1. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Feyfalken: The Lost Expedition

    Discussion in 'Role Play' started by AnonyMouse, May 6, 2014.

    Feyfalken
    The Lost Expedition​


    Aeternia, The Eternal Empire, once spanned the length and breadth of the known world. Bordered by the Tranquil Sea to the west and the Sands of Desolation to the east, Aeternia was a nation of wealth, power, and above all, knowledge. Its capital city, Holdenheim, was a bright metropolis of interconnected gardens, libraries, and universities. Logic and learning were considered the noblest virtues of civilized society. No one is quite sure when this changed, but change it did…

    Centuries ago, a school was established in the north: a school for the study of the arcane arts -- magic. The small mountain town of Altamura sprang up around the school. Before long, that town grew to a metropolis, which rivaled Holdenheim, the former capital of thought and learning. The Arcane Academy's philosophies grew and gained followers. Something had to give. No one is quite sure when the 'Eternal' Empire split, but split it did…

    The northern half --the nation of magic-- became known as the Kingdom of Arcania, with Altamura as its capital. The southern half continued to proudly carry the name of Aeternia, home of the Emperor. For decades, there was no open hostility. Scientists fought to make sense of magic, while the mages fought to prove science couldn't explain everything. For a while, the rivalry between science and magic was waged in dusty libraries and stuffy debate rooms. No one is quite sure when it spilled into the streets, but spill it did…

    Now the Forever War has been going on for generations, with no end in sight. Smoke darkens the border between the two nations. Aeternia repeatedly throws its most advanced weaponry and war machines at the "primitive" northerners. Logically, they should've won the war decades ago, but Arcania's forces always seem to miraculously steal victory from the clutches of defeat, keeping the war at a constant deadlock. Is it dumb luck… or magic?

    No one is quite sure when they turned their attention east, to the Sands of Desolation, where lost knowledge and the remnants of vanished civilizations wait to be plundered, but turn they did…


    YOUR MISSION
    The vast desert to the east of both nations has long been a place of mystery. Ancient texts, myths, and legends tell of civilizations that have risen and fallen into ruin -- some seemingly vanished overnight. Were the Sands of Desolation always a desert? The mages of Arcania regard it as a cursed land and wouldn't dare set foot there. The scientists of Aeternia harbor no such superstitions, but economic and logistic hurdles have kept them from venturing deep into the Sands… until now.

    As airship technology progressed, it was only a matter of time until one was created with enough range to traverse the desert. The Aeternian Royal Air Navy has partnered with Lancaster Heavy Industries, the nation's leading airship manufacturer, to produce the Feyfalken, the pinnacle of efficiency and ingenuity. The hopes of the Aeternian people rest upon this experimental ship, which will pierce the Sands of Desolation and return with its deepest secrets. Science will triumph where magic dares not tread.

    You are a member of the crew of the Feyfalken. You are tasked with going where no man has gone before, on a voyage of discovery. For science!

    A Note From the GM: Players are invited --no, encouraged-- to make things up about what goes on inside the Sands of Desolation and how it came to be so… umm… desolate… and sandy. This is an unscripted story, all about myths, legends, and rumors. Different characters may have their own ideas of what awaits us there. If I like the sound of it, it may even come true… ;)


    YOUR SHIP
    The Feyfalken is a 250 ton, 350 ft (107 m) thermal airship designed by Reina Lancaster at Lancaster Heavy Industries' Coldharbor Research Facility in South Holdenheim. Two steam turbine engines power the ship's three props. Twin envelopes (balloons) atop the ship serve as condensers. Hot steam is vented into them from the engines, providing lift. As the steam cools back into water, it is recycled into the boilers. The Feyfalken's core frame is made of pure levitanium -- a metal refined from levitation stones -- while most other components are aluminum, steel, and even wood in some places.

    In nautical terms, the Feyfalken would be described as a "trimaran," a ship with three hulls. The closest example in aviation would probably be this cargo plane; just imagine there are no wings and the twin booms are large enough for people to live/work inside, and you pretty much have the Feyfalken's overall "look." A massive propeller at the stern pushes the ship through the air, while two smaller propellers on the booms (like the cargo plane in the picture) help pull. Two envelopes (balloons) keep the ship aloft; when seen from above, the Feyfalken looks like two zeppelins tethered together, side by side.

    The bridge, dining hall, research labs, garden, and crew quarters are in the main hull, which has two levels. The lower level of the main hull is taken up almost entirely by the cargo bay, which is the primary means of entering or exiting the ship. There are two steam-powered automobiles (sort of like old-fashioned Jeeps) stored there, for exploring away from the ship, as well as wingsuits and parachutes for bailing out in an emergency. Inside, the ship is mostly dark and claustrophobic; the bridge, hydroponic greenhouse, and outside catwalks are probably the only places on board that get a lot of sunlight/visibility. Everywhere else uses crude electric lighting.

    The dirty work of running the ship goes on in the outriggers (the twin booms, one on each side of the main hull, connected by a catwalk). Each one has a steam turbine engine, a boiler room, and stores of fuel (wood or coal). There are also gun ports within the outriggers, but the Feyfalken is a research vessel first and foremost. Its only armaments are a few hand-cranked gatling guns at each corner, two forward-facing cannons, two rearward cannons, and chutes for dropping bomblets. Communication throughout the ship is done by speaking through acoustic pipes.


    GAME RULES
    The rules and guidelines players must abide by after joining this game.​
    No god moding! This is one of the cardinal sins of roleplaying. If you find yourself writing a post where your character does, alone, what would/should take an entire host of people, you're probably god moding (i.e. activating "god mode," granting yourself invincibility, power level 9000+, and utterly ruining everyone else's day). DON'T DO IT! Collaborate, team up, and tackle the issue as a group. Keep your limits in mind. In short, keep it real. (FYI, this doesn't only apply to battles. Characters who are good at everything or know everything or are just "too cool for the rest of us" are pretty much slipping into god territory. DON'T DO IT!)

    Read each post --the WHOLE post-- carefully. If something doesn't make sense, ask the poster what s/he was trying to say. Don't skim posts or assume things. Nothing derails a game faster than confused and muddled posting. If someone is repeatedly writing long, rambling posts that confuse the hell out of you, politely let them know. We're in this to become better writers.

    Work Together. Okay, this isn't exactly a "rule," more like a guideline. Not everything has to be done with multiple characters, but the game is more interesting when we're all involved. For example, don't have your soldier character repair the engines if you know someone else's character is an engineer and s/he is available to do so. Pay attention to other people's strengths/weaknesses and seek opportunities to take advantage of them.

    Please respect the tone of the game. There's nothing wrong with humor or the occasional non-sequitor, (and there will be plenty of times for that,) but ignoring or laughing off every threat we face destroys tension and makes the plot look like a joke. A few characters might legitimately lose their minds as the mission progresses, but it should be written somewhat realistically and, most importantly, in character.

    Don't control someone else's character(s) without permission. No one knows a character better than the writer who created him/her. Don't assume someone else's character will laugh at your character's jokes or grimace at your filthy comments; let the writer write his/her responses themselves. There are times when the GM may briefly take control of the entire group to move the story along, but that's because he's the GM and he's awesomer than you. ;)

    The GM's word is law. Period. If you don't like it, leave… but I don't want you to leave, so it's in my best interest to be a good, fair GM and listen to what you guys and gals have to say. See, there's a system of checks and balances in place. We can (and will) all get along. :)

    Have fun. Yes, this is a rule.

    ENCYCLOPEDIA
    A list of people, places, and concepts pertaining to the lore of this world.
    This info may be added to as the story goes on. Please read before posting.​
    Aeternia: the southern half of the (former) Eternal Empire. Aeternia is a nation of knowledge, logic, and learning, where science is god. They believe the world functions on strict rules, known as the Grand Design, and devote their entire lives to understanding these rules. Most scientists of Aeternia believe they will someday unravel the truth of the Grand Design and rule over nature. Their national emblem is three interlocked white gears over a bluish-gray background, the gears on which the world turns.

    airships: Lighter-than-air vehicles first created by Aeternian scientists nearly a century ago. The Aeternian Royal Air Navy uses them as flying fortresses to bombard Arcania's invading forces and patrol the border. Most airships are of the thermal variety (like a hot air balloon) and utilize a semi-rigid "envelope" (the balloon part), filled with hot steam from the ship's engine(s). Hydrogen-filled ships are no longer in use, but some ships can generate hydrogen via a chemical reaction to ascend rapidly, in an emergency situation. This hydrogen is quickly vented afterward.

    Altamura: Arcania’s capital, a beautiful city high in the snowy mountains of central Arcania and home to the Arcane Academy, the school of magical study which started it all. Altamura is also known as the “Shining City” and the “Radiant Throne,” due to its white stone architecture. The Academy is now the nation's seat of government. Their king recently passed away of old age; Queen Isolde Rosamund rules in his stead.

    Arcania: the northern half of the Eternal Empire. Arcania is a nation of science and magic, intermingled. They also believe in the Grand Design, but do not think man will ever fully understand it, no matter how hard he studies, because the laws of nature are in constant flux. They call this flux "magic," and believe it is necessary to understand both to rule over nature. Their national emblem is a white gear bisected by a lightning bolt, over a gray background.

    Divide, The: the invisible barrier between the material world (Terrestria) and the magic world (Transmundus). It is weaker in some places than in others. Some ancient relics are said to be capable of bridging the Divide and drawing infinite energy from Transmundus. The Divide is said to be thinnest in cemeteries, battlefields, and places where large numbers of people have died; souls crossing into the afterlife leave “holes” in the Divide.

    Holdenheim: an industrial city in the heartland of Aeternia, commonly referred to as “the Clockwork City" due to the numerous mechanized devices there. Steamworks beneath the streets provide heating, plumbing, and even power. It is one of the few cities in the entire world with electric streetlamps. (But homes and businesses still use lanterns indoors; there is no public power grid.) Holdenheim’s airshipyard is among the busiest in the world and the streets are clogged with steam-powered vehicles. But all of this advancement comes at a cost: Holdenheim has some of the worst pollution in all of Aeternia. At the city's center is the royal palace, topped by a massive clock visible for miles around. Emperor Kaim Asherton currently sits upon the throne.

    levitite: A rare bluish-black stone which is lighter than air. Neither nation fully understands what gives levitite its unique properties. All of the large deposits of levitite are on Aeternian soil, but Arcania occasionally steals some or hijacks an Aeternian airship. Levitite can be refined into a metallic form -- levitanium -- which is used in airship construction. Airships are never made entirely of levitanium; not only would this be extremely expensive, but the ship would not be able to land, ever.

    magic: "Magic" refers to any thing or event that defies conventional science. Aeternians believe the scientific method will eventually teach us everything about how the world works -- this knowledge is collectively known as the Grand Design. The Arcanians, however, believe the rules of the Grand Design sometimes change or can be broken. They call these brief anomalies or deviations from the Design "magic," and seek ways to predict them or force them into being. Actual magic is very rare, often subtle and unpredictable. "Mage" is a term used very loosely in this context; they are not spell-slinging wizards, but more like scholars, seeking something that has eluded them for centuries.

    stones, the: also known as "Philosopher's Stones," "Blood Moon Drops," "Eyes of Creation," and many other names as old as time itself. These are mystical stones said to possess infinite magical energy. They are widely believed to be a myth, even by mages. The stories about them usually speak of curses, suffering, and death.

