working, letting his mane of sun bleached brown hair fly free. Which means lining up several jobs at once, AND looking for passengers. He sighed, and shrugged. A task for tomorrow.

"Captain," Ulrich called out, "The failed catalyzer has been restored to a pre-fail state.  But it is not optimal." The tall man walked back up the ramp and into the cargo bay. "Catalyzers are finicky, but so far you seem to do good work, I'm sure it'll hold for a while. I think we're about ready for a job, gonna start lining up some work tomorrow. Once we hit our next port of call we'll see if we can find a better replacement for the catalyzer." Desmond stretched. "I'm gonna see if I can do anything about the cargo ramp squeaking every time we open it. Get that catalyzer plugged back in and we'll do an engine test a bit later. After that, assuming everythings green, all we have left is to double check the reactor and seals on the Runabout, tidy up a bit, and then I think we can take the rest of the day off."
"The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun."
Dialogue Color: Seagreen

Rose Wickson

November 06, 2020, 12:29:49 am #6 Last Edit: November 06, 2020, 02:29:49 am by Rose Wickson
Location: Space Port

It had been six years, and Rose still didn't like horses.

Unfortunately, living in a community that relied on them as their main mode of transportation meant that you just had to suck it up and put up with their presence, unless you were willing to become a total recluse, which Rose was not -- although admittedly there were times when she was tempted, most recently when Gus Jenkins had shown up at the clinic drunk as a skunk and serenaded her with "K-K-K-Katy" (substituting "R-R-R-Rosie" for the titular character's name, of course).

Alas, at the end of the day she wasn't the type to go live alone in a cave, and so she had no choice but to go the "suck it up and put up with them" route. She wasn't scared of horses per se, not anymore; that was something she'd had to get over in order to continue being a functioning member of society. Still, every now and then she felt a dull, bitter ache when she looked at one of those beasts. Resentment, you could call it.

"These folks still ride around on ANIMALS!"

An unfamiliar voice pulled the young widow from her thoughts. Three Hills wasn't a big place and strangers tended to stick out like a sore thumbs. Of course, there were more of them near the port, which was one of the reasons she enjoyed her strolls through the area. Rarer were the kind that were taken aback by the presence of horses. Anyone who could behold them with such wonder had to hail from a very different world than the rock Rose had been sitting on for almost 30 years.

The woman stopped in her tracks and turned to look at the man jogging away, as did a handful of other passer-bys. They soon continued on their way; Rose did not. Her curious gaze followed the stranger as he joined another, significantly meaner-looking man and a young girl, all three of them new faces to her.

Ulrich Kruger

November 07, 2020, 09:44:38 am #7 Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 12:58:40 pm by Lomari
Location: The Ship

Ulrich's eyes rested upon the Captain's features as he spoke.  Machines were usually best lubricated with oil, but Mr. Holt seemed to know that honey was just as good for the imperfect organisms known as humankind.  The compliment about Ulrich's quality of work disarmed him against his will, as he felt a touch of gratification at being recognized for his talents.

He had to remind himself that good work was no substitute for working parts.

But by the time he re-focused on the issue of the ship's quality of parts, the conversation had moved past where he could interject any additional complaints.  The Captain promised better parts soon.  That was good.  The Captain also promised to have a look at the ramp.  That the man was willing to get his hands dirty, helping to repair the ship and its embarked vehicles, was further disarming.  Ulrich felt himself soften towards the man and grimaced a bit in distaste at the sensation.

"Oil," he suggested, and then went to carry the repaired catalyzer to where it was needed. 

"...Not Honey."  The cryptic addition came when he was far enough up the hall that it could only be half-heard.

Within the hour, the ship would be fully space-worthy.  Now all they needed was a reason to fly.

Fortunately, that was not his department.
Dialogue Color: burlywood

Reinhardt Pool

November 10, 2020, 01:25:34 pm #8 Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 12:58:46 pm by Lomari
Location: Space Port

He felt beset on all sides. Horses. Guns. "What? No!" Pool snapped. He took a deep breath, like Chuck had taught him to do. In through the nose, out through the mouth. His notorious rage had been tempered by his wife over the years, though it was still a struggle sometimes. Pool offered his daughter an apologetic look. He knew she was just trying to be helpful, but the lunatic who'd convinced Pool to show his face on a planet to which he'd sworn never to return. Another breath. "Listen. We don't need horses if we have a ship. And guns, well I've got plenty. And neither of you are getting one."

