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Claire opened her mouth, then closed it and smiled reproachfully.

"You're going to have to try harder than that if you want a rise out of me," she informed Hadicall, and dismounted to lead her horse. "But feel free to do so. I could use some practice in turning the other cheek."

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Spoiler

Hadical has no light source.  Notice Skill of d6.

Roll(2d6)+0: 6,3
Roll(1d6)+0: 4 (-4) = 0
Total Notice = 6

For safety he is holding Claire's arm tightly as they wander into the darkness, so if she slips, he might tumble with her, but the intend to be able to brace her so she doesn't fall or slip entirely.  He may be a jerk at the moment, but he ain't a complete bastard.

If she jerks him away and rebukes his help, he'll let her fall and mock her misfortune until the end of times.  He is the 'I told you so' type.  :)

 

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As they started to descend into the rent in the earth, as the sunlight fell away, Claire paused and stared into the big open black. Hadicall, who'd despite his buffoonery had been helping her down, gave her an impatient look. He was opening his mouth to say something, maybe give her another chance to turn the other cheek...but Claire beat him to it.

Hand gripping her cross tightly, she said, "Lord God...we are here to serve Your purpose, and we will fear not for You are our shepard. Our path leads us through dark places, oh Lord. I pray...let the light of the Holy Spirit guide our steps. Amen."

She let her breath out shakily. The thought of venturing below the earth was unexpectedly difficult. Like being buried. She wasn't claustrophobic or anything...the little rooms in the cloister would've cured that in a right hurry. But there was a mountain of difference between a clean, orderly room you slept in every night and said your prayers in...and this dank, dark hole that snaked into places that the sun had never shone on before.

Conscious of Hadicall's glare, Claire steeled herself and took a step forward...

...and then there were stars.

In the darkness of that first cavern, tiny flashes of light could be seen, winking on and off. Greenish-yellow, moving erratically. Dozens of them. No, hundreds. Like the night sky all inside that cave.

The stars began to fall. Spiraling slightly as they descended from the cavern ceiling, making a beeline towards Claire.

She gasped when a little bug landed on her arm. Then another. Then she realized it was the bugs making the light. They landed on her arm, on her hand...the hand she still clutched her crucifix in. They crowded in close, packing themselves in, until from mid-forearm to fingers it was as if she wore a glove made of little crawly-tickle-footed bugs.

Slowly, Claire lifted that hand, almost afraid of what would happen.

The bugs all lit up at once, creating a bright green-gold light that illuminated the cavern clearly.

Claire blinked away tears of joy and gratitude, and whispered, "Thank you, Lord," and accompanied Hadicall down into the crevasse with renewed confidence.

Faith for light: 1d10 8

Faith wild dice: 1d6e6 12

The open dice command on Orokos only rerolls once, but that equates to rolling a 6 and another 6 on the wild dice. As that's a 10 after the -2, I'm not going to worry about keeping on rolling; it's a Raise already.

Now Notice:

Notice: 1d4e4 8

Wow, God really is with her. One more Ace to roll:

Notice ace: 1d4e4 2

Total rolled is 10, -4 is 6...assuming darkness is still a thing.

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Samuel frowned just for a moment as he saw Claire's actions and the resulting light brought into the darkness. So she was one of the Blessed. Not people he'd encountered personally, but enough word and evidence of their works had made its way to him in time. The kind of people he'd always sought to avoid, and the Sister was one of them. Even more care with the matter of his magic then was required, lest she turn the whole group on him.
 

Spoiler

Notice d6, Wild Die: 1D6.OPEN(6) = [6, 1] = 7
1D6.OPEN(6) = [2] = 2

If the -4 still applies then it's a 3 total.

 

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Tabitha blinked, awe struck at the miracle before her.

"You... you're one of the Blessed?" she asked as she made the sign of the cross, though she already knew the answer.

A moment later the awe slowly faded to a smile. This was a good a good omen indeed.

