[AW] A day in the life of... Marlene.

edited October 2010 in Audience
Marlene, like matryoshka dolls, layered by size, your baby Sarah is nestled in your lap and her teddy in hers. You must have fallen asleep like this, as happens often. Sarah seems to talk more in her sleep than she does awake. But, what she says is often unintelligible, incoherent. A soft snore emanates from Sarah's tiny fluttering nostrils. A mass of white cotton is sprouting from the teddy's eye socket. It's always a shame when Sarah falls asleep in your lap, because you have such a hard time moving without waking her. But, your muscles are aching and you feel like you need to stretch, badly. The room is lit faintly by the constant flickering of a small interior cabin light. The door is ajar and the swaying of the barge causes the door to dance to and fro ever so slightly, sometimes smacking against the door frame, making this metallic clanking sound.

You smell smoke. Wafting in from outside on the deck somewhere? Fire? On the barge? It's hard to tell. You're close enough to shore to be able to smell a campfire or something. Maybe not.

What do you do?
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  • Marlene's going to read the sitch:
    #DiceRoller( 2d6+2 ) (highlighted)
    On a hit: What should I be on a lookout for?
    On a smash: What's my best escape route/way to the fire? Who's in control here?

    Marlene attempts to extricate herself from the bed as gently as possible. Any calm sleep Sarah gets is a treasure. As part of the situation assessment, she looks around quietly for the other kids.
  • You get up, without waking Sarah. The hard part's over. You're probably going to have to go up on deck and to find the best way to the fire and who's in control. But, you should definitely be on the lookout for a fire onboard, because as you stand up you realize the smoke is closer than you originally thought. The good news is, it smells like wood burning, not rubber.

    The other kids? You don't see 'em or hear 'em.

    What next?
  • Marlene will follow her nose, heading for the deck if she hits a dead end, and keeping an eye out for the rest of the family. If she reaches the deck without seeing them, she'll call out for them.
  • You don't see anything else suspicious throughout the quarters on the barge. When you get up on deck, you immediately see Timmy standing over a small fire. It looks fucking dangerous as hell. He's got it positioned on this cinder block, and he's trying to position some sort of grate over top the fire, so as to cook or something maybe. There's this decayed-looking fish laid out on the block next to the fire. Jimmy's not far away. His back is to you and he's at the end of the barge. Looks like he's got a long stick, poking at something in the water. You don't see any sign of Vera.

    When you step out on deck, Timmy looks up at you and smiles.

    "Marlene!"

    Sometimes you wonder if you could tell the kids apart if Timmy called you momma, like Jimmy does.

    When Timmy shouts this, Jimmy turns to look, and when he sees you he runs across the barge and slams into your leg, hugging you fiercely. You think you see a glint of wetness in his eyes as he comes to you.
  • "Timmy, what have I told you about setting fires at home? Did you forget the drum already?" Barney, not being the sharpest crayon on the bush, once traded for an old washing machine drum to use as a fire container. When he first tried it, the drum got so hot it singed the the deck, so the next time, he stacked some wood under it, which caught fire, sending the flaming metal drum rolling around the deck until Marlene was able to shove it overboard with what had previously been a perfectly good oar. Marlene wouldn't rule out a repeat of this being an express or implied goal of Timmy's current activities, but would still like to discourage them in the name of everyone's safety. "You all right Jimmy? Did mommy's little firebug scare you?" Marlene looks into Jimmy's wet eyes, ready to read him if necessary.
  • Timmy looks deflated.

    "Oh, Marlene. Our stomachs are aching. We don't have no food. Vera's done gone up to the market to try and get some, but she's taking forever. I was just trying to cook something up for breakfast."

    Jimmy shakes his head no. And, then points over to the side of the barge. If you try to move toward the place he pointed to, he tugs on your leg trying to keep you from going.

    You can go ahead and read Jimmy if you want.
  • "Jimmy, hon? What do you want me to do?"
    #DiceRoller( 2d6+2 ) (highlighted)
    On a hit:
    What's Jimmy really feeling? What does he intend to do?
  • edited October 2010
    You can tell Jimmy is frightened, and a bit disgusted, by whatever is on the side of that barge. He's clinging onto your pant leg tightly.

