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Unread 20th of August, 2008, 06:46
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Earl Henry

Several months ago...



Warnt many places to run on Regina, not for a man like Earl. Folks remembered six-levvin and three hunnerd pound, mebbe two-fifty right now not havin' et so good of late. Still, mama said there's allas hope where the Good Lord sits, and she allas tol' him the Good Lord was evverwhere. He guessed he must be, somehow, but damned if he could figure out why the Good Lord would wanna sit on Regina.

Mebbe there was some kinda mama out there somewheres, even though his own was a long ways away. Mebbe there was somebody that would treat him halfway right. Mebbe somewhere...

Thoughts like that skittered through his head as he shuffled along the dirt road. He could see the operation behind him, lit up with its endless work. Mine security and the overseers were heavily armed, but thin. If they didn't catch you within the first half a mile, they pretty much had to hope local law or the web of corporate would pick up the escapee...and since workers were supposed to be free to leave, they couldn't go charging off with guns blazing.

He had vague thoughts of finding a farmhouse, maybe hiding out in a barn. If not, he could maybe make it into Haristo, the biggest town around, find work or a hiding place or passage somewhere...

The lights of a farmstead shine up ahead, and Earl's hopes climb a bit before he suddenly has something else to wonder about. The sound of an IC mule and a curse come from behind him. He's been so wrapped up and singleminded that he didn't notice the small, slow-moving vehicle until it come up on him from behind. Its lights, dim and taped-over to slits, show him that he's been spotted.

"Gorram it, get your ass off the road afore I run you down." The words are big but the mule sits idling, making no move to run him down after all. He can barely see the figure of a man in a cap in the open seat behind the dimmed lights. "What the hell you doing out here anyway, Buhn Dahn?"

Last edited by Wired*Nun; 20th of August, 2008 at 06:49.
  #2  
Unread 20th of August, 2008, 08:37
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Earl instinctively looks down at his feet as he shuffles to the side on command. He flinches and booms meekly in his deep voice, "I's a sorry boss. I don' mean ta be in the way."

Not a dishonest bone in his body Earl looks back towards the company, "I's come up from the mines 'cause I's don' wanna be there no mo'." There's a slight iron challenge to his voice almost daring God Almighty to try to drag him back kicking and screaming.

Last edited by TreyKincaide; 20th of August, 2008 at 08:39.
  #3  
Unread 20th of August, 2008, 09:00
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"Huh. Yeh lu jwo duo luh jwohn whei jian guay. Gorram it. Gorram it. C'mere, son. Gorram it you're a big'un."

The man doesn't wait for Earl to walk forward, but eases the mule up the twenty feet or so that pulls him even. He looks upward at Earl, craning his neck. "Damn. Bet they hate to lose you." Earl can see his face in the glow of the instruments - the man is old, and beat-down lookin'. Weathered, lined face, rheumy eyes, hard eyes, but not mean. Earl can tell, he's seen mean often enough.

"Turn around, son. Lemme see you."
  #4  
Unread 20th of August, 2008, 09:29
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Earl turns a slow circle, but his slave's wary eye stays on the old man, "Mama tole' me not ta swear."

After he makes his rotation the large man hunches at the knees bringing him to eye level. He rests his massive rough hands on the faded torn denim legs. Earl looks expectantly at the stranger hoping that he wasn't about to fall out of the frying pan into the fire.
  #5  
Unread 20th of August, 2008, 10:03
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"My mama gave me permission."

The look in the man's eyes is something he hasn't seen in a while. Sympathy. He mumbles, more to himself than to Earl. "Tore you up good, dint they? Bastards. Cain't treat a man like a rented mule."

He looks Earl in the eye now that he's crouched down. "My name's Hiram. You got a name? You got somewheres to go, big man?"
  #6  
Unread 20th of August, 2008, 10:14
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"My name is Earl Henry," he offers a meaty paw to shake. "I's gots nowheres ta go, but away from here." Earl frowns sadly as tears well up in his eyes. He looks like a upset bulldog. His voice softens, "I's hurted a man. Dint mean ta, but he was a hurtin' my friend. Why da folks gotta be so ugly ta eachodder?"
  #7  
Unread 20th of August, 2008, 10:47
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Hiram's hand disappears into Earl's. "Pleasetameecha." He brings it back with a kind of amazement. "Reckon they get in the habit of takin' advantage, 'cause nobody breaks 'em of it."

He scratches at his chin with his palm, looks back over his shoulder at the lights of the mine, then back at Earl. "Get in, son. I reckon we kin find a place for you on Folly, 'least fer a while."

The small bed is filled with metal boxes, so Earl sits in the other seat, eventually putting his legs up and on the hood. It's the only way he'll fit. It's not comfortable by a long piece, but he's endured lots worse for not near as much reason.

Earl can't for the life of him see where they're going, but Hiram seems to know. They turn off on a dirt road before they get to the farmstead, skirting its fields and winding around behind a small hill and into a draw. Something looms in the night, and he's bewildered when they drive right up a ramp and into a dimply lit interior space.

"This here's Folly. My ship." He hops off the mule, hits a large button. The ramp begins to rise.
  #8  
Unread 20th of August, 2008, 13:12
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Earl stares slack jawed with his tongue wagging, "It's powerful beaut'ful ship boss. You must be important an' a good man fer puttin' me up like 'dis." He unfolds himself out of the mule which rises several inches released from the strain of his added weight.