 

Spoiler

Notice check:
Dicepool: 2d6
Roll: 2D6 = 6, 1
Re-roll the 6: 1D6 = 3
Total: 9, 1
Keeping the 9

Ammo:
Winchester '73 - 15/15
Colt Frontier - 5/6
Spare .44-40 rounds x26

Fate Chips: White x2, Red x1, Blue x1

 

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The tunnel grew dark almost immediately as the group made their way in. Rocks and uneven ground made the progress slow, but Claire's insectoid and impromptu arm of light bathed the area in an eerie, if useful glow. The collapse of the rail had left this gouge in the ground, but the tunnel it intersected was no creation of God. It was smooth and straight, wide as several train cars, and came complete with its own set of subterranean tracks. With only one direction left to go, the posse heads into the darkness, leading nervous horses by the reins for a half-hour or so before a faint trembling can be felt through the stone of the tunnel. A large sound reverberates down the corridor; an explosion of some sort! And faintly, but growing brighter, a second light is chasing behind them now.

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Tabitha placed her hand against to the smooth wall and then glanced down at the tracks as they followed them. She wasn't sure what was going on, or what kind of machine might make a tunnel as wide as two or three rail cars, so smooth and straight as an arrow, or even why one would make it. Protection from the Indians maybe? Regardless their chances of finding people just jumped dramatically, though there was a chance anybody they found might not be happy to see them.

"Train! Get against the walls!" she called out, leading her horse against a tunnel wall, holding the reins tight.

 

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The train blew past and those with quick eyes could see the Wasatch mark on the side. This was one of a great rail baron’s tracks, not just some lone mad scientists creation out in the desert. Keen ears could also hear the brakes kick in only a little farther down the tunnel from where it had passed them. 

As the group heads in the same direction an odd sight comes into view: what appears to be a pot-bellied stove with a Gatling gun attached to it off to the right. They can hear the sounds of workmen and machinery now, the clamor loud enough to mean yelling just to be heard by the others near you. It seems they’ve stumbled across a rail-laying camp underground!

Spoiler

I need a Common Knowledge roll for anyone to figure out what the pot-belly thing is. :)


 

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"Underground?" Sam remarked in surprise briefly. "I suppose that might explain how a rail company works so close and yet Indians attack our train so easily. Or," Samuel had to acknowledge that unpleasant fact: "they don't care as long as we were traveling on a competitor." T'was a truth of the Rail Wars, that this might indeed be plausible.

Spoiler

 

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"I ain't never heard nuthin' 'bout an underground rail line. This has to be slow goin', so there must be good reason to do it. Either so nobody can compete, or to transport something really valuable. They might not be too happy 'about strangers findin' out 'about this though" Tabitha cautioned.and then removed her rifle from her saddle.

She looked around, from their vantage point, trying to stay hidden and yet take it all in, getting a feel, as best she could, for the layout, numbers of workers any security they have and just what everything was. 

Spoiler

Common Knowledge
Smarts + Wild Dice
Dicepool: 2d6
Roll: 2D6 = 5, 3
Total = 5

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Hadicall couldn't care less what was down here.  About the only thing that might have turned his cheeks was the Gates of Hell and even then, that'd just mean he died before his damn horse.  The fact people were don't here, being ignorant people and doin' the things ignorant people did, like make a profit by digging a hole, could hardly make is top three list of strange things that had happened to him... today.  One more hurdle on the track of getting the hell outta here.  On the positive side, they'd have supplies for either barter or taking... if things didn't go according to plan... or went exactly like they planned.  His morality compass was a bit on the bent side today.

"Well, less we plan on going back, ain't no sense in frettin' over what they're doing here, only how we plan we on gettin' through." Hadicall kept his voice low.  However, I suggest we send in the preacher lady to gauge how friendly they are.  She's got God on her side, ain't no one can harm her no way.  If it all goes south, we'll be here to shoot n' scoot so no harm comes to her."

Spoiler

Knowledge: Roll(2d6): 2, 5.
When d6's are rolled, the second die is always my Wild Die.

 

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"Oh please." Becca pushes past everyone and walks into the camp light.

"Hey! In the camp, coming in don't shoot.

Spoiler

on the road using phone no dice feel free to roll for me Mala.

