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If Ever a Place Was Misnamed

Posted on Mon Jul 4th, 2022 @ 2:11pm by Quinlan Barrett Poe & Addy Stone & Morgan Martin

Mission: The Xiao Jin Chronicles
Location: On Approach to Farmstead, Sweethome
Timeline: Mission Day 35 at 0800

Poe had made it a point to visit the cockpit more often and so that Morgan, who did shifts along with Clayton and himself, had time out and about. At the moment, he was standing behind Morgan as Sweethome came into view. He reached up and tapped the communications panel. "Addy, if you want to come on up here, Morgan will need directions to your family's place."

It took her a few moments to unwind herself from the work she and Caelin had been doing on the engine. They'd finally nailed down the slight whine and misalignment that she'd shared with the other woman the first day and were in the midst of tag teaming the fix when Poe's message came across the speaker.

She'd murmured her apologies and gotten confirmation from Caelin that she could finish the rest herself before hurrying out of the engine room, heart in her throat, and taking the stairs upward in a great clanging rush. When she stepped onto the bridge she made a beeline for Poe, winding her arm around his waist as much an acknowledgment of her presence as an unconscious desire to be comforted. Sweethome loomed before them and in the back of her head she thought about how somewhere, down on that surface, was her family and no matter what happened after they put down on the farm, nothing was ever going to be the same.

"Let me know when you're ready for my help Morgan," Addy said, her tone business-like despite the turmoil she felt.

"Please. Lead the way." Morgan chuckled. "I swear. Any time I stop in even the same hemisphere as cattle, I always end up landing in the exact same pasture as an angry bull." Well, that was one time, but Morgan thought the exaggeration might help lighten the mood. And with Poe in the room, the mood always seemed to need some lightening.

Poe settled his arm about her and watched Morgan at the controls. In most ways that counted, their new pilot was about as different from the old one as possible. Competent, they shared that, but little else. "And no need to be subtle," Poe said. He held his emotions contained, controlled, the way he did when he expected trouble to come calling. "And I don't see the need to be gentle neither. But that's me. Addy's calling this one."

"Well, I got to be at least a bit gentle," Morgan smiled, though inwardly he wondered whether or not Poe was joking. "Or else my flight instructor might rise up from the grave in shame just to make me go through all the basic landing exercises again."

Poe chuckled, a quiet ripple of laughter, as he found himself nodding. "Speaking as the one that has to pay the repair bills, I reckon I'd be none too pleased either." He turned toward Addy. "It occurs to me that us landing at the farm leaves the crew stranded. How about we find a spot near town, such as it is, and the crew can stretch their legs. We can always take one of the shuttles."

The mechanic was quiet for a long moment, thinking, then nodded her agreement. Farmstead doesn't have a dock, per se, but there's a patch of meadow just outside of town where I think we can set down without anyone giving us grief. I'll ask Henry to get his folks to bring trucks from the shop to unload the cargo and we can help get things in and to the shop before we head to the farm." She wanted to make sure to say a proper goodbye to her friend and, truth be told, she worried he might be the last friendly face she'd find on Sweethome.

She leaned into Quinn, arm tightening slightly. She was tempted to bury her face in his chest--hide for a moment--but that wouldn't accomplish anything and things needed doing. "Have you got the coordinates for Armindale?" she asked Morgan so she knew from which direction she ought to guide him.

"I'll take those coordinates," Morgan responded. So Poe can laugh! The pilot gave one chuff of amusement. They were stopping at a town, huh? Well, Morgan wasn't about to turn down stopping at a town, though he wouldn't really know what to do there. Even after working as a pilot on the rim for as long as he had, the man still stuck out a bit with a faint core-world accent, clean clothes and obvious naivete about rural life. Only one way to learn though. It would be a fun adventure.

Addy relayed the coordinates rapid-fire explaining that they would be traveling west from Armindale. It took her a moment to work out the distance so that it was useful. She'd always thought about the distance to Armindale in hours spent in a truck, not time it would take to transit to the ground in a transport. Eventually, though, she managed to convey the 5 hours by car into something that Morgan use to find the much smaller town of Farmstead.

"The meadow we're looking for is just outside of town to the north and east, about 10 acres and right along the main road. I can help visually when we're inside atmo," she said, "if that works for you?"

"That works for me," Morgan nodded along. He gave a faint smile. "As long as there's no angry bulls in it. We should be near atmo now. You might want to find something to hang on to, entering atmo is never fun." At least, not in a ship like a Firefly. There was always a change of turbulence whenever air was involved.

Poe leaned back and tapped the button on the overhead communications panel. "Sula, you might want to find something to hang onto. Everyone else, we're landing outside of Farmstead where we'll offload the cargo. Time to get to work people."

Addy slid her arm from around Poe before moving over to the Captain's console and settling her hands on the back of the extra chair. She set her feet shoulder width apart just as the turbulence started making her set and then reset her feet as the ship protested the introduction of gravity and atmospheric sheering.

Poe braced and the thought came to him as he watched their expert pilot bring the ship in for a landing that if ever there was a misnamed world, it was this one. He had a notion, one that he would soon put to the test, that the Weysmith home had been anything but sweet for the children who were forced to grow up there. His own world, Deadwood, was more aptly named but that, as they say, was a different story.

 

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