Pool needed to think. They needed someone who knew the area. He wracked his brain trying to think of someone who might still be on Three Hills who might remember him... and not want him dead. A name popped into his head, but there was no way she was still around. She'd wanted off this rock worse than he had by the time the gang was hung up. But maybe. "I'm gonna try something. Old friend. Maybe she's still around. Maybe she isn't."

He pondered the foolishness of his errand for a moment before deciding it wasn't any more crazy than their "quest", as Applebaum had put it. Pool was there to do a job and this was him doing it. "Junior. Head down to the docks and find us a ship. Somebody who'll work cheap and won't ask questions. Keep an eye on Fancy Pants, here. You're in charge." A second thought kept him from leaving just then. "Don't mention the, well, you know." Then he walked away, but not before yelling behind his back, "No guns!"
Dialogue Color: firebrick

Rhiannon Pool

November 12, 2020, 12:58:22 pm #9 Last Edit: November 12, 2020, 01:07:24 pm by Lomari
Location: Space Port

"Can I buy some guns real quick?!" Her head whipped around to stare wide-eyed at the boy playing cowboy staring longingly at a gun shop. Her mouth opened to tell him to come back, but her father beat her to it.

"...And guns, well I've got plenty. And neither of you are getting one," he informed them sternly. Then it was her turn to pout, her lower lip sticking out just barely and her brows furrowing. She couldn't even have one? He had like fifty, he couldn't spare her one? Maybe two? She wouldn't hurt herself, she could manage it. Her arms crossed over her chest but she said nothing, not wanting to make herself seem similar to their financier by expressing her disappointment in her father's decision.

"Junior." The girl's arms lowered and her brows rose, waiting for his order (or maybe the changing of his mind about the gun policy.) "Head down to the docks and find us a ship. Somebody who'll work cheap and won't ask questions," he told her. She nodded and slipped a hand into her pocket again, one corner of her lips turning upward now that she had something to do. Find a shady shyster willing to sell a shady ship. She could do that. And if she did it well, he might change his mind and give her some kind of weapon. Maybe a long gun. That would keep her out of danger, if that's what he was worried about.

"Keep an eye on Fancy Pants, here. You're in charge," he added. Junior turned her head to grin mischievously in Sidney's direction, her eyes narrowed and lips turned upward like a crescent. She reached out to grab his wrist, holding him in place like one might hold a small child, despite him being much taller than she was. "You got it, Boss," she answered, watching him walk off.

"No guns!" He shouted back at them, and as she was about to make a face at his back, she spotted someone staring at them. So, instead, the woman looking in their direction got her 'face', which comprised of a scrunched up nose, a tilting of her head, a furrowing of her brows, and a swift jutting out of her chin as though to say, 'you got a problem?!'

"Come on, Fancy Pants," she muttered, walking in the direction of the docks and pulling Sid along with her and ultimately getting him away from the tempting gun store for both of their sakes.
Dialogue Color - Indianred

Sidney Applebaum

November 23, 2020, 02:00:08 pm #10 Last Edit: December 14, 2020, 09:23:52 am by Lomari
Location: Space Port

"Maaaannn...."

Sidney bellowed as the young woman several decades his junior dragged him along as if he was a toddler. The airplane pills were slowly wearing off. He wondered to himself how long he'd be in such an infantile state. Then it occurred to him that high level thought meant he was starting to snap back to reality. Then he realized the next phase of the comedown, dry-mouth was about to set in.

As they trudged along, the former finance bro was making exaggerated movements with his mouth, stretching it open as if that might help. He noticed a spacer walking past in the other direction looking at him like he'd lost his damn mind. Applebaum tried to clear his throat and ask:

"Can I get ah uhhh achhh..."

He tried clearing his throat again.

"Thirsty."

There had to be a bar nearby. He could get himself a soda water and take a minute to let the magic meds fade away. He tried to will saliva into existence but nothing happened. He needed to get as much of his idea out as fast as he could before he lost his voice completely. His throat was drying up too and he needed to act quick.

"AirplanepillsreallydrymeoutIneedtogetadrink...Reallybad."

As she continued to drag him along he pointed at a pretty crappy looking, literal hole in the wall bar in the dockyard. He held up his hands to her and made it obvious he was making a "5", as in five minutes. That's all he'd need. He pointed at the docks, then little Pool, and back again one time. Then he pointed ot himself, then the bar, then the "5" again with his hand. Jetlag sign language wasn't his specialty but she was a smart kid, she'd figure it out.