 

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Fang followed the others meekly, sticking to the safety numbers offered. The tunnel at least shielded them from the sun, which was good with their limited water, and it was a sign of other people. She wasn’t sure it was a sign that she would find people who made her comfortable, but she would settle for people not trying to kill her. With this group, at least no one had tried to hurt her, and Sam had seemed sympathetic. Then there was the Blessed woman, the one who could glow. Of all of them, she wasn’t like the others; even though she wasn’t a monk, people like her tended to be gentle and kind. Fang would stay with her as long as possible.

However, even her companions weren’t comfortable with one another, despite being the same. Fang listened quietly as they snipped and spat like house cats, growling and hissing. She tried to tune it out, to focus on keeping Lianhua calm, and by extension herself. It worked to a point, and when the train roared by, she managed to keep the horse safe against the wall. When it came to the camp, she held back against, unwilling to be the first forward, and the first to be targeted.

Then one of the two blonde women -- Fang was having trouble telling them apart -- pushed forward and headed into the lighted camp. Eyebrows rising, the young woman took a better grip on her sword’s hilt and waited for the other side to answer or open fire.
 

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Claire had no idea what to make of any of this. Train tracks underground? Machinery? Was it some kind of mine?

She was so intent on listening to the others, trying to pick out useful information, that she nearly missed when Becca started walking out.

And then she was following, before she even made up her mind to do so. There was no way she was letting someone walk into the lion's den alone!

 

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Those that took the time to look at the pot-bellied "stove" were able to identify it as one of the Dr. Hellstromme's amazing automatons; such a device was a thinking machine that could be given simple orders to follow and could also well use the Gatling gun welded on to it! Whatever orders it had been given, thankfully, did not seem to include shooting brash young women or quieter holy women, as the machine stayed still and silent while Becca and Claire marched (or moused) into the camp. The men of the camp were less charitable. 

Hammers and spikes, or flats of supplies for those that had started to unload the resupply train, were hastily dropped in favor of shotguns and handguns; nearly two dozen were pointed at the pair before they made their way past  the light break of the lanterns. The steam in the camp made everyone just a bit hazy to everyone else, but across the light of the campfire a strong voice with a Midwest accent called out, "Who goes there? Make yourselves known!"

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Claire quickly raised her hands.

"Peace! Our train was attacked and wrecked back a ways and we came down here looking for shelter. I'm Claire and this is a fellow survivor of the attack, we really are just trying to get to a town or city. Please. The Lord blesses those who show charity to those in need."

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Becca cut a sideways glance at Claire at her mention of the lord. She made sure her rifle was not pointed at anyone but ready nonetheless.

"In case your wondering how we got down here, there's a big ol' hole to the surface back a good bit Indians wrecked the train we was on, we drove em off but they may come back." Taking a step forward and in front of Claire to shield her.

"All we want to do is pass on through and get to the next stop down the line. Can y'all help us?"

 

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Hadicall was with the rest of the group, eyeing the workers cautiously.  He honestly wondered if the Sister could go three words without mentioning the Lord, let alone give some consideration to the thought that perhaps not everyone thought as highly of him as she did.  As he past bay Fang he tapped her on the shoulder and leaned in as he past her.  "Darlin', try and keep outta sight.  China folk raise more questions than answers in these parts, for now keep to the shadows until we get through all this nonsense. Hǎi nà bǎi chuān."  He said it softly, in Chinese that was far from perfect, had they not been in the darkness of caverns and surrounded by dangers, she may have laughed at his terrible pronunciation.

He stepped forward, only three or so paces in front of the horses, but blocking the view of the two standing behind him (Sam and Fang).  He didn't want to be part of whatever Claire and Becca were doing, too many cooks and all that, but did want to be at the ready in case they needed back up.  Since Sam had already taken a fancy to  the chinadoll, he figured they'd make a cute pair for keeping an eye on each other.

Hand at the ready, he waited to see how all this would play out.

Spoiler

No, Hadi does not speak Chinese.  He does know a few proverbs though.  Indian ones too.  Maybe he'll tell you how he learned them one day...