    Terrestria: the world in which this story takes place. "Terrestria" is, essentially, the universe. Terrestria = Earth. Most people in Terrestria believe the world is flat with a domed sky (the heavens) where the stars hang. Somewhere, at the edge of all creation is a place where earth and sky meet.

    Transmundus: also known as "The Other Side," this is the world of magic, the spirit world, including the afterlife. The people of Arcania believe magic is drawn from Transmundus through weak points in the barrier dividing it from Terrestria. Most southerners do not believe in the Other Side at all; to them, there is only one world and it is governed by definite laws of science. To them, there is no "magic." Magic is just science they don't understand yet.

    voltaic pile: a "battery." Electricity is still in its infancy, but the Feyfalken is one of the few airships with electric lighting. A crude dynamo attached to the steam turbines generates electricity, which is then stored in the voltaic piles, which are basically drums of gelled acid with conductive metal plates. Electricity is limited to the lights; everything else is either hand-cranked or powered by the ship's steamworks.

    wingsuit: a lightweight, full body suit which serves as a glider. Most airships use these as lifeboats; they’re your only means of survival if the ship goes down. Wingsuits come in two types: emergency and sport. An emergency wingsuit is usually made of cheap material and equipped with a parachute; its only function is to get you away from a crashing airship and safely to the ground. Sport wingsuits are higher quality and are usually custom-designed for the wearer. Most sport wingsuits have a small canister of compressed gas on the back, capable of providing thrust for a brief period (usually only a few seconds) before its fuel is exhausted. They can be used to fly up to a waiting airship or, in some rare cases, to board an enemy airship during aerial combat.

    CHARACTER PROFILE TEMPLATE
    To join, fill this out and send it to the GM (AnonyMouse) for approval.
    Do not post a character in the discussion thread until it is approved.​
    Full Name: (Character's full name, first and last, please.)

    Gender/Age: (Male or female, and how many years old. No kids please. Minimum age limit of 18; any character younger than that needs a fake ID.)

    Job: (what do you do on the ship (i.e. engineer, security officer, researcher, cartographer, custodian, laborer, agriculture, cook, helmsman, etc) Note that this will affect where you are and what you do; for example, a char who tends the gardens probably won't be hanging out in the engine rooms or on the bridge often.)

    Appearance: (Physical description. Height, build, skin color, eye color, hair color/style, typical attire, noticeable markings (tattoos, scars, birthmarks, etc). The standard uniform aboard the Feyfalken is grayish blue trousers with a white button-up shirt and light boots, but many crewmen take some liberties with their attire.)

    Personality: (How does this person generally behave toward others? Friendly, hostile, judgmental, antisocial, flirty, smartass, dumbass, hardass, etc, etc? Try to be detailed; this info will be used if your character must be controlled by the GM or another player, for whatever reason)

    Background: (brief bio; where are you from and how'd you end up on board the Feyfalken?)

    Skills: (What skills do you possess? Are you good with firearms? Are you an expert mechanic/engineer? A renowned researcher? Good for morale? Slept with the admissions officer? You're on this ship for a reason. Why?)

    Misc: (Optional. Anything else you’d like to add can go here.)
     
  2. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Wholeheartedly approved! May the winds be ever at your back.
     
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  3. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Prologue

    The scent of iron filled his nostrils. Was this the smell of burning metal or the gallons of blood spilled today? Dorian Cromwell, former captain, staggered down the slanting corridors of his dying ship, his boots leaving molten prints on the red hot floors. His vice captain's body lay limp in his arms and, with every step he took, he lied to himself: it's only the smoke making my eyes water. It's only the smoke. He had always joked about how small she was. Now she seemed so incredibly light, without the weight of a soul.

    All is lost. The Feyfalken is dead. But, if he could just reach the bridge and look evil in the eyes, he felt everything might be okay. Maybe it would all be worth something. Maybe it would all be okay. A low groan, somewhere deep in the ship's bowels, told him it would not. Somewhere, god was laughing.

    He found a door marked "bridge," blackened by fire. Dorian placed his hand on it and ignored the searing pain and the scent of burning flesh as he pushed his way inside. The door fell from its crumbling hinges and he collapsed in a heap on the floor. Rei's glassy, soulless eyes stared back at him through her cracked glasses, as he struggled to his feet and blinked in the light.

    Half of the bridge was gone. The glass front had been blasted away, leaving a jagged precipice that fell away into nothing. The helmsman was slumped over the wheel, impaled by a fallen steel beam, his hand still on the throttle: full reverse. They died while running away. The navigators and engineers lay scattered on the hot floor, steam rising off their bodies, as Dorian staggered toward the edge, where a woman was standing.

    But she was like no woman he'd ever seen. Her skin was nearly transluscent, as if she were made of water. She stood silhouetted against the setting sun and the light seemed to pass through her, shimmering on her watery surface, revealing a bone structure of pure ice. Her form was unmistakably human… except for the curved horns atop her head, like in the stories of Arcanian demons. She stood with her back to him, staring out into space, and seemed nearly as lost and disillusioned as he was.

    But in her hand was a pulsing red stone, the color of blood. Dorian could feel its presence, almost as clearly as he felt his own heart pounding in his chest.

    As the dying Feyfalken dipped toward the ground, Dorian saw a village in flames, smoke rising from the thatch roofs of primitive homes. Women and children ran every which way as beams of red light cut swatches of destruction across the ground. Men with crossbows fired into the air, but they weren't aiming at the Feyfalken. As he took his place beside the horned water-demoness, a dark shadow loomed over everything, bigger than them all.

    He didn't say a word. She just looked at him with fierce blue eyes, filled with a subtle rage. Somehow, he could sense this creature's wrath wasn't directed at him. They shared the same anger and sorrow. Her touch was soft as she took his hand, pressed the red stone into his palm, and whispered, "adao, mi estra. Vidae sur la muirte," as the world ended.



    Act 1:
    LAUNCH DAY

    Dorian Dyson Cromwell prided himself on his ability to sleep just about anywhere. On hammocks, in chairs, on couches, on the floor, atop a pile of supermodels… name it and he’s probably slept on it, in it, or under it. He also took great pride in his ability to sleep soundly, without tossing and turning. If he laid down in the middle of a bed, he expected to awake in precisely that spot the following morning.

    Needless to say, he was more than a little bewildered when, on such an important morning as this, he awoke with his head under the bed and his feet on the nightstand, with a ringing alarm clock tickling his toes. And he hadn’t even been drinking last night. Go figure.

    One hour and three shots of whiskey later, he was showered, dressed, and ready for the day. He stood at the foot of the hotel’s front steps with his hands deep in the pockets of his greatcoat. Captain Cromwell watched the rain beat the cobblestones of Holdenheim’s streets, sending thin rivulets of black runoff cascading into the gutters. It was as if the city just couldn’t get clean, no matter how hard the heavy grey sky scoured it.

    “What a glorious day to launch an airship,” he muttered under his breath as a horsedrawn carriage trotted by. Amidst the grumbling, hissing lines of steam-powered autos, the rain-soaked beast stuck out like a sore thumb, but Dorian had a certain fondness for them. New was not always superior to old.

    Far above the drab grey bricks, puffing chimneys, and steep black slopes of Holdenheim’s rooftops, the monstrous clock atop the royal palace chimed seven’o’clock. Far too early to be freezing my ass off out here, Dorian thought as he hugged his coat tightly and tried to catch some warmth from a nearby steam grate. He had half a mind to go back inside, but knew the wait would be over in a matter of seconds.

    Before the clock chimed its seventh bell, a long black automobile rounded the corner; so long its rear wheels had steering as well as the front, to help it make the turn. Electric lanterns lighted the street in front of it. Such a marvel of engineering could only be the work of one family.

    Punctual as ever, Dorian thought with a slight smile as the car pulled up to the curb in front of him and its door opened upward, like the wing of a gull. Integra Lancaster was seated in the back, with one leg crossed over the other and a cup of tea in her tiny hands. She almost seemed ladylike and quaintly charming… in much the same way a tiger almost seems like a housecat.

    “Get in. You’re late,” she said and Dorian obeyed without question, though he could not help but grin from ear to ear as he did so. As expected, she immediately launched into business: “Hangar Nine is secured and the Feyfalken’s main tanks are primed and ready to go. The laborers will be finished loading the cargo within the hour and drivers have already been dispatched to gather the crew from their lodgings. Your personal effects are on board and-”

    “I’m doing splendid, by the way. Thanks for asking,” Dorian said with a smile. “And how are you, Reina? You look lovely today. May I have some tea, my dear?”

    “Don’t call me that,” she said, pushing her glasses up the brim of her nose. He noticed she had a habit of doing that when she was uncomfortable. He knew this because he did everything within his power to keep her out of her comfort zone.

    “Don’t call you what? ‘Lovely,’ ‘Reina,’ or ‘my dear?’” He chuckled. “It’s all true. You are lovely, you are dear to me, and you are Reina… although I had to check your personnel file to get that last one.” He sighed. “I thought we were friends, yet you can’t even tell me little things like your first name.”

    “We are not friends and fraternization has no clear benefit to our effectiveness, thus I see no need for it,” she said sternly. “Everyone in my family has a powerful middle name: honor, integrity, glory. You will address me as ‘Integra,’ ‘Miss Lancaster,’ or ‘Vice Captain.’”

    “I had the wildest dream last night,” Dorian said, “but -- here’s the funny thing -- I can’t seem to remember it. I think you were in it.” Integra’s eyes narrowed on him and he quickly backpedaled: “Oh, heavens no, not that kind of dream. I’d remember if it were that kind of dream.”

    She banged on the partition and urged the driver to go faster.

    Fifteen torturous minutes later, the Lancaster motorcade arrived at the gates of Hangar Nine, an enormous structure that towered over Holdenheim’s airshipyard. It was normally used to launch massive capital ships and command vessels -- airships three or four times the Feyfalken’s size. Today, the hangar was filled with bleachers and a tall podium, from which the Emperor would give a boring speech at noon, in front of thousands of cheering imbeciles, before cracking a bottle of expensive champagne on the Feyfalken’s bow and opening the hangar roof so they could finally leave this wretched city.

    Five more hours of this horse and pony show, Dorian thought, counting down the seconds as he exited the car and gallantly offered a hand to his vice captain. Needless to say, she refused.

    They stepped inside the hangar, which was teeming with a mixture of pre-show activity and pre-flight preparations. Laborers hurried about setting up extra seating, while truckloads of supplies were still being loaded into the Feyfalken, via its cargo ramp. The ship itself was perched on a raised platform, draped in blue and white banners. To Dorian, it looked like a fat turkey being dressed for a feast. But, in a way, it still looked amazing.