    "Momma, please don't go. Let's just drive away. Vera will know we left and find us. I promise."

    If you start moving toward it, you sense he's ready to flee below deck.

    You have one more hold if you need it.
  • Marlene squats down next to him. "Before we go anywhere, we need to take a full accounting of the crew, so I want you to go check on Sarah. If she's still asleep, leave her be, but if she's awake, tell her the Captain's upstairs doing recon. Can you be a good little XO and take care of that for me?" Assuming he leaves, she ambles over to Timmy. "Now, I've half a mind to bust you down to deckhand if'n you're not more careful on your watch, but seein' as you're still Intelligence Officer 'till I do, I'd like a briefing on any potential threats to the ship. There anything in the water today we should be worried about?"
  • edited October 2010
    Jimmy nods furiously, and when you give him the order, he runs off toward Sarah to check on her.

    Timmy's struggling to put the fire out. He's got this unwieldy bucket he's filled up and trying to lift it up to dump onto the fire. He's biting his lip as he struggles to lift it and his voice is strained.

    "Nah. Just some dead body Jimmy's been poking at all morning. I told him to leave the guy alone or he'd have nightmares. But, he didn't listen to me. Says he's the XO and he can do what he wants."

    Finally, the bucket lifts up and tilts enough to spill some out and the fire sizzles. He sets the bucket down now and looks up at you with a soot covered face and large brown eyes.

    "I'm hungry."
  • 'Well, the Mess Officer will prepare something as soon as the Quartermaster gets back with provisions, although I do wish she would have reported in first. How long has she been gone?" Marlene moves to check the body to make sure it's not somebody she knows.
  • Timmy shrugs and holds it.

    "Don't know. She was gone when we got up. I figured she'd gone to get some food since we're out. Found this fish, and thought we could munch on it until she got back."

    There's a rancid smell coming from near the water by the body. You're not sure how long the guy's been dead, but the body has already been waterlogged and swollen, the flesh having a greenish hue. He's got leather pants and a jean vest with the Rough Rider's logo on it; he's definitely from Uncle's gang. You don't recognize him off hand, but by your best guess, he's part of some patrol or something. Looks like he's got a few bullet holes lodged in his body - one in the forehead. He ain't pretty, that's for sure.

    "Marlene, now you're gonna have nightmares too!"

    It's Timmy's voice. He's standing next to you now, looking down at the body.

    "He got shot up, yeah?"
  • "Looks that way. Reckon he's one of Uncle's crew, so we'd probably better get him to shore. Alert the crew, and see if you can find the Helmsman. He was about this tall" she indicates Timmy's height "with red hair, and keen eyes, ready to watch the ship while Mommy, I mean the Captain, goes ashore. Think you can find him for me so we can dock this hulk?" She looks around for some way to secure the floating body to the barge, and a place to secure that'll keep it away from Jimmy's eyes until it's returned to Uncle.
  • Where do you usually dock? How far is that from The Chateau?
  • Does the chateau itself have a dock? Seems like that would complement the bustling market well. That would be a logical place to park Barney as well, since Uncle would have an interest in it not getting dragged away. To keep anybody else from using it, Marlene installed a lot of superfluous controls that she adjusts randomly while starting it up so the pre-launch sequence looks different every time. Someone keen who watched her enough times would be able to figure out which ones she hit consistently, but the muscle that gets sent on hovercraft raids isn't usually that sharp or that interested. If the chateau doesn't have a dock, she'd go for the closest place to it, which would presumably be within lookout range given the circumstances of her initial arrival.
  • (Haha...I'm looking to find out if the Chateau has a doc too!)
  • There's definitely a dock of some sort. Might not be the most robust place, probably little more than a simple wooden dock in need of repair, but it's there. I imagine some Rough Riders might be stationed down there to welcome incoming merchants/travelers since there are settlements at various spots on the lake. Oh, and they probably deter any suspicious or hostile peeps. So, let's run with that. Uncle can elaborate if he wishes. We'll say you can see the dock clearly from the marketplace and the main gate lookout.
  • Marlene was hoping that "driving the boat" would be enough enticement for Timmy to take guard duty, but she'll make a manipulate roll if need be, unless Timmy got Jimmy to volunteer instead. Before they start moving, she'll pack the magnum, since she always takes it when visiting the market; can't be too careful. Once she has a helmsman, she'll keep a close eye on them as navigator until they're at the dock, and then attempt to explain the body to the guards. "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this poor feller floated up to m'barge and scared the kids half to death. From the looks of him, I'm guessing he was one of yours. Anyone you know?"
  • edited October 2010
    Timmy's hyped. You got his ego up. He'll guard. Do you give him a weapon of any kind?

