The Ashlanders - Chapter 6: The Blind Man's Last Gambit (Closed, Started)

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Managed to make a second sheet despite being on vacation. Woot! I should have the third and fourth characters up by Monday.

I have a really busy week at work next week and then another vacation the following weekend, so I'm thinking I will leave recruitment open until July 2nd. Shortly after that I will announce which characters have been accepted.

EDIT: Also, I wanted to make a quick note about the breathing masks. Most breathing masks only cover the nose and mouth (kind of like the bottom-half of a paintball/airsoft mask), though it is not rare to see those that resemble full-on gas-masks and helmets. Pixie and Sprout both wear the typical, smaller masks.

[EDIT]: On second thought, since I'm already involved in several RP's as it is, and I've been distracted by various other matters, I probably wouldn't be able to do this RP justice. Sorry about that.

Texas Joker 52:
I hope that you haven't closed the rp yet, since I'd really like to apply for this, particularly given some of the other submissions. Regardless, I'll edit in a completed sheet not too long from now.

I don't think its been closed yet. I'm not the GM...

but so far... the OP has been a bit slow to respond to anything. I don't know if they've reviewed or accepted a single sheet yet.

He said he's start the RP some time in early July I think, which means we'll probably be finding out who's in soon enough, but you've still got time if you want to post a sheet. Rest assured they are reviewing them.

NinjaDeathSlap:

He said he's start the RP some time in early July I think, which means we'll probably be finding out who's in soon enough, but you've still got time if you want to post a sheet. Rest assured they are reviewing them.

This is all true.

TheDoctor455:

Texas Joker 52:
I hope that you haven't closed the rp yet, since I'd really like to apply for this, particularly given some of the other submissions. Regardless, I'll edit in a completed sheet not too long from now.

I don't think its been closed yet. I'm not the GM...

but so far... the OP has been a bit slow to respond to anything. I don't know if they've reviewed or accepted a single sheet yet.

I'm super busy until next Tuesday, so I won't likely announce who all is accepted until that time. The window for submissions is open until that time. I am hoping I'll have time to go through the submissions received so far with Binnsy tomorrow. I have a few people in mind that have more or less been accepted already, but I'll wait to announce all accepted sheets at the same time.

My noble character has been posted. I'll have my fourth and finally sheet up on the front page before I announce the accepted sheets next week.

Fappy:
My noble character has been posted. I'll have my fourth and finally sheet up on the front page before I announce the accepted sheets next week.

You're taking too long.

YOU SUCK!
:3

Are new entries currently allowed or frowned upon? (I ask because of the sheet reviewing)

deathbydeath:
Are new entries currently allowed or frowned upon? (I ask because of the sheet reviewing)

You should still be fine, according to Fappy, entries don't close until next week.

deathbydeath:
Are new entries currently allowed or frowned upon? (I ask because of the sheet reviewing)

Submissions are open until July 2nd, so knock yourself out!

Daystar Clarion:

Fappy:
My noble character has been posted. I'll have my fourth and finally sheet up on the front page before I announce the accepted sheets next week.

You're taking too long.

YOU SUCK!
:3

I'll remember your disrespectful remarks if you get accepted. An angry GM ALWAYS remembers.

MUWAHAHAHAHA

Fappy:

deathbydeath:
Are new entries currently allowed or frowned upon? (I ask because of the sheet reviewing)

Submissions are open until July 2nd, so knock yourself out!

Daystar Clarion:

Fappy:
My noble character has been posted. I'll have my fourth and finally sheet up on the front page before I announce the accepted sheets next week.

You're taking too long.

YOU SUCK!
:3

I'll remember your disrespectful remarks if you get accepted. An angry GM ALWAYS remembers.

MUWAHAHAHAHA

Lilith isn't Daystar, keep her out of this!

D:<

Daystar Clarion:

Fappy:

deathbydeath:
Are new entries currently allowed or frowned upon? (I ask because of the sheet reviewing)

Submissions are open until July 2nd, so knock yourself out!

Daystar Clarion:

You're taking too long.

YOU SUCK!
:3

I'll remember your disrespectful remarks if you get accepted. An angry GM ALWAYS remembers.

MUWAHAHAHAHA

Lilith isn't Daystar, keep her out of this!