    “I don’t think I ever thanked you,” he said to his vice captain as he followed her up the long iron steps to the ship’s main door.

    “What for?” she asked flatly.

    For the view, he thought, watching her ass as she climbed. But the mature part of him told the juvenile part of him to shut the hell up for a moment and he replied, “For building the best airship in all of Aeternia and giving it to a dog like me.”

    When they arrived on the ship’s catwalk, she turned to face him. “It is with great pride I inform you that your appointment to the role of ‘captain’ was handled by an admission committee and approved by the Emperor. I played no part in-”

    “Shh, my little ‘Rei’ of sunshine,” Dorian said, putting a finger to her lips. “Just shut up and accept the compliment. Besides, men don’t chose captains; the ships do. Let's hope this one likes me more than the Infinitum did.”

    There was a brief glint of something like compassion in her eyes, but it passed quickly. Must've just been his imagination. "She seemed to like you just fine during the trial runs, sir," Integra said before turning away and thumbing through a thick portfolio she'd been carrying. They were personnel reports; one for each crewman.

    A lengthy silence settled between them, filled by the loud patter of rain on the hangar roof. Eventually, Dorian spoke: “While we wait for the crew to show up, there's something I've been meaning to ask you about. You’re some kind of linguistics expert or something, right?”

    “Or something?” Integra said, her face scrunching up slightly. “If you’d bothered to read that personnel file, you would know I am fluent in over two dozen-”

    “Yes, yes, I get it, Your Highness,” Dorian said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I need a translation. There’s this phrase that’s been stuck in my head: ‘adao, mi estra. Vidae sur la muirte.’ I don’t know where it came from, but it’s been bouncing around in there all morning.”

    Integra looked up from her reports and met his eyes. “Your pronunciation is abysmal, but it sounds like a dialect of ancient Arcanian,” she said, “the type allegedly spoken by ghosts and demons and the denizens of Transmundus, the realm of magic. I don’t believe in such nonsense and neither should you. Forget it.”

    Dorian’s eyes widened. “So it’s an actual language, not just gibberish?” He grabbed her by the shoulders and lightly shook her. “What’s it mean?” She stared back at him wide-eyed. “Translate it.”

    Integra sighed and pushed her glasses up her nose, while clutching the stack of reports under her arm. “A rough translation? It means ’Goodbye my captain. I shall see you on the Other Side.’ Or something like that.”
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
  4. Love to Write
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    Love to Write I'm a lover of writing. What else is to be said? Contributor

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    The first rays of light were just beginning to illuminate the street when the doors to an old, but gorgeous Cathedral opened up to a young woman. Her long brown curls bounced as she walked down the aisle of the empty sanctuary and her footsteps echoed throughout the room. Trixy walked straight into a confession booth, sat on the bench and rapped lightly on the partition between her and the priest. "You've come, Child?"
    "I have, Father." Came her quiet reply.
    "Do you have a prayer for me?"
    "Hail Holy Mother, full of grace. Protect me on this quest I'm about to take."

    The floor beneath her feet opened up with a quiet scrape, revealing a ladder leading down into the darkness. "The family is waiting to say their goodbyes." The man on the other side of the partition said. "Godspeed, Trixy. Make us proud."
    "I will. Promise." She slid off the bench and made her way down the ladder into the catacombs beneath the Cathedral. A dozen people came into view below her, holding lanterns and glowing stones. The sound level rose as everyone began to say their congratulations and goodbyes to Trixy, patting her on the back and giving her gifts to take with her.
    "Trixy!" A male's voice called above the voice of the crowd. A man in his late twenties, pushed through the crowd and swept Trixy off her feet spinning her around, before ending with a tight hug. "Now the Sands are a dangerous place, but I have no doubt you can handle yourself." Beck said with a bright smile. "You're going make everyone here as rich as Kings. I just know it."
    "Well, I'll certainly try." Trixy replied with an amused smile. She gave Beck a peck on the cheek and moved onto the other people greeting her.
    "Oh'z, Trixy." A short fat man with a scruffy beard cried, waddling up to her. He ran a hand across the tattooed rose on her collarbone. "I'z remember the day I'z put thats on you'ze. You'ze was so little then." He wiped a meaty hand across his teary eyes as he bawled. "And nowz your'ze going off on a dangerouz quest."
    "Bernie." Trixy tsked as she shook her head. "That was only three years ago. I was hardly little back then. And don't worry. I'll find the stash and be back in no time." She pat his nearly bald head. "Just you see. I'm going to best around here pretty soon."
    "Sure....If you make it back alive." Another voice chimed in.

    Trixy turned to see her mortal enemy. Cage. A man her age with a bad attitude and the scars to prove it. "I should be going on the Feyfalken, instead of a runt like you." He sneered.
    "Say that to Father's face." She smirked, resting her hand on a tilted hip. "We'll see what he has to say about your...disapproval."
    Cage grunted. "Just don't come back empty handed. You know how much he's hates disappointment."
    An image of herself shot in the head and bleeding out on the street flashed through Trixy's mind, but her lips turned up as she put on a practiced poker face. "And I hope you find something worthwhile to bring back while I'm gone. You know how much he hates a useless family member." She laughed at his scowl, and trotted past him, her hips swinging proudly.

    ---

    Half-an-hour later, Trixy arrived at Hanger Nine, baggage in hand and her altered uniform on her body. The blouse was unbuttoned enough to reveal the rose on her collarbone and a little more. Her lips turned up in an amused smile as she studied the airship. It was ugly, but she appreciated the engineering feat. To think this thing would be able to carry them to the Sands and back. Such a feat would have been declared impossible only a decade ago. She cocked her hip to the side and ran a hand through her hair. Now where is someone who can tell me where to go from here.
     
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  5. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Geoffrey Avrin- The Quiet Professor boards a ship

    Geof sat up with a start.

    He was sitting in a chair, not his own, with a book in his lap, also not his own. He looked around, for a moment wondering where he was. It took him only a moment to realize that he was in the University Library. Stacks of books stretched for what seemed to be an eternity before him.

    Bewildered he rubbed the grit from his eyes, realizing that he had been asleep for quite a while. Slowly he stood, hearing his back crack in protest at being asked to move after sleeping upright. There was a dull grey light shinning through the high library windows, and something about that seemed wrong.

    Geof stretched, checked his pocket watch, then panicked.

    His dress shoes slipping across the carpet of the library, he ran. Ran for the front exit.

    "Professor Avrin! Slow down! You're gonna kill yourself!"

    "No time Burt! I fell asleep in the stacks and I'm late!" Geof called as he ran past. "I'll see you..." he stopped. Then ran back, gave the man a hug and then continued to run. "I am going away, I will miss you Burt! You have been a constant companion to me in my scholarly pursuits!" he shouted as he ran. Burt, the head librarian stood scratching his head and smiling as Geof's shouting grew fainter until he finally pushed open the front door and continued to run down the street.

    "A more absent minded young man..." Burt laughed. "Gods old and new be with you boy."

    Geof had seven more blocks, and was getting out of breath. Not to mention that his heavy wool coat was getting soaked by the rain and weighing him down. Finally the building he lived in was in sight. It was a modest apartment building, but he lived on the top floor.

    Bursting through the door he tossed his coat on the rack, and was rewarded by a ripping sound as the coat hook tore through the water laden fabric. He started at it for half a second with contempt, then continued his mad dash.

    "Geof!" his mother exclaimed as he turned corner and was face to face with her. "Where the devil and all his demonic hordes have you been!"

    "I fell asleep in the library mom!" Geof exclaimed as he tried to move past her.

    "My god! Are you going to make it?" she replied, looking at him incredulously.

    "I'll make it, but I have to go!" he said, pushing past her towards his room.

    "Do you?" she asked, a hint of sadness in her voice now.

    Geof turned back and gave her a hug. "Mom, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. We've talked about this, you know I can't turn it down... Especially not now."

    "I know, but..."

    "I'll come back. Honest," he said, trying to reassure her. She nodded, and he broke away, continuing into his room. He still had to pack everything that he had forgotten to pack the first time that was already on the ship. Or, so he though. His leather messenger bag and a bag of clothes were neatly packed and waiting for him just inside his room.

    "I figured you were going to come in here all in a twist, so I made sure everything was ready..." his mother said, then broke into tears.

    "Thank you so much mom, for everything," he said, his own eyes welling up. She crossed the room to him and hugged him again.

    "Your father left the same way... I can't loose you too. Just come back, you have to come back," she said.

    After several more minutes, and teary goodbyes to his younger sisters, Geof was on his way, a wet spot seeping through his torn coat onto his back. He caught a trolley car that was headed to the shipyard, and next thing he knew, was lugging his bags across a banner besotted field to hangar no. 9, relieved to see that the ship was still there.

    He walked clumsily across the main catwalk, still breathing hard from his run. The ship was marvelous, a wonder to behold, he was sure. He would take his sweet time looking it over and waxing poetic about its beauty, but right now he was just glad to be there.

    Arriving in the ship, he saw two people, one a tall man with an air of mischief about him and a small woman with glasses who had a look of calculating coldness that immediately Geof on edge.

    "I apologize for my lateness!" he said quickly. "I am Geoffrey Avrin, and I assume you are the captain?" he said, addressing the man with the cavalier air.
     
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  6. Mike Nemesis
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    Mike Nemesis Active Member

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    Christoph plastered his hands over his ears as the Royal clock began to chime again marking the hour as seven. He could feel his bones vibrate and it set his teeth on edge. His hands slid down and released the harness he had used to secure himself to one of the grand pillars next to the housing of the bell tower clock. Now he was awake he didn't need to worry about rolling off the edge in his sleep. Throwing himself off of high buildings and ships may be one of his favourite past times but even he didn't fancy doing so whilst sleeping.

    It was his third night sleeping rough since he'd deemed his house far to dangerous to sleep at any more. The kind of people he was in debt to didn't take another week for an answer, for the first time since it had happened there was a moment where he was glad Xavier wasn't here. If he hadn't already got Xavier killed he would certainly have to worry about them kidnapping him and chopping off a couple of his friends fingers until he showed up, but then of course if Xavier was still here he wouldn't be in this state...

    He looked down on the gloomy landscape and remembered his first encounter with Xavier, dragging him off this very tower for his trespassing stunt, it seemed fitting to say his final goodbye here. The other guards stationed here now didn't have a touch on Xavier. None of them had even noticed him flying in low and pulling up last minute before scaling the final part of the tower, it was a miracle no one noticed him deploying his grappling hook and swinging round the side of the building before slamming into the side of it. Not quite as successful as his original attempt but no one was cheering on a bet this time. This was survival now, a hiding spot, the only place he felt safe. No one else could get up here and he had his own contingent of guards around the building unwittingly a party to his safety as well as the emperor's property that they were actually guarding.