    When you approach the dock, the last half of it has collapsed with portions of the collapsed half jutting up like stalagmites out of the lake there. There are a few small boats tied to the dock, the waves from your arrival causing them to knock against the remaining bulk of the dock. Barney's there too, dominating the scene, parked in its special spot.

    There are three Riders when you step out onto the deck. Two guys, one gal. The guys have some rifles, but they aren't carrying any magazines with 'em outside of the ones loaded, and if those have bullets, you'd be surprised. Of course, this is the entry-point to The Chateau from the lake and they just might.

    The girl is sitting on this shipping crate, her knee cocked to the side. She's got this huge fucking machete she appears to be sharpening on the toe of her boot; steel toe? She is giving you the meanest fucking stink-eye ever. What is up with that?

    One of the guys, Tum Tum, approaches. He rests the rifle on his shoulder, muzzle in the air and does the talking for the three.

    "Yea... I know'm. He's one of the guys from the night patrol. Left outta here earlier in the night. Damn. He's fucked up. Yo, Tao, help me drag this piece of shit up here."
  • edited October 2010
    The Chateau is up above the lake, or inlet, or whatever. Pretty steep, rough ground with a couple of switchbacks getting up there, but the Chateau's guards do have a view of the water and shore for a good ways. That's part of why the original owners picked the place ... scenic.

    The dock is just an old boathouse dock, and not in the greatest repair, but it's not going to fall into the water any time soon. And, yeah, a few guards. Not enough to discourage any determined raid, but one of them has a flare gun, in case.
  • edited October 2010
    He'll get whatever weapon would be around. The Driver playbook only specifies one weapon, but if she had the chance, Marlene would have picked up an air rifle or some other low-powered ranged weapon for guard duty; not enough to win serious firefights, but enough to deter casual intruders long enough to wake up Mama. Failing that, whatever's around; bat, knife, something that Timmy won't hurt himself with more than he'll hurt anyone he's guarding against.

    "Sorry to bring him back like this. If I'd been there when the piece'o'dren did this to'im, I like to think things would have turned out differently. On another matter, any o'ya'll seen my Vera? She was headed to the market a while back, and I want to make sure she don't come back with magic beans."
  • Don't know what her problem is, but it started about the same time Biscuit, one of Uncle's thugs, stopped talking to me. We had been talking for a couple of weeks after he was sent to pick up a shipment of scrap metal I brought in. He didn't stare at me quite the same way as most of the lowlifes in the barracks, so we said hi to each other when we passed in the market, and he had even offered to spot the boys some ammo and take them to the shooting range for practice. One day, out of nowhere, he's giving me the cold shoulder, and she's giving me the evil eye. I assume she misunderstood what passed between us, but neither of'em's given me the time of day since then, much less a chance to explain.
  • Tum Tum is twisting his thick, black goatee and then starts digging into his sack.

    "Goddamnit. Uncle ain't gonna be pleased."

    Tum Tum pulls out this funny looking, plastic gun and aims it into the air. There's a loud whizzing sound as this tiny ball of fire flies up into the air and glows brightly in the dimly lit, rainy haze of the morning.

    The bitch is walking over to you, waving her machete around like it's some kind of air traffic control wand. She's got this short mohawk that comes down in the back to some longer dreadlocks, and strange fucking tattoos on the sides of her head.

    "Hold up. How the fuck we know you didn't pull the trigger on this motherfuck?"

    She's clearly got something to prove. Tao steps forward and tries to speak.

    "Lala..."

    She retorts.