D:<

What is that I see? Is that Daystar getting ready to backpedal faster than an Oblivion archer? I think it is... assuming he wants Lilith to see tomorrow >:D

EDIT: We should probably stop this derail now XD

Because every band of space cowboys needs an out of place priest. The bio is still pretty basic, I can expand on his past in greater deal or it could be kept secret for a fun reveal at some point if you're into that kind of thing. Will hopefully be able to get to work on a bandit family character tomorrow too.

It's still a tad unfinished I'm afraid, but with the deadline looming I thought it best to at least show my interest. Hope that it's okay.

Just need a little more time still

Fappy:

Daystar Clarion:
-Snip-

Looks good so far. I see you caught on to the Bebop influence here. Finish it!

NinjaDeathSlap:
-Snip-

Awesome! Only thing I would say is that you alter any mention of cash to that of carbon. I failed to include an economy section in the setting description, but basically people use carbon rocks as currency. Vendors have scales in their shops and stuff like that.

TheDoctor455:
-Snip-

It's no problem. I've taken vacations during RPs as well. Just make sure you mention it when the time comes. Also, if you're character is accepted we'll deal with the Skype thing afterwards. Don't worry about that right now.

GSP66:
-Snip-

Cool, but I have one question. Is he supposed to be an ex-bounty hunter turned bandit? Pretty much everyone working for Pixie is considered a bandit is some way or another.

Yes, yes he is. He was once more independent now working for Pixie more directly

Also I got a picture of what my guy generally looks like

Just imagine Christian Bale from 3:10 to Yuma but with a pony tail and sunglasses

image

Yo. Sorry if there are any problems with the sheet (my time was a bit limited), but other than that, here it is:

Binnsy and I discussed the submissions this weekend and we're ready to share the list of accepted sheets! Drum roll please....

As you can see we had a hard time narrowing down the list. I was originally looking for 6-7 players (besides Binnsy and myself), but there were too many cool sheets to choose from. There are still a few more I would have liked to include, but it will be hard enough juggling 10 other players as it is! Congratulations to everyone who got accepted!

For anyone who didn't get accepted this time around: as the RP progresses we may have players come and go for whatever reason. If I feel we have one too many vacant spots open in the RP I will reopen submissions and you are free to resubmit a previously submitted sheet or create an entirely new one.

In a bit I will create the Skype chat channel. PM me your Skype name so I can add you to the chat! I plan to formally start the RP once everyone's had a chance to check in and I can discuss when and where your characters will come into the story.

Thanks everyone!

Fappy:
Binnsy and I discussed the submissions this weekend and we're ready to share the list of accepted sheets! Drum roll please....

As you can see we had a hard time narrowing down the list. I was originally looking for 6-7 players (besides Binnsy and myself), but there were too many cool sheets to choose from. There are still a few more I would have liked to include, but it will be hard enough juggling 10 other players as it is! Congratulations to everyone who got accepted!

For anyone who didn't get accepted this time around: as the RP progresses we may have players come and go for whatever reason. If I feel we have one too many vacant spots open in the RP I will reopen submissions and you are free to resubmit a previously submitted sheet or create an entirely new one.

In a bit I will create the Skype chat channel. PM me your Skype name so I can add you to the chat! I plan to formally start the RP once everyone's had a chance to check in and I can discuss when and where your characters will come into the story.

Thanks everyone!

Damn not accepted. Oh well. Just one question? I thought there was a one character limit? Or did I miss something?

GSP66:

Fappy:
Binnsy and I discussed the submissions this weekend and we're ready to share the list of accepted sheets! Drum roll please....

As you can see we had a hard time narrowing down the list. I was originally looking for 6-7 players (besides Binnsy and myself), but there were too many cool sheets to choose from. There are still a few more I would have liked to include, but it will be hard enough juggling 10 other players as it is! Congratulations to everyone who got accepted!

For anyone who didn't get accepted this time around: as the RP progresses we may have players come and go for whatever reason. If I feel we have one too many vacant spots open in the RP I will reopen submissions and you are free to resubmit a previously submitted sheet or create an entirely new one.

In a bit I will create the Skype chat channel. PM me your Skype name so I can add you to the chat! I plan to formally start the RP once everyone's had a chance to check in and I can discuss when and where your characters will come into the story.