Reinhardt Pool

December 04, 2020, 04:05:48 pm #11 Last Edit: December 14, 2020, 09:24:25 am by Lomari
Location: Space Port

Pool's thick work boots did their thing on the boardwalk ringing the dirt street of the town. "Still a dump." That much he remembered. The rest was only vaguely familiar, but that could be because it looked like just about every other backwater town. He dropped off the planks and into the town square. There was no scaffold for hangings there now, so either it was that much more civilized or they only put it up for "special occasions." Things were starting to come back into focus.

A doctor's office across the way. That used to be a general store, he thought. The bank was right where he'd left it. Though his gang had never hit that particular financial institution- despite his protestations- he had cased it a time or two. Yeah, it was all coming back. Saloon. Blacksmith. The noodle shop was new. He tried to remember more.

The friend he was looking for had been a local back in the day. Young woman called Posie... something. W something. She'd been the rebellious sort who ran with the gang while they were on Three Hills. Far as Pool knew, she was the only other one who escaped the noose when all was said and done. It was a long shot, her still being on world, but he didn't have any other leads. "Eeeny meeny miney mo..." He said, surveying his options. General store, bingo.

Inside, he was met with full shelves and empty aisles. It was a small, mom and pop type operation, or at least, was meant to appear so. Pool recognized the tell-tale signs of corporate ownership. Everything was impeccably labeled and organized, and lots of core world type brands. Maybe things had changed on Three Hills more than he'd thought. And there was no mom and no pop behind the counter. Only a frisky helper in a green apron with a wide smile. Their name tag called her "Tanya". "Welcome to General Store, a division of Blue Sun Limited. My name is Tanya. How can I help you?"

Pool nearly recoiled in terror. She was so... perky. "Oh, um, just browsing."

"Great! Please let me know if I can be of any assistance!"

"Uh huh. Say, I haven't been here in a long time and I was looking for a friend of mine from the good old days. Goes by Posie?"

Tanya shook her head cheerfully. "I don't know her! But I do know that we're currently running a special on our General Store credit card! If you sign up today, you can get ten percent off your purchase!"



Moments later, with a small bag of sundries and a new credit card in his pocket, Pool exited the shop with a new pair of sunglasses covering his eyes, the tag still dangling. "That was weird." Looking at the other shops, Pool wondered if he was running a fool's errand. There were some folks passing here and there, some looked local, some not so much. Thirty years was a long time. If he recalled, Posie had wanted off of Three Hills as much as anyone. The odds of her still being around-

"Wickson!" Her surname suddenly popped into his head. That might help things. Maybe there was a cortex directory or something nearby-

"Excuse me?" A masculine voice said behind him.

Pool turned to see a tall, strapping lad staring curiously at him. "Mind your business, Junior."

The man, with entirely too much bravado, stepped up to Pool. A few lackeys flanked him and tried to look tough. "I beg your pardon, old man, but I believe you mentioning my fiance is my business." He puffed out his chest and seemed to mean business.

Pool wasn't impressed. "Listen... wait, did you say fiance?" That didn't track. Posie had been younger than Pool by about ten years, but that was thirty years ago. Arithmetic had never been his strongsuit, but if there was one thing that Pool knew intimately it was age.

"Yes. What of it?" The man said, slightly offended.

"You're engaged to Posie Wickson?"

"Rosie."

Pool shook his head, clocking tall, not-so-bright, and handsome's goons slowly making their way around him. Posie had always been very clear on her preferred name. "Posie." Pool wasn't one to be intimidated, even outnumbered and underaged. He stepped half the distance to lord fluffy britches.

The younger man, not to be outdone, closed the gap. "Her name is Rosie, and I'll ask a brute such as yourself to explain why she concerns you?"

"Really? Ok, I'll bite." Pool removed his sunglasses and wished he'd let his daughter and the dope get him a gun. But he knew he didn't need one. "Ain't she a little old for you?"

The goons gasped as the dude's face fell. "How dare you, sir!"

Pool couldn't figure it out. Posie had to have at least twenty years on this guy. "Wherever you get your jollies, I guess. Ok, Fiance. Listen, I'm an old friend of Posie's. We used to ride together. Got into some trouble, if you know what I mean. Just looking to reconnect. Know where I can find her?"