    "Shut the fuck up, Tao. I don't know this fat fucking bitch from anyone. For all we know, she turned this dude cold."
  • "Yeah, I shot him in the back of the head, out on the lake where nobody could see me, then dragged him here all wrapped up with a bow. That makes a lot of sense. One, I got no beef with the Rough Riders. Uncle helped me out of a tough spot, and you folks are the only thing keeping this place from going to hell. Two, if this guy was makin' trouble fer me, I wouldn'a been in any position to execute him. I would'a tried to subdue him and get him back here for Uncle to deal with, and if that failed, I would have put a much bigger hole in the front of his chest." She indicates her gun while making no move to draw it "If I'd'a put this to the back of his head, there wouldn't be no head to argue over. And finally, if I did feel the need to end this man, and to borrow somebody's cap gun to do it, I'd a tied a rock to him and sent him to the lakebed with the spookies. I'm sorry for you loss, and I'm sorry for anything else that may have offended you, but I like doing business here, and I ain't gonna ruin that over nothin'"
  • edited October 2010
    Tum Tum puts his heavy hand on Lala's shoulder.

    "Down girl. She's right. Doesn't make any sense. Now, back the fuck up."

    Tum Tum doesn't really give her a chance to respond. He yanks Lala back away from you and steps between you and her.

    "Ok, lady. If you're so sorry for our loss, then you can help us heave this dead weight up to The Chateau and explain to Uncle exactly what the fuck happened."

    Tum Tum doesn't give you a chance to explain otherwise. Motions for Tao and Lala to help you carry the corpse and starts clambering up the hill toward the gates.

    Tao bends over and grabs the legs.

    "Aight you two, Tum Tum gave us an order."
  • "Happy to help, and if you can wait a tic, I'll see if I can get any more explanation." She turns to TImmy. "Now Security Officer, before I turn over command of the vessel to you, is there anything else you can tell me about your findings earlier?" Unless his explanation provokes a particularly outrageous reaction, she'll note it, salute, leave him in charge, then help with the body.
  • Timmy's mind is visibly working, based on the expression on his face.

    "Naw, Marlene."

    You can tell he's lying. But, you also notice the shift in his eyes toward the other Rough Riders there.

    "He was just floating there. Like I said."

    He returns the salute and starts to march off to take up a position on the boat. The boys like to set up these old sandbags and wear their oversized helmets, keeping their BB guns pointed out off the barge.
  • Sounds like he could use a read, but unless Tao and Tum tum suffer sudden outbreaks of patience and looking the other way, we'll have to get to that later. Vera's the greater concern at the moment anyway, with food coming in second.
  • edited October 2010
    Tao and Lala are getting antsy waiting for you for sure; Lala especially.

    Tum Tum's already made his way halfway up the hill toward the front lawn, where the market is being set up for the day. You take up the dead man's upper torso, behind his back and under his armpits. The fucker's head is bobbing lifelessly and you can't help but look down into the guy's face, swollen and sickly. There's a clean hole in his forehead. Fuck, you think to yourself, guy must've been executed at point blank. The whole back of his head's missing.

    It's a pain carrying this dead ass weight, and Tao and Lala keep bitching at each other about who's doing all the work. Meanwhile, this dead motherfucker's head keeps dangling. Occasionally though, his eyes will catch yours. And, it's like a pause when it happens, just for a moment. Strange, the fish didn't eat his eyeballs right out of the sockets. But, stranger still, his eyes look like they've had the color sucked right out of them. They're as pale as the fog that lingers over the lake and through the valleys and up the mountainside. It creeps you the fuck out.

    The three of you make it to the front lawn and there's a fat, shorter man kind of sitting on a stump there. He's got these wide, dirty work pants on and just suspenders draped over his hairy shoulders. He's sitting on this stump and he's fiddling with something in his hands. Something small. It's something of Vera's. What is it?
  • Marlene tries to make sure her tools stick out like a sore thumb, to keep them from walking away when she's working with other people. Vera, who takes after her momma when it comes to fixing things, rarely leaves home unless the shiny red crescent wrench Barney got her for her eighth birthday is in her back pocket. It's all Marlene can do not to drop the body as she demands, "Where'd you get that?"
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