Thanks everyone!

Damn not accepted. Oh well. Just one question? I thought there was a one character limit? Or did I miss something?

You could submit as many sheets as you wanted. I actually may end up bribbing some of the players into rolling additonal characters later on. Sorry you didn't make it in :(

Fappy:
-snip-

Boo, I didn't get in :( Assuming I do get a chance to re-submit, (other than the obvious stuff mentioning the ship) should I change much on my sheet?

Athol:

Fappy:
-snip-

Boo, I didn't get in :( Assuming I do get a chance to re-submit, (other than the obvious stuff mentioning the ship) should I change much on my sheet?

I wouldn't say much needs changing other than the fact that your gear's a bit too high-end for a member of the Iron Maidens. In the end we ended up needing to choose between two different former Nobles >.>

Fappy:
-snip-

Right-o

The Ashlanders - Chapter 1: The Great Train Robbery of 3129

Meredith "Pixie" Monroe had carefully reviewed the plan of attack for the past few days, as was standard for train robberies. You always need a thorough plan when taking on such a massive score. Never go in half-cocked, as they say. If only such a philosophy could coexist with reality. Unfortunately, Pixie knew all too well that there were always going to be variables involved that you couldn't prepare for. Things you never saw coming. This robbery would be no different.

She was good at devising strategies, but if you're living a bandit's life you've got to learn to improvise. "Wing it" may as well have been Pixie's motto. She was also impartial to, "Fuck it! We'll do it live!"

Pixie stood alone in the dimly lit hangar, reviewing a map of the Feroxi region. Ruffles had already prepped the hangar for assault. All of the Ashcrawlers, large Humvee-like vehicles, sat in a row, fueled up and ready to go. The rest of the 25-man crew were likely doing their own preparation elsewhere. It was a large iron-husk of a ship, but still felt a bit cramped due to its narrow hallways and decent sized crew.

She checked the time on the old clock on the wall. He should be calling any second now...

Suddenly, the silence of the hangar was broken by a loud buzz as a old machine in the corner of the room began printing a piece of paper in Morse code:

"Train just left. Should reach the valley in an hour's time. Good luck."

A sly smirk broke out across Pixie's lips as she grabbed her radio off the table, flipped the frequency to that of the ship's PA system and began barking orders, "Listen up, Maidens! We've got us a train lookin' fer a good ol' fashioned butt fuckin' in the valley this mornin'. Y'all reckon they've got lube handy?!" She paused a moment as to hear the feint laughter echoing through the hallow halls of the Maiden.

She put her boot down on top of the iron table and continued, "I wanna to see my Valkyries down in the hangar ASA-fucking-P! You got it?!"

****************************************************************************************************************************************************

Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit!

Axel "Sprout" Monroe, Pixie's adopted son, had slept in this morning. He had mere seconds of scrambling to do before Pixie would march up to his quarters and beat him over the head with a cinder-block. With no time to think he threw his kevlar vest on, put on his favorite hat and grabbed his gear. He'd have to equip himself properly during the briefing.

It didn't help that he had stayed up late listening to a few of the crew members' alcohol-fueled stories. Most of which involved Sprout's chief interest: loose women. Once the men had retired to their quarters (or passed out on the floor) Sprout spent the remainder of the night fantasizing in his head about naked women. Chief among them being Casino.

He had a bit of a crush.

Everyone knew it.

... It was awful.

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************

Elizabeth Maribel was finally here. After ten long years since her family formally promised her to Dio Basilio, her late sister's widower, she was on her way to marry the man. She'd spent most of her years living a sheltered life among Boomhower's elite and hadn't spent much time outside the dome she called home. A trip like this was not familiar experience.

After getting up early to finish packing, she boarded the first class train car with the rest of the nobles. Most of them were likely there for the wedding as well, though she didn't recognize most. They were family "friends" that likely hadn't seen her since she was in diapers. As she came aboard she double-checked her seating assignment. Her family had already arrived days ago in preparation for the wedding, so she'd have to spend the long trip with a perfect stranger.

Eventually she found her seat, a woman with red hair was already seated across from her. As she sat down she greeted her with a smile, "Lady Josephine I presume? I'm Elizabeth Maribel. It's a pleasure to meet you."