 

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Fang leaned forward a little, her eyes on the women. She worried what the men would do to them, and wondered why they wouldn’t let Hadicall or Sam speak first. Let the bad things happen to the men first; they were the ones who committed so many of the evils of this world.

Someone touched her shoulder and Fang jumped, turning to see Hadicall leaning toward her. A thousand thoughts rushed through her brain, starting with, He touched me! to He’d better not try to touch me anywhere else. 

Still, his advice made sense, and she wished she had Western clothing to wear as a disguise. She gave him a quick nod before she stepped closer to Lianhau. When Hadicall stopped protectively in front of her and Sam, she nudged the mare’s flank until the horse eased her rump over the side, further blocking them from the workers’ view.

Edited by Wei Fang
Italics are fun!

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Samuel simply waited, a hand drifting to his gun, just in case. Ironically to Wei Fang's internal musings, Samuel had not quite been in favor of making the obvious direct approach into the midst of the rail workers. That was all. And Hadicall would have been quite wrong. Just expressing sympathy to a person did not mean any form of desire for them. Of course, Hadicall was very clearly a ringy jerk.

He did hope that Sister Claire would keep the talking. Becca was on the prod and would get them into something he didn't want to have to deal with again.

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Tabitha grabbed at Claire as she walked past her, but missed in her surprise. Cursing silently she stayed back in the darkness,, rifle at the ready, watching over the two other women should things take a turn for the worse.

When the pair were finally addressed, she scanned for the source of the voice.

 

Spoiler

Notice roll if needed to find the man talking.
Dicepool: 2d6
Roll: 2D6 = 6, 2
Re-Rolling the 6: 1D6 = 3
Totals: 9, 2
Keeping the 9

The last 1d6 has been always been, and will always be, the Wild Dice on my rolls.

Ammo:
Winchester '73 - 15/15
Colt Frontier - 5/6
Spare .44-40 rounds x26

Fate Chips: White x2, Red x1, Blue x1

 

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A large barrel of a man stepped out into the light of the central fire pit, a shotgun casually cradled in one arm. He squinted at Claire, then nodded. "We heard a hell of a clatter a few hours ago. Tha' must've been you an' the Injuns. Glad to see some of you survived and we'll take you to the next stop on the rail. I'm Charley Bill Buckner, foreman here. Call me Charley Bill, ladies."

The other men laid aside weapons, though they kept them close, and returned to the work of smoothing the cave walls with pick axes. Somewhere ahead of them, something was making a God-awful grinding noise, keeping the noise at a mid-range pitch no matter how loud or quiet the workers are.  He took a deep breath and continued with a contrite half-smile. "I’m afraid I have to keep you in our protective custody until we get to Lost Angels, which is the next stop on the rail. It shouldn’t take but another week with any luck. We just can’t let word get out that we’re almost there or we’ll have every rival rail gang in the West descending on us like flies on cow patties."

"Don’t worry though. You’re safe. We’ve got a couple of celebrities with us so you can bet we’re well-armed. Who? Well, that fella from the Tombstone Epitaph. Lacy O’Malley. Writes all them weird tales? Let me introduce you to the other," he waved them over to the fire and motioned to a second train ahead of the supply train. A fancy caboose was viewable in the glow of the carbite lanterns around the work end of the tunnel. 

Buckner nods to two grim guards at the rear of the caboose — both armed with Gatling shotguns — and one of them knocks some sort of code on the caboose door. Nothing could be heard from inside for all the noise in the tunnel ahead, but someone must have answered, for the guard nods the group on in.

The group steps up onto the rear platform and into the most luxurious rail car any of you have ever seen. The walls are carpeted with rich red velvet panels inset into cherry wood. Brass fixtures and handrails add contrast, and a short dining table is set with what looks like more silver than came out of Virginia City.

But what really captures the attention are the two figures seated in plush chairs at the other end of the car. One is no doubt the famous Lacy O’Malley. He wears his trademark white suit and hat, though even from here and by the flickering candles you can tell it’s seen better days. He smiles amiably and tips his hat.