    He pulled the tinted googles over his eyes and curled his toes over the ledge of the tallest building in Holdenheim, one final deep breath. "So long my friend." He dived over the edge and joined the hundreds of rain drops around him hurtling down to the ground, the wind roared in his ears and tore at his clothing. He eases his arms out along with his legs and it all changes, time seems to freeze as he goes through the usual motions, straightening the spine and rolling his shoulders forward, the wind embraces him like a lover now, no longer tearing at him but supporting him, he's still hurtling down but with a bit more adjustment he's gliding forward.

    Buildings blur past in his peripheral vision as he tucks his head down and stares at the stationary traffic below. The sound of horns tries to compete with the rain and the wind dominating his hearing. This was the most dangerous part, judging just how much altitude he wanted to sacrifice for speed. If he didn't get enough he wouldn't make his destination, if he picked up to much and lost the altitude he'd just be a stain on the ground, a parachute could only do so much.

    He thought he caught a glimpse of the judicial building but didn't dare try to check, any large movements could send him into a spin and at this height there was no hope of recovering. He had to trust the assessment that he was far enough along. He pushed his head up looking towards his destination, subtly decreasing his speed but also his descent. A moment of calm washed over him as he let the wing suit do it's work and glide him on in.

    A few people had already gathered to admire the Feyfalken despite the weather and the hour and he thought some had turned to point at him. It wasn't common to see a wingsuit gliding through the city, if you saw any at all they tended to be a corpse mangled on a pavement, that served as a poignant reminder to others exactly why you didn't see wingsuits in the city.

    He toggled the parachute and was momentarily thrown back in the air as his forward momentum dissipated. He hit the ground hard still, the parachute wasn't about a safe landing, it was about removing speed to minimise damage, given how low an altitude he was deploying at still. Muscle memory kicked in and he executes a roll absorbing the worst of the impact and coming out at a run for a moment.

    Christoph resists the urge to turn and take a bow to the stunned audience. A flick of a button on his side begins to reel in his parachute so he can move on quickly, he can pack it later. The bold red lettering of Feyfalken and an eagle on the top of the black parachute dissapear into a backpack of his own design and he slips into the cargo hold. A final two fingers to those he owes. Word would spread that he was leaving the city but by then it would be to late... hopefully, he wasn't about to lose his reckless streak now just because there was a real danger.
     
  7. AnonyMouse
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    Before long, members of the crew began to trickle into the hangar. Some came alone, some in small groups. For most, this was Dorian’s first time seeing them. During the Feyfalken’s trial runs, the ship had been managed by a small group of technicians from Lancaster’s research division, not the crew he would be taking on its maiden voyage. The trials had been a dreadful affair. It’s not that he had anything against hanging around with guys in white labcoats all day. It’s just… well… there was one thing that made it unbearable:

    It’s a sausage party down there, Dorian thought as he leaned on the catwalk railing and watched the growing crowd. This is what he had to put up with for the next few months… or years, perhaps? Oh, god, please kill me now.

    He shut his eyes and tried to make it all go away, but his vice captain’s incessant rambling made it impossible to ignore the rising penis count. She had a big stack of reports, one for each member of the crew, and busied herself with identifying every person who entered the hangar. Every few seconds she would whisper another name to him, all of them male.

    “That one’s Bob Smythe from engineering… and, look, over there, that’s Timothy Everston. He’ll be working in the boiler room… and here comes Lawrence Burkeshire, one of the lookouts… see that man in the corner? That’s Earnest Wright, one of our security personnel...”

    “I wonder if a fall from this height would kill me or merely break my legs,” Dorian murmured as he shut his eyes and contemplated taking a swan dive over the catwalk railing. He couldn’t bear to look at the travesty taking place beneath his feet any longer.

    “Hmmm, that’s an odd name,” Integra said to herself as she pushed her glasses up her nose. “Trixianne Trayburn… sounds like an alias. Who let someone like that be assigned the role of quartermaster?”

    “Better question is, what parent would name their son ‘Trixianne?’ They must’ve hated the kid.”

    Integra gave him a long, hard stare and Dorian got that sinking feeling that comes when he knows something has just ‘whooshed’ over his head. “What?”

    “Nothing,” she said and Dorian went back to staring off into space, pretending this was a room full of women. It almost worked. For a moment, he thought he saw one down there; a sultry brunette, standing with a hand on her hip.

    But it was probably just “Larry, who swabs the deck.” Ewww, Dorian thought and averted his gaze.

    Every once in a while, one of the sausages would decide to climb the stairs and actually board the ship, instead of just mill around gawking at it. One of them decided now would be the perfect time to do so and came clomping up the stairs, making quite the show of it. He was a pale, mousy-looking fellow and arrived before them, out of breath.

    "I apologize for my lateness!" he said quickly. "I am Geoffrey Avrin, and I assume you are the captain?"

    “Captain indeed,” Dorian said with a smile as he quickly donned an air of professionalism and offered his hand. “Captain Dorian Cromwell. And this is my vice captain, Rei-”

    “Integra Lancaster,” she said, cutting him off. “Report to your post, Mr. Avrin, I believe the library is still in need of sorting. Some of the books aren’t even unpacked yet. There is much to do.”

    “I think the man should at least be allowed to set down his bags, hmm,” Dorian said with a nervous laugh.

    “He will be bunking in dormitory 5c,” Integra said after a quick glance at her reports. “It’s on the way to the library. You’re dismissed, Mr. Avrin.”

    Dorian shrugged. “Well, you heard the lady. Nice meeting you, my good man. Try not to get lost on the way… in a ship this size, a man could wander for hours and never get any work done,” he said with a wink.

    “Yes… and such a man could get fired,” Integra added.
     
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  8. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    “Well, you heard the lady. Nice meeting you, my good man. Try not to get lost on the way… in a ship this size, a man could wander for hours and never get any work done,” he said with a wink.

    Geof was relieved at the demeanor of the captain.

    "I will try my best not to get lost then," he replied, with a slight nervous smile.

    “Yes… and such a man could get fired,” Integra added.

    Geof laughed nervously, then continued in his way down the hall.

    After a little exploring, he found his room. He quickly set down his things in the small room, stashing his clothes in a small cabinet and then dropped his research supplies on his bed.

    Despite the less than warm welcome he had received from the vice captain, Geoff was filled with a nervous energy, and eagerness to get underway and see what was out there. It was like the sands were calling him, begging him to discover their secrets.
     
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  9. Simpson17866
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    Gaspar’s alarm clock struck “wake up.”

    He felt himself climb out of bed, get dressed, and go to the bathroom. He looked in the mirror, reminded himself how to smile, and started to leave for breakfast. He opened the door to leave his dorm, and Reginald Furndon’s lounging body fell through the doorway.

    This couldn’t be good. Even when Gaspar had still believed in The Mission, he’d found Reginald to be the most rigid and domineering of the agents sent to Aeternia.

    Reginald looked up and said, “I thought you’d never wake up,” while signing with his hands, “I set your watch half an hour fast. We have time to talk.”

    Gaspar dropped his smile and asked, “And what exactly are you doing here,” while signing, “How long have you been here?”

    Reginald stood up, closed the door behind him, took a lock-pick out of his pocket, and said, “Just making sure you don’t miss your deadline. Are you all packed?” (“Your door was unlocked. Eventually.”)

    Gaspar turned to get his trunk and dragged it to the middle of his room. He opened it, looked inside, and looked at Reginald. “Where are they?”

    Reginald took a notebook and a pair of aviation goggles out of his coat. “You need to be more careful, ‘brother.’ Some other thief might get the same idea.” (“And if that thief were to read your notebook through your invisible-ink goggles…?”)

    “I can’t imagine why anybody would want to.” (“Seeing as the entire point of modifying standard-issue goggles was that nobody else would think to try anything special with them.”)

    “Very well.” Reginald handed them back. (“And what if they weren’t ‘trying’ anything special? What if somebody exposes you because they just happened to borrow your goggles and your notebook at the same time without knowing what they were for?”)

    Gaspar was starting to get more annoyed than he could blame on his early wake-up. Who died and made Reginald the Spymaster? “So are you done here?” (“I not stupid enough to let anybody borrow either, let alone both.”)

    “What were you doing last night?” (“What if somebody borrows without asking?”)

    “Target practice. I need to be able to shoot birds with spears through high winds.” (“I’ll keep my notebook buried under my dirty laundry – since everybody is in charge of handing over their own clothing to be cleaned – and I’ll wear my goggles all of the time so that nobody has a chance to ‘borrow’ them behind my back.”)

    “Didn’t you say your job was cooking?” (“What if foodstuff gets on the lenses and they have to be cleaned? No one else will be able to read your invisible notes, but neither will you. What if you accidentally write over something important?”)

    “Yes, and cooks need food to do cooking with.” (“When I’m in the galley, I’ll wear my goggles around my neck with the lenses behind my back.”)

    Reginald didn’t say anything out loud. (“And at night?”)

    (“I’ll sleep wearing them.”)

    (“Did you sleep with them on last night? Habits have to start somewhere.”)

    Gaspar was ready to throw him out of the window. “I’m out of here. All of this talk about food is making me hungry.” (“You’re right, I didn’t, and I’m sorry, but it’s a little late to change that. Don’t you have your own assignment?”)

    “After breakfast, I’ll drive you to the hangar.”

    Gaspar noted that that was very pointedly not a question.



    Gaspar looked around at the other crewmembers gathering around the ship. It looked like most of them were waiting outside, so he asked one of them, “Do we have to wait out here for something, or are we allowed to board early?”

    “If you’d like it better than enjoying the view out here, you can go aboard. Do you see where the stairs are?”

    Gaspar heard a mess of boots stomping and a loud voice, “I apologize for my lateness! I am Geoffrey Avrin, and I assume you are the captain?”

    He looked towards the noise, and then smiled to his not-really-much-of-a-companion. “No, but I hear where they are.”

    The man laughed, “See you in the air!” as Gaspar walked towards the ship.

    Gaspar climbed the stairs and asked the two people that “Geoffrey” had been talking to: “Gaspar Reddican, I'm on the teams for cooking and fowl-hunting. Could you point me to the kitchens?”
     
  10. Fan7asticMrFox
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    Tessa shifted uneasily in her uniform as she looked herself up and down in the full size mirror. At the time she was doing up her necktie, grimacing, undoing it and then tying it again. Her starch pressed trousers itched, her boots cut into her shins, the jacket she wore did not reach enough to fit her slender arms and the only part she was remotely content with was the black shirt of her own choosing. In some ways it signified a mark of protest and rebellion, but deep down she knew she was just honouring the fallen. Another attempt at the necktie was made and met with a wrinkle of the nose and dejected huff. A perfect noose around her delicate neck.