Then the punching started.



Location: The Clinic

Pool woke up in a sterile white room, staring at an overhead fluorescent light. "Ah,crap." He'd seen enough medical facilities to know exactly where he was and what had happened. He sat up with a groan, equal parts age and having gotten his ass kicked. He hoped he hadn't been out for too long.
Dialogue Color: firebrick

Rose Wickson

December 07, 2020, 04:43:01 am #12 Last Edit: December 07, 2020, 08:52:10 am by Rose Wickson
Location: The Clinic

Upon returning to the clinic, Rose was greeted by Dr. Pearl Cohen, who was frantically pacing around the examination room with her coat on.

"Rosie! There you are!" The senior doctor was visibly relieved, grabbing her already prepared medical bag from the counter. "I need to make an urgent housecall, but Ernie and some folks from the market just brought in a patient. Sounds like he got in a scuffle with Gus and his boys in the town square. Big guy. Unconscious, but it doesn't seem like he's got any broken bones, just some bruising, maybe a concussion."

Rose's stomach sank. Gus was fond of puffing out his chest, but she never thought he'd go far enough to beat up anyone. Well, sure, he'd undoubtedly thrown a punch or two while drunk at the bar, but ganging up on someone in bright daylight?

"Oh, and he's not from around here." Dr. Cohen gave Rose a conspiratorial smile and pat on the arm as she headed out. Dr. Cohen had been doing a lot of that lately, pointing out Rose's thinly veiled fascination with out-of-towners. Every time she did, Rosie felt like she was being set up on a blind date by a mother who was anxious for her daughter to leave the nest and pop out some grandbabies. Maybe she was, in a way. Rose had the qualifications to practice medicine independently, yet here she was, still orbiting around her mentor. Whenever an errand needed running, Rose was on the case while Dr. Cohen took charge of the actual medical business... just like it had been when she'd began her apprenticeship.

It's been six years.

Between Gus' attempts to woo her and Dr. Cohen dropping hints about networking with off-worlders, it seemed like everybody around her was eager for Rose to move on in one way or another. None of them seemed too interested in what Rose herself had to say on the matter.

After Dr. Cohen was gone, Rose approached the man on the table. Even with the swelling, she instantly recognized him as the same man she'd seen earlier at the space port; you didn't forget a face like that. Her heart rate, which was already elevated, picked up. Her patient had been accompanying that stranger who'd been awestruck by horses. An adventurer from a faraway land where horses were a quaint remnant of the past and not a daily reality.

The patient stirred, and Rose snapped out of her daydreams.

"Careful!" She swooped to the man's side, gently supporting his back while he sat up, although he didn't seem to need the help. That was a good sign. "You've got quite the goose egg there. Here-" She pressed an ice pack in the man's hand and guided it to the bump on his head, letting him hold it against the injury himself. She took an instinctive step back, as if icing your bruises was a precarious task that required lots of space. Truth was, he was a little intimidating. She smiled at him regardless.

"How are you feeling? Any nausea, dizziness? Can you remember what happened before you got knocked out?"

She thought back to Gus, and how she didn't pin him as the type to randomly start a fight. Had he been provoked? Or had this brute of a man been the instigator? If there was something illicit going on, she didn't want to seem like she was prying.

"Your fight ain't any of my business, I'm only asking if you remember 'cause I need to m-make sure you ain't got a c-c-c-" The word got stuck on its way from Rose's brain to her mouth, a pained expression briefly passing over her face as she struggled. She was used to this happening around locals, but there was still that pang of dread whenever it happened for the first time around someone new.

"...c-concussion." She finished the sentence and quickly moved on, turning to search the drawers while keeping an eye on the man, still smiling her bedside smile with a dash of barely concealed curiosity.

Rhiannon Pool

Location: Space Port

"Can I get ah uhhh achhh..." He tried clearing his throat again. "Thirsty... AirplanepillsreallydrymeoutIneedtogetadrink...Reallybad."

Junior sighed heavily and stopped walking, her arms crossing over her chest as she stared blankly at the older man. Either he was an idiot, had some issues upstairs, or was trying to con her into doing something. She looked in the direction he was pointing, then rolled her eyes. He wanted a drink. What a lush. Her gaze followed the rest of his wild gesturing and she sighed again.

