Wait For Me
IC date: Spring 14
OOC date: April 4
Location: Dockside
PCs: Blackbird Rusty-Gears
NPCs: Tarnish

A few days pass… The Big Day has arrived. There's a special boat down by the docks at the Harbor. It's raining, so there aren't a lot of other boats doing much of anything at this point. Though in all honesty, it might not be the rain as it is the lone pony standing near the lonely boat. A silvery pony with grey mottling, wearing a shimmery raincoat. Staring down the docks, and along the Main street. Staring, and waiting. Waiting, and hoping. Hoping that the pony she came all this way to talk to didn't suddenly decide to back out again…

Lucky for Tarnish, the morose mercenary has made his way to the docks, saddlebags packed lightly. In true dramatic fashion, he has neither raincoat nor umbrella, instead letting the rain slick down his mane and fur, matting it against his body. He pauses a ways off, looking at each boat in the port in turn, and finally landing on the boat in question. He stays stock still for a beat longer, and then makes his way toward his ex-new-partner.

"Weather going to be a problem?" he asks her tersely, as he approaches.

Tarnish flashes a grin at the sight of the rain-slicked stallion, hustling her flank into preparing the ship now that her partner has properly arrived. She hops off the boat and back to the dock when Blackbird asks such terse questions, offering a snort and a toss of her head.

"Puh-leeze. Has weather ever been a problem for our operations?" Tarnish glances at the cloudy weather, and out towards the ocean. "I'm just sorry it isn't a full-out typhoon or something. Now /that/ would be exciting, don'tcha think?"

Blackbird gives her a flat stare. "Exciting, maybe. Sailing weather, not so much." He climbs up the gangplank onto the boat, tense as a coiled spring. He watches her bustle about a moment before offering, "Anything I can do to help?"

"Uhhh sure…" Tarnish says, following Blackbird onto the ship, "You can get the rigging over there ready so we can get outta this dump. It's gonna be a good couple day sail at least to get to our first destination so I can brief ya on what we're doing." …Well that explains her good mood, doesn't it? She's practically bouncing on her hooves. "I got us a job already!"

This is /still/ a horrible idea. That thought is written all over the rust-and-oil mare's face as she trots her way towards the docks, cap pulled down over her ears and saddlebag secured around her waist and one shoulder. Said saddlebag is packed with… things. And stuff. Positioned for easy access - and easy watch. If anypony goes trying to figure out what things and stuff, well, they're not getting too close without her noticing, that's for sure. Is there a sawblade in there? Probably.

It doesn't take her long to spot the boat she's looking for, however, and she heads toward it with a faint snort, not giving herself time to pause. If she pauses, she might think. And if she thinks, she might just wind up bucking some dumb pony in the head, dragging him home, and sorting it out later. So.

Blackbird snorts faintly and nods, moving toward the rigging to do exactly that. Thus busy, he doesn't notice Rusty's approach just yet. Instead, "Any general points you can name?" he asks, as he goes about proper boat duty.

Tarnish, however, does notice the rushing pony! She lifts her head, staring at the approach, then calls back. "Hey BB? Did you say all your goodbyes? Cuz' I think you got company."

Rusty-Gears casts Tarnish a glance as she approaches, but doesn't say anything, turning her gaze to look over at Blackbird. She's… not /quite/ glaring, but there is definite displeasure in that gaze. Somepony is looking a little bit grumpy.

Blackbird turns in confusion, only to twitch in surprise, eyes widening just slightly. "…Rusty?" He drops what he's doing, making his way to the gangplank. "What're you doing here? Where's Sadaka? Is everything okay?" Concern flickers across his gaze. Did something happen?

Tarnish hangs back, but only by a couple feet from Blackbird. Watching, of course. "Whatever she's here for, make it quick BB. Bad guys don't exactly like to wait to be thwarted, y'know."

"She's with Jellybean and his fiance. Everything's fine. She's going to get some personal flying lessons while we're away." Rusty's tone is quite matter-of-fact. This is all worked out, set up, done, and not on the table for discussion, nope. She heads for the gangplank, pausing at the bottom to peer up at him. "I think Jellybean was quite thrilled about it."