    “Why did I ever agree to this?” She muttered to herself, ripping off the necktie whilst casting a glance out of the water marked windows. Tessa had done this a number of times throughout the last three days, stealing a glimpse of the townsfolk milling about. Her main fascination had been a stalwart valet that stood outside the hotel day and night, welcoming guests, carrying their bags and leading them to the reception. An impeccable solider of the establishment. And a fool, she thought. Following out orders to the letter only to make a mistake one day and be betrayed by all and replaced by another. Tessa continued to stare at the valet and part of her wished that he would fail, just so she would have someone else to share her pain. But the guilt of dropping someone else’s luggage was tiny compared to what she had to live with.

    In her absentmindedness Tessa failed to realise that she had adorned the necktie once more. Before she could even address her programmed mind a knock came at the door. She turned, a little startled but called out, “It’s open.”

    The door did not budge and instead a muffled voice came from the other side. “It’s time Miss Naaru. The car is ready.”

    Really? Now? No it can’t be… “I-I need a few more minutes Marcus.”

    “We don’t have time Miss Naaru,” The guard said whilst opening the door “We are already late as it is.” He spied her in full uniform, pristine save for the necktie. Then he spotted the neatly packed bags sitting on the four poster bed and let out a wry smile. “You look more than ready to me Miss Naaru.”

    “You don’t get to tell me that. I’m ready when I say I’m ready. Understood?” She said returning to the pesky necktie. The truth of it was that after three days of secluding herself in this hotel room, she was actually starting to enjoy her cabin fever. That’s what she told herself anyway. For a woman that was supposedly so fearless she was still checking out the windows, staring at the public mob. “I’m sorry Marcus, I didn’t mean to snap,” Tessa turned to face him and pointed to her bags “If you can take those down, I will join you shortly.”

    “Yes, Miss Naaru.” Surprisingly he took all her belongings down in one go, though she found it comical when he struggled getting through the room doorway. And after that she was left alone with the door ajar, standing in the middle of the plush and excessive room that had been her home for three days. This next step would be the hardest but she had to do it. There were others counting on her and Tessa finally remembered that she wasn’t the only one doing this for redemption. With that she stood to attention, held her head high and left the room forever – not before throwing the necktie on the floor.
     
  11. AnonyMouse
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    The nervous young man continued on, presumably to his quarters to change his trousers. Dorian began to wonder if, perhaps, his mission to soften Integra was in fact making her even stricter than usual. Was such a thing even possible?

    During a brief pause in the flow of incoming crewmen, Dorian found the perfect way to express his feelings on the matter. He turned to Integra and, with a straight face, said:

    “You need to get laid.”

    Her response was instantaneous: a slight flinch, as if the words had literally slapped her in the face, followed by a very subtle reddening of her cheeks, before she pushed her glasses up the brim of her nose and returned to her rigid, unflappable self. This all transpired in about half a millisecond.

    A lesser man might not have even noticed the effect, but Dorian was no ‘lesser’ man. Satisfied that he’d cracked her shell, even for only a moment, he awaited the next crewman with an enormous grin plastered on his face.

    A smiling man with a pair of aviator’s goggles around his neck and a hastily-stitched-together shirt approached them. “Gaspar Reddican,” he said. “I'm on the teams for cooking and fowl-hunting. Could you point me to the kitchens?”

    Dorian opened his mouth to speak, but Integra cut him off.

    “I should point you to the furnaces to burn that uniform and acquire another,” she said sharply. “But why bother? It seems no one around here gives a damn about anything anyhow.” She sighed, pushed her glasses up ‘til they nearly crushed her eyes into her skull, and calmly gave him directions before gesturing for him to get out of her sight.

    For Dorian, it took every ounce of strength he had not to burst out laughing. “Welcome aboard, Mr. Reddican. And I love that shirt, by the way.”
     
  12. Fan7asticMrFox
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    Tessa saw the same face on every person as the automobile sped through the streets. Pain. Fear. Anger. And though Marcus and the driver had assured her they couldn’t see through the tinted windows, she still felt like every single one of them was staring right into her soul. It made her sick to her stomach, placing a hand subtly over her face each time they stopped in traffic. Staring out at the city she noticed that even after five years, Hoffenheim was still awash with the colour of mourning. Black clouds of smog mixed with the rain storms and layer upon layer of dull grey metal covered the city.

    But all her fears melted in the rain when the car took a right towards the airshipyard. The long stretch of road was empty with small industrial estates and scrapheaps on either side. But standing out in the distance straight ahead of them was a hulking metal palace. The automobile rolled further down the cobbled stones and Tessa leaned forward to see the words ‘Hangar Nine’ spray painted on the front and a tiny opening where military personnel had been walking through. In her excitement she had forgotten she would be working shoulder to shoulder with these types. She loathed the thought but it was a fleeting moment – she was about to see the Feyfalken.

    The anticipation was difficult to contain and she bubbled in the backseat of the car as it pulled over. Before she had made it to Hoffenheim Tessa had been flying her one man airfloat, the Phoenix, around the southern jungles of Aeternia and across the orange lakes at sunset. While she missed her baby, this would be a whole new chapter and a whole new challenge, charting the unknown in the Sands of Desolation and dancing on the sky through the mysteries it would bring. She flew out of the car the second the driver opened her door and marched right into the hangar.

    And it was magnificent. Her mouth dropped at the sight of it. The Feyfalken. It glistened under the electric lights and though it was covered in temporary scaffolding and catwalks, Tessa drank in the airship’s flawless beauty. It was not big and bulky like the Infinitum had been – no – this ship was sleek and curvaceous, with a striking core frame made of pure levitanium no doubt making it nimble and lithe. Tessa smirked foolish at the thought that if it had been a woman Dorian would not be able to keep his hands off her. Strangely enough that was when she spotted him, high up on the catwalk adjoining the ship. He seemed different from when she had last seen him, a little more unkempt and haggard than usual but still with a smile permanently slapped across his face.

    Yet this raised an odd question in her mind. Had her appearance suffered thanks to the incident and five long years? Maybe she was just as unkempt and haggard – though Dorian had still been in the Military and she had lived in the sun. Alas, he looked as well as could be expected she supposed. And she’d see him soon enough to thank him for the opportunity, but for now Tessa would enjoy what she was here for. The Feyfalken.
     
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  13. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Geof, having stowed his things and donned the standard uniform, looked himself over in the mirror. He looked like an airshipman, he thought. A rather thin, pale airshipman, but an airshipman none-the-less. He decided it wasn't a good look for him, too unprofessional. He had a grey button down vest packed that matched the trousers, and a thin navy blue tie. He donned them, and then looked himself over in the mirror. Much better, he thought.

    Having finished with that, he set out to find the library, his brown leather bag containing his journal and a few other research materials slung across his shoulder. It took him a little time, but finally he located the library. It was nothing compared to the one at the university, the entirety of the Feyfalken would probably have fit inside the university library, but it was a respectable library. But once he started examining the books contained in it, he realized that this was a treasure trove.

    Books on every subject of science, chemistry, arcane theory, myths of the Sands, historical accounts of the two empires and the Eternal War. Books he had never heard of before, books he had heard of but never seen. Whoever had been in charge of organizing this library had been devoted, it was a magnum opus of collected information.

    It was also, extremely disorganized and only half unpacked. But that was why he was here. He quickly took up the task of unpacking and organizing the books, and he loved every moment of it.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
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  14. Thomas Kitchen
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    Maddox awoke to hear a fist banging at the door. He tried to take in a breath, but his chest was too heavy. He looked down to find a woman sleeping upon it, and after his eyes focused, he rolled her onto the other side of the bed. She moaned in her sleep.

    “Who’s there?” he asked, bleary eyed. “I need my beauty sleep.”

    “I’m a member of the hotel staff, sir,” came the muffled reply. “I’ve been told that this room was paid for by the staff in charge of the Feyfalken, and that you are late for its launch.”

    Maddox sat up. “Damn it,” he said. “Tell them I'll be there in a minute!"

    “May I come in, sir?”

    He lifted the duvet and threw it to one side; the woman next to him twitched. “Yes, yes, of course.”

    In came the man, with a tiny moustache and a straight back. “Maddox Wraith, I assume?”

    “The one and only.” Maddox leapt out of bed and reached for the shirt hanging over a chair in the corner. “Oh, and don’t mind the girl, she was just, ah…well, I’m in a posh hotel, it seems. Perhaps I shouldn’t say exactly what we were doing.” He grinned.

    “Indeed I won’t mind the one girl, sir,” the man sniffed, “but what about the other one?”

    Raising his eyebrows and doing up the last button on his multi-coloured shirt, Maddox peeked over to the bed. Sure enough, underneath the woman he had just thrown to one side was another woman, much younger – maybe eighteen.

    “Well I sure don’t remember much of last night, obviously,” Maddox said. “What time did I arrive here?”

    The butler looked him up and down. “Around two this morning. It’s seven now. You must be exhausted.”

    “No time to be exhausted,” he replied, jumping into his trousers. “Now, how do I get out of here?”

    “Simply go down the stairs and exit through the door ahead of you. Are all your belongings on board?”

    Maddox nodded. “Yes, but only my weapons. Besides that, all I need is my clothes. This is the only outfit I wear.”

    The man crinkled his nose. “Yes, I can smell that, sir. And what should I do regarding the two women on the bed?”

    “You can do whatever you want with them, if you know what I mean.” He winked and ran out the room.

    *​

    The day was overcast and wet, but Maddox had slept through worse on the streets. He dodged the crowds and headed towards the shipyard: fortunately the Feyfalken staff had the sense to book him a hotel that was just a few metres away from the shipyard. He saw the ship from a distance, and although it was no beast, Maddox could see that it was built with precision and beauty. This would be a fun ride. First in a long time.

    He sprinted the final stretch and headed straight for the stairs, where a man and a woman were talking quietly amongst themselves. He glanced at them. The man was clearly the captain, and Maddox gave him a hasty salute. The woman, however, caught his eye. Shapely, but clearly hadn’t had sex in a long while, if at all. It wouldn't be long before she did. He stepped up to her and ignored her friend entirely, putting on his sexiest smile.

    “Well hello. I thought the Feyfalken was the most beautiful thing I would behold today, but it seems I was wrong. I’m Maddox Wraith - mercenary, adventurer, and crewmember of this fine ship. And you are?”
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  15. AnonyMouse
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    Integra's eyes flickered from the man coming up the stairs to the stack of reports in her hand. Maddox Wraith. Before he even arrived in front of her, she was already scowling. He tossed a quick salute at Dorian before turning his full attention on her.

    “Well hello. I thought the Feyfalken was the most beautiful thing I would behold today, but it seems I was wrong," the man said, giving her a very appraising look. "I’m Maddox Wraith - mercenary, adventurer, and crewmember of this fine ship. And you are?”

    "I know who you are," she said in a tone that made it quite clear this was not a compliment. She held the small stack of papers close to her chest, in a subtly defensive manner. Her body language spoke volumes. "Integra Lancaster, vice captain and chief of staff." That means you work for me, even if you take orders from him.

    Dorian, meanwhile, seemed to have lost interest. He was peering over the railing, presumably having spotted someone in the crowd. Integra gave him a slight nudge, and he turned around, startled. "Dorian Cromwell, captain. Pleasedtomeetya," he said rather flippantly before returning to his search for… whomever it was he was searching for.
     