"Yeah, fine. Go get drunk. I'll tell dad that you left me alone in a seedy space port to go talk to strange people in strange ships. If I get kidnapped, I hope the alcohol was worth whatever my dad'll do to you," she answered nonchalantly, waving a hand at him as she turned to head toward the docks. Honestly, she'd be better off without him meddling in her deal making. Like he'd said, people on this planet were desperate and that gave her an advantage in making some arrangement with someone for the use of their ship.



A few minutes had passed, ten, maybe twenty, and she was already sure that Sid was either dead or had run off to join the circus. Or he'd been shanghaied. Her lips turned down at the edges and her brows rose. That would be interesting, and maybe it'd be totally beneficial. Oh...wait, he had the money. She groaned and rubbed her face with her hands. Focus on the ship. If he stays missing, wait until dad gets back and then go hunt Sid down then.

She'd passed a few ships, now, and had a few dead-end conversations with interesting folk. Junior figured they must not have a dentist on Three Hills. Or soap. Her nose scrunched up and she paused at the base of an Akira class' cargo ramp, her hands shoved into her pocket and her expression sour. She looked almost like she was imitating her father's standard scowl. And maybe she was... He seemed to get things done with it, so she'd give it a whirl. Cautiously, Junior made her way up the ramp and cleared her throat, "Uh, hello?" she called out to anyone inside, stopping at the threshold as she hadn't been given permission to enter.
Dialogue Color - Indianred

Sidney Applebaum

December 20, 2020, 08:02:12 pm #14 Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 10:20:57 am by Sidney Applebaum
A few minutes ago... Byrne's Pub

A hole in the wall. Literally. The building had a cutout for the barkeep inside to operate safely indoors, while handing the drinks out to the patrons waiting for flights or what-have-you. Sidney was never so relieved to see such a terrible bar. Stepping up to the unattended watering hole, the core-worlder smiled and tried to squeak out his drink order. The dehydration and drymouth had really started to strain his remaining ability to speak.

"HeybuddycanIgetasodawater..."

The barkeep lurched forward. The insignia on his outfit was familiar. Byrne's Pub emblazoned upon a shamrock. Sid realized this was some sort of spaceport franchise version of the pub he frequented with his fellow finance-bros back home. The barkeep didn't understand Applebaum either. This was as close to home turf as he was going to get on this planet and it still wasn't going well.

Trying to change tack, and hoping he'd understand a short and familiar order. He was straining even harder to make something recognizable spill forth from his parched mouth:

"Beer....Please... Any liquid..."

The bartender's cold expression shifted to frustration.

"Are you gonna order or what?"

Sidney replied:

"..."

Nothing. He couldn't even squeak now. He motioned towards his mouth frantically, trying to keep smiling and acting friendly despite his inability to communicate verbally. The former stock slinger was really regretting skipping that free sign language class. The barkeep's expression shifted further from confusion to offense. The man pointing at his mouth and smiling aggressively was making him uncomfortable.

Applebaum looked over his shoulder, hearing grumbling behind him, somebody else had queued up behind him. He made that same embarrassed smiling face at them, and held up a finger to ask for one moment. This situation was getting away from him. But this was his skill-set! People skills. And financial analysis. Both of those were easier with vocal chords that aren't scorched like hot coals. Sid took a breath and resolved to try and clear this up with some more gesturing.

He again motioned towards his mouth, then smiled expectantly. Surely they'd get what he meant.The man behind him cleared his throat.

Sid turned around, this time regarding the person queued up behind him.

"You hitting on my boyfriend?"

He kept regarding the man as his neck craned further back, realizing this tree of a man was at least a head taller than him and two to three times more thick. Sid would have cleared his throat if he could. Or nervously laughed. This was his last shot to clear things up. He took another breath then started gesturing again.

A few minutes later... or "now" if you want to be semantic about it...

Sid rounded the corner through the docks. He jumped over auto loader full of crates. Just barely clearing it he landed ungracefully but managed to keep his feet under him. This was the most athletic he'd been in weeks. But he sure was showing his ex. She said he'd never get off the couch once he retired. His promises to retire early and see the universe, live a life of adventure, tall tales of a man who knew his relationship had already imploded.

But here he was. Meeting new people. Jogging again. Hell, he was sprinting and even trying new things. Like stealing drinks from the table of another cut-out bar in the commercial kiosk area. While thieving wasn't his first instinct, he couldn't think of what else to do. He'd only spilled half of the bottle as he ran. Not too bad. Applebaum looked behind him, he seemingly lost the bartender and his life partner. He slowed down then stopped for a moment. The fifty something was now in the area where the ships were docked long-term. Many were half-junkers. Most in the midst of being dismantled, or put back together.