******************************************************************************************************************************************************

It took no more than a minute or two for her "Valkyries" to answer the call. The ragtag team of misfits may have been manifestations of chaos itself, but there's was a focused chaos. They were all loyal to Pixie because she gave them purpose. Directed their fury at those that deserved punishment. Sprout, disheveled as always, was the last to show up, "What's wrong, kid? Get yer peepee caught in'yer fly again?"

Sprout blushed and began organizing his gear. He was quite used to people laughing at his expense. He had a long way to go, it seemed.

After the laughter died down Pixie pointed straight into the air, "Alrighty, Maidens... this is what's up." She threw her hand down dramatically, placing her finger on the map on the table. "The train just left ol' Boomhower a bit ago. Should be findn' its way to the valley in about an hour."

She glanced around the room to gauge their reactions before continuing, "The Maiden'll drop our ashcrawlers down a few miles out. We're to intercept our mark here," She pointed to a spot on the train tracks a few miles from the valley. "Intel suggests they've gotta train full'a them nasty-ass Ivory foot soldiers in the back. A few cars full'a carbon and other loot in front'a that and passenger cars between the cargo and the engine."

Pixie stood up straight and crossed her arms, "Our primary targets are those milk-drinking fucks in first class. They should make for a mighty fine ransom. Our secondary target is the cargo they're hauling. With that in mind, this is how the lot of us er' gonna take down this score." She pointed to the valley on the map. "Ricky-Ticky here rigged the entrance ta' the valley with enough dynamite ta' level a small town. Before we get ta' that point, however, I reckon we're gonna want to separate the masters from their hounds."

She traced her finger along the train tracks, "We're gonna split this crew up: Aesop and Ruffles, you're with me. We're gonna drive up along side the train, providen' fire support and coordinaten' the team's communication. Aesop, yer doin' the driven'. We need ta' get Ruffles ta' the engine so's he can commandeer the train. Now, we're gonna half to be careful here. The engine'll be protected by Ivory soldiers, so if I don't see a safe openin' we're gonna to have to fall back on on Plan B." She pointed to the valley as she spoke. "Any conductor worth a damn'll see the blast comin' from the valley and hit the breaks. I'd just prefer if we didn't hafta ruin such an beautiful landmark."

She looked to Smiles and Ricky, "Smiles and Ricky'll lead the bulk of our men in an assault on the back train car. Smiles, I'll need you ta' get Ricky aboard the train so's he can detach the car from the rest of the train with a bit of his explosive-know-how. This'll need to happen ASAP as the whole point is ta' isolate the bulk of their forces. Take prisoners if ya can, but don't doubt fer a second that this is the most dangerous part of the job. Kill or be killed, Maidens."

Finally, she set her gaze on Casino, Sprout and Padre, "Kid, you and Casino will make yer way ta' the first class car and secure it. You need ta' escort Padre there as soon as yer able, cause' the nobles'll have a cow real quick if we don't have him there to work his magic and calm them the fuck down. Tradin' bullets with soldiers is one thing, but being cramped in a tight space with a bunch'a pissed off folks is an entirely different animal. Watch each other's backs and DO NOT kill any of the passengers, got that!?"

Satisfied with her own plan she placed her hands on her hips and nodded, "Once the soldiers are dealt with, the passenger cars are secured, and we got full control of the train we'll call in the Maiden fer pick up. First, we'll round up all them noble fuckers and pick a few prisoners. Lootin' the train comes second, no exceptions." After a few moments of silence she barked once more, "Any questions?!"

"I wanna to see my Valkyries down in the hangar ASA-fucking-P! You got it?!"

Smiles was content with sitting in a random hallway, playing with his gun. Really just practicing reloading, ejecting the clip, catching it in the air, jamming it back in... it was all rather soothing. He smiled as he repeated the action for the umpteenth time, but then the radio sparked to life, interrupting his peace.

If it wasn't Pixie, he was likely to have started shooting. As it stood, it was her. Spelling at them, though he wasn't likely to start shooting over that. He grunted, standing up and making his way over to the conference room. He sighed as he made it, seemed he was going to be one of the first again. He half paid attention to her speech, only perking up when his name was called.