  16. Mike Nemesis
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    Christoph paused to orient himself aboard the ship. His instructions on what to do and where to go were fuzzy. He had received the position last minute and had been in one of his drunken stupors when he had got the confirmation. As if to serve as a reminder he caught a whiff of the alcohol fumes on his breath. He'd managed to abstain from drink the last two nights for the first time in over two months. He knew that if he wanted to avoid getting thrown off the Feyfalken before it even left he needed to turn up sober. The first night without it had been hard and the only thing that kept him from leaving his hiding spot on the clock tower in search of more alcohol was the fear that the vicious hangover that hammered at his head and made him want to curl up in a ball and sleep for a week would almost certainly result in a rather grisly death. It was a miracle he had managed the flight to the top of the tower drunk, he had tried not to think about the fact of whether he actually expected to work or not.

    For the last two months he had used the alcohol to keep the nightmares at bay, a poor coping mechanism and the result of finally returning to the drink was a endless sequence of horrors whenever he closed his eyes. He was probably operating on about four hours of sleep over the last two days. Combined with sleeping rough it meant he was in no presentable state to introduce himself to any of his superiors. He picked out some one overseeing cargo with a clipboard as they looked like they knew what was going on and showed the man the room key he had received with his contract asking for directions. After a brief exchange he set off and let himself into his quarters.

    Luckily he had managed to arrange for some of his belongings to be transported to the ship meaning he got to avoid going home and could travel light. He peeled off his wing suit carefully and went to hang it in the built in storage space that slid open in one of the walls, unsatisfied with the amount of space it offered he removed one of the hangers and hung it on the back of his door promising himself to find a respectable place to store the suit. He slipped two small circular weights out of the suitcase that had arrived in his quarters and placed them in the suit to weigh it down.

    As part of his own design he had sewn small amounts of levitanium fillings into the suit. He hadn't had enough money to lay his hands on any substantial amount and even if he had he wouldn't have been able to justify it as it was just an experiment. Luck had been on his side then though and he had managed to strike a deal with a metal worker to acquire any waste material. The fillings allowed him to slow his loss of altitude slightly and ease out the impact of ground landings. However without his usual bodyweight inside the suit it had the added undesirable effect that the suit didn't tend to stay stationary where you put it, the weights ensured it usually stayed grounded when he hung it up.

    He handled the rest of his clothes with less care stripping them off and flinging them into a corner of the room before stepping into an ice cold shower to try to rouse himself a bit more and fight off the tiredness. A thorough scrub of his teeth and heavy dose of water mixed with mint leaves in an attempt to hide any alcohol remnant on his breath and he was beginning to feel more like his self. He slipped out his razor and began to try to carefully trim his growing facial hair. The tremors in his hands resulted in a couple of small cuts as he shaped his beard back to his usual style. The moment of clarity was shattered as he watched small droplets of blood drip down the sink drain, triggering a memory that he had no alcohol to use to fight it off. The next thing he knew they were been washed away by his tears as they slid down his face. "This should be our mission Xavier. I'm sorry."
     
  17. Thomas Kitchen
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    “Dorian Cromwell, captain. Pleasedtomeetya.”

    Maddox stood wide-eyed for a moment, then shrugged, turning his attention back to Integra. “So, chief of staff, eh? Thanks for the plush hotel room.”

    He took a quick look round, listening to the metal clanks and clunks coming from below, where the captain was watching so intently, for whatever reason. Dirty-faced workers hurried back and forth, some with crates and other equally heavy things. All were too heavy for him; all he wanted to carry was his fame, even if it was beginning to look like infamy in the eyes of this woman in front of him. He looked at her.

    “And where am I supposed to go now?” he asked her. “My room?”
     
  18. AnonyMouse
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    “And where am I supposed to go now?” he asked her. “My room?”

    "Yes. Alone," Integra said rather coldly.

    At this point, she wasn't sure if he was still trying to worm his way into her pants or if he was genuinely trying to figure out what to do next. Either way, she wanted nothing more to do with him. The situation was made all the worse by Dorian's absentmindedness; although he was still standing nearby, he'd completely checked out and left her alone with this beast.

    She looked down at one of the reports in her hands and then looked up again, meeting the man's eyes directly. "You are assigned to room 23d." She gestured to a nearby doorway, "go down this hall, take a left, a right, and the crew quarters will be on your right. Your roommate's name is Christophe Sabre and you are both members of the security team. I suggest you get acquainted. Thank you, have a nice day."
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  19. Simpson17866
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    In spite of the ship’s best efforts, Gaspar finally found the kitchen.

    He presumed that it would probably be busier here when they were in the air and actively feeding people. Even counting himself, there were barely half a dozen people “on duty,” and even at that, “preparing for duty” may have been more accurate. At the moment, it felt more like a room with cooking equipment than like an actual cooking room.

    Gaspar saw one woman walking around the room, opening and closing cabinets but not taking anything out. Amongst other explanations, this was one of the first signs he’d learned for “I don’t belong here, but I want it to look like I am.”

    He walked over and asked, “Are you looking for something?” If she was really trying to deceive the way that he was, then he would need to know in advance whether she was skilled in improvising under pressure.

    “Not really, just getting a feel for what we have here. Inventory reports are one thing, but … ”

    She’d let her sentence fade before finishing. A decent tactic for making further conversation uncomfortable for the other person, if indeed she were doing it on purpose. Gaspar started walking away as though to see if anybody else needed help with anything.

    “Sorry…”

    He turned to see the woman holding her hand out to him. If she was drawing attention back to herself, then perhaps the previous diversion had been an accident.

    “… Agatha McCormick. You must be…?”

    “Gaspar Reddican.” In the time it took him to reach for her hand, he decided that kissing it would be safer than not; even if she took offense, he could then be thought of as a good man who learns from his mistakes instead of a smart man who hasn’t made any yet. “Do you know when we’ll get started on anything specific?”

    Agatha took her hand back. If she disapproved of the kiss, she wasn’t showing it. “Not yet. I don’t even think that the Captain was here yet when I arrived –”

    “Really?”

    “No, there was just one person with command decorations when I came aboard, and she introduced herself as the ‘Vice’ Captain. Have you met her?”

    Gaspar thought back to the officer who’d given him “directions.” “Terse, mechanical, arbitrarily angry?”

    Agatha laughed. Gaspar opened his mouth again, but Agatha interrupted, “She’s not standing right behind you, if that’s what you’re about to ask.”

    Gaspar hadn’t thought of that, but he went along with it and gave her a sigh of relief. “You’d better not be lying about that.”

    “Do I look like a liar to you?”

    “The best liars don’t.” Although, for whatever it was worth, she was starting to sound less and less like a liar. Unless she was just that much better than he was.

    Agatha nodded and said, “Well speaking of which, keep an eye out for slacking ‘workers.’ I’m told one of the so-called ‘cooks’ only signed up for half-shifts, so who knows how much extra the rest of us will have to pick up.”

    Was she talking about him? Gaspar wondered for half a second if he should let it slide, but since they were going to be stuck with each other for who-knows-how-long, he decided instead to address that while they were still in the comfort of the hangar. No cabin fever yet to make things escalate. “Really? Because I specifically asked if taking two jobs would be a problem before signing up for both, and I was specifically told that nobody would mind.” He hoped that would make it sound like her concern was the officers’ fault more than his own.

    “… You don’t say?”

    “If you feel that it would cause more trouble then they led me to believe, then perhaps I could tell the Captain that I won’t be able to make it to my other job? I could come up with some kind of injury that would keep me in the kitchen and off the catwalks…”

    She narrowed her eyes at him. “And exactly what would you have otherwise been doing outside?”

    “Hunting birds so that we have more things to be cooking in the first place.”

    Agatha’s eyes opened back up and she let out a whistle. “Huh. Never mind; that plan makes a bit more sense than I thought it would. I apologize for scaring you.”

    And Gaspar wanted to apologize for being so suspicious of the first person he’d truly met on this voyage. If he was going to spend the next few months keeping everybody from being suspicious of him, then he would need to make sure they didn’t think of him as the kind of person who thought that he needed to be suspicious of them first.

    In any case, he told himself that – whether or not Agatha was supposed to be on the ship any more than he was – he certainly wasn’t going to prove anything conclusive in just one day, let alone in just one conversation.

    “Well, then, if you all have everything under control in here, maybe I could get my bird-hunting shift out of the way early?”

    Agatha’s smile didn’t appear exactly humorous, but it had certainly lost the previous aggression. “Fair enough. Do you imagine that you’ll catch anything while we’re landed?”

    “Well, for now, I was just thinking in terms of getting familiar with the best paths to and from. Make sure one job doesn't make me late for the other.” Gaspar went for the door.

    Then he stopped. “Would you, by any chance, be able to give me directions back outside?”
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
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  20. BrandonrockstheAM
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    Morgan Lieberman

    "Oh, sorry, sir." Morgan apologized to the small, portly man in front of him. The massive ship was just so spectacular.

    "Excuse you."

    "Yes, I'm very sorry sir. Don't mind me." Morgan weaved his way through the mass of people to the stairs, and found himself a spot. He glanced at his watch; he was right on time. A woman with absolutely no passion for fashion stood next to the captain; a man who looked nothing like what a captain should look like, even if he had the outfit. Still, they differed from the norm, and for that, he guessed he was grateful.

    "Reporting for my job as head cook, Captain." Morgan smiled, showing his identification.
     
  21. AnonyMouse
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    Integra glared at the Wraith's back as he took his leave and shuffled off to do whatever it is ruffians do. The moment he was out of sight, she frowned and scribbled a brief note on his report before shuffling it to the back of her stack of papers. If only she could shuffle him out of sight as easily.

    The moment he was gone, another fellow --a giant of a man, wearing an enormous smile that seemed a few sizes too large, even for someone of his stature-- lumbered up to them. Integra took a half step back, and silently thanked the heavens when he approached Dorian instead of her.

    "Reporting for my job as head cook, Captain." The man said as he displayed his identification to the captain.

    "Hmmmm?" Dorian said lazily, as if being roused from sleep. He stared blankly for a moment before the two cheeks of his tiny brain parted and farted out a coherent response. "Oh, right, hello. Pleased to meet you, Mr… ummm…" He flickered helpless glance toward Integra.

    Oh, now you need my help? She thought with a small sigh. "Morgan," Integra said dryly. "Morgan Lieberman, sir." She didn't even have to check her report to know that one; she'd memorized the names of all of the heads-of-whatever.

    Dorian smiled nervously as he shook the man's hand. "Welcome aboard, Mr. Lieberman. A few of the other cooks are already inside."
     
  22. Love to Write
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    Trixy watched as people began to arrive and move up the ramp into the ship. Guess that's my que. She picked up her bags and trotted up the ramp behind a group of what she assumed were engineers. They were greeted by an amusing couple at the top of the ramp. A bored looking Captain and a woman with a no-nonsense attitude. Oh she'll be fun.