Sid pressed the sweet ale to his lips and nearly brought it all down in one gulp. Panting he wiped his mouth and let his voice crack and creak as he tested his ability to vocalize again.

"Aaahhheaaghhhh.... acch..."

"Him! That's the pervert!"

Sid was taking the final sip of his beer when he looked up. The boyfriend had found a couple friends. Both friends had pistols on their hips. Frozen there with the beer pressed to his lips he realized one of the friends was the guy he stole a beer from.

"My first trip to the core and I've got a p-- pu-hhhhcchh achh..."

Trying to finish the sentence about having a "posse after him" his only partially rehydrated throat again closed up on him.

"Posse... I've got a posse after me..."

"What's he saying about his p-"

The perceived pervert was only parched, but they couldn't perceive such possibilities. Pumping his legs his pursuers paused their prognostication as to what P-word he was saying. Pushing himself he huffed and puffed. He panicked not realizing he was parallel to the younger Pool he was trying to parlay with. He was running down lane "O", Pool was approaching a vessel in lane "P". They were partitioned by a row of ships docked at port.

"Poooooollll!!!!!

A poor attempt to plead, he only squeaked pointlessly. The pint-sized Pool would only have noticed the pursuit if she was peering in the gaps. Maybe picking out the partial pandemonium of the passing putz.

Reinhardt Pool

December 31, 2020, 07:48:38 am #15 Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 10:51:58 am by Lomari
Location: The Clinic

"I'm fine I'm fine. Ain't the first time I've gotten my ass kicked." First time in a while, though. He'd been sitting pretty back home. Had a crew of guys to back him up, always packed a weapon, and hadn't let himself be sucker punched by some fancy pants. "Nothing hurt but my pride." Pool squinted at the young woman tending to him and wished for his glasses, though didn't put them on. She seemed familiar, but he couldn't place it. "How long I been out?" It suddenly occurred to him that if it was longer than a bit Junior and the Putz might be looking for him. Judging by the light coming through the window, he wagered it was either not long or very long.

"I remember gettin' sucker punched by some asshole who was upset about his fiance because I was looking for her. That's it. But I think he was stupid or something because there's no way she'd go for someone like him." Pool waved the woman off and hopped off the table and onto his feet, leaving the icepack on the bed. No nausea. No vertigo. Slight headache, but more like a bruise than a migraine. He figured he'd be fine. He knocked on his head with his knuckles to prove it to her. "See? They always said I got rocks for brains. Now, if you'll excuse me, toots, I got places to be." He wasn't going to find Posie by moping around a clinic. At least the peacock had confirmed she was still on-world, so it wasn't exactly a goose chase.

He stopped short of the door, as his heart panged with the smallest twinge of guilt. This lady was roughly his daughter's age. Sorta. He wasn't sure, honestly- once you get to a certain age anyone younger than you by more than twenty years all look the same- but she seemed nice. Maybe the stutter did it. Pool was no softie, but the tongue-tied were a pitiful lot. His hand reached into his pocket and pulled out a small wad of paper credits, which he left on the table. "Listen. Tell the doc I'm fine and I wouldn't let you keep me here, so you don't get in trouble. And this-" He said, pointing to the money. "-Is for not getting my name and serial number, savvy?" He winked and though his face was carved and ripped with wrinkles and scars and a lifetime of fights to the death; there was still a jovial charm to it. He headed for the door.
Dialogue Color: firebrick

Desmond Holt

January 04, 2021, 05:43:41 pm #16 Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 10:51:45 am by Lomari
Location: The Ship

"Oil," Ulrich suggested, then turned and headed deeper into the ship. Desmond smiled and turned towards his toolbox to grab an oil can. Then, barely audible from deeper in the ship, he heard Ulrich say "...Not Honey." Desmond blinked, then shook his head and chuckled. The man was certainly odd, no denying that.