"Alrighty, Maidens... this is what's up. Blah blah blah, Warren is my favorite and I am totally not afraid of him, he is huggable like a puppy. Smiles and Ricky'll lead the bulk of our men in an assault on the back train car. Smiles, I'll need you ta' get Ricky aboard the train so's he can detach the car from the rest of the train with a bit of his explosive-know-how. This'll need to happen ASAP as the whole point is ta' blah blah blah. Kill or be killed, Maidens."

Warren gave a small salute, as he pulled out his scarf. He wrapped it around, covering up to the tips of his scars, as well as mouth, nostrils, neck, etc. He would put on his mask when he got there, but for now he craddled his rifle. Murder time was coming soon, and all he had to do was put up with the Blondie. Unfortunately, more words followed and Warren held in his sigh. So. Fucking. BORING.

"Any questions?!"

"Nope, I'm good. Murder time, fun time...." His eyes seemed to glaze over as he looked to the humvee's, in anticipation.

Lilith pouted, "Can I just pistol whip 'em a little bit?" A cigarette in her mouth as always, she shrugged and wrapped an arm around Sprout's neck and pulling him towards her, ruffling his hair with her other hand. "Me and the lads will sort them posh wankers out, won't we?" she said, turning her head towards the Padre and smirking.

Lilith woke up early, like she did everyday, she relieved the lookout on deck, and had a cigarette and mug of tea for breakfast. Today was a big day, and she wanted to make sure all her gear was up to standard, she disassembled her rifle and revolver, cleaning them both, barely looking at them while doing so. She looked over the Ashlands whizzing by, she loved to start her day in that little lookout nest, it was quiet and she got to watch the sunrise which, for a few short moments, made the place look like something other than an inhospitable wasteland. She sighed, adding more smoke to the already hazy room. Nobody ever liked going on watch after her. She thought about the job later, she would be with the Padre and Sprout, making sure the wealthy folk didn't try anything, which was fine by her. She got to keep an eye on the kid, and listen to Florian's sexy accent, she considered that a win-win situation. She chuckled, a surprisingly clear one, considering how much she smoked. Scratch another down to her luck.

Lilith knew about the kid's crush, hell every man and his bloody dog did, but she didn't really mind, it gave her something to tease him with, he squirmed more than the poor bastards who thought it was a good idea to gamble against her.

As Lilith's shift began to end, she reassembled her weapon, slinging her rifle over her shoulder and holstering her revolver. She was relieved by another member of the crew, curses and complaints following her down the ladder as always for leaving the nest in such a smoky condition, "Laters wanker!" she grinned, lighting another smoke when she got off the ladder.

She had returned to her room and finished gearing up just as Pixie's call came over the speakers.

"I wanna to see my Valkyries down in the hangar ASA-fucking-P! You got it?!"

She smiled, "Show time", and put her arms behind her head, whistling a cheery tune, as she walked towards the hangar.

Ruffles rubbed his hands together, and clambered into the back of one of the crawlers. Two weapons were slung over his back. One was the shotgun he kept for "just in case", and the other was a beat up old carbine rifle from the Maiden's stockpile. He couldn't very well provide support fire with a shotgun, after all. That said, he could probably count the number of men he'd shot in his time on his fingers, and less than half of those had been fatal. It was the mark of a truly big job that he was thrust into this role, and the result was that he was even more wired than usual. "Alrighty, Cap-i-tan. Let's get this show on the road. Or tracks. Or whatever!"

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

Metal lay on the ridge, watching through his binoculars. In the dead silence, the sounds of his own breathing filled his ears, reflected back by the filter mask that covered the lower part of his head, which was in turn concealed by the careworn dark red scarf pulled up past his nose. A light ash fall was starting, and flecks of it drifted down like snow, settling on the large curved brim of his hat. Looking past the dancing ash flakes, he watched the exchange. The guys on the left were buyers, and the guys on the right were sellers. It was the sellers who were his mark. Or at least their leader was. He was the head distributor of an opium farm/refinery in one of the Eastern domes. Problem was that nobody knew which dome. That would soon change, though Metal didn't really care. All he cared about was the fifteen grams of carbon he was being paid to bring this guy in.