The other figure sits back in his chair with a clipboard in his hand. He wears a scarlet smoking jacket and puffs on a pipe. His face is hidden in shadows, but as he leans forward and his piercing gray eyes emerge from the darkness, there can be no doubt this is the famous Dr. Darius Hellstromme. "Well, Mr. Buckner, it seems we have some visitors. Introduce yourselves and please tell, what brings you all to our little expedition?"
 

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Becca looks back atthe rest of the refugees filling the car and leans her rifle against a chair, then sits in it.

"Names, Towne, we was attacked by redskins, our train was wrecked. Us," she pulls a new cigelirro and flicks a match, "is all that made it out alive, We found that hole that led to yer tracks and followed em to here. Not to be pressin or anything but them indians ain't gonna be afraid of a dark hole and will probably be back with a bigger warparty. So if you don't mind It might be a good idea for us to all load up and back on out of here if going forward ain't a option"

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Once she saw the men relax and lower weapons, welcoming them, Tabitha did the same and joined them. They seemed decent folk, but this was still very strange to her, being an underground railroad and all, but they did not seem all that worried about her and the other being armed, so helped put her a bit at ease.

Stepping into the rail car was like entering another world. Tabitha had never seen some place so plush. These accommodations were a far cry from what she had on the train out here, that was for sure. She was not prepared for who she would meet though. At the sight of Lacy O'Malley, in his distinctive, white suit, Tabitha smiled a bit. She sat down her rifle, leaning it out of the way, took off her gloves, stuffing them into her back pocket and offered him a handshake.

"Tabitha Charlene Whitman, but you can call me Charlie if ya like. Y'all don't be needin' to introduce yourselves. Why, you'd hafta to be living under a rock not to know know who the two o' you are. It's a real pleasure to meet you both, Mr. O'Malley. Dr. Hellstromme. My pa is gonna be so tickled." she said, introducing herself as she and the affable Lacey O'Malley shook hands.

After hearing Becca's suggestion, Tabitha shrugged.

"Near as I reckon, we've been followin' your tunnel for near about's half an hour. If those Indians get up their gumption and follow the tunnel that long, in total darkness, and the blasts and what not don't scare them off, then they are walking into a mess of shotguns down here, with only one way to come at us. It'd be like a shootin' gallery at the fair. So I doubt we got to worry much 'bout them. Besides, a few men who know what they're doin' with some dynamite could probably close the hole though an stop the Indians from comin' down, and make sure the next train doesn't discover this here fancy underground railroad you got here." she suggested.

"Far be it from me to tell a man how to run his business though." she added with a shrug.

A week of this, and a ride to Lost Angels? Tabitha wasn't going to complain. It's sure a damn sight better than trying to find their way through the desert, short on water and supplies.

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When the others accepted the invitation, Fang followed meekly. Some of the men eyed her but none threatened her, perhaps because Sam remained somewhat close. Fang remained close to her horse, trying to remain in Lianhua’s shadow. The big horse didn’t mind her staying close, especially when Fang scratched her chin. The horse had been bought for Fang because she was well-trained and pretty, but when receiving chin-scratchings in just the right spot, she would let her tongue hang out of her mouth. It always made Fang smile, even in the midst of this mess.

Leaving her horse and things outside the car made her nervous, but she had little choice. She kept the saber with her, its weight a comfort in her hands. The inside of the car felt familiar; she’d ridden in a car like this from St. Louis. 

The others spoke first, and Fang frowned a little. Did the others not realize that this tunnel was responsible for the hole and their train’s situation? Or were they remaining quiet, lest their polite captors decide that they had to die? Swallowing nervously, she remained quiet and unobtrusive, sure that the men would overlook her when it came to talking and business, just as men always did. But to her surprise, Mr. O’Malley looked at her, his expression clearly expecting her name.

“Wei Fang,” she said softly, bowing to both men. She had a second to consider how to handle this and decided on remaining exceedingly polite. “I’m humbled by your generosity to travelers fallen on hard times.”
 