Towering over Price, Earl wears one of those big sloppy grins, "I'll earn my keep, boss. Just you wait n' see." He nods solemnly, "Just you wait." Without being told he merrily begins offloading the mule. He cradles a metal box like a mother cradles a babe and as easily, "Where's ya wants 'em?"

Last edited by TreyKincaide; 20th of August, 2008 at 16:35.
  #9  
Unread 21st of August, 2008, 01:40
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"I'm the cap'n, is what I am. And you will definitely earn yer keep. Everybody pulls his weight, everybody gets fed. You gonna eat well here, son, and you gonna pull some weight. Yeah."

He points to one part of the small cargo hold.

"There. No, stack 'em four to a layer. No, no, no..." Hiram micromanages Earl enough to get things the way he wants them. Once that's done, he backs up the mule to a fitting on the wall, gets out, and holds down a large switch nearby. The mule levers upward, and in a moment it's held vertically against the bulkhead, out of the way. When it's done, he lets go of the switch.

"Let's get you settled for a minute, we're pullin outta here right now. Don't want nobody knockin' on the door unexpected, now that you're here." He leads Earl to the passenger lounge, points at a beat-up old sofa. "Sit down there. Soon as we clear orbital, we'll get fed."

Moments later, Earl feels the engines start, the atmo turbines revving up in the pods. They reach a high pitch, and he feels a bit of a rocking that means they might be moving, but he's not sure. He looks around curously at the room - some chairs, small tables, a couple sofas, wall screen for vids, a Cortex console, a galley and a table big enough for a dozen.

The engine sounds soon change, the noise level drops to almost nothing, just a smooth vibration in the hull. A moment later a older but spry, diminutive Asian woman enters the lounge with a basket of something that she sets on the galley counter. She walks directly over to Earl then, frowning.

"My name you. What your name?"
  #10  
Unread 21st of August, 2008, 01:58
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Earl falls over himself to stand to his feet. He rings his hands and bows his head looking at the floor, "I's be Earl Henry, Ma'am. Please, don' be mad. The boss sed I's could be here." Earl nods his head vigorously, "Yes, yes he did."

Standing before the tiny woman the giant shakes like a leaf, "I's won't make any trouble. I's a promise."

Last edited by TreyKincaide; 21st of August, 2008 at 02:00.
  #11  
Unread 21st of August, 2008, 02:20
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"Url. Urrrl. Url. Url Henny. Ok Urlhenny, you stay there. You sit down. Sit sit sit. Sit on sofa, sit on chair, I do' care. I not mad." Her scowl make this hard to believe, but...

The woman walks quickly over to the galley. There comes a flurry of activity, involving the cutting of vegetables and the frying of canned protein paste. It smells heavenly after mine food.

Hiram comes in, sniffs the air. "Gorram it, dint have no time to get no aigs from that farmstead. Hafta do with hash again."

Last edited by Wired*Nun; 21st of August, 2008 at 13:06.
  #12  
Unread 21st of August, 2008, 11:01
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Earl glances back and forth at the couch and chair gaging whether they would support his weight. He gently sets down on the chair slowly, gently like in case he misfiggered.

"I likes me some hash, boss," he grins widely. "Anythin' at'all suits me jess' fine. Ma'am's a right nice lady fer fixin' up some grub. Thank you again, boss, fer puttin' me up. I's promise you won' regret it. Nosirree."

Earl tries to make himself comfortable at the table. He rests his arms on the edge before before flinging to an invisible rebuke. He pushes his chair back and lets his knuckles drag the floor, "I's a sorry. Mama learned my manners. Yes, she did. I's know not ta put my elbows on the table, and this is as a fine table 'as there's ever been, boss. It's jess been so long since I seen my mama. I misses her somethin' terrible."

Last edited by TreyKincaide; 21st of August, 2008 at 11:07.
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Unread 22nd of August, 2008, 05:05
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"Elbows on the table is the least of our worries, Earl. Yu'll fix you up some grub. Give him 'bout twice what he expect, old woman. He's underweight. Once he's done eatin, I'l have the doc look at him."

The old woman grabs a large bowl more suitable for serving than dining, and dumps the whole skillet-full into it. She sets it in front of Earl, along with a big glass of iced tea. "Eat!" she barks, but her eyes are kinder than her words. It smells wonderful, though he has no idea what it is, 'cifically. Protein and veg.

Ther's a sniffing around his ankles then, and he sees a tiny hairy flat-faced dog with enormous brown eyes looking up at him as if hungry.
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Unread 22nd of August, 2008, 18:19
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Earl beams like a young boy and reaches out gently and carefully petting the small dog, "Why hello there doggie. I's Earl." He glances out the corners of his eyes to see if either of his hosts would disapprove before sneaking the pup a bit off his plate.

He closes his eyes and folds his hands solemenly, "Thank you God fer the food I's about to eat. Bless Mama where ever she be. I hopes to find her again one day. An' bless Boss and Ma'am fer taking me into their important ship and sharing this mighty fine food. An' bless my friend cause I know you be taking care of 'im. now that he's in a better place. An bless the man that I hurted. He was mean, but I dint mean ta. I hope you forgive me. Amen."

Earl digs in like the starving man he is.
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Unread 23rd of August, 2008, 22:42
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"Nan Ching. Her name Nan Ching. Feed her small, protein. No veg, she get farts. Maybe die." The old woman goes back to the kitchen, starts cooking another batch.

(((I'd love to keep on with this but can't reconcile the timeline. Have to stand by until we catch up.)))
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Unread 26th of August, 2008, 02:09
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