After several minutes, the men boarded their respective transports, the big wagon vehicles colloquially known as ashcrawlers, and went their separate ways. Metal waited a minute before standing and heading back down the ridge he had been spying from, and dusted a light coating of ash from the seat of his quad-bike. He'd customized it for what might be gently termed "bumpy rides" with springs on the axles, and monstrous tires. He took seat, fired up the engine and was off. Racing down the slope, he came to a mild ridge and rode right over it, sailing through the air and landing with a jolt, set to cut off the ashcrawler he was chasing. As he'd suspected, they turned away and headed towards a large ravine, that might almost be big enough to be called a valley. Without missing a beat, he put on speed and chased.

"Care for another?" the mark, who went by the name of Giles Dufraine asked, opening the ornate silver box and passing a cigar to him, over the table in the first class compartment that they shared.

"Does the working man sweat like a dog?" The Gentleman replied, in his rehearsed southern drawl. They both laughed loudly, before he took the cigar, sliced of the nub, deftly striking a match simultaneously, and savouring the first, long draw. He despised the things in truth. Ostentatious, vulgar even! Were he an honest man, The Gentleman wouldn't be seen dead with one in his hand, for the pipe was, above all doubt, the only way for any respectable sort to take his tobacco. He wasn't however, and so it fell on him to handle the implement as if it were a cherished vice. The wine was better, but only just. It was a 29, dark red and cloying. A good year for reds in truth, as was to be expected in first class. Be that as it may, The Gentleman would have far preferred a crisp white. Today, the Gentleman (or the arms dealer Harris Rosby, as the lack-wit Giles knew him), was grossly fat underneath his pin-stripe suit and plush velvet smoking jacket. His eyes were a ruddy brown, his skin not much lighter, leathery and weather beaten, with a thick, dark beard and bowler hat. A man after Mr. Canton's own heart. Giles was about as close as you got to a self-made man in the Ashlands. He wasn't a commoner in truth, but rather a distant cousin to a middling noble family. There would be little inheritance coming his way, so instead he had made his fortune by cutting in on some of Feroxi's largest Carbon mines, eventually owning them, and rising high above his station. He was new money. Rich, but without the ram-rod stuffiness that infected the cream of the nobility. A persona like Harris, a ruthless glutton with a career in turning former bandits into mercenaries for the various noble families, was like to appeal to him. Harris was just rich enough to be worth Giles' time, but not too rich that Giles couldn't feel secure in acting like the superior in this partnership. That suited the Gentleman just fine. Giles, a man who's middle-class, industrialist status clung to him like an unwanted parasite, would let his finer birth in comparison to Harris' go to his head, as his kind always did. Even for his sort, Giles seemed to love the sound of his own voice, meaning that, meticulously planned and prepared as they always were, this job had been particularly easy for The Gentleman.

"So, we'd got round to talking numbers..." Giles pressed him.

"We had." The Gentleman answered "by the end of this fortnight, I can get the Black Valley Brotherhood and the Blades of Tahocou into your service. That's 65 men, all with rifles, carbines, six-shooters, and shotguns, as well as plenty of machete's and the like if you want to make examples of the ringleaders. They can bring plenty of dynamite too, but if I were you I'd hold off on that. Don't want to give the agitators too high an opinion of themselves, that you'd bring in the big guns to sort 'em!"

They both shared another hearty laugh at that, as he knew his mark's sense of humour well. Truly, Giles was a vile man, and if The Gentleman cared, that would have only made the sucker even more sweet. Still, even if he wasn't on the job, it was share the man's conversation, or do his best to enjoy the view. Not an easy task out here.

"For this," he continued "I'd usually charge 150kg, 60%. But, since you've had the good grace to let me partake in your cigars and fine wine, I'll start you off at a discount of 140."

"You drive a hard bargain, Harris. I was hoping for 100."

"130 then."

"Outrageous!" Giles joked, wagging a fat finger at him. "115, or I might just start to suspect that you're trying to cheat me."

"115... reasonable. I'll take it."

Giles smiled, showing crooked teeth, stained brown from all the cigars. "I think we can do business, Mr. Rosby."

'What you just brought is worth no more than 85 in truth, you blustering oaf!' The Gentleman thought, as they shook hands. 'And once the Black Valley Brotherhood hear the tale of how you cheated me, meaning they'll get only half of what I promised them. They'll relieve you of your little operation, and put you to work as a glorified budgie, if they're feeling kind.'

"More wine?" Giles offered.

"Oh, to be sure."