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Overcome with relief, Claire silently thanked God for putting them on this path, and just beamed through the men's talk and the introductions that each of the others went through. She'd already introduced herself, so when Claire took a turn to speak she asked with shining eyes, "This place is so incredible! You've really been digging out a tunnel for a train to go through? Why?"

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"Well, because if they didn't it would smash into the wall, darlin',"  Hadi said, removing his hat as he entered the car.  "Hadicall Cerauno.  Pleasure to meet everyone, and it's like they say, we were on the wrong side o' proper luck is all.  Not all that luck bad as one can see, but we're now a little bit of everybody from everywhere.  Strangers trying to bicker and complain our through to the next stop.  So, if it's hospitality you're offering, it's mighty appreciated."  He thumbed to Charlie.  "Charlie there don't never shut up, but aside from that, we're decent folk.  Rough around edges, but decent."

He was dusty and was loathe to sit on anything, considering a cushion in the car was probably worth more than he'd seen in his life time.

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"Samuel Connell." Sam tipped his hat to the famous reporter and renowned scientist. "And some might argue you can't stop talking, Hadicall. Anyway, a bit of a surprise, seeing you being around not far from our train wreck..." He frowned as the pieces went together... no, it couldn't be. "It's not like you were have burrowing right under the train though."

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"We've got a crew patchin' that hole already," Charley Bill interjected to Dr. Hellstromme. 
The doctor nodded, but seemed more interested in Claire's question than the report; Hadi's swift answer had either been lost in the conversation or simply ignored. "Perhaps you’ve heard Wasatch dropped out of the so called ‘Great Rail Wars?’ I believe Mr. O’Malley here reported as much last year. The truth is we’ve been working on a revolutionary way to avoid these treacherous mountains. After your experience with those buffoons at Smith & Robards, I assume you can see why. Ahead of us, beneath approximately a half-mile of earth and stone, is a new machine of such staggering complexity that I alone can service it. That is why I am here."

By my estimations, we should be emerging in California in a few days’ time. From there we will link with my existing line and roll into the City of Lost Angels by high noon in two days. There we will confront the Reverend Grimme with the inevitable approach of progress, and end these damnable and expensive Rail Wars forever. You will accompany us on this historic occasion and witness an epic moment in history as our guests. Mr. Buckner, please see that our visitors are fed and shown around the camp—particularly those areas where they could be harmed."

"As you say, Boss," Charley Bill rumbled and escorted the group firmly out of the rail-car again. 

Lacy O'Malley followed along, curiosity lighting his eyes. "Wènhòu, wǒ de nǚshì. Qǐng yuánliàng wǒ de kǒuyīn. Qǐngwèn nǐ zěnme fāxiàn zìjǐ zài dōngfāng?" Greetings, my lady. Please forgive my accent. May I ask how you found yourself out East?

While Lacy interviewed the foreign woman, Bill pointed out the dangerous places near the camp. Mostly this was anywhere there wasn't light to see and up towards the omnipresent grinding sound. When queried on what exactly was up there, he responded laconically, "Diggin' machine."

Once the brief tour was up, Charley Bill deposited them back at the main campfire. "Unless you're up for joinin' the smoothin' crew, there's not much to be done 'til we make it to Lost Angels. Iffin' yer wantin' to join, the Boss'll pay you well and expect your best work. Jus' lemme know. Otherwise, there's some dinner waitin' and even some wine, if that's your drink."
 

Spoiler

This is a chance for the characters to talk a bit and get to know each other. There's food and cheaper wine available, and Lacy will be making the rounds to get a feel for everyone (read: feel free to write a short interview from him into your post).

 

 

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3 hours ago, Malachite Drake said:

Lacy O'Malley followed along, curiosity lighting his eyes. "Wènhòu, wǒ de nǚshì. Qǐng yuánliàng wǒ de kǒuyīn. Qǐngwèn nǐ zěnme fāxiàn zìjǐ zài dōngfāng?" Greetings, my lady. Please forgive my accent. May I ask how you found yourself out East?

Fang blinked in surprise to hear her native tongue being spoken. It wasn’t being spoken particularly well, but that didn’t matter so much. Just hearing Mandarin was a comfort, as if someone were on her side. It was a lie, but a comforting lie.