"Oh. Good." Pause. "Wait— what? 'We're' not going anywhere, Rusty. I'm going alone. Go home." Blackbird turns around again and goes back to the rigging, as if that would end the conversation. You're a terrible pony, Blackbird.

Rusty-Gears gives a faint snort, starting up the gangplank. "Somepony's got to make sure you don't do anything /more/ stupid than you already are," she mutters. "Galavanting off to do Celestia knows what. I swear sometimes I don't know what goes on in your head."

How very interesting! Tarnish glances at Blackbird going back to the rigging, then takes a step or two back. Domestic issues are so…quaint.

"Rusty, this is dangerous. /I'm/ dangerous." Blackbird stares at the rigging, realizing that he actually isn't sure what to do with it, and what's more, even if he did, he's a little too flustered to do anything about it. "You should just go. Leave me alone. You don't want to be a mercenary, and you don't want to be near me, and you shouldn't be on this Celestia-forsaken boat!"

Rusty-Gears pauses at the top of the gangplank for about three seconds, then stomps each hoof purposely onto the boat one after the other. "Well, I'm on it. And who are you to say what /I/ want to do? You think I'm just here on a romp? 'Oh hey look a boat that sounds fun'? You think I don't know what I'm getting into? Don't start with me, Blackbird. It's none of your business what /I/ want to do."

Blackbird stares at her, prickling. He opens his mouth, jaw working for a second before he snaps it shut with a click of teeth. "Well, I don't approve," he mutters. "And I really think you should go home and let me be an idiot on my own."

Rusty-Gears smirks wryly. "Luckily, I don't require your approval." She looks over at Tarnish, looking vaguely as if she's waiting for her to protest herself. She's also looking quite ready for more arguing should it come to that! Or perhaps more than arguing. She's annoyed. She'd kinda like to kick something.

Tarnish, whom had been watching this with no small amount of amusement, actually gives a little start when Rusty looks her way. She clears her throat, and offers: "I think you should listen to him. We're not exactly going on vacation. We're on our way to go give some really dangerous ponies a swift kick into a shallow grave, and there's a chance we'll get kicked first." There's all of a couple seconds of dead space between that, and the wide grin Tarnish breaks into. "But if you really have your heart set on this, I'm sure we can find a use for ya. Right, BB? Maybe you could use a communication's expert or something."

"She's no communication expert," Blackbird says gruffly at the rigging as he starts wrestling with it. "She holds her own in a fight just fine. She's more… demolitions expert." After a bit of wrestling with the rope, Blackbird finally rears back and kicks the spar in frustration, sending the sails unrolling with a snap. He blinks up at them. Oh. Hey. But he finally turns back to Tarnish and shakes his head. "You want an able-bodied pony? She's more than good for the job. And if she knows what she's getting into, then fine. Great. We'll all walk the path of hay together."

Rusty-Gears nods curtly, seeming to quite ignore the first part of Tarnish's statement. She said it already - she knows what she's getting into! "Weaponsmith and demolitions, actually," she states matter-of-factly if a bit irritably, with a small glance towards Blackbird, "and general mechanics. You want communications I'll give it a shot, but I'm more accustomed to… aggressive negotiations."

Tarnish gives a low whistle. "Wow, BB. You sure know how to pick'em! I'm sorry I ever doubted you'd gone soft!" She gives a much more animated bob of her head, trotting towards the gangplank to deal with it next. "Welp! Welcome aboard, Ms. Demolitions. You can accompany BB, and I'll handle communications. It's more my forte anyway. Now unless either of you have more secret lovers champing at the bit to come along, I think we better get a move on."

"Let's get moving." Blackbird looks over at Rusty, his expression unusually dark and flat, like someone's thrown a blanket over his usually excitable psyche. But even still, there's a hint of longing, like he wants to go hug her or something. Instead, he turns away, retreating to the stairs leading down into the inside of the boat, unslinging his saddlebags with his teeth as he goes.