The woman in blue sat directly across the aisle from her current mark: Lady Josephine. Kitty had done her homework, but there was little to find on Lady Jo and on the whole she didn't seem to be all that different from the average noblewoman in her position. Plus, her family didn't have much influence despite controlling an entire region. Then again, the bounty was for her to be brought in alive, which narrowed down the possibilities somewhat.

Possible motives for the Bounty:

1. She's a runaway, and her family is trying to bring her back into the fold.
2. Another family wants a new bargaining chip.
3. Some perv wants a new pet.
4. Conspiracy theorist wants to interrogate her.

Based on her observations of Lady Jo in person, Kitty started to regret taking this job, but... she needed to pay the rent and fix her plasma revolver, so here she was. And one way or another, Lady Jo was leaving with Kitty. To that end, Kitty got up, and walked towards her mark, keeping a carefully measured pace, and putting on a warm smile.

"Pardon me, milady," she said, curtseying briefly, "Might I join you? A friend of mine was supposed to take this journey with me, but they fell ill and had to cancel their plans."

It had been a long hard couple of days for Viola, but it was worth it in the end. She had been hunting Miles 'Copper Tooth' Reed, who had been charged with counts of robbery and murder, across three different towns for the past three days; each time she'd be slowed down by some of his posse, thinking that they might be able to do her in. But eventually, the fool had run out of men to throw at her, so it had boiled down to a shootout between the two in an abandoned town a couple of hours drive from Feroxi. A lucky shot in the thigh forced Miles to surrender, but it didn't prevent him from kicking and screaming as he was brought in to the sheriff.

For now at least, Viola was enjoying a quiet drink up at the Silver Dollar Saloon, the sounds of a piano and much conversation filled the room with life. Though the peace didn't last long as she felt a presence loom over her, and the smell of cheap alcohol on the back of her neck.

"Hey there babe. That's a purdy looking outfit you got on there. You know what I think? It'd look even better as a crumpled heap on the floor." Viola laughed at the man's failed attempt of a chat up line.

"That's funny, so would you." Viola said as she took a sip of her drink, knowing that she'd ruffled a few feathers. At that moment, the man tried to reach round and cop a feel of Viola; to that end, she proceeded to elbow him in the chest, which given his drunken state, made him topple over onto the floor. She then drew one of her revolvers and aimed it at the man's head.

"Why you... how DARE you deny me. Just who do you think you are?" The man said in anger and through gritted teeth.

"Viola... Viola Greaves, otherwise known as the Gunslinger." Viola said as she took another sip of her drink. This announcement caused the whole room to suddenly go quiet, and a look of fear to be cast on the posse that was with the man.

"Awwwwwwww shit! I told you it was her boss, I told you that you shouldn't mess with her."

"You should listen to your friend there more often. Now then, you've got five seconds to beat it, before I beat you."

"We probably should run boss, heaven knows we'd survive longer out there than in here." Spoke one of the posse rather nervously, copious amounts of sweat dripping from his brow. Despite how calm the gang leader looked, deep down he was fuming, but realised his underling had a point. After being helped up by his posse, he turned to face the saloon.

"Heh, come on boys, let's try elsewhere." The leader said in a defeated, flat tone as the gang left the saloon. The place was still quiet for a few moments before Viola spoke.

"What? You didn't expect me to actually submit. I came in here to have a nice relaxing drink, not harassed by some drunken yahoo." Feeling satisfied with the response, life came back to the tavern.

His men dead, Metal had his mark literally by the throat, and slammed him hard against the wall of the ravine, tuning out the stream of mixed threats, begging and attempted bribery. Spineless ass. Metal let him fall, and then clipped him across the head with his left hand, the one that earned him his name. The man fell unconscious in a limp heap, and Metal holstered his gun; a repeater with the barrel sawed off and the stock cut down to size so it could work as either a rifle or impromptu pistol. The man's small entourage had gone down quickly in the confined space. Retrieving a length of rope from the bag he'd strapped to the quad, he quickly tied the man up and threw him over the vehicle's back then set about casting around until he found what he was looking for. A scuffed leather pouch. Undoing the rawhide cord, he opened the flap, and smooth jet black stones glinted up at him. Setting the bag down, he removed one of them, about the size of his thumb and drew a lighter out from inside his coat. He pressed the small flame against the stone, and then licked it. It left an acrid, bitter taste on his tongue and he spat, then grinned. The real deal. Picking up the pouch he weighed it roughly in his hand. About six hundred grams, give or take. Way more than the shitty little bounty he would get. Nice.