“<I took a trip out East just to see it,>” she told him in the same language. “<I’d read stories about Washington D.C.and Richmond, and I wanted to see them, and the capitol buildings, and the war monuments. I wanted to travel beyond Shan Fan, and to see the world with my own eyes.>” She smiled a little. “<I’m sure you can understand that desire.>”

“<Yes, ma’am, I understand . . .> wanderlust <very well.>” O’Malley looked bemused at his inability to find the right word in Mandarin. “<It’s a common affliction in my line of work. I am surprised that you were subject to it.>”

“<Most people are.>” Many of her friends in Shan Fan hadn’t understood; it had taken her father more than a year to understand how badly she’d wanted to go. Even then, he’d given in more out of weariness with her arguments than true understanding. “<But I had to see them for myself.”>

“<Did you enjoy your trip?>” he asked her.

Fang hesitated before nodding. “<I loved seeing new places. There is a great deal of beauty back East.>” 

He noticed what she didn’t say, but he didn’t ask her about it. Instead, he steered the conversation to the sightseeing she’d done, and left the conversation at that.
 

 

 

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Becca sat by the fire, she had secured a tin cup and poured herself some rather strong coffee. It was good. She watched from under her hat as the reporter and the china girl yapped and sipped her coffee.  When she finished the coffee she poured another cup the movement must have caught O'Mally's eye cause he excused himself from Wei Fang and moseyed her way.

O'Mally eyed the dusty woman noting the guns and the well worn holsters, he wasn't at all shocked at the sight after all women gunfighters were nothing new but this ones silence and abruptness lent her an air that intrigued him He poured himself a cup and sat across from her. "You said your name was Town? There a first that goes with that?" He asked her

She lifted her head a little and he could see her eyes and it struck him at how blue they were. And cold, like ice. She stared silent unblinking. "Well no matter last name will do. No need to ask if your from back east I could tell by the way you were walking in the rail car that your very much used to the back of a horse, and with your dress and the... accouterments you carry I don't think your a cowhand so Miss Town whats your story? Why are you way out here?"

Becca set the cup beside her and reached up and took her hat off. with her free hand she brushed out her sweat soaked hair as she looked on at the famous writer. She put her hat back on and threw the rest of the coffee in the fire. Standing she finally spoke to no one in particular. "Think I'll see if I can help with the tracks." she said as she went to find the foreman.

 

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Claire found herself caught up in the drama of what Dr Hellstromme was describing. She beamed and even bounced a little on the balls of her feet as he described what was going on.

"Oh my...epic moment of history, how exciting!" she gushed. "We are so blessed, in head, hand and heart..." She realized there was still something unclear to her though, and hurried after Lacy as he withdrew from the campfire after Charley led them there.

"Mr O'Malley, who is this Reverend Grimme though? I do apologize for my ignorance. I've never been out West before and the mountain of what I have to learn is as big as the one you're tunneling under!"

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Lacy smiled kindly at Claire, the wrinkles around his eyes crinkling with bemusement. "Don't apologize for seeking enlightenment, miss." His expression darkened, though, as he considered the subject of their conversation. "Reverend Grimm is the leader of the city of Lost Angeles. He's a stern, pious man that leads the city with zealous iron hand and he does not welcome the thought Eastern intrusion on the purposely isolated city he helped found." 

He passed a glass a wine to Claire and asked with friendly ease, "May I ask what takes you out West, miss? More than a chance to educate yourself on the vagaries of Lost Angels, I think."

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Claire accepted the glass, but on reflection she set it down again. Wine outside the sacrament didn't quite feel right, though she didn't think it was technically against doctrine. People who spent a lot of time arguing technicalities, even to themselves, were usually looking for excuses she thought.

"I'm here because I have heard and felt a calling from God to come," she answered simply. "He hasn't shared specifics yet, but I have faith that He will show me the way. Right now I aim to head West until I can't go any farther. Lost Angels sounds...appropriate, I suppose."

She smiled at Lacy.

"But in the meantime, I'm meeting good folk, and learning all kinds of new things, and that's all good as well."