    The group moved on and then it was her turn to greet the Captain. "Captain Cromwell and I assume Vice Captain Integra?" Trixy said, setting down a bag and holding out a hand to the Captain. "I'm Miss Trixianne Trayburn, but please, call me Trixy." She smiled flirtatiously at Dorian, but watched the Vice Captain out of the corner of her eye to catch her reaction.

    Integra’s eyes narrowed on the woman as Dorian’s face lit up like a harvest bonfire. He accepted the young lady’s hand and stooped slightly, almost bowing to her as he gave it a soft kiss.

    “It is such a pleasure to meet you, my dear. Welcome aboard,” Dorian said as he released her, though his eyes still held her in a firm embrace. His gaze remained on her face, most of the time, making only occasional, sneaky glances at her cleavage. “Please, let me help you with your bags,” he said, stepping forward, but a sharp word from Integra halted him.

    “You will do no such thing. The role of quartermaster entails a fair amount of manual labor,” Integra said. “Good habits begin here. Speaking of which…” Now it was her turn to cast a brief glance at the woman’s bosom. “You’ve missed a few buttons, Miss Trayburn. If you can’t manage your own uniform, I sincerely question your ability to manage this ship’s weapons and gear inventory."

    "Well, in my line of work I've found a few...adjustments to typical standards helps thing run more...smoothly and efficiently." She replied wryly. "Wouldn't you agree?" She asked Dorian innocently, running her fingers across the rose tattoo on her collarbone.

    “Wholeheartedly,” the man said. His face seemed too small for the smile he was wearing. “In fact, I think flexibility is an important attribute in these endeavors, wouldn’t you agree, Trixy? You seem like a very flexible young lady-”

    Integra lightly cleared her throat and tidied her little stack of papers. “Miss Trayburn, I don’t see much about your ‘line of work’ in this personnel report,” she said, while giving the woman a look that could steal the sugar from a glass of lemonade. “I would love to know what sort of services you performed at your father’s shop and how this qualifies you to be in a managerial position aboard my vessel."

    Dorian’s brows perked up at the words ‘my vessel,’ but he didn’t seem particularly bothered by it.

    "Anything and everything having to do with weapons, I did." Trixy replied, suddenly serious and her flirtatiousness gone. "Making guns, modifying, repairing, categorizing. If you can show me one other person who knows more about modern day guns than I do then I would surrender my position immediately!"

    "I will hold you to that," Integra said. "In the meantime, your uniform still needs to be attended to."

    “Now, now, I’m sure Trixy has plenty to do. Let’s not delay her any longer,” Dorian said, maneuvering himself between the two women. “There will be plenty of time to get further acquainted later, ladies. I can see you're both quite enamored with one another.” He picked up Trixy's bag and extended it to her. "Welcome aboard, Miss Trayburn. To reach the armory, go down this hall, take a left and another right."

    "Thankyou Captian. Look forward to speaking with you again." She gave him a sultry smile and sauntered into the ship. When they were both out of view, the swing in her hips stopped, and smile on her lips faded. I was lucky to get a Captain whose so easily manipulated. It'll make things easier on me. She walked with purpose towards the armory and set her belongings down, looking over the area. There was much to be organized and inspected. Time to get started.
     
  23. AnonyMouse
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    Integra watched the woman go and made a mental note to keep a close eye on Miss Trayburn and regularly check the ship's weapons inventory. Someone like that should not be left to her own devices. In the meantime, she needed to have some words with her captain about his behavior toward female members of the crew. Integra wheeled around to face Dorian, expecting to find him drooling at the sight of Trixy's backside, but, instead, he was looking toward the stairs and seemed to be the polar opposite of the man he'd been a moment ago.

    A tall, slender brunette was making her way up to the catwalk. Although she'd deviated slightly from the official dress code, she at least looked respectable and fully done-up, and carried herself with a proper, ladylike posture, instead of swaggering about the way that Trayburn tramp did. Integra didn't immediately realize who it was until Dorian moved to the stairs and offered a hand to help her get up the last few steps.

    So, there is actually a true gentleman somewhere in there, under all the filth, she thought as she stood back and watched.

    "Tessa, I'm so glad you could make it," Dorian said with an easy smile as he stepped back to get a good look at her... and seemed to like what he saw, though it was tempered by a subtle sadness. "My, you look… radiant. The tan suits you."

    She hid her blush by bowing in response, “Still the same man you were when I met you Captain. I’m glad. I must confess that I found it strange that you would consider me for this role.”

    “How so? You are the best pilot I know, despite what everyone else says.” With a hand on her back, he guided her toward his vice captain. “Rei, this is Tessa Naaru, our helmswoman. Tessa, this is R-”

    “Integra Lancaster,” the petite woman said as she offered her hand. Her tone sounded as unyielding as ever. “I have heard so much about you…” Dorian frowned and prepared to launch into a defense of Tessa’s virtues, but, to his surprise, the vice captain wasn’t done yet: “But I don't pay much mind to the things I hear. I am a woman of facts,” she said plainly. “Cold, hard facts. And the facts indicate you were a victim of unnatural circumstances and did everything within your power --and more-- to minimize loss of life. For that, you have my respect.”

    Dorian felt a great weight lifted off of his shoulders… unfortunately, there was more.

    “However, Integra said, studying Tessa’s eyes very closely, “the facts also show you have a record of recklessness, insubordination, and blatant disregard for decorum, safety, and authority.”

    “We were all young once,” Dorian said with a nervous laugh.

    “But we are not young anymore, are we, Miss Naaru?”

    Tessa took the hand that was offered, meeting Integra dead in the eye. “You know, you’re not the only one with facts: Integra Lancaster, youngest daughter in a family of six. Scholar, historian and expert linguist who is fluent in over two dozen languages. You have a reputation of being efficient, cold and calculating with an insistence of doing everything by the book.”

    She took a deep breath and quickly glanced at an open mouthed Dorian before flicking back to Integra’s icy eyes. “In the sky, ‘by the book’ slows you down. In the sky, ‘by the book’ means you can’t react to what’s happening. In the sky, ‘by the book’ gets you killed. I appreciate your respect and you have mine as well, but don’t think for a damned second I am going to change the way I fly just because you object to it.”

    "I think it's time I showed our helmswoman to the bridge," Dorian said, swiftly gathering up Tessa and practically shoving her toward the doorway. They passed through a metal door and into the darkened interior of the Feyfalken, where auburn electric lamps every few meters lighted the hallway.

    Once he was sure they were safely away from the Ice Queen, he turned to Tessa with a smile as they walked side by side. "You know, I think she actually likes you... but don't push it." They passed two engineers who were tightening the bolts on a pipe fitting. The men quickly saluted but Dorian merely waved and smiled. "Just between you and me," he said to Tessa, "I think she's nervous. Today is a big day for her. The entire nation has high hopes for this ship, the ship she built. During the trial runs, the Feyfalken traveled 500 simulated miles in a windtunnel, without losing a single drop of steam or water. That's not just efficient, it's absurd. We have enough food and fuel on board to cruise for a year. It's not a matter of if we'll cross the Sands, but 'when' and 'what will we find there.'"

    He paused outside a thick door marked 'bridge.' Light shined through a small porthole in its center. Dorian turned to Tessa and placed a hand on her shoulder. He was no longer smiling, though he was clearly trying to. "The ship's ready. It's us I'm worried about -- you, me, everyone, including Reina. I'm still not sure if I'm ready for this, but I'm ready to try. Can I count on you, Tessa?"

    She didn’t meet his gaze, averting her eyes to the floor. This was supposed to be the happiest moment for her with the bridge just metres away, yet she was filled with a guilt and shame that she had once tried to escape from. “I-I… what if she’s right Dorian?” She looked up at him with a tear in her eye and a doubt that she could not bury, “Out there on my one man float, I can be reckless, I can be insubordinate and I can have a blatant disregard for anything. But now… here… there are other lives at stake. Can I simply switch that off?”

    “Take it easy Tess. No one’s asking you to-”

    “No. I will not take it easy,” She stammered wiping away a tear, “Because this is not easy. Sometimes I think bringing me back here was one of your stupid little games you like to play. Well this is not a game Dorian. This hurts me inside every single damn day. I thought you of all people would understand that.” She turned away, opened the bridge door and stepped inside. As Dorian proceeded to follow, Tessa slammed it shut in his face and held the handle. She stared miserably at him through the porthole.

    Dorian sighed. Her words about this being a stupid little game cut deep. On the other hand, how could he blame her for saying that? The lives of his crew were the only thing in the world he took seriously… but how could he expect her to see that when he acted as if everything else in the world was a joke? Perhaps he wasn’t the only one who failed at dealing with the stress. He couldn’t just laugh the pain away. And now the one person on this ship he thought he might be able to laugh with was in tears.

    “I’m sorry. I… I’ll leave you to it,” Dorian said, hung his head and walked away.

    About a minute later, Tessa heard a door open and Dorian entered the bridge from a side entrance. She should have known the most important room on the ship would have more than one entry. But, while one tiny part of him was amused at the surprised look on her face, he didn’t dare smile or laugh.

    For a while, he didn’t say anything. He took his time, crossing the room, running his fingers across the navigational charts and instruments for plotting a course. If only there were some kind of device that could lead him to the right words to say. The front of the bridge was entirely glass, giving a dazzling view of… well, of the inside of a hangar. But he imagined it would be beautiful once they were out of this hellhole and airborne.

    “Not in a million years did I think it would be easy or painless,” Dorian said as he toyed with the helm, a big brass wheel mounted on a pedestal with gears and levers for controlling the throttle and trim. Tessa was right: it seemed awfully big for one person. “But… well…” he shrugged as he searched for the right words. “I never thought I’d be in command of a ship again. I just figured if I was going to, ummm, ‘face my demons,’ as the Arcanians say, I wanted to face them with someone I trust. I… I suppose that’s rather selfish of me, isn’t it?”

    She was quiet for a while, staring blankly at the metal sheeted hangar outside. “No… it’s not selfish. I just find it hard to believe that you’d trust me to handle her,” She said stroking the wheel, “I-I don’t even trust myself. You might be ready to face your demons – but I’m not. Now I have no choice.” Tessa fidgeted a little with the ends of her jacket as the size of the task really dawned on her. But maybe Dorian was right for once – it might be better to share the pain with someone in the same boat. Or airship in this case. “I’m sorry I snapped at you,” She said turning to face him. “I need to be alone right now.”

    "Alone?" Dorian stifled a laugh, but the warmth of humor still twinkled in his eyes. "Heh, you've come to the wrong place for that, love," he said with a gesture to the ship all around them. "But I understand." He gave a small salute, despite knowing that neither of them had a shred of respect for the military. Perhaps that's why he did it.