Once it was safely stowed in his pack on the quad, he mounted up and headed off back towards Star Dome, to get his shitty little bounty. No sense letting it go to waste.

When her household had received their invitation to attend the Basilio Maribel wedding, Lady Josephine made her traveling arrangements immediately. As the future Matriarch of the Tigereye family, she was expected to attend on behalf of the household. She knew very little of the bride, but was aware that this would be the groom's second ceremony. Surely there is a story behind it, one she will probably hear several times during this trip.

Once she settled into her seat, she took in her surroundings. Several of the nobles that shared the first class car with her she recognized from previous gatherings or she had the pleasure of sharing council with, none of whom piqued her interest. Her fingers lightly grazed the golden pin on her breast. The seat across from her was empty. Whoever would share the journey would her could be anyone, even a prey she had been hunting for fifteen long years.

"Lady Josephine I presume? I'm Elizabeth Maribel. It's a pleasure to meet you."

She raised her brown eyes to meet golden hazel ones. Maribel... Marry! This poppet is the bride? Surely, this couldn't have been a coincidence. But nevertheless Josephine flashed her a smile in return.

"Aye, Lady Maribel. Good morrow. How art thou?"

Not long after the two ladies began conversing, a third voice joined in. "Pardon me, milady. Might I join you? A friend of mine was supposed to take this journey with me, but they fell ill and had to cancel their plans."

Josephine turned to the third lady. She didn't recognize her. "Art thou a guest of Lady Maribel?"

"Art thou a guest of Lady Maribel?" Lady Josephine said, her chosen manner of speech momentarily throwing the bounty hunter off.

"I'm a guest of a guest, to be honest," Kitty said, recovering quickly, "My friend is Lord Roxton."

Eyeing what she thought was a suspicious look from 'Lady Maribel', Kitty decided to hedge her bets a little.

"Oh that wicked man!" she pouted, trying to affect an accent similar to Lady Jo's, "He's not on the guest list at all is he? His idea of a joke. Cruel man. I'm sorry to have bothered you, miladies. Please accept my humblest apologies."

Kitty gave a shallow bow.

Aesop awoke the same as he always had, visions of an old life where pride became shame. He sat up in his cot and ran his hands through his hair tugging on it before grabbing a hair band and making his trademark ponytail. He grabbed the ponytail and pulled on it roughly. The pain would take away bad thoughts, bring him new ones. He would focus only on the pain until he made himself forget. Once he had succeeded and forgotten his nightmares he made a long sigh and began forcing a smile until it became genuine and would likely not leave his face until he hit his next pillow. He stood up and promptly got to work on his daily ritual. Pushups, pullups, jogging around the ship, telling bad jokes and sprouting self motivation into the mirror etc. He was almost done with his exercise routine when he heard his Captain over the PA system. Quickly he threw on his gear and what had now become his uniform and set off to meet the rest of the Valkyries.

He chuckled at Sprouts expense but only a little laugh. He couldn't say anything against the little lad, he himself had a bit of a crush on Casino, only difference being he was good at hiding it. He stood stiff with his arms crossed as it was business time while listening intently to Pixie. "Any questions?"

"Not from me Cap'."

"Aye, Lady Maribel. Good morrow. How art thou?"

It had been awhile since Elizabeth had heard such a manner of speech. Meeting new kinds of people was so delightful! Sadly, before she could respond another woman appeared. The women exchanged pleasantries, though Elizabeth was sure she had never seen this woman before.

Also... she hadn't greeted them properly at all! She offered no name!

"He's not on the guest list at all is he? His idea of a joke. Cruel man. I'm sorry to have bothered you, miladies. Please accept my humblest apologies."

Some of Elizabeth's suspicion evaporated at the woman's desperate plea. The last thing she wanted was to offend someone at her wedding, "Please, do not fret milady!" She said as she stood up and placed a hand on the woman's shoulder. "You may sit with us if you desire, uh... I'm sorry, what was your name again?"

Josephine was a proper woman. She must have caught on to this oddity as well.

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