"Yes sir captain sir!" Tarnish shouts gleefully, despite Blackbird being neither really her superior, nor the captain. She's off to the wheel to get the ship going in the right direction! "Feel free to park your stuff downstairs too, Ms. Kaboom. You two got a couple days before we get to the island to sit and stare angrily at each other. Or kiss and make up. Whatever."
Rusty-Gears stares after him, blowing out a heavy breath through her nose. She thinks he's an idiot. It's written all over her face. But she doesn't exactly look thrilled to be in a fight, either. She glances back at Tarnish, and gives a small nod, heading for the stairs as well.

About an hour later… The boat is sailing smoothly past the bad weather, into more temperate weather, and on towards downright tropical. It is, however, a long and boring boat ride, as promised. Giving the small three-pony crew plenty of time to interact! At the moment, Tarnish is sitting on the deck. Enjoying the fresh air and the prospect of 'fun' that will be had.

Rusty-Gears eventually finds her way up to the deck herself, saddlebag in tow and lugging some kind of… contraption. A bundle of interlocking, folded metal plates, under a cursory examination, with the odd gear or wire sticking out here and there. It looks… old. And like it's been getting quite the scrubbing. And isn't quite cooperating, apparently! Mumblegrumblestupidoldthing.

Was that thing hiding in her saddlebag? Tarnish's ears swivel to catch the noise, dragging her head right behind them so she can outright stare at the mare and her dragging of contraptions of weirdness. Naturally she's curious, but not quite enough to interrupt her all-important sitting around. She does, however, speak up! "Ahoy! Ms. 'Splosion! What /are/ you doing with that pile of scrap?"

Rusty-Gears blinks and glances up, twitching an ear. "Blast shielding," she calls back after a moment, half-dropping, half-setting the pile of metal onto the ship and starting to unfold it. Some of the plates slide smoothly; others grind against each other, screeching for want of a good oiling. She grunts and gives it a light kick. "Oh, shush." It's… armor! Sort of. It looks like it's meant to fit over a pony's front - there's a faceplate, and those straps look meant to fasten around a neck, and there's bends for the shoulders and looser, movable plating to strap to the front of the legs. Or, there would be, if everything would unfold right! As it is, half of the plates are sticking, and the whole thing's kind of looking like a mad mess of metal.

"Blast shielding?" Tarnish asks. Okay, now she's curious enough to move. She hoists her flank up and turns about to approach the pile of oddly shaped and generally uncooperative metal plates. "You had that whole thing stuffed in your saddlebags?" she asks, poking a hoof at one of the 'stuck' plates. "…And you're actually gonna wear it?"

Rusty-Gears blinks and chuckles, glancing over at her. "Well, I'm gonna if I can get it all cleaned. You'd want some shielding too if you were loading up short-range launchers." Upon closer inspection, the inside of the metal is thickly padded - as much a shield against heat as it's meant to be against explosions. "It's not pretty but it'll do the job."

Talk of launchers makes Tarnish perk her ears. "Really? You hid all that in those little saddlebags? Wow…" She sure seems impressed! Despite the funny-looking padded plating that's supposed to be armor sitting on the ship deck now. "So, uh. I hope you don't actually intend to /use/ this unless it's, like, a distraction, because the moment you shoot something like a launcher off you're probably going to have every goon in a mile radius looking for you." She gives a plate a poke. "Not saying there won't be a use for explosives! Or launchers. Or armor! But if this goes well hopefully you won't need it."

Rusty-Gears grins faintly, twitching an ear towards her as she turns back to tugging at the stubborn armor. "Oh, of course. But I like to be prepared. 'Sides, half the time, I /was/ the distraction." She shrugged. "Anyways, I got smaller stuff. Didn't bring all the stuff in the saddlebags," she admits, "just the parts, and the schematics. Or, well." She tapped her head with one hoof. "Got those here. Don't usually write that stuff down. I figured we'd probably have time for me to whip up something, depending what we needed."