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Hadicall excused himself to find the foreman and tossed in his hat with the workers.  If there was some money to be made along they way he figured h may as well go for it.  He didn't have much to say to anyone else, they were strangers and it was unlikely he'd see any of them working along side him.  Ms. Towne may had been an exception as she didn't seem afraid of hard work, then again she gunned down unarmed men so she wasn't really a staple for allowing him to set the bar of which of these new people he'd met were actually as decent as he'd said.

Spoiler

Not sure what to have him do, there's not a lot of people there for him to talk to.  He's not afraid of work so he'd prolly just work til they get to Los Angeles.

 

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Tabitha was looking through her saddle bags, taking stock of what she still had when Lacy O'Malley approached her with a smile and a tip of his hat.

"Good evening." he said in a friendly tone, to which Tabitha smiled and nodded back.

"Evenin', Mr. O'Malley. What can I do for you?" she replied as she closed the flap of the saddle bag she was rooting through.

"Well, you know me. I like to meet people and hear their stories. We all have our reasons for being here, so I was wondering, Ms. Whitman, what brings you out West, if I may ask?"

"Me? I ain't nobody. An' sure not important enough to be interviewed by the liked of you, especially when you have Dr. Hellstrom to talk to." she said.

"Perhaps, but history will gauge our individual importance." he countered with a smile and wink.

Tabitha sighed and thought for a moment, tipping the front of her hat back to show more of her face.

"Well, it's my pa, sir. He ain't doin' too well. Y'see, now we're both ranchers. Well, my pa and I, and a few hands. I ain't never had no brothers nor sisters, on account I was my parents first born, and my ma..." she said as she took off her hat and held to over her heart, "..my ma, God rest her soul, passed in the process of birthin' me."

"Oh my. You have my condolences." O'Malley said.

"Thank you." she replied with a nod to him before she continued,

"So it's just been my pa and I, since I was old enough to help out, along with a few hands, takin' care of the ranch. Pa taught me how to ride an' rope an' shoot an' protect my honor m'self, if I had to." she explained.

"Pa said I was ridin' before I could even walk." she added with a small smile, thinking of a fond memory.

Tabitha caught herself and, if it were not so dark undergrounds, one might think she even blushed a bit in embarrassment.

"Well, so it was just us takin' care of the ranch an' herd for years. Then one night, weeks ago, some...things... came across our ranch an' decided to move in an' dine on our herd. It was really dark that night. We couldn't hardly see'em. Just vague forms in the darkness. But my pa and me tried to fight them off an' save the herd. I must have used more ammunition that night than I had my entire life prior, but in the end we were overrun. Pa took a nasty wound as we had to run for the horses, but we managed to get away. 

We made it to town and told'em what happened. The doctor couldn't do much for pa, but said the big hospitals back East might. So I spent what we still had, got us tickets and found pa a hospital bed back East where he could get some right n' proper treatment. 

So that's why I was headin' out West. We're gonna need some money to pay for all of his treatment and to start a new herd, an' I heard there was a lot of money to be made out West for personages with with right skills. Now I don't know if that's me or not, but I can ride, rope, shoot and a few other things, so I came to try my luck.

Tabitha looked around the tunnel and at all of the men working in the dim light. Picks and shovels striking and scraping rocks and earth to smooth the tunnel walls and carry away the debris.

"And I already talked with Charley Bill, so I'm gonna startin' work here in the mean time. Just being able to be a part in buildin' something like this, however small, is kind of an honor. An' there no use sitting around when I could be makin' some money. Heaven knows I ain't afraid of hard work." she added.

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Fang wasn’t sure that this was proper, but white people were quick to let you know when you’d behaved improperly, according to their arcane customs. They were willing to forgive quickly, if you bowed, made yourself small, and apologized immediately. Plus white women reacted with less violence than men. So she tried to smile engagingly as she sat down next to Claire. 

“Excuse me,” she said softly in her accented English. “I have seen people do what you do, but they are monks, in temples in Shan Fan. Are you a monk, too? Do you follow the Buddha, or Confucianism?”
 

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