He was still digging through the tool box a few moments later when someone cleared their throat from the cargo ramp. Desmond tensed and looked around, his right hand dropping to the butt of the one of his hand canons. He wasn't expecting anyone, and although it had been two weeks, this wouldn't be the first time someone lost something at the tables and tried to reclaim it by force. "Uh, hello?" He relaxed when he saw that that the voice belonged a small red headed girl, somewhere around her mid to late teens if he had to guess, with a rather sour expression on her face. "Uh, hi." he said taking a few steps towards the ramp and peering around her. Not seeing any big burly men here to relieve him of his ship, he shrugged and gave the girl his full attention. "There something I can do for you? You lost or something?"
"The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun."
Dialogue Color: Seagreen

Ulrich Kruger

January 04, 2021, 07:24:58 pm #17 Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 10:51:37 am by Lomari
Location: The Ship

In the engine room, Ulrich carefully fit the refurbished Catalyzer into its place along the feedline.  Then he used a spanner to secure the device to each feedline slipsocket.  He did not like the slipsocket design, much preferring the locksocket.  Slipsockets could loosen during operation, endangering the engine and the entire crew.  But they were easier to secure, requiring only a half-twist, and so mechanics and manufacturers tended to prefer them.

Short-sighted. 

Perhaps he'd replace the sockets when they had some cash, and he could convince the Captain of the superior efficacy of locksockets.

As he finished his work, he heard voices coming from the cargo bay. 

Slinking up the hall enough to get a better ear on the goings-on, he listened.  Perhaps a job had found them.

Dialogue Color: burlywood

Rose Wickson

Location: The Clinic

"How long I been out?"

"Not long I reckon," Rose said, unhelpfully. Dr. Cohen hadn't actually given her a clear timeline, but she assumed it couldn't have been that long if the patient had 'just been brought in' when she was returning from her errands.

She closed the drawer she'd been rummaging through and turned to the man, holding a small lamp used for checking dilated pupils. The mention of a fiancée gave her pause. Didn't Dr. Cohen say this was Gus Jenkins' doing? She hadn't heard anything about him getting engaged, and word usually traveled like wildfire in a small community like this. If he had indeed found someone else to court it was a relief, although she couldn't help but feel a little sorry for whoever the (un)lucky girl was.

Dismissing the mention of Gus' fiance with a bemused blink, Rose approached the man with the lamp in hand, only to be shushed away. Judging by how lucid and steady on his feet he seemed to be, he probably wasn't banged up too badly, but she still didn't like him walking out before she was done examining him.

"Listen. Tell the doc I'm fine and I wouldn't let you keep me here, so you don't get in trouble. And this. Is for not getting my name and serial number, savvy?"

The man gave Rose a friendly wink, and her cheeks felt hot -- not out of any kind of flattery or attraction, but out of embarrassment. She looked at the credits on the table, a bribe given to a lowly apprentice to keep them from snitching to the boss. But I am the 'doc', she wanted to say. Was she not acting like one?

As Rose reflected on her professional conduct, the man turned to leave, and she panicked. She didn't want him to leave. He was looking for someone. Gus's fiancée? Who on Three Hills could that be and what did this battle-hardened stranger want with her? Who was that other guy with him? The horse guy? She had to know. Maybe she was making a mistake. Maybe the woman this man was looking for was in terrible danger, and she'd be selling her out if she offered to help him find her -- and yet she didn't think so. Her gut told her this person didn't want to harm her.

She rushed past the man and stood in front of the doorway, blocking his way to the exit.

"You know, everybody knows everybody 'round here, and folks don't always take kindly to strangers." Her gaze flickered briefly to the bump on his head before returning to his eyes. "But I do. I mean, I don't m-m-mind strangers. And I reckon I know this person you're looking for. M-maybe I can help if you tell me her name?"

She would have liked to think she was offering out of the sheer kindness of her heart, but truth be told... the curiosity was killing her.

Gemma Pierce

Location: The Ship
Gemma had finished up a short term job piloting a transport to the planet, something to do with horses. She didn't really ask but it was money. As long as it wasn't for the Alliance. Smuggling lent it self to a nomadic life style and it funded her well enough to live comfortably. She had making her way to the local pub for some kind of sustenance, eyeing the ships as she walked by. She always did like admiring them, the nice ones anyway.

One in particular caught her eye. She stopped to look over the boat. Gemma wasn't sure what it was, but something about the Arikara class ship just spoke to her. I had seen some things, but still had life to it.  The cargo bay door and the urge to walk in was just too great. She meandered in, looking around as if she were just meant to be there. Unfortunately for Gemma, there were people in the cargo hold.

While one might find it awkward to just walk into a stranger's ship....Gemma didn't really care. She just stood quietly with her hands comfortably sitting in their respective pockets looking over the boat.


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