    "Your room is... somewhere down that hall, on the left, I think," he said with a half-hearted gesture toward the door where he'd entered. After a pause, he smiled and shrugged. "I may not know my way around this ship quite as well as Reina does, but I'd like to believe I know my way around its crew. Take care, Miss Naaru. I shall see you in few hours. I'm looking forward to it." He bowed gallantly and took his leave.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  24. Fan7asticMrFox
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    The adventure hadn’t even started and yet Tessa’s heart was already trying to jump out of her chest. She could hardly breathe, as if somehow that blasted necktie had found its way back to her for vengeance. Tessa wanted to cry; to curl up and hide in her room until the whole world ended. But she was frozen to the spot and just to make it worse some of the maintenance crew were filtering into the bridge.

    The half dozen staff strolled in with their toolkits and checklists, exchanging glances as they casually spied the pilot. The heat of their stares prickled on the back of her neck and she shifted uncomfortably in her uniform, crossing her arms in an attempt to protect herself. They all knew who she was – she was sure of it. Terrible Tessa. The Reaper in the Sky. Damsel of Disaster. The tabloid headlines still burned in her mind like an open wound and it seemed that instead of healing over time, it had become festered and infected. They didn’t trust her. She didn’t trust her. And yet all their lives were in Tessa’s hands.

    It was ironic. She had tried to run away from this life. Hidden herself away in the southern jungles. However now she was staring blankly at the navigation wheel of a one hundred man airship while wearing an Aeterian Royal Air Navy uniform. And yet, there was something oddly comforting about this varnished circle of oak that stood before her: smooth to the touch, sturdy yet seamlessly light and engrained with a flash of redwood. The gears and levers surrounded her like an orchestra and she was at the helm – the conductor – composing a beautiful symphony of flight.

    And the view, my word the view. The wheel was situated perfectly for her height; she could just see over and below into the bridge gallows, while the gorgeous landscape would be ahead of her as she sailed over the Sands of Desolation. She took solace in the fact that she would get to see the beautiful lands first hand, charging in from the front. Just how she liked it.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  25. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Location:
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    Mother always warned me that life would be difficult. She just didn't say how difficult. Vlad glared at the stray ray of sunlight that had managed to peek under the curtains. He didn't need a clock to know it was time to get up.

    Sheets rustled, and then he pulled on his clothes. Careful to check for the pin his mother had given him, Vlad took three long strides to the bathroom, straightening his shirt before taking a glance at the mirror.

    "Tch." he clucked, then grabbed a razor and quickly scoured his face even though he had already shaved last night and any traces of a beard were nonexistent. You could never be too careful -appearances were everything in a noble's world. And if he didn't want to be brought down to the level of the common man, he must make it absolutely clear that he was far above them in rank and intelligence.

    After five minutes of careful preening, he put the blade away and combed back one lock of errant, ivory-toned hair and swept out the door to check and re-check his baggage once more. Rapier, check. Daggers, check. Papers, check. Extra suits, pens, and cleaning utensils, check.

    Goosebumps ran up his arms then. Damn. He probably wouldn't have enough to last more than a few months, let alone a year or more. Oh gods above have mercy on me. He slammed the suitcase shut with a resounding click of the lock and snatched it up before he could be distracted any further. Casting a wary eye over his room while he opened the door, Vlad double-checked to make sure he had left no trace of his passing behind. Of course, as a defense coordinator he was one of the best at protecting others -but it was himself that he ultimately aimed to keep safe. Like a king surrounded by pawns, rooks, and knights, he was only one man. And a man's power was not determined by himself, but by the men he commanded.

    Vladimir smirked then as he door shut behind him and he strode down the hall. Command men he did. Twenty of his personally trained guards were coming with him, alongside whatever men the ship had already taken aboard. Ten the best sword-players from the Military College of Aeternia, as well as ten more of the greatest gunmen. One they dropped into formation there was little that could stop them save overwhelming numbers or an equally well-trained unit. And that was by chance. Vlad didn't take chances.

    The click of boots on both sides alerted him to the appearance of the first two. With each step, two more appeared from either side of the hall -packed up and ready a good hour before he had. Vlad didn't bother to glance back and check their apparel, he knew what they would look like. Each man stood an even five-foot-eight, wore strict military garb and had a rapier and pistol on their hips. Not a one would hesitate to follow his orders, just the way he liked it. Best to prevent problems before they could even start, and this show of power would make sure that any troublemakers knew who they would be dealing with should they start up on board the Feyfalken.

    "Good morning, sir. May I hel-" Vlad swept past the doorman before he could finish his sentence and into the street. Too busy, too busy. He was going to be on time, of course, but any delays would make them close to late. Vladimir didn't do late. It would make him look unprofessional.

    "Remind me who the captain is." he told his second with a bored tone. "I recall his vice captain, Integra Lancaster. it's just that his name keeps slipping my mind..."

    "His name is Dorian- Dorian Cromwell, sir."

    "Ah." Vlad said no more and mentally sneered. Cromwell. A noble. A pathetic excuse for one as well. That must be why he had forgotten about him. Now that he'd been reminded as well, the man brought back a memory of newspapers telling of a terrible crash and many deaths. Of course, that had all been blamed on the pilot, but Vlad knew that it was not just the pilot who was responsible for so many lives. It was the tactician. And the captain was supposed to be a good one.

    If he is, then why did so many die? I'll have to ask him about the Imperial -that was not a ship my father designed as far as I know... They rounded a corner and Vladimir stopped dead, unable to hide the slight curl of his lip. Damn it all. He hadn't seen the ship until now or he would have known that he might be living on a ship his father had designed.

    So many difficulties... it's like the world's aiming to piss me off all in one day. Vlad ignored the startled glances of the people he passed. He just wanted to get this over with. The ship was a genius in modern engineering, yes. However the moment he looked at it all he saw were vulnerabilities. It was a research ship, not meant for battle. But you shouldn't go into unknown territory without at least some sort of protection. It was madness.

    But then, that was why he was here, though not why they had told him to be here. Sighing, Vlad decided that he was indeed going to be royally pissed off today. It was just a matter of who would end up receiving the tail-end of his icy rage now.

    After his talk with Tessa, Dorian wandered the halls for a moment. At first, he was trying to make his way back to the catwalk --back to Integra-- but he quickly gave up on that and opted to perform a self-tour of his own ship. The trial runs had been a few months ago, but the ship’s layout was slowly coming back to him. He found the galley, the starboard engine room, a boiler room, and eventually, the cargo bay which was crawling with laborers, hauling a steady stream of crates into the ship. An assembly line had formed and, after chatting and laughing with the men for a few minutes, Dorian joined. If he had to choose between manual labor or spending another moment with his vice captain, the crates would win every time.

    Dorian set down another heavy crate of rations and was walking out to pick up more when he spotted a column of very stern-faced gentlemen approaching. The captain stood on the open loading ramp, with the cargo bay at his back and the approaching men at his front. He counted about twenty of them, walking in neat little rows, obviously soldier-types… except for the rather feminine-looking fellow leading the charge. He was as pale as cotton swabs caught in a blizzard and, while quite young, had the look of a man who is thoroughly assured of his own self-importance.

    Dorian’s brows rose slightly as he watched them approach and placed himself between the pale man and his ship, with a smile on his face. “Ah, I’ve been waiting for you to show up,” the captain said casually, with his hands on his hips. “These strapping lads must be the ship’s entertainment,” he said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully, “but… well, I know this is going to sound strange… but I could’ve sworn I ordered women, not men. Common mistake, I suppose.”

    Vladimir's eyes narrowed in an instant, turning a darker shade of red with menace. "Common mistake indeed, captain." he said with a low voice upon recognizing the man's uniform. "I guess it would be a common mistake to assume that you are a laborer instead of this vessel's master?"

    "Indeed, it would," Dorian said, his smile just as potent as ever, as if he thrived on the banter, rather than withering under it. "At this particular moment, I am both captain and laborer. I am whatever my crew needs me to be." He wiped his hand on his trousers before extending it to the man. "And what might you be, sir?"

    "I am your Defensive Coordinator, Vladimir Albion." Vlad replied and admittedly shook hands with the man. Having an ally who was popular with his workmen would prevent trouble in case of complaints, so he would have to tolerate some things. Then he glanced next to Dorian and frowned. "Isn't your vice-captain supposed to be with you? I would like to speak with her on some things."

    "Right... of course you would," Dorian said, his mood souring slightly, though he managed to appear undisturbed. He released the man's hand and guided him into the cargo bay. "I'd be more than willing to take you to her," he said, his tone suddenly business like, rather than playful, "but, with all due respect, I'm afraid I can't quite see what you would wish to discuss with her that you cannot discuss with me."

    That's because I was testing whether you will challenge for your post, rather than act like the lazy oaf you've made yourself appear to be. But Vlad smiled rather than speak. "Oh, just a few things about the paperwork. I would like to be sure that we have no stowaways as well, and I am wondering how many soldiers you already have aboard. I would like to brief them on where they are to be assigned, and make sure all of them know this ship inside and out." he hesitated, then added, "It happens to be one of my father's designs, so I already know my way around."

    Dorian’s smile slowly trickled away. “No, I don’t think you’ll be doing that,” he said casually. “Firstly, the paperwork is quite sound; Integra has thoroughly seen to that. Secondly, I won’t have you marching your boys’ choir around my ship, terrorizing the crew, just to find one or two possible stowaways,” he said with a nod to Vlad’s twenty-man mob. “Thirdly, I strongly advise you to reconsider your methods, Vladimir. This ship is not a prison and my men are not prisoners. If you start treating them as such, they will behave as such. Since I don’t want to see life aboard this vessel devolve into an orgy of stabbing and raping, I think you should --to put it simply-- calm the fuck down and take a seat, sir.”

    His smile returned slightly. “By the way, if you want to see, firsthand, what I’m talking about, go tell Reina the ship she spent a quarter of her life creating is ‘one of your father’s designs,’” Dorian said. “I don’t know where you get your information, young man, but Kirk Albion is only the third best airship builder in Aeternia, after Lancaster and… well, the second I can’t seem to remember. You may be well-versed in commanding pawns on a chessboard, but around here you will be asked to command people. Those people have feelings and, when pushed to the brink, will ‘express’ those feelings all over your pretty little face.”

    Vladimir's face turned a little gray at being corrected, but he quickly replaced the mask again. "I guess they would, sir, if they managed to get close enough. As for the ship, I guess it would be a relief to know I am in fact not on his ship then. My father and I... don't get along."

    Vladimir waved a hand at the guards. "See to it that the ship gets off the ground safely. I don't want any... accidents to occur." He glanced back at the captain. "In case any were to occur. I would hate to find out that I have no use aboard this ship?" he raised an eyebrow in question.

    “You’re my security officer. We should all hope you have no use aboard this ship,” Dorian said as he draped an arm over the young man’s shoulder and led him into the cargo bay, toward the stairs. “Come on, I’ll take you to see Integra. When it comes to leadership styles, you both seem to have many of the same… umm… issues.” He nearly said ‘shortcomings,’ but managed to catch himself. “Experience will hammer those out in due time.“ He chuckled.
     

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