"That's true." Tarnish admits, turning about to gaze out along the ocean. "I didn't think there was that much to build with downstairs! But then, I'm not exactly mechanically inclined myself. I'm sure your skills at distracting things with violent explosions will come in handy before this trip's done!"
Rusty-Gears smirks wryly, pinning her ears back for a second. "Well. I'm used to improvising tools." She looks over at her. "So what's the job, anyway? Who're we after? And more importantly who's paying?"

"I really should save that for the official briefing." says the mottled merc, "But seeing as I'm bored and Blackbird's probably still stewing…" she trails off. Tarnish studies a hoof, "We're going after a newly formed terrorist organization. They call themselves the Iron Dragon. Not very original, but when you're blowing stuff up I guess you can call yourself whatever you want, hey? As for who's paying…" Tarnish glances up, "This island is in a very awkward place. It sits literally on the border of several country waters. So it's kind of an open ticket from several governments. Like, literally saving the world here."

Rusty-Gears nods thoughtfully, tilting her head. "Hm. Bounty hunting, basically. Just some high-profile targets." She sits back on her haunches. "Big first job. Ambitious sort, aren't you?"

Tarnish rolls her eyes towards the skies, polishing her hoof on her chest. "Weeeell it's a /little/ more complicated than that, but you could say I'm ambitious, sure! That's a good word when its used right." Then she fixes Rusty with a grin. Her eyes, however, have taken on an odd, emotionless, and almost steely nature. "Small fry isn't any fun, and this was a stone-cold, immediate opportunity. When opportunity knocks, you best pounce it, Ms. S'plosion Pony."

Rusty-Gears smirks. "Well, I suppose. I guess I'm just thinking on the side of caution - uncharacteristic, I'll admit. But you've got Mr. Schoolteacher down there, bit out of practice. Sounds like you'd been out of the gig for a while. Groups like this one we're after, they can be trouble. Merc groups that get up to that level usually know what they're on about." She shrugs, idly turning back to the armor and giving it another tug, managing to straighten another few plates, though it gave an irritable screech. "Just wanna make sure I know what we're heading into, is all. Make sure I set up the right stuff."

"That's fair." Tarnish agrees, "…Okay, well, I'm not /totally/ out of practice, exactly, and I'm doing the hardest part of this mission. Mostly you and BB are here for support, and because I know BB's skills. I doubt they've rusted half as much as you think. He…and you, now, I guess, are sort of my pocket aces in this. When we're done, they won't know what hit'em, and we'll be minus one dangerous terrorist group."

Rusty-Gears nods. "Oh, he's capable. I'm sure of that. Consider me insurance. I've got a vested interest in making sure he gets home in one piece. I don't want to be left explaining to a bitty zebra why she's gone and lost /another/ dad."

Tarnish nods slowly. "I guess we're in agreement then!" she chimes. "I wouldn't have come for him if I thought he was gonna get killed out here! Besides, he'll have a great story to tell his kid."

Rusty-Gears chuckles wryly. "Quite the story, I'm sure. I'm just trying to hedge the bet towards a happy ending." She shrugged one shoulder. "Blow some stuff up, brandish a blade or two -" and she's probably not talking about a sword! "and we all sail on home richer. I never say no to bits."

"Well good!" Tarnish keeps her grin going, wandering herself to the edge of the boat to drape her legs over. "Make some traps. You can't go wrong with traps. The sorts of things ponies can accidentally wander into, y'know what I mean?"

Rusty-Gears nods and grins slightly. "I can do that. Gotta love a good trap. Well, least if you're not the one stepping in it." She admittedly looks a bit excited about this. A way to use a skillset that repairing old heaters and boat engines did not provide! One can practically see the gears turning.

Tarnish gazes out. Clear blue waters, no trace of land in sight for miles in any direction. Such a long boat trip. "A couple days… Tomorrow I'll give you both the full briefing." the mottled merc says. "So you have plenty of time today to build whatever you think you're gonna need. It's a tropical island. Rain foresty even." Then she trails off, muttering something about undefended beaches or something.

Rusty-Gears nods curtly, gathering up her mostly-unfolded-by-now armor thing. "I'll come up with something useful. I've dealt with tropics before."